Book 4: Rapids.

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

Rating: PG-13.

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

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.

Disclaimer: "JAG", see Chapter 23.

Summary: Once again, the gang bonds with laughter, conversation and reminiscing. Meg arrives and the shit hits the fan.

Chapter 24

Major Arcana

++ Michael ++

Exhausted and mellow, a whole gang of us sprawled out amidst the debris field of the party. It seemed as though I was surrounded with my beloved peers, old and new. Jane had summarily dismissed her Amazons once liquids were mopped up or carried away. Everything else could wait until everyone had slept! Only Steph and the Amazon Queen remained, and the former, much to my huge amusement, had fallen asleep beside me and was now slumped into my lap.

"Good thing she can sleep anywhere," Gabe chuckled and gently redistributed Steph's weight to reduce the stiffness that would soon plague her lower body.

"It's a sign of a good bartender," Jane chimed in, grinning where she was tucked into Mel's side. "And the best second anyone could ever have. Damn workaholic."

We all chuckled and I noticed Ben check his watch with mild alarm, quickly, he tossed back the rest of his drink and stood. "Well, on that note, Ian and I have a plane to catch." The gang laughed and booed him. Feigning hurt, Ian joined his partner and I smiled at my favored seconds.

"Hey, someone has to keep an eye on things in New York while you're all having fun here. Thank you for having us, Suit of Clubs." Jane waved off Ian's semi-formal thanks with a lazy wave of her hand.

"Our pleasure. Never thought I'd admit to missing the Swords."

"Farewell thee, Archangel Uriel," Mel mocked good-naturedly in a smooth English accent one could barely tell was feigned. "Farewell thee, Archangel Rafael."

It had been a night for laughter and good times. Even the stiff and aching Dace seemed in good spirits. After a raucous goodbye, my pair of Jack of Spades were gone, and a comfortable quiet settled over the group.

"So, I take it," Catherine suddenly piped up. "That the whole Archangel thing is why you're Michael?"

"Oh," I lamented with a swooning hand to my forehead. "My secret is out." Shrugging, I grinned. "It suited us. But truthfully, it started with Gabe's name."

"It really is Gabriel," my partner laughed. "I'm just the messenger."

We all groaned at that one.

++ Tessa ++

Something woke me suddenly and I froze in mid-jerk so that I did not disturb Anastasia. There was no undue sound, just the steady hum of the heater that kept away the frigid Chicago winter. Perhaps the others were still awake? I debated with myself about leaving Anastasia's warmth or spending some time with old friends. The rareness of so many of us in one place won out and I snuggled into my Lady's soft body. She stirred with a small sound and one coveted hand smoothed over my ribs and hip.

"Why so restless, my love?" Her voice was gravelly with sleep and I once again debated with myself. There was no reason to be so awake, it had been a very long party. "Would you like to go spend time with the others?"

Startled at her perceptiveness, though I should certainly be used to it, I squirmed around until I could see her night-darkened eyes. "I was... curious if they might not still be awake."

Chuckling softly, Anastasia leaned in to kiss me tenderly, and my heart melted as it always did. "Go spend some time with them, dearest. Who knows when so many of us will be in one place again?"

"Thank you," I murmured softly, giving her a much more thorough kiss.

"Off with you now," Anastasia chuckled and swatted me as I scrambled from the bed. "We'll have plenty of time tomorrow to play. You pups have fun."

She was asleep again before I had found sweats and slippers to insulate me from the unaccustomed cold.

Just down the hall, light flooded from a cracked door and into the dim hallway of Silverback's personal quarters. Laughter echoed from the light and I crept over to let my eyes to adjust, feeling strangely shy to join them.

Then Gabe, damn him, noticed me hovering and threw open the door, making me squeak with surprise and jump back. With a grin, he hooked a big hand around my neck and tossed me into the bright room. There was a roar of welcome from the group there, and I decided I wasn't so annoyed with Gabe after all.

