Serana has been sure of few things since her reawakening. She thought she knew her mother, and how far her father would go for his prophecy (killing his own daughter, she thought, was out of the question). She thought she understood the nature of mortals and their reasonable disdain towards her kind. She believed that being a vampire predispositioned her for being unchanging, unlearning.
She thought dragons were nothing more than a Nord legend, and now she fights them near daily.
So it is safe to say that her faith in what she “knows” to be true is shaken.
But she knows, above anything else, that the Dragonborn loves her.
She’s said it, of course (quiet and gentle, so unlike her usual voice), but it’s… more than just words. It’s her actions. Her body language. Her everything.
Serana has seen her in battle, maybe more time than she’s seen her at rest, seen her harsh and quick with her arrows and daggers. And she has seen her carefully wrap wounds and look to Serana for permission before running to play hide and seek with children.
She has seen her wild eyed and blades gleaming with blood, but she has also seen her as she is now, calmly watching their campfire. Her head is in Serana’s lap, her posture more feline than draconic.
Serana knows two things, actually. That they love each other.
Serana brings the hand not hopelessly tangled in the dragonborn’s curly hair to her own chest, resting above her heart. It hasn’t beat in centuries, but… somehow, she can still feel it when her companion does something endearing.
Serana has never considered herself a careful person, that was always her mother. But given her history , Serana cannot bring herself to be anything but careful.
She wants to kiss her.
She wants to kiss her until she’s bright eyed and dazed, asking for more because she wants her . Serana wants her close so bad sometimes it hurts, after all. It’d only be fair to repay the favor.
And yet, it’s… hard.
“Ava,” Serana says, dragging her fingers through her hair. Humans are so warm.
She tilts her head, looking back at Serana curiously. “Should I get off?”
“No, I…” She takes a deep breath. “Actually, yeah, can you get up?”
Ava is up in an instant, severing all physical contact. Giving Serena her space back.
She reaches out on autopilot, curling her fingers around the leather of Ava’s armor. “No, don’t.”
Ava freezes in place, but keeps her muscles loose. Purposefully, Serana would assume. She is always careful about her body language, putting effort into making it known that she would never hurt her. There is nothing predatory or frightening about the way she moves towards Serana.
“Serana?” She asks, raising her eyebrows curiously.
Serana takes another breath, inhaling the now calming scent of ash and alchemy. “May I kiss you?”
It only takes her a few seconds to collect her thoughts, but to Serana it feels like years.
“Of course, you can kiss me anytime, Serana,” She says, all at once. Her smile is radiant.
With her permission, she presses her lips to hers. It’s hard to be soft with her fangs in the way, but Ava only giggles when they scrape her bottom lip. Serana appreciates how compliant she is, allowing Serana to take the lead although she’s mentioned a few times that she’s kissed others. Serana also appreciates how soft her lips are and the taste of honey and cherries that she leaves behind.
Her eyes are half lidded and her smile adoring when she pulls away. Such an odd expression for the Dragonborn. Serana runs her tongue over her lips before kissing her again, harder than before.
Ava shifts closer in return, placing one hand on Serana’s shoulder and oh, no, oh, no, oh, no.
Serana jerks away, shattering the frail warmth, “I--” She tries, the word coming out as a ragged gasp. Her chest hurts, her hips hurt, everything hurts .
She clutches at Ava when she tries to back away, “No, no, don’t.” She wants her near, dammit. He will not ruin this for her.
“Serana.” Ava says, trying to get her attention. She can’t verbally reply, but Ava seems contented by a slow blink. “Name five things you see, for me?”
“I… You. The fire, the stars, your circlet, my uh--” She drums her fingers. “Nails. My nails.”
“What’re four things you can hear?”
“Y- Your heartbeat. The fire. I can hear my breathing, And the bugs, sometimes.” They’re chirping right now, and Ava squirms at the reminder. She’s scared of crickets, Serana remembers. What an odd thing for the Dovahkiin to fear.
“Three things you can feel?” She asks, She folds her hands in her lap, twisting her fingers together.
