[P] [m] [LCSS] Sweet Words Heal Tender Wounds
(Sózalea, Aug 24, angst?)

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .
The fight left her weary and sore, but as she left the ring victorious, she couldn’t help but give Sóli a shy and excited smile. The fight had been dramatic, but it was nothing compared to her real fight with Spartacus, one that had left her truly scared for her safety and even her life. And even that was nothing compared to the abuses she’d suffered from Aani, and she wondered if these experiences had helped keep her calm and relaxed during their mock-battle. It was, after all, not real. There was no reason for her to get worked up the way she had been in these real fights.

Catching Sóli’s eye, she trotted towards her and leaned against her, feeling her heart constrict in the way that it usually did when she was near the other woman. Sólveig was as pretty as ever, red hair braided and hanging on one shoulder, with bright blue eyes watching her carefully. Her peach fur was bright and pale in the dark night, and Azalea could see her wringing her hands tightly. ”Did you enjoy the show?” She asked, holding herself back from hugging her. Instead, she leaned close to her ear. She tried not to get too close, remembering how she felt when Aani did the same to her, and not wanting to make Sólveig to feel like she had in those moments. She never wanted to make Sóli feel like that. ”Let’s go somewhere more quiet, can we? I want my injuries to be treated by my girlfriend, not an acquaintance.”

With that, she proudly lifted her arms and showed Sólveig her scratches and bumps. Nothing serious, none of these injuries would scar, and she wasn’t even in any kind of serious pain. Still, Azalea couldn’t help but want a congratulatory hug and kiss, and she could already see that Sólveig was a little stressed. It was dark, and after glancing about quickly to make sure nobody was looking in one them, Azalea reached out to grasp her hand. Giving it a couple quick squeezes of reassurance, she stared down at her expectantly.
(366) | NPCs: | Optime | Foredated to directly after the secret secret fight club fight between Azalea and Maze (both disguised as loners). For Mandi/Sólveig! <3
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

She didn't, not really. Those tangible senses that she could pick up -- the snarling and the cursing and the distinctive tang of blood -- aside, it was the tense, jittery agitation that hung in the atmosphere all around her that made the whole experience all the more harrowing. And she found very quickly that detaching herself from those feelings was much easier when it wasn't her girlfriend in the ring.

The moment Azalea's name was called, she was no use to anyone who wished for her Healer knowledge. In fact, from the moment she stepped into the ring to the moment she stepped out again, Sólveig wondered if she was even any use to herself for she scarcely remembered breathing at all and her hands sore from how tightly and often she must have been wringing them. She didn't relax until Azalea's eyes caught hers and she trotted to her side.

Sóli did not respond with words. Instead, the worry and passion in her eyes, big and bright and beaded with moisture, spoke for her.

She wanted to hug Azalea to her, but she held back for fear of hurting her. She wanted to know where her wounds were first, so as to avoid causing her undue harm, and she nodded mutely, but firmly, when she suggested that they go somewhere more quiet. She readily accepted Azalea's grasp and clenched her hand in hers tightly, as though any pressure less would surely allow her to slip between her fingers and back into the fray.

Only when they were in a quieter location, her senses removed from the fights, did Sólveig trust herself to speak.

"Oh, Azalea, it was awful!" she whimpered, her tone caught somewhere between a sob and a shout. And then she turned to face her girlfriend properly and straightened up, quick to get back into the right headspace for healing. "Now, let me see you. Where did she hurt you?" she asked, intent on thoroughly checking each of these places with a tender, gentle touch.

Once she knew the places to avoid, she crooked her arms around Azalea's neck and nestled her chin against her shoulder and hugged her close.

[WC -- 372]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
Azalea could pick up on Sólveig’s agitation almost immediately, and her smile fell off her face slowly as she realized that the other woman had been taking the fight far more seriously than Azalea herself had been. It was likely an entirely different experience being a spectator, as a participant Azalea had felt in control of the situation. She realized now that Sólveig only had to watch and wait. Though Azalea knew that she wasn’t going to be seriously injured - nobody had been, it was against the rules - Sólveig obviously couldn’t help but worry.

