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Private Tension

Sylvia had the momentum. All she had to do now was keep her opponent under pressure and he'd leave an opening eventually. A swing towards her right rib, a clash of two sabers, a turn and a hop to the left, a change-up in her movement to catch him off-guard, which then would leave the opening she was looking for. Just a small and subtle Force Push to affect his balance, then kick his leg out from underneath him. He'd be on his back, and she'd be awarded the win. Three moves ahead, she was far ahead of him. Finally Sylvia had the chance to pull a string of victories together. All the woman had to do now was not let the pressure get to her and close it out.

Except, that was not how it ended. He sufficiently reacted to her hop and the Force Push did not do nearly enough to get him off-balance. Sylvia had overcommitted and moments later it was herself she found with her back on the mat, tip of a humming red beam of light aiming at her head before it retracted into the hilt. Her opponent gloated in his win as he high-fived his friends who had watched on, leaving Sylvia to lie there.

"Better luck next time, rat," she was told before the group departed. With a highly frustrated grumble Sylvia picked up her lightsaber hilt from the mat, sat herself up and got to her feet. Her agitation spiked just a little again while she struggled to clip the hilt back to her belt, if only for a few seconds.

She knew she was better than this. Countless hours of practice had made her faster, more precise and sharpened her reflexes, but still it wasn't enough to build consistency. Some duels were hers from start to finish, while others were foolishly blundered away for no proper reason. If she were honest to herself, losses like this had begun to get to her. Everytime it happened, the shadow of doubt grew just a little longer and made her question if she really was as good as she thought she was.


"Oh, hey Ellie."

During the sparring match Elle had joined the small crowd around it, though Sylvia only noticed her presence now. Swallowing down her frustration in a vain attempt to hide it, she walked off the mat to join up with the blonde. "I suppose you saw that."
 
ELLEgant
Character
Make It Up To You

Anxious green eyes peered in from the hall that led to the sparring arena, suddenly captivated by an earnest Sylvia on the mat. A short sigh of relief escaped from her pale lips as she slipped into the room while a small crowd began to gather around the ring. They'd talked over the match the night before but Elle hadn't been able to commit to showing up to watch, Sith overseers had wanted her for an evaluation and they'd given her a window of time that would have covered her fight. Sylvia, of course, had tried to play it off like it wasn't important, though she'd had her own doubts on that. "It doesn't matter if it isn't important, Sylv, I still want to be there." She had said, though in retrospect maybe it had been better if she would have just kept her mouth shut.

Elle had seen as many matches that Sylvia had been in as she physically could have, it was her way to show support. Like Sylv, Ellie was just a temple novice, but even still there was always a point in a fight where she could see something different about her, about Sylvia, and, while she couldn't put a finger on what it was just yet, it was always something that caused her to slip up. She'd brought it up once, quite possibly the worst mistake she'd ever made - she'd gotten an earful, angry glares, and then a moody best friend for the next three days - and never mentioned it again. Her eyes went wide as she realized Sylv had gone for a push, trying to set her sparring partner off-balance, and then winced, perhaps visibly, as seemingly everything went wrong all at the same time.

It wasn't the big smug jock on the ground with a beam of red in his face, it was Sylv, and it wasn't the adrenaline of pride for her friend she felt in her chest, but the fluttering wings of butterflies swarming in her stomach. Part of her wanted to slip away, give her friend the satisfaction of thinking Elle hadn't seen her stumble, but she brushed the thought aside angrily, more or less with herself for even thinking of something like that, and split from the dispersing crowd to cautiously walk towards Sylvia, only for her to be noticed first.

"Oh, hey Ellie."

The disappointed tone in her voice was like a punch to the gut, but she couldn't let it show - she put on a weak smile and waved. "Hey yourself." Ellie called back, walking towards her while her hands found themselves behind her back - fingers in a knot. "I suppose you saw that." Sylv said, pushing down on herself more - and if it hadn't been Elle she was talking to, maybe she'd have kept it hidden. Elle, of course, couldn't help but feel what was simmering just beneath the surface of her friend, even if she forced herself to pretend she couldn't. "Yeah.." She started, trying to find the words that would make the situation, make her friend, better.

She came up empty.

"Why don't we back back to the dorms?" She asked, pausing to glance around as if their surroundings could give her some hint of what to say next - or as if she was trying to remember them. "We can relax, and I'll give you some shoulder rubs." She offered with a hint of optimism, though she grabbed Sylv by the hand to pull her along anyways. "We can.. talk about that, and then I'll tell you what happened today."

"You did good, by the way." She added quietly
, knowing how worked up Sylvia got whenever she lost a match, after she swept her green gaze over in a sidelong glance.

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
"Hey yourself."

There was one person in the entire galaxy who was able to make Sylvia blow air out of her nose in amusement despite feeling frustrated, and that was Elle. She had said it more than a few times before, but every time her best friend did, it sounded so stupid that it was legitimately funny. It was part of the blonde's charm and a small part of the reason why Sylvia was comfortable around her. In return, the dyed magenta-haired woman dumped frustration and other negativity on her when it was time for her next outburst. It was never on purpose and she knew it was wrong, but she simply didn't know how to stop it.

Elle deserved better friends.


