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“Fucking ninja cats, what the fuck man” Beau grumbled to herself as she left Caleb’s room. “Fucking stupid” she muttered, shaking her head.

As the young monk approached the chambers that she was supposed to be sharing with Yasha and Jester tonight, she found herself pausing outside the door. There didn’t seem to be any lights on inside, meaning that the others must have already gone to sleep. It had after all been a neverending day.

Beauregard chewed on her bottom lip for a moment as she thought. After building up the courage to finally ask Caleb for the tower tomorrow (and the resulting adrenaline when he had actually said yes) she was feeling pretty wired and wasn’t sure that she could sleep just yet even if she tried. Hesitating for just a moment longer Beau made her decision and turned away from the door, instead making her way through the corridors of the Rexxentrum Archive (so familiar to those of the Zadash Archive).

It wasn’t too long until she found what she was looking for, a large and open reading room which was used for monks of all ranks to study and research in at any time of day. She hovered uncertainly in the doorway for a moment before taking a breath and stepping inside.

At this hour of night it was unsurprisingly rather empty, except for two young scholars sitting at one of the large tables, huddled over a book. The pair looked up as she entered.

“Expositor…” one of the pair, a young half elf, greeted her.

For a moment Beau was caught off guard by the greeting, but quickly managed to offer a tight smile and a nod, the way she had seen Dairon do so many times in the past. The younger monks smiled in return and Beau continued across the room to one of the other empty tables.

Shrugging off her jacket Beau pulled her notebook out of her backpack and placed it down in front of her. Her eyes roamed over the worn blue leather of the book, like her it had seen some shit, but the proud emblem of the Cobalt Soul still stood out across it’s front. The Expositor sighed softly as she reached for it, fingers gently tracing the familiar design.

How long had she spent resenting the Soul? And then how long had she spent annoyed at herself for agreeing to learn their ways? Sure, the training she had received from the Soul had made her who she was today, had saved herself and her friends a number of times, but there had always been a part of Beau that had been ashamed to be a part of the institution that had ripped her away from her old life, and thrust her into a new one without the faintest interest in what she had wanted.

But now.

It felt like a weight had been lifted. Sure, her mind was still reeling from everything Yudala had told her that afternoon. And there was still a lot for the young Expositor to process, but in the immediate aftermath she could at least allow herself to feel that small sense of relief and validation. Dairon had listened, and they had made sure that those responsible for abusing her were to be punished.

Letting out a shaky breath Beauregard opened the notebook to a blank page and reached for a quill from her bag. As she lifted her head she noticed the half-elf, and his human companion, had been watching her - the two immediately looking back down at their book as she clocked them.

Past Beau would probably have allowed herself to get irritated by it, would have made a remark but as she stared at the two she realised how familiar they seemed. She had been them once, eyes following the Expositors that came into the Archive, eagerly watching them, hoping to be noticed, hoping one day she could make something of herself just like them.

And so she offered them a small smile and turned her attention back to her notebook, beginning to scribble down on the pages.

Beau was silently pleased that the late hour meant that no one else was really around. She wasn’t exactly sure how the other monks would take it if they found an Expositor using her official Cobalt Soul journal to write down a list of requests for a date with a Xhorhasian barbarian.

Screw them, anyway, she had had a really shitty few weeks, they all had, and she deserved this. Yasha deserved this.

“Yasha…”

It was as if thinking about the Aasimar had magicked her into existence, because all of a sudden, out of nowhere, was the looming silhouette of the taller woman.

“Hi…” her soft voice was so starkly juxtaposed with the intimidating presence she radiated.

The monk swallowed nervously and slammed her notebook shut. “Everything okay?” she asked cautiously, completely caught off guard by the other’s sudden appearance.

“Yes, of course” Yasha nodded, and Beau noticed as the barbarian stepped a little closer into the light which illuminated the desk, that Yasha wasn’t wearing her armour. Instead she was in a simple cloth shirt, and there was something about the vulnerability of it that did things to Beau’s heart. “You just...you never came back to the room, I wanted to make sure you were okay” the taller woman continued, a slight waiver to her tone that betrayed her nervousness.

“Oh” Beau swallowed, her throat going dry as she stared up at the other woman. “I uh, yeah good. I’m good” she stumbled over her words, and for once in her life prayed to Ioun that the two younger monk’s couldn’t hear this conversation. (That would be fucking embarassing) “Just…” she glanced down at her notebook and realised it held no secrets that she was willing to share with Yasha(just yet). “Feeling a little too restless to sleep is all” she explained with a shrug, not a complete lie.

Yasha considered her for a moment, and those eyes - fuck, those eyes felt like they saw right through to her soul, and somehow Beau thought she might be okay with that.

