Sorrow and Joy
by Judith Freudenthal
1996

Natalie arrived at the scene of the crash and felt her stomach lurch threatening to relieve itself of lunch eaten an hour or so ago. There were small bodies everywhere. The injuries ranged from severe gashes to missing limbs and severe burns. The remains of the bus blazed like a sun in the background. Nick had arrived only moments before she did and had had a similar reaction. He was still fighting the hunger and desires brought on by seeing so much destruction.

Natalie walked over to the first little body. It was a five year old little girl, who was covered in blood. Natalie fought back the next wave of nausea and carefully examined the body. She noted a smashed nose, her left temple had been penetrated by something sharp, her right arm had been ripped open in several places.

Natalie finished her examination and moved on to the next little victim. It was a young boy around the same age who had 2nd and 3rd degree burns across his face, torso and arms.

Once finished with her examination she moved on to the next innocent victim. Nick approached and quickly grew concerned as he got a look at Natalie's face. Great sadness showed all over her face, especially in her eyes as she fought back tears. This was another little girl who's left leg had been torn loose in the accident leaving the bone and ripped muscles and skin showing where her knee should have been. She had multiple facial injuries, making her face and hair a bloody matted mess.

"Nat, you okay?"

"I'm okay. What happened?"

"Apparently a first grade class was on its way back from a field trip when an 18 wheeler slammed into it and kept going. We got a description of the truck from a witness who said the truck driver seemed to be having trouble staying in his lane."

"All these children died because of an impaired driver?" Nat asked, anger burning in her voice.

Natalie moved onto the next little body and found evidence that the little girl's face had gone through the side window of the bus leaving behind extensive damage to the head and face. One arm was also gashed as if she had tried to protect herself during the crash. Natalie bolted from the scene with Nick right behind her.

As soon as she was about 20 feet from the scene she sank to her knees and started throwing up. Nick held her loose hair back so it would not get in the way. She had quickly emptied her stomach of its contents and had a few dry heaves before she was finished. Nick handed her a handkerchief to wipe her mouth with.

"Are you okay?" Nick asked, extremely concerned. It was not at all like Natalie to lose it like this at a scene. He was amazed at how much she could handle and often with humor. He also knew how hard it was for her to have to have to deal with dead children.

"I'll be fine. It just got to me," Natalie said sadly. Her stomach felt a little better.

"If it makes you feel any better Tracy had a similar reaction right after we arrived. She went to talk to witnesses."

"Smart girl," Natalie said, wishing she could get the vile taste out of her mouth and remembered that she had left a cup of coffee in her car. She headed for her car and soon had the travel mug in hand. She knew that if she swallowed any of it she would probably just throw it right back up so she swished the cold coffee around in her mouth and gargled it before spitting it onto the ground. She put the mug back into the holder and closed her car door before heading back to work.

 

Later that evening Nick and Tracy were exchanging information as they typed up their reports.

"How's Natalie doing?" Tracy asked concerned.

"She's doing okay," Nick said, not as sure of his answer as he sounded. He knew Nat was strong, but how much can one person endure? "Did you get anything on the truck or its driver?"

"Yes, they arrested him about 20 miles down the road. He had been pulled over for a sobriety check and flunked. The breathalyzer nearly exploded, he was that intoxicated. They should have booked him already. He will pay for killing those children. It wasn't his first arrest for DUI."

 

At the morgue Natalie stared at her just refilled coffee mug trying to remember how many cups she had drank in the last few hours in an attempt to stay awake. She had been working non stop for the last 48 hours and did not even notice Nick's arrival.

"Nat, go home. You need sleep before you accidentally hurt yourself."

"I don't want to go home."

"Don't make me take you home," he said concerned but with a mischievous grin.

"You would, wouldn't you," she said her extreme tiredness showing, but a wicked gleam in her eye. "I don't want to..."

"Come back to the loft with me. I'll take the couch. I don't want to be alone either. By the way, when was the last time you ate?" He saw her hesitate and knew it had been far too long. "First some food for you."

 

An hour later they entered Nick's loft. She headed for the couch while he nourished himself. He grew concerned when she was far too quiet for far too long and headed for the couch. He knew how hard it was for her when children came across her table. This time she had a whole busload to deal with.

Sadness crept through him as he saw the silent tears running down her cheeks. She did not notice him until he was seated next to her, arms outstretched. She gladly leaned against him, wanting his strong arms around her more than anything else at that moment. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him tighter against her. She felt so safe and secure in his embrace. Her silent tears turned into wracking sobs as she let out the emotions she had bottled up since the crash.

After what seemed like an eternity she pulled away from him and wiped away the remaining wetness with the her fingertips. She looked into his sad ancient blue eyes seeing almost as much pain in them as he likely saw in hers.

Their lips gently, and tenderly met in a kiss. They both knew it was what they needed at that moment.

When they parted they caught each others eyes and saw there was a passion there that they had never dared to think about.

Their lips met again, this time there was a slowly building passion. A growing heat between them that both scared and enticed them. His tongue slowly explored her teeth and the lips and gums around them. A shiver went up her spine as his cool tongue made contact with her warmer one. His tongue slowly retreated as hers began to explore his mouth. She ran her tongue over his teeth, saving the just descended fangs for last. He shuddered as her tongue wrapped itself around one fang and then the other.

He started to pull back when she held on tighter. He relaxed and enjoyed the sensation.

She kissed his lips, before she kissed his cheek and moving on to his ear. She nibbled on his ear and then began to kiss her way down the side of his neck.

