Ampersand

by ZoneTheory twt | dsc | fics

Love is accidental, IRyS knows this better than anyone. She hadn't meant for it to happen, it was just a slip and a fall, a joke while playing a game, causing it to bloom in her chest, leaving thorns to press into her lungs every time she breathed.

It left a pain of want, of desperation, of what she tells herself she can't have because as much as she is supposed to bring hope to this world, she is incapable of seeing through the smokescreen of petals flittering past her vision, every moment spent trying to catch each one as they fly helplessly by.

Each painful step forward a struggle, but still, she walks. And, of course, it hurts, and it burns, but she isn't afraid of the fire anymore. It leads her here; standing at an airport in the middle of the night, holding a goofy sign that says 'WAIFU', a stupid joke she hopes is funny, just waiting for her love to show up.

Her heart is pounding into her throat because she knows, any second now, she'll see that nest of beautiful red hair, those gorgeous blue eyes, and that adorable tail.

For some reason, it tears at her, because she just doesn't know how far this goes. It's funny, how it cuts her in the most beautiful ways, every laugh, every tear, every tender moment, and every single fight, leaving a horrible laceration, spilling more petals to the floor. Yet she keeps coming back for more.

Because she's in love.

And she adores every colour this flower blooms in.


Bae was nervous. Bae was really fucking nervous. She probably had never been more nervous in her life. She was more nervous than the time she pushed the go-live button on her debut stream, she was more nervous than her first interview for Hololive, she was more nervous than—

“This is your captain speaking…”

She sighed and sunk deeper into her chair. Her right leg bounced manically on the ground as she began to pick at her nails, anything to distract her.

“...arriving at Tokyo Airport…”

The older woman seated next to her shot her a quick glare and she abashedly stilled her restless leg.

“...put on your seatbelts…"

She reached to her side and grabbed onto the belt, pulling it over her waist and clicking it into the slot. She moved so her elbow rested on the armrest to her side, her chin settled on her hand. She stared out at rows of people in their seats, putting away their lap trays and clicking in their belts as the captain droned on about some landing safety precaution thing or whatever.

Her thoughts were pulled away from the nothing by a series of buzzes against her thighs, emanating from the phone laying face down in her lap. She realized that they must be close enough to the ground to have cell service again. She hurriedly picked up the device to view the messages.

iwys: is that your plane?
iwys: i think i can see your plane
iwys: are you on that one
iwys: it has the blue wings
iwys: is that one you?

Bae lit up with an uncontrollable goofy smile at the dorky nephilim’s excited messages. She hovered her thumbs over the on-screen keyboard, ready to type out a silly response when she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She turned her eyes to see the source of the interruption, a flight attendant glaring down at her.

“Ehem. Phone off during landing, miss,” the attendant said curtly.

“S-sorry,” Bae mumbled awkwardly. She held down the power button and turned her phone off. The attendant walked off and she settled deeper into her seat, staring into the fluorescent lights on the cabin’s ceiling.

Her stomach churned in a ferocious cocktail of nervousness and excitement. This was it, her first time coming to Japan since joining Hololive, and it would be her opportunity to finally meet IRyS in person. Just the thought of it made her want to do somersaults in her seat.

But somehow still, even after seeing IRyS’ excited messages, doubt still lingered ever-present in her mind. Doubt that prompted her to ask herself the same questions again and again, those same questions she was too scared to ask IRyS. What were they really? Co-workers, friends, or something more?

“You alright miss?” the woman seated next to her spoke gently, dragging her out of her spiral. “You’ve been fidgeting an awful lot…”

“Y-yeah, I’m fine. Sorry to bother you.” Bae flushed, embarrassed that her anxiousness had been noticed.

“It’s alright, dear, flying can be a scary experience.”

If only that was the issue. “Aha, yeah…”

She turned her attention towards the belt strapped around her waist and decided to fiddle with it to keep her mind off of things. It was hardly an ample distraction. Her mind wandered outside of the plane, down towards the terminal, where she expected someone to be waiting for her.

