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I Won't Say I'm In Love

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Two weeks into her first semester of Eastern European Lit, Laura heard her voice for the first time.

Laura just finished making what she considered to be a very convincing and praise worthy point on why the villain of the novel deserved to be punished when a laugh came from the other side of the room.

"I'm sorry but that's bullshit" drawled someone, and Laura and the rest of the class turned to look at the speaker.
The girl was lounged back in her desk, with her black combat boots resting on the seat in front of her and a look of disinterest on her face.
"Miss Karnstein," reprimanded the teacher from the front of the room.
"Sorry," the dark haired girl said, flashing a smirk that let everyone know she definitely wasn't sorry, "But you can't just let her say that they deserved to be punished. Yeah, what they did was bad, but they did it because they believed it was the right thing," the girl continued but Laura was tuning her out, her eyes taking in the leather jacket and leather pants and the distractingly beautiful face. She had two immediate thoughts:
"That girl is gorgeous," quickly followed by "I can’t believe she’s arguing with me! I didn’t even think she was awake."
"Did you even read the book?" Laura said doubtfully, cutting off what she was sure was just a rephrasing of the sparknotes summary. The girls’ dark eyes flashed at being interrupted.
"I sure did, cutie. Turns out you're not the only one allowed to have an opinion on something in this class." Even from across the room Laura could see the girl’s smirk grow wider.
Laura opened her mouth to fire a reply when the bell rang.
"Well! We'll continue this discussion tomorrow," she heard the professor say and Laura grabbed her books and quickly left, forgetting about the mystery girl as she met Danny and Kirsch outside her class.

 


 

The second time Laura saw her was at a party a week later, celebrating some event the Zetas had definitely just invented as an excuse to have a party. Danny and she were debating over how many drinks it would take before Betty tried to hook up with the Zeta boy who had been after her all night when a flash of dark hair caught Laura's eye.
"Who is Laf talking to?" Laura said quickly, directing Danny's attention to the fireplace across the crowded room where the dark haired girl from lit class leaned against the wall, casually chatting with an excited looking LaFontaine, who was gesturing wildly while Perry looked on, amused.
"Hm?" Danny said, focusing her gaze. "Oh, Carmilla Karnstein? Everyone knows her." Danny said, laughing a little as she took a sip from her drink. "She and Laf had to work on some bio project together last year and they hit it off. It's weird cause Carmilla mostly keeps to herself, I guess. To the disappoint of many girls on campus," said Danny, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
"What do you mean?" Laura asked, trying to be casual. She didn't know why she cared. It was just some annoying girl from class. But those eyes... She shook her head briefly to dispel the thought and turned to look at Danny again.
"She's pretty ‘cold’ apparently" Danny said, making quotation marks in the air. "Doesn't have a lot of friends, prefers to read alone, that sort of thing. Every time I’ve talked to her she’s been nothing but rude. But that doesn't stop girls from trying to get her 'out of her shell'" Danny gestured to a group of girls who stood nearby Carmilla, looking at her possessively and occasionally trying to get her attention.
"Who can blame them..." Laura mumbled before she could stop herself. "I mean, um" she was stopped from saying more as they watched Laf point to Danny and Laura across the room. Carmilla turned and looked. She grinned as she made eye contact with Laura and winked, before turning back to say something to Lafontaine and Perry and then sauntering off back into the crowd of drunken Zeta boys. Laura felt a flush of heat on her cheeks as Laf and Perry made their way over to Danny and Laura.
"Hey guys," Perry said and waved as LaFontaine raised an eyebrow at Laura.
"Carmilla Karnstein was telling me she has lit class with you?" They said in an odd tone.
"Um.. Yeah." Laura said quickly, trying to ignore the fact that her heart raced at the thought of Carmilla saying her name, talking about her.
"Something going on there?" Laf said, their grin widening on their face at Laura's flusteredness.
"Oh, no no no," Laura said quickly, "we just argued about a book once. It was nothing. I don't even know how she knew my name."
"Well-" Laf started and Perry stopped them.
"LaFontaine!" She said shrilly. LaFontaine laughed and shook their head.
"Um, anyway, you should talk to her sometime. You guys might be good friends," Laf said in a weird tone that Laura ignored, and she took the first opportunity to change the subject. Carmilla didn't come up in their conversation for the rest of the night, but Laura couldn't help her eyes wandering to the spot where Carmilla disappeared, hoping she might catch another glimpse of her.


 

The next Friday, Danny, Kirsch, LaFontaine, Perry, Will, and Betty were gathered at the coffee shop.
"So, what excuse did Laura give you?" LaFontaine asked immediately.
"Well, hello to you too," grumbled Betty. Danny rolled her eyes.
"She said she had a journalism project."
"Math homework."
"Tired."
"Reruns of Buffy."
The group turned to look at Will. He raised his hands defensively.
"She didn't say anything to me! We don't talk, I only know her because my sister is obsessed with her, okay?"
LaFontaine let out a sigh.
"Wait, why are we here?" Kirsch looked totally lost. Danny rolled her eyes again.
"Is it that hard for you to keep up, Zeta?" She spoke slowly like she it was taking all her effort to speak to him. "Carmilla is desperately in love with Laura and we know Laura will never notice and Karnstein doesn't have the balls to admit it so we've decided to do something about it."

Kirsch had a big smile on his face now.
"So we're gonna be like, matchmakers for them! Cool! Little-nerd-hottie deserves someone hot like Carmilla." Danny smacked him on the arm. "I mean, like, they deserve to be happy."

"Anyway!" Perry exclaimed, determined to keep this meeting on track. "We all know Laura lied to us tonight, and Laf managed to casually mention the bar Carmilla works at to Laura." LaFontaine had a wicked smile on their face.
"Oh perfect!" Betty exclaimed and laughed. "Drunk Laura is even more emotional and clingy. She won't be able to keep her hands off Carmilla."
"Now," Perry stated, clapping her hands together, "we need to come up with a step two."
Will was looking at the whole group with an incredulous look on his face.
"That's your plan? Get Hollis wasted and hope my sister makes a move? That's the worst plan I've ever heard."
The group ignored him.

 


 

Meanwhile, Laura made her way to a tiny bar 15 minutes from campus. It had been a long week and she didn't want to deal with Danny's questions and Perry's concerned looks.
"One straight vodka," Laura mumbled as she slumped down at the bar.
"Rough week, cupcake?" Carmilla said, turning from the other side of the bar to pour Laura's drink.
"Oh great. Hey, Carmilla.” Laura muttered, a little harsher than she meant to. She didn't even know Carmilla worked here and she'd been hoping to get away from people at school, not see more of them.
"Ooh, angry Hollis," Carmilla said, undeterred by Laura's mood, flashing her usual smirk as she pushed the drink across the bar top. "I guess I won't bother asking for your ID?"
Laura gave her a glare and downed the shot, wincing and trying not to cough.

4 hours later, the bar had cleared out and it was just Carmilla, Laura, and a few stragglers.
"Well, sweetheart," Carmilla drawled as she wiped the counter with a rag, “I have to close now. No exceptions, not even for pretty girls.”
Laura laughed loudly. She may have gotten a little drunker than she intended.
“Carmmmmm,” she grabbed at Carmilla’s arm. “Don’t make me leave… Do you not like me?” Laura pouted and then wondered if she was even drunker than she thought, because for a moment she thought she saw Carmilla shiver at Laura’s touch.
“Of course I don’t like you, creampuff,” Carmilla said with that infuriating smirk, “But don’t take it personally. Haven’t you heard? I don’t really like anyone.”
Laura snorted. “I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit.” she mocked, repeating what Carmilla had said that day in lit class. “I can tell, you’re a big softie. You just want everyone to think you’re mean.” and Laura grinned at Carmilla like she’d just figured everything out.
Carmilla just chuckled. “You must be really drunk,” she said, shaking her head as she flipped off the light switch and lead Laura out of the bar. “Now, are you gonna tell me why you felt the need to come get wasted by yourself tonight?”
Laura ignored her and stopped in her place even as Carmilla kept walking down the sidewalk. “Where are we going?” She asked, looking around as though she had forgotten where they were.
Carmilla raised an eyebrow at her. “Back to your dorm?” she said questioningly, facing Laura but continuing to walk backwards towards Silas.
“No!” Laura crossed her arms. “I mean… I don’t wanna go back there. Everyone will just want to know where I’ve been and why I’m drunk..” She looked down at her shoes and back up at Carmilla. “Please. I just don’t want to deal with them tonight.”
Carmilla looked at her with an expression that Laura might had been able to figure out if she was sober but was unable to read in her current state. Then she sighed. “Alright creampuff,” Carmilla said begrudgingly, “Let’s go.” She hooked her arm around Laura’s and began leading her the other way.
"Now where are we going?" Laura asked excitedly.
"Well, I can't just leave you in the street," Carmilla said as she grabbed Laura and steered her around a pole Laura almost walked into, "So I'm bringing you back to my place."
Laura paused her walking again.
"But we don't even like each other," she said, dazed. "Why would you even help me?"
"Like you said cupcake," Carmilla drawled as she stopped in front of an apartment complex, "I'm secretly a big softie."
"I knew it!!" Laura exclaimed loudly. "I knewwww it!"
"Shhhh," Carmilla hissed, but she had the tiniest smile on her face. "Come on," she whispered and pulled Laura towards the stairs.
"But the elevator is right thereee," Laura whined. She definitely didn't want to try to conquer the stairs when she could barely focus on walking in the right direction.
"Nope," Carmilla shook her head. "Sorry, cupcake, I don't do small spaces."
"Oh! Okay," Laura giggled.
Carmilla turned and raised an eyebrow at her.
"I'm just happy," Laura explained. "You're being nice. We're bonding!"
Carmilla shook her head and pressed her lips together with a smile as they continued up the stairs.
"I hate to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but I'm only being honest because I'm pretty sure you're not gonna remember any of tonight when you wake up- woah there!"
They had reached Carmilla's floor and Laura had immediately tripped over the last step.
Carmilla swiftly grabbed Laura and pinned her against the door, holding her upright.
"Careful there, cream puff." Carmilla said in a whisper. Their faces were so close their noses were almost touching. Neither of them moved. Laura could feel the heat of Carmilla's breath on her cheek. For a second, Laura felt the urge to lean forward and kiss her.
Suddenly, Carmilla pulled back and looked away.
"So.. We're here." She muttered and pushed past Laura, opening the door and moving into her apartment. Laura followed dumbly, her heart still racing.
Carmilla lead her quickly into her bedroom. She planted Laura on the edge of the bed and moved over to the dresser, digging through a drawer until she found an old t shirt.
"Sorry I didn't have time to clean," she mumbled as she dug. "Here." She threw the shirt at Laura.
Laura looked down blankly.
"I... Love Doctor Who!!" She exclaimed, a huge smile on her face again.
Carmilla gave her a small, genuine smile.
"I know cutie," she winked at Laura and grabbed the edge of the comforter, patting the bed beneath it with her other hand. "Now, come on. Bedtime for drunk Hollis."
Laura looked down at the shirt again and then complied, too drunk to try to figure out why Carmilla knew what she liked.
"Wait!" She cried as Carmilla turned to leave. "Where are you going?" Laura peered at Carmilla from under the covers.
"Um.. To sleep on the couch?" Carmilla said with a raised eyebrow.
"Nooooo...." Laura whined. "It's your room. Just come sleep with me!" She cried, throwing a hand out from under the blankets, blindly grabbing around for Carmilla's hand.
Carmilla hesitated in the middle of the room, before turning off the light and nervously moving over to the other side of the bed. She chuckled under her breath.
"You are so wasted cream puff," she mumbled, but she pulled back the other side of the covers and crawled into the bed, leaving as much room between her and Laura as possible. Laura smiled and rolled over, wrapping her arm around Carmilla's middle and burrowing into her side.
"Goodnight Carm!" Laura whispered into Carmilla's shoulder. "Thanks for taking care of me. I won't tell anyone you're a big softie." Carmilla could feel her smile against her skin. She relaxed into Laura's arms.
Laura was already starting to drift off when she heard Carmilla whisper a reply:
"Goodnight Laura."
Laura's last thought as she fell asleep was that she liked the way her name sounded in Carmilla's mouth.

Chapter Text

Laura had gone to class on Monday extremely jumpy and nervous, ready to avoid Carmilla Karnstein at every opportunity. She didn't remember much from her drunken Friday adventure, but she was embarrassed enough when she woke up in Carmilla's old shirt and her arms wrapped around Carmilla's midsection. She'd dashed out of the apartment as soon as she could and was determined to pretend the incident had never occurred.
"So.... Where were you last night?" LaFontaine had asked when Laura got back to her dorm, a huge, knowing smirk on their face.
"Yeah, you never came back to the room!" Betty chimed in, eager to be a part of the heckling. "Where did you sleep? Or should I say, who did you sleep with??"
"Subtle." Danny had muttered from her spot on Laura's bed.
Laura blushed and mumbled something about falling asleep in the library and then loudly asked Danny a question about their history class.
Now Laura felt a little silly for being so worried, because Carmilla didn't even show up for class. She wasn't there the following day either and that's when Laura started to feel uneasy. Okay, so she didn't actually care about Carmilla Karnstein, of course. But Laura hadn't had the chance to thank her for the other night. And apologize for drinking so much. She knew she could be a little... Handsy when she was drunk. She blushed at the memory of waking up with her arms around Carmilla, and then almost immediately blushed more at the fact that thinking about Carmilla made her blush.
"Stop it," she scolded herself, "she's just some girl. A sarcastic, broody, rude, beautiful, caring, secretly soft girl. I mean- ugh!!" She gave up on reprimanding herself and tried to focus on the lesson.
Finally on Thursday, Carmilla reappeared in her spot in the very back of the lecture hall, lounging across the desks. Laura felt her heart race at the sight. She really had intended to talk to her, but all her plans went out the window at the view of the now familiar black tank top and tight jeans and she grabbed her books and rushed out of the classroom instead, promising herself that she would try another day.
"Hey, cupcake!" Laura heard a voice call from behind her.
"Oh great," she thought, "now I'm starting to imagine her voice."
"Hollis!!!" The voice called again but Laura still didn't turn around.
"Hey, Laura!" Carmilla cried exasperatedly, grabbing Laura's arm so she would stop running away.
Laura flinched at her touch like Carmilla had burned her and pulled her arm from her grasp.
"If you're here to tease me over the other night, I'm really not in the mood. Actually, the more I think about it, I'm really never in the mood for whatever snarky comment or innuendo you have."

"Stop talking!!!!" Laura thought furiously to herself, but for some reason she couldn't stop her rambling. She finally stopped at the look on Carmilla's face. For a second, she actually looked hurt at Laura's words, which was a feat in itself because Carmilla had dark sunglasses on, even though it was only like 60 degrees out. Then, of course, Carmilla's lips curled back up from a tiny frown into her usual teasing smirk like nothing had happened.
"Relax cupcake. I'm not here for the pleasure of your company. I actually just need a favor. You live in the same building as LaFontaine, right?"
Laura looked at her suspiciously.
"Yeah... Why? What do you want?"
Carmilla sighed loudly at Laura's questions.
"Look, can you just give them this for me?" She shoved a small box into Laura's hands. Laura continued to look at her warily.
"Oh my god!" Carmilla threw her hands up. "Listen, creampuff," She started and then looked off to the side, avoiding eye contact with Laura. "I don't really care of course, but I think LaF has been upset this week and I just thought this might cheer them up." Carmilla peered at her through her sunglasses as if she was afraid Laura was going to challenge her again. When Laura didn't speak, Carmilla continued: "and anyway, you kinda owe me from the other night, don't you sweetheart? Unless you can think of another way you'd like to pay me back..." And the cocky Carmilla was back, her eyes gazing up and down Laura's body.
"Ugh!" Laura flushed at her words. "No. I mean, fine, I'll give it to them. And then we're even. No other favors."
"Suit yourself!" Carmilla replied with a shrug. Then she turned and sauntered off.
"Argh! She is infuriating!!" Laura thought, and she definitely did NOT admire how hot Carmilla looked as she walked away.

 

Back at the dorm, Laura opened up her door to find LaFontaine lying across her bed, looking distraught.
“Hey Laf,” she said cautiously. “Everything okay?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” LaFontaine’s voice was muffled by the pillow but Laura still didn’t miss the hurt in their voice. It was probably something with Perry. Only fights with Perry ever put LaFontaine in this kind of mood.
“Well..” Laura started. “I have a gift for you! I mean, it’s not from me, it’s from Carmilla, who gave it to me, cause I owed her a favor and I think if I didn’t do this, then maybe I would’ve-” Laura abruptly cut off her own rambling. “Um, anyway, I don’t know what it is, but Carm said it would cheer you up.”
LaFontaine had slowly raised their head as Laura rambled and now had her eyebrows raised wickedly at Laura.
“Carm?” Laf repeated the nickname back to Laura.
“Ugh! Just open the gift already.” She shoved the box into LaFontaine’s hands and turned away to hide her blush. Why was she blushing? Why did her heart keep racing when she said Carmilla’s name?
Laura was pulled out of her thoughts by LaFontaine’s excited exclamation.
“Oh my god, no way! I can’t believe she found these!!” LaFontaine was holding the contents of the package, which to Laura just looked like some lab microscope slides or something.
“These are so rare,” LaFontaine was muttering, looking down at the slides in disbelief. “I can’t believe she remembered I wanted them. Oh man…” They stood up suddenly. “I’m sorry L, I gotta go check these out in the lab. And I gotta tell Perry!!” There was a genuine smile on their face now and they rushed out of the room in excitement.
Laura slumped down on the bed. She was so confused. Every time she talked to Carmilla, she just acted like a cocky jerk, but then she went and did these sweet things for Laura and LaFontaine and seemed to genuinely care about their happiness… Laura couldn’t make sense of it. She also felt a little guilty for snapping at Carmilla earlier. There was no way to find Carmilla and talk to her now though, because she didn’t really remember where her apartment was and Carmilla had a habit of hiding places where no one could find her so she could finish a book in peace. (A small part of Laura wondered why she knew that, and why she kept paying attention when anyone mentioned Carmilla’s name. She pushed the thought aside.) Laura was about to collapse on the bed and give up when she remembered another option- she pulled out her phone and scrolled down to Will’s number.

