Sam probably could have noticed it sooner. He thought he probably should have noticed it sooner, the way the circuits on Quorra's hand changed color when they were holding hands, in particular where her fingers were touching her suit. It didn't matter if they were gloved or not. Unless something was happening that held her entire attention, when they were holding hands on the Grid, his was bathed with that faint purple that he hadn't really seen elsewhere in the system.
It took him nearly a week - User world time, with just about daily work together inside - to be sure of his conclusion, and then he just asked. After knowing her for nearly four years, he thought he should have noticed sooner, if it was this persistent. Was something wrong?
Quorra reacted, to his utter bewilderment, with a kind of bashfulness that he had expected and never witnessed when they were making their first sexual steps together, nearly a year ago. Sure, they hadn't been her first by then, but she didn't seem to have the same... giggly? Type of reaction most women still early on in the process of figuring it out had.
"It's..." She kept her eyes down as she did let out a small giggle. Then looked up, almost apologetic. "It's a sign of stimulation."
Well. That was just like her. One word and the ball was in his court, and now he was staring and their still-linked hands. "I don't..."
"You don't have actual circuits under the suit. They are... it's more pronounced, underneath." And again, only one word. Plus that little shift of her hips that he shouldn't have noticed when he kept looking between her face and their hands, but he did. Sam swallowed, then fixed his eyes on hers. Slowly, he let the smile back on his face, he'd gulped it somewhere with the unexpected revelations.
That surprised him. "Hmm?"
"For one thing, I never have... done this. Back before everything went wrong, I wasn't really that interested yet - sometimes it takes a little longer, just like with the corresponding activities outside. And then everything was going wrong. And then it was just him and me," the tiny pause was still there, even after all this time, and he didn't know if she was making it because of her own reasons or because she respected his moment out of time at the mention of the time she'd spent with his father, "and it was never really anything of the sort, and the times I ventured back onto the Grid itself... I couldn't ever let my guard down that much." Deep breath, even if she didn't exactly need air here, not the way she did outside. She'd definitely picked up a lot of habits, along her long way to here and now. "And for another thing, I couldn't... give back. It would be just me taking, and that hardly seems fair. And--"
She was babbling. Sam had to blink through the information she was giving him to register, but she was babbling because she was nervous and that just. Worried him a little, because her nervous usually translated to danger or something that he wasn't really prepared to deal with, either, so he reached up to cup her cheek, to reassure her. "Hey, it's all right, I--" get it, except he got distracted.
He'd never realized that all of her skin could have circuits. But at the touch of his hand, her face almost blossomed in a faint purple color, the glow coming from hairline-thin but implacable little proofs that, especially in here, she was a very different creature from him. Her eyes half-closed, the pleasure clear and, just as clearly, unexpected.
Outside, he could spend a long time to get that expression on her face, and then he was usually too carried away himself, by that point to fully appreciate it. Here, it tugged on him, so hard...
"I'm... sorry." He started to pull his hand away, but her own flew up to hold his own closer. "Don't be. I just..." Heavy-lidded eyes, God, what was this girl even doing to him anymore... "Not here."
Okay, yes. That was a good point. He nodded, and she let go, but only so they could rezz in their lightcycles. Sure, the place was still far from populated, but that didn't mean that it was deserted. Or that in the middle of a walk, it was in any way comfortable.
Not the way the little nest in the cliffs was comfortable. Sure, it was bare, but that didn't really seem to matter. She ran her fingers along the wall, her eyes growing distant for a moment.
"Hey." He ran his fingers along her arm, to hold her hand, and the purple flicker followed his motion. Quorra started. "I'm sorry..."
"No, don't be. Just... memories." She squeezed his fingers, stepped closer and his arms enfolded her automatically. "We lived here, for a while. It was outfitted and everything, before the Reintegration." Breath, and she looked up at him, and he could see the two main lines along her chest and their changed color. "It'll do."
