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This Magic Works

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At exactly 11’o clock, the Hogwarts Express began to pull away from the station at Kings Cross with witches and wizards of all kinds, waving the train off from the platform.

 Laura Hollis was in a carriage aboard the train, wishing a goodbye to her dad from the window with her best friends LaFontaine and Perry alongside her. As the train progressed around the corner Laura sat down and relaxed into her seat opposite her friends.

She rested her head in her hand and took to glumly staring out of the window at the passing countryside “I can’t believe this is our last year at Hogwarts…” She sighed.

 “Meaning it's your last chance to win the quidditch cup,” LaF teased.

Laura pout turned into a frown as she glanced in their direction. "Don't remind me."

“You’re quidditch captain now Laura and Gryffindor haven’t had a win in 9 years!” they groaned.

 Laura was fully aware of that; she had been a seeker on the team since her second year. Gryffindor had not won the cup the entire time she had been at Hogwarts and now she was captain of the team.

 “Hufflepuff could stand a chance this year, you know,” Perry intervened. Laura and LaF looked at her and laughed. Hufflepuff hadn’t won in an even longer stretch of time.

 Both Laura and LaFontaine were Gryffindors and had been friends since their first day at Hogwarts. Perry was a Hufflepuff and had been a good friend of LaFontaine’s since they both bonded over their love of Herbology way back in first year.

 “I’m not sure I’m captain material,” Laura said unsure of herself, fiddling with her wand as she usually did when she was feeling anxious.

 “Nah, they wouldn’t have picked you if you weren’t, L. We’ll do great this year, I can feel it.” LaF smiled broadly. They were the keeper on the Gryffindor quidditch team.

 “Still, Danny would have been the better choice, don’t you think?” Laura asked them. Danny Lawrence was a chaser on the team and a prefect.

 “Didn’t you hear Laura? She’s head girl now!” Perry beamed at her with excitement.

 “Is she? I had no idea, that’s great news!” Laura was happy to hear that. She and Danny kind of almost had a thing going on, they'd been getting along quite well during their 6th year and Laura hoped that maybe this year, they might be something more.

 “So, NEWTs this year guys? I for one can’t wait…” LaF raised the subject, pointing a thumb at themselves.

 “LaF, you’re the only person those excited about NEWT’s, you know that right?” Laura smiled.

 They talked for a little while on NEWTs and subjects they had chosen to study this year. Laura had chosen to continue studying Defense Against the Dark Arts, her favorite subject and something she found she was quite skilled in. Potions, not her best subject by far but she needed it if she ever wanted to become an Auror.

 They had just started a game of exploding snap when LaF spoke up, gesturing outside into the train corridor. 

“Oh look, there’s Karnstein.”

 Laura looked over and huffed in disgust.

Carmilla Karnstein. Laura hated her. They had been enemies since first year. She was rude, condescending and she didn’t give a damn about anyone but herself. She would sneer, laugh and make fun of practically everything Laura said and they had both been rival seekers for their houses since third year.

Carmilla was a Slytherin and as much as Laura liked to give everybody a fair chance and not judge them, she thought Carmilla Karnstein was well and truly a Slytherin.

 “I hoped she wouldn’t come back.” Laura despised, glaring as she passed by their carriage. She glanced in, made eye contact with Laura for a mere second before passing right on by. Laura felt hatred fill her up as their eyes met. Her dark eyes, her perfect pale skin, the way her hair sat so immaculately, she hated her, that was it. Hatred, nothing more.

 “Come on, Laura, you never gave her a chance.” Perry said encouragingly.

 "I gave her a chance Perry, more than a chance. She locked me in the girls toilets with Moaning Myrtle during first year and no one found me for three and half hours.”

 “And the time she cursed you with that leg locker curse in Herbology and you fell into that pile of dragon dung.” LaF snickered, hiding a smile behind their hand as Laura frowned in their direction.

 "How do you even know that was her?” Perry spoke up.

 “Of course it was.” Laura said, “She’s hates me. What about that time she grabbed the end of my broom during that flying lesson and I fell off and broke my arm?”

 “Let’s be fair here Laura, you were heading straight for castle wall at the time. If anything, she kinda saved you.” LaF half shrugged.

 “It was a race and I was going to win.” Laura huffed, folding her arms.

 “Just forget about her Laura, okay? You've got enough to deal with this year. I'm sure you and Karnstein can just leave each other alone.” Perry said in a reassuring tone, she sounded awfully like Professor McGonagoll.

 “I will if she does,” Laura responded sullenly, glaring into the train corridor even though Carmilla Karnstein was now nowhere in sight.

*

Laura stared up at the ceiling of the Great Hall, lost in the stars of the bewitched night sky above her. The sorting ceremony had just come to an end and Professor McGonagall had risen from her chair to spout off the usual start of term announcements. LaF elbowed her in the side and Laura looked at them in a moment of confusion before she realised she hadn’t been listening and faced the front of the hall.

 “…the dark forest is still out of bounds so please do not wander there unless you have expressed permission to do so. And, lastly before we begin the feast, can all seventh year students remain in the hall after dinner as there are a few important changes to your school year we must discuss.”

 “Let the feast begin.” McGonagall said, raising her hands into the air as food of all kinds appeared on the tables in front of everyone. Even though Laura had been witness to this countless times now, she was still amazed every single time. Having grown up muggleborn, she’d had no idea she was a witch until her letter came. Magic still astonished Laura most of the time.

 “I wonder what this new change is going to be?” LaF started conversation as everyone piled their plates with food.

 “No idea. Maybe they are cancelling final exams.” Laura hoped weakly with a smile.

 “In your dreams, Laura.” Danny spoke up from the other side of the table. They looked at each other and smiled.

 "So, how was your summer?” Danny asked after a moment.

 Conversation flowed well as they ate, Laura congratulated Danny on her having been awarded head girl, LaF talked about their new Herbology experiment and they discussed a plan of action for quidditch as Laura ate her yummy chocolate cake dessert.

 By the end of the feast, conversation was buzzing throughout all of the seventh year students about what Professor McGonagall was going to announce. The feast ended, the school was excused led by their house prefects back to their dormitories and the oldest students remained seated.

 “As you will certainly be aware,” Professor McGonagall began “…as seventh year students you will taking your NEWT examinations this year. NEWT’s are important, they distinguish who you are, what sort of wizard or witch you will become."

 “So, this year as a part of the ministry’s new magical cooperation scheme every seventh year student will be have a work companion. This partner will be studying the same or majority of the same subjects as you. You will study together and support each other during your final year, team work is key here.”

 McGonagall continued, “As a part of the magical coop scheme your partner will not be from the same house, to encourage new friendships and ensure personality diversity. Your partner cannot be changed as matching everyone with a suitable companion has taken time and effort on our part.” There was a discouraging murmur amongst the students.

 “The final list will be announced tomorrow morning at breakfast here in the Great Hall. You will work with your partner throughout the year, that way we know and your partner knows if you are preparing well for your NEWTs.”

 “Welcome back to Hogwarts 7th years. I wish you all the very best.” 

*

 Laura sat down on the edge of her four-poster bed in the Gryffindor dormitory; she took off her robe and let it fall onto the bed behind her. She glanced across at LaFontaine, who was lying on their bed reading, Goshawk's Guide to Herbology. Laura had seen them reading that same book countless times; she assumed it must have been a favorite of theirs.

“I don’t get it…” She began, pulling her tie loose, “I work well on my own and if I need help I go to you, LaF. I don’t need a partner to help me study.” Laura grumbled.

LaF glanced around the edge of their book, “To be honest L, I think it’s pretty much just so the school can work out who’s studying and who’s not.”

 “I hope I get Danny.” Laura smiled dreamily.

 “You can’t, she’s in Griffindor.” LaF contradicted, “Besides, she’s studying different subjects.”

 Laura sighed, “Knowing my luck I’ll probably get Karnstein!” Laura joked, LaFontaine let out a bellow of laughter.

 “Now that I’d like to see!” They replied. “Although, Karnstein would probably make a descent partner, she’s smart Laura. I heard she got all outstanding’s in her OWL’s.”

 “I’m not sure I’d last the year, LaF. I pity whoever gets Carmilla Karnstein as their partner.” Laura giggled, lying back on her bed with a yawn and looking up at the window next to her at the dark starry night.  

*

Laura hurried down to the Great Hall the next morning, late to breakfast as always, her book bag heaving on her shoulder as she weaved around the spatter of students lingering around, waving and saying the odd hello to classmates. She sat down next to Danny at the Gryffindor table.

“Well?” She asked, fixing her robe as she sat.

 “McGonagall isn’t here yet.” Danny replied taking a sip of her pumpkin juice.

 “Where’s LaF?” Laura asked, glancing around for them.

 “Over on the Hufflepuff table with Perry.” She nodded her head in their direction.

 Laura gave a small wave to them from her seat and then proceeded to grab some toast from the plate that was floating past.

 Ten minutes later Professor McGonagall entered the hall and called the students to attention.

 “Seventh year’s, the lists for your study partners are as follows…”

 McGonagall started reeling off name after name. Laura sat waiting anxiously for her name to be called, the toast going cold in her hand.

 “Perry – Lafontaine…”

 "What?!" Laura guffawed quietly, as if they were partnered together, what a joke! She looked over at them, they were high fiving and Perry did a little happy dance from her seat.

 “Lawrence – Spieldorf…” Danny nodded in happy acceptance and looked over the Ravenclaw table for her partner Betty and gave her a thumbs up.

 “Karnstein – Hollis…”

Laura froze in horror. She must have heard wrong, right? NO, no, nope, this was not happening. Laura glanced over at LaFontaine in panic; they appeared to be laughing so hard they had to hide their face in their robes. Perry was looking at her with sympathy and shrugged her shoulders a little.

 Anyone but her, anyone but Carmilla Karnstein! Was she dreaming, a nightmare...?

Laura looked across at the Slytherin table, she couldn’t see Carmilla anywhere. She checked the other tables just in case. She was pretty sure Karnstein wasn’t here. Laura knew where Carmilla sat at breakfast, she sat on her own at the end of the Slytherin table, sometimes she had a book or she was writing on bits of parchment. She definitely wasn’t here.

 Laura, who made been lost in her own thoughts, realized Danny was talking to her, “…Laura, maybe you can talk to McGonagall, change partners or something.”

 “Yeah, maybe...” Laura replied quietly, dropping her toast onto her plate, no longer hungry.

 Laura shot up as Professor McGonagall started toward the doors of the Great Hall.

 “Professor! Professor, I know you said last night but- but, is there anyway you can change my partner?” Laura asked hopefully, walking alongside her.

McGonagall looked down at her and rolled her eyes as if she had been expecting this. “No Miss Hollis, you were informed there would be no changes to the final list.”

“Yes I know that but Professor you see, me and Carmilla, we really don’t get on and this is honestly likely going to do more damage to my education than good…Can’t you pair me up with someone more… not her.” Laura grumbled.

“Miss Hollis, the point of this scheme is to venture outside of your comfort zone, outside of your house and make new friends.” McGonagall replied, as she walked with Laura having to almost run to keep up with her.

 “Professor, no offense but you paired Lola Perry with LaFontaine…” Laura protested.

 “I’m not wicked, Miss Hollis, as if I would separate them.”

 “Look…” McGonagall stopped walking and turned to face Laura who almost ran into her. “Miss Karnstein excels at potions, which you do not. You are highly skilled in Defense Against the Dark Arts, where Miss Karnstein could use some help. Sound’s like the perfect partnership to me, Miss Hollis.” She said with finality.

“But…we’ve hated each other since first year.” Laura begged her.

 “I know.” She grinned, before turning and walking away.

 Laura sighed and fiddled with her wand.

 This was going to a long year...

Chapter Text

Laura had looked for Carmilla in Transfiguration that morning but hadn’t seen her. She was fairly sure Carmilla would have chosen to continue to study the subject, Laura knew that Carmilla was good at transfiguration and on good terms with McGonagall. She had also noted Carmilla had been very interested in learning all she could about animagi last year.

 “Has anyone seen Carmilla?” Laura enquired angrily, as she sat down for lunch at the Gryffindor table next to LaFontaine.

 “She’s right over there, L” LaF said, pointing with their fork to the Slytherin table where Carmilla was sat currently straddling the bench looking quite cozy with a blonde haired Ravenclaw girl Laura recognized from the year below.

 Laura took a deep breath and stood, fixing her robes. Right, let’s just get this over with, I’m sure there is worse to come, she thought.

 “Karnstein.” Laura said confidently as she approached, fixing a glare on her face.

 Carmilla initially looked angry at the interruption until her eyes focused on Laura and then she smirked at her.

 “We’re partners for this NEWT co-op thingy, we need to meet and study together and... stuff,” Laura stuttered as she looked at Carmilla, suddenly finding her confidence dissipating quickly.

 “So I heard, Cutie.” Carmilla replied, then turning back to the blonde to continue their canoodling.

 “Where were you this morning? I looked for you.” Laura asked, her face flushing pink.

 Carmilla turned, pulled her leg over the bench so she was facing toward Laura and looked her up and down, she folded her arms. “Looked for me, did you?” She teased, raising an eyebrow.

 “We’re partners, of course I looked for you. Do you want to meet later and make a plan of action?” Laura asked, hopefully.

 “What?...no.” Carmilla responded with a grimace.

 “Carmilla! We have-“

 “I have quidditch practice this evening.” Camilla interrupted her.

 Laura took a deep breath, she had been in Carmilla’s presence for less then 2 minutes and she was already furious.

 “Tomorrow then… after dinner?” Laura asked after a moment.

 “Fine.” Carmilla said curtly before turning around on the bench and facing away from her.

 “Fine!” Laura replied to the back of Carmilla’s head, angrily turning around and walking quickly from her before she did something she would regret. 

*

Laura turned the pages in Advanced Potion Making, trying to stay awake as Professor Slughorn droned on to the class in the most boring of tones. She hated Potions; she’d rather not study it at all. 

 “..so for this task you will be partnered with your newly established work comrade.” Laura heard, raising her head from her hand.

 Oh crap. What was was he saying? What task?

 Everyone began changing seats; Laura could hardly even force herself to stand.

 Luckily she didn’t have too, Carmilla Karnstein dropped down onto the stool next to hers and smirked at her. Laura gave her a forced smile. This was not going to end well. 

 “Okay Creampuff, you got all that down, right?” Carmilla asked, gesturing in Professor Slughorn’s direction.

 “Got what?” Laura asked glancing between Carmilla and Slughorn.

 “Draught of peace… we’re brewing draught of peace. I knew you weren’t listening, you never listen in potions.” Carmilla said, rolling her eyes.

 How would Carmilla even know that? Laura picked at the sleeve of her robe anxiously, “I knew that, I… know that.” She muttered hastily starting to flip a few pages in her book looking for the draught of peace.

 “127.” Carmilla said, watching Laura struggle.

 “No, 127.” She said again, reaching for book but Laura pushed her hand away.

 “I’ll find it!” Laura said irritably. Carmilla blinked and took a calming breath and then pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment. 

*

 “Okay, so now we need to add powdered moonstone until the potion turns purple.” Laura read aloud.

 They both reached for moonstone at the same time.

 “I’ll do it.” Laura said, grabbing it first. 

 “No, give it to me, you'll just make a mess.” Carmilla said, pulling it from Laura’s hands.

 Laura exhaled angrily, her nose crinkling.

 Carmilla started to chuckle. “That bunched up little face you make when you’re angry is hilarious, Buttercup.”

 Laura wanted to strangle her. She watched as Carmilla dropped the moonstone into the pot.

 She gasped, “Powered moonstone! It’s meant to be powdered, Carmilla!” She shrieked. Oh no, the potion is ruined! 

 Carmilla smiled at her and shrugged, “This will work better, Cupcake, trust me.”

 “No, the book specifically says to do it like this.” Laura pointed dramatically at the page.

 “The book is wrong.” Carmilla said, calmly taking it from Laura's hands.

 “What? No. Give it back.” Carmilla just smiled at her again.

Laura was enraged, confused, she hated her. Stop smiling at me; I hate you, she thought.

She made a grab for the book but Carmilla was holding it tightly. Laura knew she was behaving like a child but she couldn’t help it. She tried to peel Carmilla’s fingers away from the pages.

 “If you wanted to hold hands, you only had to ask…” Carmilla leered at her, obviously trying to get a rise out of her.

 Laura let out an angry breath, “Stop smiling at me like that.” She glowered.

 “Or what?” Carmilla asked, amused.

 Laura stared at her mouth; she couldn’t quite say what she wanted to say. What did she want to say?

 “Well done girls, this is good. An almost perfect potion!” They both turned to look at Professor Slughorn, how long had he been there? Laura let go of Carmilla’s fingers, turning and smiling at Professor Slughorn.

 “Five points to each of your houses.” He said happily before moving to the next table.

 “Oh, what a joy…” Carmilla mumbled sarcastically. 

*

 The next day, it seemed to Laura that Carmilla was now going deliberately out her way to annoy her as much as possible. She sat next to Laura in defence against the dark arts even though that was LaF's seat and it had always been LaF's seat! 

 "That is where LaFontaine sits." Laura turned to Carmilla in confusion when she dropped down in the seat. What did she think she was doing?

 "Oh, is their name on it?" She teased, glancing behind her at the chair and widening her eyes at Laura as if she was innocent.

 "N-why a..." the Gryffindor just shook her head in frustration and turned back to her parchment.

 Then she spent the majority of the lesson accidentally grazing Laura's arm with her own and when she finally sat back, she relaxed her arm along the back of Laura's chair. It irritated her to no end and Carmilla knew that.

 And then in charms she sat opposite Laura as she always did except today she stared at her for the whole lesson.

 "Stop staring at me." Laura mime whispered irritably at her as Professor Flitwick spoke to the class. Carmilla just smiled and winked in response. 

 It was completely distracting and Laura could feel herself becoming more anxious as Carmilla stared, her face heating up.

 "Miss Hollis, I would appreciate it if you listened to me in my lessons rather than stare at Miss Karnstein." Professor Flitwick said crossly.

 "Whaaa-no no sir, she-"

 "I don't want to take 5 points away from Gryffindor, do I?" He warned and Laura glanced at Carmilla furiously. She was shaking with silent laughter.

*

 Laura slumped onto a comfy chair in the common room; the fire was crackling, sending a warm glow throughout the room.

 "I can't take it, LaF, she's trying to make my life hell! We've been back, what like two days? I'm going out of my mind..." 

 They looked up from their game of chess they were playing with Kirsch, "Come on L, it can't be that bad, at least she's not ignoring you."

 "I think I might prefer that." Laura groaned, pulling her tie off.

  "...Checkmate! Kirsch, a little advice, you might want to learn the rules of chess before you start challenging people." LaF spoke to him; Kirsch was staring at the board in confusion.

 LaF turned to Laura, "Don't let her get to you, L, that's probably why she’s doing it.”

 Laura frowned, "I have to meet her in the library in 10 minutes. "

 "Great, don't let her get to you and she'll probably stop." They smiled at her reassuringly, tapping her arm.

 Laura rolled her eyes, stood up and started walking toward the portrait hole.

 "Do you think she'll stop?" Kirsch whispered to LaFontaine.

 "Not at all." They shook their head and grinned.

*

Laura entered the library, her eyes scanning the tables for Carmilla. She couldn't see her, she continued into the stacks, looking at every study table as she passed. Less and less students were around the further she walked, empty table after empty table. 

 She's not here, great! She's not even bothered to show up! Laura raged silently about to turn and leave.

 "Hi, Cutie." Laura jumped out of her skin as Carmilla came around the corner of one of the bookcases in front of her.

 "Really Carmilla? That was unnecessary!" Laura took some breaths trying to slow her heart. 

 "You look like you need some of that draught of peace, Cupcake," Carmilla teased. She wandered over to a table near a large window and sat down. Laura glanced back behind her, "Um... could we not sit somewhere with more... witnesses?" 

 Carmilla just smiled and rolled her eyes, pulling parchment and ink from her bag.

 Laura reluctantly took a seat in the only other chair next to Carmilla, looking out of the window at the rain falling from the darkening sky.

 "So, how is this study buddy thing going to work then?"

 Carmilla glanced at her with an eyebrow raised. "Well, I would assume we would just study together..." She said matter of factly as she took her potions book out.

"Oh right... yes of course." Laura nodded her head and proceeded to quickly remove items from her own bag. "Potions is it then?" Laura asked, peering down at Carmilla’s book.

 Carmilla did not respond to her question but said, "Professor Slughorn told us we need to study the properties of these ingredients..." Running her finger down the parchment as she read through it silently.

 "Hmm, I think we're going to need a copy of Magical Drafts and Potions for this." Carmilla said as she read.

 Laura stood, she'd find the book, get away from Karnstein for a few moments. Except she had no idea where that book was; she glanced at the bookcase closest to her. 

 She heard Carmilla chuckle behind her, "Cupcake, left down there..." she pointed "and then when you get to that golden phoenix statue, turn right there, should be some potions books there somewhere." 

 She followed Carmilla's instructions, turned right at the statue and walked along the bookcase for potions something or other. She couldn't see anything; most of these books didn't even have titles! How was anyone meant to find anything in here?

 She glanced around, there wasn't even anyone here to ask. Laura reached up and pulled a random book off the shelf. It had a smirking lizard type thing on the cover, it made Laura grin.

 "No, not that one." Laura was startled once again and turned quickly. Carmilla was stood directly behind her.

 "Over here." She said walking to the opposite bookshelf. Laura followed, after returning the book to the shelf.

 "There should be a few potion encyclopedias here somewhere as well." Carmilla commented, running her fingers along the spines as she searched.

 Laura spied something, "Oh, I think that might be one there." She said standing on her tippy toes to reach for the book, which was slightly out of her reach.

 Laura felt someone press up behind her, a hand clasp the book she was reaching for and pull it from the shelf. Laura quickly turned, Carmilla was inches away. Laura tried to take a step back but the bookshelf stood in her way. Carmilla smiled at her, Laura hated that smile, those perfect li-.

 "Got it." Carmilla whispered, tapping Laura’s shoulder with the corner of the book. "By the way, have you ever been in the library before, Cupcake?"

 "Yes!” Laura said irritably, “...and some personal space would be nice."

 "Right." said Carmilla smirking, after a moment nodding her head curtly and turning to walk back to the desk as Laura followed, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. 

 She's doing this to bother you, remember what LaF said, don't let her get to you. 

 "I just don't usually venture this far into the library." Laura said looking around her at the unfamiliar shelves; this part of the library was so eerie.

 “Well, haven’t you missed out, it’s so nice and…secluded.” Camilla remarked, turning back to smile at her. 

*

 Laura yawned, wrapping her robe tightly around her, it had been over an hour and a half and they were still working in the library. Carmilla seemed keen to get the homework finished.

 "Look up asphodel in that one." Carmilla pointed her quill at a book on the desk near Laura.

 She reached for the book, skimming through it. "It is a member of the lily family - has long and slender leaves. Blah blah blah, powdered root of Asphodel is used in the creation of various potions...blah blah," Laura read aloud, yawning again. This is so boring, she thought to herself. 

 "What potions?" Carmilla asked as she was scribbling away.

 "No idea." Laura looked at her vexed.

 Carmilla met her eyes, "Really Cupcake? Wow, you're honestly abysmal at potions." Carmilla mocked her. 

 "Hey! As if you know!" Laura disputed. 

 "Asphodel is used most commonly in the creation of the draught of living death." Carmilla said, matter of factly.

 Laura just looked at her for a moment in surprise. "Oh…well you could use some of that." She said, unpleasantly.

 "Very funny, Cupcake." Carmilla said sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

 "Stop calling me that!" Laura grumbled, looking at her angrily.

 "…What should I call you then?" 

 "By my name!" Laura insisted.

 "Okay then...Laura." Carmilla said curtly.

 Oh god... no one had ever said her name so... wow. Say it again; whisper it in my ear. Hold on…whaaat? Laura blushed red and cleared her throat.

 "Are you okay?" Carmilla asked, looking almost concerned.

 "Yes! Fine! Everything's great… buddy!" Laura said giggling nervously and quickly shuffling her parchment and straightening things on the desk infront of her.

 “Oookay." Carmilla was looking at her warily.  “Pass me that Ingredient Encyclopedia, I need info on Murtlap Essence.”

 Laura passed the book over, “Why did you even ask me if you knew already?” Laura questioned.

“Because Laura, I was trying to help you learn something, that’s what this whole study buddy thing is about, right?” Carmilla said, looking irritated.

"You trying to help me?" Laura asked, unbelieving. 

 “You know what, I just forgot I had to be anywhere but here.” Carmilla said, grabbing her bag and parchment, and glaring at Laura before disappearing around the bookshelves.

Ooh...woops. Laura thought, turning to the now dark window and seeing her lonely reflection staring back at her. 

 

Chapter Text

Laura didn’t see Carmilla at breakfast the next day and she wasn’t in history of magic or transfiguration either. Unexpected guilt was starting to weigh heavily on Laura’s conscious as the day passed. Was Carmilla not attending classes because of her? Was she avoiding her? Was there something wrong? She desperately wanted to apologize for her unpleasantness the day before.

 She searched the great hall for Carmilla at lunch, she even asked the Ravenclaw girl she had seen her with.

 But when Laura walked into the potions classroom that afternoon, there she was, sitting on the stool next to Laura’s, her face hidden in a book.

 Laura approached anxiously, “Hi,” she said, taking her seat.

 Carmilla glanced at her but said nothing.

 “Look, I’m... I'm sorry about last night, what I said... I didn’t mean to upset you. I appreciate you trying to help me, I really do.” Laura spoke honestly and quickly.

 Carmilla lowered the book, looking at Laura.

 “I wasn’t upset, Cupcake.” She said, irritated.

 “Right, yeah, I know that, of course.” Laura said, shaking her head. “I just didn’t think you could be that…nice.” Laura covered her mouth; she was struggling to say what was on her mind; this all sounded wrong.

“Can we just forget about it because I think that would be less mortifying than this conversation.” Carmilla said looking down at the desk.

“Yes, of course.” Laura said, relieved. Their eyes meeting and Laura gave her a shy smile.

 Nothing more was said as class began and Laura started making notes in potions for first time since third year.

“Do my eyes deceive me or is Laura Hollis paying attention in potions for once?” Carmilla whispered close to her, amused.

 “Don’t get used to it, I might change my mind. ” Laura replied, with a quiet giggle.

*

 Students were leaving the hall as dinner started to come to an end. Laura was was only halfway through her jam tart, sometimes she spoke too much and forgot to eat. Danny was saying something about their first trip of the year to Hogsmeade, which would be in a few weeks time. Laura was looking toward the Slytherin table for Carmilla. Where was she? She hadn’t seen her at dinner at all and she was hoping to speak with her.

 Someone touched Laura’s arm and she was drawn back to the conversation at the table, “Would you like that, Laura?” Danny asked.

 Laura hadn’t been listening; she tried to recall the conversation, she had nothing.

 “Um…yeah sure, Danny,” Laura shrugged, smiling awkwardly, “Actually, I gotta go.” Distractedly getting up from the table.

 Laura left the hall in search of Carmilla, not that she really knew where to look. She thought more likely than not she was in the dungeons and Laura couldn’t exactly look for her there but she thought there was no harm in checking the library. They had been studying there in the evenings so maybe Carmilla would already be waiting for her there.

 When Laura entered the library, she walked straight into the stacks where it was dark and quiet, Carmilla’s favorite place to study.

 “Everything alright, Cutie?” Carmilla called, Laura turned, she had almost walked straight past her.

 “There you are! I’ve been looking for you, I didn’t see you in the hall at dinner.” Laura said sitting down opposite her at the study table. “I thought we could practice defense against the dark arts today.” Laura said gleefully, this was her forte.

 Camilla's face dropped at that and she let out a heavy sigh.

 “Do we have to?” She asked looking uncomfortable but then she smiled at Laura’s hopeful expression.

 “Of course we have to. I’ll help you.”

 “I do not need help.” Carmilla replied. “Besides we can’t exactly practice spells in the library,” gesturing around.

 “We won’t have to, we can find an empty classroom.” Laura said smiling smugly. Standing up and getting ready to leave, “Come on,” She said to Carmilla, who very slowly and reluctantly got to her feet to follow her.

 “This one will do.” Laura said in the doorway of a large empty classroom, it looked like it had been in disuse for some time; Laura had certainly not had any lessons in here. There were odd bits of broken tables and chairs around as if the room was becoming a storeroom for broken things.

 “Okay, what shall we start with? Any spells you want to practice?” Laura asked taking off her robe. Carmilla was looking around the room with interest, as if she was putting off what was to come.

 Carmilla leaned against a table, folded her arms and looked at her, “I heard you can produce a patronus?” She asked with interest.

 Laura nodded slowly, “Can you?” She asked in return.

 Carmilla shook her head, looking to the floor. “So… what is it?”

 Laura was going to speak but then she stopped, removed her wand; she pointed it and closed her eyes for moment before she said, “Expecto Patronum.” A silvery hummingbird flew from the tip of her wand, circled the two of them, and lingered near Laura’s shoulder for a moment before slowly fading to nothing.

 “A hummingbird?” Carmilla deliberated that for a moment.

 Laura nodded, “It was my mothers favorite bird actually. Did you know the bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world?” Laura said, proud of her little fact.

 “Kind of suits you then.” Carmilla chuckled, looking at her.

 “Do you wanna have a try?” Laura asked.

 Carmilla shook her head, “I’ve tried, and I can’t do it.”

 “Of course you can, just think of your happiest memory.” Laura spoke like that was the easiest thing in the world.

 Carmilla looked dejected and maybe a little embarrassed, “I don’t… think I have a memory that powerful, Cupcake.”

 Laura was surprised but her expression became glum, “You can’t think of anything?”

 Carmilla actually laughed at Laura’s look, “I have nothing.” She shrugged with a small smile.

 “Well, let’s just give it a go, I’m sure you’ll think of something, Carm.” Laura said approaching her with a grin.

 Carmilla began to practice the patronus charm with Laura giving her encouraging words of advice and admiring smiles. At first, Carmilla was able to make wispy silvery smoke shoot from the end of her wand. Laura cheered with a laugh and Carmilla rolled her eyes at her.

 As time went on Carmilla became more frustrated with the spell and soon she wasn’t able to make anything happen at all. She groaned with anger running a hand through her hair. “You know what, I’ll never be able to do this spell, I’m done.” She said sitting on the table and rubbing her eyes.

 “Carm, no, come on, you were actually doing really well.” Laura said walking over to stand in front of her and tapping her arm awkwardly, with Carmilla sitting on the desk they were the same height.

 “Oh, that’s the most patronising thing you have ever said.” Carmilla groaned in frustration.

 “That’s it, Carm! I’m going to make it my mission to give you a memory so... happy you’ll be able to produce a patronus, no problem. ” Laura said smiling proudly at her.

 “What memory were you thinking of anyway?” She asked with interest, Laura didn’t know whether Carmilla would answer her question but she was too intrigued not to ask.

 Carmilla did not immediately respond and Laura was unable to read her expression, “When Slytherin won the quidditch cup last year.” Carmilla said looking up at her.

 Laura’s face dropped, a frown appearing on her face, she squeezed her wand tightly in her hand. “You cheated.” She said, taking an immediate step back, away from Carmilla.

 “Oh, not this again.” Carmilla sighed, rolling her eyes.

 “Slytherin cheated you wouldn’t have won if you hadn’t beat up half of my team.” Laura said, anger rising within her at the obviously sour memory.

 “I never hurt anyone, besides, you got knocked off your broom, there was no way you could have won that match.” Carmilla stated, with annoyance.

 “I got knocked off my broom because your chaser knocked me off!” Laura yelled angrily.

 Carmilla shrugged, “That had nothing to do with me, I wanted a fair fight,” crossing her arms.

 “And that’s your happiest memory?” Laura asked, angrily.

 Carmilla was quiet and then shrugged again, “Dunno… I don’t suppose that it is.”

 Their eyes met, Laura could feel her anger dissipating as she gazed at Carmilla, which surprised her as she was used to feeling the opposite where Carmilla was concerned.

 “I’m done with this for today, lets go.” Carmilla said standing up, filling the gap between her and Laura so they were only inches apart.

 Laura hadn’t moved and was still lost in her thoughts of Carmilla as she stared at her. Laura slowly nodded, and took another step back before turning and heading for her robe.

 They left the classroom together, walked along the corridor towards the grand staircase.

 “Come with me.” Carmilla whispered to Laura as they reached the stairs.

 Laura, who had already began to turn in the opposite direction to Carmilla, froze and turned to look at her. “What?”

 Carmilla nodded her head in the opposite direction. “Come with me.”

 “Where?” Laura asked confused, suddenly feeling like she may be ambushed any second, glancing around for anybody hiding in the shadows. “I can’t go to the dungeons.”

 “That’s not where I’m going.” Carmilla smirked, reaching and grabbing Laura’s hand and pulling her down the staircase.

 “Carm, we have to be back in our common rooms soon, if we get caught we’ll be in trouble.” Laura said nervously, glancing back up the stairs behind her as Carmilla continued to pull her along.

 Carmilla lead Laura all the way down the grand staircase, it looked for all the world that Carmilla was leading her toward the Slytherin dungeons but then she took a right turn, leading down a corridor that Laura often saw Hufflepuffs coming from.

 “You’re not a secret Hufflepuff are you?” Laura teased, moving to walk next to Carmilla instead of being dragged along, now they were just holding hands. Carmilla chuckled at her comment. She felt nervous as Carmilla did not let go of her hand and Laura didn’t quite feel like letting go either.

 “Where are we going?” Laura asked again.

 “The kitchen – I’m hungry.” Carmilla stated.

 “What?! We can’t just go to the kitchens!” Laura said, stopping mid step so Carmilla had to turn to face her as they held hands.

 “What’s stopping me? I’m hungry - I didn’t go to dinner.” Carmilla shrugged, tugging on Laura’s hand a little.

 “I noticed.” Laura said.

 “Still looking for me are you?” Carmilla teased her, as Laura huffed, refusing to walk any further.

 “Live a little, Cupcake,” Carmilla winked at her, taking a few steps forward so Laura had to walk if she wanted to continue to hold Carmilla’s hand.

 Just for a little while, why not? Laura thought to herself.

 Carmilla stopped walking suddenly, turning toward a painting of a bowl of fruit; she reached out and ran her fingers over a pear. Laura watched amazed, as the pear appeared to wriggle and giggle and transformed into a door handle. Carmilla pulled the portrait door open and they both entered the kitchen.

 The first thing Laura noticed were the four large tables, exactly like the ones in the great hall then she saw movement from the corner of her eye. A house elf! A real life house elf! Laura had read about them but she had never seen a real house elf before. She then noticed a second, then a third and then a whole troop of house elves running over and bowing low to the ground.

 “House elves! These are house elves, Carm! Why are they bowing?” Laura turned to her.

 Carmilla shrugged, “Out of respect.” She said walking further into the kitchen and sitting down in a chair that one of the house elves brought over to her as if she had done this hundreds of times before.

 “Miss Karnstein, ma’am, what a pleasure to see you again.” Spoke one house elf, the house elves began a round of bowing once more.

 An elf placed a chair next to Carmilla at the table and gestured for Laura to come and sit.

 Laura walked over slowly, “Thank you.” She said to the small elf, it smiled broadly at her and then curtseyed.

 “Have you never seen a house elf before, Cutie?” Carmilla asked with a smirk.

 “No, I’m guessing you have though.” She replied.

 Carmilla nodded, “My mother has a few, actually.”

 “Would you like tea?”

 “Would you like cocoa?”

 House elves came running from numerous directions with trays and cups offering a variety of hot drinks to them. Laura graciously accepted cocoa from the closet little elf. “Thanks a lot.”

 “Would you like biscuits or cookies?”

 “Would you like pie?”

 Oh my god, this is amazing, Laura thought.

 The house elves just began leaving trays of desserts all over the table in front of them.

 “Would you like cake?”

 “Yes! Yes please!” Laura was in heaven.

 “How are you this evening Miss Karnstein, ma’am?” A house elf asked as they placed plates in front of Carmilla.

 “Very well, thank you.” She said smiling at the elf. It blushed a little and ran away giggling.

 “Carm, this is great! Do you come down here often?”

 Carmilla shrugged, “It's good if you don’t want to eat in the hall. You can talk to the house elves and they don't judge you, they just smile and bring more tea.” Carmilla leaned back on her chair, she looked completely at home here. Laura looked around at the delighted looking house elves, beaming at them, occasionally one would feel the need to bow and many others would follow suit.

 Carmilla slowly ate a slice pumpkin pie with a fork, as if she was savoring every bite. Laura ate from the large selection of cakes and cookies all over the table unable to choose and every few minutes an elf would ask if she needed a refill of her cocoa. Soon Laura began to feel a little sick but she didn’t want to stop eating the delicious treats.

 She looked over at Carmilla who was sipping her tea and smiling at her.

 “I think maybe it’s time to go, Cupcake… before you explode.” She teased her.

 Laura shook her head, no, mouth full of cookie. Carmilla nodded, “Yes, we’re going.”

 As they stood house elves came running over forcing cookies into Laura’s hands and bowing as they headed for the door. “Thank you. Thank you so much!” Laura beamed at the little elves, filling the pockets of the robe and waving at the little elves in the back, until Laura found herself pulled from the room. Carmilla gripped the back of her robe, pulling her along the corridor and away from the kitchen.

 “I think you enjoyed that a little too much, Cupcake.” Carmilla said to her, letting go of her robe as they started to walk side by side.

 "I can’t believe that has been here this whole time! Six years and I’ve never gone to the kitchen!” Laura was ecstatic, “I wonder if LaF has ever been down here...” Laura wondered out loud to herself, thinking of returning with LaFontaine.

 “Thanks Carm…for taking me with you.” Laura looked over at her suddenly feeling a little timid.

 “If I’d have known you were going to react like this, I’d have taken you before now.” Carmilla smiled at her.

 “This is me.” Carm said, gesturing towards dungeon entrance, this would be where they would part ways.

 “Oh, of course.” Laura nodded. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

 “I suppose you will.” Carmilla smirked and entered the passage leading off towards the dungeons.

 Laura did not see anyone on her way back to the Gryffindor common room, until she reached the seventh floor. She turned the corner leading towards Gryffindor tower and walked straight into Danny Lawrence.

 “Laura! What are you doing out here? It’s a little late.” Danny glanced around the corridor.

 Laura wasn’t sure what to say but she had a feeling she better not tell Danny, head girl, that she had been in the kitchens with Carmilla Karnstein.

 “Oh, I was just…studying…in the library and I lost track of time.”

Laura cleared her throat and picked at a loose thread on the sleeve of her robe.

 “With Karnstein? How’s that going by the way?” Danny said, looking sympathetic.

 “NO! I mean… no,” Laura spluttered. “I wasn’t with her… I was... studying on my own.” Laura wasn’t sure why she was lying to Danny but she didn’t want to talk about Carmilla with her.

 They started walking together toward the portrait hole, “You left dinner in quite a hurry earlier, everything alright?” Danny asked.

 “Yes, I’m fine.” Laura shook her head, “Just remembered I had this homework thing to do.” Laura lied again.

 “Okay.” Danny nodded, “Still on for Hogsmeade?”

 “What?” Laura asked, losing her.

 “At dinner...we said we would go together…to Hogsmeade?” Danny said, looking a bit uncertain now.

 “Oh…did we?” Laura wished she had paid better attention at dinner. Danny's face dropped a little further.

 “Yes! We did. Silly me, just a little tired... slipped my mind.” Laura thought up on the spot. Why not go to Hogsmeade with Danny? Laura would like that very much actually.

 She looked relieved and Laura smiled at her, blush rising on her face, she shoved her hands into the pockets of her robe awkwardly and then realized they were still full of cookies and quickly pulled them out, she must have looked a little odd.

 “Go on then, I’ll have to make my rounds.” Danny said watching as Laura quickly entered the portrait hole.

Chapter Text

“For your homework, I would like you and your partner to go on a little treasure hunt! I am going to ask you to look back on your prior research and find the following potion ingredients somewhere in the Hogwarts grounds.”

“Squill bulb, Asphodel, Wormwood leaves, Sopophurous bean and Valerian.” Laura scribbled this down on her parchment. “But…be quick as there’s only so much to be found and the most successful pair will win a prize.”

“You have until next Monday.” Professor Slughorn finished speaking as students began to collect their belongings to leave the classroom for lunch.

Laura turned to Carmilla, “We have get the jump on everyone else,” she whispered, eyes flickering around as if she was worried someone might be eavesdropping.

Carmilla chuckled and rolled her eyes, pulling her rucksack over her shoulder and moving towards the door as Laura followed. “Someone’s eager."

Laura beamed, “There’s a prize!”

Carmilla turned to her, confusion noticeable, “You didn’t care the last time Slughorn set a challenge.”

“Yes… but I’ve got you now so I’ve actually got a chance of winning.” Laura said, bumping shoulders with her.

“Oh, I see how it is, just using me for my potions expertise.” Carmilla teased her.

Laura shook her head and giggled.

“How are we going to find any of this stuff anyway?” Laura asked as they approached the hall.

“Well, Cutie, I suppose we’re going to have go back and look at the properties of the ingredients, find out where they usually grow and look in those places.” Carmilla said quite simply and Laura nodded, that actually sounded relatively easy, she thought.

They reached the doorway of the great hall, Laura knew that Carmilla would go over to the Slytherin table to eat her lunch; she didn't want to leave her.

 Carmilla must have followed Laura’s trail of thought; she lightly grasped her elbow and gestured with her head towards the empty end of the Slytherin table. “Come on, we can work on it now.” She said.

 Laura looked toward the Gryffindor table; she had never sat with the Slytherins before. She made eye contact with Danny, who smiled and gestured to the space next to her on the bench where Laura usually sat.

 “Oh… you can go sit with Lawrence if you want.” Carmilla said, already walking away to sit on her own.

 “Huh? No, Carm, I’ll sit with you!” Laura followed her. When Carmilla turned back to her looking a tad shocked, Laura grinned and Carmilla smiled back.

 They sat side by side at the end of the Slytherin table away from everyone else. “Don’t get your hopes up too much, Cutie, the last prize Slughorn awarded was some rubbish hair strengthening potion.”

 “That sounds okay.” Laura shrugged.

 “It didn’t do anything, I know because I won it.” Carmilla smiled, looking somewhat embarrassed.

 Laura let out a loud laugh, “Come on Carm, your hair was already flawless though.” Laura smiled, reaching over and stroking her hair before she realized what she was doing and immediately dropped her hand. Carmilla was still for a moment before turning to the table and choosing a pastry.

 Carmilla took a bite of her apple, eyes quickly glancing over her potions work, her finger pointing to the page, “Here, Valerian is a plant used in…” she whispered the words to herself as she read quickly. Laura could hear the occasional word, “green” and “sprig.”

 “I know!” Carmilla said loudly making Laura start, “The groundskeeper grows this in his garden, I’ve seen it.” Carmilla said triumphantly.

 “Hagrid does? Great! We can ask him for some.” Laura smiled.

 “Lets just take it.” Carmilla shrugged.

 “Carm, no! Hagrid takes good care of his garden. We will have to ask him.” Laura said with a curt nod, then biting her sandwich.

 Carmilla shrugged again uncaring, “Okay, whatever.”

 “Okay, wormwood leaves are actually poisonous in large amounts so I’ve got no idea where to find that.” Carmilla frowned.

 “We could ask Hagrid!” Laura beamed.

 Carmilla nodded. “Okay. Sopophurous bean…it’s described as pearly white, I think I might know where to find them. There’s some strange looking plants that grow down by the lake, we can try there.” She mumbled.

 By the end of lunch Laura and Carmilla had a plan, they were to explore the grounds after dinner and pop to Hagrid’s and see if he would help them out.

 Laura met LaFontaine on the way to Defense against the Dark Arts, they smirked at Laura peculiarly and chuckled.

 “What…?” Laura asked confused.

 “You and Carmilla…sitting together at lunch I see?”

 They entered the classroom, “We were just going over the potions homework that’s all.” Laura shrugged.

 “Oh okay,” they said smiling cheekily, “Should I sit next to you now or is Carmilla sitting here?” They mused.

 Laura blushed red, “Sit down LaFontaine.” She said grabbing their robe and pulling them down to the chair.

 The lesson began, they were studying shield charms, Laura’s attention started to drift, she could already do shield charms. She glanced around the classroom, as Professor Cochrane spoke. Carmilla was sitting a row in front to the left, Laura looked at her as she wrote notes on her parchment and twirled a piece of her hair between her fingers. Laura remembered how soft her hair had felt earlier. Someone elbowed her arm, LaFontaine. They were smiling at her and looking between her and the back of Carmilla’s head. “Alright, crushes on Slytherin’s?” They whispered.

 Laura rolled her eyes, “LaF, stop please.” Blushing red and hoping no one heard, looking around self-consciously, “It’s nothing like that.”

 They did not look at all convinced.

 *

 “You ready?” Laura asked as she approached Carmilla who was waiting in the courtyard next to the wooden bridge.

 She nodded, picking at the ends on her green and silver scarf as they both turned to walk across the bridge and onto the grounds.

 “Let’s go see Hagrid first.” Laura said cheerfully, walking in the direction of Hagrid’s hut.

 Before they got there Laura could see him, along the edge of the dark forest shifting some large wooden logs. She ran over to greet him.

 “Hagrid!” He turned.

 “Oh, ‘ello Laura, I ‘aven’t seen yer since you’ve been back. How are you?” Hagrid smiled warmly at her.

 Carmilla looked between them greatly confused.

 “I’m doing great, thanks Hagrid, how are you?” Laura asked in returned.

 “Okay, okay.” He nodded. “Just gettin’ on with things yer know. Startin’ ter get colder so tryin’ to shift some of this wood up ter the castle.” He glanced around at his handy work.

 “Who’s this?” Hagrid gestured to Carmilla with a smile, she was looking uncomfortable.

