Title: A Study In Orange
Author: Hollie O.
Feedback address: holland_anne@hotmail.com
Date in Calendar: 20 December 2010
Fandom: Original
Pairing: Claire/Harriet
Rating: M (sexual references)
Word Count: 3375
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW10

Author's Notes: This is an original story, the characters are my own. This is a fantasy. Any resemblance to people living or dead is probably an unfortunate, embarrassing oversight.

Pages rustled.

A sigh sounded.

Claire lay on her bed, peering at a textbook, head propped on her hand, propped on her elbow, placed on a soft quilt. She felt she could resist all temptation associated with studying on her bed due to her orientation away from the headboard, which in her mind was the opposite of sleep.

She sighed again.

Red hair passed across the frame of the open doorway. Not only red hair, of course. It was attached to a girl, but eye-catching enough to be the only impression left by a glimpse. It'd take a full second before your eyes would migrate to her ass and realise it was equally as spectacular. Or her sparkling blue eyes, or those long, cool legs leading up and up or her... Claire giggled to herself. She'll come back in a minute, she nodded mentally. That was just a sighting run.

Moments later, the red-haired girl returned. This time she lingered in the doorway, leaning into the side, one leg bent coyly and rocking on the tips of her toes. A hand casually stroked her midriff, artfully pushing up her white singlet to expose the curve of her belly. Claire was deliberately trying not to look but could see her in peripheral. Enough to know what she was doing, and to be aware she was also wearing purple boxer shorts. That wasn't fair talk about fighting dirty!

The girl continued to mooch for a moment to prove the point before speaking.

"Still studying?" she asked.

"Uh huh."

The girl paced a few steps into the room, taking any kind of verbal response as an invitation. "Wow, you've been going for like, two hours."

"Uhhh huh." Claire's focus never shifted from her book.

The girl pouted then bit her lip, hesitating at a distance. Her eyes traveled over Claire's supine form, something not missed by the subject of her attention, then she smiled briefly to herself and walked over to the edge of the bed.

"You could probably use a break then," she declared brightly.

Claire still kept her eyes on the page before her. "No. I told you. I have to study. I have an exam tomorrow."

The girl snorted, "Come on, you always ace exams. If anything you study too hard..." she paused as she slowly moved her hand to brush some of Claire's chestnut-coloured hair back from her eyes, over her ear, noting with satisfaction the barely suppressed thrill the motion elicited in the other girl, "...it isn't good for you."

"Harry," Claire started, closing her eyes, still not wanting to look at her girlfriend but having read the same sentence half a dozen times, "You know I really love you... but I'm gonna have to ask you to fuck off for now, okay?"

"Ah," Harriet smiled in reply, "I can see you're tense, babe. That's why I think you need a relaxing massage!"

Claire tilted her head to finally look up at Harriet, eyebrows raised slightly over a cool gaze. "Yeah, I think we both know as soon as you get your hands on me there'll be no more studying," she decisively turned back to her book. "Not of textbooks anyway."

"Do you think I'm some kind of animal? Just let me be a good girlfriend and help you relax, and then you can study without being all cross."

Harriet's proposal met with silence and determined concentration. She flopped her head, and addressed the ceiling. "Here you are, provocatively lying in bed, door open, willing me into the room, luring me with..."

"My flannel PJ's?" Claire interrupted.

"Yes!" Harriet gestured, arms out, looking down at her, wide-eyed, "You know what they do to me, you hussy!"

Claire let her head drop onto her book as she laughed, no longer able to contain her amused frustration. "Harry, you're killing me!" she declared, her voice muffled in her book and fallen hair till she peeked upwards once more. "Fine! Go on, have your way then."

"I can have my way with you then? Mwahaha!" Harriet bounced onto the bed beside Claire, her momentum rocking the brunette, who cried, "Just a quick massage! No funny business."

"Oh, sure," Harriet agreed, "I'll have to take your shirt off, of course."

"What? No, just do it over it!"

"Ah, but my leetle eclaire," she purred, pulling a small bottle from the waistband of her boxers, "I can't very well pour this fragrant oil onto your PJ's, can I?"

Claire laughed, "Oh God... I knew you were hiding something. Well, push it up then, you're not getting me naked."

