1963-12-06 - Night Owls and Revelations
Summary: A knock past midnight brings Rosemarie to the door and Illy into her life.
Related: Falling in Flight Lessons
Theme Song: None
rosemarie illyana 

NOTE: There is kissing. You were warned.


A knock at Rosemarie's door at nearly midnight. It's late — late enough that no one should be knocking unexpectedly. Even expectedly. The door's peep reveals Illyana standing opposite the threshhold, looking small and unsure of herself even in the fisheye lens.

When the door opens, Illy's eyes lock with Rosemarie's — and there's a sudden race to silence between them. At the moment Rosemarie prepares to speak, Illyana opens her mouth.

"Rosemarie, I like you," she blurts out, unexpectedly and hurriedly. "I really like you. You're pretty and smart and I want to spend time with you. Romantically," she says, her voice a bit crackly, as if laden with stress. "And I have spent days trying to figure out how to say this to you, and — and — " she swallows, struggling to find the words to the question she desperately wants to ask.


The knock wakes up Rosemarie with its curt sound and she sits up with a gasp. Blinking blearily and pulling a tendril of bed-hair from her mouth, she squints at the clock before uttering a groan of resentment.

"Who in their right mind is knocking at midnight?" she grumbles, even as she wraps a shin-length terry robe in purple around herself. Shuffling over to the door, she squints at the peephole and suddenly endeavors to be much more awake than she really is. With a gulp, she unlocks the chain as well as deadbolt and opens the door to see Illyana proper standing there, looking like she's a second away from scarpering.

The silence lengthens as she unconsciously bars the door and then — the revelation that leaves her agape and clutching at her robe with one hand while the other one keeps her standing. Romantically?!

The blonde Russian's struggle should not be left in the hallway, even if Rosemarie is thirty seconds from busting out in wings and feather tufts.

"Illy, Illy, come inside," she says quickly, grabbing at one of the delicate wrists and dragging her friend through the door. Once she closes it, the brunette leans her forehead against the cool wood briefly before turning around, arms folded and hands tucked away. "I-I'm sorry, but…can you…repeat that?"


Illyana moves inside, hugging her stomach and looking as uncertain as she's ever expressed around Rosemarie.

She takes a few steps and turns to face Rosemarie, face falling at Rose's guarded and clearly shocked expression.

"Been talking to friends for days," Illyana admits, emotional exhaustion and tension battling inside her. "All say, should be honest, should take first step, should just ask. Was too …. afraid," she admits. "Afraid maybe you not like me, or perhaps would not be interested, or… I don't know," she says.

"I did… I didn't mean for it to go so far, before we… kissed," she says, flushing visibly. "And then I panicked and ran. And I realize… wrong thing to do. Wrong for you and for me — did not want you to think I was … mad at you."


The blaring lack of confidence in Illyana is startling to her and it takes Rosemarie a moment to realize that it's taking courage on a whole new level for the blonde to even speak aloud. She rolls her lips inwards as she listens, cinnamon-brown gaze not resting upon her friend, but aside, more towards the delicate ankles that seem stark against the dark floor.

She closes her eyes and itches thoughtlessly at her elbow through the thick terry robe before looking up at Illyana once more. "I admit that I was shocked, yes. I wasn't…I wasn't entirely sure that you meant it or it was an accident." She seems to get smaller still within the confines of her robe, scratching more deeply now at stress-prickles. "I didn't think you were mad, no, just…scared, maybe. I haven't been able to tell if you were meaning to do everything on purpose." She curls her toes into the carpet. "The flying lessons, the hand on my knee, the…the cheek kisses. I mean, European women greet each other like that all the time. Were those more than that? Just a greeting?"

Now it's the brunette's turn to look quietly stricken, ashamed that she was misinterpreting everything.


Illyana steps closer to Rosemarie by shuffling step, looking up at her, fingers clutching at the front of the Russian's plain, even severe grey dress. She looks up at Rosemarie's face, and somehow, manages to find some steel in her spine, as if Rosemarie's distress triggers some desire in Illyana to protect — even help — her.