“It has - it’s been a really long day…” Yasha pointed out gently, and Beau was prepared for the Aasimar to practically drag her to bed, but instead was surprised as she sat down on the bench opposite Beau.

“Yeah, yeah it fucking has” Beau agreed with a relieved sigh.

Her fingers awkwardly picked at the corner of her notebook as she carefully studied Yasha. The other woman was quiet as her heterochromatic eyes darted around the room, carefully and quietly taking in every detail in the way that Beau had noticed her do many times before.

“Am I…” Yasha began and then leaned across the table slightly, voice lowering. “Is it okay that I’m here?” she asked, glancing around at what was clearly a study and research space for the many monks who lived or visited the Archive.

“Yeah, you’re fine” Beau insisted with a wave of her hand, dismissing Yasha’s concerns. “You’re with an Expositor, that’s gotta like count for something, right?”

Yasha smiled warmly and Beau’s heart skipped in response. She was so far gone for this woman, which honestly should be a lot more terrifying than it so far seemed to be.

“I think, well, I’m no expert, but from what I’ve seen today it counts for a lot” she agreed gently. “Yudala...they are quite a big deal, yes?”

“Yeah, uh, they are pretty much in charge of the entire Cobalt Soul” Beau agreed with a nod.

“They think very highly of you”

“Yeah I mean...they don’t really know me so much, right?”

Yasha’s lips quirked into a half smile, her eyes fixing Beau with a stare. “I thought the Cobalt Soul was all about knowledge?” she asked, one eyebrow raising.

“Yeah, yeah it is…”

“So I think that they know a lot about you, Beau…”

Beau licked her bottom lip nervously and shrugged. “Yeah, maybe”

“It’s really - it’s strange being here…” Yasha admitted, her eyes glancing over the space once more; the large desks, the beautiful bookcases, the stained glass windows.

Beau’s eyes followed Yasha’s, glancing around the room. It felt strange for her too. She felt safe here, which was the opposite of what she had ever felt in the years she had spent in the Zadash Archive. “You mean because of...what happened when you were with Obann...”

Yasha’s gaze drifted away from the intricate stained glass design, instead focusing once more on the bright blue of Beauregard’s eyes. “A little, I suppose” the barbarian nodded and Beau bit her lip. “But I’ve - I think I’ve healed a lot since then” Yasha admitted cautiously, looking to Beau as if for approval. And the monk gave it in the form of a bright and real smile. Yes, Yasha had healed a lot in the last few months. “Now it just feels strange because it’s such a nice place, I’ve never really spent much time in a place like this,” she explained. “With all the books and…”

“Yeah it’s - it’s pretty grand, huh?” Beau laughed softly.

“There was nothing like this where I grew up”

“Yeah, same,” Beau laughed. “You’ve seen what a shithole Kamordah is”

Yasha hummed in agreement, eyes glancing over Beau’s shoulder at all of the bookcases that lined the back of the room.

“There was never much in the way of books in my tribe” Yasha admitted softly. “But whenever we came across one I would cherish it, read it front to back, over and over until it was worn out, or stolen…” she ducked her head and smiled, a tinge of red flushing across her cheeks.

Beau bit her lip and smiled, chest swelling with affection at the thought of a younger Yasha with a book.

“Zuala used to bring me them,” she whispered. “She was - she was so smart” Yasha explained, “A lot like you” Beau swallowed hard and offered a warm smile, hoping to encourage Yasha to continue. She did. “She used to read with me, would teach me to speak Common”

The monk smiled sadly, she had always wondered how a barbarian from the southern wastelands of Xhorhas spoke a language so far removed from her people.

“I would love to hear more about her,” Beau admitted gently, reaching out cautiously and squeezing Yasha’s forearm. “One day, when you’re ready”

Yasha lifted her gaze to meet those wonderfully blue irises once more, “There is so much that I want to tell you about her” she agreed. “One day”

Beau nodded silently, squeezing Yasha’s arm once more before sliding her own arm back to her side of the table.

“I wish I’d known how much you love books” Beau commented softly, folding her arms on the desk and using them to rest her chin on as she looked across at Yasha. “Kinda felt like a nerd with Caleb all this time, when it turns out you’re a bit of a book nerd too” she teased.

“Never really came up I suppose”

Beau shrugged, “I don’t know. You were pretty awesome that afternoon in Zadash, you, me and Caleb pouring through tonnes of old books looking for information”

The Aasimar smiled fondly at the memory. “That was a good day” she agreed softly.

“Before everything went to shit?”

“Not everything” Yasha insisted, and as Beau met her eyes she couldn’t help but wonder whether Yasha was thinking the same way as she was in that moment. Things were pretty shit, but whatever it was that was brewing between the two of them was anything but.

Beau bit her lip and gave a small nod.

“Beau?”

