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Beautiful to me

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Petra is harsh. She's jagged edges, sharp knives and bared teeth. She fights for her place in the world, in the universe, by Mara's side. She fights, and she wins, and that's who she is.

Mara is deceptively sleek. Smooth words in a honeyed tone, that's able to make anyone do what she wants of them. She doesn't fight, she requests, she demands, and people bend.

Uldren notes, one day, while smirking, that their friendship is something like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
Mara rolls her eyes when he says that, and sends him away on an errand so that he can't see the way she smiles at his very accurate description.

"He thinks he's funny." She tells Petra that night, watching as Petra moves fluidly through every step of her nighttime training, using the staff that they kept at the bedside.

"He isn't." Petra answers, movements becoming sharper as she shifted into more offensive movements.

"I know." Mara shrugs, sitting on the bed and working cream into her skin. "But he thinks he is."

"I could request he train with me. Put him in his place?" Petra suggests, staff making a satisfying 'clunk' as she stabbed the end against the bedroom floor.

"As funny as I think that would be, I don't really want my brother in my head while I'm thinking of you training." Mara points out, watching Petra set the staff aside and move towards the bed.

"Oh? And why would you be thinking of me training, your Majesty?" Petra was smirking as she sat opposite Mara, reaching up to release her hair from its bun.

"As if you don't know." Mara chuckles, lying back and patting her chest until Petra lay down with her, the two of them fitting together perfectly, moulding as if they were made to lay together.

"Why Mara Sov!" Petra feigns shock and disgust perfectly. "Have you been having inappropriate thoughts about a subordinate?" She asks, head tilted back to look at Mara. Mara laughs.

"It's only fair. Your eye gives everything away, my love. I know exactly what it is you think about when you look at me." Mara's fingers find their way into Petra's hair, nails scratching at her scalp to make Petra relax. It works almost immediately, the tension draining from her as quickly as the blush fills her face.

"I'm not that bad." Petra mumbles, comfortable and tired.

"Mmm." Mara hums, leaning over to turn out the lamp, curling more around Petra. "You can lie to me more in the morning, my love. Sleep." She doesn't get an answer but the soft sound of Petra breathing.

---

Mara wakes up suddenly, and it takes her brain a moment to catch up with her surroundings, and to realise that Petra's thrashing was what had woken her.

"Shhh, my love." Mara says, sitting up a little to guide Petra's head back to her chest, letting her feel her heartbeat. "You're not there. You're home with me, you're safe, we're at peace, you don't have to keep fighting." Mara promises, stroking Petra's hair until she gasps and heaves awake, the same way she does every time after these dreams. "I have you, my love." Mara promises, her heart thudding painfully as she watches Petra's hand go straight to the gnarled skin that surrounds her empty eye socket. Mara knew that was what the dream had been about. That was what those dreams were always about. But it still hurt to know that deep inside of Petra, she thought herself ugly for a war wound. A war wound she has already been thoroughly punished for.

"I'm sorry." Petra says, once she's herself enough again to say it.

"Don't be." Mara responds, waiting for the question. The question that always came after these dreams.

"It's ugly." Petra says, fingers still touching her scars. "I shouldn't be ugly. But I was stupid, and now I'm ugly. And it doesn't matter, really. I'm still strong, I can still do my job, I know all of that. But... You're flawlessly beautiful, Mara. And I'm..."

"Beautiful." Mara interrupts, face twisted for a moment into rage, before settling back. "You're beautiful, Petra. You've always been beautiful to me. And you always will be." Mara kissed Petra's head softly.

"You could have a thousand scars. You could have no skin that wasn't scarred, and you would still be the most beautiful woman in my life." There was a pause, where Mara honestly thought Petra was going to try and argue with her and she would have to pull out the Queen card.

"Prettier than Illyn?" Petra asks instead, a soft hiccup in her voice that gave away the fact that she was still upset.

"Most definitely." Mara nodded. "And Kali, and Shuro Chi, and anyone else you want to ask about."

"Riven?" Petra's voice was getting back to teasing now.

"Well that's just not a fair comparison, she's a shape shifter and she still isn't more beautiful than you." Mara chuckles, shifting them about so that she could kiss Petra, stroking a thumb over the scar that descended just over her cheekbone.

"Now I know you're lying to me." Petra laughs against Mara's lips, dream already forgotten. "But thank you."

"Queens don't lie." Mara points out. "And apparently we don't get to sleep very much. We're meant to be up soon, my love. So do you think you can be the weight on my chest that lets me sleep for a little while?" Petra nods, letting Mara lay back down, before curling atop her.

"I love you, Mara." Petra says, eyes shut tight, calloused, rough fingers gripping at delicate, sleek silk.

"I love you too, Petra." Mara promises, eyes closing.

Petra is soft. She's curves and fears and love. She is gentle and sweet and broken pieces.

Mara is hard. She will grip and push and snarl and growl to protect the people she loves.

They compliment perfectly, even when people don't see how.