It was late into the night, the two moons were high in the inky sky, one bright, the other pale but together illuminating the landscape around the Mighty Nein enough that Beau didn't need to use her goggles to keep watch.
Beau glanced about her to the sleeping bodies of her friends and then to Yasha who sat awake by the fire, keeping watch. Yasha had been back with the group for some time now but the two hadn't gotten a moment alone with all their time traveling on ships and plundering tombs. It was only now that they were returning to the Empire that things had finally calmed down enough to have some quiet moments again.
Beau shifted slightly, uncomfortable with the silence. She wanted to talk. To address the unspoken shadow that loomed over them. It had been eating away at her ever since they had first parted ways after Molly's death and only gotten worse when Yasha had returned to them only to avoid the topic as much as she could. Beau swallowed and bit her lip, mustering the courage to speak.
"Hey... So uh... We... we haven't really talked about... What happened." Beau paused and looked to her hands for a second before clarifying. "To Molly..."
Yasha sighed heavily and kept her eyes trained on the fire in front of them. "I don't want to talk about it, Beau."
Beau nodded slightly before pursing her lips. "Sure... Yeah...But I do..."
Yasha was silent and continued to stare at the fire much to Beau's disappointment.
"Alright... Don't talk. I will." There was no hint of malice in Beau's voice. Only resignation to Yasha's resistance. "I... I know Molly didn't mean as much to me as he did to you... No one here was as close to him as you were... but... but it still fucking hurt. You know?" Beau paused a second to gauge Yasha's reaction but nothing seemed to have changed. In fact she wasn't even sure if the woman was listening to her but she continued anyway. "I feel... guilty. For a lot of things really... That it was him when it could have just as easily have been me... That... that I couldn't do anything to save him... but fuck... Even more than that, the fact that... he fucking tried you know? He tried to... know me... To bridge that gap between us... and I fucking kept him at arms length... like I always do."
There was a small flicker of recognition from Yasha's eyes that told Beau she was in fact listening and so she continued slowly, considering her words.
"I... I... People... don't like... me." Beau forced the sentence out and stared into the fire. "They never have. I don't... think I've ever had friends before now... and I think- I think a part of me pushed him away because I was afraid that if I let him in he'd just... tell me he hated me too or something. So it was safer to just... keep him at a distance." Beau sniffled quietly. "I wish I hadn't. I wish... I'd known him like you did."
Yasha looked down and to her hands.
"... What was he like when you met him? How- how did you meet him?" Beau asked, glancing to Yasha to see the woman biting her lip in contemplation, hesitant to speak. After a moment Beau pulled her family wineskin from her belt and held it out to Yasha in encouragement.
Yasha looked up to Beau's eyes for just a second before her eyes trained on the wineskin and she took it graciously before tipping it back into her mouth and taking a generous drink. She licked her lips clean of the sweet tasting wine before she nodded slightly, ready to talk.
"He uh... Well..." Yasha's eye were trained on the ground in front of her but Beau caught the hint of a smile cross her lips as she thought. "The circus... they... ran scams on people... held people up on the roads to make a little extra coin... That's where I met them."
Beau could hear the affection in Yasha's voice as she recounted her story. "I had just arrived in the Empire... and they had the caravan pulled off to the side of the road when I came across them... They feigned that they needed help... I almost walked on by but Molly... Molly convinced me to come over..." Her grin grew wider thinking on Molly and a small chuckle escaped her lips. "It was a shake down. Or... it was meant to be. But uh...I do not think they were expecting to be the ones to get robbed. I um... I'm very strong."
Beau grinned as she watched and listened to Yasha's story, glad that the quiet woman had decided to share with her.
"Orna and the Knot sisters... they were very unhappy... They were ready to limp away... tail between their legs. Molly though... Molly asked me to join them. Said they could use someone like me on the roads. It... took a little convincing for Gustav... I... I don't think he was ready to trust me so soon after I had bruised their pride... but Molly can be very convincing...and very stubborn. He was... the first friend I made here."
