Grayline Part 3 – Redemption

By Zee ( ) and Windstar ( ), feel free to send any feedback that you feel like sending.

I know this took a while, and I'm sorry for that, hopefully this will make up for it! Thank you to Fia for her work beta reading this (

Grayline - Part 1

Grayline - Part 2 - The Fallen

Quinn unloaded the contents of her truck onto a pallet.  This really wasn't how she had planned spending her 30's, doing manual labor for barely over minimum wage.  She had not been left with a lot of options however.  She had tried to get reinstated in the department only to have the Chief sadly tell her that she could no longer serve, as she had sold her soul, no matter how noble the reasons.  Her bank account was frozen, her pension denied, and her apartment had been cleaned and re-rented in the months she had been gone.

Quinn had gone to Dianna's bar in hopes of maybe a pity job as a bouncer, only to spy Dianna with her hand inching up some young thing's skirt.  She couldn't bring herself to go in.  Dianna had only cared for her because she'd had no choice with Quinn's soul fragment inside her.  So instead, Quinn had gone to her brother and found herself sleeping on his couch and working a brutal job in a warehouse with his help.  He had promised her nothing illegal went on in this shop and so far he'd told the truth, other than the poker game the guys had on break but Quinn just overlooked those.

Quinn worked and saved money.  Someone, Agent Green, she was sure, had red-flagged her as demon-touched, and now she found it impossible to do much. 

“Quinn!”  A voice shouted at her.

“What's up?”  She grunted setting a box down on the pallet and looked up.

“Freddy's out, his kid is sick. I need you to run some deliveries.  Since you're the only person I have in with a valid license to drive one of the trucks.”

Quinn nodded, taking off her gloves as she went over and took the manifest from him, checking it over.  She paled slightly when she saw Dianna's bar on there.

“Truck's loaded.”

Quinn nodded again and started heading over to double-check the cargo before heading out.


Dianna leaned against the bar top, idly drawing patterns in the condensation from Bob's beer on the polished wood. She found she liked his silent company a lot better these days, more than most of the other patrons of the bar.

Dianna's attempts at driving away the memories of Maggie Quinn had been disastrous. For weeks she'd bedded everything that moved in the bar, only just drawing the line at her employees. She'd had a stream of human women and even a couple men coming and going from her bedroom.

The sex had been good, carnal, fast and hard, exactly as she'd always liked it.

Except… everything was different. There was a hole she could never seem to fill,

no matter what she tried.


Shaking her head from those thoughts, Dianna lifted pale eyes from the bar top to the young man in front of her.

“What is it Jimmy?”

“U-um” he stammered, he'd always been the shiest around her. “Robin's out sick.”

Dianna stared at him, not quite understanding. “Okay, it's a light day, not too much business on a Tuesday night. We'll manage.”

“Uh, yeah, but she normally signs for the deliveries.”

Understanding dawned and Dianna pushed up off the bar, grinning a bit as his eyes flicked to her breasts and then away. There'd been a time when she would have taken a lot more pleasure out of that. Now it was barely worth the effort.

“I'll take care of it.” Dianna patted Bob on the shoulder as she passed.

Quinn parked the truck and hit the flashers.  She jumped down out of the truck and took a deep breath.  She could do this, she could.  She had put it off for last but now she was regretting not doing if first because now it would be over and done.  She cracked her neck and unlocked the back.  She lifted door to the backend letting it roll up and pulled the hand truck out.  There were only two cases left.  Probably imported alcohol.

Muscles popping she lifted the heavy cases out and stacked them carefully on the hand truck.

Dianna stood, frozen for a second, at the back loading door. Surprise kept her there as she realized that the person delivering the weekly order of liquor was not the normal driver. The person delivering the order was Quinn and she couldn't quite figure out how she felt about seeing her again so unexpectedly.

“Quinn,” Dianna managed, crossing her arms over her chest and watching the woman push the loaded down cart towards her.

Quinn paused for a second.  “Theron,”  she said finally.  “I have two cases for you.”  She was staring at Dianna with intent. “Where would like them?”

Dianna ignored the question, pushing off the door frame and stepping down to the ground towards Quinn. “You've been working out.” Whatever softness there had been to Quinn was gone now; she had a lean almost hungry look about her that immediately got Dianna's attention.

Quinn gave a bitter laugh.  “Hauling boxes will do that.  Where's the kid?”  She stood awkwardly seemingly eager to go.

“Violet? She's upstairs, trying to pretend that the world doesn't exist. It's not really working well, but at least she's out of trouble.” Dianna moved closer, circling around Quinn, drinking her up. “Or did you mean Robin? She's sick.” Dianna licked her lips.

“Who's Robin?  I meant Violet.  What's wrong with her?”  Quinn asked seeming concerned.  “Stop it with the look.  I'm just making a delivery nothing else.  Now if you would show me where you want it and can drop it off and go.”

“I can show you whatever you want,” Dianna teased, finally feeling closer to her old self now that Quinn was here. “Probably upstairs would be best, but the storage room's not far either.”

Quinn gritted her teeth.  “Where would you like me to put the crates?”  she said slowly.

“Definitely the storage room.” Dianna grinned wider, watching Quinn's ass as she moved the heavy load of liquor ahead of her. “Nice shorts.”

Quinn ground her teeth some more but maneuvered the load up the ramp and into the back of the bar.  She paused to look around.  The new bar looked almost identical to the old bar.  Quinn identified the correct door and muscled the crates inside to unload them.  Quickly done she removed the ball cap, wiping sweat out of her eyes, and fumbled for the invoice.  “Just need your signature.”

“You avoid me for weeks and now you just barge in here and demand my signature?” Slowly, Dianna took the offered piece of paper, an eyebrow raised. “Just like that and you think you'll walk away?”

Quinn laughed.  “You have some fucking nerve, Theron.  I don't know what game you're playing at.  You got dragged into my shit because we bonded.  Now that you don't have that problem what do you care? You don't, so please don't play games with me, just sign the paper so I can get back to work.  I can't afford to lose this job.”

That hurt, a little bit at least, and both Dianna's eyebrows raised in surprise. Annoyed that she was still apparently taken with Quinn, Dianna signed the sheet, thrusting it back at Quinn. “It isn't always about you, Detective,” she purred. “Oh, that's right, it's former Detective now.“

Quinn gave a tight-lipped smile and took the paperwork.  “Have a good day,” she said stiffly, snagging the hand truck and turning on her heels.

Dianna watched her go, jaw set as she did. It was better this way she tried to convince herself. Yet she couldn't seem to just let Quinn flee like that. “Don't you want to see Vi? The kid keeps asking about you,” she called just as Quinn reached the back door.

Quinn stopped, seeming hesitant. “Yeah, that would be nice.”

Dianna sighed, looking away. She was just going to make things worse if she kept doing things like talking to Quinn. “She's up in the study, you know where it is. I have to take care of a few things down here.”

Quinn nodded. She parked the hand truck by the back door and headed up the steps.


Quinn knocked on the study door. “Vi?”

There was a moment of silence and then the door flew open. Violet leaped out hugging Quinn tightly. “Quinn! You're alive! I mean, of course your alive, but you're here and alive and not hurt!”

Quinn was startled for a moment and then hugged the young woman back. “I'm alive and here,” she agreed. “How are you doing? Things okay with Dianna?”

“Umm, she's different, but she lets me sleep here so she's nice. I didn't want to go back to my parents.” Violet made a face, pulling Quinn into the study. Books were piled around a comfortable chair that Violet had apparently been nesting in. “I like your eyes not red.”

Quinn had to smile at that. “I like them not red as well.” She looked around remembering another time when Lauren had sat and read in a chair in this room. “Have you seen that healer in the Gray? The one that can teach you?”

It was hard sometimes because Vi didn't remember her time as Blue.

“Dianna says her name is Melva, but I don't want to go there. It feels... cold.” She shivered, pulling a blanket from behind the chair and wrapping it around her shoulders. “I like it here. I like the books... some of them are kind of scary but the others are nice.”

“You're a healer Vi, you need to learn how to use it so nothing bad happens to you.”

“I don't want to be a healer; can't I just go back to being a Ballerina? I liked that and people didn't die when I couldn't...” She swallowed, looking away. “I'm sorry. I should have saved him. But I let your father die.”

“Vi, listen to me. You didn't let him die, Agent Green shot him. Some things can't be fixed or healed.” Quinn and Caine hadn't been allowed to the funeral. Their father had been buried in a holy service where the demon-touched were not allowed.

Tearful eyes stared at Quinn hopefully. “So you don't hate me?”

“No. Why would you think that?”

Violet burst into tears. “Because I let him die! I could have reached him, I touched his spirit Quinn, if I'd been just a bit faster or better, or just not me!”

“Vi. Shhhh, don't cry.” Quinn did her best to comfort her. “Vi, the bullet hit his heart, some things even you can't heal. Plus all the drinking probably made him bleed out faster. Vi, all we can do is our best and you did that time and time again.”

“You swear you don't hate me? I don't think I could take it if you did.” The young woman managed when the sobs had slowed. “My parents already do.”

“Because they're idiots. No I don't hate you.”

Sniffling a bit, Violet wiped at her eyes. “Okay.” She managed a tremulous smile, then looked Quinn up and down. “Are you undercover?”

“No. I'm not a cop anymore.” Quinn said bitterly.

“What happened? You were a good cop.” Violet said earnestly

Quinn sighed. “When you lose your soul to a demon regardless if you get it back or not you cease to certain civil liberties. You can not hold an government job, like a police officer, your bank account is frozen as is your retirement, and when you don't pay your rent for a few months your landlord sells all the stuff in your apartment and rents it out.”

“And you're angry at Dianna for being a bit of a slut.” Violet bobbed her head in understanding. “But it's not fair; we worked so hard to get your soul back.” She brightened suddenly. “You could stay here! I can sleep in here and you could have my room.”

“No, I'm not angry at Dianna for anything. It's not... it wasn't her, it was my soul fragment that she had, she didn't want the bond, all of that was just because of that, not because she actually cared about me.... Okay she probably cares, but not that much.” Quinn sighed getting flustered. “It's, okay, I'm staying on a couch at my brothers until I get enough saved up to rent a place.”

“On a couch?” Violet sniffed. “No.” She crossed her arms. “Helga will help me with Dianna, but you're staying here.”

“Vi, stop it. I'm not staying here I can't.” She'd come back twice and both times had been a wake up call watching Dianna with someone else. “But I'll come back and visit you.” Quinn couldn't even give a number because she couldn't afford a cell phone.

“But...” The defiant look died and Violet looked worried again. “I don't know anyone other than you and Dianna, and Helga. Can't you stay here? Please?”

Quinn shook her head. “Sorry Vi, I can't.” She swallowed not liking the fact she was making Vi unhappy. “Look I have Sunday off I'll come by around noon and we'll grab lunch and hang out.”

“Sunday.” Violet nodded, sadly. “Okay.” She forced a smile. “Sunday's good.”

“I'm sorry, Vi.” Quinn reached out and gave her a one armed hug. “I need to get back to work the trucks don't unload themselves.”

“Okay.” Violet hugged her again before letting Quinn go. “Wait!” she called suddenly. “The other woman, the one from the church, have you seen her?”

“Lauren?” Quinn shook her head sadly. “Sorry I haven't. I would guess the DA have her.” And Quinn was now out of the law enforcement loop.

“Oh.” The hopeful look faded. “Okay, see you Sunday, at noon.”

“Uh... do you remember anything about you and Lauren from before?”

Violet shook her head, curling back up in the chair she'd been using with the limberness of her discipline. “Dreams sometimes. There was a dark place, but Dianna won't talk about it. Says it's not something we should try to remember.”

Quinn frowned. “You and Lauren were cute together. So maybe you shouldn't try to remember the dark place, maybe just try to remember her.”

“We were together?” Blue eyes blinked as Violet stared up at Quinn. “Did we...” She flushed hard, pale skin turning red.

“Uh... I don't know and it really wasn't my business.” Quinn didn't know how to tell Violet that she hadn't been all there.

“But we were together? Like girlfriends?”

“Yes.” Quinn was beginning to wonder if she should have said anything. “So why don't you try and think on that and not the Asylum. Okay?”

“I wasn't even sure I liked girls...” Violet whispers, then blinks and nods. “Okay. I'll try, but they're mostly just dreams.”

“Maybe you're too busy thinking you can't listen to what your brain's telling you. It has to wait for you to be asleep.” Quinn's eyes darted to the clock. “Sorry Vi, I gotta go. I'll see you Sunday.”

“Sunday, see you then!” Violet yelled after her.


“You going to run away without saying goodbye to me?” Dianna asked, legs swinging from where she was perched on the rear of the truck.

Quinn sighed. “Theron, what else can I help you with? Was there a problem with the delivery?”

“You were going to run away without even saying goodbye.” Dianna's eyes narrowed. “That's all the thanks I get for saving your soul?”

Quinn gritted her teeth but the woman was right. “I'm sorry, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. Thank you for returning my soul to me.” When Dianna's expression didn't change she sighed. “How can I repay you?”

“By not treating me like I'm some sort of scum you stepped in on the way here.” Dianna said.

“I wasn't treating you any such way. You came out here trying to get into my pants. I was trying to be professional and make a delivery. You're playing all lonely housewife and delivery boy. I'm not one of your cheap fucks.”

“No. That you aren't.” Dianna's lips curled. “You never were.” She turned and started towards the door to the bar.

“Dianna.” Quinn turned watching her, not certain if she'd been put down or flattered.

Dianna stopped at the door, glancing back at Quinn with a raised eyebrow, waiting.

Quinn sat on the back of the truck defeated she didn't have any pride left. “I'm angry at you and I'm sorry I have no right to be.” Sometimes she wished Dianna hadn't saved her.

Dianna stared at the door handle in her hands .”You changed something inside me,” she whispered, her voice harsh. “No matter how hard I try to be like I was I can't. It's all wrong somehow.”

“I'm sorry, I know you didn't want to be bonded to anyone, let alone me. But I've seen you with others, so I can't have changed you that much.”

“Of course I was with others! I'm the daughter of a succubus; they should be worshiping the very idea of having sex with me!” Dianna whirled on her, shouting. “Instead your face is the only thing I can see, your smell is everywhere and none of them taste like you. It ends badly, every time and you're the reason why!”

“But we're not bonded are we? What can I do to make it better?” She owed Dianna that much.

The anger disappeared as quickly as it came and Dianna shook her head, wrenching open the door. “I don't know.” She looked away. “I wish I did.” The door closed behind her.

Quinn took the ball cap off and ran a hand through her hair staring at the door. She remembered everything; every murder in Alevra's name, every steamy sexual encounter with Dianna, all of it. Now Quinn had the emotional mine field to deal with inside herself, just like those that had helped her regain her soul. She wanted Dianna's hands touching her desperately and on the flip side she wished she was dead.


Friday was a cold and rainy miserable day.  Quinn and a few others had actually had to go to the train station and unload. She suspected she'd been chosen to go because the owner was still mad that she had gotten back so late after making the deliveries. 

She took the bus back to Caine's house after work her fingers numb and the scar on her temple throbbed from the cold.  She sometimes thought of leaving and going somewhere else.  Here everyone seemed to know her. People ignored her, glared; and sometimes they muttered curse words her way.  All because she had given up her soul to save her friends, and the soul of her son.  Of course they didn't know that part.  She felt alone and isolated.

Wet and miserable she unlocked the door to Caine's house and stumbled in. She blinked seeing her brother.

“Maggie sorry, but I need you to leave for the evening I have company coming over and its really best if you're not here.”

Quinn's mouth opened and shut a few times.

“I'm sorry about this.”  Caine said.  “There's some money on the counter why don't you go see a movie or two and then you can come home....” Caine paused for thought.  “After midnight.”

Quinn nodded.  She thought about changing but her clothes were already wet and it wasn't like she had that many.  She grabbed the money feeling somewhat like a child.  “Okay see you later,” she said, shoulders hunched forward. She shuffled out the door.


Quinn wandered around before taking the last bus that would run near the Gray.  She would see if Violet wanted to catch a movie with her.

The bus let her off several blocks from Dianna's bar and she got off and started walking.  She felt very much like a ghost in her own town, the town she use to protect.

Halfway to the bar, a mound of ragged clothes, layered upon each other, got up from the street corner on which it had been sitting. “Detective.” The woman's voice was grave as yellow teeth smiled at Quinn. “What chance brings you to the Gray again?” Melva asked, dark eyes watching Quinn walk towards her.

“Melva.”  Quinn said using her most respectful tone.  “It's not Detective anymore, as for what brings me here probably the desire not to feel alone.” Quinn stepped back against the building trying to get out of the wind and rain. “What brings you to this side of the Gray line?”

“I came to play a game with you, Detective Quinn. Just because you are no longer a police officer, does not mean you are not a Detective. That they cannot take from you.” Melva shepherded the shivering woman to a trash barrel that was burning bits of wood and newspapers. An overhang from the roof shielded them from the worst of the rain.

Quinn's first instinct was to say no, but she was curious what Melva would need her help with.  “And what is it that you want me to detect?” she asked hands automatically going out to the warmth of the fire.

The old woman cackled. “I only want to play a game.” From inside the folds of clothes she produced a velvet pouch. “The bones told me you would be here, and they seldom lie. They also said I needed to tell your future.”

The same force of will that kept Quinn from staring at Dianna's boobs kept her from rolling her eyes. “Sometimes knowing the future isn't a good thing.  But tell me what you see.”  Quinn wondered if maybe she should have just gone and seen a movie like Caine had suggested.

Bones, white as snow, poured out of the velvet pouch. They looked an awful lot like human finger bones, covered with small dark runes scratched into their surface. “Give me your hand, Detective.”

Quinn hesitated a second but held out her hand, hoping she wouldn't regret it. It was the most excitement she'd had in a while.

Melva grabbed her hand in a surprisingly strong grip, slicing across Quinn's palm with the edge of one of the bones and smearing her blood upon the white fingers. “Good.” She cackled, letting go of Quinn's hand. “The bones demand a price for what they do.” She squatted down near Quinn's feet, brushing away refuse to get a clean patch of asphalt upon which to thrown down the handful of finger bones.

“Fuck.” Quinn muttered and held her bleeding palm to her chest while she searched her pockets for a tissue. She took a step back but looked down at the woman.  Melva was powerful in her way and Quinn didn't want to piss the woman off and end up a toad.

The old crone hummed as she studied the way that the bones had fallen. “Four futures for the price of one!” she announced, shaking her head in amusement. “Dark futures as a warning to you, which do you want first?”

Quinn sighed, wondering what else could go wrong in her life. “The bad then the good, leave me in the end with some hope please.”

“Your future is wrapped in those of three others.” Melva smirked up at Quinn as the human misunderstood her. “The four futures are not all your own, but I cannot tell who's is which other than yours.” Peering back down at the bones her voice took on another timbre, becoming a little deeper and older as she talked.

“You will die alone, an old woman long before you should be, bitter and broken by the life you have endured. The world will be set against you and nothing will ever be as it should for you. Of the other three, one will die violently at the hands of an insane lover within the year. Another will be locked away from society for being a danger to all those around her. The third will live for a long time, becoming a law unto herself, a great and terrible queen of darkness.”

Grunting, Melva got back up to her feet, grimacing as her knees cracked. “These are you futures if you do nothing to change them.” The bones were scooped up and slid back into their pouch, once again gleaming white as if Quinn's blood had never darkened them.

Quinn blinked. “That was horrible. I feel like I should just go jump off a bridge now.  How does one change the path before them? These things you read in the bones they're not set in stone are they?” She felt like she was in a bad Dicken's novel.

“No. But they will probably come to pass.” Yellow stained teeth smiled again. “As for changing the path, you are the only one who can do that.” She rearranged the rags around her once more. “Goodbye Detective, perhaps I will see you again.”

Quinn was silent for a moment then said. “Violet doesn't remember you. I've tried to get her to go see you and learn from you, but she's scared. Something happened in the Asylum from what I can tell but I don't know what.  But I'll try to bring her out to see you.”

Quinn stood for a moment by the fire pondering the old woman's words.

“She will come to me in her own time.” Melva giggled as she walked away down the street, rain soaking into her rags. “In her own time.”

Quinn started down the street towards the bar again.  Her thoughts heavy and irritated she didn't want to be responsible for the fate of everyone else when she couldn't even get her own life out of the toilet.  

The bar was loud and busy and there was a line to get in.  The bouncer looked at her and she had the feeling she wasn't going to get in.  “Look, I don't need to come in.  Could you just tell Violet that Maggie Quinn is here to talk to her?”

“You a friend of Vi's?” The stone skinned half breed rumbled, holding out one massive arm to keep a frat boy from even thinking about trying to sneak in while he was distracted.

Quinn thought he must be new; all of Dianna's old staff knew her.  “Yeah I'm a friend of Vi's and Dianna's.”  Why she mentioned Dianna she didn't know.

A thick brow scrunched together. “Your name Quinn?” He shifted his head, one finger pushing the frat boy in the chest, sending him and the entire group of friends behind him backwards two feet. “Stay there until I say you can get in, or I'll break you.”

The frat boy quickly nodded, holding his now bruised sternum and the half-demon looked back at Quinn.

“Yes, Maggie Quinn,” she replied. This had been much easier when she wore a uniform. 

Quinn heard whispering behind her and caught the words 'didn't she use to be a cop?  she's the cop who sold her soul.'  Unconsciously her shoulders hunched even more trying to hide herself.

“Go on in. Vi's in the kitchen with Helga.” The stone man moved aside to let Quinn in.

“Hey! We've been waiting in line, you going to let some Ridden freak in before we are?” The frat boy yelled, face going dark with anger.

“What did I tell you?” The bouncer growled, pointing at the young man again, who wilted back.

Quinn felt the words like a slap but quickly entered the bar. 

It was packed and loud and Quinn was instantly uncomfortable.  She looked but didn't see Dianna and wondered if the woman was busy with a pretty piece of flesh.  She tried to remove those thoughts from her head, she had no claim to judge the woman or be jealous. But her legs trembled slightly remembering the way the half-demon had touched her when they'd been together.

She fought her way through the crowd to the back where the kitchen was.

“Quinn!” Violet's smile was wide and sunny as she abandoned her spot by the stove next to Helga and threw herself into hugging the woman. “You're soaking wet,” she said, dismayed, but still hugged her.

As if on cue Quinn sneezed but returned the hug.  “It's raining out and I had to take the bus.  The bus drops you off a couple of blocks away from the bar.”  She sneezed again into her elbow.  “I know it's not Sunday but I thought maybe we could go see a movie.”  The smell of food made her stomach growl and she blushed.  “And maybe some food.”  Although she wasn't certain how much money Caine had given her.

“What? You go pay for food somewhere else? My food not good enough?” Helga demanded, the old German woman already preparing a huge platter of food, pausing only to point with a wooden spoon at the table. “Sit,” she commanded, muttering dark things in her native tongue about idiots standing in the rain.

Grinning, Violet did as directed, pulling up a seat.

“No, no.  Your food is great, but... uh...”  Quinn sat down across from Violet.  She shrugged out of the soaked jacket and hung it on the back the chair she was sitting on.  It was nice to have it off but then she was instantly cold without it even in the hot kitchen. 

“So how is... uh.. your Friday going?”

“I'm learning to cook.” Violet was up and out of her chair like a shot, leaping up the stairs and disappearing after she saw Quinn shiver.

Helga snorted, setting down two platters of food, the largest one in front of Quinn. Which was followed by a very solid looking beer stein. “She barely knew how to boil water.” Helga sniffed, making her way back to the stove and the other orders waiting preparation. “I leave soon, before things get too crazy here.”

Almost as fast as she'd gone up them, Violet hurried down the stairs, jumping down the last five and landing easily, arms full of blankets and sweaters. “Here, to keep you warm.” She shot Helga a slightly annoyed look. “It's not my fault if mother never cooked.”

Quinn looked at the pile in Violet's arms bemused.  “I'll just get them all wet Vi.  I'm...”  She withered a bit as both Violet and Helga glared at her.  “Thank you.”  She kicked off her soaked shoes and socks and found a small blanket that she wrapped around them before taking a sweater.  She looked at Violet and then gestured for her to turn around.  

Quinn struggled out of her wet t-shirt and sports bra.  She didn't really like her body much anymore she was skinny and there were scars that didn't use to be there, reminders of all the evil she'd done for Alvera.  Scars from bullets, knife cuts and from the demon hurling her into a glass cabinet

“Helga, where is the…” Dianna stopped, dead, on the stairs she'd just started down, staring at the half-dressed Quinn in her kitchen.

Quinn's face turned red and she quickly forced her head through the neck of the sweater and pulled it down.  She studied the food in front of her embarrassed.  Finally she managed to squeak out.  “Uh... hi.. Dianna.”

“Quinn.” Dianna blinked. “Uh. Hi.” She stayed rooted on the stairs as Violet looked back and forth between them, looking confused.

“Uh... um... sorry to just drop in on you.  I hope it's okay, I can go if it's a problem?”  Their last meeting had not gone well she still remembered the sharp words between them.  Of course there were Melva's words to consider as well.

“It's fine.” Dianna shook herself. She glanced at the worried looking Violet and then back at Quinn. “Have fun,” she said simply, turning around and going back upstairs.

Scowling, Helga took off her apron, finished with the last of her orders. “Idiot,” she grumbled, shaking her head as she got ready to leave for the night.

Quinn watched Dianna go but she didn't know what to do.  She had asked Dianna how she could make it better and the half-demon didn't know.  She turned looking at Violet and shrugged.  She started to nibble on the platter of food in front of her.  “Thank you Helga.”

“She likes you.” Violet said in a hushed whisper, as if afraid Helga would hear her even after she had left the kitchen. “She badgered Dianna about you yesterday.”

Quinn chuckled at that.  “It will be our secret I won't tell her.”  She tore into the food in front of her suddenly hungry.  “So anything exciting happen since I saw you last?” She asked before taking a sip of the drink Helga had given her.

“I tried to remember more about Lauren, but all I could do was dream about that dark place. Dianna said it used to be an Asylum and that I should never have gone there in the first place.” Lauren poked at her food. “Then I asked Helga yesterday how to make toast and she got really quiet when I said I didn't know how. Today she said she was going to teach me how to cook and that my mother should be ashamed.” Violet grinned, clearly liking that last part.

“She's right, you and Lauren probably shouldn't have gone with us into that place.  But you were stubborn and refused to leave her.  We got separated inside I don't know what happened with you and Lauren.”  Quinn took a longer sip of the beer Helga had given her.  “I met Lauren after her family was murdered - demons.  The more we uncovered the more I was horrified by what that young woman had lived through.  I met you after you saved Lauren's life.  Those same demons came after her again and burned down this bar to get to her.  You hid her so she could be safe.”  Quinn didn't know if she should tell Violet these things, she didn't want the girl to be beholden to a reality she didn't remember.

“Oh.” Violet blinked, clearly not remembering that at all.

“Don't worry kid, I'm sure it will come back to you.” Quinn managed a small smile and took another bite of food.

Quinn's mind wandered as they sat and ate.  Violet nibbled at her food and talked about the new experiences she'd had since coming here.  Quinn had to wonder which of those dark futures was for the seemingly innocent woman sitting in front of her.  All of the women had powers, any one of them could be locked away as a danger, any of them could start to regard their powers as a divine right and rise up like a dark burning phoenix, and any of them could fall pray to a insane lover, even Dianna.  Although Quinn suspected that one would be more for Lauren or Violet, neither of them had a lot of experience with love or sex.

Quinn had to wonder how she, a simple human in comparison to the other three, could change the outcome of the future that Melva saw.  She had no powers and now she had nothing.  Lauren was another mess, how was she going to help her if she couldn't even find her?  A realization hit, Dianna had lost another sister, first the ghost and then Lauren.  Sure they hadn't been connected by blood but still they had made a bond of family.  Quinn felt like a shit.  So wrapped up in her own misery she hadn't seen Dianna's.

“Hey Vi.  I once saved the life of a woman getting mugged she happens to run a dance studio.  We could go by her place on Sunday and see if she has an opening so you could dance?”

“A real dance studio?” Violet looked ecstatic at that thought. “I haven't really danced since…” She trailed off looking back down at her food. “I called home yesterday. Mother's reported me as being kidnapped, she said you people had brain washed me.”

Quinn blinked at that.  “Violet how old are you?”

“Twenty-one.” The shy smile came back. “I turn Twenty-two next week. Dianna said she was going to make a big party out of it.”

“Violet you are legally an adult.  Your parents can't make you do anything.  You need to call the police back in your home town and apologize for your parents.  Tell them that you have not been kidnapped and you're sorry your parents are wasting their time.”  Quinn picked up the stein and chugged the last bit enjoying the lassitude that invaded her bones after finishing the drink.  She was warm, full, and slightly buzzed. 

“It's not that easy, Daddy has a lot of connections.” Violet sighed. “Especially with the church.” Violet shook her head, changing the subject. “I think I remember Lauren though, she was the one that brought me flowers when I was in the hospital. I was really confused when I woke up, and I think my parents had her arrested or something, but she was there.”

“That's a good thing to remember.  She cared about you.  Even if you can't return that same level of care she'd be happy that you remember her, if only just a little.”  Quinn checked the clock it was close to 11 but she had some time even if she did have to work in the morning.

Violet noticed the look and shook her head. “Sorry, I talked so much we never got to go see a movie. Did you still want to? We could watch something upstairs or maybe go to a midnight showing?”

Quinn hesitated.  “We could watch something upstairs,” she said eventually.

“Great!” Violet shot up out of her chair and was heading for the door to the bar. “I'll go get some DVDs to choose from. The screen's in the office, go up and I'll get some hot cocoa. You can't watch a movie without hot cocoa.”

“Uh, okay.”  Quinn said as she was left in the wake of Violet's energy.  She got up leaving her jacket and shirt that were still damp and grabbed the blankets heading up the stairs.  Tomorrow was going to be hard.

She hesitated at the door to Dianna's room wondering if she should knock but then let her hand drop.  There was a chance the woman wouldn't be alone and invading her space to force an apology wouldn't be a good way to start.  She headed down to the office.

“Violet, is Quinn still…” Dianna trailed off, looking up from the sheets of invoices that were spread out on her desk, and finding Quinn there. “Oh, yes you are.”

“Uh, sorry Vi went to get some movies,”  Quinn said lamely.  Looking around the room it was the same as it had been a couple of days ago, except that Dianna was here instead of Violet. “Don't you use a computer for all that?”

“I hate computers.” Dianna groaned, looking back down at the old fashioned ledger. “This was how Sissy did it, so that's how I've been doing it. It's a huge pain in the ass.”

“Its really much easier with a computer and some basic software.  I... uh... could help you. If you wanted?”  Maybe she'd found a way to mend the gap between them.  “I'm not an expert but I had a database for cross-referencing perps and cases, as well as, just for keeping a household budget.”

“You can do that?” Dianna looked just a little hopeful as she twirled a slim fashionable pair of reading glasses in her left hand. “I never… well learned how to use them.” She admitted. “They weren't around when I went to school,” Dianna added defensively.

“Yeah, well no one really knows how to use a computer unless they're social inept, living in their parents basement with no clue what personal hygiene means.  Most of us just guess and stare hopefully at the thing when we hit a button.”  Quinn tried to keep things light between them not wanting to slide into another yelling match.  “I'm meeting Vi on Sunday, we could go to a computer store and get you one and some software for a little extra money they'll install everything for you.”

“But you'll teach me how to use it?” Dianna seemed to relax a little.

“Again I'm not an expert but yes, I could show you how to use the software,” Quinn agreed.

Something close to a genuine smile crossed Dianna's face. “That would be nice. So I'll see you again on Sunday?”

“Yep, Sunday.  Uh, since you're busy in here I can tell Vi that we'll watch movies some other time and I'll get out of your hair.”  She had a long walk to find a working bus stop anyways.

“No, don't let me stop you. What are you going to watch?” The dark haired woman started closing up her ledgers, she really didn't want to stare at numbers that usually didn't make any sense to her any longer. “The movie screen's in here anyway.” She pointed at a section of the bookshelves that hid the large screen tv when it wasn't in use.

“I don't know.  Vi was going to grab something.”  She didn't care really; it just put off a long walk in the rain .  “You're welcome to stay if you want.  Although I'm sure your busy it being Friday night and all.”  It was awkward, this conversational dance they were doing, but they were trying and she could live with that.  “Uh, Dianna, I really am sorry for the way I acted.  I'm... I just did a lot of stuff I'm not proud of and it's taking a long time to work through.”  Why did she say that?  Why couldn't she keep her mouth shut?  Things had been going well.

Looking away, Dianna shook her head, obviously thinking. “I…” She trailed off as Violet came in, triumphantly holding up several DVD cases.

“I have comedy, drama, although I think we have enough of that, and action. I vote for comedy.” The other hand held a huge bowl of popcorn. “And the hot cocoa is almost ready.”

“Comedy sounds fine Vi.” Dianna said.

“Comedy works for me.”  Quinn replied, although she didn't really like comedies.  She moved over in front of the screen and made a nest of blankets on the floor and stretched out making a happy noise as her back and shoulders popped.

Once Violet had made certain that everyone had their cocoa and a sizable pile of popcorn she started up the movie.

One minute Quinn was watching the movie the next her eyes had closed and she was asleep, snoring softly through her stuffed up nose.

#### ####

“Should we wake her up?” Violet whispered as they were shutting off the TV after the movie was done and gathering up empty cups. Dianna shook her head in answer, dumping out what was left of the popcorn.

Violet had seemed to enjoy the movie, thoroughly involved in the romantic comedy that she'd somehow found in Dianna's DVD collection, but Dianna had almost immediately lost interest, instead watching Quinn thoughtfully as she lay on the floor in front of the big screen.

 “Let her sleep. I'll drive her where she needs to go in the morning.” Dianna stopped next to the sleeping Quinn, drawing a blanket up a bit higher over the thin woman. Her fingers hesitated, just shy of brushing red hair from Quinn's face, the urge to touch her stronger than she'd expected. Almost as strong as the urge to make sure that Quinn would sleep well that night.

But that could start them back down the path of being bonded again and Dianna didn't dare. So instead she drew away quietly, leaving the hall light on and Quinn to her dreams.

####### #####  

Quinn was breathing hard, he had led her on quite the chase, but it was done now.  His eyes were red like hers, a puppet, to be played for the will of his demon master. 

He begged her but she was incapable of caring, of giving pity.  He wouldn't show her any if the tables were turned.  Blood dripped down her arm from where she had taken the bullet meant for Alevra, it dripped down over where her fingers held on to a knife.  She surged forward slashing and cutting until the blade slammed into his chest and then she watched the life leave his eyes.  Blood started to pour out of every crack in the stone walls around her and she couldn't move.  It filled up her world until she was choking on it, drowning in it.  All she could do was scream for help.

The dream was as full of emotions as Dianna could have ever hoped for and she woke up with a gasp in her own bed, breathing hard from the brief taste of what she'd seen of Quinn's nightmare. The anguish and terror in the dreamscape had soothed the demon half of her, calling out to her even in her sleep.

Without conscious thought she was up out of bed, wearing only the short silk undies and lacy slip that she'd slept in. Dianna was happy to see that Violet's door was still closed as she crossed into her office and knelt down next to Quinn. The former detective had twisted and turned her sheets all around her, her face was beaded with sweat and she ground her teeth in her sleep.

“Shh….” Dianna whispered, stroking Quinn's finely chiseled face with her finger tips. “Shhhh…” She leaned down gently kissing familiar lips.

Quinn's face relaxed as her tortured dreamscape began to change the alleyway of blood disappearing.  She reached out for Dianna in her sleep seeking what was giving her comfort.

There wasn't any hesitation as Dianna slipped under the blankets and curled up around Quinn, holding the other woman close. She briefly considered carrying the human back to her bed, but it seemed like too much effort once she was in the sleep-warmed covers. A little adjusting of the pillows and stroking of Quinn's belly through her shirt, and the Dianna found her eyes slipping shut.

She'd just stay here for a bit, she thought sleepily, just long enough to make sure that Quinn's nightmare had left her.


“How did that make you feel?”

Lauren just stared at the man in front of her wanting him to shut up.  She didn't want to talk to him or anyone they would just use it against her somehow. 

The man pushed, again. “Seeing your friends like that?”

They couldn't prick her with needles or scan her.  Needles broke against her skin and she just made the catscan, MRI and x-ray machines go berserk when they came near her.

“I bet it made you upset.”

So now they had people come and talk to her and observe every little thing she did.  They wanted to know how she had changed like this, they couldn't tell from the footage from the camera that had been in her collar.

“What makes me upset is that you keep asking me questions and then answering them for me,” Lauren finally said in a quiet voice.

“These sessions would go faster if you talked, Lauren.”

“Shut up,” she snapped at him.

“Lauren…” the man said in an ‘I'm not the enemy' voice.

“I don't know what happened and if I did I wouldn't tell you, because then you would steal someone else away from their friends and family and make them a prisoner.”

He had no response to that.

The door opened and Mark walked in.  “Doctor Chambers I think we're done for the day.”

Lauren had grown to like Mark. He didn't lie to her, he told her the truth even if it sucked. They spent a lot of time playing cards and talking about her sister, the one thing they had in common. She could tell he felt bad, but not bad enough to risk his career or his life.

Doctor Chambers nodded and got up. 

Mark smiled at Lauren.  “If you will follow me Ms. Esponiza I will escort you to your rooms.”

Lauren nodded and got up.  She had rooms now not a cell, but it was still a prison.  One she could easily break out of.  She wasn't certain if they were aware she was only here because she had nowhere else to go.  To return to her friends would only put them in danger so this place was as good as any.

“You'll be interested to know we finished reviewing the footage. We were all impressed on how you were able to outsmart Alevra. We would have preferred it, of course, if she had died, but returning a human soul was worth sending her to hell.” When Lauren didn't comment he continued, “Agent Green is suspended pending a review. He showed reckless disregard for his team and killed several good men. Also his focus was on Ms. Quinn who was never a threat from the footage we saw. And then there's the fact he shot a priest. The Vatican is calling for his head.”

“Maybe you should give it to them.”

Mark blinked, looking at her. She wasn't quite the same gentle soul.  Of course the way he remembered the bible angels were fierce and violent doing God's will in smiting the wicked. They were not gentle hippies but warriors who killed in the name of righteousness. Perhaps that was what she was now.  

“Tomorrow we have a meeting with Senator Sanders; he claims his daughter has been kidnapped by demons.”


“His daughter is Violet Sanders; you might be interested in the case.”


Mark paused and opened the file under his arm, pulling out a photo and showing it to Lauren.

Lauren swallowed and reached up to touch the face in the photo. ”What time is the meeting?”

He smiled. “Ten.”

“I'd like to be there.” Maybe if only to break the neck of the man that would perform an exorcism on someone who wasn't possessed.

“I'll get you.” He punched in the code for Lauren's room and she pushed the door open, disappearing inside.


The room was splattered in blood. The thick dark liquid was sprayed everywhere, across all of the walls and previously white furniture. Arcs of it had even reached the twelve foot high ceiling, leaving a macabre pattern of death written out for anyone to read it.

Detective Laurence covered his mouth, choking back the breakfast he'd unfortunately eaten before getting the call and carefully moved deeper into the room.

“No one else has been in here?” he asked, just to be certain, and to say something to take his mind off what he was seeing.

“No sir,” the young patrol man standing at the door to the room said nervously. His partner, a veteran on the force for almost ten years, was currently puking up his guts outside in the bushes.

“You touch anything?” Laurence asked, stepping over a piece of something that he didn't want to know about. The lights were all on, but they cast a red glow in the room caused by the lampshades being covered in blood as well.

“Just to make sure they were dead, sir. Then I called it in.” The rookie gulped, turning away from the scene. Laurence nodded, moving towards the center of what had been a wedding banquet hall.

Someone had closed the doors on this place, sealed them from the inside and then proceeded to murder over a hundred guests. It was the worst scene he'd ever been called in on and Laurence knew it was way out of his league. Still, he had to make sure. He moved towards the dance stage. The band's equipment was still on, filling the room with a low humming noise from the giant speakers they'd set up.

That wasn't what had gotten his attention though.

In the middle of the dance floor, drawn out with the entrails of those who had been here, were demonic symbols. He'd taken the standard demon courses in the academy, and done well in it, but only one or two of the symbols were even vaguely familiar to him, and it made him feel uneasy just to see them.

“Okay.” He backed out, stepping in the same footprints he'd used to get in. The rookie was gone by the time he got to the outside door, replaced by a grim looking lieutenant in uniform.

“What you think Laurence?” The gray haired man asked, without preamble.

“It's bad.” Laurence swallowed, breathing in deep breaths of fresh air. The smell of blood was clinging to him. “Call the DA people. This is definitely demonic. I want a two block perimeter, tell the rapid response guys there might be a demon out here somewhere so they should be fully loaded.”

“You sure? You know what kind of uproar that'll cause. Any chance it's just a loony?”

“Lieutenant, there were a lot of people in there and not a single one of them managed to get out. No one broke a window trying to leave, no one even banged on the doors. They all sat quietly at their tables and waited to be slaughtered. That sound like the work of a loony?”

“Suppose not.” The older man sighed and reached for his radio. “Time the DA guys earn their pay.”


Quinn woke slowly with a languid stretch she'd managed to have a somewhat erotic dream something she had not managed to have in a long time. Perhaps she was healing.  She froze remembering she wasn't on Caine's couch, she was in Dianna's study. Her first thought was panic at the possibility that Dianna might have shared her dream, which would have been very embarrassing. But Quinn waived that notion away, afterall, they weren't bonded anymore. Her next thought was of the time. With horror she saw she was going to be late for work.

Quinn got up looking for her shoes and clothes and realized they were still down in the kitchen. Praying they only wrote her up and didn't outright fire her she ran out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen.

Helga was already in the kitchen preparing a huge stack of waffles, with eggs, bacon, sausages and a type of hard biscuit with gravy that her mother had made for her. Violet was eagerly helping, as best she could, still dressed in her pajamas.

“Morning Quinn.” Violet smiled and waved hurriedly with a slotted spoon in her hand, before scooping up the poached egg she'd been making under Helga's guidance. “We were going to wake you up in a few minutes.”

“Morning,” Quinn said, blinking owlishly. “I'm sorry I fell asleep on you.” She moved to the chair she had sat in last night and started putting on her shoes and socks. ”Do you mind if I borrow the sweater? I'll bring it back tomorrow. I'm running late.”

“Food first,” Helga barked, placing an overflowing tray in front of Quinn. “Eat.” Her tone brooked no argument as she turned back to teaching Violet the intricacies of poaching.

“Yeah, eat.” Violet grinned. “Don't worry about last night; I think I was the only one enjoying the movie. Dianna said you needed sleep. She's going to drive you to work today by the way. Said she'd be ready in a few minutes after she's showered.”

“Uh...” Quinn had clearly been outmaneuvered, although she really needed to go home and get her uniform. But since she hadn't used the cash Caine had given her, she could just wear her jeans and buy a new company shirt. ”Okay. I should call my brother so he knows I'm okay.”

“Phone.” Helga pointed at the cordless phone mounted on the wall next to the kitchen door.

Quinn picked up the phone and dialed her brother's number. He didn't answer and he wouldn't, it was too early for him.  She left him a quick message letting him know she was alright and then hung up putting the phone back. Quinn sat again and putting on her socks and shoes, feeling somewhat overwhelmed as Violet and Helga cooked a mountain of food.

“Eat your too skinny,” Helga said, adding another few slices of bacon to Quinn's plate. Muttering in German she shook her head at Quinn, going back to her never ending cooking.

“Is Helga bullying you around?” Dianna teased as she came down the stairs, freshly showered and wearing one of her tighter pairs of jeans and t-shirt. Violet looked at Dianna's clothes and Dianna winked at her, getting a bright flush in response.

“Uh...”  Quinn swallowed. Dianna seemed a little more dangerous today. Or perhaps it was the remnants of her dream jangling her nerves.  “No, not bullying just pointing out that I should take time to eat more.” Quinn looked back at her plate and picked up a piece of bacon and stuffed it in her mouth so nothing stupid would come out. They could try and be friends but anything else was stupid because... she snuck a sideways glance at Dianna's tight clothes from the corner of her eyes. Because they'd been there and had it blow up in their faces.

Quinn watched as Dianna made a show of bending over to get herself some milk from the fridge for her coffee.

“I'll drive you to work so you don't spend an hour getting a bus,” she said, brushing her hair behind her ears. She'd let it hang free today.

Quinn remembered how every part of Dianna felt under her hands and shoved another piece of bacon in her mouth.  “Um...” She coughed and then drank some coffee. Quinn hated being dependent on other people but if she refused the ride then she'd be late.  “Thanks. It's not far, it's a warehouse on Howard St.”

“Howard?” Dianna gave Quinn a sharp look. “Rough part of town,” she said after a moment.

Quinn shrugged not meeting her gaze. ”Not a lot of people will give an ex-Ridden a job.”  Nobody would in fact. “Caine called in a favor for me.”

Dianna hummed, saying nothing as she sipped her coffee and watched Quinn eat.

“Come on then.” Dianna pushed off from the wall she'd been leaning against when Quinn's eating slowed to a stop. “I can at least drive you there. Helga, don't let Violet terrorize you too much.” She winked again at Violet, who laughed this time, only blushing a little.

Helga waved a wooden spoon at Dianna in response. “You stop being stupid.” She scowled at Dianna who rolled her eyes and snatched up her leather coat.

Quinn pushed the plate away and got up grabbing her coat. She hugged Violet and waved at Helga before following Dianna. ”Thanks again, for the ride. Sorry I crashed on your floor, next time just wake me up.”

Waving to the couple of staff who had arrived to start setting up for the busy Saturday night, Dianna shrugged. “You needed the sleep; there was space, no big deal.”

A dark blue car was parked in the next door garage. It wasn't the convertible that Dianna had loved, but it was a nice BMW. “The trolls stripped the other one,” Dianna said answering Quinn's unspoken question.

“Sorry.” Something else that was Quinn's fault. She opened the passenger seat and slid in. Even as a cop she couldn't have afforded something this nice.

The engine purred to life and Dianna smiled. “Not your fault, stupid trolls probably ate the wheel's, they have this thing for rubber.” Dianna shook her head, seemingly irritated. “You work weekends at this new job of yours?”

“Just Saturday mornings. No shipments or deliveries on Sunday. Imports, stuff from overseas. I brought you those crates of alcohol so I know you use the company. It seems mostly legit, I'm sure there's a little black-market stuff going on but their not shipping in slaves or demons so I guess I can live with myself.” Of course now she'd murdered people so she had no room to talk or sit on her high horse.

The leather wrapped wheel turned smoothly under Dianna's hands as she left the bar behind, navigating through the somewhat torturous streets that were around this part of the city. “You could come work for me?” Dianna said suddenly, pale eyes on the road. “Instead,” she grimaced.

Quinn remembered coming to the bar the day she found out she would not be reinstated to the force and seeing Dianna with her hand inching up some woman's thigh. “I don't think that's a good idea, not right now. Today we managed to be civil to each other but... lets just work on that.” It bothered Quinn more than she'd like to admit to see Dianna with other women. She couldn't ask Dianna to change her nature as a succubus, they had been exclusive only because of their bond, and even that had been against Dianna's will.  Their relationship, as messed up as it had been, even when Quinn had been without her soul, had been terribly one-sided.

“So that's it?” Dianna's jaw tightened. “You pretend to just be some friend I met somewhere for the rest of our lives?”

Quinn bit back on the sharp retort that sprang to mind. ”I'm trying to make things better.  I'm trying, but you have to give me some time here to adjust. And I'm sure you need some as well.” Quinn was silent for a moment, fingers drumming on the leather seat, gazing out the window. ”I did come to see you, the day I met with the Chief to see if I could get my job back. I was told no, and that my pension and everything else was tied up in red tape, so I shouldn't expect to see it. I came to see if maybe you needed a bouncer. I never came inside. I saw you nibbling on some woman's ear and sliding your hand up her thigh. I was jealous, so jealous, the first thing that popped into my head was ripping the door open and smashing her face into the bar.” Quinn chuckled bitterly. ”It's like my soul is still learning to connect with the rest of me, but that animal is still there. Sometimes late at night, after a nightmare, I wish you'd stayed the fuck away and let me die. But we're here, and I have to learn to adjust to the fact that we were only in a relationship because somehow, without ceremony, we bonded. Truth is I'm probably the last person you'd be with. So please give me some time to adjust to it. Okay?”

Quinn didn't turn and look at Dianna, she just kept her gaze out of the window.  Thankfully she saw the warehouse where she worked.

Dianna pulled the car to a stop. “See you tomorrow maybe then.” She kept her eyes straight ahead on the road, staring


“I'll see you tomorrow; we have computer shopping to do.” Quinn said looking at Dianna for a second. ”And I have to take Vi to meet a friend, at least I hope she's still a friend, she runs a dance studio.” She opened the car door.  “Thanks for the ride.”

A couple of the guys were staring at Quinn curiously and she suddenly knew it was going to be a long day full of sexual innuendo.

“Be careful.” Dianna called after her, just before Quinn shut the door.

“Hey Quinn!” one of the guys yelled at the red head. ”No wonder you were late the other day. Slipping it to that hot owner of that bar.” A few of the other guys laughed. 

Quinn just rolled her eyes, but her cheeks turned a little red.


Lauren got out of the car.  A few other agents joined her.  She did not want to return to this town, but something about it seemed to call to demons and demon kind. Perhaps it was Malek, Dianna's father; he kept the Gray Zone big here despite what the psychic cleaners did. 

There were two local cops in front of the doors that lead into the murder site. 

Lauren had been happy for the call; it had probably prevented her from killing Violet's father, who was the very soul of rich, self-centeredness.

“You the DA people?” a weathered looking man in a dark trench coat that had seen better days asked from just outside the wedding hall, watching Violet and her fellow agents walk towards him and the two cops. “Didn't take you very long to get here.”

“Does that matter?” Lauren replied. ”Or would you like us to go away and come back in a couple of hours.”

The three other agents with her hid their smiles. They had survived the bloodbath in the church that Agent Green had led them to because of Lauren. So far they had made a good team but this was only their second case, not counting the church fiasco

“Wow lady, I didn't mean anything by it, was just surprised you guys got here so fast. Usually it takes a day or two to get a team out here.” He held out his hand as she got closer. “Detective Laurence. I'm the primary on the police side.”

“Nice to meet you Detective.” Lauren did not shake his hand, however the other woman in the team stepped up with a cheery smile and did. ”I'm Margo. We heard you had quite the juicy scene here. Our supervisors get really nervous when there are symbols drawn in blood and entrails.“

Lauren let Margo make nice because she really wasn't the team lead despite how they treated her, she was still a prisoner, a slave that did the grunt work for the DA.

She bi-passed both Detectives and entered the hall. The smell was like a wall that you ran into.

“First officer on the scene took one look and started throwing up outside. I nearly did the same,” Detective Laurence said from the doorway, making no move to step inside. “They just sat there and let whoever did this do that to them, you ever seen anything like that?”

“No. Normally people in a sealed room can be held entranced until the first one is killed, then animal instinct to survive kicks in and breaks the hold,” Margo said letting the others go inside to start processing the scene.

Lauren looked around and for a moment felt scared and overwhelmed by the bloodshed around her. This was malicious and violent. The symbols glowed to her eyes, eating away the barrier between this world and the other, a gateway to draw someone out, to release them from Hell. Her lips pursed wondering if this one had been successful.

“What do you see?” Freddy came up beside Lauren, a simple leather doctors bag in one hand and a quite nicely stitched leather backpack over his slim shoulders. He was dressed impeccably; suit, tie and his shoes were always polished bright enough to see a reflection in. He was also one of the few to have survived the debacle at the church with Lauren.

“Those symbols are openers for a gateway. I'm not sure if they worked.” So either something was on the loose, or there would be another slaughter like this. “The Detectives they said the door was sealed when they found the scene?”

“Sealed from the inside.” Freddy pulled out a fresh pad of paper, unwrapping it from the plastic. He bought a new one for every case. Starting to write he continued.“They had to break it open to get inside when no one answered their knocking.”

“How did the person who did this get out? Or did they? Perhaps they're playing dead until we leave.”

The pen stopped scratching. “Huh. They'd have to be playing dead with all their chest ripped out. Nothing pinging your demon-dar thing?”

Lauren actually smiled at that. “No the symbols grab my whole attention.”

She stepped closer. “I can't tell who they are for, specifically, so make sure we get lots of photos. That's going to help us narrow down who we are looking for.” She stopped at the line of ash that made a circle on the floor. “Everyone look away, I'm breaking the circle.”

Freddy nodded, covering his eyes. “You're getting good at this.”

“I read a lot,” she said, lifting her foot and drawing it down through the ash breaking the line. Still, she wasn't expecting the force of energy that came from the crack. For a moment hellfire roared up and around her. It would have killed any of the other agents. She merely staggered backward and started patting her shirt to put the fire out. “Whoa.”

Flicking ash off his charcoal gray suite, Freddy grimaced. “Whoa indeed. More than you expected?”

“Oh yeah. A lot more. That is some serious mojo.” Now that it had been cracked she widened it letting the demonic energy dissipate and then entered to make sure none of the corpses came back to life. She studied the runes in blood, the symbols made in entrails and the staged bodies. She paused at one body that sat lotus position, gut sliced open and holding his intestines in his own hands.

Behind her Freddy unslung his backpack, pulling out the old-fashioned film camera he started snapping pictures of the corpses and the area around them. “I don't know what I'm going to do when they stop making actual film.”

“Here. This is our murderer.” He was staring at his intestines. “Did you know most ancient people cut open large animals and sometimes humans to read their future?”

“Umm… Not to rain on your parade Lauren, but he's dead. You saying he cut himself open after doing all this?” Freddy moved closer though, snapping pictures as he did.

“These wounds are the only ones that could have been self inflicted.” Lauren pointed at the others in turn. “Skinned, throats slashed, entrails pulled out and posed. He's the only one with self-inflicted wounds.”

