Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 20 June 2008
Fandom: Light, Water, Muses
Category: The continuing saga of Dace and pack's adventures. Takes place in the summer of 2004 in a land far, far away
Pairing: Dace/Catherine. And Dace gets a new playmate.
Rating: PG-13 to NC17. I cover the whole damn spectrum in this one!
Summary: A personal favor turns fascinating for the big cat…
Spoilers: Nothing specific, except for the several characters from earlier sections of Light, Water and Muses, and aspects of their characters and backgrounds were established there.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD08
General Disclaimer: This site contains stories between mature, consenting adult females. All characters are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. All TV show disclaimers are in earlier parts of this saga.
Note: Because of the dangers of Real Person Fic, this tale has been rewritten. Squint a bit and you might be able to figure who the Broadway characters are.
Beta: ariestess, ardvari, laylat, geekgrrllurking, racethewind10
In the end, I rent a room at the Hilton where Sofie and I can crash out for awhile. I've got a new phone number under 'Merlin' in my custom, abhorrently expensive phone to coordinate for a later rendezvous.
My nap is interrupted by a sharp rap on the door, wearily rousing me where I'm sprawled against Sofia's back. Groaning, I slump over to the door, catching the beloved scents of the people beyond. So I let them in, smiling sleepily at the happy squeals of my twin daughters. Olivia holds up one, Catherine the other, and I can gather all four of them to my body for a big hug. "I've missed you guys!"
My kittens babble at me, grasping at the lycra of my sports bra and my ragged mane. I plant a kiss on a grinning Cath and steal Katie from her, then scoop up Sandy as well. "How'd the meet go?" Liv asks as we drift into the room, Sofia groaning and muttering when I imperiously shove her out of the way. It takes some wriggling to get the hungry leeches off me long enough to strip off the top and let them eat, relieving the pressure that's been bugging me for hours. Though it's nothing like when I was their sole source of nourishment, thank god.
Indulgent and familiar with the ritual of my quiet enjoyment of my girls, Liv and Cath don't pressure me to speak for a few minutes. I know Jimmy's with his new mom, Liv's other half. His relationship is more with his sisters than me now. It wasn't an easy decision to hand off his care to another, no matter how close I am to his new moms. But he will forever be overshadowed by his sisters and that's not fair to him. With Liv and Alex, he will be the center of their lives, exactly as it should be.
For the girls share my heritage as Sentinels.
Shaking off my fatigue with decades of practice, this awake during daylight thing sucks, I grin at Catherine and Olivia. "Met Merlin, real nice guy. Took us over to the theater where the Chaos Monster factor took over again." Both women wince, knowing the situations that I often find myself in. "Scared the crap out of Regina Danowitz, for fuck sake, who managed to knock over enough backstage crap to nearly bury us both alive. Scared her little dog too." Resisting the perverse urge to cackle like Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, I carry on. "Managed to get out of the mess and met not one, not two, but three frickin' Gabbys. Nice women, by the way."
"The client?" Catherine prods me with amusement.
"Oh, code name Mad Madame Mim figured out who I was alright. Couldn't look me in the eye; much less actually speak with me."
"And here I thought you liked your girls shy and demure," Liv teases and I stick my tongue out at her.
"Well sure, but only if I can reward them. She's probably second-guessing herself and gettin' all tweaked out. Real bummer too, 'cause she's just my type. Reminds me of Sara."
That makes them both laugh quietly and I pause to admire my kids where they knead at my upper chest like the kittens they are. I really don't know if my chance to help out Michael and perhaps the shy brunette starring in the biggest role on Broadway has flown.
As though conjured by my thoughts, the chunky phone buzzes urgently on the bed stand. The text message makes me grin ferally.
Are u coming back?
Guess that answers that question!
The relationship between a Sentinel and their Guide is an intimacy that so very few can understand. One person, destined to save us from the enhanced senses and animal traits that can and have driven us insane. Not just that, but the effect we have on the rest of humanity and their buried genetic memories of my kind. The Guide is the bridge between us and everyone else when things get too intense or scary. Catherine is my anchor, my heart, my soul. Without her, I would be adrift, helpless and hopeless, not to mention a real danger to everyone around me.
Reaching up, I unconsciously trace the scar on my forehead, remembering Snake-eyes' maddened red gaze as he tried to kill me.
We've seen what a rogue Sentinel can do.
No one wants a repeat.