 

"Ahem!! Excuse me!!"
"BANG BANG BANG" LaFontaine whacked their usual table in the back of the coffee place with a gavel. The group all stopped their conversation short and turned to look at Perry.
Perry gave a grateful nod to LaFontaine and then smiled at everyone.
"So I officially call this meeting of the GCALTETTBSAA group to order!" She frowned at the paper she was reading off of and then looked at LaFontaine.
"The Get Carmilla And Laura Together Even Though They're Both Stubborn And Annoying group," Will supplied with a grin. Perry sighed and forged on.
"Anyway, as you all know, last week-"
"Okay, where did LaF even get a gavel?" Betty interrupted.
"Wait," Kirsch said, "I don't think Laura is annoying. She's actually like, super hot. And so is-"
Danny smacked him on the head to shut him up.
"Bro!! Ow!" Kirsch exclaimed, rubbing his head like he had been mortally wounded.
"Oh calm down you big Zeta baby," Danny said, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes.
"This is the worst flirting I've ever seen. Can we hurry this along so I don't have to witness this?" Will added from the other side of the table.
"We're not flirting!!" Danny spit out defensively at the same time as Kirsch exclaimed, "bro!!"
"You are waaaaaay too similar to your sister sometimes," LaFontaine muttered as they looked at the smirk on Will's face.
"ANYWAY!!!" Perry glared at the rest of the table, ignoring the looks they were getting from other customers in the shop. "As I was saying, things went well at the bar last weekend. But since then, we haven't had anything new. Have any of you seen anything?"
Kirsch shook his head. "Laura has been like, super jumpy though. I think she's avoiding Carmsex- Carmilla!" He finished quickly, leaning away from Danny to avoid being smacked again.
"Wait," Will interjected, finally interested in the conversation. "Laura didn't tell any of you what happened yesterday?"
His smirk grew even wider as the rest of them looked at him in confusion. Will leaned back with a chuckle.
"Oh this is just too good. Here you all are, "doing your best" to get them together and I do more than any of you without even trying!"
Betty huffed in annoyance.
"Just tell us what happened already, William," she said, emphasizing his full name.
Will shot her a glare, but then leaned in towards the group, lowering his voice.
"So Laura texted me asking for a favor...."

 

20 minutes after Laura had texted Will, she was headed to the astronomy tower. To be perfectly honest, Laura had no idea their campus even had an astronomy tower, but she had begged Will to help her find Carmilla and he had helpfully directed her to the one place Carmilla felt most relaxed. Actually, the more she thought about it, the weirder it was that Will had helped her. She had rarely spoken to him, and only in group settings when he came to parties with Betty or Kirsch.
“Oh my god.” Laura thought as she approached the astronomy tower. No wonder she had never heard of it before. The building looked like it was falling apart, dark and decrepit, and frankly, a little bit haunted. She took a deep breath and slowly pushed open the wooden door. She climbed up the creaky wooden stairs as fast as she could, trying not to look at the dark shadows and creepy spiderwebs. She was beginning to think Will was just messing with her when she spotted the tiny staircase that led to the roof.
When she pushed open the door and hoisted herself onto the roof, she could see Carm lying there, sunglasses still on, gazing up at the slowly darkening sky.
“Well creampuff,” she drawled without turning to look at Laura, “if this is your attempt at avoiding me, you aren’t doing a very good job.”
“um, I actually,” Laura stuttered. Why could she suddenly not remember her speech, the long apology she had planned? “I wanted to apologize. And also, to thank you. And also, to um, make sure you’re okay. Not that you don’t look okay I mean you look way more than okay but I mean-”
“Woah, cupcake.” Carmilla said, holding up one hand to stop Laura. “No need to continue. Apology accepted.”
“What? Just like that?”
“Yup. I forgive you, I absolve you of your sins, blah blah blah. You can go now.”
Laura stared at Carmilla, who still hadn’t turned to look at her.
“Carm…” She said hesitantly. “What’s wrong?” Carmilla sighed.
“Nothing’s wrong, sweetheart.” She said calmly, but her voice cracked the slightest bit.
Laura bit her lip, thinking for a moment and then crawled over to where Carmilla was lying. She lifted Carmilla’s head up gently, sliding her legs under and then resting Carmilla’s head down on her lap. She hesitantly started running her fingers through Carmilla’s hair, waiting to see if Carmilla would make her stop.
Carmilla let out a deep sigh of contentment and pressed herself into Laura, humming quietly at the feel of Laura’s fingers.
“Take off your sunglasses Carm.” Laura said quietly.
Carmilla stiffened and then pressed her face into Laura’s side as if to hide from the request.
“Carm.”
Nothing.
Slowly, Laura untangled one of her hands from Carmilla’s dark hair and raised the glasses off of Carmilla’s face.
She exhaled loudly at the sight of the darkening black eye that was now visible on Carmilla’s face. She raised her fingers gently to the bruise and wiped the remnants of makeup off of the injury, lighting tracing it with her fingers.
“Carm….” She whispered.
Carmilla kept her eyes shut as if she was afraid to look at Laura. She couldn’t help the way her breath got shaky as Laura delicately traced her face.
With her eyes still closed, Carmilla spoke:
“My mom… we don’t really get along well. I try to avoid her most of the time but..” She paused, taking a deep breath. Laura waited patiently, her thumb drawing soft circles on Carmilla’s cheek.
“I’d rather she hurt me than Will. He doesn’t deserve it…”
Carmilla stopped talking, trying to concentrate on not crying. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter and let out a little chuckle. “It’s really hard to concentrate when you're touching me like that,” She confessed softly.
Laura’s hand, which had been tracing Carmilla’s collarbone, froze. “Don’t stop. I like it.” Carmilla admitted and then blushed as she realized she had spoken aloud.
Laura’s heart was pounding in her chest. She wished she could take away all of Carmilla’s pain.
“Thank you for telling me.” She whispered, continuing her patterns on Carmilla’s skin.
They didn’t speak any more that night, but they stayed like that until the sun was long gone from the sky.

Chapter Text

Why did her plans always sound better in her head?
That’s what Laura was thinking as she looked at her group of friends surrounding her in the library. She’d only casually mentioned to Perry that she wanted to hang out with Carmilla in a normal setting and then suddenly LaFontaine was running around texting everyone and making plans and exchanging sly looks with Will Karnstein and now she found herself here, in the library, struggling to avoid making eye contact with Carmilla across the table.
“So... what are you doing here, Carmilla?” Danny asked, breaking the tension with a voice full of fake cheerfulness. “I thought you NEVER study. And you HATE people. What could possibly be the reason you’re here, playing nice with all of Laura’s friends and sneaking looks at Hollis when she’s not looking?”
“Danny!!” Perry hissed under her breath, looking horrified, but Danny was laughing.
Laura was blushing furiously and Carmilla was looking like she was struggling between running away and leaping across the table to strangle Danny. Then she looked up with a sickly sweet smile of her own.
“I don’t know Xena, why don’t you tell me the reason you’re here, sitting entirely too close to Kirsch and moving your hand closer to his when you think nobody's looking?”
Danny growled at her, grabbing her hand off the table where it had been laying right next to Kirsch’s and crossing her arms in a huff. “Whatever.” She grumbled under her breath.
“Hmm? What’s that? No witty comments now, huh Clifford?” Carmilla replied, flashing her a shit eating grin.
“Wait…” Kirsch started
*THUNK* Betty dropped her head onto the desk below them.
“Oh my god, I think my IQ is literally dropping the more time I spend with you people.”
“Oh, Spielsdorf, do not get me started on you. Don’t think I haven’t noticed when you and my brother sneak off to-”
“Carm!!!!” Laura cried from across the table. “Be nice! Please..”
Carmilla gave a long sigh, holding eye contact with Laura for a moment before blushing and dropping her gaze to the book on the table.
“Oh my god.” Will exclaimed, looking back and forth between his sister and Laura. “Kitty, you are so whipped!”
*SMACK* The textbook Carmilla had been reading connected with Will’s forehead.
“Woah, woah, hold on bro,” Kirsch said as he held Will back from leaping across the table to retaliate.
“Boys, please!!” hissed Perry. “We’re going to get kicked out!” She looked at LaFontaine. “Sweetie?” LaFontaine grinned like they had been waiting for this moment.
“I’ve got just the thing!” They exclaimed, rummaging through their bag.
“Oh hell no, not the fucking gavel again!” Betty dove over Will to grab LaFontaine’s arm before they could pull it out.
“Okay everyone I-” Laura began when a book Kirsch had just thrown, intending to hit Danny smacked her in the face.
“Oh you fucking did not!” hissed Carmilla as she lunged for Kirsch. Danny tackled her on the table to stop her and they fell off, still wrestling.
Perry looked at the group, Carmilla and Danny wrestling on the floor, LaFontaine and Betty struggling over their bag, Kirsch holding Will in some sort of headlock, and Laura just gazing at Carmilla fighting for her with a stupid smile of adoration on her face. Perry sighed as she saw the angry librarian headed their way.

“I can’t believe Dracula over there got us banned from the library.” Danny muttered as they trecked back to their dorms.
“I heard that!” Carmilla hissed from behind her, but didn’t retaliate because Laura was standing right next to her. She took a deep breath and tried to focus all her thoughts on the tiny blonde beside her to ignore the red-head. To be honest, it wasn’t that difficult. Sure, maybe before she had spoken up in Lit class she had had a tiny crush on Laura. In an admire-from-a-distance-and-never-speak-to-her kind of way. And yes, maybe she did get jealous whenever she saw Laura talking to that ridiculous orange beanstalk. And okay, maybe she had spent a lot of her class time fantasizing about crossing the room and kissing Laura until she was breathless. But she had hoped actually talking to Laura would get the crush out of her system, especially since Laura seemed to hate her and enjoy nothing more than proving her wrong. Instead, it had actually gotten worse. Carmilla had gone from thinking about Laura in class to thinking about her outside of class, and now thinking about her all the time. And that damn night that Laura was drunk. That’s what had done her in. At least sober Laura disliked Carmilla. Drunk Laura had been much, much nicer and it had almost made her heart stop.
Carmilla glanced at Laura next to her and sighed. She didn’t like having these emotions. She didn’t like feeling so… vulnerable. She hadn’t even meant to tell Laura about her mother but she had her hands in her hair and her head in her lap and Carmilla had just felt so safe. Which was another thing she wasn’t used to feeling.
“Laura is making me soft,” she thought to herself as she glanced around at a group of people she normally wouldn’t spend 3 seconds with. They actually weren’t that bad, not that Carmilla would ever admit thinking that to anyone. LaF and the other ginger clearly had something going on, even though everyone else just thought they were super close friends. Carmilla rolled her eyes. Everyone around here was so obvious.Then again, she could see the looks this group of dimwits kept giving her every time she spoke to Laura. So maybe it was better she kept her mouth shut about their obvious feelings and they’d keep quiet about hers.
Carmilla stumbled for a second as her hand brushed Laura’s hand while they walked. Laura was animatedly telling Kirsch some story and didn’t notice Carmilla’s reaction.
“What is happening to me?” Carmilla shook her head. “This girl is going to be the death of me,” She thought as Laura looked back at Carmilla and smiled, beckoning her to catch up.
“Coming, sweetheart,” Carmilla drawled. Years of practice were the only thing that helped her to sound disinterested, her voice not betraying how her fast her heart was beating. She looked at the group around her and then caught Laura’s eye again, breaking into a smile. Yeah, maybe these people weren’t so bad after all.

For the first time this year, Laura declined to walk with Danny and Kirsch to class. Really, it hadn’t been that hard to convince them to go without her. Though she hated to admit it, Laura was beginning to suspect Carmilla’s comments about Danny and Kirsch’s relationship were correct. She sighed. They were probably making out against a building somewhere by now. Which was more than she was doing. Not that there was anyone she wanted to be making out with, of course, it was just an observation and-
“Oh, great.” Laura thought. “Now I’m even rambling in my own head.” She stopped walking as she reached her lit classroom. She had decided not to walk with Danny and Kirsch so she wasn’t the third wheel, but also maybe a small part of her had done it so she could arrive late and sit by Carmilla. She waited outside the classroom for a few minutes, checking her watch over and over. She really wanted this to be convincing. And okay, maybe she was a little nervous. Whatever. Finally, she took a deep breath and entered the classroom, scanning the room immediately for the familiar black boots. She quickly spotted Carmilla and made her way over to the far corner of the classroom, dropping her stuff on the desk next to her and sliding into her seat as the bell rang, breathing hard so it seemed like she had run there. Carmilla turned to look at her and raised an eyebrow over her dark glasses.
“Glad you could make it, creampuff. Knew you would never miss a day of this thrilling class.”
“Um, yeah,” Laura gave a little breathless laugh. “I guess I’m running a little late today.”
“Mhm,” Carmilla hummed at her response, taking off her sunglasses and propping her legs up on the desk in front of her. “Standing outside of the classroom for 10 minutes will do that to ya.” She smirked as Laura blushed furiously and turned to face the front to listen to the lecture. Halfway through class, Laura slid a note onto Carmilla’s desk.
“hey, thanks for hanging out with my friends yesterday. It was really sweet of you.”
Carmilla rolled her eyes.
”It’s not a big deal, sweetheart. Don’t worry about it.”
“I know you don’t want to seem nice or anything. But I also wanted to thank you for taking care of me that night at the bar. I don’t normally drink like that, I swear, but it was a really bad day and I just didn’t want to think and I’m really sorry if-”

Carmilla grabbed the paper from Laura before she could write another paragraph of apologies.
“Are you gonna tell me why you were so upset?”
Laura hesitated, biting her lip as she looked down at the paper.
“My mom passed away a couple of years ago. Sometimes it’s just really hard. It was her birthday.”
Carmilla looked up from the paper with sadness in her eyes. Laura gave her a sad smiled and shrugged. Carmilla put her hand on Laura’s and whispered,
“I’m so sorry.”
“Miss Karnstein! Since you seem to be trying extra hard to be ignore me today, why don’t you tell me your favorite quote from last week’s reading?” The professor was glaring at her from the front of the room. Carmilla didn’t move, and she never took her eyes off of Laura.
“ ‘If you have any thought for me you will give me back my peace!’ ‘There can be no peace for us,’” Carmilla spoke slowly, her eyes swirling with emotions as she looked at Laura. “Only misery, and the greatest happiness.’” She tore her eyes away from Laura at last and looked up at the professor. “Any other questions?” She asked, her voice overly polite and innocent. The professor glared at her, looking for a weakness but Carmilla continued to sit there, smiling and daring him to try to fool her again. Finally he broke eye contact and began speaking to the class like nothing happened. Carmilla smirked and looked back at Laura. Laura was shaking her head but trying to hold back a smile.
“I just don’t know why he doesn’t like me!” She whispered with a shrug and Laura covered her mouth as she giggled quietly. Carmilla felt like someone had knocked the wind out of her. Laura’s laugh was too cute. She folded the piece of paper they had been writing on and began to draw a little sketch of LaFontaine hitting Betty with their gavel. As Laura laughed and grabbed the pen from her to add something, Carmilla just gazed at her. Yeah. This crush had definitely not gone away. She was totally screwed.

 

This time, they were all gathered in Kirsch and Will’s room in the Zeta house. Danny was already in a terrible mood because Kirsch insisted they couldn’t let a Summer Society member into the house and, after a lot of discussion, they had snuck her in through the side window, even though their room was on the third floor. This had gone about as well as one would expect it to. Perry looked nervously back and forth between the two of them, stedfastly ignoring each other.
“Well…” She cleared her throat. “I assume we all agree the library didn’t go as well as we hoped.”
“Yeah, because Summer Psycho couldn’t keep her mouth shut for 2 seconds.”
“Me??!? At least I didn’t hit her girlfriend in the face with a book!!”
“Okay!!” Perry interrupted what was sure to be another long argument between Danny and Kirsch. “Let’s just stay focused!”
“What?” Will looked up from his phone.
LaFontaine groaned.
“Is it so hard to pay attention for 3 seconds, Karnstein?” Will rolled his eyes.
“I don’t need to pay attention when I know exactly how this is going to go. Summer Psycho and Kirsch are gonna make up some excuse to argue because they don’t know how else to deal with the sexual tension, the redhead will get upset because someone “said a bad word”, Betty will complain and say she doesn’t want to be here, even though no one is forcing her to come, everyone will yell at me for not agreeing with some stupid plan, and you’ll come up with an idea that’s totally unnecessary and probably involves taking blood samples of several people without their permission.” Will leaned back against his bed with a smirk and picked up his phone again. “That sound about right to you?”
“Okay, first of all, I don’t know why everyone thinks something is going on between me and Kirsch, because I can assure you thats the last thing I-” Danny paused at the look of hurt on Kirsch’s face. “Um, I mean,”
“Whatever, dude,” Kirsch said, standing up. “I’m done with this. Bro, you wanna go get a beer?” He looked at Will. Will shrugged and stood up too.
“He cannot get a beer! Neither can you Wilson, you are underage!!” Perry shrieked from her spot on the floor. LaFontaine watched as the group began to dissolve into yelling again.
“Hey”
“Hey!!”
“HEY IDIOTS!!” Betty yelled. Everyone stopped their arguing to look at her, where she was lounging on Kirsch’s bed. “I actually have a plan.”
They all looked at her in shock.
“What? If I’m gonna waste my time with you people I might as well help hurry this along. I want Laura to be happy too, you know.” Betty shrugged. “Now, if you could all do your best to pause your arguing for a moment, I’ll explain…”
After she had finished, everyone sat in silence. Finally, LaFontaine spoke:
“Holy shit.”
“LaFontaine!” Perry exclaimed. Will laughed.
“I called it! Didn’t I call it?” Everyone ignored him.
“Betty, I hate to admit it, but this may be the greatest plan I’ve ever heard.” Danny was looking at her with equal parts admiration and shock.
“Like, bro, this will totally work!” Kirsch agreed. Everyone turned to look at Perry. They knew they couldn’t do it without her permission. Perry let out a sigh.
“Though I normally don’t support this level of sneakiness and meddling, I do agree with you all. This plan is perfect, Betty.”
“Yessss!!” LaFontaine began rummaging through their bag and pulled out their notebook. “Okay, so we’re going to need to do a few more experiments…”
“Okay, I definitely called that, didn’t I?” Will piped up from his bed again.
Betty groaned as the room began arguing again.

Chapter Text

It was a cold Wednesday in October and everyone was busy.

Carmilla and Will were out having their monthly sibling lunch, which mostly consisted of arguing over who was the better child and trying to put hot sauce in each other's food when they weren’t looking.

Betty and Laura were sprawled across the lounge in their dorm, attempting to finish a project for their psych class, while LaFontaine made unhelpful comments about how glad they were that they were done with their sophomore year already and Perry shushed them.

Kirsch and Danny were definitely not on a date. Absolutely not a date, Danny had insisted earlier as she frantically moved around her room, making Laura and Betty okay/veto her outfits. Betty and Laura had exchanged a look but said nothing.


 

“So Kitty…” Will drawled in that familiar Karnstein tone, “how’s Laura?”

“Laura who?” Carmilla responded too casually, sipping her drink and looking at her phone as she desperately tried to keep the blush off her cheeks.

“‘Laura who’?? Oh my god, you are so full of shit. Don’t tell me you’re going to try to pretend that it’s not a big deal that you’re finally talking to that girl you’ve had a crush on for months!”

“I do not,” Carmilla hissed, looking around the diner as if she was afraid Laura might be near and overhear the conversation, “have a crush on anyone. I don’t have crushes. I don’t like anyone. In fact, I hate you all.” Will lifted his glass to his mouth to hide his laugh.

“Right.. that night on the astronomy tower was totally platonic right? Very casual, very friendly. How come you don’t ever invite me to these kind of fun friendship outings??” He probably would have continued, but he was too busy choking on his drink. “What the hell?!” he spluttered and looked down to see the entire contents of the pepper shaker at the bottom of his glass. Carmilla sat innocently on the other side of the booth, smirking.

“That’s what you get for being so annoying, Dearest William,” she said, emphasizing the name their mother always called him. He growled and pushed his drink to the side of the table.

