Gray Line, part 7


Quinn took another shower, while Dianna did whatever. She would not think about what the woman was doing behind closed doors.

If they were going to meet with Dianna’s father, she couldn't do it smelling like arousal. She cracked her neck and slid the shirt on her brother had left for her. It was large but she could put the vest on and no one would tell. He hadn't seen her since . . . well she'd been larger before everything had happened. Now she had work and working out.

Behind those doors, Dianna was indulging herself in a good thorough sulk. She'd just had one of the worst nights of her entire life and she thought she deserved a little time to feel sorry for herself. When she heard the shower turn off though, she reached over and grabbed the bedside phone. Her cell was missing. Quickly she dialed a number from memory.

"Helga, yes, yes, it's me . . . Helga!" The older woman shut up. "Yes the bar burned, yes I'm fine. I don't know what’s going to happen now, just tell everyone to stay home. I'll find out what happens and let you know. Okay?" She listened again and gave a sad smile. "I'm fine I don't know why I’d sound different. Talk to you soon." She hung up before there were any other questions.

Now to see what to wear to see good old dad.

"You ready?" She asked, striding out of her doors wearing the only clothes that would fit. Quinn thought she was a slut, so she might as well dress the part. The T-shirt was at least two sizes too small and rode high on her stomach, and tight against her breasts. The jeans were low on her hips and showed glimpses of the thong she'd chosen.

She didn't want to know why Quinn's brother had left clothes like that for her.

Quinn was sliding the holster over her arm. "One sec . . ." She nearly swallowed her tongue. She could not go into a den of succubi and incubi turned on, that was just a recipe for disaster. "That's what my brother brought for you to wear?"

"I think they fit nicely." She bent over, tugging on the thigh-hugging boots and flashed a look up at the cop. "Don't you think?"

Quinn nodded, she desperately wished she could go back and take back last night and her admission to Dianna, it just made things harder.

"Gotta be the daughter of an incubus after all, right?" There was a bitter note there as Dianna snatched up her coat that smelled like fire.

"Dianna." Quinn said reaching out and snagging her arm. She heard that bitterness and suddenly felt ashamed. "Dianna." She said again. "I'm sorry . . . I'm sorry if I did anything . . ." God she didn't know how to say it. "I like Dianna, the woman I see underneath everything she thinks she supposed to be. I'm sorry if I made you feel somehow beneath me."

"Don't worry Detective; I know my place in this world." Dianna lifted her head, damn if she'd feel bad about being who she was. "I've had enough humans tell me where I belong. Come on, we don't want to be meeting dad during the night. It won't go well."

Fuck, that hadn't gone well. "Yeah, you're right." She opened the guitar case on the couch. "You want any weapons, he left plenty."

"I'm a lover, not a fighter." Dianna purred, but she did take a nice large intimidating looking revolver for herself, which she shoved into her jacket pocket.

Quinn closed the case and slid a jacket on. More to hide the gun than anything else really. She picked up the car keys and tossed them at Dianna. "Let's go."

"So now I get to drive my car?" Dianna knew she was being unreasonable, but she just couldn't seem to stop.

Quinn looked at her confused.  "You've always driven youre car.  I only drove it here because you were having a meltdown.  Understandably so."  She opened the front door and stood outside waiting.

“It wasn’t a meltdown.” But the words sounded hollow even to her own ears as Dianna walked out past the cop and beeped open the doors on the car. Throwing herself into the driver’s seat she waited for Quinn. “You ever meet an incubus before?”

Quinn locked the front door and wondered if they'd be back.  She made her way to the car and got in. 

"No, I don't think so. I'm pretty certain I'd remember, though, if I had."  She hated this unbalanced feeling, and cursed herself for changing their dynamic.  She shouldn't have told Dianna, now she'd just made things worse.  Right now the only thing keeping her out of the DA clutches was Dianna.   So she'd fucked everything up, her fault.  She just needed to own up to it and move on or they weren't going to live through it.  "Any words of wisdom?”

“Yeah, don’t think about sex.” Dianna answered darkly, shifting into gear and pulling away from the suburban neighborhood. This was not going to be a very fun encounter and she’d hoped they wouldn’t have to resort to it at all. “Don’t react to anyone he has there; remember, you’re a cop out here, but in there, you’re just another human.” Dianna clenched the wheel.

“You should have some protection at least, from being with me.” She said the last quietly, not looking over at Quinn.

It would be hard not to react but it wasn't as if she could call for backup.  "I will do my best to forget I'm a cop in there."  Sex normally wouldn't be an issue but after that dream and the clothes Dianna was wearing . . .  She took a deep breath and focused on her son.

“And don’t provoke anyone.” Dianna glanced over at her, feeling the shifting emotions. She was getting entirely too good at feeling Quinn’s emotions, that was a very bad sign.

"Fine, look, maybe I should just stay in the car." Of course, then she'd be worried about Dianna the whole time.

“We won’t be driving there.” Dianna gave her a crooked smile. “No roads that we want to drive on down there, he’s near the asylum.” She looked back over at the road, trying her best not to remember her previous two trips to that place.

"Fuck."  Was all Quinn said, a shiver worked her way up her spine.  She'd heard of the place, but she'd never been there herself.  It was in the Gray, the heart of the Gray, not a place a human or police officer should go.

“Fun days.” Dianna said grimly, driving them as far into the Gray as she could reasonably get them before the roads dissolved into complete disrepair. She parked next to what had once been a pharmacy, the front of the store having long ago collapsed out into the street and stepped out.

Pulling a large bill out of her pocket she tucked it under the windshield wiper. “There, maybe the car will be here when we get back.” In response to Quinn’s curious look she shrugged. “Trolls.”

"Right."  Quinn had never seen a troll and she was fairly certain she didn't want to.  She followed close behind Dianna, her gun drawn, not that she was certain it would do any good, but it made her feel better.

“Are you Catholic?” Dianna asked suddenly as they walked past burnt-out cars. It was somewhere around two, but as usual there was no sun inside the Gray, only cloudy skies. It was best to make the approach during the daytime though, many of the worst things slept during the daytime.

"Mostly.  My dad is a Priest."  But after what had happened, Quinn’s faith had waned like the moon.  Of course her da hadn't loved them enough to stay after their mother died; he had lost himself in a bottle and then in the solace of the church.  The priesthood had eagerly taken back one of their fallen.  A nun and a priest fell in love, he was welcomed back and she had an unmarked grave in a Protestant graveyard, in death still rejected by her faith. 

She loved him, it wasn't his fault the church was built on double standards.  "I haven't really been to church since I buried my son.”

“Dear old dad has a thing about corrupting Catholics, sees it as his duty.” Dianna rolled her eyes. “Just wanted you to be aware of it, in case.” There were a lot of things that Quinn should be aware of but there wasn’t enough time to tell her everything. “You ever been near the heart of the Gray?” She watched the streets; every block brought them deeper, the very atmosphere around them seemed to become more foreboding.

 "No.  When you join the force you're told very quickly the Gray is not your jurisdiction.  If you follow a perp inside of it, you'll have to pay your own medical bills.  I patrol the barrier and if it looks like a suspect might make a break for the Gray I shoot them in the leg to prevent it."  She'd only done it once but since he was beating up elderly women and raping them, nobody had felt sorry for him.

 “So you don’t know.” Dianna chuckled. “You’re something of a hero around here, Quinn. These people are in awe of the mighty demon slayer.” She turned, gesturing behind them where, in abandoned buildings and alley ways, dirty faces peered out to watch them.

 Quinn's face turned red in embarrassment.  "I wasn't a hero, just a mother bear defending her cub."  A day late and a dollar short, all she remembered was the anger and thinking that bitch demon might kill her, but Quinn was going to take her with her.

“Doesn’t matter, you’re still the human that killed someone that was causing a lot of trouble to these people’s lives.” Dianna looked away and kept walking, this was her second foray into the Gray in a handful of days. If she thought he’d listen, she might have considered praying to God for help.

“She deserved everything she got.”

"No argument there.  Hope my husband is roasting next to her in Hell."  She clamped her jaw shut, not wanting to go there.  "How much longer?"  She wanted to be out of the Gray before dark.

“It’s hard to judge.” Dianna shrugged again. “If we’re lucky before dark, if not, well… there are worse things than trolls out here. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I kind of wish Lauren was with us. For being all quiet, she sure likes ripping demons apart.” They were getting closer though; she could feel the dampness starting to settle into her bones that she always associated with the asylum.

 "I still haven't seen her do her weird shape-changing, demon-killing mojo thing.  So I'll take your word for it."  It was still really hard to associate the quiet mousy woman with a demon killer.  The farther they moved into the Gray, the more Quinn felt like her nerves were being drawn tight until they were brittle.  Every cell in her body screamed at her to leave, start walking back the way they came and not look back.

 “She’s a good kid.” Dianna said quietly, feeling the same edginess. “I hope she’s all right.” Which was the entire point of this little trip, they needed information. Needed it bad enough to come here.

 “There.” The half-demon said finally, pointing toward what had once been a park. It was full of dead trees now and brown grasses. “See the building on the other side?” She carefully ignored the asylum walls that they could see from where they stood. It sang out to a part of her, calling her and whispering promises. “That’s his lair.”

 Quinn let out a breath.  "Daylight's wasting, let's get this done."  As pep talks went, it sucked.

 Face tight, Dianna nodded and moved quickly. If she refused to look toward the heart of the Gray, she could pretend it wasn’t there and maybe the siren’s song would abate a little.

It didn’t of course, but it made it a little easier to make it through the dead park, the wintry trees standing silent sentinel to their passage. The building that he had chosen as his had once upon a time been a shopping complex. Brightly colored signs advertising wares still hung from the outside.

 “We’re expected.” The bar owner said quietly to Quinn, voice tight as she spotted a familiar corpse-like figure waiting by the main doors. It was early for Bachi to be up and around.

 "I suppose that means I can't shoot it."  Quinn said, easing her finger from the trigger.  She wondered why an incubus would make his home in a shopping center and not in a strip joint; this seemed more geared toward a demon of greed than lust.

 Dianna really wished she would, but it was too late now as they stopped in front of Bachi. The demon smiled at her, and again she felt that familiar flesh crawling sensation at the skeletal head's expression.

 “Couldn’t stay away, could you?” He laughed.

 “Stuff it, Bachi, I’m here to see dad, not you.”

 “I’m hurt.” He leered at her and then seemed to notice Quinn. “You brought him a present; maybe he won’t be so angry at you after all.”

“She’s off-limits.” Dianna growled.

“We’ll see.” Bachi licked his lips, pushing open the door for them.

Quinn didn't like being talked about as if she wasn't there, and she really didn't like being talked about as if she was a piece of meat.  Wisely though, she held her tongue and said nothing; just followed behind Dianna, gun securely in her hand as a token of security.

Inside, the shopping mall had been transformed. Each store was turned into a play theme, at night they would be full of demons that were attracted by the incubus’s power, drawing them to what he had to offer. That was how he controlled a fair size of the Grey, keeping the area in his debt by exploiting their lusts.

