Author's Note: Hey. It's been a while.
Disclaimer: I do not own Carmilla or The Olympics. If I owned the Olympics, it would just be a big Netflix binge and Cheetoes eating contest.
"You're over exerting yourself, Mircalla."
The words were sharp, and certainly not coming from a place of concern. No, it was all about being in the right condition to finish the race in a timely manner. It had nothing to do with wellbeing.
"Carmilla. It's Carmilla. And I'm just trying to follow through with that mentality you drill into me constantly. What is it you say? The level of hard work shows the level of loser?" Carmilla growled, leaning down to slide her hands down over her leg to help stretch her tired muscles. Carmilla's coach, the one with the sharp words, narrowed her eyes in an even sharper look.
Carmilla briefly wondered if her coach could qualify for the Rio Olympics as a javelin.
"Discipline is part of the work as well, Carmilla. You expend too much energy near the beginning of the race and don't have enough to carry you through to the end," the coach huffed in annoyance. Carmilla felt a familiar burning in her chest, the usual kind she got whenever she butted heads with her coach, the infuriating woman.
"I still finish with the best time out of any of my teammates. Clearly I'm doing something right," Carmilla glowered.
"Yes, I admit that of the Austrian team, you are quite exceptional. But this is the world stage. You have to prepare to be better than the best. These other countries won't go easy on you. Perhaps they have runners with more discipline than you, and when you find yourself in the final lap tomorrow in the 5000 Metres and they all have the energy to leave you far behind, it will be an upsetting display. And I refuse to be humiliated in such a way," The coach lectured coolly, her eyes merely two slits now.
As much as Carmilla hated her coach's pushy approach to training, she had to admit it made her a better runner. What she really hated were those squinty, judgemental eyes. It made her feel small, and Carmilla hated feeling small. Her chest erupted in flames.
"Then why don't you just run the race?" Carmilla snapped. "You can't, can you? You're past your prime. That's why you need me, to win those medals for you again. So maybe you should get off my back and let me do it my way."
Carmilla felt almost proud of herself, or she would if she hadn't been shrouded in a cloud of bitterness at that moment. She braced herself for the further narrowing of her coach's eyes, but to Carmilla's surprise, her coach softened into a form of smug composure.
It was possibly more infuriating.
"Well, if you're so sure about yourself, let's race," The coach stated. Carmilla's anger vanished into bewilderment immediately and she barked out a harsh laugh.
"You and me? Race? Right now? You sure your brittle bones could take the strain, old woman?" Carmilla snickered. As expected, the narrow eyes returned.
"I may be on in age but I was once the world champion and two-time gold medalist. If you won't respect my words, perhaps you'll respect my natural skill," The coach challenged. "One lap. That's all I ask. I win, you do as I say without question."
Carmilla observed her frail stick of a coach with amusement. "And if I win?"
"Then I will be quiet, and you may train on your own terms to your heart's content," The coach offered. Carmilla cracked a smirk.
"Very well. You're on."
It should be an easy enough race, Carmilla figured. Sure, her coach had been a legend back in her day, but the aging process can be a harsh one, and as far as Carmilla knew, her coach hadn't kept up with any personal training. Carmilla, meanwhile, was young and spry in her early 20's. It would be a race against the test of time, and Carmilla was feeling pretty confident about her odds, and the prize was too enticing to deny. Freedom.
So without hesitation, they both lined up at the starting mark, and after an in-sync countdown, they took off.
Carmilla felt the instant satisfaction of hearing her coach's footsteps grow fainter behind her. She pushed herself on the take off as usual – the "over exertion" her coach had just criticized – and found herself in an early comfortable lead. There would be no catching up now for her dear old coach. And it was only one lap, so there was no need for her to pace herself. Carmilla didn't want to just beat her coach. She wanted to destroy her.
The muscles in her legs and the slight struggle of her lungs became more apparent as Carmilla approached the final turn, and she figured she could start to let up. She still had Olympic races to win, after all.
Until she heard the rapid approach of footsteps behind her.
Carmilla nearly lost her footing just at the sound. It turned out her coach still had some gas in the tank after all. But Carmilla smirked, listening to the rhythm of the footsteps and the laboured breathing of her coach. She had surprised Carmilla for sure, but she still didn't have the means to beat Carmilla. Not if she picked up the pace again.
The coach was right on Carmilla's heels as she pushed herself forward. Carmilla was tired, far too tired, but she refused to lose to this woman. She refused to prove her right.
Suddenly, Carmilla felt the back of her heel clip, and it was just enough to make Carmilla lose her rhythm. It was enough to send Carmilla tumbling to the ground.
The scrapping of her palms barely registered as Carmilla noted her coach blowing by her on the track. Carmilla pushed herself up quickly and sprinted after her coach as fast as she could in the last stretch. Her limbs were being pushed to the limit.
No way. Not like this.
Despite Carmilla's efforts, she was unable to catch her coach before they crossed the finish line. Everything burned, but nothing boiled quite as much as her blood.
"What- what the hell- was that?!" Carmilla gasped out, almost certain she would sound a lot angrier if she weren't so completely out of breath. "You tripped me!"
The coach, although huffing a bit of her own, had resumed her icy yet calm demeanor.
"Clipped heels in the heat of the race tend to occur, Mircalla. It's not my fault you were unable to keep your footing," the coach stated. Carmilla stared at her in disbelief.
"That didn't count. You caused me to fall. I would've beaten you otherwise," Carmilla seethed while her coach scoffed.
"To anyone else it seemed as if you merely fell on your own accord. You wouldn't want to seem as if you can't take the responsibility for your own failures, hmm? No one likes an Olympian who screams folly whenever they lose. It's not mature. And then you'd lose your sponsors," the coach explained darkly, approaching Carmilla closely. "At the end of the race, it's whoever crosses the finish line first. If you happen to benefit from a few racers losing their footing, well, I say all's fair."
Carmilla flashed back to watching footage of her coach winning a gold medal. Three other racers ended up falling inexplicably during the race, and they were all contenders for medalling. All a few steps ahead of her coach…
"You-!" Carmilla gaped, her eyes wide. This is the woman who had taken her in and trained her all these years?
"I won the race, Mircalla. You know the rules. You must do whatever I tell you, no matter how you my feel about my methods," The coach proclaimed, stepping ever closer until she was towering over Carmilla. "This includes being prepared to do what you must to win the gold. Understand?"
Carmilla's fist clenched at her side.
The coach leaned back, a tight smile on her face. "That's enough for today. Rest up, Mircalla. You have a big race tomorrow. We have a lot riding on the semi-final, after all."
The icy breeze that hit Carmilla as her coach walked away was unmistakable. Carmilla looked at the ground, her jaw tight.
"It's Carmilla, for fuck sake," She muttered. Carmilla pushed her sore legs to carry her forward, eager to put them up for the night and rest.
As she exited the stadium, her knee ached.
Damn it. She hadn't slept as well as she had hoped. Her mind had been racing so much the night before, it probably could've won the 5000m all on its own. If only.
She should have beaten her coach. She would have. If it hadn't been for…
That dirty cheater. All that prestige, all that training, and it turns out she only won because of her trickery. That's not talent, that's…
Well, Carmilla supposed it was a form of talent, but not one meant for the Olympics. The Olympics, where the human race pushed themselves beyond convention. Where gymnasts broke the laws of physics, where swimmers might as well be motor boats, where athletes could be considered among the ranks of super human.
Cheating has no place in an atmosphere like that.
Carmilla had done some digging back into those races and had found those other women did indeed bring up the possibility of something nefarious, but nothing had ever been proven. Her coach had remained unscathed and in possession of a title and honour she did not deserve. And yet she speaks of hard work and losers.
Carmilla couldn't believe she had ever respected her-
"Racers, to your marks."
The official's voice broke through Carmilla heated inner monologue, and she had to shake off the residual anger. The sounds of the crowd cheering in the stadium overtook her instead as she remembered where she was, and what she was here to do.
Right. She had a race to win. She had to focus for now. Her coach wouldn't be allowed in her head any longer. She would win this race for herself, not her coach. On her own merit.
Carmilla looked up only a moment to where her coach was in the stands, and they locked eyes for only a moment before Carmilla tore her gaze away. Those damn narrow eyes. She was going to feel them on the back of her neck the entire race. Every damn second of all 12.5 laps. What a joy.
She stood at her mark, doing a few more stretches to get out any hidden kinks in her muscles as she tried to block out her coach and the other racers. One part of running was mentality. If you weren't in the right headspace, you weren't going to have a great run.
As far as Carmilla and her mood were concerned, she was doomed before she ever even leaned into her starting stance.
The stadium slowly fell silent, letting Carmilla shift her mind fully into the current moment and the track ahead of her. This was it. From that silent moment to the millisecond she crossed the finish line in 5000m, all that mattered was each footstep she made and her breathing. Her breathing. Hers, and the soft breathing of the girl from whatever country was beside her. It was soft, more relaxed and easy than Carmilla's, which was harsh and rigid. Was she doing it wrong?
Shit, already off to a rough start. She had allowed herself to be distracted so easily and her start was sloppy. Carmilla's instinct was to immediately pick up the pace to make up for it, but she remembered her coach's advice to take it easy. It was only the start, after all. Plenty of laps to correct herself. It was sound advice, as much as Carmilla loathed to admit it.
Besides, she owed her coach full obedience, as they had won their short race the day before. Carmilla did feel a form of obligation to fulfill that deal, even if her conniving coach had cheated.
Maybe… Maybe a win really is a win, no matter how it is obtained.
Carmilla tried to relax herself, running amongst the cluster. It was only the semi final. She just had to qualify for the final. She could make it, even if she was a tad further back in the cluster than she would like to be.
11 laps left.
Halfway there. Breath was getting heavier. Carmilla's muscles started to ache sooner than she anticipated. She tried to distract herself by focusing on the bobbing ponytail of the honey-haired runner in front of her. Carmilla was pretty sure it was the same girl she started off next to, the one with the soft and easy breathing. She wondered if it was so soft and easy now. She wanted to check. Usually she should've been focusing solely on her own pace, but curiosity for the competition got the better of her.
