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The Emperess's New Clothes

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Bobbie frowned as she entered the quarters she now shared with Chrisjen Avasarala. After everything they had gone through, sharing a living space almost seemed normal. Almost. This was still UN Deputy Undersecretary and they were still on a stolen Martian frigate run by a ragtag crew that had either the best or the worst luck in the system. Possibly both.

 

The sight before her was almost as strange as the whole situation. Chrisjen was sitting on the edge of her bunk, seemingly holding some sort of staring competition with a bundle of dark fabric that had been placed on the table. As far as one could stare down an inanimate object anyway. Chrisjen sure as hell was doing her best. She was surprised it hadn’t caught fire yet.

 

“Everything alright?” she asked tentatively. With everything that had happened in the span of 24 hours, she wouldn’t blame her if she wasn’t feeling totally okay. Doing the whole space thing, coming close to dying a few times, losing a best friend, the mag boots. It was a lot. Chrisjen didn’t move, her elbows on her knees, her chin resting on her folded hands. She actually seemed to weigh the words on her tongue before she spoke.

 

“I asked Amos for something else to wear. He gave me that.” Curiosity peeked, Bobbie grabbed the bundle of fabric and unfolded it. Biting her lip to keep herself from grinning like an idiot, she briefly wondered if Amos had just grabbed the first thing he could find or if he was playing a joke on Avasarala, in which case he had more balls than she thought possible. The dark grey, scratchy jumpsuit with a faded, illegible emblem on it, was almost the last thing she could imagine Chrisjen in.

 

“Not a Belter jumpsuit kinda girl?” she tried, attempting to hide her smile and failing miserably. Chrisjen shot her a look that could have melted the hull of the ship. Oh boy. It was going to be like that. “What’s wrong with the clothes you’re wearing now? They’re…nice.”

 

They were nice, or they had been, before Cotyar’s blood had stained them and they had been crumpled during everything that had happened on the Guanshiyin. It was still a nice suit, far less elaborate than she had come to expect from Avasarala though, and probably still more expensive than Bobbie even wanted to think about.

 

“I really fucking hate being covered in my friend’s blood. The sooner this outfit is burned, the better.” Bobbie swallowed and glanced at the dried blood. She wondered if the drop ship had made it, if the UNN hadn’t blown him to pieces, if she would ever see the sarcastic spy again. She hoped so. She liked him, liked the snark he brought out in Chrisjen. They had a weird relationship, but it worked, and she had liked being a part of that. Now that it was just the two of them, she felt lost at times, unable to predict the undersecretary as well as he had.

 

Yeah, she could understand not wanting to wear those clothes again, even after washing them.

 

“Well then, Madam, the jumpsuit it is.” Holding the garment out, Bobbie gave what she hoped was a reassuring smile as Chrisjen grumbled something obscene under her breath and grabbed the jumpsuit. She sighed as she studied it, as if trying to figure how to magically turn it into a sari, before tossing it on the bunk.

 

Without a second thought, she got up and yanked the elastic out of her ponytail, her hair spilling freely down her back. Bobbie felt her mouth go dry, just a little. She knew Avasarala was a beautiful woman, she wasn’t blind. She had simply never consciously looked at her like that. The woman had been her enemy at worst and her pain in the ass boss at best. But like this, the lines on her face deepened with fatigue and frustration, her hair down, but her eyes still as alert as ever, Bobbie saw something else and it scared her a little.

 

And then it got worse.

 

She actually started methodically undressing in front of her. The mag boots were one thing, but the quarters suddenly felt far too small when Chrisjen pulled that extravagantly decorated top over her head. Her heart was pounding in her throat and her palms were sweaty. Why the fuck were her palms sweaty? She was simply watching the woman undress, there was nothing to see but an old lady in trousers and bra. And for Christ sake, she was only seeing the back.

 

“Do you - -.” Fuck, her voice did not need to sound like she was turned on. Because she wasn’t. Bobbie coughed. “Do you want me to leave?”

