Kink's the Thing, part 2 (conclusion) --- by Penumbra

Please see part 1 for disclaimers. Comments, email me at

According to the report, the two McMahon kids were Zack, 11 and Joe, 7. The man had an older son and a daughter as well but for some unfathomable reason, he had decided to take his two youngest children to meet a gun dealer. Bloody gung-ho idiot, Ghis cursed as she ran down the stairs as quietly as she could. She chambered a round on the other gun and slipped it into its holster on her back. The other was treated the same way and she smoothed her thumb over the oxidised grey metal. It was a thing of beauty, this Sig 226 with its characteristic bulky barrell and heavy weight of the 15 round clip. She brushed her lips against the cool metal. Letís make some noise, Santa Left, she grinned, and unholstered Right as well.

She navigated the darkened stairs quickly and reached the buildingís back door, stopping there to steady her breath. ... thirty-six, thirty-seven. Now. She burst through the metal door and had gotten eight paces from it when she heard two faint pops from somewhere far above her and small pieces of glass rained on her. Kilt had been right on time, and accurate as ever. The two men fell without a sound, slumping onto the bonnet they had been leaning against. She passed the car with big, loping steps and reached the opposite building without incident. Once there, she re-sheathed the twin pistols and took a deep breath. Iím getting too old for this.

She had a few points in her code of honour which she never broke, and punished severely any of her men who did. Raping an innocent was one, and killing a child another. When McMahon had plucked his children from the car, Ghis had known they could not do the thing discreetly. It took a bullet a long fraction of a second to travel the distance, long enough for the subject to turn and put a child in the line of fire. And that just wouldnít do -- she had enough nightmares as it was.

The lobby was damp, dreary and completely devoid of life. Broken old fluorescent lights stared at her like dark eyes as she eased in through the glass doors. The lobby had probably once been lighted, cheery and dustless, but now beige paint was peeling off the walls and its only inhabitants were hordes of dust bunnies. She scanned the empty area and slithered along the wall towards the dead green sign that marked the emergency stairs.

The shaft was lit by the grey light seeping through the dust-covered windows on every level. She stopped at the bottom and cocked her head, listening, reaching out with all her five senses and then with the sixth one that had saved her sorry ass so many times.

Somewhere above her she could hear water dripping, the last remnants of the nightís rain finding their way inside. Small feet skittering inside the wall, rats probably. She had yet to see a dock area without the small critters. Then, a scrape of feet on concrete. A-ha. Three floors up, she smiled and started on the stairs, her steps ethereally quiet. Her nostrils flared, the adrenaline pumped into her veins. She could smell the rotting core of the building and see the rat droppings in the corners as blood rushed to her head. Stopping on the second floor landing, she took out a throwing knife from her boot and grabbed the hilt with light, rock-steady fingers. She could feel her pulse pound on her collarbone as she stepped in the staircase again.

The man was fat rather than stocky, most of his mass was gathered around his waist. He was standing by the window, rolling a cigarette. His semi-automatic rifle was under his arm as he concentrated on the task so difficult for his thick fingers. The cigarette never got finished; the black tobacco was scattered to the floor when the knife got him in the throat. He let out a pained, gurgling scream as blood rushed from his throat, staining the front of his camouflage jacket.

His body made little noise as it hit the ground but unfortunately, his gun was much harder and it clattered audibly against the concrete.


The voice and nearing footsteps came from the end of the long corridor that stretched to her right and Ghis rummaged through her plan archive, coming up with just one. Unholstering both Sigs, she leapt the last three steps, coming down to crouch on the third floor landing and into the line of sight of the other guard, La Dommaís man.

"Whatthehell...," the man cursed and reached for his gun.

As always, things went into slow motion. She saw the hand reach for the gleaming black Glock, and she saw the ground underneath her blur as she rose and ran towards the man. Later on, she would have sworn she saw the two bullets leave the barrels, rotating in different directions according to their opposite riflings. The two uneven funnels of red, spreading into the familiar shape that always reminded Ghis of crimson gloxinias. This time the flowers sprouted from his shoulders and she saw him fall back as if reciprocating the recoil she felt shuddering through her.

She jumped over the fallen man who writhed on the ground, his arms rendered useless by the two hollowpoints. She just had time to hear the twin chink of brass cases on the floor before she reached the door. Not slowing down a bit, she crouched forward and, swinging her arms, jumped so that she hit the door feet first. As expected, the plywood door collapsed under her momentum, exploding into three pieces, and she was in.

She was greeted by three sets of startled eyes and one pair of mad ones. McMahon had seated his huge frame on a chair next to an old table, his boys sitting on a field cot next to him. And opposite the big, stubble-bearded man sat a thin woman with a bleached bob and eyes grey as the sky outside. McMahon rose to a half-standing position, knocking his chair over in the process.

"Who the hell are you?!" he asked, not registering the massive pistol pointing at him, his attention caught by the two chips of ice that stared at him. The answer was not provided by the intruder, however, but by the slightly nasal voice of the arms dealer.

"Ghislaine. So nice to see you again." The sarcasm was not even thinly veiled.

"Likewise, Simona. Donít even think about it," she warned and the womanís hand froze inches away from her gun. "You want to do it the easy way or the hard way?"

She never got a verbal answer to her question. Instead, McMahon launched from his chair with a wild yell and jumped for Ghis, arms spread wide. She side-stepped him and, as he tried to compensate, hit him in the face with the butt of her pistol. He grunted and grabbed his eye, stumbling. She delivered a roundhouse kick that caught him in the chest, almost knocking him off-balance, and sent him crashing against the roomís wide window. The glass broke with an ear-shattering noise and he leaned against the frame, wiping the blood from his eyes. And then everything happened at once.

Ghis was mowed down by two smaller bodies, high voices screaming their rage. She had just enough time to see the elder McMahon straighten from his position when his ribcage exploded on the left side, a thick tendril of blood gushing from the neat hole. The bullet made a faint thunk as it hit the opposite wall, showering plaster over the arms dealer. The man screamed a shrill, high squeak and grabbed his side. Thanks, Kilt, Ghis thought while she dropped her guns and wrestled Zack off her, all the while keeping an eye on Simona.

Zack flew like a rag doll, landing under the table with an audible thump and a yowl. Ghis still had Joe attached to her and she growled in pain and rage when she felt small teeth sink into her bicep. Grabbing a handful of hair, she jerked upright and yanked the boy off her. Soupbowl-sized green eyes met hers and the boy flinched visibly.

"Watch it, kid," she hissed and threw him on the cot. That left just...

"You bitch!"

She managed to turn halfway and raise her arm as protection when she saw the bolt of blonde lightning headed her way. She screamed when the bayonet sunk into her forearm. Her world was one of pain, hot breath and blazing grey eyes when Simona grabbed her and kneed her in the stomach.

She couldnít remember ever producing a sound like that. It originated somewhere deep within her and exited as a whoosh of pained air. Falling to the floor in a fetal position, she tried to breathe, though every breath was a stab in her lungs.

"You had to mess things up once more, huh, Ghislaine?"

Through the red haze of pain she saw a pair of worn boots stop in front of her, and she heard the faint words through the wheezing of her breath and the keening animal noises McMahon was making next to her. She grabbed her forearm above the wound and squeezed, attempting to curb the bloodflow. The short bayonet was still in her arm, the bloody tip sticking out near her radius. Trying to steady her breath, she cringed as she felt the blade move in her arm. She couldnít just rip it out -- that would make the bloodflow increase twofold.

"Yep, thatís me. Troublemaker," the clubowner ground out and uncoiled a bit from her position. The movement made her groan in pain, even more so when Simona kicked her in the ribs. She twitched on the floor, seeing stars as the pain spread from her chest. Faintly, she registered the feet that came nearer. Címon...

"Havenít you fucked my life up enough ALREADY?!?" The last word was a high-pitched scream and Ghis heard the note of madness in it. When the other foot retreated to kick her again, she was ready. She saw the approaching tip of the boot and when it was committed to the kick, she pushed herself up and to the side with her good arm. The kick whooshed past her head with inches to spare but didnít connect. Landing on the wounded arm, she groaned in pain but still reached for the bayonet and yanked it free. Disregarding the gush of blood that rained on the dusty concrete floor, she aimed at the supporting leg next to her and drove the blade throught the foot so hard she felt the tip hit the floor.

