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Morning After

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Beau woke up not to sunlight streaming in through the windows or the sound of battle interrupting them in the middle of the night, but to the sound of slow, even breathing in her ear. There were warm, freckled arms wrapped around her waist, a body pressed up against her back, cheek resting against the back of her head.


Her legs were interlocked with Reani’s and a blanket tangled up around them, leaving most of her upper body uncovered but more or less trapping the rest of her in the bed, not that she was quite ready to leave yet.


It was dark, dull early morning light filtering through a tiny window on the wall above the bed, a chill breeze blowing in with it. But between the remnants of alcohol that had mostly burned through her system and the warmth of the woman behind her, she wasn’t cold. She was, however, sore. And nursing a headache.


Not quite feeling up to moving yet, Beau closed her eyes, thoughts drifting aimlessly to the previous night. She curled in a little tighter into Reani’s embrace, pulling up the blanket a little higher and trying to remember if they’d done anything she should regret. After a few moments of trying to sift through vaguely hazy memories, she decided she hadn’t.


She considered getting up and dressed and out before Reani got up, but based on how tightly she was cuddling her waist, attempting it was probably a surefire way to just wake her up. Usually, she’d try to risk it anyway, preferring a quick exit to potentially getting trapped in some awkward morning after situation. But this morning she didn’t. Instead, she settled down, enjoying the time in a relatively comfortable bed with a definitely attractive woman, which was sometimes hard to come by in her life these days.


It could have been seconds, minutes or an hour before Reani began to shift behind her, instinctively seeming to cuddle into Beau as she woke up, one of her arms simultaneously loosening to drag up to her face, hand brushing up Beau’s arms as she did. Her hands were not entirely soft, but nowhere near as calloused or marred as Beau’s, each touch trailing a lingering warmth on her skin.


Beau wondered if it was the angel blood that gave Reani that ever-present warmth, the same way that Jester’s skin was naturally cold no matter how many blankets she layered on or hours she spent lazing in the sun.


Reani began to shift some more, her arm resting back over Beau’s waist but not hugging as tightly, her body moving and shuffling until her temple rested just beneath Beau’s ears, her lips brushing her bare shoulders.


They stayed like that in silence for a few moments, echoing some of the fuzzy moments just before they’d fallen asleep when Reani’s drowsy voice broke the air, soft and whispered.


“Beau? You awake?”


Beau mumbled an answer, cracking open one eye to see the glow of Reani’s halo in the corner of her vision.


“Cool,” Reani murmured, barely sounding alert. “Did you sleep okay?”


“Sure did.” Beau was near-certain that her own voice was barely audible or intelligible but Reani seemed to understand, humming in respond and nodding a little, her hair tickling into Beau’s neck. “You?”


“Yeah.” They lapsed into silence against after that, Reani removing her arm again to stretch out, unwrapping her legs from Beau’s, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad silence. Just a gentle one.


After a few more moments of lying together, Reani sat up, brushing her hair through with her fingers and tucking loose strands behind her ears to keep up some measure of neatness until she could properly take care of it later. She scanned the room before spotting her clothes somewhere on the other side and audibly sighed, before dropping back down onto the bed and tugging the blanket up to her chin.


“You not getting up?” Beau rolled over to face the aasimar, tucking one arm under her head.


“Not yet. It’s nice to just lie in bed, you know?” Reani was looking up at the ceiling with a soft smile on her face, before glancing in Beau’s direction. “Unless you wanna get up or something, I don’t mind.”


“Nah, I get it…” Beau absentmindedly grabbed another corner of the blanket and pulled it up just below her armpit, running a hand through her hair and wondering where she’d dropped her ribbon. “Just been a while since either me or the other person has stayed for more than two minutes.”


“I think it’s one of the best parts.” Reani paused for a moment, before adding, “You know, besides the actual sex.”


The corner of Beau’s mouth quirked upwards, dropping her hand so that it held the back of her neck, letting her thumb rub circles into the rough fuzz of her undercut. Reani giggled to herself for a moment, before continuing on.


“It’s just so nice when you get to wake up in the morning and there’s someone next to you and they hug you and kiss you and you know they’re gonna still be there the next morning too.” Reani’s voice faded as she kept talking, her smile growing momentarily wistful.


Beau let her gaze fall to Reani’s shoulder, distantly focusing on the golden freckles that dotted her skin rather than the memories of the time she did have someone who would stay in the morning rather than leave before she could wake up. It had been a long time since then. “Yeah. It’s nice.”


Another silence fell over them, this one a bit heavier than the last, but only lasting for less than ten seconds before Reani pulled herself up into a sitting position again, rustling the sheets and stretching her arms out a little too wide to seem entirely natural, yawning. Beau took the hint and climbed out of bed herself, picking her clothes up from the floor and getting dressed, Reani doing the same.


Beau was a lot quicker at getting dressed than Reani was, throwing her winter cloak on without properly doing it up. She located her hair ribbon just under the bed and began running her fingers through her hair to brush it through, glancing at Reani putting on her slightly more complicated outfit every now and then, and then looking at the door. This would be a perfectly normal time to take her leave as well. But she didn’t.


Instead, she leaned against the wall and took far more care in doing up her hair than she usually would, making sure each strand was securely pulled up, the ribbon tied tight. Her mind kept jumping back to what Reani had said before, and then again to years ago, long before the Mighty Nein and not so long before the Cobalt Soul.


Tori had never been very good at waking up early. She’d always ask for Beau to stay just a little while longer, help her brush her hair or get her clothes on. Beau, young and in love — and it was funny to think that she’d been that way once, properly in love for longer than a few weeks with someone who loved her back — had never taken much convincing. Her parents had never cared enough to notice she’d been gone at all.


This was different now, but it was just a few shades closer to those memories to make her wonder when she’d stopped missing those kinds of mornings. These days she had something almost similar, with Jester whenever they roomed together, with the Mighty Nein on nights where they all slept clumped together in Caleb’s hut. But a morning tinged with the remnants of lingering romance was something she hadn’t felt in a long time.


Even Keg had tried to leave pretty quickly, not that Beau had minded. That was just how it worked sometimes, and that was how it had worked for Beau ever since she’d left Tori behind, and sometimes it was just what Beau needed.


Reani straightened up after doing up her boots with a self-satisfied huff, patting down her hair before smiling at Beau. “Do you know what they do for breakfast? Do you think they’d let me help?”


Pushing off the wall, Beau shrugged and followed Reani through the door. “I dunno. I hear gnomes can be particular with their food, but I’m sure they’d make an exception for someone as pretty as you.” Her coy smile widened at Reani’s giggles, chuckling when the aasimar’s face flushed.


They ran into a couple of the others on their way to the proper forge part of the kiln to check on the sword, dodging or wiggling their eyebrows at the pointed smile or thinly veiled questions about their night that we’re shot their way. They had started making out with like half the gang watching them, so it probably wasn’t hard for them to connect the dots, knowing her.


It had been so long she’d almost forgotten what it felt like to wake up next to someone who’d stay with her for a while. Now that she’d had a taste of it, a part of her wondered when she’d get to feel it again, and with who.