“Yeah?” she hated how breathless she sounded.

“Can I ask you something?” Yasha chewed her lip nervously for a moment, “Without you shutting me out…”

Blue eyes searched the beautiful mismatched irises looking back at them, “Okay…”

“Goodnight, Expositor…”

The timid voice broke through the tension at Beau and Yasha’s table and the two sat up a little straighter to look at the two young monks who had clearly decided to call it a night.

“Uh yeah, night…” she called after them, lifting a hand in an awkward wave.

Yasha turned her head slightly and watched as the two young scholars blushed and hurried out of the room, books tucked under their arms. She turned her attention back to Beau, one eyebrow lifting amusedly.

“What?” the human laughed a little awkwardly.

“You have fans…” the Aasimar teased.

Beau furrowed her brow and shook her head but Yasha just raised her other eyebrow in response causing Beau to roll her eyes and shrug. “Yeah, okay, maybe I have fucking fans” she laughed.

“I told you being an Expositor was a big deal”

“Yeah maybe” Beau shrugged, clearly embarrassed at the mere suggestion of being a role model. “Guess I used to look at the Expositors like that when I was younger…” she admitted.

“It has been so amazing to watch how much you’ve grown in the short time we’ve known each other”

Yasha’s admission completely threw Beauregard off and she stumbled over her words for what felt like forever before just giving up and shaking her head, glancing away from Yasha in the hopeless attempt to hide the way her face had flushed at just a few simple words from the other woman.

“Didn’t - didn’t you have a question or something…” Beau tried to change the topic.

“Yes” Yasha nodded, “But it’s not going to take the attention off of you…”

Beau rolled her eyes and dramatically buried her head in her arms on the desk. “Fine” she huffed.

Yasha smiled affectionately as she watched the young monk, the young woman that she was so damn proud of every single day that she watched her.

“How are you, Beau?”

Beau’s brow furrowed and she lifted her head out of her arms just enough that she could see Yasha. “M’fine” she muttered simply, confused as to why Yasha might think otherwise.

“Really?” Yasha didn’t sound convinced.

“Yeah. I mean, this is like the first time in days that I’ve not had my ass kicked”

The slightest hint of a smile graced Yasha’s lips at that, before she shook her head. “Seriously, Beau, how are you?” she asked again, leaning a little closer to the monk on the other side of the table. “I know that you don’t like to dwell on things, or admit how you’re feeling, but everything that you found out this afternoon...it is a big deal…”

Beau bit her lip, glad that her head was buried in her arms once again so that Yasha couldn’t see her expression as she heard those words. The young human felt emotion welling up inside her and she had to take a breath, trying to steady herself so that it didn’t overwhelm her. But that was it, wasn’t it? It was overwhelming, to have someone truly see her and ask how she was feeling.

She stalled for a moment longer, squeezing her eyes shut in the hope that it would stop any tears borne of exhaustion, and then finally lifted her head to meet Yasha’s gaze. And that, too, was overwhelming.

Had anyone ever looked at her that way before?

“I uh…” Beau hesitated and let out a shaky sigh. She couldn’t lie to Yasha, she could try but she knew the Aasimar would see through her. And more importantly, Beau found for the first time that she didn’t want to lie. Not to Yasha. Not to one of the people she trusted most in her life.

Yasha was patient, waiting for the monk to be ready to speak, and Beau wondered whether the other woman realised just how much it meant to her to have someone so patiently wait for her to be ready to share.

“Yes and no” she finally admitted, giving a half shrug and letting her eyes roam over the worn notebook once more, anything for a distraction. Still, Yasha remained patient. “I mean I guess it feel good to know that someone actually fucking listened to me” she continued eventually. “And I guess I feel validated to know that I wasn’t just being overdramatic or whatever, that what happened to me was wrong…” Beau swallowed and glanced up at Yasha, giving another half shrug.

“But?” Yasha’s voice was so soft, barely a whisper really.

“S’a lot to fucking process, you know?” Yasha nodded but stayed quiet, let Beauregard continue. “Especially right now”

The barbarian bit her lip, mulling over the other woman’s words. “I’m not going to tell you what to do, or tell you that you need to process it right now” she began gently, “But just remember that this isn’t something you have to work through alone, Beau”

A tiny hint of a smile graced Beau’s face. “You gonna help me?” she asked softly.

“Yes” Yasha replied simply, “If you want me to” she shrugged. “Or any of the Nein, or the people that you know here. You have a lot of people that care about you, Beau. I know that sometimes you can get lost in your own head, but we’re all here for you. As much or as a little as you want”

Beauregard studied Yasha for a few moments, heart swelling at the other woman’s words, and at the realisation that she was right. Beau was no longer alone. It used to be her biggest fear, and perhaps it still was, but right now she was surrounded by people that cared about her and she couldn’t lose sight of that.

