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sink your teeth into my flesh

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Shortly after she turned seventeen, Alex started hanging out with a crowd that set off alarm bells in Kara’s head from the first moment she laid eyes on them. They weren’t right for Alex, they weren’t good for Alex. Kara hated the way they spoke to Alex, the way they looked at her, like she was a piece of meat. But worst of all, they were driving a wedge between Kara and Alex.

Kara repeatedly tried to warn Alex away from them, but all her efforts only seemed to encourage Alex to rebel even harder. Every time Kara brought it up, Alex’s eyes would narrow, her face darkening, before she told Kara off and stormed out of the room.

Kara tolerated it for a while, despite the way it made her blood boil every time Alex, her Alex, opted to hang out with them instead of her. She tried to remind herself that Alex was capable of making her own decisions.

But then she overheard Alex and her friends talking about going to a club. A club, with fake IDs and drinking and possibly even drugs, the whole nine yards. Kara was furious. Furious with Alex, furious with herself for thinking that Alex was capable of making good decisions. She just couldn’t let it go.

When they got home from school that day, Kara watched as Alex made a bee-line for their room, following her from a distance and then leaning against the doorframe and crossing her arms. Alex was sitting at her desk, getting her makeup out and pointedly ignoring Kara’s gaze.

“Going somewhere?” Kara asked. She wondered if Alex would have the audacity to lie to her.

“How many times have I told you not to spy on my friends and I?” Alex retorted, tearing her eyes away from the makeup brushes in her hands to glare up at Kara. Kara felt anger begin to boil up inside of her. She had the right to know what Alex was doing—she only watched her because she cared so much about her. Alex just didn’t know what was good for her.

“Like I even needed to. You only wear makeup like this for them,” Kara replied, scoffing over the last word.

“It’s not for them,” Alex protested. “It’s for…”

“Oh, the men at the club you’re going to?” Kara interrupted. It was harsh, she knew before the words even came out of her mouth that it was a step too far, but she couldn’t stop herself—when Alex pushed her buttons like this, she could never quite keep a grasp on herself.

Alex inhaled sharply. She glared daggers back at Kara even as her face started turning red from what looked like a mixture of embarrassment and frustration.

“You know what? Screw this. Screw you, Kara. I’m getting ready at Jessica’s.”

She stood up abruptly and pushed past Kara, who was still standing in the doorway. Kara stood there silently, shaking with rage, as Alex walked away. She clenched her fists, her nails digging into her palms and leaving little crescent marks there, and tried not to let the tears of frustration that were pricking at her eyes spill down her cheeks. Kara didn’t understand why Alex was acting this way—acting like her own safety didn’t even matter, leaving Kara to worry about them both. She didn’t like the person Alex was becoming with her new friends.

After Kara heard the front door slam shut, indicating Alex was truly gone, she started pacing. Nails continued digging into her palms as she mulled the situation over. She couldn’t just follow Alex—Alex was already angry enough at her, and Kara didn’t want to imagine what she’d do if Kara went that far. That being said, Kara couldn’t just sit there and do nothing, either. She had to know Alex was okay. She had to keep an eye on her.

By the time Kara made up her mind, Alex had already been gone long enough that she’d probably made it to the club. Once Kara closed her eyes and focused, it didn’t take long for her to pick up the sound of Alex’s voice, straining over the steady electronic pulsing of music in the background.

“Are you sure it’s okay?” she was saying, and another voice, one that Kara recognized as Jessica, the other girl of the group, replied.

“Of course, honey, it’s just a hit. C’mere, I’ll give you some…”

Those words were followed by a sound that Kara had to assume was Jessica taking a hit from something—a joint?—and then exhaling it into Alex’s mouth. Kara heard Alex’s resulting sigh of pleasure. It echoed in her ears. Male voices started whooping in the background, cheering the two of them on.

Kara saw red.

Her nails punctured the first layer of skin on her palms as she took a shuddering breath, trying not to smash something in her rage. What the hell were they thinking, acting like that? Didn’t they know that Alex belonged to her? How dare they even touch her Alex? They were ruining her—corrupting her. They were taking her away.

