Music For the Heart, Chapter 1: The Dance

Reply to Geonn

Posted to the LadySlash mailing list September 19, 2001

Title: Music For The Heart (MFTH)
Author: Geonn
Email: stuckeyvillian@yahoo.com
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Alex/Claire
Disclaimer: I don't own it. Wouldn't be able to afford the upkeep if I did.
Summary: Claire discovers the new agent may be interested in being more than friends.
Notes: Takes place immediately after Alex's first episode, "The Camp" and includes spoilers up to that episode.

      Claire resisted the urge to slap the side of the computer as she read what it showed her on it's glowing screen. She stomped her foot on the carpeted floor and muttered a string of curses. The door to the office opened and Alexandra Monroe stepped in. "Whoa... Haven't heard language like that since I was aboard that Navy ship... Problems with the computer?"

      Claire sighed and accepted the mug of steaming coffee that Alex offered. "I keep trying to run these quicksilver simulations to see if any of them show promise, but it's the same bloody thing every time; patient dies. Maybe the problem isn't my slow computer... maybe it's my slow brain." She sighed and sipped the hot coffee.

      Alex chuckled. "I've been here two days and I can already tell you, your brain is NOT the problem."

      Claire smiled, then absent-mindedly checked her watch. "Oh, my God... How did it get this late?!" She began gathering her stuff. "I'm sorry if I kept you... I had no idea what time it was..."

      "Don't worry about it. I enjoyed the company. In fact... I get the feeling you don't get many girlfriends hanging around a bunch of Agency goons."

      Claire rolled her eyes. "You're right on that... God, it seems half the time the only people I see are men. Even my dog is a male."

      Alex chuckled. "What you need is a girl's night out. What do you say we go grab a drink and get to know each other?"

      "Now? It's after midnight!"

      "Ah, the perfect time to go a-hunting and a-haunting. I know this great little bar and it's just around the corner."

      "All right... one drink."

      ---

      The dark, smoke-filled bar wasn't what Claire would call 'great', but it certainly was little. A large dance floor filled the center of the room and it was surrounded by curtained booths. A thick cloud of smoke hung in the air, the smell of whiskey and urine almost causing Claire to turn and run. It was only the tug on her sleeve from Alex that kept her moving forward.

      They sat at the bar and a thin man approached, smiling at Alex. He took her hand and lightly kissed the back of it. "The lovely Alexandra and her lovelier friend... what can I get for you this evening?"

      "Scotch, neat," Alex said, turning to look at the dance floor.

      Claire fidgeted a minute, then said, "I'll just have a water, please..."

      Alex laughed. "You don't come to a bar to drink water. Water you can get at home. Holland, get the lady a whiskey."

      "Alex... I'm not really a drinker..."

      Alex winked. "Everyone's a drinker for one night of their lives. This is your night. Enjoy it." She had completely turned to face the dance floor now, resting her elbows on the bar. "We have GOT to steal a dance before we head out. Agreed?"

      Claire smiled. "I may not be a drinker... but I am quite the dancer."

      Their drinks arrived and Claire looked at the whiskey, scrunching her nose. "I don't know, Alex..."

      Alex downed her Scotch in a single swallow, dropping the empty glass on the bar. "Another!" She saw Claire had yet to take a single sip and said, "Come on, Claire. Down the hatch! It's all on me, go crazy."

      Claire smirked. "Well, if it's all on you..." She downed the whiskey, grimacing at the burning that it caused all the way down. "Oh, God...!"

      Alex laughed, patting Claire on the back. "Don't worry, it gets better. Holland! Two more here!"

      The bartender returned with two more glasses and smiled at the pair. "You two aren't going to get drunk and stupid, now... are you?"

      Alex reached across the bar and rubbed the man's balding head. "What's the fun in drinking if you don't get drunk and stupid?" She picked up her glass and drank it a little slower this time. She wiped her mouth and sighed. "That. Is. The stuff..."