“Have you spoken to her?” His tone grew serious. “No. And I’m not going to. You know she’s out of our lives.” Carmilla felt the uneasy feeling of guilt settle in the bottom of her stomach as she lied to him. But she did what she had to do to protect him.

 


 

“Has anyone heard from Kirsch or Danny?” LaF asked from the end of the couch where they were sitting, writing down some notes for a new project.

“Honestly, I know this sounds crazy, but it really seemed like they were going out on a date.” Betty spoke up from the floor where she was avidly avoiding her math homework. Laura scoffed.

“No way. That would make Carmilla right. She can’t be right.” Laura spoke with her head down on the desk, having given up on her project. LaFontaine broke into that annoying grin they always had when Laura said Carmilla’s name.

“Oh, how funny you should bring her up. You know, you say you can’t stand her, but I heard you went to find her at the astronomy tower the other day. And you wanted to hang out with her. Sure you haven’t had a change of heart?” Their grin had grown even wider. Laura blushed and stuttered,

“What? No, I- How did you even know I went to the astronomy tower?” LaFontaine froze.

“Shit.” They thought and looked at Betty, who was looking at them with wide eyes. “Caught.”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to discover new friendships, LaFontaine,” Perry said smoothly, climbing down a step ladder where she had been dusting the tops of the cabinets. Again. Even though no one would even see the tops of the cabinets. “I think it’s great that Laura isn’t letting Carmilla’s initial rudeness get in the way of a potential friendship.” Laura nodded quickly in agreement.

“Yes, yes, exactly. Friendship. I mean, I like getting to know her. As a journalist, making connections and friendships could be an important part of my job. I don’t know why you always insist on making comments about her and I. We’re in the same lit class, it’s we’re not having sex in the library or anything like that. I mean, I don’t know why I said that. What I mean is that Carmilla is an interesting, and also beautiful, but mostly interesting, girl and I am enjoying becoming her friend. Nothing more.” Laura ended her long ramble with a gasp for breath.

“Rightttttt,” LaFontaine still had a huge smile on their face. “So, what I’m hearing is you’ve thought about having sex with her in the library?” Perry whacked them with the feather duster as Laura groaned and put her head back down on the desk.

 


 

Will was halfway through a long and overly detailed story about a girl he had hooked up at a Zeta party a few weeks ago when he froze. "Holy. Shit. Look!!” He pointed out the glass window behind Carmilla’s head. She swiveled around in the booth to see what he was looking at.

“This is it. I’ve finally gone crazy. Your antics have finally pushed me to hallucinations.” Will muttered as they both gazed out the window in shock. Outside, Kirsch and Danny were walking together.

Holding hands.

Not arguing.

And Danny was smiling.

“Oh, this is too good.” Carmilla whispered with glee. “Xena and the puppy dog are on a date! I knew it!!” Will was already pulling out his phone to take a photo. Carmilla grabbed the phone before he could.

“No way,” she said as she began typing a new message on her own phone. “They’ve got to see this in person.”

 


 

Message from The Broody One: Redhead 1, redhead 2, cupcake, other girl, get down to the diner on 3rd street right now.

Blonde From Laura’s Room: I have a name you know.

The Broody One: And I have 6 leather jackets. Why are we saying totally irrelevant facts right now?

The Nicer Karnstein: Seriously, you guys should get down here. You don’t want to miss this.

Ginger Twin: It isn’t going to be anything illegal, is it?

The Broody One: No, it’s worse. We’re bringing you down here to look at a dirty room and then not clear it. You heard me. No windex, no dustpan, nothing.

Tiny Gay: Carm, be nice. We’ll be there soon.

Redhead 1: Yeah, Carm, be nice :P :) ;)

Ginger Twin: I’m bringing my dustpan.

 


 

10 minutes later, the group had assembled 2 blocks down from the diner, watching from a distance as Danny and Kirsch walked hand in hand back towards the Summer Society house.

“I can’t believe this.” LaFontaine stood there with their jaw dropped.

“What, that they’re on a date? I called it weeks ago.” Carmilla said with a cocky smirk.

“No, I can’t believe they’re not arguing. I’ve never seen Danny go more than 10 minutes without starting a fight with him.” As Danny and Kirsch moved further down the block, the group stood from the bike rack they were crouching behind and began shuffling along the way. Carmilla turned back to give the group a glare.

“Please, continue to be extremely loud. They’ll never notice this stampede of cattle behind them.” “

"Sorry not all of us move like a freakin jungle cat...” Will mumbled from the middle of the herd.

“I don’t think it’s right to make assumptions,” Perry spoke up. “Maybe Danny and Kirsch are just hanging out.” They all watched as Kirsch whispered something in Danny’s ear and she blushed.

“This is who Danny has secretly had a crush on?” Laura looked upset. “I thought she liked that TA from our history class.”

“Don’t worry cupcake, I’m sure you still have a chance with her.” Carmilla muttered under her breath.

“Oh, god no. No, I’m just surprised she didn’t tell me! No, Danny and I would never date. She’s not really my type.” Laura reassured her, waving her hands around like that helped illustrate her point.

“And what is your type, Laura? Short, broody, and-” Carmilla cut off LaFontaine quickly.

“If you don’t shut up right now, I will shovel that goddamn gavel so far down your-”

“Okay, everyone, quiet!!” Perry whispered before things could get more out of hand. “They’re almost back!”

Will snickered as he took photos.

“Is hiding in the bushes really necessary?” Betty grumbled as she pulled a twig out of her hair. They were now ducking behind some bushes by the Summer Society house, watching as Kirsch and Danny talked quietly.

“$5 says he tries to kiss her and she slaps him,” Will whispered.

“I’ll take that bet,” LaFontaine put their money on top of Will’s.

"No way!” Betty whispered, throwing her money down on theirs. “$5 says she tries to kiss him and Kirsch does some sort of weird Zeta handshake high five instead.”

“What is he even doing?” Laura whispered as she peered out of the bushes.

“I think he’s nervous. I would be too, this is the closest they’ve ever been without Danny hitting him with something.” Will looked like he was enjoying this way too much.

“I can’t believe we’re judging them when we’re the ones hiding in the bushes watching someone else go on a date!” Betty muttered.“Actually, I can’t even believe I hang out with you people. I used to be normal you know. And popular!” Everyone ignored her.

 


 

Kirsch rubbed the back of his head nervously. “Well, uh, I had a really great time, bro. I mean, Danny.”

“Yeah, me too, Kirsch.” Danny said softly. She unconsciously rubbed her hands on the sides of her pants. “We should do it again soon.”

"Really?” Kirsch was smiling now. “Yeah, yes, i mean, definitely. That would be awesome.” They stood there for a moment in silence.

“Okay, well, uh, I better go…”

“No, wait!” Kirsch looked at her, startled. “I mean, uh… Would it be alright if I? I mean, if you don’t want to, that’s cool too, but I really-” Danny cut off his nervous rambling by wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him. When they pulled back, their foreheads still touching, Kirsch had a goofy smile on his face. “Awesome..” Danny rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, awesome,” She said sarcastically, but she was smiling too.

“Damn, Lawrence, GET A ROOM!!” Danny and Kirsch both spun to the direction of the noise. There was a rustling sound and suddenly Laura fell out of the bush onto the ground and Will, Betty, and LaFontaine came tumbling after her. Carmilla stood up behind them, smirking. Perry crawled out from behind the other bush to make sure everyone was okay.

“I am going to kill you, Karnstein.” Danny was glaring at her. Carmilla shrugged nonchalantly.

“Please, if I had to spend another second watching you two locks lips, I was going to gouge my eyes out.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have been WATCHING US FROM THE BUSHES!!” Carmilla looked down at the rest of the group. Will shrugged.

“She’s got a point there.”

Perry was frantically brushing dust off of LaFontaine.

“We’re very happy for you both!” She called as she wiped off nonexistent dust. Kirsch didn’t even look upset at the interruptions.

“Dude, all our friends are here! This is awesome too!”

“Okay, if I’m gonna be your girlfriend, no more calling me dude. Or bro. Or hottie.”

Kirsch looked at her with wide eyes. “You uh, you wanna be my girlfriend?” Danny looked down and blushed.

“Yeah. I mean, I think that would be ‘awesome’.” She shrugged. Kirsch grabbed her and kissed her again until Carmilla made a gagging noise. Laura shushed her.

“Carm, stop! I think it’s sweet.” Carmilla had draped her arms over Laura and was leaning on her. As Laura spoke, she turned her head to see Carmilla and now they were on centimeters apart.

“I, um. Whatever.” Carmilla mumbled, trying very hard not to look at Laura’s lips.

“WHIPPED!!” Danny yelled from the porch. Carmilla looked up with a murderous glint in her eyes.

“Listen up, Lawrence, don’t make me come up there and…”

Laura just smiled and shook her head as she watched Carmilla storm up to Danny and Kirsch, the rest of their group following behind. “It’s been a long time since I felt this happy,” she thought as she trailed along behind the group as they entered the house, bickering about something else. Carmilla stepped away from the group and looked back.

“You okay, cupcake?” Her eyes searched Laura’s, checking to see if something was wrong.

“Yeah, I’m awesome,” She said with a wink and she felt her heart jump at Carmilla’s laugh.

“Come on, Cream puff, we don’t want to miss the fun,” Carmilla said, holding out her hand. Laura weaved her fingers through Carmilla’s and let her lead them inside to their friends.

Chapter Text

It was one week before Halloween and Kirsch was frantically pacing around the Zeta lounge, looking more stressed than Perry on spring cleaning day. Apparently, this was the first “major” party hosted by the Zeta’s since Kirsch had become president this year and he was determined not to fuck it up. Or something. Not that Carmilla had been listening, or paying attention to anything the idiot said, since she didn’t care about him. Or anyone in the group for that matter. She was only here because she had nothing better to do. And also, maybe, because Laura was here. But mostly because she had nothing better to do.

She definitely did NOT care about this group of dimwits, she thought as she looked over the gang from her position on the couch. Her eyes softened as she gazed at Laura, who was excitedly telling Betty a story that Betty was clearly not listening to. Then she caught LaF’s eye, who was grinning at her with the world’s most annoying grin. Carmilla rolled her eyes. LaFontaine and Will were not at all subtle, but as long as the rest of the group didn’t notice and Laura stayed oblivious, Carmilla didn’t mind. Much. She gestured to LaFontaine’s hand, which was intertwined with Perry’s under a pillow between them on the couch across from Carmilla. She arched an eyebrow at the sight. LaFontaine blushed and turned away as Carmilla smirked. They all thought they could tease her, but they were just as pathetically in love as she was. She froze at her own thoughts. Not in love. Just a crush. Not in love. She chanted this to herself as she felt the familiar ache in her chest. She tuned back into the conversation below her to distract herself from her thoughts.

“Wilson, I just don’t know how safe that sounds.” Perry was frowning at Kirsch’s extravagant plans for a haunted house.

"I can totally set up some amazing explosives!!" LaFontaine said eagerly, then saw the look on Perry's face. "I mean, safe. Some very safe and reasonable explosions." Perry just sighed in defeat.

“What’s the point of dressing up?” Carmilla asked lazily. “You’re all just going to be in the most predictable costumes possible.”

“Please, enlighten us, what are we going to dress up as?” Betty challenged. Laura sighed.

“Betty, you can’t set her up like that…”

“I am SO glad you asked, Spindledwarf,” Carmilla sat up with a growing smirk.

“How many times do I have to say that’s not my-” Carmilla cut off the end of Betty’s complaint.

“You, Zeta ‘bros’” she started, pointing at Kirsch and Will, “will try to be funny and wear something together, like a horse costume, or ketchup and mustard bottles.” She didn’t wait for their vocal confirmation, simply looking at their faces and smirking before continuing. “You, Xena, will obviously be Tris from Divergent or Katniss from the Hunger Games because you looooove strong women,” Carmilla rolled her eyes as she spoke. “LaF, you’ve been a mad scientist every Halloween since you were 9, Curley Sue here will be a pilgrim or something equally as lame, Cupcake will be Buffy The Vampire Slayer, no question, and you, Spinaldraft-” Betty sighed loudly in protest of the continued butchering of her last name. “-will grab a pair of ears at the last minute and be some sort of sexy cat.”

Carmilla leaned back against the couch again with a satisfied smile. “Well?” The whole group sat silently for a second.

“Not cool, dude… Now we gotta think of new costumes.”

The rest of them went back to talking about other things, grumbling under their breaths but refusing to feed Carmilla’s ego by admitting she was right. Laura scooted along the floor until she was leaning against Carm’s leg against the couch, her eyes barely peeking over the couch seat to see Carmilla.

“Guess you know us pretty well, huh Karnstein?” Laura teased. Carmilla felt her heart rate pick up at that smile but on the outside she was the picture of aloofness.

“Well, I can’t tune you people out all the time. And I do love to crush everyone’s excitement.” She said with a shrug. Laura only shook her head and kept smiling that damn smile. Carmilla was remembering Laura’s speech about Carmilla being a softie from the night she was drunk. She looked into Laura’s eyes and could tell she was thinking about it too, watching as a blush crept up Laura’s cheeks until she broke eye contact.

"We can all come help you set up before!" Laura said, turning quickly to Kirsch, trying to cool down. Kitsch grinned, holding up his hand to Laura and they began to do some ridiculous handshake. Carmilla frowned a little. Laura seemed more stressed out lately and she wasn't sure if she should be taking on more activities. Carmilla wasn't going to tell her what to do, obviously, but she was just keeping an eye out. Danny caught her eye and raised her eyebrow slightly. Carmilla realized Danny had the same concerns as her. She nodded her head just slightly and Danny relaxed. Huh. Maybe she and Xena could reach a truce now that she knew the redhead wasn't trying to get at Laura.

"Well, I certainly won't be coming early or helping anyone set up, but I'll definitely stop by to make fun of your ridiculous costumes." Carmilla sprawled herself back along the couch.

"What?! The Queen of Laziness and Snark, refusing to help people and insulting them instead?? I'm shocked."

So much for a truce.

Carmilla only lazily raised her middle finger at Danny and didn't bother with a retort. No way in hell was she helping set up for this lame party.


 

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Carmilla muttered as she carried another huge box of spiderwebs into the Zeta house. One pout from Laura was all it took to get her here. Danny, who was walking out, made sure to hip check Carmilla on her way out, sending her tumbling into the doorframe.

“Watch it, Sasquatch!” Carmilla hissed.

“Sorry, Fangface!” Danny called back in a very innocent voice.

“Like, what does that nickname even mean?” Betty huffed as she struggled with a box full of fake body parts. Danny reached down and grabbed the box with ease.

“You know, cause she’s like a vampire. Wears all black, sleeps through the day, broods through the night-"

“I DO NOT BROOD!” Carmilla yelled from inside the house. LaFontaine, Betty, and Danny shared a look.

“Somebody hasn’t had enough blood today,” Danny whispered to the other two.

“I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!” That wiped the smirk off of Danny’s face.

 

Inside the house, Laura gently took the box from Carmilla and set it down on the already crowded table.

“You kinda are a little broody sometimes,” Laura grinned at Carmilla and Carmilla cursed herself for being so easily won over by a smile but she couldn’t help it.

“Yeah, well, some girls are into that kind of thing,” She said with a shrug.

“I like it,” Laura said, busying herself with hanging spiderwebs on every available surface. “Even if I do know you’re really a big softie,” and she actually winked at Carmilla as she skipped back outside to get another box. Carmilla stood stock still for a few seconds, willing the blush to disappear from her cheeks.

A few moments later, Perry and Laura were sorting through a box of assorted orange and black lights outside when they heard a huge crash from inside the house.

“Oh, shit, sorry bro!!” They heard Kirsch say and they rushed inside. In the hall, Will stood with one hand over his mouth to try to control his obvious laughter. Kirsch stood at the top of the stairs, looking down helplessly at Carmilla, whom he had just dropped a large box of plastic spiders on.

“Oh dear!” Perry rushed over and began picking spiders off of Carmilla’s shoulders. Danny appeared with her phone and started taking photos.

“Say one word Lawrence, just a single word, I dare you.” Carmilla growled.

“Oookay!” Laura cut off whatever Danny was about to say, clapping her hands together. “Carm and I are gonna go get ready! We’ll see you guys tonight!”

“Mhm..” LaFontaine peeked out from behind Danny. “‘Get ready’ mhm okay have funnnnn!!”

A handful of spiders hit them in the face before Laura dragged Carmilla out of the house.

 

Once they were outside, Laura seemed to crumple, sighing and leaning against Carmilla as they walked back to their dorm. Carmilla raised an eyebrow at the smaller girl.

“Everything okay, Cupcake?”

“Yeah… I’m just exhausted. All this stuff for the party, and midterms are coming up, and I’ve been helping Betty with Calculus and working on the school paper and I just-” Laura covered her face with her hands.

“Hey,” Carmilla said gently, moving Laura’s hands off her face. “You don’t have to help everyone all the time you know. It’s okay to take a break sometimes.” Laura nodded, unconvinced.

“I know i know, I just… don’t want to let anyone down. And I’m fine, really.” Carmilla gave her a look.

“We don’t have to go to the party. I certainly won’t be disappointed if we won’t go.” But Laura shook her head firmly.

“We need to support Kirsch! I promised I’d be there for him.” Carmilla frowned but let it go. For now.


 

3 hours later, the party was in full swing. The bass was turned up so loud that the room vibrated as Carmilla walked across it, holding a red plastic cup full of diet coke. She was looking for Laura, while pretending she wasn’t looking for Laura. She dodged around an already very drunk LaFontaine, who was attempting to get Perry to dance with them. She hadn’t even seen Danny or Kirsch tonight, which probably meant they were upstairs hooking up.

Carmilla shook her head and checked her phone again, but Laura hadn’t replied to her messages.

Message from A Big Softie: Cupcake, where are you?

Carmilla watched the typing bubble appear and disappear and felt uneasy.

Creampuff: 3rd floor bathroom.

Carmilla ran up the stairs, shoving a drunk couple into the wall and ignoring their shouts of protest. She sprinted to the door and then stopped, pausing to collect herself and pretending she had just casually wandered up here. The she knocked.

“Laura?” She had to raise her voice to be heard over the pulsing beat. No one replied. Carmilla frowned and leaned on the locked door handle before shoving all her weight against it, pushing the door in.

Laura was sitting on the far side of the bathroom with her knees bent in front of her and her forehead pressed against them. She didn’t even look up as Carmilla entered the room.

“Laura…” Carmilla tried to keep the concern out of her voice. “Laura, what’s going on?” Laura didn’t move, only taking a shuddering breath and ignoring her. Carmilla sat down on the floor next to Laura, hesitantly running her hands along Laura’s back. Laura shuffled and pressed herself into Carmilla’s side, wrapping her hands around her and trying to control her breathing.

“Shhhh…” Carmilla hummed quietly. “Everything’s okay. You’re okay. We’re okay.” Laura continued to cry against Carmilla for a few more moments before her breathing calmed down. She mumbled something into Carmilla’s shirt. “What?”

“I said, you don’t have to take care of me.” Laura pulled her head away from Carmilla. “I’m not like, helpless or anything. I don’t want to be weak.” She tried to pull herself farther from Carmilla but Carmilla didn’t let go.

