Yep, I've revived it! For those just starting it, I added Chapter 1 & 2 below. This fic picks up right around the events of the Bauer BBQ and Nat's disappearance, and then completely becomes it's own little world. I'll update quicker this time because I'm well over halfway through writing it.
Title: Heroes and Friends
Rating: Mostly PG-13, eventual NC-17 for sex and violence (Not between our girls though…the violence that is…promise. The other? Well…teehee).
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: We’ll see if I’m that good. If you don’t want anything with spoilers and haven’t read any at all, don’t read this because I think I’ve hit just about every single spoiler out there.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
A/N: I’ve been spending WAY too much time in the BPD speculation threads. This fic revolves around one of the possible scenarios I came up with regarding upcoming spoilers.
A/N2: Thanks to Ndasky for giving me an idea for the title. Actually, I swiped it from a Melissa Etheridge song.
The warm smell of coffee tickled Olivia awake. She rubbed at her sleepy eyes and rolled to sit up on the sofa, moaning as bones cracked into place. Natalia giggled and peeked around the corner, holding a large mug in her hand.
“No poking fun at the old lady! A few years and this’ll be you. Just remember that.”
Natalia smiled a big dimply smile and stepped closer, “You’re not old. You’re well-aged like a fine wine.”
“Sweet talker. What are you up to? Huh, what do you want?” Olivia glared at her jokingly through slitted eyes.
Natalia scooted next to her on the couch, “Actually, it’s more like a proposal.”
“Proposal? But, honey, we’ve only kissed,” Olivia smirked at her, “don’t you think that’s a little fast? Gee, a sweet talker and now a fast mover.”
Natalia gave her an odd look but then bumped her with her shoulder, laughing, “Be serious for a minute.”
“Well, I was going to suggest that you and Emma go ahead to the barbecue, and I’ll meet you there.”
Olivia frowned and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, “I thought the whole idea was to go together.”
“Yeah, I know, but we overslept. It’s almost 10am. The barbeque starts in an hour. We both have to get ready and so does Emma. You needed to pick up plates and stuff, and I still need to get the ice chest out of the barn and clean it up. There’s no way we can do all of that in an hour.”
Olivia struggled to find a loophole in the logic so she went straight for the facts, “We’ll just be fashionably late then. I really wanted us to show up as a family.”
Natalia groaned, “I know. I did too, but Emma’s really excited about all the games and everyone being there. You don’t want her to miss anything.”
Olivia quirked her mouth to the side, “I hate it when you’re right.”
Natalia smiled at her broadly then shuffled her off up the stairs to get Emma so they could get on their way. When they came back down, she handed Emma a muffin and gave her a long hug before standing to give Olivia a kiss on the cheek.
“See you later?” Olivia asked.
Natalia sighed, looking preoccupied, “Yeah.”
She bent over to get the last pack of paper plates off the shelf. When she stood, she had to hide her disappointment at seeing Frank staring at her.
A few long seconds passed before he spoke, “Looks like your coming to the barbeque.”
Olivia nervously shifted her basket to her other hand, “Yeah, Emma loves the games.” Another long moment of silence and when Frank didn’t say anything, she pushed forward, “So, is Rafe going to make it?”
“Yeah…yeah, I convinced him that it would be good to be seen interacting with the rest of the community. Besides, Daisy’s going to be there. I think that did more than I ever could.”
“Thank you…for doing that. I’m sure Natalia will be really happy to see him.”
He looked down, debating if he should say anything, “She might be, but I can’t say the same for him. He came back really upset the other night.”
“Yeah, I heard.”
Frank started to say something more when Emma ran up to them, “Hey Mom, can I get some sparklers for the fireworks for later? Natalia likes them too. Can I get some extras for her?”
“Sure, honey,” she knelt down, “Can you do me a favor?”
“Sure,” the little girl shrugged.
“We need some drinks. Can you get some for us?”
“Okay!” Emma enthusiastically left the two adults standing there.
“Oh, and Emma…nothing with caffeine.” The little girl rolled her eyes before heading further down the aisle.
Frank watched the exchange fondly, “She seems to be doing well.”
Olivia felt an undercurrent of a deeper meaning running through his words, her blood chilling slightly, “She is. We told her, by the way, about us.”
He raised an eyebrow at her, trying to feign disinterest, “Really? And how did that go?”
