Work Header

Surround Me

Chapter Text

Don't overthink it,
just finish up your drink
and surround me.


It's surprisingly nice to have another girl on the team. Not that Riley has anything against women, obviously—she's just used to the way things are. Or, were.

Plus, Cage is kind of... intimidating, in a way that guys never really are, to Riley. Men are like gnats, whether they're trying to be an annoying father figure or annoy her in other ways. Always flying in your face, buzzing in your ears, making you brush them away with your hands like it's your job.

And Cage is just, like, a whole different situation. One Riley doesn't want to think about long enough to pin down exactly what kind of insect she would be.

But it's fine. It's okay. They've all gotten used to each other. It's still weird, admittedly. Riley has a very specific facade she wears to go to work with the guys, and she should know that Cage will see through it but it's still a surprise when she does. When she takes Riley's secret, and keeps it, and backs her up without question.

Riley doesn't know what to do with that, at all.

She ends up asking Cage to go for a beer after work, because it's all she can think of. Cage likes beer, so. There's that.

Riley is more nervous than she'd like when they get to the bar. Cage is still Cage, even if she's been smiling ever since Riley asked her.

They get their drinks at the bar and sit down at a table, and Riley takes a good few gulps of her beer before looking up to see Cage watching her, amused.

Looking away, Riley raises her voice to say over the noise, "It's loud."

Cage leans forward and Riley looks back at her as she says, "Do you want to get out of here?" One of her eyebrows goes up and Riley watches her for a second before nodding.

"We can go to my place."

They stand up and Cage waits for Riley to come up beside her, then walks at her side to the door, one hand at the small of Riley's back. She gets the door and holds it for Riley, walks Riley to her car, gets the address and then waits for Riley to get in and start the car before walking away.

Riley has to sit there for a minute, heat rising to her cheeks, and take a deep breath before shifting into reverse. She waits downstairs for Cage so they can head up together, and she's nervous again as she unlocks the door and waves her in.

"Do you want beer or whiskey?" Riley asks, heading for the kitchen as Cage wanders in the direction of her bookshelves and the photographs scattered there.

"Let's go with whiskey," Cage says, her tone distracted and her back to the room.

When Riley comes up behind her, she touches the glass to Cage's bare arm. She doesn't jump, but she does close her eyes briefly before turning to take the drink and tip it in Riley's direction, a mock toast. Then she raises the glass to her lips and drinks, her eyes never leaving Riley's.

The air between them has vanished, somehow, as Riley looks down at Cage's lips and Cage lowers the glass, leans forward, and kisses her.

Riley inhales, and it must sound like surprise because Cage pulls back to say, "Sorry, is that okay?" and Riley just kisses her again. She hasn't touched her own glass so she tastes the whiskey on Cage's tongue, free arm going around Cage's waist to pull her closer.

Reaching blindly behind Cage, Riley finds the shelf and sets her glass down on it, wraps that arm around Cage's waist too. The kiss has gone immediately from zero to sixty, and Riley's belly swoops where it's pressed up against Cage's, like she's going over that first hill on a roller coaster.

It's Riley tugging Cage's shirt off over her head and Riley walking them over to the bed but it's Cage who pushes her down on it, Cage who climbs on top of her and leaves Riley staring up at her for only a second before she leans down to kiss her again.

Then everything blurs into fuck, is this happening and fuck, that feels good, and fuck, fuck, fuck—and Riley goes back for the bottle of whiskey before her body can come down from its high.

She's lying on her belly, glass in one hand and the bottle on the floor, sheet pulled up to her waist, while Cage has migrated down the bed to play with Riley's hair and trace her fingers over Riley's bare back.

“I love your hair,” Cage murmurs, and Riley smiles a little, tucking her chin close to her shoulder to glance over.

“Why did you ask?” Riley says.


“Why did you ask if it was okay? Didn't you know?”

“Of course,” she says, like she's not really paying attention, “but you have to ask.” She presses a kiss to Riley's back, just past the ends of her hair, and Riley shivers.

“Does anyone say no?”

“What do you mean?”

“When you ask,” Riley says. “Does anyone say no?”

There's a pause, Riley staring down into her whiskey, and then Cage says slowly, “I don't know. I mean, I don't know the last time I've asked someone that.”

Riley tenses, taking a breath, and Cage's hand leaves her back.

