~1000 words :: Vampire Chronicles :: Claudia :: 3/20/02
If I can’t be happy then neither should they.

If I can’t be happy then neither should they.

When had she first had that thought? When had she first realized that she would never grow up, that no man would ever see her as anything other than a little girl? When had the love she’d had for them been replaced by hate and resentment? When had she begun to consciously try to come between them? Too long ago. Too long ago to remember.

Not that it took much. They were always on edge, always on guard against each other. So different in most things, so alike in their pride. Pride that kept them from admitting how they felt. Pride that kept them from seeing what was right before their eyes. Why she hardly had to do a thing, they did it all for her.

But just in case, just to be certain, just to make sure. A little push here, a prod there, when they started to get to close. A whispered word to one, casting doubt on the other’s motives. How easy it was! Almost like a game.

And the words went round and round in her head like a magic spell. If I can’t be happy then neither should they.

She looked over at Louis sitting in his chair by the fire. Reading, as always. Long black hair trying its best to escape the confines of a black ribbon. Wearing a green vest tonight…that wasn’t a good sign. She didn’t want him to dress for Lestat. He wouldn’t wear anything but black and grey and other drab colors if left to himself. What was he thinking tonight?

She had worked so hard last night. They were already on edge from some silly arguments on the way home from the theatre and she had made a few comments, innocent, they supposed. Enough to send Lestat off on Louis, and, never one to back down, Louis had given as good as he got. Practically ready to come to blows by the time they reached the flat, Lestat had stormed inside, slamming the door.

Glaring after him, Louis had taken her hand. “I guess that means I’ll be taking you to your lessons tonight then,” he said, obviously trying for her sake to sound cheerful. For her sake. As if she was some little child. She didn’t need lessons for anything, she was a vampire the same as they were. Not some stupid little girl. Couldn’t they see?

But she had just smiled up at him. “Lestat’s so mean to you. He must hate you. I can’t imagine hurting you like that, Louis.”

He had blanched and smiled sickly. “You shouldn’t speak so of him.”

“No, of course not. I’m sorry,” she had replied sweetly, ducking her head to hide the smile that spread across her face. She knew how he hated to think that Lestat might really hate him, how secretly he feared that his feelings were all one-sided, that Lestat’s moments of kindness and tenderness were just whims, and she did everything she could to encourage him in that sort of thinking.

He had left her at her lessons and headed home, somewhat more subdued by her comments, but anyone could see he was still angry with Lestat. She had been sure Lestat was raging back at the flat, sure that they’d continue their fight in her absence, no longer holding back because of her. When Louis had picked her up again, he had been quiet, and when they returned home Lestat was gone and Louis went straight to his room, leaving her alone. She had thought her plan had worked, they were too angry to even stay in the same house!

But what was this nonsense? Had they made up somehow? What had really happened when she was gone? Her mind was racing.

Then the door opened and Lestat came in. Louis looked up from his book and smiled, smiled at Lestat! And Lestat smiled back! She felt like screaming. She felt like crying. Her mind stopped registering what was happening. She saw and yet did not see when Louis got up from his chair to greet Lestat. She heard and yet did not hear Lestat’s “good evening” to her. Her mind was blank as she stared.

“Claudia…?” one or the other asked. She didn’t even know who it was who spoke. Didn’t care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore. All her efforts had been for naught. “I, I’ll be in my room,” she said faintly as she got up.

This wouldn’t do. If they were happy what would become of her? They would leave her all alone in this stupid body. This stupid body they had given her. They would have to pay. That was it. I’ll have to kill them, she thought. Her heart was a cold stone in her chest. She didn’t have any human feelings to get in the way, she was a vampire. But then why was she crying? What was this feeling of dread that clawed its way up her throat and threatened to burst forth in a scream? She tried to steel herself, tried to remind herself that she didn’t love these men any longer. Tried to make herself believe she never had. Tried to shore up her will with bitterness.

But that night when she climbed into the coffin with Louis and heard his soft voice asking if she was all right, she knew she couldn’t kill him. Couldn’t kill him directly, but she had no such qualms about Lestat. And if she killed Lestat, then what was left for Louis anyway? Why, without Lestat, maybe he would turn to her instead! Why hadn’t she thought of it before?

She smiled in the dark and the words went round and round in her head again. If I can’t be happy then neither should they. But her smile faded as the death sleep took her, and a small red tear trickled down her cheek.