DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Warner Brothers and various other people. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To lucy87950[at]aol.com
SPOILER: Up to the end of S1.

Forms of Infatuation
By CharmedLassie


As a little girl Olive Snook had dreamed of unrequited love.

It would be heart-wrenching; it would be difficult. It would always end in a flame being ignited and said love ending up being requited. Only the Pie Maker, the man known as Ned, had ever managed to dint her confidence in her dream. And, as time wore on, she had become accustomed to situating Ned in her mind as part of a duo – Ned and that girl, Chuck. Previously, it had felt as though a diseased rat was gnawing at what was left of her insides. However, that pain had reduced to a dull ache now, only really noticeable when she was in the same vicinity as the Pie Maker.

Until today.

As Olive Snook entered The Pie Hole that morning, a Tuesday, she at first felt nothing. It was though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She looked ahead into the kitchen and saw the Pie Maker rolling pastry on the counter in the same adorable fashion which would have made her melt into a puddle of strawberry syrup at the mere idea of it. Today, however, she saw a man rolling pastry and nothing else.

How strange.

Before she could analyse this newfound lack of emotion, the girl, Chuck, came into view, laughing and smiling at Ned. A pang shot through Olive Snook's stomach, fierce and sharp. Olive could only surmise that she was still in fact jealous of Ned and Chuck's status as a duo, regardless of whether she still had residual feelings for the Pie Maker.

Silently berating herself, Olive Snook went about her business and avoided being in the kitchen for more time than was necessary to pick up a pie and occasionally deliver the remains of another. She neatly avoided hearing any discussions at all during that time and consequently when she walked into the kitchen to find it empty she was uncertain why.

However, it wasn't completely empty, as Olive soon discovered. Up from behind the counter popped the head of the girl named Chuck and as soon as that had occurred another fierce pang forced its way through Olive Snook's stomach. As the implications of this set in her jaw dropped open. She was vaguely aware of Chuck speaking to her but she couldn't make out the words. Rat your white? No, that was ridiculous, that couldn't be it.

Nevertheless, no audio was available to her. Chuck brought her fingers up and clicked them together several times. All Olive could do was to follow the movement of the fingers through the air. Finally, Chuck reached for her wrist. The sudden heat against her bare skin shocked Olive Snook back to the moment. Although she was evidently back, Chuck did not remove her hand. As a consequence, Olive's eyes were drawn to it like Emerson Cod's to a pile of cool hard cash.

'Are you alright now?' Chuck asked carefully. 'You had me worried for a minute there.'

'You startled me,' Olive said, picking the first lie that came into her mind. 'I didn't know anyone was in here. Since everything with John Jacob I've been a little more jumpy that usual so...' She accentuated the point with an airy shrug and gently pulled her arm back. Chuck looked hurt, she noticed, but the emotion vanished within a moment.

'Okay,' Chuck replied. 'Well, Emerson took Ned out somewhere so it's just the two of us.'

'I'm sure we'll cope,' Olive answered, thinking – even as she spoke the words – that coping with this particular situation would require a special application of her skills.

Later that day Olive Snook collapsed onto her sofa and let out a soft groan. The day had proved to be a long and arduous one, punctuated by stolen glances and pangs through the stomach which had culminated in an impressive feat of acrobatics from the girl named Chuck as she rescued a flying rhubarb pie from the jaws of Digby.

A curious thing had happened to Olive while Chuck had been laying stomach-down on the ground, looking up at her in a slightly goofy way. In that instant, as she reached for the rhubarb pie, she accepted that the emotions which had been whirling around her all morning were, in fact, not a figment of her imagination. Even more than that, she would bet a large sum of Emerson's money that these feelings had lain dormant for some time, hidden behind her infatuation with the Pie Maker. It was entirely possible that her complete dislike of the girl named Chuck had stemmed, not from jealousy of her non-touching intimacy with the Pie Maker as she'd first assumed, but from jealousy of the Pie Maker's non-touching intimacy with the girl named Chuck.

