A.N: This is another ship I looooove. Yes, another lesbian couple. Don't like it, you've a place and it's not near my (lesbian) account.
Not quite M, but certainly for more mature audiences.
Anywayyyy I just think the idea of Laura and Shanoa is adorable. The woman was frickin' hitting on Shanoa. That much is obvious. And remember Carmilla? Is it no coincidence that this young woman is fleeing from her past?... Just a little thing to think about.
Disclaimer: Me no own Castlevania.
Wygol Village wasn't known for attracting attention. It was like every other little town that spotted the windy highlands of the country, with a few children, a preacher, and a blacksmith. This particular town, however, was lucky. It had a jeweler, a chef, and even a resident angel.
It wasn't so peaceful, even if it was hardly a dot on the map.
On the day that terrible castle of ebony, twisting stone and spiraling towers fell, the sun shone brighter than it had in decades. Hell itself had been crippled and banished back into the underworld, sealing its master in the eternal flames of Hell for another century. There was no celebration the morning the citizens awoke to the crash that resounded through the small valley they inhabited.
Instead, everyone waited. And waited.
They were waiting for their saviour, the angel that had dove into the mouth of Hell and suffocated it. She did not come that morning, or that afternoon.
By evening, people were getting worried. Father Nikolai sat in the square and waited, though he did nothing to comfort Serge or Anna. Their mother fretted inside. The whining strings of the violin did not float along the winds. The hammering that echoed from the blacksmith was absent.
The one most upset was doubtlessly Laura, though she stayed inside and no one saw just how terrified she was. Shanoa was one of her best friends, even if the woman could not return affection.
Hell, it was better that way. If she did portray emotion, Laura would get hopeful that she could be more than a friend.
Clearly, Shanoa knew nothing of romance, or the sorrow that came with it. Which was the good way to go. Laura sat in her shop, stroking Tofu, as she stared out the window, squinting in the harsh light of the sun. It really was nice to have a sunny day now and then, but this brightness was almost painful.
Laura was restless by midday, and had drifted outside into the narrow cobblestone streets. Daniela was the one person not present in the town square, but it wasn't like her knees could hold up.
The wind, which was non existent for most of the day, began to pick up. It barreled through the streets and blew tendrils of Laura's black curls into the air. "Just great."
She turned, about to head inside and avoid the wind, but it picked up again. She knit her eyebrows together and stared down the narrow alley that eventually led to the connecting paths of the countryside.
A blur rushed past the clustering of people and skidded to a halt. Shanoa stood for a moment, dismissed Rapidus Fio, and collapsed. "Oh, my..."
Laura stared at the beautiful, bruised and broken angel sitting on her bed. After convincing Father Nikolai that she was best suited for nursing her back to health, Eugen carried the battered woman to the jeweler's house and gently placed her on the bed. He left without a word.
Shanoa wasn't looking to good, but she wasn't in need of urgent attention. A long, hot bath and twenty pounds of real food, not the chef's indigestible shit or something she killed on the road, and she'd be back to normal.
A month ago, Shanoa had blown into town and met Father Nikolai. A week later, she had rescued Laura. Ever since then, Laura had been working restlessly with her jewelry, trying to craft something to catch the woman's eye.
It was a given she seemed helplss, asking Shanoa if she had any of this or X amount of these or a certain amount of those. Normally, she had quite the stock on hand, but a group of bandits raided the town after Albus sealed everyone inside Torpor. Laura tried fruitlessly to get the woman to show any emotion. She would show gratitude and thank Laura, but it wasn't the same. The gypsy wanted the woman to smile, for her to know she was beautiful.
One day, she came in, covered in blood and her hair a complete mess, with a shining hunk of Alexandrite in her hand. Just as Laura requested.
"Shanoa," she said, staring at the gorgeous stone. "Where did you find this?"
"Ecclesia's old Training Hall. It's been abandoned for a while. I'm not sure, but that might've been where I trained before I lost my memories. It just felt familiar, so I went inside and found it in a chest," Shanoa stated, not caring that her lip was leaking blood. And that talking was only making it worse.