“So just so I'm following you here, this guy...” Freddy took a close up picture of his face, there was nothing particularly remarkable about him. He was maybe mid-thirties, white, slightly balding dark hair “…kept all of these people in here while he sliced them open and then when he was done, he cut himself open?”

“No probably some thing else was with him for the original murders. Then I would guess he sealed the doors from the inside and made the summoning circle and when it failed he killed himself trying to find the answer to why.”

Freddy's lip curled in disgust at that. “Great. That should keep me from sleeping for the rest of the week.”

Lauren frowned. “But who would see this to learn from his mistake?”

“Don't you love mysteries?” Margo called, marching towards them on her heels. “The local LEO's are happy to have this one off their hands. We're in charge.”

That was a shock. “No,” Lauren said, “I prefer things straight forward when dealing with demons.”

“Too bad demons don't do anything straight forward.” Margo stepped aside as Freddy kept taking pictures. “I don't think they even take a crap straight.”

“Agreed,” Lauren said quietly in response.


Caine watched with horror as his sister made food that looked healthy. ”What is that?”

“It's a bell pepper,” Quinn replied drolly as she chopped the red vegetable with quick, precise movements.

“And you're going to put on that green stuff?”

“Lettuce, yes.”

“Ewww, I can't wait for you to get your own place.”

“Me too.”  Quinn looked up at him.  “You know it's going to be at least another month. I don't exactly make what I used to, and then there were Thomas' death benefits that are now cut off.”

“I could float you a month of rent... To be paid back of course.”

“Let me look around and I'll tell you if I find anything.”

“So I got your message and from the caller ID around that time I got a call from that bar Dianna owns.  So are you two making up?“  He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Kind of. We're working on not being mad at each other.”

“Oh, is that what spending the night is?”

“We didn't sleep together. I.. I can't.”

“Sure you can. You get naked. A little massage, maybe some wine, its like falling off a bike, even an idiot can do it.”

“Caine…” Quinn warned.

“You want to sleep with her.”

“Yes.”  She frowned.  “And no.”

He said nothing waiting. 

Quinn cleared the cutting board of cut bell pepper onto her salad.

“She's a succubus, at least half of her. She doesn't do monogamy, I want... I want someone just for me. Not someone I have to share. I was sharing Thomas, not that I knew it.”

“Maybe she wants that too.”

Quinn snorted.

“Maybe she does,” he persisted.  “Why don't you at least try?”

“Try and make her be monogamous or try and make myself not be?”

“Try and have fun, go out on some dates, have a little wine, and some massages and see if you can make something serious. Start small before you get married.”

Quinn just looked at him. “Because I'd be asking her to change herself.”

“She already did that.”

“Not willingly, some fluke, and then she got part of my soul stuck in her.”

Caine chewed on his bottom lip wondering if he should tell her that Dianna couldn't have bonded with Quinn unless she'd wanted to. Some part of Dianna wanted the life that Quinn offered, and some part of his sister must be attracted to the life that Dianna offered, or the bonding would have never have happened. Alvera was very nasty in giving Quinn's soul back. There had been no need for Dianna to give up the soul fragment to restore Quinn's soul.

Caine chose to say nothing. They would figure it out.

Quinn started to slice up tomatoes. “So if I wanted to get a gift for a succubus, what would I get?”

He smiled and then hid it. “A dildo,”  he responded with a straight face.

Quinn cut herself.  “Owe. Damnit. You're a bastard.”

He laughed. “Maybe a strap-on.”

She threw a tomato at him.


Quinn had stayed away Saturday night; it had been harder than she'd thought. She had found herself missing Violet and Dianna, but had stayed home, reading a book from Caine's sad little bookshelf.

She hadn't slept well, not as well as she had on the floor of Dianna's office.

Sunday morning she dressed, and caught a bus to the bar so she could take Violet to the dance studio and Dianna shopping for a computer.


“Shouldn't she be here by now? Are you sure she's coming? She said she would.” Dianna closed her eyes and leaned her head against her knees. She was going to kill Violet if the girl didn't stop asking her questions that she couldn't answer. They were sitting on the steps outside of the Bar. Well actually, Dianna was sitting, Violet was bouncing up and down besides her, eagerly watching the street.

“Violet... I don't know where...” Dianna bit off her irritated answer, shoulders relaxing as she spotted a familiar form walking towards them down the street.

Quinn came around the corner. “Uh... you could have waited inside,” she said looking at them both.

“Not too many days of sunshine.” Dianna stood up as Violet bounced down the steps, duffel bag slung over her shoulder.

“Sorry, I should have called when I was leaving Caine's.”

“We're just glad you came.” Violet hugged her, turning to look at Dianna who hung back, nodding in agreement.

As Violet took off towards the car, Dianna rocked on her heels, eying Quinn. “You all right?”

“Yeah. I'm good, just tired.” There was a Band-Aid on her thumb though.

Digging keys out of her pocket, Dianna nodded. “I got some news this morning. A friend of…” she hesitated “yours is in town.”

Quinn just looked back at Dianna blankly. “A friend? Who?”

“Lauren's in town. There was a massacre at some wedding hall near the edge of the city. I guess she got called in with the rest of the DA people.” Dianna's lip curled a bit at even saying the word DA.

Quinn's gaze went to Violet and then back to Dianna. “Did you want to try and see her?”

“No.” Dianna turned and yanked open the door to the car, sliding in and slamming it shut behind her. Violet bit her lip, shrugged and got in as well.

Quinn got into the car behind Dianna. “The dance studio is near the University on George Ave.”

“The place in the brownstone?” Dianna pulled away from the curb, vaguely familiar with the place that Quinn was talking about.

“Yes, you've been there before?”

“Vera's the owner right? Willowy brunette?” Dianna sighed, knowing that she wasn't going to enjoy this.

“Yes that's Vera,” Quinn replied.

Dianna hoped Violet was missing the looks passing between herself and Quinn, she was clearly eager to get to where they were going. “She's going to let me use the dance studio?” Violet squirmed around in the seat to look at Quinn.

“I need to talk to her, but she owes me a favor. I'm pretty certain she'll let you audition.”

Traffic was light on a Sunday morning and it didn't take them long to make the cross-town trip. There was even parking on the normally busy streets and Dianna peered up at the brownstone building through the windshield as Violet was quickly getting out. “Maybe I should stay here.”

“Whatever you feel is best,” Quinn said sounding snippy as she got out of the car.

Dianna's eyes narrowed. She wasn't staying in the car just to make Quinn feel better. Dianna slammed the car door behind her and followed along behind the two women. “So...” Violet looked quickly over at Quinn and then back at the sidewalk as they walked to the front door. “Are you going to go see Lauren then?”

“Ah, you heard that. Um, maybe, I can try and get a message to her but I'm not exactly well liked by the DA.”

“Do you think I should see her? I mean, if she got in trouble because of my parents I should at least apologize for that right?”

“I think you should do whatever you think is best.”

“That's not an answer.” Violet frowned.

“Yes it is. It means I'm not going to make a decision for you,” Quinn said with a smile.

“I guess that makes you different than my mother,” Violet said with a grin as they reached the front door.

Quinn reached out and opened the door holding it open for Violet and Dianna.

There was soft classical music playing from somewhere and a young woman sat bored behind a desk.

“After you,” Dianna said, gesturing Quinn in. She really shouldn't have dressed in the short top for today. It was going to be a problem.

Quinn entered the shop going over to the young woman. “Excuse me. Is Vera available?”

“Yeah.” The bored young woman looked up from her magazine. “You got an appointment?” The college student asked, becoming a little more interested as she took in the three very different women.

“Could you tell her Maggie Quinn is here, I have a friend I'd like to audition for her.”

“Maggie Quinn?” The student frowned, but she got up anyway and went into the back of the building presumably to find Vera.

Dianna leaned in closer. “She a friend of yours?”

Goosebumps rose on the back of Quinn's neck as Dianna's breath washed over her skin.

“Uh... um, I responded to a robbery, stopped a guy from doing anything bad to her,” Quinn stammered out.

“She stopped a truly vile young man from raping me is what she did.” The voice was as imperious looking as the woman attached to it, and Dianna stiffened with a low groan. Vera was exactly who she'd thought she was. The dance mistress hadn't changed much since she'd last seen her.

“How nice to see you again Detective.” Vera stalked towards them, clad in flowing gown and dance shoes.

Quinn relaxed, happy that Vera wasn't throwing her out. “I have a friend I was hoping you'd let audition.”

“It had better not be the woman standing behind you.” Vera refused to look at Dianna, who winced a little, stuffing her hands in her pockets.

“Uh…” Quinn turned, seeing Dianna. “Um, no. It's the young woman behind her, Violet.” She gestured for Violent to come up next to her.

Suddenly nervous, Violet slowly moved up, bobbing her head in something like a hello. Vera's eyebrow arched and the stately woman stalked around Violet, sizing her up. “Ballet?” she demanded and Violet squeaked a yes out. “Hmm. Come, we will see what you can do.”

Vera spun on her toes, hand coming out and slapping Dianna hard across the face. “You stay here.” She pointed at Dianna who was holding her cheek.

Quinn looked between Dianna and Vera.“Vera, Dianna, is a friend of mine please don't hit her again.”

“You have poor taste in friends then.” Vera sniffed turning and stalking towards her dance hall. “Well?” She looked over her shoulder and beckoning Violet. Who looked at her two friends and then hurried after the dance teacher.

“Nice to see you too Vera.” Dianna muttered.

Quinn watched them go and asked. “Do I want to know?”

“I'm sure you can guess.”

“Yeah, I can guess. But that would be a guess and not the truth.” Quinn shrugged. “It's okay if you don't want to tell me. Did you deserve to be slapped?”

“I seduced her, took her to bed, had my way with her and then kicked her out in the morning. You think that deserves a slap?” Dianna said with a snort.

“Did you promise her forever or just a one night stand?”

“There wasn't much talking involved.” Dianna blinked, not having really expected anything other than another slap to the face, this time from Quinn.

“Then you should have stayed out in the car because Vera is a passionate person so she was probably going to slap you.”

“I figured I deserved it.” Dianna frowned. “Aren't you going to slap me or something?”

“Why?” Quinn seemed genuinely curious.

“Why?” Dianna laughed. “Hey,” she called to the no longer very bored college kid manning the desk. “Tell our friend we'll be back later to pick her up, tell her to call my cell when she's ready.” Turning on her heel, Dianna headed for the door.

Quinn followed.


“And you're sure that thing will do what we need?” Dianna stood in front of the car trunk, staring down at the boxes full of computer, printer, modem and screen that Quinn had told her to buy. It had been an awkward, on edge, kind of afternoon. Neither had said much that wasn't computer related.

“It should, the tricky part will be teaching you to use it but we can muddle through.” Quinn had Dianna buy some reference books so she could look up info when she wasn't around.

“Any call from Vi yet?”

“No.” That had to be a good sign, Quinn figured.

Dianna hesitated. “You're brother okay?”

Quinn was hungry, but having to buy a new company shirt had taken most of the cash Caine had given her. “Uh...” She processed the jump in conversation. “Yeah, he's good. It's awkward living together, but at the same time its nice. He left home when I was young, most of my memories are of him being hauled home by the police.”

“He's a lot older than you right?” Dianna looked around, grinning a little and giving a nod. “Come on, I'll get lunch for us, since you picked out everything for me so far.”

“You don't have to...” Dianna gave Quinn a look. “Thanks.”

“You don't always have to reject help from everyone,” Dianna muttered, sliding into the deli bench seats.

It was a small place, just a half dozen tables that were about half-full, a simple counter and an old man and boy serving the customers. They looked enough alike that Quinn would bet they were son and father.

“I'm... it's hard being so dependent on everyone,” Quinn said looking at the table top. “Not being a cop, it's hard. It was my whole life, other than my family, and now both are gone.” When Quinn's landlord had sold or thrown everything out of her apartment she'd lost Connor's baby pictures and that had hurt a lot.

“You have friends, if you want them.” Dianna shifted in her seat, watching as the son came over to take their orders. Ignoring Quinn's insistence that she didn't need much, Dianna told him to get two of the big sandwich platters. “If you'd stop being so stubborn about it.”

Quinn's shoulders hunched. “I'm trying.”

“Then come work for me.” Dianna leaned forward.

“Um...” Quinn had a hard time ignoring the effect of leaning forward in a tight shirt had on Dianna's breasts.

“You don't want to work for the warehouse guys, don't even pretend you do. You deserve better than that,” Dianna pressed.

“Doing what?” Quinn blinked and studied the fry's next to her sandwich.

“Accounting, computer expert, bartending, whatever the hell you want to do,” Dianna pressed harder, sensing possible victory.

“It wouldn't bother you having me around?”

“It bothers me either way so...” Dianna trailed off, blinking as she looked out the front windows.

Quinn looked up to see what Dianna was looking at and then blanched. Out of habit she reached for her radio that wasn't there anymore to call in. Looking around the ex-cop realized that she was in a bad spot; she got up so quickly her chair tipped over and she took off for the back hoping to find an exit.

“Quinn, what are you doing?” Dianna frowned, looking from the man outside to the freaking out woman.

Which was when the screaming started as the half-demon outside pulled a sawed off shotgun out of his coat and aimed it at the window. The first shot blew out the front window, sending shards everywhere as he pumped in another shell, aiming at Quinn as he shot again and again.

Quinn dived for the ground looking for something, anything to use as a weapon. “Get down! Everyone get down,” she shouted.

The shotgun could only handle six shots at the most before the half-demon would have to reload. Quinn waited, knowing she was trapped until she heard the click signifying the chambers were empty.

“Quinn!” The half-demon roared, kicking in the front door as he pumped another shell into his shotgun. “You fucker! I'm going to enjoy killing you!” He shot at Quinn, the blast putting a hole in the table next to her. One more try and he was out of shells, cursing he reached for more from his pocket.

From her position under the table she'd been enjoying a lovely sandwich on, Dianna grimaced.

Quinn hoped she was right as she prepared to stand and charge. As she rushed the guy she thankfully heard the click of an empty barrel. She rammed her shoulder into him, knocking him backward and the gun upward. The other barrel clicked and fired into the ceiling and Quinn almost wanted to vomit.

She used a submission hold knocking the gun loose and pinned him to the floor using her weight to dislocated one of his shoulders. “Timmy, you're a stupid fuck,” she murmured. “Shooting on a restaurant full of people in the middle of the day.”

Timmy screamed in pain as the shoulder dislocated, the shotgun skittering across the deli floor. “You bitch! You've got a price on your head! You're dead, you hear me? Dead!” His struggles only made the dislocation worse.

Coming out of her hiding spot, Dianna picked up the shotgun as people fled out the door, yelling.

There was a wail of sirens in the distance and Quinn felt like she'd been slapped. “What?” Why the fuck would she have a price on her head.

“You're dead,” Timmy laughed, even as the pain made him tremble.

Dianna moved closer.

“Who put a price on my head?” Quinn recovered, and almost savagely twisted his arm.

Timmy screamed. “Alvera!” He sniveled and Dianna's eyes widened in shock, staring at Quinn.

Quinn was so stunned by the revelation she let go of his arms and received an elbow to the face, as Timmy squirmed around trying to free himself.

“Uh uh, no you don't.” The barrel of the shotgun waved in his face as Dianna moved closer.

Blood streaming from her nose Quinn blinked and tried to get to her feet.

Timmy sighed as he saw the gun in his face.

“Police are on the way Quinn.” There was the sound of distant sirens. “You and I probably shouldn't be here when they arrive.”

Quinn nodded, hating how she now had to be afraid of the thing she once loved. “What do we do with him?”

“We could shoot him in the face.” Dianna glared at the half demon in front of her. “For trying to kill you.”

Quinn smiled a little at that and wiped the blood off her chin. She grabbed a chair and shoved him down on it. Then with a fast flick of the wrist took a table cloth off the closest table. She it twisted into a rope and tied his hands. Then with another tied his feet. “Give the gun to the owner. He can shoot him or wait for the cops. I'd recommend waiting for the cops, dead men can't pay for damages.”

Dianna narrowed her eyes. “Fine.” Flipping over the gun she slammed the butt against Timmy's head, before tossing it to the man hiding behind the corner. “Let's get out of here.”

Dianna, clearly having a lot of experience with dodging cops, dragged Quinn with her behind the deli and then across three more side streets, to get them away from the blaring sirens. “You got some serious fans you know that?”

Quinn sighed. “I put Timmy away three years ago for beating up his girlfriend. He was pissed at me then and looks like time hasn't made it any better.”

“Sorry excuse for a half-demon.” Dianna snorted, as they took the long way around back towards the car.

Quinn didn't argue. She held some napkins to her nose, staunching the blood flow.

Pausing, Dianna winced. “You're going to have a lovely shiner from that,” she said, pulling out a handkerchief to dab at the blood as well.

“Deserve it for doing something as stupid as letting go when he was subdued,” Quinn mumbled.

“Always so hard on yourself.” Dianna smiled, brushing red hair from Quinn's face. Sheltered from view of those on the street, it was as close as Quinn had let Dianna get since the events in Boston.

Quinn shrugged. “It was a rookie mistake.” A stupid thing to do. She leaned into Dianna's touch slightly before realizing what she was doing. Part of her wanted to listen to her brother and relax and have fun. The other part was more practical and was unwilling to relax if it already knew the outcome.

Quinn felt her face tighten.

Sighing Dianna stepped away, giving Quinn a sad smile. “Let's go get the car.”

“Yeah.” Quinn threw the soaked napkins in a trash can and held Dianna's handkerchief to her nose. “Since Vi, hasn't called I'm assuming it's going well. Vera wouldn't keep her going all this time if she hadn't seen something she liked.” But Quinn was just trying to reassure herself.

“Of course she saw something she liked. Vi's got some moves on her.” Dianna waggled her eyebrows.

Quinn wasn't certain she liked the idea of Vera looking at Violet that way, or Dianna noticing those things. Both made her feel grumpy and over-protective and maybe a little jealous in Dianna's case.

“You don't get it both ways Quinn.” Dianna pulled further away, her eyes angry. “I can't have you, but I can't have anyone else either?” She snorted.

“I'm not...” Quinn started angrily. “Don't lecture me.  You don't get to fuck around and then expect me just to fall into bed with you. Stop reading my emotions I'm not putting limits on you. Did I say anything, no I didn't. You're a succubus - you need sex - I get that.” 

Quinn had known all of that the first time they'd slept together, which was just as odd and fucked up as all the other times they'd had sex. Never had they had sex when they were just their normal selves. Only when Dianna had been injected with something by Agent Green or when Quinn herself had lost her soul.

Dianna winced, looking away.

“I miss it.”

“I... you what?” Quinn hadn't expected that. She looked at Dianna gob-smacked.

Dianna rolled her eyes. “I miss it okay! I miss feeling… something. I never realized how different you felt things until…” she waved a hand between the two of them. “You know what, never mind, it's stupid.” Dianna sped up.

Quinn moved after her. “You miss being bonded? Really? But… it changed you. You said you didn't want it.” Of course Dianna hadn't said she had missed having sex with her, which is what Quinn had originally thought, but this was just as surprising.

“I'm still changed though.” Dianna ground out, stuffing her hands in her pocket. “It's not the same and no matter how hard I try to make it the same as it was before it won't go back. I seduce them and it doesn't do anything, not like with…” She glanced sideways at Quinn.

“Oh,” Quinn said, softly surprised. They walked a few paces in silence. Quinn stopped, causing Dianna to turn. “I don't know if I can. I'm so messed up inside. I need time.” Quinn still had a lot of healing to do. Quinn looked at the ground. “I, um… I'm still attracted to you,” Quinn admitted to the sidewalk.

“I know.” Dianna licked her lips, eyes tracing Quinn's outline. “You're not so bad looking yourself… although you're loosing a lot more weight than you should be.” Dianna shook her head. “I don't want your pity about this.”

“I'm not pitying you. So stop trying to get some.” Quinn rolled her eyes. Fairly certain her nose was finished bleeding she shoved the handkerchief into her pocket. “Lets go get Vi, I've had enough painful confessions for one day, okay?”

Dianna followed along behind “But pain can be fun.”

Quinn was sure Dianna could feel her irritation spike. “Really?  Because I think you talk a good game Dianna, but I've seen every part of your bar and there were no whips and chains.”

Her steps faltering, Dianna blinked, her smile widening. “Who says I don't have a dark dungeon of a basement I take helpless young things to?”

“You have no such thing; you're just a big talker. You just take helpless young things into the back for a quick tumble. That's okay, it's important to have good oral skills,” Quinn said with a straight face.

Laughing, Dianna reached in her pocket for her car key. “I'm glad you recognize how important that is.”

Quinn flushed remembering just how good Dianna's skills were. She stopped next to the car waiting for it to unlock and trying to get her emotions back under control. “Come on big talker lets get Vi.”

With another shake of her head, Dianna unlocked the car and waited for Quinn to get in. They pulled away from the curb smoothly and passed the police cars in front of the deli without a second glance.


Quinn entered the dance studio with Dianna following. She wondered if she should have made Dianna wait in the car. “Hey, is Vera done yet?”

Snapping a bubble from her gum, the college student looked up from the magazine she'd been reading, looking bored to death. “I don't know. She hasn't come out yet. You can go back if you want.”

“Okay.” Quinn had to wonder if the girl had any real skills. She looked back at Dianna, “You want to stay here or go back?”

“You want me to get slapped again?”

Quinn hid her grin. “No, of course not. You wait here I'll go on in.” She walked down the hallway and slowly opened a door that had music coming from behind it.

“Yes good, the leg must lift higher though.” Vera tapped with a long wooden stick against Violet's leg, lifting it higher until the toes were pointed well above her head. “You have not done proper routines. You have lost flexibility, have you not?”

Violet could only nod quickly, she looked exhausted.

“Dear Lord Vera, can the girl come study with you or not?” Quinn asked from the doorway, pleased that Vera was talking to Violet like a teacher to a student.

Vera eyed Violet swaying in front of her, staring at her with hopeful eyes. “Fine. Tomorrow you will be here at five for practice. Do not be late.” She nodded to Quinn in passing, heading for her office as Violet nearly collapsed to the floor.

“I never had someone push me that hard before.” Violet gasped, bending over and holding her chest, looking like she might vomit.

Quinn moved over to her, her footsteps loud on the dance floor. “Is that a good thing?”  she asked, putting a hand on Violet's waist and guiding her to the changing room.

“She told me I'd gotten lazy, that I wasn't trying, that my old instructor was content with good enough.” Violet wiped sweat out of her face. “I think she might have been right.” Violet blinked when looked at Quinn's face. “What happened?”

“I have a black eye don't I?” Quinn asked. She sighed. “I ran into a guy I put in jail a few years ago, he decided to express how much he didn't like me.”

“And blood, on your nose. He hit you? What happened? Is Dianna okay?” Violet's fingers shook a little as she brought them up to touch the blackening eye.

“Vi, it's just a black eye, it will heal. You don't need to wear yourself out more by healing it. I'm fine, Dianna's fine, now go change and I'll make Dianna buy you a milkshake or something on our way back to the bar.” Quinn said catching Vi's hand before it could touch her.

Violet blinked, seeming unaware her hand had moved at all. “But it hurts doesn't it?”

“Vi….” Quinn said warningly. “The pain isn't overwhelming so let my body heal it.  You're exhausted and if you waste your talent on something trivial you'll pass out. Now go change and then we can make Dianna take us someplace and get greasy burgers.”  Quinn's stomach growled reminding her it had only gotten a fry before Timmy had started shooting.

“Get a move on Vi, I still have to set up Dianna's computer and show her how to use it.”

Shaking her head, as if to shake off an unwanted thought, Violet nodded and went to get a shower.

“She all right?” Dianna called from the doorway.

“Exhausted, Vera, pushed her hard, but she should be here at 5 tomorrow to start lessons.” Quinn frowned. “I should probably tell Vera about Violet's tendency to heal people. She just tried to heal my black eye, which in the state of exhaustion she's in I'm not certain would have been a good thing.”

“I was kind of hoping that would just go away if she wasn't around people who were dying all the time.” Dianna scratched her neck. “Maybe we should get her to meet Melva? Again, I mean.”

The whole not remembering things sometimes was awkward.

“I've asked her. Violet won't go, Melva scares her,” Quinn said with a sigh. “All things in their time. Sooner or later she'll have to go train with the witch, let's just let her get settled.” She looked at Dianna and smiled. The music was still playing. “Do you know how to dance?” she asked.

“What kind of dance? You've already seen me dance once,” Dianna teased.

“Come here and lets try dancing with clothes on.”

Dianna laughed. “I don't know, it might be a bit of a stretch for me. I rather enjoyed taking my clothes off for you.” But she came closer anyway. “Do you know how to dance?”

“I know a fox trot and the waltz and a few vague steps from some other dances. Keep your clothes on, I think it would piss Vera off to find you in her studio naked.”

Mention of the dance mistress made Dianna stumble and step on Quinn's foot. “See, see what you did? That's your fault, not mine.”

Quinn winced but merely turned Dianna into her body before twirling her away.  “No, it's your fault for sleeping with her and not being honest that it was only a one-night stand. Or did you try and bewitch her to be your little sex slave?” Quinn asked with a chuckle.

“I did no such thing.” But Dianna was definitely blushing. “How come you get to lead?” she asked, changing the subject.

Quinn was a good dancer, sure with her touch and certain of where she wanted Dianna to go.

“I'm leading because you let me. We can switch. I went to an all girl's catholic school so when we learned how to dance we learned how to lead and how to follow, since half the time we had to be the boy and the other half the girl.”

“And how often did you want to be the boy?” Dianna purred as Quinn pulled her closer and led them both through a fast series of steps.

Quinn laughed. “I never wanted to be a boy, but I liked leading, I liked having the responsibility of being in control. Catholic school had a way of making a young woman feel unimportant in the world unless of course you were the Virgin Mary.” Quinn dipped Dianna, the muscle she had gained from her knew job making it easier than she thought it would be. She panted, smiling down at Dianna. She wanted to kiss her, a painful need inside her, but instead she stood Dianna back up and kissed the top of her hand. “That was fun.”

“You are a good dancer.” Dianna smiled.

Violet clapped from the door, grinning. “You both looked great!”

Quinn blushed a little bit and turned looking at Violet. “Not as good as you, but we managed a few steps.” Realizing she was still holding Dianna's hand she slowly let go as her stomach rumbled. “Can we get something to eat, I missed lunch.” That and some ice for her eye would be nice.

“Food.” Violet nodded quickly.

“Fine, food. Guess I'm paying.” Dianna smirked.


Dianna was perched on the side of her newly assigned computer desk, watching Quinn with amusement. Quinn was lying underneath it plugging everything into the power strip. With a piece of masking tape and a pen she had labeled everything as she plugged it in: monitor, case, speakers. Then she had labeled everything that plugged into the back of the tower: mouse and keyboard.

“Okay I'm going to turn it on,” Quinn said, hitting the power button on the power strip and the one on the tower before getting up onto her hands and knees and starting to crawl out from under the desk.

“Did you know you're a bit of a neat freak? I never realized that until just now.” It had been a bit of a revelation watching Quinn run wires with a neatness that Dianna knew she would never have really striven for herself.

“What? Oh, well, I like things organized it's easier to do things. This way if something goes wrong with the monitor you don't accidentally unplug the tower.” 

Dianna noted that Quinn was blushing as she stood up. She brushed herself off and reached over turning on the monitor seeming happy to see everything was working. 

“You know some of the poor boys had probably never seen cleavage before,” Quinn commented.

After Dianna had bent over a little to show off some cleavage the techs in the store had fallen over themselves to load whatever software Dianna wanted. 

“That age is always easy to manipulate. They become so eager to please.” Dianna smiled slowly. “They should be glad they live so far from the Gray, it would be so easy for most of them to get involved with something that would kill them.”

“If they lived closer they'd probably be wiser.” 

Quinn sat down and started one of the accounting software packages, one Dianna was pretty certain they didn't buy. One boy in particular had been very eager to please.  “Okay this has a tutorial and it's going to walk you through everything. I'm going to go lie down on that comfy looking couch. Wake me if you get stuck or feel like putting your fist through the monitor.” Quinn yawned.

“You'll be the first one to know.” Dianna said dryly, watching as Quinn curled up on the leather couch. “There's a blanket on the back if you want,” she pointed out, thinking that tucking Quinn in might be overstepping the boundary of their current truce.

Sitting down at the computer Dianna frowned at the screen, cautiously moving the thing attached to the side that made the little arrow move around. Odd invention these computer things. She'd never really understood why people loved them so much. Attention directed at the screen she started slowly moving through the tutorial. “You'll work here now right?” she asked, suddenly, remembering Timmy's words.

Quinn was shuffling about.  “Dianna...”  Quinn sighed.  “I can't just quit. I'll think about giving notice.” 

“Quinn,” Dianna turned to glare at her. “You're an easy target working deliveries and you know it. Just quit and come here where you'll be safer.” Now probably wasn't the time to tell Quinn that was reason Dianna had been trying to get her to come work at the bar in the first place.

“Running deliveries is a rare thing; normally I just unload shipments off of trucks or on to trucks. For some excitement we get to go down to the train station and unload a shipment. I can't just quit and hide.”

And that apparently was that, Dianna watched her reflection in the monitor screen grimace in frustration. “Think about it,” she said in as normal a voice as she could manage, hitting a key a bit more forcefully than she needed to.

Quinn sighed, yawned, and then threw a blanket over her head.


Quinn was bent over Dianna, hands pressed to Dianna's chest but the wound wouldn't stop bleeding.  Blood poured out from between her fingers. “Don't you die! Please don't die,” she begged.

There were footsteps and someone stopped in front of her. Starting with the feet her eyes slowly traveled upward. Fear prickled across her scalp, she didn't want to look but she couldn't stop herself. 

There was a knife, long and sharp. Blood dripped down its edge to the tip where it gathered before it fell. Dianna's blood. Quinn's gaze made it to the face of the perpetrator, where she saw her own image reflected back. A cold mask of indifference and red soulless eyes.

Quinn woke with a scream.

“I got you.” Warm arms curled around Quinn's chest, pulling her tighter into an embrace as nonsensical words were whispered into her ear. “I've got you, shhh, it's all right, it's all right.”

Quinn made a noise that sounded like a hurt whine, as she tried to get her breath and her bearings. She recognized Dianna's perfume, and before she was conscious enough to think through her actions, her fingers were unbuttoning Dianna's shirt.

There was no blood, no wound. “You were hurt, bleeding.” Quinn blinked touching the warm, unblemished skin.

“You have to calm down,” Dianna said, her voice full of worry. “You'll call things to the bar if you keep having nightmares like that.” Strong fingers stroked through Quinn's sweat soaked hair. The window showed that it was full night outside and only the computer screen lit the room now.

Catching Quinn's fingers, Dianna pressed her hand against the area where she'd been shot. “I'm fine, we're both alive and here.”

There was no blood, Quinn told herself again. No gaping knife wound. It had been a dream. A nightmare. She nodded, hand pressed just above the swell of Dianna's breast.  Quinn realized she was going to put them all in danger. “I dreamed I stabbed you.” She shook her head. “Not me, the me that had no soul.” She knew should go. “I have to work in the morning. I should go.”

“You remember everything from then?” Dianna kept her hand right where it was, holding Quinn there.

Quinn nodded. “Caine says it was Alevra's parting gift. The demon controls how much you remember when you give up your soul and when you get it back. Reapers don't need brains, just brawn, and it's easier for them to do the things that need to be done if they don't remember. He's a Sliver Tongue, he needs his brain and memory because he's a lawyer. Then there are Tempters, they seduce people into evil things, feed addictions.” 

Quinn shrugged, but gave up trying to get up.

“I remember setting you up, so I could get close to Jesus, I remember every person, demon, and half-demon Alevra had me kill. I remember shooting you because you stepped in front of Jesus.”  Quinn shook her head again. “What were you thinking?”

“I remember I had to keep you alive,” Dianna said. “And if you killed Jesus his father would tear the city apart to rip the heart out of your chest.” Dianna shifted a little so she could hold Quinn better. “I remember thinking that if you shot him, that was it, there wouldn't be anyway to get you back.”

“Now that you don't have my soul fragment making you act all noble, would you do it again?” Quinn's heartbeat was returning to normal and Dianna's weight on top of her felt nice, oddly comforting.

For a long time Dianna was quiet. There was the hum of bar patrons below, they were a bit rowdier than usual, probably a few of them had picked up on Quinn's nightmare.

“Yes,” Dianna whispered finally. “As long as Violet was nearby.” Dianna smiled, obviously trying to lighten the moment with a joke.

“Dianna...”  Quinn started, but didn't know what to say to that. Apparently she had never given the woman enough credit, she was far more than she let everyone see. “I'm sorry, I gave up. I'm sorry I gave her my soul, but I didn't know what to do. She was killing you and torturing Conner's soul... I... I didn't know what to do.”

“Not that, never do that Maggie.” Dianna held on to Quinn as she stiffened with emotion. “You could have done anything else, you could have let me try to help, instead of doing it all yourself. Lauren would have helped too.”

“How were you going to help Dianna? You were tied to a board in that tub and Lauren was nowhere around. Next time you want me to let you die?”  she shouted. 

“Better to let me die then sell your soul! I don't have a soul Quinn, there's nothing there if I die, but you were going to hell, do you know what that means?” Dianna pushed up enough so that Quinn could see her face in the dim light of the computer. “An eternity as Alvera's play thing in hell, there'd be no escape from that.”

“I don't believe that. Part of you is human, so part of you has a soul. And I care if you die. You mean something to me and I'm not letting you die if I can help it.” It was practically an exclamation of love, and it made Quinn feel somewhat exposed and silly considering how they kept fighting.

Dianna first stiffened, and then shook her head. “If I have a soul Quinn, it's a small underdeveloped thing that's not really worth mentioning. Especially not compared to yours.” Dianna sighed, resting her forehead against Quinn's shoulder.

After a moment Dianna smiled. “Aww… you do care about me.”

“Yeah, well, you do grow on a person,” Quinn grumbled. Under her fingertips she could feel the beat of Dianna's heart and the warmth of her skin. “You're always so warm,” Quinn murmured, staring up at the ceiling.

“I think that's my mother's side showing.” Dianna murmured. “The Mediterranean sun runs in our veins apparently.”

“Have you ever been back?  To the Mediterranean?” Quinn asked, unwilling to move but knowing she should get going.

“After my mother threw stones at me cursing me as the devil? No, Sissy and I thought it would be a good idea not to return there.” Dianna said dryly.

“I'm sorry.” Quinn had just opened her mouth and inserted her foot again. “I should get going,” she said to the ceiling, uncomfortably warm with the knowledge of how close her hand was to Dianna's perfect breasts.

“Why? You can stay here.”

“My work clothes are at Caine's.” It wasn't a strong no, she swallowed and tried to inconspicuously move her hand without causing an incident.

“You've worn my clothes before.” Dianna shifted, grin widening as she maneuvered herself right into Quinn's fingers.

“Um,” Quinn squeaked before clearing her throat. “I have work clothes I have to wear with the company logo.”

“So, we stop by Caine's tomorrow morning. I'll even drive you.” Dianna slid a long leg along Quinn's, leaning closer to just barely brush her lips against Quinn's pulse point.

Quinn let out a shaky breath and her pulse hammered in her neck. “Are you... uh... are you trying to seduce me?” It was a silly question, and earlier today she would have been pissed off. They'd talked about this, how she needed some time. But in the dark, after that nightmare, her sound logic seemed far away.

“I'm trying...” Dianna's fingers slid up along Quinn's side, finding the edge of her shirt and tracing lazy patterns against the Quinn's skin “…to make you feel better. Is it working?” She smiled, interspersing the words with kisses along Quinn's collarbone.

“I... uh...” Quinn let out a sharp breath. “Yes,” she admitted softly as gooseflesh rose over her skin where ever Dianna touched.

Licking her lips Dianna undid one button after another on Quinn's shirt, parting it to her eager gaze. “You can stop me if you want,” she whispered.

“I know,” Quinn said as she hesitantly let her hand drift down and started undoing the buttons on Dianna's shirt.

“You just have to say stop.” Dianna trembled. “But I don't want to.” She pressed upwards, mouth eager as she sought out Quinn's lips.

The kiss was electric, and Quinn felt herself awaken fully. She shifted on the couch allowing Dianna to move so she was more fully on top of her freeing up her other hand that had been trapped.

Dianna moaned into the kiss, fingers moving faster now to undo the last buttons, eager to touch skin. “Please stay,” she gasped, cupping Quinn's breast when she'd finally gotten the thin bra off.

Quinn couldn't remember Dianna ever asking for anything. “Okay,” Quinn agreed before her voice changed into a moan.


Violet was up and stretching by the time Helga opened up downstairs. She'd barely made it through eating at the restaurant and then as soon as they'd returned to the bar she had collapsed in bed, asleep in moments. Today her feet ached in a way they hadn't since she'd first started dancing, and there'd be blisters soon enough. “Dianna?” Violet knocked once, and then again, before cracking open the door.

“Dianna?” She poked her head into the bedroom.

Groaning, Dianna burrowed under the blankets to get away from the annoying voice accompanying a knock at the door. Hiding her face against Quinn's warm and naked back she grumbled, “Make her go away.”

One blue eye cracked open. “Vi? Dianna?”

“Quinn?” Violet giggled. “Good morning.”

“Uh, Vi, what time is it?”

“It's almost seven O'clock.” Violet hesitated at the door. “I was going to ask Dianna if she had your number, but this is much easier. I was thinking today I could, umm, maybe go say hello to Lauren? If you think it's a good idea?”

Dianna's fingers slid up Quinn's naked skin, pulling her closer.

Quinn gave a squeak. “I'll be out in second Vi. Just... give me a sec,” she sputtered as Dianna's naked form inched closer.

“Just a second?” Violet laughed, closing the door and running down the stairs.

Dianna pressed herself up against Quinn's back, sighing in pleasure. “She gone?” Dianna's voice was low and sleep roughened.

“Uh huh.” Quinn swallowed. “We need to get up, especially if we're going to go by Caine's so I can change into my work clothes.”

“Don't want to. I think I want to do something else.” Dianna traced her fingers down along Quinn's belly and then stroked her thighs. “It'll be much more fun.”

“Dianna, we talked about this,” Quinn said even as her legs opened and the muscles in her thighs trembled.

“No, we never talked about the morning after.” Dianna's voice was nearly a purr as her fingers stroked upwards, finding Quinn as wet as she had hoped.

“You promised to take me to... Caine's... if I... if I stayed...” One wet fingertip found the point of Quinn's need.

“I will.” Dianna promised, pulling Quinn over onto her back so that she could move down Quinn's body. “I promise to take you there, right after I take you here.” She smiled, sliding fingers through the wetness as her lips and tongue joined them. She really did love the way Quinn tasted.

Quinn had no words after that, only the sensations that Dianna's mouth and fingers created until she was hoarse and spent. Limp as a noodle she gasped for breath, sweat cooling on her flesh. “You're evil,” Quinn croaked out.

“Yes, I am.” Dianna kissed her, long and slow, luxuriating in the fact that she could. Things weren't really settled between them, she knew that, but it was so nice to pretend they were. “Want a shower?” Dianna got out of the warm covers, giving Quinn a coy look over her shoulder as she padded for the attached bathroom.

“Yes. But if we shower together I'll be later for work.”

“I'll be good,” Dianna promised over the sound of the shower. “If we don't shower together you'll be late too.”

Dianna could hear Quinn groan, and stagger to her feet. “I was right there is no strange kinky stuff in your room.”

“All in the basement my” Dianna caught herself “lady. All in the basement.” She pulled a still naked Quinn into the hot showering water.

“Your basement is storage.”

“Oh hush.” Dianna pressed her up against the warm tiles, intent on making her forget everything to do with talking.


Violet was still waiting, impatiently, when Quinn finally made her way downstairs. “I thought you said you'd be right down?!”

“I thought I would be right down.” Quinn's legs felt like they were rubber. There was a slight dazed look in her eyes. “I need coffee, I think.”

There was already a fresh pot on and Violet poured her a large cup worth. “So what do you think?”

“Huh?” Quinn said taking a sip. She thought Dianna was trying to kill her with orgasms, but Violet didn't need to know that.

“About me going to try and visit Lauren.” Violet gave Quinn a strange look.

“If that's what you want to do, then it's a good idea.”

Violet groaned. “I'm asking for your opinion. Can't you at least tell me if you think it's a good idea?”

Was it a good idea?  Quinn took a sip of her coffee. “In my opinion...  yes, you should see Lauren.” God she hoped her gut was right, there was a very real chance it could cause another psychotic break in Violet, or that Lauren wasn't the same Lauren they remembered.

“You ready?” Dianna scuttled down the stairs, smiling, apparently in an excellent mood after the mornings activities.

Shaking her head, Dianna snatched up her coat, stole a quick sip of coffee from Quinn and grabbed her keys.

Violet looked from one to the other, smiling a little. “Can you give me a ride too?”

“A ride to where?” Dianna frowned.

“The DA offices.”

Jaw tightening, Dianna glanced at Quinn. “The Demon affairs offices?”

“She wants to talk to Lauren”, Quinn said with a shrug.  But seeing Dianna's face now she was regretting their little talk. “Um, Vi, maybe we can go after your dance practice, I can go with you, I have experience with law enforcement lingo.”

Violet's hopeful look fell and Dianna's face changed. “Fine, I'll drop you off, but I'm not coming inside.” She'd probably get arrested just for entering the building, Quinn thought.

“Thank you!” Violet hugged them both and then was out the door, leaving Dianna blinking.

“Have you noticed she's kind of high energy in the mornings?” Dianna grinned.

Quinn grunted and sipped her coffee. “I'm going to be late,” she said after a few swallows before starting to make her way slowly to the car. Today was going to be a long day, at least her eye wasn't swollen shut.

“We could have been later, but you wouldn't let me go down on my knees in the shower.” Dianna brushed her fingers along Quinn's arm as she passed her, heading to get the car started.

Quinn whimpered.


Once they got to Caine's Quinn ran into the house grabbed her neatly folded work clothes and rushed into the bathroom to change.  Caine just made a face and looked at Dianna as she walked in the door.

“Morning,” Caine croaked out, squinting at the early wake up call. “You never came back last night.” He rubbed the heel of his palm against his eyes, trying to wake up. “Find a better offer?”

“Please, something better than sleeping on your couch,” Quinn teased him through the closed door. 

“What's up with your eye?” Caine looked at Dianna. “What's up with her eye?”

Stepping around a pile of bottles, and what looked like a bong, Dianna shrugged. “Something about Alvera having put out a hit on Quinn. Seems she's upset she got sent back to hell.” Dianna stared at Caine.

“Don't give me that look. I'd help her out a lot more if she'd let me. But it's a delicate balancing act between her ideals and Thrashers, then there's her whole pride thing. If I help too much she thinks she's worthless and incapable.” He was whispering so Quinn couldn't hear them. He ran a hand through his hair. “Alvera, fuck.  I'd hoped she'd be gone for awhile longer.”

“You'll let us know if you hear anything about it?” Dianna folded her arms over her chest, not completely convinced he hadn't heard anything already. If she'd heard whisperings then it was quite possible Cain had as well.

He nodded. “I'm out of the loop because she's staying with me. People don't come over as much.”

Quinn came out of the bathroom, dressed and ready for work. She frowned, obviously over-hearing that last part. “Well don't worry about it so much, I'm going to be staying with Dianna at the bar. That should free up your social calendar.”

Caine blanched. “Uh, Maggie, you know I don't mind that you stay with me.”

Quinn gave him a long look. “Part of you doesn't, part of you hates it because you can't be Thrasher's favorite. You can't help but love the demon more than me he...”  Quinn frowned. “She,”  No one knew who or what Thrasher was “has your soul.”

Caine looked hard at his coffee pot. “I'll make sure your stuff is packed and ready to go when you get done with work.” He shot a glare at Dianna. “You take care of her and not just with what's in your pants.”

“You know I will. I might even take your advice.” Caine had offered Dianna some advice when she'd first got the bar back and she'd been thinking on the ride over that she might want to look into actually taking someone else's advice for once.

Looking at Quinn, Dianna couldn't resist smiling at the work uniform.

She did make it look good, almost as good as the police uniform she'd once worn.  Dianna noted that the hickey she'd given Quinn had been neatly covered up. “Come on you, time to get you to work, even if I keep saying it's a bad idea.”

“Sorry about Caine.” Quinn said slightly embarrassed on their way out to the car. “He sometimes tries to make up for all the years he didn't act like a big brother.”

Snorting, Dianna slid into the drivers seat. “Your brother has his own problems to worry about.” She glanced at Violet who was impatiently waiting in the back seat, shook her head and started driving.

She had a feeling that this was going to be an interesting day.


Quinn got out at the warehouse and with a wave at the car she took off to clock in.

“Quinn you're late!” the Supervisor barked at her.

“Give her a break boss, it's hard to say no to a succubus.” someone chimed in.

“Yeah, looks like ex-officer Quinn likes being some demon's bitch.  First Alvera. now that sexpot who owns the Irish bar,” added someone else.

“Fuck off,” Quinn shouted back.

“Yeah, saying no to a succubus when they've got their hooks in you is impossible, they got you all bewitched and thinking with the wrong head,” another chuckled.

Quinn paused. Was she bewitched? Under some sort of sex spell? She jerkily pulled on her gloves and moved outside to the trucks that needed off-loading. Dianna wouldn't do that to her. Or maybe she would, as payback for being under her soul fragments thrall.

Now her good morning feelings were sinking into confusion.

Distracted she didn't notice the large crate rock as she and two others tried to lift it to get it on to the moving dolly.

The splintering of wood was the last thing she remembered before being flung back into the truck, hitting the metal side in a painful thump. Several tentacles burst out of the crate, slapping workers backward, while other tenticles grabbed people, crushing throats and breaking bones.


“Margo, the collar is working fine,” Lauren said. Margo had invaded Lauren's personal space and she was trying to push her back. “You don't have to be concerned, the boys in Atlanta would call if they lost the connection.” Margo had been doing that a lot lately, invading her space, touching her. 

It made Lauren feel really uncomfortable.

“I just want to make sure it's not hurting you.” Margo flashed a charming smile, brushing Lauren's dark hair out of her face. “You have such pretty hair; maybe we should try and get you a hair cut? I could see about accompanying you.”

“I'm fine. My hair is fine. You need to take two steps back because I'm starting to feel claustrophobic.” Actually Lauren was three seconds from something that would probably put her in a cell and cause a review.

“Aww come on, I just want us to be friends…” Margo leaned just a little closer.

“Lauren?” Freddy, who as usual was dressed immaculately, opened the door, hesitating as he saw the two of them so close together in the small office space. “You've got a visitor.”

“Thank you Freddy. Margo was just leaving to go back to her office to look up what those symbols meant,” Lauren said in a firm voice.

“You can show who ever it is in.” Lauren checked her desk expecting someone high up from the DA to be doing a surprise inspection on her. Since no one else would bother to visit.

Freddy nodded, stepping backward to let the upset Margo pass. “Go on, she doesn't bite. She's just a little stressed from yesterday,” he reassured the visitor, holding the door open for her to step through.

“Thank you. Hi, umm, my name's Violet.”

Lauren looked up and felt like she had been punched. “Blue... I mean, Violet, come in, have a seat.”  Violet was smiling timidly. Lauren stood up and tripped over the chair she'd been sitting on.

“Woa!” Violet took a quick step forward, grabbing Lauren's arm before Lauren toppled. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, just embarrassed now.” Lauren cleared her throat and regained her balance.  “Um, have a seat. Would you like anything to drink?” she said, guiding Violet to the other chair in her temporary office.

Lauren missed Blue, the crazy woman who had spoken hidden truths in non-sense, the young woman who had given Lauren her first kiss and been her first girlfriend. Violet looked like Blue, but she was someone Lauren didn't know at all and someone who didn't know her.

Violet looked uncomfortable. “I remember you,” she said suddenly.“At the hospital, you brought me flowers. They smelled nice.” Violet smiled.

That was something, Lauren thought, but it did look like Blue was lost to her, just as Lauren had lost her family. “I came everyday and talked to you. The nurses didn't know if or when you'd wake up. You saved my life, the least I could do was visit you in the hospital.” She sat down back behind her desk, uncertain.

“Quinn says hi, and Dianna would too if she wasn't being stubborn.” Lauren looked around the mostly empty room. “I'm sorry I don't remember much, I dream about the Asylum sometimes, and they aren't very pleasant.”

Lauren was having problems keeping up with the ping-pong conversation they were having. “The Asylum, wasn't a pleasant place at all.” Lauren had died there and Bl... Violet had brought her back. The price of which had apparently been Violet's memory of Lauren.

Violet's blue eyes suddenly met Lauren's darker ones. “Will you tell me what happened there? Quinn and Dianna won't talk about it, and they say we were alone together during it. I don't remember anything, just flashes of things that I…” she shook her head.

“I can. I have to tell you this fancy collar I'm wearing isn't just for looks. It records everything, as well as, tracks my location with a GPS. So everything I do is monitored.”  Lauren thought she should warn Violet.

“You're collar does that?” Violet leaned in closer to peer at it. “That's really sketchy. They're watching me right now? Someone is I mean?”

“I don't know. I doubt it. I think they just check on me every now and then, and review footage if there is a question about what happened. It was helpful after that fiasco in the church; Agent Green was suspended pending a full review.” Lauren had thought he'd gotten off light considering he had recklessly endangered his team and the people in the church.

“If it bothers you I can move here to my side so you're not in sight of the camera.”

“Wouldn't that make them suspicious?” Violet frowned. “Do you have to wear that all the time? They're treating you like some kind of… some kind of animal!”

“Yes, except when I'm in my rooms I have to wear it. To most of the scientists and your father the senator I am an animal. Another Frankenstein creation, only they don't want me getting loose and destroying most of English Empire.” Lauren shrugged. This was what her life was and she was trying to make the best of it.

Violet sat back down. “You met my father?”

“Yesterday morning before getting called out here to investigate a murder site. He wants us to bring you home, away from the perverts and degenerates that have kidnapped you.  I ran into him in your hospital room, he doesn't seem to remember me. He funnels money to the scientists in the DA so they can make more things like me. In return the DA do favors for him, like wasting resources on kidnapping his daughter away from the happy life she's made.”

“You've… they…” Violet looked like she might pass out. “You're going to take me back?”

“No, I have better things to do. You're obviously okay. I just thought you should know.”  Lauren sat back in her chair nervously tapping her fingers on the armrest. 

“In the Asylum, all of the insane and tortured souls there wanted to talk to you, wanted you to help them. You saw all of it. We got separated as you know and something attacked us. A blob liked creature who was hard to fight. It wrapped itself around my head and suffocated me. I died. You brought me back and in doing that you damaged something inside yourself. You slipped into a coma.”  It was stripped down and blunt, but it was a neat summery of what had happened to them.

Lauren was sure however that it left more questions unanswered then it resolved.

“I'm glad you're not dead,” Violet said, biting her lip quickly, nervously. “I'm really sorry mother and father threw you out of my hospital room and got you arrested. I wish I remembered being your friend, I tried, hard, but it hasn't come back.”

Lauren gave a weak smile, friend , they'd been more than friends. “It's okay,” she sad trying to mask her hurt.  “I'm glad you're okay.  Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

“Did we ever kiss?”

Lauren swallowed, her mind immediately going to the shower in the gray, their first kiss, and she'd screwed it up by loosing control of the demon inside her. “Yes,” she said shakily.

“Did we, um, do more than kiss?”

“Um...” Lauren squirmed, not really comfortable that this was all being recorded. “A little, not much.”

“Oh.” Violet sighed. “I'm really sorry I don't remember that,” she whispered.

Lauren shrugged. “It's okay. The only thing that matters is that you're okay and doing well.” It didn't matter, it wasn't like she and Blue could have a relationship now she was a pet to the DA. 

There was a knock on the office door and Freddy barged in. “There's a demon attack at some warehouse. A demonic squid thing is killing people.”

That was new. “Thanks, Freddy. I'll be right out.” 

He nodded and shut the door.

Lauren stood and held out a hand to help Violet up. Impulsively she leaned forward kissing the young woman's cheek. “It's nice to see you. I hope the world treats you well.” Lauren doubted that she'd be seeing Violet again.

“Wait!” Violet leaned over, grabbing a small piece of paper and scribbling on it before pressing the paper into Lauren's hand. “Here. Be careful.” Violet was blushing, perhaps from the kiss.

“I will.” Lauren said looking dumbly at the piece of paper.


Quinn woke up in a hospital room with a blinding headache and an itchy nose, and when she went to scratch her nose she discovered her hand was in a cast.  “Owe! Fuck!”

“Language Detective Quinn.”  Lauren said from the chair she was in, sipping a glass of water.

“Lauren?”  Quinn hadn't seen the young woman since she had gotten her soul back.

“It's good to see you again Detective, although not under the best circumstances.” Lauren took another sip of water and set aside the glass.

“We do seem to be meeting under some ugly circumstances.”  Quinn struggled to sit up.  “What happened?  I remember something breaking and then...”  She shook her head.  “Then nothing.”  She wondered if she should apologize to Lauren, it was her fault she was a prisoner to the DA.

“Some squid like demon got loose and tried to kill you. It did kill two of the men working with you who were a bit more brawn than brain. They'd tried to attack it.” Lauren rolled her eyes. “You're wrist is broken.”

Quinn groaned and lay back down on the bed. “Great.” She sighed and struggled back up. “So why are you in here with me?” She didn't think she was going to like this part. “I don't care what Agent Green thinks, I am not selling information to demons. Like I know anything now, anyways.”

“You hear about the massacre yesterday at the wedding reception?”

“What?” Quinn's brain clicked, there were so many questions rising to the tip of her tongue before it crashed all down around her, she wasn't a cop any more. “No, that's awful. You catch the demon that did it?”