 “This is Carmilla…Carmilla Karnstein.” Laura smiled. Carmilla smiled meakly at him but Hagrid frowned.

 “The Carmilla, that yer don’ like?” Hagrid asked, puzzled and Carmilla pouted looking to Laura.

 “Oh no, Carmilla’s my study partner this year.” She said, touching Carmilla’s arm warmly and smiling at Hagrid.

 He just shook his head, not really understanding and continued, “Do yer want ter come in, I was just puttin ‘on a fresh pot o’ tea.” He looked toward his hut.

 “Actually Hagrid we were hoping you could help us.” Laura continued, “Professor Slughorn has given us a task to collect certain ingredients from around the grounds. I was hoping you might let us have a little Valerian root from your garden.”

 Hagrid looked proud at the mention of his garden, “Oh right yeah, you can have some, Laura.” Hagrid said, starting to wonder over towards his hut and garden.

 Hagrid opened the gate and they followed him through, he walked over to a large greenish looking shrub and started pulling up a small bit of the plant.

 “There yer go.” Hagrid smiled down at her as he passed her the plant and then patted her shoulder with his huge hand so Laura had to grab Carmilla’s arm to stop herself collapsing to the floor.

 “Thanks Hagrid! Also you couldn’t tell us where we might find wormwood leaves?” Laura asked.

 Hagrid looked thoughtful for a few seconds, “A bit dangerous they are, yer know. There used to be some along the edge of the forest over there…yer could ‘ave a look.” Hagrid pointed.

 “Thanks, Hagrid. I’ll pop over and see you later in the week.” Laura smiled at him, as they started to walk away toward the edge of forest.

 “Since when were you best friends with the groundskeeper?” Carmilla asked, looking back over her shoulder to glance at Hagrid and then back at Laura.

 “Hagrid is a lovely man, I’ve been friends with him since I got lost on the grounds during first year. He’s tells amazing stories and he’s half giant you know.” Laura commented.

 Carmilla just smiled at her and shook her head, they reached the tree line, “So where do you think these wormwood leaves might be?” Laura asked, looking a bit bored.

 “Maybe they’re a little further.” Carmilla said, taking a few steps forward.

 “Actually Carm… do you remember our care of magical creatures lessons from third year? There’s a clearing not that far in with a lot of odd plants.” Laura said, walking on and taking the lead as they strolled through the trees.

 They walked for few minutes until they came to a large clearing, there were some large wooden logs here too, this must have been where Hagrid was working.

 “Over here look.” Laura said kneeling down next to the plant life. “Do you think this is it?” She looked up at Carmilla.

 She kneeled next to Laura, “It looks like it.” She pulled a book out her bag, pulled it open to a bookmarked page, “Yes, I think this is it.” She nodded.

 Laura pulled off a dozen leaves; she stood, shoving them into her bag. “Let’s go.”

 “Oka-” Laura did not finish her sentence she jumped backwards in fright.

 “Oh my god!” She gasped.

 “Th-thestral!” Laura took another step back.

 Carmilla started to panic but she could see nothing.

 “Wait…you can see thestrals?” She asked, very intrigued.

 Laura nodded, “Please, lets just go,” she said, walking around what appeared to be nothing and breaking into a bit of a run into the trees. Carmilla stood still, she could still see nothing but she took a step back when she heard the sound of something moving near her.

 She shook her head and followed.

 “You okay there, Cupcake?” Carmilla asked as she met Laura at the edge of the trees.

 Laura nodded, ”Yes, I just… wasn’t expecting that.”

 “Come on let’s go down to the lake,” Carmilla said quietly to her, giving her arm a tap. Laura’s mood appeared to have dipped quite a bit since seeing the thestral.

 “So… you can see thestrals?” Carmilla was interested, what had Laura seen, who had Laura seen die?

 Laura only nodded and said nothing; Carmilla didn’t want to push the subject so she let it drop.

 They walked along in silence for a few moments before Laura shivered, “It’s getting a little chilly.” She pulled her robe tightly around her.

 Carmilla looked over, she did look cold. “Here,” she said untying her scarf.

 Laura gasped, “I am not a Slytherin.”

 “Wow okay… but stop moaning - I offered.” Carmilla rolled her eyes.

 She shivered again, “Okay, I’ll have it.” Laura said quickly.

 Carmilla smiled and huffed in annoyance; she stopped, took off her scarf and wrapped it around Laura’s neck.

 “There,” she said. Their eyes met, as Carmilla’s hands came to rest on the tops of Laura’s shoulders.

 “Thanks.” Laura whispered to her.

 They gazed at each other for a moment longer until Carmilla took a step back and she started walking again.

 It took Laura a moment or two to remember what she was meant to be doing and ran to catch up with Carmilla.

 ”Won’t you get cold?” She asked, snuggling into the warm scarf, it smelled like her.

 “I’m fine, Cupcake.” Carmilla said in a rather bored tone.

 “I feel like a traitor wearing this, I should be wearing my team colors.” Laura smiled at her as she spoke.

 “Well, Slytherin are champions.” Carmilla said, an over the top expression of pride gracing her face.

 Laura frowned at her, “You cheated.”

 “Oh my… please get over it!” Carmilla sounded angry but she smiled at Laura’s frowny face.

 “Actually, Gryffindor have a lot of potential this year we have new chaser – Lucy Barnett and she’s brilliant.” Laura said.

 “Well, we’ll see, Cupcake.” Carmilla said, giving off an air of confidence.

 They stood staring out at the lake, Laura rarely came down here, she had given it a wide birth ever since LaFontaine had told her a story about the giant squid pulling a student into the water. It was quite a beautiful sight, she had to admit.

 Carmilla started to move off, gesturing for Laura to follow her. “Sopophurous, are small, white beans. I’m sure I’ve seen something like that here before.” Carmilla muttered, glancing off into the distance. “We’ve used them in potions, I recognized them.”

 “Up there?” Laura pointed. Carmilla nodded, there were some white beans on an overgrown plant, dipping over the side off a large pile of boulders, near the lake edge.

 Laura without warning started to climb the rocks, “Be careful, please.” Carmilla sounding wary.

 Laura looked down at her about to say something in response but almost slipped on the wet rock.

 “Woah!” She grabbed at the stone to steady herself and then laughed, a little embarrassed.

 “Okay, this homework is not worth the potential head injury. Get down.” Carmilla said seriously, grabbing Laura’s foot, the only thing she could currently reach.

 “Carm, if we don’t do this, someone else will and they’ll win!” Laura said as she started to climb again, pulling her foot from Carmilla’s grasp.

 “There’s probably some more beans around here somewhere, we can just find more.” Carmilla supposed, standing helplessly at the bottom.

 Laura reached, rising to her toes, hand barely grasping at closet vine of the plant, tugging at it until it snapped. “Yes!” Laura exclaimed, holding it triumphantly into the air.

“Okay, great. Climb down now.” Carmilla yelled from the ground.

Laura dropped the plant down to Carmilla and started her descent.

Laura wobbled, losing confidence in the climb down. “Climbing up was much easier,” she said nervously. “Why didn’t I just accio the beans down?!”

Carmilla looked to be considering that and started to laugh, immediately stopping when Laura’s head collided with the rock face. “Owww!” Laura cried out.

“Laura, be careful!” Carmilla said urgently, grabbing her foot and then her shin as she descended nearer to her until Laura reached the ground.

That really hurt.” Laura said, covering her forehead with her hand.

“Move your hand, let me see.“ Carmilla said, batting her hand away.

There was already a bump appearing on her brow. Carmilla grumbled angrily, “You’re going to have a hell of a bruise.” She said rubbing her thumb over it making Laura wince away.

“Are you okay?” Carmilla was cupping her face between her hands now, looking into her eyes with concern.

“Yes, I’m absolutely fine.” Laura answered, trying to move away, feeling embarrassed now. “I’ve done a lot worse during quidditch.”

“Maybe we should go see Madam Pomfrey, just to make sure.” Carmilla said reluctantly dropping her hands.

“No! No way. I am fine.” Laura said with finality. 

Carmilla still looked concerned for a moment before she nodded and then spoke, “Okay, well I can get the squill bulb and the asphodel from the greenhouses, so let's get you back up to the castle.”

“You don’t even take Herbology, how are you going to do that?” Laura asked, feeling confused.

“I have my ways. I’ll acquire them by Monday, don't worry about it, Cupcake.” She grasped Laura’s arm, leading her towards the direction of the castle.

“Carmilla you don’t have to follow me all the way to Gryffindor tower, I feel fine.” Laura said turning to face Carmilla as she followed her up the grand staircase.

“The last thing we need is you falling off the edge of a moving staircase to your death.” Carmilla spoke.

Laura stopped again as the staircase started to move, “You literally cannot die falling off these stairs, there’s a cushioning charm in place.” Laura said irritably.

“Shhh, try not to talk, you’re not making sense.” Carmilla mocked her.

“Carm, I feel fine!” Laura moaned.

Carmilla followed Laura all the way up to the seventh floor, “You can go now, I think I can make it through the portrait hole by myself.” Laura turned to her.

She nodded, “Okay if you're sure but if you start feeling nauseous or woozy I sugge-”

“I haven’t got concussion, Carmilla. I. Am. Okay... I’ll see you tomorrow.” Laura interrupted with frustration.

“Okay.” Carmilla nodded and made to leave. 

“Carm…” Laura said, she turned to look at her again, just as Laura wrapped her arms around her in a tight hug.

“Thank you.” She said into the collar of her robes.

“No problem, Cupcake.” Carmilla said, awkwardly bringing her arms around Laura’s waist, a half smile on her face.

After a moment Laura took a small step back to look at her, “Bye.” She said turning around quickly and practically running up the corridor away from Carmilla. 

Laura entered the common room, eyes scanning the faces of those present, why were people staring at her; she had only banged her head. No big deal. She spotted LaF at the table working.

“Hi.” She said collapsing in the chair next to them with a sigh.

“Hel- what in Merlin’s beard happened to you?!” LaF asked looking at the dark bruise now emerging on Laura’s brow.

“Oh that, just knocked my head.” Laura said, casually shrugging it off.

“Did Carmilla do that?” LaF asked glancing around, keeping their voice low and serious.

“Whaaa-no of course not!” Laura defended her. “I hit my head off a rock by the lake, that’s all!”

“Laura…what are you wearing?” LaF asked, eyes wide, their focus had now shifted to the scarf still wrapped around Laura’s neck.

Oh crap.” Laura said quickly pulling it off and hiding the scarf beneath her robe, that’s why people were staring at me! She thought.

“Carm let me borrow her scarf when I got cold.” Laura said, feeling the need to suddenly explain herself.

A cheeky grin appeared on LaF’s face, “Oh, is that right?” They said raising an eyebrow at Laura. “How kind of her.”

Laura felt the blush rising in her cheeks, she stood. “Think I’ll just go on up to bed, feeling a little sleepy.” She said.

She took the stairs up to the dormitory, sat on the edge of her bed, unclasping her robe so it fell to the bed behind her and held Carmilla’s scarf in her hand. It was worn as if she’d had it a long time, the green color not as dark as it once had been. Laura brought the scarf up to her nose, the scent was now fairly familiar to her, a smell she recognized as Carmilla’s.

“Really Laura?” LaFontaine was in the doorway, leaning up against the frame, grinning massively but also looking somewhat shocked. “When you’re smelling their belongings I think it's time to admit your feelings.”

Laura flushed red and lay back on her bed with a deep sigh. “It’s not like that, LaF, we’re barely even friends.”

 They shook their head, ”Of course.”

Chapter Text

Laura hurried into the great hall, late to breakfast as always, only this time she at least had a reason. The bruise on her forehead was looking brutal she had been trying to find a potion or spell that might help make it less noticeable. Not that she really cared that much for her appearance, it was the constant questions she was trying to avoid. 

It took all of 5 seconds after sitting at the table for Danny to speak up, “Laura, what happened to your head?!”

She knew Danny was just concerned for her but Laura felt like rolling her eyes. “I banged my head on a rock, I’m fine. It looks worse than it is.” She repeated for the twelfth time that morning in a dull tone.

“That looks bad, Laura, did you go to the hospital wing?” Danny asked, Laura really couldn’t appreciate Danny’s concern.

“No, there’s nothing wrong with me. I didn’t need to go to the hospital wing. Come on, you’d know I’ve dealt with a lot worse from quidditch.” She reasoned.

Danny looked to be considering that, “Yeah… I guess you have, it just look’s sore that’s all.”

As breakfast came to an end, Danny and Laura rose from the bench together, heading towards the exit. “No, Danny - Carmilla did care, in fact she walked me all the way back up to Gryffindor tower.”

Danny seemed surprised and then nodded, wrapping an arm around Laura as they walked in a sort of half hug, “Good I’m glad, I was going to have words with her about this.”

Laura laughed, elbowing her playfully, “As if I would let you do that.”

They reached the main hall leading towards the grand staircase; Danny had made some offhand comment about Laura’s size, “Danny, I’m actually pretty sure I grew a little over the summer!”

“Really? You look a little shorter to me, Cupcake.” Carmilla was leaning against the stone railing of the stairs near the bottom as Laura and Danny approached.

“Hi, Carm.” Laura grinned at her.

Carmilla did not smile back; she was looking at Danny with a something akin to disgust gracing her face. She looked her up and down and Danny, whose hand was still grasping Laura’s shoulder, appeared to do the same.

 Carmilla moved away from the stairs and approached Laura’s side, “I brought you this, it’s a healing potion - murtlap essense.” She said, offering Laura a small bottle. “It should help with your head.”

 “Thank you.” Laura said in surprise, they looked at each other for a moment, their hands touched as Laura reached for the bottle.

 A squeeze on Laura’s shoulder drew her attention away from Carmilla, “Shall I walk you to transfiguration?” Danny asked, looking down at Laura.

 “What? Oh…um no it’s okay, I’ll just go with Carm, it’s out of your way anyway.” Laura replied.

 Danny looked hurt, “…But I always walk you to your first lesson.”

 “Cupcake, let’s go, we’re going to be late.” Carmilla interrupted.

 Danny scowled at Carmilla again but this time Danny only received a smile from her, this appeared to make her angrier. Her arm dropped from around Laura’s shoulder.

 “I’ll see you at lunch.” Danny spoke to Laura before turning and striding away.

 Laura looked to the Slytherin, “Thank you for this.” She said, holding up the bottle as they started to ascend the stairs together.

 “No problem, Cupcake.”

 “Oh! Here’s your scarf! Thanks by the way for letting me just wonder into the common room wearing it.” Laura said sarcastically, as she pulled it from her bag.

 Carmilla chuckled, “Oh, no problem.”

 They sat down together in Transfiguration; this was new, they never sat together in transfiguration.

 “So, what is this stuff?” Laura asked, opening the bottle and smelling the contents.

 “Murtlap essense. It will help, trust me.” Carmilla pulled a hanky from her bag and grabbed the bottle from under Laura’s nose. She poured a little of the yellowy liquid onto it.

 “Okay, now we just need to…” She moved closer to Laura and began dabbing the cloth at the bruise on Laura’s head, looking at her with complete concentration.

 “Ow.” Laura said, amused.

 “Keep still.” Carmilla smiled in return but grasped Laura’s chin with her other hand.

 “Carm, my face is feeling a little numb, is that normal?” Laura asked after a moment.

 Carmilla nodded, “I believe so…there, you’ll be back to perfect in no time.”

 Neither of them moved, “Thanks,” Laura murmured quietly.

 She has the most attractive eyes, Laura thought. She pushed her lip between her teeth fearing she may speak, Laura had a tendency to say stupid things at the wrong time.

 Carmilla, whose hand was still grasping Laura’s chin pulled Laura’s lower lip from between her teeth with her thumb, looking at Laura’s mouth intently. Laura couldn’t breathe, what was happening?

 “Girls!” Both Laura and Carmilla jumped back from one another as a hand came down on the desk in front of them.

 “Would it be okay if we got on with my lesson now?” Professor McGonagall was staring them down.

 Laura flushed a deep red as she realized every eye in the classroom was on them. She nodded silently. Carmilla on the other hand had taken to just staring down at the desk.

 “Good.” McGonagall said angrily, although Laura noted a small smile on her face just before she turned to head back to the front.

*

 “So, why can’t I just add the aconite at the same time as the bat wing?” Laura asked, glancing up at Carmilla from the book she was reading.

 “…Because that would infuse with the nightshade and produce a poisonous gas that would kill you in a matter of seconds.” Carmilla answered, not even looking up from her parchment as she scribbled.

 They had a study period this afternoon; they were working together in the library, this was slowly becoming the norm for them both.

 “Oh…” Laura smiled, “Well good thing you know that, I’d have probably done it.”

 “I wouldn’t have let you, besides Slughorn wouldn’t give you both of the ingredients at the same time.” Carmilla reassured her with a smile, before going back to work.

 Laura turned to the window and stared out at the overcast sky, she placed her head in her hand and spoke reluctantly, “I better go soon, I’ve got quidditch practice before dinner.”

 “How’s that going, team captain?” Carmilla paused.

 Laura frowned, “Well, we’re on better ground than we were this time last year. We’ve got some fresh team members, we just need the practice.”

 “It’s Slytherin versus Gryffidor in a couple weeks, you’d better be ready for us.” Carmilla smirked.

 “Oh, we will be.” Laura sneered, poking Carmilla in the arm.

 They gazed at each other for a moment before Laura abruptly stood, “See you later.” Carmilla only nodded in return and watched as Laura hurried out of sight. 

*

 Laura addressed the team as they landed on the pitch as practice came to an end. “If we play like we just did in our first game, we will have a fair chance as long as Slytherin play fair.”

 “And that’s not likely to happen is it.” LaF spoke up.

 “Well… we’re faster this season - they can’t fowl us if they can’t catch us.” Laura said cheerfully, hoping the encouragement would help team morale.

 “I think if we fit in as much practice as we can, we can keep up this good thing we’ve got going. Lets all meet again in a few days.” Laura finished, the team started to trek back to the changing room.

 Danny stayed back to help Laura carry the ball chest back inside. “So, do you really think we can beat Slytherin?” Danny asked, most probably just making conversation.

 “Well…I hope so, if I can catch the snitch early on we won’t have to face as much trouble.”

 “Yeah, but you’ve also got to catch it before Karnstein does.” Danny frowned.

 Laura and Carmilla were fairly even in their amount of wins against each other, Carmilla only led because Laura was knocked unconscious last year during their final game.

 “True but I’ll give it the best I’ve got.” Laura smiled at her.

*

 “…Although you have to admit, I saved what…80% of the shots out there today? That’s definite improvement.” LaF spoke to Laura and Danny as they sat together on the comfy chairs in the common room that evening.

 Laura nodded, “I’ve never seen you play better, LaF, you’ve just got to do it when it counts.”

 They soon rose from their chairs one by one to head upstairs for bed. Laura, the last to go to bed, lay back on her four-poster. She knew sleep would not come yet; she had too much on her mind. Worrying about Gryffindor’s chances at quidditch for one but most of all she was thinking of Carmilla. She was confused, for the past six years she had only ever thought of Carmilla with a feeling of absolute loathing…but now… Laura shook her head and rubbed at her tired eyes. She didn’t know what to think. How could someone suddenly change so much?

 She breathed out a sigh, reached over to pull the red curtain across the bed when a movement caught her eye.

 She sat up, focusing her attention on the window, when a tapping sounded. Laura stood and approached; there was an owl, large, sleek and black. It looked like a rather mean looking owl to her.

 When she opened the window; the owl flew into the room and dropped down on her bedside table. There was a letter attached to its leg.

 “Hi.” Laura whispered at the owl, trying not to wake her sleeping dorm mates. “Are you looking for me?” Laura rarely ever received mail from owls and she had certainly never seen this owl before now.

 The owl just gave a small hoot and held its leg in the air. Laura reached and unclasped the letter from the owl’s leg. She sat down on her bed, as the owl gave another hoot, looking at her with expectant eyes.

 “I haven’t anything to give you…I don’t even own an owl.”

 The owl gave an exasperated sounding hoot before flapping its wings and disappearing out of the window.

 She looked down at the letter; it was just a folded piece of parchment. She unraveled it, glancing down at the neat penmanship.

 Meet me at the astronomy tower tonight midnight – C

 Laura read the note a few times over, had the owl made a mistake? Was this really meant for her? The only C that Laura thought might send this note was Carmilla. Why would she want to meet her at the astronomy tower in the middle of the night?

 Oh no, what if it’s a trap and she’s going to push you off the edge? What if she turns up with a gang of slytherin cronies? This was a bad idea; Laura didn’t know whether she could trust Carmilla.

 On the other hand, she couldn’t just leave her and not show up. She was also far too intrigued to do anything else. She definitely couldn’t sleep after a note like this. Laura made up her mind. She glanced over at LaF’s bedside clock; she had a little under an hour before she would have to leave. She read the note again; the handwriting did seem familiar.

 She prepared herself to sneak out, slipped on her shoes and a hoodie over her giraffe pajamas; she imagined it wasn’t going to be too warm at the top of the astronomy tower. She made her move at 11.45; she had never snuck out this late before and had never gone alone. She had snuck out with LaF a few times to visit Hagrid, not exactly the most exciting of adventures.

 Luckily for Laura the journey to the tower shouldn’t take too long, she imagined Carmilla would have the most difficulty sneaking around without getting caught coming all the way to the tallest tower from the dungeons.

 She made her way along the seventh floor corridor without much difficulty; the halls were deserted apart from a ghost, which traveled through the wall right in front of her. Laura froze but the ghost seemed not to notice her and was gone within a few seconds.

 She hurried the rest of the way, relaxing as she reached the bottom of the tower and began the laborious ascent to the top.

Upon reaching the highest point, she pushed open the door to find the space deserted. She slowly walked across the wooden floor into the room. She turned to look behind her. Definitely no one here... maybe this was a bad idea.

 A light above her caught her eye; she walked over to the railing surrounding the tower that looked out over the grounds for miles around. The moon was full, shining brightly against the black night. Laura had never seen the moon so large before; it was a stunning sight to behold. The reflection of the moon was mirrored in the water of the black lake below almost perfectly, making it look as if there two moons.

Laura had no idea how long she had been staring at this sight before she felt a hand grasping her shoulder. She jumped in fright before Carmilla joined her at the railing looking up into the dark sky.

 “It’s breathtaking isn’t it?” Carmilla said, smiling.

 Laura nodded and then whispered, “You frightened me.”

Carmilla looked over at her, then wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave Laura a little squeeze, almost way of an apology before dropping her arm.

 “You got my owl then.” Carmilla presumed.

 “I did, I wasn’t sure whether to come though.” Laura spoke honestly.

 “Why?” Carmilla asked.

 Laura shrugged, “It’s kind of an unusual request, I wasn’t sure it was even you.”

 “Well, I’m glad you’re here.” Carmilla smiled at her and then glanced down at her pajama pants, covered in little giraffes.

 “Nice, pajamas.” She teased her.

 Laura noted that Carmilla was wearing black jeans and a black hoodie, looking completely normal.

 Laura just shook her head at Carmilla’s comment, “What are we doing up here anyway?”

 “I like it here.” Carmilla said, leaning on the railing. “Besides did you really want to miss out on that?” She pointed up at the moon.

 “Well… I guess it is kinda cool.” Laura reasoned.

 “I adore the stars.” Carmilla gazed out.

 “Why don’t you study astronomy then?”

 Carmilla didn’t answer, her expression dropped to a frown. She rose upright and moved closer to Laura almost looking over her shoulder, she grabbed her wrist and then her hand pulling it up in the air making a pointer with Laura’s index finger.

 “You see that star?” She asked, pointing Laura’s finger into the sky.

 “Um…yes.” Laura whispered, her finger was pointing at a rather shiny looking star but she wasn’t really focusing on the star at all.

 “That is brightest star in the sky, it’s called Sirius A or the Dog star.” Carmilla whispered.

 Carmilla moved Laura’s hand to another star. “…And that one?”

 Laura nodded again and then Carmilla moved Laura’s hand along a series of stars in the sky making up a pattern. “That is the constellation of Andromeda, it’s one of my favorites. This is the most perfect time of year to see it,” Carmilla spoke quietly.

 Their hands dropped down to the railing in front of them but Carmilla did not let go of Laura’s hand but she brought her other hand up to grasp Laura’s hand in both of hers.

 “Why didn’t you choose to study astronomy?” Laura asked again.

 Carmilla thought about that for a moment before she spoke, “I had to choose the subjects my mother wanted me to study. I’m following my mother’s plan for my future.” Carmilla took a deep breath and then released it.

 “Why did you take potions when you’re abysmal at it?” Carmilla asked in return.

 Laura smiled, “Oh, I need it if I ever want to become an auror one day.”

 “An auror? Okay...” Carmilla frowned; she seemed to be considering that.

 “What?” Laura asked, suddenly anxious.

 “Nothing, just didn’t know you were considering that.” Carmilla replied.

 “It was the only thing I’ve ever thought of doing. Professor Cochrane told me I would make a good auror because I excelled so much at defense against the dark arts.” She shrugged, “To be honest, I've never really given it much thought.”

 Carmilla nodded.

 “What do you want to do?” Laura was intrigued.

 “I don’t have much of a choice. I will join my mother at the ministry.”

 "But... you don’t have to do that. What does your mother do?”

 “She’s an unspeakable.” Carmilla looked at her.

 “What’s an unspeakable?” Laura asked moving closer.

 “She works in the department of mysteries.”

 “Oh…but isn’t that all confidential?”

“Exactly, I literally have no idea what I’ll be walking into.” Carmilla sounded defeated.

 “Well you can do whatever you want, Carm,” Laura said confused.

 "No, actually I can't. I do everything my mother tells me to do. That’s just how it is. I asked the sorting hat to put me in Slytherin because it is what my mother wished and I thought it would make her proud.”

 “What?! You asked the hat?” That perplexed Laura, someone asking to placed in Slytherin on purpose?

 Carmilla just chuckled.

 “What house were you meant to be in?” Laura had to know.

 Carmilla just shrugged, “Um…Ravenclaw maybe, I’m not sure - I didn’t really give the hat an option.”

 Laura just shook her head in shock.

 Carmilla chuckled again as she looked at her, “Its not all that bad Laura, Slytherin house is not all wickedness and wrongdoers. Do I strike you as a particularly bad person?” She raised an eyebrow at her.

 “Well I suppose…not anymore.” Laura replied.

 “What does that mean?” Carmilla frowned.

 “To be fair Carmilla you used to terrorize me.” Laura responded.

 “Come on Cupcake, it was never that bad, I mean yes, you were a little annoying but I didn’t hate you.” Carmilla reasoned with her.

 “What about the time you locked me in the girls bathroom with Moaning Myrtle in first year?”

 Carmilla looked confused for a moment and then she smiled.

 “Oh…” she let go of Laura’s hand and brushed her hair away from her face, “Well, I overheard Ignatious McCarth saying he was going to curse you because you beat him in a flying lesson or something. So I followed you and when he showed up I just sort of… shoved you in the girls bathroom because I thought he wouldn’t follow you in there.” She paused and took a breath, while Laura stared at her in confusion.

 “…And then I basically ended up cursing McCarth and I was sent to Professor McGonagall. That was the first detention I ever got.” Carmilla said that as if she was thinking of the memory quite fondly.

 “Oh…” Laura didn’t know what to say, if this was true she had actually helped her. “Well… thanks I guess. I had no idea. This whole time I thought you were just being mean.”

 “And what about that time you cursed me with that leg locker curse in Herbology?”

 “What?! That wasn’t me!” Carmilla defended herself, “Although…it was pretty funny, I’ll admit.” She smiled as Laura frowned.

 “What about that time you grabbed the end of my broom during that flying lesson? I broke my arm you know.” Laura said grabbing at her arm as if memory of the event brought back the pain.

 Carmilla expression turned guilty, “I’m sorry about that Laura but I saved you from going straight into the castle wall so technically it could have been a lot worse.” Carmilla reasoned with her.

 “So, if what you say is true-“ Laura began.

 “It is.” Carmilla interrupted.

 “What you’re saying is you didn’t hate me all this time?” Laura asked in bewilderment.

 “Well I didn’t exactly like you but I never intentionally did anything to hurt you.” Carmilla smiled at her.

 “Wow, all this time I thought you had it in for me…” Laura laughed, “I actually thought you brought me up here to throw me over the edge!”

 “What!?” Carmilla laughed.

 “So…friends?” Laura asked, holding out her hand for Carmilla to shake.

 She rolled her eyes but reached for Laura’s hand nonetheless. “I thought we already were, Cupcake.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, try again.” They were back in the unused classroom; Laura was helping Carmilla with expelliarmus. She could definitely do the spell correctly…maybe 1 out of 3 tries. 

“Can we do something else now…this is killing me.” Carmilla smiled at Laura, who found herself almost giving in to her charms.

Laura looked away from her for a moment to clear her head, “No Carmilla, you’ve barely improved. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t work on it.” Laura tried to reason with her.

Carmilla huffed a sigh but pointed her wand at Laura and said the spell. Nothing happened.

“Carm, remember what I said, you need to move your wand like this.” Laura approached her and grabbed the hand clutching her wand. She moved Carmilla’s wand in a flicking motion. 

“Do you get it?” Laura looked at Carmilla; who was already looking at her.

“What?" 

“The spell - do you understand it now?” Laura asked, was she even listening at all?

“Yeah sure.” Carmilla shrugged and Laura started to move away.

“Actually could you show me just one more time?” Carmilla smirked at her.

Laura rolled her eyes and smiled but went back to Carmilla’s side, “Like this, okay?” Laura repeated the motion, holding Carmilla’s hand.

“Okay…think I’ve got it now.” Carmilla whispered next to her.

Laura just nodded and moved to stand opposite Carmilla with her wand raised. They looked at each other for a moment before Carmilla raised her wand, flicked her wrist and said, “Expelliarmus.”

Laura’s wand flew from her hand and landed on the floor in between them.

“Yes! Perfect! Now you just need to be able to do that every single time!” Laura beamed at her, then quickly snatched her wand up from the floor and stood ready again.

Expelliarmus.” Laura’s wand flew through the air again.

 “I think you’re finally getting the hang of this, Carm!” Laura said feeling relieved.

Carmilla was able to knock Laura’s wand from her hand another 6 times in a row. 

“I can do it.” Carmilla laughed almost in disbelief, performing the spell again with success. 

Laura grinned and walked back across the room to stand in front of her, picking up her wand along the way, “I knew you could do it. You just give up too easily sometimes.”

“You’re one to talk. You need to stop using me and work on your potions.”

Laura blushed and looked guilty but then pouted, “But I hate potions, Carm.” She almost sounded like a spoilt child.

Carmilla raised an eyebrow and folded her arms, looking at Laura judgingly.

“Really, Cupcake? That’s not going to work on me. I’m not going to be there to help you in the exam.” 

Laura took a step closer, still looking at Carmilla with a sad expression, “Yes but for now…I still have you.” She reached up and twirled a piece of Carmilla’s hair around her finger.

Carmilla stared at her for a long moment, then she sighed and closed her eyes, “We are going to work on it at some point, don’t think we’re not.”

Laura beamed at her and then before Carmilla knew what was happening, Laura had pulled her in for a hug, wrapping her arms around her waist.

Carmilla hugged her back, “Thanks… for helping me with the spell.” Carmilla said a little awkwardly.

Laura pulled away to look up at Carmilla, “No problem, it's what this whole study buddy thing is all about, right?”

They were quiet for a moment.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Carmilla asked, changing the subject.

The first quidditch game of the season was tomorrow, Gryffindor versus Slytherin.

Laura nodded, “Slytherin don’t stand a chance.” She said confidently but Carmilla laughed.

“You’re lying to me.” Carmilla whispered.

“What? No, I’m not.” Laura lied.

Carmilla shook her head, “Laura, you always fiddle with your wand when you’re anxious or lying. Just like you’re doing right now.”

Laura frowned and pocketed her wand in her robes. “I’m not lying.” Laura said irritated.

“That blush is telling a different story.” Carmilla whispered gazing at her with a smile.

Laura sighed in defeat, looking at Carmilla for a few moments more before she spoke, “Let’s go, you’re trying to mess with my head.”

Carmilla laughed, “I was not.” 

Laura lead the team from the changing rooms, in their gold and red robes, brooms by their sides. She turned to face them when they reached the large door, which would soon open to reveal the quidditch pitch and the surrounding crowds.

“This is it guys, it’s time to pay slytherin back for what they did to us last year.” Laura said confidently as the doors opened behind her and the sound of cheering filled their ears. Laura stood aside to allow the team to file out before her.

LaF, who was at the back, stopped momentarily before mounting their broom, ”Try and catch that snitch before all hell breaks loose.” Laura just smiled and nodded and then LaF was gone. 

Laura mounted her own broom and took off from the ground out on the pitch. She circled the pitch a couple times to get her bearings before taking her position in her air in the middle of the pitch opposite where Carmilla would soon be.

 Laura watched as the teams began to gather in a large circle, Laura spotted Carmilla flying down to join them. They made eye contact almost immediately and Carmilla smiled. Laura couldn’t really help but smile back even though she didn’t want to. Laura hadn’t even realized the snitch had been released until the gold blur flew passed her field of vision, breaking her eye contact with Carmilla.

 She looked down just in time to see the Madam Hooch throw the quaffle into the air and the game began. Laura moved aside quickly trying not get caught in the fight for the quaffle. She rose steadily into the air, eyes already on the look out for the golden snitch.

 She watched the game from above for a few moments, before she found herself being joined by Carmilla, neither of them spoke just watched the chasers below.

Danny grabbed the quaffle, flew towards the hoops and then a roar of cheering sounded from the spectators as the commentator spoke, “Ten points for Gryffindor!”

Laura cheered and clapped for her team and started waving her arms around, doing a little dance.

“What are you doing?” Carmilla was laughing at her.

“We’re winning!” Laura beamed and then cheered again when she realized Gryffindor had scored yet again. 

She laughed a little deliriously but Carmilla just shook her head and smiled at her.

”Laura, you do know you also have a role to play on this team right?” Carmilla asked moving closer to her on her broom so they were side by side by that neither of them would have to shout.

“Do you know that?” Laura asked in return.

“Where is the snitch though?” Laura asked glancing around and not spotting it as Carmilla shrugged. 

“Can’t say I’ve been looking for it.” Carmilla replied, smiling at her.

They both began the watch the game unfolding below them once more; Laura booed when a Slytherin chaser kicked one of her players but cheered when they were granted a penalty throw to Barnett.

Laura was clapping and cheering when the Gryffindors were 30 points up.

“Laura, look out!” Carmilla grabbed Laura, pulling her head down close to her into her shoulder so the bludger coming right towards her flew over their heads. Laura had to grab a hold of Carmilla to stay up right on her broom so they ended up sort of hugging each other in the air.

Laura regained her balance and pulled away from Carmilla slightly to look at her. “Thanks.” She said trying to comprehend what had just happened, “You’re not meant to save me, Carm.”

The commentators voice rang throughout the pitch, “Has the Slytherin seeker just helped the Gryffindor seeker?” They bellowed, all eyes were on them.

They slowly released each other, “No problem, Cupcake, I want a fair fight, not another easy win.” She said, shrugging.

“Right yeah, of course.” Laura said, nodding.

Just then a blur of gold flew right past them, they made eye contact for a second before they both made their move. Instinct took over and Laura shot after the snitch with Carmilla on her tail no doubt but she didn’t have time to look back. The golden snitch seemed to pick up pace as if it knew the chase was on. Laura blocked out the rest of the game, eye on the snitch as she closed in on it.

Her hand reached out, she was inches away from the prize, when another hand is reaching alongside hers. Laura noted the chipped black nail polish of Carmilla’s hand as she equalised with her.

Laura looked over at her, she will not let her take this win from within her grasp. She began to bat at Carmilla’s hand with her own, smiling when heard Carmilla’s chuckle. Then Carmilla swiped at Laura’s hand and then they both started giggling and batting each others hands away from the snitch.

They made eye contact, someone has to win here, ”Carm, what th-” and then Carmilla is gone. Laura pulled up on her broom in confusion, slowing down. The snitch disappearing from sight once more. Where had Carmilla gone?

She glanced around, she’s not here anywhere. She looked down at the ground, Laura could just make out Carmilla’s lifeless form flat out on the pitch below.

Laura took a deep breath and took off fast for the ground, forgetting the game.

“Carm!” She shouted as her feet hit the ground nearby, there was no response, she approached, fell to her knees and shook her shoulders - no response.

Laura was suddenly forced aside as members of staff gathered around to tend to Carmilla. She watched helplessly, as Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey and others arriving at the scene began to help.

Laura wasn’t sure what had even happened, “What happened to her?” Laura shouted. 

“Bludger hit her, she fell about 50 feet, she’ll be okay I suspect.” Madam Pomfrey responded as Carmilla suddenly rose from the ground and began to float along as if invisible hands were carrying her.

Laura ran to catch up, “I want to go with her!” Professor McGonagall turned and raised her hand at Laura to stop her.

“Miss Hollis, You are captain of the Gryffindor team. You will win this game without a doubt. Are you really walking away? If you leave the pitch Gryffindor will immediately forfeit the game. You do not have a choice.”

Laura looked up - the game was still in play. There was a blur of red and green players flying around the pitch above her. What had she been thinking? She couldn’t let her team down. She was the Captain!

She watched with guilt as the procession slowly led Carmilla off the pitch and out of sight. Then she mounted her broom once more and reluctantly took to the air once more in search of the snitch to finish this game as soon as possible. 

*

Laura did not join her team in the changing room or cheer along with them in their celebrations. As soon as she caught the snitch and the game was over, Laura left to head back up to the castle with the crowds in search of Carmilla.

She saw her as soon as she entered the hospital wing, asleep on one of the beds, Madam Pomfrey was pottering around near by. “Is she okay?” Laura asked as she approached.

“She’ll be absolutely fine, Miss Hollis, no need to worry.” Madam Pomfrey said, coming to stand next to her. “I have to say though, this is the first time I’ve seen a player from the opposite team show so much concern for another player.”

Laura blushed, “Well I just wanted to make sure she was okay.” Laura mumbled, looking at Carmilla’s sleeping face. She was still wearing her full quidditch robes, as was Laura.

She grabbed a chair, took off her robe and sat, she decided she would wait for Carmilla to wake up. Some time past and Laura felt a hand on her shoulder. LaFontaine was here, holding up a plate with a sandwich.

Laura took the plate, “Thanks, LaF.” She said with a smile.

“How is she?” LaF asked, peering down at Carmilla.

Laura shrugged, “Madam Pomfrey said she would be fine.”

“Oh, that’s okay then.” LaF said, smiling at Laura, “See ya later, L. “ They said before they strolled off.

It took maybe another hour before Carmilla’s nose started to twitch and her head started to move. Laura sat up and grabbed at her hand. Carmilla started to slowly open her eyes. After a moment or so she focused on Laura and then she seemed to regain her memories. She brought the hand that Laura was not holding up to wipe her eyes and grip the bridge of her nose. 

“Oh god… What happened? Tell me it's not embarrassing.” Carmilla said, her voice was all husky with sleep.

 Laura smiled and leaned closer to her, “You were hit by a bludger.”

 "We lost then, I take it.”

 Laura did not respond for a moment, “Well when you fell I went after you to make sure you were okay. I was going to leave the pitch with you but McGonagall told me Gryffindor would automatically forfeit the game. I didn’t really have much of a choice.” She shrugged. “So much for a fair fight, eh?” Laura said, gripping Carmilla’s hand tighter as they made eye contact.

 “You went after me? Why?" 

“I had to make sure you were okay…” Laura said with concern.

“Just a bludger to the head, it’s not that bad.” Carmilla attempted a joke, slowly starting to sit up.

“I’m glad you’re okay, Carm.” Laura said and they stared at each other before Laura continued, “I’ll just go… grab Madam Pomfrey and tell her you’re awake.” She got up quickly and disappeared. 

Laura stayed with Carmilla for the rest of the day, even when her Slytherin teammates showed up to see her. They didn’t even seem to care about what had happened to Carmilla, they actually moaned at her for getting hit by the bludger.

“It’s okay Laura, that’s just what they’re like.” Carmilla reassured her with a smile when she attempted to stand up for her and Madam Pomfrey had to ask her slytherin team mates to leave the hospital wing.

Laura missed dinner but LaF brought dessert to Laura who only ate a few bites of the cake before meeting Carmilla’s sad eyes and giving up the cake to her. Not long after that Madam Pomfrey gave Carmilla the all clear and she was free to leave the hospital wing.

They left together and Laura told Carmilla once again that she was glad she was okay before giving her a hug and heading off in the direction of the Gryffindor tower. When Laura made it back, the common room was almost empty and most had already gone to bed. Laura gave LaF a wave when she entered the dorm as they looked up from their book.

“She’s fine, she’s left the hospital wing now,” Laura whispered to LaF who just smiled and returned their eyes to their book.

Laura made her way down to the great hall for breakfast the next morning, later than normal but it didn’t matter on a Sunday anyway. Danny was leaning on the wall outside the great hall.

When she saw Laura, she rose from her position and approached, “Hi, Danny.”

Laura smiled at her, giving her a small wave before she came and stood directly in front of her, towering right over so Laura had to look right up to see her face.

Danny looked annoyed, Laura noted.

“What the hell, Laura?” Danny said, very obviously angry. Oh no.

“Sorry… what?” Laura asked in confusion.

“What happened yesterday? We almost forfeited the game because of you! And you’re meant to be the team captain? Where did you go yesterday, you didn’t even come to the celebration?!” Danny yelled angrily.

“We won, Danny, what’s the big deal?” Laura tried to reason with her.

“The big deal is that you don’t seem to care about the team! What’s going on with you and Carmilla anyway? I thought you hated her!”

“Danny, there’s nothing going on, we’re just studying together, I mean, it’s not like I had a choice in the matter. We’re partners, do you really think I would have chosen to be friends with her?”

Laura didn’t see Carmilla on the stairs, listening to every word she had said. She also did not see Carmilla shake her head and stalk away off towards the Slytherin dungeons.

Laura took a deep breath before she continued; “Besides, I was really wrong about her, she’s caring and kind and…well, Carmilla’s actually a great friend.” Laura finished, nodding to herself.

“She’s a Slytherin, Laura.” Danny said with disgust.

“Danny, you have no idea what you’re saying… that means nothing!” Laura could feel anger rising within her.

“Laura I think you need to be careful, do you not remember how she’s treated you all this time?”

“I was wrong, Danny. I was so wrong!”

“Laura, this is Carmilla Karnstein we’re talking about…”

“I know that! Do you not think I know that?!” Laura said assertively, “Danny… I would appreciate it if you just…left me alone for a while, okay?” She said moving away from Danny and into the hall.

*

At lunch, Laura went in search of Carmilla, she hadn’t seen her all day, she hoped she was okay.

She couldn’t find her in the hall, she definitely wasn’t in the library and she wasn’t in the abandoned classroom they practiced in either. Laura approached the entrance of what she knew was the Slytherin dungeons and lingered. She watched as students came and went but she didn’t see Carmilla.

Laura stood when a girl she recognized in her year appeared, “Hey, have you seen Carmilla? Is she in there?” Laura gestured down the corridor towards the Slytherin common room 

The girl frowned at her, “Yeah she’s in there…”

“Could you…um…Would you mind just going in there and asking for her to come out?” Laura stuttered.

The girl turned on her heel and walked back down the corridor and out of sight. Laura waited, 5 minutes passed and nothing. She started pacing back and forth. Then the girl returned, “I won’t repeat what she said because I’m not sure I could pronounce half the words but she said no."

Laura frowned, confused, “Is she okay?”

“I dunno what you did Hollis but she is not in a good mood. I’d definitely give her some space if I were you.” The slytherin girl said with a sneer before she walked away.

Laura was confused; she hadn’t done anything wrong had she? Her and Carmilla were on good terms last night when she had said good night. She’d stayed by her side all day in the hospital wing.

Laura took a slow walk back up to Gryffindor tower; she was at a complete loss as to what could have happened.

She hoped that Carmilla would at least go down to the great hall for dinner.

Chapter Text

Laura did not know why she felt so disappointed when she didn’t see Carmilla in the great hall at dinner. She tried to act normal, she laughed at LaFontaine’s jokes and tried to listen to the conversation at the table but her mind was elsewhere. What was wrong with Carmilla? Why didn’t she want to see her? Laura felt even worse when she tried to explain to LaF what had happened between her and Danny that morning.

Laura sat in the common room staring at the orange flames emanating from the fireplace, wondering what she had done. Her mind started to recall memories of her recent escapades with Carmilla. The night they had spent at the astronomy tower. When she had sat by Carmilla’s side all day in the hospital wing and when Carmilla took her to visit the kitchens, Laura smiled at that memory. 

A thought suddenly occurred to her. The kitchens! When Carmilla doesn’t eat in the hall she goes to the kitchens! If she’s anywhere right now, she’ll be there! Laura stood and ran for the portrait hole, not hearing LaF’s call of, “Where you going L?”

The halls were nearly deserted as the evening was starting to draw to a close, Laura ran down the stairs, up the halls, through the passageways as fast as she could. Portraits called after her, asking her to slow down or be more careful but she didn’t listen.

She arrived at the corridor she recognized as the one Carm had taken her down, she moved carefully along, looking at every painting, careful not to miss the bowl of fruit, which would be the doorway to the kitchen.

If Laura remembered correctly she needed to tickle the pear? Or was it the apple? She copied what she recalled Carmilla had done and managed to make the door handle appear. She grasped it, pulling open the door to the kitchen and taking a step inside.

Laura lingered in the doorway out of sight, she could hear Carmilla’s voice almost immediately, “…Well I obviously made a mistake…one that I will not be making again.” She sounded sad and a little angry.

“Does Miss Karnstein want more tea?” Laura heard the tiny voice of a house elf.