Carmilla pushed herself forward slightly, closing the distance just a smidge so that she could catch the rhythm of the runner's breathing. Huh. Still fairly relaxed, even after all those laps. That couldn't possibly be the case. What was this girl on?
She craned her head down to try and listen for any sign of strain, and-
Damn. That girl's ass looked fucking amazing in those running capris. Holy shit.
Fuck, now really wasn't the time for Carmilla to gay all over the Olympic track.
Well, now she had to pass this girl. She was suddenly a bit too much of a distraction for Carmilla.
Carmilla's footsteps became increasingly more rapid as she pushed herself forward. She just had to pass this little princess and then she would go back to conserving her energy for the final push. Just a little farther-
She knew she was going down before she even felt her foot awkwardly hit the ground. And this time, she couldn't blame it on anyone tripping her. It was her own damn fault for being careless, and maybe for trying to get one last look at that ass before she ran by.
That same ass that was quickly taking up Carmilla's field of vision as she stumbled forward, right into the runner, who also lost their footing from the impact. A dozen profanities went through Carmilla's mind before they both toppled onto the track.
Luckily, the girl cushioned Carmilla's fall quite substantially. Her knee scrapped along the ground, causing her to hiss from the sharp sting, but Carmilla was able to place her hand on the girl's back to shakily push herself back up. She only lost a bit of momentum. She'd probably get a bit of a penalty for knocking the girl down, since that wasn't as subtle or graceful as her beloved coach, but she could still make this up. After all, all that mattered was when she crossed the finish line. Who cares if a nice piece of ass loses out a bit. There was a gold medal on the line, right?
Carmilla stopped mid-stride, a few steps ahead of the girl as the cluster of runners slowly started to pull ahead. The image of her coach's narrowed eyes filled her head, and she imagined how smug the coach would look in the stands right there. Her lessons had stuck. And Carmilla was on the track to becoming a gold medalist – in the least respectful way possible.
God dammit, no. Carmilla wanted to win, but not her coach's bullshit way. Not in the way she had zero respect for several laps ago. She thought about the best way to figuratively shove a middle finger right in her coach's face, to show that she didn't have to listen to her just because she won the race by cheating. To show her that it did matter how you won the race.
So Carmilla turned on her heel, and lightly jogged back to the girl slowly trying to pick herself up.
"Ow…" The girl groaned, getting on her hands and knees. Carmilla did her best to ignore the certain… slopes of the girl's body in that position.
"Hey. Sorry about that," Carmilla said in English, hoping the most common language in the world would pull through for her. As she extended her hand, the girl looked up at her.
Oh god dammit. A face that's even better than her ass. Some gay deity was truly teasing her this day. It was those doe eyes, the ones widening as they stared at Carmilla.
"You came back for me?" The girl gasped. Carmilla rolled her eyes, trying to also ignore how pretty the girl's voice was even when out of breath. At least she could finally determine there was some sort of strain on the girl's lungs.
"Yeah well, it was my fault. Are you going to take my hand, or not? Are you aware this is a race, creampuff?" Carmilla huffed. Those doe eyes widened even more and the girl quickly scrambled to take Carmilla's hand, which yanked the girl up in one powerful tug.
"Are you aware? You didn't have to come back for me. I could've gotten up on my own," The girl muttered, wincing as she flexed her scraped hands. Carmilla quickly eyed the paper on the girl's chest – certainly just to read the paper, and no other reason. She read the words:
Canadian. Of course it was a damn Canadian.
"It's the Olympics. Solidarity, and all that," Carmilla shrugged, turning back around and breaking in a jog again. There, her conscience was clear.
She had no choice but to make up for lost time, so Carmilla broke into more of a sprint than a jog. It was usually energy she would save for the final stretch, but she didn't have any options.
Surprisingly, Carmilla heard the girl – Hollis – catch up with her quickly and match her pace. She supposed she shouldn't have been so surprised. Hollis was also in the Olympics after all, but Carmilla was just so used to leaving her teammates far behind when sprinting.
"Hey… thank you," Hollis barked as they ran along.
"Don't mention it, Cupcake," Carmilla answered back, focusing on the cluster of runners they were rapidly approaching. They'd be caught up in no time at this rate. Carmilla just had to hope for a second wind on the last lap.
She just needed to qualify.
"Seriously, it was really cool of you," Hollis continued, and Carmilla blew out a heavy, strained breath.
"Is this really the time to make conversation?" Carmilla looked over to see that, once again, Hollis' breath seemed unbothered – even in full sprint.
"Sorry! Good luck!" Hollis shouted, and pulled forward ahead of Carmilla. Carmilla gaped, wondering where this chipper Canadian was pulling all that speed from. It pushed Carmilla even harder.
They soon caught up, and they were on… the 3rd lap? 4th lap? Carmilla had lost count, which was a disadvantage. She would have to watch the other runners very closely, but she mostly watched Hollis – who was comfortably ahead of her. Damn, she really would have been fine on her own if Carmilla had left her.
Everyone was picking up their pace as they approached the final laps. Carmilla tried to push herself forward, or at least catch up to Hollis, but she just couldn't get up the speed. She must have used up everything she had in the earlier sprint.
But no, it was more than that. There was something off in her step, something with how her leg was bending. It was as if her knee was… caving in…
Something suddenly gave out. Carmilla felt the rest of her body moving while her knee seemed to stay behind. Pain hit Carmilla like a truck, erupting from her knee, and it was all Carmilla could manage was to clutch at her knee as she crumpled to the ground.
She gritted her teeth, pulling her leg up to her chest and started to writhe, the throbbing shooting throughout her leg. It had to be a pulled muscle, or something. That's all. It would be fine in a second. For sure.
But she found her leg was rather hard to move, and the pain was intense. This would be it. She tried to collect some good karma, and she was still screwed over. Maybe this is a sign that her coach was right, after all…
"Don't you know you're running a race?"
Carmilla looked up to see the smiling face of Hollis, a hand outstretched for her to take. Carmilla blinked a couple of times in confusion. This girl owed her nothing.
"What are you doing, Cupcake? Go finish the race! You need to qualify!" Carmilla barked through the pain. Hollis shrugged in a very Carmilla-like fashion.
"Olympics. Solidarity," Hollis stated, and Carmilla felt a blush creep into her already flushed face. The little fool. "Come on, take my hand."
"I, uh…" Carmilla muttered, trying to move her leg a bit. It felt a little better, but not at its best. "I don't think I can stand."
Hollis' eyes widened and she quickly stooped down to Carmilla's level.
"Oh my gosh, are you injured? What hurts?" Hollis interrogated, looking very concerned for someone she would consider a complete stranger.
"My knee," Carmilla mumbled. Hollis's brow knitted together and she shifted closer, putting one of Carmilla's arms around her shoulders.
"Put all your weight on your good leg and on me. Don't worry, I can take it," Hollis assured her. Carmilla gave a small smirk. She believed her.
Slowly but surely, Hollis hoisted Carmilla up. To Carmilla's delight, she was able to put some weight on her leg. Maybe it was truly only a pulled muscle after all.
"Thank you, creampuff," Carmilla sighed, pulling away rather hesitantly. She smelled damn good. She should've smelled sweaty but no, this girl was apparently perfect or some bullshit.
"You okay?" Hollis inquired. Carmilla bent her leg a few times, testing it out. It felt weird, but that was to be expected from a pulled muscle.
"I think so." Carmilla sighed. They'd both given up any chance of qualifying at this point, as she saw the cluster of runners rounding the bend to their last lap, by the look of their pace.
"Then come on. Let's at least finish the race. It's the Olympics. We've got to finish," Hollis encouraged. Carmilla released a small laugh. Sure, why not.
"Race you," Carmilla chuckled, taking a couple long strides forward. She only heard Hollis' laughter behind her a moment before her knee buckled under her again. She did her best to stay up, but her knee was useless in terms of support. Collapsing onto this track was getting really old.
"Hey! Oh god. What happened?" Hollis asked frantically, rushing to her side again.
"Shit," was all that Carmilla could sputter out.
"You really did a number on yourself, huh?" Hollis put a comforting hand on Carmilla's shoulder.
"It's just- it's just a pulled muscle or something. Or a cramp. I don't know," Carmilla grumbled. It certainly didn't feel very good.
Hollis eyed Carmilla carefully. "Well I don't think you can run on it anymore. You don't want to make it any worse," she warned.
"So much for finishing the race. You should go on ahead. I've seen you run. Maybe you could still catch up," Carmilla sighed. The cluster would be lapping them soon. But Hollis shook her head.
"Nah. I'm a little tired, and I'd enjoy the company," Hollis stated, slowly scooping Carmilla up again. "Come on, up and at 'em."
This time, Hollis kept Carmilla's arm around her and carefully limped the both of them forward. Carmilla shook her head.
The laugh that the girl released was practically angelic. Carmilla couldn't help but smile.
The cluster approached, and Hollis quickly shuffled the both of them out of the way of the stampede. Some of the other runners shot them hurried pitying looks, but Carmilla tried not to let that get to her. They weren't the ones attached to an incredibly attractive human right now, so they deserved the pity here.
Besides, Carmilla felt some sort of small satisfaction at picturing how completely livid her coach must be in the stands.
"We really must stop meeting like this, by the way," Carmilla quipped, hoping to inspire that angelic laugh again. It worked.
"I don't mind it. I think it deserves a first-name basis, though. I'm Laura," She offered. Thank god. Carmilla was getting tired of calling her Hollis in her mind.
"Carmilla," Carmilla replied. Laura nodded, shuffling them along slowly after the quickly proceeding fellow racers.
"Your English is very good, by the way," Laura pointed out.
"Well, so is yours," Carmilla muttered. Laura snorted, and Carmilla felt it appropriate to clarify. "I'm actually originally from Canada."
Laura let out a gasp. "Get out!" she exclaimed. "How did you end up on the Austrian team, then?"
"I appreciate the help, Cupcake, but I'm not quite ready to divulge my life's story to someone I just learned the name of about a minute ago," Carmilla stated. Laura nodded slowly.