"Not European, Rosemarie," Illyana reminds the woman, her tones quiet. "I am Limbo. Russia is just… child's memory." She reaches up slowly — falteringly — and then touches Rosemarie's jaw, with two fingertips. "I don't know what am doing most of the time," Illyana admits. "I eat when I am hungry. I sleep when tired. People say, go to school, so I learn when I am confused."

"Something about you made me want to be spending time with. So— I spend time with. And when you touched me, my heart, my belly — " he other hand flutters on her navel, demonstrating what she can't find the words for.


Another blush, brought on by misidentifying Illyana's origins and also by the light touch that draws along her face. It makes her scalp tingle and grip on the terry robe tighten. It's impossible to look away from those sad blue eyes. All she wants to do is enfold the smaller woman in a hug and never let go. Soothe away all the unfairness. To admit to near-constant confusion as if it's a normal thing? That causes pity to well up within her heart.

At the admission, she is able to drop her gaze to the trembling hand at Illyana's lower torso and wow. Now that is a blush as well as little gasp and full-body tremble of utter surprise.

Her mouth opens and closes a few times before she whispers, "…really, Illy? Me?" Never has anyone, ever in her life, named her as a reason for such a frisson.


"You. Da, you," Illyana says. She seems frozen on a precipice of indecision, unsure if she should advance, unable or unwilling to retreat. Fingers remain gently poised against Rosemarie's jaw, not quite moving.

"Please — Rose, do not — I do not know of these things," she says, almost pleading. "I feel light when seeing your face, heavy when you are gone. Is — do you not feel anything for me?" she asks, searching Rosemarie's face. "Should I go?"


Rosemarie chews briefly at the little scar on her upper lip before uttering a shivery sigh. Behind her ears, the arcs of feathers emerge with silent presence.

"No, don't go," she finally whispers, even if it might be the second bravest thing she'll admit tonight. Needing Illyana here. "I do — I do feel for you, Illy. I do. I just…it's been…" She peters off as she goes suddenly rather glassy-eyed. Her shoulders slump even as she leans into the tentative touch, even going so far as to reach up and trap the small hand against her cheek. "It's been so long since I've felt anything for anyone." There are tears within her voice. "I wasn't sure if I was projecting. Not projecting, maybe…fooling myself with it all."


Illyana hugs Rosemarie when the woman slumps, resting her temple against Rosemarie's, and holds her with that one arm, the other palm pressing fully against her cheek. And she just… holds her. For a long, long moment, standing on the balls of her feet until her calves ache with the effort. To give Rosemarie something real and tangible, something to support and reassure her.

And to hide Illyana's eyes, which rapidly grow damp with tears of relief when Rosemarie admits she feels much the same way.

Finally, Illy's legs give out and she eases down to her heels, pressing her cheek to Rosemarie's. She leans back a half an inch, still a little tremulously, and kisses the feathery librarian's lips — once, quite gently, but very deliberately. But just once, before sitting back just far enough for her wide, dark blue eyes to search Rosemarie's face.


Her heart is beating a million miles an hour at this point. It's a miracle that the wings haven't shown up yet, though the sleeves of her robe most definitely contain the feathering at her elbows. Her eyes, hidden away behind moisture-lined lashes, are most definitely towards the color of a good whiskey. The presence of Illyana in this moment is so very precious and she trembles inside.

The shifting of the blonde makes her blink a few times and try to steady her breathing. She will not cry in front of her, not right now. She must be brave.

Then…the kiss. Softest velvet, warm and dry, pressed to her lips and she grows somewhat lightheaded despite her hands that have a firm grip around the Russian's elbows — when did that happen? This close to the woman, she realizes that the scent haunting her, in those moments alone reading a book on the couch, when a sniff betrays her wandering attention and she looks around the room in minor confusion, is petrichor — that luscious smell released by deep earth before a thunderstorm. That and ozone, byproduct of lightning, and sun-warmed loam, the breath released from the forest floor in autumn.

Another full-body shiver at this sudden leap in connection and her mouth tremble in wordless indecision. Illyana smells elementally mouthwatering.