The offer to head back to the dorms was met with a nod. Sylvia had no desire to spend any more time in the arena, not until the loss stopped bothering her. Simply being near the mat where she had been knocked down already filled her with thoughts of self-loathing. "I've had enough of this place anyway, and my sh- oop!"

She wasn't even able to finish her sentence as she was pulled along by Elle, nearly causing her to trip and fall. How her friend was able to keep up a bright attitude despite her own feelings of doom and gloom would forever be a mystery to her. Force knew it was what kept her sane. Without Elle, she wasn't sure that she would've been able to get back up as many times as she had. It was there where Sylvia promised herself she would keep herself under control today. At the very least until she was someplace where her friend wouldn't have to witness it.

"There isn't much to say about that match," the woman noted as the two made their way out of the arena, "I just messed up. I got too eager, should've taken it more slowly." Or, as she was telling herself internally, she choked. A stupid mistake cost her the match and if it happened again next ti-

Not now. Nobody needed to be around when taking ousting her anger and frustration, primarily in physical ways. There was no need to cause Elle any more concern than Sylvia already did. "Thanks," she instead said with a small sigh, Elle last comment being effective in calming her down at least a little, "I know I am the worst loser this side of the galaxy and that stupid voice in the back of my head doesn't think I did well at all, but I suppose not everything about my fight was terrible," She said while scratching the back of her neck. Logically, she knew it was just one mistake and that it wasn't the end of the galaxy. It just was too bad her emotions overpowered her reasonal side so easily.

Instead, she attempted to close the topic and move to Elle's day instead. "I hope your evaluation went well, though. I think I still have some drinks in my dorm, you can tell me everything over one."

 
ELLEgant
Character
"Thanks."

She didn't need to hear the sigh to know what Sylvia was thinking, but she let it go and instead let her vent a little - it was healthier, at least for her own sake, than trying to give her the ten billionth pep talk of the year. Besides, some venting was what she wanted, a pent up Sylv was absolutely the last thing she needed on her plate when she got her fingers working. That, and she knew it was something her friend needed so that she could stop herself from bottling it all up; even if it wasn't the best way.

"Oh come on, Sylv, you can't be the worst loser, you aren't even a Gamorrean." Elle retorted, though she felt the joke might've fallen flat given the circumstances. "We'll have time to talk about my evaluation when we've got my fingers on those tensed up shoulders and a nice drink to go with." She added quickly, dancing around the subject rather neatly, with a clear desire to stay off the topic until she was nice and ready. Neither of which she ever was, mind, but like with anything else she'd broach the subject when she felt she couldn't keep it away from Sylvia any longer.

It wasn't much longer before they'd made their way from the arena to the dormitory hall, a rather tall-ish building or perhaps more accurately described as long rather than tall given the fact that each floor was essentially just a hallway with two rows of rooms. A short trek up to the second floor, up a flight of stairs because turbolifts in a temple "fostered laziness and poor discipline" according to the overseers, and they were practically there - most of the doors in the halls were shut, but they passed by a couple of rooms with some new age Zeltros pop nonsense leaking out and into the hallway.

A flash of a card over a sensor and Elle wasted absolutely no time in waltzing into the room - stopping midway into the room to look around before hopping onto her friend's bedside. "Come on, get." She insisted, tapping her hands at her knees with a look that said she wouldn't take no for an answer. "Oh, wait! Drinks!" She said abruptly as the recollection hit her. "Grab me one, too."

"And then get down here so I can get to work. You're all tense, I could feel it in your hand." She insisted
, fibbing just a little bit - she didn't doubt there were knots worked into Sylv's shoulders, but she wanted her to relax and was a little less concerned about whether or not she actually needed the physical benefits of a massage - plus there was something that felt good about giving them, too.

"Maybe I'll work on your back if you had an exceptionally bad day."

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 

The premise of a drink and a massage was enough of a reason for Sylvia to keep her frustrations down for the moment. They were nice little distractions to keep herself from getting into her own head too much until she was properly able to get it all out of her system. Besides, her shoulders definitely could've used some de-stressing, the stresses of her mind could wait until later. It wasn't the first time she'd let it build and it wasn't very likely that this would be the last time, either. Was Sylvia aware of that major shortcoming? Absolutely. Unfortunately she didn't know where to even begin to change it. Frustration just easily came to her and all she knew what to do was bottle it up or spew it out in the worst of ways. Doing the former made the eventual outburst of the latter worse.

That negativity was, for now, parked in the back of Sylvia's mind. The things of importance right now were drinks, massages, and simply kicking it back with her best friend. Elle was perhaps even more eager as she was first to get to the door and make her way inside. The sting of her earlier loss was pretty much numb now, still there but given no attention.

Elle had already found Sylvia's bedside as the magenta-haired woman closed the door behind them, shutting out whatever mind-numbing music was being played in the other dorm rooms. She had been made fun of for her music tastes when she was younger and even now it wasn't particularly in line with what most enjoyed, but it hadn't ever bothered her. At least she actually cared about what was being played, she always thought.

Elle ordered her to sit down as well, though there was something that had to be taken care of first. "Don't you think we're missing something?" Sylvia replied, which was enough for Elle's mind to click. "Already on it," she confirmed, opening a clothes drawer to reveal a bottle half-filled with clear liquid and a two glasses. Her dorm wasn't the tidiest, or particularly well-organized for that matter.