"Fair enough," Laura complied, but Carmilla barely heard her over the roar of the crowd. The race must've finished. She looked up into the stands and saw everyone on their feet, cheering. But they didn't even seem to be looking at the finish line. Even the racers who had finished were clapping, and looking in their direction. That's when Carmilla noticed the screens. They were showing the two of them, limping along the track. The cheering was for them.
"I hope we're inspiring the masses," Carmilla muttered.
"Aw crap. This is going to be all over the internet, isn't it? I probably look so gross," Laura groaned. Carmilla smirked a bit. At least she knew now that Laura wasn't doing it for the publicity.
But then, why?
"Don't worry, creampuff. You look perfect," Carmilla stated. Laura blushed and looked away, a smile tugging at her face.
"Not compared to you," Laura muttered. "Oh god. Just. Forget I said that. Please."
Carmilla couldn't help but grin.
They only made it about a quarter of a lap more before medical staff ran to them with a stretcher. They implored Carmilla to climb on.
"Please, Miss. You are not well. And we must start the next event," One of them pleaded.
"But I promised her I would help her finish the race!" Laura argued before Carmilla could say anything. Carmilla shook her head, gently pushing Laura away. As great as Laura smelled, and as much as Carmilla wanted to finish the race, her knee was killing her.
"Don't worry, Cupcake," Carmilla sighed, hobbling onto the stretcher, "do me a favour and finish the race for the both of us."
Laura wore a deep frown, but she nodded obediently.
"Um, okay. It was… nice meeting you. I hope your knee feels better," Laura muttered almost inaudibly before jogging off on her own. Carmilla tried not to think about the look of disappointment on Laura's face.
"Take me away, boys," Carmilla said, wincing as she swung herself up onto the stretcher. Worst pulled muscle ever.
As the medical staff carried her away, she watched Laura's departing form with a bit of an ache in her chest. It was probably from the running she had just done, and the crushing blow of defeat. It had nothing to do with the knowledge that she never received the girl's number, or asked where she was staying in the Olympic village, and there was a good chance they wouldn't cross paths ever again. Certainly not.
She was just another competitor. A nice, very pretty competitor, but nothing more.
As Carmilla was carried past the stands in the stadium, she was met with a sight that dampened her mood even farther. Those narrow eyes.
Her coach's voice was unsurprisingly sharp.
"Couch," Carmilla drawled. The coach ignored Carmilla's intentional mix-up.
"That was a horrid display. What ever possessed you do go back and help that wretch?" The coach huffed. Now Carmilla's eyes narrowed, but they were filled with a passionate fire rather than an icy stare.
"Maybe I just didn't want to follow in your footsteps," Carmilla mumbled.
"Amusing, but we had a deal-"
"Deal's off," Carmilla cut in. "How is it to know that you can't get your way just because you crossed the finish line?"
Her coach was a bit red in the face, but Carmilla wanted to take it a step farther.
"You don't own me. Not anymore. You taught me a lot, but your philosophy on how to become the best? It doesn't work for me. Find another girl to run your fraudulent races. We'll see just how full-proof your technique is with camera technology these days, anyway. I've outgrown you and your methods," Carmilla spat, "you're fired."
The coach's mouth opened and closed uselessly for a few seconds in stunned disbelief. It was the most satisfying thing Carmilla had ever witnessed.
And then rage filled the coach's every feature.
"How- how dare you. I made you. You cannot fire me-" the coach started.
"I just did," Carmilla corrected, almost sounding a bit bored with the whole affair. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a knee to get checked out."
Carmilla lazily gestured to the supremely uncomfortable medical staff to continue carrying her away, and they slowing passed the coach while she sputtered in defiance.
"You will regret this, Carmilla!"
At least she finally got her name right.
Carmilla was never a big fan of rollercoasters. All those sharp turns, loops, drops – they made her stomach churn. Running was far better. A straight line, chasing the horizon, and only a wide curve every so often. Nothing like those obnoxious steel death traps that people actually rode for amusement.
She wasn't a big fan of emotional rollercoasters for the same reason.
In what might possibly be the most colossal slap in the face to ever take place in human history, Carmilla found out she was both able and unable to run the gold medal race within a few hours.
It was a day after the 5000m semi final, and after a long night of having her injuries inspected by medical, including an MRI as a precaution, Carmilla had just wanted to sleep in that morning. She didn't get a chance as her roommate and teammate roused her from slumber rather excitedly, shoving a phone in Carmilla's tired face with an official statement from the Olympic committee.
Carmilla and Laura's display had been so touching, and with the consideration that they both would have qualified if not for their collisions, they were both through to the final gold medal race.
Despite the knowledge that her ex-coach usually would have given her the announcement had she not been fired, Carmilla was elated at the knowledge she would have another chance at the gold. Hell, she was still pretty elated at the whole "ex-coach" thing too.
But nothing gold can stay, or at least this gold would be doomed to forever be out of Carmilla's reach.
The MRI revealed Carmilla had torn her ACL, anterior cruciate ligament. Such a small piece of flesh resting under and beneath her kneecap, and yet so crucial. It made sense, seeing as Carmilla could barely walk, let alone run an Olympic race.
So this evening would be spent laying on her bed in the dark, staring up at the ceiling and silently lamenting as she felt the restrictive massive brace on her leg. Alone, as her roommate was likely out partying. That was just fine by Carmilla. She preferred to brood in peace.
Or at least she'd like to, but the annoying knock at the door clearly did not want to grant Carmilla's wishes. Who could it be, anyway? Probably her ex-coach coming to gloat about how correct she was about the "regret" threat she had thrown Carmilla's way.
Carmilla swung herself stiffly off the bed and limped over to the door, prepared to slam it right in the face of that witch of a woman as soon as she opened it.
She did not expect that doe-eyed Canadian girl to be standing behind the door. She probably should have. Why wouldn't her emotional rollercoaster of a day throw in one final loop?
"Laura?" Carmilla blinked. Laura seemed just as surprised as Carmilla felt.
"Carmilla!" Laura exclaimed. "Carmilla. I'm sorry. I didn't want to disturb you, or anything, but I heard, and I-" she bit her lip a moment before throwing her arms around Carmilla's neck in a tight hug. "I'm so sorry!"
This was a far warmer welcome than anything Carmilla's ex-coach would have given her.
"Whoa there, Cupcake. I'm injured enough as it is," Carmilla chuckled, although deep down she was hoping Laura wouldn't let go. Carmilla had underestimated just how much she needed a hug, it seemed. Especially from a pretty girl.
"Right! Sorry. Again," Laura jumped back, to Carmilla's secret disappointment. She tried her best to lean against the door frame, which was harder to do casually with the leg brace keeping her leg perpetually straight. Carmilla hated having any part of her forced to be straight.
"Didn't expect to see you here. Not that I'm complaining," Carmilla remarked, and Laura gave her a bright smile.
"I'm glad I'm not intruding or anything. I would've come by sooner, but it took all day to find your room. The Olympic village is huge," Laura huffed, and Carmilla raised her eyebrow.
"All day, huh?" Carmilla smirked. Laura's face immediately went red with embarrassment.
"Well I tried to find you after the decision this morning. I thought we could celebrate! But like I said, the Olympic village is huge, and I had to ask around a lot, and then I heard about your injury, and I felt so bad and I knew I just had to find you, so I narrowed down your location to this set of dorms, but I still wasn't sure which one so I just started knocking on all the doors and- this sounds stalkerish, doesn't it? Great. I'm a stalker," Laura ranted out, and Carmilla swore Laura seemed more out of breath than she ever did in the race.
"Relax, creampuff. It was sweet of you to put forth all that effort. I'm not sure I'm worth it, but thanks. You could have been training or something, you know. You're still eligible to run the gold medal race, after all," Carmilla pointed out.
"I'll have you know that finding you involved a lot of running around, thank you very much. I'm over prepared now if anything," Laura declared, and the both of them shared a chuckle for a moment. They stared at each other silently before Laura looked away bashfully. "I, um. I brought you some get well presents."
Carmilla raised both eyebrows in surprise. She couldn't believe this girl. "My, what impeccable service. I accept. This goodie basket wouldn't happen to contain booze, would it?"
"Well, no, but I'll keep that in mind for next time," Laura muttered, bending over to pick a bag up off the ground. She rustled around in it for a moment before pulling out a box. "I have some tea. I don't even know if you like tea, but tea is always relaxing for me so, if you want it – behold, tea," She held up the tea dramatically for Carmilla to take.
"Merci beaucoup," Carmilla expressed, taking the box of tea. "I shall treasure it for as long as it takes me to drink it all."
Laura grinned, a light flush in her cheeks. She went back to rustling in the bag.
"And I was able to find a Brazilian pastry shop nearby. So I got you a bunch of creampuffs," Laura revealed, pulling out another bag of the cream-filled pastries.
"Creampuffs?" Carmilla questioned.
"I figured you liked them, since, you know, you seem to like calling me that and I'm going to pretend it doesn't mean you think I'm small and soft and full of sugary whipped dairy. Mostly because I don't want to admit how true that is," Laura sighed, holding the bag out. "They're really good. I might've tried one or two. No more than ten, at least. I can't help myself around sweets."
"Hmm, not a very good diet for someone about to run in a big race," Carmilla chuckled, taking the bag.
"Exactly! Please save me from those delicious delights," Laura groaned.
"I promise I will take care of them for you. Not like I need to watch what I eat at the moment anyway," Carmilla shrugged, and Laura went pale.
"Oh my- I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"
"Relax, Cupcake. These are wonderful and I am looking forward to drowning my sorrows in them and the tea. Almost as good as booze," Carmilla reassured, but Laura still looked guilty.
"You deserve to run in that race," Laura mumbled.
"Hey, I was the one who probably over-exerted myself and fucked up my knee. That was all on me. You deserve to be in that race, because you ran back to help me. It's only fair that you don't get penalized," Carmilla rationalized. Laura's frown only deepened.
"You helped me first." she pointed out.
"I knocked you down first," Carmilla retorted. "Relax, Cupcake. If it bothers you that much, then run enough for the both of us."
Laura seems to think about that for a moment.
"…Okay, but I keep the medal if I get it," Laura declares, matching Carmilla's smirk.
"Fine, as long as you let me hold it at least once," Carmilla countered.
