Steph sets down the suitcase in the back of the van with a grunt, then throws her hands up in the air. “All right!” she declares, turning around to face a smiling Alex. “That’s it! Last of all our shit.” Steph brings out the keys from her pocket, throwing them in the air and catching them. “Let’s roll.”
“Hang on, hang on,” Alex says with a laugh, putting her hands over Steph’s twitchy fingers. “Steph, it’s like, eight.”
Steph frowns, looking up at the, indeed, dark and starry sky above Haven Springs. “And?” she asks playfully, wiggling her fingers against Alex’s. “So? Let’s get going anyway. Just drive ‘till we can’t see any fuckin’ Typhon signs, crash at the first hotel we find.”
“Or we could spend one last night in Haven, and set out when there’s some actual sunlight?” Alex suggests, and Steph groans.
“C’mon, it already took us all frickin’ day to buy the van and get it back up here,” Steph complains. “You know how annoying it was to be out of here, and then we had to come right back?”
Alex takes her other hand, and Steph suddenly finds herself short of breath at the intensity in her eyes, the way they catch the streetlights. “Steph, don’t worry,” Alex says softly. “We’re going tomorrow, okay? I’m not gonna trick you.”
“I—hey,” Steph complains, giving Alex a pout. “No fair using your powers to like, actually get at what I’m trying to say.”
Alex giggles. “Sorry! I can’t help it, I really can’t, and...and it was pouring off you all day,” she admits quietly, staring down at her shoes. She rubs her thumbs over Steph’s palms, and then she bites her lip, and looks up at her while keeping her head down, and it’s insane how good Alex is at completely unsteadying Steph whenever she goddamn wants to. “Steph…”
“Yeah?” Steph swallows, that familiar tingle of nerves running down her spine, the same way it always does whenever Alex turns her frankly insane flirting skills on her.
Alex smiles devilishly at her. “You never managed to spend a night at my place. The whole time I lived here. Why is that?”
“Uh.” Steph’s eyes widen and she can’t seem to focus her vision anywhere, especially not on that smirk on Alex’s face. “Well. You know. Small town. I could always walk home.”
Alex laughs softly, leaning up and kissing Steph. “Well...we’ve got one more night. If you want it.”
Steph’s entire body lights up, and she nods rapidly. “Uh — yeah! Yeah, that sounds fucking awesome, actually, uh—”
Alex shuts her up with another kiss, plucking the keys from Steph’s hand. She slams the van doors shut and clicks the keyfob to lock the thing, keeping one hand on Steph’s the whole time, before tugging her across the street. Steph finds herself breathlessly laughing as Alex runs them through town, back to the Black Lantern, sweeping by familiar faces who just laugh at the two of them. Alex lights up the world wherever she goes, she has ever since she came to this dead-end place a month ago, and Steph’s more than willing to go along for the ride.
Ryan’s inside the Lantern when they get in, which is kind of awkward. He jumps up as they barge into the first floor, nearly dropping the shot glass he’s cleaning. “You guys look like you’re in a hurry,” he says as they slow to a stop, Alex sweeping back some of her hair and panting.
“Urgent business,” Alex explains, tugging Steph so hard they collide into each other in a fit of giggles.
“Urgent business,” Ryan repeats with a smirk. “Well, don’t let me stop you.”
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Alex says, winking at him, and then bringing Steph forward again. As they reach the stairs, Steph spares a glance for Ryan, and he gives her a thumbs-up and then points out the door, mouthing “I’m out.” God bless that boy.
By the time they reach Alex’s apartment, the front door to the Lantern is closing shut behind Ryan, and Alex has to fish in her pockets for her keys, giving Steph a moment to breathe. Holy shit. This is really happening. Alex looks positively manic, and Steph suddenly feels goosebumps rise across her body, a familiar sensation. The same thing that made her leave Alex on the roof after their first kiss, the same urge that led Steph to just — leave Alex’s apartment, so many times, when it would’ve been totally appropriate to ask to stay or to hug her or kiss her or something, just that stupid little knot of insecurity that’s rested inside Steph ever since—
Alex has the door open, and she’s pulling Steph inside with her, and even though that should be clearing away the chilly goosebumps for the sexy goosebumps, somehow it’s not. Alex kicks the door shut behind them and wraps Steph up in her arms, backing her up against the opposite wall, pressing her face into Steph’s shoulder.
“Why’re you scared?” Alex mumbles into her body, and, really, god dammit.
“You know already, don’t you?” Steph asks, running a hand down Alex’s back and swallowing. Stupid. So stupid.
“It’s been a long time since you’ve been with anyone, and you let your last girl down,” Alex whispers, leaning up to catch Steph’s ear. “You’re—you’re afraid that…” Alex stops, swallowing. “You’re afraid you’re not actually loveable, even though you talk a big game. You’re scared that I don’t actually like you, that I’m...just reflecting how you feel about me.”
A fear Steph never bothered to name for herself, just spilling out of Alex’s mouth like nothing. A lump forms in Steph’s throat. God, she’s so amazing. It doesn’t even seem possible that—
“But I love you, Steph. You.” Alex presses a kiss to Steph’s throat, and she ignites, the combination of Alex’s raspy tone, like when she sings, mixed with the just — God, she really knows just where to kiss, huh?
“You,” Alex repeats, kissing down to her collar. “My amazing, funny, beautiful, sexy, badass drummer girlfriend.”