"Alright. If this doesn't make you happy, nothing I can do will. Please, come back in the morning. And feel free to stay the night," Laura said, distracted by the stone in her hand. It was weighty, and would hold up perfectly for the enchanted tiara she was crafting.
Laura jumped out of her thoughts as Shanoa stirred. She placed her hand on Shanoa's arm and gave her a light shake.
Shanoa's nose twitched and she cracked one eye open. Laura smiled and almost fainted when Shanoa smiled back. "You're smiling!"
The woman, even when she was covered in a horrific number of injuries that she sustained escaping the castle, jumped off the bed and embraced the jeweler. Laura didn't hesitate to squeeze back. "Albus, he sacrificed himself, and released the hold of Dominus, and my emotions! They're back! And memories, and so much more!"
"...so I replace Vol Luminatio with Dominus," Shanoa said, holding out her hand and controlling the flitting ball of light. She manipulated it to whizz by Anna's nose, who giggled. "And I tell Lord Dracula it was time for him to die."
"Why'd it take you so long to get back?" Serge asked, wide-eyed. "Did you kill another vampire?"
"Story time's over!" Laura announced, shooing the children out before Shanoa responded. "Some questions just don't get asked, Serge. Ask when you're older."
Shanoa sighed, staring at the floorboards. "The poor kid didn't know any better."
"It doesn't matter. You were in mourning," Laura quipped. "You deserve some privacy."
Laura sighed, flopping down next to Shanoa on the large bed. Shanoa woke up after eleven hours of uninterrupted, snoring rest. She wasn't very responsive after that, just very tired. Laura managed to shove some food into her, but the warrior had fallen asleep again before much could be done. After she was fully concious again, Laura threatened to kick her out if she didn't bathe.
Finally, Shanoa complied. She had used Laura's private bathroom, which was connected directly to a river streaming down from the Tymeo foothills. She had soaked in the Ignis-heated water for longer than normal, before Laura got impatient and barged in on her, only to find Shanoa in an...
...interesting position. The two stared at eachother, Laura red in the face and Shanoa not much better, before Laura disappeared. So that's one of the... things... she's experiencing for the first time. That must be hell.
Not long after she got dressed, the children rushed inside, preventing any awkward conversation. But, that only saved it for now, Laura thought. "So, Shanoa, need any more rest?"
"I've rested enough," Shanoa stated. "I'd like for my hair to be untangled. And some explanations of things I'm starting to feel would be nice. Most I can recall through memory, but..."
Laura rooted through her nightstand and pulled out an ivory comb. She began to unsnarl the many knots in Shanoa's hair. "Ask away."
"When you're attracted to somebody, what happens?"
"It's the most wonderful thing in the world. Your pupils dialate and your heart races, and, if you're lucky, you get this tingly feeling in your stomach. Do... you know anything... about?..."
"Yes, I'm not that oblivious," she hissed. "But, is attraction strictly for the opposite sex? I mean, is it possible? I've seen scribes and scholars who visit Ecclesia, mostly women, and they have women... who they kiss, and hug, and... I was wondering if it's normal."
"I see nothing wrong with it," Laura responded.
"Then, I was wondering, how do you tell a woman you're fond of her?"
Laura's heart raced. Shanoa was either crushing on the old woman, the fretting mother, the prepubescent dress-maker, or her. She had a one-in-four chance, and the odds seemed perfect. "You just tell her, I guess. I've never really done it."
Shanoa nodded, making Laura tug her hair. "Ow!"
The jeweler smiled. "You've defeated Lord Dracula and you're in pain because I pulled your hair?" Thank God, an excuse to change the conversation.
"Still hurts," Shanoa mumbled. "I've been thinking about staying in Wygol. For the rest of my life. I wasn't really planning on having a place to stay after I felled the castle, since... Well, I told you what happened to Albus now, didn't I?"
Laura mumbled a yes. It was a sad, sad thing, what happened to the young man. Still, it meant the warrioress could still be here, with her. It wasn't all bad. "You're welcome to stay with me."
"Until I get a house?"
"Until period. It gets lonely, here, you know. Besides, I'd like a bit of extra protection," Laura said, looking outside into the dimming light. "The castle may be gone, but evil still exists. There are bandits, and the occasional monster who works up the courage to prowl around in the village, and demons... and not to mention what's on the road when I need to travel, and..."
