Reconciliation

So I have decided upon repeated requests from persons who shall remain unnamed to do the chapter this way, cause it was originally going to be a lot different. But I remembered my favorite thing about this fic is indeed the ships, mostly Fabian and Nina, and so I figured what the hell. There is like almost no actual plot importance to this chapter and it will be a wee bit more risqué than the previous ones, and also not in first person because I wanted to experiment. Now I present for my last update of the hell year known as 2020, the special Fabina winter break chapter.

Nina:

"Surprise."

Fabian blinked, still staring at her in what could only be described as shock. It wasn't just his face either. He was dressed in pajamas and his feet were bare, he'd clearly been about to go to sleep. Not entirely surprising since it was already after ten o'clock and Victor had the students conditioned like guinea pigs, but her smile fell at the idea that she might have woken him up. Nina wondered if she could just sink into the ground and ask Iris to wipe his memory rather than proceed. But no, she had come this far, he'd already seen her, at this point she had to see it through.

The rain continued its steady downpour, hitting the fabric above her head in a monotonous drumbeat. She chewed at her bottom lip. "So, um, could I come in?"

Fabian abruptly shook himself, as though he'd been underwater. "Yeah, of course." He stepped aside. "Come on in."

She pulled in her suitcase as he shut the door behind her and her cheeks suddenly flamed. God, how presumptuous had it been of her to pack a suitcase? What if he didn't even want her here? Hoping he hadn't seen it she left her things by the door and followed Fabian into the living room. Despite the sheer awkwardness permeating the air, Nina couldn't help but looking around to take the house in, wanting to learn everything she could about where he'd grown up. The walls were painted a muted yellow color, softer than butter but not quite beige. The furniture was a mix of grey and brown pieces, and the floor was covered in a thick, red, knotted rug. The fireplace against the wall was in use, throwing shadows across the room and filling the space with a pleasant heat. The only other lights on were a couple of lamps, and the effect was tamped down by the stormy weather. The whole thing created a fairly dramatic atmosphere, which Nina hoped wasn't a bad omen.

Fabian gestured towards a large, plush-looking sofa. "Have a seat."

Nina made as if to sit down and straightened right back up. "I really don't think I could."

His eyebrows knit themselves together. "Nina are you all right? Has something happened?"

She felt her heart clench. "No, no, nothing happened. I just, I can't sit. I can't, I have to," she found herself gesturing lamely around the room and forced her hands to be still. How to explain that her body had reached its limit for unspoken words and everything she'd left bottled up was now trying to force its way out, and they wouldn't let her be still until she'd said it all? "You can sit," she suggested and immediately wanted to kick herself. "I mean, of course you can sit down, it's your house, I just meant…" the words trailed off.

Fabian stayed standing. "I really don't mean to sound rude Nina, but I'm not quite sure why you're here. You said you wanted space, I've been trying to give you that."

Her throat closed up and Nina struggled to get herself under control. "I did say that," she said lamely. She paced back and forth on the carpet and fought back a shiver, her wet clothes sticking to her skin. "I have some other things I need to say though, and then you left without saying goodbye, and so I came here. To say them. I would've texted but I have no phone."

Fabian jammed his hands into his pockets, his face closed off as he waited for her to speak and Nina found herself floundering. Why why, oh why did her grasp of the English language have to be failing her now of all times? "Do you think you actually could maybe sit down?" she asked faintly. "It'll be easier for me to get through this if I can get it out and not have to worry about, you know. Looking at you." As soon as the words were out of her mouth she winced at how stupid she sounded, staring at her shoes.

She heard movement and glanced up to see, to her shock, Fabian sitting on the couch. He looked defensive and she quickly looked away and started pacing, fighting the urge to wring her hands. God what was wrong with her? It was Fabian, the one person she could always talk to, she had no reason to be this nervous. What should be terrifying her was how he might react after she said her piece.

She felt her tongue dart out to moisten her lips as she continued to pace. "You said I asked for space, and I did. You're right. That was something I asked for. And then when you gave it to me I had time to do some thinking and self-reflecting and during that time I realized that I have been pretty incredibly unfair to you. I was so focused on my pain and my hurting that somehow I never stopped to think about how you must be hurting."

