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Life Goes On
Series: Old Bloods
Length: 1000
Summary: After being turned into a vampire, Carlisla has a bit of an adjustment period.
Notes: Takes place after The Undying Bride. This story is an ooooold one, from way back in Journeython, about a year ago. It was originally prompted by Lydean (silvercat17) and was sponsored by the Patreon crew! It was one of the poll winners.


It takes a while for Carlisla to adjust to being a vampire. The first few weeks are all cop reports, doctor visits, saving her dog, and paperwork. After that, she settles into a haze of pretending nothing's changed. She goes to her Biters Anonymous meetings. She visits the old bloods and reads books. She smiles and laughs like usual, busies herself fussing over Lacey, mechanically attempting exciting new recipes that suit her new diet. (Sashimi! Blood pudding! Steak tartare!) She tries to pretend that the change is purely in lifestyle.

Then, one night while watching a documentary about killer weather on Neptune, it hits her like a bolt from above. She sits there with her carefully spiced mug of hot blood, and she realizes: she will never go to space.

It's not that she ever wanted to go to space, really, but there was always the knowledge that she could, in some hypothetical escapist fantasy. Like winning the lottery. But in space, there is no shield from the sun, not unless they put her in a blood coma and shipped her to the dark side of the moon, and there is no blood on the moon. It's settled, finalized; she can not go to space. She can't even see the sun—not more than once, anyway.

She bawls through the rest of the documentary while Lacey licks her knees and tries to comfort her.

For the next month, Carli doesn't visit any of her friends. She doesn't go to Biters Anonymous. She exhumes herself from her bed only to take care of Lacey, feed, and go to the bathroom. One positive about being a vampire; her new physiology is suited to hibernation, and she only has a bowel movement once a week. If she wants, she can turn herself into a blanket burrito and sleep forever—or until Lacey jams her wet nose into Carli's face. Whichever comes first.

Dammit, she looked forward to getting old and wrinkly. She aspired to outdo her grandmother in geriatric punk rockery. Now her body will never age. She'll appear twenty-three forever. She'll never get a sunburn again. Catch a cold again. Eat Jamie's vegan chili again. Donate blood again. Hell, she'll never have a period again, and it's not like she ever really enjoyed having it, but to have some choice in the matter would've been fucking nice.

Terry had no right to do this to her. She hasn't heard him in her head since whatever Toriana and O'Sullivan did to get her dog back, but everything her new body does reminds her of him.

Lacey whines and paws at the blankets. With a sigh, Carli gets up to find the leash. Just because she's miserable doesn't mean her dog should be too.

Carli doesn't exercise just with Lacey anymore. Too stressful. But she's not the only nocturnal person on her street; her friend Jamie works the graveyard shift part-time at Rochester General, and he's off half the week. After checking her calendar and attempting to comb her hair and get dressed like a person, Carli goes to knock on his door.

He doesn't answer the door; he only calls, “it's open.” When Carli comes in, he's lying on the couch.

“Oh, shit,” Carli says. “I guess you're not up to running tonight.”

He shakes his head and rubs his eyes. “Sorry. I've been house-bound all week.”

Carli nods. She knows Jamie has trouble sometimes, though she doesn't know the details. She figures it's none of her business.

Unfortunately, she really doesn't want to go running with just Lacey. She's changed her schedule, changed her route, but still, still

Jamie must read some of the anxiety in her face, because he says, “We could watch a movie.”

There's a Tupperware on the coffee table, and she catches a hint of his chili on the air, spicy and savory. Tears prick her eyes. “No, no, I just… need to be outside. Get the blood flowing, you know?” Not that she needs to, anymore.

“Sorry,” Jamie says with a hint of a wry smile. “I'd love to be outside, but running...”

“I could carry you,” Carli says, trying to sound lighthearted. “You're not that big, and I have super-vampire strength now.”

“Nah. Holding on sounds way too much for me. But I do have a chair.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Well, uh, sure! If it won't make you feel worse, I mean…”

“I've been stuck inside for days. If you're willing to push and accept that I'm out of it, I'd love some fresh air.”

So instead of jogging around the neighborhood with Lacey, Carli takes a nice, slow, moonlit walk around with Jamie in his wheelchair. Lacey even lets him hold her leash, which is a first. Maybe in his chair, Jamie is some special kind of robo-human in her doggy brain, more acceptable than the other kind.

They don't talk, just stroll. The sky is clear, and the air is cool. The silence isn't awkward at all, and Jamie does seem happy to be out, even if he's too tired to show it too much.

It's nice out, Carli realizes. She can't remember the last time she really noticed or enjoyed her surroundings.

“I've been feeling crummy too,” she admits.

“Yeah?” he says.

“Yeah. But you know, I think I'll be okay.”

He looks up at her, and his eyes are tired, but he smiles. “That's good to hear,” he says. “Who else would I inflict my schedule on?”

She laughs. It feels good, and they walk under a vast blanket of stars, moons, and planets. Nothing bad happens.
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