Book 6: Rainbows.

Series: Light, Water, Muses.

Rating: NC17

Warnings: The sex games continue…

Category: The continuing saga of Reflections/ Resurgences/Refractions/Rapids/Ripples.

Pairings: We went for a mix and match theme.


Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Light, Water, Muses

Archive: ShatterStorm Productions only.

Summary: The adult games upstairs get wilder.

Chapter 5 :: Blue

++ Olivia ++

Settling more comfortably on the couch, I watch as Jane leads Sara to the padded table set up on one side of the room. She murmurs something to the taller brunette, who nods eagerly and prances next to her in eagerness. Bending her over the table, Jane strokes a hand down her back appreciatively before spreading Sara's legs slightly before slipping two fingers into the obviously ready woman. I am mesmerized as the smaller woman deftly works cotton ropes around Sara's raised forearms, bracing the wrists together before attaching the rope to the hook at the head of the table. Sara tests the bonds, squirming a bit, but settles quickly and closes her eyes to play. I feel Anastasia lightly pat my thigh and glance at her with a smile, remembering my stint as a dessert table in Chicago. Has it really only been seven months since that fateful night?

"Do you wonder what it would be like to be the center of that attention, Olivia?" Anastasia asks me softly.

"Occasionally, I suppose," I admit, relaxing slightly as she continues to massage my thigh. "But I don't think I could play like this and look Dace in the eye. It would somehow change our relationship. Not to mention that Alex would probably castrate me if I even considered it."

She nods with a sympathetic chuckle. "You never know what things might change now that Alex is getting more comfortable with our way of life."

Glancing up again, I watch as Jane trails her hands down Sara's back again, obviously teasing the woman, taking her time before slipping fingers back into the glistening wet pussy. Sara's low, needy moan is intoxicating…and I'm not even attracted to her. Dace's knowing chuckle draws my eyes from her lover to see Darya nestled between Dace and Michael. Her lower lip is sucked between her teeth, eyes curiously watching Jane and Sara. Closer inspection shows me that each of her hands is being held in place on her thighs by the women on either side of her. She's far too pinned between them to move, and her flexing fingers prove her enthusiasm.

"Salix," Jane's low tone carries across the room. "Would you do us the pleasure of lacing her up?"

The younger woman glances up with a dark grin. I don't much care for the goth look, but this one carries it off…in spades. She steps closer, a small bag in one hand, and takes the low-five Jane offers as they pass each other, Jane moving to stand next to Mel and await her next turn.

++ Salix ++

I allow myself a small smile of victory at the low-five. It's something I've seen passed between these other four domes, a sign of their long-standing camaraderie. And by passing off to me in the same way, Jane has basically solidified the fact that I'm finally one of them. I've actually worried about this in the past several months since I'd met them again in Chicago, particularly in my new status as King-Apparent to the Diamonds. It's strange to be playing with Dace and her friends. Then again, these women are now my peers, and when we all take over our respective suits, we'll be working together more often, or so I'm assuming.

I glance down at Sara bent over the table and smile at all of that lovely pale skin. Sylvia's taught me a few tricks for marking skin, and this particular skin would be a palette of temptation for my mentor. As it is, I doubt Sylvia will ever get a taste of either of these women. They're not full-time players, or even casual in the way of the weekend bondage players. Well, maybe not Sara, but Darya's certainly just trying to get a taste of what her wife has done in the past on a far more intense level. She certainly wouldn't be able to handle the passion the dreaded Red Queen can summon up.

Leaning over, I smirk as I smell Sara's arousal. Good God, Dace was right that the woman shows all the signs of being a complete slut. For a brief second, I'm disappointed that I'm not attracted to women; I'd so take a true bite out of this one if I was, and she wouldn't forget it for a long, long time. Reaching into my bag, I pull out the four long lengths of delicate chain that are far stronger than they look. That's the point of them, isn't it? Moving around the table, I stroke Sara's hair to focus her attention back on me. She meets my eyes briefly before being drawn to the chains glinting in my hands. I drape them over her bound arms, trickling the ends into her cupped hands, and let her familiarize herself with their feel.

"Tell me, Sara, do you have any qualms about these chains binding your legs to the table? When I'm finished, you won't be able to move your legs until I release you or you use a safe word."

She shifts slightly to feel the cool metal warming against her skin, and smiles bravely at me. "Please, ma'am," she says in a clear voice, the need a thrumming undercurrent to her tone, and drops those lust-darkened eyes back to the chains draped across her arms.

