There was something entirely nonthreatening about the adorable little puppy sitting all alone in the middle of the field. Laura squealed when she saw the little guy, elbowing Laf and pointing down the soccer field, “Puppy!”
Kirsch turned, grinned and took off across the field, “Dibs!” He shouted.
Not to be outdone, Danny raced after him, “Not if I get there first frat boy!”
Perry raised her hand as if to tell them to be careful but Laf snorted before she could bother and said, “Is there anything that those two can’t make into a competition?” The three of them followed at a more leisurely pace down the field, laughing when the dog took off away from them at the sight of two giants running straight at it.
Laf linked their arm through Perry’s and Laura tried not to feel like a third wheel. Or even a fifth wheel if Carmilla’s snarky comments about Danny and Kirsch having secret crushes on each other were to be believed.
Laura turned at the thought, squinting towards the edge of the soccer field where she could barely make out Carmilla lounging under one the trees. The vampire had some fat book in her lap, her nose deep into the pages. Laura smiled at the oddly peaceful image, still wondering why Carmilla had even bothered to come out to the field with them if she wasn’t interested in ‘throwing a circular object in a repetitive pointless manner’.
What she had against frisbees, Laura wasn’t sure.
Carmilla looked up and Laura gave her an enthusiastic wave. Carmilla paused then slowly lifted her right hand and gave the smallest wave possible. Laura gave her a thumbs up, waiting for the day when the vampire would finally break out of that broody shell.
Shouts brought her attention back towards the group, as Kirsch whipped off his shirt and used it scoop up the puppy into a bundle. He jogged back towards Laf and Perry as Danny scowled. He shot her a grin and then offered her the puppy. Danny frowned once, then reached out for the offering, cooing at the little dog.
And then everything exploded.
Laura was lifted backwards and up by about ten feet, unable to see anything in the cloud of dust she braced herself for impact, hoping that it wouldn't be into any sharp. Suddenly she felt a small hand grasp her bare hand and stop her fall. Laura squinted through the smoke and caught a glimpse of a familiar face. Carmilla. The vampire worked with the momentum of the blast, allowing them to be carried backwards but keeping control of their movements.
There was an odd tingling sensation in her hand but Laura dismissed it as a lack of blood due to her tight grip. Still, it was an interesting sensation, Laura couldn’t quite remember the last time she’d touched the vampire. Probably not since the, uh, vampire kidnapping. Hopefully, the tingling wasn’t some latent vampire power.
Carmilla guided them to the edge of the field and Laura’s lungs exploded into a coughing fit as they clear the smoke.
Carmilla squeezed her hand tightly. "You okay?" she asked.
Laura nodded through her coughs, "Fine, you?"
"Perfectly," Carmilla frowned at the smoke, "When will you nerds learn to stop touching random things on campus?."
“But it was a puppy!” Laura protested, “how can you not want to cuddle a puppy?”
Carmilla shrugged, then smirked. “You know Cupcake,” she said, “if you wanted to hold my hand you could have just asked.”
Laura looked down, immediately blushing as she saw that her hand was still firmly grasping Carmilla’s.
"Sorry," Laura said quickly. She tried to open her fingers but her left hand stayed firmly in
Carmilla’s right. Her eyes widened, "Uh Carm, I can't seem to let go." Carmilla immediately tried wiggling her fingers but they stayed firmly attached to Laura’s skin.
“What the hell,” Carmilla muttered.
Laura tried shaking her wrist, Carmilla’s hand simply flopped along next to her own. “Don’t you have like,” Laura looked around the field and dropped her voice, “superstrength or something?”
Carmilla paused, “Well yeah, but…” the vampire trailed off.
"Pull," Laura commanded, “you’re not going to hurt me.” Carmilla’s eyes bounced up to Laura’s and paused. Finally Carmilla gave a sharp pull on their hands with her free hand. She tugged until pulling any harder would have dislocated Laura’s shoulder.
