Disclaimer: I have neither ownership nor rights to these characters, but I consider this fair use anyway.
Authors Note: I consider this story set approximately 9 months post-Medea.
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Special Agent Rachel Young stood at the apartment window staring glumly at the snow blanketing the DC area. 'This is the problem of living your life on the road,' she thought resentfully. 'You never can keep up with what's happening at home.'
She, Hood, and Felix had wrapped up a case that had taken them to Ohio and were pleased to be heading home on a Friday afternoon. Rachel hadn't realized there was anything to be concerned about until shortly before their plane landed. After announcing the plane would soon be making its decent into National, the pilot had cheerily informed the passengers that he had good news and bad news. The good news, they had been cleared to land. The bad news, theirs would be the last plane in or out of National. Due to snow, the airport was closing. Passengers with connections would have to make other arrangements.
Amid the groans of dismay, Felix had leaned across the aisle to ask if it was ok for him to hop on the Metro to head straight home rather than accompanying her and Hood from the airport. Rachel shrugged permission wondering just how bad the snow really was. From experience she knew that the District panicked when as little as an inch of snow was predicted.
It didn't take her long to realize that some of the panic was warranted. It had been snowing for only about an hour and already there was at least an inch or two accumulating on the roads and the snow showed no signs of stopping. Between the road conditions and the idiot drivers it had taken longer than normal to reach Hood's apartment building. Things had gone downhill from there.
First, Hood had noticed that the lights were still on at the corner market. He had insisted on going there. He reasoned that with the condition of the roads there was no way any restaurants would be delivering take-out. If he wanted to eat that night a visit to the store was in order. She had grudgingly agreed to the trip.
Rachel was surprised when he shoved a basket into her hands after taking one for himself. With a half-smile he remarked that he was willing to bet her refrigerator was emptier than his. He suggested she do some shopping; he would meet her at the check-out in 10 minutes. When they met up she had been astonished to see that he had, besides the traditional bread and milk, a mess of produce, eggs, and cheeses.
"I thought," she had asked, "you wanted to get something for dinner?"
Hood's lips had twitched, as he eyed the contents of her basket; a frozen pizza, a refrigerated package of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookies, a quart of vanilla ice-cream and a bottle of red wine. "I did," he replied. "These are called ingredients."
Rachel shot him her best glare.
Next was the accident. They were almost back to Hood's building when a minivan came sliding around the corner. It slid into a light pole and, like a ball in a pinball game, ricocheted across the road to plow into the side of Rachel's FBI issued SUV. Cursing fluently she had shoved her grocery bag at Hood and slid her way to the cars. Neither vehicle was badly damaged but her heart sank when she had realized that the rear fender of the SUV had been bent so that it was firmly pressed against the tire making the SUV un-drivable.
Rachel had immediately called the Bureau's motor pool. She hoped that they would send a tow-truck for the SUV and she could cage a lift to her own apartment. She had been shocked to get a recording stating that due to the condition of the roads, the motor pool had closed.
The final straw was the cab situation. Rachel had decided to abandon the SUV and call a cab. It had made sense for her to make the call from Hood's apartment. With the weather it would likely take some time before a cab showed up; she'd freeze if she tried waiting outside. So after clearing the apartment she had grabbed his phone book and started calling.
After three calls, and being told three times, that due to road conditions the cabs had been pulled from service, she had been forced to admit that she was definitely stranded at Dr. Jacob Hood's apartment for the foreseeable future. With a sigh Rachel dropped her eyes to the phone book and briefly contemplated making a fourth call. She was distracted by a chuckle from behind her.
Jacob was leaning against the doorframe to his bedroom. He had exchanged his jacket and shirt for a comfortable sweater and kicked off his shoes. He also wore an amused expression. "You know Rachel," he said, "it's lucky I'm not overly sensitive. Otherwise, I might be downright hurt that you seem so desperate to get out of here."
"I don't see what's so funny. I want to get home, what's surprising about that?" Rachel scowled.
"Nothing, if I didn't know for a fact that you'd be going home to an empty apartment." He shrugged, "so what difference does it make if you're here or there?"
"The difference," she ground out, "is that I'm stuck here with you in your apartment."
