DISCLAIMER: I still don't own any of these characters. I'm not making a profit from this in any way, shape or form. Once again, this is in response to one of Ralst's challenges. So, again, hold her responsible for the premise.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CHALLENGE RESPONSE: to SFC #16.
By Del Robertson
Lucy Diamond bypassed the alarm system at the front gate. She started up the sidewalk, but paused, foot suspended in midair. Carefully dropping her leg, she resumed her original position, stood stock-still. Slowly, she reached into her shirt pocket, extracted her night vision goggles.
The adjustment was instantaneous. The darkened lawn and surroundings were instantly awash in an infrared glow. A criss-cross, plaid network of laser beams connected across the sidewalk and front yard. Lucy let out a low whistle. The closest beam was no more than a half-inch from her right shoe.
Taking a deep breath, she warily stepped over the first security beam. Twisting and contorting her body like an acrobat, she methodically maneuvered her way across the front yard.
She darted the last few feet to the corner of the house. Back pressed firmly against the wooden slats, she braced herself. Inching her way out, she peered around the corner.
The front porch was deserted. Staying flush with the wall, she inched herself towards the door. Kneeling between the first window and the entrance, Lucy's hand snaked up the doorframe to the knob. With just her fingertips, she began to turn the knob at an agonizingly slow crawl. A light came on in the front room, followed by the sounds of the television.
Crouching down, she crept along beneath the long window in the front room. Fingers trailing down her pants leg, she reached for her ankle holster, withdrawing her gun. Cautiously, she turned her head at an awkward angle; just enough so she could peek in the window. Janet. On the couch in a pair of blue sweatpants and a baby blue polo shirt. Bobby-socked feet curled beneath her, a giant bowl of popcorn perched on her lap. She gobbled popcorn by the handful as she watched the late show.
Staying as low as possible, Lucy crept beneath the big picture window. A wooden board gave an ominous creak as she stepped off the end of the porch and into the flowerbed. She froze for only a split second before darting around the side of the house, stealthily slipping into the shadows.
She crouched by the big rose bush, looking to her left, then to her right. She knew she didn't have reason to fear discovery. She was dressed from head to toe in black and blended perfectly with the shadows. With one last look over her shoulder, she grabbed the trellis and began her ascent.
Amy squirmed, rolled over, pulled her sheet up to her neck. Burrowed her face deeper in her pillow. A contented smile spread over her face. Her smile abruptly fell. One blue eye flew open. Her heart trip-hammered in her chest.
She lay still, scarcely breathing, willing herself to remain motionless. She strained her ears. Nothing. Still, something had woken her. She took slow shallow breaths. Tried to distinguish anything out of the ordinary; something that didn't blend with the usual night sounds.
She didn't hear it, but she sensed it. Something in her room. Oh, I wish I hadn't slept with the window open. A soft creak echoed on the floorboard. Maybe it's just a stray cat? She felt the shadow looming over her.
A cold sweat broke out on Amy's brow. Her heart leapt into her throat. Blood thundered in her ears. She forced herself to remain calm, kept her breathing shallow so as not to raise the intruder's defenses.
In one fluid motion, she rolled over, grabbed the intruder's wrist and flipped her over the bed. She heard a loud thud and a satisfying yelp as her assailant landed hard on the wooden floor.
Amy was upon the intruder instantly. Straddling her torso, knees pinning her shoulders, pressing down with her full weight. One hand grabbed her gun from beneath her mattress, gripping it comfortably, shoving the barrel into the intruder's throat. Her other hand reflexively reached out, traveling the top of the dresser, jerking the chain on her bedside lamp.
Amy stared down the barrel of the gun. Chocolate brown eyes blinked back at her. Amy's eyes grew wide, mouth dropped open in shock. "Lucy!"
A roguishly charming smile spread over the master criminal's face. "Hi."
A blush spread across Amy's cheeks. A hand reflexively covered her mouth, hiding her blossoming smile. She relaxed, her right hand retreating, her gun coming to rest at the swell of Lucy's breasts.
"What are you doing here?"
Lucy shrugged; as best she could with Amy still perched on her, knees digging into shoulder blades. "Do you mind?" she asked, directing Amy's attention with her pleading gaze. "I'm starting to go numb. And, not in a good way."
"Oh." And, then, "OH!" Amy hurriedly scrambled backward, removing her knees from Lucy's pressure points. She didn't retreat that far, however, preferring to remain perched upon Lucy's midsection.
"Again, what are you doing here?" Amy asked in a hushed tone. "And, how did you get in - again?" she eyed Lucy warily.
"Yeah, well, for a top-secret spy organization and all, your security system sucks." Then, turning serious. "Scud's missing."
"Scud," confirmed Lucy. "You know Scud. Best friend. Confidant. God of Bingo. Helped me kidnap you and take you to that club."
