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Guiding Light

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If you ask Beau, she is happy. She is happy to be friends. Just friends.

She's happy to listen to Jester read her smutty books with laughter at night. The accent that when they first met left Beau in confusion now sounded like music in her ears.She’s happy to hear Jester's contagious laughter as she recounts over dinner what her and the Traveler got up to that day.

On days that didn't go quite as planned, Jester drags Beau to their room and always gets her to smile. She does a little dance or tells her awful jokes. Each time Beau tries to fight it but a smile never fails to spread across her face. 

Beau is happy when Jester looks at her over the dinner table. She’s happy when Jester compliments her on her fighting and how much she’s improved (Beau says the same right back). She’s happy as Jester braids the top of her hair before bed, going on and on about how cute Beau looks. She gets nervous when she feels her heart flutter every time she looks at Jester but it doesn’t mean anything. It can’t mean anything.

.*.*.*.

If you ask Beau, she is content. She is content to watch from a distance. To see Jester scheming with Nott with a flurry of hand motions. A smile stretched across her face. A lovely, beautiful smile.

She watches as Jester talks to Fjord across the bar. A blush on her cheeks, talking about the fight they won earlier that day. Beau watches as Jester places a hand on Fjords bicep, just for a moment, but it's enough. Her mood dips instantly. She wished it didn’t. She gets up from her seat and mumbles goodnight to Caleb before retreating to her room. To her and Jester's room.

It feels wrong. She knows what is happening and she wants nothing to do with it. When her mind starts to drift back to Jester, Beau stops it in anger. Friends is nice. Friends is good. Why is she thinking about her again? She shouldn't be. At least not in that way.

But how can she stop herself when Jester looks at her like that? During battles when she knows Jester would rather be fighting the enemy, she runs to heal Beau first. When she dances alone in their room just to make Beau smile. Or when she lets Beau see the parts of her she rarely shows any one else. Even for just an instant. She chooses Beau to see her vulnerabilities. That has to mean something, right?

.*.*.*.

Beau feels things far deeper than she wished she did. The first time that ugly, bitter feeling rose up in her she didn’t understand it. Fjord had been ignoring Jester for the duration of their time on  Squall-Eater . Beau had seen Jester watching forlornly as Fjord spoke to Avantika. Her emotions were written clear as day on her face. Beau felt an intense urge to make Jester feel better. She felt herself glaring at Fjord for causing Jester so much pain, thinking to herself that she would never do the same. The thought crossed her mind so quickly Beau could almost pretend it hadn’t existed. And so she did.

The second time made even less sense to her. They were all sitting eating dinner Caduceus had prepared back at the Xhorhouse. Jester was recounting what had gone on when she and Cad strung up the lights in his tree. Beau was laughing along with everyone else and happened to glance at Caleb. Caleb, who was staring at Jester like she was the sun. Like she was the only good left in the world.

Beau’s fork clattered onto her plate in her shock. Caleb had no right, she thought to herself, he had no right to be looking at Jester like that.

And then as if snapping her back to reality, Yasha asked if she ok.

Of course, Beau said with a wavering smile, her heart beating wildly. What was wrong with her? Why did that thought even cross her mind? Did she-no. That wasn’t even a possibility. 

Jester turned towards Beau now. Her dazzling smile lifting Beau out of her thoughts. Her own smile grew and she picked up her fork. Jester winked and Beau resumed her dinner feeling impossibly better.

.*.*.*.

It hurts. It hurts so bad to not be the reason Jester is smiling. To not be the object of her affection. When Reani came to them, Beau was hesitant at first. No one could be that cheerful, that positive. But then she looked at Jester and reevaluated. Maybe being positive wasn’t such a bad thing. 

Reani was beautiful of course. Anyone could see that. The rose was a bit of a surprise but Beau was game. She pulled Reani into a kiss that held too many emotions she didn’t want present. Emotions that didn’t belong to Reani. When they broke apart Beau hated how her eyes snapped to Jester. Sitting, mouth agape at the kiss, Beau felt a small bit of pride.

When Jester offered to leave the room a surge of something flooded Beau’s body. She grabbed Reani’s hand and suggested they leave instead. Reani giggled as they left the room and Beau tried to calm her breathing and focus on the girl beside her instead of the one she was walking away from.

.*.*.*.

But when Jester casts her affection towards her, gods , it makes everything worth it. Everytime Jester turns to Beau with that mischievous smile her heart soars. When Jester makes a joke just for Beau to hear it makes her day. Fighting a minotaur couldn’t keep the smile from Beau’s face after Jester wraps her up in a hug.

Beau tries to be careful. She doesn’t let it show to the others. She knows she’s slipped a few times but she tries. It happened once when Jester had tagged the wall outside of some Xhorhasian store with a giant dick. She knew she had a too fond to be friendly smile on her face. Beau couldn’t help it though. The way Jester was so focused on her painting, entirely zoned in. Her eyebrows knitted together as her hand expertly crafted the giant blue dick. Beau realised her expression after too much time had passed. She tried to cover it up quickly and glanced around to her friends around her. Fjord was staring straight at her, eyebrows half raised.

Another time the group was sitting in a tavern. Beau was watching Jester at the bar as she got her usual glass of milk. Caleb was next to Beau and was talking to her about heading to another library soon. Jester was speaking animatedly to the barkeep who had a grin on his face. She leaned over the bar, bracing herself on her hands as she excitedly spoke. The barkeep leaned closer too, and he placed a hand softly on Jester’s forearm.

