hell_in_highheels: (golden eyes)
After the most exciting full moon in her memory, they'd taken their breakfast from the bar in white to-go bags, eaten it standing around the counter in the kitchen, laughing as they speculated where the massive boar head was going to end up mounted.  There'd been some affectionate nuzzling in the shower, and he'd had less than honourable intentions when he carried her to the bed, but fatigue had taken its toll on both of them.  They'd barely touched cheek to pillow when they were both out like a light.  Even Dam curled up on the foot of the bed and dozed off.

When she woke, the late afternoon sun slanted through the windows.  She reached a hand up to caress his cheek.

"Oh mighty hunter," she whispers.  "Wakey wakey."
hell_in_highheels: (Default)
River pushes the door shut behind Ace and turns back to face her mate, a sudden wave of tiredness coming over her.

The stress of the evening's events is clearly written in her features.

Again, love, I'm sorry, I didn't know where else to bring her.

Six Months

Aug. 8th, 2009 08:34 pm
hell_in_highheels: (working)
She's eyeing the calender on her desk and the date.  Six months ago, she invited him to dinner.  Six months ago he said yes.  Six months ago, she was still human.  Six months ago and a day ago, she considered herself a ghost -- not among the living.  A memory of a life, perhaps, but not an actual life.

Six months ago, he reminded her that she was very much alive and he's spent every day since proving to her that life is very much worth living.

So she's sitting at her desk, trying to jot down something simple in a note to tell him how glad she is that she met him, how much she loves him, how much he's become a vital part of her existence.  She never thought it could be this good.  And it's all because of him.  But she doesn't think he'd appreciate pages and pages of her pouring her heart out.   She just wants to make him smile, and mark the day.  So she's trying for something quick and to the point.

All that's come out is a silly little ditty, and she's almost embarrassed by how naff it is, but it's quick and to the point.

I can't believe you shredded my knickers,
I can't believe you bit my nose,
I can't believe how much I love you,
Everyday it grows and grows.

Happy first six months,
~River


Completely naff.  So she adds a couple of hearts with an arrow through it, grinning as she tries to picture his expression upon reading it.

Maybe she'll stuff it in his holster or something.

"Oh I know..."

Damocles?

She tucks the note in his collar, and pets his face while she asks him to take the note to its intended recipient. It means she won't see his reaction when he reads it, but she wagers it'll be worth it.
hell_in_highheels: (full moon)
She stayed up too late, staring at the autopsy photos, trying to correlate the forensics with the reports that kept trickling in. She's trying to imagine just what purpose someone had for treating the corpse with such careless disregard.

What did it taste like, I wonder? What did it smell like, the broken bones seeping their marrow on the carpet of leaves, the trickles of blood mixing with the dark loam of the forest floor.  Heart and lungs, liver and kidneys. What would it feel like to tear  flesh from such a small body?
 

