Title: Squint

Fandom: Runaways

Pairing: Nico/Karolina, mentions of Karolina/Xavin

Disclaimer: Don't own Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, or anything involved with the Runaways


Nico remembered when she could stare at Karolina without having to squint.

Sure, she had never exactly made a "habit" out of staring at her before she left. But once she was gone, she quickly discovered that she wanted nothing more then to just be able to look at her once again. The months when Karolina was not a part of the team had felt like death, but if there was a bright side (no pun intended), it was it gave her time to think things through. Sure, it had been a rough time for her, but she guessed it would be for anyone that discovered that they were attracted to their best friend.

So, when Karolina came back, everything had been perfect, up until it was made clear that she was still very much involved with her fiancé (Who shall remain nameless…). The two had seemingly become connected at the hip, and, depending on the time of day, it either made Nico want to throw up or cry.

Part of her wants to feel bad (but never quite does) about being so upset over her friend finding someone else. It was rather obvious to everyone that she was a lot more confident in who she has become. Her powers seemed to not only rival her parents when they were alive, but possibly have gone to an entirely different level. But even more importantly, she seemed comfortable in her own skin now. As far as she had seen, there were no more cases of "alien angst", and there seems to be no hassle over the fact that she was gay. Then again, when you're dating a "female" (pfft) extraterrestrial, those probably don't even seem like problems anymore. It was fair to state that Karolina had become a very strong, secure, confident individual.

And Nico kinda hated it.

She wasn't sure how she managed to want her and hate her at the same time. She had spent months praying to get her back, for the chance to make up for her past mistakes. And when she got back, nothing was the same. And she's not even talking about… him.

No, the real difference is that Karolina had changed. Not just in her powers being more developed, or being "happy". But she had changed on a different level. After the first few days of having Karolina back (when she wasn't being completely distraught over losing Gert, which hadn't exactly helped her mindset), every time they had a conversation, Nico felt like she was talking to a stranger. She had secretly thought (or was that hoped?) that this Karolina was just another Skrull shape shifter, and that they were planning to somehow use them to take over LA for some invasion of Earth. She just didn't remind her remotely of the Karolina she had gotten to know. It seemed with her time off, who she was had completely changed. She was seemingly never in her human form anymore, except when her power was drained. The bracelet Nico had once held on her person at all hours was now discarded to someplace she would probably never know.

Nico had to admit Karolina was still stunning when she showed her natural form. But, truth be told, she prefers Karolina's human form by miles. Sure, it technically wasn't the "real" Karolina, but damn it, it was the Karolina she had grown up with. It was that Karolina who had held her hand when the team got back together after Alex almost killed them all (and did destroy a large part of Nico). It was that Karolina who had admitted she felt something for her. It was that Karolina who had given her a gift she had cherished and vowed to hold onto until she got to see her again. Hell, it was that Karolina who had convinced her to retire her glasses for contacts! But that Karolina wasn't around anymore. It was like all of the old Karolina, the girl she knew she could rely on when she had became the makeshift leader of the team, the only person she had trusted enough to show her weaknesses too when she was still hurting from Alex, the girl who she had come to understand she had fallen head over heels in love with, was gone. All of that time she had spent learning about herself, all of her time "discovering her true heritage", had led her to seemingly forget who she was when she left.

And sure, Karolina was great. She could hold her own in just about any fight. She had the confidence to basically be a better leader then Nico if she ever wanted the role. She had a "lover" who apparently really cared for her. She has all the confidence and strength in the world. But you know what? Whenever Nico saw her, with her powers shining strongly, going up against any level of enemy, she doesn't think about how fantastic she is now. She doesn't think about how great it is her old friend has accepted everything in her life. And she sure as hell doesn't swoon. Her thoughts begin and end in one phrase.

"I want my Karolina back."


Authors Note: My first fan fiction that I actually completed, featuring my current favorite pairing. Thanks to my best friend Wiggy for helping me through this. I've actually been working on a longer, less angsty (well, it is angsty, but not to this extent) fic involving these 2, when this idea came to me, and I started writing it as a drabble and ended up getting a page and a half. Hopefully you'll be seeing that soon too. And I certainly hoped you enjoyed reading this!