A Belated Christmas

January 25, 2018:

After Kyle's return from meeting with Soranik to ask for aid and alliance between the Green and Yellow Lanterns, he lays it all out for Kori and makes her a solid promise. ((Warning for innuendo.))

Kyle's Apartment - New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

As Starfire leaves the ray-shielded hangar of the Watchtower, Kyle Rayner follows. From the city streets below, the trail of orange flame streaks over the eastern seaboard, cutting through the oxygen shield that protects the planet, and it is followed by an oddly peaceful streak of green light. Kyle follows Starfire down over the dark skies and millions of blinking signs and lights from apartment windows down into Brooklyn.

In her wake? A nervous trail of energy that comes from unresolved conflict. Kyle's belly aches, rolling in against itself for a second stretch of void between himself and the Tamaranean princess; a void of his own design for his close relationship with a now enemy. So much has been left out in the open, and he's flown entire parsecs back from his meeting with Soranik Natu having written sixteen scripts for how he's going to explain to Koriand'r, and each script has been rewritten twice.

Even now, as they fly between the buildings and her booted feet touch the landing that leads through the door of their mostly concealed, darkness-wreathed apartment, the poor Lantern has no idea how he's going to say it. Only…that it must be said.

Some conversations, alien take-out food from their first date, can't fix.

Green energy washes over Kyle's skin, peeing away his uniform and replacing it with a vintage Chicago Cubs jersey. The mask fades away, revealing the green irises that follow Kori's train of long hair. Bit by bit, the Lantern disappears and Kyle Rayner of Apartment 705, a resident of Brooklyn, remains.

He nudges the door closed behind him with the heel of his boot, and throws the deadbolt. Do they really need deadbolts? The apartment would be the WRONG place to attempt a forced entry, but old habits from growing up in Gotham City die hard.

In silence, Kyle Rayner sets the void-protected sketch pad on a table beside the door, and leans his back against the heavy weight of the door.

Three heartbeats. One slow, slow breath.

"Do you…want an explanation?" The words are clumsy on his lips. They sound NOTHING like he'd rehearsed. Faltering, he clears his throat and stands up a little higher. "Or do you want me to skip to the part where I tell you about how much I hate that we missed Christmas and I just want to make things happy, right here, right now?"

*

Starfire was silent, but for reasons that all boiled down to…

She did not know what to make of this. The Feelings. The Background Noise. The Images.

Emerald eyes were unblinking as she left the Watchtower, having paused when Kyle wanted her to 'wait up', long enough to see him before she exited the massive craft hovering over Metropolis - heading towards New York and the place she calls Home.

But the burst of meteor heat and reddened hue is needed to shed that unbridled rage she had been taught to restrain by J'onn, at least long enough to put that energy elsewhere… Her flight and the burn through atmosphere does well enough to have her eyes finally close and let familiarity alone lead the way to the apartment.
At one point a new (larger) billboard's corner got taken out. Just a corner!

When they stepped inside the apartment, Starfire pauses, looking around slowly, beneath the fall of long ombre hair of flame's hue her spine straightens a bit, her own few breathes done slowly before she moves to the futon-couch and takes a seat in a manner halfway between poise and a marionette that got strings cut-loose.

"Do you want to explain?" Star's tone is not a challenge, nor remotely mad, it is even and measured, almost numb sounding if it was not for the slight downward tip of chin, directing her gaze to the red gem resting upon upper thigh, anchored into the plating of boots. Tamaranean fired stone.

"I want that, too." Starfire says, but when her head lifts to cast a glance towards Kyle from around the edge of her shoulder. "Nothing is stopping us…" But those final words that have a light intoned, seem a bit cautious.

*

"No. I don't want to explain."

Stating it simply, simply and grimly, Kyle lowers his chin-length strands of black hair towards his feet. He pushes off of the door and turns towards the kitchen, visible from Kori's seat in the open floorplan. Past the island and a stack of old mail, he turns for the fridge and pries it open.

