Author's Note: I'm sitting here, well laying really, on my bed trying to type up the last chapter of my story, and my cat, Kovu (the oldest) has been trying to get comfortable. First, she laid by my side, and then she laid over my right arm, and now she's laying on my stomach, and her big head is right in the middle of the screen. So, I can see the first two, and the last three words of each sentence. I have to lean first one way and then the other to see what I'm not typing. Go Kovu. So if some of this doesn't make sense, blame the kitty.
I just rewatched 'Delinquent' and realized I made a grievous error. It was Ria's father that she shared with Eva. So, I'm going to fix that in this chapter.
"Ria?" Gillian asked softly, unsure if the girl had fallen asleep. She had been still and quiet for quite a while now, her head in Gillian's lap, Gillian's fingers playing in her hair.
"Yeah?" She felt rather than heard the word, but knew it had been uttered.
"You only ever refer to him as 'he'. But you never distinguish between the two."
"Between the two who?" Ria asked softly.
"You share a mother with Eva?" Gillian asked, confusion written on her face.
Ria sat up, wiping her eyes. "No. Her mother came along after mine. My father was her father."
"I did know that." Gillian spoke softly. "When we helped Eva, I knew that. She said that you took the worst of it, when you came to visit. After her mom died. Her mom that wasn't yours. I knew that. I guess just because of the way it came across. I'm sorry."
Ria shook her head. The apology was unnecessary.
"When her mother came along, she was pregnant. I don't really remember her before then, I lived with my mom. But once she was pregnant with my little sister, it didn't matter that she wasn't my mother. I tried to be over there more, because that was my baby sister, and I would protect her with my dying breath."
"Something tells me that that is more true than you want me to believe."
"Well, I didn't die." Ria muttered.
"I know that."
They sat in silence for a few moments. A few moments turned into a few more.
"You told her you were going to take her away." Gillian spoke softly, almost as if she was afraid to bring it up.
Ria's jaw clenched, as did her fists and she turned her face away.
Gillian reached over and tucked her fingers under Ria's chin, tugging gently until Ria turned back, tears in her eyes.
"Talk to me."
Ria's bottom lip trembled, and when she spoke, so did her words.
"I promised her. And then I turned my back on her. And I talk to her every other day, and she's doing so well now, and I miss her. I've never put much stock in promises, and the only one I made that was ever important is the one I didn't keep."
By the time she finished, she was sobbing.
"But you did." Gillian said, pulling Ria to her once again. "You did get her away. It may not have been when you had planned to, but you got her away. You sent her to a school that would help her get back on track, and she is doing well. You helped with that. You."
She knew that even though Ria was still shaking in her arms, that the girl was listening. She may not believe what she was hearing, but at least she was listening.
Gillian Foster was quite suddenly very aware. The odd thing about it, though, was that she wasn't exactly certain what she was aware of. Looking around, she determined that it was a lot darker than she remembered it being. She shook her head as she realized she had probably fallen asleep, which would account for her being aware of nothing in particular.
She had woken up.
As the previous evening flooded back into her memory, she immediately began to look for Ria. It wasn't until she sat up to see the clock that she found the girl, sleeping on the couch as well, her dark hair fanned out across Gillian's stomach. Gillian smiled to herself, running her fingers through Ria's hair, and settling back into the couch.
Ria woke slowly, turning her head away from the sunlight streaming through the window. As she did so, her lips brushed against soft skin, taking her by surprise. Looking up, she found that she was quite compromisingly positioned, with her head on Gillian's stomach, her body resting between the doctor's legs. Gillian's arms were locked around her shoulders, one of her legs tossed over Ria's. Smiling softly, she braced her arms on either side of Gillian, and moved to push herself up.
It didn't occur to her that Gillian would move with her, wrapped around her the way she was. Not until she was halfway standing, and Gillian's arms were still locked around her neck, pulling the older woman up slightly with her. Ria leaned back down, wrapping her hands around Gillian's wrists, attempting to loosen her hold.
Gillian let Ria remove her hands from around her neck, but she slid them down, and laced her fingers with Ria's, her eyes still closed.
"What if I want you to stay there?" She murmured, a sleepy smile on her face.
Ria tore her eyes away from their interlocked hands, and looked directly at Gillian for the first time since the night previous. She was a bit relieved to find that Gillian wasn't looking at her, so she didn't see the look currently clouding Ria's features.
"I think you're still asleep." Ria said softly, pulling her hands out of Gillian's grasp.
"I think I'm not." Gillian said, just as softly, sitting up and pulling Ria back down onto the couch beside her. She took one of Ria's hands into her lap.
"No." Ria cut her off. "I don't know if I can handle hearing this, not right now." She shook her head, but she didn't pull her hand away from Gillian. Didn't resist as Gillian turned her hand over and traced the lines on her palm.
"I want you to try. Let me start, and if, at any moment, you want me to stop, I will. Can you give me a chance?" Gillian asked, dipping her head to see into Ria's eyes.
Ria's eyes fluttered closed, but she nodded, still wary. She read emotions for a living, figuratively and literally. She'd been seeing things on Gillian's face for the past few weeks that made her stomach flutter in ways she wasn't used to.
But she swallowed twice, kept her eyes closed, and waited for Gillian to continue.
"I think that last night, you told me some things that were hard for you to say. Things that are important. And I'm going to respond with some of my own things that are hard to say, but they are important as well, albeit in a different way."
Gillian paused, waiting for Ria to look up at her. She opened her eyes briefly, just long enough to let Gillian know she was paying attention, and then ducked her head again.
"Ria," Gillian continued her voice getting softer as she progressed. "You mean a lot to me. We've worked together for over two years now, and I'm finding it hard to be content with that."
Ria's head snapped up, her eyes flying open and meeting Gillian's. A bit of a blush lay across her cheek bones, but she kept her eyes level.
"So, what are you telling me? Exactly." Ria asked, trying to keep her voice steady.
"I'm telling you, Ria, that in a few weeks, I'm going to ask you on a date." She smiled slightly, watching as the corner of Ria's mouth turned up in what looked a lot like the beginnings of a smile.
"Any particular reason you're going to wait?" Ria asked gently, flipping her hand over and running her fingers along Gillian's wrist.
"Because of last night. Because I don't want it to ever seem like I'm diminishing what you told me, or that I'm taking advantage of you while you're vulnerable. And because I have to confer with Eli about a place good enough to take you." Gillian grinned as Ria smiled.
"What makes you think I'll say yes?" Ria asked lightly, leaning back into the couch, the smile still playing on her lips.
"Besides the fact that I'm doing that 'face thing' again?" Gillian asked, smirking.
Ria nodded, but Gillian didn't answer. She simply looked down, into her lap, at their interlaced fingers.
A/N: So, its finished. And I've left it open to follow it up with a sequel, if you so choose. So, choose. :)