They were watching Goblet of Fire, but Carmilla couldn't pay attention the movie. Not when Laura's brow was so adorably furrowed watching the maze event of Triwizard Cup. Carmilla knew she must have seen this movie a dozen times before, and yet somehow, she was swept up in it all over again. She found it remarkable that Laura wasn’t bored or exhausted by the redundancy.
There's no telling when they started holding hands; if it had been instantly after Laura had shoved the laptop into their laps and curled possessively into her side or some time later, Carmilla wasn't certain. But now, she was aware of the light pressure of Laura's hand in hers, and the gentle brushing of her thumb across the back of her palm. She found it far more absorbing than the film.
Slowly, Carmilla brought both their hands up, still intertwined, and softly pressed her lips to the back of Laura's hand, and then to each individual knuckle. She looked again at Laura, and was met with bewilderment.
"Um... what are you doing?" Laura asked, bemused but smiling. "I don't know if you're feeling snacky or what, but I'm pretty sure we've established that I'm off limits, except for that one time."
“No,” Carmilla shook her head. "I'm thinking," she began, tenderly playing with Laura's fingers, "that your hands are quite beautiful. And I'm thinking of how much your hands have done for others, in the name of good. And then I began to consider how much my hands have done, and how those things have been... not so good." She took a breath, tempering the small, pained smile with a quiet chuckle before she continued. "And, I'm thinking how I shouldn't even begin to deserve you, and yet in spite of everything, you're with me. I feel unfathomably lucky. To know you, to love you. To have you, and to be yours."
In response, Laura cocked her head, in line with her slight puzzled smirk, and replied, "Whoa, I never took you for the lovey-dovey type."
Carmilla was silent for a long moment as she searched Laura's face, internally panicking during this rare moment of vulnerability. "I, well... I-" she stammered, uncharacteristically.
Laura squeezed her hand once, chuckling. "Don't freak out, Carm. I’ve just never seen you all heart-on-your-sleeve, hopelessly romantic like that, that's all. Don’t worry, I think it’s cute."
"Forget it," Carmilla muttered, embarrassed, releasing Laura's hand. She was quiet for a moment, then continued, "I'm not exactly an open book. It's not easy to reveal myself like this.” Her voice grew more fervent as she spoke. "I mean, the last person I loved was taken by my mother, and God knows what happened to her. You don't think there are things I wish I'd been able to say to her? You don't think I've spent the last several decades, centuries even, trying not to let myself get that close to anyone again?"
Laura sat up to look more closely at the other girl. "I'm sorry, Carmilla, I didn't mean to make light of your feelings. It just surprised me, and I laughed because I've never seen you like that before. In fact, nobody has ever talked to me like that before. It’s sort of alarming to hear anyone being so raw. It doesn't feel like real life."
“See, therein lies the problem with this generation!” Carmilla spat back, quite visibly flustered. "You children know nothing of romance or sincerity. All your relationships have devolved into hook ups or friends with benefits, and who’s texting whom regarding what, and deciphering contextual implications of little yellow emoticon men!" She sputtered along, the blush in her cheeks slowly deepening, "Everything's a joke, and no one genuinely appreciates anything! Interpersonal communication is built upon dishonesty and affectation!” She pointed accusatorially at Laura, "Yours will be remembered in history as the generation of ironic detachment!" Carmilla punctuated her tirade by scooting away from Laura, putting as many inches between them as the tiny dorm bed would allow. She clenched her jaw and stared down at her own hands, folded in her lap.
"Hey." Carmilla felt a hand on her shoulder and she shrugged it away, but it returned and this time she let it stay. "Carmilla, look at me." She peeked at Laura from beneath her bangs, but quickly snapped her eyes back to her own lap.
Laura’s hand traveled the length of Carmilla’s arm, shoulder to wrist, and she took her hand from her lap, lacing their fingers together. "Carm, I love you. Unironically. No detachment. Not a joke."
Carmilla kept her eyes averted and fought to hold her pout, but her body language relaxed. Laura closed the gap between them to plant a kiss on her cheek. Before she could pull away, Carmilla had steadied a hand on the back of her head and turned to meet her lips, chastely.
"I'm sorry, again." Laura said, smoothing the other girl's wavy black hair. "I wasn't making fun of you for being open. In fact, I kind of enjoy being the object of your romantic declamations. I imagine it's like being in love with Shakespeare or something."
Carmilla grinned, and smoothly countered, "Don't tell the ginger giant, Cupcake, but Shakespeare was a total hack."