“Hi. You wanted to talk to me?”
Beatrice closes the door gently and steps up to Ava. It was late in the afternoon, with a sense of coolness starting to drift about the air. They had both just finished a break before another late-in-the-day training session, for Beatrice, some training with someone younger nuns in weapons, and for Ava, gun training with Mary. They both secretly loved it and being able to spend a bit of time together, though neither would admit it. Mary also spent some time giving Ava her unfiltered version of past events and missions in the church, and some stories about Shannon, both of which Ava appreciated immensely.
“You look nervous,” she says, but sensing something, she keeps her distance.
“I am. Nervous.” Ava blurts out, fidgeting.
“Okay,” Beatrice drags the word out, somewhat tense herself, a hunch lingering in the back of her mind that she is trying to ignore. A beat. “You don’t have to be nervous.”
“It’s too late,” Ava is just getting more nervous, “Look.”
Beatrice’s attempt as casual humor evades Ava at the moment. This reminder that Beatrice is looking Ava straight is the eyes, clearly able to see exactly how nervous Ava is, does little to settle her nerves.
“I’m going to say a bunch of stuff and you just have to wait. For me to finish.”
Beatrice doesn’t really need this disclaimer; she’s gotten pretty well versed at waiting for Ava’s rambles out and deciphering them in record time.
“I can feel that there’s a thing between us. I can’t,” a breath from both of them, Ava gathering her thoughts and something cold rushing up in Beatrice’s veins and then, Ava is hushing forward rapidly because for a split, horrible second, she reads heartbreak on Beatrice’s face and that is NOT where this is going, “Figure it out right now. And I’m happy with where we are now too. I’m not there yet to figure this out right now with you while me and you are figuring out all of this other stuff too. But I want to. Figure it out with you when I can.
“And I don’t know what it all means for you and how you really feel about it and if you even want to figure it all out and if you do, when you’re ready. I’m sure you’ve got your own stuff too and I know that. But right now, with the demonic nightmares, and the weird freak science stuff, and my like abandonment issues, and starting a whole, different life like yesterday, and Lilith’s demon Power Rangers thing and Adriel –”
At this, Beatrice raises an eyebrow, a subtle signal they’ve developed when Ava is a ramble away from a ramble with reason. Somewhere between ‘I can’t’ and the acknowledgment that yes, Beatrice has her own stuff to work out with this ‘thing’ between them and the beginning of what was sure to be a laundry list of issues Ava was dealing with, Beatrice regained some sense of what was going on. Ava paused, redirecting.
“I’m not there right now. But I do need you to know that I feel it. I care about you a lot -” Ava takes a steadying breath, redirecting again (though Beatrice had a keen interest in where that was might have been going), “I need you to know. Because I don’t want you to think that I don’t. And I didn’t want to get weird with you because I didn’t know what to do. I don’t think I could handle that. Us being weird. Because I have no idea how I’d do any of this without you. So, I’m just telling you all of this. I feel safe with you. Like if I just tell you what I’m feeling, everything will be fine, and we’ll figure it out.”
Beatrice stills. Ava is breathing a little fast but thankfully, she looks a little bit less nervous, perhaps just at the sheer fact that Beatrice hasn’t walked out the door.
“Anything else?” Beatrice’s tone is gentle and warm, and she steps forward towards her as if to say ‘I’m not going anywhere’. All of what Ava just said was incredibly brave and she wanted to make sure there was nothing else. And she’s right about a lot of things. It was hard for Beatrice to not be sure if Ava did feel what she felt, what was so clearly there.
“Uh,” Ava thinks, “I guess that means you’re not mad?” Beatrice shakes her head with as much fondness as she can muster and doesn’t say anything because she can see new thoughts bubbling out, “I guess I’m a little scared. I don’t want anything to change. I like when you kiss me on the forehead. I like when you let me fall asleep on you in the car. I like when you come find me when I skip out of this place sometimes. I don’t want you to go easy on me during trainings. Or when we’re working through my baggage. I just want us to be okay even though I just said all of that stuff out loud. I’m scared that we won’t be and that I’ve messed everything up.”
Beatrice waits a moment.
Ava’s mind stills as much as it can right now and then, “I think I’m done.”
“Okay.” Beatrice is anything but internally calm, but she can tell that Ava is scared and nervous and waiting for her to be the reasonable and practical one. If Ava could be so brave, then she surely, she could do this.
Beatrice stepped in Ava’s space, slow as if to give warning, and fingers light as a feather, grazing Ava’s upper arm, kissed her forehead. She let her mouth linger for a couple of seconds longer than usual as if to ward any insecurity from Ava about where they stood. Ava froze for a second before registering what was going on, and her muscles uncoiled properly for the first time the whole conversation, and she breathed in and out audibly with a sigh of relief. Beatrice could feel the muscles on Ava’s arm loosen.
“Relax, Ava,” Beatrice lightly trailed the fingers on Ava’s upper arm down, listening to her take a couple breathes as she went, letting her fingers pass down over Ava’s fingers, tapping one of them gently before she removed her hand from Ava’s body.
“We’re alright.” They breathed together for a second.
Beatrice continues after she thinks Ava has settled down a bit more. “I really appreciate you telling me all of that so we can talk about it. I feel it too. And I do want to figure it out with you.” Beatrice pauses so that can sink in for Ava. She had wanted to cut her off earlier to say that, but she also had a feeling Ava did know she wanted to figure it out too. “I’m happy now too and I don’t want things to change either,” the amount of personal growth it had taken to realize that she was happy with her feelings was not lost on her, “I don’t think they will. I know there’s a lot going on and so I think we can put it on hold for a little while and just. Be us.
