Genya watched as the other Grisha swarmed around Alina and started talking to the Sun Summoner. It was once again as if she did not exist. Just another shadow, another faceless servant on the edges of their world, fit to be ignored until she was needed. These were supposed to be her own people. But they were not, not really. Genya let the distance stretch between her and the new saviour they had finally found in the most unlikely of people. She slid from the hall like a mist.
Genya was for once oblivious to the eyes that followed her out the door.
Genya continued to befriend Alina and found she liked the younger woman despite their differences and the secrets she was keeping. Evenings spent talking in the light of the fire, mornings trying on dresses in the castle; they all served as small breaks in the monotony of serving the Queen. Time with Alina made Genya feel normal.
Despite Alina’s repeated protests and the Queen’s edict against it, Genya continued to tailor Alina’s appearance when she needed to be seen in public. Alina protested the fussing, but the young Grisha sat still every time. Genya could tell that she liked the attention. Some days it wasn’t even tailoring that they did. Alina simply sat at her dressing table and let Genya play with her hair, under the pretense of permitting Genya to try out new styles to use on the Queen.
Alina shone in the moments that Genya polished her, made her bright. It didn’t take a rose to bring a flush of pink to Alina’s cheeks, or red to her swollen, bitten lips. It didn’t take gold dust to highlight the hair that slid though Genya’s fingers as she held Alina close. None of her kit was needed to bring Alina to the edge of what she’d allow. Alina’s passion was always held in check by a twisted will that would deny her everything Genya could give her.
All the distraction Genya tried to be so that Alina would forget Mal, forget her former life and focus on the here and now, it kept hitting a wall. Genya was nothing if not persistent, however.
And then, finally, whatever held Alina back disappeared.
That night, Genya didn’t have to stop when Alina pulled away, remembering her missing love. That night, Genya could taste Alina’s lips freely; feel her pulse flutter under her fingertips. That night, Genya could take her apart and make her beautiful without any reservations.
The next morning, Genya hummed quietly to herself as she twisted the strands of Alina’s hair between her fingers, playing with them as much as she was twisting them up into any kind of style. Alina huffed, tilting her head to try to look at Genya behind her. Genya chuckled as she finished the styling, indulging Alina’s impatience.
As they left the room, both impeccably dressed, Genya glanced at herself in the small mirror. Genya had styled Alina’s hair to match her own, and although Alina may be the Sun Summoner, nobody could beat the original. Satisfied, she followed Alina, soaking up the adoring, jealous gazes that passed over her as she swept through the hall.