Before she knew what she was doing, Kara was at Alex’s desk, combing through her makeup supplies for everything she needed to make herself look good enough that she’d be nearly unrecognizable from the nerdy, glasses-wearing Kara that everyone thought they knew. Her earlier reservations about following Alex were entirely forgotten. She took her glasses off and applied a generous amount of eyeshadow and eyeliner, satisfied only when she blinked at herself in the mirror and saw a girl staring back who looked like she belonged at the type of club Alex was at. To top it off, she dug around for Alex’s most striking shade of red lipstick and put it on. Her lips tingled as she applied it, wondering if the lipstick had touched her sister’s lips before.

Kara looked in the mirror again and smirked. A thrill ran through her. She felt like someone different like this. Someone daring. Someone who might do things that the normal Kara would never dare to.

She went into Alex’s closet and rummaged around until she found a dark blue button up shirt that looked like it would be just the right kind of too small on her, and black pants. She changed quickly and added a belt that helped accentuate her curves. She let her hair down and ran her hands through it a few times, letting it settle as messy and wild as it wanted to instead of taming it down as she usually did. She gave herself a final once-over in the mirror, and blinked back at someone who she nearly didn’t recognize at all. It was perfect.


Kara knew she should have felt worse about sneaking out, about using her powers. But she was just looking out for Alex, right? She was doing it for a reason. And anyway, this new Kara didn’t care as much about rules and what was right or not. This new Kara let herself act without hesitation. So she flew out of her and Alex’s shared bedroom window and headed straight for an alley near the club. She landed and looked around to make sure no one had seen her, then ran a hand through her hair and headed towards the line for the club.

After waiting for what felt like an eternity to Kara, the bouncer was gesturing for her to come forward. He looked at her and hesitated, like he was trying to decide whether she looked of age.

Kara didn’t really know what she was doing, but she’d seen enough movies to take an educated guess. She squared her shoulders, popped a button on her shirt to show off her cleavage, and made heavy eye contact with the bouncer. He looked her up and down, humming under his breath, then jerked his head in a sharp nod.

“Alright,” he said and waved her in, already looking towards the person behind Kara in line as she stepped inside the building.

Immediately, Kara was nearly overcome by the level of noise inside the dimly lit club. She didn’t think she’d ever been somewhere so loud, in all her time on earth. She stumbled into the crowd, closing her eyes to try and focus her hearing to hone in on Alex. She heard familiar nervous laughter. Kara opened her eyes again and headed straight for the bar where Alex was standing with her friends.

Kara found that she didn’t even need to shove her way through the crowd—her new look was turning heads, enough that people stepped out of her way on their own. Finally, she found herself face to face with Alex, who was in the middle of taking another hit, directly from the joint this time. Kara’s eyes lingered on the simple black leather collar that clung to Alex’s neck—surely something she’d borrowed from Jessica—and wondered what it would be like to hook her fingers in it and use it to pull Alex closer. Alex glanced at her out of the corner of her eye, looking Kara up and down—was she just checking her out?—before she turned her attention back to the joint in her hand.

Then she did a double take. Recognition dawned in her eyes as she looked back at Kara again, and Kara’s expression settled into a hungry grin. Alex’s eyes were wide, doe-like, and she looked so helpless and vulnerable and like she just needed Kara to step in and—

Kiss her. Kara stepped closer, leaned in, and kissed her, and Alex exhaled all the smoke in her lungs into Kara’s mouth. Alex tasted like marijuana and alcohol, a combination Kara had never tasted before, but underneath it all, Kara tasted Alex. Kara leaned back and exhaled, watching the way Alex’s head tilted towards Kara while she leaned away, like she didn’t want her to go. She watched Alex watch the smoke as it escaped Kara’s lips and unfurled towards the ceiling of the club, transfixed. She noticed how Alex’s lips were stained slightly red with Kara’s lipstick from the kiss. And then she turned and walked away.

Kara disappeared into the crowd of gyrating, sweat-slick bodies, leaving a slack-jawed Alex behind her. As she walked away, she felt the eyes of Alex’s friends on her, heard the hooting of the boys who’d been watching their encounter, and whispers of, “who is that girl?” She smirked to herself. Even if they didn’t know who she was, now they knew Alex belonged to her.

Kara lost herself in the crowd and the pounding of the music, letting her body sway in time to it, and waited for Alex to find her, like she knew she would. Her Alex would always come back to her.

