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Shaking me Right to the Core

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Sarah Alder’s peace hadn’t lasted nearly as long as she’d hoped it to, a centuries long wait gone in the blink of an eye almost as if she was never allowed it.

 

She found the shepard easily, following his song right to him. Then came Kahlida, who took far less convincing then she had expected. The one thing she hadn’t expected or maybe just hoped to avoid was fiery red hair. A sharp mouth asking too many questions, a one relentless Tally Craven, demanding answers Sarah wasn’t even sure she could give. The uncontrollable want that tethered her soul to the younger woman coming with her.

 

The thief began her croon and the whole bar moved into motion, all except herself and Kahlida, who watched the old witch on stage wearily. She was shocked to see Craven give in, a true testament to how tired the younger woman must be if she couldn’t recognize the work.

 

She was more surprised when the redhead asked her to dance. Sarah thought about it for a long moment, probably longer than she should have. What their bodies would be like moving together on the dance floor, those brown eyes licked in flames burning into hers.

 

“Maybe later” She can’t let this woman distract her from what she’s here for, no matter how much she wants to.

 

“Your loss” Is tossed over a shoulder as the redhead makes her way  onto the dance floor with her unit mate.

 

It’s entirely distracting watching the redhead move so freely, as if her shoulders weren’t carrying all the burdens Sarah knew them to be. Most of them caused by herself. The older witch could feel all of this suddenly becoming far more complicated, knowing Tally Craven wouldn’t be one to let her go off on her own, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to make herself want to.

 

That’s how she ended up in the thieves trailer with the younger woman, watching her use her sight to look though all the vessels for the first song. After of course she explained herself, Tally allowing nothing else before she started the search.

 

“Well I know it’s really you” Tally murmurs while she continues to look.

 

“Excuse me?” The redhead lifts her hand in Sarahs direction as a response, making a motion as if to caress something Sarah cant see. That’s when Sarah feels it, almost like a tickle in her chest, just behind her sternum.

 

The bond?

 

Sarah doesn’t have time to question before Tally is announcing she’s found what they’re looking for. Then her unit mate comes calling. Tally darts out of the trailer before Sarah can take the piece of the song wrapped in the woman’s hand. She feels a pull from somewhere she cant quite explain and she’s gone without a goodbye.


She comes back at Kahlida’s call, ready to take the witch with her. What she doesn’t expect is Tally standing behind the youngest witch. Those dark eyes so full of questions, always more questions. She doesn’t expect the request to stay, and the tugging feeling from behind her sternum when she deny’s the redhead.

 

“I’m sorry, Tally Craven, I don’t know” Willing the woman to believe that she would give her the answers if she had them.

 

“Thats the first time you’ve said my name” Those deep deep eyes are pooling with tears. “Tell me something, please” The plead has Sarah reaching forward before she can stop herself, brushing a strand of that soft red hair behind an ear. She stares into those eyes for a long moment, wants so badly to give into Tally’s demand to stay, want so badly to give the younger woman everything she’s asking for.

 

Sarah knows she’s only here for this song and when she first reemerged all she wanted was to complete her task so she could finally be at peace. As she brings her hand around the back of Tally’s head pulling her into a tight embrace, she thinks for a moment that she’d rather have this instead. She’d rather drown in this all encompassing need for the younger woman wrapped tightly around her and let the whole world burn.

 

“We must trust the Mother” The words slide out of Sarah’s mouth of their own accord, almost a whisper but attaching her firmly to what she is actually here to do. She pulls away from Tally, trying and failing to pull the look of utter yearning from her face and failing. Sarah needs to leave, she cannot stay here with Tally or she will simply never be able to make herself go. She holds onto Tally’ hand until she absolutely has to let go, off to find the Marshall as she waits for Kahlida.


She finds the forth steward not to long after that, bringing all of them all into the mother for their safety. That is until the signal Kahlida left with the unit sounded the  alarm that they were in danger, that Tally was in danger. With a nod to the young girl she’s off, taking out all the camarilla quickly but expending far too much power in haste to secure the redheads- everyone’s safety.

 

She collapses into Tally’s arms twice in the span of twenty minutes and awakens what must be sometime later in the early hours of the morning. She’s draped on her back across a couch in the parlor, Tally is on the floor in front of it, hand in Sarah’s and head resting against her thigh.

