Title: All We Need
Fandom: The Hollows
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Summary: It's a regular, unremarkable day at Vampiric Charms … until it's not.
Rachel shook her head, a smile spreading across her lips, as her fingers fondly brushed the wooden front door of the church. She swiped her thumb over the wood, and then her fingers trailed towards the handle. She wrapped her fingers around the cool brass and she tugged, pulling the door open. She grinned and then turned her head to look at Ivy, gallantly waving toward the open doorway with her free hand.
"Mi'lady," Rachel said smiling as Ivy shifted her grip on the grocery bags in her hands.
"More like Mi'pack-mule," Ivy grumbled glancing at Rachel as she made her way through the doorway.
"Hey, I offered to carry something." Rachel followed Ivy into the church still smiling. "You're the one that wanted to play 'Strapping Young Vampiress'," the redhead continued, trying to wince when she released that it sounded like a video one would find on VampTube.
Ivy snorted indelicately and then drawled, "I don't need to play," before she leaned against the back of the door so that she could use her sock clad foot to slip off her boot. Once free of the expensive leather, she looked over at Rachel again. Rachel gazed back curiously and Ivy smirked before shooting the redhead a look so soulfully intense, Rachel had to characterize it as strapping.
Rachel rolled her eyes and laughed.
"You practice that look in the mirror, don't you?" Rachel asked, bending down to remove her own boots as she spoke. ""In the early hours of the morning when everyone's asleep," she continued as Ivy began to pad towards the kitchen. "Ivy's in the bathroom, perfecting Blue-Steel."
With anyone else Rachel would have been annoyed that they were walking away from her mid-conversation, but she knew that Ivy was still listening to her. Even if she didn't always like what she was hearing, Ivy always listened to her. Besides, it wasn't as if the living-vampire would have trouble hearing her in another room, or even across the street.
"Yeah well," Ivy said depositing the last bag in her hand on the counter. "All this," she continued gesturing down the length of her body, "might have come naturally. But a persona must be cultivated."
Rachel rested her elbows against the top of the island and proceeded to lean on it as Ivy began to put away the groceries. She would have offered to help with that too, but she knew that Ivy would just wave her off. Her roommate was in one of her chivalrous moods and would not consent to Rachel doing any manual labor.
"Well, God got you off to a pretty good start," Rachel said allowing her eyes to roam over Ivy's body for a moment before forcing her eyes away. She knew if she looked too long that Ivy would feel it, and she really didn't want to get into anything with the living-vamp. They were having a nice day together and she wanted to keep it that way. "If being badass with a heart of gold came naturally too, I think the injustice of the world would overcome me and I'd have to stake you."
"Aw, that's cute," Ivy laughed opening the fridge door. "You think you could," she continued, looking over her shoulder at Rachel and smirking before she turned back to the groceries.
"Maybe, maybe not," Rachel said, watching Ivy move. "But, it's not an argument I'm at all interested in finding out the answer too," she continued softly, her heart clenching at just the thought of something happening to Ivy, let alone it being her who did it.
Ivy stilled for a moment, but her back was to Rachel so the witch couldn't assess her feelings.
"I'll sleep better tonight knowing that," Ivy said jokingly a second later, her posture relaxing before she started in with the groceries again. Her tone was a bit more strained than it had been earlier however, and Rachel knew that her words had affected Ivy in some way. She just hoped it was positively.
A mostly comfortable silence fell between them after that. Ivy didn't seem terribly upset, so Rachel figured that whatever she said to make Ivy tense before couldn't have been too bad. Still, she was hesitant to just open her mouth and let anything fall out in case she wasn't as lucky the second time and managed to say something that really would upset Ivy. They'd had a near perfect afternoon together, and she wanted to make have a near perfect evening as well.
"Hey," Rachel said a minute later, her eyes on a small bag in Ivy's hand. "Where'd you get that?"
"At the store," Ivy replied, and Rachel could hear the smile in her voice.
"I know," Rachel responded frowning a little. "I meant, when'd you get that? And why?"
"Well, that's not what you asked," Ivy said setting the small bag aside on the counter as she turned her attention to their boxed and canned goods now that the perishable items had been put away.
"Ivy," Rachel complained, knowing that if Ivy decided to play word games that it would be a while before she got an answer to her question.
"I got it while you were in the washroom," Ivy said shaking her head. "I told you not to drink that much coffee," she continued. She shook her head again, and though her back was to Rachel, the witch could tell that Ivy was smiling.