Leading her away to someplace quiet, Azalea hummed softly in an attempt to comfort her until she felt they were in a private space. Sólveig’s hand in her own was warm and familiar, and for a moment she wondered how it was that she’d gotten so used to holding her hand. The musing was banished by Sólveig’s words, her attention focused on more important things. Her free hand flew to Sólveig’s cheek, hesitating for a moment as she doubted herself before gently brushing against the fur along her jaw. ”I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you! I’m alright, though.”

The words spilled from her mouth in the rushed way that a child might reassure their mother that they weren’t hurt after falling from a swing. She was very concerned with making sure Sólveig was happy and knew that she was alright. So she did as she was told and lifted her arms up dutifully, baring them for evaluation. Though her touch was gentle, when she alighted upon her wounds Azalea couldn’t help but hiss or grimace. That didn’t mean it didn’t send fire through her body.

Her heart pounded as they trailed across her fur, and if she was being perfectly honest with herself, she didn’t even mind when Sóli bumped a soon-to-be bruise. Tingles followed her fingers, and occasionally sent shivers down her spine that she could barely conceal. A feeling that she couldn’t quite describe but simultaneously was intimately familiar with settled in her belly. She almost let out a sigh of relief, and perhaps some disappointment, when Sólveig’s fingers left her body.

Emboldened by her victory and amped up by Sóli’s ministrations, when the other woman reached in for a hug, Azalea pulled her in close. She had to lean down some to match Sólveig’s height, and for a second she felt like a giant, wrapping her long arms around Sólveig’s plump body. She decided she liked this feeling. Then, all of a sudden, the sensation of Sólveig’s breath against her neck was too much. Azalea kissed Sólveig’s shoulder, and then her lower neck, and then just beneath her jaw. As she did so the feelings in her stomach changed violently, and she felt like she was both falling from a high place and on fire.

But then, all of a sudden, what she’d done caught up to her, and she pulled away, locking eyes with Sólveig. Is this okay? Are you okay? Her eyes seemed to ask, anxious about the answer.
(550) | NPCs: | Optime | 0.0
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

When she felt the touch of Azalea's fingers along her jawline, the tawny wolf lifted an arm to hold her hand there. She breathed in deeply and eased her eyes shut. When she released the breath again through her nostrils and her warm blue eyes reappeared, they were clearer and more focused than before. She allowed her hand to fall away from Azalea's and nodded firmly.

"Oh, I know," she replied apologetically, starting her work of probing and examining all the spots where the other woman had been injured. Sólveig felt trapped between allowing herself to feel her worries while also allowing Azalea her freedoms, which left her teetering as though on a tightrope. "And you did a really good job fighting-" She looked swiftly up into her emerald eyes, a coy smile on her lips. "Don't think that I didn't notice, because I did! I mean, you won!"

But it was back to business just as quickly and when Azalea gave a hiss, Sóli released the pressure rapidly before touching the same spot again more gently, evaluating it closely and carrying on talking the entire time. "Oh, that's going to be a big and ouchy later," she murmured sympathetically, probing the warm swelling gingerly before moving on. "Ugh, and these cuts... Well, at least they're all small and they seem shallow enough, too. Still, I should clean them. That's never a bad idea!"

Sólveig beamed up at Azalea brightly before she stood on her tippy-toes and wrapped her neck in her arms. She felt much better after giving her a full once-over, knowing that the injuries that she had sustained were nothing serious. Painful and ugly, sure. But she truly was alright. And, under her care, the Healer intended to keep it that way.

Despite smelling of the fight, Sóli breathed Azalea in deeply when she felt the pressure of her lips against her shoulder; her neck; that vulnerable space just beneath the chin. She had her eyes shut again and shifted intuitively with the other woman's maneuvers, stiff and unpracticed though her own movements were. But she felt alive with sensations and desires that she still didn't fully understand or have names for except to know that they felt good and right and she liked them very much.

The sudden departure of Azalea's body from hers felt dramatic and cataclysmic. Despite the heat of summer, the cold immediately swooped in where Azalea had warmed her. Sólveig sucked in a sharp breath and her eyes snapped open, searching the split face of the Eternity woman while her emerald eyes searched those of the Dawnrunner's.

