A/N: Originally written and posted on my AO3 account July 2015.

"I'm not afraid of you, Carmilla. You won't hurt me. I know you won't!" Despite the vampire having backed her up against the love seat – after yet another endless argument over how cold and distant she was being towards her former lover – Laura felt no fear. No matter what had happened between them lately, Laura still firmly believed that she was safe with her.

"That a fact, Creampuff? How much would you be willing to wager on that? Hmm?" Carmilla kept advancing, forcing Laura to drop down on to the love-seat and scramble back. The human girl let out a terrified squeak as Carmilla climbed on to the seat, laying her body over Laura's and wrapping a hand around her throat. "Would you bet your life on it?"

Carmilla's eyes were bottomless pits of inky blackness as she stared the other girl down. Her grip on Laura's throat wasn't tight enough to hurt her, but it was enough to drive her point home.

"Yes." Laura's voice was small, but filled with conviction. Her tongue darted out over her dry lips, catching Carmilla's attention. It took a herculean effort for the vampire to stop herself from bending down and taking Laura's bottom lip between her own. "Yes, I'd bet my life on it."

"Damn it, Laura!" Carmilla growled out, her voice as coarse as sandpaper as she relaxed her grip on Laura's throat. "What will it take for you to get it in to that thick skull of yours? I'm a monster! Nothing is going to change that... Not even you."

"I don't believe that!" Unshed tears were glistening in the younger girl's eyes as she met Carmilla's glare, staring her right in the eye. "You have changed! Even if it was just with me, it's a start. You could be so much more..."

"Why aren't I enough for you the way I am? Why do you feel this incessant need for me to be more?" Carmilla's voice faltered as she sat up, finally releasing her hold on Laura's neck. She didn't try to run, or to scream for help from LaF or the others in the house. Laura didn't need to. There was nothing for her to fear.

"You were...you are! I just, I need you step up here, Carm. The school needs you –"
"You're still not listening." Carmilla shook her head, her soft curls falling over her face. "Maybe we're both guilty of expecting too much from the other." Without warning, the brooding vampire moved back in close, capturing Laura's mouth with her own.

Laura's lips parted in surprise, but the kiss was nothing like they'd shared in the past. It had all of the desperation of their very first, but none of the promise. "Why is it so easy for me to love you... and so damn hard to hate you?" Carmilla sighed as their lips finally parted, their foreheads resting together, nose to nose.

Laura tried to initiate another kiss. A tiny glimmer of hope was growing inside of her chest, like a flower arching its delicate petals to the morning sun. Carmilla turned her head away. Laura's kiss landed on her jaw, and what faith the, ever-optimistic, teen had left wilted away in to nothingness.

Carmilla stood and headed for the door, pausing with her hand on the frame, she tossed a single glance back over her shoulder. "I'm doing this for you, Creampuff. You deserve better..."

"I want you!" Laura protested, her tears finally falling freely as she pulled her knees up to her chest. "Stay! Please... I can't do this without you, Carm. I need you!"
"No. You don't." Carmilla shook her head forlornly, trying to hide her own tears. "You need the idea of me. That's not quite the same thing, Poptart." With that, she slipped out of the room she and Laura had shared for the last few weeks, off in search of another room in the house to call her own.

Staying in Mother's house had nothing to do with pride or petty vindictiveness. Even if they were no longer together, Carmilla would die before she let anything happen to Laura. She needed to be close by; in case Mattie made a move on the meddling teen, or if those crazy fish cultists tried something.

Laura had been right about one thing at least. Carmilla would never hurt her. Nobody else would either, not while Carmilla still had breath in her undead body. She had already died for Laura Hollis once before, and she'd do it all over again; in a heartbeat.

Love, after all, was all about sacrifice...

No one knew that better than Carmilla Karnstein.