i once believed love would be burning red
but it's golden
like daylight, like daylight
- taylor swift
They arrive in Mantle in the heart of winter, in the dead of night.
Heavy snowfall blankets the city in a layer of white and her ears flick irritably ever so often as the flakes melt, ice-cold, in her hair.
Blake is so tired, like they’re facing the Apathy again, except it’s the entirety of Atlas that’s sapping the energy and will from her bones. Logically, she knows that it’s a result of barely managing to catch a few winks of sleep on the airship, preferring instead to spend the time vigilantly watching the steady rise and fall of Yang’s chest as she slept.
Her partner had kept a steadying hand around her waist for the entirety of the flight—the press of her palm still burns at the small of her back. Shortly after, Yang had fallen asleep on her shoulder, hair like a delicate curtain over her face as it brushed and tickled Blake's collarbones. Nothing else could have held a candle to the way their bodies melted liquid against each other.
A quick call from Winter confirms that she’s made arrangements for them to have a comfortable—if slightly spartan—stay while they wait for an audience with Ironwood. That alone could take several weeks, Weiss informs them disgruntledly. Blake can feel the undercurrent fear in Weiss’ defensive body language—what will her father do when he finds out that she’s back in Atlas? It doesn’t matter what he does, Blake thinks. They’ll stand behind her. All of them. But for now, their group carves a path through the blistering cold.
It's a ten-minute walk from the airship hanger to the military-issued apartments, and almost everyone is shivering as they brave the biting chill—Blake most of all with the lack of a coat. Yang makes it better, of course. She makes everything better, and Blake's way past the point of trying to figure out the why of it all. The delicious heat that radiates from the woman beside her is almost enough to keep the cold at bay.
Blake watches her partner tighten her grip on the relic as they make their way to their new accommodations. Yang had chosen, with a vicious sense of certainty, to be the one to carry it. Not Ruby, not Qrow, and certainly not Oscar. No, Yang holds the lamp in a tightly-gripped hand, knuckles bleeding white with the force of it.
Her other hand stays firmly in Blake’s, their fingers entangled; black, yellow and bronze—saying we’ll shoulder this burden together with their palms kissing. The warmth spreads and spreads from that singular point of contact and Blake can hardly stop blushing like a schoolgirl whenever a metal thumb brushes gently back and forth across her knuckles.
But Atlas is as biting and cold as Ilia had warned; its people are worse. Low murmurs float through the air around them, against a chorus of crunching snow. Even though it’s nearing midnight, several people still litter the streets—soldiers patrolling; uppity citizens returning home from their fancy dinner parties on foot or in cars.
(“It’s like they just want to forget there’s a war going on. They don’t even care,” she recalls Weiss’ frustration.)
The streets are well-lit and Blake’s ears have been on display since she threw her ribbon into the ocean. She can feel their stares flaying her skin, muttered-under-breath insults like needles pinning her ears flat to her skull. Because how dare a Faunus pollute their streets? It's only been an hour since they landed and she already fucking hates Atlas. She hasn’t missed her ribbon nor the simmering heat of Menagerie until now.
A gentle, comforting squeeze to her hand pulls her away from her thoughts. Yang's at her side where she always is, eyes glinting red and lethal as she glares down anyone who even dares glance in Blake's general direction with even the barest hint of hostility. Her grip on the lamp has visibly tightened, swaying, as though Yang is one step away from swinging the relic like a bludgeoning mace.
It’s so very appreciated but entirely too futile. Yang punching some racists’ lights out would only railroad them into seeing the inside of a jail cell instead of Ironwood’s office. It's also so very cold and all Blake wants to do is to fall asleep in a warm bed for the night. (Hopefully with Yang by her side as her very own space heater.)
"Hey," Blake prompts, trying not to swoon at the full force of Yang's attention when she turns to look at her. The way her eyes fade back to the softest shade of lilac when her furious expression relaxes into a sheepish grin has Blake feeling like she’s had her lights punched out instead.
She tugs lightly at their joined hands with a helpless smile. "You don't have to do that, you know."
There's a pause where Yang freezes like she's been caught, like she didn't expect Blake to notice the flaring heat of her Semblance in the wake of her simmering anger. An attractive pink tints Yang's cheeks as her eyes dart to the snow-capped cobblestone streets. Blake's eyes are glued to it.