IRyS…

Distracted by the labyrinth of her thoughts, she hardly noticed the plane landing, and was snapped out of it once again by the woman seated beside her letting her know it was their turn to exit the plane.

Her heart pounded as she stood up, knowing that every step forward from here would bring her just a little bit closer to IRyS and their inevitable confrontation.


She walked out into the terminal, briefly scanning the groups of people; she noticed one particularly eccentric-looking nephilim holding a large poster board over her head, coated in an excess of glitter and written on it in multiple colours was the text ‘WAIFU’.

Her heart fluttered up into her throat, and a giddy smile plastered itself onto her face against her will. Before she could think to stop herself she broke into a sprint, luggage pulled along behind her, its wheels bouncing erratically over the tile floor.

“IRyS!” Bae shouted as ran forwards.

“Bae!” IRyS called back excitedly, bouncing on the spot, “Bae!?” her tone shifted to panic as she realized Bae wasn’t slowing down.

Bae released her grip from the handle of her case and let it clatter to the ground behind her. She leaped into the air; arms outstretched towards the taller girl.

IRyS dropped the sign she was holding in a panic and held out her arms to catch the cannonball of a woman flying towards her. She stumbled backwards as they collided, barely managing to keep her footing underneath her. They wrapped each other in a clumsy embrace. Bae’s signature kettle call rang out beside IRyS’ ear, and she couldn’t help but laugh as well, despite her surprise.

IRyS released her and she dropped to the ground, landing on her feet. “Oh my god, you dumba~pple!” she poorly censored herself. “You almost knocked me over!”

Bae turned, giggling as she walked over to pick up her discarded luggage, with IRyS trailing behind.

“Sorry, I was excited to see you!” she apologized as she spun around to face IRyS, now walking backwards with arms outstretched for emphasis. “At last! BaeRyS!” A hint of red dusted her face as she said it, but she powered through her embarrassment regardless.

“BaeRyS, huh? We’ll see about that.” IRyS teased her, walking over to stand beside her as she picked up her luggage. Seeing an opportunity for mischief, she gave her a small shove with her hips.

Bae stumbled. “Oi! Watch it!”

IRyS smiled, looking down at the smaller girl who glared back at her. “Oh man, it's so weird seeing you— I mean, I knew that you were short and all, but oh my god, you're just so… small!” she exclaimed.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll have you know that great things come in small packages!” She placed a fist to her sternum and puffed out her chest valiantly.

IRyS seemed to ignore her prideful spiel. "Let me get a look at you!" The nephilim began to circle her, eyes examining her top to bottom.

Bae’s tail whipped behind her, and she could feel IRyS staring at it. She suddenly felt quite embarrassed. “Come on… you’ve seen pictures of me…” she whined.

"Yeah, but that’s nothing compared to the real thing. Damn, those jeans make your butt look good, and ooo, your tail is so cute in person, I just wanna touch it!"

"No touchy!" She spun around, moving it out of reach.

"Awww, come on!" IRyS complained.

“No!” Her eyes flicked to the ground. “At least…” she could feel heat crawling up her neck as she spoke, “Not in public…”

IRyS’ looked confused for a moment, and then her eyes went wide. “Oh my…”—She paused, tension building between them—“The flirting hits different in person…” They had both turned matching shades of crimson.

Shit, I made it awkward. “Y-yeah… s-sorry.”

“Anyway… uh, I have an Uber waiting, we should probably go before they leave without us!”

“Right! Let’s go.” She did a short jog-walk to be beside IRyS and they started walking out of the airport terminal.

They were quiet as they walked, both still recovering from that embarrassing moment. Bae was trying to think normal thoughts, but every time she felt like she had her head straight she would catch an intoxicating whiff of what seemed to be remnants of IRyS’ floral shampoo, and she would spiral all over again.

She was in love. She was stupidly in love. It’s actually infuriating how in love she was with this adorkable nephilim. Tension, thoughts, and her heart’s erratic racing, it all joined together and ran through her body like electricity.