“Thanks Yash…” she muttered gently, trying to keep emotion out of her tone. “I want to work through it,” she continued after a moment. “And I know that a lot of that fucking trauma, it won’t be fully resolved until I do work through it but -” she sighed. “We’ve got a lot of shit going on right now, man, this stuff can wait”

“It doesn’t have to,” Yasha replied gently. “I know that everything else that’s going on feels world ending” she frowned at the thought of what was waiting for them up in Eiselcross. “But I don’t think it matters any more than you”

“Yash - come on, man, of course it’s more fucking important than me, I -”

“Not to me” Beau stared at her, like a deer in headlights for a moment, completely caught off guard by the sincerity of Yasha’s tone. “I know how this kind of thing can weigh on your mind and it is important to me that you don’t feel like you have to do this alone…”

Beau nodded and bravely reached across the table, taking Yasha’s hand in hers and squeezing gently. “Thanks Yasha. Seriously” she smiled softly.

“No need to thank me”

“Are you shitting me?” Beau laughed and let go of Yasha’s hand with a shake of her head. “I’m pretty sure I could spend the entire day thanking you recently”

The Aasimar’s head tilted slightly, looking at Beau in confusion.

“For what?”

“Everything” Beau chuckled softly. “I mean, you definitely saved my life a couple days ago” she pointed out. “I wake up every morning still wrapped up in my blanket, and I have never woken up completely under the blankets before so…” she paused and watched as Yasha opened her mouth to argue. “Don’t you dare say it wasn’t you. I know it was” Yasha bit her lip and shrugged, Beau couldn’t help but smile. “And I honestly don’t remember the last time you used healing hands on anyone but me…”

Yasha blushed at that one, but all credit to her she did not look away.

“Pretty sure that’s some fucking angel thing meant to keep you alive to do the Stormlord’s work, you know…” she chuckled.

“Then perhaps you should stop getting hurt” Yasha quipped in response.

“No way, I like it too much when you touch me” the monk winked and Yasha turned bright red and quickly glanced away.

Beau grinned at that, feeling as though she had achieved something, and picked at the edges of her notebook once more before looking back up at Yasha. “Hey...how are you?” she asked after a moment, smiling as Yasha lifted her head to meet her gaze once more. “That was uhm - a cool fucking sword you got today…”

“Yes,” Yasha beamed at the mention of the new weapon. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”

“It’s pretty fucking cool” the monk agreed with a nod. “It looked like it physically pained her to hand it over though”

“Well it’s quite...it would be a big deal to lend a sword like that to your best friend. And I am a stranger”

“Hm” Beau nodded, “You think she’s got the hots for you?” she teased, grinning as she saw Yasha blush once again. “Cause she’s kinda intimidating in a very attractive way but...I saw you first, just remember that” she joked, sending another wink in Yasha’s direction.

“No I - I do not think she has the ‘hots’ for me” Yasha argued with a shake of her head.

“Then she’s an idiot”

“Beau!”

“What?!”

Yasha rolled her eyes, “I think that if she has ‘the hots’ for anyone it’s Allura…”

“Yeah, I mean, that’s fair. She’s stunning…”

“You really do have a thing for older women” Yasha teased softly.

Beau smirked, winked once more and then asked, “So they are totally like married or something, right?”

“It seemed that way,” Yasha agreed. “They seemed...very in love”

“That’s the dream, huh?” Beau smiled, “Fall in love with someone who loves fighting and adventuring as much as you. Spend your semi-retirement together living in a fancy-ass castle”

“I thought you wanted to retire on a beach, with a bar named after you?”

Beau grinned at the memory of the bar on Rumblecusp. “I mean that’d be awesome, but I wouldn’t say no to a castle either” she shrugged.

“I would like to retire somewhere with a beautiful garden that I could fill with all of the most beautiful flowers” Yasha mused softly.

“Heh, I’m sure the castle has fucking huge grounds for you to grow flowers in”

“Oh we’re moving into the castle now?”

Beau shrugged, “Hey, she gave you her beloved sword, why not the castle too?”

Yasha chuckled softly and looked down at her hands on the table, she chewed her lip for a moment before looking back up at Beau. “I don’t know that I can truly harness the sword’s powers…” she admitted softly.

“What?” Beau frowned, “What makes you say that?”

“I don’t know” she shrugged, tongue darting out to lick her bottom lip as she studied Beau. “It just - when I tried to attune to it it felt like...it felt like there was some kind of barrier. I couldn’t properly connect” she tried to explain.

Beau considered her for a moment before pushing herself up off of the bench.

