Book 4: Rapids.
Series: Light, Water, Muses. An alternate universe for a variety of television series. See disclaimers below.
Rating: Strong R. The kink is building up again...
Category: The continuing saga of Reflections/ Resurgences/Refractions.
Pairings: Dace is making new friends, so look out!
Personal disclaimer: Ingle is mine. She was introduced in the Reverberations vignette: Baked Apples.
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", the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Wolf Films, Universal Network Television, and NBC. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. 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. This site is in no way affiliated with "Law & Order: SVU," NBC, or any representatives of the actors.
Summary: Jo checks in with her Mistress, who drafts in a mutual friend, and notes are then compared at the Chimera. At the Staff and Scroll, Jo finally finds Dace and the sparks fly.
++ the Archangel Michael ++
This was getting out of control. If there was one thing I hated...
It was being out of control.
The phone call from Tarzan had shocked me to my core. Who would have thought that Dace of all people would make the first move? It had been nearly thirty six hours since talking with my old playmate and I was no closer to finding an answer in my own heart. We'd grown to rely only on ourselves in New York...
But at what cost?
We were alone here. Hell, even the weekend pervs didn't travel much anymore. Life used to be far more entertaining. Now my kink was more of a chore than a pleasure. Perhaps I'd take Tarzan up on that offer after all. KC would be delighted to be reunited with her old playmates, and I'd bet my best chaps that the whole kinky lot of us could use the push and pull of our old ways. Stagnation had replaced the constant flow of creativity in the New York Scene. The top players wanted someone to look up to and I was having trouble providing that leadership, needing some new energy from somewhere.
A slow grin spread over my face and my heart rate kicked up. Years had passed since I'd played with the Amazons. It had been even longer since I had rough-housed with the feral delight that was Dace. And where Dace was, I'd bet Bane wasn't far behind.
Decision made by my well-heeled libido growling to life, I reached for the phone. Murphy would have it that the damn thing started trilling urgently. Groaning, I pulled my persona around me and checked the caller ID on the little screen. "Nice timing," I had to mutter with a smile before answering the call. "Junkie. This is unexpected."
"Good evening, ma'am. I knew you would be required to know that I'm being sent to Chicago."
This couldn't possibly be a coincidence and a strange, eerie sense of destiny crawled up my spine. "Business?"
There was something in Jo's voice that told me that she wasn't telling me everything. I'd been playing with the woman for years, inked a mark of ownership under her skin to prove my adoration, and I could read her extremely well. "When you get there, I want you to hit a place called the Staff and Scroll. There's a Mistress there, a small blonde with blue-green eyes that you will respectfully call Tarzan. Understood?"
"Yes ma'am. I understand. Will..."
"And Junkie?" I deliberately cut her off, because I was worried and didn't want to show it. "Be careful. I'll see you soon."
But I couldn't forget the needy, worried tone lurking in her tone.
++ Olivia Benson ++
"If you were protecting secrets like that, you might disappear too," Munch was ranting. Fin shot him a dry look that spoke volumes. Things were spec at the one-six, Manhattan Special Victims Unit.
"You keep tossin' all those crazy conspiracy theories, you're gonna find yourself in a padded cell." Fin harassed his partner. The two men were like night and day and that gave them a real edge in our work. "The 'evil' government's gonna be the least of your worries."
"At least I'd get sleep."
Elliot and I traded exasperated glances, but wisely remained silent. When those two got started, there was nothing to slow them down. Except maybe the captain throwing work into the bullpen like raw meat to a pack of dogs.
Right on cue, Cragen stuck his head out of his door. "Benson, do you have an update on the Charleston case?" That made me sit up and at least pretend that I hadn't been mentally wandering. It wasn't a regular occurrence, but something was bothering me and I couldn't get a bead on the situation.
"No. The crime lab is on it."
"Okay. Munch, how about lending Stabler a hand with that Jackson case before the media vultures descend? Fin, there's a follow up I'd like you to take care of."
We all snapped into action, the constant shrill of phones like the heartbeat of the precinct. Mine joined the racket and I snatched it up. "Benson."