I leave the chains a moment longer before coiling them up again and returning to kneel between her legs. God, if Puppy ever smelled like this, I'd tie him up and fuck him senseless. Then again, I probably wouldn't even bother with tying him up. Shaking my head to return my thoughts to the matter at hand, I secure one lobster clasp to the table and begin to spiral the accompanying chain down around Sara's left leg to secure the opposite clasp at the bottom of the table leg. A second chain is crisscrossed in the opposite direction to immobilize her leg completely. Satisfied, I move to repeat the same steps on her right leg. She shifts slightly and whipers, obviously realizing she's realized just how much at our mercy she really is. Still kneeling between her legs, I watch her pussy actually quiver as the realization sinks in.

Despite myself, I'm fascinated and plunge a couple of fingers in deeply. God damn, but this woman's got a grip like a vise! Curiously, I flex my fingers within to test it out. Satisfied by Sara's wanton moan, I thrust a few more times, adding a third finger, and bring her right to the edge of orgasm. With a deviously broad smile, I step back and delight in her babbling pleas for release. "No, Sara, you're not allowed to come quite yet. We've only just begun with you."

"I'm gonna die," she whimpers, head dropping down to her arms.

++ Anastasia ++

I adore watching these younger women work. They bring an endless fascination, since all of them except for Salix have at least worked under me for a few months at one point or another. And perhaps now that things are definitely on the mend among the original four of us, I might get the chance to mentor Sylvia's young protégé for a short time. She really is a perfect match for the Red Queen; their personalities are far more suitable to each other than Sylvia and Dace ever were. I knew the girl had an innate gift with bindings, and what she's done to Sara is very tame. Sylvia's innately proud of her successor.

The soft moan of frustrated desire brings my gaze back to my daughter-in-law. Darya's behaving admirably well, stuck as she is between Dace and Fenris. I can't help the broad smile as Dace leans in to nip just below Dare's ear. She has her lower lip sucked so far into her mouth at the jolt of surprise, I'd swear she's going to swallow it.

"Dace, please," she whimpers, hands clenched into tight fists in her lap.

Her two tormentors share a heated look over Darya's lowered head, sporting twin predatory grins. This is what I wanted to be up here for. It's no slight against sweet Sara, but I live with her and have seen and used her in action. My daughter-in-law's curiosity for our lifestyle has intrigued me since I'd first met her at her wedding a year and a half ago. I've wanted to see how she'll stand up to even a watered down version of our play. I know she'll never embrace the lifestyle fully, it's just not in her nature, but I'm grateful that she understands Karen's need for this particular outlet and that she's willing to experience it. I've never actually entertained the notion of honestly taking a bite out of my Tiger's wife, but it's been the subject of a few nice fantasies on occasion, particularly after that delightful set of photos she and Karen sent with our anniversary gift last December. I would like to thank her for that with more than mere words…

"Please what, Dormouse?" Dace asks in that low, silky purr of hers. The tip of her tongue traces along the column of tendon in the side of Darya's neck, down and up again before sucks the earlobe between her lips.

Darya tries to speak, but only a squeak comes out as Fenris echoes the movements on her other ear. She drops her head back, exposing throat and chest to her tormentors. Michael begins to unbutton Darya's shirt easily, exposing the surprisingly enticing nursing bra beneath. She nibbles her way down the vulnerable throat and into the hollow between those full breasts. The pregnancy certainly endowed Darya with an even more bountiful cleavage than I remembered. Fenris' hands disappear into the shirt, and come back out tugging at the bra.

"Dace," she growls, "she's wearing far too many clothes."

Dace pulls back with an evil grin I know very well, eyes raking down Darya's body. "I think we can take care of that," she rumbles. "Darya, strip for us. I wanna see that sexy body of yours."

Those expressive green eyes widen in surprise, and I can see she's debating the order for a moment. Her glance flickers over to Karen for the barest of instants before she swallows and stands up. Taking a deep breath, she faces Dace and Michael, letting the shirt slide off her shoulders to pool at her feet. Automatically, her arms move up to cross over her chest, despite the fact that her bra's practically falling off; or maybe it's because of that fact. She shifts to rake one hand through her hair, takes another deep breath, and tugs the straps down off her arms. Dace reaches out to tweak a swollen nipple, but Darya reflexively bats her hand away. Dace's eyes narrow and she growls softly.

"I'm…" Darya starts to apologize, but stops at that growl.

"We'll discuss that later. Finish stripping," Michael orders.

I find myself turning to see Karen's reaction to this. She's frowning slightly, but it dissipates when she feels my gaze. I pat the spot next to me and she makes her way closer. "How are you holding up to this, Tiger?" I ask softly, eyes returning to Darya's body.

"I really hope she's enjoying this," comes her honest reply. "I mean, I know they're actually going easy on her. If she wasn't a neophyte, she'd have been punished for that."