“The cold, and you, and… The dirt.” If she were human she thinks her legs would be numb by now too, but that seems like a silly thing to mention. Especially when Ava is… Serana narrows her eyes.
“Two things you can smell.”
“You’re trying to calm me down?” Serana demands. “This is one of your techniques!”
Her voice becomes sing-song, almost smug, “Two things you can smell.”
“You and the smoke.” She concedes.
“One thing you can taste?” Ava says.
“Your lip balm.” Serana enjoys few things about being a vampire, but she likes the night vision that allows her to see the pretty red that blossoms on Ava’s face. “I-- I’m sorry. About. you know…”
Ava shakes her head. “You don’t need to apologize for healing. I mean, trust me, I fucking know how it feels, like you need to apologize for being a burden or for being too much but I promise, you don’t need to.” She says, laughing and tearing up at the same time.
Serana recalls the few times she’s been in Whiterun with Ava, how despite her Harbinger status she seemed to rely on her Shield Siblings. The first time was still when Serana and Ava had been on thin ice, and they’ve yet to warm up to Serana because of that (that, and the werewolf lady seems to really not like her).
She can’t come up with a good response quick enough. “Okay.”
“I love you, you know that?” Ava asks. “And while I do love the idea of you kissing me, if you’re not ready or you’ll never be ready, that’s fine.” She brings a hand up to cup Serana’s cheek, “I love you.”
Hearing those words leaves Serana… torn. Like she’s ankle deep and it’s already overwhelming but for some gods forsaken reason she wants to dive in.
She kisses her again, quick and soft. Ava looks as pleased as she is surprised.
“Don’t force yourself for me, Serana,” she reminds her lightly.
“I won’t. And if you’re ever uncomfortable, just. Promise you’ll say something too,” Serana responds.
Ava nods sharp and quick and Serana loves the way her curls move as she does so. She reaches out and twists one lock around her finger, ignoring the mock scowl Ava sends her way as she does so. “You’re gonna make it frizzy,” she scolds.
Serana knows she’s not joking (she’s seen the routine Ava has to go through after it gets wet or she takes a bath), but she also knows that Ava has a soft spot for her being the one to mess with it.
“Can I lay back down then, or are you planning on kissing me some more?”
Serana makes a show of thinking it over, of rubbing her thumb over Ava’s cheek and admiring how pretty she is. “Fine. Try to fall asleep. You told Delvin and Vex we’d be back by tomorrow, and we may as well go see Isran while we’re nearby.”
She settles back down, using Serana’s lap as her pillow once again. Serana pulls the blanket over her. She is happy to stand watch. After sleeping for hundreds of years, one gets a little tired of it.
And she likes protecting Ava. It’s hard to feel like a big bad vampire when you’re traveling with a girl who eats dragon souls for brunch.
For now, with her eyes closing as she relaxes into her companion, makeup smudged from her half hearted removal and her hair messily falling into her face, Ava is vulnerable. Serana can protect this soft and sleepy version of Ava.
Ava sings sometimes, things from her homeland. Her voice is more suited for bringing down enemies than weaving melodies but Serana likes it. Likes how happy she is when she sings.
She only catches bits and pieces, not daring to stray from her place on the riverbed. She stands guard dutifully as Ava takes a “shower” under a weak waterfall (not that she won’t try to use stronger ones).
Now, she’s singing something about killing a director and Serana is only mildly perplexed. Not at all concerned though. She’s generally happy to assist Ava in any murdering she requires.
Serana likes the sound of her voice, and the background Skyrim noise. Castle Volkihar was too quiet the last time she visited, even though her mother has been repopulating the ones lost in the siege. Serana isn’t sure how she lived there in the first place.
She much prefers crashing at one of Ava’s places, sometimes sharing a bed and sometimes combing through her house while she sleeps. Ava is fast friends with all her Housecarls and stewards, leading to chatter filling the silence, or the sounds of cooking, or even the quiet clinking of Ava’s knitting needles (why she prefers metal ones over wooden is beyond Serana).
