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Burn the Day

Chapter Text

Aubrey does her research.

The day the Dean of Students confirms the rumors circulating around Barden, student life becomes nothing short of chaotic. There's masked fear and rowdy eagerness, plus an overabundance of curiosity that Aubrey isn't quite sure is healthy.

(She won't admit it aloud, but she's curious, too.)

Aubrey Googles.

She prefers books – the steady, sturdy feel of them in her palms, and the smell, and the little thrill of accomplishment that she experiences each time she flips a page – but most books regarding Vampires are now outdated, and the newly published ones have already been checked out from the library before Aubrey has the chance to get there, herself.

Most of the new information – the accurate information – can only be found online, at the moment; it's only been a couple of years since a single coven, and then slowly more, exposed themselves to the world, and even still, they haven't been known to excessively interact with the living. Aubrey limits her search to scientific articles and academia websites, ignoring the trash headlines and unconfirmed speculations as much as possible, but there are still large gaps in the public knowledge regarding Vampire culture and habits, and it bothers Aubrey immensely.

She likes to be prepared, but no matter how much time or energy she is willing to devote to this project, she can't possibly be prepared when no one in the world seems to really know anything about their impending visitors.

From what Aubrey understands, they're still largely nomadic, and she hasn't heard of many who settle in one place for very long. She wonders if that will change, now that they've alerted the humans to their presence.

Aubrey is nervous, and she can't quite decide whether she wants to join her friends in their blatant excitement for the coven's arrival to campus, or if she wants to hide in her room and pretend that such wild, dangerous creatures do not (and will never) exist in this world.

Still, she respects them, to a degree. After all, the Vampires probably didn't have to call ahead and arrange for accommodations; they could just… show up, effectively terrifying (and, perhaps, terrorizing) the resident human population. It's nice that they have accounted for human emotion, and have allowed people like Aubrey to collect whatever knowledge they can prior to their arrival.

It's a generosity that Aubrey acknowledges the Vampires don't have to extend, and she's appreciative of it.

Aubrey still hasn't made up her mind about her feelings, but she also isn't given that much of a chance before Chloe bursts into her room and announces, only a single day prior to what Aubrey has internally dubbed The Vampire Invasion, that the campus is hosting a blood drive in honor of their guests.

It's a strange feeling that overcomes Aubrey then, because the reminder that these creatures literally survive off the blood of living people – people like Chloe, and Aubrey, and all of their friends – is more than a little terrifying. Still, Aubrey recognizes that the Vampires are still people, and they must survive somehow; it's safest that they provide blood that is volunteered, rather than forcing the Vampires to find it elsewhere.

Aubrey isn't sure she wants to think too hard about the alternative, actually, so she obediently tags along with Chloe, who prattles on about how Stacie and Amy have already donated, and the rest of the Bellas are planning to stop by in between classes. Chloe also tells her that the Trebles (under Jesse's advisement) have agreed to chip in, as well.

Chloe speculates that the support of the acapella groups is what prompts the cheerleaders to offer theirs, as well (those attention-seeking bitches will do anything to upstage the growing popularity of acapella at Barden, Aubrey scoffs to herself), which obviously means that the football team is donating, too – and if the football team is donating, well… pretty much the whole campus will make their way to the blood drive by the end of the day, Aubrey's sure.

She remains mostly silent as they wait their turn, and she's still quiet when the nurse directs them to their seats, because her thoughts are still essentially just a hurricane that's utterly wrecking her from the inside out. Eventually, though, she's forced to sigh when Chloe bites her lip as they're settled on the reclining chairs with needles jammed into their arms.

"Does it bother you?" The redhead inquires, her voice soft and kind and all kinds of understanding. "Helping them?"

Aubrey shakes her head. "No," she replies earnestly, because it isn't helping them that makes her anxious. "I just wonder what they're like. They could be horrifying, Chloe. Everyone is so excited for them to come here, but they must create horror stories about Vampires for a reason, right?"

"Maybe," Chloe replies agreeably. "Or they could just be misunderstood. Vampire stories have existed for centuries, Bree, and only a few of them paint pretty pictures. It's probably really hard to beat that reputation down, don't you think?"

Aubrey quirks a smile at that and fondly shakes her head, because it is just like Chloe to give even Vampires the benefit of the doubt.

"That could be true," Aubrey confesses softly, wincing a little and scowling as the nurse swaps out the now-full vial of blood for an empty one and shifts Aubrey's needle around just a little too roughly for comfort. "But we don't know anything, Chloe. They could kill all of us in the blink of an eye, if they really wanted to. I don't mind helping them," she shakes her head. "Truly, I don't," she insists. "I just wonder if our 'help' will be enough."

"Well," Chloe replies thoughtfully, head lopping just slightly to the right, and Aubrey only stares at her and smiles, and thinks that if her girlfriend maybe sometimes resembles a puppy, just a little bit, then she's the most precious puppy Aubrey's ever seen, "they've been other places before here, you know," Chloe tells her. "And I'm pretty sure that we'd know if those other visits had ended in the slaughter of humanity," she teases with a wink and a wide grin.

It's a fair enough assertion, and it's one which Aubrey has been a bit too preoccupied to really consider; for the moment, it's enough for Aubrey to concede Chloe's point.

"I suppose you're right," she nods, offering a thin, practiced smile to the clumsy nurse at her hip, who withdraws her needle and tells her to lie still for a few minutes, gesturing to the basket of cookies on the small table between her and Chloe's chairs.

"And if I'm wrong," Chloe giggles, "at least they hypnotize you before they eat you alive, right?"

Most of the material Aubrey's dredged up on Vampires denies that the hypnotization is a necessity, actually; from what Aubrey's learned, it's more of a kindness that they can choose to offer their victims, in the event that they feel so inclined. She guesses that makes sense, though, because – for the Vampires – blood is probably just blood, regardless of its carrier's state of mind.

Aubrey doesn't mention that to Chloe, though, and instead leans over to sigh softly against her cheek, just before she presses her mouth against it.

Chloe beams, and Aubrey melts in her seat, silently attributing her mild lightheadedness to the blood she's just basically sacrificed.

Aubrey trembles from the moment she wakes up, far before the sun rises, despite knowing that the campus guests won't arrive until nightfall. The entire campus – staff and students alike – are joining for their reception at eight.

Chloe notices, but doesn't mention it, smiling and gently folding a soothing kiss across Aubrey's forehead before shooing her out the door for a run, during which Aubrey knows Chloe will burrow back beneath the blankets for a few more minutes of sleep.

It's very early, and the blonde can't really be upset with the redhead for needing a bit more rest, so she chuckles a little and obligingly digs a pair of running shorts and a sports bra from her drawers before Chloe loses patience.

Aubrey slips her earbuds into place and walks the few blocks to the park, quickening her pace to a crisp jog as she laps around it once she gets there. She'll admit that she isn't entirely paying attention to her surroundings; she's in her own head, pretty much the same as she has been for the past two weeks, since the Dean's announcement.

She wonders what they'll be like. Every account Aubrey's found thus far details that the Vampires look human enough, but she wonders if it will feel any different to be around them. She wonders if they breathe – and if they do, is it for their own comfort, or the public's? She wonders if they are cruel by nature, or irrational – or perhaps they are reasonable, and nearly human in their behaviors? She wonders if they feel cold to the touch, or if that's only a myth. She wonders exactly how strong they are, in comparison, and how frequently they actually require that kind of frightening strength. She wonders –

Well, Aubrey wonders why she just felt a crunch beneath her shoe.

Aubrey slows and backs up a few paces, realizing she'd trekked the rather familiar trail around the park and through the slightly wooded back space in order to make her jog last just a little bit longer. There's no trodden path, Aubrey knows, but she runs this area all the time, and has never before seen anyone else out here – at least, not this early in the morning.

Still, she turns around and spies a girl, seated on the ground and leaned up against a tree, blinking owlishly at what Aubrey can now detect as a shattered pair of headphones. She's dressed in jeans and a ratty pair of Converse shoes, and there are metal things in her ears that Aubrey can't help but think are absolutely hideous, but smooth-looking brown hair mostly masks their presence. Slim, small fingers lower a cell phone from her ear as she gently tosses it to the ground, one of her many silver rings tapping softly against the screen in the process. Her eyes are a steely blue that's much darker than Chloe's, but they're entrancing – and Aubrey realizes this only once she acknowledges that she has yet to actually say anything, and this girl doesn't look eager to be the first to speak.

Not that she should. Aubrey did just break her headphones, after all.

Aubrey yanks her own earbuds to dangle around her neck, and swallows only once before profusely apologizing and folding her fingers around her abruptly nauseous stomach.

"I'm so sorry!" She gasps out. "It was an accident. I was just running, and I suppose I wasn't paying attention the way I should have been, and I just – oh," she sighs out, pressing her palm into her forehead to stop her own rambling. "I'm very sorry," she repeats sorrowfully. "I'll pay for a replacement pair. They don't look cheap. I – " Aubrey flounders. "I'm sorry," she whispers one final time.

"Dude," the girl frowns sincerely. "Calm down. It's fine. It's not like you did it on purpose. I've got more."

"No, please," Aubrey insists. "How much were they? I don't have cash on me now, obviously," Aubrey bumbles and gestures to her obvious lack of clothing – and, honestly, is it even legal to be this embarrassed before the sun's even come up, while standing with only a sports bra for a top in front of a complete and total stranger, in front of whom she's just positively humiliated herself? "But I promise I'll get you the money."

The girl looks amused, and smirks not at all briefly as her eyes flicker not at all quickly across every exposed inch of Aubrey's chest, torso, and legs.

"Seriously?" Aubrey raises her brows reflexively. "I just broke your very expensive headphones, and you're more worried about checking me out?" She scowls, and firmly plants her hands against her hips.

"Well, you know…" The girl grins wolfishly. "Priorities," she shrugs, then boosts herself up from the ground and wipes her dirty palms against her jeans. She then spreads one out to Aubrey, and matches the blonde's incredulous green gaze with a mesmerizing blue one of her own. "Beca," she says.

Aubrey's fingers instinctively dart out to grasp the ones offered to her, and she swallows once more before a soft chuckle beneath Beca's breath startles her back to reality.

"Aubrey," she shakes her head eventually, ducking her eyes to the left and feeling oddly… aroused? No. No, she has Chloe for that, and no one on this blessed Earth can make Aubrey feel the way that Chloe does. No, no, this cannot be happening. So Aubrey quickly decides that it didn't happen, and that she isn't feeling this way, and clears her throat and her mind, all at once. "Aubrey Posen."

Beca grins, in a sort of amused but also slightly mocking way that Aubrey instantly feels wildly confused about, before replying, "Well, it was really nice meeting you, Aubrey Posen, but I should probably get going. Apparently it's time for people to start waking up, now, so I should probably move the rest of my breakables before someone else decides to stomp on them," she smirks, gesturing vaguely behind her in the direction of a laptop and a cell phone and an iPod scattered on the ground.

Aubrey flushes furiously when the playful remark permeates the fog that's clouding her mind, but she scowls through it, and murmurs, "Well, maybe you shouldn't leave your things lying around."

"It's still dark out, and I'm off the path," Beca deadpans. "What about my location says, 'beware of joggers smashing your shit?'"

"I – " Well, she's crass, but she might maybe be right, too. Aubrey huffs. "I'm sorry," she repeats again, defeated.

Beca shrugs, bending to gather her things, and Aubrey certainly does not stare at her rounded ass, hugged through a pair of impossibly tight skinny jeans.

At least, she doesn't stare long enough to be noticed – but, if forced heavily enough, she could probably recount a pretty vivid image of its shape…

"No big. Don't worry about it, Posen. See you around," Beca smiles over her shoulder and flips two fingers up in a nonchalant wave goodbye.

Aubrey releases a heavy, baffled breath before realizing that the now-useless headphones are still in the dirt, and Beca had neither offered nor requested any information that might aid Aubrey in replacing them. Her name will have to be enough.

"Damn it," Aubrey scowls, scooping up the broken cups and twining the cord around them, tightly clenching them in her fist as she jogs back home.

Aubrey tells Chloe about her mortifying encounter as soon as she returns and realizes that Chloe is not only awake, but also making breakfast.

"Aw, Bree," Chloe giggles, leaning against the counter in preparation to flip the pancake over the stove, when ready. "You have a crush!" She declares delightedly.

"I do not, Chloe," Aubrey rolls her eyes exasperatedly. "And even if I did, shouldn't you be upset about that?"

"Why would I be?" Chloe frowns, before spinning around to check on her meal. "I know you love me, Aubrey. It's okay if you have a tiny crush."

"I don't have a crush," Aubrey insists firmly. "I just- I felt badly. I broke her headphones. And look!" Aubrey holds up the mess of evidence, still bundled around her hand. "They're really nice ones, Chloe. I should've been paying attention," she laments softly, and drops her face into her palms at the breakfast bar.

"It doesn't sound like Beca was all that worried about it, sweetie," Chloe reminds her gently as she rolls the pancake onto its back. "Priorities, remember?" The redhead giggles again.

Aubrey huffs, and indignantly replies, "For serious, though, Chloe! Who does that?"

"… I'd totally forget about a busted pair of headphones if you were half naked in front of me, too," Chloe replies, winking at Aubrey, who really just cannot control the overheated temperature of her face, today.

"I'll have to find her to compensate for the damage," she groans, electing to ignore her girlfriend's flirtatious jibe altogether.

"How?" Chloe asks, grinning. "You only have her first name."

And… Aubrey hadn't really thought of needing a last name, but it's not like 'Beca' is all that uncommon. That's actually- a pretty sizeable complication.

She groans and drops her head on the countertop.

Chapter Text

Chloe is shamelessly eager.

She isn't surprised that Aubrey doesn't echo her feelings, and she understands the blonde's hesitance, but Chloe can't help it; she's just excited.

Still, she has an entire day to waste before the Vampires are meant to arrive at Barden, and she doesn't quite know what to do with herself. Aubrey's too tense to share in Chloe's exuberance, and Chloe gets that – plus, Aubrey's now making every attempt to distract herself from her supposed Vampire 'Invasion' anxieties, and by the time Chloe leaves their apartment, Aubrey's already searching 'Beca' (and every possible variation of the name) through the school's database.

Chloe thinks it's sweet.

Aubrey doesn't typically fluster easily, unless it's a Bella-related concern, but something about that girl had crawled beneath her girlfriend's skin, and Chloe isn't sure that it has any intention of crawling back out. Chloe doesn't really mind, honestly; she has no doubts about Aubrey's love for her. Aubrey could probably screw anyone she wants, and as long as she comes home to snuggle Chloe afterward (and still has the energy to screw Chloe afterward, too), Chloe can't really bring herself to feel too bothered about it.

Maybe that's strange, but Chloe's been called that before, and she can't really bring herself to feel too bothered about that, either.

Not that it really matters. Aubrey would totes consider it the absolute pinnacle of disloyalty, and she would never actually do anything like that in fear of hurting Chloe, even if she did have a crush.

(Chloe maintains that she does, but she knows better than to assert her opinion too frequently when Aubrey disagrees with her. Sometimes, it just isn't worth the effort of chipping away at Aubrey's mighty walls of stubborn.)

Chloe finds herself at Stacie and Fat Amy's dorm room, which actually turns out to be perfect, because if there's anyone more excited than Chloe about the Vampires, it's Stacie.

The redhead is pretty sure that Stacie mostly just wants to gather first-hand knowledge about their sex drives, for the triumph of it, if nothing else; still, it's the excitement that Chloe's craving, and she'll take it however she can get it. Plus, Fat Amy will be there, and while Chloe isn't sure that she's excited about their guests, per se, she's still pretty positive that Amy really wants to wrestle one.

Chloe actually isn't sure how that would pan out, but she'd be happy to find out as long as Amy doesn't get hurt.

Aubrey would freak.

Stacie answers Chloe's gentle knock and swiftly pulls the redhead inside, instantly exclaiming, "I'm so glad you're here! I need you to help me pick my outfit for later," she winks overtly, and Chloe chuckles.

"Amy hasn't been helping?" She grins.

Stacie scowls at Amy, reclined between the wall and her bed, who glances lazily away from the phone in her hand and replies with a shrug and a loaded sigh, "Well, I really tried, Gingah, but Legs over here tells me that chastity belts are out of style, these days. I told her, hey, don't come crying at me when one of the Fang Gang splits your hoohopper in half," she raises her pointer finger at Stacie accusingly, then gestures it vaguely toward the area between her legs.

"Oh, honey, if some Vamp splits my Hunter in half, I can die a proud, accomplished woman," Stacie smirks, hands buried between a couple of shirts hanging in her closet as she arches her head over her shoulder to address them.

"Aw, yuck," Fat Amy scrunches her nose up. "Thank you for that image. You'll be a bloody, saturated mess – and that's if you're even still alive by the end! Chloe, you should prepare yourself for that phone call," Amy nods, both frantically and decisively. "No way I'm cleaning that up. I've got a lot of stomach, you know, but no one has the stomach for that. But, hey – I'll call her mum and pop and tell them the news; I bet I could manage to make it a bit less devastating with an artful retelling of the circumstances, yeh?"

Chloe scrunches her nose up and shakes her head bemusedly. Amy is sometimes just… too much Amy.

"Ew," is the best reply she can form, before disregarding Fat Amy's comment altogether, and shifting to face Stacie, instead.

"This has been my whole morning," Stacie deadpans unhappily.

Chloe does her very best, and only just refrains from mentioning that it's still only ten o'clock.

Stacie has tried on and discarded most every blouse in her possession, and Chloe is patient, but even she doesn't have that kind of strength.

It's only about half an hour into Chloe's visit before she starts picking up pieces of stranded clothing and trying them on for herself, in order to abate her boredom; height-wise, Stacie's a bit taller than Chloe, but their torsos are about the same length, so the shirts mostly fit perfectly.

Even if they maybe expose a bit more cleavage than Chloe's used to sharing on a casual basis.

Still, tonight could be considered a special occasion – by almost everyone, but maybe not Aubrey – and Chloe really isn't shy, so when Stacie moves on and starts tearing through her dresses, Chloe's right beside her 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing, and picking one out to model, too.

She's stripped down to a pair of blue panties and a bra when she realizes that she really needs to use the restroom, and she isn't terribly concerned when she steps into the hallway and makes her way there. It's a coed dorm, but this is an all girls' floor, so she isn't awfully worried about the fact that she'd failed to slip the dress over her head before leaving the room.

Not like it matters. It's basically just a bikini, and Chloe doesn't see anything wrong with that.

When she gets to the bathroom, though, Chloe swiftly forgets about her desperate urge to tinkle, because she swears to every aca-god she's ever believed in ever that an angel has descended to Earth, and is now serenading Chloe from a private shower stall.

Of course, the angel doesn't know she's serenading Chloe – at least, not yet – so, naturally, Chloe thinks that it's only fair to tell her.

"You can sing!" Chloe declares elatedly, ripping away the shower curtain that was once preventing her from viewing her angel's face.

It's actually a small, brunette-haired girl, who oddly matches Aubrey's description of Beca from earlier this morning. She has a small, cutely pointed nose and pretty, small pink lips, and Chloe thinks that even if her voice wasn't amazing, it might not actually matter; she still would be an angel.

Chloe doesn't try very hard not to look, which is how she notices that the girl blinks twice before sputtering out, "Dude! Is this, like, a thing, now? Is this something people have started doing? Invading showers? Because, like- that is not okay!" She declares ardently.

Chloe flaps her hand impatiently, and reaches forward to shut off the running water. "How high does your belt go?"

"My what? Are you- are you serious? I am nude!" She reminds Chloe, pointedly nudging her chin toward her hands, which are pretty spectacularly failing to obscure Chloe's view of large, pale breasts and other – usually private – areas further south.

"You were singing Titanium, right?"

The girl's expression shifts nearly instantly, and she smiles a little before hesitantly replying, "You know David Guetta?"

Chloe absently wonders who hasn't, and basically says as much.

"Yeah. Have I been living under a rock?" She queries bemusedly, before she shakes her head and surges onward. "That song is my jam. My lady jam," she leans in closer to disclose, grinning slightly when the brunette in front of her rolls her eyes heavenward, as if begging the god that sent her down from there to immediately beam her back up.

"That's nice," she eventually replies, and Chloe thinks it's admirable that she clearly does try to keep her eyes off of Chloe, even if she utterly fails at it.

"Yeah," Chloe nods. "Will you sing it for me?" She bites her lip.

"Your lady jam?" The brunette snaps her eyes to Chloe's for confirmation and smirks, and Chloe instantly feels heat prickle everywhere, but she's quick to save herself from whatever disaster that question could result in.

"Not for that reason. Besides," she huffs, "I'm not leaving until you sing, so…" She trails off expectantly.

When Chloe's angel doesn't immediately comply, Chloe watches as her eyes surrender their herculean effort not to ogle Chloe, and do so, anyway. Chloe had assumed that she was shy, which she guesses is a little understandable, but she was clearly wrong. The girl's eyes don't move quickly, and they shift intensely across Chloe's mostly-exposed body with sudden leisure.

Chloe plants her hands firmly on her hips (she is not posing, she swears), and the brunette chuckles darkly before she nods once, and splits her lips apart, releasing soft, strong notes of music to the world.

The redhead swallows, and has to seriously focus on not crossing her legs in abrupt discomfort – because this girl's eyes are crazy hot and super intense, still, and Chloe is a freaking sucker for her husky alto, already – before she can focus enough to chime in.

The brunette's smirks shifts into a gentle smile somewhere near the middle, and it's only once their joint voices have faded out from the chorus that the small girl picks the smirk back up and reminds Chloe playfully, "That was great. But… I still need to take a shower."

"Wait!" Chloe exclaims.

She concedes to herself that her victim, in this scenario, doesn't exactly have much of a choice. She's still naked, and Chloe's still blocking access to both her shower curtain and her exit.

"You should audition for the Bellas!" Chloe tells her excitably.

The brunette raises her brows, and Chloe finds that, curiously, she doesn't need to hear her question to know how to answer.

"You must be a freshman. Don't worry; it's an acapella group," Chloe explains quickly. "There are four of them on campus, but all the other ones are either a little terrible, or complete tools," she rolls her eyes briefly, because she hates to speak ill of them, but it's also sort of true. The Trebles are downright rude, and even Madonna can only do so much. She doesn't even feel the need to justify discrediting the High Notes. "The Bellas are the tits, and you should audition! I mean," she rambles a little and waves her hands, ignoring as best she can the piercing steel of the brunette's eyes as they match with Chloe's, "technically, auditions were a month ago, but we lost a girl – don't ask how – and now we're down one."

"No offense," her companion snorts, "but that sounds kinda lame."

"We sing all over the world!" Chloe tells her happily.

It's okay; she's used to this, and she's used to convincing people that it really isn't as silly as it sounds. Chloe's always loved to sing, and she would never judge anyone for finding a place to do it, no matter the genre or form, but she understands the gut-reaction. As much as Chloe despises it, there is a popularity chain, and some people just aren't eager to defy it.

"I've already been around the world, Red," the girl replies, with a lazy half-smile.

Chloe huffs. "Well, you should stop by practice tomorrow and try out, anyway. Aubrey will hate it, because it will mess with her schedule, but it'll be fine; I'll work it out."

The brunette barks out a laugh, and discloses on a conspiratorial whisper, "I've already pissed off an Aubrey this week. I'm not sure it's smart to try for a second."

Chloe beams and beams, and instantly latches onto the girl's wrist.

(It was doing a terrible job of shielding Chloe's view, anyway, she defends to herself.)

She absently notes a grasshopper tattoo beneath her fingers, and she wonders if her angel happens to have more of them, maybe on her back, which Chloe still hasn't seen.

Not that she needs to. Or wants to. Because- Aubrey.


Shit, Aubrey's going to be furious with her.

But, actually, that's exactly who she was going to talk about, so it's not so bad, right?

"I thought you looked like her description! Are you Beca? And did you happen to have your headphones broken by a very tense blonde this morning?" Chloe bounces eagerly on the balls of her feet.

The girl snorts, and replies with faux-sincerity, "Tense? No, I don't think I noticed that."

Chloe giggles and shoves at Beca's arm a little, then detaches, because she is so seriously close to flirting, right now, and Beca's eyes, and it's probably, definitely time for Chloe to leave.

Like, right now.

"Shut up. She's my girlfriend," Chloe tells her. Because that's definitely important to mention, at this point, and Chloe would never cheat on Aubrey, but she's never felt so close to wanting to as she does right in this moment. "And she's the captain of the Bellas! And she totes owes you at least a favor, if you aren't willing to let her replace your headphones, so she wouldn't even be mad about it! This is great. Stop by the auditorium on the west side of campus tomorrow around three, and you can sing for us!"

"Listen, Red, I don't know if that's – "

"Chloe," she tells her. "My name is Chloe. And I'm once again refusing to leave until you give me what I want," she grins brightly. "Please come?" She pouts.

Beca sighs, and replies with mocking, exasperated amusement, "I can make you leave, you know? Or just, like, leave on my own?"

"But you'd have to pass me, first, and if you were going to leave, you'd probably have done it already," Chloe points out. "Plus, even if you did leave, I'll totally stalk you until you give us a chance."

Stalk her? Give us a chance? Because I'm not even a little bit crumbling into a flirtatious mess, here. Not at all, Chloe huffs at herself.

Beca gazes pointedly at Chloe's barely clothed form, and answers huskily, "I don't think you want to do that, Chloe."

And, oh God, Chloe's melting, because she adores it when Aubrey says her name, but she never makes it sound like that. No one's ever made it sound like that.

Chloe's never loved her name more in her life.

"I probably really don't, because I think it'd probably be really boring – "

"What do you know about the excitement in my life?" Beca smirks defiantly.

Chloe ignores her as best she can, and tries really hard not to think about the kind of excitement Beca could probably show her.

Focus, she coaches herself firmly. Get home to Aubrey.

" – but I'm pretty confident about all this," she sweeps her hand along the length of her torso, and, oh God, she probably shouldn't have drawn attention to herself that way, because Beca's eyes follow Chloe's hands and raise back up to meet Chloe's with raised brows, obviously amused by the redhead's flustered words. "I'll follow you in my underwear if I have to, Beca, but please don't make me do that, because I really have things I need to do today."

She doesn't.

Well, that's not strictly true; she has to go home and tell Aubrey that she found her crush, and that Chloe maybe is crushing even harder, and that might not sound totally pressing, but it definitely is to Chloe.

"I'll see what I can do, Red," Beca sighs tiredly and shakes her head.

Chloe beams and pivots toward the exit, because that'll just have to be good enough; following Beca around like this all day is so not a good idea, if Chloe's honest, and Chloe doesn't actually want to have to do it. She thinks it'll test her already-fraying willpower far too much.

"See you tomorrow!" She calls over her shoulder, and hears a tremblingly low chuckle in reply.

Chloe refuses to think about how it makes her tremble, too.

Like, pretty much all over.

And Chloe also refuses to think about how she can't even stay in that damn bathroom long enough to relieve her bladder.

Chapter Text

When Chloe tells Aubrey that she'd found Beca in the showers at Baker Hall, Aubrey's first, biting remark is, "Of course you walked in on her naked in the shower, Chloe."

She's all sorts of disapproving, and she only grows more disapproving when she hears of Chloe's more-obvious-than-usual flirting techniques throughout the duration of her and Beca's time together. It's not abnormal for Chloe to flirt unintentionally – Aubrey knows that her girlfriend is very, very attractive, and also ridiculously (sometimes overly) friendly, so she tries not to be too upset about it most of the time; she knows it doesn't mean anything – but from what Chloe tells her, today's little escapade was way beyond the pale.

Honestly. She walked in on Beca's shower?

Aubrey knows that Chloe understands neither the concept nor the purpose of boundaries, but she also knows that Chloe still knows better than that.

"Chloe," Aubrey hisses under her breath, "why in the holy name of acapella would you do something like that?"

"I couldn't help it, Bree," Chloe bites her lip and lowers her eyes shamefully. "It's just- she was singing, and it was my lady jam," she insists pleadingly. "I sort of forgot that maybe I wasn't supposed to hear it."

"And you sort of forgot that maybe you weren't supposed to invade her shower, too?" Aubrey demands incredulously.

"Okay, so maybe I thought about that for, like, a teensy second after I pulled the curtain away," Chloe confesses, voice small, quick, and weak, before it grows abruptly in both volume and confidence. "But it was already too late by then, and I was still curious, so why wouldn't I have tried to recruit her? And plus, she's sort of distracting," the redhead admits, swallowing thickly and defensively folding her arms across her chest. "Like… really distracting," Chloe huffs, finally, sounding at least mildly rattled by the fact.

Aubrey sighs and rests her forehead against her palm, inhaling deeply in effort to remain composed. She wants to be angry, and she also is a little bit; on principle, Aubrey hates that someone else has made Chloe forget herself in ways that, typically, only Aubrey can manage.

Still, Aubrey has to be fair.

After all, as much as she tries to deny it, Aubrey knows that she had ogled Beca's ass for a moment, earlier, too – and she knows exactly what Chloe means when she says the girl is distracting.

"It's her eyes," Aubrey concedes, while rolling her own at her obvious surrender.

It's true, though; there's something massively hypnotic about Beca's focused blue irises, and Aubrey had fallen victim to them, too. It wouldn't be right to crucify Chloe for this when Aubrey had done the very same thing, that very same morning.

Of course, she hadn't given herself permission to breach Beca's privacy in the same blatant and inexcusable manner that Chloe had, but, all the same, the redhead had been understanding (and perhaps even encouraging) about Aubrey's ruffled behavior after meeting Beca; it would be unreasonable not to extend that same understanding to Chloe, in kind.

"Totes!" Chloe agrees ardently, throwing her palms into the air with gratitude at being understood. "And, like, her hands? And her skin, and her abs, and that voice. God, she can sing, Bree," Chloe sighs wistfully.

Aubrey rolls her eyes again when Chloe's drift blearily out of focus, sharply snapping her fingers near the redhead's ear. Chloe jumps a little, offering a nervous, sheepish smile in reply until Aubrey sighs heavily once more.

"I'm sorry, Aubrey," Chloe whispers sincerely, pursing her lips a bit.

Her eyes are watering, too, and Aubrey really needs to make that stop.

Aubrey is an utter failure when it comes to Chloe and tears. She tries – really, she does – but when Chloe cries, it's mostly because that's the only time she ever truly allows herself to be unhappy; when Chloe cries, all she wants is to simply be sad for a while, and all Aubrey ever tries to do is make her smile again.

Aubrey understands what Chloe needs in theory, but the blonde is physically incapable of seeing her girlfriend that upset while not doing anything to repair the damage.

Aubrey can't handle Chloe-tears today, because it takes days after Chloe finishes crying for Aubrey to feel comfortable being purely honest with her. She walks on eggshells, doing everything possible to prevent Chloe from becoming upset all over again, and Aubrey honestly needs for that not to happen when she's already so very stressed about their Vampiric visitors.

She needs Chloe right now, and this really isn't worthy of Chloe's tears, anyway.

"Look, Chloe," Aubrey tells her gently, "I honestly don't love that this girl affects you this way. I like to be the only one affecting you," Aubrey snaps, then rolls her eyes at her own possessive nature before calming her tone, once more. "But I also realize that you didn't approach her shower with insincere intentions. There are few things more important than the Bellas, for us, and you're right; we are down a member, and if Beca can sing and harmonize as well as you say, then I suppose I should just be grateful that you kept your head long enough to schedule an audition."

"So you're not mad?" Chloe frowns earnestly, searching Aubrey's face for any hint of deception. "About the flirting, I mean? Or how she, like, basically turns my brain into mush?"

Aubrey clenches her teeth and stares pointedly at Chloe, before answering neutrally, "Oh, I'm furious. But I don't exactly have a right to be when she does the same thing to me, do I?"

"I told you," Chloe pokes her tongue out triumphantly. "You do have a crush!"

"Chloe, I don't have – "

Chloe folds her arms across her chest and raises her brows, daring Aubrey to disagree.

And she's right, honestly; at this point, it's a bit ridiculous that Aubrey is denying it. She's just confessed that this girl had utterly boggled both her mind and her body, during what could only have been about a fifteen-minute interaction.

"Fine. I have a stupid, ridiculous crush on a girl I just met this morning," she scoffs out and flings her arms upward in defeat. "Still, I don't have to like it. And I certainly don't have to like that you have a crush on her, too," she states firmly, sucking in a relieving breath of air before softening considerably. "I do understand, though," she says, and reaches her fingers out to gently unfurl Chloe's still-folded arms, curling them around her own waist, instead. "She's... Well, she's something else. So, as angry as I want to be, I promise not to hold it against you. Deal?"

"Yeah," Chloe smiles sweetly, leaning forward to tenderly press her mouth against Aubrey's. "Deal."

Aubrey hugs her own arms around Chloe's neck and pulls her in close, burying her nose into flaming strawberry curls.

Aubrey is vibrating with tension.

It's seven forty-five, and the sun had fallen nearly half an hour ago. The entire school is congregated on the soccer field, and, due to the fact that Aubrey is very good at accommodating for error, the Bellas had managed to arrive early enough to reach a prime spot at the front of the crowd.

Chloe is vibrating on the blonde's left, too, but Aubrey knows it's for entirely different reasons.

Still, at this point, Aubrey is a little eager for the Vampires to arrive, if for no other reason than that she can simply stop worrying about it.

She's exhausted.

Many hours of research had ultimately amounted to very little substantial knowledge, in the end, and Aubrey is considering writing a novel about the damn blood-suckers on her own, just so that no one else needs to feel the way that Aubrey does in this moment, ever again. She admits to herself that it's a rude thought to have, but she's cranky and her feet are sore, and she's hardly slept in days.

Aubrey thinks she's allowed to feel a little spiteful about that.

"Oi!" Fat Amy shouts toward an ecology professor who Aubrey is pretty certain Amy has never actually had a class with. "Why aren't we selling popcorn for this shindig? Or hotdogs?" She demands. "Even Vamps have to love hot dogs! They're still American, yeh?"

Aubrey looks over at her incredulously, but Chloe (who, Aubrey is convinced, is her absolute savior, right now) reaches out to Amy's arm and replies sensibly, "I'm not even sure that they eat, Amy. Not real food, anyway – and it might be rude to eat in front of them if they don't, right?"

Fat Amy shrugs, and earnestly replies, "I eat in front of my gran all the time, and she doesn't even have teeth. It's pretty much the same."

Chloe lets that one go, and Aubrey is grateful. It's – Aubrey checks her phone and sighs – still only seven forty-nine, and Aubrey doesn't think she can keep her calm for eleven more minutes if Fat Amy can't rein in her excessive personality. She loves the girl, but, truthfully, the Tasmanian Bella is very skilled at speaking the wrong words at the very worst times, and she doesn't at all understand the meaning of the word 'inappropriate,' let alone when and where it should be applied.

"I wonder if they drove here," Jessica muses thoughtfully. "Or did they just, like… run?"

They are quick. Aubrey has learned that much, at least, so it's an understandable curiosity – but Aubrey isn't sure that it matters. No matter their mode of transportation, they're still coming, so she doesn't care awfully much about the answer.

"Maybe they flew," Denise suggests with a shrug.

"They're Vampires," Cynthia-Rose replies skeptically. "They don't have wings," she mutters confrontationally beneath her breath.

"I meant on a plane," Denise scowls fiercely, and glares until CR shrugs and shuffles her feet, tipping her gaze toward the blank space of field in front of them.

Great, Aubrey sighs to herself. They're fighting.

And it's no true wonder why, really; Cynthia-Rose has hardly taken her eyes off of Stacie (and her very visible legs and chest) all evening, and, while she and Denise aren't technically together, it's very evident that there are still an aca-shit ton of emotions shared between the two.

"Guys," Chloe chirps soothingly, "they're all valid suggestions, okay?"

Aubrey chuckles, and when Chloe looks to her, she only smiles adoringly; her girlfriend is right, of course, but she's also painfully sweet in her refusal to allow for degradation.

She doesn't say anything to Chloe, but it isn't necessary. The redhead accurately interprets Aubrey's tender stare, and she lights up, taking Aubrey's elbow and gently tightening her fingers around it.

Chloe leans her cheek against the flat front of Aubrey's shoulder, nuzzling gently as she softly murmurs, "I love you."

"I love you, too, Chloe," Aubrey sighs into her hair.

Then, Aubrey is abruptly grateful for her friends and their ridiculous antics, because she spies a group of people, about the same in number as the Bellas, moving forward from a distance. As they approach, the entire student body and staff hold their breath until they are no longer capable of doing so, after which they begin the process of withholding oxygen all over again.

When they finally reach the amassed crowd, Aubrey takes in each one of their guests – led onto the field by the Dean of Students – and memorizes their faces. She wants to know who they are, so that she might be even a little more prepared if she ever encounters one. The boy at the front – or man? … Aubrey can't possibly know how old he actually is – sports blonde hair and a chiseled jaw. He's wearing jeans and a leather jacket, and by the way he moves several paces in front of most of the others, she assumes that either he is their leader, or the dark-haired girl beside him must be. She's tall, and wears an odd little set of jean overalls that cut off at the middle of her thighs. She has chocolate brown eyes, and snaps her head around in every direction with a grin, like she's excited just to exist in the world.

It's strange, really. Aubrey would think that becoming a Vampire would diminish the value of life. The blonde struggles, on occasion, with finding a purpose for her own existence; she can't imagine having to create a use for it that expands over the never-ending "life" of the undead.

"Students," the dean booms into a strategically placed microphone. "Staff," he addresses the partitioned section of professors with a nod. "These are our guests!"

Clapping along with the rest of the student body is the only action Aubrey can manage.

Chapter Text

Chloe likes it when Aubrey holds her hand.

Well, she usually likes it – positively adores it, even – but this is growing painful, and Chloe thinks that Aubrey might actually snap off a finger, soon, if Chloe doesn't say something.

Chloe doesn't actually want to say anything, though, because Chloe wants to offer her girlfriend every bit of relief that she can; she knows Aubrey's super close to panicking, right now, and Chloe just can't bring herself to strip the blonde of the one thing that brings her comfort.

Still, her freaking hand hurts, and Chloe really wishes that this deafening silence – post applause – would end soon. She's fortunate that the Dean of Students moves aside relatively quickly, allowing room for the very attractive, blonde Vamp-boy to step forward in his place.

"Good evening," he announces with a winning smile, and a charmingly British accent. "I'm Luke, and this is my coven," he gestures to the group huddled around his back, who remain suspiciously still, but for the one brunette girl who has yet to leave his side; Chloe giggles a little (to Aubrey's very apparent distress) when the girl grins and eagerly bounces on the balls of her feet.

"Now, I'm never entirely sure about the appropriate protocol for this, so I'll stick to what I know and just be blunt," Luke tells them. "Yes, we are Vampires; yes, we've come to visit for a while; and, yes, we promise that no harm will befall any human being by any member of our clan for the duration of our stay. We're very grateful for your hospitality, here at Barden, and we wish to thank you for it; others have been far less kind, in past," he acknowledges with a nod, and Chloe grins; maybe it's silly – Aubrey would definitely say that it's silly – but Chloe feels proud of herself, and of her school, for leaving a bright impression. "Your generosity is both admirable and caring, and we've not overlooked the fact.

"That being said, we want to be clear about a few things – the first of which being that we are here, in part, to assimilate amongst you. We understand, and can wholly appreciate, that there is a lot of fear regarding those of our kind, and we're not unsympathetic of that; still, if you have any desire to communicate with a Vampire, or perhaps wish to learn more about us, we're more than willing to accommodate. Our coven was the very first to reveal themselves to the world, and at least part of that was due to our desire to live among you. We have no wish to frighten you, nor to eat you," he insists firmly. "The slaughter of humans has been banned for the last five years, for us, and it is a crime punishable by immediate death; put simply, we like humans. We were human, once," he announces solemnly, "and, although it was a while back for some of us, we do remember how that feels," he winks, and the crowd chuckles after a brief moment of hesitation.

"We've gathered you all here to say 'hello,' and to make our intentions clear," Luke continues. "If you have any further questions, now or in the future, we'd be happy to answer them. We thank you all, once more, for your kindness, and also for your time. Have a lovely weekend, Barden."

Chloe cocks her head only once she realizes that Aubrey's fingers have only mildly loosened their hold around Chloe's own. She knows that Aubrey's very likely still worrying, but Chloe feels like Luke's speech had eased a lot of students' tension. They had figured, of course, that the Vampires hadn't been killing humans – at least not since the humans had found out about them – but it's still really nice to hear it from the source.

"Bree," Chloe whispers, then squeezes Aubrey's fingers lightly between her own. "Bree, that wasn't so bad, right, honey?" She coos gently.

Aubrey glares, and Chloe winces a little, offering a weak shrug of her shoulders.

Sometimes, Aubrey makes her feel small; it's rare, and Chloe of course loves her anyway, but there are brief moments where Chloe feels just a tiny bit demeaned.

"Sorry," Aubrey sighs out softly. "You're right. I just- have doubts, is all," Aubrey confesses, swallowing thickly and turning her eyes downward.

"You wouldn't be you if you didn't have doubts, Aubrey," Chloe smiles at her and presses her lips into Aubrey's shoulder. "But they seem rational enough, don't you think? I don't see why they would promise not to harm us and then just do it anyway; if they wanted to hurt us, wouldn't they have done it tonight, while we're all gathered together?"

It's true, and Chloe had thought of it before, but she'd refrained from bringing it up with Aubrey; she doubts her girlfriend would have made an appearance at the reception at all, with an idea like that in her head, and Chloe had – maybe a bit selfishly – wanted her girlfriend at her side, for this.

Aubrey sighs tiredly, reluctantly nodding her head in agreement. "Probably," she admits. "Still, I want you to be careful, Chloe. I know you; you'll be the first in line to interrogate them, as soon as you're given the chance. I just need you to be safe," Aubrey whispers quietly and rests her eyes.

"Hey," Chloe frowns, taking Aubrey's cheek in her palm, gently soothing the soft stretch of skin beneath the blonde's eye with her thumb. "I will," she swears truthfully.

It's the best she can do, really, because Aubrey does know Chloe, and she's also right; Chloe has all sorts of questions itching around her skull, and Chloe has neither the strength nor the will to quell them.

She wants answers.

Still, she's honest with her promise, and Aubrey understands that. The Bellas' captain leans forward to kiss softly against the edge of Chloe's mouth, and Chloe thinks that maybe her crazy emotions for this girl might actually tear her apart.

Kissing Aubrey makes everything feel better, though, so even if she is being ripped apart, Chloe still feels suspiciously good about it.

Aubrey announces at the beginning of practice the following day that they are putting cardio on hold; they're expecting Beca for an audition, and, although Aubrey obviously mentions nothing of it to the girls, Chloe knows that the blonde has no interest in re-meeting the brunette in the same, sweaty condition she had been in during their last encounter.

Chloe sings along when she's told, and she totes rocks her solo. Her nodes surgery the previous year had hindered her for a while, but Chloe learned quickly to adapt; she's just grateful that she's still able to sing at all, even if she can't quite reach the higher octaves the way that she used to.

Still, if possible, Chloe is more excited for Beca's audition than she had been for the Vampires' arrival, and she has a tiny bit of a hard time maintaining the amount of focus that Aubrey expects from them.

She hasn't seen much of the Vampires since last night, but when she mentions that around the Bellas, Aubrey promptly replies that it is day time, and that of course Chloe hasn't seen them; Chloe ignores her girlfriend's snippy tone, because she really does understand – but she still feels guilty for finding positive feelings in something that only brings Aubrey unheard of measures of stress.

The redhead tries not to think about how guilty she also feels for finding excitement in Beca's reappearance in their lives. Still, she thinks Aubrey's excited, too, in her own way – and by that, Chloe really means that she thinks Aubrey's just downright nervous to see her again.

She isn't surprised. Beca had flustered them both, after all, and while Chloe is a little baffled about the why and the how, she isn't as worried about it as she knows Aubrey is.

Once three o'clock rolls around, though, Chloe is a little surprised.

Well, she's a little surprised that Beca's shown up at all – after hearing Aubrey's perspective on things, she's sort of shocked that the girl hadn't hastened to transfer schools altogether, after Chloe's mildly creepy breach of social protocol – but she's also surprised that Beca doesn't show up alone.

The girl beside her looks awfully familiar, but it's only after Chloe pitches a confused look in Aubrey's direction that she remembers where she recognizes her from.

Aubrey is all different kinds of pale and green, all at once, and it's only when Chloe glances back up at the pair, making their way through the aisle and further into their rehearsal space, that Chloe identifies the tall brunette at Beca's side.

She's the girl who'd been with Luke the night before.

Which pretty much means that she's a Vampire.

"Um… hey," Beca chuckles softly.

Chloe hates that her tiny little laugh can do such utterly invasive things to her body, and it takes her a second to form a reply.

"Hi!" She greets exuberantly, though she is obviously bemused.

Aubrey only stiffens at Chloe's side, before she stiffens further and purses her lips in both confusion and distrust.

"So, here's the thing," Beca scratches a little behind her ear before tucking her hands into her back pockets. "I think what you guys are doing here is great," she tells them earnestly. "It's totally lame, obviously, and you guys are all total nerds," she smirks, "but music is something that I can really level with, you know? And I think it's freaking fantastic that you guys create it the way that you do.

"But the thing is," Beca lilts her head to the side, "I really don't have time to be a part of that. And, for whatever reason," she glares pointedly at Chloe, before shifting that infernally distracting gaze onto Aubrey, who locks her spine into a straight line and fails to unlock it, even after Beca shifts her eyes to inspect the group, "I don't really want to leave you guys hanging when I can do something to help you out. I know you need a new member, and Emily's pretty good, too. She loves this kind of stuff. So, I was hoping you'd let her audition in my place," Beca tells them, raising her brows in question first at Chloe, before settling on Aubrey.

It makes sense, Chloe supposes; she had told Beca that Aubrey was the captain, so it's logical that she's looking to the blonde for a final decision.

(Technically, they're co-captains – but Chloe knows her title doesn't fool anyone; this group is Aubrey's baby, and pure hell will greet the poor soul who tries to take it from her.)

"Who the hell is Emily?" Aubrey blurts out gracelessly.

Chloe giggles into her own shoulder, because, honestly, she's feeling off-kilter, too – but Aubrey is typically, like, the epitome of poise, and this is most definitely the polar opposite of poise.

"This tall drink of water, right here," Beca replies promptly, planting her palm against the taller brunette's back and gently pushing her forward.

"Hi!" Emily says happily.

"You're a Vampire, yeh?" Fat Amy asks, finally. When the entire group turns to look at her, wide-eyed and disbelieving of her bluntness, Amy scrunches her face in confusion and bemusedly queries, "What? No point avoiding the giant, bloodsucking elephant in the room now, eh?"

"Oh! Well, yeah," Emily shrugs shyly. "Is that- a problem?"

"How are you even here right now?" Aubrey asks pointedly, ignoring her honest question most likely because she doesn't actually have an answer, Chloe suspects; Aubrey's trying very hard to withhold judgment, but Chloe's sure that her behavior is coming off disapproving. "It's day time," Aubrey insists.

Chloe tentatively places her hand on Aubrey's bicep and squeezes softly, offering support if the blonde might maybe feel like that's something that she needs. Chloe knows that she does, but Aubrey is very stubborn when she wants to be, and she's only willing to accept so much of Chloe's coddling at once.

"We actually can be outside in the daytime," Emily explains enthusiastically. "I didn't know that, either, when I first turned, so I was pretty blown away by it, too – don't worry," she assures. "Just, we can't do it too much, because it makes us sick, you know? But it's totally possible for a couple hours a day," she tells them ramblingly.


That's actually pretty cool. Chloe thinks so, anyway, but it's probably just horrifying for Aubrey, who's now probably realizing that, should these Vampires turn against them, not even daylight could keep them safe. It's a very negative outlook, obviously, but Aubrey accounts for all potential scenarios, and Chloe's girlfriend has yet to rule that one out.

"How do you two know each other?" Chloe asks Beca, half of a curious smile curling up the edges of her mouth.

"Oh, well," Emily shrugs awkwardly and shuffles her feet, "Beca's my sire, so…"

Chloe blinks, and blinks again, and can't even turn to assess Aubrey's reaction to that startling revelation before she blurts out, in perfect synchrony with the blonde at her side, "Aca-scuse me?"

Beca snorts, then smirks, and replies teasingly, "Wow. Uh… I'm not totally sure how you want me to answer that, because, like- that's not actually a thing," she mocks with a grin. "And, later, we should definitely come back to your annihilation of the English language," the brunette adds as an afterthought.

"Hold up, hold up," Cynthia-Rose demands, holding her arms up to draw silence. "How do you two know her?"

Chloe cradles her forehead in her palm and latches onto Aubrey's hand with the other. They hardly even know Beca, but Chloe strangely feels like her entire world just shifted out of orbit.

It's a totally serious problem.

Chapter Text

"But this can't be!" Aubrey splutters to herself on a whisper, green eyes fixed upon Beca's, despite that Aubrey prays to every aca-god she's ever known for the power to shift her gaze literally anywhere else.

Aubrey can't pick a single thought out of the jumbled stream that is confusing her mind, but she knows that there must be a lot of crap whizzing around up there, because the muscles of her stomach are clenching and releasing in preparation for heaves, and Aubrey can already feel that her hands are trembling.

She's going to be sick.

Chloe absently strokes her fingers along Aubrey's shoulder, but her attention is diverted – and, as purely cheated as Aubrey feels by that, she definitely understands, and knows she can't hold a grudge over it.

"Ookay," Beca chuckles slightly, palms in the air beside her ears. "Let's just be reasonable about this. I'm sure you have questions or- whatever," Beca rolls her eyes playfully, though speaks with patience. "I get it. That's fine," she assures. "But we aren't going to hurt you," she insists softly. "You aren't in any danger right now, alright? So can we please just- take a breath?" Beca asks, eyes worriedly scanning over Aubrey's shaking fingers and paling countenance. "Dude," Beca puffs out with a shake of her head, "do you need something? Like, maybe some air? Or gum? You- uh… You don't seem…" She trails off, shrugging before finally, bluntly announcing, "You look like shit, Posen. What can I do?"

"Well, excuse me for being alarmed!" Aubrey screeches in her own defense.

Chloe winces and takes a step closer, but Aubrey is so far beyond the comfort of Chloe's soft touch, right now; truly, the redhead's hugs and her cuddles and her easy affection can work wonders on Aubrey, but they just aren't what she needs, right now.

"Calm down," Beca insists. "I can't help you if I don't know what you're afraid of, alright?"

"Help me?" Aubrey laughs – and will later admit to absolutely none of the hysteria that laces through her words. "You could kill me!"

"… Okay," Beca blinks. "That was a little more straightforward than I was anticipating."

"She doesn't mean that," Chloe inserts swiftly, and Aubrey imagines that she's paling a little, too, beneath Aubrey's admittedly offensive reactions. "Really, she doesn't; she's just sort of a nervous wreck, and she has been for days, and you're- she just isn't- we're not – "

"Don't hurt yourself, Red," Beca smirks a little. "It's fine. I've heard worse before. Trust me," she assures.

"Oh, yeah," Emily nods frantically. "Seriously, like… there are no fires or pitchforks or anything, so I think you guys are doing pretty okay," she smiles weakly. "I wasn't around back then, of course, but Beca's told me stories, and – "

"It's okay, Legacy," Beca grips lightly against her elbow and shakes her head with a laugh. "I've got this one, alright?"

Emily looks at least a little surprised, but she grins and nods, and even takes a step back, essentially relinquishing the floor to Beca.

"Look," Beca tells them gently, "if you want some time to process, that's fine. If you have questions, that's fine, too," she promises earnestly. "But, c'mon, Posen," she persuades softly, "we were alone in a pretty unfrequented part of the woods together, and if I'd wanted to kill you, I think that probably would've been a pretty good opportunity, don't you?"

Emily's grin wavers on her face, and Aubrey pales even further.

If that's meant to be comforting, Aubrey thinks spitefully and glares, then Beca's idea of 'comfort' just is not something Aubrey needs, at the moment.

(… Even if Beca sort of does have a point.)

"Your people skills are atrocious," Fat Amy declares with a sympathetic nod. "Do you lose your ability to empathize as a Vamp, Little One?"

Beca blinks. "No," she shrugs. "I'm just notoriously terrible with people."

"Can you turn into a bat?" Ashley blurts eagerly. "We were having this debate last night over whether you guys could fly, and I didn't really think about it until later, but that is part of a lot of the legends, right?" She rambles comfortably.

Aubrey rests her eyes and shakes her head.

She isn't ready for the answers to these questions. She'd thought that knowledge would help, and pre-Beca, that might've been true – but Aubrey isn't ready to associate all that she knows of Vampires with the tiny brunette whose headphones she'd smashed in just a day ago.

"Our ancestors could, I guess," Beca pinches her face upward. "I've been around a long time, though, and I never knew anyone who could. I think that ability was phased out not long after the cavemen were around, honestly, and I can see why. It's not terribly practical," she rolls her eyes.

"How old are you?" Cynthia-Rose folds her arms and skeptically raises her brows.

Aubrey doesn't miss that Denise takes two not-very-subtle steps closer to her, huddling a bit behind CR's back. She's reluctantly pleased that she isn't the only one with a healthy smattering of fear, right now.

"Well, that's just rude," Beca grins widely. "Pretty sure even humans don't like that question, dude."

Fat Amy nods and moves her mouth and eyebrows to indicate a facial shrug. "Fair enough, Little Bit."

"Do you have, like- special powers?" Chloe asks hesitantly, eyes skittering apologetically in Aubrey's direction.

Aubrey immediately shakes her head, clamping her palms around her ears.

"No, no. I can't do this. I- I'm sorry," she whispers frantically. "I'm sorry, Beca; I just- I can't, okay? I can't," she repeats manically, turning swiftly on her heel and practically sprinting through the aisle and up to the door.

Once outside, Aubrey stoops over, hands balanced against her knees as heavy, panicked breaths overlap in their race to exhale and be sucked in again.

She can't believe this.

For weeks Aubrey had been preparing for this – or at the very least, she'd tried to prepare for this. The blonde had done literally everything in her power to avoid this precise reaction, and this precise circumstance.

Well, a lot of good her preparations had done, Aubrey thinks menacingly.

She'd been alone with Beca! She'd been alone with Beca in the middle of the aca-loving woods, for God's sake! How can it be that, in fifteen minutes of talking to the girl, Aubrey hadn't recognized her for the monster that she is? Or even suspected it?

(When she's less panicked, Aubrey will feel badly for that thought, but at the moment, she can't even pause her fluctuating feelings long enough to fully acknowledge it.)

Aubrey doesn't immediately notice when she is joined by another body, but she does notice the trashcan that is placed carefully at her feet, and the bottle of water that is summarily planted next to it.

"Chloe wanted to come," Beca explains awkwardly, scratching the stretch of skin behind her ear. "I might've made a bad judgment call, but I asked her if it would be alright for me to check on you, instead."

In reply, Aubrey only vigorously shakes her head.

Beca nods agreeably and glances around the campus for a moment, before shrugging and replying, "Right. Bad judgment call, for sure. I'll get Chloe."

For some insane, stupid, unbelievable reason, Aubrey doesn't want her to. She can't quite fathom the words to say so, however, and only snatches quickly at Beca's wrist, curling her fingers around it with frantic desperation.

"Oh," Beca blinks. "Alright," she says slowly. "Alright, Aubrey," she says again, more softly, as she nods and tries to meet Aubrey's green eyes with that irritatingly beautiful blue. "I'll hang around for a bit, okay? Just breathe," she coaches.

Aubrey swallows and nods, but still doesn't speak.

Beca seems satisfied with that, though, and says nothing. The brunette Vampire – Aubrey coaches herself incredulously – only sinks down against a tree, embracing the relative quiet of the campus around them.

"Why are you here?" Aubrey finds herself able to ask, eventually.

"Well," Beca chuckles, "we were here for an audition. I think your Bellas got a little sidetracked, though, because I'm pretty sure I left Em in there to answer a fuck-ton of questions that she's probably too young to even know the answers to."

Aubrey hesitates, but manages to lower herself onto the ground, a good few feet away from Beca, but still facing her.

"That isn't what I meant," she denies carefully. "Why are you here?" She asks again. "At Barden?"

"Exposure Tour Twenty-Fifteen, Posen," Beca laughs tiredly and tracks her fingers through gorgeous locks of brown hair that Aubrey just wants to feel.

Chloe's hair is wonderful, and red, and curly and soft, but Beca's hair just looks- magical.

"What do you mean?" Aubrey frowns, exhaustedly resting her chin over her arms, as they fold across her furled up knees.

"There are a lot of people excited to know that Vampires exist," Beca says thoughtfully. "But you're definitely not the only one who's hesitant to trust us."

"That isn't – "

"Isn't it?" Beca lifts her gaze, pointedly meeting Aubrey's.

But Aubrey can't move, under that stare; Aubrey can hardly breathe through it. It stills her in place and makes her question everything she knows – about herself; about Vampires; about Beca.

The blonde is grateful that Beca doesn't wait her out, because Aubrey doesn't think she'll be able to speak again until Beca shifts those burning blue eyes elsewhere.

"People are afraid of us," Beca says quietly. "They always have been, and there are Vampires who prefer it that way," she shares. "But there's no way for us to openly live among you without working to dispel of our reputation. I'm not saying we're all good, Posen," she shrugs a little. "We have our bad guys, just like humans do," she confesses. "It's just- the majority of us? We don't want to hide, anymore. Why should we be kept a secret?

"I think humans are better than that," Beca muses, though her eyes drift behind Aubrey's shoulder, like maybe she's now speaking to herself more than the blonde across from her.

Aubrey is grateful. Something about Beca's presence had eased the sharpest edges of her panic, yes, but if she'd thought her inexplicable feelings of the morning before had been a mere fluke, she's now been proven wrong; Beca stumps her, in ways that Aubrey's never experienced before.

She isn't sure if it's a Vampire thing, but- she knows that Emily hadn't made her feel this way.

"I think that, if given a chance, the humans can accept us. And maybe fifty years from now, or a hundred," she shrugs, "who knows? We'll walk down the street without needing to announce ourselves, first. We'll be a part of the world around us, instead of living in its shadows."

"Exposure Tour," Aubrey repeats softly.

Because she gets it, now.

A coven can expose itself to the world, fine – but that doesn't mean that the world accepts what it's been told. People – people like Aubrey – have questions that need answers, and fears that must be abated before true acceptance can be reached.

And how will they achieve the answers, or relieve those fears, if no one is around to offer them the comforts that they require?

"Exposure Tour," Beca nods again.

Aubrey is fairly certain that, were she anyone else on campus, she would have more questions for Beca. She's still unstable, and still can't quite make out her feelings, but- this is better; better than the mess she'd been in when she'd stormed from the rehearsal hall, anyway.

She's confused that Beca is easing her tension, rather than intensifying it, but the only clear thing that she can feel right now is relief.

Beca- makes her better.

The blonde understands exactly none of that reaction, and she will be having a very lengthy discussion with Chloe about the baffling things that this- Vampire can do to her body and ease of mind, but, for now, Aubrey can only be relieved that Beca had come out to comfort her.

Aubrey wonders how many humans Beca would expend that sort of effort for.

The brunette is self-admittedly 'notoriously terrible with people,' after all.

Chapter Text

Chloe's very good at multi-tasking.

Aubrey hates it, honestly, because the blonde devotes such intense focus to literally everything she does that attempting two things at once frequently has the tendency to overwhelm her.

Chloe doesn't really have that problem.

Which is probably how it's so easy for Chloe to be both entirely concerned about Aubrey's welfare, and still wholly attentive to every word that escapes Emily's mouth. She's actually learning a lot, and she thinks Aubrey might even be interested in most of it – after she's had a tiny bit of time to process everything, of course.

Still, Chloe's worried; Beca's been gone for a decent while, and Aubrey's been gone for longer than that, even.

The redhead has half a desire to go and check up on them, but she's working every bit of patience she can muster in an attempt to wait them out. Chloe thinks that talking to Beca, one-on-one, could be good for her girlfriend – but only if Aubrey is able to put her flustered-up brain on pause long enough to actually hear what Beca has to say.

If not, well… Chloe's pretty sure that Beca would've been chased back into the rehearsal hall, by now.

Aubrey is infamously demanding when stressed, and if she'd wanted Beca gone, Chloe's fairly certain that – Vampire or not – Aubrey would have achieved her desired solitude one way or another.

Chloe's hoping the fact that Beca has yet to return means good things, and her positive thinking makes her feel wildly vindicated once Aubrey and Beca (jointly) find their way back to the Bellas' company.

Unfortunately, Chloe quickly becomes occupied with something else before she's able to do much more than grin broadly in their direction.

"Okay, seriously," Stacie huffs out, "this is all well and good, but- what about the sex?" She asks Emily eagerly, shifting forward half a step in effort to better hear her reply.

Chloe instantly turns to scold her.

"Stacie!" She chides swiftly.

She's pleased that the other Bellas are turning to the leggy brunette with looks ranging from disbelief to severe disapproval, validating Chloe's feelings.

"Damn, girl," Cynthia-Rose shakes her head. "Give the Vamps a chance, at least, before you drag 'em down your pants."

Stacie pins her with a wicked smile, and teasingly replies, "I literally want nothing more out of my life than to give them every opportunity to do exactly that."

"Oh. Well, I- uh..." Emily stammers out and shuffles around on her feet.

"Wow," Beca laughs, guiding Aubrey down the sloping entryway with a small hand settled across her lower back.

Chloe tries really hard not to feel envious, mostly because she really isn't sure which one of them she'd even be feeling envious of, if she's honest with herself, and that is a very big problem.

One which the redhead is perfectly content not to think about at all.


"That- actually took longer than I thought it would," Beca tips her head curiously to the side. She then smirks and spreads her hands out in front of her, as she and Aubrey come to a stop once they've rejoined the vicinity of the group. "What is it, exactly, that you're looking to know?"

Aubrey steps up to Chloe's side, and Chloe is every different kind of relieved she can think of to see that her girlfriend is neither shaking nor scowling; there's a healthy shade of pink in her cheeks, too, which means the sense of nausea must have passed.

She's surprised – like, super surprised, because even Chloe struggles with soothing Aubrey once she gets that tense. Still, she's pleased. And, oddly, she's also very proud of Aubrey for having allowed Beca near her at all.

Chloe coils her arms around Aubrey's waist and hugs her probably a little bit too tight, feeling Aubrey's soft sigh against her neck as the blonde apologetically murmurs, "I'm alright. I'm sorry I left you here."

"That's okay," Chloe assures happily.

And, truthfully, it is; Chloe's just glad that Aubrey had been able to excuse herself before causing much more of a scene, because she knows the blonde would've otherwise been hideously ashamed by her own behavior, later.

Chloe keeps her reply short, though, because as genuinely appalled as she is by Stacie's overly forward inquiry, she's also kind of… dangerously curious to hear Beca's answer.

Chloe is in so much trouble with this girl, it's not even funny, anymore.

"Where do I start?" Stacie laughs to herself quietly. "Okay, firstly – you can have sex with humans, right? Because, like, if you can't, I just don't even want to hear any more of what I could be missing out on," she announces matter-of-factly.

Beca snorts, but nods. "We can have sex with humans, yes. And we do. Quite frequently, actually," she smirks devilishly.

Chloe tries not to shudder, but Beca's smirk makes her feel a lot of things that she's pretty sure she definitely should not be feeling.

"Oh, thank God and every one of his individually glorious disciples," Stacie grins exuberantly. "Okay, so, like… how does it work?"

Beca raises a brow. "I imagine it works about the same way."

"Stacie excels in sex and all sex-related activities," Fat Amy tells her seriously, with an equally serious nod. "That's not nearly specific enough, Short Stack."

"Well," Beca plops herself into one of the auditorium seats and looks to Emily with a mild tilt of her head; the taller of the two Vampires bounces off the slightly lifted stage area to sit beside her, leaning her ear into Beca's shoulder with a tiny, relieved-looking smile, "the above average strength and speed do spice things up a little, if that's what you're asking."

Chloe frowns.

She knows it's irrational – and Aubrey is right freaking here, which makes it so, so wrong – but she's a little unsettled by Emily's close proximity to Beca. She wants to ask if that's normal behavior, between a sire and her- whatever Emily would be, to Beca, but they've pretty solidly landed on the discussion of sex, and Chloe isn't sure how to casually tie that in.

Chloe is nothing less than stupefied when Aubrey saves her the trouble of figuring it out.

"Is it typical for Vampires to have relationships with other Vampires, as well?" The blonde asks neutrally.

Chloe thinks she hears something unpleasant in the edges of her words, though, and when she turns to face Aubrey, she can see the beginnings of confusion and apology itching at the corners of her narrowed eyes.

The redhead takes her hand, in effort to reassure her, but she isn't quite sure if Aubrey's feeling that way for the same reasons that Chloe is, or for different reasons altogether.

"For some," Beca shrugs. "It just depends, really. Most relationships with humans are either short-lived, or end in the human being turned. It's complicated, maintaining a relationship with someone who ages when we don't. Sires have intense physical and emotional bonds with their sired, though," she explains patiently, "so it's likely that, if the human was engaged with a Vampire prior to being turned, they'll be mates later on."

"Is that what you call your partners?" Cynthia-Rose inquires with furrowed, curious brows. "Mates?"

"That gets tricky," Beca answers cautiously. "Mates are- closer," she struggles briefly. "You know it when you feel it," she tries again. "Emily is my sired," she says tenderly, and strokes her fingers just once through the girl's hair, holding gently onto the ends once she's finished.

Emily smiles and snuggles closer, but still says nothing.

"She's my partner, in a lot of ways – but she's not my mate. Mates rarely leave each other's side. It's difficult for a sire to be away from their sired for more than a couple of days, but mates experience the effects much more quickly, and much more powerfully. It's hard to explain," Beca shrugs again. "It's just different."

Chloe tries not to be – really, she does – but she's crazy relieved to know that Emily isn't Beca's mate.

And she feels so crazy guilty for that relief.

She darts a brief, sly look in Aubrey's direction, but whatever the blonde is feeling, she's hiding it pretty carefully beneath an impassive face and folded arms, and it makes Chloe pout.

She hates it when Aubrey hides from her.

"Look," Beca tries softly, "I'm happy to answer any of your questions, but I'm actually a little short on time, right now. I know it's a lot to ask, but- do you maybe have an answer about Emily's audition?"

The Vampire in question straightens abruptly and throws anxious eyes in Aubrey and Chloe's direction, bouncing her knee slightly as she bites down on her lower lip.

Chloe defers to Aubrey, but, secretly, she thinks it'd be an honest gesture of cruelty to deny her. She just looks so hopeful, and it's affecting Chloe in ways that make her feel almost depressed at the thought of sending her away.

"Let's see if you can sing, first," the blonde declares pragmatically.

Emily shoots upward and grins, and Chloe just beams back at her; she's happy, and she's proud that Aubrey is overlooking her skepticism enough to give Emily a chance.

Chloe wonders what Beca could possibly have said to her in order make that miracle happen.

They end the day with a brand new Bella, and an aca-horror show of paperwork.

Chloe learns that Emily is technically enrolled in Barden's online program, which is actually really great, because they might've struggled with her participation in competitive events, otherwise. As it is, Chloe already isn't sure that the International Collegiate Acapella Association isn't going to find some way to make Emily's membership against the rules.

Aubrey handles it before Chloe even thinks to bring it up, though, and spends half of the afternoon making phone calls and demanding faxed documents in order to verify that they won't run into any trouble later on.

Chloe tries really hard not to get in her way, but she's feeling freakishly desperate to discuss the day's events with her girlfriend.

Instead of badgering Aubrey, however, Chloe elects to distract herself with making dinner. She decides on chicken parmesan after she finds some thawed meat in the fridge, and sets out to prepare it with single-minded focus. She can vaguely hear Aubrey's authoritative tone reaching from the living room, but Chloe does her best to ignore it.

Half an hour later, though, and Chloe doesn't hear Aubrey's voice, anymore. She turns away from the oven and arches her neck around curiously, smiling softly when she realizes that her girlfriend is sitting silently at the kitchen counter, watching Chloe move.

"Everything go okay?" Chloe asks earnestly.

Aubrey nods tiredly. "For the most part. I hit a snag a little while ago, but it's nothing I couldn't work out. Emily's good to go, as soon as she pays her registration fees."

"Good," Chloe grins. "She'll be so happy. Did you see her, Bree? She was precious," Chloe coos affectionately.

"And, more importantly," Aubrey stands and shifts forward, moving to circle Chloe in her arms, "she can sing. She does need some work, though," Aubrey admits on a sigh. "And we're going to have to start training her to keep her eyes open immediately."

"Yeah," Chloe giggles a little, "but it's impressive that she wrote the song herself."

"Mm," Aubrey hums softly into Chloe's shoulder.

"She seems so young," Chloe sighs gently, lilting her head just a little, to rest against Aubrey's temple. "I wonder how old she actually is."

Aubrey shrugs a little. "I don't have a real guess, but Beca seemed worried about leaving her alone to answer the Bellas' questions; she said she's probably too young to know the answers to most of them."

Chloe bites her lip and nods. Aside from Emily's (understandable) hesitance to answer Stacie's question, the redhead remembers Emily stammering over a few others, too – particularly those regarding historical Vampiric facts.

"We could ask Beca," Chloe pitches cautiously.

Aubrey huffs and pulls away, defensively curling her arms over her stomach. "We could, but I'd really rather not be anywhere near her, at the moment," Aubrey grits her teeth and frowns.

Chloe frowns, too.

"Why?" She asks earnestly, taking Aubrey's hips in her palms and tugging her closer, despite the blonde's evident desire to shirk Chloe's touch. "Did something happen, Bree?"

"Besides learning that she's a Vampire?" Aubrey scoffs skeptically. "That isn't enough?"

"Aubrey," Chloe says warningly, before waiting patiently until Aubrey's shoulders sink in defeat.

"She just makes me feel- off balance, or something, Chloe!" The blonde throws her palms into the air. "I'm not even sure how to try to explain it. It's like – " Aubrey breaks off and shakes her head. "I don't know what it's like!" She asserts frantically.

Chloe gnaws gently at her lower lip, before vulnerably inquiring, "It's like you want her, and you don't even really know why, yet?"

Aubrey's sharp, evaluating green eyes bore into Chloe's – and, for a moment that stretches for entirely too long, the redhead is absolutely, gut-wrenchingly terrified that Aubrey doesn't at all understand what Chloe means. Still, after that entirely too long moment, Aubrey jerkily (and obviously reluctantly) nods her head, and Chloe feels the answering relief flood through her so swiftly and fiercely that she laughs an especially disbelieving laugh in reply.

"It isn't that I want you less," Aubrey hastens to assure, not that Chloe especially needs the assurance; still, it warms her heart that Aubrey is so quick to think of Chloe's feelings, and it makes Chloe's fingers pull tighter over Aubrey's hips in encouragement. "It's just that she's- I don't know!" Aubrey flails again. "I can't think about it, Chloe. Really, I can't," she insists. "She just- does things to me. She makes me feel calm and confused, all at once, and I just can't understand that," Aubrey shakes her head, concerned brows dipping inward.

"I was jealous," Chloe bites her lip.

It isn't so much that it's a confession she really wants to make, but she can clearly see that Aubrey is taking a gigantic leap of faith by sharing any of this with Chloe at all, and she recognizes how difficult that must be; it's only fair that she returns the favor.

"When she touched you, I was jealous," Chloe sighs out reluctantly. "Kind of jealous of both of you, really. And when she was snuggled up with Emily, I – "

"Wanted to hit something?" Aubrey snorts knowingly. "Yeah," she rolls her eyes at herself and nods. "Me too. This isn't natural, Chloe. It can't be," she whispers gently.

Chloe really isn't sure one way or the other, but she feels better now that she's voiced it aloud. And she feels better now that she knows Aubrey feels it, too.

"Well," Chloe sighs softly and pulls Aubrey in close, "I wouldn't know any better than you would, Aubrey – but it didn't seem like any of the other girls were particularly affected by either one of them," she voices doubtfully.

"And how is that even fair?" Aubrey blusters on a dramatic, frenzied huff.

Chloe laughs delightedly and presses her mouth across Aubrey's cheek, softly nuzzling her nose against blonde hair as her girlfriend slackens into Chloe's protective hold.

She doesn't have an answer – not a good one, anyway; not one that could even remotely satisfy Aubrey's confused emotions – but, either way, Chloe feels good here. She feels more than good, with Aubrey in her arms and both of their concerns out in the open, so she refuses to worry.

Aubrey does enough of that for the both of them.

Chapter Text

In the past week or so, Aubrey's turned her occasional morning jog into a regular part of her daily routine. The cardio is good for her, she tells herself – and good for the Bellas – but, if Aubrey's really honest, it's more for stress relief than anything else.

She's worried about Emily, and about how much work still needs to be done in order to catch her up with the rest of the girls. She's worried – as always – about taking the Bellas back to Nationals, after her massively embarrassing aca-screw up of the year before. She's worried about her classes, and about her father, and even about Chloe.

But, amidst all of that, Aubrey thinks she's possibly more worried about Beca.

And about the way that Beca makes her feel.

The small brunette only sparingly makes appearances at rehearsal, but when she isn't there, Luke takes her place without fail.

He spends that time either silently observing the Bellas throughout the duration of practice, or waiting for Emily just outside of the auditorium. Aubrey wonders why Emily requires that sort of constant supervision – and by someone as high-ranking in their coven as Luke, no less – but she refuses to ask the blonde Vampire, and really hasn't had much of an opportunity to bring it up with Beca.

It makes Aubrey uncomfortable to realize that, as little as she knows about the brunette, she kind of- misses her when she isn't around. She misses things like that irritating smirk, and that little shrug of her tiny shoulders; she misses the calm, easy way that Beca speaks to people, and even the lack of tact that Beca employs while doing so; Aubrey misses that horrifyingly beautiful, distracting blue stare, and the low timbre of the brunette's soft chuckle.

It's difficult, and confusing, but Aubrey refuses to pine – even though she thinks Chloe gets a little grumpier each day that Beca fails to show up.

Instead, Aubrey runs.

It only helps a little, but the little that it does help is all that keeps Aubrey sane. She thinks about this girl far more frequently than she should allow of herself, but it hadn't taken Aubrey long to realize that she honestly just can't help it.

Part of her wants to be upset with Beca, because Aubrey hates it when Chloe mopes, and Aubrey knows that Beca is the cause for it, this time, even if she doesn't mean to be. The blonde also hates that she is moping, too – despite that she's much better at shielding those feelings than Chloe is.

Aubrey doesn't know what to do with emotions this powerful and overwhelming, so it's natural for her to hide them away and pretend they don't exist.

But Chloe doesn't make that easy for her.

Chloe talks about Beca incessantly, and Aubrey understands it – she does – but she isn't sure that it actually helps either of them to resolve anything; they can only confess to being bemused by the brunette's presence so many times before they just ache to be in her company all over again, and that is disconcerting and strange and not at all relieving, to Aubrey.

She doesn't admit it aloud, but she's a little afraid of how easily Beca affects them.

Still, when Beca finally shows up at the end of practice on Friday, Aubrey feels pleasure descend through her body so quick and hard that it makes her tremble.

"Beca!" Chloe beams, launching from the stage and into the aisle, where she all but tackles the Vampire into a soul-crushing embrace.

Aubrey wants to roll her eyes, but swift fondness overcomes her, instead.

Chloe has been grouchy for days, and it's been very challenging for the blonde to adjust – but, right now, Chloe is happy, and sweet, and it makes Aubrey smile something soft and tender.

Even if she is a little disgruntled that Beca is the one to make Chloe feel that way.

"What's up, Red?" Beca chuckles deeply, bracing her arms around Chloe's lower back to receive her.

Chloe disentangles herself a moment later, and promptly smacks Beca on the shoulder with the back of her hand. "Where have you been?" She asks, playfully crossing her arms and plastering on an expectant expression for show.

"Around," Beca shrugs and grins. "I see you've been keeping Em busy, though."

"She's a little behind the others," Aubrey steps in to reply, her fingers itching curiously in a way that makes her consider hugging the brunette, too, but Aubrey's pride simply won't allow her to reach for it. "We've been working to get her on our level."

Beca nods understandingly. "Fair enough," she says. "I know we haven't talked about it," she hesitates, "but I'm sure it couldn't have been easy to work out her membership. I appreciate that you've given her a chance," she tells Aubrey earnestly. "Emily's having a blast," she laughs softly, "and I think it's been good for her, you know? To have things to do when I can't be with her, and people who care about her," she shrugs again and tracks her fingers through her hair, watching Emily across the room with satisfied eyes and a tiny smile. "Just… thanks for doing this for her, Posen."

Aubrey nods, but she's pleased when Chloe replies in her place, because she can't quite name why, but the only question Aubrey now wants to ask is why Beca can't be with Emily all the time.

It's obvious, after all, that she wishes she could be.

"Emily's great," Chloe gushes honestly, pulling against Beca's arm until they both drop into the auditorium seats, Aubrey following not far behind. "The girls love her, and I really think that's only a little bit because they get to brag about having a Vampire for a sister," she winks teasingly.

Beca laughs and shakes her head. "As long as you guys are still around for her once the novelty of it wears off, I don't really care."

Aubrey hadn't realized it before, but she imagines that probably is a concern that Beca has to deal with, and it makes her heart seize with sadness – both for Beca, and for Emily.

"She's sweet," Aubrey soothes softly, absently stretching a comforting palm over Beca's knee. "She has exactly no verbal filter, and she sings with her eyes closed when she's nervous," Aubrey says, rolling her own eyes a bit, "but she's very sweet, and absurdly optimistic. And she tries twice as hard as the other girls. She's good for morale," Aubrey shrugs a little. "We like her."

Beca switches her gaze to Aubrey's, and the blonde, for just a second, has to fight off every singing desire in her body telling her to groan – because it is just not right, what Beca's steely blue eyes can do to her, and Aubrey hates that she abruptly feels so hot and nervous.

"Good," Beca says eventually, quiet and meaningful as a soft smile tugs at her mouth. "We like you, too."

"Of course you do," Chloe beams from Beca's opposite side. "We're the best," she boasts impishly.

"Better watch that ego, Red," Beca shakes her head and chuckles. "It might swallow you, one day."

Chloe pokes her tongue out in answer, but quickly gets over the small offense and latches eagerly onto Beca's arm with both of her own. "The girls are planning to have dinner together, after practice," the redhead tells her leadingly. "Do you want to come with us?"

Aubrey bites her lip, because she can hear the hope that's swelling through Chloe's voice, and that same hope is thrumming through Aubrey, too; it's uncomfortable – how the pounding of her heart rattles against her chest – and the only thing Aubrey can do to ease it is diligently observe Beca for a reply.

The brunette checks her phone – presumably for the time, Aubrey supposes – before nodding slowly.

"Sure. I can clear a couple of hours," she furrows her brow, before nodding again, though Aubrey thinks it's mostly to herself.

"Great!" Chloe declares excitedly. "I'll get everyone ready to go."

Aubrey gently smiles her own relief, and leans back into her seat, allowing Chloe to shuffle by her and drop a quick kiss against her temple as she passes.

Beca tilts her head curiously to one side, before she exaggeratingly whispers, far too close to Aubrey's suddenly flaming, irritatingly sensitive ear, "Is she always this happy?"

"Usually," Aubrey replies, though if it's a little breathy, well… Aubrey just can't be held responsible for that. "She's Chloe," she says stiffly.

Beca hums throatily, and asks, "And you?" She smirks mockingly. "Are you always this high-strung?"

"Aca-scuse me?" Aubrey demands, offended.

"Yeah…" Beca raises her brows, clearly amused to a degree that Aubrey just can't deem justifiable. "That still isn't a thing, and I'm pretty sure you heard me just fine, Posen."

Aubrey tenses, and glares, before pointedly replying, "I'd rather be a little high-strung than careless."

"You think I'm careless?" Beca asks neutrally, her face slipping into something impassive and unreadable that makes Aubrey itch to claw beneath the expression just to get at something real.

"I think your attitude suggests it," Aubrey shrugs offhandedly instead.

She doesn't understand her own reactions, right now; she wants to know more about Beca, as a person, but she simultaneously yearns to make the brunette feel the same level of confusion and frustration that she inflicts upon Aubrey.

It really isn't her fault if she feels the need to rile her up a little, right?

"You don't even know me," Beca replies, half of a smile pulling at her pretty pink lips.

"Whose fault is that?" Aubrey frowns. "It's not like we know where you live, or where you spend your time. You're the one who never shows up for practice," she says deliberately.

"You want me to show up for practice?" Beca smirks widely.

Aubrey blushes so seriously she can feel the heat of it in her toes, because how in the aca-hell had she talked herself into this particularly cloying corner?

"I didn't say that," Aubrey replies diplomatically.

"You implied it," Beca insists, with the rise of a challenging brow.

"You misunderstood," Aubrey tells her firmly.

"I don't think I misunderstood at all," Beca shakes her head. "I think you missed me, Posen," she grins.

"I think you're full of yourself," Aubrey snaps irritably.

Because Beca clearly is full of herself, even if she might also maybe be right. That doesn't mean Aubrey's obligated to confirm it for her, though.

"I think," Beca purrs slowly, "you're deflecting."

Aubrey quivers, clasping her hands in her lap just to mask the shake in them; Beca's voice is low, and it is hot, and it makes Aubrey ache in places that she didn't even know could ache.

"I think you're entirely too close to me, right now," Aubrey flusters on a blistering, aggravated huff, before she claps one of those furiously shaking hands against her mouth.

For serious? What does this girl even do to her?

Beca chuckles, dark and rumbling, before she shrugs, stands, and leans in close to teasingly whisper, "If it helps," her mouth scrapes across Aubrey's ear, "I missed you, too, Posen."

And before Aubrey can even process the wild vibrations of her own body as a result, Beca is gone, rejoining with the Bellas and curling her arm around Emily's waist.

Aubrey releases a rough string of breath from somewhere deep inside her chest, flicking her eyes instinctively toward Chloe's. The redhead is watching her with rapt attention, and even from this distance, Aubrey can see the envy and arousal swimming to life in those familiar blue irises.

All Aubrey can think, in that moment, is that they are just in so much trouble.

When they leave the rehearsal hall, it's hardly a solid second before Luke meets them.

Beca asks for a moment to speak with him before he even utters a word, and the Bellas – though confused – nod compliantly and wait, chattering amongst themselves.

Aubrey, however, is curious.

She watches as Beca talks to Luke, and he shoves his hands deep in the pockets of his leather jacket as he nods. They stand closely enough together that Aubrey is able to tell that they're comfortable in each other's presence, but Aubrey can't help but wonder if that's strange.

"Is it normal," she asks Emily quietly, "for your coven leader to devote this much time to each of you?"

Aubrey feels Chloe shuffle up beside her, taking her palm between her fingers and squeezing tightly against it for comfort, while also listening intently for Emily's reply.

Emily tilts her head to the side curiously. "What do you mean?"

"I mean," Aubrey sighs exasperatedly, "that Luke is here with you for pretty much every practice, and he and Beca look like they've spent a decent amount of time together, in the past. He doesn't seem surprised that she would ask to speak with him, either," she justifies. "I just wonder if that's normal, for him, with everyone else in your coven."

Emily's eyes light up in recognition as she tries to fight off a smile. "You think Luke's the head of our coven?"

"Isn't he?" Chloe frowns bemusedly.

Emily laughs – loudly – and Beca turns to look at her with raised, amused brows before Emily flaps her hand to wave off any concern.

"Luke is Beca's brother, basically," Emily tries to explain through giggles. "They were sired by the same woman," she elaborates, "and they'd do anything for each other – but he's definitely not our leader. He deals with most of the PR stuff, though, because – as much as I love her and all – Beca… isn't especially great with people," she shakes her head resignedly. "She hates crowds, especially, so she has Luke handle it, instead."

"But surely you have someone who's in charge?" Aubrey inquires, confused.

"Well, yeah," Emily nods agreeably. "Of course we do. Beca takes care of us," she smiles warmly. "Especially me."

"Beca is your coven leader?" Aubrey gapes.

Chloe's fingers tighten over Aubrey's own, but it only mildly helps to keep her grounded.

"More than that," Emily laughs softly. "If Vampires could have a President," she grins proudly, "it'd be Beca. They call her Regina; it means queen, in Latin, and she sort of hates it," Emily rambles. "Most of our coven has phased it out, except for on special occasions – but every other Vampire in the world knows who she is, and if they're unfamiliar with her, that's how they address her."

"Holy shit!" Chloe exclaims on a surprised, vehement whisper. "Holy aca-shit, Aubrey! How many secrets does this girl have?"

Aubrey groans and wonders the same, because how can it be fair that every time they seek to learn more about the brunette, they only learn more for Aubrey to question?

She and Chloe might very well be in serious trouble with Beca, but Aubrey gets the feeling that Beca is all sorts of trouble, all on her own.

Chapter Text

Chloe is trying to understand.

In fact, Chloe's spent the better part of the past forty-five minutes trying to understand – but something about Beca as some sort of renowned Vampire Queen just won't click, with her.

She tries to imagine Beca perched on a throne, loyal subjects sprawled at her feet and awaiting her command, but it just doesn't seem right.

Granted, Chloe doesn't really consider herself a fount of knowledge, where Vampires are concerned, so she isn't totally sure what being a queen among them might actually even entail, but it seems like a lot of obligation; Beca has never really struck Chloe as the type for obligation – especially not the kind that involves ruling people.

Then again, Chloe considers, as frequently as she thinks of Beca (… and speaks of her and even sort of craves her), she doesn't really know anything about the brunette other than that she looks and sings like the angel Chloe had first mistaken her for.

The looks part, though…

Yeah, Chloe can kind of connect Beca's image with a queen.

When she pictures Beca draped across her throne (the same throne from before that might not actually exist, in real life, but certainly does within the confines of Chloe's boggled, artistic brain), she pictures the little brunette in a tightly hugging, dated black corset, with crazy expensive jewels falling like stars from her ears and clinging like little flurries of snow around the pale length of her neck.

And that definitely clicks, with Chloe.

It is embarrassing how swiftly that image clicks, with Chloe.

She has so many questions. Probably even two or three of those questions hide some actual semblance of pragmatism, too, not that Chloe's awfully concerned with that – but she knows Aubrey is; Chloe's girlfriend has hardly spoken to her at all since Emily's groundbreaking revelation, and she's pretty much avoided conversation with Beca as much as possible since they sat down in the booth at the diner.

Chloe feels a little defeated by that.

She'd just been so happy to invite Beca out with them, and she'd looked forward to winning some extra time to actually learn something about the Vampire, but it feels less like a victory if Aubrey won't share in it with her.

Chloe understands that Aubrey needs more time to process – and Chloe probably needs some time with this, too – but Aubrey's avoidance is sometimes frustrating; the blonde evades anything she can't fully grasp and quantify, and that worries Chloe, because she thinks Beca is going to be a serious challenge, for them.

The redhead appreciates Beca's mystery in ways that Aubrey just can't.

Chloe likes that there seems to be so much beneath the surface, with Beca, and the prospect of unearthing her secrets makes Chloe feel hungry. She likes how Aubrey leaves Beca's company, flushed and uncertain, seeking Chloe out for instant reassurance. Chloe even – confusingly – likes the way that just earlier today, she had been rendered jealous and turned on, all within the span of a couple of minutes, just by watching the two interact.

The redhead doesn't know much about jealousy, because it isn't something she thinks she feels too often, but she'd learned a lot about it in the rehearsal hall. It confuses Chloe, some; actually, she thinks it confuses her a lot, because Chloe's never really thought of herself as especially possessive.

But it hadn't quite felt like possession. Chloe hadn't wanted to deprive Aubrey or Beca of each other's company; Chloe had only… wanted to share in it. She had wanted to be a part of it.

Aubrey might be right, and it's totes possible that absolutely none of this is natural, but it still feels like the most ordinary and simultaneously exciting thing in the world, to Chloe, and she's eager to feel more of it.

But Aubrey doesn't like feelings the way that Chloe does.

Or, at least, Aubrey doesn't like feelings she can't break down and analyze to death, and Beca just confuses the aca-hell out of both of them, so Chloe can't see the blonde achieving that in the near future.

She gets it – after two years with Aubrey, Chloe truly does understand her, even if she doesn't always agree with her – but Chloe isn't sure she has the patience to wait for Aubrey to catch up, with this. It's unsettling, really, because Chloe has always waited for Aubrey – had waited for the blonde's confidence, when approaching her their first year as Bellas; had waited for Aubrey's insecurities to fade in the night under Chloe's soft touch; had waited for Aubrey to finally, finally admit that she felt something for Chloe that ran deeper than the friendship she'd so diligently hidden behind.

Chloe has always waited for her, and she's never once felt even mildly bitter about the fact.

Chloe is patient. Even if she makes no secret of her own feelings, she very rarely forces others to confess to theirs; she thinks it's nice – intimate – taking the time to learn a person's behaviors and read the emotion through them without necessarily being told. Chloe hadn't minded waiting for Aubrey to feel comfortable in her feelings for Chloe.

But now Chloe's feeling a little selfish, because even though Aubrey just needs time, Chloe feels like she just needs time with Beca.

It's a little scary, and it's the first time she's honestly felt that her feelings for Beca might actually threaten something in her relationship with Aubrey – but, in fairness, Chloe's been honest with the blonde. Chloe's told her everything she feels, and every baffling thought that had struck her in Beca's company; she probably confesses it too frequently, actually, and she's seen Aubrey's eyes flash with miniscule traces of irritation – but Chloe just can't tell if Aubrey's irritated with her, or about their confusing feelings in general.

Aubrey, though – for all of her stubbornness and relentless control – has never been one to stifle her anger.

Chloe feels sure in the fact that if Aubrey was unhappy – beyond overall discomfort, anyway – she would have said something, by now. She would have told Chloe to shut up about Beca, or she would have glared and glared and glared at Chloe for extending this dinner invitation to the elusive Vampire in the first place – but Aubrey had looked hopeful, too.

With that thought in mind, Chloe sighs to herself and nods.

Aubrey needs time, and Chloe won't force her to communicate with Beca when she doesn't want to – but Aubrey can't expect Chloe to do the same.

Chloe forgets it, sometimes, but Aubrey knows her, too.

Aubrey knows that Chloe's curiosity is not easily curbed, and Aubrey knows that Chloe's frequent mentions of the girl must mean something.

Aubrey knows that, just as she requires time, Chloe requires answers.

In reply to that thought, Chloe lowers her palm over Aubrey's thigh and squeezes, just a little, and just gently; she wants to feel her there, and she wants Aubrey to know that Chloe is there.

Whatever her feelings for Beca – and digging into the nuances of that notion is a task that Chloe is just not equipped to handle, right now – she loves Aubrey, endlessly, and would do anything in the world to keep her.

Chloe wants Aubrey to know that.

And words are really overrated, anyway, Chloe thinks, because as soon as Aubrey feels her fingers cinching over her leg, the blonde turns to her with fondly exasperated eyes and an understanding, devoted smile, and everything just feels better. Everything feels less heavy, and Chloe isn't so worried, anymore.

She knows Aubrey understands, because Aubrey always does. She may not like the way that Chloe manages her feelings, all the time, but Aubrey always understands them.

So Chloe doesn't feel guilty when she turns to Beca, on her right side – carefully kept away from Aubrey's – and huffs a little playfully before poking her in the side. "You could have said you were a big deal," Chloe declares teasingly. "I mean, the Vampire thing I get – that's probably a tough conversation to have, and you're all guarded and cagey, anyway – but a queen? That's definitely something you share with friends, you know."

Beca raises her brows and leans back in the booth, one leg languidly sprawling into the aisle. "You think we're friends, Red?" She inquires, with admittedly only vague hints at a smirk curling the corners of her mouth.

"I'm a great friend," Chloe frowns earnestly. "You don't want to be my friend?" She pouts maybe a little bit dramatically, and honestly can't even help it – because she is legitimately concerned by the devastation she feels at the idea that Beca might not share in Chloe's overwhelming aspiration to share space together.

"Well, you did see me naked, so…" Beca murmurs and winks, and Chloe thinks her hand over Aubrey's thigh trembles at that particular memory, because the blonde carefully takes Chloe's palm in her own and hugs it tight, despite that Aubrey never once turns to face them. "I guess that's got to be a pretty solid foundation for something," Beca shrugs, grinning over at Chloe and reaching forward for a slurp of her milkshake.

Chloe wonders what, exactly, 'something' means.

"So we're friends," Chloe beams and bumps Beca's shoulder with her own. "Which means you should have said something," Chloe insists determinedly.

"Why?" Beca angles her neck to the side.

"Um… Why not?" Chloe returns bemusedly.

Beca chuckles and shakes her head. "It isn't really as huge as you make it sound," she confesses on a conspiratorial whisper. "Right now, being 'queen,'" she scoffs lightly, and implies with her words the air quotes that her fingers never rise to indicate, "mostly consists of making travel arrangements for other covens."

"Are there a lot of them?" Chloe inquires, bracing her elbow against the table and attentively leaning her cheek into her palm.

"Yes," Beca answers honestly. "But probably not as many as you think."

"Why not?" Chloe frowns. "You live forever, and can basically just… make more, whenever you feel like it, right? I'd imagine there are tons of Vampires around the world."

Beca nods, then shrugs amiably. "We don't necessarily live forever, Red. And, like I said, there are a lot of us – but it isn't that easy to just 'make more,'" she mocks lightly, with a friendly smile to cover the sting.

Chloe's only mildly surprised to realize that it works, because instead of feeling off-put by the swift rebuff of her assumption, Chloe feels warm and fluttery and like maybe Beca's smile could cure pediatric cancer.

"Siring someone is a huge commitment," Beca says slowly, and looks to Emily with affection in her eyes and tenderness in her smile.

Emily is obviously distracted, eagerly conversing with the Bellas about their hopes to return to Nationals, and vicariously living through the girls' memories of performing on such a huge stage, for such a huge audience. The girl is grinning, and she dreamily absorbs every detail of the experience Aubrey now recounts for them – markedly avoiding the specific instance of Pukegate, and her own subsequent embarrassment.

It makes Chloe smile, to see her so eager and excited, and she desperately hopes that they can take Emily to Nationals this year, so that she can have a story of her own.

"How do you mean?" Chloe dips her brows downward in thought. She shakes her head, because she can't really fathom how hard it could be to sire someone if she doesn't really know what it means to sire someone at all. "Explain it to me?" Chloe bites her lip and smiles shyly.

It isn't like her – the sudden bashfulness – but she feels a little underprepared; she hasn't read up on Vampires the way that Aubrey has, and she's been gathering that Beca must be pretty old. Chloe doesn't want to seem uninformed or silly, but she's curious enough to risk it, anyway.

"It sort of- splits you, you know?" Beca sighs tiredly and trifles her fingers through pretty brown hair. "It's like you share your body with them," she tries to explain. "When Em's happy, or afraid, or… anything that's even just a little stronger than an average emotion, I feel it, too," Beca tells her softly. "And after a few days without her, I feel- uncomfortable in my own skin. Siring someone means you need them," Beca says carefully, "and they need you, too. It isn't a choice," Beca declares solemnly. "You have to be around them. You devote time to them, even when you have no time to spare. You'd give anything for them, because you feel what they feel, and if they're unhappy without you, that feeling becomes yours, too. I've known Vampires to sire eight people at a time, but I don't know how they do it," Beca murmurs. "I love her – I do, and I wouldn't trade her for anything, so don't mistake my words," Beca insists quietly, "but it's exhausting.

"I've never understood people," Beca shrugs bemusedly. "I don't understand the way they behave, or think, or communicate. Even as a human," Beca huffs on a dry chuckle, "I was the same way. I just never understood, and I still struggle with it," Beca confesses mutedly, releasing a soft sigh as she tears her eyes from Emily and focuses them on Chloe, instead – but she isn't really looking at her. Chloe can tell. "But I feel everything Emily feels, and it's overwhelming for me, sometimes. I just- want to be enough for her, and I'm not sure that I can be," Beca finishes absently.

Chloe swallows.

She can see through the drifty look in Beca's eyes that she'd lost herself, somewhere, in the midst of that monologue. The brunette is barely even talking to Chloe, in this moment; just speaking as her mind produces thoughts, calm and collected, despite also unsure.

Chloe knows she wasn't meant to see this.

But Chloe is seeing it, and she's never been particularly gifted with boundaries or lines in the sand or any of that meaningless crap, anyway, but, oh, her heart is aching and healing, all at once; for reasons Chloe couldn't name and wouldn't try, she feels such sincere desperation in Beca's words.

Beca may be a queen, but right here – right next to Chloe, but certainly not with her – Beca is nothing more or less than Emily's sire; her entire being is devoted to providing that girl with all the love and consideration in the world, and Chloe can see it all, stretching from the worried crease between Beca's brows through the loving itch at the edge of her mouth.

"You really love her, huh?" Chloe offers hoarsely and smiles.

Because it is so obvious that Beca does, and that level of unwavering care is just sort of so humbling, to Chloe.

Beca only shrugs, and crooks a lazy grin at Chloe – wolfish and sure – and the Vampire Queen is suddenly focused on literally nothing else. Chloe doesn't know how she's meant to react to that kind of rapid, concentrated attention, but even if she did, she thinks it probably wouldn't matter; her body betrays every screaming plea in her brain urging her to stay cool and pulses crippling heat through her system, instead, shocking her into stammered confusion.

