FANDOM: Guiding Light
RATING: PG for this part.
SUMMARY: Natalia is forced to come to terms with her feelings alone when Olivia is injured.
TIMELINE: Begins immediately after the episode on 17th of April and diverges from the canon storyline at that point.
Olivia had felt in a permanent state of discombobulation all day. All week, really, if she was honest. She was finding it very difficult to keep her eyes off Natalia, and she wasn't quite sure why. She was noticing things...her hands, the way they moved, the play of muscles and tendons under the skin. Her smile, the way it lit up the room and lifted her heart. And her lips...oh dear God, her lips. Full and soft looking and so very, very kissable.
And that was really the crux of the issue. Natalia's kissable lips that she couldn't stop staring at. Olivia Spencer was known as a man-eater - she was even rather proud of the label. She had never in her life wanted to kiss a woman before.
She'd have liked to withdraw from Natalia, regroup and think. But she couldn't because she couldn't just get up and leave the room - she was dependant on Natalia for everything. And Natalia wasn't exactly giving her space. If she didn't know the other woman better she'd almost think it was deliberate. Every time she got up from the table at dinner she'd run her hand up her arm as she passed. When she sat back down she'd pat her hand. When Olivia ate she'd wipe little bits of food from her lips with the pad of her thumb - sometimes Olivia was sure there wasn't even anything there. And always there was the smile, and the voice, and the sheer steady, simple presence of Natalia surrounding her, making her head spin.
"Can we watch a movie tonight?" Emma asked as Natalia stood up to clear away the dishes.
"Friday's movie night," Olivia replied distractedly. Natalia stopped in mid stride and looked back at Olivia over her shoulder.
"You remember that?" Her voice was shaky.
Olivia looked up. She remembered popcorn, laughter, Emma and Natalia...one blanket. "Yeah..." she replied dazedly. She frowned. "King Kong..." she whispered.
Natalia dropped the plates.
The spell was broken. Olivia blinked and suddenly laughed as Natalia dropped to her knees and began frantically cleaning up the pieces. "Hey, didn't I tell you I wouldn't be helping you when everything crashed to the floor?"
If Natalia had been holding anything she'd have dropped it again. "You remember that too?"
Olivia paused then broke into a broad grin. "I guess I do." She grabbed Emma and pulled her into as strong a hug as she could manage with only one good arm. "Pretty good going, huh Jellybean? Two in one night!"
Natalia finished tossing the remnants of their dinner plates in the trash. "Well, apparently I don't have to do the dishes," she said brightly. "I think this calls for a celebration!"
Emma squealed. "Movie?" she asked, her eyes bright.
Natalia ruffled her hair. "You choose Em; I'll get the popcorn."
Emma rushed off to the living room, whooping. Olivia and Natalia both laughed, but Olivia stopped when Natalia slid her fingers into her hair, cupped the back of her head and tilted her neck up. "Looks like that bread roll did the job after all," she murmured.
Olivia gulped, staring at those intoxicating lips. "Uh huh," she breathed, but hadn't really heard what she'd said. Natalia smirked.
"I'll get the popcorn."
Ten minutes later Olivia found herself in bed, propped up against her pillows with Emma nestled against her left side, carefully avoiding her casts. The little girl had chosen Beauty and the Beast. That was good. She wouldn't have to concentrate on that at all, and she could spend a little time trying to get her head on straight. Natalia's intoxicating presence would at last be slightly distant. She would have space.
Or at least that's what she thought until Natalia climbed up onto the bed and casually laid her head on her shoulder.
"Ooh, I love this movie," Natalia said, as if nothing had happened. "Good choice Em."
Olivia's heart was racing. "Uhm...Natalia?" she muttered. "What are you doing?"
Natalia smiled up at her. "We're watching a movie," she explained, as if it should have been obvious. "You, me and Emma." She patted her hand on Olivia's stomach. "This is our routine."
"Oh..." Olivia breathed, noting that Natalia hadn't removed her hand.
Emma covered Natalia's hand with her own and smiled up at her too. "Yeah, mommy," she agreed, and Olivia could only nod. Attacked on two fronts, her brain murmured. Hardly fair.
