The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:16 am 
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18. Breast Gal
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Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Hey again and thanks to everyone for reading. I honestly was unsure how Kittens would take my little rant, but I’m glad to see that it was accepted in the spirit in which it was intended. I wanted to write something funny, but I really had something to say about the overuse of clichés and how they just become silly sometimes. Glad you all like it.

And now, the feedback responses.

sadie – Hi! Strange, but funny? Okay, I getcha. Thanks for the feedback and for reading. Congrats on the dibs.

Dianneswillortree – Hey you! I’m glad you liked the story, even if you were spitting Coke everywhere. I guess that was the point, so I won’t apologize.
Quote:
you never cease to amaze me

Well, Ms. Thing, you do the same to me. Your interest in the strange, dark place that is my brain, as well as the strange things that spew forth from it, is as welcome as always. Thanks for your support and friendship. That means a lot.

ceridwen – Thank you so much. I love each and every LMAO that I get. It’s really cool that you liked all of it, so please don’t worry about breaking it down. That’s not important and I will certainly try to “keep it up.”

tazraven – Sara, Dude! Thanks for the great feedback. You know I love to hear it, especially when you honor me with your comments. I know we do all love the clichés. Hell, I’ve used quite a few of them too, but they work as long as we don’t rely on them to tell the story.
Quote:
Everytime I read this story, I laugh my ass off. Kudos to you for making me smile.

You know, Kiddo, making people smile and laugh is what I live for. Oh, and the smut too. I live for that also, but you knew that already. Thanks again.

theblew – Hey! Thanks and welcome to my strange world. It’s always nice to see a new face in the feedback. I knew I left a couple of things out, but I did cover the “Goddess” comment when Tara thanked the presence of the internet. I also forgot to have someone tuck a stray lock of hair behind the other person’s ear, but I hope you can forgive that. I have used the “Tara as a blonde” in my other works, but I always refer to her as having dark blonde hair, because I too wanted to stay with the Kitten flow. I always wanted to change her to a brunette, but I was afraid of the potential flood of evil comments accusing me of messin’ with Tara. Thanks again, and I’ll be sure to keep it up soon.

taralicious – Wow, thanks. Priceless? I’ll happily accept that. I agree that the clichés can become overused, but we do still keep writing. I think that’s a testimony to the quality of the characters, and as long as we don’t use the clichés to tell the story, new and wonderful stuff just keeps happening. I read a comment recently that basically said that nothing new was happening on this board, but I heartily disagree. There’s new and wonderful things happening all the time, and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it. Thanks again.

lilkitty1389 – Thank you.

MiniShrink – Thanks and welcome to you too! My guess is that you completely understand what I said before about not using the clichés to tell the story. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into, so I’m glad to see some people pushing the boundaries. Yes, we all know exactly what Willow and Tara look like, but I think it’s time to let them grow up a little and experience the world as adults. I tried that in my other long story (shameless plug time), The Rosenberg Files, and it was really fun to write. And there are not enough words to express my disdain for the whole magical pregnancy thing. Seriously, I really don’t like it. And the resulting blonde, green-eyed girl-child that always comes from it? Please. I know some people love to equate happiness with reproduction, but I’m just not one of them.
Quote:
The blonde thing. Seriously. -eye twitch-

Agreed. Heartily. Can’t say it enough. Gotcha.
Quote:
I laughed at your blonde comment, though... kid? Was Willow addressing the writer or Tara? Because Tara's older than her.

Thanks for the laugh, but I really wanted to address your concern here. I am well aware of the fact that Tara is older (lots of references to that on this board as well), but the use of the word “kid” in this case is simply an endearment. I’m from the Midwestern part of the US (Ohio, to be exact) and “kid” or “kiddo” is an expression that gets used a lot. It has nothing (in this context) do to with age, but it’s more like calling someone “buddy” or “pal.” I’ve said “Trust me, kid,” more than once to my own father. It’s just a strange colloquialism that I grew up with, so I tossed it in. Sorry if it threw you, but thanks again for the great comments.

shiraz – Hey and thanks! I’m not sure what it’s called either, but I loved the idea of having the girls look at themselves the way we see them. I, too, love the butch Tara stories (obviously…insert plug for The Rosenberg Files here). Poor Tara is always the shy, stuttering victim, and I think she’s a stronger person than that. And, yes, poor Will is always neurotic, but I think canon kind of left us that legacy to work with. Tara, at least, showed some signs toward the end of her canon existence that she was strong and capable, so I love that fics are painting her that way.
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Anyhoo, I love your writing and I hope you keep this short fic thread rollin'!

Thank you very much. I’ll be writing more in the future, but I’m not sure right now what’s coming next. Be sure to check back.

Pinocchio1940 – Thanks for reading. Sorry about the momentary confusion, but you seem to like the results in addition to the idea.

Boschi – Hey, Boschi! Great to hear from you.
Quote:
dline, I bow before thee.

Nice. Very nice. I like that. Thank you.
Quote:
I am struck everytime that I actually go back and watch episodes by how minimal their airtime was and how much authors here have derived and distilled that into a new kinda canon.

Absolutely! The airtime was low and I’m glad that we were able to create a new canon with our own work. Seems like a better way to treat what could have been a truly groundbreaking couple rather than the “Oh, yeah, they’re lesbians” way that the show did. It sucks that the show had an opportunity to create something truly groundbreaking as well as to endear itself to a disenfranchised segment of the community at large, and they dropped the ball so miserably. That really sucked.
Quote:
At anyrate - woohoo, woot woot and three cheers for callin' it like you see it in a really funny way.

Thanks a whole big bunch for that comment. It means a lot to me, especially to hear it from you. Hope to see you again soon.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:09 am 
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3. Flaming O
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Okay, not to be a complete dufus and off-topic, but how do we know Tara is older than Willow? Do we even know when Willow's official birthdate is? This calls for some light research...

Buffy has three different birthdates (Oct '80, May '79, and Jan '81) but it's been declared Jan '81 should be her official birthdate. So if Buffy's is Jan '81 and Tara's is Nov '80, that means they're in the same grade level, academically, along with Willow and the others.

So since Tara and Willow are in the same grade (fresh out of highschool/ first year in college) couldn't Willow easily be very close in age to Tara if not older than Tara?
I think I've just confused myself. Maybe there's some esoteric tidbit somewhere about Willow's age I haven't seen yet?


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:29 pm 
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32. Kisses and Gay Love
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This feedback is for the plumber... I didn't read the others yet...
This first one kind of broke me. I couldn't finish it before to go to the grocery store... so I did now... And I am broken. Lol

Thank you I guess. Or maybe not... lol... Now I miss my girl so much more!!! ;-)

I'll read the other little by little... I hope it is not as smut as this one because... I am not sure I could handle another one like this one today! lol

Shit I need a plumber.... I must find something to put in my sink... lol

Friendly,

Julia

_________________
Broken Dolls |The Stadium's Goddesses | Seeds Of Beauty

"Joie est mon caractère, C'est la faute à Voltaire; Misère est mon trousseau, C'est la faute à Rousseau." Gavroche. Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (chap. XV)


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:13 am 
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23. Volumey Text

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:39 pm
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Cute short fic.


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:15 am 
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32. Kisses and Gay Love
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Hey Diane... second fic read...
Strange. Not in a bad way... but still strange.
Hey there a nex story on the board, you should check it out... there's a blackberry ;-)
http://www.thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=4811
lol

friendly,

Julia

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Broken Dolls |The Stadium's Goddesses | Seeds Of Beauty

"Joie est mon caractère, C'est la faute à Voltaire; Misère est mon trousseau, C'est la faute à Rousseau." Gavroche. Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (chap. XV)


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:32 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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If all plumbers were that sexy, I'd clog my toliet every day. Still, I couldn't help but think of Mario every time I saw the word 'plumber'. Awesome short fics. :D

[Not only is there a blackberry in my fic, but there is a Blue Tooth in one of the next chapters. Technology, le gasp!]


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:40 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 6:04 pm
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Cute short fic. But glad I never watched season seven..

Can't wait for the update to the Rosenberg Files. :wtkiss


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:40 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Quote:
“Hey,” Tara said, sounding a bit defensive. “One heinous mistake with a bottle of peroxide in season four and I’m forever a blonde? What the fuck?”
Gold star fic. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:22 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Funny!!! I enjoyed both stories, and both in different ways. I really liked how the second one poked fun at us kittens. We are a strange, imaginative lot.

Yeah, we kitten authors put W&T through the ringer. At least we have the good graces to restore them in the end, safe and happy. If only a certain "comic-book executive producer" could do that. Alas, I'm not holding my breath. Pain is the thing for him, and sometimes it makes him lose "the fun."

Okay, that was a bitter tangent. Back to your stories. Please, keep listening to your muse. Those two shorts were priceless.


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:34 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

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dlline: Hey there, sorry for the late feedback, RL is not cool, I liked your rant a lot, like almost everybody here I thought it was very funny and a little strange too but in great way. I hope that we get another great fic from you real soon. I can't wait to read more.

Lonewolf22


Last edited by Lonewolf22 on Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:08 am 
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18. Breast Gal
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Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Okay, time to make a little announcement and catch up some feedback loose ends. I’ve written a new story and it’s in the hands of my beta right now. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll see it within the next day or two. And it’s got smut, people.

On to the feedback.

theblew – Just to make this clear, here’s what you said:
Quote:
Okay, not to be a complete dufus and off-topic, but how do we know Tara is older than Willow?

My answer to that is that I don’t really think we do. We do know from Tara’s headstone that her birthday is October 16, 1980. I have no freakin’ idea when Willow’s is. I’m wondering if, in the creation of our own Kitten canon, we’ve simply decreed that Tara is older. Food for thought.
Quote:
Maybe there's some esoteric tidbit somewhere about Willow's age I haven't seen yet?

If you see it, please let me know. I sure can’t find it.

JujuDeRoussie – Thanks for checking in and reading both of the stories. It’s always nice to hear from you. Sorry that I broke you, but that was kind of the point.
Quote:
Shit I need a plumber.... I must find something to put in my sink... lol

In the story, Willow suggested stuffing a sock down the drain. Why don’t you try that? Also, in regards to story #2… you found it to be strange. Interesting. I’m not sure what to make of that comment, but it is interesting.

SJ – Thank you.

WillWolf – Thanks for the “awesome.” That always makes me happy. If only all of our plumbers were that cute. I can dream, right?

Kendahl897 – Thanks for the “cute short fic.” I really appreciate it. Actually, I liked season 7, despite missing Tara a lot. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. And I’m back on the Rosenberg Files sequel next week. Soon, I promise. Please check back.

Knock yourself out – Thank you for the gold star. That’s cool.

Roger Doger – Hey and welcome to my stories. I’m so glad that you thought the second one was funny. That is what I intended, and I think some folks didn’t get that. Oh, well.
Quote:
I really liked how the second one poked fun at us kittens. We are a strange, imaginative lot.