Nina tried to look at him but couldn't bring herself to do it and kept talking, her shoes wearing a slight path in the carpet. "It's like I said before, I know it wasn't your fault, but I never really put two and two together. I mean I had my sin for less than a day, I didn't really experience how it strips you of your free will, I didn't understand that you couldn't say no and how that would affect you going forward, and rather than being there for you I shut you out which was wrong of me, God it was so wrong of me, and so I just I'm sorry. I wanted to – I had to come here and let you know that I'm sorry."

Unable to keep from seeing his reaction any longer Nina stopped pacing, cautiously looking looking over to find Fabian staring at her. His mouth was a thin line and he was running his fingers over his watch strap. When he gave no response, she felt compelled to fill the silence. "Anyway that's the general gist of what I wanted to tell you." She nearly tagged on a thanks for listening but felt that would be pushing her luck. Afraid her legs might give out if she stayed standing much longer she allowed herself to sink down onto the opposite side of the couch, leaving a full cushion between them just in case.

"It wasn't your fault." He spoke softly, eyes fixed on the fireplace. "There's not really an instruction manual for how to deal with acts done under supernatural influence. I blamed myself too at first. Normal people don't have those kinds of problems."

"You would've been normal," Nina reminded him miserably, "if I hadn't come along."

"No, hey." He moved closer, taking one of her hands in his. "Nina there's no part of my life that's not better because you're in it."

She felt her face heat up and shook her head. "Stop it," she protested. "I'm supposed to be making amends here, you're not meant to be comforting me."

The feel of his hands enveloping hers, thumb gently rubbing her knuckles was enough to make her thoughts spin. "Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?" Fabian asked. She couldn't help but notice his tone was carefully neutral.

Well strictly speaking I'd also like to beg you to take me back and then make out with you but I'm in no position to ask you for anything right now. She slowly shook her head. "No. No I just wanted to apologize."

He withdrew his hands and stood and the loss of contact was the equivalent of getting fingernails pulled off. "Okay. If you want to grab your things I get you set up in a guest room, and then tomorrow we can talk about how long you're staying."

Even though his voice was nothing but polite the words still felt like a hard kick to the chest. Determined not to appear as though she was trying to guilt him Nina got to her feet, careful not to blink. "Sure, sounds great." Was she imagining things or did her voice sound abnormally high-pitched?

She went back to grab her suitcase as he turned off the fireplace and followed him down the hall. He opened up a doorway and flicked on a light switch and she looked inside to see a plain, nondescript bedroom with light gray walls, snow white bedding, and a full-length mirror next to the closet. Fabian jerked a thumb over his shoulder to a different door. "I'm right across the hall if you need anything. Bathroom is down that way and to the right."

Nina nodded, but she barely managed to get out a 'thank you' before he'd slipped inside of his room and shut the door. She snapped her mouth closed and shut her own door, taking a moment to rest her forehead against it. Stupid. It was so, so stupid of her to come here.

Acid built up in the back of her throat and she clenched her jaw, angrily stripping off her clothes. It left her bare skin feeling clammy, her damp hair clinging to her neck. She threw the clothes into a corner of the room and kicked her suitcase onto its side, collapsing onto the bed in nothing but her underwear.

Furious with herself, she grabbed a pillow and pressed it into her face. Nina had no right to be angry, she reminded herself. She had come here to offer an apology and she'd given it, and he'd accepted it without fight. But in all seriousness what had she been expecting, really? That she'd show up and give a pretty speech and he'd sweep her into his arms and kiss her until she couldn't think straight?

Nina bit down on the pillowcase and muffled a scream as she fought to get her thoughts in order. There was nothing left to be done except to go to bed, and hopefully by morning she would have amassed enough dignity that they could speak openly and calmly about their relationship, like rational human beings. Assuming he had any interest in that.