The bloodcurdling yell was that of a wounded animal and it echoed through the sparse room. Ghis didnít stop to listen to it nor to heed the painful protests of her ribs; she launched upward and caught Simona on the chin with her shoulder. The scream was cut short and Ghis elbowed the smaller woman, sending her slamming against the wall, and following closely after retrieving Santa Left from the floor.

"Give it up," she growled, but Simona just smiled a slightly mad, blood-streaked smile and grabbed her throat. Ghis felt the flow of oxygen into her brain once more blocked. Not even the threat of the gun was enough to waver Simonaís determination; the hands held on when she smacked the blonde womanís face with the barrel. Nothing. Aw shit, Ghis cursed, and shifted her aim.

The shot was like a clap of thunder in the close confines, coming so close to her ear Ghis felt her brains rattle. The echo was drowned by Simonaís scream as her elbow exploded and the vice-like grip let go. She grabbed the wounded limb with her other hand and tried to slide down the wall but she was forced to meet Ghisí eyes by the hand that was now on her throat.

"Glad to know Iím worth all this pain," Simona wheezed, her breath coming in laboured gasps. The last of her sense was dimming, to be replaced by sheer lunacy. "He wasnít."

"Will you shut up and die already," Ghis growled and pressed her finger on the jugular vein. The woman in her iron grasp thrashed as the flow of blood to her brain was cut off, and a last gurgling scream left her mouth. The small veins in the grey eyes ruptured before the eyeballs rolled back when the lack of oxygen resulted in a stroke. Crumpling to the floor, Simona let out her last breath, her mind already in the forever darkness.

It was almost sad, the rumpled figure that lay lifeless on the floor, the blood on the crushed arm already coagulating. Simona was skinny by nature and apparently the years hadnít been as gentle as they could have been. There was still a hint of hardness born of insanity on her bloodied face, the wiry muscles of her ams twitching, pleading for oxygen her lungs could no longer pump out. Ghis still remembered the time when this woman, a psychotic who made her living on the death of others, had been her friend. The flower-dressed lithe figure at the squadís summer picnic, and the proud smile that had been on the high-cheekboned face when Jonas had been promoted to sergeant.

She bent down on one knee and gently closed the eyelids over unseeing eyes but it was too late. The clubowner knew that Simona Greenbergís face would be another addition to her personal gallery of horrors that came to visit her at nights. She rose with a small sigh.

To her surprise, McMahon was still alive. When she turned the sheet-white man around, she saw that it was thanks to Kiltís preference for steel core bullets instead of something more shredding, and to the layers of body fat that had taken the brunt of the impact. No vital organs were hit but blood loss was considerable. She gestured to Zack, who had crawled to kneel next to his father.

"Hold here, like this," Ghis instructed quietly and pressed the boyís palm against the main artery. He gulped but did as was told. Satisfied that McMahon would live to face trial, she went to the window and, with hand signals, told Kilt to pack up, call a pick-up, and come to join her. Turning back, she prodded her arm. The wound didnít bleed that much anymore but it would need stitches. Sighing, she let the arm droop to her side and looked at the mess and carnage in the room, and at wide-eyed Joe who was staring at his fatherís twitching, groaning form. The boyís shoulders looked as if they were but a span wide, his complexion a pasty white. He was so young.

Gods, I hate this job.

The men eyed her with wary glances, unsure tired eyes darting around the small room.

"Are you sure you donít need a, um, doctor, Commander?"

"Yes, Iím sure," Ghis said for the umpteenth time, her dwindling patience audible in her hoarse voice. Her face, however, was impassive, even when the needle punctured her skin again and made a neat stitch. It seemed to be beyond the men in suits for someone to sew her own wound closed, no local anasthetic or anything. Sure, she could have requested a doctor but that wouldíve just slowed things down and besides, she had done this more times than she really cared to remember.

"So, Commander, you killed the first guard and then disabled the other before entering the room?"

Ghis rolled her eyes. She had repeated her story three times already, what little there was of it. Yes, I did that, went in and did the thing. End of story. "Yeah, thatís right. Howís he doing?"

"The second guard? Heíll live but heíll never use his arms again," the younger agent said and sipped his coffee. Not that he was that tired anymore, despite the 36 hours of being awake. He had accompanied the cleanup team and the gallons of blood had soon brought him out of his stupor. And at the centre of things had stood a dark angel. He winced when the needle punctured the bronze skin again, and was sure the sight of this strange woman, calmly sewing herself closed, would visit his nightmares.

"Good. Youíll have my written report in a few days," she said and, tying a neat knot at the end, bit off the remaining thread. Two new parallel scars decorated her forearm, accompanying the older ones. She licked off the few scattered drops of fresh blood the stitching had caused and wrapped a bandage over the wound. The younger agentís pallor lessened some and Ghis smiled a small smile. "Anything else?"

The senior agent leaned back and loosened his tie some more. The room was getting stuffy, the scent of bad coffee overwhelmed by the smell of gunpowder, blood and death emanating from the person across the table. He would die for a smoke and a bit of fresh air. "Nope," he grunted and leaned forward again, a hint of gratitude colouring his voice. "How can we ever repay you, Commander?"

Ghisí smile widened and the agent swallowed reflexively. The striking blue eyes took on a strange gleam and once again, he wondered where the narrow line between extreme intelligence and madness was exactly, or if it existed at all. This woman was a legend and he, a long-time fan of hers, had immediately recognised the skillful handiwork when he had read of the Columbian drug dealer who had been assassinated in Côte díIvoire. And here she sat, flesh and blood instead of some malicious wraith the tales told her to be.

Rapping her fingers against the table, Ghis sat back. "Three things."

Dellaís palms were sweaty as she twirled a lock of her hair around her forefinger. The Section Chief had finally returned from Allentown and now she was on hold. The Personal Assistant had been almost genial, probably because now she wouldnít pester the Chiefís office with her calls any more.


"Um, hello. This is Delaney Covington speaking," Della said and fiddled nervously with a ballpoint pen. The man sounded gruff and tired.


"Iíve been trying to contact you for a few days... Iím on the exchange program, working at Scotland Yard and recently, my request for continuation of my tenure was rejected. I was wondering, would it still be possible to overturn the decision?" she prattled, mentally crossing her fingers, her heart hammering against her ribcage.

"If the decision is made, it stays. Would there be anything else, Ms. Covington?"

Her heart sank. She felt sick, and her stomach lurched as if she was on a bad rollercoaster ride. "Um, no," she muttered and hung up. The Chiefís tone had been final.

"Fuckfuckfuck...," she ground out between clenched teeth and stabbed the desk with the pen. "Idiot. Fucking idiot," she muttered to the blotter and threw the pen in the general direction of the pen holder. She missed and the Bic clattered to the floor as she sat back in the plush leather chair of her fatherís office, wondering why on Earth had she come here in the first place. Maybe if she drove back to New York and confronted the man face to face... nahh, she thought and shook her head. Mahoney wasnít known as a genial fellow, not by a mile.

What am I going to do?

Ghis almost laughed out loud when she crossed the river and found out that she had, in fact, left Kensington and entered Camden. The neighbourhoods looked very different from their original namesakes in London, but no wonder, they were 6000 kilometres away and she was in Philadelphia, speeding over the Delaware River.

Glancing at the sky, she figured she still had about an hour of daylight although the day had gone on forever. The shootout seemed so distant now, after the anticlimax of the debriefing session. A quick shower had not helped matters much; it had washed off most of the dirt and blood but accomplished nothing when it came to shooting residue, the powder clinging to her skin and clothes. She was still clad in the black fatigues, combat boots and black turtleneck sweater she had worn for the past two days.

The roadmap told her she still had a bit of driving to do, over 230 kilometres, and she estimated she wouldnít reach New Haven before nightfall. She changed gears and the last suburbs of Philadelphia were left behind the speeding black Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic. That had been reward number one, La Dommaís car. It was beautiful, a perfectly restored classic car dating back from 1936, the shape resembling the Batmobile more than anything else. The car had attracted her attention immediately, listed in the confiscated items report, and the FBI had donated it to her without a second thought, so grateful they were. Reward number one.

