I don't really know what to say; I just hope you enjoy this chapter and are anticipating what's to come.

If you still miss Orange Marmalade as much as I do, marathon it now here!

Previously on Orange Marmalade: Look At Me

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Orange Marmalade: Look At Me
Chapter 15: Human Blood

      I am reluctant but I can't keep refusing, I have to agree and accept the VCS needs to be contacted and informed of the situation. To be honest, it scares me. What if they lock me in like they did for my parents? Or what if there's no way to help me? What if this is how I have to live now, hiding from the sun and giving up on the life I have now?

Ma Ri takes my hand, giving a gentle squeeze to remind me she's with me. Since she came and found me hiding from the sun that was coming through the windows, she's been by my side all the time. She brings the notes from school and even brings her guitar so we can work on something together. She's even told the others I have a situation and I can't attend to the practices for the time being. I can only leave my house at night and there isn't much I can do then but spend time with Ma Ri.

"It'll be okay," Ma Ri tells me, trying to soothe my anxious heart.

I have come to the VCS headquarters after my uncle called them to inform them of the situation. Because we suspect it's due to my suicide attempt and he was the one that saved me that morning, he is the one coming with me. And because I was too nervous but still too proud to ask for help, Ma Ri insisted on coming with us. I'm very thankful she has, though.

"From vampire to guinea pig," I mumble, almost seeing my future unveil in front of me. I doubt this happens often, if it ever happened, so I don't believe I'll be coming back home today. I'll have to stay here and let them run tests on me until they find out what's wrong with me.

"It'll be okay, they'll help. I'm sure of it," Ma Ri insists and I just roll my eyes. She certainly has a lot of faith in an institution that has oppressed us at best.

"Whatever. But tell me something," I decide to change the topic to avoid thinking of what might happen to me. "Doesn't your boyfriend worry that you spend so much time with me? You come every day after school and even at night I see you, and now you're here."

It's something that's really surprised me lately, how supportive and constant she's been. If it weren't for the fact Jung Jae Min and Ma Ri see each other at school I'd say she spends more time with me.

"He understands.” She smiles. I just chuckle, humourlessly. Of course perfect and sensible Jung Jae Min understands. "Or I think he does. Something about a bond because we both feed of blood and a thing an omnivorous wouldn't understand," Ma Ri reports, clearly confused for the words her boyfriend gave her.

I do laugh this time, honestly, because it seems my words back then stuck with him and now he is aware of it. It's true, vampires are like that, we look after each other even if it means sacrificing one self for the others. Yes, there are selfish vampires, but we still know of a loyalty that is foreign for humans. And it goes beyond loving or liking someone. Ma Ri doesn't feel the same way I do, but she's by my side just like I would by hers if she was in the same position I am.

"Well, he'll be happy when I get locked in and you're free again," I joke darkly, but Ma Ri doesn't seem to find it amusing.

"Yah! Don't say that," she scolds me, even lightly smacking my shoulder. "You'll be fine."

I'm about to say something else when the door to the office we are waiting in opens, letting the director of the VCS walk in, with other two people, who look like doctors or some sort of scientist, both wearing lab coats and very serious expressions.

"Mr Han Shi Hoo. We meet again," the director says with that voice that makes my guts twist. "I didn't expect to see you again. I've been informed you've been having… troubles."

I bite my tongue not to throw at him some acid comeback, instead I leave the talking to my uncle.

"We thought that if someone could help was the VCS. You saved him once and we think this might be connected to that… accident."

"When he tried to escape his punishment," the director says, a grimace on his face. I want to refute, to protest it wasn't that. I wasn't escaping the punishment, it was more complex than that, but Ma Ri squeezes my hand under the table, stopping me from making a mistake. "Yes, we know. And we already have a vague idea of what might have caused this… inconvenient."

