Orange Is The New Black is the property of Piper Kerman and Netflix.

This is an AU, I plan for it to be a multi-chapter but it will be a slow update. Piper may be slightly OOC. Cheers for reading – Lark

Speed Of Sound

Books had always been her friends, her shelter away from the world, her shoulder to cry on when life got hard. So it seemed only natural that when the reality of the economic climate hit home and she was unable to find work with just a graduate degree that she turn to book for help.

Working at a library both frustrated and invigorated her; a fusion of feelings she hadn't believed was possible. Here, amongst dusty tombs and glittering new covers, she found her niche. A place where she was just a 'friendly blonde lady' and not the disappointment of a daughter her mother always insisted she was.

The morning had been comprised of young mothers searching for picture books and erotica in equal measure, old men trading war stories and teenagers strolling the isles in uncharacteristic quiet.

Piper piled her cart with books that had to be returned to their places and contentedly set about her task. She was placing a copy of Keith Richards' biography in a snug corner of a shelf when she was startled by a presence behind her, which was quickly followed by a hand on her shoulder.

"Oh," She yelped at the unexpected contact and spun around.

The woman who had tapped her hadn't moved back and Piper was startled by the proximity. Soft dark fabric filled her field of vision and a rich perfume of musk and vanilla made her head swim. Due to the potent mix of the woman's scent and her closeness, Piper failed to notice that it probably seemed like she was ogling her breasts.

"I'm sorry, can I help you?" Piper asked in what she hoped was a steady voice as she took a step back.

The woman was quite tall and Piper had to angle her eyes up to see, well, full scarlet lips. She cursed silently as her mind began to wander and forced herself to look higher and meet the woman's eyes.

Behind chunky black hipster glasses, aquamarine eyes twinkled mischievously.

"I'm looking for a book," She drawled. If the plump lips hadn't been enough to start Piper fantasising, then that voice, so low and husky, pushed her over the edge.

"Funnily enough, most people who come to a library are," She responded before she could process the quip. She had always had severe foot in mouth disorder, particularly when she was nervous.

"A feisty librarian?" She husked, "I like that."

"I – um," Piper stuttered, "Which book were you looking for?"

"Oh, I don't know, something with bite," She smirked.

"Ok, fiction or non-fiction?"

"Historical fiction."

"All right, follow me, I'll show you the section," Piper smiled, happy to avert her eyes from the mysterious woman before her.

"So, aren't you a little young to be shut away in a library?"

"I think the old spinster librarian is more cliché than fact," Piper murmured.

"I hope so, I may have to start coming to libraries more if they're populated by librarians like you," She chuckled. A blush flooded Piper's face without her consent and she held her tongue for fear of what she might say.

"This is the section," Piper informed her, spinning on her heel to gaze at the woman. Daring her to say something that flirtatious directly to her face.

"Why thank you," Hooded eyes landed on Piper's nametag and lingered there, "Piper, its been swell."

"Just doing my job," Piper smiled. As she walked away she felt certain that the mysterious woman's eyes were on her, undressing her even as she practically fled from the woman's intimidating presence.

1 Week Later

Piper was bent over, dusting the lower level of shelves when warm hands settled against her waist.

"Don't panic," A familiar husky voice teased, "I wanted to get your attention and you hardly presented an appropriate place to tap you."

"Back so soon?" Piper asked, straightening slowly. Even as she turned to face the mystery woman, she did not remove her hands from Piper's waist. It was only when Piper raised her gaze to meet the woman's that she slowly relinquished the contact.

"What can I say? I finished my book," She smirked.

"You can borrow more than one, you know?" Piper chuckled.

"But then I wouldn't get to see you," She winked.

"Historical fiction again?" Piper asked, leading her back towards the fiction section.


"Didn't take you as the type."

"I'm full of surprises," She chuckled.

"So, what's your name?" Piper asked. If she was going to be stuck with this woman she might as well have a name to call her other than 'mysterious stranger'.

"Alex," She supplied, adjusting her glasses in a coy gesture that had Piper supressing a groan.

Piper wasn't certain why Alex caused these reactions in her, she barely knew her and yet a single motion could send a wave of desire through her body. She didn't understand it, the fact that Alex was flirting with her should have flattered her but caused her to hesitate. Alex wasn't her usual type; Piper liked men who were safe and kind. She dated the kind of guy who would spend his afternoon in a library, even if the librarian were a spinster.

Alex wasn't anything like that. She was cocky, mysterious, flirtatious and a woman.

"Its nice to meet you," Piper nodded, running her fingers over the spines of the books before pulling one out.

"So, is that your recommendation?" Alex asked, cocking an eyebrow and tilting her head to examine Piper closely.

"Yes, its about a lady of the court who falls in love with a stable boy," Piper explained.

"A little too gooey, don't you think?" She probed, "Do you have anything with lesbian romance?"

"Oh, um," Piper frowned, so Alex wasn't just flirting for the sake of flirting like a lot of girls do, "Probably, they'd be in a different section."


"Why, what?"

"Why would they be in a different section? This is the romance section isn't it?" Alex smirked and Piper got the distinct impression she was being an asshole on purpose.

"I didn't make the system, Alex," Piper sighed.

"Oh, I like the way you say my name," Alex growled playfully.

"I, um," Piper blushed.

"You are so fun to tease, you've got Laura Ingalls Wilder written all over you."

"So original, I've never heard that one before," Piper rolled her eyes.

"So, are you going to show me that section?"

"Yes, its over here."

"Been there before, hon?" She teased.

"Of course I have, I'm the librarian," Piper replied sarcastically before she could stop herself.

"There it is, the fire," Alex chuckled, "It doesn't fit your image. Contrast is sexy."

"Am I going to trust the perception of a woman who believes royal blue highlights are a good idea?"

"Careful Pipes," She smirked, stepping into Piper's personal space, "If you get too cocky I might not be able to control myself."

"Because you've displayed so much self control before now," Piper snorted. She didn't know what it was about Alex, but it made her daring, like she wanted to impress her.

"If you knew me, love," Alex breathed, hands trailing down Piper's sides, "You would know I am demonstrating a lot of control."

"Sure," Piper retorted, but her voice wavered as her heart spiked due to the proximity.

"I'll see you round, Pipes," Alex husked, breath hot and wet against Piper's ear.

"You didn't pick a book," Piper frowned.

"Oh, I have a good imagination," She winked, vanishing amongst the shelves.

"Fuck," Piper sighed, leaning her head against the comforting spines of the books.

4 Days Later

Piper couldn't keep her thoughts off Alex and the monotony of her work wasn't helping. She decided to step out of her comfort zone and go to a bar that her friend Polly was always raving about.

She sat at the bar sipping a margarita, minding her own damn business when a man sidled up beside her.

"Hey there beautiful," He smirked, running a hand back through gel slicked hair.

"I'm just waiting for a friend," Piper murmured.

"I could be your friend, gorgeous," He drawled, even having the audacity to reach out and place a hand against her leg.

"Seriously, you're wasting you time."

"Love –"

"She said move along," A cold voice cut him off and a familiar scent washed over Piper.

"Who are you?" He scowled.

"The friend she was waiting for," Alex replied smoothly.

"I can work with both," He sneered.

"Move along," Alex hissed and something about her expression seemed to make the message sink into the man's thick skull. With a final contemptuous glance he departed.

"Don't drink that, just in case," Alex warned, pushing the margarita away from her before signalling the bartender for another, "Didn't expect to see you in a place like this, Pipes."

"I thought I'd try something a little different," Piper shrugged.

"Well, you know," Alex smirked, leaning into Piper's personal space, slipping an arm around her waist, "I've been called a little different."