"One second you kick their asses, the next he invites you along?" Beau let a melancholy smile cross her face.
"Molly... Molly didn't hold on to anger. He saw... potential in everyone he met..." Yasha's voice quieted as she took a moment of silence to remember her friend before taking another long drink from Beau's wineskin.
"You... you think he... saw potential in me?"
Yasha looked up and met Beau's eyes with a puzzled stare. "Why are you so sure Molly hated you?"
Beau glanced away and frowned. "I dunno… We never really got on I guess. I- I feel like... there were moments where... where we were close to... I dunno… something. Being genuine with each other? But... I dunno. He... never seemed to like me." Beau paused and took her wineskin back from Yasha before taking a swig. "I mean I get it. I'm... not an easy person to be around."
Yasha gave a small puff of amusement. "You think Molly was?"
Beau didn't respond.
"Molly and you are... were... a lot a like. I think... if anything he saw a lot of himself in you. Maybe he didn't want to face those parts of himself."
Beau huffed out a small chuckle. "I miss him."
"I... took his cards." Beau admitted, and avoided eye contact with Yasha out of fear of her disappointment. "I think maybe you should have them."
Yasha sighed and shook her head slowly. "He'd... He'd want you to have them... even if it's just so he can lord them over you from the afterlife." Yasha smiled and pulled out a familiar book. "I already have a- a few gifts from him."
She held up the book to show Beau the embossed gold lettering that read 'Manners and Etiquette.' and Beau couldn't help but laugh at the present.
"I was... uh... not the refined woman you know today when I first arrived in the Empire." Yasha deadpanned. Beau couldn't tell if she was joking. "And Molly bought me this to-to help me blend in." Yasha thumbed the pages delicately before pulling a four-leafed clover from the pages. "And this is... this is the first gift he'd given me... he picked if from the side of the road where they had tried to rob me. He- he found it when he was uh... getting back up."
Beau smiled but didn't say anything a she watched Yasha continue to thumb through the book before she pulled out a white silk flower.
"Th-this one..." there was a slight hitch to Yasha's voice. "Uh... he- he... well... this is the uh... last one... he gave me."
Beau's smile fell and turned into a frown as she averted her eyes to the ground only now recognizing the flower from Hupperdook. "I- I'm sorry, Yasha... we- we were cocky... We- I'm sorry..."
Yasha grimaced before tucking the silk flower back in between the pages of her book. "I uh... I... don't blame you..." she paused and scratched at the back of her head. "I'd be lying... if I said I didn't try to though... I thought... given enough time we-we could have gotten out on our own. I'm- I'm very used to... doing things on my own. I'm still learning how to... rely on others. I know now that- that we never would have made it out of there without you but... I-I... It means I have to face my guilt." Yasha choked out. "If I hadn't been so blind... This never would have happened in the first place..."
Beau stayed silent for a moment, taking in the women next to her before clearing her constricting throat. "I get that... I felt guilty too... hell- I still do. I think it somehow feels like penance to blame yourself... to live in that anger. But it's not your fault... and Molly wouldn't want you to hold onto that guilt. You said it yourself... Molly didn't hold on to anger."
The smallest of sad smiles washed across Yasha's face. "I know..."
"Easier said than done. I know." Beau glanced down at the wineskin in her hands. "To Molly... and his teachings. May one day we master the art of not giving a shit." She tipped the wineskin back and took a generous helping before handing it back to Yasha.
Yasha took the skin with no hesitation and held it up as if to toast. "To Molly." She took another drink before licking her lips and smiling. "Good wine... Beau?" Beau lifted a brow and waited for Yasha to finish. "Thank you..."
Beau gave a half smile, a weight lifted from her chest. They'd waited too long to talk about Molly, but she was glad they finally had and maybe now Yasha would feel more free to share with them and the rift that had grown between them could finally start to heal.