My, though, aren’t we? If you want to see a seriously strange imagination at work, check back in the next day or two for my newest short. I promise strange (but hopefully good). Thanks for reading and commenting.

Lonewolf22 – Hey, no worries. I’m sorry that RL is not cool. That sucks. But I’m glad that you liked my rant. I felt immediately better after writing it. Catharsis is a good thing.
Quote:
I hope that we get another great fic from you real soon.

See above…new fic very soon. And it’s gonna be smutty. I know that makes you happy. Thanks again for reading and always popping in to comment. I really appreciate it.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:03 pm 
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18. Breast Gal
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Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Hi again!

For those of you who know me, or if you’re just familiar with my stories, you already know that I have a deep soft spot for hot babes with automatic weapons. So here we go again. This is a story about an assassin and her target, the underworld that they inhabit, and the fact that not everything is exactly as it seems. While my inspiration came from a TV show that I used to watch faithfully, I swerved far enough off course from it that the resemblance is pretty much gone. Yes, this version of Willow and Tara is dark and edgy, perhaps bordering on evil, but hey…I like ‘em that way. I say let ‘em dress up and have a little fun.

With all of that out of the way, I hope you enjoy this latest little evil thing to crawl out of my strange head. Please let me know what you think, even if you don’t like it. It’s what I live for.

Enjoy it!

Diane

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:04 pm 
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18. Breast Gal
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Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Title – Creatures of the Night
Author name – dlline (Diane Line)
Email Address – dlline@yahoo.com.
Rating – NC-17. Nothing vague, nothing ambiguous, just simple smut tinged with some cold, hard violence. You might not want to read this at work. If you’re looking for fluffy hugs and puppies, or if you have control issues, you might not want to read this either. KB rules apply.
Disclaimer – This is a work of fiction, so it belongs solely to me. The characters of Willow and Tara belong to Mutant Enemy. I make no claims, nor will I make any money from their use.
Feedback - Please, yes.
Summary - This is a totally uber fic, so there are no spoilers. Read the story. No further explanation is necessary.
Notes- Special thanks to my beta (and my love) Chris. I couldn’t do this without you.



The night was cold and I was barely dressed for it. The streets of Berlin pulsed with life, despite the cold, as I wove my way through the maze of alleys in the dark, underground nightlife section of the huge city. A cacophonous mix of dance music created an odd sensation, the noise commingling in the air to create a feeling that rattles in your chest, rather than any one true sound. Scents drifted on the cold drafts from the sewers. Smoke, from tobacco and marijuana, liquor, cologne, Chinese food, exhaust, and industrial waste. Not a nice smell, but I wasn’t in the nicest part of town.

None of it mattered to me as I headed toward the last door on the left side of the alley. I was here to do a job, an ugly job, but one that had to be done.

After a quick turn to face the door, I stopped. I had to take a couple of long breaths to quell the anxiety that was growing in my gut, as I smoothed out my very short, very tight, black dress, and steeled myself for the task at hand. Being truly good at a job doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy.

Especially when your job is killing people. That’s never easy.

I stepped around a puddle and reached for the heavy iron handle on the blood-red door. Kind of appropriate, really, considering what I was there to do. After the initial assault of smoke and heavy German techno music, I stepped from the chill of the night into the sweaty heat of the club. Lights flashed, their colors dancing on the dingy, black walls, creating an odd effect on the pale faces that turned to see the face of the stranger at the door. Apparently, not a very interesting stranger. I watched as their eyes left mine and returned to the familiar faces of their friends.

Good. As it should be.

I walked in time to the beat of the music, past the tables at the edge of the crowded dance floor, and made a beeline for the bar, passing a mirrored wall on the way. Despite my desire to look away, I made eye contact with my own reflection. It never failed to amaze me how I could transform into anything that the job required. Every aspect, every detail of my appearance spoke of seduction this evening, and I truly looked the part. You can’t play innocent in a dress that looks more like an elongated tube top and four-inch stiletto heels. Just doesn’t work that way. I debated a quick trip to the ladies room to check my make-up, but there was really no need. Who really cares if your lipstick is smudged while you cut their throat? I certainly wouldn’t.

I stepped up to the bar and watched as a bartender approached. He leaned across the black Formica surface and nodded, silently asking me what I wanted to drink.

“Absolut auf den Felsen.”

He nodded again, and left to fetch my vodka on the rocks. As I turned to look around the club, I was again drawn to my own reflection in the mirror behind the bar. The make-up looked good, and my light brown hair fell in soft curls, arranging itself nicely around and down past the thin straps of my dress. The only thing out of place was something I could do nothing about. Blue eyes. Ice cold blue eyes that shone of death. Those frigid, unfeeling eyes stared back at me, daring me to look away, but I didn’t.

They weren’t always like that. Once, many years ago, they sparkled with innocence. Not any more. There’s something about watching your family members as they’re being shot, execution-style, in your own living room that changes your eyes. It sure changed mine. I’ve heard it said that revenge is a dish best served cold, but my reason for being in Berlin had nothing to do with revenge. It was work. It was cold, unfeeling work, and I suppose it was necessary, but that wasn’t my decision to make. That decision belonged to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government. And so did I.

I used to have a name. I have several now, depending on where I need to be and how I need to get there. I was christened Tara Maclay at birth, but she left the day her parents died. I might even still have a passport that says that, but it’s just another alias, another name for a hired assassin with government authorization. I’ve been cold and numb for so long that a name just seems irrelevant.

The bartender returned with my vodka. I offered him a soft “Danke” as he set the icy glass on a napkin in front of me. I swirled the glass lightly, further chilling the clear liquid, as I became aware of eyes watching me. I made no move to react to the look; I just knew it was there. I reached into my small handbag, past my compact Walther PPK handgun, to retrieve money for my drink and the pack of cigarettes that I always carried on jobs like this one. After leaving ten euros on the bar, I pulled a smoke from the pack. Before I could get it all the way to my lips, a hand appeared in front of my face. A woman’s delicate hand, short fingernails painted black, clutching an expensive Colibri lighter. The lighter clicked twice before catching, the flame leaping upwards as I leaned toward it to light my cigarette, drawing sharply to urge the tobacco to ignite. I turned my head to offer thanks to the face that belonged to the hand, but never got the words out as I felt a strong hand wrap itself around my upper arm from behind and a hypodermic needle as it buried itself in my neck.

The last thing that I recalled thinking, as my eyes rolled back into my head and my knees gave out, was that this was not good. Not good at all.

The first problem with Fentanyl is that it negates the passage of time. Knowing what I do about pharmaceuticals, I probably wasn’t out that long, no more than an hour, but that was hardly an issue. What was an issue is that I was in trouble. Big trouble. Up to my ass in trouble, but I think you get the point.

The second problem with Fentanyl is the bitch of a headache that it leaves you with. And I had the mother of all headaches as I swam out of blackness toward consciousness. I’m pretty sure that there was enough surgical anesthetic in that hypodermic to knock out the entire defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I received every drop of it. And I was feeling it.

I struggled to lift my head, provoking an interesting sensation, one that made me feel like my brain was on fire. Bad idea. I moaned quietly, drawing the attention of the people in the room with me. I had no idea how many, but quickly dismissed the idea of counting them as I became aware of handcuffs biting into my wrists, holding my arms securely around the back of the hard wood chair in which I was seated. I immediately tried to take stock of my situation, and realized that my ankles were bound to the legs of the chair. Judging from the way my stockings moved as I twisted a foot to check things out, I could only assume that the binding material was duct tape. I almost laughed out loud as I realized that my decision to wear stockings and a garter belt was not a very good one, since my lack of underwear left me in a really compromising position. It just seems a little ridiculous to worry about panty lines when you’re handcuffed and duct taped to a chair.

So, to sum it all up, I was basically screwed. Well, fuck.

Then I heard the voice. The same voice that I had heard for the first time several days before I left for Berlin. The voice that I had heard on the surveillance tapes from not one, but two agents who had been shot and killed attempting to carry out the mission to which I was currently assigned. The voice that preceded the sharp crack of a Walther PPK, just like my own, as first one, then six days later, another agent had their careers ended with a .32-caliber bullet between the eyes. The voice that offered only two words of explanation as to why its owner had murdered two US government agents.

“Bored now.”

That voice haunted me, my fears made animate by its proximity to my own ears. While I struggled to make sense of the words in my anesthetic-addled brain, she continued to speak softly. Her words were calculated, almost clipped as she led me from my stupor with nothing but the sound of her voice and an almost gentle hand on the back of my neck.

“Welcome back, Ms. Maclay.”

I tried to speak, to form some kind of answer, but the words were as of yet unavailable. A second attempt to move my head proved to be just as excruciating as the first, sending lightning bolts of pain down from the back of my head, through my neck and into the knotted muscles of my shoulders. I groaned softly as the hand on my neck began to gently work away the discomfort.

“Take your time, Ms. Maclay. Don’t try to rush this. You’re perfectly safe.”

If it hadn’t been so painful, I would have laughed out loud. She told me I was safe. Anesthetized, abducted, and bound to a chair in an unknown location, all orchestrated by a woman who was a known killer.

Yeah, I was safe. Sure.

I tried to digest the facts as I finally attempted to open my eyes. Unh, bad move. Searingly bright lights assaulted my retinas, launching more vicious bolts of pain down the back of my neck. I squeezed my eyes closed, but the damage was already done, so I slowly tried it again, this time with a little more success and marginally less pain. Focusing was difficult, but I found that I could do that too, as long as I did it slowly. She seemed to sense this. How remained a mystery since she was still behind me, almost taunting me with her soft hand on the back of my neck. The hand left my neck as I became aware of movement accompanied by the sound of footsteps moving back and away from me. I heard her voice again, as she dismissed the bodyguard, speaking in German that was just as perfect and precise as her English.

“Please, leave us alone.”

“But, Ms. Rosenberg, I don’t think…”

“Günter, you heard me. Go. Now.”

Her last two words were chillingly reminiscent of the voice on the surveillance tapes lamenting its boredom at having to blow the brains out of not one, but two government agents. I failed to contain the shiver that shot down my spine at the coldness of that voice. I fought against my own panic as I heard the door close and lock behind me, and the unmistakable sound of high-heeled shoes on a hardwood floor, headed back in my direction. I could only assume that we were alone. That couldn’t be good, but it did level the playing field a bit in my direction.

