Title: Aftermath

Pairing: Nina Theroux/Rachel Pirzad

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.

Summary: The aftermath of Nina pushing Rachel to kiss her opens up a can of worms that neither girl was prepared to deal with.


The back of her eyelids were warm, exuding a reddish glow that alerted Nina to the fact that it was morning. The sun was shining into the room from some unknown window nearby.

…And there was this funny weight on her chest that warmed her.

Her eyes were bleary when she blinked them open. They squinted in protest of the bright sunny morning then found a bare white wall on the other side of the room. Awareness began to tickle her brain. She was at her house, but not in her bedroom. Springs poking into her lower back that were going to cause back pains later indicated that she was on the living room couch.

And the weight on her chest?

Nina blinked before looking down to dark, silky hair fanning out across her chest and arms.

Rachel.

Her fist was curled into Nina's shirt, just above her breast where Rachel clung as she lay stretched out on top of Nina.

It wasn't unfamiliar territory. Wine often tired Rachel, and she had preferred a glass or two just before bed back when she and Nina lived together. Falling asleep on the couch with Rachel's head on her chest hadn't happened in a while, however.

Nina clenched her eyes shut against the scent of Rachel's hair tickling memories that made her eyes sting. The amount of trust that lay in not only Rachel coming to her apartment to begin with but actually falling asleep with her on the couch startled Nina. She hadn't expected all of this, any of this, and felt so undeserving.

She fidgeted in discomfort of her own dark thoughts rearing their heads, and Rachel moaned in protest.

Nina stilled and held her breath.

"Your heart is beating entirely too fast, and loudly," Rachel grumbled. She yawned then rubbed at her eyes. "What's wrong?"

A breath stuttered past Nina's lips as Rachel crawled closer to bury her face into her neck. "Nothing," she whispered.

Rachel knew a lie when she heard one, but decided it was too early to get into the semantics of why she had spent the night instead of driving back home, why they were lying pressed against each other on the couch. For once, she found herself not wanting to over-analyze. She wanted to just be.

A lazy hum vibrated her lips before she spoke. "I forgot how much sun this window got so early in the morning."

Nina smiled. She wrapped an arm around the back of Rachel's neck and cradled her head with her other hand. "Too bright?"

"A little," Rachel admitted, brow crinkling in discomfort.

"Take your time." Nina's voice was gentle, coaxing as she spoke. "Be patient and allow yourself to adjust."

The normalcy of talking Rachel through her overwhelming senses loosened the tension in Nina's shoulders as her mind preoccupied itself with providing comfort for Rachel until equilibrium was restored within her.

Rachel sighed and sank further into Nina's embrace. It wasn't an order she was willing to refute, not when her nose could keenly pick up a scent that was distinctly Nina, sans perfume. She could smell the faint salt and overall sweet quality of Nina's natural scent, and hummed a contented sigh as she brushed the silk of Nina's blouse with the pad of her thumb.

Nina's fingers stroked along the back of her neck. "Just breathe," she instructed.

And Rachel did, except her breathing was labored in response to the steady pressure of long fingers kneading the back of her neck, pushing her further into Nina's scent and her mind spiraling into dizziness.

Rachel pulled back enough to wet her lips and release a long breath that fanned out along the column of Nina's throat.

Immediately Nina's hands stilled. Their joint breathing was all that could be heard in the silent room.

It was predictable who would react first, and Rachel's head shot up from Nina's neck to get a good look at her face. "I'm really sorry. Sometimes I can get a little out of hand."

Nina braced her hands on Rachel's lower back to ground her from her unraveling anxiety. "It's okay," she breathed in a thick voice that made Rachel swallow. The gesture wasn't lost on Nina who was still trying to get a handle on the very real fact that her best friend wanted her. Biting her lip in contemplation as she posed her own little experiment, Nina walked her fingers up Rachel's back. She took in the way Rachel squirmed and how her eyelashes fluttered before heavy lidded eyes stared down at her. Nina pushed a lock of hair behind Rachel's ear and cupped the side of her neck. "Good morning?" she prompted.

Rachel gave a vague nod and leaned down further into Nina's touch. Her voice was shallow and little more than a breath when she responded. "Good morning." Her lips parted as if she was going to say more, though no words were uttered.

Nina carefully brushed her thumb around the corner of Rachel's mouth, testing the waters. Her jaw clenched with nervousness as she stared deeply into Rachel's eyes. She feared Rachel would look away, that it would be difficult to trust her enough to maintain eye contact for a long period of time. But all she saw in Rachel's eyes were wonder and longing that pooled in the pit of Nina's stomach. She tugged on the corner of a pink mouth. It stretched, and Rachel's lips quirked into a half smile that appeared almost flirtatious.

Nina sucked in a breath and released it noisily. "So, what are you doing today?" she asked, her normal tone of voice jarring the both of them out of their little moment.

Rachel reared back and blinked dark eyes down at Nina. "I'm…not sure." She readjusted herself to lie beside Nina instead of on top of her. Her eyes darted around the luminous apartment before they landed on Nina's that seem to shine even brighter. "What about you?"

Nina glanced away. Her eyes crinkled in the corners the way Rachel adored, the way that always gave away just how happy Nina was at any given moment.

"I don't know. Lazy Saturday?" Nina offered, and Rachel grinned.

