hold my hand, there is no need to be brave
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Ride the Cyclone: A New Musical - Maxwell & Richmond
Astrid (Ride the Cyclone)/Talia Bolinska
Talia Bolinska, Astrid (Ride the Cyclone)
Additional Tags:
Established Relationship, Fluff, Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Hurts, Comfort No Hurt, Banter, Winter, Cuddling & Snuggling, Sleepovers, rawdogging the characterizations tbh, silly sapphics
Part 2 of uraniumverse spinoffs
Published: 2023-03-26 Words: 3,220 Chapters: 1/1

hold my hand, there is no need to be brave


" So, Astrid stayed. And Talia would be a liar if she said she wasn't giddy like a kid before Christmas morning about it. "


arthur writes something without ripping his readers' hearts out [extremely rare]

love and heart eyes to my fellow bridebitebesties as always 💞

title from i will - mitski !

hold my hand, there is no need to be brave

Talia is in love with Astrid. Head-over-heels, deeply and passionately in love.

She had come to this realization on a January evening, while trying to solve a physics equation and failing miserably. She let her mind wander, and all of her thoughts were coming back to Astrid Astrid Astrid. Like all ways lead to Rome, all of her thoughts led her to Astrid's loud, confident laughter, messy handwriting, and the absolutely captivating way her eyes shinw when she's talking about something she's passionate about - motorcycles, an interest her father passed onto her, or her friends in Uranium.

More accurate way to say ‘Astrid's friends’ would be her closest friend Hank, Mischa - another Ukrainian in Uranium, one chance in a billion - occasionally her annoying cousin Ocean and the guy who Hank introduced and who immediately became the laughing stock of the group, Corey.

Yes, Talia told them it wasn't very nice of them to laugh at Corey so much. She witnessed the roast battles through her Skype sessions with Astrid back when she was still living in Ukraine, and after she moved to Uranium. Yes, she expressed it very vocally to them. Yes, she made sure all of them acknowledged it.

But Astrid is Astrid, and if they want to do something, the world could end and they would still do that.

That's one of the things Talia loves about Astrid the most - it's her stubbornness. Naturally born with it, and then cared for and encouraged by their parents, free-minded hippies who let them do whatever as long as it wouldn't bring cops to their flat, Astrid grew up to be incredibly stern in her opinions and actions. Sometimes to the extremes, because Astrid wouldn’t be themself if they didn’t take everything to the extremes.

She loves all parts of them. Good and bad.

One thing Talia adores the most is Astrid's love for any physical contact. She gives it out freely, like free cookies at the PTA meetings you have to pay back for - in this instance, give back the same amount of touch.

Astrid is physical, very physical, with the ones she loves. She's physical with those she doesn't love either, but that's a different story.

Their parents' love language rubbed off on them. Ever since Talia can remember, there were a lot of hugs, forehead kisses, fist-bumps and hair-ruffling in their flat. When she was younger, Talia would stand awkwardly and look as Astrid's mom would give her a forehead kiss before they went to school, or how her dad hugged her after she showed him another trick on the clothes hose.

It took years for her to accept the physical love from Astrid's parents. They've always treated her like their second daughter, mostly because she and Astrid have been joined at the hip since five. They just thought Talia wasn't all that for physical contact - she shied away from hugs, ducked hair-ruffling, sat on the other edge of the couch during movie nights.

(Later, Astrid told her that their parents just thought Talia wasn’t a touchy person, and that she was welcome to ask for hugs. Talia was admittedly shocked.)

Being considered by Astrid as a friend includes biting. Being bitten. All the time. Affectionately, and never deep enough for it to actually hurt or bleed. Talia became a victim of Astrid's incisors too many times to count. One time her mom actually asked if a dog bit her after a sleepover at Astrid's. She had a sudden surge of energy that night and Talia's arm was right, come on!

When Astrid moved out to Canada, having arms and shoulders that weren't littered with light teeth marks and not having any accidental saliva incidents on her t-shirts felt really weird. So weird, in fact, she tried to bite herself to see if it would feel the same.

(It didn't.)

Astrid once explained to her that she only bites her friends if they’re especially happy or excited or have that sparkling-water-and-cotton-candy feeling in her stomach. Being bitten is a high honor from her, because it means being a good friend, close friend, trusted friend, and Talia found herself in a position where she can be bitten anytime and she will even be happy about it.

