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Disclaimer: All copyrighted materials referred to in this work are the property of their respective owners. References to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Genre: Het/Angst/Friendship
Pairing Rachel/Keith
Rating: NC-17
Note: *Written for Porn Battle XI: Eleven Days of Porn. For the prompt "promises."
*Title from Regina Spektor's "Samson"

Summary: Rachel comes home. "I stayed away because it was what you wanted. But I should have been here."


1st floor, 4th floor, 6th floor...dry goods, camping equipment, ladies ready-to-wear...

Rachel wrinkled her noise at the wanderings of her sleep-deprived brain, even as she unconsciously tapped at the metal railing around the edge of the small space.

Though given how hard her mind had been racing on the plane home, maybe the stream-of-consciousness was pure mental consolation.

The ding of the elevator bell brought her back down to Earth. Though the phrase seemed wrong, somehow. This had never been Earth. This had been some alien world, exciting unfamiliar terrain. That she navigated by sheer force of will, and with a whole lot of help.

A lot of his help. And now her guide was fading into the trees, and the lions and tigers and bears loomed larger then they ever had before.

She smacked the heel of her hand against the door frame, flinching and rejoicing in the sharp pain at the same time.

He had told her on Wednesday. There had been questions, and discussions, and apologies and jokes. But it hadn't really seemed real until tonight.

The Southern California heat had felt anything except right, and she had breathed a sigh of relief at the biting winter chill of the Manhattan air.

She wasn't sure why she had come back. They had agreed, the Maher appearance would go on, they would end as they had begun, in friendship and joy and smiles. Joking about promises, like there would be more of them to come and time to keep them.

He had agreed, and she had gone along with it. She had promised. But he'd promised too. Promised that if she plunged into this, he would be there by her side.

Somewhere in there, she'd stopped outside his office. Rachel wouldn't have picked sentimental as the word to describe herself. But she had to take one last look.

The room was mostly dark. But the end-table lamp next to his sofa was on. Softly illuminating the man himself. Tapping a pen against paper, staring at the wall.

As she ventured further in, she could see the chaotic mess of paper; some on the desk, some on the floor, in piles with some sort of internal order.

Rachel closed the door slowly. Sat beside him.

He spoke first. "You were good tonight."

"You were too."

"I try."

"Wish I could have been there."

"You were there. When it was important, you were always there."

In Rachel's sleepless brain, anger flashed.

"Screw that. Tonight was important. And I was on a goddamn comedy show. I should have been here."

He rose to his feet, went to look out the window.

"It's late. You don't know what you're saying."

She rose. She followed him, grabbed his shoulder, turned him to face her.

"I know exactly what I'm saying, you arrogant jackass. I stayed away because it was what you wanted. But I should have been here."

Keith's face screwed up. With annoyance, with anger, with sadness, she wasn't sure.

"You were where you should have been, and you'll keep being there, being here, and damned if I was going to get in the way of that. I go down, I do not take anybody with me."

"Always the ultimatums, always the grand proclamations with you, isn't it, Keith?"

"You're just getting this *now*? Where the hell have you been the past 2 years?"

There was a pause. It just happened to be this that set them both off. First Rachel, then Keith, laughing so hard that she had to grab his arm to keep herself upright. Eventually, she caught her breath.

"You do have a point there."

She looked up, only to find Keith's face was now deathly serious. He couldn't hold her gaze, and looked out the window.

"If you had been here...I couldn't. I just couldn't. I couldn't share that. I wouldn't have been able to get through it."

The persistent ache she had been ignoring all night returned with a vengeance. She lifted one hand to his cheek; found it wet with tears. Turned it towards her. The naked feeling, the need she saw there almost knocked her backwards. He continued.

"I know it hurt you, I know I inevitably screw these things up, and I'm sorry for that. I'm so sorry."

She had no return for that. So she simply drew him close, drew him into an embrace that seemed to go on forever. Arms entwined around each other. Staring into the pale  light of the city streets.

