Actions

Work Header

Blupjeans 30 Kisses Challenge

Chapter Text

Sleep was an escape from reality. On the Starblaster, this had been welcome: a few hours away from a century of running, from a fight they couldn’t afford to lose.

But now? Lup didn’t want to escape. Reality was everything she could ever want: curled up with Barry, her family safe and sound. Sleep meant dark and nightmares and thrashing and thinking about everything she wanted so badly to forget.

And so, after Taako freed her from the umbrastaff, Lup developed more of an appreciation for trancing.

Trancing was a suspension between dreams and reality. It meant a night of feeling Barry’s warmth beside her, his arm resting around her middle and her head on his chest. She could focus on his heartbeat, or on his slow breaths and gentle snores. And even only semi-conscious, Lup found she felt warm and happy and content in a way a life of running hadn’t prepared her for.

And each day morning would come, with warm light dancing on her closed eyes. She’d keep herself pulled under, keep herself in that threshold of consciousness as long as she could. Barry would begin to stir beneath her, and his rough fingers would card through her hair lightly enough that sometimes Lup thought she’d just imagined it. Then he’d press his lips to her forehead, and the scruff of his face would scratch her skin as he whispered against her. And that warmth, that joy, would fill Lup’s chest until her eyes fluttered open and she arched up to kiss him back.

Chapter Text

“Got it!”

Barry turned to find Lup on her knees in the foliage, cradling the Light of Creation in her hands. It cast her in a soft glow, illuminating her grin against the surrounding night.

“Another planar system saved by yours truly,” Lup sang. Barry held out a hand to help her up. She accepted it gratefully and didn’t let go even after she was standing.

Barry chuckled and shook his head, tugging his hand free just long enough to open his messenger bag and tuck the Light inside. “So, what do you think? Should we set up camp?”

“Hmmm…” Lup bit her lip, like she always did when she was thinking. “Nah. This cycle’s been pretty safe, and we’re not too far from the ship. Besides—” She flashed him another smile, and Barry felt heat rising to his cheeks. “The nights here are really nice.”

“You got me there,” Barry shrugged. Lup tugged him back onto the dirt path they’d been following and laced her fingers more securely with his.

The nights really were beautiful here. Three moons of different sizes hung in the deep purple sky, surrounded by a rainbow of stars that were unlike anything Barry had ever seen.

They walked hand-in-hand. For a long time, the only sounds were their boots on the loose ground and Lup’s quiet humming. Barry let his mind wander to just how in love he was with this woman, and how lucky he was that she loved him back.

The plant life dispersed and the path in front of them cleared. The Starblaster came into view, a silver dot on the horizon. Lup’s humming faded away.

“Home is… weird, isn’t it?”

They’d been quiet for so long that Lup’s voice startled him a little. Lup snickered and squeezed his hand. “Sorry,” she whispered without any real sympathy.

“No, you’re good,” Barry smirked. “Weird how?”

Lup chewed on her bottom lip. She didn’t look at him, but her brow furrowed as she collected her thoughts. “Just… Koko and I didn’t have a home for a long time, you know? Other than each other.”

Barry nodded, silently encouraging her to continue. This was the side of Lup he loved the most; the version of her that was hidden behind her usual fire. Lup was introspective and thoughtful and self-aware, and the only people that ever really saw that side of her were Barry and Taako.

“And we finally get a home, and it’s the two of us and five other doofuses sailing around the universe.”

“Hey!” Barry laughed, breathy and exasperated.

“You’re right, babe.” Lup stopped and turned to face him and took his other hand. “It’s me, Taako, four doofuses, and the biggest nerd I’ve ever met. Better?”

“Much.” Barry couldn’t stop himself from closing the distance between them and pressing his lips to her. She tasted like a day of hiking and sweat and dirt, and it was still as perfect as ever. “C’mon. Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

Barry trudged down the hall towards the room he shared with Lup. He’d had a long day; they were only the first month into this cycle, and Magnus had made him spend the day training. Everything ached, and his feet hurt, and all he wanted was to curl up with Lup on their too-small bed.

But as he placed his hand on the door, he frowned. He could feel some sort of beat, some rhythm, pulsing through the metal.

He should have known better than to expect a quiet evening with Lup of all people.

The door slid open, and the sound washed over him like a wave. Music. A constant across every inhabited plane they visited. A little staticky, but unmistakable.

This particular song was upbeat and predictable, with a high-pitched singer and electronic rifts. And Lup danced in the center of it all, shaking her hips with her back turned to him. He doubted she even knew he’d came in.

She twirled around and froze, her face lighting up as she saw Barry standing in the entranceway. “Babe! C’mere! Look what Koko and I found in town!”

She grabbed his hands and pulled him into the room, the door sliding shut automatically behind them. “It’s called a cassette player,” Lup continued. She kept dancing, lifting Barry’s hands to try and get him to dance with her. “Taako and I each bought one, and a shit ton of these little cassette tapes that have music on them.”

Barry laughed and shook his head. Even though it was just him at Lup, he still felt too awkward to shake his hips along with her. “Why? We’ve already got CDs and record players.”

“Yeah, but I wanted this plane’s music, too,” Lup pouted. “Adding to the collection, y’know?”

Barry had no intention of arguing with Lup ever, especially over something so small that made her so happy. He chuckled. “Yeah, I get it.”

“You’re not dancing,” Lup frowned. “Dance with me.”

Barry felt himself blush, and he pulled a hand away to rub the back of his neck. “This, uh, isn’t exactly my style, Lup.”

Lup narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. Then her face lit up. “I’ve got it. One sec.”

She pulled away and hurried over to the cassette player, a little silver machine perched on their desk. With the press of a button, the music stopped and a compartment popped open. Lup slipped out a black rectangle and dropped it into a pile. She sifted through her new collection until she found what she was looking for and triumphantly placed it in the machine.

She hit play before crossing their small room and picking up his hands again. “This should be more your speed.”

The lilting sounds of an orchestra filled the room, growing slowly. Lup started by just rocking back and forth on her heels. Barry’s hands fit themselves comfortably on her waist, and he pulled her closer to him. She leaned against him with a content hum, resting her forehead against his.

“This is more like it,” Barry mumbled. His exhaustion from the day had faded, replaced by the warmth of his overwhelming love for this woman.

“Mhm.” Lup wrapped her arms loosely around his neck. They were dancing properly, now; moving in sync to the music’s melody.

“I take it back. This was a good purchase.”

Lup flashed him a goofy grin. “Yeah, I know.”

She tilted her chin until their lips pressed together. They kissed, long and slow and deep, with their hips still swaying to the music.

And Barry couldn’t imagine a more perfect end to his day.

Chapter Text

Lup laid sprawled out on the bed, her arm thrown over her eyes. Barry sat beside her, gently patting her knee.

“How you feeling?”

“Bad,” Lup murmured. “Tired. Everything hurts.”

“I told you this was gonna happen,” Barry sighed. “You’re not getting enough sunlight.”

Lup groaned. “I’m a Sun Elf, Barold. A Sun Elf. Sunlight shouldn’t be an issue for me.”

“I really don’t think that’s how this works,” he mumbled back. “Look, can you just take these supplements? Just to humor me?”

Lup shook her head. “You expect me to spend twelve months taking some weird Calcium pill we got on a weird planet? No thanks, I’ll take my chances.”

Barry sighed, picking up the bottle from the nightstand. Wada Calcium CD3, the label read. “It’s fine, Lup. The rest of us have been taking them without a problem. At the very least, we’re in better shape than you.”

“Listen. I don’t care how far this dang planet is from the sun or how small the sun is. I’m not taking a supplement like some old person.”

He ran his hand through his hair and tried a different approach. “Taako started taking them.”

Lup sat up, eyes wide. “He what? Traitor.”

Barry nodded solemnly, hoping Lup wouldn’t notice he was lying through his teeth. “Yep. Said he wasn’t gonna sacrifice his hair’s beautiful shine. Or something like that.”

“Fine.” Lup snatched the bottle from him with a snarl and twisted it open, shaking a capsule into her palm. She shoved it into her mouth and swallowed it dry. When she looked up, she found Barry staring at her with raised eyebrows. “What?”