“I’m not taking care of you, I know you can make it on your own.” She said carefully. “But we’re friends. Friends are allowed to help each other. We’re equals. I help you and you help me. That’s how relationships work. I mean, friendships.” Laura sniffed as she thought over her words.

“I just, I want to be strong for everyone else. I don’t want to be that girl who freaks out at a party because she’s too stressed and it’s too crowded and,” Laura sighed and buried her face into Carmilla’s side again.

“You are strong. You’ve been there for everyone. Like with me on the roof, remember?” Carmilla struggled to keep her voice steady. She wasn’t very good at being vulnerable. “It’s okay to let us be there for you sometimes too.” Laura didn’t speak anymore and they sat there in the bathroom, arms around each other, until Laura had calmed down. Suddenly Carmilla felt the soft touch of Laura’s lips on her cheek.

“Thanks Carm,” Laura whispered.

“Um.. No problem, sweetheart,”

Calm the fuck down Karnstein!! Be cool!!” She thought to herself. She looked at the tiny blonde next to her.

“You wanna get out of here?”

Chapter Text

Laura giggled as Carmilla led her around the back of the art building. They had snuck across the campus, the loud music from the party now just a fading memory. Carmilla smiled in triumph as she pushed open the door.

“Welcome, Cupcake,” She drawled, walking backwards as she led Laura into the building with one hand and flicked the lights on with the other, “To my home away from home!” The fluorescent lights above them flickered and then brightened. Laura blinked, adjusting to the light and looking around.

They were in Silas’s art wing, another part of the campus Laura had never been to before. The tables were stained with paint and the counters were teetering with supplies and dirty paint brushes. Laura barely noticed all that as she walked to the other side of the room where various paintings lay on their easels.

“Carm…” She said reverently, “Did you paint these??” Carmilla blushed but hummed a confirmation.

Laura lightly traced the brushstrokes on one of the paintings, a detailed image of the night sky. “They’re beautiful…”

Carmilla shrugged. “I like the stars.. It’s comforting, to think how small we are in comparison; all the lives we’ve lived… People we’ve been… Nothing to that light.”

“You’re definitely a philosophy major…” Laura mumbled but her attention was still glued to the artwork. Carmilla smiled a rare, genuine smile.

“Double major, actually. Philosophy and Art.”

Laura finally tore her eyes away from the art to stare at Carmilla. Laura looked at her like she was looking at a whole new person.

“I didn’t even know you painted! Why didn’t you tell me??”

Carmilla looked down at the floor, embarrassed.

“I’ve never actually shown anyone before. It’s a secret.” She touched her finger to her lips to emphasize her words and then looked back at Laura with a smirk. Once again, vulnerable Carmilla disappeared an instant after she arrived.

“Well…” And had it been anyone else, Carmilla would have thought Laura’s voice sounded almost… flirty. “What other secrets have you been keeping from me, Karnstein?”

Carmilla swallowed hard, her heart racing as Laura stepped closer. “I have to keep some of my secrets. Otherwise I’ll lose my air of mystery, won’t I?”

She stood, frozen as Laura closed the distance between them. Carmilla’s breath caught in her throat as Laura reached one hand up to Carmilla’s cheek… and smeared paint across Carmilla’s nose.

“Damn it! You little…” Carmilla grabbed a paintbrush off the wall and darted around a table as Laura shrieked with laughter and ran away. They chased each other around the room, flinging paint at each other until they finally collapsed in a pile on the floor, Carmilla smearing purple paint along Laura’s forehead.

“Truce! Truce!” Laura panted, still laughing as she leaned back against Carmilla. Carmilla chuckled but relented, wrapping her arms around Laura instead. They laid there like that, still breathing hard from the running.

“Thanks Carm,” Laura whispered for the second time that night.

Carmilla arched an eyebrow at her. “Thanks for what?”

“I don’t know…” Laura looked down and fiddled with Carmilla’s hand, holding it between her own. “Thanks for being here with me.”

“Nowhere I’d rather be, Sweetheart.” Carmilla said and then blushed and changed the subject. “I showed you a secret, Cupcake, now it’s your turn.”

“Hmm…” Laura made a show of thinking very hard. “Have I ever told you about my fear of bears?”

“Oh, no, Cutie, I think I would remember something like that.”

“Okay, so my dad and I are out in the woods one day…”


 

Back at the party, while Carmilla and Laura were having a paint war in the art room, a very drunk LaFontaine and even more sober Perry were on a couch in the backyard of the Zeta house, away from the horribly loud music.

“I should’ve… I should’ve brought my gavel…. I could’ve dressed up as a judge…” LaFontaine swayed a little as they spoke. Perry eased them back into the couch.

“Perhaps you’ve had a little too much to drink.”

“That’s ridiculous!” LaFontaine said and then sat back up as they saw Betty and Will coming across the yard. “BETTY!!! BETTY, DON’T YOU THINK I SHOULD’VE BROUGHT MY GAVEL??!?” Perry winced as LaFontaine shouted.

“Um, honey, maybe we should leave Betty alone right now.” Perry said, eyeing Betty. Betty’s shirt was on inside out and she was drunkenly clutching Will’s hand. Will had lipstick smeared along his neck and cheek.

“Holy shit!” LaFontaine gasped and Perry didn’t even bother correcting their language this time. “Broody Karnstein was right! You guys are hooking up!!”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, when isn’t Miss-I-Know-Everything right?” Betty’s voice slurred as she talked and she let out a giggle as she stumbled inside. Will sloppily wiped lipstick off his face with the back of his hand as he stopped in front of the couch.

“Carmilla…. She thinks she’s so great…” he mumbled. “So fucking great… She can’t even get her girl without our help….” Perry eyed Will nervously.

“William, the alcohol is affecting your head. You’re not thinking clearly.”

“I should go talk to her....” Will ignored Perry as if he hadn’t heard her. “I should go set her straight....”  

“Um, William!” Perry reached out a hand to stop Will but he dodged her grasp and started walking away, still talking to himself. “Sweetie, maybe we should stop him?” Perry turned to look helplessly at LaFontaine, who chose that moment to look down and throw up all over their shoes.


 

Halloween was over and the sun was only a few hours from rising when Carmilla carried a sleeping Laura back to her dorm. Carmilla rolled her eyes as she pulled back the welcome mat and found a spare key just lying there. Laura was very naive and provincial at times. Betty wasn’t back from wherever she had gone after the party, so the dorm room was empty as Carmilla stepped inside and eased Laura down onto the bed.

Carmilla pulled the blanket over Laura’s still form and gently brushed Laura’s hair off her cheek. She moved back from the bed to leave when Laura shot her arm out, grabbing Carmilla’s hand and mumbling,

“No leaving. Stay. I want you to stay.” Carmilla was surprised that she didn’t pass out from the way Laura’s soft sleepy voice made her feel.

“Pull it together, Karnstein!” She thought.

“I have to go back to my apartment, Cupcake. But I promise I’ll come back tomorrow, okay?” She congratulated herself on keeping her voice casual and aloof.  

Sleepy Laura frowned into her pillow.

“Promise?” Carmilla was almost certain that her insides had melted at this point. This girl was too much for her.

“I promise.” That seems to satisfy Laura and she released Carmilla’s hand, sinking further under the blanket and burrowing her head into her yellow pillow. Carmilla quickly moved away from the bed before she did something foolish like kiss Laura goodbye.

She paused at the doorway and looked back at Laura sleeping. Carmilla smiled and shook her head as she walked out and back towards her apartment. She would never ever admit it, but that group of dimwits was right about one thing. She was so whipped.


 

Carmilla tossed her keys onto the desk and shrugged off her jacket as she entered her apartment. She looked up and frowned as she realized the lights were on.

“Will?” She called out.

“Kittyyyyy!!” Will sat up from where he had thrown himself onto the couch. “Finally!!”

Carmilla shook her head fondly at her drunken brother. “Needed a place to crash, huh?” she chuckled as she walked over to sit next to him. “I hope you didn’t bring a girl with you.”

“A girl…” mumbled Will. “That’s why I’m here!!” He suddenly shouted like he had just made a huge discovery. “Because of your stupid girlfriend!”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Carmilla said, frowning at Will. “And don’t call her stupid.”

Will rolled his eyes as if Carmilla was annoying him with her confusion. “Yeah, and she’ll never be your girlfriend with the way you act. If it wasn’t for us, she’d probably still hate your guts!”

“Us?” Carmilla asked quietly, and Will continued on because he didn’t seem to notice the way Carmilla had gone totally still and the frightening look in her eyes.

“You know…” He waved his hand around in the air. “The redheads and Betty and Kirsch and me… the GCALETT… I mean. the GGCLABE… fuck, i don’t know what the hell we’re called anymore. But Betty has a really good plan to get you and the tiny blonde together.”

Carmilla was too quiet and too still now, but Will was too drunk to notice.

“My point is!!” Will raised his voice and poked Carmilla in the chest as he spoke, for emphasis. “You would just scare her away on your own. You should be thanking us, Kitty, not making fun of us all the time!!” Carmilla raised one hand and very deliberately moved Will’s hand off of her.

“William…” Now even Will noticed the coldness of her voice. “Tell me exactly what plan you’re talking about.”

Will laughed. “Oh, you don’t like that there’s something I know that you don’t huh??” Carmilla gripped his shoulder and hissed into his ear. “Tell. Me. Now.”

“Ow…” Drunk Will frowned. “You’re no fun when you’re sober, Kitty… Alright, alright, I’ll tell you... ”


 

Will woke up the next morning with a gross taste in his mouth and a pounding headache.

“Fuck…” he mumbled as he took in his surroundings. He was lying on the couch in Carmilla’s living room. He must have fallen asleep here after the party.  

“Good morning..” Carmilla drawled from the seat across from him.

“Gah!!!” Will clutched at his blanket and promptly fell off the couch. He sat up in a daze. “Jesus, Kitty, you scared me!”

Carmilla smirked at him, holding her mug in one hand and giving him an unreadable stare.

“What happened last night?” Will groaned as he laid back down on the couch. “I don’t even remember leaving the party..”

Carmilla hesitated only a second before responding. “Nothing really. I got back and you were passed out on the couch. I gave you a blanket and went to bed.”

Will sighed in relief. “So i didn’t say anything I shouldn’t have?”

“Nope.” Carmilla looked into her mug as she replied. “Didn’t say a thing.” Will dropped his head back onto the couch and Carmilla rolled her eyes.

Will never could tell when she was lying.

 

Chapter Text

Carmilla had been working her shift at the bar, minding her own business, when the big lug of the group stumbled in. She let out a groan and looked up at the ceiling.

“One night. Just one night of no one from the idiot squad bothering me. Is that too much to ask??”

Apparently it was, because Kirsch slumped down on the counter in front of her.

“Fight with Red already, huh? Let me guess: Was it because you couldn’t find a bed long enough to fit her in?” Kirsch didn’t even chuckle at her joke and she sighed. “Okay, how about this? I give you a drink, on the house, and you don’t make me suffer through the details of whatever lover’s squabble you’re having. Deal?” Kirsch finally raises his head from the bar.

“Deal, Carm-sexy.” Carmilla only rolls her eyes at the nickname and pours him his drink. They sit in amiable silence, Kirsch drinking himself into a stupor and Carmilla pouring drinks for whatever other pathetic people showed up at the tiny bar on a Monday night.

“You’re not so bad, you know.” Kirsch sits up, drunk enough to have the courage to say this to Carmilla. “You act like you hate us, but you’re a real bro. A bro for life.” He smiles a huge smile and Carmilla scoffs.

“Don’t get out the wedding rings just yet, ‘bro’. Giving you some drinks and not kicking you out because I feel bad for you doesn’t mean we’re suddenly friends.” Kirsch only laughs at this response.

“I used to be all scared of you, cause you’re like, super intimidating and hot, but I’ve seen you around Laura. You’re just a big softie!” Kirsch laughs more into his drink. Carmilla glares at him.

“Why does everyone keep saying that? I’m not a softie, I’m ruthless and cold. I am the night, fear me!” She growls at him, but this just makes Kirsch laugh harder.

“It’s okay, bro. I know you gotta act all mean. I’m just sayin, it’s okay to let your guard down sometimes.” He finishes off the rest of his drink and Carmilla scoffs again, but on her face is the slightest smile. She pours Kirsch another drink and he drinks it as she cleans up the bar, finished for the night. Kirsch is staring hard at the countertop with a sad look on his face every time Carmilla glances at him. She lets out a long, exasperated sigh.

“Alright, okay, stop looking like a kicked puppy. I’ll help you out with Big Red. But only,” and she points a threatening finger in his face, “because I want you out of my bar and all this moping is pathetic. NOT because I care about you and the giant’s relationship.”

Kirsch grins and nods his head up and down. Carmilla gives him another glare and picks up her phone as if it physically pains her to be doing this. She presses the phone to her ear and steps away from the bar. He hears Danny’s voice from the phone.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“It’s me, Xena. Please tell me your few remaining brain cells still work after 8pm.”

“Carmilla? How did you even get my number?”

“Laura gave it to me in case I ever needed a warrior princess.” Kirsch could hear Danny’s frustrated sigh.

“Look, Carmilla, whatever you need, I’m really not up for it tonight, so could you just-” Carmilla cut her off, as usual.

“Kirsch is here.”

“What??” Carmilla looked over at Kirsch and then walked further away until Kirsch could no longer hear the conversation. He tries to read Carmilla’s lips but mostly all he sees is Carmilla rolling her eyes so many times he’s surprised they don’t fall out of her head. Finally, she hangs up the phone and tosses it back on the counter, leaning against the bar and surveying Kirsch.

“Well, she’ll be here in 10 minutes so you might want to make it look like you weren’t crying your eyes out over her for the last 4 hours.”

“I wasn’t-” Carmilla gives him a pointed look and he stumbles his way to the bathroom to clean up.

When he returns, Danny is there, and he quickly goes back to the bar before she and Carmilla can get into some sort of fight.

“Hey,” he says hoarsely.

“Hey.” She replies quietly, but she holds out her hand for him to grab and he takes it gently. He looks at her, confused. She had been so angry with him only hours before.

“Fangface here may have convinced me that I shouldn’t be so mad. And that I should talk to you instead of shutting you out.” He looks at Carmilla now, wide eyed, and she shrugs.

“I was running out of alcohol to give you. I had no choice.” Kirsch smiles because he knows that she has to act aloof but this is her way of showing she cares. He knows she won’t like it but Kirsch leans over the bar anyway, and she lets him hug her for 2 seconds before she shoves him off of her.

“Ugh. Frat boys...” She mumbles but she has another hint of smile on her face. Then she turns and looks at Danny. “He’s not going to leave, you know. You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

Kirsch has no idea what Carmilla is talking about, but Danny suddenly looks like she’s going to cry. She lets out a shaky breath.

“I hate you.” Danny says softly, but obviously she doesn’t mean it because she gives Carmilla a small smile.

“I hate you too. Now get out of here, I have to clear your boyfriend’s tears off the counter.” And aloof Carmilla is back again, shoving Danny and Kirsch towards the door and brusquely wiping at the already clean counter.

“And don’t think this means you can come to me whenever you two have trouble!!” Carmilla calls as Danny pulls him out of the doorway. “I don’t need to hear about Clifford in bed!”

“Thanks bro!!!” Kirsch yells back and he’s stumbling out the door and Danny is laughing and still holding his hand and she pulls him in for a light kiss before they get into her car. In the bar, Carmilla flips off the lights and locks the door as she leaves. Her phone rings just as she steps outside.

“Hello? Oh, hey, Cupcake…” and because no one is around, Carmilla lets herself smile as she talks to Laura the whole way home.

 



The next day the GCALTETTBSAA was sneaking into the library. Or, at least, they were trying to. Technically, none of the 6 friends were allowed back in the library after the last incident but after a good deal of arguing (and protests from Perry), they agreed that the library was the best place for them to meet and not be seen by Carmilla or Laura.

“So, anyway,” LaFontaine continued as they moved along the back wall towards their usual table, “Laura said that she hasn’t seen Carmilla since Halloween. They’ve talk but she won’t hang out with her and Laura doesn’t know why Carmilla is avoiding her.”

“Maybe she’s just busy,” Betty suggested. “Maybe she just has better things to do than sneak around libraries and argue. I know I do.”

“Shhhh,” Perry shushed her, looking around anxiously. “Kirsch, do you see anything?”

“Nope, we’re all clear!” Kirsch said helpfully from the back.

Danny rolled her eyes at the whole group. “Why is everyone so nervous? The librarian is up front and it’s not like Laura or Carmilla knows what we’re-” She was interrupted mid sentence by a loud shriek from Perry. She halted in place and the rest of the group ran into her back as she froze.

“Ow! What the hell?” cried Will, from the ground where he’d fallen. LaFontaine peered around the frozen Perry to look at their intended meeting place.

Carmilla was leaning back in one of the chairs, her black combat boots propped up on the table, lazily flipping through a notebook.

“We are so screwed,” whimpered Kirsch as everyone moved to stand behind Danny, the only person who refused to show she was intimidated by Carmilla.

“Oh, hey everyone,” Carmilla said dryly, tossing the notebook onto the table and standing up. “It’s so weird, running into you guys here. What are you up to?”

“Um… Perry stammered. “Just, getting a head start on homework! You can never be too prepared, you know.”

“Oh, really?” Carmilla leaned against the table, the picture of casual. “What subject?”

“Biology!” LaFontaine exclaimed, at the same time as Danny growled

“History!” and Perry squeaked

“English!” Betty smacked herself in the forehead.

Carmilla let out a chuckle. She looked down at her nails, as if she had grown bored with the conversation. When she looked up, she had a devilish look in her eyes. Will had seen that only a few times before. She looked like a cat, toying with its prey. Biding her time before she struck.

“So, just so we’re all on the same page,” Carmilla drawled as she leaned over the table, grabbing the notebook that they could now all see was Perry’s planning notebook. Perry let out another squeak. “You are not all part of an elaborate plot to set me up with Laura, you aren’t sneaking into this library to work on your scheme, and none of you have ever heard of the “GCALTETTBSAA” before, correct?” She looked up from the notebook, fixing the whole group with a frightening stare.

“I said that was a stupid name,” Betty mumbled under her breath.

“Um…” Danny was the only one brave enough to answer Carmilla directly. “No?”

“Oh, great!” Carmilla purred, dropping the notebook to the floor with a smack. “Because if you did...” She began to stalk across the floor to the group, who all stepped backwards until their backs were against the wall. “And you were here to work on some harebrained scheme to meddle with my life,” she had just the lightest smirk on her face as she spoke. “And you all had been planning behind my back and I found out about it, I think I would have to make your lives” She paused her speech as took the final steps forward until she was just inches from everyone’s faces.

“Very,

very,

difficult.”

Her words came out at barely more than a whisper and had it been anyone else, it wouldn’t have even been intimidating, but coming from Carmilla, it was terrifying. She stared at them all until they each broke eye contact, none of them able to hold up under her harsh glare. Then, suddenly, she leaned back, breaking the tension.

“Well,” Carmilla said with a small and very fake laugh, “I trust we won’t have to discuss it again then. Good luck with your studying guys!” She darted a step closer again and laughed as Danny flinched. Then she turned around a bookcase and disappeared into the dark library shelves.