“He needed the room.” Dianna said, swallowing as she passed by the pretty girls that were walking around. Bachi led them through the mall and she shivered as she felt the lusts and hurts washing around her. It was always confusing for her in here.

“To exploit.” She explained, grasping at straws.

Quinn glared at the scantily clad women, some of them she'd bet were barely legal if that.  She glared at them to keep them moving so they wouldn't tempt Dianna.  She moved closer to the half-demon.  "A playground for the depraved.  Fun.”

Sweat beaded along the half-demon’s scalp and she gritted her jaw, taking refuge in Quinn’s honest indignation. The depraved around her were not only demons; the Gray called to all sorts of desperate people. Runaways, murderers, abusers, anything and everyone was welcome.

 “Seat of his power.” She groaned, feeling someone’s nearby torture tug at her.

It truly was the land of freedom she thought darkly.

“He’s waiting for you.” Bachi had stopped in front of one of the larger stores, eyes watching Quinn as he mentally undressed the human. He wondered if she’d scream for mercy or not.

Quinn rolled her eyes at the look. 

She'd seen it plenty in rapists and other abusers.  Checking her out, wondering where the chink in her armor was, how they could break her.  She'd seen it plenty and it disgusted her but it no longer fazed her.  She put a hand on Dianna's back, wanting to reassure her that it was okay, that she was here and had her back no matter how bad it got.  She nearly gasped at the tingle as her hand made contact with Dianna's back.  Some sort of static charge. 

Her grip on the gun was unwavering though, and her eyes never left the thing in front of them, wanting to use it so badly on him it made her finger itch to move.

The half-demon startled in shock at the contact on her bare back and then her muscles relaxed. The touch reinforced her link with the cop and she selfishly indulged in the other woman's emotions. They overrode everything else and she took in a deep breath, pleased that the barrage of emotions was fading. Ignoring Bachi, she moved through the doors and into her father's private domain. Here there were both pretty girls and boys, her father had no preference.

These were his private playthings, they all had the glazed-over look of someone fully addicted to an incubus. They'd do anything he asked them, anything at all.

"Come to pay me back what you owe me?" The masculine voice was not happy as he stepped into view, naked except for a robe that did nothing to cover his perfectly sculpted body.

"Malax." Dianna swallowed, watching the dark-haired man stride toward them.

"Daughter." He wasn't watching her though, those devastatingly blue eyes were focused on Quinn.

It was hard to be quiet; Quinn wanted to ask who the hell Malax was. But she managed and when his eyes fixed on her she drew every ounce of will power she had learned dealing with Dianna and hundreds of other demons and half-breeds over the years.

She could feel his gaze like physical fingers, touching her; in response she drew back the hammer of the gun in her hand and thought of her son covered in blood.

"This is Detective Quinn." Dianna swallowed again, tense even with the feel of Quinn's hand on her back. Meetings with Malax were never pleasant.

"Quinn . . . ahh yes." Understanding dawned and Malax laughed, turning to help himself to a glass of something that a pretty young human teenager fetched him. "Did you bring her here to pay your debt to me? I admit it's an unusual choice but she does make a striking figure."

Quinn's teeth ground together, it was so hard not to say anything.

"She's mine." Dianna slid an arm up along Quinn's, sliding it around the cop's waist, touching skin. She needed this contact or she'd completely loose herself here.

"Is she now?" Malax smiled, an expression that sent the nearest of his harem to their knees, quivering near him. He played with the hair on the head of the nearest.

Quinn nearly misfired the gun at the touch. She swallowed and almost moaned. Absently she relaxed the hammer of the gun and took her finger away from the trigger.

"If she is not my gift, you owe me the rest of your mortgage on the bar." He laughed a beautiful sound. "I rather like playing banker, it amuses me that you were forced to come to me to get money."

Dianna's hand clenched in anger. "I did what I had to." The story of her life. "I'm here because we need information, something you have a lot of."

"Information is pricey and you already owe me so much." He walked closer, smiling pleasantly. "Perhaps you'll have to prove yourself again. Do you remember how pleasant that was? Bachi does." He looked slyly at Quinn, enjoying these word games.

Quinn's gaze darted to the thing at the door her eyes narrowing.

"Didn't know that, did you, human? Would you like me to show you how I had Dianna prove she was my daughter?" Malax laughed again at the look on his daughters face.

The cop’s mouth opened to say something but then she closed it, hating it but having to trust in Dianna. This was not a place she understood, words uttered could be held against her or bind her in promises not intended.

"She's not a part of the deal." Dianna stepped in between them, face tight. "We need information on a demoness and where a friend of ours is. It's not much for someone who knows everything that everyone wants in the Gray."

"Tell him he can have the bar. Tell him you forsake it, he can resell it and recover his monetary loss. He's not going to help." She said the words in a rush, breaking her silence.

Dianna's back stiffened under Quinn's touch but Malax's eyes sharpened. "You'll forsake your claims on the bar to me?" He almost purred at that.

"Yes." Dianna's whisper was harsh. "If that's the price." It hurt more than she'd expected.

Bingo, he knew shit that could help them. The bar was gone, burned in demon fire a worthless piece of property that no one would buy.

Malax moved right up into Dianna's personal space, fingers stroking her cheek. "All of your claims." He repeated.

She jerked her head with a nod, out of his touch.

Quinn's eyes narrowed, she didn't like the sound of that. "Wait. What does he mean, all of them?"

"Doesn't matter." Dianna hissed, as Malax's attention swung to the human. He stepped around his daughter, eyes almost luminous as he moved closer to Quinn. "The mighty demon slayer herself." His voice purred as he drew closer to her. "I should welcome you properly."

Quinn raised the gun up, "Not if you want to keep that trouser snake working between your legs." It was level with his crotch. "Knowing my brother, this is loaded with something that will hurt a little."

Malax smiled a radiant expression as he began to focus his entire will on Quinn. Dianna slid a hand against his cheek, turning his head toward her before things got ugly. "She's not part of the deal." The half-demon repeated. "You want the bar, you give me the information and we complete the deal. Touch her and you get nothing."

Her father hesitated; he wanted Quinn, that was obvious. Slowly, he stepped away and Dianna shook with relief.

Quinn was tense enough she expected to shit a diamond. "I want to know what he means by all your claims."

"The human was with Melva today, seems to be tagging along with Melva's little dimwit of an assistant." He flicked his robe over his arousal. "You'll find them in the old church. As for Alvera, she desires a way back into this world. Something that she thinks your human can take away from her."

Both of them ignored Quinn, father and daughter staring at one another. "That is what you wished, isn't it?" He smiled and Dianna slowly nodded.

"Who is after Lauren, tell us that and we have a deal." Dianna said, almost forgetting that bit.

"Alvera of course. It has a beautiful symmetry to it don't you think?" He laughed again. "A powerful foe, I will be interested in seeing who wins, either way will suit me." The demon held out his hand.

Reluctantly, Dianna let go of Quinn and held out her own which he grabbed. Bone crunched on bone and her legs folded under her as she went to her knees with a cry of pain. "You are nothing to me now." He growled. "All you had is mine; your claim on my domain revoked."

Quinn fired, an instinct, to save her friend, but she did not fire at Malax but at his seat of power. Most major demons like to keep a reservoir of power stored near them. In case, just in case. A totem carved into his bed, a symbol of power collecting every lusty thought and deed. "Let go of her now. Or I shoot you next."

"Feisty aren't you?" Malax let go, smiling as he stepped away. "I will love to get to know you better." He promised as Dianna got shakily to her feet.

Quinn wanted to say something, but she decided not push her luck. She moved to Dianna's side.

"Are you okay?" She asked whispering into Dianna's ear as she flicked the safety on and stuffed the gun into the back of her pants.

Her arms went around Dianna, helping her.

"Peachy." Dianna gritted her teeth; fairly certain he'd just broken bones in her right hand as Quinn helped her to her feet. Malax watched them with hooded eyes and she wanted to get the hell out of there. "We should go, now."

Quinn nodded and herded them to the door. "I'm sorry; I should have kept my mouth shut." She said quietly. She couldn't help feeling this was her fault.

"Was worth it to see you aim a gun at his dick." Dianna forced a grin, shoving past Bachi and out into the mall.

"I should have pulled the trigger." Quinn said with a glare at what's his name at the door. "Uh, did you really sleep with that, that . . . thing?"

"I had to prove I was his daughter." Dianna jerked her arm out of Quinn's touch, she couldn't bear to feel the disgust that she was certain would follow. Curious and sometimes hostile eyes watched them leave.

"Would you stop it?" Quinn said exasperated. "I don't think any differently of you, other than sorry you felt you had to do something you didn't want to."

"Let's just get out of here." Dianna said, holding her right hand. It throbbed painfully and was already starting to swell. Bastard had broken something in it.

Quinn sighed, rebuffed. "Yeah." She fished the gun out of her pants and flicked the safety off. She didn't really trust Malax to just let them go.

"Where to now?"

"We should find Lauren I guess?" Dianna cradled her hand to her chest, walking faster as they left the front doors to the mall. The trees seemed even more foreboding now and she wondered if that was just her imagination.

"How pissed is your dad going to be when he finds out he just got a pile of hellfire scorched earth?"

"He knows. He wants the land it was on. He'll use it to expand the Gray." Dianna's words were short and clipped by pain. "He's pissed I won't be paying him five grand a week anymore though."

Fuck and Quinn thought they'd gotten the better end of the deal. She sighed. "Alright let’s find Lauren and I’ll try not to make things worse by talking."

"Don't stop now." Dianna forced a grin. "I mean you could.. QUINN!" She yelled, seeing the thin stick of a man suddenly dart out from between the dead trees at the human. Bachi moved with a deadly silent intent, blade gleaming in his right hand as he leapt at the human.

With years of training behind her Quinn didn't even hesitate she turned and fired; three shots to the chest and two to the head.

They fell in a tangle of limbs, Quinn cursed as the gun flew out of her hand.

Bachi tumbled into Quinn, thrashing as the bullet holes she'd shot him with smoked. Still not dead even with all that damage. "You son of a bitch . . ." Quinn fumbled with her pistol, awkward in her left hand; the fingers in her right weren't working too well at the moment. Before she could manage it the demon's convulsing slowed and then stopped as he died, tangled up on top of Quinn.

He was surprisingly heavy, and Quinn grunted trying to push him off of her.

"Quinn?" Dianna gave up on the gun, using her good hand to help push the dead demon off the cop. "You okay?"

Quinn got up slowly; she had to wonder if that was meant for her. "Come on, let’s get going before any more surprises."

One last kick and Dianna nodded, jaw tight with pain.

Without hesitating, Dianna handed her gun over to the Detective.

Quinn's nostrils flared when their skin touched and she had a sudden desire to crush her lips to the other woman's. She yanked her hand back and shoved the gun into her holster.

For a brief second pain was washed away in something far more pleasant and Dianna's lips quirked up in a grin at the human. "You're dangerous."

Quinn blinked. "What?"

"Those deep emotions of yours." Dianna sighed as the pain crept back in. "Come on."

