Chapter 1: realpestilence -- Slade/Dick, neither one expecting to catch fire like that :D
Grayson's pretty when he's angry, and that's all Slade's thinking about as he leans in teasingly, holding the kid in place with one hand in his ridiculous floppy hair. Grayson puppy-growls something about the Titans getting there soon and Slade not getting away with this -- the heroes don't admit it, but they monologue too -- and Slade cuts him off with a hard kiss.
At least, that was the plan, but the kid's mouth -- he freezes in shock, but for a much briefer moment than Slade expects before his lips ripple into action, as nimbly as he ever jumps or scrambles, mouth opening under Slade's as if in surrender, drawing him into soft heat. Slade curls his hand behind the kid's head, tilting it as he sinks into the improved angle; Dick gives him a teasing flicker of tongue and he chases it, delving into the kid's tender, skillful mouth --
The proximity alarm vibrates against his wrist, and the hell of it is, the Titans really are inside ten km of their location. Slade tears himself out of the kiss and finds Grayson much too wide-eyed to successfully glare, the kid's chest actually heaving. Slade forces a smirk, stealing as much of a glance as he can as he heads out; if he lingers any longer they really will catch him, and won't that be a kick in the pants?
Chapter 2: Sharpestscalpel -- Gaila/McCoy - consent!
"Miss Gaila, may I ask you a question?" Gaila looks up into Leonard's curious face as he adds, "In my professional capacity." She nods, and he continues, "How are those suppressants working for you?"
She shrugs, but that's not really enough of an answer, so after a moment she elaborates. "They're fine. I mean... I feel a little congested sometimes, as if in my sinuses but all over, but usually, they're fine." Something in his attentive nod, in his calm dappled eyes, prompts her to add, "People's ideas about the effectiveness of Orion pheremones are exaggerated anyway -- I've done some reading."
It's his turn to shrug, nodding again. "So have I, and you're right. Humanoid susceptibility is, as one researcher put it, 'all over the map.'"
"Yeah," Gaila says, her mouth pulling into something vaguely like a smile. "But I went on the suppressants anyway because don't want anyone to say -- I don't want anyone to feel -- that I left them no choice. Especially so they can't use it as an excuse to ignore mine."
Leonard's breath catches, and he looks so ... as Gaila's trying to think of the right word in any language, his face changes to sympathetic from what she finally names as 'appalled', never once shifting through pity. When he smiles she smiles back, and asks, "Doctor Leonard, may I kiss you?"
He blinks, and smiles wider. "Miss Gaila, I'd be pleased," he says, so she leans forward and does.
Chapter 3: lomedet -- Numb3rs, Charlie/Amita. "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
The only thing better than one's own eureka moment, Charlie thinks as he watches Amita's fingers blur over the keyboard, is sparking one in someone else. "I think..." she murmurs to the music of rapidly clattering keys, "I think... yes, yes! It's working, Charlie!" Her smile widens to beaming and he grins, catching her happiness like a fire.
He's too busy to actually talk, and his silence makes her cock her head and look up at him. "What are you looking at?" Amita asks, eyebrows up and eyes shining.
Charlie answers, since he can, "You're glowing." And because he can he leans his hip on her desk, watching her eyebrows pull down as her smile sharpens, and leans in to kiss her.
Chapter 4: samalander --- Gaila/Uhura: New Ways of Speaking
Kissing Terrans makes Gaila feel telepathic, even though like almost all Orions she's psi-null. She doesn't think it's their latent low-level psi abilities either; it's just that they put statements into their kisses, so much of what they're thinking and feeling and what they want to convey. It's almost like the language of pheromones and emotions, but less volitional and yet more directed.
Gaila thinks of that now as Nyota climbs out of bed, aleepy-eyed and mouth downcurved, and clambers into Gaila's, fitting their limbs together as if she needs warmth. Maybe she does; when Gaila kisses her, Nyota tastes dimly of distress, as if her dreams disturbed her. Gaila winds an arm around her waist and strokes a hand over her sleek head, kissing her mouth soft, kissing the sour disquiet away until Nyota tastes warm and pleasantly distracted from whatever it was, until Nyota heats up to sweet sharpness and nips Gaila's lip as she kisses back.
Chapter 5: ladydey -- Prince!Jim verse - A day when Lenora is/seems so fed up with all the pomp and rules that Jim thinks that she will leave him.