It came as a shock when the current was grounded by fingers brushing against hers, ever so gently, teasing her, testing the limits. It could almost be considered accidental, but maybe, just maybe, IRyS was throwing her a bone.

And she bit.

Bae reached over and found those fingers. Feeling brave, she wrapped her palm inwards into holding the nephilim’s slender hand. She looked to the side, mismatched eyes stared wide back into her own.

“This feels right, doesn’t it?” Bae asked with a smile.

She isn’t stopping me. Why isn’t she stopping me?

“Y-yeah… yeah it does.” IRyS looked away embarrassed, but squeezed her hand back.

And like that, they continued to walk quietly, out of the airport and into the crisp night air.

That worked. How did that work? I am holding IRyS’ hand. IRyS’ hand is in my hand. My hand is sweaty. She can feel how sweaty my hand is. She is probably thinking about how sweaty my hand is. It’s like a skin slip n’ slide. Oh my god, she smells good. I want to smell her. I want to press my face into her and inhale her scent. I want to—

The hand let go of hers. Bae realized they were approaching a white car idling outside the airport. IRyS ran forward and opened the side door like the most beautiful valet. It seemed comical for this supermodel of a woman to be opening the door for her, someone so comparatively simple.

“For you, Ms. Hakos,” she said in a deep voice.

“It’s ‘Mrs. Hakos,’ actually.”

IRyS bowed deeply in a mock apology. “Ah, my mistake, Mrs. Hakos.”

Bae stepped forward and slipped into the back of the Uber, sliding across to the other window seat, she put her luggage on the middle seat, allowing IRyS to have room to slot in on the remaining opposite seat. The nephilim climbed in after her, shutting the door behind her. She picked up the luggage and maneuvered it and herself around so that she was in the middle seat, sitting directly next to Bae, with the luggage now off to her other side.

“Umm… a little close, aren’t we?”

“Oh, um, is it bothering you? I can move…” The nephilim pouted at her.

I just can’t resist her. “No, no, it’s fine, just unexpected.” She turned her attention toward the driver for a moment. “We’re ready to go now,” she said in Japanese.

The driver acknowledged her request and began driving them toward their destination.

“So,”—the nephilim’s shoulder pressed into her own, much closer than she needed to be—“we're up to hand-holding already?" IRyS fluttered her eyelashes innocently as she asked.

“W-well… I just… I thought that… there’s nothing wrong with friends— close friends holding hands, ya know. And us… we’re close, right? And, and, you didn’t seem to mind…” Bae sputtered out.

IRyS leaned her head on Bae’s shoulder, tilting her head at an angle to prevent the sharp horns on her head from sinking into Bae’s jugular. “Hmmm, yeah. We’re close.”

Bae audibly gulped nervously as her heart rate spiked upwards. She turned her head to look at the nephilim resting on her. “Yeah…”

“Hey, Bae, thanks for coming to Japan. I’m really happy we finally get to be… this.”

This. This!? What is this? She wanted to look IRyS in the eyes, to search that mismatched gaze for an answer to the question she was too afraid to ask, but the positioning of her horns forced her to angle her sightline away from Bae’s.

She instead decided to turn her gaze away and look out the window, watching the smearing lights of passing buildings and cars. “O-of course, you know I’ve wanted to come and visit you for so long. I should be the one thanking you for letting me stay at your place and everything!” Bae said nervously.

IRyS sighed contently but otherwise didn't respond.

Bae kept looking out the window, focusing on trying to calm her own racing pulse, desperately hoping that the angelic girl pressed against her hadn’t noticed it. She needed to settle herself, so she did some simple calming exercises she had learned; while controlling her breathing, she cast her attention out around her, using her senses to feel out the space, trying to capture all the little details.

The hum of the engine, the sounds of cars passing, the air-con whirring, and then IRyS. She analyzed her not as a source of infatuation, but just as another piece of the scene.

Bae focused in on her, breaths flowed in and out at that steady but still somewhat uneasy rhythm of a person trying to calm themselves down, much like she was trying to do now herself. Against her own body where they touched, she could faintly feel the nephilim’s heartbeat racing fast enough to match her own. IRyS in this moment was just as nervous as she was.