“Nothing,” Barry smirked. “I just didn’t expect that to work.”

Her face fell. “Koko’s not taking these. Is he.”

Barry shook his head, his shoulders shaking in silent laughter.

“Holy shit, babe. I’m so proud.”

“Learned from the best.” Barry patted her knee again before gently pushing her shoulder until she was laying back down. “Get some rest, okay? If you start taking these regularly like the rest of us, you should start feeling better soon.”

“Auntie used to do the same thing,” Lup mumbled. Then, without any real bite, she added, “I hate you.”

Barry pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead before pulling the comforter over her. “Love you too.”

Chapter Text

Wow, Lup. These are perfect.”

Barry held out a crisp new pair of blue jeans.

“Glad you like them,” Lup hummed and rested her chin on her hand.

“Like them? I love them! They’re perfect! You’ll need to show me where you got ‘em. I wanna stock up before we leave.”

The big, goofy grin on his face made Lup’s heart flutter. It was so easy to make him happy. She knew she was grinning back, but he was so absorbed in examining her gift that he probably didn’t notice.

“If only you looked at me the way you look at your pants,” she huffed.

Barry’s face turned bright red as he lowered the pants. “It, um… It’s just hard to get good, sturdy denim these days. Not every plane—”

He cut himself off when he saw her fighting off laughter.

“Bar,” she snickered, “you look at me much more romantically than you look at jeans. I promise.”

Barry’s shoulders relaxed, and Lup felt a little bad for making fun of him so much.

She stood up slowly from their faded couch and crossed the bedroom to rest her hands on his waist. “We can get as many jeans as you want, babe.” She pecked a kiss on his cheek. “Now hurry up and try them on, already. I wanna see how you look in these bad boys.”

Chapter Text

The Hunger had come earlier than expected.

Barry and Lup sprinted back to the Starblaster hand-in-hand, dodging pillars of black.

She could see the ship ahead of them. They were gonna make it. Just a little more.

And then she felt Barry fall behind her.

She skidded to a stop and turned around in time to see him crumple to the ground. An inky black tentacle pulled back from his chest, dripping red.

“Fuck!” Lup hurried to kneel at his side, pulling him into her lap. “Bar, you with me?”

Barry winced and opened his eyes. “Looks like I’m not gonna make it back this time, Lup. Keep going. I’ll see you in a few minutes, okay?”

“Bullshit.” She wiped away at the blood that dripped from his mouth. “I’m staying right here, and we’ll regen together.”

“No use arguing, huh?” He flashed her a pained smile, and she could tell he was grateful.

“Nope.”

The Hunger crashed into the ground around them. She pulled him close.

A streak of silver flew through the sky above them, and Lup felt a wave of relief. “See that, babe? We made it.”

She looked down at Barry. His eyes had fallen closed again, and his breathing was labored and uneven. His blood soaked through her shirt. She pressed her lips to his forehead. And as she did, strings of silver began to swim around them.

Lup held onto him as long as she could, until Barry turned to light in her arms and floated up towards the sky.

And then she let the light pull her apart and bring her home.

Chapter Text

Lup nudged the bakery door open with her hip, her arms piled high with pastry boxes. She made her way down the stone-paved road and turned the corner.

Barry was exactly where she’d left him, standing in the middle of the road like the doofus he was. A stream of people adjusted their paths to avoid him.

She headed towards him. And as she got closer, she realized he was talking to someone. A middle-aged woman with a short bob and dangling jewelry and too-bright makeup and a cheetah print purse.

That in itself was fine. They were the saviors of the universe. Of course they had fans.

The issue was the way the way the lady was leaning towards Barry. And the way she had a hand on his shoulder, as if they were more than just good friends.

Barry didn’t seem to have any idea what she was getting at, bless his little nerd brain. But Lup knew exactly what was going on.

She quickened her pace towards the two of them. “Hey, babe. Miss me?” She held out the boxes and dropped them into his arms before wrapping herself around him. “Whatcha doing? Talking to a fan?” She flashed the woman a devilish grin.

Barry struggled to adjust his grip on the boxes. “Um, yeah. This is Laura. She was just thanking me.”

“Oh, yeah? That’s nice of her. Nice to meet you. I’m Lup. You know, his girlfriend?” She wiggled her fingers in a sort of wave., her arms still looped around his neck. “I did a lot of the work.”

Laura blushed, suddenly looking flustered. “Oh. Well, I’m grateful for your help too, of course. But, um… I’ve really got to get going. It was nice meeting you, Barry.”

Barry shifted uncomfortably. “Yeah, you too.”

“Oh! Laura. Wait. One last thing.” Lup turned Barry towards her and kissed him, lingering much longer than she normally would in public.

Then she pulled back, barely registering Barry’s shocked expression before tilting her head towards a beet-red Laura. “Just thought you’d like to see for yourself why he’s called the Lover.”

“Lup,” Barry hissed.

“I have to go,” Laura spat. She spun on her heels and stormed away, her purse swinging behind her. Lup flashed her the bird.

“Well. You ready to get going, Mr. Popular?”

She pulled away and looked at Barry to find him frozen, his face twisted in a mixture of confusion, embarrassment, and annoyance.

Lup frowned. “There a problem, Superstar?”

Barry stuttered for a moment before finding the words. “What… What the hell was that about?”

Lup shrugged. “She was eye fucking you.”

“She was… What? She was just being nice!”

She snorted. “Babe, you thought I ‘was just being nice’ for forty-seven years. No offense, but your opinion doesn’t super count.”

Barry furrowed his brow, then let out a sigh. “Okay, you have a point. But still, wasn’t that a little much?”

She inspected her nails. “No such thing as too much. You should know that by now.”

“Lup, I don’t— Wait. Were you jealous?”

She laughed loudly. “Absolutely not. But I sure as fuck wanted her to be jealous of me.”

Chapter Text

Barry ran a hand through his hair and sighed, closing the notebook that held his data. “Lup, we’ve been at this for a while, and it’s pretty late. Let’s call it a night.”

Lup didn’t respond. Barry turned towards her with a frown. “Lup?”

She was sprawled out on the couch, one leg draped over the arm and the other half-resting on the floor. Her own notebook laid open on her chest, rising and falling with her quiet snores.

Chuckling, Barry pushed himself away from his desk and walked over to her. He picked up the book and set it on the table beside her before maneuvering her legs into a more comfortable position.

He pulled out the blanket they kept in the lab and covered her with it, then lifted her head gently to tuck a pillow beneath it. It was possible Lup would wake up at some point in the night and come join him in their room, but he doubted it. They’d been working hard. She was worn out.

“Goodnight, Lup.” Barry pressed his lips to her forehead. She stirred, just a bit, and hummed quietly. His heart swelled. He brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

As quietly as he could manage, Barry crossed the room, flipped off the lights, and let the door slide shut.

Chapter Text

The strings of light knitted together and formed the seven members of the Starblaster’s crew.

Lup turned towards Davenport, who stood at the ship’s wheel. “Hey, Cap’n’port. We got some time before you land this bad boy?”

“Yeah, it’ll be a while.” He flipped a few switches and scanned the horizon.

“Sweet.” Lup squeezed her brother’s hand before letting go, intertwining her fingers with Barry’s instead. “Barold and I have some lost time to make up for.”

“Gross,” Taako whined. But Lup was already dragging Barry out of the room, and she barely had time to flip him off.

Barry chuckled as she pulled him down the hallway and into their room. She was on him before the door even closed, peppering kisses on his cheeks and forehead and nose and lips.

“Two months, Bluejeans,” she scolded between kisses, “you were a lich for two months.”

“Yeah.” His hands went to her hips.

“I can’t kiss you when you’re a lich.”

“No, you can’t.” She could feel his skin warming under her lips as he blushed.

“So I’ve got to give you two months’ worth of smooches.” She moved to his neck, the kisses staying short and chaste.

“Isn’t that a little excessive?” Even as he said it, he was shaking with quiet laughter.

Lup pulled away to look him square in the eye. She frowned at him for a moment. And then she kissed him again. “Maybe. I don’t care.”