"I-I-I'm not sure I really remember how to be in a relationship, Illy, sorry. Sh-should we…go on a date first or…have dinner?"


"I — I was hoping you would know," Illyana admits, a bit embarassed. She leans back then, uncertainty in her eyes as the kiss is visibly welcomed but not returned. Puzzlement flashes in her dark blue eyes for a moment, pupils large and dark and unsure as the kiss is welcomed, but not returned.

"I don't know what I want or how … is done. Do not… Rose," Illyana says, a bit frustrated. "Have been living in Limbo for all my life. Only known five people — ever — until the last few months. Now, all these people, and know nothing about being around people."

Her voice drops to a quiet, firm tone. "Only know that I want to be with you."


"I can help you, with all that," Rosemarie replies in a distracted manner in regards to the being around people. Her grip on Illyana's elbows never ceases, remaining firm as if the Russian is both lifeline and necessity in this moment. "I'll just…I'll remember, don't worry, it'll…take me a bit, that's all," she adds, swallowing against dry-mouth.

She can nearly see herself reflected in the dark centers of those true-blue eyes and she licks her lips unconsciously, as if to re-experience the fleeting kiss. "I…I want to be with you too, Illy. I hope I'm not…that you aren't…" A gulp and shiver that makes her fingers clench a little tighter on those leanly-muscled arms.

Fortune favors the bold?

Like a stooping falcon, she leans in and presses a kiss to those lips bowed in quiet confusion. Jesus, she does taste like cool petrichor and heated autumn leaves and something else entirely her own. The pressure is insistent, abruptly out of character for the mousy brunette, and she lingers until the need to inhale pulls her away. "Sorry…?" she whispers, looking rather stricken at the whole thing.


Illyana's mettle, resolve, fear— it all melts away when Rosemarie kisses her. The lean, lithe Russian sorceress, Queen of Limbo, and (unbeknownst to her) walking bundle of world-ending cosmic energy, positively swoons. Startled stiffness melts away and she almost goes limp in Rosemarie's arms, then throws her forearms around Rose's shoulders and hugs her close enthusiastically, returning the kiss with wild enthusiasm. She stands on the ball of one foot, her heel escaping the slip-on shoes, and her other foot lifts up off the carpet in toe curling abandon.

"Wwwwhooo…" Illyana gasps for air when Rosemarie breaks the kiss, eyes large, glazed, and pupils big as obsidian marbles. "Sorry for what?" she asks, breathlessly.


She had not expected the kiss to be returned with that quite that much abandon and it leaves Rosemarie speechless even after her breathless apology. It takes her a few moments more to come up with an answer, especially with how Illyana hangs from her and keeps completely derailing her track of thought every time she even breathes.

"Sorry…for…doing that?"

It doesn't even make sense to the women speaking the words. It is past midnight, she was abruptly awakened, and now a friendship with the sapphire-eyed blonde has been turned atop its head all because she admitted to her deepest secret. It makes more sense to have her hands rest on the thin hips, so there they go, lightly, afraid to do more than mostly hover.



Illyana doesn't wait for the answer — she hauls Rosemarie down to kiss her again, figuring that a better solution in lieu of some explanation that's largely irrelevant to the conversation at hand. Illyana's also much stronger than she looks, even on Earth, and Rosemarie's confessed desire sparks an enthusiasm that barrels through Illy's uncertainty and knocks it flying aside.

Illyana pushes Rosemarie back against the door behind her and leans full against the woman, belly to belly, trying to get as close as possible to her.

After a long, long moment of lips pressed firmly together, Illyana breaks, lips dry and eyes thoroughly glazed. "I… I… cannot … " she giggles, abruptly, ears and cheeks pink as a tomato. "I cannot even speak!" she exclaims, amused by her lack of cognizance. "I like kissing you!"


Rosemarie blinks. "Be — "

So much for an answer! With a muffled gasp against those rather courageous lips and a backwards stumble or two plus a sharp exhalation of wind semi-knocked from her, she's left to be well-and-truly pinned to the inside of the front door by a woman who should not be that strong!

