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14 June 2008 @ 00:59
FIC: Suerte [Runaways].  
Title: Suerte.
Fandom: Runaways [comic].
Rating: R for vague sexual activity.
Genre: Angst, romance, smutfic.
Summary: Xavin wants what sie thinks Karolina doesn't want, but Karolina actually does want it, which of course leads to puddles and puddles of angst.
Warnings: Femslash, genderbending (it is Xavin), vague lesbosex.
Pairings/Characters: Karolina/Xavin, mentions of Nico (euw).
Author's Note: This pretends to have a plot, but it's lying. For yuri_challenge, Round 1, 2008. I wanted this to be super-smutty, but then I a) realised it's not allowed for the under-18s and b) ran out of time, so now it's just angsty and ridiculous and is titled after a Shakira song. Sorry, requester-person, hope it's all right anyhow. Thanks as always to Twitch for the epic beta and title and . . . things.




We sleep chastely still, like babies huddled together for warmth and comfort; I lay my arm lightly across her shoulders, and she shifts under the weight of it. I will not push her, though she squirms and mutters in her sleep and something in me shifts at her whispers of desire. The girl whose name she whispers is not and will never be me, no matter how I may change, so why do I torment myself?

Sometimes she shifts in her sleep, turns over in my arms during one of her deep and inscrutable dreams, and presses herself against me. I only worry about what floats through her mind in her slumber when she has turned away from me again; for those brief minutes in the night, I sink into the sensations that are her warm breasts pressed against these borrowed ones of mine, and I relinquish my control to the bright night and whisper in her ear that I am who I am not.

She moves now, turns over to me, and opens her eyes; just like that, the switch is on and I must focus or lose myself again. I must not look to the exquisite blush forming on her cheeks or the way she presses herself against me, nor her hand on my unnaturally soft waist. Her shining eyes, those I can focus on, if I am careful and don't fall too far in.

"Xavin." She breathes my name onto the skin of my neck like a benediction, wraps her arms around me. I choke on her scent, obscure and alien flowers, and say nothing; what would I say, even if I could speak?

"Xavin," she says again, sighing, smiling. "Can I ask you for a favour?"

"Anything you desire, my love." Anything. Anything.

Her blush spreads to her ears. Intriguing. Enchanted, I almost miss her next words. "I w-want to . . . make love to you."

I have a sufficient understanding of earthly idioms to understand that perfectly. I sit up.

"Xavin?" she whispers to me, almost a squeak. "Xavin, I'm sorry, I - was that rude? I only meant - "

"I know what you meant," I say. Her eyes fill up - was my tone that brusque? I lean down, stroke her hair, kiss her brow (still slightly flushed). "I know what you meant," I say again, hoping, praying that my voice holds more tenderness than I can detect over my racing pulse. "But I do not think that you want - " I stop, frustrated. She wants. I can see in her eyes, in her fidgeting hands and twisting fingers, precisely how much she wants. " - I do not think that you want this from me," I manage to gasp out, shame bitter on my tongue, my legs releasing their tension with disappointment, my anticipation leaking miserably away.

"What are you talking about?" She looks so confused, eyes open wide, arms clutched around her middle. I want to take it away, what I've said, tell her not to mind and take her in my arms and kiss her, long and slow, but I can't. I've made myself promise, and I will not break a promise.

I swing my legs over the edge of the bed. "You don't want me," I tell her, wishing I could be anywhere else, wishing what my words weren't true. "I know you desire my body, this body - " I gesture, frustrated, at the softness at my chest and waist, where she watches me when she thinks I'm not looking. " - but you don't love me, Karolina. Not yet. Maybe - " Maybe you never will. Because there will always be - "You love that girl," I tell her. "You love Nico."

I won't look at her, my bethrothed, bright as the sun and full of colour that flashes into the corners of this dark room - our room, though I don't call it that out loud - with her back against the pillows and her legs crossed at the ankle. I can feel her eyes on me, her hand sneaking up to my shoulder. I stand up.


I stop, sigh. "Karolina. Please."

"Xavin," she says, and I can't do anything but sit down again, because this is the voice of a queen, the voice that no one, even - especially - not I, can resist. She grabs my hand; hers is still damp and hot from clutching at the blankets in her sleep, while mine are cool and limp in her tight grasp.

"What do you wish to tell me?" I am weary. I want to sleep this night away. Our wedding is in one month. She does not love me.

"You're brooding," she says, giving me a little smile and pushing the hair out of my eyes. "You think too much."

