Fandom: Guiding Light
Pairing: Olivia/Natalia (a bit of Blis seems to have wormed its way in as well)
Rating: PGish (so far)
Spoilers: This story begins after the episode which aired July 6th.
A/N: Ummm! :D I have no excuse for this. Just having fun! :D Hope you all like it!
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
There were only three sounds that ran through Natalia Rivera’s mind: the dull, echoing clang of the convent’s church bells as they mournfully counted off each hour of the day, the sound of the doctor at Cedars as she said “congratulations,” and the sound of Olivia. She not only heard Olivia’s voice trail echoing shadows of words throughout her mind, but she also heard other sounds. There were times, if she held her own breath, she could hear Olivia’s breathing reach up from the dark recesses of her mind and blow gently over her skin. Sometimes she heard laughter – the honest, surprised laughter that bubbled up from deep within Olivia’s chest whenever Natalia said something sarcastic or off-color. The sound of it comforted her and left traces of a smile on her mouth as she lay, her eyes drifting open and shut, on the small bed in the convent.
It was the morning of her fourth day there, and Natalia lay limply on her bed. She was tired and weak. The nun who normally came with a tray of food in the early morning had not arrived yet, and Natalia worried she would not show up this morning. The previous night, she complained of increased stomach aches, nausea, and headaches to the priest who came briefly to counsel her. He told her that her symptoms were normal for a woman in her condition, and that God would see her through. He advised her to eat less in the morning to avoid morning sickness. She wanted to laugh in his face, but she didn’t have enough energy.
After she spoke with the priest, she decided she would leave today. This wasn’t helping. Being at this place wasn’t helping anything at all. She’d left the love of her life and her baby boy at home. Running was weak and it felt like her entire body was left feeling the repercussions. However, now that she was awake, the edges of her sight melted into a light gray haze, and she was certain she’d faint if she even stood up. As she fought sleep and listened for the opening of the door, she quietly cursed the nun who had taken her cell phone and several other possessions on the first day.
She wanted to go home. It was all she wanted – all she could imagine. She’d walk through Hell to get there – if she had the energy. Home. Home to Olivia. Olivia was her home. Olivia. She wanted to feel Olivia’s arms around her. She wanted to feel Olivia’s lips on her skin. There wasn’t enough energy left to think and worry about the pregnancy or Olivia’s potential rejection of her because of it. The only emotions she had energy for were her love and longing for Olivia.
It was getting harder to stay awake. She closed her eyes and shivered slightly as unconsciousness overtook her.
“Come on, Doris! Where the hell are you?” Olivia asked into her cell phone. She was impatiently standing outside her hotel with a black duffle bag at her feet.
“I told you four minutes ago we’d be there in five minutes. Would you please calm down? Look behind you.”
Olivia spun around and saw Doris and Blake inside the hotel lobby, walking through the door.
“Blake is your secret contact?” Olivia asked with annoyance evident in her voice as Doris and Blake passed through the doors. Olivia had all but begged Blake to tell her where Natalia had gone the evening after the Bauer picnic, but had hit nothing but a brick wall.
“Good morning to you too, Olivia,” Doris said with a bright smile. Olivia frowned and glared at the two women.
“I’ll just go get my car and bring it around,” Blake said and jogged off into the parking lot.
“What’s in the bag?” Doris asked.
“How did you get Blake to talk?” Olivia asked in return, ignoring Doris’ question.
Doris tilted her head and smirked. “My powers of persuasion are strong.” Olivia lifted an eyebrow at her. “And I may have threatened her a little – at first. But you know she was just dying to tell someone. She is Blake Marler, after all.”
Olivia chuckled. “Well, whatever you did, I thank you.”
Doris shook her head dismissively. “Here she comes.”
“Isn’t that the same blazer you had on yesterday?” Olivia said as they walked toward the car.
Doris laughed nervously and said “Shotgun!” before jogging the rest of the way.
Olivia frowned and shook her head. She decided to fill her mind with thoughts of Natalia instead of explanations for Doris’ outfit.
Olivia spent most of the trip quietly staring at the passing scenery. Blake and Doris were animatedly gossiping about countless people in whom she had absolutely no interest. She was glad the two were entertaining each other and ignoring her because she had no desire to participate in the conversation. Her only desire was to see Natalia again and make sure she was safe.
“How much longer?” she asked after they’d been in the car for what seemed like an eternity, but had been only about forty-five minutes.