She shakes her head, trying to clear the morbid thought from her mind.  It's nonsense.  It's rubbish, is what it is.  She can't think rationally when she gets this way.  This is what she  gets for going to bed hungry, she thinks.  Ryan has already gone to bed, and doesn't even awake when she joins him, simply slips an arm around her and pulls her close. 

~~~

The scene before her eyes is black and white.  Even with her enhanced night vision, the old growth forest is darkest here.  It's beautiful and serene, and she can smell the blood on the wind.  Something is wounded, something is running from her, and she's chasing it, chasing the intense wash of fear and pain. 

Run, little one.  Run and let me hear the pounding of your heart.  Let me feel the heat of your exertion.  I'm coming for you and there's nothing you can do to stop me.  Run.  Run like the devil is on your heels, because I am.  I'm coming for you.

The figure of a man hurls himself through the undergrowth, and she bats at him with one clawed hand, revelling in the sound that's torn from his throat.  Bone crunches beneath her hand and she's crashing into the back of him, her muzzle clamping down and giving one good hard shake to snap the neck.  Blood washes her mouth and she knows the taste.  She knows what horrific thing she has done before she even rolls the body over to look down into his face.

A heart-rending human scream, rage and sorrow and grief, boils up from within her.  His eyes look up at her from her fresh killed prey.  Richard's green eyes, now gone glassy and cold, stare up at her from his lifeless face. 

She screams again. 

And again. 

And again.
hell_in_highheels: (oh you)
[cont'd from here]

He runs through his mental check-list one more time while wondering if he's missed something or if he could add something else. Fireplace. He turns the flames on, setting them to low and casting faint shadows across the furniture.

Perfect. He heads for the door and puts one hand on the knob before he smirks and leans against the wall instead.

"Who is it?"


She remembers the first time she stood here, her heart in her throat, wondering just what it was she was going to say to convince him to let her stay.  A smile spreads across her face.  She lays one hand flat on the door, and rests her forehead against the frame*. 

"Three guesses, first two don't count."



*The other hand has been claimed by a certain obstinate doberman.   His dog, indeed.

hell_in_highheels: (looking down)
She doesn't need to turn the lights on to move about the flat in the dark now.  The starlight through the windows is plenty of light, though everything is tinted a shade that is somewhere between gold and green.  She can't quite tell which.

For some reason, she feels the need to check the front door, the kitchen, the office, the long line of windows in the living room, the bathroom, the front door again.  Scenting the air for any disturbances.  No, everything smells right.  Damocles is asleep on his rug, Richard is snoring softly in the other room.  He heard her awaken and mumbled something in canine about letting her patrol.

Is that what she's doing?  Patrolling?

She tried to sit at her desk and write for a bit, but the urge to move overwhelmed this late night ritual.  She thinks she should go and check the bar as well, the hall and the stairs, the Library. 

The realisation dawns slowly. It's her territory.  She's patrolling her territory.

She stands in the door between the living room and the bedroom, and watches him sleep.  He's dreaming again, restless, hunted.  She goes and sits on the bed next to him, resting her hand on his shoulder, trying to comfort him some how.  But the dreams don't give up their hold easily.  She hopes the comfort of her scent can penetrate the fog of the nightmare.  Some nights it works.  Some nights he is the one that ends up pacing the floor in front of the windows.

If it goes on much longer,  she might wake him and suggest a midnight run.   A run sounds good right now.  Something to get the energy of the waning moon out of her blood. 

Damocles joins her eventually, inquiring as to why she's awake.  She doesn't have a good answer for him, so she pets his face and tells him it'll be all right.  He's more comfort than he knows, she thinks.  Always so happy to see her.  And now, chattering away at her all the time, now that she can understand him.  Damocles bumps her and tells her to go back to sleep, that he's here and if those demon rabbits come back, he'll run them off.  And then he promptly falls back asleep at the foot of the bed, sprawling across the warm spot she left behind.

She stands and watches them sleeping.  She loves them both so much it scares her sometimes. 

So she stands watch over them, drawing their scent into her with a deep breath and letting it out again in a low sigh.

And she paces the floor, eyes on the bank of windows and the dark Scottish landscape beyond.
hell_in_highheels: (Default)
For once, River is actually awake before Richard.  Her whole body is flush with excitement.  Today she takes the final step.  Today, they will visit the Library and find a book with a full moon and prey, and she will hunt beside him for the first time.

She watches him as he sleeps.  Watches the way his chest rises and falls.  Watches the dreams flicker across his face.  She knows about the nightmares, knows there are times when he relives that night over and over again.  But tonight she thinks she succeeded in wearing him out, as he is sleeping as soundly as she's ever seen him sleep.

She casts an eye at the clock.  It's a quarter of five.  She can wait forty five minutes, she thinks. 

And so she waits. 