Once again, in lieu of words, Sólveig responded by slowly lifting up her chin and bringing her muzzle up towards Azalea's face. Yes, the action said. This is perfect. And she swept her warm, pink tongue tenderly across the other woman's lips while her fingers sought to intertwine with those of Azalea's.

[WC -- 509]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
Watching Sólveig relax again was wonderful. Azalea sometimes felt as though she could just watch Sólveig all day, just do nothing at all but watch all the different sides of her and be amazed that one wolf could be so interesting. She laughed at the medic’s comments while she was checking her body and preened at the compliments. ”You can keep complimenting me as much as you’d like.” Azalea joked, though there was a glimmer of mischief in her expression and tone, in the raised eyebrow and little smirk that decorated her features. And after they'd moved on to the examination, Azalea shook off the need to clean her wounds, whispering into Sólveig’s ear, ”Mmm. . . cleaning later. Let’s do this right now.”

The kissing felt wonderful. Azalea loved to kiss Sólveig. She loved to see how Sólveig reacted to her kisses, most of all. But every once and a while she would remember unwanted touches, and she’d recall how she’d felt in those moments, and she didn’t ever want to make Sólveig feel like that. Just remembering was a shock enough to make her pull away and look for comfort, green eyes scrutinizing, searching for evidence that Sólveig might be uncomfortable. She never found any such evidence, because Sólveig never seemed to be uncomfortable like that when they were together.

Azalea felt herself relax as she watched Sólveig’s expression change. In fact, she almost regretted pulling away, seeing how Sólveig seemed to like it so much, from how intensely she’d reacted to Azalea stopping. Then her heart began to pound a little bit harder as Sóli’s face began to tilt upwards, and Azalea flushed violently when Solveig licked her, warm tongue sliding easily across black lips. Peach-fur fingers found Azalea’s hands, and Azalea grasped them in her own enthusiastically, weaving her fingers between Sólveig’s and relishing the way a shiver went up her arms.

Sólveig’s eyes were calm and trusting and not anxious. Azalea smiled, suddenly excited once more, and she leaned down to return Sóli’s kiss with one of her own, tentatively at first but with renewed confidence when no objections were raised. Releasing Sólveig’s hands, Azalea ran her own fingers down Sólveig’s sides, thumbs reaching out to tease her belly, before settling on either side of her waist. She pulled her closer, flush against her body, and was shocked by how intensely the contact set her belly alight. "You look especially beautiful tonight Sóli." She whispered, and even though she felt a little embarrassed about complimenting Sólveig's appearance (though she didn't know why she felt embarrassed), she managed to not make a fool of herself somehow.

She wasn’t. . . good at this, objectively speaking. Her movements were a little awkward, a little stiff as she tried to figure out what felt good, and what Sólveig was comfortable with. Still, some instinct guided her as she kissed her partner, one hand pressing Sólveig’s hips against her own, the other skimming through the fur on her lower back. Her lips left Sólveig’s to nuzzle her ear, lips and teeth playing with fur gently as she breathed in a scent that was distinctly Sóli’s. She licked behind her ear, a sensitive spot that Azalea could only hope would leave Sólveig shivering. 
(584) | NPCs: | Optime | Feel free to PP Azalea as you'd like! <3
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

If her body felt alight with passion before, those sensations intensified exponentially when the two women came together again. Though tentative at first, Sólveig felt an urgency in Azalea's kiss as her confidence billowed and she matched its vigor in like. A tickle in her tummy from her girlfriend's touch, one that had nothing to do with her digestive tract, grew from under Azalea's fingers and crawled out across her skin. She sighed from her desire, and traced patterns along the small of the other woman's back before gently, gradually pulling her hips closer into her own.

Sólveig breathed a soft laugh against Azalea's cheek. "Do I?" she whispered back, innocently surprised. After an evening of fretting and helping those in need with injuries, the Dawnrunner woman couldn't imagine she looked terribly fetching, much less clean. And yet, despite the dirt and the grime and the sweat, she did still feel beautiful. Was that what it meant when you really liked someone?