Barry tugged her close and finally kissed her back. “Yeah, I guess that’s fair.”

Chapter Text

Lup gasped as her body jumped back to life. Barry stirred in the soft grass next to her. After a moment, she pushed herself up to sitting.

They did it.

Taako was already sprinting down the path towards her. He threw himself at her, tackling her into a hug. She couldn’t help but laugh against him; she felt giddy, and arcane energy was still pulsing through her.

Taako pulled back and wiped his eyes on his arm. “Shit, Lu,” he sniffed.

“Yeah,” Lup grinned back. She knew that had been scary for him. She couldn’t even imagine how he must have felt watching that. But she was so happy.

She felt invincible.

Barry put a hand on her shoulder, and she turned to find him beaming. She shifted onto her knees and pulled him towards her into a deep kiss. The ritual had left his skin warm, and she could feel the energy crackling between them.

She kissed him for as long as she could, until her lungs were screaming for air. And then she kept her forehead pressed against his. For once, Taako didn’t make any comments about how gross they were.

“Guess we’re liches now,” Barry chuckled.

“Yeah,” Lup giggled back. “Guess we are.”

The Hunger didn’t stand a fucking chance.

Chapter Text

For forty-eight cycles, Barry’s room had been his own. In that time, he’d kept it relatively neat and organized. It wasn’t a large space—it was originally only supposed to house him for two months—and he worried about it feeling cramped.

They’d spent the day lugging Lup’s things from her room to his—no, theirs. Her possessions took up every inch of floor space, dumped into piles to be sorted through later.

And Lup was straddling him on their bed, alternating between kissing his neck and his lips. It wasn’t hurried, and Barry didn’t even think she had any end goal in mind. They were just enjoying each other, enjoying being close.

She pressed her lips to his neck one last time and before nuzzling into him. He rubbed slow circles into her back, and she let out a contented hum.

It wasn’t cramped, he realized. If it were only his things—if it were only him—it would be overwhelming. But this? This was comfortable. This was their own little world.

This was home. And Barry couldn’t imagine ever being happier.

Chapter Text

Lup pulled on her robe and walked back over to the bed, where Barry was snoring softly. She brushed the hair from his forehead and kissed it softly, whispering a promise. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

It was dark—still much too early for anyone to be up—but she kept her steps quiet just in case as she made her way to the kitchen.

They were gonna kill her when she came back.

But it would just be a little while. She’d get the gauntlet put somewhere it could be pursued but never obtained. And then she’d come back, and she wouldn’t have to worry about any more people dying because of her decision.

She grabbed a note pad and a pen from the counter and paused. What was she supposed to say? “Hey. Heading out. Didn’t tell anyone because you would’ve stopped me. Don’t worry, and don’t come after me. I got this. I’ll be back soon. Probably not as soon as you want, but soon enough.”

Explaining herself in a note was pointless. They’d have too many questions, and it would just leave them more worried than if she’d left no note at all.

So, she opted to keep it short and sweet. Her swirling handwriting still took up a good portion of the page.

And then she kissed the paper; her leftover lipstick from yesterday left a faint red mark. She didn’t know why she did it. It just… felt like the personal touch they’d need to hold onto.

Back soon.
-Lup

Chapter Text

“How’s it going, Barold?”

Barry looked up from his book to see Lup leaning against the table across from him, her chin resting in her hand and her elbow on the table. Her curls tumbled over her shoulders. She was beautiful, and just looking at her was enough to make his heart ache. Each day, it was harder and harder to hide his feelings.

He cleared his throat and closed the book on his thumb. “Um… Good?” She had that glint in her eye, that look that meant she wanted something.

“Cool. You got any plans later?”

Barry felt himself start to blush. “N-No. Just, uh, reading this book.”

Lup leaned closer and looked up at him with the biggest, saddest eyes she could manage. “Perfect. I’ve got a favor to ask.”

Anything, Barry wanted to say. Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you. “Yeah? What is it?”

“Koko and I wanted to go into town tonight. Check out that open-air market. But I’m supposed to be on watch.”

“So, you need me to take your shift? I can… I can do that.”

Lup’s face lit up, and the loss of his night was suddenly worth it. She bounced back up on her heels and turned to leave. But then she stopped in the doorway and turned back to flash him a grin. “You’re amazing, Bluejeans. I’ll make sure to pick something up for you.”

She blew him a kiss. It meant nothing, and she was so casual about it, but it hit Barry right in the heart anyways.

“Y-Yeah,” he stuttered, “not a problem. Have—”

But she was already gone, with nothing more than a small wave.

He loved her so much.

But it was so, so obvious that she didn’t feel the same way.

Chapter Text

“Barry Bluejeans? Are you baking?”

Barry set down the whisk and wiped his hands on a towel. “Oh, come on,” he sighed, “Taako was supposed to keep you out of the kitchen.”

He turned around to find Lup leaning in the doorway, her arms crossed and a grin on her face. “That was asking too much, babe. You’re lucky he’s even letting you use the kitchen.”

“Luck has nothing to do with it,” he mumbled. “I bribed him.”

Lup snickered. “Yeah, that’ll do it.” She strode lazily across the kitchen and stopped a foot away from him, using her thumb to brush some splattered batter off his cheek. “For real, though. What’s the occasion?”

“I just wanted to surprise you, honestly. But I guess that ship has sailed.” He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly before turning back to the counter. Surprise or not, he was too far along to waste all this cake batter.

Lup leaned against him, her arms draping over his shoulders. She kissed the back of his head. “I was just surprised early. It’s okay.”

He grunted his acknowledgement and folded in the rest of his flour. “You wanna test the batter? Since you’re here.”

She responded by reaching down and swiping her finger along the side of the bowl and sticking it in her mouth. “It’s good,” she hummed. “But can I offer you a suggestion?”

“Yeah, go for it.” He leaned back against her and tilted his head back against her shoulder.

“Needs a dash of cinnamon.”

He frowned. “Cinnamon? Really?”

She nodded and kissed the side of his mouth. “Yep. Just a dash, though. Trust me.”

He kissed her back before pulling away to open the spice cabinet. “Course I trust you, Lup.”

Chapter Text

some waves, and reclining on the beach to watch the sunset. Barry sat beside him, fumbling through his words, his face red from both the sun and embarrassment.

“Oh, I… I don’t know about… You know, I don’t know about in love. It’s only been tw— Um… Twenty-one years?”

Taako just nodded. “Sure. Sure.”

Barry deflated, rubbing the back of his sunburned neck. “Sh-Shit.”

“Barry, I—” Taako shrugged, offering him an uncharacteristically soft smile. “You got all the time in the world, my man.”

--

Lup sat in front of Taako on his bed, her back to him and her hair divided into three equal parts.

“…And it was the dumbest thing he could have said, and it just made me want to smooch his dumb face even more.”

“Mhm.” He began braiding her hair with expert hands.

“Fuck, Koko. I’m in pretty deep with this one.” She slumped forward, tugging her hair from her brother’s grasp. The braid loosened.

He ran his fingers through it and started over. “You sure as fuck are, Lu.”

Lup groaned. “What am I supposed to do? I spend so much one-on-one time with him in the lab, and I just wanna fucking… kiss him, or tell him how I feel, or… something. Fuck!”

She buried her face in her hands, making Taako drop her hair again. He felt a twinge of annoyance, but he pushed it down. “So, what’s the hold up?”

Lup’s head snapped back up, and she twisted around to face him. “What do you mean ‘what’s the hold up?’”

Taako shrugged, silently deciding to give up on her hair for now. “Why not just tell him? You’re not dumb. You’ve figured out how he feels.”

Something in Lup changed. Suddenly, she looked dejected and distant.

“What?” Taako couldn’t keep himself from laughing. “You worried Barry Bluejeans, World’s Most Considerate Nerd, is gonna hurt you? I think that’s the last thing you gotta worry about.”

Lup flinched. “Nah. I’m worried I’m gonna hurt him.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.” She sighed. “That one’s a little more likely.”