 

“You’re awake” The younger witch is already moving, sitting up and dropping her hand but moving quickly to brush hair that had fallen out of the older woman’s face.

 

“How are you feeling?” She questions, always with the questions.

 

“I need to return to the mother” Sarah has barely raised herself when she felt a firm hand on her sternum, pressing her solidly back into the cushions.

 

“You need to rest, we’ll all be leaving in the morning, Abigail and Adil will be taking you back to Fort Salem” Tally’s tone leaves little room to argue as she picks at the ends of Sarah’s hair, assessing the faded strands that just keep creeping up.

 

“And you?” Sarah asks a questions of her own as she heeds Tally’s command, sinking back into the couch.

 

“I need to make sure my mother is safe” A nod is the only response Sarah gives. Not for one second liking the thought of Tally going out on her own but knowing there wasn’t a single thing she could do about it.

 

The silence stretches for minutes, both women just looking at each other and Sarah can’t find it anywhere in herself to be uncomfortable under the knowers gaze. Those amber eyes distracting her so that she didn’t even notice the hand that had come back to rest on her sternum, thumb rubbing softly back and forth.

 

“It’s still there” It’s whispered so softly Sarah isn’t sure she’s heard it and for a moment she contemplates that she should ignore it. It’s a slippery slope, one that she doesn’t want to drag Tally down, especially now. Though by the look on the face staring back at her, Sarah thinks thats exactly where this is headed, and she knows she won’t be able to deny Tally that.

 

“I’m so sorry” It slips out as Tally’s head comes down to rest against her hip, though the hand on her sternum stayed firmly in place. “This is all my fault, if I had just listened-” The tears pooling in those eyes has her cutting off the young woman with a simple touch to that fiery red hair. Sarah takes a few moments to run her fingers through it before she replies.

 

“There are many things we both could have done very differently” Her voice so soft but not lacking any resolve. “It is not your fault, Tally, you gave me every opportunity to answer your questions, to tell the truth, I made a choice to be stubborn and righteous. I let my pride cloud my judgment”

 

“But you didn’t owe me anything” That whisper breaks Sarah in a way she didn’t know she still could.

 

“I owe you everything, Tally” Its reverent as it slips from her lips, her own hand falling atop Tally’s pressing it more firmly into her chest. Letting the implication of what lays under their joined hands linger in her words. “You set me free

 

Tally’s lips are on hers before she can even blink. Its quick, could hardly be considered a kiss by length of the touch and if by the expression on Tally’s face when she pulls back says anything, it surprised her too. The red head is diving back in before Sarah can get a word in edgewise and Sarah is more than happy to let her, indulging in the moment while she can. It’s a slow movement of lips, not nearly as rushed as you would think it would be with how quickly Tally put their lips together. Its languid with an undertone of hope and it turns that spot under Sarah’s sternum warm.

 

“Oh goddess, you’re hurt, I’m so sorry” Tally pulls back yet again, this time looking mortified. Sarah cups the back of that red head quickly to keep her from moving too far away.

 

“Tally, stop apologizing” She says breathless, while tugging gently until the knowers forehead is pressed to hers. She lets the emotions wash through her as she breathes the young woman in, the pain, betrayal, all seeming too frivolous  now, though Sarah wonders if that’s what happens when you die.

        

“Its for the best anyway” She finally speaks again. “Im not exactly sure my being here is permanent, and it would be an incredibly selfish indulgence on my part” This sends Tally backwards again, looking at Sarah with wide eyes. Sarah can see Tally’s thoughts churning behind those tawny eyes, trying to pick out which statement she wanted to attack first. It takes her a few moments to get her thoughts together, eyes glassy when she finally speaks again.

 

“This might be all we get?” Though it is a question, its whispered as if Tally already knows the answer, even then, its that most painful thing Tally has ever asked her. Somehow the next words out of younger woman’s mouth hurt incredibly more.

 

“I don’t… I don’t know how to say goodbye to you again” The words nearly choke Tally as she whispers them, trying to rein in the sob that’s threatening to escape her throat. Instead she brings her lips to Sarah’s again, and quickly they’re both lost in it. It’s just as slow as the second and when Tally slants her lips over Sarah’s they fall into a perfect rhythm. Its not until Sarah places a hand on Tally’s cheek and finds tears that she remembers they shouldn’t be doing this, that the tears are exactly why.