“Does that surprise you?” she asks, and Riley exhales the same breath, closing her eyes and shaking her head.

“I didn't mean—no. I was just thinking, you're so beautiful, I can't imagine anyone telling you no. But I wasn't trying to—“

Cage's hand touches her back, skimming up over it as she moves to lie beside her, smiling. “I'm not offended. It isn't really a choice I've made. People aren't safe for me.”

Riley stares at her, eyebrows drawing together. “Am I safe for you?”

Cage just smiles, no worry pinching her face. “Not exactly. I don't think Matty would be thrilled with this development. But also... yeah. You are.”

Riley kisses her, reaches blindly to put her glass on the bedside table and then shifts closer, rolling Cage onto her back and pressing her thigh between Cage's legs.

“You trust me?” Riley asks, rocking against her, and Cage nods, hands coming up to grip the back of Riley's neck. “Does that scare you?”

Cage nods again.

“It scares me too,” Riley says, dropping her head and rocking again, again. Cage's leg comes up between hers and Riley slips her hand between Cage and the bed, pressing it flat to the small of her back and rocking down on her.

Silence falls once Riley gives into it, just movement and breathing and bodies sliding slick over each other. It's silent when they come, too, the sudden stillness ringing out like a bell.

Riley eases off onto the bed, then gets up to open the window. “When's the last time you got high?” she asks, and Cage sputters a laugh.

“What makes you think I—“

Riley turns and raises her eyebrows and Cage rolls her eyes.

“Two or three lifetimes ago, I'd guess. Why?”

“Just think it would be... fun... to smoke with you.” Riley smirks, and Cage suppresses a smile, shaking her head.


“I'm just dreaming, don't worry.”

Cage just looks at her and Riley turns back to the window, then finds the bottle and pours herself another drink.

Holding up her own glass for a refill, Cage whispers, “Should I go?” and Riley looks her over as she pours.

“You don't have to,” Riley says, capping the bottle and leaning over to put it back on the floor. “You're welcome to stay.”

Cage nods, ducking her head and sipping from her glass.

“What about then?”


“Did you know?”

Cage smiles a little, closes her eyes, then raises them to the ceiling and says, “That's a bit more of a complicated question.”


“Riley, if this... I mean, if this wasn't a one-time thing, you need to know that whatever skills I may have, I will always ask you if it's okay.”

“'If this wasn't a one-time thing,'” Riley echoes, amused, and Cage flushes a very pale pink.

“Don't make fun of me!”

“I'm not! I'm just, maybe... enjoying this... a little. I've never seen you uncertain about anything.”

“Yeah, there's a reason for that,” Cage says, pushing a hand through her hair.

“Come here,” Riley says, reaching for her, and Cage looks up, crawls across the space between them and sits back on her heels. Riley's hands go around her waist and she rises up to kiss her, tugging Cage up on her knees and sliding her hands down over Cage's ass. Cage bites down on her lip and Riley says, breathless, “I don't think it's gonna be a one-time thing.”


Chapter Text

'Cause I like you, I like you, I like you a lot.
Hardly see through the smoke,
I don't know how you found me.

Another mission comes in and Riley spends the morning having a fucking panic attack. She can't decide whether to take particular care with her outfit and makeup (which she does) or text Cage and ask her to pretend they've never met (which she doesn't).

In the briefing it's like that anyway, a careful three-foot distance and no eye contact. It's almost a relief when Matty tells Riley to stay on base, but she still watches Cage leave, sees her look back just once at the door.

A minute later, Riley's phone buzzes in her back pocket.

Cage: Have a good day :)

Riley: You too, be safe

Later, she'll think she cursed her, when Mac and Jack radio in that they’ve lost Cage, she’s been abducted. Riley doesn’t really have time to consider how they’ll work together before she has to consider that maybe she won’t have to.

It’s not a relief.

By the time she sees her again, across the War Room, Riley’s forgotten what relief feels like. Cage looks absolutely flawless, just her busted lip and split open cheek standing out like accents on her face, and Riley stays on her side of the room, stays still—but she stares, her hands curling into fists at her sides.

Matty lets them go but calls Riley back, and Riley looks to Cage, holding up one finger to ask her to wait outside the closed door.

“Do I need to worry about you?” Matty says once they're alone.


“Was she distracted today?” Matty asks, gesturing to the door, to Cage.

No, Matty,” Riley says forcefully, before reconsidering. “I mean, you'd have to ask her that.”


