How are you feeling?
Do you feel ok?
Cause I don’t
It keeps me reelin’
Will I ever be the same?
No I won’t
It’s a cold day in a cruel world
I really wished I could have saved you
then who would save me from myself?
Right now, well, I could use a stiff drink
to kill the pain that’s deep inside my bones
Have you been dreaming?
I don’t dream at all
I have nightmares
Have you come to kill what’s left
of my smile
Theres no vacancy in paradise
I really wished I could have saved you
then who would have saved me from myself
Right now, well, I could use a stiff drink
to kill the pain that’s deep inside my bones
I really wished I could have saved you
then who would have saved me from myself
I really wished I could have saved you
I’ll never forget you
I’ll never forget you
I’ll never forget you
I really wished I could have saved you
~ Ballad for Dead Friends (Dashboard Prophets)
“Oh my God, what is he doing?” Tabitha tried to twist out of Brys’s hold, but he wouldn’t let her go. The wool blanket he’d wrapped her in had started to warm her, until the roaring and screaming downstairs chilled her blood all over again. She had thought that Vaughn was screaming, but then she recognized the voice as Creed’s.
Perrin stiffened where he stood in the doorway. “I should go and check on him.”
“Don’t, mon cher! Wait until it’s quiet; you can’t help him when he’s like that.” Turning back to her, Brys asked, “He told you not to discuss that woman, even to him; why did you do it?”
Listening to the horrid sounds below, she could barely think, let alone speak. “I … wanted to help him deal with it … the loss…”
“He’s dealing with it now,” Perrin retorted, glaring back at her.
Abruptly, the terrible caterwauling and destructive sounds ceased. The men stared at each other as the silence lengthened.
“I’m going,” Perrin announced.
“Wait –” Brys shook his head when his lover disappeared, closing the door behind him. “I’m sorry for your plight, Tabitha, I am – but if Mr. Creed kills him, I will harm you.”
In spite of his words and the tension in his voice, his arms stopped holding her so uncomfortably tight.
Exhausted and miserable, she wilted against his chest. “You won’t have to; Creed’s going to splatter me as soon as he scrapes enough of his brains together to remember that he wants to.”
~ ~ ~
Days of silence and fear had turned her numb as she waited in the small suite. Brys would only give her a sliver of news here and there; Perrin wouldn’t tell her anything. From what little she’d gathered, it had been a struggle to get Creed back upstairs to his own bed; he’d apparently spent the first two days in his servants’ bed at the other end of the rambling mansion.
“Brys said Creed ‘wasn’t well’ – the man has a healing factor, what the hell does ‘not well’ mean?” Not well mentally, she thought, and swallowed. She’d sent messages, but odds were they hadn’t made it to him.
With nothing else to do, she got into the suitcases Perrin had moved into her room and started hanging things up if they were really fancy, or tossing them in a laundry pile. All of the shoes had heels and everything had a hard-to-pronounce label somewhere.
Then she’d found the address tag stuck in a small inner pocket of one of the bags and all she could do was sit on the bed and stare at it. Tears wouldn’t come – she’d shed too many.
“Fiona Cavanagh. Who were you?” Crumpling the tag in her fist, she bowed her head. “I’m so sorry. So many things, if I’d done them differently … you’d still be alive, maybe.”
The door opened after Brys’s habitual soft knock. “Tabitha? He’s asking for you.”
“Oh, God, Brys – is he … angry?”
The older man studied her a moment, his expression unreadable. “He is … tired. I wouldn’t bring it up if I were you, however. Come along.”
In a small voice, she said, “I didn’t think he could get ‘tired’.”
“He hasn’t eaten. If the healing factor isn’t fed, especially after he’s taken damage, it can’t –”
“Damage? I didn’t hurt him – nothing that stuck, anyway. Did Vaughn…?”
“Don’t worry about Vaughn. Mr. Creed can hear us and you need to hurry.”
Wishing she could melt into the floor, she followed. “He’s dead, isn’t he – and it’s my fault.”
“He was a very stupid man and he paid for it. Quickly, now, while he’s still awake.”
Brys opened the double doors to the dim master suite. The fire was burning low, but no other light interrupted the gloom. A soft growl threatened them from the foot of the bed, but she recognized it as the snow leopard. Her long shape showed in silhouette before she slipped away to jump out of the open window.
“Mr. Creed? I’ve brought her.”
Perrin spoke from the bed, “He’s drifted off. Let her wait at the table.”
Tabitha sat in the chair Brys pulled out for her, her nerves tight as wire.
“Be still – and quiet,” he said, and returned to the doors. “Should I wait outside, do you think?” he called softly to his partner.
“In the kitchen; I’ll call on the intercom if he wants anything.”
No one is telling me to be careful. What if what he wants to eat is me? In the dark over the bed, she heard another growl: low and menacing. To her surprise, the unmistakable sound of lips on skin followed. Stunned, she thought, He’s in bed with Creed.
“Come here,” the slaughterhouse rasp ordered.
He sounds so … drained.
“Tabitha?” Perrin called. “Mr. Creed is speaking to you.”
She almost apologized, and then bit her lower lip as her pulse jumped. Rising slowly, she came closer to the growl as it sounded again. His narrowed eyes appeared, tilted strangely, in the blackness close to the surface of the bed. Their glow was weak.
“Ain’t got long before we hafta go t’ Vancouver. Ya got all tha teachin’ yer gonna from me on yer bombs. Go t’ tha study – leave tha door open. There’s a map, blueprints, on the desk … study ‘em.”
“Okay; I will. Victor, I’m –”
“Don’t ya dare say yer sorry t’ me; might change my mind ‘bout lettin’ ya live.”
Holding herself tightly, she looked down and nodded. Afraid to leave without specific permission, she asked, “You want me to do that now?”
When he answered, she realized instantly that he wasn’t talking to her anymore.
“Do it again – deeper.”
“I will,” Perrin said, “but you’re … still bleeding.”
“Don’t much care.”
Tabitha wanted to run, but forced herself to move slowly. She groped for the sliding door as Creed grunted behind her, his breath coming short and fast.
One glance back as the opening door to the study let in more light, and there was no doubt; there weren’t even any covers over them to hide the sight of the dark stains creeping across the dull gray silk sheet under Creed’s hips. He was lying on his stomach and there was something strange about his ribs, but she told herself it was only the shadows.
With a metallic flash, the small surgical blade in the young man’s hand sank into the muscle of the thigh. Creed’s lips peeled back in a silent snarl as Perrin mounted his back, but his weakly glowing eyes watched her as she stared in shock at the line of small and dripping wounds above the blade.
Tearing her gaze away with a gasp, she retreated to the desk and fell into his huge chair so roughly that the heavy thing turned a little. Moving it back, she looked down at the spread of blueprints, maps, and other documents – but all she could see was the little blade and the blood that dripped from wounds that hadn’t closed.
Propping her elbows on the papers, she let her head sink into her hands and tried to cry without a sound.
~ ~ ~
Tabitha had remained in the study most of the time, either sitting working at the desk, or trying to fitfully sleep on the couch. She had marked time only by seeing Brys come and go, bringing trays to her and into the master bedroom. She tried to eat and tried to keep it down, but often had to go to her room to be sick. Stepping into the master suite or disturbing them in any way was out of the question, so her bathroom was a refuge for her tears, as well.
