Actions

Work Header

Homecoming

Work Text:

Ilsa would say she's too old for butterflies in her stomach but that's exactly what it feels like right now. Not even being on some of her more dangerous missions has her feeling this way.

Ilsa raises her hand to the door in front of her, ready to knock. In any other circumstance, she'd be more than happy to knock right now, and Korwa would open the door and see her and they'd spend some time together before Ilsa's duties or Korwa's work inevitably took them away and they'd have to plan for next time.

How long has it been since they've seen each other though? Ilsa had lost track of time for a bit while being on the run, and it wasn't as if she could pop back up on the Grandcypher at any time. Although if she remembered correctly, Djeeta had let her know that Korwa had at least been away from the ship during that entire time, having gone back to her atelier to focus on her work.

There were times Ilsa thought about sending a letter or a note but the danger was always too great; no matter how much she was tempted, she never wanted to risk it. Korwa knew how to take care of herself but Ilsa had seen firsthand how cruel and malicious The Foe could be. They were targeting Ilsa at the time but considering the number of innocent civilians that had already perished at their hands, there was no guarantee that they wouldn't have turned to those close to Ilsa or the other contractors to lure them out.

Ilsa knows she'd never forgive herself if anything had happened to Korwa.

And even after taking care of all the Moon business, Ilsa had been so busy that it'd taken several months to finally sort through everything and find herself some free time. And it wasn't even on her own terms, it had been Ronan and Eustace kicking her out of her office and telling her to take a damn vacation. From there, it was as if everyone else had done her planning for her because Zeta and Beatrix had shoved an airship ticket into her hands, then Vaseraga had kindly escorted her over to the port, and now that's all led her to here, standing like a fool in front of Korwa's atelier.

Well, there's nothing else to it; she's certainly here… and she's nervous. She's not sure what Djeeta must have told Korwa other than that she needed to lay low for a while. Would Korwa be upset at the lack of communication? While Ilsa hopes not, it's a point that can grow sour. Ilsa knows if she were in Korwa's position, she'd be worried sick.

But that's all the more reason for her to come here, isn't it? Everything's done now, and Ilsa's still here… her feet frozen in place.

"You're a drill sergeant and you've trained more than enough first class soldiers and helped defeat the strongest warrior from the moon! What are you afraid of?" Ilsa mutters to herself. Even as she asks herself that though, she knows the answer already. The matters of the heart are finicky and she can't exactly take it apart and put it together the way she can do with Nybeth.

Her heart is drumming with excitement or apprehension, she doesn't know. How will Korwa react?

Squaring her shoulders, Ilsa knocks on the door.

Ilsa's ears twitch. She'd heard faint movement coming from inside but the door still hasn't opened. Ilsa gives a second tentative knock, now wondering if she's made a mistake in being so hasty. Her ears twitch again as she hears the footsteps come closer but it's almost as if they're trying to hide their presence. After waiting for another minute or so, Ilsa tries a third knock.

The door flings open, Korwa's irate expression coming into view.

"How many times have I told you that I'm not going to take your requ—oh!" Korwa's mouth is hanging open now, the shock all too apparent.

Ilsa awkwardly raises her hand. "H-Hello," she says, and winches afterward. Of all the things she could have said, this is what she's chosen to go with? Even Beatrix with a foot in her mouth would say something better. Although Korwa's unexpected outburst had also made all the other thoughts in her brain leave.

Korwa blinks at her and slams the door. It all happens so fast and unexpectedly that all Ilsa can do is stand there, her own eyes wide now. She's not sure what to expect… or feel, really.

The door opens again, and Korwa is full of smiles. One of her hands is casually running through her hair as if trying to fix it except the strands still refuse to stay down. Ilsa can notice the entirety of Korwa's disheveled state, including the bags underneath Korwa's eyes. She's been clearly pulling her all nighters for her work again. Ilsa can recognize the signs, having done more than enough of them only just a few months ago. It still makes her concerned though.