Quinn licked her lips as she watched Dianna's lips move. She had to shake her head slightly to shake loose her thoughts. "What about them?" She moved to follow, feeling warm she undid the top button on her shirt.

"I can feel them from over here." Which was true, the pain masked them a bit, but she could feel Quinn's arousal and anger. The combination was intoxicating. "I hope the information we got was worth it."

Following didn't help because she had to look at Dianna's ass highlighted in those tight jeans. It had to be Malax's influence she'd been fine before entering that place.

"Did we really get anything?" She asked voice cracking

"Sure." Dianna was having trouble focusing as she felt where Quinn's desires were going. Since when did she have to be good? She was half-demon for god’s sake! "Alvera's behind the attacks on Lauren, we didn't know that. Or that she's trying to come back."

Her emotions really didn't seem to be all that deep right now. "Okay. That is something new. How did she find out about Lauren? I can't even find out about Lauren." She put a hand over the cut on her arm, it was hot to the touch and slick with blood, she squeezed it tightly needing the pain to clear her head as her dream from this morning came back to her.

Dianna stopped abruptly; they were only a few blocks away from the edge of the Gray now, and turned to grab Quinn's shoulder with her good hand. "You have to stop." Pale eyes were wide and dilated. "Please, you're torturing me."

"I'm trying." Quinn said quietly. "I was fine until the attack, keeping everything buried; your father did something to me." She didn't know that for sure but suddenly her control was at its ragged end.

The half-demon whimpered, eyes closing at the touch. "Please." She breathed.

Dianna's skin was cool and soft to the touch. Quinn could feel every exhale against her skin. She felt like she was burning where Dianna touched her. "Let me go Dianna, I can't seem to help myself." Everything was suddenly so close to the surface.

"Can't." The other woman groaned and then she pulled Quinn against her, exalting in the feel of her body pressed against each other. Not caring anymore she tilted her head, wanting a kiss, needing one more than she thought was possible. Aching for it.

"I want you more than anything." It was true but this wasn't the place for such admissions, but it didn't stop her from closing the gap and kissing Dianna with all the passion she had stored up.

Moaning, Dianna turned them, pushing Quinn up against an abandoned storefront. Desire and passion, the emotions swept through her so hot they burned everything else away. She needed Quinn or was it that Quinn needed her? She couldn't tell whose emotions they where.

Quinn felt hot enough to light up the night sky. She bit and sucked at Dianna's lips, while hands slipped along bare flesh to find purchase under that too short shirt.

Her cop's brain told her it wasn't right, none of it. It screamed of a setup. Except it felt so extremely right. Dianna was inside her skin, touching places that had never been touched, inflaming passions she didn't even know she had. The cop in her wouldn’t shut up that something was off.

Diana leaned her head against the rough wall, trembling with desire. Fuck--she was going to die if she didn't get some release soon; she needed this like she needed breathing and right now she would have gladly given up breathing to have Quinn. "This is a bad idea, worse idea doing it here. We can’t stay here.”

Quinn's breath caught at the kiss against her skin. "Later, someplace where your father isn't around. Sorry, so sorry, I put us at risk." He'd gotten to her somehow made all those private emotions rise uncontrollably to the top

“Why are you having such a hard time now?” Dianna murmured, suddenly grabbing Quinn’s arm so she could peer closer at the small wound. It still was bleeding a little, bright-red blood seeping through. But around the edges there were flakes of something darker, almost black and she suddenly understood what Bachi had tried to do.

“Bastard.” She whispered. “Bachi’s blade was coated, probably had a bit of Malax’s blood on it, that’s why you’re having trouble. The blood of an incubus can unlock all sorts of inhibitions.” Unaccountably, the half-demon felt sadness at that. So all of this was because of the blood, not because Quinn had actually decided she wanted her.

Firmly, and against every instinct in her, Dianna pushed away from the human.

Quinn gave a bitter laugh.  Her blue eyes were dark as they watched Dianna push away from her.  "That doesn't mean those aren't my emotions, he didn't give them to me, force them on to me.  He just brought them to the surface."  She pushed away from the wall and straightened her clothes.  "But wait I'm Quinn, I'm Robocop, I can't possible feel anything for anyone.  I'm a sexless creature that vaguely looks human.  Let me tell you Theron, those were all mine, as embarrassing as it is to have them all brought to the surface and laid bare, that was all me." 

She kicked the wall in frustration.  "Just go, just start walking.  I'll follow 10 feet behind so I don't fucking taint you with my feelings."  Quinn didn't feel any better for the outburst because Dianna was still there.  She could see a bloody handprint, hers, just under Dianna's breast.  Desire spiked again, remembering the feeling of Dianna's skin.  "Just go."  She said again, her voice laced with misery.

“Taint me?” Dianna laughed. “Quinn, do you even realize who it is that you’re talking to right now? You can’t taint me, those emotions…” The half-demon hesitated. “They’re strong, just like you, and beautiful.” She looked away. “But you shouldn’t have been forced to share them with me like this, in the middle of the Gray.”

Quinn nodded, her expression was still miserable.  "Let's just get going."  She wasn't a hundred percent positive Dianna wasn't just being nice so they could get the hell out of this place.  "Before I share more than my emotions."  The heat was coming back, radiating out from her bones.

“I would really like it if you would.” Dianna groaned though and turned, starting to walk. Why was she having to be the good one? She was a half-demon for fucks sake! The throbbing pain in her hand was the only reason she could avoid jumping Quinn right there and then.

Quinn watched her go, holding back until she felt that Dianna was far enough in front of her.  Then slowly she started moving.  Focusing on breathing, hoping to gather all her scattered emotions and put them back down deep inside before she got them killed.  She nearly had just now; overwhelming Dianna, distracting them both like that in the Gray was deadly.

 “I know where he was talking about. It isn’t far.” Dianna called behind her, nerves jangling from their recent exchange. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d gone so many days without release, and now after having tasted Quinn, she was finding it very hard to simply walk away. Even the throbbing pain in her hand wasn’t enough to fully distract her from the throbbing between her legs.

 "Okay."  Quinn said from behind.  This was torture, why couldn't half-demons be ugly, why did Dianna have to go show her that behind all those facades she was actually a decent person.  She cared for Lauren that much was obvious; she even kind of cared about her, or respected her for killing Alvera. 

 The cut in her arm pulsed each step heat and desired bubbled from somewhere inside of her.  Fucking incubus's and their fucking games, she thought angrily and then deliberately kicked a large chunk of cement stubbing her toe.  The flash of pain momentarily cleared her head.

 “Stop hurting yourself!” Dianna grated out harshly without looking back, wobbling in front of Quinn. This was intolerable, something was going to have to give or she was going to kill someone! She never wanted to be linked with a human, hadn’t even known it could be this intense or she would have run away screaming before Quinn had even introduced herself.

 "Sorry."  Quinn said quickly, confused how Dianna knew what she was doing back here.  They needed to have a talk and soon, this had started with that kiss back at the bar before she had left.

 “Just… don’t do that.” Dianna growled, quickening her pace. The sooner they were out of the street and had found Lauren, the better. She wasn’t going to be able to survive much more of this.


Alvera, dark goddess of the down below, seductress and tempter of men's souls, wasn't very happy.  She stared at the body at her feet.  "What is that?"

The minions shifted nervously chirping in their tongue.  The blob like thing moved forward a slit formed making a mouth.  "That is Challa.  I believe."

The demoness poked it with a stiletto-clad foot.  "The girl?"

"Still on the loose.  Also to give you more bad news, the DA picked up Maggie Quinn, she escaped, which from what I understand is a good thing.  The agent in charge was going to kill her.  It seems like she's pissed off the man."

"I understand the feeling, but she's mine to kill."  Alvera said drawing back her bloodied foot.  "Get me the Blood Witch, I need to know what Challa saw.  That abomination needs to be put down before she upsets the balance of things."

Everyone fled to do her bidding.



Lauren followed the dancing and singing Blue, not really sure where they were going but really, she felt compelled to chase after Blue and make sure nothing happened to her.  Which was silly because Blue had been taking care of herself just fine before Lauren popped into her life.   Clutched to Lauren's chest was her sister's black bag.  The tea had helped some but the shakes were coming back, she'd have to pick a vial and inject herself soon, the muscles were starting to cramp in her neck and along her spine.

“Here, showers.” Blue came to a sudden stop at the edge of the Gray, pointing at one of the few buildings that held life still in it. The old YMCA was still in operation, stubbornly resisting the Gray that had crept around it. “Hot showers.” She practically moaned the word as she turned to look at Lauren, eyes wide.

"Thanks."  Lauren said with a smile.  She had to wonder how this place had stayed free of demons.  Moving forward into the building she looked around suspiciously.

“Don’t worry about them.” Blue grabbed Lauren’s hand, pulling her toward the side entrance that she used when she visited. A group of men lounged by the door, weapons quite visible as they talked and joked back and forth. Harley bikes pulled up nearby were festooned with colors and elaborate paint jobs, the brighter the better.

“They keep an eye on things.” She explained, threading her fingers with Lauren’s as she brightly waved at the nearest bald man with a huge mustache.

Lauren blushed as Blue threaded their fingers together and she weakly smiled at the bald man as she was dragged behind Blue.

“You don’t talk much do you?” Blue giggled, as the men made way and bowed to her as she passed. “They’re silly.” She pronounced, leading Lauren through the back ways of the complex and toward the showers.

"Silly isn't really a word I would use to describe them."  Lauren said to prove she could talk.  As they came to the showers, the young woman blinked.  "Ah, it's open shower, no private stalls."  She wasn't certain her face could get redder.

 “No one will bother us.” Blue promised, shoving a bar across the door to lock it from the inside. There’d been problems with that a few times until the inner lock had been rigged up. The large shower area could handle a dozen women and Blue happily set about stripping in front of Lauren.

 “You don’t like getting naked either?” The homeless woman teased as Lauren stared

"Either?"  Lauren said when she picked her jaw off the ground.  This wasn't good, Blue, despite the robes of poverty and homelessness she wore, was a fit and lovely looking woman.  She made her decision which vial to use, the one that made her skin like stone and ultra-strong was rather aggressive.  She settled on the one that gave her wings.  She tended to be mellower even if she liked to take shiny objects. 

"I'll be just a second . . ."  Her eyes darted around the old locker room until she found a bathroom stall.  "I'll just . . . yeah.”

“Okay.” Blue looked at her puzzled, but started up the first shower, waiting until the first blast of steaming water settled out. The rag tag pants and shirt were quickly tossed aside and the naked woman practically leapt into the water stream.

“It feels good!” She stuck her head out, frowning. “I don’t know youre name. I’m sorry; I forget things, like names sometimes. I know what people think but I’m not stupid, I just, sometimes thoughts hurt, you know?”

Her muscles seized and Lauren nearly dropped the needle. "Uh, oh, yeah… thoughts can hurt, memories especially." She got the needle into her skin.

"Are you okay?" Blue stepped more out of the shower, dripping wet.

With a push of the plunger, peace settled over her. "I'm fine. My name's Lauren by the way." The laziness of the Great Wyrm settled into her DNA, soothing her.