Beau’s jaw clenched and before she could think she slammed down her drink and stood up, striding over to the bar. She doesn’t even remember what she said but it made Jester laugh. The two of them went back to the table, Jester oblivious to Beau’s outburst. Caleb, however, was looking at Beau as if he had finally solved a puzzle he had spent hours on.

It was such a knowing stare Beau went up to bed not soon after, laying there for hours while her mind raced.

.*.*.*.

Beau's confused. She's so confused. Jester listens to her late at night while she rambles nonsensically. About ways to save Yasha. What Yasha could be doing. How Yasha might be doing. Beau doesn’t understand why. Sometimes Jester sounds so sad when answering her. A little part of Beau’s heart perks up at that and then she feels horrible. It isn’t...

Jester isn’t jealous that she is asking about Yasha. That wouldn’t make any sense. Jester is sad because Beau is talking about their friend who is in pain. Their friend that has been missing for too long and hurting for longer than they know. And Beau feels awful whenever that part of her relishes in the thought that maybe Jester is sad that Beau is talking about another woman.

And Beau hates that. She is confused and she hates it. Yasha makes her feel...so many things all at once it makes her heart hurt. And Jester who makes her feel everything yet not enough. Yasha, who was once in love and married to a woman. Jester, who tells stories of the great romances she’s read and pinned after a man. Yasha, who is now trapped in her body and forced to do things against her will. Jester, who is fighting tooth and nail and scrying to get her friend back.

Yasha who at one point Beau even...but no. That could never happen, Beau scolds herself. Neither could ever happen. They just need to focus on getting Yasha home and keeping her safe.

.*.*.*.

It was an offhand comment really. They'll share secrets. What else could Nott even be hiding? She already shared her secret husband and son and the fact that she wasn't really a goblin. What more could she have?

“In another world, maybe.” Nott had finished. Beau listened of course, but right when Nott had started it struck a hard chord. A secret crush. She wondered briefly if this conversation had been a set up to make her talk. 

“I might have a similar problem.” Beau said, uncharacteristically monotone. Her heart was beating so loud she was sure it would burst. She took a deep breath. And then another.

“Wait you're into Caleb too?”

“No! No, not Caleb!” She said a little too loud. Silence filled the air around them as Beau willed herself to speak. Saying it out loud would make it real. Saying it out loud would be admitting what she had been ignoring for weeks. Another deep breath.

Nott’s impossibly big eyes got wider as she screeched, “ Me ! Is this your way of telling me!” and she began shouting more and looking around.

Beau reached over the small table frantically and covered Nott’s mouth. She looked to where Jester was sitting a few feet away.

“No!”

Too loud.

“It’s Jester .” Beau tried to whisper.

Deep breath.

“It just..I don’t know! It’s just a crush I-I don’t know what to do with it!” Beau rushed out, feeling as if she were suffocating.

Nott exploded into disbelief. Beau knew she was blushing like mad, most likely causing a scene as she tried to get the goblin to quiet down. She saw a few other patrons glance their way as the pair settled down somewhat. Beau blushed all through listing why she had developed a crush in the first place. Nott was listening intently with a mix of emotions all over her face.

“I wouldn't have thought she's your type.” Nott said carefully after a moment. Beau knew what she was insinuating of course. How could she not. 

“I don't think she thinks that I'm her type.” Beau deflected. No, she wasn’t her type. Not unless she grew a little taller. Grew some tusks. That awful bitter feeling started bubbling up again and Beau hated herself for it.

“This is a crush, this is not a thing you're actually gonna pursue-” Nott began.

“Yeah!” Beau agreed far too quickly. Her voice an octave higher than normal. Nott gave her an inquisitive look.

“It's not a possibility.” Beau rushed on. She wished they had never started talking. She could have kept pretending. If only she knew it didn’t make it real.

And she had told Nott of all people. 

“It's not gonna change anything.” Beau promised, whether to herself or Nott she was unsure.

“Don't let it change anything.” the pleading voice belonged to herself, she knew that. But it sounded so foreign in her mind.

Nott swore up and down she wouldn’t before getting up from the table. Beau sighed to herself. What had she just done? She stood up slowly and drained the rest of her drink. She scolded herself as she cast one more look at Jester before turning to go upstairs for the night, a heavy pit in her stomach.

.*.*.*.

When Jester walked into their room late that night Beau is still awake.

"Beau?" Jester sniffled quietly. Her voice raw with emotion

Beau’s heart twisted.

"Yeah, Jessie?" 

Footsteps drew closer before she felt the side of the bed dip.

"Can I-I don't want to be alone." Jester said nervously.

"Alright, get in here." Beau kept her voice steady. She opened her arms as an invitation.

Jester crawled over to her and laid down, her head settling comfortably on Beau's chest.

Silence followed as Beau willed her heart to calm down. She counted to ten, and then again and again. She stared out the window and into the night as Jester’s soft breath began to mellow out.

"I love you, Beau." Jester whispered, barely audible, as she snuggled closer. 

"Love you too, Jes." 

Beau’s stomach tensed tightly. She lifted her chin and blinked back tears. God, what was wrong with her?

.*.*.*.

And so when you ask Beau how she is she deflects. Makes a joke, plays it off. 

Answers with her own question, careful not to give anything away.

If you ask Beau how she is, she is content.