"What, you're worried about what people might say?" He raised his eyebrows. "Considering the fact that we spend the majority of our nights sleeping in adjoining hotel rooms with the connecting door open, I don't see what the problem is." He grinned wickedly as he headed for the kitchen, "but if it makes you feel better, you can have the bedroom, that way you can lock yourself in."
Rachel fervently hoped that Hood had not seen the blush his remark had caused. Didn't he realize that those nights in hotels, those days in the field were different? That even before Felix had joined the team that they were never really alone when they were on the job? But if he couldn't see the difference between the time they spent together in the field, working on cases, and her being alone with him here and now, she wasn't sure she could explain it to him. Hell, she wasn't sure she could explain it to herself. All she knew was that it would take every bit of her self-control to not throw away years of hard work. To not blurt out how much she had come to care for him.
"You know," Jacob called out from the kitchen, "you should get your suitcase before it gets any worse out there. I'm starting dinner, pasta, ok?" Rachel sighed again as she grabbed her coat and headed for the door.
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Jacob heaved a sigh of his own as he heard the door slam. 'Be careful what you wish for,' he thought ruefully. He had wanted her in his bed and now, thanks to the snow, it looked like that was where she was going to end up. 'Not that it's going to do me any good.'
The prospect of having her here, in his apartment, not just for dinner but for the night was both exhilarating and terrifying. He wanted her so badly the thought of being with her for hours, with no case, no Felix to take her attention away from him, took his breath away. At the same time, his fear that she would look at him with surprise, or even worse, pity, if he told her how he felt about her made his stomach clench
The other night it had seemed so simple. He would convince Rachel to have dinner with him in his apartment. That way if it turned out, when he told her that he loved her, she didn't return his feelings, she could leave easily without having to worry about his security. This storm had changed everything. The weather insured that Rachel accepted his dinner invitation, giving him the privacy he craved; but it also meant that Rachel wouldn't have an easy escape route if she didn't share his feelings. She would literally be stuck with him. He couldn't put her in such an awkward position; it would be to embarrassing for both of them.
He didn't think Rachel was totally indifferent to him. The way she smiled at him, slept on planes with her head against his shoulder, the easy teasing relationship they had developed all spoke to an emotional intimacy between them. They were spending more time together since she was back from her medical leave. He'd made sure of that by increasing their workload and she hadn't complained. She appeared to enjoy spending time with him and often seemed as reluctant as he was when it was clear that it was time for the evening to end, for her to deliver him home.
At the same time, it appeared that she considered physical intimacy between them a bad idea. She would stiffen if he touched her; the way she would casually step aside if he stood to close to her. He wondered what her behavior meant. Was it a signal that she considered him merely a friend, nothing more? Or if she was afraid of what was developing between them because of the threat it was to her career.
She would probably be surprised that he knew what a risk they would be taking if they became lovers. While they waited for Rachel to come out of surgery, he and Frank had talked. Frank never said anything explicitly but his message was easily understood. While it was perfectly acceptable, understandable even, for Jacob to show the concern he had when his partner went missing, any deeper feelings would be a very bad idea.
Jacob turned his attention to the vegetables on his cutting board. The least he could do was make sure that he gave Rachel a decent dinner. He'd worry about what to say to her later.
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As she went to retrieve her bag, Rachel reflected on the situation. A year ago, it wouldn't have fazed her. She might even have welcomed the opportunity to get inside his head. But now, well, things were different since she had been shot and kidnapped. Since Hood had moved heaven and earth to get her back safely. They had never discussed what that incident might mean about his feelings for her. How her feelings for him had been clarified by her brush with death.
They seemed so much more aware of each other than they had before but, at the same time, so much more wary. Last week he had put his arm around her waist to steady her when she had tripped. She had stiffened in reaction to his touch; afraid that if she hadn't she would have melted in his arms. Yesterday she had leaned over his shoulder to view his computer screen and, without thinking, put her hand on his back to steady herself. She had heard the breath catch in his throat at her nearness.
Rachel shook her head as she let herself back into Hood's apartment. How in the hell was she going to endure god knew how many hours in close confinement with him with no case to distract them, no Felix to act as a buffer? Sure, they had been spending more time together but it was always in public. She had never spent time alone with him in his apartment. They had never been together as they were tonight; not just alone but effectively cut off from the outside world by the snowstorm.