"Only if you're on your best behaviour," Laura chuckled, reaching out to touch Carmilla's arm. Carmilla tried to ignore the shiver that sent through her, but she was slowly learning that Laura Hollis was hard to ignore.
"I'm afraid I can't promise that, Miss Hollis," Carmilla croaked in a seductive tone, eyeing Laura from the tilted angle of her head. Laura's face fell and she seemed to swallow hard, retracting her hand quickly.
"Then… then no guarantees, I guess," Laura cleared her throat. "Well, you should be resting. And I should be resting. But you should be resting the most. Because of your knee. Enjoy the get-well gifts. Hope they help you, uh, get well," Laura fumbled out. Carmilla sighed, shifting her position against the door frame into something far less looming.
"Sure thing, sweetheart," she nodded.
"I know you're injured but, will you be at the race?" Laura asked hopefully, relaxing a bit.
"Wouldn't miss it," Carmilla promised.
"Great! I'll maybe see you there, then," Laura started to back away slowly.
"I believe you should focus your attention on the track rather than whoever might be watching in the stands, buttercup," Carmilla teased. Laura was about to respond when she backed right into the wall across from Carmilla's room. "Case and point."
"Oh. Aha. Yeah. I guess that's- Yep. Okay, see you when I see you. And stuff," Laura quickly turned away and expertly powerwalked down the hallway and out of sight.
Again, Carmilla sighed and carefully pushed herself back into her room, closing the door and leaning against it gingerly to keep some weight off her leg.
Whenever a girl reacted to Carmilla's advances like that, it either meant she was painfully straight and uncomfortable, or she was aggressively interested.
Carmilla had never before wished a signal had been more clear, but she wasn't one to sleep with the competition anyway. That suddenly sounded like a tactic her ex-coach would use to throw the other girl off her game.
And Carmilla would never want to do that to Laura.
The hushed murmurs were audible even in the loud stadium as Carmilla limped by. She did her best to ignore them, but it was hard when the Olympic spectators were also pointing at her to make it all the more obvious they were talking about Carmilla.
Oh look, there goes the girl who hurt herself last race! That was adorable how she and that tiny Canadian tried to finish the race together. Such a shame she couldn't run in this race…
Carmilla knew deep down they meant well, but forgive her if she was a little bitter at the gold medal race she was supposed to run in as she limped around the stands with a crutch as support. The only upside was that Laura could still run, which was why Carmilla was there. She even requested a seat near the starting line so that she would have a close-up view of Laura crossing it to win the gold.
She finally made it to her seat and plopped herself down, reaching forward to rub her knee tenderly through the thick material of the brace. It was just constantly in a state of aching pain now, no matter how much Carmilla iced it or took painkillers. It was a nuisance to be sure, and her physical therapist recommended Carmilla take it easy and maybe watch the race from her dorm. But this was important.
The girl gave her tea and creampuffs, after all.
The runners were simply scattered around the starting line, doing light stretches and some breath control. Carmilla recognized the sight of each racer focusing their energy into the race ahead of them. The gold medal race. Carmilla could only imagine the anticipation, and she wished she could do far more than imagine.
Her eyes scanned the racers looking for that honey hair or the Canadian colours donning Laura's body, but Carmilla couldn't seem to pick her out. Had that idiot forgotten? She did seem a little frazzled at times…
Carmilla eventually spotted her, or, a part of her. Laura was low to the ground, with that part of her body that pretty much caused this whole mess sticking straight up into the air. Rio suddenly felt a lot hotter.
Yoga. Of course Laura was doing some sort of yoga right before a big race. Carmilla shouldn't have been so surprised. But she was certainly delighted. That position definitely showed off a lot of… muscles…
Carmilla tried to snap herself out of it. She was there to support and cheer on her… rival? Friend? Crush? Either way, she wasn't there to perv over her.
…Although a little admiration never hurt anybody.
Eventually the call was made for the racers to take their marks, and Laura slowly seemed to snap out of whatever Zen mindset she had been in. She looked calm and collected, which was good. It was all about the mentality.
Laura then, for a moment, switched that focus to the stands and looked over them with an almost hopeful expression. Was she looing for her own coach? Family?
Just as Carmilla was starting to question the other possibilities, Laura's eyes locked with hers and Laura broke out into a huge grin.
Carmilla smiled back, trying to fight back the blush at the realization that Laura had been looking for her, and shot her a small thumbs up. Laura laughed and returned the sentiment with two thumbs. Their eyes lingered for a moment, a smirk still on Laura's face before she turned to get on her mark and her focus shifted back to the gold medal race.
The pounding in Carmilla's heart at that moment made her wonder if she just ran her own race and didn't notice. She was clearly just anxious for Laura's performance.
Ah, hell, she might as well admit it. Those doe eyes would make anyone's heart race. And Carmilla's was about to win gold at that rate.
The call for silence was made and that heartbeat was made even more apparently as Carmilla could hear it booming in her ears. She wondered if the people around her could hear it. She wondered if Laura could hear it from where she was.
Carmilla kept her eyes trained on Laura, who was crouched and waiting. Was Laura's breathing as soft and relaxed as it was in the last race? She hoped so. That would be key.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
A loud crack resounded, signifying the start of the race. As Laura pushed off from her mark, Carmilla joined in with the rest of the crowd to cheer her on, hoping for the best.
"Where's Laura Hollis' dorm?!"
"Uh- I don't-"
"Ugh. Useless," Carmilla huffed, using her crutch to push herself down the hallway as fast as she could. Somehow the tables had turned and now Carmilla had become the "stalker". She was sure Laura had been far politer when questioning where Carmilla's dorm was, but Carmilla could hardly care.
4th. Laura had placed 4th. She didn't even medal.
She had run an amazing race. There was not much more she could have done. The three runners in front of her just had a bit more experience under their belt. It had been close, though. Just a couple milliseconds faster, and Laura would have had at least bronze.
Carmilla could relate to that crushing disappointment. So there she was, searching for the silly girl she barely knew for god knows why. The first time she had helped Laura, it was to shove it in her coach's face. Now? She couldn't say for sure what her motivation was. All she knew is this is what she felt driven to do, and Carmilla wasn't one to ignore her instincts.
Well, she could argue she felt she owed Laura once again after the tea and creampuff visit, but Carmilla knew herself well enough to know that wasn't normally enough to infuse this sort of dedication to another human being. And yet, there she was.
"Oh, Laura? Yeah, her dorm is down at the end of the hall, on the right. She might be a little down right now, though. She lost the 5000m race…" the girl Carmilla had found looked down at Carmilla's brace. "Hey, aren't you the girl she was in the news with?"
Carmilla didn't acknowledge the girl's question and instead just muttered a "thanks" as she headed to Laura's room.
She paused in front of it briefly, her fist raised and ready. Maybe that girl had a point. Maybe Laura would want to be alone at that moment. Plus, she had just run a big race earlier that day. Surely she would be resting.
Oh, what the hell. Even if that were the case, Carmilla spent too much time limping around on a sore as fuck leg to not at least drop off her own brand of get-well gift.
She knocked, and there was a concerning pause afterward that made Carmilla wonder if Laura was even in her room at all. Before she could curse herself for spending all this time looking for a girl who wasn't there, the door opened.
It almost broke Carmilla's heart to see those doe eyes red and puffy.
"Carm?" Laura blinked those red and puffy eyes in confusion. "What- why are you here?"
"Why do you think I'm here, Cupcake?" Carmilla sighed, tilting her head and eying Laura with sympathy. Laura lowered her head in what seemed to be something along the lines of shame.
"Are you here to yell at me for not winning gold for the both of us? Not even a medal…" Laura muttered, and Carmilla's brow shot up in surprise.
"Yell at you? You really think that's why I'm here? To make you feel bad?" Carmilla questioned, and it may have come off harsher than she intended. Laura practically hugged the doorframe and didn't meet Carmilla's eyes.
"You didn't get to run. I wanted to win for both of us. It would've been a perfect end, wouldn't it? But I just… wasn't good enough…" Laura mumbled, her tone defeated. "I'm so sor-"
"Oh for fuck's sake," Carmilla huffed. "You're upset because you think you let me down? You're unbelievable. Laura, you ran an amazing race."
Laura perked up a bit at this, but she still seemed down. "You think so?"
"I was there, remember? I saw it from the stands. Laura, there's nothing wrong with being placed 4th in the world. The world. Based on what I saw, I wouldn't have been able to do that. I surely would've been more than a few paces behind you even in top form. And I'm so proud of you," Carmilla expressed. Pink creeped into Laura's cheeks and her eyes filled with fresh tears.
"Or maybe you would have gotten gold if you got to run," Laura pointed out, a small smile starting to form. Carmilla shrugged.
"Maybe, but only because I would've tripped and taken out half of the competition," Carmilla joked. This actually probed a laugh from Laura.
"Hey! Maybe then I would have won!" she chuckled.
"See. It was all my fault," Carmilla winked, and Laura was in full smile mode at that moment. Even with a few tears trickling down her cheeks.
"Then damn you, Karnstein," Laura shook her head. "I guess you're right. 4th is pretty impressive in the grand scheme."
"I hear those medals are really heavy anyway. Obnoxious to carry around, if you ask me," Carmilla added. "But I suppose I understand there would still be some disappointment. So I brought you something. As great as tea is, I find this to be far more effective."
Carmilla shifted her weight on the crutch to lift up the 6 pack of beer she had been carrying. Laura smirked looking at it.
"I'll keep that in mind. Thank you. That was very thoughtful," Laura stated, and Carmilla flushed, being reminded that she inexplicably felt so drawn to this girl.
"Well, I felt I owed you still, so…" Carmilla muttered, even though she knew it was still a bit more than that. "I'll just leave these with you, and-"
"Join me?" Laura piped up quickly. "For a beer, I mean. Or a couple. Whatever."
Carmilla raised her eyebrow. "Now, Cupcake. I got these for you."
"Exactly. For me. And I get to share them with whoever I want. So I hope whatever pain meds you're on agree well with alcohol," Laura argued, taking the 6 pack from Carmilla. Carmilla sighed, letting out a chuckle.
"One or two beers should be fine," Carmilla relented, and Laura smiled.