Several minutes later, Kara felt a hand on her shoulder, and turned around to meet Alex’s dark eyes. Alex looked like she couldn’t quite decide how to feel; her face went through several expressions before finally settling on something vaguely angry.

Kara was still on an adrenaline high from the kiss. She’d kissed Alex, and Alex had let her. It had even seemed like she’d wanted it. Kara needed to know what else Alex would let her do, how far she’d let her push.

Kara pressed forwards, invading Alex’s space. Alex didn’t back off or flinch away; she held her ground, glaring back at Kara. Kara took it as a challenge. She put her arms around Alex’s neck, started swaying up against her. Alex remained frozen, stiff.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Alex asked lowly. Without her super-hearing, Kara would have had to strain to hear her. Kara shrugged.

“Dancing with my sister,” she replied innocently, feigning ignorance to the fact that the way her hips were pressing up against Alex’s, grinding against her suggestively in time to the music, was definitely not sisterly. Alex’s face remained unchanged, but Kara could hear her heart speed up, could pick up on the subtle differences in her body language, because after years of living together, sharing a room, Kara knew every tell that Alex had. Kara could tell that from the way Alex shifted her weight and balled her hands into fists like she was holding something back that, regardless of how badly she wanted to hide it, Alex wanted this. Wanted her.

But she wasn’t going to give in without a fight. Kara knew Alex well enough to expect that, too.

“You shouldn’t have come here,” Alex retorted, spitting the words at Kara like venom. “I told you to stop spying on us. I don’t want you here.”

Kara knew that Alex wanted the words to sting, but Kara was too busy noticing how Alex’s gaze lingered on her lips even as she tried to drive her away to care.

“Is that so?” Kara drawled out, daring to egg Alex on. “Stop denying yourself, Alex. You didn’t recognize me at first, right? Just pretend I’m that girl, the girl you thought I was before you realized it was me.”

As Kara spoke, she moved her hands, running them up and down Alex’s sides as she swayed her hips against her. Alex was wearing a dress, black and short and low cut, definitely something she’d been coerced into wearing by her friends. But Kara was grateful for it at that moment, because it allowed her to run her hand up the inside of Alex’s thigh. Alex grabbed Kara’s wrist, her fingernails digging into Kara’s skin.

No,” Alex said emphatically, staring dangerously at Kara. Kara wasn’t discouraged. Despite the angry, hard way Alex looked at her, underneath her fragile skin, her little human heart was beating rapidly, like an animal caught in a trap. If that wasn’t enough proof, Kara’s enhanced sense of smell picked up arousal radiatiating off of Alex in waves, and Kara knew that if she moved her hand just a few inches higher on Alex’s thigh, she’d find that her sister was wet for her.

“Oh? You don’t like that idea? Maybe because what you really want is me,” Kara suggested, keeping her voice light and casual, knowing it would get under Alex’s skin. Alex seethed.

“I don’t. Want this,” Alex insisted, but her grip on Kara’s hand loosened. Kara tried not to get too ahead of herself, though her fingertips itched to touch.

“You made it so easy to follow you, though. Like you wanted me to come. Like you wanted this to happen. You wanted your little sister to come after you. Is that why you dressed like this?”

Alex started to protest, but Kara ignored her, plowing on.

“It had better be, because the thought of you dressing like this for someone else—” Kara had to cut herself off, steel herself to prevent herself from forgetting herself and digging her fingers into Alex just a little too hard in her anger. “Let’s just say this had better be for me and leave it at that.”

Alex was speechless at that. Kara could see a dark flush spreading across her face even in the dim light of the club, and Alex’s hand finally went slack, letting go of Kara’s. Kara’s hand immediately resumed creeping its way up Alex’s thigh.

“You can’t just—” Alex whispered, bringing her hands up to Kara’s back to pull her closer, but Kara shushed her.

“Nobody here knows we’re sisters,” she reassured her.

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” Alex hissed back, her nails digging into Kara’s back. “Nobody knows I’m—” she cut herself off, looking down. Kara rolled her eyes.

“This is a club. No one takes anything that happens here seriously. But, if you insist… Come find me.”

Kara winked and then disappeared, using her superspeed to run to the club’s bathroom. To her relief, it was empty when she got there. She locked all of the stalls, hoping to discourage anyone else from entering, then waited for Alex. A nagging little part of her wondered if her sister would actually show up—what if she just went back to her friends and pretended that Kara had never even been there? What if Kara had been wrong, and she really did care about them more than she cared about Kara?

