Maybe it wasn't him that made her power stop. Maybe it wasn't the future. Maybe it was something inside of her, something that clicked when she saw him, that other version of him that immediately captivated her. The nagging curiosity is why she can't stop looking at him now. She misses his touch so much, and she knows it won't be the same with this one, but still. She knows it's her duty to teach him.

Something inside her has changed. She can't pinpoint it, doesn't know if it's when she chose to return to his lair or when she dropped that match, but something changed. She has this feeling inside her, and it may not be love, not quite yet, but it's compassion. Or passion. Or something. Her head aches and she's sick of contemplation, so one day at break time, when they're alone, she decides to test her hypothesis. She speaks up.

"Can I try something with you?"

"W-what? What, exactly?" He sets his drink down and circles his finger around the rim. There's this look in his eyes that reminds her of an abused dog fearing another slap. It stings her and melts her at the same time.

"Just... Just hold out your hand, alright." Her voice is quieter now, a bit scared, though she'd never admit it to herself.

His eyes ask "what?" again but he says nothing. He looks down at her fists, clenched at her sides, then shakily lifts his left hand. She raises her right hand, slowly curling the fingers out to hover just above his until she can feel the warmth. He's shaking so much. Her heartbeat is giving her a headache, her stomach's in knots, she draws in one shaky breath. 'Moment of truth' and all that, she thinks. She taps each of his fingernails once, teasing, testing, then grasps his hand. Her eyes study his face. He looks terrified but he's trying to hide it. But there's no abrupt change, no gasp, no tensing up, no saying those terrible things like in the past (things that may or may not have been seeming not-so-terrible to her lately.)

They're quiet for a while, her thumb warm against his clammy palm. It feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders and she can't hold back a tiny smile. Their eyes meet and he wonders why hers are brimming with tears.

. . .

He should've expected this. After she ran into the community center that day after touching him, when she grabbed Curtis and then Nathan and saw that her power still worked on them, when she turned to face him with that earth-shattering expression that gave him this uneasy sense of responsibility, he really should've expected that she'd pursue him. Maybe it was just for a change of pace, he thought. Surely she didn't actually like him. She must just be bored of her power. Or want to figure out how to turn it off for other people.

These thoughts are hard to keep in his head as she's dragging him up the stairs of his empty house, vice grip on his hand like an excited child at a fair. She stops in front of the door to his room, reminding herself that she has to be slow and gentle with him. She can't remember the last time she had a virgin, actually. She takes a deep breath and looks at him, waiting for him to open the door, waiting for her heart to stop pounding.

"I... Are we..." Simon raises one hand slightly as if searching for words in the air. He licks his lips and furrows his brow, then gives up on forming a question and opens the door. He stands stiff and motionless next to his desk, staring at the floor, arms at his sides. Alisha enters and shuts the door behind her, not even taking her eyes off him to study the room.

"It's alright. Loosen up, yeah?" She raises her eyebrows and tries to flash him one of those beautiful, now-broken smiles, but he can sense the insincerity and the insecurity in it. It actually makes him feel a little better to see that she's nervous as well. The corner of his mouth twitches a little as she grabs his hand and sits on the edge of his bed. He follows.

She stares at him for so long, it's unsettling. There seem to be all these messages in her eyes, and he gets frustrated with himself for being unable to decipher them. Sometimes, these days, he thinks she looks at him like he's her whole world. He hates himself for even entertaining that idea, for even thinking that anyone could value him that much. Stupid stupid stupi-

His thoughts are stopped when she touches his cheek and crawls forward on her knees, bunching up his black and white patterned sheets. He swallows and his lips part ever so slightly and she wants to kick herself for not noticing how beautiful he was the first day they showed up for community service. She smiles softly again and runs her hand down his shoulder, down his wrinkle-free maroon polo. Short-sleeved so it shows a hint of those muscles he hides. She scoots closer to him and brings her hand back up to his neck, fingers barely touching him.

"It's alright," she says again, then presses her lips to his. He's cold and motionless, lifeless, even. Too shocked to respond, but she expected that. She just keeps her kisses gentle and slow, feels a trembling hand hover near her arm, feels his mouth move a little awkwardly at last. She leans back a bit and grabs the bottom of his shirt, then looks up at him for confirmation. He only stares, and his breathing is already so labored she can hear it. She tugs the shirt up off of his head as he squirms out of it, then he takes it from her, neatly folds it, and sets it on the floor in front of his nightstand. Alisha suppresses a chuckle at his meticulousness. It's endearing, really.