"Yes, she would have, but she'd also have known the rules far better, I'd think." I pat her cheek. "Give your wife some credit, Karen. I think she's going to surprise us all in the end."

Her gaze is pulled away again as Darya begins to move. Her hands go to the fly of her jeans, turning around as she pushes the denim down her legs. With a sly smile aimed in our general direction, Darya bends over to pull the pants off her body. I'm not surprised in the slightest by the squeal as Dace reaches out to sharply slap one ass cheek. Straightening, Darya turns around again, allowing us a few of her shapely ass, now covered with a bright red handprint. It's not long before the skimpy leopard print thong joins the pile of clothes at her feet. Karen murmurs something under her breath, shifting on the couch, and I find myself biting back a chuckle that she can still have that reaction to seeing her wife naked.

Dace grins and pulls Darya closer, so the smaller woman has to straddle her legs. Dare begins to sit down, but Dace shakes her head. "Uh-uh, Dare. You stay right there," she purrs and inhales deeply. "God damn, you smell good enough to eat." And with no further preamble, that great blonde cat ducks her head in and attacks Darya with the gusto she's known for.

++ Tessa ++

"You're awfully jumpy tonight, Tess," Gabe teases, reaching over to tug at my hair. "Needing a little something to take the edge off?"

"Bite me, Gabe," I retort, slapping at his hand.

"Grin and bear it, luv. You know I'm game."

I roll my eyes at him. "You're a pain in my ass, you know that?" I sigh and let my eyes drift up toward the ceiling again. "It's not fair, Gabe. I should be up there."

"Why? Because Anastasia's up there? Or because you know there are people being worked over and you're jealous you're not one of them?" He smiles sweetly at me and takes another hit from his beer bottle. I start to tell him to fuck off, then realize he'd just taunt me more, so I flip him off British style instead. The initial surprise on his face makes me feel much better, and I join in when he starts laughing. "You're lucky I don't have permission to take you over my knee right now, young lady," he growls in amusement. "Tho' I suspect you'd enjoy it right about now anyway."

I stick my tongue out at him and tip back the last of my beer. Setting the bottle down, I feel that steady stare again. Turning, I study Sylvia, who has turned back to her discussion with Jesse. I see the faintest tug of a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Damn it, I was right. Sylvia's been watching me, studying me…torturing me. Despite the fact that she still terrifies me after all these years, that very ability also turns me on like gangbusters. Gabe's chuckle cues me in to the fact that I'm squirming in my seat again; and that realization makes me pout, even tho' I know it's childish.

I notice Gabe's finished off his beer. Grabbing the bottles, I quickly stand and head into the kitchen for refills. "Missing something, Tessa?" The teasing tone sounds so much like Darya's, it takes me a moment to realize it's actually Davie.

"Just getting more of these," I reply brightly, holding up the bottles.

"I'm surprised you're not upstairs with the others," she says in a low, curious tone.

"Too many issues with your sister and sister-in-law." The words are out before I realize I've even said them. But it's the truth. "As much as I hate not being involved, I agree with Anastasia's decision that it might cause uneasiness for all of us." I smile brightly again. "Besides, I know Dace and Anastasia will make it up to me once we're back in Vegas."

She chuckles and shakes her head, shooing me back into the living room with my beers. I watch Gabe talking to Jesse before he makes his way back to sit with Boot and me. Sylvia continues to stare at me the whole time as I come back into the room, a slow, predatory smile on her face. Snagging one of the bottles from me, Gabe leans over to press a kiss to my cheek. "You know, you could just go talk to her, Tess," he says warmly, one arm resting against the back of Boot's chair. "It's not like she's going to kill you."

"You weren't there, Gabe," I reply, temporarily transported back to being that scared sixteen-year-old under her tutelage. "She terrified me like I've never felt before. Not even when I was still running on the streets."

And there's that sensation again. Turning to stare at her, I'm only given a profile shot. Jesse shoots me an amused, almost indulgent grin. I sigh and turn back to face Gabe.

"People can change, luv," he murmurs. "You can't know what's going on in her head without asking her."

"I don't think I can do it, Gabe."

He reaches over to wrap my hand in his. "No one said you have to. It was simply a suggestion." I feel the approach as his eyes raise to look behind me. "Hello, Sylvia," he says genially. I can't help the automatic straightening of my spine.

"Hello again, Brann," she replies in that low, cultured tone. "Tessa, do you have a moment?"

My heart is pounding; it's a completely irrational reaction and I know that, but I can't stop it either. Every time I'm alone around her, I become that terrified child again. Before I can formulate the words to answer her, I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder.

"Everything okay, Tess?" Catherine's concerned voice is a soothing balm. When did she become so damned integral to my life?