"What?" Chloe wrestles out, eventually.

"Well, we're friends, right?" Beca says, eyes wide in expectation.

She waits for Chloe's shaky, answering nod before lilting her head predatorily to the side.

"I haven't had a friend in a while," Beca muses faux-thoughtfully, "but good friendships are normally give and take, yeah?"

Chloe nods again, her mind lost in inky blue eyes and a way-too-quick grin.

"So, when it's my turn to take," Beca leans closer to Chloe, and murmurs slowly, "I get to ask terribly invasive questions about you, too, right?" She purrs softly.

There's enough of a laugh in her voice to indicate that she might not actually be serious, but there is not at all enough of one to stifle Chloe's urgent bout of nervousness.

"Because that's only fair, isn't it, Red?" Beca insists quietly, with a damagingly low chuckle that utterly wrecks Chloe from the inside.

… Chloe's pretty sure Beca doesn't even know how to play fair.

Chapter Text

Aubrey understands that she's behaving childishly.

Truly, she does.

She recognizes that it's unfair of her to essentially punish Beca simply because Aubrey's learned something about her that she can't quite seem to process.


The blonde also recognizes that this is only a very minor step up from bolting outside to avoid Beca altogether, the way she'd done before.

But Aubrey can't help it – and, honestly, some progress is still progress, isn't it?

She's doing better.

At least, that's what Aubrey tells herself.

It's difficult, though – ignoring Beca – because she can basically feel Chloe's giddiness echoing off of her trembling fingertips on Aubrey's thigh, and Aubrey selfishly wants to be a part of that, even if she isn't the cause for it; the blonde can hear Beca's teasing chuckles and her very private, very honest confessions, and – both curiously and infuriatingly – Aubrey wants to be a part of that, too.

She's confused, and she's overwhelmed, and Aubrey wants nothing (and everything, she laments privately) to do with the girl who's triggering it.

The queen who's triggering it, Aubrey reminds herself skeptically.

She wishes, partly, that she could be more like Chloe – a bit more carefree, and markedly less worrisome about such things – but Aubrey doesn't really mean it. Surely it's best that at least one of them remains level-headed enough to consider how seriously dangerous Beca has the potential to become, for them, right?

She's already a threat to their combined sanity, after all.

Dinner lasts entirely too long, for Aubrey, but she's pleased that she's able to (mostly absentmindedly) maintain conversation with the girls for the duration.

Still, when they've finished eating – an activity that Aubrey had admittedly been surprised to discover Emily and Beca actually can partake in – Beca pays the check for the table, much to the Bellas' delight, and she stands to allow Chloe out of the booth.

Aubrey is sure that the slight, challenging twitch of Beca's right brow as the blonde slips out beside her is the only farewell she's going to receive from the girl – and as deeply, honestly disappointed as she feels by the notion, she couldn't exactly blame Beca for that.

Aubrey hasn't been particularly subtle in her attempts to dodge the Vampire over the past couple of hours.

But when they're bidding goodbyes in the parking lot – after Chloe has already hugged Beca for several seconds way too long, and moves swiftly on to enclose Emily in an affectionate embrace, too – Beca shifts far closer than Aubrey deems acceptable (and far more quickly than Aubrey is able to deem human) and sets to work, carefully unfurling Aubrey's fingers with her own.

It takes an embarrassingly long minute – because Aubrey is utterly bewildered, and at least mildly appalled by Beca's brazenness – but eventually she realizes that Beca is slipping something into her palm.

"I'm a busy girl, Posen," Beca tells her with a playful smirk and an oddly humble shrug. "I can't be at every Bellas practice, even if I want to be. But next time you miss me – "

Aubrey emits a strangled, half-unfinished, noticeably irritated noise at Beca's implication, but most of its effect is lost as her cheeks splatter with color and her fingers shake in the prison of Beca's gentle, confusingly warm palm.

" – or if Chloe's wondering where I am again," Beca continues, largely ignoring Aubrey's interruption with the exception of an amused snort and a pair of raised brows that Aubrey swiftly interprets to read, 'Really, Posen?' even though Beca voices no such thing at all, "just let me know, and I'll make some time."

It's strange, to Aubrey, that she speaks that last part like a promise.

Beca is abruptly earnest, her eyes wide with sincerity and insistence, and her head bobbing just a little like a nod, as though she's already confirming for Aubrey that, no, she is not screwing with the blonde's head the way that Aubrey is so quickly inclined to assume.

She squeezes Aubrey's hand into a loose fist beneath her own, and Aubrey just swallows, scarcely managing a nod in reply.

She hardly even knows what she's nodding at, truthfully – because like hell Aubrey would ever confess to something like missing Beca in the first place – but it just seems… wrong to reply to this vulnerable display from Beca with anything but agreement.

Beca smiles something sweet and soft and small in answer, and the tiny expression really just makes Aubrey want to weep; it is startlingly beautiful, and also decidedly precious, and Aubrey wonders how she'd ever mistaken this girl for human, anyway, because everything about her is out of this aca-fucking world.

Aubrey doesn't have the time to remember to scowl, or to reject the very idea that she might have some hidden desire to spend time with Beca (even though she so obviously does), and Beca doesn't linger for such a reaction to occur.

The brunette turns a moment later and takes Emily by the wrist, whispering something into the taller girl's ear. Emily nods eagerly and looks pleadingly in Beca's direction, and the brunette laughs as they excuse themselves just a few seconds after, with small, shy waves goodbye and vows to come out with them again, soon.

It isn't until they're walking away – when Chloe tries slotting her fingers through the gaps in Aubrey's –that the blonde remembers the spot is occupied.

"Aubrey?" Chloe frowns, and questioningly arches her head to the side.

Aubrey holds up her hand and stretches out her quaking digits, lifting what appears to be the receipt from their meal out of the center of her palm. It's a little damp, due to the very slight perspiration of her quivering appendage, and it's a little wrinkled, too, courtesy of Aubrey's fist, but Aubrey studiously flattens it and flips it over, anyway.

There are ten numbers on the back of it, separated only by a couple of hyphens, and Aubrey blinks bemusedly down at it like it's a calculus equation she can't quite solve.

Like a phone number is something foreign to her; something alien that is simply beyond her level of comprehension.

"Is that- Beca's phone number?" Chloe gapes, showing none of Aubrey's own hesitation to question the very same thing. "Ohmygod," the redhead breathes as one word. "She gave you her number!" She giggles quietly. "Aubrey, that's so great!" She declares on a vehement whisper, only just failing to draw the attention of the ambling girls surrounding them.

Aubrey isn't sure that she agrees.

But then- why is her heart pounding so violently in her chest, and, dear God, why does Aubrey feel like she's just been given the master key to the universe?

"It's just a phone number," Aubrey replies tremulously. "Take the dramatics down a notch, Chloe."

"Oh, you are not serious," Chloe scoffs and irritably folds her arms across her chest. "Aubrey," she insists pointedly, "I get that you're uncomfortable around Beca, and I get that you need a little space from her, right now, and I'm alright with that; I understand it, okay? But none of that – " she inhales sharply and holds the breath in her lungs, but composes herself a short second later. "None of that gives you permission to lie to me about how you feel," Chloe says softly, her voice quavering and suddenly just struck with hurt. "And it definitely doesn't give you permission to make me feel badly about being excited for you."

Chloe frowns at Aubrey and shakes her head when the blonde fails to muster a reply, surging forward to walk at Stacie's side, instead.

Aubrey breathes out a sigh that wants to become a pained whimper, because she loathes when Chloe is angry with her, and it makes her heart hurt.

What's worse, Aubrey considers, is that Chloe is also right – which deeply wounds Aubrey's overpowering pride.

Chloe doesn't come home for hours.

Aubrey hadn't enjoyed learning about this particular behavior, but she's long-since acknowledged that it is nevertheless a normal one, for Chloe.

And it's actually a good thing.

Chloe despises being angry – particularly with Aubrey – and she likes to take some time for herself after an argument to reflect on her feelings, and coherently arrange her thoughts.

Aubrey had once – very early on in their relationship – gotten upset about it, and had practically begged Chloe to stay with her, just to talk things out between them.

That night had been a disaster.

The redhead had practically dissolved into sobs, hiccupping furiously while trying to explain to Aubrey that she didn't actually want to be angry anymore – didn't truthfully want to feel angry at all – and that if she didn't take that time alone to consider their disagreement, she'd bury the aggravated reaction altogether; Chloe had told her that she'd grow to resent Aubrey for all the things Chloe would otherwise never bring herself to say.

At the time, Aubrey had been confused out of her aca-loving mind, and maybe even a little terrified that Chloe might grow to resent her, anyway.

Still, after Chloe had calmed, she'd sworn up and down that she only did it because she didn't ever want to resent Aubrey, and that she valued what they shared together way too much to throw it away for something so silly.

Aubrey hadn't truthfully thought it silly at all – because everything about Chloe is meaningful and important, and is honestly just everything that's meaningful and important to Aubrey, in general – but the idea of ending things with Aubrey for that reason seemed to have devastated Chloe, which had essentially soothed every insecurity Aubrey had harbored about why Chloe would have chosen to leave in the first place.

It still bothers Aubrey that she does, but she understands it, now, and it mostly only upsets her because the result is that it takes more time than Aubrey likes for them to resolve the conflict.

The blonde tries her best to stay busy, when this happens, either delicately crafting an apology or making lists to explain why she had also been justified in her opinions.

Today, Aubrey makes dinner. Or a snack, really, considering that they've already eaten. Still, it's the gesture that makes it significant, anyway.

She lights candles, and plays Chloe's favorite Pandora station through the living room speakers. She makes Chloe's favorite – and if she had earlier thought her own behavior to be childish, it has nothing on Chloe's pure adoration for Kraft macaroni and cheese, with cooked hot dogs chopped up inside, just like Mrs. Beale used to make for her when she was younger. Aubrey double checks that there is rocky road ice cream in the freezer, and she sets the table with chilled white wine on principle, because even though it won't pair with the meal at all, the apology seems more sincere with the added effort.

Then she waits.

It doesn't take much longer, and Aubrey is grateful for that.

Chloe sighs tiredly as she pushes through the door and removes her coat, and parts her lips to speak, but Aubrey doesn't allow it.

"Wait," she says pleadingly, and holds up her palm. "Before you say anything, Chloe, just- wait," Aubrey whispers, tears accruing in the corners of her eyes without her permission. "You're right, and I'm sorry," Aubrey breathes out and winces – because even though her apology is sincere, Aubrey's pride still hates that she was wrong.

It doesn't matter, though, really; Aubrey hates even more that she's hurt Chloe in her stubborn struggle to accept Beca, and her pride doesn't get much of a say in that. Chloe is the most important thing in Aubrey's life, and she is purely ashamed to have hurt her for any reason at all.

"My reactions to Beca are- confusing, to me," Aubrey uncomfortably flicks her bangs back and sighs. "But you're right; I shouldn't have released my frustration on you, and that was wrong of me, okay?" Aubrey insists softly. "You were only excited for me, and I appreciate that, Chloe – I do," Aubrey swears, "but it's really hard for me. Beca- excites me, too," she confesses quietly, and lowers her head in shame. "It's just that, I know she shouldn't."

"What do you mean?" Chloe frowns.

Aubrey crosses her arms and frowns, considering the question intently before slowly, honestly replying, "Even if our attraction to her isn't supernatural," she pauses slightly, "you are still my girlfriend, Chloe; you are still the one I love, and it still feels… wrong for me to feel this way around her. Especially because we don't know anything about her," she shrugs weakly. "We don't know if she's a good person, or anything about her past. Chloe," Aubrey sighs again, exasperatedly, "we don't even know her age. I literally know nothing about Beca except that she believes in human rationality probably more than she should, and that she's irritating and smirks all the time. And maybe I know a little about her connection to Emily, because you know I eavesdrop," Aubrey huffs a little, aggravated with her need to admit that particular detail, too.

Aubrey smiles soon after, though, because whatever it makes her feel, it still makes Chloe giggle.

"I know," Chloe nods understandingly, "but you realize that you can't expect to get to know her if you refuse to talk to her," the redhead raises her brows expectantly.

"I understand that," Aubrey rolls her eyes. "I just- I'm not sure I'm ready."

"She gave you her number, Aubrey," Chloe says gently. "I think Beca's smart enough to give you time, when you need it. She put the ball in your court. You don't have to call before you're ready, or even at all," Chloe tells her soothingly, stretching her palm to cover Aubrey's bicep and gently rubbing against it.

Aubrey's almost embarrassed by how quickly it calms her.

"She gave it to us, actually," Aubrey admits on a grumble, raising her fingers to her forehead to move small, pressured circles across her temples. "She said if I missed her," the blonde scoffs, "or if you're wondering where she is, then she'll make time to see us."

Chloe bites her lip, but doesn't reply.

Aubrey rolls her eyes again and demands, "What?"

"I think," Chloe says softly, "that if she gave her phone number to you, for both of us, then maybe… maybe she wants you to be more comfortable with her before she sees us again."

"That assumes a lot, Chloe," Aubrey tells her doubtfully.

"I don't think it does," Chloe shakes her head and shifts closer, threading her fingers through Aubrey's hair until Aubrey can do nothing but lean her cheek into Chloe's shoulder and sigh. "Beca says all the time that she's bad with people," Chloe justifies quietly, whispering the words into Aubrey's hair.

Aubrey barely even cares what she says at this point, to be entirely honest; she's just so relieved and thankful to be in Chloe's arms that she absorbs every word with her fingers tripping carefully up the length of Chloe's spine.

"I don't think she really gets how to deal with your irritation toward her," Chloe muses, "but she'd have to be an idiot not to have noticed it, sweetie," she says comfortingly, though Aubrey partly wants to scowl at the words she pairs with her tone. "I think she wants to spend time with us, too," Chloe smiles absently, and pulls softly at the ends of Aubrey's hair in gentle reprimand. "She just doesn't want to make us spend time with her, that's all."

Aubrey isn't sure that she believes that, but she supposes that it's still a point she has to consider.

"Also," Chloe sighs, soft and delighted into Aubrey's neck, "do I smell mac and cheese, and pretty please can we be done fighting so that I have some, please?"

Aubrey snorts into Chloe shoulder, and tilts her head just enough to nip her teeth into Chloe's jawline.

"No," Chloe pouts. "We can't have make-up sex until after the macaroni, Aubrey," she orders firmly.

Aubrey wants to pout at that, too, but pouting isn't a quality suited for a Posen.

Still, she thinks that Chloe's presently, severely skewed priorities should probably upset her a little more than they actually do.

"But after that, I'll rock your whole world just for making it for me," Chloe beams and presses her lips contently into Aubrey's cheek, where she rests her mouth for a long, quiet moment. "Thank you," she sweetly murmurs into Aubrey's flesh.

"You're welcome," Aubrey breathes reverently, obediently trailing behind her girlfriend as she grasps gently at Aubrey's wrist and all but drags her toward the dining room.

Chapter Text

Impromptu Bella game nights never really end well; it's sort of just a fact of life that Chloe has long since learned to accept, and it really shouldn't mean that they should never have them, anyway, she decides. Aubrey still huffs, every time, but Chloe always tries to distract her – mostly because they're practically always arranged almost purely for the blonde's benefit, and they actually do help Aubrey.

Well, they at least help Aubrey after she grows too overwhelmed to even bother with trying to tame the Bellas and their wild antics, throwing a shot of something-or-other back until she feels better.

And Chloe thinks they need another one.


Their first wave of exams for the semester are fast approaching, along with the Bellas' first pseudo-performance, and that, in combination with Aubrey's surging tension in regards to Beca and Vampires and 'invasions' (and basically everything else noteworthy in their lives, right now) has left the blonde an over-stressed mess.

Chloe tries her very best to take care of her, pressing soft, loving thumbs deep into Aubrey's shoulders and neck and all the way down her spine when the blonde finally crawls into bed with Chloe sometime around midnight; Chloe makes sure that Aubrey's eating, because it isn't entirely unusual for Aubrey to forget, sometimes – and when she does forget, Chloe cooks for her or brings home take-out, instead; Chloe is also sure to give Aubrey all the alone-time that the blonde never actually asks for, but that Chloe knows she desperately requires, anyway.

Aubrey doesn't like to admit to her overwhelming stress, preferring to 'manage' it on her own – but Chloe mostly thinks that Aubrey only even gets this stressed because she keeps it so private in the first place.

Still, that's an argument Chloe's started way too frequently, in their relationship, and she's learned that it really just isn't worth it to bring it up, anymore.

Chloe just makes sure that Aubrey is healthy, and she keeps her as relaxed as possible – and part of that, Chloe justifies to herself, is making sure that Aubrey spends an adequate amount of fun time with the Bellas, who might maybe be growing to resent her a little, with her strict schedules and even stricter behaviors during practice, of late.

Granted, most of the Bellas understand; all of them but Emily had been present last year at Nationals for Aubrey's public disgrace, and though they'd definitely been a little too amused by it, they'd mostly been sympathetic and accepting of Aubrey's reaction.

It had been her first year as captain, after all, and Aubrey had just pressured herself so much in effort to succeed where Alice had failed. Chloe and Aubrey have now performed at Nationals twice, and had lost both times – though, admittedly, under Alice's reign (a fact that even Chloe is still bitter about), they had achieved second place.

Chloe thinks recycling the routine a third time is a recipe for disaster, really, but she just can't bring herself to say anything; Aubrey's personal mantra of life goes something along the lines of, 'try, try again' and this is her last year to really win, at Nationals. Chloe wishes they could do that and work with a new arrangement, but Aubrey is determined, and Chloe's mostly just happy to spend time with the girls and sing as much as her acapella-geared heart desires.

The Bellas are another story.

With the exception of Emily, they already know this routine – and are already bored and fed up with it; whatever mistakes they make during rehearsals are bred mostly of exhaustion and a little bit of irritation, and they hardly understand why they even need such frequent, strenuous practice, anyway.

Really, they could all use a tiny break, and this is generally around the time when Chloe determines that, however minor her role may actually be, she is also a Bellas' captain, and she can also make executive decisions for the group.

Just, Chloe's maybe a little bit manipulative about it.

(Plausible deniability is extremely important, Aubrey tells her.)

So Chloe approaches Fat Amy after practice on Saturday morning and offhandedly mentions that she has a hefty bottle of tequila idling in the freezer.

… And it probably says something about this little ragtag group of acapella singers that Chloe already knows this is the only 'invitation' the redhead is required to extend.

Come six o'clock that evening, Amy shows up at Chloe and Aubrey's apartment with a bag full of limes and an entirely-too-large bottle of rum to make friends with Chloe's tequila in the freezer, half of the Bellas in tow. Unfortunately, Aubrey is the one to answer the door, and she groans before Amy even has the chance to say anything.

Chloe's girlfriend tries to close the door in Amy's face – which is really just a terrible idea to begin with, Chloe thinks with a giggle that she muffles into the sleeve of her green Barden hoody, because, if it really comes down to it, Chloe's pretty sure that Fat Amy will just break it down for unfettered access.

Somewhat predictably, Fat Amy releases a loud, offended cry and shoves her ample chest and belly into the door, preventing the less-superior slab of wood from shutting them out. She basically body checks Aubrey out of the way, and stomps to the kitchen with her bags in hand and an entourage of Bellas who carry playing cards and mixers and shot glasses in her wake.

"Skinny blonde bitch can't keep me out," Fat Amy grumbles under her breath. "That's just rude, Cap," she glowers over her shoulder until Aubrey grits her teeth and flushes a little in her cheeks. "And I even brought gifts," she huffs pointedly as she reaches the kitchen.

Aubrey turns swiftly to Chloe with her arms folded, irritation playing generously across pretty much every single one of the features of her face.

Chloe knows it's very poorly timed, but she just thinks that Aubrey is almost unfairly beautiful.

"Did you know about this?" The blonde demands instantly, flicking her eyes only briefly toward the pile of study materials that have been occupying their coffee table for at least a couple of weeks, now, before shifting those accusing green eyes back to Chloe with renewed vigor.

"Of course not," Chloe replies with a small smile and a celebratory, mental pat to her own back.

She isn't lying – not really. Chloe didn't technically invite the girls over, and she didn't technically know that they would come; in all actuality, Chloe's hands are technically totally clean.

Plausible deniability for the aca-fucking win.

Aubrey sighs in answer and pinches her fingers hard against the bridge of her nose.

It's exactly what Chloe expected, really, so she stands up from the couch and approaches the blonde, slipping her palm around Aubrey's flushed neck and tipping her own forward to warm her forehead against her girlfriend's, lowering a sweet kiss across her temple.

She feels Aubrey flinch at a loud bang emerging from the kitchen, and Chloe really tries – though maybe fails in her attempt just a little – not to bark out a laugh when Stacie immediately shouts out, "It's just a pot! Nothing's broken, Posen, chill!"

Aubrey growls a little, and that's never really a good sign (unless they're in bed, in which case– well, it's really just the best sign, actually, but Chloe's pretty sure that isn't the point).

Chloe folds another kiss just beneath Aubrey's ear, and softly murmurs, "Honey, they need this. You definitely need this," she insists quietly, and when Aubrey shifts her hips just slightly to back away – probably annoyed by Chloe's assertion – the redhead wraps her opposite arm around Aubrey's waist and tugs a little against her until she falls into Chloe's embrace all over again. "Aubrey, I need this," she swears honestly.

And Chloe does.

It's mostly for Aubrey, and it's mostly for the Bellas, but so many parts of Chloe need this, too.

She's worried about Aubrey, and she worried for the Bellas, and Chloe really misses Beca, and that last thing is truly bothering her. She wants to see the Vampire Queen – wants to spend time with her, and learn even more, and Chloe wants to call her, and it is so freaking hard not to when she knows that Beca's phone number lives on a bulletin board in Aubrey's room with a cute little heart-shaped thumbtack pinning it to the wall.

Chloe won't use it – at least, not without permission – but she doesn't feel very patient, anymore, and she doesn't have any other reliable method of getting in touch with Beca.

Aubrey isn't ready, and Chloe understands, but that doesn't mean Chloe isn't ready, and it feels just a little bit unfair that she has to wait out Aubrey's stubbornness, too.

The blonde casts skeptical eyes on Chloe, but sighs gently a moment later, and Chloe knows that it's only because Aubrey can detect the truth in her words; Chloe knows that Aubrey will allow game night to proceed, if for nothing else than Chloe's happiness, and it makes the redhead's heart ignore several of its necessary beats.

"Fine," Aubrey sighs out bitterly.

The word is still lingering on the edge of Aubrey's tongue when Chloe presses her mouth to Aubrey's, soft and grateful and wildly relieved.

Aubrey rolls her eyes when they separate, but Chloe still thinks she's adorable, even in her reluctant agreement, so she nuzzles her nose against the pounding pulse in Aubrey's neck until the blonde giggles against her will, taking Chloe's shoulders in her palms and firmly pushing her away.

"It tickles," Aubrey insists with a very slight pout – one that the blonde would never, ever claim to possess, but that Chloe thinks is just the sweetest thing since Baby Bottle Pops emerged on the market.

"I know," Chloe smiles lovingly and winks, taking Aubrey's fingers between her own and tugging softly until they meet with the Bellas in the kitchen.

By the time the other Bellas text to indicate that they're on their way over, the half-group that's already there has jointly imbibed so much of the alcohol that Stacie calls CR to request more of it; they're too drunk to collectively decide on a specific kind, however, so when CR shows up with Ashley and innocent little Emily, it feels like Aubrey and Chloe should probably invest in a liquor license and set up shop for themselves, with the amount of alcohol being carried into their home.

They'd probably be shut down pretty quickly, though, Chloe guesses tipsily, considering half the girls are underage.

Everything is going suspiciously smoothly, and Aubrey's already three shots in and decidedly less tense; Chloe isn't sure what she's been drinking, but she's hoping to every aca-god in this universe – plus all the rest, too – that someone's introduced her to the tequila.

Chloe prefers vodka, to be truthful, but she'll drink tequila all week if it means even a shot of it for Aubrey, because, oh, it makes her do the most wonderful things to Chloe's body.

Still, impromptu Bella game nights never really end well, and Chloe shouldn't be surprised when the girls start to grow interested in Emily's lack of obvious intoxication. Chloe wonders about it, too, but she's glad when the girls bring it up instead, because she'd been trying so hard not to ask, for Aubrey's sake.

"What gives?" Cynthia-Rose demands suspiciously. "We're half off our asses and you're barely even pink in the cheeks."

Aubrey snorts and lops her head drunkenly to the side. "Can you even blush?"

"Not really," Emily shrugs. "But even if I could, it takes a lot more for me to get drunk. At least, that's what Beca tells me," she smiles sheepishly.

"Wait, wait, wait," Fat Amy insists, both hands raised in the air – fisted bottle of rum held preciously in the right one and sloshing a little too precariously for Aubrey not to notice it and cringe at Chloe's side. "How much more?" She frowns. "I only ask, because these twig bitches 'round here can't ever get on my level, you know? Not enough fat in 'em, if you get what I'm saying."

Chloe furrows her brows bemusedly, because, really, how is any of Fat Amy's declaration in any way unclear? How would they not get what she's saying?

But Amy is Amy, so Chloe only shakes her head and returns her gaze to Emily for a reply.

"I'm not sure," Emily frowns uncertainly and shrugs. "Beca says the venom eats away at it; it's like when we eat food," Emily tells them. "Our venom pretty much just breaks it down for us, since we don't actually digest anything," she shrugs. "She says that alcohol can still work its way into the bloodstream, but it takes a lot to make it through."

Of course, Chloe realizes as CR voices the thought aloud, this obviously means that the Bellas have to teach the Vampire her limits; she is the baby of the group, after all.

"We're only looking out for you, Princess," Stacie smirks and tells a very wary Emily, who's now tentatively accepting a full bottle of- is that absinthe?

Aubrey groans, but Chloe turns to kiss her for a distraction and doesn't even really care when Jessica or Ashley (one of those, Chloe's sure) playfully throws a pillow in their direction; it flops uselessly against Chloe's ankle, and Chloe keeps kissing Aubrey, anyway, because her mouth is soft and Aubrey's warm all over, and Chloe just loves every part of this girl so much.

Chloe's had too much to drink, and she knows that Aubrey has, too, because the blonde doesn't even bother putting up a token protest when Emily gets a quarter-way through the bottle with only slight effects, and Fat Amy declares that they're now matching beverages for the rest of all time, basically.

Which is totally a bad idea, because as much as Amy can drink, Chloe's pretty positive that she can't drink as much as Emily obviously can; Fat Amy still tries, though, downing a shot for each one of Emily's, and they're all a huge mess before nine o'clock.

By the time Emily's bottle is finished, though, she's slurring words and giggling softly and stretching her arm out behind her to brace her weight against the living room table.

She's somehow even more adorable this way, and Chloe can't stop giggling back at her, and she thinks Emily might be the best person ever – next to Aubrey and probably the girl's own sire, of course – because even Chloe's girlfriend has started shrugging out of the redhead's too-tight hugs, and Emily never does.

Chloe thinks she's great.

And probably way drunker than any of them actually intended.

Fat Amy's practically dead – and Chloe only knows that she isn't because she holds her finger under Amy's nose and laughs until she feels her breath splash across her almost-numb hand; Amy occasionally mumbles under her breath, but Chloe only catches a few phrases, and they basically emerge as, 'Bumper,' 'douchebag,' and something about someone carrying her fat ass home, which– no.

She's totally sleeping on the couch.

All the Bellas should probably stay, actually, but Chloe thinks about that and subsequently frowns, because she doesn't actually know what to do about Emily; what's the protocol on unexpected sleepovers with Vampires?

Chloe isn't sure.

"Beca will be worried," she slurs with wildly intense, drunken concern into Emily's shoulder.

"Oh!" Emily sits up straighter, slightly jostling Chloe, who huffs only a little and stubbornly plants her cheek in exactly the same place as before.

Emily clumsily pats her head and murmurs an apology, so Chloe thinks she can probably be forgiven.

"I should call her," Emily nods seriously.

"Who?" Chloe frowns in confusion.

She's entirely too drunk for this.

"Beca," Emily giggles ridiculously, and Chloe grins, echoing the noise only because she just can't help it.

"You should totes call her!" Chloe rallies and excitably replies, digging her phone from her pocket and dropping it pretty unceremoniously into Emily's lap.

"She'll come and get me," Emily smiles dopily and nods with supreme confidence, winking one eye shut to better view the screen as her fingers press determinedly hard against the numbers on Chloe's offered phone.

Chloe knows she's right; Beca would do anything for Emily, and she'd told Chloe that herself, so Chloe knows it's true.

Plus, she thinks elatedly, that means Beca will have to come here, so Chloe will get to see her. And Chloe really thinks she needs that, because it's been, like, fifteen days since she last saw Beca and that is just entirely too long, for Chloe.

She'll use the drunk defense, if asked – and Chloe thinks it might even be mostly true – but Chloe doesn't think it's wholly necessary to inform Aubrey; she'll only worry, and the entire point of tonight is for that bothersome worrying thing not to happen, anyway.

Chapter Text

When Aubrey first registers the sound of the doorbell, she doesn't fully process the notion that every person she knows is already inside her apartment.

(Or, at least, every person she'd regularly feel comfortable drinking this heavily with.)

That reality descends over her rather quickly, though, when she stumbles through the maze of mostly-passed-out Bellas scattered across her living room in order to make a path to the door.

Aubrey momentarily wonders where Chloe is, as she leans up on her toes to peer through the peephole; she's pretty sure that she had seen the redhead giggling with Emily, though, as she'd dragged the Vampire by the wrist through to Aubrey's bedroom (mostly turned office) a few minutes ago, so Aubrey isn't terribly surprised when she doesn't see her girlfriend among the others.

Still, Aubrey wishes for her presence the very moment that she catches sight of Beca through the door, her image skewed both by the distorted dimensions of the glass and by Aubrey's own (rather tremulous) perception; the brunette is rocking patiently to and fro across the balls of her feet, and Aubrey's breath catches, somewhere, deep in the caverns of her chest.

Aubrey is drunk, and incredibly ill-prepared for this.

And yet, the blonde's fingers instantly grasp at the door handle like it's salvation that awaits her on the other side, and Aubrey throws the wooden divider apart with wide eyes and a grin that is probably far too sloppy.

Beca raises her brows curiously, and pairs the expression with a vaguely amused smile in reply, but Aubrey almost doesn't even care, to be truthful; she's positively elated that Beca is here, and scarcely has the presence of mind to question why.

"Hey, Posen," Beca greets, chuckling softly and angling her head to the side, just a little. "You, uh- you feeling okay?" She asks earnestly, with hints of laughter still coloring her words.

"I'm great," Aubrey insists with a vigorous nod. "There's so much liquor," she sighs delightedly, leaning her temple against the door frame when the adamant motions of her head begin to make her world spin.

But, Aubrey considers fairly, that really could just be Beca.

In fact, that's probably way more accurate.

"That- explains pretty much everything about my night," Beca frowns, then huffs out a barely-audible noise that Aubrey is quick to recognize as aggravation. "Are you going to invite me in?" She asks abruptly.

Aubrey scowls, because she had definitely been right, when she'd mentioned to Chloe about Beca's irritating nature; still, the blonde is sure that she'd actually – somehow – been pleased to see the tiny Vampire Queen, for at least a decent minute or two before she'd been reminded of it, and now she's a little bitter about the fact.

"Sorry," Beca recants swiftly – and with sincere, immediate apology – as she shakes her head. "It's just- Emily's never really done this before, and I'm, like, a little worried about her, or whatever," Beca shuffles her feet uncomfortably, lowering those slate-blue eyes to the floor.

And Aubrey's never really wanted the attention of Beca's gaze – it makes her hot, and itchy, and confused, and Aubrey is never actually sure if that's the kind of reaction that Beca is accustomed to eliciting, anyway – but the blonde fervently believes that those pretty blue eyes bear entirely too much dignity to literally lower themselves to the floor.

Actually watching it happen makes Aubrey's heart burn, just a little.

"I'd just- like to see her," Beca whispers softly. "If that's okay," she rushes to add. "I understand if you don't want to invite me into your home, Aubrey, and I'm honestly just as happy if you send Emily out to me, but – "

Aubrey adjusts her facial expression, at least to one of sympathy, because even if Beca is irritating, and even if Aubrey is far, far too drunk for this (which– yes, both of those things are still decidedly true), it is still very surprising – and almost irritatingly sweet – that Beca is so openly and vulnerably concerned for Emily's welfare.

"We wouldn't have let anything happen to her," Aubrey soothes with a concerned frown. "She's a Bella," she says proudly, frown rising at the edges until it is nothing but a grin, and the blonde hardly remembers why she even felt the need to frown in the first place. "We take care of each other," she smiles broadly and insists.

Beca laughs, and the sound strikes viciously, deep in Aubrey's gut.

She has heard Beca's chuckle, and she's even heard snorts of amusement – and, sure, Aubrey's heard a different kind of laugh from the brunette, too – but Aubrey's never heard this unabashed noise of absolute hilarity bark out from Beca's chest, before, and it's really… something else.

Even her laugh sounds like music, to Aubrey, and the blonde a little bit regrets that she still has yet to hear the Vampire sing, the way that Chloe tells Aubrey she can.

"I both appreciate that and admire it, Posen," Beca smirks teasingly, "but you've made it pretty clear that your interaction with Vampires has been extremely limited, up until recently. Emily's still a baby," Beca shakes her head with a wry grin at the edge of her mouth. "She was only turned three years ago, and she doesn't exactly know all the risks. If she doesn't know them," Beca says pointedly, though still lightheartedly, "I certainly don't expect you to know what to look out for."

Aubrey chews the flesh on the inside of her cheek and slowly nods her comprehension.

That's probably fair, to be honest. Aubrey doesn't know much about Vampires, really, and the girls had already been drinking a fair amount before they'd shoved that bottle of absinthe into Emily's possession; it could've been dangerous – for them or for Emily – and they hadn't really considered that aspect as much as they ought to have.

The blonde is trashed, but she isn't too far gone to acknowledge Beca's point – so she responds to it by widening the door and invitingly arching her neck to admit Beca into the living room with the other Bellas.

Beca offers a lopsided grin and amusedly shakes her head. "That's sweet of you, Posen, but- it isn't really enough."

"Huh?" Aubrey frowns, her features bunching in confusion.

"I need an invitation," Beca explains, brows raised expectantly as she continues to smile. "You know, Vampire and all," she chuckles and playfully elaborates.

Aubrey flushes, because – oh, yes – Beca's chuckle does still light Aubrey's insides aflame, in case she'd even for a second begun to doubt its effect upon her body.

"For serious?" Aubrey demands, anyway, red cheeks and all. "Out of all the myths, that one is still true? You need an invitation to enter someone's home? Do you also lack a reflection?" She folds her arms and scoffs disbelievingly.

Beca snorts and leans in close, her lips toying awfully distractingly against Aubrey's cheek with her answer.

"It is just precious," the brunette purrs, tauntingly low, "that you actually believe I can make my hair do this on a regular basis without the help of a mirror."

Aubrey swallows a thousand different replies to that, aware enough of herself – and so very, very aware of Beca – to know that she just should not speak.

Aubrey is clearly not prepared to do that, right now.

Still, that measure of focus sacrifices any attention Aubrey might have been able to spare in order to prevent herself from doing other things.

Like touching Beca's hair.

The blonde's fingers stretch outward almost reflexively, carding curiously through hair that she has wondered about nearly since first encountering the girl to begin with. It would, admittedly, be a miracle for Beca to make it look this good, without a reflection, but the existence of Vampires at all is still sort of a miracle – or perhaps a curse…? – to Aubrey, and she hadn't really thought much about it.

Still, Aubrey's thinking about it now; Beca's hair is smoother than silk and softer than Egyptian cotton, and Aubrey doesn't know how anyone ever believed those to be the most adequate materials to build bedding from, anyway, because someone should definitely be creating bedding from nothing but this.

(Later, Aubrey will probably balk in disgust at the very thought of a bed sewn from hair, but, right now, Beca's hair is just the softest, most amazing thing she's ever felt, and Aubrey just can't care about anything else.)

Beca inhales sharply and freezes, unnaturally – and inhumanly – still, but Aubrey is hardly disturbed enough to be bothered by it; the blonde only hums a gentle, quiet noise of pleasure and raises her other palm to join the first, sweeping explorative fingers through woven strands of chocolate, and merely beginning again once she reaches the very ends of Beca's hair.

"Aubrey," Beca hisses under her breath, though it lacks any real tone beyond surprise.

It should really be enough to startle her back into someplace that is maybe a little closer to sober than Aubrey can presently claim to be, but it just isn't.

The blonde, instead, curls her arms around Beca's neck and tenderly rubs her cheek against those blissfully soft strands of hair, and she hums out another sound made solely of wonder and utter contentment.

Aubrey could definitely sleep on this.

"Ookay," Beca chuckles uncomfortably, shifting slightly until Aubrey can feel a mild tug against her hips that urges her backward, just half a step.

Aubrey frowns, but Beca rubs awkwardly behind her ear and shifts her weight uneasily on her feet; the blonde forgets her confusion, only for a moment, and thinks that no matter what Beca says, that is more adorable than any belief Aubrey could manage to harbor about Vampiric laws of nature.

"Um… I just- I need to check on Emily," Beca swallows and repeats, quirking a sheepish smile in Aubrey's direction.

Aubrey sighs, disappointed, but nods, verbally offering a sad, "Come in," until Beca grins and slips over the threshold.

She ends up beside Aubrey, almost in front of her – but very close, regardless – tentatively squeezing the blonde's hip, still in the Vampire's carefully loose grasp. Aubrey's next sigh is born more of satisfaction than anything else, and Beca shakes her head with a chuckle as she releases her hold.

"I don't understand you, Posen," she breathes exasperatedly.

"Me?" Aubrey asks incredulously. "You're the one who's dead," she scowls pointedly as she urges Beca toward her room, where she knows Emily and Chloe must be.

"Oh, get over it," Beca scoffs with a needlessly exaggerated roll of her eyes. "So I'm a Vampire; Emily is, too," Beca reminds her sharply, "and you spend time with her every day. I don't understand why I'm so difficult for you to be around."

If Aubrey were any less drunk, she might've chosen to deny Beca's assumption; however difficult it actually is for Aubrey to be in her company, the blonde is too proud to admit such things – and she's certainly too proud to admit that not all of her discomfort is due solely to Beca's species.

Still, Aubrey is very drunk, and, instead, she notices first that Beca seems- unhappy, about this.

… And Aubrey really doesn't want to be the cause for that, even if she's too intoxicated to really fathom the reasoning behind it.

"It bothers you?" Aubrey frowns.

Beca mirrors the expression and pauses their movement forward, peeking around momentarily to verify the unconscious status of the other girls, draped across Aubrey's floor and furniture.

"I – " Beca struggles, a small crease forming just between her eyes that Aubrey instantly wants to soothe away with the gentle, worried pads her thumbs. "Yeah," she growls out, eventually. "Fine. Whatever. It bothers me. Is that so terrible?" She snarls reluctantly, tracking her fingers through her own hair, now, and averting her eyes from Aubrey's abruptly determined green ones.

And- Aubrey's never really wanted the attention of Beca's gaze – not before, anyway – but she suddenly feels like she needs it, now.

"You care what I think of you?" Aubrey mutters in confusion, and frowns harder when the brunette finally returns her exotic blue eyes to Aubrey's with a stare of bewildered incredulity.

"Look, Posen," Beca huffs, "I really don't know what you're playing at, right now, but I've tried talking things through with you, and you're relatively unreceptive; I've tried giving you space, too, and – apparently – all that means is that you never have need to contact me. I don't know what else to try, here, but I feel like I've made my investment in this pretty obvious to you; I'd like to spend time with you, and with Chloe, but not if you're afraid of me, or unwilling to see me for anything but a monster. I'm willing to work with you; I'm willing to answer your questions, and go out in public, if that's what you'd prefer, but I won't just keep pushing for some kind of- relationship," Beca hesitates and decides, "that you aren't willing to share in. I'm not that kind of person, Posen."

Aubrey isn't sure that 'relationship' is an adequate word, or – judging by Beca's uneasy, dissatisfied expression – even the word that Beca means to use, but she's drunk enough to accept that Beca has a point.

She thinks that might be a little backwards, but it's actually irrelevant, because Aubrey knows that this moment – infused with Beca's obvious, painful insecurity, and her frustration and pure helplessness – is one that she will remember, in the morning.

(And probably for every day after.)

"Why?" Aubrey demands.

"Pardon?" Beca frowns and returns.

"Why do you care?" Aubrey rolls her eyes and expands. "You've met thousands of girls – just like me, I'm sure," Aubrey snarks a little, before reining that particularly venomous, jealous beast into quick, urgent submission, "so why does it matter what I think of you?"

Beca quirks half of a tired smile, and shakes her head in resignation. "I've lived a long damn time, Aubrey," she murmurs softly and turns on her heel, moving toward Aubrey's bedroom without any direction from the blonde, before whispering over her shoulder, "but I've never met a girl like you."

Aubrey blinks as the brunette shoulders her way through the door, momentarily disappearing from Aubrey's sight, before she really feels a reaction to Beca's words.

Aubrey thinks she feels- proud.

… That can't be right.

Chapter Text

Chloe groans.

Someone is talking around her, and Chloe can't think of a single reason for why that could possibly be happening that could even maybe justify waking her up.

It doesn't even matter that Chloe's pretty sure she'd been trying very, very hard not to sleep in the first place, because the reason for that is also escaping her, right now; the fact is that Chloe had fallen asleep, and Chloe's positive that she's still in her own apartment, somewhere – although this room looks too-Aubrey, and not-enough-Chloe for it to actually be the room that they share together – which means that waking the host is just…

Well, it's rude, right?

It's totally rude, Chloe decides a moment later, and promptly releases another heartfelt groan to convey her point.

"Chloe, you can't sleep here," Chloe hears, and flicks bleary eyes in the direction of Aubrey's fondly exasperated tone.

"Why not?" Chloe slurs and demands. "It's our house," she grumbles defensively. "And I even found a bed!" She declares proudly.

"Yeah, Posen," Chloe makes out some snickering and she frowns, because – oh – Chloe knows that voice. "Red's got this on lock, see?"

Chloe has dreams about that voice, and fantasies, and all sorts of unhealthy things like that, and Chloe is so, so tired, but she keeps her eyes peeled apart, anyway, until she finds Beca.

Beca, who is also in Chloe's house.

And Chloe actually doesn't feel that grumpy, anymore. In fact, she's excited, even though she can hardly even move, she's so drunk. And exhausted.

Oh yeah, Chloe definitely needs to go back to bed.

She knows that – really, she does – but Beca's here, and Chloe hasn't seen her is so long, and that's totes worth staying awake for.

The redhead quirks a broad (and half-numb) grin that she thinks might drop a little at the corner closest to her pillow, but Beca kneels down beside the bed and tips her head pretty much at a right angle; it's nice of her, because it means that Chloe doesn't have to pick up her very heavy head just to see her straight.

Even though Beca looks sort of a little animalistic, with her head tilted that way and her body crouched down at Chloe's side.

"Hi," Chloe whispers at her with a little giggle.

"Hey, yourself," Beca grins. "Have fun tonight, Red?"

"Of course!" Chloe beams. "The girls were great, and Aubrey's drunk, too, and Emily – " Chloe breaks off and frowns. "Where's Emily? She was looking for you. Probably," Chloe determines drunkenly.

Beca rolls her eyes, but nods. "Emily's- taking a break. She had a little too much, and passed out beside you."

"Can you do that?" Chloe queries sloppily. "Have too much? I didn't know that was a thing. Or sleep. Do you sleep?" She rambles curiously.

"Our venom can only do so much," Beca explains softly. "If we overwhelm it, we get sick. It can't break the alcohol down quickly enough – at least, not while we're awake. The same thing happens if we eat too much, or if we spend too much time in the sun."

Chloe snuggles her cheek into her pillow and rationally informs Beca, "I'm gonna need you to tell me all of this again. Y'know," Chloe raises an arm that just must be weighted down by something ridiculous, because it is just so heavy, and rolls her hand uselessly through the air, "when I've had not-so-much jiggle juice, and might actually remember it?"

"Noted," Beca smirks and chuckles under her breath.

Chloe swallows, because she has pretty much zero degrees of impulse control when sober, and now she's decidedly- not sober, so she's having trouble remembering why it's a bad idea for her to reach out and pull Beca into the bed for a cuddle. She wants to, though, and parts of Chloe think that she could totes get away with it, if she tried.

"How come you're not in my bed?" Chloe then queries, before frowning.

That didn't exactly come out the way she meant it to, but Chloe shrugs, because it's basically the same thing; she really just wants Beca next to her.

"Chloe," Aubrey sighs out and shifts her palm tiredly to rest against her forehead, "why aren't you in our bed?"

Chloe groans again and slams her eyes shut, burrowing half of her face into her pillow and mumbling through it, "'S too far, Bree."

Aubrey frowns and sits at the edge of the bed with a small, understanding nod, reaching upward to smooth Chloe's hair away from the section of her face that's still visible. Chloe purrs softly and moves her head toward Aubrey's loving attention, until the blonde smiles dopily at her and concedes, pulling her fingers through Chloe's hair again.

"Don't get cozy, Posen," Beca warns playfully. "We're relocating, remember?"

"If you think you're moving her right now, you've got another thing coming," Aubrey snorts a little, and Chloe could just love her to absolute death for the comment in the first place, because she's so freaking right.

Chloe's pretty sure she couldn't even move if she wanted to, and she definitely does not want to.

"I appreciate the drunk look you guys are rocking, here," Beca chuckles and shakes her head, "but- I really need to be close to Emily tonight. I'm happy to take her home, but – "

"No," Chloe insists with near-disturbing urgency and pouts. "You just got here. Don't go," she pleads.

"I already told her to stay," Aubrey frowns. "Don't you want to stay?" She asks Beca quietly, and Chloe watches as she bites her lip.

The redhead is pretty sure that means something, but she isn't quite sure what, and she decides that now probably isn't the best time to ask. Chloe will probably fall asleep before she even starts getting at the answers she needs, from Aubrey.

"I would love to stay," Beca nods, and reaches out to comfortingly squeeze against Aubrey's arm. "But I still need to be with Emily, tonight," she tells them softly. "I get that this is your house, and I'm not going to kick you out of bed just to make room for us, okay?"

Actually, Chloe's pretty sure that's sort of sweet. Still, she furrows her brow in concentration; there has to be a solution to this that doesn't involve Beca leaving or Chloe moving, and the redhead is determined to find it.

"Chloe," Aubrey looks down at her softly and strokes her thumb tenderly over Chloe's cheek, "we need to go to our bed so that Beca has a place to sleep. She shouldn't be taking Emily anywhere, tonight, okay?"

Chloe groans, once more, and offers a deep, deep scowl. "But I don't wanna."

"I can carry you," Beca offers, smiling this warm, tiny thing at Chloe that makes her drunken heart pound sloppy, electrical pulses all through each of her heavy, aching limbs.

Chloe blinks.

Somewhere, Chloe's pretty sure that she knows about Beca's excessive strength, but the redhead is pretty sure that she's never actually seen it; it's a little weird, to think of her tiny angel lifting heavy things like cars or trains or even something that weighs less than that, like Chloe. Still, the idea makes her giggle, and she nods her emphatic response, because this is the solution she'd been searching for earlier, Chloe's sure of it.

"Please?" She murmurs, and returns Beca's smile as best she can, though Chloe thinks it slips out as sluggish and lazy, rather than amused and affectionate, like Chloe wants.

"Are you good with that, Posen?" Beca straightens her head and turns to face Aubrey, curiously arching her brow.

"Can you lift her?" Aubrey inquires skeptically. "If you drop her, Beca, I swear I'll never forgive you."

"Seriously?" Beca grins and laughs out a noise that makes Chloe's blood boil. "That's cute. I wouldn't offer if I couldn't do it, Aubrey."

"See?" Chloe nods eagerly, and does her best to sit up, though she mostly ends up with her elbows braced behind her back to support her.

"Just- be careful with her," Aubrey determines, finally, with an impressively subdued level of reluctance that makes Chloe beam at her for the effort.

Beca nods, hesitates, then murmurs softly, "I have to- change, a little, and I don't want you to be afraid when it happens, okay?"

"Change?" Chloe frowns and bemusedly shakes her head. "I have clothes, in my room. I can get you some!" She offers happily.

Beca parts her lips to speak, but glances self-consciously in Aubrey's direction and shakes her head before closing her mouth again.

"That's not what you meant," Aubrey considers slowly, "is it?"

"No," Beca replies quietly. "I have to, like- change," she repeats emphatically. "Into- a Vampire."

"You're always a Vampire," Chloe giggles.

It's true, though, and she isn't totally sure that she even gets what Beca's trying to say, anyway.

"But you don't always look like one," Aubrey tells Beca with increasing understanding.

Chloe's a little jealous, because she still doesn't understand any of this at all.

"No," Beca shakes her head and awkwardly shifts her fingers behind her ear. "It- tends to make humans uncomfortable, you know? So we don't- I mean, it isn't typical for us to – " She breaks off and sighs, curling all ten fingers through her hair. "We don't normally 'vamp out' in front of humans," she tells them, eventually. "I just don't want you to be afraid," she repeats again, and shuffles her feet as she lowers her eyes.

"I won't be afraid," Chloe vows earnestly, reaching her fingers out to tightly hold Beca's wrist in comfort.

Beca just looks so unsure, and Chloe hates it with pretty much her whole body.

But, of course, Chloe's pretty sure that Beca's concern, right now, is more for Aubrey's mental health than Chloe's. The blonde hasn't been shy about vocalizing her distrust of Beca, or of Vampires, and Chloe honestly just thinks it's adorable that Beca is so worried for her reaction.

"I – " Aubrey looks around the room for a moment, then sighs, and nods. "Just- be slow?" She requests, her voice small and abruptly vulnerable. "If you can," she rushes. "I'm not sure if that's something you can control, but – "

"Slow as I can," Beca swallows and nods. "I promise, Aubrey."

"Okay," Aubrey huffs out a breath. "Okay."

"Okay," Beca echoes with a small smile and a shrug. "So, I'm just gonna…" She trails off uncomfortably.

Chloe giggles again, and – because she just can't help herself – gushes, "You're so cute. It's precious," she coos.

"Watch it, Red," Beca tells her teasingly. "I'm feeling pretty tired, you know; it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that I could drop you on the way back to your own bed."

Aubrey slaps the back of her hand against Beca's shoulder and drunkenly pouts, "You promised."

Beca fondly rolls her eyes at Aubrey, but Chloe grins as she concedes, "So I did. Give me a second."

Chloe watches with rapt attention, because – drunk as she may be – she understands that this is something Beca (and Vampires, in general) just don't do, for humans. She's a little honored, even though she isn't sure if that's an appropriate reaction to have, and Chloe wants to remember it.

Plus, she's eager to see what Beca looks like when she's- fully inhuman.

The brunette slowly stretches her neck, and splits her lips apart in a tiny yawn, her incisors lengthening as Beca's eyes meet with the ceiling; Beca's teeth aren't as vicious in appearance as Chloe might have thought, but they're clearly pointed and probably super sharp, and Chloe's struck with a strange and oddly relentless desire to lick across them with her tongue. The Vampire Queen's skin seems to ripple over itself, before it settles and all but glows in its pale, beautiful glory, and when Beca's eyes fall from the ceiling, they're just–

Oh. They are out of this world.

Chloe is awkwardly familiar with the navy shade of Beca's eyes, and the power that they can wield over her, but this definitely isn't that; the brunette's eyes are now molten pools of silver, glistening like polished metal in the sun, and when they meet with Chloe's, the redhead gasps and shuffles her hips uncomfortably over the mattress.

Whatever power Beca's eyes may have laid claim to over Chloe in the past, this is so much worse.

Chloe thinks she'd do anything Beca asked of her, right now, and she probably wouldn't even consider saying 'no' as an option. Her eyes are glorious, and penetrating – and if there were ever an appropriate time to use that word, Chloe swears up and down that this must be it.

"Ohmygod," she breathes out softly, stretching mindless fingers up as Beca returns to kneel at her side, soothing them across Beca's temple as Chloe's blue eyes fail to remove themselves from that captivating silver stare. "Beca, you're- you're just… wow," Chloe stammers, and feels proud of herself for managing even that. "Are you sure you're not an angel?" She whispers, eyes tripping between both of Beca's as her fingers continue to absently stroke along the side of her face.

Beca smiles softly, and Chloe sees relief in it, though she can't imagine anyone ever reacting differently. Beca is stunning, this way – though if she does have to imagine someone reacting differently, it probably would be Aubrey.

So Chloe really tries shifting her gaze away from Beca's when the brunette turns to evaluate Aubrey's reaction, too, but the very best that Chloe can do is tip her face in Aubrey's vicinity while holding her stare against Beca's now-averted one.

"Posen?" Beca ventures cautiously. "Are you, um- Do you need a minute?"

But her voice.

Shit. Her voice is deep and low and it's like every freaking sound that escapes her mouth is a seduction all on its own, and Chloe is definitely, inappropriately feeling seduced; every noise from Beca's chest is a purr that makes Chloe hum in satisfied answer, and Aubrey's drunk and clearly reacting to Beca's transformation, too, because it takes her a solid twenty seconds just to find her words again.

"No," Aubrey gasps out when Beca's eyes meet with hers. "No, I'm– Beca, you're incredible. Jesus," Aubrey hisses out distractedly. "Did the aca-gods literally carve you out of perfection?" She babbles, eyes narrowed and honed in on Beca's with intensity that Chloe can feel herself echoing. "No one should look like this. It should be a crime to look like this. Oh my god," Aubrey shakes her head and stumbles forward half a step to join her hand with Chloe's, linking tentatively over Beca's cheek. "You're beautiful."

"I, um… Thanks," Beca chuckles and shrugs uncomfortably. "Are you ready for bed now, Chloe?"

Chloe thinks she whimpers a little, hearing her name split from Beca's mouth with that sex-infused rumble buried beneath, and she feels Aubrey squeeze her hand for instant comfort.

Beca waits patiently, tongue pressing against her lips just briefly as the silence begins to grow awkward.

"Right," Beca nods, when it becomes apparent that neither girl is primed to reply. "So, I'm just going to- put your arms around my neck," Beca declares, and moves to do just that.

Chloe's hand separates from Aubrey's and both of her arms curl around the back of Beca's head; she hugs Beca tight like her life depends on it – and, right now, Chloe's not so sure that it actually doesn't depend on it – until Beca chuckles and shifts an arm under the bend of Chloe's knees, bracing the other behind Chloe's neck.

"I'm going to lift you now," she tells Chloe for preparation purposes, probably.

But Chloe thinks that there is literally no amount of preparation in the world that could ever get her ready for this close sort of contact with Beca, because she smells like water and nature like some kind of creek, and her skin feels like aca-loving clouds, and Chloe is so not prepared for this at all.

Beca cradles Chloe in her arms like she actually weighs nothing, and the journey to her and Aubrey's room is both the longest and shortest thing of Chloe's whole life. Chloe can't decide if she's relieved or disappointed when Beca gently lowers her into the bed, smirking while teasingly fluffing Chloe's pillows for good measure.

Chloe still isn't sure if she can breathe.

Chapter Text

Aubrey remembers her night in flashes.

The important pieces are there; every conversation she'd shared with Beca and Chloe is still markedly present – even if the blonde wishes there were parts that she could conveniently forget – but the segues into those conversations are a little unclear, for her.

Still, she remembers most of it.

Aubrey remembers the feel of Beca's hair against her face, and the soft vulnerability in Beca's eyes when she'd confessed that Aubrey's opinion holds some sort of actual value to her; she remembers Beca's relentless and adorable concern for Emily, and how defeated Beca had been when admitting that she truly wants to spend time in Aubrey and Chloe's company; Aubrey remembers Beca's tiny hands settling over the flesh of her hips, and the Vampire's lips brushing tauntingly against her cheek; she remembers how sweetly Beca had regarded Chloe when faced with the redhead's stubborn refusal to switch beds, and the image of Beca in her true, dazzling form – though Aubrey can't imagine that would've even been possible for her to forget, in the first place; she remembers the guarded look in Beca's hauntingly silver eyes as she'd waited for Aubrey's rejection, and the small, relieved smile that had blown across her mouth when the expected rejection never came; Aubrey remembers the admirable ease with which Beca had carried Chloe to their bedroom, and Beca's sharpened teeth, glistening in the moonlight seeping through their blinds as she'd lowered Chloe into the mattress.

The blonde also remembers Beca tucking them both into bed, pleating a single, gentle kiss across both Chloe and Aubrey's foreheads before whispering the softest 'goodnight' Aubrey's ever heard into the shell of her overly sensitive, flaming red ear.

However, Aubrey does not remember asking the brunette to cook for them, in the morning – and she's pretty positive that she never actually did.

Aubrey likes to sleep in, after a night of drinking.

It's pretty much the only time that the blonde ever truly allows herself to do so, to be honest; as a rule, Aubrey feels that sleeping in is a waste of time – but, after drinking, Aubrey feels that additional rest is necessary in order for her to be productive, later on.

The only problem with Aubrey's preference is that Chloe is the polar opposite.

Chloe wakes up early, when she's hungover, and she isn't generally quiet about it; the redhead requires food – real, cooked food – and she is positively miserable until someone makes it for her. Needless to say, Aubrey is somehow always conned into preparing her breakfast, and by the time she's finished, sleep is a luxury that Aubrey's overactive mind simply won't allow her to achieve, anymore.

When Aubrey reluctantly leads Chloe from their bedroom to the kitchen that morning, she feels only mildly appeased by the soft, grateful kisses that Chloe keeps pressing against her shoulders and the back of her neck. Aubrey's tired, her head hurts so badly, and there's a very high chance that she will need to vomit sometime in the next few hours.

(Aubrey loves this girl with her whole heart, but she's still a little bitter about being awake at all, and Chloe's kisses only help a little.)

Still, it's early enough that the Bellas are still asleep, so Aubrey frowns a little when she smells a fresh pot of coffee being brewed once they make it to the hallway; she's endlessly more confused when she thinks she catches the scent of bacon, too.

It smells positively divine, to be honest, but the blonde turns to Chloe with bemusement embedded within her exhausted features, and the redhead offers little more than an equally bemused shrug in return.

Aubrey probably shouldn't be surprised to find that Beca is the only one awake, but she definitely is surprised when she moves into the kitchen to find the brunette hovering over their stove, a spatula held in one hand with a pair of tongs – presumably to flip the bacon – occupying the other.

"Oh my god, you're perfect," Chloe breathes, both instantly and delightedly, and swiftly moves to hug her arms around Beca's waist, pressing her face into the crook of the Vampire Queen's neck.

Aubrey rolls her eyes, but the first thought that occurs to her oddly doesn't regard crawling back into bed, while leaving Beca to cook for Chloe, and enjoying the rare moment she can convince herself to lie in.

Aubrey wants to stay here, with Beca and Chloe for company.

It's strange, Aubrey knows – she's spent a fair amount of time avoiding Beca's company, after all, and she desperately needs to sleep – but, after last night, she feels a little more… aware of Beca, if that's possible, and it's making Aubrey itch to be around her, and to know her better.

"Yeah, well," Beca shrugs, "our hangovers are a little different from yours, but we still need to eat. I figured you guys probably stick to the same code."

"Perfect," Chloe insists with another sigh, pressing a sweet, thankful kiss against Beca's cheek before slipping away from her, and into the chair at Aubrey's side.

"You didn't have to cook for us," Aubrey tells her honestly, and with an earnest frown. "If the girls wake up and there isn't enough food, they're going to demand more, you know."

Aubrey has learned that much from experience, and their insistence often leads to Aubrey slaving over the stove for far longer than she'd like. She usually employs every passive-aggressive bone in her body to punish them for it, enforcing a particularly long practice (with particularly excessive cardio) sometime in the days following, but Beca won't have that same outlet available to her.

"It's fine," Beca shakes her head, shifting to turn around and lean her hips into the counter.

Aubrey frowns more intently at that, though, because she hasn't seen Beca's face until now, but she really thinks that Beca just looks- tired, if Vampires can even look that way. Her eyes are sunken in, and the flesh around them appears dark and purple, like a bruise. Her hair is magnificent – as usual, Aubrey thinks with a dry huff – but it also looks like Beca's run her fingers through it an awful lot, and Aubrey instinctively wonders why.

"Are you okay?" Chloe frowns and inquires, instantly hopping upward from her seat, once more, and moving forward to hold Beca's face between caring, worried palms.

"Yeah, dude. I'm fine," Beca tells them quickly.

"You are not fine," Aubrey scoffs disbelievingly, and rises to stand at Chloe's side.

"Look, it's just- Emily's not doing very well, okay? I told you – we get sick when we drink too much," Beca folds her arms across her chest defensively.

"Everyone gets sick when they drink too much, Becs," Chloe giggles softly. "Is Emily okay, though?" She inquires worriedly. "Does she need a cuddle? Or, like- some food?" Chloe hesitates. "Can you bring her food? You know," she rambles a little and flutters her fingers across Beca's cheek as she searches for her words, "like, blood?"

Aubrey winces – but only slightly – at the reminder of Beca and Emily's source of nutrition, but she regards Beca with curiosity and concern, despite it.

"I can. I mean, I have," Beca shrugs a little and glances toward her shoes. "Luke dropped some off for her a few hours ago. But it's- not like a human hangover," Beca hesitates, and tries to explain. "She's not vomiting or anything," Beca sifts her fingers through her hair, "she's just… weak. The venom is pretty much tearing her apart from the inside, trying to destroy the alcohol in her bloodstream. When we have that much, it's- painful," Beca tells them, swallowing uncomfortably and shuffling her weight over her feet. "Our venom is important, you know? It's all that keeps us alive, basically, and if we have too much, the alcohol can kill it; it could kill Emily," Beca whispers, with such obvious heartache and overwhelming concern that it makes Aubrey's heart feel like it's shredding itself open. "She's not that bad, right now – not bad enough for it to kill her, anyway – but it could've been. If she hadn't gone to sleep when she did, I'm not sure she'd even…" Beca trails off and clears her throat, turning away from Chloe's touch and swiftly back toward the stove, where she takes a glass measuring cup filled with what Aubrey presumes must be pancake batter before pouring it into another pan.

"Beca," Aubrey breathes out repentantly, and places an open palm over the brunette's shoulder, "we didn't know," she tries to justify softly.

And they hadn't, Aubrey thinks regretfully – but they should have asked; they should have made sure that it was safe, for Emily, and they hadn't.

"Emily does," Beca remarks quietly. "She was excited, last night, and she felt like she was part of something, with you guys – and I'm so grateful for that," Beca swears honestly. "She's never– Emily's never felt that way, with us," she swallows again and forces a sad smile across her pretty, small pink lips, and Aubrey tightens her fingers over Beca's shoulder until her knuckles pale, because even she can feel how badly that fact hurts Beca. "I'm glad she has it, with you," Beca nods a little, and she sounds honest, but Aubrey still knows how it must feel for someone else to make Emily feel that way when Beca just can't, and she can hear in Beca's trembling words that she definitely does feel something about it. "But she wanted to fit in, you know? I could- I could feel it," Beca tracks her tongue across her lips as she turns her head just slightly over her shoulder. "And she let herself have too much, and now she's sick, and I – " Beca drops the spatula on the countertop and frantically shoves her fingers through her hair. "I should've stopped this," she laments with a slight shake of her head.

"Oh, sweetie," Chloe loops her arms around Beca's waist again and coos, "you said yourself that she'll be fine, right?"

"Yes, but – "

"I don't think that's the point, Chloe," Aubrey argues softly.

"Of course it isn't," Chloe frowns earnestly. "And of course you're worried about her," she whispers into Beca's ear, "but she's young, right? So maybe- maybe it's universal that young people just have to make mistakes, Vampire or not," Chloe bites her lip softly and shifts her cheek to rest over the back of Beca's head, so that she can see Aubrey, too.

Aubrey's hand has fallen from Beca's shoulder, but she stands close by, and curls her arms around Chloe's back as a sort of extension off of Chloe's comfort; physically, Beca is trapped between the counter and Chloe, and this is the closest thing to direct contact that Aubrey is capable of offering.

"The important thing is that she'll be alright, isn't it?" Chloe insists gently.

"Obviously," Beca rolls her eyes and scoffs. "I just- worry about her."

"It's sweet," Aubrey murmurs carefully. "That you care for her that way," she explains and sighs. "I'm glad that she'll be alright, but, Beca, I'm- I'm so sorry," she says sincerely. "We didn't think, and we should have."

"It isn't your fault," Beca says, frustrated. "I don't blame you, or anything, Aubrey. It's not like that," she promises earnestly. "I just– It's hard, you know?" Beca queries, shuffling around to face them after she flips the first pancake over, and Aubrey just tries not to notice (and subsequently roll her eyes) when Chloe eyes it hungrily. "I want her to have fun, and to be with people who care about her, but I don't know how to draw the line any better than she does. I've never- been responsible for someone, this way. I know she's fine – or, at least, she will be," Beca amends carefully. "I just need to be sure she understands the potential consequences, you know?"

Aubrey sort of does.

Not really, of course – she isn't a Vampire, and she can't even begin to fathom the kind of the relationship that Beca clearly shares with Emily – but she knows this worry; she feels it for Chloe all the time.

Granted, the worry that Aubrey has for Chloe is more founded in Aubrey's tense nature than anything else, but she still feels it.

"That has nothing to do with being responsible for her, Beca," Aubrey tells her exasperatedly. "That's just the way you feel when you care about someone."

Beca smirks the tiniest, most preciously little fabricated thing at them, before shrugging and turning back toward the pan, without escaping Chloe's hold around her waist, "Well, I'm not sure if you noticed, Posen, but I'm pretty new to caring about people, too."

"That's okay," Chloe murmurs soothingly into Beca's hair and smiles a little at Aubrey, sort of like an apology and a search for confirmation, all in one. "We can teach you."

Aubrey swallows, because she can't quite define the reason why, but Chloe's words feel suspiciously like some kind of- commitment, to Aubrey, and she isn't sure that she's ready for that.

It's evident that her brain thinks differently, however, because Aubrey only hums a soft agreement in reply, and reaches one hand past Chloe's waist to hold onto Beca's hip in sincerely devoted comfort.

Beca chuckles, low – and devastating to Aubrey's internal organs – and relaxes her shoulders until she falls, just a little, into Chloe and Aubrey's joint embrace.

"That doesn't sound so bad," she whispers amusedly, and shakes her head. "There are worse people to learn from. Trust me."

Aubrey can't quite manage a verbal reply.

Instead, the blonde brushes her nose softly into Chloe's neck and holds tighter to Beca's hip in promise, trembling a little and feeling her heart stutter anxiously against her ribs as Beca lifts her right hand to casually slip her fingers through Aubrey's own, and flips the pancake onto a plate with her left.

"Are you hungry?" Beca asks curiously, and holds up the dish once she discards the spatula in order to do so. "I don't cook, much, for obvious reasons," she rolls her eyes, "but sometimes the taste is nice, for us, so I think it should be okay, and – "

Her insecure rambling is a little adorable, Aubrey thinks with a fond smile that she promptly hides into Chloe's hair, but she isn't even a little bit surprised when the redhead interrupts.

"Oh my God, thank you," Chloe moans gratefully and sighs. "It smells like magic and I'm so, so hungry, and you are just the best," Chloe swears, detaching from both of them and snatching at the offered plate.

Aubrey rolls her eyes, and turns to Beca, who raises both brows in amusement and smirks fully, now, instead of the feigned effort she'd put forth, before.

"If I knew this was all it took to make you make that sound, Red," Beca chuckles again, darkly, "I'd have cooked for you a while back."

Aubrey stretches her tongue curiously across her lips, and – as guilty as she feels for it – she can't help but wonder what else, exactly, Beca could have done to earn a moan like that from Chloe.

She thinks this is a problem, but Chloe only winks at Beca and grins, so- maybe it isn't as much of a problem as Aubrey believes it should be…

Chapter Text

Chloe thinks she's misjudged the severity of Emily's condition.

She understands that their newest Bella is sick, and she understands that Beca is wildly concerned for her – but it hadn't really sounded all that much different from an ordinary human hangover, to Chloe, when Beca had first explained it to her.

Now, Chloe is reconsidering.

As Aubrey had predicted, the Bellas had swiftly requested to be fed, too, once they'd spotted Chloe with her pancakes – and, for someone who doesn't actually even eat all that regularly, the group decides pretty quickly that Beca is supremely gifted in the kitchen. Still, once they've cleared their plates, the girls don't really have that much of a reason to stay, so they offer thanks to Beca and farewells to Chloe and Aubrey before departing.

(Normally, Aubrey demands that they help to clean up, but Chloe suspects that Beca already took care of that for them; the living room had definitely been a disaster, last night, and the kitchen had definitely been even worse, but now they're both nearly spotless, with the obvious exception of Beca's breakfast mess, and Chloe knows that the rest of the girls had been far too drunk to handle it, themselves.)

Still, after they leave, Chloe feels like it's probably only a matter of time until Beca takes off with Emily, too.

And Chloe sort of really hates that.

She's enjoying Beca's company, and she's enjoying that Aubrey is enjoying it, with her; she doesn't want Beca to leave so quickly – especially because Chloe only vaguely even recalls spending time with Beca the night before, in the first place.

Chloe mostly only remembers Beca 'vamping out' and carrying her into bed, to be truthful, and the redhead is more than a little furious with herself for failing to remember the rest.

Still, she knows that something significant must have happened, because Aubrey's been suspiciously… welcoming of Beca, this morning, and hasn't sought to escape the Vampire Queen's presence even once, so far. Chloe is impressed, and she has every intention to interrogate her girlfriend as soon as the house is clear – but, for now, Chloe doesn't actually want it to be clear.

Which is actually pretty fortunate, because they're drinking second cups of coffee at the kitchen table and chatting amiably with Beca when the Vampire Queen flinches abruptly and snarls violently beneath her breath, and Chloe can only blink and bemusedly place her coffee mug back on the table as she stares toward Beca's suddenly-empty chair. She swears Beca had been right across from her literally, like, a second ago, but now she's gone, and the chair is upturned on the ground, and Chloe's mind isn't so quick to process how or why.

"What the aca-hell was that?" Aubrey breathes in frustration, with a bemused shake of her head.

"Um…" Chloe tries, and swipes her tongue across her lips. "I think- maybe that's the crazy-speed thing?" She suggests tentatively.

"But why – "

A pained echo of a scream interrupts Aubrey's inquiry, and Chloe startles, but realizes swiftly that the noise is emerging from Aubrey's room.

"Emily," the blonde whispers anxiously, and rises just as quickly as Chloe does to go and investigate.

When they find Emily and Beca, though, Chloe's heart feels like it's breaking apart, and she grasps her right hand around Aubrey's wrist as a gasp scrapes through her lungs and throat.

Beca must have thrown blankets over the windows to block out the small traces of sunlight creeping through the blinds, because the whole room is dark but for the light flooding through from the hallway. Emily is twisted between the powder-blue sheets of the guest bed, and all Chloe can really see of her is that she's just- writhing.

Beca is straddling Emily's waist and holding the younger Vampire's arms above her head, with silver eyes that Chloe knows had not been present in the kitchen boring through her sired's lit-up bronze.

They're both vamped out, at the moment, but if Chloe has to guess, she doesn't really think that Emily has that much control over it, right now; Emily is growling and groaning with intense ferocity, and Chloe thinks she sounds a little bit like a wounded dog.

Still, as Beca locks her gaze onto Emily's, the girl calms almost instantly, despite that she still looks severely injured; Emily's limbs still, and her body follows shortly after as she pants quick, heavy breaths through her mouth that Chloe knows neither of them actually even needs.

"Calm down," Beca insists softly.

Her voice is the same, sensual purr that Chloe remembers from last night, only it isn't; there's something hypnotic laced in there that wasn't there, before, and, even though Beca isn't even looking at her, Chloe feels her own heart being soothed by it, too.

But Emily is still, now, so Beca carefully removes herself from the mattress, navigating with intent focus around Emily and moving toward a cooler placed at the foot of the bed that Chloe hadn't really noticed, until now.

"It's alright," Beca tells Emily, with that same, soothing tone. "You just need to eat, right?" She inquires knowingly, lilting her head slightly to the side as she keeps her eyes trained on Emily's – and if Chloe has ever seen Beca look the part of an animal, she thinks this must be it.

Chloe observes intently as Beca removes a bag of blood from the cooler – which she now thinks must have been how Luke transported the blood that Beca told them about earlier – and she watches as the Vampire Queen moves to offer it to Emily.

"Just eat, Em," Beca instructs, low and captivating, while patiently holding the bag to Emily's mouth. "Here," she tells the girl. "Eat," she whispers calmly, and Emily nods in instant compliance while leaning forward.

Part of Chloe wonders what Aubrey's thinking about watching Emily feed, but she can't really turn to check, and all she really feels is the aching desire just to hear Beca talk some more. It's crazy, and this is definitely unnatural, but Chloe listens eagerly for her, anyway, and she inhales in sharp unison with Aubrey when Beca doesn't speak, but, instead, leans forward to sink her teeth into Emily's neck with no warning or preparation – for them or for Emily – at all.

Emily grunts softly, but her extended fangs are buried in the bag of blood, greedily suckling against it, and Beca just hovers over her for what Chloe thinks must be at least around thirty seconds before detaching.

When Emily has drained every drop of the blood in the bag, Beca takes it from her and soothingly strokes the girl's hair until Emily falls back asleep, leaning her cheek into Beca's gentle hold.

It only takes a moment for Beca to gather herself, swinging her neck around in a slow, wide circle until her teeth have returned to something resembling human, and her eyes are that beautiful, steel blue that Chloe is so blindingly familiar with. Beca shifts to look at them with hesitance in her gaze and fear itching at the corners of her frown, but she gestures toward the door until Aubrey and Chloe both nod their understanding and shift to leave.

Beca follows closely behind, fingers buried in her hair when Chloe and Aubrey both turn to look at her, thousands of questions eager to trip off the edge of their lips.

Aubrey beats Chloe to the punch, though, and Chloe is almost relieved – only because she isn't quite sure which question might have escaped her first, and she's really just grateful that she has a moment to get her aca-shit together.

"Did you just hypnotize us?" Aubrey demands instantly, hands curling around her hips and eyes narrowed with the beginnings of fury.

"Woah," Beca frowns, and peaceably offers her hands in surrender. "Firstly, Posen, we don't call it that, and it's a little offensive, actually," Beca huffs in mild aggravation. "It's called compulsion, and, secondly, I only intended to use it on Emily," Beca sighs softly and lowers her head. "She just wouldn't- be still," Beca swallows roughly and cringes. "I just needed to feed her, okay? I'm- I'm pretty old, you know?" Beca hesitates briefly, and shrugs, meeting with first Aubrey's eyes, then Chloe's, with fond exasperation layering through that stunning blue. "A Vampire's powers grow stronger, as they age, which means that my compulsion is- extremely powerful," Beca explains slowly. "I try not to use it – particularly when I'm around humans – but sometimes it's just necessary. I'm sorry," she murmurs sincerely, eyeing Aubrey with regret and, Chloe thinks, just a little bit of shame. "I didn't mean to affect you, that way, and I apologize for it – but Emily needed it, Aubrey," Beca pleads softly, like she's begging a forgiveness from them that Chloe thinks she shouldn't truthfully even need to ask for.

Aubrey lowers her arms from her waist and frowns back at her.

Chloe knows this expression, on Aubrey; it means she's debating on whether or not Beca can be trusted, basically, and Chloe isn't sure how, but she knows that they can trust Beca; Chloe knows it with every fiber of her aca-loving being, and she won't let Aubrey convince herself otherwise just because of something that Beca can't even help.

"Emily looked– I mean, I know you said she was in bad shape, Beca, but that was…" Chloe trails off with a fearful, worried swallow. "You're sure she'll be alright?"

"She'll be fine," Beca nods and replies quietly. "She just needs a couple of days, to get everything in her system evened out, you know?"

"Why did you bite her?" Aubrey asks tentatively. "I get- I get why she needs food," Aubrey slowly nods her understanding, "and I get why you had to force her to eat. But why…?" She trails off expectantly, eyeing Beca more calmly, now, but with blatant confusion, too.

"I was giving her my venom," Beca explains carefully. "Hers is weak, right now, and it's eating blindly at anything it can find; it's eating through the blood she's ingested, because now it's tainted with the alcohol. I made Emily," she tells them deliberately. "Her venom is the same as mine, so I can give her more when hers is failing," Beca shrugs a little, but watches them with uneasy eyes, like she's just waiting for one of them to bolt.

Chloe won't – Chloe doesn't think she even could, to be honest – but she can't guarantee the same of Aubrey.

Still, Aubrey surprises her, and Chloe just thinks that she loves the blonde impossibly more for the clear effort she's investing in simply trying to understand.

"It sounds like AIDS," the blonde murmurs distractedly.

Beca snorts, then raises her brows in clear amusement, and Chloe could just cheer, she's so happy; it's only been for the duration of this morning, she knows, but Chloe hates this sad, fierce worry in Beca, and she's glad to see traces of the smirking brunette she's come to know – even if it is just a little.

"You're not entirely wrong," Beca shrugs and answers earnestly. "AIDS attacks the healthy cells in humans, too, in sort of the same way – only, our venom is also what keeps us alive, so it isn't exactly a disease; Emily's is just confused, if that makes sense. Mine isn't," Beca shakes her head. "Giving her my venom will help her heal more quickly," she explains softly.

"How long will it take?" Aubrey frowns.

"Ideally?" Beca inquires tiredly, and shuffles her fingers through her hair. "Two days, maybe three."

"Will she be in this much pain that whole time?" Chloe frowns and looks toward the now-closed door of Aubrey's bedroom with worry in her eyes.

"No," Beca shakes her head. "At least, she shouldn't. It'll be about a day like this, and then she'll sleep, mostly."

"Have you- Have ever been like that?" Aubrey ventures carefully.

Beca chuckles dryly and shakes her head. "More than I'd like to admit, Posen. You'd think once would be enough, but…" she shrugs, "it took a little longer, for me. I wish I'd known what I was doing to my sire, though, because I might not have even been capable of acting this way, if I knew."

Her voice is a little wistful, and very soft, and Chloe wonders so many things about Beca's life right now that she doesn't even know where to start, with her questions.

"Emily told us that you and Luke were sired by the same woman," Chloe tells Beca with a concentrated furrow of her brows. "Does that mean that you and Luke share the same venom, too?"

"No," Beca scowls, and shakes her head. "We were- sort of sired by the same woman," she amends gently. "But Emily– She doesn't know as much as she thinks she does, and I'd like to keep it that way," she murmurs quietly.

"What do you mean?" Aubrey frowns, but gestures them down the hallway and toward the living room, where they each lower themselves into the same couch.

Chloe tries not to feel hopeful about it, much, but it can't really be an accident that Aubrey chooses to sit on Beca's opposite side, instead of next to Chloe, can it?

Beca sighs and leans forward, elbows balancing her weight across her knees.

"I mean," the brunette offers slowly, "that if you'd like to be technical, Posen, I was sired by two people. Luke's sire– Her name was Alessandra," Beca swallows and whispers painfully, "and she was mated to a man who was fundamentally- opposite in his beliefs," she runs her fingers through her hair again, before resuming her position. "Lessa's mate tried to kill me," Beca shrugs sloppily, even though the thought of anyone trying to kill Beca makes Chloe's heart rage against her chest in some massively foreign kind of fury. "He believed that it's a Vampire's right to take human life, when Lessa always believed that it was unnecessary and cruel. So," Beca determines with a blasé tone that doesn't quite stretch through the scrunched, contemplative features of Beca's expression, "when he tried to kill me, she turned me, instead; because I already had his venom in my bloodstream, it technically meant that I was sired to them both. Luke- doesn't have his blood," Beca tells them cautiously. "So, if Emily or I ever need to share venom, we can only do it between ourselves."

"How does that work, though?" Aubrey frowns curiously. "I mean, realistically?" She presses softly. "You and Emily are- extremely close," she rationalizes softly. "How does it work, when you're sired to two people?"

"Most of us shy away from doing it. It's- confusing," Beca struggles. "For pretty much everyone involved," she rolls her eyes tiredly. "Lessa could feel my emotions, and Vasidius could feel them, too; I needed to be around both of them, equally as much," Beca bites her lip and shrugs. "That's how it works, you know?" She pitches self-consciously, and flicks her gaze between Chloe and Aubrey's before lowering them to the floor. "You need to be in physical contact with your sire, and you're emotionally drawn to them, too. So, they split my time between them."

"Are they– I mean, you talk about them like they're… gone," Chloe tries softly, reaching her hand out to hold desperately against Beca's thigh.

She can tell that this is hard for Beca, and Chloe is so, so devastated by that, but she also thinks that this might be the only time Beca is open enough – or vulnerable enough – to share it with them, and she isn't sure she's willing to sacrifice the opportunity.

Chloe wants to know more.

Chloe wants to know everything.

"They are," Beca shrugs, carefully careless, which Chloe thinks just defeats the purpose, to begin with – but she doesn't say so. "Vasidius challenged Lessa, and he- he won," Beca swallows again.

"Challenged?" Aubrey inquires with a frown.

Beca nods, sighs, then patiently explains, "Lessa was Queen before I was. Traditionally, anyone who opposes the present reign can challenge the King or Queen to a duel – and whoever wins gets to take the position."

"How do you win?" Aubrey asks curiously.

Chloe knows it's Aubrey's desperate need to understand everything – particularly everything that is in any way related to Beca – that's fueling her, right now, but Chloe isn't exactly sure that that's the best question for her to ask.

Beca turns to look at the blonde with a blank, heavy stare, before replying softly, "It's a duel to the death. You can only win once the opponent has been killed."

"He killed her?" Chloe gasps instantly, and disbelievingly.

She knows it probably sounds a little dramatic, to Beca, but Chloe isn't used to Vampire traditions; the notion of killing someone to achieve rulership is something that only exists, for Chloe, in history textbooks and dialed-down fairytales.

Beca shrugs and taps her fingers against her jawline. "Yeah," she rasps quietly. "Vasidius killed her."

"Wouldn't that mean he became the King, though?" Aubrey asks, a frown settling deeply in the lines between her eyes.

"Yeah," Beca nods agreeably and abruptly rises. "Vasidius was our King. Until I killed him."

Chloe just knew this line of conversation was a dangerous one to tread upon; she can't even blame Aubrey – even though a tiny part of her wants to – because Chloe had been as eager to learn more of Beca's story as her girlfriend had been, too.

Still, Chloe thinks they've made a mistake, here.

Chapter Text

Chloe is a little shell-shocked, when Beca shifts to move away from them, but Aubrey isn't.

Not really.

The idea of killing someone, for any reason at all, is horrifying to Chloe; in all reality, it definitely is for Aubrey, too – only, Aubrey's always been acutely aware (and at least mildly fearful) of Beca's nature. She understands that Vampires have, at least historically, been recognized as monsters, so it isn't a terribly significant surprise, to her, that Beca has killed, in the past.

The confirmation is a little jarring, definitely – but Aubrey thinks most of it stems from her confusion.

It's just that it's nearly unfathomable, to Aubrey, that Beca could kill her sire, of all people; with the obvious, devoted way that Beca cares for Emily, and the loving way that she's spoken of Alessandra, it's difficult for Aubrey to understand how Beca could kill anyone that closely bonded to her.

She's sure that there's more to this story, and so much of Aubrey is desperately eager to pull Beca's secrets away from her to unearth the rest, but the blonde does recognize that she's overstepped, here.

So, instead of prying further, Aubrey snatches swiftly at Beca's wrist.

"Don't leave," she frowns earnestly. "We're surprised, Beca, but we aren't kicking you out," she murmurs warmly. "Besides, it's day time, and even if you can walk in the sunlight, you said yourself that too much time out there is bad for you," she persuades. "Surely you won't risk taking Emily outside right now, with how sick she is, already?"

Beca combs her fingers tensely through her hair, back staunchly turned in Chloe and Aubrey's direction, before she growls out this little, furious noise of frustration from deep within her chest that is decidedly inhuman. It shouldn't truthfully affect Aubrey at all, except that it does, and it makes her feel a curiously fortified need to stifle a moan.

"Don't ask me any more questions," the brunette warns fiercely, as she shuffles around to face them. "I don't- I don't want to talk about me anymore," she tells them quietly, eyes seemingly dedicated only to her shoes.

"I'm sorry," Aubrey tells her softly. "We're sorry, right, Chloe?"

Chloe blinks, then startles, and agrees fervently, "Of course we are. We didn't mean to pry," she swears gently. "Really, Beca, we just- we just wanted to learn more about your life, that's all. It's just that- we hardly know anything about you," Chloe tries, swallowing thickly and arching her neck to stare up at Beca with wide, apologetic blue eyes that nearly make Aubrey want to weep.

It's rare that Chloe so deeply regrets anything, to be honest; Aubrey's girlfriend is a go-where-the-wind-takes-her kind of girl, and, most of the time, Chloe isn't at all bothered by wherever the wind does end up taking her. Even being with Chloe makes Aubrey feel a little more carefree.

Aubrey knows it's strange that Chloe seems so apologetic, and it causes the blonde to watch her carefully just to be sure that tears won't follow.

Beca snorts, though, and drops her hands from her hair, folding her arms warily across her chest. "You hardly know anything about me? Please, Red," she scoffs and shakes her head. "All the two of you have done since the day you met me is ask questions, and I've done my best to answer them," Beca vows with a nod. "But I'm pretty damn sure that you guys know way more about me than I can possibly claim to know about you," she says pointedly.

Aubrey angles her head to the side and eyes Beca with a thoughtful expression.

She supposes that Beca isn't exactly wrong; she and Chloe have been so hung up over how little they know of Beca that they haven't really sought to reveal themselves to her, in trade. In their defense, Aubrey thinks, it has to be a natural reaction to interrogate the Vampire – but that doesn't entirely make it fair.

"What do you want to know?" Aubrey offers.

"Seriously?" Beca raises both brows in stunned incredulity, but the twitching grin at the edge of her mouth confirms, for Aubrey, that this is the right choice.

… Even if she isn't exactly the nicest when confirming it for Beca, in return.

"I'm not going to throw you a parade just for being right, Beca," she scowls. "Even if we haven't offered you much in the way of getting to know us, you could have asked – and it isn't our fault that you never did."

"No," Be smirks and replies slowly, "but you were terrified of me for a long time, Aubrey, and you're not even totally okay with me, now. I can tell," Beca says with a tired, sad smile that Aubrey can see more in her eyes than anywhere else, and it makes her heart ache so hard she thinks she feels its angry pulsing in her toes. "I wasn't exactly in a position to be asking anything of you, and, no offense, Red," Beca rallies and chuckles that aggravatingly low sound again, "but I wasn't really about to step into Posen's territory by asking you."

"I'm not her property, Beca," Chloe smiles warmly and shakes her head. "I can make my own decisions."

"I didn't say otherwise," Beca reminds her with raised, amused brows. "But I wanted to know about both of you, and Aubrey just- wasn't ready for that, I guess."

"And you think I'm ready for it now?" Aubrey snorts mockingly.

She isn't.

Aubrey so isn't ready for this, but it isn't right to expect Beca to reveal this much of herself without giving anything back; Aubrey understands that, even if the notion of giving any of herself to Beca is petrifying and insane and still wildly confusing, to her.

"No," Beca shakes her head with a grin. "But I think now you might answer my questions, anyway," she smirks.

Aubrey rolls her eyes. "Just ask what you want to know," she snaps out harshly.

Beca laughs, but plops carelessly back into the cushions of the couch between them, and says, "Alright. Fine. Are you only children?"

"That's your first question?" Chloe smiles broadly and inquires.

"I have a lot of questions, Chloe," Beca murmurs quietly and shrugs. "But, yeah – I guess I'd like to know a little about where you come from. Is that so bad?" She frowns in earnest bemusement.

Chloe smiles sweetly at her and softly shakes her head in answer, folding gentle fingers over Beca's kneecap in comfort.

Aubrey tries not to think about it, but she thinks that it should probably bother her a little more than it actually does to see Chloe behave this affectionately with the Vampire Queen; instead, Aubrey mostly only feels abundant gratitude at the fact that Chloe can calm Beca's insecurities with so little effort, because Aubrey isn't sure that she's capable of it, yet.

"It's pretty mild, compared to what I was expecting," Aubrey answers cautiously. "Neither of us are only children. I have two sisters, and Chloe has a sister and four brothers."

Beca nods, her expression concentrated and sincere. "And your parents? Do you get along?"

Aubrey stiffens, but Chloe glances in her direction – something warm and concerned and deeply loving – and it's enough incentive for Aubrey to force a reply, even if it is a short one.

"Pass," she tells Beca firmly.

"Oh, but you get to ask about my parents, no problem?" Beca scoffs lightly with an exasperated roll of her eyes.

"We didn't ask about your parents," Aubrey frowns.

"My sires are the only parents I've ever known," Beca explains carefully, watching Aubrey with honest, shaded blue eyes that sort of just make Aubrey want to melt into the couch and forget about this discussion altogether, in favor of focusing on the heated, blistering whirlwind of emotion that Beca's stare makes her feel. "It isn't easy, for me, to talk about them, you know," she says softly and scratches behind her ear in that awkwardly uncomfortable and adorable way that Aubrey is truly beginning to treasure, maybe just a little.

Aubrey's reactions to her are worrisome, but so intense that Aubrey isn't sure that she honestly even wants to fight them off, at this point; it's kind of exhausting, for her, and it hasn't proven to be a very effective effort, anyway.

But Beca is right, again, and as furious as that makes Aubrey, the concept of fairness is one that she can't really sacrifice, when it comes to Beca – because she expects Beca to be fair with her, too.

"My mother passed away when I was ten," the blonde replies stoically. "My father- He isn't a very open man, and he has a difficult time expressing his emotions. We don't communicate well. We hardly communicate at all, really."

Beca frowns, but nods, anyway, and stretches her palm out to link Aubrey's fingers through her own in support. Beca's touch makes Aubrey quiver, though, and it's a response that she can't even help; she's sure that Beca can feel it, but if she does, the brunette never breathes a word about it.

In fact, Beca only turns to Chloe and asks, "And you?"

"My mom's a teacher," Chloe tells her with a small smile, even though she watches Aubrey with worry in her eyes and sympathy leaking through the small dance of her fingertips across Beca's knee, like they're aching to reach for Aubrey's and can't quite stretch the distance. "And my dad owns a construction company. My whole family is pretty close," she shrugs bashfully.

Beca grins at her, but tightens her fingers over Aubrey's and doesn't loosen her hold.

It's strange, but Aubrey almost feels- comforted; Beca had hardly acknowledged Aubrey's confession at all, and, while part of her feels like she should be offended by the lack of interest, most of her is grateful. It had been difficult for her to share even that much with Beca, and if she'd inquired any further, Aubrey isn't so sure that she'd have responded favorably.

She thinks it's nice, though – knowing Beca's there, and that she recognizes Aubrey's pain enough to try and soothe it away. It's just… nice, somehow.

"Do you miss them? When you're here, I mean?" Beca asks Chloe softly.

"Oh, all the time," Chloe laughs airily. "But Skype is a magical thing," she winks impishly.

"Yeah," Beca chuckles and nods her agreement. "It's pretty useful for me, too."

"Why would you need to use Skype?" Aubrey snorts disbelievingly. "Your coven goes everywhere with you, don't they?"

Beca rolls her eyes and throws her back into the cushions, which advantageously allows Aubrey and Chloe to both see her at the same time.

"I'm a queen," Beca reminds them pointedly, with a wide smirk and a little shrug. "Unlike with human monarchies, my position is pretty much universal. I'm Queen everywhere," she drops Aubrey's hand to spread her palms out at her sides, "which means I have to be in relatively frequent contact with every country in the world, Posen. Skype is a motherfucking miracle, as far as I'm concerned."

"How did that work?" Chloe queries curiously. "I mean, before Skype and technology and planes and stuff? How did you get in touch with, like, China?"

"Mail," Beca sighs tiredly. "Travelling covens would communicate with the others, or I would go to them. There were boats, when we needed them – and, I'm not sure if you've noticed, but we move pretty quickly," Beca chuckles beneath her breath and shakes her head. "We can cover a lot of ground in a pretty short amount of time."

"Huh," Chloe remarks with a dazed, contemplative look in her eye.

"Is it strange, for you?" Aubrey inquires abruptly, after a brief moment of silence. "Using technology when you never had it, before?"

"Everything's strange, for a while," Beca shrugs. "The world is changing all the time. Come on," she urges them softly with a teasing smirk. "I've been alive a long time; you think talking this way comes naturally to me?" She smiles and shakes her head. "I adapt, with the human world – but a lot of us aren't like that. A lot of us despise change, and, yeah, a lot of us hate technology, too," she tries to explain. "But it's sort of my job to be aware of what's going on in the world, so I don't really have the option of ignoring it, you know? Social security numbers and licenses and human laws on taxes, and pretty much everything else," she huffs in aggravation. "I need to know about all of that. They're- issues, for us. It makes the integration into society, like, super difficult."

"How do you mean?" Chloe frowns.

"Take me, for example. I'm old, Red," Beca laughs and streams her hair between her fingers, brunette strands falling briefly over her eyes; it's actually sort of hard for Aubrey to watch, because all she can think of, for a moment, is the wonderfully soft feel of Beca's pretty hair against her cheek, and this is definitely not the appropriate time to be remembering that. "I have a lot of money. Am I supposed to allow your human government to tax that, when Vampires as a whole – myself included – have already been taxed by our government? And how can your government refuse to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of twenty-one when there are centuries-old Vampires who were turned at the age of eighteen? How do you issue identification for someone who's already dead, anyway? It's just- politics," Beca rolls her shoulders back and sighs. "It's a process, that's all. I'm just getting too old for this kind of shit," she breathes quietly.

"Exactly how old are you?" Aubrey demands. "And, before you turn all- smirky and deflective, you should know that I don't actually care that it's a rude question to ask, Beca."

Beca smiles – and it's amused, yes, but it nearly looks impressed, too, despite that Beca raises both brows in surprise.

"We were supposed to be done, asking questions about me," Beca reminds them, humor laced in her voice and in the playful shimmer in her hauntingly blue eyes.

"Beca," Chloe whines pleadingly. "Just tell us how old you are," she persuades with a tender smile. "We promise not to judge you. Even if you're, like, a hundred fifty!" She promises on a laugh.

"That's not- even in the vicinity of how old I am, Red," Beca furrows her brows. "Jesus, did you really think I was that young?"

Chloe gapes, and Aubrey won't admit it, but she thinks she might, too.

"Young?" Chloe splutters. "That's- that's young, for you?" She wonders incredulously.

"Well," Beca snorts, then smirks broadly and shrugs, "considering that I was born in ancient Greece… yeah, Red; I'd say a hundred and fifty is pretty young, in my book."

"Oh, you have got to be aca-shitting me."

Aubrey can admit that perhaps it isn't the most elegant of responses, but there's only so much that her overtired mind can fathom at once, to be truthful – even with the poise of a Posen – and this is just becoming absurd.

Chapter Text

This isn't a date, Chloe reminds herself strictly.

It's really not – only, it still sort of feels like one, Chloe considers thoughtfully, because isn't this pretty much exactly what people do, on dates? Learn more about each other, and maybe watch a movie, and make one another just a little bit too vulnerable for comfort, before shying away and retreating back beneath the shelter of unfamiliarity?

Aubrey had been a tiny bit overwhelmed, by Beca's age, and Chloe totally thinks that's fair – because, Jesus, the girl is literally ancient, and that's even a little insane for Chloe – but the redhead is still impressed that Aubrey hadn't excused herself to their room immediately after learning it; instead, the blonde had merely held up a tired palm and gently shook her head at Beca when the brunette had worriedly tried to smooth the issue over. Chloe's girlfriend had simply flicked on the television, surfing through channels until an old Gilmore Girls rerun lit up the screen, before curling herself up into the couch cushions like an adorable, sleepy little kitten, instructing Beca to just watch the show and let her process everything, for a few minutes. Beca shrugs off her coat, revealing only a tank top beneath, and sets it on the coffee table before obediently slipping back into the sofa between them.

Chloe is eager to know as much about Beca as the Vampire Queen is willing to share with them, but she knows Aubrey's making crazy significant progress, right now, and Chloe refuses to ruin that for her. Plus, Beca's been a little emotional this morning, too, and – given Emily's health – Chloe thinks that's understandable; besides, they've delved into some pretty heavy topics, both for Aubrey and for Beca, and she thinks maybe they might need this time to recover from that sort of exposure.

(Chloe doesn't really experience things like that – or, at least, not in that way – but she's had a long time to make sense of Aubrey, and she knows that a little mental space is something that the blonde needs, when she's feeling too vulnerable; Chloe thinks she knows enough of Beca, and enough of her insecurities in regards to relating with other people, to believe that she could probably react in the same fashion.)

Besides, this still feels nice, too.

And sort of date-like – even though, Chloe tells herself firmly, this totes isn't a date.

