The battle against the Scraptician was quick, almost anticlimactic. Rather than launch an all-out assault on his target, he'd gambled that his forces, deployed elsewhere, could keep the city's defenders occupied long enough to allow him to raid Copper Wire Labs by himself. That's not to say he was defenseless: he still had enough technological tricks up his sleeve to give his opponents a brief run for their money. But Lightning's electrical charges took care of a fair number, Thunder's sonic pulses disabled the rest, and then all it took were several well-placed punches to shut the Scraptician and his plan down for good. His army simply ground to a halt after Thunder disabled their remote control, much to the surprised relief of Iron City's other heroes, who'd been ready to make a final stand there in Marshall Square. Afterwards, Junkheap, who'd had a chance to study the robots in depth, reported that they were programmed to perform the electric slide once they reached their destination... before blowing up. The Scraptician certainly had a sense of style, for all that he was a menace at the best of times.
Several very long hours after that, Thunder and Lightning finally returned to the renovated warehouse whose second floor served as headquarters and living space for them both. After fighting the Scraptician and his hordes and helping to clean up the mess, they were both bone-tired and ready to call it a day. It was good to be home.
They'd long ago agreed that the best use of the space was to keep as much of it as open as possible. As a result, the majority of the floor was taken up by a combination family room/living room, the kitchen area separated by a partial wall and long wooden bar. A variety of second-hand, comfortable seats and couches were scattered around the center, all facing the entertainment center and widescreen television they rarely used, save for watching the news and recording programs they never found time to watch. Doors near the back led to individual bedrooms and an oversized full bathroom. A skylight above offered them the ability to come and go as needed through their own flight capabilities. It was through that skylight that they entered now, and moved towards the kitchen once landed.
"Let someone else protect the city," groaned Thunder, as she went straight for the refrigerator for a cold bottle of water. She winced as she reached out, a grimace of mild pain flickering across her face.
"What's wrong?" asked Lightning, catching the tail end of that wince as she drew closer to steal a bottle while the refrigerator door was open.
Thunder shrugged reflexively before thinking better of it, and winced again, this time adding a wry smile at her own foolishness. "Just banged up my shoulder at some point. Not like I should be surprised, right? Hazards of the occupation."
Lightning offered her friend a sympathetic smile, and nodded in agreement. Uncapping her water, she took a swig, sighing in relief as the cool liquid refreshed her parched throat. "How bad is it?" she asked, curiously. "Think you sprained it, or...?"
Thunder shook her head, and rubbed her right shoulder with her left hand, briefly. "Just sore," she admitted. "A robot blew up and its head ricocheted off of me. I've had worse. Like the time the Sumoradicator tried to hug me to death, remember?"
That memory sparked a laugh from Lightning. "You were so bruised, you could barely move for a week," she replied. "Not like I was much better after he sat on me. God, he was an annoying villain. Whatever happened to him?"
"I heard he went legitimate and joined the Powered Sports League, wrestling division." Thunder's expression was impish, if somewhat obscured by the mask she still wore. It spoke to the length of their day and their relative levels of exhaustion that neither woman had bothered removing their uniforms. Keep them on, and they were Thunder and Lightning, super heroines extraordinaire. (They'd argued good-naturedly about who got top billing for years. Thunder claimed she came first because it sounded better, Lightning argued that you saw lightning long before you heard thunder. They'd agreed to disagree on this one.) Remove them, and they were Tanya and Lauren, co-owners of a small but hip art gallery which took up the entirety of the warehouse's first floor. Sometimes, that transition from hero to civilian was disconcerting, even disappointing, like leaving a dream. She gave Lightning a softly sly smile, as if a private joke was playing on the tip of her tongue, before asking, "You know what would do wonders for my shoulder?"
"The first aid kit?" was the automatic reply. Lord knew they both needed to address those scrapes and bruises, before fighting to see who could use up all the hot water in the shower first.
"No," chuckled Thunder. "That thing you do with your hands."