Forty-eight hours had passed, give or take, since he’d told her to study the job. The silence was broken often by Perrin’s voice from the bedroom – calling him Victor, speaking in French, and sounding more like a lover than a servant – but she only heard animal noises from Creed.
Several times in the night, she had heard sounds that could only be the two engaged in sex, but it was obvious that Creed was wounded and remained silent and still beyond hisses and growls.
In the morning, she could hear them again, but she winced at the sound of Creed’s low voice urging the other man to hurt him. Fingers shaking, she stared for hours at the maps and plans and one college textbook on chemical engineering.
When she finally closed the textbook, she heard Perrin asking Creed to take it slowly, and then the sound of claws began to click on the floor of the bedroom.
Tabitha didn’t move when his shadow fell over her, blocking the lights she’d turned on to study his papers. His claws brushed through her curls, three shorn pieces of them falling like gold threads around the map.
“Can ya see tha best places fer yer bombs?”
“A few,” she whispered. “Do they want it all knocked over?”
“‘Down t’ tha chickens’ was tha plan.”
Head down, she turned the chair to face him. “Victor, please … let me –”
“No. Ya disobeyed me, frail. Only reason I ain’t killed ya, is cuz Vaughn took yer hits. Didn’t plan it – didn’t fuckin’ know it happened – ‘til I came back from it.”
Swallowing bile, aware she had nothing left to throw up, she shivered under his stare.
“Are you … healed up now?”
Looking up at him, she took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean for it to –”
His open palm struck her mouth; the blow, light for his strength, knocked her back in the chair. She froze there, afraid to move, and stared up at him as she licked her lip, tasting blood.
“Told ya not t’ try sayin’ that shit.”
He was dressed in the black drawstring lounge pants and his abdomen and chest were streaked with blood. The wounds were closing slowly as she watched.
“Ya sounded like Cueball downstairs, did ya know that? Playin’ God like ‘im, too. Not even worth tellin’ ya t’ shut up ‘bout ‘er, is it? Gonna tell me how I’m worth savin’ cuz snappin’ ‘er neck saved tha world? Got news fer ya, frail: didn’t do it fer tha stinkin’ offal world. Did it cuz she woulda been afraid, woulda been in pain – an’ I promised t’ keep ‘er safe. If keepin ‘er safe meant blowin’ up tha whole fuckin’ planet, I woulda done it.”
Victor backed away from her, eyes closed tight. He bumped into the coffee table, nearly knocking it over, and shifted. When his legs hit the couch, he tumbled down into it in a boneless sprawl of misery. He lay still a moment later with one forearm flung over his face, the metal claws gleaming in the bright overhead lights.
Tabitha sat up, watching his lips move in a growl before words formed there again.
“I woulda done … anythin’…”
“It wasn’t your fault,” she whispered, “it was done to her – the infection.”
His other hand lifted, palm up, entreating her. “Tabitha…”
She rose on shaking legs and approached him. “I’m … afraid, Victor.”
Under the flung arm, he shook his head. “Don’t… I won’t harm ya. Come here, girl.”
Holding her breath, she sat on the bit of couch not covered by his body. His arms moved, the sharp-tipped fingers reaching for her. She closed her eyes and felt him pull her over him until she was lying on top of him on her belly. One heavy arm rested against her lower back, effectively trapping her there.
Opening her eyes warily, she saw his head thrown back. His eyes were still closed, his throat bared – vulnerable. The choker was stretched over the muscles at the base of his neck and a few of the teeth on it were chipped.
She almost spoke, but then realized that he had passed out. Under her hands, a few deep cuts in his chest still oozed blood and she wondered what had happened down in the double parlor to deplete his healing factor that much.
All at once, a terrible thought slid into her mind as she looked back up at his face – and his unguarded throat.
The heavy-duty defenses of the house were turned off for the sake of the snow leopard. It was quiet in the bedroom and the hall; the men must have gone deeper into the master suite, or even downstairs. She was warmly dressed; the heavy coat that had been the hunter Ron Snyder’s was on the bed in her room just one door away.
Her power buzzed in her body, replenished and ready, and Victor Creed had been wounded … hadn’t eaten in days. Sabretooth was laid low … weakened…
Oh God, I can’t! Stop, stop it now! He’ll smell your fear, he’ll feel you shaking. Breathe – be calm, be still. She took slow, deep breaths. Reaching for anything to alter her scent, she forced herself to feel the hard press of his muscles under her, thinking about how he’d made her body writhe. Abruptly, she stiffened. What if it’s a test and he’s pretending? Oh, shit, I can’t do this alone! Her muddled brain jumped at the thought of crying out for Professor Xavier, but the idea caved in on her in an instant. What if he doesn’t answer? A crushing fear and helplessness washed over her. Jean, Emma, even the Stepford Cuckoos – Psylocke. Why not Psylocke? Then Victor’s words came back to haunt her, ‘Maybe they knew an’ didn’t care?’
One small hand fisted, hovering over the man who had made her life a living hell of terror and confusing heat, of horror and despair.
I can hurt him bad, really bad – and then run like hell. He’s weak; he’s still bleeding. This might be the only real chance, ever! She licked her bloody bottom lip, trying to fuel her anger and hate. Slowly, lying as still as she could, she began to gather the power inside her hands.
A low growl almost made her yelp aloud, but it wasn’t thrumming under her – it wasn’t him. Stunned, she looked toward the open sliding door. Framed by the darkness of the master suite, the snow leopard crouched there, her thick tail lashing. The eyes were flashing green in the light from the study, wide and eager.
She can smell it, just like he can, and she’ll jump me to defend him.
Her throat tightened, panic choking her as tears threatened. The cat had killed for him before – Perrin had told her about it, about the wounds in the man he’d dragged into the pit. She closed her eyes tight, her spirit frozen and unraveling.
If I attack him now, he’ll kill me. Whatever reason he’s been putting it off for, that would be it. He’d do it, too – because no one knows where I am, and … no one cares enough to come if they did. He’ll drag my body down those stairs and toss me into that pit of horrid, rotting things … and no one will ever know…
The tears welled and she didn’t care when they fell on his chest, making one of the drops of blood there run.
Tabitha’s entire body tensed at the soft sound of his voice. She could feel the stare of both predators: the feline and the feral. The tears became sobs, but she couldn’t look at him.
Fear numbed her when the arm across her back moved to hold her gently. His other hand brushed at her curls. When the fingers touched her tears, she flinched, gasping.
“Hush … be still.”
He wiped the tears away and then pulled her up until her head was tucked under his chin. One hand petted her hair, clawless fingers toying with it, as the other moved up and down her arm slowly, stroking it.
Tabitha couldn’t obey. The sobs and huffing cries felt like they might tear her apart. When he rose and sat up, holding her against him like a ragdoll, she cried harder.
“Tabitha, look at me,” he said, the voice barely above a whisper.
She shook her head, a squeal of fright torn out of her when the fingers held her head, tilting it up. Her body jerked in shock when his mouth touched hers. His tongue was gentle as it licked the blood clean from her split lip.