Riley flexes her hands, looks down at them, then meets Matty's eyes. “She did her job today. We both did.”

“I'm inclined to agree,” Matty says, and Riley cocks an eyebrow. “I trust you, Riley. I want to continue trusting you. I just need to know that you'll come to me if there's an issue that could affect the team.”

“I understand.”

“All right, go.”

Matty waves her out and Riley hurries into the hall, her stomach sinking when she sees Cage leaning up against a wall, eyes closed. She straightens up when she hears Riley's shoes, and they start down the hall in silence as Riley works up the nerve to speak.

“I'm so sorry you had to wait,” she says finally, and sighs. “Can I make it up to you?”

“I was hoping you would,” Cage says slyly, and Riley smiles, glancing over. “I wouldn't have waited otherwise.”

“Yeah, no, that makes sense.” Riley laughs, but they make it all the way to Cage's car, her hand on the door, before Riley says, “Wait.”

Cage turns back to her and Riley shifts her weight, hands back in anxious fists at her sides.

“Matty thinks she knows something.”

“About?” Cage asks, and Riley motions between them. “How?”

“I... teleportation, I guess? Time travel?” Riley shrugs, then reaches up and tucks her hair behind her ear, ultimate faux-casual. “I just wanted to tell you here, in case that makes a difference.”

“Was she pissed?” Cage asks.

“No. I mean, no more than usual. She's concerned, but she wants to stay out of it.”

Cage looks at her, nodding slowly, and then says, “Can we go?”

“Yeah. Of course.”

When they get to Riley's, Cage takes a few steps into the room and turns, waiting as Riley approaches, as Riley reaches up and gently turns her face to the light, studying her wounds.

“Does it hurt?” Riley asks, and Cage kisses her, both of them avoiding the bruised half of her mouth, awkward and barely a kiss at all.

“Yes,” Cage says, pulling away. “It hurts.”

“Don't kiss me then,” Riley murmurs, and immediately contradicts herself by pressing a very soft kiss to the corner of Cage's lips.

Before she can pull away, Cage catches her waist, holding her in place so she can kiss her properly, and then pulling away again with a sharp intake of breath. Riley watches as she turns and takes a few steps away, a hand going to her mouth.

“You think you're so tough,” Riley says, and Cage turns to give her the most unamused look.

“I am very tough.”

Riley raises an eyebrow and Cage walks back, reaches for her face, and Riley stops her at the last second.

“Don't,” Riley says, “kiss me.”

Cage goes still, their faces almost touching and her hands on Riley's jaw. She takes a careful, audible breath, and Riley feels her fingers flex as she exhales.

It's a matter of seconds before Riley relents. “Gently,” she says, and Cage sighs against her lips before closing the gap and very deliberately, softly, kissing her.

Riley's hands come up to hold Cage's wrists, her chin lifting slightly, the kiss so slow and delicate it's hard to draw a full breath.

“How's your body?” Riley asks eventually.

“They dumped me out of a van onto asphalt,” Cage says back, and Riley inhales, her hands tracing up Cage's arms to her shoulders, down over her sides to rest lightly at her hips.

“Not good, then.”

Cage sways forward a little. “Some parts are okay.”

“I'd better have a look,” Riley says. “You wanna sit down?”

She guides her over to the bed and sits her down, helping her off with her shirt and pants. There aren't any visible bruises, but she lets Riley undress her, breathing measured and lips pressed together, and every movement is stiff.

“Did you take anything?” Riley murmurs, crouching in front of where Cage sits on the edge of the bed in her underwear, hands on Cage's knees.


“Wanna borrow some PJs?”

Cage frowns, shakes her head, and Riley slides her hands an inch higher on her legs.

“I don't want to hurt you.”

“I'll feel better after though, won't I,” Cage says rhetorically.

“If you wince when I touch you—“

Cage shakes her head.

“—or say ow—“

She shakes her head again. “I won't.”

Riley can't help smiling. She looks so serious, eyebrows drawing together over puppydog eyes, and Riley still doesn't know how to say no to that face. Standing from her crouch, she leans in to kiss Cage, drawing back a little every time Cage pushes up to keep the kiss light.

Straightening up, Riley tugs off her shirt, then almost falls over taking off her pants while Cage watches in silence. When she moves toward the bed, Cage shifts back to lie down and Riley crawls up over her.