She smoothed her hands over the wooden steering wheel and smiled at the eyeballing she was getting from fellow travellers. She had stopped to refuel and check her voicemail when she had crossed the state line and the gas station attendantís jaw had fallen and scraped the asphalt so badly she had winced. The vehicle was simply divine.

The chocolate mousse was rich, a delicious mound of pure chocolate and hand-whipped egg whites. Della felt the exquitite taste caress her tastebuds, the scent of chocolate wafting up to her nose. She felt like singing.

"So, Dee. Tell me how you are."

She opened one eye and glared at her sister, irritated at the harsh, slightly nasal voice that had so rudely interrupted her moment of pleasure. And as always, Lisaís questions sounded more like orders.


"Oh, that so?" Lisa smiled a small, crooked smile and took a sip of her wine. "I hear you were summoned back here by some big shot in the Feebs." Lisa held no great respect for government agencies.

"Feebs, huh?" Della said and smiled back. Lisaís grin faltered and once again, the detective was glad her heartís chosen was a person well versed in the art of intimidation. Ghis had rubbed off on her. "GOP been brainwashing you again?" She set her spoon down calmly, as if she hadnít heard the sharp intake of breath. "Yeah, I was called back but Iím trying to get the decision revoked."

"So you can stay in London?" Vincent joined in, seeing the signs of a rising storm.


"Because of that bitch youíre seeing?"

The room fell silent on Lisaís words. Her motherís spoon clattered into the mousse bowl, the sound a clap of thunder in the silence. And then everyone started talking simultaneously.

"Lisa, now --"

"Ummm, hon --"

"You canít --"

The babbling was brought to a halt by a fist that hit the table so hard glasses shook. Ignoring the sharp pain in her hand, Della rose from her chair and fixed her gaze on her sister. It was met with one of cool detachment and contempt.

"I will not, I repeat, not have you insult someone I love," the detective ground out, feeling an urge to storm around the table and yank her sisterís meticulously done hair. She folded her napkin carefully to disguise the shaking of her hands, and left the table, escorted by Lisaís barely civilised version of the derisive snort.

Her old room on the second floor had been refurnished for use as a guest room, but she still stayed there whenever she visited her parents. Decorated in shades of cherrywood and marine blue, the room held a queen-sized bed soft enough to swallow her, a few chairs and a desk that now sported her laptop. The moon shone between the thick branches of the ancient oaks and elms that were scattered over the back yard, its pale light throwing elongated shadows on the thick Oriental carpet.

The oak nearest to the window was almost a hundred years old, thick and gnarled. Della leaned against the windowsill and peered out at it, knowing every branch and twig by heart. On many a warm summerís day she had climbed that tree, whenever her parentsí guard was down. She would sit in a fork of the branches and peer into her room, munching on an apple or a sandwich, courtesy of Clarice, and just listen to the whisper of the leaves, the voice of her tree.

Della sat on the bed and kicked off her shoes. Leaning back with a sigh, she burrowed into the bedcovers and closed her eyes. Her stomach felt queasy. Rubbing her face with her hand, she wondered how on Earth she and her sister managed to turn out to be so different. She, pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro-freedom and Lisa, a woman barely past her 25th birthday, with views dating back to the Founding Fathersí time. Sure, Della had known Lisa was not big on gay rights, but to spew out words like that at the dinner table, really...

What had changed, Della mused, was her own reaction. Her nature was that of a negotiator and when pitted against her sisterís steamroller ways, she had usually been the one who had been verbally pounded into the ground. Back then, it had made her feel inadequate, adolescent, a coward. Now, all it managed to do was to make her mad. The thought made her pause.

Huh. Guess what? I grew up, she thought and snorted a dry laugh. Closing her eyes, Della focused on her breathing, consciously slowing it down. It helped ease her impending headache, leaving behind just a rush of adrenaline that, of all things, made her feel... horny. She grimaced, trying to shoo away the mental images of a naked Ghis that insisted on appearing in her mindís eye, but in vain. So, she let the pictures come, the graceful curves of her soulmate, those strong calves--


-- the perfect shoulders that rippled with round, elongated muscles; her long neck, corded and strong; the small hollow of her throat so delicate, in so much contrast to the rest of her body--


-- a body that was pure pleasure for a voyeur, a body that exuded--


-- power and... whatthehell? The detectiveís eyes snapped open and she lifted her head, just in time to hear another plink as something hit her window. Warily, she rose, went towards the window and peered through the glass.

On the carefully mowed lawn, in the shadow of her tree was another shadow of a still deeper shade of black. An arm stretched out and again, a small pebble plinked on her window. The arm followed the lazy throw through and, in the light of the almost full moon, Della saw a glimpse of inky black hair like a web of dark silk draped over a pair of shoulders she knew so well. She opened the window so quickly the latch almost came loose.

"Whatíre you doing here?" she loudly whispered downwards.

"Was in the neigbourhood, thought Iíd drop by," came the wry reply. "Can I come in?"

Della rolled her eyes. No, I want you to turn around and drive to Podunk, New York so I can fantasize about you here without any further disturbance. "Címon," she whispered and gestured with her hand. The shadow nodded and turned. As Della watched, the shadow slithered up the tree, silently and with such natural sureness all the detective could do was to shake her head in wonder. In mere moments, the shadowy figure emerged from the treeís shade and stood on an almost horizontal branch, bathed in the moonlight. The smile on Ghisí face was purely beatific.

"Howíd you get here?" Della asked and smiling, leaned out the window, to memorise the scene forever. Instead of complying, Ghis took a theatrical pose and bowed, the branch swaying precariously. She straightened and extended her hand towards Della.

"With loveís light wings did I oíerperch these walls; For stony limits cannot hold love out," Ghis quoted and bowed again.

"Oh, címon in, Romeo," the detective laughed and barely managed to evade the body that swung from the tree and onto her windowsill. One hop and Ghis was in.

"How art thou, my fair Juliet?" the clubowner asked and folded her long arms around Della.

"The nameís Delaney, you charmmpppf..." Her words were swallowed with a kiss that made her toes curl in delight and she felt her body melt into the bigger one around her. With a sigh, she came up for air and, taking a deep breath, nuzzled Ghisí neck. "Mmmm. You smell good."

"Hardly," Ghis snorted. "Iím dirty, sweaty and, umm..." Her train of thought was rudely derailed by the feel of Dellaís lips on her throat, gentle teeth nibbling towards her ear. "Buh..."

"And taste even better," Della concluded, finally capturing her prize, Ghisí earlobe, and biting down gently. Fantasies were a mere ghost of the real thing, she thought and breathed in her loverís scent, feeling the thick hair brush her face. Yup. Much better than fantasies, she decided and kissed the thick tendon just below the ear. "Mmmm." Taking possession of the lobe again, she let her hands wander. From the slender waist they meandered upwards, feeling the powerful expanding of the ribcage under the thick shirt. Finally they came to the front and stopped at a pair of breasts, smoothing the taut flesh underneath them, knowing the shape by heart.

"Well, youíre feeling frisky tonight."

The detective smirked at the uneven tone of Ghisí voice and brushed her thumbs over a pair nipples which instantaneously perked up. Ghis inhaled sharply and her fingers dug into Dellaís back.

"Iíve been thinking about you," the detective breathed, her voice throaty and low.

"Really?" was the reply, the voice dreamy, the words a mere breath. Della felt the nipples grow hard beneath her palms and all she really wanted to do right now was devour the dark woman, lick clean every delicious inch, touch every perfect curve. Her hands went down and started on the belt buckle--

Knock knock. "Della? You in there?"

"Shit! My mother," Della whispered and let go of the belt, her heart hammering for quite another reason. Ghis extracted herself from the detective and smiling a smile that gleamed white even in the roomís low light, retreated into the shadow of a big wardrobe, quite invisible from the door. Della made a shushing sound and opened the door.

"Hello dear. Whyíre you sitting in the dark?" Michaela Covington asked and peered into the room. Della mentally cursed and frantically browsed through the possible alternatives for a plausible answer.

"I, uh, I had a headache, was on the bed," she mumbled and leaned against the doorjamb.

"I know, Dee," the older woman said and smiled a sad smile. "Lisa can be so difficult."


"No, itís not okay but Iím glad youíre taking it so lightly," Ms Covington said and gently rested her hand on Dellaís shoulder. The detective pulled her mother into a warm embrace.