"I know," Yang says, after a moment. "You'd probably kick their asses easily."
Her eyes dart back to Blake's, holds her steady there; open, loving, honest. Something akin to awe. The cold metal of Yang’s thumb brushes her knuckles, so tenderly that it steals the breath directly from her lungs. Yang shrugs casually, like she hasn't just made Blake's head spin. “But you won’t have to do it alone.”
Blake can't look away from the attractive slope of her cheekbones, the slight crinkling of her brow, the subtle uptick of the corner of her lips. As if Blake could notice anything else. She’s probably memorized every inch of Yang’s face at this point. The way her expression is an open book when it comes to Blake, speaking volumes of her affection. The way love is woven into the quirks of her sheepish grin—they’re on the precipice of something more, something greater.
Sometimes Blake looks at Yang and wonders, marvels at all the things she could feel for someone. Her heart feels ten times too full, five sizes too big; she wants nothing more than to stop in the middle of the snow to finally, finally press her lips to Yang’s like she’s wanted to do since back at Beacon.
Instead, she settles for lifting Yang’s hand to her lips, presses a gentle kiss to her knuckles. The metal kisses back, cold and satisfying. She could live and die for the way Yang's pace falters at the action, the way her aura flares so that Blake feels that rush of heat too. Exhilarating heat. And oh, Blake loves her.
They faced Adam together; they'll face Atlas together too.
"Thank you," Blake replies around the lump in her throat, against the tightening of her eyes, ears twitching with blatant emotion. I love you, she wants to say, but she knows there are other places to say it, little moments that need to be shared before she can. She has no qualms about that—they both know where they stand and where they’ll end up. They’ll just take their time getting there, getting it right.
She squeezes her hand again, curls her fingers a little tighter around Yang's.
“Anytime,” Yang answers, voice raw. Their hands swing between them, and when Weiss turns back to watch them, wondering why they're lagging behind the group, Blake answers the curious quirk of her brow with a tiny smile that no doubt speaks volumes to their friend. Weiss only grins at them before turning back to Ruby.
It's as the stark white apartment buildings come into view that Yang drops her hand to wrap an arm around her shoulders.
Oh. Who knew Atlas could ever feel so warm?
The apartment is the very definition of basic, a far cry from the high-and-mighty extravagance that's been associated for ages with Atlesian culture. But it’s functional, at least, and pragmatic at best. Blake takes in the clinical grey-white walls, a living area with a couch and two armchairs, the barest bones of a kitchen, and two rooms, four beds. There's a heater in each room and that's pretty much the only thing that she likes about it.
Already, Ruby and Yang breathe life into a stale space, their combined energy a hurricane that whirls around the space to infuse every inch of their new temporary home. It’s loud and it’s absolute chaos for such a late hour. It culminates in Yang manhandling a screeching Ruby over her shoulder, only to throw her unceremoniously onto a mattress, both of them howling with laughter. Blake mutters a small apology to their neighbors, who are most certainly military personnel with early waking hours.
Weiss has never looked so done or embarrassed with them as she stammers through an explanation to a mildly horrified Winter that yes, Ruby was the team’s esteemed leader and yes, they were the same Experienced and Serious huntresses who had stopped the White Fang’s attack on Haven and recovered the all-powerful Relic of Knowledge.
“You’re all idiots,” Weiss announces with an icy glare, when Winter finally leaves them to their own devices and some much-needed sleep. Her lips twitch like she's fighting off a smile and Blake laughs till her belly aches, feeling lighter than she’s ever felt. She’s missed her team so very much.
It’s an unspoken rule that she and Yang will share a room, so she does her best not to overthink the action of placing her backpack next to Yang's yellow duffel on the bed. But Blake knows, without a doubt, that they’ll be sharing a bed as well; sharing a singular space, speaking in hushed, gentle tones until the sky is a canvas splash of pink and yellow hues of daylight breaking.
That’s what they are, after all—inevitable.
Midnights are reserved for quiet conversation where their softly spoken words can’t and won’t leave the cocoon of shared blankets. Blake will whisper her secrets into the mystifying spill of Yang's hair, tell her about Adam and his slow but steady descent into madness; Yang will bury her face in Blake's neck, voice monotone and eyes shuttered, to talk about Raven and all the ways a mother could disappoint.