Rachel sniffed appreciatively as she closed the door. The smell of garlic and onions reminded her that it had been sometime since her last real meal. Despite his purchases, when Hood said he was making pasta she had expected limp noodles and sauce out of a jar. This smelled much better than that. He came out of the kitchen wiping his hands on his jeans.
"Ah, I was serious before, about you using my bedroom. It really would be simplest" he explained. "I mean, ah, I don't sleep much, and this way I won't feel I'm keeping you awake and you, um, can have some privacy."
Muttering her thanks, Rachel headed into his room and gazed at the neatly made bed. She shook her head; the thought of sleeping in Hood's bed was strangely unsettling. The thought that it might not be so bad if he was sharing it popped into her mind and was ruthlessly suppressed. The evening was going to be difficult enough without those kinds of thoughts distracting her.
Rachel put her weapon and badge on the bedside table and changed from her suit into flannel pants and a t-shirt. After all, she rationalized; it wasn't as if Hood had never seen her dressed like this before. Remembering that time in Seattle, she shivered as she recalled that he had seen her in less.
Wandering into the kitchen, Rachel smiled at the sight of Hood intently stirring a can of chopped tomatoes into a skillet of sautéed veggies. "You cook?" She tried unsuccessfully to keep a note of skepticism from her voice. Jacob looked up and smiled.
"Cooking is merely a form of chemistry Rachel. And you have to admit, chemistry is a subject in which I have a passing familiarity. You mix together a few elements, heat accordingly, and voila, you have a new compound."
Rachel laughed. "Maybe, but is said compound edible?"
Jacob tried to look offended, but failed. "Very edible, I'll have you know." He picked up the bottle of wine she had purchased and added some to the sauce simmering on the stove. "I hope you don't mind, I've opened your wine." His lips twitched. "I figured it could be your contribution to our dinner." He filled two wine glasses and offered one to Rachel. "Let's go into the living room and check the news. I've just put the water on to boil so it will be a while."
He rolled his eyes at her hesitation. "Rachel, you're not going anywhere tonight and I sincerely doubt anyone will try to break in here in this weather. I think you can safely have a glass of wine." Rachel sheepishly accepted the glass and followed him into the living room.
Jacob, at one end of the sofa, grabbed the remote from the coffee table and started flipping through channels to find a local station running a storm update. Rachel curled up at the other end, telling herself that this wouldn't be that bad. After dinner she could claim exhaustion and go to bed early. By morning she would be able to get a cab or the motor pool would be back in operation. Surely she could manage a few unstructured hours with Hood.
Rachel was jarred out her reverie as the local weather report came on. The weather man, almost giddy, announced that the DC metro area was expected to receive twenty-four inches of snow with near blizzard conditions expected by morning. The storm was not forecasted to leave the area until sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. She closed her eyes and groaned silently. She knew that the District wouldn't even attempt to clear the roads until the snow had stopped. It looked like she was facing the prospect of not a few hours, but a few days stuck here alone with Hood. She opened her eyes to find him staring at her oddly.
"Umm, wow, that's unexpected," Jacob stuttered. They were saved from further awkwardness by the sound of water boiling over on the stove. "Uh, I'd better take care of that." He almost bolted from the room. Rachel felt marginally better knowing Hood was just as shaken by the prospect of their enforced isolation. That she wasn't the only one who was unsure of what, if anything was going on between them.
Taking a healthy sip of wine, Rachel decided the best way to handle the tension between them was to ignore it. Damnit, they were friends and she wasn't going to let anything interfere with that. Gathering up her courage, she entered the kitchen, trying to act as if this evening was a normal occurrence. "Well, if you're almost through burning dinner," she teased, "what would you like me to do? Set the table?"
Jacob smiled at her thankfully, realizing what she was trying to do. "No, I thought we could just eat in the living room. Why don't you make the salad?" He pointed toward a head of lettuce in the sink and a cucumber sitting on a cutting board. "If you think your culinary skills are up to it."
Rachel ignored his dig and soon had the salad assembled. "Dressing?"
"Um, oil and vinegar ok?"
