Summary: Takes place a couple days after Piper is released from the SHU after attacking Pensatucky. Alex confronts Piper in the library. I'll provide more context for this scene if and when I decided to write more.

She finally found her in the library, hiding in a back corner, hunched over a book.

Piper startled at Alex's footsteps. She tilted her head back and met Alex's eyes, squinting slightly. In the fluorescent light, the dark circles under the blonde's eyes looked almost black, her skin too pale, almost translucent. Alex felt her stomach tighten, an old knee-jerk protective instinct rearing its head, but she pushed it away.

She had things to say.

"Fuck you," she practically growled. Okay, maybe not the best start, but—

"Fuck you."

It felt good to say it out loud.

Piper barely reacted to the words. She looked resigned, her eyes dull, her mouth a thin, straight line.

Where was the defensiveness? The inane stubbornness that never failed to drive Alex up a wall? She looked like a caged animal who'd finally realized the futility of trying to escape.

"Why did you do it?" Alex asked, her voice quieter, but no less rough.

Piper blinked at her. "Leave?"

"Yes," Alex said.

"I'm sorry," Piper whispered. Her voice cracked, thin and gravely from disuse.

Four months. It had felt like so much longer.

"You can't keep doing that," Alex said.

"Apologizing?"

"No, leaving."

Piper frowned. Blinked slowly. "I thought you meant…before. When your mom—"

"No, idiot," Alex snapped. "I meant now. I meant four months ago."

"I didn't leave," Piper said. Some of that familiar indignation had seeped back into her voice. "I got thrown into the SHU."

"I know you got thrown into the SHU," Alex said, running a hand through her hair. "But I…" She trailed off. She was angry and hurt and fuck so in love—

"Christ, Piper," she swore. "I missed you." And that was it, wasn't it? What she'd been running from for the past ten years?

(Why do you always feel so inevitable to me?)

Piper was quiet, staring up at her. "You missedme?" she repeated, the words coming slow like she didn't quite believe them. "You missed me? How dare you," she breathed, her voice low and threatening, the animal coming back to life. "How dare you. You turned me away, you told me to never come to you again, you didn't care anymore, I thought you didn't care anymore—"

"Well, I do," Alex said. "Fuck me, but I do. I fucking care, Piper. I can't seem to stop caring."

Piper struggled to her feet, her gaze sharp and blazing. "You can't be mad at me for this. It wasn't like I was on fucking safari for Christ's sake. You have no idea what it was like down there. You have no idea how—"

She fell silent abruptly, her mouth clamping shut, her gaze sliding away from Alex's face.

"Piper?" Alex questioned, dipping her head in an attempt to catch Piper's eyes with hers. Something wasn't right. Piper's gaze was unfocused, a million miles away. "Hey, Pipes, you okay?"

"Alex, I—" Piper closed her eyes, swaying dangerously.

Alex reached out and grabbed Piper's shoulders to keep her upright. Piper leaned into her heavily, as if drugged, her legs crumpling beneath her. She began to sink to the floor, but Alex caught her underneath her armpits and hauled her against her chest.

She was dead weight against her, completely out. "Fuck," Alex swore softly.

She scooped Piper up into her arms and began to move towards the library's exit. Piper was light in her arms—too light. It was disturbingly easy for Alex to carry her. She tried to keep the panic at bay, the demons swamping her chest, tried not to breathe in the scent of Piper's hair—still so familiar even after all those weeks in the grime of the SHU.

"Hey!" she called out to the guard standing by the exit.

He turned towards her, his eyes widening slightly when he saw Piper curled against her chest. "What happened?" he asked, striding towards them. "What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything," Alex snapped. "She collapsed. I think she might be sick or maybe—"

"Give her to me," he ordered, interrupting her nervous prattling.

The guard muttered something into his radio, before holding out his arms for Piper. Alex fought against the sudden urge to hold her tighter, to shield her from the guard's rough hold, and handed her over.

She crossed her arms over her chest and watched the guard carry her away. Just as they were about to turn the corner, Piper stirred slightly, her eyes opening. She reached out a hand towards Alex, something desperate and vulnerable and horribly familiar in her bleary eyes.

And Alex looked away.

So here's the deal: I wrote this a few weeks ago after I binge-watched OITNB on Netflix. I was going to add to it, so it didn't start so abruptly with the scene in the library. But I never got around to it and decided I probably never would, so I made the decision to post it as-is.

I'm in love with the Piper/Alex pairing and want to continue with this story. I can't guarantee I'll get around to it on a regular basis, but I could be persuaded if I get a positive response to this little bitty start of a story.