"But you deserve an explanation. You're not just some random girl I see from time to time. We share a home. Love." Kyle adds, pulling out a pair of water bottles and a long-necked bottle of beer that looks strangely attractive to him in the lure of the moment. Holding the bottles like three arrows, gripped in one hand with fingers hooking against plastic and glass, he shuts the door.

"Soranik chose her life. She chose to plant herself in this dangerous place, and she's not going to give it up. I can't save her." Kyle continues, rounding the front of the island and striding with the sweep of hiking boots against hard-wood flooring towards Koriand'r. "And part of her doesn't want to even be there, so it trips this-" Kyle snaps his fingers three times beside his head. "-Alex. My mom. Everyone. You. Everywhere at once. Unresolved old relationship bullshit. She's in a nightmare of her choosing and I wouldn't want that on anyone. I makes me want to be close, to help. But meanwhile…"

Kyle sets the bottles down on the end-table, within reach of the Tamaranean princess. At a stop before her, he leans out to set them there, the slinks back to his full height before her. Slowly, he lowers to his knees in front of her and drapes his arms over her knees, covering the crystal on her thigh with his palm.

In some ways, his posture is a supplication, a place of apology to the woman, but in the eyes he casts towards hers is the pleading hope that she'll understand his turmoil, a pained pinch of his eyes, hair drifting to the sides of his face.

"…if I'm not careful, all the laughter, the fun, the Christmas presents I hid in the closet in my art room, the art room," Kyle taps his fingertips against her thigh. "that you set up for me. It's not all for nothing, but you were hurt Kori. We missed our time, and with all of this shit-" Kyle shakes his head. "-I'm spreading myself too thin and not asking you for help."

Kyle's body slinks further down as he rests his ass against his heels. His chin comes to rest against her boot-covered knee, where he extends his lips to press a kiss there that she could never feel, but the leather might appreciate the gesture.

"So I'm telling you that I love you, and that I need your help, and I've been so worried about everyone that it's starting to wear on me." Kyle reaches out towards Kori's bare belly, tracing her abdominal muscles with his fingers. "And I just want this off of my chest before I ask you if you want to grab all of those presents and we do Christmas on our terms."

*

Starfire listened to Kyle first, she did not look up fully as she is trying to make sense of, /everything/. It is almost as if her universe pivoted one way rapidly.

Crashed.

Changed axis.

Gained lightspeed…

When a Black Hole opened into a new galaxy all she had was shattered pod, shattered belongings, and a fractured reminder, everything placed exactly where it should be, or belongs.

The reflection in the gem upon thigh that stares back at her bares a furrowed brow, as now she knows Red in a different light. Heat. Fire. Flame. Love. Rage. Passion…

"You do not have to…" But Kyle already began, and kept talking, explaining, and the way he approached, the way his hand slid over the mirror of questions made her look up to meet his gaze. "… explain."

Starfire's tone at the final syllable of that word wavered. "Why would you ever feel you could not ask for my help… Or understanding?" The way he knelt before her, looked at her, and every word thereafter finally comes flooding in as she was waiting for… Something else.

Kyle's hands are gathered in hers, the heat emanating when she lifts his arms from her knees. "I didn't get a tree, and my gift… Expired. I looked though, Gotham Goliaths lost.." Her hold upon him, her hands drawing his up and out only part the path for her to fold into a kneel before him, her forehead pressing in upon his as the natural warmth of Starfire radiates between them. "But the rest of the night I planned can be done."

"I need you, too." The span of breath between those sentences is only a wavering line of a vibration that shows the many avenues of conflict that all seemed to crush in on her lungs at once and come out with very few words. But they had the meaning and depth necessary with no expression even needed. "I love you, too, Kyle.." Words drift but that hold in his hands tightens and he can feel the brush of her forehead against his as she nods.

"I want you happy…" Those final words meaning more than just the surface of gloss they have skirted over until now.