She explored the cabinets to find the necessary ingredients. "Hood, I'm impressed, extra virgin olive oil and two kinds of vinegar? Who would have thought?"
"We eat enough fast food and take-out in the field. Don't you like to eat real food when you're home?"
Rachel grinned at him impishly. "Sure, when I can find someone to cook it for me."
Soon they were settled on the floor in front of the television, food spread out picnic-fashion in front of them. As they ate and talked they were both grateful to realize that were finally beginning to relax in each other's company.
As they finished dinner, Rachel leaned forward to re-fill her and Hood's wine glasses. "An excellent meal Dr. Hood. I congratulate you. But," she looked at him censoriously, "what about dessert? Only the most important part of the meal."
Jacob shook his head smiling at her. "Sorry, but my cooking skills are limited to the basics."
Rachel scrambled to her feet, "Tsk and you claimed my only contribution to dinner was the wine." Grabbing their empty plates she headed to the kitchen. Jacob cleared the remaining dishes and followed her. He found Rachel rummaging through his cabinets.
"What are you looking for?"
Rachel held up the ready-to-bake cookies. "A cookie sheet."
He started laughing. "I don't think I own one." Rachel improvised. As she waited for the oven to heat, she began washing the dishes. Jacob tried to protest, but she was adamant.
"No, you cooked; it's only fair that I clean." They compromised with Rachel washing and Jacob drying. Twenty minutes later they were settled back on the sofa, this time sitting next to each other, with bowls of warm gooey cookies topped with vanilla ice cream.
Jacob smiled. "An excellent dessert Special Agent Young. I congratulate you."
Rachel smirked. "And you doubted my culinary skills." Leaning into him, she nudged his arm companionably. "Let's watch TV. Why don't you see what's on?"
Jacob nodded and began flipping through the channels without much success (Hood, you only have basic cable?" "I don't watch that much television.") as Rachel vetoed any cartoons and he refused to watch anything with explosions.
He finally gave up. "Why don't you go through my DVD's, see if there's anything you'd like to watch?"
Rachel rolled her eyes, she knew Hood loved old movies, she could guess what his DVD collection was like. "I wouldn't know what to pick," she teased. "I've probably never heard of any of them."
"Ok, but what are you in the mood for? Mystery, comedy, what?"
She was about to say, "Nothing romantic," but caught herself in time. "Umm, something suspenseful, but not sad."
Jacob flipped through the DVD's until his eyes lit up. "Oh yeah, I haven't watched this in a while," he held out the DVD to Rachel. "And surely even you know Casablanca?"
"Umm, that's the one with Bogie and Bacall?"
"Half right, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. You've never seen it?" Rachel shook her head. "Well, it is suspenseful and not sad although the ending's not totally happy. Want to try it?" She nodded and soon they were both absorbed in the movie.
Rachel sighed with pleasure as the movie drew to a close. "That was a great movie. But," she looked at him accusingly, "the ending is perfect! How could you say that it didn't have a happy ending?"
Jacob corrected her gently, "I said that the ending wasn't totally happy." He stared straight ahead at the blank screen. "I mean, Ilsa was supposed to be the love of Rick's life. And he not only sends her off, but he sends her off with another man?"
"Hardly another man, Laszlo was her husband."
"Maybe, but she didn't love him, she loved Rick. And she wanted to stay with him. Maybe she thought, maybe she did, love Laszlo when she married him, but well…" his voice trailed off.
Rachel caught her breath. "But it doesn't matter what she wanted. Rick had to send her away. He had a job to do."
"She could have helped."
"No," Rachel shook her head sharply. "Things could get dangerous. He wanted to keep her safe."
Jacob said softly, "Maybe she was willing to face the danger, that it would be worth it if it meant being with him."
"He couldn't let her. He loves her too much for that. She has to accept that keeping her safe is the most important thing in the world to him."
Jacob shifted facing Rachel. He had given up his idea of telling her how he felt about her tonight but her reaction to his comments gave him hope. He gently ran a finger down her cheek and under her chin. He tipped her face up to his. "You know what else I think?"
"What…?" stammered Rachel breathlessly.
"I think we should stop pretending we're talking about Rick and Ilsa. While I freely admit you're as tough and competent as Rick, I make a pretty poor Ilsa."