Jim has known where Lenora and Jojo were the whole time, of course. The palace may have been built out of a medieval castle, but these days it has 21st Century surveillance technology and thoroughly trained staff, and Bones didn't actually sneak off the grounds. It breaks his heart a little that she didn't try; maybe she's right about this being the proverbial gilded cage.
No, of course she's right. Didn't he run away from it himself, only a few years ago? Ran away, seeking the world, and found his Bones.
Now he leaves her alone, and his Mother hoists a queenly eyebrow but says nothing. He completes his day's assignments, eats a lonely dinner and keeps waiting. At ten thirty Lenora brings Jojo into the nursery, at which point Jim turns off the tracking program, sets his laptop down, and goes to bed instead of opening the door and stepping through, even though he's itching to see her lovely scowl, to hear her deadpan alto commentary, to kiss Jojo's little cheeks and Bones wherever she'll let him. He switches their pillows, breathes the scent of her hair, and doesn't sleep.
It's almost midnight before the servants' door opens and Bones slips into their bedroom, her footfalls slow and uneven. Jim looks up but her eyes are half closed, she drops her dress beside their bed and climbs in wearing her underwear, tucks her head under his chin and curls against his chest as if she'll go right to sleep.
Jim swallows a hundred questions and a thousand promises, and only lets himself say, "Hey, I'm glad you're here."
"Wouldn't be, except for you," she mumbles into his neck, and his heart unknots. She follows it with a kiss on his jaw, and Jim can let everything else wait until morning, he tilts his head and aligns his lips with hers.
Chapter 6: Starsandgraces - Winona/George - the first or the last.
"... And when I actually got to go out to a planetary nebula it was just breathtaking," Winona continued, sketching out the multilayered shells of gas in the air above them, or at least waving her hands as if she could. George watched them flutter -- long-fingered graceful hands that he already knew could fold into tight hard fists -- and thought as long as he dared about what they might feel like on his face, on his shoulders, curling busily around his --
"Earth to Kirk," yanked him out of his fantasies and face to face with Winona's acerbic eyebrows and tilted smirk. "You listening to me at all?"
George inhaled to answer, juggling an apology and a gamble as he watched her bright eyes crinkle, and decided to go for it. "Of course I am," he said, turning up the power on his own smile. "Planetary nebulas are fascinating, Warp engines are hot, and I would really love to kiss you if you're okay with that."
Winona looked gobsmacked for one heartstopping moment as George hoped extra strength hard he hadn't fucked this up. Then she grinned, bright and wide, a little growl of interest tucked behind her teeth as she swung her leg over his lap, kneeling astride him and throwing her arms around his neck. "Yeah, I'm okay with that," she purred, and George tucked his hands behind her back and tugged her up to his mouth as she sank those hands into his hair.
Chapter 7: azephirin -- STXI, Kirk/Pike, order.
When Pike's breathing settles to evenness under Jim's cheek, Jim opens his eyes and stares at the dim ceiling, breathing in Pike's crisp musk and allowing himself a bit of worry. He hasn't let himself show anything but confidence about tomorrow, telling everyone his first Kobayashi Maru was just a trial run, but here in the dark he's still not sure he can pull it off. He's got a couple of ideas about how to get that crew from out under the Klingons' noses, but neither seems all that likely to succeed. The first requires split-second timing, and neither McKenna nor Sulu were available to work the helm, and the second --
"You," Pike rumbles above Jim's head, "are the loudest thinker I've ever met." Jim tips his face up and Pike's frowning, or trying to, but there's laughter in his eye-crinkles and sparkles in his night-translucent eyes. Jim opens his mouth, but Pike runs right over him with, "Turn your brain off and go to sleep. That's an order."
Jim's breath catches, Pike's command tingling down his nerves and somehow unknotting them; his whole body just eases, and he grins in gratitude. "Yes, Sir," he answers, and pushes up for a quick kiss. Pike returns it softly, and though by the time Jim backs off he's got an eyebrow hoisted, the corner of his mouth is curled up too.
Jim just grins back, his cheek brushing Pike's chest hair as he shuts his eyes.
Chapter 8: thistlerose -- Spock/Uhura: "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands"
She is coming off shift, he is going on his. They only have a little time, but time can be manipulated to subjectivity. They stand together in her quarters, fingers lightly laid to fingers, fingers gently touching brow. Nyota closes her eyes on the sight of Spock's intent face, takes a deep breath, and feels....