Carmilla took a deep breath but Laura interrupted before she could get the words out, “No don’t tell me.” Laura said, “we’re totally stuck together aren’t we?”
Carmilla rolled her eyes, “It would appear so creampuff.”
“Because of a dog?” Laura looked around in shock, trying to locate the puppy through the fading smoke, “but it was so cute. And just a puppy. Well I mean, I guess it wasn’t a puppy if it literally blew up in our faces. But still, how was I supposed to know that? It’s like an instinct. you see a dog. You pet it.”
“Well cupcake,” Carmilla said, “this is why I hate dogs.”
“Who hates dogs?” Laura fired back.
Carmilla flicked her hair over her shoulder, “Cat people.”
A frantic voice cut the moment, "Laura, Laura!” Danny shouted, “where are you?” Other voices could be heard in the background, their words unintelligible but the tone obviously unhappy.
Tugging Carmilla after her, Laura ran towards the sound, “We’re here.” She coughed as they re-entered the lingering smoke, “Where are you?”
When they found the group Laura froze, immediately thanking every possible deity that she and Carmilla had been blown clear of the rest of the group. As if mirroring her thoughts, Carmilla’s hand tightened around her own.
There was a tangled mess of limbs in front of them as the group had obviously been blown into some kind of pile. Laf and Perry were laying back to back, struggling to sit up. The back of their calves appeared to be attached. Laura winced, thankful that Carmilla was still wearing her leather pants despite the blistering heat.
Beside her Carmilla suddenly let out a strangled sound. Laura turned, startled, and found the vampire nearly keeled over. She was laughing so hard that Laura was momentarily worried that something in the dust was affecting the vampire’s brain.
“Carm?” she said.
Carmilla looked up. There were tears forming in the vampire’s eyes but Laura was more focused on the beautiful smile that had somehow cracked its way across Carmilla’s face. She automatically smiled back, enjoying the sound of Carmilla’s stifled giggles. The vampire managed to choke out, “She’s going to kill him.”
With a small frown, Laura turned. Her free hand flew to her mouth to cover her own startled giggle as she caught sight of Kirsh and Danny. The shirtless Kirsh and Danny. From her fingers to her elbows, both of Danny’s arms were glued to Kirsh’s chest, leaving the two locked in an almost kiss. The redhead was frantically tugging, trying to remove her arms as Kirsch tried to peel her off.
When Carmilla snorted beside her, Laura couldn’t hold the giggles in anymore.
Laf and Perry had finally managed to sit up in a weird sideways fashion. Laf fiddled for something in their back pocket, “Well,” they said, pulling out a test tube, “I’m glad someone finds this funny.” With a little fumbling they managed to cap the tube.
“Xena and the puppy?” Carmilla said, “yeah, that’s definitely funny.”
“This is most definitely not funny,” Perry chastised as Laf finally caught sight of Danny and Kirsh and started grinning wickedly.
“How are we going to fix this?” Laura insisted, shaking her and Carmilla’s hand in the air.
Laf’s eyes lit up as she noticed their predicament, “Gotta be skin on skin contact. Some kind of adhesion.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake!” Danny shouted, “You couldn’t have just keep your shirt on!”
“The puppy was cold,” Kirsch protested, “And ladies love it when I take off my shirt!”
“Do you know anything about this?” Laf turned to Carmilla. The vampire wasn’t paying attention, rather she was trying to figure out a way to hide the fact that she was holding Laura’s hand. Carmilla was an ancient vampire, holding hands with a human was the last rumour she needed getting around.
Laura tugged on their hands to get her attention, “How’d you know to pull me back?”
Carmilla shrugged, “This is Silas you idiots. Everything is trying to kill you.”
# # #
Carmilla wasn't sure how it had happened which was a disconcerting thought. Also, she wasn't supposed to be okay with it, she should have put an end to this the second it started, she should put an end to it right now but she just turned the page of her book, being very careful not to jostle the girl inexplicably resting on her shoulder.