Shanoa hissed as her hair was tugged at again. "I'd love to stay here."
"But nothing. Well, I might still be going out on a regular basis, to stay in shape. Can't get unfit."
Laura doubted that Shanoa would have any trouble getting 'unfit'. She was skinnier than most, but she was no where near scrawny. Even if the weapons she used were completely ethreal, Shanoa gained muscle like Tofu did weight while wondering around the countryside. Swinging the weapons, running from battle that was too intense, furiously attacking anything that got in her way, everything left her tempered like the perfect blade.
Muscle bulged along her shoulders, rippling beneath the strange, glowing tattoos. Laura had no doubt that when the warrior removed her armor and dress, she was nothing but strength underneath.
"Are you listening back there?" Shanoa asked, craning her neck to stare at Laura with her calm grey eyes.
"Sorry. I, uh, thought I heard Tofu wailing," Laura mumbled, blushing.
"As I was saying, I've got some jewelry for you to appraise," Shanoa responded irately.
"Alright. Why don't you take off your armor? See if Eugen can fix it up tomorrow?"
Shanoa glanced down at herself. The first day Shanoa visited, she drifted into town wearing a hardened, cured leather breastplate, which Eugen scoffed at. He hammered her an iron breastplate, then a silver, and finally a gold, all three of which she completely trashed. The white gold of the platinum piece shimmered in the faint glow of the fire from beside Laura's bed. Scratches caked the front, marring the navel and gnarling the edges. Blood, mud and other bodily fluids splattered across the beautiful armor.
The warrior unlatched the leather fastenings behind her neck and around her back. She sighed in relief as she pushed the heavy plate off her body. It clattered to the floor noisily. "You have no clue how good it feels to get that thing off."
"I'm sure it feels great. Looks heavy. So do the leggings," Laura commented. The leggings, platinum like the breastplate, had ragged, torn edges from overuse. They coated the leather of Shanoa's boots. Mud had long since made itself at home on the bottom of her shoes, and Laura cringed. She should've made her take those off. "Take them off. You've probably ruined my floor."
Why did she even put those back on after her bath? Laura wondered before voicing her question.
Shanoa tensed, pausing. She shook herself and continued unlacing her leggings. "I was thinking about taking off again. I've cleared out the old monastery, other than a few skeletons. Wouldn't be a bad place to stay, if... no one really wanted me here, I guess."
Laura took the comb and whacked the back of Shanoa's head. "Don't say things like that. No one would be here if it wasn't for you. Now hold still, I've almost finished your hair."
Outside, the sun finally sank behind the Tymeos and plunged the village into darkness. It had been dark before Laura and Shanoa finally finished taming the warrior's hair.
Shanoa had removed each piece of platinum armor and chucked them beside the fireplace.
Laura sat with the warrior downstairs, by the display rack of earrings, rings, and necklaces. The gypsy was sorting through the warrior's collected rings, which weren't half as easy to appraise as she would've liked. Being a gypsy, she wasn't unfamiliar to magic, but that didn't mean she could trace it like a bloodhound. "This right here..." she mumbled, fingering a pale purple stone. "Nothing special."
"Damn," Shanoa pouted, snatching the ring and placing it on the display shelf. "No use to me. You can keep it, if you want."
Laura smiled. The woman had no limit to her genorosity. The purple had been nothing but cheap topaz set in farce gold, but she wasn't about to tell her that. The jeweler smiled lightly and went back to rooting through the diminishing pile of enchanted rings.
She picked at a dark green jewel in heavy gold. "This is emerald. Not sure why, but it feels like this stone is good luck."
Shanoa smiled lightly and took the ring, brushing her fingers against the jeweler's. Laura tensed, but eased up when Shanoa didn't look uneasy. "The ring of good fortune," she smiled at her joke.
Laura grinned back. Her eye found a pale, white stone. "Flawless diamond, right here. This... this is good for magic."
The warrior picked the white stone from Laura's hand, making her stomach twist. There was nothing better than this, right here, right now... "Shanoa, throw that thing in the fire."