“No,” she muttered around his mouth. “Please, don’t… Don’t!”
He stopped, but the fingers still held her face. In terror, sure he would force her under him or kill her outright for defiance, she opened her eyes. His face was bleary in her vision, but the glowing amber eyes hadn’t narrowed to glare at her and the lips weren’t curled into a snarl.
“Cat thinks ya meant t’ do me harm – thinkin’ ‘bout it, huh?”
Unable to speak, she nodded, even as her thoughts spun and screamed. Lying was pointless.
“Decided ya didn’t wanna do it, or didn’t wanna risk it?”
Wilting when his fingers released her and having nowhere else to fall, she fell against his chest, her sobs taking her over.
“Didn’t wanna risk it,” he answered for her. His massive arms were loose as he held her, resting his chin lightly on her hair. “Ya were right before – I was havin’ a stray notion or two ‘bout keepin’ ya … right ‘bout it not workin’, too. I know that – not as dumb as I look.”
Tabitha tried to calm down, to stop crying. He wasn’t hurting her and he’d stopped when she asked him to. Swallowing hard, she was alarmed at the brittle sound of her voice. “You don’t look dumb – you’re beautiful – but you’re not … well. I can’t live like this, afraid of being murdered every day… You’re even dangerous in your sleep.”
“Beautiful?” he whispered.
Half afraid he was mocking her, she pulled back a little to look up at him. “Yes. It’s not fair … but you are. If you were different, healthy … sane – I…”
“I can’t shake tha thought that … Bonnie … was doomed – with me, even if I’d been able t’stop tha plague. I wake up in a rage sometimes an’ tha blankets – hell, tha whole fuckin’ bed – is in pieces. She was in shock, from bein’ hunted an’ … everythin’ else. When tha heat was off, what tha hell could I do with ‘er? Set ‘er up in one o’ my safe houses an’ wait fer tha day she decided t’ gimme lip over tha shit frails always get fussed over? Girl had a spine, had spunk – woulda happened sooner or later. I promised t’ keep ‘er safe an’ I meant it – but like ya said, I ain’t ‘well’.” With a huff of breath, he tossed his head onto the back of the couch and watched her as she stared at him. “Even if I didn’t whack ‘er by mistake, scores o’ folks woulda been gunnin’ fer anyone they knew I gave a damn ‘bout – after they quit laughin’ at tha guy that told ‘em so.”
“She would have been safe in one of your houses,” Tabitha whispered. “This place could embarrass Fort Knox.”
“Ya didn’t see tha house in Vancouver get pulled half down ‘round my ears when Creed Junior’s men came callin’. Push comes t’ shove, darlin’, tha best defense ain’t offense – it’s secrecy. Once they know where I’m holed up, they can see what’s needed t’ blast it apart. If tha safe house ain’t known, they got squat.”
“I know where this safe house is,” she said, her voice dull and flat.
Stunned, she muttered, “You’re forcing me to stay.”
He growled, the noise making her wince. “Not if ya decide ya want it – fer yerself.”
“For me to do that you’d have to change everything you are – you won’t.”
“I gotta get fitted fer a fuckin’ cape, or no dice? Why don’t ya try my way instead; ya might like it. Ya nearly pasted Vaughn, or did ya forget that?”
“Victor…” She found the courage to touch his face, her fingers stroking the soft sideburn that hid most of the prominent cheekbone. “I can’t become a killer for you; maybe you could give it up – for me?”
The eyes narrowed to bright slits. Lifting her off of him, he dumped her into the couch as he rose and began to pace. Compared to the raw power she’d seen before, she could tell he was still weak. Then she noticed the slight paunch just above the loose drawstring waist of the pants that barely clung to his hips. It was discolored a dark purple-blue. She couldn’t tell if it was a swollen bruise or some kind of internal bleeding.
He hissed at her under his breath. “Who’s playin’ who now?”
“I … I’m not.”
“Yer fuckin’ lyin’, frail. Chuck sunk ‘is hooks in ya years ago, ya can’t think fer yerself one bit.”
“That’s not true!”
“Ya sure Rothenberg sent ya up here, or was it that pious crippled meat?”
“No! I’m not lying, Victor, and you know it!”
“Do it, frail – fuck me up. Ya keep watchin’ me like yer studyin’ where’s tha best spot t’ stick it. Try it an’ see how weak I fuckin’ am, huh? Try it, bitch!”
Watching his back bow – the fists clenched, claws piercing his palms, the teeth bared – Tabitha shrank back and curled into a ball. Tucking her face out of sight so she wouldn’t have to watch him come at her, she pressed her forehead onto her knees and sat there trembling.
The room went silent around her for a long time. She didn’t dare look up until she heard his body strike a wall. He was sliding down it to sit on the floor with his knees up, wrists resting on them. He had winced when he sat, the posture probably hurting the discolored lower abdomen. His claws retracted slowly, the palms bleeding, as his head fell back to lean on the wall. He watched her with heavy-lidded eyes, his expression changed to one of slack exhaustion.
“I’m a mess,” he muttered.
“So am I.”
A small twitch hitched one corner of his mouth into a wry half-smile. “Vancouver, on tha clock; then we go our separate ways, huh?”
“I won’t tell anyone where this house is, or tell them what’s happened; I won’t betray you, Victor.”
“Why won’t you believe me?”
“Ya got white hat fever, girl – whistle blowin’s in yer blood. Now me, I only look good in a black hat.”
“You’d be unstoppable in a cape.”
“With Chuck stickin’ strings on me, pullin’ ‘em any way that suits ‘im? Dunno how tha runt stands fer that; never could wrap my brain ‘round it.”
“I’m not going to discuss them; it just makes you mad. Besides, I’m not a member of the Wolverine fan club, either – or the professor, these days.” Forcing herself to uncurl, she repeated, “I won’t betray you.”
“Ya won’t stay, neither – could give ya a few reasons t’ change yer mind.”
“Yer life’s a trainwreck. I could teach ya how t’ be a real contract gal – protection shit, right down yer alley.”
Holding her gaze, he began to rise. Moving with a grace that defied injury, bulk, and brutality, she was mesmerized as she watched him approach.
“Or just stay here, sit ‘round eatin’ bon bons, I don’t give a rat’s ass.”
“Ya wanted cash – ya can have it all here. Ya got no idea how filthy fuckin’ rich I am.”
“I can’t – not as you are, what you do.”
“Pretend it ain’t happenin’, then – ya X-freaks are real good at stickin’ yer heads in tha sand.”
From where he’d started, the coffee table was in his way. He gripped the edge of it and tipped it over, half pitching it a few feet away before dropping to his knees in front of her. He leaned down to nuzzle her belly; fingers sliding under her, his thumb pressed into her crotch through the jeans.
The tongue flicked out and licked her navel before slipping under the denim waistband. The lips kissed her fluttering skin, his breathing deep, scenting her as his thumb pressed and rubbed, making her body slick so easily.
Yet as his mouth moved, the tip of one protruding bottom fang pricked her ribs, making her gasp. She tried to use it to convince herself that there would always be danger here, in spite of the hunger that flushed her skin.
