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Night & Day

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The soft pattering of the rain was filling the cold air as it drenched the city of Halifax, little puddles having formed over the last few hours of continuous downpour. The warm orange glow of the streetlights reflected off the puddles in the mostly deserted streets at this late hour. The nightly sky, naturally dark, seemed less comforting and more on the angry side tonight than usual – perhaps, Anne thought bitterly, God was silently imposing punishment on her for being out hunting by utterly soaking her through. If there was a God, she couldn’t really blame them.

She clutched her coat to herself tighter, glad it was keeping her dry as she perched on top of the roof and her eyes followed the woman walking down the pavement underneath. Anne silently hoped that she would reach her home soon and would turn out a worthwhile target – her patience was starting to run thin, her stomach was growling and she was starting to become a little agitated with her growing hunger. From experience she knew she had a little longer until reaching a state she’d rather avoid.

Unseen in her black coat under the cover of darkness, Anne followed the woman atop the roofs of Halifax, sighing a breath of relief as she stopped in front of a small apartment building and entered. Anne watched from the building next to it, needing to find out which flat the blonde lived in.

She smiled pleased with herself when the lights turned on in one place shortly after. It even had a spacious balcony, how convenient. No time to waste. Anne closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and focusing as her body shifted into bat shape fluidly so she could fly the short distance over, sitting on the railing and observing the area briefly.

No open windows that she could squeeze through as a bat, so she likely had to break in the old-fashioned way. Not the first time, wouldn’t be the last. Anne was about to fly off the railing and change back when the balcony door opened. She sat frozen in place, expecting the woman to come out but a few seconds in nothing happened. Well, that open door certainly was an invitation.

Anne landed on the balcony and focused, her body turning back into its usual shape until she stood in place, straightening out her coat before stepping close to the window next to the balcony door and peeking inside. She saw no one at first glance.

There were no obvious signs the woman didn’t live alone, so Anne hoped her assumption was correct and no one would show up to interrupt her. She removed her hood to enter.

Ann rolled her shoulders, taking a long look at herself in the mirror. The dark rings under her eyes made her look exactly as tired as she felt, which was no surprise after today’s twelve-hour shift at the hospital. She removed the last bits of make-up, yawning before turning to leave her bathroom. Ann loved her job as a doctor and helping people, but God, some days she felt like she could easily sleep a year or so. Especially nights like tonight when she’d only be home at these late hours. She was already looking forward to her day off tomorrow.

The refreshing cold breeze coming from the living room enveloped her as she walked down the hallway towards her kitchen, and the soft pattering of the rain could be heard from outside as Ann was on her way to get herself a little snack before it was time for a well-deserved rest. It soothed her, taking the stress of the day off her shoulders, so she stopped by her living room and entered through the open door.

Ann stopped dead in her tracks the moment she saw the tall woman standing in the middle of her living room, her long dark hair moving gently with the breeze as she looked at her with as much surprise as Ann was feeling. Ann took a step back instinctively but gathered her courage despite the nervousness she was feeling with this intimidating stranger clad in all black staring back at her. Her hands were cold with sweat as she looked straight into her eyes.

“What are you doing here?”

Anne inwardly cursed her terrible timing. She’d wanted to catch her off guard, that usually made things easier – for one, she could almost guarantee to keep them quiet and do this quickly and smoothly if they weren’t aware before she attacked. That chance was now gone, and if this woman decided to start screaming, which wouldn’t be the first time that happened to Anne, well, it wouldn’t be ideal to say the least.

That said, giving the woman a quick look up and down, Anne didn’t think she would scream. In fact, she found herself caught off guard by how tired eyes looked back at her and held her gaze with a strength she hadn’t expected. She still looked somewhat nervous with how her left hand clutched her white dress shirt, and it occurred to Anne that this woman had no idea what she was and what she planned to do yet. Perhaps she would scream after all.

Anne was fast – one of the perks of the wretched existence that she refused to refer to as living – faster than a regular human could react to. She used this to her advantage as she closed the distance between them in a heartbeat, pressing the blonde against the wall and covering her mouth with her hand just in case she would try to alert her neighbours.

Blue eyes widened in panic as Anne hovered close to her face, bringing her finger up to her lips to signal her to say quiet. Ann slowly nodded, but Anne kept her hand over her mouth just in case, keeping her pinned to the wall with her bodyweight as she tried to squirm against her. There was no use really, as a vampire, Anne’s strength exceeded even that of the strongest men.

She kept eye contact, shaking her head at her. “Don’t. If you keep still, this will be easiest for both of us.”

Anne didn’t fail to notice how blue eyes widened once again as they flicked down to her mouth. She knew her fangs gave away her identity when speaking, and the woman seemed to understand that – but not what Anne had just told her, apparently – as she started wiggling against her again with more desperation, trying to kick at her until Anne pinned her into the wall more insistently, frowning briefly in frustration. Had she not listened to what she’d just said?

But then she saw her forehead creasing with fear and her hand became wet as a set of tears escaped the woman’s eyes as she stilled. Anne swallowed. There were reactions from her victims that she was used to: most encounters entailed several attempts to scream, to fight her with her all their power and all four limbs, tries to escape and the like. Some also insulted her if they got the chance. Not the smartest thing to do, but Anne had stopped caring a long time ago – she knew what she was, and she wasn’t proud of it.

But Anne couldn’t recall the last time someone had cried and resigned themselves to their fate – to death, she realised. She knew what society thought about her kind, and they were mostly right. Anne felt her chest tighten for a brief moment before she pushed the unwanted feelings aside.

“I won’t kill you,” she said quietly, unsure why she felt the need to tell her this instead of just going for the bite already. “I promise. I will only take a little. You’ll be fine.”

The woman slowly nodded, seemingly bracing herself for impact as she closed her eyes.

Anne moved close, pulling the collar of her shirt away from her neck to expose the creamy skin. Her mouth watered at the sight, and she licked her lips as she leaned close.

Anne loathed to admit it, but there were few things that compared to the feeling of sinking her fangs into someone’s skin, of the first sweet taste of their blood wetting her tongue. Anne groaned as her senses were overwhelmed, everything around her distorting as she sucked the blood out of her, barely registering the pained moan coming from her victim.

This one’s blood tasted especially sweet. Anne was disciplined, but still it needed all of her willpower to pull away in time so the woman would not be in any serious danger. She loosened her hold on her and removed her hand from her mouth to give her room to breathe properly.

From the moment Ann had moaned as she felt the sharp stinging sensation of the vampire’s fangs tearing through her skin, everything had been a blur around her, a dull throb mingling with the general pain that was coursing through her neck, underlined by the sound of her blood rushing in her ears with how rapidly her heart was beating.

She took a shaky breath the moment the pain subsided and only the throbbing remained, and when the vampire let go of her, she opened her eyes, nearly shuddering as she saw the blood – her blood – on the vampire’s lips and around her mouth before she wiped it away with the back of her hand. Their gazes met, and Ann swallowed as she saw how much the stranger’s eyes had darkened. She looked wild, much more like the vampire she was than when Ann had first spotted her in this room.

Ann had heard the stories, had seen the dead bodies on the news that were sometimes mutilated even – she knew like every sensible person that meeting a vampire most definitely meant certain death. There were only few exceptions, but apparently she was one. Ann reached up to her neck, feeling the two fang wounds under her fingertips but other than that the wound was mostly dry and she wasn’t losing blood. She took a deep breath as the realisation that she had indeed cheated death hit her.

Her instincts told Ann this was a good moment to leave the room, to run and lock herself in her bedroom and call the police. She had been afraid to lose her life, had accepted her fate the moment Anne had revealed herself as a vampire – but looking at her now, Ann only felt a sense of curiosity overcome her. Maybe it was the shock and adrenaline numbing her and making her braver than she should be, maybe it was all the dreadful things Ann had seen already working in a hospital, but she didn’t feel fear in that moment.

“Why?”

Anne raised her eyebrows in surprise as she looked at her, her laboured breathing calming as her senses returned to her and the animalistic part retreated again. She still had a little trouble focusing properly, but she knew regardless that it wasn’t every day that someone she just bit stuck around to ask questions.

“Why what?”

“Why did you keep me alive?”

Anne took a step back, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she kept her distance. Why did this woman want to know? Why was she not running off like every other sane person? Looking at her, Anne only saw exhaustion and – strangely – interest written on her face.

She guessed after taking her blood, she deserved an honest answer to her question.

“It’s what I do. I avoid killing wherever I can. It’s-“ Anne gestured emptily in the air as she tried to look for words. She was about to continue making her point when she saw the blonde’s eyes losing focus before falling shut. Anne was right next to her just in time to catch her and stop her from falling over, cradling her in her arms.

Fuck. Had she taken too much blood after all? Anne pushed up her sleeve to feel for her pulse, letting out a sigh of relief – it was there, a little weak but she was alive.

Anne looked around for a place she could rest, deciding against the sofa in a quick decision and picking her up to leave the room, carrying the woman in her arms to find her bedroom.

She carefully lowered her on the bed, covering her with the blanket when she noticed her shiver. The blonde was generally rather pale, but Anne was sure she’d not been this pale when she’d entered her home, and her skin felt a little cool to the touch when Anne checked.

Anne looked over to the window. She’d done her part, hadn’t she? Maybe she fucked up, and worst case this woman would die despite her trying not to take too much. Accidents happened, though. Anne took a step back. She should get out of here as long as she could.

Looking back down to the small person wrapped in her blanket, her chest gently heaving with her breaths as she rested, Anne felt a pang of guilt. This wasn’t the first time she fucked up, although there’d been worse cases that she did not want to think about right now.

But there was something else. For some bizarre reason, this woman had shown no disgust at what she was – she’d been in fear, naturally, but Anne had seen no signs of revulsion like she usually would from humans. Instead, the young woman had looked at her with interest in her eyes. And she’d attempted to talk to her. How odd was that?

Part of Anne felt a little warmer at the thought, and it was that gentle lingering feeling that made her take off her coat before heading out of the room to find the woman’s kitchen. She knew very little about what to do when someone had lost a lot of blood – other than a transfusion, which she could not offer of course – but she had heard before that some sugary snacks were good for when they woke to stimulate their circulation.

She quickly found what she was looking for, taking a chocolate bar as well as a bottle of water back to the room and placing them on the nightstand. Anne looked down to the woman in her bed, finding herself staring at the way her blonde hair framed her face, the softness of her features standing out more now that she was unconscious and relaxed. Anne couldn’t take her eyes off her – she was beautiful, there was no doubt about it.

She briefly found herself wondering what her name was and if she had a boyfriend but shook off those thoughts quickly. Anne had bitten her and that was the beginning and the end of it. She reached for her coat.

Once she’d put it on, Anne turned to leave but looking over her shoulder, she couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling imploring her to check on her once again. Anne shook her head at herself – usually, she’d be long gone by now – but moved back to her side.

She carefully turned the woman’s head to check the wound. No fresh blood leaking, and all looked like it would heal well. The colour was also returning to her face, a good sign. Anne felt a little more relieved when she rose and quietly left the room.

The rain was greeting her when she left through the balcony door, closing it behind her before taking a deep breath and shapeshifting. The wind was carrying her as she flew through Halifax aimlessly to clear her head.

Chapter Text

Ann woke with a groan, a headache making her head pound as she forced her eyes open, immediately regretting it as the early morning sun coming through the window blinded her. She closed her eyes again, pulling the blanket higher up. Whatever hour it was, she had no interest in getting up.

That was until the events of last night came back to her in a flash, and suddenly she felt disoriented as she looked around herself to make sure she really was in her bed. How’d she ended up here? She searched her memory, but no matter how hard she concentrated – which was a challenge in her current rather lightheaded state – the last thing she recalled was looking at the vampire before everything went black.

She’d passed out, but clearly she must’ve woken at some point to get herself to bed. Or had this all been a dream? Ann briefly considered the possibility with how bizarre her memories felt but was brought back to reality when she reached for her neck and found the bite marks.

Ann let out a long sigh, forcing herself to sit up slowly since she knew she’d lost plenty of blood and was unstable. Her head was spinning, everything around her seemingly turning as she struggled and let herself back down.

Her gaze fell over to her right, her eyebrows going up in surprise when she spotted the chocolate bar and water next to her. Had she had the clarity of mind to put these there last night with whatever energy she’d had left? Or had the vampire…? But that would mean-

No. Certainly she wouldn’t have. Vampires were selfish creatures, Ann reminded herself, even if her first encounter with one had been vastly different from what would be expected. This one hadn’t quite matched the image in her head of a cruel monster that would tear her apart and suck every little drop of blood from her.

This one had been different. Ann was living proof of it. So maybe… maybe the vampire had helped her after she passed out, even though Ann knew she would never learn the truth. Ann reached for the chocolate bar and removed the wrapping, hungrily digging into the rich chocolate.

It was pointless since she would never see her again, but Ann couldn’t pull her thoughts away from the vampire, questions rushing through her mind one after another. Did she always keep her victims alive? Ann vaguely recalled the vampire telling her she tried to avoid killing wherever she could, so that suggested she generally kept them alive. What was her reason for this? Why had she chosen Ann last night? What was her name?

Ann was burning with curiosity. She’d always been eager to learn about those things that she did not understand, and this was no exception. She wanted to find out all these answers, and while it was probably for the better that she wouldn’t, part of her was disappointed.

She opened the bottle, sat up a bit and took a big swig as the stranger appeared on her mind once more in her black coat, her long flowing hair and dark mysterious eyes. Ann wasn’t shy to admit that perhaps part of her fascination came from the fact that this stranger was attractive. Biting her lip, she shook her head at herself with a smile. Definitely not the right person to fancy.

Putting the bottle aside, Ann lay back down and closed her eyes until she drifted off into a light slumber for a few hours. When she woke again, she felt much better, the dizziness mostly faded. She still felt a little rattled but found herself able to get out of bed.

After a long hot shower, Ann stood in front of her bathroom mirror, tracing her fingertips over the two fang marks. They were smaller than she’d have expected, especially after seeing much nastier, bigger and often gaping wounds with skin torn out when almost dead victims had been brought to her hospital in desperate – often futile – attempts to save their lives. Those were the worst examples, admittedly, but those images had stuck with her.

Her wounds were not like those. The vampire had told her she wouldn’t kill her, had promised it even, and by how small the wounds were in comparison, Ann could sense the truth in that promise; she’d really controlled herself.

She looked at the wound for a moment longer before deciding to get dressed and call Catherine. Ann needed someone to talk to about this.

Comfortably dressed in a baggy shirt and sweatpants to relax the rest of the day, Ann dug her phone out of her bag. There was an unread message.

Thomas: Hey Annie. I was just thinking of you. How are you? I haven’t heard from you in ages. Call me sometime?

Ann groaned as her insides twisted with disgust. Thomas Ainsworth had been persistently trying to get together with her for years at this point, spurred on by the encouragement he got from part of her family that thought they’d make a “wonderful couple”.

Apparently, what Ann thought about this didn’t matter too much. Or the fact that she was a lesbian – whenever she brought that up, she was reminded of that one brief phase when she’d been unsure and had kissed a guy. Once. When she was sixteen.

She’d largely resorted to ignoring his messages, which unfortunately didn’t deter him. Sometimes he would even call, and Ann found it much harder to say no over the phone and often times ended up with an unwanted evening spent at an expensive restaurant with Thomas.

But she didn’t want to think about this right now. She swiped the message away and called Catherine.

“How’s my favourite cousin?”

Ann chuckled at the cheerful greeting. “Oh, Cath. You will not believe what happened to me.”

Lying down on her sofa, she told Catherine every detail about what had transpired with the vampire last night.

“Holy shit, Ann. You’re okay though, yeah?”

Ann nodded as if Catherine could see her. “Yes, all good. Was a little lightheaded earlier, but now I’m good.”

“You sure?”

Ann smiled. “Yes. You do know I’m a doctor, right?” Her smile widened.

“I’m just saying. That is… wow. You’re so lucky you’re still alive!”

Clearly, Catherine was as taken aback by the whole thing as she was. Unsurprisingly, considering Ann could easily be dead today.

“I know. That doesn’t happen every day. She wasn’t what I would’ve expected from a vampire at all.”

“What do you mean?”

Ann bit her lip, debating for a moment if she should say what she was thinking. This was Catherine though, her best friend; she’d tell her everything.

“I mean… other than the fact that she was there to bite me, she was kind of considerate, you know? And she was rather, uhm, attractive.” She swallowed as a slight blush spread on her cheeks.

“Oh my God.” Catherine laughed, but not unkindly. “Seriously, Ann? A vampire?”

“Well, I’m just saying,” Ann responded sheepishly. “It’s not like I’ll see her again anyway.”

“True, true. Well, I guess vamps can be hot too.”

They laughed together, and Ann once more appreciated that she could be so open with Catherine and wouldn’t be judged for it. After a few moments when they’d calmed, her friend cleared her throat.

“Have you already reported it to the police?”

Oh. Somehow, that had totally slipped her mind.

“I… I haven’t actually thought about that yet. I suppose I should.”

“You don’t sound too bothered.” Catherine chuckled.

“I mean… no. I don’t think she’ll return, and I can’t imagine the police can get any clues from my wound to trace her down, right?” And I kind of don’t want them to, she added in her head.

“I guess probably not, no. But you should report it, Ann. They’ll freak out in the hospital if you show up unannounced with a vampire bite. I can already picture it.”

Ann nodded, fiddling with her shirt. “You’re right.” She made a mental note to call in.

After that, the two women chatted for a while longer about any news around the hospital – Ann always appreciated sharing her workplace with her best friend, even if they often didn’t work together that much with Ann’s position as a doctor and Catherine being a nurse.

 

****

 

Anne turned on her side as she woke up, reaching for the lamp on her nightstand. It was rather unnecessary since her eyesight allowed her to see just fine even in the pitch-black darkness of her home, but over the years Anne had made a point of it to keep some little things the way she would’ve done them as a human. Something Tib didn’t tire of pointing out to her, and that she needed to ‘let go’.

She looked at her alarm clock. 5:23pm. The sun must just be setting at this time, she thought and sat up to stretch her stiff limbs. Padding over to the window, she pressed the button and carefully opened the electric shutters enough so she could see if there was any sunlight left, but only the blueish early evening sky could be seen. She opened them all the way, standing still in front of the large window and admiring the remaining orange glow at the horizon mingling with the dark blue that was drowning it out as time progressed.

Anne often watched these last bits of the sun disappear in the evenings if she was up early enough – and she generally was. She’d been a bit of an early riser when she was still human, and this was the next best thing she got to watching the sunrise in the mornings, at least this time of year when autumn was turning into winter.

In summer, when the sunrise came earlier, Anne would often stand at her window and watch the sky brighten until the first pink glow signalling the sun’s impending arrival would show, forcing her to retreat to the safety of darkness. As a human, she used to love the long sunny days of summer, but now she preferred the long dark nights of winter and hated that summer forced her to hibernate for most of the day.

This world wasn’t made for her kind, and it didn’t tire to remind her every single second of her existence. Anne frowned at the thought, but chased it away knowing she couldn’t change anything about her fate anyway.

Giving the sky one more look, Anne turned on her heels and went for a shower to start her night on a better note. As the warm water engulfed her, her thoughts were drawn to the young blonde woman she had bitten last night. It wasn’t uncommon for a fleeting thought here or there to go to the more likeable of her victims, but they usually dissipated quickly.

Now her mind lingered a little, however, and she wondered what the woman might be doing this evening. Was she spending it alone? Or would she perhaps be working late again like last night? Unlikely. She was probably still recovering and had the time off. Anne hoped she was doing okay.

Why was she even thinking about her this much at all? Anne gave herself a long look in the mirror before wrapping the towel around her body and leaving the bathroom to get herself a coffee.

Usually she made a proper one with her coffee machine, but on the odd nights she was in a bit of a weird mood – like tonight, apparently – she would open her fridge and take out one of those coffees in a can.

Tib rightfully always made a face at her for drinking these; they were awful, really, but Anne found that on some nights the thin coffee-like flavour that was only borderline drinkable did something for her. She downed the contents in a few gulps before crushing the small can and disposing of it.

The skies were clear tonight, so Anne opted for her favourite leather jacket, black pants and shirt and boots. Giving herself a quick look in the mirror, she nodded pleased with the result. On her way out of her bedroom, her gaze fell on the revolver that was hanging on the wall, and she could practically hear Tib’s voice echoing in her mind telling her she should take it with her more often, even if it was unlikely she would need it.

Anne often didn’t see the point in carrying the firearm around with her on the off chance that she’d get into trouble with the vampire hunters and her usual powers might not be enough. She shook her head and stepped onto her balcony, breathing in the fresh evening air before shapeshifting.

There was always something freeing about flying through Halifax, the darkness and her small size making her practically invisible. She could fly wherever she wanted, and often Anne would spend a long time just letting the wind carry her and enjoying the sense of freedom it gave her.

Sometimes, she would also watch what people got up to in the city at night. She could also do that walking through the city in her normal body, but it could be risky if someone talked to her and identified her as a vampire. No, she usually preferred staying on the rooftops or watching as a bat.

Anne focused back on her surroundings, noticing that she’d mindlessly flown to a familiar building while lost in her thoughts. She landed on the rooftop she’d been sitting on last night, her gaze falling over to the balcony. The lights were on.

She remembered the woman’s interest, how she’d asked her why she hadn’t killed her. Anne hadn’t been able to answer that question since she’d passed out, and part of her wanted to rectify that. Would she really appreciate that? Surely not.

Part of Anne also wanted to make sure she was doing alright, that little voice in her head nagging her to check on her even though she never did that. Even though it was her rule to bite them once and never return.

And yet.

She couldn’t explain the lack of rational thought to herself, only knew the nagging feeling would likely not leave her alone anytime soon if she didn’t act on it. Aunt Anne’s voice echoed in the back of her mind, kindly telling a younger Anne how these impulses were our souls trying to guide us on a better path. Anne had never believed it, but the memory drove her as she flew over to the balcony.

 

****

 

Ann was humming along to the melody of a pop song in her head as she stirred the contents of the pan, taking a deep breath of the stir fry, her mouth watering already. She reached for her fork and tasted it, humming contentedly before adding some salt and trying it again. Perfect.

She moved the pan off the cooker when there was a knocking sound from behind her. Ann turned, finding herself looking into dark eyes as the vampire was leaning against her doorframe.

Fear clutched her heart as Ann’s eyes widened and she pressed back against the stove as if she could get away. But the vampire was blocking the only exit; she was trapped.

Anne realised how this must look. She couldn’t blame her for that reaction, and part of her scolded herself for coming here at all and scaring this young woman who seemed to have been having a nice evening on her own before she decided to ruin it by showing up.

“I’m not here to hurt you,” she started carefully, awkwardly scratching the back of her neck as she realised she hadn’t really thought about this. How this would go. She suddenly felt a little silly.

But Anne Lister didn’t make a fool of herself. That didn’t happen, she reminded herself, her pride kicking in making her stand more upright as she looked at the woman.

“Are you recovering well?” She pointed at the wound.

Ann looked at her wide-eyed, clutching at the counter behind her as she tried to keep herself upright. She’d expected to already find herself pressed against the wall while fangs tore into her skin once more, but that question caught her off guard. Her adrenaline-fuelled brain took a moment to find a proper response.

She cleared her throat, trying to find her voice. “I, uh… yes. Yes. The morning was rough but I’m fine now, thank you.”

Why was the vampire here?

Anne nodded. “That’s good, that’s good.”

Awkward silence followed, and Anne wondered if she shouldn’t just leave.

“H-how did you get in? I didn’t keep the balcony door open.”

A small smile grew on Anne’s lips as she pointed behind herself. “One of the windows was tilted open.”

Ann raised an eyebrow in question. No person could fit through that. Or did she break it…?

“I turned into a bat and flew through.”

Oh. Ann nodded as understanding set in. “I didn’t know- I didn’t know you could do that.”

Anne hummed in response, noticing the woman looked a little less tense as she leaned against the counter less anxiously. She cleared her throat.

“I was thinking… you asked me a question, and I didn’t get to answer it.”

Ann licked her lips nervously, but nodded when she remembered what she meant. “Yes.”

Anne opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by a beeping sound.

“One sec,” Ann said as she turned towards her stove and turned off the alarm she’d set herself for her food. The hairs on her neck stood up even in those few short moments she had her back to the vampire, and she took a sharp breath when she turned back and the woman stood closer to her now, though still with some distance.

Anne took a step back, suddenly feeling rude. She’d kind of barged in here forcing herself on this woman again, hadn’t she? Just because she hadn’t attacked her this time it didn’t make it any less wrong. She bit her lip.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have just broken in here like this, assuming you’d be fine with that. I better see myself out.”

It was the polite and right thing to do. Anne turned to go.

“No, I… I’d still like to hear what you have to say.”

She looked over her shoulder, finding the blonde’s eyes on her with a shy but determined expression. Anne slowly nodded.

Ann moved over to her kitchen table, gesturing to the seat. “Please… take a seat.”

So she did. Ann put her food on a plate, looking at her over her shoulder as a thought occurred to her. “Do you, uhm, do you eat food at all?”

Sometimes, it surprised Anne how little most humans still knew about vampires. But she guessed it wasn’t exactly necessary knowledge for them. “Rarely, when I feel like it. It’s more for the taste, it doesn’t sustain me. I need blood for that.”

She offered an apologetic smile when their gazes met, and Ann nodded before walking over to put her plate on the seat opposite her. “I’m afraid I didn’t make enough for two people, but can I offer you a drink?”

“I’m good, thank you.” Truth be told, Anne wouldn’t have minded something to drink but she didn’t want to bother this woman any more than she already had by coming here.

Ann sat down and dug into her food. It looked good, and taking in the smell, Anne figured it was likely something she would’ve also enjoyed having. But she focused back on why she was here.

“Right… you asked me why I kept you alive.”

Ann put a fork full of food in her mouth, her eyes on the vampire signalling she was paying attention.

“The truth is, I don’t like to inflict more suffering than I have to to sate my hunger. And it makes it easier to stay low profile without the vampire hunters investigating a dead body.”

Ann swallowed her food, her face temporarily souring at the mention of the vampire hunters – Thomas worked for them. Ann did not want to be reminded of him right now.

Anne didn’t fail to notice the brief show of disgust on the woman’s face, and she wondered if she’d said something wrong. She guessed it was probably not a pleasant topic to think about for someone who’d become one of her victims just the night prior.

“So you’ve never killed anyone?”

Anne rubbed her hands together. She certainly wished that were true. “Well… no.”

Looking at the vampire, the way she was avoiding eye contact and rubbing her hands together, Ann could see that this was probably not something she was proud of or wanted to talk about more. So she didn’t ask about it any further.

“Why did you choose me?”

Anne looked back up, glad that the blonde had decided not to enquire further.

“I saw you on the streets and followed you on the rooftops. There is honestly not too much to it, I just pick someone who looks worthwhile and wait till I can get to them somewhere secluded… like their home.”

Ann chewed the last bit of her food and put her fork down, taking in what the vampire just said. It sounded rather clinical, like she put little emotion into the entire thing. Ann guessed that made sense, for her it was probably as normal as it was for Ann to cook her food and eat it to live. Or for a wild animal to hunt their prey. It made sense. And still, the vampire showed more consideration than a wild animal by choosing not to kill her prey.

Their gazes met, and for the first time Ann had a proper chance to take her in. Her brown eyes focusing on hers and the little wrinkles around them that suggested she was probably around her early fourties if Ann had to guess, the firm line of her jaw that gave her entire face a strong character, and those red lips curling into a smirk. Ann’s eyes flicked up.

“Am I that fascinating?”

Ann had been caught. A blush spread on her cheeks as she quickly rose from her seat and brought her plate to the sink, biting her lip when she turned back.

“I didn’t mean to stare. Sorry.”

Anne smiled, feeling like the tension between them had dissolved a little. “Don’t worry about it.”

Silence followed, and Ann wondered what she should do now. She could certainly ask her unexpected guest many more questions – she barely knew anything about vampires. But wouldn’t that be a bit much?

“What’s your name? If you don’t mind the question.”

Ann looked up, finding the vampire’s interested gaze on her. “I’m Ann.”

A smile grew on Anne’s lips as she rose from the chair. “Looks like we share a name. I’m Anne too.” She held out her hand.

Ann wasn’t quite sure why such a simple gesture made her nervous, maybe it was the dashing smile accompanying it. She steadied her nerves and took her hand, momentarily surprised feeling the warm skin against hers but quickly recalling she’d not felt any cold when Anne had held her hand over her mouth either.

“What?” Anne raised an eyebrow as their hands parted.

Ann shook her head with a smile. Anne must think her silly certainly. “I didn’t expect you to be… warm.”

“That is a common misconception. I don’t know where that belief came from, but it’s wrong.”

There were many things Ann didn’t know about this woman and her life as a creature of the night. Again she felt curiosity bubble up within her, and spotting no sign that Anne wanted to leave, she decided to go for it.

“Do you want to stick around a little? I could make tea if you like.”

Anne hadn’t planned on it. She wasn’t a tea drinker either. But she couldn’t deny that the thought of spending more time in Ann’s presence felt good, that she was starting to feel more comfortable around her and would like to talk to her more. Anne’s existence was a rather lonely one, and while Tib was a good friend, it was a friendship best enjoyed in small doses.

“Sure, I’d like that.”

They sat together in the living room shortly after, the tv running quietly in the background as Ann asked her the questions that came to mind: How old was Anne? – Roughly 42 in human years, and she had been a vampire for round about 12 years, so would be turning 52 in spring if she’d stayed human. Ann wanted to know how quickly they aged – 1-2 years in 10 human years.

“So you weren’t always a vampire. How were you turned?”

Anne swallowed. She guessed it made sense that Ann would ask her that question next, but even after 12 years it was a topic she wasn’t comfortable with – too many painful memories.

Ann noticed the shift in atmosphere, the way Anne’s shoulders tensed as she seemed to put more distance between them on the sofa. It was clearly a sensitive topic.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-“

Anne looked at her directly, forcing a smile. “It’s fine. It’s just something I don’t usually talk about.”

Ann nodded, and it became silent save for the tv. She suddenly felt bad for having asked this question.

“What about you? Want to tell me about yourself?”

Ann licked her lips. Somehow she hadn’t expected that question. “Oh, I…”

Where should she start? Ann looked around the room a little helplessly before her gaze settled on Anne who was looking at her expectantly.

“Well, you know where I live, this is my place,” she started, holding out her arms. “I live alone, as you probably noticed, and I’m turning 30 next year. Oh, and I work at the hospital.”

She felt small under that strong gaze, knowing well that she wasn’t good at talking about herself.

But Anne only nodded as if everything was fine, smiling. “At the hospital, hm? Is that why you came home so late last night?”

Ann smiled, relief washing over her that Anne wasn’t giving her a funny look. “Yes. Sometimes I work late. I’m a doctor.”

Anne took a sip from her tea, it was honestly not bad considering she wasn’t a tea drinker at all. “A doctor. And why does a doctor like you go home through the empty streets in the middle of the night on foot, instead of taking a taxi? Surely your job pays well enough.”

Anne looked directly at her with a knowing gaze, but it wasn’t unkind. Ann figured she had a point, and she wasn’t the first person to tell her walking home at such hours wasn’t safe.

“I just like it, I guess. The calm quiet of the night around me while I walk the short way home. It feels peaceful.”

Anne could most definitely agree with that statement, the late night was peaceful. She could not argue with that.

“True. I know what you mean all too well. Still, maybe think about it. It isn’t safe. One of these days a thug might take the chance.”

In truth, this wasn’t usually the kind of talk Anne had with people. It wasn’t any of her business really, and yet some part of her still found it important to tell Ann this, even if it wasn’t her place.

Ann nodded, and while the advice wasn’t new to her, it still made her feel warm in her chest to know that Anne was considerate enough to mention this. “Thank you, I appreciate the thought.”

They talked a little longer about Ann’s workplace, and she joked how she was probably about as comfortable with blood as Anne, considering how often she was in contact with it in the hospital. She told her she took great pleasure from helping people in need and saving lives, though it was also a very taxing job that often left her drained at the end of a long day.

Hours had passed by the time Anne left. Ann found herself standing at the balcony watching her shapeshift and fly away. She wondered if this was the last time she saw her but hoped it wasn’t. Anne was a vampire, but she wasn’t a monster – that much Ann knew for sure by now.

Chapter Text

While flying home, Anne couldn’t quite take her thoughts off Ann and the hours they had spent together. It had felt nice to be around her, to chat and spend some time with someone who – after the initial understandable fear at Anne’s sudden appearance, of course – treated her like a normal person.

Anne was in contact with humans sometimes, though it was mostly for business. Some were willing to look past the fact that they were vampires as long as they could work together, though this mostly involved grey area or illegal activities. Others, like Ann, who had no such motives and were still open to being around vampires were rarer, and Anne had never seen such an attitude from someone who’d been bitten against their will. Most people either feared or despised them, or both.

There were also the ones who found them exciting because they were vampires, seeing them as some sort of novelty. Anne had never liked being looked at like some sort of entertaining freak, but she’d taken a fair few women to bed who’d been excited to know what sex with a vampire was like all the same.

Entering her home, Anne could already hear her phone’s ringtone. She rolled her eyes, knowing already who it was as she made her way over and picked up.

“Tib.”

“Anne. Why so grumpy?”

Anne grumbled. “I’m not grumpy.”

Tib’s husky voice filled her ears as she chuckled. “Oh, you are. I don’t know you any other way.”

“Mh.” Anne made her way over to her bedroom to collect her gun, not acknowledging her statement even though part of her knew that she could come across rather miserable sometimes. Not ‘grumpy’ though.

“Well, anyway. I’ve been trying to reach you, but you never take your phone with you.”

Anne took the revolver from its place on the wall, stroking over the cold metal with her free hand. “It gets in the way.”

That wasn’t a lie, Anne didn’t like having to carry more around with her than she considered necessary. Still, it was also a benefit that she was left in peace if no one could call her. Something she needed some nights.

“Oh come on, it’s so small. It would hardly get in the way,” Tib argued, but she knew Anne well enough to understand she wouldn’t change that one’s ways. “I was going to ask you if you wanted to come to the bar for some drinks. Could be fun. Might have some pretty ladies around too, mh?”

Anne bent down to open the drawer for her ammunition, stopping herself as she heard Tib’s suggestion. Honestly, she wasn’t sure if she was in the mood. She’d wanted to go to the deserted farm they used as a firing range. The shooting always relaxed her and was one of the hobbies she’d taught herself over the course of her vampire life. Sometimes Tib came with her too, though she was a rather lousy shot.

“I don’t know, Tib. I was going to head over to the firing range.”

“Ah, come on. You’re there all the time. I haven’t seen you in days!

“Nights, technically.”

“Well, you know what I mean.”

There was a moment’s silence as Anne thought it through. It was true that she hadn’t seen Tib in a little while, and she could still go shooting after. She put the gun down.

“Alright. I’ll be there shortly.”

“Good! I’ll see you soon then!” She could practically hear her friend’s grin over the line.

 

****

 

The bar they always met up at – Tib’s bar – wasn’t far from Anne’s place. The building looked innocent enough from the front, with blacked out windows and the front door barred. Any regular person just saw it as an empty building they’d likely tear down at some point. Anne made sure she wasn’t spotted as she snuck to the back entrance.

Few people knew about it, and for good reason: the bar was a meeting point for the vampires of Halifax and their allies, and the last thing anyone wanted was the vampire hunters raiding the place.

That was why Anne wasn’t a big fan of Tib’s habit of bringing in new people every now and then, inviting humans for different reasons – partying, sex, business. Her friend at least had the foresight of making sure these people got to their place blindfolded, so no one had any clue where they were, but still. Anne often warned her about it.

Which didn’t mean she didn’t understand it could get dull for her extroverted friend. There weren’t many of their kind, so she understood Tib wanted to have new people around every now and then. And it could be entertaining, sometimes.

The heavy metal door creaked as Anne was let in by the guard, nodding at him before making her way down the stairs. She could already feel the bass vibrating in her body, and the closer she got, the more pronounced was the loud music blasting in Tib’s kingdom.

Entering the main room, she was greeted by the flickering of the colourful disco-like lights and the heavy smell of smoke in the air. There were a few people on the small dancefloor in the middle of the room, bodies swaying to the beat.

Tib’s roar of a laugh in the back could be heard even through the music. Their little bar – though really it was more of a club, but Tib didn’t like it being called that – was decently populated tonight, and while Anne had been unsure about coming, she felt a sense of comfort overcome her as the familiarity of the place wrapped around her like a warm blanket and pulled her in.

Moving over to the corner in the back, she found her friend at a table, joined by two scantily clad women that Anne didn’t recognise as well as two other vampires that often frequented the bar.

Tib was just leaning over to one of the women, whispering something in her ear that made the brunette giggle as she nodded. Tib’s hand rested on her thigh, and it didn’t need mindreading abilities for Anne to know what they’d be up to later.

She stood in front of the table, and Tib turned her head as she noticed her friend. A huge grin grew on her face immediately.

“There you are!”

She immediately shifted to get up, approaching Anne and enveloping her in a tight bear hug. Anne wasn’t generally a fan of hugging, but Tib was the only person who could get away with it, and while Anne wouldn’t admit it out loud, it had grown on her.

Anne gave her a brief look up and down as they parted. Tib was wearing one of those white suits again, complete with a black tie and her short black hair gelled back neatly. She’d never understood why anyone in their right mind would wear white suits, it was far too easy to get them stained. Anne much preferred her own black wardrobe.

“I know, I know. White. Gets dirty easily.”

Tib gave her a lopsided smile, and Anne shook her head, smiling. She knew her far too well. Looking over Tib’s shoulder, Anne found the woman that hadn’t been busy with Tib shyly smiling at her.

Her friend turned briefly, noticing the exchange before wrapping her arm around Anne’s shoulder and pulling her over to the bar.

“That’s Louise,” she offered with a knowing look.

Anne hummed. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d end up in the sheets with one of the ladies Tib had invited to the club – vampire or human – but tonight she wasn’t sure if she was in the mood.

They both ordered their drinks, and she found her gaze locking onto nothing in particular for a few moments as her thoughts briefly drifted back to the time she’d spent with Ann.

Tib knocking on her shoulder drew her out of it.

“Anybody there?”

Anne blinked, looking at Tib who raised her eyebrows before holding up her beer. Anne reached for her own, clinking the glass against Tib’s before they drank.

“Everything alright? You seem pretty pensive tonight.”

Taking another swig from her beer, Anne put it down and looked at Tib. She took a breath and then told her what had happened with Ann, how her reaction after the bite had surprised her, and how Anne had found herself at her home again tonight and they’d chatted for a while. How pleasant her company was.

Tib hummed thoughtfully, looking down at her hands for a moment. Then she grinned at Anne.

“Is she hot?”

Anne rolled her eyes, but avoided her gaze for a moment as she thought about it. Ann was beautiful, yes – she’d noticed that much on their first encounter. But was that the main reason Anne enjoyed her company and had returned to her? She thought not.

“I mean… yes, she is. But that’s not the reason why-“

Tib’s rough voice as she laughed interrupted her. She slapped Anne on the back. “I know you, Lister, and you know yourself.”

There was truth in that. Usually. Anne had spent plenty of years sleeping around, and wanting to get women to bed was usually the only reason she bothered spending time with them. But lately, over the past couple of months or so, she’d lost interest more and more and retreated into herself at the harder to ignore feeling of how pointless her existence felt.