Rachel sighed, and glared at Ivy's back. Her 'I gotta go, I gotta go' dance had been endlessly entertaining to the living-vampire earlier that day, and Rachel suspected that her roommate was reliving the hilarity of it all that very moment.
"First of all, you're not my mom," Rachel groused, knowing all the while that she really shouldn't have drunk that much coffee. "And second of all, you still haven't said why."
Ivy was silent as she moved towards the large pantry at the side of the kitchen and disappeared inside.
"I thought you could use it in the garden," Ivy said as she emerged from the pantry, and moved back towards where she had unloaded the groceries on the counter.
"There's no space," Rachel said gently, touched that Ivy had thought to buy the seeds, and that Ivy had been paying enough attention to what she had out there to know what she needed.
"Not yet," Ivy responded moving back over towards the pantry. "I was thinking about clearing some space out," she went on, her words trailing off for the few seconds she was inside the small room before she emerged again. "Under the window there's a bunch of rocks and junk, but I could clear a nice space for you and get a new layer of topsoil down in an afternoon. I know you need to grow more now, so …" Ivy trailed off, shrugging her shoulders gently.
"You don't have to," Rachel said softly, her voice catching in her throat a little as she stared at Ivy's back.
"I know," Ivy said softly, shrugging again in what Rachel realized was a sign of nervousness. "I want to."
"That's really thoughtful, Ivy," Rachel said breathing in and out deeply as she blinked rapidly, trying to fight to growing moisture in her eyes. "Really, I appreciate it. Thanks," she breathed out, feeling incredibly lucky and overwhelmed.
Her life wasn't perfect; she was covered in demon scars, she had copious amounts of vampire saliva running through her blood stream, her brother had stolen her mother and taken her halfway across the country, and she had managed to get herself shunned. So, really, her life was far from perfect. But as Rachel watched Ivy move silently towards the pantry again, she couldn't help but think that in the ways that really mattered she was blessed. She had a roof over her head, she had clothes and food, she had great friends, and she had Ivy. Ivy: who kept her sane and safe, both body and soul. Ivy: who was more of a home to her than any collection of bricks and mortar ever could be. Ivy: who needed her and who she needed no matter how strange it seemed to others or themselves.
Rachel breathed in sharply as Ivy's voice penetrated the fog of her thoughts. Ivy's hand was resting against her arm, and Rachel glanced down at it before blinking rapidly as she tried to focus her gaze, which, she was surprised to find, was cloudy with tears.
"Are you okay?" Ivy asked softly, her beautiful brown eyes shinning with concern as peered at Rachel.
"Yeah," Rachel said, smiling a little weakly as she gazed at Ivy. Ivy's brows were knitted together in worry, creating an absolutely charming little wrinkle between her eyes, and without really thinking about it, Rachel lifted her hand and stroked the pad of her thumb over the flesh in an attempt to smooth it out.
Ivy breathed in audibly, her head jerking back for a second before she controlled the impulse and returned to her previous position.
"I was just thinking," Rachel continued a second later, blushing as she drew her hand back.
She shouldn't have touched Ivy like that. Skin on skin contact mixed their scents, it made things more difficult for Ivy, she knew that and she shouldn't have touched. But by god, it was hard to think that way sometimes. Sometimes it was hard to remember not to touch when that was all she wanted to do. They were friends, for the love of god! They went through hell together, and sometimes she just wanted to freakin' hold Ivy's hand or, god forbid, even give her hug.
"Bad thoughts?" Ivy asked tentatively, her hand moving up and down on Rachel's arm gently.
"No," Rachel said smiling a little self-consciously as she looked over at Ivy, meeting the living-vampires relieved but confused gaze. "Not really."
Rachel breathed in deeply to fortify her resolve, and then she lifted her hand and covered Ivy's with it. She lay her hand on the back of Ivy's for a moment, and then she took Ivy's hand into her own and cradled it between their bodies.
"I was thinking," Rachel began slowly, however her thoughts began to drift away from her as her thumb stroked the smooth back of Ivy's hand. Rachel blinked, surprised by the suddenly ephemeral quality of her thoughts. Before Ivy had gotten her attention, a tight, tense feeling had rolled over her, her emotions doing strange things to her stomach, making it knot and clench. However, the almost overwhelming wave of emotion that had washed over her was beginning to ease, and a warm, calm feeling was snaking through her replacing tension with tenderness.
An idea began to tickle the back of Rachel's mind, and she opened her second-sight up immediately to try and confirm it. Once she had shifted her vision, she was completely unsurprised to find that Ivy's aura, golden and strong, was reaching out for her, covering her hand where theirs were linked and reaching further still up her arm.
