Settling In

Pairing: Sydney/Rachel

Author: Janine

Fandom: Alias

Rating: G

Summary: Sydney and Rachel spend some time bonding now that they are roomies.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm just borrowing them.

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"I could get used to this kind of treatment," Sydney found herself saying playfully as she looked up in time to see Rachel's clear, mismatched eyes flash with delight before the blonde smiled shyly and ducked her head, shrugging slightly.

"I like to cook," Rachel said softly moving from beside Sydney to take a seat in her own chair. It was more than that and she suspected that Sydney knew it. The truth was she was overjoyed at the invitation that had been extended to her room with Sydney for as long as she needed, but she also felt like a bit of an interloper and wanted to contribute towards the household in some way.

"Well, I like to eat … even more so now," Sydney added a bit ruefully glancing down at her stomach. "So I think everything will work out just fine."

"I hope the baby likes pasta," Rachel commented glancing over at Sydney's stomach, her hand twitching slightly in her lap as she reigned in the impulsive to reach over and place her hand on the brunette's stomach.

"It's okay," Sydney said gently though she was watching Rachel intently.

"If the baby doesn't like pasta?" Rachel asked confused, feeling like she was missing something and having the feeling confirmed when Sydney grinned at her.

"That," Sydney said cocking her head towards Rachel's hand. "You can … touch, if you want."

"Oh no, I …" Rachel started to say immediately, shaking her head for emphasis as she spoke before her brain caught up with her mouth. "I mean it's your …" she continued gesturing vaguely, looking quite flustered and cute.

"Baby?" Sydney volunteered trying to coax the rest of the blonde's sentence out.

"Body," Rachel replied before she could think better of it. "I mean, you can't like people just randomly, you know, touching you all over," she continued trying not to let herself dwell on the idea of touching Sydney all over too much.

"Actually, that's kind of how I got here," Sydney replied smirking a little.

"Wha … OH!" Rachel exclaimed catching the other woman's drift. "No, I meant, I mean I know how, technically, I meant like strangers just groping at you … because of the baby and stuff," she continued wishing more and more with every word that came out of her mouth that she had never learned how to speak.

"Rachel," Sydney said firmly but kindly mercifully stopping the flow of words coming out of the blonde's mouth. "It was a joke. I know what you meant, and you're not exactly a stranger. Besides, I didn't say anything about groping," she continued watching with interest as the younger woman's face flushed and she averted her eyes.

"Another joke. You're funny," Rachel mumbled reaching out for her fork and grasping it tightly as she studiously avoided Sydney's gaze.

Sydney remained quiet for a moment, her hand resting on her stomach as she watched Rachel reach for her glass of wine and take a generous sip. She realized that she probably shouldn't have teased her with that last comment. She'd realized during their trip back from Prague that Rachel regarded her with something close to awe, but she had thought it was more a form of hero worship at the time than anything else. She realized now that while that was probably a factor, there was likely also another reason Rachel was so … nervous around her.

She gasped.

"Are you okay?" Rachel asked her head jerking over to look at Sydney almost instantly.

"Yeah," Sydney replied smiling. "He … she, they just kicked," she continued noticing that Rachel's eyes were on her stomach again. "There again." The blonde smiled. "Give me your hand."

There was a brief hesitation between request and movement, Rachel's eyes drifting up to meet Sydney's before she slowly, tentatively extended a pale hand allowing Sydney to take it into her slightly darker and infinitely stronger one.

Sydney ignored the soft exhalation of breath that Rachel released when their fingers connected; knowing that to look up would only make the blonde uncomfortable. Instead she just slowly moved their joined hands towards her stomach, giving Rachel time to pull back if she really wanted to, though they both knew she was would never do that.

"Here," Sydney said softly moving Rachel's hand over where the baby was kicking, her hand falling away as Rachel pressed hers more firmly against Sydney's stomach on her own.

She could hear the gentle hum of the appliances around them, and Rachel's soft breathing. She felt the blonde's thumb making a half-moon movement on her stomach, the caress probably completely unconscious as the blonde leaned towards her. Sydney's eyes drifted closed and she concentrated on the warmth of the hand on her, on the heat of Rachel's leg where it had come to rest against hers when the blonde had shifted forward on her seat.

There was something intimate and relaxing about Rachel's touch, her presence bringing a warmth that had been missing for a while. Her brow creased and her eyes slowly opened at the thought, as she turned it around in her head, wondering what she had meant by it.

"I'm sorry," Rachel said beginning to remove her hand. However before she could draw it completely back into her body Sydney caught her delicate wrist.

"Don't be. You didn't hurt me," she said softly holding Rachel's gaze. "It was nice." She forced herself not to visibly react to that unintended statement.

"That kids got some powerful limbs already," Rachel responded smiling her gaze dropping back down to take in Sydney's stomach before she met the brunette's eyes again.

"Hopefully that'll be channeled into soccer or various track and field events, instead of the other family pastime," Sydney murmured speaking more to herself than Rachel as her eyes drifted to the side.

"You turned out well," Rachel said, surprised at the feeling of loss she felt when Sydney let go of her wrist.

"A random and providential confluence of events," Sydney murmured. "And while I'm still here, honestly sometimes I wonder how … unscathed I really am."

"From what I've seen over the past week, I can honestly say that I can't even begin to think about hypothetically trying fathom the things you've seen, the … the trials you've been through," Rachel started shifting in her chair slightly. "And I'm sure unscathed isn't a word that can describe you. Hell, I haven't even been with the CIA a full week yet and unscathed isn't a word a use to describe myself," she continued shaking her head a bit ruefully. "But you're amazing. Brilliant, resourceful, brave, kind … selfless. I mean," she went on fighting the blush she could feel beginning to form on her cheeks. "Genetic propensity for espionage or not, I think any child raised by you will do just fine."

"Thank you," Sydney said her voice barely audible as she stared at Rachel for a long moment. She couldn't quite explain or identify why, but the other woman's words had left her feeling somewhat discombobulated and raw, but also slightly tingly and tender. She found herself suddenly fighting the urge to reach over and hug Rachel, tightly.

"Yeah," Rachel breathed out equally quietly. "Anytime," she added awkwardly with a self-conscious smile.

"I'm glad to see you smiling more," Sydney commented still feeling slightly out of sorts and knowing that she wouldn't have said it otherwise. She wondered if her pregnancy hormones were kicking in, and that's why she was feeling so … so … towards Rachel.

"Trust me, I'm glad to be smiling more. I'm 110 behind it, Coach," the younger woman replied smiling fully this time, the emotion reaching her eyes and drawing Sydney's attention back to her pretty, pretty eyes. "We should eat."

Sydney blinked.

"We should," she agreed giving her head a little shake before glancing over at her plate. "Do you like spinach?"

"Huh?" Rachel asked looking up from her plate.

"Sorry," Sydney said shaking her head. "I do that sometimes, link unrelated topics together. I was just looking at the table and …"

"I re…heard it's good for babies," Rachel replied catching onto to what Sydney was talking about.

"I guess I better eat up then," Sydney replied smiling. She had caught Rachel's verbal misstep but wasn't surprised by her answer. Considering the slight crush she had already determined Rachel had on her, it seemed natural that she would have looked into some of Sydney's interests, and at this point in her life her baby was a big one.

Her own happy smile and brief flutter of excitement made less sense to her, however.

The End

Comments always welcome and greatly appreciated :D