Olive Snook didn't like that conclusion and decided to drench it with a well-needed shower.

However, as she lay in her bed unable to sleep, Olive's mind wandered to that dark place that she had never yet in her life considered: the place where women didn't need men to survive. In fact, the place where women didn't want men to help them survive.

It was a strange place but, as she thought of it more and more, she began seeing past the superficial disadvantages and into the eyes of an imaginary Chuck within her mind. Her entire body grew warm as she considered the implications of being in love with Chuck and what loving a woman would entail. Her mind was rudely interrupted from such ruminations by a knock at the door. With the sneaking suspicion that she was about to get a Digby-shaped companion for the evening, she dragged herself up to answer it.

However, it wasn't the Pie Maker at the door. It was the girl named Chuck.

Panic suddenly gripped Olive Snook. She believed – and rightly so – that she could fall straight onto the ground without any provocation and wake up in a few hours with the carpet pattern imprinted on her cheek. Fleeing wasn't an option. Chuck's green eyes were penetrating her, perhaps slightly hoping that she wouldn't slam the door in her face. Little did she know that closing the door was the last thing Olive wanted to do.

'Hi,' Chuck said apprehensively. 'I hope you don't mind me calling in like this. I know we're not exactly friends but... Well, I was worried about you earlier and Ned's out chasing bad guys with Emerson. I thought maybe I could keep you company for a little while. Or,' she added hastily, 'I don't have to, it was just...' With a heavy sigh, she trailed off. 'I'll go.'

'No, no,' Olive said instantly, waving the taller woman into the apartment and waiting for the inevitable addition of Digby who came with a wag of his tail. More to combat her own nerves than anything else, she turned and asked, 'Want alcohol?'

A true smile settled on Chuck's face. 'Hell, yes.'

As she retrieved the best bottles from underneath her bed, Olive Snook contemplated how the evening may progress. It was clear to her that Chuck was lonely for human interaction. Given her and Ned's no-touching rule that was understandable; as was the fact that she'd chosen to come over here because aside from Emerson who else knew she was alive? The fact that she wasn't a choice so much as an only option stung Olive but she tried not to show it as she returned to Chuck with a bottle of vodka.

'You want Coke or lemonade?' she questioned.

'Whatever you're having,' replied the Pie Maker's girlfriend with a winning smile.

Olive couldn't help it. The rat she smelt was too pungent.

'Alright,' she said, putting the bottle on the coffee table, 'what are you doing here?'

The content expression on Chuck's face vanished. 'I was just trying to be friendly, that's all. You looked as though you'd seen a ghost earlier. If you don't want me here, I'll go.'

As she stood to do so Olive shook her head vehemently. 'No, I want you to stay.'

The girl named Chuck raised an eyebrow. 'Really?'

If only Olive could have conveyed particularly why her affirmative answer was spoken with such resolution then perhaps Chuck's scepticism would have been allayed. Alas, she could not. Nevertheless, the two of them spent an enjoyable evening together getting slightly inebriated whilst watching the shopping channel. Olive was rather disappointed when Ned knocked on the door but the irritation was quickly engulfed in the impromptu hug that Chuck bestowed on her before she left. Olive found her body tingling all the way back to bed though, once there, she couldn't sleep a wink.

For several weeks Olive was able to contain her feelings whilst allowing a friendship with the girl named Chuck to flourish. It resulted in a sort of mental exhaustion, much worse than the turmoil surrounding the Pie Maker. If before she had indulged herself that her infatuation with him was anything more than close friendship then she was under no illusions now. A floodgate had opened and Olive Snook was willing to concede that before this moment she hadn't been as thoroughly attracted to anyone as she was to this girl who was supposed to be dead.

Even that little anecdote about her character failed to interest her anymore. If a girl wanted to go around pretending to be dead when the girl was as stunningly beautiful as Chuck Charles then she had every right.