"Great! Speaking of pain meds, how is your leg? Would you be up for a bit of a walk? There's somewhere I want to go," Laura inquired.
Carmilla's leg was practically screaming at her to get off it for a while. First she worked it a lot to make it to the race, and then again getting the beer and trying to find Laura's dorm. She could feel the swelling pushing against her brace. It was probably a horrible idea to do much more walking. But, then again…
"Maybe, but only if you help me out just like you did at the semi-final," Carmilla requested. Laura giggled, nodding enthusiastically.
"That can be arranged."
Laura disappeared into her room for a moment only to emerge with a blanket tucked under her arm holding the beer. She closed the door behind her and, with a shy smile, slipped her free arm around Carmilla's back to support her weight.
Definitely worth every bit of pain.
"Well, I'm certainly going to have a fair bit of sand to shake out of my brace later, won't I?" Carmilla sighed.
"Sorry! But that is precisely why I brought a blanket," Laura pointed out as she quickly spread the blanket over the sandy terrain before any blast of wind could mess it up. Carmilla clumsily plopped herself down on top of it, and she could almost cry out of relief for finally being off her leg. Laura sat down next to her, and Carmilla noticed she also seemed relieved to sit down. Of course. She had run 5000m that day.
"So, the beach in the black of night? Didn't think this was your kind of aesthetic, Cupcake," Carmilla commented, cracking open a beer for both of them. Laura took a bottle and gulped down a large sip.
"Why not? It's… quiet. Except for the sound of the waves. There's no people. Just darkness and the moon reflected on the surface. It's serene and secluded, and sometimes you just want to be that level of alone, you know?" Laura explained. Carmilla smiled, nodding slowly.
"You have no idea how much I know, creampuff. But it seems counterproductive to want to be alone and have me here," she pointed out. Carmilla noticed Laura shrug.
"Sometimes it's also nice to be alone with someone," Laura mumbled, taking another sip of beer.
Carmilla wasn't well acquainted with that feeling, but she was starting to be.
"I have to ask you something," Carmilla started, figuring now was a good a time as any.
"Shoot," Laura said simply. Carmilla took a deep breath of the sea air.
"I've been trying to figure out why you helped me," Carmilla mused. "In the race. It worked out, but you could have been disqualified. So, why?"
Laura paused a moment, and only the sound of the waves filled the silence between them. Eventually Laura took another sip of her beer.
"Well, you helped me," Laura stated, and Carmilla scoffed.
"Again, you wouldn't have needed help if I hadn't knocked you over in the first place. Or did you forget that?" Carmilla argued.
"You still didn't need to come back for me. Most people wouldn't," Laura retorted. "So allow me to pose the question back to you."
Carmilla let out a chuckle.
"Honestly? I helped you because it would piss off my ex-coach," Carmilla admitted. Laura gaped in mock offense and she slightly shoved Carmilla's shoulder.
"Well, isn't that flattering!" She exclaimed.
"It's the truth," Carmilla shrugged, sipping her beer. "So as you see, you owed me nothing. Regret helping me now?"
"Not a chance," Laura said without missing a beat. Carmilla raised her eyebrow and was about to ask Laura why again, but Laura continued talking. "You said ex-coach. They didn't… they didn't drop you because of the ACL, did they? Because if they did, I will have some choice words-"
"Relax, Sundance. It was nothing like that," Carmilla paused to take another sip, "I fired her. We didn't… see eye to eye on a lot of things."
"Such as your opinions on helping other runners on their feet," Laura chimed in, and Carmilla nodded.
"That, and among other things. I think I came to the realization she was doing more harm to me than good, and not just in the athletics department. There was a certain toxicity that seeped into my personal life as well. But I suppose that's what can happen when your shitty coach is also your shitty Mother," Carmilla muttered.
"Your Mother?!" Laura gaped, and Carmilla cursed the beer for making her so loose lipped. Oh well. They were being alone together, right? And something about Laura just made her feel so… at ease. Unlike she had ever really felt before.
"Mhm. Not my real Mother, mind you," Carmilla began. She stared down at the beach, the sand invisible in the darkness, but she could feel Laura's eyes intently on her. "Remember how I told you I'm originally from Canada?"
"Of course," Laura confirm.
"Well, that's where I was born. Straight into the system," Carmilla revealed. She paused, waiting for Laura to show her the usual pity she got. Instead, Laura sat quietly wait for her to continue. So she did. "It wasn't exactly sunshine and roses, but I'll hand it to whoever my biological mother was. She made sure I didn't end up in a shithole foster home."
Carmilla paused and cracked open another beer for her and Laura as a way to give her time to fight down the lump in her throat. Laura again waited patiently for her to continue.
"It had a big yard. Which was great, because there were a lot of other kids. We played tag a lot, and there was this big metal fence that ran along the street where people would walk by all the time. I guess that's where she saw me," Carmilla took another sip, "One day I found myself adopted by a woman with an accent I had never heard before. She told me she liked my 'technique' and other strange things a young kid like me didn't exactly understand at the time. She just told me she would train me to be the best, and then I was shipped off to Austria with her."
"So… she basically hand picked you to be raised as a runner?" Laura questioned, finally breaking her silence. Carmilla nodded slowly.
"She was always more of a coach than a mother. I was to be perfectly sculpted, continue her legacy," she shook her head at the insanity of it all. Laura must have thought Carmilla to be some robot.
"…That's awful," Laura said after a long pause. "I'm so sorry."
"Well, she did get me to the Olympics, so," Carmilla sighed, looking up at the stars wistfully. "Not every day you get a chance to be hand picked to be an Olympian."
"But you deserved better," Laura declared. "And I'm glad you fired her. Because you still deserve better."
Carmilla turned her attention to Laura then, and her face was barely illuminated by the moonlight. There was a certain amount of fury in her eyes, but they let off a warm glow. It was mesmerizing.
No one had told Carmilla she deserved better than the life she got before. She figured most people would tell her to be grateful her coach gave her the opportunities she did.
"Then it's a good thing I'm now taking my life in my own hands, huh?" Carmilla smirked, and Laura smiled back. "She never got my name right, anyway."
"That's a shame. Carmilla is such a pretty name," Laura murmured. Her silhouette seemed to stiffen in the darkness. "Uh, so, what are you going to do now?"
Carmilla turned her attention back to the water, thankful the darkness would be hiding her blush. "Recover, first of all. Then get some sponsors, figure out my own training regimen… because as much as I was forced into this life, I do enjoy a good race. It's all I know."
"Here, here," Laura raised her beer bottle in solidarity.
"And then I'll run some international races, set myself onto the road to Tokyo. Try this whole cluster fuck over again," Carmilla decided.
"Sounds similar to my plans," Laura nodded. "Hey, maybe we'll run into each other at another race."
Carmilla's heart swelled at the idea. She was trying to ignore the thought that Laura would be gone from her life after these Olympics ended.
"I think I'd like that very much," Carmilla whispered, finishing off her beer. They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves, feeling very comfortable in each other's presence. As if they were savouring it.
"Would you like to keep in touch? You know, so we can figure out what races we'll be competing in together," Laura suggested. Carmilla let out a chuckle.
"Well not only do we know each other's names now, but you also know my tragic backstory. I believe this earns you at least my contact info," Carmilla agreed.
"Then I guess this makes us friends, huh?" Laura asked.
"Yeah. I guess it does."
Carmilla hadn't really had any friends beyond her teammates, and even then, it was just a professional relationship at best. Maybe it would be nice to have a real friend. Especially one she felt comfortable being alone with.
It took a full year to recover. That included surgery and months and months of physio. Doctors were eager to get a young athlete back on her feet, especially an Olympian, so they did their best to make sure Carmilla was fit and cleared as soon as possible. That, and Carmilla's own determination got her back up to speed pretty soon. She lost a year of training, and Carmilla would be damned if she didn't try to make up for that.
She and Laura kept in close contact as well. Carmilla was definitely grateful for a friend during the frustrating rehab process. She couldn't even count all the times Laura had encouraged her not to give up hope.
"I think I'm done," Carmilla had said with a bitter tone to her voice over Skype to Laura one evening.
"Don't say that," Laura sighed. Her eyes were full of sympathy.
"Laura, you don't get it. Sometimes you just- you plateau in your recovery. I'm not improving anymore. It's hopeless. I might as well hang up my spikes and accept I'm going to become some sort of desk clerk with a perpetual limp," Carmilla groaned, and she hated sounding so pathetic. But Laura made her feel safe to vent her frustrations.
"I don't know what to say, Carm. I've never had this bad of an injury before. But I know you won't be anything less than what you strive for. You've overcome so much, and you can overcome this," Laura urged. "I believe in you."
Just the vote of confidence pushed Carmilla to keep going and improving. The day the doctors cleared her to get back on the track was the day Carmilla heard the best "I told you so" from Laura she could ever hear. And sometimes she would wonder if she ever would have gotten to that point without her little virtual cheerleader.
No, she knew she wouldn't have made it that far without her. She would have given up. But Laura ran back and picked her up again, in a metaphorical sense this time.
They talked a lot about running. Carmilla's ex-coach would have throttled her for sharing techniques and strategies with the competition, but Carmilla could hardly give a frilly fuck what that woman cared about anymore. She hadn't heard from her once since the Olympics, and good riddance for that. Laura would also in turn share her own secrets – namely the one behind her breathing control. Laura claimed it was due to that oh-so-enticing yoga Carmilla had witnessed. Made sense, but despite the benefits it would have for Carmilla's breathing, she was never one for flexibility.
She would, however, sometimes go through a breathing routine with Laura over Skype. She'd never admit how nice she felt afterward.
They deviated a lot from running as well. In a year, Carmilla felt like she had gotten to know Laura better than she had with anyone in her life prior to meeting her. Laura truly did treat her like a close friend.
Carmilla had once complained about missing going for casual runs, and a few days later Laura sent her a go-pro video of her going on a morning run. It was such a small gesture, but it made Carmilla cry. Just a little bit, and just because it showed how much someone truly cared for Carmilla.
And Carmilla cared for Laura too. Maybe a bit too much, but she tried not to dwell on that.
She was still a lesbian with eyes, after all.
