Big Bad Bruin 3 (Tierna Davidson)
Surprise!! After so many hours of writing, I finally cranked out an ending for y’all. It’s a little less fic at the end and a lot more of my personal writing style so sorry about that? Anyways, please enjoy and let me know what you think.
!! Part One and Part Two !!
Warnings: cursing as always, team shenanigans, and lots of real talk
Rated: D for dumbassery
Word Count: 8,250ish… oops
“Damn, what’d that ball ever do to you?” The forward hardly spared a glance up in Ali’s direction as she approached, continuing to kick the poor soccer ball against the wall. She offered no recognition of the older woman's attempted joke outside of a halfhearted snort.
“Y/N, ease up. You’re going to break something.” Ashlyn’s tone was cautious as she approached alongside her fiance. There had been many days that Ash’s gloves had been on the receiving end of those kicks and she knew just how dangerous they can be, especially when Y/N’s stuck in her head.
“It’ll be fine.” Y/N huffed, not even attempting to ease out of her rhythm.
“Maybe, but will you?” The ball stopped. Tension hung thick in the air as the girl paused, turning slowly to face the pair for the first time since their arrival.
“What?” There was a bite in her tone that was as sharp as her gaze was cold. The single word held enough hostility that Ash slunk backwards away from the pair. Likewise, Ali took a step forward, as if the icey hostility from Y/N was making her passion burn stronger.
“I said, maybe the ball will be fine. Maybe you won’t break the ball or an object but What. About. You.” Ali challenged, accenting her last words as she approached the taller girl, never once breaking eye contact. That was until Y/N looked away first, letting her eyes cast downwards towards the grass as she meekly began to juggle the ball around at her feet.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Y/N muttered, finding safety in pleading ignorance to the situation. However, much to her misfortune, Ali Krieger hates playing things safe.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about Y/N Y/LN.” Shoving an accusatory finger into the girl's chest, Ali did everything in her power to bring out the forward's confrontational side - wanting to tempt her into expressing whatever it was she refused to verbalize.
“How long can you keep this up? Running off when you can’t handle being called out, hmm? How long are you going to slip away to assault a poor brick wall with a ball because you can’t just woman up and talk about your feelings? How long can you keep giving your teammates the cold shoulder just because you can’t talk about your fe-”
Finally, Y/N had enough of the defender's relentless words.
“Forever! For fucking ever, Ali!” The outburst caught Ali by surprise, sending her stumbling backwards as Y/N swatted away her hand.
“Really? You think you can just muscle your way through life, huh? Act all big and bad all the time?” The counter from Ali was swift and Y/N’s jaw tightened in response.
“Yeah, actually, I think that sounds like a great damn plan. I mean, FUCK, it’s lasted me this long hasn’t it? All the way through school and up to the big leagues baby!” There’s some sort of sarcasm in Y/N’s tone, a dry laugh following her words in an attempt to cover the crack in her voice as she returned Ali’s challenging look.
“Oh really, has it?”
Y/N scoffed, turning away from the other woman now that she decided she was finished with the conversation. Apparently she needed to go find a new wall to work out against.
“Yeah? Then what about Tierna?” This stopped the forward in her tracks. The mention of the bright eyed Stanford player sent her entire body rigid.
“What about her?” Y/N practically growled through clenched teeth, back still turned.
“What about her?!” Ali barked out a laugh as she shook her head.
“What’s about her is this. All of this! All of you! For one split second you let her in, let her see this side of you that was real and RAW, Y/N! This side of yourself that you normally only show to people that you’ve decided to stop holding away at this damn arms length. And all it takes is one little comment from your teammates to what? bar yourself right back up again?” The defender was fuming now, truthfully she hadn’t realized just how passionate she was about the situation in front of her until she finally voiced her opinion to the youngin.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Back still turned, Y/N’s voice was gruff and deeper than either of the other women had ever heard it.
“Doesn’t she though?” Ashlyn joined the conversation now, a gentle look in her bright eyes as she joined her fiancée. “Y/N, maybe this big bad Bruin bullshit works on everyone else but it doesn’t work on us and it’s certainly too late for you to pull this shit with Baby T.”
“Don’t.” Y/N’s voice was a growl still but this time it was somehow stronger.
“No, Ash is right. You think you can push Tierna back out? Because it’s too damn late for that, Bruin. You can’t push away the girl you’ve already held in your arms because all you’re doing now is hurting her!”
The two women were met with silence. The woman whose back was to them didn’t budge in the slightest, body stiff, hands in tight fists by her side.
“Y/N-” Ali started again, tone gentler now as she angled a different approach.
“Shut up.” The two words were low, hardly audible as Y/N choked them out.
“What?” Ali questioned, echoing the same sentiment Y/N had earlier.
“Shut the FUCK up!” Her voice was hard but breaking as she turned around, spitting her words out as if they were leaving a bitter taste in her mouth.