"Thanks, Mom."

"Just came to see how you were doing," the elder Covington answered, squeezing her daughter one last time before letting go. She pecked a light kiss on Dellaís cheek and turned to go downstairs, pausing at the top of the stairs to smile back. Della waved and watched her motherís retreating back for a while before re-entering the room and closing the door.

"What was that all about?" a disembodied voice asked as two hands wrapped around her waist from behind. The detective entwined her hands with Ghisí and leaned back, to listen to her heartbeat.

"Oh, nothing. Lisa insulted us at dinner."

The arms around her tightened momentarily and Della drew strength from them. Ghis knew of her sisterís difficult nature but the detective didnít dare tell the whole conversation. That would most likely result in Ghis tearing downstairs and beating the living daylights out of her sneering sister with a candlestick.

"Howíd that make you feel?"

"Angry," Della replied, her tone light. She extracted her hands and reached back, grabbing Ghisí behind firmly. "And horny."

"Oh, is that so?" Ghis chuckled, a pleasant rumbling sound Della felt vibrate against her back. "Well, weíll have to do something about that," she continued and entwined one hand in the fair hair that fell on her chest. Before the detecive could come up with a snappy answer, her head was yanked back and her mouth captured in a kiss that made her head spin. It was hot, passionate, so hard it almost bruised her lips, and so very much like her partner.

Della was aware of so many things, all at the same time. The delicious pull of her hair and the clubownerís other hand trailing down her quivering stomach, the almost painful friction of her linen shirt against her nipples, and the incredible heat enveloping her, emanating from the body behind her. The hand reached her belt and slowly started to undo the buckle, the implications of that action making blood rush to Dellaís head, her moan drowned in the kiss.

When the last button of her fly came undone and the adventurous hand slipped inside to cup her sex, the detectiveís hips jerked and her death grip on Ghisí buttocks tightened. She felt the gentle laugh against her mouth and Ghis withdrew her lips, licking her cheek.

"You have been thinking about me," the clubowner growled and pressed her fingers harder against the wet fabric of Dellaís knickers, the abdominal muscles trembling under her palm.

"Yeah," the detective breathed and fought the grip on her hair but to no effect. She couldnít see Ghisí eyes, just felt the hot breath on her ear and the closeness of the intimately smoky voice. And then she felt no more, except the finger that slipped into her underwear and brushed her centre. Not that she could have answered any more questions anyway.

Ghis explored the wetness gently, travelling the entire length with one stroke. She felt Dellaís hips tilt forward as the woman pressed closer to her, the detectiveís breathing coming in sync with the pulse Ghis could feel hammering away under her lips, pressed as they were against Dellaís jugular. She knew every fold and crease by heart now, the exquisite smoothness and delightful wetness there. It brought an involuntary growl to her lips, the sound of a wild animal purring in delight. Really, this was her heaven on earth.

The rapid pulse and Dellaís continuous moan told her that there would be no finesse tonight. She covered the last stretch quickly and entered Della with such speed the detective rose on her tiptoes, her scream swallowed by another kiss from her lover. As the air of the scream rushed past her lips and into her lungs, Ghis added another finger, shoving them in further and bending them slightly. These sudden moves left the detective reeling, her inner muscles grabbing the digits eagerly. The fingers moved out as far as the trousers permitted and pushed back in and another low groan came from Dellaís lips.

Moving back out, the fingers were liberally coated with Dellaís juices. They slipped easily forward again and found the small nub of nerves that was now pleading to be touched. At the first brush, a groan that sounded almost like a sob came out and the detectiveís hips ground against Ghisí hand. The friction was just so, and in her highly agitated state she couldnít take any more.

"Oh... my," she whispered and the coiled spring in her abdomen released. Ghis held on tightly as the detective came, the smaller woman jerking in her grasp so suddenly she almost lost her grip on her hair. Riding the waves, smothering the scream with her lips, she hummed in satisfaction at the almost painful look on Dellaís face and the trembling of her muscles as she thrashed around.

"Oh my," Della repeated when the waves subsided. She opened her eyes and took a few calming breaths, the only thing keeping her upright being the firm hand in her hair. "Premature ejaculation... has never been my... problem before."

Ghis chuckled and kissed a sweat-covered temple. Sensing Dellaís weakness, she sat on the floor and cradled the detective who was trying to catch her breath. They sat like that for a while, without the lights, listening to the hum of distant traffic, the only illumination the moon and stars that shone from an alien sky. Resting her chin on the fair head, Ghis looked outside, trying to trace the constellations that were somehow all wrong, and decided she wanted to go home.

"You OK?"

"Yeah," Della whispered and kissed a convenient collarbone.

"You still have business here?"

"Nope. Got my final no today," the detective sighed and closed her eyes.

"Iím so sorry," Ghis said and wrapped her arms tighter around her love. Canít tell her yet...

The morning dawned bight and sunny, a remarkably warm day for New Haven in December. Itís nice to have sunshine, Della mused as she stretched and pondered what to wear, but this weather spells a black Christmas. But then again, she wouldnít be living in London if snow were her thing. The only white thing there on Christmas morning was usually the fog rising from the Thames.

She decided on a pair of dark grey slacks and a creamy white knit sweater and went downstairs to get some breakfast. The kitchen was mercifully empty as she decided on a blueberry muffin and a glass of orange juice. Settling at the counter next to the window, she had a clear line of sight to the driveway and as she ate, she kept glancing past the pale gold Chrysler, wishing for another car to arrive. Before Ghis had left, they had agreed that she would come pick her up this morning and theyíd drive someplace peaceful, to talk.

The previous dayís conversation with the Section Chief was like a big black cloud over her happiness, a lead weight pressing down her spirits. Despite the excellent muffin, crisp morning paper, lingering afterglow and gentle sun, Della felt like she had been emotionally keel-hauled.

"Morning, sis."

And it gets even better, she thought and bit back a curse, turning around and smiling instead.

"Morning, Lisa. You sleep well?"

"Yes, I did," she answered and opened the fridge. Fishing out a carrot, she leaned against the stove and munched on it. Della found it irritating that even at this early hour her sister looked so... organised in her silk robe and coiffed hair. The detective had long suspected Lisa had an extra hairdresser packed in that jumbo size beauty box she wouldnít leave home without.

"Whoís that?" she asked and pointed over Dellaís shoulder with her half-eaten carrot. Della turned and her heart skipped a beat as she saw a gleaming black antique car slow down and turn into their driveway. Behind the wheel that was on the right side sat the figure she knew so well.

"That would be Ghislaine."

"Ah. Your degenerate coming to drag you away?"

Della decided the jibe didnít deserve a snappy answer so she just looked out, squeezing her juice glass so hard that had it not been crystal it would have shattered. Counting to ten, she calmed herself and coughed.

"Yeah. My other half," she replied and could almost hear Lisaís eyes roll. She didnít care, she was too entranced by the sight that climbed out of the car. Ghis was clad in her luxurious long black leather overcoat with a plum-red cashmere scarf around her neck, the silken mane of dark hair gleaming in the sunlight, and Della felt her throat go dry. This figure came from a totally different world than the fatigue-clad soldier in her room last night, but the detective had come to accept the wildly varying personalities of her lover.

Correction: She loved them. All of them.

When the doorbell rang, she was just finishing off her juice, the muffin sticking in her throat. She could hear the door opening and her motherís exclamation. Then came the lower rumble of Ghisí voice, and her fatherís excited tones, drowned out by the ring of a phone. Della had just time to see her father rushing towards the black car when Ghis entered the kitchen, trailed by Michaela Covington.

"The telephoneís for you, dear," her mother told Della who was already smiling like a demented child.

"Hi honey," Della said warmly to Ghis and rose. "Should I..."

"Hullo luv. Go get the phone," Ghis said and echoed the smile. Della winked, shot a meaningful glance at her sister and went into the hall, almost chuckling. Her sister was left in the kitchen alone with Ghis and now, if ever, her sister was about to meet her match in verbal abuse.

"I donít think we have met. Iím Ghislaine," the clubowner said and extended her hand. Lisa, however, made no move to accept it, chewing on her carrot and giving the fish eye. Ghis shrugged. "Your loss."