"Yeah..." Sam's head was swimming a little, between the second-hand emotional whiplash of the place and the very, very first-hand emotional and physical reaction to her, and to this new aspect of her. "Is it..." This time, his hand running down her arm was deliberate. "Does it hurt?"
"No!" Her head whipped up. "No, it doesn't. It can be slightly distracting, but never unpleasant. That I've felt, I mean. Hold on."
She slipped away from his embrace and took a few lithe steps; but only so she could get rid of the suit.
Now, the sight that greeted him should have been familiar. And it was, in the shape of it. But Quorra's body inside the Grid that bore her did not, in fact, look like her body out in the User world. It reminded him she was not human in ways intimacy, even with her infinite innocence and enthusiasm combined never did.
It was... hot.
She only stayed away briefly, letting him look. The lines that were mirrored by her suit were visible, true, but they were far from being as prominent as they seemed against the black armor. Instead, they were surrounded by a labyrinth of finer and finer lines, growing delicate and into invisible, away from them. And away from a couple of more lines that the armor did not show.
Sam reached and she came. Her lips were strange against his, and he realized they were always either coming in alone, or entirely too busy, to have ever kissed inside the system. Drier, firmer, and at the same time as soft and sweet and pliant as always. He lost himself into the strange-familiar kiss, breathing her in for a time he couldn't determine.
When he could focus again, she was guiding his hands. Even so slight as running his fingertips along the circuits left a vivid, bright trace over them, and running his finger across... it was like some sort of electric, visual harp, except for the melody that came out, Quorra's little gasps and shifts, and the little moan when his palm moved down her shoulder.
This? Was like nothing he had ever seen or experienced, and that was even aside from how the Grid had managed to surprise him once again. It explained a lot... and he wasn't thinking about that right now at all.
They ended up sitting in one of the corner of the small cave, him with his back against the wall and her curled up into him and his hand moving along every exposed inch of her skin. Each seemed to have a wider and wider effect, until her whole body seemed to be glowing, and she was squirming against him, moaning, nuzzling his chin and arching into the touch. It was blowing his mind, seeing the kind of effect he could have. Did have. And the trust, for her to lose control like this while he didn't...
Well. Mostly didn't. The suit had gotten uncomfortable even before they sat down, and now it nearly chafed, especially with the motions of her body against him. But he ignored that, as much as he could. The most effective ares had nothing to do with User anatomy. The curve of her shoulders was more sensitive than her breasts, for example, and, while the inside of her thighs almost mad her glow, the area actually between her legs was unimportant. It was learning her body all over again, and the beauty of it was only enhanced by the glow, the lines, and, just towards the end, the rainbow near-sparks that followed his touch.
Then she arched up, letting out a low cry that splinted into digital and faded helplessly, and stilled.
The kind of stillness he'd only seen once. When her arm had been missing.
Panic shot through him, almost painful when it mixed with his erection, and he wrapped around her, arms and legs. His pulse thundered in his ears, through his body, until he noticed that the purple hue was fading, slowly, to a steady white again, and the most delicate circuits were fading into invisibility again.
Eventually, she whimpered, and her hand wrapped around his arm. Almost too hard.
"Oh." At least her voice was back to normal. No jagged pixelation of the sound. No hint of ending... no. He put that thought away. And as she shifted, cuddling closer, she finally felt the part of him propping her... insistently. After a moment, her face turned up to him, drained, her circuits dimmer but her eyes bright and mischievous. "So... you liked it, too?"
"It's..." He cleared his throat. "Certainly nothing like what I expected."
"But you liked it." She was so, so very beautiful...
"Next time, we're both without suits."
... okay, yes, that got his attention. "Mmm..."
Her laughter was silver and bright, and she wiggled away, pointing a finger at him. "Strip."
"I'll be cold."
"It's not cold."
"Oh, you'll like it."
And, as her lips wrapped about his finally-free erection, he had to admit that... yeah. He did.