“Shut the fuck up and quit talking about me like you understand what I’m doing and quit talking about Tierna because I am NOT hurting her!” The expression on Y/N’s face was enough to make Ali falter as she took it in; red rimmed eyes and flushed cheeks. The composure that was holding back the girl in front of them from truly burning in full Hellfire was faltering and to say the view was frightening was putting it nicely.
“Not hurting her? Y/N she’s hardly shown her face since training and when she does she’s dead silent, she won’t even talk to Kelley!” A flicker of some emotion crossed Y/N’s features as though the idea of hurting Tierna physically pained her but as quick as it was there, it was gone.
“She’ll get over it, she’ll be fine …. better than she’d ever be with me at least.” If Ali’s ears weren’t super sensitive from years of dealing with her fiance's muttering, she would've missed the whispered end to Y/N’s sentence. But she didn’t miss it, she didn’t miss a word of it, and she certainly didn’t miss the tone of self loathing attached.
“Better than she’d be without you? Y/N Y/LN that’s the biggest load of bull I have ever heard. How can anyone ever be a better version of themselves than the version they are with the real you in their life?” Ali’s eyes were softener now too, softer than Y/N reckoned she’d ever seen them looking at anyone besides Ash.
“Because I’m an ass. Like you’ve both said, I act all big and bad and try to muscle my way through everything in life. Tierna… She's better than that! She uses her words, her mind, her thoughts! She thinks through her problems and responds with such eloquence that I can’t even try too- she just deserves better…” Y/N sighed, words trailing off, dropping her eyes away from pitied gazes.
“But that’s not you! This big bad Bruin isn’t who you are Y/N, it's who you’ve turned yourself into to try and protect yourself from these… these perceived threats! Sure you can be stoic and a bit of a hardass and pretty aggressive and…”
“Not helping Ash!” Ali cursed, smacking Ash’s arm. “It’s just that, this side of you, it’s different from who you are. I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through that’s made you feel this way, but it’s not you.”
“Isn’t it though? Isn’t it?” Y/N cried, tears damn near spilling from her eyes in frustration.
“No babygirl, no. The girl who went up for a header and came down cursing like the devil but stopped at the sight of a gorgeous girl, that’s you! That’s the beautiful, stunning side of you that you used to show us so often when you weren’t so busy pushing everyone away! That’s you, that’s the you that Baby T loves and deserves!” Throughout her speech, Ali had crossed closer and closer into Y/N’s space until they were hardly a foot apart. Nearer now, Ali could see the tears that had started spilling from the girl's eyes, sliding from her cheeks all the way down to her shirt collar.
“I… I fucked up, didn’t I?” Y/N asked, head tilted like a confused puppy and almost whimpering like one too. Ali nearly melted as Y/N’s eyes found her, silently pleading for her help as if the internal battle she faced had grown too intense.
“A little bit, yeah.” Ash chimed in, honest as ever, earning a smack from Ali and nearly gaining a smile from Y/N.
“It’s just, the girls, when they called me soft I- I couldn’t, I mean the last time they… it just… it reminds me of-” Y/N’s words were cut off as hiccuping sobs racked through her body at the thought of the last time she’d let someone in. Without a second thought, she pulled the young player into her. If Ali thought she couldn’t break anymore tonight, the feeling of warm tears hitting her skin as the taller girl nuzzled into her neck proved her dead wrong.
“Shh, it’s alright kiddo.” Ali comforted, holding Y/N tighter as Ash cautiously approached and joined the hug.
“It’s going to be alright, it’ll work out.” Ash whispered as she pulled both women tighter.
“You’re okay Y/N,” Ali soothed gently as she looked up and made eye contact with Ash as the pair held the girl.
“We’re going to fix this.”
“Go away Kelley, I already said I wasn’t hungry!” Tierna yelled through the closed hotel door, praying the rasp in her voice didn’t portray her current state.
“It’s not Kelley, and I don’t really care if you’re hungry.” The gruff voice on the other side of the door was not in fact Kelley and that was a development that caught Tierna slightly by surprise. The voice called out again and Tierna knew there was no getting out of this. Reluctantly, she wrapped her blanket around herself and slid out of the desk chair.
“Can I help you?” She grumbled, opening the door slightly, only to have it pushed open further as her teammate slid past her into the room.
“You don’t even look like you can help yourself at the moment, let alone help me.” Tierna wished she could protest but she knew the older woman wasn’t wrong so she simply shut the door and shuffled back to her seat.
“Sorry, I get like this whe-” Before she could offer an excuse, wave her hand at the hotel desk and blame her withdrawn behavior on an excess of school work and stress, she was cut off.
“It’s not your fault.” The interruption was sudden and unexpected, catching the young defender so by surprise that she nearly choked.
“Sorry, that was blunt, I’d usually leave these kinds of things to the other girls but when it comes to Y/N… well she’s my mini me so I felt like it was sort of my responsibility to come talk to you about it.” Alyssa rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly as she looked at the other girl, looking at her with what Tierna could only decipher as pity.