"Hey there, junkyard dog," purred a familiar voice, so out of context that I found myself at a temporary loss for words. She never called me at work... there was some kind of unspoken law against it or something. After a moment, I heard Michael clear her throat uncomfortably and when she spoke again, her tone was vulnerable and tense. "Listen, Olivia, I got a call late last night from Jo. She's on her way to Chicago for something business related. Only, I think there's something bigger going on, and a call from some old pals in the Windy City a few days has gotten me thinking."
The Archangel Michael wasn't the exaggerating sort, and I remembered Jo telling me ages ago that the woman's faint European accent came out when she was stressed. I could certainly hear it now! My own worry for Jo crept up my spine, and damned if it didn't feel like that faint sense of trouble that had been bugging me.
"Okay, I'm listening."
"There was an attack there and two leatherdykes died. I called in a favor to some law enforcement contacts and VICAP has been active lately on the same MO. Something is going down in Chicago, and I'm worried that Jo is stepping into something ugly."
"So why are you contacting me?"
"You and your partner were two of the detectives on a related case here. I hoped that you would feel the desire to protect your old partner and wrap up a cold case. Not to mention that this case is personal to both of us because of Jo." There was a pause and well-honed detective instincts told me to hold my silence. "That... and one of the New York victims was an old friend of mine." Bingo.
"You definitely have my attention now." Looking around, I felt that I could sneak out and interview Michael. "Meet me somewhere."
"I'll have Ingle open the Chimera."
++ Ingle ++
It wasn't often that Michael asked much of me. Though opening the bar before noon was a strange one, and I was honestly too curious to refuse her. Hell, I figured that I was in for a wild show. Why else would Michael want use of the place? I did some straightening up and waited for a knock on the door.
Imagine my surprise when I walked up to the glass door and saw an antsy Olivia standing there. "Hey," I greeted her with a smile. "Good to see you in daylight hours. Something to drink? Have you had lunch?"
"Yeah, that'd be great. Trust me, I'd love a beer, but I'm on the clock."
Chuckling, I scrounged up sandwiches and sodas. Olivia let Michael in and they hugged in the doorway. "Thanks for coming."
"I could hardly refuse. So tell me about this case."
"It was September sixth, ninety-eight. Two vics in Manhattan, lower east side, both men, both still in their play gear. I deliberately timed it so that your partner interviewed me, because I didn't want a conflict of interest if it ever came out that you knew me."
"Thank you," Olivia sounded relieved. I shouldn't have been listening in, but I could hardly help it in the quiet room. "That's appreciated. I think I remember what case you're talking about. The officer on scene called us because of the way the vics were dressed. He assumed that they must have fallen to Special Victims Unit..."
"Because of the way they were dressed, exactly." Michael grumbled bitterly. "Yeah, I guessed as much. The whip and dagger Cheyenne was wearing probably didn't help any."
I couldn't help but look over at the pain in Michael's tone. I had known Cheyenne as well, and he was still missed by his friends. Olivia took Michael's hands in hers and a long moment passed between them.
"Cheyenne was your friend?" Olivia asked quietly and Michael nodded tightly. I had seen Olivia the client, the flirt, the drinking buddy, but I had never met Olivia the cop. I was suitably impressed.
"Yeah. We went to boot camp together, kept in touch ever since. Hell, I persuaded him to come to New York, told him it'd be good for his sex life." The bitterness in Michael's tone hurt to listen to.
"Michael, there was no way you could know Cheyenne would be the target of a hate crime."
"I know that, but I still hurt. Y'know?"
"All too well."
"I want you to come with me to Chicago and help make sure that this doesn't happen again."
++ Michael ++
It surprised me how much it hurt to talk about Cheyenne after all this time. Olivia's sympathy both helped and made the pain worse. The problem with living on the fringe, is that you caught so much more shit. When I told Olivia as much, she only smirked humorlessly.
"Something about the way Cheyenne died has always bugged me," I mused.
"Go on," Olivia encouraged gently.
"The guy was an ex-Marine, just like me, and deadly as a viper. I managed to persuade your partner to let me see the crime scene photos. For some strange reason, I kept my opinions to myself." I smiled sadly at Olivia. "No offence to Detective Stabler, but he wasn't the most sympathetic person."