“Um…No thanks. I better head back anyway.” Laura caught the sound of a stool scraping along the floor. This is it, she thought, stepping into the room and taking in the sight.

As soon as she saw Carmilla she felt both better and worse, “Carm!…I found you. What’s going on? Please tell me.” Laura blurted out, stepping further in to the room. 

Carmilla looked at her in surprise momentarily, then frowned and shook her head, “Laura, why don’t you just leave me alone and go irritate your girlfriend, you’d obviously prefer that anyway.” Carmilla said as she fixed her robe and took a few steps towards her. 

“What?” Laura asked, standing in the way, glancing around and seeing a sea of house elfs bowing at her and smiling. Now is not the time guys, she thought.

Carmilla moved forwards and stepped around her, heading out of the kitchen.

“Carm, what the hell?!” Laura yelled, suddenly no longer able to hold back.

Laura followed her out into the corridor and Carmilla turned, making eye contact with her for the first time that evening. She looked mad. 

“Laura, don’t even bother.” She held her hands up; “ I heard what you said to Lawrence this morning. What was it again? You didn’t have a choice in the matter? You never would have chosen to be friends with me? Well… now I’m giving you the choice.” Carmilla said, looking at her for a moment before she turned quickly walking away.

Laura followed once again, thinking she may now finally understand what was going on. She placed her hand on Carmilla’s shoulder; she shrugged it off but turned to look at her.

“If you heard what I said this morning, you would have heard me tell Danny that I was wrong about you and that- and that… you’re actually a really great person and a- I think you’re a great friend.” Laura blushed and gave a little shrug.

“Laura, please don’t, I don’t need this – it was embarrassing enough without this- whatever this is.” Carmilla said, turning to leave once more.

“Carm, no!” Laura felt her eyes fill with tears, “Look at me please!” She pleaded.

Carmilla paused, facing away from her, Laura heard her take a deep breath, “Please, Carm.” She begged again.

 Laura took a step closer as Carmilla turned to look at her, she looked more sad than angry now. Laura very slowly brought her hands up to Carmilla’s arms. She needed to just touch her and reassure herself. Also make sure Carmilla wouldn’t try to leave again.

 “Carm…I’m so sorry about what you heard this morning but you have to know that I feel so… fortunate to have been able to get to know you.” Their eyes met, Laura felt a surge of confidence.

 “You are sweet and kind… you’re caring and thoughtful. You’re incredibly smart and charming. You’re infuriating as hell but… I wouldn’t want it any other way.” Laura smiled at her. “Not anymore.” She whispered, shaking her head.

 The corner of Carmilla’s lips turned up a little and then Laura’s smile broadened. “Car-” Laura did not have time to finish what she was saying.

 Carmilla had grabbed the collar of Laura’s shirt and brought their lips together. Laura froze in surprise, her eyes slowly falling closed and her hands coming up to grasp the back of Carmilla’s head.

 Carmilla moved to cup the sides of Laura’s face, kissing her with ferocity causing an embarrassing sound to slip from Laura’s throat. She moved closer, grabbing Carmilla’s waist and pulling them together as the kiss became more urgent. Laura’s hands came back up Carmilla’s head, grasping at her hair, running her hands through it. They kissed like this until they could no longer go without breath and they pulled apart, immediately making eye contact.

 They stared at each other for a long moment, Carmilla appeared to be completely expressionless. Laura found her eyes drawn down to Carmilla’s lips, which were looking deliciously kissable. Carmilla’s hands dropped from Laura’s face and she took a step back.

 “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She said, before turning and walking quickly away.

 Laura was stuck to the spot, her hands still hanging in the air. Wow... What had just happened? Wait, where was Carmilla going? Laura shook herself, taking a breath and regaining the use of the legs. Moving quickly round the bend in the corridor but there was no Carmilla in sight. She followed the corridor all the way to the end, she couldn't see her. Laura was startled when a voice came from nearby and she glanced up at a portrait on the wall. "She's long gone by now." Said the painted man with a smile.

Laura sighed heavily, giving up and leaning against the wall, "Thanks..." she replied in defeat. 

Chapter Text

Laura yawned, scraping her hair away from her face, she propped her head up on her hand during breakfast the next morning. It’s safe to say she hadn’t gotten much sleep last night. Even now her mind was still reeling thinking about that kiss. What did it mean? Carmilla hadn’t even seemed to acknowledge it after, she had just walked away and yet she had been the one to initiate it.

Laura had deliberately sat herself facing away from the Slytherin table this morning, that way she thought she wouldn’t be so tempted to keep looking out for Carmilla every few seconds but if anything it made the temptation worse.

“Laura, are you okay?” It was LaFontaine - they looked concerned.

Laura glanced up, remembering she was still in the great hall, with a plate of untouched breakfast in front of her. Laura picked up her fork, moving a fried egg around her plate, trying to look as casual as she could.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” She said with a shrug.

“Are you sure? You’re normally a little more chipper in the morning.” LaF asked.

“Just didn’t get much sleep last night.” Laura said, rubbing one of her eyes.

Laura followed LaF and Perry out of the hall after breakfast, “What…what do I- where am I meant to be?” She asked in confusion.

LaFontaine laughed aloud, “Wow, Laura, what’s wrong with you? Transfiguration, we’re heading to transfiguration.” They were looking at her with concern.

“Yes, that’s the one. I knew that,” Laura said with a point of her finger and then brought her hand to her face to hide yet another yawn.

Laura walked into transfiguration and sat down in her usual seat, she couldn’t help but glance around the room for Carmilla. There she was, in the corner at the front probably the furthest place she could have sat from Laura. That’s not a good sign, Laura frowned. She stared at the back of Carmilla’s head for the majority of the class after that, she didn’t turn around once and it made Laura feel queasy.

When the lesson ended Carmilla left the room so quickly that Laura never even had a chance to stand from her seat before she was gone. Laura sulked as she walked from the room; she shook her head in confusion. Carmilla would have to face her at some point; they had to work together in potions this afternoon.

Carmilla did not show up to charms class and so wasn’t there to smirk at Laura from across the room as she usually did these days. It didn’t stop Laura from thinking about her the entire time as she stared at her empty seat.

Laura tensed up when Carmilla sat down next to her in potions that afternoon. She had absolutely no idea how to treat the situation. She was relieved when Carmilla gave her a small smile even though she said nothing, opening her textbook and focusing her attention on that.

Laura just looked at her for a moment before speaking, “…Carm? um…” Laura turned to her, she wanted to address what had happened, or did she? She wasn’t sure. All she knew for sure was that she felt all awkward now and she wanted things to go back to the way they were.

Carmilla glanced up at her as she spoke; she looked so completely at ease, a little bored if anything.

Laura looked at her properly for the first time that day. She glanced down at her lips, remembering what they had felt like pressing against her own.

“The…about the…” Laura stopped, pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and then just gave up speaking entirely. 

“I’m losing interest, Cupcake, what is it?” Carmilla was almost entirely expressionless.

“Charms!…you weren’t in charms.” Laura changed her mind and tried to act as normal as she could.

What was happening? It seemed that Carmilla was just refusing to acknowledge that anything had even happened at all.

Carmilla gave a small shrug, “Charms is tedious,” before turning back to her book.

Laura nodded her head slowly, at least she’s acknowledging me, she thought.

Nothing more was said between them and Professor Slughorn began the lesson. Laura wasn’t sure whether she was happy or not about the fact that the class was not a practical one today meaning that her and Carmilla did not have to work together on anything, they were just listening and taking notes.

Laura found her eyes drawn to the Slytherin quite a lot without realizing, only once did they make eye contact and Carmilla just gave her a little smile before dipping her quill in the ink and going back to her parchment.

“…And now on to the homework from last week. Well, I have to say most of you did abysmally with the task. The only pair to actually bring all of the ingredients was… Miss Karnstein and Hollis. ” Laura perked up. 

Oh yes…the homework… the prize. Wait, had they won?

Professor Slughorn strolled over to their table, “To our winners I offer you this...”

He held up two small vials with an almost colorless liquid inside. Laura and Carmilla made confused eye contact for a second before looking back up at Slughorn.

“ This is Felix Felicis, also known as Liquid Luck.” He placed the vials on the table in front of them. “This potion makes the drinker very lucky for a short period of time, during which everything they attempt will be successful.” He said looking between them.

“Well done to you both, use it well.” He nodded at them before moving away and addressing the class to end the lesson.

Laura glanced at Carmilla, she was staring down at the glass vial in front of her and then their eyes met once more. Carmilla picked up the bottle and twirled it between her fingers.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting this…” Carmilla commented.

Laura picked up her own vial, slowly nodding her head. Liquid luck, Laura had read about this potion.

 “I’ll see you this evening, Laura.” Carmilla said, standing up and leaving quickly with the rest of the class. She’ll see me this evening? Laura supposed they were still on for their usual study session then.

*

 She had to endure endless questions at dinner about what she may do with her little vial of liquid luck but Laura had no idea herself.

“…I’m not allowed to use it during a quidditch match LaF, besides I don’t think we’ll need to. The teams already been quite lucky so far without it.” Laura said.

She was one of the last to leave the great hall that evening, word seemed to have spread at dinner of Laura’s prize and everyone was intrigued by it. She was accosted a dozen times before she made it to the entrance hall. 

She would usually have met Carmilla in the library by now, she hurried along, dipping behind a tapestry, a hidden passageway which lead to the first floor corridor.

Laura rushed along the corridor heading towards the steps up to the library corridor when Ignatious McCarth, came down the steps and started walking towards her.

She went to dodge around him, not even giving him a second thought when he moved to stand in front of her.

Laura glanced up at him confused, Ignatious McCarth was a Slytherin, he was in her year, a nasty piece of work.

“What are you-” Laura started to say.

Ignatious interrupted, “Hand over the lucky potion Hollis and me and my boy here won’t curse you.”

A Slytherin Laura recognized but did not know the name of, walked down the steps behind Ignatious.

Laura nodded, she understood what was happening now. She smiled and looked between the two of them.

“Your boy? You just let him call you his boy? Isn't that a little...” Laura stopped talking and chuckled with confidence, there’s no way these guys could touch her.

"As enlightening as this has been...” Laura said, gesturing between them, “I’m late, I gotta go.” She said, going to move around the Slytherins once more. 

Ignatious moved to stand in front of her again.

Laura huffed annoyed, “Okay, this isn’t funny, please move.”

Both of them had moved to stand infront of her now, blocking her path, Laura started to feel a little nervous. 

“Hand it over… now,” Ignatious spoke firmly, holding out his hand. Laura noticed how they were both quite a bit taller than she was.

Laura nodded and reached into her pocket, pulling out her wand at the last second, “You’ll have to fight me for it.” Laura said confidently.

If there was anything Laura could do well it was defend herself, these two wouldn’t stand a chance.

Ignatious leered at her creepily, “Okay.” He said with a sickening smile.

Laura yelped suddenly when a pair of large arms wrapped around her from behind holding her tightly.

What the- get off me!” Laura yelled.

She couldn’t move, both her arms were stuck down by her sides, who ever was behind her was squeezing her too tightly, it was painful.

“Where is it Hollis – in your bag?” Ignatious asked, his face very close to Laura’s, she could smell his vile breathe. 

“Let go of me!” Laura struggled, trying to shake them off but nothing would help.

She watched as Ignatious removed his wand and unhurriedly pointed it in her direction. His wand was literally inches away from her. She heard him mutter Stupefy before she saw a flash of red and then… she didn’t see anything at all...

Everything was black, Laura suddenly realized she could move her limbs freely again. She also realized she was lying down. What was happening? There were sounds... someone was arguing, there was shouting.

Laura felt heaviness within her chest weighing her down; she tried to open her eyes, her vision was blurred. 

Okay, Laura, pull yourself together, she thought. First of all, try and sit up. She rolled over onto her side with some effort; she realized she was holding her wand. Okay, got my wand, she reassured herself.

She blinked her vision becoming a little clearer. There was someone approaching her. Oh god, who was that? Is that McCarth? She tried to bring her wand up as some sort of defense and then someone was speaking.

“….Laura! Look at me! Are you okay?”

Carmilla? Laura thought, that sounds a lot like Carmilla.

“Okay, Laura I hope you don’t mind if I just…Rennervate!” She heard them say.

Abruptly everything started to come into focus, Laura’s vision began to clear and the heaviness she was feeling disappeared.

“Laura, it’s Carmilla.”

“Carm…” Laura said with a smile, she was feeling so tired now.

“What h-happened?” She spoke quietly.

“Those… Those lackwits…” Carmilla said but it sounded like she’d rather say something else, “...attacked you! I can’t even…” Carmilla let out an angry huff, shaking her head.

“Are you okay?” She asked, looking at Laura with concern now.

Laura sat up slowly, Carmilla was kneeling down next to her, “Yes, thank you, I’m a whole lot better.”

Carmilla brought her hands up to Laura’s shoulders, looking into her eyes.

“What did they want, Laura?” She continued to look at her carefully. “I heard them asking you for something. What did they want?” Carmilla gave her shoulder a squeeze.

Laura thought for a second, “Oh! They wanted the potion, the liquid luck.” Laura said, feeling proud of herself for remembering. 

“What?! You should have just given it to them, Laura!” Carmilla said a little angrily.

“No… I could have taken them, it... wasn’t fair –there were hands…someone grabbed me, I’m not sure.” Laura said, bringing her hand up to her head in confusion.

“Well, I made them back off. I’m sorry I didn’t manage to disarm McCarth before he stunned you Laura but at least I made them leave.” Carmilla smiled at her. 

“Thank you, Carmilla,” Laura was feeling very disorientated. She leaned her heavy head forward on Carmilla’s shoulder for support. 

“No problem, Cupcake, it’s a good thing I was there.” Carmilla said quietly.

“Why were-” Laura stopped she couldn’t think properly, what was she trying to say?

“You smell nice.”

Carmilla chuckled, “I think we need to get you to the hospital wing…”

“Smell like…” Laura moved closer bringing her face to Carmilla’s neck, “Immediately!” Carmilla spoke quickly, grabbing Laura’s arms and trying to pull her to her feet.

“Cupcake…” Carmilla moved Laura away a little so she could look at her face, “We’re going to the hospital wing…I’m going to help you get there, okay?” Laura smiled at her.

“Of course, that’s fine. You can help me any day.” Laura bopped Carmilla’s nose with her finger playfully.

Carmilla looked confused but smiled at her, “Okay… this way,” she said wrapping her arm around Laura’s waist and essentially pulling her down the corridor with her.

Laura gazed at Carmilla as they walked, “Cupcake, might be a good idea to watch where we’re going, I don’t need you going over and pulling me over with you, okay?” Carmilla urged her.

“Yesssss!” Laura gave her a thumbs up but ignored her and continued to stare at her anyway.

This made Carmilla laugh, “This situation is ridiculous.” She uttered, shaking her head.

Laura started to a laugh as well, although she wasn’t sure why. Carmilla was very beautiful when she laughed.

“Cupcake…please shush.” Camilla smiled at her, rolling her eyes..

Wait, Laura thought, had she said that out loud…she hoped she hadn’t.

“Let’s hurry up and get you to Madam Pomfrey.” Carmilla spoke into her ear.

The next thing Laura is aware of is the sound of voices; they sound...stressed. 

“No, I didn’t stun her! It was Ignatious McCarth and his senseless friends! I helped her.” She heard Carmilla speaking heatedly.

“Okay, well that’s quite enough Miss Karnstein. You can go.”

What? No! I can’t leave her. Look at her; she’s not even conscious! She needs help!” Carmilla sounded angry. “Madam Pomfrey, he was literally inches away when he stunned her. She was in a bad way, I used to the Rennervate charm and I think it helped initially but now…” Laura felt someone grab her hand. 

“Miss Karnstein, I understand your concern but Miss Hollis will be fine. She can stay here tonight but I guarantee she’ll be fine by tomorrow morning. A stunning charm just needs time to wear off. Trust me, I know what I'm doing.”

Someone breathed out a long sigh, “Okay...fine.”

The hand holding Laura’s gave her fingers a little squeeze before releasing her.

It was only a few moments before Laura found herself slipping back into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Laura squeezed her eyes tightly shut against the white brightness surrounding her. Where were the dark red curtains of her four-poster bed? She brought a hand up to her face to rub her eyes and realized she was wearing her uniform, tie and all. Where was she?

She willed her eyes to open and forced herself to sit up quickly. Oh, the hospital wing…why am I in the hospital wing? Laura glanced around in a confused state.

“Miss Hollis, how do you feel?” Laura jumped in fright; Madam Pomfrey was standing next to her bedside, nonchalantly replacing the old flowers on the nightstand with new ones.

“Um…” Laura shook her head. “Okay I guess…what happened to me?” Laura pushed her hair back from her face and pulled at her shirt and tie in an attempt to loosen them as it felt a little restricting.

“Miss Karnstein brought you in last night, a boy hit you with a stunning charm. Do you recall this?” Madam Pomfrey turned to her, grabbed Laura’s face gently and took a good look at her. Laura just sat awkwardly unmoving trying to not make eye contact with her. 

She remembered now… Ignatious McCarth and his cronies had ambushed her, Carmilla was there, she had saved her.

 Laura nodded her head, “I remember.”

“Stand.” Madam Pomfrey asked of her. Laura moved slowly to her feet and took a few steps toward the end of the bed and then turned to face the nurse.

“How do you feel now?”

“I feel fine.” Laura shrugged. 

“Okay, see how you go, Miss Hollis. Any issues - come back.” Madam Pomfrey promptly walked around her, heading for her office before turning to look at the Laura once more.

“Oh, Miss Karnstein… Carmilla is it? She was rather concerned for your wellbeing last night. I’d let her know you’re well.” Madam Pomfrey folded her arms and looked to be considering something as she looked at Laura.

“That’s a rare friendship you two have, I don’t regularly see such alliances between your houses, it’s refreshing.” She paused for a moment.

“Although I do find it odd, I seem to recall... you had an apparent dislike for Miss Karnstein last year.” Madam Pomfrey smiled.

She continued, “But… I’ve never found that Miss Karnstein had the same dislike for you.” Laura frowned at her, confused.

 Madam Pomfrey chose to elaborate, “Laura, do you remember last year when you came to the hospital wing after that dreadful quidditch final? Well, while you were sleeping Miss Karnstein came to check on you… a number of times, in fact.”

Laura wasn’t sure how to respond, “I didn't…She’s never…” She blushed.

“Make sure to thank Miss Karnstein for her kindness won’t you? Now, you’re already late for breakfast, you need to run along now.” Madam Pomfrey turned and strolled off toward her office.

Laura hurried to the Gryffindor tower to change, it was completely deserted. She made sure to hide the Felix Felicis in her trunk, that way she hopefully wouldn’t get ambushed again anytime soon. She swiftly moved and made her way down to the entrance hall hoping to at least grab a slice of toast before breakfast ended.

Carmilla…” Laura said in surprise, she was facing away from her; she appeared to be very interested in the pane glass window of the entrance hall. 

When Carmilla turned, she smiled broadly. It made Laura grin, Carmilla rarely smiled like that. “Laura…I was- well, I was waiting for you.”

Carmilla approached her, looking at her intently. “How are you feeling today, Laura?”

She said my name, she said my actual name, Laura thought. It sounded so pleasant slipping from her lips. Carmilla’s lips… Laura now found herself staring at Carmilla’s lips.

“Cupcake?”

“Huh?” Laura came to.

“You’re still not okay.” Carmilla said bringing her hands up to Laura’s arms with a frown.

“No! No, I’m fine, Carm. I’m never better!” She said with a smile and a little laugh of embarrassment.

“O…kay.” Carmilla said confused, “I went to the hospital wing just now but Madam Pomfrey said I’d just missed you… She was acting odd, she laughed… I’ve never seen Madam Pomfrey laugh before.” Carmilla rubbed the back of her neck as she recalled the experience.

“Yes! She is…” Laura said too loudly so it echoed around the entrance hall, “strange…” she whispered, a blush rising on her face.

“Have you eaten?” Carmilla asked, obviously deciding to just change the subject.

“No, I need to.” Laura responded.

They entered the great hall together; Laura was surprised when Carmilla sat down next to her at the end of the Gryffindor table. She was even more surprised when Carmilla straddled the bench so she was facing Laura and not the table.

“Carmilla…” Laura started to say, she looked at her with a smile. “I just wanted to say thank you for what you did last night and for helping me get to the hospital wing.”

Laura watched as Carmilla’s tongue ran along her bottom lip before she started to speak, “It wasn-”

 “L, where the hell have you been?” LaFontaine approached them from the opposite side of the table. They both glanced at them in surprise.

“Oh, it’s a long story LaF.” Laura smiled at them reassuredly, “I was in the hospital wing but I’m fine! There was a… situation last night.”

LaF looked between them, “I wanna know the full story later, L.” LaF said, pointedly.

“If you see Ignatious McCarth today, do me a favor and hex that vial pig.” Carmilla spoke up.

LaF looked at her in bewilderment but then nodded, “Okay…will do,” they nodded with a slight frown before turning and heading toward the exit. Laura knew LaF would do nothing of the sort.

Laura looked to Carmilla, “Carm, you’ll get into trouble if you try anything on McCarth.” She warned her.

“That isn’t going to stop me, Laura. McCarth is going to get away with what he did and I won’t let that happen.” Carmilla said firmly. 

Laura reached over and grabbed Carmilla’s hand, “I’m fine, don’t let those guy’s get to you.”

“They already got to you….” Carmilla whispered dejectedly, looking down at their joined hands.

After a few moments Laura began to gather food on her plate to eat, Carmilla on the other hand just sat and watched her.

“Are you not going to eat?” Laura asked.

”I ate already.” Carmilla shrugged.

Carmilla’s constant gaze was making her self-conscious and a little flustered.

Laura picked up her toast and then dropped it again, looking towards Carmilla, “Carm, what happened after I was stunned?”

Carmilla considered that question for moment, “Well I left the library, I thought you’d not…well, not bothered to show. So, I was heading back towards the grand staircase and that’s when I ran into well…. you.” Carmilla reached over and appeared to pick a bit of lint off of Laura’s robe.

“…Cupcake, it’s a good thing you taught me how to use expelliarmus correctly or else I might not have been much help.” Carmilla spoke a little sullenly.

“I disarmed McCarth and then hit that Hodgson guy, the one holding you, with a hex and then well, then they just ran.” Carmilla finished her story.

“Thank you.” Laura said again.

 “No problem.” Carmilla smiled at her.

“If it was a fair duel I’d have won.” Laura perked up suddenly.

Carmilla chuckled, “I know that, Cupcake.” She said as she grabbed Laura’s hand once more, her thumb running along Laura’s fingers as she inspected her hand closely.

Laura brought her free hand up to Carmilla’s chin so she could look at her once more; she watched Carmilla’s teeth bite down upon her lower lip.

They stared at each other closely; Laura could feel Camilla’s warm breathe on her face.

Carmilla unexpectedly looked up - a look of absolute loathing on her face. She stood up quickly.

Laura turned – McCarth’s boy was walking through the tables toward them. When his gaze landed on Carmilla, he raised his hands in the air quickly and looked a tad afraid. He walked around them slowly with this hands still raised in submission, walking backwards for a few steps before breaking out into a run towards the doors.

Laura gaped in shock, “Woah, you must have really scared them guys.” Laura said, as Carmilla returned to her seat.

“Well, they never really liked me anyway. They are poor excuses for wizards.” Carmilla remarked.

*

 Laura was surprised to find that Carmilla did not leave her side for the majority of the day; she thoroughly enjoyed it to begin with. Carmilla sat by her side in all of their lessons and walked with her to each class and then she sat with her at lunch at the Gryffindor table once again.

As they were walking to potions that afternoon, Laura was speaking to LaFontaine about quidditch practice. She was aware of Carmilla’s presence by her side as she had been all day but Carmilla suddenly gripped her arm, causing Laura to pause and turn to look at her.

Carmilla was not looking at Laura; she was scowling down the corridor at McCarth who was slowly making his way along the hall towards them. Carmilla removed her wand and Laura hurriedly stood in front of her, gripping her wrist so she couldn’t do anything impulsive. He did not appear to even notice them as he walked and Carmilla’s grip tightened on Laura’s arm as he passed right by them in the crowded corridor.

Laura frowned and excused herself to LaF who nodded and walked on with Perry.

“Can I borrow you for a sec, please?” she asked Carmilla, who was still looking on edge.

“Carmilla, I don’t need a bodyguard.” Laura said, as she removed her arm from Carmilla’s grasp.

“Cupcake, I was just making sur-”

“If you’ve been with me all day because you think I need protection from people like him than I’d rather you not bother.“ Laura frowned at her. 

“Laura, that’s not why…I just- I was worried McCarth might retaliate.” Carmilla looked down at her dejectedly, it made Laura’s heart swell.

She leaned closer and gave Carmilla a hug, "Promise me you won't try and get payback on McCarth." Laura said firmly.

Camilla sighed, "Okay, I won't get payback on McCarth."

"Or any of this friends..."

Camilla rolled her eyes, "Or any of his friends," she repeated.

“Good. Come on, Carm, we’re late for potions.”

*

Laura sat down next to Carmilla in the dark, quiet part of the library where they usually sat. She placed a cup of cocoa down in front of her. Carmilla glanced up at the cup and then at Laura.

“I brought you cocoa…I feel like I owe you after what happened so this just a little something, maybe…towards that...owing.” Laura shrugged awkwardly, she changed her mind she wished she hadn’t brought Carmilla the cocoa at all.

Carmilla on the other hand smiled at Laura, gripping the handle of the mug and bringing it to her lips. “Hmm…As nice as this cocoa is, I can think of much better ways to pay off your apparent… debts to me.” She said with a wink.

Laura’s eyes widened at Carmilla’s suggestiveness and she felt the blush heat up her face. She gave a small embarrassed chuckle and turned to the desk, fumbling with her bag.

 She needed a book - One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, she recalled. She turned towards Carmilla who had returned to turning the pages of a small book, her robe was thrown over the back of her chair and her tie was hanging loosely unraveled around her neck.

“I just need to get a book.” Laura said quickly getting up and hurrying away. This was starting to become a habit, why did she always walk away when she was anxious?

Laura leaned against a bookcase a few rows away from Carmilla. What the hell was happening? One day Carmilla is kissing her, the next she doesn’t want to know her and then she’s saving her and now she’s making allusive comments.

Laura took a moment to try and clear her head of thoughts of Carmilla. She needed that book; she had used it not long ago she knew it was in these stacks somewhere. Laura strolled over to a bookcase she recognized and ran her fingers along the spines; it was on this shelf she was almost sure. Where is it now? 

“Cupcake.” 

Laura was startled, turning to face Carmilla. 

“Where did you go? You’ve been gone for a while.” Carmilla frowned at her.

“Oh, was it really that long…I…I couldn’t find the book.” Laura smiled at her.

“Knowing this library, it probably hid it from you.” Carmilla smirked back at her, taking a step closer. “What are you looking for?”

Laura swallowed, “One hundred fungi…” Laura murmured as they stared at each other.

Carmilla chuckled, moving closer, “Do you mean One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi?”

Laura could only nod.

Carmilla stood directly in front of her; Laura’s robe was brushing against Carmilla’s jumper. Laura felt her heart beating out of her chest. Carmilla leaned closer to her and then Laura frowned when she reached up and grabbed a book down from the shelf behind her.

“Here’s the book you were looking for.” Carmilla murmured. “You know, if you couldn’t reach, you only had to ask.” She said as she placed her free hand on the bookshelf next to Laura’s head. 

Her eyebrows drew together, “You’re like an inch tall than me, Carm.”

“An inch is still an inch,” Carmilla smirked at her.

“An inch taller, an inch too far…an inch closer.” Carmilla whispered, Laura felt like she couldn’t breathe.

Laura tried to clear her throat, “I guess it is… quite a distance.” She murmured, her eyes now drawn to Carmilla’s lips, longingly.

Carmilla hummed, her eyes were dark, “Well, there’s alw-” 

Laura’s hands moved of their own accord, coming up to the sides of Carmilla’s face, her fingers sliding into her hair which made her pause; they stared at each other for a second. Laura watched as Carmilla ran her tongue along her bottom lip, her breath hitching.

There was a thump as the book Carmilla had been holding fell to the ground forgotten. Her hand came up and passed by Laura’s robe to grip her sweater at the waist as she pressed herself closer.

“…Carm.” Laura whispered a mere hairs width from her mouth before they both surrendered. Carmilla’s other hand slipped from the bookshelf and came around her neck and they kissed slowly.

Laura hands slipped through Carmilla’s hair, as the kiss deepened and Laura made a small sound when Carmilla’s tongue stroked hers. At this, Carmilla groaned and her hand fisted tightly at Laura’s jumper, their breath turning ragged as the kiss became heated.

Carmilla tried to push herself closer still even though they pressed together tightly causing Laura’s head to bump against the bookshelf. “mmm!” she whimpered against Carmilla’s lips at the discomfort.

Carmilla must have felt the knock because she pulled her mouth away after Laura’s whine and uttered a small apology before taking a breath. Her hand loosening its tight grip against her sweater, her brow coming to rest against Laura’s.

Laura lifted her head bringing their lips together once more in a gentle kiss and Carmilla responded in kind. Laura pulled away after a moment, “Carm, wha-” but she is cut off when Carmilla continued the kiss. “Carm,” Laura murmured against her mouth.

Carmilla pulled away very slightly with a soft sigh, “What?” she asked, impatiently. 

“I just wanted to know…what was wrong yesterday?”

Carmilla pulled away further, they made eye contact and then Laura stared at Carmilla’s very kissable lips for a moment before Carmilla began to speak.

“I thought…well to be honest I was embarrassed and I was still angry with you. I wasn’t sure whether I should have kissed you but at the time I thought… it might have been my last chance too.” Carmilla paused, “After what has just happened, I’m going to assume you were okay with it.” Her lips forming a little smirk for a few seconds.

Laura smiled and nodded eagerly, “Very okay.” She grabbed at Carmilla’s loose tie and pulled, bringing their lips together once more.

Carmilla smiled into the kiss and they kissed languidly for a couple minutes before separating and Carmilla took a step back.

“Let’s go…study.” She said with a smile, pulling at the edge of Laura’s robe, who reluctantly moved forward.

Carmilla kept a hold of the Laura’s robe as they walked and turned to look at Laura when she stopped. “Forgot the book.” Laura said looking at little embarrassed. 

“Oh.” Carmilla smiled, pulling out her wand, murmuring accio and the book rose into the air and swiftly landed in Carmilla’s hands.

They sat down together at their desk and Carmilla returned to her book, as if nothing had changed. Laura looked at her for a moment before pulling out parchment from her bag to start her homework. After a few moments, Carmilla reached for her mug of cocoa and took a sip.

“Ee, cold.” She said with a frown and Laura giggled. Carmilla pulled out her wand to reheat the drink.

Chapter Text

Protego,” Carmilla said with confidence in defense against the dark arts, the class were practicing their shield charms. A bluish light emanated from end of her wand and stretched out in front of her and disappeared to form an invisible barrier around the desk.

 “Yes!” Laura giggled excitedly next to her, “This one is easy for you, Carm.”

 Carmilla rolled her eyes, “At last… a defensive spell I can actually perform well.” She said sardonically.

 “Hey, Carm, I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just…you struggle with-”

 Carmilla smiled at Laura reassuringly and grabbed her hand under the desk, “Relax, Cupcake, I’m not insulted...much.”

 Laura giggled, feeling relieved; the last thing she wanted was an upset Carmilla when they were finally on the same page.

 They sat in silence for a few moments, as the rest of the class were on task, Laura was busy measuring the size of Carmilla’s hand against her own. They were almost exactly the same size; Carmilla’s fingers were maybe a smidge longer than hers, she estimated.

 “Cupcake, are you not going to give the charm a try?” Carmilla asked, bringing Laura out of her haze.

 She looked up, “Oh, I’ve been able to do shield charms since third year.” She said nonchalantly, going back to fiddling with Carmilla’s fingers.

 “You’ve been able to produce a shield charm since third year? That’s astonishing.” Carmilla said in disbelief.

 Laura flushed and shrugged, “It’s not that amazing, Carm. I just didn’t find it so difficult. I guess it’s just like you with potions.”

 “Anyone can make a potion, Laura.” Carmilla reasoned.

 They both looked over when Professor Cochrane approached their desk.

 “Miss Karnstein, I was expecting to see improvement from you. Your written work is always good; it’s just your practical work that pulls you down. I haven’t seen you even giving the shield charm a try.”

 “No, Professor, she can do it! She can do it well.” Laura intervened before Carmilla had a chance to respond.

 “Miss Karnstein, have you been working on your defensive spells outside of the classroom?”

 “Yes pro-“ Carmilla never managed to finish her sentence.

 “Yes she has! She’s been trying really hard, Professor.” Laura intervened a second time. Carmilla looked at her surprised at the sudden interruption.

 Professor Cochrane frowned for a moment before addressing Carmilla again, “Okay…please keep it up, Miss Karnstein. If Laura here has been helping you, I am expecting to see great things.” Professor Cochrane said before she moved onto the next pair.

 “That was unnecessary, I can handle Professor Cochrane.” Carmilla said crossly.

 Laura looked guilty, “I know its just…she has no idea what you’re doing or not doing, she shouldn’t be so judgmental of you. She needed to know.” Laura said with a curt nod.

 Carmilla shook her head and said nothing more.

*

 Laura grinned when Carmilla joined her at the Gryffindor table for lunch; she had been coming over to sit with her for a few days. She very rarely spoke to anyone other than Laura so she mostly just ate in silence and would occasionally hold Laura’s hand.

 Today when she joined her, she sat facing toward her, smiled and quickly took her hand. Laura looked to her, “Are you okay?” she asked in a whisper, leaning close.

 Carmilla nodded, “Cupcake, I have an appointment with McGonagall this evening. I won’t be able to meet you after dinner.”

 “That’s okay Carm, I have quidditch practice at some point anyway.” Laura said, going to take a bite of her sandwich and pausing, “Wait… why are you meeting with Professor McGonagall?” She asked, intrigued.

 Carmilla shook her head, “It’s nothing really, just something my mother wants.”

 “What?” Laura asked again

 “Nothing.” Carmilla said with a chuckle.

 Laura frowned but decided to drop the subject and they both ate in a comfortable silence.

*

 The quidditch team gathered on the pitch for their practice session, Laura watched as the players each mounted their brooms and took off flying.

 LaFontaine stayed on the ground next to Laura and watched the team for a moment before they turned to address her.

“Okay, I have to ask, Perry told me not to but you and Karnstein…”

 “What about me and Karnstein?” Laura asked, her eyes still focused towards the sky.

 “Oh, come on, L, you can’t even deny it anymore. You do know everyone can see the two of you, right? She never leaves your side.“

 Laura glanced around, “She’s not here now.” She said innocently.

 “Are you not going to address it?…I know what’s going on, L.” LaF said in a skeptical tone as they mounted their broom.

 Laura chuckled, glancing at the players in the sky before looking back at LaF, “You know nothing and I’m not saying a word.”

 LaFontaine shook their head and kicked off from the ground into the air.

 As practice came to an end all the players started towards the changing rooms, Laura was locking the ball chest when she glanced up to see her teammate Danny Lawrence towering over her.

 Laura had been aware of Danny’s presence on the pitch the whole time but they hadn’t spoken since their falling out over Carmilla.

 “Hey…” Danny said soundly a little unsure of herself.

 Laura gave her a small encouraging smile, “Hello Danny, how are you doing?”

 “I’m okay, thank you.” She responded.

 Laura nodded at her and Danny smiled in return, releasing a breath.

 “Look, Laura, I’m really sorry about I said before, I really am… I’d very much like us to be friends again.” She paused; Laura could tell she was anxious. “I want you know that I was only concerned for you.” Danny finished.

 “Don’t worry about it, Danny.” Laura grinned, reassuringly, putting out her arms, gesturing for a hug, which Danny happily reciprocated.

 Laura felt happy to clear the air with Danny. It had been an awkward week or so and she was hoping they could now return to some form of normality between them.

*

 Laura huffed in annoyance as she made yet another error on her potions homework. She had been hoping to get a decent amount of her essay complete this evening but Carmilla had other plans it seemed.

 They were hidden in the quiet stacks of the library as usual; Laura had been working for a short time before Carmilla took her place next to her. Scooting her chair right over next to Laura’s and leaning to place a kiss to her cheek. Laura smiled at her and whispered a quick, hello, before returning to her homework. Carmilla however, remained where she was, her face hovering very close to Laura’s as she worked.

 “What are you working on?” Carmilla whispered next to her ear as her arm reaching up around the back of Laura’s shoulders.

 Laura faltered in her writing, making an error. She pulled out her wand to fix the mishap as she replied, “The potions essay.”

 She picked up her quill again, dipped it in the ink and focused in on her work. Carmilla kissed Laura’s cheek again and a third time and then ran her nose along Laura’s jaw line.

 Laura’s quill stilled and a large quantity of ink dripped down onto the page as she closed her eyes and took a shuddering breath, she tutted when she opened her eyes and removed her wand to correct another mistake as Carmilla continued her ministrations.

 “Um…” Laura paused, as Carmilla’s hand dropped down to Laura’s waist, pulling herself closer and her nose dipped lower to her neck, “Carm, don’t you have any homework to do?” Laura asked, her voice sounding a pitch higher than she was used to, it made her clear her throat.

 Laura wasn’t sure if Carmilla was even listening to her because she just hummed in response as her lips now found Laura’s throat. She kissed slowly down as far as her shirt collar would allow before coming back up behind her ear.

 Laura closed her eyes and took a ragged breath, dropping her quill and turning towards Carmilla, reaching for her to pull her in for a kiss. Carmilla groaned encouragingly both of her hands gripping Laura’s waist pulling her to edge of her seat. Laura thought their breathing sounded so loud in the quiet library, not that anyone would hear them but when Carmilla’s teeth nipped at her lip the sound Laura made was quite a bit louder.

Laura pulled away but Carmilla lips stayed glued to Laura’s skin, sliding back down to her throat once more.

“Carm… we’re in the library.” Laura breathed. Carmilla was not deterred by this and sucked at the skin of Laura’s throat causing a shudder to run through her.

 Laura’s hand came up to the back of Carmilla’s head holding her in place, her body betraying her brain, “We’re meant be studying potions… which is all you’ve wanted me to do for weeks… and now…” Laura paused and bit down on her lip when Carmilla’s hand ran up her leg. “…You won’t keep your hands or your lips… to yourself.” Laura sighed.

 Carmilla’s lips returned to Laura’s mouth and they kissed eagerly for a few moments; Laura’s skin was starting to feel hot all over.

 “Okay, this isn’t going to work.” Laura said quickly pulling away.

 “What do you mean?” Carmilla asked, looking hurt.

Laura giggled and pulled off her robe, “I was just removing my robe, it’s too hot in here.” She smiled at Carmilla before pulling her in for another kiss. 

*

Laura entered the Gryffindor dormitory later than she usually would have that night, she never did finish her potions essay and she had accepted the fact that she was going to have to restart it as the script was almost entirely unreadable and covered in dried ink stains. Laura determined that if tonight was anything to go by, studying was going to prove hard to do when Carmilla wouldn’t keep her hands to herself. It was okay for Carmilla; she had probably written her essay in half an hour, it was not so easy for Laura.

 LaFontaine who had their head in a book looked up when Laura entered the room, they nodded at her as a way of a greeting.

 “How’s Karnstein?” LaFontaine said quietly.

 Laura smiled at them and shook her head, “She is fine… I’ll let her know you asked.” She replied.

 LaFontaine laughed and then sat up a little straighter peering down at the dorm floor. Laura’s eyes were drawn in the direction and a little, ooh, slipped from her mouth when she spotted a black cat sitting on the floor near the doorway.

 She looked at LaFontaine in confusion, “Whose cat is that?”

 LaF shrugged, “I don’t recall seeing it before.” LaF made some little kissy sounds at the cat, gesturing for it to come closer. The cat looked at them for a moment before stretching and strolling slowly over to Laura’s feet.

 “Um…”Laura wasn’t sure what to do, “Hello.” She said to the cat awkwardly as if addressing a person.

 The cat stared at her and then walked around her, rubbing its body around Laura’s lower legs.

 Laura looked at LaF in confusion once more before addressing the cat again, “I don’t know you and… I’m not sure who you belong to either…but it isn’t me.” She stated firmly.

 The cat didn’t seem phased. Of course it wouldn’t, Laura thought, the cat can’t understand you.

 Laura decided to ignore the cat as she continued her nightly routine and at some point the cat disappeared under the bed. She pushed it from her mind, figuring maybe some Gryffindor had just acquired a new cat and it was exploring the tower.

 When she got into bed some time later and was nearly drifting off to sleep, Laura was alarmed when she felt movement near the bottom of her bed.

 The cat! The cat had found it’s way under the curtains of her four-poster and had curled up at the end of her bed. Laura sat up, shocked at this cheeky cats behavior.

 “Hey! This is my bed!” Laura whisper yelled at it.

 The cat’s tail rose into the air and wagged around. Laura reached out slowly and touched the cat behind the ears. It was so soft; she smiled as she stroked the cat some more. It purred quite obviously enjoying the attention.

 Laura gave up after a while and just decided to leave the cat be for now, she’d find out who it belonged to in the morning.

 But when Laura awoke the black cat was nowhere in sight. The patch on the bed where it had been was still warm so Laura assumed the cat had not long left the bed.

 When she stood, she searched the room for it, looking under the beds and around on the floor but it was definitely gone. Laura shook her head and decided to forget about the mysterious cat. 

*

 She was standing next to the bench at the Gryffindor table with Danny at breakfast. “…And then….” Danny had to pause because she was laughing too much, “...one of the chasers…” she paused again, Laura hadn’t even heard the end of the story yet and she was laughing. “One of the chasers got whacked on the head with the quaffle and he literally got knocked out!”

 They were both laughing loudly, “I mean have you ever heard of anyone getting knocked out by the quaffle?!”

 “Looks like we won’t have to train as hard as I thought, Ravenclaw clearly have a lot of improvement to make.” Laura giggled.

 Danny moved to sit and Laura followed suit but then quickly stood when she spotted the back of Carmilla’s head at the end of the Slytherin table.

 “Carm, what are you doing over here?” Laura asked, seating herself down next to her.

 Carmilla looked at Laura a tad shocked, “I…I saw you with Lawrence so I just thought I would…” Carmilla gave up and just shrugged.

 Laura intertwined her arm with Carmilla’s, “Carm, me and Danny, we aren’t- it’s not like that.”

 “Its okay, Cupcake, I can handle it.” Carmilla replied, her face expressionless.

 “No…Me and Danny are not a thing.” Laura paused, looking into Carmilla’s eyes, “…and we never will be.” She finished.

 The corners of Carmilla’s mouth twitched upwards slightly and Laura leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss to her lips.

 “Is this okay?” Laura asked, her eyes quickly glancing to the side aware of the hundreds of people in the hall.

 “Of course it’s okay, Cupcake.” Carmilla smiled, leaning forward for another kiss.

*

 Laura smiled mischievously as she scribbled L + C at the bottom of Carmilla’s parchment in Transfiguration. Carmilla rolled her eyes and made a gagging sound when she saw it, reaching into her robes for her wand to remove the offending scrawl. Carmilla whispered, “You’re nauseating.”

 She laughed quietly and grabbed Carmilla’s arm to try and stop her. Carmilla pinched at Laura’s knee under the desk, making her giggle and pull away from her.

At the end of the class, as everyone was leaving the classroom, Professor McGonagall asked Carmilla for a moment of her time.

Laura hung back as everyone piled out and Carmilla had a quiet conversation with McGonagall at the front of the room. She watched as McGonagall handed Carmilla an envelope and tapped her arm almost reassuringly and then Carmilla was heading back her way. 

“What was that about? What was that letter?” Laura asked hastily when they reached the corridor.

 Carmilla chuckled at Laura’s curiosity, “You know what Laura, you should write for the Daily Prophet, you’re so inquisitive… or should I say nosey.”

Laura laughed and then frowned to herself, “Actually Carm… that’s not such a bad idea.” She looked to be considering that for a moment.

“So, what was that all about back there anyway?” Laura asked again, sliding her arm through Carmilla’s as they walked.

Carmilla shook her head, “I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough, Cupcake.” She said bopping Laura’s nose with her finger.

*

 That evening when Laura returned to the dormitory after failing yet again to complete her homework, she climbed into bed and her mouth dropped open in surprise when the apparent nomad black cat made it’s self at home at the end of her bed once again.

“Not to be rude but where are you from?” Laura asked the cat.

It only gave her a little purr in response and moved closer to her leg before curling up and falling asleep.

Chapter Text

Snow was falling heavily on one Saturday morning; Laura watched it from the window of her dormitory in awe. 

“L, have you seen my hat?” LaF called from somewhere under their bed.

Laura turned to face the room, “It was in the common room, I think.” They nodded their thanks before heading for the door.

Today was the first trip of the year to Hogmeade and it looked it be a cold one, as usual. Laura grabbed her coat, scarf and mittens from her trunk before following LaF down to common room.

“Honeydukes, I can’t wait!” Laura grinned at LaF as they made their way into the great hall. Honeydukes sweet shop was Laura’s favorite place in Hogsmeade, the walls were filled high with endless sweets and chocolates, any confectionary you could think of, they had it and more. 

Laura grabbed Carmilla's shoulders in excitement as she joined her at the table, “Honeydukes! Honeydukes! Honeydukes!” She sang at her. 

Carmilla regarded her with bewilderment and raised an eyebrow. “Excited, by any chance?”

“Carm, I love Honeydukes.” Laura beamed at her.

“I never would have guessed, Cupcake.” Carmilla replied, as she picked a slice of toast off the floating tray. 

Laura pulled her scarf tightly around her neck with a shiver as they began the trek to Hogsmeade village. “Hey, Carm, shall we build a snowman?” Laura asked; looking at Carmilla walking beside her looking cozy in her multiple layers toped off with a leather jacket.