I felt a light brush against my bare shoulder as she returned, placing herself directly in front of me. My head remained lowered as a defense against the brightness of the overhead lighting as my eyes locked on the four-inch heels of her black boots, shoulder width apart, mere inches from the toes of my own black shoes. I struggled not to gasp with shock as the cold tip of a rather deadly looking knife found its way to the soft flesh just below my chin. She used the blunt edge of the blade to urge my head upwards, my gaze traveling along with it, noting the boots that ended just below her knees, the bare skin of her toned thighs, and the hem of her tight black leather minidress. Continuing up the zipper that ran the full length of the dress to the scoop neck and tank straps, she urged me to look her in the eye. Bright green eyes that held the dangerous sparkle of a hint of madness, framed nicely by straight, dark red hair that fell just below her chin. She smiled as our gaze locked, that kind of smile that comes from the knowledge that you’re fully in control, and that there’s nothing that anyone can do to change that fact. I wasn’t going anywhere and she knew it. The knife was removed from my chin, leaving behind not so much as a scratch, as she stepped back, surveying her prize, and began to speak.

“Special Operative Tara Maclay of the Central Intelligence Agency. It’s so lovely to meet you at last. I know that you know who I am, so let’s not get bogged down with trivialities. Are you feeling a little better now? Not quite so foggy?”

I nodded and swallowed hard. My mouth was so dry that words were still impossible, but she sensed this as well.

“Oh, do forgive me, Ms. Maclay. I’m being an inattentive hostess.” She turned, stepping around to the back of the desk that I was facing, and withdrew a small bottle of Evian water from a refrigerator hidden within the credenza behind the desk. After removing the cap, she returned and offered the water, helping me to drink. I finished almost half of the bottle in a long slug, stopping to breathe once before I drank the remainder in one last long gulp. She lowered her head to watch me, setting the now empty bottle on the desk behind her as I sputtered and gasped for air. I raised my head again, squinting against the light. She didn’t miss that either, as she spoke into the air.

“Lights to forty percent.”

I was more than a little impressed as the lights dimmed at her command. Nice touch. She asked another question.

“Better now?”

I nodded, quietly testing my own voice as I answered.

“Yes. Thank you.”

“Good. The water should help your headache as well. I can assume that you are familiar with Fentanyl and its aftereffects. Correct?”

I nodded the affirmative.

“Wonderful. Then you know that its effects are short lived. I figure you’ll have the headache for about another thirty minutes, but that we can have a little chat sooner than that. Wouldn’t you agree?”

My head really was beginning to clear as I nodded my agreement. Despite the throbbing in my skull, I decided to jump in with both feet.

“What would you like to chat about?”

She returned my question with a smile that I couldn’t quite decipher.

“I could think of a few things that I’d like to chat about with you, but how about if we start with an old favorite of mine? One I’m sure you’ll be familiar with as well. Dr. Robert Maclay.”

That cold-hearted bitch could have hit me with a sledgehammer and it wouldn’t have hurt any less. I gritted my teeth and answered her.

“What does my father have to do with any of this? He’s dead.”

She returned my comment with a look, that kind of look that a smart-assed brat gives you on the playground when they know something that you don’t. If I could have gotten my hands free, I would have smacked that evil smirk right off her face. Hard. But she just kept grinning as she shook her head from side to side, letting me know that she did, in fact, believe that she knew something that I didn’t.

“I don’t think so, Ms. Maclay.”

That’s when I lost it.

“What the fuck do you know about anything? You’re a murderous bitch, a parasite that I’ve been sent here to exterminate.”

Despite the handcuffs and duct tape, she stepped back just a little as my rage took over and I fought against the restraints. I only succeeded in hurting my wrists as I pulled against the steel cuffs, finally giving in when I realized that all of the anger in the world wasn’t getting me off that chair. She simply waited for me to calm myself, stepping back toward me when she had decided that I was done struggling and ready to listen to her again.

“Well, Ms. Maclay, I actually know a great deal more than you could possibly imagine. Your father is not only alive, but also responsible for the execution of your mother, brother, and countless others.”

She hesitated, I could only assume to allow me to digest what she had told me. I didn’t believe a word of it, but circumstance forced me to hear her out as she continued.

“Yes, your father is very much alive. His death was staged, with you left alive to serve as witness to his apparent demise.” She turned and walked around the back of the desk again, this time pulling a mysterious file out of the top drawer and tossing it across the polished mahogany surface where it came to rest inches in front of me. “And I have the proof of that right in there.” She pointed to the file for emphasis.

I looked to the file and then back toward her, eyes locking over the contents of the plain, manila folder. Everything would have been fine and dandy if I had had x-ray vision, but I don’t. Realization dawned as she remembered my plight.

“Again, Ms. Maclay, my apologies.” She leaned across the desk, offering me a spectacular ringside view of her breasts squeezed into the tight, black leather, and opened the folder, revealing a single black and white surveillance photo. The picture looked just like the ones that I saw every day at work, with the exception of one thing. The subject.

I gasped lightly, unable to contain my surprise as I registered the face of the man in the photo. A little grayer around the temples, a few more lines around the eyes, but I knew that face as well as I knew my own. A face that I last saw twenty years earlier as a hood was placed over his head and a Russian-made Makarov pistol fired one shot into the back of his skull.

But it was him. My father, here, in a photo time-stamped a mere three weeks prior. An apparently happy image, eyes squinted slightly, mouth open, suggesting a man who had just been told something funny on the way to lunch. I was dumbfounded, but her voice pulled me out of it again.

“Well, Ms. Maclay, you can see clearly here that I was telling you the truth.”

I struggled again for words, not against the pain, but against the overwhelming sense of betrayal.

“But….why…?”

She just continued to look at me as my words trailed off, lost in the confusion of my own thoughts. I’m not sure what I really thought at the time, seeing that photograph, except that I was enraged. She waited for me to ask another question.

“What about my mother and brother?”

The expression on her face actually softened, like she didn’t want to be the one to tell me what I already knew.

“They are dead. And your father killed them.” She paused long enough to let that little tidbit of information sink in and continued. “Just like he orchestrated the execution of my own mother and father.” She paused again, but this time I realized it was to collect herself before continuing. “So you see, Ms. Maclay, we have something in common.”

The light was finally beginning to dawn and I began to understand why she had gone to such lengths to abduct me. This was all about revenge, but not mine.

Hers.

As the realization hit me, I felt a strange wash of relief. This was it; this was how it was going to end. I had nothing to lose, so I put it out there.

“So, you’re going to exact your revenge for my father’s actions on me. That’s pretty clichéd, don’t you think?”

For the second time that evening, I really wanted to slap her for her reaction. She started to laugh, tossing her head back and wrapping an arm around her own midsection in a failed attempt to restrain her mirth.

“Oh, Ms. Maclay, you cut me to the quick. You can’t seriously believe me to be that shallow now, can you?” She didn’t let me answer before she continued. “You don’t understand me at all.”

God dammit, this bitch just never quit.

“No, Ms. Rosenberg, I suppose I don’t. I know that you murdered two CIA agents, apparently in an attempt to lure me here. You’ll understand my confusion.”

She was finally starting to calm from her rather boisterous fit of laughter as she sat down behind the desk and attempted to piece together an explanation that would satisfy me.

“Yes, Ms. Maclay, I do understand. As for the first two agents… well, that was unfortunate, but I needed to send a message to the CIA. One that I was sure they would understand.”

She hesitated again as if she understood my need to process her words slowly.

“What I wanted was you. You’re the best at what you do, and I wanted to procure your services. I really didn’t think I could simply call you up and invite you over. I fear you would have thought me insane, or perhaps just quirky, but I need your help.”

For the second time that evening, and I suspected not the last, I had no idea what to think. She reclined in her high-backed executive desk chair, and put her booted feet up on the desk, crossing them at the ankles. Fiddling idly with her knife, she waited for me to digest what she’d just said.

She wanted my help. The only thing I could think was that I couldn’t imagine why the fuck she wanted me. That thought led me to my next question as I squirmed in my seat, hoping that if I played it right, she’d release me and I could deal with her at last.

“Why me?”

She smiled again, that maddening grin that I was actually becoming accustomed to. Leaning her head back, she studied a spot on the ceiling as she answered my question.

“Well, Ms. Maclay, I actually have several answers for that question. I’ve already covered the first one. You are the best at what you do. And as you can see by simply looking around this room,” she waved her hand idly in the air to punctuate her point, “I have a fondness for the best.”

I was forced to agree with her as my head was finally clear enough to take in my surroundings. Priceless works of art on the walls, expensive Oriental rug on the floor, the computer-controlled, voice-activated lighting. All of it spoke of opulence. Right down to the 17th century mahogany desk that still supported her feet. I could only nod my agreement as she proceeded down her list.

“Secondly, I’ve watched your work for long enough to know that you have a, what shall we call it? Perhaps tense is the best word to describe your relationship to your employers. I surmised that when I told you that your father had faked his own demise, you’d be shocked. But perhaps not so shocked as to believe me when I told you that the Central Intelligence Agency, the very people for whom you work, was behind him, actually setting the whole thing up with you as a thirteen-year-old witness to the execution of the only family you’d ever known. Nice folks you work for there, wouldn’t you agree?”

I was right earlier. Again, I didn’t know what to think or even believe for that matter. Pragmatism seemed my best option, so I asked the question.

“You have proof of this?”

She nodded her affirmation as she slid her knife silently into the top of her boot.

“Of course.”

In a repeat of her earlier action, she pulled a file from within the confines of her desk, tossing it across the surface to land just inches from me. I was, of course, unable to do anything but stare at the damned thing. Again, she displayed that she was aware of my predicament, as she got up from her chair and leaned across the desk to open the folder. I sensed an opportunity.

“No, Ms. Rosenberg, not this time. You want something from me, but I need something from you first. Release me, then I’ll look at the file.”

I’d swear that I could see the wheels turning in her head as her eyes locked with mine. The decision had to have been difficult, but she made the right one. Well, the right one in my opinion anyway, as she stepped out from behind the desk, pulled a small key from within the bodice of her tight leather dress, and moved around behind my own chair. I heard the key, felt the handcuffs release as she gently urged them off my wrists, and enjoyed the sensation of finally being able to move my arms. I can’t say for sure what she was thinking as she returned to a spot right in front of me, half-standing, half-sitting on the edge of the desk, while I stretched and urged the blood back into my cramped shoulders.

If I had been in her position, I never would have let me go, but she again seemed to know something that I didn’t. She didn’t move a muscle as I reached toward her boot, removed the knife she’d placed there moments before, and sliced through the duct tape holding my ankles to the chair. She didn’t even blink as I stood up, grabbed her by the throat, and placed the razor-sharp blade of that evil little knife about an inch below her left ear. What she did do shocked me more than any revelation that I’d seen yet that evening.

With an eerie calm, she tilted her head to the right, offering me a clear angle of attack to her smooth, pale neck. Simultaneously reaching forward with both hands, she grabbed my hips, pulling them snug up against her own as she spoke softly, almost whispering to me.