It should be known, however, that Olive was the world's worst person for hiding her emotions. Just because the Pie Maker never recognised her advances for what they were, Olive rapidly learned that Chuck would not be so slow to slot the pieces of the puzzle into place. Therefore, she had to deliberately distance herself from the Pie Maker's girlfriend; a situation which upset her more and more each day. It was a gradual process, like weaning a colt from his mother, but it was a necessary step. At least that was what Olive continually told herself. And she took comfort in the fact that Chuck did not seem to notice the growing galaxy between them. Or, at least, she didn't seem to care.

It was worrying to Olive how far her fantasies of Chuck had progressed in so short a time. Even maintaining this gulf between them did nothing to stop her mind wandering to her newfound dark place. In her head she had explored every inch of Chuck's body a hundred times. Sometimes she mistook fiction for reality and wanted to sweep the oblivious woman into her arms right there in the kitchen. It was lucky, she supposed, that Chuck never noticed her mind wandering to those dark places.

One evening, after closing, she sat in The Pie Hole munching thoughtfully on a piece of apple pie. She'd promised to lock up for Ned as he took Chuck away for some Emerson collusion. As it was, Olive had locked the door then served herself pie. Her time lately had been spent cooped up in her apartment. It was a novelty to be out somewhere and know that Chuck wasn't likely to disturb her.

She thought about her dismal progress distancing herself from the girl named Chuck and winced. If you still dream about someone, if you still desire them in every way imaginable to a human being, then it was perhaps inevitable that you were not yet over them. A leaden feeling settled in the stomach of Olive Snook, flattening the apple pie down into a barely-remembered sensation. In all her time loving Ned from a distance she hadn't once thought about escaping from him but now she was seriously contemplating the ultimate gulf between herself and Chuck: she could leave.

As the thought shocked her so did a tap on the window. Her heart soared then drooped as she saw Chuck, shivering in the rain, gesturing to be let in. Of course, she had no alternative but to obey the request and then she found herself serving an espresso to the chilled woman.

'Thanks,' Chuck said, gulping it down instantly. 'I think we're in for that bad spell they were warning us about three weeks ago.'

'Trust the weather guys to be a little off,' Olive answered automatically, taking the cup the moment Chuck had finished with it. 'Another?'

Chuck grinned. 'No, I'll be wired all night if I do.'

'Maybe Ned likes that,' Olive retorted without thinking. Then a blush crept onto her face. 'Sorry, that was excessively personal.'

To her surprise, a forlorn expression had come over Chuck's face. Olive was both reluctant to interrogate it and desperate to learn what it meant. Was it something involving the Pie Maker's relationship with the woman in front of her? She couldn't bear to hear it if it was. Then again, the look on Chuck's face was too vivid to ignore.

Sitting beside her in the booth, Olive asked tentatively, 'What's wrong?'

Chuck sighed and shook her head. 'It's stupid.'

'So are most things I say,' Olive quipped, feeling the heat emanating from the woman beside her, even through the wet jacket Chuck was wearing. 'Hey, you should get out of the wet clothes. And you know what? Then you should tell me what's so stupid because maybe I can help.

Meeting her gaze, Chuck answered, 'I wish you could.'

Fifteen minutes later they were cosy in Olive's apartment. Her little excursion in the rain from wherever she'd been had left Chuck more soaked than Olive had anticipated. As a consequence, she had to allow Chuck to go home and change before joining her. She was worried; knowing that in that brief interlude Chuck could decide not to share with her what was preying on her mind. And, distance or no distance, Olive sensed it was vitally important information that she must have if she was going to understand Chuck. To understand Chuck was to understand her infatuation with Chuck.

However, she needn't have worried. As soon as she opened the door she recognised the tell-tale signs of tears on the usually happy face. She retrieved the vodka, sat them both on the sofa and then just patiently waited. Finally, the breakthrough came in the form of tears.