They will share the same pillow, hands clasped and cradled reverently between them, equal footing between them even in the peace. The room could very well be freezing but Blake won't feel anything past the warmth of Yang’s body next to hers. She'll feel her breath on her lips. She'll want to pull her closer, closer.
Blake will finally fall asleep, pillowed comfortably on Yang’s chest, inhaling the scent of citrus and sunflowers as their legs tangle beneath the blankets. She’ll dream of golden sunlight and the catch of breath before a kiss, the heart-drop before a fall.
Yang will rest her cheek gently in the space between her ears, but not before pressing a tender kiss to her forehead that melts her.
The intimacy slips like velvet, like gold between the cracks in her ribs, fills all the empty spaces in her chest. She's never felt like this before. They haven’t even kissed yet and Blake already wants to make a home in her arms.
(It isn't overthinking if it's going to happen, she reasons.
Gods help her, she’s in so much trouble.)
A few days after arriving in Atlas, Blake has made excellent use of their free time to catch up on the two novels that she keeps in her bag at all times. They’re worn and well-loved, with creases running down the spines that she traces carefully with a finger as she reads. When nothing new seems to catch her eye, these are the two novels that hold her attention. At present, however, the familiar words seem to fly off the page when she so much as spares them a glance.
Her eyes dart upward, narrowed, to where the cause of her distraction sits across from her. She and Yang sit at opposite ends of the tiny couch, feet overlapping and brushing in the middle; always touching, always a point of contact between them. The wooden armrest digs painfully into her back and the cushions are scratchy and rough. It's a less-than-ideal mood for reading, but when Yang’s toes make another alluring swipe against her ankle, Blake can’t bring herself to care.
She can hear the muted sounds of Yang’s game of Amity Arena on her scroll, knows that the volume's set low for her to read in peace. But that doesn’t even matter because another brush against her ankles suddenly derails her train of thought. It’s a torture that she’s endured for the past hour. Yang's tiny smirk tells Blake that she knows exactly what she's doing as she taps away on her scroll.
Another thirty minutes of torture and only making half a page of progress, she's interrupted by a, "Hey, Blake?”
Bookmarking her place in the novel with a finger, she finally lifts her eyes from the same page that she’s been valiantly attempting to read for the past twenty minutes. Curiously, Yang looks away the moment she meets her eyes, hinting at something being off.
At the quirk of her brow, Yang blushes, pretty and pink. "Sorry, I- uh- wanted to ask you something."
Blake softens, taps her foot gently against Yang’s ankle to prompt her to continue. If she drags her toes a little more sensually than required, then Yang totally deserves it. “What’s up?”
Yang pauses, holding her breath like she’s mustering up the courage to say something. Then, in a rush of words that make Blake's ears twitch, “Do-you-want-to-go-out-with-me-sometime?”
And surely, surely, she can hear the sudden tripping and sprawling of Blake’s heartbeat. It’s deafening to her own ears. Or maybe Yang notices the red that’s blossomed across her cheeks.
But if she does, Yang doesn’t say a thing, only waits for her answer with hope brimming in her eyes.
“Like... on a date?” Blake says, wanting to be sure.
Yang brings an arm up to scratch the back of her neck in a nervous tic as she smiles sheepishly, shrugging. “If you want it to be.”
“I’d love to go out with you,” she says immediately, matching the grin that stretches across Yang’s face.
Blake wants to memorize this moment; freeze it in place. Snapshot how adorably nervous Yang is, how pretty she looks with her hair wild and untamed and falling into her eyes. It’s everything she’s ever wanted, everything she loves.
Blake wants, desperately, to kiss her.
No, she needs to kiss her.
Thankfully, Yang seems to feel the same because her face grows impossibly softer, eyes half-lidded as she leans in closer. Their lips are so close that Blake can feel her breath on her skin and—
"We're back!" Ruby announces, all sing-song and high pitches as she and Weiss enter the living area, arms filled with a copious amount of shopping bags.
Yang springs backward, but otherwise looks a picture of calm as she greets them over the back-end of the couch.
Gods, she’s having a heart attack, isn’t she? It certainly feels like it. Blake can taste her heartbeat, and it's bitter, going a mile a minute. She presses a scandalized hand against her chest. When did the room get so hot?