She tossed the needle and the vial back into the case; she'd have to remember to toss the used needle. She opened the door and set down the case and started removing her clothes. It would have been nice to have clean ones but she didn't think it was very likely that would happen.

The shaggy blond didn't look very believing of that, but she stepped back under the water. "You don't sound fine."

"I'll be better than fine in a moment." She said with a smile; her eyes flashed gold in color and then back to brown. With a contented purr, she stepped under a nozzle of hot water.

"Is it drugs?" Blue glanced quickly over at her, admiring the darker skin and clean lines. Lauren looked nice she decided, not scary like most of the other women that Blue ran into. "Drugs are bad."

Lauren winced feeling somewhat ashamed. "Kind of . . . I don't know really."

"Your arms have marks." Blue said, moving out of her shower to grab Lauren's hand, turning over the arm and tracing the needle marks with her fingertips.

Lauren gasped, surprised and her eyes shifted color. "Blue." She pleaded. "Please don't."

The other woman ignored her, humming to herself, lips moving to a song that didn't quite fit the humming and Lauren's skin heated where Blue's fingers touched and stroked. The skin shifted under her coaxing, returning to what it should have been as Blue reminded it that it should be whole. The redness seeped away and all that was left were small pockmark scars.

"There." Blue whispered, looking up a little into Lauren's eyes. "Better."

Stunned, Lauren looked from her arm to the woman holding it. "Amazing. I've never seen anything like it."

Blue ducked her head, wet hair swinging in front of her face. "I like helping people and you're hurting." She kept her fingers where they were, inching closer. The air was cold and Lauren's shower and body were warm.

Lauren's eyes got wider. "Blue? I don't think that's a good idea." Her body did, but her body was betraying her left and right these days. Plus Melva would kill her if she did anything to or with Blue.

"Oh." Blue ducked her head, snatching her hand away. "I'm sorry, I thought, I mean . . . you were nice to me, and I thought you liked me, but . . . I'm sorry." She pulled away, back to her own shower, shoulders shaking.

"Blue, no, I mean yes. Yes, I do like you." She said louder than necessary as the other woman retreated.

"It's okay." Blue scrubbed at her hair, hard. "I know, I know, Blue, you're cute but I don't like girls like that, Blue you're funny but I like girls that have money, Blue, Blue, Blue, that means no, no, no."

"Blue . . ." The words tangled in her throat. "I like girls like that, I like you like that, but I've never had a girlfriend let alone kissed a girl, and I'm not exactly safe to be around." The words came out in a messy rush of vowels.

The scrubbing slowed to a stop and Blue turned. "You like me? Really? You're not just saying that to the poor girl?" Blue's eyes were wide and hopeful.

"I'm really not in a position to judge you about anything." Lauren said her breath catching; Blue was long lanky limbs with defined muscles in her legs, and naked. Lauren diverted her eyes

"Oh." As soon as it had come the sadness disappeared, replaced by a radiant smile. "I like you too, I think I do. You're nice and you look really good." Blue bit her lip, blushing a little.

Lauren blushed harder. "Thanks." She hurried and washed herself afraid; she'd do something bad to Blue, afraid the demons inside her would take over. "You have a nice bod . . . um.. you look good too." She said with a shy glance at the other woman.

Giggling, Blue started washing again, much happier than a minute ago. "You've never had a girlfriend? Not even a little one?" She kept stealing glances over at Lauren.

"No, I was too afraid what . . ." she sighed. "I was too afraid of everything."

"Oh. Were you afraid of kissing?" Blue licked her lips.

"No, I wanted that more than anything. I was afraid of everyone else. My parents more than anything, they were very, very Catholic; being gay wouldn't have been a good thing in their eyes, and I was already a failure in so many ways to them."

"I'm sorry, that sounds horrible." Blue scrunched up her face, turning off the shower she'd been using. "It's okay if you say no, or you don't want to, but I could kiss you?" She said hopefully.

Lauren swallowed. "I'd like that." For a moment she thought she might hyperventilate

Completely at ease naked, Blue padded forward, licking her lips again as she got closer. "You're shivering." She whispered, fingers trailing against the skin of Lauren's arms. "Birds of a feather flock together, and so will pigs and swine, rats and mice will have their choice, and so will I have mine."

Lauren was sure that it made sense to Blue but as long as she wasn't a pig or swine she'd live.

"I'm a little scared I think." She said softly.

"Scared of me?" Blue took a little half step closer, the hot water splashing down on her.

"No, god no, maybe of the moment. Maybe how things might change once I kiss you. Maybe . . ." She gave a nervous giggle. "There are a lot of maybes."

"Maybe you should shut up." Blue teased.

Lauren's jaw clicked shut.

"Hush little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a mockin'bird." She sang quietly, leaning up and ever so carefully pressing her lips against Lauren's. Her chest brushed against Lauren's and she gasped in surprise. Swallowing she pulled back, shaking a little herself.

Maybe they should have waited to kiss when their clothes were on. Lauren's hands went around Blue's waist. "You okay?"

"Good." She swallowed. "But could we . . . I mean, again?"

Lauren nodded. She raised up on her toes to kiss Blue.

This time was better, longer, without either of them gasping and drawing back in surprise. Blue felt like singing and dancing when they stopped and she threw her arms around Lauren, hugging the naked woman tight.

Lauren was feeling different. Her fingers dug into Blue's sides and for a moment she wanted things very less sweet and innocent. Her eyes were gold and skin bubbled. Her gut cramped and with all the inner strength she could muster she let go of the woman pushing her back a bit. "Blue, I need you to step back." Her voice hissed out as her skin reformed into hard scales. "Please, I don't want to hurt you."

"Sorry!" Blue scampered backwards, eyes wide as she stared at Lauren. "Your eyes . . . how'd you do that?" She stared at Lauren confused.

Lauren stepped back as well her back hitting the cold tile wall and she slipped down it and hid her face in her hands wanting to cry. Her first kiss and she nearly raped the woman. How fucked up was that?

"Oh . . . no, please don't cry. I liked the kiss." Blue wrapped her arms around herself, wanting to help but Lauren had told her not too.

Lauren gave a hiccupping laugh. "It's not your fault, I liked the kiss too." She mumbled out through her fingers. "Its my fault."

"Why?" Cautiously Blue crept forward until she knelt near Lauren's feet, the hot water keeping them warm.

"Cause. I can't control the things inside me. A simple kiss and the demon comes bursting out wanting more, wanting to take."

"Take?" Blue blinked. "Take me?"

Lauren nodded her face heating up even more despite the scales that now covered it.

"Oh." Blue reached out to touch those scales, fascinated. "Would it be ummm . . . taking, if I gave?"

"What?" Lauren looked up from her hands shocked.

Blue blushed, turning very red. "It's not taking if someone gives." She said quietly.

"True, but you hardly know me. That's something pretty important to give to someone you don't know."

"I know you, the important parts." Blue drew her hand away. "But I know people are slower at this." Impulsively she leaned in and kissed Lauren quickly. "We should go; others will want to use the showers."

Lauren was so stunned she forgot she was upset, she nodded and slowly stood up.




Quinn looked around the abandoned building. "Someone was here. But they're not here now."

It had taken awhile but she'd found the room someone used to live in. There was fuel for a fire and a bed of sorts.

"I can't believe you found this." Dianna stepped around lumps of what she hoped were only coal, staring in fascination at the old-style boilers around them. "You think it was Lauren?"

"I’m a detective, I detect." She said with a sniff. "As to the person or persons, I have no idea."

"Can't you just detect that?" Dianna snipped, still on edge from earlier. Things were definitely strained between the two women.

She looked through two different sleeping nests. "Human or half-demon, demons just smell different. But nothing left behind to say who was here." She stood up her mouth in a thin line. "Fine, I'm Lauren, the second home I've ever known is destroyed. I have no food, water or supplies, where in this area would I go to get that stuff?"

She cracked her neck. "I'm thinking a church or soup kitchen. No questions, no one would look at you twice."

"Two choices then." Dianna bent down to peek in the teakettle that was inside of one of the boilers, sniffing its contents. "The church she came with me to get the stuff to heal your leg, and the YMCA isn't too far from here, they do handouts some days."

"Church." To Quinn's mind was the logical place. "She's been there before; it will have some sense of safety with its familiarity."

"Melva's not going to be happy to see me again so soon." Dianna sighed and stood up, catching Quinn watching her ass.

"Fine, I'll go to the church and you go to the Y." Quinn said looking away.

"What and let you regain your composure? No way, we go together." Dianna said with a smile, her sadistic side showing.

Quinn sighed and ran a shaky hand through her hair. "Fine, whatever." She started up the creaking metal staircase.

"Love the view." Dianna teased from behind her, following her up the stairs. Quinn certainly had a nice firm-looking backside.

"Stop it Dianna." Quinn growled out. "You don't get to tell me to control myself in one breath and then start teasing me in the next." She'd had the whole walk to get her emotions back under control. Her arm throbbed and ached where the cut was, the skin was hot and red. Flashes of Dianna and her, locked in a passionate embrace flickered in her head and she was asserting every piece of control she had not to put them in danger and not to get herself rejected again.

Twice was a record for her making a fool of herself.

"Quinn, this is what I am. You met my father, sex is part of me." Dianna shifted the makeshift sling she'd made to keep her hand steady. She'd made the mistake once of touching it against her thigh on the walk here and had nearly doubled over in pain.

"The connection just makes things even worse." She muttered.

She knew that, had always known that about Dianna, that's why she'd never said anything or acted on her attraction. Except last night, the stupidest thing she'd ever done. "What was that. What connection?"

"Between us, good god, you aren't going to tell me you haven't noticed it?" Dianna reached the top of the stairs after Quinn, throwing up her good hand in annoyance.

Quinn blinked and turned around looking at Dianna. "I . . . you could always feel emotions. I just thought it was that, that I was slipping, I needed to work harder."

"Well, that's not it." Dianna snorted, looking away. "It's partly my fault I guess, I should never have taken your pain away. It just made it stronger every time I did it and then . . ." She shook her head.

"And then what?"

"And then everything fell apart and your feelings came out and now I don't think it's ever going to go away!" Dianna whirled on her, yelling, fear and anger merging. "It's going to be fun feeling your pity for me, or how I disgust you for the rest of my life!"

Quinn's eyebrows rose into her red hair. "Then take the connection away. If it bothers you so much, take it away."

"I can't!" Dianna shoulders slumped and she dropped her arm, pale eyes watching Quinn with something like fear in them. "I can't." Turning she pushed past the human, eager to leave.

They made it outside of the abandoned building and Quinn looked around.  "We're not done talking about this connection thing."  But she was willing to let it drop for now, as they had more important things to do, like finding Lauren.  They weren't too far from where the bar had been.

"How do we get to the church?”

“This way.” Dianna glanced at the sky, it was still daylight, but they were burning precious time with every argument. Quickly she started moving, hoping they could get this over with before night fell.  “Melva’s the one who I went to get your knee healed.” She explained as they moved, wondering how long they could go without something else trying to attack them.

