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First Impressions, Snapshots, and Other Such Instances

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"Of all the people that had to be dragged into the Nexus, it had to be a paladin!" Sylvanas said, her words muffled from the hands clasped over her nose. "A paladin!" She glanced at the newest Hero seated at the bar chatting it up with old man Deckard Cain, her massive, damnable shield propped up on the stool beside her. Johanna, was it? Yes, well, Sylvanas gave the back of Johanna's head the iciest glare she could muster, even though her eyes brimmed with unholy hellfire.

"It could've been worse," said Nova, tossing the bloodied rag into the incinerator and grabbing a fresh one from the box. "You could've been reduced to a pile of ash." She went over to the sink, turned the faucet, and soaked the cloth.

"It's bad enough I have to put up with Uther and Arthas! I do not want to contend with another Light-loving zealot!"

"But this is the Nexus; you get to kill them over and over again. Isn't that what you want?"

"It's not good enough!" Sylvanas hissed, and winced as pain throbbed from the epicenter and echoed in the topography beneath her face. She glared at Nova, who hunkered down in front of her with the damp rag. "I want these versions of them gone! Permanently!"

"At least you're still here," said Nova, gesturing with the rag for Sylvanas to remove her hands from her face. "I hear Arthas still can't find Anub'arak."

"Good! I hope he gets lost and the Nexus swallows him whole, body and soul! Including the hole where he cut out his own heart!" She inched away from Nova—as much as she could, being that she was seated on a wooden crate in a dark corner of the tavern. Her back bumped into the wall, causing her long ears to flatten against the sides of her skull.

Nova sighed tiredly. "Come on. It's not that bad."

"This is my face," Sylvanas growled. "No one touches my face, lest they be on the receiving end of a biblical ass kicking! Including you, human!"

"While I find your abundance in edge endearing, I really need to finish cleaning this." Nova shook the cloth between the two of them for emphasis. "Come on," she repeated. "Open Sesame~"

Sylvanas shook her head and grumbled under her breath—Nova surmised it had something to do with "being treated like a child" and "the nerve of this girl"—but she relented, and slowly set her hands on her lap. A comet's tail streaked across the bridge of a swollen nose flecked with dried green blood. Her glare was petulant, simmering, and quite pouty.

It was very adorable.

Nova shook out the rag with a good snap of the wrist and applied it, gently, to the wound. "There, there," she giggled. "Everything will be alright."

"Don't start with me…." But Sylvanas shut her eyes and endured, and that, in itself, was a miracle.