“Nope.” Lauren leaned closer. “But whoever it was used their entrails to lay out glyphs all around the dance floor. They were trying to open a portal to hell and summon Alvera back.”

Quinn's shoulders hunched, she followed the plot to its logical conclusion: An ex-Ridden trying to get back in the good graces of her Mistress tries to summon her back from hell.  “You think this murderer is me?” Quinn had killed a fair number of people for Alevra.  “Damnit Lauren, it wasn't me.”

“It crossed our minds.” Lauren said slowly. She itched at the collar around her neck. “You apparently were a really good Reaper for her.”

Quinn paled slightly. “I'm ashamed to say that I was. Funny what you don't care about when you don't have a soul. If you're going to drag me off to the DA center can I say some good-byes before I go?”

“I'm not dragging you off anywhere.” Lauren frowned. “I'm not in charge Quinn, but they are keeping you here for a day or so until they can make sure it wasn't you. You got anybody who can vouch for where you were that isn't Dianna?”

“I don't know, when did the murders take place?”

“Sometime between nine and ten pm two days ago.” Lauren looked hopeful.

“I was at my brother's house around that time and then I took the number 23 bus to Dianna's bar, the stop is about 3 blocks away. I stood in line to get into the bar and a couple of frat boys gave me a hard time. The bouncer let me in to see Vi. I had dinner with Violet and Helga. Later I watched a movie with Violet and Dianna and fell asleep.”  There were several witnesses and most of them weren't Dianna.

“Vi? You mean Violet?” Lauren's voice softened and she sounded much more like the young woman she was. “I mean, okay. So we can check that out and clear you.”

“Thank you Lauren.” Quinn was quiet for a second. “I tried to keep you out of their hands. I really did. I'm sorry my family drama screwed that up.”

“Your family drama?” Lauren gave a bitter laugh. “You mean my family drama right? This is all my sister's doing, if she hadn't tried experimenting on me none of this would have happened.”

“You have a point. When you have some time I'll buy you a beer and tell you about my parents and my brother.” Quinn sighed. “It's a long story involving Alevra, but not when you're wearing that camera.”

“You know what this is?” Lauren pointed at the thing around her neck, surprised.

“I'm a police officer.” Quinn winced. “I used to be a police officer; I know a security camera when I see one.”

“I'm sorry about that, I heard they'd taken you off the force.” Lauren started to say something else when a commotion in the hall drowned them out.

“Hey! You can't just go in there... wait!” Freddy yelled and then the door swung open to reveal Dianna, slightly out of breath, with a wild look in her eyes. She gasped as she saw Quinn and Lauren.

“You're alive.” Dianna said in a strangled voice, tight and controlled as she stared at Quinn.

Quinn nodded. “Apparently I'm a suspect in a multiple homicide. The irony makes me want to vomit.”

“A suspect?” Dianna turned her eyes to Lauren as some of the tension slowly left her shoulders.

“Freddy close the door, please.”

“Lauren, she's a half-demon, you know you shouldn't be in here alone with her.” Freddy hesitated, looking like he was considering calling for backup.

“I'm never alone Freddy, I have this stupid collar. You can leave the door open a crack if it makes you feel better.”

Freedy frowned, clearly not liking it at all, but he did close the door after saying “I'll be right outside.” He pointedly eyed Dianna, who was ignoring him and staring at Lauren.

“There was a multiple homicide two nights ago. The symbols painted in blood and crafted in entrails were for Alevra. So you can see why Ms. Quinn would be a person of interest.”

“You think Quinn is a suspect? They brain wash you into thinking that now that you're a DA person?” Dianna's eyes flicked to the collar around Lauren's neck and then back up to her eyes.

Lauren's eyes flashed angrily for a second. “They didn't brain wash me they've just left me with very little options on living. Where were you Dianna when I was being held in a little tiny cell not big enough to lie in or stand in? While scientist after scientist used me for experiments or tried to figure out the secret to my sister's work. Oh, you were out in New York whoring yourself to save Quinn's soul and I was just an after-thought. Don't make me feel bad for doing what I needed to, to live. I've read you file I know you've done the same.”

“Dianna, really, it's the same conclusion I would have made when I was a cop.” Quinn said trying to ease the tension. She slid off the bed and made her way over to the half-demon. She tried to gently touch her hand and then remembered the cast.

Dianna's lips bared her teeth in something that in no way resembled a smile at Lauren. “And here you are, you seem to have done well in the surviving department. If I could have gone after you both I would have, no matter what you believe. Did those files tell you how Quinn was dying?” Dianna touched Quinn's shoulder.

“Reapers are traditionally used up quick, they do violent dirty deeds. They don't tend to live long.”

Dianna nodded at Lauren's words. “I had to gamble, I thought you'd be okay, I'm...” She looked away. “Sorry if I was wrong.”

“You were very wrong Dianna, I was anything but okay. I'm still not, but at least I'm not shifting into a different demon every night anymore for the amusement of the scientists.” Lauren stood. “Dianna, I would like to come to your bar on Wednesday to talk to any of your staff that might back up Ms. Quinn's alibi for Friday night, as well as Violet.”

“So my word wouldn't be enough?” Dianna asked, lips tightening in understanding.

“You know its not, not to the authorities, especially in light of your sexual relationship.”

“And to you, would it be enough?” Dianna asked.

“I'm upset Maggie was more important to save than me, but your word is still good to me. You saved me several times Dianna, mostly from myself so yes it would be, to me.”

“That's something.” Dianna looked from Quinn over to Lauren and then back. “You okay?”

Quinn shrugged. “Nearly got killed by calamari. I'm as good as I can be. What time is it? How long was I unconscious?”

“Almost night time, I had to drop Violet off at the dance hall before I started calling hospitals. Didn't want the kid to get worried.” Dianna kept glancing over at Lauren.

It wasn't reassuring to have been unconscious that long. “I must have really taken a good hit.” Her head did ache and so did most of her back and hand. “Lauren, can I go?  If you have any further questions I'll be at the bar with Dianna.”

Lauren nodded. “It's not personal, it's protocol, I have to... I can't let her come back. So many people were mad when I sent her to hell instead of killing her.” For a second her face looked scared and unsure and then it was gone.

“I know... I know better than anyone its not personal. I'm just the most logical perp. I'm not happy about it, but I get it.”

“I'll wait for you in the hall.” Dianna turned, opening the door and pausing for a second. “I didn't just abandon you Lauren. I was coming for you next once I had Quinn, I needed her to find you,” she said quietly and then stepped outside, closing the door behind her.

Lauren watched Dianna go. “Thank you.  Please don't leave the city.”

Quinn just smiled, thinking that was exactly what she would have said.


Lauren left to give Quinn some privacy to change.

She shut the door looking at Freddy who was still waiting outside the hospital room, along with Dianna. “I really don't think she's involved,” Lauren told Freddy, “but we'll need to go by the bar and talk to the workers there to follow up in her alibi.” 

Dianna was a few feet away leaning against the wall. Lauren was surprised to see her here for Quinn.

“If Alevra is involved,” Lauren continued, “We should probably go check the Asylum and see if anyone is there, that was her seat of power.” Luaren didn't like the idea of that one bit.

“You go there; you better bring the army with you.” Dianna butted in. “Even if Alvera isn't there, you know what that place is like.”

Freddy looked from Dianna to Lauren.

“Yes, thank you Dianna.” Lauren would have dismissed her, but that would make her like Agent Green. And anyway, Dianna was right. “We should call in more agents to sweep the place. Even during the middle of the day it's still the heart of the Gray.”

“You'll be going to war.” Dianna shrugged. “Just don't take Vi back there.”

Lauren's jaw clenched and her power flared for a moment, tempted to uncreate Dianna or open a portal and shove her in. “I would never take her there again.”

Lauren turned back to Freddy. “Lets go, maybe Margo will have something new for us.  See you Wednesday Ms. Theron,” Lauren said in parting.


Quinn awkwardly opened the door to the room and stepped out. “Of course it would be my dominant hand that broke,” she said with a sigh.

Dianna was staring down the hallway, a hurt look ever so briefly flickered across her face. “I think I just lost another sister,” she whispered, shaking her head. She smiled at Quinn, but it seemed forced. “At least it's not only your hand.”

Quinn said nothing about what she'd over-heard Dianna say. Instead she slowly came up behind her and wrapped her good hand around her waist, giving her an awkward hug.  “Let's go get my meager belongings from my brother and then get Vi.”

“Does that mean you're moving to the bar?” There was a hopeful note in Dianna's voice.

“Yes, I meant what I told Caine this morning. I'm getting in the way of his life.” Quinn sighed. “And I'm sure I'll get in the way of yours too.” She'd just have to figure out how to cope when Dianna found someone new to fuck. Otherwise she'd hopefully have enough money for her own place soon.

“We'll deal with that if it comes up.” Dianna's smile widened. “Come on, let's go get Vi before she freaks out.”


Caine watched Dianna get the last of Maggie's stuff, while his sister was in the garage making sure he'd gotten everything. “Here you'll need this,” he said placing a scorched bone charm on top of the box. “Put it in whatever room she's sleeping in. It will shield the nightmares from leaking out and attracting God knows what.”

“She's taking the study; I have a sleeper sofa in there that she can use.” Dianna eyed the bone charm, carefully studying the glyphs carved into the charred sections. “Do I want to know where you got this?”

“You don't have to justify where she sleeps to me, she's an adult,” Caine said with an amused smile. “I got it at the Bruja shop near the Gray, I don't know who died to make it, some things are better not known.”  He stepped backward. “She's also been fired. Randal called from the warehouse, they don't want her at the warehouse, especially if Alevra has a tag on her.”

He knew she wasn't going to take that well, another blow to her self-esteem.

Caine sighed; Dianna didn't understand humans or being part of a couple with a human, that was fairly obvious. She'd learn soon enough, his sister didn't like to be coddled, protected or treated like she was a prisoner or incapable. “Call me when you piss her off,” he said with a grin.

“Piss who off?” Quinn asked entering the house.

“You've been fired from the Warehouse,” Caine said changing the topic. “They called me, they will send your last check here and they'd rather you didn't show up there again.”

Quinn's face grew stormy and she cursed.

“I think it's best until this hit has been removed, you were putting innocent people in danger.”

Quinn's shoulders hunched.

“Don't worry Quinn, that place was well beneath your abilities anyway.” Dianna hefted up Quinn's meager suitcase full of clothes.

“She's right,” Caine said following them to the door. “I'll put an ear out and see if I hear anything. So far all I'm hearing about is this Lauren, the woman who can open portals to hell and shove demons back in. Everyone is nervous.”

Quinn paused looking at her brother. “Thanks, for everything.”

They didn't hug but he smiled at her. “Call before you stop by, I like to entertain and I'd hate to embarrass you.”

Quinn nodded and followed Dianna out.


“He's not as much of a bastard as I thought he was originally.” Dianna put the car into gear, pulling away from the curb once they'd loaded it with what little Quinn had. She wondered how Caine had dealt with the news of his father's death. Quinn certainly hadn't seemed to react either way to it.

“He was an asshole, because I treated him like one. I never treated him right because I didn't understand,” Quinn said softly. “When my mother died we went and lived with an Aunt. My father went back to his beloved church, and Caine was all I had, but then he was gone all the time getting into trouble and then he went and sold his soul. Nobody told me about my mother or Alvera, all I knew was everything was more important than me and I kept getting left behind.” Quinn shrugged. “Now I know so I'm learning to give him a little slack even if he doesn't have a soul. Not sure what his agreement with Thrasher is but he does seem to care for me.”

“The mysterious Thrasher.” Dianna pulled them out onto the main street, heading back towards the bar. Hopefully Violet hadn't gotten into too much trouble while they'd been picking up Quinn's things. “I'm serious though, you're better off without the warehouse job.”

“Probably,” Quinn said sullenly. “But it was my job, I worked hard, the guys respected me.”

It didn't take Dianna's ability to feel Quinn's emotions to know Quinn was pissed. “So you get a different one, a better job that actually makes you happy. I've heard rumors that things like that exist,” she said.

“Yeah, I've heard that rumor too,” Quinn said, the fingers of her good hand drumming absently on her thigh. She stared out the window.

When the silence stretched out Dianna glanced sideways at that woman deep in thought. “But there's something else bothering you?” she hazarded a guess.

“The guys said some things both times you dropped me off. Apparently one of them recognized you...”  Quinn trailed off.  “It's nothing.”

“Recognized me from the bar?” Dianna frowned, trying to figure out what Quinn was pissed off about.

“I don't know, probably,” Quinn snapped back. “One of them basically said I enjoyed being some demon's bitch.”

Dianna's lips pursed in a silent O of understanding. That wasn't going to be easy to fix. Pulling up in front of the bar, Dianna turned off the engine and shifted in her seat to face Dianna. “So what part exactly pissed you off? That you're with a half-demon, or that people think you've sold your soul to me? Because if it's that your with a half-demon, that's going to be hard for me to change.”

“I don't care that you're a half-demon. It bothers me that I told you we weren't going to have sex and that we had sex. I can't even hold myself up to my own standards around you. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that someday I'll find you with someone else. You're a succubus and I've never had that much interest in sharing.”

It was hard, but Dianna held back on her immediate angry response. Instead she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and tried to think things through.

A new activity for her.

“So there are two problems. One you think I'm manipulating you,” she had to stop and take another breath as her voice got angry at the end. “Two, you think I'm going to get tired of you and just get someone else. That about right?”

“No, I don't think you manipulated me. If you had enthralled me I wouldn't be bringing it up. But it bothered me that I gave in so easily. Fuck, Dianna, everyone falls for you, they can't help it, but used to be able to resist it so we could at least interact. How many cops came in before me to ask for help on a case only to fall into bed with you and forget why they came?”

“None.” Dianna lifted her chin, eyes narrowing. “I refused to help them; I didn't want anything to do with the cops or the DA. There'd be flirtation and then I'd send them on their way. Most of them got too befuddled long before there was any naked time. You were just too determined for that to work on.”

“Damnit! That's what I'm talking about. I don't want to be befuddled around you, some junkie hooked on your pheromones, some idiot who can't be an equal in the relationship because that makes me like every other hormonal asshole that gets turned on by you.” 

“I don't… I can't just stop being who I am.” Dianna felt a little of that earlier fear starting to creep in again.

“I'm not asking you to do that. I just... I just need to know what I'm feeling is real. That it's mine.” Quinn sighed looking across the seat at Dianna. “You don't like that I can stubbornly resist you, it means what I feel is real.”

“True.” Dianna felt a little bit more certain things weren't about to blow up in her face. “If I'd had my way you would never have gone to sleep at your brothers in the first place, and then we would definitely have made love the first time you came over, not argued.”

“Then we'd be in a relationship and you don't do those. And I'm not any good at being taken care of or doing what people tell me.”

Dianna stared at Quinn in frustration, now they were right back at the beginning again! Quinn wouldn't stay with her, she realized suddenly, she leave her eventually, maybe not right away but she would.

“You could bond with me,” Dianna said quickly, before she lost her nerve. “Then I wouldn't be able to mess with your emotions anymore.”

Quinn just stared at her, seemingly stunned. “You... You want to bond with me?  Knowingly?”

Did she? Dianna studied the face of the woman across from her, remembering how much brighter the world had been when she'd carried just a sliver of Quinn's soul. There was an empty ache that she still woke up with at night, reaching for a warmth next to her that couldn't be filled by the people she picked up at the bar.

“I want you to stop worrying that you're going to become a slave to my desires, and that you'll get left behind if someone else catches my eye.”

Quinn just nodded.

Dianna picked at the steering wheel. “It would be different than before, if we did it on purpose.”

“Why don't... uh... why don't you think about this, sleep on it and we'll talk about it more tomorrow. It's not like I have to work.”

“Sure you do.” Dianna opened her door, grinning at Quinn. “You should see my filing system.”

Quinn groaned before fumbling with her own door and getting out.


Quinn squirmed on the pull out bed in Dianna's study, trying to get comfortable. Her hand throbbed, she knew she should take the pills the doctor had given her. She had also refused Violet's eager offer to healer her. She wasn't certain that Violet using her gift all the time was a good thing. She would heal and be fine in time.

She grumbled and looked over at the clock squinting, and sighed. It was 1am

She got up slowly and started looking around the study for her pills, at least they would knock her out.

A timid knock at the door interrupted the search for the pills. “Quinn? Are you awake?” Violet whispered.

“Yes. Come in Violet.” She sat back down with a wince as the movement jarred her wrist.

“You're wrist hurting?” Violet entered, wrapped in a fluffy looking bathrobe.

“Yes, that's what happens when something is broken, it hurts.” Quinn smiled apologetically. “Sorry I didn't mean to snap. Why are you up?”

“And you get kind of bitchy.” Violet frowned. “I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking about Lauren, she seemed so alone when I met her. Lonely and sad.”

Lauren hadn't seemed very sad to her, Quinn thought. “Lauren didn't have a very good life growing up and I'm guessing she's not having a good life now. I don't have a clue how to help her.”

“I wish I could too.” Violet curled up in one of the leather chairs.“You sure you don't want me to heal it? I can do it, I'm sure I can heal bone.”

“I don't doubt you could heal it, but it wears you out to do it. It will heal on its own.” Not only that but it bothered Quinn because it reminded her of all the times Alevra had healed her wounds so she could go out and kill again.

“But...” Violet trailed off as Quinn set her jaw stubbornly. “Okay.” She frowned “But if I have this gift, I should use it shouldn't I?”

“Yes, but how do you know that you're not healing people at great risk to yourself? That's why you should go talk to Melva, she can train you to use it.”

“She scares me though,” Violet whispered.

“Dianna or myself would go with you,” Quinn said reassuringly.

“You really think I should go see her?” Violet picked at a loose strand on her sleeve.

“Yes, I do.” Quinn got up to look for her pills again. “For now I will settle for you dancing. Already one practice and you seem happier.”

“It was great!” Violet winced as her voice raised. “Sorry,” she whispered. “It was great, Vera's very good at what she does and she doesn't mind when I see things that aren't really there.”

“Vera would mind if you had no talent, but since you have some she's willing to overlook a lot in her talented students.”

“Did you know she coordinates the ballet here? She wants me to do a role for their next production. I should let you sleep.” Violet bounced out of the chair, glancing at Quinn's broken wrist.

“That's great.” Quinn studied Violet and said “I know a hacker who owes me a favor, he can probably shut down that collar Lauren wears if you want a more private meeting with her.”

“Maybe, it depends on Lauren. I gave her my new phone number, Dianna got me a cell phone did I tell you that? Anyway, I gave the number to Lauren.” Violet shrugged, pulling open the study door. Dianna almost tumbled inside.

Diana blinked in surprise, her hand still raised to knock on the door. “Violet?”

Violet smiled, gave her a quick hug and ducked out around her. “Good night!”

Quinn watched Violet go before looking at Dianna. “Can't sleep?” she said returning to her search for her pills.

“My wrist aches,” Dianna said dryly, moving into the room. “That and I had to make sure we were all stocked up since I was away for most of the day.”

“Have you seen my pills?” she looked over at Dianna in surprise. “Why does your wrist ache?”

“There over here, by the computer.” Dianna sighed. Pouring out a couple in her palm she took them to Quinn.

“Thanks,” Quinn said, taking them. “Wait has it been 6 hours since I took them?” Quinn couldn't remember.

“You took them before dinner, so it's been longer than that.” Dianna drew a chair closer to sit down in. Good, maybe Quinn would forget about the wrist comment.

Quinn set the pills down and also sat down, looking at Dianna. “Once upon a time when I hurt my knee you took my pain away, you want to do that now?”

Dianna wet her lips with the tip of her tongue, nodding. “Yes. But it would start to bond us.”

“Is that why you came up here? Cause you felt my pain?” Quinn asked curious.

“From downstairs.” Dianna smiled a little. “Which means it must really ache.”

“It's broken, so it's to be expected,” Quinn said with a smile

“Can I guess Violet was in here for some similar reason?”

“Yes. Her reasons concern me, yours I understand, except for the bonding part.”

“Will you let me?” Dianna's eyes almost glowed in the darkness as she watched Quinn intently.

Quinn reached over, grabbing the water sipping it. “Your demon wants the pain, doesn't it?”


“What does your human side want?” Quinn was curious but delaying as she weighed letting Dianna take her pain away and what that would mean to them.

Dianna tilted her head to one side, clearly considering the question, dark hair shifting as she did. “To let you sleep so you won't be grumpy tomorrow.”

Quinn chuckled at that. “Don't feel to bad for me. This is the third time I've broken this.”

She put the water back down and got up. “Okay, but lets do this in your bed, its way more comfortable than this.”

“Really?” Dianna stood up quickly. “And you'll sleep with me?”

“This seems much easier at night, during the day all my fears and insecurities seem to come out to play.”

“Then let's get you tucked in.” Daringly, Dianna captured Quinn's good hand and pulled her towards the master bedroom.

Quinn let herself be pulled into Dianna's room and drawn down into the bed. “You sure you want to do this?” she asked.

“Are you?” Dianna shimmied out of her pants, bra and panties following before she pulled on a simple over shirt to sleep in. Going her usual naked might be pushing things with Quinn tonight.

“I'll let you know that I'm trying really hard to be good here,” Dianna muttered, sliding under the blankets next to Quinn.

“I noticed. The striptease in front of me was being good I suppose,” Quinn said dryly.

“Yes.” Dianna chuckled, fingers skimming along the cast covering Quinn's wrist. “Are you ready?” She shifted closer, breath warming Quinn's skin.

Quinn shivered as she felt the words across her skin “No. I vaguely remember you doing it the last time. But we're here, and you did do that nice striptease for me so… go ahead.”

Dianna moved, fingers sliding up across Quinn's arm to cup her face. “It's easy,” she whispered, lips drawing closer to Quinn's lips. “Sleep,” she said, just barely kissing Quinn and drawing the pain out from her.

Quinn relaxed into the kiss and her eyes fluttered shut. Everything seemed to fade away every ache and pain.


Quinn slowly woke, she felt rested, truly rested. She hadn't been bothered by any dreams, and her wrist was only a dull ache. Beside her Dianna slept. Dianna had quite possibly been born before Quinn's ancestors had even thought about immigrating to the US. Quinn studied her.  She was beautiful, unearthly beautiful. When she was asleep she lacked her usually forceful seductive quality, her beauty instead, in slumber, somewhat coy.

Maybe that was why Quinn had a problem believing Dianna wanted her or this bond.  Quinn never considered herself beautiful. She was strong, capable, smart, and maybe when she had the time she could look pretty, but she'd never been capable of femininity like other women. 

Quinn's Aunt, probably with a word of warning from her father, had known that she'd liked, girls as well as boys. Sometimes she preferred them because they never once assumed Quinn incapable of taking care of herself.  On occassion however, Quinn was probably guilty of pulling her own macho shit. She'd never seen the logic of making her go to an all girl's catholic school, other than there had been several classes on proper women's work. She'd learned how to sew, cook, and dance. She'd also learned how to kiss and undo a bra with one hand.

And she was here in bed with the half-demon, partially afraid and somewhat turned on.  Her broken wrist pretty much guaranteed that the turned on part wasn't going anywhere for a while. And as for the fear, she was going to have to work on that. Dianna could not collect souls, not like a full demon. As for thrall, any young pup having amazing sex was going to loose their mind and think with their small head. Did that actually equal bewitchment? Quinn didn't think so. The problem was Alevra, and Quinn's fear of loosing herself as she already had to one demon. That wasn't fair, Dianna wasn't that demon, but fair didn't make the fear go away, didn't heal the damage that had been done.

Quinn's eyes glanced over at Dianna again tracing over the angles and curves of her sleeping face. She couldn't imagine how lost she'd be without her.

“It is far too early to be thinking whatever deep thoughts you're thinking right now,” Dianna murmured, eyes still shut as she slung a leg over Quinn's hip and pulled her closer.

“Probably,” Quinn agreed. She turned, staring at the ceiling instead of Dianna, and let her good hand come down to rest on a naked thigh. Dianna was, as usual, warm to the touch.  Quinn's fingers stroked random patterns over her skin. “Go back to sleep,” she said softly even as she contemplated getting up.

“Mmmm, I like it when you do that,” Dianna murmured sleepily, snuggling just a little closer.

It was the oddest, most domestic moment they'd ever had. Quinn found herself admitting “I like touching you.”  Although that would be all she would be doing for awhile.

“You should take Violet to Melva and get them to practice on healing your wrist.” Dianna nearly purred, lulling back to sleep by the touch. “Then you could do more than just touch. Thankfully I can still do more.” The last part was barely whispered as the half demon succumbed to sleep once again.

The thought of doing that made Quinn's stomach cramp with fear, but she kept her touch light and soothing as she continued to star at the ceiling.

Later, after Quinn had snuck out of the warm bed, she found herself in the kitchen slowly working the coffee pot as she adjusted to having one working hand. It wasn't like she hadn't been here before. Last time she'd broken her wrist it had been escaping from a chair she'd been tied to. She'd ended up shooting Dianna.

“Morning.” Violet vaulted down the last couple stairs, wincing.

“Morning. Want to help me make breakfast?” Quinn asked, hitting start on the coffee pot.

“I'll do the pancakes!” Violet had done well at that yesterday, even Helga had said so. “Helga's not coming in today, said she deserved a day of rest too and she'd be in tomorrow when the bar opens again.”

Quinn knew this but just smiled. “That would be great, since it took me 30 minutes to get the coffee pot started.” Though she had pills for the pain, Quinn hated the idea of taking them and had decided to put it off until she was ready to take a nap.

“Do you have dance practice today?”

“Yup, at 5, Vera's going to have a male lead there to make sure I'm comfortable with being lifted. Apparently the part she wants me to do involves that. I never did those before.” Violet placed the heavy iron skittle on the gas stove like Helga had taught her and then started making the batter.

“I'll see if I can borrow the car and take you to practice there's an errand I need to run.”  A personal errand that involved seeing a shrink the police department used. That had been the painful conclusion she'd come to in this morning. Nothing that cops hated more than seeing a shrink, but she really wasn't a cop anymore.

“Wow, Dianna's going to let you borrow her car?” Violet teased, giving a fake wide-eyed look of surprise. She tested the heat of the skillet with butter which sizzled before trying a what looked like a test pancake.

“Um, I haven't exactly asked yet,” Quinn admitted.

“Oh.” Violet laughed, flipping a mini pancake. “I'm sure she'll lend it to you though, I mean, she likes you right? You're her girlfriend?” It almost sounded like a question.

Quinn fidgeted uncomfortable. “We like each other just fine. As to the rest I don't know, we're working it out.” She wished the coffee would brew faster.

Violet bit her lip, nodding as she started the real pancakes. “But you're sticking around right?” She asked in what she thought was a neutral tone.

“Even if I wasn't sticking around. I'd make sure you always knew where to find me. You don't need to worry about that Vi, you're… like a... a daughter to me.” Even though Violet was legally adult there was something innocent and childlike about her that tugged on every maternal string Quinn possessed.

Violet nearly flipped a pancake out into the kitchen she was so startled. “I am?”

“Yes, you are. I know you're all grown up, but still...”  She trailed off not sure how to put it into words.

“You…” Violet sniffled, eyes beginning to water. “I'm going to burn the pancakes.” She promptly burst out into tears.

“Fuck,” Quinn muttered getting up and going to her side. “I didn't tell you that to make you cry.”  She took the spatula away from Violet, flipping the pancakes with her good hand .

“I know.” Violet wiped at her eyes, now that her hands were free. “But no one's ever wanted to be family with me before.”

“I'm sure that's not true,” Quinn said softly as she scooped the pancakes off the skillet, put them on a plate and turned off the burner. She picked up a hand towel and wiped Violet's face and then hugged her. “I'm sure that's not true at all.”

Violet hugged back, burrowing into the hug. “It is,” she whispered. “Everyone looks at me like I'm a freak, my parents keep wanting to cure me from doing things they don't understand. It's always been like that.”

Quinn wondered how two horrible people could have such a sweet daughter. “Let me tell you something I've learned being a police officer: Nobody is normal. Everyone is a freak somehow.” She held Violet for a long while now that nothing was in danger of burning.  Pulling back she checked Violet's eyes. “You better now?”

Violet sniffed and nodded, seemingly ashamed. “Sorry, I got your shirt wet.” She wiped at her eyes again.

“Don't worry about it,” Quinn said with a smile. “It'll dry. Now set the table and I'll go get the sleeping half-demon up.”

Violet nodded, grabbing plates and silver ware. “I think there's a saying about letting sleeping demon's lie.”

“Probably but if I ask now, I'll probably get to use the car,” Quinn said with an evil smile. 

As she ascended the stairs Quinn hoped this wouldn't hurt her wrist. 

Easing the bedroom door open Quinn smiled seeing Dianna sleeping. Then she quietly snuck into the bed behind her and carefully placed her hurt hand on the woman's hip, as she slept on her side. Next she pulled Dianna's shirt up kissing along her spine.  “Dianna? Can I borrow the car and take Vi to her dance lesson tonight?”

“Anything you want as long as you don't stop.” Dianna groaned

Quinn blinked. That had been easier than she thought. She frowned at her wrist wondering now though, how'd she keep going. “Thanks,” she replied and continued kissing Dianna's back and slid the shirt up and off to kiss her neck.

“Should I ask why you want the car?” Dianna shivered under Quinn's touch.

“I... it's an errand I need to run.” Quinn was once again taken in by the unholy beauty of Dianna. She was flawless, and in comparison to Quinn's own mortal flesh it was daunting. She leaned up nibbling an earlobe and then frowned trying to work out logistics. Nothing came to mind that let her have any sort of control. That was another problem, Dianna took unconscious control in the bedroom. Quinn thought Dianna wasn't that aware of it. It was fine most of the time. Okay, no, it wasn't. It bothered Quinn that Dianna frequently got off on Quinn's pleasure and really didn't need her to return the favor. Quinn liked to return the favor.

“Damnit,” Quinn cursed softly under her breath. “Apparently I'm useless in this aspect.”  She rolled over onto her back glaring at the ceiling.

Sleepily Dianna shifted over onto her side facing Quinn, blinking. “Why'd you stop? Did I do some thing?”

Frustration was suddenly rolling off Quinn.

“No,” she said tersely, then sighed. “It's me.  You give me this wonderful opportunity to touch you for a change and I can't because I can't figure out a way that doesn't hurt my hand. Plus I'm right handed.”

“And you suddenly lost the use of your left hand too? Or your lips? Or your legs?” Dianna's grin was less sleepy and more amused now as she woke up. “We have to work on your imagination if your entire seduction is focused on one hand,” she teased, sliding closer to the frustrated woman.

“No, it's just other things that came to mind require some sort of balance using both or at least one hand which require my other hand to be active.” Which was impossible without causing mind-crashing agony. She also didn't like the fact that Dianna seemed to be laughing at her.

Dianna immediately leaned in, kissing Quinn slowly. “I'm sorry, that didn't come out right. Can I help you in these grand plans somehow? I'll do anything you want,” she whispered in a voice that was low and needy.

God that voice made her brain melt. “If I was a guy this wouldn't be problem.” But she wasn't a guy despite her moments of wounded pride and machismo. She was a very human woman with some temporary and annoying limitations at the moment. She was going to have to give up and be on the bottom and save the seduction for when she was healed. Her only other option was to storm out of the room.

Dianna waited, watching Quinn with bright eyes.

“The first thing I want you to do is help me out of these clothes and be careful about my wrist. From there I'm sure we'll figure something out,” Quinn said, shoulders and jaw relaxing a bit.

“How about this?” Dianna's fingers started to undo buttons and rasp down zippers. “I'll only do what you tell me to do.”

Quinn snorted in disbelief. “And if you can't I'll get up and go downstairs were Violet is.  She made pancakes.”

Dianna swallowed. “I'm not usually good at taking orders.” But she waited, having carefully undressed Quinn, for the next order.

Quinn watched Dianna. She was surprised that Dianna hadn't tried to take over. “Come here.” With her good hand Quinn drew Dianna down for a kiss. She could almost taste the inner turmoil Dianna was feeling. 

“This is hard for you. Isn't it? You like to take over and control sex, it's what your demon likes. Isn't it?” She pinched a nipple. “You can answer me.” Quinn chuckled at how literal Dianna was taking this. “And you can relax I don't want a sex slave.”

“Maybe,” Dianna answered. “I just want to make you feel good, is that so wrong?” Dianna gasped at Quinn's touch.

“No, but you never really let me return the favor. It makes me feel somewhat unnecessary.” Quinn kissed her again. “You can be on top; it will make it easier to touch you, since I'm one handed.” She helped Dianna straddle her hips and again she was assaulted by her beauty.  “You're like a siren, we mere mortals cannot resist your song, your lure. The promise of sex hidden in your smile, the desire we desperately want to believe is for us in your sultry gaze. How ugly and ungainly were are in comparison. Yet you cannot resist us, just as we can resist you.” Quinn could feel how wet she was, how wet Dianna was. She wanted to tell Dianna to touch her, but she didn't. She just watched.

“Please.” Dianna whispered. “You're killing me,” she gasped, not able to quite stop her hips from sliding against Quinn's flesh.

“Touch yourself, slowly.” Quinn's breathing increased. “And don't come.” Quinn wanted to touch Dianna desperately but held off, instead sliding her good hand up and down the Dianna's thigh and nowhere near high enough to touch that wet heat she knew was there.

Dianna made a low moaning sound, her hands sliding across sensitive breasts, cupping them.

Arousal was painful and sharp in her belly, and Quinn couldn't help make a hiss of pleasure when her hips jumped a little. She moved her left hand so it now rested on the top of Diana's thigh near that juncture of fertility. Then slowly let it move into that wet heat.

“Oh… Yes.” Dianna grabbed the headboard, bracing her hands there. Head flung back she moved her hips.

Quinn's own hips surged against her hand as she lost it for a moment, then she slowed down, moving achingly slow. She debated whether to Dianna touch her or make her wait some more. “Touch me. Gently, careful of my wrist. Cause me pain and we're done,” she warned. 

It was true, any sharp jolt to her wrist and the mood would be lost.

Dianna bit her lip, nodding quickly as she freed one hand from the bedpost. “So beautiful,” she whispered, tracing her fingers along Quinn's skin.

Dianna must have seen the doubts Quinn had.

“You are,” Dianna reaffirmed. “You should see yourself like I do. Strong, determined to do what you must and yet so touchable,” she whispered, fingers sliding across Quinn's ribs and then up to her breasts. Daringly she arched a bit, managing to get her hand between them so she could just barely caress Quinn's thighs and then in between them.

Quinn's breath caught as Dianna touched her intimately. That had been a bad idea as she nearly came undone. She moaned as pleasure spiked deep in her belly. She wanted to believe Dianna's words, see herself the way she did. She surged up, her bad hand coming around and resting against the skin of Dianna's lower back, as her hand began to move faster, harder into that feminine mystery between Dianna's legs. 

Quinn kissed and bit Dianna's neck and collarbone, something she'd never done before.  “I want you to come on my fingers,” she said harshly, her own belly twisting as she tried to slow down her own orgasm.

Dianna's hips jumped against Quinn's fingers and her mouth opened as her entire body tensed, only the hand convulsively gripping the headboard of the bed kept her from simply collapsing on top of Quinn.

“Maggie…” Dianna moaned.

Quinn heard Dianna say her name, and she groaned not wanting to open her eyes enjoying her own lingering aftershocks. She reached up and slowly removed Dianna's hand from the head board and brought her down to rest on top of her. She kissed the top of Dianna's dark head. “Thank you,” she murmured into dark strands of hair.

Dianna chuckled, kissing pale skin where she lay. “Shouldn't I thank you?”

Quinn chuckled too, her eyes opening slowly. “Later, you can thank me later. Vi did make us all breakfast.” Quinn's eyes studied Dianna's, maybe they could make this work. “Sometimes... I can't do this if you won't let me touch you. I know the demon part of you gets off on emotions, but I... I can't be a starfish,” Quinn said feeling herself blush. “If this is going to work you have to let me do some of the work sometimes.”

“A starfish?” Dianna smiled against Quinn's skin.

“Yeah, a starfish. Seriously you've never heard that before?”

Pale eyes peeked up at her through dark hair. “No, what's a starfish?”

“A starfish is a term used for a woman who... uh... in bed... just lies there and lets the other one do all the work.”

“And you're worried I'll think you're a starfish?” Dianna propped her head up on a hand resting on Quinn's chest.

“No... I don't want to be one. But you have a tendency to take over when we're having sex.” Quinn blinked, it was hard to think with Dianna right there looking at her.

“I do?” Dianna frowned just a little. “No one's ever complained before.”

“How many people have you slept with more than once?”

Dianna's mouth opened, and then closed. “Umm…”

Quinn let her hands rest in the small of Dianna's back where it dipped before curving up into the perfect roundness of Dianna's ass. She tried to be careful of the cast. “Your demon half gets off on emotion, on my pleasure. I'm human, I can't feel yours, other than through taste and touch.”

“That would change,” Dianna's whispered, eyes closing in response to Quinn's touch. “If we formally bonded.”

Quinn blinked. “Really? That didn't happen last time.”

“We kind of fell into the bonding last time.” Dianna tilted her head, eyes opening to study Quinn's face again. “Are you sure you never felt anything?”

“I...” Quinn frowned, thinking. “When you showed up at the club... in New York. I didn't see you but I knew you were there. I followed you outside.”

“So it was starting, just not really something you were paying a lot of attention to.” Dianna shrugged bare shoulders. “It's one of the reasons a lot of half breeds don't ever bond, it leaves us vulnerable.”

“You were supposed to think about it. I guess I really haven't given you anytime to do that.”

Quinn really hadn't given herself any time either.

“I don't think I'll change my mind.” Pale eyes sharpened a little. “But you should think hard about it. It would change your world again.”

“My world was changed by losing my soul to Alevra. If we hadn't bonded, if you hadn't had a piece of my soul I'm not sure what would have happened.” She probably would have killed Dianna with no thought, and she would have just ignored Violet with those young predators dressed in the skin of boys.

“Still.” Dianna leaned up, kissing her softly. “Think about it. It's not like a marriage, there's no possibility of divorce.”

That hadn't occurred to Quinn. “Good point. You should too. I won't live as long as you will. I'll grow old and gray before gray hair even touches your hair.”

Dianna laughed. “Well, that wouldn't be a worry if we bonded.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean it is a sharing of souls. You would live longer, and my life would be shorter. We'd average it out I think.” She shrugged.

“I... I need to think about all of this.” Quinn swallowed and looked away. “I wanted to borrow the car to take Vi to her dance lesson, after I dropped her off I was going to go see the shrink we use for the police department.” She shrugged. “I don't know if she'll see me but need to do... something.”

“Do what?” Dianna drew idle patterns along Quinn's side with her fingertips. “There's no rush, no hurry at all. I just don't want you to leave.” The last few words were said quietly.

“I'm not planning on it. Leaving you that is. Although I'm not certain falling into bed was a good thing. I need to work through everything that happened there's so much anger and self-loathing I have inside. Loosing my job… I was the job, loosing it makes me feel so lost. I'm trying but my moods are all over the place....” Quinn trailed off; ashamed she couldn't just deal with it herself.

“If...” Dianna swallowed. “If the shrink doesn't help, you could talk to Melva. I talked to her once, a long time ago, when I first came to this city.”

Quinn raised an eyebrow. “I was under the impression she didn't like you. At least that's how she acted that one time we met her.”

“She doesn't. Calls me a parasite. But we tolerated one another well enough until I messed with a niece of hers.” Dianna couldn't quite help grinning.

Quinn rolled her eyes and pushed the Dianna off. “Okay that's enough quality time. Get dressed I'm sure the pancakes are cold by now.”

Giving an aggrieved sigh, Dianna rolled off, walking naked to the closet to find clothes.

Quinn's hand was hot and throbbing and she'd need to take a pain pill soon. “I know you have ex's, sometimes I don't want you to talk about them. Mostly I don't want you to talk about them and get that look on your face,” Quinn said grumpily pulling her shirt over her head and reaching for her pants.

“That wasn't the ex that I was grinning about, it was tweaking Melva. Sorry.” Dianna pulled on a tight shirt and set about looking for pants.

Maybe the look was because of getting the best of Melva, maybe it was about an ex.  Quinn wanted to believe the first but it was hard considering how many times she'd been tossed aside for other loves. At least when she got her measly paycheck she could buy some more clothes.

“Come on Vi made breakfast I'm surprised she didn't burst in here. She's a hyper little thing.”

“Wait.” Dianna reached out, catching Quinn's arm before she could bolt. “Why are you upset this time? Is it because I mentioned Melva's niece or that I mentioned another woman?”

“Neither. I'm upset with the look on your face when you talked about her. You can tell me the look wasn't about her it was about besting Melva, but I don't know you well enough or us as a couple,” if that was what they were “well enough to know that for sure.”

“Oh.” Dianna blinked, dropping her hand from Quinn's arm.

 “We'll take it slow and figure out how to work together in this.” Quinn's last relationship hadn't worked out well. Poor Thomas, consumed by something so much he saw things that weren't there. She never would have cheated on him; she had loved and honored their family too much. He had just loved too much, loved until it choked and killed them. It had been forever, since she'd had a relationship with a woman and she remembered them to be emotionally more draining than the ones she had with men.

Tentatively she took Dianna's hand letting a finger stroke over the skin. “We'll just take it slow,” she repeated, “and see if this suits us.” 

There was an odd duality in Dianna, a rush to be bonded but then hesitation at being a couple, there must be some difference that she didn't understand between the two.

“Okay.” Dianna took a breath. “Oh, wait.” She leaned over, rummaging through her jacket pocket. “Here.” She offered the car keys.

“Thanks,” Quinn said taking the keys. “Come on. Everything will be better after pancakes. That's what my mom use to say.” It was an odd childhood memory to have pop up, particularly when she had a hard time figuring out her feelings towards her parents.


Thankfully Dianna's car was an automatic, which was kind of a shame, but a BMW was still a BMW. It handled like a dream, she almost wished something would attack her. The things she could do in this car. Quinn's gaze flicked to Violet. Or maybe not, she thought, she wouldn't want Violet in any danger. 

“How long does your practice last?”

“Two hours I think. She kept me late last time though and we're doing lifts tonight.” Violet was practically vibrating with excitement.

“I should be an hour and half, so plenty of time before you're done. Just didn't want to leave you waiting for me. It's a nice neighborhood, but I'm a... I use to be a cop; I see the bad in everyone and everything.”

“I thought you trusted Vera?” Violet asked, turning to look at Quinn.

“I do, but please see previous statement where I said I use to be a cop. Cops see everyone as a suspect and every situation as possibly dangerous.”  It was the part of the job, the world seeming weary and disenchanting.

“I'll be fine.” Violet grinned, popping out of the car even before Quinn had pulled it to a stop in front of the Brownstown. “See you around seven! I'll call Dianna if it's going to be later,” Violet said, the last part muffled as she shut the door and sprinted towards the front of the building.

Across the way from the building, a pile of rags shifted in the alleyway and for a moment Melva gave Quinn a gap toothed yellow stained smile, before she wobbled back into the darkness.

Quinn shuddered She was trying to prevent four horrible futures from happening.  Although the thought had popped into her head that Melva was playing her, pulling strings to get the results she wanted and these results may not be things Quinn wanted.  She watched the door to the Brownstone shut and shifted back into drive. 


It was only a 15 minute drive to the mental health building. Quinn parked the car and stared at the offices not getting out. Only after telling herself that they probably wouldn't take her on as a client did she get out of the car. She could tell herself that she'd at least tried, but without any money or being backed by the police department they'd probably just smile at her and send her on her way.

A pleasant young man greeted Quinn as soon as she'd stepped through the doorway into the nicely furnished waiting area of the psychologist used by her police precinct. There were no other patients waiting, since it was almost five thirty by the time she'd gotten upstairs to the corner office.

“Hello, can I help you?” he asked.

Quinn was suddenly speechless, the words were harder to utter than she thought. “I'm not a cop any more. But I was for a long time. I'm… I'm having some trouble adjusting to my new life.” The old one seemed to be filling her nights with nightmares.

He offered her a pleasant smile. “The Doctor sees many former police personnel. If you'd like to fill this out with whatever you can offer, I'll see if she can see you.” He offered her a clipboard with a standard two page form on it.

Quinn sat down with the paperwork and sighed. It looked like her measly last paycheck would be going to the doctor and not for new clothes. It was fast, but painful filling out the form. She had no job, no insurance. She got up and placed it on his desk and sat back down picking up a random magazine.

After typing in the scant information on the form, the young man got up and disappeared through one of the adjoining wooden doors, taking the forms with him deeper into the office.

Only a few minutes later he reemerged, smiling as he held open the door. “Ms. Quinn? The doctor had a cancellation earlier; she could see you now if you want?”

Quinn blinked and for a moment thought about running out the door. How fucking messed up and weak was she if she had to see a shrink?

“Great,” she said weakly and stood up.

He led her into the office and knocked on a beautiful mahogany door, opening it to the call of enter from beyond. The office was just as tastefully decorated as the waiting room; old black and white pictures adorned the walls providing counter point to colorful expressionist paintings.

A well-dressed woman in her early forties, dark hair just beginning to tinge to Gray around the temples, rose from behind the desk. “Ms. Quinn, please come in.”

“Thanks.” Quinn felt grungy and unkempt compared to this woman. She shoved her good hand into her pocket and stood awkwardly.

“I'm Doctor Aubry. Please, there's no need to stand. You can sit wherever you feel comfortable. Can I have Chad get you a cup of coffee? Tea perhaps? We have water and soft drinks as well.” Dr. Aubry moved around the desk.

“Thanks. Uh, water will be fine.” Quinn sat with her back to a wall in a seat that let her see the whole room. “It's nice to meet you Doctor.” Quinn wondered if every cop that came in here chose this seat and acted the same way. Probably.

Dr. Aubry nodded to Chad, who retreated to fetch water for both of them.

“Please, Aubry will be fine if it makes you more at ease? I understand you were a Detective in the local Precinct?” Dr. Aubry pulled a chair around the side of the desk, sitting in it and adjusting the dark skirt she wore.

“Yes, Ma'am. Uh, Aubry. I was until recently. I was found, and rightfully so, unfit for duty.” It still hurt. “I... I... sold my soul to a demon.”

“I see.” Dr. Aubry paused as Chad returned with bottles of chilled water for both of them. Only when he left did she start talking again. “As you know, I maintain a service for the local police district and take on many officers who have had traumatic experiences. If you choose to undertake therapy I would be happy to set aside time for you every week. There would be a few ground rules though. One, anything you say in here is completely confidential; however you must understand that if you are thinking of hurting someone or yourself, I would have to report that.” She waited for Quinn to nod before continuing.

“Two, I try to discourage my patients from smoking, drinking or anything else that they could use to dull their senses and try to hide from their pain. It's a coping mechanism and one that I find seriously delays any progress.”

Quinn opened the bottle water and took a sip to give herself some time. “I understand.”  She held up her hand with the cast on it. “I recently broke my wrist so I am taking some pain medication. Also I really don't feel like harming anyone, not since I got my soul back.” Only herself, she noted.

“Self harm is included in that.” The older woman gave a gentle smile. “The pain medications are fine, as long as they do not become a crutch for more than just physical pain.”

Her girlfriend could take her pain away, but Quinn didn't know how to bring that up in conversation. So far it had just been used to mute the pain of her wrist, so it was probably fine. “I.. uh.. that all sounds reasonable.” She fidgeted in her seat for a moment.

“Please Ms. Quinn, or Maggie if you prefer, say whatever is on your mind. That holds true for all of these sessions.”

Quinn shrugged. It was hard to speak or say anything, she was not sure what would happen once she spoke. But she had come here. She had made that choice. “Just Quinn is fine, Maggie was my grandmother's name I've always felt awkward being called by it.”  She fiddled with her cast. “I don't know what to say. All I know is that I have nightmares and don't sleep well. I'm afraid of hurting the few people I have left in my life and there's a huge empty place inside myself that use to be filled with the joy and satisfaction I had with my job.” She'd probably said more than enough, the doctor would find some people to take her away and lock her up.

“You've been through a life changing event Quinn,” Dr. Aubry said patiently. “You're life was defined by being a Detective, now it isn't. It's completely natural to feel lost and adrift. If you have time, I'd like to hear the story of how you lost your soul to begin with, it would help me a great deal in trying to help you further. Any detail you feel comfortable sharing would help.”

Quinn nodded and then took another swallow from the water bottle. “It started with a murder. A family in a quiet home nowhere near the Gray, murdered as they sat down for dinner...”


Dr. Celine Aubry closed the door behind former Detective Maggie Quinn and let the pleasant and patient smile she'd been holding for hours fade from her face. A calculating look replaced it and she moved back around to her desk, tapping glasses against her lips as she thought.

This had been a most surprising visit and not one that she'd ever considered receiving.

It opened all sorts of interesting possibilities.

“Chad?” Dr. Aubry called out to the empty office.

A cleverly concealed side door hinged open and the assistant poked his head out of the secret room beyond.

“Make certain that you keep good track of all of the records from Ms. Quinn's sessions. I'll want full recordings of audio and video of everything she says and does. Send word to our contact that I'll want to meet with him.”

Chad nodded and closed the door.

Dr. Aubry smiled.

Most interesting indeed.


Quinn's throat hurt. She never talked that much, but she found that once she had started she couldn't stop. The entire story came out, ending with the sacrificing of herself for her son and Dianna; Quinn's payment for the sins of others.

She sat inside the waiting area of Vera's studio waiting for Violet. Somehow the Doctor had managed to get her to agree to another appointment next Thursday. The only thing she'd asked was that Quinn keep a journal of her nightmares and dreams. She didn't understand what that would accomplish but then again she wasn't a doctor.

Quinn's thoughts were broken when Violet suddenly emerged, seeming happy, but exhausted as she stumbled on her way out of the classroom. “Hey, sorry it ran late.”

“No problem,” Quinn said with a smile. She handed Violet a bottle of water. “I thought you might need this.”

“Oh god, thank you. I'm starving, can we get food too?” Violet drank the entire bottle, eyes closing as she stopped only to yawn.

“We can grab a snack but I think Helga left us a bunch of food. Apparently Dianna really isn't good at taking care of herself.” Quinn got up waving at Vera.

Vera nodded in return. “She's doing well. I will have another lesson for her tomorrow.”

“She'll be here,” Quinn replied, pulling the keys out of her pocket.

“Did your errand go okay?” Violet asked as they headed out of the building.

“It went better than expected,” Quinn said with a smile. She ran them though a fast food window getting a couple of tacos for Violet. “Tacos doesn't seem to be the healthiest thing for a young dancer.”

“But I'm starving!” Violet mumbled around a bite of taco, not even bothering to wait for them to get back to the bar.

Quinn chuckled as she pulled out into traffic.

Violet twisted in her seat, staring out the passenger window, half-eaten taco in one hand. “Do you ever get deja vu?”

Quinn shrugged.

“I keep seeing a face, or hearing a voice, that I think I should know. Like Lauren, but when I try to grab the memory it just floats away.” Shifting back into the seat she continued with the rest of her taco.

“Why do you think you can't grab on to those memories?”

“Sometimes I think it's my brain just being stubborn. Or perhaps I really am crazy.” Violet studied the bite of taco left. “Or maybe my brain's trying to protect me from the memories.”

“Seems to me your memories of Lauren would be pleasant things, you seemed happy. Are you scared of being gay, maybe?”

Violet ducked her head, blond hair hiding her face. “Maybe,” she whispered. “I'd never be able to go home then.” She peeked sideways at Quinn. “Did your parents have a problem with it?”

Quinn laughed, it was a sharp barking sound that she couldn't help. “My father was a catholic priest, yes there was a problem.”

“Oh.” Violet finished eating silently, only talking when she'd finished everything. “Is that why you married Thomas?”

Quinn smiled softly but didn't look at Violet. “No, I loved him. In college he was sweet and idealistic, he wanted to be a cop to help people, and he made me want that too.”

“Was he a cop?”

This was the first time Quinn had ever spoken about it to Violet.

Quinn turned on the blinker and waited for the light to change. “I liked both girls and boys I guess. He knew and said he didn't have a problem but I guess he was lying to himself. We fought about it later in our marriage. He was a cop until an injury forced him to be a glorified secretary at the station. That's when our relationship started to change. He started to change.”

The light switched and Quinn turned, heading towards the bar. “When I got pregnant he was over the moon because he thought it meant I'd stay home, stop being a cop but I didn't.”

Quinn thought of her beautiful son, he was the beginning of the end for them. Thomas started sleeping in the guest room and she had been talking to the department's lawyer about a divorce.

Violet reached over, touching Quinn's busted arm just above the cast. “I'm really sorry about your son, I wish I'd been there, maybe I could have.... done something.” She shook her head.

Quinn smiled, it was a sweet thought. “If you had been there you'd be dead. She would have killed you. I only lived because she wanted me to.”

“I thought you lived because you sent her to hell.”

“That's what I thought too, but she was weak. Thomas had done the summoning ritual and not all her power had come into this world. She knew I had the upper hand and was willing to kill us both, so she retreated, leaving me the marks of hellfire. Those marks were part of her power so she could easily re-enter our world. She always has a plan.”

“Are they still there?” Violet asked worriedly. “The marks?”

“No, she took them back and gained her full power and without Lauren we never would have defeated her.”

“But she's not dead.” Violet said sadly, getting up out of the car.

“No,” Quinn agreed getting out of the car and then locking it. “Let's get more food into you. You should take a shower, Lauren will be by in the morning to ask questions.”

“She's coming here?”Violet looked nervous. “Is she going to talk to all of us?”

“Yes. You just have to back up my alibi so they don't think I murdered a bunch of people at a wedding reception.”

They entered the kitchen and Quinn opened the huge fridge looking for Helga's leftovers.

“Why would you?” Violet wrinkled her nose. “Lauren should know you wouldn't do that.”

“Protocol. I'd do the same thing as a Detective.” Quinn grabbed a bunch of plastic storage containers out of the fridge. “Dianna, we're home,” she shouted, closing the fridge door with her foot.