 

Chrisjen turned around, her eyebrow raised. Bobbie felt her jaw drop and wished she could do anything other than standing there, nailed to the deck, gaping at Avasarala like some pre-teen boy. She was definitely aroused now. Chrisjen was all feminine curves and soft skin, so unlike the women of the MCRN. They had been strong and straightforward and always up for some fun. Chrisjen was elegant, breathtaking and definitely sexy in a surprisingly simple bra that matched the color of her suit.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, right?” She’d be damned if that didn’t sound half-suggestive on Avasarala’s part, with that infuriating smirk of hers. It was absolutely everything she hadn’t seen before. She had never met a woman like Chrisjen before, let alone seen her in any state of undress. Bobbie nodded and shifted uncomfortably, unable to ignore the sudden throbbing between her thighs. Where had this sudden and not entirely unwelcome attraction come from? She was fairly certain she hadn’t wanted to kiss the woman senseless before this moment. Or had she?

 

Something in her brain told her she should turn around, give the woman some semblance of privacy, but she couldn’t tell her body to move. She was trained to deal with dangerous and high-pressure situations, but nothing had prepared to deal with a beautiful UN diplomat unceremoniously dropping her trousers on the floor. Good to know that she had nice legs well, because this wasn’t frustrating enough already.

 

Her traitorous brain showed her the flash of an image, of Chrisjen underneath her on the bunk, her head thrown back in ecstasy, a tell-tale flush on her cheeks. She could almost hear the sounds she would make. It made her want to reach out and grab the woman to find out if her imagination was as good as the real thing.

 

Chrisjen shot her a quick, knowing look, making Bobbie wish she could disappear into a bulkhead, before reaching for the jumpsuit and attempting to look graceful while getting into the thing. She nearly pulled it off as well, trying to get her limbs through all the requisite openings. Bobbie could already tell the jumpsuit was going to be far too large for her, but that didn’t stop her from looking as she zipped it up, covering up all that smooth skin. The end result certainly damped her arousal somewhat.

 

She looked, well, kind of adorable. The suit was definitely too big for her and shapeless as well. The sleeves went well past her hands and her painted toenails barely peeked out from under the pants. With her pissed off little pout and her hair down, she looked like a petulant child. She couldn’t be further removed from the lavishly dressed and bejeweled politician Bobbie had met on Earth and she couldn’t help but laugh.

 

“I’m glad you find this funny.” She sounded pissed off, but Bobbie didn’t miss the tiniest of smiles playing on her lips. She tried to push her sleeves up to make it more manageable, but they immediately fell down again. Bobbie grinned and finally, Chrisjen broke and chuckled softly. The woman was one of the most powerful people in the system and she was beaten by a damn jumpsuit. She’d have to thank Amos just for the memory.

 

“I look fucking ridiculous. This isn’t going to work,” she said dejectedly, pulling on the fabric at her waist. Bobbie was pretty sure she could make anything work, but a far too large jumpsuit was impractical at best, but with this ship’s tendency to find trouble, it was dangerous to walk around in anything that could make her trip. And it was pretty clear that Chrisjen had abandoned her own suit which had been reduced to a wrinkled mess on the deck.

 

“Other than your own clothes, I don’t see much of an option. Unless you wanna walk around in your underwear.”

 

“You’d like that,” Chrisjen shot back without missing a beat, leaving Bobbie momentarily gobsmacked. That had sounded flirtatious, very flirtatious, but that wasn’t possible, was it? The look she received from the Earther was very much that though. It sent a shiver down her spine and just like that, even in that oversized jumpsuit, the arousal was back with a vengeance.

 

“Are you flirting with me? Because I seem to remember you saying you didn’t have the inclination.” Chrisjen raised her eyebrows, having the gall to feign shock at her question. Bobbie clenched her fists, she wasn’t in a mood to play her game, not anymore, not after that little display Chrisjen had so not innocently put on. If she was going to be dealing with a lot of sexual frustration while sharing quarters with the woman, she’d rather know right now.

 

“Did I? Must have been the fact that my own navy was firing at me and I was busy dying. So, the answer to your question is yes, I was flirting, though most of the time I don’t have to spell that out for people. I must be losing my touch.” Bobbie stared at her. Losing her touch? She had stripped down to her underwear in front of her, that wasn’t a touch, that was a sucker punch. And it had worked. She was now painfully aware of her attraction to the older woman. At least it was mutual.