In her efforts to avoid prolonged exposure to the ginger squad and the puppy. Carmilla had pulled Laura into their dorm room and locked the door. Laura had grumbled slightly, saying that they should be helping Laf figure out what was wrong. Carmilla had just rolled her eyes and asked if Laura knew anything about the lignins that Laf had been going on and on and on about before they left.
Laura had scowled but grabbed a Harry Potter book off her shelf and dropped on her bed, pulling Carmilla after her. Carmilla had gone for a more conservative option, a couple of texts in Latin that she had been meaning to read but hadn't had the time for. Laura had raised an eyebrow but hadn't commented.
With their hands still attached they'd had no choice but to curl up on the bed together. Carmilla had perched on the edge while Laura was draped over the middle. It was pleasant enough; she wasn't often forced to take a break.
Then it had happened, she had been in the middle of translating a particularly difficult passage when Laura had absently shifted slightly, brow still furrowed at what she was reading. And all of a sudden Laura’s feet were up on the bed and she'd curled into a little ball with the book balanced on her knees. Then Laura leaned onto Carmilla’s arm with her head resting on Carmilla’s shoulder. Their joined hands still between them.
Carmilla hadn't read a thing since.
# # #
Laura had realized the moment she'd done it. It had been an unconscious movement, she was just getting more comfortable on the couch, totally engrossed in her book. It was the same position she read in when she was at home, curled up against a large collection of pillows. It had taken about four seconds for her to realize that she wasn't curled up against pillows but against the warm mass that was Carmilla.
She'd frozen. She was still frozen and completely unsure as to why she hadn't moved. It would be easy. She could just get up. She could stretch and slide away. She could claim she could hear Laf coming. Anything, but Laura didn't move, because Carmilla didn't.
Then it had happened. Carmilla was nonchalantly reading her book. As she flipped the page, Carmilla shifted slightly. It wasn't much, a slight shimmy, a casual drop of one shoulder, a small readjustments of her posture and suddenly Laura’s head was fully on encased in the crook of Carmilla’s neck. Laura let herself lean into Carmilla’s body, more comfortable than she'd been in a long time. Plus Carmilla was warm and Laura was always craving heat. Her room was full of blankets and sweaters. But Carmilla was better, the vampire seemed to radiate heat and that was the deciding factor.
She wasn't moving until Carmilla did.
The time passed in silence. It wasn't the kind of uncomfortable silence that Carmilla was used to when confronted with people but the kind of silence that is a balm to the soul. It refreshes and invites perspective. The sun dipped slowly across the sky, beautiful but a constant reminder that this time was fleeting, precious, a single moment in existence.
As was her gift, it was Danny that broke their silence by slamming into the closed door with a resounding thud. “Shit,” she swore, “Kirsch!”
“I didn’t know it would be locked,” he protested, “it’s never locked.”
“I’m steering next time and you can go backwards,” Danny’s voice echoed down the hallway as she banged on the door with her foot, "Laura? You in there?”
Kirsch voice followed, “Little nerd hottie!”
Carmilla looked down at the nerd hottie in question and met Laura’s eyes for the first time since Laura had cuddled up against her. Carmilla whispered, “I suppose you should open the door.”
Laura blinked slowly, her brown eyes vaguely reminding Carmilla of hot chocolate with just a hint of whip cream swirl, “But then I’d have to get up.” Laura whispered back, stretching and settling back into Carmilla’s side.
Carmilla blinked. Then she let out a small smile and allowed herself to gently lower her nose into Laura’s hair. They'd been sitting in their dirt and puppy explosion covered clothes all afternoon and somehow Laura still smelled like peaches. It was disconcerting.
“Laura?” Danny banged on the door again.
It was easy to pick up the conversation through the thin door.
The handle jiggled, “You weren’t joking,” Laf’s voice drifted through the door, “it actually is locked.”
“I could break it down,” Kirsch offered.
“Carmilla will kill you,” Laf said. Carmilla smirked down at Laura, who gave her a gentle smack with her free hand.
