I - Coexist


Trina remembers it better than you do. She had been just old enough to understand what was happening while you had been too busy with a pair of Barbies on the living room floor. She tells you about it sometimes - about how Mom had clutched Dad's shaking hands and she had never seen them look so scared before and how you almost moved to a different state, a different country, because so many of them came out in California and just how terrifying it all was that first year.

People lost their faith in the moon.

But you grew up with it. It was taught in your elementary school. There were programs on TV depicting pale, glowing-eyed men and women with (no teeth) smiles, urging everyone to keep an open mind, to accept this new group, this new species, because we are all inhabitants of Earth and we must learn to live as one; Coexist, as it were, which is no longer just a word to you, but an entire movement. It represents these people, this race who has lived alongside every other creature for centuries, hiding in the shadows, living in the dark. You watched as they evolved from horror stories to reality, from misunderstood monsters of the night to celebrities, politicians, teachers, the night bus driver and a man living by himself two blocks away from your house. Of course, it hadn't been a bumpless ride - you were too little, but Trina remembers the riots, the Hunters, who are still a threat to this day, working underground to capture the demons of the moon and force them into the sunlight. Your parents have told you about the Mortal Protection Act, the Trackers, how even your mother started carrying around a crucifix in her purse. Churches banned them. Scientists begged to keep them as lab rats for testing. They were ejected from their jobs if their true identity was leaked, and they all began to clump together, finding strength in numbers. To this day, a large portion of them live in Mortal-less zones, largely in Washington and Oregon.

There were rallies. There were parades. There were casualties on both sides. Hunters left behind burnt bodies in the shape of crosses. Mortals were found completely drained in street allies in retaliation. People died just because they supported one side or the other, and silver bullets became a common purchase.

The world, however, was wonderful at adapting, and so it did. You remember learning about it the for the first time when you were eight, sitting cross-legged on the blue and red checkered mat in the Reading Corner, and your teacher - a plump, happy woman with big cheeks and a loud laugh - pulled out a book called Night People. The story was short and really nothing more than a few drawings of Mortals and Non-Mortals being friends. It was the first children's book about them, a best seller, and single-handedly responsible for launching Coexist. After that, they slowly came out of the woodwork; firemen. Soldiers. Singers. Actors. Writers. People who could still contribute to society. They're stronger and faster than Mortals, have more endurance, can do things people like you just can't and slowly, society opened its arms again. They embraced these Others because they saw benefits; medical, financial. They're breathtakingly gorgeous with a beauty that will never age, employees that will (theoretically) never die, workers one will never have to replace or worry about falling ill or getting pregnant. Suddenly, they were important again, and you grew up conditioned to believe that they were just an evolution in the species; equals.

By the time you hit high school, you had already seen a handful of them up close. A waiter at a restaurant, a policewoman, a homeless man wasting away behind a dumpster. You even saw a little boy once, who wasn't a little boy at all - he carried a suitcase in one hand, a cellphone in the other, and you learned later that he was a professor at a nearby university. Sometimes it was hard to tell, but they had a few defining characteristics; the eerie, glowing quality to their irises, the overly pale complexions - one would assume the teeth would be a big give-away, but you understand their anatomy enough to know that their canines can retract, that only upon close inspection could someone really tell the difference. They were few and far between but never not there, and between the times you happened to catch a glimpse of one, they were all over the TV and billboards and magazines because none of them needed photoshop to look like gods.

It wasn't as hard for you as it was for those before you to Coexist. At eighteen, blood banks have become an every day part of the scenery, you've seen your parents speak of friends they once feared fondly, and you watched as the biggest leap in Coexisting history occurred on your TV. Almost two decades after exposing themselves, you and Trina witnessed the first non-human president sworn into office. It was a Big Deal to Coexist, a Monumental Event that would be taught to your children and your children's children years from now.

To be honest, though, you always felt detached from the phenomenon. They are otherwordly and you are just Tori Vega, a teenage Latina attending an Arts school in Hollywood with a bunch of ordinary kids who would never be able to compete with the deathless. You're Mortal and you're not special because you're going to grow old and die while the Non-Mortals will continue to Coexist and live and live and live. They were a very distant part of your life. They were never incredibly important to you.

That is, until the summer before college, when you were staying late one night in order to lock up the Karaoke Dokie, your place of employment for almost two years, something you had done a thousand times by yourself, in the dark, with just a tiny bottle of pepper spray in your purse to protect you if you needed it, not that you ever thought you would. You were thinking of your day off tomorrow, of hanging out with your friends, of catching up on Glee, when your world and their world abruptly collided.

A Vampire grabbed you from behind by the throat, fingers biting your skin like cold steel, and the moon put its faith in you.


A/N: So I guess this is kind of like an experiment? The plan is to update every day with chapters being at least 1,000 words, an idea I got from another author (summerlightning on tumblr, if you're interested, check her out!) I don't know how long this story is going to be, and I don't really know what the plot is going to be like. It's very up in the air and really depends on if you guys like it or not. If so, please leave a review, and I will dedicate myself to this Vampire!AU.