She got up from the bed and opened up her suitcase, taking a moment to brush the knots out of her hair. Nina rifled around her clothes, looking for her pajamas when her hands touched something that crinkled and she frowned. Blanking on what it could be she pulled out what ended up being something she definitely hadn't packed wrapped in tissue paper. Flipping it over revealed a sticky note that read 'For good luck! Not that you need it of course ;). xoxo Amber'

Nina apprehensively tore it open and a design of silky, dark purple fabric spilled into her hands. Nina held the object up, shaking it out with dawning horror. What she was holding could charitably be described as a nightgown, if not for the fact that the v-neck was so deep it separated her breasts entirely, which were meant to be covered by lace a shade darker than the rest of the material. The skirt was smooth and soft and when Nina pressed it against herself she could tell it would come to mid-thigh at best. It wasn't lingerie exactly, but it was at least lingerie for beginners. Nina dropped the dress like it was on fire and pressed her face into her hands. "Amber I'm going to kill you," she muttered to the empty room.

She retrieved the dress and balled it up, every intention of tossing it out the window when she stopped. It's already here, a treacherous voice in the back of her head whispered. You might as well try it on.

Hands shaking, Nina checked for tags before slowly pulling it over her head when she found none. The fabric was smooth as water against her skin as she brushed the skirt out, and realized her estimate of the length had been generous. The dress covered one-third of her thighs at most. Nerves jangling like a rattle shaken too many times, Nina took off her bra before turning to the mirror. Her eyes widened at the effect. She was hesitant to say it, but she almost looked sexy.

She glanced towards the closed door, wondering what Fabian would think of her new sleeping apparel, and shook herself. He wasn't going to see it obviously, and that was that. She gripped the hem of the dress and was about to pull it off when she could almost hear Amber chastising her. "You won't know until you try Nina. What's the worst that can happen anyway?"

Nina twirled a strand of hair around her finger, thinking hard. She was already here, wasn't she? Already planning to leave tomorrow. Besides, wasn't this the whole reason they'd planned for her to come over in the first place anyway? And as for the worst thing that could happen, Fabian could turn her down. The thought made her want to shrivel up and die but she ignored that instinct. It wasn't as though they would never speak again. The two of them had been through too much to let something as silly as a failed seduction be the thing that tore them asunder. Maybe in five or fifty years, they'd even be able to laugh about it.

And if he didn't turn her down, well that was okay too.

Her decision made Nina pulled her hair back into a high ponytail, flashing back to last year's dance before disaster struck, when Fabian had kept sneaking glances at her neck thinking she wouldn't notice. She went back to the suitcase and rummaged around for her makeup bag, praying Amber had packed it. When she found what she was looking for she sighed in relief and unzipped it, thinking she'd put on just a touch of clear mascara. But her eye was drawn to a tube of lipstick in a brand she definitely didn't own. She pulled it out and saw the color matched the dress she was wearing. Nina looked up at the ceiling, lips twitching. "You have some nerve Amber," she whispered.

She would of course, never say that to Amber's face since she spent a full five minutes very carefully applying the lipstick before adding a dash of mascara.

Nina glanced towards the mirror again and found herself hesitating. This could very easily go disastrously wrong and lead to the door getting slammed in her face. But she had nothing to lose and everything to gain from trying. That didn't stop her from wishing very badly for her phone so she could text Amber for some much needed confidence, but c'est la vie. Amber had done all she could, and if Nina couldn't make herself do the rest it wouldn't be for lack of trying on her friend's part.

Her heart beating a frantic rhythm against her ribcage, Nina slipped out of her room and moved to stand in front of the door across the hall. Never in the history of the universe had a more intimidating door existed.

Nerves rose from her stomach to her throat, threatening to turn her feet around, but Nina swallowed and mustered up a smile that she hoped didn't look like a grimace before knocking.

Fabian:

Fabian tossed and turned in bed, his mind racing with thoughts of Nina. The sight of her at his doorstep in wet clothes that clung to her body was occupying all of his brain power. Especially when he hadn't expected to see her for two weeks. Space, was what she'd asked for, I need space, she'd said. He'd been trying to fulfill her wishes and yet here she was. He groaned and rolled over on the bed. Girls were impossible. He'd never understand them.

He startled upright at an abrupt knocking on his door. It had to be Nina, but what could she want? Extra blankets, maybe. With a sigh he swung his legs over the side and went to answer it.

Fabian opened the door and his mouth fell open.