Despite her friend’s light-hearted reaction, Anne knew that Tib had noticed it too. That she’d taken women to their homes less frequently from the bar. That she’d been quieter and generally more miserable. Not that she’d ever been truly happy since she was turned, but still. Looking into her eyes, underneath the knowing grin, she saw the worry Tib had for her, even if she didn’t say it openly.

Anne smiled. “I do. But this is not it. I haven’t even thought about that, not really. I just feel good around her.”

Tib downed the rest of her pint in one big swig, wiping her mouth. “Fair enough. But my bets are still on you having her in bed in a matter of days.”

Anne chuckled, shaking her head at her friend as she drank some of her nearly untouched beer too. It had been a while since she’d felt so effortlessly comfortable around someone, that something about Ann was drawing her in that went beyond her beauty or sex.

Her life as a vampire was a lonely one, and where Anne often felt cast out from the world for what she was, Ann was genuinely curious about her instead. Anne allowed her mind to drift, imagining what it would feel like to kiss her, but quickly dismissed the thought – she didn’t even know if Ann was gay, and she likely would not want to look at Anne, a vampire, in such a way. Surely Ann’s interest in her didn’t go that far.

 

****

The next day…

 

All in all, it had gone rather well at the hospital. After the initial shocked reactions by most of the staff and them asking if she was fine, Ann had spent a rather quiet shift without too much stress or any emergencies coming in, which she was grateful for.

She ticked a few things off her list on the clipboard, they needed to stock up on more disinfectant among other things. This wasn’t usually her job to do, but Ann found she still couldn’t help herself and occasionally checked up on the things that she knew her staff sometimes overlooked.

“Ann! I’ve been looking for you.”

She looked up at the familiar voice, her fingers gripping the pen in her hand tighter. Thomas was practically running down the corridor towards her, his boots thundering over the tiled floor, two men in the typical grey-and-black vampire hunter uniforms accompanying him. He was wearing the typical uniform of a higher ranked so called ‘inquisitor’ himself – Ann always found the title ridiculous – a black trench coat with grey light leather armour underneath.

“Thomas,” she said without a smile, stepping back a little when he stood in front of her.

He looked her up and down worriedly before stepping closer and moving aside her doctor’s coat so he could have a better look at the bite marks. “I’ve just heard what happened. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Ann moved away from his touch. “Please don’t touch me. I’ve reported it straight away.”

She refused to answer why she wouldn’t have told him specifically – shouldn’t it be obvious?

He scratched his chin as if in thought, either oblivious to or ignoring Ann’s cold demeanour. “You’re very lucky that you’re still alive. What can you tell me about the vampire?”

At this, Ann put down her notepad and pen, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she saw the gears in his head already working on solving this case. Only she had no interest in him getting his grubby hands on Anne. She licked her lips, her heart beating faster.

“I-I’m not sure.”

“What do you mean? Surely you saw something.”

Ann rubbed her hands. “I… well- it was a man,” she started with a small voice. Why was she such a terrible liar?

Thomas nodded to the man on his left, and he took out a small tablet to write down what she was saying.

“And, uhm… it all happened so fast.”

Thomas gave her a smile, reaching out to rub her shoulder. She twitched.

“That’s okay, Annie. I know this is hard.”

She nodded, glad that he seemed to be buying it. “His hair… short and black, I think. And, uhm, he was tall.”

“That’s good. Did he leave any traces? Anything?”

“I don’t think so.”

“We will search your place, alright? I know it’s unpleasant, but if there are any clues that can help us, we might find this disgusting creature to put it out of its misery.”

Ann had to look away as she felt disgust brew in her stomach. Disgusting was a word she would use for Thomas, but not for Anne. But he would never understand that, and would likely call her insane if she were stupid enough to tell him what had really happened with Anne.

Luckily, Thomas didn’t stick around after that. He tried to make conversation briefly, but with Ann’s brief answers and his men around, it was rather awkward and he soon went off. Ann took a deep breath. How many more hints would he need to understand she wasn’t interested, not even in a friendship?

 

****

A few hours later…

 

It was late when Ann finally wrapped up her shift and got changed to leave. She quickly popped in where Catherine was having a break during her night shift, and after a quick chat about their day and jokes at Thomas’ expense, Ann left with a smile on her face.

The streets were mostly deserted around this hour, as always. A cold wind was blowing in her face occasionally, and Ann shivered a little as she walked the brief way home. She had no chance to react when strong hands gripped her and pulled her into a dark side alley.

Within mere seconds, her back hit the cold brick wall and she looked into a man’s face.

“What’s a pretty lady like you doing out late all by herself?”

She tried to move but couldn’t budge with his tight grip holding her securely in place. Ann swallowed but kept eye contact as she gathered all her courage.

“Let me go.”

He laughed. “Not a chance. Not before I’ve got what I want.”

Ann shuddered as she saw the glimmer in his eyes. “W-what do you want?”

“Your money. And then, we’re going to have some fun.”

“N-no…” She struggled against him, trying to kick at him with all the force she could muster.

The thug frowned, one hand letting go of Ann. A moment later, her eyes widened as he held up a knife for her to see. His face was serious. “No funny business. Now, the money.”

Ann’s hands were shaking as she did as told and got her purse out, trying to come up with a way to catch him off guard, anything to get her out of this situation. But her shocked mind was blank, her body frozen in place as she seemed to be watching from outside what was happening to her. He ripped the purse out of her hands, looking through it briefly before humming contentedly and putting it in the pocket of his jacket.

His eyes fell back on her. He pressed her against the wall again, his lecherous eyes taking her in as he ran his fingers over her cheek. He smelled of cheap alcohol and cigarettes. Ann flinched away.

“You’re very pretty. You’re going to enjoy this, I promise.”

“You have five seconds to let her go.”

Both Ann and the thug turned at the voice coming from deeper down the alley, a woman clad in a black trench coat emerging from the darkness. His eyes widened, and Ann let out a sigh of relief.

“Five…”

She came closer, her dark eyes on him as he seemed to recover and brought up his knife again, holding it to Ann’s throat.

“One step closer and she’s dead!”

Ann took a sharp breath, her eyes widening in panic as she looked towards Anne.

She had no chance to follow what happened next; in less than a second – or that’s what it felt like to Ann – Anne had closed the distance between them and was pushing the man into the opposite wall. She’d nearly forgotten she was this fast.

Anne held him tightly in place, making sure he saw her teeth as she ripped the knife from his hand and threw it aside.

“The lady doesn’t want your attention. Is that clear?”

He was the one shuddering now, not able to take his eyes off her sharp teeth as he tried to wiggle against her vice grip in vain. She smashed him against the wall.

“Is that clear?” she repeated in a hiss.

The thug nodded quickly.

Anne pulled him away from the wall, holding his arms behind his back as she made him face Ann. “Apologise.”

“I-… I’m s-sorry, Miss.”

Anne moved close from behind him. “Now give back the purse,” she almost whispered next to his ear, noticing him shudder as he took the purse from his jacket with shaky hands and handed it over.

Ann took it, only able to stare at what was happening as the shock was still freezing her.

Anne hummed contentedly, and the man turned his head to look at her. “C-can I… can I go?”

Ann watched silently, her eyes widening as Anne smashed his back into the wall again and he groaned in pain. Her hand wrapped around his throat as she kept eye contact. Her eyes were nearly black, something wild flickering in them.

“I should suck every drop of blood out of your body for this. Slowly.

Her grip around his throat tightened until his breath was coming out in laboured rasps. “If I ever catch you doing this again, there won’t be any mercy. I’m sure you’ve seen on the news what we’re capable of.”

He nodded quickly, all colour drained from his face. “Y-yes.”

Anne smiled, but it was cold. “Good.”

She let her gaze linger on his for a moments before letting him go. “Now leave.”

He didn’t need to be told twice, trying to run off so quickly that he slipped and fell on his knees. Anne wasn’t sure she’d ever seen anyone scramble to his feet so quickly yet clumsily at the same time, her gaze following him as he ran off.

Ann moved to stand next to her, the shock still written on her face. Anne’s gaze softened as she looked at her. After a few moments, Ann spoke.

“Thank you… for helping me.”

Anne nodded, a smile forming on her lips. Then her smile dropped as she looked Ann up and down. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

Ann smiled, shaking her head. “No. I’m okay.”

“I’m glad,” Anne responded, looking more at ease again.

The shock was easing off each second, and Ann already felt a little better. Anne had saved her from a horrible fate, and now she was showing concern for her again. She remembered the vampire’s warning not to walk home late alone. As it turned out, she’d been right, and Ann wondered if her showing up had been a coincidence.

“Let me walk you home,” Anne suggested after a moment.

“I’d like that.”

It posed a risk for Anne to be on the streets with her, but she gladly took it if it meant Ann got home safe. They walked together out of the alley, and Ann looked at her with a smile that Anne returned.

They walked in comfortable silence for a bit before Ann spoke up.

“Did you follow me from the hospital?”

Looking at her, Anne saw only kindness in her eyes, so she knew Ann didn’t mean the question in a reproachful manner.

“No. It was a coincidence. I was in the area when I spotted him pulling someone aside. I didn’t know it was you until I approached.”

Ann nodded. “A lucky coincidence for sure.”

They reached Ann’s place, stopping in front of the apartment building. Anne bit her lip, suddenly feeling a little nervous.

“Maybe think about what I said last night? About not walking home late alone.”

Anne was glad she’d been in the area to help Ann, but the thought of her walking home alone and potentially getting in trouble again worried Anne, she had to admit. She felt protective of this kind young woman.

A small smile formed on Ann’s lips as she nodded, her chest warming at the way Anne’s brow creased with concern. She couldn’t stop herself as she stood on her tiptoes and placed a kiss to her cheek.

“I will. I’ll take the taxi from now on.”

Anne hoped the poor dim lighting of the entrance area did enough to cover the way her cheeks warmed as she recovered from the sudden kiss. She nodded, smiling after a moment.

“I’m glad.”

Ann fished out her keys. “Thank you again.”

“You’re welcome. Have a good night, Ann.”

“You too. And Anne? You’re always welcome here.”

The softly spoken words were accompanying Anne for the rest of her night, and she couldn’t deny the excitement the prospect of seeing Ann again brought.

Chapter Text

It was a night like any other. Anne was nodding her head to the fast beat, the loud guitars blasting in her car’s sound system as she was driving down the countryside road, taking the speed limit as more of a piece of advice she opted to ignore.

It was getting late, but Anne sometimes needed these late night drives to clear her head and get the bad taste of yet another argument with Mariana out of her mouth. With each second, she was feeling better and freer again, letting the music and the adrenaline of speed drive it away.

There was a forest nearby, and Anne glimpsed at the tall imposing trees as she drove by, how they looked almost ominous in the darkness of night, as if all sorts of creatures were hiding within waiting to hunt whoever dared venturing inside at this hour.

The brief moment of distraction and the speed she was driving at were enough to make her nearly miss the deer running onto the road. She turned her head just in time, eyes widening as she slammed the brake to try and prevent the worst. Anne knew better than to try and avoid hitting the deer by attempting some sort of evasive maneuver – or she usually knew better. It seemed all of her well-working rational capabilities were on maintenance when she quickly turned the steering wheel in an attempt to dodge the deer that had stopped in panic.

All she did was steer herself off the road and into a large tree, her car catching fire as the minutes ticked by with Anne unconscious in the driver seat. It wasn’t long until the flames started consuming the car and the person within. Anne briefly regained consciousness as she was being lifted, her entire body so hot she wanted to scream in pain. It was too overwhelming, and soon she lost consciousness once more.

Everything was blurry, the distinct smell of smoke entering Anne’s lungs as she tried to open her eyes, groaning in pain. Every breath she tried to take hurt deeply in her lungs, and no matter how hard she tried, it felt like she couldn’t breathe in enough air. Her eyes tried to focus but they couldn’t; all she could make out was darkness. She was lying down, she knew that much, but couldn’t make out anything else.

She tried to call for help, but only a strangled sound came out. Her entire body throbbed, a sharp pain pulsing through every cell of her being. It was hard to keep herself awake with this nearly too much to bear pain. What had happened?

Anne tried to lift her hand, dread coursing through her at what she might see. But then a shadow leaned over her, stopping her. She couldn’t make out more than a blurry face as the person moved closer, then an entirely new sensation of pain in her neck. Anne grunted, too weak for anything more as the sharp something dug into her skin. She was in too much pain to really focus on what was going on, only after what felt like an eternity, the person pulled away from her neck.

“Open your mouth,” she thought she heard him say – it sounded like it was a mile away, like Anne was hearing the command while under water. She weakly opened her mouth as told, feeling dizzy now after whatever that person had just done with her.

A shadow moved over her, and moments later the iron taste of blood hit her senses as it dripped into her mouth. Anne swallowed out of reflex, her face scrunching up with the taste. Her head started spinning, strange images appearing on her mind before she passed out again.

Anne sat up, taking a deep breath as she looked around her. She was in the forest no doubt, the tall trees rising above her. It was still dark but the horizon was starting to change colour with the imminent sunrise. What had happened? The car, a crash, the pain – fragments of her memory came back to Anne in a flash, and she raised her hands to look at herself.

They looked unharmed, and she didn’t feel any pain. In fact, Anne felt perfectly fine, and part of her briefly wondered if what she thought to remember was just an odd dream. Until she noticed the state of her coat sleeves, or what was left of them. Her eyes widened in shock as she looked down herself and saw the mostly burnt remains of her clothes – but the skin underneath was entirely unharmed.

Anne’s head started spinning as she tried and failed to piece together how this made any sense. Questions shot through her head: What had happened to her? How had she ended up in the forest? Was her car nearby?

Unable to answer these questions for now, she got up from the ground, looking around her again as a little note stuck to a nearby tree got her attention. Moving close, she took in the scrawly handwriting.

Stay away from the sun. It will kill you.

She furrowed her brow in confusion at the advice. Was it meant for her? She looked over to the horizon where the sun was starting to rise. Why would she stay away from it?

She needed to get home, if anything. Surely her family was worried sick about her if she’d been away all night. Anne turned to leave when the sensation started. It felt like an uncomfortable scratch at first, but only moments later the pain started, and Anne groaned as it became more intense quickly. She looked towards the appearing sun, hissing as it seemed to even hurt her eyes to look at it.

Remembering the note, Anne started to panic – whatever was happening, it was getting worse quickly. She looked around, spotting a little forest house nearby and running towards it. About half way there she winced in pain, and the distinct smell of skin burning hit her nose as Anne hissed.

Looking at the house, desperation overcame her. What if she didn’t make it in time? What if she couldn’t get in? Surely it was locked. What was happening to her? The question popped into her head again, followed by the reminder that she needed to make it over there, away from the sun.

It was like an instinct to her all of a sudden. She tried to run faster, and it was in that moment that Anne suddenly found herself right in front of the house’s door, having seemingly crossed the remaining distance in a heartbeat. How…?

She had no time to question it, the pain was nearly unbearable at this point and she clenched her teeth, groaning as she reached for the door. Locked, of course.

“No, no, no…”

Anne pressed against the door, and she wasn’t sure if it was all her fear and pain empowering her, but she managed to fall through it with ease, the lock breaking under the force of her body as if this hadn’t been a massive, enforced door.

She closed it behind her, the darkness of the room enveloping her. Anne looked down at her hands again, eyes widening in shock as she saw her own burnt skin. Had the note been right? Why… how?

A single terrifying explanation came to mind, but Anne pushed it away. There was no way-

Her mouth was hanging open in disbelief as she watched the heavily burnt skin of her hands mend itself, the sore reddened flesh returning back to its soft rosy state as if nothing had happened, until her hands looked unharmed and her pain ceased.

Anne swallowed as realisation set in.

 

****

 

Anne gasped as she shot up in bed, her entire body drenched in sweat and her heart beating rapidly in her chest. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as the remnants of an all too familiar memory clung to her.

She’d lost her life that day. Twelve whole years ago. It still felt like it had only happened yesterday. From what she could piece together from her memories and what she’d seen on the newspaper about her accident, Anne knew she would’ve died that day. If not for whatever vampire had decided to turn her instead. To save her life perhaps, but it didn’t feel like it. She might still exist, but it still felt like Anne had died that day.

And that’s what her family would think for the rest of their days too. A lone tear ran down her cheek as she thought of her aunt, father and her sister. She missed them every day, and she knew they missed her as well if their frequent visits to her grave were any indication. On some nights, when Anne felt particularly morbid, she visited her grave too.

How often Anne had longed to reveal herself to them, to show them that she was still alive – somewhat. But she knew that they would never accept her, that they’d be scared and disgusted at what she’d become, like most people. She briefly thought of Ann, a smile forming on her lips at her kindness towards her. No, her family wouldn’t be like that with a vampire. She remembered the brief talks between them well enough in the past, when vampires would come up because of another incident in the paper and everyone would be in shock and disgust, hoping they would never have the misfortune of meeting such a creature.

It didn’t mean that Anne hadn’t considered it anyway, had thought that perhaps her family would accept her for what she was if she could show them she wasn’t a bloodthirsty monster. But whenever she’d tried to approach the house in the early evening hours, her courage would leave her as doubts took over and whispered in her ear that chances were she’d scare her elderly father and aunt enough to cause them heart attacks. And she thought that her family would rather remember her fondly than know what became of her instead. So she had long given up on the idea of approaching them.

While she couldn’t ever see her family again, Anne still went round to Shibden every now and then to check up on them and make sure they were alright. She would often find herself sitting near the windows as a bat, watching the Listers sit together in front of the tv, or laugh together at the dinner table. It hurt to not be able to share these moments with them, to bicker with her sister, clap the Captain’s shoulder amicably and hug her aunt before saying good night. But at least Anne knew they were alright and well.

She blinked away her tears, trying to steady herself and push the thoughts away for now before turning to check the time. It was late enough to get up at least. Anne pushed back the blanket, deciding it was time for a visit to check on her family. And maybe after, she might visit someone else as well, she thought with a smile that chased away the heaviness in her heart.

 

****

Anne’s thoughts were with her family as she flew from the countryside where Shibden was back into the city to Ann’s place. They were doing well, and she was glad about that even if a sadness weighed her down at having to stay away from the people she loved most.

Her aunt and father were growing old, and even her formerly younger sister was older than her now and going grey where Anne looked the same she had twelve years ago due to her slow aging. She was aware she’d outlive them, and yet the thought of losing them one day still stung whenever it came to her mind.

She landed on a familiar balcony, transforming back. There was a window tilted open that she could’ve flown through, but after having scared Ann with her sudden appearance last time, Anne had reminded herself to knock and ask for permission like a normal person.

She peeked inside, spotting Ann in front of the tv. For a few moments, Anne found herself staring at her frame from the side, the way she looked so effortlessly beautiful with her blonde curls falling loosely over her shoulders and a blanked draped over herself.

After a few moments, Anne knocked at the balcony door, smiling when Ann’s head snapped before she came over and opened the door for her.

“Is this a good moment? I didn’t know if you’re busy-“

Ann smiled, shaking her head as she waved her in. “Not at all.”

She moved away to lower the volume of the tv before turning back to Anne, biting her lip. “I’ve been meaning to ask you to, uh, come for dinner actually.”

Anne raised an eyebrow, a grin forming on her lips as she thought of what ‘dinner’ usually meant for her.

“I didn’t realise you were into it.”

Ann’s brow furrowed in confusion before she seemed to understand, her eyes widening before she fake-glared at Anne. “You know what I mean.”

Anne chuckled, nodding, and after a moment Ann snickered too.

“I’d like that though. When do you want me to come over for it?”

Ann smiled. “Well, I had kind of hoped you’d be popping in soon since it’s been a few days, and… here you are, so if you like I could cook us something straight away. Pizza?”

“Sounds good to me.”

Anne sat at the kitchen table as Ann started preparing the food and they chatted a little about the news and Ann’s stressful day at work and what Anne had been doing this evening so far, though she didn’t bring up her family.

Before long, Anne decided to assist her in chopping the vegetables, standing next to her as they both worked. There was something peaceful and fulfilling to it, Anne thought as she cut mushrooms into slices.

She found herself glancing over at Ann every now and then, sometimes catching her doing the same which usually resulted in both of them looking away quickly. Her thoughts wandered again, and while Anne was generally good at accurately gaging if someone was interested or not, she doubted her judgement with Ann. Her intuition told her she certainly was, but she kept reminding herself that it seemed more than foolish and unlikely for her to want a vampire of all people. Surely, someone as beautiful and sweet as Ann had no trouble finding someone better.

Anne looked over again, finding Ann’s gaze already on her as she smiled. It caught Anne off guard enough that she slipped with her knife, hissing as it cut her finger.

Ann’s eyes widened as she looked at her hand.

“Oh, you’re bleeding,” she said as she quickly reached for the kitchen towel before taking Anne’s hand in hers.

Anne opened her mouth to protest, but the warm sensation of Ann’s hand against her own stilled her as she looked at their hands. Ann was about to press the kitchen towel to the wound when Anne’s regeneration kicked in and closed the cut in a matter of moments.

“Oh…”

Their gazes met, Ann’s mouth hanging open slightly as Anne smiled softly.

“I didn’t think of that at all,” Ann commented, looking down at where the wound had been and only a bit of spilled blood was left. She gently dabbed at it with the towel until it was gone, and Anne could only watch the simple thing that somehow felt a lot more intimate to her than it should.

Ann looked back up, holding on to her hand still. For a moment, no one said anything. Anne let the warmth spreading from her chest envelop her; she couldn’t recall ever having felt so comfortable around someone she barely knew.

There was no helping it, Ann couldn’t stop herself from staring at this handsome woman. She couldn’t let go of her hand either, even though the time she’d been holding it had long overstepped what would be considered appropriate. Not for the first time she wondered how Anne’s lips would feel against hers and if she could make her smile more often to drive away the sadness she saw in those beautiful brown eyes.

Her eyes flicked down to her full lips of their own accord, and when she looked back up she could tell from Anne’s intense gaze that she’d seen it. A sense of nervousness overcame Ann as her heart rapidly beat in her chest, and she hoped Anne didn’t notice how her hands were becoming sweaty. Oh, how she wanted to close the distance between them, but was that what Anne would want?

They looked at each other in silence, neither moving as the tension hung in the air between them.

The loud beeping of the oven timer made both women twitch, drawing them out of the moment. Ann hastily pulled away, suddenly worried she’d embarrassed herself. But she saw no sign of that in Anne’s eyes as their gazes met again, lingering for a second.

“Shall we go on? There’s still some left to cut,” Anne said, pointing to the vegetables on the counter with a smile.

It eased Ann’s nerves as she returned the smile and nodded before they finished their preparation. From there, it wasn’t long until Ann had rolled out the dough and put everything on their pizza before it went in the oven. They settled in the living room as they waited.

Ann bit her lip as their gazes met. She hadn’t gotten to ask nearly all her questions last time they’d sat here, and while she’d been meaning to ask Anne more about herself, she was worried it would come across as too nosey.

Anne shot her an inquisitive glance. Ann decided to just go for it, her interest in Anne and thirst for knowledge demanded it.

“I was just wondering… what do you do in your spare time?”

That was a good start for sure.

Anne settled back against the soft cushion. “I hope you didn’t expect anything too extravagant because it’s really nothing special.”

She glanced at Ann, and the blonde only shook her head and smiled. “No. I just want to know more about you.”

Anne felt a smile tug at her lips in return. “Well, I like reading. Flying around the city is fun too, watching people and enjoying the way the wind carries me. Probably one of the few things about being a vampire that I genuinely like.”

She took a moment to think before adding, “And I go to a place that we use as a shooting range rather frequently. Sometimes with Tib, my best friend, sometimes alone.”

There were so many questions that popped up in Ann’s head as she took in what Anne had said. She’d implied she didn’t like being a vampire much – why? Who was Tib, was she another vampire or a human? What was she like? Ann also imagined Anne shooting a gun, no doubt with great precision, and the vision made her feel a little hot as she shifted in her seat.

She focused back on their conversation and decided to go for the most straightforward question. “Who’s Tib? Is she a vampire too?”

Anne looked at her, and for a moment it seemed like a bad memory must’ve overtaken her thoughts as her gaze became sad before clearing again. “Yes, she’s a vampire. And I’m the one who made her into one.”

“Oh, I didn’t expect that. You don’t look happy about that.”

Anne nodded. “I’m not. But – believe it or not – she asked me to turn her, and the way Tib is…” she paused, shaking her head as she tried to find the right words, “the way Tib is, she made it clear that she’d ‘go and find someone else to do it’ if I didn’t, to quote her.”

Ann looked at her in silence for a moment. She hadn’t expected that. Why would anyone want to be turned and ask for it? It seemed odd to her who’d expected this to be an unfortunate incident that happened to someone who was unlucky enough to run into a vampire. Was it better than dying to them? Ann doubted it.

Anne seemed to read the question off her face without the need to say anything. “Tib is one of the few people who felt there were more benefits than drawbacks, so it seemed like a good deal to her.” Anne shot her a half smile. “She really liked the idea of living a long time too.”

Just from what Anne was telling her, Ann was getting a rough idea of the kind of person Tib was. Certainly an oddity, but from the way Anne spoke about her, she could tell they were close.

“Does she still feel that way now? Or does she regret it?”

Anne laughed. “Oh, no. She loves it. She’s been a vampire for nearly as long as I have, and she says it’s the best decision she’s ever made.” Her laugh faded and she took a more serious expression again. “I’m glad too. I’d never forgive myself otherwise.”

Ann looked at her, and before she could think about it, she reached out and took Anne’s hand in hers, smiling softly at her. “It was her decision. Even if you’d refused her, she would’ve found another way. But it’s good that it’s working for her.”

Anne’s expression softened as their gazes locked onto each other. She knew what Ann said was right, and while she still sometimes felt unhappy about going along with Tib’s request because she thought her friend had thrown a perfectly fine human life away, it felt good to hear the softly spoken reassurance, to feel the warmth of the small hand holding hers. In that moment, Anne thought she’d do anything to keep this kind person safe.

They were startled by the ringtone from Ann’s phone nearby, and Ann looked away shyly. “Sorry, one sec.”

She got up and moved over, slightly tense as she hoped that it wasn’t Thomas calling her. But relief washed over her as she saw another familiar name on the phone screen and picked up.

“Hey Cath!”

Anne tried not to stare too obviously from her place on the couch, but it was all too tempting as Ann paced aimlessly and gave her a good view of her nicely shaped butt whenever she turned away.

“I’m kind of busy right now, having a spontaneous guest over.”

Ann suddenly turned back, and Anne hoped she’d looked up to meet her gaze quickly enough not to be caught. If Ann had caught her she didn’t show it, only smiling at her before turning away again as she paced.

“Yes, I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Good night!”

She hung up and came back over, plopping herself on the sofa looking slightly flushed.

“Friend of yours?”

“Yes, my best friend, Catherine. The best part of my family, well, aside from my sister who lives so far away I barely see her.”

Anne nodded, trying to force a smile even as the talk of family served as a reminder that brought back her earlier sadness, a lump forming in her throat no matter how hard she tried to shove her sorrow back into its corner.

Ann looked at her with concern, leaning forward towards her. “Everything okay?”

Anne swallowed, making herself meet her gaze as she nodded. “Of course. I’m okay.”

Ann could see that was a lie, but she felt it inappropriate to push it. She could only speculate what had caused it but the thought that there was something hurting Anne this much pained Ann and made her wish she could do something to help her.

“Do you have family?”

She wasn’t sure if this was a good thing to ask right now, but part of Ann felt that it was a good decision to lay out the offer for Anne to talk if she wanted to. She had the impression she didn’t get that chance very often, and if it wasn’t welcome, she could always refuse.

Anne bit her lip harder than she intended to, her body tensing. She felt torn. Part of her wished Ann had asked her something else, anything for them to get away from the family topic. But when she looked at her, she thought she could see the intention behind it as her blue eyes were overshadowed with worry.

Despite the uneasiness that accompanied this sensitive topic, Anne felt a sense of safety around this woman as she let out a shaky breath. Her family was a topic Anne held close to her heart, and only Tib knew the full story and how Anne really felt about it. She didn’t usually speak about them, and if someone asked about family, her usual response was that she didn’t have any.

“Yes. Or I used to. They think I’m dead.”

“I’m sorry. What happened? If- if you’d like to speak about it.”

Anne wasn’t sure. She shifted on the sofa, holding her hands and rubbing over her knuckles. She’d told Ann more than most people by opening up at all, but did that mean she was ready to share her story with her?

Doubts started creeping into her mind, and Anne shook her head as she felt those protective walls fall in place around her that served her so well.

“I’d rather not,” she said colder than she intended to, looking away.

Ann pulled back slightly, caught off guard by her cool tone. She intuitively knew this wasn’t about her, yet it still stung a little and Ann worried she’d misstepped.

“I… I didn’t mean to pry too much, I’m sorry.”

Anne looked up, feeling a little guilty for her reaction when she saw the hurt in Ann’s face. “No, I’m sorry. You didn’t know.”

It was then that the oven timer beeped, and Anne was relieved for the break as they sat down and ate together, at first in silence in their own thoughts but the tension dissolved quickly.

“This is delicious.”

“It is. Looks like we’re a good team,” Ann responded and they shared a smile.

After they’d finished, they sat in the living room with a bottle of red wine and watched a quiz show together. Anne had always been good at those, and she wasn’t shy to show off her knowledge to Ann as she offered many correct answers. Ann wasn’t bad either, a childhood of watching these with her sister trying to beat each other paying off.

Ann felt a little sad when it became late and she knew she had to get ready for bed for work in the morning. She could’ve easily spent more time around Anne watching tv and chatting.

“Thank you for dinner, I really enjoyed myself,” Anne said as they stood at the balcony door.

She felt lighter and less burdened by her thoughts and sadness than earlier, her smile coming easier as she looked at Ann.

“Me too.”

Before she knew it, Ann closed the distance between them and hugged her, just briefly before pulling away with a light shade of pink on her cheeks. Anne couldn’t help but smile – she wasn’t a hugger, but she decided in that moment that Ann could hug her any day of the week.

Which reminded her. She took out her phone. “Want to give me your number? So we can contact each other.”

Ann smiled, feeling a rush of excitement at the thought of exchanging numbers. Anne entered hers in her phone and quickly sent a message as a test. Ann’s phone chimed in the background and they said their goodbyes.

Catherine was still dying to know all about her ‘date’, as she’d called it on the phone earlier, and if Ann had been able to speak freely without Anne sitting on the sofa checking her out, she would’ve insisted it wasn’t a date. Realising what she’d just thought, she smiled at herself. Maybe it had been a little date. She certainly liked the thought of that.

She picked up her phone, grinning when she saw the little bat emoji Anne had sent and responding with a flower emoji before getting ready for bed and calling Catherine.

Chapter Text

“Tell me everything!”

Ann giggled at the excitement in her friend’s voice as she let herself drop on her bed with her phone in hand. It was late and she needed to sleep soon, but she found Catherine’s excitement contagious as a grin spread on her face and she felt her heart beat faster. Trying to rein herself in, she reminded herself nothing had really happened. Right?

“Oh, I don’t know if there’s all that much to tell.”

Catherine groaned. “You’re kidding me, right? Don’t tell me she just came round and… nothing? What did you guys do, stare at the wall together?” She laughed.

Ann laughed with her, shaking her head. “Well, no. Of course not. Remember I’ve told you I wanted to invite her for dinner? I asked her on the spot and she said yes, so we made pizza together.”

She paused briefly, smiling at the memory of catching Anne looking her way more than once. Well, and Anne catching her in return. They’d both been staring a lot, hadn’t they?

Catherine’s hum brought her back to the present. “Aaand? I feel like you’re not telling me everything.”

One of the biggest advantages – and disadvantages, depending on the situation – of Catherine knowing her so well was that she often had a good idea what was going on in Ann’s thoughts.

So she told her everything, from the stares to holding her hand and comforting her to the situation in the kitchen that had nearly ended in a kiss – at least that’s what Ann thought.

“You guys are so cute,” Catherine said with excitement in her voice. “But I cannot believe you didn’t kiss her.”

Ann bit her lip, a sense of nervousness overcoming her at the thought, but also the undeniable longing to feel Anne’s lips against her own. “Well, I… I don’t know if this is what she wants.”

She could practically see Catherine shaking her head on the other end of the phone. “Ann…” she started, and Ann braced herself.

“It was obvious enough just from what you’re telling me. She may have as well paid Channel One to broadcast it.”

Ann blushed, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “You think…?”

“Yes,” Catherine insisted, her smile noticeable through the tone of her voice. “I think she likes you, and if you don’t go for it next time, we’ll have words.”

Ann knew a serious threat when she heard one. They giggled together.

“Seriously though, Ann. I might be biased here since she stepped in and saved you from that attack, but I have a good feeling about her. Even if she’s technically a deadly monster, if you believe the media.”

Ann frowned. Anne wasn’t a monster, she’d seen so first-hand. It saddened her to think that this is what most people would see in her though. She was glad that Catherine was on board with her on this, that her friend supported her opinion and her attraction to this handsome woman.

“I’m glad you support me in this,” Ann said softly.

“Of course. You’d better not let Thomas hear of it though,” Catherine joked, though they both knew that all jokes aside he would be a serious concern if he ever learned that Ann was seeing a vampire.

A shudder ran down her spine – he’d been especially nosey, pestering her more since she’d been bitten, probably out of concern that the vampire would return and finish her. He had no idea, and Ann would do everything to keep it that way.

 

****

 

Ann rushed down the corridor as if that would let her outrun the situation and her thoughts alike. Her white coat fluttered as she picked up her pace and went faster while what just happened repeated on her mind again and again and she tried to analyse what had gone wrong, where it had gone wrong and what she could’ve done better to prevent this. But no answers came.

She entered a room that she saw was empty, closing the door behind her as the woman’s lifeless face reappeared on her mind alongside the tears running down her brother’s face.

The chair creaked as Ann dropped herself on it, but she paid no mind to the sound as her gaze focussed on the white wall in front of her and the feeling of emptiness spread through her.

She took a breath, unsure if the absence of her chaotic thoughts was preferable now that silence engulfed her and the cold claws of guilt wrapped around her body. It was her fault. She didn’t know how – what she could’ve done to save her, but Ann had been the doctor responsible when the young woman had been brought in as an emergency.

And she had failed.

It had looked so good, hopeful even when they’d first stabilised the woman who’d been hit by a car. She’d been in rough shape when they’d brought her in, but when Ann and her team had done everything to keep her stable and alive, she’d been certain the woman had a good chance to make it.

They’d been about to wheel her to the station to be monitored when her heartrate had rocketed out of the blue. An adverse reaction to the medication she’d been given? Potentially. They hadn’t been able to solve the mystery or help her and eventually the fast beeping of the heartrate monitor had been replaced by the deafening even sound of a stopped heartbeat.

Reanimation had been unsuccessful, and after hours of fighting for the woman’s life, everyone had had to accept defeat.

Ann sighed, burying her head in her hands as she saw the woman’s lifeless face on her mind, a heavy burden resting on her shoulders knowing that she hadn’t been able to save her.

Losing a patient was never easy, and she wasn’t the first Ann had lost – and wouldn’t be the last. But some hit harder than others, and Ann always struggled understanding how her more seasoned colleagues seemed to take it all with so much calm it almost seemed callous. Would she ever be like that? Did she want to?

Ann felt heavy and cold as she raised from the chair and left the room to get changed, grab her things and leave. The head of the department had sent her home for the day, and she was grateful for that as she tried to sort through the mess of feelings and thoughts, everything around her feeling unreal and a little shaky as a headache set in.

She didn’t react much to the taxi driver’s attempts to make polite conversation on her way back, lost in her own thoughts. Ann craved silence and to be alone right now, and yet the quiet in her flat felt deafening the moment she closed the door behind herself.

Not knowing what to do, Ann lay down on her sofa, curling into a ball and holding a pillow close to her chest as she willed the miserable feeling in the pit of her stomach to disappear. Then she closed her eyes.

Her phone’s ringtone startled her, and Ann sat up abruptly as she noticed she must’ve fallen asleep for who knows how long. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and rushed over to fetch the phone. Anne.

“Hi.”

“Hey. You alright? You sound a little sleepy. I didn’t wake you, did I?”

A smile grew on Ann’s face at the sound of her voice, and she felt a little lighter hearing the concern in Anne’s voice.

“I fell asleep on the sofa. It’s probably better that you woke me.”

Anne hummed. “Okay. I was wondering – I know it’s a little late, but you didn’t reply to my message earlier, so I,” she paused, and Ann thought she could sense a certain nervousness in her, “I wondered if everything was alright, that’s all.”

Ann sat back down on the sofa, her heart leaping in her chest. It felt good to hear Anne, to know she cared about her to worry like that. How had she missed Anne’s message? She always checked her phone after work. Oh.

It came back to her in a split second, and with it the guilt resting heavily on her shoulders. It felt worse knowing that she’d disappointed Anne too by not thinking to check her messages, that she’d probably been worrying something had happened to Ann while she’d been asleep on the sofa.

“I’m- I’m sorry. I’ve had a horrible day at work and I forgot to check my messages,” she said with a weak voice.

There was a brief pause, and Ann worried she’d said too much, or the wrong thing.

“That doesn’t sound good… would you like to speak about it? I guess, I… well, I asked you in the message if you’d like me to come round, but I guess you’d much rather be alone right now.”

Did she? Ann wasn’t sure. She was torn between wanting to bury herself in the ground and hiding in Anne’s arms, if she would allow her. She let out a shaky breath as she made a decision.

“I’m probably not the best company right now, but if you don’t mind, I’d… I’d like you to come round.”

“No, of course not. I’m miserable half the time myself, I don’t judge.” She let out a brief laugh, and Ann felt the smile return to her face despite her mood and Anne’s frank admission.

“Okay. Can you be here in thirty?”

“Sure.”

 

****

 

Many thoughts were going through Anne’s head even as she landed on the familiar balcony and turned back. Her thoughts had drifted to Ann frequently lately, often drawing a smile on her face and making her feel brighter. Tib had not missed out on the opportunity to tease her about it, especially after they’d discussed her last visit to Ann’s a few days before and Tib incredulously commented how she couldn’t believe they hadn’t kissed. That Anne hadn’t kissed her when she didn’t usually struggle making a move.

It had been different with the other women though, hadn’t it? All about sex, a quick night of fun before parting ways and forgetting about the other. It wasn’t like that with Ann.

Not only that, but Anne worried about rejection if she made a move. Ann had looked at her too, but she still felt an unusual hesitation hold her back as she worried Ann would surely not want a vampire. Maybe it would be best to save her feelings and simply stay away from her, but Anne couldn’t help herself.

Excitement made her heart pump faster in her chest as she approached the balcony door, though tonight concern for Ann mingled with it as she wondered what had happened. She would find out soon surely, and she hoped she could make her night brighter with her presence. Knocking on the doorframe, she waited.

She frowned when Ann didn’t show up to open, and for a moment her concern deepened as she worried something may have happened to her. But then she reined herself in, reminding herself that perhaps she was in the kitchen and hadn’t heard her. Anne looked around, pleased to see a nearby window open.

Transforming back once she was inside, she decided to look for her. She’d just stepped into the hallway when the bathroom door opened and Ann appeared, wrapped only in a white towel that just covered her private parts.

She spotted Anne, eyes widening as she gasped in surprise. Anne couldn’t stop herself from taking her in, her naked legs and still damp hair, her exposed small shoulders and the lines of her collarbones. She looked beautiful.

“I- Oh. I’ve been taking too long under the shower, haven’t I?”