"I was thinking," Rachel continued a little breathlessly, "that I can't imagine my life without you," she whispered stroking Ivy's hand again unconsciously. "I don't want to. The thought of thinking about it terrifies me."
Rachel frowned at little at the words coming out of her mouth. She was a little surprised by them. She had been thinking about Ivy, but her fears about being without Ivy hadn't been at the forefront of her brain before she started talking.
"I'm thinking about it now. My hearts racing," Rachel looked down at their joined hands again. "Can you hear it?" she asked looking up.
Ivy's eyes were mostly black when Rachel looked up at her once again, and that tight feeling returned to Rachel's stomach.
"Yes," Ivy breathed out in that gray silk purr that did things to Rachel's body. "I can heart it," she added.
Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment, and when they opened again her pupils had expanded even more and her eyes were hooded.
Rachel breathed in and out deeply, knowing that she was beginning to affect Ivy's instincts. She wasn't afraid of Ivy at the moment, but she couldn't seem to calm her heart down. She breathed in and out, in and out, in and out, again and again, but despite her attempts her heart continued to thump rapidly in beneath her breast as she stared into Ivy's dark eyes.
It didn't make sense. She couldn't explain it. She wasn't scared, and yet …
"Do you need me to leave the room?" Rachel asked when it became clear to her that she wasn't going to be able to calm her heart beat down.
Ivy blinked slowly and licked her lips.
"Do you want to leave the room?" Ivy asked in a whisper soft voice.
Rachel felt a jolt and realized that it was a shot of adrenaline rushing through her. Her heart began to beat more quickly, and for a moment she felt almost light-headed.
"I asked you first," Rachel managed to choke out, her thumb brushing against Ivy's hand again as she spoke.
Ivy sighed deeply, her dark eyes churning with emotion before she turned her head to the side, away from Rachel.
"I don't know what I need," she breathed out. "I don't want you to leave. This," she said, looking down at their hands, though she avoided Rachel's gaze, "is nice. But …" she trailed off, her body tensing as she did.
They both know Rachel's heart beat and scent were beginning to get to her.
"You haven't gone for my jugular," Rachel murmured, squeezing Ivy's hand, holding it tightly as if to fight off the inevitability of having to let it go sometime soon.
"Not today," Ivy breathed out. "Not yet," she added sadly.
"I like …" Rachel began, "I wish," she tried again, but she stopped herself that time as well. She wished that she and Ivy could touch more casually without Ivy's instincts being triggered, but she knew that Ivy wished the same thing, and that to comment on it would only make Ivy feel badly.
Rachel stroked the back of Ivy's hand once more and then, reluctantly released it and took a step to the side. Once clear of Ivy's body she began to move towards the kitchen counter where a few groceries were still resting on the surface waiting to be put away.
In all of her OCD charm, Ivy had unconsciously separated the remaining groceries into piles to be put away section by section, so Rachel reached for the pile with the least amount of stuff and headed towards the pantry to put them with others of their kind which Ivy had already started on. She was aware of Ivy, still standing by the island, her hands griping the edge of it as her head hung down, a dark curtain of hair hiding one doubt pained features. She wanted to go over to Ivy, she wanted to make it better, but she knew that her proximity would only make things worse.
When there was one small pile of groceries left to put away, Rachel felt Ivy's fingers ghost against the small of her back and then Ivy appeared beside and reached for the remaining items, taking over the job she had been forced to abandon.
"You stayed," Ivy murmured her voice thick with emotion.
"Of course," Rachel replied looking over at her, green eyes meeting Ivy's brown one and holding them. "You always put the pancake mix in the wrong spot, and I can never find it."
A wave of relief rolled over Ivy at Rachel's joke, her shoulders visibly relaxing as a small smile touched her lips.
"So," Rachel said as Ivy moved towards the pantry with the last of the food items. "If you're making me a garden, can I request some other things for it? I'd get them myself, but you know I've got a little problem with being the most reviled witch in Cincy at the moment."
"I think I can handle requests," Ivy said smirking as she emerged from the pantry. "On one condition."
"Condition? My, my, somebody thinks she's a fancy girl," Rachel commented, crossing her arms across her chest playfully. "Okay, what's this condition?"
"Lemonade," Ivy responded her gaze deathly serious. "Fresh lemonade, that is to be served to me upon request, without complaint during my hours of grueling labor."
"You got yourself a deal lady," Rachel replied smiling.
To be continued …