Harriet pouted at her, but complied, lifting the hem of her shirt and pushing it up her back, smoothing her hands over the bare skin, slowly and sensuously. Claire shivered at the touch of her girl's hands, so soft and silky, gentle but firm. Mmm, reason number one hundred and twenty seven I have to be a lesbian, she thought, soft hands. So soft and warm... wait, she even warmed them! Someone's confident, sheesh. A sense of release flowed where the hands went, a wonderful easing within her. She really had been tense and wound up. Credit where it's due, she knows me well. The hands reached her shoulders and massaged her taut muscles, causing Claire to moan as her body yielded beneath her girl's ministrations.

Harriet chuckled, "See? You needed this."

"Mmm, yeah," she groaned, "Oh, Harry, I do love how you knead me."

They both giggled. Then Claire sighed and started reading again, causing her masseuse to object. "Hey, can't you just take a break for a minute? You know this stuff back to front."

"Yeah, well, you know me back to front too but doesn't stop you revising, huh?"

"Ha!" Harriet resumed her massage, trying to jostle the tension from her girlfriend. "You'll be fine, babe. Don't worry about it."

"This is history!" Claire complained, "I'm not used to memorising history." She turned a page, grumbling, "Damn electives."

She kept reading, page after page. This stuff really is incredibly dull. What the hell had made me choose Ancient Greek History as an elective? grrr. The attentions of her girlfriend calmed her though, imbuing her with a warm, pleasurable hum, but they were also making her feel drowsy. She was sinking into a sleep more and more seductive, with soft hands running over her, pressing and moulding her. One hand lifted from her for a moment before she felt warm drops of liquid fall onto her lower back as the scent of oranges filled the air. Her skin became silky and wet, a warmth permeating through her back, pressed into her with her girl's palms. She was slipping into the pleasure of it, yet she resisted. She tried to re-focus on her book and let the massage aid her to absorb knowledge. That'll work, right? Mmmm, she's so good at this, she... her eyes widened suddenly.

"Hey!" Claire cried, staring back over her shoulder.

"Whoops," Harriet exclaimed, holding up her arms in innocence, "Sorry... um, my hands slipped! It's the oil, I swear."

"They both slipped at the same time, huh? And cupped?"

Harriet snickered at her and received a glare in return.

"What can I say? It was an accident...," she moued and look askance, "maybe if you ever wore bras..."

"Maybe you can grab your own tits next time!"

Harriet chuckled, "It's not quite the same, babe." Then she tried to frown seriously, lifting a hand aloft. "I promise, I won't do it again. Well, for now, you know... I don't promise forever, I'm not giving that... I mean, it's quite nice... um," she stopped at the reaction she was getting, and placed her hand over her heart, "I'll be good."

Claire contemplated her girlfriend as she sat astride her legs. On the surface she appeared contrite, yet she glimpsed the undercurrent of naughty glee flowing through her. And she knew her. The massage was, however, too good to give up. "Fine. No taking advantage though!"

She resumed reading as her sufficiently scolded girlfriend restarted the massage. This time she concentrated more successfully, though she had to admit to herself, her nipples were still buzzing from the brief contact. In a way, Harriet pushing the rules like that fired her up, and it seemed to be helping her study somehow. She managed to finish revising the chapter she'd been working on and moved on to the next one. Okay, Harry was right, she really is... hang on!


"What? Your butt looked tense!"

Claire held her gaze defiantly. "You just can't resist, can you?"

"Can't resist what?" The redhead was only barely containing her guffaws within a smirk. However, she sensed Claire was starting to get mad, so she leaned over and whispered softly to her, in the voice of the genuinely caring and supportive girlfriend she was. "You know I'm teasing. I do think you need a proper break, but if you really want me to leave you alone, just say the word."

Claire bit her lip. She didn't want to be left alone, as it happened. "Hmmm, I have to admit," she spoke slowly, "As evil as you are, it does kinda help."

"Mmm, you know," Harriet grinned, in that contagious way of hers, that irresistible, devilish smile that always melted Claire, "I have a dare for you... whatever you do, keep studying... just keep studying."

