disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to my gorgeous bitches. all of them.
notes: jesus, i just can't stop with the Cobra Starship. or. you know. anything. why don't i have a soul?

title: a hot addiction
summary: You make me feel so…! — Ivan/Karina.

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She didn't know why she was doing what she was doing.

She was a singer, not a dancer. But Sarah had produced three pieces of plastic, slim cards with pictures and information and Karina realized with growing horror that those were fake IDs, and getting caught with them was—

Sarah rolled her eyes. "Live a little, Karina! Even Emily is coming!"

Emily looked offended, but she'd taken the card and Karina could only reach for it cautiously—after all, if Emily was alright with it, it couldn't be that bad, right? Emily was the brains, between the three of them. Karina was the smile and the voice, Sarah was the eyes, and Emily was the brain. So it would be okay, right?

Her fingers closed around sharp-cut plastic edges. It dug in, and Karina wondered if it would draw blood.

"Okay," she said. "When are we going?"

Sarah clapped her hands, face lighting up with mischief. "Tonight, obviously!" she exclaimed.

Karina felt the wee-ist bit sick.

Not that she didn't love her friends, because she did. But she wasn't—she wasn't mentally ready for this—this whole thing. She liked dancing but she was a singer and there would be—there would be people there. People who might recognize her. People who might put two and two together.

Karina saved people for a living, but that didn't necessarily mean that she enjoyed being squashed in a tiny club in the unwashed masses. In fact, all it meant was that she saved people for a living.

She'd never really liked people, anyway.

Her friends both grinned, sparking up and looping their arms around hers with a waterfall of laughter escaping them both. It was comfortable and familiar, Karina thought, something left over from being in the same class for three years. They were her friends, and she could do this.

"C'mon, then! I am not going dancing dressed like this!" Karina exclaimed, indicating her school uniform.

Another bubble of laughter rose to the surface and popped between them. It was an easy thing. Karina smiled.

One night of dancing wouldn't kill her.

She could do this.

And so, together, the three girls left the deserted street-corner to find some adventure.

/ / /

The music thrilled through her, pounding bass chattering through her teeth. It was the kind of music where Karina didn't hear so much as feel; sweat dripped down her spine, beaded along her forehead, and her frame shook in time to the beat.

She was a little drunk and a lot silly, falling over herself and still dancing. Arms thrown in the air, she swung her hips back and forth in time, mumbling lyrics though the music was so loud she couldn't even hear herself think.

And still, she danced.

She moved fluidly, trapped between Emily, Sarah, and three men she didn't know. There were hands of her hips and it took more willpower than she cared to admit to not freeze them off. They were offensive, but—

a breath in, a breath out

—there was flash of strobe, everything lit up in fuchsia and indigo and from far away, Karina thought she saw white blond hair that didn't belong and—

a breath in, a breath out

—hands. Hands everywhere. Stroking up and down her waist. Karina felt the ice flooding her veins, raging to be allowed to escape and freeze his fingers off because when did she give him the right

a breath in, a breath out

—and then "Kelly? Is that you?"

The voice was low and familiar, right next to her ear. Karina turned and stared. White blond hair from far away and pale skin flushed neon with the strobe-light, Ivan Karelin was looking down at her with something like amusement in his eyes.

"I—yeah, hi! How are you?" Karina yelled.

"Jesus, there you are," he yelled in reply. "I've been looking all over for you."

His eyes dropped to the hands still at her waist and Karina had a sinking feeling deep in her stomach. Oh, he was never going to let her live this down, never, never, never; he was going to hold this over her head until she died.

He moved closer, to press her tauntingly back against the stranger.

"Hey man," he said, voice deceptively gentle. He spoke straight in the man's ear; Karin could hear the venom. "Hands off my girlfriend."

The strangers' hands were off her faster than a red-hot brand. Karina couldn't help but be a little relieved, but Ivan draped an arm over her shoulder and very nearly dragged her away. She only managed to look over her shoulders and shrug helpless at her friends before losing sight of them entirely as the gap they had left in the crowd closed off.

They made it all the way to an empty booth before Ivan let her go.

He sat there awkwardly, looking out of place in his light jacket, light hair, light skin, light eyes. He could have been anyone, Karina thought. He could have been anyone, but he wasn't. He was Ivan and he had just pulled her out of a crowd of people grinding, loving, fucking on the dance-floor.

