by Dustin Evermore and Lisa Hartjes
Dressed once again in cutoff jeans and a tank top, Fianna arrived at the house Berengiere had selected for their meetings. This time she rang the doorbell as she carefully handled something large and heavy and obscured with a dark piece of cloth in her other hand. While she waited for her call to be answered, she shifted the weight of the thing to both hands, centering it and presenting it as if it were delicate and precious.
A man in a uniform that looked vaguely military to Fianna opened the door. He looked her over for a moment, looked out past Fianna to survey the area, then stepped back to allow her to enter the house.
"What is that," he asked, eyeing the object Fianna was carrying.
"It is a gift for Berengiere," she replied. She lifted a corner of the cloth so he could see that statue for himself. "You won't give away the surprise will you?" she asked with a smile.
The man examined it closely, as if looking for something, then nodded. "M'lady is upstairs. Go on up."
Fianna walked up the stairs and paused at the top. One open doorway led to Beren's bedroom where she could hear Beren's and Andre's laughter. She paused, looking back at the man who'd let her in, but he'd already left. Clearing her throat to warn of her presence, Fianna cautiously entered.
Fianna looked into the bedroom and saw the heavy curtains of the bed were wide open and there were two naked figures on the bed. Berengiere sat in Andre's lap, facing him, legs wrapped around his waist. Her head was thrown backwards as her spine was arching in pleasure and her hips were lifting and rocking. Andre's hands were on Beren's hips, holding her upright and helping guide her movements, and his lips were attached to her breast as he licked, bit and sucked at it.
After a few moments, Fianna realized that Beren's movements had slowed and the elder vampire was looking directly at Fianna. Beren said a few words in the unknown language and Andre's head lifted from Beren's chest. Fianna could see Andre lick some dark liquid from his lips, and she noticed a thin trail of blood trickling from Beren's nipple.
Fianna stared in shocked surprise for a moment, "Oh! I'm so sorry. I was told to go on in. I didn't mean to interrupt. She turned around to give her back to them. She meant to let them have their privacy.
Andre looked back at Beren and said something, but Beren shook her head. He frowned, but Beren rocked her hips and said something else, causing him to grin wickedly. With a fluid motion, the two separated. Andre rolled to his feet on the floor, still hard and erect, and very well endowed. In almost the blink of an eye, Fianna could smell the unmistakable smell of Berengiere, and the deep, musky smell of sex.
"Excuse me, m'lady," Andre said, twisting past Fianna and deliberately placing himself in her full view like a well-practiced exhibitionist.
Fianna stared at the exposed man wordlessly and swallowed audibly. Andre was gone in a moment. When Fianna turned her attention back to the bed, Beren was wrapped in a black silk robe and sitting on the edge of the bed as if nothing had happened.
"Welcome back, Fianna," Beren said with a smile. "I wasn't expecting you, else I would have finished up sooner. Andre was feeling neglected, and since he had not yet drunk of me today, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak." She slid off the bed. "That looks heavy. Why don't you put it down on the desk." Beren indicated an antique secretaries desk near the bed.
"You're not angry that I interrupted you? I hope I didn't offend Andre." He hadn't looked offended to Fianna, but it was only polite. Fianna placed the heavy, covered object upon the desk and turned back to Beren.
"No, he wasn't. We can always pick up from where we left off later, and Andre has always been something of an exhibitionist. He's constantly trying to entice me into the various parks around town to shock the passers-by." Berengiere chuckled. "And if we had wanted privacy, the door would have been closed and locked."
Fianna shook her head in bemusement. Fianna went to the desk and put the shrouded object down. "I wanted to bring you a gift this time. I hope you like it."
"A gift," Beren said in surprise. "For me? Whatever for?" She walked over towards the desk, the robe parting to display almost the full length of her well formed, youthful legs.
"Not for anything in particular, but for everything in general. Because I can and because I wanted to." She stepped away, presenting the gift.
Beren carefully removed the cloth covering the statue and the fabric dropped to the floor as it slipped from her fingers. She stood there and stared at it for a moment, almost as if entranced, then she moved forward to take a better look at it.
"It is exquisite," she murmured, reaching out to touch it but her fingertips stopping a fraction of a millimeter from the statue's surface. "No, it is beyond exquisite. I know not the words to describe it. It is so lifelike. And the eyes..." Beren straightened and turned to look at Fianna.
"What is the name of the artist," she asked, then paused to look deeply into Fianna's eyes. "Or is this a trophy of sorts? The results of what you had hoped to do while you were gone?"