"And trust me, I had the worst day. My back absolutely needs some work." Was it said in overly dramatic fashion? Yes. Was she hoping for it? Very much so.

Sylvia brought the items over to her desk to pour in the drinks, and after doing so sauntered over towards Elle, sitting down exactly where she was instructed to and handing over one of the glasses to her friend. "So..." the woman said in an inquisitive tone as with as the fingers of her now-free hand twirled around until the radio on her desk started playing. Music was important, after all.

"Your evaluation." Sylvia put the glass to her lips and tilted it, letting some of its contents slip down her tongue. "Obviously you crushed it, but I want to hear you say it."


 
ELLEgant
Character
She rolled her eyes at Sylvia's melodramatic flair, though she couldn't help the grin that crept up her cheeks and the hint of a rose tint that threatened to spread into a blush. "Some work, huh?" She teased, taking the glass as she was offered it, her smile transitioning from a cheeky grin to something a little more genuine, warm. She took a sip as the music started to play, her eyes closing for a moment to savor the moment - and the drink - before Sylv tried to bring it back to the thing she had been trying to put off.

She sighed, trying to sound sour - though she clearly wasn't, positivity just seemed to be rolling off of her. "Yeah, yeah, crushed it. More like crushed me." Elle grumbled. That wasn't exactly true, of course, but the difference in marks between the two of them had always bothered both of them - Ellie had seemed good at quite a lot of things, although she was absolutely abysmal with the force in any capacity beyond bodily enhancement, and Sylv had always seemed to tail behind her except with her frustratingly exceptional gift with mechu-deru. "Miss Mors, your performance with a lightsaber - and indeed your body - make you an exceptional candidate for a Sith saber, but you must study and grow in the esoteric - alchemy is an important facet of our Empire" She said in as deep a voice as she could manage, trying to parrot the stuffy Sith overseer that had been keeping an eye on her and Sylv for as long as she could remember.

She exhaled sharply out of her nose, nostrils flaring. "Okay, yes. Fine, fine." Elle said after she put her glass down by her foot to free up her hands - which she promptly set down at Sylvia's shoulders and pushed into work. "They told me.. that I was up for an apprenticeship." She whispered, her voice taking an abruptly somber tone as she kneaded her fingers into her friend's shoulders, quickly moving down towards her back as she braced herself - and Sylv - for what she really wanted to say. "I told them I'd think about it, but I was really hoping for an opportunity for the both of us."

Lingering for a moment along the point on Sylvia's spine between her shoulder blades, she sighed. "They told me I had better chances on my own, and so did you, but I don't know." Ellie added with a frown. She leaned forward and rest her chin on the top of Sylv's head, moving her hands back to her shoulders. She hummed along to the music for a moment and then leaned back again, for the moment content. "Come on, get up here and lay down. I'll get your back worked out, you're way more tense than I thought." She insisted as she reached for her glass and started to stand, her cheeks a little flush. "I told you to stretch this morning."

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
"Your overseer impression gets better everytime," Sylvia said with a chuckle.

Sylvia had her... issues with the overseer. Even in one-on-one meetings she would be endlessly compared to Elle and her achievements, putting her down in the process. She would constantly be told to 'pay more attention to Elle and how she fights' and 'take things more seriously like Elle'. The overseer always made sure she'd keep in mind that she was the worse of the two, even if they never explicitly said it. Never were her mechu deru abilities mentioned, never were the victories she did achieve celebrated. Elle was the golden child while Sylvia was the rat that the cat had dragged in and no matter how hard she worked, that was the way things would forever be. The little voice in her head always told her she'd never be good enough.

Thank the Force she was as stubborn as she was to prove people wrong.


"Mhm, yup. Thaaat's the spot."

The magenta-haired woman took another sip as Elle broke the news and with it came a rapid-fire of emotions that crashed into her. Initial surprise and happiness for her friend, followed by a fresh dose of inner frustration that caused her shoulders to tense up again a little. As those feelings settled in they became a mess of thoughts in her head, the positive and the negative conflicting heavily. For now though, it seemed positive had the slight upper hand.

"I told them I'd think about it, but I was really hoping for an opportunity for the both of us."

"Are you kidding? Who knows when you're given an opportunity like that again. Don't let me drag you down," she sternly replied. Elle deserved the apprenticeship and as her friend Sylvia wouldn't let her turn something like this down.

"They told me I had better chances on my own, and so did you, but I don't know." Elle clearly didn't like repeating those words, but it wasn't too surprising to hear the overseer held that opinion. Driving the two apart had been their goal for some time now, Sylvia just knew.

"You have an incredible opportunity here, you can't just let it pass by. I wouldn't want to be a charity case, anyway. I'll find my own way up." The words were painful to say. She didn't want to be apart from Elle, the only real friend she ever had, but it didn't feel right to hold her back. The blonde didn't owe her anything, it would much sooner be the other way around. Feeling Elle's chin rest on the top of her head caused her cheeks to go red a little however, giving her a momentary distraction from the war in her head.

"Come on, get up here and lay down [...]."

Sylvia first took a quick sip of her drink before setting it down on the ground next to Elle's before scooting over. "As you wish," she said as she lied down. "Yeah, I may uh, have been a little too eager to beat up a jock that I forgot to."


 
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ELLEgant
Character
"Don't let me drag you down."

