The night was too quiet for Yennefer’s liking; moreover, it only supported the overused proverb that the most intense silence signals the upcoming storm. She knew that storm was coming, yet she loathed that everyone, including the damned silence, kept reminding her what she had allowed being talked into. She could’ve been laying in a comfortable bed instead of the cold, damp ground, ignoring Sodden, ignoring all the other sorceresses, ignoring Tissaia, but… but once the rectress literally begged her to join them, it adequately strummed on the strings of her ego, not speaking of the fact that she had never seen Tissaia so desperate, so vulnerable.
In the end, it touched her deeply, anyway. Despite her desire to hate the woman, to show her the contempt she aspired to feel towards her, Yennefer felt a lump in her throat caused by the wave of compassion washing over her once she noticed the redness of Tissaia’s eyes and the tears glistening within them. Yes, the compassion she didn’t need to experience at all, the compassion she wanted to get rid of; however, she was only able to hide it deep inside her soul, cover it by arrogance and acerbity, but she knew well there was no chance she would ever forget how much she cared about Tissaia.
And it was also the underlying reason why Yennefer lay on the ground next to the rectress, but on the outside, she declared it was because of the perfect view at the gate and the tower at once. It was true, though her mind went entirely blank once everything plunged into silence as everybody, but a few people entrusted with night-watch were or pretended to be asleep. Yennefer focused on nothing at all, calming her inner self, trying to relax and gain strength, which could’ve been done had not been for Tissaia, shifting on her spot.
Irritated, Yennefer for a second regretted settling next to her; however, in the next moment, her annoyance vanished, for Tissaia moved undeniably closer to her. Yennefer held her breath as she literally felt the heat of the other woman, being only an inch or two apart from her. Slowly, carefully opening her eyes, Yennefer saw the rectress’ back, her neck, her hair. Sensing her scent, Yennefer closed her eyes again as a storm unleashed, yet raging only in her soul.
As Tissaia moved for the second time, Yennefer refrained from shivering as she knew it didn’t mean anything; Tissaia was probably tossing in her sleep, not aware of her surroundings as she was seeking the warmth of another human being. Still, despite her inner not so convincing monologue, Yennefer was looking at Tissaia again. Witnessing the other woman rolling on her back, she saw her arm hit the ground. Tissaia’s palm fell quite close to Yennefer’s hand, brushing it slightly even.
Almost desperately trying to gather all her disdain, which she would aim to persuade herself into shifting away from the rectress, Yennefer was fighting the urge to touch her hand more, to stay in the place and close to Tissaia. She was asking herself who she was, ridiculing Tissaia instantly, laughing at her face, looking down at her while… while she had always wanted nothing else but being loved by her.
However, she was a powerful sorceress now and definitely not needing her hand held by the old hag. She didn’t need any of that!
She didn’t need Tissaia, but then again, she gulped as she observed the other woman’s features, how tired she looked, yet how strong she was…
Maybe it wasn’t about her after all. It was about Tissaia.
Bearing this in mind, Yennefer didn’t pull her hand away once Tissaia’s fingers brushed hers. Hesitantly reciprocating the movement, she even panted as Tissaia touched her hand, deliberately clasping their palms until they were connected in such a sentimental gesture it would’ve made Yennefer burst with a bitter laugh. But not now. Not it was… nice, warming, and so tempting that Yennefer lost a grip on herself for a while, and yielding under Tissaia’s sudden tenderness, she shifted closer as well, laying her chin on the rectress’ shoulder. Her intoxicating yet mild scent succeeded in making Yennefer shiver, though slightly, almost unnoticeably.
Her heart pounding and chest-bursting with so many emotions, Yennefer’s gaze was lingering upon Tissaia’s face as the rectress turned to her, eyes deep and with a spark of self-satisfaction that faded into nowhere once Tissaia raised her other hand, placing it on Yennefer’s cheek.
Due to the moment's intensity, Yennefer was incapable of producing a single sound, settling only for endeavours to imprint the view into her memory in case they would never see each other again after Sodden. Such a rare honesty written in Tissaia’s features, the warmth of her hands, her thumb brushing Yennefer’s cheek.
“I cannot bear that I’ve helped you to live so many lives only to bring you also to the end…” whispered the rectress even though she must’ve known that Yennefer could read her mind perfectly. She might’ve just wanted to say it, to feel how real the emotions behind the words were, and maybe to die knowing that she finally revealed what had been eating her up alive. That she wouldn’t take the guilt to the grave.
“I’ve seen enough. Loved enough, hated enough…,” Yennefer said in an equally low tone, dispelling all the thoughts regarding Geralt. Due to genie, there was nothing real about it. Probably. It seemed quite real, but as she was dwelling on the topic, the emotions towards Geralt were still there yet didn’t seem as powerful as those she now felt towards the woman lying next to her.
All the rage, all the hatred, all the respect and love… All of these were genuine at some point.
The storm was getting closer, hanging over them as a dreadful threat, and Yennefer was there with the woman who had changed her life immensely, thinking of how real their relationship had always been. Just the sharp edges of emotions, hurting and wounding the both of them, but eventually bringing them to understand each other on the deepest level.
“Love and hate… Sometimes, they seem inseparable. As the chaos and order,” said Tissaia as if she was reading in Yennefer’s thoughts, her palm gently stroking the delicate skin, her eyes gleaming in the night like two gems, which was taking Yennefer’s breath away.
“As the rectress and her rebel” slipped Yennefer into the waters of sheer sentiment, yet she did so on purpose – to make the other woman smile a little amused smile which Yennefer’s eyes were irreversibly drawn to. It was so rare to see the usually cold and distant sorceress showing any emotions. Therefore it shook up Yennefer to the core, spreading some warmth within her chest as she returned her gaze to Tissaia’s eyes, still amused but regaining its serious look.
“My rebel…?” asked Tissaia gently, and the question resonated in Yennefer’s mind. Wondering why she had said it like that, she swiftly came to a disturbing conclusion that it felt right, to tell the truth. However, bursting with an extraordinary kind of energy, Yennefer braced herself with the other arm, hovering over Tissaia now and watching her seemingly unreadable expression.
But the tone of Tissaia’s voice carried an enticing combination of surprise, joy, and tenderness that helped Yennefer make her mind.
Feeling only the real emotions, Yennefer leaned closer to the other woman who parted her lips as if in awe or waiting, but once their mouths touched ever so softly, it felt like something sweetly exploded within Yennefer’s soul. As Tissaia squeezed her hand tight, Yennefer felt something similar to peace for the first time in her long life. To completion as if the circle of her wandering throughout the world was concluded, as if she reached the beginning of the whole mess, finally sorting it out, and… being free.
The softness of Tissaia’s lips was intoxicating. The way she was brushing her cheek felt like she was brushing her soul, soothing and assuring; she was sending Yennefer’s body on fire when she let the other sorceress lick her lips more open, yet keeping the kiss languid and heavenly slow.
This time, Yennefer didn’t manage to suppress the trembles dominating her body as Tissaia’s pressed into her, allowing Yennefer to know how close she needed her that night. And once Yennefer pulled away to lay her forehead on Tissaia’s, looking down into her gleaming eyes, shivering under their hungry look, she knew for sure just one thing.
“Yes… your rebel,” she whispered before kissing the woman again, without thinking of the upcoming hours, without thinking about the battle, death, Geralt… Because at that time, nothing felt as real as Tissaia’s kisses, her caressing hands, and in all its beauty, finally displayed love.