Morning Light


bf_kara_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Morning Light
Synopsis Roused from sleep unexpectedly, in the light of dawn Kara and Yi-Min discuss recent events and a potential course for their future.
Date September 12, 2020

Raytech Industries Campus Housing Complex

While Kara might've gotten off the hook for treatments in town when her injury first happened, avoiding the Safe Zone entirely lasted only a handful of days.

At first, she groused, insisting she would be fine staying at home in Providence— but Yi-Min's quiet determination saw a bag was packed for her within an hour of her partner seeing her maneuver around the homestead. She managed on her own with the sling she was wearing to disturb her wound as little as possible, but that didn't mean she had to. There was just something to be said for sleeping somewhere with constant electricity and running water while recovering from an injury.

And there was nothing that could compare to waking up by Yi-Min's side.

So maybe the hypothetical downsides were vastly outweighed by the pleasant realities, in the end.

Kara's predawn ritual of verifying her partner's continued presence by her side is one she commits unconsciously, but it's one that's no less important. The fingers of her left hand shift while she lies on her back, her head turning in Yi-Min's direction with her eyes still closed. Skin whispering against the sheet, her knuckles find soft warmth, and her brow relaxes. In that same silence, she shifts her hips and curls one leg over the other, bare foot snaking between the gap made by Yi-Min's ankles. Her torso is the next to shift, right arm reaching while she rolls onto her—

The hissed, startled cry that comes from Kara is not unlike the sound she makes when roused from the worst of her nightmares. She's not even aware her eyes are open at first, they're spotted with dark light as she stares up at the ceiling, firmly on her back again and off of her tender left shoulder. She takes in a shudder of a breath before murmuring an apology of, "I'm fine. I'm fine."

She is. She swears. Even as she lets out a thin note of discomfort. It's followed by a sigh.

All in all, Yi-Min has been counting herself lucky to have gotten off so lightly (relatively speaking) in the days following their romp through the colonial Swedish dimension: it means that she can devote the full breadth of her care to her more badly-injured partner.

Still, with the lingering soreness of her back, Yi-Min has taken to sleeping on her side these nights if she can help it. The gray, nebulous moments before sunrise find her curled loosely in such a manner, with one small hand coiled outwards from a point just below her chin as though seeking something that lays towards the interior of the bed.

Much like Kara, Yi-Min does not even need to be conscious for her partner's proximity to work its influence on her. Just the innate knowledge that Kara is beside her lends a certain quality to her slumber— a comfortable, drowsing peace that pervades every aspect of her physical being, even while her mind is a thousand leagues away in the forgetful realms of dream.

The light of that restfulness is still in her face when she awakens, turning her head sleepily on her pillow to discern the cause of the noise. "But, are you really?" she murmurs once she has blinked away some bleariness, a note of chiding for Kara being so quick to assure she's fine overshadowed by her gentler concern. Then even that tiny trace of admonition is gone, and her voice is all gentleness.

"What was it? Nightmare?"

"No," Kara admits, a strain to it. "Just…" She sighs more forcefully than before as she looks up at the ceiling and then closes her eyes. "Just decided it would be a good idea to put all my weight on the wrong side. Seemed like a really good idea at the time."

She manages a thin chuckle at her own expense. She had a very good reason for it, at least.

After that, though, she's not drowsy enough to immediately fall back to sleep. Kara lets her head and her head only roll on the pillow to look at Yi-Min. "Sorry, xīngān." The words come with soft, delicate enunciation.

Anything more she means to say is lost to tired thoughts, and the far more interesting pastime in admiring the shape of her partner's features in the shadow-drenched twilight— the movement of her brow, the contour of her cheek and jaw, and what she can make out of those eyes she adores looking into.

"Sure, yes. I am sure your dream self had some very good reason for trying to murder your back."

Concern still subtly knits Yi-Min's brow in the darkness, despite her throwaway quip of agreement, but soon she's smiling for an alternate reason: that of hearing Kara's word choice. "Wa. Your pronunciation is getting so good, though," she praises, her gaze lightening in a sudden glimmer of warmth. There is genuine pride in her tone. With just as great a fondness, she lifts her hand to the face before her, letting the back of her fingertips brush softly against the high curve of Kara's cheek. Despite her preoccupation with the delight that is every aspect of her partner, her next question sounds much more matter-of-fact. "Do you think you would feel better with the heating pad?"