I don’t think either of us know quite where this begins and ends. She smiled a knowing smile to her reflection. She raised her arm up over IRyS and brought it down to rest on her shoulder, lightly pulling her just the tiniest bit closer.

“Ah.” A surprised noise escaped IRyS’ mouth.

Hey, relax.” Bae spoke in that deep way she knew IRyS found titillating.

The nephilim tensed up against her. “I’m… relaxed…”

Mhmm, are you?

“Very, very relaxed, okay…?” IRyS squirmed against her.

You don’t seem too relaxed, fidgeting like that…” She rubbed a slow circle on IRyS’ shoulder with her thumb.

“Come onnnn, Bae. You know I'm weak to you speaking like that!”

"Oh? Would you like me to talk like this more often?” Bae turned her head towards IRyS’ ear to whisper, “Would that make you feel good?

IRyS shuddered against her and an almost feral noise escaped her throat. "Yup, uh-huh, okay. You win this round, I can't." She moved away from Bae, sliding out from under her arm.

Bae couldn’t keep up the act anymore, she burst into a high-pitched laugh; she looked to see that IRyS was the reddest she had ever seen.

“Alright, alright, I’ll stop.”

“Is this what I’m going to have to deal with the entire time we’re together?”

“Yup.”

“Great…”


Bae watched IRyS fumble with her purse and pull out her keys, she pressed them into the slot in the door and together they pressed inside.

“I present to thee, castle del hopium!” IRyS made a wide gesture with her arms as she let the rat girl into her apartment. She flicked on the light switch as she passed it, flooding the previously dark room with light.

Bae squinted looking around the room as her eyes adjusted, she wasn’t sure what she really expected to see coming in here. It was simple, mostly undecorated, but she did spot a few key things that felt distinctly IRyS.

“It’s nice, bit small, but I suppose you don’t really need all that much space.”

“You’re a bit small.” IRyS retorted as she peeled off her jacket. Bae found it impossible not to stare as she did, paying extra attention to exactly how her shirt hugged her body. It was a feast for the eyes. IRyS turned and slung the removed article onto a nearby coat rack. She turned back towards Bae. “Gimme your coat, I’ll hang it up.”

Bae blinked back at her, brain still stuck in heaven, before eventually managing to drag herself back down to the mortal realm. “Oh, yeah, right.” She unzipped it and she could sense their roles reversing, feeling the nephilims multi-coloured eyes fixated on her body, burning into her.

Now, Bae knew she looked good, it was something she prided herself in, but being watched so intently by the girl she was in love with was a mind-flooding experience.

“H-here.” She extended her arm, jacket in hand, toward IRyS. For some reason, despite the rest of the clothing she was still wearing, she felt naked, seen. IRyS waited, taking just a little too long to tear her eyes away from the small rat's body, before taking the offered item and placing it on the rack beside her own.

“Well, Bae… now that we’re here…” IRyS started, inching closer towards her.

“What is it?” Bae shuffled in place nervously.

A mischievous glint flashed in her eye. “You’re gonna let me touch your tail now, right?”

“What!? No!” Her tail whipped out from behind her and she clutched it protectively in her hands. She took a frightened step backwards, but IRyS was still advancing; she held her hands forward and wiggled her fingers menacingly.

“I’m going to force you to let me touch your tail!”

The sudden mood shift that IRyS caused stunned her, just moments before they were filling the room with enough sexual tension to smoke out the place, yet now that same nephilim that filled her mind with impure thoughts was coming towards her like a demon out of hell, with the insane goal of touching her tail.

IRyS, with a burst of speed, jolted forwards at Bae, her hands reached down to her sides and she pressed her fingers into them, tickling her. Bae squealed in response; her legs dropped out from under her, causing IRyS to lose her grip. She seized the opening presented and scrambled away from the crazed nephilim, who quickly began to pursue her.