Tabitha’s hands came down on his broad shoulders. “I won’t pretend; I won’t live a lie while you slaughter innocent people.”
His chuckle was laced with a growing heat that made her wet in a few slamming heartbeats. “Innocent, huh? Darlin’, most o’ tha people I kill fer money are tha same type o’ folks yer old gang o’ capes keeps tryin’ t’ put outta business. Guess what? My methods stick.”
When his fingers popped the button on the jeans, the zip was loud in her ears as her breathing became fast and shallow. One thick finger slid in, crooked, and set her on fire.
“Now ya wanna fuck me – could have that anytime ya wanted, too. I wouldn’t leave ya high an’ dry, or ignore ya. All ya gotta do is walk through a room I’m in an’ ya’d have me droolin’ fer it. Ya let tha cornhusker lie t’ ya ‘bout bein’ too busy – a real man can fill ‘is woman before he leaves – always time fer that.”
Her hands gripped his wrist, but she couldn’t even try to pull the hand away from her. “Are you going to lie and say you’ll be true to me?”
“Ha! What, white picket fence shit? Oscar Wilde had it right: ‘Bigamy’s havin’ one wife too many; monogamy’s tha same.’ How’s this fer a compromise – if I fuck any other skirts, it’ll be rape; that don’t count as cheatin’.”
“Ugh, I’d rather you gave that up, too. I’d have to share you with Perrin, I suppose?”
“Natch, since yer allergic t’ cuttin’ me when I ask nicely, an’ one specific lad in Chicago, I’d wager – I gotta climb on that li’l minx any chance I get.”
“Shut up and fuck.”
His gruff, low laugh melted her. Somewhere in the back of her jumbled thoughts was the fear that she really was going to end up as crazy as he was; she’d gone from being ready to risk mortally wounding the man to urging him to take her again. In between, he’d been prepared to kill her, almost on the heels of asking her to be his – sort of.
His property, anyway. “Wait, don’t shred everything.” The fingers that were pushing up her thick sweater were already growing claws.
“Relax, doll – gonna show ya what I can be … when properly inspired.”
Remaining on his knees, he leaned over her. One hand held the sweater up, the other leaving her open jeans. She gave a soft whine at that and he grinned. Licking her juices off his finger as she watched, he slipped that hand under her and popped the catch of her bra strap.
“Wow – didn’t know you knew how to work those,” she murmured, groaning as his tongue went to work over her breasts.
Head lifting slightly, he groused, “Yer always tryin’ t’ get me t’ talk when I got better things t’ do with my tongue.”
Tabitha covered her face with her hands for a moment before dropping them to his shoulders again so she could watch him pleasure her. The press of teeth made her shiver as it always did, and then his lips claimed her nipple. His mouth was shockingly gentle and what he did made her come within four quick breaths.
“Victor, please … come up here.”
“Nope. Ya threw down a fuckin’ gauntlet, girl – gave me somethin’ t’ prove. That just turned this quickie int’ a longie.” He moved to the other nipple, did it again, and she was afraid she might stop breathing.
Victor slid down, lips kissing her body on the way. It made her writhe, needing him inside – and it scared her, too. Nerves made her babble. “The only quote I know from Wilde is, “‘I can resist anything except temptation.’”
“A genius, that boy.”
“Going to tell me you met him, too?”
“Nope. He was dead before I ever got t’ London. Saw ‘is play in 1913 durin’ a revival they did in tha original theater, though – that Ernest one – laughed my ass off.”
Stunned out of erotic thoughts, she asked, “You go to the theater?”
He looked up at her. “Ain’t got season tickets t’ tha ballet or nothin’, but yeah, now an’ then; lotta shit ya dunno ‘bout me, girl.” Blonde hair hid his face as he went back to licking her into a puddle of boneless goo.
She reached out to touch his hair at his forehead, loving how it seemed to grow straight up before the length made it fall over in messy waves of curling gold. It looked like it was styled that way, but she knew he never bothered beyond a ponytail band or a braid. The lashing tongue wetting her panties made her grip the hair, but the gentle pull only started up his purr.
“How did a murderer like you learn how to do that? You said you usually kill someone while doing them – not much point in learning fancy tricks.”
His purr vibrated on the skin of her belly, nearly making her come again. “Had some teachers I wasn’t aimin’ t’ kill – trusted one or two o’ ‘em enough t’ bother learnin’ some stuff.”
“Yup – wasn’t born knowin’ it all, ya know. That came later.”
She caught up more of his hair, twining it around her fingers. Drawing it away from his face, she tugged it lightly again to make him look at her, ignoring the short growl. “Who were they?”
“Ya really wanna have a chat – right tha hell now? Cuz I’d rather eat yer pussy.” He grinned when the words made her body twitch. “Got tha pussy’s vote, I think.”
Tabitha released his hair and stroked her fingers down his sideburn again, surprised when he pressed into the touch. “Who were they?” she repeated in a whisper.
“A Frenchman here in Canada, tha one with tha cigarettes on tha rails; a London rent boy in tha early 1900s, a tycoon’s wife in Philly after World War One an’ a prostitute in Berlin in World War Two.”
“Huh. No one who hasn’t been dead for over a hundred years?”
“One madam in Chicago, ‘bout twenty years back – ‘nother in Japan before ‘er. Both o’ ‘em are still breathin’ an’ still friends o’ mine. Gonna lemme eat in peace now?”
For an answer, she moved her hand to the top of his head and pushed it down. “I should have my head examined.” She yelped when he grabbed the jeans and shucked them to her thighs, lifting her with the force of it.
“Don’t hold no truck with those mind-witches; most o’ ‘em just wanna screw me over. Don’t seem t’ matter none if they’re telepaths or just shrinks.” One finger slipped under the panties and started to tug at them.
Not about to get onto that topic, she plucked at the finger before the claw came out. “Let me up – I’ll take them off.”
“In a hurry, darlin’?”
Tabitha started to answer, but then he shifted, dragged the panties out of his way and thrust his tongue inside her. She strained to open her legs for him, but his arm and the jeans wouldn’t let her. The restriction of movement made her heartrate jump.
“Oh, my God…”
His chuckle puffed hot breath on her folds before he settled into torturing her in a whole new way. Within minutes, her hands were fisted in his hair, pulling it hard without even noticing as she writhed, bucked, and moaned.
He paused long enough to mutter, “That worked fer ya yet ‘round here?”
“Victor, please – I need you … inside. Now. Rip the damn clothes off and fuck me before I die!”
“Hmm, sounds serious.” He left her all at once, moving so fast that her head spun. Flopping onto the couch beside her, his weight almost tumbled her into his lap. One palm gave her shoulder a playful nudge before he pointed to the space in front of them. “Strip.”
Tabitha struggled to her feet, weaving a little in a daze from rising too quickly. She had to pull the jeans up to walk to where he was pointing. Staring at the bulge of his erection in the soft black pants, she hopped on either foot to tear the boots off.
Meeting his gaze as she dragged the jeans back down and the sweater off, she was stunned at the avid attention he gave her body as it was revealed bit by bit.