“Before you do that, cut my throat that is, you really might want to look over that file. There are some truly interesting things in there that you need to see.” She wasn’t smiling this time, but her serene, almost seductive demeanor led me to believe that she knew me even better than I knew myself. She continued, “Plus, you have to be aware of the fact that if you do kill me, you’ll never leave this room. I have someone outside to see to that.”

God dammit, this bitch had a titanium set of balls. Well, not actually, because I certainly would have felt that considering the way she was holding me, practically grinding her pelvis against mine. Anyway, I knew she was right. I could very neatly cut her throat and maybe get as far as the door, where I’m sure Günter was waiting, silenced pistol in hand, to blow my brains out. She smiled again as I disengaged my hold on her neck and lowered the knife. Releasing her grip on my hips, she reached to her left, retrieved the file from the surface of the desk, and handed it to me.

“Thank you, Ms. Maclay. I am honored by your trust.”

I had to laugh as I accepted the file from her hand and returned to my chair.

“Trust is a strong word here, Ms. Rosenberg. Let’s just see what’s in this file first before I decide whether or not to trust you, okay?”

She nodded her acceptance of my statement as she used both hands to lever herself up onto the surface of the desk, offering me what I could only assume to be an intentional crotch shot. No, definitely no balls there, as evidenced by the blatant display of her lack of underwear. I could only shake my head, wondering what she was up to, as I turned my attention to the file in my hands.

With more than a little trepidation, I opened the manila folder, noting that the papers were photocopies of standard CIA reports, all dated twenty years prior. Mostly typewritten tales of execution, nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Well, not out of the ordinary if your career involves international espionage and murder. But, it was comfortable territory for me. Until I caught a glimpse of familiar handwriting. My father’s handwriting, really just scribbles and amendments in the margins, as well as his signature added with a flourish at the bottom of the page, closing the report. I allowed a small wash of sadness as I thought back to the last time I’d seen his signature, proudly scrawled across the bottom of my straight-A, eighth grade report card. But this was no report card. This was the report of a death warrant, issued by the CIA against my family, seen out to its heinous conclusion by my own father. The fact that my own eighth-grade school picture grinned back at me didn’t make it any easier, as I pushed aside the sadness and came to realize that everything I was, everything that I had become since, was orchestrated by him.

That bastard.

I collected myself enough to look up from the papers in my hand, meeting her steely, green gaze. I couldn’t be sure what she was thinking, but she took that responsibility from me as she spoke.

“Please, Ms. Maclay, read the next one.”

Doing as requested, I turned the report of my family’s demise over, replacing it with the next report in the stack. It looked almost identical, right down to my father’s scribbles in the margins, with two exceptions. The photograph of a smiling, redheaded thirteen-year-old girl, green eyes sparkling with a child’s innocence, and the name of the victims.

Rosenberg.

The fact that this second report was dated a mere ten days later wasn’t lost on me. Drs. Ira and Sheila Rosenberg, a team of East German scientists in the same field of study as my father, apparently deemed to be enemies of the United States and dealt with accordingly. And their only daughter left alive to serve as witness to that fact. I knew right then and there why she wanted me here, why she needed my help, but I vocalized my concerns anyway.

“And what is it that you want from me?” I motioned idly at the folder, now closed and sitting in my lap. “Are we going to go riding off into the sunset to hunt down my father? Is that the plan?”

I watched her as a small smile crossed her features and she shook her head to indicate that she had other plans.

“No, Ms. Maclay, that’s not exactly what I had in mind. You see, your father is merely a cog in a much larger machine. A machine that I would love to see shut down forever. This is not about anything as pedestrian as revenge.” She leaned forward from her seat on the desk, her face now mere inches from my own, a touch of madness returning to her eyes. “This is about power and control. They have it. I want it. And I need you to help me get it.”

While I certainly understood what she was saying, specifically about power and control, I was still unsure about what she wanted from me. Again, she demonstrated that she knew me well enough to continue with her statement, anticipating my next question before I even asked it.

“It’s terribly simple if you think about it, Ms. Maclay. I have resources. I have money, loyal employees, weapons, everything I need to make a truly powerful statement. The one thing I don’t possess is a network. Simply put, I have the goods but not the people. And the people that I need are people that you know. You know the system, you travel amongst these people. You are the best solution to my problem.”

I did understand what she was telling me. It made perfect sense. What still eluded me was who exactly she was targeting, so I asked the question.

“And you think these people can help you. I’m not sure…”

She stopped my words with a gently placed finger to my lips, again answering my question before I could even ask it.

“Not these people. You. You can help me. No one else.”

“So, you’d like me to work for you. I don’t think…”

Stopping my words, again with a simple touch, she sat back and took a deep breath. I’d swear that she looked a little frustrated, but I came to realize, rather quickly, that her frustration was not with me, but with her own inability to make me understand her predicament. I knew that she was choosing her words carefully, most likely because she came to the realization, somewhere around the same time that I did, that I was listening, opening to the idea more and more with each statement out of her mouth. She took another deep breath, finally confident that she had found the necessary words, and continued.

“Ms. Maclay, I have spent the better part of the twenty years since the execution of my family trying to make things right in my own head. I’ve come to understand that the only way I can do this is to take the power from those who took my power from me. I know you, of all people, will understand me when I tell you that I died that day. The day those bastards murdered my mother and father.”

I could see that her veneer of calm had finally cracked. I could hear it in her voice. She didn’t offer tears, but anger, as she spit her next words out, venomously, through clenched teeth, punctuating her tirade with her hands, striking at the surface of the desk repeatedly with her closed fist.

“And for what? State secrets? Rocket fuel? Who honestly gives a fuck? Why they did it doesn’t matter to me anymore. They took my power and control from me, and I will have it back, if it takes me until my dying day to do it.”

And with that, everything became crystal clear to me. I chose my next words carefully, needing her to understand that I did, in fact, know exactly what she meant.

“And you need a partner, an equal who knows what you know, and feels what you feel.”

She nodded furiously as I continued.

“You need someone exactly like yourself. A mirror image of your own damaged soul. Someone with enough hatred and lust for your cause, who is willing to stop at nothing to see it through. Someone like me, the walking dead, with no compunctions, no fear of the outcome.”

She surprised me again as she almost leapt from the desk, landing squarely on both feet, and pulled me into a standing position by my upper arms. Never letting go, she put my thoughts into her own words, her face centimeters from my own, her eyes boring hotly into mine, her words warm breath on my lips.

“Yes, yes. Exactly. You see, Ms. Maclay, I’ve been watching you for a very long time. Studying your moves, your habits. I know you, perhaps better than you know yourself. We are cut from the same cloth. You and I are the living, breathing undead. Creatures of the night. Feeding on the blood of the living, exchanging human lives for money and material gain. Not like the fictional undead, vampires on an inane television program, but simple hatred incarnate. We are what those bastards made us into, and now they’re going to pay.”

I had no words to respond, choosing only to nod my agreement. I felt the depth of her need as surely as I knew my own. And as if she hadn’t done it enough, she shocked me again as she removed her hands from my upper arms, releasing the grip that I was sure had left finger-shaped bruises behind. She moved quickly, placing her hands on either side of my face, pulling me toward her, closing the gap, tilting her head, crushing her mouth against mine in a searing kiss that stole my breath away.

I reacted out of instinct, as if I had been attacked. Remembering that I still had her knife, I pulled it out, as I pushed back, her motion impeded by the desk behind her. I clearly saw the flash of something in her eyes as tempered steel made the lightest contact with skin, finally making the connection in my own head. The way she had responded, pulling me close as I had threatened her before, the dangerous blade flush with the pulse of the jugular vein in her neck. It was all there in that razor-sharp edge. All of the power and control that she wanted.

And she was giving it to me. Her chin jutted out defiantly, daring me to take it.

And just like that, I did. In a repeat performance of our earlier little dance, I raised my left hand, wrapping my fingers around her throat, pushing upwards against her jaw, forcing her to continue looking at me. I slid the knife, turning it slightly so as not to inflict any serious damage, tracing a line starting just below her left ear. I could hear the hiss of her ragged breathing, drawn hotly through clenched teeth as the tip of the blade trailed lower, down her neck, across to the hollow of her throat, and down again to the top of the brass zipper that divided the front of her leather dress.

For the first time since the death of my family, I became aware of another sensation. I could feel the heat and energy of my own blood, pounding wildly through every inch of my body. My own breathing grew ragged as I looked down to the tip of the knife, noting the way her breasts heaved as she panted against the blade pressed lightly to the center of her chest, a single drop of blood welling up to roll free down her sternum. Her hands pulled urgently at my hips, again urging me closer, grinding her need roughly into my pelvis.

With the strength that comes from years of dealing out justice to the deserving, I yanked her away from the desk by the neck, pulling the knife back as I turned and propelled her bodily against the closest wall. She hit with a dull thud, impacting hard enough to knock one of her priceless Tang dynasty vases to the floor where it shattered like a grenade with a sharp crash. Ignoring this loss, she watched me as I closed the distance, stopping only long enough to stab the knife violently into the woodwork before I pinned her to the wall with my hand around her throat.

I’m not sure what compelled me to hesitate, but it didn’t last long as I felt hot breath against my face, her fiery gaze boring into mine, and two simple words spoken through clenched jaws telling me everything I needed to hear.

“Take it.”

With my free hand, I slowly worked down the zipper of her dress. I stopped half-way, noting the rich, black satin of her bra as I realized that it was in my way. Removing the knife from the wall with a quick tug, I turned the blade, sliding the blunt edge up against her chest, and sliced the offending undergarment neatly in two. She grunted her approval as I returned the knife to paneling, released her throat and savagely yanked her dress open with both hands. Her small, perfect breasts spilled forth as she watched me lower my head, stopping long enough to lick the thin trail of blood from her chest, taking from her just as she’d requested.

I became aware of her hands on my ass, again pulling urgently, her need for friction driving her mad as I took her breasts, one in each hand, and squeezed hard, roughly teasing out her nipples. I looked up, intending to gauge her reaction, but saw only her closed eyelids as she knocked her head against the wall, whispering her mantra that was now so intimately familiar to me.

“Take it…take it… take it…please, take it.”

The thought idly rambled through my lust-addled brain that she was totally and completely at my mercy. I could have yanked that wicked blade right from the wall and finished the job that I was sent to do, because she was now mine to do with as I pleased. But I couldn’t do it. The one thing that stopped me from my work was that I realized, simultaneously, that I was hers too, our shared purpose forging a bond that no one outside of that room could possibly comprehend. With that understanding, I experienced a wash of peace that I had never known.

I snapped back to reality as I felt her hands leave my ass, her fingers clawing desperately at my shoulders. She didn’t need to tell me what she wanted. I could tell as she hooked a booted foot around my leg that she needed me, needed my hands and fingers, needed me to fuck her. Releasing her breasts, I returned my left hand to her throat, applying just enough pressure to remind her that I was there to take what she was offering, while I trailed a path with my other hand down her heated torso. The combination of the shortness of her dress and her previously-established lack of underwear made my task easy as I reached down to stroke her, momentarily marveling at just how wet and ready she was. One long pass, followed by another served to lubricate my fingers, the only preamble necessary before I shoved three fingers roughly up into her.