“Where are you…” Yasha frowned as she watched Beau disappear across the room, over to the bookcases. She watched interestedly as the monk’s eyes darted across the spines of the many books, and it felt like only moments later she was pulling one off of the shelf and walking back over.

As Beau approached there was a triumphant smile on her face. She placed the book down in front of Yasha before taking the seat beside the Aasimar.

Yasha’s eyes skimmed the front of the tome; Blades of Exandria: A detailed history. “How did you know that this would be there?” she asked, impressed.

“This place is exactly like the one in Zadash. I know exactly what books they have in these study rooms” Beau replied simply, reaching out and opening the large tome, beginning to skip through the pages.

“And you’ve read a lot of them?”

“Don’t tell, Caleb” Beau looked up at Yasha with a sly grin. “But I’ve read a hell of a lot of the books here”

“Nerd” Yasha whispered, nudging the smaller woman teasingly.

Beau just smirked and waggled her eyebrows at the taller woman, eyes returning to the book as she flipped through the pages. “Here…” she finally pointed to one of the pages, where a crude sketch of a sword lay. “It looks like that one, right?”

Yasha’s brow furrowed as she focused on the page, taking in the details of the drawing before nodding. “Yeah, I think…”

“Fuck, Yash, that’s no ordinary sword” she laughed, fingers tracing the words that accompanied the image. “It’s a Holy Avenger”

“What is...what’s a Holy Avenger?”

“An awesome fucking sword” she laughed and began reading out excerpts of the pages.

Yasha, for her part, tried to focus on the words but her eyes left the book to glance at Beau and never returned. It was captivating to watch her like this, completely in her element as she absorbed knowledge. There was a lightness to the way she sat, cross-legged on the bench, one hand on the pages of the book, the other excitedly tapping Yasha’s arm every time she read something particularly interesting. She was stunning like this, and Yasha hated every single person that had ever made this woman feel like she wasn’t enough, that she should be ashamed of her natural inquisitiveness, or her thirst for knowledge.

“Fuck, Yash. Look at this” Beau excitedly hit her repeatedly in the arm to get her attention, breaking the Aasimar from her thoughts. “...They possessed great and magnificent powers that were only fully realized in the hands of a benevolent holy warrior…”

“Benevolent?”

“Yeah it means like - kind, uh, good-hearted…”

“Well at least we know why it doesn’t work for me then…” Yasha responded gently.

Beau stopped reading and finally lifted her head to look at Yasha. “What are you talking about?” she asked with a frown. “Yasha, you’re one of the kindest people I’ve ever met…”

“Beau, I’m - I’ve done a lot of bad things…”

“Not by choice”

She sighed softly. “I don’t think I’m the kind of person that’s meant to wield a sword like that…”

“Are you kidding me? Yasha, holy warrior...I know you think that’s like some kind of Paladin or whatever but it’s you too. You have done so much shit in the name of the Stormlord” she tried to convince the other woman. Yasha frowned and opened her mouth to argue but Beau shook her head and continued. “And besides, I’m pretty sure Kima wouldn’t give up her most prized possession to someone she didn’t think was worthy”

“I guess…”

“Didn’t you say the last few times you’ve dreamt of him he seemed proud?”

Yasha nodded. “It felt that way, yes” she admitted softly.

“So...I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the Stormlord to grant you whatever power you need to possess to wield the sword” the monk shrugged. “I mean, not that I know a lot about wielding swords but…”

“You know a lot, Beau”

“Yeah?”

“You’re really smart”

Beau blushed ever so slightly.

“Speaking of dreams…” Yasha carefully broached the subject.

Beau tensed ever so slightly but forced a smile, trying to hide her discomfort and glanced over at Yasha with a raised eyebrow. “I’m a dream come true to you?” she asked teasingly.

Yasha chuckled gently, “Perhaps” she muttered, flashing a smirk at Beau and catching the monk completely off guard with how easily Yasha responded to the flirting. Sometimes, in these moments alone together, it just came so naturally. “But…” she took on a sterner tone. “We both know we’re not talking about my dreams, Beau…”

Beau dragged her teeth over her lip, staring down at her glove covered hand as it rested against the tome in front of her. “I haven’t had anymore if that’s what you’re asking…” she spoke quietly, as if afraid they’d be overheard.

“I know” Yasha nodded. She trusted Beau, and Caleb, she knew the two of them would tell the rest of the Nein if it happened again. “I guess what I’m asking is how are you feeling about it. Neither of you brought it up today; to Yussa, Allura…”

Beauregard sighed, her right arm bending at the elbow, her fingers reaching to pinch the bridge of her nose as she gathered her thoughts. “I don’t know, Yasha” she admitted quietly, offering a half-shrug before glancing up at the woman beside her. “I mean, when it first happened I thought it was gonna turn out much worse” she explained. “I thought for sure Lucien knew about it…”

“But he didn’t seem to?”