"Oh. Scud." Amy did a half-frown. "I didn't know his name was Scud."
"You didn't?" An arching of eyebrows.
"No." Amy shrugged. "You never really introduced us."
"Hmm. That's interesting." Lucy sort of nodded. "I guess that's because he spent most of his time with your friend."
Amy pursed her lips, did her own sort of half-nod. "Guess so." I could so get lost in her dreamy brown eyes.
"So," Lucy continued, "He's missing. And, I was sort of hoping you could help me find him?"
Amy's blue eyes narrowed. She bit her bottom lip. "Wow. Me - Help you. Lucy Diamond."
Lucy's response was another half-shrug, half-smile.
"Wow. I can't believe this is happening." Amy's gun waved haphazardly through the air as she talked. Her grip relaxed further and it dangled from her fingertips. She stared at a point somewhere on the far wall. Lucy's gaze slid up, following Amy's. Even upside down, she recognized the D.E.B.S. placard - Discipline, Energy, Beauty, Strength. She nearly felt her eyes roll. "I could be in SO much trouble," continued Amy.
No answer. She expected some sort of roguish comment from the master criminal. She glanced at Lucy again. Lucy wasn't paying attention to her. Her eyes tracked Lucy's smoldering gaze, staring down at her pajama top. The top button had come undone, and the second was dangerously close to following suit. Placing her gun on the floor, she modestly buttoned both buttons. Nervous, she abruptly jumped up, leaving a stunned Lucy lying prone on the floor. A sudden bundle of energy, the D.E.B. agent moved to her closet.
"I really should get dressed," she explained, unnecessarily.
Lucy propped herself up on her elbows, eyeing Amy speculatively. Was the D.E.B.S.' poster child finally starting to realize just how into her she really was? Almost an autonomous response, Lucy's fingers inched their way to the gun, closing around the grip. "Nice jammies," she said, blatantly staring at the white silk two-piece men's pajama set that Amy wore. Her hand smoothly returned to her side, slipping the gun into the waistband of her jeans.
The ever-modest D.E.B. had redone her buttons the second she realized Lucy was ogling her cleavage. Amy had no clue how close she had been to burying her nose in that delectable cleavage, kissing and licking the expanse of her creamy white flesh. Just as she was certain Amy had no idea now that standing in front of the closet mirror as she was, the small desk lamp turned on, illuminated more than just the contents of the closet. Her breasts were small and pert, the nipples erect little nubbins. And, below that, she could just see the outline of Amy's thatch. She is a real blonde.
Her gaze lazily wandered back to Amy's breasts. Amy's hands were deftly working at the buttons of her top, swiftly working her way down the material. The material now hung loosely, exposing a half-inch strip of flesh all the way from her throat to the waistband of her pajama bottoms. Amy started to remove the top the rest of the way. Lucy licked her lips in anticipation.
"Lucy!" The D.E.B. agent had finally looked in Lucy's direction, realized she had been staring. She felt the heat rise to her cheeks. I can't believe I nearly undressed with her watching me! "Turn around," she demanded, in a stern tone.
She smiled at Amy's innocent blush. Obediently rose from the floor, dusted herself off. She turned around, taking in her surroundings. When her eyes met Amy's again, she stammered an apology and flopped down on the bed, sinking into the soft mattress. Hands propped beneath her head as she stretched out on the bed, she stared at the ceiling. Her eyes slowly drifted closed.
Satisfied, Amy turned to face the mirror, her back to Lucy. She smoothly slipped out of her pajama top. The breeze from the open window felt cool upon her hot flesh. She caught sight of her breasts in the mirror, looked down at her chest. Her nipples had never been so swollen, so painfully erect. They're so tight, thought Amy.
She half-turned, looking at the figure on her bed. Lucy was clad from head to toe in black. Her black, short sleeve tee had a collar and leather cording, opening the front of her shirt in a V-pattern. Almost like a pirate, sprang to Amy's mind. Her shirt had ridden up, exposing a thin strip of tanned flesh along her abdomen. Amy's heart clutched at the sight of those firm abs. I can't believe she's in my bed.
Guiltily, she forced her gaze to travel up the length of Lucy's tight, firm body. Her breathing was shallow, her chest rising and falling rhythmically. Her eyes were closed, jaw slack. A pink tongue darted out, moistened soft lips, then retreated again. Lucy twitched, squirmed deeper into the mattress. Her ponytail shifted subtly on Amy's pillow. I wonder what her hair would look like down, splayed across my pillow while I -
Amy's face flushed crimson. She spun around, her back to Lucy. I can't believe I just thought that! She stared at herself in her full-length mirror. If it was possible, her nipples were even harder than before, painfully throbbing. What's gotten into me? She half-turned, glanced back at the bed. Lucy's eyes were still closed, her breathing shallow. Biting her bottom lip, Amy spun around again. She's sleeping. Just one touch won't hurt.
