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Breakfast in Bed

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Barb hummed to herself in the kitchen as she fixed breakfast: Two eggs over easy, vegan sausage, and homemade hash browns. She danced around to her own tune, her space-print pajama pants flowing around her scrawny legs. Eventually her song found words, which, surprisingly, was very melodic, and it filled her small studio apartment.

From the bed nearby, a soft groan came from under a large mound of blankets before Barb narrowly missed a throw pillow expertly being chucked at her head, giving a soft yelp as she hit the dirt. “That wasn’t very nice, кукла.” Barb said, trying to hide her smile in her voice.

A soft curse in Russian came as her only reply before the mound moved and finally fell away, revealing a mess of bright red hair and a scowl, Tatiana’s piercing blue eyes glaring daggers into Barb.

“What’s that, dear?” Barb asked innocently, turning with the tray of food and moving to sit on the edge of the bed before handing a cup of black coffee to the Russian.

“благодарю вас.” Tatiana said, taking the cup gratefully, voice still thick with sleep. She took a careful sip of her coffee, then inhaled deeply. “It’s perfect, Barb, how do you always manage to do everything right?”

Barb’s cheeks heated, and she grinned as she sat the tray in Tati’s lap, then snuggled in beside her. Tatiana sat the cup down on the tray, wrapping her free arm around Barb as she picked up one of the vegan sausage links. “I wouldn’t say perfect… I just… don’t want to mess this up, you know?”

Tati smiled softly down at her, leaning down to kiss her forehead lovingly. “I would. You’re absolutely perfect, Barb, from the way you fix my breakfast because I am not a, how you say, morning person, every cup of coffee you make is perfect, and they way you fit so nicely into my arms…” She pulled Barb closer for emphasis. “...perfect. Every single bit of it.”

Barb grinned widely up at her and, morning-and-now-coffee breath be damned, leaned up to place a soft kiss on Tati’s lips, which she returned gratefully. “You’re pretty perfect, too, you know…”

Tatiana laughed in amusement at this, inspecting her sausage before taking a bite, a bit of her sweatshirt sleeve sliding down to reveal her wrist. It was then that Barb noticed a small, pink scar on Tatiana’s exposed skin, in the shape of a star; it didn’t look like a tattoo, though, almost… “I can assure you, Barb, darling, I am quite far from perfection.”

“Where’d you get that?” Barb asked softly, and Tatiana laughed and was about to comment until she realized where Barb was pointing.

Tati’s face grew pale white, and she looked away, quickly covering up her wrist. “I-it’s nothing, don’t worry about it-“

“Did… they do that to you? When they… took you?”

Tatiana toyed with her fingers for a moment, abandoning the sausage on the tray. “I…” She sighed heavily. “Yes. Yes, they did this to me, to ensure that I was their property, that I would be found if I’d gotten away.”

Barb’s face softened, heart shattering. “Could… could I see it?” Tatiana grew tense, Barb noticed, and she hesitated. “I promise I won’t judge, or say anything awful. I just want to see it…”

Tatiana chewed the inside of her lip and a few moments of silence passed between the pair before she offered her wrist to Barb.

Barb took Tati’s hand gingerly, carefully rolling up the sleeve just enough so she could see the scar. Now that it was closer, she noticed that it had a familiar hammer and sickle on the inside. It was slightly raised, she noticed, and she furrowed her brow a bit. She raised her thumb over top of it, then met Tatiana’s gaze. The redhead nodded, and Barb ran her thumb across the scar gently. “This… looks really painful… or that it was really painful…”

“It was.” The smallness of Tatiana’s voice made Barb’s heart sink. “It still is, the pain of the memories, the… the awful things I did…” she hung her head. “I’m so ashamed of myself…”

Barb peered up at her in time to catch a few tears rolling down her cheeks. “Hey…” she squeezed her hand gently. “This doesn’t make me think of you any less, okay? That’s the past, it means nothing now. You aren’t that same little girl anymore. You’re a kind, funny, totally badass person whom I adore and am in love with.”

Once more, Tatiana’s eyes welled up with tears, but Barb only had a moment to register before Tati’s lips were crashing onto hers. After a moment, Tati pulled away, pressing her forehead to Barb’s, tears flowing freely. “Y-you are crazy, you know, absolutely mad, for loving such a broken woman as me… but, for you, Barbara Larvernor, my ангел… I would do anything.”

Barb smiled warmly, cupping Tati’s cheeks in her hands. “That’s my girl…” she whispered, wiping Tatiana’s tears away with her thumbs. “Do… do you have any others? Scars?”

Tati pressed her lips together, but nodded. “I… I do… they’re worse than this, are you sure you want to see?”

Barb nodded gently, scooting back a bit to give Tati a bit of space. “I’m sure.”

Tatiana sighed softly, then nodded before tugging off her sweatshirt, leaving her in a sports bra. Her back and shoulders were littered with light pink scars, some small as the tip of a nail, others thick and meticulous.

Barb moved to sit behind Tatiana, then planted a kiss on every single scar she could count. Thirty-seven in total, she noted internally, but she didn’t care. She was still her Tatiana, smooth as silk or rough as the ocean. “Thank you for showing me, Tati, I’m so proud of you… I know that took a lot of courage, and I’m so honored that you trusted me enough to tell me this…” she wrapped her arms around Tati’s back, kissing the spot between her shoulder blades.

“Barb?” Tatiana asked after a moment of silence.

“Yeah, Tati?”

“I love you.”

Barb pressed her face flush against Tati’s warm back, smiling brightly. “I love you, too, T.”