DISCLAIMER: Don't own the characters, and not making any money on them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Late response to the cliche challenge, and a gift to idgiesdiva who dared me to do it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Finishing school
By the ghost


Eyes closed, naked, shoulders and soles on bed, head restless on pillow, arching against fingers working spots worn familiar, driving hips upward in search of release in a cycle of building tension. In the darkness, behind eyelids, flash the visions unspoken, unadmitted. "Jo." An escaped whisper to fill silence.

All new. A new Jo: undergraduate, cropped hair, lengthened stride, shortened inhibitions. New attitude: arrogance tamed to confidence, anger reformed into drive. New smile. Lilith's smile with new knowledge, of herself, whispering of Blair. Knowledge that tickled at the edges of Blair's awareness, and teased her with a new fire in her gut, equal parts anxiety and curiosity. The kind that killed the cat, as it paced, mesmerized by excitement, straight into the fire.

A hand, warm, hard, calloused, wrapped around her wrist.

"Don't finish," heated voice, a green alto flame of promise and command.


Panic-opened eyes. The urge to scream, sitting in her chest. Humiliation, frustration, anger?

Slowly deflating, labia throbbing in swollen protest, hips sinking in jerking, unwilling hyperactivity to rest. Fingers rebelling, small twitches against slick skin.

Brown eyes, level stare. "Don't finish," another command. Confusion.

A kiss.

Unmetered, unhurried, thorough. Rebellious fingers, reclaiming movement.

Tightened grip. "Please."

Sinking, relaxing, kissing. Complete, never-ending, detailed.

Acquiescence. Fingers still.

Blair didn't know how long the kiss lasted. Hours maybe, locked into a strange sense of unreal here-and-now, frozen with Jo's hand locked around her wrist, their lips the only other point of contact. It was a saga in its own right, Jo's mouth and tongue and teeth telling her something slowly and patiently, willing to keep at it until she understood. It was a place to be, without beginnings and endings, and God knew if Blair would have ever willingly come out of it.

But bodies have limits, even if communication doesn't. Eventually, her bladder's nagging discomfort drew her out of surreal meditation, and draped her ego back over her id.

Bringing, like the forbidden fruit, knowledge of her position.

Jo caught her at it, the moment she became aware of her nudity, of her hand poised above the threshold of her pubis, of being caught in the act. She pulled back and ran searching eyes over the blonde's face, a serious, contemplative look in her eye. Blair waited, breath stilled, for evidence of a reaction.

The tomboy just sighed, and dropped a light kiss on Blair's brow before standing up in a loose, unhurried motion, showing no stiffness from minutes, or possibly hours kneeling on the hard floor. "Please," the brunette repeated quietly before letting herself out of Blair's Cambridge apartment.

Blair groaned, rolling her face into her pillow and wrapping herself around it in a fierce gesture of frustrated nakedness.

"Blair," Devon said, in an impatient tone.

Warner forced her attention back onto her friend. Clearly, she'd missed a few moments. "Sorry Devon," she apologized.

"What's with you today?" The sandy-haired, compact English major sounded more wondering than concerned. "Between the fidgeting and lack of focus, it's like you caught the twenty four hour ADD bug."

"Just distracted, I guess." Blair came as close as she intended to to the truth.

"I knew it," Devon exclaimed in delight. "Bill finally asked you out on a date, didn't he?"

"Uh...yeah, about two weeks ago." Blair admitted reluctantly, shifting slightly to ease her discomfort in the hard plastic seat. "I turned him down."

"Turned him down? What in the world has come over you?" Devon made a show of checking Blair for a fever.

Blair shrugged. "He invited me to some fooferah at his frat house, but I had promised Jo I'd go with her to Oktoberfest that day."

"Wait, the sigma day party? That fooferah? And you turned it down to guzzle cheap beer with the geek from MIT?"

Blair pulled a little at her Harvard sweater, reflecting that she needed to switch dry cleaners. The chemicals they used at the Church street shop were far too harsh. "I'd promised Dev. Besides, he's kind of boring." She laughed in memory. "And, it was fun watching Jo win an arm wrestling match with this really obnoxious guy. You'd have loved it."

"Doubt it," Devon muttered. "I never got why you hang out with her so much. She's nice enough, I guess, Blair, but...Jesus, I mean you two have nothing in common."