Claire sat on a stone step, her breath fogging over the notes she was perusing, the air crisp and cold in the early morning. She was regretting the fact she'd chosen to wear a dress, as even though she was wrapped in her favourite long black coat, no matter how she positioned herself, a freezing draft kept managing to enter where it was least wanted. Her hair brushed into her eyes, and in batting it away with a mittened hand, she fumbled her pages onto the ground. "Oh, for fuck's sake," she muttered, heaving herself up to chase them down. Damn Harry and her soft hands. This is her fault!

Her notes collected, she stopped to lean against the stone wall beneath the railings, breathing deeply in an effort to calm herself. She observed the courtyard before her; the small flock of birds flapping into the air, the trees fluttering their leaves gently, the other students milling about on the grass, waiting for the exam. All with an air of calm, like they knew everything.

This wasn't like her at all. She'd always been the nervous sort, which is why she'd always prepared carefully, so as not to let it grow to panic. Yet here she was with a weight in her chest and an uneasy, sick feeling of humming anxiety. Because of a vixen like Harriet. A smile flickered on her despite her distress but she lost it in a shake of her head. I want to be cross, dammit.

She blushed to think of the night before, her cheeks hot in the chill. She stared up into the sky so serene and still, with no cloud in sight. Simply a vast blueness, open and inviting, like you could fall into it and float forever. Her heart beat faster, a quickening flowed within her, a flush of emotion. Every time with Harriet. Even after all of their years together, she so easily lost herself in passion to her. So easily and naturally. An irresistible link between them that never broke or failed, merely waxed and waned in unfathomable ways.

She never had put down the textbook...

Metallic clunks echoed as the doors to the examination hall opened and everybody shuffled in. Claire followed listlessly, up the stairs and into the long hall. The Ancient Greek history elective had been popular this year. There had to be at least a hundred people waiting to be examined. Claire's will firmed with determination. I will do well, I know this stuff, stop being a baby!

She chose her seat, hung her coat on the back of the chair and placed herself down. Pencils and rubbers were arranged in her set pattern: four pencils like little picket fences on her left, her rubber and extra emergency rubber at the top in the middle of the desk, in company with her sharpener. There was a palpable absence on her right where her calculator usually lay. She'd been pleased not have been silly enough to bring one to a history exam but now she missed it. She breathed consciously, closing her eyes for a moment to focus her concentration and waited for the start. Don't be nervous, you'll be fine. The thought echoed her girlfriend's voice, and she half-smiled, half-scowled at the remembrance.

The head examiner stood by the big clock, and as it struck the hour, he declared the examination to have commenced. One of these days they'll start using checkered flags. Claire opened the question booklet, flicking through. Nine questions, that's a good number. Okay, first one! It was a question on the Lelantine War, the causes and the details of times and geography. Claire had read all about it, yet now she was asked directly, she found she'd suddenly forgotten everything she knew. She clutched her pencil and thought, trying not to panic, but drawing a blank on the subject. I'm just nervous, my brain will tick over eventually. Damn history... Her arm itched, inside the elbow, and she distractedly brushed at it, as thankfully details flooded into her brain. 1710 to 650 B.C., ...the island of Euboea... mentions by Plutarch... Eretria, Chalkis...

She scribbled away, relieved to be under way. The first question answered, she read the second "Name three City States during the Classical Period with different forms of governance, and explain their political systems in detail." Again, she thought of the topic and came back with nothing. What the hell is going on? My memory isn't this bad. She frowned at the examination paper and concentrated. Think! How is it possible to forget this stuff? Her earlobe was bothering her as well. One thing Claire did remember was Harriet getting a little carried away and biting her there the night before, gently but she had definitely felt it as more than a nibble. She did have a thing about her earlobes and didn't Harry know it... Wait, stop thinking about that, you're in an exam! Focus! She tried harder to recall, and rubbed her earlobe to get rid of the tingling distraction, and finally she remembered. Corinth and Macedon... Sparta, oligarchy... Athens, democracy...