But Chloe's still having trouble with wrapping her head around that notion, because, sure, Aubrey's primarily cuddled into the opposite end of the couch, but Chloe can see her painted red toes cautiously stretching outward until they're pressing softly into Beca's thigh, and Chloe also sees when Beca's left palm tentatively lowers to tenderly hold the blonde's ankle, in answer.

Chloe is notoriously terrible at hiding her physical affections, and, basically, all that Beca and Aubrey's interaction really does for Chloe (aside from making her feel oddly content, and deliciously hot all over) is give the redhead a greenlight to interact with Beca in a similar way.

The redhead nestles her cheek into Beca's shoulder, snaking both of her arms around to snugly grasp her fingers over the brunette's wrist and bicep, and Beca shifts to look down at her with expectantly raised brows and a smirk that is just way too amused to even be fair; she's demanding an explanation without even bothering to use words, but Chloe doesn't even have an explanation to offer, really, so she pretends that she doesn't understand the unspoken command at all, and only beams up at Beca until the brunette chuckles beneath her breath and resignedly shakes her head.

It works, though, Chloe guesses happily, because Beca doesn't dislodge her, and Aubrey doesn't say anything about it at all. The blonde only looks over at Chloe with a seriously contemplative, preoccupied expression that pinches her brows inward, just a little; when she comes back to herself, she offers Chloe a slow, tiny smile filled to the freaking brim with warmth and satisfaction and just a hint a nerves, itching away at the corners of her mouth.

Chloe wants to ask what that look even means, because, as well as she knows Aubrey, this entire situation is foreign, for them; she doesn't know how to interpret this – not any of it, honestly – and while she's partly okay to let things proceed, she's also a little desperate to figure out what the aca-hell is happening, here.

Thus far, she and Aubrey have kept each other on the same page, in regards to Beca; they've discussed their feelings, and their concerns, and they've even confessed to wanting her, but- Chloe wants to know what that means, for them. It's just that- it's growing increasingly difficult for Chloe to remind herself of the things she isn't allowed to do, with Beca, and there's a perturbing number of things that she wants to be able to do with her.

Because this isn't a date, Chloe knows, but- she thinks it should probably worry her, a little, that she so badly wishes for it to be one, anyway.

She knows that's strange, and the idea doesn't really bother her, exactly, but it does seem a little… impossible.

Chloe has only really ever wanted to date Aubrey.

At least, Aubrey's the only person Chloe's ever wanted date seriously, and monogamously – but she feels curiously more in tune with her blonde lover when Beca is there with them, and that doesn't totally even make sense, to Chloe, because she's never even thought herself to be out of tune, with Aubrey. It's just- different, with Beca; Chloe feels like she can communicate with Aubrey in glances and touches and understanding smiles, when Beca is there, and she feels like she and Aubrey work in perfect synchrony to make Beca feel more comfortable, even without really trying.

The whole situation has Chloe's emotions raging and searching desperately for a safe and sanctioned place to put them.

Still, right here, hugged against Beca's curious warmth with Aubrey tentatively pushing through her discomfort at the other side, Chloe's emotions don't feel quite so out of control; Chloe's emotions feel calm, and sated, and like this is pretty much exactly the place she's been searching for to put them.

And it still isn't a date, but if it had been, Chloe thinks it would've been… perfect.

"I should probably feed Emily, soon," Beca sighs as the second episode ends, reaching her hand from its new station over Aubrey's calf the comb her fingers through her hair, before it flutters back to Aubrey's leg, like that's where it actually belongs. "I want to make sure she's well enough for me to take her home, tonight."

"You could stay," Chloe suggests with a mild pout.

She knows it probably isn't realistic – and, in all honesty, she and Aubrey probably need a little time together just to make sense of all that they've learned about Beca, and to discuss it – but the thought of Beca leaving, right now, makes Chloe's heart thrash in distress. Chloe doesn't really want this satisfied feeling to go away, and she thinks that if Beca leaves, it probably will.

"That's sweet of you, Red," Beca smirks and warmly squeezes Chloe's knee beneath her opposite palm, "but the next few days are going to be tough, for her, and it'll be easier to manage at home. Besides, we've imposed on you enough."

Chloe almost tells her that Beca's presence here has pretty much been the absolute furthest thing from an imposition that Chloe can think of, but Aubrey speaks before she has the chance.

"Where's home?" Aubrey murmurs, eyelids drooping sleepily.

The redhead smiles something tender and sweet and entirely besotted, because Aubrey is so much less guarded, when she is tired, and Chloe thinks she's precious. She feels a little guilty for waking her, earlier, but mostly Chloe feels like this time with Beca has made it worth the trouble.

"I actually have a house in Atlanta," Beca shrugs, and leans into the cushions behind her, like the notion of moving is too difficult for her to fathom, right away, and she needs to prepare herself.

Chloe thinks that's sort of precious, too, but she also thinks that if they're both this- relaxed, and they both seem so reluctant to move, then they must be feeling some of the same things that Chloe is feeling, too, right?

"Your whole coven lives in one house?" Chloe giggles softly and wonders.

Beca snorts and sluggishly shakes her head over the back of the couch, her hair mussing a little as she does it. "We travel together, but we don't always stay together; it's sort of hard, unless we're blowing money on a hotel, to find enough space for us all to be together. Plus," Beca rustles her shoulders and huffs, "we get frustrated with each other when we're all in the same place. It's best that we have some time to ourselves, every now and then."

"So it's just you and Emily?" Aubrey frowns. "No Luke?"

"Luke has his own place nearby," the brunette shrugs. "So, yeah," Beca whispers and smiles vaguely. "Just me and Em."

Chloe bites her lip, because she thinks if she lets herself grin, right now, it might break her whole face – and it would probably make Beca hide her fondness for Emily away, too.

Chloe doesn't want that; Chloe likes watching Beca when she talks about Emily.

She likes how Beca's eyes soften and shift, like tiny waves sloshing lazily against the shore at the beach, and she likes how Beca's voice lowers until it's dreamy and gentle, like a little breeze at night – like if she talks any louder, any more firmly, she'll somehow risk ruining her relationship with Emily altogether.

It's the cutest thing Chloe thinks she's ever seen, and it's aweing just to observe that kind of fathomless devotion.

"Don't you get lonely?" Aubrey inquires hesitantly, and moves tired eyes toward Beca to watch her response.

"I'm almost three thousand years old, Posen, and I've been lonely for almost all of it," Beca tells her quietly, and with such deep, convoluted honesty that Chloe's heart instantly feels like it's shattering inside her chest.

She thinks that might be the saddest thing that she's ever heard. Chloe knows that Beca has her coven, and that – at least in the beginning – she'd had her sires, too, but how must Beca have felt when her sires had passed? How close even is Beca, with her coven? The only ones she's ever seen Beca communicate with are Emily and Luke, and even though she knows how close they are, Chloe now wonders if that's even enough, to stem that kind of age-old loneliness.

How terrible must it be to live forever, feeling all alone?

"That's- sort of morbid, don't you think?" Aubrey huffs lightly and smiles.

Chloe thinks it's sweet, the way that Aubrey is clearly trying to lighten Beca's mood, and that makes her smile, just a little – even if her heart still feels like it's weeping tears between her ribs.

Beca offers an epic roll of her eyes and smirks, "Well, I'm dead, you know? I think that probably makes 'morbid' part of my genetic code, or something."

Aubrey scoffs out an incredulous noise that might maybe be a laugh, but Chloe isn't wholly sure, so she giggles and muffles the noise of it into Beca's shoulder to hide her amusement, just in case; Beca turns to stare down at her, and chuckles a little before shrugging.

"At least she thinks I'm funny," she murmurs, the ends of a laugh still lightening her words.

"Hilarious," Aubrey replies dryly.

Beca shifts slightly and sighs, and her palm falls over Chloe's red hair, hugging Chloe's cheek more firmly into her shoulder. It's only for a second, but Chloe stills every muscle in her body and doesn't think she even breathes the whole time that Beca is touching her. The brunette's fingers mindlessly flick through Chloe's hair, just once, before she shuffles upward and stands.

The Vampire Queen stretches with a tiny, (probably unintentionally) flooring groan, and Chloe watches with rapt, unshielded attention as the muscles of her back and shoulders ripple and shift while her arms reach upward.

It's crazy that Chloe feels like she can even see the power that Beca's age gives her, as a Vampire, but in that moment, Chloe still does.

Chloe wonders what that kind of power could actually do, to her, and she swallows thickly, swiftly moving wide, startled eyes toward Aubrey; pretty much every single answer that Chloe has to that question is instantly screamed out to her by her overstimulated mind and echoes through every inch of her hot, thrumming body, with replies limited solely to what that kind of power could actually do to them.

In their aca-loving bed.

Chapter Text

Beca leaves just after the sun sets.

It takes some work – and a little bit of compulsion from Beca, which is still beyond crazy, for Aubrey – to get Emily moving, but even so, the girl is more than a little upset about the shift in scenery. Emily snarls all the way out of bed and through the apartment to the door, but Beca's hand at her waist keeps her steady and relatively calm.

Aubrey wants to help, but she isn't quite sure how; there's nothing she can do to ease Emily's discomfort, and she hardly has the kind of strength necessary to help Beca keep her sired's impulses under control. Besides, Emily seems bothered by pretty much everything around her, with the sole exception of Beca's presence, so Aubrey thinks it's best – and probably safest – to give them some room.

She waits with Chloe near the door, and when it's time for their guests to leave, Aubrey smiles softly and leans her shoulder into the jam of the doorway. Chloe sneaks up from behind, curling her arms around Aubrey's middle and dropping her chin into the crook of the blonde's neck as they watch Beca kindly instruct Emily to stay put, just for a moment, and wait for her.

Aubrey is a little concerned about their youngest Bella, but she knows with every fiber of her being that Beca will provide her with the very best care that she can, and that mostly sates her anxious nerves.

Still, it's a relief, for Aubrey, when Chloe nervously bites her lip and softly inquires, "You'll call us, right? I mean, to let us know how she's doing?"

Beca chuckles and lilts her head to the left, casting her gaze briefly over her shoulder to find Emily, impatiently tapping her knuckles along the wall behind her as though she is actually, physically incapable of keeping herself still.

For all Aubrey knows, that might be the truth.

"You do realize that I don't exactly have a phone number to reach you on, don't you?" The brunette smirks and mockingly raises her brows in Aubrey's direction.

It's sort of fair, truthfully, because Beca had offered her number to Aubrey weeks ago, now, and the blonde has yet to do anything with it; it's no one's fault but Aubrey's that Beca has no way to contact them, in return.

Aubrey huffs in reply and stretches an open palm in front of her, plastering an expectant expression across her face until Beca laughs under her breath and fishes her phone from her jacket pocket, unlocking the device before obediently slipping it into Aubrey's grasp. The blonde briefly toys with the contacts lists and enters both her own information and Chloe's, before promptly shoving the phone back into the possession of its owner.

"So you'll call, now, right?" Chloe grins playfully and eagerly taps her fingers along Aubrey's stomach as she waits for a reply.

It tickles, a bit, but Aubrey's able to suppress the laugh into a chuckle, and even that is mostly made of amusement at Chloe's exuberance.

"Sure, Red," Beca shakes her head and smiles, just a little. "I'll call. But Em will be fine, you know. I just- don't want you to worry too much, alright?"

"Why shouldn't we?" Aubrey rolls her eyes. "You're worried," she remarks pointedly.

"I'm her sire," Beca lifts an eyebrow and answers, with a mildly amused quirk at the edge of her mouth. "I worry about her all the time. I don't really get a choice in that, Posen."

"Aubrey doesn't either," Chloe winks impishly and retorts. "She doesn't know how to not worry, Beca. About, like… anything – but especially the Bellas," she grins proudly and hugs a little tighter around Aubrey's waist.

Aubrey rolls her eyes again, because that comment should probably be irritating (and a little insulting), but it's hard to feel offended when the redhead shares even Aubrey's faults with such obvious, devoted affection. Plus, Chloe's arms around her feel nice and warm and comfortably familiar, and that – in combination with the fuzzy, satisfied feeling that's been swarming around Aubrey's heart since Beca's arrival last night – is making her feel a little more forgiving.

"You should really work on that, Posen," Beca shakes her head tiredly and sighs, glancing once more toward Emily before shifting that honest, dark blue stare back to Aubrey; she thinks she trembles, just a little, and she knows Chloe can feel it, because the redhead tightens her grip impossibly more, just for a second, and presses a small kiss into Aubrey's shoulder to ground her. "Stressing over everything like that – it's no way to live, you know."

"What would you know about how to live?" Aubrey scoffs and teases warmly. "You're dead."

"Fair enough," Beca snorts dryly, then shuffles on her feet and rubs adorably behind her ear. "Listen, I just wanted to- thank you," she tells them carefully. "I appreciate that you guys let us stay here, for the day, and, under the circumstances, I had a surprisingly good time. That's- sort of a big deal to me, you know?" Beca hesitates and skitters her eyes to the floor. "It's really hard for me to focus, or whatever, when Emily's upset, and today's- one of the worst days she's ever had, at least since I became her sire," Beca shrugs uncomfortably and swallows. "It, uh… It means a lot to me that you were both there to keep my mind off of her, and I just- I won't forget it, okay?"

Aubrey frowns.

Beca's overwhelming sincerity is touching, but it's also sort of- overly generous, the blonde thinks. She and Chloe hadn't truthfully done anything.

Sure, they'd let Beca and Emily hang around the apartment for the day – but that's hardly been a sacrifice, for them. Aubrey can't even remember the last time she felt this pleased, and, despite that Chloe is generally a very happy kind of person, anyway, Aubrey doesn't think she's ever seen her girlfriend this- quietly content, either.

"We like having you here," Chloe tells her with a gentle smile. "You don't need to thank us for that, Beca."

The brunette tips her head sideways and blinks, only for a second, before she splits her lips apart to speak. Her mouth closes soon afterward, though, and she shakes her head before trying again.

"You don't understand," Beca smiles sadly and bows her neck to hide it away. Aubrey wishes that she wouldn't do that; Beca's smile – or what little she had glimpsed of it – is a beautiful, shattering thing, even its sadness, and Aubrey wants to see it again. "I've been invited into the White House for the past couple of years, for political discussions, and I was invited into Emily's place before she was turned – but, aside from that, Red? I haven't entered a human's home in centuries. It- uh…" Beca frowns and shakes her head. "It means everything to me that you asked me inside at all," she murmurs self-consciously. "That you let me spend the day with you is… Well, that's important to me, too," Beca swallows again and shrugs. "But that you let me spend the day with you in your home means more to me than I could say, and I appreciate it," she finishes solemnly, with a small, sure nod.

"You're welcome to visit anytime," Chloe promises with a sweet, comforting smile. "I meant it, Beca; we do like having you here. We had a good day with you, too, alright, sweetheart?"

Aubrey blinks.

Parts of her are instinctively inclined to reply, only briefly, because, as physically affectionate as Chloe can be with others, she's usually very careful to keep her pet names reserved for Aubrey; it's difficult for the blonde to understand, for a second, that Chloe is employing the use of this one for Beca, and that says more to Aubrey than almost anything else the redhead has said or done all day.

Beca offers a tentative, crooked grin in answer to it, though, and Aubrey instantly forgets to concern herself with what the use of the pet name even means, for her and Chloe.

Instead, Aubrey's heart stutters against the walls of her chest the moment she spies that tiny, lopsided expression lift against the left side of Beca's mouth; it's an uncharacteristically shy little thing, and it is impossibly precious, to Aubrey.

"I should get Emily home," Beca says softly, though reluctantly.

Aubrey feels the same, suspicious need to continue their time together, too, but she knows Beca needs to leave.

She also knows that she and Chloe need to talk.


"Alright," Aubrey nods agreeably. "Call us in the morning with an update?"

"I will," Beca promises and smiles gently.

"And maybe we can come visit her when she's feeling better?" Chloe requests, watching Emily bounce her weight back and forth over her feet with a tender smile.

"I think she'd like that," Beca chuckles and nods. "When she's feeling better," she echoes pointedly.

"Relax," Aubrey releases a fond little laugh that she couldn't prevent even if she tried, and shakes her head. "We won't interrupt her rest, Beca. I promise."

"Sorry," Beca rustles her shoulders and puffs out a soft breath of air. "I just get- protective, or whatever. I'm sorry, dude."

Aubrey rolls her eyes.

Now that she has a better understanding of Beca's history, it makes a lot of sense, to her, how Beca could struggle to keep up with human slang; she's been around for millennia, after all, and Aubrey can't imagine how hard Beca must work to adjust her language according to human modernization over all that time. Still, since it's been brought to her attention, Aubrey thinks that the brunette might overdo it, just a little bit, and she can't even bring herself to voice the thought aloud.

Honestly, though, Beca does understand that women don't often like to be called 'dude,' doesn't she?

"That's okay," Chloe says comfortingly, though she giggles quietly into Aubrey shoulder, anyway, and Aubrey thinks maybe it might be for the same reason. "I think it's sweet."

Beca scoffs, but rolls her shoulders back and shrugs. "Anyway, thanks again. Both of you," she tells them earnestly. "I'll see you soon, okay?"

"Okay," Aubrey nods and smiles, and glances over the brunette's shoulder to lock her gaze to Emily's. She briefly bites her lip, before she softly mutters, "Feel better, Emily."

The taller brunette blinks over at her and growls softly, but her eyes fleetingly flicker from glimmering bronze into chocolate brown, before Emily stills her energetic shuffling and nods at Aubrey with understanding and profuse apology peeking through her gaze.

Aubrey knows she hears her, even if she's struggling to keep herself in the right mindset, and that's promising, to her. She smiles softly and waves an open palm toward the pair in farewell, but she has to swallow and force herself not to grin when Beca leans slowly inward to press her mouth first into Chloe's cheek, and then into Aubrey's, with the most nervous little pause just before impact that makes Aubrey nearly want to giggle.

Still, Beca helps Emily toward the stairs before she can comment – or think of what she might say, to begin with – and she and Chloe slip fully back inside the apartment, instead, softly shutting the door behind them.

"I know what you're going to say," Aubrey tells Chloe, after they've tiredly lowered themselves back into the couch.

Aubrey has done exactly nothing productive all day, and, though she's sure she'll regret it later on, the blonde finds that she's perfectly content to continue pursuing this lazy feeling of- fullness into tomorrow.

(Privately, she a little bit blames Chloe for not allowing her to sleep in this morning, but she knows it isn't her girlfriend's fault, really; Aubrey would've rather been awake, and in Beca's company, than anywhere else, today.)

Chloe takes Aubrey's feet in her hands from the opposite end of the couch and places them carefully into her own lap.

"I don't even know what I was going to say," Chloe smiles warmly and shakes her head, kneading her thumbs gently into the arch of Aubrey's right foot.

Aubrey groans a little, but still manages to huff mildly, "Yes, you do. You were going to say that we need to talk about this."

"Well…" Chloe hesitates briefly, before she inhales deeply and bravely inquires, "don't we? Need to talk about it, I mean?" She murmurs nervously and carefully tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, before resuming her blissful massage of Aubrey's toes.

Aubrey purses her lips to the left in thought, before honestly replying, "I'm not sure what to say."

It's true, though; Aubrey isn't sure what to say, and she certainly isn't sure of how to say it, anyway.

Chloe sighs in sympathy and nods. "I'm not totally sure, either, Aubrey, but- I feel different," she ventures carefully. "With Beca, I mean. I feel like– I feel like we're better, with her. Does that make sense?" Chloe rushes anxiously. "I mean, not that we're, you know, not good on our own," she rambles tellingly. "But I feel like we're more- together, with her. Or something," she shrugs feebly and frowns at Aubrey's ankles, refusing to meet her gaze.

Aubrey sucks in a slow, deep breath, and holds it to her lungs until she can offer an adequate reply. She can feel Chloe's nerves, and she wants to soothe them, but she also needs to be honest; she wants to be sure she thinks carefully about her answer.

"It makes sense," she nods deliberately. "I'm just not sure what that means, for us, Chloe."

"You feel it, though – don't you, Bree?" Chloe bites her lip and inquires, her voice small and uncertain. "You feel it, too?"

Aubrey gnaws against the inside of her cheek and hesitates, for a moment.

She and Chloe have never kept secrets from one another, and Aubrey certainly isn't going to begin doing so now; still, this is their relationship – and their relationship together means the world, to Aubrey.

She refuses to be careless with it.

"It's- confusing," she shares cautiously. "I mean, feeling anything for Beca is confusing, for me," Aubrey rolls her eyes and confesses, "but being around her makes me feel- more love for you, even though I feel more strongly for her every time we spend time together. I know that's counterintuitive," Aubrey frowns and shrugs meekly, "and I know it doesn't make sense, but – "

"It makes sense to me," Chloe interrupts quietly. "That's exactly how I feel, too, only…" She trails off into a thoughtful pause, and pulls a little too hard against Aubrey's second toe as she keep her eyes averted.

"Only…?" Aubrey encourages softly.

"Well, it's just that every time we're with her, I just… I want – " Chloe blusters and blows out an irritated huff of air. "I just want to touch her, Aubrey," she blurts out finally, and without any measure of grace at all. "I love being around Beca – I do," she insists. "And I'm so glad that you've gotten more comfortable with her, too, but it doesn't- it doesn't feel like that's enough, anymore," Chloe rushes frantically. "I want to hold her, Bree," Chloe whispers weakly. "I want to hold her, and run my fingers through her freaking hair, and I want to touch her, Aubrey. I mean, really touch her. I literally want to touch her in, like, every way, and it's- it's getting really hard for me to remember that that's something I can't do," she tells Aubrey quietly, and with deep apology flooding through her words.

Aubrey swallows, and tries to clear her head.

It's difficult, though, because thinking of Chloe's hands on any part of Beca's flesh is wildly distracting; still, Aubrey thinks it probably says something that this is where her mind goes, before considering notions like betrayal or jealousy.

She wants to feel those things, partly because it would just make things so much simpler, but if Aubrey's truly honest with herself, she feels neither.

The only thing Aubrey feels is sympathy, because Chloe is far braver than Aubrey can claim to be, but she's voiced every feeling Aubrey has been too afraid to allow herself to think on.

"Is that what you want?" Aubrey asks her, though she keeps her tone carefully soft and very understanding. "To be able to touch her?"

Chloe furrows her brows and slowly shakes her head. "I think- I think I want her to be mine, Aubrey. Ours," she amends thoughtfully. "I just- wish we didn't have to be so careful, around her, that's all."

"You want her to be ours?" Aubrey frowns. "How do you mean?"

"I don't know," Chloe answers softly. "I love that you're mine," she swears, "and I adore being yours, Bree," she promises with a warm, absent smile. "But I feel like I want Beca somewhere in the middle, too," she adds, her voice so quiet and guilt-ridden that Aubrey can barely even hear the words as they escape.

Aubrey isn't entirely sure how to think of that.

She's felt the same things Chloe is feeling, but her mind has been so wrapped up in the how and why of it that she hasn't truthfully let herself consider feasible options for what to do, with those feelings. It nearly sounds like Chloe wants for them to… date Beca, and that's- a fairly huge leap away from admitting that she has feelings for the girl that are growing by the hour.

Aubrey's trying to keep her mind open, of course, because, at this point, it's just clearly unrealistic to expect that these feelings will vanish with time; they have to do something.

"Aubrey?" Chloe whispers fearfully. "I'm sorry. I- I don't want to risk what we have together, and you know I'd do anything for you," she swears with such devotion that Aubrey instantly offers a soothing smile, despite her concerns. "I just don't want to lie to you," she says quietly and swallows. "That's- that's what I want," she bites her lip and shrugs. "But I don't need it," she promises. "If- if that's not what you want, too, Aubrey… I don't need it."

"I would never ask for you to lie to me, Chloe," Aubrey shakes her head. "I'm glad to know how you feel, and I'm glad that you're able to talk to me about it. I- have feelings for Beca, too," she nods carefully, "and it's becoming more and more apparent that they're not just going to disappear. If I'm honest," she sighs softly and admits, "they're only growing stronger. I just haven't really given much thought to how to deal with those emotions, I suppose," she offers, her speech paced and slow and very thoughtful. "I think- I think I need a little time, with this one, Chloe. I'm not- discrediting your suggestion," she adds deliberately, and smiles at Chloe's wide, abruptly panic-riddled eyes, "and I'm not upset with you," she tells her, grinning at the relief that floods through Chloe's expression. "But that's a major decision, for us. I want to be sure that I want it, too – when I'm not so caught up in how stupidly wonderful it feels to be around her," she rolls her eyes at herself and chuckles at Chloe when she giggles in reply. "Can you wait for me?" Aubrey bites her lip and asks hesitantly. "Just a little longer, Chlo?"

Chloe smiles this sweet, loving little thing across at her, and nods. "Of course I will. I'll always wait for you, Aubrey," she promises tenderly, and raises the blonde's calf to press a brief, devoted kiss into Aubrey's ankle.

Aubrey will think about Chloe's proposal, if for nothing else than that it's what Chloe wants – even though, on first instinct, it doesn't sound awfully much like a terrible idea to Aubrey, either – but, no matter what they decide to do about Beca, Aubrey swears that she will never let Chloe Beale escape from her.

She loves this girl with almost everything she has, and nothing in the world will ever change that, for Aubrey.

Chapter Text

"How could this even work?" Aubrey paces frantically and blusters. "I care about her, too – you know I do," she insists passionately, "but we can't just forget about the fact that Beca isn't human, Chloe. She doesn't age. What kind of future could we possibly even have, with her?"

Chloe sighs and carefully sets her mascara onto the bathroom counter, finding Aubrey's bright green eyes in the mirror and holding them with her own.

She'd known Aubrey's quiet speculations in the wake of Beca's departure would be a short-lived thing, but she'd sort of hoped that the blonde might maybe make it longer than a day before allowing the panic to take hold.

This is the part of Aubrey that Chloe's never truly been able to reach – at least, not effectively. Chloe tries so hard, but the redhead doesn't often make decisions founded in practicality the way that Aubrey does. Sometimes it's hard, for Chloe, to be the kind of support that Aubrey needs, only because Chloe is so fundamentally opposite.

She understands that Aubrey requires the comforts of a plan, and knowledge about what she's potentially getting herself into, but Chloe just doesn't think that way; Chloe makes decisions founded in her emotions, and that's always been enough.

And, God, Chloe's emotions are so twisted up in Beca that she isn't sure there was even another choice, for her.

Chloe wants Beca.

She wants her, and she wants Aubrey, and she wants them both to have each other, too. It's that simple and that simultaneously complicated, and Chloe can't think of a single thing that she wants more.

"I'm not sure I can answer that for you, sweetie," Chloe tells her earnestly. "I don't know how this is going to play out, or if Beca would even be interested in a relationship like that, with us. I just- I know what I feel, Aubrey," she murmurs quietly. "I know I care about her, and I know that I love you. I'm not sure that anything else matters."

"How can you say that?" Aubrey frowns and defensively folds her arms across her chest. "Chloe, of course it matters," she huffs tiredly. "What's the point of putting ourselves through the stress of building a relationship with her if we already know that it can't go anywhere?"

"Why are you so determined to believe that it can't go anywhere?" Chloe asks curiously.

"She's a Vampire, Chloe," Aubrey rolls her eyes. "Be realistic, for a minute; where could it go?"

"You're talking about our future," Chloe acknowledges slowly, "and I understand what you're saying, Aubrey, but- even if there is no future for the three of us, how can you know it wouldn't be worth it, anyway? Beca– she makes me feel like there's nothing better in the world than just being with the two of you," Chloe laughs airily and shyly ducks her head. "She makes us whole, Aubrey – and, even if it doesn't last forever, I can't believe that feeling this way could ever be a mistake," she swears quietly.

"But it's all pointless, isn't it?" Aubrey throws her hands up in frustration. "Beca can't have children with us," she rants quickly. "She won't grow old with us, Chloe. Beca won't grow old ever. She is literally an entirely different species. No matter what we feel for her, we can't change the facts of the world," she sighs quietly.

"She probably thinks the same about us, you know," Chloe says deliberately. "Even if Beca does want to be with us, there's even less of a gain in it, for her."

"How do you mean?" Aubrey leans into the doorframe and frowns.

"I mean," Chloe hesitates, "that she's been alive for thousands of years, and from what she's told us, she doesn't spent much time with other people. Beca is just so lonely, Aubrey, and even if we are special to her, we're still human; we'll still die, eventually, no matter how far down the road that might be, and Beca– she'll be all alone again."

"And why should we do that to her? How is that fair?" Aubrey lowers her head and muses sadly. "Chloe," she murmurs carefully toward her toes, "I just wonder if we're not all going to end up hurt, if we decide to pursue this. I'm worried for all of us – Beca included," she whispers shakily.

Chloe swallows thickly and turns, taking Aubrey's shoulders in her palms and squeezing softly. "Don't you think it'll hurt if we never even try? I really, really care about her, and to lose her before we even have a chance to explore what this could mean, for us…? I'd regret that, Aubrey," Chloe tells her softly. "I would regret that so much. If this isn't what you want, that's something different, and I'd totally understand that," she swears honestly, and raises her fingers to Aubrey's cheeks, encouraging the blonde's eyes to meet her own so that the blonde can wholly feel the strength of Chloe's sincerity. "I don't want you to make a decision that you aren't comfortable with, and I would never ask that of you – but would you really forgive yourself if this was what you wanted, and you were too afraid to give it a real chance?"

Aubrey pauses and purses her lips to the left in thought, and Chloe only gently rubs her shoulders and waits.

Parts of her understand Aubrey's dilemma, but most of Chloe doesn't get it. Suppressing her emotions has never been a strong suit, for the redhead, and she isn't prepared to change that about herself; she doesn't want to hide her feelings for Beca, and she feels like she's been doing that for entirely too long, anyway.

Still, Aubrey's always been very cautious with anything that could damage their relationship together, and Chloe appreciates that with everything she is; she'd never want to gamble away any of what she and Aubrey share, and that certainly isn't what Chloe's trying to do now. Chloe just thinks that they can be even better.

Maybe that makes her a little greedy, but the redhead isn't sure she cares.

"It isn't just that, Chloe," Aubrey shakes her head and sighs. "What if we don't work, with Beca? What if– What if we do this, and it goes wrong for us? What happens to us, then?"

"Oh, honey, no," Chloe insists swiftly, and with her whole heart. "There will literally never be a time when I don't love you and want to be with you, Aubrey. No matter what happens with Beca, I know that. Besides," Chloe smiles warmly and trails her fingers down Aubrey's arms, through the bends of her elbows until she holds the blonde's palms in her own, "have any of our interactions with Beca suggested that that's a risk? Has Beca ever stepped on your toes, where our relationship together is concerned? Have I ever made you unhappy, with the way that I treat her?"

Aubrey is quiet for a long time, and doesn't actually ever answer, but Chloe isn't sure that she needs to; she thinks that the lack of a reply says more about Aubrey's mindset than any words might have been able to.

"I have to go. I have class in twenty minutes. Just… think about it, Aubrey," Chloe presses lovingly. "You don't need to decide right now, and I won't rush you, even if I maybe sometimes want to," she winks teasingly, and Aubrey laughs softly in answer, which makes Chloe grin. "Just think about it, and try to be fair, okay? Don't get so caught up in all the ways this could go wrong that you forget why you might want it to work, in the first place."

The Bellas wonder where Emily is hiding, over the next few days, but Chloe and Aubrey only mention that she's sick.

Chloe doesn't think it's exactly their place to say more, to be honest, because explaining Emily's condition would probably also mean explaining why Emily had felt pressured to drink so heavily to begin with, and Chloe doesn't want to do that; she'd gotten the distinct impression from Beca that it had been a very private emotion, and the redhead won't be the one to expose it.

Still, when Beca calls Chloe and tells her that Emily's feeling a lot better, Chloe is relieved and all but demands to see her. Beca chuckles deeply and quickly agrees, offering Chloe an address via text the moment that they end the call.

Chloe and Aubrey leave their apartment almost immediately, even though Aubrey has two exams next week that she's been endlessly stressing over; Chloe hardly even has to mention Beca's name before the blonde snatches at her keys and jacket, and tells Chloe to plug the address into the GPS on her phone.

It makes Chloe giggle, but she thinks it's a good sign that, even with Aubrey's inner turmoil, she's still so eager to spend time in Beca's company.

The trip to Atlanta is only an hour long, give or take a few minutes, but Chloe still feels like they're trapped in the car for days. She plays with the radio incessantly, and Aubrey doesn't even scold Chloe for her twitching hands and bouncing knees; Chloe thinks the only reason Aubrey isn't behaving in a similar way is because she's driving, and probably also because she's a Posen and just has way too much pride for that sort of mindless fidgeting.

When they arrive, though, they sit in the car for a couple extra minutes just to gape.

The house – if it can even be called a house – is huge; it's painted white, with black shudders posted beside the windows, and there's a pool in the back yard that sits on probably at least a dozen acres worth of land. The entire property is surrounded by an alcove of trees, and it feels strangely- alive, despite the distinct impression of isolation.

There's nothing around for miles, and if Beca and Emily weren't super strong and very fast, Chloe might actually feel worried for them, living all alone out here.

Still, the place is beautiful, and Chloe instantly feels charmed by it. She wonders how many other homes Beca might own, and if they're all as aesthetically pleasing as this one.

Eventually, they crawl from the car and stretch their legs and arms on their way to the wraparound porch. Aubrey knocks on the door, and they only wait for a second before Emily opens it with a sheepish smile and apologetic eyes.

"Thanks for coming to see me," she ventures carefully. "I'm okay, now, but- I'm really, really sorry that I worried you like that. I should've been more careful," she rues quietly.

"That's okay," Chloe replies cheerily, and bounds forward to wrap her arms around the girl. "We're just glad you're alright."

"I am," Emily grins and nods. "Thanks to Beca," her smile wavers, and she sighs, glancing quickly over her shoulder before shifting her warm brown eyes back to Aubrey and Chloe. "I'm actually really glad that you're here. Not that, you know, I wouldn't have been happy to see you, anyway," she rambles, "but Beca's been sort of- off, or something? I'm not sure, exactly, but I think it might be good for her to see you."

"Off?" Aubrey frowns immediately and shuffles half a step forward in concern. "How so?"

Emily shrugs and lowers her head. "I don't know," she says worriedly. "She's been hunting a lot, I guess? And she won't really tell me why or what's going on. I thought she might be upset with me, you know? I'd sort of deserve it; I mean, I did a really stupid thing, and I'm lucky that it didn't turn out worse than it did. But Beca swears she isn't angry, and we've talked about what happened, so I'm not sure what the deal is, right now. Beca likes you, though," Emily tells them carefully. "She likes being around you guys, and I thought that maybe you could- talk to her?"

"She said that?" Aubrey asks, and it's so quick that Chloe is a tiny bit surprised her words don't stumble. "That she likes being with us?"

Chloe tries not to smile, but she can't really even help it. Aubrey just sounds so hopeful, and even though Chloe knows that her girlfriend is still undecided about where they should go, from here, Chloe thinks it's sweet that she's so desperate to hear how Beca feels for them.

"Well, no," Emily laughs softly. "Not exactly. Beca isn't really that- open, you know?" She giggles. "It's just, Beca doesn't really see a lot of people. I mean, she has me – Beca will always have me," Emily vows with a sweet, devoted smile, "and she has Luke, but she doesn't really make it a point to spend time with anyone else. Except you," she smiles affectionately. "She likes being with you," Emily repeats fondly.

"Is she here?" Chloe lilts her head to the side and eagerly inquires. "Maybe we could talk to her now?" She bites her lip and suggests, maybe just a little bit too urgently.

"She's hunting right now," Emily shakes her head. "She'll be a little while, but you're welcome to come in."

"What does she… hunt?" Aubrey queries somewhat nervously, as the pair obediently follows Emily into the house.

"Wolves," Emily shrugs, and casts a broad grin over her shoulder. "Bears. Deer, if that's all she can find, but she doesn't like the taste as much."

"Is that what you eat? When humans don't donate, I mean?" Aubrey asks curiously. "Hospitals must need the donated blood, too, right? You can't all have human blood all the time, can you?"

"Oh," Emily blinks. "Well, of course not. Actually, we're mostly trained to eat animal blood, at the Villa. Beca says there are clubs and stuff where they give bracelets or stamps or something to humans who are, you know, okay with being bitten, but the laws around that are very specific and super strict, so you have to be careful."

"What's the Villa?" Chloe frowns and inquires, as Emily guides them into the living room, outfitted with a gigantic HD television and a surround sound stereo system that nearly makes Chloe want to weep in delight.

"When we're first turned, we're sort of just- animals," Emily tells them slowly. "Sort of like how I was, when I was sick, except worse," she explains. "We can think and behave normally, for the most part, but when we're hungry, or if there's blood around, the newborns are basically run by their impulses. For a couple of years, until we've learned how to control ourselves, we stay at the Villa. The woman who runs it– they call her Kommissar, and she's kind of… intense, but she's crazy good at her job, I swear; she makes sure we're ready to be around humans, under any circumstance, before she releases us. It was Beca's idea, about a thousand years back," she beams proudly, and Chloe could just coo at the cuteness of their shared affection for each other; she thinks it's just so sweet. "It keeps the humans safe. It's terrible, though; it's really hard to be isolated that way, though I guess you do have the other Vampires to socialize with. They have rooms for the sires, too, so that we don't have to be apart from them, but it's still hard."

"That seems- strangely structured," Aubrey laughs and shakes her head. "Beca should tell the media about that place," she decides. "It would probably ease a lot of the public fear, about Vampires."

"Beca's thought about it," Emily nods. "But she thinks the human governments will want to inspect it, for safety and stuff, and she says that's too dangerous, for them."

"That's… also probably accurate," Aubrey rolls her eyes.

"Yeah," Emily shrugs. "I'm sure Beca will decide what to do, though. Anyway, you can wait with me, if you want to, but Beca will probably be another hour or so, and you don't have to stay if you'd rather go home," she babbles.

"Well, that's okay," Chloe powers through the mild disappointment that rushes through her heart and smiles. "We came to see you, anyway. We can watch TV or something, until she comes back."

"If you're up for that," Aubrey adds thoughtfully and smiles. "We know you must be tired."

"Oh, no!" Emily frantically shakes her head. "God, no. I've slept for three days now. I totally needed, like, two of those days, but yesterday I was fine, and Beca made me stay in bed, anyway. I think she was punishing me – like, sort of passive-aggressively?" She giggles.

"I think she was only worried about you," Chloe counters gently.

It's true, though; she understands Emily's restlessness, but she can't blame Beca for being cautious. The Vampire Queen had been half-drowning in concern, the last time Chloe had seen her, and, truthfully, an extra day of rest for Emily isn't that high of a price to pay for Beca's ease of mind.

"You were in pretty bad shape, Emily," Aubrey tenders an uncertain smile and shrugs. "We were there. I don't think it hurts to be careful."

"Probably not," Emily sighs. "And I know she worries," she nods a little. "I'm grateful for Beca," Emily swallows and averts her eyes. "She's- so wonderful to me, and she always takes care of me. I just wish she didn't always need to, that's all."

"You're her baby," Chloe smiles sweetly and shakes her head, surrendering her body to the sofa and gently tugging against Aubrey's wrist until the blonde rolls her eyes and falls into place at her side. "She'll always take care of you, Emily. Anyone can tell how much she loves you."

"I love her, too," Emily remarks absently, with deep, deep fondness and overwhelming loyalty. "I just want her to be happy, and I feel like she worries too much for that. Not just about me, of course – Beca has to worry about all of us, and I know it's harder than she makes it seem – but- I definitely think she worries about me, the most. I just don't want to be the thing that keeps her from being happy."

"Emily," Aubrey pitches carefully and shakes her head, "the way that Beca talks about you makes it sort of impossible to miss exactly how happy you make her. She worries, sure – but she worries because she cares about you. I just don't think Beca is used to caring about someone like that; it might take her some time to adjust, that's all. I know she's overprotective, but- don't be too hard on her," she murmurs soothingly.

"I don't mean to be," Emily murmurs. "I know people expect a lot from her, and that she does the best she can. I'm not trying to be hard on her, I just- want to be sure that she isn't so busy stressing over me that she forgets to do things for herself, too."

"Well," Chloe offers playfully, "we can help with that. Can't we, Bree?"

"I'm not sure I like where this is headed, Chloe," Aubrey sighs and rubs her fingers against her temple. "What, exactly, did you have in mind?"

"Nothing bad," Chloe promises warmly. "Just, maybe we can make a little bit more of an effort to distract her from stuff like that."

Aubrey narrows her eyes, but Chloe sees amusement itching at the edges of her mouth, and knows she isn't really angry.

"And how do you plan for us to distract her, Chloe?" She inquires, a layer of faux-innocence affecting the blonde's words in ways that make Chloe just ache, for her.

"I'm sure we can think of something," Chloe murmurs impishly, and shuffles around to press her mouth into Aubrey's instantly-flaming cheek.

It isn't really Chloe's fault; Aubrey honestly should know better than to tease her, by now.

Chapter Text

Aubrey truly wants to feel disgusted.

She isn't entirely sure what she'd expected, upon Beca's return from a hunt – and, Aubrey considers, perhaps she should have expected exactly this image, if she'd bothered to give it much thought, in the first place – but the sight of Beca, her clothes half-coated in spatters of blood with the same, glistening red substance sprayed all across her neck, is still a shock.

It is a disgusting shock, Aubrey furiously tries to tell herself.

It is a disgusting, horrifying, painfully arousing shock.

The blonde can't actually believe how violently her body reacts to Beca, this way; nothing about blood has ever made Aubrey feel anything but queasy, in the past, but, though she tries desperately to feel that way now, Aubrey simply can't.

Instead, she is positively mesmerized, by the brunette, and has to swallow down a raging fit of verbal diarrhea just to prevent herself from saying so. Her fingers tremble in Chloe's similarly quaking palm, and, when she briefly gathers enough strength to turn toward the redhead, Chloe's pupils are blown wide in a look that Aubrey is very intimately familiar with; it's the same look that Chloe gives to Aubrey when the blonde wears anything black or green or with a skirt that falls basically anywhere above the line of Aubrey's knees.

It's the same look Chloe gives to Aubrey when she wants nothing more in the whole world than to take the blonde to bed, and watching Chloe offer this look to Beca just makes Aubrey itch unbearably to do exactly the same thing.

Jesus aca-fucking Christ, Aubrey wants to devour Beca, right now, and not a single part of her can even begin to fathom why this picture would make her want anything like that.

Granted, the brunette is still in her Vampiric form, and Aubrey is so senselessly weak, for Beca, when she looks this way; even still, this kind of deeply physical reaction is purely excessive and – Aubrey thinks bitterly, as she shuffles her thighs together in a wholly wasted effort to relieve the thrumming, heated ache between her legs – it is obviously unnecessary.

Beca blinks, and lofts her head to the side upon spotting them, silver eyes watching Chloe and Aubrey on the couch with single-minded focus; she hardly even bats an eye when Emily swiftly tells her that she needs to hunt, too, only absently instructing Emily to take Luke with her, and, following a quick phone call, Emily departs with short, quick goodbyes to Aubrey and Chloe.

Their newest Bella casts a meaningful look toward them on her way out the door, which Aubrey guesses is most likely meant to remind them about evaluating Beca's health, but, to be entirely honest, Aubrey isn't sure that she can manage to say anything at all.

"I didn't expect you so soon," Beca murmurs and strips off her coat, idly draping it over the back of the couch as she prowls behind them to circle it. "You should've told me; I would've made sure I was home."

"We were just- worried," Chloe breathes shakily. "We wanted to make sure Emily was alright," she explains bravely.

"And is she?" Beca raises her brow and smirks, drifting to sit on the coffee table in front of them.

"Of course she is," Aubrey tells her – or, she honestly tries, anyway, but Aubrey can't really be faulted if it emerges sounding a tiny bit like a gasp, can she? "She's a little worried about you, though," Aubrey adds cautiously.

Frankly, Aubrey is a little proud of herself for remembering to voice Emily's concern at all; it's so difficult for her to think, when Beca's eyes shimmer with that impossibly silver hue, and her teeth glitter in that precarious way that they do, even without any light to reflect over them.

The brunette is a devastating creature, and Aubrey remembers, once – not very long ago – when she'd been wary of the destruction Beca might be capable of causing, for her and Chloe; Aubrey finds she's not at all as smug as she might have thought to realize how very right she had been, because, oh, Beca is certainly destroying them both, now.

Beca chuckles, dark and rumbling and wholeheartedly amused, as she slowly shakes her head.

"Emily has nothing to worry about," she tells them, and raises her right brow as if practically daring Aubrey and Chloe to question why.

Aubrey is too prideful to take the bait, but, sometimes, the blonde thinks that Chloe doesn't actually even have any pride; then again, Aubrey deliberates privately, perhaps Chloe simply has so much of it that she isn't the least bit ashamed to risk embarrassing herself, the way that Aubrey is.

"Well," the redhead inhales slowly, as if to steady herself, and tightens her hold over Aubrey's fingers, "she says you've been hunting a lot, and she makes it sound like that isn't totally- normal, for you. We just wanted to be sure, that's all," she swallows thickly.

Aubrey nods her agreement, and it's honestly the very best that she can do; to actually try and form words, right now, seems like a foolish, fruitless concept, and the gesture will simply have to suffice.

It's just that something about Beca seems- different, tonight, to Aubrey.

It isn't so much in the way that she speaks, despite the fact that, when she's vamped out, Beca's voice is admittedly a curious (and entirely-too-seductive) thing to behold; there's something fundamentally sexual in it that both calms and arouses, all at once, and Aubrey is definitely not immune.

Still, it's more in the way that Beca moves.

Every motion from the Vampire Queen seems extraordinarily- predatory, somehow, even without the residual blood that bathes across her flesh.

Aubrey thinks it must be the too-far-tilted angle of Beca's head, or the piercing, unblinking stare of her hauntingly silver gaze, settled over Aubrey and Chloe and carefully eyeing each shift between them, like they'd somehow become her prey without ever even realizing; she thinks it must be the wholly unnatural stillness of her body and hands, or the way that Beca's tongue flickers across her left fang every few minutes, like she's aching for another serving of blood to feed on.

She looks like an animal, Aubrey thinks.

Beca looks like a ridiculously dangerous, alarmingly attractive animal, and all Aubrey can think to do is jump her.

She understands that it isn't sensible, and she understands that it is hugely inappropriate, but the blonde still feels the sentiment burn tellingly through every frantic pulse of her heart, and there is literally nothing that Aubrey can do to stop it.

"Do you know," Beca purrs slowly, after a silently pensive moment of thought, "what makes a Vampire- hungry?"

Aubrey trembles where she sits; her fingers grasp so hard against Chloe's that she's certain the redhead has long lost circulation, but Aubrey can't even think about the possibility of releasing her, because she fully believes that Chloe's touch is the only thing keeping her even mildly grounded, right now, and Aubrey just can't sacrifice something that is so completely necessary.

The blonde swallows, because surely it shouldn't even be possible for another being – dead or alive – to make her feel so raw.

So lustfully, sinfully desperate.

"Um…" Chloe breathes in sharply and stammers. "The venom?"

"Yes," Beca flashes a quick, feral grin, drawing Aubrey's attention back toward perilous, achingly beautiful fangs. "Our venom can be particularly- active, sometimes," she tells them conspiratorially. "When we're hungry," she drawls leadingly. "When we're hurt," she murmurs softly, leaning sluggishly, but purposefully forward to balance her weight across her knees, effectively putting herself only inches from Aubrey and Chloe, both. "When we're too drunk, or have spent too much time in the sun," she pauses briefly, and rests her eyes closed for a moment too long.

And then Beca growls.

There's no mistaking the sound; it's a noise that grinds out from the brunette's chest and blows past her lips with a vicious snarl, and it's paired with a quick, terrifying snap of her weapon-like teeth.

Aubrey wants to know the taste of her mouth; she wants to know the feel of even one of those smooth, pointed fangs beneath her tongue, and it says something – something huge and important and positively stupid, Aubrey will reflect later – that the blonde doesn't even consider how completely dangerous it could be to act on that abruptly thriving desire.

"When we're aroused," Beca tells them darkly, as her eyes snap apart and trade equal time between Chloe and Aubrey's gaze.

"Is that- something you've been feeling, lately?" Chloe bites her lip and closes her own eyes, only for a moment, and Aubrey finds herself a little too interested in finding out exactly which fantasy just flickered to life in Chloe's imaginative mind.

Not that Aubrey truly even needs help in fantasizing about Beca, anyway.

"Have you been feeling that a lot, lately?" Beca smirks and inquires, shuffling forward somehow even further, until she slides from the table entirely and drops into a crouch on the floor at their feet.

"Beca," Chloe gasps sharply and frantically shakes her head, "what are you doing?"

Aubrey still isn't sure she remembers how to make words, even, but she can hear the emotion in Chloe's voice, and every part of the blonde's body sympathizes; Aubrey feels it, too.

Whatever the aca-hell it might be, Aubrey definitely feels it, too.

"Me?" Beca chuckles from deep within her chest and slowly shakes her head. "Oh, no, Red – this is you. This is what the two of you have done to me."

"What?" Chloe breathes dazedly and pulls against Aubrey's hand for some kind of comfort that Aubrey isn't actually sure she can offer, anyway. "What do you mean?"

"Do you remember," Beca muses on a soft, treacherous purr, "the first time I met your Bellas? Do you remember Emily's audition?"

"Of course we do," Aubrey scoffs reflexively, and instantly prides her irritation for being unaffected by Beca's overpoweringly hypnotic form.

At least some part of her common sense still exists.

"And," Beca draws her tongue across her lips, looking to the ceiling in concentrated thought, "do you remember when I talked about mates?" She smirks broadly and stares at them, unblinking, as she waits for a reply.

Chloe nods, but her fingers twitch in Aubrey's palm, and the blonde imagines it must be taking some serious sort of restraint, for Chloe, not to be touching Beca when she is so very close. The blonde appreciates the effort, but she feels badly for it; Aubrey wants to touch the brunette equally as desperately, in this moment, and she wishes she could grant Chloe permission to do so, if for no other reason than so that Aubrey can reach out and touch her, too.

It takes a few moments for Beca's words to sink in, but when they do, Aubrey shakes her head and frowns.

"Mates?" She blinks vacantly.

Beca hums – though even that sounds like a purr – and lofts her brow.

"You feel… needy, with me, don't you?" Beca says teasingly, and looks to them with hooded eyes. "You feel good, don't you?" She leans inward so closely that her breath splashes over Aubrey's cheek.

The blonde shivers and exhales a tremulous whoosh of air. Somewhere – buried deep behind the fog of Beca's- spell, or whatever the hell else this might be called – Aubrey knows this conversation is very, very important, and that Beca is answering questions that the blonde has wondered about since their very first meeting, but she can't find the words she needs in order to inquire further, and most of Aubrey doesn't even care, right now.

All she wants is to feel Beca's pale skin beneath her fingertips; Aubrey wants to taste it, and to lose herself entirely in molten pools of silver.

"Why?" Chloe whimpers out finally. "Beca, why do we feel this way?"

Beca's smirk falls so abruptly that Aubrey almost feels the need to turn around in search of an interruption; still, she can't fathom the notion of diverting her eyes from Beca, right now, so the blonde's gaze never shifts.

"Because you're mine, Red," Beca snarls possessively, before she grinds her teeth together and slurps in a sharp breath of air; Aubrey wonders why, because Beca obviously doesn't even need it. "Or, at least, you could be," she murmurs, stretching her fingers upward until the heat of them dances across Aubrey's jaw.

Aubrey shakes and shakes and can't even recall a time when she didn't; Beca's fingers are careful, and devoted, and sure, and her touch is firm and gentle, all at once, but – as slowly as Beca moves – Aubrey's whole body reacts like fire has set her aflame. Adrenaline beats furiously against her heart and through her veins, and Aubrey simply can't even breathe.

"Huh?" Chloe swallows and chokes out gracelessly, her eyes tracking Beca's motions over Aubrey's face with such dark intensity that Aubrey is honestly surprised the redhead refrains from launching her whole body toward Beca's touch, too.

"Vampires," Beca tells them idly, as deep silver flickers away from Aubrey to offer equal attention to the blonde's girlfriend, "can't be mated to humans – but if we meet a human who can become a mate…? We know about it, Red," Beca tells them on a whisper. "Three thousand years," Beca sighs longingly and tiredly shakes her head, "and I've never known that feeling. Until you," Beca says, sharply redirecting her gaze back toward Aubrey. "Until you, in the park, Posen. And then again," Beca laughs airily and throws back her head, brunette hair casting over her shoulders like some imaginary wind had blown it there, just so, for no other reason than to destroy Aubrey's aca-loving sanity. "Again, with you, Chloe," Beca purrs delightedly and grins, something wolfish, and damaging, and, Aubrey thinks, positively lovely. "In the shower, no less. Do you have any idea what it did to me to learn that the two of you were dating? Do you have any idea how it felt to imagine you both, writhing beneath my touch in the very same bed?"

"Oh, God," Aubrey flushes furiously and practically feels her own pupils dilating.

"Mm," Beca hums throatily and nods. "So," she growls out softly, and tauntingly places her fingers over Aubrey's thigh, tapping sporadically against it like Aubrey somehow needs the reminder that she's there – and Aubrey most definitely does not need reminding of that particular fact, "forgive me if an entire day in your company, bathed in touches that were never quite enough, has made me feel especially- ravenous, the past several days."

"Bree," Chloe whines, soft and desperate and pleading.

Aubrey isn't even remotely sure what she might be asking of her, right now, but she grants permission, anyway.

"I don't care," the blonde gasps out with a wild shake of her head. "Chloe, I just- I don't care."

It's hardly coherent, but, evidently, it's all that Chloe needs, because she jerkily lurches forward until her mouth is pressed to Beca's, and her fingers cradle against the brunette's cheeks. Aubrey can only stare, and tremble, and listen, as Beca snarls violently and rises only slightly to sweep her free arm around Chloe's waist, snatching the redhead forward so quickly that Aubrey doesn't even notice Chloe's moved until her ass abruptly sits on the very edge of the couch and her knees bracket around Beca's hips.

Chloe moans, something deep and familiar and entirely new, to Aubrey, all at once, and Beca's fingers dig so sharply into Aubrey's thigh that Aubrey knows she's already bruising, but she can't bring herself to care.

Beca is wilder, now, than Aubrey has ever known her to be, and it shows; it shows in every animalistic sound that rumbles from her throat; it shows in the too-hard grip she has over Aubrey's leg, and in the way that her opposite palm stretches up Chloe's back and winds around the redhead's flaming hair and pulls, until Chloe shudders and gasps and trembles against Aubrey's left hip.

It definitely, definitely shows when, a moment later, Beca's pointed fangs swipe a small cut through Chloe's lower lip, and Beca doesn't instinctively snap away to apologize.

Instead, the brunette draws that bleeding wound between her own lips and suckles covetously against it, releasing a purr that is an entirely different entity from the ones Aubrey has known before. This purr doesn't affect Beca's speech or thrive solely on seduction – though Aubrey definitely suspects that seduction certainly plays a part in it, somewhere; no, this purr thrives mostly on contentment and unadulterated pleasure, and, as frightened as Aubrey wants to feel about the fact that Beca is tasting Chloe's aca-loving blood, right now, she only feels absurdly turned on by the realization that she and Chloe affect Beca in exactly the same way as she affects them.

This is too much.

It's too much, and way too fast, and Aubrey truly, honestly doesn't care, right in this moment, but she's pretty positive that it will definitely be an issue, for her, later.

Aubrey thinks it might be a good idea to stay away from Beca after she hunts, from now on; it clearly affects the brunette's restraint, and that is literally doing nothing favorable for Aubrey and Chloe's.

Chapter Text

Chloe is drowning.

Not literally, of course; there's no water in the redhead's immediate vicinity, and, even if there was – even if Chloe was entirely submerged in it – Chloe is pretty sure that the pervasive, sweltering heat of her body alone could probably evaporate any real threat of drowning straight out of existence, anyway.

So, admittedly, Chloe isn't actually drowning; it's just, Chloe's never felt so many emotions all at once, before – and the redhead has certainly never felt so many emotions fueled with this kind of raging, overpowering strength, before – and it's sort of still making Chloe feel like she's drowning, regardless.

She has Aubrey – still and quiet, but for the occasional shudder or staggered gasp – on her right, and Beca is pressed up so tightly against the redhead's front that she thinks the Vampire Queen can probably even feel the wetness growing between her thighs, even through their aca-infuriating clothes – and that's to say nothing about what Beca's super-powered senses can probably smell on her through her clothes, either.

… And, Chloe wonders, why are clothes still even a thing, anyway?

Chloe just feels so full; she feels like she can't even remember a time when Beca wasn't an integral part of her and Aubrey's relationship, together, and Chloe feels like she wouldn't even want to consider it if she could remember. The situation is new, for Chloe – new, and wildly exciting, and probably completely crazy, if the redhead could even be bothered to care about something like that (which– no, Chloe decidedly can't be bothered to care about it, actually) – but it feels like Chloe is in exactly the perfect place, right now, with exactly the perfect people.

Her body is burning and her heart is hammering, and her fingers shake and shake and shake against Beca's neck and face, but Chloe can't think of a better feeling in the world than this; Chloe can't even fathom anything better.

Because Aubrey is speechless and trembling and so, so turned on – Chloe knows, because she's too aroused to talk, even, and her pupils are blown so wide that they look like blackened quarters, with not even a trace of green left in them, and the blonde's cheeks are flushed so red that Chloe thinks actual fire might be devouring her from the inside – and even though Chloe is just… reveling in Beca's touch, right now, she knows it wouldn't feel this way without Aubrey at her side.

Chloe doesn't believe that much in fate; she's just never put much stock in the notion of some predetermined sort of destiny that will fall into place regardless of the choices that she makes, but it's hard for Chloe to remember that when this tiny, gorgeously seductive Vampire practically fell into her and Aubrey's lap, like she's spent the last three thousand years just waiting for them.

The redhead has never felt so connected to a moment, before; she's never felt so emotionally or physically invested in anything, before this, and it's making her head swim.

And that's really not even mentioning Beca's suffocating proximity, or the way that Chloe can't seem to catch her breath again no matter how hard she pants into Beca's shoulder.

Touching the Vampire Queen is an even more exhilarating experience than Chloe had imagined it could be, and kissing her is just–

Well, Chloe thinks Beca's kiss should be a thing of legend; her mouth scorches every piece of Chloe's flesh it touches – and, since Beca is sweeping rough, needy kisses down Chloe's ear and over the chords of her neck, Beca's mouth is honestly touching a pretty fair amount of Chloe's flesh. The redhead's skin rumbles beneath every purr and growl that Beca whispers over it, like every sound vibrates in a hugely successful effort to reach directly down to Chloe's need.

And, God, Beca's teeth.

The only true injury that Beca's fangs seek to make, on Chloe, is the one over her lip, but Chloe isn't sure it matters; she feels the trace of the brunette's teeth skim across the curve of her jaw, like Beca aches to bite her but doesn't dare to try, scraping only enough to raise the skin, but never to break it.

Chloe thinks that her lip should hurt, probably – or at least sting, a little bit – but it doesn't; Chloe's isn't sure if it's because she is far too focused on the sensations Beca is stirring within her to care, right now, but when the redhead swipes her tongue over the injury in her lower lip, all she can feel is pride.

Chloe feels profoundly marked, by Beca, and the feeling it arouses just makes Chloe feel hot, and strangely honored by the notion that Beca might want to mark Chloe as hers at all. It doesn't even matter, to Chloe, that Beca's showed no remorse for hurting her, because Chloe doesn't actually feel hurt, anyway, and she doesn't actually feel like there's anything for Beca to feel remorseful about, in the first place.

Still, even for Chloe, these emotions are overwhelming and quick, and she just can't think.

At least, Chloe can't think beyond Beca; she can't think beyond hearing her talk, and feeling her touch, and taking her to bed, which is familiar, somehow, because Chloe felt like this once before, and–

"Wait," she gasps out. "Beca," she pleads. "Beca, honey, wait," she insists breathily, and it takes everything that Chloe has left in her to make the request, but she thinks it's important that she does.

The very second that Chloe voices her appeal, though, Beca is gone.

Her lips don't touch against Chloe's flesh, anymore, and her hands have disappeared both from Aubrey's thigh and from Chloe's hair. It takes a second too long for Chloe to realize it, but, after a moment, the redhead becomes aware of the fact that Beca isn't even directly in front of them, anymore.

The Vampire Queen is at the far wall, back solidly pressed against it, with her fingers cinched around her thighs so tightly that, even from this distance, Chloe can see the tight material of her skinny jeans threatening to tear beneath the pressure.

It's sinful, to Chloe, that Beca is putting forth this kind of obvious effort just to restrain herself from touching them at the redhead's own command, when all that Chloe really wants to do is tell Beca to screw the restraint, altogether. Still, Chloe has to ask if her suspicion is true.

She has to, right? Because Aubrey would never forgive this, if Chloe let it happen, anyway, and even Chloe would probably feel slighted by it, at least a little.

"You're not- compelling us, are you, Beca?" Chloe tentatively queries, her palms slowly coming to the understanding that there is nothing in front of her left to hold, anymore, and falling purposelessly across her knees.

Aubrey snatches one of them up and curls her fingers around it until the blonde's knuckles pale over Chloe's, turning abruptly accusatory eyes in the Vampire's direction, before the expression falls swiftly into one of regret, instead.

And, oh, Chloe feels that regret, too.

She feels it so powerfully that tears burn in her eyes as she shakes her own head, as if denying that she had spoken at all, because Beca– she looks devastated.

Her fangs ascend in the span of a single blink of blue eyes from silver, and there is no slow roll of her neck backward to accommodate the shift in appearance. Chloe vaguely remembers Aubrey making a request that Beca change slowly, when first morphing into her Vampiric form, but evidently the brunette's shock has made her forget; the transformation happens in an instant, as Beca's skin trembles into a shade more appropriate for her more-human structure.

Beca's now-blue eyes are bright with hurt, and her lips part with incredulity, gaping only for a moment, until she whispers shakily, "I would never. Chloe, I- I could never…" she shakes her head and swallows thickly, palms rising in the too-far stretch of air between them in a plea for something that Chloe feels so much guilt for having made her ask for, in the first place. "I couldn't ever take that choice away from you. I wouldn't want you, that way," Beca furrows her brows. "I'm sorry, if I made you feel like…" She trails off and shakes her head again, floundering for the words to finish her sentence.

Beca never finds them.

"I'm sorry," she insists, so earnestly that it makes Chloe's heart shatter frantically against her ribs. "I didn't mean to– but I wouldn't," she swears vehemently. "Please," Beca beseeches. "I'm sorry," she says desperately, and swallows again. "I was impatient. I should have waited," Beca murmurs to herself, and Chloe just can't bear this furious self-recrimination for an offense that she had only even made up within her own mind, so she stands and shifts slowly toward Beca, allowing Aubrey's hand to fall back into her lap. "I should have been more careful," Beca whispers to the floor. "I was just hunting," she frowns, "and that's the most predatory state Vampires can be in, so it's hard for us to shift out of that, sometimes, but that doesn't mean that I'm allowed to make you want something that you- don't want," she snarls to herself and somehow shuffles herself further into the wall, like her only wish in the world is to sink in and become a part of it.

"We did want it, Beca," Chloe whispers shakily as she approaches. "Stop," she begs. "Please, Beca, just- stop," she says, stretching careful fingers toward Beca's face that tremble, now, for different reasons entirely. "I'm sorry, okay? I just- I haven't ever felt the way that you make me feel. I haven't ever felt so- consumed, like this, and it's- it's new, for me. And, honestly, sweetheart," Chloe sighs as Beca graciously allows her touch, moving wide, anguished blue eyes to meet with Chloe's, "I probably would've let you keep going, even if you had been using compulsion, but – " Chloe bites her lip and briefly glances over her shoulder.

"I wouldn't have," Aubrey offers quietly. "If I had even considered that, Beca, I wouldn't have let this continue. Chloe was just- she was looking out for me. That's all, okay? I think- I think we've made it pretty clear that we want you, too," Aubrey inhales sharply at the admission, but nods at Beca like it's confirmed, even if she's uncomfortable voicing it aloud, "but- we wouldn't want this to happen that way, either. It just- wouldn't be fair. It isn't Chloe's fault," Aubrey whispers, and rises to join them, stepping up to Chloe's waist and wrapping a tight grip around it, softly placing her opposite palm over Chloe's as they jointly cradle Beca's face.

Beca averts her eyes and anxiously swipes her tongue across her lips.

"I shouldn't have ever put you in a position where you would even think that," Beca decides, muted and guilty and way too apologetic, for Chloe.

She gets it – she does, and it's her own fault, anywaybut things had been progressing so well, for them, and it's tragic, for Chloe, that she's the one to have destroyed it. In spite of all of her patience, and in spite of every conversation she and Aubrey have shared on the subject of being with Beca, waiting for precisely this moment, it's Chloe who has made the brunette hesitate.

The redhead's heart is pounding way too hard for it to be healthy, or safe, and she feels so gut-wrenchingly terrible, for making Beca feel this way, but Chloe doesn't know how to repair this sort of damage to Beca's confidence.

"I'm a Vampire," Beca smiles ruefully and leans her cheek into Chloe and Aubrey's linked palms so sweetly that Chloe shifts closer and coos a soft, soothing noise into the brunette's hair, offering the only comfort Chloe knows how to give, right now. "And I'm a queen, no less," Beca laughs humorlessly and swallows, dipping her eyes back to the floor. "I'm naturally dominant, but you're both- human," she breathes, resting her eyelids briefly. "I didn't use compulsion," she vows as her steel blue eyes reveal themselves again, promising with everything that she is that she did not – and would never – strip Aubrey or Chloe of their will, that way, "but I shouldn't have let myself forget that you're not familiar with that part of me. I won't apologize for what I am," Beca tells them quietly, flickering her gaze nervously toward Aubrey like it shames her, somehow, that she can't feel badly for that, "but I shouldn't have let this escalate so quickly without preparing you, first. I do apologize for that," she nods earnestly.

"And you shouldn't have to," Chloe shakes her head fervently. "Beca, I just- don't want to ruin this. Whatever it is," Chloe laughs anxiously, and shifts her own eyes toward Aubrey's in minute apology; it probably isn't fair of Chloe – or right – to assume that tonight changes things in respect to their relationship with Beca, or in respect to Aubrey's feelings about it, even if she wishes that it would. "I care about you, and I don't want that to be based on anything but what we feel for each other. I don't want you to apologize – for any of it," Chloe says honestly. "I just want it to be real, that's all."

"Is that – " Beca pauses, then shakes her head. "Did it sound that way, when I…? I mean, when I spoke to you about being- my mates," Beca hesitates, and moves her eyes to the ceiling to avoid the look in theirs, "did it sound- fake?" Beca inquires, voice small and uncertain.

"No," Aubrey scowls pointedly and rolls her eyes. "It sounded like you wanted to turn us into Vampires and keep us as your pets, forever."

It's maybe a little bit true, but- it doesn't really sound as bad, to Chloe, as Aubrey makes it seem. Being Beca's – in pretty much any form, pet or not – seems like a ridiculously appealing concept, to Chloe, and she's abruptly startled by how deeply the idea makes her ache, inside.

But Beca frowns.

"I won't lie," she says earnestly, and rubs awkwardly behind her ear. "I wouldn't exactly be- opposed, if you wanted to become… like me," she tenders, her voice so quiet that Chloe has to strain to hear her, even from only a breath away, and she feels herself tremble at how softly and insecurely Beca whispers that desire. "I wouldn't be opposed to- keeping you," she sighs longingly and closes her eyes. "And you would be mine," Beca flutters her lids apart and stares into Aubrey's pools of green, until Chloe feels the blonde tremor against her spine. "If you were turned, you would be mine," Beca nods assuredly, "and I- I want that. I won't lie to you," Beca repeats truthfully.

Chloe can tell how hard it is, for Beca, to be this open with them, though, and instinctively strokes her fingers over Beca's cheek to relieve even just a little of the stress.

"I've lived millennia on my own, and I have Em, now – which is great," Beca swallows and nods fiercely, like the notion of discrediting Emily, even in this way, is something that the Vampire Queen just can't do, "but it isn't the same," Beca smiles sadly. "It would be- my deepest honor to know you for eternity, Aubrey," Beca breathes wondrously, before slowly shaking her head, as if to rid herself of a fantasy as foolish as that one, altogether, "but I've never expected it. You're human," Beca echoes painfully, "and if you want to stay that way, that's your right. I would never take that from you. I just- want to have you," Beca tells them, like it's a secret she's spent all her time on this earth protecting, and she's voicing it now, just for Aubrey and Chloe to share. "For as long as I can, I want to have you. Please," Beca looks toward them, shuffling her wide, begging blue gaze between Aubrey and Chloe like her whole world depends on this request, and on their answer to it, "don't cast me out of your lives because I made a mistake, tonight. I don't- I don't want to be alone, anymore," Beca confesses on a soft, agonized whisper that makes Chloe's blood just thrum with pained empathy.

Chloe can't even imagine feeling this lonely.

The redhead loves people, and she loves the company of others, but being around Beca and Aubrey just makes Chloe feel like she has everything she could ever want for in the entire universe.

Chloe can't imagine how it must be to wait three thousand years for that feeling, only to know that it will one day – in the relatively near future, for Beca, who will live forever, regardless – be stripped away from her.

It makes Chloe so devastatingly sad, because Chloe's definitely considered all of this, before, but seeing the damage itch at every muscle in Beca's face–

That breaks Chloe's heart to pieces.

"Please don't make me live with only the memory of this small taste of you and nothing else. I won't behave that way again, if that's what you want. I'll swear it, on my life and blood," Beca vows devotedly, and fiercely. "But, please… don't send me away."

And Aubrey moves.

It's only a little – only enough that the blonde's chest shifts from between Chloe's shoulder blades to just behind her right one, and her arm shifts away from Chloe's waist – but it's enough to put her more fully in reach of Beca.

Beca, who waits anxiously and shifts her weight across her feet in a way that Chloe now recognizes as a nervous tick, and it's usually matched by those tiny hands that scratch behind her ear, sometimes.

Still, Aubrey slips her fingers beneath Chloe's, holding Beca's jaw in her palm, and she leans slowly forward until their mouths whisper together, and all Chloe can think to do is just whimper at the sight of it.

The kiss is short – much shorter than Chloe's had been, and Chloe just wonders how Aubrey can possibly keep that much of her desire under such strict, relentless control – but Aubrey's tongue touches briefly against Beca's lips, and then briefly against the brunette's tongue, and licks briefly into the Vampire Queen's mouth before Chloe's girlfriend recedes. Aubrey sighs this tiny little wanting sound into Beca's mouth that makes Chloe shiver and pant, like nothing had ever interrupted the redhead's furious, aching need for them, in the first place; like she'd never even seen a moment between making out with Beca on the couch and now.

"You aren't alone," Aubrey promises softly. "And you've done nothing wrong. We're- inexperienced, with Vampires, but, Beca, darling," she breathes affectionately and shakes her head, "whatever Chloe and I feel for you, we feel it for you; we don't want you to change who or what you are, either. And, honestly," Aubrey scoffs and rolls her eyes, "I think it's pretty obvious that we were both fairly- receptive, to you, just now. Even if you are a predator," she smiles fondly and flicks long, delicate fingers through the brunette's hair until Beca offers a tentatively slow, shy smile in reply.

Chloe loves this girl.

Chloe thinks she loves this girl with every part of her heart that isn't swiftly expanding to accommodate her feelings for Beca, right now, and Chloe can't think of a single thing Aubrey could have said to soothe the Vampire Queen better than that.

And maybe this whole thing has turned a little less sexual than Chloe might have thought, but she still feels like she's in exactly the perfect place, with exactly the perfect people, and everything the redhead feels is just- perfect.

Chapter Text

Aubrey wishes Beca would stop being so precious; she wishes the brunette could dial down that effortless – and probably accidental – charm, even just a little, so that Aubrey could just take a second to remember why the idea of dating her has made Aubrey hesitate for so excruciatingly long.

The problem is, though, that Aubrey can't remember.

Aubrey can't remember how being with this precious, precious girl could possibly be anything but a dream; she can't remember how she'd once believed Beca to be a monster, or even how the intensity of her and Chloe's feelings for the Vampire Queen had frightened Aubrey so deeply that she'd been unable to even be in Beca's company.

The blonde can't honestly remember anything, except for the taste of Beca's mouth and the sweet, tentative feel of her kiss, lighting every nerve ending Aubrey even has on fire.

It hadn't lasted terribly long, Aubrey knows – truly, she does, because even as she'd ended that kiss, the blonde had wanted nothing more in the world than to drown in Beca's touch and surrender every part of herself to the Vampire Queen entirely, and forever – but Beca's kiss had been the epitome of perfection, to Aubrey, and she doubts she'll be forgetting it any time soon.

Aubrey just can't think, right now, beyond how wholly, wonderfully secure she feels, cradled between the bend of Beca's knees on the couch with the brunette's arms hugged loosely around her neck, and Chloe snuggled all over Aubrey's front, cooing soft, happy noises into the plane of the blonde's chest.

Beca hasn't said much, since they moved to the couch and flicked on some random cooking show that Aubrey's pretty positive none of them are actually even watching, but Aubrey's feeling a little too ashamed of herself to inquire about what the brunette might be thinking, at the moment.

To be truthful, the blonde hadn't really considered how much being a Vampire has affected Aubrey's thoughts on Beca, but she's realizing it, now.

Until tonight, Aubrey's always thought of Beca as sort of- invincible. She hadn't intended to, obviously, and it isn't even remotely fair to Beca, but it's becoming abruptly clear to Aubrey that this had been her belief, regardless, because Beca's open display of overwhelming, devastating honesty had still taken the blonde by surprise.

Nevertheless, hearing Beca so earnestly and desperately confess to how deeply, wholeheartedly just- afraid she is of being alone–

That sort of forces the blonde to think of her in an entirely different light.

The truth is that Beca isn't invincible at all. The Vampire Queen is ridiculously strong, and exceptionally quick, and Aubrey knows that Beca can heal extraordinarily fast, too, despite that Aubrey's never actually seen it happen, but- now Aubrey sees that Beca is vulnerable, too.

Beca can still hurt.

And, God, Aubrey realizes swiftly, Beca hurts so profoundly that she can feel the brunette's loneliness burning jagged, gaping holes through Aubrey's own heart, too.

Still, in a strange, counterintuitive way, Aubrey feels like this entire night has made Beca more- human, to her, in spite of how very animalistic she had been at the start of it; it isn't even necessarily that Aubrey wants Beca to be human – although, she guiltily thinks sometimes that maybe it might be easier for all three of them if Beca was – but it's more that Aubrey is- familiar with humanity.

So much of Aubrey's perspective on Beca has been colored by the fact that she is inherently inhuman, and Aubrey feels like it's taken entirely too long for her to see beyond that.

Finally, though, Aubrey does see beyond it, and she's a little grateful for everything that's happened tonight to make that possible, despite how deeply Aubrey hates that Beca has had to suffer in order for Aubrey to achieve that level of clarity; this entire night is allowing Aubrey to consider Beca as a person, instead of as some kind of otherworldly, beast-like mishap who makes the blonde feel all sorts of hot, confusing things that Aubrey never even wanted or asked to feel, in the first place.

Everything about Aubrey and Chloe's attraction to Beca has seemed unnatural to the blonde from the start, and, though Aubrey understands that some of that attraction actually is unnatural, it's relieving that she is able to justify her feelings better, now. She understands why Beca had waited so long to mention the potentiality of Aubrey and Chloe becoming her mates, because Aubrey recognizes that she is far more comfortable with that knowledge now than she would have been before coming to know the brunette at all.

And Aubrey thinks that she does know Beca.

Or, at least, Aubrey thinks she knows enough of Beca to rationalize her attraction in another way, too.

Aubrey knows that Beca is gorgeous, and sweet, and curiously, adorably shy, sometimes; she knows that Beca has faults, and that she makes mistakes, but that she has the decency not only to allow Aubrey and Chloe their own choices, but also to respect them; Aubrey knows that Beca cares for them, and – regardless of any supernatural element that could also be at play, here – Aubrey knows that Beca makes her feel comforted, and safe.

Aubrey knows that being with Beca and Chloe makes her feel like she's positively glowing inside, and Aubrey knows that this feeling isn't one that she wants to sacrifice.

The mechanics of building a relationship with a Vampire still elude Aubrey, and the idea of Beca wanting them to become Vampires (and her mates, by consequence) is still wildly frightening and overwhelming, for the blonde, but Aubrey suddenly isn't so sure that either of those things are deal breakers.

She's afraid – unquestionably, Aubrey is afraid – but she wants Beca.

Chloe wants Beca.

And Aubrey abruptly understands what Chloe meant, before, when she said it might be worth it to be with Beca, anyway, because Aubrey thinks maybe that she thinks so, too.

She and Chloe left Atlanta two days ago with warmth in their hearts and spreading through their smiles, and Aubrey had been pleased to note that Beca had echoed that warmth, too – but Aubrey has scarcely been able to think of anything but the evening they had shared since. It's honestly a problem – a large one, the blonde reflects – because Aubrey has an exam on Thursday, which is only a week from today, and she has another one on Friday morning, and she's seriously struggling to find the kind of focus that she needs in order to study for them.

Aubrey remembers the feel of Beca's mouth over her own, careful and slow and burning hot, still; she remembers the feel of Beca's smooth, porcelain cheek beneath her palm, and the cautious little way that her teeth had nipped against Aubrey's lip; Aubrey remembers Beca's honest request just to be part of their lives, in any way that Aubrey and Chloe might allow her to be, and the way that Beca's steel blue eyes had avoided their own in nervous anticipation; the blonde remembers how it had felt when Beca held her, afterward – strong and gentle, all at once.

She can't ever remember feeling so- whole, and even Aubrey knows that three thousand years is a long time to wait for that.

It's a strange thought, but Aubrey's pretty sure that eternal life has served more as a curse, for Beca, than the blessing that most humans believe it to be; the Vampire Queen has spent much of that time alone, and Aubrey finds that she- doesn't want her to be, anymore.

And, the blonde considers, why should she? Why should Beca be alone?

Aubrey wants her, and Chloe does, too, and Beca- wants them. It's a fairly basic equation, Aubrey figures, and, when it's simplified that way, it really only makes the blonde impatient with herself; Aubrey recognizes that she is literally the only thing standing in the way of them forming a relationship, together, and it irritates her.

She'd wanted a few days outside of Beca's company to really consider the notion of what it means to be with her, but Aubrey knows she doesn't need it, anymore; she wants to be with Beca, and no matter how many caveats her mind attempts to screams at her, that fact doesn't change no matter how far Aubrey is from Beca, or how much time they spend apart.

Besides, Aubrey thinks with a tender smile, Chloe has been so remarkably patient with her, and it really isn't fair that Aubrey's kept them from entangling with Beca in that way for so long, now.

Jesus, Aubrey huffs to herself in realization, it's half way through October, already, which means that she and Chloe have been tossing their feelings for Beca around between them since mid-August.

In retrospect, Aubrey defends privately, two months actually isn't all that long, in the grand scheme of things – particularly not for Beca, she muses – but it feels like it is, with the sort of intensity traded amongst them.

It feels like Aubrey's known Beca her entire life.

Still, Aubrey can't talk to Chloe, yet, because as soon as she does, Chloe is going to demand that they see Beca right away to discuss it with her, too, and Aubrey simply doesn't have time for that, right now.

She has to do something, though, because Chloe has been stress-cleaning the apartment so aca-intensely that even Aubrey thinks the kitchen is too clean; the redhead is anxious, and she's been hovering incessantly, and now she's vacuuming in Aubrey's office, and that just isn't acceptable when Aubrey is clearly using this space to escape from Chloe's racket.

"Chloe," Aubrey sighs out exasperatedly, once Chloe has successfully cleaned the carpet in the room, "will you please sit down?"

"I can't help it," Chloe pouts swiftly, and jerkily yanks the vacuum cord from the wall, carelessly tossing it to the floor.

She obediently sits down afterward, like Aubrey asked, but- Chloe's always been a little unconventional.

The redhead doesn't slip onto the bed, like mostly anyone else in the world probably would; instead, she drops herself sideways into Aubrey's lap.

Aubrey's at her desk, study materials piled in front of her, and there's hardly even enough room for Chloe, with the blonde's chair scooted this far forward, but it hardly seems to bother the redhead at all. Chloe just mindleslly plays with the ends of Aubrey's hair, for a moment, and bites her lip in thought before she offers a small shrug.

"I miss her," Chloe says sheepishly. "I know it's only been two days, and I know that we made so much progress with Beca, in Atlanta, but I just- miss her," she murmurs longingly.

Aubrey sympathizes deeply, because she misses Beca something fierce and terrible and aca-distracting, too, even if it has only been two days. It isn't fair that Chloe has to wait just because Aubrey can't find time to sit down and have the discussion that they really need, right now, and Aubrey doesn't honestly want to be the reason that Chloe is this miserable.

It takes a second for Aubrey to come up with a solution, and, even as she does, Aubrey isn't sure that it's not a little- much; still, Aubrey needs to focus, and she can't do that if Chloe is moping, or hovering, or if Aubrey keeps thinking about how it would only take a single, meaningless hour to drive to Beca, anyway.

"Why don't you go home for the weekend?" Aubrey proposes carefully. "You don't have classes on Fridays, so there's no reason you shouldn't, and- you could take Beca, if you want."

Chloe frowns and looks earnestly confused. "You want me to take her home without you?"

Aubrey sighs and nods, raising her palms to warm one against the small of Chloe's back, brushing her knuckles softly over the redhead's cheek with the other.

"I've been a little too negligent with my academics, lately," Aubrey admits softly. "This mess with Beca has just made it so difficult for me to concentrate, Chloe. Besides," she says quietly, "it's my fault you've had to wait so long to be with Beca like this, in the first place."

"Aubrey Posen," Chloe shakes her head and smiles warmly, "I'd wait forever for you. You know that."

"I know," Aubrey mimics her smiles and presses her fingers a little harder, to massage Chloe's lower back a bit, "but I'm still sorry it took so long. Plus, Beca already has waited forever, for us," the blonde swallows, turning earnest green eyes toward her girlfriend. "I just- need a week, Chloe," she pleads. "I need to get through these exams before I can really spare the time to talk about this, and resolve the situation with Beca. It isn't fair to keep you away from her for that long, though, and I realize that," she nods. "And I can't focus on studying if you're here, cleaning the apartment," she remarks pointedly.

Chloe huffs indignantly, but laughs, anyway, and Aubrey leans her face forward, just a little, to nuzzle her nose gently into Chloe's neck.

"You could leave tomorrow," Aubrey suggests on a soft whisper into Chloe's ear that makes the redhead shiver over Aubrey's lap. "I'm not sure if Beca will be free, but- it's worth trying, isn't it?"

Chloe swallows, and shakes her head a little like she's trying to clear it.

"Are you sure? I mean," Chloe hesitates, "that's sort of a big deal, you know? It'd be the whole weekend," Chloe insists tentatively.

"It isn't like you're vaulting off the face of the planet, Chloe," Aubrey scoffs lightly and chuckles. "You can call me, and we'll Skype, like always."

"Yeah, but," Chloe hesitates briefly, "Beca will be there, too. It isn't like always, Aubrey."

Aubrey gnaws a little at the inside of her left cheek, and slowly nods. "You're right," she admits. "It isn't the same, but- I think it'll be good for you," Aubrey tells her softly. "It'll be good for me to be able to focus, and I think- I think Beca might need some time with you, Chloe. I know you didn't mean to, and I'm fairly sure that even Beca knows you didn't intend for it to come out that way, but- I think she was really hurt, the other night, that you thought her capable of compelling us, that way."

Chloe's entire expression falls, and Aubrey hates that she's done that, but she still thinks it's the truth. Beca had just been so quiet, after they had talked, and, though she'd kissed them each on the cheek as they'd left, the Vampire Queen hadn't even tried for anything else without Aubrey or Chloe's initiation of a kiss, first.

The blonde smooths the worried lines of Chloe's brow with her fingers and sighs, softly, before murmuring, "I don't think she was angry with you, Chloe; I think she's just feeling a little- insecure."

It's strange that Aubrey can recognize that, truthfully.

The Bellas' captain has made Beca insecure in the past, too, and she was hardly even capable of realizing it without Chloe's help; Aubrey has made Beca feel insecure about what she is, and about the way she interacts with them, and – though Aubrey hates to see Chloe upset like this – it's almost a little bit- relieving that Aubrey isn't the only one to have made Beca feel that way.

Perhaps it just feels nicer to share the blame, a little, but it makes Aubrey more comfortable, regardless; she feels like she's on even footing with Chloe, in respect to Beca, and Aubrey can only force herself to feel so badly for that.

"I never meant to – "

"Oh, Chloe," Aubrey shakes her head, "I know you didn't mean to hurt her. You don't have to defend yourself to me. I just think it might be nice for Beca to have some alone time with you, and maybe regain her confidence a little, that's all," she tells her comfortingly.

"And if it gets me out of the house," Chloe says teasingly, tugging playfully at a strand of Aubrey's hair, "that's just a perk, right?"

"Mm," Aubrey hums her agreement softly into Chloe neck and laughs, until Chloe giggles in answer and pulls just lightly against Aubrey's hair, arching the blonde's neck backward just far enough for Chloe to lean down and sketch her mouth over Aubrey's own.

"I love you, Aubrey," Chloe whispers earnestly, pleating another, softer kiss against the blonde's temple that just makes Aubrey sigh in delight.

"I love you, too, Chloe," Aubrey breathes. "So much," she swears.

"You're sure you're okay with this?" Chloe asks again.

Aubrey rolls her eyes, but nods. "I appreciate that you're making sure, Chloe, but I honestly think that it can only help us for you to take Beca away for the weekend. Besides," Aubrey muses thoughtfully, "it'll be sort of like a trial run, or something."

"What do you mean?" Chloe frowns, brows dipping inward with her bemusement.

"I mean," Aubrey says deliberately, "that you'll be introducing Beca to your family, Chlo. You can see how she fits in there, and really think about if that's somewhere you want Beca to be. I know you want to be with her, and I'm not entirely ready to discuss the details of it, yet, but- I want to be with Beca, too, Chloe; I just don't think it can hurt to get a better idea of what that would mean, for us. Being with Beca does mean taking her home; it does mean introducing her to our families, and it does mean that we have to care for her enough that we're not ashamed to call her ours. If Beca goes home with you now, at least your family will have met her before we come back and suddenly tell them we've picked up a new girlfriend, and, by the way, we're both still dating each other, too," Aubrey says pointedly and rolls her eyes.

Chloe giggles, and shrugs, "I never really thought about it."

Aubrey believes that, too; Chloe acts a little too impulsively on her feelings, but Aubrey considers every angle until her brain feels like it'll explode, or like it already has. Aubrey's thought about every part of what it would mean to be with Beca, and Aubrey's always believed that if that's something that she and Chloe decide to do – and if Beca agrees, obviously – then it would be a decision she'd be proud of.

The blonde wouldn't ever start a relationship with Beca that she had to keep hidden, even from her own family, so of course Aubrey's imagined taking her home. It'll be nice, though, Aubrey thinks, to know how Chloe's family might react, first; they're clearly the more accepting choice.

"So… you want to be with Beca?" Chloe grins and bounces a little over Aubrey's thighs, which digs slightly into the finger-shaped bruises that still smudge across her leg from Beca's touch.

It makes Aubrey sigh, just a tiny bit, but she nods, anyway, and murmurs, "We can talk about it when you get back. Until then," she huffs, and nudges softly at Chloe's back, "you should go and call your mom to make sure it's alright. We can tackle Beca after that."

"Oh my God, please don't say that," Chloe whines instantly. "Literally, I could tackle that girl to the ground and just, like, ravage her, right now."

Aubrey swallows thickly and thinks that she probably wouldn't mind watching that happen at all.

Chapter Text

Chloe is so excited, she can hardly even breathe.

When she first calls to ask Beca what she thinks of coming home with Chloe, the Vampire Queen actually puts the redhead on hold. Chloe has no idea what Beca does during that time, or who she talks to, but it's a solid five minutes, at least, before the brunette speaks into the line again, and Chloe spends every second of the wait pacing over the tiles of her newly-spotless kitchen.

Beca does agree to come with her, but she also very quickly demands to speak with Aubrey before fully committing to the trip, just to be sure that the blonde is on board with the plan, too.

Chloe thinks that's just adorable, and all different kinds of sweet, and it sort of also seems like a very promising sign to Chloe, for their future together.

(And there will be a future for them, Chloe remembers and instantly beams, because Aubrey is finally beginning to cave, and if Chloe has to wait out the week before they can talk about it, then Chloe will definitely, definitely wait, even if it aca-kills her.)

The redhead obediently trades possession of her phone to Aubrey, and she hears her girlfriend promise that she fully supports their spontaneous weekend trip just a few moments later. Aubrey and Beca talk for a while, and Chloe doesn't actually know what they're saying, even, but Aubrey's smile grows tender and soft for the last several minutes of their conversation before the blonde relinquishes the phone back to Chloe.

"So, you can come?" Chloe inquires eagerly and bites her lip.

"Yeah," Beca chuckles, and even through the mild crackling noise of the phone, the sound still makes Chloe tremble, maybe just a tiny bit. "But," Beca cautions nervously, "I'll have to work a little bit while I'm there. Is that okay?"

"Work?" Chloe frowns. "You have work in Virginia?" She wonders curiously.

"Well, no… Not Virginia, exactly – at least, not right now, anyway, but Langley and the Hoover Building are in the area," she teases lightly, and Chloe giggles a little in reply. "They've been trying to schedule meetings with me for months, but I'm not sure I trust their promises of peace enough to actually go to one. For all I know, they could kill me on the spot; I mean, let's be honest – the CIA is shady, at best, and the FBI is so by-the-book that I don't even they'd blink twice, if ordered to kill me by the right person. It's probably for the best that I steer clear of them, when I can."

"Fair enough," Chloe leans back against the kitchen counter and hugs the phone close to her ear, one arm crossing over her waist to hold the opposite hip. "If you aren't meeting with them, though, then what do you have to do up there?

"Well, the address you gave me is in the suburbs of DC, isn't it?" Beca inquires expectantly.

"Oh," Chloe blinks and realizes. "Yeah. Totes," she nods, even though Beca can't even see her, and Chloe laughs a little at herself. Still, she playfully decides, "I guess it makes sense, with you being a queen and everything, that you'd probably have a few things to take care of with the government and all. Do you have to meet with the President? Oh, or maybe Congress or something?" She inquires impishly and grins.

It's just that- Chloe's kidding. She doesn't actually expect Beca's plans to be quite that- grand, so it still surprises her when Beca answers.

"I probably actually will have dinner with the President," Beca sighs, and Chloe hears some shuffling on the other end of the line, like Beca's moving some papers around, or maybe like she's searching for something, but Chloe isn't sure it matters.

Either way, Beca's doing something mundane and probably way too casual, to Chloe, considering that she's talking about the President of the entire aca-United States. He's probably the most important man in the world, right now, and even if he isn't, Chloe's pretty sure that he's definitely up in the top five.

"I guess it'd be a little rude not to visit him, if I'm in town," Beca confesses reluctantly. "He has been pretty supportive of the Vampire Revelation, or whatever else the press is calling it, these days," Beca grouses, and Chloe think it's a little, tiny bit precious that Beca is clearly dreading a meal with the President, even though Chloe's pretty sure that most people would probably kill just for a chance to shake the man's hand. "Mostly, though, there's a coven out of Washington that's been a little- problematic, for me, lately, and it's probably past time that I dropped by to visit. Besides, if I'm venturing away from my coven," Beca tells her patiently, "I need a reason. We don't normally stray too far from home, but, since I'm Queen," Beca sighs softly, and Chloe pictures in her head a shrug of those tiny, burdened shoulders to go along with her suddenly-tired tone, "politics bring me away a little more often than I'd like."

"I don't mind," Chloe promises earnestly. "I'm just excited for you to come with me, that's all. At least it'll make the drive pass quicker," she teases, and probably would've added a wink, too, if Beca could actually have seen it.

"Drive?" Beca demands instantly. "You're joking. Right? You're joking?" She asks uncertainly.

"Um… No?" Chloe giggles and replies. "Aubrey literally just suggested that I take this trip, like, two hours ago, Becs," Chloe tells her laughingly. "I don't think that's enough time to really book a flight, and, even if I could have managed it, I probably couldn't afford to do that, anyway."

"Dude," Beca blusters swiftly, "it's literally a nine hour drive from here to your parents' home, Red. That's almost a whole day just to get there and back. I could actually run there faster than we could drive. You'll hardly have any time to spend with your family at all," Beca huffs, and Chloe can just imagine the little crease forming between her brows and the frown that probably mars her pretty, pretty face, right now. "Obviously we're flying."

"Well, good luck finding a flight that leaves tomorrow," Chloe chuckles and shakes her head. "Flights to DC out of Atlanta are sometimes hard to book on short notice, sweetie."

"I'm a queen," Beca deadpans, and Chloe can hear it, even through the phone. "I try not to be too high-maintenance, but, seriously…? I am a queen," Beca reiterates profoundly. "I have standards," the brunette tells her, with just a little bit of haughtiness in her voice that momentarily forces Chloe to stifle another giggle into the sleeve of her shirt, only because Beca just sounds so much like Aubrey that Chloe can't even separate her feelings for the two of them right now at all, and they both just make her so happy. "And a tiny little box on wheels just doesn't meet those standards, Red; not for nine hours, anyway. I just don't even have the kind of patience for a trip like that. Even when I travel across the planet, I make the pilot land for a while before we hit the sea, just so I can hunt and stretch my legs out. Vampires aren't meant to be kept from nature for that long, Red. Obviously, I have a jet," Beca scoffs, like it's no big deal at all.

Which, like… isn't even fair, because it totally is a big deal; how could owning an entire plane not be a big deal?

Chloe's jaw drops – only briefly, to her own credit, she thinks – before the redhead sputters, "You have a jet? Like, you can literally just fly anywhere, whenever you feel like it?"

"Chloe," Beca says slowly, though Chloe can hear in her voice that she's wildly amused, "I'm three thousand years old, and I've worked quite a bit during that time. Like I said before, I have a lot of money," she laughs again. "Even if I wasn't Queen, I'd probably still have a jet. It's just easier. I'll call my pilot tonight and make arrangements for tomorrow. What time do you want to leave?"

The redhead is still a little flabbergasted, honestly, but she powers through it, anyway, and manages to work out the details of their trip with Beca. The Vampire Queen stays on the line until sometime around eleven, which is about when Aubrey tiredly stumbles into the bed with ink smudges all over her hands, and even a little on her face.

Chloe wonders if she fell asleep for a while, because her cheek is marked by a few shapes that vaguely resemble backwards letters, to Chloe, and the redhead instantly coos at her, folding the blonde up in her arms as Aubrey crawls into bed with her. The redhead puts Beca on speakerphone, so that Aubrey can talk with her, too, if she wants, but Chloe's girlfriend doesn't say much; still, Aubrey is sleepy and sweet and tells Beca in the tiniest voice Chloe thinks she's ever heard Aubrey even use that she'll miss them both, so much, and that she's excited to spend some time with Beca after she and Chloe return to Barden.

Beca's quiet, for a moment, but Chloe hears her when she mutedly whispers, "You're sure you can't come, too, Posen?"

It makes Chloe smile.

On some level, Chloe recognizes that normal people might feel offended; she recognizes that most people would probably wonder if their own company isn't enough, on its own.

But Chloe understands Beca's sudden shift to sadness, because, as wonderful and fantastic and just- satisfying as it will be for her to spend the weekend with Beca's (mostly) undivided attention, Chloe feels a little sad, too; she's sad that Aubrey won't be there to enjoy it with them, and she thinks it can't be right to feel this excited for a weekend without Aubrey.

"I have to study," Aubrey hums, and Chloe feels the blonde's stomach buzz with the vibration of the noise underneath of Chloe's palm. "I'll see you when you get back," she promises sweetly.

"Yeah," Beca sighs, and Chloe thinks she's probably nodding at the other end; Beca is probably nodding and trying to convince herself that it isn't right to pine, even though they're going without Aubrey, because it's giving the blonde the space that she needs in order to study and succeed. "Well, I – " Beca coughs awkwardly, and inhales slow and deep, before she murmurs, "I'll miss you, too, you know?"

Aubrey allows her eyes to drift shut, drawing idle, patternless designs over Chloe's heart, before she smiles this tiny, content little thing that basically makes Chloe swoon.

She wishes Beca could see the way that Aubrey reacts to her, right now, because Chloe thinks that if Beca could see this – just this; just this tiny, content little thing itching at the edges of Aubrey's smile – she'd never doubt the blonde's true feelings for her, ever again.

"Three days," Aubrey mumbles tiredly into Chloe's shoulder. "I'll see you both in three days, Beca."

"Yeah, well," Beca huffs, and Chloe thinks she might be scratching behind her ear, but since she can't actually see the Vampire Queen, it's just a guess, at best, "three days can be a long time."