Her right hand slid slowly down, beginning at her collarbone, over her heart, to cup her left breast. As she lifted her left breast, her thumb grazed over the taut nipple, and she was forced to bite back a moan. She rolled the nipple this way, then that, with her thumb, then with her index finger. I can't believe the sensitivity!
Emboldened, she dropped her right hand from her left breast. Took both breasts in both hands. Cupping, fondling the soft flesh. The hardened nipples burned the palms of her hands and she increased her kneading of her flesh. Capturing her dusty pink tipped nipples between thumbs and index fingers, she gently pulled. Then, harder. Moaning, she pulled as hard as she could, released, then applied the same pressure again.
Chocolate brown eyes raptly watched Amy's reflection in the mirror. Lucy's hungry gaze flicked back and forth rapidly between Amy's body and her face. She didn't want to risk Amy realizing she'd been watching her, but at the same time, she couldn't stop herself. Not when this incredibly hot woman is feeling herself up in front of me!
Lucy was torn; she wanted to get up off the bed, go to Amy, take her then and there. But, what if I freak her out and she pushes me away? Indecision caused her to remain rooted to the bed, eyes riveted on Amy's reflection.
A thin sheen of perspiration shone on Amy's back. Her breasts swung freely now, moving back and forth like twin pendulums. One hand was braced on the closet door, fingers clutching knuckle-white at the hardwood frame. The other hand was thrust into her pajama bottoms, moving quickly over heated flesh. With each stroke, her silk pants were pushed farther down, revealing both her creamy ass and her downy-covered pussy to watchful eyes.
Hips thrusted as fingers stroked. Eyes closed, head thrown back, corded throat muscles straining as tiny moans escaped from between succulent lips. A long, elegant finger slipped down, coating itself with moisture, then retreated. Sliding, gliding between swollen lips, it searched for, then found, then slipped off that elusive clit.
When direct contact was made, the resulting deep, guttural moan that escaped brought a satisfied smile to both Amy and Lucy. Zeroing in on her hot spot, she rubbed three fingers in rapid circles, pressing in deeper with her palm as she did so. Thrusting hips leaned in closer, craving the contact, mindlessly deepening the maddening touch.
Her entire body tightened, becoming rigidly immobile. Her head was thrown back, mouth open, a soundless scream coming from her throat. With one deep all-over body shudder, she relaxed. Knees buckled, and the only thing that kept her from falling was the death-grip she had on the closet door. With a deep sigh, she slowly allowed herself to slide down, dimly aware of the cold hardwood floor on her bare bottom.
Lucy perched on the corner of Amy's desk, feet firmly planted on the seat of Amy's chair, hands propped on knees, chin resting in her open palm. She openly stared as Amy slipped her plaid tie around her neck, adjusted it beneath her shirt collar. She placed her D.E.B.S. pin above her left breast. With one final tug, she pulled her shirt tail over the top of her plaid skirt, making one last adjustment at the waistband.
"There." Amy turned away from the mirror, twirling in front of Lucy. "What do you think?"
Before Lucy could answer, she heard a loud crash and the splintering of wood. Her mouth dropped open, eyes grew wide as the bedroom door was kicked open, a large boot print marring the white paint in the center of the door. She leapt from the desk, pulling Amy to her and yanking the gun from the waistband of her pants in one motion.
"Hold it right there!" The D.E.B.S. leader, Max, was standing just inside the open doorway, wearing black combat boots, a short plaid skirt and a white sleeveless half-tee -- and carrying the biggest gun Lucy had ever seen.
Lucy had positioned herself near the end of the bed, placing Amy in front of her, one arm wrapped possessively around her waist, effectively pinning her arms at her sides. She held the barrel of the gun firmly against Amy's neck. Slowly, she backed towards the window, using Amy as a shield.
Helplessly, Max watched as her second-in-command was dragged against her will towards the open window. She held her gun at the ready, hoping for a clean shot. But, she knew she wouldn't - couldn't take it unless she was absolutely certain Amy was out of the line of fire.
Lucy continued to back herself and Amy towards the corner. She couldn't help herself; she saw Max's predicament and grew cocky. A slow smile spread over her lips. "That's a mighty big gun you have, D.E.B. - Are you compensating?"
There was the sound of a trigger being cocked. "Mine's bigger. Would you like to zee it?"
Dominique sat straddling the windowsill, one leg in the room, one still hanging outside. A cigarette dangled precariously from between her lips. She held her gun leveled at Lucy's back.
Lucy swiftly adjusted her stance, quickly backing herself and Amy into the corner. The wall was firmly to her back, Amy shielded her front. Janet arrived at the doorway, just now hearing the commotion over the television. Upon seeing the situation, she too, drew her gun.