“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Tierna muttered, twisting in her chair and burying her attention in her books. Behind her, Naeher chuckled softly as she moved to sit on the edge of the bed behind the desk.
“You sound just like her, y'know? Denying the situation instead of acknowledging it. But look, I might not know you the best right now but I do know that it’s more than just bad nerves and some Stanford classes that have you hiding up here in your room on draft day.”
“What do you mean denying the situation?” Alyssa laughed again as Tierna twisted around to face her, head tilted to the side in questioning.
“Didn’t they teach you that curiosity killed the cat?” She furrowed her brow at the keeper who just smiled softly and held her hands up in surrender. “Just joking around.”
“Alyssa, what do you mean denying the situation?” Tierna questioned again, slightly more adamant this time.
“I mean that both of you think that if you don’t interact with each other and hide in your own little worlds that your feelings for each other are going to just magically go away.”
“I’m not hiding from anything, and besides there aren’t any feelings to hide from.” The younger player argued, slamming a book shut in aggravation.
“Really? So you just decided that today, the only free day you’ve had in a week, was best spent locked up in your room doing schoolwork, instead of going out into this beautiful city with your newfound closest friend?” Alyssa teasingly added air quotes around ‘friend’ as she shot the girl a knowing look, watching as freckled cheeks filled with a blush.
“I just wanted to get ahead…” It was a lie and they both knew it. Hell, the whole team could’ve seen through that lie. Everyone knew that even with extensions and forgiveness that Stanford offered their student athletes, Tierna was already incredibly far ahead in all of her studies.
“Yeah? That’s it? Absolutely no other reason?” Alyssa raised an eyebrow, leaning back onto her hands on the bed.
“Yeah. I mean that and I figured Y/N didn’t really want to go out and do anything with me…” The admission was quiet, nearly a whisper from Tierna as she picked at her nails.
“Why would you ever think that?”
“Because she’s been avoiding me for days now?” Tierna was taken aback at the bitterness in her own words as they tumbled out of her mouth and Alyssa was clearly just as surprised as her gaze on the young girl softened once more.
“Oh, Baby T, she hasn’t been avoiding you.”
“Really? So she’s just decided to go from smiling at me and taking me on her special morning runs to not even looking my way off the pitch or saying a single word to me? Really could’ve fooled me.” Tierna scoffed and Alyssa winced slightly, making a silent note not to get on the Stanford students bad side as this unexpected attitude made an appearance.
“That’s what I meant earlier, well at least that’s what I meant to mean earlier. When I said it’s not your fault, I meant that. Y/N can get like, well, like this. She’s just faced a lot this last year or so and she means well with what she does.” The keeper was borderline rambling as she attempted to rally in support of her mini me to an incredibly annoyed Tierna.
“What she does? You mean acting like a raging bitch and shutting everyone out?” As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them, guilt slowly building internally. “Sorry, that was rude…”
“No! I mean yeah it was rude but it was also completely right. That’s where the whole Big Bad Bruin thing came from. When she feels herself getting comfortable with someone or when good things happen to her she just tries so hard to push it away as if she can somehow protect them from her and all the bad things in her life.”Alyssa’s explanation was slower now than her previous ramblings as she pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration as she searched for words.
“Wait, she pushes away… I’m a good thing? She’s being like this because of me?” The gears in Tierna’s brain were clearly turning now.
“In a way.”
“But isn’t that kind of counterproductive? Pushing away the good because of all the bad you have?” Alyssa bit back a laugh now as Tierna put the same thing that all of Y/N’s friends and teammates had been thinking for years now.
“Yeah but logical thinking isn’t always her strong suit, which is something i’m certain you could help her out with.” The bright pink flush on Tierna’s freckled face flared back up again now as Alyssa spoke.
As she worked through the keeper's words, internalizing each little sentence, Tierna found herself almost out of her own body. Where she saw things incredibly intellectually, it was only now she noticed just how emotional the seemingly stoic midfielders reactions had been to everything going on at camp both on and off the pitch.
“Look kiddo, I might not be the best with relationships, but if there's one thing I do know is that feelings like the ones you two have don’t just go away. She isn’t going to be able to push you away forever and you won’t be able to let her try to. Love doesn’t work like that.” As soon as she said it, Alyssa realized she’d said too much and promptly decided to shut up as she saw the dumbfounded look on the younger girl's face.
“Love?” Tierna asked, nearly stumbling over the word as she focused closely on the way it felt rolling off her tongue.
“Just an observation.”
“An observation?” Tierna was still dumbfounded, the look in her eyes so distant that Alyssa wasn’t sure she even knew she was speaking.
“Mhm an observation. And speaking of observations, I know you said you aren’t hungry but I also know you haven’t left this room since breakfast. So, you have,”
Alyssa paused briefly to check her watch,
“twenty minutes to join us at team dinner or I’ll send the youngins back up here to drag you downstairs, got it?” Tierna’s eyes went wide in terror at the thought of the youngins dragging her to dinner so she quickly nodded her head in agreement.
