He likes it when she says his name.

It's a gentle voice trembling on a J and steadying on a E. It's her tongue touching the roof of her mouth right at the beginning, and her lips parting at the ending.

They're rosy and smooth, her lips, sometimes cherry flavored because of the sticky lip gloss she uses all the time. He tells her he hates the thing—it's way too sweet and it stays on his skin.

He secretly loves it.

It's way too sweet and it stays on his skin.

Kisses marks that she gives him. She giggles when he grumbles and wipes at his cheek with the back of his hand.

"Sometimes I think you're actually a grumpy 50-year-old," she jokes, and bites her bottom lip when he looks at her, his eyebrows raised.

She teases him when she wants something. She teases him because she knows he'll pull her on his lap and kiss her and prompt her to tease him again, just so he can take off her shirt and mess up her hair.

"Say that again," he dares her, his voice muffled as he licks a stripe all the way up to her breasts. She always shivers, and by the time he's on her neck, kissing and biting, she's already wet and impatient and lovely.

He loses himself into her, then, and they lie together on a king sized mattress, the only fancy thing they have in the house—-which is mostly empty. There are no tables, no couch, and they eat on the floor with plastic plates and plastic forks and plastic knives.

They have enough money to live a good life, but life is already pretty good, they think, and they're going to be moving out soon and the mattress will be forgotten. The only fancy thing in the house, and it won't matter anymore. They can't stay in one place, they can't stand still unless they want to be found, which they don't, so they move and move and run until they can't, until they find another spot to hide, like stray cats on rainy nights.

And it's fine, it's just fine, as long as he can hear her talking and laughing.

There's no talking tonight, however, no talking at all.

She's frowning, her lips forming thin line, no lip gloss, and her arms are crossed. The silence between them is not uncomfortable, but it's heavy. When they get home and open the door to a living room that has no couch and no coffee table, she goes straight to their room, ignoring him.

He sighs, brings his hands to his face and tries not to scream in frustration. His right hand is hurting and that's alarming.

A year ago he punched a real monster, and his hand didn't hurt as much as it does now that he punched a normal human being.

The guy had a big, square jaw, a bent nose and a typical asshole attitude. The kind of guy who doesn't take the hint, who tries and tries and ends the night calling a woman a bitch for not leaving with him.

He deserved the broken nose he got.

Jake is about to go after her when she storms out of their bedroom, wearing only a pair of white panties and holding one of his t-shirts in her hands. There's something to be said about that, he's sure of it, something to be said about the way she walks around half naked, her breasts on display most of time, and she's confident, beautiful. There is something to be said about this intimacy that is so scary and so comfortable at the same time.

She confronts him and he's rattled to the core.

"You think what you did was 'cute'?" she asks, unfolding the t-shirt and putting it on. "That I should be thanking you instead of being mad, is that it?"

"Pretty much, yeah," he says.

She rolls her eyes, shakes her head.

"Are you fucking serious? You're mad at me?"

"I could have handled myself, thank you very much. In fact, I was handling the entire situation just fine before you swooped in with your manliness and punched him in the face."

"Wait, let me get this straight: I react to some jerk treating you bad and refusing to leave you alone and you mock me and defend him?"

"I'm not defending him—"

"Swooped in with my manliness?"

"That's not what I meant!"

"No, that's fucking nice, thank you, Supergirl."

"Oh, no, you're not turning this on me! He was about to leave, Jake!"

"Yeah, it's obviously my fault."

"See, I can't have a conversation with you. You're too stubborn! Is it hard to understand that I didn't need to be rescued? I don't want that. I don't want you to see me like that."

"Like what?"

"Like a frail little girl who needs saving. You know very well I could've punched him myself if it came down to it, yet you ignored that. I know it was supposed to be sweet, but it wasn't. I hate what it implies, it makes me sick just—-"

"What are you talking about?" he interrupts her, frowining.

She looks down at her feet, his t-shirt is too big on her, Jake notices, and then she's looking at him again.

"It made me feel…" she starts, her tone a bit calmer now. "When you punched him and dragged me out of that restaurant, I felt like I used to feel when I was a…when…" she shakes her head.

It's a second, and Jake watches, unable to say something even though he wants to.

"When I was a test subject," she finally says. "They tried to make it seem like that was not the case, but it was, and I used to feel helpless, like I didn't belong to myself and I couldn't do anything about it, and today I felt the same way."

She takes a deep breath, her cheeks a bit red.

"I didn't want to feel that way, and I kept telling myself you didn't know, that you were just trying to protect me, but I couldn't…I couldn't keep it down. I don't want to link you to that nightmare, I don't…I'm…I'm going to bed, alright? I'm just…way too tired for this."

She's gone before he can register what she's said.

He doesn't follow her right away. She needs space, but he understands now, he understands and feels like an idiot. She has every right to be mad, and it's a wonder she didn't mention the obvious things, that she left out the part here they're on the run and they can't afford to be at the center of attention. He could have messed everything up.

He's not good with words, he's not good with good things. The hurt of being compared to one of the worst times of her life is not easy to take, and the guilt of being the one to make her feel like that is even worse.

When he's ready, when he thinks she's ready, he knocks on the door, calls her name and is ignored. He does it a second time, and explains, "I'm trying to apologize, so could you please open the fucking door?"

She does, and he notices how her hair is messed up, figures she must have been lying down, maybe even asleep. He feels guilty again, but swallows it and stares at her.

It takes him a while.

She raises an eyebrow.

He rolls his eyes, and sighs.

"I'm sorry."

"Well, that's the grumpiest apology I've ever heard."

He shakes his head, "I wasn't done."


"I really am sorry. I don't regret punching that idiot, but I understand it upset you and I…I…look, you're a good thing, alright? You're a good thing on a list of bad things and I don't have the best of luck with good things and I'm just trying to take care of you."

"But I don't—-"

"I know. I get it. You don't need me to, but I want to. I'll settle for the little things, okay, I'll settle for finding us a new place to eat," he looks up at the ceiling for a moment, f only for a little bit of distraction because this is different, he's never done this before and when he looks at her again he thinks she sees right through him.

He carries on, "if you let me, I'll settle for the little things, and I'll be there when or if you need me for the other things."

It worries him when she shakes her head, but he sees her smile and then she's reaching for his hand and leading him into the bedroom. Her clothes are neatly folded on a corner while his are all over the place, and their mattress is covered with the new sheets she bought last Monday.

"That was a good speech," she tells him.

He can't help his smirk. "Yeah?"

She nods, stands on the tip of her toes and kisses his cheek, her lips on his scar, he throws his arms around her and she presses her body against his.

"You forgive me then?"

"Just don't do it again," she whispers.

He lifts her up, carries her to the mattress and lies her down. She smiles at him and traces his upper lip with her fingertip, drags it across his cheek and is back on his scar. It sends a chill down his spine, and he leans down to place his lips upon hers, and it's sweet and long and naive, their kiss, it's always like this.

They're okay.