They all stood still, staring at each other with wide eyes.

“Oh, and William?” Carmilla’s voice floated out from the shadows.

“Yes?!” Will’s voice was 2 octaves higher than it usually was.

“You talk too much when you’re drunk. You should work on that.”

They all stood, frozen, until they heard the grunt of goodbye from the librarian and the sound of Carmilla’s boots against the pavement outside.

Perry ran her hands down her sides, trying to compose herself. She opened her mouth to speak and promptly passed out.

Chapter Text

Things had changed since Halloween. After being so vulnerable with Laura, Carmilla had panicked a little and tried to withdraw herself. Her mother had been in town anyway, so she had to skip class. However, as usual, she didn’t have much willpower when it came to Laura and within a few days, she was back at the girl’s dorm.

Laura was in a panic over midterms, which meant, of course, Carmilla needed to be there to help her study. That’s all. That’s the only reason. And, apparently, being closer friends with Laura also meant she was a lot closer physically too. Carmilla wasn’t sure when it started, but suddenly Laura was sitting closer to her, and finding reasons to grab her hand, or laying against her in her bed while they studied. Well, while Laura studied and Carmilla watched Laura and tried to slow her racing heart.

It had all been going fine, until one day while they were taking a break. Carmilla had settled on Laura’s bed, waiting for Laura to join her with her laptop. She laid there with one hand beneath her head, staring at Laura with an adoring expression. Laura didn’t notice, as usual, and flopped onto the bed besides Carmilla, pressing into her side. Carmilla was unable to contain her gasp and wince of pain.

Laura twisted, lifting herself off of Carmilla immediately and sitting up.

“Carm? What happened?” She looked at Carmilla in concern.

Carmilla hesitated for the slightest second. Normally, she would just go with her standard lie, but she was trying really hard not to lie to Laura and she didn’t want to start now.

“Just sore, Cupcake. Don’t worry about it.” She waved her hand in the air and gestured to the laptop. “You gonna start that or not?”

Laura was still staring at her with such a loving look of concern that Carmilla felt she might melt right there. She was torn between wanting to kiss that look off of Laura’s face and her need to keep herself guarded and not vulnerable.

“Carm…”

Carmilla turned away from that look that was breaking down all her walls.

“Don’t.” She said flatly and then her defensive hate came out before she could stop herself. “You’re a child. You can’t understand.”

“Please, Carm. Let me help. I don’t want you to get hurt.” Laura reached out a hand to Carmilla’s shoulder and Carmilla flinched away from her touch, pushing herself off the bed.

“You can’t. I can’t…” Carmilla stood beside the bed now, her eyes squeezed shut and her hands in fists by her sides. “I can’t do this. Leave me alone.” She moved towards the door. She couldn’t do this, couldn’t deal with this. It would just scare Laura away.

“Carm, wait!” Laura pleaded, following her off the bed but wrapping her arms around herself as if she was holding herself back from reaching out for Carmilla again. Carmilla spun around, her hands shaking.

“What, Laura, what? You can’t just fix things, okay?”

“Stay. I’ll help you.” Laura said quietly, her eyes pleading with Carmilla.

“What?!” Carmilla hissed. “I’m not some project you can fix, Laura. I’m not some “bad” girl that you can just make better. I’m a mess. I’ll ruin you.” Laura shook her head.

“That’s not true, Carm. Why would you think that? Did your mother tell you that?” Carmilla barked out a harsh laugh.

“My mother doesn’t need to tell me what I already know. Look at me, Laura-” Carmilla pulled her tank top over her head, throwing it to the floor. Laura gasped at the bruises splayed across Carmilla’s ribs and stomach. “-This is who am I. This is what happens to people like me. People who deserve it.”

“That’s not true. You know that’s not true.” Laura whispered, never breaking eye contact with Carmilla as she stepped closer. “I know you’re scared, Carmilla. But don’t leave, please. Stay with me. Please.”

Carmilla’s heart was beating so loud she could barely think. Leaving was what she was good at. Pushing people away was what she was good at. Why wouldn’t Laura let her leave like everyone else? Her whole body was shaking now. She stood there, frozen, unable to look away from Laura.

Laura closed the distance between them, leaning down to pick up Carmilla’s shirt. She stood up, holding out her other hand hesitantly, and when Carmilla didn’t move away, she placed her fingers along the edge of Carmilla’s ribs, tracing the outline of the bruise. Laura’s moved her fingers along Carmilla’s stomach, along the scar Carmilla got when she was 15 because her mother threw her into a counter, along the deeply purple bruise just above her waist.

Carmilla’s heart was still pounding. Her head was swirling with emotions. With fear and anxiety and… desire. She finally exhaled, slowly.

Laura looked up at her again and handed Carmilla her tank top with a small smile.

“Stay with me.”

Carmilla shut her eyes again, then opened them and slid her shirt back on. She stayed silent as Laura led her back to her bed. Once Laura laid down next to her, she rolled to the side, curling up her body and pulling Laura close to her. She was still shaking. Laura rubbed her back softly, her arms around Carmilla. Carmilla fell asleep to the sound of Laura whispering in her ear: “I’m here, I’m here, it’s going to be okay…”


 

Idiot Squad Group Message

Mad Scientist at 10:16am: Hey guys, check out my new background!

Carmilla opened the attachment to see a photo of her wrapped in Laura’s arms, both of them asleep.

Short, Dark, and Broody: I’m going to kill you, Spatzledorm.

The Annoying Blonde: It’s my room too, you know. Next time take your escapades somewhere else if you don’t want to get caught.

Xena’s Puppy: Carmsexy’s got game!! High five, bro!!!

Easy Bake: Wilson, it’s not right to make assumptions.

William Dearest: Finally, maybe she’ll be nicer now that she’s not sexually frustrated.

Mini Lois Lane: Sorry to disappoint guys, but Carmilla just fell asleep here last night! Though I must admit, she’s an exceptionally good cuddler :)!

Carmilla rolled over to see Laura looking at her phone and laughing. She narrowed her eyes.

“Why are you encouraging them???”

Laura looked up at her and let out an honest to god smirk. Carmilla had never wanted to kiss someone so badly in her entire life.

“They’re always making fun of us when we hang out anyway. Might as well have some fun.” Laura said with a little shrug. Carmilla groaned and rolled over, burying her face in Laura’s yellow pillow as her phone buzzed again.

The Red Bean Stalk: I’m surprised she’s asleep in that pic. I thought vampires were nocturnal??

Mad Scientist: Just cuddling, huh? I hope you used protection

Short, Dark, and Broody: I hope you’re all enjoying this morning, because when I find you you’re not going to live to see another day.

The Annoying Blonde: You’d have to get out of Laura’s bed to come kill us, so I think we’re safe.

Easy Bake: She has a point there, Carmilla.

Short, Dark, and Broody: Screw you all.

Mad Scientist: I think we all know there's only one person here you want to screw

Xena's Puppy: Oooh, good one!!! High five, Bro!!! 

Carmilla growled and threw her phone down on the bed. 

"I hate your friends." 

Laura laughed and leaned down to give Carmilla a kiss on her cheek. 

"You're cute when you're grumpy." She whispered with a smile and then jumped off the bed to go shower.

Carmilla blushed and grinned, her face still hidden in the pillow. She pulled herself further under the covers of Laura's bed and let out a content sigh.

Short, Dark And Broody: Whatever. I guess you guys aren't all that bad...

 

Chapter Text

Once Laura started investigating, she didn’t give up until she’d solved it.

She had first noticed her friends’ odd behavior when they all made the same excuses for not being able to hang out. Then she’d gone to the diner where they said they’d be, and nothing.

They were lying to her. And not just Will and Betty and Kirsch, who she wasn’t that close with. Danny and LaF and Perry were keeping it from her too and it was killing Laura to not know what was going on. She trailed them twice, using her sluth skills she’d learned from many hours of Veronica Mars, but they had all met in the Zeta house and they wouldn’t let her in there, no matter how much she begged the tall boy at the door.

Finally, she followed them into the library. She heard her friends whispering (they were terrible at being sly) and she heard them whisper her name and Carmilla’s, but just when Laura had been ready to make a dash for the next shelf to try to hear them, Perry let out a shriek. Laura knocked over 3 books when she jumped in surprise, earning a glare from the librarian. She peered between the shelves to see what was going on.

“Is that… Carmilla???” Laura whispered to herself. She could only see Carmilla or the group, not both at the same time and so she moved so she could see the rest of her friends.

“Oh my god. I’ve never even seen Danny looked scared.”

At first, Laura had thought it was Carmilla playing some sort of trick on her friends, but the look on all her friends’ faces was inexplicably… guilty? Like they’d been caught stealing from Laura’s cookie stash. It looked like Carmilla was threatening them about something? Laura was very confused. Then, evidently Carmilla was done with her speech and she moved into the library shelves and Laura ducked back down to avoid being seen.

“You talk too much when you’re drunk. You should work on that.” Laura heard Carmilla say, before she watched the black combat boots stalk past her and leave the library. Laura immediately stood up to see if the group would discuss what just happened, but then she saw Perry passed out and the librarian headed towards her unsuspecting friends and she sighed. This was going to take more investigating.


 

She started with Kirsch and Will. Laura figured the Zeta boys would probably be easiest to bribe into telling her what was going on. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t crack.

“Sorry little hottie, I mean, Laura, but Danny would kill me if I told you. Like, we all swore to keep it a secret.”

Will shook his head. “No way. I’m already in trouble for telling-” Kirsch elbowed him in the side. “Um, I just can’t tell you. Sorry.”

 

That night, when Betty returned to the dorm slightly intoxicated, Laura was waiting for her.

“Hey, Betty!! I’m so glad you’re here! I got this really great bottle of wine and I couldn’t possibly drink it all myself and-” Well, Betty hadn’t taken much convincing to get drunk. Getting her to tell Laura the secret, however, was not happening.

“I told you,” Betty slurred with another giggle, waving her wine glass around in the air, “LaFontaine has got this goddamn gavel, and then Will came up with the stupidest name, and I had the greatest idea even though none of them can pull it off… I mean have you seen Kirsch and Danny together? They’re so tall, they’ll never be sneaky enough….”

“Betty, you’re not making any sense!!” Laura whined, but Betty didn’t really seem to care. She kept mumbling about a gavel until she fell asleep. Laura grumbled, picking up the wine glasses and choosing her next target.

 

They were on their 3rd slice of pie when Laura brought it up.

“So, Danny… I was in the library the other day…” and there’s that look again, like she’s just caught her doing something she shouldn’t and Danny swallows and mumbles something about a prank and Laura is desperate so she goes for it.  

“Is is… is it that you guys don’t want to hang out with me? I mean, if it is, I get it, I mean I know I talk a lot and maybe you guys just think I’m really annoying and-”

“No, no, no Laura that’s not it at all, no,” And Laura can see she’s almost got her, that Danny is gonna break but Danny’s eyes flick up to meet her’s for a second and suddenly Danny pulls back.

“Damn, Hollis you almost got me there… That’s low, real low.” And Laura tries to pretend she doesn’t know what Danny means but that look on her face when she’s finally getting the scoop is obvious to anyone who knows her and Danny won’t say another word on the topic.

 

Laura tries to confront LaF and Perry multiple times, but Danny must have warned them because they always have a convenient excuse for why they can’t talk to Laura until there’s other people around. And so, really, there’s no other way to get them to talk to her about it, which is how Laura justifies stealing a key from the janitor and hiding in LaFontaine and Perry’s room.

She hears the keys in the lock and LaF is discussing something in hushed tones with Danny and Perry and they’re stumbling through the doorway and turning on the light and then Perry shrieks, loudly, at the sight of Laura waiting for them on the couch.

“Not again..” LaFontaine mutters.

“Ha!! Not again! As in, when Carmilla surprised you in the library!! Why???”

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t her best interrogation but Laura needed answers!

“Nuh uh. You’re not getting anything from me, Frosh.” LaFontaine shook their head and dropped themselves onto the couch. “Just give up already.”

“I wasn’t talking to you, LaFontaine.” Laura said sweetly and LaFontaine’s head shot up, making eye contact with Danny.

“Our weak link!” Danny mouths, frantic.

“Per!!” LaFontaine called out, too casual.

Perry was still standing in the doorway, watching Laura.

“Perry, you know I trust you completely right? And I know you would never lie to me, because you care about me as a person, and you wouldn’t keep something from me right, because that’s basically the same as lying…” Laura gave her best pout as she spoke to Perry, whose eyes were darting nervously between Laura and the notebook lying on their kitchen table.  

“Perry, you can’t.” Danny warned from behind Laura.

“Per, Carmilla will kill me!!” LaFontaine added.

“I…” Perry wrung her hands nervously.

Minutes later, Laura came skipping out of the dorm room, Perry’s notebook in one hand, and that triumphant glint in her eyes.


 

Carmilla Karnstein was very careful with her life. In fact, Carmilla put an extraordinary amount of effort into making it appear like she never put effort into anything. No one ever caught her off guard or surprised her, until Laura Hollis came along. Now, Carmilla found herself scrambling to seem disinterested and unflustered. She kept her head buried in her book and pretended she couldn’t hear Laura.

“Carm?”

“Hmm?”

“I said, have you noticed our friends all hanging out without us?”

“Don’t know who you’re referring to, Cupcake. You can’t possibly be calling the ginger squad and their lackeys my ‘friends’.”

Carmilla kept her head down and tried to keep her voice casual. She actually wanted to laugh a little at the ridiculousness of this. She had seen the glint in Laura’s eye when she came in the room and she had put all the pieces together when she saw that stupid notebook that belonged to the ginger on Laura’s desk. Laura knew. Laura knew. Part of her had wanted to run as soon as she realized what Laura was asking her about, but she was tired of that. That group of dimwits had a point. She couldn’t just hopelessly pine over Laura forever.

“Carmilla.” Laura sighed, exasperated. Carmilla risked a glance up from her book.

“Yes, I do think they all hang out sometimes. Not really my concern what those lackwits do in their free time, though.” She put her head back down.

"Well, I noticed that too and I decided to investigate."

"Laura Hollis?? Investigate something?! Shocking." Carmilla mumbled under her breath.

Laura gave her another glare from her desk.

"Anyway! I tried to follow them a few times but they always met in Kirsch’s room and I couldn't get it." Laura briefly pouted at the memory of being kicked out of the Zeta house and then continued: "But then, I finally followed them to the library but then you were there and I couldn't hear and they left after you talked to them and so I need you to tell me-" Laura's investigative ramble was cut short as Carmilla shut her book with a loud thump.

"I totally just remembered, I have a class to get to right now!" Carmilla's voice was much shriller than it usually was. She couldn’t do it, she could not do it. Yes, she was weak, she was a coward, whatever. She had to get out of here.

Laura's eyes narrowed as Carmilla stood up.

"So, you do know what's going on!!” She accused. “Carm!! Tell me!!" Laura dashed in front of her dorm door so Carmilla couldn't escape. Carmilla was truly totally screwed. Her eyes darted between Laura and the door. She moved to make a run for it when-

Laura tackled Carmilla onto the bed, pinning her beneath her on the bed.

“Carmilla Karnstein,” Laura demanded, her face just inches from Carmilla’s wide eyes and heaving chest, “Why are our friends meeting up without us??!?” Carmilla couldn’t look her in the eye.

“I think you already know, Sweetheart. You read the gingers’ notebook.”

“I read it, but I don’t really understand it. It was full of acronyms that made no sense and long transcriptions of arguments and-”

Carmilla couldn’t take it anymore.

“They think I have a crush on you and they’ve been meeting to plan a way to get us together!!” She exclaimed and pulled her hands from under Laura and flung them over her face to hide her blush. “Could you just stake me now? ‘Cause I think that would be less mortifying than this conversation.”

Laura leaned back, still straddling Carmilla.

“Do you?”

“What?” Carmilla mumbled from beneath her arm shield.

“Do you have a crush on me?”

Carmilla’s heart was beating too fast and she was blushing too much and she had lost her nonchalant facade so long ago with Laura and so she just sighed.

“Of course I do, Laura. Your friends may be crazy and terrible at being sly or subtle and possibly the worst matchmakers I’ve ever heard of, but they’re right about one thing.” Carmilla flung her arms into the air now, like Laura did when she was rambling, and was staring at the ceiling as if hoping lightning would strike her down. “I have a crush on you, Laura Hollis, I like you, I adore you, you make my heart race and my knees weak, you make me feel like every cliche in every romantic novel I’ve ever read, you-” Carmilla stopped in the middle of her speech, her breath hitching as Laura threaded her hand into Carmilla’s hair and lowered herself, bringing her lips to meet Carmilla’s.

When Laura pulled back, just slightly, so that their forehead’s were still touching and her breath was still ghosting over Carmilla’s lips, she broke into a huge smile.

“Finally,” Laura whispered and normally Carmilla would have a witty retort or a sarcastic reply or something but she couldn’t even speak because all she was thinking was “Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura...”

Chapter Text

“Those idiots are going to be so smug…” had been Carmilla’s first comment after she recovered from her admission and Laura’s kiss. Laura giggled.

“Really? That’s what you’re thinking about after our first kiss?” She had said with a teasing grin.

“Have I not confessed enough feelings for one day??” Carmilla mumbled and pressed herself closer against Laura as they cuddled in her bed. Laura kissed her forehead.

“Hmm… I don’t know.. Maybe I need to hear one more time how the great Carmilla Karnstein, who doesn’t like anyone, has a huuuuuuuge crush on meeeeee.”

“Stoppppppp,” Carmilla groaned and rotated more, hiding her face against Laura’s neck. Laura giggled softly and ran her fingers through Carmilla’s hair. Laura was impressed with herself for seeming so calm, when inside she was screaming “I kissed Carmilla Karnstein!! Carmilla likes me!! Me!!!!”

“Well,” Laura began, “They are going to be pretty smug. LaF has been teasing me for weeks about how obvious it is that I like you.  They’re going to be even worse when they get confirmation that they’re right.”

“Are you sure?” Came Carmilla’s muffled replied.

“Am I sure what?”

“Are you sure you like me?”

Laura shifted so that their foreheads were touching.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure, since every time you’re around I have trouble stopping myself from rambling because I can’t stop thinking about how pretty your hair is or the way your voice sounds when you’re sleepy or how really you shouldn’t be so far away, you should be as close as possible to me at all times and-” This time it was Carmilla who cut off Laura’s speech with a kiss, another soft and gentle and ridiculously perfect kiss. When Carmilla finally pulled back, Laura was silent.

“Speechless, huh? Damn, Hollis, you’ve got it bad!” Carmilla smirked at her and Laura just blushed more before pulling Carmilla into another kiss.


 

“Hmm… Cupcake, we need to go…” Carmilla mumbled against Laura’s lips. Currently, Laura had Carmilla pushed against her dorm room door and Carmilla could faintly remember that they had somewhere they needed to be and things they needed to do, but she was quickly forgetting all that as Laura’s hands pressed against her hips and she pinned Carmilla against the door. Laura pulled back slightly from Carmilla and gave her a little pout.

