Title: Five Times Tess Offered Her Love, and One Time Lexy Asked For It

Rating: K+

A/N: Just felt like writing a solo Tess/Lexy piece before continuing with Undisclosed Desires. All of the moments are fictional except for number two, which is an interlude between two moments in 2x05.

Disclaimer: I don't own Lip Service. If I did, season 2 would NOT have ended the way it did.

one

Lexy came back to the flat in a huff after a horrible night shift at the hospital. Both Declan and Bea had tried to calm her down, comfort her, tell her it wasn't her fault, but the attention just made her more eager to leave.

Despite her best attempts at feigning detachment, she was never good at this. Lexy was smart. She knew nothing could save her patient, knew she and her fellow doctors had done the best they could. But why did she always blame herself?

She dropped her keys on the hallway table and made her way towards her room, but not before Tess emerged from the kitchen, still in sweats and a t-shirt.

Lexy had only moved in a little over a week ago, but she was already baffled by how Tess never stopped radiating. At this moment, though, she really didn't want to deal with her smiling flatmate.

"Hi!" Tess said, eyes bright. "How was your shift?"

"It was fine," Lexy lied, trying to keep the tears from welling up again. The familiar ache in her throat and chest returned, but she ignored it. Breaking down in front of anyone was embarrassing; breaking down in front of a new flatmate would be downright humiliating.

She tried to brush past Tess and go to her room, but Tess stopped her, placing a gentle hand on her forearm. "Hey, everything alright?"

"Just, ah... had a bad day at work." Lexy didn't say more, not trusting her voice to keep steady.

Tess opened her mouth to inquire further, but stopped herself. "Right, well... can I make you a cup of tea? What do you like?"

"It's fine, Tess," Lexy said weakly, "but thanks." She pulled away from the blonde and entered the sanctuary of her room, closing the door partway with her foot. She collapsed on the bed, drained.

A few minutes later, she heard the door move and her eyes snapped open. With a slightly apologetic smile, Tess set a mug down on Lexy's bedside table. "Just in case you change your mind," she said and left the room, closing the door behind her.

After a couple quiet moments, Lexy sat up in her bed and reached for the tea. Its warmth was comforting.

two

"Do you think it's this complicated when you're straight?" Lexy asked, playing with the drink in her hand.

"Yeah... but the sex is crap," Tess remarked dryly, which drew a laugh out of Lexy, troubled as she was.

"See? That's why I like you." Tess and Lexy shared a small smile before she sighed again. "I've got half a mind to just give up altogether."

"Oh, don't say that," Tess said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "Things'll work out for you eventually."

"Ya think? Wouldn't be surprised if my next romantic endeavor also involved a scary man stalking me."

"Well, next time some bloke is chasing after you..." Tess paused to sip her drink. "Just call me. I'll fend him off!"

Lexy chuckled. "Why am I having a hard time picturing that?"

"Don't be ridiculous, I can be highly intimidating when I want to be," Tess insisted with exaggerated bravado.

"Yeah, I bet. So if I call on you for help, will you burst in on a big noble steed wearing loads of armour?" Lexy proposed with a giggle.

"Skimpy leather corset, actually," Tess corrected. "Gotta let the girls breathe!"

Once their laughter subsided, Lexy sighed and leaned back against the couch. "Thanks for staying with me, Tess. You're wonderful."

Tess gave her a small smile. "You don't always have to face your problems alone, Lexy. It's okay to let other people help carry the burden now and then."

"Yeah... that's never been easy for me."

"I can tell."

Both were silent for a moment, and she could tell Lexy was retreating back within herself. Tess quickly moved onto a lighter topic. "So," she said, fishing out a notebook from under the couch, "up for creating the ideal partner?"

three

"I still can't believe the show is over!" Tess exclaimed and shivered slightly in the cold air. She and Lexy were walking side by side over the Glasgow Bridge, taking in the sight of the Clyde River beneath them. "I know I keep on saying that, but... it's just weird, knowing I'll probably never say those lines again. I'm going to miss it."

"Look on the bright side," Lexy said with a grin, her sharp Australian accent cutting through the cold air, "at least you'll never have to deal with Nora ever again."

"Oh, knowing my luck, our paths will keep crossing," Tess groaned.

After a few beats, she glanced back over at Lexy, and their eyes met. "I'm really glad you came to closing night." Tess reached for her hand and entwined their fingers, not trying to hide the look of adoration on her face. It twisted the knife in Lexy's gut even further. God, she deserved the truth.

"Listen, Tess..." Lexy dropped Tess's hand and shoved her own into the pockets of her leather jacket. She took a deep breath as she prepared to shatter their friendship. "I lied to you."

