DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
SERIES: The fourth story in the 'there is strength in your softness' series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To scotangelina[at]yahoo.com
Don't do all the talking (Let love speak up itself)
Waking to the press of a familiar body at her back is still a thrill after decades of nameless, faceless lovers. Lips graze her shoulder, urging her towards consciousness. A hand slides down her bare side to rest on her hip; fingertips curling around the bone. Yennefer smiles, glad she is facing away from Tissaia so that she can enjoy these secret, tender touches for a little longer. Gentle kisses are placed on her shoulder, up her neck, to her ear.
"I'm not sure who you think you're fooling." Teeth close around the soft flesh of her lobe, tugging gently before releasing. "I can sense your movements from across the Continent, and you somehow believe I don't know when you're awake?"
Laughing, Yennefer flops over so that they are facing one another, their heads close together on a single pillow. She catches a strand of loose hair that's dangling over Tissaia's forehead and pushes it back, letting her hand come to cup her cheek. She smiles.
"Good morning, my love."
"Good morning to you too." Tissaia lifts an eyebrow, turning to the window. "Although I'd wager it's almost afternoon."
"Hardly." Yen stretches her arms above her head and yawns. She lets her arms drop around Tissaia and pulls her close so that her head is resting on Yennefer's chest. "The sun is barely up. We can stay here a while longer."
The warm sigh exhaled against her breast is in direct opposition to the softening of Tissaia's body against her own. "There are things that need to be done. Arrangements to-"
"Triss has everything in hand," Yennefer says. "You know she enjoys being in charge of such things. She'll be ordering Sabrina and the others around and loving every second of it." She threads her fingers into Tissaia's hair, enjoying how it falls loosely around her hand when not confined in its severe bun. "All we need to do is turn up."
A hand starts to trace random patterns on her stomach. "It feels wrong that we've left her with all the work when we're just lying in bed doing nothing."
"I know you feel the need to be in charge of everything, but we're entitled to a little indulgence today of all days," Yennefer says, scratching at Tissaia's skull. "And if it would make you feel better, we could by lying in bed doing something."
Pushing up onto an elbow, Tissaia looks down at her, forehead creased adorably. Yennefer reaches up to smooth away the lines with her thumb, dragging her down into a kiss before she can either scold her or come up with some reason they should be out helping with the preparations. She feels Tissaia smile against her mouth.
"You're trying to distract me," she says, pulling back.
"Yes," Yennefer agrees, darting up to kiss her jaw. "Is it working?"
Tissaia huffs, dropping her chin to rest on Yennefer's sternum. She narrows her eyes. "It appears to be. I haven't left the bed, have I?"
"No, you haven't." Yennefer lets her hand drift up and down Tissaia's bare back. She knows it by heart. The three moles that form a triangle just above her left hip. Each bump and dip of her spine. The smooth expanse between sharp scapulae. She bites her lip as she trails her forefinger along the top of Tissaia's buttocks. "Are you sure this is what you want?"
Lifting her head, Tissaia's incredulity spreads over her face. "Am I sure this is what I-" She chokes out a laugh. "You've left it exceptionally late to check on that."
Yennefer rolls her eyes. "No, I know you want to marry me," she says, shrugging as she pretends not to notice Tissaia's expression. "I mean, why wouldn't you?" Tissaia slaps her shoulder and she catches her hand, lacing their fingers together. "I mean, are you sure this is how you want to do it?" She nods to the window, the mountains resplendent against the blue sky. "Out here. Not at Aretuza?"
As she's speaking, Tissaia's smile is growing. She uses their joined hands to bump against Yennefer's nose. "You and I have attended enough grand events to know that pomp and circumstance mean nothing, and more often than not are there to cover up for a lack of substance and sincerity."
"Yes, true." She kisses Tissaia's knuckles. "But that wouldn't be the case here." She tilts her head. "If you wanted the grandest wedding the Continent had ever seen, I would give it to you." She wrinkles her nose. "Well, I'd make Triss do most of the work, but I would oversee it."