Rachel chuckled. She reached over and lightly ran a finger across his cheek. "I don't know, you both have great cheekbones."
Jacob laughed softly. "So where does this leave us Rachel? Are you going to send me away because 'the job' requires it? Because I don't want to go away. I love you, and I can't bear to think of my life without you in it. I love your courage, your strength, how you challenge me and keep me on my toes."
"And you are so beautiful," his voice roughened with emotion, "and I want you so much, that sometimes, when I look at you, I have to remind myself to breathe." Sliding his hand from her chin to her cheek, Jacob leaned over and gently kissed her. Pulling back, he waited for her reaction.
"Oh, Jacob," Rachel faltered, "I don't know what to say, it's …"
His face tightened. "Just tell me the truth Rachel. I realize that just because I've fallen in love with you, it doesn't mean you care for me at all. If I'm not what, who you want, I'd rather know it now. I thought these last few months, there was something there, but maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part."
Rachel turned so she was facing him. "No, it wasn't. I, I feel the same way about you, but …"
Jacob pulled her against him in a tight hug; his sigh of relief tickled her ear. He pulled back just far enough to face her, "you're sure?" She smiled and nodded. Then his lips were on hers. Rachel wound one arm around his neck and slid the fingers of her other hand into his hair, leaning into his kiss. She ran her tongue across his bottom lip; when his mouth opened obligingly, she slid it inside. Their tongues touched, lightly at first, and Rachel moaned in pleasure.
Their kisses grew deeper and harder; Rachel only broke off when she felt the warmth of Jacob's hands sliding under her t-shirt. Gasping for breath, she pulled away, tugging her t-shirt over her head. Her bra quickly followed her shirt to the floor. Pushing her back against the sofa, Jacob was soon trailing kisses down her throat while his hands caressed her breasts and abdomen. Rachel's hands slipped under his sweater and he groaned as she lightly ran her nails up and down his back. His hands slid to her hips, tugging her up into him. She could feel his erection through his jeans.
"Umm, Jacob, wait…," she whispered in his ear.
He stilled immediately. "Oh crap, Rachel, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking." He leaned his forehead against hers. "It's been a long time since I've, umm and I don't have any, umm, condoms."
Rachel wiggled out from underneath him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Hush," she licked the pulse point in his throat.
She took his hand and brushed it against the skin under her upper arm. Jacob's eyebrows rose questioningly at the hard bump he felt there. "I have an implant." Her teeth nipped on his earlobe as she whispered to him, "I had in put in a couple of years ago, it just seemed the easiest thing to do."
"What I really wanted to say," she traced the inside of his ear with her tongue. "Was that as much as I enjoy the idea of making out with you on this sofa…" She lightly bit his shoulder, "I have to admit that when you offered me your bed, I did wonder what it would be like to share it with you."
Jacob propped himself up on his elbow to look down at her. "You did, did you?" He trailed one finger slowly up and down her abdomen.
Rachel shivered at his touch. "Ummhmm," she murmured breathlessly. "Just as a matter of scientific curiosity of course."
Jacob raised his eyebrow, "Scientific?" His finger began to draw circles on her stomach.
Rachel arched her body against his. "Umm, something about the ability of two bodies to occupy the same time and place?"
Jacob leaned down and kissed her. "Far be it for me," he murmured "to deny you an opportunity to fulfill your scientific curiosity." He shifted abruptly and scooped Rachel into his arms.
She shrieked as he stood up. "Jacob, what are you doing?"
He grinned at her as he headed into the bedroom. "Preparing to conduct an experiment."
Jacob tossed Rachel onto the bed. Sitting on the edge, he quickly slipped out of his clothes. Looking down at her he whispered huskily, "Sweetheart, you are so beautiful."
Rachel smiled up at him, "you're not so bad yourself."
Taking his hand, she tugged him down next to her. Then he was holding her tightly against him. One hand was trailing up and down her back, the other holding her head still as he kissed her. Rachel gasped as his lips left hers, moving to her neck and shoulder. His hands found the waistband of her flannel pants and he eagerly removed them.