“I’d say about twenty minutes,” Blake replied.
Olivia moved a bit forward in her seat and leaned one arm on each front seat. “Either one of you know much about nuns?”
“Not me,” Blake said, “I don’t think I’ve ever even spoken to one.”
Olivia peered at Doris who had almost visibly tensed up when Olivia asked the question. “Doris?”
Doris sighed and rolled her eyes. “I went to Catholic school for quite a few years. I may know a thing or two.”
A smile broke out on Olivia’s face. “Excellent,” she said and leaned back a bit. “Could you stop the car for a minute, Blake?”
“What? Right here?”
“Well, don’t drive into a ditch, but when you find a good place, I’d really appreciate it,” Olivia said.
Doris peered back at her nervously. She seemed almost eerily calm and the smile she wore on her face was a rather crazed Cheshire-cat grin. Before she got a chance to interrogate Olivia over this strange change in demeanor, Blake pulled the car over.
Olivia hopped out, bringing the black duffle bag with her. Blake and Doris glanced at each other. Blake smiled and winked at Doris. Suddenly, Olivia pounded on Doris window. Doris jumped in her seat and fumbled with the door latch until she’d opened the door.
“What? What do you want Olivia? Why did we stop?”
“I need you to put this on,” Olivia said as she fumbled with the zipper of the duffle bag.
Doris stared in silent horror as Olivia lifted a black and white outfit from the bag.
“You cannot be serious, Olivia.”
“I’ve never been more serious.”
“No.” Doris raised a hand and began shaking her head. “This is where I draw the line. What do you think, Olivia? Do you think we can just walk in? Blend in somehow?”
“No, of course not. Hear me out for a minute. I did some research. These habits are exactly like they wear in a cloistered convent in Ohio.” Olivia began pulling on garment. “Even if the nuns we come across are familiar with that convent, it’ll seem plausible. I figure we can tell them we’re traveling and need a place to stay.”
Doris looked unconvinced. “Cloistered nuns don’t exactly travel that often, Olivia. I’m not even sure most of them know how to drive.”
“There must be exceptions. We can give them a sob story about traveling to a funeral or something. All we need to do is get in the front door.”
“That’s all? What will you do if they don’t buy our story? Knock them all out with a giant crucifix and run through the halls screaming out Natalia’s name?”
Olivia frowned. “If I have to, I will. Now that I know Natalia might be sick, very little would stop me. But I’m hoping it won’t come to that.” She straightened the neckline of her habit and slid her hands into the slide pockets. “Come on, Doris. You have to admit it’s a pretty decent idea. I admit it seems insane on the surface, but like it or not, it’s one of the few things that might actually get us through the front doors. Not only through the front doors, but directly to an area where they house guests.”
“Christ. If there’s a Hell, we’re going there,” Doris said in a defeated voice and held out her hand to take the costume from Olivia.
Olivia hesitated for a moment. “You know, I can go in alone if this really bothers you. I was hoping you could help because I don’t know anything about…”
“Give it to me,” Doris said with an impatient wave of her hand.
“Yeah, yeah. You owe me, Olivia Spencer. Big time,” Doris said as she took off her blazer and began putting the outfit on.
When they got back in the car, Blake laughed for at least five minutes straight despite requests from both women for her to shut the hell up. In the remaining minutes before they arrived at the convent, Doris gave Olivia a crash course in nun behavior. They all hoped it would be enough to make Olivia seem at least reasonably plausible as a nun.
As they pulled into the driveway of the convent, Doris silently apologized to God for not praying in years and quietly requested they not get arrested again.
Olivia leaned forward between the front seats and stared at the approaching convent with wide eyes. It was absolutely horrible looking. She hadn’t seen anything like it before in this part of the country. It was a massive, ancient-looking structure that seemed to rise up from the ground like it had blasted through the earth straight from another plane where mythical knights and dragons roam the lands.
“Jesus Christ,” Olivia whispered.
Doris whimpered. “Don’t you dare say anything even remotely like that when we get inside.” She took a deep breath and felt sweat starting to form beneath the thick layers of the habit that now covered her entire body. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this place had a gate directly to Hell in the basement.”
“You’re both insane,” Blake said as she pulled into something that might have been a small parking lot, but looked more like a muddy square off the edge of the gravel driveway. She stopped the car and shifted in her seat. She looked behind her at Olivia, and then at Doris. “You both look like crazed penguins. Work on happy, serene looks on your way in. Last I heard, nuns weren’t supposed to look like they were about to see Vinnie the Kneebreaker around the next corner.”