"Hey, you two. How was grocery shopping with Ren and Nora? I see you bought out the store," her partner asks nonchalantly, though Blake can pick up the thump thump thump that betrays her racing heart rate. (Or was it Blake's own heart? She can’t differentiate anymore. At least she can take comfort in the fact that Yang’s just as affected as she is.)
Ruby places Crescent Rose reverently by the door before unceremoniously dropping herself between Blake and Yang (to Blake's utter dismay) while Weiss rolls her eyes fondly, placing various grocery bags onto the kitchen counter. "It was adequate. But Nora and Ruby almost got us kicked out."
"Wha— No, we didn't!" Ruby protests, huffing as she crosses her arms petulantly.
"Ruby, you left rose petals all the way to the bakery section because the cookies were on sale. I thought the janitor was going to have an aneurysm."
Yang barks out a loud laugh, arm slinging around Ruby as she pulls her into the cushions to ruffle her hair. "That does sound like you, sis."
The movement jostles Blake with how tiny the couch is but she can't bring herself to mind, not when it comes to Ruby and Yang.
"What did Nora do?" Blake asks, turning her attention back to Weiss.
"Let's just say there was a lot of sugar involved and it did not go well."
Both she and Yang wince, knowing that Nora, on her own, was a force to be reckoned with. But a sugar-infused Nora? Blake's eyes widen, a little terrified of the implications. Yang lets out a low whistle, impressed. Ruby nods solemnly.
"Anyway," Weiss continues, leaning up to deposit packets of ramen into one of the kitchen cabinets. "We bought some fresh ingredients so if we wanted to, we could stay in for dinner.”
“Actually,” Yang answers, meeting her eyes with a secret, dangerous grin. “Blake and I won’t be joining you tonight.”
The smell of dust and old books hits her first. Then comes the rush of euphoria as she takes in the rest of the shop. Its amber lighting lends coziness and a gentle warmth to the space, but it's the stacks and stacks of books that occupy full walls and shelves, neatly lining the store from front to back, that catch her eye.
Bean bags and lushly-cushioned recliners pepper the shop, and the off-peak hour of early evening means that there are only a few other patrons in the bookstore—a mix of human and Faunus in their shared love for books.
Suddenly all she wants to do is curl up in a chair and lose herself in a fictional world of warriors, ninjas, and queens.
She stares, in awe, hand clasped tightly in Yang’s, frozen in the doorway of Mantle Book Emporium. The door jingles as Yang pulls her into the shop, amused and adoring.
The elderly owl-Faunus manning the cashier gives them a wave and a nod in greeting as they move further into the store but Blake hasn’t quite managed to compose herself yet. She hasn't seen this many books since she left Vale! (Her parents' study doesn't count—Ninjas of Love never quite made it into their repertoire.)
“Yang, this is incredible." She can't look away from the fiction section and all its genres. She sends a small apology to the book she'd been reading before; it would be a long time before she cycled back to it now, with all these new possibilities. "How did you even find this place?”
Yang smiles sweetly at her, giving her hand a casual squeeze. "Weiss found it, actually. She and Ruby must have gone past it on the way to the grocery store."
"I'll have to thank her with a book then. What do you think she'll like?"
"I don't know—a filthy romance, maybe?"
Blake snorts out loud at that, imagines herself giving Weiss a copy of the sauciest book in the Ninjas series. She decides that no, she doesn’t quite want to die today. “You’re horrible. She’ll actually kill me.”
“You’d be surprised. Maybe the Ice Queen will melt,” Yang winks and Blake stifles another laugh, looking over her shoulder like Weiss herself will materialize behind her just to yell, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“So I was thinking we could browse and read for a bit, then go for some dinner in the park nearby? I saw a food cart down the street,” Yang suggests, easily switching topics, eyes bright.
Blake has never heard a more appealing idea. “Sounds perfect.”
Her partner's broad smile lights the way as Blake pulls them between the stacks to browse. She’s always present, body close and warm against her back. They’re barely touching but she’s close enough that Blake can feel the heat of her, just hovering closely behind like she’s giving Blake the option to close the distance.
She wants to lean back. And there's nothing stopping her, no hesitation, no voice in her head. So she does, pretending to reach up for a book on a higher shelf and Yang's entire front presses snugly against her back.
Blake doesn't even fucking know which book she ends up grabbing, but a chin comes to rest on her shoulder as she does, and two palms settle low on her hips to steady her.