Although her own movements and kisses and touches were unpracticed, Sóli found that she enjoyed this new level of learning and exploring with Azalea. Shifting her own hands from her lower back, the Dawnrunner ran her fingers lightly up her spine as her partner pulled their hips together and played with the fur at the base of her tail. But it was the feel of Azalea's warm breath and wet tongue at her ear that made her shudder. Panting softly, Sólveig clenched her fingers gently against her back.

"That feels good," she murmured, relishing the touch another moment before turning her head to send a trail of kisses and nibbles along Azalea's jawline and neck. She drew her hands away from her partner's back and trailed her fingers lengthwise along her ribs, down to her hips, over her stomach, continuing these light ministrations all the while she kissed and nibbled the fur at her neck.

[WC -- 330]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
Azalea felt in her soul that Sólveig wanted this just as much as she did. She could feel it in the way that she gripped her hips, fingers pulling at her shirt and teasing the waistline of her pants as she pulled Azalea closer. Azalea's tongue licked at her lips, gently, fiercely. Lust was settling deep into her gut, and it was strangely comfortable. When they broke for air, Azalea was breathing rather raggedly.

The moon bathed the world in a cool light, turning what used to be brightly saturated cold and pale. This held true for Sólveig as well, and Azalea couldn't help but gaze longingly at her girlfriend (which still felt very strange to say and even think), drinking her in. Her eyes, bright and magnificent blue, seemed to glow in the dark, offset by the pale cream of her fur. "Oh, yes, more than anything." And if her tone was a little husky, Azalea couldn't help it, could she? "The bright light from the full moon suits you very well."

She watched with a slightly menacing satisfaction as Sólveig shuddered in her arms. Yes. Azalea herself could hardly keep from trembling every time Sólveig would run her fingers up her spine, her breath hitching from the sensations roiling in her body. "Good." Azalea whispered into her neck, smiling broadly, and she wondered if Sólveig could tell how pleased she was just from her tone.

Then it was her turn to groan, shifting away from Sóli to give her better access to her neck and turning green eyes up towards the sky. She grasped for something, anything, to hold onto, and one hand ended up holding onto Sólveig's upper arm, the other leaning against a tree. Everything in her ground to a halt as she focused on the tongue and teeth at her neck and the hands playing with her back.

But then it was all soured as light fingers began to play with her stomach. Jarred, Azalea gasped as Aani's face came to her mind, and she began to recall moments when Aani's fingers would run through the fur of her belly. And one moment in particular, when Aani had pressed her up against a tree, one hand wrapped (oh so lightly, but oh so threateningly) around her neck, while the other danced along her belly. She blinked a few times, looking at Sólveig, trying to remember that she was with Sóli, not Aani. But it was no use, the fire was gone, and all that was left in its place was Azalea feeling slightly afraid, nervous, and confused.

Her hands reached out for Sólveig's, catching them and pulling them away. Stepping back, Azalea stared down at Sólveig, and she knew that there would be questions now, because Azalea hadn't been discreet. But she felt strange, like there was a fog in her head and she couldn't think straight, and her eyes were slightly glazed as she sank to the ground and looked away. "Sorry." She muttered, voice quiet and vulnerable.
(524) | NPCs: | Optime | Let me know if anything needs changing and feel free to PP as needed to keep things moving in your reply! ❤️
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

"Mmm," she hummed, enjoying the stimulation brought on by the sultry notes of Azalea's voice. It was provocative and she liked it. "You should talk like that more often." Her warm tongue snaked out from between her lips and brushed her partner's again.

Of the way the moonlight suited her, however, Sólveig could say the same of Azalea. Sometimes, when the pale glow hit her ivory fur just right, it almost looked energized -- like fireflies on a damp summer's night or lightning streaking the heavens. But it was in the Eternity's eyes that she could fully lose herself. There was nothing she had ever seen that could compare to the rich, vivid, lush depth of those verdant eyes.

Encouraged by her partner's moan and given broader access to her neck, the Dawnrunner licked and nibbled at this more vulnerable place, her breath hot and heavy agains there fur. She closed her eyes, giving herself over to this moment -- this one new, powerful, incredible, irresistible moment -- and relishing every sensation and every desire and every response.

Every response by that.

"Azalea?" she said quickly, her blue eyes filled with alarm and concern. "Did I hurt you?"