++ Dace ++

Demure, but pleased with the reception, Tessa thanked the lot of us with little-girl kisses that earned her pets and squeezes. Hell, even I got one. Sara flushed, and Catherine woke with a confused chuckle before curling back up in the padded bowl-shaped couch that my pals had scrounged up for my aching ass and groin.

"So," Tiny rumbled quietly after draining his beer. "You never finished your story." He looked impossibly straight, in only an ribbed undershirt and baggy pants, drinking Heineken and Tessa perched on his knee. So much for fag boy clichés...

"Ummm... oh, right, police academy. That was it. So, that girl I had the hard on for, right?" I rambled, casting back into my memories. "She was as tough as I was, and there was this one guy in our class that no one was sure was going to make it. Eventually Maria and me managed to bag him separately. It was a bit of a contest," I added with false sheepishness. "Men were tools, but Rich was a good one. Only, he was never really into us." a wicked grin perked my audience up. "Until I found out purely by accident that he needed something in his ass to get into it, y'know?" Chuckles rippled through the room as I reminisced on my young lover's prowess. "Once we'd gotten his attention, the guy was a slut. It took some persuasion, but I managed to get Maria to agree to tag team Rich. He cried, seriously, when I rammed him from behind him while he did Maria. It was some of the best raw sex any of us had ever had. Especially when I got to trade spots with Maria." Michael made a disgruntled noise where she had her feet propped up on the table beside Monica's glass of orange juice. "Hey, I know it's tame, but it's a good memory. What's yours?"

"A client that spent a fortune to be 'kidnapped' and gang banged on an unfinished skyscraper in downtown Queens, fifty stories up." Michael deadpanned with one eyebrow arched up expressively and laughter erupted around the table while Gabe got misty-eyed.

"God, that was a great gig. We gotta do something completely crazy and over the top like that again." Shaking off his retrospection, he leered at the table in general. "Okay, I've got one. Most embarrassing." A chorus of groans went up. "Okay, okay, or the weirdest sex thing?"

++ Catherine ++

"Fine," Michael sighed, but didn't straighten up from her lazy sprawl in the spades and swords throne that my... aunt had occupied earlier. My mind was still reeling. "I'll take the bait, Brann. Being screwed goodbye by my base XO at the end of boot camp." Her full mouth curled into an enticing half-smile. "I learned more than just 'oo-rah' from the Marines."

This group laughed so much! Despite the taboo and kinky trappings of their lives, they were possibly one of the healthiest slice of humanity I'd ever met. Mel's dry comment of sex on an autopsy table made not only me chuckle, but Sara and Dana as well. Wouldn't Robbins be shocked? I lazily tossed out the story of casting a ex's fully erect dick in molding latex usually reserved for my job. Showed every little detail in loving, life-sized detail. Jane added in a long, lovingly detailed rendition of kitchen smut that would leave me a different perspective on my kitchen paraphernalia.

It was a strange bliss to be cuddled up with Dace like this, her upper body pressed trustingly into my smaller body. I could feel that feline energy alert but quiescent beneath her warm skin. Sara was tucked into Dace's side, where I could reach around and stroke the dark locks if I chose. Liv was relaxed in a chair near the small of my back, I could almost feel the energy that radiated from the New York detective in waves. Jo had chosen to sit beside Michael, a few chairs away around the corner of the table. Monica was curled in a chair nearby, Sara's socked feet pressing into her thigh. It was a comfortable and warm nest.

I was doing my damnest to ignore that it couldn't last.

"KC using me as Michael's mid-term," Dace suddenly rumbled and held up a clenched fist with a meaningful eyebrow. To my surprise, Michael actually flushed.

"Yeah," she temporized. "You were a hell of a tough test subject. You're still a damn tight fit."

"So I feel," Dace snorted good-naturedly and I smoothed my hand over Dace's abdomen. The memory of seeing Michael's strong hand completely buried in Dace's softness was blazed in my memory

Then a comment from left field derailed my thoughts.