For a moment, Laura was just staring at the faintly yellow jewel. But she recoiled and almost hissed after the power, all of it black, slammed into her.
Shanoa didn't hesitate, taking it off the table and tossing it into the fire.
The burning fire popped and crackled and hissed, smoke rushing into the room. "Shit," Shanoa mumbled, cracking a window. Laura gathered herself, staring at Shanoa as she seated herself.
"What was that all about?"
"That was evil," Laura stated. "Pure evil."
The warrior didn't argue. "I felt it, but I thought I was just being superstitious, I guess."
"How? Where did you find that thing, Shanoa?" Laura demanded, going from sitting across from Shanoa to almost shaking her.
Shanoa chewed on her lip, twisted her eyebrows, her face lighting up a second later. "The castle, obviously. I was in the clock tower... and Death was there."
Laura shuddered. Shanoa had talked about waltzes with death before, but this was unreal.
"He was terrifying... A skeleton with a huge scythe, and a fluttering cape, the typical Death shit... but this thing wasn't what I expected. I killed him pretty quickly, with Luminatio, and I found this on one of his fingers," Shanoa mumbled. "I knew I should've just left it."
Though she wasn't happy with Shanoa's rashness, she knew the woman was just curious. "Whatever that ring did, I'm sure it wasn't good. Anyway... I believe that we were having story time earlier... What do you say? Entertain me while I finish dinner?"
Shanoa smiled, reclining in the wooden seat. She was in the uncomfortable-looking corset dress Monica had made her, making it cling to her hips and squeeze her thighs. Laura looked away, blushing, seeing that certain areas got an ample boost from the dress. She almost didn't hear Shanoa's introduction to the gloom and doom that was the castle she was so distracted. Thankfully, she scoffed at one of her own jokes and snapped Laura out of her trance.
"...They weren't holy at all, even if I did get Vol Luminatio from them. And, then, there were these hordes of cave trolls. And tin men. And, in the tower, there were this floating faces that turned me to stone. It's safe to say anyone could hate them."
Shanoa was obviously starting off with her usual routine. She told Laura of enemies she encountered in all dungeons, starting with the unusual monsters, before going on to confusing ones, and finally tougher monsters she called 'bosses'. Things were certainly more entertaining now that she had her emotions back, though.
Laura's heart fluttered as Shanoa began to blush... about something. "And, there was this one creatue... It was in Hell itself, the place that was sealed by Cerberus. They were winged women, wearing hardly anything at all. And, um... they offered me... things... that weren't tempting at all before I defeated Dracula, but as I was fleeing... They got very distracting."
"They were offering you sex?" Laura wasn't sure what to make of the situation.
Good on one hand, since Shanoa was doubtlessly into women. Bad on the other, since... she was into women.
Shanoa nodded, hiding behind her ebony hair. "Say nothing. But, it was like... I couldn't help but think of it. Had the castle not been coming down on my head, I might've done some things I would regret."
Laura finished the final preparations on dinner without saying a word. She placed a plate of steaming chicken in front of Shanoa, and it felt like it was gone before she could blink. "So, is there anything else new you can do other than make food disappear?"
The warrior rolled her eyes. She got a wicked glint and stared at Laura, who held her hard gaze. She gasped when she looked downward, to see that the face holding the eyes went from human to feline. "Arma Felix."
And then the woman was a machine. A real machine, still Shanoa-sized and shaped, but made of metal and cogwork. She transformed back into a woman before talking. "Arma Machina."
"Wow," Laura stated. The bat form had been freaky enough, but seeing Shanoa go from human to cat to human to machine to human again was a bit much.
"I know, they're so much fun to run around in! Kinda more for parlor tricks than anything, but," Shanoa shrugged.
She sat herself on the edge of the table, inches away from Laura. She was practically sitting in her lap. Laura tried to focus as Shanoa summoned an assortment of weapons.
Before entering the castle, the woman had a full set. Axes, lances, bows, rapiers, swords, sickles, knives and shields. She came back out with steroid-powered ones of the same kind.
"Oh, and I love this one," Shanoa stated as someone knocked on the door. "Come in!"
Laura knew just who it would be, to bug her about the 'hideous, deformed and bloodthirsty monsters that prowleth around'.