'Oh, God,' Olive muttered, feeling helpless. If she took Chuck into her arms she knew precisely which dark place her mind would wander to. It could be a catastrophe. She determined to avoid the option for as long as possible. Then Chuck's sobs worsened.

'Do you ever... Do you ever wish you could be held?' Chuck questioned tearfully. 'Just once?'

What else could she do? In one quick movement Olive had gathered Chuck into her arms, noting a dozen things all at once. She saw how easily Chuck's body slid into her own; she realised how intoxicating the brunette's hair was. She noticed the bare skin on their arms brush together and she felt the electric current that passed through her. More than all that, though, Olive noted how she immediately felt at peace. Her cares rapidly disappeared as she realised she felt completely at home in the arms of this woman.

Perhaps she let out a contented sigh. Perhaps it was the way her body pressed hungrily against Chuck's or perhaps it was simply the stench of happiness that had attached itself to her but, whatever caused it, Chuck abruptly stiffened in her arms. Olive panicked but didn't draw back straight away. If this was going to be a onetime thing then she would do her damndest to make sure it lasted as long as possible.

So it was Chuck who pulled back; Chuck who looked searchingly into her eyes.

'O-Olive?' she said.

Shaking her head, Olive resolved to maintain a stony silence on the issue. After all, if you didn't articulate something it couldn't possibly be true, could it? She stood and fled to the bathroom. When she returned five minutes later it was to find Chuck standing in the middle of the room waiting for her with her arms crossed.

'It's getting late,' Olive said with as much breeze as she could muster. 'Maybe you'd better go?'

Chuck just looked at her, burning through her with those beautiful green eyes. Olive felt her body react and she stepped closer only to retreat the same instant. She lowered her head, determined not to look again at the Pie Maker's girlfriend until she was out of the apartment. Then she'd decide how to go about resigning from her job and slipping away quietly.

There were footsteps ahead of her. Her heart sank as she digested the fact that Chuck really was leaving but then it soared as the footsteps came closer, halting straight in front of her.

'Olive, look at me.'

Apprehensively, she did so. Staring back at her was a confused woman, shoulders taut with anxiety. Instantly, Olive felt terrible about adding to that stress. She was about to erase everything with one well-situated comment when the confusion on the brunette's face suddenly cleared. It was in that moment that Olive found herself being kissed by the girl named Chuck; nervously at first, then with more passion, as if they'd been waiting for this their entire lives.

Olive pulled away first. 'I'm taking advantage,' she muttered.

Chuck wrapped two arms firmly around her waist. 'I'm a big girl; I can handle it.'

'I don't think I can,' Olive squeaked as their bodies melded together.

'This is it, isn't it?' Chuck said after a moment. 'This is why you haven't been able to look at me for weeks. I thought you were still in love with Ned but – '

'It was you,' Olive interrupted, eager for the confessional to be over. 'There: I said it. I'm in love with you.'

Chuck blinked – once, twice. Then she smiled softly. 'I don't mind that. In fact, I kinda like it.'

Could this truly be happening? Olive waited patiently to wake up from the rather pleasant dream but no such alteration in state occurred. She looked back at Chuck and managed a bewildered shrug.

'This is real, isn't it?'

Chuck nodded. 'I'm afraid so.'

For the first time in a long time Olive Snook felt her entire body and mind relax. She felt like a human being, as a human being was supposed to be: linked inexorably with another. Her hand snaked up to cup Chuck's smooth cheek, eliciting a long sigh. Leaning forward, she kissed her again and again until her lips grew numb.

As they spooned in bed much later, watching dawn break across the bedroom wall, Olive placed a delicate kiss on Chuck's shoulder. It garnered a shiver and a smile as the brunette turned over.

'Thank you,' Chuck said sincerely.

Olive was at a loss. 'For what? I should be thanking you.'

Chuck kissed her tenderly, lovingly, before answering, 'Thank you for holding me.'

The End

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