Anne snapped herself out of it, blinking. “Yes. I think so. I’ve arrived on time and when you didn’t open, I let myself in.”

She scratched the back of her head, suddenly feeling like she’d intruded. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to walk in on you like this.”

Ann smiled, shaking her head as the moment of shock wore off. “It’s okay. It’s me who screwed up my timing.”

She approached Anne, trying to keep her cool even with the excitement flaring up in her stomach from the way Anne had looked at her, making her feel wanted.

“Do you want a drink or something? While you wait. I’ll just quickly get ready.”

“Coffee would be good.”

Ann got on it right away, certain that she was sensing Anne’s eyes boring into her backside as she had her back turned to her while using the coffee machine. A smile grew on her face; it had been a good idea to shower and wash off the day’s struggle. Not only that, but Anne being there was already helping her feel better.

Ann turned back to her, handing her her coffee. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, alright?” She gestured to her hair. Anne nodded, her smile accompanying Ann as she left the kitchen.

She returned a few minutes later dressed in jeans and a red shirt, and they moved over to the living room to sit on the sofa. There was a brief silence as both seemed to figure out what to say.

“I’m glad you came over-“

“Want to tell me about your day?”

They looked at each other, both breaking out into a chuckle.

“Go ahead,” Anne said after a moment, smiling as she leaned back into the soft cushion.

Ann returned the smile. “I’ve meant to say that I’m glad you’re here. I’m already feeling better.”

Anne nodded, deciding not to say anything and let Ann go on if she wanted to talk about it.

Ann rubbed her hands together before looking at her again, her eyes full of vulnerability. “I work in A&E and… and they brought someone in today, hit by a car.”

She paused, swallowing the lump in her throat as the smothering feeling of guilt crept up on her. “We couldn’t save her.”

Anne looked at her, unsure at first how to react appropriately, suppressing her instinct to shift closer to wrap her arm around Ann and hold her close. Licking her lips, she shifted a little closer regardless, but kept her hands to herself.

“I’m sorry about that. What happened with her?”

Ann reached for her mug, taking a sip of her tea and cradling it in her hands. “We… we don’t know. It all seemed to be going well, then suddenly her values went crazy and eventually she went into cardiac arrest.”

Anne was about to respond, opening her mouth when Ann put down her mug and looked right at her. “It’s my fault. I was in charge, and- and it’s just so clear to me that we could’ve saved her. I must’ve overlooked something.”

Her eyes were glazing over as the images of the day entered her mind again, the devastated brother and her staff and Ann herself looking on in disbelief after trying to save the woman for so long.

Before she knew it, she was pulled out of her dark thoughts by strong arms wrapping around her, pulling her close. Ann greedily held on to Anne, shuddering as she failed to suppress the tears any longer and a long sob could be heard as she cried into her shoulder.

Anne didn’t let go, rubbing soothing circles over her back as she gave her the time she needed. Eventually, the sobs subsided and Ann sniffled against her shoulder before slowly moving away.

Their gazes met, and the reddened eyes and tear-stained cheeks she was looking at broke Anne’s heart. She took her hand in hers, keeping eye contact.

“We haven’t known each other very long, I know, but there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve given it your all,” she started gently, squeezing her hand, “Sometimes, things go wrong anyway. Not everybody can be saved.”

Ann nodded. She knew this was true, she’d lost people before, every one of her colleagues had. These things happened, and while she was still a relatively young doctor, she’d learned to cope with most of her losses relatively okay, even if they still upset her. But this one… seeing her brother mourn the woman, finding herself unable to understand what had gone wrong after it had looked so promising – it had hit a nerve.

“I- I know. This one, I just... I just don’t understand it, and I kept thinking-” Ann blinked, more tears spilling as her expression contorted in sadness, “I kept thinking, how would I feel if I was in his place, mourning my sister because some stupid doctor fucked up.”

Her voice broke, raising in frustration towards the end – frustration with herself and her inability to do the right thing. She buried her face in her hands as another sob broke free.

Anne gently placed her hand on her shoulder to let her know she was there, that she understood.

“Such a kind, compassionate person shouldn’t say such things about herself. You’re not stupid, Ann, and if I was injured and in your care, the moment I’d be looking into your eyes I’d know trusting that you’ll do everything to save me would be easy.”

Ann slowly moved her hands from her face at her words, looking up into soft brown eyes that shone with sincerity. Her gaze dropped to her lips.

Before she could question herself, she leaned forward, pressing her lips to Anne’s in a determined movement. Anne welcomed her, and they moved together in a slow but intense kiss that filled them with warmth.

Ann missed the contact the moment they parted, meeting Anne’s gaze. A smile grew on those lips that she now knew to be soft, and for the first time since she’d met her, Ann thought to see genuine happiness in her eyes. She wanted to see it more often, especially if she was the cause for it.

They were quiet for a few moments, just looking at each other and letting their kiss and the connection they were feeling speak for themselves. Truly, Ann could not recall ever having felt this way after kissing someone.

“Try not to give yourself such a hard time, okay?”

Ann nodded, feeling lighter at those softly spoken words with Anne’s strong presence surrounding her. Right in this moment, with Anne, she felt like she could do everything and all was good. And she believed her too, her words giving her back confidence where she’d been feeling worthless before.

“I’ll try.”

Anne leaned back against the couch, looking at Ann expectantly as she held up her arm. She felt energised by their kiss, even more determined now to keep Ann safe and wipe the sadness off her face. Ann smiled, shifting close and resting her head against Anne’s shoulder and her hand on her stomach as Anne’s arm held her close.

For a little while, they just sat together like that and enjoyed the closeness. Anne couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so at peace with another person. Her thoughts drifted to her family, her smile turning sad as she thought that they’d have likely gotten along with someone like Ann if they’d met during her lifetime. A sense of loss briefly made her heart feel heavy as she wished she’d met Ann much sooner. It would’ve saved her difficult years with Mariana, the back and forth and constant feeling of inadequacy in her presence.

But then she reminded herself their age gap would’ve been quite a bit bigger if Anne had continued aging normally, so she likely wouldn’t have ended up with Ann at all – if they’d even met at all by a stroke of luck.

Anne blinked as she realised what she’d just been thinking, her mind jumping ahead for miles when all they’d done was kiss. She didn’t know where this would lead them now, but she couldn’t deny that she hoped Ann would want to be serious about her, that the kiss hadn’t just been a slip-up or anything of the sort. It was soon, so very soon – but the romantic in Anne wanted to hope. The critic, however, firmly reminded her not to. She tensed.

But then Ann shifted against her, looking into her eyes and leaning forward to press her lips against hers gently.

“I can almost hear your thoughts,” she whispered with a smile.

In that moment, Anne wondered if her having been turned didn’t have its good sides too. Those moments were rare, but right now, realising that she would’ve missed out on meeting this kind, beautiful woman made her think that perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

Her thoughts went back to her family briefly, and Anne decided to take a leap of faith.

Her family was a topic Anne held close to her heart, and only Tib knew the full story and how Anne really felt about it. She didn’t usually speak about them, and if someone asked about family, her usual response was that she didn’t have any. She’d already told Ann that much, and while she hadn’t wanted to tell her more last time, she felt she could trust her enough now to take another step.

“Would you like to hear about my family?”

Ann’s eyes widened in surprise at the new topic, but she nodded. “Yes. Of course.”

So Anne told her, starting with her car accident and how she’d been turned. Ann was just the attentive listener that Anne had hoped for, letting her tell her story but asking questions and expressing her reactions where it was appropriate. Where Tib was a great friend who’d always have her back, she wasn’t the best listener and could easily take over the conversation without meaning any harm by it. It was just who she was. It made Anne all the more thankful that Ann was a good listener and that she’d decided to open up to her.

Then Anne moved on to her family. Ann had always been a compassionate person – sometimes to her fault – and she could see how much Anne missed her family even through her best attempts to steady herself and keep a collected demeanour. The way she swallowed the lump in her throat every so often and paused frequently to gather herself, her low voice as she spoke with fondness of her kind and wise aunt who’d stepped in to raise her alongside her father when her mother had died unexpectedly, her father whom she’d always had a distant but nevertheless loving relationship with, and her sister Marian whom she’d often butted heads with and had never thought she’d miss one day.

“So they know nothing about what happened to you?”

Anne shook her head. “No. They wouldn’t accept me, and… I can just imagine the disappointment and revulsion on their faces at what I am if they found out.”

She leaned forward, hanging her head low.

Ann felt for her, the way she looked so devastated at the loss of the people who meant the most to her. She could only imagine what that would be like, waking up in a forest one morning and realising you’ve lost your old life and cannot go back. She rubbed her shoulder soothingly, unsure what she could do to make her feel better. But she knew she wanted to help, even if it looked like this was a wound so deep no one could ever fully mend it, not Ann or anybody else.

Anne looked up at her, her eyes glazed over as she bit her lip and tried to pull herself together.

“I’m sorry, Anne.”

Anne only nodded, smiling sadly as she straightened herself. “It is what it is. Thank you for listening, though.”

“Of course.”

Anne reached for her coffee and finished what was left of it, turning her head when she heard Ann yawn next to her.

“Sounds like someone should be going to bed soon, mh?” She smiled, her charm slowly returning.

Ann stretched her limbs, they felt heavy and she couldn’t deny that she was starting to feel tired from the day. She wished she didn’t and could spend more time with Anne, though.

“I guess I’d better.”

Ann brought her to the door. The hug came naturally, both enjoying the other’s warmth as they wrapped their arms around one another. Anne pulled back slightly, smiling.

“Looks like we both needed some comfort tonight.”

“Yes. I feel better now though. I’m glad you came over.”

By way of replying, Anne cupped her cheek, closing the little distance between them to kiss her. Ann hummed contentedly, pressing her body against Anne’s as she lost herself in their kiss.

“I’ll talk to you soon, okay?” Anne asked as they parted.

Ann nodded, unable and unwilling to wipe the smile off her face as she watched Anne step out and fly off. Her gaze followed the little bat until she couldn’t spot her anymore.

Chapter Text

Anne paced up and down her living room. She was still in her tank top and boxers, her hair a little tousled from sleep. Still, she was wide awake after she rose and thoughts of Ann had immediately captured her mind with ease and stoked a sense of excitement that she found impossible to tame.

She wanted to take her out on a date and had spent the last minutes debating how she could do that when her options as a vampire were unfortunately rather limited. There were a few places in the mostly criminal-controlled part of the city that would allow them in and shut their mouths about it if they were paid enough, and while the restaurants weren’t shabby – mostly, anyway – this was still not Anne’s idea of a place to take her.

The problem was, the only other real option was Tib’s, her second home of sorts. This is where she’d been stuck, debating what she could do to take Ann to a place that would be suitable for a date.

Her phone chimed over on the coffee table, and Anne’s heart leapt as she figured it might be Ann. Picking it up, she felt a little disappointed to see Tib’s name on the screen, but she opened her messages anyway.

Tib: You comin round to the bar tonight? Or we could go shooting or something, haven’t been in a while 😎

Anne smiled. If this was a hint by fate, she would take it. She decided to give Ann a call and ask her. It didn’t ring long until she picked up.

“Hey Anne.”

She sounded excited, much happier than yesterday. A good sign. Anne wondered if it was because she called, but at the same time she started feeling a little nervous as she worried Ann would not think her idea was good at all. She took a deep breath as she mentally steadied herself.

“Hey. I was wondering something. Would you be up for going out tonight, together? Tib has a bar and I’d like to take you there. It’s a nice little place, and, well, there are other vampires but you’d be safe.”

She bit her lip, shaking her head at herself. Not exactly a great way to advertise the idea to someone who’d been bitten, was it? Anne felt like she’d just dug her own grave.

Ann audibly took a breath to respond, but it went over Anne’s head as she paced and started talking again.

“You see, the thing is, as you probably know, I don’t have many options where I can take you, and this is a nice place we can both go. Tib has humans round more often than you might think and it’s never an issue for anyone, so-“

“I’d like that.”

Anne blinked, stunned as that soft voice interrupted her and drew her out of her thoughts that seemed to be going hundreds of miles an hour.

What?

“I said I’d like that,” Ann repeated with a smile in her voice. “I’m not scared. I know you wouldn’t take me if you didn’t think it was safe.”

Anne didn’t know what to say. She’d expected hesitation, had worried Ann would incredulously refuse her for even suggesting this. But just like that night she’d bitten her and Ann had shown interest in her, she surprised her again now.

“I trust you,” Ann added.

There was another moment as Anne processed what was happening until her confused mind caught up, a smile growing on her face as Ann’s words settled in her chest and she felt butterflies causing chaos in her stomach. She stood upright, straightening her shoulders as a sense of purpose filled her.

“Wonderful. Shall I pick you up then? At 8:30 if that’s alright for you?”

“Sounds good. I’ve got tomorrow off, so we can stay as long as we like.”

They hung up, and Anne quickly responded to Tib’s message and let her know she’d bring Ann. Usually she’d have to ask her for permission first with a new person and a human at that, but they’d talked enough about Ann that she had a feeling Tib would be more than keen to get to know her.

The message she received seconds after hers confirmed that. Letting her excitement fuel her, Anne rushed to get showered so she still had time to find someone to feed on before picking up Ann. Her thoughts were with her as she got ready, and she couldn’t recall the last time she’d felt so excited and looked forward to an evening that much.

She quickly checked that her flat was in good condition – just in case Ann would want to sleep at her place which was closer to Tib’s, she thought. Anne tried to contain her excitement at the thought of sharing her bed with her, reminding herself it was soon and even if Ann stayed the night, it was unlikely to lead to anything, especially if they were drunk.

It was getting colder, and Anne put on her long black coat for the night. Underneath, she wore a grey waistcoat over her black shirt, black pants and brogues. She brushed her hair so it sat in place neatly once more, pleased with her appearance. Her gaze landed on her favourite cologne, and she applied it gently before inhaling the strong musky scent and giving herself a little smile in the mirror and turning to leave.

Fate was on her side tonight and she had no trouble finding easy prey before setting off for Ann’s place.

 

****

 

“Have you asked her if she sleeps in a coffin?”

Ann giggled, shaking her head as she turned to present herself to Catherine. They’d spent the last hours trying to decide on her attire for the night – a hard choice to make, as it had turned out, especially with Catherine suggesting all her particularly revealing clothes when Ann wasn’t so sure if that wasn’t a bit much, at least for now. That, and it was also rather cold, a circumstance Catherine seemed to be conveniently ignoring with her suggestions.

“No, I haven’t. Come on, those are just silly stories, surely they don’t sleep in coffins.”

Catherine chuckled from her place on Ann’s bed. “Okay, okay. Maybe not. But I’d still be curious to find out. You look great by the way.”

Ann turned back to the mirror, admiring the white figure-hugging sweater she’d put on. Remembering how Anne’s gaze had lingered on her exposed shoulders the last time she’d come round and had seen Ann in just a towel, Ann had chosen an off the shoulder sweater that would hopefully draw Anne’s attention to her shoulders once more. She’d abandoned the idea to match it with a skirt with how cold it was and had instead put on a pair of jeans and lastly black boots.

She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, happy with her look and spurred on by Catherine’s support. She hoped Anne would like it too.

“If that doesn’t get you laid, she’s blind.”

Ann turned back to her friend. “Cath! That’s not-“

“Oh, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.”

Catherine was enjoying this, grinning as Ann rolled her eyes at her. “Well, yes, but…”

“But what?” Her grin widened.

“Isn’t it a bit soon?”

“Says who?”

Ann sighed. “I don’t know-“

It was in that moment that the doorbell rang, and Ann twitched in surprise as if she hadn’t been expecting Anne. She guessed she hadn’t, at least not standing in front of her door when she usually took the balcony entry.

“Oh, I’m so excited to meet her,” Catherine said as she jumped off the bed.

Ann gave herself another quick look, straightened her clothes and followed her to the door.

On the other side of the door, Anne stood waiting, the nervousness she tried to keep in check showing as she shifted back and forth where she was standing. The door opened, and for a moment Anne’s brow furrowed in confusion as she made eye contact with a brunette whose brown eyes eyed her with curiosity. Was she at the wrong door?

“Hi! I’m Catherine and you must be Anne-“

It was in that moment that a familiar face appeared next to her, and Anne’s attention was drawn immediately to the sweet smile and deep blue eyes. Ann put her arm around Catherine’s shoulder.

“Anne, this is Catherine, my best friend,” she said, “Catherine, this is Anne.”

Ah. It all made sense now. Anne reached out and shook Catherine’s hand.

“I’ve heard so much about you,” Catherine said with a smile.

Anne couldn’t deny that this was going well, she hadn’t expected Ann’s friend to be here but she was glad that apparently she seemed to have taken a liking to Anne already. Did she know what she was, though? Had Ann told her?

She hoped so, but knew that it would be revealed anyway once she spoke. Which brought her attention back to what she’d just said, a sly smile spreading on her lips and her eyes twinkling.

“Have you? All good, I hope…?”

Anne glanced at Ann, noticing how her cheeks had turned a fine shade of pink.

“Of course! You know, Ann can’t stop talking about you-“

“Cath…”

It wasn’t easy to mess with Ann and strain her patience enough to get on her bad side, but as Catherine looked to her left and noticed the sideways glance she was getting, she knew a warning when she saw one.

“Well, I’d better be on my way,” Catherine said, grabbing her coat and putting it on.

“Nice meeting you, Anne, and I hope you two have a fun night together!” she said, glancing knowingly at Ann and winking at Anne before rushing past her down the stairs before Ann could shoot her another one of her glares.

Ann shook her head, smiling. “I’m sorry about that, Cath is sometimes a little silly.”

Anne grinned. “Don’t be. I like her, from what little I’ve seen.”

Ann was glad that Anne didn’t seem to mind her friend’s sometimes silly ways and her habit of teasing Ann occasionally. She knew after Catherine’s last words she would have to brace for another hour-long call tomorrow in which her best friend would demand all the details. Ann hoped that there would be many good things to tell by tomorrow, though she doubted it would be quite as spicy as Catherine hoped.

She brought herself back to the present, reaching for her own coat and putting it on before grabbing her purse and looking at Anne. “Shall we?”

Anne nodded, smiling at her. They made it downstairs where Anne’s car was parked, and she held open the door for Ann and closed it behind her, Ann smiling at the gentlemanly gesture. They drove off, and for a few moments were in a comfortable silence.

“Did Catherine know that I’m a vampire? Before meeting me. She didn’t seem surprised.”

Ann was drawn out of her excited thoughts about her night with Anne, turning to her. “Yes. I told her. About the bite as well.”

Anne hummed as she turned a corner. “She didn’t mind? Most people would, well… most people would be more than a little shocked. And they most definitely wouldn’t support it the way she seems to.”

Ann smiled even as her thoughts became a little sad for a moment as she envisioned the kind of treatment Anne must’ve had to deal with during her life as a vampire – it didn’t seem fair to her, but on the other side most people saw them as heartless killers and couldn’t know Anne wasn’t like that.

“I mean… she was surprised, of course, and concerned at first, but the more I told her about you, the more she liked you.” Ann chuckled, and so did Anne.

“Well, I’m glad.”

It was quiet once more before a thought occurred to Ann and she had to grin a little. Oh, she had to ask.

“Anne?”

“Yes?”

“Do you sleep in a coffin?”

Anne stopped in front of a red light, slowly turning her head to her with an incredulous gaze, raising an eyebrow. “What?”

The look on her face was a clear answer as much as it was the most amusing thing Ann had seen in a little while. She giggled. “Don’t look at me like that. Cath was the one who wanted to know.”

Anne had to smile too as she shook her head in disbelief. “There are some funny beliefs around about us, aren’t there? I haven’t actually heard of that one before.”

She accelerated the car. They were nearly at Tib’s now. “But to answer it, no, I do not sleep in a coffin. I have a bed like any other normal person.”

Ann smiled. “Cath will be disappointed to hear that.”

“Oh, I bet.”

Anne parked the car at its usual spot in front of the apartment building she lived in, walking round and opening the door for Ann to get out.

“We have to go the rest of the way on foot, alright? It isn’t far.”

Ann nodded when Anne held out her hand and she happily took it in hers. A smile spread on her lips – walking with Anne’s hand in hers was already one of her favourite things.

They crossed the street, and Ann was confused, to say the least, when Anne led her towards a clearly deserted, rundown building. Surely that was not their destination.

“Anne?”

Anne stopped, turning towards her. “It has a back entrance. We have to be a little… low profile, you know. The vampire hunters would just love to raid this place and kill us all.”

Ann nodded. That made sense. She wondered what it must be like to live a life like this in constant hiding, having to worry about exposure at all times and being seen as essentially a dangerous element that didn’t belong with society and needed to be removed.

Ann understood the reasons behind it and she was sure there were vampires who deserved such a treatment, but Anne wasn’t one of them and in that moment she wished she could make everyone see that.

They walked towards the building, and Anne looked around suspiciously. Once no one was in sight, she pulled Ann with her towards the back and they stopped in front of a heavy metal door. Anne turned to her again.

“Usually, new people – humans – aren’t allowed in here without having been led here with a blindfold and any means necessary to prevent them from knowing where this place is. I trust you, and Tib trusts my judgement.”

Anne’s face was dead serious as she spoke, her voice a bit hushed not to draw attention but still firm to make it clear how important her words were.

“It’s crucial that you do not tell anyone about this, not Catherine or anyone else. Alright? Our lives may depend on it.”

Ann nodded. If anything could be said about her, it’s that she could keep a secret. “You can count on me.”

A smile replaced the grim look on Anne’s face as she squeezed her hand before letting go. “Good. Then let’s go.”

Ann felt a little uncomfortable as they entered and passed a guard towering over her who was eyeing her suspiciously as they briefly made eye contact. The message in his look was clear: I’m watching you.

She kept close to Anne, the uncomfortable feeling sticking with her even as they went down the stairs and the music became louder, the bass making her entire body vibrate as they stood at the entrance to a big room. Ann peaked inside, surprised to see that this bar had a dance floor in the middle as well.

Anne wrapped an arm around her waist, noticing Ann’s apprehension as she carefully looked at the place.

“Everything alright?”

Ann nodded, feeling more at ease as she saw the warmth in Anne’s eyes and felt her arm securely around her. She’d told her she trusted her, and she’d meant it. The reality was more daunting than her imaginations had painted it, especially considering Ann sometimes struggled with a bit of social anxiety as well, but in this moment with Anne by her side, Ann remembered she had nothing to worry about. She smiled.

“Yes. Let’s go in.”

So they did, and it didn’t take long until Ann saw a tall woman in a baby blue suit approach them. She had a feeling she knew who that was.

“There you are! About time!”

Anne’s head turned at the familiar voice, and before she knew it, strong arms wrapped around her as Tib hugged her.

“Nice to see you too, Tib.” Anne smiled sardonically.

Tib turned to Ann as they parted. “See this? This is what I put up with on a regular basis.” She grinned and held out her hand. “I’m Tib.”

Ann’s gaze dropped to the clearly visible fangs without her being able to help it. She’d known Tib was a vampire too, and yet seeing it still took Ann aback a little as realisation truly set in that she was here, in this pub, among vampires. She nearly forgot to take the proffered hand, drawing herself out of it and quickly shaking it, hoping Tib wasn’t offended by her stare and hesitation.

“Don’t worry, I don’t bite… unless you want me to,” Tib said with a grin, winking at her.

Anne groaned from beside Ann. “Tib…”

Ann felt the tension that had settled in her shoulders lighten at the exchange, Tib’s humorous way to respond to her and Anne’s annoyance with her friend – Ann could easily imagine how Tib would rile Anne up for fun, and it amused her. She chuckled, drawing both their attention.

Tib gave Anne a triumphant gaze, as if to say ‘look, she found it funny’ before turning back to Ann.

“You’re welcome here, don’t worry.” She smiled, and so did Ann as she nodded.

After that, Anne led her over to the coat rack where they took off their coats and put them up. Ann found Anne already staring at her when she turned back to her, and her own gaze lingered on the waistcoat that accentuated her strong frame nicely and offered a good contrast with her other black clothes.

Anne couldn’t not let her eyes linger on Ann’s exposed shoulders, and she wondered what it would feel like to place kiss after kiss along her soft skin, how it would feel under her fingertips while Ann was squirming impatiently under her-

She stopped that thought before it went any further, meeting Ann’s gaze, who looked a little flushed herself – or was Anne imagining it under the warm light?

“Shall we?”

Ann nodded, shaking off the inappropriate thoughts she’d just had and following along as Anne moved to the bar and sat down. She thoughtlessly took the menu even though it was rare for Ann to venture too much and order anything other than her usual favourites. She looked through the list, noticing that most drinks had a little S next to them.

“What does the S stand for?”

Anne looked at the menu in Ann’s hands before smiling. Of course Ann wouldn’t know this. She leaned closer so Ann could hear her better over the music.

“Silver. You know, so we can get drunk too.”

Ann’s brow furrowed in confusion as she tried to make sense of what Anne was saying. She knew vaguely that silver was apparently the only thing other than the sun that could harm – and kill – a vampire, but what did that have to do with drinks? Perhaps there was something Ann wasn’t seeing, perhaps it was also just harder to concentrate with Anne so close to her and every breath she took resulting in a fresh wave of her cologne hitting her senses.

Anne chuckled. “I’m assuming you know silver is our one weakness, yes?” Ann nodded. It didn’t surprise Anne after she’d seen the vampire hunters campaigning so everyone knew about it – not that that really posed a big threat to most vampires since they were faster than any human trying to reach for their little silver dagger, if they even had it nearby during an attack.

“Well, our bodies detox fast. Very fast,” she explained, gesturing with her hands. “Normal alcohol doesn’t cut it. So if we still want to get drunk, we add a few flakes of silver to our drinks that keep the alcohol in our systems for longer since they stop our healing.”

Ah. It all made sense to Ann as she nodded in understanding. However, one thing concerned her about this method. “Isn’t this dangerous though?”

Anne smiled at Ann’s thoughtfulness. Without thinking, she wrapped her arm around waist, noticing the way Ann immediately leaned into her touch. “Well yes, it is dangerous if I drink too much in one evening. Same thing as with humans. Other than that, no.”

Ann returned the smile, enjoying the way Anne’s arm felt around her. “So you can order your drinks with or without it.”

“Yes, most of them. Some don’t work very well with silver.” She pointed to the menu. “Do you know what you want?”

Ann closed the menu and put it aside. “I’ll have a tequila sunrise.”

Anne decided for a beer – with silver – and they took their drinks over to Tib’s table after Ann had given her okay. She was a little nervous about meeting these new people but she could see from the glimmer in Anne’s eyes and her smile that she appreciated her wanting to make an effort. It helped that Tib had been nice and Ann was curious to get to know her.

They took the only free seats around the big round table, with Ann next to Tib, Anne to Ann’s left and a young woman next to Anne.

The tension Ann was feeling dissolved as time passed and everyone was friendly and the mood was good. That, and she was sure the alcohol helped too. The only thing Ann was sure she decidedly didn’t like was the way the woman next to Anne eyed her, but Anne seemed oblivious to it.

Tib lit a cigar next to Ann, turning to her. “So Ann, what do you think about this place?”

She gestured around herself, pride evident in her movements.

Ann took a sip of her drink. “It’s good. I like it. To be honest, I was a little nervous at first. But I like it here.”

“I’m glad to hear that! And like I’ve said, you’re safe here. I’m sure everyone knows better than to fuck with Anne – or me.”

Ann smiled. It was good to see that Tib was so welcoming, no doubt because she was close with Anne and wanted to do the best to support her. Still, Ann hoped that she’d made a good first impression and Tib perhaps genuinely liked her too.

She was about to respond when she noticed Tib’s gaze moving past her to Anne next to her, and Ann turned her head to look as well. She hadn’t noticed it over the loud music and talking to Tib, but the woman next to Anne was talking to her. Ann leaned closer to hear what was being said.

“How’ve you been doing, Anne? Haven’t seen you in ages.”

Anne put down her drink. “Fine really, and you?”

The woman leaned close, making sure her cleavage was presented openly to Anne. Ann did not like this, but kept in the background as she watched silently for now.

Anne’s gaze dropped down to the woman’s breasts without her being able to help it as she tried to search her mind for her name. Jillian? No. Jane? She couldn’t think of it. It must’ve been ages since they’d ended up in bed together, and it hadn’t been particularly remarkable either.

“I’m doing well. Happy to see you here tonight,” the woman responded, placing her hand on Anne’s knee as she looked up at her in a way that laid out her intentions crystal clear. Ann furrowed her brow, pressing her lips together as the sour feeling of jealousy brewed in her stomach.

Anne cleared her throat, wrapping her arm around Ann next to her and trying to think of a good way to break it to her that really, Anne’s mind was elsewhere.

Ann had seen enough. Emboldened by the alcohol flowing through her system, she leaned forward so the woman could see her, meeting her gaze with a steely glare before cupping Anne’s cheek, pulling her close and pressing her lips to hers insistently.

Anne groaned, and so did Ann as she kissed her fiercely. Anne responded eagerly, tangling her fingers in blonde locks as Ann opened her mouth and their tongues met. Heat was pooling in Ann’s core as they kissed, images of how badly she wanted Anne’s hands all over her body crowding her mind. She shuddered when Anne’s hands possessively wrapped around her waist.

“No fucking in my bar! Get a room, you two,” Tib yelled from next to them, making them pull apart in an instant. Her roaring laugh could be heard well even over the pounding bass of the music.

“You should see your faces.”

Ann looked like a deer caught in headlights, but when she met Anne’s gaze and saw the raw desire in those darkened eyes, she forgot all about her embarrassment as her core clenched with need.

That, and a quick glance to the woman next to Anne confirmed Ann’s message had been received clearly and she’d backed off Anne. Ann was pleased.

Anne took a long sip from her beer to calm herself – she needed it after that kiss, her heart still pounding in her chest as desire for the beautiful blonde coursed through her veins. She hadn’t expected it, this clear show of possession that had taken her breath away. The part of her that was becoming increasingly drunk was urging her to take her hand and lead her to her flat so they could follow up on the tension she was feeling between them, but she controlled herself.

They were sitting closer after that, their legs touching and Anne’s arm around Ann most of the time as they chatted with Tib and the others. Every now and then, they’d smile at each other or shoot each other otherwise intense gazes.

Time was passing, and with it drink after drink was downed. Soon, everyone was rather drunk, laughing together. The music changed, an 80s dance song being played that Ann recognised immediately. She bit her lip, excitement and her drunk state taking over as she looked at Anne and took her hand in hers, tugging as she already rose from her seat, slightly unsteady.

“Let’s dance, come on!”

Anne looked at her baffled, but the twinkle in Ann’s eyes and hopeful look were enough to convince her as she stood, too drunk to notice Tib’s amused look as Ann giggled and dragged her with her towards the dance floor.

Usually, it was rather simple for Anne: she didn’t dance. She wasn’t good at it, had never been, and even Tib’s most insistent pleas, briberies or anything of the sort had fallen on deaf ears. She would say it was her drunken state making her more open to the idea, but in the past even that hadn’t swayed her.

So here she was, convinced by bright blue eyes and a huge smile, swaying – or trying to – to the fast beat of a song she’d heard often enough while Ann did the same next to her. They probably looked ridiculous, two drunks trying to dance, but the happy smile on Ann’s face was reward enough for Anne not to care.

She wouldn’t admit it, but after a bit she got into it too, forgetting everything around them but the music and Ann as her body became more and more comfortable moulding to the beat as she danced.

It felt like the song ended far too soon, but Anne was rewarded by one of the most beautiful sounds of all as Ann laughed. Her own grin was swallowed by Ann’s lips as she kissed her firmly.

Suddenly there was cheering from the background, and Anne turned back to their table, meeting Tib’s eyes.

“Didn’t know you were such a good dancer, Anne,” she called over. Anne could only roll her eyes, the grin still in place as a sense of carefreeness enveloped her that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

She felt at peace, just happy enjoying Ann’s presence and the silly fun they’d just had while everything around her was a little fuzzy and spun if she moved too quickly.

Then Ann took her hand, their gazes meeting. “Take me to your place.”

Anne was more than willing to. They said their goodbyes and left the bar, slightly unsteady on their feet, though Ann more so than Anne. She steadied her with her arm around her waist as they walked back the short distance until they reached her flat, Anne fiddling with her key to get it in the keyhole as her own drunken state caught up to her and Ann giggled next to her.

“You’re s-so drunk,” she slurred slightly.

Anne grinned as she pulled her inside. “So are you.”

She kicked the door closed behind them, and Ann arched an eyebrow, looking at her with darkened eyes as she shrugged off her coat. Anne discarded her own in a heartbeat, licking her lips before pouncing.

Both moaned as their lips connected for a sloppy kiss, and Anne pressed Ann against the nearby wall as their kiss grew more heated quickly. Ann’s hands desperately looked for purchase at her shoulders, lifting her leg to wrap around Anne.

Anne held it up, meeting her gaze as they parted for air and she effortlessly lifted her other leg to wrap around her and then picked Ann up as if she weighed nothing.

If Ann’s underwear hadn’t been soaked before, it would’ve been now with this impressive show of strength. She held her arms around Anne’s neck as she was carried to what she presumed was the bedroom – she couldn’t see much in the nearly completely dark flat and her state but trusted Anne to find her way.

They stopped and Anne kissed her before clumsily dropping her on the bed, losing her balance a little. But the sight below her took her breath away: Ann on her back with her legs open, looking up at her with want in her eyes.

Anne had to have her – and yet. A voice in the back of her mind asked her if this is how she wanted to remember their first time together. If she’d remember it at all, that is. She knew the answer to that question.

Ann looked at her questioningly until Anne finally climbed on the bed as well, but not on top of her as she’d hoped. Lying next to her, Anne smiled even as her desire for Ann was still trying to take the reins against her better judgement.

“I think we should wait. We’re far too drunk… for this.”

Ann turned on her side to face her. The buzz in her brain made it hard to think but she could still acknowledge that Anne was right. Anne, who looked so ridiculously handsome in that waistcoat and was looking at her in a way that made it hard for Ann to listen to the voice of reason.

She leaned close, trying to place a kiss on Anne’s lips but ended up kissing the corner of her mouth instead as she giggled.

“You’re probably right. We should sleep.”

Anne had no idea how late it even was, if it was already time for her to sleep at all. But the alcohol had taken its toll and she started to feel a content sleepiness cloud her mind as they got up to undress themselves for bed.

She offered Ann one of her shirts and a pair of boxers for sleeping, admiring how beautiful she looked in the oversized shirt before she put on her own tank top and they laid down under the covers together.

Ann turned her back to her, looking over her shoulder expectantly as Anne shifted closer until her front was flush against her back and she could wrap her arm around her.

Ann sighed, pressing against her. “You’re comfy.”

Anne smiled, closing her eyes and enjoying the feeling of Ann’s warm body against her, their curves moulding together perfectly. It didn’t take long for a restful sleep to take them both.

Chapter Text

The first thing Ann felt as she woke was the insistent pounding of her head and the dry feeling in her throat that reminded her she desperately needed water. She groaned, trying to wake up properly and come to her senses. It took her a moment to realise there was a warm body pressed against her back, and she smiled when memories of last night flooded her mind.

It had been a great evening, and even though Ann felt a little terrible now with her hangover, she decided that it had been worth it.

She opened her eyes but since Anne’s bedroom was entirely dark, she couldn’t judge at all how late it might be. It made sense: Anne slept during the day usually and couldn’t be exposed to the sun, of course she would keep her bedroom in pitch black darkness.

Ann carefully turned on her back so as not to wake Anne, her heart leaping in her chest when the arm that was wrapped around her tried to pull her closer again as Anne breathed peacefully in her sleep. Oh, how much Ann wanted to stay curled up in this bed with her, but she needed the bathroom and a drink.

She extracted herself and tried to be as quiet as possible as she snuck out of bed and towards the door, a dim light shining through the lower part of the door guiding her way. She closed it behind her gently and looked around, pawing for the light switch in the hallway. Ann winced as the light made her eyes sting at first, her head immediately pounding in a reproachful manner to remind her she shouldn’t be up at all.

She quickly found the bathroom and the kitchen after to get herself a glass of water, greedily downing it. A painkiller would be helpful, but she had no idea where Anne would keep them – if she even kept any, as a vampire she probably didn’t need them. So Ann had to make do without.

Ann found her purse and checked her phone for the time. 10:14. That was plenty of time to get back to bed and cuddle close to Anne, she thought and brought it with her as she snuck back into the bedroom.

She put the phone on the nightstand and slipped back under the covers, finding Anne who’d turned on her back and snuggling close to her. She heard a content hum, unsure if she’d woken Anne or if she did it in her sleep.

“How late is it?”

Her voice sounded slightly raspy with sleep, her hand coming round to wrap around Ann and keep her close.

“A little after 10. Too early for you, I imagine.”

Anne hummed again, and Ann thought she felt her nod above her. “Stay in bed with me for a bit?”

Ann’s head still felt as if construction workers were drilling a hole inside and her limbs felt weak. That, and she wanted to be close to Anne. She most certainly had no objections to the softly spoken question. “I will.”

They stayed cuddled up like that and soon, sleep took them once more.

Ann woke again at the press of something warm to her forehead. She smiled when her senses returned to her and she recognised the feeling as Anne’s lips as they placed another kiss to her cheek. Ann hummed contentedly.

“How late?”

“Roughly 1.”

She felt Anne’s weight press into her from the side, and a moment after lips gently pressed to hers. She returned the slow kiss, blindly reaching out to hold her close as the remnants of sleep disappeared with each moment. Her headache had also mostly vanished and she felt much better.

Anne smiled when they pulled apart before remembering that Ann couldn’t see her in the darkness of her bedroom. She reached over for the switch of the bedside lamp.

Blue eyes met hers, and Anne was sure she’d never seen any sight more beautiful than a slightly sleepy looking Ann, her hair ruffled from sleep but her blue eyes vibrant as ever.

Her eyebrows went up as she remembered something. “You got a message, I think. It woke me,” Anne said, nodding over to her phone with a smile.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I should’ve muted it.”

Anne shook her head. “Don’t be, I didn’t mind.”

She laid to Ann’s side, looking away to give her privacy as she took the phone and looked. Still, Anne couldn’t help herself as she glanced over at her face and saw her brow furrowed in displeasure.

“What’s wrong? No good news?”

Ann looked at her, shaking her head. “No, it’s just- there’s this guy who doesn’t understand I’m not interested.”

Anne raised an eyebrow, an amused grin growing on her face. “I could pay him a visit. He’d think twice after that.” She chuckled.

Her grin dropped when she saw Ann’s eyes widen in response, her brow creasing with concern. Had her joke missed the mark?

“I-“

“I don’t think that would be a good idea. He’s- he’s a vampire hunter.”

Oh. Anne licked her lips, nodding. “Well, it was only a joke anyway. I didn’t mean it.”

Not that she was afraid of one vampire hunter, they were only troublesome if they attacked in groups – which they usually did. But that wasn’t the point, it was still better to avoid them.

Ann smiled softly. “I know. I just- God, I just wish he’d leave me alone.” She put her phone to the side, done with Thomas and his pestering messages as she turned to Anne.

Anne wrapped an arm around her waist, her thoughts filling with concern as she worried how far this man’s harassment had gone. “He’s not- he’s not tried anything, has he?”

The thought alone made her sick, anger flickering up in her belly. If he had, she would change her mind on her little joke and pay him a visit he would not forget.

She searched Ann’s face for any clues as she shook her head. “No. The worst that’s happened is I’ve ended up on unwanted dinner dates with him.”

