"You trust me, righ'?" Kelly says, staring Alisha in the eyes with an intensity that is nothing short of unnerving. There is something completely direct about her, utterly inescapable. Alisha likes that. No bullshit. "And I trust you. So there's no problem, is there?"
"It's dangerous," Alisha says. She has gloves up to her elbows these days and she dresses like a nun; it isn't right, it doesn't feel like her, but after all of the close calls that she's had she can't risk it any more. These powers, they take their toll. She thinks maybe it's the pair of them, the girls, who have been hit the worst. "It's getting stronger."
"I'll be tied down, yeah? I know I'm hard, but I can't break steel." She tugs on the handcuffs, just to prove her point. They clink diligently, unbreakable. "You tie me down, touch me, and then we know if your power works on me or not. Makes sense."
"It could go wrong," Alisha points out. "This is us. It will go wrong."
The handcuffs have probably been affected by the storm themselves, and something terrible will happen when they try to use them, but Alisha is extremely distracted from her worries when Kelly abruptly tugs off her own shirt, revealing her ample bosom barely contained in the white cotton of her bra, too small, leaving the top of her breasts spilling over. It shouldn't be half as attractive as it is, not when Alisha thinks of the delicate frills and bright colours of the contents of her own underwear drawer, but she can't stop staring, can't stop wanting.
"Alright," she says breathlessly, while Kelly reaches behind herself to fiddle with her bra clasp, unleashing her boobs. "Let's do it; let's try it."
Kelly grins, bright and smug and a little bit too like Nathan for Alisha's comfort, and she kicks off her shoes and socks as Alisha watches, unable to move. Alisha's not used to being nervous. She used to own her sexuality, used to wield it like her favourite weapon, but that's been taken from her, now. The storm stole her agency from her, stole her goddamn cunt, and now she's fighting to get it back, to get something back.
She reaches for the fingers of her gloves, never taking her eyes from Kelly, and she slowly pulls first one hand free, and then the other. The air alone feels like heaven against her skin; she has to keep herself hidden so often, now, for her own safety, for the safety of her friends.
Kelly shifts up the bed, wriggling out of her tight jeans as she goes and leaving them in a messy heap on the floor. She gives the headboard a good tug and then settles down on her back, clipping one hand neatly to the headboard. It is done so quickly that Alisha can only imagine that she's been practicing, or she's done this before - she can't help arching one amused eyebrow, as she strides around to the side of the bed.
"Shut up, knobhead," Kelly snaps even if Alisha hasn't said a word. "Go and do my other wrist, then. I can't reach."
Very gingerly, Alisha reaches over with her bare hands to capture Kelly's free wrist, clicking the circle of metal around it until she is secured. "Try and escape or something," Alisha instructs, standing upright and looking down at Kelly in her underwear.
Kelly gives a few hard tugs, enough to make the bed shake, but they hold firm. "Touch me," she instructs, gesturing at her body with an insistent nod of her head. "C'mon, I wanna see what happens."
Alisha does too - that is why her heart is hammering and her breath is short and she can see her hand shaking as she reaches out for the soft flesh of Kelly's stomach.
She knows, logically, what is going to happen. Her power will jerk through her and Kelly will change. All rationality will fade from her eyes and filth will spew from her lips; she will surge up in her bonds and fight and it won't stop until the connection is broken, until Alisha's heart sinks and she pulls abruptly away.
But maybe -
Maybe Kelly is special. Maybe she's different, somehow, because she's a woman or because she's been affected by the storm or because she's a telepath or because she's Kelly, damn it, and she can punch this right in the face before it takes over her mind.
Alisha's fingers tremble before she forces her hand to touch down, the solid warmth of Kelly's skin beneath her. She braces herself, ready for the inevitable, ready to reap what she has sown and ready to watch her friend vanish before her eyes, replaced by a monster.
And yet - nothing happens.
Kelly is Kelly.
"Told ya," Kelly croons. "It's different wiv' me."
Alisha stares at her hand for a frozen moment, and she absorbs the warmth beneath her fingers. She curls her hand against Kelly's flesh and follows every single breath, soaking it up as if Kelly is breathing life into her with every rise and fall of her chest.
"Alisha," Kelly whines to get her attention, wriggling her hips in a way that is nothing short of an invitation.
Without stopping to remove her clothes, Alisha launches herself onto the bed, smile on her face as she feels human warmth against her hands, beneath her body, against her tongue: she touches everything she can, until Kelly breaks apart for her, panting, screaming and beautiful.