"Except four years of shared adventures," Blair corrected. "You get to know someone after practically living in each other's pockets for that long."

"Still do," Dev commented obliquely. "But whatever, I've got a one o'clock over in Sever hall. Try not to get lost on your way home," she added with a touch of impatience as she dropped some money on the table to cover her portion of lunch.

Blair watched her leave, but her mind quickly returned to obsessive thoughts about last night. Part of her just wished it had been a dream, she reflected as hot blood filled her face. It was so...primal. And way out of context.

She just plain didn't know how to react. She especially didn't know what the hell Jo was thinking. Had that been an...advance? She'd suspected, ever since the hair had gotten shorter and the clothing a little uh, denimier? That Jo had finally faced what their classmates had been whispering for years. Since Blair had debated the possibility practically from the day Jo had run over a flowerbed, she hadn't expected to be particularly bothered by the prospect. She'd had time, and more than time to get used to it, after all, and unlike poor Jo, she hadn't felt any particular need to waste time swimming the Nile.

She'd actually been happy for her friend, at first, though they'd yet to talk about it. But she hadn't predicted that along with Jo's self-acceptance would come a new air of sexual knowledge and comfort that radiated from the tomboy like a neon sign.

She definitely hadn't predicted being affected by it. When she first caught herself being more aware of Jo's proximity, Blair figured herself for a phase. A simple reaction to the obvious, chain-of-logic question that any dumb straight girl asks when first slamming up against the reality of a gay friend. She'd thought better of herself, she really had, but she figured it would pass. Certainly, Jo's behavior towards her hadn't changed a whit. She still derided, irritated, helped out, came running when needed, offered rough sympathy, and generally acted as she always had in their odd friendship.

So Blair had just sighed at her own stereotype, and waited patiently for it to go away.

Until last night.

Should she be angry? Offended? Had Jo heard her own name being whispered in the dark?

Blair wanted to kill her. Or be reassured by her. Either would work.

But first, and foremost, Blair wanted a glass of wine or four, to insulate her before she touched the one subject she hadn't had the courage to ruminate on despite the obsessive thinking, remembering and wondering. She kept it firmly locked in its' drawer, unwilling to let it out until she'd stumbled through two more classes and locked herself safely into her apartment.

Coq au Vin, and the promised bottle of Cotes du Rhone lay decimated in front of her and she still hadn't the courage to pull out any of the really big questions. The bitch of it was, even a shower, good food, and the wine hadn't settled her body, much less her mind, one bit. Everything felt raw and sensitive, the brush of her robe against her skin making it impossible to keep thoughts focused, to safely find an emotional center. Finally, frustrated, she stripped it off.

Fascination at her unwavering awareness of her body led her to one of her full-length mirrors. She'd logged some serious hours in just this position, with and without clothes, critically seeking out flaws in her appearance and body, marshalling awareness of her strengths and weaknesses to use as weapons in the war she waged for status and attention.

She'd never looked at herself in curiosity before. Never noticed that a flush could travel all the way down to the pale skin of her chest, or that her aureoles darkened when she was tingling with sensuality. That it was actually possible to see moisture in her own blonde curls.

She took a shuddering breath. This is ridiculous. She rebelled, watching as her hand covered the moisture. Intending, in a few quick strokes, to end the hormonal torment she'd been suffering. Completely baffled as to why she hadn't done so before.

It's going to be quick, she realized, unsurprised as soon as she touched herself.

Then wanted to stomp her feet when she found that she couldn't do it, couldn't find the spiraling path to release, only a hazy sense of increasing tension, with no clear way out. Her fingers finally slowed, old patterns learned during the years since puberty brought her first explorations were useless, new routes to excitement closed. All was tingling and aware, but it was diffuse and unfocused.

"I just might have to kill her," Blair thought for the second time that day, though for a different reason as she sought another shower, and another bottle of wine.

She was dreaming again. This time Jo was cradling her, tucking her into bed with warm strength after she'd fallen asleep on the couch, brown bottle cradled possessively to her like a stuffed animal.

"Gonna have to kill you," Blair muttered under her breath while Jo pulled a blanket around her with studious care.

A kiss, light and feathery, as a hand stroked her brow. "You can do that tomorrow princess."

"Now works," Blair mumbled, even as her hand sought out and found a warm side. Impatiently, she pulled at the cotton she encountered until the end broke loose of a belt and skin was exposed. Warm soft skin, reassuring her hand that it had a home in the world.