"You've lived thousands of years," Chloe chuckles, and tries her very hardest to relieve the sad tension that's clawing through Aubrey's heart and trying desperately to eat its way through Chloe's, too. "Three days is nothing."

"For me," Beca agrees softly, and way too quietly. "Three days is nothing for me, Chloe – but three days can be everything, for a human. Three days, to you, could feel like a lifetime – and, if it's with you," Beca hesitates, and Chloe thinks she hears a little swallow echo through the speakers of her phone, "three days is everything to me, too."

Chloe tucks her mouth into Aubrey's neck and feels her eyes tear.

She doesn't think she's sad – not really, anyway. Her heart doesn't feel like it's shattering, or breaking, or smashing, or anything like that at all; Chloe's heart feels like it's fusing together.

It feels like the half of Chloe's heart that now belongs to Beca is melding itself into the half of her heart that has always, always belonged to Aubrey, and Chloe just can't separate them, anymore. It's like her whole heart has finally pieced itself together the way that it's always been meant to, and all of her emotions are now just one giant glob of need, centered entirely around the girl in her arms and the girl on the phone, an hour away.

For the weekend, Chloe guesses it will be nice to spend time with Beca, and to be with her, just the two of them.

It'll be nice, Chloe's sure of it; perfect, even, she thinks with a small smile.

But Chloe needs Beca and Aubrey, and Chloe doesn't think her heart could bear the separation for much longer than a few days.

Chloe loves Aubrey, and will love her to the end of the world and back – but Chloe doesn't think that she can fairly say, anymore, that she loves this girl with her whole heart, because the other half of it–

The other half of it loves Beca, and both halves feel the same to Chloe, now, anyway.

Chloe's heart feels impossibly sure, and whole, and absolutely, one hundred percent devoted – both to Aubrey and to Beca, and Chloe thinks a little shamefully that if she'd thought she'd known love before, it's nothing in comparison to what she feels right now.

Chapter Text

Aubrey is impressed.

Her father is a very highly respected lawyer, with a very highly respected firm stationed in the center of Boston – thus, financially speaking, the Posens live more comfortably than most, and, if Aubrey's being especially truthful, she will perhaps admit that her family lives even lavishly, on occasion; money has never been much of a concern for them, honestly, but, though they are definitely well-off, Aubrey's family wealth evidently can't begin to compare with Beca's.

It makes sense, the blonde supposes, considering Beca's age, but Beca is so grounded – so casual and flexible and relatively simple, in some ways – that it's hard for Aubrey to really connect the Vampire Queen's monetary class with her nature. It's probably a flaw in human logic to associate the size of a person's bank account with a stereotype, but Aubrey is human, and she has a difficult time understanding how Beca's overwhelming economic situation hasn't turned her into a snob.

She guesses, though, that – as far as travel is concerned, anyway – Beca is a tiny bit of a snob; after all, it's probably an enormous waste of money for Beca to fuel up an entire plane for a flight that would take less than half a day to drive, no matter how much extra cash she has to spare.

Apparently, though, the Vampire Queen is a bit too impatient for the alternative. According to Chloe, she might be a bit too claustrophobic for it, too.

Still, Aubrey is staring at an entire jet that, ostensibly, is Beca's to command however or wherever she pleases, and Aubrey is ridiculously impressed.

(Even if Aubrey also thinks the fact that Beca owns a jet in the first place is just impressively ridiculous.)

It's a small airport, thankfully, and not nearly as busy or chaotic as the Hartsfield Airport that Aubrey's used to flying out of; she's only seen one other vehicle pass through, and, outside of the airport staff, she hasn't seen a single person since they arrived. It's definitely not a commercial airport, but it's so vacant that, without the presence of the employees, Aubrey might have wondered if it was even still operational.

Two TSA agents had greeted them as they'd pulled the car through at Beca's texted instruction, performing a fairly lax and perfunctory search of Chloe's bags and Aubrey's purse, taking a quick, meaningless glance into the blonde's trunk before waving them forward.

It had honestly been that simple; next thing Aubrey knows, she's pulling her car onto the tarmac (which is a very strange experience, for the blonde) and Chloe's gasping a soft and incredulous, "Holy shit," beneath her breath.

The plane's engine is off, and it's oddly quiet when Aubrey steps out of the car, but Beca is leaned up against a black sedan, ring-laden fingers tapping swiftly across the screen of her phone. Emily is there, too, with fists clenched at her sides as she peers over her sire's shoulder to watch whatever might be happening on the screen; Aubrey thinks it must be a game of some sort, because the taller brunette's lips form an anxious, worrying little 'o' as she shuffles herself further into Beca's side, but her fingers relax and her mouth blows into a wide grin as Beca smirks and taps her thumb especially hard on the screen with a triumphantly immature hiss of, "Suck it," to punctuate her apparent victory.

Aubrey is suddenly grateful for the silence on the tarmac, so that she can focus on just watching them, for a quick, quiet moment before Beca and Emily acknowledge their arrival. It's just- Aubrey doesn't get the opportunity to see them together this way very often. She thinks part of that can be attributed to Beca's hectic schedule, but she also thinks that maybe Beca isn't entirely comfortable putting her affection for Emily on display like that.

Aubrey can't be sure without asking, but she isn't entirely certain that she wants to waste a question over something like that when she knows how deeply and overwhelmingly Beca cares for Emily, regardless of how frequently she demonstrates it publically.

Learning about Beca is sometimes like pulling teeth, but Aubrey truly believes that Beca tries her best to be as honest with them as she knows how to be; Aubrey's never asked Beca anything that the brunette refused to answer, even if she's careful about how much she shares, and how she chooses to share it. Beca's justified in that caution, too, Aubrey thinks, because there's only so much that Beca can reveal of herself at once before Aubrey begins to panic all over again.

Eventually, Chloe's eager, anxious stumble from the passenger side of the car makes Aubrey smile, and she closes the door behind her as she shakes herself into the present.

Beca looks up when Aubrey's door slams shut, carelessly sweeping a pair of Ray Bans to rest atop her head, and she swiftly tucks her phone into the back pocket of a pair of skinny jeans that hug her ass and thighs so tightly (and, Jesus, so aca-flatteringly) that Aubrey isn't even sure how the device has space to fit there.

The Vampire Queen is wearing the same pair of beat-up Chuck Taylors that Aubrey remembers from their very first meeting, and a band t-shirt for a group that Aubrey doesn't recognize (and doesn't honestly even know if she should recognize, because, for all she knows, that shirt could be several decades old, by now; it's certainly worn down enough, and Aubrey thinks she spies a small hole near the hem, too). Beca's hair, combed back by her sunglasses, slightly, shuffles through the wind until little strands rustle against her cheeks and ears, and her eyes shimmer in the sunlight in ways that Aubrey thinks they have no right to.

It shouldn't be fair for a creature of the night to look this heartbreakingly breathtaking, in the light of day, but Beca does, and Aubrey is weak for her all over.

The smile she gives them is small, Aubrey notes with a fond little wave and an affectionate chuckle; it's tiny – hardly existent, really – but it's laden with nerves and tentative excitement, and Aubrey wonders if Chloe even realizes how huge this must be, for Beca.

She's going home, with Chloe; Beca is going to meet the redhead's family – or at least parts of it, Aubrey amends – and she's going to stay in Chloe's childhood bedroom, for an entire weekend.

It isn't exactly that taking Beca home means nothing to Chloe – because obviously it means the world to her, and, as a result, Aubrey's had to spend the last several hours of her morning playfully rolling her eyes and neatly reorganizing Chloe's bags to catch everything the redhead had forgotten to pack in her excitement (like a toothbrush, Aubrey thinks with a mild snort, and enough pairs of socks) – but, for Chloe, taking Beca home mostly means spending the weekend with her alone.

For Chloe, taking Beca home means a chance to just be with her, and to feel the explosive warmth of Beca's company for several consecutive days, with no risk of the Vampire Queen being called away for something more important.

Aubrey remembers, though, that Beca hasn't entered a human home in centuries – with the obvious exception of Aubrey and Chloe's apartment, and Emily's house a little before that – and she wonders briefly if this is too much, for Beca. She wonders if they shouldn't be cautious, too, in how much they share with Beca at once, because, though the Vampire Queen was once human, that was a very long time ago; the divide between their two species is alarmingly thin and far too wide, all at once, and Aubrey is abruptly unsure which parts of humanity Beca has come to expect and which parts of it have, by now, become entirely foreign to her.

They hadn't forced Beca to go with Chloe, though, Aubrey reminds herself sensibly, so even if Beca might maybe be out of her depth, right now, it had been her own choice to put herself there.

Aubrey watches as the brunette boosts herself from the side of the sedan, and only briefly catches a flicker from blue to silver before Beca moves with supernatural speed and appears instantly at Chloe's side, shyly lifting the redhead's bags before Chloe even has the chance to pull them from the back seat.

"Hi," Chloe breathes, like the surprise of Beca's quick motion has winded her entirely. "Thanks," she giggles warmly.

"Hi," Beca chuckles softly in answer, and offers Chloe a tender smile. "You're welcome."

Aubrey sighs out a complicated sound made of adoration and anguish, because they are positively precious, together, and because Aubrey is already feeling a little ache of loneliness spreading from the very middle of her heart, and because she knows that this had been her idea, in the first place, but now Aubrey isn't altogether sure that she even wants them to leave.

They have to, of course, because Aubrey needs to study, and Aubrey's also fairly certain that Beca and Chloe both need this time together – but Aubrey's never claimed to be selfless.

She wants them – both of them – and Aubrey nearly doesn't even care that this kind of deep, soul-crushing need is probably costing the blonde her sanity.

It's unexpected, even for Aubrey, but she throws her arms around the tiny brunette without another coherent thought, holding a palm to the back of Beca's head and pushing her face softly into the crook of Aubrey's neck.

Beca is justifiably startled, but she drops Chloe's bags after a brief moment of hesitation, winding her palms around Aubrey's back and digging her fingers into Aubrey's flesh with the ferocity of her returned embrace. Beca inhales sharply, sucking the warmth from the air near Aubrey's throat, but Aubrey never feels it release, and she thinks maybe that Beca is- smelling her.

It sounds strange, Aubrey knows, but it doesn't feel that way.

It feels sort of like Beca is trying to remember her; like the Vampire Queen is holding her breath – and Aubrey's scent along with it – deep in the caverns of her lungs, like she can preserve it there and never forget.

Emily meanders over, smiling softly at Aubrey and Chloe before sneaking near Beca's feet and accepting the burden of Chloe's bags, briefly vamping out and shuttling them into the aircraft behind them. Chloe disappears onto the jet behind her with a loving, reassuring smile toward Aubrey, and the blonde is abruptly grateful for Chloe's heightened sense of emotional intuition, because Aubrey just isn't ready to separate from Beca, yet.

Aubrey holds onto the brunette in Chloe's absence, and doesn't let go.

She's had all morning to spoil her girlfriend in kisses and hugs and affectionate brushes of her fingers across Chloe's flesh, and Aubrey had taken full advantage of the opportunity – but all she's given Beca is a whispered promise through the phone to see her in three days, and that suddenly isn't enough.

It just- isn't enough.

So Aubrey gives her more.

Aubrey gives her desperation and fondness and I-miss-you-already kisses that she showers over the top of Beca's head, but Beca never says a word. The only indication Aubrey receives that even hints at Beca's shared emotion is the tightening of her fingers over Aubrey's flesh, creating small dips in the blonde's lower back.

Until Beca speaks, anyway.

"You have to study," Beca whispers, but she swallows, too – like she's not reminding Aubrey of why she can't just hop on the plane with them, but like Beca is reminding herself. "Dude," Beca puffs out, and presses her mouth briefly (and so, so very sweetly) to the shell of Aubrey's ear, "you have to study?" She repeats – and it's a question, this time; an incredulous, disbelieving scoff that ghosts over Aubrey's skin and leaves gooseflesh rising over every conceivable inch of it, afterward.

"I have to study," Aubrey chuckles her agreement, despite herself.

"What kind of ridiculous shit is that?" Beca growls unhappily, and hugs Aubrey tighter against her when the blonde tries to shift away.

Aubrey thinks that maybe it's time for her to say goodbye to Chloe, but Beca obviously isn't finished with her, yet, and – if Aubrey's honest – she isn't sure that she's quite finished with Beca, either.

It's sweet, though, that Beca wants to continue holding her this way, and Aubrey falls into her all over again, like she'd somehow ever had a choice in it. Which she hadn't – like, pretty much at all, actually – but Aubrey is proud and dignified and likes to pretend that she'd made the decision to do it, anyway.

"It'll be fine, Beca," Aubrey promises soothingly, though her voice scratches when Aubrey knows it shouldn't. "You'll be back in a few days, remember?"

"Yeah," Beca swallows, and reluctantly releases her hold over Aubrey's waist. "Sure."

The Vampire Queen shyly shuffles backward, just two little steps, and uncertainly raises her fingers to brush nervously behind her ear. Aubrey watches her eyes as they flash between Vampire and human, like Beca can't decide which face is appropriate for her to display, right now. Either way, the odd amalgamation of silver and blue twisting together is captivating, and it takes a few seconds, but Aubrey reads in them that Beca is anxious.

Anxious like she isn't entirely sure if she'd taken more from their hug than Aubrey might willingly have allowed, had Beca let her go when Aubrey had first tried to move away from her, and like it makes Beca feel ashamed, and horribly embarrassed.

Aubrey hates it.

She curls her palm over Beca's cheek, sweeping her thumb softly beneath Beca's eye, and Aubrey sighs again. She sighs because Beca is insecure, now, and Aubrey can't let her leave believing that she'd stolen emotions from Aubrey that the blonde doesn't freely offer her, anyway.

"I'm not criticizing," she murmurs against Beca's mouth. "Beca, I swear, I'm not criticizing you," she vows earnestly. "I'll- Beca, I will miss you both terribly, sweetheart," she whispers, with suddenly teary eyes and a frustrated shake of her head. "I just- have to remember that you and Chloe will only be away for a little while. And then you can come home to me," Aubrey nods assuredly. "Just a few days, and you can come home."

Beca moves wide, tentatively hopeful eyes toward Aubrey, and echoes, "Home?"

Aubrey flushes, and jerkily shrugs her shoulders. Because that's fast, isn't it? So she should be more careful with her greedy impulses, and let things happen however they progress, from here, right?

"You can come back," she rephrases, though she regrets it the second that she does.

The Vampire Queen's shoulders slump minutely forward in defeat, and she swallows before bravely nodding her head in acceptance.

Aubrey isn't sure how to fix that, but, a moment later, Beca changes the subject altogether, so Aubrey never even has the chance to try.

"Can you – " Beca hesitates, glances briefly toward the plane, and drops her voice several octaves lower. "Could you- look after Emily, for me?" She inquires softly, and rubs behind her ear. "I- uh… Luke," she produces weakly and smiles. "Luke's going to keep her safe, you know? But that's not- that's not really what I mean. I just… Em gets- lonely, when I leave town," Beca rasps quietly. "And I think it'll be better, a little, since she can be with you and the Bellas, but- if you could keep an eye on her…?" She trails off hopefully. "It'd be a relief," Beca tells her, wide eyed and vulnerable and pleading for Aubrey's aid. "She might get quiet, or even, like, angry, maybe?" Beca winces. "Last time, I was gone for a week, and she was- devastated," she whispers. "Devastated and angry and just- lonely, and I don't want her to be that way."

"Is she quiet?" Aubrey blinks and inquires.

"Pardon?" Beca frowns her confusion.

"She can stay with me," Aubrey explains briefly, with a roll of her eyes as she realizes she perhaps had jumped the gun, just a little. "If she's quiet, and will let me study – unlike Chloe," Aubrey huffs with a playful laugh under her breath.

Aubrey doesn't know why, but it makes Beca smile up at her like she's never seen a thing in the world as enchanting as she believes Aubrey to be; like Aubrey is something magnificent and treasured and indecipherable, to Beca, that shouldn't even exist on this plane of the world, and like Beca is simultaneously afraid that she doesn't belong on this plane.

Beca smiles up at her like she wants to hold Aubrey in the cradle of her palms, but like she's just blatantly terrified that Aubrey will slip out between her fingers like she'd never been there at all; like Aubrey's existence on this plane truly is a mistake, and Beca is afraid that she was never even meant to know Aubrey, in the first place.

"She can- she can stay with me," Aubrey repeats on an airless breath.

Beca has lived for thousands of years, and sometimes Aubrey feels like she can see every single one of them play through Beca's weighted, telling eyes.

Sometimes Aubrey feels like she can't understand the overwhelming kind of affection Beca harbors for her, and for Chloe, because Beca has seen so much, and she has known so many people, but Aubrey still cannot fathom what makes her and Chloe so very different.

But they are. To Beca, at least, they are.

Aubrey knows that they are, because, sometimes, when Beca looks at her with those haunting eyes of silver, or with a blue that is just a couple of shades too dark, Aubrey feels like she can even taste the very edges of the link that binds them together; she can feel it thrum through every inch of her own body, and she can feel every ounce of warmth and dedication that Beca pours into maintaining it.

Aubrey knows that she and Chloe are different than anything that Beca's known before, because, sometimes, when Beca looks at her, Aubrey feels this kind of ageless, timeless, unfaltering devotion, and Aubrey feels love in ways she's never known it to manifest, before.

She feels it, deep in her limbs and deep in her heart and deep in her aca-loving blood, and she thinks that everything she's ever felt for Chloe is magnified by Beca and mirrored back to her, all at the same time.

"Thank you," Beca whispers meaningfully. "Seriously, just- thank you. You don't know what that means to me, Aubrey," she swears vehemently.

Aubrey needs to study, and they all need for this trip to happen – but Aubrey will remember this look in Beca's eye; she'll remember it tonight, when she crawls into bed alone and can think of nothing but the terrible pain that Beca and Chloe have left in their absence.

She urgently presses her lips to Beca's, and she offers none of the hesitant, soothing calmness of their last kiss together. Aubrey fuses their mouths like this is her only chance; she kisses Beca like her whole world begins and ends right here, with her, and she feels Beca's left fang swipe once across Aubrey's lip in answer, much like she had done to Chloe several days before. Beca swipes her tongue relentlessly across the wound as though she's tasting Aubrey's entire life in her blood, and she purrs as though she's learned everything Aubrey has in her possession to offer, and it's all that Beca ever wanted, anyway.

And when Aubrey finally steps onto the aircraft some ten minutes later, whispering goodbye in Chloe's ear and hugging the redhead tight against her chest, Aubrey murmurs, just loud enough for both of them to hear, "Three days, Chloe. You'll both be back home, with me, in three days. Have a good time, okay? And kiss your mother for me."

Beca swallows behind Chloe and meets Aubrey's eye with another smile, small and grateful and wholly besotted, and Aubrey instantly knows why.

Aubrey knows that it is because Beca knows that she has a home to come back to, and even if her coven might be a different kind of home, for Beca, this kind of home is one that Beca's never known.

It's absurdly gratifying, to Aubrey, that she is able to offer her one.

Chapter Text

"Well," Beca smirks and exaggeratedly spreads her arms apart, "what do you think, Red?"

If Chloe's honest, the only thing she actually thinks, right now, is that Beca's smirk is just a fraction too wide; it looks just a little bit tired, at the edges, and it sticks just a little too firmly against Beca's cheeks for it to be genuine.

Chloe really isn't all that surprised, because Beca and Emily's goodbye, fifteen minutes earlier, had been a heartbreaking thing – even just to witness – and Chloe hadn't actually expected for Beca to be okay, anyway.

Their newest Bella had been all sympathetic smiles, on the tarmac, and, after that, Emily had seemed pretty eager to play host and guide as she'd briefly led a very distracted Chloe through the length of the jet – but Emily's demeanor had shifted pretty quickly after Aubrey had briefly boarded the plane to whisper her goodbyes to Chloe.

Beca's sired had become quiet, and anxious, twisting her fingers together and bouncing her weight back and forth over her feet. Beca had moved toward her instantly, whispering something soft and earnest into Emily's ear, and Emily's arms had curled around Beca's waist so quickly in reply that Chloe hadn't actually even been able to see it happen; all she'd been able to catch was a swift blur of movement and color, before Beca and Emily were abruptly wrapped around each other and holding on tight like their lives somehow depended on it, wet streaks of tears drawing shadows over Emily's face as she'd tucked it into Beca's neck.

As difficult as it will be for Chloe to be away from Aubrey for the weekend, three days really isn't that long, even if Beca disagrees; still, Chloe understands enough of the relationship between Beca and Emily to know that parts of it pretty much rely on their physical closeness to each other, and three days without that kind of contact probably is a big deal, to Emily and Beca.

Chloe hadn't truthfully thought about that when she'd asked Beca to come with her, and she feels a little guilty for it.

Instead of replying to Beca's question, Chloe steps closer and stretches her palms out to hold Beca's upper arms, soothing her thumbs absently across Beca's biceps; she's trying really hard not to think about the tight cords of muscle she can feel rippling beneath her grasp, but Chloe is realizing pretty quickly that Beca's hidden strength is sort of a massive turn on, for her, and it takes a lot more effort than Chloe thinks it should for her to refocus.

"Are you okay?" She manages worriedly.

"It's- pretty much always hard for me to leave her, Red," Beca chuckles sadly, and Chloe's grip tightens over her arms in comfort. "It'll be fine," Beca tells her, but when Chloe looks at her skeptically, Beca laughs quietly and rolls her shoulders back, letting them drop like she's shaken the weight of her grief away, altogether. "It's not your fault, Chloe," the brunette murmurs, and reaches tiny fingers upward to tenderly sweep a curl behind Chloe's ear, grazing tentatively across it, like Beca isn't wholly sure that her touch is welcome.

It is – Beca's touch is so welcome, to Chloe – but the redhead wants to be sure that Beca knows that, too, so she hums contentedly and sighs as she waits for Beca to continue.

Beca smiles softly and grows brave, letting her fingers drop, just a little, to stroke the column of Chloe's neck with a devoted, blistering heat that makes Chloe shuffle just a little bit closer, like maybe she can shroud her whole body in that heat, if she can just make every part of herself touch every part of Beca; Chloe doesn't get that close – not yet – but she's close enough, now, for Beca's words to breathe over Chloe's skin, and it still makes Chloe feel warmer, anyway.

"Em and I have been apart before, and it'll happen again. I'm not going to let it ruin our trip, together," Beca promises earnestly, before warmly but pointedly adding, "and you shouldn't, either. So," Beca smirks again – and it's a little more playful, this time; a little less defeated – and Chloe beams back at her until she finishes, "tell me what you think of my jet, Red."

Emily had walked Chloe through the plane with a short commentary on some of its features, but Chloe hadn't actually been paying all that much attention; she'd left Beca and Aubrey on the tarmac to have a few minutes alone, together, but they'd just been so sweet and sad and precious that Chloe's eyes had instinctively searched for the nearest window to watch them through. It hadn't really seemed to bother Emily that much, and when she'd caught Chloe staring out at them, the Vampire had giggled and stopped talking altogether, lightly shoving Chloe into one of the seats so that she could see them better.

Now that Chloe has the chance to take it all in, she realizes pretty swiftly that the inside of the aircraft is aca-huge; there are several, cushioned recliners equipped with buckling seatbelts, and, more impressively, there's a long, plush couch with beige, suede fabric opposite the two most prominent chairs. There's a fairly large, flat-screen television against the wall, and Chloe also thinks there's an entire DJ booth in the very back of the plane, but she isn't sure, because a couple of doors separate that area of the jet from the one Chloe's still standing in; the small, circular windows in the divide are the only way Chloe can see through to the room, right now, but she's eager to explore it before they land. There are shiny, mahogany tables and cabinets, and there's a minibar to the left of the sofa that Chloe assumes is probably fully stocked. Overhead lights line the ceilings at the edges of the plane, and above the center aisle, but they're dimmed to a soft glow, and Chloe guesses it's probably because they don't even really need the lights, since it's daytime.

The whole space is beautifully decorated and arranged, and it's actually pretty remarkable.

"Wow," Chloe shakes her head and laughs beneath her breath. "This is amazing, Beca. You really, actually own this?"

Beca chuckles, dark and deep until it makes Chloe shiver all over, and her shoulders fall just a little bit further as she relaxes in Chloe's company. "Yeah. I really, actually do," the Vampire Queen mocks, with a playful lift at the corner of her mouth.

"Well," Chloe huffs impishly, "I can definitely see why it'd be hard for you to downgrade from this to my Honda Civic," she giggles softly.

Beca barks out a laugh and nods with feigned sincerity.

"I'm awfully spoiled, aren't I?" She whispers conspiratorially, and winks.

"You are a queen," Chloe teases quietly, biting her lip as she softly breezes her fingers through the bends of Beca's elbows, gliding along her forearms until Chloe strokes the brunette's wrists with her thumbs. She glances coyly up at Beca from beneath her lashes, and flirtatiously murmurs, "Maybe you deserve to be spoiled, just a little."

Beca narrows her eyes, but her smile twitches at the corners just enough for the redhead to know that Beca is probably only joking when she takes a little step forward, pressing her body flush against Chloe's, and quietly replies, "Are you going to spoil me, Chloe?"

Her voice is a purr – a little amused, but dangerous, and, God, so freaking hot – and Chloe sighs yearningly in answer, brushing her nose just barely into Beca's neck.

"One of these days, I swear, I am going to spoil you rotten, Beca," Chloe vows breathily.

"Is that right?" Beca growls out softly, and Chloe feels the noise rumble through Beca's throat as the Vampire Queen paws roughly against Chloe's hips, tugging until they press hard into Beca's own, and Chloe's fingers find purchase against Beca's neck.

Chloe tries not to gasp – truly, she does, because this interaction probably doesn't even begin to merit the seriously turned on kind of reaction that Chloe is experiencing, right now – but her effort mostly fails. The noise she releases, instead, isn't quite a gasp; it's just this tiny little- panting sound, almost like a sigh, but just a little bit too quick, and just a little bit too heavy.

"Yes," Chloe breathes, finally, and nods, her cheek brushing against Beca's as she does.

Beca stretches her right palm away from Chloe's waist, tracking it slowly up the length of the redhead's spine, before Chloe feels her hair being fisted tightly between Beca's questing fingers as the brunette pulls against it, and Chloe's neck obediently arches backward, in answer.

Then, Chloe gasps.

She can't really even help herself, because Chloe had hidden her face several minutes ago, now, but, somewhere in that time, Beca had completely changed hers; silver eyes now pierce through Chloe's blue, and a pair of fangs glitter back at Chloe like danger and promise and sinful temptation, all at once.

"I have been worshipped as a goddess," Beca purrs slowly against Chloe's mouth, and Chloe's reply is to tremble.

She trembles so violently she almost thinks this must be what a seizure feels like, because Beca is so close, and she is so raw, and so achingly seductive, and- Chloe might actually be dying, now that she thinks about it.

(Chloe's a little upset about that, because, aca-seriously, if she dies now, she won't ever know what it's like to actually be with Beca – in bed – and Chloe needs to know so badly.)

"I have felt the touch of your kings, and I have bedded their virgin princesses," Beca whispers into Chloe's ear, her lips scraping carnally against the shell before Beca licks fleetingly against it. "I have known the feel of a noblewoman's flesh beneath my hands, and I have basked in the taste of myself on her lips. I have spread my legs for priestesses and nuns, and I have exhaustively enjoyed corrupting them of their holy morals," she hisses into Chloe's neck, swiping her fangs into Chloe's skin, just barely, and lapping noiselessly against the tiny strip of red that bleeds from it with a greedily unsatisfied hum, like Beca wants more; like Beca somehow thinks she can take more; like Chloe somehow has anything more to offer.

Chloe can't breathe; she doesn't remember how this started, or at what point it began to escalate, but this plane has hardly been airborne for ten minutes and, already, Chloe is just- ruined.

She is positively ruined.

"And I felt nothing for them," Beca snarls into Chloe's shoulder, soft and restrained, but only just. "Not a single one. Imagine, Red," Beca chuckles abruptly, breathy and quiet and hot on Chloe's skin, "what I might do to you; you, who I feel everything for," Beca encourages passionately, pressing soft, barely-there kisses into Chloe's cheeks until the redhead sighs longingly and helplessly flutters her eyes to a close. "Imagine what I might do," Beca murmurs, low and sincere, "to make you purr for me, and moan," Beca whispers heatedly into her temple. "Imagine what I might do to make you scream for me, Chloe," Beca growls hazardously.

"Stop," Chloe pleads swiftly, panting and breathless and so embarrassingly desperate, but Chloe just can't even care, right now. "Please, Beca, I can't – " Chloe swallows thickly and shakes her head, squeezing her nails tight over the flesh of Beca's neck. "I can't," she helplessly repeats, gasping for air that Chloe isn't even sure can be replenished, anyway. "Aubrey…" Chloe whimpers out weakly, and thinks that should be enough, for Beca.

At least, Chloe really hopes that it's enough, because she doesn't think she can speak long enough – or even coherently enough – to offer more of an explanation than that.

Unexpectedly, though, Beca laughs.

She laughs something wholeheartedly amused, and airy, and just a little bit mocking, and it's enough to startle Chloe a little bit back into awareness, because–

Well, because Chloe just doesn't think this is all that funny.

She wants Beca; Chloe wants Beca more than she's ever wanted anything else in her whole entire life, and Chloe is so wet between her thighs that she can barely even think beyond it.

"What- What's funny?" Chloe whispers bemusedly, shaking her head in a largely wasted effort to ground herself.

"I have waited for you," Beca purrs delightedly, nuzzling her nose into Chloe's cheek with a deep, luxurious sigh, "for three thousand years. I have waited," Beca murmurs, "to feel this- this soul-consuming affection, and this deep, swelteringly persistent arousal," she growls, but it's soft – like it's meant to be hum; it just- vibrates differently, Chloe thinks, but she's also pretty sure that it doesn't actually matter, because every sound Beca makes is striking Chloe in the exact same way – straight in the heart, before it zings down her spine and flutters demandingly through her stomach to reach directly into Chloe's heat.

"That's funny?" Chloe swallows and wonders.

"It's funny," Beca chuckles out as she presses her mouth briefly into Chloe's jaw, her tongue sprinting out for a small taste before retreating just as fast, and all Chloe can do is whimper out a quiet, needy sound into Beca's hair, "that you think I would fuck you without her."

And– oh.


The notion of Beca fucking her is just- too much. It's too freaking much, for Chloe.

"When I touch you that way, Red," Beca murmurs teasingly, and scrapes the sharpened points of her teeth underneath Chloe's jaw, "I promise you, Aubrey will be there. And she will beg for me. I'll make sure of it," Beca swears fiercely.

… Chloe's never heard Aubrey beg for anything in her life, even – or maybe especially – in bed, but- Chloe really doesn't doubt that Beca could make Aubrey want to.

Chapter Text

Having Emily around is also sort of like- not having Emily around.

Aubrey doesn't notice it much, at first. She'd left the airport after only a brief exchange with Emily, during which the Vampire had whimpered out this partly pathetic, but mostly just precious noise of genuine gratitude and exuberance, before launching herself into Aubrey's arms and wetting the blonde's neck with tears. Instinctively, Aubrey had held her tight against her chest, murmuring small comforts about how Beca would only be gone for the weekend while firmly reminding herself of the very same thing.

Emily had sniffled, wiped her face with the sleeves of her Henley, and promptly informed Aubrey that she needed to grab a few things, first, before meeting her at the apartment; it had actually worked out pretty perfectly, because Aubrey had needed to rush a little, anyway, just to make it back in time for her only Friday class.

Aubrey had nearly expected Emily to drag her entire house with her to Aubrey's apartment, to be truthful.

Emily had just been so relieved, and so near-tangibly excited, that Aubrey is honestly just thankful that her newest Bella only shows up at her door with a suitcase full of clothes, along with several now-obsolete board games, most of her music library (via her laptop), and her entire collection of Grey's Anatomy on DVD.

The blonde comes very close, then, to reminding Emily that this isn't a girls' night; it isn't intended to be fun, and the only sort of bonding that Aubrey can really afford to focus on, right now, is the one between her and an 'A' in Civil Law.

(Aubrey's aced every homework and class assignment so far, and her participation points ought to be through the roof; she profoundly intends to keep that 'A' very, very closely bonded to her name, and that means fierce dedication to her studies, at least for this weekend.)

Still, Emily is sweet and so, so eager, and her face is completely cleared of everything – makeup and tears alike – so Aubrey thinks it might actually be cruel to tell Emily anything but, "Make yourself at home."

And Emily swiftly does, but it's mostly subtle.

Aubrey sets up her study supplies in her office and, after offering the brunette a brief tour, she hardly hears or sees any evidence of Emily's presence for hours.

The blonde reads a chapter from one textbook before switching to the other, hoping to keep herself interested in both subjects for as long as possible. She highlights her notes (but not her books, because Aubrey firmly believes that, inherently, it is wrong to mark them in any way that might possibly be considered permanent), and types up more notes to highlight, after she is finished with the originals; she makes flashcards and creates a study guide for herself, since her professor hadn't bothered to go to all that trouble; she stares at her pages until her eyes feel dry and bleary, and she blinks hard, just once, before abruptly standing.

It is definitely time for a coffee break.

It's just that Aubrey's sort of forgotten that she isn't alone. Chloe is rarely quiet – not to the extent that Aubrey could ever forget that she is there, anyway – and it's strange that someone else is in her apartment who is very near purely silent.

Aubrey startles a little when she realizes that the living room television is still flashing pictures, but the blonde never hears a sound.

Still, Emily grins and smashes her thumb over the pause button on the remote, effectively freezing the images on the screen. The room gets quieter, but only just – like the rumble of a car engine that fades away so quickly that Aubrey's consciousness isn't even aware of the sound at all – and Aubrey realizes that Emily actually hadn't muted the television.

She hadn't even needed to.

Emily had just turned the volume down so low that Aubrey had hardly even noticed it, even when she'd actively been paying attention and trying to hear it – and, Aubrey realizes abruptly, it probably doesn't even bother Emily to do that, because her hearing just that good.

Aubrey lilts her head curiously and stops behind the couch, and Emily swings her neck around and backward to continue eyeing her with that unnaturally giddy grin that is, all at once, both unnerving and adorable.

"Is it really loud, for you, when you're around us?" Aubrey wonders curiously, in lieu of a greeting. "I mean," she gestures vaguely toward the television and frowns, "you obviously can hear extremely well, right? Is our level of noise just- seriously overwhelming, for you?"

"Oh," Emily blinks and frowns. "Well, I guess sometimes it's a little… much," she hesitates. "I mean, I love humans. Really!" She insists, swinging her legs up on the couch and leaning her elbow across the back of it to press her cheek against her palm. "I was one, like, only a couple years ago, and a lot of times I actually still forget that I'm not, anymore, you know?"

Aubrey doesn't know – not really – but she imagines that, yes, it could be difficult to remember, at times.

From what she's seen, and from what she's learned, Vampires aren't truthfully that much different than humans. Their behaviors are sometimes so similar that Aubrey had mistaken Beca for human, at first, too.

Vampires can pretend very well, and Aubrey thinks that's probably because, historically, they've needed to. But Emily was only made ninto a Vampire three years ago, according to Beca – and she would know better than anyone else, Aubrey is sure, because Emily is Beca's whole entire world – and Vampires, in general, had already been made a public issue, by then.

Emily is probably one of the very first Vampires born into a generation that no longer has any reason to hide.

"But, like, sometimes… sometimes you can be really irritating," Emily huffs out finally, and, a second later, abruptly straightens her back to give herself the balance she needs in order to frantically slice her hands through the air. "Not, like, you. Not specifically!" Emily swears earnestly. "I just meant, you know…" She shrugs and smiles bashfully. "Humans, in general. It just- It sort of feels like everyone's yelling, all the time. You get used to it," Emily shrugs. "But sometimes, I guess, yeah… It is a little loud. I think that maybe that's why Beca doesn't really like crowds, you know? She thinks it should only be loud when the music is loud."

"What do you mean?" Aubrey frowns bemusedly, and tips her head toward the kitchen in invitation for Emily to join her.

Aubrey really isn't surprised when Emily follows, trailing on Aubrey's heels like a little puppy in a foreign place, and Aubrey thinks that maybe that isn't so far from the truth.

"Well, like," Emily twists her mouth contemplatively, before she eventually shrugs, "Beca likes clubs, you know? And concerts, and– well, pretty much anything musical, she can sit through," Emily nods absently. "But she hates movie theaters, and busy restaurants, and sometimes even the grocery store," she giggles softly. "But I think it's worse, for her, than it is for me," Emily muses quietly. "Like, our powers get stronger as we get older, you know? And Beca– she's been around forever," she beams, like Beca is some sentient being that has just existed on this planet, century after century, no matter what goes on in the world around her, and like Emily thinks it's the coolest, most impressive thing she's ever known.

Aubrey doesn't mention it, but she's suddenly very, very certain that Beca hasn't spoken with Emily about how lonely that time had been, for her; she thinks probably that Emily might not feel so proud of Beca's enduring life if Beca had ever actually shared with her sired what that life had been like, for her.

"I think she hears better than most of us do. Maybe more, or something?" Emily scrunches up her nose, and Aubrey chuckles under her breath as she moves to fill the coffee pot with water, because Aubrey is distracted by her studies (and by her exhaustion), but Emily is such a tension-reliever.

And it probably doesn't hurt that Emily takes the word 'adorable' and basically gives it life, and physical form, too.

"I'm not sure," Emily laughs softly and shakes her head. "I don't- I don't know how all of it works, honestly," she confesses, nervously curling a hair behind her ear that Aubrey thinks was probably already there, in the first place. "I know Beca's stronger than most of us," Emily bobs her head from side to side, considering. "She's even stronger than Luke, and he's only, like, a hundred or something years younger than she is," she grins proudly, boosting herself onto the counter as Aubrey measures several scoops of coffee into the filter. "Oh, and also, her compulsion is just- woah," Emily blinks, like even the thought of it makes her confused. "There are guards and stuff, at the Villa," Emily explains quickly, "and they'll compel you to be still, or be patient," she huffs irritably, and Aubrey smiles to herself and thinks that patience likely is not a shining quality in Emily's repertoire, "so I know what it feels like, but…" She trails off, and chews the inside of her cheek in a thoughtful way that Aubrey recognizes, because she's never seen Emily do it, before now, but Aubrey does it more often than she'd like to admit.

"It's still different?" Aubrey supplies helpfully, but she thinks maybe that she is asking because she is curious.

She understands that Beca is the Vampire Queen, but everything Aubrey knows about Vampires has either come from partially (mostly, Aubrey will now admit) inaccurate literature on the web, and from Beca, herself; she's been using Beca as her gauge, and now she isn't wholly sure that it's alright to generalize, that way. Aubrey knows that Beca is special, but – even amongst her own kind – she is still unique.

The way that Emily tells it, Beca is actually the anomaly.

It makes sense, Aubrey supposes, because how frequently is a queen ever in possession of the same power, or of the same class as her subjects? How frequently is a queen's behavior indicative of the nation she presides over?

Basically never.

"Yeah," Emily breathes out with a small smile, and shakes her head. "Like, when a Vampire uses compulsion on you, most of the time you know about it, you know? It's sort of like…" she pauses and trails off. "Like Harry Potter!" She exclaims – extremely loudly and abruptlythen urgently claps a hand over her mouth when Aubrey spins around to face her so quickly that her hair spins out behind her, and she directs a poisonous glare at Emily before slipping out her hairband and retying it all over again, clipping the flyaway strands in her ponytail.

Aubrey doesn't mean it, for the most part, but Emily's volume had actually briefly startled her; she's forgetting, a little bit, that Emily is a Bella – and all Bellas are inarguably capable of being loud, even if they mostly aren't.

It isn't Emily fault, to be honest – Chloe is much louder than this, most days, and Emily is practically mute, in comparison; Aubrey just hadn't been expecting it.

But Aubrey's been affected by Beca's compulsion before, and, aside from the vaguely magical aspect of the ability to begin with, she doesn't fully understand how it's anything even like Harry Potter at all.

"How so?" Aubrey inclines her brow.

"What?" Emily squeaks nervously, shuffling anxiously over her thighs and purposefully clipping her hands beneath them, like she might break another one of Aubrey's unspoken rules concerning behavior if she's allowed to move them freely.

Aubrey rolls her eyes, but teasingly reiterates, "How is it like Harry Potter?"

"Oh!" Emily laughs at herself breathily and shakes her head. "Well, like, you remember the imperius curse? You know, the one that makes you do whatever someone wants you to? It's sort of like that. At least, most of the time," Emily amends with a smal shrug. "You usually know when another Vampire is using compulsion, 'cause you mostly feel like your body is doing things that you know you didn't tell it to, or even want it to. It's almost like you can hear another voice in your head that doesn't belong to you, and it makes you listen. But when Beca does it, it's sort of like- like it was your own idea," she frowns. "Like you thought it up, all on your own. She makes it feel like it was your decision, you know?"

And, Aubrey realizes as she narrows her eyes in thought, she doesn't.

When Beca had compelled her before – even advertently – she'd never made Aubrey do anything, because the order Beca had given had not concerned Aubrey at all.

She had just- caught Aubrey's interest. In that moment, it had felt like nothing had mattered in the world except for anything that Beca might tell her to do, and even though Beca hadn't – had never intended to use it on Aubrey at all – Aubrey had just felt- captivated. She had felt like Beca's wants were her own, and the only thing she felt capable of doing was anything that Beca might ask her to do, because no other incentive had been worth depriving herself of Beca's eyes, and her voice.

"I know it's because she's older," Emily murmurs quietly, and shakes her head, "but the only other person who I've met that's ever come close to, like, rivalling her power, or whatever, is Kommissar. And she's just sort of- scary," Emily whispers, like the woman can hear her, even from here.

Aubrey doesn't know, exactly, where the Villa might actually be, but she smiles, anyway, because she is still sure that Emily's hushed tones are entirely unnecessary.

"Does she know Beca?" Aubrey wonders, pressing start on the coffee maker and leaning her hips into the counter as she waits. "Kommissar, I mean?"

"Yes," Emily breathes instantly, and also reluctantly. Her face sort of- squishes, a little, into something that is obviously uncomfortable, before she irritably replies, "She likes toying with her, I think. Kommissar, I mean; likes toying with Beca," Emily replies ramblingly. "She just- really likes that they're almost the same age. There's aren't many of us who get that old, you know?" Emily smiles and shrugs. "But Beca and Kommissar are only, like, a few decades apart, I think. And Kommissar really just likes proving it. She uses her compulsion on Beca, like, all the time."

"Can she even do that?" Aubrey hisses. "Can she really just compel her Queen, to do whatever she wants?" Aubrey frowns, and balls her right hand into an oddly concerned and protective fist – one that Aubrey knows is useless, because even if Kommissar is the enormous aca-bitch that Aubrey is beginning to believe that she is, Aubrey certainly couldn't take her.

"Well, she can," Emily frowns. "Beca doesn't like using her compulsion," Emily smiles affectionately, resting her eyes closed, only for a moment – like she's remembering Beca; like she thinks of her and smells her and breathes her in, even when she isn't here. "She doesn't use it unless she needs to, or unless she's asked, so she doesn't really, like, retaliate, or anything. Not most of the time," Emily tells her.

"Why in the aca-hell would anyone ask for that?" Aubrey shakes her head bemusedly, and jerks it back in surprise.

Emily is oddly quiet, for a moment, before she shrugs feebly and averts her gaze to the floor.

"Sometimes, it's easier to- to talk, or to share, or to give over part of yourself when she makes you," the young Bella murmurs quietly. "Sometimes, it's easier to give up control of your thoughts and your feelings and just- yourself," Emily breathes reverently and shakes her head weakly, like she isn't explaining it the way that she wants to. "Sometimes, it's just- easier, if you don't have a choice. If someone is making you do it. And it's- it's so much easier if that person is someone you know you can trust," she swallows thickly.

Emily still won't look at Aubrey; still won't raise her gaze from the floor.

Aubrey doesn't understand where, or how, but she thinks she's offended Emily; she thinks she's made her feel guilty, or bad, or somehow shamed, and that had never been Aubrey's intention.

"I'm a control freak," Aubrey blurts gracelessly, and winces. "I didn't- I didn't mean to embarrass you," she swears. "Or offend you," she adds earnestly. "That's just- something that's really difficult for me to understand, that's all."

Emily smiles at her pink-painted toes, before she tentatively lifts her eyes and focuses them on Aubrey, instead.

"It's difficult to feel, too," Emily sympathizes, with an understanding nod. "But Beca– she makes it easy," she sighs lovingly. "Or maybe that's just me," she laughs anxiously and shrugs, like she's given too much away. "Maybe it's just because she's my sire, and I love her," Emily rationalizes and smiles. "Still… she's compelled me before, because I've asked her to, and it just- it feels like nothing in the world matters but making her happy. And that's pretty much all I want, anyway, so it- it doesn't bother me, when she uses her compulsion on me. I know she'd never make me do something I wouldn't want to do, anyway."

And Aubrey has never felt the full power of Beca's compulsion – not really. She's never felt it directed at her; only around her, and she suddenly thinks maybe that Emily could be right.

Aubrey thinks maybe that it probably could be easier to show Beca how she feels if she is forced to, rather than build up the courage to do it herself.

Chapter Text

Chloe thinks that Beca's wildly fluctuating confidence might be the most curious thing about her, and she's pretty sure that it's definitely the most revealing.

Well, okay– Chloe acknowledges that maybe that isn't totally true.

The redhead isn't ashamed to admit that she thinks most things about Beca are curious; she thinks the Vampire Queen is, justifiably, the most interesting person she's ever even met, and if Beca's age and experiences alone don't make that true, then Chloe thinks she'd probably still believe it, anyway, just because of that devastatingly crushing smirk, and the way that it acts as the Vampire Queen's shield.

Beca hides a lot behind that smirk.

Chloe's seen glimpses; she's had heartbreaking little peeks into the kind of hurt and uncertainty that lives just beyond that exaggeratedly self-assured lift at the corners of Beca's mouth, and, while Beca is definitely certain of herself in some things, it's become pretty clear, to Chloe, that the Vampire Queen is not half as sure of herself as that smirk makes her seem.

At least, not some of the time.

It's important that Chloe makes the distinction, because, to be truthful, Beca had been nothing but confidence, just two hours earlier. That smirk had hidden nothing from Chloe, thousands of feet up in the air as Beca had breathed filthy, intoxicating promises into Chloe's mouth, pressing the lines of her expression into Chloe's neck and branding her with all the heat that festered beneath it.

That confidence had been real, and Chloe knows it.

She had felt it.

Chloe had felt Beca's confidence, in that moment, like it had stored itself in the brunette's fingertips just for Chloe to have; like secret reserves of the stuff had turned airborne through Beca's words to assure maximum destruction, so that Chloe could breathe it in and feel it deep in her lungs as it consumed every part of her and made her ache.

No, Chloe's pretty positive that not all of Beca's confidence is just for show, and that her smirk doesn't always mask her insecurities.

Sometimes it's real.

Sometimes, Chloe thinks, it's exactly what it looks like – small and cocky and sure, and everything that makes Chloe weak, inside.

But Chloe pays attention, and she is patient. Chloe likes to observe, and she remembers thinking, not very long ago, about how wonderfully nice – intimate – it can be, taking the time to learn a person's behaviors and read the emotion through them without necessarily being told.

Beca had smirked when Emily had named the smaller brunette as her sire. She had smirked weeks ago at that diner, in the booth next to Chloe, the very instant she thought she might've revealed too much about her feelings for Emily. She had smirked when Emily had revealed her as the Vampire Queen. She had smirked as she had revealed her age, too.

It isn't always a smirk, Chloe knows. Sometimes, Beca lacks the confidence even to pretend – like when she had told Aubrey and Chloe about how she had become Queen; like when she had told them she had killed her sire; like when she had shared her heartbreaking loneliness, and when she had begged to keep them, in any way they'd let her; like when she had first shifted in front of them, and her eyes had pleaded for acceptance, despite Chloe and Aubrey being drunk enough that Chloe is surprised they can even remember it.

Beca had been curious to Chloe all of those times, too, but she thinks that maybe she hadn't been wholly honest, before. Chloe thinks that maybe Beca's true confidence isn't everything that makes her weak, inside, because this smirk – this one that Beca is wearing now, and that Chloe just knows isn't real–

This broken smirk makes Chloe feel weak all over, too, in an entirely different way.

It makes her feel the same devotion, and it gives Chloe the same feeling of her heart tripping too hard in her chest; it makes her reach for Beca, just to hold her, and be near her, and that's all pretty standard, for Chloe, pretty much anywhere Beca is concerned.

Still, this broken smirk also makes Chloe hurt and coo, all at once, and Chloe is pretty positive she's never felt so many complex things at the same time, except maybe with Beca and with Aubrey – so Chloe makes her feelings simple.

"You're nervous," she teases warmly, slipping her fingers into the thick hair spilling from the base of Beca's skull as they stand several steps outside her family's front porch.

"I don't do nervous, Red," Beca scoffs derisively.

Chloe giggles and shakes her head. "Oh, you're totes nervous. It's okay," Chloe declares cheerily, nuzzling her nose softly against Beca's.

"Dude," Beca says, brows furrowing until Chloe can see a small frown grow into the space right between her eyes, "I'm not nervous. It's gonna be fine."

"You're nervous, for sure," Chloe grins, anyway. "Don't worry; it's cute," she winks playfully.

"I'm not– You know what, no," Beca rolls her eyes and irritably turns her head down and to the right, away from Chloe. "I'm not even doing this with you, Red."

Chloe hadn't meant to aggravate her, or to antagonize; she really hadn't. It's just- she'd wanted Beca to know that Chloe can see her; she'd wanted Beca to know that Chloe can see through that crazy distracting smirk, and that it's okay for her to feel any way she wants.

"Hey," Chloe murmurs, more gently, pressing her fingers into Beca's cheeks until the brunette brings her wary gaze back to Chloe's own, "it really is okay, Beca. I didn't mean to tease you," she promises with an earnest, tender smile. "I think it's sweet that you're so – "

"If you say nervous right now, I swear to God, Chloe…" Beca growls, breathing it all out like it's almost one word.

"You'll what?" Chloe laughs, and fearlessly teases.

"I'm a Vampire," Beca deadpans. "Literally, it's pretty much against my nature not to kill you, Red; don't tempt me," she cautions with an abruptly sure wink that makes Chloe tremble.

This confidence– Chloe gets it a little better, now, but she still doesn't fully understand it.

It's just so quick, when it appears, and when it's gone, it's almost hard to tell. Beca's confidence comes without warning, and it fades out the same way – and whether it's there or it isn't, Chloe thinks that learning why Beca's confidence reacts that way is maybe the most important thing in her whole world, right now, and she's totally willing to devote all the time she needs in order to figure it out.

"I think," Chloe tells her, purposefully slowly, and purposefully trailing her unoccupied palm across the sharp line of Beca's jaw as the redhead steps into her, just a little closer, "you're all bark, and no bite. Your Majesty," she adds, and swipes her tongue bemusedly across her lip almost the second that she finishes.

… Chloe thinks she'd meant to use the title playfully, but- it hadn't quite escaped her mouth that way. Instead, Chloe hears her own voice breathe the words into Beca's lips, and the only thing the redhead can think to call her tone is sultry.

And that- really hadn't been Chloe's objective.

Still, Beca is all silver eyes and gloriously pale skin and sharpened teeth an instant later, and she swings her arm around Chloe's waist so quickly that the redhead has hardly even registered her touch at all before she's already pressed solidly against all the lines of Beca's front.

"Just because you haven't felt my bite, Red," Beca warns, and, oh, Chloe forgets why this is a conversation that they're even having, right now, "doesn't mean I can't. And it definitely does not mean that I won't. Do you understand?"

Chloe offers a shaky exhale and a nod, blinking swiftly as she tries to recover some kind of mental awareness beyond Beca, because the Vampire Queen's voice, as it growls and pants across the stretch of flesh beneath Chloe's ear, just makes her shiver, and maybe gasp a little. Still, she think the agreement must have been enough for Beca, because she glances briefly toward Chloe's childhood home and abruptly vanishes, reappearing a handful of steps in front of Chloe, but no longer in reach.

The redhead isn't wholly sure that she does understand, to be completely honest, but- she's pretty sure that her whole entire body wants to understand; it wants Beca to make her understand.

Chloe thinks maybe that she might somehow want Beca to bite her, and, God, all Chloe can think, for a second, is that Aubrey would freak if she came home with wounds like that from a supposedly tame visit home without her.

Aubrey might not say so, but Chloe thinks she might even be jealous.

Flustered, Chloe sweeps her fingers through her hair and inhales, slow and deep, until Beca chuckles back at her in much the same way.

"So," Beca smirks again, and Chloe thinks again that this is where it gets confusing; this is where she can't quite tell if the expression is genuine or not, and it makes Chloe's curiosity itch all over, "are we doing this or what, Beale?"

"Well, we fueled up a whole jet to be here, so we probably should go in, at some point," she laughs breathily and shakes her head.

"Just to be clear," Beca frowns seriously, locking eyes that flicker prettily back into blue onto Chloe's own, "your family does know what I am, don't they?" She raises her brows expectantly. "I mean, they know I'm a Vampire? And they know that I'm Queen, right?"

"Yes," Chloe promises with a smile.

It's the truth.

Chloe had spent an hour or so on the line with her mother discussing their visit, and she had made it very clear to her what Beca is. To be perfectly honest, Chloe might maybe have overly stressed the fact, just to keep herself from blathering off about how Beca makes her feel.

It's hard for Chloe to keep secrets from her mother, but it's even harder when it's something like this; Beca makes Chloe happy in the same way that Aubrey does, and Chloe wants her mother to know who's responsible for that. She knows that things are still undecided, between them, but there is obviously something happening, with her and Aubrey and Beca – something that is big and wonderful and aca-awesome, Chloe thinks and Chloe wants the world to know it.

Sometimes, Chloe just wants to gush, and no one listens in the same way that her mother does.

Chloe wants to rant about the way that Beca makes her feel both absurdly protected and absurdly protective, all at once, and she wants to try and put words to the feeling she gets in her chest when she sees Beca and Aubrey touch; she wants to giddily trip over herself trying to explain the way that her heart swells and swells, until it presses against her ribs and Chloe's sure the only option it even has left is to burst. The redhead wants to share everything, from the way that loving Beca makes her love for Aubrey grow impossibly more, all the way to how she feels when Beca's hand are on her, sweeping across her flesh and exciting Chloe's body beyond what she ever even knew it could feel – and from there, Chloe wants to share how watching Beca just look at Aubrey, or watching Aubrey just look at Beca, makes her feel warm and satisfied and probably like she could even see in the dark, just because of how brightly Chloe thinks it makes her glow.

It's hard to keep that a secret, so, instead, Chloe had rattled off a horde of things she'd learned from Beca and Emily about Vampires and their nature and their politics, just to distract herself. Aubrey had told her that it doesn't hurt to prepare her family, anyway, but that really hadn't been Chloe's goal.

Besides, this is Chloe's family, not Aubrey's; preparedness is more of a Posen thing.

Beales are pretty big on spontaneity.

"Good," Beca nods, and her smirk flickers back to life – but Chloe knows this one is nervous, too, and it's almost a relief that she can identify it. "Then let's do this thing."

Chloe giggles, brushing her thumb soothingly across Beca's wrist as she pulls her gently her toward the front door, and smiles affectionately over her shoulder.

"If you were nervous," Chloe tells her softly, "I'd tell you not to be. My family will love you, Becs. And even if they don't – " I still will, Chloe wants to tell her, and only just refrains – because Aubrey isn't quite ready, but Chloe's almost positive that she will be very soon, and Chloe can wait for it. She can. "Even if they don't recognize your awesomeness the way that I do," Chloe laughs warmly, and winks as Beca rubs adorably behind her ear with her fingers, "it'll still be okay. I'm not going anywhere, Beca. You're important to me and I care about you, so you're basically stuck with me, now," she vows, and she thinks that she manages to keep her declaration impressively light, but Chloe makes sure that it's as sincere as she feels.

The smile that Beca gives back is small and timid and so, devastatingly open.

Chloe's heart soars before it suffers some truly concerning dips and falls, as the Vampire Queen whispers cautiously, like she is terrified to ask in the first place, but like she is somehow even more afraid of Chloe's answer, "Promise?"

Aubrey hasn't told Chloe very much about what she's thinking, right now, but Chloe knows enough to be sure that Aubrey wants this – whatever might be happening between the three of them – and so Chloe doesn't think she's lying when she vows with her whole entire heart, "I promise, Beca. You're not alone, anymore, sweetheart, I swear."

Beca's lips part to reply, and Chloe thinks that her answer will probably be shy, and overly grateful – but Chloe never really gets the chance to hear it.

The front door rips open, and Chloe's sister, Mellie, exclaims abruptly, "Jesus, Chloe, just come inside, already! Ma's freaking out over dinner, and she won't even tell us why. I mean, no offense – your friend's hot and all – but I haven't seen her this worried about dinner since Gran and Pappy brought their twenty-something female lover to Thanksgiving two years ago! She's driving us crazy!"

Chloe bites her lip and giggles, and Beca blinks – twice – before she turns a severely unimpressed look in Chloe's direction.

"I feel like I literally just asked you if they knew," she glares.

"Well," Chloe struggles, then shrugs and smiles weakly, "I sort of thought that they did? I mean, I told Mama, and she- isn't always the most subtle, so I kind of just assumed..."

Beca pinches the bridge of her nose between her fingers and her thumb, and Chloe flinches a little; it's just- Aubrey makes this face, and this gesture, all the time – and it's never really good.

"Does your mom own the house?" Beca sighs out tiredly.

Chloe furrows her brows. "Half of it, I guess; Mama and Daddy own it together. Does that matter?"

"I can't– " Beca swallows and ducks her head. "I can't go in. At least, not yet."

"Of course you can," Chloe frowns earnestly. "I invited you," she murmurs meaningfully.

"Yeah, okay, I mean- I can, but it's not- it isn't legal," Beca explains with a huff. "Like, I can't go in if the homeowners- don't know," she whispers, casting her eyes skittishly in Mellie's direction.

Chloe's sister irritably flicks long, straight locks of red hair behind her ears, before she snaps out, "Hi, I'm Mellie – you must be Beca. It's nice to meet you. Do you want to tell me what the hell is going on, here?"

The words are polite, Chloe knows, but it's so rushed and frustrated that it sounds almost just like one really long sentence.

"I- uh…" Beca stammers, shuffling her weight across her hips and frowning, before refocusing on Chloe with a slow-growing, shy, disbelieving smile, like Beca can't actually believe how she even got here, but like she knows it's Chloe's fault, and it just makes her feel amused, even though Chloe can clearly see that Beca really, really wants to be angry. "You wanna take this one, Red?"

Chapter Text

Aubrey is fine.

After her talk with Emily, she'd finished her coffee on the couch, watching the last twenty or so minutes left in an episode of Hell's Kitchen with the brunette before making her way back into the office.

She doesn't stay there past eight, though, because, whether Emily actually sleeps or not, Aubrey's office is still the pseudo-guest room. Emily had been more than content to waste a few hours in the living room at Aubrey's request – just until tomorrow, when Aubrey will move her things into her and Chloe's bedroom, instead – but all of the Vampire's bags are on the dresser and the nightstand, and this is where Emily will be staying, while she's in the apartment.

Aubrey has always been taught to be a decent host, and she knows Emily still needs to settle in, so she refuses to stay there for too long.

Still, when Aubrey crawls into bed an hour later, she very swiftly realizes that she- doesn't really feel that 'fine,' anymore.

Nights without Chloe are difficult. They've been apart before, obviously; after all, Aubrey and Chloe had only moved in together at the beginning of their junior year, and, before they had become more deeply involved, Chloe had gone home for breaks to see her family, while Aubrey had travelled even further north to be with hers.

Still, it doesn't happen much, anymore.

Chloe still visits her family for a few weeks out of the summer, but Aubrey typically goes with her, now, too. Then they swap, take a day to drive up to Massachusetts, and spend a week or so with the Posens before venturing back to Barden. As far as holidays go, the Beales and Posens have actually been spending Christmases and Thanksgivings together for years.

Aubrey's father and Mr. Beale had spent some time together in the military.

The blonde had known Chloe before Barden, but only a little, and certainly not well. Aubrey had believed her to be a little erratic, truthfully, and a bit overwhelmingly forward, too; Aubrey had believed Chloe to be curiously sociable, and disconcertingly open, and so worryingly just- beautiful. In fact, Aubrey remembers purposefully keeping her distance from the redhead, back then – because any sort of creature like that has serious potential to become an even more serious distraction.

She'd been right, of course.

Chloe is erratic, and forward, and sociable, and open, and – perhaps with the sole exception of the Vampire Queen – Chloe is inarguably the most beautiful thing Aubrey's ever seen.

But Chloe is also a very serious distraction.

Not always; not when Aubrey's able to focus herself enough to work around her, anyway – but Chloe is a distraction, nevertheless.

Aubrey reminds herself that she had asked for this space between them for a reason, and it's a fair one; she's been very productive in Chloe's absence, so far, and she's spent most of her day outside of class working through her study materials to better understand and memorize the material. Aubrey's gotten through a lot of it, if she's honest, and that makes the separation worth it.

But, God, Aubrey's never felt her absence this strongly, before.

The blonde sighs, curling her arms around Chloe's pillow and hugging it tightly against her chest. Aubrey presses her face into the pillowcase and tries to keep her eyes from tearing, but it's mostly fruitless; the pillow smells like Chloe, and it's wonderful – but it isn't Chloe. It doesn't feel like her, or look like her, and it's ultimately a very poor substitute for the real thing.

Aubrey recognizes that it hasn't even been twenty-four hours since Chloe's departure – Jesus, Aubrey huffs to herself, it's only nine o'clock, which means it hasn't even been twelve hours since she whispered goodbye into Chloe's ear on the jet – but it doesn't actually stop Aubrey's chest from hurting when she acknowledges it; in fact, it mostly only makes Aubrey feel pathetic, which, in turn, mostly just makes her want to cry all over again.

She wonders if it's because of Beca.

Aubrey and Chloe have been apart before, and, while it had been hard, it hadn't quite felt like this.

It hadn't felt like her heart was flattening itself inside her chest, as though stretching out from her body altogether and trying to close the distance between Barden and Virginia just to reach for them; just to keep some part of Aubrey within Chloe and Beca's grasp. It hadn't felt like their bed was infinitely too large, or like the sheets were swallowing Aubrey whole, because there's too much blanket and not enough body to hide beneath it.

Aubrey hurts.

She'd expected it, some, but not to this degree; it's almost like an actual, physical pain, digging out from Aubrey's heart to achieve unfettered access to every other part of her, too – prodding through Aubrey's veins like pins and needles, ice cold, until she can feel them in her fingertips and in her toes, and all over the back of her neck and scalp, too.

It must have to do with Beca, Aubrey determines, and she releases a tremoring whoosh of air as she wonders what, exactly, that might actually mean.

The blonde doesn't have much time to offer the thought any real measure of consideration, though, because her phone rings – finally, Aubrey thinks elatedly – and Aubrey snatches it up so quickly from Chloe's empty space on the bed that it's probably a wonder that her fingers don't catch fire against the sheets from such quick friction.

"I miss you," Chloe tells her instantly. "God, Bree, I miss you so much. Has it always been this way when we're apart?" She wonders ramblingly, and Aubrey smiles.

Chloe's never hidden her feelings from Aubrey – or mostly from anyone, really – and that makes it much easier for Aubrey to feel comfortable voicing her own.

"No," she whispers into the phone as she rests her eyes closed. "I was just in the middle of blaming Beca for that, but I hadn't really gotten around to wondering if I was justified in believing that it's her fault."

The pins and the needles don't entirely cease their attack, but they certainly calm – and even if it's only a little, Aubrey thinks, it's somehow just enough – and Aubrey feels instantly like it isn't quite so difficult for her to breathe, anymore.

"I mean, like," Beca begins, and Aubrey nearly sobs, just hearing her voice; oddly, not a speck of Aubrey's pride even cares, right now, "it isn't my fault, exactly," Beca huffs, and Aubrey snorts softly as she imagines the Vampire Queen's indignant frown. "I can't control it, or whatever," Beca explains, and Chloe giggles – a little laugh that's almost like magic, to Aubrey, and definitely just as powerful – so the blonde thinks that Beca probably rolls her eyes, too, or does something else equally ridiculous, and it makes her echo a watery laugh back at them. "But I guess it is because you've met me," Beca confesses, finally.

"How?" Chloe wonders curiously.

Aubrey hears the phone shuffle around for a few seconds, before she receives a FaceTime call that she happily accepts, smiling something tender and soft and relieved as both Beca and Chloe appear on the screen of her phone.

They're reclined on the familiar, tattered green couch in Chloe's living room, and the redhead is tucked into Beca's arms with her own curled around the brunette's waist. Aubrey sees Beca's fingers buried in her hair, but they don't move; they just sort of- rest there, gently, holding Chloe's cheek over her heart, like her fingers had been stroking through Chloe's pretty red curls only a short time ago, but have since grown tired. There are faint tear tracks visible against Chloe's face, and Aubrey instantly wants to ask what in the aca-hell had happened to cause that, but the bright smile Chloe beams into the camera makes her hesitate.

If Chloe is happy now, then whatever happened to cause those tears has since become a non-issue – or at least one that is irrelevant to their current conversation. Aubrey doesn't want to upset her all over again, and the last thing she wants is for Chloe to cry, so she tamps down on her sudden bout of protectiveness; Aubrey resolves that if she and Chloe are to begin a relationship with Beca, then maybe it's best that, this time, she trusts Beca to handle it.

… If that happens to keep Aubrey from miserably failing with Chloe and her tears, then Aubrey won't exactly complain.

"You- are adorable, Posen," Beca blinks, almost like she's having trouble understanding the words even as they escape her own mouth, while a small, fond smile works at the corners of her mouth through her own obvious surprise.

Briefly, the blonde wonders what she means, or why Beca might even think to say that – but then Aubrey remembers that she is aca-embarrassingly hugged around Chloe's pillow like the giant ball of overly-feathered fluff is her only real tether in the entire world, and, instantly, Aubrey throws it back into Chloe's empty side of the bed with a scowl.

"What do you mean, it's because we've met you?" She demands, promptly ignoring both the heat in her cheeks and Beca's accusation, altogether.

Beca definitely does roll her eyes, this time, but she replies patiently, "I told you; you have the potential to become my mates – and you couldn't both be bonded to me that way if that bond didn't exist between the two of you, too. Right now, I'm just, like, the only thing connecting it, since I'm the only one of us who's a Vampire, you know? That- doesn't get weaker when we spend time together, Aubrey," she murmurs slowly, brows knitting together in worry, like she thinks that maybe she is about to tell them more than they might be ready to hear. "It just, like- grows. I can't be mated to you, as humans, but- we can pretty much hit every step of the mating process in between. We've- we've kissed, y'know?" Beca shrugs, swallowing thickly before averting her eyes. "We've, like, emotionally bonded, or whatever," she scoffs out. "We've spent time together, Aubrey. Literally, no one understands the mating process, but it's- it's intense, dude," Beca tells her cautiously. "And it- I guess it feels like this, you know? When we're apart, or whatever," she frowns in concentration. "But, like, I don't exactly know what you're feeling, or if it's the same as me," she murmurs shyly. "I feel- a lot, right now," she sighs out tiredly, and rests her eyes shut for a moment to long, while Aubrey holds her breath and waits. "But at least part of that is because I'm away from Emily, too. It's just, like- seriously worse than usual."

"She's fine," Aubrey tells her swiftly.

It's just that- Aubrey can actually see her mouth twisting around itself in worry as she thinks about her sired, and the blonde doesn't want that; she wants to know more about the mating process – at this point, Aubrey wants to know everything about it, and in how many more ways it can possibly affect her and Chloe – but reassuring Beca somehow just became substantially more important.

Beca might feel worse than usual, but Aubrey's hardly noticed a change in Emily at all, so far, and she feels like it's important that she makes sure Beca knows that.

"What have you guys been up to?" Chloe inquires, smiling softly and encouragingly, desperate to hear about Aubrey, but also desperate to ease Beca's obvious concern.

"I've been studying," Aubrey replies pointedly and glares, until Chloe giggles.

But Beca doesn't.

"And Em?" She worries anxiously.

"She's fine, Beca," Aubrey tells her earnestly, slipping her palm beneath her cheek as she props the phone against Chloe's pillow. "I promise," Aubrey vows. "I told her goodnight just a few minutes ago," she pauses, briefly considering her next words. "She seems a little- softer, maybe?" Aubrey tries. "Not exactly quieter than usual, but- reflective, I think; like she's thinking about you, and wants to talk about you, but not necessarily like she's sad. She's alright," Aubrey says softly. "I'm- I'm keeping an eye on her, like I said I would, Beca. I wouldn't lie to you," she whispers, shaking her head against the flesh of her hand.

"I believe you, Aubrey," Beca smiles shakily and nods. "Sorry. It's just, like- confusing. I'm used to feeling this way without her, but it's just- stronger than usual. And different."

"How is it different?" Chloe wonders, and Aubrey swallows tightly as she watches her girlfriend's fingers slip absently beneath the cotton hem of Beca's shirt.

Aubrey wonders how Beca's skin feels, there; she wonders how soft her stomach must be, underneath of Chloe's hand, and she wonders how long it will be before she can discover the answer for herself.

"I don't- know," Beca hitches with a groan, and Aubrey watches intently as her eyes shimmer briefly into silver, before the Vampire Queen inhales so hard that even Aubrey can hear it, holding the breath in her lungs.

Aubrey sympathizes; Chloe's touch is a difficult thing to battle through under any circumstance, but during a conversation like this one, she imagines it's nearly impossible. It's only made worse by the fact that Chloe obviously doesn't even realize she's doing it, and to tell her to stop would probably only mean a playful giggle from Chloe, paired with mischievously intensified exploration of her fingers across Beca's flesh.

Still, parts of Aubrey feel positively green.

It had been different, before, with Aubrey beside them as they'd kissed; it had been different because Aubrey was there, and now she isn't.

But, oh, Aubrey desperately wants to be.

"It's like- without Em, I feel off? I feel like I'm always running late, and like I'm never where I'm supposed to be, you know?" Beca shrugs, evidently gathering at least a little of her own restraint. "It feels like I'm rushed, and irritable, and all I can think about is how she should be with me, and is she even safe, where I've left her," Beca breathes, shutting her eyes.

Aubrey wonders if she's focusing on that feeling; she wonders if Beca is searching it out, deep in her heart, just to feel it more, so that she can describe it to them better.

"The venom is stronger," Beca tells them carefully. "Like I always need to hunt, even if I've just finished eating. It feels like I have too much energy and not enough, all at once. It's confusing, on its own, but, like, right now it's- unbearable," she whispers, and Aubrey watches as her throat squirms under a hard swallow.

"How is it different?" Chloe coos again softly, turning away from Aubrey and shuffling around, just enough to focus those perfectly blue eyes on the side of Beca's face.

Aubrey watches it, too.

"It- uh…" Beca struggles, nervously combing the fingers of her free hand through her hair. "It's sort of like I feel bipolar?" She scrunches her face awkwardly and shakes her head, like she hasn't gotten it quite right.

Still, she'd said it, so Aubrey laughs sharply in reply, and she hears Chloe's laugh echo through the phone, too.

"Dude, shut up," Beca rolls her eyes, but the ends of her words turn up a little, like maybe she's laughing at herself a bit, too, so Aubrey decides that she doesn't really feel that terribly at all. "I just mean that I'm, like, super happy to be here, you know? But I'm also just- really, really angry that you aren't," she flits her eyes nervously away from both the phone, and from Chloe. "I feel all of that stuff from being away from Emily, but it's- different," Beca insists again. "Part of me feels like I am in the right place, just- not with all the right people, you know?"

Aubrey doesn't know why, but, for some reason, this makes Chloe beam and beam and beam, like she's seeing the sun for the first time, and it's lighting up the world and giving it color.

Aubrey thinks she's absolutely gorgeous.

"It's sort of like I'm at my own party, but I don't recognize anyone here, and it- it hurts, dude," Beca frowns her bemusement. "Like, actually hurts. Like there's an ice pick in my chest, or something. I don't know," she huffs out finally. "It's hard to explain. I just- feel it," she whispers, like she's nervous, and insecure, and Aubrey instantly hates it.

"It's alright," Aubrey promises. "I feel it, too, Beca; you don't need to explain it, anymore. That's- that's what I feel, too."

"Me too," Chloe whimpers. "It's the aca-worst. And I miss you," the redhead breathes softly. "Aubrey, I miss you," she laments quietly, snuggling her cheek deeper into Beca's chest, like she's going to crawl inside, somehow.

Beca blinks.

"It feels like that," she murmurs mutedly, her fingers seemingly remembering their position in Chloe's hair, and softly straining through it to offer the redhead comfort. "It feels like 'I miss you' made physical, Posen. Just- everywhere, and all over, all the time."

Aubrey sighs and swipes a tear from the bridge of her nose, reverently promising, "I miss you both, too. Everywhere," she swears profoundly. "And all over," she sniffles. "All the aca-fucking time."

Chapter Text

"Holy shit!"

In retrospect, Chloe considers, maybe it hadn't exactly been her brightest plan to tell her sister about Beca before bringing her dad into the conversation, too; it might probably have been easier if they'd gathered the whole family in the entryway, to be honest, though Chloe's a little glad she hadn't thought of that idea before, because Beca already seems awfully overwhelmed.

She isn't showing it – not really, anyway; not to anyone else, probably – but Chloe watches her weight as it shuffles across her feet, and even though Beca is smirking again, Chloe's had her doubts about the authenticity of that expression, already, and right now she decides that Beca's smirk just can't be trusted.

Beca can argue all she likes, but Chloe knows that the Vampire Queen had already been nervous to meet her family, in the first place, and this is obviously not helpful in soothing Beca's nerves.

The redhead feels just a tiny bit guilty, because she honestly had believed that her mother would share Beca's circumstances with the rest of the family, and this- probably isn't even a little bit what Beca had planned, for today. Chloe had anticipated all sorts of questions, and probably a lot of those she had expected to be a little too personal, for Beca, anyway, but even Chloe hadn't thought they'd have to break the news on the front porch.

She'd sort of hoped to at least be on the couch when the inquiries started up, or maybe at the dinner table; Chloe doesn't care, just- anywhere Beca might feel a little bit more comfortable, or at least where she might know that she's actually welcome inside their house, first.

"I mean, like- holy shit!" Mellie exclaims again. "Is this for real? Are we really having a Vampire over for dinner?"

Chloe frowns.

She understands Mellie's surprise, and she can definitely sympathize with her excitement – it wasn't all that long ago that Chloe had been eager to meet Beca's coven when they'd first arrived at Barden, after all – but she thinks it's important to make something clear.

"Her name is Beca," Chloe explains patiently, and stretches her fingers out to hug tightly around the Vampire Queen's wrist in comfort, "and she's our guest, Mellie, so maybe we shouldn't keep her outside too long, okay? Could you get Daddy, please?"

"Holy shit," Mellie breathes, spinning quickly on her heel, but only moving a couple of steps into the foyer to brace her hand across the wooden railing of the staircase. "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. Daddy!" She shouts loudly up the stairs.

Chloe forgets sometimes that shouting is a thing she's even allowed to do, here. Aubrey isn't comfortable with overly loud rackets when the environment doesn't actually call for it, and although it's hard for Chloe to accommodate, sometimes, she can't really blame Aubrey for that. The Posens move around their monstrous McMansion like little mice on tip-toed feet, and they hardly ever even talk to each other, even when everyone's home.

Shouting is definitely forbidden.

Aubrey isn't quite that quiet in her and Chloe's apartment, but noisy sounds in quiet settings do tend to startle her, and Chloe tries her hardest not to do that.

Still, it makes her smile, because it's a spectacular reminder that Chloe is home, and there really is nothing in the world like coming home.

"Holy shit, this is so cool!" Mellie squeals elatedly, squirming a little on her toes as she whirls back around to face them, eager eyes vaulting across every inch of Beca like she's somehow magically going to sprout wings, right in front of her, and like Mellie doesn't want to miss a second of it.

Chloe laughs a little and grins, because even though she's sure that her baby sister is making Beca so seriously uncomfortable, right now, Mellie's reaction is clearly a positive one. Chloe hadn't really expected anything less from her family, to be wholly honest, but- she'd also expected that they'd have a little more time to come around to the idea, too.

"Wait 'til you hear about how she's their queen," Chloe whispers theatrically, and kind of mostly doesn't even care that she's only making the situation worse.

Beca sighs and turns fondly exasperated eyes in Chloe's direction, and maybe a teensy part of Chloe feels a brief surge of guilt, but it isn't enough to actually make a difference; most of Chloe is just excited to introduce Beca to her family, regardless of this unexpected hiccup, and she's sort of also feeling proud.

Chloe wants to boast about Beca, and show her off, and this is the first chance she's ever really had to introduce Beca to anyone, anyway.

"What's going on down there, Mel?" Chloe hears, before Mellie can produce a reply that Chloe imagines would probably be a little much for Beca, anyway, and she shifts her gaze to the stairs, frantically rushing inside to hurl herself into her father's arms as he descends them.

"Daddy," she whimpers into his chest in greeting, and instantly hears a booming laugh as her father's large frame sweeps her into the air, lowering her a second later onto the bottom step of the staircase.

"Chlo-bear!" Her dad exclaims, pressing a wide, warm palm over the top of Chloe's head as he looks her over. "I wondered when you'd be by! It's so good to have you home," he smiles softly, curling an arm around her shoulders and guiding her back to the door. "Now, who's this? Beca, is that right?" He grins amiably and holds out his hand.

"Yes, sir," Beca smiles tiredly and reaches her own palm out to meet his. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Beale."

Chloe's dad blinks twice, then he laughs – broad and loud until Chloe just grins and grins, and can't even help it – before he shakes his head. "Tristan," he tells Beca on the ends of a chuckle, as Mellie impatiently bites her lip behind them and peers over Chloe's shoulder to keep both eyes on Beca at pretty much all times. "And, boy, Chlo, you sure can pick 'em, can't you? This one's got manners almost as good as Aubrey's!"

"Well, she should," Chloe teases affectionately, reaching for Beca's hand all over again in preparation for her next words. "She's had three thousand years to learn them."

Tristan's dark blonde brows rise swiftly into his hairline, and Chloe thinks that maybe she had been a little blunt, but the look on Beca's face definitely makes her feel like this is the best way she could've approached it.

Beca gapes – and Chloe clamps down on a bubble of laughter in her throat, because it is absurdly undignified and totally not suited for a queen, even a little – before fastening her mouth shut and narrowing her eyes suspiciously at Chloe's mirthful blue, "You really don't know the definition of subtle, do you, Red?"

Chloe purposefully furrows her brow and frowns in a way that she thinks should probably indicate confusion, however false it might actually be. "What's subtle?" She shakes her head bemusedly.

"Yeah," Beca nods agreeably, a tiny smirk itching at the edges of her carefully deadpanned expression. "That's pretty much exactly the answer I was anticipating, actually."

Chloe slaps the back of her knuckles over Beca's shoulder in reprimand, but she thinks most of the effect is probably lost somewhere between giggles. Beca only shakes her head with a low chuckle in reply, but Chloe turns back to her dad before she lets the sound get to her too much.

The redhead knows it can affect in her ways that make her crazy sort of needy, and this really isn't the time for that at all.

"Daddy, Beca's a Vampire," Chloe explains briefly.

"Well, now," Tristan murmurs, lilting his head curiously to the side to observe Beca. "That sure is something, isn't it?"

"Uh huh," Chloe beams brightly, squeezing her fingers over the center of Beca's palm for comfort.

Chloe isn't too sure that it does anything for Beca's level of comfort at all, though.

"Chloe, uh- sort of forgot to mention that this wasn't something she'd discussed with you, beforehand," Beca smiles ruefully, rubbing tiny, awkward fingers behind her ear. "If that's not- I mean, if you aren't comfortable having me in your home, that's- that's okay, you know? Like, I won't be offended, or whatever. I get that it's sort of a big deal."

"Well, that depends," Tristan frowns, and Beca shoulders straighten instantly as Chloe turns a horrified look in her father's direction for his lack of immediate acceptance. The older Beale winks at her secretly, though, reassuring Chloe almost completely, before seriously posing, "It's Halloween in a couple of weeks, you know, and I've got a grandson who's been begging to go as a Vampire. I don't know if it's all that politically correct, but he's just three and has the worst damn puppy eyes you've ever seen, so I can pretty much guarantee you right now that the kid's gonna get what he wants, and I refuse to let a grandson of mine out trick-or-treating in a half-assed costume. Promise to help me get it right, and we're all gravy."

"I – " Beca squints and breaks off. "I'm not actually sure if you're being serious, right now. Like, what kind of reaction even is this?" She blusters, shifting wildly confused eyes to find Chloe, instead. "Also, did you just say gravy? Did he really just…? Oh my god, what is happening, right now?"

Chloe shouldn't, because she totes understands Beca's surprise, and it's probably even justified, if Chloe thinks about it, but she laughs, anyway; Chloe laughs long and hard and free, because Beca is so, so precious, and her dad is just the aca-fucking best, and Chloe is suddenly almost glad that her mother hadn't exposed Beca as a Vampire before their arrival, because otherwise Chloe would have missed this, and that would've been a serious, crying shame.

"Did I use it wrong? Mel, I thought I had that one down," Tristan rubs bemusedly against the back of his neck and arches it around to face it younger daughter. "It's gravy," he says, frowning and holding his palms out helplessly.

"You used it fine, Daddy," Chloe assures him, still winded and giggling, just a little. "Besides, Beca doesn't get to say anything, anyway; she's pretty much three thousand years old and she uses 'dude' more than any hipster I've ever seen."

"I'm literally ancient!" Beca throws her arms up in exasperation. "I don't understand how humans even come up with this crap, anyway. Like, how is 'gravy' even a thing? It's hard to keep up, alright? Cut me a break, Beale."

"Sorry," Chloe grins, but she doesn't really think she's even that sincere about it, and the redhead is pretty sure that Beca can tell, too, because she scowls fiercely and crosses her arms over her chest; Chloe thinks that just makes it worse, though, because it just makes her laugh all over again. "Will you come inside now?" She pleads earnestly, biting her lower lip and tugging softly against Beca's palm.

"Um- We decided that was okay, right?" Beca asks Mr. Beale cautiously. "I mean, yeah," she remembers with a roll of her eyes, "I can help with the kid's costume, if that's, like, seriously part of the deal, or whatever."

"Then welcome to our home," Tristan booms loudly, throwing his left arm around Beca's shoulders so firmly that the Vampire Queen stumbles into his chest.

Chloe releases a soft squeal and whips out her phone as quickly as her excitable fingers allow, snapping a quick picture to send to Aubrey later, because this is literally the most adorable thing she's ever seen. Beca's pretty brown hair tangles messily underneath the crook of her dad's elbow, and her tiny body looks somehow impossibly smaller clapped against Tristan Beale's bear-like frame; her cheek is all but smashed into his sternum, and Beca's eyes are wide and disbelieving, her mouth dropped open in incredulity.

Maybe Chloe should've warned her that she isn't the only physically affectionate member of her family, because Beca is obviously (and painfully) distressed, but the redhead shrugs the worry away; there are probably a lot of things she could've done to prepare Beca for this visit better, but Chloe had honestly just been too excited to think about it, much, and that's actually working in her favor, right now.

Chloe is getting all kinds of wonderful memories of Beca with her family, and she honestly isn't sure that she'd change anything about this first meeting, even if she could. Maybe that makes Chloe a little selfish, but Beca doesn't seem angry over it – mostly just surprised, and epically unprepared.

When Chloe's father finally releases the tiny brunette from his grasp, Beca flicks her fingers frantically through her hair to smooth it down, and shakes her head furiously as she huffs out a tiny breath of air that reminds Chloe of a puppy, sneezing into the grass like it's entirely unfamiliar. She beams in answer and pulls Beca in for a hug of her own, offering a soothing rub of her fingers along the line of Beca's spine to calm her.

Mostly, the redhead doesn't think she's ever really seen Beca touch anyone, outside of her and Aubrey and Emily, and she thinks that might be making Beca more uncomfortable than anything else. Chloe thinks Beca will probably have to get over that soon – like Aubrey had to, at least when she's with the Beales – but she doesn't want to overwhelm Beca any more than she already has.

"We touch a lot," she whispers softly into Beca's ear, and the Vampire Queen hugs her fingers over Chloe's hips and sighs out her relief. "You get used to it."

"Somehow, I actually really doubt that, Red" Beca replies wryly, but she smiles something warm and disbelieving and soft up at Chloe when they separate, and she shakes her head in resignation while Chloe does her very best not to swoon. "Should I maybe meet your mom?" Beca suggests cautiously, with a frown. "Your uh- your sister said she's been worrying."

"We should totes introduce you to my mom!" Chloe nods fervently, taking Beca's hand in her own and dragging her in the direction of the kitchen. "Mama?" She calls out excitably. "I'm home! And I brought Beca!"

"Oh, Chloe!" Her mother smiles lovingly and opens her arms to welcome her daughter inside them.

Chloe eagerly folds herself up in their embrace, pressing a kiss into her mother's cheek before she releases a soft sigh and hugs a little tighter around her mother's neck.

Sometimes she forgets, when she's been away for a while, how warm and undemanding her mama's hugs can be. Chloe doesn't think it's bad to forget; she just thinks it makes their hugs so much better when she finally comes home to remind herself.

"Hi," she breathes softly into her mother's neck.

"Well, hello, sweetheart," Mrs. Beale laughs, keeping an arm slung around Chloe's back as she urges her gently to the side, just a little, so that she can keep her front open as she introduces herself to their guest. "And you must be Beca," she smiles encouragingly. "It's wonderful to meet you, honey. I'm Martha."

"It's really nice to meet you, Martha," Beca says charmingly, hands buried in the back pockets of her jeans as a shy smile tickles against her cheeks. Chloe thinks maybe that if Beca could, she might be blushing right now, and it makes her stomach flutter like a butterfly garden just migrated inside there, somehow. "Thank you for having me here."

"Don't thank me yet," Chloe's mom laughs gently, and Chloe hums softly as she does.

Her mother's laugh has always made Chloe want to sing; she thinks maybe that that's weird, but she doesn't actually care. Her mama's laugh is just so nice, and soft, and Chloe feels happy every time she hears it.

Chloe likes to sing all the time, if she's honest, but- especially when she's happy.

"I'm afraid I'm not sure how I can best accommodate you," Martha taps her fingers anxiously against Chloe's hip, and Chloe grins.

It's cute that Beca isn't the only one who's nervous.

"That's- really kind of you," Beca chuckles, low and humble, "but it really isn't necessary. I don't need anything especially different from a human," she smiles reassuringly.

"Well, I've made chicken pot pie for dinner," Martha explains with a sigh. "I was going to make spaghetti, but then I wasn't sure about your stance on garlic, and that hadn't occurred to me as a problem before, but- Vampire, yes? So, I guessed it might be a concern and switched things up a little."

"Mama," Chloe giggles, fingers pressed into her mouth to stifle the sound, even just a little, "Beca doesn't even need human food."

"Okay," Beca frowns chidingly at Chloe, "no. I mean, I really don't – but the gesture is still appreciated. And, for the record, Red," Beca lofts her brow and folds her arms, "garlic actually is a thing, you know. For us, I mean. Well," Beca amends, bobbing her head indecisively from side to side, "less for me, since I'm older, but, like- Em would probably struggle with it."

"Aca-seriously?" Chloe asks, wide-eyed and grinning. "Oh my god, Aubrey makes lasagna all the time; why are you so difficult?"

"Really, I just like to see her all fired up," Beca shrugs and smirks. "Obviously, pushing Posen's buttons is the only reason I'd ever have to speak out against garlic," she drawls dryly.

"Remember those manners you had, once?" Chloe shakes her head and laughs. "What happened to those? Where did they go?"

"Sarcasm is a well-recognized defense mechanism," Beca replies haughtily. "Maybe I'm feeling defensive because you seem to be enjoying everyone else's discomfort, Red," she says pointedly.

Chloe's jaw drops open in disbelief, before she heatedly replies, "You are the actual epitome of intimidating, Beca. Maybe I just think it's a tiny bit funny to watch the Vampire Queen turn so adorably shy in front of my family."

Beca frowns earnestly and shrugs her tiny shoulders just once, defeated. "I'm having a really hard time remembering why I agreed to this visit. You're the worst, Beale."

"Because you didn't want me to come alone," Chloe grins abruptly and presses her mouth softly into Beca's cheek with earnest gratitude. "And also because Aubrey promised to watch Emily while we're gone, so there wasn't a reason not to come. And maybe also because you have work to do, too," she tacks on with a careless roll of her shoulder. "I don't care. But I'm glad you're here," she murmurs sincerely, with a surprisingly gentle smile, despite their teasing banter.

"Yeah," Beca smiles a tiny, preciously devoted little thing at Chloe, before quietly conceding, "I'm glad I'm here, too. And thank you again for having me," she says softly to Chloe's parents, tucking a flyaway strand of brunette hair behind her ear before shoving her fingers back inside her pockets. "I really- uh… I really appreciate it. It's a big deal to me, and I- I won't forget your kindness. Thank you," she tells them again, honest sincerity crawling so deeply into her words that it makes Chloe's eyes burn.

"We're very happy to have you, Beca," Martha replies with a gentle smile, reaching out to hug Beca in a much gentler manner than Chloe's dad had, but Chloe can tell that only helps Beca's uneasiness a little.

Still, Chloe can't think of anything Beca could've said to charm her parents more than that, and it makes her feel oddly like Beca could belong here.

Dinner passes in a flurry.

Chloe's brothers, Matt and Daniel, don't get home until half-way through, and introducing Beca all over again somehow opens up the floodgates; Mellie's been tamping down on questions that she no longer feels the need to hold back, for whatever reason, and Beca slumps back in her chair with a smirk and a laidback shrug, answering them with ease.

She isn't totally sure, but Chloe thinks that Beca's actually used to answering questions about her kind, and this part comes to her naturally. She's as casually informative with Chloe's family as she had been with the Bellas, not that long ago, and Chloe's family grows to like her quickly.

Particularly Mellie.

"So, here's the thing," Mellie blathers off. "There's this club, right? And you can only get in with a Vampire, and I totally wanna go. I turned eighteen last month," she declares proudly, "so I'm old enough, but I've never actually met a Vampire before you. And you're, like- their queen," she insists eagerly, "so there's no way you can't get in, right?"

Beca lofts her brow and smirks more genuinely than Chloe's seen since they were on the jet several hour before, and it makes her shiver, just a little bit; she thinks no one notices, at first, but her mother briefly pinches her brows together as she looks at Chloe, and – as atypical as it is, for her – the redhead feels a little warmth flush through her cheeks that she thinks is probably a tiny bit of a blush.

"I can get in anywhere I want, little Beale," Beca tells Mellie teasingly. "Whether I take you… Well, I think it's probably safest that I leave that up to your parents."

"If you take her," Daniel interjects swiftly, "I'm coming, too. No way I'm missing out," he grins winningly, and knocks his overgrown red hair back with a flick of his head.

Chloe giggles.

Daniel just started his freshman year at George Mason, which is only about an hour away, but he's bulked up a little since she last saw him. She wonders if he's maybe flirting with some girl (or girls) at the gym, because this thing with keeping his hair too long is very new, and Chloe thinks it has to be irritating enough for him that the only sound reasoning for not cutting it must have to do with a girl, somehow.

Matt snorts, shrugs, and subsequently huffs, "I'm not even sure if I want to go, but now I feel like I should. Someone's gotta keep the Beale family under control, and I know you're not taking Dad to a Vamp club."

Chloe wonders if Matt's wife will even let him go. Lilah's stopping by to drop off Chloe's nephew, Noah, tomorrow afternoon, and Matt's so whipped that if she doesn't want to go, he'll probably stay in with her. Plus, they don't leave Noah with Chloe's parents all that often, so having a sitter for the night is a rarity, for them; she wouldn't blame Lilah at all if she just wanted a quiet night for the two of them.

"I'm not sure if that's a great idea," Martha frowns. "Beca, what do you think?"

Beca considers for a moment, thoughtfully eyeing the ceiling, and before she can reply, Chloe's dad interrupts.

"Now, you keep in mind we want our kids to have a nice time, you hear?" He says, pointing a finger at Beca with a small grin. "We just want 'em safe, too, is all," he nods firmly.

"If that's your only concern," Beca slowly shakes her head and chuckles, "then they'll be fine. I told you," she shrugs bashfully, "I'm Queen. No one touches anything that belongs to me, and that's a promise, Tristan," she vows earnestly. "I can claim them for the night, no problem. Not one of your kids will be harmed, if they're with me; I wouldn't let that happen."

Chloe can't truthfully explain the way that makes her feel, but it makes Chloe's heart swell and simultaneously just- hurt; this is perfect – Beca is perfect – but something is still off, and it only takes a second for Chloe to realize what it is.

Aubrey should be here.

She should be here, feeling as charmed as Chloe is by Beca's easy comradery with the redhead's family; she should be here to mock Beca, just a little, and tell her that her status as Queen might be going to her head; she should be here to hold Chloe's hand, and to dart worried, chiding little glances at Mellie like she thinks it isn't safe for her to come with them to a club like that, even if she is old enough, just because she's the baby.

Aubrey should be here, and Chloe can suddenly feel her absence everywhere, and all at once.

It's overwhelming, and painful, and Chloe gasps softly and swipes irritably against her face when she realizes that her eyes are spilling tears in answer.

The whole room turns to look at her, but they mostly look confused – sympathetic, but confused – and Chloe can't blame them for that at all. Still, only Beca shows understanding, so Chloe focuses watery eyes on her, instead, and draws comfort from the steely blue gaze that moves instantly to match her own.

The Vampire Queen smiles something sad and reassuring, and reaches over to gently palm Chloe's knee, softly murmuring, "I miss her too, Red. We can call her after dinner."

Chloe sobs for an hour into Beca's neck on the couch before she feels ready to pick up the phone, but Beca hardly says a thing. The silence is almost relieving, for Chloe, because Aubrey – bless her precious, loving heart – hates to see Chloe cry, and does everything in her power to make it stop, even when the only thing Chloe wants is to cry; Beca just- holds her, so tightly against her chest that Chloe can hardly even move, and the redhead positively adores the feeling of being innocently pressed against her, this way, while polished fingernails scrape comfortingly across Chloe's scalp until she calms enough to breathe.

Then, they call Aubrey.

Chapter Text

Aubrey spends most of Saturday studying.

It's the entire purpose of her separation from Chloe and Beca, after all, and even if Aubrey feels like she has a pretty decent handle on at least the basics of the material, it also provides a much needed distraction, for the blonde. She still misses Chloe, and she still misses Beca, but Aubrey has never really been one for sulking, even when she wants to.

So Aubrey chooses not to.

Aubrey chooses to study until her brain feels practically like it's about to bleed out from her ears, and, after reaching that point, she settles on the living room couch to binge watch three episodes of Grey's Anatomy before migrating back into her room.

She doesn't want to leave Emily alone, too much – Aubrey promised Beca that she would keep an eye on her, and Aubrey has never been known to neglect her promises – but, after spending some time with her, the blonde realizes fairly quickly that Emily is slipping; she isn't happy, anymore, and she doesn't interrupt the show to insert any sort of commentary at all, like she'd done the night before. Instead, Emily is very, very quiet, and Aubrey doesn't need to ask in order to know why.

The girl misses her sire.

Aubrey understands – probably more than she wants, and definitely more than she is willing to admit to anyone who's not Chloe or Beca – but she isn't sure what to do about it. She considers calling Beca – for advice, maybe, or even just to let her know that Emily isn't doing particularly well – but Aubrey doesn't want to worry the Vampire Queen any more than Aubrey knows she already is, and she's pretty sure that there's very little Beca could do to help Emily from this distance, anyway.

Still, Aubrey's basically accepted a position as Emily's caretaker, at least for the weekend, and even if Emily is old enough to take care of herself, Aubrey takes that role very seriously; the way Aubrey sees it, Emily is unhappy, and it's her job to fix that.

The blonde doesn't call Beca, but she keeps herself awake past two, despite her exhaustion, because Aubrey's fairly certain that she only really has one viable option.

She receives a few shoddy, drunk-looking texts from Chloe, and a very blurry picture that Aubrey can hardly even see shapes in, let alone fully make out; it's dark in the photo, and all Aubrey can really identify inside of it is a pair of gleaming, silver eyes. She replies with a smiley face, and a brief 'I miss you,' which Chloe very promptly reciprocates.

Still, that was about an hour ago, so Aubrey fires off a quick message to Beca, requesting that she let the blonde know when they've safely made it home. Beca promises she will, and, in a separate, quick text, the Vampire Queen inserts a slanted-mouth emoticon before typing out, 'Wish you were here.'

Aubrey doesn't immediately reply, because the short sentiment makes her chest hurt and her fingers tremble, and she isn't even a little bit prepared for the sharp pang of neediness that jolts outward from her heart; there's nothing she can say to Beca that could accurately convey that feeling, so Aubrey doesn't try. Instead, she tells Beca to have a good night and to keep safe, and reminds her again to text when they're back with the Beales.

