lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (edward cullen)
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This story was prompted by [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious, using the lyric "your heart is the only place I'll call home," and sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] chaoticevil!  Happy homeathon, everyone!

Going Home

Larry had been missing for a couple hours when the police came.

Luis didn’t remember hanging up on Mary Ann, Larry’s wife emeritus. He didn’t remember going to the door, or opening it, but he remembered the police officer, and her solemn expression.

“Mr. Roth?”

Luis had always been prone to panic. How funny, now he couldn’t feel anything at all…

“I’m afraid I have some bad news…”

The next few hours passed in a blur. Call Mary Ann back. Explain. Pack Angel into the car, leaving her Spaghetti-O’s on the table. Drive--not walk--to Mary Ann’s, drop off Angel, pick up Mary Ann, drive to hospital. Keep breathing, in two three, out two three. Focus on traffic and the breath. Don’t think, just do.

Hospital. Paperwork. What was Larry’s insurance number? Group plan? Had he ever had any heart problems? Between the two of them, Mary Ann and Luis managed to cover most of everything, and it was only when they were ushered into the waiting room that Luis succumbed to the panic attack that’d been building in his chest since the original phone call.

If Larry had been there, he would’ve put a hand on Luis’s back, pressed Luis’s hand to his chest, and breathed deep and slow until Luis synchronized with him. Larry had always been the calm, dependable one. Even when the feral hemophages had started cropping up, younger and younger, Larry had insisted on taking his evening walk. If racists and cops weren’t enough to disrupt his routine, he sure wasn’t going to give in to vampire teenyboppers.

But now a pack of them had Larry in the ER. (Mary Ann was cursing them under her breath; her stress reaction was anger, not fear.)

Luis knew nothing about hemophagia, except what everyone else knew. (Oh god. Did Larry’s health insurance cover hemophagia? How much did treatment cost?) Would Larry be changed (if he lived)? If so, what…

No. The teenyboppers hadn’t gotten treatment, hadn’t had support. Surely Larry wouldn’t be like that. Their crotchety old neighbor, Han, he was a vampire, and he never did anything more sinister then rant about modern youth. Surely being a hemophage wasn’t a mental death sentence. Larry would be fine. He’d stay his calm smiling, unshakable self.

If he lived.


The nurse came out and told them Larry was stable, and that he'd be in the hospital for a week, no visitors allowed. Mary Ann tried to push it, but to no avail. The doctors gave them some pamphlets on hemophagia, and with utmost politeness, kicked them both out of the hospital.

They sat in the parking lot, on Larry's car's bumper. Luis’s panic had run its course, leaving him exhausted and numb. Mary Ann’s curly hair hung around her face in straggles; she looked like she wanted to be angry, but didn’t have the energy. It was only nine-thirty, but it felt much later.

“Son of a bitch,” Mary Ann said, rubbing her face.

Luis couldn’t have agreed more.

Mary Ann took a deep breath, straightened her back, and leaped into action.

“Okay. We have one week. I’ll tell Angel what happened. I want you to stay with us tonight; with Larry… sick, she should be around as many of her co-parents as possible.”

Luis nodded. He was too drained to protest.

“Tonight, we’ll rest. But tomorrow,” her eyes glinted, “tomorrow, we work. Larry’s been through hell; we can make it easier.”

Luis smiled. “You do hardware, I do soft.”

“It’s on.”

The next day, they went into action. Mary Ann went off to buy blackout curtains, synthetic plasma, and whatever else. Luis went to the phone.

For all his anxiety, Luis had spent years in medical reception, and there was not a human alive he couldn’t get on the line. He called his workplace, Larry’s, and after a moment’s thought, Mary Ann’s. (He guessed right; she’d forgotten to call out.)

Thankfully, Larry’s health plan wasn’t work-based. Unfortunately, as Luis’s next call proved, it didn’t cover hemophagia.

“We’re sorry; we can’t insure someone who’s dead.”

“He’s not dead! He’s in the hospital right now!”

“I’m sorry, sir, but part of hemophagia is the host legally dying, and we can’t insure a dead person. Do you have proof of his being alive?”

Next stop: Larry’s life insurance company.

“I’m sorry, sir, our policies specifically forbid hemophagia as part of our plans. We were getting so many cases of insurance fraud…”

Next: call the hospital. But due to Luis only being attacked the night before, they had no records ready yet. They said it might be ready in “two to three weeks.” However, they did have the bills, which were at a thousand and climbing.

Larry had always been the breadwinner of the family. Luis was just a part-time receptionist. Now they had lost over two-thirds of their income, plus this. And Angel would be going back to school in August, and she needed new things, and the rent…

Wait. Wait a minute.

Luis grabbed pen and paper. He worked some quick calculations. Add the savings, subtract the bills, add Luis’s income, subtract the rent…

Oh god.

Luis took a few deep breaths and meditated for half an hour. Then he called Mary Ann.


Hemophagia took a great toll on the body at first. Larry was a big, fit man, but now his flesh hung off his bones, and he needed Luis’s arm to make it up the stairs into their new, tiny apartment.

“Mary Ann got you blackout curtains, so you can sleep during the day,” Luis said, squeezing his arm. “And she stocked you up on plasma. Are you hungry?”

Larry shook his head. “Just tired.”

“Which would you rather? Bed? Couch?”

“Bed. I’ll just watch a movie, rest a bit…” They reached the new room, and Larry paused. “Is that my old shag carpet? You hate this carpet.”

Luis hugged him. “But I love you. For that, I’ll put up with the carpet here. And believe me, I checked; the carpet underneath is even more hideous.”

Larry chuckled, and Luis put him to bed. Larry, always so strong, needed help getting into his pajamas, and that done, he collapsed on his pile of pillows like he’d run a marathon. Luis put on Kinky Boots for him, and sat next to him on the bed.

Larry was smiling. “You hate this movie too.”

Luis leaned over and kissed him. “I don’t care. You’re home.”

Date: 2013-06-25 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nevacaruso.livejournal.com
You did a great job of sketching out a believable alternate reality, and the relationships between Larry, Luis, and Mary Ann were wonderful. And I love the ending. An excellent piece, well worth the wait!

Date: 2013-06-25 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
I enjoyed writing them, and I hope to do more with the Old Bloods universe. The tropes are just so much fun to break! (Plus it gives me a great reason to use my Edward Cullen icon.)

--Rogan
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