"At least you weren't saved by a Warner."

++ Jo ++

Oh, dammit, dammit, dammit! I did not just say that out loud...

A heavy foot landed solidly in my crotch, effectively pinning me in place and my eyes flew up to meet Karen's insolent green gaze. I was incredibly embarrassed at what I had just confessed to, more than a little drunk and now I was getting turned on by her boot in my lap, the solid heel digging into my pussy. A slow, sensual smile slowly spread over the striking red-head's face and my blood pressure spiked. "I know who you are now," she drawled feather-soft, the sound like a tiger hunting in the dappled jungle. "It's been bugging me since Dace introduced you, oh bearer of a very distinct last name, but I wasn't completely certain. After all, what are the odds? We have something in common."

Despite my internal conflict, I was intrigued. "Besides Dace?"

The smart remark made her flex her ankle and I hissed in reaction to the pressure against crotch and belly. "Besides Dace. Eastland." The name of my old school flowing from her lips was totally out of context and I froze like a deer in headlights. The grin trained on me turned triumph. "I see that I'm right. I kept in touch for a few years with Nat Green, and she told me about you. You're the one that always had Blair in such a tizzy."

"You went to Eastland?" Came out of my mouth, weak and disbelieving.

"Until I ran away from home when I was fourteen. We missed each other by a summer vacation." Karen slouched a little more deeply into her chair to pin me even more effectively into my seat and I struggled to breathe against the tight tease of her boot. The green eyes left mine to drift over the crowd of friends. "It's a snotty private school in upstate New York. Blair Warner," the boot gave me a dig that made me moan and very nearly hunch up around the sexual pressure. "Was the queen of the old-money snobs. We'd known each other since we were little girls, running the same circles and all. I was lucky enough to be her first kiss." The grin grew positively evil. "Well, her first kiss and a little slap and tickle. Damn, that girl had a fine body on her. Given just a little more time and I'd of done more than just grope, y'know?"

More laughter erupted at the suggestive tone as pieces clicked together in my mind. Gawking in disbelief, I stared at Karen Taylor. "Holy Mary... you're Taylor... Holy shit! We all thought that she was always mooning over some guy!"

"I had quite the reputation with my fellow students," Karen smirked and prodded me yet again. "But alas, I had to break their hearts and escape the clutches of the snotty upper crust."

++ Karen ++

Oh, this was too funny. I hadn't put the clues together until the cute Bronx cop had mentioned 'Warner'. Then it all clicked. The damn mouthful of a name should have been enough, but seriously, what were the odds that this was her? Shaking off the thought, I studied my prey. How to prod her story out of her? Was the boot sole in her crotch enough to pull her strings? "Saved by a Warner?" I coaxed, emphasizing my request with my foot. Grunting, Jo grabbed my ankle and hunched up. "I'll give you relief once you fess," I promised softly and she nodded jerkily after a long moment.

"I went to a party and some jackass slipped me something. It's still hazy to this day. Blair showed up and punched the asshole flat. At the time, it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. Blair shaking her sore fist out and complaining shrilly, with this guy laid out to dry."

Sitting forward and sliding my ass back into my seat, I grabbed a handful of near-black hair, twisting her neck to the side, dragging her lower body over the soles and square toes of the boots. "Did you fuck her?"

"I don't know!" Jo whined and I pulled her completely off her chair so that she was kneeling over the same boot I'd been tormenting her with.

"Bet you did," I growled softly, enjoying the conflict and tears in her eyes. Fenris was one lucky bitch to have hooked this one. "Bet you let her take you home and lick and suck you off until you begged for mercy." Shit, she was easy, squirming from my grip and my words. Maneuvering her strong body by the grip on her hair, I pressed Jo down only just enough to brush the square toes of my motorcycle boots against the seam of her jeans, feather-soft. "Let that pretty tongue lick up all your sweat and juice, felt all that carefully styled hair get all soft and messy against your skin. Listen to that voice get all breathless and needy..."