Because her girlfriend had gasped and the expression on her face did not look to be one of pleasure. Sólveig thought that she could see confusion trapped there. Surprise. Pain. Fear. Pain. The more she watched her, the silence replacing the sounds of pleasure, the worse her mind conjured up. When Azalea stepped back, her heart dropped into her stomach where it was squeezed and twisted with the clenching of her guts.

"Azalea..." she whispered quietly, breathless now out of a worry rather than desire. "Will you please tell me what's wrong?"

Sólveig sank down to sit with her on the ground, staying close but being respectful of her space and resisting the urge to reach out and touch her.

[WC -- 324]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
Azalea had retreated into her head, as she always did when overwhelmed like so. Where before her pain and fear and confusion had been immediate and intense, it now felt distant, and she felt very distinctly as if she were dreaming. Her body even felt far away, and slow, as if she wasn’t quite connected with it fully. Rather, she stared dead ahead at nothing in particular, and didn’t really think of anything, either. Time had been suspended, almost, and though she was vaguely aware of Sólveig settling down beside her and though she heard her ask something, she didn’t feel any particular need to answer it. It didn’t seem to matter all that much, in the grand scheme of things, not when she was so tired.

Everything came crashing back to her much too soon. Though she knew that the emotions and thoughts she’d been pushing away would return to her, could almost feel them bubbling beneath the tranquil surface, she couldn’t predict the intensity with which she’d feel them.

First, stress. It seized her physically, and she drew in a sudden, shuddering breath as her body clenched up. More and more she breathed in, until her lungs were at capacity - at which point she’d let loose a tiny exhale before repeating the same process. It clouded her thoughts, though they were still clearer than before, when she’d been all quiet. Her heart pounded so hard that it hurt and she felt her fingers and toes slowly become numb.

Second, confusion. This always seemed to be at the forefront of her mind when she thought about Aani and the time they’d spent together. She had never known how to feel about Aani, not after she’d run away from her, and not even when she’d been spending all her time with her. She couldn’t understand Aani’s motives for wanting her around, for giving her opium, for inviting her into her home. Of course, her mind jumped to conclusions, but she refused to believe them.

Third, guilt and shame. Memories of the time she’d spent with Aani came to her in flashes, shown as clear as day even with her eyes open. Somehow, for an unknown reason, she felt unreasonably guilty for these times. Her hands clenched as she bullied herself internally, telling herself repeatedly how she should have cut off all contact earlier, and how she shouldn’t have taken opium from Aani again, that she had just opened up a new line of contact and a new way for Aani to get to her.

And, of course, now she was using opium again. She’d been doing so well.

Animation returned to her features suddenly as her face distorted into an expression of anxiety and pain. She hugged her arms around her knees, curling into herself and rocking back and forth slightly in an effort to comfort. Her gaze settled onto Sólveig, not quite taking her in or listening to her, but finding comfort in the fact that she was with her. Still, she avoided making eye contact, for a reason she didn’t know or understand, except for the fact that she felt almost as if a weight were hanging from her snout that drew her gaze to the ground. The thought of conversing, of having to look her girlfriend in the eye, was overwhelming.

But slowly her breathing relaxed. She returned to the present, no longer tormented with images of the past, and was able to actually control herself - her breathing, her body, her thoughts. Exhaustion had worked its way deep into her bones and she felt heavy all over, like she could just lie down and fall asleep. Wiping at her eyes, she realized at some point she must have cried, because her cheeks were wet. Now it was all a blur, as though one moment she’d been kissing Sólveig, then something happened briefly, and now she was sitting down. Blinking heavily, she at last looked her partner in the eyes, despite the mental strain it caused.
(690) | NPCs: | Optime | Probably takes place over 5-10 minutes or so. No dialogue, but so much happening.
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Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

Although Azalea was looking right at her she may as well have been on the other side of a wide and sprawling prairie for all that her partner seemed to see her. Fear gripped Sólveig as she beseeched the Eternity woman to tell her what was wrong; to please tell her what she had done wrong, noticing how those beautiful emerald gems that she adored so much now appeared unfocused and dull.