“We’re going to be okay. Now and even when we do talk more. But I don’t think we need to talk about it now for us to be okay. We’re okay now, too. But I still appreciate you telling me that you feel it too,” Beatrice’s voice gets a little small, “I wasn’t completely sure.”
Ava looks incredulous at that. And then snorts.
“Hey!” Beatrice says, indignant.
“Sorry, sorry!” Ava wants to say more but doesn’t want to cross another emotional threshold right now.
Her eyes soften and then, “I’m glad we’re on the same page then.”
They sit down and some comfortable silence ensues for a bit.
“What are we going to tell everyone?” Ava starts up again.
“Well, we’re alright,” Beatrice looks a bit confused. “Nothing’s changing. For now. That was the point of your speech, right?”
Ava shifted. “Right but…this seemed more climatic in my head.”
That drew an affectionate but wry smile from Beatrice. She is never tired of the way Ava just shared what was on her mind, silly or cavalier as it could be. It was both grounding and freeing at the same time.
“I am, for sure, going to tell Lilith you said she was a ‘demon Power Ranger’.” Beatrice smiled at Ava’s fond glare, “But I think that’s it for now.” With that Beatrice kissed Ava’s forehead lightly again, partially to make a point and also because she just wanted to. “You’ve got shooting range training with Mary now.”
Ava sighed, and Beatrice watched some tendrils of nervous energy creep back around. It would take them a bit, maybe a couple of days, to really get back to normal, understandably. Ava had just, in a very in-character way, shone some light on something that had been shrouded. Beatrice quickly made a mental note to make sure to take Ava out to the town the next evening to pick up some snacks from the street stalls for everyone and maybe some warm cake and ice cream for just them. Excursions from Cat’s Cradle always seemed to soothe her.
“We’ll figure it out when we can. Together. Try not to think about it too much,” Beatrice said cheekily “Or me,” allowing herself to revel in whatever type of confession Ava just delivered in a wobbly fashion to her door.
Ava looked embarrassed for a second and then just grinned, leaning into the ease of this unknown place. Yes, we have a thing and we both know it and are even comfortable bringing it up. Yes, we’re going to talk about it later. No, things aren’t going to be weird before we do. She leaned over into Beatrice for a brief second, long and in enough to at least hit that ‘fluster-a-nun’ spot as she made her way to leave, and her voice was soft but playful.
Bonus scene (inspired by that wrestling (?) + lip-bite gif of Alba someone posted on the server):
Somehow, after Ava’s emotional ramble, Ava had begun to take great pleasure in flustering Beatrice, now that she knew ‘the thing’ was mutual. In fact, their conversation had given Ava a bit more legitimacy in her casual teasing, though she tried to be very aware of the line, blurrily drawn in the sand as it was. Today, Beatrice was joining her morning training session to introduce Ava to some more specific techniques. Ava, having received the day’s training schedule in advance, was quite aware of Beatrice’s planned visit. On an unrelated note, Ava had chosen a more casual outfit to train, a black sports bra with some red streaks and white shorts, seeing as she wasn’t bound by any of the rules of modesty of dress (and to be honest, she didn’t see why any of the other nuns should be either, since they were militant badasses getting immensely sweaty with all of the clothes they put on – “It’s a very light fabric, you idiot. Do you really think all of us are risking a heat stroke?” Lilith had bluntly told her during training one morning). She had, also unrelated, worked up a sweat before Beatrice was scheduled to arrive.
Lilith didn’t really care so much what Ava was wearing but more so how she was performing, which today, was very well and attentively. When Beatrice walked in, Lilith gave Ava a longer glare than usual as if she was mulling something over but then just stepped back to watch Beatrice with an amused look.
They were at the bench taking a water break when Beatrice stepped into the training hall, the signs of early morning workout on her face. Ava waited to catch Beatrice’s eye until she had started what must have been the sultriest, yet casual lip-bite of her life. Ava made direct contact with her and Beatrice found herself unable to look away, willing her eyes to stay focused on Ava’s and not move down. Beatrice noticed Ava’s efforts at provocation and was considerably flustered, though trying and failing to keep it under wraps.
She tried to refocus to give Ava, her soon to be trainee, a greeting but focus was in short supply when Ava looked like that, sweaty and more uncovered skin than not, chest heaving slightly from exertion, her neck bared as she downed a third of a water bottle…oh boy.
“You look,” Wait, that’s not the start of a casual greeting, but oh well, and then Beatrice caught Ava’s eye now and faltered, “Fit.” She supplied lamely, sounding slightly strangled.
Lilith, having seen the whole thing, snorted. The last skill she had suspected Ava of having was game.
“Thanks, Beatrice,” Ava gave her a second to feel the relief of her ogling having gone unnoticed, before flashing her a knowing grin, taking a look at Beatrice was still cutely flustered (as much as she tried to hide it) and a little sweaty herself from her morning training routine, hair in a bun with a couple of pieces of hair messily astray, “You look hot.”
After Beatrice had regained her bearings somewhat (the red from her face might take some more), and realized from Ava’s smug look that whole thing, the look and the lip biting and the firm eye contact was on purpose, she calls out to Lilith.
“Lilith, have you heard of a ‘demon Power Ranger’?” Lilith furrowed her brows with a glare, Ava stiffened and Beatrice gave her a dry look, “It’s Ava’s new description for you,” Now, Lilith looks somewhat irritated and Ava is flustered, “I thought you might be interested.”