I felt more than heard the rattling expulsion of breath that she released as I slid into her. She continued to claw at my shoulder, releasing my other one to drape her arm over her head as I let go of her throat and slid my hand around her back to help keep her upright. Pulling harder with her leg around mine, she spurred me on, urging me to take from her, driving down with her hips while I thrust up with my fingers. Faster, harder, none of it seemed like enough as I lowered my shoulder to improve the angle of attack. Gritting my teeth against the effort required to give her what she so desperately wanted, I felt her urgency as muscles began to contract, pulling me in deeper with each thrust.

I might have been hurting her, but I didn’t know for sure, and she certainly didn’t seem to care. She became a picture of raw desperation and need as she clawed at the wall over her head, searching for anything to hang onto against the energy I could sense coiling in her gut. And then I heard the growl, knowing exactly what it meant as she started to come, grabbing my shoulders with such force that I knew she was leaving bruises behind. I just didn’t care anymore as I felt my own desire, wet heat crawling down the inside of my thighs, my body reacting to what I had just done to her.

She unhooked her boot from my leg to improve her footing, spreading herself wider against my thrusting as she continued to come. I wasn’t sure she was ever going to stop, and I actually found myself hoping that she never did. It was too good, watching her face, contorted in ecstasy as she removed one hand from my shoulder to pound it repeatedly against the wall. I’d never seen such satisfaction in my life, and I could honestly say that I’d never been that turned on before, watching someone enjoy my attentions in that manner.

Not like she gave me long to think about it.

In an almost superhuman display of recovery, she pulled at the front of my dress, knocking me off balance, forcing me to let go of her. My back hit the wall with such force that it knocked the wind out of me, forcing me to gasp for air. I became dimly aware, through my surprise and haze of lust, that she had me now. Pinned to the wall with one hand flat against my chest, I watched from the corner of my eye as she pulled her knife from the woodwork. She twirled it in her palm to improve her grip, bringing it to bear perpendicular to my throat. I saw the madness glistening in her eyes as she licked her lower lip, studying me like a wildcat stalking its prey.

I had no idea what she was thinking at that moment, but I must admit to another flash of trepidation as she forced my chin up with the side of the blade. I felt the skin break, just a small cut, and the warm trickle of blood down my neck. A stray thought crossed my mind, just a flash really, hoping that she’d at least be decent enough to fuck me first if this had all been an elaborate ruse before killing me. My fears dissipated as she lowered the knife, using it to cut the straps of my dress before stabbing it back into its place, buried an inch deep in the wall.

I felt a second drip of blood down my neck right before she turned her attentions to that spot, cleaning me up with a long swipe of her tongue. The cut was so clean that there was no pain, but that changed quickly as she latched onto my neck with her teeth, biting me hard enough that I was forced to bite my own lip to keep from crying out. I could tell that she knew exactly what she was doing, creating just enough pain in my nerve endings to heighten my other senses. Biting and sucking her way down my neck, across the plane of my upper chest, and down toward my cleavage, before her progress was halted by the top of my black dress.

She looked up, meeting my eyes one last time, before roughly yanking down the top of my dress, exposing my breasts to the chill air of the room. My nipples were already painfully erect as a result of her earlier trip down my neck, but she didn’t let that stop her. She sucked and bit, and rolled and teased, almost torturing me with her attention to detail. Neglecting nothing, she divided her time equally between both of my breasts as she allowed her hands to trail down my hips and around to my ass, squeezing the firm flesh with her strong hands. Her attentions stopped long enough for her to get down on her knees, face level with my throbbing pussy before she pulled me closer with her hands on my ass. I quickly understood her intentions as she urged me to throw a leg over her shoulder, wrapping it around her back as she dove into my wet arousal with her tongue.

In a display of strength that I would have never imagined myself capable of, I managed to remain upright, somehow leveraging myself against the wall with one hand while I grabbed a fistful of red hair with the other. Her hot mouth on my pussy was driving me wild, her hands slipped up under my dress kneading my bare ass only adding to the delicious torment. I pulled at her hair, not giving a shit if I hurt her or not, while my head rolled against the wall. She seemed to sense that the time was right, urging me to finally give up and cry out as she slid first two, then three fingers roughly into me. Oh god, she was sucking me and fucking me and it was all just so good that I didn’t want it to ever stop. I knew I was close, though, as I felt a chill shoot down my right leg and a sensation that felt like fire in my lower belly. She just kept thrusting and licking me, finally forcing me over the edge with a shout as the world exploded behind my eyes.

But that wasn’t enough for her. She kept right on pushing with a tenacity that I could barely comprehend, until I was forced to pull her face out of my crotch by her hair. Looking up with that evil little grin on her face that I’d seen so many times that evening, she locked eyes with me, licking my juice off her chin while she reclaimed her fingers, and eased me down to join her on the floor. I had nothing left. She could have killed me right then and there, and I wouldn’t have cared less.

Once she had me situated on the ground, she got up, zipped her dress, crossed the office to her desk, and removed my small handbag from one of the lower drawers. While I pulled up and rearranged my own dress, she opened my purse, removed one cigarette from the pack and grabbed her lighter from the top of the desk, sparking the butt to life. Drawing heavily, she urged the tobacco to ignite, inhaling deeply before returning the smoke to the air with a rush. She came back to sit with me, offering me the cigarette, which I accepted, and she finally spoke.

“So, Ms. Maclay, we’re in agreement?”

I laughed lightly as I exhaled a stream of smoke, nodding to indicate the affirmative.

“Yes, Ms. Rosenberg, we are absolutely in agreement.” I hesitated, needing to ask her about something that was bothering me. “There’s just one more thing…”

She cocked an eyebrow, meeting my comment with a silent question.

“You seemed fairly certain that I’d be leaving with you tonight. Why?”

She smiled and offered an explanation.

“Well, I knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we’d be leaving together. I had hoped that it wouldn’t be in matching body bags, but I knew you’d be coming with me either way. This way is better, don’t you agree?”

I nodded my agreement as I handed the cigarette back to her. She accepted it as she got up off the floor and returned to her desk. Punching a button on the intercom, she alerted her bodyguard that it was time to leave.

“Günter, please bring the car around. Ms. Maclay will be joining me for dinner at home.”

I heard his voice through the speaker as he answered.

“Right away, Ms. Rosenberg. Shall I call ahead to have a room prepared for Ms. Maclay?”

She looked right at me again, quirking her eyebrow in another silent question. I closed my eyes and shook my head, mouthing the word no in silent response.

“No, thank you, Günter. Ms. Maclay will be staying in my room.”

“Very good, ma’am.”





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The dlline Short Fic Thread


Last edited by dlline on Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:05 pm 
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Dibs! Unfortunately the dishes await, but I'll leave a hearty feedback tomorrow.

ETA: Alright. Dishes done, time to leave my promised feedback.

First off, you know I think this is the best thing you've ever written, but I'll say it again. This is the best thing you've ever written. The POV is tight, the description is amazing, and the characters are exceedingly well developed for the relatively short time they've been used. Not to mention, the story is great. Willow's an amazing "bad guy" and Tara treads the line between. It's just so refreshing to read a piece where evil is subjective and you can have a soul but still kill people, whether it's for fun or for a living.

The climax of your story was the best part for me. Willow's speech about them both being Creatures of the Night really sold it, and the smut afterwards just tied it all together. Talk about sealing the deal. Also, what a way to use a knife.

So, that's my hearty feedback. Once again, awesome story. Best by far :-D

~Sara

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Last edited by tazraven on Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:03 pm 
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Delurking to say I'm really loving these short fics...

Quote:
Okay, not to be a complete dufus and off-topic, but how do we know Tara is older than Willow?


Quote:
Maybe there's some esoteric tidbit somewhere about Willow's age I haven't seen yet?


...and to comment that Tara being presumed older probably stems from her 20th birthday being in season 5. We don't know for sure what year Tara is in college but we do know that in Season 4 Willow was just a freshman (sp?) which would make our beloved Redhead about what? having just turned 18 (because I doubt she was ever kept back a grade) and Tara already 19.

Of course she may have been 21 in season 5, since in season 7 the headstone read 1980-2002 and that would put her 22 in season 6 ... and 20 in season 4 but still older Willow.


Last edited by ClaudiaG on Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:34 pm 
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Crazy!
Crazy good is what I’m sayin’!
This is definitely short story material, you packed it full of action and smut and intrigue and surprise.
Yay for hot girls in short skirts with lethal weapons. It is evil but a good fantasy kind of evil and the important characters weren’t killed, who cares about the rest! The whole assassin and vampire comparison was clever.
I like that your Tara has light brown hair (as referenced in your last story).
I have to admit that at the end I almost over analyzed and was like “how will this work?” “What are they going to do next” “How will they take over the world?!” I then realized I needed to sit back and enjoy this short story for what it was and what it was- was good.
Tracey

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:58 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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:pinky why is it you always break me missy :thud :thud :thud :thud :thud :thud :thud mmmuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwww mmmmmmmmmmmuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwwww :thud :thud :thud :thud :thud

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:28 pm 
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Great writing!


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:53 am 
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Interesting story...

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Loved the first two stories. The second one was just hilarious!
But hey, Germany and techno music? What a cliche! And I assume you ran the vodka line through an online translator? Cuz "Felsen" is an actual rock and not ice ;) So the line translates to something like "Totally on the rock" which totally confused me (Wodka mit Eis it should be) and cracked me up... but I did enjoy the story otherwise. Keep it up! :smash

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:37 pm 
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How about a holy guacamole and then a holy shit the bed!!

OMG Diane, I think you have found your true calling -- writing hot, smutty, funny, hot, exciting, gripping...and did I say hot...stories.

I had left fb for the previous story, I honestly did, but I was trying to write feedback and work (bad me) at the same time, and by the time I got done, it had logged me out. I was sooo mad and tired, that I didn't re-do it at that time. Anyway, you had me rolling on the floor. You hit all those things spot on. I mean come on, we all think it, but you expressed it so well -- from Tara's hair color, non-full smile and all the different ways she was brought back, their magical pregnancies and of course, Willow's babble, and on and on. HIL-ARIOUS! Ya know, I don't even remember if they ever did let Tara do a full smile the whole time..no, wait, I think she really got to smile in Family. And that's a shame, cause Amber does have a beautiful smile. And did you mention all the different shades used to describe the color of their eyes? You know, I never really could appreciate how blue Tara's eyes were on the show until I met Amber in person, and WOW, they were just mesmerizing. But then again, so was that tight shirt she was wearing. :blush You know, you gotta give all the writers props for their amazing imaginations.