“Look.” Taako took her hands in his own and stared her right in the eye. “You’ve been crushing on him for… What, thirty-nine cycles now? That’s not a crush, and you know that. I don’t think anything’s gonna change so drastically that those feelings are gonna go away, if you tell him how you feel or not. Take your time. He’s not going anywhere. You’re not going anywhere. When the time is right, it’ll come out.”

Lup smiled. “Yeah. You’re right.”

Chapter Text

It was late. The rest of the crew had gone to bed hours ago. But Barry was still wide awake at the kitchen table, sobbing with his head in his hands.

This was too much. He should have been on their home planet, leading lectures at the IPRE. He should have been aging, and living a life. But instead he was here, in a strange world that was doomed if they couldn’t find the damn Light of Creation in the next few weeks.

He didn’t hear Lup come in. Not until she scooted a chair right up next to him and put her hand on his arm. “Hey,” she whispered.

Barry jumped, frantically rubbing his eyes on his arm before wringing his hands together. Neither of them had bothered to turn on the light, but the room was illuminated well enough by the glow of too many moons. “Hey,” he sniffed, “didn’t hear you come in.”

“That’s okay.” She took his hands in hers and cradled them, gently rubbing her thumb over his knuckles. “You wanna talk about it?”

Barry snorted. It was so much. And why would he burden Lup with it, of all people? She didn’t deserve the burden of his problems. “No. No, I’m okay.”

She raised an eyebrow. Clearly, she didn’t believe him. But instead of calling him out on it, she smiled gently. “Okay. That’s fine.”

He thought that would be it. He thought she’d pull away and wave it off and go back to bed. But she didn’t move. She just kept holding his hands. “I couldn’t sleep, either,” she said after a while.

“No?” He made himself catch her eye.

“Nope.” She shook her head and offered him that same soft smile. He’d never seen anything like it from her. She always seemed so sure and so strong. He didn’t know she was capable of something that gentle and open. “I think we’ve all got nights like that. This thing we’re doing is hard. Way too hard for all of us to do on our own.”

Barry took a shaking breath and nodded. “Yeah. It’s… It’s a lot.”

She hummed. “We’re not alone, though. Because each of us has six other people to rely on. If those bonds are strong enough to keep this dang ship in the air, they’re strong enough to keep us going. Right?”

Barry felt a twinge of confusion. Was this really the same Lup that had spent the day making fun of him? The same Lup that blew up an entire building last cycle with one spell? She was the strongest woman he’d ever met, and the reminder that she was also the kindest caught him off-guard. “R-Right.”
“So, don’t try to take this all on alone, alright?” She gave his hands a gentle squeeze. “And make sure you get some sleep. You humans need a lot of that.”

He chuckled. The weight on his shoulders felt lighter, even though he hadn’t told her what was wrong. “Yeah. Okay. I’ll get some sleep.”

“Good.” She let go of his hands and pecked his cheek. It didn’t mean anything, and Barry knew that, but it made his heart thud painfully anyways. Lup pushed herself up from the table. “I’m gonna go back to bed, too. Night, Barold.”

Barry barely managed a quiet, “Yeah, night,” back. Why was his heart pounding like that? He felt dizzy and warm, and his thoughts were spinning, and—

Oh.

Chapter Text

Lup walked into the Starblaster’s kitchen, cradling a little robot in her arms. “Hey, Barry? You got a sec?”

Barry looked up from whatever project he was working on. Their kitchen table was covered in scrap metal and spare parts. He had grease streaked across his nose and cheek, and a small screwdriver perched behind his ear. “Uh, yeah, Lup. What’s up?”

Lup couldn’t help but realize how adorable he looked. But that didn’t mean anything. Anyone else would have thought the same thing.

She held out her new friend, who sadly tried to wiggle the arm that awkwardly hung to the side. “This is Max. His arm’s busted. You’re better than me at this kind of stuff. Think you could fix him up?”

“Sure. No problem. Let me take a look.”

Lup kissed her new friend on the top of his head before handing him over to Barry. “He’ll take care of you,” she whispered.

He pulled the screwdriver out from behind his ear and began to fiddle with the arm.

Suddenly, Max’s body jolted with electricity. Barry jerked back, dropping everything in his hands. “Shit!”

Max giggled.

Barry frowned. “Okay, very funny. I’m trying to help you, so let’s not do that again.” He cradled the robot carefully in his arm and picked up the screwdriver.

As soon as he touched the screwdriver to the open wires, Max shocked him with another wave of electricity. This time, Barry only dropped the screwdriver.

The robot burst into another giggling fit, and Lup was barely holding back her own laughter. Barry threw her a glare and tried again.

He didn’t even pick up the screwdriver before Max shocked him again.

Barry groaned in frustration and set Max down on the table before trying to shake some feeling back into his hands. “Is your arm even broken?”

Max responded by picking himself up and popping his arm back into place. Before Lup or Barry could say anything else, he scampered off the table and out the door.

Barry turned to look at Lup in disbelief, his hair standing on end. And he looked so ridiculous that Lup couldn’t take it anymore. She erupted into laughter, clutching her sides and leaning against the wall to keep herself from falling over.

“I didn’t know,” she gasped out, “But holy shit I wish you could see your face right now.”

Barry was trying—and failing—to pout. His shoulders shook as he chuckled quietly, and he reached up to smooth down his hair. “Glad someone’s enjoying themselves.”

He smiled at her, and Lup felt warm as she grinned back. Fuck, she loved that man.

And then the realization hit her like a wave.

Fuck. She loved that man.

Chapter Text

Their performance had been amazing.

They’d been a hit. The Light had taken their offering immediately. And Lup absolutely cared about that, but it wasn’t why she felt so giddy now.

The song had been a confession. Forty-seven years—nights in the lab, two-person expeditions, hours of practicing together—had finally brought them here. Her love for him had grown too big to contain and finally overflown. And his love for her had reached that same point of inevitability.

As soon as they stepped off stage, Lup was pulling Barry out the back door. She tugged him through the grass, tripping over the hem of her dress and giggling.

Finally, they reached a courtyard and they stopped. She spun around, wrapped her arms around him, and pulled him into a kiss.

She only broke away once she was breathless. Barry just stared at her, bewildered. “Lup—”

“I love you, Barry.” Her had moved from his back to cup his cheek. “I love you so fucking much.”

He flashed her a wide grin. She wanted him to smile like that forever. “I love you too, Lup. I’ve loved you for so long, and I can’t—I can’t not tell you anymore. I love you.”

And then he was kissing her, and his thumb was stroking her cheek, and Lup was so happy she thought she would burst.

Chapter Text

Barry grabbed his glasses off the nightstand and rolled onto his side so he could see Lup. “Wow. You’re just… You’re so beautiful. Did you know that?”

Lup smiled softly. The rising sun illuminated her wild curls from behind, creating a sort of halo. “I might’ve heard it once or twice before.”

“I’m just so lucky, Lup.” He scooted closer on the mattress and rested a hand on her bare hip, stroking it with his thumb. “I dunno how I got this lucky.”

She chuckled, and it was a sound that filled him with warmth and joy. He closed the distance between them and kissed her softly. Humming, she kissed him back. Her hand reached up to run through his hair.

“Someone’s in a good mood,” she whispered against his lips.

“Got my day off to a good start,” he murmured back with a smile. Lup responded with a wiggle of her hips.

“But for real, Lup.” Barry pulled away enough to look at her, enough to trace his eyes along the soft edges of her face. “I fell in love with the most beautiful, smart, and talented woman. And she loves me back? That’s pretty damn lucky.”

“What can I say?” She kept carding through his hair, her eyes reflecting that same love and joy that he felt. “I’ve got good taste.”

Chapter Text

“Hey! Barold!”

Barry yelped and scrambled to stand up in the hot sand. Lup emerged from behind a rock, covering a snicker with one hand and clutching a bottle of wine with the other.

He let out a relieved sigh. “Oh, jeeze, Lup. You scared me. Thought you were Magnus.”

“Nope.” She flashed him a crooked grin and took a swig straight from the bottle. “Do have a surprise for you, though.”

“Is it… Wine?”