 

“Tally” Sarah starts, but she’s silenced by a soft finger on her lips.

 

“I know I’ve taken everything from you, I know it’s selfish of me to sit here and ask you for more, to ask you not to take something from me.” Tally’s finger presses more firmly onto her mouth to keep her from arguing when she tries. “But if you’re willing to give it then please let me have it” She pleads, unashamed. “Don’t go without letting me love you” Sarah reaches up  to remove Tally’s finger from her lips, bringing her hand down to press into her sternum again.

 

“I don’t want you to be hurt when I’m gone” This makes Tally close her eyes, she nods once, twice before taking a deep breath.

 

“I’ll be hurt regardless” The exhale that follows that confession shakes with pain. “If this time is all were going to get? What is it the civilians say? It’s better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all, Sarah” When her name falls from those lips, Sarah’s white flag starts waving. “Don’t make me spend the rest of my life regretting not loving you while I could. I know you respect me enough to know I can make my own choices. I choose this, I choose you. I love you, Sarah Alder, let me” Sarah pulls their foreheads back together as soon as Tally finishes.

 

“Say it again” The words ground out of her throat thick with emotion.

 

“I love you” And while those words continue to burn in Sarah’s chest thats not what she was asking for. A sound emerges from her throat somewhere between a groan and a soft no.  It takes Tally only a moment longer to comprehend the demand.

 

“Sarah”  She could swear her soul itself was singing at the way her name sounded on those lips. “Sarah” Tally whispered again as she rubbed her nose along the older woman’s before she pressed her smile into Sarah’s lips once again.

 

They had kissed for what felt like hours until Tally pulled back, requesting they get some more rest before morning. Sarah wiggled on the couch, making room for Tally to lay between the chair back and herself, mostly on herself. When Tally tried to refuse claiming Sarah was still hurting a swift tug brought her on top of the older woman, causing them both to laugh. The sweet melody something both women clung to as they drifted off to sleep.

 

When Abigail and Scylla found them that way in the morning neither said a thing, simply shook Tally’s shoulder, offering her a hand up. All three women convened while Sarah stayed on the couch, the events of the early morning remaining undiscussed as they made separate plans and bid goodbyes.


They don’t see each other again until Sarah appears in Tally’s bedroom. Sarah is almost ashamed how long it takes her to notice that while they’re speaking Tally is slowly removing her clothing. It isn’t until Tally’s standing back up from removing her shoes and starts untucking her shirt that Sarah pauses.

 

“Craven, what are you doing?” Sarah asks as Tally peels the long sleeve shirt up and over her head.

 

“You’re about to see my tits and we’re back to Craven?” Tally asks disbelievingly as she reaches behind herself to unclasp her bra, letting it fall from her shoulders and to the floor. If Sarah’s eyebrows could go any higher they’d be in her hairline.

 

“Tally the first song-” The words die in her throat as Tally steps forward, taking both of her hands in her own and covering her breasts with them.

 

“It can wait until morning, and if not then, than at least a few hours” She replies. “Tell me you don’t want me” That’s not a lie Sarah is wiling to tell.

 

Sarah’s answer is to bring their mouths together, kissing Tally fiercely as she tries to convey without words that she is all Sarah possibly wants in this moment. All their clothes get removed in a rush, lips parting only when needed. Their naked bodies slotting together in Tally’s bed, first in a rush of passion and fever, a long anticipated joining of their bodies. The second time is slower, leaving no patch of skin untouched as they take the time to explore. Savoring every sigh and every shiver knowing it very well could be the only. It’s simultaneously everything and not nearly enough.

 

“Pretend with me” Tally whispers while they lay so tightly wrapped together its impossible to see when one ends and the other begins. “Pretend this isn’t all we have” Sarah can only acquiesce that heartbreaking plea, somehow knowing exactly what Tally is asking. 

 

“We’d have to hide our relationship at least until you finished war college” She murmured, running her fingers through those fiery red locks. “There are about a hundred and one HR forms we’d need to fill out” This makes a small giggle bubble from Tally’s lips and she nods her head where it rests only inches away from Sarah’s on their shared pillow.

 

“You and your unit will obviously graduate at the top of your class” She says seriously, not an ounce of doubt in her voice. “You’ll go on a few deployments, I’ll be a wreck with every one, Anacostia will certainly have words about it” Tally laughs again and Sarah thinks she’d do this all night just to hear it.