And watches.
hell_in_highheels: (working)
[ after this ]

There's a fumbling at the door and no small amount of cursing in some ancient tongue.  The key jangles in the lock and River opens the door, closing it behind her with her hip.

She's cradling one hand against her chest and she looks like she's been crying.

Being angry is easier than acknowledging the ache in her chest, so she's going to go with angry.  For just a little bit longer.
hell_in_highheels: (Default)
She's standing at the window, looking out over the Scottish landscape, watching the night sky.   The moon is new, and without the competing light, the stars are spectacular.  River kneels up on the window seat and touches the controls that bring the opacity down to zero.  Starlight isn't as bright as moonlight, but it's still enough that she can make out the horizon.  The landscape is stunning.

She settles back, sitting on her heels, arms crossed over her chest, hands rubbing her upper arms, smiling up at the night sky.

He said yes.

He said yes.




She can't help but wonder...  What comes next?

hell_in_highheels: (blue)
It had sounded perfect, she thought.  Perfect.

Small.  Light.  Fits on an armband.  Activated with a single touch, keyed to the wearer's DNA. It supposedly lasts for three hours continuous use without needing a recharge.  Sure, Bar had mentioned there might be some harmless side effects.

Initially, she'd been rather enamoured of the way it looked. Like she was wearing a thin skin of oil over her entire body, only in the most beautiful shade of cobalt blue.  And standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom, she could see no reflection whatsoever.  She did a little twirl, and noted her vision wasn't effected at all.  (Moving with the privacy screen always gave her a bit of a headache.) 

And then she shut it off.   She pressed the button and shut it off.   Off. Off. Off.

She thought it wasn't shutting off because she could still see the blue tint of the field covering her body.  And then she looked up into the mirror. 

Oh no.

She scrubbed her hands under the water.  Nothing.  She fished her sonic screwdriver out of her pocket and fiddled with the settings.  She aimed it at the back of her hand and cringed as she pressed the button.  A high pitched whirr filled the small room and she felt the energy field writhing over her skin.  After a long moment, she looked down at her hand.

"Shite."
hell_in_highheels: (mouthful smirk)
Oh, River is not a morning person, but this prank requires some dedication and preparation.  She has her sonic screwdriver set to wake her an hour before the alarm, and she'd packed the blanket and the picnic basket the afternoon before while he was out running.

The matter of the prank itself is a simple few moments with the screwdriver on the red setting.  Quick.  Harmless.  And best of all, reversible. 

She still expects to get a bit of a hiding for it, but he did throw down the gauntlet.  Her cheeks ache from grinning at the very thought of the look on his face when he figures out just what she'd done.

Prank accomplished, she slips into her boots and shushes Damocles, swearing him to silence.  Rather, bribing him with future promises of bacon.  She leaves the note on the pillow and catches herself just before she kisses him on the cheek.  If he wakes, the surprise will be ruined before she can make her escape. 

Dear Richard~

Have been kidnapped by rabbits.  They said something about their pelts being used for "unseemly" purposes. Their leader says, if you ever want to see me again, come alone.

(crudely drawn map of the lake side and the meadow with an X)

Love,
~River

hell_in_highheels: (working)
River paces the length of her office. 

Inside, there is bright sun shining down from the ceiling of the solarium.  The lighting in her office tends to be rather cheery as well.  But beyond the window seat, where she loves to sit and read for hours the story is different.  Outside the bay window, the ocean is dark and turbulent, the skies gun metal grey.  Stormy seas for stormy thoughts, CAL used to say.  Now, it is just a fact.  When River is discontent, the water shows it.

She has a wall cleared for research and she's muttering to herself as she walks the length of the carpet and back again.

"Give me everything we know about lycanthrope species catalog number 1010."

Files start flying up from the background, the pale blue light of the terminal casting a glow over her cheeks as she stares.  Her hand reaches out to touch an image and drag it to the foreground.  The transformed lycanthrope image taken at an undisclosed location in the Scottish Highlands, Earth, circa early twenty first century.  It was a file she'd gathered from the bar feeds, Richard's timeline.

She taps a corner and the image becomes three dimensions.  She spins it in place, the off camera bits filling in with extrapolated data.

"This one is male. Do you have an image of a female?"

The computer shuffles through a handful of images and offers a few as most likely to match criteria.  She snags an image.

The selected candidate is a dark grey, with white on her muzzle. She stands almost 2.5 metres tall, according to the read out.  Her features are more refined than her male counterpart, her body more lithe, though just as well-muscled.  River can just see the barest hint of a shadow on the image, two pairs of extra nipples running down either side of the torso.  Claws just as long and sharp, and a mouthful of formidable looking teeth. 

She spins the image again, her brow furrowed in thought.  Not something she'd care to run into in the forest after dark.  Outside, the wind batters against the window panes.  The water is pounding the rocks below and huge plumes of salt spray reachfor the heavens.