* * * * * *
Natalia wasn't sure when she fell asleep. She'd been trying valiantly to finish watching the movie but the last thing she remembered was her eyes flickering shut and Olivia's arm hesitantly coming round her shoulders to pull her closer.
She wasn't leaning against Olivia anymore. She was lying on her side, one hand trapped under her, the other thrown carelessly above her head. She was exceedingly comfortable and warm and safe and...
...and Olivia was pressed up against her back.
For a moment she thought that Olivia was asleep too, and then she felt it. A slightly trembling hand came to rest on her shoulder and then slowly travelled down her arm, a trail of gooseflesh erupting in its wake. Olivia's breath was on her neck, warm and shallow, and Natalia thought her heart was going to beat right out of her chest.
"What are you doing to me?" Olivia whispered softly. Natalia could hear the faint static hiss of the TV in the background, the whistle of the wind in the tree outside, the occasional drip of the leaky faucet in the kitchen. With sudden clarity she realised that she would never, ever forget this moment. This was going to be burned onto her soul forever.
Olivia brought her hand back up and this time tangled it into her hair. She ran her fingers through it almost reverently, sighing gently at the incredible softness beneath her fingertips. "You're beautiful," she murmured, sounding almost surprised. Fingers ghosted across Natalia's cheek, pulling her hair back. "So beautiful..."
Natalia's breath hitched but Olivia was too far gone to notice. She hovered over her for just a moment - hardly any time, but long enough for Natalia to wonder if it was possible to actually die of anticipation. And then - unutterably slowly - Olivia leaned down and placed a gentle kiss behind Natalia's ear, just at the point where her jawbone met her neck. It wasn't a peck. It was long and slow and deliberate and Natalia was sure she was going to ascend into heaven right there on the spot.
Emma's small sleepy voice intruded into the moment and Olivia turned quickly back to her daughter. Natalia's eyes snapped open and she gasped. Her heart was thundering wildly in her ears and for a few moments she was aware of nothing but her pulse, her breath and the burning where Olivia's lips had touched her skin.
Slowly she came back to reality. "Hey," she said, making a big performance of yawning and stretching to maintain the illusion that she'd just woken. "Is the movie over?"
Emma nodded, rubbing at her eyes with the heel of her hands.
Natalia smiled. "Okay Jellybean, time for bed," she said, and it was a testament to how tired the girl she was that she didn't even protest.
It took twenty minutes to get Emma settled in bed, and when Natalia returned to the living room after getting into her own night clothes she felt she'd done a very good job of getting herself under control. She was breathing normally, her heart was only doing a jog instead of a sprint and she could even look Olivia in the eye while she got her dressed for bed. Only briefly of course, but it was something.
"Are you going to stay down here tonight?" Olivia asked as Natalia fed her some pills and made her drink half a glass of water.
Natalia nodded firmly. "Yup," she said, smiling. "I'll be right here if you need me."
Olivia looked down, unable to meet Natalia's eyes. "You could..." she began, then coughed. "You could sleep here..." Her eyes glanced over the empty half of her bed. "If you want."
Natalia hardly dared to breathe. "Okay," she murmured. She turned off the light and looked back at Olivia who looked absolutely petrified. Slowly she climbed into the bed, pulling the covers over her shoulders. She could feel the heat of Olivia's body just inches away and had to almost physically restrain herself from reaching out to touch.
Olivia turned to face her, eyes burning in the near darkness. "Tell me a story," she whispered.
Natalia smirked. "What kind of story?" she asked. "The kind with a princess and a space pirate and some evil aliens?"
Olivia chuckled softly. "No," she murmured. "Tell me something I've forgotten. Something about us."
Natalia closed her eyes briefly. Us. She said us. There is an us. "Okay," she said and began to think hard. "Well," she began at last. "You remember the house Gus bought..."
Her voice was low and almost husky as she told the story and Olivia hung on her every word. They talked long into the night.
A/N - Natalia's suggested story is, of course, a reference to ladyvictory's awesome fic Hero Myth. Hope you don't mind!