Now this last one, just had me sitting on the edge of my now very wet seat. I mean the whole story was just so exciting right from the get-go. And I must say, you've just got a way with the "throw-me-up-against-a-wall-and-take-me" scenes. Of course, I'm a sucker for any story that uses the line "throbbing pussy". Whew boy, I definitely am in need of a shower, and it has nothing to do with the fact that it's like 100 degrees today. You know though, I'm kinda wanting a second part to this story, so you can tell us what happens to them from there. You really left me wanting more.

Great job again!


Wimpy

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:08 pm 
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Quote:
But hey, Germany and techno music? What a cliche!


Alright, I'd just like to point out that it's not a cliche, it's a common image. A cliche would be having Tara be mousy and shy and chew on her lower lip til it breaks off. A common image used to emphasize a setting can be very effective, and was in this piece. Sorry, just had to jump in.

~Sara

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:13 pm 
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hey everyone, i've been a lurker for quite some time but have decided to branch out of my tiny little world.
dlline, another fantastic story, i loved it once again. i'm not gonna lie though, i had a lot of 'Alias' images in my head at the begining and you really pulled off a fantastic world that was very believable and one that I visualized vey well. Said visualizations were exteremly nice during hot steamy aggressive sex. very nice. and the "bored now" was amaaaaazing.
*applauds*


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 11:14 am 
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Diane – It’s going to come as no surprise to you (today that is) to know that I adore and worship this story. In fact, I’m titling this little bit of feedback.

Title – It’s not about the Knife

The other day you were somewhat dismissive of it while we were chatting but there is nothing here to be dismissive of. It is a masterpiece of the study of power and control, sex and violence. Understand, I don’t even like Alias. I watched ½ a season or more while working out and found it totally confusing. Beyond that, I couldn’t care less whether any of the characters lived or died. This? Totally different.

Quote:
The night was cold and I was barely dressed for it.
A fantastic opening line. She is, in fact, barely dressed. Not that she’s barely dressed for the weather; she’s just barely dressed. Still, I love the exposition. Tara is so cool and she admits that she’s nervous but it’s a little hard to take it seriously. It seems as if she’s scared of failing or perhaps scared of being beaten, but it doesn’t feel like she’s scared of dying. Not at all.

Quote:
Who really cares if your lipstick is smudged while you cut their throat? I certainly wouldn’t.
A little foreshadowing of the knifeplay perhaps? Tara knows that her target has shot other agents (we don’t know this yet), yet she speaks of knives. Oh… to come soon…
Quote:
Blue eyes. Ice cold blue eyes that shone of death. Those frigid, unfeeling eyes stared back at me, daring me to look away, but I didn’t.
If you can even see the ice, the unfeeling-ness in your own eyes, you are a fucking walking corpse, Tara!

Quote:
After leaving ten euros on the bar, I pulled a smoke from the pack. Before I could get it all the way to my lips, a hand appeared in front of my face. A woman’s delicate hand, short fingernails painted black, clutching an expensive Colibri lighter. The lighter clicked twice before catching, the flame leaping upwards as I leaned toward it to light my cigarette, drawing sharply to urge the tobacco to ignite. I turned my head to offer thanks to the face that belonged to the hand, but never got the words out as I felt a strong hand wrap itself around my upper arm from behind and a hypodermic needle as it buried itself in my neck.
Briliant. Here’s the point that the reader and Tara both realize that there is something, perhaps many things, that she/we don’t know. She thinks she’s pulled in her mark but the mark is all over her. I love this first hint of Willow. A hand and fingernails.

Tara’s waking is so incredibly well done. She is powerless but seems fearless. She’s describing the situation but it’s all very internal, rather than external. I love this line as it echoes the earlier theme:
Quote:
It just seems a little ridiculous to worry about panty lines when you’re handcuffed and duct taped to a chair.
Well, no shit.

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That voice haunted me, my fears made animate by its proximity to my own ears.
Again, I love this. Here fears seem more driven by the fact that Willow has the upper hand than by actual fear for her life.

Quote:
“Take your time, Ms. Maclay. Don’t try to rush this. You’re perfectly safe.”

If it hadn’t been so painful, I would have laughed out loud. She told me I was safe. Anesthetized, abducted, and bound to a chair in an unknown location, all orchestrated by a woman who was a known killer.
Yes, it’s true. Tara isn’t particularly in danger. She can live or die and it’s basically up to her. That said, Willow is totally in control here. It’s all about power and control and Willow has it.

Quote:
I struggled not to gasp with shock as the cold tip of a rather deadly looking knife found its way to the soft flesh just below my chin. She used the blunt edge of the blade to urge my head upwards, my gaze traveling along with it, …
I simply don’t have the time to quote each and every line of this story but this: the first appearance of the knife so deserves it. Willow is quite obviously an expert in using the knife, any knife, yet look at the care with which she uses it to lift Tara’s head. The blunt edge!

Quote:
The knife was removed from my chin, leaving behind not so much as a scratch, as she stepped back, surveying her prize, and began to speak.
Expert.

[qutoe]She returned my comment with a look, that kind of look that a smart-assed brat gives you on the playground when they know something that you don’t. If I could have gotten my hands free, I would have smacked that evil smirk right off her face. Hard. But she just kept grinning as she shook her head from side to side, letting me know that she did, in fact, believe that she knew something that I didn’t.[/quote]And that’s were Willow’s complete control of this situation comes from. She knows that she knows something Tara doesn’t know. That’s her power. Not the knife.

Quote:
She didn’t move a muscle as I reached toward her boot, removed the knife she’d placed there moments before, and sliced through the duct tape holding my ankles to the chair. She didn’t even blink as I stood up, grabbed her by the throat, and placed the razor-sharp blade of that evil little knife about an inch below her left ear. What she did do shocked me more than any revelation that I’d seen yet that evening.

With an eerie calm, she tilted her head to the right, offering me a clear angle of attack to her smooth, pale neck. Simultaneously reaching forward with both hands, she grabbed my hips, pulling them snug against her own as she spoke softly, almost whispering to me.
Oh. I love it. The knife continues to be a prop for the two of them. Willow is letting Tara have it. Letting her have an illusion of control and Tara takes it and starts to engage in the same game. And I love this hint that it’s such a turn-on for her too.

Quote:
They took my power and control from me, and I will have it back, if it takes me until my dying day to do it.”
Fuck yea!

Quote:
“You need someone exactly like yourself. A mirror image of your own damaged soul. Someone with enough hatred and lust for your cause, who is willing to stop at nothing to see it through. Someone like me, the walking dead, with no compunctions, no fear of the outcome.”… “Yes, yes. Exactly. You see, Ms. Maclay, I’ve been watching you for a very long time. Studying your moves, your habits. I know you, perhaps better than you know yourself. We are cut from the same cloth. You and I are the living, breathing undead. Creatures of the night. Feeding on the blood of the living, exchanging human lives for money and material gain. Not like the fictional undead, vampires on an inane television program, but simple hatred incarnate. We are what those bastards made us into, and now they’re going to pay.”
Yes, yes, yes. I love this so much. That they are so alike in their death and hatred and need for power and control to actually be able to work together.

Quote:
It was all there in that razor-sharp edge. All of the power and control that she wanted.

And she was giving it to me. Her chin jutted out defiantly, daring me to take it.
When I read this the first time, this was the point when I knew you had written something truly spectacular. Yes, yes, yes! Power is about taking and giving. It’s an interplay. A dance when used like this.

Quote:
“Take it.”
This sex scene is amazing and not just because it’s hot against the wall fucking! I love the way you use the knife because of the agreement they have made about it. It’s a toy. A tool and in the hands of a trusted assassin, it’s a turn-on for both of them. Their awareness that either of them could use that tool to kill the other in a second is just even more of an emphasis that the knife is a representation of the contract of trust between them.

Quote:
In an almost superhuman display of recovery…
lol!

And then of course they switch. The contract continues with the knife play and desperate fucking. So hot and so profound for them. They are killers and they need that danger to feel. And they’re both feeling.

Quote:
A stray thought crossed my mind, just a flash really, hoping that she’d at least be decent enough to fuck me first if this had all been an elaborate ruse before killing me.
Damn right. How rude it would have been otherwise.

The exchange of blood between them has that feel of some blood-sister ceremony adolescents engage in. As if they are each taking one drop of blood to seal their understanding.

This feedback is going on for a long time. I want to sum up but I want to make a few points. First, your exploration of darkness and knowledge is exquisite. That’s what creates the control in this piece. That and giving it up. The fact is that neither of these women could take true control from the other involuntarily. One could physically force the other of something, including death, but control? That’s different. They understand that and it is important and beautiful to them.

I want to wrap up but I want to mention your choice to make this first-person narration. That works so fantastically well that it blows me totally away. I love the way you put the reader inside Tara’s head so that we are as out of the loop as she is at any point. Brilliant.

I need to go but I want to wrap up by saying that in addition to being brilliant, this is also fucking hot!

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:39 am 
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Wow !!! :wtkiss


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:42 pm 
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Yowzah!

Okay, now that I've calmed down enough to read it again (i had to take another break after that), I have to say that was really quite marvelous. I love revenge stories. And this is such a cleverly crafted one. And a damn hot one at that. :P

Thanks for sharing it.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:04 pm 
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First off, I’d like to offer a big, sweeping thanks to everyone for giving this one a try. I know it was a little rougher than a lot of you like, but I’m kinda like that. Thank you for indulging my need to play with some things. And now, the feedback responses.

tazraven – Hey, congrats on the dibs and I’m glad you got the dishes done.
Quote:
First off, you know I think this is the best thing you've ever written, but I'll say it again. This is the best thing you've ever written.

Thank you so much. That’s a nice thing to hear and I really appreciate it. I’m especially glad that you were so impressed with the actual writing mechanics of the piece. I’ve spent a lot of time recently contemplating this same issue, wondering if anyone really gives a crap if the POV or characterization is good. It’s always nice to see someone who knows the difference, but we’ve had this conversation before.
Quote:
Willow's an amazing "bad guy" and Tara treads the line between. It's just so refreshing to read a piece where evil is subjective and you can have a soul but still kill people, whether it's for fun or for a living.

I think it’s cool that you mentioned this, too, especially considering that you were fully aware of my nervousness about this piece before I ever posted it. I wasn’t sure that anyone on this board would accept human versions of Evil Willow coupled with Questionably-Evil Tara. Hell, I think I might have actually provided them with their first post-intercourse shared cigarette. Gasp! That idea alone kinda scared the crap out of me, but I’m so glad I decided to post it and just hope that a couple of people got it.
Quote:
So, that's my hearty feedback. Once again, awesome story. Best by far.

Thanks again for this. It means a lot to me. Oh, and thank you for acting as a knight in shining armor and defending my honor against those who didn’t get what I was talking about. You rock!