Perry tutted at them, “You can’t just go breaking down school property willy nilly, Brody. Carmilla and Laura have every right to lock their door.” Perry paused, “even if it is a little odd.”
“Laura?” Danny banged on the door for a third time.
Carmilla dropped her head so her breath was directly in Laura’s ear, “Someone seems a little desperate to find you cupcake.”
“She’ll find me if I want her to.” Laura said, making no move to get up.
“I bet they’re not even in there,” Laf said, “I mean they never lock the door when they’re actually in there. Carmilla probably locked the door so we’d stand here trying to break in and then jumped out the window.”
“Well we’re not going to find them then,” Perry said.
Carmilla could almost hear Danny frown, “Of course we are. Laura’s been stuck with that vampire for hours now. She’s got to be going insane.”
“Sorry summer psycho,” Kirsh cut in, “But have you ever actually found Carmilla when you were looking for her? it’s impossible. She just sort of pops out of the woodwork.”
Laura looked up at Carmilla, grinning like a maniac, “You definitely do that.” She squeezed Carmilla's hand tighter, and Carmilla forgot that she didn’t need to breath as Laura’s thumb drifted small strokes over her skin.
"We can’t just leave Laura though," Danny was saying, "I mean come on, stuck to Carmilla for who knows how long? The girl's got a great right hook, scary as crap, glad she's on our side but in terms of conversation and just hanging out? Not so much." There was a scuffling sound, “Kirsh, move. No, turn. We are going to look for Laura.”
Carmilla assumed that the ginger giant and the puppy had left.
Laf and Perry on the other hand had apparently decided to camp out in front of their door.
"If anyone can handle Carmilla it's Laura.” Perry said, “If Carmilla gives her any lip, Laura will give it right back to her. If any of us tried that, I can’t imagine it going nearly as smoothly.”
Laf chuckled, “Well yeah, but that’s because we don’t have an ancient vampire totally crushing on us.” Carmilla’s heart froze a she felt Laura tense slightly, “I think what we really need to be thankful for is that Danny isn’t in there with them. She’d spend the whole time doing that weird protective flirty thing at Laura and then Carmilla would get all…” they trailed off, not quite knowing the word.
Perry supplied it, "bristly."
“Exactly!” Laf shouted, “so you agree! Carmilla’s got a total crush on Laura, right?”
Carmilla wanted to die. Again. She would have poofed away if the whole hand situation didn’t mean that Laura would go with her.
"I didn’t say I agreed to that," Perry objected, "Carmilla is often bristly.”
Risking a look down at the cupcake, Carmilla saw Laura staring at the door, leaning slightly forward biting her lip in concentration. Carmilla stomped down the urge to label the action cute.
Someone tapped absently on the door as Laf said, "I just follow the evidence. Come on Perr, Laura gets more words out of Carmilla than anybody and she's more likely to pop up when Laura's around."
Carmilla usually justified this as Laura being a magnet for trouble.
"Could be a coincidence," Perry said, "Besides Carmilla intentionally antagonizes her whenever she gets the chance." Laura elbowed her lightly in the gut but stayed facing the door.
"That's grade school crush 101," Laf reminded her, "Come on.You don't remember picking on the girl that you liked? But then getting protective if anyone else did it? Like how Carmilla hates Danny?"
Perry sounded flustered, “Well, it’s not our place to say. Shouldn’t you be checking on the test results sweetie?” The pair moved away from the door amid a sea of bumps as they tried to figure out walking.
There was silence in the room for a moment. Then Laura leaned back into Carmilla’s shoulder, "So many options, do I talk about the popping out of the woodwork, the 'bristly' comment, or the school girl crush.”
"The ginger twins have no idea what they’re talking about," Carmilla muttered.
Laura rolled her head back to look up at Carmilla, “No?”
Carmilla’s heart flipped a little in her undead chest. She leaned forward, letting her lips graze against Laura’s forehead. There were so many ways this conversation could go. She settled with safety, the status quo, “You haven’t eaten a sugary concoction in hours cupcake, I’m getting worried that there’s something wrong with you.”