She held out her hand.
“Come on,” she said and wiggled her fingers a bit to indicate both women should take her hand. Doris laid her hand gently down and Olivia tentatively followed suit. Blake laid her other hand on top and squeezed. “Alright. Pep talk time. Since you two are determined to go in there and do something insane, I just want you both to know that you’re two of the strongest, most intelligent women I’ve ever known. You can do this. Easily.” She turned and locked eyes with Olivia. “I dream of finding a love as strong as yours. Use the strength of your love to guide you. Find her and bring her back.” She shifted her eyes to Doris and squeezed her hands together once more. “And you better the hell not get arrested again,” she with a wink. “I don’t have the money to bail both of you out. I’d probably bail Olivia out first since she…”
“Enough of this,” Doris said abruptly and jerked her hand back. Blake bit back a laugh and gave Doris an amused but apologetic smile. “If we don’t get in there soon someone’s going to see us and wonder why the hell we’re just sitting in the car.”
“Let’s do this,” Olivia said and opened the car door.
Doris and Olivia emerged from the car at the same time, and if they’d been in a movie the entire scene would have shifted into slow motion. Onlookers would see a small smirk on Olivia’s face as she rolled her shoulders to get a small kink out of her neck. They would see the large rosary that hung from Doris’ waist repeatedly lift up and hit against her thigh with the momentum of her sure strides. They would watch as Olivia glanced over at Doris and nodded her head slightly, and see Doris look back, throwing her a small smile and a returning nod. The camera would pan up their outfits, showing Olivia’s hands as they slid into the pockets of her habit, and Doris’ arms as they folded in front of her, her hands disappearing into the sleeves of the habit. The women would pass in front of the camera and the audience would watch from behind as both women walked surely and confidently all the way to the large front door of the convent. And all of this would have happened with Sympathy for the Devil by Rolling Stones playing in the background.
“May I help you?” asked a very tall nun after what seemed like only a fraction of a second after Olivia knocked on the massive convent door.
Olivia opened her mouth and looked a little like she might be trying to talk, but no actual words came out.
“Hello!” Doris said brightly and began talking rapidly. “I do apologize for disturbing you on such a lovely day, but my sister and I were wondering if you might be willing to let us rest our bones here for the day. You see, we’ve been traveling since the dark hours before dawn and we heard about your convent from a wonderful priest named Ray as we passed through the town of Springfield. He told us you’re a welcoming and lovely convent. Sister Olivia and I were so excited to get here,” Doris finished happily and put a hand under Olivia’s elbow in a show of friendship and support. She felt Olivia’s arm tremble.
“What convent are you from?” the nun asked.
“Ursulines of Brown County Ohio,” Olivia blurted out suddenly in one breath.
Doris smiled nervously. “It’s a very small order. We have nothing as wonderful as this…” She lifted her arm to indicate the massive stone building. “If it’s too much trouble, of course, we can be on our way. We would never want to disturb…”
“No, please come in, sisters,” the nun said and opened the door for them. “My name is Josephine.”
“It’s a grand pleasure to meet you, Sr. Josephine,” Doris said and silently thanked the heavens for getting them through the doors.
“Where are you headed?” asked Sr. Josephine.
“Minnesota,” Olivia suddenly blurted out again in a voice inappropriately loud for the silent hallway they were passing through. Doris wished she would stop that. It sounded like she had some sort of strange variation of Tourette’s syndrome.
“Uh yes,” Doris said. “We’re headed to a funeral. Unfortunately, Sr. Olivia’s mother has passed away. You’ll have to forgive her if she seems out of sorts.” Doris inwardly cringed at the lie. She really hoped there wasn’t actually a door to Hell in the basement.
“I am sorry to hear that,” Sr. Josephine said quietly. “You’re welcome to stay with us as long as you need. We welcome those who wish to rest and experience silent solitude within our walls.”
The nun had put emphasis on the word silence, so Doris chose only to say a very quiet “thank you” and remained silent as they moved through the vast, dark hallways of the convent. Eventually they reached a long hallway with quite a number of doors on either side. It was evident the rooms were small from the spacing of the doors.
“You may have these two rooms,” the tall nun said and pointed to one door with each hand. Olivia thought her long white fingers as they emerged from her black habit looked a bit like she always imaged the grim reaper’s hand might as he pointed the way to the afterlife. “Please, feel free to rest. I will tell Mother Superior you are here.”