"The name of the artist is Fianna," replied the raven-haired Irish woman. "A trophy? No, it is a gift, a fruit of my own abilities. You will not see anything like it from anyone else. Do you prefer something more macabre to this rather simple celebration of nature?" She referred to the amazingly lifelike statue. "I can change it for you, if you wish."
"What makes you think I would want something celebrating death," Beren asked curiously.
Fianna chuckled, "That's not exactly what I meant. But I'd point out that life and death are an inseparable part of a cycle. Sometimes it is good to celebrate one and then the other. Often one requires the sacrifice of the other. We are vampires and we are locked in the center of this wheel until the day of our final death."
"I suppose you could look at it that way," Beren replied, then turned her attention back to the statue. "How did you do it? Obsidian cannot be carved like that, at least not by any method I know." She looked back at Fianna. "And why did you choose a falcon as your subject?"
"Well, I wasn't sure what you liked. I like birds. My favorite is actually the crow because they can take a dead thing and make life from it. They symbolize
something for me. Did you know the crows here are quite different than the ones back home in Ireland? I chose the falcon in hopes you'd like it. Does it look okay?" Fianna crossed her legs and floated down to a cross-legged position on the floor, comfortably assuming the style often associated with American Indians. She looked up at Beren.
"You are kidding, right," Beren asked in disbelief. "Of course it looks okay. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of naturalistic art I've ever seen. It's almost as if you found the bird and turned it to stone." She walked over to Fianna and knelt, the robe parting below the belt until it was barely covering the junction of Beren's legs. The movements had caused the belt to loosen, and front of the robe gapped the tiniest amount.
When Beren leaned forward, the robe fell open and temptingly revealed her breast, with the trickle of blood now dried upon her skin. She placed a gentle kiss on Fianna's cheek, and her unique scent drifted around Fianna's head.
"Thank you for this gift. I am honored that you consider me worthy of it," Beren said softly, almost shyly. She sat back on her heels, seemingly oblivious to her state of undress.
Fianna virtually glowed with happiness, seeing that Beren liked her gift. "Of course, I do," she told Beren softly. Admired Beren's pale, silky physique for a moment.
"Berengiere, I have bad news. There is a group of Sabbat that have entered this area. After tonight, I can't return for risk of leading them here. At least, not until I'm sure they're gone. I have some hope that the Sheriff of the city will be able to take care of them, but they are not the only new group to have intruded upon the fringes of the Prince's domain. Their presence also threatens my own haven."
"I have been aware of their presence for a while," Beren replied. "It would be a very good thing if the Sheriff were able to eliminate them."
Fianna nodded assent. "I have more news. I will soon have at hand the means to track down the Sabbat scum that took Sean Killian away from me. I will have vengeance upon him. When I am ready to strike, I will call upon my friends and we will kill them.
"But first there is a more immediate problem. There is a powerful user of magic that is in danger of ascending to the power of Marauder. That would be a serious problem for us all."
"A Marauder has horrible powers. Usually, for a human to gain such power a pact must be made with a dark god or other force of evil. The presence of a Marauder could rend this city to pieces. Therefore I am being sent on a strike team to take down the practitioner of Nefandus magic and his cult. It will be dangerous, but it is also an important training run in preparation for the trip Ireland.
"I have been assigned the task of dealing the physical damage and I have a careful plan that I think will allow them very little chance against me, especially since we can have one of our members subduing the Nefandi's magic. Our attack will happen in four days' time. I will be using these four days to take of, um, certain matters."
Fianna looked intently at Beren and then reached out and touched her arm. A moment later, she coyly withdrew and looked away. "A personal matter has come up, too. Berengiere? Do you like me? Are we friends? Or am I
Beren sat very still for a few moments. "I like you," she replied softly. "Very much. I would like to think we are friends, as much as two of our kind can be." She tilted her head. "What brought this on?"
A smile flickered across Fianna's face. "Celeste. I think. Or maybe it was me." She thought back on what had happened. "It could be my fault, too, but I'm not sure. I'll try to explain."
Fianna grabbed her knees and took a deep breath, arching her back. She didn't seem aware of the fact that the gesture made her large breasts stand out as she stretched. She let out her breath in a sigh. "At first she was just being nice to me because she was ordered to by her superiors. Before I came along, she was at the bottom rung in the Chantry, even though she personally has a great deal of power. In terms of sheer strength and magical power she's probably more powerful than a lot of the Tremere, but due to her strange background, she was less respected. At any rate, then I came along; an orphan adopted by the Tremere. I had strange powers, too, and I think that little bit of common ground gave us a foundation for, uhm, something. I don't know." Her face was thoughtful as she gazed across the room.