“Because I’m a Lantern,” Kyle replies, leaning back with their joined hands to make room for Kori’s body to kneel before him. “And because I’m a Lantern, I should be able to take care of these things. I thought I could keep things happy without pulling you into my problems.” Kyle’s eyelids bulge to the side, rolling his green orbs back into them. Hands lifting like fists, he curls her palms against his knuckles, hooking his digits with hers in an uneven ‘gang sign’ grip. “You’re a god-damned super hero, Kori, of course you could help me with these problems, but like how I don’t talk much on the days I visit Gotham, I recede, and I get lost, and…the idea of you seeing and hearing those things makes me feel stupidly naked.”

Kyle leans forward, resting his forehead against Koriand’r’s, and for the briefest second his lips flicker in a smile.

“…which I know you have no problem with, Tamaranean.”

She bought him tickets. Baseball tickets. He’d never known. The revelation scrunches his cheeks up and his lips into a scowl. Ouch. The unspoken story she tells of watching the date of the game, the date of his present, sail right on by like a missed train, burns the back of his throat. Remiss while she recovered. Remiss while rage overtook her. Remiss on what was supposed to be their getaway. His eyes close tightly and the weight on his shoulders pools down his spine like a weighty slime. His forehead grinds a little more against her head, centering more of his weight against her; she’s his balance point for the sigh that sets free when she declares her returned love.

A love, in truth, he hasn’t been upkeeping the last few months.

“You can protect yourself. I don’t fear for you like I should have for Alexandra, but when I’m not here, it doesn’t change that it’s dangerous here, too. I need to admit this shit to you when I’m thinking it.” Kyle grunts and lifts his knee against hers, scraping the edge of his jeans against the coverage her long-legged boot encases her own knee in. ‘It’ll keep me sane. I’m letting you in, and I want to get back to us patrolling together.”

Kyle furrows his brow and slips his eyes open to the blur of her face.

“We’ll go to more games. Goliaths. Monoliths. Pro-Wrestling in space; I’m sorry I missed that.” Kyle speaks up, his thoughts taking speed and releasing from his lips with newfound rapidity. “Your plans for Christmas. Let’s do this now, Kori. If it wasn’t here, let’s pack bags, I’ll get the presents, let’s buzz the buildings on our way out of town and laugh while we’re doing it. I am happy with you. I am.” Kyle lifts her knuckles to his lips, pressing their hands between their lips for a kiss.

“Out there in space this time I realized that I need to mark off what is mine in this universe or else I’ll lose it forever, and I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose you more than I want to try to fix everything I can’t fix, and god damn it I had plans for us.”

With a mote of hopefulness to his voice, Kyle tries his attempt at a smile towards her lips.

“I’m asking my Star Princess to take my hand and send us tumbling back through some headspace we love. I’m human, Kori. I can’t soak up the energy from the stars. I was made to endure them, and damn it…” Kyle laughs weakly. “…I need you to remind me to laugh and love this when things get dark.”

//

Kyle deserved something good out of Gotham to remember.

Kori understood his silence when he would come back, reminded of a history that has no one but him to remember it. What she did /not/ ever ask, was why he would walk with shoulders dropped as if there was a weight his Christ had Carried over his shoulders. He did not have to share the 'burden', as he sees it, with her - but when doors would close, the echo seemed to go a million miles and reminded her…

Kyle's hands roll within her own splay of palms, fingers looping in a manner easiest without fumbling, without looking. When Kori's eyes finally opened, her hair had fallen into a drape over her shoulders, framing her face, but not taking away the partially hidden contact of their foreheads. Her eyes watched as their hands of differing skin-tone slid together in a meld fitting to lava through fissures, sealing the cracks between.

Kyle's comment on her appeal to his exposure took her a moment, and from watching their hands her eyes drop to the contact of this outer thigh pressing to the knee armored in a heavier leather of violet, topped in that gem upon a peak… It now reflects shadows of their hold in a silhouette of the hovering stasis. The exhale comes with her own wavering smile, but there are no words for him just yet, instead while he speaks she presses closure, melding further into the cracks between them, the space closed with the further slide of her inner thigh along his outer, through denim the difference between leather and the honed pliance of her form may not be felt if not for the variance of temperature. Heat, despite the chill lingering as if in wait in the air around them.