Anne nodded. She was still not happy with that, but at least from Ann’s response it looked like she didn’t seem overly afraid of him, more annoyed.

They turned their heads when Ann’s phone started ringing. Perhaps it was Catherine asking how she was and demanding all the details, Ann thought as she took it. But it wasn’t. She really wasn’t in the mood for this.

“It’s him. I’ll just ignore that.”

She was about to press the mute button when Anne cradled her hand.

“Let me talk to him.”

Their eyes met, the sincerity and affection in Anne’s gaze taking all worry away from Ann as she nodded. “Okay.”

She handed over the phone and Anne picked up, putting him on speaker.

“Hello. I’m assuming you want to speak to Ann.”

“Hello…? Yes, I do, in fact. And who am I speaking to?”

His voice was about what Anne would’ve expected. Snobbish, the words rolling off his tongue as if he was used to giving orders and having them followed without question. Her lip curled in disgust.

On the other hand, she already had a perfect response laid out on her mind that turned her frown into a smirk. “Someone who’s been kind of busy with Ann when you called and interrupted us. You can imagine I’m not too pleased about that.”

There was silence on the other end for a moment as her words seemed to settle in, and her grin only widened for it. Glancing at Ann, she saw her watch in intrigue.

“Well, does she not have a minute? I was wondering, well, I wanted to ask her out.”

Anne blinked. Had her words just gone over his head entirely and he’d understood ‘busy’ in a purely innocent manner or was he just incredibly self-centred and rude? She wouldn’t be surprised if both were the case.

Well, then. She could be more precise. “Look, in case you haven’t noticed, she isn’t interested. You’re not her type.”

Looking at Ann, she saw her biting her lip as she tried to keep quiet and held back a grin. Anne raised an eyebrow.

“Oh? And who is her type, then?” Thomas responded, an edge to his voice that Anne didn’t like.

She paused to let him squirm a moment before letting the reply roll of her tongue. “Well, me.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’d like to go back to what we were doing.”

“I-“

She didn’t wait for his full response, hanging up with a grin on her face.

The moment she turned to Ann, the blonde broke out in laughter. Anne joined her.

“Oh God, I think you just gave his ego the biggest blow,” Ann laughed.

“He deserves it if he’s too stupid to get the message otherwise.”

Ann leaned in, kissing her softly. “I hope he does now. He’s been after me for, oh, at least a decade at this point.”

Anne’s eyebrows went up. “Really? Someone is persistent. And deaf, apparently.”

Ann smiled. “Apparently. I mostly ignore him these days, but it’s still unpleasant occasionally.”

They stayed in bed cuddled up for a few minutes longer before Ann showered and they had a late breakfast before Ann had to leave to run a few errands. They agreed to meet again at her place in the evening, something Anne looked forward to for the rest of the afternoon as she stayed inside and read while she waited for it to get dark.

 

****

 

The pleasant savoury smell of food hit Anne’s senses the moment Ann opened the balcony door for her and she was let into her home. She smiled, kissing her briefly on the lips. Her gaze wandered, noticing the revealing v-neck of Ann’s blue shirt and lingering on the black skirt that ended just above her knees as Ann led her over to the dining room table where a bottle of red wine sat ready for them and two sets of cutlery were neatly laid out.

Ann had clearly put a lot of work into this, and Anne felt appreciated as she eagerly awaited her to return with their food. She did before long and they dug hungrily into the chicken risotto that she’d made. It was delicious.

“You’re a good cook,” Anne complimented her as she wiped her mouth with the napkin.

Ann smiled, a blush tinting her cheeks. “Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.”

Anne nodded and finished her glass of wine.

As Anne rose to refill it, their gazes met. “There was something I’ve wanted to bring up, about your family. If you don’t mind.”

Anne’s expression shifted as she looked at her. She hadn’t expected this, and her mind had been straying in entirely other directions, spurred on by Ann’s outfit and the affectionate looks they’d been sharing. She’d been looking forward to a relaxed evening together that would potentially lead to more, unsure if she was ready for such a heavy topic tonight.

Her brow furrowed as she weighed the options on her mind.

Ann sat back down after she’d refilled her glass, shaking her head. “Never mind, I- I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

She felt a little stupid – it was clear this wasn’t an easy topic for Anne, and they’d been having a wonderful evening so far. Why ruin it?

The warmth of Anne’s hand on hers brought her back. “I’d like to hear it.”

Ann looked into those beautiful brown eyes. “Are you sure? We can just discuss this another time.”

“Yes, I’m sure. Tell me. I can tell this is something you’ve been thinking a lot about.”

Ann straightened her posture. “Okay. What I’ve been thinking about is that you mentioned you’re afraid to reveal yourself to them.”

Anne nodded, leaning back in her chair as she listened to her.

“And I thought it makes sense that it’s of course very daunting to do that, to ring at their door and try to explain to them what happened to you,” Ann continued, trying to sort her thoughts as she went on.

“So I thought, have you considered trying to get one of them on their own? When the others aren’t around. It might be easier if you reveal yourself to perhaps the one you think is most likely to accept you and see where that leads you.”

Anne rubbed her chin as she thought about it. She hadn’t really considered this, perhaps because Shibden was rarely a lonely place – even when she still lived there it had been rare for her to have the place to her own, and especially now that they got older, her aunt and father didn’t leave the house quite as often anymore from what she’d seen.

“It’s a good idea, but I don’t think there are any opportunities to catch any of them home alone.”

Ann hummed in thought, taking a sip from her wine. “Well, it doesn’t have to be at home though. Do they have any places they go where they might be alone for a bit?”

Anne hadn’t thought about that. She went through her mind, trying to think of anything. It was hard considering she didn’t exactly stalk her family and didn’t know all that much about what they were doing, plus she could of course only try to catch one alone in the evening hours – where they mostly stayed at home.

But then it hit her. Her eyebrows went up as it came to her. “The graveyard.”

Ann gave her a puzzled look.

“My family goes to visit my grave every few weeks, but sometimes Marian goes alone. It’s usually Sunday evening I believe.”

Ann smiled at how proud Anne looked that she’d thought of this idea. “That could be a good opportunity. You just might have to make sure not to scare her to death showing up at your own grave.”

She chuckled, and so did Anne. It did have something morbid about it for sure, and while meeting Marian at her grave was a possibility, she didn’t know if it was a good idea for that reason. The last thing she wanted was to scare her sister. A funny thought considering it had been a favourite hobby of hers to prank her when she’d still been a human.

Her smile faded as she thought it over. “I’m not sure if it’s a great place to meet her, but it might be my only choice.”

Ann could see the uncertainty in her face, the doubt and apprehension. She’d thought that Anne wasn’t afraid of anything but right now she felt like she’d revealed perhaps the one thing she feared. To face her family and be rejected. Ann could empathise with that.

“I think you should go for it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. And who knows, they might not care and just be happy to have you back, you know.”

In that moment, as their gazes met, Anne was nearly overwhelmed with affection for this kind, caring woman. Someone cornier than her might’ve told her she must’ve lost her wings when she fell from heaven, but Anne could only take her hand and bring it to her lips to kiss her knuckles while not taking her eyes off her for a second.

“You’re right,” she said eventually. “I’ll find her on Sunday.”

The thought of rejection terrified her, but Anne knew that she’d never find peace if she didn’t try. Hope for a good outcome filled her with excitement and made her feel lighter, while fear of a negative one made her limbs heavy and her chest tight. The two were fighting within her but being in Ann’s presence helped her ease her nerves and stop overthinking it to instead focus on the pleasant evening she was spending with her.

They sat together for a little longer before Ann removed the plates. Anne followed her to the kitchen, sneaking up on her as she stood at the sink and tidied the worst of the mess. Ann had no chance as arms wrapped around her waist from behind and caught her off guard.

She took a sharp breath, tensing and placing the plate she’d been holding in the sink. “You… you scared me!”

Anne chuckled close to her ear, and Ann laughed too despite the way Anne’s voice so close to her ear was making goosebumps prick up all over her skin. She pressed back into the warm body holding her, closing her eyes the moment lips pressed against her neck.

“Apologies, I just couldn’t keep my hands off you.”

Ann shuddered, deciding in that moment that Anne’s voice was one of her favourite sounds in the world, especially when it lowered and deepened like that, words smooth like silk rolling off her tongue while hands moved to her hips and traced the outlines of her curves through her clothes.

Her mind became foggy with desire, and she took Anne’s left hand in her own and brought it up to place it over her breast, letting out a breathy moan when Anne took the invitation and found the nipple straining through her clothes.

If Ann weren’t holding herself up against the counter, she was sure she would’ve lost balance already, though no doubt Anne would keep her up anyway. Lips nipped at her neck again, taking away whatever focus she still had left as her body heated up with her increasing need for Anne.

She turned in her arms, her breath taken away at the sight before her: Anne in her white dress shirt that clung to her defined strong body, the grey cravat around her neck and her tight black pants, her long hair in a low ponytail with a few wisps falling into her face and her brown eyes wild and darkened with desire as she eyed Ann.

Ann put her hands on her shoulders, pressing her body against her as she looked up at her.

“I want you,” she breathed. It’d never been clearer to her.

Anne swallowed as she kept gazing into those stunning blue eyes, feeling Ann’s words to her core. She was glad they’d waited last night, that they didn’t rush it when desire overcame them while drunk. No, she wanted to savour this and make this a night they wouldn’t forget.

She leaned in, kissing Ann with fervour and grinding her hips against hers as Ann responded with earnest. Small hands kept her close, their want growing with each ongoing second.

Ann reluctantly broke the kiss to take Anne’s hand and guide her towards her bedroom. Anne could only follow, mesmerised by her beauty and her want for Ann alike. She closed the door behind them, finding Ann’s lips as she wrapped her arms around Anne.

Ann pressed against her, walking her backwards. Anne decided to allow it – she usually preferred taking charge, but many things seemed different with Ann and her taking the lead right now thrilled Anne.

The backs of her legs hit the edge of the bed and she sat down, Ann standing between her legs, panting audibly. Their eyes met, and Ann kept eye contact while she reached down to slowly open the first buttons of her shirt, taking her cravat and untying it until it hung loose around her neck. The simple action and the way Ann was looking at her made Anne’s core throb in anticipation.

Her gaze dropped to Ann’s lips, the tension nearly unbearable at this point. She was about to pull her down into a kiss, but then Ann’s hands found her belt, the jangling of the buckle filling the quiet of the room as she opened it.

The button and zipper followed before Anne kicked off her shoes and shifted so Ann could pull her pants down. She stayed where she was on her knees in front of Anne, licking her lips as she looked up and slid her hands over her strong thighs.

Anne tensed in anticipation, was she going to…? She could barely recall the last time anyone had, the last time she’d let them. A flicker of uncertainty took hold of her; was she ready to be vulnerable with her like this? To open herself up entirely and just trust Ann?

Ann seemed to sense it as she moved her right hand to where Anne’s was on the bed, holding it. “Do you… do you want this?”

Where there’d been unbridled desire in her eyes before, part of it was overshadowed by worry as she looked up at Anne with her brow creased. The last thing she wanted was to force anything on her. She wanted to make Anne feel good, to taste her, but if that wasn’t what she wanted, then Ann would respect that.

Looking back into Ann’s eyes told Anne everything she needed to know, the small hand holding hers only emphasising the warmth spreading in her chest as her doubt was replaced with affection and a new depth of trust.

She nodded, rubbing her thumb over her knuckles. “Yes. It’s just… been a while. Since anyone has,” she gestured vaguely, “done this.”

Ann couldn’t understand why. She knew she’d spent countless moments – especially lately – fantasising about Anne and what it’d be like to taste her, among many other scenarios. But maybe Anne hadn’t allowed others the privilege? In that case, Ann would feel honoured that she trusted her enough to let her.

She dipped her fingers in the waistband of Anne’s boxers, looking up again and when Anne nodded, she pulled them down to discard them.

The moment Ann’s lips connected with her knee on a slow tantalising trail upwards, Anne forgot all about any remaining concerns and let herself sink into the feeling as her mouth wandered closer and closer to where she needed her, almost there-

Until she pulled away, repeating the same treatment on her other leg. With each ongoing second, Anne was changing her mind – maybe there were other ways to kill a vampire, maybe it didn’t need silver or the sun but the teasing touches of a certain blonde could be just as deadly.

“Ann…”

Ann paused, pulling away slightly to look up. The wild look in Anne’s eyes told her all she needed to know, her own underwear soaking through as she decided she’d teased her long enough.

Anne opened her legs wider as she got into position, wrapping her arms around her legs before pressing her lips to her folds in a first tentative touch.

Anne took in a sharp breath, her hand tangling in blonde locks as Ann’s tongue swiped along her folds, sending sparks like lightning through her body. She moaned the moment that tongue flicked over her clit, her hips pressing upwards into the touch.

Ann hummed against her, keeping her in place against her face as well as she could as they settled into a rhythm and Anne started grinding against her. Already Anne was feeling the familiar feeling of her orgasm start to build, her eyes closing as all she could focus on was the magic Ann’s mouth was working on her.

When lips enveloped her clit and sucked, Anne cried out, her fingers tangling more firmly in Ann’s hair as heat travelled from her core through her body, her body tensing in preparation for the wave Ann was about to set off.

“Ann, I’m-“

With a final series of flicks by Ann’s tongue, she was sent over the edge, a final moan breaking free as the powerful release overwhelmed her. Her heart was racing in her chest, sweat having gathered on her temple when she came back to her senses.

Looking down, she found Ann on her knees looking up at her with affection in her eyes, a smile growing on her lips as their gazes met.

Anne held out her hand to help her up, speechless for now as she still tried to process the explosive high she’d just had and the contentment that was spreading within her. Instead, Anne pulled her close and into a passionate kiss that she hoped would convey how she felt without words.

Ann’s moan was swallowed by her lips, and when she placed her hands on her shoulders, Anne pulled her into her lap so she straddled her. Her hands trailed down her back, making Ann shudder as her fingertips traced over the outline of her spine all the way down until her hands found the curves of her behind.

Ann’s grip on her shoulders tightened, her hips starting to grind into her lap driving Anne wild. They’d waited long enough, she decided for herself and wrapped her arms around Ann to pick her up, turning around and dropping her on the bed.

She looked down at her, her gaze just as full of desire as last night when they’d found themselves in a similar position. But tonight, Anne would not deny her any longer, hastily opening and removing her shirt, noticing Ann’s gaze trailing down her almost uncovered body as Anne climbed on top of her.

Ann pulled her close by the cravat still hanging loosely around her neck, kissing her fiercely as she threw the cravat to the side and Anne groaned. She let her hand travel south, briefly cupping a breast and smiling into their kiss when Ann pressed her chest into her touch as she circled her nipple through the fabric before moving on.

Anne stopped at the waistband of her skirt, sitting back slightly and letting her gaze linger on Ann’s still fully clothed body. She suddenly found herself torn between her impatience to have her now and her wish to undress her and take her time with her properly.

Her gaze flicked up, finding blue eyes already on hers with desire written clearly in them.

“What’s up?”

Anne shook her head, smiling as she let her hand trail to where her skirt ended and slipped underneath, pausing on her thigh. Her smile dropped as her tongue darted out to wet her lips.

“I just couldn’t decide whether to take this slow or rip your underwear off right now.”

Ann let out a shaky breath – she knew what her answer was. Reaching down, she found Anne’s hand and led it closer to her throbbing core, keeping her gaze firmly on hers.

“Come here,” she said softly, the breathlessness of her voice underlining how worked up she was.

Anne swallowed. She didn’t know what was hotter – the way Ann had just grabbed her hand and showed her exactly what she wanted, her unwavering gaze, or the soft affection in her voice that travelled straight to her heart as much as her core.

She lay on top of her, letting her fingertips brush against the inside of her thigh until she found her core and the soaked piece of fabric clinging to it. She let her finger tease her clit, rewarded with a soft moan. There was plenty of time to take it slow another time, Anne thought as she found the waistband of her panties and slid them down and off.

Ann tensed in anticipation, eagerly accepting Anne’s lips as they captured hers. The first touch to her folds made her hips buck forward into Anne’s hand, her moan muffled by her lips.

Anne dragged her finger through her wetness, brushing against her clit occasionally before placing the tip at her entrance. She pulled away from those soft lips to meet her gaze, looking for permission.

Ann pulled her closer, wrapping her arms around her tightly as her eyes glimmered as if Anne was the only person that mattered to her right now. She nodded.

Anne slowly pressed inside, revelling in the way her walls clung snugly to her as her warmth enveloped her finger. She stayed still for a moment, their gazes on each other.

The moment Anne pulled out, Ann gasped, digging her fingers into her strong shoulders as she filled her again. If she had one wish, she’d want to live in this moment forever. Anne picked up her pace, placing kisses along her jaw and cheek towards her ear.

“Anne… more.”

Anne knew one thing: She could not resist that pleading voice even if she tried. Not that she wanted to. She pulled back, both moaning when she pressed back inside with two fingers.

“You’re so beautiful,” she whispered next to her ear as she filled her with deep long thrusts.

Ann moaned, her mind clouded by her want and the growing intensity of Anne’s touches that would soon push her over the edge. However she’d imagined this moment, it fell short of reality.

Anne plastered kisses along her neck, sucking at the sensitive skin when an idea came to mind. It was very hit or miss, but she wanted to try it.

“Ah- don’t stop,” Ann gasped when Anne continuously hit that perfect spot within her that made her insides tingle.

She was distracted, however, by the feeling of something sharp against her neck just gently scraping against her skin. Goosebumps pricked up immediately in its wake, and Ann shivered as the sharp feeling against her sensitive skin travelled straight to her core and made her clench.

Her eyes widened as she realised what Anne was doing – and that it was, in fact, turning her on a great deal. To think that she was at her mercy, that Anne could go for the bite any moment and yet Ann trusted her not to was incredible, not to mention that it also felt really fucking good.

The fangs scraped against her skin once more, a little more firmly as Anne’s thrusts became harder and faster. The moment her thumb brushed against her clit Ann cried out, her hips lifting off the bed as she reached her peak. Anne guided her through it until her body slumped on the bed and only their laboured breaths filled the silence as she pulled out.

Ann opened her eyes, smiling when Anne was already looking at her with a hint of smugness on that handsome face.

She bit her lip, hoping that Anne didn’t see the way her cheeks took a pink shade. “I- your fangs…”

She was at a loss of words. Did she really need to say anything when Anne clearly noticed that she’d liked it if her smirk was anything to go by?

Still, it was kind of odd that she liked it, wasn’t it? Ann felt like she should feel embarrassed, like it was wrong.

The smirk turned into a smile as Anne leaned down and placed a kiss to her forehead. “Nothing wrong with liking it. Some do, and I went for a gamble and gave it a try.”

Ann nodded, the uncomfortable feeling that she did something wrong easing as she saw the sincerity in Anne’s eyes. She pulled her in for a kiss.

Both smiled at one another when they parted, and Ann briefly considered if there wasn’t time for a less rushed round two. But then a yawn broke free, interrupting that line of thought as she noticed just how tired she was getting. Anne chuckled.

“It’s getting late, isn’t it?”

“It must be… and I think my body is still a little exhausted from all that alcohol last night.”

Anne could imagine, though of course for her it wasn’t an issue since her healing had long kicked in again and she was fine. She wished they had more time though, but understood that their different schedules would likely always be in the way to some extent.

“You can’t stay, can you?”

Ann looked up at her with a hint of sadness in her eyes that broke Anne’s heart a little. She took her hand, squeezing it.

“I can for a little, but I still have a few things to do tonight.”

Ann nodded – she’d figured that. “I’ll go and get changed real quick. Lie with me for a bit after?”

Anne smiled. She could most definitely do that. While Ann went to change, she put her clothes back on and lay down.

Soon Ann joined her and pressed just as tightly against her front as last night, Anne’s arm around her waist as she nuzzled into her hair and inhaled her scent. They chatted briefly about Ann’s upcoming day, what Anne had planned for the night and when they could see each other next in the next few days. They agreed to meet again on Sunday night.

A pang of nervousness took a hold of Anne as she remembered she would seek Marian out at the graveyard on Sunday, but Ann only entwined her fingers with hers and told her it would be okay as if she’d crawled into her mind and read her thoughts.

She could do this; if Ann believed in her, she could do anything.

Anne carried that thought with her as she carefully extracted herself from Ann when she’d fallen asleep in her arms, gently kissing her forehead before turning off the light and sneaking out of the bedroom. She quickly tidied up the kitchen and left, saddened that she couldn’t spend the night but happy at the evening they’d had together.

Chapter Text

Thomas Ainsworth rubbed his chin as he stood at the wide window in his office, staring at the city of Halifax below him. Most of the city looked small from up here, except the few other skyscrapers nearby. He always enjoyed the feeling of power it gave him, the reminder that he was up here, in his big office with his well-paid job that many would envy him for.

His brow creased as his thoughts strayed to the one topic that had been upsetting his emotional equilibrium lately – Ann. Ever since the ‘incident’ a few days ago where a rude woman had answered her phone and had not only wasted his time but insulted him, he’d often found himself in a sour mood when the topic returned to his attention.

He would ignore it, shake it off and forget about this insignificant woman if only Ann would react to his messages. Generally, that wasn’t unusual – Ann often didn’t respond to his messages, clearly being coy and making herself more interesting this way.

Thomas had chosen the vampire hunter profession for a reason; he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, and it was no different with women. But in this case he had to be honest and admit to himself that he kind of expected some sort of response, an apology for whatever her strange friend had insinuated on the phone.

But nothing. He’d tried calling her once too, but Ann had seemed distracted on the phone when he tried to make conversation and while she usually took his dinner invitations if he was persistent enough, she’d declined hesitantly, telling him she had work.

Worry wormed into his mind that perhaps whoever this new friend of hers was had filled her mind with nonsense and – who knows – even whispered lies in her ear about him to pull her away from him and have her all to herself.

But who was he to accept this? With only 37 years, he had already made a successful career with the vampire hunters that even some more senior members dreamed of. He knew how to get what he wanted.

He reached for the phone on his desk, dialling the number of his secretary and telling her what he wanted. Shortly after, there was a knock on his door.

“Come in.”

The man in the typical dark vampire hunter uniform entered, standing still and nodding at Thomas from across the spacious room as he awaited instructions.

“I want you to take one or two of your men – however many you see fit – and observe Ann Walker. Discreetly. As you know, she’s been bitten recently and I am concerned for her safety.”

He paced up and down his room, hands behind his back.

“Keep an eye on her home. And,” he said, stopping in his tracks to look at his man, “take pictures of anyone she leaves the house with.”

His subordinate gave him a bit of a puzzled look, but they knew better than to question him.

“Understood?”

The man nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Then you are dismissed. Get to work.”

The door closed and Thomas sat at his large oak desk. He was aware this wasn’t exactly protocol, but if he’d learned one thing during his time with the vampire hunters, it’s that sometimes you couldn’t achieve your goals if you only did things by the book.

His men knew to keep quiet about it if they ever wanted a chance of climbing up the ranks, so there was no reason to worry. Besides – it was for the greater good, the last thing he wanted was for this woman to distract Ann and potentially lead her on ways that would not be in her best interest.

 

****

 

Anne looked in the mirror, checking her appearance for what had to be the 10th time or so. She tightened her black tie again, noticing the shake in her hands as she did so. Her nerves had been running crazy ever since she woke, and even a long hot shower and a few supportive messages from Ann hadn’t helped much to calm them.

It was all or nothing tonight, but Anne wasn’t sure if she was ready for it. She’d spent years thinking about her family, watching them when she could and feeling the sting in her chest never quite lessen no matter how much time passed without them. How could it when Anne loved them with all her heart, never quite getting used to the loneliness her existence had plunged her into?

She had Tib, but as much as she loved her friend, she didn’t replace her family. Ann had come into her life making it that much brighter, but even she could not fill the gap in her heart. Anne wasn’t religious, but she silently hoped that if there was a God, they’d help her tonight.

Taking her coat, she took a deep breath. Maybe going in an all-black coat wasn’t the ideal choice, but she didn’t own anything else. The freezing wind enveloped her as she stepped on her balcony and shapeshifted to fly to the graveyard.

 

****

 

Anne didn’t know how long she’d already been hanging from this tree, but it must’ve been at least a few minutes. The wind had calmed a little, but every now and then a cold breeze shook the little bat as she hung from the tree. She kept staring in the direction of her grave, waiting. Hopefully Marian would even show up, she thought.

Just a few moments later, her head snapped as she saw someone approach. Marian. Anne’s heart leapt as she saw her sister approach her grave in a thick brown coat, bouquet of flowers in one hand. Her hair was tied in a loose bun, mostly greyed by now.

She kneeled at the grave, placing the flowers in front of it before standing, folding her hands in front of herself. Marian had never been particularly religious, so Anne assumed she wasn’t praying as she stood silent before the stone.

Anne flew down from the tree, shapeshifting in the shadows to not be noticed as she watched in silence for now. Marian reached inside her purse and brought out a tissue, bringing it up to wipe her eyes. The scene made Anne’s heart seize as she realised she hadn’t considered how much it’d hurt to see her mourn her, to see the result of what her actions had caused with her own eyes.

It was all her own fault, Anne thought as guilt weighed heavily on her shoulders – it should’ve never come to this, she could’ve prevented all this pain she caused her family if she’d just driven safely that night.

Ann appeared on her mind with that sweet smile on her lips, telling her that she still had the chance to make up for all of that by showing them that she wasn’t dead, that they could have her back in their lives. Anne felt a little lighter – this was probably something Ann would tell her if she were here.

She took a step forward, slowly approaching Marian and stopping a few metres behind her. For a few moments, Anne hesitated as she tried to think of what to say. She’d imagined this moment so often over the past few days, but actually standing here was even harder.

“It never gets any easier, does it?”

Marian twitched where she was standing, turning around. The moment they made eye contact she froze, a gasp escaping and her still watery eyes wide as she took Anne in in her black coat standing there.

“I- I must be seeing things,” she said with a tremble in her voice. “This isn’t real, it-it can’t be.”

The unsteadiness in her voice, the way eyes took her in as if she was some sort of spirit that her own imagination had created to torment her on a graveyard of all places – it broke Anne’s heart a little, though she understood. Would she believe it if she were the one visiting her sister’s grave and she appeared out of nowhere after 12 years? Surely not.

Anne was also aware that as soon as Marian saw her fangs, she’d realise she wasn’t some sort of spirit – for better or for worse. She took a careful step towards her, an uncertain smile on her face.

“I promise you I’m real. I didn’t die that night,” she started, a lump forming in her throat as she tried to keep her voice steady to say what had been burning a hole in her for over a decade.

Marian looked at her in shock, the tissue in her hand dropping to the floor as her mouth hung open.

“This… this is what I am now, and-” Anne swallowed, her eyes misting over, “and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”

A deadly silence followed, and under any other circumstances, Anne might’ve appreciated how fitting it was for the comforting darkness of the evening on a graveyard. Her sister seemed to be taking in the information, and Anne could not blame her for needing a moment to process this mess, this huge fucking mess that she’d created-

Marian shook her head, clutching her purse tightly to herself as a fearful frown appeared on her face. “No.”

Anne’s brow creased in confusion. Marian shook her head again as if nothing made sense to her, as if she couldn’t believe what was going on.

“No, this is not- this is not happening!” Her voice had a sharpness to it that felt like a thousand daggers to Anne’s heart, followed by another barrage when she saw the same expression in her eyes.

“Marian-“ Anne took a step towards her, but Marian’s eyes widened as she tried to go backwards while evading her grave, nearly falling.

“Stay away from me! You’re not- whatever you are, you’re not my sister.” She moved a little to the side, looking for a way to get out of here quickly.

“My sister died that night, foolish as she was driving recklessly,” Marian said, a tremble in her voice as tears ran down her face. “She was a fool, but I would never believe she’d be one of them- a heartless killer!”

“Our Anne was a good person.”

The finality of those words burned itself into every cell of Anne’s being, the blow that gave her the rest as she stood there and could only watch Marian leave as fast as she could until Anne could not see her anymore.

For a few moments, a forlorn quiet took a hold of her until all her sister’s words, the disbelieving, disapproving looks hit her all at once, tears rolling down her cheeks until a loud sob filled the lonely silence of the graveyard and she fell on her knees in front of her own grave.

She didn’t know how much time had passed when she looked up at her withered gravestone, feeling drained and empty. Marian was right; she had died that day.

 

****

 

Ann had been sitting in front of the tv for the past hour, but she wasn’t really paying attention to the programme, her thoughts constantly straying as she wondered how it was going for Anne with her sister.

She hoped for the best but a bit of worry was with her regardless. Ann could only try her best to focus on a positive outcome, hoping Anne would be with her soon with a broad smile and good news. Then they could celebrate – she’d even bought a bottle of champagne which Anne would hopefully appreciate.

The moment she heard a familiar knock from the balcony, her heart leapt in excitement and she muted the tv, jumped off the sofa and made her way over.

Nothing could have prepared her for the sight when she opened the door. No words were necessary to explain what had happened as she looked into the familiar brown eyes that were bloodshot and filled with so much pain Ann’s heart constricted.

She closed the door and wrapped her arms around her, feeling Anne pull her closer as she buried her head in her neck. Ann rubbed soothing circles along her back, her own eyes becoming moist as she sensed the pain Anne was in and wished she could make it better but knew she could only do so much. The skin at Ann’s neck became wet with Anne’s tears, accompanied by quiet sniffles.

They stood in silence for a bit until Anne pulled away a little, their gazes meeting. Ann nearly gasped at how broken she looked – she’d never seen her like this. She cupped her cheek.

“I’m so sorry, Anne.”

Anne smiled, but it was a smile devoid of happiness.

“I should’ve died in that car crash,” she whispered as a lone tear ran down her cheek.

Ann wiped it away with her thumb, her brow creasing with sadness at those words.

“But then we would’ve never met. My life wouldn’t have been the same without you.”

Despite the agony that was filling every fibre of her being and the emptiness she felt in her heart, the darkness around Anne was kept at bay in that moment by the light Ann shone at her with those words and the sincere blue eyes underlining that she meant it.

Her existence and the encounter with her sister had plunged Anne into darkness, but Ann was there for her as a guiding light to ignite a spark of hope despite it all, extending her hand to keep her going. And Anne gratefully took it.

Overwhelmed by her feelings and gratefulness for this wonderful woman who supported her right now, she wrapped her arms tightly around her and pressed her lips to hers. She hoped to express her feelings without words as their lips moved together slowly but no less passionately.

Ann pressed against her, wanting to signal that she wasn’t alone in this. However briefly they’d known each other, Ann already felt a strong bond forming between them and hoped Anne felt the same. If the trust she placed in her by coming here despite what happened and showing herself to her at her most vulnerable was an indication, she did.

They kissed for a few more moments before parting, staying close. Anne brought up her hand, cradling Ann’s cheek. She brushed her thumb across her soft lips, her gaze wandering up to meet hers.

“Will you come back to my place tonight?”

I don’t want to be alone right now, she thought but didn’t say.

Ann saw the pleading gaze directed at her, understanding she was needed. She had work tomorrow, but nothing could stop her from being there for Anne – besides, she could just go to work straight from her place.

She nodded. “I will. Let me quickly get changed and pack a bag. Then we can go, okay?”

Anne patiently waited for her in the living room and they left after. It was a little way to Anne’s and since she couldn’t just fly with Ann with her and hadn’t brought her car, they called a taxi and Anne stayed quiet to not reveal herself and scare the driver. Not long after they arrived at her place, the fact that she had Ann by her side calming her and taking the edge off the tightness in her chest.

They took off their coats and shoes before Anne stepped close, taking Ann’s hand in hers. “Thank you.”

Ann only shook her head as if it wasn’t worth mentioning, smiling as she placed a kiss to her lips. “No need to thank me.”

Tonight had been a disaster, and Anne’s heart bled with the impact of Marian’s words and their implications. But in this moment she felt a little warmer as she wondered how she got lucky enough to have Ann.

She brought her hand up to her lips and kissed the back of it before wrapping an arm around Ann and capturing her lips with hers. Ann hummed contentedly, enjoying the feel of Anne’s lips against hers as she ran her hands over her strong back, feeling the muscle underneath her touch even through her shirt.

Anne opened her mouth, letting her tongue dip out to ask for entry which Ann granted, both moaning as they deepened the kiss and Anne’s hands found Ann’s hips and held her close.

They took their time, the rushed urgency of their last encounters replaced with a slow deliberate pace, the want for tender intimacy taking the place of raging desire.

Their gazes met, and the deep affection Anne saw in Ann’s eyes nearly made her tear up again on the spot – as long as she had Ann, she could do it, somehow. Ann, who accepted her despite who she was. A soothing warmth took a hold of her, but with it also came an ice-cold wave of fear to lose her that Anne tried to push to the side as she focused on the here and now.

She took Ann’s hand, guiding her the short way to the bedroom. The golden glow of the bedside lamp gave the dimly lit room a soft atmosphere as they found each other again, Ann’s hands slowly undoing the buttons of her dress shirt and her tie, smiling up at her.

“You look so handsome in this,” she commented softly, and Anne had to smile despite the painful reminder why she’d made such an effort today in particular.

They discarded her dress shirt and tie, and Ann pulled her own t-shirt over her head as Anne already fumbled with her belt. Once both their pants had joined the pile on the floor, they lay on the bed, and Anne’s eyes took in the soft curves of Ann’s body only covered by her pink underwear.

Ever since their last encounter, she’d been eager to feel her skin against hers as she lay naked and wanting underneath her, had been dreaming of the next time they’d find themselves in bed so she could run her hands over her body and take her time to claim every bit of her.

She was drawn out of her thoughts when Ann pulled her close and on top of her, opening her legs so Anne could slide her thigh in between. Both sighed when their lips connected and Anne pressed her leg against Ann’s core, feeling the warmth radiating through her underwear as they kissed and Ann’s hips urgently pressed forward into her.

Her hand travelled down her body, from the shoulder to her clavicle and her chest, cupping a breast through her bra. Anne groaned when Ann’s fingernails gently scraped against her back, making her skin tingle with the sensation as a fresh rush of wetness soaked her boxers and she rolled her hips forward.

Anne kissed along her neck, enjoying the little hums and gasps Ann let out as she found her sensitive spots and licked and sucked. She halted all movement when she felt her bra come loose, looking up to find dilated pupils already seeking hers.

Clearly, Ann wanted her out of her underwear sooner rather than later, and Anne had no complaints as she pulled back and removed the bra and Ann sat up so she could unclasp hers as well. Only one last piece of fabric was covering each of them, a wave of impatience taking a hold of Ann as she took in Anne’s muscular frame, her abs and her chest and every part of her body that she wanted to feel against her own.

She shifted closer to where Anne was kneeling before her and kissed her with fervour, her hands tugging at the waistband of her boxers as Anne’s hands squeezed her behind before wandering up her back with featherlight touches that made her shiver.

“I need you,” Ann panted as she pulled the boxers down.

Anne needed her too, both her heart and body craving her in equal measures. She lay Ann back down on the bed, hooking her fingers under her waistband as they kept eye contact. The moment the underwear was removed, she found herself staring, Ann’s beauty taking her breath away and making her mouth water. Whatever she’d imagined, it didn’t compare.

Looking up, she found Ann staring at her in the same manner, the desire in her eyes making Anne question herself how she wasn’t on top of her already.

She rectified that and took her spot on top of her, both sighing when their naked bodies connected at last, their breasts pressing together. In that moment, as Anne looked into vivid blue eyes and her heart swelled, she felt at peace. Like she had found a home, someone she could be herself with and nothing else mattered.

She realised in that moment, as she trailed her hand over smooth skin, as hips rocked upwards into hers, that she was starting to fall for her. It was soon, fears whispering in her ear that she was naïve and foolish, that she’d just get hurt again, but they couldn’t drown out the warmth filling every fibre of her being as just being in Ann’s presence was already enough to make her feel like a better person and make the pain of losing her family for good bearable where it would otherwise tear her apart.

There were so many things Ann wanted to say right now as she saw the mixture of pain and affection for her shining back at her from Anne’s beautiful eyes. She wanted to tell her it would be okay, she wanted to let her know she would be here for her no matter what. There was something else, something she’d thought of on their way here, but now was not the time for words.

If actions spoke louder than words, then Ann was committed to showing Anne in every imaginable way that she cared for her, more deeply than she was ready to admit. She wrapped her arms around her tightly, pulling her down to kiss her as she rolled her hips up into her and they soon found a steady rhythm as they ground into one another.

Anne soon shifted so she could worship Ann’s body as she’d planned to, letting her hands and mouth explore her from top to bottom, enjoying the way Ann squirmed beneath her as she kissed her way to her chest and took a nipple in her mouth, letting her teeth – and fangs – tease the sensitive bud which resulted in a sharp gasp from below.

She was already on her way lower, was just nipping at the skin around her belly when Ann gently tugged at her hair to get her attention.

“Come back up here.”

Anne raised her eyebrows at the softly spoken command but did as told, smiling when Ann pulled her close and purposefully trailed her hand down her front. A pleasant shiver rippled through her body as she let her fingers brush over her chest before going lower.

Not one to be outdone, Anne let her hand wander lower as well until she reached the trimmed patch of hair. Both women moaned as their hands found their destination almost in sync.

Anne steadied herself with one arm while coating her fingers in the plentiful wetness awaiting her, breathing heavily as Ann rubbed slow precise circles over her clit and her hips rolled forward into her perfect touch.

The moment she brushed her fingers over Ann’s clit, a soft moan escaped, music to Anne’s ears. Ann’s hand lost focus briefly, slipping before finding herself again.

They stayed close, keeping eye contact and kissing as they touched one another, the sounds of their lovemaking echoing in the room as they steadily neared their peaks together. When had Ann ever felt so connected to someone else? She wished this moment would never end, that she’d never have to stop looking into Anne’s eyes, hearing her moans when her fingers found that spot, and feeling the softness of her lips as she kissed her passionately while her skilful touch was steadily bringing Ann closer to her climax.

“I’m so close…” Anne gasped, shaking as the first wave hit her and nearly threw her off her pace as she touched Ann. She kept it up, wanting nothing more than to come undone together.

Ann moaned, holding her tighter with her free arm as her hips bucked into her hand. “Me too.”

There was a moment’s calm before Anne reached her climax, shuddering as she fell forward with a long moan. Ann followed a second after, the intensity of her peak taking her by surprise as heat spread from her core throughout her body. She clung tightly onto Anne until they both came down from their highs, lying limply as their breathing and rapidly beating hearts recovered.

Ann smiled, a sense of contentment spreading from deeply within her. She turned her head to place a soft kiss to Anne’s forehead, her smile widening as she opened her eyes and looked at her.

Anne shifted to lie next to her, cuddling close and kissing her lips. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Ann held her close, feeling the vulnerability in the softly spoken words as she nodded. “Of course.”

They hadn’t really spoken about what had happened with Anne’s sister yet, and while Ann wanted to know how it had gone so wrong, she felt it was not the right moment to ask. That she needed to give Anne her space and let her come forward with it when she was ready.

So they spent a few long minutes in a comfortable silence, their bodies pressed together as each was in her own thoughts snuggled close to the other.

“Do you want to know what happened?”

Ann turned her head, finding Anne looking at her with an unreadable expression. She slowly nodded, gently rubbing along her back. Anne described the scene that had unfolded tonight, her sister’s words and how it had torn her apart from the inside to hear them.

