Wed, 28 Oct 1998
"Sandi Bowser"
Place Your Hand: 2/5

[Warning: NC-17 Graphic Sexual Situations]

Place Your Hand



'There.' Triumphant, Doug carefully scrutinized his first batch as he set them on some old newspapers to cool. They looked wonderful to him, and he hoped that Rahne would think so, too. He carefully set three on a plate, arranging them to make the best possible display, then adding a glass of milk to it. He studied the layout and added a napkin, just to make it look better. Satisfied with his work, he set back to measuring out the dough and put a new batch into the oven as Rahne walked back into the room.

He made the mistake of actually looking at her as she sat down and nearly dropped the cookie sheet. She was still in her robe, her damp hair curling around her delicate face. Was it his imagination, or was her robe a little more open than usual at the top? He tried not to stare at the milky white skin that showed beneath the deep green terrycloth as she leaned forward just slightly, watching him put the cookies in to bake.

'Are these for me?' she asked sweetly as she saw the plate he'd arranged for her. She felt her cheeks flush a little, wondering how he could still be so nice to her after the way she'd treated him. She'd felt awful that her anger had gotten the best of her, but she couldn't bear the thought of losing Moira; the woman was the closest thing to a mother she'd ever known and she didn't want her to die. When he nodded shyly and pretended to busy himself with a bit of cleaning, she picked up one of the cookies and bit into it, slowly chewing it, marveling at how wonderful it was. She closed her eyes and sighed, 'Och, Douggie, ye have nae idea how heavenly thes es!'

'Your reaction is rather positive, so I would assume you're enjoying it,' he finally managed to stammer, after he'd turned around and saw the look of utter bliss on her features. *And God, I've never seen you look so beautiful before,* he added in his mind. His eyes wandered to her lips as she licked the last bit of crumbs away and he nearly choked when she let out a noise something akin to a purr. He wanted to kiss her again so badly, it hurt.

'A've been wantin' cookies for days!' she exclaimed, opening her eyes. 'Thank ye sae much. A'd almost thenk ye've go' telepathy,' she teased lightly, noticing the light yellow glow in his face.

'Well, I...'

'Ye overheard me talkin' tae Kitty, dinnae ye?' she asked, trying to sound angry, but she felt the smile creep across her lips.

'Yes, I did,' he admitted, blushing outright. 'I didn't mean to...I was just walking by. And I thought maybe I could do something you wanted, at least. I know I really screwed up and I just wanted to make it up to you...' He paused before he continued, looking down at the floor. 'I know that cookies won't make up for it, but I just wanted you out of there; I was so scared that I'd lose you...' His mouth clamped shut as soon as the confession had slipped out, but it was too late. She'd heard it.

Rahne gasped at his words, nearly dropping the cookie from her hand. She felt tears sting at the back of her eyes, feeling positively terrible. She hadn't even stopped to consider how Doug had felt, or what had prompted him to open the doors; she'd only thought of herself and how losing Moira would have affected her and she realized it as soon as she saw his shoulders slump. 'Douggie, A...A dinnae ken ye...och, Douggie, A'm sorrae,' she whispered, setting the cookie down as she shakily stood up. She'd realized her own feelings for him, but she'd never stopped and considered his on the matter, either. He'd never shown any real indication other than the kiss they'd shared before she left to visit her old friends in X-Factor...or had he and she'd just not noticed? She tried to walk over to him, but her feet just wouldn't move and the tears that were threatening to spill out were blurring her vision. All she could do was stand there as she closed her eyes again and wrap her arms around herself, wishing she could talk to someone about what just happened, but was afraid if she left that he'd think she hated him...

Douglock saw her wrap her arms around herself and started forward cautiously. He wanted to hold her, the way that she was holding herself, make her tears stop, since he could see them pushing out beneath her eyelashes. Deciding that he couldn't bear to see her like that, he stopped thinking of the consequences and rushed forward, pulling her into an embrace and whispered, 'Please don't cry, Rahne. It's not your fault. I'm sorry; I shouldn't have said anything...I don't blame you if you're mad. If you want me to let you go, I will, but I can't stand seeing you cry...'

