She ends up marrying a doctor.

Not a doctor for the supernatural like Ludwig, not even an actual supe who'd managed to make time for med school. Just a normal, human doctor, one who's tall and handsome and also a pretty good guy - the kind her grandmother would have approved of - and one whose thoughts she can hear as easily as she hears her own. It's definitely not a life she would have dared to imagine possible a few years back, and she knows all too well how many women her age want a husband like hers - loving, hard working, loyal. She could spend hours trying and would not be able to come up with a single unsatisfactory thing about him, really. Well, maybe he is a fragile sort of fellow, but that's okay because she is perfectly capable of protecting him from what he can't handle (-and, if you ask her, honesty is way overrated).

Married life is just as calm and peaceful as she'd imagined it would be. What she appreciates the most, in fact, is the unprecedented predictability of her routine. She works as a secretary to a local insurance salesman, and every Tuesday she works late and the Doctor gets home before she does and makes her dinner. She washes the dishes. Every other day they switch tasks - she cooks, he cleans. They talk about their days at the dining table. They go to sleep at the same time and he lies on the left side of the bed with an arm thrown around her waist. Once he falls asleep she gently removes the arm and puts some space between them, so she'll be able to sleep without his touching her and pouring all his thoughts and feelings and dreams into her head.

Then, once every four months, she takes a "business trip" and goes back to her hometown and to her ancient, perfectly intact family house. It's especially nice to sleep in the big bed all by herself and no one else's thoughts ringing in her ear, but she'll also enjoy the warmer weather and old friends' faces. Often, too, there is trouble somewhere in the surrounding supernatural community and she gets to put her abilities to use, picking out traitors and murderers and unmasking conspiracies. She might call herself a freelancer, and bringing actual money back home nulls the guilt of lying to her family and keeps her believing she can have the boring life she always wanted while still occasionally visiting all the excitement she'd abandoned. Have her cake and eat it too, and all that.

And she doesn't even feel guilty yet.

"I take it you're not divorced yet?" the vampire asks one night, as he does every time she sees him.

She rolls her eyes. "No, and not planning on it, either."

He sighs dramatically. "I can wait," he says, and this he also says often, though in varying degrees of impatience.

"Well, you better find yourself a nice, comfy chair." It's just a friendly game of conversational ping pong, she tells herself-and it's one she can win, for a change.

"You'd be surprised at how long I can go without resting my legs."

She nods, playing along. "Until sunrise, I bet."

"Sometimes longer."

At that she frowns, silently calling him a liar. "Not a lot, though."

He smiles dispassionately, fangs carefully hidden and teeth abnormally white. "Like I said, lover: you'd be surprised"

It is still two years before she is bored and three before she is miserable.

Her trips to Louisiana become longer and longer, sometimes lasting more than a whole week, and when she does finally go back home, she wishes she hadn't. The doctor is loud and his thoughts begin to annoy her, in great part because she can hear how little he notices and how easily he convinces himself nothing is wrong. A mean little voice in some dark corner of her mind wonders, aggravated, if she'd put her life in the hands of a doctor who is stupid enough not to realize his wife has lied to him through an entire marriage. The better part of her tells it to shut up.

But, at one point, inevitably, he comes home to find her with her bags packed and The Papers on the table. She's made sure to mark all the places he'd need to sign. Plus, she'll let him keep her favorite pen.

He cries. She apologizes, but is surprised to find that she is once again more irritated than actually sympathetic. It is ironic, in a twisted way, that she should spend the early part of her life having to learn how to convince the people around her that she is, in fact, not a freak of nature just so she would later reject the one person who finally believes her.

But she goes home anyway, and finds it is a comfort to walk up to the front door of the old family farmhouse and see that nothing has changed.

The first thing she does as its reinstated resident is to open all the windows and let some sunlight in, and then getting the dust off the furniture, vacuuming both floors and weeding the garden.

The doctor will get over it, someday, she keeps assuring herself throughout the cleaning frenzy. She'll look after him, too, if he ever needs her help. She'll check up on him from time to time and see to it that no one ever lies to him again. She will resort to overcompensation until she feels she's repaired a good enough part of the damage she's caused, if only because it's the best plan she can come up with.

Then, on her second night back, someone knocks on her door. Loudly and impatiently, like they don't see the use of having to announce their presence in the first place.