Quinn followed doing her best to stay back away from Dianna, but when her focus wavered she would find her steps increasingly drawing her closer to the woman.  "Thank you for that by the way, healing my knee."  And the only payment Dianna had wanted was for her to take Lauren and go.  Dianna was a better person than a lot would give her credit for, herself included.

“Yeah well…” The former bar owner rolled her eyes at herself. “I wanted my bed back.” It was lame as explanations went but she kept getting distracted every time Quinn got closer to her. Was she always going to be a slave to the human woman’s feelings now? The thought set her teeth on edge and she moved faster. “Melva’s strange, just to warn you. She’s not a demon, I never could figure out what she was exactly, but she’s been here for a long, long time.”

Quinn somehow thought she wasn't going to like this healer woman.  "I promise to be on my best behavior when I meet her."  She said moving faster to keep up with Dianna.”

“She might like you; she likes anyone who takes an active dislike to most of what I do.” Dianna slowed finally as they reached the crumbling church. What exactly, she wondered, had she done that was so bad she deserved to visit Melva twice in one week?

“The soup kitchen must be just closing.” The half-breed nodded at the homeless and abandoned that were slowly trickling out of the ruined church. There were always more of them than she suspected could survive in the Gray. She thought, or at least hoped, that most of them simply stayed at the edge of the Gray.

“Half-breed.” Melva spotted them far earlier than Dianna would have liked and the hunched over woman moved to stop them at the door. “What do you want?”

“Pleasant, isn’t she?” Dianna said aside to Quinn, earning her an even darker scowl from the dark-skinned healer.

"She certainly seems to have your number."  Quinn responded.  She stepped forward unconsciously placing her hand on the small of Dianna's back.  She gasped and her eyes dilated.  The cop wanted to rip the half-demon's clothes off right there.  It was close for a second, only her stubborn will kept her from, in her opinion, utterly embarrassing herself again.  She snatched her hand away, and gritted her teeth for a second before croaking out.  "We're looking for our friend.  A young woman named Lauren; I understand you met her the other night.”

 Dark eyes studied the human and then the flushed and far-away look on Dianna’s face. After a second or two the crone startled cackling, almost bent over laughing as she held herself up against the side of the church door. “Oh! It’s priceless! The mighty Dianna tamed by a human, tell me half-breed, does she lead you around on a leash?” Melva laughed.

Dianna tensed, eyes furious, but Melva was already ignoring her, studying Quinn as she continued chuckling to herself. “And you must be the one with the knee problem. I wondered then why this one,” a thumb was hooked at Dianna, “would bother caring. It’s clearer now. Come in, I was about to have tea, I think I’ll enjoy hearing this story.”

“We don’t have time…” Dianna grumbled, not wanting to get humiliated again.

“Yes, you do. Lauren’s with a friend of mine, perfectly fine. They should be back here shortly in fact if I know my friend’s patterns well enough.” Melva moved away from them, surprisingly fast for an old woman.

Quinn hesitated, but then followed not really having anything better.  "Tea sounds great."  She said weakly knowing somehow Dianna was mad at her.  "Uh, since you're a healer, do you have anything for this cut? It's infected with some demon blood."  Maybe if the wound was treated everything would go back to the way it had been.

In the back of the church, a place where Dianna had never gone, there was a reasonably sized kitchen set up under part of the roof that was still intact in the old rectory. Melva set some water to boil and then peered closer at the cut on Quinn’s arm. “Ah, I could heal the cut, but the effects I think will last.” A yellow gap-toothed smile appeared on the old woman’s face. “Which I think you already know about, don’t you?”

Without looking away from Quinn, Melva reached over and grabbed Dianna’s broken hand, squeezing it. The half-demon yelped in pain, eyes tearing as bone ground against bone. “But I could heal this, for a price.”

Quinn's hand was on top of the old woman's, her eyes flashing in anger as Dianna yelped.  "What's the price?”

Without looking away from Quinn, Melva reached over and grabbed Dianna’s broken hand, squeezing it. The half-demon yelped in pain, eyes tearing as bone ground against bone. “But I could heal this, for a price.”

Quinn's hand was on top of the old woman's, her eyes flashing in anger as Dianna yelped.  "What's the price?”

“Nothing really.” Melva smiled again as Dianna tried to keep breathing through the pain. The old woman’s grip was painfully strong on her broken hand. “The goodwill of the police is not something I often have.”

"Because you're inside the Gray.  The police have no power here."  She felt the muscles tense under her hand.  "However, outside the Gray I would do what's in my power to make sure your issues were addressed quickly and with respect.”

“Then we have an agreement.” Melva let go of Dianna’s hand, the half-demon sagging up against Quinn’s side, hand burning from the pain. “Do we not?” The old crone held out her hand.

Quinn nodded and carefully gripped the old woman's hand to shake it.  Her left arm went around Dianna to support the woman.

Melva shook her hand and with the side of her thumb’s fingernail, cut Quinn’s skin as she pulled away. Dark eyes dancing with amusement, she sucked the small drop of blood off her finger. “A deal in blood is binding. Now tell me you’re story while I fix this one’s hand.”

Quinn made a face but she didn't jerk her hand away.  "My story?  I guess it started with a mass murder in a quiet cul-de-sac in a rather mundane neighborhood."  She helped Dianna sit down and then sat down near her, rattling on about being chased by demons and pissed off DA agents.

The healer nodded occasionally, listening with interest as she plastered a truly vicious smelling mud mixed with what might have been demon’s blood around Dianna’s hand. The half-demon wrinkled her nose but a stern look from Melva stopped any comment she’d been about to make. Instead, she focused on Quinn’s body pressed up against her own on the bench. It was a very pleasant sensation and she was almost lulled into a doze by the time Melva stood up.

“It’s done, your hand should be fine now.” The hag watched Quinn as Dianna flexed her newly healed fingers, still amazed at the hag’s ability to heal. “Dark forces are amassing against you. If I were you…” She glanced sharply at Dianna. “I would have come here for advice rather than risk seeing her father. Will you take some free advice?”

Hindsight was all was 20/20.  She doubted how free the advice was going to be.  "Sure."  Quinn said looking at Dianna's hand.

 “If Alvera is bound on returning to this world, she will have acolytes preparing her way. A full demon lord cannot just enter Earth without a portal being formed, which usually happens by ritual sacrifice. Someone,” Melva glared again at Dianna as the redhead wiped her hand clean. “Should have known that. You stop the portal forming and she’s won’t be able to threaten you anymore, or Lauren.”

 Quinn should have known that too, her son had been used once before to open that portal.  "I like the idea of her not being able to hurt anyone."  Quinn said. She tried to help remove the bandages and goop from the hand but received a glare from Dianna so she let the half-demon handle it.

 "Any idea where this portal might be?”

 “There’s really only one place around here that will do.” Melva had an evil look in her eye as she stood up.

“The asylum.” Dianna sighed, peeling the last of the goo off her hand. She really had to remember not to touch Quinn’s bare skin, the effect was too startling. “It would have to be the center of a Gray Zone for the portal to work and the more misery that happened there, the better.”

"She didn't use it last time."  No, she had used the living room in her house.  Quinn groaned and tried to crack her neck.  "It's too late in the day to go in there."  She was certain she didn't want to go in there anywhere remotely around dark.  "I need a shower and clean clothes." And more weapons if she was going to breach that place.

 Dianna very nearly said they should go back to the bar, but her mouth snapped shut as she remembered, again, that there wasn’t a bar to go back to. Which also reminded her that Sissy was gone, forever this time and she looked away angrily. “There’s a hotel not far away, we can find something to wear near there.”

 “You aren’t staying here.” Melva agreed, her part done. “And if I’m not mistaken, your friend is coming in now.”


Lauren's steps were slow as they approached the church.  Their fingers were still intertwined, and she wasn't certain it was a good idea but as she relaxed the scales had gone away leaving her own perma-tanned skin.  She may or may not have an insane girlfriend, one that wanted to have sex with her.  Lauren had to wonder if sex was as good as the stuff she read about in her lesbian stories.  Somehow she doubted it. 

Then she wondered how sad Blue might find it that she was still a virgin in her 20s, the thought that Blue might laugh at her made her stomach hurt.

“I always come back here for dessert, Melva makes a pie, sometimes, and it’s really good.” Blue had kept up an almost nonstop description of things as they’d come back from the YMCA, happy to have had a hot shower, and beyond thrilled to be holding one of Lauren’s hand.

Only when they were nearly to the church, did she notice that Lauren wasn’t really answering her anymore. “I’m sorry, I’ll be quiet, I’m talking a lot again, aren’t I? I could sing if you want. I just like the sound of voices; it means I’m not alone, even if it’s only my own voice.” She flushed, knowing how strange that must sound.

Lauren smiled, unable to help it.  "I like your voice too.  So you sing or talk if you want.”

“Are you sure, you’re not just saying that to be kind are you? I mean if… if you like someone like a girlfriend…” blue eyes peered down at Lauren hesitantly, “you don’t really just have to say things just because you think they want to hear them.”

Lauren shrugged.  "I dunno, I've never had a girlfriend before, so I guess I don't really know what to say or do.  I'm all nervous."  Especially after the incident in the shower, what if all those demons inside her got the upper hand and she hurt Blue?  Now her stomach hurt for a different reason.

“That’s why you look like you just bit a rotten bit of food?” Blue looked worried now, tugging Lauren to a stop outside the front doors to the church.

“Yes, kind of."  She shrugged but looked at Blue.  The strange woman really was beautiful.  "Are you sure you want to be my girlfriend?  I'm not exactly safe to be around, and, and, and . . . I've never had a girlfriend or done lots of things.”

“Done lots of things?” A confused look passed over the other woman’s face. “Like dancing? I can teach you, I’m really good at dancing, the teachers all said so.” She smiled brightly at Lauren. “And I like you, you’re good for me.” She was quite certain about that.

"Actually, I don't know how to dance."  She frowned, getting sidetracked.  "Blue, you don't really know me.  We've had a series of odd life-threatening meetings."  And a kiss and it was a good kiss. "And I don't really know you."  And it was hard to think with Blue looking at her like that.  Derailed, she finished with, "Can we take it slow?”

“Slow is good. As long as we dance. Life without dancing isn’t really life.” She let go of Lauren’s hand, humming to herself as she danced an improvised flamenco around the other woman, coming to a stop in front of her with a smile. “I like kissing though.” She said seriously again.

"I like kissing too."  Lauren agreed.  Except when it made her want to throw innocent young women to the ground and ravish them.

“So there could be kissing.” Blue wanted to be absolutely clear on that part.

"Yes, as long as . . ."  she stuttered and blushed.  "As long as I don't hurt you.”

“I trust you.” Blue said, and she did, completely. “You’re not a bad person.” She laid her hand against Lauren’s chest, right about her heart.

Lauren looked down at the hand. "I don't know how you can be sure about that. In the shower I . . . I changed."

"But you didn't do anything." Lauren said reasonably with a light smile. "Nothing I didn't want. I told you, I know you."

That was true she had stopped before the darker thoughts had taken over completely. "Okay." She said blowing out a breath. "I don't think Melva is going to like me kissing you."

