The Future on Your Skin
Pairing: Nick Gant/Cassie Holmes (mentions of Nick/Kira)
Disclaimer: All properties of Push are not mine, I just loved the movie.
Rating: T+ (for sexual situations)
The knock comes unexpectedly and he looks to the door, hand at the ready, power pulsing underneath his skin. One flick of his fingers and his matte black Colt 1911 is hovering above the doorframe, pointed downward. Another series of knocks sound, almost playful in their placing along the wood, and he Moves. The door swings open at his prompting and the safety clicks off his gun and she's there, a slight silhouette against the setting sun.
Relief hits him and he stands down, feeling a grin stretch across his face as she enters his apartment like it's her own. He watches her for a time as she roots through his fridge and finds the chocolate he has stashed all the way in the back. She smiles with satisfaction and slips the bag into her purse, her hand snagging a beer from the door.
"Hey," he protests.
She turns, feet squared and body relaxed. "I'm eighteen," she tells him, as exasperated as she was five years ago. Then she pops open the top and raises an eyebrow at something over his shoulder. He turns, and his favorite gun is still hovering where he left it, forgotten for the moment. He Moves it toward himself, fingers curving around the handle and he flicks the safety back on before hooking it into the back of his jeans. Then he takes her beer. "Nick," she whines.
"Cassie," he replies, tone mocking as he takes a swig of the cheap stuff and the sets it down on the kitchen counter across the room. "What's up?"
Cassie shrugs, her blonde hair, with it streaks of pink and purple, blue and green, red and orange and every color in between, skitters over he slim shoulders. "You don't call or write…you could make a girl think you didn't care." Her voice is flippant, her blue eyes serious.
"I sent flowers for your birthday," he mutters, mostly because he knows he's been AWOL, but also because her birthday is not a happy anniversary for either of them.
Shadows can only Shade a person for so long when they have Watchers on their tail. It was Cassie's mom, half out of her mind and too powerful to control, and that power acted like a beacon for the Division dogs. Three years of thinking the government's promises were worth something, three years of thinking they were safe, and it was all gone in a matter of minutes. Cassie had Seen too late and he had Moved too slow, and their loved ones had paid the price. Cassie's mom. Nick's lover.
He shudders, mind going to that place, and he bites back a retort of 'so do people' in favor of a weak smile. "Sorry."
"Take me to dinner," she commands, instead of all the other things she could say, "I'll pay."
Sometimes he thinks she'll never change, and in many ways, she won't. Strong-hearted, hard-headed, achingly breakable. But other times, when her voice goes soft over the phone or when she smiles a certain way and her eyes get that faraway look in them…he knows she's already different. And now, now she's strolling down the streets of Hong Kong dressed as she always has, and he has a wild thought of locking her away until she's fifty. She's never gotten over the knee-high leather boots and short skirts, the tight t-shirts and fitted jackets, and now that she's eighteen. Now that she's curved in all those right places, with the silky hair and soft skin, it seems inappropriate. As opposed to when they first met and the trying-too-hard-punk-Lolita look had been cute in a weird way, something he found endearing, like the bad dye job and the determination to get drunk and the hardcore optimism in the face of something too large for them to deal with.
"Let's get take-home," he suggests, eyeing the crowd around them and wrapping a protective arm around her shoulders.
She follows his line of sight to a group of thugs who're casting speculative glances at the stretch of her thighs between hem and boot lace and she leans into his body. "Okay, we can go to my place."
It stops him, because she's supposed to be in Paris, and he can't believe it's taken him this long to remember that fact. "What place?" he asks, "You're should be in France, you have school." Art school, very expensive, he'd checked the place out himself when she mailed him the brochures.
"I dropped out," she says, as if it didn't matter, "We both know I'm a crappy artist."
He swears, Cantonese and English mixing on his tongue as she ignores him for a noodle shop. He flexes his hands, and a few of the thugs who were making their way through the crowd skid backwards. Her gaze flicks from him to the gang and she smiles sweetly and passes him the cardboard box with their order tucked into it, mixed scents wafting up and his nose twitches.
"Something with shrimp," she murmurs, and grabs his shirt sleeve to tug him after her.
Her apartment is close to the market, close to his own, and the walls are painted bright yellow with swirls of rainbow colored paint marking it as her territory. "How long have you been here?" he demands, accusation thick as she gestures for him to put their dinner down. He does absently, Moving silverware and place settings from where she took them out and over onto the table near the little kitchenette.
"A couple months," she replies, opening up the take-out boxes, "I wanted to get settled before I came and got you." Got, not found, she's always known where he was.