All Sentinel and Guide pairs are same sex in a biological imperative to prevent inbreeding. The triplets' fathers are Sentinel and Guide, but of a distant line to mine, obviously. Catherine's pre-teen daughter is a Sentinel, bonded to a native of this very city. The complicated and nearly hidden web of us is slowly spreading to do what we are literally born to do.
For a Sentinel can no more ignore the urge to protect others than stop breathing.
Cath's voice drags me from my ruminations and I look into her sky blue eyes and settle once more into my own mind and skin. "Just musing over the nature of things. The women I met today reminded me of what kind of reactions I get around unsuspecting strangers when I go all cat on them. Two reacted, and oddly, two didn't. Normally I don't get halfsies. Though I might have unnerved Lorna a bit and that's why she was so rambly and ditzy. Yeah, that could be it."
"Well, you'll have a chance to find out. It's nearly ten fifteen. We should get moving if we're going to meet Merlin."
"Shit, you're right."
Liv's already up and has Sandy changed and ready to go, Katie kicking at Sofia's belly on the other bed. Laughing at the game, the more extroverted of my daughters is enjoying tormenting my half-asleep sidekick, who growls and makes the child squeal with laughter. Luckily, the girls are young enough to be okay without their Guide, left behind in Las Vegas while we're visiting here.
"Where's your shirt?"
The unexpected question from the swarthy ex-New York detective makes me laugh. "I lost it in the landslide. It had been in my back pocket. Maybe I'll buy one at the theater and give Fawn a thrill."
We chuckle at the thought of our prima donna adopted niece. A sharp crack of my practiced hand on Sofia's ass gets her moving and we're on the street within minutes.
Now, I am a child of Los Angles and an adult of San Francisco and now inhabit the fastest growing city in America, but this metropolis is like nothing else on earth. The crowds are no thinner beneath the dark skies, the noise and smells not lessened at all. They might actually be even worse, actually. "Do you miss it?" I unexpectedly find myself asking Olivia where she walks beside me, holding Sandy to her body.
"Sure I do," she shrugs and grins at me. "But I like my new life. This place really isn't home anymore."
Katie flails to go to her other mom and I hand her over, once more admiring the child's platinum to Cath's rich golden, faintly reddish, mane. The babies ogle the bright lights, squealing and making nonsense syllables. Since they're occupied, I hang back to grab a still-yawning Sofia in a headlock that makes her squeak.
At the Hirschman, disarmingly quiet at this hour, a small gaggle of adoring fans has pinned Jaye and I feel bad for the guy. "Fetch, can you go, well, fetch?"
Grumbling at the many uses of her play name, Sofia nonetheless heads over to rescue the actor. As she's not distinctive in the glaringly obvious way I am, the tactic works. With a silent gesture of mostly eyes, he sends us into the main entryway where we are discreetly allowed in.
I can hear the ruckus of the play in not just my ears, but reverberating through my bones and muscles too. The twin's have gone owl-eyed, their heads swiveling in perfect tandem to the banks of closed doors that separate us from the crowd within, tracking the rise and fall of the sounds within.
"Damn," Jaye marvels, "they're sensitive."
"Meet the mini-me twins," I introduce. "Katie and Sandy. Jimmy's off with his new mom. Long story."
"They're gorgeous. Come on, there's a weird roundabout way backstage, but it’s quite a trek."
He's not exaggerating. Even as we're winding our way through the catacombs, a soaring pair of voices carries a tune of loss, the chorus and orchestra swelling into a shattering crescendo that leads to the roar of an audience well pleased. We end up skirting right past the orchestra actually, where the girls are absolutely fascinated with the noise bleeding in from above, as well as the nearby chorus of instruments. Jaye grabs my arm as we hustle to stay ahead of the chaos that will pour into backstage in mere moments. "I'm going to drop you off at her dressing room. I'll take care of your posse here, deal?"
In the end, I'm handed off to a harried stage hand and actually miss my client's retreat to get cleaned up. Too bad, because that elaborate makeup job has to be fascinating as hell. Luckily for me and my continued avoidance of security, Lorna finds me and beams with pleasure. "Hey! You came back. And still shirtless I see. Hang on, Jan asked me to give you something."
I can't contain my laughter as she quickly returns with a gray t-shirt, emblazoned with the distinctive font of the play's title across the chest and the silhouette of two figures on horseback beneath the crossed chakram and scroll. "Love it! Though I look like a fangirl now."
"You're here to see Elina, right?"
