She let him grow old until he was seventeen. It was a calculated decision; long enough for some of the curving puppy fat of his cheeks to lengthen, for his limbs to grow long and coltish then simply strong, until the lanky clumsiness of his early teens only lingered around his edges. Side by side, Oskar towered over her now, his hand swamping hers when they folded around one another in the cool shadows of the night, curled like commas under covers, his breath misting in the air between them. She did not change. They would never be the same age again.
But now he was older, things would be easier; people didn’t look twice at them out walking together with no adults around, an older brother and his younger sister. And they could say that their parents were working abroad, that he looked after her while they were away, dutiful and doting, always making sure she wore her coat and mittens so that nobody would notice that she didn’t feel the cold.
He often wondered why she didn’t make him into what she was, she knew, despite what he knew about her life, the demands her alien body made of her. It was not a thing she would ever be able to use words to explain to him so that he actually understood what it meant. To kill for food, to hide from the sun and live in sordid little holes where nobody was neighbourly enough to learn your name, or care when you left. She hated it; and yet, when it came to it, he would die as easily as any of the rest of them. It was a selfish choice, and she knew it even as he bent his neck to her mouth for the bite, his breath coming fast and eager, hands trembling where he clutched at her small body with anxious impatience.
His blood was like thick wine, the sweeter for having waited five years beside the bottle before removing the stopper. The smell of it was enough to make her swoon, to make it nearly impossible to cease sucking. The tiny dose of laudanum she had given him beforehand tasted better than the haladol had, yellowed lace and petticoats, old-fashioned as it slid slick across her tongue and down her gasping throat. She always had liked young men.
And when it was done Oskar just smiled at her as he bled, lying on his back on their bed, beloved eyes crinkled at the corners and pale skin paler than his hair, bloodless. Hissed at her, to make her hiss back, the last soft susurration of needing to breathe.
She pressed a bandage to the side of his neck and waited for him to never leave her.