“I think he would have used it against us in the fight”

Yasha nodded in agreement.

“But it’s - chances are that it’s not anything good” Beau bit her lip, eyes glancing down at her left hand once more.

“Are you scared?”

Beau shook her head defiantly. “I just wanna stop this motherfucker, you know?”

“Me too” Yasha agreed, shifting slightly and reaching out to take Beau’s left hand in her right. “But protecting you...and Caleb, that is my priority”

“Yasha…”

The Aasimar shook her head, her thumb brushing carefully over the spot on Beau’s hand where she knew the red eye was concealed beneath the glove. “Stay alive” she whispered. “You promised me…”

“Yeah, I know but -”

“Don’t break your promise, Beau” Yasha pleaded.

“I mean, the promise was only valid up until the date so…” Beau deflected.

“You do realise that the date is only going to make you staying alive even more important to me, don’t you?”

Beau shrugged, swallowed hard. “Might be a shit date”

“If you and me are there then that’s all that matters”

Beau smiled sadly, her eyes fixing on the delicate way in which Yasha held her hand. It was hard to believe that the last time she had spent an evening sat at a table, in a room like this, she had been completely alone. And now, not even a year later, she had everything she had never thought she could. She had a family. And she had - she had something with Yasha, that she had never had with anyone before.

(That quite possibly she would never want with anyone else)

“You asked me if I was scared…”

The barbarian nodded, her hand gently squeezing Beau’s in an encouraging way.

“I’m scared of fucking this up” she whispered, using her free hand to gesture between them.

“Me too” Yasha’s voice was practically a whisper, yet it was still enough to spark something inside Beau’s heart.

The monk licked her lip nervously and let out a shaky breath.

“I haven’t a fucking clue what this whole thing with the eyes means for me and Caleb” she admitted, lifting her gaze to meet Yasha’s. “But I’ll do what it takes to stop Lucien and the Somnovum,” she promised.

“And I’ll do what it takes to protect you from them”

“Then that’s all we need, right?” Beau smiled weakly, her eyes searching Yasha’s.

“Well, this beautiful loaned sword isn’t a bad addition” she smiled, glancing down at the pages of the book once more.

“Yeah, exactly” Beau smiled. “You with your fancy new sword, Caleb and the staff. Fjord and his fucking Vestige” Beau chuckled at the memory of that revelation. “What the fuck do I get?”

“I thought your body was your weapon”

“Sure is” Beau smirked gently.

“Well, please don’t get a new one of those…”

“No?”

Yasha smiled, thumb brushing the back of Beau’s hand once more before letting go. “I like it how it is,” she said simply, pulling the book closer and focusing her eyes on the words even as her skin flushed.

Beau smiled softly, studying Yasha quietly for a few moments before bravely pressing closer to look over the book with her once again. “Shit, this sword is pretty fucking dope” she smiled as they read the rest of the entry on it together. “Do you want me to write to the Stormlord and ask him to help you use it?”

“You’re going to write to him?” Yasha laughed softly.

“Yeah, I dunno I could blackmail him or something - I’ve got previous for that”

“You want to blackmail a God?” Yasha’s eyebrows rose as she turned to look at Beau.

“Yeah that’s probably not the best idea, huh?”

“He would likely send me to smite you,” Yasha pointed out. “Which - would probably be a really awkward first date…”

“I don’t know, I think I’ve probably been on worse dates” Beau laughed.

“I think -” Yasha paused and considered Beau for a moment, an amused smile spreading across her face. “I think it’s a no for the blackmail…:

“Yeah, that’s fair” Beau nodded and reached for the book, carefully closing it. “Okay, I guess we should probably get some sleep, huh?”

“Yes” Yasha agreed, watching as Beau stood up and carried the book back to the bookshelves. She smiled to herself as she watched the care that the human took as she placed the large tome back in the place she had found it, and for a moment Yasha let herself imagine an older Beau finally comfortable in herself and her position at the Cobalt Soul, spending her evenings researching, or simply reading for fun. And maybe somewhere in that future Yasha could join her, reading together like they had tonight, without the threat of death looming over them.

“What?” Beau tilted her head and raised an eyebrow as she turned and noticed Yasha staring at her.

“Nothing” the Aasimar shook her head, “You just look - at home…”

Beau considered her a moment and it was difficult for Yasha to really discern the storm brewing behind those eyes, whether it was calm or fierce - because Gods know Beauregard was capable of either. But then the monk let out a breath and nodded. “I think maybe I finally am” she admitted and Yasha couldn’t hold back the bright smile as she looked across the room at Expositor Beauregard Lionett of the Cobalt Soul, one of the brightest minds and sharpest wits that the Archive had likely ever called one of their own.

