Sara awoke lazily the next morning, savoring the comfortable feeling of warmth.
The sun languidly ascended across the eastern sky, and Sara's feet danced back and forth across the expanse of the mattress, enjoying the downy feel of the sheets.
She didn't realize it until now but her body was pressed against something incredibly warm that smelled of mint. Sara's eyes widened as she realized that her breasts and the front of her body curled into Nyssa's, her left arm draped over the woman's side. Their legs were entangled and Sara could feel Nyssa's battle hardened body flexing under her own as Nyssa's breathing came in a soft cadence.
Holding her breath deep in her chest, Sara tried to release her arm, unwinding it slowly from around the sleeping assassin.
As Sara's fingertips softly retreated across Nyssa's torso, the ebony haired woman arched her back in her sleep and moaned. Sara stopped moving, completely out of her depths. Her own hips responded to the sound that escaped Nyssa's lips, as if an orange light emanated outward and pulsed together with the bright red of Nyssa's own energetic signature. Sara swallowed hard and pulled her arm away from Nyssa, who remained fast asleep.
Laying on her back, her heart beating quickly, Sara pulled the covers up to her face.
I cuddled with Nyssa al Ghul last night... her thoughts reeled. She must have had a nightmare or something and her body subconsciously reacted by holding fast to Nyssa's warmth. Sara gazed at the ceiling, her carotid artery pulsing haphazardly with the acknowledgment of their closeness. Laying still was tormenting her... Her muscles felt so much better than the day before.
If anything, they now ached for action. Yet... she felt so safe wrapped under the dark red covers of Nyssa's bed.
She got out of bed and made her way to the balcony. The book Nyssa was reading last night lay spine up on the stone and the wind played with the pages. Cinders from the cooking fire still crackled and the pots were exactly where they had been the night before.
I wonder how late she was up, Sara caught herself wondering, as she took a seat on the stones, her finger absentmindedly winding up an ornate, sheer piece of one of the silk flags.
After a full week of training, Sara admitted to herself that she did feel different. All of the strength conditioning gave her something to genuinely look forward to. She had never realized how much she enjoyed the feeling of sweating, of her body toiling away. With every exercise, she imagined that the beads of sweat were rapidly collecting all of her poisonous memories of the previous couple of years. As they fell, something in her grew lighter, less weary of circumstance-- more present.
The harder the exercise, the more of herself she had to focus on centering in the here and now...
The wind interrupted her thoughts and demanded she view her surroundings. Beaming light from the sun had overcome the apex of the mountains and proudly illuminated the vast terrain. Sara couldn't help but smile and breathe deeply. She would be completely foolish not to appreciate the exquisite beauty of this place... and its inhabitants.
Her thoughts returned to the dozing woman in the bed chamber, the slight catch of her breathing after she inhaled and the feel of their bodies pressing together as she let the air go...
Having Nyssa as a mentor meant performing at the fullest, no matter how her body silently screamed for respite. She recalled the past week-- if she desperately tried, perhaps she could remember how many times she had been struck, had fallen, had been bruised or disgraced. None of that mattered to Nyssa. Her gaze alone exacted perfection-- it was if her eyes could balance an equation of justice and suffering at a glance. She betrayed no pain in her face when they sparred, and she executed techniques with such an acute sense of precision and poise. Sara felt baffled and awestruck by the woman's incredible obeisance to all of her arts.
"How long have you been awake?"
Nyssa's silky morning voice startled Sara. She turned to look at the assassin who stood at the door frame. A sheer red, long silk shirt draped over the woman's form, highlighting the contours of her physique. She wore tight black shorts underneath the hanging red. Heat rose in Sara's face as she recalled the positioning of their bodies upon waking. She avoided eye contact with Nyssa.
"A little while," Sara stated to the open air. Nyssa rekindled the fire and set up the teapot on top, tossing in tea leaves without a care.
"I see..." she stated, then yawned. "Gorgeous morning, really." Sara's face felt like it was aflame.
She isn't talking about you, idiot. CALM DOWN. Sara scrunched her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them defensively.
"Are we training today?" she asked, only minorly interested in the answer.
"No," came Nyssa's voice, cutting through the haze of Sara's thoughts. "It's a recovery day. We are going to explore each other."
Sara coughed, choking on the bits of her saliva that fell down her throat in sheer surprise. She gazed up at Nyssa, who practically glowed in the morning light.
"We're going to do what now?" Sara asked, trying to be nonchalant.
"Explore each other's past. It is the greatest way to tease out potential."
Nyssa poured two cups of piping hot tea, and without missing a beat, drew the steaming mug to her lips, a look of total relaxation settling over her. Sara, meanwhile, reeled from the morning and Nyssa's manner of speech. Does she know? Is she toying with me? I wouldn't put it past her. She's openly admitted to me how much she enjoys watching me squirm...
Her brow furrowed and she reached for the tea while Nyssa's mischievous gaze documented her every move.
Sara cleared her throat. "Hey, I'm all for potential." Her voice cracked as the last words squeezed past her lips.
What is wrong with me? I haven't fumbled this much since that time Oliver and I met for the first time... though, this feels much worse.
The growing ache in her gut acknowledged her intuition but dismissed it as a joke.
Surely, she wasn't feeling affection for Nyssa? Sara nervously traced her pointer finger around the rim of the teacup as her mind raced.
No, I am not.
I just feel awkward because I spooned with an assassin last night... a lethal female assassin who is the daughter of some genocidal maniac who impaled me with a SPEAR!
And, and... she made me dinner last night... AS a gesture of celebration for completing a difficult component of training. Assassin training. I am cohabiting with a woman who kills people for a living... No. In the name of ancient code of conduct.
Does that make it better?
I don't know but if I hold the knowledge of what happened last night inside, I am going to feel this jumpy for days. I have to figure out how to tell her... maybe we can go back to sleeping apart...
Ugh, but that bed is so wonderfully soft and comfortable and last night, I got the best sleep I have had since... well, since this whole thing began.
"Pardon the intrusion, Sara," Nyssa stated. "I am going to go bathe and get dressed. Take about half an hour to sort out what you will be wearing for the day and meet me at the southeast corner of the courtyard." Sara nodded and watched as Nyssa got up and walked calmly to the bathroom; she was unsurprised to see Nyssa shedding her night dress as she turned to enter the bathroom.
Brushing her fingertips back through her blonde locks, Sara stared up at the morning sky and let out a huge sigh. Then, she busied herself with getting ready, letting the chatter in her head fall away, slowly, until it finally ebbed.