"I'm fine, Catherine," I reply, smiling up at her. I am an adult after all, and Sylvia Ventura isn't the devil incarnate, no matter what my inner child might say. I can do this. It's just talking to her. I turn to face Sylvia, resolving to face this demon once and for all. "Yes, my queen, I'd be happy to speak with you. Why don't we go out by the pool to talk?"

+ Darya ++

In all of the times Karen and I have played, I've never done anything like this. Even in everything she's told me about the scenes she'd participated in, none of it really prepared me for actually being party to one. Once Dace finishes using that wicked tongue of hers to make me come, she hands me over to Michael for a kiss that has me squirming like a slug in salt. Then she and Michael press me down onto my back on the bed and proceed to barely stroke fingertips along the entire length of my body…except where I want them the most.

"Hey, Tarzan," Dace calls out in amusement. "C'mere! I wanna watch Bane take a bite outta Sunshine again." I shiver at that tone of hers: so playful and yet so predatory. But I'm enjoying this too much to honestly think about the dynamics of what we're doing. As she moves out of my line of vision, I can tell she's heading over by Olivia and Anastasia, murmuring something to Karen on the way. I want to know what they're saying, what they're planning for me.

I start in surprise as Michael's lips surround my nipple again, chest arching into her mouth. It's truly an interesting sensation to feel hands and lips on my body that aren't Karen's. And yet, I don't want it to stop, not yet. I know they're not done with me, not by a long shot, and I let my eyes close on that thought, relishing the sensations. "Fancy a blindfold, Darya?" I swallow and force my eyes open to meet her golden gaze. "It can definitely enhance your enjoyment, not to mention taking away the inhibitions that sight can bring you."

I nod readily; I want to experience everything I possibly can. She chuckles and pulls a silk scarf from her pocket. Sucking roughly at my nipple until I squeak, she leans up and tugs me toward her. Feeling a bit daring, I start nibbling at the side of her neck. She tips her head to the side, letting me continue for a moment longer before those long, slender fingers tighten enough in my hair to make me stop with a low moan. She answers with a dark chuckle and deftly slips the scarf around my head. Once darkness descends, I straighten a bit, unsure of why I've agreed to do this. Things seem so much more intense without my sight; I can't see what's coming. This isn't fair.

"Relax, Darya," Michael murmurs huskily, hands massaging down my back and arms. "No one's going to hurt you. Remember, we're here to make you feel good. Let go of your control, let the sensations take over. Don't hold back anything you're feeling. You're safe with us. Trust me. Trust your wife."

I nod and take a deep breath to settle my nerves again before laying back against the pillows. Stretching my arms up above my head, I giggle softly at the memory of laying like for Karen only two day ago. I feel the heat of desire coursing down my spine and start squirming, still hearing Karen's earlier words about Michael's skill with fisting.

"What is it, Darya?" That's not Michael's voice, nor is it Dace's. And then I remember Jane's teasing me now, too. "Is something wrong?"

I shake my head and whisper, "Just remembering something Karen told me…about Michael's skills."

She chuckles darkly. "All in good time, all in good time."

I lay there, ears straining to hear everything as these two women I trust despite hardly knowing them tease my body to a feverish intensity. I can hear Karen speaking to Sara, such a dirty, dirty mouth she has, and feel my empathic senses zeroing in on the two of them.

++ Sylvia ++

My smile is genuine when Tessa agrees to speak with me. I know I could make it an order, but that's not what I'm after here. I don't want to frighten the poor woman, not when she's being denied the chance to shine as a submissive upstairs. She's suffering enough tonight, I think. And, quite honestly, I don't want a repeat of that botched discussion with Dace. I feel very… It's not a sensation I'm relishing at the moment.

As we make our way through the kitchen, I take a moment to grab a bottle of the imported beer Fenris -- or should I be calling her Michael now? -- brought for me from that strange bartender she knows. She always does find the best things. A part of me considers hesitating as I see Darya's sister nursing a cup of tea at the table. She's got a certain something about her that is fascinating; and I would love to see if I can knuckle her under my iron fist. But that is for another time.

Tessa moves to sit in a chair at a table nearest the hot tub. Biting back a smirk at the thought of inviting her to join me in said tub, I sit across from her and twist the cap off my beer. I can't help but study her for a moment in the pale light of the moon. She's certainly grown into her beauty as time's gone by. There's still a part of me that wishes I could have had her for my own.

"You wished to speak with me, my queen?" she asks quietly.

"I wanted to see how you've been faring with Dace around," I say in just as soft a tone. "I know she can be something of a handful."