He felt the sexual desires rise in him more than the bloodlust. He slowly kissed his way down her throat.

They slowly undressed each other. She suddenly found herself swept up into his arms. She kissed him extremely passionately as he carried up her the stairs. He responded to the desires growing in him.

He gently laid her on the bed and lowered himself onto her.

"If we continue I may not be able to stop," he whispered. The desire coming through. His eyes blazed yellow.

"You will be able to," she whispered, her desires also coming through. She was not scared of the vampiric part of him, knowing that he would not hurt her. "I want all of you."

"Then you shall have me."

He slowly kissed his way down her front. She tensed a tiny bit the first time she felt his fang touch her stomach, but quickly relaxed. She ran her fingers of one hand through his silky blonde hair while the other caressed his shoulder. She was surprised at how soft his pale cool skin was.

She decided it was time to show him how she felt and kissed his shoulder and down onto his chest. She kissed her way across it before working her way down his chest onto his firm pale stomach.

He lovingly caressed her shoulder blade and then explored further down her back. It was smooth and soft. Her scent intoxicated him.

His hands gently caressed her breasts, slowly, one at a time. He explored them with his cool tender touches. His hands slowly drifted down her sides. He touched a spot on her side and felt her flinch, not from pain, but like the sensitivity where one is ticklish. She let out a little giggle.

He felt the bloodlust begin to stir. He did not fight it.

Their lips met again in extreme hunger. There was a certain tenderness to the whole experience.

The blood lust surged in him.

Nick began to kiss his way down the side of her face and onto her neck. He lavished kisses on her neck, further exciting her. He heard a soft moan escape her lips. He gently brushed the area with the tips of his fangs, searching for the perfect spot from which to drink in her essence.

She was both thrilled and a little scared by the gentle pressure of his fangs upon her neck. She had never felt this good before and gave in to the feelings.

Nick sank his fangs into her and slowly drank from her. She felt a certain erotic exhilaration as her skin was punctured and she felt her blood flow into him. After a few swallows Nick pulled his fangs from her neck and gently kissed the spot.

"Are you okay?" Nick asked concerned. Guilt threatened to overwhelm him despite how pleasurable the experience had been. She had been right. How had she known? Went through Nick's mind.

"I'm fine," she said with a slight smile. She felt a little weak but was willing to pay that price. She also knew she'd probably have a nasty bruise there tomorrow, also a small price to pay. "They said it couldn't be done."

A small grin crossed Nick's face. "They did, didn't they."

 

Natalie entered her apartment to shower and change before going in to work. She knew that she was not expected in, but had to do something or be overwhelmed again.

As she stepped into the shower the love bite caught her attention. It had indeed turned into a nasty looking black and blue mark. As she showered she discovered that it was also tender to the touch.

Natalie quickly slipped into her mock turtleneck shirt and jacket, grateful for the cooler weather. She did not want to have to explain the mark. She was pleased that her rather thick long mane would help cover the bruise.

 

Natalie entered the morgue and was met by Grace. Natalie detected the concern on Grace's face.

"I'm fine."

"You look a little better. You should be home asleep."

"I can't. I have to do something. I slept some of the night and all day. How are you doing?"

"Better. Most of the victims have been taken care of. Only two more left to do."

Natalie ducked into the changing room and came out in her greens with the white smock over it, grateful it covered the fang marks. Her hair held back by a Scrunci. Grace noticed the top part of the bruise and that Natalie looked a little pale.

"Natalie, what happened?" Grace asked concerned.

"Uh, ...." Natalie said stalling. Finally she decided that the truth was the best answer. "Nick was comforting me when it suddenly turned passionate."

"It's about time you two stopped dancing around your feelings for each other. It looks painful."

"It's a tiny bit tender, nothing to worry about though."

Grace left the room grinning.

 

A few hours later Tracy entered Natalie's office to pick up some reports and to see how Nat was doing. Natalie was seated at her desk, still in her scrubs and smock, working on the paperwork.

Natalie looked up and saw Tracy standing there.

"How are you doing?" Nat asked Tracy.

"Okay. How about you?"

"Better than I was doing yesterday."

Tracy noticed the bruise. "Is that a hickey I see?"

Natalie nodded and Tracy smiled. Natalie told Tracy the same story she had told Grace.

Nick entered and couldn't understand the smile on Tracy's face as she looked at him.

"I'll leave you two alone. Don't forget the reports," Tracy said as she left.

"What did you tell her?" Nick asked a moment before he noticed part of the bruise.

"The truth," Nat said and saw shock set in on Nick's face. "Relax. I told her that you were comforting me and it turned passionate. That's all I said. She noticed it."

"And Grace?"

"Same thing. She noticed it first. She said it was well past time we stopped dancing around the our feelings for each other."

"You look a little pale. How are you feeling? Any side effects?" Nick asked concerned.

"Not really. I'm a little tired, but I think that is more from the 48 straight hours of work. I don't think we should do it again for a few days, to give my system a chance to replenish itself. I think that it is safe to do no more than once every week or two."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. We can stop if I have any problems. I don't expect any, but this is all new to me," Natalie said reassuringly.

"Me too. But at least we know we can do it. How's your neck?"

"A little tender but okay. It was well worth it,"

Grace reentered and smiled upon seeing Nick there.

"Nick, next time be a little more gentle. That's some bruise you left behind," Grace teased.

"I will. It was an accident," Nick said lightly. He didn't know it would leave such a bruise behind.

"I just stopped by to see if Natalie wanted to have lunch, but since she seems to be occupied I'll leave the two of you alone."

the end

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