“No.” She said quickly, shaking her head.

“What about… a snowball fight?” Laura clapped her mitten hands together.

“No, thanks.” Camilla grimaced. 

“Ooh, you’re no fun.” Laura frowned.

 Carmilla glanced over at her pouting face and rolled her eyes, bringing her arm up to wrap it around Laura’s shoulders as they walked.

Laura almost dragged Carmilla up the road and into Honeydukes as soon as it was in sight. She beamed enthusiastically at Carmilla and then around the shop in wonder. Laura took a step in one direction and changed her mind. She started walking towards the back of the shop and then changed the mind again, walking straight into Carmilla.

“Cupcake…calm down.” Carmilla laughed, placing her hands on Laura’s shoulders to steady her.

“I just love it here, Carm!” Laura bounced up and down on her toes in excitement.

“Oh, have you tried these?” Laura asked, running over to the wall of confectionaries and pointing at some green sticks Carmilla had never seen before, never mind consumed.

Carmilla shook her head.

“What about these?!” Laura asked pointing at a different jar of luminous looking candies.

“Um…No.” Carmilla said again.

 Laura frowned at her and spoke in a very serious tone, “Carm…do you not like sweets?”

“Well…” she considered that for a moment and shrugged, “I never really ate them as a child and I still don’t really eat them now…”

Laura gazed at her in shock and then smiled brightly at her, “Carm, we are eating our weight in candy today!”

“Oh, god, Cupcake, it’s okay. I don’t want to eat this stuff.” Carmilla gestured to the wall of sweets. 

Laura shook her head at her, “Who are you?” she said jokingly and turned to scour the shop. 

*

 “Finally I can sit.” Carmilla said, as she dropped down on a chair in The Three Broomsticks with a sigh. Laura thanked her for the butterbeer she had placed down and Carmilla watched her pulling out the assortment of treats she had just bought onto the table in front of them.

They had spent a little over an hour in Honeydukes, Laura spent a large majority of the time arguing with herself over what sweets to buy and then ultimately bought everything she wanted.

Laura removed her coat and took a sip of her butterbeer, “Okay” She pulled up her sleeves, “…have you ever eaten one of these?” she said to Carmilla. Laura was holding up a bag of green balls. 

“What is it?” Carmilla frowned down at it.

 “Acid pops!” Laura said, cheerfully.

“No…and I don’t think I want to.” Carmilla glared hesitantly at the bag.

Laura rolled her eyes, opened the bag and gestured for Carmilla to take one.

Carmilla did not move until Laura pouted at her and then she huffed, reached out slowly, prolonging the inevitable and plucked one of the green acid pops from the bag. 

Once the sweet was in her hand, Carmilla seemed to accept her fate and dropped it straight into her mouth.

Laura watched amused as the sweet moved around Carmilla’s mouth for a moment before she froze and her expression suddenly changed to disgust. She let the acid pop fall from her mouth onto the table in front of them.

“Don’t talk to me ever again.” Carmilla said disgusted, grabbing her butterbeer and turning her body to face away from Laura.

“Carm,” Laura laughed uncontrollably, she couldn’t help it.

“Carm!” She said again, but she could just see Carmilla shake her head.

 Laura laughed again, “I’m sorry,” she said reaching over and tapping her shoulder. 

When Carmilla did not yield, Laura leaned over her shoulder and placed a kiss to her cheek, “I’m sorry.” Laura said more earnestly.

Carmilla turned slightly and made eye contact with Laura before she spoke, “Fine but I will never trust you again.” She said teasingly.

 Laura sulked at Carmilla’s words as she returned to her seat and Carmilla grumbled and placed a chaste kiss to Laura’s lips.

“Okay… “ Laura reached for the treats on the table again and Carmilla opened her mouth to speak but Laura cut in first, holding her finger up, “I’ve got something that might be a bit more… your style,” she reasoned, holding up a chocolate skeleton.

Carmilla examined it for moment, “This may have potential…”

Laura smiled at her, opening the wrapping and snapping the skull off, handing it to Carmilla before biting a chunk off for herself.

“This is good, I like it,” Carmilla nodded.

“Yesss,” Laura congratulated herself.

“It’s just chocolate, Cupcake.” Carmilla said.

“Let’s try these,” Laura moved on, handing Carmilla a roundish red sweet covered in powder.

Carmilla groaned, “What is this?”

“Fizzing Whizzbee,” Laura stated.

Carmilla placed the sweet in her mouth and bit down upon it, chewing it for minute and then swallowed, looking at Laura suspiciously the entire time. She looked a little confused when nothing out of the ordinary occurred and looked as if she was about to speak.

“Woah!” Carmilla said panicky as her whole body rose from the chair and floated in mid air.

Laura giggled and grabbed Carmilla’s arm, pulling her back down to her seat.

“Now I know why I don’t eat sweets.” Carmilla said grumpily, frowning at Laura.

“Carm, shush. You secretly enjoyed that.” Laura said, entwining her arm with Carmilla’s incase she took off again.

Carmilla chuckled, “No I-”

“Hey, Laura,” came the voice of Danny Lawrence.

Laura looked over at her with a smile, Carmilla’s face dropped to a glare.

“Hi Danny." 

“You made it to Honeydukes then?” Danny remarked, looking down at the array covering the table.

Laura smiled, “Of course I did.”

She stood uncomfortably for a moment; “Well…I’ll just leave you to it. Nice to see you, Laura." 

She nodded and gave Danny a little wave as she headed off towards the bar.

Laura watched her go; she hoped Danny hadn’t thought they were still going to Hogsmeade together. She had agreed a while ago to go with her but that was before Carmilla and before their fall out but she hadn’t actually broached the subject with Danny since then.

Laura and Carmilla walked arm in arm taking a slow walk back up to Hogwarts a little while later, Laura watched Carmilla’s face as she was clearly lost in her own thoughts.

“Are you okay?” Laura asked, quietly.

Carmilla nodded, “Just thinking… it’s Christmas soon. What will you do?" 

“Go home, see my dad. What I always do.” Laura answered. “What about you Carm?”

“I ordinarily go home to mother.” Carmilla said, dejectedly.

“Is that a bad thing?” Laura frowned.

“It’s usually not so…” Carmilla sighed, “…My mother isn’t really that…motherly. I guess that explains her well. I’m not sure whether to just stay at Hogwarts over Christmas this year.”

“Oh, well... maybe you could visit me?” Laura smiled at her.

Carmilla shrugged, “Yeah, maybe…”

*

 Laura sulked as she leaned over a potion ingredient book in the library.

 “Carm, can you test me on some of this?” Laura asked, looking to Carmilla who was sitting with her feet up on the table reading a book that Laura was pretty sure was not related to any subject she was currently studying. “I’m not sure if I can ever remember any of this.”

Carmilla’s eyes found Laura’s and then she closed her book and sat up straight, taking the book from Laura’s hands. She scoured the pages for a few moments before looking up at Laura with a mischievous smile.

“How about we make this into a little game, something to help… motivate you.” Carmilla appeared to smile at her own genius plan. “Every time you get an answer right, you get a kiss.”

Laura looked devastated, “…But Carm, what if I don’t know the answers?!”

You’ll just have to study extra hard for next time.” Carmilla smirked.

Carmilla looked down at the page before her, “Okay, Aconite also goes by what other name?” 

Laura froze; she knew this…Carmilla had told her this!

“Um…” Carmilla was looking at Laura with a raised eyebrow. 

“OH! It’s wormwood! It’s wormwood!” Laura said excitedly, “I got-“ Carmilla cut her off with a firm kiss, pulling away just as Laura’s hands were reaching for Carmilla’s hair.

 “Correct.” She said, after pulling away minutely, they gazed at one another for a moment more, before Carmilla relaxed back into her chair and addressed the book again.

“What color is goosegrass?” Carmilla asked, glancing up at Laura expectantly.

Laura pouted, “Not sure…is it green?” she asked hopefully.

 Carmilla shook her head.

Laura looked sad at that, “Purple?”

Carmilla smiled and gnawed her bottom lip, shaking her head again.

Laura sighed, giving up hope, “Yellow?”

Carmilla lunged forward, kissing her again, wrapping her arms around Laura and holding her close. She pulled away after a few moments and they were both a little breathless. 

It took Carmilla a moment or two to think of the next question as she focused down on the textbook again.

“What is the main ingredient in a restorative draught that can restore a cursed person back to their original state?”

Laura smiled immediately, “I think it might be mandrake?”

Carmilla pounced again, Laura shifted forward to the edge of her seat to get closer and she sighed when she felt Carmilla’s hands slip under her sweater and grasp at her shirt. It was a stretch of time before Carmilla pulled away this time.

 Laura leaned forward following Carmilla’s lips to catch them again, but Carmilla steadied her and moved to relax back into her chair.

 “Okay…” Carmilla cleared her throat and grabbed the book, looking at Laura longingly for a spell before turning a page in the book and scanning the contents.

 “Lacewing flies are stewed for 21 days when being used as an ingredient in what potion?” Carmilla asked, already dropping the book onto the desk beside her.

 Laura frowned, “Is it…calming draught?”

 “No,” Carmilla leaned a little closer.

 “Is it forgetfulness potion?” Laura had no idea; she was just naming any potion that came to mind hoping to land on the right one.

 “No,” Carmilla said, sounding a tad impatient.

 “Is it a pepper up potion?”

 “No.” Carmilla groaned.

 “Is it-”

“Forget it.” Carmilla said, closing the gap and kissing her eagerly, grabbing Laura by the waist and pulling her onto her lap. Laura moaned encouragingly against her mouth.

 Carmilla’s hands slipped underneath Laura’s sweater once more, she could feel the warmth of her hands through her thin shirt.

 Laura’s hands grasped tightly at Carmilla’s hair, as they kissed messily. Carmilla groaned when Laura’s hips rocked forward against hers and Carmilla’s hand slipped down to rest on Laura’s hips.

 Laura was unsure how long this went on for; all she knew that was that she never felt satisfied enough to want to stop.

 It was only when Carmilla was sucking on Laura’s collarbone with her shirt and tie pulled aside did she open her eyes and peer into the dim of the surrounding stacks.

 “Carm…”

 “Hmmm…” Carmilla responded.

 “What time is it?” Laura sighed.

 Carmilla shrugged, not concerned at all.

 “We should probably leave.” Laura whispered next to Carmilla’s ear.

 Carmilla nodded but continued.

“Carm…”

Carmilla kissed her again.

“We need to go,” Laura urged, speaking around Carmilla’s lips.

Carmilla nodded again.

 Laura giggled, “Carm!” She said more forcefully.

Carmilla grumbled and leaned back on her chair, “…fine,” she mumbled frustrated.

 They left the library hand in hand, both looking a little unkempt. They kissed once more before both going their separate ways. Laura glanced back down the staircases for Carmilla when she had climbed a flight of stairs she couldn’t see her anywhere.

 Back in the dorm, Laura got ready for bed quickly, she felt exhausted. When she climbed into bed, movement near her feet did not distress her anymore, Laura had quickly grown quite used to the enigmatic black cat.

 She peered at it from her prone position and then sat up, “Do you have a name?” She whispered, stroking its soft fur.

 “I should give you a name…” Laura thought for a moment or two.

 “I think I’m going to name you…” Laura said in thought.

 “How about Nox? You’re a black cat, I think that suits you well.” Laura said sleepily. Petting the cat for a little longer before giving up and lying down.

Chapter Text

Laura fastened the latches on her trunk, looking at the lid as she did so, her initials, LH, scrawled along the top fading after 6 plus years. Tonight was the last night of term; tomorrow many students would be heading home for Christmas. Laura had just finished packing up her belongings ready to go; she stood from the floor and moved to sit on the edge of her four-poster.

She would normally have felt excitement…it was Christmas, she’d get to see her dad – it was one of her favorite times of the year. Right now though, she was feeling rather gloomy. She knew why, Laura would miss Carmilla terribly while she was away from school. She sighed and fiddled with her wand, wondering if she was being silly.

A tap on the window drew her from her thoughts and Laura’s face lit up when she saw a familiar owl on the ledge outside. She quickly opened the window and it fluttered in, landing on her bedside table. A note attached to its leg.

“Thanks!” Laura said happily as she carefully removed it. The owl gave a hoot and made to leave but Laura spoke, “Wait!” The owl looked at her, Laura opened her bedside draw and pulled out a pack of owl treats, offering one to the owl.

“I’m prepared this time.” Laura spoke to it as the owl took the treat, gave a hoot and flew from the room.

Laura moved to sit down again, nearly tripping over her trunk as she stared at the note in her hand. 

AT 1 hour – C x

 She smiled to herself, excitement running through her as she reread the note from Carmilla a few times. Laura reached down to her trunk once more to grab a warm hoodie to wear. 

Almost 40 minutes later, Laura made her way to the astronomy tower with a smile still on her face. It was just late enough to be considered too late to be out of the common room but those rules didn’t really apply on the last night of term. There were quite a few students lingering in the halls, Laura greeted the odd few people she knew on her journey.

The astronomy tower corridor leading to the stairs was completely deserted and Laura took her time climbing to the top.

Carmilla was already there when she reached the upper floor of the tower; she was leaning on the railing looking up into the sky, she turned at the sound of Laura closing the door and smiled.

“Wow,” Laura said, looking down in surprise at the charming picnic that Carmilla had set up on the floor. Lots of Laura’s favorite treats and blankets and pillows and… it’s wonderful, Laura thought. Why hadn’t she thought of this? 

She gave a nervous giggle, “This is… amazing Carm.”

Carmilla moved to stand in front of her and Laura leaned up to kiss her, standing on her tippy toes so they were both the same height.

“It wasn’t all me, I had some help.” Carmilla smiled when Laura pulled away, “You can thank the house elves another time.”

Grabbing Laura’s hand, “Do you wanna sit or…” Carmilla sounded anxious and it made Laura’s heart ache. 

She shivered as they stared at one another, “Are you cold?”

“It’s chilly up here.” Laura smiled, rubbing her arms.

“Come on.” Carmilla grabbed her hand again and tugged her over towards the blankets. She sat and pulled Laura down with her so she could sit between her legs. Carmilla grabbed a large blanket and pulled it around them both, her arms wrapping around Laura from behind as Laura leaned against her chest. A perfect view of the stars from where they were sitting.

They were both silent for a moment, gazing up at the sky and then Laura turned her top half slightly to see Carmilla’s face, she couldn’t be in Carmilla’s presence and not look at her, she reasoned with herself.

“Well done today.” Laura grinned at her. 

Slytherin had played Ravenclaw in a quidditch match that morning and had won quite effortlessly.

Laura continued, “It was difficult for me, I have to say. It was the first time I’ve ever wanted to support slytherin in anything." 

Carmilla gave a little chuckle, “It was an easy win, ravenclaw have been playing abysmally this year.”

Laura nodded, “Slytherin have still got a chance at the cup now.”

“Yes, we have.” She smirked.

“Just look out for those bludgers next time we play, yeah?” Laura said and Carmilla laughed. Laura felt as if they were talking just for the sake of something to do… this felt strangely new and Laura was feeling nervous and awkward and she wasn’t sure why.

She looked over at the array of treats to distract herself from her thoughts, “Ooh, creampuffs!" 

Reaching out over the blanket for the desert, biting into one of the cream filled pastries, she finished one off and licked her fingers before she turned to Carmilla once more, feeling more comfortable now.

“So, I was thinking about something you said the other day…” Laura started.

“You’re going to have to be a little more specific there, Cupcake.” Carmilla smiled.

“About me… working for The Daily Prophet.” Laura met her eyes.

“That was just a joke.” Carmilla said, tightening her arms around her.

“Right…but, I actually think it’s a really good idea.” Laura said with a smile and then reached for another creampuff.

“Wait, so you don’t want to be an auror anymore?” Carmilla asked.

She shook her head and then gave a little shrug as she ate, she spoke after a moment.

“To be honest with you I’m not sure I ever did.”

Carmilla shook her head with a smile, “Why, I mean that’s quite a drastic change of plan isn’t it?”

“It’s perfect, Carmilla, journalism…I don’t know why I never thought of it before.” Laura paused in thought.

“I guess when I found out I was a witch; I always imagined myself doing a magical job like an auror or even a quidditch player!” Carmilla chuckled at that.

“I never really considered… journalism as a career in the magical world… until now.” Laura smiled. 

Carmilla thought about that for a moment, “Well, I’m happy for you.” Her expression turning sad, Laura’s face dropped as well.

“You don’t have to go work for your mother…” Laura said, knowing that Carmilla was probably thinking of her own future.

Carmilla released a breath, “Laura you don’t understand, I cannot defy mother. It’s best I just keep her happy.”

“Carm, I’m trying to understand and…yes I only know what you’ve told me but I think it’s time you started thinking about your own happiness, instead of your mothers." 

Laura’s mind thought back to their previous conversation that night in this very room when Carmilla had told her she had asked the sorting hat to sort her into Slytherin because it was what her mother wished. Laura wondered how different Carmilla’s life could be... 

Carmilla shook her head, “Can we please talk about something else?"

They stared at each other for a few moments; Laura really wanted to say something more, she wanted to find out why Carmilla was so scared to challenge her mother but she slowly nodded her head instead. If tonight was going to be the last time they saw each other for a while she’d rather it not end in a dispute.

“Good,” Carmilla hugged Laura closer, hiding her face in her neck, “What’s that?” Carmilla asked, pulling away and looking down at the quite noticeable bulge in the front pocket of Laura’s hooded sweater.

“Oh!” Laura said, quickly reaching into her pocket and pulling out a wrapped gift and offering it to her. The wrapping was lots of little snitches and broomsticks.

Carmilla looked at the gift and then at Laura, before slowly reaching out and taking it with a smile, slowly peeling away the paper.

“Oh…” Carmilla said, looking down at the box.

“Do you like it? Take it out of the box.” Laura said quickly.

It was a dark glass globe and inside all the planets of the solar system were visible with the sun burning brightly at the center.

Carmilla visibly swallowed, she looked over whelmed, “…It’s heavy.” Was the only thing she said, staring down at the globe and Laura giggled.

“If you ask it to show you something in particular it will…like your favorite constellation. If you say it and give the ball a shake it will find for you.”

Carmilla stared down at the globe in her hands, “Andromeda,” she said quietly, giving it a shake. The planets began to spin around the globe and then they grew larger and disappeared out of sight as the globe fixated in on the Andromeda constellation.

“They move.” Laura said, “The planets and the stars…they move in real time. Not that…you could ever really notice that happening...” Laura trailed off.

Carmilla continued to stare down at the globe in her hands.

“Now you can see the stars whenever you want.” Laura commented quietly.

Carmilla looked up at Laura with a smile, “Do you like it?” Laura asked anxiously, if she had her wand in her hand right now she would be twiddling it frantically.

Carmilla slowly leaned forward and kissed her, “I adore it…thank you Laura.” She said earnestly, before placing the globe carefully onto the blanket next to them and leaning forward for Laura’s face to kiss her eagerly.

Laura grinned against Carmilla’s lips, leaning forward, pushing Carmilla backwards and twisting her body until she was lying completely on top of her. Carmilla groaned and then stilled, looking up at Laura from the floor.

“Wait…I actually got you something as well…” Carmilla sounded a little embarrassed at this.

She slowly sat up, forcing Laura to sit up as well so she was straddling her lap. Carmilla reached over the blanket and food next to them and grabbed a package wrapped in brown paper.

“I’m sorry it’s not um...” glancing down at it, “I’ve never really got in the habit of giving gifts.” Carmilla said quietly, gesturing for Laura to take it.

“Carm, don’t…its perfect.” Laura smiled at her before taking it from her.

Carmilla leaned back on her elbows giving Laura some room to open her gift. 

She quickly removed the wrapping, too excited to take it slowly as Carmilla had done. 

In her hands she was holding a dark red leather bound journal, her initials LH were inscribed along the bottom and there was a small etching of a feather along the clasp that the held the journal closed.

“Touch the feather…” Carmilla said quietly.

Laura followed the instruction, running her index finger along it and when she did, her finger felt suddenly warm and then clasp opened.

“Now… it will only open at your touch.” Carmilla stated.

“Really…? Thanks Carm, I love it!” Laura giggled. 

“I suppose it might come in to some use now that you’re pursuing a career in journalism. Please just make sure you do a better job than that awful Rita Skeeter.” Carmilla said with distaste.

“She is a gossip columnist, Carm… not really what I want to pursue.”

Laura placed the journal down on the blanket next to Carmilla’s gift and leaned over to kiss her pushing her back down into a prone position. They kissed for a few moments, Laura pulled away an inch to look into her eyes.

“I’ll miss you, Carm.” She whispered, looking sad.

Carmilla gave her a sad smile in return, her hands brushing through Laura’s hair, “I’ll miss you too, Cupcake.

Laura rubbed their noses together before kissing her again and Carmilla’s hands slipped under the blanket and up under Laura’s sweatshirt.

“Your hands are really cold,” Laura shivered with a giggle.

“I’ve found the perfect place to warm them up then,” Carmilla smirked at her.

Laura leaned forward and kissed her again, giggling when Carmilla’s cold hands slipped up her waist.

“Let’s see how you like it,” Laura teased, bringing her hand that wasn’t supporting her, down to the bottom of Carmilla’s hoodie and slipping her fingers under, placing feather light touches along Carmilla’s stomach.

Carmilla smirked. “I like it a lot, plus your hands are surprisingly warm.” She whispered, leaning up for a kiss and Laura rolled her eyes at Carmilla’s words.

Carmilla wrapped her arms tightly around her and Laura made a little squeaking sound when she was unexpectedly pressing down completely on top of Carmilla.

The kiss deepened and Laura sucked on Carmilla’s bottom lip, whilst Carmilla’s hands ran along up to the tops of Laura’s shoulders and then down, running along the bottom of her bra slipping around to the front, her fingers grazed Laura’s ribs for a few moments before slowly sliding up to her covered breasts.

Laura hummed encouragingly as Carmilla’s hands cupped her breasts, her thumbs sliding over where Laura’s nipples would be. She groaned, kissing her again and pushing her chest impossibly closer to Carmilla’s hands.

Carmilla took initiative and pushed her fingertips under the bra, gauging Laura’s reaction, she only leaned down to kiss her again. She pushed the bra up with her hands as they travelled along Laura’s skin, cupping Laura’s bare breasts in her hands. Laura moaned, breaking the kiss to take a shuddering breath. Carmilla looked up at her, smiling at Laura’s response to her attentions.

When Carmilla’s thumbs brushed over her nipples lightly, Laura moaned again, her hips grinding down against Carmilla wantonly.

“Carm…” Laura said in a haze, sounding almost distressed.

Carmilla continued her ministrations and Laura sighed against Carmilla’s mouth, her hips moving again.

Laura shook her head, frustrated, “Just get it off, take it off.” She whispered hurriedly, moving to pull at her sweatshirt in desperation.

“Laura, woah...” Carmilla said pulling out her hands to grab a hold of Laura’s, “It’s too cold…you’ll get too cold.” Carmilla said, sitting up and pulling Laura close into a warm hug.

“Carm, you’re not fair,” Laura whispered lustfully, moving to place kisses down Carmilla’s neck pushing her back down, she moved so her thigh slipped between Carmilla’s legs as her hips continued rocking. Carmilla’s eyes slipped closed as her hands landed on Laura’s hips, her breathing turning quite rough. Carmilla chewed on her lip but a groan slipped through, her hands tightening their grip on Laura’s hips.

“Laura...” She said breathlessly, opening her eyes, her gaze landing on the stars in the dark sky before them as Laura sucked on the collarbone. 

“Laura…wait.” Carmilla moved to push on Laura’s shoulder and sat up with her. Laura looked at Carmilla confused, she was about to complain but Carmilla placed a finger over Laura’s lips, “Let’s just… take a breath and a few moments to enjoy the treats I brought.” Carmilla reasoned with her, gesturing to the practically untouched food.

Laura shifted her hips uncomfortably in Carmilla’s lap and huffed a sigh before nodding.

“Fine but I’m not moving.” Laura said quietly.

“I never asked you too.” Carmilla smirked at her before reaching for a slice of pumpkin pie and a fork and taking a small bite. Carmilla moaned, savoring the taste and Laura’s mouth dropped open at the sound. Was she doing that on purpose?

Carmilla offered the fork and Laura leaned forward and took a piece of the pie in her mouth. She was enthralled by Carmilla’s mouth as she ate the pie, somehow excruciatingly erotic.

Laura shook her head and reached over for the creampuffs again, grabbing one and eating it, smiling at how unsexy she must have looked eating opposed to Carmilla. She moved to lick the melted chocolate off her fingertips when Carmilla suddenly grabbed her hand.

Carmilla placed her plate on the floor next to them and brought Laura’s index finger into her mouth sucking it clean and then continued to the second. Laura swallowed harshly as Carmilla kept eye contact with her the entire time. Laura’s hips shifted uncomfortably.

“Carm…you can’t…” Laura leaned her forehead against Carmilla’s, “One minute you’re pushing me away the next you’re sucking my fingers.” Laura groaned, leaning to kiss Carmilla who responded in kind.

“Sorry, Cutie, couldn’t help myself and I wasn’t pushing you away…I just didn’t want you to get cold.”

Laura ran her fingertips along Carmilla’s collarbone, “Then…we can just keep our clothes on.” Laura smiled at her, moving forward to kiss her again.

“Oh, how romantic you are,” Carmilla said sarcastically before their lips touched and Laura smiled into the kiss.

Time passed and neither one of them felt like saying goodnight, Laura wished they could stay hidden up there forever. They kissed, they stargazed and Carmilla fed Laura treacle fudge that got stuff in her teeth, which Carmilla completely refused to eat. 

Laura felt her eyes becoming heavy as she stared at the moon as it ever so slowly moved across the sky. She leaned back against Carmilla, her eyes falling shut. The dinging of the clock tower sounded off in the distance.

“Cupcake, it’s early, the sun will be rising soon.” Carmilla whispered as she ran her hands through Laura’s hair.

Laura opened her eyes; they burned with the need to sleep. She sat up slowly, nodding, feeling very relaxed.

“Come on, let’s go.” Carmilla said standing up with a stretch and moving to pull Laura to her feet.

“What about the-the-stuff?” Laura gestured to floor.

Carmilla shrugged, “We can grab what we can, no one should come up here tomorrow. I’ll let the house elves know, they’ll help me,” she said as she leaned over to grab their things.

They held hands, walking down the steps of the tower together until Laura leaned against Carmilla’s shoulder exhausted and she wrapped an arm around her.

In the dark corridor leading off towards the grand staircase, they turned to each other; Carmilla leaned over and pressed a kiss to Laura’s forehead.

“Carm, this was wonderful…I’ll see you in a few hours, okay?” Laura said quietly. 

Carmilla smiled, “Come on, we need to go.”

Laura made her way up to the gryffindor tower in a drowsy state, she was feeling both happy and sad but most of all a resounding feeling of contentment had settled within her. The time she had spend with Carmilla tonight had been perfect and Laura had come to realize that she was, without a doubt, completely in love with Carmilla Karnstein.

Chapter Text

 “Are you taking that cat with you?” LaFontaine asked as they pulled on their shoes in the dormitory.

Laura, who was trying to shove last minute items into her overflowing trunk, glanced to her bed where her cat was still asleep. The cat hadn’t been there when she’d finally gotten into bed but it must have turned up at some point during the night because it was here now and completely dead to the world.

Laura hadn’t thought about that... she had never found out where the cat had come from or who owned it. All she knew was it showed up just before she fell asleep and was usually gone before she woke up.

Laura moved from the floor to her four-poster, looking down at the cat with a confused frown.

“I’m not sure I can take you with me, Nox.” Laura said to her enigmatic cat.

“You named it?” LaF asked. 

“Well yeah, it’s like my cat now.” She smiled and reached down, stroking the black fur.

“Except it’s not…Still don’t know where she keeps coming from?”

“Nope.” Laura shook her head.

“Wakey wakeeeey,” She said quietly to the cat as she petted it.

It stirred, stretching out on its side, slowly waking up.

“Nox, I can’t take you home with me…I’m sure you must belong to someone else.”

The cat abruptly stood up, looking at Laura, it meowed at her and jumped quickly off the bed and out of the door, which was propped open with a trunk. 

“Follow it!” said LaF suddenly.

Laura looked at LaF in happy shock, “Yes!”

She quickly made after the cat, running down the steps of the dorm into the common room. The cat was just making it’s way through the portrait hole and scampering off into the corridor.

Laura followed, the cat was quick. She tailed it along the seventh floor corridor and it disappeared around the corner.

She picked up the pace already assuming the cat would be gone, she ran around the corner and right into something...someone. 

“Carm!”

“Why are you hiding around corners and jumping out on people, Cutie? I thought you only did that on Halloween.” Carmilla said holding onto Laura’s arms to steady her.

Laura looked passed her down the corridor for the cat. Carmilla followed her gaze, “What?” She said looking at Laura with a confused expression.

“Did you see a cat here just a second ago?” 

“No. Why?" 

“My…cat. She…” Laura was stilling looking for the cat.

“You have a cat?” 

“Oh…well kind of. It’s a long story.” Laura said giving up the search and looking at Carmilla instead.

“Hi.” She said, smiling at her. 

“Hey.” Carmilla leaned towards Laura.

Just before their lips touched Laura spoke, “What are you doing here, Carm?”

“What do you mean?”

“Here, right now, on the seventh floor. Shouldn’t you be getting ready to go?”

“I was… and then I remembered I left my…” She trailed off. 

Laura nodded, “We left things at the astronomy tower.”

“Yes! That’s…that’s right.” Carmilla smiled. “That’s why I’m here.”

“Do you need help? I can come with you…” Laura asked.

“No. It’s fine. I can get the rest on my own. I’ll see you at breakfast?”

Laura nodded and Carmilla placed a firm kiss on her lips before heading off in the direction of the tower. 

*

 “There you go.” Laura spoke to her trunk as she placed it on the luggage rack above her seat. Carmilla and her had just found an empty compartment to settle into for the journey home.

Laura sat down next to her and said Carm, tapping her knee so she would look at her, “We’ve never been on the train together before.”

“Yes we have, how do you think I get to and from Hogwarts?” Carmilla smirked.

Laura rolled her eyes, “No, I mean we’ve never sat on the train together before.”

Carmilla looked at her intently, a happy smile slowly appearing on her face, “In September, you sat in a carriage down that end of the train.” Carmilla gestured forward with her hand; “You must have had a hair cut over the summer because it was shorter then it had been. You played exploding snap with the two gingers on the floor and you glared at me as I walked past… a few times.”

Laura stared at Carmilla, she opened her mouth but no words came out.

Carmilla laughed silently, “Laura, I’ve-”

“Found them!” Both Laura and Carmilla were startled by LaFontaine’s unexpected entrance into the compartment. “They’re in here, Per!" 

Carmilla frowned, released a long breath and rubbed the back of her neck, “Oh, yay.” She said, not hiding her annoyance.

“Hi guys,” Laura spoke, not sounding quite as enthusiastic as she usually would have. LaF and Perry seemed not to notice as they hauled their belongings into the compartment. LaF made a comical relaxed exhale as they sat down heavily on the opposite seats, as if they’d had a long day…at 9.30am.

Carmilla took to either staring out of the window or staring at Laura as conversation flowed. This was quite normal behavior for her; she very rarely got involved in conversation unless Laura addressed her directly.

LaFontaine and Perry were currently arguing over Hufflepuff’s chances at a comeback this year in quidditch.

“…Per, I once witnessed the Hufflepuff beaters hit their own teammates with the bludger.”

There was an unexpected chuckle and silence fell as Perry and LaF looked towards Carmilla. She had laughed at LaFontaine’s words.

“What…?” she said, when she realized all eyes were on her, “That was… almost funny.”

“Almost?” LaF, smiled at her. 

“Almost.” Carmilla replied with a small smile before turning back to the window. 

Laura became fidgety as the journey progressed, she was aware these few short hours would be her last with Carmilla for a few weeks and she didn’t feel ready to say goodbye. Carmilla must have noticed because she stopped Laura from wringing her hands together and held one of them in both of hers.

“Are you okay?” she asked, just loudly enough for Laura to hear as the others chatted among themselves.

Laura nodded her head a little too quickly and Carmilla gave her a questioning look.

“It’s just…” Laura began, “I’ll really miss you, Carm.”

She continued, “…and…and that really scares me because I don’t want- I’m not sure whether that’s the right way to feel and it’s making me sad and-“

“Cupcake…” Laura paused and Carmilla reached up and ran a hand through Laura’s hair, “Just stop for a second, okay? Laura, you have no idea how much I’m going to miss you but you have to go spend some time with your dad and enjoy Christmas. It’s only a couple weeks and maybe we’ll see each other sooner than expected.”

“When?” said Laura quickly with a grin.

Carmilla smiled, “I’m not sure right now but… I don’t know how long I can last.”

“With your mother?” Laura asked, looking concerned.

“No, Cutie, without seeing you.” 

*

 The platform was alive with movement, joyful greetings and emotional farewells. Students were running in all directions, parents calling out for their loved ones. Laura pushed through the crowd heaving her trunk behind her, hearing shouts of, “Wait, this isn’t my case!” and “Where’s my toad gone?” as she tried to reach a less inhabited area. She was also just clinging to the last few seconds she had before she was to say goodbye to Carmilla who was trailing along behind her.

Laura turned to face her when the platform around them became a little clearer. She pulled Carmilla into a tight hug because she wasn’t sure she could speak and Carmilla ran her hand reassuringly up and down Laura’s back. 

After a few moments Laura reluctantly pulled away, releasing a breath and finally meeting Carmilla’s gaze. Carmilla pulled her back in, this time for a kiss, long and firm. A kiss that left Laura feeling breathless and made her forget, albeit just for a few seconds, that she was saying goodbye to Carmilla.

“I’ll write to you.” Carmilla said, with a longing expression.

Laura nodded and smiled, “You better.”

Carmilla leaned down to kiss her one final time before reaching for her trunk and offering a small wave and smile to Laura before turning and walking back into the slowly dispersing crowd. Laura watched her go with a sad smile.

“Who was that?” Laura heard from directly behind her, making her start and turn around quickly.

“Dad!” Laura reached out quickly pulling her father, Sherman, into a hug. 

“Hi Honey, who was that?” He asked again.

Her dad grabbed her trunk, pulling it along for her, still looking at her expectantly. ”Dad…that was Carmilla Karnstein.”

“What?!”

“Dad, I know what you’re thinking but I was wrong.” Laura said, quickly trying to explain.

“Don’t you hate that girl? Hasn’t she tormented you for years?”

“Well, there’s-” She was interrupted.

“…And now I see you kissing her?”

They approached the car, Sherman packed the trunk away as Laura spoke. 

“Dad, it’s not like that." 

“Explain it to me, Laura.” He said as they both clambered into the car. 

“Because when I told you to find a girl who deserves you – she wasn’t really what I had in mind.” He said, sternly.

It took Laura the whole car journey home to explain to her dad what had happened over the 4 months. He had been aware that Carmilla was her study partner because she had sent him an angry letter at the start of the year. But Laura had not mentioned to her dad what had happened between them since then. She had wanted to do it person because she wasn’t sure how to explain it all in a letter.

*

The first few days passed and Laura spent them distracting herself with her dad and Christmas festivities. One of the things Laura loved about spending the majority of the year away and going home to a muggle household, was getting to catch up with whole seasons of TV shows she had missed. Laura always found it odd how she could revert back to muggle life so easily as if Hogwarts was all a dream.

Laura missed Carmilla everyday and she hated the fact that Carmilla came from a wizarding family and thus had no idea what a computer was or a phone so the only way she could contact her was through owl post and she didn’t have an owl so that was impossible. It was frustrating beyond anything.

On Christmas Eve night, Laura settled into her bedroom, which was unchanged since she was eleven as she was never there. Old toys dotted the room, clothes that hadn’t fit Laura for a number of years but she still had because she never bothered to throw them out and she basically lived out of her trunk. It was like walking into a past life, things she used to care about that were nothing to her now, posters, drawings, pictures on the walls of old school friends she hadn’t seen in for many years.

She was absentmindedly pulling old books from the bookcase when there was a familiar knock behind her. Laura immediately dropped the pile of books in her arms and ran to window, her heart suddenly beating frantically as the black owl flew into the room and landed on her desk.

There was a letter attached to it's leg. When Laura removed it the owl hooted, flew around the room and landed back on the desk, dipping it head over Laura’s glass of water and helping itself.

Laura smiled and shrugged, seems fair, she thought, leaving the owl to do whatever it wished and quickly ripping the letter open.

 

Laura,

I hope you are well and are enjoying Christmas with your father.  

I wish I had stayed at Hogwarts for Christmas. Mother appears to be having some issues at work and is livid all the time. I am staying out of the house as much as I can.

Your dad didn’t look very happy when he came to collect you on the platform; I hope it wasn’t because of me? Is everything okay?

I am not to be staying here much longer, I will remain for Christmas but will travel to Diagon Alley and stay there over the New Year. Would you care to join me? I will be staying at The Leaky Cauldron from the 27th until we return to school.

I’ll have Dorado wait for your reply, don’t wait around too long as he will probably leave in search of food and come back with a dead furry animal.

With Love

Carmilla

 

Laura read the letter over numerous times, feeling a multitude of emotions. Then she quickly sat down at her desk, found a sheet of patchment and a quill and began to write.

 

Carmilla,

Sorry to hear about your mother, I wish you were here with me. I miss you so much. 

I hadn't exactly told my dad about you and he was just confused, even more once he found out who you were but he's okay with it now, I think.

I would love to stay with you! I could come on the 28th so I'll spend a few more days with my dad... and muggle TV.  

Can't wait to see you.

Merry Christmas  

Love Laura  

*

 

Laura ate cereal next to her Dad who was reading the muggle newspaper; it amused Laura that the pictures did not move.

“Dad, I’m leaving on the 28th to stay with Carmilla.” Laura said bluntly.

“What, Honey?” He said dropping the newspaper, looking sad but confused and it made Laura giggle.

“I’m sorry to leave early Dad but I really miss her and she asked me so of course I said yes.” Laura said with confident nod.

“Sweetheart, how long have been planning to leave?”

“I only got the owl last night dad,” she smiled, patting his arm.

“Oh, okay.” He was still looking rather hurt so Laura climbed off her stool and pulled her dad into a hug.

*

Laura,

I miss you too.  

I imagine your father dislikes me as much as you used too? 

Meet me in the Leaky Cauldron on the morning of 28th

What is a TV? 

Merry Christmas

Carmilla   

* 

Carmilla,

No! He likes you now! He'll probably want to meet you...

A TV is basically this screen and… actually maybe I'll just explain it to you in person. 

I'll see you on the 28th.  

Love Laura 

*

 Laura walked into the Leaky Cauldron, conscious of her father trailing behind her, lugging her trunk. Her dad seemed keen to meet Carmilla, Laura had warned him to be nice to her, she was aware that Carmilla wasn’t always great with first impressions.

She was immediately searching the pub for Carmilla, knowing her she’d likely be somewhere no one could see her, hidden away.

“Laura…” Carmilla appeared in front her, holding a book as usual. 

“Carm!” Laura said excitedly pulling her in for a firm hug.

Laura felt Carmilla tense up after a few seconds, she must have spotted her father, Laura reluctantly pulled away.

She looked to her dad as she grabbed Carmilla’s hand.

“Carm, this is my dad.” 

“Hi....um...sir.” Carmilla scratched the back of her neck and cleared the throat, she was quite obviously uncomfortable.

“So you're Carmilla Karnstein... the Carmilla Karnstein?” Sherman said, his expression unreadable. 

Carmilla frowned, “Erm... well yes... that is me.” She nodded and then looked to Laura as if for help. 

“Dad.” Laura said warningly holding Carmilla’s arm tighter and smiling at her. Carmilla smiled down broadly at her, looking into her eyes, staring at her. Laura had missed her so much.

“Okay.” Laura’s dad spoke up and both of them turned to look at him, Carmilla looked worried.

“Sorry?” Laura asked her dad, not sure what he meant.

“Okay.” He nodded, “If she’s looking at you like that… like well, like that…then it's nice to meet you Carmilla.” He said with a smile.

“Please don't do anything to hurt my daughter. I have bear spray and there isn't any magical spell that can cure what it could do to you." 

“Dad!!” Laura said, moving to stand infront of him.

Carmilla just nodded slowly.

“Laura, I’ll see you in a few months.” Her dad pulled her into a hug. “I might come to one of your quidditch games, Honey.” He said with excitement.

“Ooh!” Laura chuckled. 

Sherman smiled at Carmilla, nodded and then turned to leave. 

“Bye Dad.” Laura gave her a dad one last wave. They both watched as he made his way out of the Leaky Cauldron.

“Come on, let's take your trunk upstairs.” Carmilla smiled down at her. 

“That went okay…” Carmilla said, as she and Laura walked down an apparently endless corridor. She sounded as if she was trying to convince herself more than anything.

The corridor had doors of all sizes on either side; they passed an extraordinarily tall wizard who had to bend over to walk.

Carmilla paused outside a normal looking door, “This is me.” She said. 

Laura looked at the door, room 307. Inside the room was nothing special, just a large bed, with a desk, an old radio and a door which Laura assumed lead to the bathroom.

Laura pulled her trunk into the room and left it on the floor at the bottom of the bed where Carmilla had left her own. Laura walked over the window, it looked out over Diagon Alley and she could see the sea of people moving around on the busy street below. 

Arms wrapped around her, hugging her from behind and Laura turned to face Carmilla. They kissed for what felt like the first time in a long time and Laura smiled. 

“Let’s go.” Carmilla said, pulling Laura by the hand towards the door.

Chapter Text

They walked hand in hand along the crowded, cobbled street of Diagon Alley. There was almost an awkwardness passing between them, Laura glanced at Carmilla and then quickly looked away. Carmilla peered at Laura and then down at the ground and then they both made eye contact and smiled.

"Laura I-"

"What did-" They spoke at the same time.

"Go ahead." Laura said quickly.

"No, please." Carmilla said, nodding encouragingly as they walked.

"I was just going to ask what you wanted do today?"

"To be honest, Cupcake… I was just planning to follow you around as you amused yourself."

Laura frowned at her and Carmilla prepared herself for Laura’s rebuke but then see smiled broadly and tapped Carmilla’s arm excitedly.

"Ooh, Quality Quidditch Supplies! I love it in there!" Laura said happily.

"Just like that." Carmilla smirked, as Laura grabbed her arm and pulled her along.

Laura turned to Carmilla as they browsed the shelves of endless quidditch team memorabilia.

"Do you support a quidditch team, Carm?" Laura asked with interest.

Carmilla shook her head.

"Not the Ballycastle Bats? No?" Laura said holding up a jersey.

"Or the Chudley Cannons?" She said gesturing to a bright orange hat. 

"Erm…no, not really." Carmilla shrugged at her.

They wandered over to the Hogwarts quidditch robes and memorabilia. 

"Carm, I think you should buy this Gryffindor hat to show your support for my team." Laura smiled at her.

"Ha! Yes and then I'll be shunned by my team and then by the entirety of the Slytherin house." Carmilla nodded, enthusiastically.

Laura giggled and moved closer, leaning her head on Carmilla's shoulder. "Shall we both just pursue careers as professional quidditch players and not bother with our NEWTs?" Laura said dreamily, grabbing Carmilla's hand.

 "I wish." Carmilla mumbled, planting a kiss on Laura's brow. 

Carmilla spent a good hour browsing Flourish and Blotts and seemed well acquainted with the shop owner to Laura’s surprise. Carmilla tried to encourage Laura to buy a book on potions to help with her studies, which she refused for all of ten minutes before giving in and purchasing it. Carmilla left with 4 books, Laura bought Quidditch though the ages.

 They perused the Sugar Plum Sweetshop at Laura’s request, although Carmilla wasn’t too interested in trying any of Laura’s treats today.

 Laura insisted they check out Gambol and Drapes, reasoning it could be a laugh, it was a joke shop after all. Carmilla could barely stand five minutes of it. Laura bought something called ‘kissing concoction’ and was currently trying to convince Carmilla to try it.

 Anything called ‘Kissing Concoction’ was obviously only going to end well if it had anything to do with Carmilla, Laura reasoned.

“Cupcake, that is a love potion.” Carmilla frowned, pointing at the bottle in Laura’s hand.

“Carm, it says here…the drinker will become infatuated with the giver.” Laura laughed, offering it to her as they strolled down the street. 

“It’s rather pointless then isn’t it since I’m already enamored by you.” Carmilla thought aloud as she took the small bottle from her and started reading from it. Laura’s heat skipped a beat at Carmilla’s words.

“There’s no way this could be a real love potion. I mean, you bought it in a joke shop.” Carmilla reasoned, pulling off the top and smelling the contents with a wince.

“Try it and find out.” Laura smiled.

Carmilla rolled her eyes and brought the bottle to her lips, she took a small sip of the liquid, frowning slightly and licked her bottom lip. “The textures really…silky and it tastes like… sugar.” Carmilla murmured, grimacing. “I think I need to bleach my tongue.”

Laura giggled, “Well…do you feel any different?” 

“I’m not sure it…” Carmilla froze, her face became suddenly completely vacant for a few seconds and then she looked at Laura and smiled.

"Laura." She said affectionately as if she hadn't seen her in many months. Carmilla pulled her into a tight hug, planted a desperate kiss on her head and then on her mouth, continuing to hold her tightly, Laura giggled.

"Carm...? Wow, okay Carm, can't breathe." Laura murmured as Carmilla held her.

"Carm?"

She pulled away to look into Laura's eyes, a smile on her face, "Yes, my love?"

Laura eyes widened, this was either a very good idea or very bad oneshe wasn't sure yet.

"Um... Can I just..." Laura gestured to the bottle still in Carmilla's hand “...have that?”

Carmilla immediately handed the bottle over and Laura started franticly looking for instructions on how long the concoction would last for. It said nothing, to her disappointment.