“Good, glad that’s settled. See you at dinner, Red Star.” Alyssa grinned, shooting Tierna a sly look as she opened the door to leave.
“Wait! Red Star? How did you…” Tierna blinked slowly, mouth hanging open.
“Happy draft day, kiddo. Oh and, wear something nice.”
Before she could question the keeper any further, Alyssa was out the door, leaving her alone and almost more confused now than she had been before.
When she shut the hotel door behind her, Alyssa let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Glancing around the hall cautiously, she caught a flash of platinum blonde hair peeking out from behind a corner. Straightening her back, she took in another deep breath before-
“Remember, twenty minutes or I get the youngins! We’ll be waiting for you!” A groan could be heard from behind the closed door, followed by the sound of the shower turning on, causing the goalkeeper to chuckle as she walked towards her poorly hidden teammate.
“Twenty minutes on the clock! Get to it and get out of here ladies.” Alyssa rolled her eyes when she rounded the corner and saw Pinoe crouched down, holding her Apple Watch close to her mouth as she whispered into the device.
“You’re not James Bond, Pinoe. You know you could’ve just called them like a normal person?” The forward rose up to her full height and shrugged her shoulders, a silly grin plastered to her face.
“Oh Uncle, since when have I ever done anything like a normal person?” The forward threw her arm over Alyssa’s shoulder, pulling the taller woman down to her level and ruffling her hair. The keeper didn’t protest Pinoe’s actions, just snorted in amusement and continued towards the elevator by her side.
*** Meanwhile, somewhere else in the hotel ***
“I swear t- Tobin Powell Heath! I have no clue how you’re so artistically inclined but can’t match your colors.” Christen flicked the side of her teammates head lightly as the pair searched through the provided fabrics around them.
“It’s not like we were given many options! And artists don’t match, Chris, we just compliment!” Tobin rubbed the spot where she’d been flicked and shot the woman a playful glare, causing the both of them to burst out laughing.
Surrounded by various colors of linens and strings of lights, the two women were working to find the perfect materials to complete their assigned task. It wasn’t necessarily an incredibly hard job for the artistic duo, but the limited materials weren’t helping at all.
“As much as I hate to interrupt this cuteness, Pinoe just came on the walkie-talkie app. Alyssa just left Tierna and we have twenty minutes until dinner and we’re supposed to leave to meet Krashlyn before that soooo…” The pair jumped in surprise as Mal stuck her head into the room, gaining a giggle from the team's youngest forward.
As they recovered from the shock of Mal’s appearance, they registered her words and the newly found time constraint placed on them. Sharing a look, Christen huffed and snatched up the material Tobin had previously shown her.
“Fine, I can work with complimentary.” Getting to her feet, Christen brushed past Mal smoothly, her basket of chosen materials in hand. Rather confused, Mal looked back and forth between an amused Tobin who still sat cross legged on the floor and the hallway Christen had just disappeared into.
“So are we supposed to follow her or w-” Before the question could get all the way out, she was interrupted.
“Hurry up you two, we don’t have all day!” Tobin laughed and shook her head as she stood up before grabbing her own basket and slung an arm across the kids shoulder.
“Come on kiddo, we don’t have all day!” She said the last part almost mockingly, smirking and shooting a wink at Mal that caused both of them to explode into laughter as they left to follow after Christen.
The hotel space turned USWNT dining hall was absolutely abuzz with conversation and laughter as Tierna exited the elevator. Despite her previously heavy mood, something about the sound made her smile. As she approached the open doors, she gave herself a moment to just stand in the doorway and take everything in. The room in front of her was filled with the nation's best and brightest soccer players, women of all sorts of strength and skill gathered united in one place. The sight made a familiar warmth spread throughout Tierna as she scanned the faces of the women in the room, many of them registering as players she had grown up admiring.
As she looked over the crowded room, she couldn’t help searching for a particular face that she couldn’t seem to find. Thankfully, she was saved from the coldness of Y/N’s absence by the delighted cheers of her teammates who had finally noticed her presence.
“Look at you, hot stuff!” The comment was accompanied by a ridiculous amount of hollering and catcalls from the girls. Tierna blushed furiously under everyone's eyes as she adjusted the straps of her olive green jumpsuit.
“Oh cut it out, you all are clearly embarrassing the baby.” Alex was quick to come to the young defender's side, playfully nudging her with her elbow. But well, if Tierna was blushing before, the presence of Alex Morgan nearly set her on fire. The room exploded into laughter but returned mostly to general conversation as Alex linked her arm with Tierna’s and led her into the room. They were walking aimlessly at first but as Alex noticed the younger player begin to search the room again, she quickly threw them both into a conversation with the nearest chaos creators.
“Happy draft night, Baby T! Excited?” As if sensing Alex’s need to distract the girl, Kelley immediately changed the tune of the conversation to fully encompass the girl. Alex let her bright eyes find Kelleys darker ones, silently thanking her for her help, smiling as the defender offered a small nod of the head in acknowledgement.
