Book 4: Rapids.

Series: Light, Water, Muses. An alternate universe for a variety of television series. See disclaimers below.

Rating: R, but barely.

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

Personal Disclaimer: I fell in love with CD in the episode where she was boxing. All sweaty and aggressive... *swoon*. Ahem... so I had to pay tribute.

Disclaimer: "ER", see Chapter 1.

Disclaimer: "The Division", see Chapter 1.

Disclaimer: "The X-Files", see Chapter 1.

Disclaimer: "Xena Warrior Princess", see Chapter 4.

Disclaimer: "China Beach", see Chapter 5.

Disclaimer: "Facts of Life", see Chapter 6.

Disclaimer: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", see Chapter 7.

Disclaimer: "CSI", see Chapter 11.

Summary: Dace and Olivia settle their differences in a spectacular fashion.

Chapter 19

Sports Betting

++ Dace ++

If someone had asked me how exactly I'd gotten talked into this, I would have pointed to Jo and Zo. Troublemakers...

It was no surprise that the Amazons had a gym of Herculean proportions, with everything from a sprawling bath complex that would have made Cleopatra drool, an Olympic-sized pool, flanked by several smaller ones, a pro-sized rink I bet could accommodate everything from roller-skates to basketball, an artificial turf roof that could accommodate football, soccer or lacrosse, it went on and on.

A growl escaped my throat as Zo yanked the laces too tight and she grinned apologetically. "Sorry, 'daddy', I'm just gettin' all horny thinking about this."

"Why am I not surprised?"

Once I was properly laced up, I gave Zo a cracking swat with the padded gloves. She blew a kiss and pranced off to giggle with Jo. Damn those two minxes...

"C'mon, Leather Spice," Liv mocked from the ring and I swallowed a fit of immature temper. The ballsy cop from Manhattan had a wicked mouth on her, and an attitude of a wily street dog. I might be able to beat her with my greater size and strangely enhanced reflexes, but her taunting would make me work for it.

That powerful, curvaceous, finely muscled body wrapped in paper-thin cotton and painted-on spandex wasn't helping any either. The woman was gorgeous and dangerous, with enough of a feral edge to make her unpredictable. Bet she was hell on wheels during an interrogation, getting all up in the faces of the scum of New York.

I was hardly surprised that I was turned on as well as annoyed. Chuckling, Pony jerked me to a halt and looked me over. "You'll be lucky if that dog doesn't pants you," my old pal drawled and ran her fingers through my scraggly bangs to get them out of my face before yanking the crimson head guard around my skull and pulling the Velcro straps taut under my chin.

Let the games begin.

++ Olivia ++

Probably not the smartest thing I'd ever done, verbally harassing this tall woman, but I needed an edge. Being a smart-mouth had helped keep opponents off balance in the past, and the technique might just work again. She was so quiet, not just verbally, but in the sinuous way that she moved. I had a bad feeling that she was a hell of a lot more dexterous than anyone six god-damn feet tall had any right to be.

Smirking like a street punk, I pressed the gloves together and mockingly bowed to her. Face unreadable, Dace oozed through the ropes and padded over to me.

I was so damned annoyed that she physically intimidated, towering over me and making me feel short. Hands up defensively, I was surprised when she gently tapped my gloves and smiled.

Okay, she didn't smile so much as bear her teeth. Now it was personal. Damn her for looming!

"No blood," the body-builder Amazon woman said placidly. "And if I tell you to back off, you damn well better back off. Got it?"

We both murmured grudging acceptance and followed the gesture to go to our corners. Now I could find out what this enigma was really made of.


I jumped out, fists up, feeling all the world the brass junkyard dog that Michael compared me and Jo to. Dace grinned and sidestepped to pace along the ropes, making me follow her with my eyes. The ref gave her a dirty look as the blonde passed behind her. That was my opportunity to lunge.

It worked! Dace grunted in shock as I slammed a padded fist into her ribs and dropped into a crouch, rolling to my feet and ducking away. Blinking the hit off, Dace shook herself out and continued along the ropes. What kind of damn cat was she?