Olivia looked pained and darkly amused, squeezing my hands convulsively. "He's very... catholic sometimes."
"Fair enough. What I noticed is that there was no evidence that Cheyenne ever fought back. This bastard beats him to hamburger and my deadly ex-Marine buddy doesn't fight back? Something's wrong with that picture. Especially since the tox screen came back clean. And the forensic evidence only indicated one attacker, with one blunt weapon and his fists. So, someone explain to me how one guy manages to take out two leathermen without either of them being able to get a hit in, when they were both uncompromised?" The tears irritated me, and I scrubbed at them like an annoyed little boy. "The VICAP hits indicated that this same MO hits every six months or so. He has to be stopped."
"I agree. Eat your lunch and we'll figure out a plan."
While I wanted to balk at her ordering me around, Olivia was a cop and this was her territory. She would call the shots for now. Lunch was a quiet affair, the conversation determinedly light, before we bid Ingle farewell and headed back to Olivia's precinct.
"This is a great car," she complimented KC's favorite antique and I flashed a crooked grin.
"One of the perks of running a modern empire. Are you sure you want in on this?"
"Michael, Jo is as good as family to me. I'm in if my captain lets me in. Now stop stressing. Cragen's a good guy, just try not to embarrass me too much." Olivia cringed and I smiled at her frankness. The precinct was typical chaos as we strode through.
Now all I had to do was persuade the serious-faced man to let me borrow his detective. Squaring my shoulders, I prepared for psychological battle, and strode into Captain Cragen's territory.
++ Jo ++
Groaning, I rolled onto my stomach and felt heavy wakefulness wash over me like the tide.
I was still burning and aching, could almost feel Michael's heavy hand rough against my ass, punishing my flesh, making my blood burn...
Well, at least I was ready for the club now.
I realized, back when I was packing for this trip, that Jamie was curious about the little leather bag. Thankfully, security hadn't been as curious. Inside was a favored, whisper-thin latex t-shirt and some naughty underwear. If I was to stay in a submissive position for more than a night or two, then I would need some more elaborate props, but for now, these were enough. So I shoved my driver's license, ATM card and some cash into the pockets of my snug jeans, along with lip balm and the lucky marble from Jamie.
I felt naked without a gun. Every damn time I had to go undercover without one, I fought the sensation. The fear heightened my awareness, made my blood heat. No wonder I'd grown to love what Michael did to me...
Shaking off the distraction, I walked out of the hotel and headed for the corner the cabbie had told me about this morning. It wasn't the best neighborhood, but I knew how to carry myself to scare off trouble before it found me. The Bronx taught me that as soon as I could walk. While I walked, I concentrated on my Vice skills, letting the acting talent blur out my thick accent, and make my stride less distinctive. I called on the memories of a thousand junkies and scared prostitutes, letting my skull shrink down between my shoulders, my back hunch slightly into something that might just look like fear. Excellent. Like this, I should appear as a nervous sub, waiting for the right Top to rope me in.
The picture Jin had shown me of the woman cop from San Francisco was burned into my mind's eye. Tall, striking, a short fringe of pale blonde hair, defensive, sharp blue eyes. She was an accomplished officer, now Inspector, and had been brought up through the ranks by an old veteran that had since passed away. For every compliment and commendation, there was a complaint and a black mark. The woman had a temper and an attitude, though she was never quite bad enough to get her in real trouble.
I liked her already.
In the line at the Staff and Scroll, I kept my eyes discrete in the mixed crowd. It was kind of amusing to see the diversity of people here. There was everything from hard-core leatherfolk to frilly club bunnies. Looked like there was a niche for everyone inside this building. It kinda reminded me of the House of Cards back home, a favored playground for Michael and I. I'd swear there were even flashes of the club like in a deck of cards, the mate of Michael's spade. Hmmm, this could get interesting.
Once inside, I skulked about the place like a nervous cat, figuring out where I might find DeLorenzo. As the hour grew later and the crowd thicker, I staked out a corner of my best guess, a packed club called the Jungle.