When the IAAF London World Championships rolled around, Carmilla was running ready. She was actually excited to hit the track on the competitive front again. But more than anything, she was excited to see who would also be racing. That was a new sensation.
Carmilla waited patiently at the baggage reclaim in the London International Airport. It had been so long since she had been to London, and last time she was under the watchful eye of her coach. Now she was healthy and free to do as she pleased. Carmilla felt alive.
And she was practically buzzing to see Laura again. Laura had taken a flight that got her in a few hours earlier than Carmilla, and they were planning to meet up later after they had settled at their hotels. Carmilla had to admit, she couldn't wait-
Carmilla nearly dropped her suitcase she was lifting off the conveyer belt at the sound of that voice. She swiveled around in surprise, not at all expecting to see Laura so soon.
But there she was, big smiles, striding towards her. She was… aw, hell, she looked radiant.
"Hey, you. Am I early? Did I mess up my time zones?" Carmilla questioned, placing her luggage down in order to wrap Laura out in the tightest hug. It felt amazing to get to hug her again after all that time. Like coming home.
"I may have waited around for you," Laura admitted next to Carmilla's ear. She pulled back then, looking bashful. "Is that… is that weird? Is that… oh, whatever. I missed you. Long time no see."
Laura tugged Carmilla back into the tight embrace, much to Carmilla's delight. That way, she could hide her blush. And maybe some traces of teary eyes. Carmilla knew she had been looking forward to seeing Laura again, but she didn't expect to get so emotional about it.
"Creampuff, we see each other on a weekly basis," Carmilla chuckled, closing her eyes and enjoying Laura's warmth. Her laugh was beautiful in Carmilla's ear.
"That's through Skype! It's not the same and you know it," Laura giggled, finally pulling back and looking Carmilla over. "It's just so nice to see you in person again. And in working condition."
"For now. There's still plenty of time for me to injure myself again during the World Championships," Carmilla pointed out, and Laura rolled her eyes.
"Don't even say that. You worked too hard to just get injured again. No injuries allowed this time," Laura ordered.
"Well, I wouldn't want to make you run back and get me again," Carmilla teased. She grabbed her luggage and Laura hugged Carmilla's arm, ready to leave.
"That's the spirit," Laura beamed as they made their way from baggage claim.
Oh yeah, they were there to run a race. Carmilla knew there was some other reason she was there.
Any moment that they weren't training for the World Championships, Laura and Carmilla spent their time in each other's company. They did some sightseeing, and often grabbed tea together because, "It's England, Carm! We can't just grab coffee. It has to be tea!"
"That's a stereotypical mindset, Cupcake. How would you feel if people said they had to get poutine every time they were in Canada?"
"…Okay, you left Canada when you were young so I'll forgive you, but yes. That's exactly what people should do."
"Alright, if you say so."
"Did you never get to try some? One day you should definitely visit me and we'll get some. Not very healthy, but worth it."
"I'd love to, Laura."
It astonished Carmilla how truly content she felt with Laura. It shouldn't have surprised her so much, she supposed, since just talking to her for the past year set her at ease. But it was almost like her mind had been eagerly awaiting their reunion since Rio, and now that they were together, she could rest.
Carmilla, again, wasn't about to dissect that monster.
For the most part, however, they had to train. As Carmilla often forgot, they were there to win a race. She was even there to win against Laura. The sponsors had to see that Carmilla still had some race left in her after her injury, or they'd drop her. And then Carmilla would be shit out of luck for money.
She didn't get to see Laura when training, since she went super early before any other runners could show up – namely any Austrians and her ex-coach. Even after a year, Carmilla wasn't exactly thrilled at the notion of seeing that witch again. Laura told her over their first tea together that she had briefly locked eyes with her ex-coach and felt all the polar ice caps freeze over again.
Tea nearly came out of Carmilla's nose.
Carmilla couldn't avoid her ex-coach forever. They would both be at the first 5000m race for sure. So when the time came, and she made her way to the track, she did her best to focus on only the race ahead of her and maybe a bit of Laura.
Well, it was hard to focus on anything else when Laura was there.
"Hey," Laura greeted Carmilla, jogging up to her. "I don't see her anywhere. I think you're in the clear."
"Strange. Usually she'd be on the sidelines trying to intimidate her prodigies to victory," Carmilla grumbled.
"Maybe she just doesn't care about her other 'prodigies' as much as you. And I don't mean in a maternal away. I mean because you're the one with the best chance of winning," Laura shrugged.
"Cute," Carmilla chuckled. "But thanks for looking out. You didn't have to."
"Of course I did. If the monster from under my bed as a child was wandering around, I'd count on you to let me know," Laura pointed out.
"Ah, yes. The monster under your bed. What was that again? A giant angler fish?" Carmilla teased.
"Finding Nemo was very traumatizing," Laura scoffed. "Okay, time to get into the zone. Promise we'll still be friends after?"
Carmilla mockingly scrunched her face to look thoughtful. "Hmm… maybe. If you let me win."
"Jerk," Laura shoved Carmilla lightly. "I'd tell you break a leg, but, you know…"
"Oh and I'm the jerk!" Carmilla huffed, and Laura laughed as she walked away. Carmilla couldn't help but smile while watching her. "Hey, Laura."
"Yeah?" Laura turned back.
"We'll still be friends. No matter what. Promise," Carmilla assured. Laura gave her a smirk.
"C'mon, Carm. You can't let the competition know you have a soft side now," she teased, and turned away to start the beginnings of a yoga pose.
That was Carmilla's cue to look away. She figured the key to victory, and not getting injured, involved not distracting herself with Laura's ass. Regardless, their interaction left her with a warmth in her heart.
When it came time to take their marks, Carmilla was able to put those breathing exercises to good use. Her breath felt much more at peace – although probably not nearly as much as Laura's, who was a few rows from her. But for now, Carmilla put that from her mind. Right in that moment, it was all about the track, and she was reminded of the exhilaration that came with a good race.
Carmilla had a good start, unlike last time. She just had to keep up that pace. She had her own ideas of technique and training than her ex-coach did, and she was ready to put them to the test. Plus, due to her year of physio therapy, she had muscles strengthened that she never had before. She was ready.
Luckily, Carmilla's knee held strong for the whole race. Even better, she didn't trip anybody. She didn't even try to pay attention to where Laura was in the cluster. Just in case.
The last lap pulled around and Carmilla shifted gears. So did the rest of the runners, but Carmilla had more than enough energy. She pushed herself forward as everyone started into a sprint. She was near the back, but she quickly blew past everyone else.
The finish line was in sight and Carmilla – she was in front! Carmilla could hardly believe it. Right off an injury, and she was about to come first in the first round of the World Championships 5000m! It might even be a personal best. That would impress the sponsors.
Just as she was reaching the finish line, Carmilla heard the quick pitter-patter of feet behind her – and then someone was beside her matching her pace. She turned her head just as they crossed…
She grinned. Of course it was Laura. Laura looked up at her with an equally bright grin and, as they slowed themselves down from the last leg, their laboured breath turned into wispy laughter.
"I couldn't… let you win… so easily," Laura gasped, hunched over. Carmilla hunched next to her, placing a hand on her back.
"You're killing me, Hollis," Carmilla groaned, feeling the ache in her chest as her lungs struggled to regain their oxygen. "Who the hell won anyway?"
They both looked up at the screen, and they almost started laughing again. Carmilla's was a personal best for sure – and Laura was only off by a hundredth of a second.
"Look, I just wasn't sure if you meant it when you said we'd still be friends no matter what. Had to let you win," Laura argued, finding control of her breathing again.
"Sure, creampuff," Carmilla grinned, knowing Laura was full of bullshit. She was glad Laura had given her all though.
Then Carmilla heard a voice that, as Laura put it, froze the ice caps over again.
"Well, congratulations, ladies," Carmilla's coach approached them both, clapping slowly, "for a thrilling 'round 1' performance. Touching, really. But I'm afraid if that's your best, you aren't any match for the final when there's an actual title at stake. Good show, though. Truly."
Carmilla stiffened and felt Laura take a step closer, and that thankfully calmed her a bit to know she didn't have to face her coach alone.
"Why, Mother dearest. I think you're just jealous to see that I actually didn't need you to coach me. That must be a real knife in your ego," Carmilla jeered.
"Please. I told you never to call me Mother," her coach grimaced. "I was never more than your coach."
"The adoption papers say different, Mother. Besides, I fired you. Remember? You're no longer my coach," Carmilla sneered.
"Yes, such a shame, that. Clearly by your performance today, you are more in need of my guidance than ever," the ex-coach sighed. Laura took a menacing step forward.
"Clearly. Because a first place at a World Championship and a personal best definitely means she's lost without you." Laura's words were dripping with sarcasm. The coach's eyes narrowed in that way Carmilla hated.
"Ah yes, the Holly girl. Why you ever bother with Mircalla is beyond me. And neither of you are quite up to snuff," the coach scoffed, and Carmilla wondered if that woman would ever get names right. She turned to Carmilla. "That personal best? Absolutely thwarted by the newest girl I attained in training. You're no match."
Carmilla followed the coach's gaze to a very tall girl with mid-length brown hair. She looked to be the definition of an athlete, with the focus of a tiger in prowl.
"Long legs, you see," the coach finished her thought.
"I didn't see your Amazon cross the finish line first," Carmilla pointed out. The coach tutted.
"Darling, you were always more brawn than brains. As I said, it was merely the first round. My girl held back of course. Couldn't let anyone view her as a threat," the coach explained.
"Of course. Because it's always mind games and trickery with you," Carmilla glowered.
"So you did learn something," the coach stepped close, towering over Carmilla, "The point is: don't fool yourself into thinking I need you. I don't. In fact, I doubt I ever did. Just like your actual mother."
Carmilla flinched at her words, not saying anything as her coached turned away.
"Hey," Laura growled, "next time you think about taking out your insecurities about your glory days gone by out on Carmilla, maybe don't. Because if you ever talk to her like that again, expect my spikes right in your face. And trust me, you don't want that. It's pointy enough as it is."
The coach's mouth popped open in surprise, and her lips slowly formed into a shape that better resembled bearing her fangs rather than a smile.
"Keep your pet on a leash. She's a feisty one," the coach muttered, and sauntered off.