And that’s two words that somehow haven’t been said before tonight: love, girlfriend. Like, it should’ve been fuckin’ obvious, you don’t make plans to skip town and see the world with anyone who’s not that, but it still floods Steph’s body with warmth, and her nerves transmute along her body into something hot and wet. Steph tries to open her mouth, to thank her or something, but then Alex bites, and all that can escape Steph is a high-pitched whine. And all those negative thoughts burn away in the heat of the moment, and all Steph can think about is how badly she wants Alex to touch her.
“Mine,” Alex hisses, grabbing Steph by the hips, and, oh fuck. Steph’s mind races. Alex could bring her to the bed, but it’d be hotter if—
Alex pushes her against the wall again and presses her fingers into Steph’s inseam, and this time when Steph moans, Alex harmonizes with her, and Steph’s eyes snap open. Oh. Holy shit.
“Alex, are you—” Steph starts to ask, but Alex bites her again and she falters, stuck just thinking about how she wants Alex to just go for it, yeah, like that. Alex unbuttons her jeans, unzips her fly, grabs both her pants and underwear and tugs them down far enough for access. It should feel cold, but it doesn’t, because Alex is already there, her hand rubbing in slow circles across her lips, as if claiming her. Mine, she’d said, and Steph can feel that possessiveness and it’s enough to make her let out another moan, matched by Alex, and Steph cannot believe her fucking luck.
At this point, it’s not surprising when Alex angles her hand and slides two fingers inside of her, it’s just fucking great, and Alex finds her center so quickly and so easily with a crook of those fingers that Steph gasps and nearly loses her footing. Alex marks Steph’s collar with love bites as she fucks her, and each time a sound escapes Steph, Alex echoes it against her wet and bruised skin. Steph clenches her fists at her sides as she feels it coming on, and Alex increases her pace, goes deeper just like Steph wants her to, and then—
Alex gasps and falls against her, her fingers still inside Steph as they both tremble and cry out, Alex’s body just barely holding Steph upright. Steph blinks out the stars in her vision, but she’s still on fire, despite it all, probably because seeing Alex come was super hot. Thoughts come to mind that Alex acts on right away, kneeling down to take her bottoms all the way off, tugging off her shoes and socks as Steph tries to get her breath back. That attempt doesn’t make it past the first stroke of Alex’s tongue, and her ability to breathe only gets worse when she looks down and sees Alex at work, holding her hair back with one hand and spreading her out with the other.
“Fuck,” Steph groans, watching Alex’s body twitch with the sound, feeling the buzz of Alex’s lips on her clit. “Alex,” Steph begs, putting a hand on her head as if she even needs to do that, as if her fucking superhero girlfriend won’t know right away what she wants, swirling her tongue in just the right way.
When they come this time, Alex leans back on her knees and covers her mouth, making Steph fall forward and brace herself on Alex’s shoulders. Steph clings to her as they ride out the aftershocks. Her mind is blissfully blank of any of the fears she’s had, approaching any girl, ever since she can remember. All she can think is I love you, and by the way Alex is holding her and nuzzling her nose into Steph’s neck, she has to know.
They draw apart as they get their breath back, meeting each other’s eyes. “Holy shit,” Steph breathes, blinking and trying to swallow, to get her throat less tight. “Woah.”
“You’re telling me,” Alex says, laughing breathlessly. “But, uh, kinda uncomfortable on the floor.”
Steph nods and gets to her feet long enough to stumble over to the bed, collapsing on her back. Alex joins her a second later, and her shoes are still on, and noticing that makes Steph laugh.
“What was that like? On your end?” Steph asks, rolling over to stretch an arm over Alex’s chest.
“Hoo, man,” Alex laughs. “I dunno how to describe it.”
“Has this...never happened before?” Steph questions, and Alex nods.
“Yeah, um...I’m not a virgin, but before I came here, my powers never...it was only negative emotions for the longest time. I got used to seeing joy, here — it’s, um, gold, and it feels really good to see if streaming off of people, and I can tap into it, but that…”
“Oh?” Steph teases, drumming her fingers on Alex’s breast. “It wasn’t golden bliss?”
“No. Totally different. I guess...maybe that was love? Or lust?” Alex laughs. “It was...very pink, and I fell into you so easily. Usually I have to focus to really do it, but…” Alex sighs. “I…” She closes her eyes and sniffs, suddenly, and Steph tightens her hold.
“Alex?” she asks softly.
“Sorry, it’s just...for a second, I saw me, the way you see me,” Alex says, wiping away a tear. “And it was...God, Steph, I…”
“It’s okay,” Steph murmurs, placing a kiss on her forehead.
“I just, I’ve never been able to see myself that way,” Alex stammers out. “I, when I look in the mirror, all I see is a freak, sometimes. All I can think about sometimes is all the awful shit I’ve been through because of these powers, but just now, you…” She looks over at Steph, her eyes shining. “You gave me this, this vision of myself, and...and I’m so glad I got to see it.”
Steph rolls over so she’s straddling Alex. “I’m glad too,” Steph says, leaning down and giving her the best kiss she can manage, hard and long, to show Alex what she means. As she pulls back, a tear streaks down Alex’s cheek, and Steph reaches up and thumbs it away. “I want you to see how much I love you. You deserve it. You deserve the fuckin’ world, Alex.”
Alex chuckles. “Well, I know you mean that.”
“What else do you know?” Steph asks, tracing a hand down Alex’s hip. “Can you see what I’m thinking right now?”
“I think I could figure that out even without powers,” Alex says, her smirk returning.
“Good. Now let’s get your fucking shoes off.” Alex laughs then, and pulls her close.
That night, despite all her intentions at the start, Steph makes one last good memory of Haven Springs.