Like twined fingers, legs also slip between in a straddle that is only kept distant by the bend of their backs in the press of foreheads with seats taken upon up-turned heels.

The smile lingers, even as Kyle finishes his admission, his confession, as well as his /hope/, her eyes finally meeting his, and in the depths of emerald he can see darker irises of a more forested hue, centered. "You Bear the wrong weight." Kori finally states, almost a whisper as the smile hovering in a stasis slowly dwindles, a dying flame, her own heated temperature leveling out. "I will share in turn when you choose. You do not have to be the only one in any of it." Although a part of Kori is glad she does not have cold stone and etched dates in place of her missing Tamaran, and her history that began there.

"All any of us can do is choose… Love," A draw of breath and if Star could get any closer to Kyle in this position she did as she addressed him as that truth exchanged between them minutes ago. "Soranik, You, Me…We have chosen, there is nothing to fix unless help is asked for. Please.." Her fingers tighten in his and her final word sound like a weight was lifted with it.

"WE are superheroes, and we don't always win, because.. Human.. or not…" A tilt of her head and in an almost feline manner she draws her forehead along his, tilted lightly to the side, enough to draw both of them in a pivot to look at the pile of movies before the TV. "Alderaan wasn't the end.." .. It was the beginning to far more…

Kyle's rapid fire gets only a simple response, an affirmation of this all before even she can elaborate. "Let's finish this then, and have our Holiday." The smile slowly reforming.

As Kori slinks forward, Kyle Rayner's belly tightens and his shoulders dip backwards, making room for the feline way Koriand'r climbs his lap in a straddle. His body is far less bendable than hers, a fact that's done him well over the past year, so his offset balance from her forward crawl elicits an untangling of one of their hands. Reaching behind her, he slides his fingers against the outline of her ribs, around the bared span of her side, to splay fingertips against the divots in her spine.

The space in between their bodies dwindles. Lap within lap and the roughspun outline of his jeans pressed against the backs of her thighs, Kyle's body becomes her newfound throne. What remains of their hands together buries against her chest as he holds on, wriggling a thumb under the alien back of her top, as if the thumb itself will upgrade the sentimentality of their seating arrangement. He tucks in closely, letting out a slow breath as she speaks and forcibly drifts his eyes towards the collection of DVDs.

"I bear too much weight, but I'd rather bear your actual weight." Kyle murmurs, lidding his green eyes closed at the sheer number of films she's watched and left at the foot of the television. "…but oh my God you just bull's-eyed that Star Wars reference." Kyle replies in a dreamlike tone, beginning to shake off the frayed edges of his ever-present guilt-ridden mood.

Sometimes, all it takes is a reminder that he's as close to a Jedi as he'll ever get.

Kyle's own smile begins to reform, reattaching itself firmly to his face as he turns back to Koriand'r. Their forheads smear together until the tips of their noses are in alignment. Lashes flutter in a butterfly kiss as he openly stares into her darker, pupil-lacking pool of green, and the longer he stares, the more his grin widens. Slowly, the volume of his mouth turns upwards, from one…to six.

"You're right…and whatever the burdens are, we'll share them." Kyle whispers, sweeping his fingers from the back of her neck to the lowers point that her languid spine will allow before it disappears into her purple, Tamaranean leather. "And between now and then, we'll share other the rest of us with each other which-"

Kyle hushes himself, tilting his head to press a gentle sweep of his mouth over hers.

"-did your Holiday plans for me involve this apartment?" Kyle whispers against her mouth. "I've still got that bottle of spirits from Arailoo and you have a /truckload/ of presents to open tonight."

//

Kori is not bashful, even in consuming 'the space between'. It all started with the draw of her cheek along Kyle's, a feline-esque motion that guides back towards his ear there-after, nestling her nose into his hair, jus before the dip where ear forms beneath the mingle of his dark hair and her own waves of a glowing ruby to lace down from the ends.