"Melva doesn't like a lot of things." Blue kissed Lauren's cheek, sliding their fingers together.

"What is it that Melva doesn't like?" The old woman asked making Blue jump in surprise as she realized they had an audience. Eyes widening, Blue slipped behind Lauren, warily watching the three women at the church door.

"Me." Lauren said miserably. Her eyes darted and then her gaze fell to the cracked and broken stairs.

"Why wouldn't I like you, child?" Melva wobbled out, leaving a surprised looking Dianna behind her as she reached out and tilted Lauren's chin up. "Never be ashamed of who you are." The old woman said quietly. "You have friends here, even if one of them isn't worthy of being your friend." Melva didn't have to look over at Dianna to make it clear who she was talking about.

"I . . . uh . . . because. You . . . Dianna's treated me better than my own family, so please stop putting her down around me." She said finally.

"Little one has claws." Melva laughed, letting go of her chin. "Perhaps if she proves herself as worthy as you see her, I will. You should go, it will be night soon." Melva gestured at the darkening sky.

"Go where?" There was nowhere to go. The bar had burned down and she looked over at Dianna miserable again. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop them from destroying your bar, the fire burned so hot, so fast."

“I'm happy you’re alive." Dianna stepped away from Quinn, making a wide pass around Melva as the crone went back into the church and gave Lauren a quick hug. "Now you've got me hugging people!" She shot over her shoulder at Quinn, gruffly.

"The good detective has been helping me search for you." Curious pale eyes flicked to the young woman holding Lauren's hand.

"This is Blue, she's Melva's assistant, and she saved me last night. Gave me a place to hide while those demons were looking for me."

She nervously licked dry lips. "Blue, this is Dianna."

Dianna eyed the homeless woman, lips pursed a bit in thought. "I know you. You came by the bar singing a few times didn't you?" She frowned.

Blue nodded, eyes flicking around as she hid behind Lauren, having gone silent in the face of strangers.

"Well . . ." Dianna looked over at Quinn. "We should go, we can talk later."

Quinn nodded. "It will be dark soon. I'd rather be someplace safe."

"For all of us." Dianna said, seeing the look on Lauren's face. "That is if you're . . . friend, wants to come as well?" She really wasn't sure what to make of Blue.

Lauren looked at Blue. The woman had been fine before her. "It's up to her."

In response, Blue tightened her grip on Lauren's hand.

With a wry look, Dianna turned and started moving, frequently looking back at the two younger women. "What's that all about?" She said quietly to Quinn, happy to have something to talk about that didn't involve the two of them.

"Melva." Quinn said as if that explained everything she needed to know about the strange young woman.

The detective doubted Melva would allow a spy for Alvera to be anywhere near her church.

"Yeah, well, Melva's not my biggest friend." The half-demon grumbled. "You have any cash on you?" She switched topics, picking up the pace as it was definitely getting darker.

"My brother left some in an envelope." She answered. "How far are we?"

"To the edge of the Gray? Not close enough."

Quinn cracked a grin. "To where we are going to spend the night."

"Was that actually a smile?" Dianna grinned. "Hope you like motels."

"They creep me out. Too many calls out to them when I was a beat-cop."

"Oh, right." Dianna frowned. "I'm not really sure what other option we have?" She glanced behind her again, not sure why she was so cautious about Lauren holding the taller girl's hand.

"Stop it. The girl has enough self-esteem issues. Your opinion of her really matters." Quinn said quietly.

The other woman sighed. "I don't know why it should. But don't you think that's a bit . . . fast?"

"Yes." Quinn said in agreement. "Look, the girl has been thrown into an incredibly stressful situation, it's not a far stretch that the first thing that comes along and makes her feel loved and safe she'd cling on to. If they last, they have a rocky road ahead. You and I know that, but this is their young love, they don't."

"Did you ever have a young love?" Dianna glanced over at Quinn, feeling a touch of the other woman's melancholy feelings. They were getting a bit too close to forbidden topics.

"Yes. In high school, her name was Lindsey, she broke my heart plus my Da found out and I had to read all the really bad parts of the Bible that deal with how sinners are treated in hell."

"Pleasant." Dianna's lips curled in distaste at that. "Another reason I love the church and it loves me." She sighed, instantly regretting saying it. She wasn't trying to antagonize Quinn. "I always wondered what high school would have been like. I never made it past junior high, the parents nearly rioted saying a half-breed would be horrible for their precious children to be exposed to. Sissy brought books home for me to read though."

"High school is just more of junior high, and just as horrible." Quinn said. She wasn't going to ask, she wasn't going to . . . "Who's Sissy?"

"My sister." Dianna's tone tensed. "She . . . was my family. Not that useless hag of a mother that gave birth to us. Sissy was my real family." They were nearly out of the Gray, and not a minute too soon.

Quinn wanted to ask what had happened but something in Dianna's tone told her not to ask.

For her part Dianna was silent as they walked the rest of the way out of the Gray, lost in her own memories.

"I don't think she likes me." Blue whispered to Lauren as they walked behind the two other women.

"She . . . ah . . . She just doesn't know you yet. It’s been a bad day, she lost her bar and the ghost, so just give her a chance." Lauren said quietly.

"Ghost?" Blue's eyes widened. "She had a ghost?"

Lauren blinked. "You told me about the ghost, the one you'd sing too." Please let Blue remember and not be crazy.

"The lady in the window." Blue blinked. "She was kind. I sang lullabies to her, she was always so sad."

Lauren let out a breath, she'd have to believe Blue on the sadness, she'd never seen the ghost.


"I told you that flashing a smile and a little bending over would get us a nicer room." Dianna flopped back onto the queen-sized bed, groaning in pleasure at the feel of lying down. The constant stress of being inside of the Gray had worn on her and she felt as if she could sleep for days if given the chance.

 Once again she quickly avoided thinking about the fact that she was now homeless. "Please tell me we didn't just make a mistake giving Lauren and Blue their own room?"

 The two younger women had been giving each other doe eyed looks all the way to the room and in a fit of insanity, or maybe it was romanticism, either way it was bad, Dianna had volunteered to share a room with Quinn. Which, judging by the expression on the detective’s face, hadn’t been entirely welcome.

 "They are adults; no matter how young Lauren acts she is 21.  I'm more concerned about that Blue girl; she doesn't act all there."  Quinn looked around for someplace to sit that wasn't the bed with Dianna.  She sank down onto a worn wooden chair and drummed her fingers on the scarred tabletop, feeling awkward.

 “The singing of nursery rhymes is a little creepy actually, although she's certainly easy to look at under all those dirty clothes.” Dianna sighed, not having to open her eyes to feel the mix of feelings coming from the other woman. “You’re going to want to talk about things now, aren’t you?” She whined.

 "Well you can either tell me or I can leave and go back into the Gray, and talk to that strange healer/witch woman.  Your choice."  She was getting tired of Dianna knowing more about her than she knew about the half-demon.  The woman knew about her son and husband, she even had shared her first puppy love proving she wasn't as straight as she claimed and got nothing back in return.

This, Dianna reminded herself was why she didn’t do relationships. “Fine.” She gave a disgruntled look at Quinn and squirmed her way across the bed so she could reach the small hospitality bar. She was going to need a drink for this, she was certain.

“What do you want to know?” She unscrewed the cap of Jim Beam and poured two shots worth into two glasses, added ice and offered one to Quinn.

Quinn took the drink doing her best not to touch Dianna's fingers with hers.  "Who was your puppy love?"  It was an odd question but hopefully an easy one to break the tension.

“Ms. Rosenbloom.” The half-demon said before her mind could remind her why it was a bad idea to say that. Grimacing she took a sip of whiskey, having wanted to lie, not tell the truth on that one.

Too late now.

“She was my eighth-grade math teacher.” Dianna swallowed another sip. “I loved her desperately, beyond anything approaching reason. Sissy warned me…” She shook her head, short-cut red hair moving with the gesture. “It was completely unrequited.”

"I should hope so."  Because otherwise, she might be tempted to visit Ms. Rosenbloom and have a little talk about registering as a sex offender.  "How did we get connected?  Why?"  She had to make her mouth shut so she didn't overwhelm the room with questions.

“That’s my fault, mostly.” Dianna grinned wryly at her. “I took your pain away from you twice, that sharing of emotions started it, and then…” she shrugged. “I don’t know when it happened, maybe after we visited my father, maybe before, but it’s stronger now. Before I had to be touching you to feel you clearly, now just being close to you is enough.”

"Three times.  Twice with my knee and the last when I was shot, the bruises from the impact on my vest.  Why did you connect us?  You seem to know that would happen.”

“Three times. It’s always three.” Dianna downed the last of the whiskey and opened up another small bottle. “Because you were in pain. I didn’t mean to connect us like this, I knew there was a risk, but I never thought it would be this strong!”

Quinn nodded and sipped her drink.  "I believe you."  She took another sip enjoying the burn of the alcohol down her throat.  "Do you want to break this connection?”

“Does it matter? It’s pretty obvious you do.” Dianna said quietly, hearing the bitterness in her voice.

Quinn was silent for a moment.  "I do want to break it.  But . . ."  She held up a hand to silence Dianna.  "Because it's obvious you don't want it, also it would have been nice to have been asked before just waking up connected."  Girls just liked to be asked about certain things.  "I don't want to lead you around by a leash."  Echoing Melva's words.  "I want you to be with me because you want to, not because you're forced."  She finished her drink standing up.  "I need to clean this wound.”

 Dianna looked up at her words, surprised by them. “Who knew it Detective; you do have a softer side.” She hesitated, finishing her own drink. “Do you want help?”

"Maybe, do we have anything to disinfect it or bandage it with?  I probably need help with that."  Quinn said looking in the bathroom.

Which was why she missed the hungry look on Dianna’s face as the half-demon stood. “It’s a good idea, who knows what Bachi had on that blade other than my father’s blood.” She licked her lips, this was dangerous, she’d never had a lot of self-control to begin with and now she was pushing those boundaries.

Quinn sighed.  "I'm going to have to go down to that little corner market and get some stuff.  You want anything?"  She should probably grab some food for the kids.

“Food. We all need food I think.” Dianna flopped back down on the bed. “You want me to come with you?” How incredibly domestic a conversation, she really was losing her edge.

Quinn looked at her.  "If you want, but I'll be right back.  It's not even two blocks away.”

 The other woman licked her lips. She wanted a shower in the worst way and this was the perfect opportunity for her to get one without putting on a show for Quinn. “You’ll be careful?”

"Cop, remember?  I'll be back in a bit."  She headed out the door, shutting it softly behind her.

“Demons and Demon Affairs remember!” Dianna yelled after her, already regretting her decision to stay behind. But as Quinn moved further away she felt thetension drain from her body as the constant emotional bombardment eased.

Deciding to do what she did best and live in the moment, she stripped and went for a hot shower.


Agent Green easily picked the lock and then with a pair of bolt cutters, cut the chain on the door.  He eased it closed slowly behind him, not too concerned, the running shower would cover most of the noise he might make.  He removed an air gun from his waistband and made his way to the bathroom.   The door was cracked, all the better for him.  He peeked inside, even happier that the curtain was fully closed and the mirror was steamed over.  He almost lost it as the first orgasm washed out over the small space.  God damn incubi and their lot.