She feels her nerves lighting up, individually and simultaneously, streams of light curling through her, tingling, sparking, crackling through her. She feels Spock's unwavering concentration as he traces each and every thread of pleasure through her, the meshing currents as her body quivers with radiance from top to toes until she moans aloud and her knees give out.
Spock catches her, his hands glowing hot either side of her waist, and Nyota laughs breathlessly as he helps her sit on her bed, as he brushes his lips over her temples and her forehead.
Chapter 9: yeomanrand -- White Collar Neal/Jones, Why The Hell Not.
"You think you're immune," Neal announces, giving his voice a teasing lilt. "You think you can't be conned."
Jones shrugs politely, spreading his hands over the table. "What can I say, man? I'm sorry, but I've always been down to Earth, it's part of why I wanted to join the FBI. I don't have any pie-in-the-sky dreams or goals for someone to play off of."
Neal leans back a little, nodding firmly, and smiles as if in aquiescence. Jones visibly relaxes, and Neal knows better than to let the flash of triumph show as he holds out his hand. "All right, then. To the Unswindlable Man." Jones grips Neal's hand firmly, and Neal turns it on the upswing, pressing his lips warmly to the middle two of Jones' big strong knuckles, smiling as he lifts his head to see Jones' eyes wide and clear brown in his handsomely shocked face.
Chapter 10: ladydey -- Mirror!Kirk/Mirror!Leah - The first time Jim realizes that Leah is just as dangerous and mirror'verse BAMF as he is.
It's like deliberately slamming into a wall to check his instinctive rush. Jim's blood is pumping with a hundred percent life as only a fight or a fuck make him feel, and when he sees who the last Klingon's trying to subdue, his first impulse is to fling himself on the brute's back with daggers raised. But something about the pattern of Bones's struggles -- she's feinting, Jim realizes, pressing his back to the bulkhead just in case as he watches her bat at the Klingon with her right hand, her left twisting behind her as if she's groping to support herself, only not quite.
The Klingon thinks he has her, growling triumph as he pushes her arms to her sides, but there's a flash of silver in her left hand, pressed against his wrist, and he doesn't even have time to finish his bellow before he slumps. Bones ducks away as he collapses, her eyes wide, her breasts heaving in her stupid boy uniform, and Jim wants so much to fuck her right up against the bulkhead.
He doesn't. He steps forward and says, "Shoot him again." She looks up, her plush mouth opening, but she bends and does it, then backs away as Jim strides over and plants a foot on the prone Klingon's back.
"Christ Jesus," she whispers, and this close Jim can see her start shaking. "I think, two double doses..." She stops and swallows obviously, the line of her throat tender and tempting, and continues, "That much might kill him."
"Awesome either way!" Jim can't hold still anymore. He lunges and grabs Bones with three fingers of each hand, carefully tilting his daggers away from her arms as he drags her forward and mashes their mouths together. Her answer is a deliciously fierce noise of protest, and Jim shoves his tongue into her buzzing mouth, so turned on his thighs are quivering.
He still has cleanup to oversee, though, and if he actually does fuck Bones here in public she'll probably take it as some kind of punishment, she's quirky that way. So Jim makes himself shove her away again, and she stumbles backwards over the Kingon's arm, smudging her mouth on her hand, glaring heatingly at him. "What the fuck was that," she snaps, sticking "Captain?" on the end like the afterthought it usually is from her.
Jim laughs in sheer uncomplicated delight and makes sure to kick the Klingon as he steps off him. "A commendation on your badassery, Doctor McCoy," he tells her as he wipes his daggers on his trousers and holsters them, making sure he waggles his eyebrows as he adds, "your reward for taking a prisoner will come later tonight."
Her shoulders are stiff when he wraps his arm around them, but her standoffishness is always fun to break through, and she does at least look up at him, even if sideways. "Oh, I can't wait," she murmurs dubiously, and it takes every last bit of captainly self-restraint to just squeeze her shoulders instead of kissing her sarcastic mouth.
Chapter 11: rodneyscat--Pippin/Diamond, curious
Lightly, lingeringly, Diamond's lips pulled from his, and Pippin opened his eyes to see her regarding him quizzically, her head tilted so her bright hair flowed over her shoulder. "What is it?" he asked, outwardly cheeky, inwardly quailing, "have I lost my savor?"