I look away.


I look back. I can see she will cry soon. I want to feel worse about this than I do.

"I love you, Xavin."

I snort without meaning to. She jabs me in the chest with one long, delicate finger.

"That's not fair," she says, all smiles gone, eyes dark and serious as she wraps her fingers tighter around mine. "You're not even listening."

"I am sorry, my love," I tell her, "but I know you too well for you to deceive me."

"Shut up, Xavin," she snaps. Breathes. Sighs. "Xavin," she begins again, "I love Nico. I always will. But she doesn't love me. I'm trying to move past that. Can't you understand?"

I rip my hand out of her grasp. "Do you think I am a simpleton?" I hiss. "I love you, Karolina, but you are here only because you feel you have to be! Do you think that hurts any less than what you're going through? I will not be your . . . your . . . "

"My rebound?"

"Yes!" Using earthly idioms is so much more useful for this sort of thing, I think to myself. Arguments. Rage. Pain.

She shakes her head and smiles at me again. Her smile has never made me so angry. I get up to leave again, turn my back on her again, and she says, in a small but very clear voice:

"Your hair is thick and flows in waves. When we sleep, it curls across the pillow to my face, and I can smell cinnamon and coffee and something else I can't quite name, something that's just you. You walk with confidence in public, more casually in our private rooms. When you lie down on the bed, you lean back like you're afraid you'll break it if you're not incredibly careful. You negotiate like a king, but you're a gentleman, Xavin." She laughs. "Gentlewoman. That's why you torture yourself like this every night, isn't it? You come in here, lie down next to me, and hold me, just so I can have comfort, so I don't have to be alone. But you've never said anything that you think might hurt me, never kissed me, never touched me. You think I'm china, don't you?"

"I don't know what a china is, bethrothed," I mutter, eyes on the floor.

"It doesn't matter. It really doesn't." The bed creaks as she stands up, her bare feet padding on the floor as she walks over to me. "What I'm trying to say is that I won't break. I'm tougher than I look, just like you are. And I'm telling you - I'm telling you, Xavin, not asking you - I'm telling you to kiss me. Because I love you." She pauses behind me, wraps her arms around my waist, and whispers in my ear, "Please."

It's not fair, I want to tell her. It's not fair, this, whatever you're doing. You will regret it, and I will be alone again. I can't resist you. But I turn in her arms, and I kiss her anyway, and when our lips meet she presses herself to me and I can't recall my protests anymore.

Karolina is small and thin, hot and strong, lithe like a wire wrapping around me as I hold her in my arms, back her up to the bed, fall sideways and down as she kisses me with her whole body. I am lost and confused, in a strange body I don't know how to use, but she tells me what is right with her eyes and her face. She seems to smell the way herself, eyes closed, mouth searching down my abdomen, reading my body with her tongue and smiling against my skin with every jump and gasp I make. We turn the tables, her and I, and turn them again, until we are both mad and satisfied and ready again, and she teaches me all about this body I am in.
Amanda: loveaslanscountry on 14th June 2008 12:01 (UTC)
SCIENCE!: ting teethdaughtersofisis on 16th June 2008 01:49 (UTC)
Oh, yay, thank you! Glad you liked. :D
train_diskensetrain_diskense on 14th June 2008 12:10 (UTC)
SCIENCE!: matt!heartdaughtersofisis on 16th June 2008 01:49 (UTC)
*grins* Thanks for reading!
June: Karolina x Xavin/ gay is the wayneontehsheep on 14th June 2008 14:15 (UTC)
Hi! You're a pretty awesome writer. Your Gert/Chase fic is, in my opinion, one of the best things to have come out of Runaways fandom, and I rec it to anyone who asks for good fic. So, naturally, I was glad to see you write [another] one of my favorite pairings in the series.

I adore the fact that you chose to write this scene, because it is one of the most significant parts of Karolina and Xavin's relationship - the time they spent together in space getting closer to each other, the on-panel mentioned agreement that they will not get married unless Karolina is in love with Xavin, and Xavin knowing about Karolina's feelings for Nico - except we've never gotten to see it in canon. It's one of those things that simply had to be written by someone, except no one had the right combination of the necessary guts and talent to go ahead and do it. So mad kudos to you.

I love how Xavin does not get earth idioms. I love how she mopes and Karolina tries in vain to get her to shut up. It'd be adorable if it weren't so sad. Karolina teaching Xavin about her body = hell yes. Also? Our wedding is in one month. She does not love me. is pure win, and she kisses me with her whole body is like the best sex line ever.