Kara might note that Yi-Min rather obviously avoids the wording, 'would you like me to go and get it.' That's phrasing that is naturally easier to turn down, and knowing Kara's stubbornness, she knows just to step right around that pitfall.

How well she's been swindled into accepting aid. Even though her nose rankles, Kara admits, "It might." It, as though her shoulder were some separate being causing her pain rather than a piece of her. Her sour musing upon that point is a short thing given the delicate graze of fingers to cheek.

"Well, my dream self wanted to be closer to you. And can you really blame it?" Kara sounds so serious, but a small smile flashes in the rheotrical's aftermath. Her expression settles as she shifts, pushing herself up onto her right elbow in the presumption they both may be up for a few minutes now.

"As for my pronunciation… I'll be sure to pass on your compliments to my professor." A proper lopsided grin follows her comment this time as she sits, leaning back into the wall. "Want me to grab the light?"

It's a simple movement, perhaps unnecessary for her to complete, but it's one that doesn't even require moving her injured arm— and one that pretends to afford her a useful role in the situation.

It doesn’t matter that the question was intended rhetorically, because it gets a reply from Yi-Min all the same. "I can, if your dream self is going to cause your real self to get hurt over something so silly," she retorts in the shape of an affronted-sounding murmur, lips brushing up against Kara's ear before she presses a kiss just below it.

Every ounce of sternness in that note is real, but as the fervent (and only slightly breathless) nature of her kiss exposes, it's also a deflector for a different truth: that of her heart silently melting inside her chest.

Kara, you charmer.

At least the matter of the light is an easy one. "Go ahead," Yi-Min agrees, waiting for Kara to complete the action before shifting her blankets off, freeing her to lower her bare feet onto the floor and into her slippers. It's a minor thing, to be sure, but she knows how important it is to her partner to be allowed to feel useful.

The nightstand lamp softly winks on with a touch, set to the lowest setting. There. It took hardly a shift of her arm, but now she's contributed to the betterment of the current situation.

"I did have a dream about it the night before last," Kara admits with the same softness as the light. There's barely enough vibration in her murmur for it to carry in the dark. Despite the brutalist architecture of the Raytech residences being resoundingly concrete, she can't help but wonder who can overhear. "The forest. The boar. The…"

She shakes her head once. Her hand comes to gingerly touch her wounded shoulder. "We still don't even know what caused the bubble to happen in the first place. It looked like it was over… but what if more of those beasts come through?"

"That was one of my worries," Yi-Min has no qualms about affirming, her face momentarily upturned so as to scan the shelves of a neatly stocked armoire a few feet from the bed. "I know your feelings about the matter, and perhaps you were right, but I still wish we could have brought Mats back with us for questioning."

There were precious few people to whom they could turn to for answers, and he may just have been one of them.

Having found the item she's looking for, Yi-Min gathers it up and shuts the tall wooden door before her. It's a moment before she turns to face the bed again, though. Deep thought roots her feet in stillness, and in that soft glow, the translucence of her négligée allows for free visibility of her slim, lowered shoulders. "This world of ours is getting stranger by the day, and I like none of it. At least for Providence— I suppose they still have the defenses that were meant for the robots. It is more than nothing.”

It's no small comfort that's the case. "They have a town who's never stopped being ready to defend themselves, after everything that happened last year. As much as I wish we could have caused an actually peaceful life to be led there… we've kept them safe. And safe is all that matters."

Kara looks up then, reaching for Yi-Min with her palm upturned. "We've done the equivalent of teaching a man to fish, apart from setting up those towers. We can be proud of that much, if we have to leave."

After all this time, that's somehow never a topic far from her mind. Strengthening Providence for some inevitable time when the Sentinel will no longer be there to protect it. Whatever lives behind that sentiment, it's levels less intense than her own, personal fear she'll be rooted out as someone who doesn't belong and separated from Yi-Min.

Namely, she's able to discuss this kind of thing freely.