“Course not,” she snorted. “That would be kind of a shitty surprise. This is the good stuff, though. Stole it from Dav’s office. You want some? Brought it to share!”

She held out the bottle, shaking it slightly in her hand. He took it without a second thought and chugged as much as he could. Whatever Lup was planning, he was probably going to need it.

“Okay. Come on.” She grabbed his wrist and tugged him along the beach.

“You, uh… Want any more wine?”

She shook her head. “Already got a good buzz going. Rest is yours if you want it.”

And they kept walking.

And walking.

Barry was starting to wonder if the ‘surprise’ was a walking tour of the entire planet. Not that he minded. Lup’s fingers still had a tight grip of his wrist, and he’d had enough wine to make himself a little tipsy. He felt light and carefree and happy.

Finally, Lup let go of him and scrambled up a tall rock. She disappeared from view, and he frowned. “Hey, Lup? I’m not good at this whole climbing thing. Could you—”

Her head popped out from the top of the boulder. Her curls, wild from so much time spent in the water, hung around her face as she flashed him a grin. “Yeah. Here you go, Bluejeans.”

She reached a hand down, and he clasped it in his own. It hovered right at eye-level. And Barry realized it would be so, so easy to kiss it.

So, with the wine urging him on, he did. He pressed his lips softly against her sun-kissed skin. She was so warm, and—

Oh, shit.

The full force of what he’d done hit him, and he dropped her hand. He turned his chin up to her in shock, an apology on the tip of his tongue.

But Lup was flashing him a crooked, goofy grin. And maybe the red in her cheeks was from the wine, but maybe she was blushing. “You coming?”

“Y-Yeah. Yeah, sorry.” He dropped the empty bottle into the sand and grabbed her hand again, this time using it to hoist himself up on top of the rock.

“Okay. Almost there. I promise.” She lowered herself off the other side and dropped down, once again out of sight.

Barry followed her easily this time. His bare feet hit solid ground.

And when he looked up, he realized they were in a cave. The walls arched high above them, sparkling with granite and drops of water. Ocean filled all but the little border of stone they stood on. Gentle waves pushed against the shore over and over, echoing louder and louder through the caverns.

“Holy shit,” Barry whispered.

“Right?” Lup wasn’t watching the waves. She was watching him, that goofy smile still on her face.

“Yeah.” Reality came back to him slowly, and he cleared his throat. “So, is this for some science experiment you wanna do? Or…?”

“No,” Lup chuckled, her voice quiet enough that her words almost washed away in the waves. “Just thought you’d like to see it.”

Chapter Text

Lup cast levitate on Taako. He floated to the top of the chain-link fence, pushed himself to the other side, and motioned for her to end the spell. He dropped back to the ground, his boots making a soft thud in the dirt.

“We’re gonna need you to keep watch out here. Okay, babe?”

She didn’t wait for Barry to respond before levitating herself. A moment later, she was standing next to her brother.

Barry flashed her a look of concern. “You sure you’re gonna be okay?”

“Course, babe. Just a stealth mish. We sneak in, grab the Light, sneak out. These assholes won’t even know we were here.”

Barry sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I know you’ll be fine, Lup. But Gods, why did this plane’s military have to be the one to find the Light?”

Lup shrugged. “They can’t all be easy wins.” She pressed herself against the fence. “Come here. Give me a good luck kiss.”

Chuckling, Barry leaned forward. The kiss wasn’t much more than a peck—the barrier between them wouldn’t allow for much more than that—but it warmed Lup’s heart just the same.

“Come on, Romeo and Juliet,” Taako hissed behind her, “We don’t have all night.”

Lup rolled her eyes and kissed Barry one last time. “See you soon, Bar.”

Chapter Text

Lup pulled a short black dress off the clearance rack and held it up, studying it closely. After twelve years of literally being in the dark, she had no idea what was considered fashionable anymore. “Hey T? Come over here. What do you think of this one?”

Just as Taako started towards her, Lup felt her Stone of Far Speech vibrating in her pocket. She fished it out, still holding the dress in her other hand, and answered. “Yeah?”

Barry’s voice came through, slightly obscured by static but unmistakable. “Hey. How’s shopping going?”

Lup felt herself break out into a grin. Gods, she’d missed hearing his voice. She shoved the dress towards Taako, ignoring his protests, and tucked the stone between her shoulder and her ear. “Hey, babe! It’s going okay. Not spending nearly enough of Taako’s money, but I’m working on it.”

She heard Barry chuckle and turned back to the clothes rack, shifting through the hangers as she talked. “So, what’s up? Everything okay?”

“Oh, no, yeah, everything’s great. Best it’s been in a super long time. I was just gonna ask if you could pick some things up for me. Since you’re out.”

“No problem. Koko’s paying, though.” She threw a few tops in her brother’s direction and moved on to the next section.

Behind her, Taako hissed, “I’m not paying for Barold—”

She waved her hand at him dismissively. “See? He says it’s no problem. What do you need?”

“Uh… Some crushed black pearls, a vial of demon blood, and an octopus tentacle?”

Lup frowned, half-way through throwing a jacket onto the growing pile in Taako’s arms. “Babe? What the fuck kind of spell are you casting?”

Barry laughed sheepishly. “Just… Something new I’m trying? Don’t let Kravitz find out, please.”

She rolled her eyes and shook her head, her heart thudding with affection. “Okay, Bar. I’ll make sure Koko doesn’t tell him.”

“You’re the best, Lup.”

“Yeah, I know.” She was grinning again. It was so easy for him to make her smile. Fuck, she was lucky. “Anything else?”

“Nah, that should be good. I’ll let you get back to shopping. Love you.”

“Okay,” she hummed. “Love you too.” With her attention still focused on the rack of shirts in front of her, she grabbed the stone from where it was cradled, kissed it, and ended the call.

She tucked the phone back into her pocket and looked up to find Taako staring at her with disgust. “What?”

“Did you just kiss your Stone of Far Speech?”

“Absolutely not,” she snorted. “That’s sappy and gross.”

Taako raised an eyebrow. “You super did.”

“Did n—”

Before she could object, Taako tugged out his own Stone and adjusted the frequency, holding it towards her so they could both hear. Barry picked up almost immediately. “Hello…?”

“Barold, did my sister just kiss her Stone of Far Speech before she hung up on you?”

“Oh, is that what that was? I was wondering. Is that a thing we’re doing now? That’s cute.”

“It is not—” Lup felt herself blushing, and she never blushed.

“Yeah, it seems like that’s a thing you two are doing now. Cute.” Taako flashed her an evil grin.

“Okay, well, I gotta get back to that spell I’m working on. Love you, Lup.” She heard the distinct sound of him kissing the receiver before the line went dead.

There was about a fifty percent chance that Barry was just messing with her. But there was also a fifty percent chance he’d taken the whole thing seriously.

Lup groaned. “Fuck you.”

“You did this to yourself, Lu,” Taako answered with a shrug. “Not my fault you’re a sap.”

Chapter Text

It was Cycle 80.

Their escapes from the Hunger were too close to comfort. The crew spent all of their time searching for the Light of Creation and studying it. And when they did have a break, Lup and Barry took the opportunity to research lichdom.

Leisure wasn’t an option. They were too dedicated. Too desperate.

But then their work started slipping. Lup started finding basic errors in Barry’s calculations. He could barely keep his eyes open, and she woke up from trances just as exhausted as before.

It was Lup’s idea to take a night off. And she was always a force to be reckoned with—especially when she was running on so little sleep—so Barry really had no choice but to agree.

This world was an unpopulated one, and so the two of them packed their camping supplies. Barry could barely find the strength to hold his backpack, but Lup’s determination drove him onward.

They didn’t go very far. The moment the Starblaster faded behind them, Lup stopped. “Okay, babe. Let’s set up camp.”

Barry let his bag slip off his shoulders, and then let himself drop to the ground beside it. He dug out his wand and cast spell after spell, until their camp had set up itself. Anything to keep from moving.

Lup chuckled and got to work setting up a campfire. She was an expert, of course, and it was crackling in no time. “You wanna come over here? It’s warm.”