 

“There probably won't be many before Abigail and Adil announce they’re pregnant” Tally whispers, finally adding her own thoughts, Sarah just nods along as though that’s obvious.

 

“They’ll ask you to to teach, the knower of this generation by far” Sarah says with conviction.

 

“Should make sneaking around pretty easy” Tally says with another laugh, shy about the praise.

 

“Oh, we won’t be sneaking by then, it will have already been out by graduation, the worst kept secret on the Fort, god thing we filled out those HR forms” This has a cackle slipping from Tally’s lips, Sarah all too happy to show the woman this other side of her.

 

“I’ll retire, live in a house somewhere on base that you can come home to every night” This is murmured quietly and Sarah watches as honey brown eyes fill with want.

 

“I don’t know living together without hand fasting is awfully improper” Tally sighs dramatically, this time Sarah chuckles.

 

“Who says I’m the one that has to ask?” Pouring as much mock offense into her tone as she can manage.

 

“You’re right, I’ll have to ask you, my mother would never agree” Tally nods to herself as she follows the line of thought. “Wait, does this mean I have to ask Anacostia?” She asks horrified.

 

“She’ll be happy you’re making an honest woman of me, she’ll be glad I’m no longer her problem” Sarah says with a laugh. And while she was going for levity soft fingers still find a sharp cheekbone, brushing against it softly.

 

“That’s not true” Tally whispers she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, wiggling her body until she’s pressing her forehead to Sarah’s. “What about children?” The question is so quite Sarah barely hears it and she contemplates if she should answer it truthfully. She remembers Tally’s plea from many nights before and lands on honesty, no matter how much it hurts.

 

“Two girls, at the very least, each conceived a Beltane apart” Sarah can picture them clear as day and she pushes that image though the bond. She can hear Tally choke back a sob but the younger woman doesn’t move away. They sit for what feels like an eternity passing images back and forth. A little girl with dark curls and big amber eyes, another with a mess of fire red hair and azure eyes, both with dimples dug deep into chubby little cheeks as they smile at their mothers. Sarah pictures Tally pregnant and it might be the most lovely thing she’s ever imagined. Tally pictures Sarah very much being a helicopter mom, something that has them both laughing again.

 

“I’d like to show you the world first though, there are so many beautiful places I’d like you to see, to share with you” Sarah whispers.

 

“I don’t know how we’d convince General Bellwether of all that time off” Tally says, trying to keep it light.

 

“You’ve saved her daughters life enough times, I think she’ll owe you” Tally laughs at this.

 

“Where would we go?” She asks quietly.

 

“Everywhere” Sarah breaths against her mouth. “Greece, Finland, Tokyo, Brazil, anywhere you want to go”

 

“Anywhere with a beach honestly” Tally says suddenly and it causes Sarah to pull their foreheads apart just so she can look into those sweet honey brown eyes that are pooling with mirth.  “Anywhere it’s acceptable for me to get you in a bikini” Cerulean eyes reflect that same mirth back as she takes in Tally’s joy.

 

“There’s beautiful nudist beaches in the South of France” The older woman’s response has Tally choking on her own breath as if she isn’t lying naked and flush against the same woman she’s trying to get in a bikini at this very moment.

 

Their laughs eventually somber and both women decide on a short rest before they wake the others but its not long before they’re both redressing and exiting the perfect moment they shared in that room.

 

Daybreak has them in Northern Germany, hiking through the bitter cold. Tally has Sarah making promises she knows she won’t be able to keep and before either of them know it they’re trying to wake an ancient witch. An ancient witch that is not very happy to be woken and has Tally offering her sight in a trade for her piece of the first song. Sarah doesn’t want her to do it but she knows far better than to try to change the redheads mind when its already made up. They do the exchange but then the mountain starts to crumble. Sarah is then quickly breaking her promise, wind striking Tally out of danger before the redhead can disagree.


Sarah will admit that she tries to make it out of the wedding unnoticed by Tally, not wanting her presence to cast a shadow on what should be such a happy day for the young witch.

 

“I heard you were here” Tally voice catches her mid escape and Sarah quickly turns back to her.

 

“You didn’t really think you’d seen the last of me did you?” The look on Tally’s face clearly expresses that is what she did in fact think and Sarah lets the guilt wash over her at her avoidance. Tally seems all to happy to glance over the insecurity.