++ Dace ++

Okay, the game was on now. Olivia shied away as I mock-lunged, giving me a feel of her speed. "You don't use your hands much," I taunted. "Too much mouthiness, too much gun play, not enough working with your hands?" Temper gathered between dark brows. "Don't remember how to play dirty?"

Liv lunged, giving me an easy hit...

That came up with air, as she ducked to the side and pain flared up from my kidneys. Dammit! She was quick...

"I'm mouthy," Liv growled, crouched for more. "And can play dirty. Bring it on."

That last one hurt and I whirled with a grunt, leaping at her, only to have her dive away. Pony cursed as Liv dove around her, chuckling in exhilaration. I grabbed the ropes clumsily to redirect my weight, sling-shotting around Pony's sturdy frame and saw Olivia's surprise for an instant before we went down in a tangle. "Bitch!" I heard Liv curse as she squirmed away like a greased pig. Good, her temper fraying would work in my favor. Rolling to her feet, Liv glowered balefully and rubbed a glove over a raw patch on her upper arm.

Feint, parry, swing, block. It was a loosely structured dance and the pain was exhilarating. Even when she didn't pull a shot when she connected, I could take her full strength. Olivia Benson had no comprehension of how much abuse I could take. Hell, gettin' pounded by this sexy thing was more of a turn-on than a punishment.

"You don't scare me," she snarled as we danced back and forth. "You might scare everyone else, but not me. I've stared down a ton more fucked up shit than you in my day."

"Well golly gee," I sneered back. "I'm beginning to think you don't like me, little dog."

"No?" Liv said innocently. Once more, she psyched me out, redirected a lunge I swore was going for upper body, only to drop and ram her shoulder into my gut, taking us both down. Okay, no more mister nice cat...

++ Olivia ++

Yes! That gut shot was nasty. She wouldn't get up from that one easily. Scrabbling away on all fours like a spider monkey, I tried to catch my breath. I was soaking wet with sweat and nerves. I hated that there was such a rapt audience to this brawl. It was too messy to be a match. Brawl was the best word for it, and I was beginning to wonder what the hell I'd been thinking, getting involved in it. Even if I seemed to be winning.

"You okay?" The ref was asking Dace, who slapped away the hand that came to rest on her shoulder.

With a snarl, an honest-to-Abe snarl, like some kinda pissed-off zoo cat, Dace surged to her feet, eyes flashing gold in the spotlights lighting the room. "Shit!" I barked, dodging wildly. There was no way in hell she could move the fast, but sure enough, I felt a truck-like thump into my ribs. Ouch!

Yowling fiercely, Dace hit the corner post, coiled up like a snake, and launched herself at me like a Hong Kong action movie star.

All in one smooth motion.

I'd never seen anything human move like that.

Someone was shouting in alarm. It might have been me. Everything seemed to be slowing down as my brain went into emergency mode. Dace was mad, authentically, murderously angry like a pissed off bull and I was suddenly afraid.

Without thinking, I coiled up both legs, aimed for those frighteningly gold eyes...

And missed.

In the space between heartbeats, she was on me like a ton of bricks and I was damn glad that she really wasn't some kind of zoo critter, because she looked murderous. Hate to go all this time living on the edge to die by having a fellow human being rip out my throat. Perversely, the thought made me laugh.

It was the right thing to do, as the impossible gold color in her eyes started to fade. Abruptly, the blonde from Vegas was crouched beside us, making soothing animal sounds at Dace. "If you wanted me on my back," I sassed gently, all to aware of the threatening press of her body. "There must have been easier ways then trying to kill me."

++ Dace ++

The fury swept over me like a suffocating wave. Everything vanished in the blaze of that energy. There were no human limitations, no clumsy short forelimbs and ridiculously long hind legs. I could almost feel the whipping tail balancing my perfect four-legged form. None of these clumsy two-legs could outwit me, even though this musky-sweet stranger was most exhilarating prey.