Quinn set everything down and started opening containers. “It looks like some sort of stew.”

“Smells good.” Violet's stomach rumbled. “I need to shower, I'll be right back,” she yelled, running up the stairs past a bemused Dianna.

“I'm guessing she had a good lesson?” Dianna mused, stepping down to the kitchen.

“Yep. Something about lifts.” Quinn dumped the stew into a pot and started to reheat it.

She looked over at Dianna with a quick smile before turning back to food.

“And how was your errand?” Dianna moved closer, tentatively reaching out.

Quinn tensed and then relaxed into the touch. She turned her head slightly to look at Dianna. “I liked how you let me have control this morning.” Quinn blushed at the admission. She had been thinking about it but really hadn't meant to say anything.

“It was new,” Dianna said, slowly smiling. “I liked it too. We should do that again, soon.”

Quinn studied Dianna's face to make sure she was telling the truth. Happy Dianna wasn't lying she relaxed a little bit more. “Well you did say I could use chains,” she joked. “But why don't we start small, like a kiss?”

“A kiss I can do.” Dianna leaned in kissing the nape of Quinn's neck, inhaling her scent.

Quinn shivered a little bit and smiled, but kept stirring the stew on the stove. “That was nice,” she said. “Why don't you get three bowls for the stew down and then come back and do that again?”

“Pushy.” Dianna laughed, going off to do as she was told. “I'm guessing this afternoon went well? I think I killed the computer though, the screen went blue when I tried something.”

“It's not you, computers just do that, because they're more evil than demons,” Quinn said, turning down the heat on the stove while she cocked her head listening for the shower; as far as she could tell it was still running. 

“I don't know how I feel about this afternoon yet. It seems like a waste of time, but to continue to feel lost and worthless is a waste of time as well. So at least I'm doing something,” she said with a shrug as she continued to stir the stew.

“Then it's worth it.” Dianna perched on a chair, watching her. “You never agreed to take the job I offered.”

“You didn't come back and kiss me again. So we all lost out on something.” Quinn grinned a little, staring at the pot on the stove.

Dianna moved over to wrap her arms around Quinn from behind, kissing her neck and jaw. “Have I mentioned I kind of like it when you're bossy?”

Quinn chuckled and just because she wasn't done tweaking Dianna she pressed her ass back against Dianna's crotch. “I like being in control, it's probably a cop thing.”

“We really should examine this in depth,” Dianna purred, eyes narrowing. “But you're trying to distract me from my question.”

“Do you want the cold hard truth or should a sugar coat it?” Quinn asked, turning off the heat on the stove and turning around to face Dianna. She leaned forward nibbling Dianna's lips.

“You,” Dianna whispered, kissing her back. “Have never sugar coated anything for me before. Why start now?” Her hands went around Quinn's side, grabbing her ass and pulling her tightly.

Quinn felt her pulse speed up and desire pool low in her belly. “I will help you for now.  Because I can't just live here without paying my way and if I do nothing I'll get depressed again. But I'm not a desk jockey. I drink, I don't make drinks, and watching people flirt with you, while necessary for a good bar business, just pisses me off. So for now you're stuck with me but if something more suited to my talents comes along I'll take it.”

“Deal. I just don't want you wandering around being an easy target for anyone with a grudge against you, trying to find some low paying job that's beneath you.” Dianna glared, daring her to disagree.

Quinn wisely said nothing just looked into Dianna's face and pale eyes. She heard the shower turn off. “We probably have five more minutes until she comes running down stairs like an over-caffeinated puppy.”

“Five minutes is more than enough time to make out a little.” Dianna grinned.

“Okay.” Quinn easily agreed. Again wondering what sort of spell Dianna had put on her, she couldn't remember being this sexual with Thomas or anyone else she had dated.

“Hey is there food? I'm starv....Ah! Come on!” Violet stumbled to a stop at the bottom of the stairs as Dianna slowly pulled herself away from where she'd had Quinn up against the kitchen counter. “I was only gone showering a few minutes.” Violet rolled her eyes.

Quinn pulled slowly away from Dianna's lips and let her eyes open and chuckled. “Sorry, it took her four minutes.” She let her hands drop from around Dianna's waist, careful of her hand. “Dianna bring the stew over to the table, you can pour it into the bowls.”  Quinn went and sat down at the table. “Violet come sit down. And when you start dating someone we will tease you mercilessly.”

“And give you tips.” Dianna waggled her eyebrows, grinning evilly as Violet flushed at the suggestion.

Violet groaned and went to sit down where she had been told.


Dianna woke with a start, gasping softly as she sat up in the bed. Something had just brushed up against her dreams and she shivered a little at the darkness of it. Beside her Quinn stirred slightly only to still as she sank back to sleep.

The Bar was quiet below them, tomorrow they'd be open, but for tonight only Bob was down there. Violet was fast asleep, and no matter how hard Dianna strained her ears, she couldn't hear a thing in the entire place.

Still, something had gotten her attention and she got up, pulling clothes on. With a quick trip to the office she pulled out the sawn off shotgun she kept there for protection and sneaked down the stairs, moving as quietly as she could.

The rooms were dark and still, just as they should be. Nothing was moving in the kitchen besides the wall clock and in the main bar room there was only the dim outline of Bob sitting at the bar.

Dianna had just started to believe she'd imagined the entire thing when a knock on the back door nearly made her shoot the shotgun as she jerked it up. Despite being half-demon, her heart was racing as she edged to the door.

“Who is it?”

“Your father. Open the door,” a voice on the other side answered. Dianna froze, pale eyes staring at the metal door.

“If I wanted to attack you I wouldn't knock on your back door.” Dianna didn't move. “Open it so we can talk,” he said, irritation coloring that usually lovely voice.

Cursing herself for a fool, Dianna did it, opening the back door warily, shotgun in one hand.

Malek stood there, a smile on his other-wordly handsome face, the same dark hair as hers framing that sculpted visage. “Daughter,” he said with a sardonic nod of the head.

“I'm not your daughter,” Dianna answered, tersely. “Or did you forget our deal?”

“No, I remember it perfectly. You gave up all of your rights, and yet, here you are in a bar that is yours and not mine.” Dark eyes glittered with something before the emotion vanished.

“So what do you want, here, at my bar?” she asked, shotgun aimed at his head.

“Can a father not come to talk to his only daughter?”

“No,” Dianna growled. “And stop calling yourself my father that implies you had something to do with raising me.”

“Ah, you're angry we didn't do Christmas together? Would you like me to show up at thanksgiving each year?” His smile widened as he chuckled. “Or perhaps we can celebrate Christ's crucifixion together? A good demon holiday.”

“You have about three seconds before I squeeze this trigger.”

“Testy.” He laughed. “You youngsters, no sense of timing.” He held up his hands as she growled and tightened her finger against the trigger, not quite pulling it.

“Easy Daughter. I simply wanted to come and talk to you. A time of change is coming and I would like you at my side when it does.”

Dianna eyed him. “Your side?”

“My lieutenant. I know the desires that lurk inside you, you could have all of them, just come stand by my side when the time arrives and the world will grovel at your feet,” he whispered the dark and seductive words.

“What change?” She shivered a little as he bent his full will on seducing her. Even she wasn't immune to a full succubus's force of charm.

“This world won't be ruled by humans for very long.” He stopped before saying anything else, looking past Dianna's shoulder to someone inside the bar.

Dianna followed his gaze. Quinn stood there in an old t-shirt and work out shorts looking at them, eyes bright in the semi dark. Her facial expression was blank, unreadable.

“Malek,” Quinn said finally in monotone greeting. “Find a good replacement minion?” 

“Detective Quinn,” he smiled showing perfect even white teeth. “How pleasant to see you again. I have indeed found a replacement.”

That snapped Dianna out of her stupor. She'd almost agreed to something there, something bad. If Quinn hadn't been there she probably would have. “You almost killed us,” she snapped, remembering the knife attack that had caused the bond between Dianna and Quinn to burst into life.

“It was nothing, barely even a real assault,” Malek answered. “And it did bring you closer together, did it not?” His smile widened as Dianna twisted in confusion. It had brought them together, and she'd actually enjoyed it

“Why would you want to make us closer,” Quinn asked. “It seems like it would be counter-productive?” 

“To teach a lesson about weakness, of course.” He reached out, stroking a finger along Dianna's chin.

Dianna shivered, confused and torn about what she should do.

“Weakness?” Quinn asked. “I'm not following your logic... oh wait... I'm not a demon.”

Malek ignored her, focusing his entire will on Dianna. “Your human side will betray you. I'm offering you the world on a silver platter, all you have to do is say ‘yes'. She will leave you.” He glanced towards Quinn. “You know that in your heart, every human does eventually.”

“Big words from Alevra's butt boy,” Quinn said. “Like you're so strong and powerful.”  She smiled as Maleks face changed. “Oh yes, I know how you tried to trick Alevra so you could be top dog and how you failed and became her slave. So is this your plan or hers? Because I know she's trying to come back.” Quinn watched his face carefully.

Malek yanked his hand back from his daughter's cheek. “Not all is as it seems.” He glared at Quinn, before turning back to Dianna. “I'm going to wait for your answer, but do not take too long in making up your mind Daughter. If you do, you might get caught on the wrong side of events.” Turning, he left Dianna blinking in confusion as she came out from her stupor.

Quinn walked past Dianna and locked the back delivery door.

“I'm on drugs,” Dianna said, watching Quinn. “That's the only possible reason that I would have opened the door for him.”

“Do you actually remember letting him in? I mean Bob gets in and we have no idea how.” Quinn reached out, gently taking the shotgun from Dianna and putting it back under the bar.

“Yes.” Dianna gave her a dry smile. “He asked me to open the door, so I did.” Dianna shook her head. “I keep forgetting how powerful he can be.” She still felt like she was waking up from a dream.

“Thank you,” she said suddenly, “If you hadn't come down…” She didn't know what would have happened but it wouldn't have been good.

“You would have done whatever you would have done and we would have gone from there. I stopped you once before as a full succubus, I think I could have done it again and thrown myself on that bullet.” Quinn joked.

“True.” Dianna's lips curved into a familiar smile, remembering that Quinn's cure had been a lot of sex. “Care to come back to bed?” Dianna wanted to put the entire thing out of her mind.

Even though Malek's talk of a big change to come worried her.

“I could be persuaded to come back to bed, yes,” Quinn said with a lazy smile.

“There might not be much sleep for a while,” Dianna purred, moving closer.

Quinn stood there and shivered. Dianna moved until they almost touched. “Hmmm, I only have one good hand so I'm not sure what we could do.”

“How about…” Dianna leaned in closer, sucking on an earlobe before continuing, hands tracing against the thin cloth of Quinn's nightwear. “I do all the work this time?” Hands slid up along Quinn's side. “In thanks for tonight.”

Dianna felt Quinn tremble. 

“Oh...” Quinn moaned. “That could be... uh... fun.”

Dianna's answering chuckle lasted for just as long as it took her to pick up the other woman and carry her towards the stairs.

Fun indeed.


His office had the understated opulence of someone with money, old money, who wanted to make certain that the people he invited there knew he had the power that went along with that money.

The Senator watched his guest intently, keen blue eyes appraising him. The two couldn't look any different, himself, an elegantly dressed gray-haired statesman, and the other, a hunter, scruffy beard, ill-fitting jacket, well worn boots and jeans.

Neither had said anything since the Senator's secretary had brought the visitor into his office, he steepled his hands, considering the other man.

“You came highly recommended,” The Senator said at last in a doubtful tone.

“I'm good at my job,” the hunter drawled, seeming unconcerned, dark brown eyes never flinching.

“I doubt you've done jobs like this before.”

“My men and I have handled demons before.” The hunter smiled, the expression never reaching his eyes. “I assure you, we can do the job.”

“You understand the terms?”

The hunter laughed, leaning back in the French antique chair. “Senator, I'm familiar with Washington politics. Having a daughter missing is embarrassing enough, having a daughter who's missing and demon touched... well that would put a crimp in your ambitions wouldn't it? Presidents don't have those sort of things happen to their families.”

The Senator's eyes narrowed, but he didn't disagree. “She either comes back for an exorcism or she never comes back at all.”

“We can do that.” The Hunter grinned, white teeth showing. “Although I am curious, why not send the church to get her? They love trying to save souls.”

“They tried, before, but they bungled the entire thing. This time I prefer to hire more competent help.” The Senator's fingers twitched ever so slightly, the only outward sign of his anger at the church's inability to solve this problem.

“I'll want all her records available to me, from all of her psychiatrists that you've forced her to see, and all of the hospital stays.”

The Senator waved a hand. “Certainly. Then we're agreed?”

“On everything but price.” The hunter raised an eyebrow.

“Two million. When the job is complete, either way.”

“Done.” The Hunter stood. “We'll have her back or silenced within the month. Do you have a preference?”

The Senator looked down at the picture on his desk, the happy family smiling back at him from the picture frame. It had been taken years ago now, back when he'd just started out in politics. Violet had been so young then, so young and fragile. Even back then she'd seen things, been odd. They'd all thought it was just a phase, something that would fade.

But it had gotten worse.

“No,” he said at last, cold eyes looking up at the hunter. “Just solve the problem.”

After all, images of him in mourning for his poor lost daughter would only help his chances in four years.


Lauren stepped out of the car, happy it wasn't raining and that the weather seemed cool but not cold. Margo wasn't happy with her but that was alright, she wasn't happy with Margo. The camera in her collar would show she'd not encouraged the attention and had tried to turn Margo down gently, and then not so gently. Lauren's scalp itched being so close to the Gray. “Smells like shit,” she observed.

“Always smells like shit,” Freddy grumbled, stepping out of the car behind her. “How do you want to do this?” He was obviously ill at ease, all of them were, being this close to the Gray and about to go into a Bar owned by a half-breed. “Guy at the door is half troll,” he muttered under his breath.

“You want to stay out here and watch the tires? They like rubber,” Lauren said, relaxing a bit. “Half of them is human, just remember that, and if you treat that side with respect then that side comes out a little bit more on top. Anyways, we are here to verify the alibi of Ms. Quinn. While she looks like a good suspect on paper I have a hard time in reality pinning this on her.”

“You sure you want to go in there alone?”

“Freddy, I sent a full Demon Lord back to hell; a few half-breeds don't really bother me. Plus, she has a really good Irish Whiskey behind the bar I think you might like.”

“Whiskey?” Freddy stepped away from the car. “I should be there for backup.” He waved to the second car of agents. “You guys stay here, we'll call if we need backup.”

In a quieter voice Lauren asked, “How painful is Margo going to make my life?” She was trying to ignore the glare the woman was shooting them from the other car.

Lauren didn't care as long as she didn't go back down to the cells, however she didn't think Margo had that sway.

“I'll talk to her, get her to back off.” Freddy sighed. “She has a thing for you, as you might have guessed.”

“She's made it hard to ignore, I had to move her to the second team. Mark is sending us a new person to fill her spot. As long as it's not Green I'm good.”

“Green's still on administrative leave.” Freddy slowed as they got closer to the doorway.

The large half -breed there eyed them curiously as they got closer. “You Lauren?” he asked, voice rumbling under thick craggy skin.

“Yes,” she responded with a smile. “And you are?”

“Grim. I'm the new doorman.” And bouncer, Lauren thought. Grim shifted, opening the door for them. “Boss said you could go in whenever you came by. Bar's just opening.”

“Thank you Grim. Uh, were you the doorman the night Ms. Quinn came to the bar last Friday?”

“Yes.” He watched Lauren curiously. “Frat boys were being nuisances, but she was nice.”

“When did she show up?”

“Early. Hard core rush wasn't even here yet and no big line. Maybe nine thirty?” He shrugged a thick shoulder.

“Thanks. Oh… did she look or act odd?”

“Frat boy insulted her and she seemed hurt by that, kinda quiet.” He shrugged again.

Jason was behind the bar, setting up glasses and checking the stock for the night after the bar had been closed for a few days. “Lauren?” He blinked in surprise, nearly dropping a bottle of beer as he spotted her.

“Hi Jason.” She smiled. “This is Freddy. Freddy this is Jason; he taught me how to mix drinks.”

“Sure did, she's a quick study. You're not really back for another lesson are you though?” He nodded to the uncomfortable looking man in the old style suite, getting a reluctant nod in return.

“No, I work for the DA now. Maybe someday I can come back for another lesson but not today. I'm merely here to verify Ms. Maggie Quinn's alibi for last Friday did you see her?”

“You work for the DA?” Jason blinked in surprise, looking back and forth from one to the other. “Oh. Uh, yeah she came through here. Boss made sure we all knew to keep an eye out if either of you showed up.”

“Do you remember what time she showed up and how long she stayed?”

“She never left, I don't think. She went into the back.” Jason pointed with the bottle he was still holding at the door to the kitchen. “Probably before ten, not really sure, we were pretty busy.”

“Thanks. Oh, I was telling Freddy here about that Irish Whiskey that Dianna keeps hidden behind the bar.” Lauren was pretty certain that Dianna kept it there for Quinn. “Mind giving him a shot of it? We'll pay of course.”

“Always on the house for the DA,” Jason said, reaching for the top shelf bottle of Whiskey. “Boss is in her office if you want to go back, Helga just started up the kitchen if either of you want something to eat.”

Freddy sniffed the glass appreciatively, sipping the whiskey and nodding in approval.

“Good stuff, I'll see about talking to the rest of the staff if you want to go back?” He glanced at Lauren.

She nodded. “I think we're going to just more of the same. She's not our killer, but let's dot those I's and cross those T's.” She moved to the back knowing she'd have to talk to Violet. She was looking forward to the bittersweet feeling that came with that.

Lauren entered the kitchen, smiling as she watched Helga cook. “Hi,” she said softly.

Violet was just inside the kitchen, helping Helga out with an order of pasta. “Lauren!” Violet jerked in surprise and a pan of sauce went tumbling, flinging its contents across the kitchen floor.

“Violet,” Lauren said bemused. The name was getting easier, no longer getting entangled with the name Blue. She missed Blue, Blue had loved her, this woman didn't know her.

Lauren looked down at her shoes that were now covered in sauce.

“Hi.” Violet sighed, face turning red as she went to grab paper towels to clean up her mess. “Sorry, you just surprised me.”

Helga shook her head, muttering in German.

“Maybe I should wear more red; it seems to be okay with my skin coloring,” Lauren joked before going over and grabbing some towels as well. “I'll help, it's only fair, I startled you.”

“I'm sorry, Dianna said you'd be coming by sometime, but I just was hoping you'd be coming by later.” Violet seemed horrified that she'd gotten sauce all over Lauren's shoes. “I was going to be all suave and buy you a drink, but then I realized I didn't remember if you even drank anything.”

“You, what?” Lauren froze bent over cleaning off her shoes. “I... uh... I drink. A little not a lot.”

“Really?” Violet looked up across the puddle of sauce at Lauren. “What do you drink?”

“I like cream based drinks like White Russians.” She straightened up and threw the towels in the trash before getting a few more and then kneeled next to Violet and helped clean the mess.

“You wouldn't be able to tell that I just started drinking when Mark and I play games.”

Lauren looked at Violet shyly from the corner of her eyes then back at the floor.

“Here I got it.” Violet tried to grab for the worst of it, fumbled a little and ended up grabbing Lauren's hand instead. She flushed. “Cream based, right.”

“Cream based,” Lauren repeated and then gently grabbed Violet's hand. “You okay?”

“Umm.” Violet blinked, still holding onto Lauren's hand. “Yes just...” she trailed off, pupils dilating as she kept her hold on Lauren's hand.

“Violet... don't, whatever you're doing.” Lauren could feel Violet just as if the woman was touching her inside. She knew it was Violet, recognized her touch even if it was psychic.

“Sorry!” Violet jerked her hand away.

Lauren swallowed, her pulse increased raggedly and she almost cried when Violet jerked away from her. She turned around and threw the paper towels in the trash trying to regain some composure.

“It's... I'm sorry.” Violet clenched her hands together, staring down at them. “I didn't mean to. It's just I thought you were hurt, but it's not really a hurt, it's something else.”

“It's okay. Violet, um, if you'd have a seat I need to ask you some questions about last Friday.”

Lauren turned back around and smiled weakly pulling out a chair.

Lauren could see she was blinking back tears. “Oh, sure,” Violet nodded, moving over to the offered chair.

Lauren swallowed and was reminded of the collar. Maybe it was for the best.

“Quinn was here on Friday...” Lauren trailed off aware Violet was upset. “Uh... um...” She looked around and then reached over snagging a cloth towel and tucked it under the collar and then over the camera. It made it tighter and more uncomfortable but they had some privacy. “Hey now, don't cry.” She reached up and wiped a tear away.

“I keep making things wrong,” Violet whispered, tears coming a bit faster now. “I forgot about you, and then I don't know how to fix it, and then this...” She trailed off closing her eyes. “I'm sorry.”

“It's okay. You can't help that you can't remember and I'd take that over you dying any day.” Lauren moved her chair closer to Violet.

Gently she took Violet's hand in hers and with the other wiped more tears away.

“You don't hate me?” Violet whispered, holding onto Lauren's hand where it cupped her cheek.

“No. It's not your fault. Why would I hate you?”

“Because your girlfriend doesn't even remember....” Violet blinked and paused. Taking a breath she moved forward suddenly, lips searching out Lauren's in a terribly eager if slightly clumsy kiss.

Lauren was floored; this was the last thing she expected. Her hand still cupping Violet's face she felt the muscles move under her fingertips. Those lips meeting hers was something she had wished for.

Hesitantly after a long surprised moment she returned the kiss.

Violet sighed as they slowly separated. Smiling she opened her eyes. “Thank you.”

Lauren nodded, staring at Violet before blinking and looking away. “You're welcome.”  She moved her chair back around letting out a breath. She was unsure suddenly; the unexpected kiss had thrown her for a loop. She slowly removed the kitchen towel from her neck and set it down. “I need... to... uh... ask question.” Lauren couldn't stop staring at Violet's lips and thinking, wondering... would Violet kiss her again or was it a one-time thing? Did she want Violet to kiss her again? 

“Questions, questions about last Friday and Ms. Quinn,” a familiar voice interjected. 

Lauren blinked and tore her gaze away from the young woman's mouth.

“See, now this is what not to do after someone kisses you for the first time - well for the first time for them,” Dianna drawled from where she was leaning up against the stair railings.

Violet blinked, looking from one to the other.

Startled Lauren jumped and turned looking at Dianna she blushed and then her gaze darted to Violet. Her mouth opened and shut.  “I... um... Dianna hi.”

Then Freddy came bursting into the back. “Lauren! I just got a call from base your camera's not working...”

Lauren felt her face burn, as she buried it in her hands. “Every thing's fine Freddy,” she mumbled.

Helga just stood at the stove and cooked, an amused smile on her face.

Dianna laughed, shaking her head as she turned to go upstairs. “Ask your questions Lauren, Quinn's upstairs doing something arcane to my new computer if you want to talk to her too.” Dianna winked at Violet, which just caused her to turn even more red than she'd been.

Freddy looked at Lauren and then at Violet. “Lauren why don't I question the Senator's daughter and you finish up with everyone else.”

Lauren opened her mouth to protest but he beat her to it. “Remember the senator will be able to review everything with that camera.”

Lauren nodded and sagged in relief, Freddy had her back. “I'll just go talk to Dianna and Ms. Quinn.”

Freddy nodded. “Come back when you're done. I'll undo that collar and take a look at that camera.”

Lauren blinked and then gave a brilliant smile. He was going to give her some privacy with Violet.

“My dad's going to see that?” Violet's eyes widened in horror. He'd know where she was then.

Freddy nodded. “He can ask to review the tapes. He's the head of the committee that funds the DA.” He sat down in the seat that Lauren had just vacated.

Lauren hesitated eyes on Violet she hovered next to the table. “I'll be... can we...” she stuttered.

“Go.” Violet gathered her courage. “I'll be fine.”


Dianna was waiting for Lauren at the top of the stairs, watching her climb with a speculative look. “I wasn't sure you'd actually come here to check on Quinn's alibi,” she commented.

Lauren's first response was biting sarcasm but she choked it back for a more thoughtful answer. “You may not like the DA, hell even I may not like the DA, but I enjoy helping people and I'm good at killing demons. A lot of people would have just hauled Quinn in, but those people who died deserve to have their murderers caught. I'm not going to waste precious time on a poor lead. By being thorough and eliminating Quinn we can get back to tracking down the real clues, not the false positives.”

Lauren did wish Dianna wouldn't wear such tight shirts, she couldn't help but notice, she had never been able to not notice and she had to wonder how Quinn did it.

“You really think there was any possibility of Quinn doing this?” Dianna's tone was light, considering. “Maybe you should be worried about me too.”

“Quinn wouldn't be with you if you'd done it. She would have either left you, taken you in, killed you or a version of all three,” Lauren replied. “And no I don't think she did it.  She's just the most likely suspect. There are only four reported cases of someone getting their soul back, including Quinn. The other three were exorcism, they spent the rest of their lives trying to call their demon masters back into this world so they could give up their souls again.”

“So people think Quinn might have tried to bring back Alvera, even after all the shit that demon did to her.” Dianna shook her head in amazement. “And Quinn didn't just get her soul back, Alvera released it. There's a big difference between that and an Exorcism.”

“Thanks to Agent Green the DA think all sorts of bad things about Quinn.” Lauren was on the step below Dianna. “Are you going to move so I can talk to her or do you want to me to grill you here on the stairs?”

“I just want to make sure you're still the Lauren I knew, you've changed a lot.” Dianna answered.

“That's what happens when you're locked in a cage and scientists spend everyday poking you and injecting you with different things just to see what the reaction is. You change inside and out.”

Lauren stepped by Dianna shivering slightly as they touched. “She in your bedroom or your office?”

“Office.” Dianna said, eyes closing. “Guilt isn't an emotion I'm familiar with Lauren, but I am sorry I didn't get to you in time.”

“I'm still too angry at you too forgive you, but part of me knows that, and in time the rest of me will as well.” Lauren moved down the hall to the office.


Lauren made her way back downstairs. The talk with Quinn and Dianna had been the same information she'd been getting from everyone else only with more detail. She entered the kitchen and spotted Freddy still there he was chatting with Helga while Violet shyly sat there.

Freddy looked over and gave her a quick smile. “Margo called; apparently your phone is off.”

“I did it on purpose so she'd call you instead.” Lauren said dryly.

“Anyways the bus has a security camera because it goes so close to the Gray. Quinn's on it, there's no way she's our killer.”

Lauren rolled her eyes. 

“Okay let me take that collar off and I'll check it for problems,” Freedy said.

Lauren stood very still as he undid the clasp. When he'd finished she stood there feeling very naked.

Helga snorted and poked Freddy with a bony finger. “Come, we get you something to drink in the other room.” Helga hustled him out of the kitchen leaving Violet to stare at the closed door in surprise. Swallowing, she turned her head to look at the frozen Lauren.

“Did it go well? Upstairs I mean?”

“It was fine. Awkward but fine.” Lauren fidgeted. Dianna might be physically attractive but a lot of that was the demon half of her effecting everything around her with pheromones that turned every breathing human on. But Blue, or ratherViolet, was who Lauren wanted. There was something so innocent yet powerful in her attraction, but if Violet had no memory of them or their time together was she even the same persona Lauren loved? “Uh, why did you kiss me?”

“When I woke up in that hospital I didn't realize how long I'd been gone.” Violet studied her hands. “I thought I'd just had one of my episodes, that I'd passed out or something and it was just the next day.” She smiled a little. “But there you were with flowers and so happy to see me awake.” The smile faded. “Until my parents had you arrested.”

Violet looked up, eyes troubled. “There's so much that happened that I don't remember. It's like part of my life just got erased. All these things I did and experienced that just stopped to exist. I wanted…” she trailed off. “I wanted at least a little piece of that back.”

The smile came back, wider this time. “And you looked cute and lost and I wanted to do it.”

“You remember me, in the hospital?” Lauren asked. “I came every day I brought you flowers, I talked to you and then one day you woke up. It had only been a week and then the doctors were there shoving me out of the room and later your parents came and had me thrown out.”  Ironic that Violet's father didn't remember her, but she remembered him. 

“Can we... can we kiss again?” Lauren blushed. “Maybe you'll remember more.” She cleared her throat nervously. Lauren now had the blood of angels in her, she could kill demons and withstand most any attack, but she was still the shy young woman who hid lesbian romance novels under her bed and read them once her parents were asleep.

“I'd like that,” Violet said softly, blue eyes wide as she watched Lauren.

“Um... do you want me to come over there? Or do you want to come over here?” Lauren asked nervously.

Violet slowly got up to her feet and moved towards Lauren.

Lauren rubbed her throat nervously. The look on Violet's face wasn't exactly pleasant.  “Are you sure this is okay?”

“I'm a little nervous,” Violet confessed, biting her lip as she moved closer and hesitantly touched Lauren's arm. “It's different when I think about doing it.”

Lauren purred at the contact. “Then don't think about doing it, just act,” she said stepping forward.

“Well, okay…” Violet started to say something else but Lauren was already leaning in pressing warm lips against hers. Their bodies fit together nicely.

Lauren shivered as she felt Violet's tongue against her lips and hesitantly opened her lips at the invitation. Her heart sped up and she felt her skin begin to softly glow. Considering she'd once sprouted scales and wings this wasn't a bad reaction to the kiss.

Violet pulled back, skin flushed, eyes dilated, and gasping as she sucked in air.“I'm gay,” she blurted out.

Lauren blinked trying to process the sudden change. “This is news?” She was remembering the woman who had kissed her in the shower at the Y in the Gray. The young woman who kept trying to convince her it was okay to have sex. Now she wished she had less morals.

Violet blushed. “I wasn't sure. I guess... Blue didn't have any doubts?”

“Nope, she knew she was. Kissed me in the showers at the Y. It was my first kiss,” Lauren said wistfully. “I wish you remembered, but it's a trade-off. You seem more stable, before it was like something had broken inside. You talked in Nursery Rhymes. Your parents had done something and you ran away from them to Melva.”

“Something terrible I think,” Violet whispered. “Umm, can I kiss you again?”

“Any time you want,” Lauren responded. “I'll try not to sprout wings,” she joked.

“Wings?” Violet paused, obviously confused.

“Before... now, my sister worked for the DA, she was working on an experimental drug and used me as a test subject. It caused me to mimic the form and function of certain demons. One was a dragon like demon with wings. When I was turned on...”  she felt herself blush and mumbled, “I sprouted wings...”

“Really?” Violet smiled, reaching up to brush the bangs out of Lauren's face in a move that felt completely natural. “Will you tell me the full story someday? What about now? No more wings or no more arousal?” Violet also blushed but she managed to tease without stuttering.

Lauren smiled wistfully wishing she could just invite Violet to dinner in promise of telling her the story. “I'm definitely turned on, but I can do wings as well if you want.”

“You can?” Violet smiled. “What else can you do?”

Lauren shrugged and then unbuttoned her shirt and slid it off. She really hadn't let anyone else know she could sprout wings. She refocused her gaze and then felt from her shoulder blades the dark feathered wings slowly grow. She let them stretch out, the movement feeling good. “I can defeat demons and send them to hell, but I can't figure out how to free myself.”

“You could run away.” Violet stared at the wings entranced. She reached out, fingers stroking the soft feathers near Lauren's shoulders. The black with deep purple highlights running through them and her fingers twitched.

“I could but then I'd spend a lifetime running. Or worse I would put you all in danger, because the first thing the DA would do would be to make you, Quinn and Dianna's lives miserable.” Lauren shivered, feeling the touch on her wings, it was gentle and arousing.  Goose-bumps became clearly visible on her exposed flesh.

“They feel like their part of you,” Violet whispered, wonderingly as she stroked them.

Lauren shuddered again, feeling every touch. “They are. Violet, you're... I'm...” She hadn't realized that Violet's touch would feel quite so intimate, but she was certain she'd never been so wet in her life.

“I'm what?” Violet whispered, eyes half lidded as she watched Lauren, licking her lips.

Her clit twitched and she almost came. Her face felt flushed with embarrassment. “I didn't know how much I'd get turned on with you touching them.” Her feathers rippled and her hands were clenched tight, the knuckles white. Her stomach was tight and she tried to breath through everything, tried to make everything relax.

“Oh.” Violet breathed, now trembling. “I like touching you. I want to keep touching you.”

Lauren's breathing was ragged. “I don't want you to stop.” But part of her knew this wasn't the best place for this. Dianna would know, probably did know what was going on down here. Freddy and Helen could come back into the kitchen.

“Tell me.” Violet breathed, pressing up against Lauren, fingers busy. “Tell me what you want.”

Lauren's wings folded around Violet and Lauren brought her hands around her waist for good measure, lifting her up slightly to kiss her again. Another gut twisting spike of pleasure and sparks shot up behind her closed eyelids. 

“I have no idea,” Lauren moaned.  “I've never had sex with another person.”


“Whoa.”  Quinn squeaked out as Dianna tackled her, pinning her to the couch in the study. She held her casted hand up in the air so it didn't slam into anything. “Honey, what brought this on?” she asked before Dianna attacked her lips. 

“Need you.” Dianna groaned, another pulse of desire slamming through her from below. The sudden explosion of desire had caught her completely by surprise. Dianna thought they'd kiss at most.

Dianna had also completely forgotten that Violet had some powerful abilities of her own, because she was fairly certain she was feeling the Violet's lust right now and not just Lauren's.

All of which meant that she was almost desperately stripping Quinn and herself, not even waiting for Quinn to pull her pants down all the way before she grabbed the humans hand and guided it between her legs. “More.” She panted, groaning as Quinn added a second and then a third finger.

“Yes,” Dianna moaned, hips thrusting as she flung her head back, riding Quinn.


Violet hummed in frustration, why hadn't she been more adventurous in high school, or even college? The answer of course was because she'd lived at home and hadn't had much social interaction outside dance recitals.

“I haven't either.” Violet really wanted to though and dimly she thought she heard a moan from above them, but she wasn't sure.

This was insane. They were going to have sex in the kitchen of a bar, and Violet didn't even really know her. She just knew stories about her.

“I wish I could take you out to dinner.  Give you romance and candles.” Lauren said kissing Violet's lips and then down her neck as her fingers moved under the soft cotton of Violet's t-shirt. Once Lauren found skin those same fingers traced random patterns over Violet until they came to her breasts. Lauren froze for a second, her wings twitched. She palmed them both one in each hand.

Lauren's touch was hesitant at first but she seemed to grow more sure as Violet didn't protest.

If anything, Violet was urging her onwards, giving sharp little gasps of pleasure with each new touch. “I like that,” she whispered, casting a quick glance at the door to the bar to make sure it was still closed.

They couldn't do this here, someone was going to come through at any moment. Grabbing Lauren's hand she pulled her towards the storage room, resolutely not thinking about what she was doing and just doing.

“Here.” Violet barely waited for the door to close behind them when she slid her own hands along Lauren's stomach and then upwards. Lauren's skin looked so tanned against Violet's own, and she shivered in desire as she cupped Lauren's larger breasts through the simple bra she wore.

Lauren gasped. She picked Violet up and sat her on a low counter pushing something out of the way and leaned into Violet's touch on her chest and kissing her hard. Her groin pressed into Violet's leg and she stilled, whimpering a “Sorry.”

“Why?” Violet wasn't. She pushed aside the bra, gaining confidence as she felt Lauren twist and shudder under her touch. It was intoxicating to have that sort of power over someone else.

Gathering her courage she did something she'd been fantasizing about and leaned down, kissing Lauren's breasts.

Lauren moaned, her wings stretched out knocking something over in the small space.  Her hands reached up tangling in Violet's blond hair. “Oh,” Lauren moaned as Violet's hot mouth scorched the sensitive skin on her breasts.

Violet made a sound in the back of her throat, hands busy at Lauren's waist with her slacks. She was so close to having her naked and she didn't want to wait. What if this was the only time they'd ever get together? She wanted this memory to hold and cherish.

“Off,” Violet pleaded, moving to the other breast as she pulled on Lauren's slacks.

Lauren nodded dumbly and her hands went to the button and zipper of the slacks she was wearing. She pulled away and shoving them down her legs before letting her hands go to the buttons on the jeans Violet was wearing. Quickly Lauren undid them and then looked up into Violet's blue eyes. “Lift,” she said her chest nearly heaving and her hands trembling.

Violet was also trembling, but she did as asked, lifting up so that jeans and panties could be tossed aside. Shivering she pulled Lauren closer, hands stroking through soft feathered wings as she did, almost violently shaking as skin touched skin and she wrapped her legs around Lauren.

“I want this,” Violet whispered, holding on desperately, mouth returning to Lauren's other breast.

Lauren nodded, her eyes glassy and her hips rocking slightly against Violet. She moaned and her hands came forward resting against the shelves behind Violet.  “G-g-good. I want this too.” Lauren's dark eyes slipped shut.

Wings flared up above Violet and the sight of Lauren, eyes closed, hips moving against her, made Violet nearly explode. “Y-you have to show me… I don't really know what to do,” Violet pleaded, wanting to touch and taste, but she was worried she'd do it wrong.

Violet suddenly smiled up at Lauren, wide and bright. “How did we both get this far without ever making love?” She reached out stroking Lauren's cheek, biting her lip. “Maybe I was waiting for you?”

Lauren's eyes opened, they were dark, intense and she looked at Violet. “Maybe.” She turned and kissed Violet's palm. “Maybe I was waiting for you too.” 

The metal shelf under Lauren's hands was bent and dented with her strength. 

Lauren's hands relaxed. “I'm not human Violet, not anymore. Sex changes people, demon and human, I don't know... are you sure you want this?” 

“Yes.” Violet did not hesitate. “Unless you don't?” Violet's fingers paused, maybe that was Laurens way of saying she wasn't sure.

“No. I don't want to stop.” Lauren pulled Violet off the counter so she stood on the floor and dropped gracefully to her knees. She reached up and opened Violet up for her mouth.

“W-what are… oh!” Violet reached out, grabbing onto a pallet of bottles to hold herself upright as her eyes went wide in surprise and then closed as she moaned. “Oh, please… yes.” violet trembled under Lauren's tongue, hips pushing against her urgently.

Lauren moaned. Violet was sure she too was making noises, she could hear them, but she couldn't seem to think, couldn't do anything other than urge Lauren on. The pleasure was everywhere, everything the winged woman did felt good and she wanted it to last forever. Tangling her hands in Lauren's darker hair she felt her muscles shiver and tense.

She was so close, so very close, she could feel it.

Violet felt muscles spasm, and she gaped, a high pitched moan as she came, trembling against Lauren's mouth.

Lauren's skin glowed faintly. After a moment she pulled away with a series of sloppy kisses. She held onto Violet gently to keep her from falling, her head rested on the warm thigh next to her head

“Wow.” Violet laughed, her bones feeling like they'd turned to jelly as she leaned up against Lauren. “Wow,” she repeated, just for good measure.

Lauren chuckled against Violet's skin and then looked up through dark lashes. “That was okay, then?”

“Very okay.” Violet tugged, pulling Lauren up so that she could kiss her again. Just that simple act made her so happy and she deepened the kiss. There were a lot of firsts going on, first sex, first french kiss. She hummed happily into the kiss, fingers tracing along Lauren's naked skin. “You have to tell me what feels good,” she pleaded, not wanting to ruin things now.

“It all feels good. So far there's nothing you've done that I haven't liked. But I'm so close. Kissing is good,” Lauren said, humming into another kiss. “Touching is good.”

“Then kissing…” Lauren kissed her way along Lauren's skin, down to a nipple that begged for her attention. “And touching…” Lauren's fingers slid along tanned skin, stroking and fondling. “Is what I'll do.” Violet decided that she loved Lauren's breasts; they were perfectly sized for her, firm and just big enough to fill her hands, a soft heavy weight in each palm. When the other woman made a soft pleading sound she stroked lower, breath catching at the hot wetness that her fingertips slid along.

“What about touching here?” Violet murmured, voice low.

Lauren stopped breathing for a moment. “Please, it won't take much. You've had me on edge from that first kiss,” Lauren said finally. She shuddered and it rippled through her feathery wings like an invisible wind.

It was kind of like masturbating, but so much better. Violet had to keep reminding herself to breathe as she stroked her fingers through the wetness between Lauren's legs, fondling her and marveling at the sounds she strummed from her lover. She didn't go into her, worried that she'd hurt Lauren, but it didn't seem to matter from the sounds Lauren was making.

Lauren moved them, trapping Violet between herself and the counter behind them. She kissed Violet hard, moaning into warm flesh. Lauren's hips thrust frantically. Something else fell off a shelf .

Lauren came with a muted cry as her face was pressed into Violet's shoulder and her skin glowed gold as magic sparked and danced over her skin spilling out on to Violet's pale flesh .

Violet jerked, her body shuddering as she actually felt Lauren's orgasm rush over them both. Magic tangled with magic and she gave a cry of surprise and joy as the world lit up to her eyes. For a brief second she could see every living being around them, feel their life essences. The staff in the bar, Helga and the other DA agent, even the two women upstairs making love on the couch.

Everything glowed brilliantly to her eyes, their life essence so beautiful it made her cry.

Diseases and illness were dark shapes against that light, small specks in a few people, while Helga had large splotches of darkness running through her. Those shadows were eating away at the lives they touched and Violet brushed them aside as if they'd simply never been.

Suddenly the instant was gone and Violet was sobbing against Lauren's neck, arms wrapped around her tightly.

“What's wrong?”  Lauren asked scared.  “Did I... did I hurt you?”  The pleasure was gone in an instant like a cold wave washing over her.

“No.” Violet shook her head violently, holding Lauren even tighter. “It was so beautiful,” she whispered, still trembling. She felt exhausted suddenly, like she'd danced for hours without stopping, but she didn't want to let go.

Lauren let out the breath she was holding.  “Good, I'm glad.”  She wrapped her arms around Violet and pulled her away from the counter and shelves, wrapping her wings around Violet as well.  She kissed the Violet's face.


Quinn had cried out as her wrist healed. She and Violet were going to be having a talk, but not right now. Quinn was going to start by having a talk about control with Dianna, but the woman was so wet and hot as she rode against her fingers. How many orgasms had they had so far? She had no idea. With a grunt Quinn sat up and, with her now healed hand, pushed Dianna back against the other side of the couch. Now with more space she moved her arm hard and fast between the half-demon's legs. 

Dianna collapsed against Quinn, chest heaving as she gasped for breath. “Enough,” she whispered, having to clear her throat twice before she could actually say the words. “Enough.” She pressed a kiss to Quinn's skin, eyes already closing.

“Are you sure?” Quinn asked. “You've never seemed so... to need me quite that much before.”  Dianna frequently got off from just the opposite, by working Quinn off and drinking the emotions that came with it. Quinn slid off the couch and pulled a blanket down over Dianna while she fumbled with her pants.

“Caught me by surprise.” Dianna yawned, snuggling naked into the blanket. “Powerful,” she mumbled, sleep already claiming her.

“Caught me by surprise too,” Quinn murmured pressing a kiss to Dianna's temple. 

Once Quinn had her clothes fixed she headed down the stairs on rubbery legs. The kitchen was empty but there was a shirt there. She picked it up and slowly turned in a circle before heading to one of Dianna's various storage rooms. 

What Quinn saw as she opened the door shocked her, but she managed to keep her face passive. Lauren looked like an angel.  Quinn had never seen a demon with wings like that. Then there was the naked intimate way she was holding an equally naked Violet that made Quinn's protective streak come out. She threw the shirt at Lauren's winged back. 

“Get dressed and get out here. I want to talk to both of you now.” It was hard but Quinn kept her voice even and neutral.

################### 3

Violet blinked, knowing she should have been ashamed at being found like that, but she was just so tired she couldn't quite manage it. “Are we in trouble?” She pulled, reluctantly away from Lauren as the door slammed shut.

Lauren blinked.  “I don't know.”  She shivered as Violet pulled away. “I don't care. All I can think about is touching you again.”

“I'd like that.” Violet smiled at Lauren, even as she swayed a little, almost loosing her balance as she tried to figure out where their clothes had ended up.

Lauren stood up straight. Slowly her wings shimmered and disappeared back into her body. She bent down and picked up her shirt that Quinn had thrown at her and slid it on.

When they were dressed Violet hugged Lauren again, holding on tightly feeling afraid,as though when she let go Lauren would just disappear. “I know you have to go.” Violet swallowed against the tears that thought brought. “But will I see you again?” Her voice trembled as she spoke, no matter how brave she tried to appear.

“I will do my best. I'll be in town for a while working on the murder, then I don't know.”  It was an honest answer, but it sucked.

“If anyone can change things it's your father. But Violet, your father is an evil man.” Lauren kissed Violet again and pulled away. “We should face Quinn, I can sense she's getting annoyed waiting for us.”

Mutely, Violet nodded, taking Lauren's hand in her own, holding it tightly as they stepped out into the kitchen. Helga was nowhere to be seen, neither was Dianna, and Violet was kind of thankful for that.

Quinn looked upset enough and she didn't know if she could face more people right now.

Weakly Violet gave a small wave at Quinn.

Quinn gave Violet a quick smile before her face fell neutral again. She eyed Lauren. “Is this how the DA is 'talking' to witnesses?” she asked.

“What?”  Lauren sputtered.

“You are in a position of authority, you need to use it better Lauren. If you want to kiss a woman, fuck a woman, you don't do it while you're working. You don't do it quickly in a storeroom unless you have very little regard for the woman you're fucking. Do you care nothing for Violet?” 

“I... what... no...  I mean yes, I care for Violet.”

“Then do better next time. Or I will find a way to clip your wings.  Do I make myself clear?”

Lauren nodded and looked at Violet out of the corner of her eye.

“Apologize to her,” Quinn demanded,

Lauren nodded again and turned, looking at Violet. “I'm sorry... I was... uh... less than professional today. Please forgive me. I will uh... treat you with more respect.” Lauren's eyes darted to Quinn seeming to look for approval.

“But I wanted you to do that.” Violet looked back and forth, confused. “Maybe next time there could be a bed involved though.” She smiled hopefully.

“Um...”  Lauren looked at Quinn.  “Uh...”  She looked back at Violet.  “I'd like that.”

Quinn sighed. “You…”  Quinn pointed at Violet. “Need to control your powers.”  She held up her once broken wrist and the cast she'd been cutting away at with one of Helga's super sharp bread knives.

“Oh.” Blue eyes widened in understanding. “It just kind of happened. I didn't realize I was doing it until it was done. I didn't mean to...” She trailed off, realizing she'd probably done something to everyone else in the bar too. Without their permission.

“I know Melva scares you but you need to see her. You need to learn control.” Quinn said.

“Maybe no one noticed?” Violet said hopefully, eyes widening as she realized what kind of trouble she might have just caused.

“Quinn!” Diana yelled from upstairs.

Quinn sighed and rolled her shoulders. “Don't move unless it's the end of the world,”  she said before bolting up the stairs.

###################### 3

Quinn burst into the study.  “What?”

Dianna was standing at the window with a blanket wrapped around her, staring down at the back ally. “You need to get a gun,” she said calmly, reaching up and pressing her palm against the cold glass. “We've got company.”

Quinn joined Dianna by the window, suddenly seeing things moving in the shadows of the alleyway, slithering and shifting as they came towards the back of the bar.

“Shadow beasts,” Dianna whispered seeming somehow hypnotized by their presence.

“Right, Shadowbeasts,” Quinn said turning to go back down the stairs. The only gun she was aware of was the shotgun. “Dianna,” she said turning back around.

When Dianna turned and looked at her she said,  “Get dressed. And later, when we're not in danger, we're going to work on your control as well. I don't know if this sex-a-thon was because of the two downstairs, or your father left a gift, or both, but what if those things had come before we'd finished?” They'd be dead, is what. “So we'll be working on your demon side's control.” She left shutting the door behind her, vaguely hearing Dianna shout “What?” as she quickly headed downstairs.

Quinn was confronted by a worried looking Violet. “Is everything okay?” she asked Quinn.

“No, we have Shadow Beasts coming. I think attracted by your little power spike.” Or because of Malek. 

Lauren blinked. “I need to...” She looked at Violet. “I'm sorry I have to go to work.” She lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of Violet's.

“Okay. Be careful?” Violet pleaded.

Quinn rolled her eyes and headed out into the bar.

Jason was there on the phone, nodding to whatever the person on the other end of the line was saying. “Yeah, okay boss, she just got here.” He offered the cordless phone over to Quinn.

“Hey.” Dianna's voice was muffled as she pulled on a shirt while trying to talk. “I told Jason to get everyone into the walk in freezer; it's the only sealed room in the place.”

“Hey.”  Quinn said softly feeling weird being on the phone with someone just upstairs.  “That's a good idea.” She pulled the shotgun off its resting place and mouthed bullets to Jason.

“I really don't know anything about Shadow Beasts, but I think I heard direct light makes them solid.”

“They'll go for the lights first,” Dianna said. “You have to hit them when they're solid or you wont do shit. Get Violet in the freezer, they'll want her more than any of us. She's probably still all shinny and tasty looking to them.” Dianna hung up.

Jason shoved a box of shells over to Quinn as he started shepherding people. “Come on people, into the freezer, lock the doors!”

“Shadow beasts?” Freddy asked, taking off his hat and setting it on the bar next to his glass of whiskey. “Sounds fun.” He started talking into his phone, warning the agents outside what was coming towards them.

Lauren joined him. “Yeah Shadow Beasts are on their way,” she confirmed. “You should put the collar back on Freddy, the researchers will love footage of this.”

Quinn checked the barrel of the shotgun and happily found it looked good. She looked around the room judging entry points. “They're going to come in through the windows.  Set up behind the bar. Someone block the entrance into the kitchen we don't want them getting past us. And someone find some flashlights.”

“Here.” Jason tossed a set of flashlights towards Quinn, ushering the last two servers back into the kitchen.

“Quinn?” Violet called worriedly from inside the kitchen, standing just by the open door to the walk in freezer. “Can I help?”

“No,” Quinn shouted over her shoulder. “I'll need your help when it's done, now get inside and be safe.”

Violet nodded jerkily, and Quinn saw Helga pull her into the freezer, pulling the outer door closed behind them.

Lauren was pulling at the collar that Freddy had put back on her.

“Now get that door boarded!” Quinn barked to her and Freddy as she duct tapped a flashlight to the barrel of the gun.

“Ms. Quinn I really think you should go back with the others and let us handle this.”

Quinn looked over at Lauren eyes narrowing. “You two caused this mess, so in my opinion you're doing a bang up job so far.”

Lauren flushed, clearly embarrassed.

“Please let me know if she listens to you on that one, DA guy.” Dianna laughed, pushing through the swinging doors with an fashioned revolver in hand.

Quinn looked over at Dianna. “I listen just about as well as you do,” she said with a smile

“I listen great,” Dianna said, obviously trying to look as innocent as she could, which wasn't very.

“Ma'am I assure you we do have experience in this sort of thing,” Freddy interjected.

Dianna snorted as she placed bullets into the revolver.

“I'm sure you do,” Quinn said off-handedly. “My guess is they're going to bust through the windows, it prevents them from getting bunched up, which would make them easier to kill.”

Above them the lights flickered once, and then went dead as the electricity was cut. Leaving only the dim daylight to illuminate the room.

Quinn looked at Dianna. “We're going to use the bar as cover... Do I have to do everything?” she asked noticing some of her orders had not been acted upon. “Get those doors blocked!” she shouted at Freddy and Lauren.

Sighing she turned her flashlight on.

“The bar...” Dianna's words cut off as shots were heard from outside. “Here we go.” Dianna grabbed one of the spare flashlights.

Shadows crawled across the windows, making the bar even darker than it had been before. The duct tape that had been applied bulged and bubbled as things pressed against it from outside.

“You ready?” Freddy whispered to Lauren, nervously eyeing all of the windows.

Quinn watched the interaction.

“Yes, Shadow Beasts are a new one.” Lauren wiped her hands on her pants.

Freddy gave her a tight smile. “I hope you enjoyed your break?”

“It was...” Lauren blushed. “Something I'll never forget.”

Just then one of the windows cracked, the sound louder than a gunshot in the darkness.

Beside her Quinn felt Dianna flinch.

Quinn turned towards the sound of breaking glass but didn't fire. She waited hands steady.

“Don't let them touch you, they corrupt flesh.” Dianna licked her lips, raising her pistol as the other windows started cracking.

“Don't help them get in by firing. You'll just shatter the glass,” Quinn shouted.

Through the cracks things shifted and flowed as the creatures started squeezing their way through. “Yes my captain.” Dianna rolled her eyes, waiting.

Quinn pursed her lips and gave Dianna a quick look.

The first beast squeezed through and Quinn quickly moved so the flashlight on the shotgun hit it and then fired.

The sound was deafening in the room.

“Now!” Dianna yelled. Shadow beasts were flooding through the cracks now, searching for what had attracted them.

Quinn was quick and efficient in her movements picking them off as they came in and then pausing to reload.

Lauren, who had no gun, hung back by the doors to the kitchen waiting.

“Lauren!” Freddy yelled a warning as two of the things got past him, flowing along the walls towards the kitchen. They'd caught scent of something and all of them shifted, trying to get to the kitchen doors.

Lauren moved a fast blur, cold blue flames erupting over her hands as she grabbed one of the things and snapped its neck and then she was on to the next one. Its shape had no neck and instead she merely reached inside and ripped out its black smoky heart.

The sounds of gunfire and yelling filled the bar.


Inside the freezer, Violet stood in front of the door, staring at it with wide blue eyes, hugging herself.

“What if they get hurt?” she whispered, not really aware she'd said it out loud.

“They will be fine.” Helga's heavily accented voice came from her side and bony fingers grabbed Violet's arm. Behind them the rest of the staff huddled for warmth, but Helga ignored them as if they didn't even exist.

“But...” Violet trembled, imagining Lauren hurt or worse, all because of something she'd done.

“No ‘buts',” Helga snarled, angrily. “They will be fine.” She said it with such force that Violet had no choice but to nod in agreement.