It's the work of but a moment to plug the heating pad into the wall by the lamp, and then Yi-Min is heading back to bed to reseat herself next to Kara, holding the pad squarely in her lap while she waits for it to begin warming. In the meantime, her gaze lowers through the half-lit space above the bedsheets, but it's still distant.

For like her partner, Providence really forms only the topmost layer of her uncertainties, and the one least that is painful to discuss. The truth of the matter, the real iceberg, extends much deeper.

"Next to a guarantee of safety, they have been granted the next best thing," she agrees. "I only wish there was less uncertainty around us in general. You know? You should be able to live freely, with none of this silly 'Clara Kent' business— even if you are adorable in glasses— away from the prying of nosy, mysterious government agents. And then there is me, and the changes wrought that we still understand so little of. If it turns out that I am some kind of ticking time bomb…"

Her voice trails off into a sort of veiled misery, a contrast to the tired flare of fierceness in her eyes. “You know I would rather die than knowingly pose a danger to you."

"And you know I'd rather die to save you from whatever it is, than to let you live a single day in pain." Kara turns her head toward Yi-Min, the fingers of her left hand seeking the palm of her partner's right until she can worm their fingers to be laced together.

"I'm not sure I properly told you how worried I was when there were those few weeks you weren't sure if what had happened to you wasn't the Gemini process. I know what it's doing to Marlene, slowly, and the thought of it doing that to you, too…" A hollow, pained laugh comes from her, even if the distance of time has lessened the severity of it. "I had my bag half-packed to storm off to who knows where to find … anything I could to stop that from happening to you."

She settles, looking off briefly. "As for me, this… it's just my reality, Yi-Min. It was easier back out West. To pass, that is, for belonging. But out here? Especially now that my name was in the news for a while…?"

Maybe she's overinflating the importance of herself, overestimating what people would recall. But all it would take is one person recalling the right bit of information at the wrong time, to the wrong people…

Kara's hand squeezes Yi-Min's firmly again. "I'm so sorry I panicked when those agents showed up in the woods. I shouldn't have shoved you away how I did. I was just…" She tries to smile this one away, and fails. This touches those concerns deeper beneath the sea ice. "If there were people to avoid, it was them."

Closing her eyes, she leans her head back against the wall. "After your parole's done, maybe we leave."

Over the top of their interwoven fingers, that’s a proposition that sees Yi-Min fall silent. Her partner has learned to read between the lines of the words that are left unspoken: it's a silence less of innate reflection than of thought regarding how to reply.

A few moments later she only shakes her head gently, her smile turned to a sadness that somehow also feels strangely light. Her fierceness, her misery: together, these twin things burn off their outer shells into a much barer, quieter, picture of affection.

"I would not say it isn’t tempting. Just you and me. Away from all the ills of this world. Away from this reality where my personal well-being is seeming more and more like a borrowed fact, and rightfully… well, never mind. But I am not sure I could leave Eileen. Or, for that matter, this job. Where is it we would go?"

"Anywhere," Kara suggests with a faint laugh so light it brings her shoulders up with it. She opens her eyes, head lolling to the side so she can regard Yi-Min. Her brow creases without true concern— at least none regarding the current topic. "Back to the west coast, maybe?" she poses, then her tone lifts. "There's another Safe Zone there. Like Praxia was, except controlled by Yamagato. We could have the best of both worlds there. No need to worry about this government or any government if we lived in a country that's its own island."

"Not to mention, we'd break free of here and still be able to avoid sleeping in the woods, pumping our own water, running electricity off of a generator." Kara's voice softens now from the excitement it'd begun to take on. "But if you decided you missed it, we could travel outside Seattle. I have friends in Snoqualmie, Sedro-Woolley…" Her hand closes around Yi-Min's. "Perhaps we talk Eileen into moving back."

"I still don't know why she wanted to stay here even after we failed to stop Raytech," she murmurs. How surreal it is suddenly— to once again acknowledge that not too long ago, she was shooting the people who worked here.

And now she slept with them. Just the one.

To be fair, it isn't like Yi-Min had been working for Raytech when she arrived in Providence. Nor would she have envisioned that one day, she would find herself doing so.