"Sleep, now. Kill me tomorrow," Blair's eyes closed as a thumb caressed her eyes closed, running over her cheeks, gently tracing her lips in a soothing pattern that she hadn't known she'd wanted.

"Gonna hafta change the locks," she mumbled as sleep overcame her.

All right. Clearly Blair Warner had an itch. Clearly, she couldn't scratch it herself. Clearly Jo was willing to toss out the friendship for a few carnal games of pin the fever on Blair Warner. Fine. Dandy. Time to put an end to it, before her head exploded. Jo wasn't the only one with a key, after all.

It had taken a full day of living in a body that was hot, tight, and sharply aware of itself for her to finally decide to say screw it. Or screw her. Whichever. This was no sensual haze; it was painful need with all the confusion and insecurities forcing thoughts of Jo to the forefront all throughout a day of torture, eliminating the slightest possibility of finding a boy-toy to play with. One professor had actually evicted her from class, with an admonition to seek the student clinic because her color was so high.

She'd even had to wear a padded bra, to keep the world from noticing that her nipples had tightened up and refused to let go. When she'd found herself pacing her own living room with angry steps at midnight, she'd had enough. Out her door, and down to the subway, for the endless ride of two stops. The ping ping warning of doors opening had barely finished before she was out of the station and letting herself into Jo's dark dorm room. She paused with her back against the rough wood, eyes seeking out the small bed in the corner of the single room as she took a deep, determined breath.

She didn't know if Jo had been sleeping; there was no noticeable transition to wakefulness before the tomboy pushed herself up to lean against the wall, hand dangling over a bent knee. Blair invaded her lap, burying herself into a hot, passionate kiss that denied Jo the opportunity to say a word. The whole, crazy experience had been without more than a dozen words, after all. Why shouldn't Blair follow the trend?

Arms tightened around her. She didn't know if she'd expected it or not. But she enjoyed the splay of a hand between her shoulder blades, another at the curve of her spine. Impatient, she captured the dark head between her hands, each point of Jo's jaw moving against her palm, fingertips feeling each strand of hair they were pressed against, communicating her need directly.

She clenched her thighs, enjoying the feel of captured hips, as she lifted herself up slightly to give herself the leverage to force Jo's head further back, her own hands sliding to splay flat against the wall's roughness on either side. Jo's hands slid down with her motion, cupping her ass firmly. She was going to devour this experience, find an end to the torment and get her sanity back. Her body was a willing accomplice to her plan, reaching out with a tiger's ferocity that made her victim moan, and clench the material of Blair's skirt into her fists while pulling her tightly close.

Blair's eyes opened with hungry revelation as she felt the pressure bring a shot of blessed electricity up her spine and back down, to curl in the empty, aching void that had been threatening to overwhelm her for days. Immediately, she found a rhythm, rocking herself, lips a bare breath away from Jo's, fascinated by the aching, almost painful expression of passion that closed Jo's eyes and exposed her neck.

Then the brunette's breath caught in her throat, and her body tensed. With one determined heave, she stiffened her spine and threw them both over, mouth capturing Blair's lips as one leg threw itself over the blonde's body, containing her in a firm cocoon that refused to let the tiger go. Deliberately, Jo changed the tempo, hands sliding over Blair's body in motions that notched down the urgency one step at a time, even as they fulfilled her need to be touched, answered her nerve endings' screams for attention. Slowly, patiently, she calmed the blonde, until they were once again locked into the pace of their first kiss. Then after eternity, slowing even further, gentling, easing, soothing.

Blair clutched at her like a child, overwhelmed with conflicting instincts and needs, burying her head into a salty neck, seeking shelter from the storm of her own emotions.

She woke alone, hand wrapped around the stem of a single deep purple rose, stripped of its thorns. Underneath, a note with only two words on it. "Not yet."

There was such a thing as justifiable homicide, and Blair could afford just the lawyers to argue it.

Thanksgiving break was not all it was cut out to be. Even if her body and unsettled mind were willing to let her stop thinking of Jo for oh, say, three or four milliseconds, life wasn't. It seems that every single one of her relatives and friends had three questions in their repertoire: "How's school? Do you have a man yet? And how is Jo getting along?"