Taking a moment, he took a deep breath getting his mind focused again.  Surging forward, he ripped the curtain open and shot her twice, before she could recover enough of her senses to be a threat.  He watched with satisfaction as the drug in the darts went instantly to work and she slumped into the small tub. 

Reaching over he turned off the water.  He smiled looking at her body.  "You know if I didn't hate Ms. Quinn so much I might consider hauling you in.  We could have a lot of fun with you locked up."  He chuckled and drew a small black case out of his pocket.  "You're going to kill her for me.  Another sad killing due to a demon."  He opened the case and drew out a needle and a vial.  "You ever wonder what it would be like to be a full demon, well you're about to find out.  Tell Quinn 'hi" for me."  Quickly he injected her and put everything back.  "Oh, you can kill Lauren as well.  She's good dead or alive.”


Lauren was nervously lying in the bed, she'd turned up the heat not liking the cold room, while Blue was in the bathroom.  She picked at the comforter.  She was being silly, she was 21 after all and they'd kissed sans any clothes.  So this shouldn't be a big deal.  Right, not a big deal.  She was an adult; she could sleep next to someone, no big deal.

 “Toothbrushes! I like this place.” Blue bounded out of the bathroom, and flung herself onto the bed next to Lauren, bouncing them both up and down on the springs. “It’ll be like having a sleepover.” She whispered, eyes bright with joy as she curled up next to Lauren.

 Lauren had to giggle at that, her nervousness easing.  "I guess it will be like a having a sleepover."  Tentatively she moved her body into Blue's, enjoying the warmth coming from Blue's body.  It made sense, since this demon’s aspect seemed to be more serpentine that it would like being warm.  No more violent thoughts or her body breaking out into scales.  She kissed Blue's temple. Pausing to enjoy the taste of the woman's skin.  "You okay? Life seems to be a bit weird right now.”

“It’s good, I don’t have many friends.” Blue hesitantly put an arm across Lauren’s stomach and when that seemed okay, she rested it there and sighed in pleasure. “It gets boring talking to yourself, you always know what you’re going to say.”

 She played idly with the buttons on her girlfriend’s shirt. “Are you okay?

"So far, so good.  No bad impulse control problems.  You okay?"  She looked at Blue's hand on her shirt.  Slowly she picked it up and traced the long delicate fingers.  "Melva says you're her assistant.  What's it like being able to heal people?"  She remembered watching the needle marks disappear on her arm.  "Does it hurt you to do that?”

“It feels good.” Blue bit her lip, watching their fingers together. “I used to get headaches, bad ones, anytime someone got hurt. I thought it was blood… but it was anytime.” She shook her head. “Then one night one of the girls, the lead, she broke her leg falling. It hurt so bad and I had to do something… my parents said I was a witch.”

She lowered her head. “Melva found me after that. A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket.” She hummed to herself, tracing Lauren’s fingers.

"They called you a witch?  That doesn't sound nice.  I take it you don't really see your parents."   She watched Blue's hands against her own.

“It’s hard when they try to set you on fire to purge your sins.” Blue’s voice was barely above a whisper.

"What?  They tried to . . . really . . . that's, wow . . . that's messed up."  She thought her life had been rough, always being compared to her perfect sister, but her parents hadn't tried to burn her.

Slender shoulders shrugged. “Baa, baa, black sheep.” Blue whispered, laying her head down on Lauren’s shoulder. “You used a needle again.”

"No, not since yesterday. The cravings come and go. No rhyme or reason to them." Lauren said quietly. "My sister used me in one of her experiments. Only she told me it was a study on self-confidence. She made me into a demon."

"You're not a demon." Blue sounded sure of that. "You're Lauren."

Lauren gave a grin at that. "Thank you." She yawned feeling warm and sleepy.

"Sleep." The other woman shifted closer, drawing a blanket up over them. "Good night, sleep tight. Wake up bright in the morning light. To do what's right with all your might." She half-sang.


Quinn was worried when she came back to the room and the door was open. She set the bag of groceries down and drew her gun. Slowly she entered the room doing a sweep. "Dianna?"

The room was empty, the clear-glass tumbler that she had drank out of was still sitting on the table, full of melting ice.

She moved slowly to the bathroom. "Dianna? Are you okay?" The door was shut but she didn't hear anything. Wouldn't the connection thing tell her if the woman was hurt or dead?

Something shifted inside the bathroom at the voice outside. Dianna blinked; eyes opening as she slowly became aware of the world around her. She didn't know what was going on, where she was. She felt odd, her skin felt tight and her body was warm.

"Dianna? Are you in there?" Quinn called out, her hand going to the bathroom doorknob and turned it.

There was a reflective surface on the wall and Dianna stretched, tail flicking as she watched herself. Why did the red eyes look strange to her? The long black hair seemed strange too. Nostrils flared as she turned toward the door; tail flicking as the door opened. She could feel the woman on the other side of it, feel all of her suddenly.

A low growl and she sprang at the door, slamming it open and carrying both her and Quinn through to the floor.

"Shit!" Quinn squawked out, taken so completely off guard. As her body hit the ground, the gun flew out of her hand, sliding across the floor.

The thing that had been Dianna shifted against Quinn, sniffing as clawed fingers flexed against her captive. "Human . . ." she growled, tail lashing upward.

Quinn went still; she'd been in worse situations and come out okay. "What did you do with Dianna?" She asked softly, keeping her voice even.

The woman laughed, revealing slight fangs as she pressed up against Quinn's body, claws slicing through the woman's clothing.. "Dianna." The name meant something she thought, but there were more important things than talking. She wanted this woman and she would have her, no matter what.

"Yeah, my friend, Dianna." This wasn't good; in fact it was getting downright scary.

"Gone." Dianna licked her lips, feeling the other woman tremble beneath her. One by one, her claws flicked off the buttons from her shirt, slicing through the string.

"Don't do this." Quinn pleaded, her brain frantically working. The door wasn't shut all the way so it was possible that someone might walk by. Her gun was a few feet away and a demon was on top of her working on her buttons.

"Why?" The demoness purred, ripping the shirt off. The bra was next and she was close. Her body thrummed with excitement. It was a little odd that she couldn't bend the woman with her will; she should be able to do that. Quinn should be mindlessly moaning her name right now.

"Why?" Quinn looked at demon. "Because no woman wants to get raped." She tried pushing against the thing on top of her.


The word rang a bell somewhere and the demoness snarled. "Pleasure. Will make it sooo good." She wanted this, she should have it.

"To you maybe." Quinn gave up pushing against the heavier body on top of her and then in a quick self-defense move raked her fingers over the demon's eyes. Soft tissue was still soft tissue regardless of species.

Dianna yelled in pain, rising up off the woman below her, snarling in pain as she lashed out at the thing that had just hurt her.

Quinn drew up her legs and pushed against the denser body sliding across the floor. The carpet burned her skin and claws tore into her leg causing her to give her own cry of pain. She ignored all that reaching for her gun.

Staggering she got up, gun between them. "Where the fuck is my friend?" She drew the hammer back.

The demon lunged, bullet going straight through her shoulder as she slammed into Quinn. The momentum carried them both through the door to the room and out into the hallway beyond. Words were beyond Dianna, she wanted to kill the thing that had hurt her.

Quinn was certain this was not going to end well for her. The demoness was stronger, she'd gotten lucky and caught it off guard, and she doubted she was going to get another chance.

The gun was gone and she couldn't breathe only claw at the hand around her neck.

"Mine!" The demoness snarled, trying again to bend Quinn to her will. Why was it not working?

Quinn would have uttered a defiant fuck you but she had no air to spare to form words.

Standing, Dianna hefted the squirming woman up against the wall. "Mine." She said again, quieter this time as her claws stroked up against exposed skin. Why was she fighting so hard?

Quinn's struggles got weaker until her hand fell away from Dianna's and blackness overwhelmed her sight.

The struggling had stopped; Dianna smiled again loosening her grip.

The claws slid down Quinn's chest, resting against the front of the bra and stopped. Something wasn't right, the succubus paused. Why wasn't she doing what she wanted to do? Frustrated she tried again, and once again didn't do it. Her tail lashed annoyed.

There was no answer from the unconscious woman.

With a silent snarl again, Dianna picked her up and carried her into the room.


Quinn coughed, her throat felt like the desert--hot and scratchy.

"What have you done to me?" The voice sounded like Dianna's but it was much throatier, lower.

Slowly her eyes opened. She was on a bed. Not particularly a good thing considering her last memory. "What did you do to me?" She groaned out.

Her pants were still on, that was a good sign, the demoness was lying on the bed next to her, not a good thing.

"You fought me." The succubus curled up nearby was covered in the shadows of the darkened room, only her red eyes flashing.

"Of course, I fucking fought you. You were going to rape me." She paused and took a breath trying to get herself under control. "Why didn't you?"

"I don't know." Dianna moved closer, tail sliding up and along Quinn's pant covered leg. "You should have been begging me to take you. Why weren't you?"

Quinn could feel Dianna so she was nearby, but the connection thing was muffled like it was under water or something. "I don't beg demons to fuck me. Now what did you do with my friend?"

"But you smell so good." Dianna leaned closer, closing her eyes as she sniffed. "You feel good too." She whispered, ignoring the question. What friend? "I need you, I shouldn't need anyone. I should take anyone I want."

"Civilized people don't do that. My friend was the other woman in this room, Dianna."

"I'm the woman in this room." Dianna laughed a low throaty sound. "Dianna." She repeated the name, it sounded familiar.

"Don't play mind games. Dianna, wasn't a full demon only half. You are very much a full demon."

Quinn coughed and tried to clear her throat. "Dianna never tried to rape me. She flirted and teased but she always respected the word no."

"She was weak." The demoness's lips curled in disgust. "Let humans hurt her. I'm stronger." She watched Quinn with an unreadable expression, those red eyes slits. "You hurt her." The claws twitched, shredding a bit of bedding.

"To be a half-demon, hated by both human and demons and still be a decent human being; that made her stronger than you and me. We hurt each other." She admitted. "What do you care? Just kill me and get it over with. I'm tired of games."

"Don't want to kill you." The admission was slowly made as if the demoness was only just realizing it. "Want to have sex with you, make you mine."

"Sorry, not going to happen. Besides I'm already connected with Dianna." Whatever that meant, Dianna still hadn't been clear.

The demoness surged forward, pinning Quinn against the bed. "No, there is no connection. I don't need you! You're nothing, a human, a sheep."

Quinn blinked, thanking god she was smarter than the average bear. "I love you too, Dianna." She whispered out, trying to get a hand free to touch the woman. She was so changed, but if she looked she could still see the Dianna in the demoness's face.

"Love." The demoness spat the word. "That is weakness, meaningless emotion. I do not feel love! I am lust, I am desire."

"No argument there." Quinn got an arm free and gently touched Dianna's new face. "What happened? I was gone maybe forty minutes at the most."