“Wouldn’t you rather stay here by ourselves?” Carmilla twisted suddenly, flipping their positions so that Laura was against the door and trailed her lips down Laura’s neck, earning a little gasp of pleasure from Laura.

“You’re… so fucking cute.” Carmilla breathed against Laura’s neck, sounding almost angry.

“And that’s… that’s a bad thing?” Laura tried to ask in a teasing voice, but frankly was having trouble concentrating on forming words as Carmilla’s hands ghosted along the edges of her shirt.

“It’s just... ridiculous,” Carmilla growled as her lips moved across Laura’s collarbone. “You’re. Just. So. Fucking. Cute.” She punctuated each word with an accompanying kiss right on the spot on Laura’s neck that she now knew drove her crazy.

“Fuck! Carm!” Laura gasped, while still managing to blush at Carmilla’s words. Carmilla paused to look at Laura with a smirk.

“You’re hot when you swear, Cupcake. You should do it more often.” Laura shifted and pressed her lips against Carmilla’s to wipe the smug look off of her face. She bit Carmilla’s lower lip and Carmilla whimpered against her lips as Laura deepened the kiss.

Then Laura moved again, away from Carmilla and darted to the desk to grab her bag.

“You’re right! We are late!” She chirped, moving past a stunned Carmilla who was still breathing hard. Laura giggled at the look of confusion and desire on Carmilla’s face. She pulled Carmilla closer for one more kiss and then grabbed her hand, tugging her down the hallway.

Carmilla sighed contentedly and let herself be pulled along. She needed a few minutes to get the stupid smile of adoration off her face, anyway.


 

They were all meeting at their usual spot at the coffee shop to discuss Thanksgiving plans. Everyone, even Laura, had decided to stay at Silas for the Thanksgiving break.

“So, we’ll need to make enough for 8 people, correct?” Perry asked, scribbling down all their names on the paper.

“Actually, I was thinking about bringing J.P., that guy I work with in the lab? I don’t think he has anywhere else to go. Would that be okay?” LaFontaine asked and looked around the table.

“Of course,” Danny reassured LaFontaine.

“Carm, you should bring Elsie!” Laura said cheerfully from across from Carmilla, who was currently reading a book and not paying attention to the discussion, as usual.

7 pairs of eyes turned to stare at her.

“Who??” Will asked.

“That girl Carm’s been dating?” Laura said innocently. “Oh.. I’m realizing now that you all didn’t know and that I shouldn’t have said anything and… sorry?” She looked apologetically at Carmilla, who was glaring at her.

“Who the fuck is Elsie?!” Betty squawked from the other side of Will. Carmilla gave a resigned sigh and set down her book.

“Just some girl I’ve gone on a few dates with. It’s not a big deal. I certainly won’t be bringing her to this… Thanksgiving dinner.”

“You’re… dating someone??” LaFontaine exclaimed, “Someone who isn’t Laura??” Carmilla rolled her eyes.

“Yes. Aren’t you supposed to be the smart one?”

LaFontaine looked at Laura helplessly. “And you’re okay with this?”

Laura shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I be? She’s actually pretty nice.” Carmilla looked around at the shocked table.

“What can I say? You guys made me realize it was time to move on.” Then Carmilla stood up abruptly and left the table.

“Um,” Laura stood up too. “I’m gonna.. I better just go check on her.”

“Oh dear.” Perry said, her brow furrowed. “This isn’t what was supposed to happen at all.”

“Nice plan, Betty.” Will said under his breath.

“Me?!” Betty said indignantly. “I don’t see how it’s my fault that Miss. Broody went and found some other girl!!”

“Well, maybe if someone hadn’t-” Danny began and then the group broke into another one of their loud arguments.

 

Meanwhile, outside, Laura and Carmilla were watching through a window as their friends descended into chaos. Carmilla chuckled at the scene.

“That’s what they get for meddling in our lives.” She said with a snicker.

Laura intertwined her hand with Carmilla’s and Carmilla looked down and blushed.

“We’ll tell them eventually.” Laura said firmly. “After they’ve learned their lesson. And… maybe we should go back inside now, before they get kicked out. Again.”

Carmilla turned and Laura felt herself melt at the intense look Carmilla gave her.

“Maybe I don’t feel like sharing you right now.” Carmilla said quietly and it was a good thing she was holding Carmilla’s hand because Laura felt like she might pass out.

“Or… we can go back to my room and cuddle and watch Doctor Who!” She suggested quickly, already blushing.

Carmilla raised one eyebrow.

“Are you sure that’s all we’ll be doing, Cupcake?” She asked, smirking at Laura’s flustered-ness.

“I, um…” Laura was suddenly having trouble thinking clearly.

Needless to say, Carmilla and Laura spent the rest of the afternoon in Laura’s dorm room, just watching Doctor Who and absolutely not doing anything else at all.


 

Wilson Kirsch was used to chaos. He had 2 older brothers and 2 younger brothers, so his childhood had been very hectic. However, he had never seen anything quite like this.

Somehow, probably through some sort of black magic, or maybe blackmail, Carmilla had “volunteered” her apartment for their Thanksgiving festivities.

Kirsch, Danny, and Will were on the couch, watching American football and placing bets on which teams would win. Perry was running around the kitchen with a checklist, yelling instructions at no one. Kirsch was fairly certain LaFontaine had just blown something up, judging by the amount of smoke and the splatters of stuffing that were covering a very angry looking Betty. Laura was sitting at the table with an annoyed Carmilla, who appeared to be seconds from attacking Perry.

Kirsch wasn’t really sure what was happening between Carmilla and Laura, because they kept saying they didn’t like each other, but Carmilla still looked at Laura like she put the stars in the sky and Laura still blushed every time Carmilla looked at her so. Kirsch sighed. He just hoped they would figure it out soon so they could be happy too.

“Well,” LaFontaine said, looking a little guilty, “no one really likes stuffing anyway, right?” They glanced nervously at Perry.

“I figured this would happen and I bought extra supplies!” Perry trilled as she rummaged through one of many grocery bags.

“What about me?!” shrieked Betty. She was truly covered in stuffing.

“What about my kitchen?” Carmilla interjected, looking pointedly at the stuffing dripping off the walls.

“Because you use your kitchen soooo much,” scoffed Laura. “I’m not even sure your oven’s been used before today.” Carmilla gave her a look.

“Hey, Cutie, I’m supposed to be the snarky sarcastic one, alright?”

“Then what does that make me?” Laura mumbled in her ear and Carmilla sat very still because clearly Laura had no affect on her and her voice didn’t make hermelt inside and she wasn’t struggling to stop herself from kissing Laura senseless. Clearly.

“The cute one, obviously.” Carmilla huffed under her breath.

Another loud bang came from the oven and everyone jumped and looked at LaFontaine.

“Everything alright in there?” Danny asked.

“No!!!” yelled Betty at the same time as LaFontaine yelled

“Yes!!!!”

Carmilla let out a long and exasperated sigh.

“You know, you could help us out instead of just sitting there and brooding…” Perry suggested, but quickly began backtracking when she saw the look on Carmilla’s face. “Or, I mean, just sit there, because you are already so generous for letting us use your apartment and we really appreciate you and um… right! Yes! Okay!” She busied herself sorting through multiple cans of pumpkin pie mix.

“Kitty, get in here and watch my team crush Kirsch’s team!!” Will called from the living room.

“Yeah, come on, Kitty!” Danny yelled.

“Don’t call me that, carrot stick.” Carmilla snapped, but she stood up and moved to join her brother on the couch.

“Do you think mom’s mad because we’re not spending Thanksgiving with her?” Will murmured to Carmilla as Kirsch and Danny got into a fight over the remote.

“Does it matter if she is?” Carmilla spat angrily. Then she saw the forlorn look on Will’s face and softened a little. “She probably doesn’t even realize Thanksgiving is today. And besides, wouldn’t you rather be here than at some stuffy formal dinner with her?”

Will leaned against Carmilla’s shoulder.

“Wow, don’t tell me you’re actually happy to be here with us!” Carmilla rolled her eyes at her brother.

“My point is, don’t worry about her. She’s not worth it.”

Will bit his lip. “You’re right. She’s out of our lives.” They both paused for a minute, somber, until Will broke into a devious grin. “So tell me, Kitty, are you really dating some other girl? I don’t believe it but you’ve got the ginger squad all worked up.”

Carmilla gave him her trademark smirk. “Sorry William, you’re not getting any information out of me.”

“Come on, I bet LaF $20 that you’d kiss Laura before Thanksgiving and I need to know if I’ve won!!”

Carmilla opened her mouth to reply and a loud BANG came from the kitchen.

“Um, Carm? Could you come here for just one second?” Laura called.

“Sorry Will, duty calls!” Carmilla said as she stood up.

“*cough* whipped!! *cough*”

Carmilla flipped him off without looking as she made her way to the kitchen.


 

20 minutes later, all eight of them stood outside, coughing and waving away smoke.  

“Okay, so maybe it wasn’t my best idea…” LaFontaine began.

“I’m not even surprised, to be honest.” Betty sighed.

“Hey, we can still have Thanksgiving! Perry saved most of the food and we’re all together!” Laura was remaining optimistic. She looked at Carmilla hopefully. “Right?”

“Yeah, of course, Cupcake.” As if Carmilla was going to let the dimwit squad ruin Laura’s Thanksgiving. “Actually… I know exactly where we can go…”

Laura grinned brightly and kissed Carmilla on the cheek quickly. “Thanks, Carm! Lead the way!!”

Carmilla held up a hand in front of Will and LaFontaine to stop them from speaking.

“Don’t even say it!” She growled and then turned, stalking over to grab Laura’s hand and leading the group to their destination.  

That’s how the gang ended up spending their first Thanksgiving all together in the library, eating mashed potatoes behind shelves and daring each other to throw peas at the extremely grumpy librarian.

Carmilla leaned her forehead against Laura’s.

“I’m sorry you’re not with your dad. And that it’s not a perfect Thanksgiving,” She whispered, side eyeing their group of friends, currently on the other side of the shelf they were hiding behind. Laura giggled and softly kissed Carmilla.

“Don’t be silly Carm. All this,” Laura gestured to their friends and then to Carmilla, who blushed, “this is perfect. I’m exactly where I want to be.”

 

Chapter Text

Carmilla lounged across LaFontaine’s bed, “helping” Danny and LaF with their philosophy homework, which mostly meant Danny helping LaFontaine and Carmilla making snarky remarks at both of them. Carmilla was pretending to read her Camus novel, secretly watching as LaFontaine and Danny mouthed things at each other and silently argued. LaFontaine was pointing at Carmilla and frowning at Danny as Danny vehemently shook her head.

“Something you gingers want to talk about?” Carmilla drawled from behind her book. LaFontaine coughed and gave Danny another significant look. Danny sighed.

“We just wanted to ask how things are going with that girl you’re dating?” she asked extremely casually. Carmilla lazily flipped to the next page.

“We’re good.”

“And you’re over Laura?”

“Mhmm.”

“Just like that?”

Carmilla looked over the top of her book to give her two friends a scathing look. “Look, you guys and your dumb plan made it clear I need to get over Laura. Obviously she’s never going to see me as anything more than a friend-” Carmilla was barely able to keep a straight face as she said this, thinking about two hours before when she had been with Laura and they had done some things that were definitely more-than-friendly, “-if you people think I need your help to win her over, so I need to move on.”

LaFontaine looked at Carmilla, exasperated. "You know this isn't what we wanted, right?? You don’t have to date someone else just to spite us. You should be with Laura, not this other girl!"

Carmilla hummed non-committedly from behind her book. “Good thing I don’t care about literally any of your opinions.”

Danny threw a wadded up piece of paper at her from the floor. “Oh shut up, Karnstein, we know you care about us.”

“Whatever, Xena.”

“Fangface.”

“Beanstalk”

“Elvira.”

“Gingersnap.”

LaFontaine sighed and shut their textbook as their two friends continued shooting nicknames back and forth. Clearly no more studying was going to get done today.


 

Carmilla could tell that something was up with Laura, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. All week Laura had been asking vague questions about Carmilla’s interests. They were cuddling on Carmilla's couch, Laura working on an essay and Carmilla reading some Camus, when Carmilla shifted and asked,

"Alright Cupcake, are you gonna tell me what's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong!" Laura was a terrible liar.

"I can practically hear your heart pounding from over here." Carmilla emphasized her point by placing her hand over Laura's heart, smiling as she felt Laura melt into her touch.

"Laura..." Carmilla whispered in her ear and she shivered, shifting so she was on top of Carmilla and facing her. Carmilla was looking at her with one eyebrow raised. Laura leaned forward and kissed Carmilla soundly, pressing herself down against her until they broke apart with a low moan from Carmilla.

"Um..." Carmilla was trying really hard to remember what she'd been asking Laura about but she was distracted by the weight of Laura's thigh pressing in between hers. "You can't... You can't just kiss me to distract me every time-"

Laura sucked hard enough to leave a mark low on Carmilla's neck as Carmilla tangled her hands in Laura's hair and let out another moan, cutting off her own sentence. Laura pulled back slightly to give Carmilla a triumphant grin. Carmilla rolled her eyes but her usual disinterested look was sort of ruined by the desire in her eyes and the flush of her cheeks.

She opened her mouth to attempt to ask one more time. Laura slid her hands under Carmilla's shirt, raking her nails down Carmilla's sides and rolling her hips against Carmilla's, earning a gasp and an involuntary arch of Carmilla's back. There was no more talking other than swearing and Laura's name for the rest of the afternoon.


 

The next day, Carmilla was staring at her phone, wondering why Laura wasn't replying, and stressing over the emotion she felt whenever she heard the girl's name. It was too soon for her to be in love right? It had only been a few weeks. Before she could analyze this problem further, the doorbell rang.

"Coming!" She yelled, pocketing her phone and opening the door without checking who it was. Laura stood on the other side, holding a bouquet of small purple and white flowers and grinning.

"Well well well..." Carmilla said with a tiny smile, crossing her arms and leaning against the doorframe. "It's not every day a girl this pretty shows up at my door step. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Laura stepped forward, tugging the edge of Carmilla's leather jacket to pull her closer, and kissed her gently.

"I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me? On a date? Today? I know you don't like PDA and we haven't told our friends yet but I planned it really carefully and they won't find us and also you look really nice today, I forgot to mention that, and I had a speech planned but-"

"Yes. Yes, yes, yes I'll definitely 100% go out with you." Laura stopped, still grinning widely, and held up the flowers.

"Oh, these are for you. I know they're not the typical roses, but they kind of looked like little stars to me, and I know you love stars and I-"

"They're perfect." Carmilla interrupted, kissing her again. "You're perfect." Laura smiled against Carmilla's lips.

"And you're a big softie." Carmilla sighed but didn't move away from Laura.

"What kind of wooing is that??" Laura giggled softly.

"You already said yes, I think I've already won you over." Carmilla pulled her closer.

"You may have a point there..." She kissed Laura again, deepening the kiss. When she pulled back, Laura whined at the loss of contact. Carmilla smirked at her.

"We better go now, or I have a feeling we'll never leave the apartment." Laura grinned back at her and they left to go on the first of many dates.


 

Laura sighed. She loved her friends, she really did, but there was only so much of the questioning she could take.

“I told you guys, I don’t care that Carm- Carmilla is dating someone. Isn’t that what you wanted? You had that whole notebook of plans trying to hook her up with someone…”

LaFontaine’s eyes widened at the thought that their plan had actually pushed the two further apart.

"With you!!! We were trying to hook her up with you!!!!" LaF shouted in frustration, Perry patting their back to calm them down. Laura took another sip of her drink to hide her smile.

"Well, it's too late now, isn't it? Guess your plan failed."

LaFontaine glared at Laura suspiciously. "So nothing is going on between you and Karnstein?"

"Nope!"

"Mhm, mhm. We'll see about that...."


 

Carmilla knew their friends were just trying to make her jealous. She knew Laura wasn't interested in the other girl. She knew it was a trap. But she couldn't help it.

She stormed over to the table Laura was seated at as soon as the chirpy blonde girl walked away. Laura grabbed her wrist to stop her from continuing forward.

"Carm..." Carmilla looked down angrily at the hand holding her back, then softened as she looked at Laura. She sat down with a huff, picking up her book.

"You know Betty and Will sent her, right?" Laura was grinning at her over the rim of her coffee cup.

Carmilla hummed and didn't look up from her book.

"You know I'm not interested in anyone else, right?"

Carmilla mumbled something and turned another page.

"Carm.. There's no reason to be jealous." Laura was still smiling. Jealous Carmilla was adorable.

"I am not-" Carmilla looked up from her book with another huff, "-'jealous'. I just... Don't like that girl."

"Mhmm." Laura nodded knowingly. "So you don't care that she asked me to go out to dinner with her tomorrow?"

"What!!" Carmilla slammed her book shut and looked up with murder in her eyes. "That's it. I'm going to kill her, then William, then Betty, and anyone else who-"

Laura was laughing at her. Carmilla narrowed her eyes.

"It's not funny! You're mine! Everyone else can back off."

"Well, she didn't know that, it's not really her fault-" Carmilla's jaw dropped in indignant anger.

"You're defending her???? That's it!" Carmilla pushed her chair back abruptly and stalked out of the restaurant, mumbling darkly under her breath.

Laura shook her head fondly, picking up Carmilla's book and following her out.

As soon as Laura got outside, she felt Carmilla grab her, backing her up against the wall and kissing her hard. Laura immediately fisted her hands in Carmilla's hair as Carmilla's body pressed her body against the brick and let out a moan.

"Jesus Christ," Laura gasped out.

"I can't stand the thought of anyone else touching you," Carmilla hissed out between rough kisses down Laura's neck.

Laura was still slightly aware they were in public but was rapidly losing the will to care about anything except Carmilla's lips.

"Carm!" Laura managed to gasp and Carmilla froze and pulled back, searching Laura's face to see if she was upset. Laura pulled her forward again, biting Carmilla's lower lip before pulling back again. "My room. Now." She said firmly, and grabbed Carmilla's hand, pulling her towards the dorms.

 

Later, Laura laid with her head tucked into Carmilla's neck, Carmilla tracing lazy circles along Laura's back. Laura looked up at Carmilla.

"So, I'm yours, huh?" Carmilla blushed.

"Um... Well... I didn't mean in an 'ownership' kind of way or anything, I just meant I don't want you dating anyone else... Which is entirely your decision of course, I just mean..." Carmilla buried her blushing face into Laura's hair and mumbled, "I want you to be my girlfriend. If you want. I guess."

Laura gently pushed Carmilla's head back so she could look into her eyes. "Of course, Carm. I'd love to be your girlfriend."

Carmilla nodded casually. "Cool. It's whatever, not a big deal." But her soft smile that she only had around Laura betrayed her happiness. Laura leaned up to connect their lips again.

Suddenly, there was a fumbling noise as the doorknob to Laura’s room turned and Laura barely had time to roll off of Carmilla before LaFontaine barged into the room.

Laura hastily picked up a book that was lying next to her and pretended to study it intently.

“Hey guys!” They said cheerfully. “Oh, hey, LaF…” Carmilla said grumpily from the floor. Laura stifled a laugh as she realized Carmilla had fallen off the bed in her haste to hide from LaFontaine.

