The first time they kiss it’s confusing. It’s past midnight and they’ve just been kicked out of the library, being the only two students left at closing time. Faybelle, because her family expects nothing but the very best and Briar, who takes enough accidental naps to stay up all night with minimal effort. They weren’t studying *together* but they’re in the same space because it’s late and the library is ancient. (There probably aren’t monsters hiding in the stacks, but better safe than sorry.) And, when Giles ushers them out the door, they’re left standing in the slumbering school together. Faybelle shifts, tucking her hair behind her ear and Briar slides the last book into her bag. ‘Cause, they aren’t exactly friends? Faybelle is COMMITTED to her destiny and always has been. (if her life is going to be tragic and lonely it’ll be glorious and intentionally so) Briar doesn’t like to think about the future, about leaving all her friends for a hundred-year sleep and Faybelle is unable to be anything but the object of her destruction. Everything between them is loaded and precise (exactly the opposite of Raven and Apple who love each other more than anyone in the history of the universe ever has . . . and are completely unaware of that fact.) (Faybelle thinks it’s funny, in a bitter kind of way, two people set in the wrong roles to get the happy ending they deserve. Briar thinks it’s heartbreaking) All that to say, she and Briar are immensely careful around each other, they aren’t friends, just people who’ll be colleagues for maybe two minutes ten years from now - except, except nights like these. Late, when everyone’s asleep, when expectations can be set aside and two scared girls can sit against a wall and talk about stupid pointless things to make the other feel better. (because they’re connected whether they like it or not. Their futures and feelings are bound together, for better or worse.) That night, when Faybelle walks Briar to her room, it feels very much for better. Their lips brush and it feels like flying but a million times better. Briar slips into her room with a smile and Faybelle stands outside her closed door for a full minute before remembering that her room’s on a different floor.
The second time it’s messy, frantic, full of unspoken gratitude or frustration or something harder to define. Faybelle needs to make one thing clear, she did NOT join the rebels for herself. She might not be a great person, she might excel at being the bad guy, and this might play into that perfectly, but she’s also dedicated and skilled and has been building her whole life around her destiny. She fits the script, doesn’t need to shake the very foundation of their world like Raven, but suddenly the option is here and there’s a potential world where Briar doesn’t live in fear of the future, crying with the effort to not fall asleep each night. Faybelle throws all her plans aside for the opportunity and when Briar confronts her about the choice, and “How could you do this?” she’s unused to selfless acts and hurls her intent at Briar “I DID IT FOR YOU!” Briar takes a step back, processing this declaration, and pushes Faybelle up against the wall, crushing their bodies together as if feelings can be more easily understood by a fey tongue in your mouth. It’s chaotic and brilliant and everything is even more complicated, but Faybelle smells like wintergreen and Briar feels more awake than she ever has.
They continue like this. Their whole school is shaking, trying to figure out what a life without destiny means. Faybelle knows that they aren’t “dating” or even together in any real sense because Briar is “probably straight!” and she doesn’t have time for anything involving feelings, (just making out in the corners of the school and occasionally arguing about what Blondie should cover next or something equally mundane after their tandem study sessions end. It’s weird, learning things about a person who you know down to the ground but only as an archetype. Hearing Briar talk about her life is different than hearing a relative detail her potential weak points. Faybelle likes this kind of getting to know her more.) People are so much more than Faybelle’s ever given them credit for and Briar enjoys being the focus of such exploration.
They still spin on opposite ends of a circle – the seemingly endless pushmepullyou of it all keeping them from ever meeting in the middle, but there’s something sweet in the journey. Faybelle understands the gigantic world history textbook easily and Briar explains trig functions again and again until the fairy understands. The studying turns into more. The kisses increase in frequency. Raven still refuses to accept destiny. Somehow they get through to senior year without any truly gigantic catastrophes with some kind of pseudo plan for the next few years. (and maybe life? TBA)
That January Faybelle, playing with Briar’s hair on her *something’s* (Girlfriend? Best friend? Soulmate? Nemesis?) bed, looks over at the glowing girl. “Hey, um, do you think we missed something?”
“On a test?”
“No! like . . . here? Like without our destinies? Is that stupid?”
“Of course not, babe!” Briar sits up and takes the shorter girl’s hands. “We might be something new, but I think that’s good. I’d much rather live in a world moving forwards than sideways.”
Faybelle smiles at the attempted analogy. Briar goes on, “We’re allowed to be other things. Raven’s probably the greatest hero of our time!”
“Ohhhhhh PLEASE,” (Fay shrieks with laughter) “She did that because of Apple. Not for anything noble.”
"Hey! She did it for all of us. And are you complaining about the . . . relationship freedom?”
Faybelle blushes and concedes the point. “And the destiny? That’s just gone? Forever?”
Briar pauses, “I don’t think it’s like most people expect. Destiny might be an iron grip on all our lives, but what if it’s a little kinder? What if it’s just a guide? Like we get handed certain ingredients but life is still what we make it.”
“So, people? We get people?”
“Yes!” Briar leans closer, far into Faybelle’s space. The coconut scent of her hair is heady and glorious. “Simply put, I don’t think you’re ever gonna get rid of me.” The space between them closes and, whether it’s destiny or just them, if there’s any reason for a beautiful girl to be on Fay’s bed, the lucky stars should be thanked from here to infinity.