Serana is brought to the present by the sound of Ava wading through the river. She’s trying to be quiet about it, but she’s certainly not quiet enough.
She slings her dripping wet arms around Serana’s shoulders, giggling into her ear. “Your tu--”
Serana expected the grab, so she really doesn’t have any excuse for front flipping the poor girl. But damn if the shocked yelp that comes from her mouth doesn’t make whatever retaliation the dragonborn has in store worth it.
Ava is left staring bewilderedly up at Serana from the ground, eyes wide with surprise. She’s still half wet, only in her underclothes and a towel (that was presumably draped across her shoulders like a cape).
Serana digs her fangs into her lip as if that’ll make her smirk less obvious. In the back of her head she can hear her mother scolding her for being un-princesslike, and for some reason that makes it even harder to wipe off her smile.
“Rude.” Ava finally says, tilting her face away from the all too smug vampire.
“You shouldn’t sneak up on vampires.” Serana replies primly.
She huffs and folds her arms over her chest, still refusing to look over at Serana. “So very rude. What kind of princess are you?”
“The banished kind, remember?” Serana snorts.
Ava tries to cover her laugh by dramatically throwing her arm over her face, but her shoulders still shake. “You’re not banished. We killed the guy that banished you.”
“Oh, yeaaaah.” Serana replies mockingly. “I forgot. Thanks, A.”
“Anytime, sweetheart.” Ava hums.
Something about that nickname makes Serana feel light. A silly reaction, she thinks, but still good. “So are you gonna get up anytime soon or?”
Ava shrugs. “Have I ever mentioned how hot is it when you use your vampire strength?”
“No, but I do have eyes.” Serana says, recalling Ava’s wonderfully starstruck expression when retelling their time in the Vale. She likes the way Ava smiles whilst telling a story, trying to be mysterious even as her own excitement shines through. She never seems to tire of bragging about Serana.
Serana sighs and offers Ava a hand.
The Dragonborn’s answering laugh is radiant as she takes Serana’s hand, allowing her to pull her onto her feet.
“I love you.” She reminds her teasingly.
Serana is not sure if she adores the way her nose crinkles when she makes that face or absolutely hates it (for making her knees feel weak, mostly). She brings a hand up to Ava’s cheek, tilting her face up. “May I?”
“Definitely.” Ava says bluntly, as if that was a silly question because obviously she welcomes kisses. Kisses from Serana specifically, she would make clear.
Serana once again takes the lead, careful as ever not to press too hard or demand too much. Its as much for Ava as it is for herself. No rushing into things and making it harder for herself.
Just… soft and gentle kisses, hearing Ava’s breathing irregulate and the quiet noises she makes when Serana’s fangs scrape her bottom lip. Reveling in the warmth of Ava and her scarred skin.
Serana takes pride in the fact that she is not the one to pull away this time.
Ava’s eyes are wide as she catches her breath, her lips noticeably more red than earlier. “Are you sure you’re never kissed a girl like that before?” She asks slowly. “Because… Oh my god.”
Serana laughs. “I’m sure. I was asleep for a few centuries, remember? Not many pretty ladies to kiss in that coffin.”
“I disagree, given that at one point, you were in that coffin.” She jokes. “You’re the prettiest lady.”
Serana rolls her eyes. “You can kiss me. I cannot kiss myself, nor would I want to.”
Ava looks very much like she has something to add to that, but she keeps quiet. She squeezes the hand Serana offered to help her to her feet, clearly not intending to let go anytime soon. “Kiss me again?” She asks.
“After you get dressed. You’re going to catch cold like this.” Serana says, using her free hand to motion to Ava’s state of undress. While she does appreciate the unfettered view, Serana feels better when Ava is in armor. At least while they’re in the wilderness.
“Its June.” She protests. “I’m not gonna--”
She pauses, thinking through her options. “ Fine. But you owe me one kiss.”
Serana delights in the way her blush deepens when she replies, “I intend on kissing you much more than once, Dragonborn.”