The clubowner liked the kitchen. It was bright and spacious and it looked functional enough, though she wasnít too keen on the cherrywood paneling. Wandering to a side table, she snatched an apple from a steel bowl and took a bite, focusing her eyes on the brunette again.

"You must be Lisa."

"And youíre a dyke."

No beating around the bush then. The clubowner thought of what she had come to call her Intimidatorís rule #1: Always smile. And so she did, a generous white leer aimed straight at Lisa, who provided the usual reaction: utter bafflement. Ghis sauntered back towards Dellaís sister, coming to stand about two feet from her, eyes twinkling in a disconcerting way. Not quite good-humoured and not quite deadly, they shone with something akin to pity and also enjoyment of this conflict.

"Yeah. Flaming queer," Ghis said and smiled another smile before attacking the apple again. It was very good, a plump red-cheeked fruit with the taste of autumn preserved in it. Lisa was shocked and it showed, the clubowner taking almost childish glee from the womanís expression. "You got a problem with that?"

"I do, when people like you prey on my family," Dellaís sister managed.

"Prey?" Ghis laughed. "I must say, you--"

"Actually, I was the one doing the hunting."

The voice came from the door and when the clubowner turned, she saw Della there, twirling the cordless handset with the oddest of looks on her face. Guess she got the call, Ghis thought and tried very hard not to smile. The detective extracted herself from the doorjamb and came in, pointing accusingly at Ghis with the handset.

"We need to talk. Now."

"Uhh, okay. But... you ready to go?"

"Yes. Iíll get my stuff and then we can go. And you," Della continued, turning her gaze on Lisa, "You lay off her case. Iím gay, queer, dyke, degenerate, pervert, fairy, whatever, and youíll just have to deal with it. Got me?" She didnít wait for an answer before turning around and exiting the kitchen.

Ghis followed the detective, an irresistible smile creeping on her face.

The merlot was a crimson vortex in the glass, a raging sea that had no outlet. Around and around it went, an eye of a small storm the colour...

... of her lips. Or thatís the colour theyíd had at the restaurant, moist from crayfish juices and wine. Now, under the distant illumination of the old-fashioned streetlamps at St. Christopherís place, in the narrow canyon between old houses, they were ink black. The sky was dark, no stars penetrating the shell of smog. Had there been stars, though, they would have lost in sheer intensity to the two glinting eyes in the darkness.

The lips parted. "Did you have fun?" they asked her.

It took Della a small moment to gather her thoughts. The shape of the mouth was just so perfect, the graceful curves of the upper lip and the carnal fleshiness of the lower one, just crying out to be bitten. The corners turned slightly up, creating a cascading series of small curves that culminated in a pair of dimples that were, unbelievably, dangerous-looking.

"Uh, yeah. I had fun. The food was great."

A shapely smile transformed the lips into a flash of white and Della was itching more than ever to bite that delicious lower lip. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and fiddled with the hem of her jacket. The silence was not uncomfortable, mostly because the clubowner was so comfortable with it, but Della was frantically fishing for something to say. How about asking her in for a nightcap? her subconscious supplied sarcastically. Inwardly, she rolled her eyes.

"So, um... you want to come in for a drink?" Her cliché-ometer was screaming blue murder. Shut up, she told it and, tearing her eyes away from the beaming smile, looked up to meet Ghisí eyes.

"Iíd love to," the clubowner said, her voice an octave lower than it had been just seconds before. There was something quite wonderful about that husky tone, something that made the detectiveís abdomen quiver and cheeks heat up. The tall woman stepped a pace closer and now Della could feel the heat, a warm wave on the exposed parts of her skin.

It was really remarkable, how Ghisí mere presence made her mind do strange flips. The woman wasnít even touching her, she was just standing there, and the detective could feel her knees grow weak. It was the heat, and the scent. Not two separate entities, but more an overwhelming wave of... ecstasy. That was the best description she could come up with, at such short notice and with her brain being as sluggish as it was. Címon, Delaney. Donít just stand there...

Della then did something she hadnít thought she was capable of. She closed the remaining distance and wrapped her arms around the clubownerís body, pressing her fingers against the strong muscled back, hugging Ghis close. She was immensely glad she had done it. Now the taller woman couldnít escape. Not that Ghis had any intention of doing so, if the return squeeze was any indication. Della rested her chin on Ghisí chest and looked up.

"May I kiss you?" A whisper.

"Yes." Another whisper, and then lips met, flesh joining quivering flesh in the moist, muggy London night. The heat pushed the cold dampness away, and for Della, the world was the softest lips imaginable, and the smooth tongue that battled with hers. She buried her hands in the silky dark hair and pulled Ghis closer, finally biting the lower lip she had been hungrily staring at throughout the whole lunch. And during the long walk in the park, and dinner, and another walk. The day had passed in a second, her world the feel, the touch, the presence of the clubowner. Della made a small purring sound in her throat when sharp teeth found her lip and bit down gently.

Finally they had to come up for air.

"Letís go in," the husky voice said...

"Um, what?" She suddenly snapped out of the memories. Nighttime London morphed into The Chart House, the faint hum of Oxford Streetís traffic into the quiet conversation and continuous jangle of silverware in the restaurant.

Ghis chuckled and leaned back in her chair. "I said, thatís no way to treat excellent wine." A pause. "Where were you anyway? You were blushing," Ghis asked, waggling her eyebrows suggestively.

"Shush, you," Della smiled and leaned to slap Ghisí arm. "I was just remembering the day after the party, when you took me out to lunch. When you charmed the hell out of me with your coolness."

"I was a nervous wreck."

The detective almost spat out her wine and her eyes grew round. "What?"

Ghis shrugged and smiled a small dreamy smile, remembering the day so long ago, and her life since then. "My heart was hammering loud enough for birds in Hyde Park to hear it the whole time. And when you licked my finger... damn." She shook her head and looked across the table, infinite fondness in the blue eyes. "I nearly died."

"Well. And I thought it was just me who almost peed in her pants," Della laughed, meeting the blue eyes. Their gaze was electric, the power almost humming. It wasnít the electricity they had had early on in their relationship, but a more evolved sort. More equal, and more understanding. More one person than two.

The first weeks had been tumultous, to say the least. Della could still remember her bewilderment and shame when she had discovered all the things she enjoyed, and her shock when she found out all the things Ghis enjoyed. Things that she would have previously categorised as violence or torture suddenly became a source of pleasure for her. And it all was tied to that electric gaze, and the firm, sure hands that were always warm on her skin and always seemed to know what she wanted, even when she was too scared or too ashamed to admit it.

The clubowner had been patient with her, understading the changes in self-image Della had to make, and she was always there for her. Through the tears and through the self-acceptance. The detectiveís ruthlessly honest nature and keen self-esteem helped some, but of course it had been hard for her to admit that she, a self-reliant person if ever there was one, was a masochist. A bottom. A submissive. That she enjoyed it when someone tied her up.

No... correction, Della thought and smiled at the pearlstrings of lights at New Haven Harbour. When Ghis ties me up. The difference between the two things was an infinite chasm.

"Now, then, Ghislaine," Della said and set her glass down with a faint chink.

Her no-nonsense tone made Ghis pause in mid-chew, a forkful of prime rib hovering in the air. She lowered the fork back to the plate and, to hide an impending smile, dabbed the corners of her mouth with the well-starched linen napkin, the fabric stiff as cardboard.

"Yes, dear?"

Della wasnít fooled by the innocently blinking blue eyes. She could see the effort it took for Ghis not to smile.

"The phone call I got today. It was Section Chief Mahoney and he informing me that my tenure will be continued ad infinitum. He even wished me a good day, after asking me if there was anything else he could do for me." A blonde eyebrow rose. "I have a theory to account for his groveling."

"Oh, you do?"

"Yes," Della said and leaned forward, resting her chin on her hand. Ghis mirrored the gesture, dreamy blue eyes meeting salient green ones at close range. "Actually, two theories."

"Do tell. Please."

"The Chief was kidnapped by nasty aliens who committed unspeakable acts of perversion and cruelty on him, before reversing his personality."

"Sounds plausible," the clubowner drawled and adjusted the lapel of her black Valentino power suit.

"The other one, then, involves you waving your magic wand, and I donít mean the braided lash. I still donít know what youíre doing in the States but Iím willing to bet it has something to do with this," the detective said and gently brushed Ghisí right forearm where she still had the bandage, hidden under the thin cashmere of the jacket.