She can barely breathe like this, everything is so much in all the best ways. Blake thinks she very well might die from all the yearning that her heart's gone through in the past few months; it rests heavy in the pit of her stomach. She wants, and wants, and wants.
“I didn’t know you were into filth too,” mutters a low, amused voice in her human ear. And fuck, does it make her shiver. She glances down at the book in her hand and glares at it like it’s betrayed her.
The image of a handsome shirtless man cradling a swooning, lace-bodied woman in his arms glares back at her. It's a generic romance, except its title of Swirling Passions, promises a saucy and exciting read. Her cheeks are burning again, ears flattening against her skull.
“I am not,” she protests, completely lying, resisting the urge to fling the book into the distance. Well, not this type of filth anyway. She’s into filth with an actual plot, thank you very much.
Yang huffs a laugh, close enough that Blake can feel the breath tickling her skin.
“Sure, Blake,” she drawls in that low, sensual voice of hers, dripping with dry amusement. “I’m sure the books that Ruby showed me at Beacon weren’t filthy at all. She got them from under your bed after all.”
She turns around to glare at her partner, and Yang’s eyes immediately drop to her lips. Blake thinks she's going to die. She’s not going to survive this night.
“Ruby should have stuck to her side of the room then,” she retorts matter-of-factly, thankful that her voice remains steady despite the intense want coursing through her veins.
Yang laughs; plants a chaste kiss to her cheek. Then she’s gone, walking down the aisle of bookshelves to find a book of her own.
Temptress, Blake thinks when her brain finally catches up with the rest of her body. Her cheeks are a blazing inferno. A siren.
“When you’re ready, I’ll be near the best-sellers,” Yang calls out. When Blake meets her eye, she winks. “Don’t leave me waiting too long, Belladonna.”
An hour later finds Blake leaning heavily into Yang as they recline together on the cleanest looking couch they'd found. Arms wind casually around her waist as she tucks her head snugly under Yang’s chin, leaning sideways into her chest. Her entire body melts liquid into Yang's, languid and lazy, and from this position, she can hear her heartbeat, delights in the fact that it's absolutely racing.
It’s purely efficient, this cuddling. Yang can read comfortably in this position too, Blake thinks as she nuzzles her face into the soft leather of her jacket.
The book she’s chosen is almost as engrossing as the woman she’s tucked against—about a magic-wielding mage who poses as the queen’s handmaiden while protecting her in secret. Eventually, they manage to fall in love while saving the world. It's right up Blake's alley, checks all her boxes of a good read.
Yang, on the other hand, had picked up a particularly trashy romance novel about two huntresses getting hopelessly lost (in each other) on a mission. (“This is recon, Blake. The author is teaching me how to survive in the wilds. And about the inherent eroticism of life-and-death scenarios.”)
Every so often, Yang expels a breath of air that tickles her ears, prompting an involuntary flick against the underside of her jaw. Blake's really starting to think that she's doing it on purpose. All in all, Blake’s having the best day she’s had in months. She’s calm and relaxed and safe in Yang’s arms and there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.
That is, until her stomach starts growling angrily, demanding to be fed.
She feels more than she hears Yang’s chuckle, lightly jostling her as her shoulders shake. Another kiss to the top of her head makes her ears fold down, makes her hide her heated face in Yang’s neck.
“Someone’s hungry,” comes the murmur in her ear, accompanied by arms tightening slightly around her midriff. A very distracting hand rests directly on her hip, thumb stroking the skin there. It's dizzying.
“I’m also very warm,” Blake replies into the crook of her partner’s neck. The book snaps shut in her hands, drops to the carpeted floor with a thud, forgotten. “And you’re very comfy.”
“You just want me for my body, don’t you?”
Blake knows, without a doubt and without having to spare a glance, that Yang has a cocky, feral grin on her face. She winds her arms around Yang’s shoulder’s in a loose hug, nuzzles into her neck. Inhales her wonderful scent. “Whatever gave you that idea?”
The resounding laugh sparks in her chest like a firework. Blake can hardly believe they've come this far in such a short amount of time. Casual intimacy is something that she’s never been very good at—Adam had been a phase in her life where she constantly walked on eggshells. His idea of intimacy had been domineering control; constantly taking, taking, taking from her until she had nothing left.