Whether or not Jo and Blair had a one-night stand or not, it was obviously a long-standing fantasy of Jo's. Fenris looked totally amused and intrigued, and abruptly left the little side conversation she had been having with Monica. With the scrape of wood against concrete, she was close to Jo's ass, and I felt her press her sole up against mine, doubling the stimulation to her pet. Jo jumped, made to speak, but shut up quick when I gave her scalp a squeeze and shake. "You're a motorcycle nut, if I remember Michael talking about you." The big blue eyes were focused steadily on mine, which I approved of. She had a real strength of character and I planned on rewarding her for it. "Think you can get yourself off on my boots?" Still nervous about the unknown presence behind her, Jo took a deep breath and her eyes turn to slits. "I'm going to let you go, Junkie. You keep your eyes on mine, got it?"

"Yes ma'am," she whispered, clenching her fists tightly into my pant legs as I let her go and leaned back to watch.

++ Monica ++

After everything I'd seen over the last eight days, I was hardly surprised that Michael had been distracted by Karen and Jo. As sensual and charming as the New York lawyer was, I was almost relieved that she was focused somewhere else. This case was hell on my self-control... not to mention my libido.

I jumped in surprise when something prodded me in the knee, flushing scarlet when I saw that it was Dace's boot. With the performance that Jo was putting on nearby, boots were taking on a whole new connotation. "So, what's the wildest thing you've ever done?"

"Besides the last eight days?" I blurted out without thinking. Dace's grin deepened in sync to Catherine's, and Sara hid her face in the tall woman's ribs. "Ummm... that sex show at the Bitch Slap on Friday?"

Dana snorted with laughter at the memory, but I wasn't sure that she was remembering the same thing I was. The little red-head had kept me on a tight leash all night while I carefully watched the mixed crowd, occasionally derailing my train of thought with fleeting caresses. I flushed hotter, avoiding Dana's knowing gaze. She'd been teasing more and more as the days went by. I'd bet my liver that Dace was counting the hours till one of us broke down and begged for it. Bet it was me...

"Well, if not that then," I growled self-consciously at my enigmatic partner. "What?"

Dana smiled enigmatically. It was a riveting expression on her. "The wildest thing I've ever done? Hmmm..." She had everyone within earshot paying attention now. "There was a haunted house on campus every year. So my friends and I had been drinking, and I took them up on a dare." The naughty smile deepened and nearly every eye in the place was hers now. "There was this poor geek in the drama department that was so proud of his wolfman costume. It took a little convincing, but I bagged him. Since no one called the police or campus security, I can only guess that the crowds thought I was getting mauled, not screwed." The crowd roared with appreciation. "It was right out of Revenge of the Nerds."

Abruptly, my phone buzzed, nearly making me jump out of my seat from surprise. I recognized Mulder's number, and it was like a bucket of ice water over my libido and enjoyment of the evening. Waving vaguely to the others, I moved away from the table.


"Hey, I think we have a real promising lead. Can you get to a place where I can send an email?"

++ Sara ++

Something was coming down the pipe at us, I could just tell from Monica's expression. She paced quietly over to Jane, trying to be unobtrusive, and they left together. My attention was split between sick curiosity and what the people at the table were still talking about. Exhaustion was making me stupid...

Jerking awake at Dace's gentle jostling, I felt panic wash though me like a wave of water. "Hey, hey," Dace soothed, tightening her loose grip. "It's okay, Basker. Shhh. We're right here." Calm settled over me as my eyes focused on the pretty face I'd grown to adore over these long days in Chicago. "You look wiped, Sunshine. I think it's time we found a real bed, hmm?" Some incoherent sound rumbled up from my chest as my sluggish brain tried to fire up on all cylinders. "Can it wait until we all get some sleep, Mon?"

"But... No, you're right, we're all dead on our feet. I just hate being this close. We're sticking close together tonight. No arguments."