Marcel cried out when a stone fist nearly slammed into him, shouting in annoyance when Lapiste shut the door for him. "I think I like that one."
Shanoa made Laura gasp when she summoned a pillar of flame in one hand, a freezing column of ice in the other. "This is always a nice trick. Scared the royal hell out of a few bandits."
The jeweler laughed, imagining a group of bandits trying to jump Shanoa, only to run off, screaming.
"And... I've got a really cool one, but I'm not so good with the control. It's called Morbus," Shanoa stated, keeping the summoned curse inside her. "It's a really powerful curse, and I don't trust myself not to accidentally hex you."
Laura nodded as Shanoa dismissed her glyphs. She scooted out of her seat, only for Shanoa to pull her back in. "Where are you going?"
"You're not done?" Laura asked, bewildered that there were still more weapons obtained in Dracula's Castle.
"I just might be, but maybe I want to talk," she stated. Laura swallowed lightly, since she had been pulled even closer to Shanoa. She was face-to-face with a nice slit running up the side of Shanoa's dress, and if she craned her neck the right way she might get a glimpse of her-
A pair of deep purple wings were sprouting from Shanoa's back. "Damn."
Shanoa grinned. "I love these."
Laura couldn't help but reach out and touch the feathery appendages. "They're beautiful. Can you actually fly?"
The warrior nodded. "Yes. I flew over the Tymeos coming back here, but I get tired really quick. The view, though, is amazing."
"I bet," Laura respoded. She really is an angel.
"Why don't you see for yourself?" Shanoa asked. Laura stared at her for a moment before realization crossed her face.
"You mean-" Laura wanted to ask, but Shanoa grasped her hand and wrenched her out of her seat.
Before she could protest, Shanoa was fluttering outside with the jeweler in tow. "I'm not sure I want to do this. It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that - Oh, shit!"
She swore and burrowed her head into Shanoa's shoulder as the woman began to float off the ground. She laughed, gripping the woman around the waist. "You might want to hold on."
Laura wrapped her arms around Shanoa's neck, squeezing tight. They were hardly floating as Shanoa placed her hand against the head of the angel statue. Laura wanted to ask why she was doing that, but thought against it. Shanoa read her mind as she fluttered higher. "Blessings from God. I run by one of these, my injuries are healed. Just in case."
If she wasn't holding on for dear life, Laura would've slapped her. She wasn't too fond of heights.
The purple wings began to flap lightly and they rose again. The wind tosseled Laura's hair, making her whine in protest. The last thing she wanted to do was looked trashed in Shanoa's presence.
"It's not that late. We can go somewhere, if you like," Shanoa stated, staring out at the world around them.
Laura wasn't too happy with her current situation, but she was at the same time. She was stuck, hundreds of feet above Wygol, in the arms of an angel who was too stubborn for her own good. She could see everything.
In the distance, she could see countless landmarks and monster-infested habitats Shanoa told her of. The rotting greens of the Argila Swamp, the empty prairie where Dracula's Castle once perched... there was a large, open mouth yawning out of the ground, the entrance to the Large Cavern, where the Chinese vampire stood guard. Ecclesia's spiraling towers loomed into the night.
Shanoa turned, giving Laura another eyeful of attractions. Oblivion Ridge stood by Tristis Pass, empty and barren and so sad. The Giant's Dwelling had long since been burned to the ground by a stray spell of Shanoa's, leaving an ashen plain. Shanoa spun around in the air again and began to move, the wind knotting through Laura's hair.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Some place special."
The Somnus Sea was only a few miles out of Wygol, but the twisting roads forced merchants to set days aside to reach it. With the aid of Shanoa's wings, they were flying over the calm sea in no time.
Minera Prison Island loomed in the distance, the skeletal lighthouse perched by a squat concrete building laced with barbed wire. The place really was creepy, covered in the empty husks of monsters Shanoa had slain. The island had been abandoned for years, and recent tales popped up about the place being haunted by the forsaken prisoners. "This doesn't look like the ideal date place," Laura mumbled.
"So this is a date now?" Shanoa asked, smirking.