 

Without thinking she reached out and grabbed Chrisjen’s arm, pulling her closer to her. “Definitely not losing your touch,” she muttered, pushing an errant lock of hair behind Chrisjen’s ear. She looked beautiful, looking up at her, her lips just a little parted. She was almost expecting some alarm to go off about another firefight or for her to wake up and this was just some a frustrating dream. But nothing happened.

 

She leaned down and closed the distance between them, unable to stop from smiling when Chrisjen raised herself up on her toes to meet her halfway. She was kissing her, she was kissing Chrisjen Avasarala, her former enemy, her current boss, an Earther, and none of it mattered, because her lips were soft and she was kissing her back. She was even pulling her closer, her hands on Bobbie’s hips.

 

Bobbie slid her hand in Chrisjen’s hair and was rewarded with a tiny sound that made her knees weak. She needed to hear that sound again. Parting her lips, she deepened the kiss, feeling her toes curl in her mag boots when Chrisjen allowed her. She whimpered at the first touch of her tongue. Good god, the woman could kiss. So confident, so expertly and oh so willing. When she moaned, Bobbie could feel it traveling through her body and settling between her thighs.

 

“I wondered if you’d ever find the balls to do that,” Chrisjen said with a smug smile when she broke the kiss. She looked like she had been kissed properly with the remnants of her lipstick smudged and a playful spark in her eyes. Even with the damn jumpsuit, she had never looked more beautiful.

 

“Me? You could have made the first move.”

 

“Look at you. I can’t reach that fucking high.” Bobbie rolled her eyes at her. As far as arguments went, that was one of the weakest she had heard from her, but for the moment she didn’t care. She just wanted to kiss her again, because something was bound to happen that would fuck it up, knowing their luck. Chrisjen easily complied and leaned into the kiss, her fingers digging into Bobbie’s hips.

 

“Hey, Chrisjen, I found you something else to wear. Naomi got it…off the Razorback.” Amos only faltered for a moment as he entered their quarters and saw something he probably wasn’t expecting to see. Bobbie pulled back in shock and wanted to move away, but Chrisjen held her firmly in place, not even appearing a little phased that the engineer had just barged in on them without knocking. Or had called her by her first name.

 

“I guess I should knock,” he said dryly and held out a white jumpsuit. “Here, it’s a racing suit. It looks more your size than that.”

 

Chrisjen frowned and let go off Bobbie to grab the suit, inspecting it with more enthusiasm than she had the thing she was currently wearing. While she was distracted, Amos gave Bobbie an impressed look. She could only shrug as a reply. Not much she could say about being caught with her tongue in Chrisjen’s mouth.

 

“Thank you, this looks moderately better,” Avasarala said, at least pretending to be unaware of their wordless interaction. Amos simply nodded.

 

“Oh Naomi wanted to see you, Bobbie,” he said before disappearing from view.

 

“Be right there.” She waited until the door had closed, before turning to Chrisjen who was running her fingers over the Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile emblem. Bobbie couldn’t say she hated it any less when it was smaller and his goons weren’t firing at her. “You’re not really going to wear that, are you? Because that’s morbid. It probably belonged to Mao’s dead daughter.”

 

“I am alright with morbid as long as it fits me better than this fucking thing. I’m going to get cleaned up and change. You don’t want to keep Naomi waiting.”

 

“Are we…what are we?” she asked, gesturing between the two of them. Chrisjen gave her a placating smile and held out her hand which Bobbie took, glad to have something to anchor her. She watched transfixed as Chrisjen rubbed her thumb over her knuckles in a reassuring gesture. There was nothing but the quiet hum of the ship around them.

 

“We are fine. This will sound strange coming from me, but let’s not overthink it. Tomorrow everything might be different, again. Let’s just enjoy it.” That seemed oddly philosophical for Chrisjen, but she decided not to question it. She could understand it. Everything probably would be different and fucked up in some new way tomorrow. Well, maybe not everything, she thought as Chrisjen pulled her close for a quick kiss. Some things seemed to be going just right.