"Yes ma'am." The smirk in Dace's tone was obvious, even without looking at her.

Suddenly, Steph's voice carried over the murmur of conversation. "Holy Artemis! It's nearly nine am. No wonder we're all getting loopy! No one's going home tonight, we'll umm... Jane, where do we put everybody?"

"The Boom Boom Room?"


In a frenzy of activity, the whole gang of us were shepherded off to a big room lined in mattresses and massive heaps of pillows. There was a utilitarian bathroom adjacent, where a faceless Amazon plopped down a bulk pack of new toothbrushes, a couple tubes of toothpaste and a laundry cart of neatly folded green scrubs. Amused at the choice of sleepwear, I scrounged a pair that fit, even if the pants were too short, and waited while my packmates changed.

All of us in the generic green made a blur against my burning eyes, my brain damp lint inside my head. "What is this room?"

Yep, it was my voice that asked that. Karen took mercy on me, scooping me up like I was a child. Normally, I would have objected to the man-handling, so to speak, but I was too damn tired. Snuggling into her strong body, I went trustingly limp.

++ Karen ++

There was no doubt that the pretty forensics scientist from Las Vegas was a seductive little thing. She reminded me so much of Sam that it was a little eerie. All brains, awkwardness and shy sensuality. "During business hours this room is designated as everything goes. If you come in here, you better be ready to take on all comers."

"Really?" she purred sleepily as I knelt on one of the bigger mattresses and laid her out. A strange fear flashed in her dark eyes that I couldn't refuse. So I spooned up against her back, but she didn't completely relax until Dace gingerly laid on her side, imperiously wedging Sara between our larger bodies. In seconds, Sara was out like a light. As Catherine made herself comfy against Dace's chest, I reached out to place my hand on Dace's hip. When I squeezed lightly, she hissed.

"Still sore?"

"Hell yes. I have no idea how the hell I'm going to sleep. My chest especially is killing me. There's no position that I'm comfortable in."

Mel materialized out of the dimness, looking impossibly regal and mysterious in her burgundy flannel jammies. "Hey lioness. Take these." Two white pills and a paper cup of water were to be Dace's salvation and she took them gratefully.

"Thanks Mel, you're a lifesaver."

Mel and Catherine stood silent vigil with me until Dace relaxed in Sara's arms, her tense features smoothing out in sleep. I squeezed Mel's hand in thanks and she grinned in silent understanding. As she walked out, I raked my eyes over the others in the room, immeasurably glad for their returned presence in my life. Fenris, coiled around Jo like the long-time lovers they were, Gabe and the pups dog-piled all over Olivia, who met my gaze with a reluctantly pleased grin. Tessa and Tiny had returned to their masters, and Steph had vanished, probably to her own bed in the building. The two FBI women were cute together, Dana's head pillowed on Monica's chest, their legs intertwined.

Even the lingering threat of Snake-Eyes could not disrupt the sense of well-being that lulled me to sleep.

++ Meg ++

That was the longest seventeen hours of my life since arriving in smoky, devastated downtown New York. The airports had been a mess from the icy winter and I had foolishly decided to drive. Seventeen hours on highway eighty was about fifteen too many. Thank God for the efficiency of the snowplows in the northeast...

Bone-tired, I knocked on door forty-two, barely able to keep myself from leaning wearily on the frame. In a moment I was looking into the face of a handsome, unshaven fellow in sweats and a 'Gone Fishing' shirt that had seen better days. Some kind of strange shock drifted through his eyes as he looked at me, but I suppose that I could have been more tired than I thought. "You must be Commander Austin. I'm Fox Mulder."

"Pleased to match the voice with a face." Shaking off my fatigue with the ease of years and years of practice, I shook his hand and followed him into the room, which had also seen better days.

"Sorry about the mess, I wasn't expecting company. Even my partners haven't been here in a week."


"A couple of women agents that were drafted into the case."

