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Beside You

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Yona looked peaceful. Relaxed. And that comforted her a bit. A lot. Especially after the nightmares where Yona was slashed, over and over and over and over. Peaceful. Healing. It became a mantra in Lili's mind.

“Come in, Lili.” Yona’s gentle voice startled Lili, making her jump a little by the door. Yona always did manage to sense her, Lili thought wryly. After a moment’s pause she hesitantly walked in, seeming to question where to sit before Yona took her hand. Warm, was all Lili could think. Lili sat down next to Yona, glancing all around the room, anywhere but her. She was not sure she could look at Yona without breaking into tears, and that was not what she came here for. She came here to thank Yona for what she did and to comfort her. If she started crying she just knew Yona would comfort her, even though she did not deserve it.

A hand on her face startled Lili out of her thoughts. Now she could not look at anything but Yona. Her gaze seemed to pinpoint on the dark circles around Lili's eyes. Her gaze was understanding.

“I know the frustration of being protected. Feeling that you’re unreliable and a burden. And the worry. That that person will lose it all, and it will be your fault. But Lili, I learned something; people don’t protect with the intention of creating those feelings. They just want, more than anything, for the person behind them to not be in pain, even if they are. Just like I wanted you to be safe.” Yona smiled gently. Lili thought she saw a bit of sadness in her eyes, but mostly love.

Lili bit her lip. She still thought she might cry. But not out of guilt, like she would have earlier, but relief. Relief that she understood Yona, relief that she was understood, relief that Yona didn’t hate her or resent her. Lili scooted closer to Yona as gracefully as she could. Her face flushed as she thought of what she was going to do next, but she had to do it before she lost her nerve. She slowly brought her lips to Yona’s cheek. Lili breathed a little shakily, glancing down at her hand, still entwined in Yona's, before peeking at Yona shyly.

It seemed to take Yona a second to process what had happened. Then Lili saw the faintest of blushes dust her cheeks like budding roses. Lili absentmindedly considered what it would take for Yona’s cheeks to match her hair before she collected herself.

“Thank you,” Lili murmured, “for protecting me.” Now it seemed Yona was the one who could not meet her eyes.

“N-no problem.” Yona’s voice replied, a little high pitched.

They spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and exchanging glances at each others’ lips.