“She wondered when we were getting married,” Olivia fought to not smirk as she watched Frank’s face fall, “It’s amazing how kids can be so much more mature and intuitive about things than most adults.” When Frank clenched his jaw, unable to answer, she brushed past him, “We’ll see you at the barbeque, Frank.”
Natalia knew she had acted a bit short with Olivia this morning. She hadn’t meant too, but she wasn’t feeling quite herself and part of her just wanted to be alone. She didn’t need Olivia worrying about her because she wasn’t feeling well.
She wasn’t sure what the problem was. Now that this weird feeling had been going on a few days, she couldn’t really blame it on nerves. Things had calmed down slightly with Rafe. Well, really he just hadn’t been around to stir things up and she hadn’t made a move to make amends yet. She knew she was going to have to deal with that, but this wasn’t the time. He was a grown man now and he needed to find his own way to deal with this, to find his own happiness just like she was doing. It wasn’t the stress over Emma because that had been a piece of cake. The little girl was practically their own built in CIA agency. She knew stuff and she wasn’t afraid to use it! Natalia smiled as she moved around the kitchen cleaning up. Emma was so much like her mother. No wonder she had been charmed by her!
Natalia wondered if it could be their “outing” planned for today at the barbeque, but in her mind, they had dealt with the biggest problems already: their kids and her faith. What the rest of the town thought of them as a couple was pretty much inconsequential.
Was it what came after today? Natalia felt her heart race slightly at the implication. She was tired of waiting and when she said it, she knew what she meant. She wanted Olivia and she wanted what every couple has together, including sex.
She said the word out loud into the quiet of the farmhouse kitchen, “Sex.” Her hands shook a little, “I do. I want to have sex with Olivia.” She hadn’t said those words to Olivia yet or to anyone. To be honest, she hadn’t said them to herself either. Until now.
“Once you say it, Rivera, you can’t take it back,” a nervous excitement filled her and she smiled a little. The images of them kissing last night sending lightening fast messages to other parts of her body.
She closed her eyes and a small moan escaped her lips. If Emma hadn’t had her nightmare, no telling what would have happened. They probably wouldn’t have stopped, and Natalia, feeling the shake that had been in her hands move down below her belly, was becoming quite aware that she didn’t want to. She couldn’t say the word “sex” to Olivia, but her body sure could!
With a new determination, she quickly finished the dishes still sitting in the sink so she could get the supplies from the barn. The sooner this day was over, the sooner they could stop this incessant waiting, and Natalia was so done with the waiting.
Olivia waved to Josh as she got out of the car, watching as he came closer. They laughed when Emma raced past yelling “hey Uncle Josh” before running right into a sprinkler screaming. All the other kids started chasing her and she screamed even louder.
“She’s awfully happy!” Josh smiled as he helped Olivia lift some bags from the car trunk. He noticed the huge grin on Olivia’s face too, “And so is her mother.”
Olivia couldn’t stop her smile from getting bigger, “Yes, I am.” She saw the furrowed brows and curious look of her ex-husband.
“So, where’s Natalia?”
She gave him a long, contemplative look. His smile was sincere, and if anyone got her, it would be Josh. When she closed the trunk and precariously balanced several trays of cookies, she looked at him, “She’ll be here soon. In the meantime, want to get a beer and…talk?”
“Talk? You? This sounds serious.”
“Yeah, it is. But in a good way.”
Natalia hopped down the back steps and headed back to the barn to get the remaining supplies for the barbeque. She knew they needed an ice chest for ice to keep the drinks cold, and thinking Rafe would probably show up, she whipped up a sugar free chocolate mousse pudding that he loved.
Opening the doors, she waved at her face to make the dust and lingering smell of horse manure fade slightly. She set the cleaning supplies on the floor by the door and walked over to the ladder that went up to the barn loft where all their seasonal items were kept. Slowly she climbed each step in the ladder being careful to check the stability of the wood before moving up a little higher. The barn was a lot bigger than it looked from the outside so by the time she got to the last step, she was winded and slightly dizzy.
She knew she still had to clean the ice chest and get a shower before she could so her time was running out. Instead of sitting for a moment longer to get her bearings, she turned to reach for the chest on the shelf at the back of the loft. That was when she noticed the sleeping bag that she and Olivia had carefully rolled up and put in a protective hard plastic bag to keep rats out, completely out of the bag and stuffed in the corner.