Sam used to watch me like that, at the start – once he quit, he never really did it anymore. When we’re like this, Victor looks at me like a starving man watching someone else eat. It’s … so hot. Shaking her head slightly, she swallowed hard. Going bonkers, Tab – stark staring bonkers.
“Wait,” he said, palm out. “Slow down with tha black frillies.”
She had tossed the loose bra after the sweater. When he spoke, her thumbs had been hooked in the sides of her lace underwear. Another woman’s underwear – his victim. You can’t afford to forget what he is, damn it! “They’re sopping – and a little icky,” she protested.
“Yup, with yer juice an’ my spit – ya gotta get over this squeamish shit. Bodies do what they do, no use bein’ all embarrassed ‘bout it – ‘sides, it all makes me crazy.”
“So why are you such a nympho, anyway? I thought I was a slut, but you make me look like a nun.”
Victor threw his head back and laughed and Tabitha smirked in spite of herself.
“Ya ever think ‘bout what’s involved in havin’ heightened senses? There’s five o’ those damn things, right? Sight, hearin’, smell … then taste an’ touch. I’m a sucker fer candy, that an’ eatin’ pussy – better’n a barrel o’ whiskey. Hell, tha boys don’t keep sweets ‘round here, or I wouldn’t get much done. As fer touch, sometimes just walkin’ in pants starts t’ get me goin’. Livin’ hell when yer locked up without a chance fer a whiff, lick, or stick in X-digs, lemme tell ya. Unless some li’l chippie comes ‘round t’ rub on me.” Tossing her a wink, he added, “So lose those an’ get over here an’ rub on me, huh?”
Stripping off the wet lace and dropping it, she stood between his legs. Leaning down, blushing as he watched her breasts, she freed his cock and held the heavy thing in both hands. Not wanting to get caught looking at his abdomen, she flicked a glance at it as if she was merely admiring his cock. The bruise colors were already lighter.
When his fingertips touched the discoloration, she knew she’d been caught. He cut off her attempt to apologize. “Took damage in tha mess with Vaughn, gotta bleeder left in there somewhere. Hafta let it heal slow fer now.”
“Does it hurt?”
“Not enough t’ hinder our fun.” He glanced down at his dick in her hands. “Make ‘im happy an’ I bet I won’t notice it a bit.”
She gave him a smile and bent lower. Her lips kissed the hooded head of it and then she nipped the foreskin with her teeth, loving his sharp intake of breath. “I’m betting I don’t need any lube by now.”
His lips curled into a leering smirk. “Have a seat.”
She got it inside her as fast as her body could take it, her knees splayed over his thighs. It was hard to move, but then he gripped her hips and ground up into her.
“Easy,” she whispered.
“Not gonna punch yer uterus up between yer lungs…”
When the next thrust was smooth and slower, she moaned and tried to clench her muscles around him. The groan he gave her made her bite her lip and then wince.
“Didn’t wanna hit ya,” he muttered, staring at her body as he lifted it over and over, up and down his shaft. “Told ya three times not t’ –”
Reaching out, she pressed her fingers to his lips. “Don’t – I pushed you. I need to learn not to push you.”
“I fuckin’ hate Chuck’s pink steamin’ guts.”
“Um, that’s sexy.”
Meeting her gaze, he stopped his thrusts and pulled her in close. His mouth on hers was gentle, the tongue touching the split in her bottom lip like an apology. “If I coulda got t’ ya before he did – before ‘is politics fried yer brain … what a woman ya’d be.”
Shocked and saddened at once, she pressed her forehead against his. “I still wouldn’t be a killer – it’s not in me.”
“Don’t hafta be – if ya…”
Her hands rose to hold his face between them. “If I … what? Tell me, Victor…”
“If ya stayed … stayed … with me.”
Her heart thumped painfully as she embraced him. His arms around her were like steel beams. He nuzzled her neck, a growl that could have been hunger or frustration sounding low at her ear. She felt the lips on her neck, and then the teeth.
“Wanna … taste ya…”
Tabitha’s pulse jumped, her heart hammering in her ribcage, but she couldn’t ignore the heat that flooded her body at the thought of his fangs. He shifted slightly beneath her and the movement nearly made her come.
“Tabitha… Need it…”
“Please, Victor – make it … careful.”
The fangs were so sharp that at first she didn’t even feel them break the skin. He pushed them in just a little, slow and easy, and pushed his cock up deeper at the same time without moving his upper body at all.
“Victor … oh … it feels … so…” She was bleeding, but he caught it with his tongue. The noise he made when she relaxed and surrendered to his bite rolled her right over the edge. She heard his sharp sniff, knew he was getting off on the scent of her pleasure as much as the feel of her, the taste of her … and it ratcheted that pleasure up another few notches. “Don’t stop … harder,” she urged, crying out when his mouth left her.
She stared at the sight of him licking her blood off of his lips. “Can’t get too int’ that, darlin’ – I ain’t known fer my restraint, remember?”
“I … I liked it.”
“Noticed that, actually.” His smile was slight and almost … shy.
Tabitha stroked the backs of her fingers down his sideburn, leaning her head in until his lips kissed her forehead. “Victor?”
“Please fuck my brains out now.”
Another growl rumbled up from his chest as he grinned fiercly at her. She smirked at the eager sound of it, realizing that she was starting to be able to tell the difference between anger and pleasure in those beastial noises.
He picked her up off of him just to lay her out beneath him and once the piston motion began, his relentless thrusts drove her right out of her mind.
~ ~ ~
“Oh, man – you’re really heavy and the floor is not comfy…”
Victor grunted and rolled until she was lying on him. “Better?”
“Much,” she answered, leaning down to kiss him again. “I’m not even sure how we ended up down here. That might have come close to ‘making love’, if it weren’t a touch kinky.”
“Kinky’s my middle name.” In a flash as he studied her face, his smile slipped away. His expression was almost vulnerable, making Tabitha hold her breath. “Tell me again this ain’t some elaborate scheme; tell me Cueball Xavier didn’t send ya up here t’ lure me int’ ‘is kennel o’ costumed monkeys.”
“It had nothing to do with him. I was screwed up enough to take a job from a creep and stumbled into you. Besides, I wouldn’t be a good enough lure for that, anyway.”
Victor’s soft laugh made her hungry again. He was ready, too, and she wouldn’t have to wait long. “Yer kiddin’, right?” he whispered into her ear. “If Chuckles had a hot an’ wet snatch like yers, I woulda been marchin’ with ‘is X-chumps decades ago, just a happy li’l critter on a chain.”
“I remind you of her, or you wouldn’t have bothered with me this long.”
“Ya do, an’ ya might be right; plus, ya can defend yerself against folks who’re always lookin’ t’ mess with me. Yer brainwashed, but I can overlook that – if ya ain’t playin’ me fer a chump, here.”
“I guess I’m supposed to overlook your habit of going through horrid social taboos and felonies like other guys change their underwear?”
“Natch. ‘Sides, I don’t wear underwear.” He rolled her off of him, grinning at her protest. “Get up over tha couch. I can burrow deeper int’ that tight fuckin’ heaven if yer bent in half, holes up.”
She obeyed, panting and shameless with her ass in the air. “Come on,” she urged. “Make it rough; I want to feel your strength.”