Laura squealed as Shanoa dipped downward. "Yes, it is, for the love of God, just get me on the ground!"
"You want me to drop you?"
Shanoa laughed, bringing her enormous wings inward. Laura clung to the woman tighter as Shanoa hit the top of something hard. She was much taller than Laura, which the jewler was thankful for. She landed smoothly, Laura almost clawing herself out of the woman's grasp. "Careful! You might fall!"
Laura calmed herself, looking at the sky and collapsing against the ground. They were on the lighthouse roof, and the view was unbridled.
The sea lapped calmly at the edges of the island, and even miles below them, Laura could see the cresting white foam of the pulsating ocean waves. Ruvas Forest was barely visible on the other shoreline, even in the cloudless night. Constellations of heroes and monsters past hung suspended in the black dome of night, brighter than they ever were inside Wygol. "Wow..."
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Shanoa asked, seating herself next to Laura.
Laura figured she liked this arrangement, scooting closer. "It really is. I've never seen anything like this."
The jeweler's stomach fluttered. She had been being serious about the date.
"This isn't anything. Just wait until my wings can hold up to a bit more. I can take you out to Oblivion Ridge, maybe during the fall when the leaves are changing... or to the top of Tristis, on a clear day. Or the Tymeo peaks. And then, there's this manor you couldn't see earlier. It's abandoned, and there might be a monster or two, but the place is gorgeous," Shanoa whispered into Laura's ear. She shivered, and certainly not from the cold.
"So we're doing this again?" Laura asked.
"We are, even if I have to drag you out kicking and screaming," Shanoa stated.
Laura giggled. "I don't think you'd have much trouble making me leave. Flying, on the other hand..."
Volaticus popped out of Shanoa's back. "I think you've offended it... them?"
The feathery wings brushed against Laura's bare shoulders. She laughed. "Well, tell them I'm sorry."
Kissing Shanoa wasn't anything Laura could've been prepared for, but she certainly didn't mind. In fact, it was very nice. She and Shanoa just sat in the silent, salty air for a while, until Laura shuddered. Shanoa scooted closer, cautiously pulling Laura onto her lap.
Laura smiled, blushing. Shanoa just pecked her on the cheek before holding her again. Laura craned around, determined to kiss her, for real, but thunder clapped overhead.
"Shit!" Shanoa exclaimed. "I can't get these wet!" Laura panicked.
Shanoa laughed. "Relax. I can."
Laura huffed indignantly, gathering her dress and stumbling to her feet. A raindrop fell onto her nose. Even if Shanoa could stand getting her wings damp, Laura wanted to at least get off the slanted roof before lightning struck. Shanoa summoned her wings again, quickly grasped Laura around the waist, and hauled herself off the lighthouse.
And then they were falling.
She wanted to scream. But the wind was rushing all too fast, and before she knew it, the reason to panic had vanished. Shanoa caught an uprising draft and soared higher into the sky. "We'll be home in no time, I promise."
Laura whimpered as she looked into the mirror. Her hair was an absolute mess. Instead of delicate curls, she had a twisted, gnarled mess of roots growing out of her head. The wind was fine, at first, and she could've fixed her hair with a quick run-through.
But Shanoa started to get tired about halfway to Wygol. She could still get them there without crashing, but she wasn't used to flying fast. She slowed down and the storm chewed the warrior up, spat her out, and left them both a sopping wet mess.
It got even better. Laura froze her ass off waiting for Shanoa's tattoos and hands to dry off so she could start Ignis. "I'm going to strangle her for this."
"Try me," Shanoa stated from the doorway, making Laura jump. She stepped to the side and stared at the warrior in the mirror, still working on her hair. "I sleep with one eye open."
"I thought you were going to take a bath," Laura hissed. She wasn't really mad, but she wasn't too happy.
"Then go do it, or you're waiting until I'm done with mine," she said, stepping back in front of the mirror. Her hair clung to her skull, hanging off her scalp like dead, limp fingers in soaked clumps.
"Fine. Be that way," Shanoa huffed. She grinned wickedly, the gleam in her eyes shining on the mirror. "But the bathroom's staying lit," she said, dismissing the Ignis that burned in on each candle around the room.