++ Dace ++
Three days I'd been hangin' out in the most happenin' place in the Windy City.
I was already sick of it. When you're a cop undercover in a strange city, working a case that pushes all your buttons, feeling the FBI breathing down your neck, nervous and just plain surly... a club is the last damn place you want to be. Though I had to admit that Dana and Mon were naturals at this. They'd gone kinky clothes shopping on their own, and the roles sat more comfortably on them now. If they weren't fucking by the end of this assignment, then something was very wrong with the world.
I hated my job sometimes.
I had to admit that the crowd in the club felt different tonight. Like a roomful of well-trained wild animals in a zoo, they waited for some signal. It wasn't making me nervous exactly... but that many people in the throes of breathless anticipation was a bit unnerving. Despite the pounding music, few were dancing, the mob's attention mostly on the empty stage that had been set up at the far end of the dance floor.
What extraordinary titillation could this carnal house offer that clubs worldwide hadn't offered a thousand times over?
I hated being alone.
Not that I hadn't felt the caress of a thousand eyes over the last couple of nights here. The locals were curious about me and my familiarity with the old school Amazons, not to mention my sexy pair of students. They were at a nearby table, close enough to fall under the protection of my enigma and threat. My mouth curled sensuously as I remembered Steph, curly hair askew, screaming for it while I first beat her and then screwed her silly. Good to know I still had it in me.
As much as I would have liked to jump into the crowd claws first, I was here on business. Which sucked. So I waved over one of the cute waitresses, letting my eyes linger on the twin dark feathers trailing from her upper arm. The girl flushed and I grinned, asking for a Miller Genuine Draft and then sprawled back lazily in my chair. I'd staked out the best table in the house to muse at before the show started. How was I supposed to find this killer? This club seemed like the best bet, as it was a hub for the leather folk and in the same building where Snake-Eyes had already struck. Hell, Silver had been a dancer here... damn shame her dancing days were over. Shaking off the depressing thought, I reminisced about the few other places we three had gone last night. The look on the faces of the leathermen when we'd walked into a place called 'the Glory Hole' had been classic.
The memory still made me chuckle. We'd made some friends, Monica being shockingly charming in a kittenish way to the leathermen, impressing me enormously. Dana had stuck close to my right elbow and taken it all in with sharp eyes. They'd go back for a few more nights to let them get comfortable, then casually ask a few questions, etc. The 'Snaps and Cracks', a hole in the wall lesbian bar we'd found had been even more fun, and I'd put my sweet little FBI agents away exhausted and full of sexual tension early this morning.
Until we made enough friends to ask questions, we just had to hope that Snake-Eyes was still in the city, thwarted by not knowing if his quarry was dead or not. I really, really hoped that Mulder was right about this guy...
++ Jo ++
It took awhile to spot her, and when I did, there was no accounting for how I'd missed her in the first place. DeLorenzo was sprawled back comfortably in her ringside chair looking like she owned the damn place. The battered and well-loved motorcycle jacket hung low on her biceps, showing off narrow shoulders and fine girl muscles. One heavily booted and chromed foot was propped up on another chair and I'd bet her eyes were casually scanning the crowd from beneath the fringe of spiky blonde hair.
Cop by day, leatherdyke by night.
If I hadn't known who and what she was, I would have believed the illusion, hook, line and sinker, because she looked every inch the demanding Top. There wasn't an eye in the place that wasn't curious as hell about her. Now I just had to get close enough to her to do introductions. The fact that I was a dead ringer for one of her co-workers should work in my favor. Still, I had to approach her in character so as not to blow her cover.
Sure, no problem. Except that I was a sub and not supposed to be the pushy end of the game. But even subs had to pick up their tricks somehow. Shit, I'd never had to do this before, Michael was my only playmate. C'mon Polniaczek, pull it together, you can do this.
Eventually, I settled on a glass of icewater that instantly turned frosty in the sweltering club. Feeling monstrously self-conscious, I crept over the table and parked myself timidly at her left shoulder and waited. It took a minute, while I sweated feverishly at my audaciousness. Then the blonde head turned halfway to scan the room, caught my body standing just at the edge of arm's reach.
The ice in the glass shimmered as my hands trembled.