"I know," Tissaia says, her voice and smile are both soft. "And that is exactly why I don't need anything lavish." She squeezes Yennefer's fingers. "Today is about you and I, making a pledge to each other. I don't need anything more than that."
"Well," Yennefer says, her throat thick with emotion. "That's good to know."
She decides not to pursue her question about the venue. Aretuza holds some awful memories for both of them. This place is theirs. Their little slice of privacy in the mountains. Tissaia shakes her head and leans down to kiss her. A brush of lips over lips, nothing more. She doesn't pull away, letting her forehead rest against Yennefer's.
"We need to get up," she murmurs. "We can't be late for our own wedding."
Yennefer surges up, turning them so that she ends up on top of Tissaia, looking down at her. "Why? What are they going to do? Have it without us?" She takes hold of Tissaia's wrists, pressing them to the pillow on either side of her head. "They'll wait."
When Tissaia lifts her head for a kiss, Yennefer knows
she's won and allows herself a victorious smile as she leans down to provide it.
It's later than it should be when Sabrina slinks up next to her, pressing their shoulders together as they observe Triss fussing with Tissaia's hair. "You owe me," she murmurs.
"For what?" Yen asks, pressing her lips together to keep from laughing when Tissaia sends her another exasperated look from beneath Triss' attentions.
"For keeping Triss at bay. She'd have been in here at the crack of dawn if not for me. So you're welcome." She smirks. "I trust you used the time productively."
"You better not have been listening in," Yennefer says, turning to narrow her eyes at her friend.
"Of course not!" Sabrina rolls her eyes. "Tissaia's mental wards are impenetrable."
"So you've tried!" Yen laughs. "You fucking pervert."
"Let's not compare perversions, eh Yen?" Sabrina pats Yennefer's shoulder. "I fear I'd come a distant second." Before Yennefer can respond, Sabrina tugs on her arm. "Come. I've got the unenviable job of trying to make you presentable for this ceremony."
Allowing herself to be dragged from the room, Yennefer soon finds herself in the same predicament as Tissaia. Only Sabrina is a far less considerate groomer than Triss and appears to take pleasure in the knots and snarls she encounters in Yennefer's sleep mussed hair.
"You know," Yennefer mutters. "We could do this using magic. No-one would know."
"Triss predicted you'd say that," Sabrina says, continuing her work. "And she told me to tell you that it's all about the ritual and the tradition. And that you're to shut the fuck up and let me do it."
"Triss did not say that."
Sabrina shrugs. "Perhaps I paraphrased."
They finally get done with the hair and Yennefer is glad to escape Sabrina's clutches long enough to get into her dress. She lets her robe fall to the floor, unabashed, and is getting her dress from its hanger when she hears a low whistle from behind her. She turns to find Sabrina's eyes trailing down her body.
"What?" Yennefer asks.
Sabrina shakes her head. "Giltine really is an artist, isn't he?"
Bristling, Yennefer turns away again. She's acutely aware of the fact that her beauty isn't natural, without other people pointing it out to her. For a long time, she still felt like that same crooked girl on the inside. Her exterior felt like an illusion there to trick other people into thinking she was worthy of their time. So that she might one day matter to someone.
These days, she feels beautiful. Tissaia is careful not to throw the word around often, but she does so with her touches. Her hands have been everywhere on Yennefer's body, so have her lips. And with every touch, Yen feels more worthy of her looks. Tissaia knows the girl she used to be more than most do. She's seen her at her lowest, her weakest, and still she loves her.
She clears her throat, stepping into her dress and pulling it up. Sabrina doesn't need to be privy to any of these thoughts.
"Well, he managed to sculpt you a spectacular pair of tits out of nothing, so I'd say he's a genius, yeah."
She smiles at Sabrina's huff, but then the other woman comes up behind her and starts to fasten the back of her dress. Their eyes meet in the mirror.
"So." Sabrina tilts her head. "Did you ever imagine, when we were students together, that you'd end up marrying the teacher?"
Yennefer laughs at the unexpected question and shakes her head. "I think it would have seemed far more likely that you would end up marrying her, don't you agree? Considering you were always her favourite." Yennefer wrinkles her nose in the mirror. "Swot."