There was an awkward silence. "Oh," Tess said quietly. Another silence. "About what?"

"I was with Sam during the opening night of your play."

"Okay?"

"We had sex."

"Oh."

Lexy's stomach turned as she waited for Tess to react, but no reaction came. She glanced over at her, and Tess's face was completely blank, the least expressive Lexy had ever seen it.

Tess always wore her heart on her sleeve for the world to see... but not now.

They continued to walk wordlessly through Glasgow. They were nearly back at the flat before Tess finally spoke again.

"So you fancy Sam?"

Lexy paused for a second. She found Sam attractive, sure... but did she really fancy her? Or did she just want to feel needed?

She sighed. "I don't know."

Tess nodded, still not meeting Lexy's gaze. They were outside of the flat now, and Tess pulled her key out of her back pocket as they ascended the stairs.

Tess fit the key in the keyhole, but she stopped before opening the door. Nervously brushing a lock of golden hair behind her ear, she turned to Lexy and looked at her. Tess's eternally warm and trusting eyes were now cold and guarded, and Lexy hated herself for doing that to her. She wanted Tess to scream at her, to cry, to lash out, to do anything - anything but look at her so blankly.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Tess asked softly.

The question caught Lexy off-guard. "What?"

Tess dropped her eyes, but her voice didn't falter. "I, just... I know that any situation regarding Sam right now is pretty complicated after all that's happened. If you need anyone to talk to... well I'm here."

Lexy tried to swallow the lump in her throat. Even after hurting Tess like she just did, her flatmate was still offering up her support. Lexy knew she didn't deserve her.

"Thanks, Tess." She tried to let genuine gratitude shine through her voice, tried to let Tess know that her constant and unwavering care was appreciated, but the words felt cheap rolling off her tongue.

The blonde nodded sadly before opening the door and disappearing into the confines of her room.

four

Lexy was sitting at the kitchen table when Tess walked in and saw the bruises.

It had only been a week since Lexy had confessed what she had done, and for that week, Lexy and Sam were in some form of a relationship. When she wasn't working, Lexy visited Sam's place, comforting her when she cried, fucking her when she asked for it, holding her when she slept. Lexy always slipped into the role of doctor, even in her relationships, and she came to the grim realization that this was why she had never found love.

But soon Lexy understood that she had to actively stop falling into the same cycle, and that Sam wasn't ready for a relationship. She tried to explain it to the cop, but still, haunted by Cat's infidelity, Sam didn't react well.

Sam apologized profusely once she realized what she had done - both the doctor and the cop could tell the marks on Lexy's forearms would turn into nasty bruises - but Lexy left in a hurry.

"You don't have to apologize, Sam," Lexy told her as she stood by the door, about to leave. "I won't hold this against you. I know what you're going through. But neither of us wants this. You need a therapist, not a girlfriend, and I can't keep making the same mistakes."

So Lexy sat alone, looking at her forearms, until Tess walked in.

Things had been awkward between them, and Tess was intent on ignoring her, but when she saw Lexy's bruises, she stopped giving her the cold shoulder.

"Oh my god, Lexy, what happened?"

Lexy just looked at Tess, unresponsive. Tess guessed that it must've been Sam, but the look on Lexy's face confirmed it. The blonde nodded grimly.

Tess went into the freezer and fished out a frozen package of peas. She handed it to Lexy before putting the kettle on. Tess busied herself with making them both tea, intentionally giving Lexy time to gather her thoughts.

When Tess returned with two mugs of Earl Grey and a second bag of frozen vegetables, they had a long conversation. Well, it wasn't exactly a conversation; it was mostly just Lexy talking and Tess listening, but that was what Lexy needed. She talked about her affinity for broken people, about making the same mistake over and over again, about deriving self-worth from being needed by other people, about her deep-seated fear of dating anyone more emotionally stable than herself. By the time she finished talking, the bit of tea left in her mug was cold.

When Lexy had explained everything, performing the equivalent of a psychoanalysis of herself for Tess, Tess didn't have much to say. She looked at her with new eyes, though, and Lexy could tell Tess's previous anger was mostly gone.

Lexy felt liberated, having Tess understand all of her flaws and insecurities. They were layers that few people ever got to see, but Lexy needed her to see them.

As Lexy got up to go to her night shift and Tess got up to memorize her lines, Tess drew her into a tight hug. Lexy exhaled and pulled her closer, inexplicably relieved that Tess had seen her darkest qualities and still wasn't running away.

five

Tess was darting into the bathroom to clean herself up before bed when she noticed a frazzled Lexy sprawled out on the couch.