As time passed, the Healer spent it a torment of panic, confusion, and self-reproach. Oh, if only she hadn't taken things so far so fast. With the fits that her partner suffered from, she should have been more careful. She should have communicated better with her. Should have asked for permission. She should have checked in with her more. Because the best theory that Sólveig had was that this was a new kind of fit and its manifestation was a direct result of the intensity of her passion.

If it was a new kind of fit, it was almost more terrifying than the tremors and frothing that Sólveig was already acquainted with. Almost. Maybe it was equally as terrifying, just in a different way.

"Azalea, please... Please talk to me," she pleaded again, reaching out but stopping short of touching her.

That was when movement returned to her girlfriend. Rather than responding to her, however, Azalea's face became rippled and broken into a facade of pure and horrifying agony. Sólveig sucked in a sharp intake of breath and drew back her hand quickly, resisting the urge to whine at the sight of her partner's pain; at the way she effectively closed her off by drawing in her knees and wrapping her arms around them; at the way she refused to look her in the eye; at the tears that were beading at her lids and sliding down her face.

At a loss of what else to do, Sólveig cupped either side of her face with her hands and found that she was trembling.

"Please, Azalea. Say something to me. Tell me what's wrong. Tell me what I did wrong..." she implored once more, feeling her own eyes growing mot and misty now. "Just say something to me."

[WC -- 379]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
She felt better. It was so strange, but as Azalea finished blinking away the last traces of tears from her eyes, she realized how much calmer she felt. And exhausted, she felt exhausted. Like she'd used all the energy she had, and now all she could do was curl up and fall asleep. 

Now she came to realize that Sólveig was still speaking to her, and hearing her words, Azalea felt a squirm of emotion in her chest. Guilt? Embarrassment? Shame? Perhaps all three. She let out a heavy sigh, realizing that she really didn't feel like having a conversation at the moment. All she really wanted to do was curl up some place safe and warm and sleep. 

"Just. . . um. . . Just a sec. Let me relax for a minute, then we can talk, if you want." She said, and though her tone was soft, there was no room for negotiation in her words. It was obvious that she wanted some silence. Still, her hand crept out to hold onto Sólveig's, a small link between the two of them. It served as a reminder to Azalea that all was fine. "I'm fine, Sólveig." She reassured her partner with a very small and warm, though slightly strained, smile. 

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, and with each breath she recalled more deeply where she was, and that she was safe, and that everything was alright. Her hand in Sólveig's felt like a tether to the real world, and any moment she felt herself drift back to her memories, she focused instead on the feeling of her hand in Sólveig's and the sensation of her back against the tree and the gnarled root she was sitting on. 

When she opened them again, it was with a smile. "Okay. I'm alright now. Sorry about that. Did I scare you?" She asked, noticing Sólveig's body language and remembering distantly her girlfriend's worried questions. 
(335) | NPCs: | Optime | She probably only closed her eyes to breathe and relax for a minute or so, not long. 
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

At last, after what felt somehow like an eternity longer than Azalea's first shaking fit, the woman's words chased away the persistent silence. Sólveig breathed out, the sound of it audibly ragged. She rubbed a moist eye with the heel of her palm and nodded.

It was the Dawnrunner's turn to be silent now, obeying her partner's wishes while trying to believe Azalea's insistence that she was fine. Still respecting her physical boundaries, Sóli remained where she was and told herself, over and over again, that everything was okay. But there were other thoughts pressing in from the fringes of her mind, trying to solicit her attention. Was this a result of something that Sólveig had said or done? Or had Azalea sustained an injury in the fight that she had missed? Or could this be some new task or vision from the gods?

Whatever it was, it had to be something.

The feel of Azalea's hand slipping into hers was grounding and served to pull Sóli from her thoughts. She wrapped her fingers delicately around her girlfriend's, holding her hand firmly but with gentleness. She wanted to remind Azalea that she was here, that they would weather whatever she was going through together, but that she was also prepared to give her space if she needed it.

Azalea's smile was doubly reassuring. "What happened?" she asked softly, dismissing her question with a brief shake of her head. "That didn't look like one of your fits... Was it the fight?"