With her free hand she wiped at her tears. “I did this Helga, I caused this.”

“Then learn. You must learn from your mistakes little one. Learn.” Helga squeeze her arm again and yet again Violet could only nod.

Hoping she hadn't done something that could never be undone.


Quinn stared hard at Lauren who was leaning against the bar looking quite drained. Freddy was outside checking on the other DA agents and Dianna was in the kitchen letting the others out of the walk-in freezer. Quinn limped over to Lauren and grabbed the collar, covering the camera and the mic. 

She whispered harshly, “Don't you ever take advantage of Violet like that again.”

Lauren's eyes went huge. “I didn't... It wasn't like that,” she sputtered.

“Yes it was. She doesn't know, you not really. She just knows what we've all told her, even yourself, but Violet doesn't really remember you or your time together, so she doesn't know you. You took advantage of that. Do it again and I'll figure out a way to kill you,” Quinn promised coolly.

Lauren swallowed with Quinn's knuckles against her throat. She nodded.

“Straighten your shit out Lauren and spend time getting to know her, and let her do the same. If you can't do that then get gone.” Having said her piece Quinn let go and went back behind the bar, she was exhausted.

Unlike Lauren and Dianna, and some of the DA agents who had mystical, magical, and scientific enhancements, Quinn was just a mortal. The cast on her hand was black and gouged from shadow beast teeth and she was happy she failed to get it off in time because it had probably saved her from a painful death. 

Once behind the bar she grabbed a screwdriver and a hammer and started trying to get the rest of it off. 

Everyone was special, Quinn thought, everyone but her. She was ordinary. Those thoughts grew darker and Quinn hit the cast harder, breaking it off in chunks. How long before Dianna's attention was drawn to someone more her equal? Or if they did bond how long before Dianna grew resentful? If she was still Alevra's Reaper she'd be stronger, faster, and less of a liability. But if that were true she wouldn't be capable of caring about Dianna or loving her.

Quinn blinked and the hammer missed the head of the screwdriver and hit a finger instead. She gave a loud string of cuss words and then set both tools down, slumping down the bar until she was sitting on the floor. She was in love with Dianna. She was in love with a stubborn, sexy, smart, and utterly wicked half-demon. 

Quinn started crying.


“Quinn?” Dianna emerged from the kitchen, dodging Lauren as she barreled past her. She wondered if they'd ever reclaim the sense of family that they'd had when the Lauren had first come to the bar, lost and lonely.

Dianna realized she was getting soft. Before she would never have cared what Lauren, or anyone else for that matter, thought of her. Now the idea of them never talking, or of Quinn leaving her, made her guts twist. There were moments when she barely recognized herself anymore.

“Quinn?” Dianna frowned. She couldn't see Quinn, but she could feel her nearby, feel the sadness. She whirled on her feet, finally spotting Quinn behind the bar, sitting on the floor.


“Quinn?” Dianna said, more softly this time as she cautiously approached her.

Quinn sniffed and tried to wipe the tears from her face.

Cautiously, carefully, Dianna knelt down beside her. “What is it?” Dianna scanned Quinn, worriedly looking for wounds she might have missed earlier.

“I'm... fine. I just missed with the hammer trying to get this stupid thing off.”

Quinn sniffed again.

“Okay.” Dianna frowned, confused. Was this another relationship thingie she was supposed to know about? Gingerly she picked up Quinn's arm and started to pry pieces of cast from it.

“You're not hurt?” Dianna asked, worriedly, as she broke the last bits of plaster off.

Quinn shook her head. “I'm okay. How about you?”

“Fine. Violet's looking at Freddy's arm, one of the shadow beasts touched him there, and the corruption was already eating away at his flesh.” Dianna brushed her finger along Quinn's skin, wiping away plaster dust. “That's not it is it?”

“What's not it?” Quinn asked watching Dianna's hand.

“That's not what made you sad,” Dianna murmured.

They were hidden behind the bar, a moment of privacy in the chaotic afternoon. “Overwhelmed I think. Despite what some may think I'm still a girl and sometimes girls cry for no reason.”

That wasn't the full truth either, but Dianna simply smiled a little and stood, pulling Quinn upright with her. “Come on, I'm going to give everyone the rest of the week off. It's too dangerous to have the bar open until later.” She glanced towards the kitchen, glimpsing Violet through the open doors,

“Do you think it was all them, or do you think your father left a spell?”

“Probably both. I've never seen so many Shadow Beasts in one place before, but Violet certainly got their attention.” Dianna sighed. “She's becoming dangerous.”

“I had a talk with her. She's going to start training with Melva if I have to drag her there.”

“Good.” Dianna gave Quinn a little push towards the stairs. “Go take a shower if you want. I need to talk to the staff.” And get rid of the DA people, she thought.

Quinn nodded. She took a step towards the stairs but hesitated. She looked back at Dianna briefly, as if considering something, but the moment passed and she continued on her way.


Lauren watch Violet blink, coming back to herself as she pulled her shaking fingers away from Freddy's arm. It had taken longer then Lauren had expected for Violet to heal him, the darkness had almost seemed alive as it tried to keep eating away at Freddy's arm.

“I'm sorry about the scar.” Violet looked from Freddy to Lauren and then back.

Lauren smiled at Freddy and then laughed. “I don't think he'll worry about a scar.” Especially when he almost died. Another hour and he would have been eaten away by the poisonous shadows and become a shadow beast himself.

Freddy nodded. He started buttoning his shirt up. “I never saw a healer do anything like that before.” Licking his lips he shook his head. “I'll be outside, we'll need to go file the reports on this Lauren, don't stay long.”

Lauren nodded, wondering how she was going to put this all in a report. She'd probably leave out the part where she and Violet had sex.

Violet watched her Quietly as they were suddenly alone in the kitchen. Dianna had all of the staff outside, talking to them. Lauren could hear Dianna explaining things to them.

“You have to go?” Lauren asked suddenly.

Lauren nodded. “I'm sorry. I should have... been...” She was stuttering, self-conscious with the camera around her neck. “I... let me see if I can get permission to take this off and maybe we could go see a movie or something.” She felt her face turn red with heat.

“Like a date?” Violet's eyes widened.

“Y-yes, very much like a date.” Lauren awkwardly stepped forward and kissed Violet's cheek.

Considering where Lauren's mouth had been not long ago it seemed oddly chaste, but Quinn's words echoed loudly in her head.

Violet blushed, smiling animatedly. “Be careful?”

“You too.” Lauren nearly tripped over her own feet as she backed up to the door. Sensing someone behind her she whirled around. “Dianna, I… We were leaving.”

“Walk with me?” Dianna held open the door, eyes inscrutable. It clearly wasn't a request.

Violet gave Lauren a little wave As they left.

“Okay,” Lauren said, “but Quinn's read me the riot act twice now.”

Dianna waited until they were outside, the front door closed behind them as they stood in the street. “You did well.” Dianna said, a little awkwardly, obviously aware they were being watched from the DA cars.

Lauren blushed again. “I know you don't like the DA, but I'm good at this, at fighting demons, and at research.”

“You're a demon hunter.” Dianna looked away, fingers hooked into the belt loops of her pants. She nodded at the collar Lauren wore. “They'll use you for as long as you're useful to them, you know that right?”

“How is that different from any other job?”

“You're not usually a slave to other jobs.” Dianna moved closer, speaking intently at the collar. “You get her killed, or you hurt her again, and I will find a way to burn that building down around your fucking ears, you sons of bitches.” Dianna backed off, mouth in a tight line.

“Anyway.” Dianna grimaced. “Be careful with her.”

Lauren smiled, holding back a laugh.

The Dianna rolled her eyes and turned back for the building.

“I think they got the message. I'll see you later.”

Dianna waved without turning, disappearing inside.


Violet tapped her foot nervously on the floor of Dianna's car, watching the street as they drove along the edge of the Gray. “Maybe we should go tomorrow, it looks like rain today,” she said suddenly, looking hopefully over Quinn who was driving. “Tomorrow would be fine right?” She really didn't want to do this.

Quinn didn't say anything. Now that they were inside the Gray all she did was watch the road.

“I've got to be at the dance lessons this afternoon,” Violet almost pleaded. “I'm still tired from yesterday. We can go tomorrow, I promise.”

“You made the decision to have sex, so it's not my fault you're tired.”

“I didn't...” Violet shut up when she saw the look Quinn gave her. “I mean, it just sort of happened,” she whispered.

“Yes, it happened, and you probably healed people for a city block and now you're exhausted. Dianna had to carry you up to your bed yesterday.”

“I...” Violet stuttered. She barely remembered falling asleep, it had been more of a passing out in the kitchen. “I don't want to go.” She shivered, seeing the area that they were slowly driving into.

Quinn sighed. “You have to. You violated me yesterday. I told you repeatedly I didn't want you to heal my wrist and in an uncontrolled burst you did it anyways. Sure, you didn't mean to, but that doesn't change the fact. If you don't learn some control people are going to get scared, and scared people do stupid things.”

“But it felt good,” Violet argued, shifting in her chair to face Quinn. “How can something that felt that good be a bad thing?”

Quinn snorted. She pulled over and started laughing.

Confused, Violet stared at her.

Quinn wiped tears out of her eyes. “Sorry but maybe because I used to be a cop I find that funny. Violet a lot of things that make you feel good are bad for you. Drugs, drugs make thousands of people feel good but they're bad for you. Even the ones that help you, you can become addicted to. Sex feels good too, and unless you use protection it can have a lot of bad ramifications. Did the two of you even think about safe sex?” Quinn would be a lot more concerned if she didn't know the two of them were virgins.

“It might be harder for two women to share diseases but they can still do it.” Quinn sighed again and absently drummed her fingers on the steering wheel.

“I... I mean... protection?” Violet's voice was making an odd squeaky noise as she talked eyes huge.

“I'm going to guess you're parents didn't talk to you about sex at all.” Quinn said shaking her head. “Any way, my point is that lots of things that feel good have the potential to be bad for you.”

“Sex wasn't a word used in my house,” Violet mumbled, knowing she was turning red again. “But I helped people; I could help even more people.”

“At what cost to you? And what if they don't want help?” Quinn pulled the car back out into the street. She drove around a strange flightless bird in the road and headed to the church.

Violet didn't have answers for that so she just sunk down in the chair, worriedly watching the half-ruined church as it came into view. They managed to get within two blocks before the streets became impassable. “Will you come with me?” Violet asked in a small voice.

“Yes,” Quinn answered as she pulled up in front of the church. “I'm not leaving you here, she can't keep you.”

Quinn reached over and squeezed Violet's hand.

“But what if...” Violet swallowed dryly. “What if I don't come back, what if Blue comes out?”

“Violet, you and Blue are the same person. Blue merely came out to protect you from something bad, something your parents did to you. We love both of you, because you're the same person.”

That didn't really make Violet feel any better. Shakily, Violet nodded and got up out of the car.

Quinn opened her door and got out. She locked it and set a bag on the hood, a gift of protection; Dianna really didn't want anything happening to her new car.

“Is it always dark here?” Violet whispered as they walked towards the church. There wasn't anyone around, everything seemed dead and deserted to her. The maw of the church loomed ahead of them and she shivered.

“If we're lucky.”


“Dark and quiet, means nothing is going on. Demon magic flashes and burns.”

“Oh.” Violet shivered again.

Melva was waiting for them by the front doors, her stooped over shape blending in well with the shadows of the Gray. Swallowing, Violet reached over and grabbed Quinn's hand, holding it for reassurance.

“Melva.” Quinn said evenly. “Guess you knew we were coming.”

“The bones told me,” Melva said gravely. “It is good to see you again, Detective.” Her dark eyes watched Violet though, staring into her and the young woman shivered again.

“This isn't Violet's idea. It's mine and I'll warn you she's not happy about it, but she needs to learn control,” Quinn said in warning to both of them.

“I did something,” Violet whispered.

Melva snorted.

“Something? You did more than something; I felt it all the way over here, little bird. You've attracted the attention of many people.” Melva moved closer and Violet seemed to shrank away. “So you brought her to me?” Melva looked at Quinn finally.

Quinn nodded. “I don't like forcing her like this, but...” she trailed off.

For a split second something that looked like a smile crossed Melva's face. “Leave her here and come back in three hours. What we must talk about is not something that anyone else should be here for, even family.”

Violet bit her lip, but slowly let go of Quinn's hand. She'd done this; she'd caused this problem, so she could at least act brave.

“I promised I'd stay,” Quinn said.“I'll wait out here then and stay out of your secret witchy meeting.”

“Then stay here outside the doors. You can handle any visitors.” There was again that little sly smile as Melva held out her hand. “Come little bird, it is time and past time that we talk.”

“But...” Violet looked from one to the other. Reluctantly she followed along behind the shuffling old woman, casting a pleading glance over her shoulder at Quinn.

Quinn smiled. “If you can dance till your feet bleed you can talk to Melva.”

Violet was doubtful, but she nodded and finally took Melva's hand as the old witch pulled her inside the church.


Time was hard to measure inside of the Gray Zone, the light never changed during the daytime. Only the coming of night, with its darkness and death, would mark the end of another day of misery for those who lived here. It was maybe an hour after Violet had gone inside that the first sign of life other than Quinnn showed itself. A man turned the far corner of the street, moving between the burned cars and rubble as he jogged for the church.

He slowed, startled as he realized Quinn was there in front. Wary blue eyes studied her above a bushy red beard. He was dressed in decent clothes that looked maybe second hand or at least hadn't been washed in a few days.

Quinn was bored. She leaned against Dianna's car rolling her neck trying to get it to loosen up. Dianna would be pissed if something happened to her car. She sighed; she'd given up breakfast in bed with a naked Dianna for this. Of course part of that went back to her outburst on control which had clearly hit a nerve. They hadn't talked about it but they would, she could sense Dianna simmering over that. She knew she was making a point about control but it sucked.

Time was hard to measure inside of the Gray Zone, the light never changed during the daytime. Only the coming of night, with its darkness and death, would mark the end of another day of misery for those who lived here. It was maybe an hour after Violet had gone inside that the first sign of life other than Quinnn showed itself. A man turned the far corner of the street, moving between the burned cars and rubble as he jogged for the church.

Quinn froze for a second feeling she was being watched and then forced herself to relax.

The man slowed, startled as he realized Quinn was there in front. Wary blue eyes studied her above a bushy red beard. He was dressed in decent clothes that looked maybe second hand or at least hadn't been washed in a few days.

“You ain't no demon are you?” The man asked finally, voice worried.

“No,” Quinn said turning one hand casually go to her back were she had hidden a gun. “You a demon?”

The man snorted. “Wouldn't o'asked you if I was would I?” He looked past her at the church, and then back at her. “Melva about?” He looked nervous as he stuck his hands into the pockets of his brown coat.

“She's in a meeting.” Quinn was about to go back to leaning against the car but she knew the look on his face, she'd seen it time and time again. “Who'd you lose?”

The weathered face broke a little. “M'daughter,” he choked out. “I need ta see Melva.”

Quinn shouldn't do this, shouldn't, it wasn't her business. “I use to be a cop.” But her mouth betrayed her. “Maybe I can help.”

“Ya did?” He looked at her more carefully, recognition lighting those blue eyes. “Yer Quinn.”

Quinn sighed. “That would be me.” She waited for the pity or the disgust to come.

“Thank the Lord!” He stepped forward, quickly, hands trembling. “Ye can help me, ye've dealt with her before!”

Quinn blinked, that was a new one. “Dealt with who?”

“The she beast, the demoness.” He looked at her desperately. “She took my darlin, she the one who's got my Caitlin.”

Fear gripped Quinn's gut. “Alvera? That's impossible I saw her sent back to hell myself.”

“I saw her, me own two eyes.” His voice stuttered at the memory. “We'd been careful miss Quinn, real careful since the rumors started, but she found Caitlin and I couldn't do anythin!” His eyes were wild now.

“Take a deep breath and calm down.” It couldn't have been Alvera, the ritual summoning had failed, Lauren had said so. Quinn opened the car door and grabbed her dream journal and a pen. “Okay, I need you to tell me exactly what happened.”

The man drew a shaky breath and nodded. “We'd gone to the Y, ya know, four the soup. Caitlin likes their soup best.” He fought back tears. “She was there, waitin when we came out and she took my Caitlin!”

“Okay that's a start. Tell me about your Caitlin, what did she look like, that sort of thing.” Quinn wrote in shorthand never taking his eyes off of him.

“She's ten.” He swallowed. “She's gotta bit o the touch, a bit of the sight too.” He looked at Quinn, like a drowning man would look at a life-line. “Got her mamma's dark hair, me eyes though.”

Quinn wrote it down. “Okay. Now you're going to take me to the Y and walk me through exactly what happened.”

“Right now?” he almost pleaded.

Quinn looked at her watch. She had two more hours. “Yes now.” Because any evidence would be getting cold and the police wouldn't come into the Gray.

“This way...” He started, turning and walking quickly, obviously wanting to run but waiting for her to catch up.

Quinn looked back at the car and hoped nothing would happen to it.

Then she ran to catch up.


Quinn was bent over looking at something. She wished she had a camera. “When this woman grabbed your daughter, did she just disappear?”

The man who'd eventually introduced himself as Ryan pointed at the corner behind the YMCA. “There.” He said quietly, still breathing hard from the run here. “She took her behind there, th'things with her, they stopped me.” He rubbed his jaw.

It wasn't Alevra, because that bitch was still in hell and secondly Alevra didn't do her own dirty work. So a glamor. Quinn studied a shoe print and then moved around the corner. There were tire tracks, belatedly she remembered the cellphone Dianna had given her. It wouldn't call anyone inside the Gray but she wondered if it had a camera. She fumbled with it and then smiled when she saw the camera icon. “I need some light.”

Quickly Ryan rummaged in his pockets, pulling out a bundle of small dollar store lights taped together. He shone it where she wanted. “Light can save ya in the Gray,” he muttered.

“I don't doubt that.” Quinn bent down as close as she dared and snapped photos of the tire tread. “No magic here. Just a get away car.” There were various prints of shoes and clawed feet she took a few shots of those too.

“Can ya find her? Can ya find ma daughter?” he asked, desperately.

Quinn started moving, following the tracks, looking for something. They hadn't been subtle; they hadn't tried to hide at all. “I will do my best sir,” she responded. At a muddy intersection the foot prints and car tracks split going in different directions.

“Please,” he begged. “She's ma world, after her mommy died.” He swallowed. “I'll do anything.”

“I know how you're feeling right now. Sadly all I can promise is to do all that I can.”

He nodded, wordlessly, following her with the lights.

Quinn looked around wondering if there were any witnesses, but in the Gray, who would talk to her. Up ahead something glinted in the light. “Wait, move your hand back to the left, slowly.”

“There!” Ryan gave a small shout, obviously seeing what she'd seen glinting in the light.

“Don't move,” she said, and then carefully made her way to the object. With her pen she nudged it out of the mud and then lifted it out. A small green disk on a chain. Quinn frowned, looking at it.

“What is it?” Ryan stayed put.

“I have no idea.” If she'd had her field kit she could have tested it for magic.

“It's na Caitlin's, she didna have anything like that.” He watched the green disk catch the light of the flashlight.

“I'll have to take it back to Melva.” Quinn opened her notebook and stuck it between some pages before snapping it shut again. “But let's see how far we can follow these tracks.”

Ryan followed alongside her as they tracked through the dirty alleyways, following the steps that Quinn was tracking. “Is it her? Is it the demoness?”

“Doubtful, she never does her own dirty work. Never puts herself in a position to be hurt, unless she's lost her mind angry. This wasn't anger, this was planned. But someone wants us to think its her.”

“I saw her.” Ryan's voice shook. “She laughed at me, laughed at me when I tried ta reach ma Caitlin.”

“A glamor, I think or a spell. But I know Alevra this wasn't her, especially not with those minions, she would have just sent them without her.”

Quinn paused as the tire tracks dried up and then were gone. “Son of...” She'd know it was going to be a long shot.

“They took ma Caitlin.” Ryan stood besides her, tears tracking down his face.

Quinn scouted around, trying to find anything that would tell them where they had gone. “We have some clues to go on...” She trailed off as something growled and then a demon hound peeled out of the darkness. It was all teeth and muscle.

“Took ma Caitlin!” Ryan screamed, lunging at the thing and tackling it to the ground, screaming as he attacked a hellhound with his bare fists.

“Ryan!” Quinn shouted.

The hound rounded on him, jaws snapping his forearm like it was a toothpick. Ryan screamed, again, trying to strangle the thing with his other arm.

Quinn pulled her gun and moved towards them. She wrenched him off while firing into the things face. “Of all the stupid...” she grumbled.

Three shots lit up the darkness. The first two might have only wounded the beast, but the third splattered its brains all over the dark asphalt. Dropping it dead to the ground.

“You do your daughter no good if you're dead!” Quinn shouted at Ryan while poking the hound to make sure it was dead.

Ryan lay there, shivering on the floor, watching her. “Sorry. Just got mad.” He cradled his mauled arm. “Better me than you. You can find her, can find ma Caitlin.”

Quinn sighed and put her gun away. “Get up. We need to have Melva look at your arm and at that necklace.”

He stumbled to his feet, sweating, and followed her. Leaving the dead thing behind them.

By the time they made it to the church Quinn was practically carrying him.

“Melva!” she shouted. “I'm coming in, you better be done.” Quinn pulled the door open. Dianna was going to freak, she was covered in blood.

“Quinn!” Violet shot to her feet, swaying dangerously before she ran towards the two of them as they entered the church. Behind her the dark shape of Melva rose from the chalked outline of a circle that they'd been sitting near.

“Come in Detective, we are done for now.” Melva moved towards them, slower than Violet.

“Mr. Idiot tackled a Demon Hound,” Quinn said with a groan.

“A hellhound actually, Detective. You should know the difference by now.” Melva laughed, moving to their side. “Here, sit him here.” Melva motioned to one of the few pews still in one piece.

“I do know the difference and a hellhound rarely leaves hell, it's too cold and it can't change shape. This thing was walking on two legs,”

Quinn retorted. “Regardless it's dead, I blew its brains out.”

Melva chuckled. “Good Detective, good.” She pried the man's tattered clothes off his arm, peering at the damage. “I will deal with this.” She motioned at Violet. “Take the little bird with you.”

Quinn blinked. “Uh, wait I found something.” She fumbled with the notebook.

Melva peered at it, then drew back, crooked yellow teeth bared. “Put that away! Put it away; do not bring such things in here!”

Violet peered around Quinn, trying to see what it was.

Quinn snapped it shut. “What is it?”

“A way to control people.” Melva's shoulders relaxed as the book was snapped shut. “A charm to wipe the mind clean.”

“Fuck. I'd been hoping it was a glamor.”

“No. It is powerful old magic.” Melva pointed a the book with a bony finger. “It was made with blood.”

Quinn shook her head, frustrated. “Take care of him. I'll be back tomorrow. I need some questions answered. Who could make this?”

“You know.” Melva smiled again, turning to Ryan who was shivering and sweating on the church pew. “You've always known Detective.”

“She's not here.” But Malek was, and who was better and manipulating people into doing things they didn't want to.

“Everything makes it look like she's back but she's not because I know how she operates better than anyone.”

“She will be here soon Detective, soon.” Melva laughed again.

Violet shivered, touching Quinn's shoulder. “You're covered in blood.”

Quinn's lips were a thin line. “See you tomorrow, Melva.” Quinn turned to Violet. “It's not mine. Come on let's go. You have dance and I have to see my therapist.”


Doctor Aubry scribbled on the pad in front of her, thin gold-framed reading glasses perched on her nose as she wrote. Finally she set it aside, smiling at Quinn. “Sorry Detective, you must understand how much paperwork I tend to go through during a day. It seems never ending.”

Quinn sat nervously. She had made Violet run into a mega mart and grab her some clothes but she could feel the dried blood on her skin cracking. “I understand, it's a necessary evil.”

“So what would you like to talk about? You look like you've had an interesting day.” Aubry set aside the pad of paper, leaning forward a little and studying Quinn curiously.

“I was in the Gray today, helping a friend.” Quinn frowned, suddenly not feeling comfortable talking about Violet.

Dr Aubry raised an eyebrow slightly. “The last time you were here you also seemed ill at ease talking about the people around you as, why do you think that is?”

Quinn shrugged. “Because seems like I'm violating some trust by talking about them when their not here.” She studied her hands for a second. There were reddish brown stains under her nails. “I had a man come up to me looking for help. He said Alvera took his daughter. Swears he saw her and everything, but it's not her, can't be her.” She chewed on her bottom lip.

“Why do you say that, are you just hoping it's not her?” Dr. Aubry crossed her legs.

Quinn thought about it. “Partly. I really don't want her to be back. But the whole scene was wrong nothing fit her MO. She just drove into the Gray and grabbed a kid? She'd never gets her hands dirty. Plus if she was back she'd be weak or everyone would have felt a major demon pop into existence in this world.”

“Why did you bring your friend into the Gray? That seems like a dangerous place to bring someone you care for.” Dr Aubry asked, tone cool and professional.

“She's got some magic, she has a teacher there,” Quinn answered vaguely.

“So do you see yourself as some sort of protector for this friend?”

“Yes, she's rather naive about how the world can be.”

Aubry smiled and nodded. “You still see yourself as a protector of other people then?”

“I guess. I probably shouldn't, that guy almost lost his arm cause I said I'd help find his daughter.”

“Do you feel comfortable telling me what happened?”

Quinn shrugged. “He says Alvera stole his daughter, just pulled her into the shadows and took her. There were tire tracks and demon hound tracks at the scene. I want to help, because loosing a child is one of the worst pains I can imagine.”

“I imagine this is opening all sorts of old wounds for you. You should be careful to avoid letting your emotions overwhelm you're objectivity in situations like this Detective. Was the man badly hurt?”

“A demon hound nearly bit his arm in two, but he'll live.”

“Is that his blood on you?”

“Uh... “Quinn scratched her neck nervously. “Yeah, I helped him to the healer.”

“Interesting, not to a hospital?” Aubry picked up her pad of paper, scribbling something down.

“People in the Gray don't get let into a hospital, no insurance. Plus outside the Gray people freak out thinking somehow the mist will follow them.”

Dr. Aubry nodded. “How have you been doing this week? Have you kept up with your journal?”

“Uh.. kind of.” Quinn felt her face flush with embarrassment. “Dianna likes to eat nightmares.”

“You're sort-of girlfriend.” Aubry frowned, setting down her pen. “My understanding is that she's part incubus. I'm a little worried that you may have developed an addiction to her.”

Quinn opened her mouth to argue then shut it. “Isn't that what love is, an addiction? A rush of chemicals in the brain that we get addicted to.”

“Yes it can be, in healthy relationships. I just want you to make certain that this isn't either of you becoming dependent on the other because of some other reason, such as trying to mask your pain. The fact that she can take away your nightmares just makes that concern more valid don't you agree?”

Quinn frowned. “I guess I see your point.”

“Something to bear in mind.” Aubry smiled. “How about we talk about the relationships in your life?” She settled into her seat, preparing for the rest of their hour together.

Quinn sighed and sipped her water.

She really didn't want to. “There are three main people in my life, my brother, Dianna, and Violet. Then there are a few others like Lauren...”


Quinn tiredly pulled into Dianna's parking spot. She leaned over and shook Violet. “We're home.”

Blearily Violet opened her eyes. “Huh?” She wiped the drool from the side of her face.

“Yeah, its been a long day kiddo, but we're home.”

“Bed.” Violet mumbled, as she climbed out of the car.

“You want food?” Quinn asked locking the car.

Violet shook her head, stumbling to the entrance of the bar. “Sleep.”

“Okay,” Quinn said with a chuckle, and helped her with the door.

The bar was empty, except for Bob in his usual spot, bottle in hand.

Violet stumbled through the empty bar, into the kitchen, waving tiredly to Dianna who was sitting at the table and starting up the stairs.

“Hey, you want food?” Dianna called after her, getting a shake of the head in return.

“It's been a long day,” Quinn said coming up behind Dianna and kissing the top of her head.

“Not so bubbly now is she?” Dianna looked up at Quinn, a thoughtful look on her face. “What happened?” she asked, sliding her hand around Quinn's waist, holding her.

“The shrink says you need to stop eating my nightmares because we're creating a co-dependant relationship or something like that.” Quinn rubbed her neck tiredly, then grimaced as she felt the dried blood.

“But they're tasty nightmares, and I like them.” Dianna's eyes narrowed as she pulled her hand away, covered in dried blood. In a quick move she grabbed Quinn, pulling her down onto her lap, so she could examine Quinn's face. She sniffed the dried blood, nose wrinkling in distaste. “Hell hound blood?”

“Unless Hellhounds can walk on two legs, which as far as I know they can't. Demon Hound blood, and some brains too, and that of some poor guy it was attacking.”

“And you got involved.” Dianna sighed.

Quinn hesitated, she didn't want to lie, but it seemed like she was doing an awful lot of half-truths. “I was involved before that. Some guy came to the church looking for Melva, someone took his kid. I offered to help.”

“Always a Detective,” Dianna murmured, shaking her head. “Sometimes when I look at you I can still see the shield, shiny and bright on your chest.” Dianna frowned again.

“You should be warned I've recently had the revelation I'm in love with you.” It made Quinn's voice choke up to say it and she almost started crying.

Dianna jerked in surprise, pale eyes flicking up to meet Quinn's. “What?” she half-whispered.

“I'm going to go shower.” Quinn said pulling away.

“What?” Dianna said louder, getting up.

“You heard me, and I guess we both need some time to processes it,” Quinn snapped, heading up the stairs.

Dianna shouted after her. “You can't just say something like that and... and... run away!” she snapped back, standing up.

“Running away would be heading out the front door,” Quinn countered, her shoulders sagging as she paused on the stairs.

“There are different kinds of running away and you know it very well Maggie Quinn.” Dianna seethed, slowly taking one step at a time up to where the Quinn had stopped halfway up.

Quinn kept her back turned. “It scares me. It's not something I've ever taken lightly and it didn't really work out last time, for me.”

“Not because of you though.” Dianna crept up that last stair, coming to stand behind Quinn, not quite touching. “Never because of anything you did.”

“I had to have done something. It takes two people to be in the relationship.”

Dianna reached out finally, touching Maggie's shoulder. “I don't know if I even know how to love like you mean,” she admitted, quietly.

Quinn nodded, her face turning hot. She'd just admitted she was in love with a half-demon and the woman very possibly couldn't love her back.

“Look at me? Please,” Dianna pleaded.

“I should really shower and then we can talk some more,” Quinn said, but she slowly turned on the step to look at Dianna.

“Maggie, when my sister died I hated you, all of you with such thoroughness you can't imagine.” Dianna reached up, the extra step giving Quinn extra height. She brushed red hair from Quinn's face. “Hated you all.” She swallowed. “But that was a long time ago and....” she hesitated, voice dying.

Quinn looked at Dianna puzzled, not certain if Dianna hated her and all humans or what.

“We're part of one another now.” Dianna licked her lips, fumbling over her choice of words. “You're part of what I am now, and I don't know if I can exist without you. I'm not sure if that's love, but it's what I have.”

“Finally. Anything else you want to talk about on the stairs preventing me from showering.”

“Nope.” Dianna kissed her, short and sweet, turning to go back down to the kitchen. “But eventually we're going to talk about this control issue you think I have, don't think I've forgotten about that.”

“I wouldn't dream that you had. If it helps I've been kicking myself all day for this morning,” Quinn said as she started up the steps to the room they shared to start her shower.

“Because we could have been having wake up sex!” Dianna yelled up after her. “It's a great way to wake up.”

Quinn shivered but didn't say anything as she opened the door.


Still only half awake Dianna turned and headed downstairs. She thought about Quinn in the shower, being all nice and naked under hot water, but she was still smarting about the comments regarding control, so she didn't attempt to join her.

It went against at least half of Dianna, the part that really wanted to follow her into the shower and claim what was there.

Instead, she forced herself down the stairs and into the empty kitchen. Helga, and all the others, had the week off. It was simply too dangerous to have the bar open and Dianna had developed a little protective streak for those who worked for her.

Another side effect of Quinn she supposed.

The coffee pot had just started its production of what Dianna considered a necessity for life, or at least for a decent morning, when the rear door banged.

Frowning, Dianna tugged at her nightshirt, making sure she had it on right as she went to the rear loading door. “Yes?” She called.

A male voice called from outside ,“Deliveries for the bar!”

Dianna frowned. Damnit. She'd not had time to cancel the weekly deliveries, which weren't necessary now that the bar would be closed.

“Sorry buddy, I don't need anything today.” She reached for the door, her fingers touching the cold metal.

“Awww come on lady, I got a truck full of liquor here.”

Her hand paused as Dianna's mind finished waking up. “But I get beer deliveries today not hard liquor.” Dianna closed her eyes, pressing closer to the door as she sought out the feelings of the man on the other side. There were others with him as well and she swallowed.

Eagerness, almost a bloodlust, swirled about him and she jerked away from the door.

“Sorry buddy...” Dianna said, backing away. The bar and the hidden shotgun weren't far away. “No deliveries today!”

“That's too bad lady, that's really too bad,” he said, his emotions spiking with adrenaline.

Dianna's eyes widened.

“Blow it!” another man said.

Explosive detonated along the hinges of the steel security door, flinging it down the hallway, end over end.

Dianna had time for a startled yell before the cartwheeling two hundred pound security door slammed into her.


Quinn staggered out of the shower having felt the explosion. She was calm even though she was certain Dianna was hurt - somehow she knew this. She hurriedly put on some clothes and grabbed the gun she'd tossed carelessly on the bed. She cursed herself. She knew better, and if she had taken the time it would have been clean and restocked with bullets and put away in its gun case.

“Quinn?” Violet lurched out of the spare bedroom she'd been sleeping in. The entire bar had just shaken, probably jerking her out of sleep.

“Shhh,” Quinn said, coming out into the hallway. Ears straining she couldn't hear anything at first, then there was the sound of someone stepping on broken glass, it crunched under their heel.

Dianna would have been cursing.

Dianna waved Violet to her and then reopened the bedroom door. “Dianna was down stairs. I want you to go into our room and lay down in the tub. Okay?”

“But what's happening?” Violet whispered.

“I don't know, but I think we're under attack. Now go.” Quinn's tone made it clear this was not up for debate.

Violet hesitated, then ducked her head and went into the bedroom, heading for the bathroom beyond.

Quinn saw the sunlight from the kitchen window cast shadows of people as they moved into the kitchen.

She really missed her bulletproof vest and other tactical equipment right then.

The bottom stair creaked as someone weighing considerably more than Dianna stepped on it, the slow creak sounding loud in the stillness. Cloth brushed against the wall of the stairwell as whoever it was started up it, slowly.

Quinn lay down on her stomach and eased forward, slowly. It was not Dianna; the dark head cover obscuring the face gave it away. “Dianna?” she called down slowly.

A ski mask covered face jerked upwards at the sound and the man held up his hand, gesturing to people behind him. In his other hand he carried a Taser stun gun, armed and ready. A picture of Violet was tapped to his forearm.

The handgun was cradled gently in Quinn's hands as she watched his reaction. He probably had body armor on which meant she had to be careful, because she only had five bullets left and there was more than one.

The man resumed his upwards movement, stopping just shy of the top and moving to peek up around the corner to see the hallway above.

Quinn carefully considered her shot taking in to account body armor. It was a kill shot, aimed for the neck, he'd bleed out quickly unless he was lucky.

The intruder let out a sound halfway between a yell and a groan, clutching at his neck as he toppled, falling down the stairs. “She's up there! Get her!” Someone down in the kitchen yelled and booted feet stormed up the stairs.

Quinn had the high ground advantage. She didn't waste her shots, she took careful aim, one in the knee and then another neck shot. Three bullets left.

The stairway was becoming clogged with bleeding bodies.

“Hey!” a voice from the kitchen yelled. “We just want the girl. Give her up and we'll go. If you don't, we've got grenades, you get it?”

Grenades could mean a lot things, but Quinn was guessing flash bang. Blind her and then confuse her and take Violet. She would not lose somebody else. Could not.

Quinn swallowed but remained silent. Talking. Talking made good movies but in reality it gave away her position, distracted her from surviving.

She looked around, she needed a barrier and ear protection.

“You hear me? We'll do this the hard way if you want us to.” The voice was definitely getting angry and frustrated. The man who had taken the shot to his knee was slowly pulling himself down the stairs, gritting his teeth in pain as he did.

The stairs were now slick with blood a point in Quinn's favor. She slid back and then silently made her way to the office. She opened the door and then looked around. Why did they not keep weapons upstairs?

She grabbed the headphones off the desk and put them on, they were better than nothing but not by much and then grabbed the two office chairs with wheels. Opening the door she kicked the first one sending it down the hall and down the steps.

During all that noise she dragged the next one to the stairs and tipped it over. As protection went, it sucked.

“You had your chance!” The voice downstairs barked and Quinn sensed more people moving around.

The cylinder arched up over the chair, bouncing of the far wall of the hallway before it exploded. There was brilliant white light and loud noise designed to confuse and disorient anyone near it. Curses rang out downstairs as the next two mercenaries tried to get up the stairs, tangling themselves in the chair and slipping on the blood of their companions.

Even with her eyes tightly shut the flash hurt. The headphones maybe helped a bit, but Quinn wasn't sure. She might have permanent hearing loss. She opened her eyes and saw vague shapes. She took the headphones off. Nothing but a loud ringing nose. But she could see, she just hoped the blob shapes weren't people she liked.

Quinn fired once, twice and then the gun jammed open. She had miscounted her remaining bullets.

The first intruder shot at Quinn, missing as he tripped on a bit of the chair at the top of the stairs. The two prongs of the tazer whirling past Quinn's head to embed themselves in the hallway drywall. He went down with a grunt as she shot back, and the man behind him ducked down, the shot at him missing.

“Quinn!” Someone was yelling her name. Hands grabbed Quinn's arm and pulled her from the hallway into the bedroom. Violet's lips were moving but Quinn couldn't hear through the ringing in her ears.

“I told you to stay put.” Quinn thought she was whispering but she was probably shouting. She locked the bedroom door and looked around. “Help me move the dresser in front of the door.”

Whatever Violet was saying was lost in the ringing, but the she helped Quinn push the dresser, both of them shoving the heavy wooden piece in front of the bedroom door. Seconds later someone shoved against it from outside, the dresser bucking as whoever it was threw themselves against it. Frightened, Violet grabbed Quinn's arm.

Quinn was so making Caine buy her a bunch of illegal weapons.

“You, bathroom,” she said to Violet. “Lock the door.”

Quinn started opening drawers; she really hadn't snooped around Dianna's things much.

In the walk-in closet she found her old baton. She thought it had been lost at a crime scene, it was hidden on a shelf, and she didn't really want to think about why Dianna would take that of all things.

But she could seriously fuck someone up with it, in close combat.

She spun it around by the handle getting the feel for it. The best thing would to get the taser and use it on its owner.

Quinn turned just in time to see Violet fall to the ground, convulsing. Two of the intruders had punched their way in, and one of them had used the taser.

Something inside Quinn died. Seconds later she was rushing out of the closet as she charged at the man. She whirled the baton and struck him quickly on the arm, breaking it in one swipe. Then she went for his shoulder and head. With an angry yell she moved on to the next man.

The second man's eyes widened behind the ski mask, as Quinn descended on him, screaming her hatred.

“AH!” He jerked, reaching for the Taser at his side, only just starting to pull it before Quinn's baton slammed across his jaw, shattering it.

Spitting teeth he collapsed to the ground, in time to get a baton hit to the ribs, which he curled around, groaning.

Looking around Quinn couldn't see any more attackers. She moved to Violet, removing the taser wires and checking her pulse. It was strong and steady but the pain had probably made her pass out. Quinn had been tasered once in training, and it hadn't been pleasant. She dragged one man and then the other out into the hallway.

Voices sounded from below, but they were indistinct through the ringing in Quinn's ears.

She kind of wished Dianna was kinkier in the bedroom so she could handcuff them, then she remembered the zip ties she had bought to organize the cables in Dianna's office. In seconds they were on their backs hands zip tied behind their backs.

Baton, and taser in hand Quinn made her way carefully down the stairs.


There were three men still in the kitchen; two wore the same ski masks as the four Quinn had met already. The third had a battered old brown hat and a shinny pistol on his hip. They all had a confused look on their faces, watching something just out of Quinn's line of sight. None of them seemed to notice her coming down the stairs.

Quinn slowly entered.

The three men stared, entranced by a figure standing near the sinks, just out of Quinn's sight from the stairs as she made her way down.

“Quinn.” Dianna called, almost yelling it, one hand pressed against the bleeding gash on the side of her head. Pale eyes were intent as she stared back at the three men.

Quinn's jaw clenched seeing the gash.

“Quinn.” Dianna sagged against the sink, eyes flicking to her Quinn and then back to the three still standing men.

“Dianna?” Quinn asked confused. Dianna didn't seem to be in danger. She aimed the taser at the only armed man in the room.

“They're eager to please, aren't you boys?” Dianna purred, getting eager nods from all three. “Anything you want from them Maggie?”

Quinn's jaw opened and shut, somewhat shocked she'd never seen Dianna do this before, and had to wonder if Dianna had done it to her without her knowing.

“Tell them to get their friends dead and alive and get the hell out,” she said once she found her voice.

“You heard her, get out.” Dianna watched, moving with them as they scrambled to collect their wounded and dead, pulling them from upstairs and then the pile at the base of the kitchen stairs. From there they bundled them outside and into a large unmarked delivery truck.

“You don't ever want to come back here, ever.” Dianna whispered. Only when they were gone, speeding away from the place, did she sag against the blown open rear door, looking very tired.

“I... really… Have you ever done that to me?” Quinn asked.

Tired pale eyes turned to regard Quinn. “You think I have?” Dianna asked, pressing again against the gash on her head.

“Would I remember?” Quinn set the taser and baton down and grabbed a hand towel. Getting it wet she then went over and placed it against Dianna's head.

“If I had you wouldn't be asking me about it.” Dianna winced. “Ouch.” She caught Quinn's hands. “Are you okay, I couldn't feel you for a moment when I woke up, I thought...” She trailed off, a bit of the terror showing.

“Flash bang grenade. I was pretty deaf for a moment.” She probably still was, she felt like she was shouting.

“Explains the shouting.” Dianna smiled wryly. “Violet?”

“Tasered, unconscious, probably wet herself on our bedroom floor, but she'll live.” Quinn held up the photo she'd taken off on of the dead men. “They were here for her.”

Dianna grunted in surprise. “Great.” She pushed up off the wall. “I'd really like a week to go by without someone coming to attack my bar.” She slipped an arm around Quinn's waist, seeming needy.

“A human would need stitches. You okay.” Quinn had been hoping the highlight of her day was going to be Dianna surprising her by sneaking into the shower with her.

“It'll be fine. What do we do?”

“We call my brother and ask him to send someone over to fix the door and maybe a doctor that makes private house calls.”

“Good idea.” Dianna leaned against Quinn.

As Quinn's hearing came back it brought a headache with it. She was, after all, only human. “I'm going to take you upstairs and you can lie down and keep an eye on Violet at the same time.

“You sure you're okay?” Dianna's grip tightened on Quinn's waist.

“No, I'm not okay. I've just killed two people and one demon hound in less than five hours, and been very close to a flash bang.” If the man who thrown the grenade had had a better arm she might have ruptured both eardrums, been knocked unconscious, or killed. “And why do you have my old baton? I thought I lost it on a case.”

Dianna lifted her head. “I could have lost you,” she whispered, shaking a little. Swallowing she stepped away from the other woman. “I found it.”

“Sure. You were going to do some weird freaky demon spell on it.” After a minute Quinn grinned to show she was teasing.

“You're killing me,” Dianna said dryly. “Go upstairs. I'll deal with your brother and the door.”

“No you lie down and I'll go and watch the back door with the shotgun.” Quinn said. She kissed Dianna's lips gently.

“Stubborn.” Dianna grumbled, but she did as Quinn had told her to.


Twenty minutes later Caine was there with a repair crew and a sullen doctor. Forty minutes after that they were all declared fine but to take it easy and thirty minutes after that the door was fixed and the blood cleaned up.

Caine looked at his little sister for a moment as the workmen finished with the door. He signed something when clipboard was thrust his way. 

After they had left he asked, “Does this have to do with the hit out on you?”

Quinn sighed. “No. They were human, and they were after Violet.”

“The girl who heals?”

“Yes. What?”

“Nothing,” he said quickly.

Quinn frowned. “You have that look on your face.”

“Rumor is that young people with powers like your Violet, are disappearing. They're all young, the power varies, half human or human, and they're all in the Gray.”

“Where nobody cares,” Quinn said with a disgusted shake of her head.

“Not nobody. You care.”

“I don't know if that will be enough.”

“Do you know something?”

“I have photos from a crime scene near the Y.  But I don't have access to any of the software or databases I need. I have photos of the tire tread, it would be nice to narrow down a make and model.”

Caine wrote something down. “Email them to me, I'll pull a favor and we can look at getting you that software.”


“Thrasher doesn't like it when kids go missing in the Gray. Their parents leave. Who do you think buys his overpriced crap? He provides the humans in the Gray and on the border, with goods and services they can't get.”

“I'm not one of Thrasher's goods or services,” Quinn argued.

“No you're not. You belong to Dianna.”

“What?” Quinn squawked angrily.

“It's a term that Thrasher gets. She's powerful for a half-demon, so is her dad. So you belong to her, not the other way around. Speaking of which how's it going with her?”

“None of your business, but fine,” Quinn said, finding her mood was becoming moodier as they talked. Also she was starting to feel antsy and jumpy.

Caine paused, looking at her. “When she charmed those goons, did she get any sexual release from them?”

“What? Of course not!” Quinn snapped at him.

He nodded. “Quinn, seriously, go read up on the care and feeding of Succubi before you kill her. Succubi exist on sex magic, it takes a lot of her magic to enthrall three men, and they didn't give anything back to her. So she's almost tapped out. I'm surprised she's letting you stay down here and talk.”

“Oh,” was all Quinn could say.

Caine opened the fridge pulled out a few bottles of water and an energy drink. He handed them to Quinn. “I'm going to go. You stay hydrated. I'll send you the bill later.” 

Quinn nodded absently and looked up the stairs, waiting for everyone to leave before she headed up there.


Upstairs Dianna lay on her bed, body shaking every few minutes from fine tremors, her forehead dotted with sweat.

She would show Quinn just how much self-control she had!

Even if it killed her.

Dianna shivered again, hands clutching at the bed sheets.

She'd cleaned up a shocked Violet and tucked away in bed, after the girl had sworn to her that she was feeling better. Neither of them had commented on the piss in the middle of her bedroom floor and Dianna had silently cleaned that up as well, guessing it was why Quinn had been so adamant about waiting downstairs for Caine.

To Dianna's horror she'd very nearly tried to take advantage of Violet. And part of her cared very little about whether Violet was still out of it from being tasered or not.

“The door fixed?” Dianna called out, hearing Quinn's slow steps coming up the stairs. Dianna wasn't going to do anything, she could control this. She repeated it over and over in her mind.

“Yeah. The doc is gone too. Says we're all fine and my hearing should be back to normal in a few days. Caine thinks we should invest in a magical barrier or a hellhound.” 

Quinn seemed to be hesitating outside the door, but she opened the door suddenly with a smile. 

“Brought some water and stuff,” Quinn said awkwardly, as she crossed the room to stand next to Dianna. “You look like shit.”

“Tired.” Dianna swallowed, eyes intently on Quinn. God, she looked so good and Dianna's hands itched to touch her. She needed to touch her. “Three men's the most I've ever charmed at once,” she admitted, unconsciously licking her lips.

“No, you're drained, and you're just pissed enough to not tell me what you need. Caine had to tell me. So I'll admit I'm a bad girlfriend, I only know enough about Succubi and Inccubi to be a danger to you. This is not the same as Wednesday.”  Quinn sighed and sat down on the bed opening a bottle of water and taking a sip before handing it to Dianna.  “And I'm probably making everything worse. So just tell me what you need.”

“You're not going to tell me I need to learn more control?” Dianna ignored the water bottle, touching Quinn's hand instead. She shivered; just that little touch nearly undid her.

“Dianna, this isn't about control. Wednesday was different; you had an unknown source of magic drive you into some sort of sexual frenzy. That you needed control for. We didn't know where it came from, if it was a trap, or if it would hurt you.” Quinn brought Dianna's hand up to her lips and kissed the palm. “This is about who you are. Do you see the difference?”

“When you put it that way…” Dianna could see the difference. She pulled Quinn down onto the bed, twisting as she went so she could press down against that wonderful body. “What I need is you,” she whispered hoarsely, excruciatingly aware of body part that was pressed up against Quinn.

“That can be arranged.” Quinn swallowed. “I don't know what you need here, you need to tell me. Is it just sex or is there something in particular you need?” Quinn blushed.

“I need our connection, to feel your emotion and give you pleasure.” Which would in turn give Dianna pleasure. It was a very nice feedback loop that would let her recover the energy she'd expended earlier.

“I would really like to make love to you,” Dianna said seriously, then paused, considering her wording. “Actually…” She bit her lip, trying to hold it together while they talked. “I would like it if we made love.”

Quinn smiled. “Why don't we get you back to normal and then we can focus on making love?” She wiggled a bit, looking up at Dianna. She pulled her hands away and moved them between their bodies, undoing the buttons on the jeans she had thrown on earlier.

Quinn didn't have to say that twice, Dianna was quite happy to go with the suggestion. Clothes were removed in a blur as her entire being was focused on one thing and one thing only. She could be very focused when she wanted to, and Quinn was an excellent source of focus.

The feel of Quinn's warm body, the taste of her skin and lips, the way she moaned as Quinn slid into her and the look on her face when she came was a narcotic to Dianna. Just as the taste of her wetness and the trembling of her muscles was. They were the drugs Dianna needed to survive and she took everything that Quinn was offering to her.

Dianna would never really be sure how long they'd been going when she finally felt almost sated. Lazy fingers trailed through the hair between Quinn's legs, as her lips gently kissed at the red bite marks on Quinn's shoulder. Dianna was certain that there were scratches along the length of her own back from Quinn's nails; wound's she was going to wear with pride.

“Did I hurt you?” Dianna whispered at last, nuzzling Quinn's sweat covered neck.

Quinn trembled as Dianna's fingers gently moved over now sensitive skin. 

“No,” Quinn croaked out. “But I could use that water or energy drink now. How about you? Feeling better?”

“Perfect.” Dianna purred, stretching across the bed to fumble for the energy drink and water. Shifting up against the headboard, which she had very pleasant memories of pressing Quinn up against now; Dianna sat against it, pulling Quinn up to lean against her chest. “Here.” She unscrewed the cap, holding it to Quinn's lips.

Quinn drank greedily for a moment. She then let her head rest back against Dianna's chest. “Good. I could probably go again in a little bit, but right now I'm blissfully tired. Anything else I should know about dating a Succubus, so I don't screw things up?”

“Why do you keep doing that? You aren't the one who screwed things up.” Dianna shifted, wrapping her free arm around Quinn's stomach and holding her there. “All you really need to know is that I need sex.” She shrugged, smiling as she pressed her lips to the human's temple.

“I could have because I didn't take the time to learn about what you need. A lot of you is human, but not all of it, you need sex. I knew that, but I didn't. Humans like sex but we don't need it to live. I should have known you needed a quickie before calling Caine over to help fix the door. How much pain were you in?”

Dianna twisted a little, not sure what to say to that. “Not a lot,” she said slowly, wondering how much she should actually share. It was getting harder to hide things from Quinn though she was just too perceptive.

“You're doing that thing, where you're trying to decide how much to tell me.” Quinn said letting her eyes close. She turned her head slightly from were it was resting between Dianna's breasts.

Dianna wrapped both arms around Quinn, holding her there, taking comfort from the closeness. When, she wondered idly, had she started to enjoy cuddling? It was disgustingly human of her.

“I don't want you to run off screaming,” Dianna admitted after a few minutes of quiet.

“I shot you. I killed a dozen people for Alvera. I'm not going to run screaming. So give me a little credit and tell me what's got your mind in knots,” Quinn said softly.

Dianna shifted again, frowning as she considered her options. “I need sex, need it like you need food and water,” she admitted finally. “It feeds me, gives me energy that I just can't get any other way.” Dianna snorted. “Like a sexual vampire, that's what the church calls us, I think.” She shrugged, being honest was horrible. “If we bond, again, the right way this time, I don't know how that will change things.”

“Okay,” Quinn said finally. “For right now I can't sense when your battery needs to be recharged maybe when we bond that will change. You need to let me know, okay?”

“That's it?” Dianna blinked in surprise. She'd been bracing herself for some yelling, probably something thrown in her general direction and maybe a gun fired at her.

“That's it. What? You thought I was going to blow a gasket over that?”

“Yes. That's exactly what I thought.” Dianna slowly relaxed, only now realizing how tense she'd become. “You weren't really thrilled with being with me in the first place.”

“True. Although it wasn't you, I wouldn't have been thrilled being in a relationship with anybody. Plus finding ourselves suddenly bonded made me very cranky. The fact you need sex really isn't a big deal after everything else. Although, how do you feel about children?”

“Children?” Dianna's eyes widened, it was not a question that Dianna had been expecting. “As in, having children, ourselves?” She'd never even considered the possibility of having her own children.

“Maybe. I don't know how demons, half-demons or female half-demons have children; and honestly I don't know if I can go through it again. It still hurts to think about Connor.  But in the future it could be a big deal; children, politics and money break couples up, I think I read that in a magazine. I guess it's silly question for right now. We can talk about it later.” 

“Later.” Dianna felt like she'd just gotten sucker punched. “Later is good.” She tightened her hold on Quinn, soaking in the feel of skin on skin. “I'm not opposed to children,” she said finally. “But it would have to be more than one, children need siblings.” She was as sure of that as of anything else in her life.

“How do demons have kids? The usual way with a male and female?” 