Ah, it seems I may have misjudged Lorna as a ditz after all. "Yeah. Jaye was supposed to introduce us, but he's off with my family and kids somewhere." Curiosity flares behind the cerulean eyes, but she doesn't ask, for which I'm grateful, just shrugging with a grin.
"I'll wait with you then, but you have to promise I can meet your kids. Bet they're lookers."
A parade of costumed actors troops past me, no one giving me so much as a glance. Mixed in are crew members dressed in ratty casual clothes, looking harried and overheated.
"You people really have the weirdest job," I muse mostly to myself and get a trill of laughter from Lorna. The strangeness is only magnified by a midriff-baring burgundy and green confection of a clingy and brief costume that I take a moment to realize is occupied by the miniature Regina Danowitz.
"Hey there!" She greets me cheerfully, obviously not pissed about the surprise attack from earlier. "We were hoping that you'd come back. And I see that you have a new shirt!"
"You look amazing," I shrug, a little overwhelmed with the theatricality of all of this. "Hey, if you get changed, you can meet my twins. I brought them to be slobbered over."
It works to deflect attention away from me and she flounces off with a happy squeal. Good, I can concentrate again without the yummy skin-baring distraction of that costume and whatever is glittering on her skin.
I'm beginning to wonder how bloody long a shower and change of clothes takes when Lorna grins sympathetically. "The body makeup takes some effort to get off."
Now, I haven't seen Xena the musical, nor had any overly burning need to do so, until maybe today. Frankly, Jane and Mel might just kill me for even being here. But one has to live under a rock at the bottom of the ocean on Mars to not have at least a passing familiarity with the mythology of the very popular TV shows of Hercules and Xena. So, yeah, I can imagine that getting painted with fake tan over a good chunk of one's body is a pain in the ass.
A full twenty minutes passes before my tuned-up ears finally pick up a new sound from behind the door. In a sinuous move that startles my companion, I stand away from the wall, twist on one oak heel and park myself right in front of the closed door.
The familiar mantle of Leonacouer settles over me like a cloak, shifting my normally casual body language into something more focused and potentially dangerous. When the door jerks open, the striking brunette actually squeaks in shock and jumps back. Pinning her with a predatory stare, I force my will over hers, waiting until she takes another step back. Then I swivel my gaze over to Lorna, all smiles again. "When you find Jaye, could you let him know it's all good? Have a great night."
Before she can even respond, I step into the room and carefully shut the door.
Freshly scrubbed, clad in jeans and a tight t-shirt, this woman doesn't look like a diva. Her glossy dark hair is in a wet ponytail that drops out from a headrag in battered dark blue and she clutches a decrepit red duffelbag to her chest. Rich, dark green-on-brown eyes in a strong-boned, pale face watch me in terrified silence.
But I know her fear.
I've lived a life of knowing this particular fear for exactly what it is.
Leaning negligently against the door prevents escape and she knows it. "I'm here at great trouble and expense," I murmur softly, lowering my voice as much as I can for effect. "The Four Suits are a massive organization, but there are only eight face cards of top importance." She's curious now, but still silent. "We rank according to the deck of cards, a chunk of the country to each suit. Diamonds are the west coast, Clubs the upper middle, Spades the east, and Hearts the lower middle. Jaye's friend the Archangel Michael is the King of Spades and probably the most powerful of all of us, simply by the nature of this city. I am Leonacouer, the King of Hearts." If at all possible her eyes are even wider now, like a deer in headlights. So my voice darkens into a silky tease over ear and skin. "I can promise you some things. I can promise the utmost discretion due to your position in the public eye. I can promise to guard your safety. And I can promise to find the source of that need in your soul and body."
It's a battle of wills now. Will she step beyond her fear of the curiosity and need that has brought me here? Can I silently impress upon her my sincerity? After a long moment, she takes a deep, shuddering breath and her eyes start to drop, pausing on my upper chest to smirk at the familiar decal on my shirt. With the tension broken, I crook a beckoning finger, oozing sex and arrogance. Another brief hesitation stills her for a moment before she swallows and drops her hands to step into my personal space.
"Good girl," I purr softly, placing my hands on her wrists, soothing the tension there, pressing into pressure points that make her gasp and cause the duffelbag to fall to the floor. A breathy sound that's almost a moan echoes in her trembling breath and I smile to myself. Walking my caressing fingers up her slimly muscled arms to earn her body's trust, I keep the pressure non-threatening and soothing, only a hint of what she might experience if she just gives in completely.