She was aware of how tired her girlfriend looked, but Sólveig was a Healer and she needed to make sure Azalea was truly okay; that she hadn't missed something or that she hadn't accidentally done something wrong. Right now, she needed communication and then they could move on.

[WC -- 314]

[Image: 2QIxkIn.png]
Sólveig Dawnrunner
Wiki Gallery Shingetsu Trading Company Player

Signature pic by Angelo Rosa
Azalea hummed, glancing up at Sólveig in surprise at her question. Her fight? Ah, yes, the one with the loner. That had felt like so long ago that she'd almost forgotten. No, this was not from the fight, she knew. She didn't understand why it had happened now, of all times, but Azalea recognized these feelings, this sensation. 

It was something that had started happening a when she was a barely more than a puppy, shortly after she'd begun spending more time with Aani. Whenever she did drugs and Aani would pull her in close and play with her hair and do all the stupid things she'd do while she was high, Azalea would just. . . go away. Like she was dreaming, like what was happening wasn't actually happening. It was strange, but the sensation was both terrifying and comforting, and though Azalea somehow felt like she shouldn't feel this way, she almost missed it. 

Hesitating, Azalea bit her lip as she tried to figure out what to tell Sólveig. She couldn't tell her about the drugs, she thought, shame coursing through her. How could she leave the drugs out of the story, though? They were the glue that held them together. She wouldn't have stayed had it not been for the drugs. At least, she didn't think so. 

She sighed, and shook her head. "It wasn't a shaking fit. . . It's something else I do. It's happened before, so I'm familiar with it." Her eyes turned distant as she paused and thought. She was very familiar with this feeling. Snapping out of it, she continued. "I. . . I think I'm going to tell you something about myself that is uncomfortable, Sólveig. I've never told anyone about this, n-nobody knows but me and the woman involved." She said, voice anxious, at one point stuttering over her words. For some reason she chose not to disclose Aani's name. There wasn't any particular reason behind this, just some instinct telling her to keep this information private. Or perhaps it was just too personal.

"When I was really, really young, I met this woman. I suppose I already knew her, she was a packmate. But I actually got to know her at this point in my life. I suppose it was just before you and I met, actually." Azalea recalled, thinking back on their first meeting, on how quickly Sólveig had calmed her down and how she'd stayed with her for the rest of the day when Azalea had been too afraid to be alone. She groaned and paused, resting her head in her hands. 

"Well, she was awful. And strange. And obsessed with me. And she was manipulative, and I was too young at first to understand what was happening. But she isolated me from my family, convinced me that they didn't care for me, that she was the only one who cared for me. She even got me to move in with her, though that didn't last long before something really bad happened and I ran away." Azalea paused here, mentally preparing herself for the next part. Several times she opened her mouth only to have no sound come out. Her eyes wouldn't meet Sóli's, and instead were glued to either her hands or the ground. Finally, she managed to speak. "But she would touch me, even when I didn't want her to. Not. . . Sexually, I don't think. She never. . . Never touched my privates. But it was so strange!"

She blew air out of her nose in frustration. Now that she'd begun speaking, it was as though she couldn't stop. "She would play with my hair and run her hands all over my body and wrap her hands around my neck, sometimes squeezing a little bit to scare me! It's so confusing, I feel like I don't know what is sexual and what isn't. I feel like she messed me up, like there's something wrong with me." Azalea shuddered, recalling a specific memory and almost recoiling. "She'd lick me. In gross ways." She could almost feel her tongue on her ear and her breath on her neck, even just thinking about it. 

But then Azalea remembered that she was actually speaking to someone. Shame coursed through her again at the thought that now someone knew about this, and Azalea pressed her face into her hands once more and whispered an apology. She hadn't meant to share so much. 
(772) | NPCs: | Optime | >:D
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Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

She blinked and allowed the subtle weight of her brows to knit together into an expression of interest, concern, and dismay. If this was not a symptom of her fits, then what was it? What other malaise so afflicted Azalea that it could render her entirely catatonic? Sólveig searched her partner's face with worried, restless eyes.

Not an illness, then. Nor the work of the gods. It started with a woman.

"It's okay, Aza," she said in a voice that was stronger and braver than she felt. Her fingers gave Azalea's hand a gentle pulse. "Take your time."