From here onward, I'll be offering some constructive criticism. I have the tendency to be nitpicky and to come off meaner than I intend to, so you can just stop reading now and go on knowing that you've done good. :') Also, beware of monstrous tl;dr.

For one, I think it's a bit overdramatic - I know that Xavin is pretty paranoid, but lines like The girl whose name she whispers is not and will never be me, no matter how I may change, so why do I torment myself? seem a bit over the top. But I do like how Karolina balances it out with her trying to ground Xavin and get her to stop fretting.

Secondly, I don't see Xavin - or her relationship with Karolina - as particularly sensual. This is a personal view thing, obviously, but judging by their relationship in the comic - how the only time they kissed [well, that was off-panel too] was in an arc not written by BKV, how they touch in little, caring ways that show an amazingly small amount of wanting to get in each other's pants, Xavin's utmost respect - bordering on worship, even - of Karolina, her growing anxiety of not being "the right girl" and the mental barrier between them, caused by those two things. Karolina doesn't strike me as the type who'd be in any particular rush to get in bed with someone, either. I mean, I could see them having sex, but only after they work through at least some of their issues. So it felt really off to me, not just that they had sex after a relatively short relationship, but that they had sex after Karolina had a wet dream about Nico. There's so much wrong with that - even though the rest of the fic attempts to prove otherwise, it just gives off the impression that she was feeling horny and that Xavin was the only warm body around. Plus, that's a reeeaaally awkward set-up for a first time. Not that I've had an incredibly varied sex life [or any kind of it at all], but I'd imagine most first times wouldn't stem from "Oh hay I just woke up and I feel like sexing, have sex with me!". Haven't you ever heard of setting the mood, Karolina? Tsk. And then when they actually have sex, it's instantly after Xavin lays down all of her insecurities and accusations on the table - it feels sudden and out of place. Those things Xavin talked about take time to work out, not a bunch of pretty words and sexing.
Also: "my legs releasing their tension with disappointment, my anticipation leaking miserably away."
The usage of "leaking" in this context gives me mental images that are not fun.
June: Xavin x Karolina/ IT'S A TRAPneontehsheep on 14th June 2008 14:15 (UTC)
Then there's the issue of Xavin's moping: Xavin doesn't mope. She has so many insecurities about herself that just keep adding up, and she lets them until she's ready to explode. And her explosions are usually a single sentence spoken in a quiet tone. She has serious identity issues, unsure of her gender, unsure of her species, wants to be the best for Karolina even if that involves being someone else entirely because she doesn't know who she is to begin with? "I don't know who I am". That's it. It's becoming more and more obvious to her that Karolina will never be over Nico and that Nico doesn't particularly mind their remarkably ambiguous relationship with each other, and despite Karolina telling Xavin she loves her, she's still not sure that she's good enough [because it's all her fault, of course] and the doubt is eating her from the inside? "I'm just not sure if I'm the right girl." To Chase. See what I'm getting at? There's also the issue that Xavin would never allow herself to show anger towards Karolina FUCK YOU JOSS, wouldn't yell at her and would not, for the love of her, accuse her of lying and tell her that she doubts her words to her face. She'd probably feel bad just thinking it. Her accusing Karolina is probably the thing that bothers me the most. She'd never do that - she'll just turn it at all to guilt and direct it at herself, because that's what she always does.

Then there's Karolina - I don't really know how believable it is to tell Xavin to stfu [despite having enjoyed that part immensely], since I can't imagine a situation where Xavin would go on like that in the first place. So I don't think I can criticize that. But I can criticize Karolina's long "XAVIN YOU'RE AMAZING HAVE MY BABIES" speech. First of all, the hair part - isn't it a bit silly to praise Xavin's looks when she can change them to their liking? How can she smell like cinnamon and coffee when Tarnax VII isn't very likely to have any of those things? And I don't even think Karolina talks that much, you know? I totally dug the china part, though.

You will regret it, and I will be alone again.
She kind of sounds like an emo manga character or something. ): And what is that "again" referring to?

Uhh, that's all. Got kind of carried away there. :') Sorry! I liked your fic a lot - otherwise I wouldn't spend a whole hour typing this up - so I hope that this doesn't offend you or anything. Keep writing!
SCIENCE!daughtersofisis on 15th June 2008 02:06 (UTC)
1. Drama - I agree, this is a really dramatic fic bordering on the out-of-character. Usually I don't write this way, but part of the reason I chose this style for this fic is because I do see Xavin as an incredibly insecure person who tends to bottle things up and dwell on them when sie should be trying to work them out. Some of the lines are pretty over-the-top, but I was kind of on a deadline, so unfortunately I wasn't able to work them out completely to my satisfaction.