Ann hurt with her. She could only imagine what it was like to go and seek her sister out after years of uncertainty and loneliness, hopeful to reunite with her family. Only to be rejected in the end. She couldn’t say she didn’t understand Marian’s reaction to an extent – the general image society had of vampires was not a positive one, and Ann could see how some might refuse to acknowledge their loved one had turned into what they thought was a bloodthirsty, remorseless killer.

She held Anne in a tight hug, doing her best to soothe her as sorrow overtook her once more. Ann wished she could do more, wished she could help-

When she remembered. She gently pulled away just enough to look at Anne’s tear-streaked face.

“I had an idea… if- if you’d like to hear it.”

Anne frowned with confusion but nodded. Whatever Ann had to say, she wanted to know.

“I… I thought, what if I go and speak to them? For you.”

Ann swallowed, her mouth dry as nervousness took over. She wasn’t sure if she was overstepping suggesting this – they hadn’t known each other for all that long, would Anne feel offended by her idea? Would she find it stupid?

The confusion on her face only intensified as she seemed to take a moment to think about it. “My family…?”

Ann nodded. “Yes. I’d- well, I’d just go there and explain the situation.” And that you’re kind and lovely, she added in thought. “That you’re still you. Still human inside.”

Anne took a moment to process the information. A rush of emotions overtook her, from affection for Ann for having thought about this and wanting to help, to uncertainty and doubt. Was it a good idea? She didn’t know. Her family was generally friendly though, she knew that much, so chances are they’d lend a sweet person like Ann an ear. If it was going to be successful though, she didn’t know. Her thoughts were in complete disarray about it.

“This is… unexpected.”

Ann bit her lip, looking away. “That’s okay. Maybe it’s a silly idea, I… I didn’t mean to overstep.”

But then Anne’s gentle touch as she cupped her cheek made her look back at her. Their gazes met, Anne’s still glistening eyes full of kindness.

“I’m speechless that you’d want to do this for me,” she said softly before her smile turned sad. “I just don’t know if there’s any hope.”

Ann placed the softest of kisses to her lips. Here she’d worried Anne would hate the idea, that she’d perhaps feel intruded upon by the suggestion. But that wasn’t it at all. Frankly, Ann didn’t know if there was hope, if she could convince them. But she knew one thing.

“We can’t know if we don’t try, right? What is there to lose?”

Anne could think of a few things, Ann’s limited time wasted for her, for one. But the beautiful blonde didn’t seem to care, only wanted to help Anne in any way she could. And she was right: Anne had nothing to lose.

So they spoke it through and made a plan that Ann would visit Anne’s family tomorrow after work. They spent the rest of the evening naked in bed chatting about their families, exchanging childhood memories, embarrassing moments and the like. It was bittersweet to relive some of these memories that she usually kept closely guarded in her heart with Ann, but their shared laughs at the sillier ones and mutual sad silence at the not so nice ones took some of the heaviness off her shoulders at the comforting realisation that she could share her most precious memories with Ann and not be worried.

Ann also shared memories of her family, the parents that Anne already knew had died when she was still young, some eye-roll-worthy moments with her kind but sometimes overbearing cousins – except for Catherine, of course; she was wonderful, as Ann emphasised – and other things.

Before long, it was time for Ann to go to sleep so she could make it to work in time, and Anne spent a little while cuddled close to her until she knew she was asleep. They’d spoken it through but she still left her a little note in case she woke up before getting dressed to meet Tib and head over to the shooting range.

Chapter Text

It was late – or early, depending on how you looked at it – when Anne returned home after a few hours with Tib. She’d told her what had happened with Marian and Ann’s idea to talk to her family for her the next day. Anne didn’t need to say much – Tib knew how much this hurt her, so she’d pulled her into a tight hug before telling her with a sincere smile that she should do whatever she could to keep Ann in her life, and that she’d keep her fingers crossed for her. Anne smiled at the thought; Tib had her heart in the right place, the relationship they shared a close one forged over the years.

Then, Tib had clapped her on the back, telling her a little shooting would help clear that busy head of hers. Oh, how right she’d been. It had felt good to shoot some targets at the range to distract herself from what had happened and her uncertainty at what might happen once Ann met her family later in the day.

She flew through the window she’d left tilted on purpose, changing back in her bedroom. Her gaze fell on the crumpled sheets and the empty bed. Where was Ann? Surely she hadn’t gotten up this early. A pang of worry took over as she left the room to look for her, trying to keep herself calm.

The light was on in her living room, and Anne found herself taking a breath of relief when she laid eyes on her in a pair of sweatpants and a shirt, blonde hair still slightly messy from sleep as she was sitting on her sofa with a book in her hand. A book Anne recognised well.

“Hey.”

Ann’s head shot up, a smile growing on her lips as she dropped the book and rose. She didn’t possess the speed of a vampire but as Anne found she didn’t need it to close the distance between them in record time and wrap her arms around her neck to kiss her.

“I’ve missed you.”

Anne grinned; when had she last been wanted that much?

“I’ve missed you too. Up early, hm?”

Ann nodded with a smile. “I woke and couldn’t sleep anymore, so I came in here.” She gestured over to the book. “You’ve never told me that you write.”

Anne bit her lip, a swell of emotion welling up in her heart as she looked at the familiar green cover on the sofa. Her gaze moved back to Ann who was looking at her with a mix of curiosity and concern.

Anne took her hand. “I haven’t because it’s something I don’t think about much these days.”

She led her over to the sofa, sitting next to her as she took off her coat and put it to the side before picking up the book. A sad smile grew on her face.

“Remember I told you I used to run a bookshop with Marian?”

Ann nodded, looking at her with attentive eyes.

“I used to also write my own books on the side. Fictional little stories like this one,” she said, stroking over the cover almost lovingly. “My little side hobby. They didn’t earn me much money but that wasn’t why I did it.”

“You don’t anymore?”

Anne shook her head. “After I was turned, I wrote for a bit longer but I’ve lost my inspiration since, so I stopped.”

Writing had always been something Anne had enjoyed, whether to clear her head by diving into one of her fictional stories and the adventures her heroes and heroines were on, or for simple enjoyment. Over the years, her unhappiness living as a vampire had taken its toll and her inspiration had been suffocated because of it, forcing her to stop eventually after many unsuccessful attempts to write anymore. Since then, she’d put her books away on the shelf to be forgotten about, trying not to think about it again.

Ann placed her hand atop hers on the book cover, lacing her fingers with hers as she looked up at her. “I think you’re very good. Maybe you should give it a try again.”

Anne smiled at the sincerity in her words and expression. Glancing down at their intertwined hands, she wondered if Ann was right. Did she still have it in herself? To put a pen to paper and let it flow, weaving words into tales worth reading?

She’d buried this part of her life as yet another joy being turned had taken from her, but it didn’t have to stay that way. Ann had reminded her of it and the happiness it used to bring her. For the first time in a while, Anne felt the itch to pick up a pen and try.

She put her other hand on top of Ann’s, nodding. “I will.”

Ann’s smile widened, and she leaned in to place a soft kiss to her cheek. “Good. Because I’ll be the first who wants to read it.”

Anne stopped her as she was about to pull back, their gazes meeting before she pressed her lips to hers. Ann hummed.

It was an easy decision for Anne, one that came naturally as she took the book and handed it over to Ann. “Here. This is to tide you over for now.”

Ann’s eyebrows raised as she looked at her. “Really?”

Anne nodded. Each of her books was a prized possession to her, but Ann showed so much interest in her writing, and she knew she could trust her to take good care of it. Besides, now that she’d started reading, it was only fair she should get to finish it.

Ann smiled, holding the book. She could tell this meant a lot to Anne. “Thank you.”

“Let me know what you think when you’ve finished it,” Anne said with a soft smile.

“I will.”

After that, Ann showered and they had breakfast together before Ann went to work and Anne to bed. She missed Ann by her side, tossing and turning for a long time with thoughts of her family and what would happen later until she finally found sleep.

 

****

 

Ann was silently grateful that her shift had been rather uneventful and she still felt rather energetic as she got changed and left the hospital. Since Anne’s family lived in the countryside, she’d looked up which bus to take to get there, feeling reminded how she’d put off getting a driver’s license for years and perhaps should get on that to make her life a little more convenient.

It was a short way on foot from the stop to Anne’s former home, Shibden. Ann looked up the impressive building as she came closer, how it stood imposing and mysterious among the farmland around it, maybe a little frightening to some. Kind of like Anne herself, Ann thought. If her home was anything like the vampire, she had no doubt the interior would be much warmer and inviting than the outer shell might suggest at first glance.

Ann felt her heart beat faster the closer she got to the entrance, her hands becoming sweaty. This meant everything to Anne, and Ann worried she’d screw it up. She wanted to make this right, wanted to reconcile the family and make Anne happy.

With a shaking hand, she reached for the doorbell, taking a deep breath in preparation as she waited.

It wasn’t long until the door opened and a woman in probably her mid-forties with greying hair stood in front of Ann. The similarity with Anne was striking, as well as the dark rings under her eyes that indicated she must not have slept much lately. Still, she looked friendly as she eyed Ann.

Ann licked her lips, making eye contact. “Hello. My name is Ann Walker. I’m here because of your sister.”

Marian gave her a puzzled look as she stood in the doorway. “My sister?” She paused, and it looked like a thought came to her as she paled, shaking her head as she held onto the doorframe and her formerly friendly features hardened as a frown took their place.

“My sister is dead.”

Her tone had a sharpness to it that stung and told Ann about the pain underneath as she looked into Marian’s eyes. She understood. She understood so well.

Ann swallowed. “I know this is not easy, but- but you’ve had an encounter at the graveyard yesterday, haven’t you?”

Marian’s eyes widened. She took a step back, shaking her head as if she wanted to rid herself of a thought. “I don’t know what you mean. My sister died 12 years ago.”

The former warmth in her eyes had been replaced with an unwelcoming cold as she reached for the door. “I’m afraid I cannot help you. Please leave.”

Ann opened her mouth, but then Marian was already moving back and closing the door. Quick, say something!

“I’m- I’m her girlfriend and… and she’s one of the kindest people I know.”

The door stopped, remaining open just a bit. For a moment, there was silence as Ann was sure her heart skipped a beat. Then it opened again and Marian reappeared, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.

“She’s a- she’s-“

The hurt and fear in her eyes and the silent question how she could be with a vampire nearly broke Ann’s heart. She didn’t think as she stepped close and held her hand in hers, her gaze kind as it fixated on Marian.

“Yes. But in her heart, she’s human. And she still loves and misses her family.”

She considered it a good sign that Marian didn’t move away from her, her cold hand trembling in hers as tired eyes looked into hers with uncertainty.

“Does she?”

The words came out as merely more than a whisper.

Ann nodded. “Every day.”

For a moment, Marian seemed to consider her words, a thoughtful frown appearing on her forehead that reminded Ann so much of Anne when she was going over an idea. She gave her a moment, knowing this must all be a lot to take in for her.

Then her lip trembled, a set of tears escaping as her other hand found Ann’s. “She’s- she’s a killer. How can Anne- our Anne, how can she live with that?”

The way her voice broke at the end went straight to Ann’s heart as her own brow furrowed with sadness for this tragic situation the Listers found themselves in. And her in the middle, trying to help and make it right. For a moment, Ann’s determination faltered as she worried she couldn’t do it, that they would not accept Anne for everything that came with the life of a vampire.

Except, Ann reminded herself, Anne strove every day to be a good person instead of giving in to the beast that lived within her. Surely that mattered. A glimmer of hope spread within her as she squeezed Marian’s hand.

“This is something she should tell you herself,” Ann started gently, aware it wasn’t her place to discuss certain things. Anne herself hadn’t told her more than a few vague statements that she had killed before but clearly wasn’t proud of it.

“But I am living proof that she avoids killing wherever she can when satisfying her needs.”

Marian’s eyes widened. “She- she bit you?”

Ann nodded, a light blush colouring her cheeks as she thought back to that night. “It’s how we met. I was scared for my life. But she promised to keep me alive, and she did.”

Marian took a deep breath. “I… I thought they lost all that was human as soon as they- as they turned into a vampire.”

She looked directly at Ann. “But what you’re saying… You’re a kind person, I can tell. I believe you.”

Rarely had a set of words inspired such confidence and uplifted Ann as much as now. A smile grew on her face as she dared hope that she was on the right path, that they could make this work.

Looking over her shoulder as if someone were nearby, Marian steadied herself. “I… I don’t know how Aunt and Father will take this. But I want to bring this up to them. They need to know, and I know pretending Anne’s dead and keeping it a secret hasn’t been doing my sanity any good.”

Ann removed her hands from hers as Marian smiled shakily and reached inside her pocket to find a tissue, dabbing at her cheeks.

“Would you… would you give me Anne’s number? If she’d be okay with that.”

Ann had no doubt in her heart that Anne would be very much okay with that. She gave Marian the number and she typed it into her phone.

Nodding over her shoulder, Marian already looked a little better. “I’ll speak to them, and we’ll go from there.”

Ann felt her own eyes well up with tears as realisation hit her that she’d done something unbelievable here. “I- thank you. Thank you for… for giving her a chance.”

Marian smiled. “I know a good soul when I see one. You wouldn’t be with Anne if there wasn’t at least some good left in her.”

Where she’d felt nervous with uncertainty on her way to Shibden, Ann now felt antsy for a whole different reason as she sat in the bus on her way back to Anne’s, an excited smile on her face as she prepared to tell her the good news. Checking the time as she climbed up the stairs to Anne’s flat, she wondered if she was already up. If not, she’d be in for a wake-up surprise, Ann thought as her heart skipped a beat when she felt her pocket for the spare key Anne had handed her with a smile earlier.

 

****

 

The dark forest around Anne was foreboding, the tall trees threatening more than protective as she wandered the familiar path. Somewhere she was aware this was a dream – she’d dreamt it or variations of it far too many times not to recognise it. And yet her dream self followed the way to where her own body lay almost automatically. There it was, and further back she spotted the little cabin she knew.

She wished she could make herself wake up, get away from this before everything repeated anew. Anne turned at a voice in the distance calling her name. That was new. It became louder as the soft voice called again, and then the floor seemed to be shaking as her surroundings distorted.

Only a moment later, they vanished into nothing and Anne was drawn out of the dream back into reality. A soft press of lips to hers filled her with warmth and dispelled the cold tension in her bones. There was a weight on her too, Anne noticed as her senses came back to the present with each passing second. Ann.

“Anne.”

She opened her eyes, immediately taken aback by the beautiful sight as her eyes focused on Ann who was straddling her, eyes radiant with excitement and a big smile on her face. In that moment, Anne knew she wanted to wake up like this every day. She mirrored the contagious smile with a sleepy one of her own.

“Hey.”

Ann reached down to cup her cheek, looking at her thoughtfully for a moment. “Everything okay? You seemed restless in your sleep.”

“Just one of those dreams,” Anne said as she shook her head, already pulling Ann back in to kiss her again. “Doesn’t matter now.”

The smile returned to Ann’s face as she looked at her, her heart beating faster as she held onto her shoulders for support. “I have good news about your family.”

Anne’s eyebrows raised as the words and their meaning settled in her mind, wiping away any remaining sleepiness in an instant as she tensed in anticipation, a hesitant spark of excitement in her chest. Could that be…? Had Ann succeeded?

Ann leaned forward to kiss away the doubtful frown that had formed on her forehead, still smiling. “I spoke to your sister, and she listened to what I had to say. She’ll speak to your aunt and father and will call you.”

It was real. Part of Anne was struggling to accept this reality, a reality which she’d never believed she would see. But here she was, with this incredible woman telling her she’d made it happen. For her.

There was no stopping the tears welling up in Anne’s eyes as her feelings overwhelmed her, or the way she tilted Ann out of her lap so she lay to her side and she could properly hug her tight, tears spilling from her eyes as they held each other. “Thank you. I- I don’t know what to say.”

Ann only shook her head against her, kissing her exposed shoulder softly. “I’m just glad I could help.”

Anne pulled away enough to look at her, gently shaking her head in disbelief at how humble Ann seemed despite the victory she’d achieved for Anne today. How fortunate Anne was that she had her.

“You’re incredible,” she whispered as she moved closer to press her lips to hers, both women humming with contentment as they enjoyed the closeness. Anne pulled her against herself, smiling into their kiss when Ann’s hands ran up and down her back over her tank top and the exposed skin, causing little tingles in their wake.

The moment a tongue darted out to meet hers, Anne ground her hips against Ann, pleased with the moan that was swallowed by her lips as their kiss turned needy. It was easy to roll over and pull Ann with her back to her place on top of her, and Anne was already panting with her growing desire as they looked at one another and Ann pulled her sweatshirt over her head in one movement.

Anne’s hands settled on her hips as they ground against one another, the atmosphere crackling with the electric tension between them. She let her eyes wander down to take in her exposed upper body and the white lace bra that she couldn’t wait to rip off.

“I want you,” Anne panted, stunned at the way Ann was looking at her like she was the only person that mattered to her, eyes darkened with desire. Ann slid her hand underneath her tank top to run her fingers over her belly, moving upward as Anne tensed in anticipation.

Their heads snapped to the bedside table as Anne’s phone suddenly started ringing. She groaned and reached over, expecting Tib and readying herself to give her friend a good talking to for interrupting them. But the number on the screen wasn’t in her contacts. And yet she recognised it. Her eyes widened, her heart pumping fast now for an entirely different reason.

“It’s Marian.”

Ann’s eyes widened. Somehow, she hadn’t expected Anne’s sister to be this quick. But it wasn’t really surprising, was it? This was big, and Marian would hardly wait days to talk to her family about their not-so-dead Anne.

She hastily shifted off Anne and threw her shirt back over her head, putting her hand on her belly for support as she saw the nervousness in her eyes. “You can do this.”

Anne nodded, swallowing as she swiped to pick up and put the phone to her ear before her nerves would get the better of her.

“Hello, Marian.”

There was a moment’s silence, and Anne licked her lips nervously as she worried Marian would change her mind and hang up at the mere sound of her voice, the uncertainty she tried to mask but was sure had been noticed anyway. She glanced at Ann next to her who gave her a reassuring smile.

“Anne… I still can’t quite believe you’re alive.”

Anne let out a breath she hadn’t been aware she’d been holding. That was a good sign for sure. Back in her human life, Marian would’ve usually ‘solved’ conflicts by slamming a door in her face and storming off. So the fact that she hadn’t hung up was a good start, Anne decided.

“I guess it’s not exactly every day that your sister has a car crash and lives on as a vampire after,” Anne responded, immediately cringing at herself at her attempt at humour that had come out all wrong with her unsteady voice and the unshed tears in her eyes.

“No, definitely a first for me.” Anne thought to hear a smile in those words, and it alleviated her worry a little as she mentally readied herself for what she wanted to say next.

Ann’s hand softly stroked over her belly, silently encouraging her to have faith and go on.

“I… I’m sorry, Marian. For everything.” Anne paused briefly, swallowing the lump in her throat. “That I didn’t try to approach you sooner.”

“And I’m sorry for the things I said at the graveyard. I shouldn’t have- I shouldn’t have done that.” Marian sounded tearful herself as she responded.

“They say we’re monsters… and for some they’re right. There’s no denying that.”

And Anne had her share of moments she wasn’t proud of, though this was most definitely not the right moment to mention those. They were memories she’d rather avoid thinking let alone speaking of anyway.

“Your girlfriend convinced me you’re not one of those. She’s lovely.”

There was warmth in the way Marian spoke, but Anne only registered it on the side as a single word stuck with her. Girlfriend. She glanced over at Ann who couldn’t hear Marian’s side of the conversation from next to her, finding her look at her with affection. Anne put her free hand on top of hers, smiling. They hadn’t spoken about it, but that Ann must’ve introduced herself as her girlfriend made it impossible for her not to smile as happiness spread inside her.

“I’m glad you two got along. I don’t know what I would’ve done without Ann.”

“Me neither. And it’s good to see that all this time away has at least improved your taste in women. Mariana was awful.”

A long time ago, Anne would’ve been offended by her sister’s comment. She used to be whenever the topic came up and she fiercely defended her girlfriend against her sister’s comments and tried her best to get the family to warm more to Mariana. All in vain.

It took her a while to understand the reason: Mariana hadn’t been good for her, and her being turned breaking off their relationship where Anne had failed to for years had probably been one of the few positive effects of it, untangling her from a mess of deceit, the general tiring on and off, and how toxic it had all been between them. It had drained her energy and made her unhappy, but she’d only realised that after.

So she found a knowing chuckle escape her as she nodded. “You’re right.”

A gasp could be heard over the line. “Is this really my sister? Realising what we’ve tried to tell her for years?”

The familiarity of their exchange, Marian teasing her as if no time at all had passed nearly brought tears to her eyes again as Anne grinned where she knew she’d normally glare and warn her sister. But today, today she was only happy to hear her become comfortable around her again, even if it was at her expense.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think,” Anne admitted truthfully.

“That you had. You haven’t aged a day either, from what I could tell at the graveyard. I wish I had that perk.”

“Believe me, you wouldn’t want to trade that for the downsides that come with it.”

Which didn’t mean Anne wasn’t pleased her body didn’t reflect the nearly 52 years she was old. But she’d always viewed her extended life as a curse; after all, if you hated every second of your existence, why would you want to be alive for longer?

Another thought occurred to her as she thought of it, her expression becoming more serious again. “How are aunt and father? Did you- what did they say?”

There was a brief pause, and Anne feared the worst for a split second before the warm presence of Ann next to her grounded her and helped her keep a cool head.

“They were… surprised, to say the least. Shocked. But they want to meet you, Anne. They miss you as much as I do.”

They want to meet you. The words stuck with Anne, burning themselves into her chest in a soothing warmth that sought to heal the deep wounds her being parted from her family had caused over the years. Maybe, just maybe it would all come together and be right again. She dared hope for that in that moment.

“I’d- I’d love that. When?”

“Well, I thought Cordingley could cook something special. So, what about tomorrow night, maybe at 6?”

Anne nodded as if Marian could see her, her eyes glimmering as hope spread throughout her body at the realisation that yes, this was happening.

“I’ll be there.”

Marian hummed contentedly. “Good. Oh, and Anne?”

“Yes?”

“Bring your girlfriend. If she wants to come.”

Anne looked over at Ann with a smile. “I’ll ask her, but I’m sure she’d be happy to join us.”

As expected, Ann nodded in response, a soft smile gracing her lips.

“Good. See you tomorrow then!”

They hung up after that. Something special was in the air, excitement and energy with the change that had been brought into Anne’s life. All thanks to the woman next to her helping her fix the mess she’d been in for years.

Anne put the phone aside, turning to her and pressing her lips to Ann’s.

“Tomorrow at 6,” she said excitedly. “Tomorrow I’ll see my family again.”

Ann hugged her tight, her heart wide with joy for Anne who had come to mean so much to her in such a short time. They stayed cuddled up for a little longer before it was time for Anne to get up and they reluctantly parted. She would’ve loved to pick up where they left off before the call, but Tib had a little job that needed taking care of and Anne had promised to be there.

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 5:30,” Anne said as they parted at her door and Ann kissed her.

Chapter Text

A mix of excitement and nervousness was pumping through Anne’s veins as she parked her car in front of the building Ann lived in. Tonight was important, and while she was happy to see her family again and hoped for a largely positive reaction from her aunt and father, there was still that worry nagging at her that they might see her and decide they couldn’t accept her back, no matter how welcoming her sister had been after Ann had approached her.

She got out the car, reminding herself that not only had Marian spoken to them and they’d agreed to meet her, but that Ann would be there too as backup. Surely she should feel a lot more optimistic about this.

It helped ease her nerves when she climbed the stairs and found Ann already at her door, smiling at her. She was wearing a black coat appropriate for the cold temperatures, and Anne found herself wondering what she wore underneath, glancing down to see a red dress peeking out. Her mouth salivated at the thought.

She’d spent a fair amount of time thinking what to wear herself, torn between something on the more formal side like a suit, but worried that would be overdressing, or something less formal but unsure if that wouldn’t look like she hadn’t made an effort for the special occasion. In the end, she’d gone for one of the few white dress shirts she owned, adding a grey tie and her standard black pants and brogues. A good compromise, she thought, and she’d tried to add as much colour as her mostly black wardrobe had to offer too.

No doubt all eyes would be on Ann though, and she wouldn’t blame anyone. Ann gave her a knowing look as she took her hand and they went downstairs to the car.

“I’m excited to meet them,” Ann said with a smile as they stood in front of Anne’s car and she opened the door for her.

It gave Anne confidence. She wrapped an arm around her, kissing her temple before Ann got in the car and she closed the door behind her. She let her gaze swipe more out of habit, tensing when she spotted a car parked on the other end of the street that had the unmistakable logo of the vampire hunters on it. There was a man sitting in the car looking in her direction.

Anne tensed out of instinct, even though she knew they couldn’t tell she was a vampire unless she openly showed it. Still, they were a threat that made it impossible not to feel nervous as she looked at the car for a moment longer. Why were they even parked over there?

Something felt a little off about it, but then Anne reminded herself that there could be countless reasons why they were there that were unrelated to her. She shook it off and went round to get in the car, deciding sticking around staring at them was surely not a great idea if she wanted to avoid their attention.

“Everything alright?” Ann asked as she got in and started the engine.

Anne gave her a reassuring smile as she drove off. “Of course. There was just a vampire hunter car on the other side of the road. Those… make me a little nervous, as you can imagine.”

Ann hummed. “I wonder what they were doing there.”

“Good question.”

They fell into a comfortable silence, each in their own thoughts until they reached Shibden and Anne parked in front of her old home. She exhaled shakily as her nerves came back to her in a rush when she realised how familiar yet foreign the entire situation felt.

It had been over a decade since she’d last parked here, over a decade since she’d entered her old home. It felt strange, like she didn’t quite know what it was like anymore, yet the underlying familiarity of it all reminded her she did. An odd feeling.

Ann took her hand from where it rested on the gear stick, squeezing it as she leaned close and pressed her lips to her cheek.

“It’ll go well, I’m sure of it.”

If Ann believed in it, so could she, right? Anne held on to that thought as she nodded.

“Shall we go in?”

Anne hadn’t known what to expect as they stood in front of the door waiting. She’d gone through the possibilities a thousand times, the dreadful outcomes that would leave her heartbroken for good repeating with a much more incessant persistence than the more optimistic daydreams of a happy reunion.

Even so, she was surprised to find Cordingley open the door for them. Their gazes met, and after a moment a tentative smile grew on her former housekeeper’s face.

“Good to have you back, Ma’am,” she said, clearly unsure how to react.

Anne had always kept a distanced relationship with her former staff member, and she knew she’d often not been the easiest employer either with her blunt criticism and high expectations. Even so, she couldn’t deny she’d never been happier to see her.

“Cordingley, glad to see you.” Anne smiled, and it seemed to ease some of the tension in Cordingley’s shoulders.

Cordingley nodded, turning to Ann. “Ma’am.”

She led them inside, taking their coats and putting them up for them. Anne had been right, the red dress Ann was wearing looked stunning on her, hugging her curves in the right places. It was hard not to stare. She made a mental note to appreciate it properly later, but for now her mind was distracted as they both followed Cordingley as she went down the familiar path to the living room. Anne was pleased as she looked around and saw not much had changed, that the dark interior of Shibden was largely the same she’d remembered it and everything was in good condition too. Her heart constricted when she spotted a picture of herself on the wall and thought how often her family may have looked at it missing her. But no longer.

Ann tried to take in as many impressions as she could as they wandered through Shibden. It was just as she’d imagined it: mostly dark but with a warm inviting atmosphere making the interior a place she felt welcome in. Where some places lacked personality with all the same empty designs that happened to be trending, Shibden had a striking uniqueness to it that intrigued her. And even after so many years of her absence, she could feel Anne’s spirit in these four walls.

Cordingley stopped at the entrance to the living room. “Ma’am.”

She left, and Anne’s heart nearly stopped as she stepped forward and saw her aunt and father on the sofa, Marian next to them in an armchair. Their eyes snapped to her and her companion next to her; for a moment, it was silent.

Anne took an unsure step inside the room, barely registering Ann’s warm presence next to her as her doubt threatened to overwhelm her under their gazes. Would this be the moment they’d realise inviting her was a mistake? The moment they’d send her away because they couldn’t live with the reality of what she’d become after all?

“Oh, Anne… you haven’t changed one bit,” Aunt Anne said with a tearful voice, her eyes misting over as she rose and held open her arms.

Anne’s heart nearly burst in that single moment. Her vision became clouded with tears as all she could do was close the distance between them in a second, wrapping her arms tightly around her aunt whose warm embrace immediately brought it all back. Everything that Anne had missed out on.

With Marian’s assistance, her father rose from next to them. He patted Anne’s shoulder affectionately, smiling as she looked at him.

“Vampire or not, you’re still a Lister.”

They’d always had a distanced relationship, never showing their love for each other as openly but more as a silent acknowledgement that they both knew was there. Anne knew what it meant to hear those words from him, the smile and the accepting look on his face as they stood together.

She smiled unsteadily as her feelings threatened to overwhelm her. “Thank you, father.”

Marian nodded from next to him, and Anne pulled her into a brief but meaningful hug as well before her gaze fell over to Ann who had kept a respectable distance to not intrude on their moment. She had tears in her eyes as she watched the Lister’s emotional reunion that she’d helped made happen, a deep feeling of happiness in her heart at the sight.

They smiled at each other when their gazes met.

“Are you not going to introduce your girlfriend to us, dear?” Aunt Anne smiled knowingly as she saw the way they looked at each other.

So Anne waved her over, proudly putting her arm around her shoulder as Ann stood next to her and Anne introduced them.

Ann felt a little shy around the people she knew meant the most to Anne. They were nice, she could tell that much, but a little voice in the back of her head still made her worry what they might think of her, how she might compare to any past girlfriends Anne would’ve brought home. Anne hadn’t spoken of it much, like most of her human life, but Ann could only imagine that she would’ve had women by her side who would’ve likely set a high standard that Ann would be compared to.

She tried not to think about it too much though and just be herself. Everyone moved on to the dining table when Cordingley called them, with Ann sitting next to Anne. Anne was facing her aunt who was sitting next to Marian. Anne’s father sat at the head of the table.

Dinner was served after, roast duck with vegetables and gravy, apparently one of Anne’s winter favourites as she found out when a big grin spread on her face. It was delicious, no doubt Cordingley knew what she was doing in the kitchen. With the good food and the family making a genuine effort to include her in conversation and learn more about her, Ann’s nervousness slowly dissipated as she felt more and more accepted and welcomed into the Lister family. That, and she’d never seen Anne as animated and happy as she spoke to them and answered any curious question they had.

“So you can turn into a real bat? I’ll say, that does sound kind of fun,” Marian commented before taking a sip of her wine.

Anne chuckled, rolling her eyes at her sister. “Of course you would think that, Marian. It is one of the few things I rather like though. The city looks beautiful from above.”

“And she’s kind of a cute bat.”

Everyone looked to Ann as she hid her smile behind her wine glass and looked at her girlfriend with a glimmer in her eyes.

Anne bit her lip, hoping no one would see the blush that coloured her cheeks. “Well…”

Marian groaned theatrically. “This is what we’ll have to put up with.”

Aunt Anne laughed. “I think they’re sweet together. Don’t you think, Jeremy?”

He dabbed his mouth with his napkin, giving the two a look before his eyes stayed on Ann. A small smile grew on his lips. “You’re much more enjoyable company than the last woman Anne brought home. What was her name again, Maria, Marianne-“

“Mariana,” Anne corrected him stiffly, tensing next to Ann as the topic was mentioned. Ann rested her hand on hers even as her own interest was piqued at the mention of an ex.

“Yes, that one. Never liked her,” he said gruffly. “But you two have my blessing.”

Anne noticeably calmed next to her, whether it was because of his words or the way Ann’s hand gently stroked along hers, she didn’t know. They made eye contact, a smile growing on those soft lips as brown eyes met hers with kindness in them.

Whatever had been going on with her ex, Ann had to admit to herself she felt better about her own acceptance into the family to hear that apparently she was already more popular than that Mariana Anne had been with before. She could also see it wasn’t a topic Anne was comfortable with, and while that made her wonder what had gone on between them, she would respect it even if Anne never decided to open up to her about it.

Time passed quickly as they enjoyed dessert together and talked. Whatever worries Anne had had coming here had vanished over the course of the evening as she’d realised with each minute that nothing had changed between her and her family. Everyone was a little older and richer for experiences, sure, but the atmosphere was just as comfortable as she remembered it.

And it was better even because Ann was there too, because her family didn’t need to try their best to somehow get along with her but instead conversation between them came naturally as they got to know each other, asked about Ann’s job and her family and whatever came up. It meant so much to Anne that they liked Ann, and from what she could tell, Ann liked them as well.

Tib would be happy to hear about it as well, Anne thought. Which reminded her. How had she not thought to mention this yet?

“There is something else that I’ve forgot to mention.”

Everyone turned to her, Marian leaning back from where she’d been hunched forward deep in conversation with Ann. A small smile tugged at the corner of Anne’s lips as she glanced at them, even as she realised the potential future risk of these two forming an alliance and Marian using this against her to rile her up no doubt.

“Tib is alive too.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t tell me she’s a vampire too.”

Anne looked at her aunt, relieved to see no sign of revulsion in her expression as she looked at her questioningly. However, she wasn’t sure how they would feel knowing the truth.

“Well, yes. She asked me to turn her.”

Everyone’s eyes went wide at the shocking revelation, her aunt gasping. “Oh dear.”

For a moment, Anne was sure her veins froze over as a sudden cold held her in a tight grip with fear clawing at her heart what if this was too much, what if they would not accept that she’d dragged Tib into this with her, even if she’d asked for it.

“Hang on… she asked you? I knew Tib was reckless, but I didn’t think it went that far,” Marian commented half-jokingly, though the crease on her forehead showed she didn’t understand why even Tib would do such a thing.

Anne let out a shaky breath as she wondered if she shouldn’t have kept quiet about this, at least for now where they’d only just welcomed her back into their lives and were likely still recovering from the shock of their Anne returning from the dead after 12 years.

Anne looked away, trying to find a way to explain this to them well without it looking bad, or worse than it probably already did.

“I’ve met Tib. She’s having a good time from what I could tell.”

Anne’s head snapped to her girlfriend at her sudden comment.

Ann smiled softly at her. “If being a vampire ever suited anyone, it would be Tib.”

It wasn’t the first and likely wouldn’t be the last time Anne felt grateful for having this wonderful woman in her life. She took her hand in hers, squeezing it affectionately.

“That sounds like her,” Jeremy commented off-handedly. “Well, if she’s happy.”

“If that’s what she wants. You should bring her round sometime.”

It made sense that her family seemed to understand Tib’s decision no better than Anne did. But she was relieved no one seemed to think poorly of her for being the one who turned her.

It was getting late, and while it felt like there were still so many things to talk about and catch up on, everyone realised they had plenty of time for that. Anne promised to call soon so they could meet again, already looking forward to it even as they were brought to the door, Ann walking in front of her.

The way her dress was bringing out the round curves of her bum nicely made Anne lick her lips as she thought she definitely looked forward to some time home alone as well, and if she interpreted the way she’d caught Ann staring at her over the past few minutes right, Ann had similar thoughts.

 

****

 

They sat in the car, closing the doors behind them as Anne started the engine and let out a long breath, a smile spreading on her face with the intense joy that took a hold of her.

“That went very well.”

Ann looked over at her, smiling. “It did. I knew it would.”

She leaned forward and Anne caught on, meeting her in the middle. Their lips connected for a slow deep kiss; it wasn’t long until their passions took control from where they’d been lurking in the background during dinner, their tongues brushing against one another as they deepened the kiss and Ann moaned.

The sound travelled straight to Anne’s core – in that moment she wished she could just teleport them straight back home in an instant so she wouldn’t have to sit through the drive trying to keep herself in check when Ann was right next to her in that maddeningly stunning dress.

She pulled away, swallowing thickly as she found herself looking into darkened blue eyes. If they weren’t parked right in front of Shibden, Anne would consider taking her right here in the car. There was plenty of room in the back.

“We need to get back or I can’t guarantee anything,” Anne breathed out as she forced herself to sit straight and put the car into drive.

A sentiment Ann could only agree with. She pressed her thighs together tightly, each minute of the drive dragging on for far longer than it rightfully should as her mind kept being drawn back to her handsome girlfriend, how she was aching to feel those skilful hands all over herself, how she longed to look deep into her eyes as Anne took her.

Her fantasies travelled further, a thought popping into her head that she’d lingered on before when she’d lain in bed with her hand between her legs, gasping Anne’s name as the images took shape of how powerful Anne would look with a strap, how much Ann wanted her to fuck her with one, and how good it would feel to be filled so completely by her girlfriend.

She didn’t even know if Anne owned one, if she was into it – but the desire that coiled in her abdomen at the thought made it nearly impossible to think of anything else as they drove down the road Ann lived on.

They rushed up the stairs to Ann’s place. Once inside, Ann barely had a moment to take off her coat before Anne’s hands were all over her, possessively pulling her close. She moaned as she was pressed against the door, lips already seeking out her neck as Ann hurriedly opened Anne’s coat and ran her hands down her sides the moment it fell open, feeling her taut stomach through her shirt.

She reached up, running her hands through Anne’s hair as her eyes threatened to fall closed as Anne nipped at the most sensitive areas around her neck and ear, letting her fangs scrape against her skin in that way that made a shiver run down Ann’s spine as she shuddered in her arms. It was hard, so hard to keep her focus through the haze of desire that had clouded her mind, but Ann succeeded and even found the willpower to pull at her shirt.

“Anne…”

Anne stopped, pulling away to meet her gaze. The darkened brown eyes spoke volumes of her desire, and Ann nearly gave in right then and let her impatience overpower her. But, she reminded herself, this would be worth it.

“What’s up? Did I hurt you?”

Oh, how Ann wanted to kiss away that worried crease forming on her forehead. She only restrained herself because she was seriously worried if she so much as touched Anne before she’d asked, there would be no return.

Ann bit her lip, arousal pooling between her legs. “No, not at all. But I was wondering…”

She trailed off, licking her lips before the words came out in little more than a breathy whisper, “If you own a strap.”

The words went straight to Anne’s core as she held that intense gaze. “Yes.”

“Would you fly over and get it? Quickly…”

Really, if Anne had known, she would’ve taken her back to her place instead. It was a good thing it only took her a couple of minutes to fly between their places. Though she was sure even without that little word at the end asking for haste that Anne would easily set a new record for how fast she could travel between her place and Ann’s.

She only nodded, driven by her desire as she pulled away from Ann and left in quick strides. It had been a while since she’d used one, and her anticipation heightened with each second as she flew over to find it.

Meanwhile, Ann had her own plans as she moved over to her bedroom and prepared. Each minute felt like ten as she waited on her bed, briefly considering starting on her own but discarding the idea as tempting as it was – she wanted Anne’s touch. She licked her lips, trying to think of something boring so she would keep her sanity and not give in as she waited.

Her blood was pumping furiously in her veins, and Anne knew it had little to do with the speed with which she’d flown back over to Ann’s. She rushed down the hallway to the bedroom, finding the door slightly ajar.

Entering, she nearly gasped at the sight that presented itself to her: Her girlfriend lying naked on her bed, legs slightly spread and her hand between her legs.

“Couldn’t wait?”

Ann twitched at the sound of her voice, pulling her hand away from herself as she slowly opened her eyes and looked at Anne standing there. “You took too long.”

The breathless sound of her voice alone was nearly enough to drive Anne crazy with want. But catching her touching herself thinking of her, unable to wait a few minutes longer – Anne had to take a deep breath to steady herself before she stalked closer to the bed, loosening her tie and opening her shirt button by button as she went.