He looks around at the one room; television in a corner, easel in another, her paint and markers scattered everywhere, piles upon piles of her black-bound notebooks, and a bed in the middle of the chaos. The mattress was placed on the floor, bedding white and unstained, and he found it incongruous with her love of colors. "The bed…" he trails off, not quite sure of the question.
She glances to it and says, "I haven't gotten to that yet." There's something significant to her tone, and she's blushing even though her dark-lined eyes are calm. "Come eat, Nick."
They eat like time hasn't passed. Chopsticks clash over the last wonton, her voice is eager and expressive as she scolds him for staying away so long, and he feels that gaping hole in his heart start to heal like a Stitch has laid hands on him. It seemed silly now to think he had stayed away on purpose, avoided her to avoid the hurt.
After dinner, and the television is on, game show on low, he's got his head on her thigh, eyes drooping as he mindlessly watches the show, and it's not until her fingers tighten in his short hair that he realizes he's been stroking that smooth skin. "Shit," he hisses, freaked, and he practically Moves himself toward the door.
She gasps at the suddenness and says, "Nick!"
He turns to her, power twisting the locks open, and her eyes narrow. She's kneeling on the bed now, legs long and pale without her boots, hair tangled and twisted, t-shirt rucking up, and the expression on her face is one he's never seen before. "Cassie-" he breaks off, swallows, because he's having thoughts he hasn't had since Kira…shouldn't have, because it's Cassie and she's like a little sister to him.
"It's okay," she whispers. He shakes his head, because it's not. She lets out a huff of air, eyes rolling as her head falls back, and then she's glaring at him and standing. "Nick…I Saw this."
"I did," she presses, "Ever since we didn't die. Ever since Carver pulled the trigger. This is where we've been heading."
"That was five years ago. Kira was-"
"I didn't know it would happen," she says, "I didn't know she was going to die, not until I told you, I swear Nick." She's wide-eyed now, and he'd never think that she had something to do with Kira's death, never.
"I know, I just…You were twelve!"
"Thirteen," she corrects, "And now I'm eighteen." She takes a step forward, and tugs her shirt over her head as she goes, discarding it onto an already messy floor and she keeps coming toward him.
"Wait, stop." He holds up his hands and she stops. He breathes deep and stares at her, this stranger in his best friend's body. She's just standing there, hands spread against his wall of power with a curious little quirk to her lips, as if him in a room with her naked but for a short skirt was normal. Cassie knocks one hand against his power and tiny sparks shoot out, the rainbow light of impact, and she laughs at the colors and does it again, the pattern of her knocks the same as it had been on his door.
The fifteenth time she raises her hand, she has nothing to knock against. She stumbles forward and pauses, looking at him questioningly, and then she's right there in front of him. She twines her arms around his neck and her small breasts press against the cotton of his t-shirt and he shudders, head falling to her bare shoulder. "I don't know what to say to make you want me, Nick," she murmurs into his neck.
"That's not the problem," he tells her, his body already responding to the almost forgotten feeling of a warm, willing woman. "The problem is I love you." Like a friend. Like a sister. He'd never loved her the way he'd loved Kira, never thought about loving her the way one would a lover. "And not-"
"We're it," she interrupts, "Me and you. We're all that's left. You're never going to love me the same way, Nick, but you'll love me anyway. And I've always loved you."
His head comes up in surprise. "Cassie?"
Her eyes are wet and she nods with this little self-deprecating smile that doesn't belong on her face. "Crazy, I know."
"We'll be great together," she whispers, "I promise." She leans up, lips brushing his, and he can't help the thrill that shoots through his body. "Just trust me."
"I do." He closes his eyes and kisses her deep.
When he opens his eyes three months later, there is a weight on his back and wetness all over his skin. He tenses, and she laughs. "Cassie?"
"I'm painting our future on your skin," she says softly, and he twists beneath her until she's straddling his thighs. He still feels like it should be more awkward, both of them naked and sore, but her hands are blue and pink, yellow and green, purple and orange, and her eyes are happy. He looks down at himself, pictures smeared across his body and onto her pale skin, onto the white of the sheets and bedspread, and then he tickles her.
By the time they are done, she's sprawled over him on the floor by the mattress, hands gripping his biceps as he rocks up into her.
"We should get that to the laundromat," he grunts later, head cocked to indicate the stained bedding.
Her smile is sleepy-sated. "Fabric paint," she mutters, rubbing her cheek along his chest, "let it dry."
He chuckles, mind months back focused on pink cheeks and knows she Saw today. "Then we should get us to the shower."
Her head moves back and forth in a negative, lips trailing across his painted skin as she whispers, "I like color."