2. Sensuality and mental barriers - I actually disagree with you a little bit about how their relationship plays out, especially in private. I do see Xavin as incredibly respectful of K, which I think I addressed in the fic, but I also see her as genuinely loving her, despite the really odd circumstances of their betrothal and semi-marriage. I think Xavin was brought up incredibly strictly, which is one of the reasons sie is so reserved in doling out affection, but Karolina presents the first real opportunity for hir to have an equal relationship with someone else. Xavin indicates during hir first appearance in the series that sie's never had friends and that hir parents have essentially made all important decisions for hir, so being able to be autonomous and attached to someone like Karolina, who is so independent and strong-willed, is a completely unique experience and one that Xavin is throwing hirself into wholeheartedly. It's also somewhat unhealthy for anyone to be devoted to anyone that singlemindedly, of course, which also contributes to the weird dynamic of their relationship. The other big weird thing is, of course, the whole issue with Nico (NICOOOO), as you've mentioned. This honestly seems to be more of an issue to Xavin than to Karolina in the present arc, so I assumed when writing this that K would already be ahead of Xavin in the understanding curve. What I've drawn from their one-on-one interaction when Xavin pretends to be Nico and during the the Whedon arc is that Karolina understands that she and Nico will never be 'together' and that she's coming to terms with that, whereas Xavin is extremely insecure about Nico's presence and hir own ability to satisfy Karolina even though sie's not exactly the woman K originally wanted. Basically, I see Xavin as worrying a lot about Karolina still being obsessed with Nico, whereas Karolina herself is, if not 100% over Nico, at least getting there. This more-or-less continual misunderstanding leads me to my understanding of their mental barriers - basically, Karolina is pretty happy, although her life isn't exactly what she perhaps expected it to be a few months earlier, and Xavin is terrified that the one person sie truly cares about will leave hir if sie's not able to wear the right mask well enough. As far as sexuality is concerned, my personal theory is that they do have an active, if not necessarily healthy, sex life. They're depicted sleeping in the same bed, and Xavin actually tries to seduce Karolina in the shape of Nico. I can't see anyone doing that if they've never had sex before, not to mention the fact that Xavin's actions imply, again, that sie's concerned that sie can't satisfy Karolina. Karolina, on the other hand, seems much more secure in the relationship in general, and I kind of feel that she's also more secure sexually. She sometimes seems a little frustrated by Xavin's insecurity, honestly, as well as Xavin's tendency to handle her with kid gloves. All of these interpretations kind of led to my characterisation of them, which I feel is pretty sensual in a pretty unhealthy way, at least in the early stages. Basically, Xavin is attracted to Karolina, but is afraid to push her away or disappoint her; K is attracted to Xavin, but is still trying to get over Nico and adjust to her bizarre new situation. I hope that makes sense. (Also, er, I didn't mean to imply that K had a dream about Nico and then the rest of the story happened the same night . . . it was supposed to be that K tended to have dreams about Nico and then one night all this other stuff happened . . . but it occurs to me that that's really unclear.

The usage of "leaking" in this context gives me mental images that are not fun.
It was meant to. >:}
SCIENCE!daughtersofisis on 15th June 2008 02:06 (UTC)
3. Moping - Yeah, Xavin doesn't mope out loud, but I really feel like sie has a lot of personal moping time in hir head. And I know that sie is usually very careful with Karolina, but sie has gotten upset with her in canon, like when Karolina made the millions dead vs. one dead comment after Gert died, or in the future right before Xavin turned into Sexy McSexypants, or right before they met the Kingpin. You also have to kind of factor in the issue that they're more or less alone in space trying to negotiate a deal between people who hate and would love to annihilate each other: tensions are gonna be high.

4. K's characterization - Karolina's usually pretty chill, but she flips her shit every once in a while, usually when she's under a lot of personal stress, like when she was dealing with how she felt about Nico. I can't imagine she'd react a whole lot differently with Xavin. Praising Xavin's looks - Karolina doesn't, actually. She praises Xavin's hair, which seems to be similar in texture no matter what shape sie takes (although that's probably on purpose). But mostly what she praises are what might be the more fundamental aspects of the person Xavin presents to the world: the way sie walks and the way sie acts towards Karolina. Cinnamon and coffee - K's describing the way Xavin smells in the only way she knows how. People all have kind of a fundamental scent, and Xavin's just happens to remind K of cinnamon and coffee. And no, K doesn't talk much, but when it's just her and Xavin, somebody she really seems to trust, I think she would definitely make a real effort to be honest and disclose her feelings fully.