Tessa chuckles knowingly. "That's true, but she's not so difficult to deal with, I suppose. Dace and I understand each other." She turns to meet my gaze steadily, even tho' I can see the slightest flicker of fear in those clear blue eyes. "May I have your permission to speak freely, Madame Red Queen?" When I nod, she echoes the movement. "Why did you ask me out here? Why have you been staring at me like a hungry lioness stalking her prey?"

I take a long pull on my beer, savoring the flavor, and keep her gaze until she drops it uncomfortably. "I apologize for making you feel uneasy, Tessa. That wasn't my intention." I pause for a moment and shake my head. "No, that's not exactly true. It was partially my intent to make you uncomfortable. Old habits do tend to die hard. But I also was simply watching you, taking in the amazing and fascinating woman you've become from that frightened young girl over twenty years ago. You practically run the House of Hearts."

"I wouldn't say that," she replies demurely.

"Ah, but your mistress does. Anastasia and Dace have both spoken highly of your business acumen. I must admit that I wonder how you might have turned out if you'd become my pet instead of Anastasia's." I don't miss her shudder, no matter how much she tries to hide it. "But I also know that you went where you were supposed to go."

"Ma'am?" she asks, not bothering to hide the curiosity in her voice.

"You wouldn't have become the woman you are today if you'd stayed with me, with any of us. Jesse would have treated you like a precious jewel to be coddled. KC would have used you as a means of sealing her deals; there would be so many men and women who would have adored getting a piece of you, that they'd agree to her terms easily. And as for me? I quite probably would have broken you, degraded you, and forced you to need my permission to do everything, even breathe." She sucks in a horrified breath at that, and I don't blame her. "I would have completely destroyed your spirit and your uniqueness…just to see if I could. I've terrorized you in one way or another for the better half of your life, and that's not fair to you."


"You're a good person, Tessa, and I am sorry if I made you think otherwise at any time." I take another drink from my beer. "After what happened to Dace… Let's just say I've been doing some prioritizing of things in my life. And I just wanted to say I'm sorry for making you feel uncomfortable."

++ Olivia ++

Damn! I can see it happening before even Dace catches it. Darya's doing exactly what Mel had worried about. I can feel Dace start to get up next to me, cueing in her acknowledgment of the situation. My hand shoots out to stop her almost before I realize I've done it.

"Nobody move," I say, standing up. The cop tone causes the others to pause, but no one actually stops what they're doing as I advance toward the bed.

"Hollywood," comes Dace's low, even tone. I've been around long enough to read the undercurrent of worry in her voice, even if no one else notices that as they all freeze at her safe word.

"Dace?" Karen asks, hand stopping mid-slap as the blonde shifts to stand next to Sara, murmuring something to the bound brunette. "Dobie, what's going on?" She starts to come toward me.

"That means you, too, Bane." I make damned sure to use the play name. "You're going to be too much right now."

Oddly enough, or maybe not so much, Karen doesn't even fight me on this. Michael and Jane both roll back to give Darya space on the bed, once they realize where I'm heading, and Jane deftly slips the silk scarf from her head. It really does still surprise me that I can sense these things in someone I barely know. Then again, Darya's a Partial, and a pretty sensitive one at that. It makes a certain amount of sense, doesn't it? Even if she doesn't realize it herself. I crawl up onto the bed to sit next to Darya, one hand gently stroking her face and hair.

"Let her do this, Karen," I hear Dace murmur to her sister. "You know Dobie can do it."

"Dace, go check on the kids," I command in a low, non-threatening tone. No need to scare anyone further. Poor Sara looks like she's going to swallow her tongue, but Karen has stepped up to bat and is doing an admirable job in calming her as Salix and Jane swiftly undo her bindings. "You're gonna be too much right now, too."

Dace nods, squeezing my shoulder as she passes me. "You got it, Dobie. Dial her down and bring her home."

I glance up to see everyone moving to the other side of the room, giving me the space I need. Mel hesitates by the door, the silent question plain on her face. I nod minutely, turning my attention back to Darya. This close, touching her as I am, I can feel the tension. She's done more than just get dialed up too high; she's fully succumbed to the sensations in the room. Glancing around the room, I realize that perhaps we've put a few too many people into such a small space, particularly for Dare's first foray into a group scene. I'll have to smack Dace and Karen for that. They both know about Dare's empathy and should have thought this out a little better. Then again, it may have been completely different if Karen wasn't playing.

"Come on, Dare," I soothe softly. "Come back to me. Let it go, honey. It's too much. Let it go."

She opens her eyes, staring sightlessly up at the ceiling. Her pupils are wide and unfocussed. I definitely step up on my coaxing, if only to soothe her family members, both in the room and out of it. I'm not sure how long I sit here, alternating between the gentle coaxing and more direct imperatives. Finally I can see her eyes start to react, just as Mel slips over to sit on her other side to pull a blanket over her body and surreptitiously check her pulse.