“Nervous?” Sonnett joined the conversation now, wiggling her eyebrows teasingly.
“Anxious?” Rose’s turn now.
“Concerned?” Of course Mal wanted to add in.
“Those all mean the same thing.” Kelley deadpanned at the youngins who shared glances amongst themselves in embarrassment. Watching the interaction, Tierna couldn’t help but laugh, the bright noise garnering the attention of the group who became all smiles in response.
“Leave them alone Kelley, not everyone got superior education like ours.” The two ex-Cardinal’s shared an arguably childish highfive as the rest of the group mumbled various complaints about the Stanford players.
“Besides, I’m kind of all of those things. Obviously it was a big decision to not play my senior season so I’m just hoping to end up somewhere that I can continue to grow and further improve the skills I learned with Stanford's program.” Tierna flashed a charming, crooked smile, blinking innocently at the group who all rolled their eyes or gagged at her response.
“Wowwww, looks like someone pays attention in media training.” Everyone within earshot laughed at Mal's comment and then began to laugh even louder as Tierna playfully shoved her.
Trusting the young forward had Tierna sufficiently distracted, Alex skillfully turned to do her own scan of the room. Mentally she noted that every player at camp was in the room with the exception of Y/N, Krashlyn, Chris, Tobin, Carli, and JMac.
Somewhat hovering in the doorway was Alyssa who kept her own watchful eye on the room while also listening carefully to the sounds of the hallway behind her. It wasn’t but a second after Alex noted the position of the keeper that the head of Jessica McDonald poked in and whispered something to Alyssa before she fully walked into the room. When Alyssa began to move towards the loud group of chaos creators, the pieces clicked together and Alex grinned.
Phase Five was in motion.
When Alyssa’s large hand fell on her shoulder, Tierna couldn’t help but jump in surprise.
“Look at you, you made it on time!” The keeper gave the girl a crooked smile of her own that Tierna matched as their teammates all watched in amusement.
“Well when you threaten a girl with the wrath of the youngins…” She let her voice trail off as the other girls gasped in exaggerated outrage.
All at once the young players, and Kelley of course, began to argue amongst one another about how they felt to be used as a threat. Mal, who was very much stirring the pot to distract the girls, looked up and shot a quick wink at Alyssa who nodded in response before gently directing Tierna away from the group.
“If I’m being honest? It really didn’t matter if you made it down on time for team dinner.” The keeper's tone was nonchalant, betraying nearly no emotion as a shocked Tierna turned to her as the pair walked away.
“What?! You’re telling me that you rushed me for no reason?” She wouldn’t lie and say she didn’t feel a little betrayed at the moment. Who gives someone twenty minutes to get ready and be dressed nice when they didn’t even need to rush? Well, apparently Alyssa Naeher.
“Didn’t say there wasn’t a reason.” Her words were short, followed by a matching shrug that left Tierna even more confused.
“But you just said that…” Tierna was once again cut short, this time by a sudden rush of warmth washing over her.
She had been so absorbed in the mystery of their conversation that she hadn’t realized that they had exited the dining room and were now standing outside at the front of the hotel. Before she could even attempt to question any further, one of the team vans pulled up in front of them, rear door sliding open as it came to a stop.
“Need a ride?”
An amused Carli was smiling at the pair from the driver’s seat of the van and at this point Tierna didn’t even question it, just looked towards Alyssa blankly for further instruction. Without a word, Alyssa climbed into the van before turning and offering a hand to help Tierna in.
“If I didn’t know this van was watched by US Soccer, I’d worry this was a kidnapping.” Tierna muttered somewhat jokingly, earning a scoff from the front seat.
“Please, give us more credit than that. If this was a kidnapping you wouldn’t have a clue, kid. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.”
When the van came to a stop, Alyssa quickly slipped out and once again a hand was offered to Tierna. Without much thought, Tierna took the extended hand to help her step down. Much to her surprise though was the smoothness of the palm that connected with hers, lacking the calluses of a goalkeeper's grip.
“Careful.” A voice chided her as she nearly stumbled over her own feet as her sandals hit the soft sand below her.
“What are you all doing here?” Christen released Tiernas hand and smiled innocently at her as she and Tobin got into the van.
“Oh y’know, just enjoying the sunset.” Before Tierna could ask anything further, the roughness of Alyssa’s hands that she was steadily growing used was once again guiding her away.
“Where are we even going?”
“Just trust me.”
The ocean was restless, lapping against the shore, searching for a hold it wouldn’t find. The sound was almost deafening in the near silence of the evening. But of course, no silence lasted forever.
“Trust you? Can’t you just tell me?”
Despite the warmth of the night around her, the familiar voice sent a chill through her entire body.
“Didn’t they teach you anything at Stanford? It’s better to show, not tell.”
Typical Naeher, giving just enough information without giving anything at all.