But Yang? Yang has given her so much—her heart, her patience, her arm. Blake adores the open honesty between them. The fact that Yang makes it a point to look her in the eyes to reassure her, after the episode at Beacon with Mercury. The way Yang looks at her like she’s never seen anything so beautiful. It’s so easy to stay. Blake will be damned if she ever leaves again.
Her thoughts are interrupted by another growl from her traitorous stomach. She doesn't wanna move, damn it! Yang pats her hip sympathetically. “C’mon, we should grab some dinner.”
Separating from her has never been so hard and Blake mourns the loss of body heat instantly with a pathetic little whimper.
Yang notices, of course, because she always seems to, and giggles as she retrieves Blake’s book from where it's fallen, forgotten, on the ground. “Be right back. I’ll pay for these, okay? My treat," she winks.
Blake watches her go with a lovestruck grin and wonders what she’s done to have ever gotten so lucky.
They settle on a bench surrounded by pines, in front of a half-frozen pond, its surface rippling with the evening breeze. It’s not a sizable park by any means, but it feels like an oasis in a city filled with concrete. It should also be cold, but Yang had noticed her shiver and immediately shrugged out of her bomber jacket to drape it delicately over Blake's shoulders despite her protests.
Yang hasn’t let go of her hand since they left the bookstore in search of dinner, and the food cart down the street had been their next destination. Thankfully, the vendor had been jovial and friendly as he sold them their sandwiches, despite having been in the process of packing up his shop for the night. Blake’s never tried to eat a sandwich one-handed before, but she’s found that she doesn’t mind it if it means getting to hold Yang's in her other hand.
“Blake?” Yang says as they're finishing up their dinner. A gentle snowfall greets them with the night, snowflakes glittering as the street lights catch them. It’s beautiful, Blake thinks. The perfect way to end their perfect evening. It's the first time she's actually looked at Atlas and saw something that wasn't ugly.
“Yang?” Blake echoes cheekily, around her last mouthful of bread and tuna, slightly taken aback by the intensity of Yang’s gaze; she looks lost in thought, eyes darting around Blake’s face.
“Thanks for coming out with me tonight.” Yang smiles softly at her, interlaces their fingers as their eyes finally meet. “I know it’s been a really tough few weeks, especially after what we went through. But I just want you to know that I... I really care about you.”
Blake doesn’t dare breathe or interrupt. The way Yang looks at her now, like she loves her, has completely paralyzed her with emotion.
“I’m here for you in any way, however you want me," Yang continues, nose crinkling in an endearing smile, eyes bright and filled with love. She caps it off with a wink, which gives Blake a keen sense of nostalgia for her cheeky way of asking her to dance at Beacon. It’s so incredibly endearing, so very Yang.
How was it possible to love someone this much? She’d never thought she’d be here—about to spill her feelings to the girl she loves in the middle of Atlas, of all places—but she is, and Yang’s looking at her like she personally hung the stars in the sky for their date tonight.
There’s no Adam hanging around in the shadows; he doesn’t even enter her mind. She's weightless, breathless, ready to hand her heart over to Yang in an instant. Honestly, Yang’s had her heart from the moment she saw her beat up a group of Ursa with her fists anyway. It's unequivocally hers.
With that epiphany, Blake doesn’t think anymore. She leans in close, gently cupping Yang’s cheek with a palm as she pulls her ever closer. Lilac eyes widen and soften at the same time, then drift shut as their lips press and move softly against each other.
It’s soft as silk; Blake has never felt anything so right. Then Yang tilts her head just so and warmth spreads and spreads throughout her chest, igniting her from the inside out. It’s familiar, one that gets her heart racing and one that she’s begun to associate exclusively with Yang.
She could do this forever—wants to kiss Yang for the rest of her life.
When they break apart for air, Yang keeps their foreheads pressed together, both of them breathing shallowly.
“Wow,” Yang says, after a moment.
“Yeah,” Blake giggles, unable to manage anything more than a single syllable.
Yang kisses her again, softer still. A hand tucks a wayward lock behind her ear and Blake can’t wipe the grin from her face. The stars look brighter, the cold is non-existent. Blake has never felt happier.
“I would have waited forever for you, Blake Belladonna,” Yang whispers reverently, both hands now cupping her cheeks, thumbs brushing her cheekbones tenderly. "I love you."
“I love you, Yang,” Blake answers with a teary laugh, pressing the words into Yang's lips because she can.