"She is so in touch with this era. She knows the magic of the day." Fianna looked at Beren. "You know, cars, computers, how to make them go. Magic to me, anyway. I had to rely on her a lot at first. 'What does this mean?', 'How does that work?' 'Where can I get money?'. My questions must have seemed constant, yet she seemed to really enjoy showing me things. She got me that BMW that Strong Bow drives me around in. Part of it is that she gets to show off little, I think.
"But you know, I do like to show my appreciation when someone has been kind. I started making sure she was invited to things that I was a part of. Like parties and social outings. Then there was that dance at the Elysium Ball. Remember the one? That was when we were having such a good time just being ourselves and pretty soon we were dancing on air. Later she had told her superiors that she was watching the other kindred." Fianna shook her head with a smile. Celeste hadn't fooled her then.
"Tonight, I had to know. So I had a woman-to-woman talk with Celeste. I wanted to know who my friends really were and I just asked her point blank if she was being nice to me because someone told her to, or because she wants to. I was surprised and very impressed to find that Celeste told me the truth. At first she was nice to me because she had been ordered to be my friend. But then she said that as she got to know me, she began to like me. A lot.
"She told me that she had lied about that that night at Elysium. She said that her eyes were on me. Only on me. She seemed so different tonight, Berengiere. I've seen her when she wants something from someone. I know what her style is, and I really think she was being honest with me. Taking a risk and leaving herself vulnerable. She was very sweet." Fianna sighed.
"We are as different as black and white. I'm a backwards relic of the past and she's a child of today. Her magic draws on the power inherent in the technology of today, while mine draws upon the primal elements of creation, life
and death. She is naturally almost a pure white platinum blonde and my hair is dark as a pond on a moonless night." Fianna trailed off in thought. In her native tongue the word for white also meant, pure, beautiful and good. She hadn't thought about it before, but she wondered now if it had some deeper meaning and resolved to look for the answer in the stars tomorrow night.
"The thing is," Fianna continued. "I know the look. It is the one that people have when the see the object of their desire, the one they want and maybe even love. Celeste had that look. It's different than when it is just simple lust or an attempt at seduction. "
Fianna looked Beren in the eye. "Berengiere, I do not want to make a mess of this. I really like Celeste. I've just discovered that she's the best friend I've got. Now she's shown herself to be vulnerable to me and likes me more than anyone I know. I've told her that she is like a sister to me. And I will do *anything* for a sister. But I'm still really worried. I don't want to what do they call it? 'Freak out' on her if she wants to be close to me. I don't want to do that. You've handled this kind of thing so much it is second nature to you. Can you help me?"
"You have to decide what you want from Celeste," Berengiere replied softly. "Do you want a sister, or do you want a lover? If you are correct about the way she feels about you, you will not be able to have both from her. If you are worried about not reacting well to any sexual advances from her, then you must either make sure you are never in a situation where she can do it, or you try and find out how you *would* react to it.
"If you are sexually attracted to her, then it may be more difficult, especially if she knows you are. If the attraction is one way, you must be firm but fair and compassionate when telling her you are not interested in a sexual relationship with her.
"Ultimately, it is your decision. You must choose the path you wish to travel."
"I know that I value her. She's a good friend, and to me she's been better than just a friend. I think of sisterhood in terms of how it was when I was still a priestess amongst a circle of them. We did all kinds of things together and it was good; it unified us. Celeste and I could never mix our magic like this, though. And I'm not necessarily sure that sex is as important to Celeste as just simple contact seems to be. But I would rather be prepared." Fianna gave a quiet, short laugh. "I don't even know if sex is important to me. If it is, then I should be careful. If it is not, then it does not matter. It would be something I can give to whoever I wish, whenever I wish."
She sighed. "Maybe this is a question for another time. Celeste is not trying to control the friendship, so I have time to deal with it at my own pace."
"You might not," Beren said softly. "Kindred are often driven by desires, and they can grip us stronger than they did when we were mortal. Something might happen that could cause her to press the issue. It is not something I would put off."
Fianna folded her arms and drummed the tips of her fingers on them as she mulled that over. "You might be right about that," she said through partly closed eyelids. Her eyes slid over to look at Beren and lingered for a moment.
Fianna sat musing for a moment, then chuckled. "Remember that idea for doing a movie I told you about?"
Beren nodded, and with a fluid motion moved her legs out from under her and into a cross-legged position. The movement gave Fianna a brief glimpse of a triangle of dark hair and the smell of sex once again teased Fianna's nose.