When she escaped to the streets of the city, with her usual plea of clothes shopping, she found other reminders in lieu of distractions. The coffee shop they'd sat in, after she'd dragged a protesting Jo to the opera. They'd managed to talk their way to closing that night, arguing spiritedly, teasing each other, and trading desserts. There was the store she'd bought that silly tie tack in, for what was it, the second birthday Jo'd celebrated at Eastland?

"Maybe this will help keep it tidy," she'd teased haughtily as she'd carefully squared up the knot and fastened it with the platinum and onyx pin she'd been unable to resist buying, praying that the joking insult would keep Jo from rejecting the expensive gift.

A motorcycle roaring by reminded her of the time Jo'd convinced her to go for a ride, deliberately driving at a thrilling pace that had her clutching at the tomboy's frame, caught between excitement and fear. They'd ended up eating an impromptu picnic of a baguette, cheese and fruit bought at a small town grocer, she remembered. Then Jo had rolled the bike into a field, and tried to teach her to drive. She'd been so worried she'd hurt Jo's baby, that she'd gone too slowly to keep it upright, and Jo had had to run along beside.

A flash of bright hair, an Upper East Side accent and a whiff of cologne brought a darker memory, Gerald Kingston guiding her off a dance floor, pressing claustrophobically tight, destroying her vision of a perfect romance. Her relief when Jo arrived instantly, wielding words and a Bronx toughness with devastating accuracy, cutting through the Kingston arrogance and laying the ugly, cowardly soul beneath bare and quivering. The comfort she'd found in Jo's awkward sympathy that night, suffering more from embarrassment than injury, but still filled with honest pain at the insult to her dreams. Pain that had diminished, as it poured itself into Jo's patient ear.

Even the train back to Boston had memories. Jo grumbling about her luggage load, then failing to settle down during the hours back to Peekskill, forcing Blair to give up her book for an argument on whatever topic they were currently fighting about. She'd begun to anticipate it, and became unable to focus on the textbook in front of her in anticipation of the argument to come; starting one herself once, when it took to long.

Always Jo, every day, every moment.

"I get it," she said finally, filled with revelation as the percussive sound of the tracks raced her back to home.

It took forever, South Station to home, even in a taxi. She resented the necessity, for once wishing that she'd mastered the art of traveling for a week with only a backpack, and could head directly to Kendall Square. She survived, though she hardly knew how. Her body, attuned to a constant state of tension, was practically pulsating with need.

She forced a shower and a change of clothes, deliberately choosing the first things to come out of the closet, not allowing the potential devastation of an attempt at planning an outfit. She even skipped makeup. What was the point? Jo knew what she looked like, in every manifestation. A second taxi and she was standing outside the door this time, taking her determined breath. Once it opened, the door revealed Jo at her desk, looking up expectantly as Blair crossed the room and sat herself down in her friend's lap, breaths mingling as they stared at each other for a bare moment. The ear was irresistible, and she used the point of a chin to tilt Jo's head so she could taste it, capturing a lobe between her teeth before whispering. "You're irritating, brave, sexy as hell, and I'm in love with you Jo Polniacek."

Jo's entire body jerked in reaction, but Blair kept her mouth at an ear, still tasting and exploring, then finally whispering in something between a tease and a moan. "Though if you don't fuck me, right now..." A hand in her hair pulled her away from the ear as Jo whispered with thick emotion. "Shut up, princess."

The kiss was demanding, almost bruising in its intensity as she was pursued back until she felt the flat edge of the desk against her back, nothing less than what she needed. Her head still trapped, held motionless beneath the onslaught while another hand stripped the buttons open on her shirt, and captured, finally, a nipple that had been painfully waiting days for the rough slide of a palm. Her whole spine tingled in relief, in anticipation, shooting waves like cold fire and she breathed herself open in response.

Whimpering in protest, when both hands left her to cradle her hips, a mouth capturing her pulse point while she was lifted the few inches to the edge of the desk. Then leaning back, her desire and need wide open as she braced her hands behind her while Jo's mouth traced a path across collarbone, down to capture a nipple. Crying out when it was sucked into a hot mouth, needing to clasp Jo's head to her, unable to move her supportive hands. Feeling the torment as a hand slid up her thigh, bunching her skirt, finding its way toward her center, so drenched she'd given up on underwear days ago. Wanting to scream when it paused, when Jo released her nipple to grind out words through thick passion. "I should..."