"That's it, Dare. Come on back. Let me know you're here with me." She turns her head to focus on my face and blinks several times. I feel it when her senses lower enough to be just about back to normal again, and I smile encouragingly at her. "Hey, hon. Welcome back. How ya feeling?"

"Hi," she murmurs self-consciously and closes her eyes again, letting a couple of tears slip down over her temples. She starts to get up, but Mel and I hold her down lightly.

"No, don't get up just yet," Mel says softly. "Just relax."

Darya simply nods and returns to staring up at the ceiling sightlessly for a long moment. "I'm sorry," she finally whispers.

"For what? You got a little too caught up in everything, that's all. You didn't do anything wrong, Darya. No harm, no foul, right? We'll just have to go a little slower for you, maybe a little less stimulation?"

She nods gratefully, eyes searching around the room. I know she's looking for her partner. Glancing over at the redhead, I nod and she's instantly at Dare's other side, pulling her wife closer while Mel melts back to stand duty at the door with Jane again. I can hear Darya murmuring tearful apologies, which Karen repeatedly refutes and praises her for what she had done. Giving them a moment or two to reconnect, I turn toward Sara, only to find she's being petted and coddled by Anastasia, but still has a slightly wild look in her eyes. Mel flashes me a grin and a thumbs up as I walk closer to her and Jane, rolling my head to release a little of the tension in my own shoulders. Jane immediately begins to work at the knots with gusto. "You did great, Dobie," Mel replies. "You're quite good at that, you know."

"Thanks. I guess it helps that I used to work with people in shock when I was with Special Victims. That, and Dace certainly does keep me on my toes."

++ Catherine ++

The look on Zo's face as she and Davie come wandering into the room confirms my suspicions: something has happened upstairs. The heavy tread I know so well coming down the stairs, combined with Dace's enigmatically bright smile, has me excusing myself yet again from my conversation with KC to move to my partner's side. I return the smile and raise an eyebrow to indicate the two familial empaths. It's getting easier and easier to understand some of their subtle clues, particularly with Zo living at the complex.

Dace and I step over to the two women and she holds a rather strongly murmured conversation with them that I'm not privy to. Davie looks like she's going to protest and head upstairs, but Dace stops her. The conversation certainly turns more intense at that point, confirming my suspicion that whatever happened upstairs involves Darya. Finally satisfied that she's mollified the elder Farazell sister, my great blonde cat turns to face me.

"How's it going up there?" I ask softly, studying her face for any kind of indication of the situation. Dace shrugs and leans in to kiss me. It's a quick, reassuring kiss…that tastes different. I lean back to raise an eyebrow in question. "Which one?"

"The same one that's caused the minor problem upstairs," she replies matter-of-factly. "I'll explain in a minute. Let's go make sure Janet and the kids are all calmed down first."

I nod and follow her into the nursery, tongue absently running over my teeth. I certainly can't deny the visceral thrill at tasting her lovers. It usually means some really great sex for us. But for the moment, I'll have to wait. We have other things to attend to first. Stepping into the nursery, I immediately go to stand by Janet as Dace flashes a bright smile at the three older children. It's obvious they've all been fussing, even the babies, and poor Janet's looking a bit frazzled. I scoop up a baby to soothe, letting Dace calm the older children with that "momma kitty" purr of hers.

"Mom?" I turn at my daughter's voice, oddly not even surprised that she's come in after us. Of course, she'd sense something's amiss. "Can I help?"

"Sure, Linds," I reply and point her to the rocking chair. Once she's settled, I give her the baby I've been holding and scoop up another one. "Janet, go relax on the bed. I'll bring you another baby, since I know you can handle two when you're sitting down." She starts to protest, but I actually am able to quell her protestations with a level glance. So it's not just the kids that are upset. Then I remember that Darya's as close as family to Janet. I settle the second baby in her arms and turn to get the last one. "If you're going to feed any of them, let me know. We can swap out, or find some formula or something."

On the tail end of my comment, the door opens again to reveal Davie with a rather unique tool belt full of bottles around her waist. I've gotten used to seeing it over the past three days, as all four of these babies have migrated onto a pretty similar schedule for feedings. She starts handing out bottles and hesitates at seeing Lindsey with one of the infants.

"It's okay, Aunt Davie," my daughter pipes up. "I haven't done this before, but if you show me how, I wanna help out with the babies." And then she gets a sly look in her eyes, reminding me far too much of my blonde mate. "Besides, it'll be a good skill to have in the future, I'm guessing."