Ocean didn't get the friendly bite treatment. Because she yelled at Astrid for doing it the first time, "it could get infected! I could die!" Astrid bit with vengeance and hate in her blood.

Talia is enamored by Astrid’s entire being. How they walk faster than most people, quiet moments when they become focused on something and nobody can get to them, their purple lanyard they keep all of their keys on. Lips still cracked no matter how many times Talia gives them her lip balm (or how many times said lip balm was smeared on Astrid’s lips by Talia’s), crooked teeth they so proudly show off while smiling, a scar on their left knee.

She could stare at them for hours, just drinking in the sight.

Nights like these just solidify Talia's undying love for Astrid. Cold, late winter nights used to be Talia’s pet peeve, as she wasn’t the one to stay in one place for a long time. But now, there's Astrid, and her habit to cuddle her friends and girlfriend for ungodly amounts of time.

Heavy snowfall was announced earlier that day through the PA system as Astrid was very busy doing a project for English in Talia's dorm - decidedly not kissing her within an inch of their life.

When the announcement, which said no one is allowed to leave the school property until the alarm is called off ended, Astrid turned to Talia and with a huge grin quickly sprouting on her face, showing off the smile Talia wanted to keep in her memory forever, two rows of just perfectly crooked teeth and perfectly shaped lips.

Talia just sighed fondly and left to register Talia in the entrance book. Sister Juliette would kill her if she didn't (affectionately - her and Sister Juliette had a silent alliance based on Talia always leaving on time, not coming back to the dorms for things "she forgot" like the other kids, and haven't been caught skipping classes yet.)

So, Astrid stayed. And Talia would be a liar if she said she wasn't giddy like a kid before Christmas morning about it.

She gave them one of her older t-shirts, plain white with something like "Live Laugh Love" written in pink cursive and some sweatpants smudged with paint, folded into a neat cube. Astrid happily took the clothes and sprinted down the hallway to the communal bathroom.

Talia settles down in her twin bed with a romance novel, a “harlequin for teens” as it advertises itself on the cover, that somehow found its way on her bookshelf some time ago, and she’s been procrastinating reading it ever since. She sinks into the big, comfy pillow and thanks her mom silently for packing fresh covers before she left Ukraine, because the scratchy, mangled pieces of sheet the school gave her made her skin crawl.

It’s not long before she can hear Astrid's quick steps from the bathroom, running back. The door creaks quietly and in mere seconds Astrid is in the bed and curls up next to her.

And Talia would have no objections, really, if Astrid wasn't so damn cold. The covers being lifted also made it room for the chilly bedroom air to take.

"Astrid!" Talia hisses, "You're fucking cold!"

Astrid lets out a sound of affirmation and snuggles closer into Talia's backside. One of her hands lands on Talia’s clothed waist, and their feet snuggle between her thighs.

"Your feet are cold!" Talia wiggles, trying to quantum jump through the wall so she won’t have to deal with Astrid’s freezing feet.

"I’m warming them up." And as a confirmation of their words, they press their feet deeper between Talia's thighs, making her shudder violently.

She kicks in retaliation, feet against Astrid’s shins effectively making them fall off the bed, hands grasping the duvet in an attempt in saving themself. Talia crawls over to the edge of the mattress, and upon seeing Astrid was still alive, conscious and not bleeding, comes back to her spot, still cozy.

"Warm them yourself and then come to smother me."

"I can't! It's not my fault the water in your showers is colder than outside." Talia can't really disagree with this one - St Cassian has really been cutting the costs on hot water. She's used to lukewarm, even cold showers, but the Canadian girls are constantly complaining about it. "I'm cold. So cold. Turning into an ice block. You’re unbelievably cruel."

"Sit next to the heater."

The heater was built into the wall beneath the window, almost a century-old now, and worked like it was on the verge of exploding constantly, and the handle fell off too many times to count. Talia stopped caring about the weird noises, ringing and bulging after the first two weeks.

Astrid groans and shifts on the carpet.

"Too far from you." They throw an arm over their face and Talia’s heart melts just a little. She almost lets them back in, but the memory of her cold feet flashes and effectively diminishes any empathy she had for the other.

"Get socks from my closet. You know where they are."