As the calluses of my palms and fingers pass over her silky skin, Lee starts to relax, her sharpened scent easing towards calm. My enhanced senses, as sharp as any dog or hawk, are of great help in this arena of pleasure. No one can lie to me.
Over the round points of her shoulders, I press harder into the tension in the heavy muscles and tendons that anchor neck to shoulders and clavicles. Now she actually moans for real and I know that I've got her. Time to reward her trust through my hands, curled and pressed lightly into her slender neck, fingertips inching into the damp mass at the back of her head. My thumbs curl around that distinctive jaw, fingertips caressing behind her ears as I tilt her skull back.
Modern humanity has this annoying tendency to forget simple pleasures, perhaps the most important of which is another person's touch. It's an animal instinct, buried deep in our lizard brains and the fat, smart part of our brains has an annoying habit of overriding the lizard.
Luckily, I'm really good with the lizard, animal parts of people's brains.
At this point in time, I have completely hypnotized away this new woman's intellect, soothed away her human fears and left her at the threshold of pure animal pleasure. The dark eyes are glittering slits, like a happy cat getting her belly rubbed, a sleeping puppy sprawled against her favorite packmate's body, a bird safe enough to sleep with no fear of predation.
Yes, a bird, with her sweeping voice, a body that is all angles and softness and a personality of steel and geeky nerves. I'll come up with some clever play name as I get to know her better.
The moment fades slowly, the strikingly colored eyes fluttering open and focusing on my summery blue. How I love to see the startled pleasure in the gaze of another as they discover this place inside of them. I even get the pleasant surprise of the hesitant touch of her hands on my waist in something that's almost a plea for…
Oh, I get it.
Slouching against the door a bit to bring down my height a bit, I move my hands to the back of her neck, barely tugging to give her permission. That's all she needs, collapsing into my body like she can't hold herself up for one moment longer. So I wrap my long arms around her trembling frame in an almost maternal hug and wait until she's recovered enough to give me another signal.
I think I understand a bit about this woman. Oh, I don't know any details like where she grew up or if she has any pets or stuff like that, but that isn't what I'm here for. My role is far more visceral and I caught her in what I realize is probably a vulnerable state anyway. I heard and felt the emotional high of that final number and that was without even being able to make out the words! Three hours of high emotion eight times a week, not to mention the physical effort, has to take its toll. Couple that with the curiosity that led to me being here and I can understand a great many things about this stranger I've silently bonded with.
"Is…" her soft voice cracks, making me smile a bit, "is it always like this?"
"Not always," is my equally soft reply. "But I have a rare gift." That gets a huff of amusement and she leans back to meet my eyes again, her naturally curious and energetic personality reasserting itself.
"We haven't really been introduced, have we?"
I shrug and grin. "Sure we have. Just because you haven't spelled your name out and shaken my hand doesn't matter. We've connected in a much more visceral way."
That pleases her like a small child discovering a wonderful new texture in her hands. "We have. Thank you."
"You can thank me later," I chortle with a hint of a leer and she blushes prettily just as she did back in that hallway where I first met her. Then I let my voice go more serious, the playfully businesslike tone focusing her. "Now, can you put on your game face long enough to interact with the others for a bit? If I just vanish, I'll bet that will cause more questions than hovering over you, frankly. Besides, I've got kids and packmates here."
"You mentioned kids, I do remember that. But… packmates?"
"My family is unorthodox," I explain wryly and she giggles girlishly.
Almost reluctantly, Lee levers herself upright, but remains close, our feet and legs tangled together. Good, she obviously is serious about testing the waters with a girl. Otherwise, her body language would still be uncomfortable. To her credit, she stays quiet; waiting for instruction from me and my natural bossiness is starting to salivate over what I can do with this natural.
"So, you're a security consultant from Jaye's friend's company, right?" She smiles coyly, beating me to the punch line of all of this and I have to laugh, setting her back a step so that I can straighten up and stretch out my back.
"Exactly. So I'll play bodyguard and be at your heels. Lead the way, pretty girl."
She grins shyly as I scoop up the duffelbag and toss it over my shoulder, indicating that she's stuck with me for now. And that is how we rejoin the others, a whole gaggle of them, ironically out on the stage, fawning over my kittens. The chorus of happy greetings amuses me greatly. "Are you lot always this friendly?" I have to tease, earning a smile from Lee.