"No, you taste as sweet as ever," she told him, for she was ever direct and he always loved that of her, "but your mouth's not as tender in its way. I'm not displeased," she added, laying her fingertips to his lips, "it's been a year of uncommon changes for us all, and when I kissed you last you weren't a soldier."
Pippin had to smile at that, and saw its wistful edge reflected in her dark eyes as he kissed her fingers and she curved them to his cheek. "So it has," he agreed, "but perhaps you can help me find my way back to being your simple lad again."
Diamond smiled wider, leaning closer even as she shook her head. "Or better, we can find our way forward together," she murmured, and tipped her face up to kiss him again.
Chapter 12: weepingnaiiad -- Jim/Gaila/Bones - hush
Jim wakes suddenly to utter quiet. Or -- no, to two sets of slow even breathing beside him, Gaila draped on his shoulder and Bones tucked behind her, arm slung across her waist and hand splayed on Jim's belly. Jim blinks into the darkness of polarized windows and deep Gamma shift, and listens, thinking carefully about nothing at all. Not about how he's responsible for their lives, for everyone's, for the beautiful ship they inhabit.
Eventually he sighs, and kisses Gaila's cheek very lightly, and shifts sideways out of bed. If he can't sleep he might as well get something done.
As he turns to swing his legs out of bed a soft hand closes around his wrist. "Jim?" Gaila whispers, and he smiles as he turns back to her, wider when Bones snorts and gropes over his hip to tug him back into bed.
"Hey," Jim whispers, lying back down, and Gaila presses her smile to his chest as she snuggles in under his chin.
"Hush your racket," Bones grouses back, "some of us are trying to sleep," and as Jim snickers behind his hand, Bones strokes upward to lay his over Jim's heart.
Chapter 13: old_blueeyes -- Kirk/Sulu, dress uniforms
In his dress uniform, not a hair out of place, Hikaru looks as clean and precise as his sheathed katana, and a tangle of emotions writhes around in Jim's chest as he looks at him. He wants to thwack Hikaru on the back and loudly proclaim him the pride of the Enterprise, or grab him by the arm, haul him in and mess him up thoroughly until he's wild-eyed and gleaming with sweat, or run off with him to race shuttles through the blue infinity of Xellos IV's sky.
He doesn't do any of those things, of course, since he can actually behave himself. But he does wrangle it so they end up alone in the turbolift and he can turn to Hikaru and say, "Hey, Hikaru?"
"What, Captain?" Hikaru answers, all sharp-eyed business and obviously hoping Jim will remember they have a job to do.
"C'mere?" Jim will, when the doors open. Hikaru steps closer, looking curious, and Jim sets a light hand on his immaculate shoulder and gives him a firm kiss, resisting the temptation to crumple their uniforms with each other's chests.
Hikaru breathes a low noise and honestly does kiss back, even if when Jim steps away he blinks open shining eyes below raised eyebrows. "What was that?"
"You look too good to resist," Jim explains with a great big grin, adding, "Lieutenant," just as Hikaru starts to smile and the doors open.
Chapter 14: secretsolitaire -- Kirk/McCoy -- extra pilows
Leonard lurches muzzily from sleep to the music of rhythmic grunting. He pries open his gummy eyes, batting away the pillow attempting to smother him, and groans when it tumbles off the bed onto the floor.
Jim chuckles, kind of breathlessly, and grunts again. Leonard rolls his eyes in Jim's direction, then blinks again, not quite believing what he sees.
Jim is doing pull-ups in the bathroom doorway, looking down at his toes, or -- no, even further, at the floor. Gripped by feverish curiosity, Leonard rolls himself over in bed and finds a padd on the floor between Jim's feet, just as Jim looks up at him with the usual astonishingly cheery smile. "Hey, Bones, how're you feeling?"
Leonard drops flat onto his back and groans, and Jim laughs and lets go, his heels thumping the floor. "Still sick."
"So I see." Leonard closes his eyes against the too-bright air and listens to Jim's footsteps padding around the room. "I was just catching up on my Tac reading." Jim passes by Leonard's bed, and he hears the misbegotten pillow being scooped up.
Instead of it landing beside him as he expects, he hears the soft scraping noise as Jim shoves it into the recycle chute, and what does land either side of him, with two firm whumps, are fresh cool new pillows. "Jim?" Leonard asks, cracking an eye open as far as he can. Jim grins at him, hands on hips, and bends over him. "Don't you dare," he mumbles, batting weakly at Jim, because all he needs is for Jim to catch this cold, but Jim catches his wrists and presses a kiss to the bridge of his nose, mouth vibrating with a chuckle.