“Every drop o’ it’d split ya, girl.”
“I don’t care.”
“Mmm, likin’ that on ya, Tab.”
When he shoved inside, his cum their lube, she almost screamed.
His weight came down over her back, hips thrusting hard and rough. “Let it go, darlin’ … lemme hear ya scream fer me…”
One more thrust, another – and she did scream, losing her senses in lust for him.
“Shouldn’t you eat to heal? Are you being stubborn or what? Brys told me you usually kill a whole tray of meat when you get hurt. I didn’t realize Vaughn still had so much fight in him.”
Victor gave her a searching look and then shook his head. He didn’t know how other people made it through life unable to use their noses one bit. The incident with the flatscan male was still lost in a red fog, but his nose told him that it wasn’t Vaughn who did the damage he’d suffered.
He stretched and settled again, arms flung across pillows where he’d landed after the last round. The skirt was sitting close, her thigh touching his. She was warm, and petting his chest and ribs. It felt far better than his belly currently did.
“Ain’t bein’ stubborn,” he muttered, too tired to be irritated with her questions. “Tha body knows what it needs. Don’t feel hunger, just feel – off, wrong. Gotta be tha stomach … probly fightin’ off peritonitis, too. Obvs, tha abdominal cavity’s still a bit fucked.”
“We should be letting you rest.”
“‘We’ needed a good solid fuckin’ session. Ain’t gettin’ sore, are ya?”
Victor snorted. “Lightweight.”
“Can I touch it?” Her hand moved, hovering over his belly.
The growl was involuntary. “No.” With a sigh for the worried look on her face, he reached for her wrist and shifted her fingers back to the line of fur growing up his torso to thatch and then spread over his chest. “Rub an’ scratch that,” he told her. “That feels good.” When she did, he began to purr.
“I love hearing you do that,” she whispered. “If… If you need to sleep, you can…”
Victor was almost there, but nervous to sleep around her. He drew in a deep breath, scenting the air – and caught the smell of the boy in the study through the open sliding door. It was dark with the fire near the bed down to embers. He turned his head and saw the boy sitting on his desk chair in the pitch black of the study with a pistol on his lap. When that pretty face smiled, nodding to him, Victor let the breath go and closed his eyes. Relaxing the last of the tension in his body, the purr deepened as sleep claimed him.
~ ~ ~
“You said three days.” Her fingers touched the bandages on the side of her neck. One sniff told him the gentle bite was already healed.
Victor sat up, got his feet on the floor, and scrubbed his face with his palms. “We’re goin’ early. Gonna show ya tha flipside o’ me – no surprises, no lies. Ya can make up yer mind on tha other end.”
“You’re ‘filthy fucking rich’, right?”
Before he could get out of the bed, she rose to her knees behind him and draped herself over his shoulders. He growled appreciatively at the feel of her sharp little nipples pressing against his back. Taking her crossed wrists in one hand, he lifted them to his mouth and nipped playfully at her thumbs.
“So … couldn’t you, I don’t know … retire?”
“A man in his prime?”
“You’ve had plenty of primes by now, more than most people get. Point is, you don’t need to kill for money if you already have all the money.”
“Point is, I enjoy what I do.”
“Well … what if you only whacked bad people?”
“Ooo, a compromise on Chuck’s high’n mighty moral code? Gonna get yer hero badge revoked if ya ain’t careful.” He took stock of things and realized to his mild surprise that he was both hungry and willing to eat. A glance down showed a smooth, flat belly with no scent or sign of injury. “Off,” he told her, releasing her wrists. “I want meat.”
“You’re hungry? Finally!” She moved to sit beside him and didn’t reach for anything to cover up with.
“So why don’t ya make yerself useful – go scamper down an’ tell Brys t’ bring up a tray? Pile o’ caribou fer me, an’ hero Wheaties fer ya, so ya can polish yer white hat after fuckin’ me nonstop.”
“There was a stop; we slept for a few hours. I’m still amazed that you don’t snore – Wolverine snores like a buzz saw.” At his arched eyebrow, she winked. “So I’ve heard.”
Victor grunted and rose. “Chalk it up t’ clean livin’; speakin’ o’ which, gonna wash tha stink off. Feel free t’ join me – after tha breakfast order.”
“Why don’t you just show me where the intercom is?” She got up and stretched. “I know you can call the kitchen from here.”
“Yer tha one that needs t’ exercise, remember? Hit tha stairs.”
She huffed at him. “Winding the sheets up with you all day and night is worth a month’s workout, dude.”
He watched her hunt for her robe and thought about sticking her when she bent over to pick it up from under the table. Catching sight of a gleam of light from the mantel, he stared at the crystal box a moment before shaking his head and walking off.
The shower was nearly done when the skirt reappeared. She didn’t open the door and he didn’t either. She sat on the dais steps in her robe and studied her fingernails.
“What is it now?”
“Liar.” Rinsing his hair again, he spun the taps and turned off the water. Opening the glass door, he stepped out to take the folded towel she offered. “Perrin give ya a hard time fer monopolizin’ me?”
“No, it was Brys –”
“Thought he liked ya.”
“Yeah, he seems to… Look, he told me – what they found in the double parlor.”
“Lemme guess – yer plannin’ t’ cry over that rat-fuck Vaughn? He woulda plugged ya if he coulda, ya know that.”
“Victor … don’t you know?”
“Spill it, girl – spill it or drop it.”
“They found … parts, hunks … of you.”
Victor glared at her as his mind backtracked, trying to see inside that red haze. “Ain’t got no memory o’ it. Perrin came down, did ‘is best t’ make me feel better. Did I carve off anythin’ ya wanna keep, as a souvenir?”
“He wouldn’t talk to me about you, but he told Brys, and Brys told me.”
“Gonna play ‘I gotta secret’? Drawin’ a blank, here.”
“When you wanted Perrin to – help you –”
“T’ fuck me, girl – learn t’ say tha words, huh?”
“You were hurt, badly – all carved up.” She took a breath, huffed it out, and plain lost it. “Big hunks of meat, of you, on the floor! You gutted yourself… Limbs clawed up and meat cut off! Brys said they could see your metal bones in places, damn it! Victor, you cut your dick off!”
His ears pinned. “So ya got somethin’ unique t’ remember me by. Ya could take it t’ a taxidermist – get tha Guinness World Record fer tha weirdest dildo in history.”
“How can you joke about that!”
“It grew tha fuck back! What’s tha big bloody deal? Ya been playin’ with my dick plenty – so it’s a fresh one, what diff’rence does it make?”
“What difference…” Stricken, she wilted. “I did that to you; by talking about her – I made you do that.”
“Some o’ yer teammates’d be pattin’ ya on tha back fer that, huh?”
Victor’s eyes narrowed, a snarl starting to lift his lip. “Ya might wanna dial that down a tad, frail. Gettin’ uppity ain’t healthy.”
She came to him, tears gathering in her big blue eyes. When she reached for him, he drew her in and held her.
“I’m so sorry I did that. I didn’t know and it’s … just awful…”
“Yer really fussed ‘bout it, ain’t ya?”