She noticed Ann’s gaze firmly on her before her eyebrows went up and she looked at Anne in a searching way, finding she’d come with empty hands. “Did you not find it?”

Anne almost felt a little sorry when she saw the hint of disappointment coming through in her expression. She stood next to the bed, dropping her tie to the floor as a smirk grew on her face.

“I found it just fine.”

Ann blinked. But where was- Oh. Understanding set in as Ann’s gaze dropped, and now she could make out the bulge in her black pants that had escaped her attention before. She groaned, rising and kneeling on the bed before Anne, pulling her forward and hungrily crashing her lips into hers.

Anne deepened the kiss, moaning when Ann slid her hands into the open shirt and trailed her fingernails down her back. She pulled away, panting as she ripped the shirt off and threw it aside, her bra following straight after. Reaching inside her pocket, she didn’t forget to take out the little travel sized bottle of lube and put it on the nightstand.

Their gazes met, a silent understanding that said all about the impatience they were both feeling as Ann took her hand and pulled her on the bed with her.

Maybe it was her own desire clouding her mind, maybe it was Ann’s stunning naked beauty distracting her; either way, Anne was caught off guard and found herself on her back with Ann straddling her. Not that she minded – looking up, she thought if this was the last sight she saw before dying, she would die a happy woman.

She took a moment to appreciate her, the way her lips were slightly parted as she sat atop her, how her chest was heaving with her breaths, her nipples hard and begging to be touched. Anne reached up, cupping her breasts with her hands as Ann sighed, pressing forward into the touch when her thumbs circled her nipples.

They started grinding together, but not for long until Ann supported herself on the bed to lean down and kiss Anne fiercely, moaning as hands moved down to her bum. Moving back, their faces were inches apart as they breathed hotly together and Ann sat back enough so she could slide her hand down Anne’s body, keeping her gaze as she traced the shape of the cock and pressed against it so the base ground into Anne’s core. Anne moaned, tightening her grip on her as her hips surged upward.

Something snapped in that moment, and Ann knew she just couldn’t stand the wait anymore. She hurriedly undid Anne’s pants under her intense gaze, shifting off her to remove them, her boxers following straight after. A pang of arousal made her core clench the moment she looked at the strap, even more so when Anne tightened the straps so it stood proudly.

It was black, of course – she’d expected nothing else from Anne. However, she’d misjudged the shape when feeling it and the real size was bigger than expected. It wasn’t some monster size, which Ann was glad for, but it certainly wasn’t small either. It had been years, and she briefly worried if it wasn’t too much.

But that wouldn’t stop her. She needed Anne, and quickly. Settling atop her, she moaned when Anne’s hands found her hips and pulled her down against the cock. Ann started rolling her hips, feeling Anne’s eyes on her as she closed her own and focused on the feeling as she slid along the shaft, coating it with her wetness.

Only the sound of a bottle being uncapped made her stop, opening her eyes as Anne reached between them and generously applied the lube. Their gazes met, fire in the air between them as Anne guided her hips and repositioned herself to line the cock up with her entrance but stopping there.

Ann tried to lower herself on the cock but was stopped by Anne’s powerful grip. She let out a shaky breath. “Please, Anne…”

“You want my cock?”

Ann nodded, trying to push against her grip again.

“Fuck, you’re so hot,” Anne growled as she eased her grip, only gently holding Ann as she lowered herself and Anne watched as she slowly took inch by inch.

Ann felt the stretch acutely the further she lowered herself, her walls already clenching around the cock until their bodies met and both moaned. She felt so very full.

Anne was sure she’d never seen anything more beautiful than her girlfriend on top of her holding herself up while lowering herself on her cock. She filed the memory away even as the base was pressing hard against her clit, making it difficult to think and even more difficult to hold still and not screw her senseless as she wanted to give Ann the time she needed.

Ann shuddered as she slowly lifted her hips, meeting Anne’s dark gaze before bringing her hips down again. “Oh… it’s- ah, it’s so much…”

Anne softly ran her hands along her lower back, looking up at her. “Too much?”

Taking a moment, Ann shook her head, meeting her gaze as she exhaled. “No,” she said before moving her hips again, sighing, “it’s good.”

Fuck. The words went straight to Anne’s core as her grip on her hips tightened, and it was all she could do as she watched Ann ride her cock, deliciously grinding the base into her each time she lowered herself.

Soon Anne started thrusting into her as they picked up speed, gasping and moaning together as the sounds of their fucking filled the bedroom.

Anne trailed her hands to her breasts, roughly palming them.

“Anne…”

Ann shuddered, falling out of her rhythm as her legs shook the closer she got, the exertion making her muscles strain and complain even as she tried to push through it, her orgasm almost there, just out of reach.

She let herself fall forward, balancing on her arms. Their faces were close, Anne’s eyes wild as she brought their lips together.

Ann gasped as they broke apart, ceasing her movements as her muscles burned and she hoped letting Anne do the work would suffice. But Anne stopped too, seeking to make eye contact. She saw what the problem was.

“Hold on.”

Before she knew it, Ann found herself on her back with Anne between her legs. She pressed the tip against her entrance, slowly sliding her cock back inside as Ann’s walls constricted around it and she gasped.

“Okay?”

By way of replying, Ann pulled her close against herself, their skin hot and sweaty as they pressed together and she wrapped her legs around Anne as she started thrusting into her. As much as she’d loved being on top of her, this was so much better for her aching muscles, the pain soon forgotten as Anne drove into her deeply. Heat coiled within her, her body tensing all over as the first waves were just on the shore, ready to overwhelm her.

In that moment, Anne reached between them and found her clit, and with that she was pushed over the edge, crying out loud.

Anne slowed down and eventually stopped as Ann was trying to catch her breath. Even as she gave her time, the burning flames between her legs made it hard to keep herself in check. Ann had worked her up thoroughly, and so it was no surprise as Anne lost her patience and hurriedly loosened the straps to discard the harness.

However, she looked up from where she was kneeling when a small hand covered hers, intense blue eyes focusing on her as Ann reached inside the loosened harness and found her clit straight away.

“Oh fuck…”

Anne could only lie back, tensing and moaning when Ann circled her clit just right, stoking the flames into an inferno almost embarrassingly fast. Could anyone blame her for falling apart so quickly under her skilful touch?

Ann kissed her shoulder, working her way to her ear as she kept up her firm circles. “You’re so hot… you fucked me so well…”

Anne groaned, her legs twitching as the softly spoken words nearly finished her off in that moment.

“It feels so good, doesn’t it?”

Yes, yes it really fucking did. Whatever Anne wanted to respond, she was cut short as she came with a long moan, lost to this incredible woman as intense heat washed over her. Moments passed until she exhaled sharply, opening her eyes to find Ann lying next to her.

Vibrant blue eyes found hers and a smile formed on her lips. A wave of affection overcame Anne, the familiarity of this strong feeling settling deep in her heart even as she refused to think about it. She instead allowed herself to just feel, to bathe in the warmth that Ann brought to her heart, the light she’d spread in her life so effortlessly.

Ann kissed her, all slow and sensual, telling her without words she was feeling the same. A deep conviction settled in her soul in that moment: They would be okay as long as they had each other. Whatever challenges may lay ahead – they’d tackle them together. The same way they’d managed to reunite Anne and her family together.

And then, a little further down the line, Anne wouldn’t be scared to acknowledge those three words anymore.

 

****

 

Thomas nervously patted his desk with his fingers as he sat in front of his computer. It was late and he should be home already, but a few cases had kept his attention, and then there’d been the message from his men that they would shortly send over what he requested.

Hopefully the picture would be a little more useful this time. The last they’d taken of Ann had been blurry, the woman by her side unrecognisable as they’d gotten into a taxi together. He’d firmly reminded his men if they wanted even the sliver of a chance to ever rank up under him, they’d better learn how to take proper professional pictures. It wasn’t that difficult.

Stupid donkeys, he thought. The notification sound of his mail caught his attention, and he eagerly opened the mail with a few pictures attached. He clicked on the first, seeing Ann and the darkhaired woman by her side near a car. Her face was recognisable this time. It wasn’t a guarantee she’d also be on their database, but perhaps she was. Thomas wanted to know who she was, he had an odd feeling about this one.

The next picture made him press his lips together as jealousy flared up within him: The woman was kissing Ann’s temple in a clearly loving gesture, pressed against her side as Ann smiled softly.

His worst suspicions had been right – she’d managed to steal Ann away from him and corrupt her. When really it should be him standing there with her.

He hoped to find some dirt on this woman – she certainly looked like a criminal, as far as he was concerned. Surely that would bring Ann back to her senses if he revealed to her that this woman she’d let into her life was some filthy criminal she would surely not want to trust let alone associate herself with.

Opening the database, he let the programme scan the woman’s face in the picture. It took a while, and again he nervously tapped the desk until an entry opened up.

“Anne Lister,” he mumbled to himself as he looked at the picture that showed the woman in her younger years. Before he could even check why she was in their database at all, however, an entry caught his attention that made his eyes widen.

Deceased. Anne Lister had died 12 years ago. There was only one way how this made any sense.

Thomas balled his hand into a fist. Ann needed to be protected from this monster.

Chapter Text

It was already after midnight when Anne reluctantly lifted the covers to sneak out of bed. She stood, stretching her muscles as her gaze fell back on Ann, a smile growing on her face.

What a wonderful evening it had been; first dinner with her family that had gone far better than she’d dared to hope, followed by hours of lovemaking before they’d been exhausted after several orgasms between the two of them and had snuggled close. It hadn’t taken Ann long to fall asleep in her arms, and Anne had stuck around a little before leaving her comforting warmth.

She wished she could stay, but she hadn’t fed in a few days and sensed the first signs of hunger coming on. This was best sorted tonight. That, and she’d promised Tib to call her and give her all the details about her reunion with her family. Putting on her clothes, she pressed a gentle kiss to Ann’s forehead and left, deciding for a relaxed late-night walk to her flat first. She didn’t usually do that, but tonight with her good mood she felt like it.

As she walked down the deserted streets, it was hard for Anne to contain the content smile that almost felt foreign to her after years of misery. It was still quite unbelievable to her, but for the first time in a long while, she felt truly happy with her family having accepted her back and a loving girlfriend who’d helped her made it happen. The only thing she wished for was for a way to be human again, but she’d never heard of anyone successfully achieving this feat. There were a few myths around about it, sure, but Anne doubted there was any more substance to them than the naïve childish belief in Santa Claus.

She breathed in the fresh cold night time air, lost in her thoughts. Perhaps that was why she didn’t think anything of it as she absent-mindedly heard a car stop nearby and a door close.

“Miss Lister.”

Anne froze in place, her body tensing – someone calling her name in the midst of a deserted street at night time seemed like the very definition of trouble. Not only that, but her jaw set tight as she recognised that haughty voice. She slowly turned, prepared for anything.

There he stood a respectable distance away, in his long black coat with the insignia of a high-ranking vampire hunter. The man who’d been harassing Ann for years. Of course he wasn’t alone, two of his men at his sides with assault rifles at the ready. Anne took in his face, noticing the dark rings under his eyes and the unkempt stubble that pointed out his lack of sleep and generally rough state even as he was arrogantly looking down at her – or trying to, as she was taller.

She knew there was no point trying to hide her identity, he knew it all. Anne glanced around for possible ways to flee, knowing her chances against three of them were pretty slim. Still, maybe buying herself some time was beneficial.

“What can I do for you, Mister…?”

“Ainsworth. Thomas Ainsworth. We have spoken on the phone.”

Of course they had. Anne remembered well, trying to suppress the smirk that wanted to show itself at the memory.

“You can imagine the shock when I found out what you are.”

There was an alley nearby with a corner turning into another side street. Perhaps Anne could use her speed to quickly retreat far enough to have a chance to turn into bat shape and fly away, she thought as she tried to be subtle looking around for options.

“You wouldn’t be the first.”

“Every sane person should react with absolute disgust, Miss Lister,” he snarled. “So knowing Ann, I have to wonder what you did to manipulate her into trusting you, letting you near her even.”

The way he was spitting out his words spoke a clear language. He despised her kind – of course, as a vampire hunter it was his job to hunt her down and kill her. Not only that, but the venom in each word as he mentioned Ann told her all about the jealousy he was harbouring. The vampire hunter car she’d spotted, it all made sense to her now as she realised he’d been stalking them like the hurt rejected man that he was.

“You might find it hard to believe, but I have done no such thing, Mr Ainsworth. Ann is with me because she freely decided to.”

“Impossible! Your filthy lies might work on her, but I have worked with your kind enough to know better.” His eyes were filled with hate as he eyed her, “And how could it be consensual if she must live in fear of you killing her at any time if she doesn’t obey?”

Anne was used to this, this treatment she expected from most people. It had stopped bothering her mostly a long time ago, and really, she wasn’t proud of what she was either. But one thing made her see red regardless: This egocentric prick claiming their relationship was built on Anne using her strength to oppress Ann and make her be with her out of fear alone instead of genuine affection and her free choice. She pressed her lips together tightly, narrowing her eyes as her patience was starting to run thin with this man.

“What would you know about that? Why don’t you ask Ann yourself who made the first move, Ainsworth?”

“Enough!” he shouted before looking to his side to his men.

As much as she wanted to teach this prick a lesson, Anne knew she was outnumbered and the moment to flee had come, adrenaline fuelling her as she used her speed to run down most of the alley in a second, as far as she could go. Unfortunately she could only ever use this power for relatively short distances before it would exhaust her too much, and it wasn’t quite enough to round the corner into the side street she’d spotted.

Panting audibly, she turned and looked behind herself to spot the vampire hunters at the end of the alley she’d come from, shooting in her direction. Anne groaned in pain as a single bulled entered through her lower belly just before she could round the corner, gasping as she fell against the wall and opened her coat, clutching her wound.

Normal bullets were no reason for concern, the vampire body could handle those. But the vampire hunters used silver bullets that she knew would spread the toxic metal in her body and kill her if not taken care of. A sharp pain pulsated where blood was staining her formerly white dress shirt red.

Hissing, she forced herself away from the wall as she heard their steps coming closer. She had no time. It took all her concentration to turn into a bat and fly up to the rooftops before Ainsworth’s men could spot her.

She flew the familiar way back to Ann’s unsteadily, her sight blurring before her as she tried to keep herself together.

 

****

 

Ann was roused from her peaceful sleep by a sudden loud bang against her bedroom window. She sat up, not surprised to find the bed empty next to her and Anne out and about. The noise concerned her, so she climbed out of bed, quickly grabbing a shirt and flinging it over her head and putting on a pair of panties before going to check if everything was in order.

Her eyes widened as she spotted a bat lying on the windowsill looking hurt, a stain on the window indicating it had flown against it. Her heart skipped a beat as a terrible suspicion came to mind even as she tried to deny it. Quickly opening the window, she carefully cradled the bat in her hands and looked down.

It looked up at her, and Ann nearly gasped in that moment as she felt it in her heart: it was Anne. And she was hurt.

She hastily closed the window and brought her over to place her on her side of the bed. She didn’t know a great deal about bats, but she hoped she could understand what she was saying in her current form.

“Anne…? Can you- can you turn back?” Her voice was shaky as worry threatened to overwhelm her, a lump forming in her throat as all kinds of possible scenarios shot through her head, one worse than the other. She prayed Anne could understand her because she could only properly help her in her human form – Ann knew nothing about bats.

It took her a moment, but then the bat shapeshifted back into the woman she cared so deeply for, filling out her space on the bed as she reached down and clutched the bloody wound at her belly.

She was pale as she looked up at Ann with half-lidded eyes. “Can you…” she coughed, wincing as she clutched the wound, “remove a bullet? It’s- it’s silver.”

It was in that moment that Ann saw her phone light up in the distance. She always had it muted over night but could easily see she was being called. Anne looked over as well, gasping as she tried to sit up a little and was immediately punished with a wave of pain.

“That- that must be this disgusting prick.”

Ann’s eyes widened as understanding set in, followed by anger as she looked at her wounded girlfriend and back to the phone. Before she could help herself, she’d hurried over and picked up.

“Thomas.”

“Ann. Is she with you?”

He sounded rushed, on edge as she heard a car in the background. Looking over at Anne, she realised that as angry as she was for what he’d done, she couldn’t allow giving away that she knew what happened and Anne was with her. She’d be helpless against them. But that didn’t mean she would hide the edge in her voice, the fury building in her lower belly at this man she had tolerated for far too long in her life. Some people said Ann was too nice and gave people too many chances – perhaps, she thought, perhaps they were right.

“What are you even talking about? It’s 1am and you’ve just woken me up.”

He cleared his throat awkwardly, clearly caught off guard by the sharp sound of her voice. “I- uh-“

“Just leave me alone. I want to sleep, Thomas. You should do the same.”

With that, she hung up, throwing her phone aside before rushing back over to Anne, all anger forgotten as her brow creased with worry as she reached for her hand and squeezed it reassuringly.

“I’ll get my first aid kit and we’ll fix this, okay?”

Anne only nodded, cold sweat running down her temple as she watched Ann hastily leave the room. She didn’t know how long it would take for the silver to spread enough so it would overwhelm her system and kill her, but she also didn’t want to scare Ann by urging her to hurry.

It felt like hours before Ann returned, setting down a chair next to the bed and placing the first aid kit on the end of the bed. Removing bullets wasn’t something she’d done very often in the past but she tried to put any insecurities aside as she reminded herself that it wasn’t much different from removing anything else and that this was Anne and she needed to help her.

Anne was still in her coat and dress shirt, so Ann gently tugged at the coat while looking up at her. “Let’s take off this coat and shirt, okay?”

With her help, Anne sat up as best as she could and they removed the coat. Then, Ann carefully opened her dress shirt for her before looking up at Anne who was watching her with a pained expression. Together, they removed the shirt as well.

Then Ann opened the first aid box. It wasn’t at the same level as her usual equipment at the hospital, but it would have to do.

“This will sting a bit,” she said as she put on her gloves and reached for the disinfectant spray. “Ready?”

Anne could only nod, mentally preparing herself. Ann carefully sprayed the wound, wiping it with a sterile pad even as her girlfriend’s pained hiss went straight to her heart. It wouldn’t get better from here on as far as pain was regarded, she knew.

She didn’t have any anaesthetics for her to numb the pain, so a more rustic method would have to do to help her bear the pain of what was to come. Only Anne didn’t just have regular teeth, so Ann wondered what she could give her to bite into that her fangs wouldn’t tear through.

Looking around, she couldn’t find anything let alone come up with an item she had around that would work.

“What’s wrong?”

Her gaze fell back on Anne, and then it came to her in a heartbeat. Knowing Anne wasn’t wearing a belt tonight wasn’t a big issue since she owned a leather belt herself.

“I was looking for something you can bite into, for the pain,” she explained while quickly moving over to her closet and finding the belt, holding it up as she came back.

Anne looked at her with uncertainty but then understood. She slowly nodded.

“Okay? It’s a bit stupid, I know, but… it’s the best I have to help without any anaesthetics.”

Anne groaned as she moved and took the belt, taking part of it between her teeth and nodding at Ann as she sat down and took one of her tools in her hand.

All she could do was close her eyes as she prepared for the pain that was to come. She wouldn’t admit it, but if not for the general pain pulsating through her stomach and her weakening state keeping her occupied, Anne would be terrified. She’d never been shot so the thought of what pain was to come from the removal of the bullet was concerning. But it had to be done, and she’d bear it.

The moment Ann started with whatever she was doing, it shot through Anne’s body like lightning, making her hips buck off the bed and a loud muffled groan escape her even as she tried her best to keep herself calm to make it easier for her to work. It stung and pulsated as she was sure she felt Ann cut her skin open further, making her bite the leather belt hard as her eyes teared up.

Luckily, the bullet wasn’t in particularly deep and Ann could spot it quickly after opening the wound up a little for its extraction. She tried to focus on the task, as hard as it was with Anne writhing and groaning in pain. It was certainly a thousand times easier to do surgery on someone who wasn’t only sedated but also a stranger to her. But it was imperative that she kept her cool, so she tried to focus on the task only, reaching for the pincers while keeping the wound open with her other hand. Slowly but surely she could extract it even under Anne’s writhing as she tried her best to keep herself steady.

Eventually, she had it out, eyeing the silver bullet before putting it aside together with her tools. Then she sewed up the wound as best as she could with Anne squirming beneath her before dressing and bandaging it.

She quickly cleared the bed before her attention fell back on Anne who still had her eyes shut tightly.

“Anne… I’m all done.”

She gently touched her leg, and Anne opened her eyes and took the belt from her mouth. Unsurprisingly it had been punctured by her fangs. If it wasn’t for the seriousness of the situation, Ann would’ve grinned at the sight.

“Sorry about the belt,” Anne said weakly as she put it aside.

But Ann only shook her head, standing as she took her wrist to feel her pulse. “Don’t worry about that. Did you bite yourself?”

Anne shook her head. Her pulse was weak, as expected, but Ann hoped that now that the silver was out she was fine.

“You should be able to regenerate now, right? Or is there anything else you need?”

Anne tilted her head to the side, avoiding her gaze.

“Anne.”

Their gazes met again, and Anne shook her head. “I’ll be fine.”

Ann frowned – why wasn’t Anne telling her? Clearly there was something she needed, and this was about her health. She walked round the bed and lay next to her, now closer as she took her hand.

“You can talk to me. Please.”

Anne bit her lip as she saw the pleading worried gaze directed at her. She had to say it, even if she wouldn’t do this to Ann again. If she judged it accurately, she should still have enough time to regenerate without it and then go and find someone to sate her hunger before the hunger became too bad. What poor timing; if only she’d been able to feed before this attack, she would’ve taken it a lot better and wouldn’t be in this mess now.

“I need blood. I meant to find someone before they attacked me.”

Oh. Now Ann understood why she looked so hesitant about telling her. Anne didn’t want to hurt her again after that night that seemed like a lifetime ago. But this was a different situation, and Ann’s decision was easily made.

“Bite me,” she said softly and presented her neck to her.

Anne’s eyes widened but she shook her head. “I won’t do this to you again.”

“Anne.” Ann reached out, cradling her face with one hand as their eyes met. “I want to help you. This is my decision. You’re not forcing me, okay?”

Anne slowly nodded as the words sank in, as those deep blue eyes transported their meaning and the soft plea to listen to her and let her help. She hated that she had to do this, but Ann had made up her mind and had freely decided to offer herself.

So she moved closer, feeling Ann supporting her head and holding her close as she dug her teeth into her skin and the familiar sweet taste of her blood filled her senses.

Ann groaned as sharp pain travelled through her neck. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t any less painful than the first time, but she bore the pain gladly if this would help Anne get better. It felt strangely intimate, this moment as Anne took what she needed and Ann let her, one arm around her and the other on her head with her fingers tangled in her hair. Unlike that fateful night she wasn’t scared for her life this time but fully trusted Anne.

After a few more long moments, Anne pulled away, already feeling new energy flow through her body as she wiped her mouth and immediately eyed the wound to make sure Ann was alright. She hadn’t quite been able to be as careful as usual with her weakened state making it hard to muster the self-control and focus she usually possessed, but the wound was still relatively small and would likely heal well. She’d also tried her best to limit how much she took so Ann wouldn’t pass out again.

“Okay?”

Looking up, she found Ann’s eyes on her. “Yes, I was just checking your wound… not my best work, but it should heal well still. Sorry.”

A small smile grew on Ann’s lips as she shook her head. “I don’t mind, I trust you. I was asking about you.”

Oh. Anne blinked. She would likely never fully understand how she deserved this wonderful woman, this kind being who didn’t even seem to care about her own wound that Anne had inflicted but instead asked about her state straight away. Ann had done so much for her in such a short time, and in that moment, Anne vowed that she’d do everything she could to make her happy in return.

“I’m better, thank you… should all be healed by tomorrow, I’m thinking.”

Ann kissed her lips, wincing a little as she got a taste of her own blood before pulling away. “Good. We should rest. You too.”

The way she was eyeing Anne left no room for interpretation that this was not a question or a suggestion but that she expected her to. Not that Anne would resist it anyway, it was a good idea.

Ann got up from the bed, moving over to the windows to close the curtains. She usually liked the light coming in and waking her in the morning, but for her night shifts when she had to sleep during the day, she appreciated being able to drown it out. It was helpful now too since otherwise Anne wouldn’t have been able to stay.

Turning back to her, she found Anne had pulled the covers over herself and her pants and shoes lay on the floor.

“Are you just going to sleep in your underwear?”

“Well, I don’t think your clothes would fit me, and my shirt is ruined.”

She had a point. Ann slipped into bed with her, feeling her tiredness return to her now that the adrenaline wore off with Anne safe and recovering. Her thoughts briefly went to Thomas and how furious she was that he had crossed this line, that he’d attacked and intended to kill Anne. But she would deal with that tomorrow – and one thing was for sure: This had to end. Ann had been far too patient.

Snuggling close to Anne, she kissed her cheek as Anne wrapped her arm around her.

“Are you warm enough? I can get you another blanket-“

Anne smiled at her concern, soothingly rubbing her back. “I’m fine. All warm and cosy.”

Ann hummed contentedly and closed her eyes, letting sleep take her.

Chapter Text

When Ann woke in complete darkness, she was a little disoriented at first and confused why she’d closed the curtains when she didn’t usually do that unless she slept during the day after a nightshift. But then she felt Anne’s warm body next to hers and it only took a moment for sleepiness to wear off and for her memories to return. It had been an eventful night, that was for sure.

She had no clue how late it might be, and with her day off today she hadn’t set an alarm. Ann carefully moved to grab her phone and not disturb Anne, checking the screen. 9:34am. That was reasonable.

Putting the phone aside, she turned on the bedside lamp to have a look at her girlfriend. Anne looked peaceful with the blanket pulled up to cover all of her, only her head and neck peeking out as she slept on her back, taking long even breaths.

Ann found herself smiling at the sight. And yet, she wanted to check her wound and make sure her healing power had kicked in and – if it hadn’t yet – that the wound wasn’t developing an infection.

So Ann snuggled close again, regretting it a little but knowing it was necessary as she gently placed a kiss to Anne’s cheek and rubbed her shoulder to wake her.

“Anne.”

Anne frowned, humming before her arm came around Ann and she muttered something in her sleep. Oh, this only made it harder but Ann needed to check her. She rubbed her shoulder a little more insistently.

“Anne, I need to check your wound.”

At this, Anne stirred, groaning until she eventually popped one eye open, then another. She looked so tired, breaking Ann’s heart a little as their eyes met.

“I’m sorry. It’ll be really quick and then you can go straight back to sleep, okay?”

Anne briefly closed her eyes in defeat before nodding, lifting the blanket.

“Okay.”

Ann was about to reach down to peel off the bandage when Anne’s hand cupped her cheek and pulled her towards her face, both humming contentedly and a smile growing on Ann’s face as Anne kissed her briefly.

“Go right ahead, Doctor Walker.”

Ann could only roll her eyes at this ridiculous woman and her sleepy smirk. She reached across Anne to the bedside table where some of her equipment still lay, taking the scissors so she could remove the bandage and discard it. There was a bit of dried blood on it, but Ann breathed a sigh of relief when she looked for the wound and only found smooth unharmed skin.

Stroking over the area, she found nothing amiss. It amazed her how well the vampire body worked to achieve this feat so quickly – once the toxic silver had been removed.

“How is it?”

Ann looked up. “It’s all healed. How are you feeling?”

Anne took a deep breath. “Ridiculously tired. But fine other than that.”

Kissing her cheek, Ann smiled softly. “Good. Get some more rest, okay? I’ll be out in a bit to get a few things done.”

Anne nodded sleepily, affectionately rubbing along her waist before Ann got out of bed. Picking up the old bandage and other rubbish, she turned off the lamp and made her way out of the room.

She hadn’t been dishonest with Anne that she had things to do, but it was better that she didn’t know what exactly Ann had on her mind. Her lips pressed together tightly as anger flared up within her as his face appeared on her mind, then Anne and how pale and weak she had looked last night because of him.

Ann was not generally a person who let herself be angered easily by other’s actions, but this, this had been too much. She knew the standing vampires had in society, but that didn’t mean she agreed with the rules. They were people too, not all of them the bloodthirsty monsters they were claimed to be – how could Thomas just want to kill Anne? He didn’t even know her.

Of course it was more than that. It wasn’t just that she was a vampire. Ann didn’t need to read his mind to know he was jealous and couldn’t stand the thought of her being with another. She’d already thought this last night: she’d been too patient, had let this go on for too long. Part of her had been a little intimidated by Thomas too, she knew. But now, now that he had crossed a line he should’ve never crossed, all Ann was fuelled by was anger and hurt.

She quickly took a shower, had a snack to eat and got ready. It was time to speak to him and make it clear once and for all what she really thought of him, so he would leave them alone.

 

****

 

Ann suspiciously looked around the massive foyer of the building the vampire hunters had their HQ in as she made her way to the elevators after the lady at the reception had called Thomas and given Ann the okay to go up and see him. She’d no idea what he must be thinking with her coming here on this late morning, but she wouldn’t be surprised if he expected her to thank him for nearly killing her ‘monster’ of a girlfriend.

She bit her lip as a mix of nervousness and anger twirled through her stomach on the ride up. Thomas had made her uncomfortable for as long as she could remember, but she’d always tolerated his advances and brushed them off as a stubborn man’s inability to face the truth and nothing more. Perhaps he was lonely, she’d found herself thinking some of the time and had felt a little sympathy with him even, at times.

Not anymore. Ann’s heels angrily clicked on the tiled floor as she walked down the hallway towards his office. It had been years since she’d visited this place, following one of his invitations shortly after he’d been promoted and had moved into this office.

It had been clear he’d been proud and wanted to show off, but Ann had only been able to focus on how cold and lifeless the vampire hunter HQ and his office in particular felt, with few decorations and even less colours. Some people said that about hospitals too, she realised, but she’d never seen it that way, viewing her workplace as a place where they fought to save lives and restore hope every day. Perhaps some vampire hunters felt the same way about their workplace, Ann had thought, but now all she could think was how unfair it was that vampires like Anne were mercilessly hunted down without a chance to show their true colours.

Ann spotted his secretary in the glass-panelled office to the right of his door, only giving her a look before entering his office without knocking.

“No, I’ve told you we need to order the new equipment by the end of this week. Not any later. Is that clear?”

He suddenly looked up from his desk, phone in hand as the door fell shut loudly and Ann stood there, crossing her arms.

“Get this sorted.” With that, he quickly hung up, his face lighting up as he took Ann in in her thick winter coat.

“Ann! How nice that you’re visiting so unexpectedly. What can I do for you?”

Then, as if remembering, the lightness disappeared from his expression as he added, “Have you heard anything from… the vampire?”

Ann pressed her lips together tightly. “After you shot her, you mean?”

The coldness in her voice could’ve frozen hell over. Thomas swallowed, seemingly taken aback by the reaction. Rubbing his hands together, he took a moment before meeting her eyes again where she stood at the end of the room.

“She is a vampire, Ann. You know what they are, and when I found out, it was my duty to do everything to protect you from her. Before she kills you in a fit of bloodthirst. Surely you’ll see reason.”

“What do you even know about her, Thomas?” Ann hissed. “What gives you the right to attempt to kill my girlfriend? And before you ask, she’s alive. I removed the bullet.”

Thomas’ eyebrows went up at the rage in Ann’s voice that he was so unused to. Her usually kind expression was devoid of any of its usual softness the way her brow was furrowed, her eyes narrowed in his direction. But then the last part of what she’d said sank in.

He rose from his seat, slowly moving around the table and towards her, staying a good distance away as he sensed the invisible wall she’d put up between them.

“You did what?”

Ann held her chin up in a defying manner, clenching her jaw as she stared right at him. She saw the change in his expression before he even said anything else, saw how concern and uncertainty at her anger changed into an expression that mirrored her own, his brow furrowing as he shook his head.

“Have you lost your mind? I go out of my way in the middle of the night to keep you save from this monster, and you- you help her!”

The way he was raising his voice shook Ann’s body to the core, but she didn’t budge an inch even as a bit of fear set in at his expression. No, she reminded herself, she wasn’t going to back down.

“I didn’t ask for your help, Thomas! The only thing I’ve ever wanted is for you to leave me alone and finally understand that I’m not interested and never will be! I’m gay, and I love Anne!”

Ann found herself momentarily stunned at her own words, eyebrows rising as she took a step back and realised what she’d just said – what she’d been feeling in her heart. She loved Anne, even if this was not her idea of how she was going to voice it for the first time. And to Thomas, of all people.

He looked at her in shock, taking a step back as he brought up a hand to rub his temple. Clearly, her words had hit a nerve.

“What has she done to you, Ann? She is manipulating you, don’t you see that? These monsters, they don’t love.

“What would you know about that?” Ann hissed, losing her patience more with every ongoing second.

“More than you think.” He took a careful step towards her, closer now as his expression softened a bit and he looked at her. “I’ve worked with these creatures for years, don’t you think my experience carries some weight?”

Before Ann could respond, she saw his gaze lowering, and for a moment she couldn’t believe that he would choose this moment to ogle her – not that there was much to see with her coat covering everything. But then her eyes widened as she saw his expression harden and realised what he’d seen. She should’ve covered the bite better.

“She bit you again. That was her the first time too, wasn’t it?”

Ann was still furious at him for what he’d done, but in this moment with the piercing expression in his eyes and the threatening tone of his voice, a bit of fear set in as she worried what he might be capable of. If he might end up hunting Anne until the end of his days if Ann said the wrong thing now. That was not what she would want. What should she say to that?

She looked away, biting her lip. “I-“

He shook his head in disbelief. “You- you let her, didn’t you?”

She refused to meet his gaze, trying to come up with a way to get him to understand and finally stop. All she wanted was for him to leave them alone, but it seemed no matter what she said, it only seemed to be making it worse right now.

He stood right in front of her now, putting his hand to her face to make her look at him. Ann felt sick meeting his gaze, feeling his touch on her skin that made her want to push him away. Taking a deep breath, she found her courage again, her voice even as she spoke.

“I love her. I don’t need your help, Thomas.”

Thomas shook his head as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “You should listen to yourself, Ann. Every normal, sane person would be grateful for what I did for you! And you- you tell me you don’t need my help when it’s clear, so clear that you’re delusional!”

He walked up and down his room with fast steps, and Ann briefly considered getting out of there right then until his wide-eyed gaze met her again. “I have no choice. You’re not seeing it, and you’re a threat to your own safety. If words don’t do it, I’ll have to prove to you what she really is. What they all are.”

What was going on? Ann felt frozen in shock at the fear-inducing words that sounded like they’d come out of the mouth of a lunatic. But then Thomas had already rushed to his desk and picked up his phone, and just what felt like a moment later, two men entered the room behind her.

“Arrest her. Take her to the complex, but treat her well. She is not to be harmed, understand?”

The men nodded, and Ann found her eyes widen in shock as her arms were pulled back and handcuffs put around them. She could barely believe what was happening.

“Are you out of your mind?” She nearly shouted as Thomas approached her again.

“I’m sorry it has come to this, but I truly believe this is necessary to show you. You’ll see, I’ll prove it to you why she’s dangerous, and you’ll thank me.”

And be together with me after, Ann added in her head, as she felt those were the words going through his mind without him wording them. She couldn’t be sicker at the thought, more so as she looked into his fanatically glowing eyes and realised he was far more dangerous and obsessed than she’d ever imagined. And he had just arrested her.

Her thoughts were with Anne as she worried for herself as well as her. What had Thomas come up with to ‘prove’ her that Anne was dangerous? What would happen to her now that she’d been arrested? Her heart sank low as she was walked down the corridor, the ice-cold grip of fear squeezing her tight until she could barely breathe.

 

****

 

Anne groaned as her phone’s ringtone woke her. She had no idea how late it was, but judging from how wrong and disoriented she felt it must still be well in the day. She scrambled to her feet and quickly found the phone, smiling as she saw Ann’s name on the display. If she called, it must be for a good reason, she thought and picked up.

“Hey.”

“Miss Lister. I hope I didn’t wake you. Well actually, I don’t really care.”

Her limbs froze and all remnants of sleep immediately left her at the sound of his voice. Why was he calling from Ann’s phone? What was going on? Her heart started racing as she worried what he might’ve done, her free hand balling to a fist as her face twisted with disgust for this insignificant man that somehow got away with pretending he was on top of the world.

“Where’s Ann?”

“Don’t worry, she’s safe. Not that the likes of you would genuinely care about that. You’re using her, Miss Lister – we both know that. And Ann being the kind generous person that she is believes you, having thrown all caution out the window.”

Anne swallowed, trying to contain the hate she felt brewing for this man who knew nothing about her and lived off his single-minded shallow ideas of what she was without looking left or right to consider there was more than black and white. She hated that men like him were the reason she had to live in hiding. But right now, Ann was far more important than that, so she took a shaky breath and tried to calm herself to focus on what mattered.

“What do you want, Ainsworth?”

“Straight to the point, I see. Well, then. I want you to meet me in the underground car park on Stannington Road, tonight at 6:30. Come alone.”

Anne paced the bedroom, asking the question that first popped into her head. “What if I don’t?”

Her jaw clenched in defiance as she was both terrified and needed to know the answer, as it might give her information on how far he was willing to go.

“Just do as I say. Good day, Miss Lister.”

With that, he hung up without giving her another chance to respond. Anne sat on the edge of the bed, her hands shaking as worry for Ann and a feeling of doom settled low in her stomach. This was all her fault, wasn’t it? If not for her being a vampire, this would’ve never happened.

She groaned with frustration, throwing her phone across the room as tears of desperation formed in her eyes and she worried what this sick man had done to Ann. And what his plan was. Anne was aware that this meetup he’d instructed reeked of a trap, and yet – what could she do? She couldn’t not show up. This was about Ann, and she wouldn’t leave without her safely by her side.

He better not have touched her, Anne thought as a fresh wave of hate pumped through her veins and fuelled her as she rose from the bed. Nothing could save him from her wrath if he hurt Ann.

 

****

 

Since she’d been woken in the early afternoon, Anne had had to wait at Ann’s place until sunset so she could leave. She still had a little time until the meeting with Ainsworth, and she wanted to make use of that as she quickly flew to her place.

Once there, she showered and dressed in her usual black attire, complete with her leather jacket and boots. Then she turned to her trusted revolver, picking it up from its place on the wall and finding the holster as well as some additional ammunition that she put in a pouch that she strapped to herself with a belt. She hoped she wouldn’t need any of this, but in case she didn’t want to come unprepared.

Before she had to leave, she sat down on her sofa and called Tib.

“About time you called! What was going on last night, too busy shagging to give your friend a call how it went with your family?”

Anne could hear the playful smirk in her voice, and under normal circumstances, she may have rolled her eyes at Tib before bringing her up to date. But now was not the time.

“Tib, listen- it went well with my family, but I was attacked by vampire hunters last night and Ann patched me up. And now they have her and want to meet me tonight.”

“Woah, what? Slow down there, they did what?” There was a pause as Tib seemed to take a moment to process the new information. “Damn, Anne. Is it that guy you mentioned? Who’s desperate to get in Ann’s pants but doesn’t get the message?”

Tib was never one to beat around the bush, that was for sure. “Yes, that one. And I just know it’s a trap, but what can I do? He told me to come alone to an underground car park.”

“Fucking bastard. If that isn’t a trap, I’ll eat my hat.”

Anne raised an eyebrow despite the seriousness of the situation; she was pretty sure Tib didn’t even own a single hat.