Just as she could hardly have envisioned sharing this moment with Kara in the here and now.

"If Eileen were to come with us…" she repeats with the first subtle hint of a frown, her voice lifting in a curl of dreamy seriousness. Whatever the volume, Kara's excitement is contagious. "If Eileen could be persuaded, then I think I could be, too. Because you are not wrong. Both of our tasks here are over. Done."

How strange that felt to say. Especially in the midst of all the troubles that still beset them. But the fact remains— the respective reasons she and the Remnant had for coming to this location in the first place were relevant no longer.

Kara finds herself turning to Yi-Min in that moment, careful to avoid jarring her shoulder unduly, lifting her other hand to her partner's cheek to graze it gently, to frame her face and begin to smile softly.

She'd never believe it were she left to her own devices, but she can't help but feel a warmth when Yi-Min says they've done what they meant to here. She relaxes, feeling as though she's been granted permission to.

Maybe they really have done enough. Maybe it would be fine to go and do what they wanted to… to move on without it being an order to.

Even if Kara is cheating a little in that regard, taking her cues from Yi-Min as she is.

Her eyes close as she leans in to softly kiss the woman beside her, all discomfort forgotten in the pleasant anesthetic of her presence. She lets her hand fall from Yi-Min's cheek, coming to her lap to rest over the top of hers and the warming pad.

"I could live like that," Kara whispers, like saying it any louder is a dare for the universe to throw something in their path yet again. "I think we'd find happiness out there."

In terms of cues there, there is not much more forthcoming from Yi-Min, at least not in a guise that is particularly clear. This is a concept still more foreign to her than it might be even to Kara— that of simply drifting through life, free of duty to fate or to fear, steered by nothing at all save whatever desires they might engineer together.

Despite the real allure, it’s a weighted prospect, and one that still requires a great deal of thought.

So she finds the one aspect that is free from a shadow of doubt.

"As for me, happiness has never been a place," Yi-Min says in an easy, matching lowered tone, small fingers curling comfortably beneath the press of Kara's hand. In that passing breath of warmth, she slants in to press a second kiss up onto Kara's lips, one that is as solemn at heart as it is playful on the surface.

Kara lets out a faint breath before she closes her eyes, chasing that kiss with a smiling one of her own. The warmth in her spreads from her heart through her chest, down to her stomach, grounding her pleasantly in this moment, in this place. "If that weren't the sweetest thing I've ever heard, I'd haggle you over the semantics of my wording there. But as things stand…"

She slips her hand off of Yi-Min's to pull the heating pad up and let it rest over her shoulder, letting its weight and warmth seep down into muscles knotted up by healing and other tension. There's a slight shift in her expression, a momentary discomfort, but she shoulders it easily. "I'm content to agree, and to enjoy the moments granted to us."

It's reluctantly that she takes in a breath, begins to shake her head. "You should get some more rest… I'm right behind you."

Instead of answering with more words, Yi-Min only squeezes Kara's forearm briefly, a love-filled lull in time that also somewhat reluctantly serves as acknowledgement of her sleepiness.

It seems like a fair enough line to close the issue on, at least for now. There was incontrovertible wisdom in the approach for anyone— and certainly, for them both.

Whatever would be, would be. Let them enjoy what moments they could, before life snared them away from reach again.

"I will see you in a few hours," Yi-Min murmurs into the restfulness of the air as she slips her legs back beneath the blanket and adjusts herself there, though first she casts her gaze fully over Kara and her heating pad to ensure both are in tip-top order before she can allow herself to start drifting off again.

Kara grins wryly as Yi-Min settles back in, having expected at least some amount of fight. But these were the crucial few hours before the sun did more than just kiss the horizon, and it was a well-known fact of life that the best of sleep comes in the gentle embrace of early morning light. The shadows are banished one by one, but it's not yet blinding… just enough illumination to better confirm the physical presence of those who you care for most and rest easier for it.

The bedside lamp winks off, and she sits for some time with the warmth on her shoulder, her hand brushing Yi-Min's hair before coming to rest on her bicep. Kara has the sense to flip the pad off before she too slips back into a light doze, gladdened by the closeness of the one most dear to her.

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