Astrid quirks an eyebrow. "Are you trying to push me back into the closet?"

Talia blinks confusedly before the realization hits her as Astrid is already making her way onto the bed.

"You asshole!" Talia almost throws herself at them, putting her hands on their shoulders and wrestling them off the bed. Astrid doesn’t go without a fight, trying to wrap her legs around Talia and clawing at her t-shirt, but ultimately lets Talia have a moment of victory, falling off the bed. Talia leans over them, "That's it. You're sleeping on the floor."

"Natalka!" Astrid whines, and for a split second Talia thinks that she accepted her fate and is going to get the socks, steal another one of her thick woolen sweaters, or is going to spray her with a Coca Cola-loaded water gun for the third time in their life.

Astrid's eyes suddenly narrow. Talia knows that look well, and the only thing she can do is curl up and pray that she won't have any intestinal disruption from the sure damage.

Astrid takes a straight dive from where she's standing and lands halfway on Talia hersel, and halfway on Talia's single bed. It creaks suspiciously from the sudden weight added, but Astrid doesn't seem to notice, or care, because they kick the covers off so they can fit in snugly and climb up almost on top of Talia.

"Astrid- Piss off! You're making both of us cold!" Talia squirms, trying to get away from the relentless attack Astrid's boney elbows and cold feet provide. Her shoulder hits the wall and she faces Astrid themself, looking at her rather intensely, with a playful grin.

"Suffer." Astrid looks at Talia for a moment, from her position above her before leaning down and kissing her on the cheek, biting down softly. They promptly fall onto the bed, turning their back to Talia and wrapping arms around the first pillow their arms reach.

The clock hanging on the wall opposite the bed indicates it's barely ten. Two hands pointing at ten and eleven, seemingly making fun of Talia - “your girlfriend is over for the night, you have so much time to spend doing whatever, and all they want to do is to sleep! Ha-ha, you’re a sore loser Talia. Not even your girlfriend wants to do anything with you.”

Talia shakes her head. Surely, Astrid is only pretending she's going to sleep to only make her more annoyed, right?

Talia turns to Astrid. She's peaceful. Almost too peaceful for themself - but Talia knows, she knows them so well, and she knows that they are capable of being so. Breathing slow and rhythmical, muscles untensed, stray hairs escaping the ponytail she always forgets to fix during the day, the covers pulled up to their ears. She can make out how Astrid curled up into a fetal position, knees pulled up and head ducked down.

Is she really going to sleep right now?

Talia looks at her still opened book. Suddenly, it doesn't seem nearly as interesting as it was before Astrid cambe back and destroyed her little cozy cocoon. The perspective of spending time with her almost-asleep girlfriend seems very, very interesting.

"It's ten, you know that?"

A muffled sound similar to "yeah" comes from the place where Astrid has their head buried in the pillow.

No amouny of talking is going to work. Astrid is clearly sleepy, and a sleepy Astrid is basically impossible to be convinced - Talia knows it from her own experience.

"Goodnight. Sleep well." She says, moving ever-so-slightly towards Astrid.

As if she can see her movement, Astrid’s head pops up again, watching Talia with bleary eyes. “Where's my goodnight kiss?"

Talia rolls her eyes affectionately but leans down, placing a chaste kiss on Astrid's lips. In retaliation, they try to kiss her too, but their lips land on Talia's cheek, just next to her nose. Talia giggles. "Sweet dreams, Stridochka."

It's a nickname they never used much. It's reserved only for the softest of moments, the vulnerable ones. The ones that they will remember with a smile on their lips and warmth in hearts.

Her Stridochka.

"You too, Talia." Astrid mumbles drowsily and turns towards Talia like a sunflower turns to the sun, shifting closer. Arms are still securely draped around the pillow, the muscles in their back flex subtly as they try to make themself more comfortable.

Talia would have no objections to being the pillow. Like, yesterday. But for the time being, she has to settle for the book - one of these saga romances you get with buying a newspaper - and watching Astrid drift off peacefully.

She tries to focus on the book, she really does! But it loses all of Talia’s interest between the forty eighth stupid decision made by the female protagonist and Astrid’s hand moving from the pillow to the bed frame, putting her palm on it.