ClaudiaG – Hey! Welcome to the party!
Quote:
Delurking to say I'm really loving these short fics...

Thank you very much. Glad you decided to delurk for me. That’s really cool.
Quote:
Of course she may have been 21 in season 5, since in season 7 the headstone read 1980-2002 and that would put her 22 in season 6 ... and 20 in season 4 but still older Willow.

I know that if you do the math that it works out this way, but Family (season 5, air date Nov. 7) is very clearly stated to be Tara’s 20th birthday. So, canon can’t even get it right, so maybe we just need to let it go. Not to be rude, but I’m pretty sure the right answer just isn’t out there, no matter how much we try to decipher it.

Second Fig – Tracey! Thanks for checking back in. I always love to hear from you.
Quote:
Yay for hot girls in short skirts with lethal weapons.

I agree. Yay is right. Armed, short skirts, no underpants. Sounds like a fun evening to me.
Quote:
The whole assassin and vampire comparison was clever.

Thanks for this, too. I liked the idea of creating characters that were “real” living humans with the same sense of morality regarding life and death as the vampires on the show. They were fun to play with. And yes, Tara has brown hair. Finally.
Quote:
I have to admit that at the end I almost over analyzed and was like “how will this work?” “What are they going to do next” “How will they take over the world?!” I then realized I needed to sit back and enjoy this short story for what it was…

Well, I intentionally left it open in case I want to play with them some more at a later date. Whether or not this will ever happen is a question I just can’t answer right now, but the door is open for me if I want to.
Quote:
…and what it was- was good.

And what you are is nice. Thank you so much.

Dianneswillowtree – Hey you! Thanks for checking in.
Quote:
why is it you always break me missy

Because it’s just what I do. It’s been pointed out that I have a talent for breaking Kittens, so I’ll just keep doing it until they tell me to stop.

SJ – Thank you!

Zampsa1975 – Interesting response… care to elaborate?

WillowRulez
Quote:
Loved the first two stories. The second one was just hilarious!

Thank you.
Quote:
But hey, Germany and techno music? What a cliche!

Well, tazraven dealt with this comment quite nicely, so I’ll just refer you back to that.
Quote:
And I assume you ran the vodka line through an online translator?

Yes, I did. My own German is not as strong as I would like it to be, so I looked it up.
Quote:
Cuz "Felsen" is an actual rock and not ice.

Um, yes, I know that. The expression “on the rocks” means the same thing as with ice. Just to clarify.
Quote:
So the line translates to something like "Totally on the rock" which totally confused me (Wodka mit Eis it should be) and cracked me up...

Actually, just so you know, Absolut is a brand of vodka, so ordering an Absolut on the rocks is exactly the same thing, just more specific than vodka on the rocks. I’ll concede that “on the rocks” may be an American colloquialism, so I’m sorry if it confused you. I’m also really sorry that you felt the need to focus on the four words that you found strange rather than the remaining 8,608 words of the story. I was simply trying to paint a picture that Tara was comfortable in a foreign country, even working in the language, but you chose to take it literally, and therefore found it funny. I can only shrug and move on.
Quote:
…but I did enjoy the story otherwise. Keep it up!

Thank you. I will.

Wimpy0729 – Pam, my Buckeye Buddy! Welcome back. I always love to hear from you.
Quote:
OMG Diane, I think you have found your true calling -- writing hot, smutty, funny, hot, exciting, gripping...and did I say hot...stories.

Hmm, I think you might be right. Now, if we can just figure out a way for me to make money at it, we’re all good.

As far as your comments on the cliché story, I had a need to rant about the clichés, mostly regarding the fact that people seem to beat some of them to death. Poor shy, stuttering Tara, never being able to be strong, always forced to sit back and be quietly accepting. Just once (besides getting in Anya’s face in Older and Far Away), I’d love to see Tara get really pissed and tell someone off. Even the quietest of people are forced to do this once in a while, and I’d love to see Tara get the chance.
Quote:
You know, I never really could appreciate how blue Tara's eyes were on the show until I met Amber in person, and WOW, they were just mesmerizing. But then again, so was that tight shirt she was wearing.

You got to meet Amber. Bitch. (insert big teasing grin here.) That’s very cool. I’m positively green with envy. Maybe not the deep emerald, aquamarine, chartreuse, forest, kelly, malachite, lime, or sage green of Willow’s eyes, but I think you get my drift.
Quote:
You know, you gotta give all the writers props for their amazing imaginations.

You know I always do. And now, I’m sorry for the problem with your chair. Maybe you should go get a towel before you read my stories, just in case.
Quote:
And I must say, you've just got a way with the "throw-me-up-against-a-wall-and-take-me" scenes.

Thank you. Now if someone would do that to me, I’d be a happy camper.
Quote:
You know though, I'm kinda wanting a second part to this story, so you can tell us what happens to them from there. You really left me wanting more.

I addressed this earlier. I think this particular story needed to end where it did, but I can also see it as chapter one of a much larger work. To quote Pinky and the Brain,
Quote:
“What are we gonna do tonight, Ms. Rosenberg?”
“The same thing we do every night, Ms. Maclay…try to take over the world.”

Thank you so much for telling me that I’d done a great job. It really means a lot to me.

Zooeys_Bridge – Hey, thanks a bunch for delurking for me. I really appreciate it. I’m really happy that you liked the story. The word “fantastic” is always great to hear.
Quote:
i'm not gonna lie though, i had a lot of 'Alias' images in my head at the beginning and you really pulled off a fantastic world that was very believable and one that I visualized very well.

Actually, if you read the intro to the piece, I mentioned a TV show that I used to watch religiously. I guess you surmised that the show was in fact Alias, so I’m gonna have to say that the show Alias is the property of Bad Robot, and I’ll make no money from the use of any images or characters related to that show. That said, I’m glad you made the connection, even though I think we know that Sydney Bristow never would have allowed herself to be swayed to the dark side, regardless of how hot, steamy, or aggressive the sex was. Too bad for her, right?

I’m really happy that you enjoyed the “Bored now” comment. I had to let everyone know that Willow’s appearance was imminent and that she was gonna be bad. Nice catch. Thanks for commenting. I’ll enjoy your applause and take a bow. Thank you.

JustSkipIt – Deb, I know we’ve had this conversation, but I have to tell you again how blown away I am by your appreciation of this fic, even using words like “adore” and “worship”. Wow! It thrills me beyond belief that you totally got what I was trying to do. As a writer, you know that this is the ultimate compliment, so I’ll say thank you again, I’m pretty sure not for the last time. So, keeping in the vein of what you started, I’ll title this bit of feedback response:

No Kidding it’s not about the Knife.

Quote:
The other day you were somewhat dismissive of it while we were chatting but there is nothing here to be dismissive of. It is a masterpiece of the study of power and control, sex and violence.

Like I said before, I wasn’t intentionally trying to be dismissive, but you know as well as I do that sometimes you’re too knee-deep in the middle of the thing to see exactly what is transpiring. I knew what I was trying to do, and I knew that it would probably (no offense to anyone) be a little strong for a great majority of people on the board, but I was telling the story that I wanted to tell. No hugs, no puppies, no magic babies, no clichéd versions of Willow and Tara. No one has mentioned that I never once even used Willow’s first name. I needed the reader to think about what I was saying, and that’s sometimes asking a lot, I know.
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Understand, I don’t even like Alias. I watched ½ a season or more while working out and found it totally confusing. Beyond that, I couldn’t care less whether any of the characters lived or died. This? Totally different.

Yes, exactly. I loved the show, but it definitely required a level of commitment to watch and enjoy. It was complicated, bordering on convoluted, but it was intelligent in the way it required something of the viewer that most people (even myself toward the end) just simply don’t have the time or inclination to commit to. That’s why, in my intro, I mentioned that it was simply a suggestion of an idea, a writing prompt if you will, and not any true kind of crossover tale. I really just borrowed the image of Tara walking into the bar, techno music hammering away, and really made it my own story from then on.
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The night was cold and I was barely dressed for it.
A fantastic opening line. She is, in fact, barely dressed. Not that she’s barely dressed for the weather; she’s just barely dressed.

I, for one, couldn’t walk through the cold of northern Europe in nothing but a skimpy little dress and heels. Not that I could do that in South Florida either, but I digress. Tara is unfeeling to the point of being unaffected by the weather. Pretty damn numb, wouldn’t you agree?
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Tara is so cool and she admits that she’s nervous but it’s a little hard to take it seriously. It seems as if she’s scared of failing or perhaps scared of being beaten, but it doesn’t feel like she’s scared of dying. Not at all.

Actually, I never imagined her as being afraid, but simply a little anxious about what she was about to do. Perhaps she envisioned a struggle with the victim, maybe a fight with a minion or two, but she was professional enough to allow the small bit of anxiety, without ever being truly afraid. I would offer the analogy of how I feel before I play my horn in public. I’ve been playing and performing for a little over 35 years. Nothing new is going to happen that I haven’t seen before, but I always have a small wash of anxiety in the moment just before I walk on stage. Honestly, at this point, I think it’s become a habit, stemming from the small release of adrenaline required to perform at a certain level. I guess that’s what I imagined Tara to be experiencing. Not fear, but a certain level of anxiety at not knowing exactly what to expect.
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Who really cares if your lipstick is smudged while you cut their throat? I certainly wouldn’t.
A little foreshadowing of the knifeplay perhaps? Tara knows that her target has shot other agents (we don’t know this yet), yet she speaks of knives.

Well, I’d love to claim that this was intentional foreshadowing, but it really didn’t start out that way. I really just wanted give a small hint that Tara is not the kind of assassin that is going to sit on top of a building with a high-powered sniper rifle. You know, I think she’s the kind of assassin that needs to see the eyes of her victim, and the knife is the perfect way to do that. Yes, she’s a killer, but it’s an intimate act to her, not a random thing carried out from 200 yards away. So, I’ll say take it however you like; either way is probably right. And yes, “If you can even see the ice, the unfeeling-ness in your own eyes, you are a fucking walking corpse.” Amen, sister.
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After leaving ten euros on the bar, I pulled a smoke from the pack. Before I could get it all the way to my lips, a hand appeared in front of my face. A woman’s delicate hand, short fingernails painted black, clutching an expensive Colibri lighter. The lighter clicked twice before catching, the flame leaping upwards as I leaned toward it to light my cigarette, drawing sharply to urge the tobacco to ignite. I turned my head to offer thanks to the face that belonged to the hand, but never got the words out as I felt a strong hand wrap itself around my upper arm from behind and a hypodermic needle as it buried itself in my neck.
Briliant. Here’s the point that the reader and Tara both realize that there is something, perhaps many things, that she/we don’t know. She thinks she’s pulled in her mark but the mark is all over her. I love this first hint of Willow. A hand and fingernails.