"Sure, that the sun can burn me alive and there's no way to stop it is just an inconvenient," I mutter and I can feel the director glaring at me. I don't care, to be honest, I don't really like that man and I don't care if he thinks I'm insolent.

The director looks at one of the people with him, giving him the chance to speak, I suppose, because next thing the doctor is saying something that I had no clue had happened.

"When Mr Han arrived to the VCS HQ, a third of his body was burnt by the sun, you are all aware those wounds are more dangerous and even mortal for your species," the doctor explains. "To save him and speed the process, using only pig blood wasn't enough. He wouldn't have recovered like that, he would have died at the end."

"Then what did you use? How did you save him?" My uncle asks. I squeeze back Ma Ri's hand because I have a bad feeling about this.

"Vampires are naturally human predators, their systems are made to feed of human blood. The fact that pig blood works as a substitute is due to the similarity in the genetic structure and compatibility of the two species, but it is not the same. Vampires lose strength and reduce their life spams by feeding of pig blood. Hence, using that substitute to help heal Mr Han when he was in such a poor condition would have meant to send him to his grave."

"What did you do, then?" I ask this time, my jaw clenched in fear and irritation.

"We gave him human blood, of course. It was the only way to save him and what would heal those wounds," he explains as if it were nothing. Ma Ri gasps but I can't even take a breath. "We were not sure of the consequences as he wasn't directly feeding from a human but receiving it through an IV. He reacted normally to the SPA at first when we ran a few tests so we thought it would be fine. The reaction with the use of the SPA gets annulled when there's consumption of human blood. The problem with Mr Han is that the consequences and resistance to the SPA presented later on, when we thought it wouldn’t happen anymore.”

Human blood… they gave me human blood. I wasn't even conscious to protest back then, they just gave it to me to save me, but they also condemned me to a night life because now I can't receive the SPA.

It would've been better if they let me to die.

"Can you… can you fix that?" Ma Ri asks, her voice shaky and her eyes scared. She looks pleadingly to the doctor that explained what happened.

"Because we were the ones who supplied the human blood, we will take responsibility," the director says. "But as this is the first time we deal with this situation, we are not sure it can be fixed."

I clench my fist, the one that doesn't hold Ma Ri's hand and try to take deep breaths not to snap.

"You have to help him, please," Ma Ri begs and the intensity in her voice surprises me. It almost looks like she's about to cry.

"It is complicated, miss Baek. The SPA only works with vampires that have never consumed human blood, it's a way to ensure and protect us all humans. Technically speaking, the current SPA will not work on him again, unless we develop a new version only for him, and you surely realise that is not something we will do for just one vampire." I look away so he can't see me rolling my eyes. Of course they would never do that. "But we will try to find a solution and help Mr Han."

"For the time being," the other doctor speaks now, getting our attention. "Mr Han will have to stay with us until we find a solution for his problem. We need to run some tests until we know how to proceed."

I snort. That is what I was expecting already, the only thing that sounds familiar to me now. I even look at Ma Ri with eyes that say 'I told you so.'

"Can we visit him? Can someone stay with him here? He's not being punished, right? When he was recovering I visited him," Ma Ri speaks up, almost frantically. "May I do that again?"

The director and the doctors look at each other, discussing the issue without uttering words.

"Of course," the director answers. "As you said, miss Baek, he's not being punished. He's staying to speed and facilitate the process, as he cannot leave his home during the day."

"Thank you," she says, bowing her head and sounding too grateful. Then she looks at me, giving me a smile that stirs something inside. "I won't leave you alone," she promises and I wish she wouldn't say that, it hurts a bit because I'd like it were always like that, not only because I'm having a bad time.

I guess… I guess that if this is all I can have then I shouldn't be greedy. And I should focus more on overcoming this than my unrequited love. 

This is a work of fiction with no profit intent. All characters and context belong to the rightful writers of the webcomic and drama. This is made by a crazy obsessed fan for other fans who suffer from Second Lead Syndrome.

Bel, xx

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