“What the…?” She reached for the bag and pulled it from the corner. “Oh my God!” She covered her mouth. In the corner sat an old fashioned but functional lantern, a local newspaper, and a map. She leaned closer when she saw something shiny in hay. She ran her finger over it and seeing how small it was she picked it up, the red and gold crest flickering back at her in the sunlight coming through the loft window. She held it up to the light, finally realizing it looked very much like a cufflink, to read the markings at the bottom. She could make out the faded lettering of an “S” and an “A” but that was all.
An uneasiness crept over her and she had a sudden urge to run from the barn. She gripped the cufflink in her hand, picked up the chest and turned, but before she could turn all the way around, the world went dark and she fell hard to the wooden planks of the loft.
Olivia sat at a bench table with Josh sipping on a beer as they watched Emma and several other kids chased Bill with water balloons. They laughed as Bill slipped on a Wiffle bat and all the kids came tumbling down on top of him. Olivia watched Lizzie from across the way giving her young fiance looks of complete adoration. Everyone tried to ignore the little pooch on Lizzie’s belly, but as in love as those two were, it was bound to happen. Watching him roll and wrestle with the kids, she knew he’d make a great father one day.
With a deep sigh of complete contentment, she lifted the bottle to her lips and took a long sip. Josh had been watching her, watching everyone else, and fighting a silly grin.
Olivia grinned at him and feigned a look of shock, “What? There’s nothing to tell…really.” The mischievous smirk however told another tale.
“You’re not getting out of this that easy. You wanted to sit down and have a beer and talk…so, talk.” Josh rested his goatted chin in his hand and gave Olivia his patented “tell me or else” look.
Olivia picked at the label on the bottle, “I’m…in love.”
A slow smile spread across his face, as he stretched out the only word he could think of at the moment, “Okay.” When no more information was forthcoming, he pushed, “Don’t stop there. Please, tell me more. Who is this lucky person?”
Olivia nervously bit her lip. If there was anyone in Springfield that she could trust and that really got her enough to understand how life-altering this was, it was Josh, but there was still a small nagging doubt in the back of her mind that made her hesitate.
She looked up at him and seeing nothing but genuine caring from a genuinely good man, she swallowed the last of her concerns before quietly acknowledging his question with an answer, “It’s Natalia.”
She watched him, cautiously, for any changing expression or reaction, but he simply smiled, “I know.”
“What?” Olivia was stumped.
He laughed at the shocked look on her face, “I know, Liv. I’ve known for a while.”
He took a slow sip of his beer, “Since we played pool with Jeffrey that time. You girls really were solid, huh?”
She elbowed him for the snarky remark, “Not at that time, no.” The look he gave her posed the obvious next question without words, “The wedding. I…blurted it out to her next to Gus’ grave and she ran out on Frank.”
Josh’s eyebrows raised, “That explains why Frank’s been so cranky lately.”
Olivia couldn’t contain her laughter. She didn’t enjoy the idea that she caused Frank pain, yet it was hard not to want to laugh at his recent regression into a grown up version of adolescent angst.
When the laughter died down, he reached for her and wrapped her in a hug. “Congratulations. I’m very happy for you.”
She closed her eyes and let herself be comforted by Josh’s strength and friendship, “Thank you…for everything.”
“You’re welcome. Now, the most important question of all.”
Olivia put her head in her hands, “Oh no! No, Josh, you can’t watch.”
Josh laughed so hard he almost fell off the bench, “That was not what I was going to ask.” He wiped at the tears of laughter streaking down his face, “I was going to ask where your girl’s at.”
Olivia had been so caught up in her talk with Josh and how good it felt to talk openly, finally, about her relationship with Natalia that she lost track of timeand didn’t realize it had been well over an hour since she had left the farmhouse. Natalia should have been there by now. She reached into her pocket to pull out her phone, thinking she may have turned it off accidentally, but when she looked it was on and the ringer was turned up. There were no missed calls or voice mails.
“She must have gotten stuck getting things to bring. Let me just call her to make sure she doesn’t need any help.” Josh gave her a shooing motion as she stood to walk over by the pool.
After several rings, she heard the voice mail pick up, “Hey, Natalia. It’s me. I was just checking to see if you needed any help or anything. I can come back over and help if you need it. Just give me a call, okay? Oh, by the way, I hope you don’t mind but I told Josh about us, and he was very happy. So…we’re having a great time. Emma’s soaked from the water balloon wars, and they’re going to be setting up for the three-legged race in about an hour. I know Emma can’t wait to do that with you. Okay, well, I’ll see you soon. I love you!”