Well, like I said in my email, this particular scene was my homage to the fleeting nature of control, but I’ll explain again for the benefit of anyone else who might be curious. Tara is the absolute picture of control. She’s in another country, working in the language, stopping long enough to have a drink and a smoke before she continues on to find her target and finish the job. And then thirty seconds later, there’s a needle in her neck and everything turns to shit in the blink of an eye. She thinks that she’s in control of everything, but that is just an illusion.
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Tara’s waking is so incredibly well done. She is powerless but seems fearless. She’s describing the situation but it’s all very internal, rather than external.

Actually, I had knee surgery several years ago. It’s tough to come out of a Fentanyl haze, and my head did hurt like a mother, but I was fine and dandy less than an hour later. Tara got a big dose, but the idea of her becoming aware of the situation bit by bit is consistent with my experience. And as far as fearless, that explains your love of the line, “It just seems a little ridiculous to worry about panty lines when you’re handcuffed and duct taped to a chair.” Tara is in deep shit. No question about that, but she’s not afraid for her life. Her problem seems to stem more from the fact that she’s been totally and completely stripped of her control (the control that she thought she had but never really did).
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That voice haunted me, my fears made animate by its proximity to my own ears.
Again, I love this. Her fears seem more driven by the fact that Willow has the upper hand than by actual fear for her life.

All I can add to this is to say that you are right on the money. There is Tara’s illusion of control again as she’s reduced to powerlessness. I can answer your next quote (where Willow assures Tara that she’s safe) with exactly the same comment. Willow is completely in control and she knows that she’s not going to kill Tara. That’s just not on the agenda for the evening. This is another case of where the first person POV was ideal, because Willow’s plans were so contrary to Tara’s usual mode of operation, that any insight to Willow’s thoughts would have killed all the tension of this piece.
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…the first appearance of the knife so deserves it. Willow is quite obviously an expert in using the knife, any knife, yet look at the care with which she uses it to lift Tara’s head. The blunt edge!

Well, Deb, I know this story is not about the knife, but I won’t kid you. I love the knife. I love the idea of the intimacy of the knife, because you can’t easily threaten or kill a person with a knife without looking them in the eye. Yes, I was trying to paint a picture of someone skilled with a blade, using it to establish her first real in-your-face image of control, maybe even using it to show Tara something of, “Look, I can kill you right now, but I’m not going to.” I know you only briefly mentioned the fact that Willow used a gun to kill the other agents, but I was also using the knife for her to offer another hint that something different was in play here. The murder of the first two agents was merely a means to an end, a “message to be sent,” and she needed Tara to understand this.
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But she just kept grinning as she shook her head from side to side, letting me know that she did, in fact, believe that she knew something that I didn’t.
And that’s where Willow’s complete control of this situation comes from. She knows that she knows something Tara doesn’t know. That’s her power. Not the knife.

Again, the knife is only a representation of intimacy and control. This very much harkens back to my previous comments about knife versus gun and the fact that she used the knife instead of her hand to urge Tara to lift her head.
Next, the scene in which Willow releases Tara from the chair.
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Oh. I love it. The knife continues to be a prop for the two of them. Willow is letting Tara have it. Letting her have an illusion of control and Tara takes it and starts to engage in the same game. And I love this hint that it’s such a turn-on for her too.

This is the first incidence where it begins to become clear to Tara that Willow knows far more about her than she could possibly ever imagine. Like I said in the email, she allowed Tara to take the knife, because she knew, not suspected, but actually knew that Tara would never use it. The additional threat from Günter on the other side of the door was secondary, but again, there’s that picture of Willow’s total and complete control of the situation. It was also the first incidence of the fact that Willow was prepared to relinquish some of her control, perhaps showing Tara, again, that there was far more in play here, and that maybe she needed to step back and really look around.
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… You and I are the living, breathing undead. Creatures of the night. Feeding on the blood of the living, exchanging human lives for money and material gain….
Yes, yes, yes. I love this so much. That they are so alike in their death and hatred and need for power and control to actually be able to work together.

I actually see this as the literary climax of the piece, which I’m defining classically to mean the point of the story when everything changes. We now know that Tara is going to turn, leaving her job and life (whatever that might be) and join Willow in her quest. I’m just a showboat that wants to write a really kick ass speech to cement the point. I hope I did that, and judging from your response, I guess I really did.
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It was all there in that razor-sharp edge. All of the power and control that she wanted.
And she was giving it to me. Her chin jutted out defiantly, daring me to take it.
When I read this the first time, this was the point when I knew you had written something truly spectacular. Yes, yes, yes! Power is about taking and giving. It’s an interplay. A dance when used like this.

Truly spectacular? Wow, thank you. But you’re absolutely correct about power being an interplay, a dance. The only way that power and control really works is when it becomes a contract to share, and they have their mutual hatred and unfeeling nature to bind them together. It may not be flowers and candy, but it’s what works for them.
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This sex scene is amazing and not just because it’s hot against the wall fucking! I love the way you use the knife because of the agreement they have made about it. It’s a toy. A tool and in the hands of a trusted assassin, it’s a turn-on for both of them. Their awareness that either of them could use that tool to kill the other in a second is just even more of an emphasis that the knife is a representation of the contract of trust between them.

Again, it is a contract and I don’t think a friendship bracelet is gonna work for either of these two. And yes, they are both so damaged, cold and unfeeling, that the element of danger, that knowledge that “either of them could use that tool to kill the other in a second,” is what they need to feel anything. And it seems to me, as Tara mentions being able to feel her own blood flowing for the first time in the last 20 years, that it’s workin’ like a charm. I’m really glad you liked the “superhuman recovery” line. As you know, since you’ve read everything else I’ve written for this board, I have a sort of soft spot for the conversation that happens in between. You know the part when Party #1 takes a moment to collect herself from her boneless JBF state, while Party #2 watches with satisfaction and anticipation? I know you do, so I’ll just say that I couldn’t do that here. It’s funny because I stressed over this probably more than anything else in the piece. I knew that this scene needed to maintain a level of intensity, or some of the desperation of the sex would be lost. It was the quickest segue that I could think of, so I guess I was trying to portray a feeling that Willow had just received the fuck of her life and it only served to energize her further, offering a hint of that by mentioning that she had a bit of a crazed look in her eye. Hope it worked. And yes, for Willow to kill Tara before reciprocating would have rude to the point to the point of being crass. And my Ms. Rosenberg is anything but crass. I’m not sure that Miss Manners has a lot to say about this, but I do.
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The exchange of blood between them has that feel of some blood-sister ceremony adolescents engage in. As if they are each taking one drop of blood to seal their understanding.


Again, that’s exactly what I was trying to do, so I’m glad you saw that. It also served to continue the exploration of the vampire/assassin relationship. Nice catch.

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This feedback is going on for a long time.


Yay! Thanks for taking the time to write this. It means so much to me.

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First, your exploration of darkness and knowledge is exquisite.


Again, thank you. I’m never quite sure where it comes from, but I seem to have a, shall we say, fondness for the exploration of this kind of power and control. My own life is very (I’ll repeat for emphasis), very normal (sweet, lovely girlfriend, three kids, two dogs, assorted cats). I think it harkens back to the discussion that we had about writing offering you a safe space to act out the deep, dark sides of your psyche. While a part of me would really like Tara the Assassin to threaten me with a knife and have her way with me, I know it’s not gonna happen, so I can act it out this way.

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That’s what creates the control in this piece. That and giving it up.
They understand that and it is important and beautiful to them.


It’s what they have to work with because it’s what they are. They are each basically the creation of others, both being the product of a truly heinous act that, I hope, none us has ever, or will ever experience. We are all a product of our past, learning from both the good and the bad, hopefully growing out of both. And control issues are something all of us face everyday, though, again I hope, not to this extent. We deal with speed limits, due dates, time constraints, and a whole plethora of things that make life relating to other human beings possible. Yes, you can choose not to pay the electric bill, but you’re gonna be sitting in the dark as a result of that choice.

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I want to wrap up but I want to mention your choice to make this first-person narration. That works so fantastically well that it blows me totally away. I love the way you put the reader inside Tara’s head so that we are as out of the loop as she is at any point. Brilliant.


Again, I didn’t see any other way to do this. In some respects, lack of control comes from lack of situational knowledge, and I really wanted the reader to be as clueless as Tara was. The POV was the best way I could think of to control the release of information to the audience. Glad to hear that you found it to be effective. Thank you.

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I need to go but I want to wrap up by saying that in addition to being brilliant, this is also fucking hot!


Deb, you’re the one who christened me a “smut hound” on this board, so I suppose I have a reputation to live up to. No worries, ‘cause you were right on the money. I am a smut hound. But sex can be written with intention, or it can just be perfunctory. And I hate perfunctory, ‘cause it’s just boring. It seems like a waste of the writers’ and readers’ time. Reading meaningless sex is equally as dissatisfying as experiencing it. Why bother?

Well, I should wrap this up too, since I’ve now entered my second day of writing it. I’m glad you liked the story, but most importantly, I’m thrilled that you understood that it was about way lots more than heavily armed hot babes in short dresses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I think you understand where I’m coming from. Thank you again. I appreciate each and every word.

Kendahl897 – Thank you again for reading and commenting. It sounds like you liked it.

diamondforever – Thank you too. I’m glad you thought it was marvelous as well as cleverly crafted and hot. That’s nice to hear. I’m also glad that you noticed that, even though Willow insisted that it wasn’t about revenge that it really was. Another control issue, perhaps?



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The dlline Short Fic Thread


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:28 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:13 pm
Posts: 517
dlline: Great fic, again sorry for the very late reply, RL is a little better now but I still don't have a lot of free time so sorry. I loved the fic, I was a little scared because I thought that the violence would dampen the smut mood but it added just enough hotness to it, I loved when Tara took control of the situation, and I also loved when Willow took conrtrol it was sooooooo hot, more take charge Willow I say. I hope we get something new from you real soon and I hope its very smutty, LOL. Who am I kidding, this is you I'm talking to. Can't wait to read more.

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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:27 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:18 am
Posts: 52
Location: USA
I was so hoping, when I came to this site, I would come across fiction like this. I had/have planned to read as much fiction as I can but it is a huge job. I am so glad this was one of the first ones I came across. This is superior and left me gasping. Vulnerability and strength are special in heroines. Add that with two sexy babes and you have woven an enthralling story. I am at a loss to add anything beyond what has already been said by others already except, maybe more than others, this story affected me deeply. It certainly showcased your exceptional skills.


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 Post subject: Re: The dlline Short Fic Thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:57 am 
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19. Yummy Face
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:19 pm
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Location: Kaskinen, Finland, citizen of Kitopia
Hi dlline! Interesting story because it's was something different than most of the stories in this board. It was good because it made you think what would you do in the similar situation...

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