"Hmm," Beren said, a slight smile on her face. "Perhaps I'd best clean up a bit." She stood. "Come talk to me while I wash up." Beren held out a hand to Fianna to help her up.
Fianna took Beren's hand and then paused, looking up at her.
Beren chuckled softly. "Fianna, we have already seen each other naked once before," she teased. "I think I can control myself."
She laughed and smiled some more. "It is your house. I expect you will control what you feel like controlling."
Fianna followed Beren toward the bathroom. "Well, that movie idea has evolved," she said as the two women walked through the bedroom. "There is a small group of us now and we've collectively come to the decision that we would rather put together a musical group. It would be like they have these days, with a lot of driving, strong drums and deep bass along with fast-paced lyrics and melody. I will be singing and playing a guitar. Did you know they made them electric now? It's amazing! I can make a sound from them like a coarse scream, or a note as clean as clear crystal. Celeste will handle electronics. There will be a lot. Stazi will play something called 'keyboards'. I saw some in a movie about vampires who challenge the vampire world with their music. It was *so* interesting!"
A smoldering gleam lit deep in Fianna's dark eyes. "These 'fans' as they call them are marvelous. I see how they worship their favorite bands as if they were deities. We have the skill and the power, to do this, I think. We are going to rule." She grinned playfully at Beren.
They entered the bathroom and Beren walked to the luxurious bath. Fianna followed a few paces away.
"I am familiar with the book, though I have not seen the movie yet," Beren replied as she slipped out of the black silk robe and left it in a puddle on the floor. She stepped into the tub but did not sit. Instead, she bent over, her back still to Fianna, and picked up a bottle of shower gel and a mesh puff.
Without skipping a beat, Fianna took the mesh puff and applied theshower gel. She tested the water with her hand. "Nice and hot. Itshould warm you up." She waited for Beren to go in.
As Beren stepped into the tub, Fianna swished water into the mesh and rubbed it into a lather. Fianna smiled under Beren's curious, watchful gaze. "I'm only returning the favor," Fianna told her innocently.
Starting with her shoulders, she began rubbing Beren clean with firm motions of the mesh puff and the air was soon filled with the perfumed scent of the bubbles. Fianna poured water collected in her hands to wet Beren's skin. Soon she had worked her way down Beren's back and buttocks. She guided Beren to turn around. "That's half, but you still carry his smell on you," Fianna told her.
Fianna kicked off her shoes. She was out of her shirt and cutoff jeans in a moment and she stood as naked as Beren. She hadn't been wearing underclothes. She twisted her hair into a pile with on hand and held it in place with two small, black sticks from which little feathers hung by a leather string.
Beren raised an eyebrow. "Had you planned this, ma petite, or do you normally not wear underwear," she asked.
Fianna simply smiled back at Beren in answer. Then she said, "You were right. If I'm going to do this right, I'm going to have toget wet, too." She slid one slender, shapely leg into the water,followed by her other. Kneeling before Beren, she cleaned Beren's front, paying extra care to her breasts. She kneaded them with hand and spongy mesh until they were both clean of blood, and the nipples hard with arousal.
Beren's eyes were half closed and she watched Fianna's every move. Hunger and desire burned in those dark orbs, rekindled by her touch.
She moved on to Beren's stomach and abdomen. But now she put aside the sponge and lathered her hands, squeezing gel between her fingers. She took care in the time she spent cleaning Beren as she worked down toward the sensitive area between Beren's thighs. Beren lowered herself so she was sitting on the edge of the tub and leaned back against the wall, parting her legs to give Fianna greater access.
Fianna worked Beren clean with slow measured strokes of her hand. She found herself kissing Beren's stomach, as if in experiment to see what she might taste like. Fianna sensed Beren's shudder at her touch and she began to work faster. She reached up and pulled Beren down into the water with her so that they were each shoulder-deep in the bath. Fianna moved close to Beren, so that she straddled the other woman's hips, but she continued to work with her free hand.
Beren's grip tightened on the edge of the tub as her back arched in pleasure, and Fianna heard the sound of the marble cracking.
"I want to see what it is like." Her eyes were locked onto Beren's. She yanked out the restraining sticks and tossed them to the side, allowing the long tresses of her black hair to drift into the water. She slowly slid along Beren's body, disappearing into the water. A moment later, Beren gasped with pleasure and gripped the edges of the tub as Fianna continued unseen.
It seemed Fianna had discovered another advantage to being a vampire. The dead did not need to breathe.