“Alyssa you’re being incredibly…”
A pause. They were here, they could see her now. See the platform in the sand. The candles. The table. The strings of lights she wished would flicker out around her so she could hide herself in the dark glow of the setting sun.
She could just barely see the pair as she stood with her back facing mostly towards them. What she could make out though, was how gentle Alyssa had grown. She could feel, more than see, the keeper encouraging Tierna to move forward. To move towards her. Worse though, was the anxiousness she could feel coming off of Tierna in waves stronger than those from the ocean in front of her.
Taking a deep breath, drawing all the courage she could, she turned around.
“Y/N.” Tierna’s voice was nearly breathless as she let her eyes take in the woman in front of her. Every single cell in Y/N’s body was screaming at her to run, to get away from whatever was about to happen, but she forced herself to stand in place.
“Hi.” It was meek, softer Tierna thought than she had ever heard her speak. Somehow, Tierna tore her eyes from Y/N long enough to turn and look at Alyssa who still stood behind her offering a silent exit strategy.
It was Tierna’s turn now to take a deep breath and turn back around, listening to Alyssa’s footsteps recede, leaving the two alone on the open beach.
Y/N withheld from the urge to take a step backwards as Tierna stepped forward, questioningly approaching the platform.
“An apology, if you’ll let it be.” The answer was raw but the sadness shining in the other girl's eyes told Tierna that it was also incredibly honest. She didn’t acknowledge the answer with words, instead humming in response as she moved to step onto the platform.
For what must have been the third time that day, Tierna had a hand extended to her. Only this time, she hesitated. She knew what it felt like for her skin to touch Y/N’s, recently even a brush in passing proved to be dangerous to her heart, so she couldn’t begin to imagine what taking her hand would feel like. Understanding the situation, Y/N did well to step back and allowed Tierna to step onto the slightly raised wooden platform herself.
“It’s beautiful.” Tierna observed, her voice a gentle rasp that made Y/N smile bashfully as she pulled out a chair for the other woman.
As Y/N moved to take her own seat, Tierna let herself truly take in her surroundings. On second thought, Tierna felt calling the setup beautiful was an understatement. The wooden palette-platform below them offered a sturdy base just above the sand that their table and chairs sat neatly on. The round table was covered with cream cloth that complimented the cushions of their seats as dim fairy lights strung from a few post cast a soft golden light upon them alongside the flickering glow of particularly placed candles.
“Thank you, I figured it’s only fair to give you an ocean sunset after making you run with me to see the sunrise.” The remark was light and playful, much like the normal quips and responses she used to hear from Y/N. The familiarity of her words and the allusion to their morning run made her chuckle softly and Y/N’s face practically lit up at the sound.
A comfortable silence fell over the pair as Y/N produced two plates of food from the basket at her feet. She reached across the table carefully and set one in front of Tierna who observed it with her usual critical gaze. Humming in approval at the meal, she lifted her eyes to Y/N who visibly relaxed at the sound. Tierna opened her mouth to comment on this but the other girl was already leaning down again to retrieve something else from her basket. When she leaned back up, Tierna’s eyes found the bottle the woman held.
“You know I can’t legally drink right?” She sighed, raising an eyebrow in question. Her question was met by an amused laugh from the older player that made her blush a deep pink.
“Of course you can’t drink Baby T, that’s why it’s nonalcoholic.” Y/N winked coyly, smiling as she easily poured the fake champagne into their glasses. Tierna laughed now too, knowing that she probably should have seen that coming.
The atmosphere around them seemed to lighten as they started their meal, both women visibly relaxing. Between the soothing sound of the ocean waves and the light whispering of the salty breath, neither felt pressured to speak. Thus, much of the meal was spent in silence as the pair simply enjoyed being in each other's presence again.
After finishing her food, Tierna slouched back in her chair contentedly. Ever the analyst, she let her eyes flicker up to the woman across from her who was still working intently on finishing her dinner.
Now, sitting here, Tierna watched the woman she’d been missing for days. In the dim golden glow that surrounded them, Tierna felt that Y/N looked nothing short of ethereal.
She wanted to be angry, to be irritated, or at the very least to feel annoyed when she looked at the seemingly stoic forward. After days of avoiding her, she went and did this? Tierna knew that she should be beyond pissed off. It was the rational emotion to feel. When someone disregards your existence and then swoops in to try and sweep you off your feet you shouldn’t feel so calm. Yet for some reason, she was. The moment the pair had finally settled in for dinner, all of the anxious energy that had been building within Tierna for the past few days had entirely dissipated.
“What?” Y/N asked bashfully, catching on to Tierna’s contemplative staring now as she had looked up from her plate to take a sip of her drink.
“Nothing. It’s just…” Tierna meant to say what she’d been thinking.
She wanted the other woman to know her feelings, to be able to communicate with her and avoid future isolation.
But as she went to speak, she made the mistake of looking Y/N in the eyes. Those same intense eyes that had burned into her their first scrimmage together. They looked the same tonight as they had that first day, full of some kind of reserved passion, burning like a cold fire.