"I got my three wishes," Ghis said succinctly, breaking the eye contact and smiling faintly, fiddling with the napkin. A thought occurred to her and she met the misty green eyes again, a bit warily. "That is, if you donít mind me intruding into your--"

Her speech was brought to a halt by two fingers that came to rest on her mouth, silencing her mid-sentence. Della hushed, letting her fingers trace the smooth, taut flesh of Ghisí lips.

"Shhh. Of course I donít mind. I want to be with you." The lips under her touch trembled and then curved into a hesitant smile before silently kissing the fingers.

No further words were needed.

The shadows were already long. The dark spectral shapes thrown by the lightpoles travelled over the hills and valleys of rubbish bags, streetwalkers and uneven street paving. Night would set soon, and London would see the frigid face of the December moon at its fullest. Frost was gathering on the roofs and windowsills and the night was going to be a cold one.

The winds had stilled; only the Thames fog insisted on staying. So the little flickering candle had stayed lit, its warm yellow light welcoming. Ghis bent down and picked up the thick white candle, blowing the flame out. She slid her fingers over the slick paraffin surface and smiled. The candle had been in the middle of the sidewalk, right where the narrow stairs led to her club. The Rapture was not yet open, so this was a private message.

There was another candle on the last step and Ghis let that stay lit, opening the door with her left hand while balancing the candle and her costume bag in the other. The bag and her coat were left to the foyer, along with the two candles as she found a third one, standing in silent solitude on the floor.

The candles continued on, through the foyer and into the club. The dark blue walls of the cavernous main room echoed with the sound of her steps; as usual she was the first one of the staff to arrive. Almost the first, she smiled as she picked up the sixth candle, at the foot of the stairs that led upstairs and to her private office and quarters. The way was paved with fire and wax, the destination unknown for a few moments still.

The last candle was just outside the closed door of her bedroom at the club, a private space adjoining her office. She blew the candle out and set the others next to it on the floor. Her hand was shaking with excitement and curiosity when she pushed the door open.

"Evening, Mistress."

For a fleeting second, Ghis forgot to breathe.

It was her lover, her light in life. Kneeling on the floor, wearing nothing but a set of leather wrist and ankle restraints. Kneeling, next to the big bed, kneeling with a beatific, dreamy smile on her face. Dellaís fair hair flowed down her bare shoulders, the longest ringlets curling around her breasts, taut skin shining in the light of what seemed to be a thousand candles, nipples two islands of dark coral against creamy skin.

The fair head tilted to the side and the smile widened a fraction. Dellaís bearing was straight, proud, her hands resting calmly on her thighs.

"May I help you undress, Mistress?"

Without a word Ghis stepped into the room, her footfalls silent on the carpet. She came to stand in front of Della, eyes closed. She could feel the detectiveís eyes on her, two pinpoints of heat raking her body. Exhaling quietly, she let her hand rest on the silken blonde hair, feeling the texture with her sensitised fingers. Still Della didnít touch her. She didnít yet have permission. Ghis smiled to the unseeing far wall.

"Yes, you may."

When Dellaís hands found the lacings of her combat boots, she herself started with the buttons of her shirt. When the last of them came undone, she let the shirt fall open but kept it on. The boots were quickly set aside and Ghis took in a hissing breath, her head tilting towards the ceiling. She was begging for patience, but the scorching hands that slid up her legs didnít help much.

Della loved the feel of the leather trousers. The slightly foxed hide, and the heat they absorbed. They were more than clothing, they were part of her lover. The scent was something she could recognise even in her sleep. She leaned forward and, taking a bit of a risk, let her nose touch the black leather. Yeah. Inhaling deeply, she licked the nubbly surface and followed the progress of her hands with her tongue.

When her hands found the waistline and quickly undid the three topmost buttons, she saw that Ghis wasnít wearing any underwear between the leather and her shaven mons. Desire overpowered sense and Della yanked the fly wide open, kissing the baby smooth skin with its slight stubble. Her ecstasy was short-lived, however. The clubowner stepped back, causing Della to pitch forward.

"I gave you permission to undress me," Ghis hummed. Her voice had taken on a dark edge and a small shiver went down Dellaís back. "Not to touch."

"Iím sorry, Mistress," Della whispered and lowered her head, to hide her smile. She knew what that dangerous tone meant, and the very thought made her inner muscles clench.

"Get the leather paddle and then bend over at the bed."

She bowed and complied hastily, her cheeks taking on a delicate shade of pink. The paddle with its two wide strips of thick leather was heavy but warm, and she knew how it looked in the steady hand of her lover. Sleek and painful. She handed it over to Ghis and then went to the bed, grabbing the cool chrome piping of the footboard. Her hands were sweating, the smooth metal slippery in her palms.

Ghis came to stand behind her and mirrored her slightly bent pose. Della felt the heat through the cotton shirt Ghis still had on, and she swore she could feel two hard points, her loverís nipples, press down on her shoulderblades. Her breathing was getting ragged, even more so when the clubowner pushed her hair to the side and sucked on her earlobe.

"You... are... perfect," the throaty voice growled to her ear and then Della felt sharp teeth on the lobe. A small gasp escaped her and she ground her behind into the open front of Ghisís leather trousers. The taller woman let that pass, smiling against the delicate ear before moving away.

"Disobedience. Six."

The first of Dellaís sentence landed on her behind quickly, a slap more than a real spank, to warm her up. The kiss of the toughened leather was wide and solid, not stinging. She let her head loll between her shoulders and hissed out the breath she had been holding. Oh, it felt good. The warm tingling feeling spread all around.


"Thank you, Mistress," she groaned and consciously relaxed her buttocks. The next one was a bit harder, the sound echoing in her ears as the red lightning of delicious pain shot through her. Della was sure that by five, her knees would be in danger of buckling. Her lover was that good.


The force behind the spanks built up slowly. She had been right -- when number five came, Della swayed and was forced to lock her knees. Sweat ran down her spine and her hair clung to it, and she could feel the trail of quite another type of moisture run down the inside of her thigh. Her behind was now one throbbing ocean of pleasure, the sweet waves of pain a constant presence. Number six made her sway again and a sound that was halfway between a plea and a groan escaped her throat.


"Thank you. May I have another, Mistress?" the detective panted out and gripped the pipe so hard her knuckles went white. The throbbing of her behind was mirrored by her clit, the nub of nerves screaming for attention. A jolt of pure white-hot pleasure shot through her centre when number seven came.

"Oh... thank you, Mistress," Della managed before her knees turned to rubber and she slumped to the floor, her chest heaving. It took a conscious effort to keep her hands away from herself so she concentrated on that and the hot glow the leather had bestowed on her. The detective was dimly aware of a rustle of cloth and then the bed swayed. When Della finally lifted her head and brushed the sweaty strands of hair from her eyes, it was her turn to be breathless.

It was a body and a pose an ancient sculptor would have appreciated. Spread on her stomach over the bed, upper body propped up on one elbow, back arcing most invitingly, was Ghis. Of all the times Della had seen her lover naked, the sight still made her head dizzy. Gazing lazily over one shoulder at her, the clubowner was an example of unconscious feline grace and unadulterated carnality.

The dark woman crooked a finger.

"Yes, Mistress," Della breathed and stood, her legs still a bit wobbly. She climbed onto the bed and knelt there, her eyes fixed on the two taut tendons at the back of Ghisí left knee. She didnít dare to look any further because surely, her gaze would have travelled up the thigh to the apex of those marvellous legs, now nonchalantly spread over the smooth white sheets.

"May I touch you?" Della whispered, her hand already hovering over the graceful curve of Ghisí calf.


The skin was as she remembered it, smooth and silken. Warm to the touch as she brushed down the calf and gently took hold of the ankle. Bending the leg upward from the knee, she licked the anklebone and then took the two outermost toes into her mouth, sucking. A small purr of joy rumbled through the tall body on the bed and Ghis wriggled in delight. She had no idea why Della had set up this scene but she wasnít complaining. Nosiree, she groaned as the hands slid down her calf and her lover proceeded on to other toes.