She had momentarily stiffened when she felt him wrap his arms around her, but she suddenly leaned into him as he'd offered to let her go, not wanting him to. She knew she couldn't trust her voice, so she wrapped her own arms around his waist and buried her face into his shirt, which smelled of the cookies and laundry detergent. It was a comforting smell; one that reminded her of when she had first been adopted by Moira and she'd come into the kitchen one afternoon, shortly after a small fight they had had earlier that day. Moira had been just as teary and willing to apologize as she'd been and drew her in for a hug...and that same smell was there; that all-comforting scent that had always made her feel safe and loved. She hadn 't felt like that in so long... She suddenly burst into tears, clutching onto him tightly, afraid he'd let go and the feeling would stop.

'Rahne, what's wrong?' he asked quietly, trying to step away a little, so she could answer. He felt himself pulled back into the hug, tighter than before, not knowing what to do. He wished at that moment that he did have telepathy, so he could ask someone what to do. *Kurt, I really wish you were here, right now,* he thought. *Or Kitty...* Someone, anyone to help him. *Oh, well, I guess I'll have to wing it.* 'Rahne, I won't let go, okay, but could you please tell me what's wrong?'

'A'm such a horrible person,' she sobbed. 'A dinnae thenk aboot how ye felt at all. A dinnae even thenk A cared...A'm sorrae! A'm such a selfish, awful person an' ye've been sae kind an' patient with me...A dinnae ken why ye're actin' like thes...'

'You're not a horrible person, Rahne,' he soothed, brushing one hand over her hair. 'And you're not selfish and awful. You love Moira and there's nothing selfish about that; you were too worried to think about anything else...and I think that makes you a beautiful, wonderful person.'

'Stop tryin' tae make me feel better!' she cried. 'A'm nae wonderful or beautiful at all!'

'I always thought you were,' he offered, with a small shrug. 'If no one else agrees with me, then I'm in a class all by myself, which is really too bad; I can't understand how other men couldn't see what they're missing.' *But I'm not a man, am I? I'm just Douglock, the Techno-organic boy. I can 't compete with someone who's flesh and blood...and real,* he thought almost bitterly.

Rahne stopped her crying and looked up at him in amazement, forgetting the fact that she must have looked ridiculous, tears streaming down her face, sniffling and choking, her eyes red and puffy. If she had thought of it, she didn't notice, or care at the moment. 'Dae ye mean tha', Douggie?' she asked softly. Almost unconsciously, she rubbed at her face with the sleeve of her robe.

Douglock surprised himself by answering, 'Of course I mean that. You know I can't lie to you, since you know me so well, but honestly, I'd never lie to you, anyway.' Then, he further surprised himself by bending down and kissing her, very gently. Just once, very quickly. He glanced down, almost afraid to see what her reaction was and was startled to see that her eyes were closed and her face was upturned, her lips slightly parted as she raised herself up on the balls of her feet, evidently to return the kiss. He didn't even have time to react as her hands snaked up behind his neck and pulled him down to her lips again. *It's just one little kiss, after all... 10101010110001110...* he thought, before he lost track of all logical thought a moment later.

All that was reaching his brain was that Rahne was standing there with him, in the kitchen, kissing him with much more vigor than she had before she'd left. And she was wearing her bathrobe. He didn't want to ponder on whether or not she had anything on under it, but the thought did come out and he couldn't help but wonder what she would look like without the robe on; although he was certain, she would be more beautiful than anything he'd ever seen in his life. He was suddenly very aware of Rahne's body, the way she smelled and felt, soft and delicate and perfect... And then, something happened that had never happened to him before.

Rahne was so lost in the fact that she was kissing Douglock, that it took her a few moments to realize the feel of something prodding into her hip through her bathrobe. She almost stopped when she identified what it could possibly be, but for some reason, it excited her that she made him do that. It excited her so much, that she kissed him harder, pushing her tongue into his mouth as her hand moved up into his hair to pull him closer and felt a tingle run through her as his own tongue cautiously met hers. Her knees went weak and she didn't realize that he was actually holding her up, very close to sinking to the floor himself.

She stepped back, feeling herself resting against the table and pulled him closer again, pressing her hips against his. His fingers tightened against the back of her robe and he felt one on her legs nudging it's way between his. The sensation was causing something of an overload inside him and he regretfully pulled away from her, gasping. When she opened her own eyes, she looked up at him, her own chest heaving against his, pressing harder against him with every intake of breath, pushing her robe open to reveal the swell of her breasts. Her was looking down at her face, flushed pink with excitement, when out of the corner of his vision, he caught a glimpse down her robe and blushed again. He hadn't meant to look, but suddenly, his gaze was focused on the valley of her cleavage peeking out at him.