He brings his legs up onto the bed now, trying to curl in on himself and hug his knees to his chest, but she stops him and crawls into his lap. She can feel him through his black trousers already, and she kisses him lightly before pulling off her pale pink leopard-print top. Her earrings jingle as she tosses the garment across the room and cups his face in her hands, kissing him passionately this time. His hands still hover at her sides, the fingers curled into contorted little positions, scared to touch. He gasps into her mouth when she shifts slightly on his lap, and she takes this opportunity to involve her tongue. He opens his eyes and is embarrassed to see hers open as well, studying him throughout the kiss. He pulls away and looks at the floor, leaning back and supporting himself with his elbows. He's cute when he blushes, she thinks.

She systematically pulls a condom out of her purple lace bra and sets it on the table next to his alarm clock. This makes his heart race, brings a sense of reality to the situation somehow. This is actually happening, he thinks. She presses her palm against his cold bare chest, pushing him flat against the bed. The only sounds are their breathing and the rustling of blankets.

He curls his fingers in again, not quite making a fist, and presses his arms up against his chest awkwardly. He still doesn't know what to touch, and her looming over him is making him feel quite threatened. She grabs his wrists lightly and presses them down to his sides, then kisses him again. Their stomachs are flush against each other and her necklace is dangling down, tickling his chest, and he feels a hand on his belt and he thinks he's going to forget how to breathe and there are too many thoughts in his head and-

"I ca-I can't-," he chokes, tries to roll away from her, but she grabs a fistful of his short hair and presses her lips to his cheek, then his ear.

"It's okay. Relax." Her voice is low, smooth, calm and sweet. So rare for her. She kisses a trail all the way down his stomach, thinking how much she's missed it. His pants are on the floor before he realizes it.

In his head, at night, he had always replayed that one disastrous blowjob. He knew it was Lucy, but it was the closest, realest thing he'd gotten so far, and in his mind he would pretend it was Alisha. An Alisha that actually liked him and wanted him. But now that her glossed lips are actually around his cock it's much, much different. She's taking it slow, not hungrily, teasing, smiling up at him every few minutes. Relishing the shocked whimpers coming out of him every time she flicks her tongue over the head. He's gripping fistfuls of his sheets with both hands, his knuckles white. She grabs his right wrist and guides his hand to her face instead, and he trembles, freezes, slowly begins to pet her hair and try to steady his breathing. She notes the muscles in his thighs tensing. When his hips involuntarily buck, she stops, lies down, and pulls him on top of her. She kicks her denim shorts to the floor and he's met with the sight of her striped grey knickers. The fact that they don't match her bra annoys the obsessive-compulsive in him, but he doesn't say anything, of course.

Caerulean eyes stare down at her and he's really beginning to use up all her patience. She throws her arms around him and pulls him down onto her, and he's afraid he's crushing her but she kisses him and he can taste himself a bit, pre-come, which is well odd to him and her thighs are hot on either side of his ass and his cock twitches every time her hand snakes down along his side and back up again and she's nibbling his earlobe and he thinks his brain is going to explode, going into overdrive with all these thoughts like this. Alisha wriggles out of her underwear and reaches over to the table, looking at him for permission again.

He licks his lips, rocks back on his knees and smoothes down his hair as he allows her to put the condom on, watching, transfixed, then crawls back to his former position between her thighs. He looks nervously up and down, up and down, still not sure what to do next, but thankfully she wraps a hand around his cock and shifts her hips slightly before guiding him in. He's glad that she doesn't roll her eyes or show any other signs of exasperation.

"Okay. Go," she directs, and he presses his hips forward, and with a bit of a struggle, he's in. She lets out a muffled squeak but dismisses his worried expression, encouraging him to move. "Find what feels good. For you."

He nods into her shoulder and places one hand on her side as he moves in and out, and it's a remarkable sensation even if he doesn't know what he's doing. It's odd for Alisha, having strong feelings of familiarity with his body but knowing this is all new to him. She rakes her nails lightly down his back, down his ribs, like she knows he likes. She presses a trail of kisses from his cheek to his temple as he buries his face in his pillow and finds a rhythm. When he starts to moan, she grinds her hips up into his in small circles and he kisses her forcefully, eyes clamped shut and hair ruffled. She holds him tight and his thrusts become erratic. He stops whimpering into her mouth, breaks the kiss, and says her name - once, quietly, against her cheek - just before he comes.

. . .

Simon stares at the ceiling for several minutes, silent as he remembers how to breathe again. Alisha can't take her eyes off of him, and she holds his hand even though it's limp in her grasp.

"I'm cold," he mutters shyly, so she rummages around until she finds the blankets they'd kicked off the bed.

. . .

She studies the planets and constellations on his wallpaper. Insects and black-and-white photographs are carefully arranged on the walls. The books on the shelf are alphabetized, as are the DVDs. There's not a speck of dust on anything.

He's rolled into her arms by now, succumbing to a cuddle. He twitches in his sleep, clicks his teeth together once like a dreaming puppy snapping at something, then stills again. Alisha smiles down at him and she can feel her eyes getting hot with tears, and even though she doesn't know herself very well any more, she's guessing they're happy ones.