“Usually.” Dianna grinned. “Of course there are some rituals that would enable other things to happen.” She had a vague notion of those rituals and was positive she could find someone who knew more. “Might be interesting to not use a dildo,” Dianna purred, licking at Quinn's neck.

Quinn shivered and did a quick mental inventory of her body. “Someday I'm going to find that secret room where you hid all of your kinky stuff because this room is empty, one could almost assume you were a nun. Except...” Quinn moved slowly and turned so she was facing Dianna, her legs over the other woman's, so they sat groin to groin.  “I know you never brought anyone up here for sex. Which means you took them somewhere else.”  She kissed Dianna  and nipped at her already swollen bottom lip, hard. “Probably the store room where I found Violet and Lauren.”

“Easier to get rid of them afterwards if they're not up here.” Dianna gritted her teeth, hips pushing up against Quinn in slow movements. “Or the guest bedroom.” She'd taken quite a few guests there, again easier to throw them out of the guest bedroom than her own bed. “Women get clingy.” She nipped at the skin on Quinn's pulse point.

Quinn reached her hands up Dianna's back and tangled her fingers in her long hair. She pulled her head back exposing that long column of neck to her teeth and lips. After leaving what Dianna was sure would be a few love marks, Quinn laid back on the bed eyes watching Dianna, a mischievous grin on her lips. “Go ahead and touch yourself, I'll let you know when you can touch me.” 

Their lower bodies were so close together Dianna knew Quinn would feel everything Dianna did to herself.

Dianna gave her a look. Quinn gave her one back in challenge.

“You'll let me know?” Dianna growled, licking her lips again as she moved, arching her back a little to brush their hips against one another. “What if I don't do what you want?” she drawled, trailing fingers down her own chest and cupping her breasts.

“Less talking,” Quinn said, eyes riveted by Dianna's hands. “This is about allowing me to pretend I have some control here. It also shows me how you like to be touched, sexually.” She grinned. “It's also hot.” Dianna shivered. “I can be just as bad a horn dog as a guy. I don't show it much, I know.” The tip of Quinn's tongue poked out and moistened a dry bottom lip.

This helped explain why Quinn had loved the lap dances back in New York City, Dianna thought. She still owed Jesus a month of dancing back there, but that was for another time.

“I like the way you look at me.” Dianna rolled her head, dark hair brushing low on her chest. She watched Quinn through the long dark strands.

With a low moan she stroked her sides, brushing fingers over sensitive nipples before cupping her breasts.

“I like watching you. You're pretty sexual all the time, but this is private, just for me. I can't imagine you being this way, or doing this for anyone else.”

Quinn's pale skin did very little to hide the red flush of desire that bloomed on her chest.

“I've given you lap dances before.” Dianna shivered under Quinn's look, feeling her desire as well as seeing it. She shifted upwards, kneeling on the bed in front of Quinn, hands still stroking herself, fingers sliding lower.

“I wasn't all there when you did that.”

“Then I should give you more private shows,” Dianna whispered, half moaning the last words as she brought a finger up to suck on. “Can I touch you?” she pleaded, wanting more.

Quinn let out a shaky breath. “Slowly, I want you to make this achingly slow. Can you do that?”

“Yesss...” Dianna whispered. “Can make it so slow.” She crawled towards Quinn.

“We'll see won't we?” Quinn said challengingly.

A spark of competitiveness flared in Dianna and she bared her teeth. “Yes. We will.” She was going to make the other woman beg for release, she decided, even if she was doing exactly what Quinn demanded.

She started with Quinn's feet and moved upwards, stroking and kissing ever so slowly, lightly brushing her hair across sensitive skin. Dianna avoided the source of Quinn's need, although the wetness there beckoned her closer.

Still she mastered her impulses and kept on her slow seduction, worshipping Quinn's body, every inch she could touch and taste.

When finally Quinn did beg for release, the orgasm that came with it felt like it lasted for days.

They were tangled together, their heads at the foot of the bed with a faint light coming in from the window. “Do I even want to know what time it is?” Quinn fumbled with the extra blanket that had fallen to the floor and covered them.

She had grown chilled as the sweat had cooled on their bodies.

“Late,” Dianna murmured, pulling Quinn tighter as the air chilled around them. Whatever the time was she didn't feel like moving. “Don't think Violet's going to want to go to her class tonight.” She closed her eyes, intent on a nap.

“I should have brought her right home instead of dragging her to my shrink appointment.”

“Doesn't matter.” Dianna opened one eye. “Did I tell you who it was the mercenaries were working for? I asked them just before you came downstairs.”

“No, you failed to mention that.”

“Slipped my mind.” Dianna closed her eye and smiled to herself, counting the seconds until Quinn would demand to know.

“Apparently it just slipped it again. Stop fucking with me and tell me.”

“Her father offered them two million dollars to bring his wayward daughter back home.” Dianna sighed. “Or make sure she could never cause the Senator any problems.”

“That bastard is not taking Violet away from me. What a self-absorbed prick.” Then she slapped Dianna's arm. “Thanks for ruining that blissful after orgasm feeling.”

“Sorry.” Dianna thought she almost sounded sorry too, yawning. “But I wanted to tell you before I forgot.” She opened both eyes again. “Wait, take her away from you?”

“Us, whatever, she's like a child in an adult body. She needs a parent because hers obviously sucked.”

“Us?” Dianna's narrowed her eyes. “So you've adopted her?”

“Honey, you adopted her before I showed up. She's living in your old love nest.”

“I did no such thing.” Dianna closed both eyes and snuggled in closer.

Quinn just snorted. “All that sex better keep your battery charged for a couple of days,” she said with a yawn. “I'm exhausted.”

“We'll see.” Dianna would have said more, but the nap snuck up on her.


Quinn was sitting in front of the computer trying to upload the pictures from the cellphone Dianna had given her.

She checked the cable again and yawned, maybe she had the wrong cable thing.


Quinn looked up, Violet was waiting at the door of the study, fidgeting with the hem of her shirt.

“Hey. What's up?” she said. “You okay. I called Vera?”

“Thanks.” Violet smiled. “I knew she wasn't going to be happy about me skipping the rehearsal today.” She moved into the office. “You look tired, are you going back to bed soon?”

“In a bit.” Quinn turned her chair to give Violet her full attention. “What's wrong?”

“Why did those men come here?” Violet's blue eyes flicked about the office.

Quinn thought about lying. “They came here to take you back to your father.”

Violet nodded. “I asked Dianna, she wouldn't tell me.” The young woman wrapped her arms around herself. “Maybe you should give me back, he'll just keep causing problems.”

“I'm not losing you to some dickhead who will throw you away because it's inconvenient to have a daughter that's different.” Quinn stood up and pulled Violet into a hug.

“Why do they hate me?” Violet's voice was small as she clutched onto Quinn.

“Because they're stupid,” Quinn said softly, kissing the top of Violet's head.

“I used to think that if I took all the pills, went to all of the psychiatrists, and did everything they wanted they'd love me. But something always happened,” Violet whispered. “He did something bad, something awful, but I can't remember it.”

“I'm sorry,” Quinn said, not knowing what else to say.

“It's okay, maybe that's why Blue was here, to protect me.” Wiping at her eyes, Violet smiled as she pulled away. “I'm sorry, I just wanted to know for sure.”

“I think that's why Blue was here.” Quinn hugged Violet again and let her go. “You always have a home here with Dianna and me. You know that right?”

Violet nodded, eyes watering. “I know. I'm going to go back to sleep I think. Good night.”


Quinn watched Violet shuffle down the hallway before turning back to the computer.

It was only minutes before the hairs at the base of Quinn's neck lifted, alerting her to the fact that she was once again being watched from the doorway.

“Violet's been here and gone to bed so you better be Dianna,” Quinn said, not looking up as she finally got the photos to attach to an email to her brother.

“So she did come see you. How'd that go?” Diana said.

“Like you'd expect, she's upset. Her father's an asshole.” Quinn muttered, typing.

“You mean he uses people.” Dianne arched an eyebrow.

“He's a senator, that's what they do.” Quinn hit something on the computer and a window opened with the man's photo. “Especially those making a bid for President.”

“Ugh, he's going to try to be President?”

“No he wants to run for President. He's also on the Senate committee for the DA, he's a dirty, dirty man.” Quinn turned to see Dianna leaning against the doorjamb, watching her.

“Great.” Dianna yawned. “Sleep soon?”

“Yeah, I just finished sending the pictures of the crime scene to my brother. He's going to try and get any info he can from the tire tracks. And I have to go see Melva tomorrow.”

“Melva?” Dianna held out her hand, pulling Quinn to her feet after she had shut down the computer.

“I found an amulet at the scene. I think I left it in the car with my notebook. She said it... uh... controlled people. I'm not sure. I need to follow up with her about it.”

“Tomorrow then. Are you taking Violet to her lesson in the afternoon or am I?” Dianna led the way towards the bed.

“Can you take her? I want to work more on this missing girl.” Quinn felt guilty that she wasn't out there right now.

“Yes, I'll run the kid to soccer practice.” Dianna teased, pulling Quinn into the bedroom.

Quinn just laughed, trying to imagine Dianna running their imaginary child to soccer practice, and the look of horror on all the other soccer mom's faces. Although she bet a few more dads would start coming to the practices.

“I'll even drive a minivan.” Dianna laughed.

The thought of Dianna driving a minivan made Quinn snort with laughter. It was so not Dianna.

“What?” Dianna smiled. “You don't think I can be the good dutiful wife?”

“It's... no I can see you being a dut... well a wife, but I can't see you being that domestic.  You're just... too wicked,” Quinn decided.  The image of the minivan was too human, too bland. Dianna was a demon, a white picket fence and all that was not for her, nor could Quinn see Dianna being happy with that.

“And can you deal with that?” Dianna asked softly.

Quinn felt the weight in the question, there was more being asked, hidden in the words.  “Yes,” she said simply. Quinn was Gray now as well; she didn't belong in the human world or the demon world she belonged here in this strange world that bordered both.

“Good answer Detective.” Dianna reached out, taking Quinn's hand in hers.


Quinn needed a car, and body armor, she thought gloomily as she made her way through the Gray to Melva's church. Nobody really bothered her though. Actually a horse would work better, she decided, in the crumbling remains of the Gray. She'd need a job for that. Well, a job that paid. Being Dianna's whatever wasn't going to give her cash. Although the other payment plan she was enjoying. She felt a tingle go up her spine remembering the last orgasm, Dianna had done as she asked and made it slow. It had been delicious. 

Quinn let out a breath and made herself focus.

“I sent Ryan back to wherever it is he lives, Detective,” Melva said, not looking up from the huge pot of soup that she was preparing on the portable burners in the back of the ruined Church. “You will have to hunt for him elsewhere.”

It was an abrupt greeting. Quinn nodded and took her hat off, a reaction to being in a church, regardless if the church was still being used as such. She shut the door behind her. “I will as soon as we're done.” Quinn pulled her notebook out and set it on the table, closed.

“We're done?” Melva looked up. “The soup kitchen opens in two hours Detective, whatever it is you want it had better be quick. I don't move as fast as I used to.”

“I need to know more about that amulet. Is there anyway to know who made it, or who it was used on?” Right now it was her only lead. Melva may not like it, but that wasn't enough to let it drop.

“I told you not to bring that thing in here,” Melva snapped, bustling past Quinn to add more chunks of meat to one of the soup pots. “Find your answers some other way Detective, that way lies only misery.”

“You once asked me to help the people here. That was the payment you wanted. Well I'm doing my part, but you're acting like everyone else. You have answers but you don't say anything. That just fucking leads to another dead body,” Quinn turned and opened the door to storm out.

“Wait,” Melva called out.. “What do you want from me?” She closed her eyes.

Quinn stopped and looked back. Melva's shoulders sagged a little. “I want to know what I already asked you,”Quinn said. “Can you tell who made it? Can you tell who it was used on? If don't know that's fine. If you know someone who can just give me a name and I'll go talk to them.”

Melva turned, moving back to her pots and reducing the heat on each of them. “There is a way to find out, come back inside.” Melva gestured at a spot on the dirty floor. “Sit there.”

Quinn did as directed, her notebook resting on her thigh.

“Tell me Detective, do you fear things?” Melva grunted as she squatted down across from Quinn, hand held out for the pendant. “Do you fear those who work in the darkness?”

Quinn thought about it, seriously. “No. Because I was one of those things and I know them now. There are things I fear more.”

“Good.” Melva's bony fingers clenched the amulet. “Remember that where you go.” She held out her other hand for Quinn's, dark eyes almost black in the shadowed light.

Quinn offered her hand. “Go? Where am I going?”

“To find who made it.” Melva's fingers grabbed Quinns's hand, gripping it tightly. Her black fingernails dug into the flesh of Quinn's palm. Blood welled from the puncture wounds, dripping to the floor.

Melva's cackling echoed through the church as the world swam around Quinn, dissolving into shades of gray, darker shadows outlined only by lighter ones. No color existed here and everything around her moved and shifted as if it was only outlines of shapes drawn in smoke.

There was only one spot of color. The dark green of the amulet clenched in the shadowy shape of Melva's hand burned with color to Quinn's eyes.

Quinn looked around wondering what the hell she was supposed to do. The amulet burned her eyes, and for a moment she had to wonder if giving it to Melva had been such a great idea. She rubbed her face and then she spotted the black thread that seemed to come out of the amulet.

The thread snaked its way out the front of the church, back the way she had come, out into the Gray.

Quinn moved to follow it but she didn't really move, it was like wandering through black and white photos, suddenly she was just somewhere else, still following that black line.

The building was familiar, the shady outline of the mall, with its flickering shadows of humanity. Lust and greed filled the air at the seat of Malek's power. Things floated by Quinn, vague shapes of demons and half-demons that were ensnared in the Succubus's power.

Behind it, looming over everything, like a giant spider crouched in the center of its web, was the Asylum. Everything here was connected to that place, drawn to it and held in the Gray by the evil that worked inside of its walls.

It surprised her that the thread went to Malek's. He could bend and weave seduction. He wouldn't need to use an amulet to bend someone to his will, his victim would go willingly. She followed the thread however, perhaps she was mistaken.

The world flashed by and she was inside the mall, deep inside of the rooms that the Succubi used. A thin man sat at a table, shadowy and indistinct as he worked intently on something. The man's form was bent over the table, cradling something as he whispered to it, as if it were a child.

Next to him, stretched out on the rest of the table, lay a homeless woman, gasping for breath as the last of her life bled from her into whatever it was the man was working on. Only when she gave a final shuddering breath did the man look up, clenching the amulet he had just made.

Brilliant red eyes stared right at Quinn.

Quinn didn't know this demon, but she stared back unafraid because once her eyes had been that red, when she didn't have a soul. She would guess he was another of Alvera's minions, probably working to bring her back. Quinn said nothing but knew she was in some sort of danger if he could see her. She reached out and removed Melva's hand from hers, guessing, and hoping she was right. 

With a sickening lurch Quinn was back inside her body. She was bent over throwing up.

“Here.” A cool glass of water was pressed into her hands as Melva helped her to sit on a pew. “Did you see?”

Quinn nodded. “Dead body of a woman. Soulless creature, making another amulet. He saw me.” The words came out short and stuttered. “He was in that strip mall were Malek makes his home.”

“Then the Succubi is working for Alvera, you should be careful with what you tell his daughter.” Melva left Quinn to recover on the pew as she stooped down to cover up the amulet with a rag. “He will know you now, if he saw you.”

Quinn giggled, she couldn't help it. It was relief. “Malek belongs to Alevra, they fought a long time ago and she won. He's the one that bonded us, cut me with a knife and suddenly Dianna and I were, well we were... more. I don't get why though. He's been by to see Dianna, seduce her to him. It didn't work.” She took another drink from the glass.

“Cut you with a knife?” The question was sharp and Melva advanced on Quinn with dark eyes. “Where? Show me,” she demanded.

Quinn pushed up the sleeve of her shirt and showed Melva the faint white scar. “There.”

Melva pushed closer, sniffing the wound. Chuckling she let Quinn's arm drop, turning and shuffling off back towards her soup pots. “Some demons are too clever for their own good.” She laughed.

“What?” Quinn got up and followed her. “What?” she asked again.

Still apparently amused, Melva set about preparing the soups that she'd put on hold. “Malek, he tried to bind you to him with his blood.” Shecackled. “Unfortunately you were already bound to someone else, weren't you? I should have realized that before now. You play a dangerous game Detective.”

Quinn felt her blood drain. To be bound to Malek would be a nightmare, Dianna was at least trainable. “Huh? I'm not playing any game.” Quinn pulled her shirt sleeve down and grabbed her hat and notebook.

“No?” Melva's stared at Quinn with dark eyes before turning back to her bubbling soups. “Stringing along a half-demon, keeping her partly bound to you, that is a game and a dangerous one at that.” She stirred in some cut herbs. “Of course, if it keeps Dianna doing what you want her to do, I can see why you would choose to do it.”

“I'm not choosing to do anything. I think the last thing she ever wanted was to be bonded with me. Are you sure Malek didn't do something that caused us to bond?” Quinn wasn't sure she would let him off the hook for that. “Now… Now we're taking it slow I'm not a demon. My last marriage ended horribly, I need to take things slow for my own sanity.  I'm surprised she even still wants this bond after Alvera gave me all of my soul back and freed her...” Quinn shrugged. “I'm just surprised.”

Melva gave a loud snort. “Malek may have accelerated it, but what happened was because of what you wanted, not because of his designs. He would have much rather bound you to him I think.”

“What would he care? I'm just a human, nothing special, no fancy powers.”

“Because you are involved in everything, and if he bonded you to him, he would then know everything you know.” Melva pushed past Quinn as she bustled around the makeshift kitchen. “Too clever for his own good.”

What the hell did Quinn know? Didn't feel like a lot.

“I'll take your word on that. I'm going to go to the Y and talk to people. Maybe they saw something. Need a picture of that girl.” She shook her head. She also needed to talk to Dianna.

“Fine fine, go. Things will be busy here soon enough.” Melva shooed her out of the kitchen.

Quinn grabbed the amulet. “Does this thing still work?”

“No. Its magic is drained, used up with whoever it was put on.” Melva waved a long wooden spoon at her.

Quinn nodded. “Okay. Thanks.” She headed out the door.

“Detective!” Melva called after her. “If the man you saw is making more of them, then he is leaving corpses behind him.”

Quinn nodded again. “These simple looking amulets took a death to make.”

“Remember that. Someone died for each of them.” Melva waved her away with the spoon, turning her back to Quinn.

Quinn sighed and stuffed the amulet in her pocket. She should go to Lauren, but what did the DA care about murders in the Gray?


Two hours later Quinn was trudging back to Dianna's bar. She wanted a drink and a hot bath, maybe together.

Violet was tending the kitchen tonight, and mouth-watering smells were coming from the oven. Violet waved as she saw Quinn, her exuberance dying down when she saw the look on Quinn's face.

“Hey, I'm making chicken. Helga left the recipe.” Violet hesitated. “You okay?”

“Yeah, just tired. That was a lot of walking around inside the Gray. It takes energy out of a person.” Especially if they had sex most of the day before.

“There's a while before dinner's ready. You want a shower or something?” Violet asked.

“Yeah I'm going to go up and take a bath. Have Dianna come get me when dinner is ready.” Quinn impulsively gave Violet a hug before heading out to the bar and snagging the bottle of whiskey she liked so much.

A while later, Dianna stuck her head into the bathroom, smiling when she saw Quinn lounging in the large bathtub. There was even bubbles in the water and Dianna moved closer, obviously enjoying the view. “Rough day?”

“Yes, because a ten year old girl was taken, and you know what I found after talking to everyone around the Y?” She held up the drink she was sipping and took a healthy swallow.

Dianna moved over to the tub, sitting on the edge and waiting.

“Her father handed her over to a bunch of demons. There was no struggle, no fight. I'd think he was full of shit except he really does believe what he thinks happened and I found an amulet of subjugation at the scene.”

“He thinks he fought them?” Dianna turned over her hand, capturing Quinn's fingers in hers. “Not unusual, his mind probably refuses to believe he'd just hand his daughter over.”

“Yes, plus when he went back to the scene with me yesterday that demon hound was there and he attacked it. Now I have to wonder if I killed an innocent demon hound.”

“No such thing.” Dianna shook her head.

Quinn shrugged. “Melva told me to be careful with what I told you. Because of your father. She also told me this...” Quinn held up her arm and pointed at the faint scar. “Was because your father wanted to bond with me. Which makes me feel ill, and I'm sure is far different than how we're bonding.”

“She thinks...” Dianna paused, clearly considering it. “Maybe you should be careful what you tell me. The last time he came here I almost...” She trailed off, looking away.

“You have to want my love more than his. You share his blood so those powers, you have them too. I trust you. I trust you enough to give my heart to you, so I have to trust you enough to tell everything to.”

Dianna's mouth worked. She nodded. “All right. Then tell me, what do you think happened?”

“I think they got the amulet on the dad and then made him give them his daughter.” Quinn picked up her drink again.

“Why would 'they', whoever that is, do that?”

“Are there different types of bonding? Melva says your dad couldn't bond because I'd already bonded with you. I don't really remember being bonded to you. I remember wanting to rip your clothes off and fuck you after the attack.”

Dianna's eye twitched. “I remember that.” She looked away. “We were well on the way to being bonded before then.”

Quinn nodded. “I figured as much looking back. But there has to be different types of bonding. Melva said we're bonding this way because that's how I choose it. I keep us half-bonded, stringing you along.”

“You have a lot of control in this.” Dianna trailed her fingers through the warm water. “If you don't accept it, nothing can happen. A bonding is a two way connection, it's not slavery.”

“How would your father have bonded with me? I wouldn't have accepted it. I would have shot him.” Seemed odd then that he would try it.

“There's ways to coerce your acceptance.” Dianna forced a smile. “Thralls really don't mind being bonded you know.” And Malek was very good at making people do things they didn't really want to.

Quinn nodded, that made sense. She swallowed the rest of her drink. “Is Violet still working on dinner?”

“She said it was almost ready, whenever you wanted to come down. She's been working on it for hours, so I really hope this isn't going to suck.”

Quinn chuckled. “Pity. I was going to ask you to scrub my back.” Dianna was always a lot calmer if Quinn allowed some sort of physical contact that was sexual. It didn't have to be sex, but sexual helped.

“You were?” Dianna blinked, turning towards her. “I could still do that,” she offered, hopefully.

“Okay, but we can't take longer than an hour, or we'll disappoint Violet. The poor girl has had enough disappointment in her life.

“Only an hour?” Dianna shifted over, pulling up a bath sponge. “I think I'll manage, somehow.”

“Maybe you should take your shirt off so it doesn't get soaked.”

“Good idea.” Dianna laughed. The shirt and pants were shimmied off, tossed aside and the Dianna slid back into spot wearing only very sheer looking panties. “Bras are overrated,” she said at the look on Quinn's face.

“Apparently.” Quinn leaned back against Dianna, enjoying the touch of skin against skin, letting her eyes close.

After a moment of the contact, Quinn leaned forward exposing her back, and she started talking again. “Melva was able to do something so I could follow a trail from the amulet back to the person who made it. I was there but I wasn't, it was weird.” She shook her head. “Anyways, it led me to that strip mall, where your dad has his porn palace. And in that mall was a man standing over a dead body. He'd just made a new amulet.”

“So he's using those to what, take people he wants for some reason? I don't understand how this ties into the murders at that wedding reception.” She kept washing Quinn's back.

Quinn hoped she could put together the pieces before it was too late.


It was sometime during dinner that the idea wormed its way into Violet's brain. She wasn't sure when exactly, sometime between when they'd started eating the roasted chicken and before the chocolate pie she'd tried making. The chicken had turned out great, even if she did say so herself, although the gravy had a bit of a strange texture. The pie had been too runny, although everyone had gamely eaten it, assuring her that it had been just fine.

She'd have to find out from Helga what she'd done wrong the next time she saw the old German woman.

Still the thought persisted, nagging at her as she helped clean up, joking with Quinn to try and draw some of the darkness out of the other woman's eyes.

Whatever Quinn had seen during that day had left her quieter than usual and there was a troubled look in her eyes every time she looked at Violet.

The thought prodded at her, insistent, even after she'd gotten changed for bed and slipped into her room. Well aware that Dianna and Quinn weren't really asleep next door, but doing something else.

She hadn't seen Lauren in two days now, hadn't heard from her either and as she lay there in bed, staring up at the ceiling above her the blond worried. What if something had happened to Lauren? What if she didn't want anything to do with Violet anymore? Maybe she realized she liked Blue better?

All of the doubts and worries came back ten times stronger than they'd ever been before, and Lauren dominated them.

Finally, after what felt like hours of tossing and turning in her bed, waiting for sleep that never came, Violet decided to do something.

It was crazy of course, but she needed to see Lauren, needed to make sure she was all right and that they were still… well… they were still a “they”.

Violet snuck out of the bar at nearly midnight, intent on finding her way to Lauren.


Lauren was pissed but she said nothing, grinding her teeth as she was talked at.

“People are upset here. You took off the collar, and for what?”

“Freddy wanted to check it.”

“Stop lying, Lauren.”

“Fine Mark, I wanted some privacy with a friend for just a few minutes.”

“That was a lot longer than a few minutes, and your friend is a person of interest. Don't see her again Lauren. People here are really interested in how she healed Freddy's arm, and then there's the fact she's the senator's daughter. He wants her retrieved.” 

The plastic of the phone creaked under Lauren's hand. “I won't let you do the horrible things to her that you people did to me,” she said in quiet fury.

“Lauren. You need to watch it when you say things like that.”

“No... I do all the work; take all the risks for what... to be treated like a slave.  I'm getting sick of it.”

“I know it's not fair...”

Lauren cut him off. “I'm going to bed, but Capitan things need to change or I'll change them.”  She hung up and threw herself angrily on to her bed. Fucking Margo, had called someone and they had reviewed the tape. She knew it had been Margo.

A knock on the door interrupted the impending sulk. “Hey, Lauren, you in there?” Freddy called from the other side, his voice sounding remarkably nervous.

Lauren frowned and got up off the bed. “Freddy?  I'm here.” She went to open the door.  “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything's fine. It's just that you've got a visitor and I kind of snuck her in through security.” Freddy gestured behind him nervously. “Look, she can't stay for long, maybe a couple hours, but then I'll have to come back and get her out before the day shift starts. Got it?”

Behind him Violet waved tentatively.

Lauren blinked in surprise. “Thanks Freddy, I owe you,” she said finally. 

She opened the door wider, and almost called Violet ‘Blue'.  “V-violet, are you... is everything okay?” 

Freddy cleared his throat.

“Come in,” Lauren said, realizing Violet shouldn't be seen.

Violet gave Freddy a hug, to which he awkwardly responded before she slipped inside with Lauren. “I just realized I hadn't seen or heard from you in days and I wanted to make sure you were okay. And that you were okay with me?”

“I...”  Lauren shut the door. “Violet... I'm okay, we've been chasing down leads.” All of which led to a dead end. “Are you okay?” Lauren wondered now if Violet was mad at her or upset. “I would have called but, I'm... I don't have any privacy.”

“I'm okay.” Violet smiled, seeming relieved. “I just worried.” She held up a white plastic bag. “I brought presents, if you're interested?” Something that smelled suspiciously like Chinese food was coming from that bag.

Lauren's stomach growled, she'd been too mad at Margo to eat earlier. “Smells wonderful, just let me.. uh..” Lauren had been a neat freak in her parents house, too scared of anything being left out in view that might lead them to figure out she was a lesbian. Now she cared a lot less. She quickly picked up the various pieces of papers and photos off the table and stuffed them back in the folders they had come out of. Then kicked the clothes into a pile in the corner. 

The room wasn't much, just a bed, a table and few chairs. The bath was through a doorway.

Violet smiled, watching her fumble around trying to get things clean for her.

“Here, let me help.” Violet spread out the Chinese food, setting it out on the plastic dishes they came with. “I even got chopsticks. I wasn't sure if you liked Chinese, but this was the only place I could find open on the way over here.”

Inside one of those boxes she pulled out a baggie, which she set in front of Lauren. “It's a prepaid cell phone, just incase you want to call me or something,” she said shyly.

Lauren wanted to laugh in joy, some small piece of freedom, something that was hers.  “Thank you. And I love Chinese. My dad was half-Chinese,” she blurted feeling nervous.

“Good.” Violet's smile was wide as she settled on the edge of the chair that Lauren had pushed over for her to use. “I thought you could use that, if you needed to talk to someone without big brother listening in. I thought it could be like a date.”

Lauren smiled broadly. “I'd like that.” She sat down and heaped a ton of food on to her plate. She never felt like she ate enough anymore.  As she started to dig in she realised she should probably wait until Violet was ready. “How is dance going?” Lauren wanted to kiss Violet and wondered if she'd get to before the woman needed to leave.

“Good.” Violet hesitated. “Although my teacher wasn't too happy that I wasn't there today. Eat,” she said, noticing Lauren was waiting for her. “I cooked food at the bar earlier.”

Lauren tore into her food, trying to remember to chew with her mouth closed and not do anything else that was gross. “Why did you miss your lesson today? Is everything okay?”

She saw Violet squirm in her chair

“There was a little incident at the bar and Quinn thought I shouldn't go to the lesson.”

“You okay?” That was what was important, but what had happened obviously upset Violet.

“I'm fine. Everything's okay.” Violet bit her lip and reached across the table, daringly touching Lauren's free hand. “I'm just happy I got to see you. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do when I drove up front, but then I saw Freddy, and I thought since I healed him he might help me. was really nice, I hope this doesn't get him in trouble.”

Lauren looked at their hands and blushed in pleasure. “Uh.. he'll be fine... we.. uh.” She stammered. “We're a team. I've saved his life and he's saved mine.” She frowned, Margo had been part of that team, but she'd betrayed her trust. “It's not safe though, I should warn you. The DA is very interested in you, especially after reviewing the tape and watching you heal Freddy. I was wearing that damn collar when you did it, they saw everything.” Lauren felt horrible.

Shrugging, Violet turned her hand so she was holding Lauren's. “It's okay, Quinn dragged me back to see Melva. Said I needed to learn to control what I do before I get someone killed.” She looked down at their hands. “I'm just sorry that happened after something so special.” Blushing, she peeked up at Lauren through blond bangs.

Lauren felt herself blush too. “I'm glad you think it was special. I thought it was too but Quinn was right about one thing, a storage closet isn't romantic, and it didn't show that I care about you. I feel bad about that. Not about doing it, don't think that.” She felt her face burn even more.

“You're cute when you blush.” Violet giggled, leaning up over the table. It wasn't a very wide one, which meant she could kiss Lauren gently on the lips without laying down in the Chinese food.

Lauren liked the kiss it made her lips tingle. “I can't help it, I blush easily.” She reached up stroking Violet's cheek. “We only have a few hours did you want to do anything?”  There wasn't much in her room. “I have some cards I think.” 

She'd made them get rid of the TV when she'd become suspicious of a camera inside of it. It was the only old tube TV, everyone else had a flat screen. Then she'd broken all the mirrors. She'd been promised privacy in her own quarters.

“Cards sounds fun, I don't really know how to play a lot of games though.” Violet frowned a little. “But I think I've played poker before? If there can be a few kisses too?”

“You can have a kiss anytime you want,” Lauren said, cleaning up her food and setting the containers inside her empty fridge. Although kissing Violet would make her want more, it made her want to free her wings and take flight. Made her want to be brave.

Violet watched her move, eyes bright with happiness. “You can too. I mean, have a kiss whenever you want.”

Lauren smiled at Violet, then crossed the space between them and kissed her. Trying not to slobber all over her, she focused on being gentle, on enjoying the softness of Violet's lips.

Somehow the kissing turned into a make out session on Lauren's bed. Both of them were surprisingly shy considering what they'd done before in the bar, but the kissing was very, very nice.

The light petting through clothes was nice too. Violet seemed to hum her approval of it as Lauren touched Violets's side, stroking along it.

“We're getting good at kissing,” Violet declared, when they'd pulled away for air some time later. She buried her face in the crook of Lauren's neck.

Lauren laughed, that comment was so Blue. She was starting to find it easier to see that Blue and Violet were the same person. “Good, I'm always afraid I'm going to slobber all over you.” She kissed the earlobe next to her lips.

Violet shivered in response, and smiled. “No slobbering, you're not a dog.” She laughed, snuggling in deeper into the embrace.

“I'm glad you came. This is nice,” Lauren said softly. “Do you... hmmm... would you mind if I let my wings out?” Although maybe that wouldn't be a good idea, last time they had gotten in trouble.

“Do they hurt?” Violet asked curiously, rolling over so Lauren could move.

“No, its more...” She frowned. “I keep them hidden except for these moments when I'm safe and alone and then I stretch them. It feels good for them to be free and not confined.” Suddenly shy, Lauren turned and undid her shirt and slipped it off. Slowly they emerged from her shoulder blades like a caterpillar hatching from its chrysalis. It felt good to let them stretch, the purplish black feathers ruffling and then smoothing down.

“You shouldn't hide them, they're beautiful,” Violet whispered, reaching out to stroke through soft feathers.

Lauren's breath caught for a second. “Violet, maybe you shouldn't do that. Last time it led to more than heavy petting.” She shivered but didn't do anything else to stop Violet, enjoying her touch. “I hide them because I'm afraid.” Afraid of what the DA would do to her next.

Violety's smile died and she looked at Lauren seriously. “You shouldn't have to be afraid, it isn't fair.”

“No, it's not.” But her life wasn't full of options at the moment. “Can we not dwell on life's fairness? I think we'll both be depressed if we do.”

Looking like she wanted to argue, Violet nodded, stroking her fingers through the feathers instead. “They're pretty on you. Make you look…” Violet didn't finish the sentence, instead she kissed Lauren.

Lauren liked the kisses, liked the way they made her feel. If she was very careful, and wrapped her wings around Violet, she could lay on her back with Violet on top of her.  Violet might be taller, but Lauren was certain she had more mass. She could feel where every feather tip touched Violet.

“I like this.” Violet said later, after a significant number of kisses and low whispers had been exchanged.

“I like it too,” Lauren admitted. Her fingers drew random patterns under Violet's shirt, along her back. “I don't want to stop, I don't want to let you go,” she said with the heartbreak of the young and in love. “I don't know when I can see you again.”

“It's almost time isn't it?” Violet whispered, raising her head. “Call me, when you can, when it's safe for you?”

Lauren nodded and then sat them up, her wings unfurling to help, and then slowly they retreated inside her body. She reached for her shirt to cover up.  “I don't know when that will be, but thank you for being brave and coming tonight. This was one of the best nights of my life.”

“Mine too.” Violet leaned in, hugging Lauren tightly before she could put on the shirt, afterwhich she stood up, just as they heard Freddy knock on the door. “I hope no one towed Dianna's car,” she grinned at Lauren.

Lauren winced. “Considering her last one got eaten by trolls I hope so too.” She quickly slipped on her shirt and escorted Violet to the door. She kissed her on the cheek.  “Thanks again for tonight.”

Lauren opened the door with sadness, giving Freddy a weak smile.

“Sorry Lauren, you know I'd give you two more time if I could.” He smiled back apologetically, holding the door open for Violet to sneak out past him.

“I know,” Lauren said watching head down the hallway.


Quinn ran into the bar where Bob sat on his bar stool, and where Dianna was sitting reading the paper and sipping coffee. “Violet's not in her room. Have you seen her?”

“What?” Dianna looked up, nearly spilling coffee as she jerked the cup away from her mouth. “No, I thought she was just sleeping late today after all the chaos of the last couple days. Is she in the office?”

“No. Her shoes and wallet are gone, plus her night clothes were folded up at the foot of the bed. She left, was there a note left anywhere?” Why would Violet just leave without saying anything?

Dianna's pale eyes narrowed. “She wouldn't be that stupid.” But Dianna was up and moving to check her coat. The scowl deepened. “My car keys are gone.”

“Of all the stupid…”  Quinn fumed. “Do you think she went back to her parents?” Quinn was personally going to put a bullet between that bastard's eyes if he hurt Violet.

Dianna thought about it for a second and then shook her head. “No, she's scared of them; she wouldn't just willingly go back. I don't know where else…” Dianna trailed off, meeting Quinn's eyes. “She's young, and in love, and can't just go out on a date with the person she loves. She probably went to try and see Lauren.”

Quinn made a face. “Of all the stupider things to do.”

Snorting, Dianna sat back down. “But it's probably what she did. She'll be back, you want to call over there and remind her what time it is?”

“Yeah.” Quinn said reaching over and snagging the phone. She knew the number by heart having had to call the local DA office plenty of times as an officer. “I want to speak to Lauren, now,” she demanded when her call was answered. “This is Maggie Quinn. Yes, I'll hold.”

“Have I mentioned that I get turned on when you pull the butch role out?” Dianna leaned her head against her fist, smiling at Quinn while she was on hold.

Quinn's thoughts paused and she looked at Dianna. “I'm not butch am I?”

“Not usually. But when you start barking out orders and knowing what needs to be done, well...” Dianna trailed off, with a wink.

Quinn thought about that. “Dianna, honey, I always know what needs to be done, and I always bark out orders. That's how I am.” So she'd basically been called a big old butch.

“No sometimes you're charmingly befuddled.” Dianna blinked at her innocently.

“Okay,” Quinn said, not sure how she felt about all of that but when she thought butch, she got an image in her mind she really didn't think she fit. As for befuddled, Dianna made her feel that a lot.

“Ms. Quinn?” Lauren's voice came over the phone, thankfully.

“Lauren, where the hell is Violet!” Quinn shouted.

“Butch,” Dianna whispered, leaning back in her chair.

“With you?” Lauren said, obviously confused.

“She's not here. Are you telling me she's not with you?”

Dianna sat upright, the chair legs thumping as they hit the ground and she stared at Quinn worriedly.

“She was last night but she left around one am. Is everything okay? I'm going to come over.”

“No,” Quinn barked. “I'll call you.” Her hand was tight on the phone receiver as her vision narrowed into a dark tunnel. Violet was missing. That dark anger bubbled up, that dark part of her personality that Alevra had tapped into and brought to the surface when her soul had been stripped away.

She let the phone drop and rested her head against the wall, breathing rapidly trying to get control, but she was scared and that was making everything worse.

Getting up, Dianna went closer, squeezing Quinn's shoulder. “We'll find her, Maggie. Was she there at all last night?”

“Yes... She left around one am.” Normally Quinn would have shrugged Dianna off but she turned into the embrace resting her head on Dianna's shoulder.

Tentatively, Dianna pulled Quinn closer, holding her. “She left at one am in my car. Can you call the cops, see if it turned up anywhere? I'll...” Dianna's voice caught for a second. “I'll call the hospitals, and try to get a note to Melva.”

“Those men who were here the other day to take her, we should find them maybe they saw her driving. You told them not to come back here, you didn't tell them to leave the city.”

Dianna swallowed. “We need to rule out some sort of accident too though. Then we go knock heads together.”

Quinn nodded. “You're right. Sorry. I'll call the police and I'll call Caine.” She was going to run out of favors with her brother and she'd end up owing thrasher.

“I'll see about getting us another car to use, and get the hospitals on the phone.” Dianna's fingers twitched. “You want the shotgun or the pistol if we go?”

“Yes,” Quinn said, pulling out the cell Dianna had given her.

“Both? Greedy aren't we.” Dianna grabbed the house phone and the phone book, flipping open to the first page of hospitals.

Almost an hour later she set down the phone, face tight as she looked over at Quinn. “No one matching her description was brought into any of the ERs last night.” She rubbed a hand through her hair.

“The police department said they'd look into it after 48 hours. The bitch who answered the phone wouldn't even tell me if any abandoned cars had been found with your license plate.”

Quinn grumbled. “Caine said he'd get people on it.”

Dianna stared at Quinn. “So we go knock heads in?”

“It would make me feel better,” Quinn admitted.

“Shotgun's yours then.” Dianna stood up.



Quinn stared out the window of the car really not sure how she felt about what Dianna had just told her. “So because you enthralled them, you have some connection to them.  You can find them in the city?” she said, the words slowly masking, what? Anger? No, after a little reflection it was probably jealousy. 

“How many other people are you connected to currently?” God, why'd she ask that, she didn't really want to know, but she did. She now felt like it wasn't just her and Dianna in the relationship, it felt like she was being crowded by tons of people she didn't even know.

“You,” Dianna said, quickly adding, “I mean, not because you're enthralled, but because of what we've shared.” She sighed. “It wears off after a while if you don't stay in contact. A couple of days, maybe a week or two, and I won't be able to find them anymore.” She glanced at Quinn in the passenger seat. Quinn was stiff. “There's a couple of others that I, umm, enthralled before, that I can still feel.”

Quinn was silent for a moment, digesting that. “So that means you've had a lot of contact with them over a long period of time or you've had contact recently.” And by contact, Quinn was pretty certain that meant sex. She'd known that though, seen Dianna with her hand up some woman's skirt that horrible day when her comfortable world had come to an end. By human standards it pissed her off, but Dianna wasn't human and they hadn't been together. “Not since we've been back together?” That was important.

“No, not since we've been back together.” Dianna said quickly.“But there's a couple that I saw a lot of,” she said, cautiously, as she kept driving away from the Gray. “They're ummm, going to be in my head for a long time.”

“Do you still want to see them?” Unconsciously Quinn hunched her shoulders to protect herself from the answer. “Do you need to see them? Am I not enough for... you?”

“What?” Dianna nearly steered them into a parked car. Swearing she corrected, earning honks from the people in the on-coming traffic. “No! You are plenty enough, haven't I shown you that? Didn't I tell you that?” Dianna was clearly panicked.

“Pull over!” Quinn shouted, apparently they had the worst timing for these things to pop up. 

She took a deep breath to calm herself. “No. You haven't told me anything. I know some thing because I was a police officer, and I have to know them about the people I work with. You have a file, as all half-demons do in the city. I know you're older than my grandparents, I know you had a sister who died, and who then as a ghost watched over you. I know you're a Succubus, a sex demon. I've learned you're from Greece, I know you're mother kicked you and your sister out. I would guess once her current husband started paying too much attention to you and your sister. My brother tells me I need to brush up on my care and feeding of Succubus, but as a human being, in a relationship with you, I don't know what that means! You leave me in the dark on how to take care of you, and it makes me feel like you want this to fail, you want me to get pissed off and leave. Everyone says I choose this, I choose you, and made this bond, but you have to have some say. So fucking act like you choose me too.”

Dianna stared at Quinn, wide-eyed with surprise. “I thought…” She trailed off, shaking her head. “I worry that if I tell you things you'll leave,” she said, hands tightening on the steering wheel even though they'd pulled off the road. “When you were gone, nothing was the same, everything was paler somehow, less enjoyable. I didn't even realize it until after your brother had rebuilt the bar, but nothing I did could bring back how I felt around you.” Dianna swallowed. “I don't want this to fail. I really don't want this to fail, but I'm afraid something in my past is going to drive you away.”

“We all have pasts, except high school sweethearts.” Quinn reached over and pressed her hand to Dianna's face, knowing she needed the contact and guessing Dianna did too.  “Mine involves a jealous husband, a demon and the death of my three year old son. My past involves the sins of the parents being pressed into the children. Yours is just fuller because you've lived longer. When you tell me things, I can't promise not to get mad or insecure, but I do promise to talk things out with you, and that I won't leave just because we're talking about the past.”

Some of the terrible panic in Dianna seemed to recede at Quinn's touch. Dianna nodded, taking a moment before she could spoke.

“The others, none of them touch me like you do, none of them get me to feel things like you. Why would I go back to them? Even if you never want to bond, I won't leave you.” Dianna whispered when she could talk again.

Emotions were running high right now, so Quinn didn't talk about the bonding, but she was beginning to suspect why Dianna wanted it so much, and probably why other half-demons did. They had no way of understanding the human emotion inside them, it was easier to embrace the demon, but the human was still there, rearing its head, confusing them with feelings they didn't understand. It made them feel out of control, and possibly weak. But with a human bond they could put everything into context. Their world probably opened up once it had happened. Even if they bonded with a demon then those emotions would wither and die, and no longer plague them.

Quinn pulled Dianna across the seat and kissed her. “Your life would have been simpler if you'd chosen a demon to bond with.”

“Good thing I didn't want simple.” Dianna managed a wry smile, kissing her back. “Are we okay?” she asked, cupping Quinn's cheek and watching her intently.

“Yes, we're okay,” Quinn answered. “You just picked a hell of a time to tell me about how you're still connected to some old friends.” She sighed. “I want a vacation, some place warm, some place where lots of your skin is exposed so I can drool over your flawless form, and we can spend some time together, alone, so I can understand this bonding thing.”

“I can do that. Although we won't be able to fly there,” she said with a slight grimace. “No half-demons on planes you know.” She took a breath and let it go, starting up the car again. This time, even as she drove, Dianna didn't let go of Quinn's hand.“You scared the shit out of me just now, I hope you know that.”

“It's you're own damn fault, the fact that you're connected to other people should have come up before now,” she replied. 

That connection was leading them towards the outskirts of the city, a suburban neighborhood Quinn hadn't visited before. Cookie cutter houses that all looked the same. She wondered how anyone could ever find their way in the maze of streets without getting lost.

Quinn watched the houses. “That one.” She pointed to the one at the end of the street. It had multiple escape routes away from the house and they really should have spent the extra money so the satellite dish matched everyone else's on the block. “Keep driving, take a right at the street, we're going to park one street over and go through the back yard.”

“Amazing.” Dianna blinked, turning like Quinn told her to. “You were a great Detective, don't let anyone ever tell you anything else.”

Quinn laughed. “I wish that had been more important than my time spent with Alevra.”

“It is to me.” Dianna pulled around the block. “And it is to other people, not everyone has just written you off you know.” She pulled to a stop a street away from the house. Shutting off the car she raised an eyebrow at Quinn. “How do you want to do this?”

“I'm learning that.” Quinn's mind raced with what they knew and what they had. “How much control do you still have over those three?”

“A lot, why?”

Quinn blinked as something occurred to her. “Is it a two way street? Do you know if they have her?” They might have just wasted a bunch of time when Dianna could have just hopped inside there brain and looked.

“Eww, you want me to try and root around in their brains?” Dianna looked disgusted by the thought of it.

Quinn smiled and held back a laugh, but the expression on Dianna's face was too funny.  “Okay then. I want you to have them hear something at the front of the house while we sneak in the back. Then maybe point their weapons at their friends.” Quinn got out of the car, careful to keep the shotgun under her coat.

Dianna nodded, stepping out of the car and checking the old fashioned pistol she was carrying. “Remind me to find some better weapons for the bar. Also, when this is over, we have to talk about your future.”

“My future? What?” Quinn really wasn't certain how to take that. “Okay, that just made me feel really insecure,” she said as they made their way to the gate that would let them into the backyard. She checked for a dog and didn't see anything.

Dianna's voice was low as they reached the backyard gate. “I mean you're wasted doing just computer stuff for me. I know that. I think there's other options that would make you happier.”

“Honey I hate to break it to you, but I really haven't had any time to do any computer stuff for you, other than set it up.” Quinn felt sheepish. “All that time I've been on the computer I've been emailing Caine crimes scene details from the cell phone you gave me.”

“Oh.” Dianna rolled her eyes. “Can I fire you and get you a better job then?” Dianna paused, holding up a hand as she closed her eyes.

Yelling came from inside the house, followed shortly afterwards by a banging as the door in the front of the house was thrown open violently. “Now,” Dianna said, eyes still closed, presumably as she focused on the men she'd charmed in the bar.

Quinn was in better shape than she thought, she easily hefted herself over the wooden fence and into the backyard of their possible kidnappers. She headed to the backdoor, did a quick inspection for a trap, and then kicked the locked door in. Thankfully it was one of the cheapest locks out there and easily popped open, she really had to wonder about people.  

“No, you can't fire me.  I like sleeping with the boss,” Quinn said. With the shotgun raised she visual inspected the room. “Clear.”

“Clear?” Dianna's voice was throaty and amused as she came up behind Quinn. “Is that some sort of cop speak?” she whispered.

Quinn made a face. “It means the room is clear.” She left butthead unsaid. She briefly looked at the table and saw blueprints of the bar spread out on them. She was going to have to talk with Caine about that.

Quinn started to move to the open doorway, looking through it. “Have your new friends turned on their old ones?” she asked in a whisper.

Shouting started up from the front of the house, enraged yelling. “Just did.” Dianna smiled, evidently happy with herself. “Anything else?”

“Just don't let me get shot,” Quinn said, entering the room. Because of the confusion it was very easy to enter the room, and, after slamming the rifle into one guys head knocking him unconscious, disarm the others.

“Where the hell is she?” Quinn yelled at the unfortunate young man she had picked for questioning.

Dianna stood near her currently charmed pets, who were oh so eager to do whatever she wanted.

“What? Who? Who the fuck are you?” he stammered, completely confused at what was going on. The bandage around his knee had a red stain seeping through it, showing where Quinn had shot him at the bar.

“The girl that dickhead senator hired you to kidnap. Where is she?” Quinn was trying to calm down, but she'd already crossed that line you don't when you're a cop. Maybe this was why she couldn't, shouldn't go back to the police force. She was too used to falling back onto violence to get the answers she wanted. Alvera had woken that up in her, and let it loose. In human law and courts every conviction would be tossed out as being coerced.

Still she pressed the barrel of the shotgun into his wound. “Where's Violet?”

He gritted his teeth in pain, but glared at her, furiously. “You're that dumb bitch of a cop that got her soul sold off. I know you now. You shot me in my knee you cunt!”

From across the room, Dianna tensed, eyes darkening at the hateful words.

Quinn just kept the barrel pressed there and then pressed her finger to the trigger. “You keep refusing to answer my questions and you're going to loose your whole leg. And then you'll probably die from blood loss, and I'll just move on to another one of your friends.”

“Listen you crazy bitch we didn't get the girl, you were there remember? You shot me in my goddamn knee!” He glared up at her, fear and anger warring. “Sure, Bobby tased her, but we never got to her.” He glanced over at Dianna and then quickly away, scared of the vacant looks in his fellow's eyes.

“I'm getting tired of your mouth.” Quinn pulled the trigger.

He wet himself, other than that nothing happened. Quinn had to work really hard not to glare at Dianna. She needed to take better care of her weapons.

“What about this morning?  Did you grab her off the street this morning?”

“No! We were waiting for the boss to get back and tell us what to do. He flew out to New York last night to meet with her father, you know, the guy who was going to pay us. Said he was going to get more money from the Senator to do the job. Needed more men.” The man trembled, the anger washed away by terror.

Quinn hit him in the head and his eyes fluttered closed as he slumped in the chair.  She rubbed her face and looked at Dianna. Violet wasn't here.

“Now what?” Dianna said, only when they were safely back in the car and driving away.

Quinn fumbled around for the cell phone. “Is this the prepaid one?” She got confused sometimes.

After getting a nod and a questioning look Quinn dialed a number, and tried to sound helpless and female.

“Yes, I'd like to report some suspicious activity. Yes. The house across from mine was taken off the market a couple of days ago and all I see is a bunch of men going in and out of it. I think it might be a gang or drugs. A couple of guys had guns under their jackets.  Oh, I'm sure I watch all those cop shows. Uh huh... uh huh... thanks I'd feel better if you checked it. My friend lives over on Harrison and they had a Meth Lab but no one knew until it blew up. Think of the children.”  Quinn gave the address and hung up.

“Those guys are going to turn on the Senator in a heartbeat for immunity.” Quinn closed her eyes trying to think.

“I really do love that devious streak of yours.” Dianna smiled, pulling out into the main street and, for lack of a better options, heading back towards the bar and the Gray Zone. “Where else could she be?”

“The only other lead I have is the amulet and your father.” Quinn hesitated, but didn't say anything else. They had the dead wedding party and a missing little girl.

Dianna grimaced. “He keeps coming up in this doesn't he?”

Quinn nodded. “That he does.”  She was silent for a little bit longer, then asked, “Do we need to... um.. recharge your batteries?” She really wasn't certain how to put it.

It earned her a slow smile. “Later, yes. But I didn't have to enthrall them from scratch so there was a lot less energy used there.”

“Okay.” Quinn was hungry, an odd thought to have trickle into her head. “We have a murder of a whole wedding reception, a missing ten year old girl who has the sight, and Violet who has more power than sense. I don't see anything that links them, yet my gut tells me their lin...”  She trailed off and realized there was a link.  “Alvera is linked to the murders and the kidnapping, Violet I'm not sure of but both she and the ten year old have powers.”

Dianna shook her head, long dark hair flying. “There are rituals that can be used with the blood of people of power.” Dianna swallowed. “The blood of virgins.”

“The ten year old is probably still a virgin, but I caught Violet and Lauren sans clothes in the storage closet.” 

“I know, I felt all that remember?” Dianna said dryly. “But it technically depends on your definition of virgin. I don't think Violet's ever slept with a man.” She glanced sideways at Quinn. “We going to let Lauren know?”

That Quinn didn't know. “She's not human anymore and I'm not certain what will happen if she snaps. She's got wings Dianna, like a goddamn angel. I saw them.” Quinn frowned. “It's just I don't really know her anymore, not that I ever did I guess, but most of the time I can judge how a demon is going to react to news, because I know what they're capable of, with her I have no idea.”

“It's her girlfriend, Maggie,” Dianna said softly. “She deserves to know.”

“But it's her damn fault this happened, that I've lost her.” She closed her eyes holding back tears. “She just, both of them...” She sputtered trying to find words.

“Shhh…” Dianna pulled over in the first spot she could find, leaving the car running as she reached over and pulled Quinn into a hug, holding on even when the struggled against. “We'll get her back.” And then they'd make whoever touched her pay.

Quinn sobbed. “It feels like when I lost Conner, I didn't mean to make her a substitute for him, really I didn't, but she's so damn lost in the world. Her parents never took the time to be parents and I've fucking adopted her into my heart, her and you, and now it hurts.”

Dianna held Quinn and let her cry tears for hurts both old and new. “I'm sorry,” she kept whispering over and over.