The caress of her eyes was almost a physical sensation as the woman twisted slightly to take me in. I had half-expected her gaze to be blue to match the hair, but not these crystalline circles of ice that burned with an inner fire that was intoxicating.
DeLorenzo's comical double-take nearly doused the chemical fire and she mouthed Jinny's name. Shaking my head only minutely, I knelt beside her and offered the glass. "Icewater ma'am. An inadequate gift I know, but I was fascinated by you at first sight."
A long moment passed and I began to wonder if I shouldn't have waited to approach her until I could explain...
A hand curled around my chin, and tilted my head back, but I couldn't meet her blue, blue gaze. "Uncanny," DeLorenzo mused just barely loud enough for me to hear, her face so close that I could smell her breath.
"I'm the cousin, ma'am."
A husky chuckle escaped her, and I shivered at the sensual sound. "So you are. Park it, cousin. What do I call you?"
Again, she chuckled low in her throat, a strangely feline sound. "Junkie? Your Mistress has a twisted sense of humor."
"Yes ma'am. She calls me the junkyard dog."
"She asked me to come. To... watch your back."
++ Dace ++
I was shocked at how much this woman looked like Jinny Exstead. Her body language was very dissimilar though, and there were additional, subtle differences. What a silly play name for an undercover Vice cop, though I could certainly appreciate the perverse humor of it. As a Top, I was impressed by Jo's gift of the icewater. There was no pretense in the offering, and made no assumptions to my tastes in drink. A glance over Junkie's shoulder revealed Dana's striking eyes asking questions. I grinned reassuringly and watched the red-head relax. Now that I had my own partner, I could send the FBI agents out on their own to cover more ground without worrying about being alone. Not quite yet though. There were more things to teach them, and I could use Junkie and the crowd to do it.
For some time, we sat quietly amidst the throng, this strange woman who looked so familiar perched nervously in the chair beside me. She'd been trained well, eager to please without being obtrusive. So, it was my job to reward her for good behavior.
Jo startled a bit when I suddenly sat up and turned to her. Our eyes were near identical in color, but with her near-black hair, the effect was far more striking. I'd long noticed the same thing in her cousin. "Come closer," I ordered and she scooted her chair over, close enough that her striking eyes danced in the club lighting. "Drink." When I held up the now ice-less water, she tilted her head back and placidly allowed me to feed her from the glass. I enjoyed watching the muscles in her throat flex, strong and sinuous. Latex wasn't one of my particular kinks, but the thin rubber outlined her fine figure nicely.
"Thank you, ma'am," Jo murmured quietly, as I wiped a bead of water from the corner of her mouth with my thumb. I was ever so grateful that her gaze darkened with carnal interest from the caress. I know that I was curious about the curves beneath latex and denim. Not to mention the sharp mind behind those deep eyes, and the competence of her profession. At least we had plenty to talk about. The thought made me quirk a grin and Jo's eyes lit up.
"Leonacouer," I instructed and she appeared confused. "My name. It's French for Lioness-heart."
At last, Jo smiled, full and bright. "Pleased to meet you, Leonacouer."
There was a lull in the conversation, such as it was. The crowd moved and pulsed around us like a living thing, but at the same time, it didn't touch either of us. Then I noticed an intent look come over the dark-haired woman's face and she discretely craned her neck around as though looking for someone. "Problem?"
"No ma'am," Jo murmured, her attention on me again. "I was instructed by my Mistress to send her regards to someone here. May I have permission for that errand, ma'am?"
"Certainly. But don't be long or I'll find myself different company."
Damned if the woman didn't looked threatened by the idea, murmuring a 'yes ma'am' and scampering off. Damn shame she belonged to someone else. Didn't mean that I couldn't enjoy her company in the meantime. Having another cop at my back made me feel better, Jinny was right to send her to me. Maybe a bouquet of flowers to the Division... Oh wait. She was in New York with I was assuming Junkie's kid.
Lots to learn about my new partner. Couldn't hardly wait!