His breathing gradually calmed; she felt that under her touch. She drew back again; gazed into his soft grey eyes, filled with all sorts of indescribable things.

And then Rachel did something that (from his response) surprised both of them. Softly, tentatively, she pulled his face closer to hers, and softly kissed him.

"No apologies." Whispered, as she lay her forehead against his. Then there were no whispers, as she kissed him again. Stronger, more passionately.

He kissed back this time, first fumbling, figuring out where to put his hands, on her shoulder, or the nape of her neck, or running through her hair. Rachel couldn't say she blamed him. Everything was new. They weren't just Keith and Rachel, they were *Keith and Rachel.*

The two of them stayed like that for a while, simply swaying, entwined with each other. Exploring each other. Eventually, their hands moved to newer frontiers; Rachel gloried in running her fingers up and down his back, barely covered by the thin white shirt. She barely suppressed a moan, as one of Keith's hands moved to grasp her ass, feeling, then squeezing. She then had to hold on for both of them, as the other hand ventured underneath the fabric of her t-shirt, fumbling, then surely grasping her breast. There was no suppressing a moan that time.

Neither of them had good balance at the best of times, and their minds were certainly on other things. So, at the first stumble, it was wordlessly decided that affairs would reconvene upon the sofa. Rachel resting with her head on the cushions, Keith taking direction.

She had never envisoned this, seriously. She was Rachel and he was Keith, and both were pretty sure they knew how things went. But somehow...somehow, this worked. Her nerve endings twitched, warmed, overflowed with sensation, as his lips explored every inch of her. His fingers kneading her clit through her pants, finding just the right spot to make her writhe, make her arch into his touch.

Rachel wanted more. She needed more. Her twitchy fingers fumbled with his shirt buttons; growing impatient there, she decided instead on his trouser zipper. He was a big man, but somehow felt as light as a feather, as she flipped on top of him, to gain more leverage.

He had been so quiet, that legendary mouth occupied otherwise. But now he groaned, happily, as she finished the zipper, shimmying his trousers and boxers down his legs. His cock was already hard ready and raring to go, but she stroked it just the same. Smiling, grinning at the control freak under her touch, now under the control of his *other* brain.

Apparently, this brief loss of control was even too much for him, as he forcefully grabbed her hips, removing the other problematic pair of trousers. She decided to reward him for this initiative, bending and stretching, and then flinging her shirt to the other side of the room.

This made both of them laugh (again); the movement made both of them gasp again, in pleasure. They were close, both of them. She could feel it.

But first Rachel looked down, at her friend, now her lover. He was smiling. Keith was genuinely grinning, for the first time in weeks. And that gave her the greatest pleasure of all.

Keith nodded; Rachel moved upwards, letting him enter her, easing downwards. Bending down to kiss him again, she moved slowly at first, then faster. Faster, with him moving too, now in unison.

They of so many words, of vocabulary for every situation, Keith and Rachel, the double act. They were now wordless, exclaiming only in the language of passion. She felt him him shudder underneath her; that brought her to climax herself.

Joined in ecstasy.

Rachel couldn't be sure how much later it was when he spoke. She thought she might have been sleeping in between. Curled in his strong arms; fingers playing softly with his chest hair. Keith shifted, looked into her eyes.


"That's all you have to say? I would think I deserved a bit more than a monosyllable."

"You know me, I choose my words carefully."

"I do know that."

He was wordless again; staring out towards the brightening early morning. She decided to rescue him.

"So where do you go now?"

His eyes glazed over, with the overwhelmed look of the man with his life ahead of him.

"Outside. Downstairs. Haven't quite thought that far yet. Or that soon."

Rachel moved her hand up to run it through his hair. "Don't think I'm going to let you go that easily, my friend."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

"Au revoir, not adieu."

"Oh, you're speaking French now?"

"I am a woman of many talents."

"I know that. I do know that."

The sun rose over Manhattan, Keith and Rachel simply watched it. Outside was a lifetime away, and today was unwritten.




emma hamilton
i make up for it with cunning and guile

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January 2012


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