“Whatcha doin on the floor, Karnstein?” LaFontaine could barely contain their smirk. Carmilla shot a glare up at them. LaF was looking back and forth between Carmilla on the floor and the very flustered Laura on the bed.

“Don’t you have test tubes to blow up or something?” Carmilla grumbled.

LaFontaine shook their head slightly at the two of them but grabbed the book they had come for and left the two of them alone.

“Have I mentioned I hate your friends?"


 

((This is like, 2 weeks later. Think mid to late December))

“Hmm… Carm?”

Laura was still mostly asleep, having spent the night at Carmilla’s apartment after telling Betty she was attending a Summer Society sleepover. "Where are you going?"

Carmilla was creeping softly around the room, pulling on her combat boots. "I have to take care of something, that's all. Don't worry, Cream Puff, I'll be back in time for the weekly gathering of the idiots."

Laura was too sleepy to reprimand Carmilla for insulting her friends. "Stay hereeeee," she mumbled sleepily.

Her eyes still closed, Laura felt Carmilla brush the hair back from her face and press her lips to her forehead.

"Go back to sleep, sweetheart. I'll see you soon." Laura mumbled a response and Carmilla headed out of the room, pausing at the doorway.

"Laura?"

"Hmm?" She was definitely mostly asleep.

Carmilla looked at her sleeping girlfriend with a look of pure adoration. "I love you." Then she shut the door softly and left the apartment.

It wasn't until 2 hours later, when Laura woke up, that she realized what Carmilla had said.


 

Carmilla was an hour late to their weekly hang out at the campus coffee shop. Laura sighed as she finished ripping up the napkin in front of her.

Betty rolled her eyes. “Lighten up, Hollis! You’re starting to look as broody as Carmilla.”

“I just… Will, you haven’t heard from her?”

“No, but I’m sure she’s fine.”

“Yeah, I bet she’s out with her girlfriend!” LaFontaine said slyly, trying to incite a reaction from Laura.

“No,” Laura shook her head, still looking down, “I think she was going to talk to your mother.”

Will dropped his phone on the table with a clatter. “What??” Laura felt her stomach turn uneasily at the frightened expression on Will’s face.

“Your mom? That’s who she’s usually with on Saturdays.” Laura didn’t mention she only knew this because when Carmilla got back, she always had new bruises.

Will was staring at Laura. “That’s impossible. We haven’t spoken to our mother in months. Carmilla said she’d convinced her to leave us alone… shit.” Will cursed and held his phone to his ear, calling Carmilla. He swore under his breath again. “Her phone is off.”

“Why is this a bad thing? What’s wrong with your mother?” Kirsch asked, confused.

Will glanced at Laura and looked down. “Nothing, she’s just… She’s harsh. When we were younger, after our dad died, there were a few incidents, Carmilla was always trying to protect me-” He slammed his fist into the table in frustration, “Dammit, Carmilla!!”

Laura felt the icy cold fear in her stomach spread through her whole body. “Where does your mom live? How fast can we get to her??” Laura tried to keep the panic out of her voice.

“I’m sure everything is fine,” Perry tried to comfort her, “She probably just forgot to charge her phone. I bet she’s on her way here right now-” Will’s phone rang.

Everyone jumped and stared at the phone. “It’s an unknown number,” said Will. His voice was shaky.

“Put it on speaker.” Danny instructed, and Will unlocked the phone and answered the call.

“Hello, am I speaking with-” there was static as the person shuffled some papers, “-Mr. William Karnstein?”

"Yes, that’s me. What’s going on? Who is this?”

“This is Styria General Hospital. We have you listed as the emergency contact for Miss Carmilla Karnstein. She-”

“What happened to her?? Is she okay?!?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Karnstein. An ambulance brought Miss Karnstein here about 30 minutes ago. It appears she was in an altercation with an unknown woman. Miss Karnstein’s injuries are very severe. How soon can you get here?”

Will was saying other things into the phone but Laura could no longer hear because her heart was pounding so loud in her ears. She felt the room shrink and widen and her breaths became shortened and panicked.

“Laura. Hey, L, it’s gonna be okay. She’s strong. It’ll be okay.” LaFontaine was in front of her and Laura could feel Perry patting her on the back.

“We need to go. Like, right now.” Will demanded.

“I’ll drive. Let’s go.” Kirsch was standing up, already moving towards the door. Laura watched as her friends immediately followed Kirsch outside.

“Laura?” It was Danny, holding the door open for her.

“I love her, Danny. I love her and I didn’t even get to tell her yet and now-”

“Hey.” Danny cut off Laura’s panicked rambling. “Karnstein is strong. You and I both know she won’t go down without a fight.”

Laura looked at Danny and could see the same fear she felt reflected in Danny’s eyes. “She’ll be okay. Let’s just go see how she’s doing, okay?” Laura nodded numbly as climbed into the car and they sped off to find Carmilla.

Chapter Text

After an hour of sitting impatiently in the waiting room, a nurse came out to talk to the seven of them.

“She just got out of surgery, but her diagnosis is very good. They had to set some ribs and give stitches, her hand is broken, and she’s in a lot of pain, but she should make a full recovery.”

They let out a collective sigh of relief.

“Can we see her?” Perry asked anxiously.

“Well…” They all stood, poised to check on their friend as soon as they knew where she was. “You’re really not allowed, but…” The nurse quietly pointed towards one of the doors in the hallway.

The group went stampeding towards the doorway when a doctor stepped out of the room, blocking their way.

“Ma'am, you have three seconds to move before I-”

Kirsch clapped one hand over Danny’s mouth before she could get into trouble. The doctor gave her a weary look but didn’t comment on it.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you in there. This is the ICU, we don't even let in most family members. I'm not even sure how you got in this hallway.”

Everyone was ready to protest when a loud clang came from inside the room. The doctor looked back and sighed.

“What was that??”

“Ms. Karnstein isn’t being very... cooperative.” She said, glancing back again to assess the damage.

"She doesn't like small spaces or being confined." Laura added quickly, and Will nodded to confirm. "And she hates hospitals."

“-like fucking hell you can put that in-” They heard Carmilla’s low growl as another clatter happened.

Despite the situation, LaFonatine let out a snicker, stopping when the rest of the group gave them a look.

"Excuse me for a second.." The doctor said tiredly and stepped back through the doorway.

All seven of them immediately pressed up against the doorway to hear what was happening.

"Miss Karnstein, please." The doctor was saying. "Your injuries are quite severe. If you don't calm down, we'll be forced to sedate you."

"I can't, I can't," Carmilla began to gasp, panicking.

"Miss. Karnstein, your friends are outside but I can't let them in with you in this condition."

All sounds of a struggle stopped.

"Is Laura here?" Carmilla croaked quietly.

"All your friends are here, Miss. Karnstein, but I can't-"

"She's not my friend, she's my girlfriend, you idiot." Carmilla snapped at her before she could stop herself.

Outside the door, 6 people turned to stare at Laura.

"WHAT?!" Betty shrieked in a voice so high and so loud that the patients in the coma ward downstairs probably woke up.

"Um..." Laura blinked rapidly, "gotta go!!" Then she pushed open the door and escaped into the room.

Laura dodged a nurse guarding the inside of the door and ducked behind the curtain. Carmilla was lying there in a hospital bed and Laura barely contained her gasp. Dark bruises already covered the entire left side of Carmilla’s face and Laura was sure there were more on the skin she couldn’t see. Carmilla’s left hand was in a thick white cast and black stitches were prominent on a long deep cut above her right eyebrow. One nurse was struggling to hold Carmilla down while the doctor tried to reason with her. She looked up at Laura’s entrance.

“I told you, you can’t be in here!” She said, temporarily releasing Carmilla as she moved towards Laura.

Carmilla looked up and as soon as she made eye contact with Laura, the fight left her body and she sagged against the bed.

“Wait, please.” She spoke quietly to the doctor. “I’ll do whatever you want. Please let her stay.”

The doctor looked back and forth between the two, Laura still frozen by the door and Carmilla with her eyes trained on Laura. She sighed.

“Alright, fine. But the rest of them can’t come in right now. I’ll be in enough trouble as it is if they find you in here.” The nurse was now struggling to hold the door shut. They could all hear Danny and Will shouting on the other side.

Laura had already stopped listening to her, slowly walking to Carmilla and sinking into the chair beside her bed. Carmilla made an effort to turn to face her, though it was clear she was in pain.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

Laura reached out and gently held Carmilla’s right hand while the doctor changed her IV bag, administering the morphine.

“I hear you brought all the troops with you.” Carmilla said lightly, still gazing at Laura like she was the only person in the room.

Laura nodded numbly, doing her best not to cry. “Carm, I…” A little sob escaped her and she looked away.

“Hey, Hey,” Carmilla shifted, trying to reach Laura and then hissing in pain as she tried to move. “Hey, Laura. Don’t cry. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Laura shook her head as her chest heaved with unshed tears.

“No, Carm… I was just so scared… They couldn’t tell us anything and we were so worried…” She let out another choked sob.

“Shh.. Shh…” Carmilla ran her one good hand through Laura’s hair and down her cheek. “It’s okay. I’m okay. We’re okay..”

Laura shook her head again. “I’m sorry,” she sniffed, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be crying, you’re the one who’s hurt. I just.. Carm, I… You know.”

Carmilla nodded, still stroking Laura’s cheek. “I know. I know, sweetheart, I know.”

They stayed like that, gazing at each other, until the doctor, still on the other side of Carmilla’s bed, cleared her throat. Laura started a little and then blushed.

“Doc, get out of here before I start looking for a needle to stab you with.” Carmilla growled, never looking away from Laura.

The doctor let out another exasperated sigh. “I’ll go calm down the calvary. The morphine should kick in soon.”

Neither Laura nor Carmilla seemed to hear her and she shook her head slightly at the two of them before leaving the room.

“Come here, please.” Carmilla whispered and Laura didn’t hesitate before clambering into the hospital bed, shifting tubes and blankets until she was settled, Carmilla’s head on her chest. Carmilla let out a sigh of relief, as if she wasn’t able to relax until she was back in Laura’s arms.

Laura began playing with Carmilla’s hair and she hummed quietly, her lips against Laura’s collarbone.

“It hurts less with you here, cupcake...” Carmilla’s voice had begun to slur slightly as the pain medication took effect.

Laura let out a little slightly tearful chuckle. “I think that’s the medicine.”

“Whatever.” Carmilla snuggled further into Laura’s side.

“Hmm.. Drugged up Carm is very cuddly..” Laura noted and Carmilla was too out of it to protest.

“Maybe regular Carmilla is too and just doesn’t wanna admit it…” Carmilla mumbled as she tightened her hold on Laura. “Now let me rest... I gotta get some sleep before those dimwits get in here and create some chaos...”

“Okay, okay. Goodnight, Carm.” Laura said softly.

“Gnight, Laura... Love you…”

Laura caught her breath for a second.

“Love you too, Carm.”

But Carmilla was already asleep.


Meanwhile, in the hospital waiting room...

"Mr. Karnstein, I'm Officer Straka. I'm here to speak to you about your sister."

Will and Officer Theo Straka sat facing enough other, having turned two of the uncomfortable waiting room chairs to make an illusion of privacy. Will's five friends sat to the side, poorly attempting to pretend they weren't eavesdropping. Except for Perry, who really was against eavesdropping and kept trying to convince the group to stop.

"Do you recognize this address?" The police officer showed Will an address on his clipboard.

Will nodded, his face grim with recognition.

"My mother used to live there. Or, I guess she still does."

The officer nodded. "We received a call about a noise disturbance from a neighbor at about 12pm. After a second complaint, we sent an officer to the apartment at 13:00 hours." Theo flipped to the next page on his clipboard.

"The apartment is registered to a 'Lilita Morgan'. Our officer received no response when he knocked but-" Officer Straka looked up at the group behind Will, who all quickly pretended to be extremely interested in a 3 year old copy of Highlights magazine.

"-as he was leaving, there was a loud smash and after no one answered the door again, at 1:23pm two of our officers entered the apartment. They found Miss. Karnstein on the floor, severely beaten. We think she may have knocked over a vase to alert us to her. After calling for medical back up, the officers searched the apartment, but there was no one else there.”

"What?!?" exclaimed Will, LaFontaine, Danny, Kirsch, and Betty at the same time. The officer cleared his throat and gave the group another glare.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Karnstein, but your sister’s attacker had already fled the scene. We’re working hard on tracking them down, I assure you. Here’s the station number if you need to contact us. We’ll keep you and your friends-” he nodded at Danny, Kirsch, Betty, LaFontaine, and Perry, “-updated on the case. For now, focus on your sister and her health.”  Officer Straka clapped a hand on Will’s back as he stood up. “You know where to find me if you need anything, son,” the police officer said as he cast another stern look around the room, before walking out of the hospital doors.

Will collapsed into a seat next to Kirsch.

“So…” Kirsch started, mostly to break up the crushing silence. “Uh, you kinda owe me $20, bro.

"What?"

"Dude, I totally told you the hotties were already secretly dating!”

Perry sighed loudly as the group began trading money and cashing in on their bets in the middle of the hospital wing.


All of Carmilla's friends were able to visit her over the next week and Laura was there every moment she could be, leaving only to shower and take her finals before the winter break began. Carmilla refused to talk to anyone about the details of her attack, so they left the topic alone while she was healing.

Doctor Cochrane decided Carmilla needed to be kept at least another week for examination, due to her concussion and some internal bleeding from her injuries. You can imagine how pleased Carmilla was to hear that she would be stuck there over Christmas.

“You don’t even like Christmas.” Will pointed out to his sister who sat grumbling in her hospital bed.

“That’s not the point.” Carmilla growled. “The point is, I’m stuck here, when I should be out there-”

“With your girlfriend.” Will finished for her, finally understanding the reason for Carmilla’s grumpiness. “Laura loves Christmas, doesn’t she?”

Carmilla rolled her eyes at her brother’s smirk but still pointedly avoided eye contact.

“This doctor clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about and-”

“I’m sure she doesn’t mind, Kitty. Her home is wherever you are, blah blah blah. We can celebrate here.”

“She’ll be gone, remember?” Carmilla asked, her voice losing its edge. “It’s winter break, all of them will be traveling.”

“Is this your convoluted way of saying you’re going to miss us?” LaFontaine had appeared in the doorway, their teasing smirk matching Will’s.

“Absolutely not.” Carmilla said firmly, then glared at the object LaFontaine had brought. “Oh, like hell I’m getting in that.”

“They won’t let more than two people in here at a time!” LaFontaine raised their hands defensively. “Don’t you wanna say goodbye to us all before we leave?”

Carmilla looked at Will for help but he only shrugged. “It’s the only way they’ll let you out of this room. Just get in the wheelchair.”

“No.”

“I suppose we could go get Laura, she could convince you in like 3 seconds.” LaF said with a smirk.

Carmilla scoffed. “I’m not that whipped.”

“But you want us to bring Laura in here anyway?”

“..... yeah.”

 

Once they made it to the waiting room, Carmilla and Will said their goodbyes to all their friends. Will walked them all out to their cars, leaving Carmilla and Laura in a rare moment of quiet. They sat with their hands intertwined, Carmilla looking down in her lap. Laura nudged her with her shoulder.

“What is it, Carm?”

Carmilla hummed, still looking at their hands. Laura waited, knowing that if she gave her girlfriend time, she would tell her what was on her mind.

“I just…” She looked up at Laura, her face uncertain. “I know it’s going to be Christmas, and I know you love your dad and your hometown and I know celebrating in the hospital isn’t what you’d picture for Christmas and I know it’s selfish to ask but… please stay. With me. Please stay with me, Laura, I really want you here and I love y-” Carmilla seemed to catch herself in the middle of her frantic request and looked back down, blushing, “-just, please stay with me.”

Laura leaned forward, knocking her head against Carmilla’s gently, to get her to look at her.

“Carm..”

“I know, I know, you can’t, I just-”

“Carm, I canceled my ticket last month.”

Carmilla’s head shot up, making herself wince. She hadn’t quite recovered from her concussion. Laura smiled fondly.

“I mean, I knew you would be stay in Styria for the holidays, with Will, and I talked to my dad about visiting him next month instead, and,” Laura gave a little shrug. “I didn’t wanna be without you either.”

“Why didn’t you tell me???”

“I was waiting for you to ask me to stay.” Laura gave her a sly smile as Carmilla blushed. “I knew you’d work up the courage eventually.”

Carmilla tugged at Laura's jacket collar, pulling her closer so she could press their lips together, kissing Laura soundly.

Carmilla was seconds away from just pulling Laura onto her lap in the wheelchair so she could get closer when someone loudly cleared their throat behind them.

Laura pulled back quickly, embarrassed, while Carmilla only smirked at her before looking at their interrupter.

It was Doctor Cochrane, giving them a disapproving look.

"Ladies, let's not forget this is a hospital. And I'm fairly certain I didn't even give Miss. Karnstein here permission to leave her bed."

Carmilla sighed. "Is this any way to treat your favorite patient?"

The doctor gave her a bemused look. "Miss. Karnstein, you've caused more trouble in this hospital in the last week than anyone else has in the last 20 years I've worked here."

Laura giggled as she pushed Carmilla back down the hall to her room, but Cochrane's words didn't wipe away Carmilla's cocky grin.

"Okay, but I'm not hearing you deny that I'm your favorite....?"

The doctor rolled her eyes. "Yes, Carmilla, you're my favorite. Now get back into the bed before Nurse Vordenberg finds out."

"Oh Doc, I hate to break your heart, but I'm taken! Better find another patient to pine over."

Dr. Cochrane looked from Carmilla's loopy grin to Laura, who was smiling with adoration at her girlfriend. "Should I tell them to lower her morphine dose or is she always like this?"

Laura let out a peal of laughter. "This is pretty normal."

Carmilla, who had settled in the bed and was clearly already being affected by her current dose of medicine, whined and tugged on Laura's hand, attempting to pull her into the bed with her.

"Well, I'll leave you two here. But Laura, visiting hours end in 20 minutes so..." The doctor looked on as Laura attempted to climb into the small hospital bed while an extremely drugged Carmilla kept trying to kiss her. "... At least try to hide when the night nurse comes to do his rounds."


On Christmas morning, Carmilla Karnstein woke up far earlier than she would have liked.

“Will…” She mumbled, without lifting her head from her hospital bed. “How can you possibly be making this much noise so early in the day?”

There was a loud cough from someone who definitely wasn’t Will and Carmilla’s head shot up, practically throwing herself out of the bed in her haste to see who was there.

“Oh my god. Please let this just be a dream. Or a nightmare. That’s all I want for Christmas.”

The entire room had been stuffed to the brim with Christmas decorations. Somehow, a large Christmas tree was jammed into the far corner of the room and every available inch of space on the walls was covered in tinsel, wreaths, and candy canes. The counter along the back wall had multiple menorahs with lit candles, which Carmilla was pretty sure were against hospital policy, and in the center of this Christmas mess were Carmilla’s seven friends, wearing matching Christmas sweaters, santa hats, and large grins.

“SURPRISE!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!”

Kirsch cheerfully threw a handful of green and red confetti on Carmilla, the smile on his face not diminishing even as Carmilla glared at him from her bed. Laura bounded over, a bright Christmas sweater in hand.