"I'm off to sanitize," Jim announces, his steps receding. "You're welcome."
Leonard shoves his face into the nearer pillow, smiles, and mutters, "Thanks, kid," in that order, and slides back into sleep.
Chapter 15: seanchaidh -- McCoy/Sulu, for luck
Hikari Sulu, this time.
Leonard watches Sulu watching the mouth of the cave, her hair and her katana gleaming in the whitehot light from outside, her fist resting on her hip. He watches her pace back and forth, and bites back everything he wants to say about how she should rest and keep out from the bitterly bright light, take some water and give him a turn keeping watch, because he's said it before and because the Romulans might be close enough to overhear, and because right now the best help he can be to her is to keep his trap shut and conserve his own energy.
At length, Sulu steps and scrambles back to them, to Leonard and to Matthews, who's still stunned. "I need to take a look around," she whispers, carefully lifting the canteen so it doesn't slosh. "You'll be all right, won't you?"
"You can't go out there!" Leonard hisses, feeling the dam crack. "If you don't roast--"
"I know the risks," she says, almost mildly but not tonelessly, not as if she doesn't care. She just knows. Leonard looks at her, her inky hair and her gentle eyes and the petal pink of her bottom lip, and crushes down the impulse to scold till she relents, to say he should be the one to go.
Sulu smiles, and tips forward to give Leonard a kiss as sweet as water, her mouth soft and tender on his. He gasps, and keeps his hands still, and kisses her until she pulls away smiling. "For luck," she whispers as she stands up over him, a slender woman with a bright sword.
Chapter 16: arabiana -- Numbers - Don/Colby - lazy morning in bed
Don's dreaming, dozing, very slowly waking up. His dream meshes with reality, gold-edged darkness and a strong body under his arm, his hand resting on a steady heartbeat and a tide of warm breath over his cheek. Eventually he blinks awake to see golden early-morning light slanting across Colby's honest, sleeping face, caught glittering in his lashes, sharpening his cheekbones and rounding his parted lips. Don watches Colby sleeping under his arm, his other hand tucked up against Colby's chest in an unabashed snuggle, and can't help but smile.
When Colby shifts and yawns and opens his eyes, lit up sparkling in the sunlight, he murmurs, "Mornin', Boss," because it's sweetly wrong and neither of them can resist.
Don grins a little wider, and murmurs, "Morning, Soldier Boy," as he tightens his arm around Colby's waist, and Colby leans in, reaching up to Don's cheek as he kisses him gently, slowly, lingeringly. They're both off duty today, they have all the time in the world.
Chapter 17: For Tigerbright -- NUMB3RS, David/Colby, quiet.
Colby's never been a screamer; the second time, or maybe the third, David teased him about it, and he explained that in the Army you learn really quickly how to be quiet. David can't help thinking about that conversation now as Colby's fingers dig into his biceps, as Colby bucks and writhes beneath him near-silently, panting harshly behind the teeth pressed into David's shoulder, shuddering like he's seizing. His rhythm starts to unravel, his thrusts getting harder and jerkier, and David gasps, "Come on, man, that's it, let me hear you--"
That's as far as he gets before Colby gropes up over his head and yanks him down into a kiss like a cliff-dive, hard and deep and shocking. Colby only lets loose a moan once he's got David's tongue in his mouth, rocking up harder, knocking loose David's resolve, and he grips the bedsheet and Colby and rides out Colby's orgasm in a half-smothered daze with Colby kissing him down to his tonsils. Colby's spasming fingers tighten again and the whole bed shakes around them as he drives towards David's, and David helplessly gives it up, coming apart into pleasure.
Colby doesn't let up until they both collapse, their chests heaving together. David slumps off sideways, or tries to, but Colby slings an arm across his back and keeps him pretty much atop him, even when David manages to cram enough air into his aching lungs to gasp, "Granger, I've gotta be crushing you."
"You're not," Colby breathes over David's cheek, laying his other palm flat on David's shoulder. "Stay right here."
David could point out that they're sticky and sweaty and disgusting, and also snuggling. He could tease Colby for days. But he lets it go with one longsuffering sigh and tilts his chin up just far enough to kiss Colby again.
Chapter 18: echoinautumn -- Kirk/Chekov, bedshaped
Sex pollen, anonymity and genderswap.