The demoness frowned, the memories were fuzzy but they were more pleasant to think about than why she couldn't have this infuriating woman. "Pain." She remembered. "In my back." There was more, something she should remember, something important. "A man." Realization lit in those red eyes. "Greeennnnn . . ." She hissed, yes that was his name.

"Demon Affairs." Quinn said with a grimace. God, if they had something that could turn humans into demons and half-breeds into demons, the world would be swarming . . . with demons. "Fuck." Alevra didn't want to kill Lauren, she wanted Lauren's blood to make her own plague.

"Please?" Dianna whimpered, pressing against Quinn.

"What? No. God, you barely even remember me. I'm like a one-night stand but worse, you don't even know my name."

"Quinn." Red eyes sharpened. "You're Quinn." She would know that name anywhere.

Okay, the demon had her there. "You don't like me. You just want to fuck me because I'm convenient. If the maid would have come in, you'd be fucking her."

"I'd be owning her." Dianna corrected her as she leaned in, lightly nipping. "I want you, we both want you. Want you so badly it hurts." Her tail twitched. "I'm supposed to take what I want."

That hurt a little, she was convenient. "Well, you tried to take and it didn't work; why don't you think about that? While you do that, I'm going to get up, put on the rags of my shirt and clean my wound."

She started to scoot back to the edge of the bed.

The demon snarled, fangs exposed but she stayed where she was, curled up on the bed. Red eyes watched her carefully though, muscles tensing anytime Quinn moved nearer the door.

"The bags are just on the other side of the door." She opened the door but only leaned out, grabbing the bags. She set them on the table and searched through them until she found what she wanted.

"You won't leave." It wasn't a question.

Then she went into the bathroom, not bothering to shut the door. "Nope, this is me not leaving." The wound was red, the skin around it inflamed.

She turned on the faucet and scrubbed it. Then with a grimace dumped rubbing alcohol on it.

"I shouldn't feel this." Dianna was there, suddenly, in the doorway having moved as quietly as a ghost. "This is wrong." She didn't move into the bathroom though, staying just at the door.

Quinn was wearing down; she unlike the other person in the room was only human. "I want my Dianna. I want her to be happy with just me and no one else." And she wanted world peace, God she wanted the impossible. Tears stung her eyes. "

"You're so much more." Dianna whispered, so close she could just barely touch her skin. "What if your Dianna is gone?" She whispered, claws snipping the bandage off for her.

"She's not. I can feel her. It's muffled, but she's still around."

"We're the same you know." Dianna moved around behind her, tracking the shivers along Quinn's skin. "She is me, I am her."

Quinn turned her eyes flashing angrily and slammed her hands into Dianna's chest. "Then act like it. If you’re her, then be her, unless you want to be your father with a harem of stoned lust junkies following you around. They don't love him, they're just addicted to him, if another incubus came along that was more powerful they'd leave him for a bigger high. Love doesn't leave."

"Love hurts." The voice sounded like Dianna's for an instant and the succubus closed her eyes, leaning against the bathroom tile. She felt strange.

"Because it's not easy. It takes work and trust and all those are easy to hurt."  She looked at the succubus in front of her; the look on her face was so very Dianna.  She stepped forward, not able to help herself and gently kissed those lips.  It was all bittersweet, she barely had a chance with the half-demon Dianna, she had no chance with a full demon.  A single human couldn't keep a succubus happy.


Green sat in his car playing with the police scanner.

"Why are we just sitting here?"  His partner’s bass voice rumbled out.

 "Waiting for police to find the body.  Then we’ll move in."

 "Wait, what body?  Why are they going to find a body?  What did you do when you went to take a leak?"

"I went to their room and injected that half-breed with the drug.  Once she kills Quinn, it will be permanent; she'll be a demon forever.  We go in and save the day or we go in, in the morning while it’s sleeping and save the day."  Green shrugged.

"You did what?  We fight demons, not make more of them.  What if she doesn't kill Quinn, huh, you think of that? The drug doesn't permanently change the DNA until the kill, it needs that chemical rush from the brain from the first kill. Then we have an even more pissed off Quinn and crew to deal with."

"That's a stupid way to make the drug work.  It's not permanent until the subject’s first kill.  Don't you think?"  Green said, sidetracking the conversation.

"Apparently those three demons don't come into their demon powers until their first kill, which is why they are so hard to find and rare.  They can wander around looking human all their lives.  A genetic aberration.  Susan Espinoza theorized most were monks doing good, turning the other cheek until the last straw; only then would they kill, causing the change.  Hiding in plain sight unless their temples were overrun.  Didn't you read the report?"

"I read parts of it."  Green said grumpily.

"What is your deal with this Quinn woman?"

"I just don't like her.  She kills a major demon, by herself, come on, she's dirty or she's a half-breed hiding in plain sight.  A human can't do that.  Look at us, we're held together with spells and bioengineering to make us resistant to demon attacks.  So I'm telling you that woman is a liar and she's got half the world worshiping her."  Green snapped out.

"Whoa, whatever." Ferris settled in, returning to his more customary silence even as he kept a wary eye on his partner.


Before she realized what she was doing, Dianna had Quinn pressed up against the wall and was kissing her as thoroughly as she knew how. She wanted Quinn so badly it hurt. Only when she was moving her hips, pressing against the human did she realize what she was doing and spring back.

Which put her in the shower, staring wide-eyed at Quinn, chest heaving as she kept herself in check.

"See the real Dianna's in there.  A succubus couldn't show that restraint."  She moved forward into the shower, feeling somewhat heady at having the tables turned.

“Don’t.” Dianna whispered, voice harsh, eyes widening even further as Quinn moved.

Quinn stopped.  They stood looking at each other and slowly, so very slowly, Quinn forced herself to relax and examine the bond between them.  Growing up with a father that used to be a priest and a mother that used to be a nun, she had learned a lot about self-control and denying immediate desires and pleasures. 

After a few minutes, she spoke.  "I'm sorry, Dianna.  I haven't been very fair to your needs.  I'm going to guess you have the female equivalent of blue balls.  Probably not the healthiest thing for someone part incubus.  Because of that you've probably been distracted, not really at your best.  That's my fault because of this connection.”

“Blue balls?” The demon laughed, tossing her head. How could she explain the desires that made up her constant existence? More and more memories of the actual Dianna were starting to surface now; did that mean it was starting to fade? She could only hope.

“I could have dealt with it before,” she murmured, laughter fading as she faced Quinn. It was an odd place for a talk like this, her naked, Quinn half-naked, standing in the bathtub of a hotel room.

Nothing else about them was normal though, so why should this be?

"I'm human, no matter what people think about me."  The hellfire burn scars on each shoulder stood out red against the rest of her skin.  "I can't make any promises not to be weird in the morning, but I'm also tired of fighting this and you, also because I'm human.  So I'm going to kiss you again and it’s not because I pity you."  She'd been horny since the morning and Dianna really needed to be at her best.  She undid the bra and then the pants and moved forward to kiss Dianna again, and being human made her hypocrite .

“If you start this, it won’t stop.” Dianna groaned, eyes eagerly watching Quinn strip. God she looked good, she wanted her even more now and it was only by clamping her claws against the side of the shower that she stopped herself from simply tackling the other woman.

Quinn moved forward.  "I know, but you need to remember: I'm human, I'm breakable."  Dianna was unholy beautiful in this form, but she still preferred the old Dianna to this, but she would adapt if Dianna never changed back.  She slid her hands around Dianna's waist.  "And it’s been awhile."  She kissed too warm lips.

 That kiss was Dianna’s undoing. Whatever self-control she’d managed to claw back from her old self disappeared under it's influence and she grabbed Quinn, urgently pulling their bodies together.

Warm skin met skin and she moaned into the kiss, frantically trying to fit them together closer. It wasn’t enough and with a mounting urgency she picked Quinn up, marveling at how light she felt, and carried her blindly out of the bathroom without bouncing off too many walls.

It was a miracle she made it to the bed, Quinn had wrapped her legs around her waist and the insistent heat between those legs made Dianna’s head swim. The smell of their arousal mingled in the hotel room and only served to drive Dianna’s desire higher.

They tumbled together onto the bed, legs entwined and breasts pressed against one another. There wasn’t time for slow, Dianna couldn’t, wouldn’t wait. Her entire focus was on the naked body pressed against her, perfectly sculpted even with the demon scars she bore.

 She trailed claws that were becoming more and more like fingers, along the other woman’s body, tracing and stroking. Lips following to nibble and suck, lightly biting Quinn’s small breasts before soothing them with her tongue.

Above them were the burn scars, vivid hand prints that covered the human’s shoulders and for a moment Dianna was amazed that she’d survived them. Hellfire generally killed anyone that was unlucky enough to be burned by it.

They were testaments to Quinn’s life and Dianna kissed them as much as any other piece of skin, their murmurs of pleasure turning into cries of pleasure as she guided Quinn’s fingers up inside her, where she needed her.

Arching, she thought she might have screamed in pleasure as Quinn moved inside her. An orgasm, either hers or Quinn’s it was hard to tell, boiled through her hard and fast and she wanted more.

They flowed from one position to another, Dianna careful to remind herself that Quinn was fragile, at odds with the tough detective persona that she’d come to know. If there was a position or an angle that she hadn’t tried with Quinn, it had simply been because she’d been overwhelmed by their lovemaking.

It was late, or very early, depending on your point of view by the time they stopped. Somewhere along the way Dianna’s tail had disappeared, she wasn’t sure when, maybe while Quinn had been doing that thing with her tongue that had nearly made her pass out, or later when they’d tried doing each other at once.

Either way it made it easier to lay on her back, Quinn half collapsed across her. She knew she was smiling like a fool, but it just wouldn’t stop.

“I think every room around us just had wet dreams.” She said, stroking fingers through Quinn’s naturally red hair. Her own was still long and black, maybe she would keep it that way now. Actually, she was certain she’d half-heard a few moans through the walls that weren’t their own either.

"Not surprised, you’re like some sort of sex, orgasmic, bomb."  Quinn said breathlessly.  She wanted a cigarette and she'd stopped smoking when she'd found out she was pregnant.

“Just imagine if I was a full succubus.” Dianna smiled slowly, fully content for the first time in what felt like forever. She didn’t think she even needed sleep after that, Quinn had been right, she’d been denying herself and it had been making things worse.

“Green shot me.” She blinked her memories crystal clear now. “With some dart thing, in the shower.”

"We should get moving, they know where we are."  She yawned but she was so damn tired.  "He probably wanted you to kill me and Lauren, I can't think of why else he would do that and then leave.  Fuck, let me nap, then I need to shower and you need to find me clothes; you destroyed my only set.”

“Sleep then.” Dianna leaned closer, pressing her lips against Quinn’s and drawing away the woman’s fatigue, it was disturbingly easy now to do that. Silently, the half-demon slipped from the bed, relieved to see her eyes back to their normal pale color in the mirror. Tucking the blankets up over the naked woman in the bed, Dianna found something resembling a full set of clothes that she could wear.

Apparently they needed some shopping before going into the Gray again.

Time to get the kids up, one of them was keeping watch on Quinn while she slept, the other was going shopping with her.


Part 8

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