The detective let go of the foot and set it back on the bed, adjusting her position so that she was kneeling between Ghisí legs. Letting her hands slide over the legs, she bent forward, kissing the exquisite smooth skin behind a knee, and then scooted upwards. The hands came to rest on Ghisí hips, grabbing them and spreading her behind gently as she buried her face in the cleft. One long lick, and the powerful body under her twitched, the tell-tale rustle of sheets meaning Ghis was squeezing the life out of the linen.

Raising her head, Della saw this to be true. The clubownerís head was down, her shoulders tensed in a full display of flexed muscle and tendons under the gleaming skin. The candlelight made Ghisí skin shine a dark shade of bronze and the detective smiled, breathing in the scent of clean sweat at the divine sacrum just above her ass. The dark woman was breathing erratically, the sound music to Dellaís ears.

"Not yet, my love," Della whispered and snatched a small bottle from the bedside table. When she rose and sat on Ghisí behind, she could feel her own wetness press against the smooth mounds of muscle. Fighting the urge to rub herself against the enticing flesh, she took a deep breath and poured some of the oil from the bottle into her hands. After all, a quick fuck didnít constitute a decent thank-you.

She began with a long, languid press along the spine, from the lower back all the way to shoulderblades. Ghis exhaled with an audible hiss and relaxed her muscles, a difficult task when she was very aware of her lover sitting on her, and the pool of wetness where they touched. The heat of the hands on her back was incredible, as they slid over her skin, rubbing on tensed muscles. Della was a master of backrubs and Ghis still hadnít figured out how they managed to relax her at all, they were so damn erotic.

The kneading hands progressed up and then down, warming the muscles and skin to the rhythm set by the jingling of the D-rings in Dellaís restraints. When the hands reached Ghisí lower back again, the womanís bottom twitched reflexively. As Della moved to kneel between her legs again and the hands smoothed over the round buttocks, Ghis held her breath. The hands ventured closer to their destination, thumbs brushing at the edges of her liquid centre.

"May I touch you, Mistress?"

The voice was barely a whisper and the hands trembled. Ghis smiled and closed her eyes, her breath exhaled slowly.

"Yes...," she replied and spread her legs to provide better access.

Bending down, Della rested her cheek on her loverís behind. She wanted to savour the moment, the scent, the palpable tension in the powerful muscles when she stroked the entire length of Ghisí slit, from sacrum to the small metal ring in her clit. The dark woman growled in ecstasy and arched her back invitingly.

Della smiled and licked teasingly at the small puckered hole of her loverís spinchter. Pouring some lubricant on her palm, she spread it around and, when finished, pushed her index finger past the circular muscle. It grabbed her tightly and pulled her further in, the dark womanís body undulating when Della wriggled the digit inside her.

"Oh, gods..."

The moan was almost too low to be heard over the clubownerís ragged breathing. Della did hear it though, and she smiled, her eyes drooping nearly shut in rapture. There was nothing she wouldnít have given for that special moment, for this chance to bring pleasure to her lover, the most beautiful person she knew. A divine creation, thatís what Ghislaine was to her. The neverending intricate dance of muscles in her back as she writhed under Dellaís assault, the way her toes curled in delight when Della put her finger on the extended clit and nudged the piercing there, the metal slippery from the clubownerís own lubrication.

Ghis was hearing in colours. She could hear her blood rush through her body in a red, wet wave. The flood made her insides turn to liquid fire, her breathing hoarse and erratic. She was painfully aware of her nipple piercings as the flesh around them tightened painfully, constricting the unyielding metal.

"Ahhh... Delaney... harder. Harder..."

The detective leaned down again, switching her hands so that her thumb pressed harder against the nub of nerves. She could feel Ghisí pulse on her finger which kept up with the clubownerís primal rhythm of movement and, unable to resist the temptation, bit the left cheek, drenched in sweat and lube as it was.

"Del--, oh... harder..."

The painful, animal tone of her groan told her Ghis was getting close. The dark womanís hands clutched and released the sheets reflexively, a deep tune building in her throat. The liquid fire in her was fanned by the increased friction on her clit and the finger inside her. When Della added another finger and worked them around, she went past the point of no return and was going up, up, higher still...

The note that came as Ghis got her release was a scream halfway between a battle cry and a beastly groan. As she flew into the blinding white sky of her pleasure, the scream echoed on, the waves of her climax pushing out the sound with their pure intensity and power. Wall after wall of passion pounded through her, and for a moment she was transported to her personal inner heaven.

The iridescent vista of her climax slowly faded away, to reveal a warm glow of yellow candlelight and a thin rim of salient green around dilated pupils. Ghis turned halfway around to better meet the eyes. Extending a heavy hand, she pulled the woman close to her, steadying her breath while squeezing Della to her.

"Oh, love...," Ghis said when she got her breathing under control. She let her death grip on Della loosen and lifted her upper body up, propping her cheek against her hand. Brushing a strand of hair from her loverís eyes, she smiled and wriggled, adjusting her position. A twinge of pain shot from her behind and she put her hand there, finding a circular set of impressions on her flesh. A perfect dark eyebrow rose.

"You bit me?"

Della ducked her head, nodding. A ghost of a smile caressed her lips and she felt the scrutiny of the two pools of ice on her. A firm hand on her chin brought her head back up, to meet a gaze that was both amused and severe. Dellaís heart skipped a beat at that look.

"Iím talking to you, slave," Ghis said and to emphasise her point, pinched the detectiveís nipple. A gasp escaped the blonde woman and her inner muscles cramped. It was more the voice that was a turn-on for her, the fierce commanding tone that was both warm and dark.

"Yes, Mistress. Iím sorry."

"Bring the thick rope, and Lucy."

Dellaís legs trembled as she climbed off the bed and got the requested items, a length of thick smooth rope and a string of steel anal beads that was for some obscure reason called Lucy. She set them on the bedside table next to the lubricant and climbed back to the rumpled sheets, mirroring Ghisí kneeling position. Her eyes found her knees and she folded her hands on her lap.

The rope was threaded through the metal rings in her wrist restraints, tying them neatly together. Ghis yanked at the remaining rope, making Della stumble over to a half-kneeling position. The rope was tied to a corner post of the bed, pinioning the detective effectively in place. Ghis hummed, satisfied at her handiwork. She kneeled behind Della, admiring the firm behind and the treasure the parted legs revealed. Kissing one delicious cheek, she found it was trembling.

"You know the rules," Ghis finally said, almost conversationally, as she poured the lube liberally over Dellaís back and into her crack. The cold liquid made the detective gasp and fight her restraints but, of course, to no effect.

"Yes, Mistress," Della managed, her voice quavering because Ghis picked just that moment to spread the sticky lubricant over her bottom and centre. The two fingers the clubowner utilised travelled through the terrain of her newly shaved sensitive places. Ghis positioned the first bead of Lucy against Dellaís spinchter, a smooth silvery ball about the size of a big marble on top of her opening.

"You donít bite me," the dark woman said and pushed the bead in. It was cold and Della inhaled sharply, closing her eyes tight. She prayed for resilience, for Lucy was about as big as she could take without too much pain.

"Unless I give permission to do so," Ghis continued, nonchalantly, as the second bead disappeared into Della. "Are we clear?" The third one slipped in easily, aided by the lubricant and the excitement growing in the fair woman.

"Yes, Mistress," Della ground out, her voice pitched an octave higher on the last syllable, when the fourth ball pressed into her.

"Good," Ghis hummed and pushed the fifth bead in. Resting her palms on Dellaís behind, she spread the cheeks and kissed the quivering orifice. They still had three beads to go but she found the sight hard to resist. Della moaned and her buttocks contracted when Ghis positioned the sixth bead. She was so full already.

"Please, Mistress... I canít take any more."

Ghis grabbed Dellaís hair and yanked her head up, bringing the detectiveís ear close to her mouth as she bent over the arched back, already drenched in sweat.

"Youíll take it all, and youíll take it quietly," the dark woman growled and pushed the bead in.

"Yes, Mistress," Della hissed through clenched teeth. She bit her tongue to stifle a scream when the seventh found its way past her ring of muscle, and her lower lip trembled when she felt the last cold bead poised at her entrance.

"And youíll thank me for it, slave," Ghis thrummed and with her thumb, inserted the last of them.