Barry shook his head. This was the first chance he had to sit and catch his breath, and his exhaustion had caught up with him. “Don’t think I can move,” he sighed.

At first, she only hummed. But after a moment, she managed to push herself up and walk over to him. She plopped down into the soft grass besides him and let herself fall backwards, until she was laying on her back and staring at the sky.

He fell back besides her, and she reached to tangle their fingers together.

Barry let himself reach past the exhaustion. He let himself feel the warmth of Lup’s hand, and the grass tickling his face, and the cool breeze of a summer night. Instead of searching or studying, he let himself just appreciate the stars.

And it was nice.

“Hey. You know we’re gonna get this eventually, right?” Lup’s voice was a murmur, but it still seemed deafening after the long silence.

“What?”

She rolled onto her side, resting her head on the crook of the arm that wasn’t touching his. “We’re close. That’s why we’ve had to work so hard. We’re gonna stop the Hunger.”

Barry let himself smile. She wasn’t being optimistic. She knew she would make that happen. “Yeah. We are.”

“And then we’re gonna be able to really be together. Focus on just being us. And once we get this lich thing figured out, we don’t have to worry about those pesky lifespans getting in the way.”

He snorted and twisted until he was on his side, too, their noses brushing.

“And you know what I wanna do when this is over?”

“What?” He asked in a whisper, rubbing his thumb against her hand.

“I want to marry you, Barry Bluejeans.”

His heart sped up and color rose to his cheeks. “Lup, are you… Proposing?”

She giggled. “Not exactly, babe. I want to save that for when this is over. This is, like… Proposing a proposal.”

“Yeah,” he laughed back, “Of course.” It was something he’d thought about a lot. More than anything, he wanted to marry her. He wanted to make her as happy as she made him. But she was right—they didn’t have the time for that just yet. She deserved the brightest, happiest proposal the world had ever seen. And as things were now, they couldn’t have that.

Lup cut his thoughts short by tilting forward and pressing her lips to his. She kissed him deeply, her tongue trailing just along his lip. He squeezed her hand as he kissed her back, even as the exhaustion and affection swirled together and made him dizzy.

Once they beat the Hunger, every day could be like this. They could spend the rest of eternity just making each other happy.

Chapter Text

Barry Bluejeans and Gundren Rockseeker made it halfway to Phandolin before the sun started to disappear behind the mountains. They set up camp on the side of the road, and by the time stars started to shine, the two of them had settled in front of a roaring campfire.

Faerun’s two moons shined brilliantly above them, illuminating the surrounding meadows.

“Hey, Gundren? What’re all these flowers?” Barry adjusted his glasses to get a better look. Something about them seemed important to him.

“Hm? I dunno. Gardenias, probably. There’s a whole shit load of them out here.” Even though Barry didn’t tear his eyes from the flowers, he could hear the frown in Gundren’s voice.

“I’ll be back.” He pushed himself off the stump he’d been using as a seat and made his way towards the flowers, making sure to put some distance between himself and camp. When he decided he was far enough away, Barry leaned down and picked a flower.

For a long moment, he examined it. It was almost star-shaped, with waxy petals swirling into the center. It was beautiful, sure. But it didn’t seem to be anything special.

He threw a glance back at the campsite, where he could just make out Gundren’s form rifling through his bag for food. And then he turned back to the little flower with a twinge of disappointment. It had been stupid to think this had meant anything, that it was a clue for the old life he knew he had but couldn’t remember.

Almost absently, he brought the gardenia to his nose and sniffed. It had a strong perfume, and it was nice, but—

He was holding someone’s hand, dragging her behind him as he made his way over another hill.

“Barold, can you please tell me where we’re going?” He could almost imagine her voice—and the chuckle that followed—but the sound was just out of reach.

“Nope. But we’re almost there, -̸̨̪̋̆ ̶̧̧͉̝̣̒̈́͝͝͝+̸̹̄͐̈́̿͜. I promise.”

They crested the final hill, and Barry came to an abrupt stop. She skidded to a halt beside him, and he turned to watch her face as she took it all in.

Of course, he couldn’t see her face now. Like her voice, her face—her smile, the color of her eyes, the shape of her nose—was just out of reach. But he knew it was something that made is heart feel full.

“Holy shit. It’s beautiful, Bar. What… Are they?”

“Gardenias.” He turned to follow her gaze and take in the view with her. Bright stars filled the sky. And the ground below seemed to reflect that: white blooms dotting the dark ground, illuminated in the bright moonlight. “It’s the first time I’ve seen ‘em in the wild since—”

“Since -̸̢̛̂`̷̨̀͝ͅ.̷̯̏͠,̵̫̃:̷͔̒"̴̢̪͝, right?”

Barry smiled at her. “Yeah, since -̸̢̛̂`̷̨̀͝ͅ.̷̯̏͠,̵̫̃:̷͔̒"̴̢̪͝.”

She squeezed his hand. “Remember when I was working on some runs and you left one outside of my practice room?”

Now, Barry felt his cheeks growing hot. “How did you…?”

She laughed. And even though he couldn’t remember it, he knew it was a song. “Who else would’ve given me a flower that symbolized forbidden love? A professor?”

He looked at her again, face burning. “When did you figure it out?”

“Immediately.” She pulled her hand free and cupped his cheek, stroking it gently with her thumb. “You’re not as subtle as you think, Barry Bluejeans.”

“That’s…” He snorted and leaned into her touch. “Really embarrassing, actually.”

“Yeah? Why? I obviously felt the same way. And I figured out you loved me, like, twenty-six ,̷͓̞̌͘*̷̜̌̂,̴̜̉̇;̴͉̌̆`̵̠͛͘-̶̲͓̈ beforehand. Like I said, not as subtle as you think.”

He reached to rest a hand on her hip and tug her close. “I’m pretty charming, though.”

“Yeah,” she hummed, the sound vibrating to his bones, “I’ll give you that.”

She kissed him, long and soft and gentle. There was no greater feeling in the world than feeling her lips or her arms or her weight on him. There was nothing greater in the world than being with her.

“Bluejeans! You okay over there? What the fuck are you doing?”

Barry cleared his throat. “I’m fine,” he called back to Gundren. “Sorry.”

He wiped the tears from his cheeks and turned back towards the campsite.

The flower fell from his shaking hand and floated back down into the grass.

Chapter Text

“Alright, Bluejeans. One coffee, just the way you like it: with enough sugar and almond milk that it doesn’t count as coffee anymore.”

Lup held out a steaming mug, and Barry took it with a satisfied hum. “Thanks, Lup. You’re perfect.”

She plopped down on the couch next to him. “Well, that makes two of us, then.”

Barry couldn’t help but flinch. He tried to cover it with a sip from his mug, but Lup frowned. “Hey. What was that for?”

“I just, uh…” He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly before going back to holding his coffee with both hands. “I just don’t think it’s fair to put us on the same level like that.”

Lup’s brow creased with confusion. She turned to face him better. “I don’t know what you mean.”

He chewed his lip and shrugged. “You’re Lup. You’re beautiful, and smart, and talented—”

“—And so are you!”

“Not… Not really.” He sighed, setting his mug down on the side table. “I’m just Barry.”

Lup huffed. She set down her mug and then reached to hold both of his hands in her own. “Why do you think I fell in love with you?”

“Luck? Stockholm Syndrome?”

She didn’t laugh, only narrowing her eyes in response. “Babe. I can rattle off ten whole reasons right now why I love you.”

“Lup, it’s okay, you don’t have to—”

“One. You’re the smartest man and greatest scientist I’ve ever met.”

“You fell in love with me because I’m good at science,” he deadpanned.

“You know I’m always horny for science,” she smirked. “Two. You have a great ass, and it always looks so good in your jeans.”

Barry opened his mouth to offer another rebuttal, but Lup was having none of that.

“Three,” she continued, “Your eyes are the softest, gentlest brown I’ve ever seen.”

His shoulders softened as he let himself actually listen to what she was saying. Lup was rarely this genuine. It meant a lot that she’d taken his off-handed comment so seriously.