She began to pace back and forth in the handicapped stall when she heard the sound of the door opening and Alex’s small, uncertain voice.

“Kara?”

Kara poked her head out of the stall.

“In here,” she said, holding the door open for Alex. Alex joined her and locked the door behind them, then turned to face Kara, her face flushed a pretty shade of pink.

“I didn’t come in here for what you think,” Alex said, setting her jaw in determination. “I just came here to talk.”

Kara laughed sharply, stepping closer to Alex and pressing her up against the stall door.

“It’s a little late for that,” Kara said. Alex turned her head to the side, avoiding looking at Kara. It was pissing Kara off. She wanted to grab her sister’s face and force her to look at her when she was talking to her. Instead, she raised a hand and placed it against the stall door next to Alex’s head, effectively trapping her there.

“You’re just jealous,” Alex spat. “My friends have always made you jealous. And you think you’re getting back at me by doing this. By making me feel—” Alex cut herself off, cursing under her breath.

Kara paused at that. It was true she was jealous, but—

“That’s not why I’m doing this,” she told Alex. Unable to resist, she hooked a finger in the o-ring that dangled at the front of Alex’s collar, yanking it just a little, just enough to make Alex look at her in surprise.

“But first, tell me why you wore this, Alex,” Kara insisted. “Did you think of me, pulling on this collar, when you put it on?”

Alex deflated, huffing a harsh breath out through her nose at Kara’s words. Guilt emanated from her, saturating the air.

“I…God damn it, Kara, yes,” she hissed, her face burning even redder. Kara smiled to herself as she watched Alex’s walls start to crack. She pulled again on the collar, bringing their faces close—inches apart. Alex had no choice but to keep looking at her. Kara could smell Alex’s guilt, her fear and her anger with herself, but stronger than all of that was her arousal, a heady, overpowering scent that made Kara need Alex, need her fingers and her mouth and everything Alex was willing to give her.

Kara closed the distance between their faces and kissed Alex again. This time, she tasted more like tequila than anything else—she must have stopped to down another shot before she came to the bathroom. Kara smiled against her lips, endeared by the thought that her sister thought she’d needed the extra liquid courage. Alex made a whimpering sort of sound in her throat when Kara slid her tongue past Alex’s lips. Kara licked across Alex’s teeth, all the while keeping a tight hold on Alex’s collar.

If Kara had thought she was on a high the first time she kissed Alex, it had nothing on the second time. This time, she got to thoroughly enjoy it, savor every slide of Alex’s lips and tongue. This time, she had Alex in the palm of her hand, ready and willing to give Kara anything she wanted.

So why not take it?

Kara used her grip on Alex’s collar to break the kiss and maneuver her head down to Kara’s neck. Alex didn’t even need to be told what to do; she eagerly peppered Kara’s skin with kisses and lovebites. Kara dragged her head even lower, towards her cleavage, and Alex obediently unbuttoned Kara’s shirt further, exposing Kara’s black push-up bra. Alex mouthed at the top of Kara’s breasts, kissing and sucking. Kara threaded her spare hand in Alex’s hair, carding through it encouragingly.

“I’m doing this because I wanted to. I saw you standing there at the bar and I just had to show all your friends that you’re mine. And it looks like I was right,” Kara said. Alex took a shuddering breath. She pulled away from Kara’s chest to reply.

“You have no idea how badly I’ve wanted this,” Alex muttered, like it was the first time she was admitting it, even to herself. Desire burned inside Kara—she needed to see Alex come apart, find out what exactly she wanted from Kara in her most secret fantasies. She could tell Alex was still fighting it. Kara needed her to give in completely.

“I do know, because I can smell it on you,” Kara said. “Just like I can smell the guilt and the fear and the anger.”

Alex’s head jerked up and her nostrils flared angrily.

“I’m not scared—” she insisted, and, without prompting from Kara, unbuttoned Kara’s shirt the rest of the way, took it off and slung it over the door, then unhooked Kara’s bra and did the same with it. Then she bent and took Kara’s breast in her mouth, her tongue circling her nipple, and Kara gasped, smiling as she threw her head back. Egging Alex on, getting her to play right into Kara’s hands, was too easy.