“Well, what can I do? I can’t just not go. This is about Ann.”

“No, no, of course not. I just- at least tell me where you meet him and when. So I know. If anything goes wrong, I could be around to kick his ass. He doesn’t need to know, does he?”

Anne felt a smile tug at her lips even with the gravity of this situation. She’d never felt so grateful to have Tib around as in this moment. Tib, who didn’t even need to be persuaded but willingly wanted to help, no questions asked. Against the vampire hunters no less, possibly risking her life. The only thing Anne was concerned about was what if Ainsworth was smarter than he looked, what if he noticed Tib no matter how cleverly she may be hiding? That could put Ann in danger – Anne would never forgive herself if anything happened to her. And the same was true for Tib, Anne didn’t want her to get hurt for her either.

“I know where you’re going with this, and it’s a good idea. I just… what if he finds out, Tib? I’m not sure what this prick is capable of.”

Tib hummed in thought, and Anne could picture her nodding as her brow would crease with this unsolved problem racing through her mind.

“Well, it’s up to you. I’ll be there if you want me to, but if it’s too risky for you, I’ll respect that.”

As much as she wanted Tib’s support and it would make her feel less worried about this on one front, it opened up a whole array of what if’s and worries on another front that she wasn’t sure she was ready for. If anybody got hurt because Anne didn’t do this right- no, it couldn’t happen.

“I’ll go alone. He’s meeting me at the Stannington Road underground car park at 6:30. If you don’t hear from me tonight-“

“I’ll search the entire goddamn city. Got you.”

In this moment, Anne wished Tib was around so she could give her the hug she deserved. For her loyalty, for the unwavering strength in her voice that told Anne that yes, Tib would search the entire city for her if that’s what it took.

“Thank you, Tib. I appreciate this.”

Anne could hear the smile in her voice as she responded, “Don’t worry about it. Now, go out there and get your girl back, yeah? And I’ll speak to you later so you can tell me all about your family.”

If only Anne shared her confidence. Still, she smiled despite herself, nodding as she rose from the sofa. “I will.”

They hung up, and Anne made her way to her balcony. Taking in a deep breath of the cool early evening air, she shapeshifted to fly to her destination, not quite able to shake off that uneasy feeling in her stomach despite Tib’s confidence.

Chapter Text

Anne approached the building the underground car park was located in carefully, flying around it first to check for anything out of the ordinary, but finding nothing. That didn’t mean there weren’t any ‘surprises’ waiting for her though, so she stayed vigilant.

She landed at the entrance, looking around to make sure no one saw her before turning back and entering the dimly lit building. She had no idea which floor Ainsworth was even waiting on, but according to a sign nearby there was only one more floor other than the one she was currently on, so since she didn’t spot him, she assumed he was probably waiting there.

Anne hastily made her way over to the stairs and down, adrenaline pumping through her veins making her heart race as her thoughts were with Ann. She hoped she was alright, that this bastard hadn’t hurt her. There would be no stopping her if he had – Anne had sworn to herself not to kill unless it could not be avoided in self-defence, but she was ready to break that rule for this arrogant prick.

Biting her lip, she opened the door to the parking area, unsurprised to find two armoured cars with the vampire hunter logo stood in the mostly empty area of the floor, Thomas and a few men in front of it. Her gaze met his, her eyes narrowing as she made her way over, carefully glancing around the area for any surprises, but – again – spotting nothing.

“Miss Lister. I’m glad you could come.”

The four men next to him straightened their postures as they saw her approach, tightening the grip on their assault rifles as if that would impress her. Anne couldn’t care less; she was here for Ann, her safety the only thing she cared about. But she didn’t see her with them. Perhaps she was still in one of the trucks, but Anne didn’t like this one bit.

Standing a few metres away from Ainsworth in a broad stance, she crossed her arms in front of her chest as she looked him up and down with contempt. “Where’s Ann?”

“She is safe, Miss Lister. It might be hard to comprehend for your kind, but I care greatly about her well-being.”

Anne hated every single thing about this man. He looked more well-kempt today than the last time she’d seen him, freshly shaven and his hair neatly combed into place, his red tie and white shirt peeking out from under his trench coat to give the impression he was a proper individual – he was anything but, the façade there to fool those who didn’t know better. His words tried to transport the same meaning of the morally superior man who had nothing but Ann’s best interests in mind, but the way they were spoken and his actions told everyone willing to look the ugly truth.

“Well, where is she then?” She snarled, sick and tired of his games already.

Her hand went to her holster in a silent warning, even knowing that she was outgunned, her gaze unwavering and unafraid as she focused on Ainsworth only. His gaze followed hers before settling on her eyes again. He almost looked amused.

“Ann is in a safe place, as I was saying. What did you think, that I would bring her here? She doesn’t belong with you, Miss Lister. She’s not your little toy to play with and use as you please until you get bored and suck the life out of her.”

Anne mirrored his hateful gaze, keeping her hand at her holster as she realised that this had been a trap as she’d expected, that he’d never intended to make some sort of deal to release Ann. Of course not. No, he was here to kill Anne, wanted her out of the way so she wouldn’t interfere anymore with his hopeless pathetic attempts to garner Ann’s affections. She wouldn’t give up without a fight.

“We both know this has nothing to do with her safety. At least be honest and admit that your fragile little ego has been hurt because she rejected you and chose me.”

When she saw the anger flickering up in his eyes as he scowled, Anne knew it was time to look for cover. Luckily the car park provided plenty behind the few other nearby cars as well as the thick concrete pillars that kept the building stable.

“You will regret this! I will ensure Ann sees what you are…” He turned towards his men. “Get her!”

Anne used her speed to get behind a pillar nearby swiftly, drawing her gun just as the first shots flew past her and filled the otherwise deadly silence in the car park. She took a breath, carefully peeking between their bursts of fire to make out where his men had positioned.

Two to her right, two to her left. Thomas seemed to have disappeared, but she wouldn’t be surprised if he was cowering in the car like the true coward he was instead of fighting like a man.

She needed to be careful that his men wouldn’t move around to be able to flank her from both sides and make her cover useless, so she kept paying attention to their positions as she quickly peeked out and shot in the direction of the one closest to her who was behind another pillar. Luck was on her side, as he had positioned badly and with a few good shots, she was able to hit his arm that wasn’t properly behind cover, taking him out of the fight for now.

Three to go. Anne had brought plenty of ammunition but was aware they had more, so time was not on her side. More shots were flying past the pillar she was hiding behind, sweat forming on her temple as she breathed heavily with the tense situation she found herself in, doubt creeping into her mind as she worried she couldn’t do this, while her wrath threatened to make her see red and do something stupid in an attempt to drain the life from Ainsworth’s smug face.

As she quickly fumbled to reload to not let the pressure up on them for too long, her thoughts went to Ann who was being held somewhere and needed her help, her heart constricting in her chest at the thought. Ainsworth had hit her where it hurt most by taking Ann, her fear for her girlfriend’s safety fuelling her doubts in her ability to defeat Ainsworth and find her. But at the same time, a renewed sense of determination engulfed her as Ann’s soft smile appeared on her mind and the way her eyes shone with affection as she looked at Anne. This was what she was fighting for; she wouldn’t let him succeed.

Her focus sharpened, and Anne channelled her anger into each shot as she leaned to the side and attempted to take out the next man, nearly surprised at her own precision as she managed to shoot the side of his neck just as he was about to go back into cover to reload, groaning instead as his body fell to the side. Two to go.

Anne scouted their positions, eyes widening as she noticed one had come dangerously close to her and was crouching behind a car ready to flank her. Luckily, he didn’t seem to be too smart, blowing his cover by shooting from the side and hoping for a quick successful hit on her instead of staying quiet to try and sneak up to a better position that would’ve likely guaranteed catching her by surprise to confirm a kill while she would’ve been kept down and distracted by the continued fire from his colleague.

As Anne realised with the continued back-and-forth shooting between her and them she was slowly running out of ammo, she decided to go for a little gamble. The man who had tried to flank her was close enough, so she made use of her enhanced speed and made it over to him in no time, finding a shocked face looking up at her as she pulled the gun from his hand to toss it aside and pressed him to the floor by his neck.

She didn’t have much time, she knew, but she needed to try. Leaning close, Anne made sure he got a good view of her fangs. “Where is she?”

Shots were still flying through the air by his colleague who seemed to not have noticed that she’d moved position and was currently distracted – yet. It was only a matter of time, so she made this quick as she squeezed his neck just enough to let him know she was not playing games.

His eyes widened as she tried to gasp for air. “The-the complex. Where,” he coughed, “where we keep the prisoners.”

Anne knew the place, had heard of it like every vampire. The place where the hunters would bring the few vampires they didn’t outright kill to study them and ‘learn’ about them – it was just an excuse for inhumane experiments, as far as Anne was concerned, and that was the reason the place had a feared reputation among her kind. Why was Ann there? Her worst fears seemed to come true as a cold grip tightened around her chest at the thought what this maniac had done to her – or would do.

Suddenly, she was drawn out of her thoughts by the feeling of something cold pressing against her back, and a moment later a sharp sting filled her as she groaned and let go of the man, turning to see Ainsworth stand behind her with a gun in his hand. She stood, taking her revolver even as her vision was becoming blurry.

Her grip became weak as she brought it up to hold it in his direction, staggering as it became harder to focus on him by the second. What was going on? What had he done to her? This was no regular silver bullet, but it became more difficult with each passing moment to focus on her fleeting thoughts as a numbness started to take a hold of her frighteningly fast.

“It looks like our new tranquiliser dart is very efficient,” she heard him say as a smile grew on his face.

Anne gasped, leaning against the car as she slowly sank down, hearing his words as if through foam as her eyes eventually fell shut despite her best efforts to stay awake.

“Take her away. Don’t forget the handcuffs, we don’t know yet how long it’ll keep her out.”

 

****

 

Ann sat on the leather sofa, hugging her knees tight as she kept staring blankly around the office like she’d been doing for the past hours or so. When she’d arrived at the vampire prison earlier in the day, she’d feared the worst, but Thomas’ men had brought her to his personal office in the complex where she was locked in with all kinds of amenities – a choice of good food, drink, and plenty of entertainment like the tv mounted to the wall, as well as an attached bathroom and bedroom.

Thomas had briefly spoken to her before leaving her to herself, making sure that she knew she was not a prisoner but that this was for her safety and she would soon be free again once this ‘nonsense’ with Anne was over. She had only glared at him, not responding to any of his disgusting attempts to be friendly and act as if he hadn’t arrested her and was holding her against her will.

None of his ‘nice’ words or the amenities he had provided would change anything about that – if he thought he could bribe her into forgiving him what he’d done, he was sorely mistaken. It also changed nothing about the fact that she was anxious what would happen next, his words still present with her from earlier where he had told her he would prove her Anne was a monster.

As far as Ann was concerned there was no way to prove that – she had seen what Anne was like, what a vulnerable kind soul she was, the way she cared so deeply about her family and the affectionate deep gazes she directed at Ann when they were alone. The smiles they shared as they made conversation. This was no monster, and it didn’t matter to her what Thomas thought of it.

But she was anxious to what lengths this man would go, the man she had heavily underestimated as just a harassment she would probably live with on the side like a pesky neighbour that talked to you too much and stole your time whenever you met them in the hall. He was far more dangerous than that, Ann knew that now, and she worried deeply what he would do to Anne.

She hoped she was alright and would find a way to get her out of here somehow, as she currently had no means to help herself with her phone taken off her and all possible exit routes inaccessible from what she’d seen as she’d first checked the room after her arrival here. It was an office within a prison, a vampire prison at that, so she probably shouldn’t be too surprised that it was secured well. That said, with Thomas’ implications it was likely Anne had bigger problems than trying to break her out of here, if she even knew she was here at all.

Sighing, she curled into a ball and closed her eyes, her thoughts staying with Anne as she silently prayed that all would be well and they’d soon be together again and this nightmare over.

 

****

 

When Anne woke, a certain fogginess surrounded her mind as she slowly came to her senses, groaning as she reached out to rub her eyes. She immediately felt a restraint against her wrist as she moved, opening her eyes as she tried to piece together what had happened and where she was.

Looking down herself, Anne found both her wrists in cuffs that were chained to the wall that she was sitting against. Her eyes widened as she looked around the room which she quickly recognised as a prison cell: dark walls and a single dim light at the ceiling, the room split in two by metal bars going through the middle, a small bed next to them that was little more than a metal frame with a thin mattress on it and an even thinner blanket and worn-out pillow, and a little cubicle at the end of the small room that she suspected had just enough room for the toilet and perhaps a shower.

It call came back to her in that moment, the shootout with Ainsworth and how she’d made a mistake and the bastard had been able to shoot her in the back with some sort of drug that had knocked her out quickly. Anne didn’t need to ask anyone – not that she could, since she was alone – to know exactly where she’d been taken, and the thought sent a shiver down her spine as she wondered what would happen to her now.

And what had happened to Ann? Anne remembered that Ainsworth’s man had told her Ann was kept here, at the very same place – if he’d been sincere, but Anne had a feeling he had been. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried that Ann was probably still kept in the same place she found herself at now.

Whatever Ainsworth was planning, Anne had a bad feeling that it was related to this. Her head shot up as she heard the cell door open, her lips pressing together tightly as his slimy face came into view as he entered the room with two men.

“How are you feeling, Miss Lister?”

She grunted, trying to pull against her restraints even as she knew it was useless. They used silver for everything here, she knew that much, and Anne’s enhanced strength wouldn’t help her against it. Thinking about freeing herself, it came as no surprise that they’d taken her revolver and ammo from her too, and her phone as well from how light her pocket felt.

“None of your business,” she spat.

He came closer, crouching next to her as he shook his head and a self-satisfied smile grew on his lips. “Where are your manners…?”

Anne’s face scrunched up with disgust as she met his eyes and wished she was free so she could erase that confident glimmer and show him his place. Instead, she kept his gaze firmly as her eyes took him in with disdain.

“Respect to those who deserve it, Ainsworth. You don’t even have the balls to fight me on your own.”

The sharp sound cut through the silent room as Anne felt the sting followed by an intense warmth spreading on her cheek from where his hand had connected with her. Anne had to give him that, his slap had had a certain force behind it. Not that it particularly impressed her. She narrowed her eyes, looking at him defiantly.

“You have no right to talk to me like this, scum.”

He rose, straightening his uniform. “I hope you enjoy your stay here, Miss Lister.” Ainsworth smiled coldly before a thought seemed to come to his mind and he lowered himself again to be at eye level with her, his eyes glimmering with hate.

“Ann will see exactly what you are once you run low on blood,” he spat, his voice but a sharp whisper. “I’m looking forward to it.”

With that, he rose and turned to leave, the heavy metal door closing loudly before Anne was drowned in silence. His words echoed in her head as she realised what his plan was, a cold shiver running down her spine as she paled. Anne remembered too well what happened once her hunger became too strong – she would have no chance to control it.

 

****

 

The hours dragged on as Ann sat in Thomas’s office. She’d briefly considered going to sleep so time would pass more quickly and she wouldn’t sit around worrying so much, but the sofa wasn’t all that comfortable especially without a blanket, and she felt a little sick at the thought of lying down in the bed that was his. Eventually, she knew she had to sleep though, and that would likely be soon as the evening hours went on.

Her head snapped to the door as it opened and Thomas entered. He smiled, coming over to her and sitting down next to her. Ann immediately moved as far away on the sofa as she could, glaring at him as his face dropped.

“You will understand once this is through,” he said into the silence, rubbing his hands before looking over at her. “Unfortunately, it might take a few days, but if you need anything at all, say the word and my men will arrange it.”

“The only thing I need is for you to let me go.”

Thomas sighed before looking at her sympathetically. “I understand your frustration, and I will once the monster has shown you exactly what she is. We’re monitoring her as we speak, hopefully it won’t take long.”

“You know nothing about her, Thomas. The only monster I can see is sitting next to me,” Ann hissed even as she took in the information and her eyes widened as she realised they must’ve gotten a hold of Anne too. Where was she? Ann’s stomach tied in knots as she worried what they would do to her, no doubt treating her like the ‘monster’ they saw in her.

“You will understand soon, Ann,” Thomas responded trying to stay calm, but Ann saw in the irritated furrow of his brow that her words had struck a nerve. Her own anger intensified as she dug her fingernails into the arm of the sofa.

“And then what, Thomas? Then I’ll throw myself at you and beg you to forgive me for being so stupid and take me as your girlfriend, is that it? You are disgusting.”

His eyebrows rose as the harsh words were thrown at him, seemingly taken off guard by them. But then he turned towards her as his eyes narrowed and his voice lowered. “Is that what you think of me? That I’d step so low to do all this to get together with you?”

Part of Ann was enjoying venting her frustrations like this. She’d never felt so furious before, the last days and everything Thomas had done from shooting Anne to arresting the both of them piling up with years of his annoying messages and calls; it was as if she could explode with all the pent-up anger making her blood boil. She couldn’t help herself as she stoked the fire further, needing him to know precisely what she thought of him.

“That is exactly what you’re doing. You’re jealous of her, aren’t you? The vampire ‘monster’ who is sharing my bed and has shown me more kindness than you ever could.”

“Enough!” His fist slammed on the coffee table before them, making Ann twitch as the bang made the table and what was on it shake as it echoed in the office. Thomas’ eyes looked wild, reminding Ann of earlier before he’d had her arrested. As much anger as was flowing through Ann’s body, she still shrank back into the sofa at the frightening display of aggression.

“How dare you compare me to this scum! Are you out of your mind?”

He rose, turning to her and pointing his finger at her. “Your life is in my hands. You’d better think about that and hold that tongue of yours.”

With that, he gave her another sharp look before leaving. Ann felt cold as the words sank in and she realised just how insane Thomas really was. What did he mean, her life was in his hands? What did he have in mind to do to her? She thought back to that one night when she’d met Anne and had feared for her life, a similar feeling creeping up within her now as the tears started flowing. Only this time, she worried for both their lives, scared that they would die alone without Ann ever having had the chance to tell her that she loved her.

 

****

 

The hours dragged on as Anne sat against the wall, unable to do much since they’d chained her to it. Her thoughts kept wandering to the people she cared about most. Her family, a strong pain engulfing her heart as tears welled up in her eyes as images of their happy reunion appeared on her mind and she realised that she would die here in this place and they’d lose her again as quickly as they’d gotten her back. The feeling of causing them this pain a second time around burned a hole into her heart.

Then she thought of Tib who was likely already looking for her, though since Anne was not just in any place but the vampire prison she didn’t think Tib would have any chance to get through the security measures even if she knew Anne was here. So that was hopeless.

And Ann. Tears ran down her face without any way to stop them as Anne mourned their relationship, the depth of the feelings that had grown between them obvious to her now as her heart seized. She would die here, and the last thing Ann would be watching was her in a fit of bloodthirst before she would likely turn away in horror and Ainsworth would have her killed. For the first time in her 12 years as a vampire, Anne had truly started to feel happy with Ann in her life and it was all taken away from them now because of one jealous man.

Anne thought back to the one time she’d let it get too far and the bloodthirst had taken control over her. That had been shortly after she’d been turned – she’d fed a few times by then, inexperienced and hating that she had to kill humans regularly to get by. So she’d refused to eat altogether, swearing she would rather die by hunger than do this to people anymore. Only she’d had no idea how powerful the animal that lived inside her could become, and as her hunger had become more dire, it eventually broke her and the bloodthirst took control of her. She barely remembered the blur of what had happened then, but the way her clothes had been splattered with blood and the state of the person that had been unfortunate enough to be her victim that night still made a chill run down her spine. That night had changed everything, and after finding information on the topic, Anne had carefully trained herself over the years to perfect her bites and discipline herself to bring her victims as little pain as possible and – most importantly – keep them alive.

All that discipline, however, didn’t matter if it went too far again, and unlike all those years before, Anne had no choice over the matter as she was being kept here and they starved her, hour by hour.

Anne had no way to tell how much time was passing without a clock or any other indication how late it was. It was another form of torture as she was sitting in her spot and minutes blurred into hours until she could only vaguely assume how much time must’ve passed. She fell asleep at some point too, bizarre dreams haunting her until she woke in her uncomfortable position with her neck stiff and her legs sore from the lack of movement.

As she’d expected, it didn’t take long for her hunger to become more intense, the little nagging feeling in the background soon pushing to the foreground as it demanded more attention with more time passing. Soon she was becoming antsy, shifting restlessly in her position as it became harder for her thoughts not to stray to blood and how much she needed it right now.

She kept herself together as best as she could but it became harder with each passing hour, her throat dry and begging for someone to feed on as the taste of blood was hitting her senses a few times, which – of course – revealed itself to be an illusion only.

Even as her thoughts went back to Ann, it became harder to focus and it was as if a hush of a voice wanted to remind her how sweet her blood had tasted, how badly she needed it when all she wanted to focus on was that she hoped she was alright and how much she wanted to wrap her arms around her and keep her safe.

Anne had mostly avoided her memories of that one night years ago, but it seemed like the familiarity came back all at once as she started feeling weaker and remembered this had been one of the signs back then too that it wouldn’t be long until she lost control. Her legs felt light, her head so dizzy she wondered if she would lose consciousness but didn’t.

Only the loud metal sound of the door opening sharpened her attention immediately.

 

****

 

Ann was sitting in her spot on Thomas’ sofa like she had mostly been doing since he’d had her arrested. It was night time and she had the tv on, not paying attention to it as her thoughts went back to Anne as they mostly did. She couldn’t believe it had been two and a half days since he’d captured her; it still felt surreal, the entire situation, but where Ann had spent the first day full of anger and anxiety, those had given way to resignation and a constant worry simmering in the background making it hard for her to get any sleep. That, and the sofa was not particularly comfortable, but she would not touch a bed he had slept in before.

It was getting late, and if the bags under her eyes didn’t show the need for a restful night’s sleep, the yawn breaking free did. Just in that moment, the door opened and Thomas entered. He’d mostly left her alone for the past days after their argument, which she’d been glad about.

“It’s time.” He waved her over, and Ann better followed before they would put handcuffs on her again.

She only glared at Thomas as their gazes briefly met before she was led out the room.

“Ann, you must know that what you will see will be terrifying, do you understand? Whatever you’ve thought of- of her, whatever sweet lies she has told you about herself, it will be proven wrong and you must be ready for that.”

Ann looked at him as he walked next to her down the dark corridors to wherever their destination was, his gaze neutral as if he was talking about some routine or a thing and not Ann’s girlfriend. She refused to respond, looking away until they came to a stop.

Gazing back in his direction, she found him in front of a door. He took her hands against her will, but Ann couldn’t squirm away from his strong grip.

“I want you to know that we won’t let her hurt you, alright? As soon as you’ve seen with your own eyes what happens, we will be in there and we’ll put her down.”

We’ll put her down. The words echoed in her head as her heart was torn between fury and an intense sorrow at the implications as well as the choice of words. Treating her girlfriend like some sort of rabid dog that needed to be killed.

Ann could also not imagine a world where Anne would attack her, thinking back to a few days ago when she’d had to convince Anne to take the blood from her that she needed. Anne didn’t deserve this, to be killed like this. And in front of Ann’s eyes.

Her eyes welled up with tears as she shook her head, eventually freeing her hands from his grip in a forceful movement, her voice shaking, “I’d rather die with her than watch you kill her like some animal.”

Thomas pressed his lips together, looking down at her with a mix of concern and contempt. “You must have completely lost your mind, Ann.” Guiding her closer to the door by her shoulder, he gave her another look before he nearly whispered, “But I will help you.”

Ann didn’t want any of his help. But the words got stuck in her throat as his men opened the door and led her inside a small room that had metal bars on the right. As she looked over, she spotted Anne at the other end of the metal bars chained to the wall, her hair tousled and her skin pale as she seemed to look nowhere in particular with a faraway gaze.

Ann barely registered the heavy door falling shut behind her as she made her way to the bars, clawing onto them in a futile attempt to reunite with her girlfriend. “Anne!”

Anne was dragged out of the near-delirium she’d found herself in where her mind had been pulled away into a world of bizarre torn images, interrupted occasionally by strong urges for blood that shook her entire body. But it seemed the world was clearing as that familiar voice got through to her, pulling her back into the here and now as her gaze locked onto Ann who stood on the other end of the bars. Anne’s heart seized, her first instinct to pull against her chains in a fruitless attempt to get free and closer to her.

“Ann…”

The sound of her own voice shocked her, rough from days of not speaking to anybody and her current state. Their gazes met, and suddenly Anne realised that her worst expectations of what Thomas was going to do had been exceeded.

She’d assumed he would make Ann watch her as she lost control to prove to her what kind of a monster lived within her ready to be unleashed at any point in time. But this, sending Ann in here with her, was far crueller than Anne could’ve imagined in her worst assumptions. The metal bars wouldn’t keep her, Anne could tell they weren’t made from silver, so that only left one question:

Had Ainsworth completely lost his mind and wanted to sacrifice Ann to her hunger to ultimately prove it to her what Anne was?

She had seen the fanatical glimmer in his eyes showing what he was capable of. It disgusted Anne as much as it broke her heart to know she would be her girlfriend’s undoing and would be entirely unable to stop it.

“What have they done to you?”

Anne didn’t need to see the brow furrowed with concern to hear how worried Ann was, the bags under her eyes telling her more about the way she’d spent the past days or however long it had been.

She tried for a smile, shaking her head. “Nothing… I’m just very hungry. This,” she cleared her throat even as a lump settled in it at what she was about to say, “Ann, I-“

The images blurred briefly, and for a split second Anne could practically hear a voice from inside her whisper-screaming at her, Consume her. Take all.

It disappeared as quickly as it had come as Anne pushed it aside, trying to suppress the way her muscles flexed involuntarily as her body wanted to lunch forward. Just in that moment, the cuffs around her wrists automatically clicked open and let her go. Anne knew they were watching, swallowing thickly as she stuck to the wall in fear of what she would do if she neared Ann.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” she gasped. “The hunger- it will overwhelm me soon and take control of me.”

A loud sob broke free at the crushing pain of what she was about to say next. “I’ll kill you, Ann. I won’t be able to stop it. I’m so sorry…”

A silent gasp left Ann’s lips as she understood the truth in Anne’s words. It had been one thing hearing it from Thomas, but Anne telling her she knew the truth in what she said. That, and Anne was starting to change in appearance, becoming paler even as her eyes darkened in a way that looked similar to those moments after Anne had bitten her before, only much more sinister and intense. But she wasn’t afraid. If this was how it had to be, Ann would rather die looking into Anne’s eyes than live to see her being killed and feel her heart shatter into a thousand pieces.

She grasped the metal bar tighter, pressing against it as if she could slip through to be closer to Anne, tears welling up in her eyes. “I’m not afraid. Please… come to me.”

Anne’s eyes widened as she took her girlfriend in but only saw confirmation for her words in her unwavering gaze, no fear present in her eyes but only love and sorrow as tears ran down her cheeks.

She knew she shouldn’t, as the close proximity to Ann could already be enough to make her lose control as she was tethering on the edge, barely holding on to control over herself as she clenched her teeth. But if this were to be their last moments together, she wanted to make them count.

So she made her way over unsteadily, inhaling sharply as she stood at the other side of the bar and could practically smell Ann’s blood. Anne reached up to hold her hand over the bar as tears ran down her cheeks at the familiar touch, at what intimacy they could share in this moment.

“I love you, I love you so much…” Ann whispered, grasping onto her hand with desperation.

Their gazes met, and there was no denying the strong darkness in Anne’s eyes. Even so, it seemed to retreat momentarily at the words straight from Ann’s heart. Anne grasped her hand tighter as she felt them within her heart, not afraid anymore of the strong feelings that had been growing between them. These three words that she hadn’t told a woman in over a decade, they wrapped themselves around her like a protective blanket as darkness threatened to consume her.

“I love you, Ann. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Ann whispered, pressing her head against the bars as Anne did the same to be as close to her as she could. Even in this moment with her death by Anne’s hands within reach, Ann only showed her kindness and stayed calm. What had she ever done to deserve this woman? What right did she have to take her life like this?

Ann deserved so much more, so much better. This was all Anne’s fault, the pain nearly eating her up from the inside as they stayed close in silence and took each second they had together, knowing it could be the last.

Suddenly, an alarm started sounding in the background, coming from the complex. Anne opened her eyes from where she’d closed them, finding Ann’s eyes on her.

“What’s that?”

Under normal circumstances, Anne would have likely had some sort of smart response, but right now she found it harder and harder to focus on the most basic things, the voices in the back of her mind becoming more dominant by the second as Ann started to look more and more appealing in a way she shouldn’t. Like the food she is. Give in.

Anne groaned, clutching her head. “I- I can’t-“

“Anne-“

Ann’s brow furrowed with worry as she grasped Anne’s hand over the bar still even as she knew that eventually, she would be unable to control herself any longer and would break through the bars to attack her. And then Thomas’ men would kill her.

They were dragged out of their moment as gunshots from right outside the door came through in a muffled haze, followed by screams. Ann rose her eyebrows, not daring to hope, but then her eyes widened as the door was pushed open and fell out of its hinges to the floor in a loud clatter, Ainsworth landing on top of it as Tib held him by his throat, picking him up as if he weighed nothing before walking him to the nearby wall while he was rasping for air.

She was quite the sight in her white suit that was stained with dirt and blood all over, her tie sitting loosely around her neck and her short hair messy as she turned her head and her eyes widened in recognition as she spotted them.

“Finally found you!”

Then her gaze landed on Anne and her expression changed. “Uh-oh, you don’t look good.”

Recognising the situation, Tib turned back to Ainsworth and smashed him into the wall as he groaned in pain.

“You sick fucker,” she hissed, punching him in the stomach as he winced and cried out. Giving him another sharp look, she dropped him so she could march over to Anne’s side.

“Tib-“

Giving her a good look, Tib only nodded as she put her hand on her shoulder. “I know.”

Following Anne’s gaze to Ann, Tib understood without needing to be told, especially as she saw the darkness in Anne’s eyes and the way she was grasping onto the metal bar for dear life as if it was the only thing keeping her sane. She could lose control at any moment.

So Tib held the bars next to her, bending them with ease before stepping through to Ann. “I’ll get you out of here, come on,” she said, reaching out her hand for her to take.

Ann took it, even as she looked at Anne with uncertainty. “What’s going to happen?”

Glancing at Ainsworth who was trying to recover against the wall at the back, Tib smirked. “We’ll give these two some privacy.”

As Ann’s gaze fell first on Ainsworth shuddering in his place against the wall as he was clutching his side and then on her girlfriend who’d been put through hell alongside her because of this man, she found no issue with Tib’s suggestion. Ann was generally against violence but with what he’d done to them and how he’d wanted to murder her girlfriend, it felt fair for what was to happen to him next. You reap what you sow.

She nodded. “Let’s go.”

“Ann, you can’t be serious-“

Ann ignored his words, not even sparing another glance at him before she shot Anne a brief smile to let her know all was okay as Tib led her out of the room.

There was still chaos going on in the complex from Tib’s break-in, but all Anne could focus on was the way her last sliver of control was slipping away from her, especially now that Ann was away safely from her. Her gaze fell on Ainsworth who was cowering against the wall, watching her with terrified eyes as she slowly walked over to him.

“The tables have turned,” she said lowly as she reached him, picking him up off the floor as she let him see her fangs.

Pressing him against the wall, she licked her lips. “I haven’t killed a single soul while feeding in years, and you dare judge me knowing nothing about me, Ainsworth,” she hissed as her hand wrapped around his throat and held him up as he weakly squirmed against her grip.

“But I’m going to make an exception for you today. No mercy.”

“Please-“ His words turned into a scream as she held him in place and let go, the animal within her taking control as Anne growled and let her fangs pierce his skin without holding back.

A few rooms down the corridor, Tib led Ann into what was usually a small staff office. Two dead guards lay on the floor, and she smiled sheepishly as she shrugged at Ann.

“Kind of couldn’t pull this one off cleanly, sorry.”

Looking at the dead guards, Ann pulled out a chair at the small table and sat. “They had it coming, I guess. Did you do all this on your own?”

She somehow found it hard to believe that Tib would’ve broken into a high-security vampire prison on her own and succeeded, but then Tib shook her head as she sat on a chair opposite her.

“Nope. Got a few friends to help, they should be around here somewhere cleaning up and stuff. We’re freeing a few people too, well, the ones that aren’t complete freaks and deserve to be locked away anyway.”

She chuckled, and so did Ann at her refreshing cool demeanour. That was, until she heard a pained scream from a few rooms down that travelled straight to her bones, making her shudder as she recognised it as Thomas’.

Tib bit her lip as she looked away. “It’s nasty, that. When it gets to the point where you lose control,” she said with a sympathetic smile. “But I can’t say he didn’t deserve it. Fucking prick.”

Ann could only imagine what that was like, slowly nodding as she tried to ignore the pained noises until they suddenly died down. “He has brought more than enough misery to us.”

Tib looked thoughtful as she briefly glanced to the side and nodded. Then she met Ann’s eyes again, “How do you feel about… this? Now that you’ve seen it, well, nearly seen it. What can happen to us.”

Ann could see the concerned look in her eyes as she asked her, could tell Tib was worried that she would turn away from Anne in horror now that she had gotten a good impression of the ‘dark side’ lingering within each vampire. Perhaps this was what Thomas had meant, though it seemed wrong the way he had generalised all vampires to be heartless monsters at all times. Yes, some were cruel beings that killed and massacred humans regularly, but others, like Anne, were normal people just trying to get by and limit the amount of negative impact they had on other people’s lives.

And really, Ann realised as a thought came to mind, were humans much different if they were at their limit and starving to death? It wasn’t unheard of for them to even resort to cannibalism if they ran out of food in a group and the situation got desperate. In war times, people killed others in the most barbaric ways for supplies so they could survive. Was it that much different?

Before she could respond, the door behind them opened and Tib tensed before she saw who had appeared and relaxed again. Ann turned too, her eyes widening as she lay eyes on Anne. Her clothes were full of blood, as was some of her face, but her eyes looked mostly normal again as she glanced at Tib and then at Ann with an uncertain expression.

Ann practically jumped off her chair, closing the distance between them in a heartbeat before wrapping her arms around her tightly. Anne let out a long breath of relief, pulling her tightly against herself as she inhaled her scent and felt Ann rest her head on her shoulder.

They parted after a few moments, staying close as their eyes met and Anne looked down Ann who was now also full of blood.

“Your clothes-“

“I don’t care.”

With that, Ann pulled her in and kissed her with fervour, tears running down her face as all the tension of the past hours was released with the familiar comforting feeling of Anne’s lips against hers and her arms protectively around her as they kissed. She’d nearly lost all of this forever. The intensity of her feelings nearly overwhelmed her as she put them into their kiss.

Anne had come back to find them with concern sitting low in her belly once the fog had cleared after she’d fed on Ainsworth. She didn’t feel any remorse for what she’d done to him after all the pain he’d caused, but she’d imagined Ann’s horror at what had happened, surprised once she’d entered the room and Ann had immediately run towards her without fear.

She could hardly believe her luck – and yet. As their lips parted, her brow furrowed as she looked at Ann, her thoughts infected with doubt. She opened her mouth to ask the question she was both terrified of and needed to know, but then Ann shook her head and smiled.

“It doesn’t change how I feel about you. I was just going to say to Tib when you came in that if you think about it, us humans are not all that different if we’re starving. We’d do the worst things to get a hold of something to eat.”

Anne supposed she had a point – she’d never thought of it this way. And still she wondered if it was comparable; as a human, she’d never been in the situation where the hunger became so great you’d do anything to get something to eat. She only knew what it was like as a vampire, when the animal inside took over and turned her into the monster everyone thought of them as, the menacing image they were afraid of that killed without control to sate its bloodthirst. Was that really similar?

As often was the case, Ann seemed to sense her thoughts as she took her hands.

“I’m not going to lie to you, Anne – part of me was scared of what would happen, to both of us. But I know this it not who you are. The Anne I love is standing right here, and I know she would never willingly do those things if she had a choice.” She paused, squeezing her hands gently. “But you weren’t given one by him.”

“You know, if you ask me, you should marry her.”

Anne’s head snapped to the side to where Tib was still sitting at the table grinning at the pair of them. Somehow, she’d nearly forgotten she was even there. Until she’d interrupted their moment, that is. Anne glared warningly in her direction even as her heart leapt at the suggestion before her rational part reminded her this was crazy.

Tib raised her hands in defeat, getting up from her chair and to slip past them. “I’ll look for the guys, yeah? We probably don’t have a lot of time till they send reinforcements, so better find me soon.”

Before she could leave, though, Anne pulled her into a tight hug. “Thank you, Tib.”

Tib only waved her hand. “Ah, don’t mention it.” Clapping Anne’s shoulder, she grinned before reaching inside her pocket to hand her a handkerchief. “You should wipe your face, Anne, you look like a serial killer.”

With that, she left them for some privacy. Anne raised an eyebrow, shaking her head at her friend before taking the handkerchief to clean herself up as best as she could.

Ann bit her lip as Anne turned back to her and smiled. “I was so concerned when I came back here that you would never want to be with me anymore.”

Ann shook her head. “He wanted to show me what you’re like and then save me in time and have you killed. I told him I’d rather die with you than live on without you.”

“Oh, Ann.” Anne pulled her in, holding her close to herself as they breathed in deeply and gathered strength from each other’s presence.

After a few long moments, they reluctantly parted, aware that they didn’t have the luxury of time, not right now. They left the little office to find Tib, walking down the corridor that was riddled with bullet holes, dents in the walls and doors opened or having fallen out of their hinges, as well as dead guards lying around. It was complete chaos.

Tib rounded the corner in that moment, holding up an ammo belt, holster, and revolver triumphantly as two other vampires followed her.

“I think those are yours,” she said as she threw the gear over to Anne before fishing her phone out of her pocket and handing it over as well.

It was then that the alarm went off again, and Tib pulled her own gun from her holster. “Looks like we’ve run out of time, let’s go!”

Everybody followed Tib as she moved down the corridors with their destination in mind, explaining along the way that a few guys were staying back to delay the reinforcements so they could make an exit. It was still likely, though, that they might run into some hunters before reaching the spot where she’d parked her van, and it was mandatory that they wouldn’t be spotted getting into it or they might be followed.

They’d nearly made it when a group of vampire hunters neared from the left. Anne immediately pulled Ann aside into cover as Tib and the other two positioned in cover on the right, the sounds of bullets being shot back and forth filling the hallway.

Ann cowered next to Anne, trying to keep her calm as the noise of shooting went back and forth between the two groups. Seeing all the dead bodies had been one thing – she was used to that as a doctor. But she’d never been caught in the middle of a firefight, worried for her own safety as well as Anne’s and Tib’s as she tried to keep her breathing even and not cling to Anne so as not to distract her while she was peeking out to shoot every so often.

Ann closed her eyes, trying to focus on the fact that they’d nearly made it, that they’d be out of this horrible place soon that was starting to make her feel claustrophobic. She’d no idea how much time had passed when eventually, the shots died down and an almost deafening silence replaced the noise of before.

“Ann? Are you alright?”

Opening her eyes carefully, she found Anne leaning against the wall turned to her, a concerned look on her face. Taking a deep breath, she hugged her tight and buried her face in her chest as Anne’s arms came around her.

“I hate to interrupt, but we’ve got to move.”

Of course Tib was right. Reluctantly parting, they gave each other a quick glance and Anne placed a kiss to Ann’s forehead before taking her hand. It wasn’t long before they were finally out of the complex, the cold fresh night air a relief to Ann as she inhaled deeply. She’d never felt so free before, a weight falling off her shoulders as they climbed in the back of Tib’s van and drove off.