Leaning back in his arms to look up at him, she was stunned. “Of course – it must have been terrible. You … really don’t care?”
Sighing, he pressed her into him, his fingers stroking her curls. “Don’t remember it, darlin’. Ain’t tha first time I went after myself in a red fit. Lotta shit stuffs itself int’ my nightmares, but ain’t no sense borrowin’ extra, is there?”
She shuddered, muttering against his chest, “That shouldn’t mean it doesn’t matter…”
The skirt slowly relaxed for a few moments, but it didn’t take long for her back to stiffen with a fresh irritating question.
“If you don’t care, why get so angry the first time I tried to apologize for it? You cared enough to hit me, then.”
“Wasn’t up t’ snuff then. Ya don’t get teamed up with tha runt at all, do ya?”
“No. I’m in the little league; he plays for the majors.”
“Thing ‘bout ferals – we get cagey when we’re knocked off our game. Corner a wounded or trapped beastie an’ yer askin’ fer a world o’ hurt. Didn’t need t’ know what I carved off t’ know tha body wasn’t healthy. It’s workin’ on comin’ back t’ top condition, better post breakfast, no doubt. So now I’m feelin’ more like my head’s on straight – relatively speakin’.”
“You’re a very confusing and dangerous puzzle, you know that?”
“Maybe ya should read up on mental disorders instead o’ history books, huh? They don’t call me ‘psychotic sociopath’ as a cuddly pet name.”
“Why don’t you want to fix it – to get better?”
“Ain’t tha flu, girl – it’s what I am.”
“What they made you.”
Growling, Victor let go and stepped past her. Tucking the towel around his hips, he let his hair drip and walked off. The smell of meat was growing stronger outside the double doors.
“Don’t start that shit; it’ll only end in tears – yer tears.”
Brys was setting the heavy tray on the table as he returned to the bedroom. Apparently, he’d opted for eggs and bacon for the skirt.
Musta been fresh outta hero Wheaties. “I’m gonna get tha jet cleared t’ land in Faro,” he told his servant. “When this job’s done, I’ll be comin’ back here first fer tha cat.” As the skirt walked up, he added, “With or without Roy Rogers.”
“Roy Rogers?” she asked, frowning.
“Yeah – didn’t Chuck ever educate ya in pop culture?”
She sighed at his smirk. “I know who it is; why are you calling me that?”
“Proverbial white hat, never lost it an’ it never got dirty.” The smirk spread into a grin as he turned back to Brys and sat down at the table. “Skirt’s learnin’ how t’ get nice’n dirty, though, t’ be fair.”
When Brys pulled the other chair out for her, Victor chuckled.
“Thanks,” she said. Eyeing him as he speared a thick slice of meat on two claws, she asked, “Would you at least consider cutting out just a couple of the demeaning sexist nicknames?”
“Nope.” He half-gulped the meat, turning his head to shear it down and swallow it.
“So your social skills are doomed to match your table manners, huh?”
Not sure what was more amusing, her sass or Brys’s shock, Victor leaned his elbows on the table and flashed another grin. Piercing a second slice with a claw, he wagged it at her.
“If ya wanna bask in ‘social skills’, ya’d best keep walkin’. Ya can always crawl back t’ tha cornhusker an’ let tha cobwebs stuff yer slit – but I’d bet he ain’t got manners much better’n mine. Least here, yer pussy ain’t goin’ hungry. Or tha rest o’ ya. Now use that hole in yer face t’ shovel grub in an’ lemme eat in peace.”
~ ~ ~
Victor stood in front of the mounted head of a hippopotamus. Beside him on the other wall, a rhino stared with glass eyes. Stretching out into the gloom of the narrow hall, other things were mounted on plaques, and some of the trophies still held the weapon they had once tried to kill him with. The boy had paused on the top stairs behind, respectful of his delight in past conquests.
“Ya know these beauties kill more tourists than all tha other beasties in Africa.” He didn’t expect a reply and didn’t get one – the boy had heard all of these stories. “He surprised me an’ wouldn’t give it up – ‘til I surprised ‘im back.” Moving on down the hall, he snorted. “Gotta bring back some new ones, if anythin’ interestin’ comes along.”
“What about the girl?”
Victor chuckled. “She’d look good on tha left by tha Hand ninjas, huh?”
“Yes, actually – but I meant, did you intend to bring her here as a part of this proposed tour?”
“Naw, gotta game afoot an’ that wouldn’t wash.” As he passed a mounted pair of large hands holding an axe, he let a claw strike and chime off of the sharp blade. “Need t’ show ‘er tha softer side o’ yers truly.” Turning to display a spreading grin, Victor winked at him. “Just tha hangar, maybe tha arsenal – scrapper like ‘er might be more impressed with guns than Prada boots an’ diamonds.”
“Brys asked if you might be growing fond of her.”
Victor had started off again, but the boy’s carefully casual words sparked a low growl in his throat as he stopped, the muscles of his back and shoulders tensing. One hand curled as the rest of the claws slid out.
“What’d ya say?”
“I told him he was mistaken.”
He didn’t move or react when the small hands touched his back to stroke the taut muscles, the short fingernails brushing through the fur there. His scent was spiced with pheromones.
“When you return for the leopard, will you leave right away for Nepal?”
Victor watched one of the hands as it slipped around his hip to experimentally tug at his wide leather belt. The growl turned guttural as the scent of want lured his cock away from his planned agenda.
“Probly will – gotta schedule t’ keep, boy.” Victor grinned, fascinated by the willing heat of his servant. “If ya wanna rip off a piece now, we can keep tha skirt waitin’ a bit longer. She’s cute when she’s pissed.” He put his back to the wall between two trophies and began to open his jeans.
To his surprise, the boy walked past him to continue down the hall. “She can suck you later; I want you to fuck me.”
Victor watched him as he turned to enter the main control room. Memory flashed, an image of the small French Canadian lifted out of his chair years ago to be flung on the massive leather couch at the back of the room. Clothes torn open and pale skin scratched, he had moaned at the feel of the claws. The sight of the flat black plastic end of the plug the boy had been impaled with had shocked him.
Shaking his head, he followed to find the boy quickly stripping away his clothes, leaving them scattered by the head of the couch.
“We havin’ a reminisce?”
“I never know when you’ll return … give me your marks before you go. Please, Victor…”
“That butt plug ya had in tha first time, biggest fuckin’ thing I ever saw. Ya planned that.”
“You liked it.”
One eyebrow arching up, Victor scented the air, sifting through the pheromones and smells of leather, stone, and metal – and plastic. The grin returned to split his face as he approached. “Reminisce it is. Down on yer face, boy – ass up, now.”
The boy gasped when the claws barely missed flesh to grasp the flat black plastic of the plug. Setting his other hand on the stomach that heaved with quickening breaths, Victor let his fangs stroke down the smooth back.
“Gonna rip this thing out rough; do ya remember yer lines?”
With no more warning than that, he yanked and growled in heat at the scream he tore from the boy’s throat. Admiring the heap of gasping flesh and the gape of the body cavity the plug had readied for him, he barely managed to strip without shredding his jeans.