Yasha might have grown up far from anything that even resembled this, but she couldn’t help the way that her chest burst with pride to see how far Beau had come, and to see just how much she had gained the respect of the Soul.

“You okay?”

Beau’s voice caught Yasha off guard and she refocused her vision, glancing at the shorter woman.

“Yeah. I’m good”

“Looked a little...I dunno, like you were somewhere else then”

“Just thinking”

“About what?” Beau enquired, folding her arms across her chest and studying Yasha interestedly.

“The future, I think”

The monk’s brow furrowed but she didn’t press Yasha for any more information, instead turning as if she was to leave the study room but she paused, and turned back to Yasha.

“Thanks for...you know, coming to check on me…” there was a slight hint of nerves to her tone, but she pushed through, knowing that it was important to acknowledge how nice it felt to have someone looking out for her.

“Of course” Yasha nodded. “We’ve been through a lot lately, it’s important to check in on one another”

“Yeah” Beau nodded. “Shit, I mean...are you okay?” she asked, suddenly realising she probably should have asked earlier.

“I will be” Yasha agreed with a nod. “I think that for a long time I was holding onto some kind of hope, that Molly was still in there…”

“Yeah, me too…”

“But he isn't,” Yasha stated simply, her mind made up. “Molly would never have done this…” pale fingers reached out, gently brushed Beau’s throat, over the fading bruises left from Lucien’s hand.

“Yeah I mean...I annoyed Molly, I know that, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t annoy him that much” Beau tried to keep the topic as lighthearted as possible.

“Molly cared for you a lot, Beau”

“Yeah, me too…” the monk nodded, ducking her head and smiling gently as she felt Yasha’s fingers leave her throat and instead brush the back of her neck in the faintest touch, acknowledging the tattoo there. “I really wanted to get him back…”

“We all did but...I think it’s time that we have to accept he’s gone and focus all of our attention on stopping Lucien” it hurt Yasha to say it, but she knew it was the truth. There was none of her best friend left in that body and she would stop at nothing to end Lucien. She knew it was what Molly would want.

Beau nodded, reaching out and gently squeezed Yasha’s arm in what she hoped was a reassuring way.

“Okay, we should sleep…” Yasha smiled gently and nodded towards the doorway.

Beau nodded and took a step towards the door before pausing and turning back to Yasha once more. “Hey, you know how Jester asked if I needed comforting earlier…”

Yasha chuckled softly at the memory, “By big strong arms?”

“Yeah” Beau grinned, “You know anyone who fits the bill?” she asked teasingly. “Cause I think she might have been right...I think a hug would be really fucking good right now…” she tried so hard to sound confident, but Beau knew that Yasha must be able to recognise the nervousness that laced her tone. They had never hugged one another before, and whilst it should have been so simple for people so close, it was kind of terrifying.

The Aasimar studied Beau silently for a moment before holding her arms out slightly and looking down at them. “Well I mean, these arms are…”

“Worth a lot?” Beau finished a sentence with a smile and Yasha laughed lightly. “I’m not paying you 5 gold for this by the way…” she quipped, taking a breath and then stepping into Yasha’s embrace.

It immediately felt like home. Strong arms wrapped around Beau’s smaller frame and in response the monk looped her arms around Yasha’s waist, resting her head against the Aasimar’s collarbone. It felt good.

“Why haven’t we done this before?” she mumbled from where she was pressed against the soft material of Yasha’s shirt.

“Because I’m always worried you don’t want me to touch you. After everything…”

Beau frowned and shook her head, tightening her hold on the taller woman. “That’s - you…” Beau groaned in frustration as she struggled to find the right words. “That’s not a - you definitely don’t have to worry about that”

“Okay” Yasha whispered.

Beau smiled softly and then reluctantly let go, taking a step back. She really wanted to avert her eyes, didn’t want Yasha to see the way that her face was flushing right now, but she was glad that she stood her ground because it meant she got to see the beautiful red flush of the Aasimar’s face as she bit her lip and ducked her head slightly.

“We should…” Beau thumbed in the direction of the doorway.

“Yeah” Yasha nodded and began to follow Yasha out of the study room.

As the two began walking through the corridors, side-by-side-, Beauregard felt the brush of Yasha’s hand against hers. Her heart skipped a beat and she glanced up at the barbarian to be met by a soft, shy smile before Yasha reached out and took Beau’s hand in hers.

There was a moment where time seemed to stand still and the two stared at one another waiting to see who would break the contact first. Neither did. And they continued their short walk to their chambers, hand in hand.

The corridors of the Archive were dimly lit, most people likely asleep or at least in their chambers, but a couple of other monks did pass the two as they got closer to their destination.

