She flicked the switch on the kitchen light, and Aria entered the room quietly. A hand reached for the cabinet that held the glasses, and then for the fridge - specifically the bottle of whiskey shelved on the door. Quickly and silently, she moved to the sofa at the other end of the room, and poured whiskey into the glass before setting both down on the coffee table.
Rest would've been preferable to this, but certain things seemed eager to keep her from slumber.
Aria had given hardly a thought to what had happened on the field while she'd been in the midst of battle. When she fought there was only fighting, nothing else existed - there was no time for anything else, that was how one lost - and losing was not an option.
They hadn't lost, in the end, of course. The Primeval controlled the Rift now, and Aria was proud that she and Vaylin had had some part in that victory. All the battles, all the risks - as far as the Primeval went, all of it had been worth it.
But what about Aria herself?
The Aria Vale of three years ago would've been the sworn enemy of the Aria Vale of today, would've hated everything that she stood for. On Sarnus she'd fought and she'd killed and she'd unabashedly enjoyed every second of it - off Sarnus, she served gods she had no proof of and trained under Sith Lords. She'd used to despise such people - when had she become one of them?
A heavy sigh went before a long sip of the whiskey in her glass, and she rested her elbows on her knees, mind elsewhere. Did she feel different? She supposed she did - it had been so slow a process that she'd not even truly noticed, but she did feel different. Did she feel guilty? No, not really. These days guilt never even occurred to her - and yet here she was in the middle of the night, wide awake with a drink in her hand while the rest of Maena would surely be asleep.
She made a point of never denying that she felt something, but she honestly neither liked nor understood why guilt underlined the triumph of their victory. So she'd killed people - they had deserved to die. And if they hadn't? It made no difference, none at all. Their lives weren't hers, they were of no consequence unless she let them be. There was no need even to justify herself - her life was her own, and the only thing that mattered was that she lived it as she wanted. If she wanted to kill people in the name of gods she didn't believe in, then she was the only thing in her way.
Why the guilt, then?
Perhaps it was the aftermath, what remained of the utter powerlessness that had comprised her being all those years ago - simply Aria's demons trying to get in her way. Ideally there was some way to get around that; if not, she'd simply busy herself until it faded.
The Aria Vale of three years ago would've been the sworn enemy of the Aria Vale of today - but she would've never managed to defeat her, because the Aria Vale of three years ago had been weak. That was what had changed since then; that was why she'd become who she was now.
What was a little guilt? It never mattered in the end.
Fingers clenched, and the long-empty glass between them shattered. Shards jabbed lightly at her hand and she dropped the ruined glass; she swore under her breath, but left the remains where they were and got to her feet.
She'd sleep now, and sleep well.