Alex pulled away and looked up at Kara, and the way she searched for approval in Kara’s eyes made warmth spread throughout Kara’s body.

“That’s it,” Kara encouraged, feeding Alex the praise she so desperately craved on a slow drip. “Do that again.”

Alex didn’t have to be told twice. She leaned forward again and took Kara’s other nipple in her mouth, sucking on it gently and then swirling her tongue around it. Kara’s hand tightened in Alex’s hair. A throb of arousal shot to her clit as Alex’s tongue passed over the bud of her nipple. She needed more from Alex.

“That’s good, Alex, Rao, your mouth feels good,” Kara continued, turning up the praise to soften Alex up for what she was about to ask for next.

“Now, unbutton my pants,” she asked, trying to keep her voice even, but a desperate whine crept through nonetheless, betraying her urgent need for Alex. It only seemed to spur Alex on, though; her hands flew to the button at Kara’s waist and undid it, then unzipped the zipper and pulled Kara’s pants down her waist. Kara stepped out of them, then hung them over the stall door with her other garments.

“Hang on,” Kara said, grabbing Alex by the shoulders and moving the both of them so that Kara was the one pressed up against the stall door. “Better.”

Alex gazed at Kara, her eyes dark with lust, and Kara couldn’t help but pull her into another kiss by the ring of her collar. This time, Alex’s hands went straight to Kara’s breasts, squeezing them in her hands while Kara licked into her mouth.

After a few moments of feeling Alex’s tongue against her own, Kara couldn’t stand it anymore; she needed to feel Alex’s tongue in other places. She pulled away, hands on Alex’s shoulders, gently pushing her down. Alex let Kara push her down, bending to kiss Kara’s neck again. Only this time, she surprised Kara by sinking her teeth into the soft flesh of her neck, deeper than the shallow love bites she’d given Kara before. To Kara’s chagrin, Alex would never be able to leave a bruising mark on her skin—but the lipstick that had rubbed off onto Alex’s lips earlier smeared onto Kara’s neck in the shape of Alex’s kiss, which was close enough, really. Alex licked over the mark she left before Kara pushed at her shoulders again.

“On your knees,” Kara commanded gently. Alex obeyed immediately, dropping to her knees while maintaining eye contact with Kara, and waited for Kara’s next words. Kara looked down at her, taking in the sight of her sister, on her knees for her in some grimy public bathroom of a dingy club, waiting eagerly for Kara’s next command, and tried to capture the moment in her mind forever.

Alex was impatient though; her hands were trailing their way up the backs of Kara’s thighs, nearing her panties, before Kara even spoke.

“Touch me, Alex, I need your fingers inside me,” Kara half begged, half commanded. A flood of arousal filled the air in response, radiating off of Alex’s flushed skin. She wasted no time in tugging Kara’s panties down to her knees, then bringing a hand up to cup Kara between her thighs. Kara’s hips twitched forward, impatient for her sister’s touch.

Now, Alex,” Kara insisted, reaching down to grab Alex’s wrist and try to press her sister’s palm against her clit. Instead of letting her, Alex swatted Kara’s hand away. The hand that was so close to touching Kara where she needed it moved; Alex extended two fingers and rubbed them through the wetness that was dripping out of Kara’s entrance. Kara let out a quiet moan. Her sister’s touch felt so good, better than she could have ever possibly fantasized about. Her hips canted forward, eager for Alex to bury those long, slender fingers inside of her.

Alex drew another moan out of Kara by moving her fingers away from her entrance to instead rub her clit. Both of Kara’s hands found their way to the back of Alex’s head, fisting in her hair. She had to suppress the urge to force Alex’s head forward and bury it in her crotch—Alex’s fingers weren’t enough, she needed her mouth too.

“Alex—” Kara managed, her voice rough with lust. “Give me more. Now.”

She tightened her hands in Alex’s hair, pulling on it in what she hoped came across as a warning. She wished she had a leash to attach to Alex’s collar, so that she could pull it tight, use it to force Alex’s mouth against her. Alex would be such a beautiful sight at the end of Kara’s leash, Kara thought. But she’d have to make do with what she had.