Carmilla was still staring endearingly at her.

"Carm?" 

"Yes, Buttercup?"

"Are you feeling okay?"  Laura asked.

"As long as you’re with me I’ll be okay." Carmilla grabbed her arm, linking them, continuing to smile broadly at her and they walked.

 Oh no… what have I done? Laura thought.

"Are you hungry?" Laura asked.

"Hungry for you." Carmilla responded quickly, kissing her hairline again.

Oh my…” Laura blushed red. "Lets just… go and sit down in the Leaky Cauldron, okay? I need to figure out what to do with you."

Carmilla didn't look like she wanted to let go of Laura when she told her to sit down but she did. She sat Carmilla in a corner booth, away from the majority of people. Laura ordered butterbeers, Carmilla just smiled and looked across the room at her, all dreamy.

She left no space between them, nudging right up next to Laura when she sat down.

“Okay, drink this…it might help.” Laura hoped, offering her a butterbeer, she had absolutely no idea; maybe it will help wash the potion down?

Carmilla downed the drink in one.

"Wow… you’ll just do anything I ask, won’t you?" Laura couldn’t help but smile at her. This Carmilla was actually so sweet.

Carmilla leaned over and started smelling her hair.

"Carm..."

She just leaned closer, pushing her face into Laura's neck.

This potion is so dangerous, Laura thought.

"Carm, look maybe..."

"Yes, my darling?"

Laura frowned, "l'm sorry, I never should have bought that potion." 

"Don’t ever apologize to me, Laura, you could never do anything wrong." Carmilla said, running her fingers through Laura's hair and leaning forward, kissing her.

Laura kissed her back initially, pulling away a little breathlessly after a moment. "Carm... I can't, it's not right. You're not you." She said sadly, cupping Carmilla's face in her hands. “Snap out of it, Carm.”

Carmilla looked sad, Laura spoke again.

"You’re a potions genius. How long will this love potion last? Think back, you’ve probably read it in a book somewhere, right?"

Carmilla smiled, "My love for you will last forever." 

Laura rolled her eyes, sat back and took a sip of her butterbeer. "Carm, you are going to be mortified when this potion wears off." She laughed and Carmilla just chuckled along with her, bopping Laura's nose with her index finger.

She decided she would just have to wait it out however long it was going to take, Carmilla had only had a small sip of the concoction and it would likely wear off shortly. In the meantime, Laura was happy to let this bizarre Carmilla cuddle her all she wanted; at least it would keep her happy.

Laura sipped her butterbeer slowly as Carm was holding on to her tightly.

"You’re not particularly loquacious in this state are you." Laura commented but Carmilla just continued to gaze at her.

Maybe twenty minutes later, Laura had pulled the menu in front of her; she may as well eat.

“Do you want food?” Laura asked, glancing up at her.

Carmilla was frowning and her eyes looked around wildly for a few seconds and then focused on Laura. She shook her head, running a hand through her hair, “Okay… I’m going to leave now.” Carmilla moved as if she were about to get up.

“No!” Laura pulled her back down into the seat with a smile.

“So, you remember?” Laura asked.

Carmilla nodded and Laura giggled.

“Don’t worry about it, Carm, it was the potion talking.” Laura said tapping her leg reassuringly.

Carmilla frowned at Laura’s words, “Actually, Cupcake... for most part, it wasn’t like what I was saying wasn’t true.”

“It was almost like… I couldn’t stop myself from saying the thoughts that were in my head.” Carmilla looked to be deep in thought.

Laura pulled her in for a kiss, holding her close and then Laura spoke with a giggle, “Carm, you said you wanted to eat me.”

“Where’s the lie, Cupcake?” Carmilla smirked, leaning in and kissing her firmly, as Laura silently laughed. 

They ate dinner in the Leaky Cauldron; Laura noted that the menu was mostly soup. They both enjoyed more butterbeers and Carmilla asked Laura potions questions in exchange for, of course, a kiss. Carmilla had said she was making a lot of progress.

“Lets take this upstairs.” Carmilla grabbed her hand, pulling Laura to her feet. Carmilla smiled and moved off to the bar returning with a bottle of firewhisky.

“I already know this is going to be a bad idea,” Laura murmured, as they walked together toward room 307.

When they entered their room, Carmilla placed the bottle and glasses down on the table and then poured two drinks as Laura wandered over to the window as she had done that morning. She peered down at the street below. It was quieter now than it had been, the old street looking even more picturesque lit up at night.

Carmilla joined her at the window, handing Laura a glass. The firewhisky burned as it traveled down Laura’s throat, she frowned and shuddered. “It’s no butterbeer is it,” She cleared her throat and Carmilla chuckled.

“I like it, it’s… warm.” Carmilla commented, opening the window, sounds from the street reached their ears. Music and laughter from the pub beneath them.

“Carm, what did your mother say when you told her you were leaving?”

Carmilla sighed, moved off, grabbing the bottle and returned to her side, “She didn’t… I left a note.” Carmilla said, pouring more out.

“I haven’t heard from her, so she either hasn’t noticed I’m gone or she doesn’t care.” Carmilla shrugged, sipping her drink.

”I’m sorry, Carm.”

She shrugged, “It doesn’t matter, Cupcake.” She reached to close the window once the chilly air began to fill the room.

Carmilla turned and climbed onto their bed crossing her legs at the ankles placing the bottle on the bedside table. Their bed? The bed they would be sharing. Laura started to feel nervous; she suddenly wanted a whole lot more of that firewhisky.

“Come here.” Carmilla smiled at her, tapping the bed next to her. Laura felt her heartbeat pick up; she pushed a lock of hair behind her ear nervously and walked around the bed to what would be her side.

She was about to sit when she noticed the book in Carmilla’s hands.

“Carm. Really?” Laura gestured to the potions textbook.

“Cupcake, you need to study.” She tapped the bed next to her again and Laura sat down with an irritated huff.

Great, Laura thought, Can’t keep her hands off me in the library but once we’re alone together on a big comfy bed all she wants to do is study? Priorities, Carm.

Carmilla took a casual sip of her drink as she scanned the pages of the textbook, “Okay, the feathers of what bird are used in memory potions?”

Laura rolled her eyes, not interested, “I don’t know.” She took a gulp of her own firewhisky before placing it down. 

“Well, its Jobberknoll.” Carmilla said, still looking at the textbook.

“I knew that, do I get a kiss?” Laura lied.

Carmilla smiled at her, it was an obvious lie but she leaned in to kiss her anyway. Laura ran her hands through Carmilla’s hair, holding her close, attempting to deepen the kiss but Carmilla stilled and moved away.

Laura sighed.

“Name one of the key ingredients of a sleeping draught.” Carmilla said, glancing between her and the book.

“Lavender, I guess.” Laura said in an uninterested tone.

“Correct. I also would have accepted valerian and-”

“I don’t care.” Laura said a hairs width from Carmilla’s mouth as she leaned in to kiss her, climbing quickly onto Carmilla’s lap, who let out a little squeak as she did so. 

“No, no.” Carmilla said, as Laura made a grab for the book.

Laura leaned back a little on her lap. Carmilla poured more firewhisky into their glasses on the bedside and then sipped her drink, “Name a healing solution.”

Laura shrugged and Carmilla sighed, “A healing solution? I gave you a healing solution when you hit your head.”

“Oh… murtlap essense!” Laura said with a smile.

Carmilla nodded and smiled but then shook her head, “No ki-”

Laura was already kissing her; she grabbed the book this time and threw it over her shoulder, forcing herself closer. Carmilla groaned as Laura pressed against her.

“Cupcake, I hardly need the book.” Carmilla mumbled against her mouth. 

Laura kissed her firmly, her eyebrows coming together as she processed what Carmilla had said.

“What is a well known side effect of the draught of peace?” She said as soon as Laura’s lips left her mouth.

Laura groaned, “Carm, why are you doing this to me?” 

“Because, I want you to succeed. You will pass potions.” Carmilla said, resting her hands on Laura’s thighs as she spoke and then reaching for her glass and sipping her drink.

Laura grabbed hers, drinking down her firewhisky, “What was the question?” she said with a frown.

“What is a well known side effect of the draught of peace?” Carmilla asked again.

Laura gave the answer some thought before replying, “Is it…my guess would be that the drinker would become so calm that they might…I’m not sure, die?”

Carmilla considered that, “Well yeah, you could make the potion so powerful that the drinker falls asleep. And then in some cases, they never wake up so essentially yes, you are correct.” Carmilla reasoned.

She smiled, kissing Carmilla again, Laura sighed into Carmilla’s mouth when her hands came up to roam through her hair.

Laura stayed very close when Carmilla spoke again, “What is a bezoar?”

“A stone.” Laura replied with a giggle, kissing Carmilla’s lips chastely.

Carmilla chuckled and tutted in disapproval, “What does it do?” she asked more distinctly, her hands moving up and down Laura’s back slowly.

Laura closed her eyes for a second as she thought about the answer, “It’s an antidote.” She said confidently.

Carmilla nodded, “It is an antidote to most poisons,” she added.

“I love it when I’m correct.” Laura whispered leaning closer to Carmilla once more.

A giggle escaped from her mouth and she missed her mark, banging her head against Carmilla’s

“Oww, Carm!” Laura said, accusatorially.

Carmilla rubbed at her brow as she laughed, “Cutie, that was entirely you, I haven’t moved an inch.”

Laura laughed again, suddenly finding Carmilla extremely funny, she wobbled atop of her and let out a, “Whoa!”

“Carm, I think this firewhisky was more whiskier than fireier.” Laura giggled loudly and Carmilla joined in.

“You’re not making any sense,” Carmilla smiled, as she drank from her glass.

“Okay, another…Laverne de Montmorency invented what potion?” Carmilla asked bopping Laura’s nose.

“Luurrrvvvee potion,” She giggled as she gazed at Carm, kissing her chastely again.

Carmilla smiled broadly, almost in shock, “Yes!”

“Really?” Laura said in disbelief.

“Carm! I’ve learned everything I need to know! I’m a potions genius!” Laura said, reaching for her glass and downing the rest of her drink.

“What is the difference between monksbane and wolfshood?” Carmilla asked, “No wait! I meant …monkshood and wolfsbane.” Carmilla chuckled as she muddled her words.

Laura laughed again, finding Carmilla’s mistake hilarious.

“I think we need to stop drinking this firewhiskey.” Carmilla frowned at the glass as if it done her wrong.

Laura leaned over to place her glass down, “Good idea,” she nodded, kissing Carmilla again.

They kissed languidly for a few moments, before Carmilla pulled away, tapping Laura’s leg, as if to get her to move.

Laura frowned at her and then yawned.

“You need to sleep, I gotta use the bathroom,” she tapped Laura’s leg again.

Laura huffed but fell to the side lying in the center of the bed drowsily as Carmilla got up and shuffled around the room.

They both got organized for bed in their own time; Carmilla placed her wand on the bedside table and climbed under the sheets first, shortly followed by Laura.

“Do all your pajamas have animals on?” Carmilla asked as she leaned over to kiss Laura.

“No...” Laura smiled against her mouth.

Carmilla reached for her wand and whispered Nox, so the lamps in the room flickered out and room fell into darkness. They moved closer to each other and Carmilla wrapped her arms around Laura’s waist.

“I miss her.” Laura whispered into the darkness.

“Who?” Carmilla mumbled.

“Nox, my cat.” Laura smiled. “Well, she’s not technically mine… but I miss her.”

Carmilla said nothing for a moment or so and chewed the lower lip.

“Laura…”

“Yes, Carm?” she whispered, drowsily.

“…Nothing, Cupcake.” Carmilla replied but Laura was already falling asleep.

*

 Laura turned restlessly, slowly waking. An unexpected movement next to her and a hand touching her side made her rouse further. Oh, that’s just Carmilla, Laura thought. That’s Carmilla!? She turned to face her; Carmilla’s eyes were closed. She looked so peaceful and content. Laura moved closer and placed a kiss to Carmilla’s lips. She smiled in her slumber so Laura kissed her once more, this time Carmilla’s lips responded minutely before Laura pulled away and Carmilla was smiling again.

Then she ran her hands through Carmilla’s hair, leaning over to kiss her cheeks, nose and brow, “This is nice,” Laura said to her, even though she wasn’t entirely sure Carmilla was awake yet.

Carmilla groaned, stretching her limbs, her eyes remaining closed. Then her hands moved to wrap around Laura’s middle pulling them flush together and Carmilla buried her face in Laura’s neck.

“Laura.” Carmilla said in a quiet sleepy voice, she wondered whether Carmilla was even aware she had said her name.

Carmilla placed a kiss against her throat and then paused for a second before her grip tightened on Laura’s waist and she placed warm kisses up Laura’s neck until she reached her lips and then they kissed intently. Laura moaned into Carmilla’s mouth as she moved on top of her.

Carmilla smiled into the kiss and moved Laura’s shirt up placing the back of her hands against Laura’s stomach, “Are my hands cold?” thinking back to that night at the astronomy tower.

Laura giggled, “A little…”

Their lips melting together again, the kisses becoming livelier as drowsiness left them.

“We're going to miss breakfast.” Carm mumbled, her fingertips just slipping into the waistband of Laura’s pajama shorts as she spoke.

Laura took a needy breath, “Is it soup? Cause I’ll happily miss it.”

Carmilla chuckled and shook her head. 

*

 Carmilla held the door open for Laura as they left the Apothecary, “It smells in there, I hate it,” Laura said quietly and Carmilla smiled.

“Ooh, lets go into the Magical Menagerie, I can buy a present for Nox!” Laura said excitedly.

Carmilla frowned as they entered, “Um… what would you be getting for the… cat?”

They both glanced around, the walls the packed high with cages of animals of all kinds.

Laura shrugged, “Well, cats like to eat mice.”

Carmilla grimaced, “You’re going to give it dead mice?!”

“No… I was thinking I would get her a plaything or something.” Laura replied, in confusion.

“Oh, okay.” Carmilla said looking relieved.

“Carm, its for a cat, its not like I was offering it to you.” Laura giggled, thumping her shoulder, humorously.

Carmilla said nothing more and moved to browse the opposite wall of animal oddities.

Laura left the Magical Menagerie with a small mouse toy that she thought Nox would enjoy; Carmilla just furrowed her brow at it.

They visited Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, where Laura’s eyes were definitely bigger than her stomach. There were probably close to one hundred ice cream options, how could she decide? Laura vowed to one day have tried every single flavor but for now she would settle with chocolate and raspberry flavor with chopped nuts whilst Carmilla had a mint chocolate.

They left the ice cream parlor happy and very full; Laura grabbed Carmilla’s arm as they walked.

“Carm, we have to go back there tomorrow.” Laura said, resolutely.

Carmilla smiled at her, “Cupca-”

“Carmilla.” Came a stern sounding, poised voice. 

Carmilla froze, almost horror struck.

“What are you- who… is this?” Came the voice again, Laura turned to see a tall middle-aged lady, not that her looks really portrayed her age, wizards seemed to age incredibly slowly.

“Hello Mother.” Carmilla spoke as she turned to face her.

Laura looked between them; there was some resemblance she supposed.

”This is Laura.” Carmilla spoke confidently, they were still holding hands.

“Hollis? Laura Hollis…but you’re a-a mud-" 

“Don’t say it,” Carmilla said angrily, taking a step forward, “Don’t you dare.”

“…Muggle-born.” She finished and Carmilla released a breath.

Oh, Laura thought, she’s prejudiced? Wow, this was the first time anyone other than immature Slytherins had made reference to her having been muggle-born. She certainly never expected it from sophisticated witches or wizards.

Laura looked between them both; Carmilla was clenching her hand into a fist, the other holding Laura’s hand quite tightly.

“Mother-“ Carmilla began, only to be cut off.

“Carmilla, I was expecting you to come to the Ministry with me yesterday, we had business to attend to.”

Carmilla frowned, “Well, I… had other pla-.” She almost whispered.

“Do not mess with your future, Carmilla. It’s very important.”

“Oh and make sure you ask Professor McGonagall about those occlumency lessons, you will need them as soon as possible.” Carmilla’s mother spoke sternly, giving a sideways glance to Laura; as if she was conscious of her presence and she rather she wasn’t there.

“I don’t want to learn occlumency, Mother!” Carmilla said angrily.

“Carmilla! Yes you do.” She sneered and then smiled, her demeanor changing to overly sweet, “Have fun at school darling, won’t you.”

She glanced at Laura disapprovingly but said nothing, turning quickly and striding off toward Gringotts and not looking back.

“So…your mother is… intense.” Laura said, turning to look at Carmilla who pulled Laura along quickly in the opposite direction.

“Once… she locked me in a cupboard with the house elves for three days over the summer when I refused to study. It was terrifying.” Carmilla said staring at the ground. “I swear the only reason I didn’t die was because the elves could apparate in and out of the cupboard and bring me water." 

Carm…I’m so sorry, I-“ Laura wasn’t sure how to respond, “If I ever see that woman again…” Laura glanced behind her trying to spot her.

“You will do nothing, Cupcake.” Carmilla chuckled at the absurdity of Laura’s words, “She would dispose of you without a second thought.” Carmilla seemed to realize the truthfulness behind her own words and hugged Laura to her. 

*

 Carmilla’s mood had dipped a great deal after running into her mother, she had mused that she must have come to Diagon Alley in search of her and she became exceedingly wary. Laura noted that when they sat down in the Leaky Cauldron, Carmilla’s eyes kept darting around the room as if she expected her mother to appear any second.

Laura placed a hand on her knee, “Carm, she’s not here,” she whispered.

Carmilla met her eyes with a nod, “I know, she just puts me on edge,” she grabbed Laura’s hand holding it both of hers and smiled at her. 

“Carm…what’s occlumency?” Laura was too curious not to ask.

“You need it if you want to work in the Department of Mysteries… It’s sort of a way of closing off your mind to intruders, it’s a very hard to skill to grasp.” Carmilla said with a frown.

“I’d rather not bother but my mother will...” Carmilla sighed heavily.

“Carm, your mother cannot make those decisions for you.” Laura said. 

Carmilla shook her head, looking miserable as she stared at the opposite wall.

“Carm.” She did not respond.

Carm.” Laura said again, wrapping her arms around her waist, leaning into her.

Her lips found Carmilla’s neck and began placing light kisses there; she spoke quietly into her ear.

“Come on, let’s go upstairs,” Laura, said reassuringly grabbing her hand.

Carmilla smiled at Laura as they entered their room, visibly more comfortable in their own space. She pulled Laura into a warm hug, kissing her brow, “You’d never relax if you thought there was a chance she might be watching you.” Laura whispered. 

“Well now we’re here…” Carmilla murmured, her thumbs skimming along Laura’s cheekbones as she leaned into kiss her, the kiss rapidly becoming heated and urgent. A whine left Laura’s mouth as Carmilla nibbled on her bottom lip and tugged at her hair.

Carmilla took a step forward as if they weren’t already pressed tightly together, causing Laura to stumble slightly and Carmilla’s arms came down to her waist, holding her tightly.

After a few moments of impassioned kissing, Carmilla pulled away causing Laura to groan a small no. She switched the radio on, turning the dial until the static picked up a station as Laura moved and sat down on the edge of the bed in frustration. Carmilla soon joined her.

“Carm,” Laura said, leaning against her shoulder, feeling overwhelmed all of a sudden.

Carmilla hugged her close and then looked down into her eyes, pausing, listening to music floating across the room from the radio. 

And dance your final dance

This is your final chance

Carmilla smiled reminiscently as she listened to the song and grabbed Laura’s hand, pulling her to her feet and flush against her. She pressed a kiss to Laura’s head and then they began to sway slowly to the song.

To hold the one you love

You know you've waited long enough

So, believe that magic works

They moved together, dancing leisurely; Laura rested her head on Carmilla’s shoulder as Carm began to sing the words softly. 

Don't be afraid

Of being hurt

Don't let this magic die

The answer's there

Just look in her eyes

She span Laura and then pulled her close to her chest once more. “Are you the real Carmilla or have you somehow consumed more of that love potion?”

And make

Your final move

Don't be scared

She wants you too

It's hard

You must be brave

Don't let this moment slip away

Carmilla chuckled, leaning forward for a kiss, “Oh, it’s definitely me,” she said, reaching up running her fingers through Laura’s hair. They gazed at each other as they continued to sway.

Believe that magic works

Don't be afraid

Afraid of being hurt

No, don't let this magic die

The answer's there

Just look in her eyes

And don't believe this magic can die

No, no, no, this magic can't die

Carmilla placed her hands on Laura’s shoulders, kissed her once more before she moved away; flicking the music off, silence fell in the room. Laura became conscious of how loud her breathing sounded now and she pushed her hands into the pockets of her jeans, awkwardly, as Carmilla approached her again, both of them aware of what was likely to happen now.

She paused inches from her and they gazed at each other for a moment before Laura smiled and Carmilla brought her hand up to the back of Laura’s head, pulling her back in for a kiss.

Carmilla groaned, her hands moved to grasp at Laura’s waist, pulling them together impatiently, causing Laura to make a surprised whine followed by a small giggle. The kiss became heated, almost desperate, Laura pulled her cardigan off her shoulders hurriedly and Carmilla’s hands disappeared under the hem of Laura’s shirt, a favorite place of theirs.

Laura landed on the bed in a heap, bouncing on the mattress and watched as Carmilla tried to quickly pull off her boots but had to hop on the spot when one of them wouldn’t budge.

Laura started to laugh ending in a squeak when Carmilla crawled on top of her and silenced her with her lips. Carmilla’s hands began their exploration once more and Laura partially sat up, pulling her shirt over her head quickly before returning to Carmilla’s lips.

Carmilla’s shirt was soon thrown aside, a combined hmm leaving both of their lips as their bare skin finally touched. Laura’s lips wandered down Carmilla’s throat to suck at the skin there as their hips started to move in sync and Carmilla’s hands caressed her hipbones before moving up her torso to the underside of her breast.

“Take this off, Cupcake.” Carmilla said hurriedly and Laura quickly removed her bra as Carmilla did the same.

Carmilla’s lips laid claim to Laura’s throat, sucking down to her collarbone, a shiver ran through her she nipped at the skin there.

Laura gasped when Carmilla’s mouth found her breasts, her hands raking through Carmilla’s hair as she lapped at her nipple. Laura’s hips were undulating eagerly against her, with her head thrown back, trying to take a deep enough breath.

“Where’s that potions book?” Carmilla asked casually, removing her lips from Laura’s nipple, moving as if she was to get up.

Laura clutched at her desperately, “NO-Carm nonono-”

Carmilla chuckled, “Carm, don’t you dare.” Laura moaned, Carmilla returned her attention back to her breasts.

 Laura’s fingertips slipped underneath the back of Carmilla’s jeans before hastily moving to pull at the button on at the front almost desperately, taking Carmilla by surprise. A moan escaped Laura’s mouth when Carmilla’s lips met hers again in a messy kiss.

Carmilla grasped Laura’s thighs, squeezing them, her thumbs rubbing along the inner seam of her jeans before she started on the button. Laura had pushed Carmilla’s jeans half way down her thighs now and Carmilla grabbed Laura’s hands, moving them to her own jeans then Carmilla rolled onto her back to kick hers the rest of the way off as Laura removed her own.

They both paused for a moment when Carmilla returned to hover above Laura again. Laura smiled, feeling a little overwhelmed but happy, hoping this wasn’t a dream.

“Carm?” Laura said against her lips, as Carmilla’s hands explored her body, clutching at the back of her thighs.

“Hmm” Carmilla responded.

“Have you-” Laura groaned loudly when Carmilla’s hand grasped her behind and moved their hips in tandem again.

“Have you used your liquid luck yet?”

Carmilla froze, lifting her head from Laura’s throat, “Huh? Now’s not really the time.” She said kissing her chastely before continuing, “Also, no, why?” she finished.

Laura shrugged, taking some deep breaths, “Just wondered.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve been thinking about that this whole time?” Carmilla mumbled, her fingers gripping the edges of Laura’s underwear.

Laura giggled, “No, it just came to me now.”

Carmilla smiled and shook her head, “Not bored are you, Cupcake? Because I can find that potions-“

“No!” Laura said quickly, grasping Carmilla’s face and kissing her firmly.

Carmilla chuckled into the kiss, her fingers playing with the hem of Laura’s underwear before slipping inside.

 Laura moaned throatily as Carmilla’s fingers ran through her folds, her hips jumping at her touch. Carmilla pulled away from the kiss looking down at her as her fingers rubbed against Laura’s clit.

“Hmm Carm-” Laura moaned, gripping Carmilla’s shoulders tightly as her hips tried to rut against Carmilla’s ever changing rhythm.

“Laura…” Carmilla said as her fingers slipped lower against her wetness.

“Aconite also goes by what other name?” She spoke into Laura’s ear as her finger slipped inside.

“Huh?” Laura moaned, clutching the bed sheets below her, her chest heaving, “No, Car-don’t-oh-”

Carmilla added a second and started thrusting, Laura’s hips moving to the rhythm.

“Aconite goes by what other name?” Carmilla smiled as she spoke again. Laura just made a sobbing sound as Carmilla’s fingers worked her.

“Answer the question.” Carmilla said and Laura shook her head. 

“Okay.” Carmilla’s fingers froze.

“No!” Laura cried, “Carm, please.”

Carmilla kissed her chastely, her fingers picking up their rhythm again, “You know this, Cupcake.” She said, her brow leaning against Laura’s.

“Acon- oh!-its-its-” She whimpered. 

“Wormwood! It’s wormwood!”

Carmilla chuckled, “Correct,” leaning down to kiss her, fingers picking up the pace. Laura’s breath hitched, her hips faltering. Carmilla grinds her palm against Laura’s clit and she shudders below her.

She whimpers as Carmilla’s fingers curled inside her, “Another question, Cupcake?”

Laura shook her head with a smile, pulling Carmilla in for another kiss, so she couldn’t ask another question if she wanted to.

Laura shudders and she takes a gasping breath, she moaned Carmilla’s name as her hips rut frantically against her hand. Her own hand grasped the bed sheets below the tightly as Carmilla’s fingers curl one last time and Laura trembles beneath her.

Laura takes a few deep breathes, raking her hair away from her hot face, “Carm, potions questions, really? Trying to ruin the mood or something?”

“At least you got the question right, Cutie. Besides I'm pretty sure the mood was not ruined.” Carmilla smiled at her.

“Well, lets see how you like it.” Laura said, leaning up to kiss her. “Prepare yourself, Carm, for a lesson in defense against the dark arts.” 

*

 Laura’s eyes were heavy, her breathing evening out, she was slowly losing the fight with sleep as Carmilla lay beneath her, running her fingers up and down her back, making patterns, star constellations probably, Laura thought.

“I’ll miss this, Carm” She mumbled quietly. “…When we’re back at Hogwarts, you won’t be able to sleep next to me. We’ll be so far away from each other.” She said, sadly, Carmilla tightened her grip on her.

“Laura…I’m…” Carmilla paused, licked her bottom lip, “I know, Cupcake.”

Chapter Text

Laura huffed in annoyance as she took her seat in the potions classroom. Surely this isn’t fair, she contemplated. This is literally the first day back and she has to suffer through potions this afternoon? Laura needed to ease back in to school life gradually; this was too much for the first day.

 She felt a little better once Carmilla took her seat and planted a kiss on her brow before combing through her bag for her books. Laura smiled and gazed at her contentedly until Carmilla looked up at her.

 “Everything alright, Cutie?” She asked, giving her knee a squeeze under the desk.

 Laura nodded and then grabbed a hold of Carmilla’s hand.

 Professor Slughorn was soon addressing the class, “…and once the lacewing flies have been added to the potion you must leave it to stew for…how long? Would anyone like to venture a guess?”

 21 days…Laura thought to herself. 21 days! I know this! Her hand shot into the air.

 “Miss Hollis?”

 “21 days, sir.” She said confidently.

 “Correct! 5 points to Gryffindor.” Slughorn said happily.

 Laura turned to Carmilla, immediately looking at her lips. Oh crap…

 Carmilla smiled and raised an eyebrow, looking a tad surprised.

 Their little game was messing with her head; Laura was starting to expect kisses as a reward whenever she answered questions correctly in class.

Laura pouted, feeling as though she was now missing out. Carmilla brought the back of Laura’s hand up to her lips. Better than nothing, she thought.

*

 The seventh years were permitted to continue their apparition lessons this term, having started them back in sixth year, this year students could now take the apparition test and attain their license.

 So the seventh years had gathered in the hall and the anti- apparition charm had been deactivated meaning they could practice apparition to their hearts content. Laura could apparate fairly well, she could disappear and reappear but never quite exactly where she wanted. 

Carmilla could apparate perfectly; she could disapparate from one end of the hall and appear at the other end, within inches of the requested position.

 LaFontaine disappeared and never came back, to everyone’s surprise. Their professor had not seemed too bothered, insisting they would ‘turn up.’ Perry was starting to go out of her mind, only to have LaF enter the great hall 15 minutes later, robes soaking wet.

 “I think I may have apparated a little further than expected… but on a brighter note; Laura, the giant squid is not ‘horrifying’ and is in fact quite friendly. It helped me back to shore when I landed in the black lake.” LaF smiled at the stunned crowd.

Laura wasn’t sure LaFontaine would be getting their apparition license anytime soon. 

*

 “Come on, Carm, I know you can do it.” Laura smiled at her. “It’s been a while since we practiced it and I’m sure you can think of a nice happy memory.”

They were back in the abandoned classroom, Laura had insisted Carm practice her defensive spells today. Carmilla seemed more confident and agreeable where defensive spells were concerned now. Laura assumed it was because she was genuinely making progress.

“Remember, Cupcake, I haven’t ever been able to produce a patronus, please don’t get your hopes up.” Carmilla said as she found her wand in the pocket of her robe.

 “You almost did it last time, you’re getting so much better,” Laura said, encouragingly.

 Carmilla pointed her wand, her expression became one of concentration, her eyes closed her a moment and she took a deep breath. When she opened her eyes again she looked directly at Laura before she said the words, “Expecto patronum.”

 A bright light arose from the end of Carmilla’s wand and then a shape emerged, growing and forming.

 “Carm! You did it!” Laura shouted, cheerfully.

 They both watched in wonder as the bluish patronus formed the shape of a cat and it bounded across the classroom in a large circle before returning to Carmilla’s side and starting to slowly fade out.

 Laura, who had been laughing a little hysterically in glee, frowned slightly, her laughter faltering and then she looked confused.

 The cat…Carmilla’s patronus…

 “That cat…” Laura pointed at the space where the patronus had just disappeared, “That’s my cat!…well not my cat but that’s the cat!” Laura said in complete bewilderment. “How is that pos…”

 Her words faded out as she looked over at Carmilla whose cheeks appeared to have reddened; a look of guilt was evident on her face.

 “…Okay…Laura, I’m sorry, I never told you but- but I didn’t know how you’d react and then once I did it, I couldn’t help myself. I kept coming back and then it got to the point where I couldn’t tell you because, well… it had been going on for too long-”

 “Carm!” Laura said seriously, making her pause, “…What is it?”

 Carmilla sighed deeply before seemingly accepting her fate. Laura watched as Carmilla disappeared and transformed before her eyes into a black cat.

 Laura couldn’t move. She was unable to form words; she just stood staring with her mouth open.

 After a moment, there was flurry again and Carmilla was back.

“I’m an animagus…” Carmilla stated.

“You’re…the…” Laura stuttered.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you Laura, I was going to but then I-.”

“This whole time…you’re the black cat that shows up in my dorm every night…” Laura said in astonishment.

Carmilla nodded, “It’s why I missed a lot of classes at the start of the year, I was finishing my training, so to speak.”

“That’s why you had all those secret meetings with McGonagall!” Laura gasped in realization.

Carmilla chuckled quietly and smiled before her face dropped to a guilty pout again.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Carm?” Laura asked.

“Like I said, I was going to but then I snuck into the Gryffindor tower and then when I did it again, I couldn’t stop and I thought…I thought you’d probably freak out like you are right now.” Carmilla said dejectedly.

“Wow…” Laura shook her head.

“I’m sorry, Laura.”

“No…it’s okay…it’s fine.” She said, scraping her hair back from her face.

“I won’t do it anymore…” Carmilla said quietly.

“What?”

 “I won’t, um… sneak into your dorm anymore.”

 “Change.” Laura said, abruptly.

 "What?” Carmilla asked in confusion.

 “Change. Change back!” Laura gestured wildly with her hands.

 Carmilla nodded and transformed into the small black cat.

 Laura knelt in front of it; the cat stared up into Laura’s eyes.

 “Of course! I should have known it was you!” Laura smiled at her own stupidity, “It has your eyes and everything, how could I have missed that?” Laura stood up and turned away.

 A hand on her shoulder made her turn, “Please…Laura.” Carmilla said a tad anxiously. She pulled her close but Laura did not respond in kind, instead she shook her head and took a step away.

 “This is crazy, Carm!” Laura said in exasperation. “It’s madness, I feel so...how could I not have known?” She ended the sentence talking in almost a whisper.

 “Do you think you can… forgive me?” Carmilla asked, quietly.

 “Of course I forgive you, I love you!” Laura exclaimed seriously and then seemed to realize what she had said and brought a hand up to her mouth.

 “You…you love me?” Carmilla asked, taking a step closer.

 Laura dropped her hand, there, she had said it, it was out now.

She nodded slowly, “I do.”

“You love me?” Carmilla asked again with a smile, “Laura I- ” she paused and then pointed at herself, shock evident. “I love you! I’ve been- You’ve captivated me for a long time-”

Laura silenced Carmilla with a kiss and then pulled away with a sigh.

 “Carm…I think- Can you just give me a little time to… adjust to this?” She asked, as they gazed at each other. “Not with the whole I love you thing! The… you being a small black cat thing.”

 Carmilla nodded, leaning down to kiss Laura’s brow quickly, “I’m sorry, Laura.” She began again.

 Laura grabbed her hand, “It’s okay, Carm. It’s actually kinda cool.”

*

 Carmilla the cat, did not make an appearance in the Gryffindor dormitory that night, Laura pondered this as she stirred the spoon around her dense porridge at breakfast. She still hasn’t quite grasped the fact that Carmilla had been sleeping next to her for a couple months and she’d had absolutely no idea.

“…And to this day, he still has a purple foot!”

 Laura glanced up at LaFontaine in complete bewilderment; hold on, what had she missed? Others around the table were chuckling so Laura forced a laugh.

 The space next to Laura, which everyone generally left empty now that Carmilla had made it abundantly clear that was her spot, was suddenly filled.

 Laura straightened up on the bench when Carmilla took her seat and she gave her a smile.

 “Good morning.” Carmilla said simply, she didn’t grab Laura’s hand or kiss her cheek or her head; she didn’t pat her leg or do any of the things that Laura had grown accustomed to. An unpleasant feeling settled in Laura’s stomach and then she mentally chastised herself, as she had asked Carmilla to give her time to adjust and this was her doing just that.

 Now Laura felt awkward, she cleared her throat and then tugged on her ear as she met Carmilla’s gaze.

 Words tumbled from Laura’s mouth, “Erm…Sleep well?” Her eyes widened when she considered her own question. An odd thing to ask considering recent revelations.

 Carmilla poured herself a cup of pumpkin juice as she spoke, “I’ve definitely slept better, that’s for sure.” She briefly glanced at Laura and smiled, she felt some of her anxieties dissipating.

 Laura stood and hoped over the bench as breakfast came to an end, Carmilla remained seated for a few more moments, “Caaaaarm,” Laura said in a sing song voice as she grew tired of waiting, “We’re going to be laaaaate.”

 Carmilla threw Laura a half glance from her seat as she leisurely ate her toast, then her head whipped round again quickly to look at Laura in surprise.

 She swallowed her toast with apparent difficulty, “What are you wearing?” She asked staring at Laura’s legs, which were at her eye level as she sat.

 “Oh, a skirt… I don’t usually wear them but I used to and well, I found it my trunk and felt like a change,” Laura said, brushing at the skirt as if there were bits stuck to it.

 Carmilla’s eyes appeared to be having a little difficulty as she looked at Laura, her eyes dropping to her skirt repeatedly as she spoke. She chewed her lip ravenously, her toast forgotten.

 “Well…” Carmilla cleared her throat, “It’s... nice.” She smiled, no longer interested in breakfast and almost definitely late, she rose from the bench and they left the great hall together. 

Laura felt Carmilla’s eyes on her in transfiguration, they were sat together as usual but Carmilla normally at least looked as if she was paying attention. Today however, she only seemed interested in Laura’s legs as the skirt pulled up when she sat revealing a little more of her thighs to her.

It’s not like Laura had done this intentionally, she hadn’t really given the skirt a second thought when she had dressed that morning but she couldn’t help but find Carmilla’s reaction quite entertaining. 

She elbowed Carmilla lightly in the side and her head whipped up, her eyes trained on the front of the room as Professor McGonagall spoke. A few minutes past and Carmilla’s eyes dropped back down to Laura’s skirt. Her fingers flexing as if she wished to reach out and touch.

Laura nudged her again when professor McGonagall noticed her lack of concentration and she looked back up at McGonagall as she addressed her, “Miss Karnstein, I know you’re exceedingly clever but please do not be so insolent.”

Laura wrapped her robe around herself and pulled it up onto her lap so her legs were hidden, which she thought was probably best for Carmilla’s education and possibly, her sanity. 

*

 Laura walked hurriedly through the stacks in the library to their hiding spot, “Sorry! I forgot to tell you I had arranged a quidditch meeting for this afternoon, what are you working on? Laura asked, as she sat next to Carm, moving her bag onto the table.

“A meeting?” Carmilla asked.

“Yeah, you know, tactics, performance, how we’re gonna beat slytherin this year… that sorta thing.” Laura said teasingly with a nod.

 “Oh, is that right?” Carmilla shook her head and smiled at Laura’s words, before going back to her essay.

 “It’s the transfiguration essay,” Carmilla said as she dipped her quill in the ink, “Principles of Re-Materialization.” She finished.

 Laura eyes ran over the words that Carmilla had written so far and nodded, “Re-materialization hmm… you should have no problem with this then, Carm?” Laura said in a light tone.

 Carmilla looked at her but she didn’t smile as she had expected, she looked somber, that guilty look appearing again.

 Carmilla hadn’t touched Laura all day, not even a fingertip. It felt like some sick torture or punishment to Laura but then she didn’t want to say anything because she thought she might sound like some desperate lunatic, especially after the whole, ‘give me some time’ thing.

 Carmilla went back to scribbling on her parchment and Laura pulled a few relevant items from her bag.

 She started work on her essay; they both worked in relative silence for 30 minutes or so, Laura asking the odd question.

She glanced at Carmilla and then down at her parchment, she tried to continue but she needed to clear the air. She took a deep breath, dropping her quill and pushing her chair a little away from the table so it screeched loudly in the quiet library.

 Carmilla looked up at the noise, their eyes meeting. Laura had no idea what to say. She wanted to say that she didn’t care that Carmilla was an animagus and that she didn’t care that she snuck into the tower every night to be with her. It was unusual the way Carmilla stared at her now, a vulnerability that Laura rarely saw, as if she was still now apologizing for what she had done.

 Laura decided to take the initiative and slowly leaned toward Carmilla, keeping eye contact with her as she did so. Her eyes slipped closed as her lips met Carmilla’s in a gentle kiss. Carmilla’s hands came up to Laura’s face as if she was scared she might pull away or change her mind so Laura pressed herself closer, telling Carmilla without words that things were okay.

 Laura let out a content sound when their mouths separated and she leant her forehead against Carmilla’s.

 Carmilla searched for her lips again and kissed her feverishly this time, expressing so much through her kiss, Laura needed this after Carmilla had isolated herself today. Her hands fell to Laura’s knees, and slowly moved up her bare legs to edge of her skirt.

 “Laura, did you wear this skirt today to punish me?” She asked with her eyes still closed.

 Laura sucked in a breath, “I could ask you the same thing.” She whispered.

“What do you mean?” Carmilla asked, her eyes opening to meet Laura’s.

 “The no touching rule you seem to have implemented today?” Laura accused.

 “Wha- you told me you needed space. I was trying to give you that.” Carmilla reasoned.

 “Yes but… well, it’s been cruel.” Laura pouted; Carmilla’s hands slipped under edge of her skirt and inched up light touches along her thighs.

 Laura shivered and chewed her lip, before capturing Carmilla’s lips again. She shifted forward onto Carmilla’s lap and Camilla groaned into Laura’s mouth.

Her skirt had ridden so high, it was practically non-existent and Carmilla’s hands roamed higher, grabbing Laura’s hips and pulling her against herself. A moan slipped from Laura’s mouth, her hands slipping through Carmilla’s hair to wrap around her neck as they kissed.

 Her hips started to rock impulsively and Carmilla gripped her hips tightly. Laura sucked in a ragged breath as she pulled away; Carmilla’s expression became one of forlorn as she glanced around the library. Laura summarized that she must look near the same. She found herself wishing they were back in their room at the leaky cauldron, hell, she’d take that abandoned classroom right now.

 She sighed when Carmilla’s hands moved to her waist and Laura stood, kissing Carmilla once more before, flattening down her skirt and returning to her seat.

 Carmilla kept her hand on Laura’s knee, keeping contact as they worked.

 Laura had expected to see the black cat back in her dorm now that Carm and her had cleared the air so to speak, but Nox, did not make an appearance. She pulled the dark red curtains around her bed and shut the world out, pouting into her pillow and eventually falling asleep. 

*

 Laura took a large bite of her apple at lunch, Carmilla was invested in a book, and she smiled as she read, picking grapes off a vine on the table. Laura moved closer, nudged her, trying to gain her attention.

 Carmilla smiled at her and moved in for a kiss. The sound of hooting filled the room and hundreds of owls flew from above. Laura very rarely received mail, sometimes her dad hired a ministry owl or if Laura sent him post he would sent a letter back. Laura, as expected, did not receive any mail today.

 A smart grey owl dropped post onto Carmilla’s book and then she frowned at the envelopes before glancing quickly at Laura who was already looking at Carmilla’s post with interest.

 Two envelopes sat in front of her, one looked like a letter and the other some form of greetings card. She glanced at her again, she was still looking. Carmilla picked up the letter, tore it open and her eyes moved along the lines quickly, the more she read, the more she frowned until she scowled and scrunched the letter into a ball and shoved it into her bag on the floor.

“What was that?” Laura asked with concern.

“Nothing.” Carmilla said quickly.

“Carm, what is it? Are you okay?” Laura asked, touching her shoulder.

“It’s – I’m fine, Laura…please.” She almost begged her to drop it.

Laura nodded slowly and then Carmilla forced a smile, which Laura did not reciprocate.

Carmilla grabbed the second envelope and stared down at it, she looked to Laura again, almost with guilt before ripping open the envelope and opening the card.

Laura gasped, “Carm! Is it your birthday?!”

Chapter Text

Laura was right; it was Carmilla’s birthday. It’s not like she had deliberately kept it from her… she had just never thought too. Birthdays had never been such a big deal to Carmilla; her mother had never really been one to celebrate birthdays too much.

Laura was staring at her as if she’d just been given devastating news. Carmilla brought a hand up to her mouth attempting to hold back a laugh at Laura’s expression. 

She nodded, “Yes, it is my birthday, I hadn’t really given it much thought though.”

“…But Carm, it’s your birthday?!” Laura looked like she might cry.

She gave a shrug, “It’s just a day, Cupcake.”

No! It’s not just a day! It’s your birthday and I haven’t even gotten you a present! Oh no, I’m an awful girlfriend. Why didn’t I know it was your birthday?” Laura pouted down at the table. 

Carmilla did chuckle this time, “It’s really not a big deal. Please…don’t worry about it, okay?” She grabbed Laura’s hand.

Laura looked down at their hands and then up at Carmilla with a smile, “This is fine… It doesn’t matter, I’ll still get you a gift.” She looked off with a thoughtful expression.

Carmilla rolled her eyes and then her gaze returned to the birthday card, as it lay open on the table.

Carmilla,

Many happy returns.

She shook her head, disapprovingly. Was that it? Many happy returns? Really heartfelt mother, Carmilla thought sarcastically.

Her thoughts returned to the vile letter she had just received, which was now screwed up in her bag, she felt anger rising within her again and then fear as she glanced over at Laura who was still looking thoughtful. She watched as a mischievous smile appeared on Laura’s face and she looked at Carm, as if she’d made up her mind about something. 

*

 “I love birthdays.” Laura whispered to her in potions, she had pulled her stool right over so she was glued to Carmilla’s side.

Carmilla just smiled at her and stroked her thumb over the back of Laura’s hand, acknowledging her words but not really having anything to contribute.

“Will you get gifts?” She whispered again.

“Um…I’m not sure.” Carmilla shrugged, as she focused on the textbook.

Carmilla couldn’t remember if she had received a gift from her mother last year. If she had, it was nothing special. 

“But it’s your birthday!” Laura said loudly, forgetting to whisper.

“Miss Hollis, pay attention please,” Professor Slughorn called.

Laura’s gaze returned to the front with a gloomy expression and Carmilla sighed, giving her hand a squeeze.

Laura pulled Carmilla along as they filed out of the dungeons as class ended and broke out into a bit of a run as they reached the corridor.

“I’m pretty certain this is not the way to charms class.” Carmilla said and Laura smirked at her over her shoulder. The hallways were full of students, most of which were walking in the opposite direction to them. 

“Where are we going, Cupcake?” Carmilla asked, genuinely interested now. 

Laura took a left and rushed down an almost deserted corridor, “Well, I figured you wouldn’t want me to miss potions but you wouldn’t mind if we missed charms… ” Laura said.

“Okay…yes I suppose that’s true,” Carmilla considered, “It would be nice if you paid attention in potions as well.”

Laura rolled her eyes with a little giggle and then paused in front of a generic looking door that Carmilla had never paid any attention too.

Carmilla looked at her confused.