What does she know?  Increased metabolism (hungry all the time).  Enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell (oh to smell everything so deeply).  Ability to read emotions. (to read the lies) Oh and the ability speak with canine intelligences.  And an unbreakable, unavoidable connection to the lunar phase of what ever planet one is on.  A violent physical transformation.  A blood thirsty physical counterpart.

It is the wild aspect of the whole thing that terrifies her. The idea that she must give up her intellect, give up her reason, to run and hunt and kill and feast. 

It terrifies and thrills her simultaneously.

It's wrong to even think of this, part of her screams. 
It was forced upon him, a curse, not a gift. 
Could he live with you knowing that you had a choice where he did not? 
Could he look at you every day and know that you could undo it? 

Nonsense. 
Surely there's a way to undo it for him as well. 
But would he?  Would he even consider it? 
I don't believe he would, not for a moment. 
It is a part of who he is. 
He is as much wolf as he is man. 

Only because that is how I have known him since the beginning. 
These are the real questions I must answer. 
Not whether or not to undergo this transformation,
but where it would leave the two of us, on the other side.

River spins the image again, looking into the golden eyes of the creature. 

To be able to taste his scent, to drown in it. 
Wouldn't that be a gift? 
Wouldn't he want that for me? 
For us?

Why don't you ask him, River?

Why don't you just talk to him about this?


I can't lose him. 
I won't do anything to jeopardise what we have.
Can I live with the status quo?


She pulls back up the image of the male, his coat black as coal, his gaze turned away from the piercing flash of the camera.  Gore drips from the creature's jaws.  Human blood, if the reports are to be believed.

Yes,
if it means having him by my side.
My love, my mate.

hell_in_highheels: (looking down)
She watches as he gets dressed to go running. 

A sleepy hand steals out to the night stand to thread a finger through the chain of his dog tags.   They jangle together quietly in her hands. Two round discs, one on a long chain, the other threaded through a smaller chain hanging off the main necklace.   In the light of the lamp, she finds the clasp of the smaller chain and undoes it, closing it again once it's free.

He bends his head to give her a kiss good bye, and she slips the long chain with its solitary dog tag around his neck.  It's quiet without its mate to jangle against.  He looks down at it and back at her, puzzled.

She holds up her hand, the liberated tag looped over her index finger.  She closes her fingers around it and smiles at him drowsily as she pulls her hand back beneath the covers.

He grins down at her, shaking his head.  He presses another kiss to her forehead before he goes.

She falls asleep, the metal warming quickly against her skin.

~ mated ~

hell_in_highheels: (full moon)
It's still dark when she wakes, but dawn is already lightning the sky.  She dresses in long skirts, her favourite wool sweater, and her grey woollen shawl.  And her field boots.  The lakeside is rocky, and they're practical.

She makes her way down the stairs to the bar, not really surprised to see a others who are still awake from the previous evening's carousing.  She doesn't pause to socialise.  She makes her way out the back and down the path to the lakeside, her eyes on the tree line.  She walks the shore, rubbing her arms against the chill, putting more and more distance between herself and the bar.

This time it is she who is searching for him in the mist.

He told her not to come after him when the moon was up.  But it had set hours ago.  The sun was almost over the ridge. 
hell_in_highheels: (Default)
She started as soon as he left, working through the afternoon and into night.  Bar was very accommodating, and seemed to take a bit of enjoyment out of her list of possible ideas.

They started with the basic floor plan.  An open floor plan, doubling the size of the flat.  Ceilings pushed to twelve feet, harsh edges softened with a gentle organic line.  For the floors, a beautiful dark hardwood.   Hand hewn beams for the four massive columns (cover, not just concealment) that marked the corners of the living area, with the fireplace at the focal point.  Persian rugs in reds and golds, and a proper seating area, leather couches, overstuffed and deep.  A low table (more surfaces for books).

The picture window grew and curved outward to become a window seat big enough for both of them to stretch out in at the same time.  Curtains and cushions all a palette of dark greens, the walls in a warm ivory.  Art would come later, she thought.

A kitchen with a table and two chairs, ample counter space to cook.  She thinks about the fact that she hasn't cooked in ages, and how nice it would be to cook for the two of them.  And friends even.

In a smaller but still open alcove beyond the main room, she places a broader bed on a low heavy platform, also in dark wood.  Big enough for two people and a large dog.  The requested dressers on each side of the bed.  An oval free-standing long mirror .  A bathroom with two sinks, a shower and a large clawfoot tub (Are those wolf paws?) tucked into a niche.

Back in the main room, bookshelves along one wall.  She pondered that for awhile.  They can always add more if they need them.

About two o'clock in the morning, Bar refuses to rearrange the rugs again.  Yes, you're right, she thinks. Time for sleep.

