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If I Give My Heart To You

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Yennefer is having the most pleasant dream when she is leisurely pulled from her slumber by the warmth of a body molding itself against her. She fights the smile that threatens, careful to keep her awakening secret, if only a while longer. Yennefer is well-aware her efforts at discretion are futile, for she cannot disguise the custom quickening of her heartbeat that follows the still novel realization that she gets to have this. As if sensing this inner struggle, Tissaia hums against her collarbone,

“Now you’ve enjoyed your little charade, come hold me properly, my darling.” There is no bite to her tone, only playfulness shines in blue eyes as Tissaia looks up from her perch to meet Yennefer’s gaze. They share a knowing laugh and Yennefer, not one to disobey such a delightful command, wraps the smaller woman tightly in her arms.

They linger for long moments, comfortable in their embrace and stealing good morning kisses until the telltale chime of Tissaia’s golden mantel clock makes itself known. As a reflex, Tissaia tightens her hold on the younger mage, but loosens her grip with sigh,

“You should go.” She presses a fleeting kiss to Yennefer’s cheek, “They will be expecting you soon”. Yennefer groans and tries to flip them over, but Tissaia is already gone from the bed, the pale form of her now covered under a silken dressing gown. Yennefer cannot contain her smirk, how so small a person moves so fast will forever befuddle her.

As she reaches for her own robe and prepares to make for the round wooden table in Tissaia’s quarters, where a hearty breakfast already lies in wait, her smirk fades. Tissaia is refusing to meet her eyes, seemingly still standing in the same position, her head hanging and her back to the bed. Yennefer nears her carefully, laying her hands gently upon Tissaia’s shoulders, so as not to startle her.

“Talk to me, Tissaia.” She tries, voice impossibly soft. When nothing but a heavy sigh escapes the other woman, she tries a different approach, “And here I thought you’d be glad for a reprieve from my aggravating self?” This does elicit a quiet chuckle and Tissaia turns in her arms, blue eyes shining,

“I –“ Tissaia looks away with an embarrassed smile, fingers reaching to catch a stray tear, “I just worry, that is all.”

Yennefer preens in jest, puffing her chest in a way she knows makes the smaller woman laugh “I thought you had seen with your own eyes what I did to that ungodly field at Sodden? We’re not expecting trouble this time, only an exceedingly long and bothersome diplomatic campaign.” As she says the words, not for the first time Yennefer finds herself cursing sweet Triss for somehow convincing her to join in this lengthy enterprise. The Northern Kingdoms’ alliance is fragile, Yennefer. If we do nothing, it won’t be Nilfgaard that destroys us, but our own internal mistrust, she knew Triss was right, of course, but that certainly did not mean she wouldn’t grumble about it whenever she could.

Besides, at the time she agreed to help she did not know Tissaia wouldn’t be able to accompany them. The Chapter’s wrath in the aftermath of Sodden had been remarkable. Only the Arch-Mistress’ standing had allowed her to maintain her post as Rectoress, so they both agreed it would be safer that she remain in Aretuza for now. There was no shortage of work to be found in the school-now-turned-convalescent-home for the survivors of the battle, not to mention the fresh batch of conduits in the subterranean dormitories whose flighty chaos begged for control.

In short, Tissaia knew Aretuza is where she was needed, and nothing Yennefer did or said could divest her of this notion.

That is not why I worry.” The quiet admission pulls Yennefer from her meandering thoughts, and when their eyes meet again, the younger woman frowns, striving to understand,

“You know I’ll come back to you as soon as I’m able, don’t you?” Though she holds her gaze, the older mage’s silence shatters Yennefer’s heart. Swallowing the lump in her throat, Yennefer continues, voice serious, “Let me make this promise to you now, then. I will always come back to you, Tissaia.” Lifting small hands to plump lips, she presses a kiss there, and another, “I’m yours. Forever.” Breaking from her stupor, Tissaia finally reaches for her, grazing her knuckles across the younger woman’s cheek and curling her palm around the nape of her neck, bringing their foreheads together. Yennefer’s hands find their place on Tissaia’s waist, thumbs rubbing soothing circles on the material of her dressing gown.

They melt into the embrace and into each other. This closeness is enough for their chaos to entwine completely, the feeling akin to a deep trance, one that erases the rest of the world until only the two of them remain, completely lost in the feeling of one another.

But sadly, all good things must come to an end. Unwilling to leave Tissaia after what they just shared, but knowing she must, an idea pops in Yennefer’s mind. Dropping a kiss to the smaller woman’s temple she says,

“I have something for you.” Tissaia raises an eyebrow, but Yennefer does not sate her curiosity just yet, “Give me a moment.”, and she’s gone in a flurry of skirts, leaving a dumbfounded Tissaia in her wake to shake her head fondly as the smaller woman senses the incoming mischief.

It’s a few minutes later that Yennefer returns to find an already dressed Tissaia, sitting at the table and sipping her tea, eyes skimming a letter she must have gotten that same morning. She does not look up immediately, only after a moment of Yennefer standing beside her saying nothing does the rectoress finally give in. The witty words die on her lips however, when her eyes land on what Yennefer cuddles safely in her arms, and both her eyebrows shoot up,

“What is that?”

“It’s a kitten, Tissaia." Yennefer says drooly, "I thought you’d be familiar with the concept.” Any response to Yennefer’s cheek fades instantly as the little black furball’s head turns and Tissaia is met with dazzling blue eyes peering curiously at her.

“Why do you have a cat?” Tissaia splutters, and nearly falls from her chair when the little thing smoothly jumps from Yennefer’s hold to land on her lap.

“A kitten.” Yennefer corrects, rolling her eyes at Tissaia’s antics, “And I found her wandering near the butcher’s shop at Gors Velen so I brought her back with me from the market a few days ago.”

“Do you mean to tell me there has been a cat-“ Yennefer narrows her eyes, “- a kitten hiding in Aretuza for the past days without me knowing?” The intimidating effect of Tissaia’s tone is lost when the kitty starts energetically playing with her pendant, her little claws catching at the fabric of the rectoress’ dress, making her yelp. Yennefer grins at the sigh of Tissaia working to free herself from the spiky paws, only for the little creature to start purring and rubbing her head against the woman’s hand.

“Apparently so.” Yennefer sits beside her then, already reaching for a buttery toast, “Anyway, will you look after her until my return?” Tissaia’s retort dies when Yennefer touches her kitten-free hand from across the table, “Please, Tissaia?”

“Alright.” The smaller woman sighs defeatedly. Seemingly understanding the exchange, the black kitten lays down comfortably on her lap, still purring and looking perfectly content. Tissaia’s lip twitches, “Yes. Alright.”

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When Yennefer returns, earlier than expected but still more than a month since the last time she saw Tissaia, she is greeted with quite a sight. There, dozing on the couch, she finds Tissaia and her furry companion, huddled together under heavy furs and in front of a raging fire in an attempt to chase the winter chill. The rectoress’ left hand is gently perched over the sleeping kitty’s belly while her right hand holds the book she must have been reading before her impromptu slumber. Yennefer enjoys the view for a moment, allowing it to gradually warm her entire body and fill her heart with affection for the smaller woman. How she missed her. Unwilling to wake the pair but still longing for closeness, she makes her way quietly towards the couch and stealthily curls up beside them, resting her head beside the kitten’s body on Tissaia’s lap. Yennefer yawns, but before she is able to fall asleep, she feels a pair of lips on her forehead, followed by a sleepy rasp,

“Welcome back.”