Riley kisses her and Cage brings her hands up to Riley's waist. Pulling back, Riley catches her hands and places them back on the bed.

“Lie still,” Riley says, and Cage presses back against the bed, exhaling through her nose.

Riley smirks and presses a kiss to the corner of Cage's mouth, to her collarbone, moving down her body until she's pressing a kiss to the side of Cage's belly button and slipping her underwear down over her legs.

She moves her hands back up to Cage's hips and says, “Can you spread your legs?” and then, “Does that hurt?”

“No,” Cage says, “fuck,” and Riley laughs a little, moving between her legs.

“If I hurt you...” Riley says.

“I won't say ow,” Cage says, and Riley pauses, genuinely unsure if that's an acceptable answer in this context. “Riley, please.”

Riley shakes her head. “If you need to say ow,” she says, with a pointed look, “say ow,” and then she moves forward to taste her.

She doesn't say ow, doesn't make a sound, and Riley is starting to know that about her, to know that catch in her breathing when she's about to come. Her muscles lock up with it and Riley winces, rubbing her hands over Cage's thighs, her hips, moving back up the bed to lie beside her.

Cage shifts her hand over to touch Riley's arm, and Riley looks up at the ceiling, taking a breath.

“Do you feel better?”

“Yeah,” Cage says. “Can I—“

“No,” Riley says. “Not a chance.”


Turning her head, Riley smiles, then moves to press a kiss to Cage's cheek. “Take a night off, do you know how to do that?”

Cage lets that one go and rolls onto her side to face Riley, as Riley turns back to face the ceiling. She looks at her for a second before saying, “You're so gentle,” and Riley wrinkles her forehead.

“You can't tell anyone.”

Cage laughs, and Riley tries not to smile.

“I'm serious, that doesn't leave this room.”

“Okay, sweetheart,” Cage says, just barely patronizing, and Riley rolls her eyes. “I can keep a secret.”

“I know you can,” Riley says, and Cage reaches out to touch her arm again, fingertips on skin.

Riley takes in a breath, lets it out slowly, then rolls off the bed and goes to the bathroom. When she comes back, Cage has rolled over onto her other side, eyes closed.

It's pitch dark when something wakes Riley and she opens her eyes, picking out Cage's shape and seeing her eyes open too, staring at the ceiling.

“Hey,” Riley says, and Cage looks over.


“You okay?”

“Yep,” Cage says quickly, looking back up at the ceiling.

Riley moves across the bed, her hand finding Cage's bicep under the sheets and rubbing it. She shuts her eyes at that, sighing, and Riley says, “You have a nightmare?”


“Okay,” Riley says. “You're safe now. I'll protect you.”

“Will you really?” Cage says, eyes still shut tight, and Riley tenses.

“I know I'm small, but I'm scrappy, I—“

“No, I know that. I wasn't doubting you.” She brings a hand up to cover Riley's, slipping her thumb under and rubbing at the centre of her palm. “Will you?”


Cage turns over onto her side, tugging gently on Riley's arm, and Riley moves up to her back, pressing a kiss to Cage's shoulder. Her hand on Cage's belly rises and falls with another, deeper sigh, and Riley closes her eyes, letting herself relax.

They go on with this three-foot orbit in public, at work, careful but somehow easy, too. There's moments, a physical hand-off or a near collision in a hallway, when they pull apart like matching magnets, trading the ghost of a smile, but only Matty can see the reason for it.

The next time the team meets up at Mac's place, they keep entire rooms between them, until the night is winding down and Riley goes to the fridge for two fresh beers, crosses the room and hands one to Cage.

“Hey, can we go?” Riley asks.

Bringing the bottle up to her mouth, Cage says, “Tired?” and takes a drink.

“No,” Riley says, and sweeps a look around the room, drinking from her own beer.

“I have to finish my beer,” Cage says.

“No, you don't.”

“No, you're right, I don't.”

They head for the door, and Riley glances back to see Mac's eyes on them. There's a look on his face that Riley can't pin down, but her gut twists, even as he raises his beer in acknowledgement. She nods, flicking her hand in a quick wave, and they drop their beers in the kitchen on their way out.

Back at Riley's, Cage heads straight for the whiskey as Riley locks the door, then says over her shoulder as Riley comes up behind her, “I can't believe you brought me a beer but didn't let me drink it.”