"Kiss me, kiss me," the pretty girl moans before Jen covers that pleading mouth with her own again, drinking down those lilting whimpers, twining those honey-brown curls around her fingers. The cadet squirms and squeaks and rocks her hips towards Jen's other hand sliding into her panties, her skirt bunched up between their bellies, and Jen half wants to pull it away and half feels like she'll die if she doesn't get two fingers inside this pretty curly girl right this moment.
The shriek she gets for it rings in her ears and vibrates down her nerves, heating her all the more. She can't even remember the cadet's name, and she's usually great with names, but names don't matter in this flower-spangled meadow where their entire class group has collapsed into a happy enthusiastic orgy, and Jen's adorable little minx is sinking sharp teeth into her lip and screaming into her mouth and coming for her like a bomb shaped into a pretty, pretty girl. Jen pulses in sympathy, wanting more so badly she can taste it, gets her thumb on the girl's slick clit and gets her to come again almost instantly, screaming up and thrashing down.
Their mouths break apart, and Jen glances up at her pretty girl's huge closed eyes and flushed sharp-cheekboned face and bright wide gasping smile, at the bed-shaped depression they've crushed into the grass. Jen sees it and laughs and her girl laughs with her and tugs her down for another kiss.
Chapter 19: re_white -- Jim/Gaila - adoption story
Still giggling, Gaila rolls over and looks at Jim carefully. At length she says, "You could be my brother, if you want. Officially, I mean." Jim opens his mouth and gets stuck, his eyes adorably wide, and she has to giggle again at his stunned silence. She lets him have almost long enough to recover, pulling himself together towards thanking her prettily, before she adds, "Don't worry, we're doing this post-puberty so we can still have sex if we want."
The goggle-eyed face that gets her makes her laugh so hard she rolls onto her side, so it's fitting that he gets the time to recover. "You're laughing at me," he pretends to complain, and adds more sincerely, "Seriously, I'm honored, but you're sure you want me?"
"I don't call you an honorary Orion only because you like sex." Gaila props her head on her hand as she explains. "You've always understood me, and I know why you would betray me and when you won't." His wince is quick, not much longer than a blink, but she sees it, and knows he knows she did. "Besides, I don't have any family here, so I've been thinking I should make some."
Jim closes his eyes and when he opens them they're brilliantly warm. "Then I really am honored," he says, soft and truthful, the set of his naked shoulders as formal as she's ever seen him in uniform. "What do you need me to do?"
"Call me 'sister'," Gaila tells him in her first language, curling her tongue around the rounded vowels and sibilances of Orion Prime.
Jim smiles, and says evenly, "Hello, my sister," in her language.
"Thank you, brother," Gaila answers him in his, taking his face between her hands, and kisses his eyelids, one and the other. Then she lets go.
Jim opens his eyes, glances around as if he expected to turn green or be transported somewhere, glances at her as if she might have turned pink, and finally says, "Is that it?"
Gaila rolls her eyes at him as Leonard or Nyota would, and tips onto her back as she closes them. "We can file the paperwork in the morning. For now let's sleep."
"Oh, okay." There's a moment's silence while she waits, and then he says, because he always has more to say, "Don't let me forget to call my Mom, she's always wanted a daughter."
She laughs and tucks herself more closely against him. In the ways that matter he really is her brother.
Chapter 20: re-white -- Steph/Cass - sweetness and light
Cass sees lights flickering from outside Steph's window, but she still is startled when she climbs through and finds Steph spinning a lighted meteor hammer around her spinning body. Steph is dancing with the meteor hammer, whirling in spirals of white light, her hair a long braided streamer behind her and golden flickers of escaped hair tossing around her bouncing head. She's laughing, aloud and with every inch of her body as the meteor hammer's ends orbit at her direction, much more careful and focused than she was when Cass was teaching her and every bit as joyful.
Cass smiles, and coughs aloud.
Smoothly, Steph swings around, the hammer's chain pouring through her hands as one end flies at Cass, and when Cass shifts to block it the chain winds around her wrist. Her breath catches, but Steph would not hurt her, and she finds the hammer cool and bright against her inner arm, a monkey-fist knot studded with LEDs.
"Hi," Steph calls, tugging the chain just taut, and Cass steps down from the window, closing her hand around the chain and smiling as Steph pulls her in and gives her a sweet, happy kiss.