++ Jo ++
It was a bit of a scavenger hunt to find this Tarzan. A few inquiries had finally gotten me to the lead bartender, a pretty and serious-faced woman with magnificent curly honey-blonde hair that hung past her shoulders even pulled up sloppily. From first glance, I could tell she didn't like me and I swallowed a New York-style reaction, forcing myself to stay in character. After a long minute, she realized I was serious and reluctantly agreed to send Tarzan my way as soon as possible.
So, I waited. Which was not at all what the blonde had been expecting. As much as I didn't want to leave Leonacouer sitting alone at the table and annoy her, my instructions from Michael were clear. My feet were tired and I was getting bored, but I stuck it out as the crowd grew thicker.
"You needed me?" Said a unassuming female voice and I turned. The woman that Michael spoke of with something akin to awe... was this? Oh, she was a looker sure, but she was kinda small and had a sweet, round face crowned off with sunny gold hair with a hint of soft red. This was someone who babysat the neighborhood kids, not scared someone like Michael. But, when I dared glance into green-blue eyes, I flinched away and dropped to my knees to bow my head.
"The Archangel Michael sends her regards, ma'am."
There was no response and I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn't get back to Leonacouer. Abruptly, Tarzan's boots stepped into my space and I could almost feel the warmth of her against my head.
Suddenly, I was very, very alert... and very, very wet.
A hard hand wove into my hair and pulled my head off to the right. Fingers brushed over skin, muscle and tendon, black hair whisked away in their path. I knew exactly what she was looking for. Just to the left of the nape of my neck, tucked right into the silky strands at my hairline, was a tiny mark. Michael had to have put it on me that first time when she and her pack had left Liv and me unconscious from sexual overdose. The big one she'd made me sit still for, fingers clenched into her leg, every muscle screaming with the effort of remaining still. My captain had been incensed that I'd gone and gotten something so distinctive drawn in my skin. Made undercover work a hell of a lot more difficult...
"Do you bear a more distinctive mark?" The blonde asked in a sweet voice that was all steel. This is what I got for being an idiot and judging her by her wholesome-girl-next-door looks.
"Yes ma'am. On my back." She shoved me down until my forehead was just touching the concrete floor. Without being asked, I hunched up, trying not to touch her, and hiked up the slippery rubber shirt. I was drenched in sweat, some from the humidity and some from reaction to this stranger. It was extremely hard work in the sweltering club, but I managed, fighting not to squirm as a feather-light touch traced the patch of skin I was always aware of now.
"Did it hurt?" Shocked by a stranger asking something so personal, I hesitated. That hard hand yanked me back into a kneel, pain flashing from my scalp. She was crouching over me now, breathing hot and humid against the back of my neck, the little hairs there standing up in animal reaction. "Don't embarrass my old friend or her mark by getting shy."
Old friend? Shit...
"Yes ma'am," I forced myself to say in a rough voice. I sounded as stressed as I felt, the hard lump of tears choking me. My insular dark-time life as Michael's slave hadn't prepared me for this kind of interaction with someone I didn't know. "The skin is so thin there that I cried and cursed. The pain's never gone away, like a burn that'll never quite heal." The experience had been excruciating, like a pool of molten metal eating its way through my spine. To this day, that narrow, four-inch-long patch of skin dead in the center of my back was constantly hyper-sensitive. There were days that Michael could just trace her fingers over that spot and I would shake with orgasm from that stimulation alone...
And if Tarzan kept caressing me there, I was gonna do the same thing. Panting from the shivers of pleasure and pain from the tattoo, I felt sweat pooling on my skin, trickling over my flesh under the watertight shell, soaking my jeans. "Have you found someone to keep you in hand while you are visiting?"
Trying to get my brain out of my aching crotch, I nodded. "Leo...Leonacouer, ma'am."
"Good choice. Go get a MGD from the curly-haired barkeep, she's my second in command, Cheetah. Tell Leonacouer that the beer is a gift from the Queen of Clubs. Now get moving."
Tarzan stood after giving me a friendly swat on the ass and melted into the crowd, leaving me with burning hormones and several useful lessons. So I yanked my shirt back down over my naked chest and slunk over to the bar like a shy street dog. Cheetah smirked at me, handing over a icy Miller Genuine Draft and I crept away.