Mulder caught me up on what he knew of the movements of his people, and I was taken aback by how little he actually knew. When I posed the question as delicately as I could master. To my surprise, he only smiled, very unlike the control-freak FBI agents I'd met in the past.

"As long as Snake-Eyes is caught, I don't care how it's done. I'm not here for glory, I'm here to make sure that he's stopped. My superiors are pissed off how I've gone about it, but I don't give a damn."

++ Mulder ++

I guess she liked my attitude, because I had a sneaking suspicion that she probably hadn't meant to be so frank about Master Sergeant Dwayne Garcia. There was a personal history between them, they had dated many years ago, both new to the uniform and the life as military personnel. I stared at the photo that the Marines had on file for him. "So there was nothing unusual about him?"

"Nope. He was calm and friendly and well-liked. No indication at all of the behavior attributed to Snake-Eyes."

There were pieces missing in the story, I just knew it. Casting back through my memories and theories and years of practice, I took a chance. "Did he have a certain type of, I dunno exactly how to put it, an animal magnetism?"

The faint flush on Austin's cheeks answered the question and I fished more carefully through my memories. What the hell had Blair Sandburg written in his theories of Sentinels? The fact that the man had refuted the book didn't matter to me, I knew the ring of truth when I read it. Fear had silenced Sandburg, not lies. "Did Sergeant Garcia go through a prolonged time of stressful isolation?"

The question caught Austin completely off guard and she dropped her eyes to her laptop, where I knew Garcia's file was displayed. "Strange that you ask that. He was separated from his squad in Bosnia."

There it was, that tickle of awareness that I was close. "When?"

"Late 1997. He was eventually found and returned to the States, severely traumatized. Do you think that has something to do with the killings?"

Sandburg had written that often the Sentinel abilities were triggered by periods of isolation, where the animal powers awakened to help in basic survival. "I'm betting on it. Where was he taken?"

Again, the blue eyes dropped to the computer screen. "Ironically, right here, just north of Chicago. That's where he disappeared."

The pieces were falling into place, and I could picture a map of North America in my mind. The cities Snake-Eyes had killed in lit up like beacons, creating a vast, lazy spiral. Detroit, New York, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas, Vancouver B.C....

And his unfinished business here in Chicago.

"Commander," I heard myself say as though from a long distance away. "Do you have a sidearm?" She shook her head, eyes huge in her face. "Take mine. I need you to go find my fellow agents and get to DeLorenzo. Things are going to happen quickly now, call it a feeling."

Without even changing out of her battered khaki uniform, Meg took the loaded Glock and was gone, leaving me in the ringing silence of the hotel room. The knowledge of what Snake-Eyes... Sergeant Garcia was had rattled me so badly that I hadn't even commented on the strangeness of Austin's uncanny resemblance to DeLorenzo.

Now, all I could do was continue to wait.

++ Dace ++

Bleary with drugs and sleep, I woke up to the muted sounds of the club around me.

"Oh, thank goodness," Sara breathed nearby. "The Amazons weren't sure how to wake you without getting their heads torn off. The club opened nearly two hours ago. You've slept for more than twelve hours."

Twelve hours?

Groaning, I sat up, and was relieved that my ass and pussy didn't do more than ache bitchily. A glance under the scrub top revealed that Sylvia's artwork had settled into sullen red and black stripes on my chest. Damned if Mel wasn't right, I really was a good healer. Accepting Sara's hand, I let her help me to my feet and prod me out the door, where the small crowd happily piled into the Boom Boom Room for some recreation.

Sara prodded me along, her body language nervous and skittish. If only I could shake off the lethargy of drugs and sleep... I was suddenly in a bathroom, where towels and clothing were laid out. "Here. They left out these for you," Sara explained breathlessly and my attention finally sharpened. "Monica and Dana will come looking for you soon. I'll keep an eye out."