You will regret it, and I will be alone again.
The 'again' refers to how Xavin was before sie met Karolina - as I think I mentioned earlier, sie implied that sie was never allowed to have friends, being royalty and all, and overall had a really lonely childhood. And yeah, the whole thing is pretty angsty and dramatic. This is my first time writing these guys, you know. I don't have a really great feel for how they work yet. Maybe next time!

Thanks so much for reading and giving me such a detailed review. I love concrit, actually, so no problems there. And I'm glad you liked it! :D
Amanda: loveaslanscountry on 14th June 2008 20:24 (UTC)
I just want to agree about the Gert/Chase fic; it is beautiful.
SCIENCE!: matt!heartdaughtersofisis on 16th June 2008 01:50 (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you! I'm glad you liked that one, too.
Amanda: loveaslanscountry on 16th June 2008 02:08 (UTC)
oh man, it's so good. It was the first Runaways fanfic I ever read. I remember you said you were allergic to heterosexuals and I thought that was cute because I'm gay and not usually into straight pairings but I LOVE Gert/Chase.
(Anonymous) on 15th June 2008 00:00 (UTC)
Oh my gosh, thank you so much for reading and taking so much time to comment! I'm actually part of a group writing/editing community type thing, so I know it takes FOREVER
SCIENCE!daughtersofisis on 15th June 2008 00:02 (UTC)
Lol I kan't press rite button. Was the anonymous, soz mate.
Oh my gosh, thank you so much for reading and taking so much time to comment! I'm actually part of a group writing/editing community type thing, so I know it takes FOREVER to write up these sorts of extended comments. I agree with most everything you said, actually, and I'll write a more detailed response to this soon, after I'm done watching Land Before Time (if I don't, I'll be eaten by a six-year-old). :D
fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here.immortality on 16th June 2008 11:59 (UTC)
I'm not a Xavin/Karolina shipper, but I really loved this story. I think you managed to fully capture both Xavin and Karolina's POV; Xavin doesn't want to be Karolina's rebound, because he/she genuinely cares for her. On the other hand, I think Karolina does love Xavin, in some way, but she loves Nico more, and she can't see how much she's hurting Xavin. I think on some level she might know, but I think she feels that if she says she's not using Xavin, she can fool Xavin (and herself). I like Xavin, but I don't think the Xavin/Karolina pairing is good for either of them, because it's obvious that this is a one-sided romance, and it's not going to end well.

Not that I think a Karolina/Nico relationship would be great right now either, because they both have way too many issues to work out first. That, and Nico would have to break up with Victor, which would just multiply the awfulness.

I like how your fic is sort of the lead-up scene to the scene later on when Xavin takes on Nico's shape because he/she feels it would make Karolina feel more comfortable. Considering we never really saw Karolina and Xavin talk about their relationship and Nico, this is a nice bit of backstory.

All in all: very nice. ♥
Aliceaurevoirpeyton on 16th June 2008 17:00 (UTC)

srsly, I really love Karolina & Xavins together & this is definately one of the most awesome things I have read in a long time <D
Shut up and smile: Comics // Runaways // Kissmorningafter2 on 16th June 2008 18:56 (UTC)
Oh, I do love it when someone gets my ship right.

"I love Nico. I always will. But she doesn't love me. I'm trying to move past that. Can't you understand?"

in particular summed it up perfectly for me.

octopusgirloctopusgirl on 21st June 2008 09:24 (UTC)
Wow, a good, well-written smutfic is like a breath of fresh air. I love this pairing and how you wrote them.
Superlessuperles on 22nd June 2008 15:43 (UTC)
I've been looking everywhere for Karolina/Xavin fics and so so glad you wrote this, it was really awesome!
Fedsecondavisione on 1st December 2008 01:07 (UTC)
This is one of the best fics I have ever read in a long time.

Look, I read "angst & drama" only in small doses but I have to say you've delivered an interesting portrait of Xavin, and of Karolina as well.

I really liked the passage I am lost and confused, in a strange body I don't know how to use. It sounds so true and so Xavin...

More to come? Please? :)