Nina was standing there but she wasn't wearing any pair of pajamas he'd ever seen before. It was some sort of miniature nightgown with lace at the top that revealed far more of her body than any piece of clothing had a right to. Her hair was tied back to expose the delicate curves of her neck, a few strands loose and framing her face. Her lips were painted a deep shade of purple, the color of wine, and twisted up in a small smile as she looked up at him through her lashes. All he could do was stare at her as all the blood in his head went south.

"Hi." Fabian had never heard Nina or anyone else use that tone of voice before, but the only way he could think to describe it was sultry.

He tried to say something in response, but all that came out was a strangled sort of, "Hnnggf."

Nina toyed with the end of her ponytail, and he could tell she was nervous though he had no idea why. Right now she could ask him to follow her through hell and he'd do it wearing a blindfold. "So listen, I wasn't entirely honest with you earlier when you asked if there was anything else I wanted to talk about."

Finally managing to regain some semblance of his wits, Fabian cleared his throat. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Nina moved closer, they were barely half a step apart now. "Only I don't really want to talk with you, per say." She brought her hands up and placed them on his chest, cocking her head as she blinked those beautiful green eyes at him.

Letting his hands wrap around her waist felt as natural as breathing. "Nina Martin," he teased, "are you trying to seduce me?"

"Maybe," she answered coyly, tapping her fingers against his collarbone. "Is it working?"

She closed the distance between him so they were pressed up against each other, placing a soft kiss on his neck. Considering how much of him she could feel Fabian had no doubt she knew exactly how well it was working, but he gave her an answer anyway. "You could say that."

She pulled back and tilted her head up, he couldn't tear his eyes away from her painted lips. "Well then why aren't you kissing me yet?"

Rather than waste any more time with words Fabian sought to rectify the situation and kissed her.

Their last kiss was a painful memory, tinged by tears and desperation. This time around it was slow and achingly sweet, her lips molding to fit his, her hands gentle as she clasped her fingers behind his neck. Their mouths moved together until Nina was occupying all of his senses so completely that he had to pull away and try to think straight.

Rather than stop kissing him, Nina moved from his lips to his neck, placing kisses above the collar of his tee shirt. One of her hands travelled down from his neck to his arm, curling around his bicep and Fabian wasn't entirely sure he was in the right reality. "Is this a dream?" He meant for the words to come out as playful but it was more of a gasp.

Nina shook her head as she pulled back to look him in the eyes. God, her eyes. Had her lashes always been that long? She placed her hand right over his heart, and for a brief moment he was afraid it might beat right out of his chest. He could see when her nervousness from earlier came back because her eyes flicked down to his chest. "We don't have to if you don't want to." Her voice was low. "I just, I wanted, I wanted to," the words trailed off as she bit her lip.

His grip on her waist tightened, hyperaware of the shape of her beneath the thin fabric. "What did you want?" Fabian could hear the desperation in his own voice but he didn't care. He needed her to say it, to be sure he wouldn't be screwing everything up even more if they did this.

He could see her throat move as she swallowed. "You." The word was barely a whisper but it was enough.

When he kissed her again it was more purposeful, determined. Nina responded eagerly, hands coming up to cup his face as he swept his tongue into her mouth. He started walking them back towards the bed, and Nina used her foot to kick the door shut behind them as lightning outside the window flashed, and a loud clap of thunder followed.

Fabian paid these things no mind. For all he knew a hostage situation was taking place across the street, nothing else mattered except the girl in his arms. He could feel her skin, warm and alive beneath the fabric before he had to raise his arms so she could remove his shirt. Next were the pants, and Fabian had a brief religious moment where he thanked whatever deities were out there that he'd worn plain, black boxers and not the ones with rockets on them that his godfather had purchased as a bad joke. Then he was kicking the pants aside as Nina toyed with his waistband and he was vaguely afraid he was running a fever, surely his body temperature wasn't supposed to be running this hot.

He let his hands grab the hem of the nightgown and wondered if she'd freeze up and stop him and say it was too much too soon, but none of that happened as it came over her head. Fabian's eyes went immediately to her upper torso as he saw she had been wearing next-to-nothing else beneath the outfit, and his brain temporarily disconnected from his body and his mouth went dry.

His internal clock was broken so he had no idea how much time passed before Nina leaned forward to start kissing him again. Their chests pressed together and Fabian felt himself short-circuit as she gently pushed him onto the bed, climbing up after him.