“It’s just that this is incredible, Y/N. How did you even manage it?” A flicker of disappointment seemed to flash in those eyes now, as if she knew this wasn’t what Tierna had intended to say. But as quick as it was there, it was gone. Replaced by an amused, almost mischievous, glint.
“Oh well you know, I might have had some help.” Y/N grinned, wiggling her eyebrows playfully at Tierna.
“Alright, I’ll bite. How the hell did you rope our teammates into it?” Tierna leaned forward in her seat now, elbows on the table and head perched in her hands as she listened curiously.
“It didn’t take much roping, honestly, at least not on my part. Alyssa and Ali handled most of it if I’m honest.”
“How would they ever manage that?”
“Let’s just say Lyssa can be very scary, Al is a literal mother bear, and our forwards felt very guilty.” Y/N gave Tierna a pointed look here and watched on as she connected the dots as to why the forwards were feeling guilty.
“Oh my god!” Tierna exclaimed, suddenly realizing. “All of this big bad Bruin bullshit was because the forwards were picking on you and called you soft, wasn’t it?!?!”
The defenders' words quickly turned Y/N’s face redder than the USWNT secondary jerseys.
“Yeah...I’m sorry.” Y/N muttered in embarrassment, eyes fixed on the table in front of her. The bright flash of realization was gone from Tierna’s face now and replaced by something much softer as she watched the girl in front of her.
“Y/N…” Tierna wasn’t sure she could find the words to say after that. Instead, she reached across the table and let one hand settle on top of Y/N’s who had been fidgeting with her glass. Y/N wasn’t sure if it was the softness in the way the other girl said her name or the warmth of her touch but every cell in her body suddenly felt as if it was on fire.
“No, really Ti, I’m sorry.” Y/N looked up now, eyes sparkling with a degree of both sadness and sincerity that made Tierna’s heartbreak.
Silence settled over the pair, not quite uncomfortable but certainly charged with a certain undeniable tension. Tierna’s hand remained on top of Y/N’s, absentmindedly tracing patterns along the soft skin with her finger. The defender's touch was warm and Y/N reveled in it, enjoying the energy each delicate pattern sparked in her. Sighing in content, she was convinced she could live in this moment forever.
However when a cold breeze rolled in off the ocean's waves, she was whisked back to the reality of how the pair had ended up here in the first place.
“I… I have something for you.” Y/N admitted hesitantly, staring down at the table.
“Y/N, you didn-” At the chiding sounds of Tierna’s voice, she was quick to look up. The bashful embarrassment her eyes had held seconds earlier was replaced by the same stubborn fire they had burned with the first time the pair met.
“No, don’t. I did need too!” She protested as she pulled back from Tierna’s touch, instantly missing the warmth.
“You already did all this,” Tierna sighed, smiling softly, “I don’t need anything else.”
“Well, I wanted to.” There was an evident pout in Y/N’s tone as she stood up and crossed over to get whatever it was she was after. It was a sound Tierna would’ve found annoying on anyone else since she hated whining, but coming from Y/N she couldn’t help but smile softly while rolling her eyes.
“Well I guess there’s no stopping you when you put your mind to something.” Tierna said softly, causing a hot blush to settle over the face of the girl with her back turned. Y/N coughed, attempting to shake off the flustered spell that had washed over her so she could respond.
“Look at you, you’re learning!” She joked coyly, smirking as she turned around with the white rectangular box.
“What’s that?” Tierna eyed the box questioningly, unsure as to what the forward could have gotten her.
Y/N’s smirk turned into a smile now, happy to see that the other girl was actually intrigued with the concept of her gift.
“Well, I know you can’t technically have it now, but by the time season starts back up you can.” Tierna tilted her head in confusion, her gaze as cool and calculating as ever as she tried to decipher the little clue she’d been given. Meanwhile, Y/N crossed the small space to stand beside Tierna’s chair.
She intended to hold the gift for longer, give the younger girl more clues and make her use that Stanford education to guess what was inside the box.
But, she made a mistake. As she hovered by Tierna’s seat with the present, she looked down. She looked down and Tierna looked up. The position seemed innocent in nature but with Tierna in her seat, looking up with curiosity sparkling in her stormy eyes, Y/N could feel her breath catch in her throat.
“Here.” Her voice was low and gruff, the abnormal sound catching Tierna off guard. Nevertheless, the defender reached for the rectangular box, eyes scanning it curiously.
“What’s this?” Inspecting the box closely, she fully prepared to give it a good shake but thankfully Y/N was quick on her feet both on and off the pitch.
“Don’t!” Y/N yelped, her hand shooting out to secure the box as the grey eyed girl grinned up at her. “It’s fragile.” She muttered, embarrassed by the rather frantic outburst.
Tierna chuckled but listened to the older girl as she slowly set the box down. Under the forward's worried and watchful gaze, she skillfully undid the ribbons wrapped around the light blue box. It was with that same skill that she carefully slid off the top of the box to reveal contents.
