Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters here; they all belong to Rae Earl and E4. Paul Anka wrote the lyric quoted.

This set prompted by orangeisthenewblue, dingdongwonderful, and anonymous.


Rae & Archie; beer, guitar, silver

"Right, now here," Archie directs, left hand wrapped around hers, sliding her fingers down the neck of the guitar, "that's a C." His hand is warm and faintly calloused from hours of practicing, strumming along to the radio, daydreaming of modest fame and artistic integrity if not outright rock stardom.

Rae strums gently; the resulting note is just a bit off, and she laughs, "I'm rubbish at this," pushing the instrument at him.

"If you don't practise, you'll never learn," he says, but takes the guitar and begins to play, the dim lights winking off the silver of the tuners. Rae sips her beer and leans back, eyes closed, listening, imagining someone falling in love with her Archie as he plays the guitar, a smile on his face.


Rae/Finn; puppy, music, rain

It would totally offend his dignity if he knew it, but she thinks he's like an adorable puppy sometimes: the expressive brown eyes that melt her heart, the energetic enthusiasm, the affectionate nuzzling. She's reading in bed with the radio playing quietly, love songs that she would deny listening to playing on the local station, when he climbs in the window and shakes cold rain from his hair, making her shriek (quietly, so her mum and Karim won't hear) and pull the blanket over her head to shield herself. He grins mischievously and crawls onto the bed, leaning over her and dragging the duvet off her face, dripping water onto her, and she squeals and halfheartedly tries to push him away. He lowers his head to push his cold, wet nose against her neck, and she gives up her book and the token resistance and strokes his hair. But she can't help giggling when a new song comes on and Donny Osmond starts to croon "And they called it puppy love," and though he doesn't quite understand, he smiles too as he kisses her.


Rae/Finn; sunset, sugar, sarcasm

When Chop had announced they'd all be going to the carnival Rae, in the throes of an epic row with her mum and with attitude to spare, had said, "Yeah, Chop, that's exactly what a bunch of teenagers want to do on a Saturday night"; he'd retorted, "Stuff it, Raemundo, you're goin' and you'll like it." And even though the place was full of screaming children and their harried parents, Chop had been right. The girls shared a huge cloud of candy floss as they watched the lads try to win stuffed animals from rigged games, and cheered when Archie succeeded, to the disgust of the carnie. By unspoken agreement they drifted apart in pairs as the sun set, the sky's soft glow no match for the whirling neon light of the rides. By the time she and Finn emerged from the Tunnel of Love, breathless and with the taste of sugar on both their tongues, Rae knew she owed Chop an apology and her thanks.


Rae/Finn; video camera, Dad, bruise

"Put the video camera away, Dad," Finn hissed, flushing bright red. He was glad his parents liked Rae and vice versa, but he wished they would be a little (a lot) less embarrassing sometimes (all the time).

"Don't you listen to him, Mr Nelson," Rae encouraged, and Finn rolled his eyes as his dad thanked her for being so sweet, unlike his son.

He sat next to her and slung an arm around her shoulders, lightly tracing I hate you over the bruise he'd left on her collarbone; but she just smiled smugly and said, "Liar."

(Years later he'd find the tape and watch her laugh, 16 forever, and he'd feel endlessly grateful to his father.)


Rae/Finn; snow, sex, tears

She'd fled from the stables into the house, not even pausing to remove her cloak, but he caught up with her in the library. He will not move me, she thought resolutely, staring out the window at the falling snow, he will not sway me; but as soon as Sir Finn touched her cheek to wipe away the tears she hadn't even known she'd shed, her determination crumbled.

"I long to possess you, my lady," he whispered, a flame she had never seen before dancing in his eyes, a flame to which she was inescapably drawn, and she could not resist when he clutched her to his firm body, crushing her lips beneath his.

When his hands lifted her skirt to explore her quivering flesh she gasped, "Not here," but then his skilled fingers found their goal and she moaned wantonly, "Yes, there."

Right, there'd be no more reading romance novels before bed if she was going to have dreams like that and then wake up alone.


Rae & Chloe; love, sex, Finn

The sting of Finn's rejection had barely worn off when he and Rae had walked into the pub together, but Chloe managed to smile as the others congratulated them, though she wasn't at all looking forward to seeing them together.

But as time went on Chloe found that she couldn't feel jealous of Rae for ending up with Finn, because it was so right. She and Finn would have had attraction and heat and popularity, and they would have burned out quickly, falling into fights that divided their friends; but Rae and Finn were steady and devoted and happy, and Chloe knew that, no matter how she may have tried to convince herself, she'd never felt about anyone the way Rae felt about Finn and he about her.

When Rae finally confessed that she'd slept with him, Chloe didn't squeal giddily and demand to know the details; she just looked at the contented expression on Rae's face and, already knowing the answer, asked, "Was it good?"

"It was better than I dreamed it would be," Rae whispered, and Chloe smiled, reaching out to hook her pinky around her best friend's.


Rae/Finn; ocean, bear, bag

It was like the ocean: you knew what it looked and sounded like even if you'd never been there yourself, but you didn't really understand what it felt like until you were stood there with water swirling around your feet, the tang of salt filling your nose, sun flashing off the waves. It was almost too much to bear sometimes, knowing that you could be swept away at any moment, but being unwilling to step out of the tide, to lose the feeling of water cooling your feet, knowing that if it felt this good just to stand there it would feel immeasurably better to surrender yourself to the sea. To give in: to lie back and float, borne on the currents with no control over where they took you, like a carrier bag driven by the wind, and to float forever. Or to emerge from the ocean changed, now knowing what it was like to swim—sometimes struggling and swallowing saltwater and sometimes drifting in such bliss that even to breathe would be sacrilege—and swaying with the effort of having to hold yourself up alone.

He was ready to grab her hand and dive.