AJ feels – broken. Fragmented, like someone sneakily snipped her apart at the seams when she wasn’t looking, when she wasn’t expecting it. Like someone just reached in and pulled the most important part of her away along with her deepest depths.
The title – who she was on the outside (and who I should still be, she thinks bitterly, who I should be forever) – is gone now. Out of her hands in less than a minute.
And somehow, losing who people thought she was isn’t even the worst of this.
It’s that it’s bringing out who she never even knew existed. These – these feelings. For Brie, of all people. Brie, who she’s never even liked before, whose scent and smirk and stupid everything always made AJ’s blood boil.
Not anymore, though. As much as AJ can’t admit it to herself, something’s happened since that kiss, something she can’t even begin to puzzle out without wanting to scream because where did it come from? This isn’t who she is.
(She’s lying to herself, there: it’s who she always tried her best to hide.)
Brie feels – confused. Her mind’s a mess, complete and utter chaos. This was only meant to be a cheap shot to get Nikki the title. Never more, never thoughts of AJ that keep her awake, never dreams of AJ when she finally falls asleep.
Sure, Nikki having the title is fantastic, but AJ seems empty without it, and seeing her like that pulls at Brie’s heart.
No, not her heart. She gave that up when she became solid silver steel to stand beside Nikki again, willingly lost the capacity to care about others without it aching just because she couldn’t take Nikki’s demands anymore. Without the title, she might still be seen as the second-rate twin, the one who lets her sister walk all over her, but at least she’s aligned with the champion. At least she did something to get Nikki that title.
Something that was surely never meant to slowly kill her in the long run, but oh well. She did it. She was the instrument in the operation to get what they needed from the enemy – but now Brie wants the enemy herself.
They don’t approach each other. No words are passed between them; there are only fleeting looks in corridors that turn into glares when they notice the other one looking. Because of course Brie would never, of course AJ would never. These are the roles they have to play when it comes to each other, and all night long, it pulls them down.