"Oh!" Lightning flushed pink, a color which really didn't go all too well with her costume's white and yellow color scheme, as all of those thoughts from earlier made an abrupt resurgence. Quickly, she shoved them aside, before reaching out to lay one hand, on Thunder's shoulder, allowing the slightest hint of her power to seep forth, electricity crackling against the fabric which still covered the skin. It wasn't much, but it was enough for Thunder to utter a low, pleased sound, and to slump against the bar that separated the kitchen area from the rest of the apartment's main room, elbows propping her up.
"That feels wonderful," Thunder murmured. "Warm and soothing and energizing all at once."
Lightning smiled in reply, though Thunder's words were like warm honey, seeping into her with unexpected strength. Her legs trembled a hair, but she wasn't sure if it was from exhaustion, or something more primal. "I aim to please," was her quiet reply, strangely self-conscious about the routine touching. She stepped closer, hand still on shoulder, and continued to direct that gentle flow of warmth and power into the aching muscles of the woman she'd spent years with, ever since they met in high school and became the best of friends.
Best of friends, sure. But more? They'd spent countless hours speculating about other heroes' sex lives (and some villains', if truth be told), idly fantasizing about men and women alike, and yet... Juggling mundane lives and superhero identities left little time for dating and relationships. At least, that was Lightning's excuse, the one she used to assure herself it was okay not to be interested in anyone she met, not seriously. Thunder dated, but casually, never bringing anyone home, no relationship lasting more than a few weeks at most. Did that mean anything? Who knew?
Lost as her thoughts meandered into rarely-traveled territory, Lightning wasn't really paying attention as she stepped closer, her body coming to rest against Thunder's, chest pressed to the other woman's back, both hands resting on her shoulders, that current of electricity snapping and sparking between them. Just as unconsciously, Thunder twisted, resting against her partner with a boneless joy, a low, throaty moan escaping her lips. "Lauren," she murmured. "Dear God, you have no idea... like the best massage ever. You could make a fortune doing that."
"There's only one person I'd want to do this to," joked Lightning, the laugh catching in her throat as she mentally tripped over what she really meant. "Only you," she added awkwardly. The use of her real name was like a spike right into her core, an erotic surge that vanished swiftly, leaving behind a dull ache of unfulfilled need between her legs.
"By all means, I'm at your mercy," was the muffled reply, as Thunder bowed her head forward. Short dark hair slipped down, exposing a portion of smooth, dark skin at the back of her neck, and Lightning dipped her own head in, closing that gap to plant her lips there in a soft, electric kiss. Thunder gasped with pleased surprise, body tensing, and Lightning pulled away quickly, shocked at her own boldness, at pushing the boundaries, a dozen excuses piling up behind those misbehaving lips.
But Thunder didn't pull away. There were no angry words, not even an expression of shock. Just a quiet, almost petulant, "You stopped." It was the clearest, most unambiguous invitation Lightning had ever heard in her life, for all that it was just two simple words. Throwing caution to the wind, she leaned back in, this time meaning it when she kissed the same spot again. Her lips conveyed another spark, which snapped and popped as it leapt from one woman to the other, and Thunder groaned happily.
It was like the world had turned on its axis, and the old directions no longer made sense. Everything was different, and this felt right. Lightning's hands slid down Thunder's arms, coming to rest at her wrists, and her partner shifted, melting into the touch. "I'm all yours," was Thunder's comment, teasing and yet urgent. She twisted her arms, capturing Lightning's hands with hers, and bringing them around to encircle her waist. "Do what you will, lo-Lauren."
That last caught Lightning by surprise, and she paused, lips still against neck. Then she recovered, replying with a teasing note of her own, "When the masks are on, it's Lightning and Thunder, remember?" She punctuated that with a gentle nip to the ear, and the resultant gasp was quick and low, rattling the windows.
Just like that, it was like a switch had been thrown, Lightning's caution utterly abandoned. She wrapped Thunder in her embrace, and nibbled her way along the curve of an ear, tongue flicking against the skin, and always, a little tingle of electricity arcing between the two women.