She winced inwardly at the self-deprecating words that more closely mirrored what Elle had actually been told, but restrained herself from saying anything as Sylv put on her tough act and tried, failing, to hide her frustration. She retrieved her glass and took a long sip, finishing it off before setting it back down next to Sylvia's. She positioned herself to the side of her moody friend, her eyes lingering for a moment longer on a place they shouldn't be, and then moved her hands back down to her back - thumbs pressing firmly against the muscles below her shoulder blades. She didn't say anything for a while, dwelling on Sylv's urging to move on.

"Hey, Sylv?" She asked, letting her fingers rest near the middle of her back. A brief pause followed, her hands inexplicably leaving Sylvia's back followed by what sounded like Elle rising up to stand. A foot came down on the side opposite where she had been, while the other remained where it had - and then the sound of rustling clothes as she positioned herself above her friend's lower back. Placing her hands back on Sylv's back, kneading carefully into her, she sighed. "If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Not if you were me, but if you had the chance, would you take it, if it wasn't with me?"

Positive though she was, where Sylvia hid her frustration around her, Ellie sometimes wore her heart on her sleeve - though there seemed to be a rhyme to that reason, and it typically seemed to be around moments like these that she did. "You aren't my charity case, you're my friend." Elle insisted, allowing herself to sit as lightly as she could on Sylv's lower back. Putting a little more effort into her ministrations, she leaned forwards a little. "I don't know if it's even what I want anyways." She added defiantly. Green eyes lingered on the magenta hair below, her lips forming a thin line of certainty.

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
Things had already been a little tough to swallow, though still somewhat managable. Sylvia was frustrated, that much was very obvious, though it was no more than that. Despite it being there she was able to keep it down where it wouldn't get too bad and Elle would only have to deal with it in a fairly minimal way. Even that made Sylvia feel bad, though that too was nothing new. All she had to do was enjoy the music, the drink, the massage, and Ellie's company, and things would turn out just fine.

"What's up, Ellie?"

A confused look was present on Sylvia's face as she lifted her head off her pillow to look behind her, or as far as she could while lying on her stomach anyway, until she realized Elle was simply repositioning. The way she was doing so made her look away a little, feeling her cheeks heat up for a moment.

"I would..." A deep breath out followed.

The question Sylvia was posed, however, threw her for a loop she didn't know how to navigate. She had begun answering so confidently, but as she thought about her answer she wasn't convinced it was the right thing to say. Of course she wouldn't take it. Not just because she didn't want to leave Elle behind, and she really did not want to, but because her friend deserved it way more than herself. It would feel wrong to take up an apprenticeship, knowing there was someone better than her who could've taken that place. The issue was that knowing Elle, she would see her answer as an admission that Sylvia wanted her to stay. A selfish wish, but it wasn't right.

The other, less honest, answer the woman could give was that she would go, the choice she was convinced was the right one for her friend. That the opportunity was too valuable to pass up on. It was what Sylvia wanted to say to help Elle past the hurdle that was the decision, so she could realize all of her potential. The blonde didn't need her and it felt wrong to contribute in keeping her here. The very thought of saying it scared Sylvia, though. She was fearful it would be taken the wrong way, that she didn't care about Elle despite the opposite very much being true. She cared about Elle more than she had ever admitted to anyone.

While Sylvia thought about her answer, Elle continued, how she wasn't a charity case and how she didn't know if an apprenticeship was what she actually wanted. The magenta-haired woman found herself questioning if it was just to make her feel better, but deep down she knew Elle wasn't one to lie. None of it helped with her answer, however.

A few moments of silence later, Sylvia's answer would finally come. It wasn't a complete answer, perhaps, but hopefully it would get her point across. "It wouldn't be fair. You deserve it, you have the talent and the potential. I wouldn't be worthy of that chance if you didn't get it too." Elle got to a spot that absolutely needed the attention, interrupting Sylvia's train of thought as her senses demanded her attention. She closed her eyes, and took a moment to recollect her thoughts.

"Ellie, listen. Please, if just for me, think it over. I really don't want you to miss out on this. Even if I don't get the chance myself." Elle didn't need Sylvia. She wouldn't have had the ability to forgive herself if in such an important decision, the blonde chose for Sylvia over herself. "If you truly don't want it, regardless of the circumstances, that's okay. Just... don't let me influence that decision."


 
ELLEgant
Character
She shouldn't have asked.

Sylv answered, Ellie had already some idea of what she was going to say, but it wasn't what she was looking for. 'What did I even want her to say?' She thought as her face fell. Her palms pushed in, up against, and then down her friend's back while the butterflies fought in her stomach. A sharp inhale signaled another pause in her massaging, but this time she didn't move, instead her eyes lingered where her hands were and then moved up to the back of Sylv's head, then the side of her face as she leaned her head to the right. "I don't like it when you avoid my questions, Sylv." She said quietly, sliding her hands up the woman's back to press her thumbs against the base of the back of her neck. She pushed softly in at the sides of her spine, rubbing lightly in a circular motion.

