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target practice

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The arrow's precision, its stillness after it hits the target, makes Lydia clasp her hands together at her waist, look at Allison with wonder: Allison, who doesn't falter for a second, even when she's shooting at more than just targets.

"Thanks for coming out here with me," Allison says, looking only between her bow and the target. She grins, and although Lydia can only see it from the side, it's brighter than anything else in the darkening woods. "It's more fun when I have someone to show off for."

Lydia laughs, and Allison turns, bow falling to her side. "You want a turn?"

"I can't," Lydia says. "Allison, I'd be terrible. My best weapon is chemistry. Literally just chemistry."

"But you have good aim," Allison points out. "You've set a lot of things on fire."

Lydia nods, smirking, and lets Allison hand her the bow. "You hold it like this," Allison says, positioning her hands, stepping behind Lydia to adjust her arms and her shoulders. Lydia shivers and pulls her jacket down over her hands.

"Okay," Allison says, hands gentle, one at Lydia's elbow and the other holding an arrow. "Put it here."

She lets Allison guide her into drawing back and releasing, and the arrow lands neatly beside Allison's last. "Not bad," she says, and Lydia rolls her eyes, because of course it wasn't bad: Allison was helping.

"Let me try myself," she says, because she's nothing if not a fast learner.

Allison takes a step back, but she's still warm at Lydia's back, and the thought makes Lydia smile at the ground before she straightens, aims, and lets go. There's a little thunk as the arrow finds the target, if not the precise spot she aimed for, and she tosses her hair, holds the bow out to Allison proudly. Their fingers brush as she takes it back, and Lydia takes a step closer, digging her hands into her pockets, because she's not wearing gloves. Her nails weren't quite dry when Allison showed up.

Allison's breath mists in the air, and her hands are pale and shaking a little, so Lydia draws one of hers back out to hold Allison's.

"You need to file these. They're uneven," she murmurs, tapping at one of Allison's nails, but rubs warm circles into her palm all the same. Allison's giving her the kind of smile, open and a breath away from laughter, that she used to give Scott, and Lydia feels warmer. She laces their fingers together and leans up to press a kiss to the corner of her smile, and Allison's other hand drops the bow, rising to wind in one of Lydia's curls.

"You wear too much lip gloss," Allison tells her between lingering kisses, Lydia on her toes and Allison pressed back against a tree trunk, bow left at her feet.

"I know," she tells her, and wipes a sticky smear from Allison's bottom lip, then kisses the same spot. Her free hand, the one that's not still wrapped in Allison's, hovers near her waist, and she finally lets her fingers creep under the hem of her shirt. Allison jumps at the cold touch, but doesn't pull away, and Lydia runs her fingers all along her side, slowly, memorizing the feel of her goosebumpy skin. She imagines what it would be like, going further than this, out here in the woods--during the day, when no one's in mortal peril and no one would come looking--if it weren't too cold to undo a few buttons and zippers. She imagines Allison's breath speeding up, the way she can feel her heartbeat already doing, coming in hiccupping gasps as her teeth press into her own smile, and Lydia wonders when she took the time to imagine sex with Allison in such detail, to study her face to the point where it seems so predictable. Sometime after Jackson left, she thinks, but not long after.

Allison breaks off in the middle of a kiss to say, "Wow, this is awesome," and Lydia makes a note not to bother with lip gloss tomorrow.