Astrid’s face is relaxed, eyebrows in two straight lines, cheek squished against the pillow. Her mouth is opened a little, the crowns on her top teeth peeking out from behind her lips.Astrid is quickly warming up, the warmth spreading over the covers, to the misery of Talia, who got cold from the tiniest bit of chilly air while she fought with Astrid. Her feet are cold and sweaty now. What she won’t do for love.

Talia had to eventually give up. She is a weak woman, and her weakness only grows when her absolutely enamoring girlfriend is around.

“Mm,” The girlfriend in question turns to face Talia with a low grunt and shifts closer, dragging the white duvet along with her. Her arm is just inches away from Talia’s shoulder. Talia moves closer too, careful to not move her pillow and cover - can’t risk losing the heat after fighting a whole war for them - so close she can count every eyelash on her closed eyes.

One of Astrid’s hands reaches out, searching blindly for something to hold onto. Talia hesitates for the briefest moment before she grabs their hand and squeezes.

Suddenly, Astrid stops moving at all, like she was Lot’s wife, turning back and becoming a salt statue. Then, she squeezes the hand in her grasp and brings it to her chest, the other hand sliding out from under the pillow and snaking around Talia's wrist. Talia can only watch as Astrid's entire body curls up around her arm, her keeping it as limp as she can while absolutely amazed.

They hold it like it's the most important thing in the world.

Talia’s eyes burn. They might’ve been together for almost a year, but every single tiny thing Astrid does still makes the butterflies in her stomach take off like a 600-passenger airplane.

Astrid has a habit of curling up or grabbing the nearest object while she sleeps. Pillows, stuffed animals, people. Talia witnessed it firsthand during their many, many sleepovers.

This means, when Talia is around, she becomes an oversized teddy bear. And when she's not around, Astrid ambushes another one of their friends. Ten minutes and she's trapped. Forget about bathroom breaks or refilling snacks, Astrid wants to hold her. Not that she minds - Astrid's arms around her, chin on her head or face in the crook of her neck, all of it makes her want to kiss them violently and never let go.

A soft smile is spreading over Astrid's face, and Talia lets out a deep sigh while trying to not cry. How she even got noticed by such a beautiful being as Astrid is beyond her conscience, but she's thankful for any God that is behind it. Because, truthfully, she can't live normally if she doesn't see Astrid every waking second of her day. Thick eyebrows, mole under her nose, expressive face, thoughtful, baby blue eyes. She can't even find words to describe how beautiful and enamoring Astrid is, because all of them feel too little when trying to describe them.

Astrid's nose nuzzles into her neck, and Talia squirms from how cold the tip of it is, trapping Astrid’s face in the crook. They sigh dreamily and snuggle further, the hand on her wrist releasing the tight grip only to move to Talia’s waist, slinging an arm over it.

Talia raises one trembling hand, slowly moving it towards Astrid’s left cheek. Carefully caresses it with her knuckles, touches like butterfly’s wings.

Their cheeks are rough from smiling, Talia knows every crease and crinkle by her heart, but still soft, so soft Talia’s cheeks burn like a wildfire. Astrid nuzzles into it, smiling sleepily like a milk drunk kitten.

Talia might actually cry.

The world could end right now, and she couldn't care less.


“Go to sleep, Astrid.” Talia whispers, placing a gentle kiss on their temple, baby hair tickling her mouth.

“I love you, Lyubov.” Astrid mumbles quietly. Their lips brush against Talia’s collarbone.

Talia’s throat constricts painfully, and she raises her head to catch fresh air because everything smells like love, like Astrid’s shampoo, like Astrid so much she might actually cry.

Happy, hot tears lips down her cheek, and she quickly wipes it with the pillowcase.

Yeah, she’s definitely crying now.

“Love you too.”

She’s never felt so exposed before. Weirdly, it doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t make her feel embarrassed - but again, maybe because it’s Astrid. It’s always been Astrid who made her feel like this. Like there’s nothing to feel bad for, like she’s cherished and loved for whoever she is.

It’s almost too good to be true, but the steady flow of their breath on Talia’s skin is real, grounds her there, right in this moment, screaming ‘treasure while you can’ into her face.

How Talia wishes they could become on, fused together. Inseparable. Never, ever away again (She’s not sure she could handle that.)

She can only dream, and gaze at Astrid, appreciating their beauty as much as she can until the dawn rises.

And strangely, she’s happy with that.


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