It had taken her years to teach the vampire not to come in through the window in her bedroom, and more time after that to convince him to knock instead of using the spare key he knows she keeps under a certain floorboard in the front porch. Not that he couldn't kick the door down, too, if he wanted, as he'd pointedly reminded her a couple of times, fangs out and eyebrows knit together.

"Are you still playing doctor's housewife?" is the first thing he says, as casually as if he'd actually asked 'may he please come in'.

"Nope," she answers automatically and decidedly unaffected. "Not since yesterday mornin'."

He raises his eyebrows, smirk wiped off his face. "...does that mean you're done with your little experiment?"

She sighs and steps aside to let him in. "Looks like it, yeah."

"That's good news." He steps inside and looks down at her expectantly. "So, what's the verdict?" he asks.

After reaching behind him and locking the door, she meets his stare evenly and takes a deep breath.

It is time to present the results of the study of a lifetime, announce to the world at large what she has learned from this particularly long and painful experience, thus proving to the vampire and all who had tried to discourage her that it had not all been entirely worthless. So it would have to sound confident and eloquent, she notes to herself.

"Marrying a human and not telling him I'm a telepathic, part-fairy orphan is not a good idea and will not make me feel happy or fulfilled in any way."

She huffs a bit when she is done and the vampire is still struggling to process what might have been called a sudden outburst if it hadn't been such a calm and straightforward statement of fact. But, to his credit, he only looks taken aback for a second or two, and then he just stands there in contemplative silence, failing to hide a slight undertone of amusement from his blank expression. The one which, incidentally, she manages to perfectly mimic, the way she's learned how to do after years of careful observation.

If he intends to make this a contest, she will stay on her feet and not say a word until the sun rises and sets him on fire.

But he unexpectedly takes a step forward and places a hand on her shoulder. "I'm certainly glad it only took you four years to figure this out, lover," he tells her dryly. Then he frowns and the humor is drained from his face. "Though I can't understand why you couldn't have just believed me the first time I told you this."

"The first time?" she asks, pretending to be picking through memories. "Was that the one argument where you punched a hole through my century-old living room wall?"

He glares, taking back his hand. "No, lover, I think it was the one where you perked up your nose and remained inflexibly and infuriatingly bullheaded throughout its whole entirety." She is staring indignantly up at him when he suddenly smiles and adds "...and I recall paying for the repairs."

He had also overdone it by a couple of zeroes, if she remembers correctly. "Only fair," she mutters meekly.

Now that she is visibly frustrated - arms crossed, a deep crease between her eyes and something on her shoes which seems to demand her full attention - he is still indecipherable and she no longer has the energy to play his game.

"Well, I'm glad I did it," she lets out, and refuses to look back up at him to check his reaction. "I always wondered if I could, and now the mystery's solved and I don't have to wonder anymore. Maybe you-all knew it was gonna turn out like this, but now I've gone and seen it for myself. " She does look up before she asks, briskly, "Isn't that better?"

She feels she knows him well enough, now, to figure out what's on his mind even if her sixth sense won't acknowledge anything but a big black hole of nothingness where there should be an intricate stream of consciousness. She'd bet anything he is thinking of how much he would like to call her an idiot - because that's what he thinks she is, and also what he thinks of what she's done - and then storm out in a hissy fit, just to make sure she gets the point.

And it might really have been what he wanted to do - but at least it's not what he actually does.

"Yes," he says instead, just a little bit exasperated. "I suppose it is."

People don't surprise her often, is the thing about being telepathic, so that's probably why she'd forgotten this was one of the vampire's special powers.

Later, she could already guess, they would have another argument - one that would undoubtedly end with his reluctant agreeing to leave, unsatisfied and sexually charged, while she sat on her bed and hugged her own knees, unsatisfied and sexually charged, wondering how long one must wait after one's divorce is final to fuck a vampire and not feel guilty about it.

Now, she stands on her toes and kisses him the way she'd kissed her friend Harry in the third grade - quickly and dryly, barely giving him time to close his eyes.

"I'll get you a bottle of blood," she says, regaining her composure instantly, as if nothing had happened.

It might be safe to assume thousand year-old creatures tend to be faster learners than regular humans and their life expectancies of less-than-a-hundred. No one can adapt to new concepts like someone who has had to do it for over a millennium, whether they wanted to or not, and the one following her to the kitchen should be no exception.

A little bit of hopeful optimism begins to materialize in an unguarded moment, and she wonders if she can show him how to work the dishwasher.