“We will get her back. We'll get her back safe and sound,” she promised.“We'll make them pay.”

Quinn sniffled and nodded. It was nice to hear, even if they both didn't know if it would be true. “Let's go back to the bar and regroup. We need weapons and information.  Which means we need to go see your dad.”


Blue opened her eyes to almost total darkness. For a long time the young woman held herself still, listening to the sound of her own breathing and of water dripping nearby. Farther off came other sounds, dimly heard screams and whispers of things that she didn't want to see.

She knew this place, had been here before and knew she had never wanted to come back.

Slowly Blue uncurled from where she was lying on the rough stone floor, fingers mapping out the space that she was being held in.

It wasn't large, just a little longer than she was tall, so maybe six feet square or so. Dirty iron bars surrounded her, their pitted decaying surface still strong enough that she couldn't even get them to budge when she shook at them.

“They're locked,” a soft voice from nearby whispered.

Blue whirled, eyes wide in the darkness, trying to see who had spoken.

“They locked all of them when they put us in the cages.”

It was a young girl's voice, hoarse, probably from crying and screaming. Blue nodded in the darkness, and moved towards her voice. Pressing against the bars on one side of the cage, Blue reached through them, hands touching soft hair, and a face wet with tears.

“Hush little baby, don't you cry,” Blue sang softly.

The girl sniffled, but the tears eased. “Ma name's Caitlin,” she said.

Blue squeezed Caitlin's shoulder.

“Blue,” she responded.

“Blue, that's a funny name,” Caitlin whispered back.

Blue smiled.

“Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep, And can't tell where to find them. Leave them alone, And they'll come home, Wagging their tails behind them,” Blue whispered back, earning a little giggle from the girl.

“I know that one.” Caitlin giggled again, and Blue smiled, happy she'd eased a little of Caitlin's terror.

Now they just had to wait and see why they were here, and how they could escape.


Quinn left the kitchen, sandwich in hand. “Caine's on his way over with weapons, and they have a make from those tire treads I took pictures of. Those are factory tires for Fords, really doesn't help a lot. How'd Lauren take the news?” She sat down putting a plate in front of Dianna. She didn't know if Dianna was hungry but she'd made her a plate anyway.

“There was some yelling.” Dianna was still eyeing the phone as if it might come to life and attack her. “I don't think she's dealing with it very well. The call got cut off halfway through so I'm not sure what she's doing, but people were yelling in the background.”

Quinn nodded. “It was milder than I expected. I can't keep calling in a favor from Caine, sooner or later Thrashers going to ask for one back.” She shivered. The last thing she wanted was to be beholden to another demon. “Do you know anything about Thrasher?”

“Actually.” Dianna picked up the sandwich. “I'm the one who'll end up owing him a favor.”

Quinn frowned. “Actually we'd owe Thrasher a favor, because we're a couple and we're in this together up to our eyeballs.” Quinn took another bite of her sandwich, chewing it thoughtfully. “So you've met Thrasher.”

“Nope.” Dianna grinned. “And you're right, we'd owe Thrasher. Never met him, or her, or it. Rumor is he only deals directly with Riven, like your brother, so that no one can ever tell anyone who or what Thrasher is.”

“That's very smart, he, she, it is also low key for a demon. Caine told me Thrasher provides goods and services to humans, demons, and half-demons that live in the Gray and near the Grayline. That's also smart.” Smart and low key. Thrasher was probably ten times more dangerous than Alevra, especially if he'd stolen a soul meant for her.

They had an hour maybe two before Caine arrived with the things she had requested. All Quinn could picture was Violet's dead body, because she'd failed to keep her safe. She was restless, energy buzzing through her. She pushed the remnants of her sandwich away and stood up walking around the inside of the bar. She should be out there looking not in here waiting.

“You're making my head hurt.” Dianna said, eating the last of her sandwich without looking up to watch Quinn. “Is there something we can do while we wait for Caine? You know where we're going to have to go.”

Everything, sooner or later, always seemed to come back to the Asylum. They'd visit her father, because Malek could tell them what was going on, but there was a grim certainty in Dianna's mind that they would be returning to the Asylum.

Everything started and ended there.

Quinn nodded, she knew that. And if she really wanted to feel the weight of fate, she'd admit it would be important that Lauren be with them, the three of them to finish something they should have a long time ago.

“I can't think of anything. Is there anything you need to be ready to see your father?” Quinn said to distract her mind from the flash of Dianna lying in that tub while Alevra's shot electricity through her body.

Dianna stared at her sandwich, thinking. Planning wasn't her strength, she rather preferred to live in the moment. But there was no choice now, and ever since they'd gotten to the bar she'd been thinking.

“You should let me talk to my father alone,” Dianna said finally, not looking up at Quinn and taking another bite of sandwich.

“Why? Last time you wanted me with you.” Despite the fact she wasn't sure she had made things better the first time , Quinn didn't like the idea of Dianna going without her. 

“He'll try to use you against me again.” Dianna's voice was quiet.

“I could die if I don't go. I could get hit by a car crossing the street. There are a lot of ifs, but I'll be insane with worry if you leave me behind.” Quinn didn't touch Dianna, but she stood behind her. “What if you need me, like last time?”

Dianna shivered a little. “I think I'd go insane if he took you away from me. We got lucky last time.”

“No demon seems to be able to hold me enthralled. Maybe it's because we're bonding.  Maybe it's because Alevra had my soul and then returned it. I don't know. But I think I'm the perfect person to have your back in that pit of lust your father lords over.” Quinn could lean forward and brush the hair off of Dianna's neck and kiss the skin there. She could make Dianna forget and then agree to her way of doing things. But she held back.  “Give me a reason that isn't your irrational fear of losing me.”

“It's not irrational!” Dianna whirled round, eyes stormy. “You haven't felt the full strength of his power, he could rip you away from me.”

“My soul resided for a short time in Alevra, I'm intimately familiar with a demons full power. I'm really not afraid of Malek, because... because I've stood in the eye of that storm and survived. And when he was here, before, to charm you, his power slid right off me. So tell me what you're really afraid of.” Quinn did now reach out and touch Dianna, touched her back and shoulders trying to sooth the tension there.

The muscles in Dianna's back tensed even further and she looked away. “I can't lose you again.”

Quinn's hands stopped moving and she bristled. In human terms Dianna was being insulting. Then she sighed, Dianna wasn't human. “What about me?” Quinn said, poking Dianna's shoulder, hard. “What about me losing you? What if he manages to seduce you to him? I'm lost anyways because of our bond, and because I'll have lost you.” Quinn could hear her voice was rising in frustration. 

She went on, “The first time was my fault, you were dying in that tub, she kept shooting electricity into it. I had to pay the price with my son, for the debt my family had incurred. Don't let there be a second time.” Demons sometimes reminded her of dragons from stories. Humans, and their souls and vices, were like a dragons hoard. They tried to collect as many souls, or in Malek's case sexual pleasures and toys, as they could. Quinn was Dianna's, but she wasn't part of any hoard for Dianna, and she'd have to learn to deal with it.

Some of the tension leached out of Dianna's shoulders. She turned to look Quinn with a small smile. “So basically you're telling me to buck up and deal with it?”

“Kind of. It's hard to let the people you care about going into danger. It ruins relationships, trust me I'm a cop I've seen it happen over and over. This isn't a job, this is our life. I'm not doing it because I'm a thrill junkie, I'm doing it because someone in our family has gone missing and she needs us. I'm not doing this to scare you.” Quinn looked into Dianna's eyes, hoping she understood.

Dianna stared back at her for a long time, until she nodded, just barely. “Okay. I know you're not doing it just because it sounds fun, but I know my father, he's going to try to use us against one another.”

Dianna's voice hid very little.

Perhaps Quinn was ruining this relationship just like her last one, maybe she was being too pushy and assertive? “You're still upset. Is there anyway to lessen your father's power?”

“Yes. But you won't like it.” Dianna pushed away from the table, taking the empty plate to the sink.

Quinn crossed her arms, trying really hard not to get pissed off. She was almost at the end of her ability to deal with this emotional pingpong. “Tell me and let me decide.”

“Fine.” Dianna turned towards her again, leaning back against the sink, expression guarded. “You could bond with me, fully. It'll give you more protection.” Dianna hesitated. “And it'll give me some too,” she added reluctantly.

Quinn suddenly felt like she'd been kicked in the gut, and she sat down fighting off a panic attack. Her brain felt like it was working overtime as thoughts popped in and out of her head. 

After several long minutes sitting in silence, Quinn realized how unfair she was being. She talked about them being in a relationship, but when it came time to put her money where her mouth was she panicked and ran. She licked dry lips.

“You say you want this bond, but then you tell me I chose this, I did this. Even in our earlier explosion in the car, you never told me if this was what you wanted, or if you chose me as well. I can't do this to you if its all me.”

“How many different ways do I have to tell you that I want this?!” Dianna asked. She moved over to where Quinn was sitting. She got down on one knee in front of Quinn. “Maggie, I want you. I want you to be with me. I don't know how to be clearer than that.”

“You didn't always want this.” Quinn remembered, before she'd lost her soul, all Dianna wanted was to go back to her bar. Quinn hadn't always wanted it either. In fact she'd been angry at Dianna for a long time after getting her soul back. “I just... before... I'm very careful about matters of the heart.”

Dianna smiled. She looked up Quinn, probably seeing the worry Quinn felt. “I know,” she said simply, reaching out and taking Quinn's hand in hers. “I thought I knew what I wanted, but I didn't. The bar wasn't enough, not without you here in it,” she said, plainly. “I'm trying here.”

Quinn nodded. She clutched Dianna's hand like a lifeline. “How do we...” She swallowed nervously. “Finish bonding?”

“You have to give a piece of yourself to me,” Dianna whispered, eyes fixed on Quinn as she raised up a little, sliding closer to Quinn's lips.

Quinn watched Dianna. “And how do I do that? I thought there was ceremony and pomp and circumstance involved with all this?” But Quinn smiled and reached out, running fingers through Dianna's hair.

“It's all for show,” Dianna said. Pausing, her eyes widened suddenly. “Do you want that? A show and pomp and stuff?”

“No. I just want you. I want you to be with me, and to be free from the power of your father. I don't want him to take you from me,” Quinn said, leaning forward across the space that separated them and kissing Dianna.

Dianna moved forward and then stopped. “If I kiss you now, I'm going to take a piece of your soul. I want that to be understood.”

“Dianna shut-up, I already said yes.”

Dianna trembled, shifting closer, almost climbing up onto Maggie's lap in an attempt to deepen it. With a low whimper she pressed her hands against Quinn's temples, trembling more as she pulled a piece of Quinn's soul into herself.

Quinn held Dianna to her and nearly panicked at the familiar feeling of her soul slipping away. Memories of Alvera threatened to overwhelm her. She stilled and let out a breath.  “Is that it?”

“Yes,” Dianna whispered, eyes still closed as she leaned against Quinn.


The hole in Dianna's chest, the missing part she'd almost forgotten about, felt full for the first time since Boston. “Yes.” Dianna cleared her throat. “Yes, that's it.” The world felt strange around her, had she taken too much of Quinn's soul? “Are you all right?”

Quinn nodded but frowned. “You take a bit of my soul, but don't I get something?” 

Quinn had her there, and Dianna nodded. “Don't freak out,” she whispered, as she reached over and grabbed a knife off the table. It was the work of a moment to slice open the tip of her finger, red beads of blood welling there. “You have to suck on it, just a little.”

It was utterly demonic, Dianna knew, but Quinn did it. She slowly took Dianna's finger into her mouth and sucked the tip just a bit.

When she'd finished, Dianna kissed her again, slow and thoroughly, sharing the taste of her blood in Quinn's mouth until the world around them spun.

“There,” Dianna swallowed, still leaning against Quinn. Feeling like the world had changed around them, but it hadn't of course, they were the one's who had changed. “I'm yours and you are mine.” The words were ancient, used in countless ceremonies through the ages, but it was the first time she had ever uttered them, and Dianna could feel herself bound to Quinn.

Quinn's emotions were bright and shiny against the inside of her mind, and she shivered at the intensity of them. This made their previous accidental bonding seem a weak and pallid thing by comparison.

Quinn shivered, her hands clutched at Dianna. “You're mine and I'm yours,” she said, opening her eyes and looking at Dianna. “I feel the same, yet different.”

“You might feel things differently, the way I feel them.” Dianna shivered one last time and pulled back, still keeping her hand wrapped around Quinn's.

“Like this urge to throw you down and fuck you. Is this how you always feel?” Quinn asked.

Dianna grinned. She stood up and pulled Quinn to her feet. “Yes. Always.” She'd just have to deal with it, like Dianna was going to have deal with feeling regret, and other human emotions again.

Quinn moved quickly forward, taking a kiss. “I want you.” 

“Your brother's going to be here soon.” Dianna grunted as Quinn pushed her backwards against the kitchen counter. “We shouldn't.” Dianna didn't fight hard though as Quinn kissed her again, hard.

How could she when she could feel the arousal growing in both of them?

“Uh huh.” Quinn said, clearly not caring. Her hands were rough and urgent and the buttons of Dianna's shirt either came undone or popped off. Seeming not to have the patience for Dianna's stubborn bra, Quinn grabbed the same knife Dianna had used on her finger and slid the cool metal between Dianna's skin and the fabric, cutting it away.

Rough hands urgently teased breasts and nipples. “Fuck!” Quinn muttered. She kissed and nipped the flesh of Dianna's neck.

Dianna grunted, arching her back as Quinn pulled and sucked on her breasts. She had to brace herself against the counter, holding on as she realized that Quinn was about to have her way. “Pants,” she pleaded, the rush of Quinn's desire making it harder to stand upright.

Quinn solved that by half-pushing, half-lifting Dianna up onto the counter top, fingers prying apart the snaps to the tight fitting pants she was wearing. Those same fingers pulled, yanking Dianna's pants down off her hips and then tossing them aside.

Quinn took advantage of the position and kissed Dianna's thighs before picking up one leg and putting it over a shoulder.  So incredibly close to the source of Dianna's wetness. “I want you terribly Ms. Theron,” she said softly, before nuzzling the heat between Dianna's legs. Quinn spread those legs gently open so she could take the source of Dianna's desire into her mouth.

The half demon bucked, hands grabbing Quinn's hair and tensing as she felt Quinn's lips and tongue move against her. “Oh… Please, Yes!” It wasn't going to take much, not much at all, Dianna thought fuzzily, head thrown back, and eyes squeezed shut as Quinn's mouth drove her towards an orgasm.

“More….” Dianna pleaded, moaning, begging unashamedly.

Quinn responded by pressing one finger slowly inside her, and then another. “Do you have... where...” Quinn sputtered, seeming self-conscious. “I want to be inside you, I want to touch you, I want to be everywhere.”  She growled in apparent frustration.

Dianna understood. She leaned forward, kissing Quinn before easing her fingers out. Naked, she hoped down off the counter, taking Quinn's hand and pulling her from the kitchen and towards the smallest of the supply rooms on main floor. It was barely more than a closet and she licked her lips, knowing she was about to share something with the human that she wasn't sure she would have otherwise.

The back wall hinged open, cleverly hiding the room beyond. It wasn't often that Dianna had the urge to use the toys there, or the whips, or the paddles.

But sometimes, when her soul was very dark, it was the only way to appease the hunger. Silently she pulled Quinn inside, licking her lips again as she felt the spike of eagerness in Quinn.

“Pick anything,” Dianna purred, feeling her own wetness coating her thighs. “Anything,” she repeated. It was her gift to Quinn.

Quinn‘s passion seemed to die a little bit, possible feeling intimidated Dianna reckoned.  “This... is... wow... quite the collection,” Quinn said.

Dianna stalked towards her, pressing the entire length of her body against Quinn's, making certain she had her attention. “I want you to fuck me, hard. However you want to do it doesn't matter.”

Quinn's eyes closed, she turned in the embrace and kissed Dianna hard, the desire starting to come back. “Sorry,” Quinn said sheepishly. “For a moment I felt inadequate.” Quinn gave Dianna a little push. “Go lie down, I'll pick something out. I'll get to be a little wild, and you'll get fucked. Win-win for everybody.”

Dianna licked her lips, giving Quinn a slow smoldering look. “Don't make me wait too long, I might start without you.”

“I'm not certain that's a threat,” Quinn said with a chuckle.

Quinn made her choice, she went for something blue. She tried to put it on and nearly fell over. She laughed at herself. She landed on the bed almost on Dianna. “Did I just ruin the mood?” Quinn asked, with a giggle.

“No.” Dianna was smiling widely as she shifted over, helping Quinn with the straps. “The anticipation is still there. I just really hope we're not going to be interrupted.” She slid her fingers between Quinn's legs, just to help her settle the harness of course. Not because she really liked touching Quinn.

“I looked and didn't find this room; Caine's not going to find it.” Quinn's breath caught. “I need you. I'm going to be the one that needs lessons on control; you've had a long time to learn to live with this... sexual buzz...” She moaned her eyes closing.

“I'm going to enjoy teaching you control,” Dianna said huskily, giving one last tug on a strap, her stray fingers coming away wet. “But for now, we need each other before we go anywhere. So, you going to use that thing or just lay there?” Dianna challenged.

Quinn's eyes snapped open. “What if I'm just going to lay here?” she said with a smirk.

“Then I'll just take matters into my own hands.” Dianna lay herself back on the bed.

Quinn's jaw dropped and she let out a ragged breath. After a moment she moved crawling between Dianna's legs and put a hand on either side of her head. She kissed her neck and shoulders, moving up to her chin and finally to her lips.

Dianna's hands skinned down Quinn's back, cupping her ass and urging her closer.

“More,” Dianna whispered into the smaller woman's ear, urging her on.

Quinn reached one hand between them teasing Dianna's wet flesh before guiding the dildo to where it was needed.

Dianna writhed, body undulating up against Quinn, trying to urge her to move, and making angry sounds when she refused to. “Damn you,” she grunted as Quinn set the pace, refusing to give in. “Please.” She tried a different way, locking her legs around Quinn's ass.

Quinn moved slowly, tortuously. Her stomach muscles were tight and sweat broke out over her skin. Finally she asked, “Please what?”

If Quinn hadn't been in such good shape from the police force Dianna probably would have had her way a while ago, Diana thought wryly.

“Please faster,” Dianna whimpered. “Never had anyone do this to me,” she admitted, eyes rolling, trying to get the other woman to move faster. “Killing me,” she groaned.

Quinn rolled them over, groaning as she did. “How's that? You can be in charge?” Quinn let out a few quick breaths.

That shifted things and Dianna experimentally moved her hips, rolling them as the phallus moved inside her. “Good.” Dianna moaned, rising up so she was riding Quinn. “Maggie, I can't stop, not going to stop.” She knew she was babbling, she just didn't care.

“No stopping.” Quinn agreed, her hands everywhere touching, stroking hot flesh. Quinn cried out suddenly.

Two more strokes and Dianna was there with her, not caring or even trying to quiet the scream as the world went white around her. “Magggie!” Shuddering, Dianna collapsed on top of Quinn, limbs useless and her breathing hard and fast.

Dianna could hear Quinn's heart hammering Quinn gently wrapped her arms around her.

“Thank you,” Quinn said softly.

Dianna knew they had needed the closeness and Quinn had needed to experience Dianna's side of the bond.

Dianna wasn't sure she could speak. “That was...” she whispered huskily, trailing off as she couldn't find the words.

They should move but she didn't want to, not yet.

“Yes, it was,” Quinn agreed. “I could pat myself on the back if you want,” she said with a grin.

“I can pat your back later,” Dianna promised, rising up on an elbow to look at Quinn. “Are you okay?” she asked seriously.

“It was... different... I didn't know I'd feel... is that what you feel when you have sex?”

“The rush of energy?” Dianna smile was slow and sexy. “Always. I feel so much more awake now.”

Quinn nodded, she rolled them over looking down at Dianna. “I'm okay. I feel energized and alive.” Quinn went very tense for a second and then pulled out. “I want you again,” she mumbled, as her fingers worked on undoing the straps.

“Thanks.” Dianna took it as a compliment as she pressed a kiss to damp skin. “But your brother's outside, I think I heard something move in the kitchen. I'll distract him if you get a shower, and then we can go get our girl back.”

Quinn smiled and returned the kiss. “I love you. Don't let Caine be an ass.” She got up, searching for her clothes and started getting dressed. “So what is that for?” Quinn asked.

“Umm.” Dianna flushed a little when she saw what Quinn was pointing to. “We'll play with that later.” She was certain of it. Her clothes were out in the kitchen. So she settled for wrapping a silk sheet around herself.

Quinn looked at it suspiciously. “Uh huh.” She opened the hidden door and looked back at Dianna. “Are you sure? I could go talk to him and you could shower and put on clean clothes.”

“No, your brother and I need to talk.” He needed to understand a few things, and so did Thrasher. “Just don't leave me too long.”

“Okay. I'll be down in a flash.” Quinn said, exiting through the door.


Lauren was frantic. Violet was missing. She should have... should have made her call so she knew the woman had gotten home safe. 

“If you don't calm down we're going to have to sedate you.”

Lauren blinked at the soldier who would threaten her, and anger began to pulse behind her eyes. “I have given up more for your cause than you can ever imagine. I have given up my freedom, my privacy, my love, and for what?  So you can threaten me?”

Freddy and Margo shifted uncomfortably.

Lauren's legs felt heavy; whatever decision she made now would affect her for the rest of her life.

“Lauren who was that phone call from?” Margo asked, trying to put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Lauren shrugged it off. “Violet's gone missing.”

“The senator's daughter?”

Freddy stirred uneasily. “Lauren, don't do anything stupid, think about your future.”

“I need to go find her.”

“Yes, later, after these murders have been solved,” Margo said.

“No, now.” Lauren reached up and tore the collar from her neck. “I've given you everything, and you give nothing back!” 

The guards raised their guns. Lauren shouted and the window shattered, glass falling down onto the street three stories down. She ran for the window and jumped. 

“Shit!”  Freddy said.

The guards fired after her. People inside the building rushed to the windows.


Lauren ripped the back door of the bar off its hinges, and subsequently trailed small pools of blood across floor. Lauren came to a standstill in the center of the kitchen, her wings furling and unfurling to give voice to her agitated state. 

They were here somewhere, she could feel the wave of sexual energy roll through. It just made her angrier, and she barely was keeping her anger in check as it was. She wanted to mindlessly vent it, smash the cabinets and the countertops, but it would only hurt Helga not Dianna.

“Lauren.” Dianna slid to a stop as she noticed her. She had a silk sheet wrapped around her.

Lauren whirled, her wings knocking stuff off the counters. She knew her eyes were black and angry. “She's out there, God knows what happening to her and you two are having sex!  I thought you cared about her, I thought you were...” Lauren choked on her own anger, giving a wordless scream of rage.

“You thought I was what? That I cared?” Dianna purred, swaying as she walked towards the wine rack.

“Damnit yes!” Lauren snarled. “You cared about me. You took me in. You saved me.  Why couldn't you do the same for Violet?” Lauren slammed her hand down on a counter top cracking the tile.

Picking a wine bottle with a screw top, Dianna undid it and poured herself a glass. She turned to regard Lauren over the top of her glass as she sipped. “Really, I cared for you?” She raised an eyebrow.

Lauren felt like she'd been slapped. “You... you...” The hurt tone left her voice and it became angry once again. “You bitch!” Lauren snarled, lunging across the kitchen to snap Dianna's neck.

Even though she'd been expecting it, Dianna barely made it out of the kitchen, sprinting, into the main bar room. She didn't want to have this fight in the kitchen, where Quinn couldn't fail to hear it upstairs. She hit the swinging door to the bar, just a split second before Lauren tackled her from behind.

They both went tumbling into the bar and Dianna kicked Lauren in the chest, springing away from her with a snarl of her own.

“Bitch? Is that the best you can do little girl?” She taunted, silk sheet coming undone.

For a moment Lauren was caught by the sexual beauty of Dianna, but she managed to look away. “No I can do one better. I can make you a dead bitch.” Her wings surged forward and six feathers flew out, they changed mid flight glinting like steel as they hardened and became razor sharp.

Dianna let out a startled yelp, diving for the dubious cover of one of the bar tables. Five of the feathers sliced harmlessly through the wooden top, the remaining one caught her in the arm though, drawing blood. Snarling, she came back up. “What? You afraid of facing me head on? Need to keep your distance? Stop acting like a scared little girl and face me.”

Lauren snarled and charged Dianna. Her fist landed on the table, cracking it in two. Then she moved forward to tackle Dianna. “I'm not scared of some whore, spreading her legs whenever the mood strikes. Some unfeeling bitch who has the compassion of a brick. I trusted you, I loved you, and you forgot me. Was it because I wasn't humping your leg like the cop? Huh. What was it?!”

“And now it comes out! It all has to be about you, doesn't it Lauren?” Dianna grunted as the Lauren tackled her to the ground. “All about poor little forgotten Lauren. Did your parents forget you existed a lot too?”

Lauren slammed a fist into Dianna's face at the dig, feeling satisfaction as her blood sprayed on to her fist and already bloodied shirt. “You know they did, I wasn't special like my sister. But you made me feel special, at least you listened when I talked. It was all a lie, you don't care about anyone but yourself.” Lauren's hand started to glow with the same cold fire she had used to kill the shadow beasts. She raised her fist and hesitated.

Blood leaking from her nose, Dianna stared up at her, mouth bearing a bloody smile. “If you think that, if you think I just abandoned you, like you were someone who didn't deserve to be alive, then you should do it. Kill me, because going into the Gray with you like this would be a death sentence for all of us. And I don't want to be around when you get torn to shreds.”

“I don't know what to believe. I might have been angry with you, but I didn't believe you actually cared nothing for me. If that was the case, I wouldn't have let Violet stay with you. But now you say this, and I don't know what to believe.”  The fire around Lauren's hand went out and she started crying.

Dianna pulled Lauren down, hushing her in a manner that was disturbingly close to maternal. “I never forgot about you,” she whispered “And we never, ever, would have forgotten about Violet. But we can't just rush in there, or we'll all get killed.” Dianna brushed loose bangs out of Lauren's face, peering at her intently. “But together, we're going to get her back. The three of us.”


Quinn paused in the shower and sent whatever love and strength she could through the bond. She had felt Dianna's pain, confusion and hurt. She had been frozen wanting to rush downstairs but Dianna had somehow conveyed through the bond that she should stay away. 

Limbs unfrozen she returned to washing.


Lauren sobbed; dark eyes were now brown and full of tears. “They locked me in a cage and did things. They took my blood they injected me with the DNA of different demons to see what I would do. It hurt, and I did things, and every night I cried for you or someone to save me. I was so alone.” She cried even harder.

“I'm sorry, so sorry little one.” Dianna wiped her fingers along Lauren's cheeks, brushing away tears and cupping her face.

“You're not alone, ever. I'd never have left you there, but I needed Quinn to find you, I didn't even know where to start,” she explained, thumbs still brushing away tears as they fell. Dianna smiled sadly. “We're a family right? I'd never abandon my sister.”

Lauren nodded, hesitantly. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was just so angry. Why did you say those things? I thought...” Lauren shrugged and tried to wipe her tears away.

Dianna batted her hands away, using the silk sheet to dry her face instead. “Because you needed to let it out or it would consume you.” She gave Lauren a dry look. “I know a thing or two about anger.”

Lauren nodded. She realized suddenly that she was on top of a very naked Dianna. She felt her face flush, and hurriedly got up. “Could you please put clothes on.” She was acutely embarrassed by the sexual attraction she sometimes felt for Dianna's body. This was one of those times.

“Why?” Dianna's grin turned into laughter. “All right, all right.” Dianna gathered up the blanket, wrapping it around herself. “Better?”

Lauren nodded. “Sorry but your body is part of your demon's magic, it's...” Lauren shrugged, embarrassed. “And sorry about... all that... I'm scared for Violet. Her father wants her taken care of, the DA want her for study. She needs to go somewhere safe, but I don't know where that is.” Now that Lauren had broken away from the DA she had probably brought an extermination team down on their heads. She slowly made her wings retract back into her body, and sat down. As her rage diminished she started to feel the sting of the bullet wounds.

“You're bleeding.” Dianna dabbed at her own split lip and bloody nose. “Good punch by the way, and nifty wings.” Wincing, Dianna moved towards the bar. “First aid kit's around here somewhere.”

“I became irrational and broke out of the DA offices; they considered me hostile and opened fire. You know how many times I've saved their lives, lived quietly as a prisoner not making any waves, and when I need something...”  She shrugged.  “I found my breaking point.”

Quinn entered the kitchen, grabbed the first aid kit and then moved to the bar. “Perhaps you should invest in a hellhound and blinds for the windows in here when we're not open.” 

Quinn was dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt that made her pale skin even paler, and her red hair seemed darker. She was barefoot and water dripped from the ends of her hair.  She moved to Dianna and checked her nose and lip. “It's not even broken, just bloodied.  You'll live. Now go shower while I see to Lauren. Find her one of those hooker tops of yours, you know the one that ties at the neck and waist but leaves the back exposed so she can use her wings without ripping up her shirt.” 

Quinn kissed the tip of Dianna's nose before turning her attention to Lauren.

She pulled rubber gloves out of the kit and then a long thin tweezers. “Looks like they coated them with Demonpunch,” She said, eyeing Lauren's bullet holes.

“Probably,” Lauren said with a grunt. “It's really hard to pierce my skin anymore.”

Dianna blinked, halfway to the kitchen door, “We good?” she asked Lauren.

Lauren nodded. “We're better,” She answered, watching Dianna leave.

Quinn grumbled and pushed the tweezers into a bullet hole, pulling out the first bullet.

Lauren winced, the feeling of bullets being pulled out of her flesh was not a pleasant one, nor one she really wanted to repeat. No matter how often it seemed to happen. “Dianna wouldn't tell me why you two were having sex.”

“Probably because its not any of your business,” Quinn replied pulling out another bullet. She looked over Lauren's body. “Any more I don't see?” The bullet holes were starting to heal. “Nice trick,” Quinn commended.

“Thanks.” Lauren shifted awkwardly on her feet. She'd never really interacted with Quinn. “You umm, you coming with us?”

“Yes,” Quinn said, carefully taking off the gloves. “I care about Violet very much and the fact you could think I would forget about her pisses me off very much. She's like a daughter to me, and I've been frantic with worry.” 

Quinn tossed the used gloves in the trash along with the bullets. She sat down and looked at Lauren. “Once Dianna's done you can take a shower and change. I want you to think very carefully about how important Violet is to you, and then I want you to think about how being calm and level-headed might be a better way to be to find her. Okay?”

Feeling like she was twelve again, Lauren nodded, scuffing a shoe against the floor. “Okay.”


When Dianna came back downstairs Lauren scampered quickly up the stairs to shower.

Lauren and Quinn seemed to have picked up the mess, and Quinn was cooking pasta.

“Clothes are right outside the shower!” Dianna called after Lauren, shaking her head as she turned to regard Quinn. “You two have a good talk?”

“I don't think it was fun for Lauren, but we're fine.”

“I don't think much has been fun for her.” Dianna moved closer to Quinn, peering at the pasta with interest. “Well, except for the fooling around they did in the storage room. We eating before we go out?”

“I figure some quick carbs for energy would be good. And things were getting awkward sitting here in silence so I decided to cook.”

They heard footsteps outside, sounding deliberately loud.

They heard Caine's voice as he came up to the backdoor resting against the frame. “Hello?”

“Your brother.” Dianna patted Quinn's hip and moved out of the kitchen, past the area where two tables had been. “Caine.” Dianna nodded, walking to meet him at the back door. “Your door fell apart.”

“I see that,” he said, pausing on the steps looking up at Dianna.

Behind him there were two men unloading a box from the back of a car.

Caine slid the gun in his hand into the holster under his jacket. “I'm going to have to charge you this time to fix it.”

“Fine.” She leaned up against the door. “I don't want to owe Thrasher,” Dianna said lightly, wondering if he'd understand that any of Quinn's debts were her debts now too.

Caine froze, looking at her. His eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared. “I feel like I should threaten you.”

“I feel like I should ignore you, or make sarcastic comments. How about we skip both?”

Caine nodded. “Treat her well; she's had the short end of the stick from everyone.”

“I'm not going anywhere.” Dianna pushed off from the wall. “You can leave the box just inside.” She really didn't want him coming in to meet Lauren.

Caine gestured for the men to wait at the car with the box. “Thrasher is helping you two right now because it serves his interest. People are becoming nervous in the Gray, and in the places near the Gray, that's bad for his business. But the Angel can't stay once Alvera is dealt with once and for all. She'll need to find her own city. Also you cannot kill Malek. You may beat him within an inch of his life, you can cut off fingers, toes or his dick for all that Thrasher cares, but you cannot kill him.”

“He's my father, don't you think I get to make those sorts of decisions?” Dianna raised an eyebrow, watching him with a lazy smile. “What does Thrasher care if he dies or not?” ‘The Angel' thing was going to be tricky to handle, Dianna thought.

“I can't tell you all of it. Part of it is that Malek will be needed to fill the vacuum left from Alvera's death.”

The idea of her father having that sort of power was a daunting one, Dianna's eyes narrowed a little. “Maggie gets to do whatever she wants; she's free from any obligations to do anything for Thrasher. Both of you are, but the third, the Angel, will need to find her own city. This one's taken.”

“Taken?” Dianna eyes widened.

Caine turned, gesturing for the box to be brought up. He looked back at Dianna with a frown.

“Fine, deal,” She said. They'd have to figure out something for Lauren. “Those are the only conditions?”

He nodded. “Dianna, Angels aren't like people want them to be, they're just demons who like humans more than they like other demons. They're bloodthirsty, cruel, and like pretty things like gems and attractive women and men. But unlike other demons, they can easily fall in love and bond with humans. This is why they became mankinds protector, and it killed their race. Humans and Angels cannot beget Angels, only weird half-breeds like Tibetian Stone Guardians or the Chinese Temple Wyrm.”

“She's not an Angel, not a full one,” she said. Although there was doubt in Diana's mind.

“The church will send people to capture her, the DA will send people to capture her, she will need to become a demon and hide her true face to survive. She's an Angel now, I assume her DNA has changed inside and out,;there is nothing human in her anymore. Thrasher tasted her blood at the corner there, were she paused to orientate herself.”

Dianna looked away. “I would have wanted an easier life for her,” she whispered, stepping aside to let the men with the box in and out. “We'll find someplace for them to go,” she said, louder. “But for now, thank you Caine.”

He nodded. “What we want and what we need are too different things. I wanted to be a pro-footballer, now I'm a lawyer.”

“I agree, with one little caveat.” Caine's smirk faded. “If Violet dies, or is hurt, I can't say I'm going to try very hard to keep Lauren from tearing out the heart of the Gray.”

Caine blinked, seeming surprised. “She's mated?”

“I'm going to guess, yes.”

“I'll let Thrasher know. Not much you can do but duck and cover if an Angel has lost their mate.”

“As long as we're clear on that.”

He waved the men back to the car. “I put everything in there that you might need. Treat my sister right. And I'll be happy to donate if you want kids.” He leered and wiggled his eyebrows.

“I'll do my own donating, thanks.” She leered right back. “Bye Caine.” The door took some wedging but she got it more or less back in place.


Quinn had the box on the table and was separating it out into piles of weapons, ammo and body armor.

“We have to wear bulletproof vests?” Dianna looked at the piles skeptically. There was very little way to look sexy in a bulletproof vest.

“No, but it would make me feel better,” Quinn replied.

“You do realize that my weapons aren't those.” Dianna pointed at the pistols and rifles on the tabletop.

“Huh?” Quinn turned and looked at Dianna.

“I'm just making sure you know that when we go in there, at least at Malek's, my weapons are going to be these.” She cupped her breasts. “A smile and a promising look.”

Quinn frowned and looked away chewing on her bottom lip for a moment.” I know.”

Dianna wasn't too sure she did, but she let it go. “We almost ready?” Dianna had noticed that the shower had stopped, Lauren should be down soon.

“Yeah. I'm sorry, I'm trying. I think about you using your natural weapons and I get jealous.”

“I know.” It would have been hard for Dianna to miss. “But I'll do what we have to in order to get Violet back.” She paused, watching Lauren come down the stairs. The open back shirt fit well enough on her. “Good, the pants look like they hug the hips enough but are loose, can you move in them?”

Lauren nodded. “This should work fine.”

Sharing a look with Quinn, Dianna stood up from the stool she'd been sitting on. “We're going to Malek's, he has answers that we need.” She was pretty sure Lauren wasn't going to like the rest. “You can't come inside with us though.”

“What? If he has information I should be there. I can be useful; I'm not weak anymore, I…”

Quinn cut her off, “You're a horny virgin. He'll have you twisted in knots.”

Dianna reached over, patting Lauren's shoulder. “She's right.”

Lauren slumped. “Not technically, Violet and I got a little out of hand.” She winced looking at Quinn's darkening face.

“Frustrated and horny still apply,” Dianna cut in quickly.

“Regardless,” Quinn said in a crisp tone. “Malek will have you turned inside out in seconds it's his nature. We've dealt with him before but we'll need you to be look out. Last time he had a hired thug almost take us out by surprise.”

Lauren nodded. “I can watch your back.”

That reminder made Dianna wince. “Good, and come in after us with hell and brimstone if we don't come out.”

Lauren grinned. “I can do that too.”

“Sounds like we have a plan.” Dianna looked at the clock and sighed, reaching for a pair of pistols. “We should go.” It was almost two pm already, much longer and they'd be inside the Gray at dark.

Quinn nodded and slipped the bulletproof vest on over her t-shirt. She quickly loaded a couple of guns. “What? I'm human, I can't turn people into sexual puddles of desire or, make flames erupt in my hands.”

“And I like you just as is.” Dianna licked her lips, watching Quinn get dressed and armed. It was a very interesting sight, and did fun things to her libido.

Quinn let out a ragged breath. “Stop it.”

Exercising control Dianna did her best to ignore her desire. Two guns, a belt of ammo, a knife, a jacket thrown on over the vest and a shotgun later they was ready to go.

“Should we throw the rest of this in the back of the car?”

“Very butch,” Dianna whispered, hoisting a duffel bag full of the rest of the stuff and starting for the car.

“Practical,” Quinn said. “This is for survival not a statement about the sexual lives of lesbians.”

“Hmph. I can still think it's butch.” Dianna shoved open the door. “Come on, time to go rescue the princess. Bob, keep an eye on the bar for us.” Bob raised his bottle of beer, sipping from it in answer.

Quinn blinked. “Has he been here the whole time?”

Dianna shook her head and made her way out the door. It didn't matter, Bob was just part of the atmosphere of the place.

Dianna shrugged, unlocking the car. “He comes and goes, never really sure when he's here. Usually he's here.” She dumped the bag of guns into the trunk of the rental car. She couldn't believe she'd lost another car already.

“It's probably in the police impound. After this is all done we can call and look for it.” Quinn said, surprisingly sensing Dianna's thoughts.

“A troll probably ate the tires.” Dianna grumped, getting in and waiting for the two others.

Quinn got in too.

Lauren slammed the door as she got in.


Blue shivered as the metal bands across her body were tightened. The leather straps already felt rough against her skin, but the cold metal had a deadly finality to it as the bands were screwed down. Swallowing, she felt the metal table that she'd been held down on, swivel upward, until she was roughly vertical.

Only Blue's head was free to move. She blinked, trying to see in the darkness.

The tabletop felt wet under her fingers and she tried not to imagine what might coat it. Things dripped around her, and she could still hear the whispered promises and begging of the spirits that haunted this place.

Goosebumps crawled along her skin.

Light suddenly shone in her face and she whimpered, flinching back as that brightness seared her dark-adapted eyes.

“Not much to look at are you my dear?” The female voice was not a voice she'd feared, it sounded nice, sympathetic even and a cool hand patted her cheek.

She'd heard that voice before though, somewhere… recently. Blue's memory swam, she couldn't remember anything.

“It's odd how fate works. We've been looking for someone with your power. There are plenty, but none of them virgins. Do you know how hard it is in this day and age to find a virgin? And demon magic has a lot of rules,” the woman said in an annoyed huff. “That bride, I thought we'd hit jackpot, she had power, lots of it and her culture is really big on chastity until marriage. So we swoop in, do the ritual, only to find out her and groom boinked the night before. Really kids have no sense of restraint anymore.” 

Hands checked the restraints around Blue's chest.

“When Quinn came into my office it was a blessing. Alvera was really pissed with her still; I thought I could score a few points with the boss. I used to be her favorite. I set up Thomas, and the first time he fucked Alevra the boy was gone, he was hers. Then he just followed his dick like I knew he would, and betrayed his family. Quinn though, she survived, like a cockroach, a lucky cockroach. Irony then that she came to see me and told me about you. That took some time and planning. Oh and I felt your power, everyone felt it. Damn girl, you're a demon rituals wet dream.”

“W-who are you?” Blue's voice trembled as nursery rhymes played through her mind. She squinted into the light, eyes slowly becoming accustomed to it after so long in the dark. The woman looked normal, graying hair, sharp dark eyes, and her words had a soft accent to them.

“When you sell your soul to a demon, you're nobody, not anymore. I use to be someone, now I'm just a Wordtwister, a department shrink who sniffs out the corrupt and puts them in Alvera's sights.” She pulled out a knife. “Lets test your blood shall we. Make sure it's pure enough, powerful enough to do what needs to be done. It will only sting a bit.” She held Blue's fingers open and sliced her palm. She let the blood drip into a bowl and then moved over to a piece of polished black obsidian.  

Dipping her fingers into the blood she started to draw symbols on the polished surface.

It stung more than a little bit, and Blue twisted, biting her lip as the blood dripped into the bowl. “But…” There was a memory, shiny and bright, of feathered wings raised above her as fingers moved along her body. “I'm not. I'm not a virgin, not anymore,” she pleaded, struggling even though she knew it was useless against the bonds.

Dr. Aubry hesitated and looked at her with narrowed eyes. “You're a virgin. The church definition is sexual intercourse with penetration; my understanding is that you like women.” She turned back to the symbols she was painting. “But we'll find out soon enough.”

“Please, you don't have to, you don't have to do this.” Blue jerked again against the bonds and let her head flop back. Twisting her head she could see small faces pressed against the rows of cages. A half dozen children were there, staring at her, terrified, through the cage bars, Caitlin among them.

Licking dry lips, Blue forced a smile for them. “The Sandman's coming in his train of cars, with moonbeam windows and with wheels of stars. So hush you little ones and have no fear. The man-in-the-moon he is the engineer,” she sang softly to them, drawing little eyes away from the woman with the bowl of blood.

“Touching, or touched, not sure which.” Finished with the symbols Dr. Aubry stood back and waited. Then she frowned as nothing happened. After two long minutes she hurled the bowl of blood at the polished stone with a curse and lifted the knife in her hands. “What is so wrong with the youth of today that virginity is so easily given away?”  she snarled.

The blood began to smoke and then green flames flared up.

“How is my little spy into the minds of the local police force?” a new, seductive voice purred.

“Mistress.” Dr. Aubry turned, bowing to the mirror that hung along one wall. It was the only thing in this place of rust and disuse that was clean. “I have the girl, and the children, just as you wanted.” She swallowed.

“This time it seems you just might be successful. That pleases me. The first thing we will do when I'm freed is kill the rest of that damned Quinn family. That will please me as well.” Alvera peered out through the mirror. “I thought she'd be stronger, but on the night of the shadowed moon if you sacrifice a few others that should help open the portal. The rest I will drain once I'm free of this realm.”

“And my reward, Mistress,” Dr. Aubry asked eagerly, while Blue shook in her bonds behind her. “Please don't forget my reward for being so faithful to you,” Dr. Aubry pleaded.

“I never forget to reward those faithful to me.”

“She lies!” Blue shouted, desperately. “I'm not a virgin, I had sex with Lauren!” It was one of the memories she could remember so very clearly, every moment of it was perfectly remembered.

Alvera's red eyes focused sharply on her. She chuckled. “There's lots of ways to experience pleasure, but I assume if the good doctor were to check you thoroughly we'd find your lover had never penetrated that most sacred of places. You're a virgin girl; your blood opened the connection between our worlds. And tonight, all of it will open a portal.”

Blue could only stare in horror as Alvera laughed, her image slowly fading as the blood burned away to nothing.


Quinn sat in the car looking around the Gray and the strip mall that Malek coveted as his own. “Walk right up to the front door?”

In the driver's seat, Dianna nodded, staring behind them with a small frown. “I've never been able to drive this deep into the Gray before. Something cleared a path for us, did you see the piles of rubble that were pushed aside?” Something wanted them in here, either for good or evil.

“Yeah, I'm trying not to think to hard about that.” Quinn looked back at Lauren. “Give us thirty minutes. Then come storming in.”

“Or if anything blows up.” Dianna shot Lauren a grin, stepping out of the loaned car. “And keep the damn trolls away from the tires.”

Lauren grinned. “I'll do my best.” Her grin fell as the women got out of the car. “Are you sure I can't...” She was cut off by the look on Quinn's face..

“Stay here.” Dianna gave her a somewhat sympathetic look. “We'll find out what's going on and then get her back.” She'd been promising impossible things a lot recently.

Quinn left the shotgun, but checked the other guns strapped to her.

“No shotgun?” Dianna forced herself to look bored as they walked right towards the front door.

Quinn shrugged. “In a confined space it's a liability, I might shoot you.” Quinn headed straight for the main doors that led to Malek's pleasure palace. “So, if you were a full Succubus is this how you would live? In the Gray with some pimp pad that use to be a strip mall?”

“No.” Dianna shrugged. “I'd be in something less.. um... tacky.”

“Thank God you missed out on the tacky gene.”

“That's probably due to Sissy; she hated anything that was gaudy.” Dianna sneered at the two men standing just inside the door, particularly unimpressed by the S & M shiny pleather suites they were wearing. “Maybe we should just shoot them.”

“Maybe,” Quinn agreed.

Quinn opened the door and pulled out a gun, shoving it into his crouch while head-butting the other guy breaking his nose. “Take me to your leader.”

At least there was some dark humor to be had, Dianna thought, snorting with laughter. “Nice one. How long have you been waiting to say that?”

The man with the gun barrel in his crotch had gone very still. “Boss said no visitors today.”

His voice trembled a little and Dianna rolled her eyes. “Great.”

“This isn't a social visit, you're two seconds from losing your equipment and then probably thirty seconds from bleeding out.”

They were attracting attention now, people stopping to watch and whisper. Dianna simply raised an eyebrow, focusing some of her charm on them. The suited man shivered, torn between survival and wanting to please Malek. “He's in the back.” Survival finally won out.

Quinn removed the gun and then backhanded him with it. She watched him crumple to the floor.

“Gentle love,” Dianna murmured, striding forward through the crowds of people as if she owned them. They responded automatically to a power so similar to their master's, parting in front of the two women without question.

Quinn followed Dianna.

“There.” It didn't take much to find out where Malek was, you just had to follow the line of people trying to get closer to their god. It was sickening, even to Dianna. Part of her found the idea of such power almost irresistible. But the almost blank, mind-dead way some of the people around them were staring at them, made her skin crawl. “There's more people today,” she muttered.

“There are a lot of lonely people in the world, just wanting love. Or maybe something's going to happen and he wants to make sure he's in top form,” Quinn commented.

Dianna nodded, eyes sizing up the large man that was guarding the doors in front of them. He was the door keeper apparently, and Dianna's entire body language shifted as she walked towards him. From commanding, to sultry, hips swaying as she caught his eye and walked slowly past the line up.

“Hi.” She purred, leaning into him as his pupils dilated. “We need to see my daddy, okay?” She licked her lips, trailing a finger own his bared chest. Swallowing he nodded jerkily, pushing open the doors for them.

Dianna hoped it would be harder for Quinn to be jealous when she could feel the underlying emotions: disgust, and some hunger as Dianna caught the guard's sexual interest.

Quinn followed silently.

Dianna's pale eyes looked over at Quinn, an eyebrow arching in question as she stepped through.

Quinn smiled back letting her know everything was fine.

“You always were good at using your gifts.” Malek's voice was smooth as glass as he rose up off the couch he'd been sitting on when they entered. A teenage boy and girl scampered off as he stood, and Dianna hoped Quinn wasn't going to kill the demon just for that. It wasn't hard to feel the human woman's anger.

“Hi dad,” she answered, just to get a flash of annoyance in his eyes.

“Dianna.” Malek's dark eyes were darkly focussed on her and she could feel his will gathering. Desperately she held onto the link between herself and Quinn, trusting in it to protect them. “Have you come to join me?” he whispered, drawing closer to them.

As Malek's will hit Dianna trying, to bend her to it, Dianna felt Quinn and send her what strength she could.

“No.” Dianna was proud her voice barely wavered as she met his eyes. Smiling nastily as they widened a little in shock. “We had a different idea actually.” She nodded towards Quinn.

Quinn pulled a gun and moved slowly around the room. The room was lush and plush, a romper room for an over-sexed emperor. But in a sex demons world it wasn't always foreplay, and teasing kissing. Sometimes it was dark with whips and chains, clamps and paddles.

“What do you think you're doing?” Malek demanded, focusing on Quinn for the first time since they had arrived.

Quinn smiled and hit a button opening a hidden door. “Hey look what I found. Bet these are strong enough to hold a demon, and I bet the room is sound proofed. I bet no one would hear you scream.” She smiled.

Malek laughed. “I don't fear you little human. I have an army outside those doors ready to die for me if I ask them to. In fact, I think I'll ask them to have you die for me. Wouldn't that be nice?” He turned towards Quinn, trying to force his will upon her.

Nothing happened.

As Malek's eyes widened Quinn started talking. “This is what I think. My soul sat inside of Alevra for a couple of months, percolating in all that Demon Lord crap. So it's seen all the tricks, and knows how they work, because Alvera is a bigger baddass. I'm just not that impressed by you. And because I'm bonded to your daughter, I just don't really find you - hot. Seriously have you seen your daughter's ass? It's a wet dream all on its own. Yours, I'm going to be blunt you're getting on in years, it just doesn't do it for me.”

Quinn pulled the gun from her left hip and fired. The bullet hit him right between the eyes. It was rubber, used for crowd control, it wouldn't kill him but it would scramble his brains, making him unable to focus to call for help.

Malek opened his mouth to scream something, hatred in his eyes, and then tumbled to the ground. A large red welt formed in the middle of his forehead.

Dianna turned on her heel, opening the outer door and smiling seductively at the doorman again. “Hey, my dad and us, we need some quality time okay?” She leaned up against him, making it hard for him to breath.

He nodded quickly, eagerly, eyes all pupil now. “Good boy.” She patted his cheek.

Quinn rolled her eyes but bent over and started to pull Malek into his little room of kink. She hauled him up and started chaining him to the wall.

With a grunt Quinn finished and looked over at Dianna. “I'm incredibly squicked out. You and your dad never...?” She shuddered just thinking about it. “Don't answer. I may kill him if you tell me the wrong thing. Then Thrasher will be mad.”

“We never. He got off watching me seduce his little pen pal.” Dianna wrinkled her nose; those had not been good memories. She closed the door behind him, watching as Quinn tied him up. “You think we'll need to torture him?”

“I hope so; I've got a small vial of holy water with his name on it.”

“Fun.” Dianna said dryly, settling back to wait for him to wake up.

Malek didn't take long, his demon constitution rousing him within minutes, grunting as he shifted his head, eyes flickering open.

“I'm going to enjoy fucking your skull.” He groaned.

“That is just... eww.” Quinn said unscrewing the top of the vial and pulling out a full eyedropper. “I could be nice and drop it on his forehead or we could play a game.” She grinned and grabbed a belt loop and pulled the pants away from his flesh. “If he's lucky it will miss.” Quinn squeezed the dropper until a single drop fell into his pants.

Malek screamed and Dianna shook her head. “Sorry dad, guess you weren't lucky.” She really shouldn't be enjoying this as much as she was.

“Now that I have your attention. Why do you need young virgins with power?”

“I don't know what you're talking about.” He jerked on the chains, which groaned, but didn't give.

“I really don't care for that answer.” Quinn released another drop.

This time Malek screamed longer. Dianna studied her nails, frowning as she found one that she'd broken.

“Dead!” Malek yelled, dark eyes full of hatred. “You'll both die for this, do you understand that? I'll kill you myself!”

He jerked, again on the chains, twisting as he tried to avoid another drop. “She wasn't a virgin.” He snarled. “All that trouble, charming all those people with that bitch of a human, and what did we get? Nothing.”

“Why that night?” Quinn asked. “You did a ritual.”

“Of course we did a ritual you idiot,” he snapped.

Dianna shook her head, clucking her tongue. “You probably shouldn't antagonize her Malek.”

“Your ritual failed, so now you're collecting more girls with power. When's the next time you can perform it?”

“Tonight.” He laughed. “It's too late, you're both too late. She's coming back.” He curled his lips in disgust at Dianna. “You could have ruled an empire with me. This human's made you weak.”

Quinn squeezed out more than a single drop. “Oops.”

Malek bucked, his scream more animalistic this time. Dianna actually saw a whiff of smoke come out from his pants. “Not good Malek, I told you, don't antagonize the woman with the holy water.”

“Come on lets shut the door and leave him,” Quinn said. “If we live we can tell Caine where he is.”

Quinn picked up a piece of cloth and dumped the rest of the holy water on it before moving to stuff it in his mouth. It was cruel, but Dianna imagine Quinn wasn't feeling very kind.

“Wait.” Dianna grabbed Quinn's hand. “How many girls? How many did you kidnap?”

Malek glared at her, trying to keep the rag away from his skin. “Seven, with the healer. She's the oldest; it's hard to find virgins these days.” Dianna let go of Quinn's hand.

“Wait! I told you what you wanted!” he yelled.

“You're also a bastard,” she said, watching Quinn stuff the rag in his mouth. The screams were muffled by the cloth and she closed the door, watching Quinn, worriedly.

