Your name is Rose Lalonde, and you are very, very gay. This is not a surprise to you, of course. You've been aware of your attraction to women since the first time you saw evil alt-world Willow during your middle school Buffy the Vampire Slayer binge, and the path that led you from then to your current point in time was lined in many more beautiful, vaguely dangerous women for you to lust over and dream of looking like. Still, though, it's not often that you're reminded of the gayer side of your raging bisexuality quite so intensely as is happening right now. You are reliving the Willow Experience in a coffee shop, and if you didn't know better, you'd say that Sappho herself must have blessed this instance with heavenly waves of pure, unadulterated gal-pal cravings.

In other words, the woman sitting a few tables away from you is the most beautiful individual you have ever had the privilege of laying eyes on, and you're exhausted enough to toy with the idea of believing in love at first sight.

She's looking down, fiddling with something that you can't see but presume to be her phone, and you are awestruck. Her hair is dark and styled, not a strand out of place, into an interesting cut that gets longer as it goes up her head, longish "bangs" swooping elegantly past her forehead in a way that seems to almost defy gravity. Her skin looks smooth and blemishless even from a distance, its rich tannish color even throughout. And, of course, her style is impeccable. She has on a jade green sweater and what look like high waisted slacks. It's all very mature and elegant looking, and you wonder to yourself how old she is. That, and how she gets her lipstick so perfect. And if she'd be willing to ravish you.

Wait. No. Stop it.

You take a deep breath and try to regain your composure. The woman flutters her eyelashes and touches a hand to her lips in a gesture of surprise at something on her unseen screen. You are anything but calm.

In an attempt to ensure that the woman doesn't notice your staring and forever shun you as a creep/stalker, you grab the newspaper from the table next to you and open it to a random page. You scan the words, not paying much attention until a strange word catches your eye. You notice the word "vampire" in the middle of one of the main articles, and it catches your interest enough that you return to the top of the page and begin to read.

The article is about a kid from your university that claims somebody attacked him and drank his blood. He has a wound on his neck and was found passed out in an alley downtown. It's obvious the reporter that wrote it doesn't believe him, but it does include a quote from him defending the veracity of his claims. "I know what this sounds like," He said. "Some freshman kid does too many drugs at a party and does something stupid with his friend, then makes up some wild story to divert the police, but I swear to God I'm telling the truth."

You agree with him there. It's not impossible that he and a friend might have gotten high enough on something or other to think it was a good idea to "become vampires" and suck each other's blood, and not impossible is a lot more than you can say for the alternative explanation.

You reach for your coffee and hazard a glance upward as you take a sip. The woman is standing up and gathering her things, revealing her impressive height and the soft curves of her body and oh, vampire or not, you sure would love to take a bite out of that.

Goddamnit.

You bury your nose in the newspaper again and start reading an article about the city's controversial decision to replace some benches. It's terribly boring, and you decide you'd rather reread the vampire article. Upon second examination, you realize that the paper is about ten months old. You have no idea why the hell it was sitting out in a coffee shop so long after its publication.

While you reread the article, the woman brushes past your table. You glance up at her as she does so, and she smiles at you. It's the most amazing smile you've ever seen, and by the time you realize you ought to have smiled back instead of staring in wide-eyed awe, she's already out the door.

As a consolation to yourself, you reapply your lipstick and take another sip of your coffee. The act of leaving a fresh lipstick stain on something has always been satisfying to you, as if some primal part of your brain still feels the urge to mark its territory. You stare at the cup and imagine leaving that black kiss shape in other places. At first the woman's and then, when you realize that might be crossing the line of acceptable fantasies about strangers, on the skin of some abstract, faceless female lover. You imagine the feeling of soft skin under your lips rather than an eco friendly one hundred percent post consumer biodegradable paper coffee cup. You need a girlfriend.

At least, you think to yourself, the coffee is pretty good. You decide to come back to this shop.

The walk back to your dorm is, according to your mental calculations, approximately four hundred and thirteen times worse than your time in the coffee shop. While the interior of High Ground Coffee was warm, well decorated, and populated by the most beautiful woman you'd ever seen and a friendly barista with a Buffy pin on her apron, the streets of campus are cold, wet, and populated by absolutely fucking nobody. You kick yourself again for choosing a dorm on the west side of town. You were so bewitched by its interesting gothic exterior and in-building dining hall that you forgot to account for the fact that you have to cross a river to get from it to, y'know, anything. You should have just lived in the honors dorm like your mom wanted, but you had to be spiteful and contrary.

There is, you know, no turning back now. The time for regrets and room change request forms has passed, and there is nothing left for you to do but trudge through the slushy flurry and try not to think about how cold and windy crossing the bridge will be. It will be very cold. And very windy.