There are a handful of new faces, including another charmingly shy brunette, this one of obvious Hispanic decent. Several men are in the group, but I predictably don't find them nearly as interesting. So I crouch beside the Hispanic woman and caress my hand over Katie's tummy, where she's sprawled on the woman's thighs. "I see they've charmed you. I'm Dace Bogart, their mama."
"Eve Ramirez, your sidekick's understudy."
There are hoots of amusement from the actors and Lee flushes and mutters for them to shut up, causing more laughter. "More the other way around," I grin, "I mean me being the sidekick."
And now I've given them the opening and it's Reg that jumps in to seize it before anyone else can. "What do you do anyway?"
They're instantly alarmed, gazes swinging over to Lee where she's folding herself down beside Jaye and she freezes.
"No, no," I reassure the group. "There's no immediate threat, relax. Jaye and I have a mutual friend in the security business and she asked me to come in and make sure that they're as safe as possible. Really, that's it."
It's not entirely a lie, actually. With the popularity of the couple, anything might happen to them. So I'll watch Lee's movements for a couple, three days and make sure that she doesn't have any habits that might endanger her or require protection. In addition to the other reason I'm here, of course.
"What qualifies you?" Reg says, her tone fierce and borderline confrontational. It's like getting growled at by a chihuahua and I swallow my amusement with effort.
"Former inspector, San Francisco PD. Now I consult with Las Vegas PD and the FBI in addition to corporate clients."
"Inked like that," Lorna crows where she's tickling Sandy's feet, "I can't see you as a cop."
"The scars under the ink are why I'm an ex-cop," I tell them quietly and the humor evaporates. Yes, I still miss it some days and yes, that reflects in my tone.
"Shit, I'm sorry," Lorna apologizes mournfully and I wave her off with said scarred hand.
"Not your fault, Lorna. I just can't fire a gun anymore, so I went private. But you can admire the two detectives over there."
As one entity, the actors' gazes swing over to pin Olivia and Sofia, who give me sour looks and I grin evilly at them.
"Women cops are hot," says a random pretty boy I don't know and he cringes from a barrage of dirty looks.
"Bartholomew, don't be a pig," Reg snarks at him to a chorus of giggles. "Even if you’re right."
Now they all dissolve into hysterics, making the twins squeal along happily. I hear a gurgling growl of hunger from Eve's midriff that even makes Katie crane her neck to see what that horrible noise was. She flushes and I laugh.
"Sounds like me and the packmates are keeping the lot of you from dinner."
I'm further amused by the chorus of disappointment as I stand, making me pause in reaching down for Katie.
"Well, I can't let you all starve to death. I'd get lynched by your fans or something," I complain in mock exasperation.
And that is how my pack and I find ourselves in a sprawling private dining room of a Italian restaurant called, predictably, Tony's, somewhere nearby with half the cast of 'Xena: the Musical'. They're a noisy, hyper bunch and the twins eat it up as they are fawned and fussed over. Only Olivia begged off, wanting to get back to Alex and Jimmy.
Several of the actors are tolerantly amused at the shy begging of a busboy for a couple of autographs, sending him away happy. And my mouth gets me in trouble again. "I don't get autograph collecting," I muse without thinking and the collective gasp of outrage makes me look contrite. "No offense."
"If it weren't for autographs," the guy, Bartholomew I think they called him, says, "half our job would evaporate."
Again, they all laugh and I startle at a strange sensation of something tickling over my upper arm. To my astonishment, Eve has produced a black sharpie marker and is writing in swirling cursive on my new t-shirt.
The actors scream with laughter.
It starts an avalanche of craziness that would normally threaten me, except that I've had some time to acclimate to their manic energy. Lorna's next, leaning me forward so that she can attack my shoulder blade with the pen. Then it's Reg's turn, and she makes me stand up so that she can lean over and scrawl right across where I scraped my tummy earlier in the day. Not only do I get a flourish of an autograph, but a cartoon bandaid and a thought bubble that reads, 'my hero!'
Now it's Sofia and Catherine's turn to howl with amusement.
Even Jaye and Bartholomew get in on it and I tolerantly allow them in my personal space, glowering the latter down when he eyeballs my chest and he relents with a sheepish grin, signing my other sleeve. I'm gratified and amused when Lee takes that spot though, right across my clavicles and sternum above the decal, her smile impish.
Fanning my now graffiti-covered shirt away from my torso to eyeball the lettering as best I can, I chortle, "Ebay, here I come."
The actors pelt me with straws and napkins.
To Be Continued in Part 3...