"But I understand what you're getting at." Elle added as she leaned closer to Sylv, moving her hands back to her shoulders from her neck. "I'm going to pack my things tomorrow and tell them my decision then." She added, her tone slowly turning cold as her expression became like stone. Leaving for an apprenticeship wasn't at all what she had in mind, but she didn't want to be stuck in the temple either - and maybe Sylvia had picked up on it. Maybe Sylv was right, maybe she deserved it, and maybe it was as big a deal as her friend was saying - but right now nothing really felt like that big of a deal until the idea that she'd be separated from Sylv came into the forefront. "I.." She started, stopping as she realized how close they were getting, before she abruptly got up and stepped off to the side.

She looked back at her, at her excitably magenta hair, at that absurdly pleasant face, and, though it made her want to smile, she frowned. She took a deep breath, letting it out after a handful of seconds as she visibly tried to gather the words that clearly weren't easy to come by. "I just don't know, Sylv." Ellie breathed out, her words more a rasp than clear speech. "I don't know how I feel about it," She said, "about leaving, about this, about u-". She had started to ramble, a habit she had when she was getting too absorbed in someone else's feelings, when she cut herself off mid-sentence with an expression of frustrated surprise. Her gaze went down, towards her feet, and she rocked for a moment before she sat on the ground and stared up at the ceiling.

"I don't want to be here anymore, Sylv, but I don't know if I want to do that without you." She explained, her mind going back to earlier today - when Sylvia had ended up on her back with a beam of red in her face. She'd been frustrated then, but Ellie had been there for her, right? Didn't that matter? 'What about my feelings?' Came the sound of her voice inside her own head. "I guess I didn't realize you felt that way." She said, sounding a little more offended than she meant at the insistence from her friend to go. "Can I crash here tonight? I don't think I'll get any sleep if I go to my room."

She glanced at the door before bringing her gaze to Sylv. "Or did you want me to leave?"

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
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"I don't like it when you avoid my questions, Sylv."

Of course Elle saw right through it. She always did somehow and once again Sylvia was the bad guy, the one too weak to do actually take a stance. It would've been so much better if she'd just outright said she'd go- if Elle had followed suit with it, the two could separate, on bad terms but the blonde wouldn't be weighed down by Sylvia any longer. Instead things had only become more complicated because Sylvia's emotions got in the way of doing the right thing. She truly couldn't do anything right. The lump that had formed in her throat, however, was only getting worse.

"I'm going to pack my things tomorrow and tell them my decision then."

Shock rushed through Sylvia's body, leaving her paralyzed and numb to even Elle's massaging. The words cut right into her heart and for a moment she couldn't even breathe. She knew it wasn't going to be pretty thing to hear, but with the decision came the full brunt of the realization that they were going to be pulled apart. Logically she knew that, but now that her emotions were catching up to that fact she was close to outright panicking. She needed Elle, but it was wrong to need her.

And while Elle continued talking, Sylvia didn't know what to say. She was hurting, they both were, and she didn't know what to do. Clearly she had messed up, but she didn't know where. A tear welled up in her right eye as that side of her head was on the pillow and when it had built up enough, it dripped onto the pillowcase. Elle got off the bed and sat down, letting Sylvia watch as she stared up to the ceiling. The younger of the two remained frozen, unable to convince her body to sit up or even roll over onto her back. Only when Elle asked if she could crash in her dorm, something that may as well have been a peace offering to Sylvia, was she able to get herself to at least sit up.

"Or did you want me to leave?"

Another rush of panic, but this time Elle would get an immediate response, like there wasn't a second to lose. "Nono, Ellie. Please." She reached out her hand, softly placing it on her friends shoulder.

"Stay."


 
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ELLEgant
Character
A pang of guilt struck her as Sylvia reached out in protest, and she felt herself melt at the sensation of a hand resting against her shoulder. If the circumstances were different, if she wasn't distracted by a whirlpool of thoughts and emotion that kept dragging her down to the ground, she would have found the realization of how tense she had been rather ironic given the effort she'd made to alleviate Sylv's. Half-lidded green eyes looked up to her friend, her expression was conflicted, and inside it was worse, but she couldn't bring herself to confront the source of her frustration when that vulnerable face stared back at her. Like putty in her hands, Ellie fell forward and wrapped her arms around Sylvia in silent assent.

She'd expected her to have remained stubborn and had prematurely gotten upset at the prospect of a fight.

"I'm sorry." Ellie whispered, her hold tightening just a little - as if letting go would separate them forever. "I shouldn't have gotten mad, you just want what's best for me, and I'm being selfish." She said. There was a lot more she wanted to say, but already she felt like she'd abused their relationship to hurt Sylv with guilt - she couldn't bring herself to do any more damage, especially if she wouldn't be reciprocated. "I'll stay the night, if you're okay with that. Tomorrow morning we can talk about this, with cooler heads and less stuff in our system." The blonde asserted, though even with her usual attempt at sounding in charge that assertiveness fell flat - she was asking Sylvia for permission, even if the words she used implied she wasn't, and pleading for more time. She opened her mouth a little, closing it when she suddenly realized what she was about to do, and pulled away.

"I will never leave you when you need me, Sylv. You're all I have." She promised, tears pooling as she spoke. "Come on, before I start crying and make you start crying." She added with a forced smile, wiping away nascent tears as she started to stand. She held out a hand to Sylv to pull her up with. "We can watch something, or listen to something nice." Ellie offered. 'Together.' She added in her head, wishing she would have said it out loud. "And if you'll let me share the bed instead of using the floor I'll make us something nice for breakfast in the morning for our... chat."