Riley brings a hand up to shift Cage's hair and hold it out of the way, wrapping her other arm around Cage's waist and kissing the curve of her neck. Cage stills, and Riley says, “Are you complaining?”

“Um—not right this minute.”

Riley kisses up to the spot behind her ear, inhales—and moves away, leaning back against the counter so Cage can pour the drinks.

“Mac knows,” Riley says as Cage slides her glass across the counter to her, and Cage gives her a questioning look. “Yeah, he definitely knows.”

“He's a smart guy,” Cage says, turning around to mimic Riley's pose, leaning back against the counter. She takes a drink, then says, “Do you think he'll tell Jack?”

“I'm almost certain he won't.”

Cage nods, looking down at her glass and rotating it in her hands. “Are you worried?”

“About Jack?” Riley asks, and Cage nods. “No. I don't want him to know, but I'm not worried. He just... annoys me.” Riley sighs. “Deeply.”

“Well, as long as you're not worried,” Cage murmurs, finishing her drink and then stepping in front of Riley and kissing her, hands on her waist.

Riley straightens up into it, the magnets flipped now, drawing together, and her free hand presses to Cage's back.

“Are you worried?” Riley asks after a minute, moving her hand up under Cage's hair to the back of her neck.

“About what?”


Cage shakes her head, her eyes on Riley's mouth, and when Riley waits for more of an answer she says, “I knew the risks.”

“You said I was safe.”

“Yeah,” Cage says, and brings her eyes up to meet Riley's. “Before I kissed you the first time... I decided—I had to decide if there were any unacceptable risks. That was one of the acceptable ones.”

“What would have been an unacceptable risk?”

“If you—If kissing you would have made you hate me, I wouldn't have done it. But I didn't think it would.”

“I guess you were right.”

“Yeah, I guess I was.”

They kiss again, Cage's hands moving under Riley's shirt and up her back, and Riley presses up against her.

Lying in bed later, Riley has her eyes closed when Cage says, “God, you're gorgeous.”

Riley's eyes pop open wide and her face betrays her with a smile even as she says, “Fuck off.” Cage laughs at that and Riley brings a hand up to cover her face, heat rising in her cheeks. “Shit.”

Cage laughs again and moves forward, kissing Riley's hand, her temple, her cheekbone. Riley lowers her hand, eyes closed, and Cage kisses her cheek, her mouth, then wraps her arms around Riley and draws her in to her chest.

“You want me to?” Cage says.


“Fuck off.”

“No,” Riley says. “God, I'm a bitch.”

“You're fine,” Cage says, rubbing her hand over Riley's back. “I'm just teasing. You know I'm not scared of you.”

“Oh, God.”

“Should I be?”

“No, I just like you so much, it's annoying.”

Cage brings her hand up to the back of Riley's head, and Riley sighs, shifting to get more comfortable and draping her arm over Cage's waist.

For a few weeks they let it ride like this, acting like nobody knows and nothing is going on. The distance between them softens a little, becomes less self-conscious, as they relax into the facade that nothing has changed.

Riley might buy into that facade a little. It's so easy to pretend, and a lot easier than actually talking to Cage about what this is. Because they don't talk about it, not really. Cage comes over most nights and they have sex most nights and they sleep wrapped up in each other but it's not something . It's not anything.

If it were something, they'd have to talk about it, so Riley chooses denial. She knows what she's doing—she isn't stupid. But it's this or panic and do something she'll regret, so she pretends.

Another night at Mac's is winding down, and Riley brings Cage a beer—her routine thinly veiled excuse to get close to Cage and ask her if they can please leave. She does let her drink it, though, standing together in the shadows, away from the fire.

The silence is comfortable, and Cage's casual tone doesn't prepare Riley for what she says: “Did I ever tell you Jack kissed me?”

Riley feels like the world literally slows down around her as she turns to Cage. “What did you just say?”

“Not recently,” Cage clarifies, running a hand through her hair nervously. “On a mission.”

“Undercover?” Riley asks, and Cage shakes her head. “I'm gonna kill him.” She sweeps a look around the room, not actually seeing anything but saying again, “I'm gonna kill him,” and then turning to Cage and asking earnestly, “Do you want me to kill him?”

Just as earnestly, Cage steps forward and lays a hand on Riley's arm. “I do not want you to kill him,” she says, and Riley frowns, scanning her face.