 

“And you’re not staying for the wedding, why does that not surprise me?” Tally’s statement starts with a pitch of humor but her tone lowers at the question.

 

“Weddings” Sarah scoffs in distaste, her face scrunching, Tally can only smile as she crosses her arms and take a step closer to the adorable woman. “And my work isn’t done. A piece of the song still remains to be found”

 

“Where are you heading?” She asks.

 

“Africa, tracking the Abyssinian line”

 

“Do you think theres a chance that things changed, that we wont need the song?” Tally tries and fails to keep that flicker of hope out of her voice.

 

“I think theres always a chance but thats a risk I’m not willing to take” Tally looks away thinking and nods thoughtfully at the answer before looking back at her.

 

“I’m coming with you” She states it firmly as if its not up for debate and Sarah’s chest burns with the pain of denying her.

 

“No” Is all she can say as she watches the hurt ripple across Tally’s face.

 

“Because I don’t have my sight?” Tally asks

 

“Because you have a much greater part to play now and I can’t risk your safety” Sarah tells her hoping thats enough, while knowing it wont be.

 

“So what would you have me do in the meantime?” Tally isn’t angry, she wants to be with her family, she just wants Sarah to be there as well.

 

“Celebrate you loved ones while you can” Sarah tells her. “All of this might change very soon”

 

She turns to leave then but Tally is quick to grab her elbow, just short of yanking the woman back to her bodily as she wraps her  tightly in a hug, words that sound suspiciously like you’re my loved one whispered from her lips as her hand comes to cup the back of Sarah’s head as she holds her close. They stay like that for long moment until they pull back, foreheads touching.

 

“I’m never going to see that bikini am I” Tally tries to joke and Sarah refuses to admit the laugh that falls from her lips is a bit wet.

 

“I’m afraid I’m only still here because my work isn’t yet done” Sarah says and just because they’ve discussed it before it doesn’t make it hurt any less as the words fall from her lips. “And while I’d prefer my work to be nothing more than loving you for as long as you’ll have me, I don’t believe you are naive enough to believe that to be true or complacent enough to allow it, not while the world is burning” Staring into those wet azure eyes Tally thinks she just might or could at least pretend for just a little while longer. Instead of words Tally kisses her, everything she’d like to say put into the movement of wet lips.

 

“I love you” Tally tells her as she pulls back again. “Please come back to me” Sarah dares not to make another promise she cannot keep to this woman.

 

“ And I love you” Is Sarahs only reply and this time when she turns to leave Tally lets her.


That last piece of the song leads her right back to Tally and her Bellwether sister. They sing the first song together, Raelle sending it across the world for everyone to hear. They lose Anacostia and the only reason Tally doesn’t leave her sister to comfort the woman she loves is because she knows Sarah will be joining her with the mother soon. Sarah speaks with Nicte, finding herself unable to leave that thread loose before she once again leaves.

 

Tally’s sight returns and Sarah pulls the unit into a bat taking them up in the air to see their work from above. The mother speaks to them through Sarah an extremely heavy message about the world and the future that awaits them.

 

“She has spoken, in fact she has just told me my work is done” She holds Tally’s eyes as she says this. “Thank you for changing the world, my daughters” She says looking between Raelle and Abigail.

 

She grabs each of their faces before pressing a kiss to their foreheads. She starts with Abigail only to end with Tally, this kiss lingering. She takes a few more moments of selfish indulgence, pressing her forehead into this woman tied to her soul.

 

Promise me” she asks, for what she doesn’t know. A full life and happy life, everything Sarah never allowed of herself, she dreams of for Tally in that moment.

 

“I promise” It’s sure and true and Tally takes her own last moment of indulgence and sets her lips on Sarah’s a simple kiss conveying much more than they can possibly say in these last moments. Sarah moves to the bat door and turns to face them as she hangs out of it.

 

“When they call you goddesses make sure you live up to it”

 

Tally watch’s with her second sight as the woman she loves turns to dust in the wind, that gold rope tethered to her own chest leading her to the other woman floating away with it. Her watery eyes overflow and tears fall down her cheeks but a smile curves at her lips nonetheless as her sisters take her hands. Where Tally dreamed a hollow hole would empty in the absence of that gold rope, her chest filled, the warmth almost overwhelming as an all encompassing wave of peace wraps around Tally soul. Sarah’s last gift to her a feeling she can hold onto forever.