“Sorry...am I allowed to do this here?” Yasha whispered after they were passed by an elderly half-orc wearing the robes of an Archivist. “It’s your workplace…”

Beau shrugs. “No fucking idea” she smiled and squeezed Yasha’s hand in hers, somehow she couldn’t bring herself to care.

As they approached the chambers that the Nein had been allocated for the night, the two of them began to slow down, neither quite ready for the night to end.

“I uh...I asked Caleb if we could have the tower to ourselves tomorrow night…” Beau admitted, voice a little shaky, as they came to a halt outside the room they were sharing with Jester.

“Oh…”

“Yeah” Beau swallowed nervously and looked down at her boots, “He said yes...by the way…” she glanced back up at Yasha.

“Oh. Okay” Yasha looked a little surprised, her eyes avoiding meeting Beau’s.

“So uh, if you still wanted to...you know, go on a date?”

“Yes” Yasha nodded, eyes finally locking on Beau’s. “Yes, of course. I would love to” The Aasimar agreed, her voice so soft and gentle that it made Beau’s heart ache.

“‘Kay” the monk nodded quickly. “Cool uh, I’ll pay for the others to stay in the Lavish Chateau or something” she explained. “I’ve got some plans, some uh, some changes to the tower…”

Yasha nodded. “Okay…”

Did she sound nervous? She sounded nervous.

“Yeah…”

“I look forward to it”

“Me too” Beau let out a breath of relief and nodded, “Yeah, me too” she smiled brightly, happier than she’d felt in a little while.

“It does feel a little bit strange to be going on a date...at the end of the world, you know?” Yasha mused and Beau laughed softly, nodding in agreement.

“Yeah, it does” she replied breathlessly. “But uh...I really want to go on a date with you before I die” she admitted with a shrug. “I’ve kind of avoided it for way too long…”

“Then we’ll go on a date. Tomorrow night” Yasha agreed happily. “And hopefully we won’t die, and maybe one day we’ll get to have a second date”

“Are you asking me on a second date already, Yasha?” Beau teased, a stupid and happy smile on her face.

“I don’t know” the Aasimar laughed and shrugged. “I don’t want to miss out, I suppose”

“In case I meet the girl of my dreams in the Astral Sea and you lose your chance?” Beau smirked.

“You never know”

“I know” Beau insisted softly, squeezing Yasha’s hand once more. And she did know, she knew that this thing, whatever it was that was growing between her and Yasha, it had the potential to mean everything to her.

“We should probably uh -” Yasha nodded towards the door and dropped Beau’s hand so that she could open the door.

Before she could properly open it though Beau reached out to stop her. “Hey Yasha…”

The taller woman glanced down at her, a slight furrow to her brow as she confusedly searched Beau’s eyes in the dim light.

“I just - you know, thanks...again”

“For what?”

“Everything” Beau shrugged. “I mean - coming to find me tonight. To check in, you know?”

Yasha seemed to consider Beauregard for a moment before nodding ever so slightly. “Of course” she practically whispered. “We look out for each other…”

“Yeah, yeah of course” Beau nodded and swallowed thickly. “I just - it means a lot is all” she muttered, averting her eyes from Yasha’s and reaching out to push the door open, signalling the end of the conversation. “So thank you…” she muttered once more and headed inside.

Yasha followed behind her and they were greeted by soft snores coming from Jester who appeared to be fast asleep spread out on the bed. “Do you think she’s taking up enough of the bed?” Beau chuckled softly as Yasha closed the door behind them.

The Aasimar smiled softly as she looked over at the tiefling, before brushing past Beau and starting to set up her bedroll on the floor.

“I can shift Jester over a little if you wanna sleep on the bed…” Beau offered.

“No that’s okay, I’m used to sleeping on the floor” Yasha insisted the way that she always did.

Beau nodded and crouched down to grab her own bedroll and began rolling it out beside Yasha’s on the floor. The other woman glanced up, eyes meeting Beau’s and for a moment the monk was sure that she was going to tell her to sleep in the bed but instead Yasha just smiled and continued getting ready for bed.

When Beau finally lay down Yasha was already on the floor, turned onto her side to face the human.

“G’night…” she muttered softly, eyes searching Yasha’s, wishing she knew what the other woman was thinking in that moment.

“Night Beau…”

As she watched the barbarian begin to drift off to sleep Beau found herself wondering how different things would be if Yasha weren’t in her life right now.

(Well, she’d possibly be dead for starters)

But if she were alive, well with almost certain death on the horizon the young monk was sure that past Beau would have gone out into town tonight, and would have sought comfort in the arms of the first willing woman she found. But things were different, she was different. She had grown up, she had found a family, and there was nowhere she’d rather be right now than with the Nein. And if something could truly blossom between her and Yasha then that was a bonus.

If she were to die in a few days time then at least she would die finally knowing she had lived.