“Are you sure?”

“You could kiss me,” Cage offers, and Riley's eyes drop to her mouth, then go back to meet hers.


Cage sighs a little, licking her lips. “It's an option.”

It is an option, and one that doesn't involve trying to hide a body or turning to alcoholism to cope with the guilt of murdering her pseudo-father figure.

Bringing her hands up to Cage's jaw, Riley asks, “Do you want me to?”

Cage nods, and Riley kisses her.

It's so easy, and for a moment Riley is relieved to cross the distance and drop the charade. She tries to make that feeling last, stay inside the kiss, but the panic starts to set in even before she pulls away.

Only far enough to say, “Can we just go?”

“Yeah,” Cage says, and Riley heads for the door, not looking around or pausing.

They're halfway down the front steps when Jack follows them out and calls Riley's name. At the bottom of the steps, Riley turns back, crossing her arms, and Jack stumbles a bit before finding his footing. Meanwhile, Cage takes a step back, and Riley shoots her a grateful glance.

“So,” Jack starts. “Y'all are...” He trails off, and Riley cocks an eyebrow.

“Go ahead and finish that sentence, Jack.”


Riley blinks. “Sure. Yeah, we're dating.”

“Well, I'm happy for y'all. And, uh—I need to talk to Cage.”

Riley frowns and looks back at Cage, who reaches forward to rub her arm. Shrugging, Riley moves a few steps away and turns her back, though it's obvious to everyone that she can and will listen.

“Firstly,” Jack says, “I should apologize for everything I may have said... or, uh, not said, and everything I may have done or not done.”


“That said, Riley's my girl, and I'm legally obligated to inform you that if you hurt her, I will be forced to... tell Matty all about it. And she will not be happy.”

Riley snorts, and there's a pause.

“Don't worry,” Cage says then. “I am plenty scared of Matty.”

It sounds like she could say more, but she doesn't, and there's another pause before Jack calls Riley back over and pulls her into a hug.

“Love ya, kid,” Jack says.

“Yeah, yeah.”

He goes inside and Riley and Cage start back towards Riley's car.

“You're still coming over,” Riley says. It's a question, but barely, and Cage looks over at her for a minute before answering.


“Okay, see you in a few,” Riley says, and kisses her goodbye, right there on the street, like it's just that easy. She smiles driving home, wonders if they can stop taking two cars for reasons of plausible deniability.

Inside, Riley goes straight to sit on the side of the bed so she can take off her shoes, and Cage trails a little behind before ending up doing the same, reaching for the zipper on her boots.

“Sorry,” Cage says, and Riley stops what she's doing, giving Cage a bewildered look. “I shouldn't have said anything.”

“Yes, you should have.”

Cage finishes with her boots, slips them off and stands up to drop them out of the way against the wall. “I shouldn't have said it then ,” she corrects, back turned, and Riley gets her second shoe off, tosses them into the opposite corner.

“Babe,” Riley says, and Cage half-turns back, stops herself so sharply her hair falls in front of her face. “You didn't do anything wrong. Is that really what this is about?”

She turns all the way back at that, giving Riley a helpless shrug and saying, “I didn't mean to... you know... fuck this up for you.”

Frowning, Riley shakes her head a little and reaches out, drawing Cage back towards her like those magnets she can't stop picturing. Cage walks into her arms, bends to kiss her as Riley looks up, and Riley sighs again at the ease of it, her hands flat on Cage's back. She slips her hands up under Cage's top, makes just enough space between them to say, “Maybe it was time,” Cage's hair falling in a curtain around both their faces.

“Were you waiting?” Cage asks, and Riley kisses her again, pressing gently with one hand to urge her onto the bed, moving up over her and meeting her eyes.

“Maybe a little,” Riley says, and kisses her. She has to pull away a minute later, though, pushing her own hair out of her face and asking, “Don't you know these things?”

Cage sits up, her eyes cast down and a flush rising in her cheeks. “You know I can't...” She shakes her head, bringing one hand up to press the back against her cheek. “It's not possible to accurately read someone when you're all wrapped up in hoping they'll... when you want one response in particular, you know?”

Riley moves forward, brushing Cage's hand out of the way to replace it with her own, to cup her jaw and kiss her again. “I wasn't trying to play hard to get,” Riley says, voice low, and Cage laughs a little breathlessly.

“No, I guess not.”