'A thenk ye're cookies are burnin',' she gasped.

He tore his eyes away from his view and rushed over to the oven, pulling the door open. He sighed, noting that the color was much darker than they should be and didn't even think before he reached in to pull them out. He suddenly yelped and dropped the cookie sheet as the pain receptors kicked in. He clutched his hand, biting his lip as the heat from what would have been a bad burn slowly began to ebb. He felt Rahne beside him, pulling him over to the sink and turning on the cold water, pushing his injured hand under the tap. There wouldn't be and actual burn, per se, but there would be an amount of discomfort for a while and until the circuits bonded back together, his touch would be extremely sensitive, meaning the rush of water was agonizing. He pulled his hand back sharply, shaking the offending substance off, splashing her. She let out a surprised squeak, stepping back and wiped off her face with the collar of her robe, opening it further.

'Sorry,' he offered, sheepishly. 'I didn't mean to get you wet.'

'Tha's alright,' she told him with a small smile, which faded immediately. 'Are ye hurt much?' she questioned, gently taking his hand by the wrist to examine it.

'No. That's the good thing about not having flesh,' he explained. 'The pain reaction is there, but the damage is much less, due to lack of an epidermal layer. It should only take a half-hour for everything to knit back together properly.'

'A stell thenk ye should let Mum look a' et,' she told him. 'Even if ye aren't burned like tha', ye're in need o' medical attention.'

'No, really, I'll be fine,' he insisted, not wanting to have to explain to Moira why he wasn't thinking clearly enough to have grabbed a pot holder. However, he realized he would have to explain it to someone else, as Amanda padded into the kitchen and he felt himself blush again.

'Something smells good in here,' she commented with a smile, glancing over at the counter. Then she saw the pan on the floor. 'What happened?' she asked, walking over to them.

'Douggie dropped the pan,' Rahne offered softly, her face crimson.

'You know, that's what these are for,' Amanda teased lightly, picking up a pot holder. 'Are you okay? And what possessed you to try taking them out of the oven with your bare hands? That's hardly any way to impress Rahne.' She noticed the both of them had been thoroughly embarrassed and grinned. 'I was only kidding you, guys. Why don't you bring him to your mom and I'll clean this up, okay?' she offered.

'Sure,' they mumbled, walking toward the door as the older woman bent down to pick up the cookie sheet.

As they walked down toward the lab, Rahne cautiously asked, 'Ye aren't goin' tae tell her why ye burnt yeself, are ye?'

'Well, no, I really don't want to, but she knows me just as well as you do and she's going to find out,' he admitted, looking at the floor. 'I'm sorry I had to be so stupid.'

'Ye weren't bein' stupid,' she insisted. 'Et was my fault; I shouldnae have done tha' to ye.' She suddenly felt a little guilty, imaging Reverend Craig 's voice in her mind, telling her how sinful she had been...then pushed it out of her mind forcefully. She hadn't done anything wrong; she wasn't a harlot for just kissing him; there was nothing wrong with doing it. She battled out the argument in her mind, deciding that what her foster mother had told her was the real truth in the matter and there was nothing wrong with kissing Doug because of the way that she felt about him.

'Nae, et's *no'* my fault.' Rahne stopped dead in her tracks, crossing her arms over her chest. 'A dinnae do anytheng wrong, an' neither did ye, sae we dinnae have anytheng te worry aboot,' she said stubbornly. Then, she grabbed him by the arm, marched into the lab, dragging a very bewildered Douglock behind her.

'Well to wha' dae A owe th' honor o' a viset?' Moira asked lightly, as Rahne pulled him into the room. She noticed the stubborn look on her daughter's face and the golden glow on her assistant's.

'Douggie was bakin' me cookies an' I kissed 'im an' he got too distracted tae remember tae use th' hot pads an' burned himself,' Rahne blurted out.

Moira blinked for a moment, letting the words sink in before standing up and walking over to them. 'Well, let me see th' burn, then,' she ordered. Doug extended his injured hand and she looked it over, noting there was no real damage to him, although she could see his electronic 'pulse' racing through him at an alarming rate.

'Well et might take a while tae heal itself, but ye already ken tha',' she told him. 'A dinnae thenk there's any permanent damage tae the circuitry, sae ye'd best be thankful for et.' Then, she stepped back and regarded them both. 'An' tha' will teach ye two tae fool around in th' kitchen,' she added sternly.