“Four.” She released one hand to cup his face and stroke his cheek with her thumb. “I love the feeling of your scruff when you’ve been working too hard and haven’t shaved. It’s comforting and just really nice.”

“Okay,” he chuckled, “I get it.”

She shook her head. “I’m not done, Barold. I said ten. Five is that you’re soft and good at cuddling. I love it when we finish a day in the lab and we get to go back to our room, and you hold me until we fall asleep. I love the feeling of your arms around me. It makes me feel safe and warm.”

Now, Barry could feel his cheeks getting warm. Lup squeezed his hand.

“Six. I love how passionate you can get. And I’m not just talking about the sexy way. When you talk about one of our experiments, or the spells you’re working on, or just something else you really love, you just light up. You get this big, goofy grin on your face and it’s just about the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. That alone was enough to make me fall in love with you.

“Seven is how dedicated you are. You never, ever give up once you set your mind to something. That’s something that not a lot of people do. Sometimes I’m ready to give up, but you’re the one that motivates me to keep going.”

His cheeks were burning now. Lup chuckled quietly and brushed at his blush with her thumb. He reached up and brushed her hair behind her ear.

“Number eight,” she hummed, smiling softly. “You’re so gentle, Barry. With me, and with everyone else on this ship, and anyone in need that we meet. You don’t hurt anyone if you can help it. Taako and I aren’t great at that, Merle and Magnus are too rough, and Dav and Lucretia are too stoic. But you? You’re just soft and genuine, and it’s nice.”

His heart felt full. He really needed to give Lup more credit. She knew him better than he knew himself, noticed things that were just in his nature.

“Nine. You’ve got so many different skills.” She kept stroking his cheek, her eyes tracing along his face. “You’re such a talented wizard and scientist, and you know so many different languages. And I know you can cook, though you never really get to. And you’re great at sex. Which isn’t why I love you, of course, but it sure is a plus.” She grinned at him, and he couldn’t help but chuckle.

Slowly, she leaned forward and pressed their lips together. Instinctively, he reached up and ran his fingers through her hair, holding her steady. When she didn’t seem to be in any rush to pull away, he took the chance to deepen the kiss. He pressed his tongue through her parted lips and into her mouth; the quiet and satisfied sound she made rumbled right through him and his heart skipped a beat.

Eventually, they broke the kiss to breathe. They stayed close, with their foreheads still pressed together.

“So,” he gasped, “What’s number ten?”

Her hand went to his hip. “I’ve been to a lot of places, Barry. We’ve been to fifty-seven strange planes, and Taako and I traveled a lot as kids. And in all that time, I have never met a more caring, considerate, or compassionate man.”

He believed her. He really, truly believed her. It warmed his chest and made his head spin, realizing she thought so highly of him. “Those are some pretty big claims.”

“What can I say?” She kissed him again and lingered for a long moment. “I’m a lucky girl.”

Chapter Text

Lup was laying in bed, staring longingly out the window. They weren’t even halfway through this cycle, and it had been... Rough. It seemed the only thing that inhabited this plane was rain clouds, and it stormed more often than not.

They hadn’t seen the sun in a week. She was going crazy. She needed something to do.

The door slid open to reveal Barry. He had a bottle of red wine in one hand and a brown paper bag in the other. “Hey.”

“Hey yourself.” Lup pushed herself up to sitting. “What you got there?”

He grinned, crossing the room to sit beside her on the edge of the mattress. “We’ve all been a little down recently, so it’s just a little something to cheer you up.”

“Oh? What is it?” She tried to snatch the bag out of his hand, but he held it out of her reach.

“Close your eyes,” he hummed. “And open your mouth.”

She raised an eyebrow at him. “It’s that kind of surprise? If you want me to suck your dick—"

“What?” Barry’s smile fell; he scowled at her. “No! No. This is innocent and romantic. Just trust me, Lup. Close your eyes.”

She chuckled but obeyed. A moment later, she heard the crinkling of plastic.

And then, Barry placed something gently on her tongue.

“Mmm. Is this butterscotch? Where the fuck did you get butterscotch?” Her eyes fluttered open and she pressed her lips closed, gently moving the hard candy around in her mouth.

Now, Barry held out the bag. “I’ve got more than just butterscotch. Take a look.”

She took the bag and began rooting through it. It was filled with all sorts of colorful wrappers and candies. “Holy shit. Is this from Magnus’s stash?”

“Yep,” Barry confirmed without remorse, “Took them while he was working out today.”

Lup shook her head. “I can’t believe you stole candy from Magnus. That’s like stealing from a puppy.”

“I could go put it back. If you don’t want it.”

She stuck out her tongue. “I didn’t say that. You went to the trouble of taking them, so I’ll be happy to help you eat them.”

“That’s what I figured,” Barry chuckled.

Lup crunched down what was left of her butterscotch before taking the wine from Barry. She took a swig right out of the bottle to wash it all down. “Okay, Bluejeans. I’m gonna pick one for you now.”

He closed his eyes. She selected a candy carefully, unwrapped it, and popped it into his mouth.

He took a long moment to taste it, as if he needed to focus. Finally, he opened his eyes and flashed her a questioning look. “I’m not sure what this one is. I think I need you to help me figure it out.”

“Yeah? Lemme see.” Lup leaned forward and kissed him. She thought she’d need to kiss him deeply, but the taste on his lips was strong and undeniable.

She pulled away. “That’s peppermint, you dummy.”

“Oh. Are you sure?” He reached up and gently twisted his hand in her hair, pulling her closer. “Maybe you should taste it again.”

So this was the game they were playing. She laughed. “Yeah. Maybe I should.”

Chapter Text

“Have you seen my sister?”

“Oh, hey, Taako. Didn’t hear you come in.” Barry didn’t turn away from his microscope. They were on the verge of a breakthrough with this experiment. He could feel it. “She said she was going into town.”

“That was this morning. She said she’d help me make dinner. She should be back by now.”

Now, Barry looked up. Taako hovered near him, an anxious frown on his face. “Hey. This is Lup we’re talking about. I’m sure she’s fine. She probably got sidetracked or something. I bet she’s on her way back now.”

Taako shook his head, chewing his lip. “She would’ve called. And she didn’t answer when I called her.”

“Oh.” Barry’s heart began to thud faster. That wasn’t like her. “So, what should we—”

“We need to go looking for her,” Taako answered quickly. “Now.”

“Yeah, sure. Let’s go.”

--

Barry cast Locate Creature as he and Taako traced the path from the Starblaster to the nearest town. It wouldn’t do them much good until they were close to her, but it was better than stumbling around blind.

Everything seemed unusually quiet, as if even the birds were holding their breath in wait.

An eternity of this silence passed, with only the infrequent interruptions of them calling out Lup’s name. But finally, Barry’s spell got a ping.

She was nearby.

He ran past Taako, following the twists and turns that his spell told him to go. And then he skidded to a stop at the edge of a cliff.

“Holy shit. Taako? You need to come look over here.”

Taako was beside him in an instant, hissing under his breath. “Fuck!”

Something had happened. Twenty feet below them, they could see a pile of stones and rubble. The effects of a landslide.

And he could sense Lup underneath it.

Taako cast a spell on the two of them, and they floated to the bottom of the chasm. “Where is she?”

Barry responded wordlessly, running over where she must have been and dropping to his knees. He began digging through the pebbles with his hands; he couldn’t risk blasting away the debris and hurting her. Taako dropped beside him and followed his lead.

“C’mon, Lu,” he heard Taako whisper, “C’mon.”

“We’re close,” Barry breathed back.

They hit a heavy boulder. Barry began to push it, but then Taako took over and levitated it out of the way. And as it lifted out of the way, they could make out a little bubble of open space.

Lup was in there. They could see her legs, twisted unnaturally and unmoving. Barry felt dizzy.

He slid inside without hesitation, just barely thinking enough to tell Taako, “Don’t let it collapse on me.”

He ran to her the second his feet hit the ground. She was laying against another rock, still except for her chest rising and falling with rapid breaths.

“Lup! Lup, can you hear me?” He scooped her into his arms as he tried to remember the healing spells Merle had taught him. His hands glowed white as he cupped her face.