She felt a grasping, flailing hand graze along her tail, sending a jolt up her spine, but it didn’t manage to hold and she slipped away. Desperately looking for a defensible position, she ran over to IRyS’ couch; hurriedly, she climbed onto it and grabbed a throw pillow as a shield; she stood, just a bit higher than the taller girl, who followed close behind.

“Stay back! I’m warning you! I’ve been involved in multiple confirmed pillow fights!” Bae shouted.

A bastardly gleam appeared in IRyS’ eye. “Too bad for you, I don’t fight fair!” She lunged downwards, grabbing her foot, and pulling it, causing the short girl to lose her balance. Bae toppled down onto her back, landing in a position laying on the couch.

IRyS was quick, scrambling over her to pin her down. Bae was stuck, unable to move her body with the other girl sitting on top of her hips. She looked up fearfully and saw only a demon wearing a shit-eating-grin staring back at her. Wasting no time in her new position of power she set to work, pressing her lithe fingers back into Bae’s sides, tickling her aggressively.

Bae's hands moved instinctively to try to push the woman and her infuriating hands away, but she could barely focus as she laughed and writhed uncontrollably. IRyS’ fingers moved over her skin, one positioned to tease her stomach while the other went to tickle the side of her neck. Her body spasmed and she gasped for air as a result of the onslaught.

IRyS moved closer, leaning over her. “Surrender!”

Bae wanted to continue fighting, to try and endure the tickling assault just a little longer, but her body was too weak and she desperately needed a full breath of air.

“IRyS!” she screamed desperately, her entire body heaving, “I surrender, I surrender, please stop!”

The nephilim stilled her fingers. Bae looked up at her, eyes glassy from the tears that built up from laughing. IRyS’ entire face was crimson and her breaths were deep and heavy; she had a look in her eye, a different look, almost… lustful.

“Bae…” she whispered, leaning even closer.

Bae’s head was swirling, and her chest was still heaving desperately to capture her lost breaths. “I-IRyS…?” Bae’s voice came out small.

“You’re so pretty… so fucking pretty. T-tell me, Bae, Is your heartbeat as fast as mine right now?” She moved a hand over top of Bae’s heart, she could already feel the answer.

“Yeah…” Her voice even quieter, she could barely hear herself over the sound of blood rushing in her ears and her heart hammering away in her chest.

IRyS leaned closer still, both of their breaths hot on each other's face. “Do you want this as badly as I do?… I want you, Bae… I… I want you so bad…” Her hands moved onto Bae’s arms, tightly gripping her wrists, pinning them over her head.

“I want you,” she squeaked.

Those eyes met hers and she swam miles in them. Her lips began to close in, and she wanted for it. Bae was swimming, sinking, falling, fading, deeper and darker, drowning in those multi-coloured eyes. And when those soft lips finally met hers, she was lifted, rising, breaking the surface, crashing into the light.

Bae felt her eyes flutter closed, completely lost in the blissful moment. “IRyS…” she exhaled against the other girl's lips.

Hands slid up her wrists and into her palms. Fingers wrapped around her fingers. IRyS sighed gently against her mouth, she tilted her head slightly, allowing them to connect deeper.

After several long moments with their lips pressed together, IRyS pulled back, ending their impassioned kiss, at the same time freeing the smaller girl's arms.

Bae’s eyes opened, and she saw watery eyes staring back into her own, trails of tears flowing down IRyS’ face.

IRyS’ floodgate broke and the emotions poured out of her, it left her repeating one truth, over and over. “I love you… I love you… I love—” Bae quickly leaned up and stole another short kiss from her. “—you… I—” and another “—love—” and another “—you…”

Then Bae silenced her completely, grabbing the back of her head and trapping her in a long confirming kiss. IRyS relaxed into it and stilled.

“I love you too, dummy,” Bae said as she pulled back, smiling the happiest smile she ever had. She moved her hand off the back of IRyS’ head and ran a thumb over the wet lines on her face, wiping them away.

“I don’t know why I’m crying.” IRyS choked out a half-laugh half-sob. “I’m so happy, Bae.”

“I am too. I think… I think we waited too long for this, didn’t we?”