      Claire drank her whiskey slower, too. The burning was gone, but she was beginning to feel a buzz. She finished the glass and turned to Alex, her vision becoming fuzzy. "A'ex? I, uh... thin' I shoul' head home..."

      Alex shook her head, "But you promised me a dance, young lady. Come on." She took Claire's hand and dragged the hazy woman to the center of the dance floor. An old Garth Brooks song was playing on the jukebox.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment, all the world was right
How could I have known you'd ever say good-bye?

      Alex put her hands on Claire's waist and began to slowly sway to the music. Ready to let Alex lead the dance, she stretched her arms out and rested them on Alex's shoulders. She laid her head on the other woman's shoulder and muttered, "I'm so tired."

      Alex smiled, holding the Keeper close. "Want to go home?"

      "After this song," Claire murmured. "I love this song."

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

      As they swayed across the dance floor, Alex inhaled the scent of Claire's hair. "Can I..." she softly began. She stopped, biting on her lower lip.

      "Can you what," Claire asked, dreamily.

      "Can I tell you something personal?"

      "Of course. We're supposed to be friends, right?"

      Alex pulled back so she could look into Claire's beautiful eyes. "It's been a long time since I've felt this way about someone; since I've felt this kind of instant attraction."

      "Attraction?"

      Alex leaned forward, pressing her lips softly against Claire's. Their dancing stopped for a moment as they focused all of their energy on the joining of their lips. Alex broke the soft contact, slowly opening her eyes and looking for a sign to continue. "Claire?"

      Claire bit her lip. "Alex, I've never... been with... I mean, I've never considered being with a woman. But... it may be the whiskey talking... I... Oh, bloody hell," she bridged the distance between herself and Alex again, their lips meeting with the fire and energy Claire hadn't felt in a long time. She felt Alex's tongue probing against her lips, begging entrance, but she resisted... for the moment.

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have chanced it all

      The song ended and the two women stood on the dance floor, swaying to the music in their own heads. Realization suddenly hit Claire. "Oh, God... people must be staring..."

      Alex smiled. "Why would they st... I didn't tell you what kind of bar this was. Oh, God, I brought you here and you thought... Claire, you must have assumed I meant girlfriends like GIRL-friends. I meant girlfriends as in... lovers."

      "This is a... You're a..."

      "Yes on both accounts. Are you surprised?"

      Claire let her fingers trace the lines of Alex's shoulders. "I suppose not... I mean, you did turn down both Bobby AND Darien... not many women can do that..."

      Alex laughed, then kissed Claire again. They swayed slowly on the floor as the next song started. Claire held Alex close, staring into her eyes. "Alexandra... I do want to... experience this."

      "Yes?"

      "But it's a little sudden. Can you give me time?"

      "You don't go all the way on the first date. I understand, Claire."

      Claire smiled. "Thank you."

      "I do have a question, though..."

      "Anything."

      "What's your last name?"

      Claire smiled and leaned forward, her lips mere centimeters from Alex's ear. As she spoke her surname, her warm breath washed over the other woman's lobe, sending shivers down her spine. Alex held Claire tightly and kissed her just below her jawline. They danced like that for another hour before Alex dropped Claire off at home.

      As they sat outside the townhouse, Claire took Alex's face in her hands, gently stroking her jawline. "I promise... I want to do this with you."

      "Just not now. I understand, Claire. Really, I do."

      The two women kissed again. It was a kiss full of passion and promise. Claire broke the kiss, reluctantly climbing out of the jeep. "I'll see you tomorrow."

      Alex winked from behind the steering wheel. "I'll make an excuse if you happen to be a little late. Hangovers can be nasty things." She blew a kiss to Claire before pulling away from the curb.

      Claire stood alone in the darkness, not wanting to go in just yet. Finally, she looked up at the sky, taking a good, long look at the stars. She sighed, her warm breath mixing with the cold night air in whispy clouds. "What the hell happened tonight?"

      She hugged herself tightly and headed up the stairs to her front door, already dreading the hangover that was in store for her the next morning... and the questions she would have for herself...

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss
the dance.

Continue to Chapter 2

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