The brunette could admit to being mildly dizzy when all is said and done and she finally gets to breathe, though whether from lack of oxygen or rushing blood, she probably can't tell. Her blink is a bit more owlish this time, incredibly appropriate given how a few of her crest feathers stick out haphazardly from her hair smushed against the wood.

"Me too, Illy," she finally replies. Then, shaking her head once, she laughs in embarrassment, turning about as red as the Russian. "Oh, no, I mean, kissing you, but…hold on, slow down," she urges, realizing just how pinned she is. "We don't — we don't have to rush this."


"…rush?" Illyana looks confused at this term, but relaxes her grip just a little when she senses Rosemarie's sense of propriety gathering a bit of indignant internal authority. "How do you mean? Oh!" She blinks, stepping back six inches. "Am sorry I pushed you," she apologizes. "Will try to be more careful in future," she assures Rosemarie, hands sliding off of Rose's shoulders and gripping her forearms in her wiry, slender fingers.

"I — but — is good, da? You enjoyed?" she asks, a bit of hesitation returning to her sharp features as she searches Rosemarie's face.


"Oh god, yes," Rosemarie breathes, a glitter entering her eyes that has nothing to do with tears. Her hands return the blonde's grip in a motion of solidarity with gentle pressure. "Very much so. But yes, rush. Uh…"

Good job there, librarian. Finish that thought, go on.

"Sometimes people agree to be romantically interested in each other without getting to know each other very well first. It doesn't make for a good relationship, when it's all about kissing and nothing else. We're doing a good job, don't worry!" She adds, in case of growing concern. "We've gone ice skating and we do the flying lessons. Those are wonderful things, Illy. This — the kissing is…even better," the brunette admits with an almost breathless sense of heat. It casts her in a different light now, one nearing mischief.

"You're so strong though. How?" She won't admit aloud that gives her prickles up her spine to think about, being pushed to the wood, not just yet.


"Er… so we are doing right thing, then, da?" Illyana asks Rosemarie. She searches the woman's face, then nods. "And the kissing is… yes, very better," she agrees, sighing languorously at the wash of endorphins still sending goose pimples across her skin under Rose's fingers.

"I would not have kissed you if not wanted to spend time with you," Illyana tells Rose, still trying to understand her. "So… if worried I am not going to be your friend still, then that is not for worrying." She pops up and kisses the corner of Rosemarie's mouth, more reassuringly than in an attempt to fan the flames again.

"I… don't know? Limbo is dangerous place. Must fight, be strong, be fast. I suppose a dangerous place makes strong people?" She curls one arm and tries to flex like the fellows at the gym do, a hard line of bicep popping on her bare left arm.


The brunette eyes that musculature with noticeable interest. "I guess so," she murmurs, feeling decidedly the less-fit of the two of them. Rosemarie did haul heavy books about, but Illyana made it sound like she grew up catching tigers by the tail…or whatever creatures existed in that odd dimension of Limbo.

"We're doing the right thing though, yes," she agrees, feeling the residual tingle of that last kiss beside her smile line. "I'm not worried, no, I'm not. I figured…you'd want to remain friends still." She rolls her lips for a moment and suddenly grows shy once more, averting her whiskey-gold eyes off to the side. "Can…can we keep it secret? For now?" Despite being taller, she appears to look at Illyana through her lashes. "I mean, you can tell your mentor, if you need to, but I want…to keep you to myself."


"Secret." Illyana's beaming expression falters just a little, but she nods immediately. "Da— secret. Will… will not tell people. Might— would be okay to talk about it, generally speaking?" she asks, hesitantly. "Without saying 'Rosemarie', but— I have friend who would like to know things work out. You do not know her," she assures Rosemarie. "I promised to tell her if things went well and things went very well, da?"

Finding one of her hands resting on Rosemarie's hip, she steps forward and kisses her again, firmly but not nearly as lasciviously as she had at first. "Thank you, Rosemarie. I'll— I'll go home so you can sleep."


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