Her gaze moved to the bed, and she instantly felt her cheeks warm at the realization of what she said. "Your floor is one hundred percent not comfortable enough to sleep on." She explained needlessly, immediately aware after the fact of how obvious that was. She glanced back at Sylv, her eyes lingering a bit at the features of her face, and failed to suppress a small smile brought on by something she couldn't quite place.

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
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Sylvia hated being vulnerable. It was a weakness easily exploited and over the years she had learned that showing that side to others only led to being hurt. To protect herself, she masked it by simply not being approachable. When she would feel emotional her first instinct was to antagonize and push people away, because when she was alone nobody could hurt her. Nobody dared to bully Sylvia anymore or make fun of her for simply caring about someone else. That way, nobody would know of her weakness and she'd be left alone.

But when it came to Elle, everything was different. There was something about her that wouldn't allow Sylvia to be that way. The blonde was the only person in the galaxy able to bring out her vulnerability but above all, it felt safe. Elle wouldn't exploit that weakness or even consider it to be one. While Sylvia's first instinct was to push away, with Elle she could never actually follow through. There was a level of trust that no other person could ever build with Sylvia.

So when the woman was confronted with the chance that their connection could be severed, she defenses instantly dropped. She hated seeing Elle upset and knowing it was her doing only made it worse. Sylvia's pleading for her friend to stay had come from her most vulnerable place and after doing so, she had to brace herself. A rejection then and there would've been a blow she wasn't ready to take. Quite frankly, she was terrified. The time the two spent simply looking at each other felt like hours, seeing the inner conflict Elle was struggling with herself all too clearly written in her eyes.

When Elle fell into her and embraced her, all of Sylvia's anxieties faded away. She immediately returned the embrace, holding her tight and resting her chin on Elle's shoulder as tears began rolling down her cheeks. In that moment her anxieties flew away, even for just a moment. Their friendship wasn't going to end like this. The overseer wouldn't pull them apart that easily.


"I'm sorry."

"I can't be upset with you," Sylvia solemnly replied as she quickly wiped the tears away with her sleeve so Elle wouldn't have to see them, while her friend tightened her hold just slightly. "You're the least selfish person I know. I just suck at showing that I care sometimes, and this is what happens." She hoped her words would keep Elle from feeling bad about something she didn't cause.

The usually-assertive Elle was now much more docile. Sylvia was rarely asked for permission, likely because her friend knew she'd always be right behind her, but now that was different. It was up to the magenta-haired woman to be the reaffirming one while it was normally the other way around, and it felt a little strange. "I gave you my spare keycard for a reason," she explained, "my dorm is always open for you. Besides, I could use the company." She lightly rubbed Elle's back until the embrace was pulled away from.


"I will never leave you when you need me, Sylv. You're all I have."

Sylvia smiled warmly as she looked her friend in the eyes with affirmation, until Elle's next comment caused her to chuckle. "Yeah, enough crying for today," she stated in agreement, having had more than her fill of charged emotion for the day. They would talk about it again tomorrow, when the both of them were calm and collected.

Elle sounded a little awkward after asking if she could sleep in Sylvia's bed, but the magenta-haired woman didn't see anything strange about it. "Of course I'll share my bed," she said in a tone that made it clear that she was expecting that to happen in the first place. "Do you really think I'd let you sleep on the floor? I'm not that cruel, am I?" she asked amusedly.

Sylvia remained seated on the edge of the bed as she retrieved her holodevice from her desk with the help of a little telekinesis. "See if you can find something fun to watch," she noted while her attention was fixated on the device in her hands, "I'll order some food for us in the meantime. Where do you want to order from?"

 
ELLEgant
Character
Intertwining the fingers of both of her hands together and raising them above her head, Ellie stretched her arms and back while walking over to the bed. Making a face at Sylv's comment on cruelty, complete with a tongue stuck out for good measure, she sunk into the bed while considering what to eat - or, rather what not to eat. "Somewhere with seafood would be nice." She said, while she pondered what to watch - she had some vague idea of cassettes that they had on hand, but was quickly getting distracted by something else. A yawn escaped her lips as she stretched again, laying back on the bed with her legs still dangling off the edge, and sighed.

"Wish every day could be like this." She mused out loud, as she settled on an idea. "There's that romantic action flick, the one where that rebel spy digs into the Armada and ends up falling for the admiral." She said, trying to summarize the basic plot as she failed to remember the name of the movie itself. There was an underlying motive behind her choice, and for once - today, at least - it wasn't about dropping hints. "I've never been outside of the Empire, the start of the film on what is supposed to be Hapes always pulls me in." She gushed. "And, y'know, the romance and the action are okay too."

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
With Elle's suggestion came the realization that Sylvia hadn't had seafood in quite some time. She enjoyed it from time to time and this was as good a time as any to have some again. With a "mhm" sound she typed away on her holo, already knowing a place. "Shelly's it is," Sylvia stated, scrolling through the menu to figure out what she wanted.

After finalizing her choice she let her back crash down onto the mattress, next to her friend, and handed her the holodevice to let her make her choice as well. "Like in right now? Because earlier wasn't particularly amazing," Sylvia jested, though she agreed that the simple moments of just herself and Elle hanging out were nice and always made things better. She naturally gravitated towards the blonde, so much so that sometimes she questioned if she really was happy with being just friends. The possibility of Elle seeing things the same way was ruled to be astronomically small, though.