Soon they were revelling in the feeling of skin against skin, of holding, kissing, finally being able to fully love each other. Rachel alternated cries of pleasure with murmurs of encouragement as Jacob explored every inch of her body with his hands and mouth; as he made her come over and over again. Jacob groaned with desire as Rachel arched her body under him taking him deeper inside her. He growled in her ear that she felt good, so hot, so damn tight.
Rachel smiled sleepily as she laid sprawled across Jacob, her head on his chest, one arm thrown around his waist, her knee hooked around his leg; his arms holding her tightly against him. She felt totally exhausted and more content, more satisfied, than she could ever remember.
She was reluctant to say anything it felt so good to be held by, and to hold, Jacob; but there was a conversation they needed to have and sooner was better than later.
"Jacob?" Rachel asked softly.
"What," he answered, lazily running a hand up and down her back.
She began hesitantly, "You do realize that we can't let the Bureau know about us? That we have to keep our relationship a secret?"
Jacob's chest shook with laughter. "Wasn't planning on walking into the Hoover Building Monday morning and announcing that I nailed my bodyguard over the weekend."
"Jacob!" Rachel was torn between the desire to laugh and to swat him for that remark. "I'm serious."
"So am I." was the reply. This time she did smack him.
Jacob turned on his side, so he could face her but still keep her in his arms. "I'm sorry for teasing you." His expression turned serious. "I know that you and Felix think I'm oblivious to the 'real world.' I will admit that when I'm working, thinking about a problem, I can get distracted."
"That's putting it mildly."
"But," he continued, "I'm well aware of the realities of our situation."
"Are you Jacob?"
"I know that by being here with me, you're putting your career on the line. I love you and if hiding what's between us is what we need to do, I'll do it. I'm more than willing to lie to Frank, to Felix, to the whole damn world if that's what it takes to keep you in your job and by my side."
"I'm relieved you feel that way. I know what the truth means to you, and I was afraid that you'd..."
"I know what your career means to you," Jacob interrupted. "I know that if Frank or your detail chief finds out about us that they'd want to fire you."
"Not want to fire me, they will fire me."
Jacob shook his stubbornly. "No, that's unacceptable. You know Rachel, I'm not entirely without influence at the Bureau. I won't let them fire you because of me. We both know that what's between us won't have any effect on how well you do your job."
"It doesn't matter. I know the Director's a friend of yours, but his hands will be tied. Rules are rules, and well, we're breaking them."
"You're the one who's always telling people I'm a high priority asset. I think I can persuade them that keeping us together as a team is the price they have to pay for my continued services. You were my partner long before you were my lover, and I'm not willing to let them take that away from us." Jacob chuckled. "And if worse comes to worse, well remember when I told you I had all kinds of dirt on the Director? I wasn't kidding. You can't know a man for more than twenty years and not have some embarrassing stories to tell."
Rachel giggled. "I'll keep that in mind as our back up plan. But for now, I think we should just try to be careful and hope they don't find out."
"You know," Jacob said as he nuzzled Rachel's neck, "they're going to find out sooner or later."
"Um?" Rachel murmured, distracted by the way his hands and lips were beginning to move over her body again.
"Cause sooner or later you're going to agree to marry me, and I'll want to tell the whole world."
Rachel's eyes opened wide and she pulled back to look at him. "Jacob, do you really want, are you serious?"
He smiled at the look on her face. "I wasn't planning on us having some kind of weekend fling. I meant it when I said I couldn't imagine my life without you in it."
"And I meant it when I said I felt the same way. But Jacob, this is..."
"I know," he interrupted, "don't worry; I'll give you some time to get used to the idea before I ask you for real."
Rachel pulled Jacob into a hard, deep kiss. "You know," she murmured against his lips, "we really don't need to tell them when we get married. It's not like the Bureau monitors marriage license applications."
She smiled and ran her knee up against his thigh, enjoying the sound of his gasp. "I think we should wait until I'm pregnant."
Jacob levered himself up on his elbow, looking down at her with a look of shock and delight on his face. "Rachel, sweetheart, you mean you want..."
Rachel smiled and pulled him back down against her. "Don't worry," she whispered in his ear. "I'll give you some time to get used to the idea before I tell you for real."
They slowly began making love again, happy with the knowledge that, while their exact future might be uncertain, they would always face it together.