Okay, that's something I don't want to be thinking about. I certainly hope she's not talking about herself. I've already learned and understand about the Sentinel mating urges, but I don't want to contemplate being a grandmother quite so soon. The tiny giggle from Emily draws my gaze to her for a moment, and I catch the barest hint of the same look before she turns to hug Dace tightly. Shaking my head slightly, I return my gaze to the baby in my arms, belatedly realizing I'd picked up young Jesse. He's attacking his bottle with gusto, and I'm reminded of Lindsey at this same age.

"They grow up too quickly, don't they?" Janet's voice breaks into my memories and brings me back to the present.

"That they do. I can remember when Linds was this little. Seems like only yesterday."

Janet nods, smiling as Davie plucks up one of the children in her arms to pop a bottle into the not-quite pouting mouth. It allows me the opportunity to study Janet while she shifts to expose her breast for the baby in her arms. I can see the lines of tension around mouth and eyes, know she's putting on a brave front for the children…and the company. I've already figured out quite a bit about Janet Fraiser, and losing control in her own home is something she really doesn't like to deal with.

"Is she okay upstairs?" she finally asks softly.

"She will be," I reply honestly, and believe it myself. "She has more than enough support up there to alleviate the situation. Dace and I were more worried about you and the kids." She nods and looks over at the older three kids huddled around my partner. "It looks like Darya just got a little too involved in what was happening. She got overwhelmed by all the emotions and sensations in the room."

Emily whimpers and Dace gently purrs, pulling her closer. "She's okay, Monkeychild. I promise, she's okay." The words appear to be enough to mollify the girl.

"I don't get it," Janet replies regretfully. I can tell she really does want to know, but I also know just how banal her mind really is. This whole realm of the mind's emotions really is far more inscrutable to her than she cares to admit.

"You know that Darya's got that empathic sense, right?"

"Like Zo and Davie, yes. But I don't get it."

"I know. I didn't think I did at first either. You've got a very rational mind, Janet, and that's not intended as a slight in any way. I know exactly how you work through things. I've done it myself, as has my boss Gil. You and he are a lot alike in some ways. But you also… You're a mother, and that means you've got that sixth sense about your kids, right?" When she nods, I smile. "Yeah, me, too. And you just know when something's going on with one of your kids. What Darya has is similar, just a far broader spectrum."


"Janny, we've had this discussion in the past, you and me," Davie cuts in smoothly. "A number of times. It was one of the things that helped Dare survive after everything. She drew on your strength, among other things, after our father pulled his sh--stuff." She smirks in the direction of her older nieces and nephew. "No sense in handing out money I don't need to," she retorts to Janet and me. "But it's true. How many times has she come to your aid when you've been upset about something, Janny? She can sense it. And it's not just because you two were lovers at one point. She did it for Kim when they were living in San Fran. And she'll continue to do it until she dies. It's part of what we call the family gifts. Emily's got it, too, and you know that."

"But, Davie--"

"I know you don't understand it. Your brain can't accept it, but your heart does. Just trust it, okay? And listen to your elders once in a while. You know we do know what we're saying sometimes."

I can't deny her logic. And oddly enough, it's come out far more eloquently than I'd expected. But then again, this elder Farazell has certainly been very involved in Janet's life for a long time. They have a lot of history that's helping out here, hopefully. And it amuses me that she teases Janet about being an elder, when she's only a couple of years older than I am.

"I know what you're both trying to say. It's just hard for me to understand it."

"Well, you're gonna have to understand it, Janny. Your daughter's got it, too."

That brings Janet up short. She stares at her daughter, who wiggles out of Dace's lap to cross the room and crawl up next to Janet. "It's okay, Momma. Mommy is okay. Promise. We all okay."

Dace, Lindsey, and Emily all cock their heads to the side, almost in unison, and grin. "See, Monkeychild," Dace says, ruffling Emily's hair. "I told you your mom would be okay. She just got too caught up in the icky grownup stuff."

And on those words, all of the tension in the room seems to melt away. Dace certainly does have a way with words.

++ Karen ++

Once she's calmed back down, Darya curls into my side for a long moment before Dace comes back into the room to check on us all. She sheepishly lets Dace lightly chastise her for getting too caught up, but giggles coquettishly when the punk starts to tease her again. This gives me the opportunity to go check on Sara. The shy brunette is sitting next to Anastasia, happily being coddled by the older woman, but I can still see the faint tremors under her skin that remind me of our time waiting in the hospital for the outcome of Dace's surgeries. There's no reason for her to be feeling bad right now; she did absolutely nothing wrong. And I've been wanting an actual bite out of her for a couple of months now.