"I might know which one you mean," the magenta-haired woman mused after Elle finished the movie synopsis, shooting back up and walking over to a stack of cassettes that were stacked up on her desk. Sylvia had gotten her hands on a small collection of movies recently, meaning there were a decent few she hadn't watched yet. The two had gone through the movie titles and their synopses to see what they were about already a week or so back, and the movie Elle described was one of them. Going through the bunch, she'd find the one in question eventually.


"I've never been outside of the Empire, the start of the film on what is supposed to be Hapes always pulls me in."

"I wonder how it's like outside of the borders," Sylvia replied with a tinge of wonder in her voice. "If you get to go first, promise me you'll tell me all about it."

Cassettes were moved from one stack to the other, until she found what she was looking for. "Here it is!" Sylvia held up the cassette, as though she had just dug up a priceless treasure. "Trial of the Heart, that's the one." She had always been a sucker for sappy love stories, so it was only a matter of time before the movie got its watch. After inserting it into the player and turning both it and the holoscreen on with a dramatic snap of her fingers, Sylvia hopped back onto the bed. "Hopefully the food won't take too long."

 
ELLEgant
Character
For a moment she was pensive, her thoughts a mix of fantasies of being out in the galaxy abroad, far from Imperial control, of grassy fields and oceans to swim in. Her ears perked at the curiosity in Sylv's voice, and then her voice was caught tight in her throat as she was asked to make a promise with a premise she didn't like. Still, she put on a soft smile and nodded as best she could before forming the words she felt would be easiest to hear. "I wouldn't dream of keeping it from you, of course it's a promise." She said, internally making it a serious one despite knowing that it was likely just a spur of the moment for her friend.

She turned her head to look towards the cassette in Sylvia's hand, green eyes setting on the triumphant look plastered across Sylv's face. Her smile transitioned to a grin, amused by the kind of excitement she could get from something as simple as finding a holo cassette. "Trial of the Heart?" She questioned aloud, not sounding at all doubtful but rather as if the name brought some other thought into her mind. The escapism of gallivanting from planet to planet, spy or not, really was her biggest draw towards the flick, but the romantic plot was certainly the reason she could enjoy the movie. "Wonder what that'd be like.." She muttered under her breath.

She sat up a little to scoot over when Sylv made her way back to the bed, though she slid a bit closer after she got on, and nodded in agreement, "I'm not terribly hungry, but I'm sure someone could eat a little more, can't keep getting thrown around the mat on an empty stomach." She teased. To show she hadn't meant it, though she knew Sylv certainly knew her well enough to know it had been in jest, she nuzzled her head against Sylvia's shoulder with an exaggerated smile. "Just kidding." She said, and then sighed as the film began to start, production names and opening scores playing. Ellie had meant to move back, but just as she'd said her attention had been taken and she'd forgotten the things around her, or that her head was now resting against a very comfortable Sylv.

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
Sylvia knew how much Elle wanted to see more of the galaxy. It had never been particularly difficult to notice, especially being around her as much as Sylvia was. She often got the feeling that her friend felt trapped here at the academy; Elle quite frankly didn't belong here. Sylvia herself wanted to leave and never come back just as much, but wanderlust wasn't anywhere near the biggest reason why. She hated it here. She hated the people, the overseer specifically, the culture, the feeling like she was trapped in a cage. Despite trying everything, she didn't fit in. Elle was the only one she felt like she could be herself around.

And the thought of her friend potentially leaving was utterly terrifying.

"I'm not terribly hungry, but I'm sure someone could eat a little more, can't keep getting thrown around the mat on an empty stomach."

Sylvia scoffed as her mind went back to earlier that day and away from that fear. She could've sworn the ache in her back from it slamming the mat returned for just a flash, though instead of frustration it gave her a sense of determination. "I'll get my rematch and I'll wipe the floor with that idiot," she retorted, a rare tinge of confidence creeping into her voice for just a moment.

The nature of her loss still stung, but when she felt Elle's head pressed against her shoulder that all simply vanished. A grin that was perhaps a bit too telling crept across Sylvia's face, despite her attempt to minimize it. It didn't just feel nice, it felt right, but even know the magenta-haired woman simply didn't have the courage to act upon it. Instead, she simply let Elle's head rest there, and no more. Her head turned towards Elle's, noting how cute she looked nuzzled up against her shoulder, then back to the holoscreen.

 
ELLEgant
Character
She would have laughed at the retort, had she not become so absorbed in the film. A feeling of satisfaction, of pleasantry, slowly filled her and lifted her spirits up, not quite as blatantly as the sort of sensations that might tip her off to someone else's mood, but rather the subtle influence of someone else's shared contentedness with hers. Like an emotional high, she started to drift in and out of situational awareness, completely oblivious to the turn of her friend's head, to the grin made in reaction to their touch, but even without all of those things that would have brought color to her cheeks she still felt complete for the first time that day.

This, this was what she wanted to last forever, this simplistic joy. The academy was a hellhole, their overseers were as cruel as sithspawn, and the knights and masters that ventured onto the campus to scout for apprentices were as vile as the enemy they had been raised from childhood to hate. She caught herself nearly crooning softly, and heat rushed to her face as she consciously kept herself silent, but not before she let slip the low, soft, hum that made her mood obvious. For as long as she could remember there had been hints dropped to see if there was a mutual degree of attachment between the two, but even if things remained platonic for the rest of her life and she died never knowing anything else it would have all been worth it if she could have spent that time feeling like this with her. Together.