Karina had never wanted to be saved.

She stared at him. "What are you doing here?"

He mouthed something at her, but even this far away from the speakers, Karin couldn't hear him at a normal volume. She shifted an inch closer.

He raised an eyebrow and grinned the very littlest bit.

That could be nothing good.

Karina scooted over until her thigh pressed against his, and she glared up at him. "I said," she enunciated in his ear, "what are you doing here?"

Ivan shrugged a little and pressed his mouth to her ear in return. "Nathan."

Which explained everything and nothing, Karina thought. Only Nathan would shove Ivan—good, sweet Ivan—into something like this.

"Aren't you too young to be here, Karina?" he asked. His mouth moved almost indecently against her ear as she spoke, and Karina froze in place.

Sweat dripped down the hollow in her throat, and she gulped. "Don't tell, okay? It was—a friend's idea."

"Sure," he laughed in her ear. It was so gentle, so soft, so Ivan. Karina sighed, and leaned back against the cracked pleather of the booth. It stuck to her skin, gummy and uncomfortable. The air around them was stagnant and muggy, thick with sweat and spilled alcohol.

Karina still didn't know why she'd agreed to this.

"Please, Ivan. Don't tell. I just—I wanted—"

"To be normal," he replied and nodded.

Karina paused, and looked at him. He was smiling a little smile, a small thing, sad. He'd given things up, she knew, to be a Hero—normalcy was something that they'd all given up, in the long run. Or maybe they'd never had normalcy. Maybe nothing was normal, and Karina had the last glimpse of it before she'd first accidentally iced a picture-perfect rose to give to her mother.

"Yeah," she said. "To be normal."

They sat silently in the booth, just as the beat thudded and changed. Karina whipped her head up with wide eyes, gold curls flying. "Come and dance!"

Ivan just shook his head.

Karina would have tugged at his hand, but she figured that he was probably more out of place than she was. She slid out of the booth. The backs of her thighs were sticky with sweat as she got up and shook her hair.

When she looked back, Ivan had disappeared.

Karina smiled, shook her head, and rejoined the crowd around the bar.

"Who was that?" Emily laughed in her ear.

Karina shrugged her off. "Just a friend."

"Whatever, drink this!"

And Karina did. It was sweet and cold, like mint and strawberries and it went down easy. She slurped half of it down before she realized that it was alcohol and she was going to regret drinking it in the morning.

She finished it anyway, dropped the glass on the bartop.

It was so hot.

Then the music took them.

/ / /

It was three hours later that she stumbled out, Karina caught herself giggling into someone's shirt. He hadn't pronounced her name right all night and that was okay.

She pushed him away, and looked up and up.

She met dark eyes. They shimmered purpled for a second, and Karina sighed.

"Hi, Ivan."

"Let's get you home," he said.

It was heartbreakingly gentle.

She wouldn't remember the exchange in the morning; in fact, she wouldn't remember most of the night. She wouldn't remember the conversation, but she would remember the soft feeling of arms around her waist.

And so she wrapped her arms around his neck, stood on her tiptoes and whispered into his jaw "Don't you like me?"

He looked pained. "Karina, this is not the place to have this conver—"

"I like you," she murmured, a tiny pout marring her mouth.

"You like someone else," Ivan reminded her.

"No," Karina said decisively. "I like you right now."

At this, Ivan chuckled. "I'm not surprised."

Karina pressed her face into the crook of his neck, hiccupping softly. He was very warm, and Karina had trouble remembering why she didn't cling to him all the time. There was something—someone—

But it was gone. Karina pressed her lips to his neck. His pulse beat under his skin, erratic, and she knew, she knew, that it was all because of her. "Home now?" she breathed.

"I—uh—yeah," said Ivan.

Karina smiled and opened her mouth—

Then she was in a bed, ears buzzing, and he pulled the covers up to her chin. Everything was blurry, and she reached for the white hair above her head.

"Go to sleep, Karina," said the voice from far away. Karina struggled to keep her eyes open.

"Sleep."

"Okay," she murmured.

And then he was gone.

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fin.
notes2: this doesn't even make sense. okay then.
notes3: please don't favourite without leaving a review! :)