"Thank you... Mistress...," Della managed. Her voice was pained as she tried to breathe normally. Her wrists were aching from the strain her thrashing had put on them, and she wasnít quite sure if it was pain or pleasure, the sparks her spinchter was sending to her brain.

Ghis slapped the trembling behind and growled in delight at the moan of pleasure that Della uttered. The behind was turning into a fetching shade of pink, beckoning her. After untying the rope from the bedpost but leaving the hands bound together, she grabbed Dellaís legs. The detective uttered a surprised cry when Ghis positioned the legs over her shoulders. This gave her excellent access, though Dellaís position was more than awkward. She was balancing on her forearms, her body almost vertical. The only things holding her up were Ghisí arms around her waist and her own stubborn will. The latter almost came undone when the clubowner latched onto her throbbing centre.

"Mmmmhhh... oh, my... Ghislaine...," Della moaned.

The detective was soaking wet. Ghis drank the nectar, tracing the folds with her tongue until zeroing in on the clit that was already peeking from under its hood. She sucked in the small shaft and teased it with her tongue, the rush of blood in her head almost overwhelming. Over the thunder she heard the muffled moans of her lover, the screams complementing the twitching of the body in her arms.

Unwinding one arm from Dellaís waist, she took hold of the string that bound the beads which made up Lucy. One yank, and the first bead emerged through Dellaís spinchter, accompanied by a violent spasm and another scream.

"You are so sweet," Ghis murmured and bumped the small clit with her nose before taking it into her mouth again. She raked her teeth over the shaft and yanked the string again. The second bead exited and Della started to tremble. She wasnít just wet now, there was a flood of her essence now, moistening Ghisí face and flowing into her mouth.

"So good," the clubowner continued and lapped at the bud with long, languid strokes of her tongue. Della was nearing the edge, being pushed to the narrow line before the chasm by Ghisí mouth, and her touch. Ghis listened to the responses carefully as she took to sucking the clit again, putting gentle pressure on it while she traced the tip with her tongue. This trick was too much for Della, who lifted her head and grimaced in pleasure, biting her lower lip.

The detective could feel the approaching release. The muscles in her abdomen were wound tight, a hot throbbing sensation that built quickly, predicting the pleasure that would wash over her soon.

"Iím... May I... come, Mistress?"

The words were barely discernable but Ghis heard them. She smiled to the sweet flesh at her mouth and increased her suction, pressing firmly with her lips against the shaft of Dellaís clit.

"Come, my love," Ghis whispered and, after placing her mouth back on the nub of nerves, pulled at the string firmly, making the rest of the metal beads flow out of Della in rapid succession.

"Oh FUCK!" the detective screamed to the ceiling as her eyes snapped open. She came with great force, her orgasm fierce, the grip of passion on her so tight and white-hot she felt like she was drowning. The fire wound through her, from her liquid core to every corner of her body. She was high, and she was blind. Ghis rode the waves, holding stubbornly on to the thrashing lithe body in her arms stubbornly. She drank the thick nectar that flowed from Della, lapping up all she could get.

"Stop. Stop, please...," Della groaned and Ghis complied, kissing the tendon at the apex of Dellaís leg and then lowering her down. The clubowner untied the knot that bound Dellaís wrists together and scooped the heaving woman to her arms, settling back on the bed and spooning behind her.

"You are.. something else," the clubowner murmured to the mane of fair hair in front of her. It took a while for the words to register but when they did, Della wriggled out of Ghisí arms and turned around.

The light that shone from the misty green eyes was the colour of eternal forests, speckled with the reflections of the innumerable candles scattered around the room. Della brushed a trembling hand across her loverís cheek, marvelling at the exquisite bone structure and the perfect skin.

"No. You are." Della cupped the angular, beautiful face in her hands and kissed Ghisí nose. "Thank you. Thank you for helping me out, and thank you for being there for me." Brushing her thumb over one cheekbone, Della smiled. "Thank you for loving me."

Ghis smiled a small, gentle smile and closed her eyes. She turned her head and kissed the hand on her cheek. "Love ya," she whispered, her voice a bit hoarse.

"Love ya too," came the answer.

The sight was so ridiculous and so familiar Della didnít know whether to laugh or to hug herself. Ghis had some odd habits but this was surely the weirdest of them.

Most coders, hackers or crackers have strange habits, things they do when at work with their trade. For Ghis, her personal version of the geek code required she do her work on computers to the beat of industrial garage music with knobs set at eleven, and naked. Even in the middle of the coldest December, at her club where hundreds of people were partying downstairs.

So, at the moment, Ghislaine du Plessis was sitting in her birthday suit in her very expensive work chair, feet propped up on the table, dark head bobbing to the grinding, shrieking beat of KMFDM. There was an academic journal open in her lap and she was chuckling at something she found there. When Della sneaked closer, she shook her head. What on earth could be so funny about an article titled Euler-Poincaré Functions as Pseudocoefficients of the Steinberg Relation, the detective couldnít fathom.

Della edged closer and tapped the clubowner on the shoulder. The dark woman smiled at her and clicked the MP3 player to pause.

"Thanks," the detective drawled and tapped her ear with a finger. "You nerds are going to drive me nuts one day. We could hear the music all the way in the foyer."

Ghis rolled her eyes and threw the math journal on top of the pile of computer magazines on her crowded desk. "Yeah, right." Rotating a half turn, she grabbed Della by her waist and pulled her into her lap. The detective was already dressed in her garment of choice for the night, a long dress in dark ruby red rubber with a matching corset. The dress showed a generous amount of cleavage and the creamy flesh of the décolletage beckoned Ghis. She nudged one shoulder strap down and, pressing her upper body close, nuzzled the warm skin of Dellaís neck.

"Mmmm. I like this dress a lot," Ghis murmured and slid her hand up the buckled and zippered surface of the corset, to cup a breast through the slick, shiny rubber. The material warmed under her touch.

"Buh... the guests are waiting for you, hon," Della said and caught the torturing hand.

"I like you even better," the clubowner continued and nibbled her way up a delicious tendon towards Dellaís ear. Della bent her head away but Ghis wasnít to be dissuaded from her goal. So she did something sure to get her loverís attention: grabbed one of her nipple piercings and pulled firmly. The result was instantaneous; Ghisí head snapped up and she let go of Della. Looking up, she met a pair of very innocent green eyes.

"Iím talking to you, darling," the detective said to her lover. The brilliant blue eyes slitted and regarded her with a dangerous glint.

"Youíre going to pay for that," Ghis growled and extracted Dellaís hand from her piercing. She tweaked the perky nose on Dellaís face and smiled to lessen the harshness of her words.

"I know," the detective replied, her eyes twinkling with sure purpose and mirth. She adjusted her position and brought her left hand up, previously hidden behind her back. It held mistletoe and she held it above Ghisí head, waving the green twig.

"Nothing like tradition," the clubowner smiled and leaned forward to receive the kiss. Soft lips landed on hers and she felt a shiver go down her spine, a delicious bolt that had nothing to do with her lack of clothes or the coldness outside. Her world was the mouth on hers, gentle as a butterflyís wings and just as light. Dellaís tongue licked slowly along her lower lip and she took possession of it with her teeth, growling playfully.

Dellaís laugh was a twinkling, weightless giggle as she unwound herself from the tangle of Ghisí arms. When she stood up, she smoothed down the front of her dress which had a habit of hiking up her legs whenever she sat. A thought occurred to her.


After shutting down her computer, the clubowner turned and raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Been meaning to ask you," Della said and ventured closer. Ghis snaked her arms around Dellaís hips and hugged the rubber-clad detective to her. "What was the third wish?"

"Huh?" came the muffled answer. Ghis was busy biting her hip, a dangerous gesture for such a fragile dress.

"You got the car and the session of brown nosing from Mahoney as a reward for whatever you did, but you said you got three wishes. Whatís the third one?"

Ghis craned her neck to look up at her lover and smiled. "Peace."

"As in...?" Della prodded, her eyebrows knitting.

"No more late-night phone calls, no more disappearances. No more new scars."

"Oh." Della thought about it for a quiet second. "Iím glad."

"Me too," Ghis replied and after one final squeeze, stood. Taking Dellaís hand into hers, she kissed the knuckles. "Iíll get dressed and then we can go downstairs."

Della smiled and wrapped an arm around Ghisí waist.

"Yeah. Letís go."

--- The End ---

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