"No," Blair demanded. "Now."

Jo groaned at the hot demand in her voice, meeting her gaze fearlessly and rapidly filled her with two fingers. Blair's legs wrapped around Jo's back, as she clenched the fingers tightly, already feeling the edges of her orgasm. A thumb found her clit, shooting her up higher, not moving, not needing to. Blair was poised on the brink, a breath away as she looked into those eyes, feeling an emotional state of need more than she ever had experienced in her life, surpassing even that of her body at this moment of promise.

"I've loved you forever," Jo averred.

Blair came with a sob, release, relief, and joy.

Slowly, Jo left her, and wrapped supportive arms around her as she shuddered her way towards equilibrium. Long moments later, and her hand was taken. "C'mere," in a tone so loving, so tender she could hardly credit it.

Led to the bed and gently stripped of her clothing, one article at a time. Laid down slowly, reverently. She bit her lip, as Jo looked down at her, a kind of joyful wonder on her face. A deep breath, as Blair raised a shaking hand, and wiped away a surprising tear. "You had to know," she murmured.

"I hoped," Jo denied.

The risk suddenly seemed fantastic, in Blair's mind. Only her Jo could be so audacious, could love enough to break through the layers of familiarity and comfort, to dare Blair to face truth.

The kiss that met her lips was tender and breathless. Hands danced lightly over her skin, rebuilding the fire that still smoldered. A touch began at her knee, dragging tingling waves behind it as it traveled up a hipbone, diverted left to follow the horizontal line above her pubic hair, sensitive skin that nearly exploded with sensation. It zeed around, to circle her navel, each finger on the hand separating in a different path, a different dance. Rejoining to lightly bring the tingling wave up her sternum, tracing along her collarbone, briefly dipping into the hollow behind, continuing on its path down an arm, teaching the skin there that it was an erogenous zone, then teasing the tender area inside the elbow, before tracing her inner arm, brushing by and tantalizing a breast almost as an afterthought as it found her neck, the underside of her jaw, the ticklish spot beneath the ear.

Her entire epidermis was alive and waiting by the time the hand finally sought out her lips, tracing lightly. It felt like reverence, and it filled her with such desire she could literally taste effervescence on her tongue. When Jo lowered her head slowly to capture a nipple between gentle lips, she was incapable of active motion. Only her head pressed back in a pillow, lips parting to bring more oxygen as she breathed, shuddering on the release of air. Her neck stretched, and her spine slowly arched as Jo took her time, explored each nipple thoroughly, and brought her hand down to keep one breast while her tongue's patterned surface cared for the other.

Blair's toes pointed as she was explored, her own hand rising to splay across her face the other seeking blindly for anchorage.

Jo captured the questing hand in her own, palm to palm, fingers interlaced, letting Blair bear down on it as her mouth finally moved lower. Pausing for a moment, she nipped lightly at the skin under the ribcage, before seeking out, not Blair's aching lower lips, but the hollow of her hip, sending shooting messages down her legs.

"Jo," Blair whispered. It wasn't a demand, or a plea, but sharing. Blair's body throbbed with desire, yet lacked impatience. It was...full. Full of the tingling waves of sensation that were almost unbearable in their delight. It was hard, to stay in the moment, to stay present to sharp, continuous bliss. But precious, and worth every second of courage.

When lips wrapped around her clitoris, it was like being lifted up in a blanket of fire. She felt a slight shift; felt her thigh enclosed in the warmth beneath Jo's arm as her lover's forearm rested between her thighs, lightly touching her entrance, smoothing the skin as Jo began a slow pace of stroking with her tongue. Blair's hips tilted subtly in response, beginning a smooth, almost circular rocking. Shallow pants for air to fuel the elevated sensation, a soft shuddering beginning to erupt in the muscles of her chest.

Together they increased the pace as Jo slowly brought three fingers into her, millimeter by millimeter, the tight pressure an icon of her entire body's increasing failure to contain the wild fire crackling within her. She exploded upwards when she came, curling her torso into a ball around Jo's head and shoulders in an odd, protective embrace.

Eventually falling back, wrapping herself around the woman who laid down next to her, pulling her into a fierce hug.

"You're magnificent," Jo whispered.

Blair laughed in delight, and began tugging at Jo's shirt with carnal intent. "I'm also not finished...not yet," she informed her love as she prepared to turn the tables.

The End

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