On the third question, about the Peloponnesian War, once more she struggled to remember details. A disturbing, intuitive realisation came over her as her left breast started to tingle. She sat still, wondering if this could actually be happening. She glanced left and right self-consciously, aware of how very much in public she was. She blushed faintly as she moved her hand to stroke the top of her signaling breast, which was exposed by the cut of her dress, using her left arm in an attempt to block any view of what she was doing. What am I doing?? Somehow it seemed vaguely right yet not good enough, so she traced along and down to the side, eliciting goose bumps and a faint feeling of recall. Something about the battle of Cyzicus. Her fingers reached the underside, only the light cloth of her dress insulating her from the skin underneath she hadn't worn a bra, it was an exam habit of hers, a sort of superstition. Some more details emerged as her touch explored her contours but they were fuzzy until she circled upwards then around her nipple and at last achieved perfect clarity as she stroked the tip, which hardened under her attention. Facts of history flowed through her mind.

Lysander... Syme... 410... the Lacedaemonians... It was like tuning a radio... then Claire snapped out of it and was abruptly aware of what she was doing and where she was. She flinched, unhanding herself and blushing crimson, placing her hands on the desk and lowering her head upon them. She now understood what had happened. Images flashed within her of her red-haired girl, smiling, laughing, touching, stroking, nibbling... Oh no. No way... that's not possible! The answers were mapped onto her body! Somehow the mix of study and sex had... encrypted her with Ancient Greek history. Knowledge had been erotically encoded into her very physiology. Oh dear God!

What could she do? What could she possibly do? Well, you could answer the question. Does it matter how? Come on, Claire, get it off your chest! She grimaced at the bad pun but she quickly decided that she just needed to get through this exam and she'd deal with the implications later. And so she did, huddling over as she wrote in an attempt to hide the fact she was cradling her boob as though it was the font of all knowledge.

So it went, each area of history corresponding to a different erogenous zone. On the next question, her belly bristled with knowledge of Sophocles. The little area between her clavicle and her throat revealed the cult of Pythagoras. The back of her knee emanated facts on the history of Christianisation.

She was beginning to associate the tingling with what Harriet had specifically been doing at the time, which was making her made her blush even more. She'd always experienced aftershocks following intimacy but not like this. She slipped off her shoe, then dropped her pencil onto the floor as an excuse to bend down and quickly tickle the arch of her foot, and thus answered the eighth question on Thebes.

Then she put her pencil down and paused, with head on hand, breathing rapidly. She'd reached such a height of embarrassment and excitation, she didn't think she could cope anymore. When I get out of here, there's going to be some serious scolding, for damn sure! There was a distinct edge of pleasure in what she was doing, something she was consciously attempting to ignore, even as it was quickening her breathing and... She couldn't focus on any physical symptom of her arousal and carry on. Mental focus, Claire, you can do it! She took a deep breath and readied herself for the finish, the last question. Oh, God, please don't have a question on the Athenian Golden Age. Please. You couldn't be that cruel.

She turned the page. "Detail the social structure of the Age of Pericles, otherwise known as the Athenian Golden Age..."

Claire gasped. She stared for a moment in shock. Then she felt the tingling sensation again. She closed her eyes and attempted to recall in what to her was now the old-fashioned way, but it didn't work. I can't possibly do that... it's only an exam and I've done most of it... She cast her eyes surreptitiously around the room. Could I? Even there? Still, no one seemed to have noticed her strange behaviour in feeling herself up over the last hour, and she knew deep down she couldn't resist acing an exam. She moved her hand, downwards, over her thigh, lifting up the hem of her skirt, gliding up and up, her breathing becoming erratic with her anxiety at her daring, and her excitement...

Oh my God! I'm so going to be arrested...

"Ah, my wonderful, brilliant daughter! Give me a hug!" Claire's beaming mother drew her in and squeezed her. "Mum! You've knocked my hat off," protested Claire.

"Oh, don't be like that. I can't hug my only daughter at her graduation? I'm proud of you!"

"Please, Mum," Claire begged, blushing effusively, "Don't make a big deal of it. It was nothing, really."

"She says it's nothing! Getting perfect scores on every exam, ever since that one on history." She tapped Claire on the shoulder, nodding. "See, darling, I told you doing that elective would be good for you, something outside of your comfort zone."

"Aww, she's so humble," teased Harriet, huddling in on Claire's other side. Her mother grabbed Harriet's hand. "And you, young lady, you've been wonderful for her, always so supportive. Thank you!"

"Well," Harriet replied, kissing her girlfriend on the cheek and grinning as Claire flushed even more red, "I'm just so happy I could help, in whatever way I could."