Aside from soft sounds of support or pitched notes of perturbation, that was the last Sóli said for a long while as she listened to her girlfriend tell her story. Oh, how she hated the way Azalea's voice trembled and how her words got caught in her throat. The anxiety that she could hear in her voice constricted her heart and the revelation from her words pulled at her tummy, turning everything sour and bitter and rotten in her mouth.

"Oh, Azalea..." she breathed, feeling heat building up behind her pleading eyes. "There is nothing wrong with you."

Her partner refused to meet her gaze and Sólveig didn't pressure her. Instead, she rolled her thumb over the top of Azalea's hand, over and over again, reminding her that she was still here and had no intention of going away. But emotion seemed to take over the emerald-eyed Salsolan and, in a single sweeping motion, she withdrew her hand and buried her face into her palms.

Sólveig's lips parted and a tear crested the rim of her bottom eyelid, sliding down her face. She rolled the heel of her hands over her eyes, scrubbing away the tears, and cleared her throat. And then she inched herself closer to Azalea on her knees and sat on her heels in front of her partner.

"Azalea," she said, firm but gentle. Slowly, cautiously, she lifted her hands to pry Azalea's fingers from her face, searching for those verdant eyes she so adored. "Will you look at me?" She paused a moment and then repeated something she said before. "There is nothing wrong with you. Okay? Maybe there are some wounds we can't see -- deep inside us, even. Maybe she hurt you that way, and you're still healing from it." She smiled a little then. "Will you let me help?"

[WC -- 418]

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Sólveig Dawnrunner
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Her partner’s reassurance eased her fears somewhat, relaxing her tightly coiled muscles slightly. Azalea glanced at her through her fingers, searching eyes looking for something in Sólveig that only she could provide and finding it. It broke her heart, however, to see her tears. She wanted to brush them away, but held herself back and bit her lip to keep herself from brushing off her experience, unwilling to start an argument. She didn’t feel as if this was something to cry over, but she had the very distinct feeling that Sólveig would disagree. ”Sóli, no, I’m alright, see? Don’t cry.”

It felt as though her heart constricted when Sólveig came closer to her, seeing in her expression that she was taking this very seriously. What had she expected? Aani had always acted as though nobody would care about anything bad that happened in her life. Azalea must have taken this to heart, and the thought hurt. Tears welled in her eyes as she realized that, no, here was someone who did care about the bad things that had happened to her. Warmth spread through her, her heart beating a tiny bit faster and harder at this. Aani was wrong. Aani was so, so, so wrong. She had someone who loved her enough to stand by her. Her father's face flashed in her mind, and she almost immediately pushed the thought away. It was one thing to share this information with someone who didn't know Aani, who wasn't in the pack. It was entirely different to share it with someone who knew Aani, who understood her position in their pack. She closed her eyes again, fingers closing over them.

Sólveig’s fingers, so gentle and caring, guiding her hands away from her face felt warm and safe. Azalea gripped Sólveig’s hands in her own, finding her touch comforting and grounding. Her gaze was sucked into Sólveig’s eyes, which were intense and upset and caring and familiar. She really had upset her. Azalea could see it in her gaze, see it in the spots of wetness in the fur beneath her eyes. Could see it in the way she had immediately come to her aid.

Her words struck a chord within her. There wasn’t anything wrong with her. Sólveig would probably know that best, since she probably knew her best. After Aani. Aani knew the dark parts of her. She wish she could say that her family knew her best, but she’d been lying to her family for so long. . . it was distressing to say that they knew a version of her that wasn’t true.

It was only when she left the pack, left Aani, that she could abandon that mask and be herself.

Aani had rarely hurt Azalea. A few times, yes, but most of the time? Azalea left their interactions uninjured physically. Emotionally she felt strange, confused and vulnerable and dazed and at times scared. She let go of one of Sólveig’s hands to wipe away errant tears. What Sólveig said made sense, even if Azalea had never heard of these things before. She nodded thoroughly in response to Sólveig’s offer, sitting down in front of her and letting her wrap her arms around her. "Please. Please do."
(563) | NPCs: | Optime | And 4 months later, I think we can close this! Sorry for the wait! <3
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