Carmilla kept her head bent, her fists tightly clenched at her side. Laura quickly turned to her, gently grasping her wrists.
"Hey, Carm, hey. Look at me," Laura urged, and Carmilla slowly brought her eyes to Laura's. "It's just like you said. She plays mind games. She's just trying to get in your head."
"It worked," Carmilla mumbled, turning her head away. Laura stopped her, cupping her cheek.
"She is way worse than you described. You're so strong for putting up with her all those years," Laura sighed, tilting her head. "I'd suggest tea, but I bet you'd be up for something way stronger. C'mon," Laura tugged on Carmilla's wrist. "We're going to celebrate our win today! Even the woman from the depths of hell can't stop us!"
"Laura, I know you mean well and this is all very nice and loud and colourful," Carmilla gestured to the surroundings of a London nightclub Laura dragged her to, "but maybe we should just go back to the hotel and, I don't know, read a book on curses and cast one on my Mother."
"Okay, Samantha Stephens. You can wiggle your nose at her later. Right now, however, we're going to get your mind off that actual witch of a woman and have some fun in this fine, classy establishment," Laura announced. A drunken man bumped into Carmilla at that moment, cursing in a thick cockney accent when he spilled his beer before wobbling away.
"Yes. Very classy," Carmilla raised her eyebrow. Laura rolled her eyes and grabbed Carmilla's arms, forcing them out of their crossed state.
"C'mon, at least one shot and a couple of songs to dance to. Then we can go," Laura urged, but she stepped back, "Unless you really don't want to. That's fine, too. We can leave now."
Carmilla thought on it for a moment, and looked at Laura and then to the dance floor. Well, a couple of songs with Laura could be fun…
"Fine, fine," Carmilla relented. Laura grinned, grabbing her arms again.
"Great! Let's start with that shot."
Laura had said that about five or six shots ago. It was late in the evening and Carmilla was really feeling the effects of the alcohol. And the effects of Laura's body dancing against her in the club. Carmilla hadn't felt that carefree in a long time. She felt light and heavy at the same time. Light because of the alcohol. Heavy because…
Carmilla had no idea Laura could dance. It's not like she showed her dance routines over Skype. But Carmilla was slowly learning that Laura knew how to move in ways that didn't include just running and yoga. They had started the evening dancing apart, laughing at each other's moves. Then they slowly drifted to each other until each song was spent with them as one unit, and Carmilla was too intoxicated to push back on how great it felt.
She was slowly learning the curves and contours of Laura's body in a way she never could through a computer screen. The way she rolled her hips against Carmilla to the rhythm of the pounding music. It possibly made Carmilla feel drunker than what the alcohol was doing.
And her hands – god, Laura's hands liked to roam. They ran over Carmilla's arms and back more times than Carmilla could keep track off, and the moments Laura's hands would catch on Carmilla's shirt to push it up, her hand making contact with Carmilla's skin… it made her shudder.
Carmilla had never brought it up. The feelings she harboured for Laura. Usually she would be pretty confident in that area but something held her back. Perhaps it was the fear of ruining their friendship, but it was something more than that. Something that had bothered Carmilla about their entire relationship. Something Laura had never fully divulged.
But with Laura against her in that moment, Carmilla wanted to forget all that uncertainty entirely.
"Fuck," Laura slumped against Carmilla as the song ended, and Carmilla steadied her at the hip, "I'm exhausted. Whose idea was it to go clubbing after running a big race anyhow?"
"That would be you, Cupcake," Carmilla chuckled, enjoying Laura's breath against her collarbone. Laura laughed, pulling back and keeping her arms around Carmilla's neck, swaying slightly.
"Well I'm an idiot," Laura announced, erupting into giggles. "Woo, I'm tired. I need a break!"
"Water break? Hydration might do us good," Carmilla suggested. Laura nodded lazily and pulled the both of them off the dance floor and to the bar, where they ordered two waters for themselves.
"Are you having fun? I hope you're having fun," Laura asked, shoving Carmilla gently.
"I am, cutie. Thank you," Carmilla assured. Laura tilted her head and poked Carmilla in the cheek.
"You think I'm cute, huh?" Laura inquired.
Carmilla felt herself flush a bit, but she was too many shots deep to be truly embarrassed.
"Well you still sleep with a teddy bear. I'd call that cute," Carmilla pointed out. Laura looked at her through narrowed eyes, but they did anything but remind her of her Mother.
"Listen, you…" Laura leaned in close and practically pressed her face into Carmilla's neck. "I think you're cuter."
"Oh, is that why you helped me?" Carmilla asked suddenly. Laura leaned back, looking confused.
"I helped you 'cause your mom is a raging bad person, and I'm your friend. The fact that you're cute as a button is really just a bonus-"
"No, no. Not that," Carmilla sighed. "I mean at the Rio race. Last year."
Laura stared at her a moment, comprehending before her eyes widened.
"Oh," Laura breathed. "You mean when I went back for you?"
"Yes, that," Carmilla mumbled. "I know it's strange to still be hung up on that but- Laura, why? You didn't need to. You didn't trip me. But you came back anyway. At the Olympics. And I know you're a good person but don't give me that bullshit. I just, I don't get why. I don't know if I'll ever understand it."
Laura blinked a few times before resting her back against the bar, blowing out a breath.
"It really means that much to you?" Laura asked, staring at her water. Carmilla nodded slowly.
"Yeah. I need to know why someone would care enough to go back for me. Because last time someone seemed to care enough about me, to take me out of foster care-" Carmilla cut herself off. Damn, she had at some point turned into an emotional drunk, it seemed.
She stared at the ground, and only looked up when she felt Laura's hand on her cheek. She looked up, meeting those warm doe eyes she adored so much. They looked sad and affectionate.
"Carm, I- I honestly don't have a good answer for you. I don't know if it'll satisfy you," Laura admitted, a deep frown creasing her face. Carmilla closed her eyes briefly, her heart weighing heavy.
"Just say it," Carmilla breathed. For a moment Laura didn't say anything, so Carmilla opened her eyes to see Laura pulling a face as if she were thinking really hard.
"Well, I… This will sound ridiculous. I don't even really get it myself. But I just felt drawn to you, I guess. Because you're right, I like to think myself a good person, but I wouldn't have run back to help just anyone. But when it was you, it was like my heart ached. Like every nerve in my body was screaming to go get you. To be with you. I- I don't know. Saying this out loud? It sounds crazy. I'm just drunk, please ignore it," Laura groaned, starting to turn away, but Carmilla grasped her wrist.
"Carm, please, I don't know what I'm saying," Laura sighed. "I'm not saying… I'm not saying it was love at first sight or whatever, but it was kind of like this spark of, I don't know, desire? Like you were something I fit with and suddenly it was like…"
"Like you needed to make that connection," Carmilla finished, eyes wide. Laura's mouth twisted from emotion, her eyes filling with tears as she nodded.
"And now I think… now I think I might be in love with you? But I don't know how to face that or handle that or what that even means and you deserve so much and all I can give you is 'I just had a feeling', and I'm so sorry, Carm, I didn't want to complicate this," Laura sputtered, but Carmilla cupped her face.
"Laura, Laura, oh god, Laura," Carmilla breathed, resting her forehead against Laura's. "That feeling… that feeling is more than enough. At least I'm not the only one."
Laura sniffed, her watery eyes locking with Carmilla's. "You mean you…?"
"God, creampuff. You really are an idiot. But so am I," Carmilla whispered, tugging Laura in to press their lips together.
Laura immediately melted into her and Carmilla had to slide her hands down to support the puddle that was now Laura Hollis. Carmilla could share the sentiment. It was as it two tidal waves crashed together and now there was a calm yet intense swelling between the two of them. Like they had been begging to be together all that time, and now they could finally breathe again. Or maybe even breathe for the first time.
Laura's wandering hands creeped up, delicately placing her finger tips behind Carmilla's jaw to tug her ever closer. Carmilla took in the way Laura's lips felt, the way she tasted, and suddenly the gentle embrace wasn't enough anymore. She deepened the kiss, urging Laura's mouth open, desiring to absorb Laura as much as she could. Laura obliged easily, a certain amount of frantic passion building between them.
Carmilla became so aware of the way Laura was pressed against her again, with Laura's hands clutching at the front of her shirt. It made Carmilla flash back to the dance floor, how Laura's body folded into her, and how her hands felt brushing against her skin, and Carmilla knew she wanted it all. Wanted everything. Wanted Laura.
With some effort, she pulled back, breathing heavily. Laura's eyes were still closed, but they slowly fluttered open as if she were in a daze, and a lazy smile formed on her face.
"Wow. That exceeded my wildest dreams," Laura sighed. Carmilla chuckled, wrapping her arms around Laura's waist.
"We should probably talk, but, do you just want to not think for a little while first?" Carmilla inquired, and Laura wrinkled her nose while having a mischievous glint in her eye.
"Thinking is overrated, anyway."
Laura fell back on the bed in Carmilla's hotel room, with Carmilla following her to land on top of her. She crawled over Laura, hastily pushing the sweaty hair out of her face before swooping down to kiss Laura deeply once again. She pushed Laura down into the mattress with her weight, and Laura let out a low moan into her mouth. It was enough to drive Carmilla bonkers, but also enough to make her assess the situation.
She pulled back, still hovering over Laura.
"Laura, you're drunk," Carmilla said pointedly. Laura scoffed.
"So that's why the world is so spinny. Thank you for pointing that out," Laura laughed. "You're pretty drunk yourself, you know. You tripped three times on the way here, and we took an Uber most of the way."
"Exactly. We're both pretty drunk. I just wanted to make sure- I mean, do you want this?" Carmilla questioned. Laura let out a long sigh.
"Oh, god. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I consent. Enthusiastically, in every sense," Laura confirmed. "And if you consent too, then just fuck me already."
Carmilla leaned back farther, surprised and amused. "My, aren't we eager."
Laura groaned, lazily flailing an arm in the air. "Shut up. Do you have any idea how much I've thought about this?"
"Oh really?" Carmilla cocked an eyebrow. "So you've thought about this a lot."
"God, yes," Laura breathed, her hands creeping up Carmilla's back. "Too much."