She flipped her cell closed and slipped it in her pocket. She turned just in time to see Emma and Bill sneaking up on her with water balloons, “Don’t you dare, Emma Spencer!”
The little girl raised a hand innocently, “It’s just water.”
“Yeah, it’s just water, Olivia,” Bill bounced a water-filled balloon in his hand mischievously.
“Don’t even think about, Bill Lewis.”
“Whatcha gonna do about it, huh?” Olivia smirked evilly at the approaching forms behind Bill.
“Let’s just say that I hope you brought a change of clothes.”
“What?” Bill turned just in time to see Josh toss one of the biggest water balloons known to man right at him. Emma and Olivia both squealed and jumped back as the flood of water went everywhere.
Finally recovering from his shock, Bill took off after Josh, “Come here, old man! Oh, you’re gonna pay for that!”
Rafe and Ashlee sat by the pool sipping lemonade and having the random kind of conversation common to teenagers. Both compared notes on their latest cell phones and all the cool applications they had downloaded and seemed to spend more time text messaging others than actually talking to each other.
A shadow fell over them and Rafe barely contained his contempt at the woman standing there with a tray of fresh drinks.
“Looks like you two are getting low,” Olivia gestured to their cups, “Want some more?”
Ashlee gratefully took a thoroughly iced lemonade from the tray, “Thank you so much!”
“No problem…Rafe?” He shook his head no but didn’t verbalize his response. Instead, he simply stood, shook his head again and walked away. Ashlee looked apologetically at Olivia, but the older woman waved her hand nonchalantly urging Ashlee silently to not worry about it.
Olivia walked away, and Ashlee watched for a moment before taking off where Rafe had gone. She found him far out in the field leaning against the fence.
“What was that about?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.” She placed her hand carefully on his arm.
“Well, I am. Something’s bothering you. You know you can talk to me, right?” He fidgeted with the cap in his hand before wrapping his arms tightly around his chest as if he was in pain. He acknowledged the blonde’s concerned question with a nod, but kept looking down.
“My life is so screwed up right now.”
Ashlee looked at him strangely. As far as she knew, his life was finally working out pretty good. “Why would you say that? You just got out of the halfway house, and you barely served any time. You have a home to go to. Friends that care. A mom that’s awesome! What could possibly be wrong?”
“She’s not awesome. You don’t know here,” he snorted at his own bad private joke, “Actually, neither do I.”
Ashlee threw up her hands, completely confused, “I don’t…”
“She’s gay, okay? And she’s…she thinks she’s in love with Olivia,” he shook his head vehemently, the anger bubbling quickly to the surface, “But she can’t. It’s Olivia’s fault. She messed with her head and weaseled her way into our lives. She destroyed my mom’s marriage and then led her own with this…this crap.”
Ashlee narrowed her eyes at her friend, watching his body language. He still hadn’t looked at her. He was ashamed of his own mother. She glared at him then.
“Rafe Rivera, I cannot believe you,” he finally looked at her when the tone of voice was not what he expected. He thought she’d side with him. After all, she was his friend, right?
“Your mom is in love and from what I’ve seen of her, happily so, yet you’re going to stand here and doubt that your thirty something year old mother doesn’t know what she wants and who she wants it with?” Rafe didn’t know what to say.
“She lied to me, Ashlee.”
The blonde crossed her arms and looked out over the field, “No, no she didn’t. If she was going to lie to you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because you still wouldn’t know about her. Let me tell you something about lying. Lying means looking your daughter in the eye and straight up saying ‘Honey, I have a dinner date with a wonderful guy named Michael at 7pm. Don’t wait up.’ And come to find out that the date was really with Michelle. That’s lying, Rafe. Not this. You’re lucky to have a mom that actually talks to you and trusts you.”
Rafe was shell-shocked, “You mean, your mom…the mayor is…”
“Yeah, but of course, I don’t know that.”
Rafe didn’t know what to say. Saying ‘sorry’ didn’t seem adequate at the moment so he simply reached out and put a gentle hand on her shoulder. They both turned as they heard voices calling for the three-legged race.
Ashlee gave Rafe a crooked smile and tilted her head back to the gathering, “Come on. Daisy and I are going to kick you and Frank’s collective butts.”
He smiled and followed Ashlee back, lingering back a few steps, still pondering what she said.