Impact. Hands clumsy in their bindings. My greater weight subduing this dark, wild dog, almost tasting her frustrated growls. Fierce eyes flashed like lightning over rich earth and the beast within me began to fade back into the background, snarling angrily at the internal shift. Disorientation blended with the sensual press of her strong body trapped beneath mine. The Coyote was there, soothing my fury, reminding me of my duty to protect. The dog made a joke that calmed me.

"Again?" I sighed resignedly and Catherine rested her head against mine. Thank everything that was ever holy that she was here to calm the cat.

"Still here," Liv grunted, squirming agitatedly. Without thinking, I clamped down, drawing up both knees so that her legs were pried further open and trapped between my hips and thighs. Her feet dangled impotently above me, and I clamped my weight across her upper arms and shoulders, completely incapacitating her, nearly bent in half.

And leaving us in a very, very dirty position.

"If you were mine," I whispered in a low, dark tone, falling back on my play personality to save my dignity. "I'd have you tied up with your ass in the air and my fist up your cunt, reaming you out until you screamed for mercy." Then I was abruptly all smiles, shifting position to pin her legs open even farther and reduce the pressure on her lower back. "Or there's always this position. Lucky for you, I'm not packing," I chortled, grinding my crotch as best I could into hers.

"Pig," Olivia hissed, but didn't exactly try to get away from my teasing.

"Funny insult, coming from a fellow cop," I taunted, pressing down tighter, wrists very close to the pulse beating wildly at her throat. "Maybe lucky isn't the word," my voice had grown low and growly again. Damn, but she smelled good... Shaking off the erotic haze, I let her struggle until her lizard brain got a clue and her body stilled. I stared intently into her dark, restless eyes, until they too grew still. We stared at each other for a long, long time. "So, I win." It felt anticlimactic all of the sudden. I didn't want to best this wild thing, I liked her edgy fierceness. "I suppose I should take something out of your hide before I let you up."

"Seems only fair," Olivia ground out between her teeth.

"What can I ask of you?"

It was a loaded question, hammer pulled back, bullet in the chamber. Olivia turned her head away, obviously fighting with herself. Our audience had grown quiet, probably trying to hear the near-silent conversation, Catherine still lightly stroking my back. Then Liv made some kind of decision and brought her gaze back to mine. Fear, anger, lust and curiosity burned there and she swallowed hard.

"Anything you want."

Much better than I expected the evening to end!

++ Jo ++

Never thought I'd see Olivia show her throat to anyone. Hell, even when Michael and pack had her howling like a tigress in heat, she still seemed in control. Between watching these fine women wrassling like animals in heat and remembering Olivia with Michael and her pack going at her like starving lions on a kill...

I was drenched.

Olivia groaned in pain as Dace carefully levered off her, letting the smaller body finally unwind to the canvass. "God I'm sore," my former partner grumbled. "You hit like a mule."

"Stubborn like one too," Dace agreed placidly, but she was sitting stiffly herself where she leaned on Catherine. "You're a bit like a traffic accident yourself. I need a massage after that workout."

Pony chuckled and reached down to grab Liv's hands and gently hoist her upright. "You okay, pit bull? Never seen Dace ever have to work that hard to pin a pretty girl in her life."

I swallowed a laugh and climbed into the ring to hesitantly touch Dace's arm. "A massage?" She arched an eyebrow at me and I flushed. "Please ma'am. I'm offering my services."

"Much obliged, Junkie," Dace smiled beatifically and I preened at the attention.

"Dace, what havoc are you wreaking now?" A sultry voice called across the gym and Pony lit up along with the tall blonde, who managed to get to her feet.

"Mel! This is a pleasant surprise. Did Jane finally get around to letting you know I was in town?" Dace and a towering dark-haired goddess whose coloring was the same as mine hugged, albeit gingerly because of the rising bruises on the fair skin.

"Dare I ask what the hell you were doing?"