"Mmm, I see. So tell me, when you thought of me, what'd I do, exactly?" Carmilla questioned. Laura let out a frustrated grunt.
"You were less of a teasing asshole, for one thing," Laura muttered through gritted teeth. Carmilla chuckled, leaning down to take Laura's ear lobe between her teeth, probing a catch in Laura's breath.
"Is that so? That's exactly how my fantasies went," Carmilla whispered into Laura's ear, making her shudder.
"So you… you thought of me, too," Laura gasped.
"I did. In my weakest moments. In the moments I couldn't bear to resist you anymore. You would always creep in…" Carmilla moved from Laura's ear to kissing slowly down Laura's neck. Carmilla was telling the truth. Damn, she had wanted this so bad. She had tried to avoid it, but now that Laura was in front of her, consenting?
She could finally give into her desires.
"And what would you… think about doing to me?" Laura panted, and Carmilla felt the vibrations of a guttural moan when she nipped at Laura's pulse point.
"I would think about kissing you. Just like this," Carmilla murmured, pressing her lips firmly across Laura's skin, right down to her collarbone, leaving hard and wet kisses along it. Laura's hands moved to tangle in Carmilla's hair.
"And… and then?" Laura gulped. Carmilla chuckled again, nuzzling her head up until she was face to face with Laura. She gave her a heavy kiss that lingered, before she pulled back with smirk.
"And then the fun part," Carmilla muttered, sliding her hands up into Laura's shirt. Carmilla took a moment, gliding her hand over Laura's smooth and firm abdomen to feel the sensation of Laura skin, before resting her palm over Laura's breast. Laura sucked in a deep breath, and Carmilla smothered the exhale with another kiss.
"Mm…More," Laura mumbled against Carmilla's lips. "Carm, I need more of you. All of you."
Carmilla broke the kiss, resting her forehead against Laura's and taking in the heaviness of the situation under her slowly sobering mind. She nodded, giving Laura another slow kiss before sitting up, and helping Laura tug off both of their shirts.
Laura's hands immediately went to Carmilla's stomach, doing her own exploring, before Carmilla swooped down to kiss along Laura's collarbone again. She spread the kisses along Laura's chest this time, only stopping at the fabric of Laura's bra.
Laura, getting the memo, quickly arched her back and reach behind to unclip it and pull it off.
Carmilla stopped, running her fingers over the slight swell of Laura's breast, hearing the hitch in Laura's breath as the tip of her finger flicked over the nipple.
"You're too beautiful," Carmilla breathed. Laura blushed, smiling smugly.
"Thought you said I was cute," Laura teased.
"You're everything," Carmilla murmured, leaning down to kiss over Laura's breasts. She felt the breath in Laura shudder.
"Carm…" Laura whispered. Carmilla took a deep breath, keeping her composure as she wrapped her mouth around one of Laura's nipples. "Oh, fuck…"
"This starting to match up with your fantasies a little more, creampuff?" Carmilla grinned before going back to giving Laura's swollen peak attention, nipping and sucking.
"Uh… uh huh," Laura gasped, and Carmilla felt her legs squeeze around her. "Carm, please. No more teasing. Let's just… skip ahead. Please."
"Still so eager," Carmilla chuckled.
"I need you to touch me. So bad," Laura begged, her hands clutching Carmilla's wrists. Hearing that made Carmilla feel all kinds of sensations between her own legs.
"And who am I to deny you?" Carmilla purred, reaching down to slide her hand under Laura's waistband. She stopped right above where Laura really wanted her.
"Carm. Dammit. If somebody had told me you'd be such a jerk during sex then I never would've run back to help you in Rio," Laura groaned. Carmilla rolled her eyes.
"Just let me savour you. I'd never want to take this for granted," Carmilla muttered, her hand twitching.
"…Okay, that was really sweet. I guess I would run back to get you," Laura relented, making Carmilla smile.
"Good to know."
Laura let out a gasp as Carmilla slid her hand right between Laura's legs, rubbing slowly.
"Oh, shit. Carm. Fuck," Laura moaned, but there was still a layer of fabric separating them, and Carmilla reached the point where that wasn't enough for her anymore either.
She retracted her hand and quickly helped Laura shuffle her pants and underwear off. At some point, Carmilla had lost her bra as well and Laura attached her mouth to Carmilla's nipple. The sensation was unbelievable, making Carmilla unleash a string of profanities of her own. It was almost enough to have Carmilla relent and let Laura have her way with her. Almost.
Carmilla pushed Laura down and kissed her, hard. She snaked her hand down, finding that sweet spot between Laura's legs again. Laura moaned into Carmilla's mouth as Carmilla stroked at Laura rhythmically, finding the pattern that made Laura tremble against her hand.
She broke the kiss and looked down at Laura, who had he eyes shut tight and mouth hanging open from her erratic gasping. Carmilla used her free hand to tangle it in Laura's hair.
"Hey, hey," Carmilla got Laura's attention without ceasing her movements, and Laura popped open her eyes. Those doe eyes.
She stared into them as she slipped inside of Laura, watched them widen in response and felt how Laura clenched around her fingers.
She truly was everything.
Carmilla kept up her strokes, feeling Laura build up as her back was dug into by Laura's own fingers. Laura's body eventually tensed, her lungs acting desperate for air.
"Carmilla- I'm there-!" Laura let out a final gasp, clamping around Carmilla as she devolved into spasms. Carmilla slowed her motions, taking in the sight of Laura in her euphoria as she slowly came down from her high.
Lingering only a moment before removing her hand, Carmilla moved to kiss Laura affectionately, pouring in how desperately she wanted her in that moment – how much she meant to Carmilla. The girl who ran back for her just because she couldn't help herself. Because Carmilla already meant that much to her.
Hesitantly pulling away, she looked down to see Laura looking at her with a bright smile. Carmilla returned the smile, practically purring as she moved to nuzzle her head against Laura's.
"Well, looks like that's the second time you've crossed the finish line today," Carmilla joked.
"Oh, god," Laura huffed, pushing Carmilla off her only to straddle her immediately after. "Okay, lady killer. It's your turn to walk through one of my fantasies…"
Carmilla's head was pounding. A typical symptom of a night of too much alcohol in too little time. Ugh, why hadn't she stopped at only one shot?
Not only did she had to deal with a hangover, but she also had to deal with the consequences of her drunken shenanigans. Drunken shenanigans that involved one Laura Hollis, aka Carmilla's best friend who she absolutely thought of as far more than a friend.
After a night like that, it'd be hard to go back.
She opened her eyes slowly and turned to the warm body beside her – the warm body who was wide awake and staring at her.
"Hey, sleepyhead," Laura giggled.
"Laura? How do you sound so… chipper? I feel like I got hit by a truck. Or a steamroller," Carmilla groaned.
"Oh, I rarely get hangovers," Laura admitted. Carmilla squinted at her.
"You're aware most of the population would hate you if they learned that, right?" Carmilla grumbled.
"As long as you still like me," Laura retorted, and Carmilla could tell by Laura's face that she meant beyond her hangover powers.
"Always," Carmilla assured her. Laura's smile brightened and she shuffled closer, hugging Carmilla's arm and running her fingers along Carmilla's forearm. It felt so nice it practically cured Carmilla's hangover. As long as she didn't move ever again.
"So… last night was amazing," Laura murmured. Carmilla let out a sigh, her head sinking back into the pillow.
"But?" Carmilla questioned.
"No buts. It was just amazing," Laura stated. "Why? Do you think there should be a but?"
"No, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop, I suppose," Carmilla muttered. Laura was silent a moment before hugging Carmilla's arm tighter.
"Carm, I was drunk last night, but believe me when I say I was of my right mind. I meant every word. Did I expect to admit my feelings last night? No. But considering how it turned out, I'm glad I did," she explained softly. "…Are you?"
"Of course, Laura. Of course," Carmilla breathed, reaching over to caress Laura's cheek. "I just don't know how I'm going to go back to being apart from you after this."
"I know. It feels like I'd be running on only half battery power if I had to say goodbye to you again," Laura muttered, snuggling into Carmilla's shoulder.
"What will happen? Will I not see you for another year? Will I only see you at races? I don't want this to be… that," Carmilla sighed.
"Me neither. Which is why I have… a proposal," Laura offered. Carmilla furrowed her brow.
"Damn, Cupcake. I get you in bed once and you're already thinking about marriage," Carmilla snorted.
"Ugh, Carm. That's not what I meant. I mean, what if after this world championship, you start running for Team Canada," Laura suggested. Carmilla stared at her wide-eyed.
"Well, you're Canadian. Right? So you can qualify and I know our coaches would love to have you. Not that you have to work under our coaches, I know you'd probably be uneasy with that, and that's fine, you can do your own training. But the team. The team would love to have someone as talented as you. And I'd love to have you, and-" Laura's cut off by Carmilla's finger on her lips.
"Cupcake, that sounds right up my alley," Carmilla smirked. It looked as though new life was breathed into Laura.
"So you'll look into it?" Laura questioned.
"We'll figure it out," Carmilla nodded.
Laura let out an excited giggle and pushed forward, giving Carmilla an enthusiastic kiss, followed by a rapid succession of mini kisses. As much as Carmilla enjoyed it, that hangover was very much still prevalent.
"Whoa, Laura, we don't all share your ability to avoid hangovers," Carmilla groaned.
"Sorry!" Laura winced, deciding instead to soothingly caress along Carmilla's hairline. "Have to make sure you're all better for Sunday's race. Got to show the world we don't just run a good round one race."
"Hmm, yes. It'd be a shame if I were to fall again," Carmilla chuckled. Laura gave Carmilla a small peck on the cheek.
"Even if you do, I'll always be there to run back and help you on your feet again," Laura promised. Carmilla's heart filled with warmth at the sentiment, and she knew Laura meant that in more than just a race scenario.
"Right back at you, creampuff."
Author's Note: Obviously I got this idea a while back, since it's based on a true thing that happened in the Rio Olympics this year. I just... took a little longer than anticipated to write it. BUT HEY. Look, here it is! I hope you enjoyed it. Leave me a review if you did. Or don't. As usual, I don't own you. But I'd appreciate it if you did!