Alex shifted forward and began kissing a trail up Kara’s inner thigh. Each kiss left smudges of red lipstick on Kara’s pale skin and sent shivers of lust straight to Kara’s clit. Then Alex bit her again, hard enough that she would have broken skin, had Kara been human, and growled low in her throat, making heavy eye contact with Kara all the while. Kara shivered at the possessiveness of it. She felt like she was about to burst with need. She tugged insistently at Alex’s hair again, and Alex finally caved, giving Kara everything she wanted. Just as Alex’s fingers plunged back down to fuck into Kara, she leaned further forward and finally buried her face in Kara’s crotch, flattening her tongue and letting Kara grind her hips against it while she fucked her.

“Oh—Rao, Alex, yes, that’s, that’s so good—don’t stop,” Kara couldn’t stop the stream of words that flowed from her mouth as her sister touched her. Alex was fucking her with all she had, burying her fingers in Kara to the knuckle on each thrust. Kara had never felt so full—so complete, as she did with Alex’s fingers inside of her.

Kara used her grip on Alex’s hair as leverage to force Alex’s head closer so that Kara could grind her clit against her tongue even harder. She felt her orgasm beginning to build, and every whimper that Alex let slip between Kara’s legs as she ate her out brought Kara even closer to the edge. Suddenly, Alex let out a full-on moan, sending shuddering vibrations directly through Kara’s clit, and Kara cocked her head to see that Alex had started touching herself under her dress, her panties pushed to the side. At that moment, Kara knew she’d broken through every last wall Alex had had in place at the start of the night.

“That’s it, that’s a good girl,” Kara encouraged her. Alex’s face burned and she whimpered. “You’ve wanted this for so long, Alex, just give in. It’s okay.”

The scent of guilt saturated the air in response to Kara’s words. Alex moaned again, and the feeling of it shot through Kara’s entire body. Kara cried out, head tilting back, and Alex’s eyes went wide, frantic. She fucked Kara harder, pressed her tongue even closer. Kara’s hands flexed in Alex’s hair. Her body was starting to tense up as her orgasm approached, and she had to consciously steady her breathing, trying to keep a grip on herself so that her powers didn’t fly out of control.

The thought that tipped Kara over the edge was, as she gazed down at Alex, so lovingly and obediently servicing her, that Alex was well and truly hers now. Kara gasped, moaning and whining as Alex wrung her orgasm out of her, fucking into her and licking her clit until Kara had to pull her off by her hair, squirming from the overstimulation. Alex’s hand was still working in between her legs, and Kara bent down, hooking two fingers under Alex’s collar and pulling her up to face her.

“Now you’re going to come for me,” Kara ordered, then surged forward to kiss Alex again. Alex gasped into her mouth, and Kara had to hold her up as her body shook with the force of her orgasm wracking it.

After it ended, Kara pulled up her underwear and then sank to the floor, joining Alex, who had collapsed to her knees again and was still panting. Alex was looking at Kara nervously, like she was expecting everything to start crumbling around her at any second.

“Was that a mistake?” Alex asked in a small voice. Kara’s head jolted up. The sharp scent of fear permeated the air. Kara frowned. It hurt that that was Alex’s first question—but at the same time, Kara understood. The whole time, she’d been painfully aware of just how guilty Alex felt—how wrong she was afraid her feelings were. Kara scooted closer to her on the floor, wrapping her arms around her and nuzzling her face into the crook of Alex’s neck.

“No,” Kara said assertively, holding Alex tighter. “You’re mine. Understand?”

She found herself blinking away tears that threatened to blur her vision as the words left her mouth. Alex nodded her assent silently.

“No. I need to hear it,” Kara insisted.

“I’m yours, Kara,” Alex said softly, after a moment’s hesitation. That was all Kara needed for the dam to break; tears began sliding down her cheeks, and she clutched Alex closer, muffling her cries into her neck.

“You’re mine,” Kara repeated again, a part of her still unable to believe it was really true, after all the time she’d spent wanting it. “You’re mine, you’re mine, you’re mine.”

She said it again and again into Alex’s neck until the tears stopped falling. One of Alex’s hands found its way to the back of Kara’s neck, rubbing a steady rhythm.

The two of them held each other there on the floor of the dingy club bathroom, reveling in each other in silence.

The scream in the corner of Kara’s mind that had persisted ever since Alex had first hung out with her new friends finally quieted. She let out a sigh of relief that it felt like she’d been holding for ages. Alex was hers again.