Olivia pulled her phone from her pocket for the third time in five minutes. Still no call. Nothing. A few hundred feet away, everyone was setting up for the three-legged race. She watched her daughter holding her sack, alone, and her heart clenched. She looked at the phone one more time and started to hit the speed dial number, when Frank walked by.
“Hey, Frankie!” He turned but stalled, debating if he really wanted to talk to her or not. “Come here, please?”
He finally moved to sit by her on the bench, “Sure, what’s up?”
“Natalia’s been held up, I think. She was supposed to do the race with Emma, but…” They both looked at the young girl, all sad and forlorn. “I don’t want her to miss out on anything. Could you…?”
He only debated for a moment. In spite of what had happened with Natalia and Olivia, he couldn’t hold it against the young girl. “Sure. I’ll take care of it.”
He stood and walked over to Rafe, whispered something in his ear as he motioned to his knee before calling Emma over. Olivia smiled as she watched her daughter’s disposition immediately brighten and she joined Rafe for the race.
She caught Frank’s eye and mouthed, “Thank you.” He nodded in acknowledgment before heading to the grill area for another beer.
She eyed her phone again then checked for a dial tone to ensure it was working. Almost three hours had passed since she had left the farmhouse. How long did it take to get an ice chest and fill it with food? Finally, she gave in to the temptation and hit the speed dial number.
As hard as she tried, she couldn’t keep the concern out of her voice. She really didn’t want to sound worried or possessive, but she couldn’t help the sense of unease hanging over her.
“Hey Natalia. I was just making sure everything was okay. They just started the three-legged race and food’s going to be served soon. You’ll be happy to know that Emma didn’t have to forgo the race. Frank gave up his spot with Rafe for her.” She laughed as she watched Emma and Rafe stumble across the finish line. “And I think they just came in second place. If you’re not feeling good, give me a call and let me know, okay. So I don’t do something silly like worry or whatever. Alright…um, love you.”
She put the phone away the moment Emma ran over to her and threw her arms around her in a hug, “Did you see, mom? We came in second.” She motioned to Rafe standing well behind her, not wanting to get too close to Olivia’s space.
“I did! You were wonderful!” She looked at the young man that was like a brother to Emma. “Thank you for letting her race with you.”
He shrugged and shuffled his foot, “No problem.”
“Betcha I would have come in first though if Natalia had raced with me!” Rafe gave Emma a shocked look.
“Oh, see if I race with you again, pipsqueak.”
Olivia laughed at the playful banter and wished things weren’t so hard right now for him and Natalia. This could work. This could be so good for all of them. Then Rafe gave her an odd look as they both thought about Natalia, and Olivia could see the wall fall down over Rafe’s face.
She sighed as he mumbled that he had to go and do something.
Emma turned back to her mom, “So, when’s Natalia getting here?”
“I’m sure she’ll be here any minute now. Why don’t you go see how much longer we’ll have on those burgers, huh?” She shuffled Emma over towards Rick and the grill.
“Natalia, where the hell are you?” She spoke to herself.
Natalia awoke to a sharp noise and a pounding headache that had taken up residence behind her eyes. She closed her eyes tight against the bright light temporarily blinding her. She squinted her eyes open, laying a hand over her eyes to block the glaring light and slightly dull the pain now throbbing in time to her heartbeat. The staccato beat of something banging against metal only made the incessant throb more unbearable. She pressed her palms into her eyes hoping the pressure would ease the pain behind her eyes.
At first, when she looked up again, she thought she was on the floor of the barn but as her eyes focused, they landed on gray, uneven walls and a flat concrete surface covered in straw. She was no where that looked familiar and the panic quickly raced up her throat and choked her with a sob.
“Oh my God, where am I?” She frantically looked around and could see no light except the false eery glow of the naked bulb that showered down on her from almost twenty feet above the ground. The space she was in was small. When she stood and ran shaking hands over the rough stone walls, her arms almost reached from one end of the wall to the other. She felt along the wall hoping to run across…something. She wasn’t sure what, but there had to be something here that could help her. All she could feel was the barely noticeable indentations for the metal door. At the very bottom of the door was a cut out groove. She felt along the opening but her touch was blocked by another piece of metal.
When nothing else was in apparent sight or touch, panic, raw and unhindered, bubbled to the surface and Natalia screamed, “HEEEELLLLLLLPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!” Down the hall, a dark figure turned and laughed as the screams and frantic banging on metal subsided as he walked further and further away.