“Y/N, I…” To say the defender was at a loss for words would be an understatement.
“Like I said I know you can’t have it now and I mean I have a plan for it but I know you won’t play for us until after we get home from the World Cup and who knows how long that will be if we end up winning the damn tournament and-”
She stopped her words short when she caught Tierna’s eyes on her, realizing that she had been rambling nervously while the younger woman simply stared at her.
“Where did you even get this? Actually, HOW did you get this?” Tierna’s gaze flitted away from Y/N and down to truly inspect her new gift.
Practically cradled in her arms was a brilliant dark blue wine bottle with a label made to resemble the Chicago Red Stars crest.
“Well when you’ve been in the city as long as I have, you make friends in all kinds of places. Including vineyards outside the city limits and also thirty something year old creative moms with label makers and too much time on their hands. And then around here you make friends on staff who love you and don’t mind randomly helping you sneak in a bottle of wine on a rush job.” Y/N scratched the back of her neck, a slight blush on her cheeks in embarrassment.
“I didn’t think you knew, to be honest. Or didn’t care at least. I mean when I came down and you weren’t at the team's party or whatever...” At this point the defender's eyes had begun to water as her thumb lightly traced one of the blue lines that encircled the bottle.
Without another thought, Y/N sank to her knees in front of the still seated girl, trying desperately to get on her eye level.
“Of course I care! It’s draft day, that’s a huge deal. Especially since you’re going to be a Red Star too.” Y/N smiled gently at Tierna who sniffled as she looked up, the beginnings of a smile starting to show on her face now too.
“How’d you know? I didn’t even know until they made me film that video and you didn’t even really know me until recently.” It was almost as if the amount of questions Tierna had tonight was endless though Y/N couldn’t say she blamed her.
“Like I said, when you’ve been around the city as long as I have, you make friends in all kinds of places, including my place of work. Besides, I may not have known you personally but I have known of you and played against you so it wasn’t even hard to figure out that you’d be first pick.” Now it was Tierna’s turn to blush as she glanced away from the older woman and down to the bottle.
“Red wine, I presume?” Y/N chuckled but nodded her head in confirmation.
“It only seemed fitting for a Red Star's first bottle to be red wine.” Both of them laughed now and Y/N wasn’t at all ashamed to admit how much she missed that sound.
“Thank you.” Tierna smiled, reaching out to place a hand on Y/N’s knee which only caused the forward's smile to grow wider and blush to burn brighter.
“Of course. I mean, thank you, truthfully. I was being a bitch and you caught the brunt of it and I’m so sorry for that. I just… I want to fix anything I’ve broken between us.” The admittance was barely above a whisper but the beach was quiet and Tierna heard it loud and clear.
“You do?” Another question from Tierna.
“I do.” And another answer Y/N was more than happy to supply.
The only sound around them was the wind and the air that escaped their lips.
“I do too.”
The three words were quieter even than Y/N’s own had been moment’s before but the breeze off the sea carried them directly to her ears, causing her head to snap up from its relaxed position.
“You do?” Her eyes were full of an emotion Tierna couldn’t quite place but Y/N could name it easily.
Longing. Longing to fix what years of repressed pain had tried to ruin for her now. Longing to be able to heal herself and be good for the woman in front of her. Longing to be with Tierna Davidson, for better or for worse.
“Of course I do.” Tierna moved the hand that had previously been on Y/N’s knee up to rest on the forward’s cheek, letting her thumb trace softly against her cheekbone.
Nearly every thought left her mind as she leaned into Tierna’s touch. Naturally the pair relaxed into each other until their foreheads were softly pressed together and their noses barely brushed.
Y/N will always argue that it was her who moved first, but neither of them really knew.
All they knew was the feeling of their lips meeting. There might have been fireworks or sparks during that kiss but all they cared about was the others' touch. Tierna’s chapped lips moved against Y/N’s soft ones, both working together delicately as if they were afraid that anything too harsh or sudden would break them both into pieces again.
When her eyes fluttered open to stare into Tiernas, the waves could be heard crashing in the distance, and Y/N thought in that moment how amazing it was that she could be so far from the water and still feel like she was drowning.
“So much for being a Big Bad Bruin, huh?” The defender chuckled, causing Y/N to roll her eyes.
“Shut up and kiss me again.”
And so she did.
Tierna kissed her again there on that beach.
And back in the hotel.
And again in France in front of the Eiffel Tower.
And then again in France in front of a packed stadium and on national television after they won the World Cup.
And then at all the celebrations, when Y/N tasted of champagne and beer that Tierna couldn’t drink.
And of course, she kissed her again on the 19th of September somewhere in the streets of Chicago when both of their lips tasted of hard won red wine.
But Tierna’s favorite kiss came years after that night on the beach. It was the day Y/N got to actually promise to be with Tierna for better or for worse. Right after they exchanged “I do’s” as more than just an acceptance of an apology,
in front of all their closest friends and family, Tierna kissed her Big Bad Bruin.
Again and always.
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