"Lex," Tess called out, making her way towards the living room. Lexy responded with a comically exaggerated noise of aggravation, and Tess started giggling. It had been two months since the event of The Sam Thing (as they had decided to call it) and any animosity between them was long gone.

"Thought you went to bed ages ago?"

"Tried to," Lexy said with a sigh and readjusted herself on the couch. "But ultimately failed and decided a change of scenery might fix that."

"And how's that working?" Tess said with a smirk. She moved to the side of the couch and Lexy lifted her head, allowing Tess to slip in. Lexy rested her head again on Tess's lap.

"Unsuccessfully before, but better now that you're here," Lexy replied playfully. Tess laughed and ran her fingers through part of Lexy's hair.

"Why do you always have your hair tied up?" Tess asked, lightly massaging her scalp with her fingertips.

Lexy shrugged and rolled over, looking up at Tess. "I dunno. Having it down makes me feel vulnerable, I guess."

Tess nodded and continued to stroke her hair lightly. A few minutes passed before Lexy sat up. She reached behind her and tugged on the hair tie, letting her long locks fall out of their messy bun. Lexy gave Tess an uncharacteristically shy smile.

With a tender look, Tess reached out to run her fingers through Lexy's hair. "You're beautiful," Tess told her softly. Lexy's pulse quickened a little. It was a simple statement, but it meant a lot to her.

They looked into each other's eyes for another minute before Lexy broke out of her trance. She cleared her throat. "You have to get up early tomorrow... I shouldn't keep you up."

"It's okay," Tess said reassuringly. "I'll stay up a little while longer. Lay back down?" With a quick smile, Lexy lowered herself again, nestling her head in Tess's lap. Not long after, she drifted off into a peaceful sleep, Tess's fingers soothing her with a silent lullaby.

When she awoke in the morning, Tess was gone, but her own pillow was beneath her head, and the orange blanket was wrapped snugly around her.

six

It was a little after midnight when Lexy finally returned to the flat after a particularly stressful shift. She knew Sadie was out partying, but Lexy hoped Tess was still up.

The kitchen was dark, the light in the living room was dimmed, and Tess's door was shut. Her flatmate and best friend was asleep. Lexy sank against the wall with a sigh, trying to ignore her disappointment.

Lexy showered, made a cup of chamomile tea, listened to a little country, and read a couple more chapters of her book, but none of it was easing the dull ache in her stomach.

What she really wanted was Tess.

Dressed in just a t-shirt and underwear, she stood outside of her friend's door for a long while, long hair cascading down her back.

Lexy massaged her neck nervously; she was being so selfish. With her new TV role, Tess was working the same hours she was, and she needed to get as much sleep as she could possibly get. Lexy knew it wasn't fair to wake her up.

Yet Lexy found herself knocking softly on Tess's door anyway. She let out a breath and rested her forehead against the wood. "Tess? You awake?"

She didn't hear any response. Lexy was just about to return to her own room when the door opened, and she was met with an adorable sleepy-eyed Tess.

"Hey you," Tess said, her voice still groggy. She smiled, leaning against the doorframe. "Everything alright?" Lexy smiled back at her, her previous unhappiness dissipating a little as she drank Tess in.

"Yeah, uhm..." Lexy started to say but stopped. Tess waited expectantly, but not impatiently. Lexy had been about to start explaining her shitty shift at work, but then she realized work wasn't the reason she woke up Tess.

Lexy just wanted to be in her presence.

"Can I spend the night with you?" she asked. Tess's eyes flashed with surprise and Lexy stiffened, but then Tess's expression eased into a smile.

"Of course." She opened the door a bit wider, reaching out to take Lexy's hand, and Lexy stepped inside. Tess shut the door behind her.

Wordlessly, they climbed into bed, with Tess on her back and Lexy nestled into her side. Tess's body felt so good against hers - so warm, so soft, so Tess - and Lexy rested her head on the blonde's chest. Though the room was dark, she could feel Tess smile, and she smiled back.

Neither of them spoke, but Lexy felt more connected to her than she ever had before. Tess ran her fingers lazily through Lexy's hair, sending a feeling of happy warmth throughout her body, and Lexy traced shallow circles on Tess's skin with her thumb. She breathed in Tess's soft, gentle scent, and every part of her body relaxed into Tess's. It felt so natural, cuddling with Tess. It felt so right.

"G'night, Lex," Tess whispered, kissing the top of Lexy's head gingerly. Lexy reciprocated the gesture with a soft nuzzle against her neck.

"Night, Tess."

Their breathing slowed as they drifted off together, and even as she was falling asleep, Lexy's lips curled into a smile.

This was love.

xx

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!