~~~

She woke at their usual time and it took a moment to remember why the other side of the bed was cold and empty.  She showered quickly and dressed, thinking she'd go down and eat something.   She ended up sitting in the picture window, looking out over the lake, into the forest beyond, wondering where he was.  She drew the shawl around her and picked up a book (William Blake, today).

It wasn't long before she was dozing sitting up.

hell_in_highheels: (talking)
What is the distance between one's old life and one's new life?  In truth, two days.  Four weeks is the distance between galaxies, she thinks.  She thinks of her life before Milliways and it seems a thing that happened to someone else. 

She is so wrapped up in the wonder of it all, it takes her a week to notice that her door is back.  She rises early and there is a delicious soreness in her muscles from their exertions.  She lays in bed and reads while he runs, shifting over onto his side of the bed, stealing the last of his warmth from the sheets. 

She asks Bar for an orchid, something with a gentle fragrance that won't assault his sensibilities.  She brings it home (home) and asks his opinion.   He starts out scenting the orchid and ends up with his nose buried in her hair, nuzzling the nape of her neck.  She laughs, begging him to let her find a place for it.  He takes it from her and sets it on the windowsill before sweeping her into his arms.  It's still there, and quite content.

She wears turtle necks all the time now. 
I wear your mark in my skin.

At night, she sleeps with her head resting on his shoulder, his arm wrapped possessively around her waist.  Drifting up through the layers of consciousness, she listens to the even sound of his breath against her ear.  Even in his sleep, his fingertips draw lazy circles on her stomach, testing the limits of her restraint.  Some nights, she breaks far too easily, and he complains not in the least.

She wants to watch the sun setting on the lake.  He tells her he'll meet her in a few minutes, and she precedes him out the back door of the bar.  She is standing on the lakeshore, her hands rubbing her upper arms against the chill when he wraps the grey shawl around her shoulders.  It isn't as warm as he is, but it does quite nicely nonetheless.

She peppers him with questions constantly, and he answers them as best he can, turning them back to her on occasion, and she also answers, as best she can.  They talk about a thousand and one things, and each question leads to another and another.  They spend days learning about one another.

She hasn't told him about @ yet.  She thinks when the time is right, she'll know.  She doesn't want to abuse his trust, but neither does she want him to think she's only with him while she's waiting for someone else.  Because that is the farthest thing from the truth.  

She is with him.  There is nothing else  in her world that she knows to be true anymore but that one simple fact.   She belongs to him.  And he belongs to her.  
Mated.

The rest will sort itself out, one way or another.
hell_in_highheels: (looking down)
[ from here ]

Space.

She just needed a little breathing room, and time to think. He made it very difficult to focus on practicalities. Seemed he had only to quirk an eyebrow at her, and her heart went all pitter pat. Stuff and nonsense. She was a grown woman, not some lovesick school girl.

Oh but she was smitten.

Hence the need for space. A little air around the situation, give the pheromones and endorphins a chance to clear. She could make decisions when her head was clear. She'd retreated to the bar's library, intent on getting some work done. She had no idea what was here and now was the perfect time to look.

She'd played this game once before and lost. No, he had been too much to keep. She'd known that from the very beginning. And it hadn't stopped her then either.

This thing with Richard felt different. Stronger somehow, though she'd thought her marriage would last. Stronger than even that. It felt... permanent. Which again, nonsense. She'd only just met him.

Oh but she knew. She knew in her heart. This was something unique. For both of them.

What are you afraid of, River?

Losing him. Having my heart broken again.

Didn't stop you before, why should it stop you now?

I don't know if I could survive another loss.

Nonsense.  He's not the air in  your lungs.  Nor is he the checksum on your file integrity.

He's more than that, isn't he? He's a force of nature.

He's a man. There are plenty of those running around here, if you hadn't noticed.

He's not just a man. 