Nothing more than spit on his cock eased the way as he sunk deep in one thrust, a knee in the couch, the other foot’s claws scoring the stone floor as he gripped the hips. Claw points stabbing in, he took what was offered and gave what was asked.
Curling his body, he leaned down to let fangs gently grasp the boy’s shoulder a moment before whispering in his ear, “I might just kill ya one o’ these days ya know; best not t’ think yer safe. Ain’t never safe with tha likes o’ me…”
“I want to be fucked by you … cut and bit by you,” he answered, panting between the words, his face a grimace. “If you want my death one day … I still get what I want.”
“Crazy fuckin’ Frenchmen,” Victor muttered, but he couldn’t wipe the smirk off of his face. “Don’t go all boneless on me,” he ordered. “Once I blow, yer gonna be next up t’ bat.”
Placing his fangs on the shoulder again, he let them bite in. Blood welled and flowed, caught by his thrashing tongue as his body lurched, driving deep inside the boy over and over. He let the fangs jerk in the flesh and reveled in the fresh scream and the moan of lust that chased it.
~ ~ ~
The exchange of glances between the boy and the skirt put the smirk back on Victor’s face. She took in the thick white bandage on his shoulder that peeked out of his sweater and paled.
“Ya oughta be packin’ heat on this trip, Tab, so get yer ass in here an’ pick outta toy.”
She entered the armory cautiously for a moment before remembering her ragged pride. The chin came up as she approached the center table where Perrin was checking out one of the assault rifles they’d salvaged from the goon squad attack. She had dressed in one of the fancy suits he’d brought her, the skirt just above the knee. Prada boots on and hair shining, she was ready to travel as instructed.
A vague longing sparked a glow in her eyes as her fingers reached out to touch the rifle the boy wasn’t inspecting. Victor could almost see her imagining picking it up and filling his tailored black suit with holes.
“What is that, frail? Impress me.”
“Heckler and Koch G36 5.56mm assault rifle. Pete Wisdom taught me more about weapons in a month than the others bothered to do in years.”
“Ya know more than stats?”
“No. I know how to use it.”
Victor chuckled. “Designed in tha early 1990s, accepted int’ service with tha Bundeswehr in 1997.”
She didn’t seem thrilled with his knowledge of history as her finger stroked down the barrel. “Do I get to lug one of these around? Airport security will love me. We’ll go to third base in a hot minute.”
“I don’t hafta bother with those clowns – rich an’ priviledged, ya know.”
“Of course. So what, a handgun? This one?” she asked, reaching for a Heckler and Koch P9.
“If ya can handle it.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“Didn’t plan t’ bother.”
She picked up the P9, checked that the safety was on and held it in one hand before she started to look around. “This is like a hardware shop in Hell.”
Perrin smiled. “We just call it the armory.”
“You’re fond of diversity, huh?”
Following her gaze over the racks and shelves of rifles and guns and beyond to the spears, axes, and other fun items from other times, Victor grunted. “Collected most o’ these from idiots who came ‘round tryin’ t’ kill me.”
“What is that weird thing with the blades going every which way?” She pointed up at a twist of metal blades with a handle on the back wall.
“Hunga Munga, from Africa. A limey asshole lodged it in my skull … before tha adamantium, natch.” Irritated by the grip of the tie at his throat, he tugged it a fraction looser.
“Huh. Ow.” Turning to face him, she sighed. “When are we leaving? I’ve packed your last victim’s suitcases already.”
“Pretty much now.” He relieved her of the pistol and handed it to Perrin. “Add that t’ tha rest an’ pack ammo fer tha trip. We’ll be in tha hangar. Be ready when I am.”
“Yes, Mr. Creed.”
Smirking again at the look the skirt tossed the boy, Victor gave her a nudge. “Let’s go, darlin’.”
In the master suite with their overcoats on, he let the security device in the hall take a retinal scan and enjoyed her surprise when it shunted up the wall on its tracks to reveal the elevator doors. It also gave access to the hidden door that led to the stone stairs, but he didn’t plan to show her that. What he often called the ‘cat door’ opened to reveal a gleaming steel elevator car.
He smiled when he caught her glancing up at the now lit and humming security device overhead before she passed under it. She managed to shut up for the ride down, and then he noticed her lips moving slightly, as if she was counting in her head.
“Tryin’ t’ determine how far down we’re goin’?” He chuckled when she looked startled.
“We need to be in a basement to leave?”
The car stopped and the doors opened, revealing the cavern hangar. “After ya, Tab.”
“Like hell, you first.”
Victor laughed and the sound echoed as he stepped out. Behind him, she cautiously followed.
Lights in neat rows along the rough hewn walls and ceiling came on as they moved, showing the size of the cave clearly in a few moments. On the vast smooth concrete floor, several toys waited: a variety of vehicles, two helicopters, a small plane, and half a dozen snowmobiles.
Taking it all in, the skirt snorted. “I’m racking up one hell of a fee on that one in front; it was supposed to be a shorter rental.”
“We’re not driving to Vancouver, right?”
“Nope. Yer luggage is in tha black chopper over there.”
Victor turned to face her and stopped, a smile tugging at one corner of his lips. “Ya wanna have it out now, frail? Ain’t gonna listen t’ ya whine an’ bitch tha whole way there over whatever tha fuck yer pissy ‘bout.” When she remained silent, glaring at him, he let the smile stretch. “Lemme guess – ya saw tha bandages on tha boy an’ got yer titties in a twist over it?”
“No.” She crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin. “I don’t care if you stick it in a sheep. We have a deal. I help you blow stuff up and you pay me and let me go. This little ‘go early and spend quality time’ plan of yours isn’t going to make me want to put up a white picket fence around your oubliette.”
With a playful snarl, he moved close, snaking one arm around her waist. His other hand rooted under her skirt, one claw sliding out to slice a neat hole through her undergarments.
She held her breath and wisely kept still until the claw retracted and his fingers invaded her body. Letting her breath go, she whimpered. One small hand moved to touch his forearm, but hovered over it.
“Know what I think, darlin’? I think if I do this right, yer gonna juice all over my fingers an’ moan like a cat in heat fer my fuckin’ dick t’ split ya wide. If I put ya on tha ground an’ pound yer li’l cunt awhile, ya’d put yer white picket fence up ‘round yer asshole an’ beg me t’ fuck that next. Ya think I’m right?”
Her hand closed on his forearm as she began to wilt and stiffen in telling ways.
He made her come fast, yanked his hand free and brought it up to his mouth to lick the wet from his fingers as she stared up at him, panting.
“Ya know, I figure there’s a lot ya don’t need in order fer yer bombs t’ still work. Hell, ya got two o’ lots o’ yer bits: eyes, ears, stuff like that.” Letting her go to either stand or fall on her own, he turned away and headed for the black helicopter near the hangar doors. “Try t’ run in Vancouver, an’ I’ll start pickin’ an’ choosin’ what ya can make do without.”
Her footsteps didn’t immediately sound behind him, but her fear spiced the cold air, mixing nicely with the scent of her wet slit.
“Come along, darlin’; we got us some property damage t’ do an’ a fence t’ build.”
Author’s Note: A bit more slash for the slash fans in this chapter. You’re welcome. (@MET_Fic) – AnonGrimm