After that, Aubrey thinks she falls into a light sleep, but she keeps some section of awareness, apparently, because she definitely hears it when the front door creaks open.

She bolts from the bed, afraid that she might miss her chance, and throws a blue robe across her shoulders, hastily tying the knot around her waist; Aubrey scrambles from her bedroom quickly, but rubs tiredly against her eyes as she leans into the wall of the living room when she realizes she'd made it out in time.

Emily's already at the door, and Aubrey can see the top of Luke's blonde head reaching above the brunette's smaller frame. She sighs out a breath of relief; she hadn't known for sure that Luke would stop by, or even when, but Beca had told her that he'd been charged with keeping Emily safe, so she'd suspected that he might.

The two speak quietly in the doorway, for a moment, but they're speaking so lowly that Aubrey can't quite make out the words. Still, she remains polite and waits for the soft murmurings to cease, before she offers carefully, "You can come in, you know."

Luke and Emily both quickly turn to face her, and Aubrey instantly wonders why they hadn't known she was there, to begin with.

"Jesus!" Emily shrieks, reflexively curling her palm over a heart that no longer beats.

Aubrey chuckles a little and shakes her head. "Sorry," she tells them earnestly. "I didn't mean to scare you. Honestly," she furrows her brows sleepily, "I didn't even think I could. Didn't you hear me?" The blonde wonders curiously.

Luke smiles, calming much more quickly than Emily, who still stands practically paralyzed with her hand tucked atop her chest, her lips parted in surprise.

"Humans make a lot of noise," Luke tells her patiently. "It's hard to separate what's close by and what isn't, sometimes, if we aren't trying to. If we're distracted, especially by conversation," he shrugs a little, "it's a bit more difficult to keep an ear out for anything else. We hear so much that, a lot of times, it's simpler to block everything else out, when we can."

Aubrey nods, because that makes a surprising amount of sense, to her. She'd asked Emily the day before if human noise levels could be overwhelming, for a Vampire, and Emily had confirmed that they frequently can be; it seems logical that they might develop a way to accommodate for that.

It also reminds Aubrey that, when she'd first met Beca, she obviously hadn't been prepared for Aubrey's presence around her at all; Aubrey remembers that the Vampire Queen had also been on her phone, though, before the blonde had unceremoniously smashed her headphones beneath the soles of her running shoes, and this explains a lot, for Aubrey, about how that could even occur, even if she hadn't actually thought to wonder about it, quite yet.

Still, Aubrey tries really hard not to remark on the fact that this brings an entirely new meaning to the phrase 'selective hearing.'

"Sorry," she smiles ruefully at Emily, stepping a bit closer to soothingly stroke her palm against the girl's back. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah," Emily nods, allowing a tired, breathless little laugh as she shakes her head. "Yeah, I'm okay. Sorry."

"My fault," Aubrey shrugs easily. "Did you want to come in?" She asks Luke tentatively, darting a brief, worried look toward Emily that she hopes the older Vampire is able to interpret, somehow, even if she isn't quite expecting that he will.

"That's- very nice of you," he hesitates. "Are you sure it's alright? It truly isn't necessary," he adds cautiously.

Aubrey sighs and nods, before replying carefully, "You're Beca's brother. And you're here to keep Emily safe. Beca is…" Aubrey trails off and shakes her head, promptly ignoring the knowing grin that Luke immediately flashes in her direction, before she tries again. "And, anyway, Emily is a Bella; I care about her, and you're protecting her. There's no reason I shouldn't allow you in, and even if you did want to hurt me, for whatever reason, I don't think Beca would support that decision, so it'd probably be more trouble for you than me, anyway. It's become pretty obvious that it's now important to be careful about who I do and do not invite in my home, but I'm fairly certain that you're not a threat to me, Luke," she concludes rationally.

"Pretty and smart," Luke chuckles out softly. "No wonder Beca's so fond of you," he says, winking playfully.

Aubrey flushes, and straightens her shoulders uneasily, rustling slightly as she watches Emily do the same, from the corners of her eyes. It hurts to talk about Beca; it hurts Aubrey everywhere, and she can't imagine how vastly that same hurt must be affecting Emily, right now.

It hurts to talk about her, but all Aubrey wants to do is talk about her, and that doesn't even make sense.

"I appreciate your invitation," Luke tells her, evading the subject entirely once he realizes the way it's impacting the two girls in his company, "but I actually have a few things to take care of, tonight. Emily needs to hunt, first, before I can knock any of it out, but- if you're willing, I could stop by tomorrow, before Beca and Chloe return. My girls are spending a lot of time with you, Aubrey Posen," he grins secretly. "I'm not at all opposed to knowing you a little better, if you're open to that."

"Uh…" Emily interrupts, raising her hand shyly beside her shoulder like she actually needs permission to speak, right now, before Aubrey nods at her encouragingly and urges her to continue, "Beca won't like that. Luke," she huffs in instant aggravation, "you know she told you to stay away from them."

"Why would she do that?" Aubrey frowns bemusedly, the lines of her forehead wrinkling in concentration.

Luke rolls his eyes and folds his arms across his chest. "Beca says it's to keep Emily's Bellas separate from the coven," he whispers conspiratorially to Aubrey, "and it might even be partly true; she wants Em to have friends, and somewhere she can go that's just for her, you know," Luke explains, cuffing his fingers around the back of Emily's neck until, after a moment of irritated reluctance, she releases a soft giggle like she can't even help it, and burrows her face into his chest with a sigh. "And that's fair," Luke concedes. "She wants to give Em the world," he beams proudly, "and she's doing a good job of it, too."

Emily hums her agreement, but keeps her arms stationed snugly around Luke's waist like his impromptu, teasing hug has now turned into her greatest source of comfort, and she refuses to relinquish it.

"But she also wants the coven to stay away from you and Chloe, specifically," Luke discloses quietly, "and her reasons for that are, admittedly, pretty fair, too."

"How so?" Aubrey wonders tentatively.

Luke sighs heavily, and nods his head toward Emily, snuggled up in his arms. "Has Beca ever mentioned why I look after her?"

Aubrey clips her brows together and chews thoughtfully against the inside of her left cheek. "Beca says you keep her safe, but- I always wondered, a little, why Emily would need that sort of protection," she confesses.

"Beca is Queen," Luke tells her solemnly. "She'll joke about it, sometimes, and she'll make it sound smaller than it is, but it's a very large responsibility, and, being honest, it's not one that Beca's really ever even wanted," he shares softly. "Your country has Democrats and Republicans for your political parties, but we have- something different," he says slowly, like he's being very careful with his words. "We have Dwellers and Non-Dwellers."

"What does that mean?" Aubrey frowns.

Luke ruffles a wide, careless palm through his hair, and holds it against the back of Emily's head when he's finished. "It means that we have Vampires who wish for nothing more than to dwell among the humans peacefully, and then we have Vampires who want nothing from humans but their blood. Beca, obviously, is a Dweller," he explains. "She's made the slaughter of humans illegal, and she's exposed our kind to the world, all within the last five years; I understand that this may seem like regular progress, for you, but, typically, changes like that take centuries to enact.

"Beca's been working toward this since the day she became Queen," Luke says quietly. "It's essentially the entire reason she became Queen," he laughs wryly and shakes his head. "Our sire – Lessa," he sighs longingly, blinking just a little too hard, and just a little too long, "this was what she wanted. Vasidius killed her to eliminate the possibility of this ever occurring at all, and Beca- she fought him, for it," he swallows thickly.

"Someone had to," Emily pulls away quickly and scowls. "He was evil."

Aubrey bites her lip and averts her gaze, because, while she can see exactly how Emily might form that opinion, the blonde is still highly aware of the fact that the man had still sired Beca; even if someone did have to fight Vasidius, and even if he was evil, Aubrey firmly believes that it should never have been Beca's responsibility to take care of that.

It doesn't matter that she doesn't have the whole story, or probably even most of it; she knows that it had hurt Beca profoundly, and Aubrey instinctively hates anything that can make her feel that way.

"Yeah," Luke nods and inhales sharply. "And Beca did," he smiles, something sad and loving that's all for his sister, even if Beca isn't here to witness it, and it makes Aubrey's heart feel sore and broken. "She fought him, and she won, and now she's Queen. She's spent centuries turning enough of our kind onto her side; convincing them that living with humans, knowing humans, loving humans is the best way for us to thrive. Beca's worked so hard for this, and she won't ever tell you, but I'll boast of it at any given chance," he swears earnestly. "Beca's done well by us – all of us – and she's kept us safe; she's brought our circumstances to light, and has done everything in her power to legally and personally protect both Vampire and human, alike. She's been drafting laws and holding conferences for decades; she didn't make the decision to out us lightly.

"Beca has held the position of Queen for as long as many of us can remember, and she's well-liked," Luke explains proudly. "Vampires trust her to care for us, and the humans are swiftly learning that, where our safety is concerned, Beca will not compromise. Still," he sighs out gently, "despite all the precautions she's taken, Beca has enemies. Though the majority of us – largely due to Beca's efforts – have become Dwellers in the past several centuries, the Nons aren't pleased. They've fought her on this since day one, and will likely continue to do so – but, because she is a sire now, it's her main priority to keep Emily safe, and so I act as her guard," Luke says solemnly. "The whole world knows that Beca has sired, now, and that makes Emily a target. Beca doesn't want us associating with you or Chloe too closely, because she doesn't want to put you in danger, either. It was one of her biggest fears about turning Emily, and Beca had quite a few of them," he discloses softly.

"She did?" Emily frowns and lifts her head, backing away a couple of steps to observe Luke more easily.

Aubrey studies her curiously, and wonders how she couldn't have known, already, that Beca might have feared turning her for any number of reasons.

"Well, sure," Luke grins broadly, and chucks his fingers beneath her chin fondly. "She was afraid she'd do wrong by you, Legacy," he chuckles and shakes his head. "She was afraid she'd endanger you in ways that you didn't understand, and she was afraid she'd take life from you before you were old enough to really accept what that meant."

"I was eighteen," Emily tells him pointedly. "I was an adult."

"And you were sick," Luke reminds her sternly. "You were very, very sick, and had been for years when Beca found you. She always said she was never even sure that you wanted to be turned; only that you couldn't bear for your mother to suffer if she didn't need to."

"I – " Emily swallows and shakes her head. "I didn't want my mom to suffer," she says, strained. "But- Beca was so… I dunno," she shrugs weakly. "I wanted to be with her. Not like, with her," she rushes to tell Aubrey, with a wildly desperate little look in her eyes that pleads for understanding, and it nearly makes Aubrey smile, except that she's afraid to.

Aubrey's afraid to do anything, truthfully, because she's terrified that any move she might make could cause this discussion to end, and she isn't ready for that, yet; she wants to know everything about Beca, and about her past, but- Beca's never seemed like turning Emily was something she'd actually been ready to do, despite how much she loves her, and Aubrey's always wondered how that came to be.

"I just- wanted to be around her. And I was so sick, and the leukemia was so painful, and my mom just- cried. All the time," Emily whimpers softly. "I hated it. I hated being powerless, and I hated being weak, and I hated that there was nothing I could do to fix any of it. And then Beca came into the hospital and stopped into my room, and it was like she was meant to find me, there," Emily smiles vaguely as she drops her gaze to the floor.

When she lifts it again, she looks to Aubrey and briefly explains, "She wasn't looking for me; there was another girl, about my age, who was brought in with some serious injuries. I didn't know it then, obviously, but it turns out she'd been attacked by a Vampire, and Beca wanted to check on her, and make sure she was alright – but she found me, instead.

"And we talked," Emily laughs, but it sounds watery, so Aubrey checks her eyes and feels her heart clench when she sees that they are tear-filled and lined with red. "We talked for hours, after she found out the girl was in surgery, and when Beca left, I never expected to see her again. But she came back for me," Emily whispers, awed. "She came back for weeks, every day, until she finally told me what she was. She said that she could make me better, and I told her yes. Right away, I told her yes," Emily chuckles softly and shyly shakes her head. "She made me wait, though. She told me to think about it – really, just think about it," Emily sighs. "Then she told me to talk it over with my family.

"It took a while, because I wasn't sure how to explain the second chance she was offering me, and it was still so crazy that Vampires were even real, you know? I mean, they'd already exposed themselves, but it was mostly only something you heard about in big cities, and I lived in Ohio," she snorts. "But- my mom was all for it," Emily swallows again. "She just wanted me better, no matter what it took, so Beca came by the house after I was released, so that she could meet my mom and talk everything over with her, and make sure that we understood what would happen. Beca's always been so- so good to me," Emily breathes softly, like, even now, she can't believe how deeply Beca cares for her. "I've only ever been grateful for what she did," she tells Luke, wide-eyed and honest and so, so sad.

"As a human," Luke tells her softly, and slowly, "Beca cared for you. She'd spent so much time working for Vampires to accept humans as an equal race, but she'd never spent much time with humans outside of politics; she never had the inclination to hide who or what she is, and so she'd never bothered to associate with them, much. You were the first human she'd befriend in probably a thousand years," Luke sighs. "She didn't want you to pass on.

"Beca always said she'd never sire anyone before she could promise that they'd be allowed to live openly, and freely, throughout the world," Luke whispers reverently. "She swore she'd never condemn anyone to live in secret, the way we've always needed to. But, when she met you, Beca had already achieved all that was necessary for you to live any way you wanted. She cared for you, and she had no reason not to help you; she wanted to do everything that she could for you, Emily, and if that meant siring you, then she would do it. And she did. Don't ever doubt her love for you, Legacy, because only love would have made her sire you, in the first place."

Aubrey aches in places she didn't know could even feel aches, and it's only partially pleasant.

She wants to hold Beca, and she wants to press her nose into the Vampire Queen's neck just to share her air and smell the nature on her skin. Aubrey wants to submerge herself entirely inside of Beca's heart, because it doesn't matter that it doesn't beat, like Aubrey's does; Beca's heart might be the biggest thing Aubrey could possibly conceive, anyway, and she wants to carve space for herself inside of it, forever.

The blonde wants to feel Beca's love surrounding every part of her, and she wants to give her own in return; she wants to show Beca how perfectly inspiring Aubrey believes her to be, and she wants to make Beca feel as loved and cherished and cared for as the brunette strives to make Emily feel.

Because it might be true that Beca hadn't been ready to sire Emily, but – to Aubrey's knowledge – Beca has never failed her; she keeps Emily safe, and loved, and protected, and she gives Emily all that she knows how to offer. Beca gives that to Emily because she cares for her, and whatever is left, Beca devotes to caring for others of her kind.

Aubrey thinks that Beca, after three thousand years of waiting, must deserve to feel that sort of love and attention in return, and it hurts Aubrey that she isn't able to begin gifting that to Beca right away. When the Vampire Queen returns, though, Aubrey intends to make it very clear that that's what she wants.

Loving Chloe is a wonderful thing, but loving Chloe and Beca is the most fulfilling emotion Aubrey's ever known.

Chapter Text

Beca's out of the house for the whole morning.

Chloe isn't upset about it, and she wouldn't have a right to be, even if she wanted; Beca had warned her that she'd have work to take care of, and Chloe thinks that's fine. And it totally is.

Except- the redhead doesn't especially like the part where that means she wakes up alone.

She thinks Beca must've carried her into bed the night before, because Chloe remembers falling asleep in Beca's arms on the couch downstairs; still, Chloe wakes up in her bed and is confused not to find the Vampire Queen twisted up in her grasp.

Beca had been assigned a guest room, where she'd dropped off all of her things when they'd first arrived, but Beca doesn't technically sleep – at least, not often – so Chloe hadn't really expected for Beca to spend all that much time, in there. Still, she checks the guest room and sighs when Beca is nowhere to be found, traipsing back into her room to check her phone for texts.

It's sweet, Chloe thinks with a tender smile, absently stroking her fingers along the oddly delicate scrawl of Beca's handwriting, printed across a note that Chloe finds taped to the screen; it's sweet that Beca thought to explain, and it's sweet that Chloe can practically feel the Vampire Queen's regret and apology pouring from the surface of the paper. Plus, brunch with the President is probably a really legitimate excuse for Beca not to be here, so Chloe shakes her head and softly bites down on her lower lip, typing a quick message to Beca that tells her Chloe will be waiting, but not to rush.

She's a little disappointed, but it's fine – and Chloe's sure that she actually does mean that. She understands Beca's logic; the Vampire Queen wants to get this business taken care of, and if she can knock out even a part of it while Chloe sleeps, then that's less time sacrificed for the two of them to spend together.

Chloe enjoys a fabulous breakfast with her family and spends an hour on a call to Aubrey, mostly just to draw comfort from every soft, lovely little sigh the blonde breathes into the phone when she tells Chloe that she misses her, before she admits that she needs to go study.

It isn't until Chloe hangs up that she is cornered.

She wanders into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, and hums gently as she prepares the pot; it's nearly noon, at this point, but Chloe is feeling super sluggish and super lazy, and really hasn't even bothered to change out of the soft, tiny shorts and tank-top that she'd worn to bed the night before. The redhead yawns tiredly into her hand and smiles briefly over her shoulder when her mother joins her, padding up behind Chloe on slippered feet.

Still, when Chloe grasps a mug from the cabinet and hears her mother quietly demand, "Spill it," Chloe chokes a little on nothing and spins around with furrowed brows, a Tinkerbell mug clutched carefully between both palms.

"Huh?" Chloe frowns earnestly, shaking her head in bemusement.

"Chloe Beale," Martha sighs with a gentle smile, "you are my daughter, and I know you; I know this look in your eye, and it means love. So, please," Martha encourages warmly, stretching out her palm to rub a soothing line up and down against Chloe's shoulder, "give me some credit and tell me exactly what you've gotten yourself into with this darling Vampire friend of yours, hm?"

It takes a couple of blinks and some really frantic thinking for Chloe to even consider lying to her, and she even sort of tries; the redhead has exactly zero interest in hiding her affections for Beca, but, technically, they aren't together, and Chloe isn't sure how to explain that, or even how to explain how this could happen, anyway.

She splits her lips apart with the full objective to laugh it off and tell her mama that she and Beca are only friends who share a wealth of chemistry, between them – and that's sort of even mostly the truth, Chloe defends privately – but her conscience recognizes the lie in her intentions, anyway, and won't allow it to form on her tongue at all.

Chloe is proud to be close with Beca in every way the Vampire Queen will allow her to be, and she's honored to know her in the ways that she does; Chloe doesn't want to demean that, and, the redhead swiftly discovers, she honestly just can't bring herself to do it, anyway.

Instead, Chloe is only able to manage a couple of words.

"Beca's mine," she says, brows furrowed deeply inward as a curious frown slips across her mouth, and Chloe folds her arms over her chest protectively as she realizes what she's said.

It isn't that it's wrong, Chloe considers; Chloe wants Beca to be hers, and she's pretty confident that, if she asked, Beca would swiftly agree to become Chloe's without an instant of hesitation, but- that isn't something that they've talked about, yet, and Chloe isn't totally sure where the possessive need to claim her even spawns from, in the first place.

Chloe's never considered herself especially possessive.

"I see," Martha replies slowly. "And- how does Aubrey play into this?"

"It's- it's complicated, Mama," Chloe says pleadingly, offering a rueful little smile that doesn't quite touch her eyes. "Beca- She isn't just mine, she's ours; Aubrey's just- taking a little longer to accept that, is all," she tries for a weak laugh and a shrug. "We, um- we met Beca at the beginning of the year, and we've mostly just been getting to know each other better, but- we haven't made anything official. I want her," Chloe breathes earnestly, and so devotedly that it makes her chest clench to realize how very true her words are proving to be, even if she has limited control over which ones escape. "Aubrey wants her, too, and we- we almost have her," she swipes her fingers through her hair and sighs. "We're so close, Mama, and it's killing me."

And then Chloe's mouth takes on a life of its own, as she collapses into a chair at the kitchen table and holds tightly to her mother's hand, across from her, revealing everything she knows about Beca and mates and how she and Aubrey are Beca's, too, in everything but title.

Chloe tells her mother probably way too much information about the way Beca makes her and Aubrey feel, and she whimpers when she recollects the taste of Beca's heated kiss as the Vampire Queen's body presses into Chloe's own. Chloe tells her mom about the way her heart staggers in her chest when Beca smiles that shy, precious little thing founded purely in love, and she whispers about the way her fingers shake when those beautiful, cobalt eyes turn platinum, instead. Chloe tells her mama everything, and, aside from the occasional curious inquiry, her mother listens in the same way that she always has.

Martha smiles encouragingly and pats Chloe's hand when she flushes red and thinks she's shared too much, prompting Chloe to continue with warm blue eyes framed by the fiery red hair passed along to Chloe and two of her siblings.

When Chloe is finished, she sucks in an enormous breath of air and tries to hold it in her lungs, releasing it in a blustering sigh when her efforts fail.

"Beca is a wonderful woman, Chloe," Martha chuckles softly. "I'm not sure I understand – nor am I certain that I ever could," she shakes her head, and Chloe imagines that maybe she's probably overwhelmed, "but I know this look in your eye," Martha repeats with a loving smile, "and I know it means love. When you and Aubrey are ready to introduce Beca to us as- more," she teases, and squeezes Chloe's palm beneath her fingers, "I want you to remember that we are your family, Chlo-bear, and all we want is your happiness. If it takes both Aubrey and Beca to achieve that happiness, then so be it."

Chloe whimpers out a strangled noise of wild relief and affection, throwing her arms around her mother's neck and pressing her face into her chest, despite the awkwardness derived from still being seated at the table.

She'd never worried much about what her family's reaction might be; she recognizes, on some level, that dating two people at once is definitely uncommon, and including a Vampire among them is even rarer, but it isn't something Chloe thinks about. She just doesn't care. Aubrey makes her happy, and Beca makes her happy, too, and it's natural, to Chloe, that she could want to be with both of them for only that reason.

Still, enough of Chloe is aware of the strangeness to the situation that her mother's swift and easy acceptance fills her heart with love, and Chloe thinks again that it is just so, so nice to be home.

When Beca returns, it's nearly two in the afternoon and Chloe's sister-in-law, Lilah, has already been there with Noah for an hour.

They're chatting comfortably on the sofa, and Chloe's fingers keep playfully tickling against her nephew's heaving belly. Chloe goes so long in between seeing him, sometimes, that it makes her sad to think he might forget her – but, even if he does, Noah always seems happy to spend time with Chloe, anyway, and that makes her smile.

Still, when Beca moves into the family room (after knocking on the front door and subsequently entering, following the half-dozen voices belonging to Chloe's family that casually shout "come in!" in answer) Chloe has to swallow.

The Vampire Queen is wearing a sleek, expensive-looking pantsuit, with a silver, patterned top hiding underneath of a black, finely fitted blazer that only just reaches the line of her waist, and slides up a little when her arms stretch upward. On her feet are a pair of black kitten heels with more silver accents, and a matching silver chain drops in two swoops, once loosely around her neck and falling again somewhere into the line of her cleavage. Beca carries only one ring on those tiny, beautiful hands – a thick, expensive looking thing with an elegant 'R' engraved in the band, opposite an inlaid ruby – and it takes only a second for Chloe to realize that, with all of Beca's many rings, this is one she's never seen before.

It's a thought that Chloe only grasps onto for a second, though, because the only one that sticks inside of Chloe's brain is that Beca is just- gorgeous.

The redhead has seen her in jeans – and, God, Chloe thinks, those things are just an honest blessing, because they're so awfully tight, and they stretch across the shapes of Beca's ass, calves, and thighs like pure, genuine sin – but she's never seen Beca in anything outside of casual wear, and it's actually a little startling, for Chloe, to realize how seriously spectacular Beca could probably look in pretty much anything.

"I hate politics," Beca grouses swiftly and sighs, rustling her shoulders like she's shaking off the urge to gripe. "How was your morning?"

"I, um- It was good," Chloe manages, though her voice is maybe just a tiny bit breathy.

Beca smiles, and curiously moves her eyes toward Lilah and Noah with a lofted brow that is obviously asking a question.

"Oh!" Chloe realizes with a little laugh. "Beca, this is Lilah, and my nephew, Noah," she beams brightly. "Lilah, Noah, this is Beca."

The small, brown-haired boy in Chloe's lap scrambles upward before Lilah or Beca can even murmur a greeting between them, and Noah stumbles over his own feet until he stands practically underneath of Beca's.

Noah looks up at her and tugs demandingly against the leg of Beca's pants, and Chloe giggles a little when Beca looks down at him like he's some sort of alien life form that she can't really even make sense out of. The Vampire Queen shifts her gaze uncertainly to Chloe's, so Chloe hides her grin behind her fingers and nods encouragingly, until Beca warily crouches down on her heels and lopes her head too far to the right, eyeing Noah curiously in silence.

"You a Vampire?" He asks softly, the tips of two, small fingers hooking through the corner of his mouth.

Beca blinks twice, glances toward Chloe for permission, and, after receiving it in the form of a nod, replies slowly and hesitantly, "Yes."

"No teeth," Noah frowns earnestly. "Where they go?"

"I, uh- I keep them hidden," Beca replies, though, from where Chloe's sitting (and trying so, so hard not to coo at their combined adorableness) it sounds nearly like a question.

"I could see?" Noah wonders interestedly, peering up at Beca with wide, childishly insistent eyes.

"I'm not sure – "

"Actually," Martha interrupts with an apologetic, wondering smile, "I meant to ask if that was- maybe something you'd be comfortable showing us?" She bites her lip, and Chloe thinks, again, that it is just precious how Beca can make her mother shy, this way.

"Oh," Beca blinks again, sweeping her fingers through her hair as she releases a soft chuckle. "That- uh…"

"They don't normally do that," Chloe answers, winking softly at Beca's instant, tiny smile.

"We don't," Beca confirms carefully, "but- it's more for the comfort of humans than for ourselves. If- I mean, if you'd like to see, I'm not- opposed?" She furrows her brow. "It's unusual," she repeats again, "but it isn't a problem."

"Show me teeth!" Noah demands with a loud giggle, and a clap of his small hands.

"Is that- Is that okay?" Beca raises her brows, turning her questioning eyes toward Lilah, who merely shrugs and smiles.

Chloe just thinks it's sweet that Beca asks her, specifically, because Noah is her child, after all.

"I don't mind, provided it isn't- dangerous," Lilah hesitates briefly, and it's a statement, but she looks at Beca like she's asking for confirmation, and Beca swiftly grants it.

"No, no. It's- no," Beca shakes her head, and shrugs. "It's just different."

"I don't mind," Lilah tells her with a small smile, shuffling forward slightly, and Chloe thinks maybe that she's trying to get a better view for herself, too.

"Okay, little guy," Beca nods at Noah. "But I have a rule. Okay?" She tells him patiently.

Noah instantly pouts, folding his little arms across his little chest. "No rules," he declares firmly. "Rules no fun," he determines stubbornly.

"Rules are no fun," Beca absently corrects on a soft laugh, agreeing gently. "But this one is important. I can show you my teeth," she tells him with a crooked little grin that makes Chloe feel like she's probably well on her way to melting in between the couch cushions, somewhere, "but the rule is that you aren't allowed to touch them."

Noah stomps his foot and twists his pout into a scowl. "How come?" He challenges crossly.

Chloe laughs brightly, and her mother and Lilah echo the noise, before Beca offers the boy a small chuckle.

"They're very sharp," she explains slowly, to enable comprehension, Chloe guesses. "They could hurt you. Like- like scissors," Beca nods, content with her example. "And you don't want that, right?"

"'Kay," Noah agrees with an irritable huff. "No touch teeth."

"Promise?" Beca insists, with a brow that climbs expectantly into her hairline.

Noah nods, and offers up a curled pinky finger, shoving it an inch from Beca's face. The Vampire Queen frowns, eyes crossing just a little to focus on it, and her eyes move cautiously in Chloe's direction like she has no idea what this means, or what Noah could possibly want her to do with that finger at all.

And, Chloe considers with a series of delighted laughs, Beca probably doesn't.

"Haven't you ever made a pinky promise?" Chloe giggles out, though her words are stilted between her amusement and her desperate urge to just tackle Beca to the floor with adoring little kisses to her neck and face and nose.

"A- what?" Beca frowns earnestly.

"Oh, my," Martha shakes her head with a soft laugh. "You truly are older than you look, aren't you?"

Beca continues to blink her bemusement, but Chloe is too lost in the feel of her heart swelling and throbbing against her ribs to provide an appropriate reply.

Noah grows impatient, though, and removes the fingers from his mouth to take Beca's hand in his own, bending her pinky and hooking it around his still extended one, before he shakes their linked fingers sharply up and down, just once, grinning up at her expectantly as he releases her hand back to her control.

"Um… Is that- So, no touching the teeth, right?" Beca flusters in confusion, wiping her saliva-wettened fingers against her pants and flicking her gaze to Chloe's all over again, like she still isn't sure what just happened.

Chloe thinks there's a sizeable chance that her heart might explode, altogether, because every part of her just feels so full and happy.

"No touch!" Noah huffs in aggravated agreement. "Show!"

When Beca looks to her, this time, Chloe is able to manage a nod to go along with her sappy, tender smile and probably gooey eyes, so the Vampire Queen inhales slowly and nods, anxiously swiping her tongue across her pretty, pink lips.

Chloe watches attentively, because, even if she's watched this happen before, the process is still mesmerizing, to her; she loves watching the color of Beca's eyes shift like rolling tides, and she loves watching the pale glimmer of her skin as it trembles and glows; she loves watching how Beca's canines sharpen and grow in length, and, afterward, she loves watching the changes in Beca's behaviors, too.

"Woah," Noah breathes, awed, and claps his small hands softly against Beca's cheeks, pulling himself closer until their foreheads touch together.

As interested as Noah had been to see Beca's teeth, it turns out to be her eyes that Chloe's nephew becomes fascinated with, and Chloe can't actually even blame him; Beca's teeth are ridiculously captivating, but her eyes are another thing, altogether.

"Pretty," he whispers, his sky blue gaze glued to Beca's with child-like intensity.

"Yeahh," Beca says, a little higher in pitch with her amusement than normal, as the edges of her mouth slowly quirk into a smile. "You Beales really aren't big on boundaries, huh?" She asks Noah with a bemused chuckle.

"Huh?" Noah giggles and wrinkles his nose in answer, but, when it bunches upward, it brushes with Beca's, and Chloe thinks this is literally the most precious thing in the world.

Beca only shakes her head, and is saved from a response by Mellie rushing down the stairs.

"Beca!" Mellie exclaims excitedly. "You're back! And- oh," she breathes, blinking vacantly as she stares at Beca's crouched, silver-eyed frame. "Oh," Mellie blinks again. "That's, like- Ohmygod, you're so hot," she exhales, her blinks becoming more and more rapid until she reaches up and pinches her arm. "Oh. Real. Okay, this is real," Mellie nods to herself in confirmation. "Just cool it, Mellie," she murmurs to herself.

Beca snorts and cocks her head to the right all over again, stretching her fingers behind her ear and scratching softly in discomfort.

"So, this was fun," Beca nods, shrugging awkwardly before she stretches her neck and rewinds the transformation process all over again. "I, uh- I was going to ask who all was coming out tonight," Beca says, changing the subject, and Chloe frowns when she realizes that Beca is feeling insecure.

She wonders why.

None of her family had reacted poorly, even if Mellie had maybe been just a tiny bit too admiring of Beca, in that form. Chloe doesn't really mind that her sister thinks Beca's hot, because Beca is, and that's just a fact; still, Chloe realizes that maybe Mellie's growing adoration might be making Beca feel uncomfortable, and Chloe really isn't sure how to tell her that her sister's little crush will probably only get stronger, before they leave tomorrow.

It's true, Chloe thinks, because Mellie has the same sort of interest in women that Chloe does, and, even without the supernatural link that she and Aubrey share with Beca, Chloe thinks she'd probably still find Beca intriguing and mind-blowingly attractive; she can't honestly imagine anyone thinking any differently, either – at least, not anyone who appreciates the female anatomy in the way that Chloe does.

Plus, Chloe considers with a shrug, Mellie doesn't know that Beca is Chloe's – or that she soon will be, anyway – so there's no real, obvious reason for her not to crush on Beca. Even if she is a Vampire.

Or, Chloe imagines, maybe especially because she is one.

"Are you coming with us to the club, Lilah?" Chloe wonders aloud.

Lilah shrugs tiredly, and sighs, "I was sort of hoping to stay in, honestly. Noah's been a terror, lately, and I'm a little exhausted," she smiles apologetically.

"That's okay!" Chloe promises earnestly. "So, then, it's you, me, Daniel, and Mellie," Chloe tells Beca with a comforting smile. "Is that okay?"

"Yeah," Beca nods quickly. "Of course. But- I'd like to speak with you guys for a minute, before we go."

Chloe shrugs and promptly hollers up the stairs for Daniel to join them, and, when he tumbles down the steps, nearly tripping over Mellie in the process, he grins affably and, winded, inquires, "What's up, Chlo?"

"Beca wants to talk to us about the club, tonight," Chloe explains with a laugh. "Come sit," she insists, patting the sofa beside her.

Chloe watches Beca shuffle nervously on her heels, but Chloe doesn't feel the need to rush her; they're all new to Vampires, really – Chloe least of all – and she knows Beca probably wants to prepare them for what the night is going to be like. Chloe is excited to go, but, if she's honest, she thinks mostly she's just eager to see how Beca behaves with her own kind.

Beca is Queen, after all, and, while Chloe recognizes that that's important, she's never actually seen the way Beca behaves inside of that role.

Chloe thinks that tonight will be enlightening, because Chloe wants to know every part of Beca, and she has no illusions; Beca is choosing to share this with her – choosing to share this huge part of herself, both with Chloe and her siblings – and that's something worthy of deep appreciation.

There are very few parts of Beca that Chloe Beale does not appreciate.

Chapter Text

Aubrey can't sleep.

She's exhausted, and she's been fending away the need to nod off since a little before midnight, but, after Luke leaves, Aubrey's mind is too full for her to actually fall asleep, now that she has the opportunity.

She's learned so much about Beca in the past several hours, and it only makes her feelings for the Vampire Queen grow stronger; it's an odd and distinctly warm sort of feeling, and Aubrey a little bit adores it, but- that's a difficult thing for the blonde to cope with, all on her own.

Aubrey wants, more than anything, to cradle Beca in her arms and swear with every violent, frantic pulse of her heart that she will never, ever let her go, and that's really just an impossible thing for her to want when the brunette is so very far away. It doesn't help, either, that Chloe is equally out of Aubrey's reach, because the only other thing Aubrey could think to desire as much as holding Beca, right now, would be holding Chloe, and quietly divulging to the redhead every minute detail of what she's learned about their Queen, so that Chloe can share in the deep reverence and devotion that's clouding through Aubrey's veins, now, too.

Beca and Chloe will be back the following afternoon, and Aubrey knows that, but it doesn't help; she understands, theoretically, that it is positively ridiculous to weep this miserably after only a couple of days being apart, but the knowledge of that doesn't relieve any of the ache she feels rooting in her heart.

The 'I-miss-you' pain is only worsening with every minute Aubrey is away from them, and it's honestly a little frightening.

She knows a great deal more about Beca and Vampires than she had when she and Chloe had first met the brunette, and Aubrey is relatively happy with the pace Beca's adopted for how and when she chooses to share more, but- Aubrey still doesn't know as much about 'mating' as she'd like. Still, Beca had implied, during their FaceTime conversation, that she and Chloe and Beca have already begun to mate, and that makes Aubrey a little bit anxious.

She wants to be with Beca – and that's something that is going to happen, Aubrey thinks determinedly, regardless of any concerns she may have regarding how it might work – but Aubrey still has questions.

Chloe and Aubrey have the potential to become Beca's mates, and, evidently, they've already started to become that, somehow, but- Aubrey still doesn't fully even know what that means; it's scary, for her, that she's already sort of committed herself to something that she doesn't wholly understand.

Aubrey tries not to think too much about Beca's offer to turn them – or, Aubrey considers, perhaps to have them turned by someone else, if Beca doesn't feel ready to sire them herself, on top of Emily, too – because it's too much, for her; it's too much for Aubrey's mind to fathom, right now, and she refuses to even idly consider becoming a Vampire before she knows more about them.

Aubrey is learning, and she's making great strides, but there are still missing gaps, and she's beginning to realize that Vampire culture is a vast thing to grasp onto.

Still, the blonde does know enough to recognize that the mating process can't actually be completed if she and Chloe are still human, and while that's relieving, in some ways, it's also a strange concept, for Aubrey; it's truthfully very difficult for her to imagine any feeling more powerful that what she already feels, for Chloe and Beca, but- she thinks probably that this is only the beginning. The fact is, she and Chloe are still human, and, however powerful it might feel for Aubrey now, in the beginning stages, the mating process isn't complete.

Beca had told them that the bond only grows stronger, as they spend time together; the brunette had told them that it grows stronger with emotional investment, and with physical interaction.

Aubrey flushes brightly in her and Chloe's bed the moment that the thought occurs to her, but, nevertheless, it's still true that they haven't even shed clothes for one another – and, although it's something Aubrey's growing progressively hungry for, they definitely haven't had sex, yet.

Surely their bond will grow stronger after that, won't it? And what will that feel like?

The blonde wonders how much more she's actually even capable of feeling, for Chloe and Beca, because her emotions are already wildly out of her control, and Aubrey thinks that if she's feels any more for either one of them, she might forgot what it's like to ever feel anything else.

The whole situation makes for a very, very long night, and Aubrey spends most of it twisting and turning, and maybe crying, just for a few minutes, when the loneliness feels like just a bit too much to bear on her own.

It's sometime around five when Aubrey finally manages to get some sleep.

Aubrey isn't sure what she'd expected, when Luke had asked to spend some time together in the morning, but she's fairly certain that it hadn't been- this.

She's still a little groggy, and she's very tired, but when Beca's brother had knocked at her door a mere four hours after she'd finally found rest, Aubrey hadn't been able to turn him away. She isn't sure that this is the best idea – particularly given Emily's refusal to participate in their time together, in respect for Beca's wish to keep them apart – but Aubrey has a very strong (and sometimes irritatingly devout) sense of loyalty to family.

Emily is Beca's sired, and Aubrey's never underestimated the strength of that bond, but Aubrey has a gut-feeling that Luke knows the Vampire Queen the best; he's Beca's brother, and her friend, and Aubrey has the very distinct impression that if she were to need anyone's approval, in order to date Beca, it would be Luke's. The blonde isn't honestly even sure if that's a custom, among Vampires, but Aubrey is human, and has to work with what she knows.

Still, even for Aubrey's human traditions, it's strange, to her, to find herself trapped on the couch with Luke at her side, as she thumbs through a very old, leather photo album that the blonde Vampire had brought with him. It's normal, she supposes, for families to bring out the baby and prom pictures, when meeting the new suitors, but she really hadn't expected the same behavior from Luke.

"The twenties were great," Luke grins in remembrance. "I'm still convinced it was all those fancy parties that send the world into the Depression," he winks playfully.

Aubrey laughs softly, but has a really difficult time tearing her eyes from the pages.

The photos are black and white, mostly – at least in this section – and Beca's style is so, so different in every single picture, but it's still her. Aubrey's seen her, so far, in flapper dresses and heels and slacks and silks, and every image only serves as further proof, to the blonde, that Beca is just timelessly beautiful.

Luke mostly allows Aubrey to browse the photos in silence, a soft smile tipping up the corners of his mouth as he peers unobtrusively over Aubrey's shoulder, but- there's one picture that makes Aubrey hesitate.

It's in the first couple of pages filled with color photos that she finds it.

In the photo, Beca wears a green and white checkered dress, and it's certainly modest, in accordance with the times, but a bit more of her neck and chest are visible than on the girls Aubrey can see hovering in the background. Luke is on her left, sporting khaki-colored slacks and a button-up blue shirt, and Beca and Luke stand side by side. Luke's smile is practically nonexistent, though, and Beca's looks- hard; the expression on the Vampire Queen's face is neutral, and almost cold, and the tall, olive-skinned man at her right, with his arm propped blithely across Beca's shoulders, beams brightly like the tension in his companions hasn't affected him in the least.

He's dressed more casually than Beca and Luke, in dark jeans and a simple, red t-shirt, and his smile is earnest; nothing about him seems inherently wrong, but- Aubrey still feels like he is, somehow.

Something in her stomach twists extremely unpleasantly the very moment that she catches sight of him, and, though Aubrey can't explain why for the life of her, a sudden wave of genuine, undiluted hatred slithers up her spine.

"Who is that?" She snarls furiously, and without thought.

"D'Artagnan. Beca's brother," Luke sneers distastefully. "The only other Vampire that Vasidius ever sired, aside from Beca."

It's strange to feel so strongly for someone Aubrey's never even met before, but every fiber of her being spews disgust at his image. The feeling is her own, but it's fed by a history that doesn't belong to Aubrey at all, and Aubrey is so furious that she hardly even recognizes the mild sensation of dissonance.

"Why does Beca hate him?" Aubrey snaps out testily, shoving her fingers through her hair in a brief plea to herself for patience.

It doesn't ever occur to Aubrey to be alarmed by the fact that she somehow just knows Beca hates him, even without ever being told.

Luke blinks, startled, before he slowly smiles – something wondrous and awed – before he whispers, "You're further along than I thought, with the mating," he explains shortly, and, though Aubrey wants to ask more, Luke merely sighs, before offering her a shrug. "Beca was always fonder of Lessa than Vasidius, and she's always favored Lessa's stance, politically, but- her brother idolized Vasidius. D'Artagnan supported his methods and agreed with his values, and- now, he leads the Non-Dwellers in their attempts to overthrow Beca's reign. When this photo was taken, back in the 60s," Luke slumps his shoulders, "the Vietnam war was in full-swing – "

"I know," Aubrey replies absently. "My father was in the army, then."

Luke nods his understanding, but continues with little other acknowledgment. "Wartime among humans is, essentially, a political nightmare, for us; the Nons emerge from hiding to taste human blood, either drinking from the injured and freshly dead, or killing unharmed soldiers to later make it appear as though they'd died in battle. As their party leader, D'Artagnan makes appearances on mostly every battlefield the world has known since his turning; from what I understand, he regularly makes trips to Iraq, these days. I'm sure he'd spend equally as much time in South America, or in the less savory places of Africa, but the people there are so diseased and malnourished that, quite frankly, their blood tastes like shit, anyway.

"Beca's law against the slaughter of humans was only enacted five years ago, and, since then, D'Artagnan has been very careful; he won't be caught drinking human blood that isn't freely offered to him, and, as much I want to rip the bastard's skull from his spine and finish him off, Beca isn't so eager. She does hate him," Luke admits, "but she also loves him, and I can't blame her for that; D'Artagnon is her brother, just as I am," Luke sighs tiredly and shakes his head, combing his fingers through ruffled strands of blonde hair. "Still, she doesn't want to catch him, because, if she does, she'll have to kill him. Truthfully, though, I think the entire Non-Dweller movement would fall apart, without his leadership.

"D'Artagnan has never physically hurt Beca," Luke tells Aubrey reluctantly, "and, if I'm perfectly honest, I don't believe he ever would; in his own, twisted way, D'Artganan loves her, too, and would never wish his sister any lasting measure of harm. That being said, he's a master of emotional manipulation, and he's very strategic; many times, he's held members of our coven hostage to achieve even a small concession from Beca.

"Understand," Luke pleads softly, "Beca cares for all of the Vampires she rules over, but our coven is Beca's family. Primarily, she speaks with me and Em," Luke confesses. "She's most comfortable with us, and rarely speaks to anyone else – though, you and Chloe have recently become the exception," he smiles weakly. "Still, the members of our coven are all people she saved, in one way or another, and our loyalty to her is unmatched; Beca is loyal to us in the same way, and there is nothing she wouldn't do to keep her coven safe. D'Artagnan takes advantage of that, and uses it against her. As I said," Luke shrugs exhaustedly, "he's never physically hurt Beca, but- he has no qualms with hurting those she cares for," he says carefully, and it feels like a warning.

Aubrey imagines that it probably is one.

She and Chloe have become deeply, passionately invested in Beca and her life, and, if D'Artagnan has a penchant for targeting the people Beca cares for, then they're both at risk.

Aubrey understands that this is what Beca had been protecting them from, when she'd asked Luke and the rest of her coven to stay clear of them, and, while Aubrey is proud and fiercely independent, she's grateful for Beca's precautions; she's a little bothered by the brunette's decision to make choices on her and Chloe's behalf, but she can easily see why Beca might think that an explanation might be too much for them to handle.

The blonde is having a hard time understanding it, even now, and she feels anxious and nauseous and suddenly far too exposed. Her breathing quickens, and she carefully places the photo album at her left side, near Luke, so that she can focus on sucking air into her lungs while trying her best not to panic.

It's mostly a wasted effort, because Aubrey still wants just to be with Beca, and she still has every intention of making that happen when she and Chloe arrive back in Barden, but- how can there be so much danger involved in something that, to Aubrey, feels like the only right thing in the world? How can being with Beca possibly come attached with this many caveats, when Aubrey knows she doesn't have any other option left but to be with her, at this point?

"Woah," Luke frowns earnestly, and places a wide palm over Aubrey's shoulder.

It isn't what Aubrey wants – Aubrey wants the quiet, gentle way that Chloe rubs against her arm to soothe her, or the soft grasp of the redhead's fingers, tightening intermittently against Aubrey's palm; she wants the silent, private moment of solitude that Beca would likely offer, in the face of Aubrey's panic, and the solemn, honest conversation that they would probably share together, after Aubrey's breathing had righted itself all over again – but Luke's touch is grounding, nevertheless, and the blonde Vampire is clearly eager to round the edges of Aubrey's distress.

"I'm sorry," Luke tells her ruefully. "I confess, I grow impatient with the information Beca fails to share with you, at times, and- I wish only to rectify that, where I can. Still, I ought to know better, by now," he smiles thinly. "Beca cares very deeply for you, and wishes only for your happiness and comfort. If she has yet to disclose the more sensitive aspects of our kind with you, it was likely for good reason, and I apologize for any unease I've caused in my passive-aggressive efforts to rebel against her decisions."

"You- disagree? With how she chooses to share her life with us?" Aubrey frowns irritably.

Beca has lived nearly three thousand years, and the span of her life is very long, indeed; Aubrey has never expected to be made privy to all of it immediately, and she thinks it's wrong of Luke to expect that of his sister when Aubrey doesn't. Aubrey's life has lasted only a small fraction of the length of Beca's, and, still, she is wary sharing the more tragic and painful details of her own life, too.

Luke mimics her frown, though his mostly displays confusion, and self-disappointment. "Beca has been alone for a very long time," he explains slowly, and repentantly. "Most of us take pride in our sexual conquests," Luke rests his eyes briefly, "but Beca does not. Every few decades, our Queen finds herself with an itch, and she most frequently finds a willing human to scratch it for her, but – though she never says as much – Beca is never satisfied, and she is certainly never proud.

"I understand that the concept of mates is new, to you, but, please understand, finding a mate is not typically so rare. Vampires find potential mates in humans all the time, but the hassle of turning them, and of making them understand what that means, can often be a difficult one; many of us will wait, until we find a mate who has already been turned, or until we find one we feel ready sire, ourselves," Luke tells her cautiously.

"Beca," he whispers painfully, and shakes his head softly, "has never found a single potential, until you and Chloe. She's never known the feeling, and, as such, has never wondered, until recently, what it might be like to guide a human through the process of learning about our kind. When I've spoken with Beca on the subject, I've admittedly been- dissatisfied with her caution – but that isn't to mean that Beca is wrong to have it.

"She is my sister," Luke declares solemnly, and earnestly, "and I wish her to be happy. I have never known her to be so happy as she is with you, and with Chloe," Luke breathes softly. "I am eager for her to share with you everything about what we are, with the hopes that you may continue to keep her happy, provided you are still willing, after you know everything she has to offer you. It will pain me greatly to see you give up on her, solely because she was not blunt with you from the start.

"I did not realize, however," Luke tenders slowly, "that her caution was more for your sake than her own. I had thought, perhaps, that Beca was afraid you might run from what you share, together – but I see, now, that she is only concerned with your best interest. I apologize," Luke murmurs sincerely, "for divulging more than you were ready to hear. Please, don't allow my ignorance to hinder your relationship with my sister; I could not bear to be the cause for her heartbreak, when she has waited so very long to know love, in the first place."

Aubrey is overwhelmed, but not so much that she doesn't recognize the sharp pang of indignation that sparks outward from her heart until she is abruptly standing upright with her fists clenched at her sides, glaring furiously down at Luke's apologetic gaze.

"Beca tells me what I am ready to know, when I am ready to know it," she clenches her teeth angrily. "While I appreciate your candor, and your honesty, Beca is a person; whatever else she may be, she is still that, Luke, and she still has feelings. If she is afraid to share something with me, or with Chloe, that might make us hesitate, I cannot and will not blame her for that – but Beca has always been truthful with me, and, if I have questions, she answers them to the best of her ability.

"Regardless of any of that, though, I love Beca," Aubrey snarls fiercely. "I love her heart, and her smirk, and her eyes, and the way she blushes but never turns red; I love her occasional shyness, and her touch, and the feel of her hair; I love the way that she loves Chloe, and the way that she is sincere in everything that she does; I love that she is awkward, and I love that she is kind; I love that she is beautiful, and I love that she is Queen; I love her devotion to Emily, and to me and Chloe; I love that she is playful, and that she is smart, and I love the way that she is so afraid to do wrong by me, and by Chloe, that she is sometimes overly careful, with us; I love the way that she wants us, but, more than anything, I love how deeply and passionately and wholeheartedly Beca loves us.

"I am grateful for everything you've chosen to share with me, and I am grateful for your devotion to your sister, but do not ever disregard her wishes as a favor to me, again. I trust Beca, not only with my life, but also with Chloe's – and, if you know anything about me, then you know that Chloe's life is an infinitely more precious thing to me than my own," Aubrey scowls firmly. "If I am desperate to know, and if Beca will not tell me, I will ask," she swears earnestly, and softens her expression slightly. "I truly am grateful, Luke, and I am grateful that Beca has you to look out for her – but this relationship is ours, and I trust Beca to navigate us through it however she sees fit.

"I want her, Luke," Aubrey tells him, and her voice breaks, just slightly, but Aubrey hardly even notices. "I want her like the air I breathe, and I'm going to have her," she announces fiercely. "But we'll move at a pace that feels comfortable for us, and, as much as I appreciate your efforts, I'd also appreciate it if you didn't interfere with that, again. Had I known that was your intention, when asking to speak with me, I might never have agreed; it's a betrayal of Beca's trust, and it's not one that I feel comfortable with. Do you understand?" She queries gently – nearly pleadingly, in fact – in hopes that Luke will be able to fathom all that she is saying to him.

Aubrey has chastised Beca's brother pretty harshly, and she thinks that part of it is fair, but- she knows that a good portion of it is also that Aubrey is merely offended on Beca's behalf.

Because Luke may only just be realizing it now, but, amidst all of her panic and worries about Beca in the beginning, it's been oddly clear to Aubrey, ever since the start, that Beca has sought nothing more than Aubrey and Chloe's comfort, when they're with her. It isn't fair that Luke has intentionally stripped Beca of her right to share herself with Aubrey and Chloe at the pace she so desires.

And Aubrey's been relatively happy with Beca's pace, anyway.

Still, now the blonde feels like maybe she's been greedy. She'd eagerly listened for more, from Luke, both this morning and last night, hoping to hear about Beca's life and her past and her feelings; it had felt like curiosity, at the time, and Aubrey hadn't expressly felt guilty, but now she thinks that maybe she should.

Maybe it would've been best to wait until Beca had felt comfortable telling Aubrey herself; though it hadn't been her intention to circumvent Beca's decision not to share, quite yet, that had clearly been Luke's only intention, and now Aubrey feels a little bit like he's somehow made her part of this betrayal of trust, even without meaning to.

It's entirely possible that Aubrey only feels this anger with Luke because she feels it toward herself, too.

Chapter Text

Chloe has to remind herself to breathe. She understands that it's a natural thing, and that it's also something she'd literally been born knowing how to do, but, right now, it's still a thing that Chloe is struggling with.

Beca had asked the cab driver to drop them off about a block in front of the club, so Chloe, Beca, and the redhead's two siblings are standing far enough from the building that no one has really taken notice of them, yet; still, they're close enough to hear the raucous tones of the party-goers impatiently waiting in line for access inside, and all that noise is really only helping to amp Chloe up.

The redhead loves people, and she loves crowds; she just loves company, really, and in places like this, Chloe's mood typically adjusts according to her environment – which means that Chloe is basically left trembling in her own excitement, right now.

Granted, Chloe thinks, she could be trembling because of other things.

It's October – a fact that had been emphasized that afternoon, when Beca had sat for hours with Noah and Chloe's dad on the living room floor, creating an authentic (but also non-frightening) Vampire costume for her nephew's third Halloween – which means it's pretty chilly out, in the dark. Chloe could easily be shaking because of that.

But, Chloe considers, it probably isn't either of those things, because it's probably just- Beca.

The Vampire Queen is clothed in a pair of dark, hugging skinny jeans, which really isn't that unusual – though Chloe is still trying to understand how this particular pair of jeans can possibly be tighter than the ones that Beca normally wears, or how her ass can possibly look better in them – but, as flattering as they are, the brunette's pants aren't the focus of Chloe's attention, right now.

Instead, Chloe finds herself fighting the nearly impossible urge not to stare down Beca's shirt.

She isn't a teenaged boy, Chloe reminds herself, so it's not like she's salivating, or anything, but Chloe's never been especially shy about appreciating the view that a particularly attractive person can offer – and the view that Beca is offering tonight makes Chloe stare.


She's pretty sure that she's evolved past appreciating, by now; in fact, Chloe has almost definitely moved on to just shamelessly- ogling Beca.

Her top is red – crimson, Chloe thinks, like blood – and that fabric is tauntingly thin, to the redhead, but, even worse, the sweetheart neckline of Beca's tank top plunges dangerously low, and all Chloe can think about is licking her tongue over the exposed, beautifully pale skin that peeks out from beneath. A silver, makeshift necklace drops between the hardly-hidden flesh of Beca's cleavage, and, on the end of the chain, the thick, ruby-encrusted ring that Chloe had noticed her wearing earlier sways proudly back and forth like a pendulum, ticking from one of Beca's generous breasts only to tock right off of the other.

To top it all off – like that's something Beca even needs to do, Chloe scoffs to herself – the Vampire Queen is legitimately wearing leather.

It's just a pair of black, heeled boots with a jacket to match, and the latter isn't even really all that tight, Chloe concedes reluctantly, but it shapes flatteringly around the dips in Beca's waist, and Chloe can feel the smooth, seductive material slide beneath her fingers every time she wraps them around Beca's arm. Mostly, the redhead supposes, it's just ridiculously badass, and the image is one that Chloe is convinced she will never be able to forget, ever.

Chloe thinks Beca should wear leather more often.

The redhead isn't dressed any better, she admits; Chloe's top is low-cut, too, and a very dark blue – a color that Aubrey always tells her makes her eyes look both brighter and darker, all at once, like Chloe is wearing her bedroom eyes 'all the aca-fucking time' – and Chloe is totes rocking the hell out of a pair of light colored jeans, with brown, calf-length boots to match. Still, Chloe is pretty sure that no one but Beca will even notice the way that she's dressed tonight, with the Vampire Queen looking the way that she does, standing at the redhead's side.

"Okay," Beca says, and rubs her palms together like she's preparing for something, "so we've talked about this, right?" She raises her brows expectantly. "We're here so that I can show you a good time, and that's basically it. I don't want any conflicts, here; you're under my protection, and it's highly improbable that any Vampire would even approach you because of that, but, if they do, just be polite and try not to discuss anything political. The last thing we want to do is offend someone, alright?"

"We've got it, Beca," Mellie tells her with a grin. "Oh, God, I can't believe we're really doing this," she breathes a moment later, bouncing eagerly on the balls of her feet as she surveys the growing line at Chloe's back.

Chloe giggles, because her sister's exuberance is a tiny bit cute, but it's also only a small echo of Chloe's own.

Beca snorts, though, and turns to Mellie with a heart-stopping little smirk that makes Chloe quiver even harder, so she shuffles closer into Beca's side – partly for warmth, but the redhead really won't lie; largely, Chloe just needs to touch her, somehow, even if it isn't in all the ways that she wants.

"It's just a club, little Beale," Beca reminds pointedly. "Try not to get too excited."

"Why not?" Chloe laughs, delighting in the abrupt tensing of Beca's shoulders as she breathes the words into Beca's ear. "This is exciting!" She finishes, beaming brightly.

"Yeah, yeah," Daniel chuckles, shaking his hair away from his eyes. "Shouldn't we be getting in line, soon? I mean, it's moving so slow, right? At this rate, it'll take us two hours to even get in."

Chloe's brother isn't wrong. The line is twisting around the block, and only growing in length; if they don't get in it soon, they'll spend the whole night outside.

"Yeah," Beca drawls out with narrowed eyes. "I don't really- do lines, in places like this. Besides, we aren't done here."


Beca had explained this part to them at the house, and Chloe thinks it's likely the biggest reason why Beca had even wanted to speak with them, in the first place.

The redhead hadn't truthfully thought much about what it might take for a Vampire to claim a human –honestly, if Chloe had bothered to wonder about it, she probably would have expected it to just be like- a verbal claiming, or something – but Beca had very seriously expressed to them that it really doesn't work that way. It makes sense, Chloe guesses, because Beca obviously can't stop every single person they come across just to tell them that Chloe and her siblings belong to her, but- she really hadn't considered it enough to think about how Beca might claim them, instead.

Fittingly, it turns out that they need to be claimed with blood.

Beca's blood.

"You're sure you want to do this?" Beca inquires, one final time. "As I've said, our culture is very different from yours, and, frankly, this is a Vampire establishment that basically only allows humans as guests – if you could even call them that. Most of the humans you see here will likely be considered pets," Beca explains to them slowly. "We generally aren't very reserved about things like that, and it's possible that you might- see some things, that could maybe startle you, a little."

Chloe had already interrogated Beca on the subject, before they'd left, so she isn't terribly surprised, but her siblings grow a little anxious.

"Like what?" Mellie frowns earnestly.

"Sex," Beca replies bluntly. "Or direct human feeding. As I said, most of the humans here will probably be pets to the Vampire who escorted them in, and, for us, that basically means that we've grown fond of a particular human, but have no desire to turn them, and cannot or will not mate with them; pets are kept for the company they provide – both in bed and outside of it – and also for their blood. For the most part, they're treated very well," Beca informs, relieving a fair portion of Daniel and Mellie's tensions. "Honestly, pets are usually spoiled rotten by the Vampire who chooses to claim them; it's pretty frowned upon to disrespect them.

"That being said," Beca goes on, "there are other humans here, like you, who've merely befriended a Vampire who wants to show them what it's like to be around us, this way. On top of that, there will probably be several humans who have grown very- enamored," Beca decides eventually, "with the feeling of being fed upon. It's crass," Beca rolls her eyes irritably, "but most Vampires call them bloodwhores, these days.

"Realistically," the Vampire Queen explains, "if a Vampire is doing it properly, a feeding is a very pleasant experience, for a human, so it really isn't fair to call them that, but it's a name that stuck, nevertheless. They aren't pets, and they're treated very differently; the club manages the health and safety of the bloodwhores they allow to enter, because they're often hired to offer their blood to more high-profile clientele. Bloodwhores sign the same waivers as everyone else, though; nothing is done to them that they haven't consented to, and they're generally pretty happy within their positions.

"Vampires aren't naturally reserved," Beca repeats firmly, "and, in an environment like this, Vampires have very little reason to be; when I say that sex and feedings are things you might witness, here, please understand that I mean you probably will see these things happen. This is a place built and designed for Vampires, where we don't have to keep ourselves in line for the sake of politics or human comfort.

"The Vampires you see here will behave however they like, within the confines of our laws, and I won't stop them, so don't expect me to," Beca instructs firmly. "When we go in, you'll have to sign a waiver in front of a camera, like we talked about," Beca tells them slowly. "I'll have to compel you to act independently, to be sure that you aren't being forced into doing this; it's a little counterintuitive, I know, but it's the only way to be sure that you haven't previously been compelled to sign the waiver against your will.

"Once inside, humans are bound to our laws, and your human laws are no longer in effect. I worked a very long time to have this piece of legislation passed through your governments, and the only way that it works is if there is proof that you not only consented to abide by our rules, but also that you are aware of what that means," Beca tells them solemnly. "You will not be forced to participate in any of these activities against your will, but if you try to stop them from occurring, you will undoubtedly be in the wrong, and you'll suffer punishment for that. Do you understand?"

Beca had already discussed most of this with them before they'd left the house, but Chloe is glad for the reiteration.

It's just- Mellie and Daniel are still Chloe's younger siblings, and, naturally, she's a little protective of them; she's grateful that Beca is making sure that this is something they're both prepared and willing to do, and the redhead has no doubts that if either one of them had expressed even the smallest hint of hesitation, the Vampire Queen would take them home without a second thought.

Still, Mellie and Daniel nod furiously and wink, respectively, so Chloe turns her eyes to Beca and eagerly waits for what comes next.

"Alright," Beca nods, and shakes her hands a little, like she's loosening them up. "Then let's do this."

The redhead bites softly into her lower lip as Beca slowly rolls her neck around and shifts, because Chloe really just can't even help it; she loves everything about watching Beca change, and the deep awe she feels every time she sees it happen is a feeling that, Chloe is convinced, will never go away. Beca is beautiful in both forms, but- something happens to Beca, during those few, drawn-out seconds of her transformation.

It's like all the insecurities that overcome Beca in her human form, sometimes, just vanish into the air around her, like 'insecure' is something that the Vampire Queen doesn't even recognize, in her true form. Beca becomes confidence, personified, and her sexual charisma radiates outward, like she has so freaking much of it that it's leaking out from her pores.

Chloe is drawn toward Beca in every way, but, when she's like this – when she is silver-eyed and fanged, and most comfortable in her own skin – Chloe can hardly take her eyes away, and has trouble remembering why she even needs to.

Because she knows what Beca is about to do, Chloe centers her wandering attention on Beca's teeth. She watches with shameless intent as Beca's right hand is drawn toward her mouth, and the sharpened point of a single, dazzling fang presses into Beca's flesh; the Vampire Queen drags her tooth all the way from the heel of her hand up to the joint where her palm meets with the bend of her thumb, and a wound emerges quickly, spilling with a dark, gory pool of blood that gathers in the center of Beca's palm.

Beca folds her fingers together, effectively slathering the thick, red substance across the entirety of her hand, and holds her fisted palm in that position for an extra minute or two, to urge more blood from the self-inflicted incision. After a moment of that, she turns toward Chloe.

"C'mere, Red," Beca insists with a soft murmur, her eyes heavily hooded, swirling with silver and blue and every color in between.

The redhead stumbles a step forward, because there is blood on Beca's mouth, and blood in Beca's palm – blood that Beca wants to claim Chloe with – and something about this feels entirely too intimate to be shared in the company of Chloe's younger brother and sister.

Chloe thinks this moment shouldn't be shared with anyone but Aubrey, and it makes her heart hurt to remember that the blonde can't be here, for this.

Still, Chloe clutches her fingers around the sleeve of Beca's jacket – and, Jesus, Chloe thinks, that leather really isn't helping her to focus at all – and holds her breath when Beca presses that bleeding palm over the flesh that covers Chloe's heart.

Her breath catches when Beca's eyes shimmer up at her own, dark and profound and irrefutably just- possessive, and that look causes a very familiar heat to swell furiously between Chloe's abruptly clenched thighs. Beca never takes her eyes away, and her palm doesn't move – only presses harder into Chloe's chest as a soft purr erupts from Beca's throat that makes it very difficult for Chloe to ever convince her lungs to work right, ever again.

The redhead feels fuzzy; she feels like her brain is mush and like her heart is tripping way too hard, and she feels a distinct longing for her blonde lover, several state lines and too many miles away. Chloe feels well and truly claimed – in an entirely different way from how she'd initially anticipated – and the thought of Beca making either of her siblings feel this way (Mellie, in particular) makes Chloe instantly turn green with envy.

Chloe isn't sure if this is a normal sort of reaction, but she also doesn't actually care; regardless, it makes her surge forward.

She takes Beca's cheeks between her palms – cradling; framing; trapping – and scours her mouth across the brunette's with dedicated, endless fury. Chloe spares a second to wonder if she's started that kiss with just a tiny bit too much hunger, but the thought quickly fades to nothingness, because the kiss Beca returns seems somehow even hungrier; the Vampire Queen's tongue dominates Chloe's with ease, and the redhead swiftly succumbs to the burning pressure of Beca's mouth, because every frantic pulse of Chloe's heart makes her ache, for the Vampire Queen, and Chloe is perfectly content to satisfy her in any way that Beca wants.

The Queen's purr shifts swiftly into a growl, instead, as Beca presses her body more firmly into Chloe's own and folds her fingertips bruisingly over Chloe's hips, digging into her flesh just to pull Chloe in closer. Beca's fang reopens the nearly-healed wound scored into Chloe's lower lip, and, when she tastes her own blood, tangled together with the distinctly different flavor of Beca's, too, Chloe can hardly even breathe; her whole entire body feels like it's practically frying with the heat that trades between them, right now, and every neuron in Chloe's brains seems to simultaneously misfire, all at once.


It's barely more than a whispered snarl, but every inch of Chloe zings to life with need and devoted, overwhelming attention when the word hisses from Beca's mouth into her own, and the redhead whimpers out some kind of small, distressed sound that makes Beca quickly shove her away. Chloe doesn't move far, and Beca's fingers still stroke, comfortingly slow, over Chloe's chest in apology, but there's enough space between them, now, to separate the heated press of their bodies.

Beca's eyes are so, so dark, and her bloodied fingers are shaking with a restraint that's being sorely tested, so Chloe pants heavily and jerkily nods her understanding.

The redhead's siblings don't know anything about the relationship that she and Beca share, together, and they've now been given a front-seat show. Part of Chloe wants to explain – to defend herself, and tell them how Aubrey knows and is perfectly alright with affectionate displays with Beca, like this – but Chloe can't; she's too overwhelmed, and too breathless, and, quite frankly, Chloe is just too turned on.

And there are two, bright red handprints splayed across the redhead's heart and hip that make Chloe feel like none of it even matters, anyway – because, for tonight, at least, Chloe finally belongs to the angel she'd found fallen in the showers at Baker Hall, and not a soul will contradict it.

Beca had repeated the claiming process – minus a furious, aching kiss – on Daniel and Mellie, a few minutes after she'd finished with Chloe. Neither Mellie nor Daniel seem to suffer the same, blistering effects from it that Chloe had, and Chloe is nothing but grateful, for that.

Plus, Mellie – although obviously confused, and a little bit disappointed by Chloe and Beca's kiss –remains excited to be here, and Chloe is just glad that she hasn't put a damper on their night. It hadn't been her fault, exactly – her need for Beca had taken over so quickly and unexpectedly that Chloe isn't sure she could've fought it, even if she'd tried – but this night had been arranged at Mellie's request, and Chloe still wants her to have a fun time.

It takes all of two minutes, after that, for them to understand why Beca hadn't at all been concerned about the building length of the line to the club.

The Vampire Queen skips the queue, altogether, while the majority of people waiting in it instantly turn silent. They turn to watch her, shushing their human companions and bowing swiftly at the waist, or dropping to their knees before her, with reverent murmurs of, 'Regina,' following in Beca's wake.

"Wow," Chloe whispers, awed. "You really are a big deal," she giggles softly.

Beca rolls her eyes, but turns a warm, affectionate smile on Chloe that almost makes the redhead want to submit to Beca, too, right there and then.

And, Chloe thinks with a small, needy hum, wouldn't that be something.

It takes a second for Chloe to move beyond the image that her imagination quickly provides to accompany that thought, but, when she does, she flushes furiously and glances toward Beca.

The Queen smirks back, almost like she knows exactly what Chloe's thinking, but Beca never says a thing.

The bouncer admits them without a single question asked, or even a greeting exchanged. His neck lowers respectfully, the moment that they approach, and Beca briefly thanks him before slipping beyond the red rope, raised in the bouncer's hand. Ten minutes and a seriously overwhelming experience with Beca's power of compulsion later, Chloe, Daniel and Mellie have signed the ten pages of liability waivers, and are ushered through a door that, once opened, makes Chloe vibrate with the violent pounding of the basslines emerging from within.

It's dark inside – much darker than any club Chloe's ever been to, anyway – and the only lights the redhead can see shine from bulbs with varying shades of blood red, and deep, seductive purple. Two of the corners are curtained off, but the others offer a few tables for seating, with plush armchairs surrounding them. Pitchers of something that looks like water rest in the center of the tables, and, beside them, a basket that Chloe can't see inside of, from this distance. Still, while the chairs look magnificently comfortable, only a few of them are occupied; the floors around the tables, however, host bodies, too – humans resting on fluffed up, expensive-looking cushions at a Vampire's feet – and Chloe wonders if this is the way that pets are expected to behave.

Still, it's the dance floor that draws Chloe's attention.

Those purple and red lights pulse in time to the music, and the bodies on the floor move flawlessly along with them. The people Chloe can see are in various states of undress, and, if she squints, Chloe's even pretty sure that she can see a girl being fingered, right smack in the middle of the floor; a second later, the redhead doesn't even need to squint when she casts her eyes on the outskirts of the gyrating crowd, only to spot a boy fisting his fingers through the hair of a blonde girl knelt on the floor in front of him, her mouth full with the boy's shamelessly exposed cock.

Chloe hums, something throaty and desperate and a little bit breathless.

The redhead has never thought sex something to be ashamed of, and porn is something she'd spent a lot of time indulging in, during her freshman and sophomore years; she isn't embarrassed by the display, and Chloe certainly isn't appalled by it, but- it makes her feel sorely tempted to know what Beca might do to her, on a dance floor like this one.

It's a dangerous thought, because Chloe's severe want for the Vampire Queen is making it extremely difficult to remember why she can't act on that want, yet; she knows – Chloe knows – that it will be so, so much better, when Aubrey will be with them, but Chloe has been patient for a very long time, and the payoff for that patience just can't come quickly enough. She wants Beca so badly, and- Chloe's mood typically adjusts according to her environment.

Her environment, right now, is decidedly sexual.

She thinks it's irrational not to feel a little turned on by what's happening here, right now, and it doesn't help things that Chloe's been failing in her efforts to turn herself off literally since they'd left the house, in the first place. Chloe just wants Beca, and this place makes it nearly impossible for Chloe to ignore that – particularly with Beca vamped out at her side, studying the reactions of Chloe's face with deeply aroused, blatant curiosity.

"Holy shit!" Mellie exclaims, startled, then lowers her voice to a frantic whisper. "Is that girl seriously giving him head, right now?!"

Chloe decides that she really, really needs a drink.

"Take me to the bar?" She asks Beca quickly, fingers folded greedily around the cuff of her sleeve.

Beca smirks, but replies, "Sure thing, Red."

An hour later, Daniel has wondered off 'just to take everything in,' or so he'd said, but Chloe hardly notices. Mellie runs into a couple of her friends – and how they got into the club is still a mystery, to Chloe, but she's drunk enough, now, that she doesn't bother to wonder about it for very long – which leaves Beca and Chloe alone at the bar.

She's sent a few, jumbled texts to Aubrey, trying to describe the experience, but Chloe knows she'll tell her all about it, anyway, and she isn't too bothered when she sends them out with probably a horrendous number of typos. It'll probably make Aubrey worry – a fact that's confirmed later, when she texts Beca and asks her to let the blonde know when they've made it home, and that sort of just makes Chloe order another drink, in a vain attempt to drown out the pang of loss she feels, without Aubrey here to be part of this with them, too.

Still, Chloe's doing her best to have a good time, and Beca's presence definitely isn't something to scoff at; she's enjoying herself, honestly, just sitting at the bar with Beca, and it doesn't even matter that they haven't moved for an hour.

Part of Chloe wants to dance, but- she also knows that's a really, truly terrible idea, because she probably really shouldn't surround herself with the ever-increasing levels of sexual activity going on out there, with the way her willpower is so disastrously fraying, tonight.

Beca doesn't seem to mind, but Chloe still wants to explore.

The entire point of coming here, tonight, had been to witness Beca in her natural element, and Chloe's seen very little of that. She's having a good time – any time spent with Beca is more than good, always – but she'd wanted to see Beca interact in her own world, and Chloe's seen very little of that.

When she asks about it, Beca rolls her eyes.

"I rarely speak to anyone, Red," Beca tells her slowly. "Outside of politics, the only people I really talk with are Luke and Emily, and I prefer it that way."

"What about your coven?" Chloe frowns, sipping at her third vodka cran.

"What about them?" Beca chuckles, and shrugs. "I love them," she sighs out softly. "I want them happy, and safe, and if something is wrong, I like to think they'd come to me, so that I can help. They're my family, Chloe," she hesitates briefly, "but they aren't my friends."

Chloe doesn't understand, because her family is both, and always has been; it's hard for her to imagine anything else, but- then she thinks of Aubrey, and the way that she'd do anything to make her father proud, even if they almost never talk, anyway, and then it makes a little more sense, for Chloe.

"So, what do you do?" Chloe frowns curiously. "I mean, I know that you're Queen, so- politics, obviously, but… what do you do with all your time?"

Beca shifts forward, her forearm bracing against the mahogany surface of the bar, and she leans inward until her face is only blinks away from Chloe's own. The edges of Beca's mouth quirk into something knowing and sly, and Chloe holds her breath.

She doesn't know what comes next – doesn't know what Beca's about to say, or how important it really is – but this smile is the most alluring thing Chloe's maybe ever even seen, and she might be swooning, just a little.

"Would you like to see, Chloe?" Beca murmurs, breaths splashing temptingly across Chloe's suddenly too-dry mouth.

Chloe's words aren't really working right, so she swallows thickly and manages a shaky nod of her head.

Beca smirks, and carelessly flips her palm into the air to get the bartender's attention. Chloe really doesn't think it's necessary; the bartender, like pretty much everyone else in their vicinity, has hardly taken his eyes off of Beca since they'd walked through the door, and he's been eagerly tending to Beca's every need.

There are perks to arriving with the Queen, Chloe thinks, because she's watched people waving for the same man's attention for more than twenty-minute stretches at a time, and Chloe hasn't even needed to wait for one.

Chloe doesn't know what Beca says to the man – it's loud, and Chloe's hearing is comparatively weak, in relation to theirs – but he nods his head swiftly, and in answer to whatever request Beca has made of him, he gruffly replies, "Of course, Regina."

He drops a fourth drink on the bar in front of Chloe before he scurries away – Chloe hadn't even realized that her third had been empty, yet – and he's gone for only a moment before he returns, offering Beca only a brief nod before tending to his other customers.

Beca grins, and wraps her fingers around Chloe's wrist, all but pulling her upward to follow.

Chloe would follow her probably anywhere in the whole world – or even into hell, Chloe thinks – because the grin that's stretching across Beca's lips is the widest, most genuinely pleased thing that Chloe's ever seen her wear, and it is purely dazzling. Beca's silver eyes glimmer brightly in the dark around them, and her sudden eagerness is evident, so Chloe laughs something delighted and charmed as she urges her feet to stumble in line with Beca's.

She's dragged up a flight of steps that Chloe's human vision hadn't even been able to see, and it spirals up to a second floor, where the noise from below seems stifled, and far away. There are a couple of doors with only small windows to see inside, and, through them, Chloe spots a few rooms that look like private lounge areas, but Beca hardly spares them a glance and keeps moving forward.

When they finally stop, at the end of the hall, Beca raps her knuckles twice against the lone door at its end. It swiftly opens, and a teenaged-looking boy frantically scrabbles against the knob before sinking down to his knees in front of them. He takes Beca's hand in his own, his mouth pressing quickly into the ridged line of her knuckles, before he whispers out, "Regina. It is my absolute pleasure to meet you. Please," he stammers, "take anything you wish of me; it would be my honor to provide it."

"Dude," Beca furrows her brows and shakes her head. "What's your name?"

"Thomas, My Queen," he answers promptly.

"Right. Thomas. Listen, this is a club, okay? And that floor is undoubtedly sticky and gross and, like, not even remotely sanitary. Literally, none of this is even necessary; please get off the floor."

"Of course, Regina," he complies, shuffling to his feet in a blur that makes Chloe giggle, only because of how eager Thomas is to please his Queen, and it's almost- cute that Beca can make people react this way.

"Beca," the Queen replies pointedly. "Call me Beca."

"Majesty, I'm grateful for the allowance of such an informality, but- I cannot," Thomas frowns earnestly. "I could never disrespect you in such a manner."

"Whatever," Beca scoffs, and rolls her eyes. "Can we go in?"

"It is yours for however long you wish it, Regina," Thomas swears instantly. "Should you require any assistance at all, you need only call for me; I will be near."

"Thanks," Beca nods, and tugs another time at Chloe's wrist. "Come on, Red."

Once inside, Chloe gapes.

She's a little bit drunk, now, and they'd moved up here so quickly that Chloe really hadn't had the time to spare a thought for where Beca might even be taking her, in the first place, but she doesn't think she'd been expecting- this.

It's a DJ booth.

There are all kinds of blinking lights, pulsing from a half-dozen machines that look like they'd probably cost an arm and a leg, and maybe a kidney, too. There are soundboards, and a couple of computers, and Chloe knows that none of this actually belongs to Beca, but the Vampire Queen drops lazily into a rolling chair and begins moving from one piece of equipment to another, like she's very familiar with the purpose and function of each one.

And Chloe thinks that maybe this is what she'd been looking for tonight, because Beca isn't really interacting with the other Vampires the way that Chloe might have expected, but- she'd been looking to see Beca in her element, and Chloe can see clearly that this is exactly what that is, for Beca.

This is where Beca is most at home.

"I didn't know you were into this stuff," Chloe comments, a tiny bit surprised, but mostly just in awe.

"Yeah," Beca replies absently, fiddling with a couple of nobs and switches on the soundboard, momentarily distracted.

Beca's fingers curl around a pair of headphones, and she cups them around her ears, so Chloe ventures carefully into the space, and takes a second to look around. She notices that, on her left, there's a window allowing for an aerial view of the dancefloor below them, on the first floor, and Chloe swallows hard before shifting her eyes away from that direction as urgently as possible; as the night has progressed, the activities on the dancefloor have, too, and that- really isn't something Chloe needs to be watching too much, right now.

Her blue eyes find Beca all over again, and the Vampire Queen lowers the headphones back onto the surface of the soundboard, before Beca casts a dangerous little grin toward Chloe that makes the redhead's knees feel entirely incapable of supporting her weight. The brunette beckons her forward with a tilt of her head, and Chloe is helpless to do anything but obey.

Still, she realizes quickly that there's no second chair, and, like Beca had planned it this way all along, she reaches for Chloe's waist and hugs her arm around it hard, until Chloe falls into her lap with a tiny, surprised little gasp.

Beca smirks up at her, and teasingly whispers, "Comfy, Red?"

"Oh, totes," Chloe laughs breathlessly, twining the arm closest to Beca around the Vampire Queen's neck, mindlessly straining her fingers through the silken strands of Beca's hair. "So, you're a DJ, huh? That's kind of super hot, you know," she winks, and bites teasingly into the flesh of her lower lip.

Beca chuckles, dark and deep and rumbling into Chloe's ear, and Chloe doesn't even bother to hide the way that her body violently trembles, in answer, because Beca will feel it, regardless.

"I told you – music is something I can really level with, Red," Beca murmurs, and stretches around Chloe to plug a USB drive into one of the ports in the laptop behind her. "I like creating it. Music is- Well, it's sort of timeless, you know? It's pretty much existed forever – one of the only things in the world that's survived longer than I have," she continues quietly, deftly tapping her fingers across a few of the laptop keys, before she leans backward into her seat and rests her palm, burning with warmth, over Chloe's thigh. "I love it," Beca whispers to Chloe earnestly. "I love how it evolves, and how it molds around cultures all over the world. I love the way that it can make you… feel," she says softly, nuzzling her nose gently into Chloe's neck with a pleased little purr that vibrates through Chloe's pulse until she can't find her heartbeat beneath it, anymore.

"Oh, God," Chloe gasps.

Because Chloe gets it – she really does.

Music is Chloe's whole world, and it always has been; it's how she makes it through her day, and it's everything that she loves, captured in song, forever. And the fact that Beca creates that – that Beca can make music; can make the thing that Chloe has thrived on for as long as she's ever been able to remember – is supremely arousing, in ways Chloe's never known before.

"It's fitting, I think," Beca hums, "that you and Aubrey create music, too. Music," Beca sighs out longingly, "is the way I relate; it's the thing I've always used, even as human, to understand people's motives, and their feelings. That's always been difficult for me," Beca briefly hides her eyes beneath long, pretty lashes, and Chloe nearly whines in reply, before those silver eyes open for her all over again. "With music, it makes sense. Everything makes sense," Beca insists earnestly. "I could never imagine myself mated to someone who couldn't understand that. So, this is what I do," Beca tells her. "When I'm not buried politics, or spending time with Luke and Em, or with you and Aubrey, this is what I do, Red."

Chloe swallows, and coaches her lungs through a gasping round of breath.

Beca is only being honest, but her blatant devotion to music is nearly matched with her devotion to Emily, and to Aubrey and Chloe, too; the brunette's love for it is overwhelming and sacred and Chloe can feel it, stretching warmth all the way from her scalp into the very tips of her toes.

"Play something for me?" Chloe breathes eagerly, her fingers stilling in Beca's hair as she urges the Vampire Queen's neck to arch, just a little, so that Chloe can stare into those haunting eyes and lose herself inside of them.

"Thomas had a queue going to give me some time to set up," Beca tells her, voice low, and luring. "Mine is next," she explains briefly.

And Chloe wants to wait for it – wants to wait to hear the song; to hear the kind of thing that Beca is capable of creating with those tiny, powerful hands – but she can't. She tries, but she just- can't, because Beca's mouth is pink and her tongue wetting across it only makes it worse, and all Chloe can do is kiss her.

She swoops downward and herds Beca's lips beneath her own, slow and deep and a little bit too hard, but Chloe hardly even notices. Beca's mouth is like fire, blazing across Chloe's mouth until it spreads and spreads, coloring Chloe's cheeks before flushing out across her chest, too, and when her tongue peeks outward to tease at Chloe's lips, the only thought Chloe can spare is to wonder how it can even be possible for Beca to top Chloe this completely, even from beneath her.

Still, the thought is only brief, because Beca's hands lift quickly to grab at Chloe's waist before, suddenly, the redhead finds her knees straddling the Vampire Queen's hips, and Chloe mewls out the most gratified little moan of genuine satisfaction when Beca's palms fall instantly to tuck into the back pockets of her jeans, kneading firmly into the flesh beneath.

Vaguely, Chloe registers a new song beginning to emerge in the music around them; a soft, nearly eerie voice sings over a sweet, sensual beat with a pounding bassline that echoes through Chloe's core, like Beca had planned for this moment, too, and had matched the music perfectly to fit the aching throb that's ricocheting throughout Chloe's entire body.

Beca snarls when Chloe's hips drop into a helpless, greedy grind against Beca's own, and she pulls Chloe so tight against her in reply that Chloe has to brace her palms against the Vampire Queen's shoulders just to keep her balance. Her fingers slip beneath the leather of Beca's jacket, and her nails absently slice into her flesh, but Beca is the opposite of offended.

She moves her mouth away from Chloe's only to glide along her jaw, her teeth scraping only the tiniest, thinnest little graze into the redhead's flesh, until a small drop of blood slips onto Beca's tongue, and she growls with furious, driven need.

The sound is Chloe's undoing, because she whimpers and feels boneless, and Beca only sucks against the spot until Chloe's sure that it's turned purple. It's all the redhead can do not to melt into a puddle at the Queen's booted feet, and, frankly, Chloe is a little impressed with the fact that she hasn't fallen apart, already.

Still, as overwhelmed and desperate as she is, and as much as Chloe knows this needs to stop before she does something that Aubrey will hate her for, forever, Chloe is still startled, and more than a little bit hurt when, in a blur of inhuman movement, Beca has picked her up and set her on unsteady feet near the door.

Chloe nearly says something – nearly tells Beca that if she'd wanted to stop, all she'd needed to do was just say something to Chloe, and the redheaded would have abided in a heartbeat – but she doesn't have time.

Beca is gone a second later, and Chloe is left to blink bemusedly at a dark, empty room, with flashing lights that indicate things that Chloe can't understand, and a thumping bassline that reminds the redhead all over again that she is definitely feeling unsatisfied, and that nothing about this situation is okay. With that in mind, Chloe indignantly stumbles toward the direction they'd come from, staggering her way through the dancefloor in search of the Vampire Queen who'd virtually abandoned Chloe to her own arousal.

Arousal, Chloe thinks, that Beca had been entirely aware of, and that Beca had been the sole cause for, in the first place.

Chloe doesn't like to be angry, but, right now, she's feeling uncomfortably turned on and absolutely furious, and, while part of her wants to be alone with that fury, she can't leave without her siblings, and she's a little nervous to be here without Beca, anyway, so finding her is important.

It doesn't take as long to find Beca as she'd thought.

Or her siblings.

There's a commotion somewhere on the edge of the dancefloor, and, though Chloe wants to believe that her brother and sister know better, part of her is absolutely positive that she will find at least one of them huddled at the very center of whatever mess she'll find, there.

Chloe isn't wrong.

She tries to be polite about it, but, really, it's still a crowd, and half of the people within it are far drunker than Chloe is, so she mostly just ends up shoving her way through the masses until she can see what's happening. It takes a few minutes for Chloe to figure out why he's there, but it doesn't take more than a second for her to spot Daniel, practically frothing at the mouth in his trembling anger, right in the middle of the uproar.

Her brother's nose is bleeding profusely, and it's swollen – maybe even broken, Chloe thinks with a tired sigh – but Daniel hardly seems to take notice of it. His fists are clenched resolutely at his sides, and the kid standing opposite of him – a human, if the lack of fangs and too-bright eyes are any indication – seems perfectly unharmed, with two other boys standing behind him, one to his left, and one to his right.

"You owe me money, Beale," he drawls out with a crooked, arrogant smirk. "Six hundred bucks, if I remember it right – and, trust me," he scowls. "I always remember."

"I don't owe you shit, Marcus," Daniel spits angrily.

The boy – Marcus – steps forward, a dark, simmering fury glittering dangerously in his eyes, as he curls his fingers swiftly around the collar of Daniel's shirt, drawing him in close, until their noses nearly touch together.

"You snitched," Marcus hisses, "and I can forgive the suspension, but your betrayal…" he trails off and tuts condescendingly, shaking his head. "That cost me good money, you understand? And I expect to see that money, Beale," he warns forebodingly. "You owe it to me."

"I'm sorry," Chloe hears, and the voice that speaks it is coldly enraged, but Chloe sighs her ecstatic relief, anyway – because if this is why Beca had left her alone, then that's an offense Chloe can easily forgive; Beca had promised to protect Chloe's siblings, and she's making good on that promise, now, "but who the hell are you, and what could possibly give you the illusion that it is acceptable to lay hands on my property?" The Vampire Queen snarls vehemently, stepping through the crowd that silences instantly, and parts for her as she steps toward Chloe's brother.

Beca snatches her fingers around the back of Marcus' shirt, ripping him away from Daniel with such force that Marcus slams into the bar at their opposite side. A second later, Beca's forearm presses into his windpipe as she lowers her face toward his chest, and Chloe isn't positive, but it looks like Beca is- smelling him; it takes a moment too long for her anxious mind to recall that this human must have been claimed, too, and Beca is trying to sniff out the Vampire who'd escorted him in.

"He is mine, Regina," a deeply apologetic voice calls out, before, a moment later, Chloe is able to put a face to match it.

The Vampire who appears at Beca's side is a tall, blonde twenty-something (at least in appearance), and his golden eyes lower with deference as Beca shifts her gaze to find him.

"I'm sorry, for my pet's obvious lack of self-control," he goes on, sweeping a sneering, disgusted look down the length of Marcus' frame, now cowered against the wall with Beca's arm holding him firmly in place. "I thought him smarter than to do something so stupid," he growls out, "but, apparently, I was wrong to bring him here. If it pleases you, My Queen," he pleads, soft and humble, "we will leave immediately."

"No way!" Marcus struggles suddenly under Beca's grasp. "This douchebag owes me money, Grady, and I'm not leaving until I have it!"

Beca turns a pair of cold eyes to meet his instantly, and Chloe shivers unknowingly, because this isn't her Beca; this is someone else – something else; something that's had to fight to keep hold of everything she's ever held dear – and it breaks Chloe's heart to see her, this way. She snaps a picture to send to Aubrey, because, when she explains this later, she knows that she could never adequately describe the look in Beca's eyes, right now, and Chloe feels like Aubrey will want to see for herself.

Beca is afraid.

The Vampire Queen may look fearsome – and she does, Chloe admits; she really, really does – and she may very well have earned a reputation for being the same, but Chloe can see the flicker at the edge of her mouth. Chloe can see the reluctance brewing behind the frozen, silver lakes of Beca's eyes, and she knows that Beca doesn't want to do this, but- something makes her feel like she needs to; like it's necessary, somehow.

"Quiet!" The Vampire – Grady, apparently – hazards angrily. "You've no right to speak to her at all, let alone with such hideous disrespect!" He fumes at Marcus.

"That's alright," Beca smirks coolly, never once tearing her eyes from Marcus' increasingly terrified gaze. "A debt is a debt, right?" She lofts her brow imperiously.

Marcus, seemingly comforted by Beca's understanding, frantically nods his head in agreement.

"And how much does my friend here owe you, hm?" Beca hums with faux-curiosity, and Chloe only wonders where she's going with this.

If Daniel says he doesn't owe him the money, Chloe believes him; her brother can be a perfectly mischievous little shit, sometimes, but he's honest, and kind, and he wouldn't lie – especially not with Beca's reputation on the line.

"Six hundred," Marcus gasps around Beca's unrelenting hold over his throat.

Beca nods, finally allows her arm to fall, and, while Marcus stoops over, panting, with his hands grasped over his knees, Beca fishes her wallet out of her back pocket, and counts out six, crisp, hundred dollar bills. She bows at the waist, capturing Marcus' gaze, and she shows him the money in her hand.

Marcus eagerly reaches for it, a wide, conquering grin sliding over of his mouth, before Beca pulls the money away, and throws it down on the bar behind him.

"Buy a round for the house," she tells the bartender, her expression flat, and unamused, but never shifting away from Marcus. The boy gapes with self-righteousness and incredulity, before Beca sneers to him, "Consider the debt paid, and stay the hell away from Daniel Beale. Am I understood?"

Grady's eyes flash dangerously in Marcus' direction, before the boy twists his face into the most infuriated, bitter expression Chloe's ever even seen, but, nevertheless, Marcus nods silently and storms away. Grady offers a low, earnest bow in Beca's direction before thanking her profusely for her generosity in his pet's punishment, and Beca only nods her acceptance.

It takes a few minutes for the gathered crowd to amble off, but, the moment that it does, Chloe darts to her brother's side, where Mellie meets up with them, too, fussing frantically over Daniel's bloodied nose.

"It's fine," Daniel sulks. "I'm fine. Really."

"What the hell just happened?" Mellie whispers fervently.

"He was the treasurer of the swim team at school," Daniel says, his voice nasally, and irritable. "He stole money that didn't belong to him, so I told the coach; Marcus was suspended, and he had to pay the money back – which was apparently a real inconvenience for him, given that he'd already spent it," Daniel spits angrily.

"This looks bad," Chloe worries, and prods against the bridge of his nose, wincing in sympathy when Daniel cringes away from her touch. "I don't think it's broken," she tells him softly, "but it's probably going to hurt for a while. Do you want to get it checked out?"

"No," Daniel sighs. "It's fine. I'm fine," he insists.

"You won't be, if we don't leave soon," Beca tells him stonily. "You forget where we are, kid," she sighs tiredly. "You're in a club filled to the brim with hungry Vampires, and you're bleeding like a buffet that they don't even need to pay for. Come on," she insists, settling her palm across Chloe's lower back as she urges them toward the exit.

Beca slips her leather jacket away from her arms the moment they step into the cold, and drapes it over Chloe's shoulders, instead, but Chloe only manage a vague, warm smile in thanks.

The entire night feels surreal; between the deep concern for her brother, the arousal that had both come and gone, and the fury that had passed in much the same way, Chloe's emotions have finally come down from a serious roller coaster of a ride, and Chloe is left nothing short of exhausted. She'd gotten a little more than she'd bargained for, here, and all she wants now is to be at home.

Home in Barden, with Aubrey and Beca curled up at either side of her, with nowhere for Chloe to go, and nowhere she'd rather be, anyway.

Chloe can only have half of that tonight, but that's okay. They'll be with Aubrey tomorrow – finally – and, for tonight, Chloe can focus all of her attention on soothing that lingering pain away from Beca's eyes. Chloe still doesn't know what put it there, and she thinks tonight probably isn't the best time to pry, but Chloe will still hold her, and she will still promise Beca every bit of affection the redhead has ever known how to offer.

Chapter Text

Aubrey has never felt such double-edged emotion in her life.

For the most part, she wants to feel excited – and, admittedly, she is; Beca and Chloe will be landing on the tarmac in less than an hour, and Aubrey is nothing short of thrilled about that fact.

After three, very long days, finally they are coming home to her, and Aubrey's only plans for the rest of the day involve pajamas, and her bed, and Beca and Chloe tucked so closely into Aubrey's sides that not even air could fit between them. The blonde has spent far too many nights in that bed alone, pining and sobbing and thoroughly desperate for her absent loves, and Aubrey is eager to erase the memory of that indignity by replacing it with new, infinitely better ones.

She is so aca-finished with this separation, and if Aubrey has learned nothing else from this experience, she at least knows better, now, than to ever make such a ridiculously impulsive suggestion as to send either of them away, ever again; no matter how productive she's been in Beca and Chloe's absence, and no matter how many chapters she's been able to work through for her classes, Aubrey thinks that it just can't be worth the profound agony she's suffered to accomplish it.

Besides, their combined absence has proven to be endlessly more distracting than Chloe's presence ever could have been, in the first place.

Still, as eager as Aubrey is to meet them, her muscles still feel rigid, and her heart still throbs out sharp, unimaginable pangs of longing every time the blonde sucks in a breath. It doesn't make any sense, to Aubrey, that she can so profoundly feel both things at once, but that doesn't change the fact that she does.

It's like some part of Aubrey refuses to even recognize that her girls are coming home; it's like Aubrey's elation can't even touch the lingering pain caused by the distance still between them, and like that particular part of Aubrey can't know peace until they are actually, physically together again.

Frankly, Aubrey considers, it's confusing. The blonde is shaking all over – in her hands and her knees, and even in her heart – and Aubrey doesn't know if it's her anguish or excitement that's causing it, or even how to tell them apart, to begin with. It mostly leaves her feeling anxious, and maybe a little bit nauseous, too, which adds an entirely new layer of depth to her emotions that Aubrey just can't spare the time to sort through, right now.

She misses them so deeply that she can't even think straight, and all Aubrey truly knows for sure is that if Emily doesn't find her way inside of Aubrey's car in the next five minutes, the blonde might probably be liable to leave for the airport without her.

It's not like Emily would be entirely stranded, Aubrey defends privately; the girl could probably jog the distance faster than Aubrey can weave her way through traffic, anyway.

Still, she's grateful when Emily throws open the passenger door and reflexively straps her seatbelt across her chest in an ecstatic blur of movement, with only two minutes left to spare in Aubrey's mental countdown.

"Let's go!" Emily tells her impatiently, bouncing eagerly in her seat with her palms pressed tightly together, clapped between her jumping knees.

And, as much as Aubrey wants to laugh, she can't actually bring herself to do it – because, even if she's a bit more restrained than Emily, the blonde is equally as eager, and she really doesn't need to be told twice.

Accessing the tarmac works in much the same way as it had before, although Aubrey will swear up and down that it had taken twice as long. If Aubrey's honest, though, it hardly even matters, because Beca's jet is still probably twenty minutes out, at best.

Maybe she and Emily had been just a little bit too eager, the blonde concedes privately, but, in spite of her pride, Aubrey really can't feel shamed by that; generally, she prefers being early, anyway, but Aubrey needs to see them – to hold them; to feel them in her arms and to bury herself inside of theirs – so badly that she would likely have relinquished every right she'd ever had to captain her beloved Bellas, if it meant that she could be with Chloe and Beca the very moment that their plane touches the ground.

Aubrey loves Chloe, and – however recent the revelation might be – Aubrey loves Beca, too. No matter how painful the next twenty minutes might be, Aubrey can't bring herself to believe that she would trade them for anything in the world.

Still, if she's feeling this strongly, Aubrey can't imagine what Beca's sired must be feeling, vamped-out at the blonde's right side, bronze-colored eyes scanning the sky above them with profound intensity.

Abruptly, Aubrey finds herself struck with a terrifying thought.

"Is Beca taking you home tonight? Back to Atlanta?" She asks aloud, breathless, and feeling winded by the mere idea – like she's been punched in the gut and can't catch the air in her lungs long enough to strip the oxygen out of it.

Emily only smiles, though – something understanding and sweet, and a little sympathetic at the corners – before she shakes her head.

