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Scientific Curiosity

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“Hey, Blake?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“Did you know that we need at least eight hugs a day for maintenance?”

 

Blake blinks down at her homework before slowly turning around at their desk to squint at Yang, who had apparently decided that Blake’s bed was the ideal place to rest as she reads something or other on her scroll. When Yang looks up at her with a grin, Blake finds herself only mildly annoyed by the fact that the mere sight of it brings a smile to her own face, though she’s quick to turn it into a smirk as she rolls her eyes. “Uh-huh. Eight hugs a day… for maintenance… and what’s the science behind this claim, Yang?” She asks, curious despite herself when Yang sits up and wiggles in place, her lilac eyes shining with delight as they always do when Blake humours her.

 

“It’s true!” Yang insists, waving her scroll as she stands and wanders over to show Blake the website; an organisation well known for its research in psychology. “See, hugs have been proven to help our immune systems, they feed us emotionally, they boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. Extended hugging that lasts 20 seconds or more boosts your serotonin levels, causing you to feel happy and more positive emotions overall. All things that point to the fact that hugs are just generally good for us overall.” Yang comments, grinning down at Blake as she leans against their desk and arches a brow at her while Blake quietly reads the article. “It works and a lot of people believe that we should be aiming for eight hugs a day, if we can.”

 

“I still call bullcrap.” Blake says airily, handing her scroll back to Yang and leaning back in her chair to cross her arms, arching her brows at her partner when Yang snorts indignantly at her. “There’s still not enough physical research done on the actual theory that eight hugs a day is the perfect amount for daily maintenance. Call me when that happens, Yang.”

 

“Then how about we do an experiment of our own?” Yang suggests, as she leans towards Blake with a challenging little grin that Blake probably shouldn’t find as attractive as she does. “For the next week, you let me hug you eight times per day and we’ll see if this actually works. What do you say?”

 

“I say you’re out of your mind if you think this is going to work.” Blake chuckles softly, shaking her head fondly as she lets out a gentle sigh. She pauses for a moment, considering her options as she bites her bottom lip gently before shrugging and coming to decision. “You know what? I don’t have anything to lose. Let's do it. I’ll prove this ridiculous theory wrong.”

 

“Great!” Yang crows happily, standing up and holding out her arms with a soft smirk. “Get up and come and get your first hug for the day, Belladonna.”

 

“Ugh. I have to get up for this experiment? It’s already the worst.” Blake says in a gentle deadpan, rolling her eyes and ignoring the way her cheeks begin to burn with an embarrassed warmth as she stands up and holds out her arms with an over exaggerated sigh. “Alright. Let’s get this over with, Xiao Long.”

 

Blake isn’t sure what she had been expecting. Yang was a tactile person, constantly pressing into the sides of those she’s fond of, playfully smacking their shoulders and throwing her arms around them at random intervals. She often greeted her younger sister with a tight bear hug, wrapping her arms around the shorter girl and lifting her clean off of her feet as she squalls in dramatic protest about her lungs collapsing. But Blake certainly knows that she hadn’t been expecting Yang to, ever so gently, wrap her arms around Blake’s body in a careful hug, letting Blake shift into her embrace at her own pace before tightening her hold on her. 

 

Yang’s warm. Admittedly, Blake already knew that but there’s something different about this particular kind of warmth; born not from her semblance or her temper but from a tender care that Blake hadn’t been expecting to be on the receiving end of. It’s devastatingly wonderful and Blake, against her better judgement, sinks easily into Yang’s hold, turning to burrow her face into Yang’s neck and inhale deeply, her chest expanding as she drinks in a tender warmth that she had been denied for so many years. Almost helplessly, she curls her arms tightly around Yang’s waist and presses as close as she can, selfishly seeking out as much of that warmth and care as she can for this short moment of being held in Yang’s arms.

 

“Huh. So… the so-called tough, aloof and badass Blake Belladonna likes hugs after all.” Yang says in a  soft tease  into Blake’s ear, her warm breath brushing against Blake’s cheek and sending an involuntary shiver down Blake’s spine. “I suspected you were a secret softie but this is just adorable.”

 

“Inconclusive.” Blake murmurs, butting her forehead irritably against Yang’s shoulder with a tired huff. She feels strangely sleepy, almost as though being held like this was soothing. It’s a feeling she hadn’t known since she was a little girl, a feeling that she can’t deny liking. Not that she’d ever say it out loud, of course. “This is just one hug. It’s impossible to determine whether or not eight hugs a day is actually beneficial to one’s daily functions just by one singular hug. Repeat tests are an important part of the scientific method, after all.”

 

“Ahh… yes. The scientific method.” Yang laughs softly, her chest rumbling with amusement as Blake subconsciously snuggles closer towards the sound. “Is that what we’re calling cuddle sessions these days?”

 

“You know… I really don’t like you.”

 

“Say that when you’re not being all snuggly with me, Blake.”

 

“It’s literally just out of scientific curiosity, Yang!”

 

Blake lets out a scoff as she pulls away from Yang and settles down at the desk, her eyes focused on the anatomical designs of an Alpha Beowolf in an attempt to ignore the heat rushing to her cheeks as Yang snickers softly beside her…

 

It really was just scientific curiosity.

 

It’s not like she enjoyed being held by Yang in the slightest…

 

Right?