“Thank you, Sr. Josephine. We appreciate all you have done,” Olivia said in a voice that was stilted and again, far too loud for the situation.
Sr. Josephine closed her eyes and bowed ever so slightly before heading back in the direction from which they’d arrived.
Natalia’s eyes opened slightly. She was sure she’d just heard Olivia’s voice. It was a different voice than she’d heard in her mind over the past few days. It seemed real. Real, but far away. Very far away. But real. It wasn’t her imagination playing tricks on her. She felt Olivia close. Near. Right here. But far. Very far.
Natalia closed her eyes tightly and tried to shake her thoughts clear. It would be easy, so easy to drift helplessly back into the black sleep she’d been experiencing all day, but something called her to stay awake. She needed to get up. Now. She needed to find Olivia’s voice.
It took all her strength, but she willed herself to sit up. She looked down at her hands. They were paler than she’d ever seen them, and when she ran one of the pale hands across her forearm, she felt a light coating of sweat. “Damn,” she whispered and closed her eyes. The realization that she was very sick hit her like a ton of bricks. “Have to get… out of here.” She took a deep breath and attempted to stand. It took all the willpower she possessed, but she was able to stand.
She took about four steps before the world began to gray out.
She stumbled forward and her body slammed against the small room’s door before she slid limply to the floor.
“Did you hear that?” Olivia asked in whisper. They’d both begun opening the doors to their rooms because they couldn’t think of a better thing to do at the moment. The plan had worked, at least for the moment, and they were both a bit stunned.
Doris turned toward the noise in question. “Did that sound like someone fell against that door?”
Olivia darted toward the door and attempted to open it. “Locked,” she said with wide eyes. “Key? Where can we get a key?”
Doris blinked and shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know! Maybe one of the nuns?” She was feeling entirely out of her element and the whole situation was more than a bit surreal.
“Well, don’t just stand there! Find one.”
“What am I supposed to do? Frisk the closest nun for her keys?”
Olivia looked at her like she was stupid. “Yes!”
“Jesus Christ,” Doris muttered and stalked off down the hallway.
Olivia kneeled in front of the where she’d heard the thudding noise. “Natalia?” she said and hit her palm on the door a few times. “Are you in there, baby? It’s me. Olivia. Please, if you can, open the door. Please. I’m here for you.” Olivia closed her eyes and took a deep breath to steady herself. It didn’t work because, as she inhaled, she quite plainly smelled Natalia’s perfume on the air, and her body began to shake even more. “Natalia,” she began again more urgently. “Natalia, my angel, are you in there? Can you hear me? Please. Hang on, my love.” She pressed her cheek and the palm of her hand against the thick wood door as she blinked away tears. She continued offering words of comfort and pleading at the door until she saw the form of Doris jogging back down the hallway. She was carrying a large keychain and had a short nun following at her heels.
“You have no right to take my keys like that! Just who do you think you are?” the nun said sharply as Doris finally reached the door and began randomly trying keys.
Olivia stood up. “The woman I love is in that room. You are the one who has no right. You have no right to keep her from me. You have no right to keep her locked in this,” she waved her arms in the air wildly, “hell hole away from her family and friends when she’s sick. She could be in that room dying for all you’d know. You wouldn’t care, would you?” The nun opened her mouth and raised a finger in protest, but Olivia cut her off before she was able to speak. “No, you don’t give a holy flying fuck whether or not she’s sick in there. It took me four days to find this godforsaken place and you better get on your knees and pray your little holy ass off that she’s not deathly ill. I’ll own this whole goddamn convent faster than you can say ‘Jesus wept,’ if anything happens to her.”
The small nun crossed herself and reached for the keys in Doris’ hand. “Let me,” she muttered and slid the appropriate key into the lock.
The door was difficult to open because Natalia’s body was blocking it. Olivia slid her body into the room as fast as she was able. The door clicked shut behind her. She fell to her knees and cupped Natalia’s face in her hands. Quickly, she slid her fingers down her neck and heaved a sigh of relief when she felt a weak pulse.
“Natalia? Baby? Please, wake up.” When no response came, Olivia pulled Natalia into her arms. She placed a bracing arm around Natalia’s waist and began lifting her off the ground. “Open the door!” she yelled. Immediately Doris opened the door and reached in to help hold Natalia up.
Together, they began hauling the unconscious body of Natalia Rivera out of the convent.