She stirred. And then her eyes fluttered open. “Holy shit,” she slurred.

Relief pulsed through him. He hugged her tightly and peppered her face in kisses.

She pushed him away weakly, making a sound that almost resembled a laugh. “Nice to see you too, Bar.”

His face split into a wide grin. “She’s okay! Taako, I’ve got her! She’s okay!”

Chapter Text

“—And we don’t wanna wake him, Maggie!”

Barry opened his eyes with a groan. Grabbing his glasses, he cast Light before climbing out of bed and crossing the room towards the voices that were muffled by the door.

He slid the door open to find Lup and Magnus on the other side, leaning heavily against the wall and smelling strongly of alcohol. Magnus immediately turned to him and beamed. “Barry!”

“Um, hey. Did you guys have a good time at the bar?”

Lup gave him a big thumbs up and a tight-lipped smile.

Weird.

Barry ran a hand through his mess of hair. “You sure? Everything okay?”

She nodded quickly. “Mm-hm!”

He raised an eyebrow and turned to Magnus. “How about you, bud? Everything good?”

“Yeah! Lup got into a fight with some creep and beat the shit out of him. It was great.” Magnus slurred as he threw a big arm around Lup’s shoulders.

Lup elbowed him in the side.

“Oh yeah?” Barry turned his gaze back to Lup, who was suddenly very interested in examining the ceiling. “Is that why you’re not opening your mouth?”

This time, she furrowed her brow, frowned, and shook her head.

“For real? It’s really weird for you to not be talking, Lup. Kind of suspicious.” They may have woken him out of a sound sleep, but he could still guess what was going on. “It’s okay if he landed a hit on you, but I can’t help you unless you tell me.”

She reached up to scratch her nose, conveniently covering her mouth. “I just didn’t feel like talking. It’s all good, babe. No one managed to hit cha’girl.”

“Yeah? Prove it.”

Lup threw an uncertain glance at Magnus, who shifted his weight uncomfortably. She scratched her head and hid her face with her arm. “Maggie’ll vouch for me. Tell him.”

“Uh, yeah,” Magnus nodded, “Yeah, she’s fine. I’m telling you Barry, she totally taught him a lesson. He didn’t get the chance to touch her.”

“Cool, then this shouldn’t be a problem.” Barry smirked. “Show me your mouth, Lup.”

She wiggled her eyebrows at him and stumbled forward with her lips puckered.

Barry held her off easily with one arm. “Nope. You can kiss me after you show me you’re okay.”

Lup made a groaning sound deep in the back of her throat and tried to kiss him again.

He sighed. “Lup.”

She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. But then, she sighed and obliged.

“Holy shit, Lup! How many teeth did he knock out?”

She flinched. “Just a couple—”

“Three,” Magnus interjected. Lup elbowed him in the side again.

“You lost three teeth?”

“You should see the other guy,” Magnus offered.

“Okay,” Barry groaned. “Okay, we can talk to Merle about that tomorrow. You might just… be a few teeth short for the next few months. But right now, I think you two should get some sleep.”

“Bar,” Lup whimpered, leaning forward and tangling her arms around his neck, “You promised I could kiss you after I showed you!”

Barry put his arm around her waist, to support her more than anything else. “Just one second, Lup. Magnus, can you get back to your own room okay?”

“Hell yea, I can get back to my own room great!”

“Great. So… We’ll see you tomorrow, okay? Thanks for getting Lup back here. Night.” He tugged Lup back into their bedroom, waved, and let the door slide shut.

Then, he began unzipping Lup’s jacket. Maybe he could get her out of her street clothes and into something more comfortable. “Seems like you two had fun,” he sighed.

“Mhm.” She ran her hands through his hair as he leaned down. “But I really wanna kiss you now.”

He chuckled and tilted his head up. Instead of letting her kiss him on the lips, he turned his face so she kissed him on the cheek.

“Not fair,” she mumbled.

“That’s it for tonight, dear.” He bent down to untie her boots. “But I’ll tell you what. We can cuddle all night, and you can kiss me as much as you want in the morning. Deal?”

She leaned against him as he tugged off her boots, humming contently. “Okay. Deal.”

Chapter Text

The last thing Barry saw was red. The red of fire, consuming Gundren from the inside out. Spreading outwards, like a phoenix stretching its wings, until it devoured him.

The first thing Barry remembered was red.

The crimson sunset of two suns. Six others, draped in scarlet. His family.

The red of blood, pooling from his chest. Dying, over and over again. Knowing death wasn’t the end. That he’d be back.

The red of Lup’s lips pressed against his own. Of lipstick smears on his cheeks and neck. The deep red of her dress as they confessed their love through music.

The swarm of red as the two of them rose from their fallen bodies. Crackling energy shooting out around them as they fought to control their new forms.

The faded red of a decade-old kiss pressed beneath those two words that tore out his heart.

And he finally, a blur of red and determination and power, he rose from the perfect circle of black.

Chapter Text

Lup felt herself being tugged down by an invisible force.

For a moment, she struggled. She couldn’t help it. She’d spent so long trapped in the umbrastaff that she went into fight or flight, her mind a string of “no, no, no” and “not again.

But then she forced herself to relax. Because beneath the fear was the feeling of going home.

And then, she felt for the first time in over a decade. She became aware of the thick green liquid surrounding her and her body floating and the need to breathe as she pushed herself upwards.

She broke the surface and took a deep breath. She’d forgotten how good it felt to fill burning lungs, forgotten how bright it could be when your eyes had been closed. And everything was too much—wet hair plastered to her neck, too-cold air hitting her face—but then a hand was on her arm, gripping her and pulling her up.

She was lifted onto a platform, and a towel was draped over her back. It took her a long moment to catch her breath and fill her lungs with twelve years’ worth of air. But finally, she looked up to see her brother, relieved and grinning as he kneeled beside her and rubbed the towel’s scratchy material into her back. “How you feeling?”

His voice was too loud. She could feel the cold metal of the platform beneath her hands and knees. Her hair hung heavily in front of her face. And the towel—the plushest Taako could find—was too harsh against her naked skin.

But she could also feel her chest rising and falling as she took in air, and her heart pounding in her chest, and Taako’s weight on her back.

“A lot,” she answered, her voice hoarse, “I’m feeling a lot. Forgot how good I looka, though.”

He laughed as he helped her onto shaky legs and wrapped the towel around her more securely. She leaned against him, and he pulled her into a tight hug.

She could feel his warmth. Holy shit, she had a body again.

And then her eyes landed on Barry.

He was waiting on the ground beneath them, halfway through taking a step forward as if he were about to run to her, with wide eyes and an open mouth.

Her heart skipped a beat. She’d forgotten it could do that. She’d forgotten how he took her breath away. She forgot how physical love could feel.

She patted Taako’s arm. “Help me down.”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “course.”

He helped her onto the ladder, helped her lower herself a few steps until she could grip onto the metal railings.

She made it about halfway down when she felt Barry’s sturdy hands on her waist. “I’ve got you, Lup,” he whispered. “I won’t let you fall.”

As soon as her feet hit the uneven cave floor, she twisted around and embraced him. She buried her face in his neck and took in his smell and felt their chests rising and falling together. They were both here and they were both alive. She’d been alone in the umbrastaff for so long. She thought she’d never have this again. Her eyes stung with tears.

He wrapped his arms around her and rubbed her back gently. She felt dizzy.

She pulled away just enough to look at him.

“I’m here, Bar.” A laugh pushed out of her throat. She was just so happy. She had Taako, and she had Barry, and the Hunger was gone for good. They could live their lives now.

“You are,” he breathed. A tear spilled down his cheek, and she reached to wipe it away. She could feel the soft scratch of stubble on his face and her heart leapt again.

“And babe?” She grinned. “I’m about to smooch your fuckin’ brains out.”

She didn’t wait for a response before she kissed him. He kissed her back, gently, as if he were afraid of overwhelming her. Because even after a decade apart, her comfort still came first.

But she didn’t pull away. She cupped his face and held his hip and kept kissing him until he relaxed against her.

And then she kept kissing him. And he kept kissing her.

And finally, everything was okay.