"I'm not dreaming, right? Pinch me if I am," Korwa says suddenly, and she looks so expectantly at her that Ilsa ends up reaching out with her hand. She doesn't pinch her, only cups the side of her face.

"How's this instead? Good enough?" she asks. It's undoubtedly cheesy and even Ilsa feels a bit embarrassed, but Korwa's cheek is warm underneath her touch.

It takes a moment for Korwa to react, but the effect is immediate, her smile now going from ear to ear as she raises her own hand to Ilsa's. It makes Ilsa return the expression as well although her own smile is smaller.

"I didn't get any news at all and now you're just—now you're just here!" Korwa exclaims. "Is… is everything done?"

Ilsa awkwardly coughs. "Right, so about that, we're, uh, done with all that stuff—technically, no, they said they'll be back in four thousand years and that's a bit worrisome but we've more or less beat back the moondwellers at this point and—"

Ilsa's rambling and she knows she is but she can't help it. The need to explain everything that's happened is rushing out of her, but now Ilsa is thinking maybe it sounds like excuses, never mind the life threatening situations and all. Korwa hasn't said anything else—or maybe that's because Ilsa hasn't stopped speaking to even let her talk. She cuts herself off and clears her throat.

"How… how have you been, Korwa?" Ilsa finally asks, unsure of what else to say. Korwa still staring at her isn't making this any easier for Ilsa.

"Not bad, but now that you're here… isn't this the part where you make a big show and throw your arms around me and give me a big kiss?" Korwa finally says, a pout on her face. It's more than adorable and Ilsa wants to keep looking at it.

"I'm supposed to do that? I thought you were," Ilsa says, smiling lopsidedly. Korwa laughs, and Ilsa's missed that sound so much. They stare at each other until finally, Ilsa takes a step forward, the same time Korwa reaches out and tugs her closer. Their lips meet, and Ilsa nearly melts into the kiss. She's missed this more than she's realized, missed the sound of Korwa's voice, missed the feeling of Korwa's touch, missed Korwa.

"I'm sorry, there was a lot of work and I… I don't know, I lost track of time," Ilsa murmurs, expression apologetic.

"I bet the others made you take this vacation," Korwa says, smiling cheekily when Ilsa coughs in surprise. Her expression softens as she lays a hand on Ilsa's face. "More than that though… I'm glad you're finally safe. Djeeta and the others told me you had to be on the run and I knew you could take care of yourself but they said you didn't look too good…"

"Yeah, those… weren't very good months." Ilsa grimaces before shaking her head. "That's all over now though." She changes her expression into a wry smile. "I'm ready to take my vacation days."

"Ilsa, they're gonna have to let you take a whole year off at this point." Korwa grins and pats her face. "Let me know when you do though, I'll make sure my schedule lines up." Ilsa only laughs in response and pull Korwa closer to her,

Ilsa has always been cognizant about the dangers of her job. The volatile nature of being a Contractor, combined with the constant threat of The Foe, has made Ilsa aware that she's truly never safe. It's mentally taxing, to know that anything and anyone could be her undoing, at a misstep away. For as much as Ilsa dreams of being able to settle down one day, she knows it'll still be a long while before that.

Despite all that, Korwa had still chosen to stay and wait. It's more than Ilsa could ever ask for. At least with the threat of the moon gone for now, there's some breathing room. Ilsa's still a little angry at the others back at Society, but maybe she can forgive them just this one time for making her take this vacation. She'll definitely need to make the most out of her time here.

They remain like that for a little while longer until Korwa pulls away, looking Ilsa up and down. Her nose wrinkles in that cute way Ilsa thinks is adorable, except that's when she starts pulling Ilsa further into the house, a certain gleam in her eyes now. "Anyway, Djeeta also told me your clothes were all ripped and I was expecting the worst but this is far worse than I'd ever imagined, and your clothes don't even match! If you just changed your clothes, this would have been a perfect happy ending, but I can fix that."