"Her favourite?" Sabrina almost screeches. "I assume you're joking?" When Yennefer's only response is a confused frown, Sabrina laughs. "Oh, Yen, please. I should have been her favourite. I was leagues ahead of you in terms of ability-" Yennefer tries to interject, but Sabrina carries on over the top of her protests. "I could float boulders while you were still struggling with pebbles. I knew the deepest fear of everyone in that class before you knew your own. And yet, all of Tissaia's attention went to you."
Hearing it set out so plainly, Yennefer can hardly argue.
Then there are mages like us .
"She, uh, she saw something in me. She was the first person who did." The image in the mirror morphs briefly into the girl she used to be. She blinks to clear it. "Maybe she's the only person who ever did."
"Ugh," Sabrina groans. "I cannot stand people in love. It's positively sickening." But she squeezes Yennefer's shoulders and presses a kiss to her cheek. "Come on. Let's go and get you married so that I can drink myself into oblivion."
They head back into the other room and Yennefer's breath catches in her throat. Tissaia turns to her and smiles, a dusky hue of pink settling along the apples of her cheeks. She's in an off-white gown. The cut is similar to her usual dresses, but the fabric is looser, more flowing, and gone is the high neck and collar she tends to favour. The neckline dips deep and curls up to sit just on her shoulders. Her medallion sits, stark against the pale skin of her chest. Her hair is down and loose, kept off her face by a delicate silver tiara.
"You're magnificent," Yennefer whispers, moving across the room and taking Tissaia's hands in her own, lifting them to her lips. "Truly."
"As are you, my darling," Tissaia replies, freeing one of her hands to trace Yennefer's jaw, her thumb rubbing at the place where it used to protrude. "You always have been."
"This is very touching," Triss interrupts, her voice quivering ever so slightly. "But we do rather need to get moving. The celebrant has been waiting for quite some time now."
Yennefer lifts an eyebrow at Tissaia. "What do you say? Shall we go and get married?"
Taking the arm Yennefer offers her, Tissaia nods. "We shall."
Yennefer inhales a shaky breath, smiling as she gazes into Tissaia's eyes. The celebrant winds a cord around their joined hands using some method she is clearly familiar with. She loops the ends of the cord around each other, tying a firm knot and pressing their palms together.
"As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound."
That's utterly untrue, Yennefer thinks. Their lives have been bound for decades. A voice sounds inside her head.
It's merely symbolic, dear.
Amusement dances in Tissaia's eyes when she meets them again and she bites her lip to stop from laughing.
Shhhh. We're supposed to be concentrating on what she's saying.
"With its fashioning, do I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives."
Tissaia's fingers squeeze her own. You're the one disagreeing with the sentiment!
The celebrant ties the final knot. "May the love symbolised by this knot remain for as long as you both shall live."
Yennefer swallows, returning the squeeze. Well, I'm not disagreeing with that bit.
With a smile, the celebrant releases their joined hands and steps back. "You may now kiss each other to seal the vows you have made to one another this day."
An odd fluttering passes through Yennefer's chest. She's kissed Tissaia a thousand times. More, probably. But this one means something. It's important. It matters. It needs to be right. She lifts her free hand to Tissaia's cheek and is surprised to see it's shaking. Tissaia grasps her wrist, her grip firm and sure.
Stop thinking so hard and kiss me.
A smile breaks over Yennefer's lips and she leans in, pressing her lips to Tissaia's. Cheers and whoops go up from the few assorted friends they'd invited along. Pulling away enough to look into Tissaia's eyes, Yen laughs softly.
"That's it, it's official."
"You're my wife. And I'm yours." Tissaia's eyes grow bright with tears and she presses their joined hands to her chest. "I'm yours. Always."
Nodding, Yennefer sniffs. She understands. Regardless of ceremonies or vows, they've belonged to one another for a long time.
"I love you," she whispers into the warm space between them.
"And I love you," Tissaia responds in kind before bringing their lips together again.
And, Yennefer decides, that's all that matters.
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