The movie, itself, was perhaps a little less than stellar on its second watch, but the experience of seeing it this time, and the butterflies of watching the romance play out with her cheek pressed against Sylv's arm was more than worth her time. "Oh." She whispered quietly in surprise as the tension between the two main cast members heated up - a staunch Imperial loyalist of an admiral enraged at the betrayal of their lover using them for information, and a confused and vulnerable spy trying to convince them to make things work or to run away together - and she realized that she had forgotten how intense parts of the movie were.

Just as things were starting to look like things were over between the two of them a promise was repeated, from some point earlier in the film, and the two melted into each others arms and - a loud knocking noise broke through the reverie, drawing Ellie's attention as she shifted from her place against Sylvia's shoulder to sit upright. "Oh, perfect timing, right in the middle of the best part." She grumbled, casting a glance toward Sylv with an exaggerative pout. "Sit tight, I'll get it." She added, going off of the usual role of answering the door if the other made the call.

Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
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Sylvia's eyes were on the screen, but not much of the movie actually got through to her. As much as she was trying to keep her attention on the film it kept drifting off to the sensation of Elle's head resting against her, a feeling that filled her with a sense of comfort she couldn't get from anything or anyone else. Light blue eyes trailed down towards the blonde again, where they would rest.

She didn't know why she deserved someone like Elle in her life, even as just a friend, but in that moment the search for the answer to that question could continue later. Even the fantasy of them being not just friends was beginning to occupy Sylvia's mind again- a fiction she wanted so desperately to be real, but one she was too afraid to take the leap of faith for. She opened her mouth, almost daring to jump, but closed it again without saying a word. Not today. Two words she had told herself oh so many times now.

The quiet sound of surprise that escaped Elle's lips drew the magenta-haired woman's attention back to the screen. A confrontation, that in a strange way drew a parallel to the similarly tense moment Sylvia and Elle shared earlier, played out and gripped her, not allowing her to drift off again. The way the scene shifted into a tender moment between the admiral and the spy filled her with an odd sense of hope, that even if things were to get rocky between herself and Elle despite their bond, they could withstand it. Movies weren't real, she knew that, but sometimes one's heart was stronger than one's head. In Sylvia's case, it was more than sometimes.

When the moment was interrupted by knocking on her door, Sylvia instantly regretting even ordering food. She'd rather have been hungry and remained in the moment longer, but as Elle moved to the door she let out a small but disappointed sigh. A flick of her wrist froze the movie in place, ensuring the blonde didn't have to miss anything. "Couldn't they have waited for like, five minutes?" she added in agreement as she looked at the two glasses that were still there on the floor. Sylvia's wasn't empty yet, prompting her to put it to her lips and letting its remaining contents slip down her tongue.

At least the food smelled good, she supposed.


 
ELLEgant
Character
"Mmhm." She mumbled in reaction to Sylv's agreement, though she wasn't quite nearly as disappointed as her friend. After a short exchange of hands in credits for food, Ellie returned with two boxes in hand. She paused on the way in, stopping to stare at Sylv as she drained what was left of her glass, but strode over to the bed after the moment had passed, not wanting to get caught in the act. Sitting down, she held onto both boxes in her lap. "Put your glass down," she said, setting her own box of food down at her feet while she kept Sylv's held down with an arm in her lap.

Scooting closer, til their shoulders touched, she grinned mischievously. Seeing an opening, Elle lifted her feet, kicking off the flats she had been wearing, and then promptly laid down on Sylvia's lap, sliding the box of food she had been guarding up so it was on her stomach. "Start the movie, I'll eat after it's over, you go ahead and eat." She insisted, popping the lid of the box open to expose the food inside, the lid covering the place it had been sitting just before her little stunt. "Just don't drop any food on my face." Ellie warned, though her tone suggested it was more in jest than a serious demand.

Turning her head back to the film, where she would hope Sylv had continued to play the movie, a quiet Ellie couldn't help but picture the two of them in the scene. Two lovers estranged by the revelation of a seemingly insurmountable wall of separation, brought together through a closeness that triumphs over their political masters. Stealing a short look up towards Sylv, she felt a warmth spread across her chest below her neck and quickly turned her attention back to the film. A little piece of her, the part that allowed her to escape into the plot of the film, thought back on the day - to their spat earlier, before the movie had started.

'Just don't let me influence that decision.'


The demand lingered still, and even though she wanted to tear it out of her and push it away, it was still the nail in the coffin. She had wanted to use their talk to approach something else, something more personal, but she hadn't had the chance, and she could read between the lines anyways - Sylv wanted to stay friends, but she wanted Ellie to move on if it would have kept them stagnant. A small sigh escaped her lips, mixed with a tinge of disappointment directed at herself, and the subject of what she had wanted to discuss in the morning shifted to something she supposed Sylvia was more likely to expect, and buried what she had really wanted to address deep down while accepting it just wasn't meant to be. Meanwhile the movie played, still acting as an escape, but now more as a reminder of what she couldn't have.

And soon, she was asleep.


Sylvia Virtos Sylvia Virtos
 
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