# # #
Evening came and Laf still hadn’t figure out how to reverse the sticking.
So well past the time that Laura usually went to bed, the two girls were still sitting their room. Laura, at least, was exhausted but she didn't know how to approach the sleeping situation. Finally she thought of an opening, "You're not really going to sleep in those pants are you?" she asked, "Vampire constitution or not, tight leather cannot be comfortable."
Laura knew she’d made a mistake when Carmilla shot her a smirk, "Trying to get me out of my pants, eh Cupcake?”
“What! No?” Laura knew she was going red, “I mean, well, technically yes. But not like that. I just thought that it might be more comfortable. And like, I have to sleep so you can’t go gallivanting off into the night so you might as well be comfortable while you’re sitting around in the dark. But if you don’t want to you totally -“
Thankfully, Carmilla took pity on her and cut her off, “It’s fine cupcake. And really, these pants are the least of your problems. I’d be more concerned that I smell like bomb went off.”
Laura knew she was tired when she giggled, “A bomb did go off Carm.”
For a moment, it almost looked like Carmilla was fighting a smile, "Not a lot we can do about that. I mean, I’d love a shower but,” she shrugged, the reason obvious.
Laura paused, struck with a thought. A crazy thought. One that wasn’t entirely unappealing for multiple reasons. “Well you know,” she said slowly. Laura hopped off the bed, stumbling a little as she pried her sleepy eyes open and turned to look at Carmilla, “I’m pretty sure that shirt is not one of your favourites.”
Carmilla raised an eyebrow and looked down at the simple black t-shirt she was wearing, “Not particularly.”
Laura bit her lip and stared at Carmilla. She wasn’t that tired. This would be fine. She blurted the words, “then we totally could shower.”
Both of Carmilla’s eyebrows shot right up by her hairline, “May I remind you cupcake, that we no longer have a shower curtain due to the incident with you falling over and destroying it last week?”
“There was totally a monster in there and I had to catch if off guard,” Laura snapped, “you know that.”
“Sure,” Carmilla rolled her eyes, “you definitely were not having a klutzy moment.”
Laura narrowed her eyes and stomped her foot, “Fine. You do what you want, but I’m showering.” With any embarrassment fully swallowed by her stubbornness, Laura quickly popped the button on her shorts and let them fall to her ankles before kicking them across the room. She palmed the clasp of her bra with her free hand and unhooked one of the adjustable shoulder straps, popping the bra out from the bottom of her shirt.
With only hand free and with her shorts getting caught on her foot as she hopped around, it had to be one of the least sexy clothing removals ever. She glanced at Carmilla, waiting for whatever sarcastic comment about a strip tease was sure to be coming.
Nothing. Instead Carmilla was just staring at her, a weird kind of blank concentration on her face. Jaw slightly open.
Now Laura was definitely blushing, “Carmilla,” she said.
The vampire’s gaze shot up, meeting Laura’s eyes.
Laura tugged on their joined hands, “Get up.”
There was that smirk again. Carmilla regarded her lazily, “I don’t know cupcake. You’re so regimented about only changing in the bathroom. Perhaps I should take the time to enjoy this moment.”
“I’m wearing a shirt,” Laura tried to cover her embarrassment with facts.
This time Carmilla’s gaze that raked her body was definitely intentional, “Shirt and underwear cupcake. Only a shirt and underwear.”
“It’s not big deal,” Laura blurted the words and tugged Carmilla to her feet, “now come on.”
Carmilla nodded slowly, “No big deal. Sure. You’re absolutely right.” She reached for the button of her leather pants and caught Laura swallowing out of the corner of her eye.
# # #
Carmilla let her smirk bloom into a full blown smile as Laura tugged her into the bathroom. The cupcake was the most vibrant shade of red that Carmilla had ever seen, almost choking when Carmilla’s bra had come off.
Carmilla had been unaware of the sexy power of shirts and underwear. Sometimes more is less, did apply. Not to mention Laura had some great legs.