"He-ey, Basker," I murmur, crouching down to face her. "You're looking a little tense. How about you and I go check out the absolutely killer bathroom Sam had built?" She grins shyly and rubs at the back of her neck. "C'mon, let's go," I say, tugging at her hair lightly. "Dace, how 'bout you get Dare all revved up again while I do the same with Basker here? Meet back in here in twenty?"

She grins ferally and Darya suddenly squeaks in surprise. "Have fun!"

I point toward the bathroom and swat Sara on the ass as she heads that way instantly. Reaching into Fen's ubiquitous toy box, I dig out a nicely weighted dildo and harness, then grab for a bottle of lube and a condom. The bareback play will wait until we're back in Vegas and have Sara's toys on hand again. It's not that I don't trust Fen to have scrupulously clean toys, but that particular hurdle hasn't yet been breached with Sara. Besides, I know better than to play unsafely, even if I know who I'm playing with. My mentors would have my hide if I fucked that up after all this time.

Once in the bathroom, I turn to face the shy scientist Dace has grown so attached to. Very deliberately, keeping eye contact with her the whole time, I get myself fitted with the dildo I've chosen. I can't help the smile when she licks her lips unconsciously. "So you were enjoying that spanking before we got interrupted, weren't you, Basker?" I purr, rubbing my hands together slowly and intentionally. "Do you know just how hot you looked all tied up on that table? Squirming and straining to meet each slap of my hand? Whining and begging for more? If I'd been wearing this cock out there, you wouldn't be walking very well right now," I say, stroking the extension between my legs.

"Yes, ma'am," she breathes, taking a tentative step closer.

"You want this, don't you, girl? Throw you up against that wall and fuck you senseless until you scream? Is that what you want?"

"Yes, ma'am," she whispers again, chewing at her lower lip.

With a dark grin, I toss the condom her way. "Put it on. And don't use your hands."

Sara hesitates for a moment, but drops to her knees as she tears the packet open. It's an intriguing sight to watch as she fumbles her way into putting on the condom. I almost wish I could feel it, because damn! But I encourage her nonetheless; she'll get her reward soon enough. My fingers tangle in her hair for a moment, gently pumping my hips as she moans in reaction. Sara certainly hasn't disappointed me yet with her enthusiasm to being dominated like this.

When her eyes close at one point, I tug at her hair none too gently and am rewarded with a pair of completely unguarded, lust-dark, adoring deep brown eyes staring back up at me. Damn! Is that what Dace gets out of her on a regular basis? If Sara was mine, I'd make damned certain she never lost that look. Then again, I'd never get anything else done, and that wouldn't be fair to my family. No, best that this one is an occasional playmate.

Her plaintive whimper when I let her go sends a jolt directly to my clit, and I pull her up roughly against me. "Don't think I've forgotten how much of a needy little slut you are, Sara," I growl against her throat. "Ready to please your Daddy or anyone she wants you to, no matter who it is. I bet you'd even spread your legs for Gabe if we brought him up, wouldn't you?" She sucks in a startled breath, but doesn't protest, which earns her a dark chuckle. "I thought so. That cunt of yours is on fire, hmm? You want this shoved between your legs until you scream for me to stop."

"Please," she whispers, rubbing wantonly against me. Her sudden squeak when my fingers tweak her clit makes me laugh again.

I turn to press her against the wall with a demanding kiss, hands roaming possessively along the angular lines of her body. Sara's more than wet enough to take my toy, and I bend just enough to get the dildo pressed between her legs. "I want to hear every single sound, kitten," I growl. "Do you understand?"

"Yes, ma…"

The words morph into a wordless cry as I plunge the dildo home, gripping her ass tightly. Her legs automatically move to curl around my hips, echoing the movements of her arms around my neck. Each deep thrust elicits a needy gasp or moan, spurring me on in ways I've almost forgotten get to me. Sara's brought up memories and feelings that have been buried under the burden of Major Taylor. But not tonight…

"So hot," I murmur against her throat, fingers kneading her ass. My hips don't stop their thrusting, and I take a perverse delight in each time her thighs tighten around me. I keep up the litany of dirty talk as I shift to step away from the wall, carrying Sara with me. With careful steps that keep the thrusting going organically, I make my way to the door and push Sara's back to the wood. She whimpers at the sensation of cold, and I assume her stiffening is due to realizing just what she's pressed up against, but she doesn't make any moves to stop me. "Good girl," I praise her.

"Please," she whispers again, nuzzling at my neck.

"Please what, Basker?"

"Please, Bane, I'm so close."

I chuckle again and pick up the pace again. "Don't hold back, but don't you dare think of coming until I tell you to, or I'll stop and tell your Daddy, and you won't get any relief at all."

"Yes, ma'am," she breathes again, the sound coming out almost as a sigh rather than actual words.

To Be Continued…