"No," she tells Aubrey softly. "Beca called last night to check if I'd be alright staying with you for another night. She misses you," Emily beams. "We talked every night, you know," she goes on, while Aubrey simply does her best to hide her abundant relief. "After you were asleep, I mean. And Chloe," she adds with a shy little shrug. "We talked for hours. I don't- I don't do very well, without Beca," Emily smiles ruefully, "and I was upset, when she called – so Beca tried to distract me. It didn't really work," the brunette laughs, a little strained, as tears gather beneath her lashes, "because nothing really takes away from what I feel, when she's away, but- she talked about you.

"She, uh- She misses you," Emily shakes her head and smiles warmly. "She misses you a lot, Aubrey. She asked me how you are, and if you were getting your work done, but I think she mostly just wanted to talk about you. Chloe was a little too upset, you know? About being away from you? And Beca really didn't want to make it worse, so she tried not to mention you to her, but I think that she still needed to know you were alright. I didn't- I didn't tell her much," Emily smiles regretfully, and sighs. "I don't think it would've helped her to know that you missed her just as badly, so I mostly stuck with telling her the things that we did together, but- you can't really think that she wouldn't want to be with you tonight, too, can you? Because, I mean, she's my sire, and of course that means I need to be with her as soon as I can be, but- but Beca needs you, too, y'know," Emily rambles swiftly.

Aubrey wants to say yes, because part of her does know that it's the truth, but she still feels inexplicably pleased to hear those words fall from someone else's mouth – and it's only made better by the fact that it's Emily who says it; Emily, who Beca trusts implicitly, and who Beca adores with every fiber of her being.

"And you need her, too, right?" Emily gnaws nervously at her lower lip. "I know we don't talk about it – and that's okay!" Emily rushes to explain. "It probably isn't even my business, but- I do know that you and Chloe are potential mates, for Beca, and, even if I haven't felt what that's like, I know that's a super intense kind of thing to share, too. I just- I'm a little afraid for her, I guess?" Emily bunches her nose up cutely, and Aubrey smiles, watery and sure, before the girl continues. "It's just that, um- I'm still a pretty new thing, for Beca, and I know it's hard for her to feel this way about you guys, too. And I just- I kind of just want to be sure that she's not the only one feeling it, you know? Because I don't know what it's like to be mated to someone, and I don't really know if you necessarily have to feel the same way that she does, but she feels a lot, Aubrey," Emily says desperately. "She feels so much – for you and for Chloe – and, like I said," the girl huffs at herself, "it probably isn't any of my business, anyway, but Beca is my sire and I just love her so much, and – "

"I love her, too," Aubrey swears earnestly, and flushes brightly not a moment after. "That's not- That isn't something that I've shared, yet, with Beca, but I don't- I don't want you to worry about that, Emily," she swallows thickly. "I can't make any promises about where this will go, or how long it will last, but I do- love her," Aubrey breathes out shakily, "and that isn't something I take lightly."

"Okay," Emily grins broadly. "I mean, that's good, because otherwise I'd probably have to tell you to stay the hell away from her, and then I'd probably have to leave the Bellas just so it wouldn't be awkward, and that would suck, because I love being a Bella, and I really don't want to have to give that up, you know?"

Aubrey does – truly, she does – because, next to Chloe and Beca, the Bellas are her world; they're all that keeps Aubrey sane, even if she sometimes has the tendency to be a little- not sane in the way that she captains them.

"The Bellas are a sisterhood, Emily," she smiles warmly. "You never really leave, anyway."

Emily beams brightly and tries to reply, but the moment her lips part, she snaps her head toward the window and scrambles furiously out of the car.

"That's the jet!" She exclaims instantly.

Aubrey inhales a sharp, deep breath, before nodding determinedly.

She's been ready for Chloe and Beca's return since before they'd even left, and, no matter how inexplicably nervous Aubrey might feel to be reunited with them, she refuses to hide.

Aubrey cries.

The moment that Chloe leaps from the bottom two steps guiding her down from the plane, hopping greedily into Aubrey's immediately offered embrace, Aubrey buries her nose into Chloe's neck and expels the harshest, most undignified sob of joy as tears spill across her flushed cheeks.

Beca doesn't even make it down the steps before Emily barrels toward her, so quickly that Aubrey only even really sees the girl reappear at Beca's front, but that's about all of the reunion that the blonde can focus on; instead, Aubrey's attention falls on Chloe, cooing sweet, comforting noises into the line of her hair as the redhead folds kisses all over Aubrey's brow.

"I missed you so much," Chloe whimpers, and Aubrey feels a tear wet against her scalp. "God, Bree, I've never missed anyone so much in my life. Please don't cry," she whispers fervently. "Oh, sweetie, please don't cry," she pleads profusely, and Aubrey laughs something watery and tender and wholly besotted, because it is just like Chloe to do this; it is just like her to cry, and simultaneously beg for Aubrey not to do the same. "We're home now," Chloe promises softly, her cheek nuzzling gently into Aubrey's hair. "We're home now, honey, and we aren't leaving you again, I promise," Chloe swears devotedly.

"Good," Aubrey sniffles, clasping her fingers over Chloe's hips and pulling away just enough for Chloe's tanned fingers to sweep the tears from the length of her cheeks. "I missed you, too," she swallows, averting her eyes until she finds Beca's, several steps away, peering desperately over Emily's shoulder like she can't decide who she even needs to be with, right now, and like the indecision is tearing the Vampire Queen apart.

Aubrey smiles, reassuring and sweet and entirely loving, and the very next thing that she knows, the brunette is instantly behind her, twining her arms so tightly around Aubrey's waist that it's nearly difficult for her to breathe, but Aubrey only vaguely recognizes the need to do so, anyway; the Vampire Queen tucks her face somewhere between Aubrey's shoulder blades, sighing out a genuine noise of gratitude and fathomless relief, before Aubrey feels her lips fold just behind her neck – and nothing in the world seems more important than this.

Nothing could possibly rival this feeling, cradled between Chloe and Beca, because the pain in Aubrey's heart melts away like warming ice, and the void of their absence is suddenly filled with so much love, and Aubrey's never felt so happy in her life.

She wants to use a bigger word – a more meaningful one, or perhaps one that merely sounds more sophisticated – but 'happy' covers everything. There's no space in Aubrey's heart for anything else but this; no space for worry, or anxiety, or pain – only deep, honest love, and the unrivaled happiness that stems from it.

"Missed you, Posen," Beca rasps quietly from behind, and Aubrey trembles and trembles, and doesn't even care how obvious she is.

"God," she puffs out on a laugh, and doesn't even bother to wonder about how the words manage to escape through the swelling block of emotion in her throat. "I missed you, too, Beca. I missed you every second."

Beca drives them home.

Aubrey isn't sure how that's decided, but, sullenly, she thinks it's probably for the best; there's a real chance that she might've fought Emily for the right to sit at her sire's side, and she doesn't actually really want to come between them, in the first place. Emily has more right to be with Beca right now than Aubrey does, anyway – and, with the bond that they share together, the girl definitely has a stronger need for Beca's touch than Aubrey does, right now, even if she doesn't want to admit it – but the blonde still has to consciously remind herself not to be too selfish.

Plus, with the way that Chloe's looking at her and Beca – wide-eyed and giddy and positively gooey – Aubrey thinks that her girlfriend might maybe have glared Emily out of the way entirely, if she'd tried to get between them.

Besides, Chloe keeps constant, physical contact with Aubrey for the whole drive, stroking her fingers through the blonde's hair and pressing soft, directionless little kisses over any piece of Aubrey's flesh that she can reach, and it's enough; it isn't fully right, anymore – a fact that causes Aubrey to blink vacantly in stunned realization – but it's still so much more than the blonde has been offered in three days, and she certainly isn't about to complain.

It's also strangely soothing to watch Beca's hand intermittently tighten over Emily's, stretched across the gear shift, her fingers slotted into the spaces between Beca's; Aubrey is remarkably- pleased that Beca and Emily are together again.

It makes her feel warm, and comforted, and oddly right.

It feels like the sunrise; there's so much blatant love between them that it's nearly unreal, and seeing them together again feels a little bit like the sun, rising over the first day of spring after a very, very long winter.

Part of Aubrey is a tiny bit envious – she wants to hold Beca's hand, and she's waited three entire days to feel the Vampire Queen's soft skin beneath her own, in any way that Beca might let her – but, mostly, Aubrey is content, and it makes her smile to see that way that Beca's eyes flicker over her sired at every given opportunity, like she's simultaneously checking Emily for injuries, and also just checking to make sure she's really there.

It's ridiculously sweet, and it makes Aubrey chuckle a bit into Chloe's shoulder.

Beca catches her eyes through the rearview mirror, blinking only once before a small, hesitantly adoring smile creeps across the very edges of her mouth, and Aubrey doesn't even have time to process the way that her heart beats furiously against her ribs and swells, wide and hard, before she gracelessly, sincerely, and terribly inappropriately blurts out, "I love you."

The Vampire Queen instantly swerves the car into the next lane over – where, thankfully, traffic is practically nonexistent – before she whips the vehicle into the shoulder of the highway, and abruptly twists her entire body around her seat. She locks her incredulously amused gaze back on Aubrey's, and, with a grin that practically touches her ears, Beca demands, "What?"

Emily is giggling furiously and shifting around to watch them, and Aubrey can see Chloe in her periphery biting so hard into her bottom lip that the blonde thinks she must be causing it to bleed, but Aubrey can only blush, and shuffle anxiously across her thighs.

"I didn't mean– I mean, I did," Aubrey stammers, feeling the heat in her face so strongly that she thinks it probably has a pretty fair shot at burning her alive. "I meant it, of course, but that wasn't- this isn't the way I meant to tell you, Beca, because that's a fairly huge thing to just- say, like that, and I'm sorry," Aubrey rushes frantically, and she feels Chloe's warm palm rubbing soft patterns across her stomach to soothe the instant feeling of nausea that churns radically beneath. "Really, I'm sorry, because I wanted to give you flowers, or take you to dinner, or- or something much grander than this, but I just- Beca, I just love you, and I'm really, really tired of not being able to say it when I want to, because I do; I love you so much it feels like it's eating me, inside, and, Jesus, please interrupt me, because this is the opposite of okay, and I – "

"Dude," Beca laughs, soft and free and infuriatingly lovely, but Aubrey can't even scowl at her effortless charm, because she's entirely too occupied with feeling anxious about Beca's reply. "I love you, too, Posen. Probably even more because of how ridiculously adorable you are, right now."

Aubrey isn't sure how, but she somehow musters up a scowl, anyway.

"No, seriously, Aubrey," Beca tells her, calming considerably and throwing Aubrey the most ludicrously shy smile the blonde thinks she's ever even seen, and it makes her remember all over again exactly why she'd felt so embarrassingly compelled to profess her love, in the first place. "I, uh- I love you, too," Beca promises, and Aubrey knows that she must mean it, because those tiny, slim little fingers brush awkwardly behind Beca's ear, and she just keeps smiling that tiny, shy little thing at Aubrey, and the blonde's heart just keeps thrashing in her chest like she can feel Beca's love in her words, and in her look.

"I love you both," Chloe declares, beaming so brightly that Aubrey doesn't even think that she can make a comparison to the sun, anymore. "And Emily, too," she goes on, shaking all over and practically ignoring the still-giggling brunette in the front seat, who breathlessly chokes out an earnestly amused reciprocation of Chloe's affections, "and I missed this so much, and I'm so, so glad that we're home, because this is just the aca-fucking best."

So Aubrey laughs, and Beca does, too, and Aubrey can't ever remember feeling anything more full or real or just- happy in her entire life.

It is the aca-fucking best.

Chapter Text

"Aubrey," Chloe breathes, warmly nudging her nose into the graceful column of her girlfriend's neck, "are we going to talk about this, now?"

Chloe doesn't want to push, and she's only even been home for a few hours, but- Beca and Emily had announced a growing need to hunt after the credits had rolled on their second consecutive movie, and, as disappointed as Chloe had been, she's also a little relieved.

Aubrey's preciously, atypically rambled confession in the car had taken Chloe by complete surprise; even if she'd known that Aubrey's feelings for Beca had been shifting and growing over the last few weeks, developing into something deeper – something stronger; something more urgent and more inevitable – Chloe and Aubrey haven't actually sat down to talk about it in depth, yet.

Aubrey's plan, Chloe knows, had originally been for the two of them to discuss it after she and Beca returned to Barden – but, because it's a conversation that hasn't actually happened yet, it basically means that the exchange in the car had come entirely out of left field, for Chloe. All the redhead had really known for sure, prior to their departure, was that Aubrey had finally, finally decided that she's ready to be with Beca in the way that Chloe has wanted practically from the very start, and that had been enough to sate Chloe's desperation, at least long enough to get her through their weekend away.

In Aubrey's car, Chloe had been so full of tenderness and pure, unfettered joy that she had felt nearly ready to burst with it, shaking from head to toe and babbling off her foremost affections in probably the most unromantic manner possible, but it hadn't really mattered; the redhead had just felt everything so powerfully, and, for the first time, she'd actually been allowed to say so. It hadn't been important, to Chloe, that the love she feels for Beca and Aubrey is an entirely different kind from the love she feels for Emily; in that moment, it had all merged together into something so overwhelming and vast – and far too big to hide away – that Chloe had just been thankful to expose her love in any way that she could manage, no matter how ineloquent.

The redhead has calmed considerably, since then, but those emotions have cleared just enough space in Chloe's head for her to make sense of what this could mean, for them; basically, Chloe wants nothing more in the world than to officially name Beca theirs, and the only thing left standing in the way of that is a conversation with Aubrey that Beca and Emily's hunting expedition conveniently allows the time for.

"I'm not sure that I have that much to say about it, anymore," Aubrey confesses softly, gently folding her fingers over Chloe's thigh, and Chloe hums with unrivaled satisfaction, because she has gone three whole days without Aubrey's touch, and she doesn't care, even a little, if it's pathetic to have missed it as much as she has. "I- I wasn't lying, Chloe," Aubrey stammers shyly. "I didn't mean to say it that way – and I honestly didn't have any plans to mention it at all – but I do love Beca, and I want her to be ours, too. There's- There's actually nothing that I want more," Aubrey hesitates, chewing briefly into her left cheek. "Is that- is that still what you want?" The blonde ventures cautiously.

Chloe tries to stifle her incredulous giggle, but that effort mostly fails, so she nips chidingly into the lobe of Aubrey ear, and grins wide with approval when her girlfriend hisses in a gasp between her abruptly clenched teeth.

"Of course that's what I want, Aubrey," Chloe murmurs gently. "But are you ready for that?"

Part of Chloe doesn't even want to ask; it's taken so, so long for Aubrey to reach this point, and Chloe really doesn't want her to reconsider her stance, right now, but she has to be sure. Even if Chloe struggles to relate, sometimes, she knows Aubrey – better than anyone on this whole entire planet, probably – and the last thing Chloe wants is to begin this- thing with Beca before the blonde is fully prepared for it.

In all reality, if things between them began that way, this entire relationship could be finished before it ever really gets the chance to start, and Chloe honestly just won't risk that.

"Truthfully?" Aubrey furrows her brow, and shuffles on the couch, just a little, so that she can face Chloe, and take the redhead's palms into her own. "I'm not sure that I'll ever be 'ready' for any of this. I've- I've learned a lot about Beca, this weekend – and that's something that we probably need to talk about, later," she muses quietly, "but, as overwhelming as some of it has been, none of it has turned me away. Every time I learn something new about her, I only care about her more, and I'm- I'm exhausted by trying to resist that, Chlo," Aubrey swallows thickly, her eyes wet, and her words thick. "It's complicated, and it's messy, and I imagine it will only get more so, as this progresses, but I- I want it to progress.

"I've hated being without her these past three days as much as I hated to be without you, and that- that means something to me, Chloe," Aubrey explains desperately, and Chloe can only tighten her fingers around her girlfriend's in sympathetic understanding, because she knows that it does mean something, to Aubrey.

It had taken the blonde years to admit her feelings for Chloe, but, since then, Aubrey's love for her has been endless and consuming, offered freely without even a tiny bit of restraint.

Chloe and Aubrey are so incredibly different, in practically every way – but not in this. They may grow to love in wholly opposite ways, but they understand that love the same; it holds the same meaning, for them, and they each love deeply, fathomlessly, and with such devotion that their love becomes an integral part of them.

And Aubrey loves Beca in the same way that Chloe does.

"So… we're really doing this?" Chloe inquires, her excitement scarcely contained, just until she has clarification; just until she's sure.

"Yes," Aubrey whispers with a determined nod, and a sincere, affectionate smile, as she frees one of her hands from Chloe's, only to place it just beneath the redhead's ear, stroking her fingers familiarly across Chloe's cheek. "I think we're really doing this."

Chloe sighs, warm and tender, and leans into Aubrey's touch, pleating an affectionate kiss into the center of the blonde's palm.

"I love you, Bree," Chloe vows honestly, and presses her forehead into Aubrey's, just to be closer to her, and to feel the blonde's warmth. "I love you so much, and, no matter what – no matter where this goes, with Beca – that won't ever change. Okay?"

"I love you, too, Chloe," Aubrey breathes softly, her words caressing over Chloe's mouth before Aubrey's lips take over instead, whispering across the redhead's own with such deep, gratified satisfaction that all Chloe can do is sigh her explosive relief back into them.

And, God, Chloe has missed this girl.

When Beca comes back, she's alone, but it takes a few minutes for Chloe to even notice.

She's spent the past hour practically whimpering beneath Aubrey's rushed, frantic attentions, the blonde's mouth hungrily stripping Chloe's of breath, altogether, and, by the time Beca enters, the redhead is so lost in the heat of Aubrey's kiss that she can't even think long enough to consider what the sound of the door closing might even mean.

"Would you like some time to yourselves?"

Chloe chokes on a gasp, but she isn't sure if it's borne of surprise or arousal, because Aubrey's teeth scrape just above her collarbone in the same moment that Beca's voice filters through her ears, and it's all Chloe can do to flick her eyes in the Vampire Queen's direction.

Still, that doesn't help the redhead's level of comprehension at all, because Beca is blood-soaked and dangerously gorgeous, smirking around angled, glittering fangs, splattered with red, and amusement prances delightedly through those gleaming, silver eyes. There's something much, much darker mingled in Beca's gaze, too, and Chloe can't give it a name that's strong enough, but she knows what it feels like.

It feels like the fire that's burning through her lungs and heart, and it feels like an increasingly urgent need to touch; touch anywhere- everywhere- every possible space of flesh that could be made available to her, if she could only pull away the cloth that covers it.

Aubrey's fingers still instantly, trapped beneath the confines of Chloe's shirt, the blonde's palm flat against her stomach. Chloe groans when Aubrey shuffles her hips around, just enough to rest them across the redhead's own, offering Aubrey the stability she needs in order to sit up and face Beca, too. Aubrey's cheeks are flushed, and her lips are swollen, and Chloe definitely is not finished with her, even a little, but she squeezes her eyes shut tight and tries her very, very best to ignore the wetness pooling between her thighs, but it's been days since she's had the promise of release, and her body isn't willing to give it up, just yet.

"Where's Emily?" Aubrey husks, blinking over at Beca in bemusement.

Beca lofts a brow and chuckles beneath her breath, prowling slowly forward, almost idly remarking, "We could hear those pretty little gasps of yours before we even entered the building, Posen. I'm not sure that Emily shares in my desire to witness the acts that have caused them."

Chloe pants quickly and swallows, but can't actually form words, or really even think about what she might like to say, anyway.

"I- God, Beca," Aubrey chokes out, her voice needy, and low, and Chloe's brains trips back in time, just a couple of days, long enough to remember Beca's heated promise to make the blonde beg for her.

The redhead moans – a thing that's soft and hard, all at once, and that billows out between them like chimney smoke in winter – because that promise seems abruptly thinkable, to Chloe, in ways it hadn't been before.

Aubrey looks just about ready to beg, and Beca's hardly said a thing.

Chloe vaguely wishes they'd spared the time to move this into the bedroom, because the only thing she finds herself consciously aware of, right now, is that there really isn't room for Beca on the couch, with them.

The Vampire Queen kneels on the floor, instead, taking Aubrey's burning cheeks between her palms, and Beca moves her mouth across the blonde's like it's some kind of aca-loving punishment; she dominates their kiss with unrestricted ease, slipping her tongue through Aubrey's pliantly parted lips, tasting the caverns of the blonde's mouth with furious, unrestrained heat, and pressing so hard into her that Chloe can see their lips pale beneath the pressure.

The image alone is enough to make the redhead whine in desperation, because the whole concept of Beca on her knees has taken on a whole new level of significance, for Chloe; she has watched dozens of Vampires submit before her in deference to Beca's position and power and strength, and yet their Queen doesn't hesitate, even for a moment, to kneel before them, instead.

Like her position and power and strength are incontestable, no matter how she holds herself, and every part of Chloe agrees, because Beca's muscles ripple and twitch, and Chloe thinks it probably won't ever matter how far down she lowers herself; Beca is always in control of her position, and of her strength, and definitely of all that power.

Aubrey mewls out the tiniest, most breathless little noise into Beca's mouth, and it sounds an awful lot like greed, to Chloe, which makes her shake all over with overwhelming desire. Still, Chloe only has a second to focus on it before Aubrey's fingers tighten and curl, scraping into Chloe's stomach as a fist clenches overtop of it and presses so firmly downward that, for a second, Chloe literally can't even breathe.

"Aubrey!" She hisses, hip arcing upward in a plea for attention that largely goes unheeded.

In all fairness, Aubrey tries, ripping her mouth from Beca's briefly to train bleary, dilated eyes on Chloe, but it doesn't last long; Beca threads her fingers through the fine, blonde strands of Aubrey's hair and pulls her head backward with a relatively forceful yank, exposing the blonde's neck to the Vampire Queen's hungry, driven mouth.

"Beca," Chloe whimpers, breathless and unattended, lifting her hips all over again for just the smallest bit of relief, until Aubrey moans and Beca's mouth inevitably finds the blonde's once more. "Please," Chloe urges mindlessly. "God, please, just touch me. Someone touch me," she gasps out, heart so full of love and want that the lines between them don't even exist for Chloe, anymore, and everything that the redhead feels just- festers, deep in her heart and low in between her legs, all at once.

The Vampire Queen's mouth tugs playfully away from Aubrey's, the blonde's red, blood-painted lower lip clipped between Beca's teeth, before Beca releases it and shifts her focus to Chloe. The Vampire Queen laughs, rumbling and amused, from somewhere deep within her chest, like a purr is coloring the edges of the sound, before she lazily shakes her head.

"Oh, sweet girl," Beca coos at Chloe sweetly, leaning downward just enough to press fond, tender kisses along the redhead's temple and jaw. "No."

Chloe blinks, just for a second, and literally cannot fathom the meaning behind her reply.

"No?" She frowns in earnest confusion.

"No," Beca repeats, chuckling that musical little noise that makes Chloe lose her breath all over again, even if all she wants to feel is the frustration coiling in the depths of her stomach, and the relief that Beca and Aubrey could offer for it. "I have waited for you," Beca breathes into Chloe's neck, "for three thousand years, and I can be patient a little longer, if I must," she murmurs, fitting her palm into Chloe's gently, and squeezing for reassurance. "I will not throw this experience away for a quickie on the sofa. When I love you," Beca swears mutedly, and pulls away, trading that vividly metallic gaze between Chloe and Aubrey, both, "I will do it thoroughly, and I will not be constrained by the factor of time.

"Emily," Beca tells them softly, "has gone for a walk, and she'll be back within the hour. Believe me when I tell you," Beca rasps comfortingly, and her voice is soothing, for Chloe, even if her touch most definitely isn't, "that an hour is not nearly enough time for what I intend to do to you."

Chloe pants, and pants, and can't catch her breath long enough for anything coherent to escape, but Aubrey evidently doesn't suffer from the same problem.

"I don't care if a couple of months pales in comparison to how long you've waited for us, Beca," the blonde whispers, eyes screwed tight as her chest heaves above of Chloe's. "I am tired of waiting to feel you, and I swear to every aca-god in the sky that I will have you. I can't wait for this much longer, and I honestly don't care to."

And that- sums up Chloe's feelings pretty well, too, actually.

It's kind of amazing, how wholeheartedly Aubrey devotes herself once she's ready to admit that she's already halfway there.

Chapter Text

Aubrey isn't sure who's meant to begin this conversation.

It's taken fifteen minutes just for her and Chloe to calm down from their arousal, and, now that they have, Aubrey is keenly aware of the fact that there are only forty-five minutes left for them to have Beca alone before Emily returns from her walk. While Aubrey recognizes that, reasonably, she and Chloe could just wait to speak with Beca, that isn't something Aubrey really wants to do.

The blonde wants to call Beca her own, and she knows that Chloe wants the same; all Aubrey actually needs, at this point, is permission from Beca to do so. Aubrey just wants to talk about it, and to achieve some kind of clarity, but- she isn't sure how to ask, and, as eager as Chloe is for this to happen, Aubrey has a sneaking suspicion that the redhead intends to follow Aubrey's lead, with this.

The entire thing is a little more stressful for Aubrey than she'd like; it feels like every second ticking away is another chance lost, for them, but even with that knowledge, the blonde's courage is still failing.

Aubrey knows they could just speak to Beca about this later, if they run out of time before Emily's return, but Aubrey doesn't want that, and she truthfully can't fathom making Chloe wait any longer than she already has. The redhead has been so patient, with Aubrey – so painfully, typically understanding – and Aubrey has no desire to repay her girlfriend's kindness with cowardice.

It's just- Aubrey's really never been particularly brave, and this really isn't as easy as she'd hoped.

"Dude," Beca frowns, eventually, a couple of coffee mugs dangling from her right hand as she prepares to pour from the freshly-brewed pot, just for Aubrey and Chloe, "what is up with you, Posen? Like, seriously, are you okay?"

"Why would you ask me that?" Aubrey furrows her brows in confusion, her muscles tensing beneath the pressure of her anxiety.

"Your heart," Beca narrows her eyes as she turns to face them, hips leaning into the countertop behind her. "It's beating ridiculously fast, even for you, Aubrey."

"Even for me?" Aubrey scoffs, mildly offended.

Beca lofts her brows in return, the edges of a smirk curling up the corners of her mouth, before she replies, "You stress more than most, and don't act like you're surprised by that, Posen," she laughs softly. "Your heart beats a little faster than the ordinary human, most times, but this is too quick, even compared to your normal standard. What is it?" Beca lilts her head curiously to the right. "What's wrong?" She frowns again, earnest and concerned.

Chloe twitches a little, next to Aubrey at the island counter, but Aubrey can't focus on it, much.

Instead, she sucks in a slow, deep breath in a fruitless attempt to steady herself, before she finally sighs out, "Chloe and I wanted to talk with you about something."

"Okay," Beca rustles her shoulders uneasily, confused. "What's up?"

Aubrey parts her lips to speak, but the words never come, so she gnaws carefully into the inside of her cheek and flicks her eyes toward Chloe, in a plea for assistance.

She can't do this all by herself; Aubrey isn't built for things like this.

When she'd first started dating Chloe, the blonde had been so anxious about asking the redhead that the entire exchange had become a black hole of memory, for Aubrey, with shaky images smattered in between; Aubrey had nearly had a panic attack that day, worried over rejection and plagued by her insecurities, and she can't even remember the words she'd tried to stumbled over, so she can't recall them to use again, with Beca.

"We've been spending a lot of time together, haven't we?" Chloe inquires, biting softly at her lower lip and reassuringly reaching beneath the kitchen counter to hold onto Aubrey's knee.

Beca frowns harder, and turns to set the coffee mugs down on the countertop behind her. When she moves to face them again, her steel blue eyes practically thrum with worry and her mouth itches at the edges, before Beca whispers, strained, "Is that- Would you like for me to be around less?"

The Vampire Queen's eyes slip shut in anticipation of their reply, but Aubrey can only gape at her and, appalled, wonder, "Beca, how could you even think that? After everything – after all the progress we've made; after 'I love you' – how could you think that we'd want you around less? Why would it not occur to you that maybe we'd like for you to be around more?"

"Seriously?" Beca's eyelids snap apart, and her expressions twists back into one of confusion. "Why would you need to talk to me about that?"

"Um… I'm not sure about Vampires, Becs," Chloe giggles softly and lops her head to the right in thought, "but humans sort of have a rule about how you can't actually date someone before you agree to be dating."

"Is that what this is?" Beca barks out a short, incredulous laugh. "You'd like for us to- date?"

"Yes," Aubrey breathes, in the very same moment that Chloe sighs, and softly, desperately whimpers out, "Please?"

Beca chuckles beneath her breath and shakes her head, tucking pretty strands of flyaway brunette hair behind her ear, before she shrugs and honestly replies, "I was sort of under the impression that that's what we were already doing."

"You were?" Chloe sits up straighter and beams.

"Well… yeah?" Beca answers shyly, and shrugs uncomfortably. "I mean, isn't this how humans date? By spending time together and getting to know each other? And, like, maybe kissing a little, or whatever?"

"I suppose," Aubrey replies slowly. "But it's different."

"How?" Beca poses, bemused. "We've had the conversation now, at least sort of, right? So we're dating, yeah?" She scratches the back of her head in precious confusion, and, in spite of her anxiety, Aubrey still finds herself tamping down on the urge to giggle. "So what changes? If we weren't dating before, then what's different now?"

It's fair that Beca is so confused, Aubrey supposes, because, if she thinks about it, Beca is essentially right. They already spend their free time together, and they already hold one another, and kiss, when they want to; nothing truly changes, except–

"You're ours," Chloe says gently. "That's what changes, Beca," she smiles softly, and squeezes her fingers tighter around Aubrey's knee. "We get to call you ours."

"Red," Beca blinks vacantly and furrows her brows deeper inward, until that little wrinkled line appears between her eyes, "I was already yours; I've been yours from the moment that we met. And, frankly," Beca sighs heavily and lowers her head, "the only thing that could make that better is if I could call you mine, too."

"You can," Aubrey frowns, then stands on shaky legs to shuffle into the Vampire Queen's side. "That's- that's what this means, Beca; we can call your ours, and you can- you can call us yours, too."

Beca takes Aubrey's hand in her own, smiling sadly before she lifts the blonde's knuckles to her mouth and presses her lips lovingly across them.

"No," Beca tells her softly, "I really can't. That's not- how it works, for Vampires, Posen. While you are human, I have a few options as far as marking my territory, for lack of a more eloquent human phrase; for example, I can temporarily claim you, or I can name you my pet – but neither of those things defines ownership. Not really. When you're claimed, you're my responsibility; any trouble you cause becomes my fault, and any achievements you make, I take credit for, among my kind. But you can end that connection whenever you like, and wash my blood away.

"When you're my pet, Aubrey," Beca sighs, and her breath splashes over Aubrey's hand, still pressed just lightly into Beca's mouth, "all of that remains similar, but- it also becomes my responsibility to care for you, and make sure that you are healthy and content in my presence. You can decide to leave my company whenever you choose, with no repercussions. But there are more expectations of you as my pet, as well. As a pet, it's expected for you to behave as my submissive, and for you to feed me as long as you are physically well enough to do so; you do as I tell you, provided that I keep your interests and health in mind, and there's very little room for you to defy an order from me without punishment, or without being released from my care.

"I could mark you," Beca swallows thickly, "which is also a little different, but- it's also permanent. It basically means that I give you my venom; afterward, my scent is with you forever, and I can find you whenever you're nearby. Everything you do would bear my scent, and I could track you if I needed to. While I could track you by your own scent relatively easily, too, I can detect my own scent from further away, and I feel- something like a pull toward it, physically; it's easier for me to find someone who carries my venom.

"Marking a human is the closest you can come to mating with them, without actually doing it. We can mark other Vampires, too – which happens frequently when two Vampires are mated, but neither is sired to the other – but it's more so that other Vampires are aware of who they belong to. Mated Vampires really don't need any help in finding each other.

"The only way for you to truly be mine," Beca explains patiently, but in a manner so full of longing that Aubrey thinks she's even yearning on Beca's behalf, "is if you've been turned. You would be my sired, and would fully take your place as my mate; I could find you no matter what, wherever you are in the world, and I could feel you in my heart, and in every breath I take. We can get close to that," Beca nods with a tender, aching smile. "I feel parts of it already; I feel you when I'm absent, and I hurt for you when we've been apart for too long, but, until you are turned – if you are turned," Beca amends pointedly, and Aubrey instantly wonders if she does so for Aubrey and Chloe's sake, or for her own, "I can't call you mine, Aubrey. Because you aren't. Not completely. You could be," Beca swallows again and sighs, "but you aren't."

"So, then, this probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you, does it?" Chloe smiles ruefully, chin propped upon the heels of her hands as she studies them. "That we're officially dating, now?"

Beca laughs softly and shrugs, releasing Aubrey's hand to sweep the blonde's hair behind her ear.

"Dating is a human concept, Chloe, but that doesn't mean it's irrelevant to me. This means everything to me," Beca smiles warmly, "because it clearly means a lot to you, and it's something that you want to share with me. I'm honored by that," Beca vows honestly. "I really don't expect for you to know or understand the way that Vampires work, or even just the way that I work. As I'm sure you've figured out by now," she smirks lightly, "there's also quite a bit that I don't understand about humans, or the way that you work. That being said," Beca murmurs quietly, and Aubrey trembles at the deep, earnest love that shines from her captivating blue eyes when she turns them toward Chloe, "I can find happiness in everything that makes you happy, Red.

"While I can't have the full experience of a mate, I am more than satisfied with all that the two of you have offered to me, and all that you continue to offer. I would love to call you mine, if that's something that you decide you want, later on," Beca sighs carefully and shakes her head, "but I don't need it. I am content, with the two of you, and that's- something that I've never had before.

"You can call it dating, if you like," the Vampire Queen shrugs. "You can call it anything you want, to be honest. I'll adore being with you no matter what name you choose to give it."

Aubrey wonders if three thousand years can justify this; she wonders if three thousand years can be responsible for the way that Beca knows just the right thing to say to make Aubrey's heart pulse tiny, electric shocks through every inch of her body, and to make Chloe's eyes tear as her heart swells with love.

Because this girl is so perfect for them.

The way that Beca feels – so fiercely and devotedly and deeply – is just so perfect for Chloe and her too-wide heart, and the way that Beca can justify those feelings so rationally, and fluidly, and without hesitation or doubt–

Aubrey understands that; Aubrey is often overwhelmed by emotion, and confused when her feelings don't match in line with her thoughts, but Beca- makes it make sense, for the blonde. She makes emotion feel so defined, even when it isn't, so that Aubrey can process it in ways that she's never been able to, before.

Beca is perfect, for them, and if Aubrey had needed confirmation that this was the right thing to do, for her and Chloe, then this is it.

This is all the confirmation Aubrey needs, so she folds her fingers over Beca's cheeks and presses their mouths together, soft and easy and grateful and happy, and hums with quiet, unprecedented satisfaction when Beca's tongue gently teases back.

Chapter Text

"What does it taste like?" Aubrey voices idly, delicately thumbing the shell of Beca's ear.

The blonde is pressed into Beca's side on the sofa, her legs curled up beneath her and her shoulder pressing into the brunette's own, alternately playing with Beca's hair before tucking it behind her ears all over again. Chloe's head rests comfortably in the Vampire Queen's lap, but, after Aubrey asks, the redhead shifts her confused gaze upward.

Chloe doesn't even know what Aubrey's talking about, so she can't imagine how Beca's meant to.

"Yeah…" Beca smirks widely. "I'm gonna need a little more than that, Posen," Beca remarks dryly, steel blue eyes glittering with amusement.

Aubrey rolls her own eyes in return and pulls fondly at Beca's ear in admonishment, but still replies, "Blood. What- what does it taste like, for you?"

Beca hesitates, before she slowly replies, "Everyone tastes a little differently; personally, I try to avoid anyone taking iron supplements. Some of us prefer the metallic taste, but that's just- not really my thing."

Chloe giggles, because she's never really thought about how supplements or vitamins might have an impact on how Vampires decide whose blood to take. It's sort of interesting, for Chloe, but it's also just a tiny bit cute; like a child, eating around the vegetables on the plate.

Still, Chloe curiously expands, "Okay. Well, what do we taste like?"

The Vampire Queen's eyes slip to a close, her tongue sweeping longingly across her lower lip as she stiffens and swallows, like even the conversation is tempting her will.

"You taste differently, to me, than you would to other Vampires," Beca says thickly. "Because my body recognizes you as potential mates, I'm- more drawn to your taste than others would be, and I taste more of you in your blood than anyone else could."

"What does that mean?" Aubrey frowns. "What do I taste like, for you?" She presses gently, and Chloe watches as she tugs Beca's wrist to her mouth, pleating a soft, tender kiss across it to soothe the Vampire Queen's nerves, and it makes Chloe smile something sweet and earnest and devoted.

"You taste like- the universe," Beca's brows furrow in concentration, like she's remembering, and Chloe feels oddly, powerfully struck with the urge to let Beca taste her blood all over again, basically for no reason at all. "You taste vast, and complex; shifting and endless and breathtaking," Beca sighs wondrously. "You taste like the stars, and the moon, and every planet beyond them; like every supernova in the sky exploding on the very tip of my tongue," Beca rasps quietly. "You taste like an eternity, Aubrey – happening all at once, in the most glorious way imaginable," Beca whispers reverently, staring vacantly at the coffee table in front of them.

Aubrey blinks, and, if Chloe's angle isn't playing tricks on her, she thinks there are tears in the blonde's eyes, too, but Chloe won't blame Aubrey for that, even a little; Beca's words have always been meaningful, and deep, and honest, but to hear her speak that way about Aubrey is just–

Well, Chloe can easily see how the blonde could be flattered.

The redhead can almost imagine the flavors of the blonde's blood, too, because Chloe might not have thought to word it that way, exactly, but she thinks that's almost exactly how Aubrey feels, to Chloe; complicated, and volatile, and out-of-this-world kind of gorgeous.

"And Chloe?" Aubrey swallows roughly and clears her throat. "What does Chloe taste like?"

The Vampire Queen moves soft, affectionate eyes to find the redhead's own, and Beca smiles down at her for a moment, without saying a thing.

Chloe tries not to fidget, under such an intensely invasive stare, but she's eager to know what Beca's thinking; the way that she's looking at her right now – adoring and bemused and contemplative, all at once – makes Chloe want to shuffle up and kiss her, just because she can, and just because she wants to.

"You taste like cheer, Red," Beca sighs out finally, her words soft, and her fingers stroking tenderly through Chloe's hair, splayed across the Queen's lap. "You taste like laughter and celebration and genuine delight; like family and sunshine and love, persevering in the face of every dark secret the Devil whispers in your ear. You taste like peace, Chloe; like every Miss America wish come true," Beca snorts, and pulls teasingly at Chloe's hair, and Chloe giggles through her emotion-stopped throat, playfully slapping her palm across Beca's thigh. Then Beca's tone falls – deeper, lower, quieter – until it's hardly even a gust of breath that sweeps upward from her lungs. "You taste like hope, and decency; like giving your very last dollar to a stranger on the street, and trusting him to appreciate it more than you could. You taste like the very last thread of kindness left in this world; like the last lighthouse on the shore that no storm could put out, and no cloud could cover."

Poetry has really never been Chloe's thing, but she thinks that Beca might have changed that, for her. The Vampire Queen might not have intended to even be poetic, but Chloe's pretty sure that this definitely qualifies; it has to, because the entire point of poetry – much like music – is to make a person feel, and Chloe doesn't think she's ever felt so much.

Her heart is humming with satisfaction beneath the confines of her chest, her hands trembling violently over Beca's thighs, and Chloe's tears have already begun to drip from her eyes and across the bridge of her nose, and it's just because this girl–

She is impossible.

Beca shouldn't exist; nothing this perfect should ever be allowed to walk the Earth among lesser beings who might taint her.

Chloe's angel can't belong here; there must be someplace special for Beca – someplace worthy of her wisdom and strength and poetical accolades, or at least more worthy of those things than Chloe feels she ever could be – but, even if there is a place for her Queen, Chloe would never let her go there.

Chloe has been spoiled with her – spoiled with Beca's devotion and love and fathomless care – and Chloe doesn't usually think of herself as any more selfish than most, but she's suddenly positive that she is definitely too selfish to ever let Beca go.

Especially now that Chloe's angel finally is hers.

"Beca?" Emily calls out softly from the door. "Is it- Can I come in?"

The Vampire Queen chuckles, tipping her head back against the sofa cushions to turn eyes on her sired, and Chloe watches Aubrey hungrily eye the line of Beca's throat as it arches.

The redhead reaches over to lightly pinch the side of Aubrey's knee, and the blonde's attention startles back to Chloe with a sheepish look in her green orbs and a wry, helpless twist of her lips into a smile. Aubrey moves her shoulders in a small shrug, and Chloe giggles, because she gets it – she does; Beca is overwhelmingly difficult to resist, in the first place, but it's even harder now that the Vampire Queen has made them wait.

"You're good, Em," Beca calls out with a laugh. "I'm pretty sure you'd be able to tell if we were doing anything you wouldn't want to see."

"Well," Chloe hears Emily fluster, but she can't quite see her, yet, "I guess I just wanted to be sure. I wouldn't want to interrupt- that. And, actually, my sense of smell isn't really all that helpful, if you think about it, because I can still smell- things, whether you actually, you know, do anything about it or not, anyway," Emily emphasizes with a pointed look at Beca that Chloe can finally see, as Emily rounds the couch, and the redhead giggles all over again, because she thinks Emily looks so awkward and clueless that she would definitely be blushing, if she were human. "You know?"

"Honestly?" Aubrey frowns. "I don't have any idea what you're talking about, right now. Did that even make sense?" She wonders curiously.

"It did to me," Beca smirks, and stands to stretch, dislodging Chloe and very effectively eliciting a pout, but it only lasts long enough for Aubrey to roll her eyes and smile affectionately, before scooping Chloe into her arms, holding the redhead tight against her.

Chloe watches with a loving smile as Beca reaches forward, cradling Emily's neck in her palm, and the taller brunette sighs out maybe the softest, happiest noise that Chloe's ever even heard, in answer.

"Anyway," Emily purrs contently, "I ran into Luke on my way back."

"Did you?" Beca lofts an interested eyebrow upward. "Anything interesting happen while I was gone?"

"Not- really?" Emily replies bemusedly, then shrugs. "I mean, I don't think so, but- he said he needs to talk to you tonight. Is everything okay?" She worries, chewing the inside of her cheek.

Beca's opposite eyebrow rises to join the first, and her free palm rises, two fingers tapping lightly against Emily's cheek.

"That's new," The Vampire Queen notes quietly.

Emily's eyes widen as she blinks, before she turns her head down and slightly away, and Chloe frowns instantly in reply; it's just- she's truthfully never seen Emily do anything but seek Beca out, and now she's hiding from her.

"Em," Beca whispers and shakes her head, smiling sweetly and urging her sired to look up again by pressing two fingers softly beneath her chin, "it's okay. We've talked about this."

"About what?" Chloe asks, because her curiosity is practically insatiable, even if she can tell by the softness of Beca's voice that their conversation is probably meant to be private.

"It's, um- I'm still young, you know? I mean, in Vampire years, I'm only three, so compared to most, I'm still, like, a baby. Or a toddler, maybe? I'm really not sure when I graduate from one to the other, and Beca tells me it's sort of a process; there's no defined age when the changes to happen, they just sort of- happen in their own time, you know?"

"Not really," Chloe smiles and laughs warmly. "Explain it to me?" She bites her lip hopefully.

Emily swallows, but defers to Beca with wide, pleading eyes.

"Young Vampires are very impressionable," Beca says with a worriless shrug. "Particularly to humans. It's instinct, mostly; we've only survived this long by disguising ourselves in a world full of humans, and the only way that we can effectively do that is if we behave in the same ways that they do. This is Emily's first year out of the Villa, and, up until we came here, her contact with humans was pretty limited; she was exposed to enough of them to acquire the basics, but that's about it. Now that she's spending more time with your kind, her mind is picking up on human behaviors in a way that Emily has no control over, and she's subconsciously mimicking them to assimilate easier among you."

"How do you mean?" Aubrey shifts slightly, until Chloe's nose is pressed softly into her collar, and the redhead hums in reply.

"I mean," Beca chuckles deeply, and Chloe shivers helplessly in answer, her breath pulsing out in a hot pool of air that gathers at Aubrey's throat until the blonde trembles a little, too, "that I've seen you bite your cheek that way at least a dozen times, Posen, and Emily's apparently seen it, too. She's copying you, Posen."

"Me?" Aubrey straightens attentively, incredulous and confused.

"It makes sense," Beca tells her comfortingly. "She spends a lot of time with your Bellas, Posen, but it's rarely one-on-one; Emily's just spent four days with you, basically alone, and that has an effect on her. That's all it is," Beca explains slowly.

Aubrey blinks furiously and frowns, but Chloe thinks maybe that might be the sweetest thing she's ever heard.

Still, the whole thing really isn't all that complicated, for Chloe, so she's having trouble understanding what has Aubrey so off-kilter.

Emily is getting closer with the blonde, so she does things that Aubrey does because those are the things she's seen the most – like a baby who learns habits from its parents; it really does make sense, especially because Chloe has basically equated Emily to being Beca's child from the very start, in an effort to understand the sort of bond that they share, together.

It's the best way that Chloe can think of to define the relationship between a sire and her sired, because Chloe is only human and only has human relationship constructs to work with, in the first place – and Chloe thinks it's a relatively fair comparison, anyway, because even if Beca isn't Emily's real mother, the younger brunette is definitely Beca's baby.

"But why would you copy me?" Aubrey hisses, appalled. "Jesus, Emily, I'm the worst model for human behavior."

"You are not," Beca frowns, and replies firmly, in the same moment that Chloe gasps out the same. "You're a perfectly fine model for her to live up to, Aubrey. Why would even you say that?" Beca goes on bemusedly, and Chloe nods, just to make sure Aubrey knows that Beca might have asked the question, but Chloe's interested to know the answer, too.

"Because!" Aubrey throws her arms upward, only narrowly missing Chloe's cheek as the redhead ducks quickly out of the way. "I 'stress more than most,'" Aubrey mocks with a glare in Beca's direction. "I stress, Beca, and I worry, and I make plans; it's what I do. And when things don't fall in order the way that they're meant to, I vomit! That isn't normal, and if you think I'm not aware of that, then three thousand years really hasn't done much to improve your intuition," Aubrey scowls. "I'm not someone who anyone should strive to be like, Beca, and especially not your sired!"

Chloe wraps her arms around Aubrey's neck and briefly burrows her face into the blonde's hair.

It sort of shatters the redhead's heart to realize that Aubrey actually believes that to be true, and Chloe can tell that she does, because Aubrey's hands are nervously clenching and releasing, and her eyes look positively frantic; still, they flood swiftly with embarrassment and deep, soulful apology the very moment that Emily speaks.

"I'm sorry," Emily whispers, shamed. "I didn't mean to, Aubrey, and it wasn't intentional, or anything, I just – "

"Hey," Beca frowns and interrupts, suddenly silver eyes gleaming with dangerous indignation as she turns them toward Emily. "Stop. Do not ever apologize for what you are," Beca growls fiercely. "Not to anyone. I don't care who it is," Beca snaps sharply, then inhales deeply and calms her fury with a quickness that nearly gives Chloe whiplash. "This isn't a mistake that you made, Emily, or something you could help; it is literally instinct for us to do this, and it's served our kind very well, in the past. If we didn't adapt this way, we'd never blink, or shrug, or move at human pace or speak at human volumes. It's necessary, and it isn't bad, Emily; it's important, for us. Do you understand?" Beca murmurs patiently, and sweeps her thumb across her sired's cheek, just beneath one of Emily's wide, trusting brown eyes.

"Yes," the younger Vampire whispers softly. "I do, Beca, I swear, it's just – " Emily cuts herself off and sighs, resignedly shaking her head.

"It's just what?" Beca encourages gently, and Chloe instantly wants to coo at her.

Chloe wants to coo at them both, frankly, because they are sweet together, and so, so precious, and Chloe thinks her heart might burst just from watching the two share this tender moment between them.

"I don't know," Emily replies quietly, and shrugs. "Sometimes I just feel like- like I was never a human to begin with. I mean, shouldn't I already know the way that they behave? Shouldn't I have enough quirks of my own that I shouldn't need to pick up Aubrey's, too? Shouldn't I remember?" She blusters in aggravation, curling her fingers desperately around Beca's wrist like the contact has never been more important to her than it is in this moment, right now.

"It doesn't work that way," Beca smiles sadly and shakes her head, before leaning it softly into Emily's. "When I turned you," she rests her eyes shut for a long moment that makes Chloe's heart ache, because she can see, in the twitch at the edge if Beca's smile, that the memory is a monstrously bittersweet one, for her new girlfriend, "it changed everything in your DNA. You still have your human memories, and they're just as vivid as any other, so I understand why it's confusing, Emily," she swallows and sighs, "but you're a different creature, now, and you understand those memories in a different way, even if you wish that you didn't.

"You're not the same, Emily," Beca whispers shakily. "Your behaviors are totally different. What came naturally to you then – like the way you used to grind your teeth in your sleep, when you were human – isn't natural, anymore. They're learned behaviors, now, and this is you, Em – learning.

"I know that you're… more comfortable, with humans, and that's fine," Beca swears earnestly, even as her eyes briefly flicker downward, and Chloe thinks that maybe Beca feels shamed, too, even though she can't understand why the Vampire Queen might feel that way, now. "That's okay, Em; but if you're around humans as frequently as you are, it means that you're going to pick these things up more quickly than most of us have ever had the chance to, in the past, and I just want you to be prepared for that.

"But I want to be clear, with you: no matter how many new things you learn from humans, none of that means that you are forgetting what it was like to be human; it doesn't mean that you're forgetting your human life, or that you'll forget what was important to you, then. You're a new creature now, Emily – but you're still the same person. I won't ever let you forget that, okay? I promise, Legacy," Beca vows, and Chloe feels every part of herself thrum with Beca's promise like it's one she'd made to Emily herself.

Emily sniffles, and swipes fisted palms against abruptly teary eyes, before she throws herself into Beca's arms with a wet laugh and a kind of desperate ferocity that puts even most of Chloe's hugs to shame.

… And Chloe's pretty proud of her hugs.

Still, as emotionally straining as this conversation has been for Beca, Aubrey, and Emily, the redhead feels like maybe this moment is the most important one that the three of them have ever shared, and – as concerned for them as she might be, anyway – Chloe feels honored to have been here to witness it.

Chapter Text

"I'm sorry," Beca murmurs softly, brows furrowed inward as she moves through the kitchen.

After their conversation in the living room had begun to wind down, Chloe had practically begged for a shower, and even if Aubrey would have been perfectly happy to keep the redhead buried in her arms, Aubrey understands the sort of grimy feeling that travelling leaves behind. With that in mind, Aubrey had forced away the little sulk that had tried to take over, and, instead, she'd only smiled at Chloe, soft and tender, before pressing a kiss into the redhead's cheek and lightly pushing her in the direction of the bedroom.

On her way there, Chloe had thrown a pathetically wide pair of always-sparkling eyes in Beca's direction, her lower lip just subtly pouting outward, and Chloe had whispered probably the sweetest, most pleadingly manipulative request Aubrey's ever even heard, imploring Beca to make another batch of pancakes, 'pretty please.'

Part of Aubrey wants to roll her eyes at Beca's swift and easy concession, but she can't actually bring herself to do it.

Instead, Aubrey had glared at Chloe on the Vampire Queen's behalf, because Beca might not have realized how skillfully she'd just been played, but Aubrey certainly had; the blonde has been played the very same way more times than she would care to count, even if she could, and those big, ocean blue eyes suck Aubrey in every aca-loving time. It's only made worse by the fact that Chloe knows it, and still shamelessly abuses the expression with no regard for Aubrey's pride at all.

Chloe doesn't even seem to register the glare, though – which isn't actually that much of a surprise, for the blonde – and the redhead only blows Aubrey a quick kiss and tosses a wink her way before she disappears into their bedroom for something to wear.

The blonde had followed Beca to the kitchen to keep her company, and Emily had, too, but the younger brunette doesn't stay.

Emily has been alternately pressing herself into Beca's side and shying away all over again ever since she'd arrived back at the apartment, and Aubrey thinks it's only partly to give the three of them some time together; mostly, Aubrey is pretty sure that Emily is still feeling a little off, and the blonde is happy to allow their youngest Bella a little bit of space, if that's what she needs.

"Why?" Aubrey frowns. "What are you sorry for, Beca?"

"Earlier," Beca rustles her shoulders uncomfortably in a sort of half-shrug, her fingers stilling over the gallon of milk she'd just pulled out from the fridge. "When we were talking about Emily," Beca explains, setting the plastic gallon on the counter and turning to rest her hips against it, lifting shamed, apologetic eyes to meet with Aubrey's green. "I didn't mean to ignore you, or what you said. It- I can't help it, sometimes, you know?" Beca closes her eyes, just briefly, and breathes in something slow and deep before she opens them again. "Emily is my sired; I feel it, when she's sad, and it overwhelms basically everything else, no matter what it is.

"I didn't to mean to just- ignore it, though," Beca sighs in frustration and pauses, just for a moment, curling her fingers through her hair, and Aubrey watches as her thumb and forefinger hook contemplatively around one of the small hoops wound through the cartilage of her ear. "You should know, though, that you're wrong," Beca tells her after a moment, solemn, and sure.

Aubrey isn't sure that she wants to talk about this; in fact, the blonde had sort of enjoyed the lack of acknowledgment, earlier, because discussing her insecurities isn't something that Aubrey feels a particularly strong desire to do, very often.

Or ever, for that matter.

Aubrey had initially protested for Emily's benefit, but, frankly, Aubrey doesn't have very much else to say about the subject.


"No," Beca frowns and shakes her head, stepping forward to clasp Aubrey's hands in her own, resting them over the countertop between them and tracing small, slim fingers along the lines of Aubrey's palms. "You're wrong, Aubrey. You think that you're a negative influence on Emily because of the way that you see yourself, but that's not- that's not the way that I see you, and I think that you should know that.

"You think that you're strange because you react to stress more strongly than others do, but to me that just makes you more human," Beca breathes devotedly, and taps her fingers to some unknown beat across Aubrey's hands. "You worry because you're afraid; afraid of disappointing the people who mean something to you, afraid of failure, afraid of being perceived the wrong way. You're afraid, Aubrey, and that's just- human. That's all it is. It's- it's pure humanity; it's the part of humankind that's so strong and deep and everlasting that it stays with Vampires even after their Turning.

"We react to everything differently, once we're turned, but the emotion… That lingers. It's the same, and in our hearts, it feels the same, forever," Beca explains slowly, and firmly. "We worry, too, Aubrey. We worry, and we fear, and we love and hurt and grieve, just like you. You just- internalize it more than most. You try to make emotion rational when it isn't, but that isn't a bad thing," Beca frowns and shakes her head. "Trying to understand the things that don't make sense is how the human race survives. That's how they've always survived – and I would know," Beca twists her mouth into a wry sort of smile, and Aubrey laughs quietly in reply, but she's mostly just afraid to interrupt, because if she does, then Beca might stop, and Aubrey needs to hear the rest.

"The way that you manage your fear, and work through it, is the most human thing I've ever known, Aubrey. You just keep going; no matter what frightens you, your determination and your pride and your heart keep you going, and that is nothing short of incredible. Maybe you can't see that, and maybe you never will, but I do see it. It's all I ever see, every time I look at you.

"Chloe cares- fathomlessly," Beca tips her head downward and chuckles softly, then shrugs. "She cares openly, and surely, and without much thought, I think, and it's one of the most innocently beautiful things in the world to witness, and to feel – but the depth of your heart matches hers, Aubrey; I know it does. I've seen it. I've felt it, and, Aubrey, it is magnificent.

"I get that one conversation isn't going to change your perception of yourself, Posen, and that's okay – I won't push it. But you should know…" Beca whispers, freeing one of her hands from Aubrey's only to sigh, and curl her fingers possessively around the base of Aubrey's neck, and a huff of breath whooshes out from the blonde's lungs like Beca's actually, literally stolen it away from her. "Oh, Aubrey," Beca sighs out tenderly – soft and quiet and curiously reverent – until Aubrey shakes all over, and can focus on nothing outside of the loving shimmer of Beca's steel blue eyes, and the gentle caress of her fingers across the pulse in Aubrey's throat. "You should know that I think you are made of some of the finest things that humanity has to offer, and if Emily adapts every single one of her human traits from you, my only disappointment would be that there is none of Chloe in her, too."

Aubrey's heart throbs something close to painful against her ribs, and her eyes feel wet and probably red, and none of it is exactly a shock, but- that doesn't actually seem to make a difference.

"You can't just- say things like that, Beca," Aubrey blusters swiftly, and moves her hands from Beca's to swipe frantically against her eyes. "You can't just make me- feel like this all the time. It isn't fair," she laughs incredulously, and drops her chin into the cradle her palms, smiling gratefully and fondly and disbelievingly at the Vampire Queen across from her. "It's not fair that you can do this to us," she tells Beca again, soft, and a little playful.

"Do you honestly believe that you don't make me feel it, too, Posen?" Beca whispers in reply, with a shy, precious little smile that makes Aubrey want to press her mouth into it, just to know what it tastes like – but Beca is hers, now, Aubrey remembers promptly, which essentially means that Aubrey can kiss this sweet, beautiful girl any time she likes.

In reply to that thought, the Bellas' captain reaches over the top of the counter and winds her fingers around the collar of Beca's jacket, gently tugging the Vampire Queen downward, just enough for Aubrey to hook her ankles around the legs of bar stool she's sitting on and lean upward to meet Beca's lips with her own.

And that shy, precious little smile tastes like a love that Aubrey thinks she would have waited three thousand years for, too.

Aubrey isn't sure when she'd fallen asleep.

She remembers being exhausted, and she'd considered moving to bed, but Emily and Beca had been so cutely snuggled into the sofa, eyes locked in on some Adult Swim show that Aubrey truthfully can't even stand, and the blonde hadn't wanted to break them apart just to ask Beca to lay with her and Chloe until they slipped into sleep.

Emily's been very sweet and understanding of Aubrey and Chloe's need to spend time with Beca, and Aubrey likes to think that she and Chloe have shown a similar respect for Emily's need to do the same; still, Aubrey's spent too many nights in her bed alone, and, now that Beca and Chloe are home, the blonde has no interest in being in that bed without both of them to join her.

Instead, Aubrey guesses, she'd drifted off on the couch, somehow, trapped between the arm of the sofa and Chloe, who had basically crashed in Aubrey's lap right after dinner, full and sleepy after a giant serving of three, fluffy pancakes, specially made at the redhead's sly request.

There's a kink in Aubrey's neck, and she isn't exactly comfortable, positioned the way that she is, but Aubrey knows that's not what woke her.

The blonde arches up a little to see over the back of the couch, distractedly pulling her fingers through pretty red curls until Chloe hums softly and begins to stir. Aubrey doesn't honestly want to wake her, and she wouldn't normally even consider it as an option, knowing how drained Chloe must be from their trip, but- something isn't right.

Behind the couch, Aubrey can see Beca – forehead leaned into the front door as her right hand presses into it, too, stroking idly across the grooves in the wood. The Vampire Queen's shoulders are slouched forward, and, aside from the repetitive motion of her fingers, Beca doesn't move an inch.

Chloe blinks up at Aubrey in sleepy confusion, but, when Aubrey tilts her head toward the door, the redhead eventually sits up and turns to look, too.

"Becs?" Chloe husks softly.

"You're awake," Beca murmurs in answer, slowly shifting to face them and using the door to support her weight by leaning back against it.

"We are now," Aubrey remarks pointedly and frowns.

She doesn't mean to sound accusing, but Aubrey is tired and this is the first decent stretch of sleep she's had since Beca and Chloe had left, in the first place. Besides, she's concerned for Beca, and she isn't interested in making small talk just to figure out what's wrong – because something is wrong, and Aubrey knows it; if Beca's failing posture and defeated tone hadn't been enough to confirm it, the sick, panicked feeling in her gut is enough to make Aubrey feel sure.

Beca winces at Aubrey's words, but nods, anyway, and quietly replies, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

"Where's Emily?" Chloe wonders, yawning wide and holding her wrist up to her mouth to cover it, shifting her legs to the floor and patting the now-empty cushion beside her, in a muted request for Beca to join them.

"Luke took her," Beca tells them mutedly, and moves sluggishly to drop into the couch.

"What?" Aubrey straightens instantly. "Why? Shouldn't you be with her, tonight? After being apart all weekend?"

The Vampire Queen clenches her teeth and closes her eyes, but doesn't reply when she opens them up again. Instead, Beca just- watches them.

She watches Aubrey and Chloe with weary, cautious blue eyes that abruptly look every day as old as they are; Beca watches them with fear and love and sadness and shame, before she clasps her fingers together between her knees and looks down at the carpet beneath her shoes.

"I'm sorry," Beca tells them, and roughly clears her throat. "I really, truly am."

"For what?" Chloe shakes her head bemusedly, and reaches out to hold Beca's wrist beneath her fingers.

"I've been- selfish," Beca laughs self-deprecatingly, and the noise gives Aubrey chills, all the way down the length of her spine, and all the way back up again. "I've been so damn selfish," Beca snarls to herself suddenly, and furiously.

"You're probably the least selfish person I've ever even met," Chloe frowns earnestly. "Beca, what is it? What's wrong, sweetie?"

Beca sighs and combs her fingers through her hair, but finally lifts her head again to face them. "I haven't told you everything," she whispers, pained. "About Vampires; about my people," she breathes. "I haven't- I haven't told you everything. I meant to," Beca swears. "Jesus," she hisses violently, "I really meant to, but it's a lot, y'know, and I thought- baby steps," Beca swallows thickly, and pushes herself to her feet, pacing along the carpet in front of them between the couch and the coffee table.

"I meant to take it slow; to ease you in. We're not bad," Beca tells them, and stills her frantic motion instantly, trading a pleading, hopeless look between Aubrey and Chloe that the blonde has no idea how to decipher; all Aubrey knows is that it makes her sad, all over and everywhere. "Most of us," Beca adds on a whisper, before her swift pacing resumes. "Most of us aren't bad, but some of us- don't want this. Some of us never wanted to be exposed to the humans, and it's not many, but it's enough," Beca murmurs quickly, and lowly, and Aubrey thinks primarily that she's probably only talking to herself, at this point, but- that's really never stopped Chloe.

"Enough for what, Beca?" Chloe wonders quietly, eyes soft and following Beca's every movement, like every step she takes is breaking Chloe's heart just a little bit more, and Aubrey can't explain why for the life of her, but she feels the same way, too.

"Enough to make it dangerous," Beca tells them solemnly, and slows, her shoulders sinking inward all over again, and her eyes turning away from them. "Enough to put everyone I care about at risk. Enough to make this," Beca gestures between Aubrey and Chloe on the couch, but still never looks at either one, "the most stupidly selfish thing I've ever done."

"What does that mean?" Aubrey frowns indignantly.

"What the fuck do you think it means, Posen?" Beca growls viciously, eyes flickering from blue to silver as they finally – finally – shift Aubrey's way, and the Vampire Queen takes slow, measured steps forward, until her expression melts; Beca's entire expression just- melts, until the only thing left in it is heartbreak and devastation and guilt.

And Beca ducks her head away all over again, down and to the left.

"I did it," Beca rasps throatily, and shakes her head. "It took lifetimes – so many of your lifetimes," Beca breathes, choked, "but I did it. I brought us together, with the humans, like I promised. Like I always promised. I did it," Beca swears profoundly. "And my Lessa– She would be so proud," Beca whimpers with a forced, strangled laugh, and staggers into the coffee table, before falling on top of it, and Aubrey has never seen Beca so uncoordinated in her life. "She would be so proud of all of us, and I did that, for her," Beca whispers, and holds her head in the palms of her hands, and Aubrey can only stare at her through watery eyes and wonder what the hell had happened; she wonders what could possibly have happened in the last few hours to turn her Beca – her Queen – into this. "And I thought that maybe, after all of that time alone, and after everything that I did to serve the betterment of my kind… I thought that maybe I deserved it," Beca purses her lips and looks up to them, and Aubrey's heart just- shatters, into hundreds of billions of pieces that throb violently throughout every part of her body.

The blonde hadn't even been sure if Vampires could cry, but Beca's timelessly beautiful face is streaked wet with tears, and Aubrey has never seen a sadness so old and consuming and earnestly bared as this one.

Chloe sinks instantly to her knees, moving herself in between Beca's and taking the Vampire Queen's face in her palms, before her mouth kisses along the length of the Vampire Queen's cheeks, tasting the brunette's tears on her mouth. When she's finished, Chloe peers up at Beca through those wide, ocean blue eyes, and Chloe waits.

It's several moments before Beca speaks, but when she does, Aubrey feels one last piece of her heart crumble to join the rest.

"I thought that maybe I deserved this," Beca laughs finally, and it's that same, self-deprecating noise from before, only it's worse. "I thought that maybe I could deserve you," Beca chuckles, but it morphs into a sob, somewhere, and, before Aubrey even registers the thought that carries her there, she abruptly is on the coffee table at Beca's side, pulling the brunette into her arms and pressing her palm softly into the back of Beca's head, encouraging the Vampire Queen to lean on her, for comfort.

"I thought that maybe it was a sign," Beca whispers into Aubrey's neck, and Aubrey rests her cheek over the top of Beca's soft, brown hair. "I thought that maybe this was why I'd never met a potential mate before; that maybe I was meant to finish Lessa's work first, before I could have this sort of closeness to share with someone. I thought that maybe this was it; that maybe I could keep you, even just for a while – just to hold you and to feel you and to love you, with everything that I am. And I would," Beca vows, with more conviction in her words than Aubrey's ever heard in any words before them. "I would love you an eternity, with all of my heart – both of you," Beca swears, and she coils her fingers around the cotton of Aubrey's shirt, like she never wants to let her go; like someone is trying to take Beca away from them, and Aubrey only strains the Vampire Queen's hair between her fingers, because her words are blocked by the emotion swelling in her throat, and Aubrey can't think of any other way to tell Beca that she would never let that happen.

"But it's never safe," Beca says quietly, and swallows all over again. "I should've known better. And I was careful; I swear I was careful," Beca rushes frantically. "I never spoke of you, outside of Luke and Em, and I never mentioned where you live or even that I'd found potentials. I was so careful, with you, "Beca tells them honestly. "Even now, I think you could slip away unnoticed. I think they wouldn't ever even know about you," Beca clenches her eyes and inhales, sharp and deep and long, "but they're coming. They're coming, and everyone I care about is at risk, and you– I shouldn't let you stay.

"I am Queen," Beca tells them with a burdened nod, as she shifts to straighten her spine, like the reminder of her title has reminded Beca of everything that she is expected to be, and like she must become it, regardless of the emotion that is so obviously tearing her apart. "I am Queen, and I know better than to let this continue, but I am selfish," Beca reminds them, and she grits her teeth. "I am so selfish, and so tired, and I don't want to be alone, anymore," she whispers painfully.

"I can't send you away," Beca confesses shamefully. "I have waited so, so long for you, and I can't- I can't send you away," Beca shakes her head and shrugs weakly, with a tiny little fragment of a smile that doesn't sit right on Beca's mouth. "The only thing I can think of is to tell you everything," Beca decides, focusing on Chloe in front of her as her hand seeks out Aubrey's own, tangling their fingers together with an inhumanly strong squeeze that Aubrey refuses to remark on, no matter how badly it hurts, "and you can decide for yourselves – stay or go."

And, obviously- stay.

Aubrey doesn't need to hear the rest; she's made her decision already. Nothing Beca tells her could be worse than the scenarios Aubrey's dreamed up all on her own, and even if it is worse, somehow, she and Chloe have only just found Beca; they've only just begun to call her theirs, and Aubrey won't give her up.

The Vampire Queen can't let them go, but- Aubrey can't let her go, either.

Chapter Text

Chloe is good at emotion. In fact, Chloe is great at it.

Chloe is great at feeling it, and great at dealing with it, and great at soothing it, when she thinks that's something that might be necessary. Chloe is great at happy, and she's also great at sad; she's great at heartbreak and love and devastation and joy, and most of the emotions that rattle around in the spaces between. Chloe is just- great at it.

It isn't something the redhead has ever really needed to try at – it's just always been that way, for Chloe; she's just always been a little more empathic than most, even as a kid, and, if she's honest, Chloe pretty much adores relating to other people on a more intimate level, like that.

But this– It's something different.

Chloe honestly isn't sure how to react to Beca's emotion, because the love and devastation and heartbreak that Beca is expressing, right now, is deeper than Chloe thinks she's ever been able to feel, in the first place. It's strange, for Chloe, that she can't relate to this; at least, not really. There are tears in Chloe's eyes, and her heart aches and aches and aches, all for Beca, and Chloe truly does feel sad, in the deepest way she's ever known, but- even Chloe knows that it can't compare.

It's like Beca is just that tiniest bit out of sync, with Chloe; like her emotion is something that Chloe can see, and like it's reaching out to Chloe, begging for her understanding, but- all the redhead can feel is an echo of it.

It's frustrating, for Chloe, because she wants to understand. Chloe wants to share that emotion with Beca, completely, just so that Beca doesn't need to feel it alone.

Because she shouldn't have to do anything alone. Not anymore.

The Vampire Queen's hauntingly silver eyes are weighted and wet, and her fingers pull so tightly against Aubrey's hand that Chloe can see the blonde wince, even as she tucks the inside of her cheek between her teeth and stubbornly refuses to complain about the discomfort. And, really, that's what makes Chloe sure.

Beca is always looking after them.

In a way that surprises Chloe – and, in retrospect, actually probably shouldn't surprise her, even if Beca is Queen and should probably be accustomed to the opposite – Beca sort of- takes care of them.

She cleans up after the Bellas trash Aubrey and Chloe's home, despite that she hadn't participated in its wreckage, and she never seeks a word of thanks, in return. She cooks to ease their hangovers, and she cooks again when Chloe asks, pretty much just because she asks. Beca seeks Aubrey out to calm her, when the blonde begins to panic, and it's pretty (preciously) obvious, to Chloe, that she has no idea how to comfort people, in the first place, but Beca still tries, anyway – and, with Aubrey, at least – the Vampire Queen succeeds. Beca carries Chloe to bed, when she's too drunk to move or too tired to try, and she makes coffee for them, too, even though Chloe's never once seen Beca take a sip of the stuff, herself.

Beca doesn't just care for Aubrey and Chloe; she literally cares for them – takes care of them – like it's somehow both her responsibility and her honest privilege to do that, and it makes Chloe feel honored, and flattered, and so, so in love that it's hard for her to breathe; Chloe's heart just feels so full and satisfied that she doesn't usually even care if she ever remembers to breathe again.

Beca looks after Aubrey and Chloe like she truly is their angel; like they are two of the most important things in her whole world, and like Beca will do anything she can to be sure that they are safe, and happy, and healthy.

Except, right now, Beca is so torn apart by this huge, complicated emotion that the Vampire Queen doesn't actually even realize that she is causing Aubrey pain.

The redhead doesn't know what to do, and, frankly, Chloe isn't even sure what she's allowed to do, right now; Beca is behaving a little erratically, and the redhead isn't afraid of her – could never be afraid; not of her Beca – but she also isn't stupid.

Beca isn't very good with people, and she's never had that many of them in her life, anyway. She might have Aubrey and Chloe, now, but three thousand years of loneliness isn't a simple thing to shake, and Beca has made it very clear to them that she has no desire to go back to that – but she is positively terrified that she might not have a choice.

The Vampire Queen's emotion stems from one, very simple fear: she doesn't want to lose them.

Beca is afraid that they will leave her, or maybe that they will be hurt if they don't leave her, and neither option is a win, for Beca. The brunette wants to have them forever – even if 'forever' only really means forever to Aubrey and Chloe – and Beca is afraid that her already-limited time with them will be cut even shorter. Beca is just- afraid.

And that– That is something Chloe knows what to do with.

"Look at me," Chloe pleads on a whisper, knelt on the floor between the Queen's knees. Beca doesn't immediately obey, but, when she does, her head lifts until silver eyes meet with Chloe's blue, and Chloe sighs gently before stretching her palm up to cradle Beca's face, her thumb hooking just beneath Beca's ear and rubbing softly against it. "Beca, I love you; you know that, don't you?"

Beca's eyes skitter away, only briefly, before she returns them and smiles – a sad, fabricated thing that sinks in Chloe's stomach with all the weight of a brick.

"You don't even know me," The Vampire Queen replies, a tiny crack in her voice that makes Aubrey lift their paired hands to her mouth, however much her own might ache, to press her mouth into the ridges of Beca's knuckles.

"That's a lie," Chloe frowns swiftly in answer, "and, if I'm honest, it's a little insulting," she chides, but she's soft, and careful not to anger. "I don't need to know what you've done to know who you are, Beca, and who you are is the girl that I love. No matter what you say to us, tonight, Becs," Chloe murmurs, tugging Beca's face just slightly downward, so that Chloe can kiss her gorgeously tearstained cheeks, and her nose, and that sweet, worried little line bridging the gap between the Vampire Queen's eyes, "that isn't going to change. Not ever."

"You can't know that," Beca replies with a burdened sigh, shoulders slouching deeper, and Chloe can't really can't even stand it.

So she presses her mouth into Beca's, purposeful and warm, and Chloe breathes every ounce of her affection into that kiss; she steals Beca's surprise from the edges of her lips, and she replaces it with love and tenderness and every promise that Chloe can't find the words to make, because words obviously aren't enough, anyway.

And Beca– oh, she feels it.

Chloe knows she feels it, because her Queen's free palm rises to tangle into Chloe's hair, and Chloe abruptly feels desperation seep into their kiss like something from another world. Beca's small fingers bury themselves in red curls and clench, sporadically releasing only to tighten all over again, like she's trying to free Chloe but can't actually fathom how.

Beca's tongue is demanding, searing through Chloe's mouth like she might never have the chance to again, disregarding the malfunctioning state of Chloe's lungs just to reach for more of Chloe's love; just to remember the way that Chloe's mouth feels, pliantly curving beneath Beca's own, and Chloe mewls out a breathless kind of noise in reply, because never in her life – not once; not ever – has she felt a kiss fused with this kind of frantic, frightened want.

It's this emotion that Chloe hadn't been able to reach, before – which is actually a little funny, if the redhead thinks about it, because it's the same emotion that Beca has been giving away since the moment that Aubrey and Chloe had met her. Chloe just- hadn't been able to feel it, yet; not until this.

Because the desperation that Beca is pouring into Chloe's mouth, right now, makes Chloe's heart pulse radically in her chest – so hard that she can feel the echo of it stretching through her itching fingers, throbbing vicious heat between the redhead's thighs – and there is nothing Chloe can do to answer it but hum a throaty moan into Beca's mouth.

Still, it's too much.

All that emotion, swelling and swarming through Chloe's tender heart, is just too much for Chloe to bear, all at once, so she rips her mouth away and pants, forehead pressing into Beca's own as the redhead's blue eyes flutter apart to watch her, and Beca only stares back.

The brunette's fingers strum gently through Chloe's hair, and her eyes never stray from Chloe's face, even if they wander across it, and Chloe just- pants, and waits.

"Don't make promises, yet," Beca swallows thickly, eventually, and pleads.

"Why shouldn't we?" Aubrey scoffs instantly and frowns. "You make promises to us. Why should we not be allowed to offer you the same?"

Chloe is grateful for Aubrey; the redhead still can't catch her breath, and, even if she could, she thinks the look in Beca's eyes, right now, might deprive her of oxygen all over again.

Besides, words are Aubrey's specialty, and the blonde is right, anyway.

"Because I am three thousand years old and know better than to make promises that I can't keep," Beca snarls furiously, then takes her hands away from both of them to sweep them tiredly down the length of her cheeks.

"It doesn't take three thousand years to learn that lesson, Beca," Aubrey huffs. "Look, I'm not promising to stay with you; I honestly can't think of anything I'd want more in the world, for me and Chloe, but- I'm not promising that, Beca," Aubrey whispers softly, and warms her own palm against Beca's jean-clad thigh. "I don't know what you're going to tell us, and I admit that I'm eager for you to start, but I can see that it's important to you, and that it's something you're not proud of. That's okay," Aubrey swears earnestly. "I won't promise anything, if that's what you'd prefer, but you have to be fair, too, Beca.

"You don't get to challenge our feelings for you just because you're feeling insecure. I get it," Aubrey tells her quickly and nods, and Chloe watches her fingers pale as they tighten over Beca's leg. "I get it, Beca; shame is a feeling I'm very familiar with, and it doesn't shake easily, so that's fine. But Chloe and I love you, and you don't have the right to tell us what we do or do not feel, so get your head out of that aca-fine ass of yours and find some perspective, alright?" She demands pointedly.

Beca blinks, twice, and, just for a second, Chloe thinks she might explode with rage; the Vampire Queen is proud in ways that are sometimes reminiscent of Aubrey, and if anyone ever spoke to the blonde that way, Chloe knows that Aubrey would likely turn purple in the face and probably pop a blood vessel somewhere in her neck.

But Beca isn't Aubrey, and her wounded pride is apparently tempered by the brunette's amusement, because Beca lofts her brow and begins to chuckle, low and smooth and just- absolutely lovely, and, finally, Chloe finds a smile.

"You think my ass is fine?" The Vampire Queen smirks broadly.

"Seriously?" Aubrey huffs incredulously. "That's seriously what you're focusing on, right now?"

"Well, you know," Beca winks overtly and grins, "priorities, Posen."

Chloe giggles under her breath and can't even help it. She'd missed Beca and Aubrey's first interaction, but she remembers the story well, and she remembers the way that Aubrey's indignation had followed her all the way back home.

"You really need to sort those out, Your Majesty," Aubrey scoffs with a healthy roll of her eyes.

"Probably," Beca shrugs. "And you were right," Beca admits, warmly eyeing Aubrey, propped on the coffee table at the Queen's left side. "I shouldn't have devalued your emotions that way, and I apologize," Beca sighs, her smile slipping away at the corners, and Chloe feels her own working to do the same. "I'm just, like- afraid," Beca confesses quietly, and rests her eyes to a close. "It took a long time for me to become the person I am, and I wasn't always so- ethical. It isn't unreasonable to expect that your opinion of me might change."

"Why would it?" Aubrey shakes her head bemusedly.

"When I was young," Beca opens her eyes and looks to her knees, gathering courage before lifting her gaze to face them, once more, "the Villa didn't exist. A sire's role was more important then – or, it was more necessary, at least; everything a newborn Vampire learned about who and what they'd become came from their sire, and Lessa– she was wonderful, and kind, but she was also mated to Vasidius, and that confused me. I was so new," Beca tells them softly, "and it took a long time for me to understand that she could be mated to him, and that she could love him, but that she could still- hate him, too.

"I couldn't grasp it for the longest time. They fought, sure, but they always stayed together, so I thought that maybe he's not all bad, you know? If Lessa could love him, I must be allowed to do the same, right?" She laughs scornfully and shakes her head. "'Mates' was a concept I had no understanding for, and neither of them had thought to explain it to me, so early on; I didn't realize that they had to be together all the time, so I thought that it was done by choice. I thought that Lessa enjoyed his company, and, even if he was cruel, at times, it- made it easier for me to enjoy his company, too.

"I was afraid of him, for a long time," Beca admits with a sigh. "He'd meant to kill me, the night that I was turned, and I could remember every second of it; I could remember the evil that glimmered behind his eyes, and I could remember the way that his teeth ripped through my thigh, and I was afraid of him," she tells them gently. "I learned later that I was right to be, but it didn't really matter," she shrugs a little, and Chloe winces, because her tone is carefully neutral, but her eyes– they are so full of pain and regret and hatred that Chloe thinks Beca's heart must be burning, inside. "He was my sire, and I didn't have a choice; I had to be with him.

"But Lessa was Queen, too," Beca reminds them carefully, "and she was busy a lot of the time. She was never far," she rushes to include, "and, frankly, she and Vasidius were mates, anyway, so they literally can't be more than a few miles apart without losing their sanity, but- it meant that I spent considerably more time in Vasidius' company than hers. And, like I said," Beca shrugs weakly again and puffs out a tired breath of air, "young Vampires are very impressionable. Vasidius- definitely left an impression," she scowls fiercely.

"How?" Chloe frowns and wonders, and Beca turns to look at her with love, and such deep shame that Chloe finds herself thinking that Aubrey has never done a thing in her life to elicit that much self-disappointment, and that maybe the blonde doesn't understand it as much as she'd thought.

A brief flicker of her gaze in Aubrey's direction reveals that Aubrey is beginning to think the same, because the blonde's beautifully green eyes look apologetic and curious and sad, and her fingers are squeezing so tightly around Beca's thigh for comfort that Chloe thinks she can even hear the scratch of Aubrey's nails against the fabric of her jeans.

"As a child," Beca whispers painfully and grimaces, "it was- easier to follow Vasidius' example. I spent more time with him than Lessa could afford to spare for me, and it- it made a difference. I knew she wouldn't approve, but I was- I was bitter. I felt neglected – abandoned – and Vasidius was always just- there. And he- made sense. It was a cold kind of sense," Beca swallows and shakes her head, "but I was young and afraid, and he made it sound rational."

"Made what sound rational?" Aubrey inquires slowly, cautiously, like something is beginning to dawn on her that hasn't quite reached Chloe, yet.

"Killing," Beca murmurs, and flicks anxious, silver eyes to Aubrey's. "Killing humans," Beca hisses through her teeth and frowns, but never looks away, like she thinks it's her burden to bear their disappointment with her, because she deserves every bit of it, and the thought makes Chloe hurt. "He said that it's what we were made for. He said that we were at the very pinnacle of the food chain, and that we were just like every other animal in the world; humans were our natural prey, and he said it didn't make us bad – it's just the way that we were made. Vasidius told me that we have teeth crafted to deliver death, and that our venom makes us strong, and powerful, to make it easier for us to overcome them.

"Nothing made sense for me, then, but- that did. I was hungry all the time, and nothing seemed to sate it. Nothing made it better except feeding, and human blood was just so- filling. It's so much more," Beca breathes with a shake of her head. "It was terrible, and I felt nauseous every time, but the thirst went away. Until the next time, anyway. And the next, and the next," Beca whispers and rolls her shoulders. "And the thirst felt stronger, every time it returned; I felt ravenous, and starved, and, eventually, the thirst came on more quickly. I hunted daily, sometimes even twice, and on bad days I even hunted for a third time, too – but Vasidius never said it wasn't normal, and Lessa was usually too busy to notice.

"Of course, Vasidius never mentioned our hunts to Lessa, but I started to get worried. Vasidius told me that I would grow into it, but I spent years killing humans, and it never got easier. Every kill seemed harder than the last, and I'd remember the pain in their eyes, and all of that confusion, and I felt- disgusted, with myself. I was ashamed, and, when I couldn't bear it any longer on my own, I told my Lessa. And my Lessa– " Beca laughs softly in remembrance, but Chloe sees her eyes tear, and she wonders – wonders so, so hard, with every aching beat of her heart – how much Beca must miss the woman who sired her. "She lost her shit.

"She fumed for hours," Beca chuckles out, rumbling and familiar, in a way that makes Chloe heart feel just a little bit less constricted; just a little bit less hurt. "She told me that human blood is addictive, for us, in such large quantities, and that it only gets easier to take a human life after we've become so addicted to it that we just don't care that its source is a living being. The need for it becomes so strong that we become like the Vampires in stories, cruel and predatory and always hunting, like killing is some kind of sport instead of something required for us to survive.

"She helped me," Beca murmurs gently, with a small, fond smile. "She took me to a little hut, out in the woods and away from the humans, and Vasidius was furious. He said that I might be Lessa's sired, but that I was his, too, and that, Queen or not, she had no right to decide the way I was raised, all on her own. I spent most of the night away from them, hunting deer around the woods; I think I killed most of the forest's population, actually, but all I felt was hunger, and I was desperate for the feeling to fade.

"When I came back, Lessa asked me; she said that becoming a Vampire hadn't been my choice to begin with, and that she was sorry for that, but she said that it was my right to decide how I wanted to live. And I chose her," Beca laughs wetly and wipes her fingers just beneath her eyes. "I chose Lessa, because I didn't want to become like him; I didn't want to kill if I didn't need to, and I never wanted to be that cold about it, even if I did need to.

"And that- started the war," Beca sighs deeply and bows her head. "That was the very beginning of it all."

Chloe lowers her own head, too, warming her cheek against Beca's knee, and just- breathes; there is so much that Chloe wants to say, and so much that she wants to ask, but the very first thing that occurs to her is disbelief.

Beca claims she started a war, but Chloe still can't see how; Beca had been young and had done as she was told, and what she'd done had admittedly been horrible, but- it also hadn't entirely been Beca's fault. She'd been vulnerable and confused, and Vasidius had taken advantage of her, and the emotional connection that they had shared, together; the man had essentially tried to tether Beca to a drug that he hadn't even told her was a drug, and, even still, Beca had done the right thing.

She'd been given a choice, and Beca had chosen well.

Whatever resulted from that choice hadn't been Beca's fault, no matter what the Vampire Queen might believe, and, honestly, Chloe thinks she's somehow only more in awe of Beca's strength than she had been, in the first place.

Chloe's angel had fallen, once, but she'd risen up all over again, and Chloe thinks that just makes Beca even more incredible than Chloe had thought she'd been, before.

Chapter Text

Aubrey shouldn't ask.

Beca is broken enough as it is, and the Vampire Queen's guilt and shame and heartbreak are as easy to spot as the tears still gleaming behind her silver eyes; Aubrey has no desire to make things harder on Beca, and she truly shouldn't ask.

Only, she can't actually help herself.

It isn't necessarily that Aubrey wants to pry, but- Beca had promised to tell them everything, tonight, and Aubrey knows that this isn't where the story ends. She knows that there's more – that there must be more – because D'Artagnan hasn't even been mentioned, yet, and, evidently, he'd stepped in to fill the vacancy that Vasidius had left as the head of his political party, just as Beca had stepped in to fill Lessa's position as Queen.

Chloe doesn't know to ask about him, in the first place, but Aubrey does – and, even if she knows that she probably has no right to, Aubrey thinks she needs to ask about him.

Partly, she feels a little bit guilty for knowing something so huge and painful and important about Beca's life when the brunette had never willingly shared it with her, but another part of Aubrey is beginning to realize exactly how dangerous Beca's Non-Dweller brother actually has the potential to become, for her and Chloe, and she's a little bit worried.

"If the war began that early on, then- when did D'Artagnan come into the picture?" Aubrey ventures hesitantly, but keeps her trembling fingers hooked over Beca's thigh.

She isn't sure why she does it – or why it's so important that she keeps doing it – but- maybe it's to make sure that Beca can feel her; to make sure that the Vampire Queen knows Aubrey isn't running.

Aubrey thinks she might just be telling Beca that she isn't leaving.

Beca's eyes snap onto Aubrey's green instantly, though, and the look in those breathtaking pools of silver is sharply demanding, and very, very urgent. "What do you know about D'Artagnan?" She rumbles out with a furious growl. "And who the hell mentioned him to you, in the first place?"

Aubrey stills, briefly alarmed by the deeply rooted anger vibrating beneath Beca's words, before she stammers out, "I- I spoke with Luke, while you were gone. He- showed me some photos, and I saw one of D'Artagnan. I wasn't really sure why, but looking at him sort of made me feel- hatred, so I- I asked Luke who he was."

"He had no right to do that," Beca scoffs out pointedly.

"No," Aubrey frowns, "he didn't – and I told him that, too. But, Beca, Luke says he's a threat to you – and maybe even to me and Chloe, too. I don't want to rush you, and I don't want you to feel obligated to speak about him, but I do think it's fair, at this point, that we know exactly how much we're at risk. I accept that you took precautionary measures to keep us safe, and I appreciate that, Beca – I do," she swears passionately, "but it sounds like things are escalating, and I'd like to be aware of the danger he presents, for us."

Beca remains quiet for a very long time, and only studies the look in Aubrey's eye, but Aubrey meets her gaze and doesn't relent.

She truly does accept the secrets Beca's kept from them, and Aubrey even understands why she kept them, in the first place, but if Beca is going to tell them everything, Aubrey wants to take this opportunity to learn everything.

"Who is he?" Chloe whispers softly, peering up at Beca with wide, compassionate blue eyes, her thumbs rubbing softly across the backs of Beca's knuckles.

Beca grinds her teeth together and snarls beneath her breath, but takes a deep, lingering breath before carefully pacing its release.

"D'Artagnan is Vasidius' other sired," Beca replies, the corners of her mouth twitching slightly in aggravation. "He's my brother, and he is- probably the closest thing to a demon that still survives on this earth," Beca scowls fiercely. "You'd be fortunate to never meet him at all. Unfortunately," she sighs, and combs the fingers of both hands through her hair with a weighted sigh, "that's looking less and less likely."

"Why do you say that?" Aubrey frowns bemusedly and shakes her head.

"Why do you think I'm freaking out, right now, Posen?" Beca laughs shortly, but there's no amusement laced inside.

Her laugh is an empty sound – empty, and a little bit cold, and it sounds sort of like defeat – and it makes Aubrey's heart feel tight, like a rubber band has knotted itself around the organ and won't release for anything.

"He's coming," Beca deflates, shoulders falling forward and her forehead bumping softly into Chloe's and she finds the redhead's gaze and smiles, weak and sad and helpless. "He sent one of his coven over the weekend, while Chloe and I were gone; he's coming to spend Halloweeen with me."

"Is Halloween- special, for Vampires?" Aubrey wonders curiously.

Aubrey knows very little about Beca's relationship with D'Artagnan; Luke had told her that he doesn't believe Beca's other brother would ever wish her any actual, physical harm, but- Beca's hatred and anger towards him makes Aubrey think it's a little strange that he would stop by just because.

"Yes and no," Beca frowns. "Most of us hunt, on Samhain. Halloween," she explains, then shrugs. "Whatever you want to call it. Traditionally, it's meant to be the one day a year that the dead can slip through the gaps between the spirit world and ours; for a long time, it meant that it was the one night a year when we could be seen by the humans in our natural form, so we took advantage. It doesn't mean much, now, since we can move among the humans whenever we want, but, like- I spent every Halloween hunting with D'Artagnan until the year that Lessa died, so…"

"Wait," Chloe furrows her brows and frowns. "I'm confused. Could you maybe start at the beginning, for me, Becs?" She requests softly, and slips her fingers into Beca's hair, near the roots, pressing gentle, comforting thumbs in small circles along her forehead.

Beca sighs deeply, and Aubrey's heart aches for her instantly until she can feel the hurt of it pounding in the tips of her ears, but the Vampire Queen nods, and slowly begins, "I met D'Artagnan in the ninth century. Lessa was taking stock of the Viking raids in Europe, and, at the time, we'd stopped for a while near Normandy. There were people on the outskirts who were sick, injured, and dying, and had no homes to return to; by now, you know that siring someone isn't quite as easy as a bite and run," Beca tells them with a sad smile and a shrug. "Most of them, we couldn't help; we couldn't do much of anything for them, honestly, except offer them a way out – and, even then, all we could do was end their suffering. Like angels of death," Beca laughs sharply. "Vasidius was having a blast; he loved the killing, and he was right at home – and Lessa couldn't say much about it, because those people were literally better off dead, anyway.

"We did that sort of thing all the time, you know? Lessa was Queen, so she had to evaluate basically every outbreak of violence to figure out if any of it could become a threat to our kind. The world wasn't civilized, then; war and invasions and death happened all the time, so it wasn't especially new to me. I'd been accustomed to that way of life since before I'd even been turned. It was sort of just the way things were.

"But D'Artagnan… He was different, for me," the Queen confesses, and her voice is so soft and quiet that it's little more than a shaky whisper, when it emerges, and it makes Aubrey want to cringe. "He just watched us as we moved through their injured, and he never said a word. He was wounded, though – badly," Beca swallows thickly, "and I could smell death all over him. He'd protected his family's land for as long as he could, and he had the injuries to prove it. He'd been gutted with a sword to the stomach, but, despite the lack of medical advances, that wound was doing alright; it was the one to his arm that proved to be a problem.

"The thing was infected," Beca frowns deeply. "It was oozing, and yellow, and he probably only had a few days left, at most, but he never said a word. Never asked for help, or begged for death, the way that so many of his people had done before him. He was just- quiet. And he had so much potential," Beca sighs. "So I spoke with Lessa, and I asked her to show me how; to teach me how to sire another person, just to save him, because I believed that he deserved it. I believed that he'd fought for his right to survive, and I wanted him to.

"Because he was so brave," Beca breathes with a slight, morose shake of her head. "He was hurting, and dying, and he was brave enough to face that without a hand to hold or anyone to show him the way. He was brave – or, at least, I thought he was," Beca offers a rueful glance in Aubrey's direction. "I wanted to save him, and I had the ability to do that, but Lessa– she swore that I wasn't ready; she swore it was a bigger responsibility than I understood, and that I should learn more about it before seeking someone out to sire. And she was right – she was always, always right – but I didn't understand that, then, and I also didn't care.

"So," Beca rests her eyes closed, just for a moment, and when she opens them again, all Aubrey can see is regret, and pain, and a love that's viciously been betrayed, "when she said no, I asked Vasidius to show me how, instead. And when I asked him, he smiled at me so wide you'd have thought I'd handed him Lessa's throne, myself – and then he said yes.

"I think," Beca laughs wetly, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes, "that's the only time I actually felt okay with loving him. He was my sire, you know," she shrugs, "so I loved him, regardless – but I hated myself for it, most of the time. In that moment, though, I thought he was the greatest man in the world. Just for a second," she whispers feebly, and Chloe catches a salted tear as it falls from Beca's eye.

The redhead's expression mirrors the way that Aubrey's heart feels – wary, and timid, and extremely fragile.

"Then what happened?" Aubrey encourages softly, stretching an arm around Beca's shoulders and tugging her in close, just to hold her, and to comfort her.

Beca snorts into Aubrey's chest, then dryly replies, "The same thing that always happened. He manipulated me."

"How?" Chloe frowns earnestly.

"He took me to see him," Beca tells them on a choked whisper. "He took me to see D'Artagnan. He told me to pay close attention, because he was going to show me exactly how to sire, so I listened to him. I watched," Beca breathes, her voice so small she reminds Aubrey of a frightened child, and all she can do is hold Beca tighter. "And then Vasidius just- ripped into him. It was all blood and fangs and violence, and I panicked, because it looked like Vasidius was killing him. So I tackled him.

"It was the most afraid I'd ever been," Beca laughs humorlessly, and Aubrey feels the brunette sink further into the blonde's touch, seeking her out. "Vasidius was cold, and cruel, and strong, and tackling him was probably the stupidest thing I'd ever done – but Vasidius suddenly wasn't the problem, anymore. He'd taken just enough of D'Artagnan's blood to feed himself, and to keep D'Artagnan alive, but- I didn't actually realize that until my new brother tore his teeth into my left shoulder.

"It wasn't his fault, that first time," Beca swears devotedly and frowns. "Newborns are viciously protective of their sires, because they really don't know anything else outside of them – especially those first few weeks; couple that with the fact that newborns are recklessly impulsive, to begin with, and it's a pretty difficult combination to deal with. All D'Artagnan knew, then, was that I was attacking his sire, and he reacted.

"Vasidius did save him, like I asked, but- he sired D'Artagnan in my stead, which was never what I wanted for him. For years, I tried to keep my brother safe. I tried to keep D'Artagnan away from Vasidius' teachings as much as I could, because D'Artagnan had been good; he'd been brave, and selfless, and stoic in his human life, and I knew he could be the same as a Vampire, too. But I knew how Vasidius could warp a person's thoughts, and their feelings, and since he was D'Artagnan's only sire, Lessa had no say in how he was raised.

"I did my best," Beca vows desperately, with furrowed brows and pleading eyes that look between Aubrey and Chloe like their judgment of her is the only ruling in the world that Beca even cares about. "I tried to keep him away. I really did," Beca grasps tightly onto Chloe's hand, sprawled across her lap.

"During the first few years, Vasidius had him feeding on humans, and I told D'Artagnan there were other ways. And that worked, for a while," Beca whimpers into the fabric of Aubrey's shirt, and even the heat that propels through it isn't enough to distract Aubrey from the sheer hurt in Beca's words. "He'd feed on animals, when he could, and only hunted humans when Vasidius was there to enforce it. That sort of diluted the effects of the human blood, for a long time, but- eventually, it reached a point where D'Artagnan had to choose.

"The animal blood stopped filling him, and the times between hunts grew smaller and smaller. He could still give the human blood up, but it would be hard, for him, and- as it turned out, that wasn't something D'Artagnan even wanted, anymore. He- stopped caring," Beca breathes painfully. "He just- stopped. And it was fine; I mean, it wasn't ideal, but- we were siblings, and I'd still taken care of him, and I loved him. Still love him," she murmurs, defeated, and shakes her head in regret. "We didn't talk about it – the ways we fed, and how they differed – and everything was fine. Not good," Beca admits quietly, "but fine. Except, Vasidius started grooming him.