They spent a little while just kissing, and Fabian attempted to force his thoughts into an orderly formation and remember the research he'd done. He was just gearing up to try something when Nina pulled back and he saw that there was only a faint reminder of the lipstick she'd been wearing earlier. Unable to help himself he laughed.

Nina raised her eyebrows. "Care to share?" She sounded breathless.

"Your lipstick," he grinned.

Nina brought a hand up to her mouth and then looked away bashfully, eyeing him. "Purple's a good color on you," she teased.

Fabian felt a surge of confidence, and before he could second guess himself he wrapped his arms around her and rolled them over so that he was on top. Nina gasped but he was already kissing her again, and slowly brought his hand around to palm her breast. She moaned into his mouth as he carefully moved his hand around, her back arching off the bed. When he gently squeezed though Nina gave a muffled cry and he pulled back.

"Nina?" Her lips were parted but her eyes squeezed shut. He removed his hand and placed it on the comforter. "Was that not okay?"

Nina opened her eyes as she shakily inhaled, staring at him. "Don't stop."

He still didn't move. He was fairly certain he knew what she meant, but after that Other Thing he was terrified of possibly misinterpreting her. "Was that don't, comma, stop, or don't stop as in keep going?"

"Fabian." He detected a touch of exasperation in her voice beneath the fondness, and then Nina grabbed his hand and put it back on her skin. Her eyes seemed to take up more space than normal, probably because her pupils were dilated. "Keep going."

So he did.

Nina:

The first thing Nina realized upon waking up was that she wasn't alone in bed. An arm was tucked around her stomach and her back was pressed up against something warm and solid, and another pair of legs were intertwined with hers.

The second thing Nina realized was that she was naked.

This realization caused last night to come rushing back, and Nina felt herself smiling at the memories, linking her hand with Fabian's.

"Morning."

She peeked over her shoulder to see him staring at her adoringly, and felt an avalanche of butterflies rise up in her stomach. "Good morning."

"It is a good morning isn't it?" He nuzzled at her neck and she melted inside. "I think it qualifies as the best morning I've ever had."

"Best you've ever had? Really?" She couldn't seem to stop smiling. "That's a lofty claim."

He made what sounded like a hum in response, and started kissing her neck. Her grip on his hand tightened but there was something she wanted to get off her chest before he distracted her, something she'd been wondering since last night. "Can I ask you something?"

"Anything," he murmured.

Not entirely sure of how to phrase her question, Nina settled for blurting it out. "Did you do research for last night?"

Fabian stopped kissing her. "Research?"

"Not on last night in particular," despite herself, Nina could feel her cheeks start to warm up as she hastened to add, "just on sex in general." This should not feel so awkward to say, she chastised herself. For crying out loud she was literally naked in his arms right this second.

He pulled back slightly. "Why?"

She rolled over to face him, the blanket sliding down to barely cover her chest and his eyes glazed over slightly before refocusing on her face. "Don't take it in a bad way," she laughed. "I'm just curious because last night was really good, like it felt really good, and from what Amber's told me it was good in a way that's atypical of most first times and since that, you know, other time doesn't count I was wondering where you learned it all. Because some of the stuff you did was impressive," she involuntarily shivered at the memory, "and I wanted to know where you got the ideas."

Fabian cleared his throat, not meeting her eyes. "I may have done some reading," he muttered.

Nina thought her cheeks might split she was smiling so hard. "Oh my gosh you did do research."

He flopped backwards onto the pillow with a pained moan and ran a hand over his face. "I didn't research all of it," he said defensively. "I wasn't completely clueless. But I wanted to make sure it would be good for you."

"Fabian." He was staring quite determinedly at the ceiling, so Nina leaned over to kiss him firmly. When she pulled back she was smiling again. "I want you to listen carefully when I tell you that is the hottest thing you've ever done."

When he realized she meant it a grin spread across his face. "Really? The research was the hottest? Not you know, the actual doing?" As he spoke, his hand came to rest on her bare hip beneath the blankets and her vision temporarily whited-out.

Nina pretended to consider. "Research is hotter, but the act was a close second."

He leaned in so their lips were a breadth apart, and muttered, "Well I guess I'll have to try again, won't I?" and before she could reply he was kissing her.