A startled squeak when I grabbed her hair would have amused me under different circumstances. All of my effort went into using my feral charm into calming my nervous girl, as did the strong grip. "What happened while I was sleeping?"

Swallowing hard, Sara tried to collect her thoughts. "Dana showed me the picture of the guy they think is Snake-Eyes." Her eyes went dark with fear. "I... I think it's him... but he looks too... too... normal."

Suddenly, I understood. The picture would have to be before he went off the deep end. Back when he was normal, before his cat had driven him mad. The burn of connection between his power and mine made my pulse race, his presence nearly palatable in the room.

A whimper of fear brought me back to the present, where Sara shook like a leaf in my arms, too terrified to even try and escape.

++ Sara ++

It gleamed there, in her eyes.

That impossible golden energy that made her something other than she was. My upper brain, the smart places that made me more than just a primitive animal, had no clue how to deal and shut down. The primitive parts of me looked at the hungry, threatened predator and knew that this was what prey saw as they died on teeth and claws.

Fear was an inadequate word.

Then, as abruptly as it had happened, it was over, and Dace was once again looking at me with soft, concerned blue eyes. The contrast and the relief made me sag, and I was on my knees before I knew it. Her thigh was solid and stable as I clung and let the terror and adrenaline drain away.

"I'm sorry," she said oh-so-softly and stroked my head like she would a scared a child. In that moment, I saw a bit of what she must be as a cop and the thought calmed me further. Whatever happened in the future, I knew that part of me would forever belong to her, and this wild and fearful place that she brought me to so often.

That knowledge gave me power.

Taking a steadying breath, I leaned back only far enough to meet her eyes. "I need you. Please. Rough and mean. I need you to ground me. Please."

A wild, sexy energy flared in Dace in response to my plea and I felt my fear turn to dripping anticipation. Thank God I'd showered already, because I knew that I was in for a sweaty good time.

"Find a room for us to play in. Tell Catherine. I'll find you soon. Go."

And with a long, loving kiss, I was shoved out the door to do as I was told.

++ Snake-Eyes ++


Close now.

All the nights of stealth and patience would bring me my feast. The memory of the yellow woman who had escaped had faded in the temptation of this wonderful prize. Lips pulled back from blunt teeth, I scented the air for her.

The she-cat was here, prowling amid the useless humans and their ridiculous mating games. Deep in my head, my constant companion now, he paced back and forth like a caged wild thing, desperate to escape. He smelled the female that was the yin to his yang, and was desperate to claim her as his. I understood, having glimpsed the golden creature that tempted us so. Tall, strong, alert, the color of summer, she was exquisite.

There. There! There was my prey, my mate, my goal. Lithe and stunning among the filthy humans, she flowed among them to a unknown goal. Ah, the dark fawn and the small golden woman that made me growl. She was what kept me away, the fear of that small, brindled Coyote and the power she held over what I knew both the golden one and I both were. She could stop us with a power that was both magnetic and frightening.

Dressed in the musky leathers of my preferred prey, the golden one set upon the fawn's willing body, offered up as proper sacrifice to her superior might. Closer I skulked, ears and smell trained on them, hidden in the playrooms of this place. The fawn called out in pleasure, tinged with fear as the golden female growled in mating pleasure.

The sound made me pause for an instant in my hunt, enraptured by the sound.

She should not waste herself on these weak creatures. My hand closed unerringly around a blunt object, as it had all the other times I had killed humans. If she would not be mine, than I would have to force her.

There, on the other side of that insubstantial barrier that made up the high-walled cubicle and its flimsy door. Her smell, thick and musky as she released her pleasure over the fawn, who still cried out.

A name called behind me.

A name I knew, but no longer knew.

A leap, a thrust of awkward human muscles, I looked down where the golden female sweated over the dark fawn, thrusting like a tomcat in heat, grunting and growling in pleasure.

She would be mine! Mine and no others!

I leapt, swinging my weapon. It would end here.

One way or another.

To be continued…

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