Luckily, they were safe and no one followed them. Ann agreed with Anne, however, that her place might not be the safest choice to stay right now even with Thomas out of the way. They might send someone round and it may be safer for now to stay at a place that wasn’t on their systems, so after dropping off the other guys, Tib drove them to Ann’s to pick up a few things and for her to pack a bag before bringing them to Anne’s place.

“Get a bit of rest, alright?” Tib said out the window as they stood on the pavement, smiling casually as if she hadn’t just saved their lives.

Anne smiled. “Thank you again, Tib. I really owe you.”

“Buy me a drink sometime and we’re good.”

“Will do.”

They looked after Tib’s van until it could not be seen anymore. Ann took Anne’s hand and looked up at her. “Want to take a hot shower together?”

Chapter Text

The two were quiet as they climbed up the stairs and entered Anne’s place. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence but more one that was heavy with what had happened over the course of the past few days and that they both had their own thoughts and feelings working to bring order to the mess and process the pain and the reality of nearly having lost one another. It was a lot to take in.

Anne had never been so glad to put her trusted revolver away, thankful she had brought it along but also needing some distance from it right now as she put it in its place on the wall in her bedroom.

They made their way to Anne’s bathroom, quickly stripping out of the bloodied clothes. That in itself felt freeing to Anne, and she could tell Ann felt the same way as they stood in front of each other completely nude and she smiled. Anne reached behind her to turn on the water, holding her hand under it to check the temperature. They got in once it was warm enough.

The spacious rainfall shower in Anne’s bathroom was perfect for the both of them, enveloping them in the water stream as they stood close and washed off the grime and dirt of the past days. Taking some shampoo, Anne gently massaged it into Ann’s hair for her as she hummed contentedly, her arms loosely around her girlfriend.

Either Anne was a true magician with her hands – which Ann had some proof for that she was – or Ann just really needed a good massage. The stress was falling off her bit by bit as Anne’s hands made her scalp tingle until the pleasant pulse travelled through her entire body and filled her with warmth, relaxing the tension she felt in her muscles and bones.

When Anne’s hands eventually pulled away, Ann took a few moments and kept her eyes closed, just feeling the moment and the here and now, no thoughts involved, just Anne with her under the warm water stream, in safety.

She guessed she shouldn’t have been surprised when she opened her eyes to return the favour and found Anne already rinsing her long hair as it fell over her shoulders. Anne met her gaze, smiling softly.

In a rush of affection, Ann hugged her tightly, resting her head against Anne’s shoulder as strong arms wrapped around her and Anne held her close. For a few long moments, it was only the two of them, the soothing sounds of the water filling the room as it enveloped them as they pressed their slick bodies together as if they’d been made for each other. Ann liked to think they had.

When Anne tugged at her so she would look up, Ann went along willingly and found herself looking into those beautiful brown eyes she’d come to love so much. Tilting her chin forward, she didn’t need to wait long for Anne’s lips to find hers.

Anne was convinced there wasn’t a reality in which she’d ever get sick of this. They kissed slowly, and Anne was developing a new sense of appreciation for her rainfall shower and taking long hot showers as long as Ann was in here with her.

“Make love to me.”

It occurred to Anne in that moment that with all his attempts to drive them apart, Thomas had achieved the exact opposite. Not that she wanted to think of this prick right now, shoving him aside where he belonged and focusing instead on Ann’s deep blue eyes as they shone with love and the desire to be close to her.

Turning off the water, she took her hand and stepped out of the shower, their lips finding each other once more as Anne’s hands slid down Ann’s slick back to her bum. She moaned, pressing her body against Anne’s as the kiss picked up in intensity.

As one small hand clawed onto her shoulder and the other found her breast to circle her nipple, Anne groaned as her impatience grew, the fire stoked further as Ann opened her mouth and her tongue found hers.

Whatever plans she may have had to take this to the bedroom, they were forgotten as Anne picked her girlfriend up with ease, spurred on as legs wrapped around her immediately. She hastily grabbed a nearby towel to put it on the counter before lowering Ann onto it, pulling her close to herself as their gazes met, both panting already with their growing need.

Ann’s legs still loosely around her pulled her in, her eyes underlining the silent command. She’d nearly lost this, the feel of Ann’s creamy skin against her lips as she trailed kisses along her neck, the softness of her breast in her hand, the soft sighs and whimpers as Anne’s hand wandered lower to brush against her clit in that way that made Ann’s hips press forward for more.

Anne wasn’t so much a woman of words than of action, and yet it came naturally as she breathed close to Ann’s ear, “I love you,” before her fingers sunk inside her, met by a breathless moan.

Ann held her close, refusing to let her move away further than she had to as Anne thrust inside her with fast shallow movements, curling her fingers to hit that perfect spot.

“Anne… harder…”

Ann’s insides twisted as a shudder went through her spine as Anne followed her plea and pumped into her with more force, making her clench around her long fingers as she was nearing her peak far more quickly than she wanted to. She wanted this to drag on forever, never wanted to lose the feeling of Anne right here with her, her soft lips against hers as she kissed her fiercely as her fingers filled her over and over.

But there was no fighting the wave as it took a hold of her eventually, her fingernails digging into Anne’s back as she tensed.

Anne would never get bored of watching her come undone under her touch, the way her back arched as a long moan slipped past her parted lips, her eyes closed in concentration as her legs trembled and her walls fluttered around her fingers.

And then, as Ann took a long breath, her chest heaving as she tried to come back to her senses and Anne could not take her eyes off her. Eventually, her eyes opened to find Anne’s, both smiling before Anne kissed her softly, brushing a strand of wet hair from her face.

“We should get dressed.”

Ann was about to respond when her stomach growled, making them both chuckle.

“And get something to eat, I guess.”

It was late and she hadn’t slept much while at the complex, but Ann felt wide awake anyway as they dried their hair and got dressed before Anne opened two cans of soup for them and heated them up for a quick midnight snack.

That’s how they found themselves on her sofa at 3am with a bowl of soup each, both in their sleepwear. Ann couldn’t think of any place she’d rather be. A few worries tried to gain the upper hand a couple of times, like what they would say at work about her disappearance – had the hunters informed them of her arrest? Was she in trouble? She would have to take care of that soon, but right now she only wanted to soothe her seemingly endless need to be close to Anne and mend the wounds in their hearts.

There was only one thing that came to mind that probably couldn’t wait. Catherine. She felt bad that she only thought of her best friend when Anne sent a text to Marian to let her know she’d call them soon and was doing alright, but with all the stress it hadn’t occurred to Ann until now. Only she remembered Thomas had had her phone and no one thought to get it when they fled – not that there would’ve been time. So Anne handed her her phone so she could quickly send a text to Catherine to tell her she was okay and would call her tomorrow.

That was everything she would do for tonight though, she decided as she watched Anne’s strong shoulders peeking out from her grey tank top as she got up to bring their bowls to the kitchen. Ann followed her, waiting for her to turn around. As their gazes met and silently conveyed the unspoken feelings between them, Ann took her hand and led her to her bedroom, excitement simmering in her lower belly already as she felt the reassuring warmth of Anne’s hand and an idea returned to her mind that she’d had a few times but hadn’t found the right time to ask. Perhaps that time was now.

The moment she’d turned on the bedside table lamp and heard the door close, Ann turned around to find Anne’s gaze fixated on her already with an expression that made her mouth water as she found she couldn’t look away from her mesmerising dark eyes and the want she saw in them mirroring her own.

Anne was back next to her in a heartbeat, pulling her flush against herself as her lips found hers and took her breath away. Ann’s hands slid under her tank top, running along her taut stomach as Anne’s hands were far from idle and slipped inside her pyjama bottoms and underwear to cup her bum, which elicited a soft moan from Ann. Ann impatiently tugged at her tank top, needing her out of it sooner rather than later.

They reluctantly parted, already breathless as Anne pulled the fabric over her head as Ann discarded her own shirt and pulled her on the bed with her.

“Need me?” Anne husked as she settled atop her with a confident smirk, but found herself caught off guard when Ann slid her hand down her stomach and inside her boxers in a swift movement. She gasped at the unexpected touch to her heated core, closing her eyes momentarily as Ann teased her clit, all bravado forgotten as her body greedily soaked up the touch.

“I'm going to make you come for me,” Ann breathed next to her ear as she kept her hand in place for a moment longer, brushing her finger against her clit before retreating, making Anne’s hips press forward in search of more.

Anne frowned in confusion even as her brain had stopped functioning at her girlfriend’s touch and maddening words – why would she stop then? But then Ann tugged at her boxers and raised her eyebrows expectantly, and Anne almost breathed a sigh of relief that Ann, who was apparently taking charge tonight, wasn’t going to make her wait for it – she hoped.

She quickly discarded the final piece of clothing and lay on her side next to Ann, finding her lust-filled gaze take in her body in a way that nearly made her a little sheepish. Until their gazes met and the tension crackled between them; all Anne could do was cup her cheek and draw her into a heated kiss, their bodies flush as Ann pressed against her until she found herself on her back.

Ann knew that realistically it hadn’t been that long since she’d run her hands over Anne’s muscular body, but it felt like it had been a lifetime as she kissed over her shoulders to her breast, bringing up her hand to mimic the motion on the other as her tongue circled a nipple before she wrapped her lips around it and sucked, pleased with the gasp she received in return as Anne’s hand tangled in her blonde curls to keep her right there.

She knew she could easily spend many more minutes exploring her body with her mouth and hands, but from the insistent press of Anne’s hips she knew that would be a cruel endeavour. So Ann trailed her hand downwards as her lips travelled back upwards to her neck, her own breathing picking up as a sense of nervousness took a hold of her the nearer her hand got to her destination. What would Anne think? They hadn’t spoken about this at all.

“What’s up?” Anne asked breathlessly, her voice shaking slightly as Ann’s fingers trailed over her clit in that moment.

She had to smile at how perceptive she was, or perhaps it had been the way her lips had stopped against her neck and her body had gone rigid at her own doubts. Moving to make eye contact, Ann licked her lips.

“I was wondering-“ she shook her head at herself at her initial choice of words, “I really want to go inside you.”

Anne’s eyebrows went up at the unexpected question. She swallowed – no one had ever cared to ask. She’d been lucky if any of her lovers had even been interested in returning the favour at all. Mariana had been moody about it, for one, and Anne had learned not to keep her hopes up so the days where she would touch her were a pleasant surprise. And after that, Anne had mostly refused to let women she’d had flings with touch her at all.

But that, that was new entirely. For the moment, she didn’t quite know what to say between her flaming desire for Ann and the question. “I…”

“It’s- it’s only something that’s been on my mind. But if you’re not into that, that’s okay of course.”

Ann had pulled her hand away, tracing nervous circles along Anne’s hip as she averted her gaze, worried she had made her uncomfortable and ruined the mood. Maybe she should’ve just not mentioned it at all, Anne would’ve certainly brought it up herself if she liked it. Which she hadn’t.

The truth was, Anne had not given the topic any thought for a long time. She’d briefly tried it with herself in her youth, hadn’t cared for it much and dropped it since then. She much preferred being the active part anyway. But now Ann had asked, and she couldn’t quite get the thought out of her head as a sense of intrigue overtook her to her own surprise. What was it like, with Ann?

She reached out, gently holding Ann’s chin to make her look up again. “I haven’t done this in, well, decades. But we can try it. Together.”

“Are you sure?”

Anne only nodded, taking Ann’s small hand and leading it back between her legs as her heartrate picked up, now fuelled not only by her desperate need to be touched but by the thrill of the unknown alike.

Ann’s heart skipped a beat with excitement and the trust she could see Anne placed in her. She kissed her gently as her fingers drew small circles over her clit for a few moments, moaning as Anne deepened the kiss and wrapped an arm around her to keep her close, her impatience palpable. They parted, keeping eye contact as Ann trailed her fingers lower to her entrance. Anne nodded.

Slowly pressing her finger inside, Ann found a sense of wonder overtaking her as her breath hitched – she hadn’t known what to expect when she thought about it before, but this beat whatever her imagination could’ve conjured. Anne’s walls pressed tightly against her finger, seemingly drawing her in until she’d buried the entire length inside.

Anne inhaled sharply at the sensation, taking a moment to get used to it as she saw the depth of emotion in Ann’s eyes. It gave her safety – where others had never quite given her the feeling to be wanted in her entirety, Ann had gone out of her way to prove it to her over and over again. And now was no exception. Anne felt herself relax and accept her, and clearly Ann noticed it too as a small smile grew on her lips before she started moving in and out.

Anne moaned as her body grew accustomed to Ann quickly, her hips moving along with her slow steady thrusts that were starting to ignite a fire inside her from the embers that seemed to have been smouldering all night. She reached up and pulled her towards her to crash their lips together, muffling her moans as they got into a rhythm and she lost herself to the pleasure Ann brought each time her finger slid inside.

Soon, Ann was thrusting faster, the sounds of their lovemaking filling the room as she angled her thumb so it could brush against her clit. Her own arousal was growing with each moment, soaking through her underwear. She decided to go a step further, slowing her movements before pressing another finger close to Anne’s entrance, and when she didn’t object, carefully slid it in with the first, both moaning as she started thrusting and felt Anne adjust.

“How does it feel?” she panted, amazed at the feeling of Anne’s walls around her and the closeness they were sharing in this moment. She never wanted it to end, and yet the way Anne was tensing under her told her their time was limited.

“Ah- fuck… don’t stop,” Anne gasped in response, feeling her peak approaching on the horizon already.

Ann kissed her way to her ear, breathing heavily as her wrist was starting to strain with her movements, but she didn’t let up. “You’re making me so wet…”

There was no mistaking the moment Anne came, the way her hips rose off the bed and her walls constricted around Ann as she shuddered with a gasp, holding onto her as Ann didn’t let up until she was coming off her high and fell back into the mattress with a final groan.

Ann pulled out, kissing the side of her face as a soft smile lighted up her face the moment Anne opened her eyes. She returned the smile, bringing up her hand to brush a strand of hair from her face.

“Good?”

“Mhmh.” Anne nodded. “I wasn’t sure if I’d like it all that much. But I did.”

“I’m glad,” Ann responded softly, humming contentedly as Anne pulled her down into a slow kiss.

As she shifted, Anne’s leg pressed against her core, immediately reminding Ann of the fire still burning between her legs. She kissed her hard, groaning when Anne’s hand found her ass and encouraged her to grind against her leg. Ann broke the kiss, panting as they made eye contact.

“I need you.”

Anne didn’t need to be told twice. Without hesitation, she rolled Ann onto her back and kissed down her neck to her collarbones and finally her chest to take a nipple in her mouth, but remembering Ann’s words, she didn’t stay there for long before being on her way further south. Anne slid her pants and underwear off her legs and threw them aside, anticipation growing as Ann’s heart pumped in her chest as she watched her girlfriend get back into position.

Ann could only gasp, her hips rising out of their own accord the moment Anne’s mouth finally reached its destination. She fought to keep her eyes open to take in the image of those dark eyes focused on her as Anne’s tongue worked its magic, flicking against her clit over and over.

Her hand became sweaty as she gripped the sheets tightly, shuddering as Anne’s lips enveloped her clit and sucked. Strong hands wrapped around her thighs, pulling her in closer as Anne relentlessly went on until Ann gasped, her hand shooting down to keep her in place with a death grip as her orgasm overwhelmed her.

She’d no idea how long it took her to come back to the land of the living, but when she did, Anne was next to her, a pleased grin taking in her handsome face.

“What?”

Anne licked her lips. “I’ll never tire of that.”

Ann shook her head with a grin herself, even as a slight blush coloured her cheeks. This woman was ridiculous – Ann wanted to keep her forever.

The last few days had been a mix of horror, anxiety, and exhaustion. But the past hours with Anne had already worked wonders in soothing the painful remains of them, and even though Ann felt tiredness slowly catch up with her, she didn’t want to sleep yet.

They lay close together, Anne on her back with Ann snuggled into her side, an arm over her belly. She wanted to stay like this forever, with Anne’s warmth next to her, the reassuring way her chest was heaving with her breaths and the way her hand found Ann’s and held it. She was content and happy in this moment and didn’t want to surrender it to sleep yet, but still Ann could also sense that there was a part of her that was simply afraid to go to sleep. A part that was worried she’d wake up and the horror would start anew, that Anne would be gone, taken away, or that she would find herself in the dreadful complex again.

It was silly and irrational, but as these thoughts clawed at her heart, a cold shiver ran down her spine anyway. Until a soft touch brought her back as Anne’s other arm wrapped around her and stroked over her back.

“Everything okay?”

Ann looked up, grasping her hand tightly. “I just don’t want to lose you.”

The way Anne’s eyes flickered with something similar as her brow creased with concern told her she must be feeling the same. But then she leaned down, kissing Ann’s forehead as her hand kept rubbing over her back while the other didn’t let go of Ann’s. Her face looked clearer, the strength having returned to her eyes as Ann looked up at her.

“We’ve made it this far. I-,” she swallowed, “I know it was a close call, but we’ve made it. We won’t let them get between us again, alright?”

Ann’s eyes teared up against her best efforts, and she could only nod as she swallowed the lump in her throat as her surging anxiety was threatening to ruin the wonderful mood she’d been in just a few moments ago.

“I love you,” Anne whispered. The words alone had a soothing effect on Ann and grounded her to the here and now.

“I love you too.”

Anne held her close, her strong presence giving Ann the safety she was craving right now until after long moments, she calmed down and her heartrate slowed.

Anne couldn’t deny that the events had shaken her too. It would take a while to get over that, to deal with the thought that if it hadn’t been for Tib saving them, she’d have died. Ann too, perhaps. And if not, she would’ve ended up in Ainsworth’s claws for him to do with her as he pleased. Anne pushed the thoughts away – they’d made it, that mattered.

And yet, as they lay together and gave each other strength, a familiar thought came back to Anne. One that she’d had countless times over the years, one that would likely never go away – she wanted to be human again. It was the wish closest to her heart, even more so now that it felt like her being a vampire was making it harder to be together with Ann and would likely always be in their way in one way or another. But had anyone ever achieved such a feat? Anne hadn’t heard of it. It was likely impossible, and therefore this would always stand between them.

That is, unless Ann let herself be turned into a vampire, but Anne refused to think about that possibility, the thought of dragging her into this with her for the selfish reason of wanting to be with her. It wasn’t right, and likely not at all what Ann would want.

“What are you thinking about?”

The soft words drew her out of her thoughts. Ann turned to look up at her again, and Anne found herself smiling sadly.

“I just wish I could be human again. I miss it, and it would make it so much easier for us to be together.”

Ann nodded, her brow creasing with sadness. She knew how much Anne wished for that. But was it possible?

“Is there any way? To do this?”

Anne shook her head. “Not that I’ve heard.”

“Perhaps we should do some research. Once we’re rested.”

She squeezed Anne’s hand, and in that moment, that gave her a strange sense of hope, inexplicably – this was very likely a pointless waste of time, and yet the way Ann was gazing at her with a soft smile made part of Anne believe it could be possible, somehow.

That, and she really didn’t want to think about the only other alternative, much less bring it up to Ann.

“Alright. Once we’re rested,” Anne agreed.

Ann yawned next to her, and Anne took that as her sign to pull the covers over them so they could sleep. Still, even with tiredness soon clouding her mind and Ann’s slow steady breaths next to her as she’d fallen asleep quickly, Anne found herself thinking over the issue for a few minutes longer, torn between sharing Ann’s apparent optimism at what could be and a more rational level-headed approach that kept reminding her clawing onto any hope to be human again was pointless.

But then again, Ann was right, wasn’t she? They needed to at least look into it. Anne had done so soon after she’d been turned and found nothing, but perhaps with Ann by her side she could find out more. She held onto that thought and Ann’s reassuring warmth next to her as sleep took her eventually.

Chapter Text

Cold surrounded Anne as she opened her eyes, everything distorted as she took in the sights around her and a familiar tight feeling settled in her chest at the grey walls confining her; she recognised her cell immediately. She pulled her arms forward, feeling the restraints against her wrists immediately as her eyes widened. How…? Anne grit her teeth as she desperately pulled against them even knowing that there was no use, even as her hunger weakened her and clouded her mind.

Then the door opened, Ann being led in and her gaze falling on her as she called out her name worriedly. Suddenly Anne saw a clone of herself to her right approaching Ann, breaking through the bars with ease before marching towards her.

“Get away from her!” Anne called out, struggling against her restraints as her clone stopped in her tracks, slowly turning her head to her. Her eyes were dark with hunger.

“You think you can stop me?”

Anne’s eyes flicked to Ann who was glancing between the two of them with uncertainty, gripping the bar tightly still as she held her ground even with her clone having broken through and nearly reached her. The clone licked her lips, giving Anne another look before approaching Ann who was holding her ground despite it all. Anne was helpless to watch as the clone reached her, her hands gripping her shoulders-

Anne’s eyes shot open, all remains of sleep immediately wiped from her person as her heart raced in her chest and her entire body was uncomfortably warm with sweat. She was breathing heavily, putting her hand on top of her unsettled heart to try and calm herself as the fear of losing Ann was still clawing onto it. It had only been a dream, she reminded herself, but even so, the feeling lingered.

She turned her head to the side to find Ann safely by her side – of course. This hadn’t been real, but it very well could’ve been, Anne thought as she briefly closed her eyes to will away the images that kept wanting to push to the foreground. Yet her heart ached all the same, and she felt regret for something that she didn’t even do. A sudden loud snore roused her attention away from it, nearly making her grin despite the grim feelings she was harbouring after her dream – it seemed that even in sleep, Ann was unknowingly trying to distract her from those thoughts and keep her happy.

Anne needed to be close to her to feel her warm body against hers and inhale her sweet scent to remind herself all was well. Moving closer to Ann who was lying with her back to her, Anne gently put her arm around her as she pressed her front to her back, exhaling a sigh of relief at the soothing familiarity of it.

Ann was breathing steadily in her sleep, alive and well in her arms. Anne focused on that as she felt her own heartbeat calm, the cold fear being replaced with warmth with each moment that she focused on the beautiful woman she loved, her breathing syncing with hers as she eventually closed her eyes and relaxed, sleep looming on the horizon once more.

She was nearly there when a soft sound drew her attention back. Anne tried to focus, had Ann woken and said something? But listening intently, she heard nothing else, and from what she could tell, Ann was still asleep. Perhaps she’d imagined it. Snuggling close, Anne let herself relax to drift off once more.

“Yes…”

Now she definitely heard it. Opening her eyes, Anne stared at her girlfriend’s back, not daring to move as she analysed what was going on. Was Ann talking in her sleep? She hadn’t noticed that before, but how would she if she was asleep herself most of the time.

“Anne…”

Anne raised an eyebrow, a smirk growing on her face as she was realising what kind of dream Ann must be having from how needy she sounded. Her interest was piqued as she held still, waiting for the next thing Ann might say with anticipation. She should really be going back to sleep, Anne briefly reprimanded herself, but this was too interesting to pass up – besides, how could she sleep if her girlfriend right in front of her was being rather vocal about the sexy dream she was having about her?

“Anne, please…”

Ann shifted against her, making Anne freeze as she worried momentarily that she’d woken up, but then Ann gripped her hand that was still around her belly, clumsily attempting to move it up to her breast in her sleep. Anne briefly considered if she should do her the favour, but then the last thing she wanted to do was interrupt her dream by waking her, even as she had to admit her own heart was starting to beat faster once more, this time for a much more pleasant reason.

Holding still, Anne eagerly awaited what Ann would do next as she wondered what they were doing in her dream, going through all kinds of possibilities in her head. Her eyes went wide when suddenly, Ann pressed back into her crotch, her hips grinding backwards in an admittedly unsteady rhythm, but it sent a pang of arousal to her core regardless as Anne swallowed thickly and inadvertently tightened her grip around her middle as her desire grew stronger. Which seemed to get through to Ann’s dream, making her moan softly as she held her hand in place.

Anne inhaled sharply, burying her head in Ann’s hair as she felt herself become incredibly wet. She couldn’t help herself as her lips found their way to Ann’s shoulder and pressed a lingering first kiss there, followed by another and another, noticing Ann squirm as she neared her neck. Ann’s breathing was becoming shallower, and the thought of what they might be doing in her dream turned Anne on further as she decided to trail her hand upwards, happy that they were still naked as she found her breast and cupped it, the hardened nipple straining against her hand as Anne’s lips pressed close to her ear.

There was a shudder from Ann before a now much steadier hand reached upwards to keep her hand over her breast. Anne raised an eyebrow, pausing her movements as she wondered if Ann had woken up, but then Ann squirmed against her and she could sense even if not see the frustrated furrow of her brow.

“Go on…”

Anne chuckled close to her ear but did as told, playing with her nipple while her mouth found her neck again.

“Have a nice dream?”

Ann hummed contentedly as Anne took her earlobe between her teeth and playfully nipped at it.

“Y-yes… but you were such a tease,” she responded breathlessly, momentarily losing her voice and pressing her hips back as Anne’s fangs scraped gently against her skin, “at first.”

“At first, mh?”

Anne’s smirk widened as she could tell her smooth voice right next to Ann’s ear was turning her on further, if the way her small hand was gripping hers tightly was anything to go by.

“What was I doing?”

Anne made sure Ann felt it acutely as she freed her hand from hers and slowly let it wander lower from her breast, over her middle to her soft belly and her hip, lingering there for a moment and gripping her as she ground into her backside.

“Oh- you… your hands were all over me, and y-your mouth,” she gasped, interrupted as Anne’s hand drew inwards towards the apex of her thighs, but abruptly stopped short of where Ann needed her most.

Ann shifted against her as her hand took hers once more, and Anne allowed her as she expected her to lead her between her legs. But Ann exhaled shakily, holding her in place as she seemed to try and gather what was left of her concentration.

“You were wearing your strap, a-and you looked so fucking powerful with it.”

The breathless words travelled straight to Anne’s core as she let out a moan. Just in that moment, Ann turned in her arms, and while Anne could see her just fine in the pitch-black darkness of her bedroom, she knew Ann couldn’t, so she reached behind herself to turn on the bedside lamp.

Their eyes met as their bodies were tightly pressed together, only their laboured breaths filling the room as they stayed quiet, the calm before the storm. Ann’s darkened eyes glimmered with something and that was all Anne could see before hungry lips crashed into hers.

Ann’s arms wrapped around her shoulders to keep her close as she tilted her head to deepen the kiss, their tongues brushing against one another. Anne rolled her onto her back, taking her spot between her legs as they fell open to welcome her. She groaned as she felt the warmth of Ann’s core against herself, knowing she didn’t need to check to find ample wetness there.

Where Anne would often want to take her time with her to slowly stoke the fire inside her and appreciate each of her curves with the reverence she deserved, there was none of that patience present as their gazes met and she saw an equal unbridled desire look back at her from Ann’s blue eyes. She led her hand down, gasping as she found her destination and Ann moaned softly.

“You’re so wet,” she husked, coating her fingers with her arousal as Ann’s hips already pressed up into her insistently.

Anne led her fingers to her entrance, teasingly dipping them inside before Ann pulled her down and eager lips captured hers. Swept away by her girlfriend’s passion, Anne’s heart pumped in her chest as she finally slid her fingers inside, groaning as her walls gripped her tightly.

Ann pulled away from her lips, gasping as Anne thrust into her in slow but forceful movements.

“Anne…”

Keeping her gaze, Anne pressed against her, panting with the exertion as she picked up her pace. “Yes?”

“I want your cock in me. Now.” Ann’s gaze didn’t waver, even as her voice broke at the end as Anne continued fucking her. Until that moment. Her movements halted as those words got to her and made her swallow, her core throbbing at the way her girlfriend asked for her cock. Was there anything hotter?

It was rare for Anne to lose her words, but in that moment she found she could only nod quickly as she pulled out, feeling the loss even as she was spurred on and scrambled out of bed with Ann’s aroused gaze following her movements. She’d brought back the strap from Ann’s, so it was still in her bag on the floor where they’d dropped their stuff after coming back.

It had been hard for Ann to find the willpower within herself to ask for the strap as Anne’s fingers worked relentlessly to bring her to her peak, but she knew it was worth it as she watched her impatiently, writhing on the bed with anticipation as Anne put on the harness and finally the strap, turning to her. Their gazes met, and Anne tightened the straps so her cock stood proudly – there was no doubt she looked just as powerful and handsome as in her dream, if not more so.

Ann licked her lips as she took her in with her hair slightly tousled from sleep, the darkened eyes fixated on hers as she came back over and Ann had plenty of opportunity to rake her eyes down the body she’d come to know so well that was firm in some places and soft in others. Her heart skipped a beat in anticipation as the mattress dipped with her weight.

“Take me,” Ann whispered as she settled atop her, tensing with her pent-up need as Anne parted her legs further and let the cock brush against her inner thigh.

Anne kept her gaze as she slid the shaft along the length of her core to coat it with her wetness for moments that felt like an eternity, and Ann was so close to begging her to go on when finally the tip pressed against her entrance and Anne slid inside until their hips met.

“Yes,” Ann hissed, moaning as she felt the stretch and adjusted to the size.

Ann looked at her girlfriend with pupils blown wide, lips parted as her chest heaved with her breaths. Anne groaned at the beautiful sight, overwhelmed by her need for her as she started moving in and out, Ann’s arms wrapping around her as she moaned softly. Soon, Anne was picking up her pace until she was pounding into her and the bedframe creaked with their movements, their moans and gasps echoing in the room alongside them.

“Is that what you wanted?” Anne asked breathlessly as she fucked her, her own core hot with her need as the base of the strap pressed back against her clit each time she filled Ann, the delicious pressure increasing the tighter Ann’s walls were gripping her.

“Fuck- yes… I’m so close…”

Ann gasped, her legs starting to shake as she found herself on the precipice.

Anne reached between her legs, finding her clit as she kept up her deep thrusts. The moment her finger brushed against her clit, Ann tensed with the spark shooting through her, moaning as her walls constricted and she came. Anne kept up until the last waves were starting to subside, pulling out to lie on her back next to her with a satisfied grin.

After a few moments of recovery, Ann opened her eyes to look at her, nearly rolling her eyes at how smug Anne looked. It didn’t help as her hand brushed a few strands of hair from her face in an effortlessly nonchalant way, making her look even more handsome. Especially with how she was still wearing the strap that was glistening with her arousal.

Ann licked her lips as she turned to her, but as Anne reached out to pull her close, she evaded her – she had other plans. Ann watched with satisfaction as she lowered herself close to the cock and saw the smug smirk drop as realisation set in, Anne’s dark eyes shining with want the moment Ann wrapped her lips around the tip.

She made sure the base pressed back against her core as she let her head bob up and down on the shaft, noticing Anne’s breathing hitch before a shaky moan left her parted lips.

“Ann… fuck-“

She’d already been so worked up before, desperate for release when Ann had started. The image of her girlfriend taking her cock in her mouth was nearly enough to make her come on the spot, her hips needily pressing up into her as Ann brought her closer with each passing moment. Until she stopped.

Anne’s eyes widened at the loss, words of protest on her lips. But then Ann swiftly loosened the straps, sitting up to reach inside the harness and find her clit.

“Come for me,” she breathed hotly close to Anne’s face.

Anne could only shudder at the first touch, moaning as Ann pushed her over the edge with a few expert swipes. As the last shakes subsided, a sense of calm spread within Anne. She opened her eyes, finding Ann next to her with a soft smile on her lips.

“That was amazing.”

Anne grinned. “It was.”

If it was up to her, she’d happily spend all day and night in bed with her like this. They had a few things to do so that wasn’t possible, but for now that didn’t matter as they took a few more minutes together in peace. The world could wait a little longer for them to face it.

 

****

 

Eventually, they had reluctantly parted and gotten up from bed. As much as she wanted to stay in this bubble with Anne for a little longer and just enjoy herself and forget about the world around them and the pesky responsibilities, Ann knew they couldn’t wait.

So after a quick shower and breakfast with Anne, she first called at work to figure out what they’d been told and what she needed to do now. To her surprise, they hadn’t been told anything by the vampire hunters about her arrest and were relieved to hear she was okay, as she had been reported missing after Catherine and her family hadn’t heard anything from Ann either over the past few days.

Ann realised with this new information that what Thomas had done had not been officially sanctioned at all, otherwise her workplace would’ve been informed she had been arrested. She guessed she shouldn’t be too surprised though that he had gone through with it on his own – he had displayed a fair amount of indicators that he had not been mentally stable. Ann only wondered if this had been a recent development or if it had always been there, just hidden under the surface where she couldn’t see.

She guessed it didn’t matter now, though, and she would never learn the truth. So she focused on the relief that she wasn’t in any legal trouble that she needed to sort, though no doubt she could try to take legal steps against the hunters for the unlawful arrest. Considering she had allied with vampires, though, and how Tib had freed them by attacking the place, she figured it would be more than a little unwise to draw attention to herself and the whole thing by taking action.

So she just assured her supervisor on the phone that she was alright, telling what little truth she could by explaining how Thomas had been obsessed with her and when she had gone to his office that morning to tell him to back off, had had her arrested and locked away for a few days until the attack by the vampires had allowed her to free herself in the chaos and leave the complex. It wasn’t a complete lie, at least, and her supervisor – naturally shocked – told her she should definitely take action against the hunters for Thomas’ behaviour.

She only thanked him politely for his input and everything before requesting a few days off to recover and ending the call. Taking a deep breath, she turned to Anne who was sitting on the sofa next to her reading a book.

“That was exhausting,” she sighed as she leaned into Anne’s side and peeked at the open page.

Anne put her bookmark in place before closing the book and putting it aside to look at her. “I noticed. But they didn’t ask any questions about it, right?”

Ann shook her head, noticing the way Anne’s forehead creased with concern even as she tried to sound nonchalant about it.

“No, Vincent – my boss – was just worried for me and told me I should speak to my lawyer so the hunters can be prosecuted for this. Which I won’t do.”

Anne nodded. “As much as it would please me to see these bastards take a hit they well deserve, we can’t risk this and your involvement in it being investigated more than it already will be. I hope Ainsworth didn’t keep any notes on your imprisonment there, or anything else that would reveal you’re an ally to us.”

Ann snuggled close, smiling when Anne held up her arm so she could rest her head against her chest without her having to ask. “Even if he has, I’ll claim he’s made it up because he was obsessed with me and couldn’t deal with the rejection. After he’s arrested me off the records, surely they’d believe me.”

That made sense. Anne just hoped Ann was right, but then again chances were someone like Ainsworth had plenty of dirt that they’d be able to dig up now that he was dead, so his credibility would likely not be particularly high. And since he was dead, he couldn’t spin any new lies to save himself.

While she couldn’t quite get that nagging worry out of the back of her head, Anne decided not to think about it too much for now and face any potential issues if they arose – together with Ann.

She got up to get herself a drink while Ann called Catherine. Anne had to smile as she leaned against the counter of her open-plan kitchen and listened to her talk; clearly even without hearing her best friend she could tell from Ann’s responses that she was relieved to hear from her and wanted to know all about what happened. They were close, so Anne hoped Catherine could keep a secret as Ann summed up everything truthfully as it had happened.

A few minutes later, they hung up and Ann smiled at Anne. “Cath has to go to work, so we cut it short. But she wants to meet up soon, and she’s been very insistent about wanting you to come as well.”

Anne chuckled. She liked Catherine from what little she’d seen, so she nodded. “That can be arranged.”

She walked over and took her phone back from Ann so she could quickly give Marian a call. She figured it was probably best not to mention anything at all about what had happened to her – the last her family needed after only just getting her back was to worry about her safety, that and part of Anne was concerned her arrest could make them think there may have been a good reason for it and Anne was a bad person after all. There was no benefit gained by telling them, so she didn’t and only claimed she’d been busy the last few days but wanted to see them again very soon and hoped all was well. Luckily, her sister seemed to believe her.

Anne sighed as she hung up and turned to Ann, already feeling more relieved that everything was sorted for the both of them. However, there was still work to do, she remembered as she thought of their conversation last night.

“Shall we do some research now? On turning me back.”

Ann nodded, so Anne got her laptop and they sat close together and browsed the internet. Wikipedia was not the greatest place to start, but Anne honestly didn’t know what else to do so they scanned the page about vampirism quickly.

“As expected, lots of rumours about it,” Anne mumbled.

“Let me,” Ann suggested as she leaned over the laptop. Anne moved away to let her type, watching Ann go to some sort of medical page before logging in with her account details.

Seeing her questioning gaze, Ann smiled. “It’s our database for all kinds of diseases.”

“Why didn’t you go there straight away? It’s certainly going to be more useful than Wikipedia.”

Anne looked at her with a puzzled expression, but then Ann just shrugged. “I wanted to see what they would say about it.”

Anne could only shake her head with a smile, wrapping an arm around her as they studied the page together. Or rather, Ann studied the page and Anne tried to understand it, which was more challenging than she would’ve anticipated, as the text was laced with all kinds of medical terms that made it harder for her to follow along.

So she just leaned back, letting Ann figure this out – she was the doctor. When Ann eventually met her gaze, Anne raised her eyebrows expectantly.

“Well, medicine seems not entirely sure about it either. It isn’t exactly our main field of studies, to be fair, but the page suggests that vampirism could be challenging to find treatments for since they assume it has mystical origins as well that need to be considered.”

Anne blinked. “Which means…?”

“Which means they think it’s likely not simply treated by finding some sort of medicine and prescribing it, but that the magical part of it would probably need to be included in a successful treatment as well.”

Ann gave her an apologetic look, and Anne only sighed. Great. That didn’t only sound difficult, but from how Ann worded it, doctors didn’t seem to have much knowledge about vampirism and how to cure it either.

“But they have no clue, do they? How to treat it.”

She braced herself for the answer, but really, she knew it already – if a cure for it had been found, it would be known. Most vampires she knew had long since accepted their fate and lived with it, but that didn’t mean at least some of them wouldn’t jump at a chance to be human again.

“Well…” Ann swallowed, licking her lips as she briefly evaded her gaze. She couldn’t say that she liked what she’d seen, especially after recent events were still so fresh in their memories.

“The thing is, the entry explains theories and the like but makes it very clear that for more information on the subject, you’d have to turn to the vampire hunter science division. Since it’s their field of study.”

Anne groaned. “Well, that’s just great.”

Ann bit her lip, nodding. “I know. Unfortunately, I won’t have access to their database with my account.”

Anne tapped her finger nervously against her thigh as her mind seemed to run a mile an hour. “So what do we do?”

“I don’t know. I doubt I would be able to request access – it really isn’t our field of work.”

Anne nodded, trying to think of a way to get whatever information the vampire hunters might have. Really, they were their best bet of finding any useful insights about potential cures, as much as Anne hated to admit that after they just got out of the complex and she’d wanted to mentally dump the hunters in a far corner of her mind for the time being. But it seemed like that wasn’t an option now.

“It would be good if we found someone who can get access or knows another way to get the information we need.”

Ann’s voice dragged her out of it, and that’s when it hit Anne. “Tib.”

“Tib?” Ann looked to her with a puzzled expression.

“Tib does business with all kinds of people, and she has connections all over the city,” Anne explained. “I don’t usually get too involved, but she might know someone or have an idea how to help us.”

Ann slowly nodded. “Okay. Then we should ask her.”

It wasn’t much, but a sliver of hope was better than none at all. Anne checked the time, an amused smile growing on her face. “She’ll still be asleep now, but we can give her a call in a bit.”