Luxuriating in the feel of him, Nina let herself enjoy the moment before moving and swinging her leg over so that she was straddling him as they kissed. The blanket was entirely gone and her pulse skyrocketed. It felt different to be doing this in the morning, without any darkness for cover. Fabian took her bottom lip into his mouth and gently bit down and Nina moaned out loud.

But suddenly he was sitting up, pressing his hands into her shoulder blades. "Nina, wait, can you, um," his voice broke off.

She pulled back to look at him, wondering at the hesitation on his face. "What?"

He reached up to twist the end of her ponytail around her finger. "Could you take your hair down?" He sounded downright shy, which was almost funny considering how she was on top of him and, again, naked.

Nina bit her lip as she reached up to pull out the elastic, shaking out her hair so that it fell down her back. "Better?"

Fabian's eyes sparked with something akin to hunger as he brought his hands up to fist in the curls. "Perfect." She didn't think she was imagining how his voice had dropped two octaves before he kissed her fiercely.


They spent so long taking advantage of Fabian's research, that by the time they managed to drag themselves out of the bed the morning had slipped away and it was time for lunch.

Keeping it simple they made grilled cheese and ate them on the couch. Nina even let him finish eating before she asked her second important question. "So considering how not panicked you are at me being out in the open am I right in assuming your parents aren't coming back today?" When they'd been planning for her to come over originally, his parents had been scheduled to be here for the entirety of winter break.

Fabian shrugged. "When I told them there had been a change of plans and we were staying at school over break they signed up for another rotation in Yemen." His parents were both doctors who spent a large amount of time working for Doctors Without Borders, their work being the reason they had sent their son to boarding school in the first place.

She frowned. "But you were still planning on coming back."

Now he looked a little guilty. "I knew they'd sign up if they thought I wouldn't be here, and I wanted some time alone after," he gestured vaguely, "everything."

Nina pursed her lips but hardly had time to feel guilty about her own role in said 'everything' before he picked up their plates and headed back towards the kitchen. "We should come up with some sort of plan for the rest of break."

She followed him. "What kind of plan? Is there an enemy invasion I should be worried about?"

He didn't even give her a pity laugh, which she catalogued away for future revenge. "Think about it. You're here, I'm here, we're alone with no mysteries, no obligations, no foreseeable near death experiences –"

"I think it's the unforeseeable near death experiences that you have to worry about," Nina noted.

He ignored this. "– and no parental or Victor supervision. We should make the most of our time here."

Nina grinned. "I thought that's what we've been doing," she said pointedly, letting her eyes slowly move up and down his (regretfully clothed) body.

Fabian laughed. "We can have multiple plans. Think about all those dates we always talk about doing but never have time for." He stepped forward to take her hand in his and place the other arm around her waist. "Didn't you say you wanted to learn ballroom dancing?" He spun her around dramatically and Nina laughed, feeling giddy. "We could spend a day at the movies, have a picnic, go mini golfing."

Nina hopped up on the counter, beaming at him. "We could go skinny dipping."

Fabian raised his eyebrows as he stepped in between her legs. She helpfully hooked them around his waist, drawing him closer. "You have an exceedingly one-track mind, has anyone ever told you that?"

Nina lifted her shoulders, as though she couldn't be bothered to think about it. "I'm sure it's been mentioned to me at some point. But you love me anyway right?"

He answered her with a kiss and she twined her fingers into his hair. She wanted to freeze time forever and live in this moment.

"Hmm. Nina." He spoke against her lips before pulling back. "Just to make one hundred per cent certain: we're back together right? Boyfriend and girlfriend and all that?"

Nina tilted her head, running a finger up his arm. "Did I not make that clear?"

He shook his head, lips twitching into a smile. "Must've slipped your mind."

She leaned back in until their lips were millimeters apart and whispered, "Oops."

AN: well that was a hell of a year. Thank god it's finally over. Unlike this fic, which I am beginning to think will never be finished despite the fact that I know how it's going to end. *flings self into the sun* Anyway, hopefully I'll be back soon but really who's to say. I'm unpredictable like that. I am however, less unpredictable if you leave reviews. See you in 2021, and for those of you who have been here since the beginning, thanks for sticking around.