Stepping into the shower behind Laura, Carmilla inhaled sharply as Laura turned on the water. The vampire immediately turned to face the wall, staring at the shampoo bottles in the corner. She may have exceptional willpower but the thought of Laura in nothing but a wet t-shirt and underwear was a lot even for her. Supposed cold hearted denizen of the night. She kept her eyes on the wall.
Laura broke the silence, "Could you um, pass the shampoo?"
Carmilla grabbed a bottle of the peach stuff that Laura loved and passed it over her shoulder, taking a step back. Her leg brushed against Laura’s, the bare skin sending a tingle right through her.
“Thanks,” Laura stuttered. Moments later, Laura collapses against the shower wall with a huff.
Alarmed Carmilla turned, reaching out for her, “Laura!”
Laura looked up at her, giggling. She suspected tears were running down her cheeks but the shower prevented Carmilla from being certain. She tried again, "Laura?" He focused on her face, trying really hard not to notice how the wet t-shirt clung to her skin.
"Ssssorry," Laura barely managed to get out, "It's just that this whole thing is so ridiculous and I am so tired that it just seems extra funny. I mean we're stuck together yes but even more than that. I'm taking a shower with Carmilla. Carmilla just passed me shampoo. I mean, sexy vampire you is in the shower with little old human me. I've seen your underwear and they’re not black lacy things but they’ve actually got,” the girl squinted at Carmilla, “little black cats on them. It's just," she covered her face with her hands, "a little bit surreal."
There were many ways she could handle this. Again Carmilla chickened out, "You're clearly exhausted." Not to mention she liked these underwear, lace itched.
While Laura had managed to get the shampoo in her hair she hadn't managed to rinse it all out. A strand of soap started weaving its way down her face just past those warm brown eyes. Carmilla’s bravery returned, "besides cupcake, I’m the lucky one," she boasted,, "I’m taking a shower with the most beautiful human that has ever graced my 300 plus years of existence. A veritable ray of sunshine in Doctor Who boy shorts.” Carmilla would be looking at Doctor Who in a whole new light if they licensed products like that, “Now get up." She grasped Laura by the shoulders and lifted her to her feet.
"Ow," she complained.
"What?" Carmilla let go, slightly alarmed that she'd hurt her.
Laura grinned the kind of smile that is normally reserved for the drunk, "Soap in my eye."
Carmilla raised an eyebrow, "You’ll tackle the supernatural no problem but complain about getting soap in your eyes."
"It stiiiiiiings," she pouted.
Carmilla was practical, "so wash it out."
"I'm tiiiiiiiiired Carm." Laura rested her head on the shower wall, "I've got a lot of hair and only free hand. Help me?"
And she did. Carmilla could never be called a coward. She got the shampoo out of Laura’s hair, cleaned the sweat off herself in record time, shut off the water and threw a towel in Laura’s face.
She froze when Laura sntached a pair of scissors her desk and started cutting up her shirt.
Carmilla lunged forward and grabbed the scissors, “What are you doing?”
“Part 2,” Laura looked up at her through half lidded eyes, “I’m not going to sleep in a wet shirt. It’s why I asked if you liked that shirt.”
With another cut, Laura’s trapped arm was free from her sleeve and she whipped the shirt over her head. Carmilla had never turned so fast or regretted the modesty that her 16th century mother had deeply embedded into her core. So she kept her back to Laura as the girl threw on a bra and clean underwear.
Laura tapped her on the shoulder with the scissors, “Your turn.”
The whole getting into bed bit could have been awkward except that Laura was pretty much asleep on her feet. Carmilla scoped her up to drop her into the bed, accidently forever imprinting the feeling of Laura’s bare skin on her own. Carmilla crawled up into the bed beside her, wrestling the yellow pillow away and being very careful not to touch anything that wasn't already stuck to her hand. Catching herself smiling at the snoring Cupcake next to her, Carmilla realized that she had just had the oddest day of his life. And with her particular life, that was saying something.