Like two years ago when we were in the final lap on Cosmos I was tweaking a bunch of tiny background people in this one layout, mostly just breaking them apart for the animators and adding the premade fire animation we were using for their torches. The fire took forever to import because it had to chug through this whole sequence of raster art, I wandered off and came back and all of my tiny people were on fire and I couldn’t stop laughing. So I took a screenshot that has been sitting on my desktop for two years.
I’ve been staying with LaF and Perry for three days since I found out what Carmilla had done, and I’d been playing those words in my head over and over again. Regret was starting to seep in, especially after I remembered what happened outside of the deal. How Carm flinched at nearly everything the Dean did to her in my body.
I wished I’d never told Carmilla to go away, because she was all I wanted right now.
LaF had been getting worse and worse, even when it didn’t seem possible. They went from party animal, to out-of-it party animal, to what they were now, which was almost unresponsive. They spent more time staring into nothing with dead eyes than anything else. Perry was doing everything she could to keep them going.
“How’re you doing, sweetie?” she asked, and I looked up from my spot on her bed.
LaF just kept staring, and a heavy sigh escaped Perry’s lips. She ran her fingers through LaF’s silky red hair, then moved on to stroking their cheek.
I wanted to get away, even just for a moment. I ran my fingers through my own hair and stood up, walking over to the two of them.
“I’m gonna go to my room for a bit. Just make sure Danny hasn’t messed with anything or whatever,” I said, trying to make an excuse to go back. Perry nodded, and I looked down at LaF.
I wished that they would drop one of their awesome one-liners and make Perry and I crack up, but there was nothing. I placed a kiss on their forehead and rubbed Perry’s shoulder before heading down to my dorm.
When I walked in, everything looked as it was. The easel was still up with our “plan” on it, even my desktop was still on. The beds were just the same as they’d been.
I looked over at Carmilla’s and thought that having a stake driven through my heart would hurt less than this did.
Something made me want to walk over to her bed and sit down, but I immediately regretted it. As soon as I was close enough to smell her, memories came rushing in. I thought about the night I’d spent sleeping there, the way she stole my pillow all the time, the way her hair smelled when I kissed her cheek before I left…
I gathered her blanket in my hands, and tried hard to swallow down the lump in my throat, but to no avail. My blinking sped up as I tried to keep myself from breaking down, because once I did I was afraid I wouldn’t stop.
I looked over, and through blurred vision I saw a piece of paper sitting on her bed under where the blanket was. I wiped at my eyes so I could see, then picked up the note.
“If you find this, check your desktop. -Carm”
My heart leapt again as I remembered how she’d held me when I was freed from the Dean’s possession, and that the first thing out of my mouth was “Carm”.
Blanket still in hand, I rushed over to my computer and logged on to it. Sitting in the center of my desktop was a file called “Laura”.
Hesitantly, my hand reached for the mouse, and I took a deep breath before clicking on the file.
“Hey cupcake,” she said, and her voice was different from anything I’d ever heard her speak in. It sounded…broken. Defeated.
“Sorry…um, hey, Laura. I just got so used to calling you cupcake or sweetheart that I just…anyways. If you’ve found this video, you came back to our room and looked under my covers. For some reason, I’m hoping that’s a sign that you still care, and you don’t completely hate you,” she said, the tiniest of smiles on her face. I smiled to myself, just barely, and watched her continue.
“I made a stupid choice. I shouldn’t have given up. I act so tough and like the big mean blood-sucking vampire…but she just gets in my head. My mother. After everything she’s done to me, said to me…I’m like putty in her hands. I was terrified, and the only thing I knew is that I wanted to keep you,” she continued, keeping calm.
“It sounds so selfish. I wanted to keep you, so I risked the safety of everyone you care about. I’m so sorry, Laura. I’m so sorry.”
She took a deep breath, and it seemed to hitch in her throat. Tears were welling up in my eyes again, but I continued watching.
“I know that…that I can’t really do anything to fix this that doesn’t end badly. No matter what I do, whether I let everything continue or take action, Mother is going to find out, and Mother is going to worsen everything for all of us,” she continued, and her voice was wobbling. I clutched her blanket closer to me, and fear crept into me as I tried to imagine where this was going to go.
“The only hope is that sword. There’s a chance I can fix this, and maybe this is the wrong choice again, but I’m going to take it. If you can’t forgive me for this,” she said, choking on her words. She took a deep breath and looked down.
When she looked up again, there were tears swimming in her eyes like I’d never seen before.
“If you can’t forgive me for this, I understand. But at least I can say I tried to do the right thing, even if it’s the wrong thing. And maybe that in itself is wrong, too, but I don’t want to just sit here and do nothing,” she continued, spitting her words out like they were bile in her mouth. She inhaled a shaky breath and furiously wiped at her cheeks.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back…but if I’m not back in a week…” she said, and something between a scream and a sob ripped through my throat.
“I’m sorry it ended like this. But this was the last thing I could do. And I just hope you never have someone screw you up like I did again,” she added. I watched as her lips quivered and she looked down, her shoulders shaking in an effort to stifle her cries.
“Take care of Perry, and LaF, and even Danny, okay? They need it. Danny needs you, whether she wants to admit it or not, and Perry and LaF need you without a question,” she said.
There was silence, and she was just staring at the camera. I didn’t mind, because it felt like she was…there. Like I could say something, and she could hear me.
“I know you probably think I’m doing this to turn things around. But I told you, I’m not the hero of this story. I’m doing this for you, Laura,” she said.
“Of course I’m doing it for you.”
The screen went black, and I would’ve been sitting there until daybreak if Perry hadn’t come to get me around midnight. I couldn’t move.
Her last words replayed in my head over and over, like a broken record in an abandoned place.
“Of course I’m doing it for you.”
A/N: This exists now. I think it’s a reasonable oneshot for only having about a half hour to write it. Let me know what you think?