“You definitely cannot possibly think I would wear that hideous thing.”

“Carm…”

“Karnstein, we all know your tough girl thing is just an act and you're happy to see us, just put the damn sweater on.” Danny instructed.

There was a pause while everyone waited to see how Carmilla would react.

“I hate Christmas.” Carmilla growled as she snatched the sweater out of Laura’s hands and shoved it over her own head with a scowl.

“Don’t be grumpy, Carmilla, we brought presents!” Betty dramatically threw a box right onto Carmilla’s bruised side, everyone wincing at the same time.

“Now I know why they never let you people in here… You’re a threat to my healthy and safety.” Carmilla drawled and everyone promptly ignored her, pulling a table closer to her bed and stacking presents on it. “How did you guys even all get in here?”

“Turns out that Thanksgiving recipe came in handy!” LaFontaine was looking suspiciously cheerful for someone who had recently caused a large explosion in a supply closet across the hall.

Carmilla rolled her eyes. “Well, since it’s clear I can’t get rid of you people, I got you presents too.” Carmilla said as she casually and uninterestedly as possible struggled to drag out a bag that had been hidden under her bed.

“You literally almost died and still found time to get us presents?” Kirsch was grinning very broadly and Carmilla sighed.

“Don’t make a big deal out of it, beefcake, I just didn’t want to owe you guys or anything.”

“I can’t believe I ever thought she was badass and intimidating… Look at her.” LaFonatine loudly whispered to Will, who snickered.

Carmilla threw a hospital-issued pudding cup at them.

“You are all the worst.” Carmilla grumbled, pulling her hospital blanket further up to hide behind.

“It’s okay, Karnstein, we know you adore us.” Danny said smugly as she plunked a santa hat on Carmilla’s head.

“I am literally going to murder you.”

“You don’t murder people for Christmas, Carm.” Laura said gently as she took Carmilla’s hand and began rubbing her thumb in small circles on Carmilla’s palm.

“...fine.”

LaFontaine made the sound of a whip cracking and Carmilla looked around for something else to throw as everyone laughed.

Everyone was still laughing when Carmilla’s face suddenly drained of blood, going deathly pale.

“Carmilla?” Perry asked worriedly, but Carmilla was frozen, staring at the door, and everyone turned to see what she was looking at.

A tall, imposing woman stood in the doorway, surveying the group with a disdainful look. Every inch of her was pristine and immaculate, with the exception of her right hand, which was carefully bandaged in stark white gauze. Will spoke first.

“Mother.” His voice was dry and cracked with fear.

“Dearest William...” Lilita Morgan tilted her head slightly, looking at William coldly. Her eyes flicked back to Carmilla and she took a step towards her.

Danny moved in front of her almost immediately.

“You’re not going anywhere near her.” she growled.

Kirsch and LaFontaine moved to flank Danny, glaring at Lilita, while Laura moved closer to Carmilla, tightening her grip on her hand.

Lilita laughed a small, chilling laugh.

“Oh, children. Get out of my way. I have a right to see my own daughter.”

“Not after what you did,” Betty snapped, “do you know how fast we can call the police in here?”

“You have no proof. And you wouldn’t dare.” Lilita said calmly, raising one hand threateningly and smiling as Betty shrunk backward slightly.

“Don’t!” Carmilla cried out hoarsely, and all the focus in the room shifted to the girl in the bed. “Leave them alone, mother. Please.”

Lilita chuckled again. “Oh, Mircalla. You’ve always been the sensible one. I’m terribly sorry I had to teach you a lesson.” She gestured vaguely to Carmilla’s injured state.

“You bitch…” Will spoke, sounding shocked. "It really was you. You did this to her...”

“Language, William dear.”

“Get out of here!” Laura yelled angrily from beside Carmilla. “You’re a monster and Carmilla doesn’t need you. She deserves so much more than you.”

Lilita shook her head almost fondly at Laura, before turning her attention back to Carmilla.

“I like this one, darling. She has so much… spirit. How ever did you convince her that you’re worth her time? You know none of these people really care about you, right?”

Carmilla, who had opened her mouth to argue, faltered. “I…”

"That's not true." LaFontaine argued. "You're so full of shit."

Lilita frowned at LaFontaine's language but didn't look away from her daughter.

"Mircalla, dear, look at you. They're only here out of pity."

Whatever biting remark Laura was about to make in reply was cut off as the door swung open, slamming into the wall and revealing the two police officers Betty had called.

Then everything happened at once.

Laura stood up to slap Carmilla's mother at the same time as Lilita stepped forward again, to move past Danny, Kirsch, and LaFontaine and get to Carmilla. Danny was moving to hit Lilita as Kirsch was reaching to restrain Lilita and LaFontaine looked like they were going to try to choke the woman. They all moved quickly, but it was Perry who reached Lilita first, stepping forward, swinging her arm back, and punching Lilita Morgan square in the jaw.

Lilita fell back, shocked, her hands flying to her face, before the two officers grabbed her, swiftly handcuffing her hands behind her back.

“Lilita Morgan, you’re under arrest for aggravated assault and battery of Carmilla Karnstein...” The officers began reading her rights as they lead Carmilla's mother out of the room.

The room was silent for a moment.

“Holy shit, Per.” LaFontaine was looking at her in awe.

Perry looked around the room with a satisfied gaze, as if she had just cleaned the floor instead of punching Carmilla’s abuser in the face while wearing a bright red sweater with tiny green reindeer all over it.

“So,” Perry said cheerfully, clapping her hands together. “Time for presents?”


Several hours and 3 noise complaints later, the group of 8 sat in a circle on a blanket on the floor of the room, all slightly tipsy from copious amounts of eggnog that Will and Kirsch had somehow snuck in. Laura was leaning heavily on Carmilla’s uninjured side, giggling at everything anyone said.

“Okay, broody, I have a question for you.” LaFontaine hiccuped as they pointed accusingly at Carmilla while still holding the bottle of eggnog. “How did you know to get us gifts if you thought we weren’t going to see you at Christmas?”

Carmilla blinked.

“Um…”

“Damn, Carm, I didn’t think they’d pick up on that.” Laura whispered to Carmilla, or at least tried to whisper, but the whole group could clearly hear her.

“Laura!” everyone exclaimed. “You told her? It was supposed to be a surprise!”

“Guysssss…. Come onnnnn…” Laura pouted.

“Yeah, don’t blame Laura. When I want to know something, I can be very persuasive..” Carmilla said suggestively as she smirked at the tiny girl falling into her lap.

Danny made a gagging sound.

“I think I liked it better when they were pretending not to date.” Betty said as she swigged the eggnog bottle and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, before she passed it to Perry, who took it gingerly with a look of disgust.

Carmilla ignored them both. “Plus, you guys are about as subtle as a trainwreck and just as sly.”

“No way, Carm-Sexy!” Kirsch exclaimed, holding an eggnog bottle in either hand. “Remember, you totally didn’t know about our awesome plan for a long time.”

“Oh, not this again…” Carmilla groaned.

“To be fair, Carm, it all kind of worked out, didn’t it?” Laura reached up, waving her hand blindly until Carmilla took it, brushing her lips against Laura’s knuckles before lacing their fingers together. Then Carmilla saw everyone else was still in the room and closed her eyes, cringing as she realized her mistake.

“Goddamn it…”

Everyone immediately began mocking her actions on each other.

Carmilla looked down at Laura, who was just gazing up at her with adoration.

“Have I mentioned that I hate your friends?”

After Will finished doing a sloppy (and in Carmilla’s opinion, not at all accurate) imitation on Betty of Carmilla kissing Laura’s hand, he looked up suddenly with a smirk.

“Oh come on, let’s just give it to her.”

“What?” Carmilla narrowed her eyes at her brother, but he wasn’t looking at her.

All members of the GCALTETTBSAA group were looking at Perry, waiting for her approval.

She gave a resigned sigh. “Alright, fine, go ahead.”

Kirsch let out a little cheer as he bounded over to the gift stack, digging through all the unwrapped gifts to the bottom of the pile, pulling out a slim package.

LaFontaine neatly opened the envelope and passed the black notebook to Carmilla.

“What is this??” Laura sat up, eyes gleaming at the surprise gift.

“It’s our planning notebook, L.” LaFontaine had that mischievous glimmer in their eye that usually meant an explosion was going to occur.

“We already saw your stupid planning notebook…” Carmilla was looking at them all suspiciously.

“No…” Will looked so smug. “You saw our fake planning notebook. This is the real notebook.”

“With MY plan!” Betty added as she snagged the eggnog bottle from LaFontaine’s lap.

Carmilla was scanning the pages with a horrified look.

“It was PART OF YOUR PLAN for me to find out????”

Laura snatched the notebook out of Carmilla’s hands to see for herself.

“Yup.” Will had never looked so smug. “You did exactly what we expected.”

“Oh my god.” Carmilla slumped against the wall in defeat. “I am never going to hear the end of this.”

“Never EVER.” Danny said cheerfully.

“You guys are the best!” Laura crawled across the blanket to hug all of her friends.

“This is the worst Christmas ever.” Carmilla grumbled.

“This is the best Christmas ever!” Laura smiled at her girlfriend and Carmilla resisted for a few seconds before giving in and smiling back.

“You know what. Since you all think you know me so well, because you guys are THE WORST,” Carmilla announced, “I will be giving Laura her gift in the hallway and you guys will not get to know what it is. I’m sure you can all figure it out.” She stood up, pulling Laura up with her, and sauntered out into the hallway.

Everyone looked at each other for a second in silence.

“We should definitely go listen to their conversation.” Betty said quietly.

“$20 says they start making out in the hallway.” LaFontaine whispered as they all crept towards the door.

 

“They’re probably eavesdropping right now, you know.” Laura said with an easy smile, both of her hands clasped with Carmilla’s one good hand.

“Yeah, when we live together we are definitely NOT giving any of them our spare keys.” Carmilla said firmly, then blushed as her words sunk in. “I mean-”

Laura moved forward and kissed her before she could say anything else.

“I knew it!” came a shout from the other side of the door, and Carmilla lifted her foot and banged it against the door, shutting them up, all while not breaking the kiss.

Laura pulled back, breathless, but kept their foreheads touching, gazing into Carmilla’s eyes, which fluttered shut as Laura gently ran her hand along Carmilla’s skin. 

“Hey, Carm?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

Carmilla took a very sharp breath. “Really?”

“Yeah. I love you, Carmilla Karnstein.” Laura said softly and kissed her again, very gently.

“I love you too.” Carmilla rushed out as she pulled back slightly from the kiss.

“Even though my friends are crazy?” Laura asked, grinning and raising her voice slightly so their friends in the room could hear.

“Yeah,” Carmilla sounded breathless.

Laura kissed her for a third time, long and hard, pressing against her so there was nothing between them, no space, pulling back only when there was a thud on the other side of the door. Carmilla sighed while Laura giggled.

“I guess we should go back in there before they blow something up.”

“I guess…” Carmilla tugged Laura’s hand, pulling her back for a final short kiss.

“I love you, Laura.”

“And I love you, Carm.”

Then they headed back inside to their friends, to finish the first of many Christmases together.

Chapter Text

Laura woke up to a loud banging on the door of their apartment.

“Carm…” She grumbled, burrowing her face further into Carmilla’s neck and trying to ignore the loud noise. “Make it stopppp.”

“You’re the one who said it would be a great idea to live next to all your friends.” Carmilla rasped grumpily into Laura’s hair.

“Karnstein!!! Stop having sex with Hollis for 3 seconds and come help me!” Danny’s voice came from outside the door.

Laura grinned in triumph, pushing herself up on her elbows, hovering above her girlfriend. Carmilla opened one eye sleepily.

“She's asking for you, Carmmmmm”

Carmilla wrestled one hand out from under the covers, bringing it up to tuck Laura’s hair back. “I've got better things to do..” She mumbled as she tangled her hand into Laura’s hair and brought her down to meet her own lips.

She kissed her slowly, languidly, until more pounding on the door interrupted them and Laura giggled while Carmilla pulled back, her eyes still closed but her brow furrowed in irritation.

“What,” she huffed as she threw the covers back and stumbled towards the door, “could possibly be so important that you need to disturb me,” Carmilla reached the door of their apartment and threw it open, “at this hour?!”

Danny stood on the other side, her fist raised to knock on the door again. She cowered slightly at Carmilla’s tone.

“Um.. Kirsch really, really needs some help downstairs?”  

Carmilla narrowed her eyes at her. She glanced back over her shoulder, then stepped into the hallway with Danny and closed the door.

“Is this another convoluted plan to get me out of the apartment so you can figure out what I’m planning tonight?” Carmilla hissed at an extremely suspicious looking Danny.

“What? Absolutely not!”

Carmilla narrowed her eyes even more.

“So if I open this supply closet, your husband and the rest of the dimwits won't fall out?”

Danny coughed nervously.

“You know, on second thought, I'm just gonna go…” Danny said as she began to edge towards the door.

Carmilla stalked past Danny, to the supply closet in the middle of the hallway. When she pulled it open, Kirsch and LaFontaine came tumbling out.

Betty stepped out from behind them, climbing over the two fallen figures.

“Oh, hey, Carmilla! So funny running into you here..” LaFontaine attempted to mumble from the floor.

“You idiots!” Carmilla growled. “You can't be here!! This is why I didn't include you all in the-”

“Carm?”

The apartment door opened again as Laura stepped halfway into the hallway. She smiled widely at the sight of her friends. “What're you guys doing here?”

Carmilla had softened visibly at Laura’s appearance but now turned her glare towards Danny.

“Yes, someone explain what you’re doing here!”

Danny looked at Kirsch, who looked at LaFontaine, who looked at Betty, who rolled her eyes and sighed.

“We came to see what you guys are doing tonight!” she finally said, just a touch too cheerfully.

“Nothing?” Danny added quickly, before Laura or Carmilla could respond to Betty, “great! Dinner at our apartment? At 7?? Great!! See you later!!” and Danny pulled Kirsch up from the floor and hurried the rest of them into the elevator.

Laura gave Carmilla a bemused look. “What was that all about? Don’t we always have dinner together on Saturday nights?”

Carmilla shrugged helplessly. “No idea. They’re your friends, you know they’ve never made any sense to me.” She swung her arm around Laura’s shoulders as they walked back into their apartment.

“It’s been four years, can’t you admit that they are your friends too?”

“Absolutely not! Just because I like you doesn’t mean I have to like them.”

“Oh, so you like me, huh?”

“I mean.. I suppose.. Maybe a little...” Carmilla sighed as she mumbled, “You’d think after four years I’d be able to stop blushing when you look at me like that.”

Laura grinned and pulled her closer for a kiss, but Laura’s phone started ringing just as someone started knocking on their door again.

Laura pulled back from Carmilla with a sigh as Carmilla threw up her hands in defeat.


It had been a longggg week. All week, Carmilla had been trying to get Laura alone, and all week, something had interferred. She was waiting for the perfect moment, and it just wasn’t happening. Laura had definitely noticed her nervousness and odd behavior, but hadn’t commented on it yet.

Now they were at dinner with all their friends. Carmilla gazed at Laura, smiling softly as she watched Laura play a game with LaFontaine and Perry’s daughter.

“You know something, Kitty?” Will asked as he plunked himself down in the seat next to her, handing her a glass of wine.

“I have a feeling you’re going to tell me either way.”

“I’ve never seen you as happy as you are with her.”

Carmilla eyed him curiously. “They told you what I’ve been planning, huh?”

Will laughed. “Actually, I’m surprised it took you this long.”

Carmilla gave him a light shove. “You’re all the worst.”

Will continued talking, but Carmilla was no longer listening. Laura had looked up from the kid and was smiling at her with the smile that made Carmilla melt.

“Fuck it.” She muttered under her breath. She pushed back from the dining table and walked over to her girlfriend. Carmilla offered her hand and Laura took it, intertwining their hands as they stood. Carmilla led her through the room, weaving through their friends who kept trying to distract them, but Carmilla was determined.

Once out in the hall, Carmilla shut the door, muting the music and noise of conversation.

“Are you going to tell me what’s been bothering you all week?” Laura whispered into Carmilla’s ear. Carmilla wiped her free hand on her pants nervously and looked down at their feet.

“I just… I think you deserve the best, you know? You deserve the world. And I want to give that to you, but it’s just been... very difficult this week...”

Laura frowned. “Carm, you are the best. You’re all I need. Everything else, we’ll figure it out together.”

Carmilla let out a little sigh of relief at her comforting words.

“You’re right, you’re always right.” She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out an old paperback.

“What..? This is one of our books from college..” Laura said, confused, as she gently took the book from Carmilla’s hands.

“Actually, it’s the book we were discussing in class when we first talked to each other.” Carmilla took her hand off the paperback and swallowed hard. “I kept it because.. I think, even then, I knew I’d need it again.”

Laura looked up from examining the cover. “For what?”

“Open it.”

Laura opened it. After the first few pages, she found the center of the novel cut out, making a small box within the worn pages. Sitting in the center of the book was a ring.

Laura gasped and looked up just as Carmilla dropped to one knee.

“Laura… I lived most of my life thinking there was nothing good in this world. And then you came along and changed everything. You saved me. I could live for 300 years and still not have enough time to show you how much I love you. I love your passion and your stubbornness and your selflessness…” Carmilla paused, running a hand through her hair and chuckling softly at her own words, “and, to be honest, I wrote a very long speech about all the reasons I love you, but I’m thinking I’ll save those to use as my vows at our wedding… if you’ll marry me?”

“Yes!!! Oh, god, yes, Carm, of course!” Laura tackled Carmilla to the ground as she kissed her. “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” Laura whispered between kisses.

After a minute, Carmilla reluctantly reached out and knocked on the wall they were lying next to.

LaFontaine, Kirsch, Danny, Perry, Betty, and Will burst out of the apartment.

“Did she say yes?” “Of course she said yes, they’ve already been living like a married couple for years..” “CONGRATULATIONS!!” “Can I see the ring?!?” “You know, if Carmilla had let me, I could’ve had some amazing fireworks to commemorate this moment!” “Finally! Took you long enough, Karnstein.”

Carmilla smiled as all their friends congratulated the couple, everyone hugging and laughing.

Then Laura took her hand again. “We’re just going to run upstairs and get the champagne!” She declared and pulled her fiance down the hallway.

The rest of the group looked at each other. “They’re not coming back down tonight, are they?”


Still giggling, Laura kissed Carmilla deeply as they entered the apartment. “I love you so much, Carmilla. The ring is perfect. Your proposal was perfect. You’re perfect.”

Carmilla smiled against Laura’s lips. “We’re not really getting the champagne, are we?”  

“No, I think I want you all to myself tonight.” Laura whispered as she grabbed Carmilla by her belt loops and kissed her again. Carmilla started walking them back to the bedroom without breaking the kiss. Finally, she paused to pick Laura up bridal-style, carrying her laughing fiance into their room, kicking the door shut behind them.

As Carmilla crawled up the bed, she paused as Laura looked at her with so much love she felt like her heart may explode. 

“I love you so much, Carm.”

"I love you too, Laura," Carmilla whispered, and then she leaned down to kiss the woman she would be with for the rest of her life.