She managed not to smile as they both stared at her in utter shock before she turned back to her work. 'Nae go clean up tha' mess an' bring me a cookie or two, would ye?'

'I'll do it,' Doug offered, turning on his heels and rushing out of the room.

'Ye...aren't mad a' us, then?' Rahne asked cautiously.

'A should be,' Moira replied calmly, turning to regard her daughter as she took off her glasses. 'But A told ye tha' ye aren't a bairn anymore, an' ye 're no'. A have tae accept tha' ye're a grown woman an' A tol' ye A'd trust ye're judgment on when ye felt ye were ready. Evidently ye are, sae A canna stop ye.'

'But do ye mind et?' the younger woman pushed.

'A dinnae ken,' Moira admitted. 'A dinae want tae admit tha' ye are growin' up. But A ken tha' ye feel very strongly for the lad an' A canna say tha' A 'm unhappy wi' who ye chose. Doug's a good man, an' he wouldnae do anytheng tae hurt ye. A've been waitin' for et tae happen, actually.' She sighed and replaced her glasses. 'Jus' dinnae rush et. A'm tae young tae be a grandmother.'

'Mummy!' Rahne cried, blushing furiously.

'Rahne, ye canna fool me,' Moira chuckled. 'Dinnae lie tae yer mother. Nae ye scoot; A have a few thengs tae say tae Doug, in private.'

Rahne swallowed hard, but did as her mother told her and decided to go to her room and got dressed, then busied herself with anything she could think of to keep her mind off what her mother would be saying to Doug. Almost an hour later, Kitty knocked on her door to tell her dinner was ready. 'Ye havenae seen Douggie, have ye?' Rahne asked cautiously.

''Douggie'?' Kitty asked, arching an eyebrow. 'I thought you were still mad at him.'

'Well, A was,' Rahne admitted. 'But...well, A'm no' anymore.'

'And just what prompted you to change your mind?' Kitty asked. 'Was it the cookies? Amanda was cleaning up the mess when I walked in to the kitchen,' she explained when she saw the look of shock on Rahne's face.

'Well, aye, A suppose tha' was part o' et,' Rahne told her. After a moment of fidgeting, she pulled Kitty into her room, shut the door and spun around to face her friend. 'He dropped the pan because A kissed him again,' she blurted out.

'Really?' Kitty asked. It was her turn to be shocked. 'Does your mother know?'

'Aye. A dragged 'im intae the lab wi' me an' told her everytheng rieght away,' Rahne admitted. 'She wasnae mad or anytheng, but A ken she wanted tae talk tae him, sae A was just wonderin' if ye'd seen him, es all.'

'No, but I'm sure he'll be at dinner,' Kitty assured her. 'Just don't act so conspicuous about it, or Kurt will be on both of you in a heartbeat.' She looked at what the Scots girl was wearing and added, 'You might want to change clothes, too.'

Rahne looked down at herself, about to ask why, when she blushed. She was wearing a pair of jeans that were rather tight and the tank top didn't leave much to the imagination, either. 'A suppose A'd better put on a sweater, then?' she asked, innocently. Kitty nodded and tossed her one that was sitting on a chair near the door before they left.

Dinner was a mostly quiet affair, although almost every member of the team had sampled one or more of Doug's cookies by that time, so most of the questions about the burnt batch and his hand were forgotten. However, Amanda had a little smile on her face for most of the meal and refused to tell her boyfriend anything about it, no matter what he did to get the secret from her. Rahne had realized that she'd probably gotten the whole thing out of Doug, out of concern, rather than being nosy.

As it was time to clean up, Amanda and Kitty made it their business to discreetly push Rahne and Doug out of the room. Kurt raised an eyebrow again and asked what was going on once more. The two women insisted that Moira needed them both to go find some old books and notes she needed from a store room on the other end of the complex. Before Doug could protest that Moira already had those materials, since he'd just brought them to her three days ago, Kitty gave him a final shove, phasing herself partway through the swinging door in doing so.

'You two need a little time alone. To talk,' she insisted on the other side of the door. 'No one is going to bother you; now go!'

'An' A thought we were supposed tae be inconspicuous!' Rahne teased before taking Doug by his good hand.

'You told Kitty?' he asked, cocking his head to one side.

'Ye told Amanda,' she shot back playfully. 'An' A thenk Kitty's rieght; we need tae talk. *Alone*.'