Alohomora,” Laura pointed her wand at the lock. It clunked open automatically.

Come to think of it, Carmilla was almost certain this was a broom cupboard, although she’d never seen inside.

She gasped in surprise when Laura pushed her through the open door and into the small space. She was right; it was an old broom cupboard, except there were no brooms in there.

The space around them became dark as the door closed and then Laura whispered, “Alohomora” and the door was locked behind them.

“Laur-”

She was cut off when Laura grabbed her robes and lips covered hers, Carmilla made a surprised sound. She let her eyes slip closed and her bag fell from her shoulder onto the floor, she leaned back onto the cold stonewall of the cupboard. She considered the possibility of her inkbottle smashing in her bag and covering her textbooks in ink but she couldn’t currently bring herself to care much about that. She hummed contently against Laura’s lips; her hands came up to rake through Laura’s hair, deepening the kiss. 

Laura’s hands worked fast, she had Carmilla’s robe off in seconds. They separated momentarily when she removed Carmilla’s sweater.

“Cupcake…” Carmilla chuckled as Laura tugged at her tie, managing it make the knot tighter, she made a frustrated whine. “We’re meant to be in charms. Have you ever mi-” Laura’s lips covered hers again.

“-missed a class before?” Carmilla finished, when Laura pulled away momentarily.

Her tie was thrown carelessly away and the buttons on Carmilla’s shirt were being pulled at. Laura groaned, “I can’t see anything!”

She was right; Carmilla couldn’t see much of anything herself. She heard Laura mutter, Lumos, and then the cupboard was lit up from the light of Laura’s wand, which she hastily placed on the dusty shelf behind her.

Carmilla tugged off Laura’s tie and it dropped to the floor as Laura let her own robe fall from the shoulders. She caressed the skin of Carmilla’s waist, sucking on her collarbones intensely, moving down her chest as her hands worked to quickly undo Carmilla’s pants.

“To answer your question…” Laura said breathlessly, “I have never intentionally missed a class.”

Laura’s fingers rubbed along Carmilla’s underwear and she smiled when Carmilla released a frustrated sounding groan, her teeth biting down against her lower lip.

Laura leaned in taking Carmilla’s lower lip between her own teeth; they kissed languidly as Laura’s hand slowly slid into Carmilla’s underwear.

“I’ve never had such a good reason to miss a class before…” Laura murmured, against Carmilla’s mouth.

“Good reason...” Carmilla smiled and then leaned down to bite into Laura’s shoulder as her fingers rubbed through her folds.

Carmilla’s hips started to rotate against her hand and Laura lay sloppy kisses against her neck. 

“So, I was thinking…” Laura murmured.

 Why? Why does she do this? Carmilla thought. Always starting conversations at times like this.

 Laura’s fingers moved lower, Carmilla grasped Laura’s shoulders tightly.

 “… Why don’t you join me tonight?” Laura whispered against her mouth.

“Hmm?” She couldn’t even try to figure out what Laura was talking about.

 Carmilla groaned and took a ragged breath as Laura’s finger slipped inside followed by another.

 “Well…I miss my cat.” Laura smiled up at her.

 Oh… OH! She wanted her to come up to Gryffindor tower. Carmilla glanced at her; Laura chewed her lip, as if she was suddenly nervous about her request.

 Carmilla nodded enthusiastically and they kissed messily, her hips moving as Laura’s fingers worked her.

 Laura giggled quietly, “Happy birthday, Carm,” she whispered as her palm pressed against her clit, their breathing loud and rapid in the small space, Carmilla smiled and groaned.

 Her hips started to rut clumsily, instinctively, against Laura’s fingers. Carmilla’s head fell to Laura’s neck, a moan slipping from her mouth as she tensed around her fingers.

Carmilla took a ragged breath; a shudder running through her. Laura’s fingers rubbing ruthlessly against her as she trembled.

A whine escaped Carmilla’s mouth as she leant heavily on the cold wall behind her, sucking in heavy breaths.

“Okay, definitely is a happy birthday.” Carmilla mumbled with a smile. 

*

 “You go first,” Laura, said quietly, kissing Carmilla again as she draped her tie around her neck for her. Carmilla pulled on her robe, trying and failing to tidy herself up a bit. It seemed whenever she fixed her hair Laura would pull her in for another kiss, running her hands through it eagerly, messing it up again.

“And if someone happens to be walking by when I step out?” Carmilla whispered against Laura’s lips.

“I’m more than sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been in a situation like this, Carm. You’ll think of something.” Laura mused with a smile.

She leaned in for one last kiss; Carmilla grabbed her bag up from the floor and knotted her tie suitably.

 “See you at dinner,” Laura said when Carmilla unlocked the door and peaked her head out; she glanced at Laura one more time and smiled before leaving the broom cupboard.

 Carmilla walked casually back in the direction of the dungeons, if anyone saw her, they would just assume she had a free period or that class had ended early.

 The slytherin common room was empty apart from a few students coming and going. She relaxed into one of the black leather chairs facing toward the fireplace; the flames had burnt out to the last few orange embers.

 Carmilla allowed her thoughts to wander, she honestly hadn’t given much thought to her birthday today and was a little surprised by Laura’s reaction…though after what had happened, she almost wished she could have a birthday everyday, Carmilla smiled to herself.

 Her stomach lurched when she remembered the letter from her mother. She reached into her bag; she was going to burn it, be rid of it.

She felt around in her bag for the screwed up ball of parchment but her fingers never found it. She frowned and searched, she worried at her lip but the letter was gone… 

*

Laura let out a happy sigh as the door closed behind Carmilla when she left the small broom cupboard, she grabbed her robe up from the floor and gave it shake to rid it of some of the dust and quickly pulled it on. Grabbing her wand and pointing it at the floor, she searched for her lost tie. Laura reached down to grab her tie, when her eyes landed on a scrunched up piece of parchment on the ground. She paused for a moment, then slowly reached out and picked it up.

 She knew what it was; she’d seen Carmilla scrunch this piece of parchment up in frustration after the mail delivery. She peered at it for a moment, giving this some thought. She really shouldn’t read the letter. It was intrusive, an invasion of privacy. If Carmilla wanted her to know about the letter she would have told her. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it so she should wait…wait until Carmilla wants to talk about it.

 She released a breath and dropped the parchment into the pocket of her robes, grabbed her tie from the floor along with her bag. She moved quickly, leaving the broom cupboard hastily. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the sudden bright light of the castle hallway. Laura’s mind was still very much focused on the scrunched up parchment in her pocket. She really shouldn’t read the letter, she knew that…she wouldn’t read it… she would just keep a hold of it.

The parchment was weighing heavy in her pocket, like a brick, as she walked. She wouldn’t read the letter.

Laura pulled the letter from her pocket and held it in her fist. She had reached the gryffindor common room by now and she wandered upstairs towards the dormitory. Her eyes still focusing on the ball of parchment. She wouldn’t read the letter; she would just put it somewhere out of the way and forget about it.

She reached the dorm and placed it on her bedside table. She stood next to her bed staring down at the parchment. She started to wring her hands together. She reached for the letter quickly, moving to open her trunk and drop it in. She would not read it. Laura left the dormitory quickly and down into the common room just in time for her peers to enter through the portrait hole.

“There you are!” LaF smiled, as they approached, “Why weren’t you in Charms?”

 “Laura, I was worried about you when LaF told me you’d gone missing.” Danny added.

 “I was…I went,” Laura could think of nothing but Carmilla’s letter, “…Sorry, excuse me.” She said quickly, turning and making a beeline back for the dormitory.

 She grabbed the parchment from her trunk and her fingers peeled the parchment away, unfolding the page and flattening it out to reveal the scribble of words.

Time is nearly upon us, Carmilla.   

A little reminder to pursue your occlumency lessons, I have sent an owl to Professor McGonagall. 

On a more serious note, I know you wouldn’t want anything to happen to your little pet so make sure you do as you are instructed. D o remember the time will come when you will have say goodbye to her, best be rid of her now a nd focus on your studies.

Do enjoy the time you have left at Hogwarts.

I’ll be seeing you soon.  

*

 “Professor…” Carmilla was stood outside of Professor McGonagall’s office; the door was already slightly ajar, she could hear faint movement inside.

 McGonagall appeared at the door, “Ah, Miss Karnstein, yes, very good. I was hoping to catch up with you today.” She urged Carmilla into the room, closing the door behind her.

 “Sit down, sit down.” McGonagall insisted and she herself took her seat opposite at her desk.

 “I received a letter from your mother today, Miss Karnstein.” McGonagall began, looking at her warily.

 “I received one also,” Carmilla said quietly, with a nod.

 Carmilla was feeling anxious, her knee wouldn’t stay still, she brought her robe up over her knee as she tried to mask her feelings. Professor McGonagall eyed her for a moment before continuing.

 “First and foremost, occlumency lessons?” McGonagall posed this statement rather as a question with a look almost of disbelief on her face. Carmilla nodded a little reluctantly.

 “Yes, Professor.” She breathed out quietly.

 “You want occlumency lessons, do you Carmilla?” She asked again, raising an eyebrow.

 Carmilla did not initially respond…

 “Because you have to want to learn occlumency, you need to be persistent and you need to work hard.” McGonagall stated. “It won’t come easy, not even for the most powerful witch or wizard.”

 “…Yes Professor.” Carmilla nodded again, clearing her throat. "I'll need it...in the future."

 “Okay…” She observed Carmilla suspiciously, “Professor Cochrane should be able to give you night lessons. I will speak with her.”

 “You still wish to go on to work in the department of mysteries then, yes?” McGonagall asked.

 Carmilla nodded slowly. No! She didn’t wish to work in the department of mysteries, surely McGonagall knew that but what choice did she have?

 “I’ve never known anyone to join the department of mysteries, Miss Karnstein. I feel as though the Unspeakables, your mother included, have worked there forever, as long as I can recall anyway.” McGonagall said, thoughtfully, glancing off to the side for a moment.

 Carmilla stood, hoping she could leave now.

“Miss Karnstein…” She turned, ”Your mother said something else in her letter…in regards to Miss Hollis.”

Carmilla felt her stomach clench, McGonagall did not elaborate immediately so she pressed for more.

 “And…what did she say?” Carmilla asked with a frown.

“It’s not…” Professor McGonagall paused and considered her words, “Your mother doesn’t control you and she bloody well doesn’t control me either.” She spoke crossly. “As far as I’m concerned you’re a seventh year student, an adult and you can do whatever you please. You know that don’t you, Miss Karnstein?”

Carmilla found herself unable to respond, what had her mother written in her letter to Professor McGonagall? She merely nodded her head and then looked to the ground.

“Where were we…ah yes. Occlumency lessons, are you sure you want them?” She asked again. 

Carmilla nodded her head; she couldn’t force herself to speak.

“I’ll speak to Professor Cochrane then.”

Carmilla turned and headed for the door.

“One more thing… is there anything you wish to tell me?” McGonagall enquired, looking at Carmilla over the edge of her glasses with interest.

 She turned and met her eyes, she considered that for a moment. She could do it, right now she could tell her. She could tell McGonagall all about her abusive mother, her endless hatred and threats, her carelessness, threatening Laura, being forced to to anything and everything her mother asks of her...

 She shook her head, “No professor.”

 McGonagall breathed out a sigh, possibly of disappointment. “Alright, off you go then.”

*

 Carmilla observed Laura warily at dinner, she was either ravenously hungry or something was wrong. She had only said a quick hello to Carmilla when she joined her at the table and her eyes had not left her plate since. She had been shoveling mashed potato into her mouth in droves.

 “Laura.” Carmilla said, a little concerned. 

She looked up quickly and then back down at her plate, swallowing heavily.

 “I’m worried you might choke…is everything okay?” Carmilla asked quietly leaning into her personal space so no one else would hear.

 Laura nodded hastily, “Yes, everything is fine. Why wouldn’t everything be fine? I’m great actually! I mean it’s your birthday, Carm!” Carmilla frowned when Laura laughed a little hysterically and then made to shovel more potato.

 Something was definitely wrong, Carmilla lightly grasped the back of Laura’s hand and she dropped her fork.

 “Okay, I’m going to regret this but what’s wrong?” Carmilla asked, turning to face her more fully.

 Laura pouted and then shook her head, “I can’t, Carm, not here.” She said glancing around at the crowded hall.

 Carmilla nodded and then stood from the bench, grabbing the sleeve of Laura’s robe and pulling at it gently, indicating for her to follow. Laura looked momentarily surprised but rose slowly from the bench.

 “I’ll make sure you’re back for dessert.” Carmilla reassured and Laura broke into a small smile momentarily.

They strode quickly from the hall and walked in silence through the near deserted corridors until Carmilla deemed them to have enough privacy to continue their conversation.

“What’s wrong, Laura?” Carmilla turned to face her.

An expression of guilt appeared on Laura’s face, “I’m sorry, Carm, I shouldn’t have but I did and I’m sorry.”

Carmilla looked at her with concern and then shook her head, not understanding at all.

“What?” 

“So…earlier we….you know…in the broom cupboard.”

Carmila nodded, she almost smiled at the memory.

“Well, I sort of found…this,” Laura said, pulling a folded piece of parchment from the pocket of her robe.

Carmilla glanced at it, it was all wrinkled up, she knew what it was, she released a breath.

“Laura…that…what that says, I would never… ” Carmilla started to speak, suddenly feeling the need to explain herself, instead of Laura. 

“Carm, I never should have read your letter, I’m sorry but I found it on the floor and well… I just did it and I'm sorry. Carm…is this it? Are you leaving me?” Laura’s eyes filled with tears as she held up the letter.

Carmilla’s brow furrowed, “Of course not! I would never…Laura, I love you, you know that,” Carmilla stepped closer, reaching to up to stoke her thumb along Laura’s cheek.

“But your mother’s letter… it says… it said…”

“I’m not leaving you Laura, not if I can help it.” Carmilla said with confidence that she did not feel. “I’m sorry you found that letter, I never meant for you to see it.”

“No, I never should have read it, Carm.” Laura said, pulling her in for a hug. “I’m sorry,” she said into her neck. 

Carmilla smiled, “Cupcake, I don’t care that you read the letter, I would usually have nothing to hide from you… but my mother is…well you’ve read the letter, you’ll understand why.”

 “What are you going to do?” Laura asked, pulling back from the hug and meeting her gaze.

 Carmilla thought about Laura’s words for a moment, what was she going to do? Her mother was a powerful woman, for all she knew; she really could harm Laura…not at hogwarts though. Laura was surely safe here at school.

 “I’ll figure it out but please don’t worry about it, okay?”

 “Carm, of course I’m going to worry about it, I don’t want you to leave me.” The tears returned to Laura’s eyes.

 “My mother threatened you but you’re more concerned that I’m going to break up with you?” Camilla raised an eyebrow at her.

 Laura shrugged, smiling a little embarrassedly.

“Tell me about your mother…” Laura asked quietly. 

*

 They found their seats in the library, their part of the library, where they came to study most evenings. Tonight though, they were not here to study, Carmilla took a deep breath as Laura looked at her expectantly.

“I’m not sure what you want me to tell you, Cupcake.”

“Your mother, tell me about her, I’d at least like to know a little about the woman who is threatening me…” Laura said, almost jokily and Carmilla frowned.

“She won’t… Laura, she won’t touch you.” Carmilla said, almost as if reassuring herself, Laura remained quiet.

“My mother is…” Carmilla ran a hand through her hair, she seemed to be choosing her words carefully, she took a deep breath, “I don’t know much about the department of mysteries but I know they conduct a lot of experiments…very dangerous experiments…usually on themselves. Experiments based on love, thought, time and… death.” Carmilla glanced to the dark window; she could only see her and Laura’s reflections staring back at her.

“I don’t know if you remember the time travel story that Professor Binns once told us in History of Magic back in fourth year?” Laura shook her head.

“In the 1890’s the department of mysteries conducted a series of time travel experiments, with catastrophic results. Many people died and it was massive breach of the laws of time.” She went on, “I’ve read what I can on the subject but reading material is sparse. I know a lot of what I know from what my mother has told me. She was there…my mother."

“Your mother was alive in the 1890’s?” Laura asked in surprise. 

Carmilla nodded, “I’ve seen proof… very old photographs.”

“Did your mother travel in time?” Laura asked.

Carmilla shrugged, “I’ve got no idea, maybe... It’s strange but those who work in the department of mysteries seem to have always worked in the department of mysteries.”

Laura was confused, “I don’t understand…”

“Look in the history books, ask around, do your research, the department of mysteries was established in the 1700’s and the majority of the same witches and wizards have worked there since then. Apart from a few, they don’t age and they never die.” 

“Your mother…she’s one of them?”

Carmilla nodded, “And soon I will be.”

“No!…Why would you do that?” Laura shook her head.

Carmilla continued on, “My mother was always more interested in learning all she could about death. Experimenting with death… I found out recently, last summer, that she's been living off of unicorn blood.”

“Unicorn blood but isn’t that…” Laura did not finish her sentence.

“Unicorn blood can be drunk in order to keep a person alive but it will cause the drinker to suffer a cursed life…” Carmilla paused for a moment, “Just another one of the departments experiments.”

“Carmilla, you can’t…you’ll end up just as messed up as her, you can’t do this…” Laura looked as if she were about to cry. 

“To my mother I‘m just… another experiment.” Carmilla said, defeated.

“What do you mean?” Laura asked.

“There’s something, there’s always something with her… and Laura, I cannot risk something happening to you. So I’ll toe the line and I’ll do as I’m told… for now.”

Chapter Text

Laura smiled to herself when she felt the bed dip lightly near her feet, her eyes still closed as she had almost just drifted off to sleep.

The black cat that she now knew to be Carmilla in animagus form crawled up the bed towards her. This was the first time since Laura had discovered the truth that the cat had made an appearance in the Gryffindor dormitory. 

Laura opened her eyes, the cat had made its way right up to her pillow, this was unusual, in all the other times the cat had visited her bed, it had stayed near the bottom, curled up against her leg.

“Carm…” Laura whispered into the dark, she could just make out the cat standing on all fours next to her against the dark red of the curtains that surrounded her bed.

 The cat gave a meow and pawed at the top of Laura’s arm expectantly. This made Laura giggle, knowing that the cat was actually Carmilla. 

“What?” Laura said quietly, the cat pawed her again.

She reached up to scratch the cat behind the ears and it gave a small purr.

“How about…maybe-“ Laura blushed; she wasn’t sure how to word this.

“Turn… I want Carm Carm not Cat Carm.” Laura whispered.

 The cat gave a little stretch and lay down on the bed beside her, Laura thought for a second that Carmilla had decided to just go to sleep but she transformed before her eyes and next moment Carmilla Karnstein was lying next to and half on top of her.

 “Hello Cutie.” A voice came from her shoulder and Laura watched Carmilla’s head pop up and smile at her.

 “Shush,” Laura said with a discreet giggle. “There are other people asleep in his dorm, Carm.” She mime spoke to her and Carmilla nodded and gave a knowing smile before leaning forward to capture Laura’s lips.

 Laura’s hands came up to drag through Carmilla’s hair and Carmilla’s arms landed either side of Laura as she dragged herself further atop of her.

 Things had been a little strained between them since Carmilla’s birthday, so Laura reveled in this moment where there appeared to be almost nothing to worry about. Laura only wanted what was best for Carmilla but Carmilla was more concerned with keeping her mother happy and well…keeping Laura out of the firing line.

 “Get in…” Laura whispered against her lips and Carmilla pulled away an inch or so to process Laura’s words.

 Laura grabbed edge of her quilt and pulled it back, Carmilla now understanding her words, fumbled a little but managed to slip under the warm blanket with her. Her lips soon finding Laura’s again and her body settling almost on top of her.

 One of Carmilla’s hands started making a journey down Laura’s body, gripping the thin vest she wore to bed at her waist as her lips started to follow, moving to Laura’s throat.  

 A small sound left Laura’s mouth and she shook her head and then became completely still. Carmilla rose to look down at her questioningly and Laura shook her head again, a serious expression gracing her face.

 This only made Carmilla smile and then Laura looked a tad worried, “Keep quiet then.” Carmilla whispered to her and then Laura shook her head almost aggressively.

Carmilla grinned mischievously and her head disappeared from Laura’s view as her lips found her throat once again.

Laura’s hands gripped the tops of Carmilla’s arms, almost as if she were about to push her away but hadn’t, a shaky breath left Laura’s mouth and she gnawed her lip as Carmilla sucked on her collarbones.

A whine soon slipped past her lips and Laura quickly held her breath as she gave Carmilla a little push and she moved to look down at the once more with a raised eyebrow. Laura shook her head again and Carmilla’s expression dropped to one of mock sadness. Laura’s eyes watched Carmilla’s lip pucker as she pouted and her tongue poke out and run along her bottom lip quickly before disappearing and Laura released her breath.

Maybe just one more kiss, Laura thought as her hands reached into Carmilla’s hair again pulling her down for another kiss, this one more demanding causing Carmilla to groan. Laura’s fingers pulled lightly at the roots of Carmilla’s hair and she shivered, releasing Laura’s lips momentarily as she attempted to take a moment to calm down, for Laura’s sake and her dorm mates.

Laura chose that moment to shift her leg between Carmilla’s thighs seeking relief for her own building arousal and Carmilla reflexively shifted forward, grinding down against Laura’s thigh with a trembling breath. Laura’s subsequent moan was luckily cut off by Carmilla’s lips as she kissed her soundly. 

Their hips found a rhythm against one another and Laura’s hands traveled to Carmilla’s hips to encourage the movement. When Carmilla broke the kiss, her forehead moved to rest against Laura’s as they both took a few ragged breaths. Their breathing sounds awfully loud to Laura but she can’t bring herself to stop now, she didn’t want to.

When Carmilla’s lips found hers again, Laura could feel her hands slipping down her body. Carmilla’s fingers found the edge of Laura’s tank top and slipped underneath, caressing the skin of her stomach before moving higher to grope at her breasts.

Laura’s hand hastily comes up cover her own mouth as Carmilla’s lips move down her neck to her chest as the tank is swiftly pushed up to uncover her chest completely and Carmilla’s lips find her breast. Laura’s back arced up towards her encouragingly even though Laura appeared to have reverted back to shaking her head against her pillow, a warning to Carmilla who looked up at her momentarily before returning to her ministrations.

A small whimper managed to escapes Laura’s mouth and Carmilla smiled broadly against her breast, seemingly accepting Laura’s warning as some sort of challenge.

“Not funny...” Laura said raspingly into Carmilla’s hair. 

Carmilla shook with an inaudible laugh and Laura pouted a little, deciding to give her a taste of her own medicine. She pushed her knee up between Carmilla’s thighs forcefully causing Carmilla to make an uncharacteristically loud moan and Laura moved to cover her mouth quickly with her lips with a reprimanding look.

“Your… fault.” Carmilla whispered against her lips as they kissed.

Carmilla’s hips continued to move against Laura’s leg now, a small groan leaving her throat.

“Maybe we should stop…” Laura sighed into Carmilla’s ear but her hands slipped underneath Carmilla’s t-shirt and up her waist.

Carmilla’s hands found Laura’s hips and encouraged their movement, another groan escaping her lips and Laura shuddered against her.

Carmilla’s hand snuck under hem of Laura’s pajama pants and gripped tightly at the top of Laura’s thigh, massaging her inner thigh with her thumb.

“Should I stop?” Carmilla asked hurriedly.

“Don’t you dare.” Laura moaned out through heavy breaths as she anticipated Carmilla’s next move.

Carmilla grinned mischievously, pleased as she shifted her hand towards Laura’s center, already finding purchase against Laura’s clit and rubbing in slow circles.

Laura made a desperate sounding whine; before her fist came up to her mouth and her teeth latched onto her fingers as Carmilla slowly moved down her body and disappeared under the blanket, making Laura tremble with anticipation.

Lips soon replaced Carmilla’s fingers, licking and sucking at her folds with an almost ravenous need, Laura trembled with desire and considered smothering herself with a pillow to end this exquisite torture.

A shiver rocked Laura’s body at Carmilla’s actions and her teeth clamped down on her hand desperate not make any sound, another sound that might give them away. 

Carmilla’s fingers unexpectedly found her entrance, rubbing her fingertips there and then pushing forward. Laura moved her hips encouragingly, taking incredibly ragged breaths. Would her dorm mates think she was having a nightmare?

Carmilla’s fingers picked up a rhythm and began to move with Laura’s hips, her tongue still lapping at her clit attentively.

A moan even Laura couldn’t predict left her mouth causing Carmilla to momentarily pause under the sheets. Laura could hardly bring herself to care anymore, not that she didn’t care that Carmilla could get caught but it was difficult to focus on anything but Carmilla right now.

Laura’s hips rutted up against Carmilla’s face encouraging her on and she continued, bringing her free hand out from under the sheets to Laura’s mouth as she curled her fingers inside of her. Laura shuddered; a high-pitched whine could still be heard even if Carmilla’s hand had covered her lips.

Laura’s hand gripped the bed sheets tightly, the other moving down the bed towards the visible lump under the sheet.

She sucked in a desperate breath through her nose as Carmilla sucked shamelessly at her clit now causing Laura’s hips to move quicker and more frenziedly. 

She quivered, her thighs trembling as Carmilla’s fingers curled within her once more causing Laura to throb with pleasure. Her hips rutting desperately as Carmilla continued to lap at her folds. Laura pulsed against her fingers and shuddered for another moment or so before releasing a satisfactory sounding groan and relaxing onto the bed.

Carmilla’s head appeared from under the sheets looking a little pink in the face but pleased with herself, removing her hand from Laura’s mouth. Laura took a deep breath and released it and Carmilla who had slowly moved on top of her again found her lips with her own.

“Carm, that was so wrong, we shouldn’t have done that.” Laura whispered to Carmilla when she pulled away.

Carmilla gazed at her for a moment before speaking, “Should I go?”

Laura gripped at the tops of Carmilla’s arms tightly and pulled her close whispering an assertive no into her ear. 

*

 Laura was warm, very warm, so warm it woke her up. Carmilla was still wrapped around her on her single bed in a similar position to the one they had fallen asleep in. The curtains were still encasing the bed, light shone over the top of the 4 poster, it was at least morning but she guessed it was early.

Laura pulled the curtain back slightly from the top of the bed to glance to the window where light shone through. What day was it? Laura cleared her head, as Carmilla slept soundly into the crook of her neck.

Saturday… it was Saturday, it occurred to her. Was everybody else already up? Laura wasn’t sure whether to risk peaking out from behind the curtain to check.

She lay still and listened hard, it was all quiet.

Carmilla groaned when Laura took the risk and sat up, peaking just her head out from behind the curtain to peer into the completely deserted dormitory. It must be late in the morning. 

Hmm… she considered this, either her dorm mates knew Carmilla was there…or no one knew a thing.

Laura‘s thoughts were interrupted when Carmilla pulled her back down to the pillow and mumbled, “Too early,” before pushing her face back into the crook of Laura’s neck.

She lay there for a few moments, listening for any sounds. She could hear the faint sounds of life coming from the common room below if she listened very closely for it, music, that was normal for a weekend. 

Carmilla’s lips lightly nipped at her throat contently for a moment and then she stretched sleepily.

 “Calm down…No one knows I’m here. Everyone was up a while ago, no one even checked on you by the way…” Carmilla said a little disapprovingly. “That’s not to say someone won’t come looking for you at some point though.” Carmilla mumbled.

 Laura relaxed into the sheets, at least Camilla could just transform into her cat form if someone came in. She brought a hand up to run her fingers through Carmilla’s soft hair.

 “Laura…” Carmilla said hesitantly.

 “Hmm?” Laura sighed in reply.

 Carmilla sucked in a breath before speaking, her face still hidden against Laura’s throat. “You can see threstrals…why?”

 Laura frowned; she hadn’t expected that. She wet her lower lip as she considered her next words.

 “My mother died when I was young. I saw it happen, she was very sick.” She said matter of factly, “I don’t remember much of it now but I’ve always been able to see them.”

 Carmilla’s head popped up quickly to look at her; she blinked and looked concerned and regretful, “I’m sorry, Laura I shouldn’t have asked that…”

 Laura hugged Carmilla to her and smiled giving her a chaste kiss to the top of her head in reassurance.

 “It’s fine, Carm.” She shrugged, “I should have told you already, I don’t know why I hadn't.” 

As the noise in the common room below slowly started to build, Laura decided she could no longer waste anymore of her day in bed with Carmilla without drawing attention.

 She dressed quickly and Carmilla transformed into the black cat after a stretch and a yawn. Curling up on Laura’s sheets and appearing to doze once more. Laura grabbed Carmilla up in her arms and carried her down to the portrait hole and watched her scarper off down the hall and out of sight.

 They had missed breakfast but when Laura glanced at the clock in the common room she noticed it was almost time for lunch. 

 Carmilla smiled at Laura happily when she sat down at the bench at lunch. Laura swallowed a bite of her cheese sandwich before speaking, “You’re in a good mood, Carm.”

 “I slept well,” Carmilla said dreamily, giving Laura’s knee a squeeze before moving to fill her plate.

 “It looks like a nice day.” Laura said thoughtfully, glancing at the bewitched ceiling of the great hall.

Carmilla nodded, following Laura’s gaze.

“Lets go for a walk in the grounds.” Laura said, enthusiastically.

Carmilla just nodded contently, “Whatever you wanna do, Cupcake.”

*

 Laura picked up a flat stone and flicked her wrist towards the lake; the stone skimmed along the top of the water three times before disappearing into its depths.

 “Yes!” She laughed happily.

 Carmilla rolled her eyes and chuckled, they strolled a little further along the edge of the black lake.

 Laura almost skipped along in a completely carefree manner, no longer afraid that the giant squid might make a grab for her from the depths of the dark water.

 The grounds were relatively busy this Saturday afternoon; it was the first weekend of the year that the weather was relatively civil and it wasn’t too cold, although Laura was wearing a warm sweater and Carmilla, her leather jacket.

 Laura grabbed Carmilla’s hand as they walked, watching as a bunch of first years took of their socks and shoes and started kicking water at each other.

Carmilla looked thoughtful and Laura hoped she wasn’t thinking about anything too heavy, e.g. her mother.

“Are you okay?” Laura asked, squeezing her hand. 

Carmilla pulled from her thoughts, turned to her with a smile, “Of course I’m okay, Cupcake. Never better in fact.”

They started along the long path that eventually would lead them down to the boathouse. Laura nodded at a few Gryffindor girls she recognized and her brow furrowed when the girls looked down at her and Carmilla’s joined hands in confusion.

Laura felt a little surprised by their behavior, her and Carmilla had never tried to hide their relationship from anyone but were there people who actually didn’t know?

“What was with them?” Carmilla asked, glancing back over her shoulder at the retreating figures. 

“A Gryffindor holding hands with a Slytherin?” Laura said in a faux shocked tone and Carmilla chuckled.

“Karnstein!“ They both looked around as a deep gruff voice called Carmilla’s name.

A gang of slytherins were headed down the path towards them, two taller slytherins that Laura recognized from the slytherin quidditch team led the group followed by two shorter boys and two girls, who looked at Laura and Carmilla and started giggle irritatingly between themselves.

“Hey Karnstein!”

Laura watched Carmilla’s expression harden to one of cool indifference as the gang approached.

“Karnstein…” The tallest boy, (Laura knew him, his name was Theo) looked down at their joined hands and pointed at them with a frown, turning to make sure his peers could hear him.

“What are you doing hanging out with that mudblood gr-“

Laura took a quick breath when Carmilla disappeared from her side and in the next moment her wand was digging into Theo's throat.

“Go on…finish what you were going to say...” Carmilla urged him in an angry tone.

He looked momentarily scared and his eyes moved to Laura who was watching him closely and then he seemed to remember he was surrounded by friends and started to laugh loudly and forcefully.

His friends joined in and they laughed like hyenas, Theo backed away from Carmilla a short distance so her wand was no longer digging into this throat and he pulled out his wand. Two other boys joined him.

 Laura realized she should be helping Carmilla and pulled out her wand.

Theo watched with interest and took a half step towards Laura, “What exactly are you going to-”

There was a muffled thud and then Theo cried out in pain. Laura looked down at her own hand in surprise.

… Oops.

Carmilla started to laugh and Laura processed that she had just punched him right in the nose. 

Theo was holding a hand to his face and red blood was emerging from between his fingers. One of slytherin girls wailed and grabbed his arm in concern and started pulling him away.

The remaining boys raised their wands as if they might attack but looked between the two of them for a moment and then turned to follow the rest.

 Laura watched in stunned silence as the slytherin gang ran along the path and out of sight. Carmilla was still chuckling next to her and grabbed Laura’s shoulders pulling her in for a hug.

“Looks like I’m out of their club,” She said, happily.

Laura, whose hand was still stuck out in front of her, sucked in a breath when her hand was trapped between their two bodies and pain radiated through her fingers. 

Carmilla backed off and looked at Laura’s hand and then up at her face, shaking her head. “Laura…you shouldn’t have done that, I’m really not looking for another reason to have to visit Madam Pomfrey again.”

She grabbed Laura’s arm bringing her hand up close to her face to examine it. Laura flexed her fingers against the pain she was now feeling in the knuckles.

“Carm, they are…” Laura released an angry shaky breath.

“Cupcake that’s just how they are.” Carmilla shrugged. “Is your hand okay?”

Laura took one more deep breath, “It’s all good.” Laura said showing her flexing her hand into a fist. 

*

 Fifteen minutes later, Laura and Carmilla are stood in Professor McGonagall’s office as she questioned them sternly. Theo stood off to the side, his shirt soaked in his own blood, holding a piece of cloth to his swollen nose.

“I have no option but for you both to receive detention! Nothing gives you the right to attack another student. Nothing!” McGonagall stared between them both.

“But Prof-“ Laura began.

McGonagall raised her hand and Laura paused, “Miss Hollis, did you or did you not punch Mr Straka here in the face?”

“Yes, but-“

“I’ll see you tonight for detention then… both of you.” She said with finality.

McGonagall turned to the Slytherin boy.

“Mr Straka, go to the hospital wing, I will not have you bleeding all over my office anymore.”

Carmilla grabbed Laura’s wrist and tugged, Laura felt like saying something more, arguing her side or at least for Carmilla’s sake, she hadn’t done anything wrong. She made eye contact with Carmilla and then followed her out. They both made their way out of McGonagall’s office and along the quiet corridor.

“Carm, you didn’t even do anything wrong, why should you have detention?” Laura reasoned. 

“As if I’d let you face detention on your own, where else would I go anyway. Have you ever had detention?”

Laura tutted, “Of course I’ve had detention.”

Carmilla paused and turned to look at her, “What? When have you ever had detention?” She smiled at her with interest.

“I got caught in the restricted section of the library in third year.” Laura said nonchalantly.

“…And why were you in there?”

“I was looking for a book.” Laura said as if that were obvious.

Carmilla rolled her eyes, “Right…” she said, expecting Laura to elaborate.

“Well… I had sort of convinced myself that this girl in my dormitory was a vampire.”

Carmilla chuckled, “And was she?”

Laura shook her head with embarrassment. 

*

 “Come in,” came Professor McGonagall’s muffled voice from inside her office after Laura had knocked. She pushed the door open and both Laura and Carmilla entered, ready for what detention might bring.

 “Ah, girls, sit down,” McGonagall gestured to the chairs opposite her desk and she placed her quill in the inkwell on the desk.

 “Tell me, did Mr Straka deserve what he got?” Professor McGonagall asked them in a pleasant manner. Laura looked to Carmilla, confused, were they not here to serve detention? This felt more like a friendly chat.

 “Erm…yes, Professor?” Carmilla responded, in a questioning way.

 “He called me a mudblood.” Laura said quietly as way of an explanation, Carmilla flinched beside her. 

McGonagall sat back in her chair with an angry shake of her head, “I’m sorry, Laura, he deserved it indeed then, I suppose.”

 “Professor, do we still have too…” Laura looked between her and Carmilla.

 “No, no, my apologies. I wanted Mr Straka to believe you were being genuinely reprimanded for your actions, makes life easier for me.” McGonagall answered, sassily.

 “You’re both free to go, just try not to punch Mr Straka next time, please.”

 Laura smiled at Professor McGonagall in surprise and Carmilla stood from her chair, “Thank you, Professor.” Carmilla said sincerely.

 “Oh, Miss Karnstein, pop and see Professor Cochrane tomorrow, she’ll go over the plan for your Occlumency lessons.” McGonagall said, as they moved towards the exit.

Carmilla nodded in acknowledgment of McGonagall’s words.

“Thank you, Professor,” Laura said, happily. 

*

 “It’s getting late,” Carmilla said, as the clock tower chimed below them. They had walked aimlessly after they had left Professor McGonagall’s office and now found themselves staring down from the clock tower into the courtyard below.

 Laura glanced over at Carmilla whose face was fixed with a thoughtful, almost glum expression.

 “Are you okay, Carm? Is this about the Occlumency lessons?” Laura asked.

 Carmilla shook her head, “No, well… yes but there’s something else as well.” Their gazes met.

 “Cupcake… I sort of got into it with the team back in the common room earlier.” Carmilla began. “They were going to kick me off the quidditch team…after what happened today.”

 “Carm, they can’t do that!” Laura said angrily, she knew Carmilla enjoyed the game; even if she was playing for slytherin.

 “They haven’t actually.” Carmilla continued, “The finals coming up and we’re playing against you…” Laura nodded, she knew this.

 “I’m the best seeker they’ve had in a while and they thought it would be even more torturous for me to have me play against you again because... one of us is going to lose in the end.” Carmilla smiled at her sadly.

“Hey, Carm.” Laura brought her hands up to Carmilla’s shoulders and looked into her eyes, Carmilla’s hands came to rest on Laura’s waist. “It’s all fair, I know that. One of us will catch the snitch. If we win, if we lose, I certainly won’t love you any less, that I know.” Laura said, resting her forehead against Carmilla’s.

*

 Carmilla paused outside of the defense against the dark arts classroom; she braced herself for a moment, preparing for what she could only guess was about to happen. 

It was her first occlumency lesson with Professor Cochrane this evening. Carmilla scowled at the door, irritated that she was missing study time with Laura for this. 

The door swung open and Carmilla took a quick step back in surprise, Professor Cochrane stood looking bewildered at her. “Miss Karnstein, this may be a school of magic but doors won’t open on their own.” Cochrane gestured her inside.

Carmilla reluctantly entered the classroom and then followed Professor Cochrane up to the front of the room. Cochrane gestured for her to take a seat and she sat slowly in a seat at the front of the classroom.

Professor Cochrane stood before her, looking at her now with beady eyes. “Occlumency is a very hard to skill to learn. It will take hard work, it will take persistence and you have to be willing to learn and in my experience I’ve seen that it takes a certain amount of natural aptitude to progress to a high standard. Are you sure you want to take this on?” Professor Cochrane said, settling her hands on her hips.

 Carmilla cleared her throat and nodded, “Yes, Professor,” she tried to sound engrossed.

 “Okay...Occlumency is a way of shielding ones mind from attack or invasion, or possibly even influence." Cochrane began, "The act of invading the mind is known as Legilimency. Through Legilimency you can traverse a persons thoughts, memories and if you’re particularly skilled you can do this without their knowledge. Mindreading you might call it.” She hadn’t moved from her position and her beady eyes never left Carmilla’s.

 “Are you following me so far?”

 “Yes, Professor,” Carmilla said quickly.

 “In our lessons I will act as the Legilimens and you, the Occlumens. For our lesson tonight and for the foreseeable future, we will work on clearing your mind, if you can succeed in that, it will be harder for a Legilimens to perceive your thoughts. We will work on that until I believe you have progressed enough to move on.”

 For much of the lesson, Carmilla tried to “clear her mind” but it was made exceptionally more difficult when Professor Cochrane wouldn’t keep quiet. “Try to focus on your breathing, Miss Karnstein.”

 She failed to do anything other than let her thoughts wander; she was getting nowhere fast and just felt silly. The embarrassment made her frustrated and she gave up, opening her eyes and sitting back in her chair.

 “Professor, this isn’t working.” Carmilla said slowly, taking some deep breaths.

 “Okay, lets take a break, this is only your first lesson. I wasn’t expecting you to immediately succeed.” Carmilla felt some relief at Professor Cochrane’s words but still felt as if she had failed somewhat. She listened as the Professor continued to speak.

“Soon, when we get that far, you’ll be able to recognize the sensation of someone invading your thoughts, most Legilimens are not skilled enough to mask themselves and you should be able to block them. When the time comes, I will use the spell Legilimens to enter your mind. I won’t nose through your memories don’t worry.” Professor Cochrane said with a laugh, Carmilla couldn’t see the humor, the idea in fact made her rather uncomfortable.

"Professor, how long will it take?" Carmilla asked, frustrated.

“Before you're successful? Depends on the wizard, as I said, it takes a lot of persistence. Let’s call it a day, Miss Karnstein. I will advise you practice clearing your mind in your own time; it will help you to progress. Let’s meet again in a few days.” Professor Cochrane said with a nod.

Carmilla rose from her chair, this was such a waste of time. 

*

 A week and half later, Laura nodded at her team and watched them take to their brooms and fly out onto the pitch, now the game was underway the nervous, excited energy was filling her up. She really would love to win today she admitted to herself; all of her hard work would finally pay off.

She mounted her broom, fixed her red robes and took to the sky, this was it at last, the final of the Hogwarts quidditch cup and Laura could almost taste victory. 

“The quaffle is released and it’s slytherin who make a successful grab for the quaffle! Nice catch from Straka there!” The commentator could be heard over the noisy crowd. 

Laura rose high above the stadium, watching the game below and keeping an eye out for the snitch and for Carmilla of course.

“Hi, Cupcake,” Laura smiled when Carmilla appeared unexpectedly beside her.

“Hey, Carm, where did you come from?” Laura asked, her gaze flicking to her momentarily and then returning to the game below. “What?! No! I saw that! Foul! Penalty to Gryffindor!” Laura shouted, crazily. 

Carmilla chuckled on her broom beside her and rolled her eyes, “So it begins… Laura, have these guys ever played fair?”

“How are slytherin already 40 points up?” Laura looked at Carmilla questionably.

Carmilla raised her hands in the hair, giving off an air of complete innocence. “All I do is catch the snitch… I hardly even attend practice. I know nothing.”

They continued to watch the game play out below them, points racking up high on the slytherin side to Laura’s dismay.

“Hey! That was an unfair attack on my player!” Laura shouted angrily. Carmilla tried to remind Laura to calm down or she’d find herself in trouble.

Slytherin were 70 points up at this point and Gryffindor had only managed a mere 10 points.

“This is a joke!” Laura shouted, pulling at her hair. “This is exactly what happened last year!”

 “Carm, your team are a bunch of… b- bad people!” Laura flushed red and gripped her broom handle tightly.

 Carmilla chuckled and then Laura gasped in horror.

 “Danny!” Laura covered her mouth.

 Danny Lawrence had been knocked from her broom and was now face down on the pitch below.

 “Oh god, Danny!” Laura was about to move off towards the ground to offer support, looking to say a quick goodbye to Carmilla when she noticed that she was failing to hold back a laugh.

 “Hey!” Laura said angrily. “She could be seriously hurt!”

 “I’m sorry Cupcake,” Carmilla tried to fix a neutral expression on her face, “She’ll be okay… I’m sure.” Laura could now see a crowd of staff surrounding Danny and decided she was probably better off in the air than down on the pitch.

 Laura tuned back into the commentators words, “Now that slytherin are holding a 90 point lead, is it safe to say this final is almost over?!”

 90 points up! How did that happen? Laura thought, this wasn’t how she’d wanted this game to go at all, this is horrific.

 It was up to her now, she had to finish this. Laura griped her broom handle tightly; she had to catch the snitch as soon as possible.

 “Carm… I’m going to look for the snitch. Remember what I said, whatever happens out here today, I'll still-” 

 “Wait…” Carmilla grabbed her arm before she could move away.

“No, I haven’t got ti-“ Laura started to speak.

 “Laura, you can catch the snitch.” Carmilla said assuredly.

 “Huh?” Laura frowned in confusion, was Carmilla giving up the game to her? That was no fun.

 “Don’t just-”

 “I’ve got an idea, just go now. Find the snitch.”

 It took Laura only 5 or so minutes to spot the snitch; it was flying high above the pitch above the Gryffindor goal posts.

 She took off flying after it, determination on her face.

 After a moment or so Carmilla had joined her, just as Laura was reaching her hand out toward the golden snitch.

 “Wait!” Carmilla called.

 “What?!” Laura replied, she was having trouble hearing; the wind was whipping past her ears too fast.

 Carmilla wasn’t looking at her; her gaze had shifted to the game below as they soared over the pitch.

 “Grab it! End it now!” Carmilla shouted, not making a grab for the snitch herself.

 Laura reached out and felt the cold metal of snitch against her hand and she squeezed it into her palm. The game was over.

 Had Gryffindor won? Surely it was victory to Gryffindor?

 Laura sat up on her broom, slowing down. The stadium crowd didn’t appear to be celebrating in the way Laura would expect, there was an absence of cheering, there was quietness in the air and then she heard the commentator’s words.

 “Draw! It’s a tie!” Laura’s mouth fell open in surprise, she turned on her broom to find Carmilla.

 “For the first time in Hogwarts history the quidditch cup will be awarded to both Gryffindor and Slytherin!” The commentator shouted and then the crowd’s cheers slowly started to pick up.

 Carmilla was smiling broadly. Laura started to laugh excitedly and grabbed Carmilla, pulling her in for a hug.

 “Carm, it’s a tie!” Laura shouted.

 “I know!” Carmilla replied, with a chuckle.

 “You did that intentionally!?”

 “Yes! That way, neither of us loses!” Carmilla said happily.

 Loud roars filled the stadium, as the crowd accepted the result.

 Laura took Carmilla’s hand and they circled the pitch together, red and green side by side, basking in a victory lap. They had made history today.