Her own hand released, now slides back and traces fingers along his shoulder, dipping back to slide fingers through the fine hairs at his nape and then hold, almost a cradle as she is the one ascending his lap like the one needing a similar level of comfort.

… But it is very true. 'Nailed', in a pivotal point that is coveted behind plaster and drywall despite what their universe contains beyond that. But right now?

Kori's breath is a /patter/ of that laughter over Kyle's shoulder when she draws in to fit against him, her own grip tentative, and yet one that slithers fingertips across the contours of his shoulders, along his back, trailing through fabric and over skin like those eyes were blind and all she had was the knowledge of /touch/, /smell/, the vibrato of tone when he speaks and breathes against her chest.

"This apartment was never left out of the Holiday, but with You…"

There is a waver of voice and he can almost feel the way fingertips /curl/ into the clutch upon him, so many meanings in the voice and the bearing that has her drawing tight against him as if she could truly /meld/ into every crag, fissure, and fracture - between them. "It's far better. I'm adaptable on the schedule."

Those final words, whispered against the slope of collar and his neck can feel the light laughter before the press of her lips and the slowly relaxing draw of her form against his.

//

There's a notable change in Kyle's body language when the worst of the moment has passed. Another gate passed, another hurdle overcome. Where there was once a tightness beneath the shoulders of his baseball jersey, the skin warms where his neck peeks through, tenderizing under her breath and the very touch of her lips. The tightness in the thighs that supports her gives way, sinking her deeper against the cool metal of the belt buckle sliced through the loops of his jeans. Upwards into her, and downwards into him, they pour into each other.

The short growth of stubble against his neck and jaw scrapes against Koriand'r's lips as the muscular arms stretch out behind her back. Twin poles, lined with muscle, streak under her mostly unclad arms, reaching out to the edge of the sofa in a languid stretch that pools any leftover space between their bodies with a skin-on-cotton lock that marks the end of their tension. When his body ends its shivering, convulsive stretching, he gathers her back in his arm, smearing his fingers aimlessly against the warm excess of skin she's been known to bare to the universe as a whole.

"Then we're staying in tonight, but tomorrow, we're going flying together." Kyle breathes, gusting a breath through the firelight of her hair towards the shell of her ear. His fingers clutch to her back, tightening in some manner of a hug, but when the squeeze comes to an end, the grip in his hands doesn't release. "…and the only schedule I want to have between us is that it's our time until something so important happens that our communicators go off. If that takes days…?"

Kyle twists his head against the slop of Koriand'r's jaw. He twists, grazing his mouth against her cheek until he's burying his face down into the shadows between them. Though his body relaxes, it doesn't seem real, at least not for him, until the first…

"Merry Christmas, Kori. I missed you."

Kyle whispers his reset button words to Koriand'r and presses his lips to hers, guiding her back up from his shoulder with their lips pressed together as one.

Every motion comes in a breath.

The pass of lips' corners until met just after his words, have deep plum tiers parting, curling, and the captured breath shudders forth across his own lips before they conform in at first a brush, a link of straddled embrace.

Spatial…. beneath hooks and presses of fingers Kyle traverses across her skin draws her into a posture to align with the /missed/ sensation. A light draw of breath inward, swallowed in the flux of throat, neck bending as she rises ever-so-slightly to almost hover above while hands that gathered fabric clutch to him as if it was a figment.. "So long as we don't forget," Words stated before the 'Merry'.

"We're in this…" A draw of her lower lip over his, lingering in a light capture, teeth flashing in a light smile, even if the inhale shudders in the lingering backdrop of reminder.

This apartment was so empty, without…

"I… love you Kyle." In that moment those words have an altered tone, aligning with his own Missing, nearly echoing it. "I prefer this Christmas."

The first kiss ends, the second brushes. To the dance of featherlight grazings of their mouths, Kyle slides his finger over the 'X' cross of leather that wraps Kori's back like a bra-strap. The alien, almost spongy leather is porous, lined with interwoven fabrics that he samples with his fingertips. Like veins under the skin, the harder fabric that stitches it all together is a line he follows around to the sides of her ribs. Stopping short, he waits with his lips against hers.