Oh, the werewolf thing you mean.  Is it your curiosity that drives this fascination?

No, he's not the first non-human I've met.  Don't be ridiculous.

So what is it then? What is it about him that has you so disconcerted?

He's–  Just–

What?  Go on, spit it out.

River closed her book with a frown.  She'd missed both lunch and dinner, and realised if she went to him now, she'd never leave.  She thought maybe The Library could cool the rush in her blood. 

She'd be back, after a time. Tomorrow at the latest.  It was almost midnight when she stood in the bar, looking at the blank space where her door had been.

Some decisions, if left long enough, will be made for you.
hell_in_highheels: (Default)
"Returning acquisition noted.  Hallo River."

"Hello CAL.  Come here and give us a hug!"  River bent and opened her arms wide.

The young girl smiled broadly, a child again for a moment, and dashed the length of the room into River's waiting arms.

"Mmm, I've missed you."

"I've missed you too, River.  There's no one here to read me bed time stories when you're gone."

"What?  Won't Miss Evangelista read to you anymore?"

CAL looked chagrined for a moment.  "I didn't ask."

River cocked an eyebrow at the young girl. "CAL, you should ask her.  I can't be here every night to read to you."

"Why not?"

River sighed, tilting her head to one side.  "Because I just can't."

"You've been staying at Milliways."

"I have."

"You like it better there than here."

"It's not that, CAL.  It's just different.  I've been here a very long time and different is a good thing."

CAL didn't even attempt to hide her pout.  "You like Captain Ryan better than you do me."

River's brow furrowed in a moment of confusion and a touch of anger.  "CAL, that's really beneath you.  You know I love you.  You know how much you mean to me."

CAL studied the tips of her shoes.  "I'm sorry."

"As well you should be.  Come here."  River hugged the girl tight against her chest, smoothing her hair, and CAL held on just as tightly.  "Now you know you have no reason to be jealous."

"He's very handsome, isn't he?"

River leaned back, her hands still holding CAL's arms as she smirked and raised a single eyebrow.

"Well?"

"He is.  Very handsome indeed."  River's smirk blossomed into a broad grin.

"Have you told the Doctor yet?"

No one in the Universe could sucker punch quite like CAL could, River thought.  The words felt like a flat hand strike to her solar plexus.  All the wind went out of her.  After a moment, she brushed a strand of hair back from CAL's eyes.  "You know, I haven't."

Intellectually, River knew that CAL knew the location of every volume, and thus would know the location of her husband's historical records.  On the days when the loneliness got to be too much for her to bear, she'd go and talk to him, though it hurt to do so, because it wasn't really him.  It was a construct, like every other historical person in the library.  But he was still a friend to her, in many ways.  She hadn't been to see him since she'd discovered the door to Milliways.  It felt too much like saying goodbye, and they'd agreed never to do that.

"Don't be sad, River."  CAL hugged River close again.

River sighed, hugging the child back and stroking her hair.  "It's all right, CAL.  If we were never sad, how would we know how good it was to be happy, hmm?"

"I don't know about that.  Better just not to be sad."  CAL released her hold on River and danced away, smiling again.  "I brought you more books.  This time on shape shifters! And wolf pack behaviour and gravitational psychology and folklore and oh I found you one on the best cocktails in the known universe!"

River stood up and laughed, following the girl as she lead her to the huge new stack of books on her library table.  

"Are you done with all of these?"  CAL pointed to the teetering stack at the far end of the table.  Twentieth century military history, mostly.

All grim and hard to read, but necessary, River thought.  "Yes, I'm done with those.  Oh wait, hold on."  River made sure to pull out the one green leather bound book, and hold it back.  The faded silver letters on the cover read Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde.

She absentmindely clutched it to her chest and nodded, watching as CAL vanished the volumes back to their place in the virtual library. 
hell_in_highheels: (River)
[from here]

River arrives in the bar just before seven in the evening, and secures a table for two in a cozy corner of the bar.  She's dressed casually, wearing her favourite Irish sweater, jeans and her tan field boots.  But she has to confess, she's spent a bit more time with her hair and her face.

For as interesting as Richard is, he is also a good looking man.

She orders a glass of pinot noir, and waits, watching the faces in the crowd.  When she sees him, she smiles broadly and holds up a hand.
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