Quinn didn't look at Dianna for a bit. But she did say, “Alvera changed me even though I got my soul back. She woke up all sorts of things inside me, dark evil things that get off on hurting and killing people. Most of the time it's okay, I'm me, but sometimes, like now, it's hard.”

“I know.” Dianna touched Quinn's shoulder. “I also know Alvera's going to use Violet and six other girls to open a portal to hell.” Please let Quinn hold it together.

“I'm good. I'll be...” Quinn shrugged. “I'm here, I'm Quinn. We're going to save them.”

Dianna smiled what she hoped was an encouraging smile. “Let's get Lauren before she comes storming in here.” Her mind shied away from where they had to go next.

Quinn nodded. “The place where even hope fears to tread.” She looked at her watch. “Crap we've got about two minutes before she comes storming in here.”

“Crap. Move Maggie.” Dianna started for the door at a run, only pausing to pat the doorman on the cheek. “Daddy needs a rest; make sure he's not disturbed?” The stunned human just nodded, dumbly.

Lauren was storming up to the front doors as they came running out. “Sorry, it's good.” Quinn said.

“It's fine, we're all right.” Dianna was a step or two behind, barging out of the mall. “We got what we need.” She purposefully looked away from the shadows of the Asylum.

Lauren looked at them, obviously relieved. “Good, I was, I was getting worried.”

“Who wants to go storm a cursed insane Asylum were the ghosts of inmates and doctors still run around?” Quinn said. “Yeah, I don't want to either.”

“It's Alvera.” Dianna kept them moving away from the mall, grimacing at Quinn's joke. “Malek's got a half dozen kids with power in there, and Violet. They're going to open some portal to hell and let Alvera back in. Not to mention whever else.” A portal wasn't going to just let Alvera through. A full portal would let a tide of demons out. Then the Gray really was going to be hell.

Lauren's eyes widened.

“Yeah, fun huh?” Dianna shared a look with her. “It'll be like the original hell gates opening.”

Quinn shivered. “Fucking Nazis,” she said.

“Bastards,” Dianna agreed, as they moved down the street. The shadows cast by the Asylum seemed to reach out to meet them.

“Shouldn't we wait until tomorrow morning when it's safer?” Lauren asked.

“Sorry kid, the ritual is tonight,” Quinn said with a shrug, as she opened the car door and grabbed the shotgun. “We walking or driving over?”

“We'll get the car as close as possible. We might need it afterwards.” Dianna jumped in, glad to see the tires were still on the car. “Any trouble out here kid?”

“A few green guys came sniffing around, they decided to take it elsewhere.”

“Good job.” Dianna pressed down on the gas, squealing the tires as they pulled away from what had once been a mall's parking lot. They weren't going to get right in front of the Asylum, but they'd get close. “Last time we went in there bad things happened. We are not splitting up, no running off on your own this time, got it?”

Quinn looked away. “I promise,” she said quietly.

Silently, Dianna reached across, squeezing her hand. “We're all coming out of this together.” There she went, promising things again, what was her problem with that?

Quinn looked at her, and smiled. “Yes we will.”


Dianna hesitated, eyes darting from one corner of the abandoned courtyard to the other. If she stared at the empty windows of the Asylum she could see figures moving past them, or standing in front of them, staring down. “I really don't want to go in there,” she whispered.

The entire building had a gothic feel to it that did nothing to reassure those going in. Horrible things had happened inside its walls, one of the reasons it was the center of the Gray Zone.

Lauren nodded in agreement. Dianna remembered that Lauren had almost died inside there too.

There would be no sneaking in the back this time either.

“She's got to know we're going to come for Violet.” Dianna looked over at Quinn, hesitating.

Quinn stared at the building , in fact she glared at the building. “Alevra is still in hell, she's not free, but if we hesitate then it will get worse. Yes, she has minions still working for her, but they're human, or Ridden, far easier to deal with than a Demon Lord.”

As pep talks went it kind of sucked, Dianna thought.

Quinn pulled the gun off her left hip, the one with the rubber bullets and threw it on the ground.

Lauren and Dianna shared glances. They both knew that it meant all shots would be kill shots. Grimly, Dianna pulled out her own pistols.

“We are more than last time,” Quinn said. “We're bonded, and Lauren is an Angel. Lauren defeated Alevra once before, she can do it again, especially if the bitch isn't all the way into this realm.”

That was better.

“That's a big ‘if',” Dianna muttered. “Well, let's do it.” She squared her shoulders, grabbing the rusted handle on the front door and pulling. The door stayed right where it was and she cursed, pulling again. Finally she stepped aside and gestured Lauren towards it with a sly grin. “Muscles, would you mind?”

Lauren grinned and reached out grabbing the handle and yanking.

Magic sparked black and red over Lauren's hand, and in response her skin glowed gold. There was a flash of white light around her hand and the door creaked open.

“Sealed,” Dianna muttered to Quinn. “Someone inside doesn't want to be bothered.” The rusted hinges protested every inch of opening.

“Well, killing seven magical virgins does call for secrecy and not being disturbed.” Quinn said, hefting the shotgun and stepping forward into the darkness.

Dianna was right behind her, pistol held tight as they moved through what had once been the reception area. If she looked hard, she could see the ghostly outlines of receptionists, gaping mouths, a parody of a smile as they welcomed the three women. “Something has the spirits here all riled up too.” Dianna swallowed, looking away from the gashed mouths.

Lauren shivered. Dianna thought she could probably see them too., but not Quinn.

“Not a place that likes the living,” Dianna whispered, urging them to move towards the stairs. There was no way in hell she was getting on the goddamn elevators in this place.

“Murder.” Lauren said. “Blood. These are spirits who want Violet's power. These spirits in life tried to destroy those like Violet.”

Dianna just nodded, touching Quinn's shoulder as they stopped at the top of the winding stairs.

Dust lay thick everywhere, except for trails of disturbed dust that wound their way downwards. “The basement again,” Dianna whispered.

Dianna paused, head tilted to one side as she listened. She'd thought she heard something…. Frowning she shook her head, maybe not. Another step forward and she stopped again, certain this time.

“Fuck.” Dianna looked behind her, back toward the windows of the Asylum's entry area, and the murderous spirits waiting there. It wasn't the spirit's that had her attention though, but the sound of helicopters in the distance. “DA's coming for you Lauren.” She grimaced, exactly what they needed.

Both Quinn and Lauren continued forward, still listening.

“Idiots,” Quinn muttered. “The last thing I'd take into the Gray would be a helicopter, it's a long way down when some demon fires a spell, or some flying nasty gets tangled in the blades.”

“We need to hurry,” Lauren said, her skin going pale. “I'm not going back there, I won't be an experiment.”

“No one is saying you're going back.” Dianna gave Quinn a look and started down the stairs. “We'll just have to be a little faster than I thought we would have to be.” This was going to be tight. “Something goes wrong, you get Violet and take her to Melva's church okay?”

Lauren nodded looking more like a scared young woman than an all-powerful angel.

“Do we have any rope? We can just climb down the elevator shaft to the basement, which would be better than the fall I took last time.” Quinn said.

“Not enough rope. Distances in here are… misleading. It's a long way down to the basement.” Dianna shrugged, moving a little bit faster as they kept going down and down the spiral staircase. A staircase to hell, she thought with a little amusement.

Dianna could feel the pain, anger and hatred that surrounded them. It was intoxicating, she could get drunk on it if she wasn't careful. “They're all awake,” she murmured, more to herself than the others. “All the spirits are up and moving tonight.”

Quinn reached out and grabbed a belt loop on Dianna's pants, pulling her back into her body. She let her other hand come around and squeeze Dianna's crotch through the pants. “Do I have your demon's attention honey?” she whispered into Dianna's ear.  “Stay with me. Because all parts of you, demon or human, belong to me now. We're here to save Violet, not take over the Gray from Alvera.”

Lauren paused behind them. “What? Is there a problem?”

Dianna tensed, but forced herself to relax against Quinn, eyes closing for a moment. “It's so beautiful and so horrific at the same time Quinn. I can feel all the souls in here, they're just begging for vengeance or death, anything to make others feel the way they do. I could just… take it.”

“Honey, then they'd bind you here. It's a trap. Sure they give you power, but then you have to live in the basement with no windows, and the smell of mold everywhere. I like windows and sunshine, maybe a plant.” Quinn squeezed her fingers around Dianna fondling her just a little. “And I can guarantee you're never getting laid in this place. So both your big head and your little head need to stay with me, and not the vengeful ghosts. Got it?”

That settled it and Dianna nodded, grinning. “Mold.” Dianna's lip curled. “Never liked mold.” She raised her voice. “We're fine Lauren, Quinn just had to give me a reality check.”

How inappropriate was it that she was a little turned on right now. If they weren't trying to save Violet, and Lauren wasn't right behind them, Dianna was pretty certain she'd try to get Quinn naked right now and right here.

Quinn nodded and let go. “Save those thoughts for later, there's no way your getting me naked in this place.” she whispered taking a step back.

“Are we going or what?” Lauren said, soundinf annoyed. “Violet, remember her? She needs our help.”

“Relax, Lauren, we're all on the same page here.” Quinn said taking a deep breath.

“Quinn's just keeping me from going native.” Dianna smirked over her shoulder and then started forward again.


“WHAT!?” Dr. Aubry screamed, turning on a goblin like thing that had just emerged from the shadows next to her. It gibbered at her and she stared at it enraged.

For a moment Blue thought her head might explode, and rather hoped it would.

That would be a nice ending for the woman, Blue thought as she twisted again in the chains that held her on the table.

“You idiots! You let them inside the Asylum! Go, kill them all and then take care of the DA fools. We can't be interrupted!” Dr. Aubry was really starting to come apart at the seams Blue thought. She should know, she knew a bit about insanity after all.

Dr. Aubry paced back and forth, biting her lower lip, obviously thinking quickly as she walked back and forth.

Blue watched her, worried with the way she was muttering to herself. “You should leave,” Blue said softly, twisting her head to watch Dr. Aubry. “Leave while you can. Ashes to ashes, we all fall…”

With a scream of rage, Dr. Aubry pounced on Blue, slamming her head against the steel dissection table. “Shut up!” she yelled, hitting Blue's head again, and again, until the world went fuzzy around her. “Shut up,” she repeated, breathing heavily. “This is going to work. Your friends aren't going to get here in time.”

Dr. Aubry's smile was back, but it was brittle this time, insane. “We'll just do things a little sooner, that's all.” She laughed, a high pitched sound full of desperation. “Just move it up sooner.” She smiled at Blue who shuddered at the look in her eyes.

“You don't…” Blue started to say, then gasped, body arching as Dr. Aubry stepped closer and slid the dagger into her skin. The cold blade pierced her stomach and the older woman leaned in, hand still around the hilt. Carefully stabbing her away from any vital organs.

“Shhh.” She whispered, stroking Blue's hair with her free hand. “It'll be over soon. I just need you to bleed for a while.” She smiled again, and all Blue could hear were the cries of the children in the pens. “Bleed for me.” Aubry laughed again.


Just as Quinn felt the stairwell would never end, it did. She blinked and raised the shotgun. “Tell me those aren't trolls?”

“They're not.” Dianna grimaced. “They're rock trolls. You can tell because of the… uh… genitals.”

The fact that they were naked was really disturbing.

One of them shifted, sniffing the air, beady eyes searching the gloom.

“How does one kill a rock troll?” Quinn knew that a regular troll was nearly impossible, they were like a demonic cockroach. Quinn sighed, doubting the shotgun would do anything to it.

“Kick them between the legs?” Dianna guessed. “Throw them a tire?”

“You're a funny woman, you know that?” Quinn said.

Lauren pushed past them, obviously tired of waiting and talking.

“Hey,” Quinn said loudly, startled.

The rock trolls growled and looked up the stairs.

With a surge of her wings Lauren moved up and then dropped down her foot catching one in the face, toppling it over. Her wings flared out catching the other one and knocking it back against the wall.

Then she bent down and shoved her fingers into the eyesockets of the one under her feet.

“Damn kid's got no sense of timing,” Quinn muttered, running down the stairs. She flipped the shotgun around and swung it like a baseball bat between the legs of the one pushing itself off the wall.

“See, that works.” Dianna walked up to them, wincing as Lauren gouged the eyes out of the rock troll.

The Rock Troll Quinn had hit let out a sound that was half groan, half whimper and folded in on himself. Dianna kicked him, once, twice and then three times in the head before the thing stopped moving.

“Fuck, that's a hard head.” Dianna said through gritted teeth, hobbling a few steps.

“Rock Troll, kind of implies hard,” Quinn said flipping the shot gun back around and checking the stock.  Finding everything still in working order Quinn rubbed Dianna's back in sympathy before going to the door and peeking through. She swallowed hard at the very bad memories of this place.

Lauren was still going at the other Rock Troll's head. “Lauren!” Dianna hissed. “He's down, he's not getting back up anytime soon.” She pulled Lauren away. “Save the anger for Alvera.”

Dianna dragged Lauren over to where Quinn was standing, clearly not thrilled with where they were about to go.

The doors beyond where the Rock Trolls were guarding emptied out onto a long dingy corridor. The walls were splashed with dark stains that Quinn was sure were from the blood of long dead patients. Lights flickered on and off and the area smelled of death.

Dimly, from down the corridor, they could make out the sounds of children crying over the steady dripping of water.

“They're at the end of the hall,” Dianna said.

Quinn opened the door and ushered Lauren to go first. “You're our least destructible member, you go first. Focus on saving the captives, no hero gung-ho shit.” Quinn shivered, feeling Alevra's magic, she new the feel and taste of it, almost as familiar with it as she was with Dianna's.

Lauren nodded and moved forward, wings tucked down next to her body, her eyes glowing with white-blue light.

Things moved in the rooms that Lauren passed. Shadows of things that had happened in those rooms, patients that screamed and ran, spurting blood. Other things were more real. A half-demon, his face disfigured with nasty burn scars, wielding a cleaver lashed out at Lauren as she passed.

Dianna didn't give him much of a chance.

Quinn stepped over the body. “Was that personal? That felt personal,” she asked. “Was he offending you by being another half-demon, or did you know him?”

Stepping around the gore splattered remnants Dianna shrugged. “Name was Eddie, he was always hitting on me trying to get me to go out with him. Wanted to get in good with my dad. Guess he found his way in.”

Poor fool, Quinn thought.

Wisely Quinn decided not to say anything else about it. 

Small, many limbed demons scuttled out of the dark, all mouth, with vicious teeth.  Lauren flicked her wings and the five creatures were stabbed by feathers that had suddenly gone razor sharp.

Quinn swallowed, nervously at the display. 

Finally at the end of the corridor Lauren put a hand on the door and opened it. Even though Quinn was sure Lauren's first instinct would be to run to Violet, she went still, each muscle rigid. 

Quinn moved up and peered in. 

The room was dark lit only by oil witch lights. Young girls were tied to tables, where they sniffled and cried, all but Violet. Violet barely moved.

Also in the room were tubs that had been used for electro-shock therapy and other hydro therapies.

“Found them. Now what?” Lauren whispered.

“We need to know where the badguys are and how many?” Quinn responded.

Dianna shivered as she stood next to Quinn.

Blood dripped steadily from the table that Violet was strapped onto, pooling at the base of it and sinking into the dark stone.

“The mirror,” Dianna whispered, eyeing the swirling crimson inside the mirror that had been placed in front of Violet. “That must be the gate.”

Quinn didn't like this. Hostage situations were always bad, and this was about as bad as it got. “We need to get the girls freed and out of here. Secondary is destroying that mirror. I don't see any demons?”

“They're here.” Dianna and Lauren said almost in the same breath, glancing at one another in surprise.

Dianna grinned and looked away, taking a breath. “We need a distraction.” She licked her lips, looked over at Quinn and Lauren and winked. “Bale me out when I get in over my head okay?” She stood up before they could answer, walking towards the center of the room.

“Hey fuck heads!” Dianna yelled, raising her pistol and shooting at the mirror. Rather predictably the bullets did nothing to it, bouncing off the enchanted glass without even leaving a scratch.

It did make a very nice big noise though as she stepped out into the open.

Quinn's let her head fall forward for a second in horror at what her.. girlfriend... lover... whatever the term was for their bonding, was doing.

Quinn pushed forward to move into the shadows, only to be brought up short by Lauren's hand on her arm. “She's bleeding badly, she's not going to last.”

Quinn sighed heavily. “Go to her then.” Quinn was going to have to do everything. She moved in behind Lauren and slunk into the shadows, the only one with tactical knowledge.

“Come on, I know you're here!” Dianna yelled again, turning in a circle in the middle of the room. “I can feel you,” she purred, licking her lips, coming to a stop suddennly as something shifted not far from her. “Ahhh… there we go.” She grinned, raising her pistol.

Shadows from something invisible, shifted and swarmed down the wall at her. Dianna's bullet went straight through them without hitting anything. Dianna turned and sprinted for the door.

“Get her and find the others!” Dr. Aubry called, emerging from behind the mirror. Streaks of blood were on her face and hands. She was wearing a black silk robe and little else, a dagger held in her hand still wet with blood.

If Quinn hadn't been trained police officer with years of experience under her belt, she might have let the shock of seeing her psychiatrist, as well as the feelings of betrayal and mistrust, make her do something stupid. Only the focus that came with knowing what was on the line if they failed, prevented her from attacking Dr. Aubry, and stopping the
demon horde intent on tearing her lover apart.

“Love, you are an idiot,” Quinn grumbled. She quickly went through the list of things Caine had brought her. As Dianna ran out through the doors Quinn stepped in front of them and pulled a grenade out of her pack. She pulled the pin and tossed it into the demons chasing Dianna. Quinn ducked her head and shut her eyes.

The blast was blinding, and white light and water exploded through the room, the water tore through the shadow demons like shrapnel.


Lauren was stunned for a second by the unexpected blast, but quickly recovered. She slid to Violet's side. Lauren felt her blood drain, it was bad. “Vi? You still with me?” She pressed her hand on the wound. “You're not allowed to die.” Lauren's hands began to glow. “I'm going to try and stop the bleeding. That's your skill not mine, but that one time we made love, remember? I do. Your magic and mine, it mingled, I think I might be able to duplicate it,” she spoke softly.

“Pretty wings,” Blue whispered through lips that were pale from a loss of blood. She smiled faintly up at Lauren “I missed you,” she mumbled, eyes fluttering closed.

Aubry straightened, eyes widening as she saw the winged woman next to the sacrifice. “NOO!!!” she screamed, stabbing at Lauren's back with the dagger.

Lauren's wings raised in automatic defense. There was ripple through the feathers and they hardened going razor sharp. She winced as pain erupted in her back but she didn't move. She would heal, she always did.

“Open your eyes, love, stay here with me,” Lauren whispered. Blood started to dot on Violet's flesh. Lauren looked down and saw the tip of the dagger jutting out from her own chest. Drops of blood fell from that tip. She blinked in surprise, when had her blood turned a yellowish-gold color?

Blue eyes fluttered open and she blinked, slowly focusing on Lauren's face. “I'm sorry, I left you all alone, I didn't want to leave you, I promise I tried to stay.”

Lauren nodded. “Please stay with me. Don't leave me alone.” It would be a very cold and lonely world without Violet in it.

Lauren's wings shuddered and the feathers relaxed going back to normal. From behind her there was the sound of something heavy hitting the ground.

Dr. Aubry's body slumped to the ground, hundreds of slices leaking blood from where Lauren's sharp feathers had pierced through flesh and bone with equal ease. Dr. Aubry's blood mixed with Lauren's, pouring into the dark stone at the base of the mirror and thin hairline cracks started to spread across its surface.

“Ashes to ashes…” Blue mumbled, eyes closing, despite her obvious effort to keep them open.


At the entrance to the room, Dianna slowly sat up, blinking away the bright spots and trying to get the ringing in her head to stop. The blast had been a bit bigger than she'd expected and she swayed drunkenly as she got to her feet, to go help Quinn. “Are you okay?” she asked, louder than normal, ears still ringing.

Quinn groaned from where she had been blown through the door. “I'm fine. That had way more kick than Caine told me.” She blinked and looked over Dianna. “You okay?”

“Yes. Good work partner.” Dianna smiled, hauling the Quinn up to her feet. “See, we work well as a team.”

Quinn smiled. “That we do. Come on we still have a bunch of scared kids, and Lauren says Violet is hurt pretty bad.” Quinn kissed Dianna's cheek before picking up the shotgun and starting back into the room.


“No, stay with me,” Lauren said, lifting her right hand to touch Violet's cheek, while her left stayed pressed to the wound. “Please don't leave me,” she begged. 

The pain from the dagger was radiating out through Lauren's body, but she didn't dare let go of Violet, afraid she would fade away. “I'll give you anything if you stay with me. Name it, it's yours.”

“Strength,” Blue whispered. “Give me strength and I'll stay.”

Thin cracks began to spread, webbing across the surface of the mirror.

Lauren nodded. “Anything,” she agreed, leaning over kissing Violet. The dagger tore into her painfully.

As the kiss deepened Lauren could feel Violet drawing on her energy and power, but Violet pulled back suddenly, breathing heavily. “You're hurt,” she said worriedly.

“Someone stabbed me,” Lauren said simply, slowly removing her hand from the wound, happy to see that it was healing.

“Can I get up?” Blue winced.

“Sure, let me just break these chains,” Lauren said, handling the chains that held her.

“Lauren, you okay?” Dianna called. Lauren saw both Quinn and Dianna were making their way back into into the room.

Quinn paused. “Uh... Dianna?” She pointed to the mirror.

Dianna frowned. “I don't know. But..” She stopped, freezing as a crack the thickness of finger split across the center of the mirror.

The chains around her came loose and Blue was up and wrapping her arms around Lauren, holding her tight. “The children,” she said quickly.

“That bitch is not coming back,” Quinn said firmly. She moved and used the stock of the shotgun to break the locks on some of the cages holding the girls.

Lauren picked Violet up and moved her away from the table and mirror before setting her down. She tried to reach behind her to pull the dagger out, but couldn't.

“A ring around the posies.” Blue turned her around, grasping the dagger. “It's stuck,”she said in apology, and yanked.

Lauren raised an eyebrow hearing the lyrics. “Blue? Shee... owe!” she howled out.

“Blue?” Dianna paused, and then resumed prying open cages with Quinn. “Blue's back?”

“You all get the children out,” Lauren said. “I've stopped Alevra before I can do it again.”

She stood up sucking in air as the wound in her chest began to slowly close up.

Blue leaned in, whispering urgently to Lauren. “It's like a lion at the door, and when the door begins to crack, it's like a stick across your back. And when your back begins to smart, it's like a penknife in your heart. And when your heart begins to bleed, You're dead, and dead, and dead indeed.”

The blade finally came free and Blue showed the dark blade to Lauren.

“Oh, right, it's Blue,” Dianna said, scooping up a child in each arm, hugging them.

“No,” Quinn said. “I'm not leaving you to face her. She's my mess, I'll clean her up.”

Lauren shook her head to clear it and carefully took the blade from Vi... Blue. “Thanks.”

Blue smiled, hesitantly. “You miss her.” It wasn't a question. Blue leaned against her.

“Guys, we really need to get these kids out of here,” Dianna growled. “No one's staying behind to die, I am not losing anyone to Alvera again!”

“I did, I do,” Lauren said to Blue. “Don't be mad, but I love Violet too,” she said, kissing Blue's cheek. “You and Quinn go, get them out,” Lauren shouted to Dianna. She looked at Blue. “Help me stop the portal?”

Blue nodded pressing her head against Lauren's shoulder and holding her tightly.

“Damnit,” Dianna swore. “Quinn, come on, we have to get them out of here!”

“But... but... I want to kill that bi... thing,” Quinn censored her language as a small child took her hand.

Quinn sighed. “Come on. Your parents miss you. Is Caitlin here?”

“I'm Caitlin,” one of the children Dianna had scooped up said timidly.

Chunks of mirror started to tumble free of the surface and a familiar form was taking shape in it.

“Don't leave now Quinn, you'll miss the show.” Alvera laughed, her voice low and warped through the opening gate.

Quinn froze for a second, then started moving. “You're a show I can do without.”

“I'll see you soon!” Alvera's laughter followed them out of the room.

Lauren stepped up to the mirror and ran a hand over it, ignoring the demon image starting to take place. They had time, not a lot, but the woman had no power here yet.

“She's coming,” Blue whispered, staring at the mirror, watching it with fascination.

“You're blood awakened it, which means you're tied to it in some way,” Lauren said.

“Night, night, sweet dreams. Everything is as it seems. World is burnt, infected dead. Everything broken, Soul unfed.”

Lauren looked up as Blue spoke. “That was creepy.”

“Sorry.” Blue winced, rubbing at her head. “I should be Violet.”


“She makes sense, sees things normal.” Blue looked down. “Got to be with you.”

“Is she aware inside, or does she sleep?” Lauren asked.

“Dreams, lovely dreams of things that should be but aren't.” Blue looked over Lauren's shoulder as more pieces of mirror cracked and tumbled away.

Lauren's mind was whirling as she tried to decipher the demonic magic. “Your blood turned it on, powered it, a sacrifice of death, physical death and blood.” She rubbed her head. “Its like a wound cut open into two planes, so we need to close it, heal it.” Lauren looked at Blue. “I missed you, and now I miss her. That, I think, is our curse.”

Lauren turned around and sat in the blood and broken mirror fragments, her back against the mirror, wings spread. “Come here.”

Without question Blue stepped into the embrace, arms fitting so naturally around Lauren's waist, holding on to her. “I don't know how to heal that,” she murmured, pressing her forehead against Lauren's.

“Yes you do, you healed a whole city block.” Lauren started to kiss her neck, her wings folding around Blue, teasing her. “Of course we were synced together on a very primal level.”

Blue eyes widened. “I did? But how?”

“Well Violet did. Only you're going to remove this gaping wound from this world.”

“How?” Blue shivered as the wings stroked her back.

“I'm not sure how, all I can do is recreate the event that led up to it.” Quinn was going to shoot her. She kissed Blue's jaw and up to her lips, while her hands went under the tattered shirt stroking flesh and cupping Blue's breasts.

“Recreat....” Understanding soon dawned as a hand slid down Blue's side and pulled her closer. “Here and now?” Blue smiled up at Lauren.

“Yes, sorry it's not terribly romantic,” Lauren said with a wince, as Alvera shouted something.

“I don't hear her,” Blue promised, kissing Lauren again, hands stroking up and along the her wings.

Lauren shuddered, she'd always enjoyed Violet touching her wings and this was no different. “I wish we were somewhere romantic.” She wished the world didn't rely on them to stop Alevra.

Alevra made a comment about the free show and Lauren shot her wings up blocking the mirror.

She pulled Blue's shirt off and for a second stroked the new angry red scar that was there before lowering her head and kissing the breasts now presented to her. “So beautiful,”  she murmured.

“I'm jealous of Violet,” Blue murmured, stroking her fingers through feathers that were now soft under her touch. Feathers that moments before had sliced through Dr. Aubry without hesitation.

Lauren still didn't understand the relationship between Blue and Violet, obviously they were the same person, yet not the same person. “Why?” She asked pulling up from those lovely breasts.

“She made love with you first.” Blue cupped Lauren's face, kissing her slowly, focusing on that and not the world around them.

“You were my first love, my first kiss...” Lauren murmured into Blue's lips. She brought her hands back and undid the ties of her own shirt behind her neck. Time was not on their side, she needed to remember this.

Blue helped her, stripping her shirt off as quickly as she could, tossing it aside and warming chilled flesh with her lips and hands. “You are our first love too.”

It wasn't hard anymore to ignore the world around them, there was only the two of them now, the banging on the mirror had stopped as had Alvera's comments and screams. Lauren dimly wondered if that was a good or bad thing.

“Shhh, just focus on the good things you're feeling. Nothing else matters.”  Lauren was sitting in blood and glass there was no way she was taking her pants off.  She felt a ripple in the portal behind her and new their time was almost up. “Focus on me, on your magic, you need to heal this place.” Lauren's hand shyly touched the juncture of Blue's thighs and whimpered. She squirmed uncomfortably her pants feeling very constricted as her fingers met the hot wet heat between Blue's legs. Her own skin turned golden.

The world glowed around them, as Blue gasped in pleasure and the magic between them started to swell.


Unnoticed, Dr. Aubry's corpse twitched and then rose up off the floor, blood still leaking from the slices that Lauren's feathers had made. It stumbled towards Lauren and Blue, hissing and turning away as the golden light beat it back.

Infuriated it turned and stumbled out of the room, in search of the one person Alvera hated above all others.


Quinn was kneeling in front of a small girl, slowly checking her. “You're being very brave,” she said spoke in soft tones. “Are you hurt anywhere? Did anyone hurt you?”  Because they had needed virgins at least Quinn didn't have to worry or deal with any rapes.

The young girl just shook her head, eyes wide, she hadn't spoken a word yet and Quinn doubted she would until the shock wore off.

The girl that Dianna was carrying had proven a bit more talkative as they went up the stairs, pausing on the second landing up to make sure the girls were all right. “Daddy's girlfriend has a shirt like that,” the girl said, pointing at the shirt that Dianna was wearing. “Mommy says it's a whore's outfit.”

The bar owner blinked in surprise, mouth opening and then closing.

Quinn hid a smile. “She's got you there, but you're my whore.” Quinn tried really hard not to laugh. “You all okay to walk? Because I can't carry you and aim the shotgun, and its really important that I stop the bad guys.”

There were a couple of nods, and one who kept crying.

Dianna shot Quinn a dark look, opening her mouth to make a snappy comeback when something in the basement shifted and she turned, looking back down the winding stairs. “Quinn,” she said softly, frowning a little. “Something's coming.”

Quinn nodded. “I know it's scary in here,” she said to the children. “But we need to keep going so we can get outside where it's safe. Dianna and I are going to keep you safe. So Dianna is going to start walking towards the doors, and I want you all to follow her. I'm going to shoot the supports that attach the stairs to the floor here, so it will be loud but it's just me.”

Quinn stood up and watched them go. She just smiled at Dianna, reassuringly. Once they were out of the way she turned and placed the muzzle of the gun next to the rusted railing bolted into the wall, and pulled the trigger. She knew that whatever was coming would merely be slowed down, there were tons of stairwells.

Quinn looked up the corridor. Carrying one child in each arm, Dianna did her best to shepherd the other three that were walking up the stairs. Despite Quinn's warnings there were some cries and fearful looks as the stairs behind them came down. Metal groaning on metal as it collapsed in a pile of rusted junk at the bottom.

If they could just make the entrance of the Asylum, Quinn thought, they'd have a chance to get the kids safely out of there.

Quinn couldn't see anything down the dark dusty hole she had created. She hoped Lauren and Blue were alright but there was nothing she could do. She was human, she would have to leave demon killing to the supernaturals. She started up the stairs catching up to the others.

“Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you.” Quinn took the hand of the smallest child, who seemed to be in shock, and helped guide them up to the exit.


They heard a voice that was barely a whisper. It grated across Quinn's nerves, she knew who it was immediately, even if the voice sounded different.

“Never going to stop me Quinn. I'm going to rip them all apart, just for you Maggie, make you watch me do it too!”

Quinn froze for a second then started moving. “Everyone outside. It's going to be okay,”  she said, swinging the shotgun around. “Okay little one, I need you to follow Dianna outside. Go on, I need to slow down the monster.” 

“Quinn.” Dianna looked at her worriedly. “What are you doing, I should stay?”

Laughter echoed off the dark walls, seeming to come from everywhere at once. “Run away Quinn! Run away like your little boy tried to. He cried for you, do you know that?”

“Dianna take them and get out of here, I don't think your weapons will work with this.  This is something more my speed.” Quinn held the shotgun casually to her shoulder waiting. “Alevra, what's wrong? You sound weak, dare I say useless.”

“Don't get yourself killed Maggie,” Dianna growled, picking up another child and herding them as quickly as she could for the front door. “I'll be right back!” she yelled over her shoulder.

“I'm free Quinn! Free of hell, and I'm going to enjoy what I'm going to do to you and your friends.” Alvera's voice was making odd crackling sounds as she forced the body she was using to speak through a neck that had been sliced open by Lauren. “They might close the gate, but my spirit's free!”

Dr. Aubry's body walked, slowly, disjointed movements jerking it, as the dead body emerged from the shadows opposite the stairs that Quinn and Dianna had brought the kids up. The thing gave Quinn a ghastly smile.

“You're not free; you've trapped yourself in a mortal body. Incapable of handling your demonic magic. You're a shadow of yourself, in a decomposing mess.”  Dr Aubry's body certainly was a mess, the woman was obviously very dead. “Once the portal shut, what's going to happen? Cause I'm guessing whatever they're doing is working, and you got so scared you jumped the gun to get free.” Quinn aimed the shotgun and fired into Dr. Aubry's right knee before doing the same to the left. Quinn watched the body fall forward with a meaty smack.

“I'll get another body.” Alvera clawed her way upright again, bone showing through the shotgun wounds as Dr. Aubry's body lumbered towards Quinn. “I think I'll take yours. Then maybe that half demon's outside. How about a few of the kids too. Wouldn't that be fun Mommy?”

“Not in the slightest,” Quinn replied, firing again. She wouldn't retreat she was the only thing standing between the world and this shadow of Alevra being let loose in it. Quinn was frustrated that she didn't know what to do, how to stop this thing was beyond her.

“I was your bitch once; I'm not going to be again.”

The third shot ripped a hole through Aubry's right shoulder, leaving the arm dangling there as the corpse staggered backwards and Alvera laughed again. “You can't stop me, you could never stop me!”

“I've always stopped you, everytime you try to enter this world I've stopped you. You're just too stupid to get the clue, I'm better than you.” Quinn fired again, and then quickly reloaded. She had one suicidal plan, one that involved Alevra invading her body and pulling the pin on the last grenade. 

She was sure that Dianna would be pissed at her.

Shredded fingers grabbed the end of the barrel, wrenching it upwards before she could shoot the body again. Alvera grinned, a ghastly sight considering the state of Dr. Aubry's face, grabbing Quinn and shoving her against the glass.

“Look out there. See them all?” Beyond the glass Quinn could see that the DA's helicopters were landed in the Asylum's courtyard. Agents swarmed over the place, several of them forcing Dianna to her knees while others gathered the five children. “Tell me, is it really worth saving? ” Alvera asked.

Quinn didn't have to think about it. “Yes. Despite the evil that men do, it is still better than the evil demons do. You forget I've lived in your world as your pet, I know what you're like. I know your dreams and ambitions. And yes this world is worth saving, worth protecting.” Quinn pulled the pin on the last grenade. The small metal piece was loud on the tile when it fell.

Alvera went still, the dead body not moving an inch as it looked down at the grenade in the human's hands.

“You'd kill yourself?”

“And you with me. It's full of fun things that makes demons go boom,” Quinn said, turning and shoving the live grenade deep into one of the slices in the doctor's reanimated body. 

Then Quinn shoved the corpse that was only being held together by demon magic back as hard as she could before scrambling to open the door. 

The blast caught Quinn before she could make it, sending her through the glass. She felt bones break and flesh sliced open.

She hit the broken cement walkway with a moan and rolled a couple of times.

Somewhere in the distance someone was screaming Quinn's name.

Quinn knew dimmly in the back of her head she was hurt pretty seriously. 


Dianna was being held down by four DA agents, but she was still a half demon and stronger than any of the men trying to secure her. She twisted wildly, writhing under them and managed to get an elbow free. Which she slammed into the nose of one of them, freeing her right arm. Then there was chaos as she thrashed her way free of the pile of men.

It didn't matter if they were going to shoot her, she didn't care. She just had to get to the bleeding form laying on the steps of the Asylum.

Curiously no one did shoot her as she crashed to her knees next to Quinn, eyes horrified by the blood pool already spreading around her lover's body. Incredibly gently she brushed red hair from Quinn's face. “Quinn, Quinn, can you hear me?” she asked, desperately, before looking back over at the officers aiming weapons at them.

“Get a fucking doctor over here!” she screamed.

Blue eyes rolled in their socket's but slowly Quinn's gaze fixed on Dianna.  “Sorry” Quinn mouthed, followed by, “I love you.”  Quinn didn't have breath enough to say the words. Dianna knew Quinn was only was alive because of the bond; somehow it had changed her, made her stronger, but not strong enough.

Someone behind them was shouting for a medic and someone was calling for an ambulance.

“No, don't you do this to me Maggie, don't you dare!” Dianna cried, holding onto Quinn's hand, as if she could keep the woman alive by sheer force of will. Tears streamed down her face without notice. “I love you, don't leave me,” she whispered, her entire body shaking as Quinn's eyes slid closed and her breathing slowed.


Lauren's magic sparked along her skin mixing with Blue's.

Her entire body vibrated under Lauren's touch and she surged against her, mouth gasping as their magic twined together spreading and building within. It was a physical thing around them, gold light that washed away the darkness of the Asylum everyplace it touched.

It wasn't enough though; Blue could still feel the wound in the world behind Lauren. It wasn't widening anymore, but it wasn't closing either.

“You need to help me out here. Come on relax, let your magic loose,” Lauren crooned. Lauren slowed her movements and withdrew her fingers letting them tease. “No need to be shy, your magic can light up the world. This little piece of darkness is nothing.”

“It's harder here,” Blue whispered, head thrown back as her body arched up against Lauren's touch. The darkness was set in its ways here, it fought their magic, pushing back against them. In the edges she could feel the spirits that haunted this place, waiting and hoping that they'd get a chance to attack.

One of them was Alvera, Blue could feel the demon's hatred from here.

She could do this though, could do what Lauren wanted, what they needed to do to finish this once and for always.

“More, please give me more,” Blue begged.

Lauren nodded. “Anything.” Lauren brought her wings back down caressing skin and creating a cocoon where only they existed. She thrust back inside Blue and added a finger. Slowly Lauren opened up Blue's magic, wider than she thought possible. The gold glow from her skin started to move up Blue's skin from where they touched.

It would take, Blue thought through the haze of arousal and magic, more than just a little death this time to do what they wanted. She clung to Lauren, mouth opening in little gasps as she felt herself hurling towards the edge of reason. “Love you, always loved you,” she said, over and over, voice rising as her climax did.

A death had opened the gate to hell, a death would close it. It had an elegant symmetry to it, Blue thought, the last thought she had as pleasure washed away everything. Blue spasmed around Lauren's fingers and her lithe body arched, muscles straining as she gave a wordless scream.

The magic exploded around them, rushing outward. Every spirit in its path dissolved away, the anger and pain healed in an instant by the energy that went off like a psychic bomb.

Somewhere, sounding far away, Lauren replied, “I have always loved you.” Before they were both carried away on the storm of magic.


Magic washed up through Quinn.

Quinn felt her bones reknit as well as, organs and tissue. She coughed and gasped for breath and nearly lost consciousness again.

There was a moment of silence and then the yelling started all over again, with the DA people scrambling about as they tried to figure out what had just happened. The ones that Dianna had hurt, getting up off the ground slowly in wonder. Old scars and injuries washed away as if they'd never been in the first place.

“I'm sorry,” Quinn babbled. “I couldn't stop her, and suddenly she just had me. She was going to hop from body to body starting with mine.” She needed Dianna to know she hadn't done that lightly, only as a last resort. “Couldn't let her use me like that or get loose in the world. I took the gamble with the grenade was too slow to get away. Sorry, I'm so sorry.” She held Dianna's hand like a lifeline.

“It's alright, everything's alright.” Dianna kissed her, laughing and crying at the same time.

“Lauren and Blue must have closed the gate.” She smiled, looking over her shoulder at the Asylum as an excuse to wipe away tears. “It's just a building now.” She said, in wonder.

“What do you mean it's just a building, wasn't it always a building?” Mark asked. Quinn recognized him as Captain of the DA.

Dianna gave him a dark look, before bending down and carefully picking up Quinn.

“We're leaving,” she announced.

“Hey, I can't let you just walk out of here,” The DA Captain said. Nearby agents tensed, guns still trained on the two of them.

Quinn let Dianna help her up. “We're not leaving the kids with them.” The children were from the Gray and had power; there was no way she was leaving them with the DA. “We need to take them to Melva,” Quinn said tiredly.

“You heard her, the kids are coming with us.” Dianna stared at the man as he looked back in shock. “Listen, we just closed a gate to hell, destroyed a full demon and cleansed the entire heart of the Gray Zone. We did all your work for you, this is the least you can do for us.” She paused. “And stop chasing Violet.”

The last part was non-negotiable and the DA man squared his shoulders. “Fine, but you don't leave the city until I find out what's happened here. Also, I can stop chasing her, but her Father will just send others to get her. I can't stop him from doing that.”

Dianna looked down at the woman she was carrying. “Good enough?”

“I'm not sure I can explain what happened, but come by the bar in a few days and we'll talk.” She looked up at Dianna. “Honey, I can walk, you can put me down now.”

“I know you can walk,” Dianna said, still carrying her as they moved away from the DA people and towards their car.

Quinn hoped Lauren and Blue would remember what she said about meeting up at Melva's place.


Quinn was sitting by the stove in Melva's kitchen drinking some truly awful tea. “I keep telling you I'm all fine. Stop staring at me.” She winced as she sipped more tea. “Do you have honey? Anything? To help with the taste.”

“No.” Melva said shortly. “Drink it as is. Do I look like I keep honey around?”

Quinn caught Dianna carefully hide a smile; she wasn't exactly one of Melva's favorite people after all.

“We know you're fine, we just want to make sure. Right, she's fine?” Dianna looked over at Melva.

“She's complaining and she's not bleeding all over my floor. She's fine.” Melva huffed, sticking out a crooked hand to point at Dianna. “You and I are still not friends.”

The door to the church was kicked open, not that it was a hard thing to accomplish, the rusty hinges snapped and it fell with a loud bang. Lauren filled the entry way wings and all and she was carrying a limp body in her arms. “Hello? Melva? I need help, she won't wake up.” Lauren's voice was filled with worry and fear. 

“Bring her here,” Melva demanded, standing and moving toward the back of the church. “Clear that,” she ordered Dianna, never glancing back as she left to fetch something from the rear.

Giving Melva a dark look, Dianna did as bid, pushing Quinn back down into her chair when she started to rise to help. “I have it.” Dianna said, sweeping everything off the pew and onto the floor.

Lauren also did as directed, carrying the young woman in her arms to the back of the chirch and to the table. She had tucked her wings in tight to her body, probably so she didn't destroy anything.

“What happened?” Dianna folded a piece of cloth to put Blue's head on.

“Eh... um... we created enough energy to close the portal,” Lauren said with a faint blush dusting her cheeks. “Maybe too much I don't know?”

“You healed Quinn.” Dianna caught Lauren's hand, pale eyes serious for once. “Thank you.”

Lauren ducked her head. “I didn't, Blue did. I'm just an energy generator, she focuses it.”

Dianna smirked, her serious moment done. “And how did you generate the energy for her this time? A little friction?” She grinned.

Lauren blushed even harder, and quickly looked at Quinn. “Uh... well... um.” She turned to Melva. “Can you help her?”

Dianna shook her head, emerging with more tea to press into Lauren's hands. “No. This is not a physical wound, it is not something I can heal.”

“What's wrong with her? She can't die!”

Melva crouched down next to the pew, brushing fair hair out of Blue's face. “Two people cannot inhabit one body, not forever.”

“So one of them is dying? Or dead?” Dianna blinked, really wishing she understood.

“But they're the same person, just... just... not. It's like a split personality.”

“It is exactly like a split personality.” A male voice echoed through the church, strong and deep. Melva ignored Dianna's start of surprise and, groaning, got back to her feet. “Fantastic, look what you four have done!”

“Done, what?” Dianna looked back and forth, clearly trying to find the source of the voice and what Melva was going on about. “Out!” Melva shoved Dianna and grabbed Quinn's arm in strong gnarled fingers. “Out! This is between them now.”

“Between who!” Dianna demanded, then yelped as Melva grabbed her ear and twisted. “OWE!”

Quinn got up slowly. “Melva, what's going on?”

“This is not for us to deal with. A higher power is now involved.” Melva grumbled. “I'll need to fumigate again.” She pushed and dragged Dianna towards the door. “Out, both of you.”

“Stop hurting my wife,” Quinn snapped, removing Melva's hand. “Start being nice to her or I'll stop helping out in the Gray. And what about the kids? We can't just leave them here if there's going to be some problem.”

“I'm making them sweets.” Melva ushered them both outside. “Stay here. He won't want you there while he talks to Lauren. This is outside your jurisdiction, Detective Quinn.” Melva gave a stained, toothless smile. “Stay,” she said again, pointedly at Quinn and slammed the door shut.

Dianna shook her head and turned to Quinn. “Did you just propose to me?”

“Uh... aren't we... I don't know what the proper term is, but I sure remember bonding.” Quinn felt her skin flush and she sucked in a breath as she was suddenly aroused. “Jesus how do you walk down the fucking street.”

“You said wife.” Dianna's smile turned predatory.

“Well does that work for you? Or is there another term for a bonded pair?”

“Wife is good.” Dinna leaned in. “Does your wife get a kiss after you nearly died on me?”

“Please,” Quinn said moving forward to meet her lips.


For a moment the church was silent. Melva had retreated to her back room to entertain the children. Then something shifted in the half-open roof above Lauren and a man leapt down to the floor, dark wings folding up as he tipped the dirty ballcap. “Lauren.”

Lauren blinked, her mouth fell open but for a few seconds she couldn't think of anything to say. Finally she asked. “Bob?”

“It's a good name don't you think?” Bob nodded to her, taking off his cap and setting it aside on the nearest pew. “I've been wanting to talk to you for a while now.” The beat up t-shirt was the same as the one he wore at the bar, except for the ripped areas where the wings had pushed through.

“You're an... You're like me? Why didn't you say anything, I've been lost.” Of course Lauren hadn't been born like this, her sister's twisted intentions had put this all into motion. “Why did you never say... anything?”

“Because you're not like me, at least you didn't start like me.” He sighed and rubbed at his neck, snorting a laugh. “I should have brought some beer.” He pushed over a pew and perched on the back of it. “It doesn't come with an instruction manual.”

Lauren shook her head. “It doesn't matter. Right now I feel like I'll die if she doesn't wake up.” While Lauren might have been a romantic at heart, she wasn't prone to melodrama.

“Gate was opened by a death; gate had to be closed by a death. That's a rule.” Bob watched her.

“Then I'll die too.” Somehow Lauren knew that to be true in her bones.

Bob sighed and looked down at he still woman on the pew. “You have to choose, which one do you want.”

Lauren looked at him in horror. “I can't choose that. That's... I love them both.”  Lauren knelt next to the still body and held a pale hand in her's. But she could decide, she knew without a doubt which one should live and which one would die. Blue had to die, her first love had to. That was Blue's whole purpose for being, to protect Violet. So Blue had already given her life, Blue had known, had figured it out. She swallowed and bowed her head. 

“Violet.” Would they survive the choice she'd just made? She didn't know.

“If it helps, Blue knew what would be required of her. She gave herself freely.” Bob reached out, stroking Violet's forehead once and then dropping his hand. “Done. Violet will live.”

It didn't help. Lauren sat next to Violet's body and cried. After a moment sniffling and wiping her eyes she looked back at Bob. “I guess you're not just here because of this.”  She still couldn't believe that Bob was an angel, Bob the drunk who sat at the end of the bar and grunted.

“No,” he said gently. “You cannot stay in the city. Two of our kind cannot claim the same city.”

Lauren would have been mad if she hadn't already planned on leaving. “I was leaving anyways. I can't put Quinn and Dianna in jeopardy with the DA by staying. They won't just let me go. Her father won't just let her go,” she said gesturing at Violet.

Bob's next smile was not kind. “You will deal with her father of course. He did... awful things to her. He is a man deserving of judgment.” Bob hopped down from the pew, wings spreading. “You've done well here, this Gray will not expand any further with the Asylum cleansed, but there are others that are still growing.”

“I don't understand. We're demons, why do we hate our own kind? What do we care if the Gray expands?”

Bob laughed, his smile becoming genuine as he pulled on the dirty ballcap, tugging it low over his face. “We're demon hunters. We used to be the devil's enforcers in hell, but we got a little ambitious. Hell doesn't want us anymore Lauren, we're cast out from both heaven and hell. It's in our interest to make certain this world stays free.”

“Is there a heaven? We only see demons here, nothing else.”

“God takes a hands off approach. Maybe he just wants us to do his dirty work, who knows.” He shrugged, turning to leave. “No telling Dianna or Quinn who I am. I like the bar.”

“They've never suspected? You just come and go regardless if its locked up or not.”

“What they suspect and what they know are two different things. Goodbye Lauren, we'll meet again at the end of days I suspect.”

Lauren certainly hadn't suspected, although she was surprised now that he'd let her bully him into helping clean up after Quinn had dove through the glass, shattering the window. “Bye, Bob. Wait how long do I have? I need to say good byes and grab some stuff. A day? Two?”

“Soon,” he said, as he spread his wings and leapt upwards, clearing the roof and disappearing into the darkness beyond.

Lauren looked at Violet, still holding her hand. “I'm sorry, I don't know if you'll forgive me for what I did or if I'll forgive myself. I need to go soon; I'm not sure where I'll go.  Maybe New York, there's a nice Gray there, lots of demons; it would be very hard for the DA to find me there.” She kissed Violet's hand and sighed. “Please wake up.”

Violet stirred at the kiss, making a small mewing sound, and her eyes fluttered open. Confused blue eyes focused on Lauren, and Violet winced. “Lauren?”

Lauren gave a watery smile. “Hey.”

“Why am I at Melva's?” Violet lifted her head to look around, seeing no one other than Lauren.

“Ah.. I... uh.. I brought you here. Violet what's the last thing you remember?” Lauren asked, at least Violet knew her this time.

“I…” The confusion grew and she looked around wildly. “I was at the DA place; Freddy let me out of the back door. Someone was in pain nearby, a lot of pain. I thought I could help. But…” She paused. “Why are you crying?”

“I'm just glad you're alright.” Lauren sniffed and wiped her face again. “I don't know what happened but someone, a woman, she took you to the Asylum. She was trying to open a portal to let Alevra back into this world. She needed your blood and your death to open the portal. It was bad, bad enough you retreated and Blue came out to protect you.”

“Blue…” Violet sat up, gripping Lauren's arm for stability. “Lauren, what happened? You're freaking me out.”

“Easy. You were stabbed you lost a lot of blood,” she said picking Violet up and setting her down gently in her lap. “We saved you, and the other children, but not in time. The portal started opening and we… Sacrifices were made to close it.” 

“Dianna? Quinn?” Violet jerked, eyes wide and worried, clearly imagining the worse.

“They're fine. They're around here somewhere,” Lauren reassured her, kissing Violet's hand again.

“Oh. I don't understand then, what sacrifices?”

“Blue's gone permanently. I had to chose, you were unconscious, so I had to choose one of you, or both of you would die. She won't be around to protect you if things get bad anymore.” Lauren couldn't look at Violet.

“Gone.” Violet shook her head. “She can't be gone, she's part of me. How could she be gone?”

“I don't know how,” Lauren snapped. “All I know is that a death opened the portal and a death was needed to close it. Since you had two personalities there was a loophole I guess, so only one of you had to die, not the whole physical package.”

Violet went silent, pulling away from Lauren and standing up shakily. “She's really dead?” she asked softly.

Lauren nodded miserably. Violet pulling away was almost physically painful. “I failed you and her, I'm sorry.” She should go, needed to go.

“What happens now?” Violet asked in a small voice.

“Whatever you want?”  Lauren said, standing up slowly. She flexed her wings once experimentally. “I can't stay, in this city. I have to leave. The DA will be looking for me and I'm going to have to go to a large city where I'll be lost in the crowd.”

“You're going to leave me?” Violet looked at her fearfully. “Is it because you… you would rather it be Blue here?”

“No. I loved you both, equally and the same. The hardest thing I've ever had to do in my short life was choose which one died. Believe that, please. To me you were the same entity different part of the whole. Please don't hate me for what I did, please. I have to leave though, there can't be more than one of my kind in a city, apparently there is already one here.”

“How could there be more than one of what you are, we don't even know what that is.” Violet paused. “Do we?” She grabbed Lauren's arm, as if she could stop her from going anywhere.

“I'm an Angel.  We're just another type of demon, only we hate our fellow demons, so we kill them. The Gray is our hunting ground, that's why there cannot be more than one in a city.” Lauren placed her hand on top of Violet's. She wanted to take Violet with her, because Violet was hers, was her mate. But she just stood stock still, hand on top of Violet's, and breathed out and in. “I'm still learning what being an Angel means.”

Violet studied their hands. “I don't want you to leave me again.”

“I have to. I'll contact you when I find a place that's mine. Maybe you could... join me?”

“Yes.” Violet said immediately and then paused. “I need, I have to find out what this means to me though. Maybe I'll stay with Melva for a bit? I need to learn more about my magic and...” Her shoulder's drooped. “I had a part in the ballet here.”

“I'll talk to the other Angel maybe he'll let me come see you preform.” She frowned it would be dangerous the DA would be watching for her.

Violet smiled sadly. “My father will be watching for me. I'll tell Vera I can't.”

“I could kill him.” Lauren frowned at herself. The words had just come out as well as the overwhelming emotion to protect.

“What?” Violet pulled back.

Lauren hung her head. “I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I just... I'd do anything to keep you safe.”

“I just want him to leave us alone, I don't want him dead.” Violet bit her lip and then leaned in, kissing Lauren.

Lauren returned the kiss, although she couldn't help thinking Blue would have let her kill him, but Blue was gone and this was the world she'd chosen.

“Go.” Violet said quietly when they'd stopped to breath. “Go or I won't be able to let you leave.”

“I'll contact you when I have a place that can be ours,” Lauren said, stepping away from Violet. Her heart still ached from the sacrifice of Blue. Her wings unfurled, and like Bob had done moments before, she flew up to the roof and then out into the night.

Below her, Violet wrapped her arms around herself as she watched Lauren fly away. “I'll see you soon.” She whispered.


Epilogue to come.