Kissed as her words form.

The blue, bunched-up fabric of his jersey lifts over the cold metal of his belt buckle. With so little space between their bodies, her firm, toned belly comes to rest against the hardened swell of his own. Skin against skin. It would be so much easier if he dressed like a Tamaranean male, but that was a repeated conversation for another time.

'Baby, guys here don't dress like that'

But her skin is warm, warmer to the touch in a way that sometimes has him waking in a thin sheen of sweat. In contrast, his skin is cooler to her tactile sensation, a gentle cool like the first few minutes on a pillow that hasn't been slept on. Belly meets belly, and the more of his shirt that rises, the more his cool skin plies against her naked flesh.

"I won't forget. We can't." Kyle whispers, bunching his scarred shoulders upwards to delve his hands between their bodies again. He sucks in his belly and pulls upwards on the jersey, lifting it over his chin and the top of his head. It falls to the floor beside them in a heap, and not seconds later are his arms back in place, guiding the alien wraps of her top to part and fall away and introduce their chests, skin to skin, like therapy for hypothermia.

"…together."

He finishes her sentence for her.

Despite the allure of being pressed breast-to-breast with her, Kyle's reasoning is clear as day, that the clothing was merely another layer between them in the important moment of coming back together at one. He isn't distracted by her body, not by far, when she admits her love for him.

Kyle leans back, just a tad, filling her vision with his green eyes that soften, apologizing and burrowing holes through her eyes all at the same time.

"I do love you, Koriand'r…" Kyle whispers, his own tone seeking to tattoo those works into her brain. "…and next Christmas is going to be better."

When the bough breaks and he can bear it no longer, Kyle quiets and tilts his head, leaning in for the first, saccharine-drenched kiss of the end of this round of their troubles.

The final wave of her hands, the hook-line-and-… /peel/ of fingers leave him bare where her own attire seems like a cage where around the lining she can truly /feel/.

'But it is less to..'
"…Off…"

A single word, much like a bidding as she intentionally, nearly, /crawls/ into him, while knees drag along side his lap the boots deform, fold, peel away from their hold to leave knees exposed now and slowly diminish.

Outer corners of her eyes dip, where brows descend in a moment of relief, where somewhere deep inside her she thought this was an end, a new beginning is forged in the words exchanged.

When Kyle leans in, one moment is taken to pause with the press of index that bars their lower lips apart, her words felt with every syllable against his own.

"One day, made up for in 318. Next Christmas will not remember… this.."

The touch of his upper lips to hers despite her words drop her finger away in a /slide/ that drags her touch along his bare chest, crushed between them, now. Saccharine that is first ever tasted it seems as there is no way gravity bears the same levity.

//

‘Off'

Kyle Rayner smiles every…single…time.

It isn't the rush of leather that sweeps over his jeans, or the sudden bare weight of her lap pressing against his own lap, nor is it the sudden disappearance of her gloves that gets him. It's that her clothes have a fucking off button, and for the life of him, every time she does it, his lips part in a rictus grin that couldn't be chiseled off with an Omega Blast.

Both tiers of his mouth turn upwards in the wings, failing to hold on entirely to Kori's mouth as they kiss. The sudden arrival of his smile, no less joyous for the already joyous situation, is a blessing. She sweetness of their kiss is interrupted by the inescapable jolt of humor, but it reads like happiness, as in over a hundred private moments he still cannot explain to her how bewilderingly cool an 'off' switch to one's clothes is…and how hilarious it is at the same time.

"Next Christmas, I want to be added to your voice activation list for your clothes."

Faces hovering near, Kyle's back muscles shiver against the chill air in the apartment. Driven closer and deeper into the mold of their bodies, it's with a smile that he crosses the rest of the distance and the first press of his mouth of what is soon to become hundreds begins. With no wish or want to stop, he tightens his arm against her naked back, framing her straddle atop him, and flickers his fingers.

The hours pass.

The flicker of green light slaps the bedroom door closed…
…and the race towards Christmas morning begins.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License