"I'd like that." She traced Nina's profile with her eyes and bit her lip to stifle a giddy smile. "Breakfast?" This all felt so normal once again after feeling abnormal and broken for so long.

Nina tilted her head to stare at Rachel. "Yeah. Yeah, that'd be great, actually."

Rachel instantly hopped into motion. She climbed over Nina, smile full force now. "I've perfected my omelet while I've been away."

Nina stretched along the length of the couch with a yawn. "Have you?"

Rachel turned to find Nina staring up at her from the sofa. Her once pressed blouse that had been tucked into her skirt was now rumpled and un-tucked, but her disheveled appearance in no way detracted from her beauty. Rachel's nose scrunched up as she stared down at her and, without thought, she stepped closer and leaned down.

Nina sighed when soft lips brushed the corner of her mouth. Rachel pressed her face against Nina's profile. She fisted her hand into Nina's shirt and tugged lightly. "I needed this," she whispered.

Rachel's presence around her was a balm that banished all of Nina's darker thoughts of how undeserving she felt. But Nina knew Rachel, and knew that her best friend never did anything she didn't truly want to do.

Unless she was being pushed.

But she wasn't right now, because Nina could barely garner enough self-control for even herself, let alone controlling anyone else. "I think we both did," she ended up choking out.

Rachel pulled back with a grin, then stood up straight and walked around the coffee table toward the kitchen. "Now come on, sleepy head. Freshen up and we can make breakfast."

In response, Nina just tilted her head to watch Rachel walk into the kitchen. She smiled a little to herself, then stood from the couch.

Breakfast was uneventful, though Rachel was right; her omelet was divine. She was currently resting back against the counter. Nina was on the other side of the kitchen, a few paces away washing dishes that she insisted upon since Rachel was gracious enough to prepare breakfast.

Rachel wouldn't have minded washing dishes, because this all made her feel like she was once again a permanent fixture in the apartment, a cohabiter instead of a guest.

Just standing in the kitchen made Rachel aware of how just how much she missed this place, how much she missed Nina who was now dressed in a pair of light blue pants that she typically lounged around in and a dark gray cotton shirt. Her hair traveled down her shoulders in rivulets, and Rachel followed every lock closely until she found herself concentrating on the lean muscles in Nina's back that flexed with each dish she washed.

It was simple biology, the fluidity of muscles and the way the muscles in Nina's upper back traveled down until they were muscles in Nina's lower back, her backside, her hamstrings, even down to her calves that flexed when Nina leaned to the side to place a plate in the dish drain.

Rachel sighed, longingly, and shifted her weight to her other foot.

"What are you thinking about back there?" Nina tossed over her shoulder.

She cleared her throat and elevated her line of sight. "Living with you," she answered, timidity creeping into her voice. It wasn't a complete lie. "I—I've missed it."

Her blatant honesty at times had never been more appreciated by Nina than in this moment. She dried her hands on a nearby dish towel then swiveled around to face Rachel. "Your room's always open," she said, gesturing to the back of the apartment where the bedrooms were.

Rachel took a half step forward, then hesitated. "It's still the same? You didn't turn it into an office or anything?" Her voice was mystified as if she had expected her presence to be forgotten by Nina the second she moved out.

Nina's smile was all-knowing as she smugly folded her arms across her chest. "I already have an office at work, so no. It's still the way you left it." Bare. Rachel had left it bare, but Nina didn't voice that thought.

Curious, Rachel continued walking out of the kitchen and into the back of the apartment where their bedrooms were. She bypassed Nina's, where her scent was strongest, and continued to her former room.

The door was ajar, and Rachel placed a hand on it and heard the familiar creak it made as it opened further. The first thing she noticed was how empty it truly was. How the faint hiss of her breathing almost echoed off the walls. It still smelled like her, and only her.

She pulled her eyes away from the bleak mattress across the room to find Nina leaning back against the hallway wall. Rachel stepped toward her. "You haven't been in here?"

Nina stared hard at the empty bedroom, then glanced down at Rachel. "I wanted it to still smell like you—for if you ever came back." Her lips quirked as she mumbled, "I know how much you dislike foreign smells in your personal space."

"I wouldn't have minded yours," Rachel responded on the heel of Nina's statement. But she was touched, nonetheless, that Nina took her comfort into consideration. As if to prove her point, she soldiered forward, into Nina's personal space where she breathed her scent in with a deep, quiet inhale. "And you—you're not foreign, Nina. I know the way you smell like the back of my hand." Her words flew out of her mouth as she implored Nina to understand so many words Rachel had left unspoken. She released a nervous breath. "It's…comforting. And it's home."

Nina's expression softened at the declaration. She found herself at a loss for words as Rachel stared up at her with complete adoration.

Rachel swallowed thickly in the deafening silence. Her jaw clenched in indecision before her lips parted. "I've missed it," she whispered. "I've missed you, Nina—so very much."

Long fingers ghosted along Rachel's cheekbone, and she sank into the haunting touch with a yearning sigh. Nina found she couldn't not touch Rachel when she spoke this way. "I've missed you, too, Rach."

Nina felt her lean closer, felt the way Rachel's skin brushed her fingertips in passing, but could do little more than catch Rachel with her own body as she leaned fully into her.

The press of Rachel's breasts against her own was overwhelming.

But not nearly as overwhelming as the press of her lips, warm and velvety, and everything that Nina remembered them to be.

Her eyes screwed shut.