 When they eventually landed on the grass, Laura pulled Carmilla into her arms for another hug. She looked up at the surrounding crowds and the players who were just returning to ground. The slytherin team did not appear too happy about this turn of events but they would just have to accept it.

 McGonagall appeared on the pitch carrying the quidditch cup and Laura and Carmilla held the trophy high, victorious.

When they handed off the trophy to their surrounding teammates so they could also bask in the glory, Carmilla reached down and pulled Laura in for a much-deserved kiss. 

“Congratulations,” Carmilla said against her mouth and Laura giggled.

 “Carm, you are unbelievable.” Laura could feel a sting of happy tears in her eyes. She’d won the cup and so had Carmilla! She couldn’t have asked for a better result.

 The pitch around them started to fill with cheering students as they all ran onto the field delightedly. Laura had never in felt this elated in her life.

 “Laura!”

 “Daaad!” Laura yelled, turning quickly.

 Laura ran to her father’s side, encircling her arms around this waist.

 “Dad, you never told me you were coming!” Laura shouted over the crowds.

 “Surprise Honey!” He said with a smile, “You were amazing…it’s a little dangerous I’ll admit… but you were great.”

 Laura laughed at her father’s words and hugged him once more.

 “We won, dad, we both won.” She said contently.

 She turned to call Carmilla over, she had been right behind her a moment ago but she must have been lost in the celebrations, as Laura could not see her.

 The celebrations on the pitch lasted for at least an hour, as every gryffindor or slytherin that wished to held the cup up triumphantly. Laura watched in awe as students from both houses chatted gleefully. Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Gryffindor… it didn’t matter anymore. Gryffindor’s embracing Slytherins, they truly had made history today.

 Laura walked with her father up to the castle and everyone convened in the great hall for a celebratory feast. When she entered the hall, Laura searched for Carmilla but she couldn’t find her in the masses. She smiled when she noticed that everyone was mixed and no one was sitting at their designated house table. Laura supposed she’d have a hard time finding Carmilla in the chaos so she sat with her father and her team and decided to wait for her to appear.

 Danny entered the hall not soon after; she’d made her way down from the hospital wing for the feast. She gave Laura a hug and congratulated her on her success to which Laura insisted it was all Carmilla’s doing really.

 Everyone’s attention nearby turned to Laura when she told her story of how the game had played out. She praised Carmilla and clarified that it had all been her brilliant idea. Afterwards she searched the hall for Carmilla again, surprised they hadn’t reunited yet but still came up empty.

 When she returned to her seat, she must have looked glum because LaFontaine gave her shoulder a little shove and asked what was up.

 “I can’t find Carm.” Laura said with a frown.

 “Oh, last I saw her, she was headed out of the stadium with some woman, older, dark robes, I assumed it was her mother actually.” LaF said, casually with a smile and an encouraging pat on Laura’s shoulder before they joined in on the conversation on the other side of the table. 

*

 Carmilla watched contentedly as Laura ran and gave her father a hug. She hung back, deciding to give Laura a few moments to become acquainted with her father and catch up.

 LaFontaine emerged from a crowd of students and clapped Carmilla on the back cheerfully before reaching and grasping her hand, shaking it vigorously.

 “Nice one, Karnstein,” they said respectfully and Carmilla smirked at them.

 “What exactly were you doing out there today? You let 15 shots get by you,” Carmilla said good-humoredly.

 LaF looked momentarily surprised by Carmilla bantering with them this way before they replied with a grin, “Yes, but I also saved 13 so I’m as far as I’m concerned, I’m the hero here.”

 Carmilla huffed a laugh and rolled her eyes at them, looking past them to keep an eye on Laura’s whereabouts. The crowds on the pitch were beginning to get out of control and she’d rather not lose Laura in the mob of students.

 As Carmilla rose up onto her toes to try and gage a better view of the crowds, her eyes landed on someone stalking towards her that made her stomach clench uncomfortably and her good mood shatter.

 She patted LaF’s arm pleasantly before moving on to meet her mother’s unreadable eyes.

 “Carmilla, darling.” She sounded pleasant but her face was vacant, she didn’t pull Carmilla in for a hug, she didn’t even move to touch her at all, which was normal.

 “Mother.” Carmilla said, by way of a greeting.

 Her mother did not speak, she just looked at Carmilla as if she was expecting her say more, and so she did.

 “What are you doing here?” Carmilla said, irritably.

 “I came to see you play of course, it was the final after all.” She said pleasingly, “It wasn’t quite what I expected I must admit.” She glanced over her shoulder briefly at the back of Laura’s head that Carmilla could just see in the distance as she spoke to her father.

 “It was wonderful mother, we’ve made history here today.” Carmilla said, defensively.

 “Right.” Her mother said uncomfortably, “I’d like a word with you, dear. Would you mind if we continued this back up at the castle?” Her mother said, grabbing her wrist, not really giving her much of an option.

 Carmilla looked over at Laura longingly who was hugging her father again as her mother pulled her into the crowds and out of sight, making a beeline for the exit.

Her mother, who eventually loosened her grip on Carmilla’s arm once she realized she was willingly following, did not speak until they reached the castle doors.

“Come on now, Carmilla, hurry up.” Her mother waited for Carmilla to push the heavy doors open for her and she sauntered in without so much as a thank you. 

The castle was silent, it was almost unnerving. Carmilla followed her mother who appeared to be leading her toward the slytherin dungeons, the clacking of her shoes echoed off the stonewalls loudly. Carmilla did not see a single person on their travels, not that she expected too.

 Her mother stopped outside of an abandoned office just near the slytherin common room. Professor Slughorn had refused the space as he said it was too small and he now resided in a larger office way up on the sixth floor.

 “In here,” her mother said harshly. The pleasant manner she had adopted out on the pitch had completely disappeared.

 The office was dark and a layer of dust covered every surface. Her mother assessed the room for a moment with a grimace, before turning her gaze to Carmilla.

 “I thought I told you to dispose of that… mudblood girl.” Her mother said, seething.

 Carmilla took a deep breath, grabbing the edge of the table next to her for support, “Mother…” she pushed an aggravated breath out through her nose, she sounded so weak, and she hated it.

 “… do not-“ She paused, she was shaking with anger, giving her mother enough time to interrupt her.

 “You’re 17 now Carmilla and you no longer have the trace. I wanted to fill you in on a few things incase you felt like disappearing on me.” Her mother said, turning to slowly walk back and fourth in the room in front of her as she spoke.

 Carmilla almost smiled at her words, she would do that, she would love to run away. Run away with Laura and never come back.

 Her mother paused turning to look directly at her, “Have you ever heard of the unbreakable vow?”

 Carmilla frowned and blinked in confusion, what was she getting at? She nodded slowly in acknowledgment.

“Good, very good.” Her mother said, moving to pace back and fourth once more.

Carmilla looked to the floor, an unbreakable vow? A feeling of dread settled in her stomach, as a realization dawned on her. 

“No! I won't do it, Mother.” She said, loudly, causing her mother to pause mid-step again and look at her with a smirk. A cackle like laugh left her mouth and Carmilla’s felt like she might vomit.

“You wont do what? It’s already done, my dear.” She replied coolly, smirking at her evilly.

 Carmilla frowned and shook her head, “No! I would never have-”

 Her mother cut her off again, “Very little is known about the unbreakable vow.” She said casually, almost reminiscently, “It has always fascinated me. Very much in the same way that death has.” She said slowly “It’s really a delightful little charm…”

 She took a step closer and spoke very evenly, “You, my dear… are my most brilliant and longest experiment to date.” She said proudly.

 Carmilla’s chest tightened, she felt like she couldn’t breath, she reached for the edge of the table once more.

 “Of course you don’t remember it now…you were much too young.” She said thoughtfully. The feeling of terror filling Carmilla was slowly getting worse.

 “You pledged yourself to me, child.” She said with a smile.

 “You took the unbreakable vow and you made an oath... that you would come with me, stand by my side, that you would be faithful to me until the day you die.”

 The room was silent for a moment, Carmilla had to force herself to speak.

 “I – no! If that were true, I would already be dead. I resent you.” Carmilla said shakily, sting of tears in her eyes.

 Her mother released another cackle like laugh, “You can hate me all you like... but the vow will still stand. You have 4 months until the vow takes effect. Once you no longer call Hogwarts your home, once you’ve finished with this place, you will return to me… and if you choose not to… you will die.” She said, calmly.

 Carmilla released another shaky breath, staring at the ground as she processed her mother’s words, “Why?” she said quietly. “Why is it so important to you that I pledge you my life?” She said, completely distraught. Her mother was already nodding as if she'd read her mind.

 She considered Carmilla’s word for a moment, “In all truthfulness, it isn’t,” She said with a smile. “It isn’t important to me at all, but as I said… very little is known about the unbreakable vow and it will be very exciting for me to see how this all plays out.”

 “If I can’t remember taking the vow then how can the vow still stand?” Carmilla uttered.

 “Well, that’s just one the more exciting aspects of the experiment, isn’t it? Are you willing to risk it?” Her mother said, taking another step closer.

Carmilla mustered up a smile, “I’d rather die than have to face the rest of my life with you.” Her hands were shaking violently, she tried to sound convincing but she wasn’t sure it was working.

 “Oh, how exciting!” Her mother laughed, clapping her hands together.

 A serious expression returned to her face quickly, “You have four months.”

She was gone within seconds, Carmilla heard the slam of the door behind her and her mothers footsteps slowly receding down the corridor. Carmilla remained unmoving for some time, before slowly sinking to the floor.

Chapter Text

“Professor! Professor McGonagall!” Laura shouted over the noise in the great hall, as McGonagall walking between the long tables headed for the exit. Laura took off after her, eager to catch her before she disappeared.

McGonagall turned to glance at her and Laura hurriedly followed her out into the entrance hall.

“Well done today, Miss Hollis, you have done Gryffindor proud.” McGonagall said with a nod. 

“Thank you Professor,” she said, blushing a little. “Have you seen Carmilla anywhere?”

McGonagall thought for a moment before she responded, “I never deemed her one for mad celebrations, maybe she’s taking some time for herself.” 

Laura shook her head, choosing to dismiss what McGonagall had said, “Was her mother here? Today, at the game, was her mother here?” 

McGonagall frowned and considered Laura’s words, “Yes.” She nodded, slowly. “Yes, she was.” A look of realisation seemed to appear on the Professors face and then one of concern.

“When was the last time you saw her, Hollis?” McGonagall asked, walking back towards the great hall and peering around. Laura shook her head at that, of course she’s not in the hall, I think I’d know, she thought.

“On the quiddtich pitch, hours ago, Professor.” she said, feeling panicky at the thought.

McGonagall turned back to face her. “Okay, I’ll send a few slytherins to look for her, I’m sure she’ll be around, not to worry,” She said with a nod.

Laura stood still and watched as McGonagall called over the slytherin prefects and spoke to them for a moment. The prefects nodded and walked past Laura from the hall and out of sight.

“Miss Hollis, join the celebrations, your father looks scared,” McGonagall said, gesturing towards him, “I’ll get back to you when she’s found. She couldn’t have gone far.” Laura glanced over at her father who appeared to be being accosted by LaFontaine who was speaking dramatically and intensely. 

She returned to her father’s side, placing a hand on his shoulder, “Ah, Laura,” he stood quickly, looking relieved. “I suppose it’s time for me to go,” Laura frowned.

Dad, no, stay. There’ll be more food soon and it’s only-,” Laura began to reason with him.

He shook his head, “I couldn’t eat another bite.” He said, patting his stomach, “I have a room down in Hogsmeade for the night and I’ll head back home tomorrow morning.” He said, moving toward the exit.

“But I’ll miss you, Dad,” Laura said, sadly.

“I’ll miss you too, Honey,” he said as they reached the entrance hall, “But, I’ll see you soon, you just focus on your exams now. I know you’ll do well.” He said pulling Laura in for a hug.

"You were wonderful today," he said as they hugged.

“Bye, Dad." 

They walked out into the entrance courtyard together and her dad gave her one last hug, planted a kiss on her brow and climbed into one of the prepared carriages pulled by the unpleasant looking thestrals. Laura wondered whether her father could see them but he didn’t appear to glance at them at all. He shouted one last goodbye to her as the carriage started to pull away and Laura waved until the carriage pulled him out of sight.

She joined the celebrations once more, although her good mood was slipping a great deal. She laughed along with the jokes and joined in with the conversation, ate the delicious desserts but her eyes kept flickering to the doors, kept searching the hall for Carmilla.

She’d almost made up her mind to go searching for on her own when McGonagall returned to the hall. Laura rushed to her side, eager for news. 

“Ah, Miss Hollis, my sources tell me that Miss Karnstein is in the slytherin dormitory and that she is well.” McGonagall said with a smile and pat on Laura’s shoulder.

What? Professor, it doesn’t make any sense, she would have been here, she would have come to the feast.” Laura said, with a shake of her head.

McGonagall shrugged, “Maybe she wasn’t as happy as you thought about tying with Gryffindor. You beat her to the snitch after all.”

No, it was-“ Laura paused, taking an aggravated breath, none of this made sense; she hated this, Carmilla was here in the castle, so close but she wasn’t able to physically get to her. 

“Laura, you can discuss this with her tomorrow…” she said coolly. “Well done today and enjoy the rest of the feast.” 

McGonagall sauntered off towards the staff table leaving Laura somewhat relieved but more confused than before, why would Carmilla isolate herself at a time like this?

*

 Carmilla did not show in the tower that night, even though she had been visiting Laura every night for past week. Laura had hardly slept and when she did, she had vivid dreams of Carmilla leaving with her mother. Laura couldn’t help but worry; she knew that something was wrong.

“Carm!” Laura shouted when she spotted her in the hall the next morning. Many heads turned in her direction but she didn’t care. Carmilla on the other hand did not look up at all. She was sat at the slytherin table, on her own, staring at a plate of eggs and bacon, which was untouched. 

Laura rushed to her side, “Carm,” she hugged her around the shoulders tightly and planted a kiss on her cheek, she had never felt so relieved. Carmilla remained mostly unresponsive to Laura’s affections but after a moment she looked up and her eyes fixed with Laura’s.

“Oh, hey Laura,” she said quietly. Laura frowned, what was wrong with her? Was she sick?

“Where have you been? What’s wrong?” Laura asked, concerned, squeezing Carmilla’s arm, assuring herself once again that, yes, she was really there.

“I’m okay, Cupcake,” she said, sluggishly, patting Laura’s hand comfortingly.

“Carm…” Laura shook her head confused, why is she acting like this? She reached forward and pressed her hand against Carmilla’s brow to check for a fever. Carmilla frowned at her, confused.

“It was your mother right? She was here yesterday.” Laura dipped her head, trying to get a good look at Carmilla’s face. Carmilla visibly winced at the mention of her mother but that seemed to bring her out of her daze and she sat up and took in her surroundings. 

“Laura,” She turned her body towards her, “She just… shook me up, that’s all, you know what she’s like. I’ll be fine.” Carmilla took a deep breath and smiled at her but Laura remained concerned.

“You weren’t at the feast, Carm. What happened?” Laura said, sadly.

“Cupcake, nothing happened.” She smiled at Laura again, “Tell me, how was the feast?” Carmilla said, jumping on the subject change.

Laura studied her for a moment longer, there was definitely something Carmilla was keeping from her and she obviously wasn't willing to share. Shaking her head, Laura decided to humour Carmilla for the time being, dropping the subject for now.

*

Carmilla dug the palms of her hands into her eyes in frustration, “Professor! This isn’t working and I feel like a fool.”

Professor Cochrane had been performing the Legilimens spell on Carmilla to see if she could access her mind and she hadn’t been able to repel her at all. Luckily for Carmilla, Cochrane had explained that the she would only delve as far as her most recent memories meaning she could tell Carmilla what she had eaten for breakfast but would not delve any deeper.

It was certainly an uncomfortable feeling have someone invading ones mind so obtrusively, almost as if a second brain had been squashed inside her head.

“You certainly do spend an awful lot of time staring at Miss Hollis,” Professor Cochrane said with a smirk. “If you only put that much effort into defense against the dark arts.” Carmilla felt her cheeks redden, this was one of the most embarrassing things she had ever been forced to do. Just as Cochrane raised her wand towards her again, Carmilla spoke up. She needed a break and decided to ask some burning questions.

“Professor… those who work in the department of mysteries, would they be highly skilled occlumens?”

The professor’s eyebrows rose in response to Carmilla’s question and she gave it some thought, dropping her wand to her side and leaning back on her desk behind her. “Yes, I imagine so. All those who work in the department of mysteries, giving the secrecy of the field, would be highly trained… can’t have anyone invading their minds.” She said with a smile.

“What about Legilimens, would they be trained in that?" 

The professor shrugged, “Probably, I would assume so.”

“Theoretically, if someone used Legilimens on me like you have been doing, could they potentially force a thought upon me? Make me believe something that is untrue?”

 Professor Cochrane frowned but continued, “You’d have to be highly skilled but it is possible.” she said with a nod, “Dark wizards have been known to practice Legilimens to that effect.”

Carmilla nodded, for all she knew her mother had been invading her mind forever she’d have never known.

“Let’s end it here for today, Miss Karnstein, we’ll pick it up again in a few days. As always, try to practice clearing your mind, it’ll help you for next time.”

Carmilla stood and lingered as she thought, she couldn’t help herself; she turned back to Professor Cochrane.

“Professor… I was in the library the other day and I read something about a piece of magic…. the unbreakable vow?” She said tensely.

Professor Cochrane frowned and folded her arms, “…Okay,” she said, confused.

“I just wondered what you knew about it…” Carmilla said, nervously rubbing the back of her neck. 

“Not much, I’ve never taken one myself, why do you ask?” The professor looked at her with intrigue. 

“Just curious Professor, that’s all.” 

“Well, you make an oath to another person and if you break that oath… you die. It’s quite simple really,” the professor said with a shrug.

Carmilla nodded, “And say… say you don’t remember taking the vow… would it still stand?”

“I would have thought so, the bond itself would still be there whether you remember it or not." 

“And if you didn’t realize you had taken the vow?”

Cochrane laughed at that, “You would know if you had taken an unbreakable vow, what are you getting at? Don’t mess with magic you don’t understand, Miss Karnstein.” She said firmly.

“No, Professor, just curious as I said, nothing more.” Cochrane eyed her for a moment and Carmilla considered the possibility that she could probably read her mind and figure out that she was lying but then she shook her head and spoke.

“Right… off you go. We’ll meet again in a few days, remember to practice!” She added quickly.

Carmilla nodded and made for the exit, somewhat satisfied with her line of questioning.

She headed toward the library, it was still early and she had research to do, finding out as much as she could about the unbreakable vow but it was proving a difficult topic to research. Tonight she was headed to the restricted section, plus, there was always a chance Laura might be in the library.

Carmilla had tried to behave as normally as she could around Laura, it had been five days since the quidditch final and her mother’s revelation was weighing heavier on her everyday. Laura still noticed, she asked Carmilla what was wrong relentlessly and wouldn’t let up asking about her mother’s visit. It was getting harder and harder for Carmilla to laugh it off or insist she was fine the longer she kept it to herself. 

She entered the quiet restricted section of the library, seventh year students were generally allowed to peruse these books unhindered. Carmilla was careful, some of these books tended to have a mind of their own and it was potentially dangerous to just pull any old book of the shelf, especially if said book was chained to the shelf, a lot of these were.

Carmilla carried a dozen or so books (that did not have chains) through the library headed to her secluded area to delve into each one.

“Laura,” she said contentedly, as she found her at their table amongst the shelves.

Laura turned to her with a surprised smile, “Carm!” 

Carmilla dropped her books onto the desk, glancing at Laura’s homework. She had been writing on a piece of parchment, the wiggery scrawl almost unintelligible but Carmilla had grown accustomed to it.

 Laura stood and pulled Carmilla into a hug, “I wasn’t really expecting you to show. How was your lesson?” She asked, knowing how much she despised occlumency.

Carmilla shrugged, leaning in to kiss Laura gently, “The same as always, worse actually, Cochrane invaded my mind with her Legini-crap again, I couldn’t do anything to stop her, I’m getting nowhere.” She sighed, moving to sit down.

Laura frowned, moving her chair closer to Carmilla’s so their shoulders nearly brushed; she leaned over and kissed her cheek.

“I’m sorry, Carm. I wish you didn’t have to learn occlumency. It’s been making you really gloomy.”

Carmilla did not respond to that. Good, she thought, feeling relieved, she thinks her behavior is due the occlumency lessons.

Laura glanced at the pile of books Carmilla had just heaved onto the table, frowning at the dark volumes. 

“Erm… Carm, is there some homework I forgot about…?” She said with unease, reaching over and turning one of the books over, it hit the desk and dust rose up into the air.

“No, Cupcake. I’m just doing some of my own research…for occlumency. I thought it might help me improve.” Carmilla lied.

Laura nodded, smiled at her and bumped their shoulders, “Good idea. Look at you, not giving up.” Carmilla was filled with guilt; she wanted so much to tell Laura the truth.

She took a deep breath, opening her mouth to speak but then paused, gazing at her for a moment or so. What would she say? Hey Laura, no big deal but I’m pretty sure I’m going to die in 4 months? By the way, I’ve changed my mind and I think I do want to work for my mother? She’d never believe that…

The less Laura new the safer she would be. She forced a smile at her and then turned toward the books, lazily reaching for first one, pulling it toward her, desperately hoping there was a book somewhere in this library that held the crucial information she needed. Anything that could release her from her mother’s bounds.

*

 “Carm… it’s been hours, I’m falling asleep, are you headed to bed soon?” Laura said, resting her brow on the desk in exhaustion.

“Oh...” Carmilla looked up from her book, she hadn’t really been aware of the time, “Cupcake, go to bed.” She said reaching over and running a hand through Laura’s hair.

“You need to sleep too, you can’t stay in the library all night.” Laura said, sitting up and facing her, “Besides, I’ve missed you, you haven’t been up to the tower in like a week.” She pouted.

There had been a reason for that, since her mothers’ visit Carmilla hadn’t been sleeping well and had been having vivid nightmares of the mothers return. She hadn’t wanted Laura to witness that so she had taken to staying away from Gryffindor tower.

Carmilla smiled at her, she found it almost impossible to deny Laura anything, “Okay, I’m just going to be a little while longer…I’ll be there in a little while,” she reassured her.

Laura frowned but then nodded, standing and leaning down to offer Carmilla a kiss. Carmilla reveled in the kiss, reaching up to run a hand through Laura’s hair. When she was like this with Laura, it was almost as if all of her worries didn’t exist for a few moments and it was just the two of them.

“Don’t work too hard, Carm…” Laura whispered, kissing her brow and then disappearing around the corner of the bookshelf.

She watched her go, sighing with a moment of contentment before the gut wrenching unhappiness filled her again, it was destroying Carmilla to think about a future without Laura or Laura’s future without her. 

Staring at the spot where Laura had just disappeared, Carmilla smiled as she remembered all the times Laura had disappeared around the stacks like that before. When Laura would lose her patience with her or when she’d go off in search of a book and get lost and Carmilla would have to go find her. Or when Carmilla would say something suggestive and Laura would blush and claim she was missing an emergency quidditch practice.

She turned back to her book then with a sigh, feeling hopelessness fill her with every passing minute. 

*

Laura woke up alone the next morning, that did not surprise her but she did feel a little disappointed. There is something seriously wrong with Carmilla, she thought as she dressed and she was going to find out what.

She waited for her to appear at breakfast, remained seated until the very end, as the house tables slowly emptied but Carmilla was a no show again, the seat next to Laura remained empty.

“What’s going on with her, L?” LaFontaine asked as they stood from the bench, noticing Laura’s worried expression. 

“I wish I knew…” Laura said with a shrug, shaking her head and looking up at the cloudy enchanted ceiling of the hall.

Laura leaned against the wall in the corridor outside the Transfiguration classroom for Carmilla but she was nowhere to be seen. Not caring how suspicious it would look that both her and Carmilla did not show in McGonagall’s lesson, Laura hurried along the corridor, headed toward the library, the last place she had seen her.

She walked leisurely through the stacks, she didn’t expect to find Carmilla here at all and yet there she was, asleep at the desk.

 Laura couldn’t help but feel anger rising within her, she knew it probably wasn’t the most appropriate emotion to be feeling right now, but Carmilla was keeping something from her and Laura had had enough.

“Carmilla!” Laura said, trying to keep her demeanor calm, taking steady breaths through her nose.

Carmilla’s eyes opened and then looked up in confusion. Sitting up quickly and murmuring a curse word or two under her breathe at the sudden intrusion.

“What is going on with you?!” Laura asked angry, unable to hold back. 

Carmilla’s eyes widened at her in surprise and she did not respond right away, still half asleep.

“You’ve been acting bizarre since the quidditch final! You hardly talk to me anymore, in fact I barely even see you! You haven’t even eaten a proper meal for days and now I find you asleep at the desk where you have been all night!” She said angrily, “Carm, you gotta tell me what’s going on…” Laura said desperately.

Carmilla ran a hand through her hair, glancing around as if for an escape route and then pulled at the collar of her shirt. “Laura, I can’t…” She pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration, she was too tired for this.

“Carm…” Laura said calmer now, taking a step closer. 

“Please don’t…” Carmilla said looking up at her, if Laura touched her she might spill everything and she couldn't do that, “It’s nothing, there’s nothing to worry about.” Laura scoffed at that, she didn’t sound even remotely convincing. 

“But I do worry Carm, I’m worrying about you constantly and yet I have no idea what I’m worrying about so please do me this favor and tell me what it is because I can’t do this anymore. ” Laura said, feeling a sting of tears in the eyes. 

Their gazes met; Carmilla took a shuddering breath. Her eyes were dark and tired and she looked paler than Laura has ever seen her. Laura moved to sit in her chair, facing her. 

Carmilla shook her head then, an agonizing expression on her face. She shook her head, she couldn’t speak.

A tear slipped down Laura’s cheek and she sighed, grabbing Carmilla’s hand. “Please, Carm,” She pleaded.

“Laura…” Carmilla said hesitantly, feeling tears fill her own eyes.

Could she actually stop herself from telling her now?

“At the end…when we’re finished here… I’m going to the ministry to be with my mother.” She said only meeting Laura’s eyes after she finished speaking.

Laura shook her head and actually smiled at the absurdity of Carmilla’s words. “Is that it? Carm, you haven’t got to do anything. I say we leave together… hide, go wherever we wanna go, do what ever we want to do… it’s up to us.” Laura said with a supportive smile, squeezing Carmilla’s hand.

Carmilla looked at her heartbroken, Laura had never seen that look on her face.

She shook her head quickly and then sobbed, tears started to flow. “We can’t do any of that, Laura,” she said absolutely defeated.

Carm…?” Laura murmured, confused wiping the tears away from Carmilla's face.

“If I don’t go to her…” She stopped as if she couldn’t speak the words out loud, she took a deep breath, preparing herself.

“If I don’t go to her… I will die.” Carmilla said, crying silently.

Laura was stunned to silence, fear and confusion filling her. 

“I don’t…” Laura shook her head, she couldn’t finish her sentence, her lungs felt like they had caved in. She couldn’t accept that, Carmilla wouldn’t die.

Carmilla sat up straighter and looked at her then.

“When my mother came to the quidditch match she told me… she told me that if I tried to run… I would die. She said I made an unbreakable vow and if I break it…” She paused, swallowing heavily. 

Laura stared at Carmilla dumbfounded; she could feel her heart shattering to pieces inside her.

“She said I was young and that she didn’t expect me to remember it.” Carmilla wiped her eyes, taking a loud breath.

Laura was frozen in place, filled with absolute dread.

“And that I was her greatest experiment to date.”

“An unbreakable…” Laura felt like she was going to be sick.

 They stared at each other for a moment and Laura couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. She lurched forward, pulling Carmilla into her and she sobbed for a moment for so.

She pulled back slightly, cupping Carmilla’s face in her hands, inches away from her, “No I can't… I don’t… she’s lying to you Carm, she has to be!”

After a few moments and more tears, Carmilla spoke, “Do I take that risk?”

No, Laura thought immediately, never. 

"I love you..." Laura said hopelessly, she never said it enough and now she might not have much time too.

Carmilla's lips twitched upwards slightly, "And I love you," she reached up and stroked Laura's cheek gently.

“We have to tell someone! Professor McGonagall, she can help us, she can help you.” Laura said hurriedly, sitting back and trying to think rationally.

“What could she do, Laura? It's done. If we went to her… If she helped us… stood up against the ministry, against my mother… What do you think would happen to her? McGonagall is not untouchable Laura; she’d be gone faster than you could say quidditch. She may not be untouchable but she definitely is irreplaceable. She's the best thing about this place.” Carmilla admitted.

“Well… we can’t do anything on our own, Carm!” Laura said, woefully.

“I’ve been doing some research…” Carmilla said, looking toward the desk now, gathering her papers.

“Research? How can research help you!?” Laura said, irritated by Carmilla's sudden lax attitude.

Carmilla shrugged, “I’ve been reading what I can about the unbreakable vow, finding out what I can. Has anyone ever broken the vow and survived? Is there a loop hole or a way to cheat it?”

Laura glanced at the books, silent for a moment, that’s what she’s been doing, she thought.

“And, what have you found out?” Laura asked leaning closer, interested now.

Carmilla sighed, “Not much… There really isn’t a lot- I haven’t found much yet, I guess it’s like my mother said… not a lot is known about the unbreakable vow, it’s part of the reason why…”

Laura shook her head, “She’s your mother and you could die. You could die.”

“Have you not heard a word I’ve said about my mother…?”

"So you die unless we magically come up with some plan to stop your mother or break the vow which is impossible without you dying-"

"Laura, stop-"

“Is there anything? Have you found out anything?”

Laura sucked in a breath and Carmilla looked at her for moment before speaking, “One thing. There is a passage in this book,” Carmilla opened it for Laura to see, “About a wizard who survived breaking the vow because the other partaker broke the vow first…”

“Okay…” Laura nodded, understanding, “So, what is your mothers part of this bargain?”

Carmilla released a long breath, “If she has one... I do not know.”

Chapter Text

Laura yawned and attempted to rub away the tired sting in her eyes before returning her gaze to the book she was perusing, turning the page, her shoulders slumped at the miniature, practically unreadable text. She sighed and rubbed at her eyes again; barely able to focus them. She pulled at the knot of her tie wondering why she was still wearing it and at the top buttons on her shirt, irritated.

A hand on her shoulder, made her glance around at Carmilla who had her eyes glued to an old book also. The hand travelled and began to languidly massage the back of her neck, Laura hummed in appreciation, sitting back and letting her eyes drop closed.

“Have you done your homework for Professor Slughorn?” Carmilla spoke unexpectedly; it had been a while since either of them had said a word, both sitting quietly as they researched. Laura opened her eyes and glanced sideways at Carmilla, shaking her head.

“Laura, it’s for tomorrow.” Carmilla said, meeting her gaze, her hand pausing.

Laura pouted at her, moving her chair closer to Carmilla, who rolled her eyes and smiled.

 “It doesn’t matter, Carm, have you even done it?” Laura asked, leaning her forehead on Carmilla’s shoulder now.

“No but that’s different, I can just do it before breakfast or at lunch, you need more time.” Carmilla mumbled into her hair, bringing both arms around Laura in a hug.

“I haven’t got time to do Slughorn’s pointless homework, I need to help you.” Laura said pointedly.

“No, I told you, Lau-“

“I’ll do it with you, when you do it.” Laura said cutting her off; she was too tired to argue about this. 

“Fine then we’ll do it now,” Carmilla said firmly, loosening her grip around Laura’s waist. 

Laura shook her head, unmoving from her position. Potions homework was the very last thing she wanted to be doing right now. She was beyond tired and her and Carmilla were getting nowhere with their research into the unbreakable vow. It has been two weeks since Carmilla had told her the truth and she felt like they had scoured half the books in the library and come up empty. Now that NEWT’s were fast approaching the homework and studying they were being asked to do had doubled. Laura felt that she’d have trouble getting through it all even if she wasn’t spending the majority of her free time trying to find a way to save Carmilla.

“Cupcake…” Carmilla said in an almost reprimanding tone. 

“No,” Laura muffled into Carmilla’s neck, pulling herself onto Carmilla’s lap, hugging her back tightly.

“I will not be the reason you fail your NEWT’s,” Carmilla said, leaning back to try and catch a glimpse at Laura’s face but she remained hidden in the crook of her neck.

“I’m not going to fail because I haven’t done one piece of homework,” Laura mumbled.

“Have you done your charms homework?” Carmilla asked with a smile, already knowing the likely answer.

“Yes, actually I have,” Laura, said, sitting up and grinning at her.

“Really, what was it about?” Carmilla asked, smirking back.

Laura swallowed, “I don’t…recall right now.”

Carmilla huffed a laugh, “…Because you haven’t done-“

Laura silenced Carmilla with a kiss; homework was really the least of her worries and she was pretty certain she was not going to fail any of her NEWT’s.

“Hey, don’t think you can distract me from the fact that you haven’t done your homework for a week and I told you that studying comes first.” Carmilla said, pulling away with determination.

“Carm, you will always come first, not homework so stop-”

“Laura, I think McGonagall is already suspicious-" 

“Fine! Carm, I’ll make sure I do all my homework. Are you happy now?” Laura said with irritation, pouting towards the ceiling. 

“No,” Carmilla said before pulling Laura closer and starting to plant kisses along her throat.

Laura’s pout disappeared and she pulled Carmilla in for kiss, wrapping her arms around her.

“Are you happy now?” Laura smiled against her lips. 

“Hmm…getting there.” Carmilla mumbled.

Laura moved to straddle Carmilla’s lap and bring herself closer. Carmilla hummed in appreciation, wrapping her arms snugly around Laura’s waist. It had been a while since they had been together like this; they had both been rather researched focused.

“Okay….” Laura said, pulling away from Carmilla’s lips to look at her, Carmilla frowned, leaning forward to capture Laura’s lips again.

“What have you gathered from your research today?” She said optimistically, leaning away further and reaching behind her to grab her notebook and quill from the table, the notebook Carmilla had given her.

“I think you might already be able to guess…” Carmilla said in a jaded tone.

Laura deflated a little, “Yeah, I got nothing either, those 8 books were duds.”

Carmilla slowly released a breath, unconsciously taping out a rhythm on Laura’s waist, as she looked thoughtfully up at the sky through the large castle window.

Laura looked captivatingly at her notes, “Carm, if you were to make an unbreakable vow with me… would that…”

“Cancel out the other vow? I doubt it.” Carmilla mused, she’d already thought about that.

“Didn’t think so…” Laura said, scribbling on her page of notes.

“If both parties agreed, could you end the vow?” Laura asked looking up at her as if she were conducting an interview.

Carmilla shrugged, ”You know as much as I do, Cupcake. Maybe, I really don’t know… How would we even get her to agree to that?”

“True.” Laura jotted again.

“Carm, how do you know your mother hasn’t just made this whole thing up?” Laura said, taping the feather of her quill against Carmilla’s chest as she concluded.

“I don’t suppose I do but she seemed sort of… proud of herself?” Carmilla fingers squeezed Laura’s waist at the memory, “It’s definitely something she would do.”

Laura nodded and then yawned again, her head falling forward onto Carmilla’s chest.

“Time for bed is it?” Carmilla mumbled.

 Laura nodded, “Please.”

Carmilla chuckled, playing with the ends of Laura’s hair.

She tapped Laura’s thigh and she reluctantly stood, with a flick of Carmilla’s wand the books on their table closed and tidied themselves.

“Come on, Cutie,” Carmilla said, grabbing Laura’s hand.

They walked up grand staircase hand in hand, “Careful, vanishing step,” Carmilla said quickly. 

Laura was hardly aware of where she was going, “Oh yeah, thanks, Carm,” she said, entwining their arms and glancing around.

“Wait, are you coming with me?” Laura said, glancing at Carmilla hopefully.

“Looks like it.” Carmilla nodded, adding, “I’m not sure you’d make it on your own.”

Laura rolled her eyes at that and they walked on together towards Gryffindor tower.

“Carm.” Laura said, expectantly, when they reached the seventh floor.

Carmilla sighed unenthusiastically, letting go of Laura’s arm and transforming into the small black cat.

“I’ve missed you,” Laura said, reaching down for the cat.

Carmilla dodged out of the way and Laura thought she saw the cat rolling its eyes.

She giggled and walked on, the small cat following after her through the portrait hole. 

*

 “Carm, why do you always sit on the opposite side of the room to me in charms?” Laura asked, sleepily, from her position on Carmilla’s chest as they lay together in her bed. Carmilla had learned a handy muffling charm, which she cast around Laura’s bed so they could talk without anyone knowing Carmilla was there.

“Huh?” Carmilla replied, groggily, wondering why Laura was still awake.

“The thought just came to me now, why do you never sit next to me in charms?”

Initially Laura had thought Carmilla had chosen to sit there because it had annoyed her when they had first been partnered up.

In their lesson that afternoon Professor Flitwick had been droning on about memory charms and Laura had stared longingly across to Carmilla on the other side of the room. In all of their other lessons Carmilla had swindled her way to a seat next to Laura, whereas charms she never had. 

“It’s where I’ve always sat,” Carmilla said matter-of-factly, staring up at the red curtains of Laura’s bed.

“Yes but why do you still sit there?” Laura asked, confused.

“What do you mean?” Carmilla asked, sleepily.

“Well, you sit next to me in every other lesson except charms.” Laura questioned, sitting up slightly to look at her.

Carmilla shrugged, “Cupcake, you have sat in the same seat in charms for five years and so have I. I like that seat because it’s the only classroom in this whole castle where the seats face each other and I could openly stare at you without anyone noticing.”

Laura rolled her eyes, “Come on, Carm, you never chose to sit in that seat five years ago to stare at me. Why do you sit there?”

Carmilla looked at her then and chuckled, “You still don’t get it do you, Laura?”

“Get what?” Laura asked, bewildered.

Carmilla shook her head with a smile.

“What?” Laura asked again.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Carmilla said, pulling Laura back down, ”Go to sleep.”

 

*

 Carmilla opened her eyes, finding the red curtains of Laura’s bed directly in front of her. She turned over, reaching immediately for Laura and then frowned when she found that she was not there.

She sat up, baffled and tired. Laura was always there…where was Laura?

Carmilla chanced a glance around the corner of the curtain, the Gryffindor dorm was still dark and silent expect for someone who was snoring quietly on the other side of the room. She looked up to the window, still dark… where the frilly hell was Laura? 

She quickly stood, feeling a little worried now. Carmilla grabbed her pants and pulled them on and then her cloak from under Laura’s bed. She walked to the dormitory door, opening it and paused, remembering that she really shouldn’t be here and transformed into the cat.

The common room was dark and deserted, Carmilla hopped up on the arm of the chair and saw only small orange embers of the fire still burning, and the clock read 3.50am. Laura wasn’t here… but she had been here.

Carmilla sniffed the air, Laura had been here recently. She had fairly good sense of smell as a cat and could most definitely find Laura’s scent in a crowd. She followed it to the door, and the portrait hole swung open automatically.

She followed her scent out and along the corridor and another; she reached the seventh floor corridor and kept going, stopping only when a closed door stood in her way. Transforming back, Carmilla opened the door, which would lead to… a sudden thought came to Carmilla. She knew where Laura was.

 She moved swiftly along the corridor and came to the bottom of the astronomy tower. Taking the steps two at a time until she reached the top, she took a moment to catch her breath before she opened the door. 

Laura was sitting on the floor near the railing, staring up into the sky.

“It’s breathtaking isn’t it?” Carmilla said, remembering speaking those exact same words the very first time she had met Laura here.

Laura’s head whipped around, “You frightened me.”

Carmilla huffed a laugh; she wasn’t sure whether Laura would remember saying those exact same words in response.

“What are you doing up here, Laura?” Carmilla asked coming to sit down next to her, bringing her arm up around Laura’s shoulder along with her robe to wrap around her as well. “For somebody so tired you really haven’t done a lot of sleeping tonight.”

Laura smiled sadly at her, “I couldn’t, Carm. I can’t sleep when I feel like it’s wasting so much time.” She looked like she might cry; Carmilla didn’t want her to cry, not again.

“Cupcake, don’t…”

“You’ve got a little over three months, Carm. Three… that’s nothing, it’s nothing.” Laura snuffled.

“Yes, three whole months to work on finding a way out,” Carmilla tried to sound positive, which felt a little odd since it was usually Laura who was full of positivity.

“What if we don’t find anything?” Laura said, looking at her, heart broken.

Carmilla felt sick at the thought but pushed those feelings down, “You won’t be rid of me that easily, Cupcake. We’ll find something, I’m sure.”

Laura smiled sadly, moving to wrap her arms around Carmilla’s waist under the cloak, “I hope so.”

“I love you,” Laura mumbled quietly.

“And I love you, hell I’ve loved you for-” Carmilla paused, recalling their brief conversation from Laura’s bed a few hours previous. 

“Laura, I really did choose my seat in charms so I could look at you, you would glare at me occasionally when you caught me. It would amuse me, your glaring looks were hardly intimidating… thinking back you probably thought I was laughing at you.”

Laura sat back to look at her but she didn’t say anything in response so Carmilla continued.

“I have loved you since charms class. I have loved you since you stood up for your ginger friend on the quidditch pitch in third year and your team got disqualified. I have loved you since you started that petition for dessert before dinner and McGonagall agreed to it for that one day. When you took that growth potion in second year and you grew taller than Hagrid in 30 seconds, you were in the hospital wing for a week!” Laura grimaced at the memory.

“When you performed expelliarmus better than Professor Cochrane and she got so embarrassed she asked you step outside. Cupcake, I could go on… if you’d like me to.”

A tear slipped down Laura’s cheek and she shook her head, leaning forward to capture Carmilla’s lips with her own.

“Luck has never really been on my side,” Carmilla muttered as she stared into Laura’s eyes, “but it definitely was on the day that we got paired up.”

Laura giggled at the absurdity of Carmilla’s words, she was unbelievable, “Carm, I don’t think luck has anything to d-” Laura paused, her eyes widening, she was silent for moment, Carmilla felt a quiver of dread go through her.

“Luck, Carm! Luck!” Laura suddenly shouted with delight, it echoed around the tower and out across the grounds, Carmilla looked at Laura in alarm.

“Liquid Luck!”

Carmilla stared at Laura, openmouthed for a moment, "You're amazing."

*

 Laura hurriedly knotted her tie, forgoing her sweater; she threw her cloak straight on, reaching down under her bed for her trunk. She rummaged around in it for a moment or so before finding the small vile of Felix Felicis, she squeezed into her palm tightly. Breathing for a moment contently, here’s hoping they would get some answers today.

She felt a strange sensation on her forehead and looked up to find Carmilla the cat’s head poking out between the curtains of her bed, the cat had licked her brow. Laura smiled at Carmilla and held up her bottle of liquid luck. Carmilla stretched and jumped down to the floor before strolling away, down the steps towards the common room. 

“The cat’s back!” LaFontaine appeared in the doorway, pointing to where Carmilla had just been.

 Laura nodded and stood.

“Well…did you ever find out whose cat it was?” LaFontaine asked as Laura pulled on her shoes.

 “Yes, mine,” Laura replied with a smile. 

*

 Laura was filled with excited energy as she waited for Carmilla to join her in the library; she walked back and forth fiddling with her wand and tapping the spines of the books restlessly as she anticipated what might happen.

“Cupcake, have you been to breakfast?” Carmilla asked as she came around the corner of the stack. “You weren’t in the hall.”

Breakfast?” Laura responded excitedly, “I haven’t got time for breakfast, this could be it, Carm! Our big break!” 

“Yeah, you’re getting food at some point.” Carmilla responded as she placed her bag on the desk, “Okay, how is this going to work?” 

Laura sucked in a breath, “Erm, I’m not sure… but it’s liquid luck, only good can come from trying this,” she said excitedly.

“So, do we both just…” Carmilla held up her vile of Felix Felicis. “Swallow the stuff and see what happens?”

 “Hmm… I’m not sure.” Laura responded, looking thoughtful. “Wait, we both don’t need to take it… one of us should and then we’ll just keep the other.”

Carmilla nodded, “Okay,” she pulled the stopper from her bottle and swallowed the liquid down hastily, Laura’s eyebrows rose in surprise.

Carmilla smacked her lips together and then met Laura’s gaze.

“Well?” Laura asked, taking a step closer.

“Tastes a lot better than that love potion.” Carmilla smiled, placing the bottle on the desk.

“How do you feel?” Laura looked at Carmilla with concern, remembering the love potion incident and feeling a tad regretful.

“I feel...” Carmilla smiled in wonder, “Great!”

Chapter Text

“My mind feels so clear,” Carmilla said, looking around as if she were seeing the world for the first time. 

Laura bounced on her toes enthusiastically and rushed to her side, ”This is so going to work! What do you want to do? Do you feel any impulses?”

Carmilla looked at Laura with a dreamy sort of smile and nodded, looking suddenly very alert, “Yes, we need… we need to go this way.”

Carmilla grabbed Laura’s hand, a wild look in her eyes. She darted through the stacks, pulling Laura along behind her. A left, another left, a right and then Laura got lost.

Here,” She stopped suddenly, causing Laura to stumble into her.

“You need this,” Carmilla grabbed a book from the shelf, passing it to Laura, “And this and this one too.” She spoke hurriedly as if she had a million thoughts at once.

“These are the books we need, Carm?” Laura was brimming with anticipation, allowing Carmilla to pile the books into her arms. 

“No, no,” Carmilla said nonchalantly with a shake of her head.

“These aren’t the books we need?” Laura was confused.

Carmilla turned to face her, smiling, “Cupcake, these are books that you need.”

“Huh? I don’t…” Laura didn’t understand.

“Come on…” Carmilla walked away swiftly, Laura made after her with her pile of books.

“Carm, tell me what’s happening,” Laura said as they made their way back.

You are going to do your potions homework, I am going to be back soon.” Carmilla said, planting a kiss on Laura’s brow and turning to leave.

