Info: written for brighteyedcat for her birthday. She wanted Runaways — Nico/Karolina just after Karolina and Xavin return from space. I’ve got to stop being the only person my friends know who write this couple. *laughs*
The dreams surprise her. Nico isn’t supposed to know the feeling of baby-soft skin against hers. She isn’t supposed to have the strange echo of a memory of cupping a breast, gently. And she doesn’t, not really. But her brain plays tricks nightly. Her brain says “Nico, you remember. Nico, you will know this again.”
Sometimes, she sees a blinking beacon, a rainbow light. Still, she’s terrified to admit to herself what that means. Terrified of that more than whatever baddies they might come up against in the street. Terrified in a way that makes her stop in her tracks when Karolina comes — like a dream — swooping out of the sky, and Nico, swallowing, shoves the knowledge that she’s just come to accept the lack of her to the back of her lace-clad throat.
Later, when night falls, Nico is so scared that the dream will come again. So scared that she hovers in the kitchen spooning granola into her mouth, slowly, working her lips. She tries not to think about Karolina, about the colors from her body, her wrist without the bracelet. She tries not to think about Xavin, whatever he is, whatever’s happened between them, between her.
It doesn’t work, but she knew it wouldn’t. It hasn’t worked, and now that Karolina is down the hall, glowing, light under the door, Nico doesn’t know why she thinks it would work now. The granola tastes like chalk, colorless.
Her eyes close and she feels the skin, as real as if she’s there and Nico lifts a hand out to the air and brushes – ever so gently – against the skin she feels in her mind. The soft slide of her arm, the slope of her shoulder. The curve of her cheek. She shouldn’t know what it’s like, but her fingers remember even when her mind doesn’t want to.
And her fingers remember other things, too. Like the cold night she spent huddled under a blanket, visions of light beneath her eyelids – squeezed shut, for fear of what she might see when she opened them – and the sensation of warmth and wet between her thighs that she’d known before but never, never, in this context. And it gave everything new meaning. Her fingers knew the way to go, to dance, first, around the outside, teasing, then plunge. Karolina’s own body would respond this way, first sighing, then struggling for breath, dancing, almost, under the instruction of Nico’s fingers. She knows this, somehow, like she knows the way another girl’s lips feel against her own. Soft and hard at once, like a promise.
She takes a sharp breath and chokes, doubling over into a coughing fit. She thinks, no. She could never take Karolina to the stars. Nico is made for darkened corners and hallways, not bright and brilliant skies. There’s another world out there, and just because the golden girl is back from hers doesn’t mean she’s ready to sully her soul in the shadows.