"He started sending D'Artagnan out to visit with other covens nearby, who refused to feed on animals at all. And D'Artagnan started to- change. He wasn't just malicious on the hunt, anymore, but all the time. He got colder. He became calculating. He took initiative, and he started spreading that method of survival everywhere we went, whenever Lessa was busy with her duties as Queen. And Vasidius was so- proud of him," Beca hisses through her teeth, even though Aubrey feels tears wetting through her shirt that only make her squeeze Beca harder- tighter- closer, so that the Vampire Queen can know that she isn't alone, and that she is loved.

"By the fourteenth century, D'Artagnan had converted enough followers to their cause that Vasidius felt comfortable enough to challenge Lessa for her seat on the throne," Beca closes her eyes, and speaks brokenly into Aubrey's chest. "He'd always wanted it; Vasidius never actually said as much – at least, not to me – but it wasn't a shock that he made a play for her position the very moment that he'd gathered enough support to actually give him some leverage, if he won. And, as I've already mentioned," she swallows roughly, "he did win."

"When did Luke come in?" Chloe tries, offering Beca a brave little smile, and Aubrey knows that she only does it with the hope that Beca might mimic it, too.

Aubrey isn't surprised when Beca does; Chloe's smile is bright and infectious, the way it always has been, even if Aubrey knows that the redhead's heart is aching somewhere behind it.

"Lessa sired again in the late 1200s. We met Luke in Crete – an island off of Greece, which, for a few centuries, was acquired by Venice. He's Greek, too, as far as I'm concerned – though Luke still swears he's Venetian," Beca chuckles softly and rolls her eyes. "He went by Loukas, then, and we learned quickly that he was very, very sick. The Black Death was just starting to gain traction, and Luke had been touched. He was just a trader – nothing exciting or glamorous; he'd sailed across the Mediterranean, and just- brought the disease back with him.

"Lessa adored him instantly; I'm not sure why she chose him, but- she had me spend time with him. I wasted days away at his side until Lessa finally told me about her plans to turn him, but she told me that I would be his primary caretaker, if she did. She said that I would teach him, if I was willing, and that I would have to be there for him whenever she couldn't be, because I knew better than anyone what it was like to have a sire who didn't have time for you.

"I liked Luke, though, so I agreed; I spent most of my time between Lessa and Vasidius, and I still spent time with D'Artagnan, when he was clear-headed enough to be decent company, but, frankly, I was lonely. I was glad to have Luke, and to guide him, and I was infinitely more glad to have him after Lessa's passing," Beca tells them quietly. "Luke, though– He'd never had much time with Lessa," she mourns softly. "He was only a hundred or so when Vasidius killed her, and it- it killed him. It killed us both," she laments on a whisper.

"So, after a few decades to grieve, Luke and I started making plans. We gathered our own support, and visited with all of the covens who Lessa spoke fondly of. We trained, and we grew stronger, and, when it was time, I challenged Vasidius; Luke was younger – just a child then, really – and it made more sense for me to take the throne, if I could manage it; even if I couldn't, it was my job to protect Luke, after Lessa died, and I didn't want him anywhere near Vasidius' rage.

"Vasidius was older than me, though, obviously, and that made him stronger than I was; I took a massive beating in the first half of that fight, and it took months for me to recover," Beca tells them mutedly. "But somewhere in the middle he started getting cocky. He started goading me, with memories of Lessa and our time together; he started to taunt me, and remind me of how greatly I'd disappointed her, in my infancy, with all the human lives I'd taken.

"And I just, like- snapped," Beca shrugs tiredly. "I was furious, and I used it. I tackled him again – like I did the night he sired D'Artagnan, and I was just as terrified the second time around, too – and I punched him, relentlessly, until I couldn't even make out the shape of his eyes beneath the blood dripping from his face. And then I tore his throat out with my teeth, and carried his body to the foot of my Lessa's throne. I've been Queen ever since," Beca tells them, though her words emerge without feeling or tone at all, and Chloe picks up on what that means before Aubrey really even has the chance to think about it.

"Did you– Beca, sweetie, did you ever even want to be Queen?" Chloe wonders, brows furrowed in concern, and her tiny smile now a small, worried frown.

Beca sighs deeply and shakes her head, but it takes a moment for her to reply.

When she does, the Vampire Queen softly, contemplatively murmurs, "I've never thought anyone but Lessa had to right to sit upon that throne. I never wanted to be Queen, and I never wanted to try and take her place; I just- couldn't bear the disgrace of Vasidius destroying her legacy.

"Lessa wanted us to be free," Beca smiles morosely, and nudges her nose deeper over Aubrey's heart with an exhausted huff of breath outward, "and I only ever wanted to finish what she started, for us. Emily – " Beca breaks off with a tired laugh and nods firmly. "Emily is the epitome of her legacy. Emily is all that Lessa ever wanted, for all of us; Emily has a chance to know humans, and to spend time with them in ways that we've never been able to, before. Emily is the future, for us."

"Is that why you've never told her?" Aubrey asks gently, and slips slim fingers into Beca's hair, spilling across the shoulder that isn't pressed into Aubrey's side. "Emily, I mean? About Vasidius, and D'Artagnan?"

Beca rests her eyes shut again, but nods carefully, anyway, and very, very quietly replies, "Emily knows to be careful; she knows that D'Artagnan is a threat to me, and, by relation, she knows that he is also a threat to her, but Vasidius is- just a shadow, to Emily; he's the lurking thing in the dark that only exists in Emily's nightmares, and D'Artagnan is the real-life extension of him. She's afraid of my brother, and she's right to be.

"All she knows about D'Artagnan is that he opposes me, and that he is a cruel and heartless murderer; I refuse to be the one who tells her that she shares venom with the villain in every non-fiction Vampire story she's ever been told. I don't know if that's the right decision, or if it's fair," Beca rasps out wearily, "but- I can't break her heart that way. I won't," she vows devotedly and frowns. "I'm not asking you to lie to her, and, if there ever comes a time when you think it's necessary or important, I won't be angry if you tell her – but I can't be responsible for her pain, like that. I think it might kill me."

And Aubrey thinks it very well might.

Beca adores that girl – her sired – and would do anything for her. Aubrey isn't sure that she agrees with Beca's decision to keep a secret like that from Emily, but she certainly understands why she would try; Beca just wants to protect Emily the best way that she can, and Aubrey thinks this is the only way that Beca knows how.

Still, Aubrey wonders who will protect Beca that way, now that Lessa is gone – and then she remembers, with a sharp inhalation of breath, that the job should rightfully fall to her and Chloe. And the blonde panics, just a little.

Aubrey Posen is not a Vampire, and she is not strong; she might be a little bit athletic, but her skillset honestly doesn't extend too far beyond academics – and, even if it did, Aubrey is fairly certain that she still wouldn't stand a chance against a Vampire.

She has no actual way to protect Beca, and, in point of fact, she has basically only added to Beca's responsibilities – because Beca now has to keep her and Chloe safe, too.

And nothing about that seems fair.

Chapter Text

Chloe wants to stay.

Beca had given her and Aubrey a choice – stay or go – and, at the time, Chloe had thought that the answer was obvious. Of course they would stay with Beca; they love her, endlessly, and can hardly spend time apart from her, in the first place, so how could they possibly even consider anything else? They only just got her, and Chloe doesn't want to let her go.

Frankly, Chloe doesn't even think that she can let Beca go.

It had just been such a quick decision, for Chloe, and she'd thought that she and Aubrey would be on the same page, with this, but Aubrey's been- oddly deflective, over the past few days. She isn't being distant, exactly, which is a little weird, for Chloe, because that's sort of Aubrey's thing; when her emotions overwhelm her, Aubrey needs space to process them, and she isn't shy about finding that space, even if she might hurt someone's feelings in the process.

Still, Aubrey behaves as affectionately with Chloe and Beca as she always has, and she seeks them out just as frequently, too. It's confusing, for Chloe, and – for the first time in a very long while – the redhead is left with exactly no clues about what the blonde might actually be thinking.

It's an uncomfortable feeling, and it's one that makes Chloe's stomach twist into anxious little knots, but she tries her best to be patient. Aubrey might take her time in doing it, but, eventually, she always comes to Chloe when she's ready.

That doesn't really stop Chloe from trying to feel her out, though.

Chloe's tried to talk to Aubrey about that night, and about everything that Beca shared with them; Chloe's tried asking if her blonde girlfriend has noticed the way that Beca watches them, now – her steel blue eyes bright with worry and fear, like she's afraid that she will lose them no matter which option they choose; Chloe's tried asking if Aubrey is angry with Beca for hiding this from them, or if Aubrey is scared of what could happen; Chloe's tried everything, but Aubrey is hardly responsive.

Because of course Aubrey's noticed the way that Beca watches them, the blonde huffs when Chloe asks, and, no, according to Aubrey, she isn't angry that the Vampire Queen hid secrets from them; obviously, Aubrey tells her bluntly, she is terrified – both for Chloe, and for herself – of what D'Artagnan or any of his party might be able to do to them.

The problem is that Aubrey never expands. She answers Chloe's questions, and Chloe thinks she's being honest, even if she's brief, but then Aubrey asks her what she'd like for dinner, or she sweeps her fingers through Chloe's red hair and smiles something small and loving, but that Chloe thinks looks wrong; Chloe thinks that smile takes too much effort, and that it looks just a little too sad at the edges, and Chloe doesn't know what that means.

Chloe wonders if Aubrey wants to leave. She wonders if Aubrey can. She wonders if Aubrey's rationality is getting the better of her, and if she's trying to convince herself that if they go – if they leave without Beca, or choose not to be with her – that they'll get over it like any normal break up. Chloe wonders if Aubrey recognizes how ridiculous that sounds, because, when the redhead thinks about the possibility of leaving Beca, Chloe's heart stills so abruptly that she can't even breathe. And then Chloe wonders who she'd choose, if it comes to that, or how she'd even begin to decide, because Chloe needs Aubrey and Beca, both – simple as that.

She can't have one without the other. Not anymore. And even the thought of giving Aubrey and Beca up is enough to spiral Chloe into a depression, but Chloe knows she could never choose between them. Chloe needs them both.

It's only been a few months, since they'd met the Vampire Queen, but- everything Chloe feels for her feels like it's been a part of her forever. It feels like Beca occupies as much of Chloe's heart as Aubrey does, and Chloe can't imagine a life for herself, anymore, without both of them at her side. She wants her and Aubrey to stay, with Beca, no matter what consequences they might face as a result.

The thing is, Aubrey is considerably more cautious. Aubrey doesn't work in the same ways that Chloe does, and, most of the time, Chloe thinks that's wonderful; she thinks it's amazing, the way that Aubrey sifts through information and retains only the important parts, turning them over in her brain and inspecting each piece like it's a puzzle meant for her to solve.

Chloe loves watching Aubrey think. Really.

Chloe just- sometimes wishes that it didn't take so long.

All week long, Aubrey keeps to her regular routine; she jogs in the mornings, insists that they maintain regular Bella rehearsals, as usual – even with Emily absent and in hiding, somewhere – and she leaves for her classes ten minutes too early, the same way she always does. Chloe thinks she's following a schedule that's maybe a little stricter than normal, but, really, that's what Aubrey does, when she begins to stress; she plans for every tiny, minute detail that's within her power to control, and hopes that it will earn her some kind of good fortune to help with all the things that aren't within her power to control.

Chloe lets it continue until the school week is over, because Chloe knows that the blonde's exams are probably a factor that she should consider, given Aubrey's fierce devotion to them, lately.

On Friday afternoon, though, Aubrey comes home with a small, pleased little sigh and twines her arms around Chloe's neck for a warm, soft hug that makes Chloe hum all over. Aubrey thinks she's done well on her tests, and Chloe is proud of her – Chloe is always proud of Aubrey – but- Halloween is only ten days away, and, as hard as Aubrey might be trying to avoid this discussion, Chloe knows that it's time.

She's been patient, and she's given Aubrey the space that she needs, but Chloe has needs, too; Chloe needs for them to talk about this.

Chloe breathes in a lungful of Aubrey's pear-scented shampoo, and tries her best to gather up a little bit of courage, before she carefully whispers, "Bree, I need to know what you're thinking. About us. About Beca," she bites her lip and rests her eyes, pressing her cheek into Aubrey's soft, blonde hair. "I've tried waiting you out, but I can't– Aubrey, sweetheart, I just need to know," Chloe pleads earnestly, and then her need to talk this over becomes a little bit uncontrollable, but Chloe just can't help it. "Is it- Do you want to leave her? Because I'm not sure that I can," Chloe rushes out frantically. "And, even if I could, I don't think I want to," she breathes, and sniffles softly. "I love her, Aubrey.

"I love Beca as much as I've always loved you, and I feel it so much that I think if I only ever had this feeling to live for, I think I'd still be happier than anyone else in the world. And I think- I think that you love Beca that much, too, so I can't imagine how you'd choose to go, but if- if that's what you're thinking, then I don't know what to do. I really don't," Chloe whimpers, and feels her tears gliding into Aubrey's hair, but she can't stop. "I know it's dangerous, and I know it means that a lot of things will change, for us, if we stay, but- but don't you think it's worth it? I mean, don't you think that Beca is worth it? Because I do. Bree, I just- I know that she's worth it, and I think that if you could give this a real, honest chance, then maybe you could think so, too, because you know her, Aubrey; you know Beca the same way that I do, and- and how could you ever think that we'd be better off without her?" Chloe insists feverishly and frowns. "How could you ever think that anything could ever be better without Beca?"

Aubrey tugs against Chloe's hips, and there's a little more force to it than Chloe is used to – at least from Aubrey – so she shuffles back enough to see the blonde's face, and sucks in a quivering gulp of air as she turns watery blue eyes to meet with Aubrey's instantly fuming green.

"Of course I don't think we're better off without her, Chloe. Of course I love her that way, too. Of course I want to stay," she snaps out furiously. "How could you ever even accuse me of wanting to leave when you know how hard I've worked to accept my feelings for her, in the first place?"

Part of Chloe feels guilty, but mostly she's still frustrated, because she still doesn't understand.

"Because you won't talk to me, Aubrey!" Chloe fumes swiftly and crosses her arms. "I keep trying, but you just won't say anything, and all I can think about is what I'd do if you chose to leave! If you want to stay– If you really don't want to leave her, then why else would it take you so long to think it over?"

"It's a difficult decision," Aubrey glowers crossly.

"How?" Chloe demands irately, and stumbles a step backward in disbelief. "How is it difficult to decide that we should stay with the woman we love, Aubrey?"

"Have you even thought about this, Chloe?" Aubrey shouts abruptly, and incredulously. "I mean, have you really thought about it, beyond leaving Beca or staying with her? Have you thought about what this means? Not just for us, but for Beca, too?"

"What are you talking about?" Chloe frowns in aggravation and shakes her head. "Beca's going to have issues with whatever decision we make; either we leave her, and she's lost us, or we stay, and she thinks she will lose us."

"Exactly!" Aubrey cries out, arms flinging upward as she makes a point that Chloe still can't see. "If we stay, Beca will do everything in her power to keep us safe, because we're important to her, Chloe! If anyone finds out about our connection to Beca, we'll be in danger – which is admittedly terrifying, regardless, but we're only human! We can't protect ourselves against Vampires – and particularly not against one as old as D'Artagnan – so who do you think is going to do that for us?" The blonde condescends furiously. "Beca!" Aubrey proclaims passionately. "It's more work for her if we choose to stay. Do you realize that? On top of Emily, on top of every single one of the Vampires she rules over, Beca will have to keep us safe, too!

"Beca might be Queen, she might be three thousand years old, and she might be ridiculously powerful, but, Chloe, she isn't invincible, and she can't be everywhere at once. If anyone found out about us, we'd become Beca's weak spot. We would be a liability, for her, Chloe. We could put Beca in danger, too! D'Artagnan might be Beca's biggest threat, but I doubt he's the only one who's developed a grudge against her; there's an entire political party who opposes everything she does! And if someone came for us?" Aubrey whispers desperately, and looks to Chloe with wide, pleading eyes.

"Chloe, you know she'd come," Aubrey sighs quietly, and combs slim, tanned fingers through her hair until Chloe begins to understand, and allows her crossed arms to fall purposelessly against her sides. "She'd come for us, even if she knew it was a trap, because Beca loves us, too – and, always, she is afraid to lose us."

"So, what?" Chloe scoffs weakly and shrugs. "We say, 'hey, Becs, thanks for a great time, but we're putting you in too much danger by staying?'"

Aubrey approaches her hesitantly, and Chloe can't actually blame her; she'd reacted a little bit explosively, and maybe she shouldn't have, but it's just that- Chloe doesn't know what to do, and she's afraid.

She doesn't want to lose Beca, either.

When the blonde's palms fall softly against Chloe's cheeks, the redhead blows out a gentle, defeated sigh, and murmurs quietly, "So, what do we do?"

"I think," Aubrey replies slowly, and smooths a thumb across Chloe's bottom lip, so Chloe kisses the pad of that thumb tenderly in apology for her outburst, before Aubrey smiles – just a fraction; just barely – and finishes contemplatively, "that we should let Beca mark us."

And Chloe just- blinks.

She really hadn't been expecting that, and Aubrey isn't usually so big on surprises.

Chapter Text

Frankly, there are very few decisions that Aubrey Posen makes lightly.

On her very first day of kindergarten, Aubrey had been told that she and her classmates could choose any spot in the room that they wanted for naptime, and Aubrey had spent so much time selecting a prime position that she'd missed naptime altogether, for the whole first month of school. She never disturbed any of her sleeping classmates, and, whenever Aubrey looked, her teacher mostly only smiled at her and laughed a little beneath her breath, like Aubrey was the oddest, cutest little child she'd ever seen; Aubrey remembers that her teacher's reaction to her struggle had made her huff, at first, but, after that first month, Aubrey had tugged her blanket and pillow into the supply closet at the far left corner of the room, shut the door against the light and the quiet sounds of snoring children trying to break through to her sanctuary, and she'd slept like a baby underneath shelves of holiday decorations and basic-level reading books during every naptime for the rest of the year.

Some of the other kids had thought her strange, but Aubrey's always been particular about her sleeping conditions, and that supply closet had been the only place to grant her the dark, quiet privacy that she'd required.

During her sophomore year of high school, Aubrey had earned the opportunity to play for the basketball team and the volleyball team – but, as they'd overlapped during the same season, Aubrey had deliberated over the decision for weeks. She'd enjoyed volleyball a bit more than the former, honestly – which is likely why it had taken so long for Aubrey to officially notify the coaches of her decision, in the first place – but she'd ultimately chosen basketball, anyway; the practices had been just a little more strenuous, and would keep her body more prepared to run track in the spring. Plus, basketball practice fell on Tuesday and Thursday nights, whereas volleyball would have kept Aubrey after school for games on Mondays and Wednesdays, which she had already promised to class council; as president of the sophomore class, bailing on those meetings really hadn't even been an option, anyway, no matter how badly Aubrey wished to play volleyball, instead.

Two years after that, the blonde had received early admission into three of the five top colleges she'd applied for (the other two admissions eventually – and too belatedly – arriving in May), and Aubrey had made enough pro-con lists to plaster them like wallpaper across the empty spaces of her bedroom walls. She'd waited until two days prior to the deadline before eventually accepting Barden's offer, because the 'pro' of knowing someone there – someone like Chloe, who Aubrey hadn't actually even known well, but who'd already accepted her early admission offer weeks before – seriously outweighed the 'pro' of decent food at Cornell. The universities' academic programs were evenly respected, for the most part – at least in Aubrey's pre-law major – and Aubrey had been so nervous about the transition that any small sliver of comfort she could grasp onto had felt like a blessing.

Chloe had been a blessing, and Aubrey's pretty sure that the redhead is probably also the only reason that she's never once even thought to regret her choice, no matter how bad things had felt, at times.

Aubrey takes her time with most decisions, but she's particularly careful with the life-changing ones – so Aubrey has thought about this. She didn't just pull the suggestion out of her ass; she's been mulling it over – at least idly – since Beca had first mentioned the concept of 'marking,' to begin with.

The blonde has thought about this for days, and has spent a lot of time over the past week being incredibly grateful for the weekend she'd spent dedicated to her studies, because she's been distracted from them ever since. Aubrey has turned this idea over in her mind countless times, and, while it scares her, some, it's still the best that the blonde can come up with.

Aubrey doesn't want to leave Beca any more than Chloe does, but if they stay–

If they stay, Aubrey thinks, then it's only fair that she and Chloe do everything they can to lighten the burden of responsibility, for Beca.

It isn't that she thinks Beca will mind if they stay – and the Vampire Queen would certainly never complain about having Aubrey and Chloe at her side – but Aubrey recognizes how difficult it must be, to play guardian and regent, all at once. Beca has enough on her plate as it is, and Aubrey's seen the way that the brunette doubts her ability to manage it, sometimes.

Aubrey doesn't want to become something brand new for Beca to worry over, but, in making her decision, she sort of has to accept the fact that Beca already worries for them, that way; she won't worry any less, if Chloe and Aubrey leave her, and the heartbreak Aubrey knows that she would suffer at their loss would probably tear Aubrey to shreds, no matter how far away she might be able to run, anyway.

Leaving isn't an option. Not for Beca. Not for Chloe.

Not for Aubrey, either.

Beca had told them that marking a human is something permanent, and Aubrey definitely has questions regarding all the ways that a bond like that could impact her and Chloe in the aftermath, but- Beca had also told them that a marked human becomes virtually impossible to lose.

And if she and Chloe are going to become an Achilles' heel, for Beca – if they are at risk of being taken, or hurt – then Aubrey insists that they protect themselves as well as possible, both for their own sakes, and for Beca's, too.

Chloe's initially stunned reaction hadn't taken Aubrey by surprise, really; it is a huge decision, and, Aubrey admits, she'd spent a good several days shutting Chloe out of her internal thought process, anyway, so it's understandable that the redhead had been shocked. Aubrey truly hadn't meant to cause Chloe any more worry, after Beca's grand revelation – particularly not so much of it that Chloe had even shed tears – but, for the first time, Aubrey's sharp indignation had overcome her typically instinctive desire to mollify Chloe's fiercely sensitive emotions.

She'd honestly just been furious, with Chloe; Aubrey had been more furious with Chloe, in that moment, than she's ever even thought she could be.

The blonde had blatantly been appalled, by Chloe's accusation – though, in retrospect, Aubrey shamefully realizes that her silence on the subject had given Chloe very little opportunity to imagine anything else. Still, Aubrey's spent so much of her time, recently, contemplating a solution to their problem that the insinuation that she might be trying to get out of this relationship had deeply hurt her.

All Aubrey's been trying to do is figure out a way for them to stay in this relationship safely, and that Chloe could think otherwise had stung, like a rustled nest of angry wasps let loose against the fragile walls of Aubrey's heart.

For a few, tense minutes, Aubrey had worried and raged and rationalized, all at once, until something in her words had clicked, in Chloe, and Aubrey's shoulders had fallen inward as her defensive nature had crumbled all around her, in the face of Chloe's lost, anguished blue stare.

Realistically, Aubrey knows – even now – that it's most practical for her and Chloe to leave; that they could avoid the danger to themselves, altogether, and get the aca-hell out of dodge before D'Artagnan ever even learns that they exist. But every time Aubrey ever considers that option, she imagines Beca's face.

She imagines that crooked, tiny, gorgeously flooring little smile that sometimes – rarely – pulls at the left edge of Beca's mouth when she is pleased and shy, all at once. She imagines the feel of Beca's small fingers, so tenderly scraping through the roots of Aubrey's hair with all the dedicated adoration that Aubrey sees and feels and practically tastes in every look and action and word that Beca lauds upon them. Aubrey imagines a knowingly powerful smirk that flickers to life when Beca is teasing and sly and playful, and the deep, seductive purr of the Vampire Queen's voice as it breathes across the blonde's ear and makes Aubrey's entire body coil up with tension, like Beca can find pure, unmatched satisfaction just in the way that Aubrey gasps sharply through her teeth and shifts closer into her in reply.

And then Aubrey imagines a pair of fathomlessly devastated, burning blue eyes that scorch through Aubrey's heart like even the thought of betraying her precious Queen that way – like even the thought of abandoning Beca to the endless solitude she's suffered through for so many years, already – makes Aubrey ache in the very deepest places of her soul.

And that really makes Aubrey's decision for her.

Of course she wants to stay. It's just- Aubrey needed time to come up with some sort of even vague plan that could satisfactorily keep them together.

She'd needed something that could provide all three of them with the content feeling that they all so crave from each other's company – because leaving is not an option, anymore, and Aubrey isn't honestly sure that it had ever even been one, in the first place – and she'd lain sleepless practically every night while she'd pondered over how to arm them all with the most security.

Even if Beca does agree to mark them – which probably won't be much of a concession at all, for the Vampire Queen, Aubrey thinks with an affectionate smile – Aubrey's plan isn't foolproof; truthfully, Aubrey doesn't even know all of the benefits to marking someone, anyway. Still, it's precautionary, and, in the event that something does happen, it still leaves Beca with a reliable method of finding them.

It's better than nothing, Aubrey thinks, and, if she and Chloe can't gather up the strength to leave, it's frankly their best option – and also perhaps their only option.

Aubrey hadn't expected much opposition from Chloe, in the first place, but she's still immensely relieved when the redhead belts out a ridiculously high-pitched squeal and throws her arms around Aubrey's waist for maybe the tightest hug that Aubrey's ever received from her – or, for that matter, from anyone else, either. Chloe's on board instantly, and Aubrey thinks only part of that stems from Chloe's eagerness not to leave Beca behind.

The blonde has known Chloe for a very long time, and she's grown to know her very intimately, over the past couple of years – but Chloe's never reacted to Aubrey in the same ways that she reacts to Beca.

It isn't bad – if Aubrey's perfectly honest, it's sort of- hot, in a way that makes her itch all over, particularly in the heated, sensitive space between her thighs – but Chloe is weak, for Beca, in completely different ways than Aubrey's ever seen her weak, before.

Aubrey has seen Chloe turn uncharacteristically shy – bashful, even – with just a glance from Beca in the redhead's direction, and Aubrey's watched her turn mute under the slightest brush of Beca's ringed fingers across her wrists. Chloe- practically submits, to Beca, and Aubrey wonders, sometimes, if she doesn't border on doing the same.

Though the situation is far from ideal, for Aubrey, she thinks maybe that she and Chloe might – in some strange, foreign way – enjoy belonging to the Vampire Queen on a deeper, more intimate level, that way.

Aubrey isn't sure how she feels about that, honestly; parts of her pride resentfully rage against the realization, but something else – some kind of previously unacknowledged knot, hidden in the very lowest parts of Aubrey's stomach – unravels and spreads and burns, until the blonde scoffs and refuses to think on it at all.

Her resolution never lasts long, and Aubrey thinks that she probably shouldn't even be surprised, but there are more important things to distract her from those thoughts, anyway, so it isn't quite as difficult as it might normally be for Aubrey to cast certain, newfound fantasies aside.

There are more important things, Aubrey reminds herself – like how she and Chloe can possibly bring this suggestion up with Beca.

Aubrey honestly doesn't know why she worries so frantically over how to approach Beca, with things like this. The Vampire Queen has never once reacted poorly, and Beca certainly hasn't earned Aubrey's insecure hesitations, but, even if she had, it hardly matters, anyway.

Chloe is patient, with Aubrey; she is patient with people, as a whole, and it's something Aubrey's always envied in the redhead, at least a little. Chloe is sometimes the most patient person Aubrey's ever even encountered.

Except for when she isn't.

"We want you to mark us," Chloe tells Beca bluntly, and with a grin so wide Aubrey thinks it's actually fairly close to shattering her entire, radiantly beautiful face.

In fairness, she and Chloe hadn't actually come up with a plan for how to approach Beca, with their idea, but- Aubrey really doesn't feel like it's asking too much of the redhead to have anticipated a little bit more… finesse.

Beca basically just walked through the door, and she's barely lowered herself into their living room couch before Chloe drops eagerly into the space beside her, clasping twitchy fingers over her own lap as she drops the announcement on Beca like it's the whole reason they called her over.

(It sort of is, Aubrey admits with a private sigh, but she doesn't think it could hurt to at least give Beca the illusion that they just really, really missed her. Which is also – always – true.)

Still, Aubrey doesn't have to wait for Beca's response, because her initial reaction emerges so quickly that Aubrey thinks Beca doesn't actually even have control over it.

The Vampire Queen's head snaps up instantly, catching Chloe's bright, excitable blue eyes and holding them captive with a dark, dark silver stare of her own, and even Aubrey's breath snares in her throat at the possessive heat that seems to shadow over Beca's gaze.

"We?" Beca inquires eventually, and her voice is a hoarse, epically strained growl that rustles all the way up the length of Aubrey's spine and back down all over again when those silver eyes leave Chloe's, only to engage Aubrey's instead.

"We," Aubrey breathes with a shaky nod, still standing anxiously just to the right of the couch, like that tiny measure of space between them could actually make the difference between stringing intelligible words together and babbling out some variation of incoherent nonsense.

Beca remains silent for so long that Chloe has to bump her knee against the side of Beca's just to regain the small brunette's attention.

"Becs?" The redhead pries softly, biting gently into her lower lip and playing absently with the fingers tangled across her lap. "Say something?"

Beca blinks, her expression utterly just- cocky, despite that her eyes never quite lose that decidedly, wonderfully invasive quality that gives Aubrey the feeling that she and Chloe have just stepped into something perilously out of their depth.

"You'll forgive me," Beca tells them, a tickle of a smirk lifting the corners of her small, lovely mouth, "but you've taken me a little bit by surprise, here."

"That's new," Aubrey remarks dryly, and reflexively, and can't honestly even help herself.

She's anxious, and everything Beca does, right now, feels like a little bit of a come-on. It isn't necessarily awful, on principle, it's just that- she thinks Beca likes it – making them wait; raising their expectations only to hold off on the sorely anticipated delivery – and, sometimes, it grates on Aubrey's nerves. She carries enough tension as it is, and she really doesn't require help from Beca, in that area.

Even if the tension Beca causes is definitively different, in nature, and even if it maybe, just sometimes, feels a little bit extremely nice.

Right now, it definitely isn't nice. It's really just gearing Aubrey up for an argument that she doesn't even want to have. Fortunately, though, Beca doesn't tease them for much longer.

Beca chuckles, deep and low in reply, tipping her head in brief acknowledgment (if not quite apology) of the ever-growing strain on Aubrey's nerves.

"Tell me, Posen," Beca clicks her tongue contemplatively and spreads her palms out to her sides, elbows resting against her knees as the Vampire Queen shuffles forward in obvious interest, "how much do you even know, about marking?"

Aubrey furrows her brow, slowly, and a little bit hesitantly, replying, "Only what you've told us."

Beca quirks a smile – a real one; a true, comforting, honest little thing that makes Aubrey rustle her shoulders back in relief – before she pats the empty couch cushion at her side.

"Then I should probably tell you more," Beca says pointedly, "because I'm not sure I've made it clear enough for you to make an informed decision."

Aubrey follows Beca's wordless instruction to sit, and grapples swiftly for one of Beca's hands the moment she sinks into the cushions. She isn't quite sure why – it's probably that still-simmering look that burns from the deepest pits of the black in the center of Beca's still-silver eyes – but Aubrey needs to touch her, somehow, even if it isn't in all the ways that she wants.

"A Marking," Beca tells them carefully, taking just a small moment to wind her opposite arm around Chloe's neck as the redhead snuggles in close, and – despite her nervousness – the simple, intimate interaction makes Aubrey's mouth lift up into a sweet, loving smile, "is a very big deal. Particularly," Beca emphasizes gently, "between a Vampire and his or her potential mate or mates. As I've said before, marking a human is the closest a Vampire can come to mating with one, which means that it comes paired with some- side effects."

"Like what?" Chloe wonders curiously, fingers toying with the rings on Beca's hand, draped across the redhead's shoulders.

"A relationship between mated Vampires isn't so different from the relationship between a sire and sired; a mated Vampire can feel their mate's emotions in a very similar way, and I'm sure I've said it enough by now that you know mates require an even closer physical relationship than a sire and sired. Marking you would put us very close to that line," Beca tells them slowly. "I wouldn't be able to feel everything that you feel, but- I would be able to feel the extremes. I'd feel it if you were unusually excited, or unhappy; I'd feel it if you were very frustrated, or even hungry; I'd feel it if you were especially afraid," Beca tells them, her voice dropping into something low and hot that makes Aubrey's palm tremble in the captivity of Beca's own, "and I would definitely feel it if you were aroused."

Aubrey tries to think of all the ways it could benefit them for Beca to be able to feel their fear, but- she's a little stuck on that last part, and her cheeks feel a little too flushed to convince anyone otherwise.

"That's- understandable," Aubrey whispers breathlessly, but tries to gather enough sense to learn more. It's difficult, she realizes, but Aubrey manages. Barely. "What else?"

Beca flashes a brief, teasing smirk at her before the expression gradually shifts, and the Queen's shoulders rise and fall against a shrug. The brunette sighs – some soft, quiet noise that expels from Beca's lungs with just the tiniest hint of masked longing, and that makes Aubrey want to kiss her until even Beca's endless supply of air is depleted – before the Vampire Queen subtly tugs Chloe somehow tighter against her side, and smooths her cheek over the redhead's hair as suddenly-blue, abruptly insecure eyes move hesitantly to search out Aubrey's green.

"I told you that you couldn't truly be mine unless you've been turned," Beca starts warily, "and that's mostly true – in that we couldn't reap the benefits from mating until we've actually done it. That being said, a Marking will- feel very much the same," Beca offers quietly.

"How do you mean?" Chloe hums softly, tickling her fingers across the tattooed cord belonging to a set of headphones, winding up the length of Beca's slender wrist.

Aubrey's seen the inked skin before, but it hadn't really affected her very much, in the past; she isn't typically interested in tattoos as a whole, honestly – and certainly not in the profound way that Chloe is – but- watching the redhead's navy-painted nails trace across the outline of the art printed into Beca's flesh makes Aubrey tremble in ways that are completely foreign, to the blonde.

"I mean that mates technically can't be more than a couple miles apart, or they will literally lose their sanity. If I marked you," Beca considers deliberately, "it would feel, to all three of us, like that is a sincere possibility. It won't actually happen," the Vampire Queen promises earnestly, "and that won't become a risk unless we ever are mated, but- the pain we experienced during our weekend apart would intensify, tenfold. In addition to that," Beca trails her tongue thoughtfully across the line of her teeth and murmurs, "it would also- exaggerate everything that we feel for each other.

"Obviously, without the heightened sense of smell, marking you won't really help you to find me – but you'll experience the emotional aspects of a Marking in the same ways that I do. When I'm aroused," Beca tells them, a sticky sort of heat clinging to the edges of her words like she can't even help it, even though Aubrey can tell by the solemn look in her eyes that Beca certainly is trying to help it, "the two of you will be able to feel that, too. And that means that it would essentially become your own arousal, tangled up with mine, and with each other's. Obviously," Beca laughs softly and shakes her head, "that's not something I've ever felt, before – but you can imagine that it gets intense.

"Like I told you before, I would be able to find you – practically anywhere – by tracking the scent of my venom, and it would be, like, a super convenient advantage to know if you were ever in any sort of trouble, but- it means other things, too. Do you understand that?" Beca furrows her brows and patiently waits for a reply.

Chloe looks to Aubrey, and the blonde can just tell – from the tremor of Chloe's mouth to the way her cheeks flame so perfectly, ridiculously red – that Chloe is entirely okay with all of this.

Aubrey thinks it's a little suspicious, how quickly the realization slams through her, but she's- curiously okay with all of this, too.

"Let's be honest," Aubrey swallows thickly and roughly clears her throat. "We're all risking a lot, just to be together, which means that this relationship is something that all three of us are wholly invested in. Marking us would mean added security for me and Chloe, and that might be the catalyst for this, but I think we all know that we'd be headed in this direction eventually, either way.

"It's safer for us to do it now, and, frankly, I think it can only benefit us, given our situation. That said," Aubrey flicks her bangs back subconsciously with a nervous twitch of her fingers, and expels a raggedly needy sigh, "all that Chloe and I actually want, right now, is to be as close with you as we can be, and the urge to make that happen is only growing stronger, anyway. I think, at this point," Aubrey hedges, but only briefly, "that I can safely say this might even be something we'd want sometime in the near future, even without D'Artagnan's influence over our decision, right now. So," Aubrey breathes in a long breath in preparation, exchanges a minutely nervous glance with an equally nervous Chloe, and finally accrues enough bravery to voice her final inquiry, "all that we really need to know is if this is something you want, too."

"Is that– Are you serious?" Beca chokes on an immediately incredulous laugh. "Dude," she blinks, when Aubrey and Chloe only stare at her in sincerely earnest anticipation. "That's, like- incredible. I mean, I was honestly content just to spend time with you, for as long as you'd allow – even if that meant you'd leave, one day – but that you'd want me to do this?" Beca shakes her head, eyes wide with disbelief and such obvious satisfaction and pride that Aubrey feels deeply just- treasured, and it makes the blonde's mildly clammy fingers coil tighter around Beca's own. "That you'd actually want to be- bound to me like that, forever," Beca breathes worshipfully, and Aubrey swears that the embers in those again-silver eyes flare to life anew, even as the blonde's whole body reacts to Beca's words like something physical – something hot and desperate and frantic – is pressing directly against her heated core, building her up for a severely catastrophic fall.

"Jesus," Beca growls out abruptly and stands, swiftly pacing the carpeted floor as Chloe and Aubrey gravitate inward, just to hold each other, while Aubrey wonders how – if they were already marked – Beca's emotions might feel to her, right now.

And then, all at once, the Vampire Queen stands unnaturally still, not even a breath rising or falling in her chest as she turns to face them.

"This is permanent," she tells them firmly.

"We know," Chloe gasps out feverishly, and Aubrey feels her fingers tighten so hard over Aubrey's thigh that she thinks it might have scraped her flesh, even through the fabric of her jeans.

"You'll be mine – or almost mine – forever," Beca explains strictly.

"We know," Aubrey hisses past a groan, desperately – and very, very purposefully – trying to hide the way that Beca's words make her feel like she is completely, irrevocably owned, already.

Beca's mouth flickers with a prideful, arrogant smirk that is very irritatingly becoming, to Aubrey, before she teases with a barely-there purr, "There will be a scar."

"We don't care," Aubrey snaps, and her aggravation merges together with Chloe's in the air between them as the redhead practically moans out the exact same words.

And Aubrey has just enough time to think that everything is about to change, before Beca heatedly murmurs, "I'll meet you in the bedroom," with a severely pointed look in their direction that convinces Aubrey that Beca would never even need to use her compulsion on either one of them, ever.

She and Chloe would follow this girl anywhere.

And they'd do it more than willingly.

Chapter Text

Chloe is trembling so violently that she thinks her teeth might even be chattering.

In fairness, the redhead can't actually be sure, because the only thing that Chloe is positive that she can hear is the viciously active thrum of blood, rattling through her ears like the blistering roar of an obnoxiously souped up motorcycle engine.

Her feet stumble at least somewhat obediently down the hall, Aubrey's quaking fingers knotted securely through the slots in Chloe's own, but- Chloe's emotions aren't quite so easily tamed. Anticipation has jolted her adrenaline so swiftly into action that Chloe literally can't stop herself from shaking, at this point, and she can feel something – something needy and compelling and fiercely urgent – aggressively surging to life in the pool of boiling, aching want that has very uncomfortably settled itself somewhere deep in the recesses of Chloe's gut.

Still, Chloe knows where she's headed, and her legs are – for the moment, at least – cooperating well enough to carry her there, so Chloe bites hard into the line of her bottom lip, squeezes somehow even tighter against the slim fingers held desperately in her grasp, and moves toward their destination with as much composure as Chloe thinks she can muster – which, frankly, isn't much.

And Chloe thinks that it's probably unfair, the way that the Vampire Queen is so palpably calm when she and Aubrey eventually trail into the room behind her.

It is probably, definitely, abso-aca-lutely unfair – except that Chloe doesn't really have time to think about it long enough to build a grudge.

Beca is smirking, just a little just that tiny, confident, knowing version of the thing that renders Chloe's knees entirely incapable of adequately supporting her weight – and the Vampire Queen's silver eyes are all kinds of uniquely predatory, dedicatedly tracking their progress into the room. The brunette's blatant stare is as heavy as it is invasive, and Chloe can instantly feel it everywhere, pressing down over every inch of her body like everything that makes Chloe whole is being wound and coiled and compressed, all at once; like Beca's gaze, as it flickers meticulously down the length of Chloe's frame, is a tangible thing, shaping Chloe into a squashed spring that only Beca has the authority to release.

Vaguely, Chloe registers the fact that Aubrey purposefully turns to close, and subsequently lock, the bedroom door behind them – though Chloe really isn't sure why her girlfriend even bothers – and the way that Beca's eyes burn rapidly in reply very nearly causes Chloe to whimper out loud.

She doesn't know how this works – doesn't know anything about how a human is actually 'marked,' by a Vampire, or what the process technically even involves – but there is a distinctly sexual, cloying sort of feeling suspended in the air, right now, that weighs relentlessly against the invisible threads spanning the distance between them, tethering them to Beca, and Chloe is very profoundly affected by it; the redhead is purely struck by that feeling, truthfully, and it drives through Chloe's body with such sincere force that she is left to stand mute, just to the side at the foot of her and Aubrey's bed, the blonde similarly still and identically silent, tensed at Chloe's right shoulder.

There are all kinds of things that Chloe wants to say, right now – and there are probably twice as many things that Chloe just wants to know – but the redhead can't actually isolate the basic motor functions required to move, anymore, and her throat feels far too tight to speak with any real sort of coherency, anyway. Chloe isn't sure if Aubrey's struggling through those same obstacles, too, but if the blonde's decidedly labored breathing serves as any indication, Chloe is pretty sure that Aubrey can sympathize.

Ultimately, it's really all that they can do to just- wait.

Wait for Beca.

Still, the Vampire Queen takes her time; Beca moves like she has all the time in the world, honestly – and, Chloe considers idly, she actually sort of does – slipping her cell phone casually from the back pocket of her jeans, and exchanging a quick series of messages without a word to Chloe or Aubrey in explanation. Finally, Beca holds her thumb over the power button of the device to turn the thing off, and sets it to rest at the edge of Chloe's nightstand.

"You surprised me, tonight," Beca tells them slowly, and there is a faint echo of some deeply gratified noise that shades her words just a tiny bit too dark, but, overall, they are soft, and honest, and so tender that Chloe's terribly overworked heart slows, just a couple of paces; just enough to pump this suddenly overpowering feeling of wholly devoted love into her system, too. "I wasn't prepared for this. I haven't fully prepared Emily for this, though it's something we've discussed as an eventual possibility.

"She can't feel my emotions, the way that I can feel hers," Beca explains, stepping gradually, but very deliberately forward, until she meets Chloe and Aubrey at the foot of the bed. "The sired never can. That's now how it works," the Queen murmurs softly, gently sweeping a blonde lock of hair behind the curve of Aubrey's flushed-red ear, and a staggered whoosh of breath escapes the blonde's mouth the instant Beca's fingers brush across her flesh. "But it will change a few things, for Emily, if the three of us need to be in such close contact so regularly, and – though we've talked about it, some – I needed to be sure that she's comfortable with that. Fortunately – and not all that surprisingly," Beca shrugs with a small, adoring smile, "Emily is very excited for us."

Chloe nods – and it's shaky, she knows, but it's also about as understanding as Chloe thinks she can even be, at the moment – and she swallows through a tight knot of- something, swelling hard in Chloe's throat, determinedly working to block off the passage, altogether.

"Tell us how it works?" Chloe eventually requests, though it surfaces as something breathy and quiet, and, inarguably, the words are entirely desperate, at their core.

Beca flicks a single brow upward in momentary reply, before she swiftly captures the base of Chloe's neck beneath her palm, exerting just enough pressure to easily – and almost startlingly quickly – pull Chloe's mouth into Beca's own. The redhead gasps her surprise, needy and brief, but her lips tease promptly back on instinct, and Beca's ensuing, mildly mocking chuckle zings all the way from Chloe's tongue down deep into her chest, where Chloe thinks even her heart is striving to match the pitch of that rumbling, flawlessly striking sound.

"Soon," Beca promises temperately as she carefully pulls away, smiling softly at Chloe in reply.

"That's not an answer," Aubrey snaps demandingly, and Chloe is suddenly sure that Aubrey had somehow been offered just enough time to build a grudge, before, because the blonde is clearly irritated by Beca's evident display of patience, and Chloe can easily determine why.

Aubrey is noticeably incapable of demonstrating that same patience, in return.

The thing is, Chloe really can't find the irritation in herself to match it, even though she's pretty sure that it should rightfully be there, somewhere.

"Technically," Beca smirks fleetingly, and moves her spare hand to grip Aubrey's jaw between a tiny thumb and forefinger, exerting a little bit more force than Chloe thinks is strictly necessary; she's pretty sure that Aubrey's pride probably suffers a little, from the intrinsically assertive shift, but, with a distinct lack of guilt, Chloe acknowledges that her own arousal doesn't suffer for it, in the least, "it was an answer, Posen; it just wasn't the one you were looking for."

"Don't be a smartass, Beca," Aubrey hisses through a blisteringly furious, but tremulously aching sigh.

It's a little bit rude, even if Chloe understands why – understands completely the insatiable frustration that is gathering in the very center of Aubrey's core, because it is gathering up with frantic speed, deep in Chloe's center, too – but Beca doesn't seem to be bothered by it.

Instead, the Vampire Queen offers Aubrey a genuinely just- sinful smirk, and murmurs with misleading tenderness, "Alright. Then, it begins a little like this," Beca whispers, and applies her now-bruising hold over the blonde's chin to tear Aubrey's mouth into her own so quickly that Beca's tongue is already searing through the line of Aubrey's startled, parted pink lips before Chloe ever even has the chance to watch the blonde's head lower to meet it.

And it is just- hot, in their bedroom.

It is suddenly stifling, for Chloe, and so humid that breathing swiftly becomes a chore; for the few, short seconds that their kiss lasts, Chloe gasps vigorously in an effort to hold air in her lungs and struggles just to keep herself steady, before Beca separates from the blonde just as rapidly as she'd fused herself into Aubrey, in the first place.

"And it ends," Beca purrs into the blonde's now-swollen mouth, teasing and soft, and so incredibly relaxed that Chloe can't help but think that it is almost a little bit majestic, the way that Beca holds herself, right now, "with you in my mouth, in every conceivable way," Beca tells Aubrey gently, with a muted level of warmth – but not quite heat – that belies the manipulatively sweltering palm that Beca slips carefully, just beneath the hem of Aubrey's top, as the Vampire Queen's fingers trip aimlessly across the soft camber of Aubrey's bare hip.

The blonde whimpers – just the tiniest, most broken little noise that Chloe thinks she's ever even heard escape from Aubrey's mouth – and it crashes over Chloe's ears like some cataclysmic-level tsunami that wrecks Chloe from the inside out.

"It ends," Beca mutters sweetly, hand venturing torturously slowly toward the very base of Aubrey's spine, where Beca pushes against it with such swift, sudden pressure that Aubrey's entire, beautifully lean frame stumbles gracelessly forward, effortlessly folding every one of Aubrey's curves directly into Beca's own, "with my fangs buried in the lines of your sweet, decadent flesh.

"It ends," Beca breathes mercilessly across the blonde's neck, "with my Venom staking claim through every throbbing, aching cell of blood in your ravishingly toned body," Beca tells her, a small lilt of amusement coloring the edges of her words, and Chloe thinks that Aubrey trembles so feverishly in reply that the redhead can even feel the small amount of air between them shaking from the force of the blonde's influence.

"How's that, Posen?" Beca chuckles darkly, pressing her thumb roughly into the edge of Aubrey's lips to emphasize – but not rub away, Chloe notices, with a rushed and very distinctly helpless series of pants – the perfectly delicious smear of red lipstick at the very corner of Aubrey's mouth. "Was that clear enough, for you?"

Aubrey swallows, and Chloe watches her throat squirm two more times after that before the blonde finally musters up a reply; still, Chloe doesn't judge her for a second, and thinks it might probably have taken her even longer.

Every part of Chloe feels like Beca is singing her body to life, right now; like the Vampire Queen is breathing a melody directly into Chloe's flesh that is fast and slow, hard and soft, thrilling and soothing, all at once; like there is actual music blaring through the streets of Chloe's veins, and Beca operates the soundboard with small, nimble fingers and a tremendously talented ear.

There is something in Beca – something animalistic and greedy, and, Chloe thinks, purely instinctual – that has very eagerly latched onto the notion of making them belong to her, in a way that's never been an option for the Vampire Queen, before. It's something in Beca that is profound and timeless, and Chloe can feel it, stripping the air around them until there is nothing left in it but Beca's enthrallingly natural scent, immobilizing Aubrey and Chloe to a degree that they are actually incapable of motion without Beca to encourage it out of them.

"I still don't- understand," Aubrey breathes, just a little bit too hard – just a little bit too winded – and Chloe whines out a thoroughly pleading noise in answer.

Chloe loves this.

She loves the way that Aubrey's breath sort of- hitches, when she's wet; loves the way that her words become harder to find until they emerge only in sharp gasps of Chloe's name, or dissolve into shattered whimpers that hardly have the strength to even propel themselves upward from the depths of Aubrey's lungs. Chloe loves the way that Aubrey's entire chest flushes pink before she's ever even been touched, the way she is now, like giving into this kind of emotion is simultaneously the blonde's greatest relief and greatest shame, all at once.

Chloe loves it. Adores it. Cherishes everything about it.

And she's eager to share this, with Beca, too.

"That's okay," the Vampire Queen nods in earnest sympathy, shifting, just slightly, to brush a pair of impossibly soft lips across the blushing plane of Chloe's cheek, and even that small action drags a sigh from some place so low in Chloe's diaphragm that literally no number of voice lessons could ever have coached her to access it, independently. "I know it might be difficult for you, Aubrey," Beca scoffs lightly, with a quietly tender smile that removes most of the sting from the blonde's expression almost before Chloe ever even has time to notice that it's there, in the first place, "but this isn't something you can actually prepare for."

Part of Chloe instantly wants to laugh at that, because, in all honesty, she isn't really sure what Aubrey had actually been expecting, anyway; everything about Beca has taken them by surprise, from the very first time that they'd met her, and it makes a perfect kind of sense, to Chloe, that this should be one, too.

"Then what do we do?" Aubrey pleads, an anxious little shudder quaking through her words in a way that makes Chloe turn her mouth to press soothingly, just once, across Aubrey's madly pulsing temple.

"Oh, pretty thing," Beca coos affectionately, stroking abruptly gentle, polished black nails along the back of Aubrey's neck, "I'll tell you what to do."

And- Chloe's knees give out.

There's no warning for it at all – the way that her body reacts so violently to such a simple utterance, from Beca – but the reaction is immediate and consuming, regardless, and a shattered gasp chars through the walls of Chloe's throat as Beca's arms move swiftly to hold fast around her hips, a brand new smirk painting the Queen's face with blatant amusement and immense pleasure, all at once.

"Would you like that, Red?" Beca murmurs hotly, the words hurtling through Chloe's system with considerably more force than they had initially been whispered with as Beca chuckles, deep and warm and unjustly at ease, across the sensitive stretch of skin just beneath the redhead's ear. "Would you like for me to tell you what to do?"

Chloe's never really been shy, and it probably isn't timidness that prevents her from constructing some sort of verbal reply; it's just that- Chloe can't actually speak.

It's not a problem that Chloe is faced with often – or basically ever, she might realize, if she actually had any brain function left to spare the idea any real measure of thought – but, in this moment, she is curiously unsurprised by the development, because there are a lot of things happening to Chloe's body, right now, that she's never had to accommodate, before.

There is so much raw emotion, in Chloe – so much love, and need, and blisteringly powerful heat – and Chloe doesn't know what to do with it. She feels like she should – she isn't unfamiliar with the act of sex, and she and Aubrey have grown very, very good at it, during their time together – but- something in Chloe knows better than to act without Beca's permission.

And permission is exactly the right word, Chloe reflects hazily, because it isn't something that Chloe's really ever needed to have, from Aubrey.

At least, not in this way.

She would never touch the blonde, if – for some presently unfathomable reason – Aubrey even obliquely tried telling Chloe 'no,' but it isn't the same.

Permission, with Aubrey – and with basically all of Chloe's lovers, in the past – has mostly been inferred. There's an implied level of comfort, and some undefined, always-sure feeling that makes the act permissible, instead, even without strictly voiced consent. It's in the way that Chloe's body moves, and in the way her partner answers it; it's in the way that a mouth trails just a fraction beyond the previously established limits, and in the way that hands clench frantically at the nearest, reachable stretch of flesh, in reply.

The consent is there – permission is always granted – but- Chloe's never really had to ask for it.

The difference, Chloe thinks, is that Beca is a genuine predator; somewhere in her very core, Beca is an animal on the hunt – and, right now, Chloe and Aubrey are almost definitely her prey.

Prey, Chloe thinks, don't typically have the option of choosing how they are devoured.

Then again, she considers somewhat deliriously, Chloe doesn't really think that prey typically enjoy being devoured the way that she's about to, either.

"I like it," Beca laughs breathily into the line of Chloe's collar, and the noise is soft – deliciously so - but it is swiftly thwarted by the decidedly less-than-soft fist that Beca employs, just a brief moment later, to gather the hair spilling from the base of Chloe's skull; aggressively – and just a tiny bit painfully, but not so much that Chloe is anything less than completely turned on by it – Beca snaps the redhead's neck into a backward arch with her newfound leverage, and finishes with a murmur, "when I ask questions that are answered, Chloe."

The redhead still can't even stand on her own, and, frankly, part of Chloe is so immensely frustrated that there is a pleading whisper echoing off the walls of her mind wondering what Beca even wants from her, right now – because, honestly, if Beca is expecting any actual kind of dialogue, then she needs to stop doing- basically everything that she's doing.

Except that Chloe doesn't want her to stop any of it at all; she can feel Beca's mouth, suckling hard against her pulse, and she can feel the faintest of scratches lining the underside of her jaw, courtesy of those gorgeously alluring fangs, and Chloe can't even think about what she'd do, if Beca stopped.

She's pretty sure that, whatever she would do, it would probably be enormously unattractive, and the noise that might escape her would probably erupt sounding something like a pathetically high-pitched whine.

None of that sounds all that ideal, to Chloe, so she plunges through every splintered fragment of her fractured short-term memory until she remembers the question Beca had posed to her, and, in a desperate effort to please the incontestably dominant Queen, Chloe groans out longingly, "God, Beca, I swear, I'll do anything you want."

Beca hums happily against Chloe's throat in reply, the noise buzzing across the redhead's flesh with such concentrated ferocity that Chloe releases just the tiniest cry of need, in answer, and Chloe instantly feels the tips of Aubrey's fingers press gently into the small of her back, for even the smallest added measure of support.

Chloe is grateful, because it's support that she's pretty sure she actually really needs.

When Beca's mouth pulls away, though – with a small, final brush of her lips across the sure bruise that has likely sprung to life at the tender juncture of neck and shoulder – Chloe feels distinctly- clothed.

She's hot all over and uncomfortable in her own skin, and the clothes that Chloe's still wearing are preventing her skin from breathing, so she moves still-quaking fingers to the edges of her sweater, and tries her very best to strip it away.

In retrospect, Chloe probably shouldn't be surprised when Beca stops her; she probably really shouldn't be surprised that Beca even would, because Chloe is pretty positive that she'd literally just finishing reviewing with herself how she knows better than to do anything, right now, without her Queen's explicit permission.

"Oh, Red," Beca sighs, and there is something of disappointment – a darkish hue; an audible point, or scrape, dragging reluctantly through Beca's speech – that makes Chloe cringe all over and still every motion instantly, because that is exactly the opposite of what she wants to hear, right now. "I have waited millennia, for this. To feel this. To know another person this way," Beca whispers, carefully releasing Chloe hips and leaving the redhead to stand on hardly-stable legs as the brunette pulls Aubrey in close, tenderly stroking the tip of her nose over the blonde's violently heaving chest. "I have waited so long for you," Beca purrs quietly, offering the tiniest little kitten-lick to the strip of flesh just above Aubrey's cleavage, left conveniently exposed by the top, undone buttons of the blonde's white blouse, and Chloe watches – with only a mild degree of envy – as Aubrey's pretty, manicured nails grapple swiftly to catch against the fabric covering Beca's shoulders in some wasted, last ditch effort to achieve stability.

"Bec," Aubrey rasps out roughly, and the look in her face, right now – tortured and pleasured and entirely covetous, all at once – tells Chloe that Aubrey realizes exactly how wasted that effort had been.

"Please understand," Beca muses quietly, snaring Chloe's eyes with the sheer weight behind her own, winking hooded silver up at Chloe from where the Vampire Queen's mouth is all but stamped into Aubrey's skin, "that I will plainly not allow you to deprive me of this pleasure; I will not allow your sweet, overeager hands to so carelessly tear away at layers that I have dreamed – in my truly rare moments of sleep – of unwrapping with agonizing, purposeful leisure.

"Red," Beca smiles charmingly, and Chloe's knees waver underneath of her all over again, because this smile is sweet and knowing and sly, all at once, and Chloe has never seen Beca look more stunningly alluring than she does right here, right in this moment, "I know you wouldn't do that to me. Would you?"

And then there is a smirk, only barely testing the edge of Beca's mouth; just a hint of mischief, and of- expectation, and Chloe wonders why.

Chloe wonders and wonders, and keeps on wondering, right up until she remembers – with a very tangible-feeling rip through the very fragile hold that she has somehow, miraculously, retained over her sanity – that Beca likes it when she asks questions that are answered.

So Chloe answers.

"No," she whimpers weakly. "Beca, I would never– I wouldn't ever mean to, Becs, I swear, but I need – " Chloe stammers, frantically shaking her head as her words struggle to find shape, and voice. "I need – "

"Mm," Beca interrupts with a thoroughly contented hum, eyes resting to a close as her cheek nestles over Aubrey's heart. "I know exactly what you need," the Vampire Queen purrs with soft, deliberate seduction, and Chloe's fingers tremble against the edges of her thighs as those silver eyes open for her all over again, impossibly bright and intolerably dark, all in the same blink. "You are both so- ready, for me," Beca chuckles, proud, and satisfied, and Chloe watches a set of Aubrey's slender fingers tangle swiftly through the strands of Beca's beautifully soft hair as that laugh coasts across the blonde's skin with a heated puff of breath, whispered out from Beca's chest. "So wet," Beca hisses with a quietly pleased sigh. "I can smell it."

Chloe whimpers, and shuffles her feet just enough to cant her hip into the bedpost, just to keep herself upright.

It's just- Chloe doesn't think about things like that, sometimes; doesn't think to consider the way that Beca's unnaturally keen senses can perceive so much more; doesn't think about the way that Beca had probably identified the heat between her thighs before Chloe had ever even realized it was there, in the first place. She tries not to let it bother her, too much, but the realization sort of just makes it all the more frustrating that Beca has done exactly nothing in the way of relieving that sweltering, sticky heat.

Still, Beca's palms climb the length of Aubrey's torso with excruciating sluggishness, and Chloe watches on with bated breath as the Vampire Queen's tiny, gifted fingers start from the top, slipping button after button loose from their prisons, until Aubrey's shirt spreads apart and the blonde is left panting under the small flickers of those fingers as they patter across her flesh.

A rumbling purr emerges from Beca's chest instantly, but there are no actual words to accompany the sound; it is just pure, earnest pleasure that stirs the noise free, from somewhere deep in Chloe's angel's heart, like there is no fathomable place better for Beca to be than here, with Chloe and Aubrey flushed and aching all over, and all for Beca.

Always, for Beca.

Chloe's breath staggers, the moment that Beca truly devotes her exploration to testing Aubrey's flesh, and Chloe sees the muscles of Aubrey's flat stomach ripple urgently as the Queen's small palm presses firmly overtop of it.

"You," Beca tells Aubrey slowly, and her voice sounds winded – even though Chloe isn't even sure that that's even possible, for Beca – as a delighted twitch flares insistently at the corner of her mouth in an effort to shape a smirk, "are just- lovely. All this pretty, flushed pink skin…" Beca murmurs happily, parting the open flaps of Aubrey's shirt for greater access, drawing her second palm to join the first on a perfectly exquisite journey up the length of Aubrey's sides.

Beca's hands brush tenderly over Aubrey's ribs, so gradually that Chloe wonders if Beca isn't actually feeling out each one as she slides her fingers across them – counting them, just to learn the feel of them as they ridge beneath her flesh – and Aubrey gasps so sharply in answer that Chloe finds herself wondering how long it's actually been since Aubrey even used her voice.

It feels like it's been a while, not that Chloe blames her; it's understandably difficult to find words, when Beca is so effortlessly dictating their every verse and breath.

When the brunette's fingers eventually stretch far enough to encounter the strap of a nude-colored bra, the Vampire Queen's satisfied purr morphs, somewhere, into some massively frustrated growl, and Chloe is almost positive that Beca is only seconds from ripping the thing away, altogether. Still, Chloe's high level of patience probably can't even begin to compete with Beca's, and her Queen's resolve is iron-clad; instead, Beca's palms move heatedly toward Aubrey's shoulders, brushing the collar of her shirt down the length of her arms with fierce, dedicated greed.

Chloe probably shouldn't be surprised when Beca leaves it there; she probably shouldn't feel such swift, overpowering want when Beca leaves that white blouse – so perfectly complimenting the tanned color of Aubrey's skin – hanging from the blonde's slim wrists, effectively binding Aubrey's hands in place at the very lowest point of her spine, but Chloe is surprised, and, God, Chloe definitely does want.

"Beca?" Aubrey whimpers softly, and the small voice that she finds is strangled, but there is a modicum of something close to worry – maybe a little bit closer to panic, Chloe amends concernedly – that instantly jars Beca's gaze to meet with hers.

The Vampire Queen doesn't immediately reply with anything, and part of Chloe a little bit wonders if that's best; the redhead has never tried owning Aubrey, this way – frankly, Chloe doesn't even think she could, and she isn't totally sure that she'd even want to, in the first place – so she doesn't necessarily know what Aubrey needs, right now, to feel comfortable.

It doesn't really end up mattering that much, though, because Beca seems to manage just fine, all on her own.

The brunette lifts her fingers to unfasten the bra impeding her path, and Chloe loses her breath all over again when it loosens around the blonde's chest, the straps slipping just enough over Aubrey's shoulders that the cups of the material fall lower to expose a pair of alert, pretty pink nipples to Chloe's devotedly appreciative gaze.

Aubrey has always been gorgeous; she doesn't always believe it, Chloe knows, and Aubrey strives to improve her physical appearance and outward impression at practically every given chance, but she doesn't need to, and never has. She is just so beautiful, to Chloe, from soft blonde hair all the way down to prettily painted toes, and Aubrey doesn't even need to try at it.

She is gorgeous, and always has been – and right now is certainly no exception.

The blonde's light-colored jeans ride low across her hips, and her tummy quivers tumultuously just above the line where they end. Aubrey's flesh is heated, and very apparently slick, and her trembling knees rely pretty much solely on Beca's strength and grip to keep her balanced. Her chest rises and falls with a rapidness that Chloe thinks probably isn't even healthy, but the way that her breasts heave in agreement, spilling out from beneath the broken confines of her bra, is magnificent and wonderful and absolutely delightful, and it strikes Chloe hard, right in her core.

Aubrey – with smudged lipstick and still-captured wrists, roped together by the strip of cloth tangled at her back – looks positively ruined, by Beca, and Chloe hadn't honestly expected to enjoy the sight of that quite as much as she does.

Still, there is something different, in Aubrey, that Chloe's never seen before; there is something even more desperate – something yearning and fundamental and vastly critical – newly gleaming from the depths of the blonde's stunningly emerald eyes, and it looks a little bit like- surrender.

And Beca recognizes it.

"You think that I don't see," the Queen murmurs, pressing a warm, tender smile briefly into the flesh that covers Aubrey's heart, "the way that your restraint shields you away from me?" Beca lofts a regal brow expectantly, and the genuine command in that tiny expression has Chloe instantly searching for any possible way that she might be able to obey it. "You think that I don't see how pliant – obedient – you are, beneath all of that stubbornly righteous pride?" Beca laughs breathily, and there is just the tiniest hint of a taunt buried in there somewhere, but Chloe is so justifiably lost in the scene taking place before her that she can't quite register what it means. "Aubrey," Beca sighs out tenderly, stroking her fingers delicately across the toned muscle of Aubrey's abs, "you think that I don't see the way that you will beg for me?"

And Chloe just- drops, feebly collapsing into the bed with a startled, greedy moan, because this–

It is something she has thought about, before. It is something Beca had promised to Chloe – not all that long ago, on a private jet to Virginia – and the redhead would be lying through her aca-loving teeth if she ever tried to claim that the fantasy doesn't affect her, because it does.

Something flickers in Aubrey's eyes – something familiar, and probably indicative of all that mostly-abandoned pride – and the blonde's painted lips split apart, just fleetingly, to half-heartedly argue, "I am not a pet, Beca. I won't beg."

"No," Beca coos agreeably, her fingers sweeping purposefully upward until the Vampire Queen roughly cradles two, tiny fistfuls of Aubrey's breasts in her palms, handling them with an evident edge of authority that makes Aubrey whimper with unadulterated need as the underwire of her bra scrapes the back of Beca's hands. "You are not a pet, Aubrey," Beca tells the blonde with a very prominent smirk, and Chloe would probably gasp in answer to it, except that she still can't take her eyes off of the purely beautiful contrast of Beca's wondrously pale flesh, hugging deliberately over top of Aubrey's, and Chloe doesn't even have the breath to spare. "But, I promise you, Posen – you will beg. Until then," Beca tells her pointedly, and shifts one of her hands around the curve of Aubrey's breast, just enough to painfully twist Aubrey's nipple between her thumb and fingers in reprimand, until the blonde bows her body into Beca's with a tiny, wanting cry, "you will behave."

… Chloe really doesn't think it's all that much of a stretch to believe that Aubrey will obey, because Chloe doesn't even see how she could argue with that, to begin with, even if she wanted to.

Still, it isn't something that Chloe's granted a lot of time to think about, because – oh – there are probably many, many advantages to having a Vampire as a lover, but, right now, Chloe thinks the most prominent one is speed.

The redhead feels fingers briefly digging into the flesh around her waist, but she feels the mattress that presses into her back before she even begins to register the reason why.

It only takes a second for Chloe to realize that Beca had probably thrown her into it.

The Vampire Queen is abruptly on top of Chloe, straddling the redhead's hips with a pair of strong, lean thighs, and Beca sweeps her smooth, pretty hair to drape across a single shoulder as her mouth hovers just inches over top of Chloe's own. Chloe has practically given up on breathing altogether – which is probably for the best, she thinks, because she really can't see that situation improving any time soon – so she isn't surprised when her breath catches, somewhere, between her burning lungs and straining throat.

Beca's silver eyes seem bright, in the darkness of their bedroom; bright, and crippling, and so intrinsically pleased, and Chloe is considerably less than startled by how viciously her body aches to heighten that degree of pleasure, for Beca, in every way imaginable.

"I've been neglecting you," Beca purrs regretfully, and her breath drags across Chloe's lips like a tiny kiss, all of their own – but it doesn't compare at all with the one that Beca bestows upon her in the moments after. "But you've been so good for me, haven't you, Red? So patient," she whispers, and there is something in it that makes Chloe feel like she has somehow made Beca proud.

Chloe nods reflexively, but the memory of Beca's demand to be answered swiftly urges Chloe to breathily confirm, "Totes."

The Vampire Queen chuckles in reply, heavy and sweet – like some exorbitantly priced swallow of forever-aged bourbon that Chloe could probably only ever even find in Aubrey's father's office – and the low timber of it, as it capers over Chloe's mouth, elicits a deeply-seated groan.

Then Beca's neck lowers slowly, but with purpose, until Chloe's mouth is covered entirely by Beca's own.

It's a little bit odd, at first – the way that Beca's mouth moves so softly, and with such earnest, devoted care, when Chloe had anticipated something quick and emergent, instead – but Chloe is powerfully relieved. She is almost offensively overwhelmed, right now, and she is decidedly on edge; everything between them feels so intense, to Chloe, and so incredibly foreign – but this kiss feels like something Chloe knows.

Beca's kiss is familiar, to Chloe. It's something she's felt – something she's loved – several times before, and the act of trading affection with Beca this way will never get old, for her.

And, right now, this easy exchange between them is everything that Chloe needs.

Beca's reverent tenderness soothes Chloe's raging, broiling desire to a heated simmer, until Chloe is able to gasp a mouthful of well-needed air into seriously oxygen-deprived lungs and kiss Beca in return, with all the devotion that the Vampire Queen deserves. The brunette's sweet, careful palms plunge peacefully into Chloe's hair in answer, and Chloe thinks gratefully that this gentle touch feels an awful lot like an anchor; like something Chloe can rely on; like something Chloe can center herself with, just long enough to catch her breath, before Beca reels the anchor back in and casts the ship back toward the direction of the unknown sea.

Chloe sighs into Beca's mouth with longing and need and unprecedented love, and she feels Beca's lips lilt into a smile that presses into Chloe's own, just before the Vampire Queen gradually tugs away, her nose fondly stroking up the length of Chloe's.

The redhead's heart feels just about ready to live in this moment, forever, and the only thing that makes that feeling stronger is when Chloe spies Aubrey, just over Beca's shoulder. The blonde's emerald eyes bear down over Chloe's own, glowing with tenderness and want and the most preciously adorable little hint of confusion, like Aubrey doesn't understand how this has happened to them at all, but like she's definitely enjoying it anyway, and can't quite grasp onto a reason why.

Beca picks up on Chloe's diverted awareness, and the Vampire Queen's neck arches around to watch Aubrey, too, for a long, quiet moment that stills the air around them.

When the brunette's attention eventually – and unwaveringly – returns to Chloe, Beca smirks something beautifully proud before repossessing her claim over the redhead's neck. She tucks her mouth into Chloe's flesh with a hot pulse of breath that makes Chloe tremble all over, from the furthest tips of her fingers all the way down to her bare, anxiously curling toes.

"Do you like it, Red?" Beca teases playfully. "Do you like the way she looks for me?" Beca purrs delightedly, a single fang coloring a line of crimson down the column of Chloe's throat. "Panting?" Beca murmurs throatily. "Breathless? Desperate, and flushed?"

The Vampire Queen's tongue laps across the small incision with a deep, gratified hum, and Chloe can't even begin to help the moan that crashes off the edges of her mouth, in answer.

Still, Chloe's pretty sure that it might not actually even count as an answer – at least, not for Beca – so she gathers as much air in her lungs as she can and uses it to tremblingly, honestly swear, "She's beautiful, Becs."

"Yes," Beca agrees instantly, though the final sound hisses through Beca's teeth like she's buying time, and Chloe thinks maybe that it might be because Beca can't actually think beyond how beautiful the blonde behind her truly is. "And she likes a little fight," Beca tells Chloe quietly; she whispers it like a secret, but it's evident in the brunette's absently creeping smirk that this particular secret has long-since been exposed. "Oh, but you, Chloe – " Beca laughs warmly, both palms slipping out from Chloe's hair, and Chloe releases a desirous whimper of utter longing when Beca's weight shifts back across her hips, and those hands glide tauntingly down her neck, all the way along the front of her chest, only pressing hard enough into the fabric of Chloe's blue sweater to make sure that the redhead knows Beca is there.

Like that's even something that Chloe could miss, she huffs privately.

"Oh, you don't like a fight at all, do you, Red?" Beca wonders idly, fingers tickling downward until Chloe can feel the tips of them edging beneath her top. "You prefer a little- bite, maybe," Beca chuckles, snatching swiftly to grab at one of Chloe's palms with her own and scraping both fangs delicately across the flesh of her wrist until Chloe whines, long and hard, and cants her hips sharply upward into Beca's. "A little- edge," Beca murmurs, smiling fondly down at Chloe as both hands find the bottom of Chloe's sweater all over again.

Beca shuffles backward until her weight rests across Chloe's knees, and Chloe watches with wide, shaded blue eyes as the brunette lowers her mouth toward Chloe's waist while quick, tiny fingers gradually shift Chloe's sweater up the length of her torso.

The Vampire Queen's mouth falls instantly over Chloe's stomach the very moment that her flesh becomes visible, and Chloe arches into Beca with such a severe gasp of yearning that Chloe thinks maybe that noise alone could be the reason she won't have a voice, in the morning. Beca takes advantage of the small amount of space that Chloe's action grants her, and she bunches the sweater up until it rests just beneath the swell of Chloe's breasts.

It's hard – almost impossible, Chloe thinks – but she manages to arrange all the broken shreds of herself into something capable of motion, and uses that gift to wind her fingers through Beca's silky brunette hair.

"Really, though," Beca mutters contently, those silver eyes piercing through Chloe's heart and mind and sanity as she peers up from the redhead's waist and inches her hands further along the planes of Chloe's stomach, "you just want to please, don't you, Chloe?"

Frankly, Chloe isn't even sure how to answer that, because, yes, Chloe loves to please, and tries to please everyone, every chance she gets – but- that isn't what Beca means.

Beca wants to know if Chloe likes to please her lovers, and Chloe- doesn't know. Not really.

Because of course she loves to please Aubrey – loves to watch the way she bends and curves; loves to hear the sounds she makes, and feel them ripple across her own flesh; loves the way that certain spots make Aubrey shudder, or gasp, or cry out Chloe's name – but, even then, it still isn't the same.

It's entirely different, because no one has ever really demanded pleasure from Chloe – either in giving or receiving – and, while it sounds just- wow kind of hot, Chloe doesn't actually know if that's something that she likes.

Not yet, anyway.

"I want to please you," Chloe vows earnestly, practically sobbing out the words as the motion of Beca's fingers turns bold, and the Vampire Queen carries them across the surface of Chloe's skin until she can feel the cold, startling brush of metal rings, tickling just beneath her breasts.

"Lift," Beca growls swiftly, and the noise is so rough as it emerges that Chloe has to blink – twice – just to understand the word that comes paired with it.

Chloe scrambles to follow the instruction, shoulders lifting from the mattress to properly sit up, and Beca winds up practically in Chloe's lap, her eyes level with Chloe's blue as she shuffles to her knees, gently – finally – pulling the redhead's sweater above her overly sensitive ears. Obediently, Chloe stretches her arms upward to help Beca with sleeves, and, once the fabric has left her skin, Chloe really doesn't even care enough about what actually happens to it to watch where Beca throws it.

Instead, Chloe watches Beca's eyes – because those gleaming pools of silver are lit with an admiring, awe-filled stare, and the redhead can't actually believe that all of that devotion is all for her.

Chloe's never been shy, about things like body image; she's confident with all that she has, and her cardio work for the Bellas keeps Chloe comfortably fit and thin, but- that really isn't even the point. Aubrey has never neglected Chloe in the way of compliments, and Chloe has always, always treasured the way that Aubrey so thoroughly adores her, but Chloe's never really been- worshipped, like this, and it makes her heart swell so hard in her chest that she's actually a little bit surprised that Beca can't see it bulging outward.

The Vampire Queen's mouth fuses into Chloe's with just a little too much heat, and Chloe whimpers out some strangled, aching sound that she can't even help when Beca's fangs rap furiously against Chloe's teeth, just before they score through her bottom lip.

Part of Chloe wonders if Beca will ever give that wound enough time to heal, before ripping it open all over again, but- Chloe isn't actually sure that she wants it to heal, anyway.

Beca's small palms scorch across every exposed space of Chloe's flesh, and, distantly, Chloe thinks she hears Aubrey hiss out something needy and desperate, in reply, but Chloe can only concentrate on so many things at once. As it is, Chloe doesn't even feel it when Beca's agile fingers flick the band of her bra apart.

Still, she definitely feels it when the air whispers over her breasts as Beca pulls the thing away, and Chloe definitely feels it when Beca's hungry, searching mouth latches greedily onto the point of Chloe's aching, straining nipple; Chloe feels it so fiercely that her neck falls forward, nose tucking into Beca's hair like if Chloe can just breathe her in, she might be able to calm herself, even just a little.

It doesn't work – not that Chloe really had high hopes for it – but Beca still smells lovely, and inebriating, and Chloe drags a lungful of the scent into her nose, anyway, just before Beca's fangs scrape – just barely, but somehow just enough – into Chloe's flesh, and she sharply pulls at Beca's hair until the Queen's neck lifts to follow Chloe's guiding touch backward.

"Jeans," Chloe whimpers out frantically. "God, Beca, I'm burning. Please," she begs on a weakened whisper, "take them off. Take them off now, Becs."

Chloe vaguely hears Aubrey mumble something that sounds an awful lot like "fuck," to Chloe, but she isn't actually sure until Beca laughs out something happy, and free, and wholly besotted, in answer.

"I think," Beca murmurs softly, cheek brushing warmly across the front of Chloe's shoulder as the Vampire Queen shifts, turning just enough to match Aubrey's heated gaze with her own, "that maybe you are too ready for me," she chuckles deeply, and Chloe feels it, vibrating just a few small inches, just above her heart. "I think," Beca begins again, and Chloe's fingers coil tightly through her hair all over again, just for the sole purpose of finding something to ground her, "that maybe," Beca purrs, nuzzling into Chloe's flesh with a sweetness that the redhead might compare to honey, if maybe honey had about a million-trillion pounds more sugar in it than it really actually does, "you should take the edge off, for each other."

Chloe gasps so swiftly that her mouth doesn't even drop open quickly enough to accommodate it; the rush of air hits Chloe's teeth and makes them cold, but Chloe honestly can't even care, because Aubrey's green eyes have snapped onto Chloe's blue, and those eyes are so obscured by such imperatively pressing need that Chloe thinks maybe – even silently – the blonde has already begun to beg, for Beca.

"What- what about you?" Chloe stammers out roughly.

"Precious girl," Beca coos, pleating a tender kiss into the redhead's shoulder that makes Chloe's breath slam from her lungs like Beca just punched it straight out of her stomach, "I will take what I need, the instant I am ready for it," she smirks into Chloe's flesh and hums, lifting her head to better face Chloe, and trails those sinfully curious hands across the redhead's bare, perspiring skin. "Besides," Beca murmurs distractedly, fingers stretching upward to tease lightly across the heated, puckered skin of Chloe's nipples, "I think I'm going to enjoy this very much," Beca whispers conspiratorially, shifting patient palms to Chloe's shoulders, gripping firmly, just for a moment, until Chloe practically crashes into the bed as Beca forcefully shoves her back into it.

Chloe's breath comes only in sharp, painful gasps of breath that scrape along her throat, and she thinks maybe that she should probably be a little concerned by that, but she also can't really even afford to care.

Beca's body lifts away from Chloe's just a moment later, and the Vampire Queen stands at the side of the bed, idly coaxing first one ring – and then several more – loose from her fingers, as that silver gaze stares unblinkingly into Aubrey's, a couple of steps away.

And then Beca issues an order, low and rumbling, and indisputably built upon the foundation of a growl.

"Strip," Beca tells Aubrey strictly, and, in the very same instant that Aubrey's fingers instantly jump toward the clasp of her jeans, Beca knowingly insists, "slowly."

And Chloe- doesn't actually even know how she's seriously meant to survive this.

Chapter Text

It's just Beca, Aubrey knows.

This is the same, sweet, precious Beca who has held Aubrey's heart and attention captive from the very first moment that they'd met; that is indisputably Beca's smirk, itching fondly at the edges of her mouth as Aubrey draws her body into the most perfect still imaginable, and those are undeniably her eyes – deep and silver and intoxicatingly profound – but- Aubrey isn't actually sure that this is the exact same Beca at all.

There is something different, in the brunette, that Aubrey is positive has never been there, before – at least, not to this severely amplified degree.

There is something embedded in the very core of the Vampire Queen's existence that makes Aubrey itch all over, and, whatever it is, the blonde reflects with a blaring rush of color through her cheeks, it is confident and intrinsic, and it is shamelessly, compellingly aggressive; it is biological and electric, and positively dizzying, and the blonde is irrefutably affected by it.

It's a difficult thing for Aubrey to cope with, in the first place, but Beca offers practically nothing in the way of help. Instead, it feels peculiarly like Beca is nearly- humoring the blonde; like Beca thinks that it is purely adorable, watching Aubrey's mind industriously striving to fathom the swift, eager reactions of her own body, eventually looking to the brunette for answers when Aubrey's effort inevitably fails; like Beca understands completely the struggle that is warring between the blonde's raging desire and her slowly keeling pride, and like the Vampire Queen already knows – with aggravating, steadfast certainty – which one of them will conquer.

Aubrey is taking too long and she knows it, but her fingers have fixed overtop of the comparatively chilling metal of the clasp securing her jeans, and Aubrey actually can't move them; frankly, Aubrey isn't even sure how she'd managed to free her hands from the binding cuffs of her blouse so quickly, to begin with.

Now, the blonde is halted in abrupt, mystified bemusement, and, honestly, even if Aubrey could scrounge up the ability or the confidence to heed Beca's blunt instruction, she still isn't even sure that she wants to.

It's just that this feels- too easy.

Aubrey's skin is almost assuredly on fire and her heart is trampling rapidly inside of her chest like her body has suffered far too long without touch, already, but even if Aubrey's body can't quite recognize the truth, the blonde's mind certainly does: this is too easy.

Because it is clear, to Aubrey, that Beca is more of the Vampire Queen, in this moment, than the blonde has ever seen her before – and the blonde is very quickly learning that the Vampire Queen is ridiculously, demandingly possessive. Beca wants Chloe and Aubrey eager for her – breathless and dripping and obedient, all at once and the brunette has made absolutely no attempt to keep that desire secret; Beca wants to love them slow, and make them hers, and so it just isn't rational, to Aubrey, that the Vampire Queen would freely surrender this opportunity to claim their first, explosively consuming orgasms as her own.

Beca wouldn't surrender that opportunity without reason, Aubrey knows; it just takes some time for Aubrey to work out what that reason might actually be.

And then, all at once, Aubrey realizes that this is- all for her.

The redhead's cheeks are flushed, and her hair is a wild, strikingly tangled mess, spilling gloriously across the slate-shaded fabric of the pillowcase beneath her. Chloe's chest is utterly bare – much like Aubrey's own – and her small, pink nipples strain prettily toward the ceiling in a sincere, but ultimately fruitless effort just to seek out contact. Chloe is breathing far too quickly for it to possibly be comfortable, for her, and part of Aubrey distantly wonders if the redhead might only even need the release of an orgasm just to regulate her body with the crash of adrenaline to be found at its end.

Still, Chloe is gorgeous, and tempting, and- Aubrey is very nearly sure that that's the point.

Beca is manipulating the aca-loving hell out of Aubrey's emotions, right now, and she is capitalizing on the blonde's attraction to Chloe in order to do it; justifiably, even the idea of that makes Aubrey feel frustrated – but, mostly, Aubrey thinks that it- probably shouldn't also make her feel as hot as it actually does.

Chloe is being served up to her, whining and wanting and wet, like some sort of rewarding incentive; like Beca is telling the blonde – with those dark, possessive eyes and with that lovely, baffling smirk – that this is the price that Aubrey must pay; that submission is the cost, but, God, just look at what Aubrey would be paying for, and surely Chloe must be worth it.

And if she's honest with herself – Aubrey clearly isn't in a position not to be, at this point – the blonde knows that her pride can't fairly even compete with this, in the first place; there is literally no part of Aubrey that has the kind of willpower or strength required to defy the dangerously, deliciously regal animal that has shown itself in Beca, tonight, but- even knowing its lack of worth, Aubrey discovers relatively quickly that surrendering the last shred of that pride over to her Queen is still an excruciatingly difficult ordeal.

It doesn't help that Chloe is mewling out the most perfectly wanting little sounds that Aubrey's ever even heard, panting from atop the mattress; the redhead throws a pair of familiar, pleading bedroom eyes in Aubrey's direction like a couple of tiny little ninja stars, practically begging for the blonde to touch her – touch her now – without once uttering even a single, breathless word, and the look meets damaging impact in the frantically throbbing muscle of Aubrey's vastly overwhelmed heart.

Aubrey understands – truly, she does – because Beca is fascinating and charming and hazardously seductive, all at once, in a way that shouldn't rightfully even be possible, let alone legal; still, Chloe is a winded wreck, submissively spread across the bed in the exact position that Beca had shoved her into only minutes before, and Aubrey's stomach twists in sudden realization.

It had been Beca's suggestion for the two of them to 'take the edge off,' for each other, and – at least at the time – Aubrey had been all too eager to comply. Chloe's anxious, imploring gaze had instantly shifted focus, honing in on the blonde like somehow Aubrey had become the one responsible for her relief, even if it had been Beca who had sparked the need for it into existence, in the first place, and Aubrey honestly hadn't even had the mental capacity to think of anything outside of satisfying that need, in Chloe.

Except- Aubrey's mind is churning rapidly, in the span of this impatient silence, and she's beginning to connect the dots.

Aubrey is beginning to realize that she is definitely not the only one being manipulated, here, because Chloe wants her, right now – probably even needs her – and Beca had been the one to maneuver Chloe's attention in Aubrey's direction, to begin with.

Truthfully, there is nothing in the world that Aubrey wants more than to go to her – to crawl overtop of Chloe and pleat her lips into all the places Beca's mouth had been just a few, excruciatingly long moments before her; to draw staggered bliss from Chloe's mouth with only a hard, rhythmic press of her fingers over the redhead's pulsing clit – but there is a very prominent obstacle that stands expectantly in between them.

Beca hovers over Chloe's bedside like some sort of viciously protective, wholly adoring guardian, and Aubrey knows – knows it with a sudden, irrefutable clarity that strikes the blonde hard and with devastating heat, right in her very core – that Beca will absolutely not allow Aubrey's flesh to meet with Chloe's until the blonde has obeyed the Vampire Queen's instruction.

Aubrey moans – just a little; just something small, and shamefully distressed – and moves helpless, desperate green eyes to meet with Beca's. The Vampire Queen lofts her brow upward in swift, knowing challenge, her smirk shifting into something infuriatingly arrogant as Beca folds her arms across her chest, ringless fingers closing over the tantalizing, rippling muscle of her biceps.

The blonde is fairly positive that Beca couldn't look more triumphant if she tried, and the Queen's smug display of victory grates irritably across each vulnerably sensitive nerve ending in Aubrey's entire body; reflexively, she scoffs in reply, dropping trembling fingers from the button of her jeans to curl around her thighs, instead, in some last, fleeting effort at rebellion.

Beca waits – just for a second – but when Aubrey fails to move, she sighs out something soft and deflated, and horrifyingly disappointed.

"I asked you to strip for me, Posen," Beca reminds her blankly. "I even offered you a prize," she chuckles wryly, with a saddened shake of her head that causes Aubrey's heart to thrash painfully against the confines of her chest, like the thought of failing her brunette girlfriend – in basically any way at all – has sometime in the last hour become Aubrey's greatest, most privately protected fear.

And, frankly, Aubrey isn't entirely confident that it hasn't.

"Oh, Aubrey," Beca murmurs tenderly, smiling something soft and sweet and loving down at the redhead splayed across their bed, "I offered you Chloe," Beca grins over at the blonde abruptly, and Aubrey's breath catches instantly in her throat in reply, because that grin is just- unfairly devastating; it's all radiant affection and predatory, luminescent fangs, before it slips at the corners, just a little, slowly collapsing into an exaggerated, thoughtful frown, instead. "How could you deny this?" Beca muses with deceitful confusion, trailing a small, focused palm along the reddened planes of Chloe's chest and lower, until it burns atop the redhead's left breast, hugging the flesh beneath with firm, capable fingers.

Chloe arches upward with a high-pitched cry of utter desire, and something in Aubrey instantly just- snaps; something in her heart and in the deepest caverns of Aubrey's stomach just falls completely, direly apart, and it's all Aubrey can do just to keep her voice from breaking.

"Beca, please," she whimpers out tremblingly, and scrambles swiftly to gather her thoughts well enough to speak with at least a basic level of coherency. "I'm not- I'm not like Chloe. I can't– I don't know how to do this."

And it is the truth, Aubrey realizes.

It is the absolute, unyielding truth, and it likely explains most of why Aubrey still feels so pathetically, incompetently idle.

Aubrey still doesn't understand how this works. She isn't necessarily surprised by the fact, but Aubrey still can't understand how a Marking can be this closely correlated with the act of sex, and she doesn't feel prepared; she hasn't been taught how to do this, and it isn't instinctive, for Aubrey.

She has no choice but to follow Beca's lead, right now, and that is both worrying and oddly- arousing, all at once, even if the blonde can't quite determine why.

Aubrey obviously knows how to follow orders – truthfully, Aubrey knows that she actually works very well, with a little bit of direction – and part of the blonde thinks that maybe she might even feel a small measure of relief, if she could somehow bring herself to just comply with Beca's wishes. Still, Aubrey recognizes that obedience is exactly what Beca wants from her, right now, and something in Aubrey isn't quite ready to deliver it.

It's just- Aubrey knows that she is not this type of girl.

She is not the type of girl who typically becomes aroused by things like being dominated, or controlled. She is not the type of girl who likes that sort of thing, and she certainly is not the type of girl who craves it. She is not the type of girl whose natural response is instantaneous, docile submission.

Except that the Vampire Queen sort of- makes Aubrey that type of girl.

It's uncomfortable, for Aubrey, and certainly strange, but it isn't nearly as frightening as the blonde might have expected; she trusts Beca, and, God, Aubrey loves her, and almost all of the blonde could probably collapse at the brunette's feet, right now, in faithful, dedicated worship.

It's a foreign feeling, and Aubrey doesn't have even the vaguest clue of how to answer it; still, once acknowledged, that feeling burns through Aubrey's heart with escalating rage until the blonde can feel the frantic pulse of her body shaking down through her fingertips, pulling tight around her thighs.

Until Chloe whines, anyway; until the redhead's viciously apparent need crashes over Aubrey like a giant cartoon piano falling unexpectedly from the sky, stilling every beat of Aubrey's heart before it stutters back to life with a pounding, urgent vengeance.

It's a noise founded in animated, cloying frustration – a noise that makes Aubrey whimper, in answer, and shuffle half a step closer in some instinctive, desperate effort to relieve the redhead of that blisteringly powerful ache, altogether – and Beca chuckles in reply to it, low and deep and reassuringly smooth.

And it- shatters Aubrey.

The Vampire Queen's soft, husky chuckle shatters the blonde's blinking resolve into tiny, fractured bits of nothing, and her pride crumbles swiftly along with it in a vicious explosion of heat that centers itself somewhere deep in Aubrey's stomach.

And, abruptly, Aubrey's eyes lower.

She feels Beca's hands press tenderly into her cheeks, and – just for a moment – Aubrey resists; she has no name for the feeling that she's experiencing, right now, but there is a small part of Aubrey that thinks looking into Beca's eyes might intensify it, and the blonde is nearly certain that if this feeling grows any more powerful at all, she's liable to drown inside of it.

"Aubrey," Beca insists mildly, thumbs lovingly sweeping just beneath the blonde's eyes, and the gesture is so tender – so soft and sweet and peaceful – that Aubrey weakly lifts her gaze to seek out the look that comes paired with it.

She finds the Vampire Queen only a small, meaningless step in front of her, mercurial eyes bearing into the blonde's with more affection and care than Aubrey honestly even knows what to do with, right now, and Aubrey sighs out a noise in reply that is, all at once, both flattered and adoring.

"Of course you're not like Chloe. I've never expected that of you, or even wanted that from you," Beca whispers quietly into Aubrey's mouth, and the blonde's breath staggers instantly, chasing after oxygen that Aubrey thinks might never replenish properly, ever again. "Chloe's emotions are abundant, and wild, and they lack focus," Beca tells her, gentle with understanding. "Her emotions require guidance, Aubrey, and Chloe enjoys the pleasure of being told what to do with them, because it is actually difficult for her to manage them alone.

"You…" Beca shakes her head, soft, pretty pink lips lilting at the edges to create some crooked, devastating half-smile that inexplicably makes the blonde's eyes tear – because it is just beautifully romantic, in a way that Aubrey could never feasibly have anticipated or prepared for. "You are very unlike Chloe, Posen – but I think that you are very much the same, too," Beca murmurs conspiratorially, winking exaggeratedly until Aubrey unexpectedly belts out a laugh – surprised and confused, but genuine, regardless – and the tension that uncoils in her shoulders makes Beca smile, and press soothingly devoted lips into the blonde's reddened cheek.

"Your mind is magnificent, Aubrey," Beca swears passionately. "It is vast, and complex – the way that I have always found you to be," the Queen sighs warmly, and mouths a kiss into Aubrey's ear as she shifts, torturously slow, to move around the blonde's back and press her clothed chest firmly against it, and Aubrey- doesn't truthfully even know if she can hear the words that Beca murmurs next, between the Vampire Queen's easy manipulation of her body and the near-black stare that Chloe watches them with, from the bed.

"But your thoughts consume you," the brunette whispers knowingly into Aubrey's neck, "in the same way that Chloe's emotions do, for her. You second guess, and you doubt, and every move you make is filtered through some net of propriety so deeply ingrained inside of you that you can't actually even remember what it means to be spontaneous," Beca taunts, her palm scraping swiftly through Aubrey's hair, insistently urging her neck backward until the blonde's cheek presses into Beca's own.

There is a measure of urgency, in Beca's actions, that speaks of an impossible degree of impatience, but the brunette's words are careful, and paced, and luring; every movement serves a purpose, and every word she whispers furthers it.

Aubrey just can't figure out what that aca-loving purpose could be, beyond heightening the already practically painful swell of the blonde's arousal.

"I am a Vampire," Beca reminds the blonde temperately, with an enduring, lingering sort of heat that travels swiftly from Aubrey's ear down straight into her core, "and I am Queen," Beca declares idly. "I have told you before, Aubrey – I am naturally dominant," she muses distractedly, her free palm circling around Aubrey's toned stomach, demandingly pressing over top of it until Aubrey has no practical option left but to push reliantly back against her.

And Aubrey wonders if she's even meant to feel this way.

She wonders if she is meant to feel this promisingly secure, with Beca's palm in her hair and an arm pulling so hard across her waist that Aubrey can't move, or think, or even breathe beyond it; she wonders if it's normal, to feel so wholly, wonderfully protected, cradled in the Vampire Queen's possessively demonstrative embrace.

"And I would not be mated to someone who does not need to submit to that part of me, Posen," Beca tells her softly – meaningfully – before she slices a quick, startling nip through the cords of the blonde's neck, and Aubrey whimpers greedily in reply. "I understand that you may not like the notion of succumbing to me, Aubrey – but you do need it, don't you?" Beca persists mercilessly.

"You need to be directed. You need help turning this brilliant, wonderfully overactive thing – " Beca murmurs tenderly, swiftly contrasting the sweet fondness in her words with a sharp, expectant tug of the blonde's hair between her fingers, indicating Aubrey's head, " – off," she insists pointedly.

"You need to be told how to enjoy this sort of pleasure, don't you, Aubrey?" Beca purrs teasingly, nuzzling into Aubrey's frantically pounding pulse with the warm tip of her nose, and Aubrey watches as Chloe keens, anxiously shuffling her thighs closer together in an evident, futile plea for pressure. "You need to surrender that beloved control, because this pretty mind of yours won't settle enough to let you enjoy it on your own, will it?"

And it might be true.

Aubrey hasn't thought about it – and had truthfully never needed to, before tonight – but- if she considers it, now, there is a certain measure of hesitation, in Aubrey, that could probably be explained by Beca's presumptions; there is a modicum of confusion, in the blonde, that feels distinctly relieved by being told what to do and how to move, because Aubrey's thoughts are so frantically speeding around the walls of her mind that she can't actually manage to grasp onto any single one of them, and she can't honestly even figure out what she should do.

"But that's alright," Beca promises ardently, and presses her lips into Aubrey's ear just one, final time, before shuffling her hand out from the blonde's hair, cradling Aubrey's hips between her palms, instead. "I'll tell you what to do, sweet girl," the Queen tells her dotingly, fingers skating along the line of Aubrey's pants until they press above her stomach, and Beca warms them over the fastening of Aubrey's jeans, just briefly, before she tugs the button free.

And then Aubrey gasps – with furious, aching desperation – as Beca's hand swiftly and unexpectedly maneuvers itself inside, possessively cradling Aubrey's heat beneath an unnaturally quick, swelteringly determined palm.

"Just like I promised," Beca vows heatedly. "And, right now," the Vampire Queen purrs delightedly, laughing something lovely and soft and deceitfully distracting into the back of Aubrey's neck as her lips fold tenderly across it, "I am telling you to touch Chloe," Beca demands with false pleasantness, scraping her fangs through the flesh of the blonde's shoulder until Aubrey shudders violently and mewls, curving her neck even further to the side, just to give the brunette a little bit more room.

Beca laps up the blood that stems from the small wound with a hot, eager tongue that causes Aubrey to grasp at her – grasp at any part of the Vampire Queen that the blonde can even reach, from this position – and slim, tanned fingers ultimately find purchase overtop of the brunette's wrist, halfway buried into Aubrey's pants.

"And that girl is ready for you, Aubrey," Beca hisses gladly. "I've made sure of it," she swears passionately, exerting firm, swift pressure over the blonde's clit with her fingers.