You decide to take a shortcut and use the path that goes behind the library, as it will shave a minute or two from you walk. You'd normally never stray from the main roads so late at night (It's only about eight pm, but it's been dark since before five), but you've yet to see another person since you left downtown. You're pretty sure that A: somebody could grab you right out on the street and have no more witnesses than in a back alley, and B: even the predators have either gone home for winter break or holed up indoors to avoid the weather like sensible people. You figure you maybe ought to regret your choice of which night to finally go check out the new coffee place, but hell, at least you got to ogle somebody pretty. Wait, no. You frown, disappointed by your mental narrative's poor word choice. She wasn't just pretty; she was bewitching, beautiful, ethereal

Lost in thought, you dart through a courtyard and up the stairs that lead to the path behind the library. The cold brick face of the building looms on your left side, and a fenced off set of train tracks block all escape to the right. You make a silent prayer to your dead cat Jaspers (you've been praying to him since you decided that God wasn't real at age twelve) and begin the next phase of your trek.

As you walk, something begins to come into focus that you very much wish was not there. There's a dark shape crumpled on the grassy side of the path, a very large dark shape. You don't want to turn around, so you've no choice but to approach it. The closer you get, the more it looks like a person. You hope it's just some passed out drunk kid and not a freezing homeless person. Or, actually, you think, maybe not a passed out drunk kid. You're pretty sure anyone unconscious out here for too long would freeze.

Then, much sooner than you would have liked, you reach the shape. It's a person alright, but it's an unmoving person wrapped up in several layers of coat and blanket. A very big part of you wants to leave immediately now that you know whoever this is has on winter gear, but your fear of reading about the police finding a dead body behind the library in the morning eggs you on. You have to know, so you tiptoe closer.

From up close, you can tell this person is very much unwell. They look pale and clammy and, despite the blankets, very cold. You hold a hand up near their face and can feel shallow, warmish breath. That's good. You take a step back and clear your throat.

"Excuse me sir, or ma'am… or whoever… are you alright?" There is no response, so you raise your voice and try again. "Excuse me, are you okay?" No answer. You waffle back and forth for a moment, unsure of what to do. In the end, your inner do-gooder overpowers your desire to just get somewhere fucking warm already, so you step back from the unknown unconscious person and steel yourself to call the police. When you feel as ready as you'll ever be, you unlock your phone and dial 911. The ringing sound is deafening over the silent snowy night.

"911, what's your emergency?"

"Hi. I, um, I found somebody passed out in the snow. I tried a little to wake them up but it didn't work, and also it's very cold, so I think they might be in trouble."

"Okay. Can you tell me where you are?"

"I'm on the university campus. I don't know the address, but I'm on the sidewalk that goes behind the main library building. Along the train tracks."

"Alright, thank you. It'll just take a minute or two for us to send an ambulance over. Are you alright to stay outside for that long?"

"Yes, I'm wearing winter things. I can stay out here if you need me."

"Alright dear. An ambulance was just dispatched. It'll just be a minute now."

As she speaks, you hear the sound of a siren begin to echo over the silent quiet campus. You're impressed it's that loud from all the way over the river.

"Okay."

"I've also sent a campus police officer your way to get a statement and help you home. There was one close by, so they should just be a minute or two as well.

"Okay."

The woman on the other line continues to talk beyond that, but you stop listening once you're sure that she isn't saying anything important. The wind has slowed down, leaving the world still and frozen save for the slow fall of snowflakes and the sirens getting louder by the second. You wonder when your life turned into a shitty movie. This isn't the type of thing that happens to real people in real life. The ambulance pulls up to the street at the far end of the path, bathing you in flashing red light. You decide that, at the very least, the weird melodrama your life has become ought to be well shot. You could do some real interesting effects with the flashing lights and the snow.

The paramedics rush down the path to you, speaking brusquely as they look over the unconscious person. They ask questions about how you found the body, what you've done to it, etc. One of them thanks you for calling them, which is nice, but the rest of the ordeal is nothing more than stressful. Once they've assured that the person isn't about to die, they lift them up onto a gurney and whisk them away. You overhear a comment about how the blanket pile (which they left behind) was keeping the person alive despite the cold, and another one about a wound in the person's neck. You wish that someone else was with you to take a picture of you in the flashing lights. You bet you'd look quite striking.

Just as the paramedics reach the ambulance with the gurney, a campus police officer appears walking toward you from the other end of the path. You sigh, resigning yourself to the fact that you have to think about what's going on again. It's a lot colder when you let yourself be aware.

The officer is a tall, muscular woman whose name badge reads Sandra Ramirez, and she quickly proves to be the least interesting part of the whole ordeal, asking all the same questions you already answered to the paramedics and the woman on the phone. When she finally finishes, she offers you a ride back to your dorm in her car. Your fingers are going numb, so you decide to oblige.

You try your best to distract yourself for the few minutes it takes to get home. Your really, really do not want to think about the weird hollow face of the person that you found, but it's hard not to. You know it's unhealthy to fixate on a stranger, but the only thing that works to clear all the unpleasantness from your mind is thoughts of the beautiful woman from the coffee place.

You continue to dwell on her as you thank the officer for the ride, enter your building, and climb four and a half flights of stairs to reach your room on the top floor (the elevator here is shaky and very slow. You very much do not trust it.)

Despite the cold and the snow and the night's events, you decide you'll be returning to High Ground.


Reposted from Ao3.

This was supposed to be a fucking oneshot.