"Playing rough with the junkyard dog over there, doc," Dace teased back and peeled off the headgear. Immediately, the new woman had the blonde head in her hands, running experienced fingers over the planes of her face.

"Well, you haven't damaged your rugged good looks," the dark woman chuckled. "I concur with your pal over there. You'll both need a massage and a more thorough going over."

"By?" Olivia asked suspiciously as Pony managed to get out of her gloves and headgear.

"I'm a doctor," the tall stranger said calmly. "Mel Tairnghael, MD. Now follow me, there's a rubdown room on the north end." In a room full of a half-dozen padded tables, Dace went to strip her shirt off and halted with a hiss. "You," the tall doctor snapped at me and Catherine. "Get that one naked. And you, pit bull, over here."

I was happy to oblige the order, and skinned Dace's shirt off, then the sports bra hugging her breasts close to her body. It had been a shock the first time I'd seen Dace naked. Her powerful persona masked her slender, feminine physique. Zo was gathering up the discarded clothes and boxing equipment, verbally sparring with Dace as I knelt to tug off shorts and briefs. "She's more of a Doberman pincher," Zo chuckled.

"Doberman? Yeah, good point. She's too smart to be a pit bull."

"And too sleek."

"Dobie it is," Dace said with finality and Olivia scowled half-heartedly. "Better than calling you Yorkie." That dig made the group laugh, only Liv didn't really react. She looked lost in thought, as though someone had told her something really important she was only just beginning to figure out. I knew exactly how she felt. When I had first stepped into this life, I had been like that for weeks. Until I handed Michael control when we played in the safe places she made for me. Liv was a smart woman, she'd figure out what she wanted in time.

Dace grunted in stiff pain as she hoisted her butt onto the table and carefully twisted until she was sprawled on her stomach. "Last damn time I let you brats talk me into something like this," she grumbled and Zo and I traded guilty looks. "Go help Mel with Dobie and send Pony over here."

++ Mel ++

Seems I couldn't get away from my doctorly duties. Oh well, at least this time I could touch and not mask my appreciation of the fine female bodies beneath my hands. The black-haired Sub with the big blue eyes materialized at my elbow. If she'd had a tail, it would have been wagging eagerly. So I asked her, "do you know how to do this?"

"Only the basics, ma'am."

"Good enough. Open handed stokes, press with the heels of your palms, keep your hands close together and the strokes long and even. Never lift your hands from her skin, it will help relax her. And when she stops being so self-conscious, we'll get those shorts off." Dobie muttered something I didn't quite catch and I refrained from smacking her. "Give me a minute to check her over for any serious damage."

"Yes ma'am."

Once I was reasonably assured that Dobie was relatively unharmed, I left the Sub to attend to sore muscles while I shooed the small blonde and Pony away from Dace. "Everyone's real happy to see you," I said conversationally and Dace sighed.

"Not the Red Queen."

"Oh please. Just because you two didn't work out doesn't mean that a working relationship can't be built. All the both of you need is some solid communication skills." Beneath my skilled fingers on her neck, Dace began to unwind.

"I suppose. San Francisco's going to be awkward after all of this."

"You'll manage. Come talk to me if you need it, okay?"

"Thanks Mel," Dace murmured softly and I felt her hand brush my thigh. That left me to return to a sleepy-eyed Dobie and give the pretty Sub some pointers while the Amazons finished up with Dace. Dobie moaned softly as I began to stroke and kneed her fine musculature.

"Y'know," I announced conversationally to the room at large. "Jane is setting up that formal event for the Suits. She's thinking of going for a theme."

"That would be fun," Dace murmured. "Any ideas?"

"Plenty. She was leaning towards a masquerade, but I pointed out that this is a reunion. I like a casino theme."

"Excellent. Only, it should be old-world, like a really classy place in the wild west day. Maybe leaning towards Victorian?"

Images flooded my brain, ideas clicking into place and Dace echoed my slow grin. "Houston, we have liftoff."

To be continued…

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