Hey! Carm! I can’t do this now! Where are you-”

“Potions homework, Cutie,” Carmilla reiterated before she disappeared around the bookshelf.

Laura sighed, allowing her armful of books to fall onto the table. She definitely hadn’t been expecting to be stuck doing potions homework this morning, she’d have to be in transfiguration soon, how was she going to get out of that? Laura shook her head, taking her seat. She certainly wasn’t feeling too lucky herself. 

*

 Laura scribbled on her parchment, hurriedly trying to get through her potions essay on veritaserum, in all fairness the books Carmilla had given her were extremely helpful.

Around twenty minutes had passed since Carmilla had left Laura in the library. Laura had heard the chiming of the clock tower 10 minutes ago, informing her that her first lesson of the day was beginning. She considered going to transfiguration but Carmilla had said she would be back soon so she sat and got on with her homework, ignoring the fact that she was meant to be elsewhere.

 “You aren’t meant to eat in the library but I’m 100% sure you won’t get caught, Cupcake.” Carmilla was suddenly behind her, placing a plate loaded with toast on the table.

“Carm, where have you-”

“I have spoken to Professor McGonagall, I told her you were feeling unwell.” Carmilla said, removing her robe and throwing it on the back of her chair.

Laura was somewhat speechless; she wasn’t how to respond, “What about you?” she enquired.

“I told her I had to – oh! I’ll be back soon,” Carmilla moved so quickly, Laura had no time to respond. She released a breath and picked up a piece of toast. 

*

 “Here,” Laura heard from right behind her, jumping in fright, she turned quickly.

Carmilla was back, she placed a mug of cocoa on the table next to Laura.

“How are you getting on?” Carmilla peered over her shoulder at Laura’s parchment. 

“Nearly done. Carm, where did you get this?” Laura inquired, picking up the mug.

“A house elf gave it to me on my way back from Professor Cochrane’s office.” Carmilla spoke coolly.

“A house elf just ga- wait, what were you doing in Professor Cochrane’s office?”

“I had to inform her that I was no longer interested in studying occlumency,” Carmilla sat and then immediately stood. “I’ll be right back.”

This time Laura just smiled and shook her head, sipping her cocoa. 

*

 Laura blew at her piece of parchment, willing the ink to dry quicker so she could be done with this potions homework, knowing there was probably a spell that would dry the ink but she had never in all her years at Hogwarts bothered to learn it.

The clock tower sounded again in the distance informing Laura that an hour had passed; she sat back in her chair, wondering where Carmilla had strayed off to now.

“I got you this,” Carmilla appeared behind her again, holding a cupcake.

“Ooh!” Laura sat up quickly, “Thanks, Carm.”

She took the cupcake from her, “Let me guess, house elf gave it to you?" 

“No, it just appeared on the table down there as I was walking past,” Carmilla said, leaning over Laura to take a look at her essay.

“It just appeared?”

“Yeah, guess I was just lucky,” Carmilla responded with a smile, “Are you done?”

Laura could only nod; her mouth was full of cupcake.

Carmilla offered Laura her hand, which she happily took, although it was almost impossible to eat her cupcake and be pulled along by Carmilla at the same time. 

“This way,” Carmilla mumbled to herself.

 “Carm, are we finally going to look for something that can help you? You don’t seem particularly concerned. Do you not remember our current predicament?” Laura rambled as they walked.

Carmilla did not respond to her questions, “Are you finished?” She asked instead.

Laura felt a little hurt at Carmilla’s words and frowned at the back of her head.

“Okay, I’ll just keep quiet then,” Laura said, offended.

“What?” Carmilla turned to look at her, puzzled, “Oh, I didn’t mean- Have you finished your cupcake is what I meant.”

 Laura gave a small laugh at her mistake, “Oh, yes. ”

Carmilla raised an eyebrow at her, shaking her head, bringing her hands up to cup her face and kissed her gently. They smiled at each other and then Carmilla tugged on Laura’s hand again.

They walked on into the more populated area of the library; Carmilla nodded at Madam Pince, the librarian, as they passed.

“The book we need is in there,” Carmilla said, gesturing towards the reading room.

The reading room was rather messy, full of books that students had taken and never returned to the shelves. Carmilla considered the room as they entered and then walked over to a mountain of books.

“This one,” she gestured to a large book near the bottom of the pile.

She pulled the book out quickly; the tower wobbled and shook for a moment before going still. “Lucky…” Laura murmured, surprised.

“Will you hold this for me?” Carmilla asked, turning towards her.

“Of course,” Laura responded, taking the book and reading the cover aloud. “Magical laws and contracts.”

Carmilla reentered the library with Laura in tow, “This way…”

They walked for a few moments, past countless shelves and books and Laura stared around wondering how many books were actually in this vast library.

“Oh hey, Laura,” Laura turned to find Danny Lawrence scanning the shelves.

“Danny, hi!” Laura responded happily.

“Where have you been, Hollis? Feel like I never see you anymore.” She asked.

 Laura shrugged; she wasn’t sure how to respond, she looked back over her shoulder to find Carmilla leaning against the book case, tapping her foot impatiently. “Just… studying.”

Danny nodded, accepting Laura’s perfectly reasonable answer, peaking at the book Laura was holding. 

“Aren’t you meant to be in-” A heavy looking old book suddenly came slamming down to the ground missing Danny by inches. “Oh my- what was that!?” Danny hastily moved away, looking up towards the high ceiling.

“The book I’ve been looking for…” Carmilla smirked, sauntering over and picking it up.

An Anthology of Eighteenth Century Charms

“Come on, Cupcake,” Carmilla said, already disappearing in between the stacks.

“Um, see ya, Danny,” Laura waved as she hurried to catch up with Carmilla.

“Did you do that on purpose?” Laura asked, a little peeved.

Carmilla smirked at her and shook her head, “Just lucky I guess,” she chuckled, handing Laura the second book.

“I might read that,” Carmilla said, climbing a ladder and pulling a seemingly random book of a high shelf. “Protection Charm Your Mind: A Practical Guide to Counter Legilimensy,” she read the title aloud as she handed Laura the third book.

They walked on through the stacks, Laura wasn’t very well acquainted with this area, she gave a little scream and jumped out of the way as a loose Monster Book of Monsters tried to snap at her feet, Carmilla just shook her head and smiled, placing her hands on Laura’s shoulders and moving so Laura was walking ahead of her.

“This one.” Carmilla grabbed another book, adding it the pile in Laura’s arms.

Magical Creatures… Carm, are you sure we need this one?” Laura asked, looking at her perplexed.

Carmilla considered her question for a mere moment before she responded, “Yes, it just feels right,” she gestured for Laura to keep walking.

They continued on and Carmilla found two more books, Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy and Important Modern Magical Discoveries.

“Okay, I think that’s all we’ll need for now,” Carmilla said, grabbing three of the books from Laura to carry herself. “Now we just have to go through them…” 

“I can’t believe it worked, Carm.” Laura said, happily, bumping their shoulders.

“We had luck on our side, Cupcake,” Carmilla smiled at her.

“Ooh, look a Cupcake!” Laura beamed. 

*

 “Well potions was a waste of time, we shouldn’t have gone.” Laura groaned as she and Carmilla took their seats in the library.

 “You always think potions is a waste of time,” Carmilla replied, removing her robe.

“Yes, well you didn’t get leech juice spilt all over your pants,” Laura responded, grouchily.

 “No but now you’re wearing my favorite skirt,” Carmilla smirked at her, her eyes dropping to Laura’s legs.

Laura shook her head, her lips twitching upwards, “Lucky you,” she said, sarcastically.

“Did you learn a thing or two about veritaserum today?” Carmilla asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes, I guess so…”

“Well then it wasn’t a waste of time,” Carmilla replied, moving their chairs closer as they always did and leaning over to kiss Laura, hopeful it might make her feel better. Laura leaned into the kiss, bringing her hands up to grab Carmilla’s hair.

“Are you still feeling lucky?” Laura muttered, after a moment or so.

“Hmm…you tell me, Cupcake.” Carmilla murmured against her lips, bringing her hand up to Laura’s knee.

“I think…not,” Laura whispered, pulling away from the kiss and looking at Carmilla with rather hooded eyes. “We better… hit the books,” she murmured with a nod towards the desk, biting her lip as if she were contemplating a difficult decision .

Carmilla nodded but her lips found Laura’s jaw, “We could definitely…do that,” she whispered, her hand travelling up Laura’s thigh slowly.

Laura whined, bringing Carmilla’s lips back to hers, humming as Carmilla nibbled at her lip.

Wait…no, no… research now, smooching later,” Laura said with determination and Carmilla sighed.

“Define, later…”

“Shush, “ Laura smiled, grabbing Carmilla’s hand off of her thigh and placing it on the desk, “I’ll take An Anthology of Eighteenth Century Charms if you take Magical laws and contracts.” 

*

 “This has to be the wrong book, Carm, there’s nothing in this that can help us,” Laura said, restlessly, sitting back in her chair.

 Carmilla looked up at her from the own book, “Cupcake, we have only been at this for an hour, there’s no way you’ve been through that entire book in that time,” Carmilla raised an eyebrow at her, questioningly.

 “Can we switch? I hate mine.” Laura sulked.

Carmilla rolled her eyes, but smiled and grabbed up Laura’s book.

 “Yess!” Laura cheered herself, sitting up glancing down at her new book.

“These are the right books, I know they are,” Carmilla said reassuringly, dropping her hand to Laura’s knee soothingly. 

*

“Carm, Carm, listen to this… listen… A binding magical contract blah blah, agreement between two or more wizards or witches…” she spoke hurriedly, “this! … by the laws of a magical contract the pledger must be aware of the consequences of breaking the oath!” Laura beamed at her, her voice sounding shockingly loud the quiet library.

Carmilla frowned as she tried to process Laura’s words, “Okay…" 

“Carm, did you not hear what I said?” Laura said, elatedly. “You had to be aware of the consequences of breaking the vow but you wouldn’t have known? Would you?”

Carmilla shrugged, “I don’t remember taking the vow… I don’t remember whether I was aware of the consequences… I don’t know anything,” Carmilla said, feeling like she was on the verge of breakdown, she was so exhausted, her mind could barely comprehend what Laura was saying. She was certain her luck had most definitely run out by now.

 “This could be it, Carm, this,” Laura stabbed at the page with her finger.

Carmilla felt guilt rising within her, it was clear that Laura was doing her best and to be fair, she wouldn’t have gotten this far without her.

“So what you’re saying is… If I did take the vow, there’s a chance it may not have worked... because I might not have been aware of the consequences?” Carmilla nodded as she understood and then smiled. 

“Yes, there’s a possibility...” Laura said with a little shrug, “But it’s something right?”

Carmilla leaned over resting her forehead on Laura’s shoulder for a moment before looking up into her eyes, “Cupcake, you look tired…”

“So do you and broody.” Laura smiled and hugged Carmilla close.

“Thank you,” Carmilla said, after a moment.

“What for?” Laura whispered, lifting Carmilla’s chin so she could see her.

“I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without you…and I don’t just mean this,” Carmilla gestured towards the books on the table. “I don’t even want to imagine what this year would have been like if I didn’t have you by my side, where I’d be now…”

“Probably gearing up to spend a long, lonely life with your evil mother.” Laura spoke up and Carmilla frowned.

“I’m sorry…” Laura said quickly and Carmilla shook her head. 

“No, you’re not wrong. I’ve changed a lot because of you and well… you gave me hope.”

They stared at each other for a moment before Laura smiled and kissed Carmilla’s nose quickly, “Stop brooding.”

Carmilla nodded and smiled and whispered, “Okay,” before turning back to her book. 

*

 Carmilla mumbled to herself as she read, Laura had fallen asleep some time ago, her head resting on the desk, “Extremely…potent charm…used to conceal…oh.” Carmilla looked over at Laura, considering whether or not to wake her.

Laura jolted awake when Carmilla tapped her arm lightly, looking around dazed for a moment, “Carm, how long was as I asleep? You should have woken me,” she said noticing the sun beginning to rise through the large window in front of them. "We shouldn't still be here."

“You were exhausted, Cupcake.” 

“Yes but you’re not muc-”

“I think I might have found something. “ Carmilla said, pointing to her book. Laura stopped arguing and went straight back into research mode. 

“Look at this, the Fidelius charm.”

Laura leaned across to see the page and read aloud, “The Fidelius charm, difficult to produce, potent charm, can be used to conceal a secret inside an individual’s soul… the witch or wizard who houses the secret is known as the secret keeper… Fidelius charm…one of the charms used in the bonding of the unbreakable vow!”

She looked up at Carmilla excitedly but then frowned, “I don’t understand… how does this help us?”

“Keep reading, look here,” Carmilla pointed down the page.

“A third participant must be present during the bonding of the unbreakable vow. They, the bonder, place the tip of their wand onto the linked hands of the oath takers, the bonder stands as witness, akin to that of a secret keeper.”

Laura's eyebrows drew together as she processed what she had just read, she and Carmilla looked at each other for a moment, “So that would mean…”

“If my mother is telling the truth…someone was there, someone else would know the truth.”

Chapter Text

 The cool breeze felt nice against Laura’s face on this particularly hot day as she stood on the bank of the black lake, looking out at the expanse of dark water and mountainous view.

It was nice to just take some time to stare, not think about exams or homework or Carmilla’s plight or any of the other many things she had to worry about these days. The grounds were quiet now but soon as the clock tower would sound signaling the end of another day, many students would take to the grounds to enjoy the nice weather before dinner.

“Laura.” Carmilla had crept up silently behind her, “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” she said in a relieved tone, dropping a quick kiss to Laura’s cheek as she continued to gaze.

“Are you okay?” She said, looking at Laura with concern. 

“LaF wanted to show me this herbology plant thing that they’ve been growing and it’s such a lovely day, I didn’t really feel like going back to that… depressing library just yet.” Laura spoke, emotionlessly as if lost in her own thoughts.

She glanced sideways at Carmilla, her Slytherin tie hung loosely and her hair was up in a messy bun. Wearing only their white shirts in the hot weather. Carmilla didn’t respond to what Laura had said, she looked thoughtful for a moment and then her eyes followed Laura’s and she too took in the view.

“NEWTs a looming a little closer than I’d like, Carm,” Laura said, grabbing Carmilla’s hand and keeping her eyes on the lake.

Carmilla chuckled and shook her head, “I’ve been telling you that for weeks, Cutie, and you’ve brushed me off every time.”

Sorry, I know,” she squeezed her hand, “-a lot going on…”

“We’re making progress now, Laura, we’re getting somewhere.”

They looked at each other then and Laura nodded slowly and took a deep breath, “I hope so.”

They were silent for a few moments more before Laura spoke, “Any luck?”

Carmilla shook her head, “No, I still have no idea who the bonder might be and the other books are offering nothing new. Have you done your transfiguration homework?” she countered.

 Laura smiled then, a little smugly, “Yes, I have.”

“Hmm, I’m impressed.” Carmilla smiled, bringing a hand up to tuck stray hair behind Laura’s ear. “Any particular reason you are out here staring at the black lake?”

Laura shrugged, “I used to avoid the lake… I never realized how beautiful this place was. Guess I was just basking in the view while I still can,” she chewed her lip, her gaze returning to the lake.

“Come on…” Carmilla urged, tugging on her hand. “Forget the library today.”

“Huh?” Laura questioned, Carmilla remained silent as she pulled her along.

She lead them over to the large beech tree nearby, pulled her robe from her book bag, laying it out and they both sat side by side in the shade under the tree.

Laura pulled a transfiguration textbook from her bag, opening it with a smile as she relaxed back against the tree. Carmilla pulled out one her library books, Laura recognized it as Magical Creatures, one of the books Carmilla had chosen when under the influence of the Felix Felicis.

 They sat in comfortable silence for while; Laura enjoyed the weather and skimmed through her book, also enjoying the opportunity to stare at Carmilla in the bright daylight. Carmilla sat quite still, reading.

“Stop,” Carmilla glanced at her for a second before looking back down at her book.

“What?” Laura giggled.

“…Staring at me,” Carmilla said seriously but she smiled when she met Laura’s eyes.

Wha… You do it all the time,” Laura said, accusatorily.

“Yes but that’s... different,” Carmilla replied.

“How?” Laura grinned, crossing her arms.

“Because it is,” Carmilla said, then changing the subject, “As helpful as this book hasn’t been… it’s very interesting,” Carmilla murmured, turning the page.

“Ooh, unicorns,” she mumbled, glancing over the page.

“Its nice to be out of the library isn’t it?” Laura said, cheerily, flicking away a spider, which had crawled up the side of her book.

Carmilla shrugged, moodily, “I’ve spent most of my time here in the library, I like it in there.”

Laura rolled her eyes; Carm was in a broody mood today. She leaned over, pulling at Carmilla’s tie until their lips met. If there were one way to brighten Carmilla’s day, kissing would do it.

“… Only because you’re basically a vampire… minus the whole blood drinking thing,” Laura smiled at her, willing Carmilla to smile back. 

“Very funny,” Carmilla said, sarcastically, and then she smiled. Laura felt some satisfaction at making broody Carm smile.

Carmilla leant over to kiss Laura one more time before focusing her attention back on her book.

Laura gazed at her for a moment longer and then sighed, looking up at the castle as the clock tower sounded.

“Unicorns!” Carmilla suddenly shouted.

Laura gasped at Carmilla’s uncharacteristic shout, “What?!” Looking around in alarm.

“Unicorn blood, we’ve known it all along! Mother lives off of unicorn blood! That’s what keeps her alive!” Carmilla said, elatedly. 

“Ooh,” Laura’s sat up excitedly, glancing down at the page as Carmilla started to read.

“Blood of a unicorn…. curse… will keep you alive even if you are only an inch from death...” Carmilla mumbled as she read.

“…Well?” Said Laura, looking up hopefully at Carmilla.

 “Well it curses you,” Carmilla said, meeting Laura’s gaze, “She’ll live a half life…”

“Meaning?” Laura asked, intrigued.

Carmilla ran her finger along the page as she read quickly, mumbling the words, “…the time required for the specified entity to decrease by half?” She looked up at Laura, confusion written on her face, she shook her head.

Laura thought for a moment, “So…It curses you with a half life… You can’t die of say, natural causes but…” She gasped, “Carm, she must be growing weaker and weaker!”

“How’d you figure that out?” Carmilla frowned.

“Well, you said it yourself! She’s living a half-life! Half life is amount of time it takes for a specific thing to decrease by half.”

Carmilla continued to look at Laura with bewilderment, “I read about it in that potions book you made me buy in Diagon Alley. Think of it this way… you drank the liquid luck so you became exceedingly lucky, that potion had a half life…”

“Okay,” Carmilla nodded.

 “So, after a specific amount of time, you became half as lucky and then half as lucky again and again and again, until the potion stopped working…so in the case of your mother…” 

“The unicorn blood must be keeping her alive but she’s slowly getting weaker…” Carmilla spoke up. “Weaker and weaker until …she’s like a shriveled up old hag?!” Carmilla looked hopeful.

“Maybe!” Laura giggled. “I don’t know but this could help us…” 

*

 “Okay how about this, she comes to Hogwarts and we lock her in a broom cupboard…” Laura said, nodding at Carmilla from across the bed.

They were sitting opposite to each other on Laura’s bed, with the red curtains drawn, the muffling charm in place so they wouldn’t be overhead.

“And then what?” Carmilla questioned, with a smile.

“Hmm…Okay, bad idea,” Laura thought for moment, dropping some chocolate in her mouth, “Lets push her off the astronomy tower.”

Carmilla frowned and looked hurt and then shook her head.

“Okay, not the astronomy tower.”

“I got it, Cupcake… Shove her into a room full of knives, poison her and then light her on fire,” Carmilla pointed her finger with a smile.

“Great!” Laura replied, sarcastically, “And how will we go about doing that?”

Carmilla shook her head and smirked, “It was better than your broom cupboard idea.”

Laura had to look away from Carmilla for a moment to catch her breath; Carmilla had taken off her pants and was just wearing her white shirt. She suddenly felt silly in her owl pajamas. Laura wondered how Carmilla expected her to concentrate on anything when she was faced with this.

“Lets steal her wand, tie her up and torture her until she tells us everything!” Laura said, rubbing her hands together, connivingly.

“Okay… you can do that,” Carmilla smiled, looking a little taken aback.

Laura giggled and threw a piece of chocolate at her, which she happily accepted.

“Come on, Laura, you need to study...” Carmilla said, getting back down to business.

Laura sighed, pushing her transfiguration notes off her lap in protest, “I used to get kisses when I studied, I don’t get kisses anymore,” She pouted.

“Yes but not a lot of studying gets done then does it?” Carmilla replied with a raised eyebrow.

Laura didn’t reply but continued to pout; Carmilla rolled her eyes, leaning across the bed to kiss her chastely.

“Happy now?” She asked, her white shirt loomed open before Laura’s eyes.

No, how can you even expect me to study when you’re wearing just a shirt?” Laura grumbled, grabbing at Carmilla’s waist so she couldn’t move away.

“Would you like me to leave?” Carmilla smiled deviously and then licked at her lower lip.

“No.” Laura frowned, leaning in and kissing Carmilla more fully, she groaned when Carmilla pulled away a few moments later. 

No,” Laura said again, more assertively to which Carmilla ignored.

“Transfiguration,” Carmilla said as she grabbed Laura’s now crushed notes, “Tell me about the Reparifarge curse.” 

*

 Laura took her seat at the Gryffindor table at breakfast the next morning, wondering why she had even bothered to put on her robe, she was already too hot.

 Looking up and across the table, she noticed how quiet her friends were, Perry was mumbling to herself as she scrawled in a diary, pulling on a big pair of glasses, she looked like some distant relation of Professor Trelawney. LaFontaine looked like they had just been given devastating news; they moved their spoon around their bowl of cereal slowly.

 Laura frowned, “Guys? What’s going on?” She looked sideways at Carmilla who gave her a small but sad smile as she handed Laura a piece of parchment.

 She looked at Carmilla questionably for a moment before taking the paper, “That’s yours, we all got one,” Carmilla said, quietly. 

Laura unfolded the parchment, her eyebrows drawing together as she focused on it.

Exam timetable?!” Laura yelled aghast, dropping the parchment onto the table as if it was hot to the touch.

“No,” She said in denial, giggling madly as if the parchment was some sort of prank, ”No,” she said again more forcefully, as if trying to convince herself what she was seeing wasn’t true, her face slowly falling as she stared down at the parchment, coming to terms.

“Sorry, Cutie,” Carmilla chuckled as she watched Laura’s little break down, “It’s the real deal, exams start next week,” She brought her arm up around Laura’s shoulders comfortingly.

Potions!?” Laura suddenly yelled, those in the vicinity looking up in alarm.

“Potions is the first exam?!” Laura groaned, dropping her head onto the table in defeat. 

Carmilla held back a laugh, “Cupcake, you have nothing to worry about,” she rubbed Laura’s shoulder reassuringly.

“You have to say that, you’re my girlfriend,” Laura mumbled, unmoving. 

“Yes, but I’m also your study buddy and Laura, you were ready for this exam months ago, you’ll pass this no problem.” Carmilla spoke into her ear. 

Laura looked up at her, half smiling, “Really?”

Carmilla nodded, leaning forward to place a kiss on Laura’s brow, “Yes, now eat some breakfast.” 

*

 Laura watched the ink drip from the nib of her quill down onto the parchment in front of her in charms class that afternoon. Resting her head on her hand, her eyes drooping, Professor Flitwick’s high-pitched voice sounding more annoying than ever before. Watching the ink stain the parchment seemed far more interesting than the topic Flitwick was covering today.

She sucked in a quick breath when her head slipped from her hand and Laura looked up across the room, momentarily shocked but awake now. Meeting Carmilla’s eyes, she shook her head at Laura, a small smile playing on her face as she had obviously been watching her the entire time.

When class finally came to an end, Laura moved slowly, screwing up her now ruined parchment, dropping it into her book bag as LaFontaine nudged her shoulder.

“L, we’ve got our apparition tests tomorrow,” they said, tensely.

“What?” Laura looked up at them, coming out of her daze.

“Tomorrow, apparition license tests, Danny just told me.” LaF repeated as they exited the classroom.

“Are you serious? Tomorrow?” Laura frowned. 

“Yep, just what we need,” LaF said, drearily. 

*

 “Those of you who successfully apparate within the agreed terms, without splinching themselves will walk away today with their apparition licenses, is everybody clear?” The Professor spoke to the class in the great hall, which had been cleared of tables for the test.

Carmilla was feeling quite confident about the test, she hadn’t had any problems in any of her previous classes and if she was being honest with herself, she was excited to finally gain her license.

“One by one, each of you will apparate across the hall-” the Professor was interrupted by a knock on huge hall door, which was pushed open to reveal Professor McGonagall. 

“Sorry, Sir, Miss Karnstein?” McGonagall asked, looking at the group of seventh year students and catching Carmilla’s eye.

“You have a visitor in my office,” McGonagall said pertly, before disappearing back around the door, letting it slide closed behind her.

 Carmilla didn’t initially move, a visitor? Carmilla could think of only one person who would visit her. Her heart started to beat a little faster at the thought that her mother could be in the castle right now.

 Feeling someone grip her arm tightly, Carmilla looked panicky at Laura. Grabbing her hand and moving toward the exit, neither of them spoke until they reached the entrance hall.

“What do I do?” Carmilla asked, anxiously.

“Do you think it's her?” Laura ran a hand through her hair.

“Who else would it be?” Carmilla shrugged.

They were both silent for a moment, Carmilla could feel her hands starting to shake.

“If I don’t come back…” Carmilla began; Laura shook her head, quickly.

“No, don’t-” She started to speak.

“Laura, go to Professor McGonagall, tell her everything,” Carmilla turned to head for the grand staircase.

No! I’m not going to leave you!” Laura said, tears in her eyes.

“Laura, she’s probably just here to make sure I’m still on track, she’ll threaten me and leave, it’s what she always does.” 

“But Carm, it's her!” Laura said, desperately.

“I’ll see you in a little while, good luck with the exam,” Carmilla smiled, kissing the top of Laura’s head and heading for the stairs.

“Carm!” Laura said, urgently.

“Remember what I said,” Carmilla called as she rounded the corner and disappeared from sight.

Chapter Text

Carmilla tried to think up a plan as she wandered the corridor on her journey to McGonagall’s office, hoping with the last smidgen of hope she had, that Professor McGonagall would be present while she met with her “visitor,” though she somehow doubted she would be. Her mind was drawing a blank, Carmilla’s shoulders slumped, maybe her time was finally up.

Turning the corner, staring at the ground, she almost walked into the wall. A portrait of an ancient looking wizard advised her to watch where she was going and Carmilla looked up at him blankly for moment before meandering away barely registering that the portrait had spoken.

She stood stock still when she reached McGonagall’s office, reaching out, her hand shook as she grabbed the door handle, Carmilla pushed the door, it creaked loudly. She couldn’t bring herself to step over the threshold just yet, as the room was slowly revealed to her, Carmilla saw the dark outline of her mother against the green flames roaring in the fireplace. Flu powder flames, Carmilla noted, she must have used the flu network to get to Hogwarts.

Her mother, who had been watching the flames, turned to face her, Carmilla could almost feel herself shrinking away from her malicious stare.

“Carmilla, Dear,” she spoke, a little too sweetly. The sound of her voice made Carmilla’s stomach lurch and she wanted to run, tear back down the corridor in the other direction.

“What are you doing out there in the corridor?” She said, her voice was laced with sternness.

Carmilla frowned as she steeled herself, taking a step into the room and then another, looking warily across at her mother, noticing a walking stick clutched in her left hand.

“Close the door, dear,” her mother said, quickly.

Carmilla didn’t initially move to close the door; she didn’t want to be trapped in this room with her but the door slammed of its own volition and her mother huffed out an angry breath.

She looked smaller somehow, her dark robes hung a little looser, almost as if she had shrunk a few inches since Carmilla had last seen her, her stature was different, Carmilla noted, how heavily she leant on her walking stick.

She chuckled, when she saw Carmilla eyeing the stick. She took a deep rasping breath as if she was struggling to breathe. “Yes, I have recently had to invest in an aid to help me walk,” she said matter-of-factly, her voice hoarse.

“Speak, child,” her mother spoke, vehemently, it made Carmilla flinch.

Carmilla scowled then, disinclined to speak, not wanting to show any weakness but it was almost as if her mother held some control over her, “What are you doing here?” Carmilla said through gritted teeth, shaking now with anger and not fear.

She pouted mockingly, “Aren’t you going to ask your dear sweet mother how she’s fairing?” She said, the evil smirk appearing for a moment.

“What are you doing here?” Carmilla said again, her hands squeezing into fists. She wanted to reach for her wand but she didn’t dare too. Carmilla wasn’t sure what was wrong with her mother but she was by far more powerful than her. Carmilla wasn’t stupid enough to take her on like that.

She took her time in responding, taking a deep breath, glancing at the clock over the fire, “I must admit… I thought I had more time,” she said, as of lost in thought.

“What?” Carmilla asked, sounding more confident than she felt.

Her mother abruptly turned to look at her, taking a step closer, the flames lit up her face. She looked older, fragile, darkened circles surrounding her eyes made her look tired, sick even.

Their eyes met, Carmilla found herself unwilling to look away, staring her mother down, until fingers brushed the side of her face and Carmilla recoiled away, an envious look appeared on her mothers face.

“We best be going then,” Her mother spoke with casual determination, as if she was saying goodbye after visiting an old friend.

Carmilla glared in confusion and took a deliberate step away, “What do you mean? Go where?”

“Carmilla, we haven’t got long, don’t make me do something you’ll regret.” Her mother spoke clearly and unwavering.

“No! You said! You told me I had time! I haven’t started my exams yet, Mother, my NEWTs, I can’t leave! I won’t!” She tried to sound firm but Carmilla felt like she was begging. Tears filled her eyes; she’d never felt so helpless.

“Those exams don’t mean a thing to me, you won’t be needing them anyway,” Mother spoke, rapidly. “There’s been a change of plans, I’m running out of time.”
Her mother eyes seemed to instinctly look toward the clock, she stalked over the fireplace, the green flames slowly dying out.

“But the vow! You told me I had months!” Carmilla tried to reason.

She turned, looking at Carmilla in concentration. Carmilla knew what she was doing, getting inside of her head, reading her mind, she couldn’t stop her even if she tried. Her mother scowled, anger suddenly raging.

“You know…” Her mother whispered the words seething as if trying to hold back.

“What?” Carmilla asked, feeling exposed, she wanted to cower away from her mother’s nasty glare.

“You know! I can read you like a book child! I see those occumlency lessons have done you no good.” She reached forward as she yelled, grasping Carmilla’s arm tightly and pulling her closer.

“You worked it all out then, the curse, the unicorn blood. I’m almost 400 years old, did you know that?” She had a crazy, desperate look in her eyes.

She took a gasping breath, releasing Carmilla’s arm, staring down at the back of her hand, making a fist as she spoke, “It’s slowly tearing me apart…”

“Why are you doing this to me?” Carmilla moved away, her back touching the edge of McGonagall’s desk.

“Why am I doing this to you? I’m surprised you haven’t figured that out already,” Her eyes looked Carmilla up and down as she spoke, “I need you…”

Carmilla glared at her mother, she was still no clearer on exactly what she wanted so she didn’t respond, waiting for her mother to continue.

She leaned heavily on her walking stick, “This body had grown so weak… Unicorn blood has sustained me but… I grow weaker and weaker everyday now it seems. It’s pathetic!” She scowled at Carmilla.

“I need a body… your body, child. So youthful and unpolluted… new.”

The feeling of horror that filled Carmilla left her unable to breathe, she found she had to grip the side of the desk in order to stay on her feet, feeling she may pass out any second, this was worse than any possible future Carmilla had anticipated.

Mother smiled sweetly and nodded as if she had just given her good news but didn’t say anything more. She then turned to the fireplace, reigniting the green flames, preparing to leave.

With her mothers back turned, Carmilla found her voice again, “This whole time! His whole time, you’ve just been waiting…” She was vibrating with anger, “There isn’t a vow is there? There never was!” Carmilla shouted.

“Of course there is!” Mother yelled, turning back to face Carmilla, swiftly.

She took a rasping breath before speaking again, “I had to ensure you’d stick around…although I never explained it you… entirely. What did I say? Something about loyalty, standing at my side?” She chuckled wickedly and rolled her eyes.

“Allow me to clarify…once my soul and your body become one… the vow can never be broken. Clever isn’t it?” She smirked, looking proud of herself.

Carmilla could only stare, terrified, as she tried to process her mother’s words.

Her mothers thin hand gripped the top of Carmilla’s arm again, pulling her forward toward the fireplace, she looked down at Carmilla, their faces only inches apart, “For you to be with me forever!? I meant it literally, my dear. My soul, your body.” She smirked, “You haven’t exactly got a choice now have you?”

Tears overflowed and Carmilla shook with hate, “No! No!” Finding strength, she pulled her arm from her mother’s grasp, stepping away quickly but tripping, Carmilla maneuvered herself away as soon as she hit the floor, getting as far away from her mother as she could.

She stepped forward, rounding on her, “Do you hear me, child? This is it! Do you know how long I have waited? I mean, I guess I did think I’d be waiting a little while longer but this will do fine,” She spoke as if discussing dinner plans and not Carmilla’s imminent death.

“My soul in your body…” She said almost dreamily as she breathed out a happy sigh.

Carmilla could no longer look at her mother; she gazed at the ground as she sat still on the floor, powerless. This was worse than anything Carmilla had imagined; she’d rather jump off the astronomy tower than have her mother’s soul-

Carmilla sucked in a breath, frowning with contemplation and then she slowly looked up to meet her mother’s eyes.

Carmilla smiled…

“What are you smirking at?” Her mother said, angrily, “Get up, silly girl!”

Carmilla stood and she stood tall, she faced her mother with determination and hopefulness. She wanted to laugh in her mothers face.

“It’s not my vow then…” Carmilla smiled.

“What?” Her mother said, sharply.

“It’s not my vow, it’s yours,” Carmilla pulled out her wand.

Her mother looked uncertain then, unsure, a look that Carmilla had never seen grace her face before.

“Be quiet, you don’t-”

Carmilla interrupted, “If your soul has to enter my body in order for vow to be effectuated… then the curse is on your soul… not mine. We may have made the vow together, Mother but you’ll die if your soul doesn’t enter my body. There’s no curse on my soul.” Carmilla said, heatedly, stepping closer as she spoke, until they were face to face.

“Silly girl! You have the faintest clue-“

“Oh, Mother,” Carmilla laughed, she could practically feel the weight being lifted from her shoulders, “I’ve done my research, days, weeks, months of it! I probably know more about the unbreakable vow than you do!”

“Well… today is your last day,” Her mother spoke quietly and slowly. Managing to look menacing and fragile at the same time.

“Actually Mother, do you what today is...?” Carmilla twiddled her wand, care freely.

Her mother quickly pulled out her wand but Carmilla just smiled.

“…Apparition tests.”

Carmilla saw her mother try to make a grab for her but she too late, Carmilla disappeared the room.

She found herself in the entrance hall; she fell to the ground in absolute relief. She wanted to break down, cry with happiness and freedom. She wanted to cheer and yell and she wanted to sleep, but she couldn’t do any of that.

If Carmilla knew her mother, she knew she wouldn’t give up without a fight and if Carmilla were her only hope, she would be on the warpath right now.

Carmilla thought fast, she transformed into the small cat, incognito was probably best right now, she thought. Sniffing the air, picking up Laura’s scent, Carmilla scurried along up to the first floor.

Professor McGonagall’s classroom, Laura must have gone in search of McGonagall. All was calm; no sign of her mother here, Carmilla transformed back and darted into the classroom.

“Carm!” Laura met her halfway, pulling Carmilla into a desperate hug, clutching at her white shirt, squeezing her tightly.

“What happened?” Laura pulled away, keeping Carmilla close.

“Miss Karnstein, where is she now?” Professor McGonagall said authorively, making her way towards them.

“Professor,” Carmilla had never been so happy to see Professor McGonagall, “My mother she-“ Carmilla shook her head, feeling breathless “I don’t know, Professor, she’ll be here soon, I expect.”

“I know everything, Miss Karnstein, Laura has explained,” Somehow Professor McGonagall was able to look both reprimanding and remorseful.

“I’m not cursed!” Carmilla said, suddenly, “I’m not cursed, she is, the vow, if the vow is broken she will die, not me.”

Laura stared at her for a moment, stunned to silence; she exhaled before she spoke, “Really? You won’t die?”

“I won’t die,” Carmilla nodded with a chuckle, “She needs me, that’s why, she needs my body. Laura, we were right! It was the unicorn blood, she’s in a state but she’s angry. She’ll die without me,” she spoke quickly.

“This is good news,” McGonagall spoke up, “That helps us a great deal, we can handle your mother without any harm coming to you, Carmilla. Now, girls, you need to hide, somewhere your mother won’t think to look, quickly now.”

“But Professor, what will you-” Carmilla started to ask.

“I’ll handle her, don’t worry, your mother doesn’t stand a chance, she’ll have the entire school against her, go now, quickly!” McGonagall insisted. “We can’t let her get to you.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Laura said, grabbing Carmilla’s hand.

Carmilla nodded at McGonagall and followed Laura out of the room.

“Where do we go?” Laura whispered, as if Carmilla’s mother could be right around the corner. Well… she could be.

“Um… library?” Carmilla shrugged.

Laura whisper shouted, “Carm! This isn’t funny, we need-”

“Okay, come on,” Carmilla moved hastily, a place coming to mind.

They hurried down the corridor, “Go, this way,” Carmilla said, as they dipped behind a tapestry that held one of the many secret passageways behind it.

Up a flight of stairs, “Carm, we’re not going to the library!” Laura said, urgently.

Carmilla smiled and rolled her eyes, “Cupcake, we’re not going to the library.”

Soon enough they found themselves running down the second floor corridor and then pausing outside of the abandoned classroom, where they used to practice their defensive spells.

“Yes!” Laura said, pushing the door open and they rushed inside.

“Brilliant-” Laura froze as she turned to face the room.

“Oh, crap,” She said, fearfully as Carmilla’s mother was already waiting inside. Laura turned quickly heading for the door, which suddenly clunked as it locked, seemingly on it’s own but no doubt who it was.

Carmilla released a breath, ready to give in, ready to admit defeat.

Her mother’s chuckle made her cringe, “I told you, child, I can read you like a book, did you really think I wouldn't know where to find you?”

Carmilla looked at Laura with surprise, as she pulled out her wand, ready to defend them, so Carmilla did the same, pulling out her wand and aiming it at her mother. It was never Carmilla’s first thought, she was bad at defensive spells… or so she used to be.

Her mothers only reaction was to chuckle and to give them both a pitying look.

With a casual wave of her hand, Laura was suddenly lifted off her feet and thrown across the room to the ground in a heap.

“La-” Carmilla almost went to run over but then she turned back to her mother filled with rage.

“Stupefy!” Carmilla yelled the first spell that came to mind.

With another wave of her hand, Carmilla’s spell was knocked aside and off course.

Her mother chuckled, “Carmilla, we both know, you stand literally no chance in a duel against me.”

“I won’t go with you, Mother,” Carmilla said, her wand still pointed at her.

“Hmm…” She appeared to considering Carmilla’s words, “Well, if I can’t have your body… you can’t have it either,” She pulled out her wand and aimed it in Carmilla’s direction.

A giggle from behind her made Carmilla’s head whip around for a mere second, Laura was walking making her way back towards Carmilla, looking quite cheerful.

“If you kill her, you’ll die for sure,” Laura shrugged coolly, “And you won’t do that.”

Laura smiled happily at Carmilla seemingly uncaring about the deadly situation they were in.

“Oh! And I taught her by the way,” Laura said, gesturing to Carmilla, “She’s great at defensive spells actually.”

“Protego,” Laura said calmly, half a second before a spell came shooting out of her mother’s wand, straight for her. A shield charm formed in front of them and the curse was deflected. Carmilla gaped at Laura in wonder.

Another curse came flying for Laura’s head and she ducked down just out of reach in the nick of time.

Carmilla’s mother screeched in anger, throwing another curse in their direction, to which Laura deflected confidently. How was Laura doing this? She looked almost bored.

Laura was deflecting and dodging countless curses, she was yet to throw a curse herself. Carmilla was just staring in astonishment with her wand still aimed at her mother.

Carmilla cleared her throat, before making her decision.

She flicked her wand just the way she had practiced in this very room and yelled, “Expelliarmus!”

In her distraction, her mother hadn’t seen or expected Carmilla’s spell and was disarmed. Her wand came flying upwards into the air and landed at Carmilla’s feet.

“Stupefy!” Laura and Carmilla yelled at the same time, two curses hitting at the same time and her mother fell to the floor in a heap.

A moment of silence passed, as they both waited for something to happen…

“Um… petrificus totalus,” Laura said and Carmilla’s mother was wrapped in a full body-bind curse.

“She’ll be out for a while but that should hold her,” Laura said, sliding her wand back into her robe.

“We did it…” Carmilla whispered.

“We stopped her. We actually stopped her!” Carmilla yelled and then laughed, deliriously happy.

Carmilla pulled Laura into a hug, “Laura, how did you do all that?” Carmilla asked as pulled away.

Laura beamed at her, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a small empty vile. She shrugged, “Just lucky, I guess.”

“You are remarkable,” Carmilla said, shaking her head and pulling Laura in for a kiss.

“Well, I figured it may help us,” Laura blushed.

“Girls!” The door slammed open, the both of them jumping in fright, “Oh thank god you’re alright! I’m so sorry!” McGonagall came rushing into the room, hesitating when she saw the scene, “What happened?”

“We dealt with her,” Carmilla smirked, walking over to the crumpled heap that was her mother, staring down at her lifeless form.

Carmilla breathed a sigh of relief; it was all finally over.

“Ooh, a cupcake,” she heard Laura say cheerfully behind her.

Chapter Text

Laura was feeling restless, she couldn’t keep still, she leaned over the railing from the very top of the astronomy tower trying to gage how very far off the ground she was. Darkness was just beginning to surround them as the late summer evening drew to a close.

Daring herself to lean over just a little farther and a little more, she felt a hand close around her ankle. Laura glanced down towards Carmilla who was leaning back against the railing next to her, reading an old book as usual.

“I’m bored,” Laura sighed, tapping out a rhythm on the railing impatiently.

“I’d rather you be bored than plummet to your death,” Carmilla said as she read, “Laura, I think you may have ingested a little too much sugar at the feast this evening.”

The school had celebrated the end of exams with a huge feast; Laura had eaten at least four desserts and an abundance of sweets.

She climbed down from the railing and sat down heavily next to Carmilla, “Carm, when you said, ‘hey, let’s go to up to the astronomy tower,’ I didn’t think you were just going to read the entire time.”

Carmilla glanced across at her and then her book closed with a snap, “Okay, Cupcake,” she said, looking at Laura with an expectant smile. “You have my full attention.”

“I’m so glad final exams are over…” Laura said, contentedly, “I don’t know why I was so worried, the potions exam was a piece of cake.”

“Laura, stop thinking about cake,” Carmilla teased, “And I told you not to worry about it.”

Laura’s knee bounced up and down restlessly, Carmilla reached out and stilled it, giving Laura’s knee a squeeze.

“You can’t keep still for a second, what’s wrong?” Carmilla narrowed her eyes at her.

“Nothing, I’m fine,” Laura shrugged and then added quickly, with an edge of worry, “What will you do, Carm?”

“What do you mean?” Carmilla asked, shaking her head.

“Now that… Now that you’re free? What will you do? When we leave here, I mean,” Laura asked, looking tense.

Carmilla looked at her with a raised eyebrow, “Is that what this is about?” She asked, squeezing Laura’s knee again.

Laura worried her lip, “Not entirely… Everything’s going to change now, Carm. Are you not even a little concerned about what comes next?”

Carmilla seemed lost in her own thoughts for a moment and then she stood, turned to lean against the railing. She looked up at the stars, a small smile playing at the corner of her lips.

“No,” Carmilla said almost inaudibly.

“What?” Laura pulled herself to her feet quickly and looked at Carmilla with interest.

“No… Laura, this is the first time in my entire life where my future is mine to decide, go where I wanna go, do what I wanna do…”

She was silent for moment.

“So, no, I’m not at all concerned about what comes next because for the first time, I don’t have to be…”

Laura winced and shook her head, a guilty look appearing on her face, “I’m sorry, I never-”

“Journalism then is it?” Carmilla interrupted her.

“Huh?” Laura queried.

“You want to be a journalist.” Carmilla stated, looking at Laura now. 

“Me?... Yes hopefully.” She nodded, a little confused.

“Well… let’s do something worth writing about then,” Carmilla proposed, casually.

Laura opened her mouth to respond but then frowned, uncertain about what Carmilla was suggesting. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I guess you’ve got to write something worth reading… or do something worth writing about,” Carmilla reasoned, “Either way, I’ll be there.”

Laura smiled broadly before swiftly grabbing Carmilla and pulling her into a firm kiss. Carmilla made a little surprised sound before relaxing into the kiss.

“You’ll be there,” Laura spoke as they kissed and Carmilla nodded.

“You’ll be there,” Laura repeated, smiling against her mouth.

“Every step of the way,” Carmilla responded quickly, kissing Laura enthusiastically, and sufficiently ending their conversation.

Just as Carmilla’s lips dipped to explore Laura’s throat, she spoke.

“I’m hungry.”

Carmilla paused as she processed what Laura had just said, she almost laughed.

“You’re- Laura you ate a mountain of food at the feast a few hours ago.”

Laura looked at Carmilla with a cute little sad expression, Carmilla sighed and almost rolled her eyes.

“Come on… let’s see if the house elves have any leftovers for you,” Carmilla said, grabbing Laura’s hand.

 “Ooh, I hope they have cake!”