The nephilim smiled down at her. “Yeah… I think we did…”

“I’ve been in love with you for a long time, IRyS, but I was too afraid to say anything…”

“Me too…”

“And, and, and, now you just kissed me, and, oh my god, you kissed me, I kissed IRyS…” Bae’s eyes started to widen as the reality of the situation started to set in.

IRyS leaned down and lightly kissed her once more. “Hey…”

“Hey…”

“I really like kissing you.”

“You’re really good at it. Wanna do it some more?”

IRyS didn’t need to answer with words, she immediately sunk back down and mashed their lips together, they were rougher, more desperate, more impassioned.

Bae felt emboldened by the desire blooming inside of her, she pressed forward with her tongue, lightly parting her lips and pressing them against her partners.

IRyS opened her lips invitingly with a soft, “Ahn~” The wet appendage slipped through and into her mouth, exploring every part of it. They both sighed pleasurably. The nephilim dared to press further, she ran her hands over Bae’s toned stomach; she felt the muscles underneath flex and become taut under her teasing fingers. Slowly, she inched them upwards, higher and higher, slipping under Bae’s crop top until her fingertips grazed her bra.

Bae inhaled sharply, she withdrew her tongue back into her mouth hurriedly. IRyS took that as a signal to pull back and withdraw her hands out from under her top.

“Is something wrong?” IRyS asked, concerned.

“I-I’m sorry, it’s just… I’m not ready… to go that far yet.”

“Oh, Bae, it’s alright, I’m sorry I kinda got lost in the heat of the moment. I should've asked.”

“It’s alright. C’mere.” Bae reached her arms up and pulled the nephilim down into a gentle embrace. IRyS nuzzled her face into her rat’s neck, and sighed contently. They sat together like that for a minute, letting the tension cool off of them.

“I wish we could stay like this forever… but…” Bae started.

“But…?” IRyS prompted, concern filling her voice.

“...you’re kinda crushing my hips right now.”

“Oh!” IRyS exclaimed, sitting up, “Sorry!” She moved off of the small girl and helped her up into a sitting position.

“So, IRyS… things are kinda changed now, huh?”

The nephilim brought her hand up and rubbed the back of her head. “Yeah…”

“I think I’m just gonna be a brave rat and ask it: IRyS, would you like to be my girlfriend?”

A massive smile spread across IRyS’ face, she turned and threw her arms around Bae, pulling her into a hug. “It’s a bit of a downgrade from being your wife, but I’ll take it…”

“Hush, you.” Bae turned and pecked a kiss onto her cheek.

“When are we gonna tell the others?” IRyS pulled back, “and what about our fans, are we going to let them know?”

“Mmmm, I dunno, and I don’t really care. Right now, I just want us”—Bae moved her hand over top of IRyS’—“I like us.”

The nephilim looked down at that small hand on hers; then up at those fiery eyes looking into her own. “Yeah… you’re right, just ‘us’ is good for now.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t make the leap sooner.” Bae looked away abashedly. “All those late night calls together, those discord dates… You gave me so many chances to say something, to confess to you.” She looked back into those mismatched eyes. “Fuck, IRyS I love you so much, my heart feels so tight, like it’s going to burst I can barely keep it contained anymore, I wanna cry, I wanna jump, I wanna scream. I got you… I can’t believe I got you… You’re so beautiful, you’re so perfect.”

“It’s okay… I wasn’t brave enough either; I’m just glad that we’re together now. I’m yours and only yours, and you’re mine, only mine.”

“Thank you… I— I love you, I keep saying it, but I really do. I don’t know how to express these emotions at all. I love you.”

IRyS smiled. “I can think of a way…”

“How?”

“Kiss me some more.”

Bae smiled back at her. “I think I can do that.”

She leaned in again, and IRyS matched her. Their lips met and fireworks erupted between them like it was the first time all over again.


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And read the rest of my works on baerys.com

Edit
Pub: 20 Jul 2022 01:44 UTC
Edit: 11 Jul 2023 16:03 UTC
Views: 89