They kiss, crossed legs overlapping, and Riley says, “So we’re dating? That’s what I got out of this, so… just checking.”

“Um,” Cage says. “I don’t—I mean, I don’t really…”

“Oh, wow. That’s a no?”

“No,” Cage says, laughing again. “Oh my god. I was trying to say I don’t know what dating would even look like for us, but like, the concept is… good.” She squeezes her eyes shut, shaking her head, and it's Riley's turn to laugh, her hands coming up to Cage's face, cradling her jaw. “I could be better at this,” Cage mutters.

“I kind of like that you aren't,” Riley says. “I mean, you don't have to be good at everything.”

Cage looks up, her eyes dark and too close for Riley to really focus on. Her hands flatten on Riley's waist, sliding up to cradle her ribcage and then down over her jeans. When they find Riley's waistband, they follow it around to the front, where her fingers slip under the button. “Take these off,” she says, and Riley scrambles for the edge of the bed, mouth going dry.

“You could wear more dresses,” Cage says absently, and Riley frowns even as she fights with her too-tight jeans, not making the connection. When she looks up, Cage is pulling her hair back, tying it up with the elastic on her wrist and folding the pillow under her head. “Less underwear, too,” Cage adds, and Riley groans, kicking her jeans off onto the floor and crawling back to Cage, letting her guide her up to kneel over Cage's face.

“Fuck,” Riley says, a white-knuckle grip on the headboard and her eyes squeezed shut. She tries to keep her weight on her hands, her legs already straining with effort, but Cage wraps her arms around Riley's thighs and applies gentle pressure, urging her down. Riley admits defeat almost immediately, letting out a string of curses she couldn't replicate if she tried.

When she comes, she channels it into her arms, pushing off and ending up in a puddle on the bed. Cage pulls the sheet up over her, goes away and comes back with her face washed and two glasses of water to set on the bedside table. She tugs her jeans off at the side of the bed, climbs back in beside Riley and wraps her arms around her.

“What was that you said about not being good at everything?”

Riley almost chokes on the force of laughter surprised out of her, says, “Fuck you,” easily and affectionately. “That was supposed to be a compliment.”

Cage hums in response, rubbing a hand up and down Riley's back, then says. “I guess you'll know better next time.”

Riley scoffs, not exactly disagreeing.

“Sorry, what was that?”

Stiffening, Riley shakes her head, hair brushing Cage's. “What? I didn't—“

“Fff,” Cage sounds out. “Fuh—“

“Fuck you,” Riley supplies, and then, “Oh.” She pulls back, her hand coming up to brush Cage's hair away from her face. Cage closes her eyes, ghost of a smile curving up her lips, and Riley says, “Babe. You only had to ask.”

“Do I have to ask?” Cage says, peeking past her lashes and biting down on her lip, and Riley kisses her.

“No,” Riley says, pressing forward, her hand skimming down over Cage's back to the hemline of her shirt. She toys with it, then brushes her fingers down over the outside of Cage's thigh.

Inhaling, Cage shifts her leg to wrap around behind Riley, trying to close the space between them. Riley slips her hand under Cage's shirt, pressing flat to her back, then rolls forward and kneels over her, tugging the shirt off over her head.

She’s in her bra and underwear and Riley bends to murmur into her ear, “You could wear less underwear.”

“No, I'm—yeah. Couldn't agree more.”

Riley pulls back to flash a grin before sobering as she looks down Cage's body, running her finger to the centre of Cage's chest and pressing a kiss to the same spot. Opening her mouth against Cage's skin, Riley slips her hands under Cage's back to undo her bra. Casting it aside, she moves her mouth, palm going to the small of Cage's back as it arches.

As she follows a familiar path down Cage’s body, she almost thinks she hears her make a sound, ears so finely tuned to the silence by now that it’s startling. When Cage comes a few minutes later, Riley’s sure she hears exactly one quiet moan, and she stores that sound, trying to memorize it.

She moves to lie beside Cage, pressing a kiss to her forehead, and Cage mumbles, “Do you wanna go on a date?”

“Um, yes,” Riley says. “Yes, I really, really do.”

Cage’s mouth turns up in a smile, her eyes closed, and Riley presses more kisses to her face until she’s laughing, her arms coming up to wrap around Riley. They fall asleep like that, and it’s almost like the ground hasn’t shifted under them, almost like the whole world hasn’t changed.