Aubrey sobs out something frantic and overwhelmed and entirely needing, in answer to the movement of Beca's fingers, but- she thinks it might be the words that affect her, more than anything else – because it is legitimately ridiculous, how powerfully Aubrey's body reacts to them; it is positively absurd, the way that just those few, impassioned words from Beca's mouth cause her to heart swell and her heat to throb, but Aubrey can't honestly even help it.

Beca had loyally, lovingly worked Chloe's body into the pleading, wanting mess before her, all for Aubrey, and the blonde is not only be granted the privilege of stealing the credit for her Queen's devotion – she is being ordered to.

Aubrey pants, and she cinches her fingers impossibly tighter over Beca's wrist, urging the brunette to just- move; to work that tiny hand, just a little – Aubrey truly doesn't need much – over her urgently neglected core, but Beca doesn't move at all, except to speak.

And that is just- the coup de grace.

"Aren't you, Chloe?" Beca purrs, brow lofting in expectance – Aubrey feels it rise as it moves across her cheek, and knows that the expectance is there, even if she can't actually see it – and Chloe's stare latches instantly onto Aubrey own like dilated pools of sinful greed. "You're entirely aching for Aubrey's touch, aren't you, Red?" Beca murmurs into Aubrey's ear, and the blonde stills in anticipation of the redhead's reply.

Chloe whimpers from the bed, squirming restlessly overtop of it, but the redhead doesn't hesitate.

"Yes," Chloe swears swiftly, and on command. "God, Aubrey, I need– " Chloe pants and shakes her head frantically from left to right, red curls knotting across the pillow beneath. "Please, Bree, just- just do what she wants," Chloe begs mindlessly, eyes wide and beseeching, and something in Aubrey's stomach tugs; some unseen chord that follows directly toward her center plucks and pulls with every breathless word that falls from Chloe's gorgeously swollen mouth. "It's only Beca, Aubrey, and she wouldn't– she'd never ask you to do anything you don't want, and I just– " Chloe whines desperately, purposeless fingers clenching overtop of their decorative, royal blue bedspread. "I need you, Aubrey. I just need you so badly, sweetie, please," Chloe sobs, and the reassurance she tries to offer doesn't escape the blonde, in the least.

Because this is only Beca.

It's a part of her that Aubrey is noticeably unfamiliar with, but this is still her Queen; this is still the same, sweet, precious Beca who has cared for them, and cooked for them, and cleaned for them, and loved them; still the same Beca who had sat with Aubrey during a fit of panic in the middle of rehearsal, once, and still the same Beca who had settled against a tree to calm her, afterward; this is still the same Beca who prioritizes Aubrey and Chloe's comfort above literally everything else, including her own desires, and that means- everything, to Aubrey.

The Vampire Queen is different, from what she's known of Beca, until now – she is more controlling; more expectant; more physically and emotionally forceful – but, even tonight, Beca had stopped everything to prevent the blonde from losing her aca-shit, altogether; Beca had stopped everything, just to hold Aubrey's cheeks between sweet, gentle palms and reassure her.

Beca is still Beca – Vampire Queen or not – and Aubrey is a little bit ashamed that it has taken her this long to feel convinced.

It makes a funny kind of sense, though, that Aubrey had needed Chloe, to be sure.

Still, Aubrey has everything that she needs – or she will very soon, anyway – so the blonde pulls lightly at Beca's wrist until the Vampire Queen curiously follows along, allowing Aubrey's hand to guide her own toward the fabric that rests over the blonde's left hip. Aubrey shuffles her opposite palm to the material that rests over the right, and, with a low, heated growl from Beca, Aubrey carefully – slowly – inches her jeans down the length of her trembling thighs.

The blonde sways her hips, just a little – just enough to prove to Beca that, God, Aubrey is trying so hard, for her and the Vampire Queen warmly sifts her fingers through the threads of Aubrey's hair, in reply, before she purrs, pleased and tender, all at once, "Good girl."

And Aubrey's heart practically bursts with unbidden, wildly consuming pride; she pants as the force of it floods through her limbs and worsens the shaking that already trembles throughout the entirety of blonde's lean, wanting frame, and Aubrey thinks that that's- all the motivation that she even needs.

She pushes her jeans the rest of the way down, toes stepping on the fabric to help the blonde ease free of it, and Aubrey kicks them lightly to pile on top of her crumpled, long-forgotten shirt.

And then Beca- lifts her, and the experience is brand new, for Aubrey.

Of course the blonde had seen Beca lift Chloe, but it is another thing, altogether, to be the one cradled in Beca's arms. Aubrey feels suddenly small, and guarded, and cared for; she feels safe, and ensconced, and like she is the very center of the Vampire Queen's world, and it is unexpectedly, overwhelmingly gratifying.

Beca whispers a soft, unhurried kiss across the blonde's forehead, and Aubrey thinks she might actually swoon with the affection that pours from the gesture and seeps through Aubrey's skin; still, she doesn't have long to think about it, because seconds later the room speeds by Aubrey in a rushed blur of movement until it settles itself all over again, and, when it does, Aubrey finds her back pressed into the mattress at Chloe's side. The redhead's hand grapples instantly for Aubrey's own, and the blonde squeezes hard against the redhead's fingers in immediate reply.

Aubrey has missed Chloe.

They've been in the same room; they've been right next to each other, or just a couple of steps apart, all night long, but Aubrey's spent most of that time struggling to understand the overly stimulated thoughts fueling her hectic, baffling emotions, and it feels like it's been a terribly long time since Aubrey last felt Chloe, the way that she feels her now.

The redhead is flushed and pleading and beautiful, and Aubrey feels so aca-seriously needed, but- there is something in Chloe – there is always something in Chloe – that, for Aubrey, feels like kindness and comfort and calm, all at once, and it washes over her like the tide, coaxing the blonde's anxieties away from her with every sweep across the shore.

And Aubrey has missed her.

She tugs Chloe's palm to her mouth, hushing her lips across the redhead's knuckles with a deep, satisfied sigh, and Chloe hums softly in reply, desirously murky eyes turning to meet the blonde's devoted green as Chloe's cheek presses into the mattress to face her.

"Hi," Chloe welcomes her sweetly, and – because she is Chloe – there is a soft, husky giggle that warms Aubrey all over, in an entirely different way.

"Hi," Aubrey whispers, shuffling onto her side to face Chloe in return, chewing lightly at the inside of her cheek until the redhead's free palm rises, cupping Aubrey's jaw lovingly beneath her fingers.

"Are you okay?" Chloe murmurs earnestly, and a sliver of bright, concerned blue peeks out from beneath the redhead's mostly-darkened gaze.

And Aubrey is grateful, for that concern, but- she doesn't actually think that it's necessary, anymore; the blonde still has practically no idea what she's doing, but she knows that she feels love and warmth and untamed desire, and the blonde's pride plays no part in any of that at all. Chloe had already helped Aubrey to see that, and Aubrey trusts Beca to show her the rest.

Aubrey trusts the Vampire Queen to tell her what to do, and that- really just means that Aubrey only has one job, right now, anyway.

"I want to touch you," she tells Chloe in place of an answer, fondly stroking her spare fingers through the hair that rests behind the curve of Chloe's ear. "Will you let me touch you, Chloe?"

She isn't sure why she asks; it isn't something that Aubrey normally does, but- Beca's keen eyes are watching intently from the foot of the bed, and Aubrey has an odd suspicion that the Vampire Queen might be pleased – or perhaps even a little bit impressed – with the courtesy.

Chloe's breath quakes as it blisters past her lips, but, eventually, the redhead hoarsely scrapes out, "You can touch me any way you want."

So Aubrey presses her mouth softly, instantly into Chloe's own, and the redhead mewls into the blonde's mouth, in answer, palm slipping feverishly past Aubrey's throat and down the stretch of her collar to cradle the blonde's breast in her palm. Aubrey bites into Chloe's lip in momentary surprise, and she thinks it might bleed, just a little – a fact that Beca confirms with a soft, pleasured purr that moves across the room with her as she boosts herself to sit atop the dresser.

Still, Chloe is distracting, and beyond the seriously confusing thrill of being watched, like this – stalked, a little bit like prey – Aubrey really can't afford to spare Beca as much focus as she'd like.

"Honey," Chloe murmurs breathlessly between quick, heated kisses into Aubrey's mouth. "My jeans," she insists. "God, get them off," Chloe pleads frantically.

Aubrey realizes swiftly that the fabric of them must feel painfully confining, for Chloe, at this point, and the Bellas' Captain sympathizes; she hums a soft noise of agreement into Chloe's lips and presses harder into them, pushing into their kiss to ease the redhead onto her back.

She has just enough time to wonder how she's possibly meant to strip Chloe out of those jeans with only one, unencumbered hand, before the redhead's palm zips down into the little space between them and yanks the button free; Chloe wriggles uncontrollably beneath the blonde, in an eventually successful attempt just to shuffle the fabric over her hips and away from her body entirely without once breaking apart from the dedicated attention of Aubrey's mouth.

Aubrey hears the pants fall, somewhere off the side of the bed, but she isn't terribly concerned; truthfully, Aubrey really can't be, because Chloe's legs are bare, and she'd somehow abandoned any underwear that she may or may not have even had on, in the first place, and Aubrey- loves Chloe's body.

The sight of it makes her weak all over, and the blonde has to shuffle her weight into their clasped hands, pressed into the mattress near Chloe's left ear, just to keep from falling into the redhead, altogether.

Aubrey thinks that Chloe's body is a genuine work of art. It's all delicate skin and effortless, regaling splendor; gentle curves and graceful, sweeping slopes; smooth muscle and sensitive, hidden hollows. Her body is unreal to Aubrey – and it might irk her that the redhead does so little to maintain it if Aubrey wasn't constantly so preoccupied with being in absolute awe of it to care.

Her stomach thrives with a flurry of emotions that Aubrey honestly can't even try to identify, right now, and a lingering pulse of heat scrambles down the length of the blonde's spine, in answer.

And then Chloe adjusts her knee – just a little; just enough to thread her legs more comfortably through Aubrey's own – and the blonde cries out something aching and relieved, all at once, when Chloe's thigh whispers across the scant material of her small, grey underwear and brushes inadvertently against the blonde's straining, unattended clit.

There is so much pressure, gathering in Aubrey's core, and Aubrey feels a little bit like a shaken bottle of soda, entirely prepared to burst.

Except that Chloe- might actually be more prepared for that than Aubrey is, somehow.

"Fuck," the redhead breathes heavily, eyes wide and unfocused. "Aubrey, I've never– Jesus, you've never," Chloe stammers and pants, and Aubrey knows what she is trying to say – knows that Chloe means she's never known Aubrey to be this wet in her whole life, which is probably because Aubrey has legitimately never been this wet, in her whole life – but the blonde isn't interested.

She navigates her palm across the familiar, quivering plane of Chloe's stomach, and doesn't bother to wonder if Chloe is ready for her touch; the blonde knows that she is – Chloe had already confirmed it once, and Aubrey won't make her do it twice – so Aubrey lowers her hand further, and presses two swift, determined digits deep into Chloe's core.

The redhead cants her hips roughly into Aubrey's own, and a noise emerges from Chloe's chest that is longing and grateful and pleading, all at once. Her chest thrusts upward into Aubrey's own, but the blonde lowers her neck just enough to capture a neglected pink nipple between sweet, devoted lips.

"Ohmygod," Chloe hisses out in a rush, fingers diving frenziedly into Aubrey's hair, and Aubrey hums around the redhead's flesh, in reply.

The blonde's hand moves quickly – and without much rhythm, if she's honest – but Chloe is already too far gone to care; her hips jerk helplessly toward Aubrey's unrelenting digits with each emergent thrust inward, and tiny, perfect little gasps propel from Chloe's throat, every single time.

Chloe is close, already, and Aubrey knows it.

Aubrey has only been working at Chloe's need for a few, short minutes, but the redhead is swiftly nearing the edge; Aubrey doesn't feel too far off, frankly, but the contact of Chloe's thigh is sporadic and infrequent, and Aubrey can't find the sort of pressure that she needs.

It is frustrating, and that irritation manifests into a pointed scrape of her teeth across the redhead's nipple in her mouth that Chloe whines greedily in answer to.

Aubrey knows what she needs, and she won't draw it out any longer; Beca will offer soft and sweet and slow, but, right now, all that Chloe truly needs is quick and hot and dirty – so Aubrey offers that, instead.

She plunges into Chloe with quick, pulsing fingers, and maneuvers her thumb to press into Chloe's clit. The redhead's hips tug away – like it is too much, for Chloe; like her body is so overwhelmingly sensitive that the contact she so needs is painful – but Aubrey nips into the flesh at the rise of Chloe's breast and presses harder into the throbbing bundle of nerves until Chloe's hips curve into Aubrey's hand like separation might actually kill her, and Aubrey only thrusts a handful of times after that before Chloe falls completely, beautifully apart.

The redhead's lips are split open, and, for a second, Chloe keens; it's brief, and high-pitched, and practically exploding with satisfaction, before Chloe's voice breaks, altogether, shoulder blades dropping into the mattress beneath.

"Oh, God," Chloe pants, palm draped across her forehead as her chest heaves and her eyes rest to close. "Thank you," she breathes gratefully, and Aubrey–

She is glad, for Chloe, but – oh – Aubrey is desperate, too.

She presses her mouth into Chloe's shoulder and sighs, gripping the redhead's fingers tighter beneath her own, and she shuffles her thighs anxiously together just to relieve a tiny portion of the ache between them.

And then there is a palm, skating patiently along the knots of Aubrey's spine as it descends, and Beca's sweet, promising voice quietly assures her, "I haven't forgotten you. I know how you must ache, Aubrey," the Vampire Queen chuckles, and Aubrey rests her cheek over Chloe's slowly-steadying heart to find a smile, lifting the corners of Beca's mouth in tender satisfaction. "You'll have relief soon, pretty thing, I promise," Beca vows, tiny flickers of burning heat trailing in the wake of her fingers as they delicately explore the flesh of Aubrey's back.

It's just that- Aubrey's never doubted that she'd find relief; the blonde is just a little bit more concerned about when she'll find it, and whether or not she's prepared to potentially implode before she does.

Chapter Text

Chloe doesn't completely understand what's happening; she's trying – God, Chloe is trying – but she feels a little bit like a ravaged disaster, right now, and Chloe's sort of having a hard time thinking past that.

Which, actually– Chloe thinks that should probably be understandable, given the circumstances.

Truthfully, Chloe feels like she probably could cry. She isn't sad – Chloe really can't remember what 'sad' might even feel like, if she's honest, because it's probably the absolute furthest thing from what Chloe is actually feeling, right now – but it's just that- Chloe is so relieved.

The redhead's entire body still quakes violently in the wake of her orgasm, and, admittedly, that's maybe a tiny bit uncomfortable, for her, but everything else in Chloe feels so much more stable. Her heart still pulses just a little bit too hard, but the beat of it is slow, and paced, and calming; Chloe's breaths still come in pants, but they're softer, now – longer – and pretty much just more helpful and effective, in general; her emotions still rage with love, and affection, and with a feeling of such overwhelming wholeness that Chloe wonders how she'd ever even felt complete without it, in the first place, but those emotions feel more focused – guided; skillfully manipulated by Beca's tiny, authoritative hand – and Chloe just feels so good.

The arousal isn't gone – and how could it be, Chloe wonders with a small, private scoff, when she has yet to taste Beca, or touch her, or even fully see her, beyond all of those gorgeously flattering clothes? – but that need feels noticeably less dire, for Chloe, like she can actually spare a little brain power for something else outside of it.

And Chloe is trying her very best to use that.

There is some serious sort of power play happening, right now, that Chloe is only half able to fathom; she gets it – Chloe does, because Aubrey is a Posen and Beca is Queen, and evidently one of those titles must pull rank above the other, at some point, even if all three of them already know whose title will obviously triumph, in the end – but Chloe's having a really hard time understanding the nuances involved in the exchange.

In fairness, Chloe decides, she's also epically preoccupied; Aubrey is stripped practically down to nothing, spread over top of Chloe and panting these soft, tiny little huffs of desperate air into the redhead's neck, and Chloe can practically feel Aubrey's desire, charging the air surrounding them with something visceral and vital and categorically crushing.

Chloe wants desperately to help – wants to file Aubrey's edges down, too, in the same, sweet, blissfully hurried way that Aubrey had done for Chloe, just a couple of minutes before – but Beca's fingers still stroke, gentle and explorative, across the smooth expanse of Aubrey's back, and Chloe isn't totally sure that she's even allowed to do that for Aubrey, right now.

Because Chloe doesn't completely understand what's happening.

She doesn't understand the game that Aubrey and Beca are playing, or the way that the rules work; she doesn't understand why every word traded between them feels loaded with the weight of so much more, like there is an entire sublayer of their conversation that has very little meaning, to Chloe, beyond what Beca translates for her, and asks for Chloe to do in response.

She doesn't understand the game or the rules, but Chloe does understand that they are playing for control – which, frankly, just seems a little bit silly, to Chloe.

Aubrey's effort is admirable – and kind of a little bit amazing, if Chloe really thinks about it, given how difficult it is for Chloe to even remind herself to breathe, right now – but Chloe's pretty sure that even Aubrey knows she's losing. The blonde is practically whimpering into Chloe's shoulder, and she honestly isn't even trying to defy Beca's command, anymore; Aubrey is just resting on top of Chloe, mouth pressed into the redhead's neck like patience lives inside of Chloe's flesh, and like Aubrey is trying to drink it from her skin.

And Beca– oh, she loves it.

She watches Aubrey and Chloe, splayed across the bed beneath her, like she wants their image captured, forever and eternal; like this moment is so big, for Beca – so important; so consuming and powerful and just- outstandingly special, to her, in ways that Chloe couldn't possibly ever understand, no matter how hard she triesthat Beca wants them branded in her memory, just like this, for the rest of her undying life.

The Vampire Queen is full of pride, Chloe knows, but, more than that, Chloe thinks that this is all Beca had ever wanted from them, in the first place. There is so much tenderness, in those haunting, silver eyes, and so much genuine, overwhelming care; there is a deep, gratified sort of pleasure blaring through Beca's sweet look and gentle smile, and, inexplicably, Chloe just feels- distinctly proud to have made her happy, like this.

And the way that her palm moves over Aubrey's skin – dedicated and slow and positively burning – makes even Chloe feel the reverence that fuels her heated touch.

Part of her wants to know how that feels, directly – wants to be reminded of it; wants to feel Beca's hands on her all over again, in all of the very best ways – but Chloe's already been a tiny bit selfish, and neither Beca nor Aubrey have been given the same opportunity for relief that Chloe's had. Really, Chloe can wait; Aubrey needs Beca's touch more, and Chloe couldn't actually deprive her girlfriend of that touch, even if she wanted to.

Instead, Chloe groans in an effort to express even a tiny percentage of the relentless, confusing emotion that is overcoming her whole entire world, right now, and Chloe just does her best not to let her breathing get out of control all over again.

Beca chuckles in answer – that same, deep, familiar sound that's been wreaking havoc over Chloe's body ever since they'd met, but somehow especially much, tonight – and Chloe watches as the points of two, dangerously sharpened fangs glitter in the shadows of a soft, preciously adoring grin.

"Do you feel better, Red?" Beca coos fondly, her palm stilling flat over top of the lowest knot in Aubrey's spine.

Chloe tries not to, because it feels maybe a little bit crazy and pretty much entirely inappropriate, but she laughs, anyway – breathy, and quiet, and with a tiny hint of amused incredulity – and answers Beca's question on the last, lingering edges of a giggle, "So much better, Becs."

The Vampire Queen smiles her approval, fingers tapping restlessly across the bare stretch of Aubrey's skin beneath her hand, and the blonde sighs yearningly into Chloe's neck in reply, like Aubrey can feel Beca's need pulsing through the beat that vibrates against her flesh; like Aubrey knows that Beca wants her – knows that Beca will take her – and like Aubrey wants that more than anything else in the entire aca-loving world.

Chloe's never seen her like this.

She has loved Aubrey for so long, and has seen practically every side of her, but- Chloe's never seen her so compliant, before. It honestly might be worrying, with anyone else, except that Chloe knows Beca; she knows that Beca would never take advantage of Aubrey's trust, or of the blonde's eagerness to please her, and she knows that Beca will actually cherish that trust and eagerness with everything that she has.

It's beautiful; the two of them together are just- the most beautiful, complex thing that Chloe's ever even known, and she loves them both with her whole entire heart.

It's just maybe a little bit hard for Chloe to grasp, because Chloe- really doesn't do complex.

This part of Aubrey – the part of her that doesn't understand what it means to be impulsive, and the same part of Aubrey that stresses frantically over every little thing imaginable, to an impossibly alarming degree – is that same part of the blonde that Chloe has never truly, effectively been able to reach, but Beca–

Beca controls that part of Aubrey.

The Vampire Queen reaches someplace deep inside of Aubrey's heart and draws it out of her, cradling that anxious, integral piece of the blonde masterfully between careful, doting palms; Beca molds it just the right way, with just the right touch and just the right words, until there is so much overwhelming thought buzzing through the walls of Aubrey's mind that it's impossible for the blonde not to recognize how much nicer it is just to let Beca tell her what she wants.

Chloe might have lied, before – because she still doesn't get how this transfer of power works, exactly, but Chloe actually does understand what is happening, here.

She understands that Aubrey is giving herself to Beca, just like Chloe had, and that the blonde is doing it by conscious choice; she understands that this game is nearing its finish, and that it is ending in Aubrey's completely devoted surrender – and, honestly, that's sort of just- incredible. The whole thing genuinely feels so fragile and tender, to Chloe, that the redhead is practically afraid to move, because she refuses to ruin this sweet, overpowering- thing that Aubrey and Beca are trying to build, together, in any way at all.

Still, Chloe isn't actually sure that ruining it is even a risk, because she hasn't truthfully done anything, tonight, that Beca hasn't explicitly asked for Chloe to do, and the redhead isn't really even sure what else she might want to do, instead, even if given the chance.

Chloe kind of appreciates this domineering aspect of Beca in more ways than she'd ever expected.

The Vampire Queen's power – her physical strength; her authority; her inherent nature – has always been wildly, massively distracting, for Chloe, but- there's more to it than Chloe had really even bothered to consider, before tonight.

Because Beca isn't wrong; Chloe's emotions are out of control, and they sort of always have been.

Chloe loves that – loves the way that her entire body can be overcome by a moment, or a feeling, or just a fleeting glance in Chloe's direction from either of the girls in front of her – but she really can't argue that it can also be overwhelming; most of the time, Chloe's emotions dictate her body's responses before she ever really even has time to think about them, and that's usually great, for Chloe – except for when it isn't.

There is so much happening between the three of them, right now, and Chloe sort of doesn't know how to feel about it.

She is so powerfully in love with Beca and Aubrey, in this moment, that it almost hurts her; she is trembling all over in nervous anticipation, and Chloe's curiosity is practically burning inside of her chest, because she doesn't know what comes next or even how it's meant to play out; there is a sticky, demanding heat festering in Chloe's core all over again – if it had ever fully even ebbed away, in the first place – and Chloe has literally never felt so turned on in her whole entire life.

It's just- Chloe honestly has no idea which one of those emotions should actually be dictating her body's responses, right now, and it makes this effortless control, in Beca, feel that much more appealing, to Chloe. She likes that Beca is guiding her; Chloe likes being told when – and exactly how – to govern all of that emotion into something that can perfectly prove Chloe's devotion and love and care in all the ways that Chloe can't figure out how to do, on her own.

It's a relief, because Chloe doesn't even need to think about it; the only thing that Chloe needs to do is exactly what she's told, and that's actually- strangely comforting, for Chloe.

"Do you like the way she fits against you, Red?" Beca purrs delightedly, head lofting a fraction too far to the right as those pretty, silver eyes shift, just a little, to hungrily watch Chloe, instead. "Do you like the way her body feels, lean and soft and warm, pressing down on every inch of you?" Beca taunts mercilessly, meeting Chloe's gaze with love and expectance and just a tiny, barely-there hint of impatience.

"Yes," Chloe breathes windedly, and on command, mindless fingers reaching to tug through Aubrey's damp, tangled hair until the blonde's forehead rises, just enough to rest into Chloe's own. "Always," she whispers earnestly, blue eyes warmly seeking Aubrey's desire-darkened green as she curls a strand of soft, blonde hair behind her girlfriend's flushed-red ear.

Aubrey laughs – soft and hot and just a little bit delirious – and smiles into Chloe's mouth, her fingers hugging tightly over Chloe's own, just beside her ear, like the redhead's grip around Aubrey's hand can somehow keep the blonde from floating away, completely, and Chloe thinks that she is just- breathtaking.

There is some kind of calmness, in Aubrey, that's never been there, before; like surrendering herself to Beca has liberated the blonde from all of the obsessively rational thought that plagues her basically every other minute of the day. She just looks so relaxed, and Chloe sort of loves it – loves that Beca can do that, for Aubrey, and can make her feel things that Chloe's never been able to – and Chloe thinks she could probably completely suffocate Aubrey with kisses, right now, just in an effort to prove how heart-stoppingly good Beca looks on her.

"I think she'd like to feel you, too, Red," Beca suggests mildly, and hums out some kind of throaty sound that is amused and fond, all at once, when Aubrey moans into Chloe's collar the very moment that the words fall from the brunette's mouth.

Aubrey squirms over top of Chloe and mewls, but even Chloe doesn't know how the blonde is meant to answer that.

Honestly, of course Aubrey wants to feel Chloe, too; she needs to feel the freedom of relief that Beca has already promised to her, and, frankly, if the persevering, pretty pink flush descending over every inch of the blonde's skin is any indication, Aubrey probably needs permission to find that relief soon.

"Would you like that, Posen?" The Vampire Queen smirks softly, fingers tripping to hold Aubrey's left hip beneath the firm grip of her palm. "Would you like for Chloe to make you feel good?" She whispers encouragingly. "Would you like to feel her where you need her most, Aubrey?" Beca murmurs tenderly, and squeezes her fingers so possessively over Aubrey's waist that Chloe can see the blonde's flesh dipping pliantly beneath the pressure.

Chloe's pretty sure that Aubrey's sensitive skin is definitely going to bruise, by morning, but Aubrey really doesn't seem to mind, or maybe even notice; the blonde whimpers all over again and nods, but it takes a second before she can actually manage a verbal reply.

When she does, though, Chloe- really doesn't even know what to do with herself, or with the way that her body so furiously and swiftly just aches to respond.

"Yes," Aubrey breathes out heatedly. "God, I want to feel her everywhere, Beca, please," she nuzzles into Chloe's cheek with the very tip of her nose and pants, and Chloe sort of just- melts.

She wants Aubrey – feels almost like she needs her; needs to reconnect with her, somehow, in the most intimate way imaginable – but Aubrey is- begging for her, and this is totally new, for Chloe.

Aubrey is actually begging, just to have the Vampire Queen's consent.

She is making a legitimate request, right now; she wants Beca's approval, and the idea of that – the idea that Aubrey is literally handing Beca full reign over her own arousal, allowing the Vampire Queen to decide whether or not Chloe is even permitted to sate it for her – makes Chloe turn wide, pleading eyes toward Beca in search of anything that might resemble her agreement.

Chloe has never seen Aubrey like this, but- seeing her this way is doing things to Chloe, and, God, she wants this girl so badly; Chloe honestly doesn't think that she has ever wanted Aubrey this badly, and Chloe's pretty sure that definitely means something. And it's probably super important.

She just really can't think well enough, right now, to imagine what it means, exactly, beyond that Beca is so incredibly good, for them.

The Vampire Queen skims her fingers along the length of Aubrey's spine until she reaches the blonde's hair, coiling it around her palm and urging Aubrey's neck backward with a forceful tug that causes Aubrey to gasp instantly, in answer.

Chloe's pretty close to doing the same, truthfully, and it's literally only because Beca and Aubrey are just so overpoweringly hot, together, and Chloe really isn't even sure how to cope with that, in the first place.

"Then, maybe," Beca murmurs, bending just enough to scrape a heated, open-mouthed kiss across the blonde's bared shoulder, "you should ask Chloe to touch you, Aubrey," the Vampire Queen coaches heatedly, lips moving to brush carnally along the edge of Aubrey's jaw, only to press again across the outer shell of her ear. "It's just polite, after all," Beca insists with a soft, lingering chuckle that makes Aubrey quiver all over, and Chloe can feel it, shaking over her own hips with the force of the blonde's devastating need, above her.

Aubrey nods agreeably and pants, emerald eyes matching desperately with Chloe's own, before the blonde greedily breathes out, "Chloe, sweetheart, I need you to- I need you to please just- touch me," Aubrey whines out in frustration. "Please, Chlo," Aubrey implores, eyes wide and beseeching, and Chloe sucks a sharp breath through her teeth, in reply. "Please, will you touch me?"

Chloe has never seen Aubrey beg, before tonight; she's never seen Aubrey so sensitive to suggestion, or so willing to obey, and Chloe has definitely, definitely never been asked so aca-loving sweetly just to please her.

The redhead really doesn't even need to be asked at all, and never has; frankly, pleasing Aubrey pleasures Chloe, in some of the most profound ways that Chloe's ever even known, but Chloe really can't deny that the well-mannered, undeniably submissive request makes her more eager to touch the blonde than Chloe thinks she's ever even felt.

And it is wild, to Chloe, that Beca can make her feel closer to Aubrey than she's ever been, before, and like she is learning entirely new angles to her blonde girlfriend, all at once. It makes Chloe feel all sorts of things – things like confusion and adoration and complete, unfaltering awe – and Chloe uses all of it to stir her palms into motion, detangling one of them from Aubrey's to latch the pair of them over the blonde's hips.

Except that- Chloe isn't really sure where to move them next, because she doesn't actually know how Aubrey wants to be touched, right now.

She's never handled Aubrey, when she's like this; frankly, this is the first time that Chloe's ever seen Aubrey so simultaneously wanting and reliant, in the first place, and Chloe- doesn't actually even know what Aubrey needs from her to feel good, right now.

So Chloe asks, just to be sure.

"Bree," she whispers shakily and sighs, soothing her fingers along the familiar, graceful curves of Aubrey's waistline. "Aubrey, sweetie, do you want- do you want me to be quick?" Chloe bites her lip and hesitates, just for a second. "Or do you need– "

"I need you," Aubrey interrupts breathlessly. "I don't- I don't care how, Chloe, please… I just- I just need you."

Chloe's learning a lot of new things about Aubrey, tonight, but- there are a lot more things about her that Chloe already knows – and Chloe knows this tone; she recognizes that much, even if the plea in Aubrey's words still feels delightfully foreign, and Chloe knows exactly how to answer it.

"So, quick, then," she decides instantly, and squeezes the soft flesh of Aubrey's hips between her palms. "Is that okay?"

"Chloe," Aubrey hisses in frustration and groans. "I don't care, okay? Just do it."

And, honestly, Chloe doesn't even know how she's supposed to argue with that, in the first place – but Beca- really isn't Chloe.

The Vampire Queen tuts softly in admonishment, and Chloe watches as Beca's short, bare nails scrape purposefully down Aubrey's back until the blonde cries out a noise that is purely tortured and urgently needing, in reply. Beca's palms settle a moment later, splaying flat across Aubrey's flesh, just beneath her neck – and when Chloe shifts, just enough to eye the bright red streaks that manifest instantly in the wake of Beca's punishment, the redhead's breath catches, somewhere, deep inside of her chest.

It's just that- Chloe's pretty sure this isn't actually what Beca means, when she talks to Aubrey and Chloe about 'marking' them, but- it still makes Chloe's emotions flare with possession and pleasure and absolute pride, all at once, to see the way that Beca's touch claims Aubrey's body in smaller ways, too, and Chloe doesn't even know how to express that in a way that might make sense.

"Careful, sweet thing," Beca purrs in Aubrey's ear, metallic eyes glittering directly into Chloe's blue, just before Beca winks at her, teasing and somehow still predatory, and Chloe breathes out a laugh that is, at the same time, both entirely confused and completely adoring. "I'm told it's bad form to bite the hand that feeds you," Beca chuckles darkly, fingers pressing into Aubrey's back in a gentle, tender massage, like Beca is still trying to soothe Aubrey's tension, despite that she's the one who had actually caused it, in the first place, and Chloe whimpers out loud – because that is probably the sweetest thing that the redhead has ever even seen, and it makes her heart just- swell.

"Chloe wants to give you a gift, Aubrey," Beca tells her, patient and careful and smooth. "She wants to give you her touch, and her love, and, because I know how much you need that, right now, I'd really hate to have to take it away from you before you've even had the chance to unwrap that gift," she murmurs warningly, gripping Aubrey's hair all over again to recenter the blonde's attention back toward Beca's gaze. "But, please understand, my pretty girl," Beca sighs into the blonde's mouth with deep, staggering regret, "I will take that away from you, if you cannot learn to be courteous.

"Red is overwhelmed, too," Beca tells Aubrey softly, pressing a warm, tender kiss into Aubrey's panting, waiting mouth, and Chloe feels the moan that rips from Aubrey's chest as it vibrates, just above her own. "She is an emotional disaster, right now, and you should respect that part of her, in the same way that she has always respected the fundamentally, persistently restless part of you," the Vampire Queen remarks pointedly. "Particularly when all that Chloe even wants," Beca hisses, fangs swiping swiftly over Aubrey's lower lip until it bleeds, just like Chloe's own, "is to know how best to please you, Posen," she chides, licking a long, slow stripe over the injury in Aubrey's lip that causes both of them to groan, in answer.

"I'm sorry," Aubrey gasps instantly, green eyes blown wide with arousal and entirely honed on Beca's. "I didn't– Please," she whines greedily. "Please, fuck, I just need to come, Beca. Please," Aubrey insists frantically, and Beca–

She downright grins.

It's wide and surprised and positively thrilled, fangs sparkling in the darkness of Chloe and Aubrey's bedroom, and the Vampire Queen's fingers clasp instantly, firmly over Aubrey's jaw, in reply. A small thumb rises to brush sweetly over the blonde's beautifully swollen, anxiously parted lips, and Beca – practically giddy – pleats a soft, longing kiss into Aubrey's flaming cheek.

"Such delicious filth, from such a pretty, painted mouth," Beca purrs gleefully. "Oh, Aubrey," she chuckles fondly and shakes her head, eyes swirling viciously with every single varying shade of blue or silver that Chloe's ever seen in them, before, "believe me, I will take such pleasure in learning every filthy thing that this mouth of yours can do – but, first," Beca sighs, deflated, "I think that you owe Chloe an apology for the way that you spoke to her, earlier. Don't you?"

"I'm sorry," Aubrey whimpers weakly in answer, resting her forehead into Chloe's own like even the weight of her own skull is just too much, for her, right now. "I'm sorry, darling," she whispers earnestly and closes her eyes, breaths hard and way too fast, "I shouldn't have talked to you that way, and I'm sorry, Chloe. I just– I need to feel you. Please, I – "

And, God, Chloe's never even heard the word 'please' so many times in her whole life, and certainly not from Aubrey. She knows how badly her girlfriend must need this, and, honestly, Chloe really can't even bring herself to care, if Aubrey's maybe a little bit impatient, with her; Chloe understands exactly why she feels that way, and she is definitely, definitely justified.

The blonde's body is slick with perspiration all over, and it writhes uncontrollably under Chloe's touch almost the second that the redhead's fingers shift along her waist and upward, until Chloe's palms are only inches from Aubrey's flushed, heaving chest. She skates one hand over a tight, desperate nipple and further, before Chloe tenderly strokes the back of Aubrey's neck with her fingers and tips her own, just slightly, to lock a kiss over the blonde's mouth.

Aubrey sighs into Chloe instantly, grateful and ecstatic, and there isn't a single part of her that doesn't instinctively fall into the redhead beneath her, in reply.

Chloe loves kissing Aubrey – loves the way that Aubrey entire body devotes itself to Chloe, absently rolling hips arching unknowingly into the redhead's own; loves the soft, yearning noises that Aubrey whimpers into Chloe's mouth, and the way that they feel when they zip carnally across her lips; loves how Aubrey's fingers clench and release in anticipation of everything that she knows will follow after – but Chloe loves even more the gasp that always, always tears from her girlfriend's throat, the very instant that Chloe turns their kiss into more.

Her idle palm swiftly finds purpose, cradling Aubrey's breast between her fingers, and Chloe really can't even help it when her thumb sweeps teasingly across the straining nipple beneath. That gasp – the one that Chloe loves the very, very most – rips itself from Aubrey like it was born somewhere deep in the throbbing pool of want that lives in Aubrey's heated, desperate core, and Chloe hums a satisfied noise, in reply.

There is so much that Chloe doesn't understand, tonight, and that's fine – Chloe is content to let Beca guide them through the Marking any way she wants, really – but, despite Chloe's brief moment of doubt, earlier on, touching Aubrey is something that Chloe knows how to do, and Chloe is sure as aca-hell going to use that to her advantage.

So Chloe drops her hand from the nape of Aubrey's neck and trails it swiftly down the length of her side, until Chloe can edge around the blonde's hip and firmly squeeze Aubrey's tight, perfectly toned ass beneath her grasp; Chloe lifts her thigh – just a little; just enough to offer Aubrey contact, when Chloe presses down on her – and Aubrey sobs out something that is greedy and thankful and just- beautiful, in answer.

Chloe sighs out something soft and longing, too, and part of that is because Chloe just loves everything about being with Aubrey, this way – but Chloe thinks most of it is probably just because Aubrey is so seriously wet, right now, and Chloe can feel the blonde's desire painting the length of her thigh every time she pulls Aubrey's hips to meet with her own. The feeling is heady, and dizzying, and Chloe has to inhale, slow and deep and purposeful, just to remember that she really needs to focus, right now.

Aubrey needs her.

She moans, just a little – just because Chloe really can't even help it, and because Aubrey is gorgeous, like this, flushed and sweating and squirming all over, with so much apparent need, all for Chloe and Beca and she moves her mouth to tuck over Aubrey's jaw, instead, before she swears on a heated whisper, "I'll take care of you, baby, I promise."

Chloe counts a handful of heartbeats from the blonde's chest, slamming furiously over top of her own, before Aubrey's vulnerable, beseeching green eyes match tenderly with Chloe's blue.

"I know," Aubrey pants helplessly, smiling weakly and gasping sharply when Chloe's fingers reflexively tighten over her ass, in answer. "You always do," Aubrey murmurs meaningfully, a free palm rising to curl sweetly over the pulse in Chloe's chest.

And- that's really it, for Chloe.

Aubrey kind of destroys Chloe's whole entire world, with that preciously murmured confession, and Chloe swears she's never felt so honored in her aca-loving life; it's that confession that reignites the urgency in Chloe's body all over again, and Chloe feels it in every suffocating breath of air that she drinks through insatiably thirsty lungs.

"God, Aubrey," she hisses in disbelief, fingers stumbling inelegantly from the blonde's heaving chest down the tremoring slope of her stomach, until Chloe's fingers play, just for a second, between Aubrey's hot, soaking folds.

She's really only getting a feel for the angle, and figuring out how much room she can actually create for herself to work with, if she shuffles Aubrey around, just a little bit – but Aubrey clearly lacks the patience to wait for any of that, because, almost in the exact same moment that Chloe's touch brushes against her heat, Aubrey's hips flex forward until the redhead's middle and ring fingers sort of just- slide into her, without any work from Chloe at all.

Chloe thinks her eyes are probably the legitimate size of quarters, right now, but, God, Chloe swears that the blonde is so wet that it probably isn't even healthy, and there's a split second where Chloe is a tiny bit worried that it might somehow create some serious dehydration, in Aubrey, even if Chloe isn't totally sure that that's a real thing.

She has never been able to fit into Aubrey so easily, before – has never been inside of her with more than a finger without tenderly encouraging the blonde's tight walls to allow it, first – and Chloe is so powerfully overwhelmed by Aubrey's intense, unsatisfied desire that she actually forgets to even move.

Aubrey groans something mildly irritated and desperately wanting, before she reels her hips back and pushes them forward all over again, her forehead falling into Chloe's neck with a sigh that is long, and hard, and irrefutably unhappy; Chloe knows why – knows that it's her own fault for failing to immediately fulfill the promise that she had literally just made – but she also knows that all of this want only even exists, because of Beca, and Chloe just–

She loves both of them so much.

She's a little bit shell-shocked, because Chloe knows what Beca is doing to her own body; she knows that, whatever this feeling is called – because Chloe thinks that it must be bigger than love, somehow; there must be a name that is stronger, and means more, even if Chloe doesn't know itBeca makes sure that Chloe can't ever, ever forget it. And to feel the evidence of that same emotion in Aubrey is just- so completely hot, for Chloe.

"You promised to take care of her," the redhead hears through a distinctly paralyzing fog, and the redhead blinks twice before she is able to move confused, wide blue eyes to meet with Beca's; the Vampire Queen's brow lofts, high into the air, and she swipes her tongue across the wonderfully pink stretch of her lips, just briefly, before she pointedly demands, "so take care of her, Chloe."

The redhead whimpers into Aubrey's hair and presses a soft, apologetic kiss across her temple; she isn't really even sure what she's doing – there's no actual thought that reminds Chloe to move, or even that reminds her how – but Beca's words promise disappointment, if Chloe fails, so Chloe thinks that that's- probably how she manages.

Disappointing Beca is definitely not on Chloe's list of things to do, tonight.

She thrusts her fingers inside of Aubrey as swiftly as she can figure out how, and Aubrey startles to attention, her spine straightening until Chloe has a clear view of the blonde's entire front. Aubrey's hips rock into Chloe's own, palms falling to brace one over Chloe's stomach, the other applying delicious pressure over the redhead's breast, and Aubrey just- rides her.

It isn't exactly new, for Chloe – Aubrey's definitely ridden her, before – but it also sort of gives Chloe a much clearer view of Beca, too, still hovering at the side of the bed, and that's- something new entirely. Chloe's never really been interested in exhibitionism, before, and she doesn't really even think that she is, now – but Chloe- really enjoys the way that the Vampire Queen watches them.

Beca's silver eyes are dark and gleaming, and Chloe thinks that the brunette's arousal might finally be starting to overwhelm her patience, because Beca's fingers tap along the outer edges of her thighs like there is actual, physical effort being invested, right now, just to keep her hands from straying. The Vampire Queen's gaze drags heatedly down the length of Aubrey's back before cutting off somewhere along the blonde's hips, only to follow up the length of Chloe's own, and Chloe wonders what, exactly, Beca is even seeing.

She wonders if Beca can see the too-hot blush of Aubrey's skin, or the building tremor of Chloe's body; she wonders if Beca can see the soft bounce of the blonde's breasts, above her, or the way that Aubrey's fingers grip increasingly harder over Chloe's own in utter desperation; Chloe wonders if Beca can see the frantic pulsing of Chloe's fingers, driving harder and faster into Aubrey with every thrust that the blonde moves with her to meet.

Chloe wonders which part of this is affecting Beca the most, so that Chloe can remember to use that, later – when it is finally Chloe's turn to please her Queen.

And then Chloe really can't wonder anything at all, because the noise in Aubrey's gasps shifts – just a little; just enough for Chloe to recognize it – until there is a deeper edge in there, somewhere, that scrapes damagingly against the walls of Aubrey's throat.

Aubrey is almost there – she is just a couple of hard thrusts away from the edge, and Chloe knows it – so the redhead reaches upward to press down, just between the blonde's shoulders, and she fuses their lips together with so much love that Chloe basically feels ready to just explode with it. Aubrey is half-delirious, and she whispers tiny little pleas into Chloe's mouth every time she takes a breath, but Chloe doesn't actually even know what she's asking for, anymore.

Chloe is doing everything she can, for Aubrey.

Her thumb slips a little haphazardly over the blonde's clit, and it's admittedly a little bit sloppy, but Aubrey's core is dripping so heavily that Chloe really can't even help that. Still, it isn't enough; Chloe knows that she is typically only ever able to work two fingers into Aubrey, at most, before the blonde becomes uncomfortable, but- she's just so wet, right now, and Chloe thinks that she probably can take a third.

Chloe isn't especially careful, and, with the frenzied speed of Aubrey's hips, she really doesn't even have the option to be slow; in between one thrust and the next, Chloe folds her index finger in with the other two, and Aubrey just- takes it. The blonde cries out in obvious pain and building pleasure, all at once, but Aubrey doesn't even hesitate to grind into Chloe all over again.

The redhead matches Aubrey's pace and adds just a tiny bit more pressure to the blonde's overly sensitive clit, because that is literally the only thing that Chloe can actually even think to do, to bring Aubrey closer – and Chloe is really, truly fortunate, because that turns out to be the only thing that Aubrey even needs.

She screams.

Chloe pants frantically and blinks, the very second that she hears it, because Aubrey- doesn't scream. The blonde is vocal, for sure – she knows what she wants, and will indicate with every staggered breath that escapes her lungs whether those wants are adequately being satisfied – but she is very purposefully quiet, most times, too, and a scream is definitely something special, to Chloe.

Chloe's pride swells when Aubrey eventually falls forward, panting vigorously over Chloe's chest, and Chloe- can't actually make words; she isn't honestly even sure what she might say to Aubrey, right now, even if she could, so she coos soft, comforting noises into the blonde's hair, instead, and tries her best to calm her body down all over again.

It doesn't work – Chloe is still so turned on that she isn't actually even sure that she can see straight – and Beca really doesn't do anything to help, because it's probably only thirty seconds later that Beca vanishes from their bedside, altogether; Chloe doesn't even have time to see her reappear before a choked moan blows urgently past Aubrey's lips, exploding with demanding heat over top of Chloe's heart.

Chloe has to take a second to really understand what just happened – and Beca's speed might actually be the end of Chloe, if the redhead isn't careful – but she feels a tickling brush across the inside of her thigh and she laughs something breathless and absolutely, incredulously turned on when she peers over Aubrey's shoulder, only to find Beca, knees pressed into the mattress just behind her; the Vampire Queen has both palms spreading the finely muscled globes of Aubrey's ass apart, and Chloe can really only even see the top of her head, because the rest of Beca's face is positively buried between Aubrey's quivering thighs.

"Fuck," Aubrey sobs, both hands moving to grasp desperately at the pillow beneath Chloe's head, and Chloe just thinks that she- really only wants to help.

So Chloe does.

She arches upward and swiftly captures a pink, tender nipple between her lips, stroking her tongue firmly over its very tip. Aubrey whimpers, and murky green searches instantly for Chloe's gaze; there is a hint of confusion, when Chloe glances up at her and smiles around the swell of flesh in her mouth, but Beca had literally come out of nowhere, and Chloe really isn't surprised.

Still, Chloe hums into Aubrey's skin until the blonde actually arches away from her, her breasts too sensitive for even Chloe's gentle touch, so Chloe moves her mouth toward Aubrey's throat, instead, and literally feels it when Beca does something that probably involves those viciously attractive fangs, and tears a yelp from Aubrey's throat.

And then Chloe just feels- cold.

Aubrey isn't over top of her, anymore, but she is spread across the bed at Chloe's side, and Beca is already firmly stationed between her legs.

Chloe shuffles upward to watch, despite the strain over her hardly-stable body, and she sees the exact moment when Beca's tongue sweeps, firm and slow, along the length of Aubrey's tired clit. The redhead whimpers, because it just- really isn't even fair, how gorgeous Beca looks with her hair pulled off to the side, like this, and with that small, pretty pink mouth wrapped entirely over Aubrey's heat.

Chloe's never seen anything more breathtaking in her whole entire life.

Beca's mouth moves with care, like she definitely knows how sensitive Aubrey is, right now, and like she knows exactly how to work around it; like she already knows Aubrey's body, despite never having fully met it, before tonight.

She doesn't enter Aubrey – not with tongue, or with fingers; Beca is just- slow, like she's pulling Aubrey's second orgasm out from some secret place so deep inside of the blonde that Chloe hadn't even known that it existed. Beca is almost languidly affectionate, with Aubrey – like she isn't trying too hard, and really doesn't need to, and Chloe thinks that she's probably right.

Aubrey's back is already arching too high off of the mattress, and her fingers tremble violently when a palm flings outward to latch emergently over Chloe's own; Aubrey's entire body is shaking, honestly, and Chloe inches closer into the blonde's side just to stroke comforting fingers over every inch of her that she can reach. The blonde's breaths are so fast and so short that they almost sound like hiccups, to Chloe, and a slim, heavily weighted calf struggles to lift itself, just to curl around Beca's shoulders.

Chloe's pretty sure that it is definitely too soon for Aubrey's body to know what it feels like for Beca to actually try, at this.

Still, silver eyes peer up from the line of Aubrey's waist, regarding the blonde above her with such sincere reverence that Chloe's own eyes tear up instantly; Chloe thinks that Beca's love – timeless and devoted and fathomlessly consuming – might be bigger than all the other love in the entire universe, combined, and it is so preciously overwhelming to know that she and Aubrey rest the very center of all of it.

Aubrey feels it, too – and Chloe knows it the very second that the same feeling meets impact in Aubrey's heart, because the blonde cries out something exhausted and freeing and somehow grateful, in answer, as she collapses into a practically boneless heap at Chloe's side.

The blonde's cheeks are streaked wet with tears, and Chloe's fingers hug across her girlfriend's palm and move across the heaving plane of her stomach in pure, understanding sympathy – because Chloe is crying, too, and they are happy, privileged tears.

Still, Chloe is only offered a quick moment to soothe her, before Beca smirks devastatingly up the length of Aubrey's utterly shattered frame, palms slipping purposefully beneath the blonde's hips, before she purrs, in the absolute most seductive voice that Chloe has ever even heard, "Take a deep breath for me, Posen – and don't let it go."

Aubrey's brows furrow in bemusement just a couple of seconds too belatedly, but Chloe really can't blame her, for that; Aubrey is practically destroyed, right now, by her and Beca's joint effort just to please her, and it's perfectly understandable that thinking is a little bit difficult, for Aubrey.

Chloe thinks maybe that might be the point, though, because Aubrey obeys Beca's instruction as soon as it wades through the cotton in her ears, even in spite of her evident confusion, chest inflating as she breathes a gulp of air into her lungs, just like Beca asked, and then–

Chloe doesn't even know which part of her to look at.

Her eyes flit frantically toward Aubrey's face when the blonde belts out a scream so high in pitch that half of it tapers into something that Chloe is pretty sure only dogs (and probably Beca) can even really hear. Chloe searches instantly for the cause, scanning the length of Aubrey body urgently to find it, until her eyes settle over Beca – which is probably the very first place that Chloe should have thought to look, to begin with, but Chloe is a little panicked and she thinks it's probably a forgivable mistake.

And Beca– She's using her firm, powerful grip over Aubrey's waist to lift the blonde's hips, her opposite palm propping up the weight of Aubrey's torso by pressing flat into the dip at the small of the blonde's back, and that's not really even the cause for the scream, Chloe knows, because–

Well, because Beca's entire mouth is suckling over Aubrey's side, just beneath the bottom rung of her ribcage and straight across from the blonde's navel, and- those are definitely Beca's teeth, piercing through the tender flesh of Aubrey's waist as her girlfriend's blood shades those perilous fangs dark with sudden, inexplicably arousing gore.

The Vampire Queen's eyes never stray once from Aubrey's own, and the look in them is so familiarly captivating that even Chloe can recognize the compulsion that is blaring from beneath – like Chloe even needs more of a reason not to glance away from her Queen.

And Aubrey isn't screaming in pain, right now, Chloe realizes sluggishly; she is screaming in sincere, unadulterated pleasure.

Beca actually just bit her, and Aubrey is literally orgasming over it.

Chapter Text

Aubrey's heart stops.

She understands that it sounds absurd, but she isn't being dramatic; in the immediate wake of two, remarkably devastating orgasms, the thing literally just- quits. Between one radical thump and the place where the next should basically always rightfully land, Aubrey's heart actually, physically stops beating.

It's only for a minute – Aubrey thinks, anyway; fairly, time really isn't something that she's been afforded that much of an opportunity to keep track of, tonight – but, for the duration of that minute, Aubrey feels oddly- disconnected.

Her body feels light – cared for and ravaged and entirely satisfied, all at once – creating some kind of relieved, blisteringly affectionate, and simultaneously tearful feeling, in Aubrey, that she never even knew could exist, in the first place. The blonde has never felt such sincere, overpowering passion in her entire life, nor such vastly abundant, dedicated love, and Aubrey is endlessly honored to know that feeling.

Still, Aubrey truly can't think anything beyond it.

There is nothing in the blonde's mind, right now, that can even begin to understand how to process what it is happening to her body – not a single part of Aubrey that could possibly fathom what Beca has done to it, or to her – but- there is also not a single part of Aubrey that actually even cares.

For the duration of that minute, Aubrey feels nothing but an overwhelming sense of purely sated, unprecedented joy.

She feels Beca's mouth over her side, the Vampire Queen's devoted, blood-soaked tongue lapping tenderly across a pair of fang-shaped puncture wounds, just beneath the cage of Aubrey's ribs, as Beca purrs delightedly above her. She feels Chloe's fingers stroking somewhat frantically over any span of Aubrey's flesh – small or large or practically anywhere in between – that the redhead can feasibly even reach, and she feels Beca's beautifully tangled hair, twisted greedily between her palms. Aubrey feels the soft scratch of cotton itching beneath the heel of her foot, blithely draped across the slope of her Queen's shoulders and pressing into the thin material of a shirt that somehow still manages to shield Beca's wondrously pale flesh away from the blonde's probably too-eager gaze.

And then, all at once, that short moment of scattered dissonance shatters.

The injury in Aubrey's side feels abruptly more like a third-degree burn than the precise incision that it really is, and Aubrey releases a piercing echo of her previous scream in reply to the startling sensation, but it doesn't actually last; the initial, excruciating pain fades swiftly, after a couple of admittedly concerning seconds, but then there is a massively pleasurable, soothing kind of warmth – both physically and emotionally founded – that spills from Beca's Mark on her skin, spreading urgently throughout the blonde's entire, quivering frame, just before Aubrey's heart sort of- strikes.

It isn't gentle, and it's probably the complete furthest thing from comfortable that Aubrey could probably even imagine, right now; the blonde's extensively overexerted heart kicks abruptly to life all over again, like some furiously unsettled toddler deep in the throes of an epically unnecessary tantrum – shrieking and thrashing and positively weeping for attention – and a raging jolt of raw, curiously unattended need pulsates outward from the organ in Aubrey's chest. It radiates directly through to the blonde's tired core as a short, desperate cry breaks free from Aubrey's lungs.

The feeling is undeniably strange, because Aubrey is exactly one hundred percent positive that her body literally cannot take any more stimulation than Beca and Chloe have already provided for it, and there is no actual thought to follow that could explain the explosively sharp manifestation of that emotion, to begin with. Still, that desire fumes dangerously in the furthest depths of Aubrey's stomach like it has been simmering there for years, undetected, and the blonde still can't even figure out where it came from.

Her brow furrows in earnest confusion, even as she whimpers, and Beca's smooth, seductive chuckle breathes across the skin of Aubrey's stomach in instant, gratified answer.

"It's alright, my precious girl," the Vampire Queen coos at her sweetly.

"Bec," Aubrey feels purely crazed, if she's honest, but her voice is raspy and weak, when it emerges, and Aubrey thinks that she probably shouldn't find herself as surprised by that as she actually is. "Please, I want- I want – "

She tries to finish the sentence – or at the very least the thought – but Aubrey's words break, regardless, because–

Well, because that just isn't right.

Aubrey wants to tell Beca that she needs her – wants to tell her that she needs to be held; that she needs to be loved, and touched, and practically drowned in the Vampire Queen's uniquely timeless affectionbut the thing is- Aubrey doesn't need her. Not right now.

Because, really, Aubrey has already had her.

Frankly, Aubrey has already had Chloe and Beca, both, and she's fairly certain that her entire body might legitimately self-destruct if either one of those beautifully attentive girls tries to touch her that way again, before morning. The blonde honestly doesn't even think that she could handle more of Beca, at this point, even if she wanted to, and Aubrey incredulously begins to understand that this persistently invasive desire – this distinctly sweltering heat that is driving angrily through Aubrey's stomach and pulsing viciously through her thighs–

It isn't hers.

There is a reason that this emotion feels strange, for Aubrey; there is a reason that her rattled mind and weary body cannot make sense of this deeply unfounded reaction, and that reason is Beca.

In fairness, Aubrey credits, the Vampire Queen had warned them – had made absolutely sure that Aubrey and Chloe understood all that comes paired with the Marking, and all that will change for them because of it; had explained as best as she could the way that they will feel each other, afterward, and the way it might consume them – but it is nothing like Aubrey could ever have imagined.

Aubrey genuinely feels Beca's emotion like it has somehow become her own; she feels all of that arousal – all of that crushing, deliriously greedy want – like it has lived millennia inside of her heart, too, and the sheer grandness of that emotion is nearly too much, for Aubrey.

That sharp, excruciatingly impatient desire that Beca has always, always felt, for her and Chloe, is now threading with vengeance through every cell of Aubrey's heated, racing blood, and it takes a few moments for the blonde to fully appreciate that it is not her own need that hasn't yet been satisfied, but her Queen's.

"God," she hisses windedly in belated realization. "Beca," she whispers with a bemused, frenzied shake of her head. "Oh, sweetheart," Aubrey breathes with wide, loving eyes and a sweet, earnestly baffled look. "How can you not – "

She wants to ask how Beca isn't keeling over with pure want, right now, and how she is so outwardly patient, when she so obviously does not feel that way, in the least; she wants to ask how Beca has watched both her and Chloe come – how she has watched Aubrey do so thrice – and how the Vampire Queen has refrained from simply demanding their touch upon her desperate flesh, when surely Beca must know, by now, that she and Chloe would gladly oblige, with or without Beca's instructive command.

Aubrey wants to ask, but Beca honestly doesn't allow her the chance.

"Because I am not finished," Beca interrupts heatedly, in reply. "Because I have waited so very long for you, Posen," the Vampire Queen whispers, silver eyes bearing down over Aubrey's with a sort of care that is infinite, and enduring, and absolutely sure. "Because I have waited so very long for both of you, and because I will cherish your pleasure above my own, every time," she purrs into the flesh of Aubrey's abruptly heaving stomach. "Because the two of you are captivating, and because watching you fall apart for me is the most thoroughly satisfying thing that I have ever known," Beca murmurs earnestly, meeting Aubrey's wide, green gaze with her own as pretty, small pink lips mouth sweet, tiny kisses into each one of Aubrey's ribs.

The blonde can't actually create sound – cannot fathom how, or remember why it's important, in the first place – but Chloe seems to manage just fine.

The redhead keens, despite only understanding the words, and not the emotion that fuels them – the emotion that Aubrey can feel; the emotion that is overcoming Beca, entirely, and that is making Aubrey want for things that her body can't rationally even tolerate, right now – and it is truly unreal, the way that Beca's arousal rages in answer to that strangled whimper, from Chloe.

Aubrey feels it, churning deep in her gut and clouding whatever tiny shred that might actually be left of her aca-loving sanity, and the Vampire Queen's emotional reaction drags a gasp from Aubrey's lungs that she truthfully doesn't even have the air for, in the first place.

"Do you feel it, Posen?" Beca breathes reverently, mouth ascending the length of Aubrey's torso as she lowers the blonde into the mattress all over again, fingers climbing to replace the warmth of her lips over the fresh Mark at the blonde's side. "Do you feel the way she makes me ache?" Beca purrs into the smooth skin just between Aubrey's breasts. "Do you feel the way she makes me want, for her?"

And – God – Aubrey does.

She still cannot fathom how Beca has made no move to relieve herself, even just a little, but, Jesus, Aubrey can feel everything.

Aubrey can feel deep veneration, and sweet, tender love, swelling wide in her frantically hammering heart, and she can feel her core slickening with a desire that does not belong to her. She gets it – Aubrey does, because Chloe has always made Aubrey feel all sorts of wild and intense emotions, too – but- it isn't the same.

Beca has had so long to want for this; she has suffered so many years alone – so many years wondering what a love like this could mean, and what it might be like, for her – and Aubrey can feel the difference, even if she can't explain it.

The Vampire Queen's devotion is founded in that difference.

Beca is in complete awe of them. She is in awe of their affection – in awe of their love, for her, and their blatant attraction to her – and Aubrey absently thinks that that's a little bit ridiculous; of course Beca is attractive – she is perhaps the most attractive thing that Aubrey has ever even seen, next to Chloe – and how could they not love her? How could she and Chloe ever feel anything but affection for their Queen, when she holds them tight against her chest like she has never known a being on this earth who has meant as much to her as they do?

"Chloe," Aubrey moans softly in place of answer, and shakes her head when she realizes that it likely isn't enough to express what she truly means.

Because what Aubrey truly means is that she needs for Chloe to be a part of this, with her; she needs for Chloe to bear their Queen's Mark, and to know the pressing, exhilarating weight of Beca's endlessly consuming love in the same way that Aubrey is privileged to know it, too.

"Would you like for me to mark our Chloe, too?" Beca murmurs, bloodied cheek nuzzling warmly over Aubrey's heart and spreading the gory color across the blonde's chest in a way that feels distinctly- hot, even if Aubrey can't actually explain why. "Would you like to watch me touch her? Make her scream for me, like you?" Beca whispers with building heat, and Aubrey reflexively begins to nod before Beca is actually even finished. "Would you like to watch her beg for me, and see that sweet, freckled body writhe beneath my touch?" She encourages mercilessly, and Aubrey just- pants, in answer.

She wants that – all of that – so badly she can't breathe.

"My Princess," Beca sighs tenderly into Aubrey's collar and hums, though it truthfully emerges sounding like some kind of predatorily affectionate growl, instead, and Aubrey's entire being is instantly engulfed with unrivaled, practically explosive pride at the name that her Queen has chosen, for her, "would you like to watch me bite her?"

Chloe whines swiftly with evident, growing desire, teeth holding firm across the stretch of the redhead's perpetually-injured lower lip, and her fingers clasp instantly over Aubrey's bicep in sheer desperation.

Something like a choked groan catches in the narrowed passage of Aubrey's throat, but Aubrey is fairly positive that that's the very best answer she can even offer, to Beca.

The way that the Vampire Queen speaks to them – the way that she so masterfully controls everything that she and Chloe are, or ever have been, with such sweetness and authority and increasingly sharp demand – has been wreaking havoc over Aubrey all night long, but- Aubrey hadn't truthfully stopped to consider the way that her and Chloe's replies might similarly affect Beca.

A frenzied rush of delighted anticipation surges through the length of the blonde's body, and Aubrey is so new to this – the concept still so incredibly foreign, for her – that she doesn't immediately realize that this anticipation does not belong to her, either.

Still, Aubrey comes to understand relatively quickly, because the Vampire Queen's fingers settle just beneath her breasts, knees pressing nearly bitingly into the blonde's hips as Beca raises herself upward, and the brunette's polished, black nails draw ten, bright pink stripes down the length of Aubrey's abs.

A brand new sort of pride slams through Aubrey's body, then, only it feels- different. This isn't the sort of pride Aubrey has been feeling, tonight – not the pride of performing well, for Beca, and at her Queen's request.

This pride is Beca's, fierce and giddy and relentless, and it exists only because the brunette is so earnestly satisfied by every physical claim that she scores into Aubrey's skin.

Aubrey distantly wonders how proud Beca must have felt as her sharpened fangs had sliced – finally – through the tender flesh of Aubrey's waist.

"Tell me, pretty girl," Beca insists warmly, but with lingering demand. "Tell me what you want, and I will give it to you, I promise," she vows devotedly, and silver eyes peer down from over top of Aubrey with unfaltering sincerity.

Chloe's hold across Aubrey's arm is growing at least mildly painful – which Aubrey thinks is probably a little bit hilarious, considering that sometime in the last several minutes, an actual pair of teeth has ripped through the blonde's skin, and all she'd felt from that, in the end, had been ridiculous, all-consuming pleasure – and Aubrey realizes swiftly that Chloe probably needs this just as badly as Aubrey does, if not more.

So Aubrey does her best, for Chloe, and hopes that it's enough.

"Beca, touch her," Aubrey breathes urgently. "Please, God, please, just touch her."

Beca smiles – something slow, and sweet, and crooked, which is truthfully Aubrey's downfall, every aca-loving time – and she purrs, pleased, into Aubrey's ear, "An answer and a plea. Such a good girl," she praises liberally, and Aubrey abruptly feels Beca's elated, earnest gratification swelling wide through her own chest, and it- really only makes Aubrey's pride grow, even if she isn't wholly certain that that's even possible.

And then – at least a little bit expectedly, this time – Beca vanishes from above her, settling instantly between Chloe's knees, at Aubrey's side, and the redhead hisses a sharp, startled gasp inward as Beca's jean-clad hips bear roughly downward over Chloe's own.

"Beca," Chloe murmurs, winded, knotted red locks gradually detangling as Beca's gentle, tiny fingers tenderly card through Chloe's hair. "Beca, baby, please… Just- just do it, okay? Don't tease. Please, God, I need it. I need you, Beca, please," Chloe implores frantically, chest heaving violently beneath a series of too-heavy pants, and Aubrey thinks that she is just- lovely.

Chloe is as beautiful as she always has been – just as sweet; just as flexible and desperate and eager to please as Aubrey has always known her to be – but Beca makes her more. The Vampire Queen makes Chloe more frenetic than Aubrey has ever seen – turns her more candid than even Chloe has ever been, and makes her body arch in ways that Aubrey's never been able to coax out of her, before – and the sight of Chloe, like this, strikes a special place inside of Aubrey, too.

Because Chloe is perfect, this way, underneath of Beca and begging for their Queen's unmatched devotion to Chloe's ever-growing need, for her, and Aubrey loves them both so hard, in that moment, that she can hardly even bear the rush of emotion that surges instantly, in reply.

Beca's mouth presses a soft, blindingly tender kiss into Chloe's forehead, before she teasingly whispers, "If you insist, Red."

And then Chloe's breath rattles through a scraping gasp, somewhere deep inside of her chest, and Aubrey struggles to lift herself onto an elbow, just to see; just to watch, as Beca's demanding fingers press greedily over Chloe's clit without even another hint at foreplay.

Chloe's hips flex instantly upward, and Beca lowers her chest just enough to caress a stream of sweet, playful kisses down the column of Chloe's slender throat, glittering fangs making brief, occasional appearances, as they scratch lightly at the skin of Chloe's neck.

Aubrey feels an oddly forceful desire to clamp her own teeth across it, and she recognizes instantly that this emotion definitely stems from Beca, but, still, the notion of it is arousing, for Aubrey, in ways she'd never actually anticipated. She wants to see Beca's fangs, buried into Chloe's flesh; she wants Beca to mark Chloe – wants to feel Chloe tangled up in this mess of emotion, somewhere, too – and Aubrey wants to see the way that Chloe will look, for Beca, afterward.

"Please. I want to see it," Aubrey begs suddenly and mindlessly, and in immediate reply to her own wildly perplexing emotions. "Beca, make her come," Aubrey pleads frantically. "God, make her yours, darling, please. Let me see her."

And that's- actually all that Aubrey wants, she realizes.

She wants Chloe to know this feeling, too; she wants Chloe to belong to Beca, in the same way that Aubrey does, now, also. She wants Chloe to feel this wholly overcoming sense of being owned – of being heard, and acknowledged, and so completely understood and cared for – because she thinks that Chloe needs it.

The redhead has wanted to be close to Beca – has wanted to be so close to their Queen that Aubrey thinks Chloe has actually wanted to crawl inside of her, at times – since the very beginning of all of this, and it feels nearly unfair, to Aubrey, that she has for some reason been marked, first.

Beca growls heatedly – dangerously – in reply to Aubrey's words, and the blonde watches intently as the Vampire Queen's fingers drift, just a tiny bit lower, two of them pressing inside of Chloe's core so quickly that Aubrey can't really even see it happen.

Chloe chokes on a thankful, rushed inhalation of breath, small rivulets of sweat beading across the smooth, heaving plane of her chest, and Aubrey forgets every thought she'd ever had about Beca offering Chloe soft and sweet and slow.

The Vampire Queen is none of those things, right now; her small, determined fingers piston in and out of Chloe with such rapid speed that Aubrey can't even watch, without growing dizzy, and the redhead keens a loud, practically constant noise, in reply, breaking only for a couple of too-short gasps of breath inward, just to fuel the noise a little longer.

"Red," Beca purrs into Chloe's neck with almost irritating ease, the exertion of her hand stirring not even a pant from Beca's lungs, "she wants you to come for me."

Aubrey groans in reply, because, aca-seriously, the Vampire Queen's words are just so perfectly pointed, and so perfectly correct.

Chloe whimpers weakly, brow furrowed in frustration and pretty toes curling downward, just a little – just enough to tell Aubrey that she is so very, very close to her finish – and Aubrey wonders what, exactly, Chloe is even waiting for, right now.

Aubrey thinks that she must have everything that she needs.

Beca's fingers never slow – not even once; not even for a second – and her lips intermittently ghost across Chloe's nipple every single time that Chloe's chest stretches upward in a silent search for contact. The redhead is so blatantly turned on that Aubrey is sure even she would have been able to make Chloe come apart, by now, even without the added benefit of supernatural strength and agility.

"Is that what you want, too, my pretty girl?" Beca chuckles – deep and satisfied and urging – into Chloe's flesh, and the redhead moans breathlessly in instant reply. "Do you want to come for me, Chloe?"

"Yes," Chloe pleads swiftly, words shaking beneath the force and speed of Beca's inhumanly quick thrusts, at her core. "God, yes, Beca, I want it. Please, I want it so badly, sweetie," Chloe stammers, staccato breaths indicating that there is actual effort being invested, right now, that is preventing Chloe from meeting her release.

Beca laughs again – something soothing, this time, with just a little bit of a promise hidden somewhere in the noise beneath – and Aubrey- suddenly understands.

The blonde had given herself to Beca, too – she had completely surrendered herself to her Queen in a way that Aubrey hadn't frankly believed was even possible – but, for Chloe, surrender means something a little bit different. Surrender, for Aubrey, means conforming to Beca's desires when it is requested of her; for Chloe, though, Aubrey thinks that surrender means something more like waiting for Beca's requests.

And Aubrey abruptly understands that Chloe will not let herself come, right now; not before Beca asks it of her.

It's beautiful in a way that Aubrey hadn't truthfully expected – even more so because of the heated, staggering rush of affectionate warmth that emanates from somewhere inside of her Queen and instantly catches fire, low in Aubrey's stomach, too – and Aubrey finds herself impossibly impressed with Chloe's surprisingly willful resolve. The Vampire Queen hums happily into Chloe's nipple, a soft, satisfied purr erupting from the very center of her chest, and Aubrey shudders violently as a particularly hard throb of pride resonates in the area immediately surrounding her own heart, too, like an isolated, irrefutably level-ten earthquake.

It's nearly painful to watch – nearly painful to see the way that Chloe's lithe, aching body squirms restlessly beneath their Queen's with ever-building want; nearly painful to see (and definitely painful to feel) the way that Beca so wholly worships the redhead's blatant demonstration of patience, for her; nearly painful to see the way that Chloe's hands reach out for Beca, just to hold her, and be closer, one palm threading through Beca's thoroughly messed hair and its opposite finding purchase over the brunette's hip – but Beca strands Chloe in that blissful variation of purgatory for a few moments longer.

The sounds crashing off the edges of Chloe's lips are half-formed, at best; the force of Beca's relentless, visibly blurring digits drives gasps into Chloe's throat before the last ones have even fully released, and the way that Beca's desire coils in the pit of Aubrey's stomach makes the blonde wonder all over again how Beca can even bear this kind of self-inflicted sexual torture, and where in the aca-hell she'd even learned that kind of patience, to begin with.

And then Beca sighs, soft and longing and sweet, and her pointed fangs scrape just barely over the tender flesh of Chloe's taut, straining nipple.

"Come for me, my sweet girl," the Vampire Queen instructs with a caring, gentle smile, quiet tenderness spreading through her words and all through Aubrey's heart, all at once. "You've earned it," Beca lauds generously, and Chloe–

God, Chloe just- yelps.

She doesn't do it often – hardly ever, if Aubrey is honest – and this particularly gratifying noise only truly escapes from Chloe's chest when the redhead's orgasm somehow surprises her; it might be the strength of it, or the quickness, or just the way that Chloe's desire climbs so steadily and slowly that it actually startles the redhead to realize that she has somehow, unexpectedly, found herself lifted to the top, unceremoniously spinning out across the edge.

Still, no matter what the circumstances, Aubrey adores that sound.

And she adores even more the breathless, diminishing whine that whistles out from Chloe's chest when Beca's fangs – purposeful and perilous and absolutely perfect – sink instantly into the flushed skin at the rise of Chloe's left breast, triggering another, wildly consuming orgasm that trails immediately on the heels of Chloe's last.

Aubrey swallows, because it is the only thing that she can even think to do.

Beca's teeth are coated in layers of both her and Chloe's blood, and part of Aubrey absently realizes that this honestly isn't sanitary, or really even safe, but she trusts Beca's grasp on the intricacies of blood exchange far more than her own. The red substance spills copiously outward from Chloe's breast, pooling around the edges of Beca's covetously feeding mouth, and Chloe just- shakes.

The redhead's entire body just trembles, underneath of Beca, and that noise she keeps making collapses over itself until there is nothing left of it but soft, staggered sobs that blow through Beca's finger-tousled hair.

And then Chloe is abruptly crying, arms furling around Beca's neck and hugging the Vampire Queen so tightly against her that Aubrey can only even tell them apart from one another by the evident contrast of their skin, and Aubrey's finely sculpted eyebrows pinch inward in instant, overwhelming concern. Tears skate freely over the heated skin of Chloe's cheeks, tripping unerringly to fall somewhere in the strands of Beca's pretty brown hair, and Aubrey blinks a couple of times in an effort to fully determine why.

"Chloe?" She whispers worriedly, weak fingers faltering over the familiar curve of the redhead's shoulder, stretching downward and pressing for just enough space between the two of them for Aubrey to flatten her palm across the furious pulse of Chloe's stumbling heart.

Chloe's sobs morph gradually into practically incomprehensible murmurs that Aubrey can honestly hardly even hear, but a heated, reassuring rush of genuine humor crashes through Aubrey's body as Beca begins to chuckle, dark and sweet and overpoweringly tender; whatever Chloe is trying to say – however whispered or babbled her words might be – Beca is clearly able to decipher it, and the fact that the Vampire Queen is not at all alarmed is enough to soothe Aubrey's comparatively mild degree of panic, entirely.

A couple of moments linger in between them, but Chloe never stops trying to articulate whatever it is that she is working so hard to communicate, for them, and, eventually, Aubrey makes out a phrase.

It's just one, and it's broken, still, but it's enough to make Beca desperate, and Aubrey shivers when that feeling becomes her own, too.

" – wanna touch you so bad…" Chloe breathes frantically, palms slipping feverishly over Beca's skin without any actual purpose at all, except for an increasingly urgent need to just- feel her.

Aubrey inhales sharply in anticipation – because surely Beca must be ready for them, now; surely there must be a command, at least for one of them, mere seconds away from crashing off of their Queen's charmingly talented tongue – but Chloe's heart abruptly stills, directly underneath of Aubrey's palm, before the Vampire Queen can even offer a word, in reply.

Between one radical thump and the place where the next should basically always rightfully land, Chloe's heart actually, physically stops beating.

Just like Aubrey's had.

And then the blonde realizes – with a distinctly helpless and probably immensely embarrassing mewl – that she will soon feel Chloe in ways that she never has, before; she will feel her redheaded girlfriend in ways that would literally not be possible, without Beca, and Aubrey–

She will have an overwhelmingly significant piece of both of them, locked in her heart, forever.

Chapter Text

Chloe can't feel her heart.

She's pretty sure that it stopped beating a couple of minutes ago, actually, but Chloe really can't even blame it; frankly, she feels just as happily overwhelmed as the exhausted organ in her chest does, and, if Chloe is honest, she's really just a little bit impressed that her body hasn't given up and passed out from sheer overstimulation, too.

Aubrey's palm still sprawls warmly over top of Chloe's heart, and she thinks the blonde is panting, a little, somewhere near her ear, but Chloe really can't focus well enough to be sure. The redhead absently presses her mouth sweetly into Beca's hair – partly just because she can, but also because nothing else really even seems important, to Chloe, outside of loving these two girls with every part of her whole heart – and she feels Beca's tongue, stroking tenderly along the fresh punctures just above Chloe's breast, in answer.

Distantly, Chloe recognizes how proud and honored and genuinely thrilled she is to – finally – bear that Mark, but- everything else still feels a little bit blurry, for Chloe.

The redhead feels tears drying against her cheeks that she only vaguely even remembers shedding, in the first place, and Chloe's arms coil around the Vampire Queen's neck with such ferocity that Chloe thinks it's probably a pretty fortunate thing that Beca doesn't actually need to breathe – because, honestly, Chloe doesn't think that she could release her Queen, right now, even if she wanted to.

She doesn't quite feel frozen, exactly – Chloe just feels sort of- heavy.

She feels sated and tired and like it's practically impossible to move any part of herself at all, but Chloe mostly thinks that's fine, because she doesn't really need to move, anyway; she already has everything that she needs – everything that matters – right in the bed beside her, and nothing in the entire aca-loving universe could convince Chloe to leave it.

Still, the inability to move should probably concern Chloe a little bit more than it actually does – only, Chloe really doesn't have all that much time to think about it.

The redhead's heart sputters unexpectedly back to life with a couple of near-shattering thumps against her ribs, and Chloe's chest abruptly begins to burn with all of the vicious, demolishing grace of an overcooked volcano; the redhead feels like she is literally erupting from the inside out, and Chloe whimpers out a startled, frightened sound in answer, but it's swiftly followed by a desperately aching gasp, instead.

The pain doesn't last for very long, but it's immediately replaced with something- different.

The sensation shifts, just a little, so that Chloe doesn't actually feel burned, anymore, but- warmed; it feels like Chloe's been carried from inside the bellies of the fire to right beside it, instead, and the comforting heat of that feeling spreads outward from the bleeding injury in Chloe's chest until it pumps all the way down through the redhead's flexing toes.

Chloe's heart pulses radically in instant reply; it practically explodes with a frenzied rush of blisteringly powerful emotion, and- Chloe doesn't actually know what to do.

Chloe just– She suddenly feels so much.

She is so excruciatingly tired, but somehow still charged with raw, electric energy; she is tremendously proud, but also deeply, irrationally concerned; she is more eager than she has ever been and she's more aroused than Chloe ever even knew she could become, really, but she's also so completely satisfied that she literally cannot imagine how she can still so greedily want more.

Above all of that, though, Chloe just feels- love, strong and faithful and timeless, pouring into her heart from pretty much every direction until the thing basically feels ready to burst with it.

Chloe really isn't sure where all of that emotion even comes from, in the first place – because all Chloe thinks is that she is just so happy, here with Aubrey and Beca, and nothing else actually matters, to the redhead, truthfullybut each new emotion feels equally as urgent as the last, and Chloe doesn't even know how to answer them.

Chloe is good at emotion. In fact, Chloe is great at it – but even Chloe has never had to cope with so many of them all at once, and she's pretty sure that her heart might actually be short-circuiting strictly because she doesn't know what to do with them all.

"Oh, Red," the Vampire Queen hums softly into Chloe's chest, and Chloe feels her breath as it spills hotly across her injured flesh.

Chloe trembles, because even though she's pretty positive that her lady parts are too sensitive to even think about taking more, Beca is still the most devastatingly seductive creature Chloe's ever even met, and she really just can't help it.

"You look so pretty when you fall apart for me," Beca tells her on a quiet, lingering sigh, and Chloe gasps when her heart knocks viciously against her ribs with an angry pulse of dire need. "You look so pretty when you're mine," Beca growls softly, as a sharp, delicious jolt of confident possession spears through Chloe's gut, and Chloe practically sobs, in answer. "Can you feel what it does to me?" The Vampire Queen purrs gently, moving soft, pink lips to press into the skin of Chloe's throat, and Chloe hears Aubrey whimper in instant reply to the words, but the redhead doesn't actually understand why.

At least, not at first.

It takes a second – Chloe is overwhelmed and dazed and also about a hundred other things that she can't actually even name, right now – but, eventually, Chloe really hears the question that Beca posed for her.

Beca wants to know if Chloe can feel what it does to her to see Chloe, this way – and, Chloe understands with a long, comprehensive blink, she does.

Chloe is tired, all on her own, but- Aubrey is tired, too, she realizes; Chloe doesn't feel worried, but- Aubrey just felt Chloe's heart stop beating from right beneath her own palm, and Chloe knows her girlfriend well enough to know that Aubrey is probably a little concerned by that, even if the blonde did just suffer through the same experience; Chloe's body still thrums with tiny little echoes of pleasure, but- Chloe imagines that Aubrey's body probably still does, too.

But Beca–

Oh, Beca is an aca-loving powerhouse of energy, right now; she is desperate and hot and she wants – but, more than that, Beca needs.

And Chloe knows, because- Chloe can feel all of it.

It's insane, to the redhead, that she can feel Aubrey's exhaustion weighing down over top of her own; it's insane that she can actually feel Aubrey's worry, stirring nervous little flutters throughout Chloe's already-too-active heart; it's insane that she can feel Aubrey's wholehearted satisfaction, and that she can feel how proud Aubrey is to belong to Beca, the way that she does now.

It's insane and wonderful and Chloe probably adores it, but she isn't actually even sure, because- as exhilarating as it is for Chloe to be able to feel Aubrey, this way, it's another thing, altogether, to feel her Queen, in this way, too.

Beca's emotions are incredible, to Chloe.

The Vampire Queen is so eager to love her and Aubrey that the emotion actually feels too big, for Chloe – like it's too much; like she hasn't lived long enough, yet, to even fathom an emotion of this magnitude, and like her human heart can't even bear it.

Beca has waited thousands of years to know a love like this one, and she has yearned for it; she has wanted this love for so long now, and she feels every part of it so fiercely, Chloe now realizes fully – but, somehow, Beca has reliably maintained a measure of deferential patience, with them, that the redhead honestly just can't even believe.

The Vampire Queen wants them, and they are hers, so she shouldn't even have to wait for them, anymore; Beca shouldn't have even had to wait this long – she definitely shouldn't have had to wait for Aubrey and Chloe to find that kind of relief before her, the redhead thinks – and Chloe–

God, Chloe can barely stand it.

"Beca," she whimpers weakly, testing her capacity for motion and smoothing her palm frantically over Beca's cotton-covered spine. "Beca, sweetie, I don't– I can't– "

Chloe tries, but her tongue is twisted and her mind is practically mush, and that's- honestly just that very best that Chloe can even do, right now.

"Shh," Beca hushes her softly, nose stroking warmly down the length of Chloe's own. "It's alright, precious thing," she coos earnestly. "It's alright," Beca repeats on a sweet, loving murmur. "Take as long as you need, Princess."

Chloe shakes her head with an incredulous, breathy laugh, but it's hard to calm her heart when it's busy swelling up with pride, the way that it is now; she knows that Beca is Queen, and she even has a vague idea of what that title means, among Vampires, but- it makes Chloe warm all over to be named as Beca's Princess, even if that title only actually has meaning for Chloe.

Because, really, it just means that Chloe belongs to her, and Chloe- honestly can't imagine a feeling better than that.

Beca laughs into the redhead's skin and hums out a noise that is, all at once, both delighted and amused, before she murmurs warmly, "Posen liked that name, too. I'll have to remember to use it more often," she smirks, and Chloe can feel the shape of her mouth move as her muscles shift to form the expression.

It takes another moment for Chloe to find words, but she's a little bit comforted by the fact that Aubrey really isn't that much better off; the blonde's palm opens and closes greedily over Chloe's heart, like she wants nothing more in the world than for Beca to offer Aubrey some part of her body, just to touch, and something like a desperate groan spills from somewhere deep inside of Aubrey's chest.

"Please," Chloe whines out eventually. "Becs, please," she begs earnestly. "Let me see you," Chloe pleads. "Let me feel you, Beca, please," she whispers frantically. "God, you need it so badly, honey – I can feel it. Just let me- let me make it better. Let us make it better for you, sweetheart, please."

Beca shuffles around, just for a second, until her weight bears down over Chloe's hips and the brunette's back straightens, creating more than enough room for Aubrey's fingers to drift purposefully across the damp plane of Chloe's chest and brush curiously across Beca's Mark on her skin; it doesn't hurt – which is probably something that Chloe should try and remember to ask Beca about, later – but it feels comforting and sweet and just a little unexpectedly hot, and Chloe moans softly, in reply.

"Chloe," Beca chuckles, deep and low and rumbling, until Chloe's fingers shake where they fall over top of Beca's hips, and the Vampire Queen's nails dig sharply into the muscle of Chloe's stomach, in answer, "if you would like to see me nude," Beca murmurs teasingly, "then maybe you should do something about it."

And that- sounds an awful lot like permission, to Chloe.

Apparently Aubrey agrees with her, because the blonde's fingers curl around the hem of Beca's top in the same instant that Chloe's do, too, and they jointly slide the neck of Beca's shirt over the brunette's ears pretty much as soon as Beca raises her arms toward the air in order to help them do it.

Chloe and Aubrey honestly spare just as little interest for the rest of Beca's clothing, and they aren't especially elegant in their removal.

The redhead fumbles at the strap of a mostly basic black bra, with just a tiny bit of lace decorated along the trim, but Chloe's hands are trembling so violently that she can't actually even help it. When it shakes loose from Beca's wrists, Aubrey eases the Vampire Queen gently onto her side and then down, until Beca lies pliantly on the bed beneath them. Chloe watches from Beca's hip with a small, breathless giggle as Aubrey is forced to slow their pace, inching practically painted on skinny jeans and a pair of underwear that Chloe never even sees down the length of Beca's thighs, over her calves, and past her ankles.

And then- Beca is completely nude.

Chloe's sort of seen her this way once before, maybe, but- not like this.

Beca had tried to cover herself, that day in the shower; she'd tried to hide from Chloe's eager eyes, and she'd averted her own from Chloe's body, too. Beca had crossed her arms and tucked herself inward, eyes admirably drifting toward the ceiling instead of scouring the length of Chloe's frame, and Chloe thinks that memory is probably one of her very most favorite ones, but that's- nothing like now.

Because, now, Beca lofts her brow in silent, smirking challenge, and her silver eyes glitter with affection and command and utter desire; now, Beca lies splayed across her and Aubrey's bed like an offering, arms agreeably resting at her sides, and now–

Now, Chloe can see her.

Beca's eyes seem brighter, in the night – almost like tiny, silver stars – and the slope of her generous breasts casts the most flattering silhouette against her bedroom wall that Chloe has ever seen; it's late and dark and it's been cloudy all night long, but- Beca's pale, perfect skin glows all the way from her scalp down to small, precious little toes, and Chloe swears on the spot that the moon probably hasn't made an appearance tonight because all of its light is somehow snared beneath her Queen's royal flesh.

Chloe can't catch her breath.

Beca is just- beautiful, like this – beautiful in a way that is probably more comparable to a goddess than a girl, Chloe thinks worshipfully – and the Vampire Queen's body is a genuine, seductive treasure.

And Chloe really isn't surprised that Aubrey thinks so, too.

"God," the blonde hisses, fingers reverently stretching outward to stroke delicately across the flexing, frankly ridiculous muscle of Beca's quivering abs. "You can't– Jesus, you can't be real," Aubrey breathes incredulously, emerald eyes following the cautious, gentle exploration of her fingers as Beca growls softly, in reply.

"Beca," Chloe whispers tremblingly, nails scraping just barely across the flesh of Beca's chest, "you're so- perfect," the redhead swears, and Chloe doesn't think that she's ever meant anything more sincerely in her whole entire life. "Aubrey, she's just– "

"No," the blonde interrupts softly. "No, that was– You had it right," she breathes, and there is so much genuine awe in her voice that Chloe thinks she might could cry. "She's perfect," Aubrey swallows thickly, and Chloe watches as she shifts, just a little; just enough to settle Beca's legs comfortably between her thighs.

Chloe is pressed so tightly into Beca's body that she can feel Aubrey calf as it rubs softly against her own, but she only pays attention to it long enough for the blonde to distract her in a different way.

Aubrey lowers her mouth to Beca's ear, and she whispers something soft and sweet and gentle that Chloe can't honestly even hear, but- Chloe doesn't actually need to; she feels a rush of tender affection, and of promise and of endless love, and Chloe doesn't know which one of them it actually comes from, to begin with, but- that feeling is really all that Chloe cares about.

She watches the blonde's mouth as it moves tenderly across the line of Beca's jaw, but when her smudged, swollen lips press into their Queen's, that's basically all that Chloe even thinks she's able to take; she lets her fingers draw circles over Beca's heart, widening the berth a little at every turn, until her fingers ghost across the point of a gorgeously pink, straining nipple.

Beca snarls into Aubrey's mouth in surprise the instant that Chloe's fingers skim across her breast, and Aubrey stops, just for a second, to release a soft, startled little laugh, in answer. Chloe has to smile, though, even if it maybe isn't the most appropriate time; it's just that- a surge of vicious affection swarms through Chloe, and the sheer depth of that emotion makes it clear exactly who it spawns from.

The Vampire Queen positively adores them, Chloe thinks wondrously, and it is such an overpoweringly remarkable thing to actually be able to feel that kind of devotion and unfaltering sincerity swelling wide through her own heart.

It's probably too much, and it probably also might kill her, Chloe thinks, but it's also just- absolutely remarkable.

Chloe's fingers pull softly at Beca's nipple, and the redhead isn't ashamed to admit that she mostly only even keeps doing it just because she likes the way that Beca moves, in answer. She likes the way that her back arches, chest pressing into Aubrey's own until the blonde mewls out something heated and quiet like she can't actually even help herself; she likes the way that Beca's palm rises to curl over Chloe's ass and squeeze, just to encourage her more, like that's something that Chloe even needs.

Like Chloe even requires more incentive to touch her.

The Vampire Queen hasn't asked for them to touch her, yet, though; she hasn't demanded Chloe's fingers between her thighs, or Aubrey's tongue against her clit. Beca hasn't asked for anything from them since Chloe's most recent orgasm, and Chloe's brow furrows in confusion, the moment that she realizes it.

"Becs?" She murmurs softly and frowns. "How- How do you want us to…?"

Aubrey stops moving, mouth hovering over the brunette's neck in sudden curiosity, like she's waiting on their Queen's reply just as eagerly as Chloe is, too.

"Oh, my sweet girl," Beca shakes her head and smiles tenderly, and Chloe gasps as a debilitating wave of pure, honest love crashes down the length of her spine until Chloe's whole body feels like it's drowning underneath of it, "I won't tell you how to love me. Not tonight," she promises warmly. "Do anything you'd like to me; I'm yours," Beca vows, and Chloe feels the sweet, undying truth of that as it pierces through her heart and nearly stills the frantically pulsing organ all over again.

Aubrey whines into Beca's throat, teeth tugging urgently across a small stretch of Beca's skin, and she shifts her hips just enough to grind them down over the brunette's own. Chloe watches as Beca hisses, air slurping violently through elongated fangs that alter the sound, just a little; just enough to make the noise emerge more like an angered animal than anything else, and Chloe is surprised by just how sharply her arousal surges, in answer.

Chloe sighs – something complicated and loving and warm – because they are just perfect, together, and Chloe loves them both with everything that she even is.

Still, Beca's arousal churns with delicious aggression, deep inside of Chloe's core, and that- really shouldn't still be a thing, the redhead considers idly; Beca has waited practically forever to feel their love, like this, and Chloe is tired of building her up for it.

Beca doesn't need foreplay; she just needs them.

Chloe cradles her fingers more firmly around the cup of Beca's breast, and she offers it a gentle, rhythmic sort of massage, just for a second; her lips press fleetingly into Beca's shoulder, across her collarbone, and briefly into Beca's neck, but- Chloe's angle really isn't good for this.

Aubrey is spread over top of Beca like a full-body blanket, and it almost makes Chloe laugh, except that- she can't actually reach most of Beca's body, with Aubrey's shielding it away from her.

It's sweet that Aubrey is so eager to feel her – sweet that Aubrey wants so desperately just to love her – but this really just won't work; Chloe hates to move her, but she honestly can only bring herself to hate it a little, because- Chloe just needs access.

"Bree," she whimpers into Beca's throat, and she watches the blonde's mouth pull dazedly apart from Beca's own, to face her.

The Vampire Queen still smirks – still watches the pair of them with the most intense, intrusively affectionate stare that Chloe's ever seen; still lies expectantly beneath them in wait for what they might eventually get around to doing to her – and Chloe has to actually take a second, after Aubrey pushes herself upward, just to remember why she'd even urged them apart, to begin with.

"Aubrey, sweetie," Chloe pants out finally, "I need to feel her, too," she pleads softly, and Aubrey–

She actually blushes with embarrassment, and Chloe feels the heated, nervous feeling of it as it rages up through her own cheeks.

"Oh, baby, no," Chloe shakes her head with a disbelieving laugh. "I love watching you together. I love it, Bree," she insists breathlessly. "But she just– God, Aubrey, she needs us so badly, and I can't- I can't reach," she giggles, winded and wholeheartedly amazed by the way that Beca makes them feel, and Chloe squeezes a little harder around the Vampire Queen's breast, just for emphasis.

Beca growls all over again – vicious and unrepentant and positively dangerous – and Chloe trembles all over when the Vampire Queen's persistent greed abruptly becomes her own.

It's crazy and hot and so blatantly overwhelming, but Chloe thinks this equal trade of emotion is probably the best thing that's ever happened to her in her whole entire life, and she positively adores that she can feel Aubrey's need swelling in perfect unison with her own; it's sort of perfect, and Chloe really doesn't care if it's also strange and unnatural and maybe a little bit unreal.

Aubrey falls swiftly to Beca's opposite side, and Chloe groans as her own fingers almost mechanically search the strip of flesh between the brunette's heaving breasts. Aubrey's fingers map a trail between Beca's hips, below her, slim digits sinking through dips and coasting with growing urgency across their Queen's trembling stomach, and Chloe–

Chloe has been patient.

She has waited out Aubrey's hesitance, and her doubt, and she has waited out Beca's frankly impossible need to love them 'thoroughly,' and with all the time in the world. Chloe has been patient, even if her patience still can't even begin to compare with Beca's, but Chloe is only human.

She is finished waiting, and Chloe really doesn't give an aca-flying fuck about patience, right now.

In an instant, Chloe drops her greedy mouth over Beca's attention-seeking nipple, and she feels the Vampire Queen's fingers instantly tangle between the threads of Chloe's hair, in answer; Beca purrs out a gently satisfied noise as Chloe's tongue laps sweetly across the sensitive skin in her mouth, and Chloe physically feels the brunette's chest vibrating beneath the pleasure.

Aubrey hums, fingers growing bold as they brave the bare flesh of Beca's heat, and Aubrey abruptly gasps sharply with unprecedented need in the very same moment that Beca's palm closes forcefully over Chloe's hair, tearing the redhead's neck backward until Beca's mouth crashes furiously into Chloe's own.

The redhead really can't even breathe, and when Beca's teeth score familiarly through Chloe's lower lip, a violently insistent feeling of being owned plagues instantly throughout her body.

"Chloe," Aubrey whimpers, and the redhead can really only manage to pant, in reply to the sudden realization that Aubrey can feel it; the blonde can actually feel the way that Chloe's entire body comes to life at the thought of being possessed, by Beca, and it's probably the most relieving thing that Chloe's ever known to realize that she doesn't even need to explain her feelings.

Because Aubrey and Beca already know.

"Just- fuck her, Aubrey," Chloe pleads frantically, breaths pooling over Beca's mouth as blue eyes bear desperately down over the darkening silver of the Vampire Queen's own. "Please," Chloe begs in silent obedience, when Beca expectantly lofts her brow at Chloe's maybe somewhat firm request.

Beca chuckles, soft and slow and comfortingly warm, which is honestly just a little bit confusing, for Chloe – because, at the same time, Chloe feels her Mark begin to throb with hard, impatient desire, and it burns through Chloe's skin like acid.

Aubrey mumbles something rushed and quiet and basically incoherent, but it probably isn't really even all that important, Chloe thinks, because, in the next instant, Beca's hips arch upward and her chest pushes aggressively into Chloe's tender palm. The redhead chances a glance toward Aubrey's hand, and Chloe feels a wave of frenzied need blast through every single part of her body when she finds the blonde's hand positively lost in Beca's heat, palm pressing into the Vampire Queen's clit with every gentle stroke of Aubrey slim, elegant fingers inside of Beca's slickened core.

"Oh, God," Aubrey rasps, and Chloe swears up and down that she has literally never even heard Aubrey's voice scratch quite this deep. "Chloe," she hisses with a shake of her head. "Oh, Chloe, she's so wet."

And Chloe– really can't remember what patience even means.

She whines softly and presses her mouth just fleetingly into Beca's – just long enough for her Queen's tongue to swipe, deliberately slowly, across the bleeding cut in Chloe's lip and moan, once she has tasted Chloe's life in her mouth – before she slinks down the length of Beca's body with tiny, dedicated kisses to every field of luxuriously pale skin that Chloe can find, along the way.

The redhead's lips stall briefly at Beca's hips – mostly because