Amy stood petrified, afraid to move, afraid to even sneeze. A total of four guns were trained on her. Three belonging to her friends and colleagues. One belonging to - well, just what was Lucy, exactly? Amy didn't believe for a moment that Lucy would intentionally harm her. But, what if she was all that stood between her and freedom?
"Put the gun down." Max ordered.
In response, Lucy dug the barrel deeper into Amy's neck. "Let me go."
"Let Amy go."
Lucy's eyes darted from Max - to Janet - to Dominique - and back to Max. "I won't harm her. Just let me go."
Max tightened her grip on her gun. "You're under arrest. You have the right to remain - "
"Oh, for crying out loud! She didn't come here for this, Max!" Amy shouted, nearly stomping her feet in frustration. "She came to us for help!"
"Help?" Max's eyebrows shot upwards three feet. Janet's mouth dropped open, her eyes bugging out. Dominique's cigarette fell from her open mouth, causing her to rapidly shoo it off her smoldering plaid skirt. "You're telling me Lucy Diamond came to us for help?"
Lucy rapidly nodded her head. "My friend's been snatched."
A small gasp from Janet, her hand quickly covered her mouth to stifle the sound as Max shot her a look.
"We have to help her." Amy saw the indecision in Max's eyes, felt a sudden surge of confidence. "It's the right thing to do."
"How do we know it's not a trap?" Max asked, warily.
Silence. No one moved. No one spoke. The ticking of the clock on the wall agonizingly counted the seconds.
With a deep sigh, Lucy relaxed her grip around Amy's waist, slowly placed her gun on the nearby desk. "Help me save my friend, and I'll turn myself in."
Max's eyes lit up. She slung her gun over her shoulder, a wicked grin on her face. "We'll rescue your friend - and then I'll escort you into Headquarters myself."
A sharp gasp from Amy and Janet. A disbelieving look on Dominique's face. A determined set to Lucy's jaw.
"What ARE we doing here?" Janet asked in a disgruntled voice, sitting down at one of the tables with Amy and Lucy.
"Shhh!" warned Amy. "Keep your voice down."
Janet rolled her eyes, gave Lucy a disgusted look. Not that Lucy had been the one to say anything to her; she just didn't like the idea of her - and Amy. She didn't know how the others didn't see what was right in front of them. The way they sat close to each other, both looking at pictures in the same art book. Sure, Amy was supposedly guarding the notorious diamond thief. She did have her weapon on the table, one hand resting on the grip in case Lucy tried to escape. But, Janet didn't buy it for a minute.
"Max wanted to limit - our guest's access to D.E.B.S.' facilities. Just as I'm sure Lucy doesn't want us snooping around her secret lair," Amy explained, diplomatically. "This is the perfect solution."
"Breaking into the public library in the middle of the night? You call that the perfect solution?" Of course you do; you're the perfect score. Perfect w-h-o-r-e, I mean.
Dominique sat on a wooden barstool in front of a computer. Around her were rows and rows of computers, the screens all black. Only hers was active, data scrolling past the screen at an accelerated rate. Max peered over her shoulder, staring at the screen. The speed at which Dominique worked was astonishing to Max, who watched the data appear on the screen, to be saved or discarded by the French woman with the flick of a wrist.
Max glanced up from the screen, glancing in the direction of her second-in-command. She was seated at a table in the center of the room, Janet sitting across from her, Lucy Diamond next to her. Amy looked to be locked in a heated discussion with Janet. However, Max noted that Amy kept her finger indexed on her gun. Good job, Amy. Always keep one eye on that thief.
"I will have it in zee moment," Dominique reassured her squad leader, glancing over her shoulder.
"Good work," Max said, finally sitting on a stool beside Dominique.
Dominique reached for her shirt pocket, pulled out her pack of cigarettes. She deftly lit one, taking a long drag. She exhaled, the smoke rings curling towards the ceiling.
"Excuse me!" Janet stormed towards Dominique. "You can't smoke in here!"
"Why not?" asked Dominique in her thick accent.
"Hello! Public library! Fire hazard. Lots of books!"
"What are zey going to do? Revoke my library card?" Dominique took another long drag, exhaled it in Janet's direction.
Janet waved the smoke away from her face, turned to Max. "Max, you can't let her smoke in here!"
Without saying a word, Max reached over, taking the cigarette from Dominique. She looked at it briefly before taking it between her lips, and taking a long drag, exhaling the smoke towards the ceiling.
Dominique calmly drew another cigarette from her pack, lit it. Max smiled. Janet stormed off in a huff.
"Ohh! I can't believe those two!" Janet huffed, sat down, crossed her arms over her chest.
Lucy looked at Janet speculatively. Amy just smiled knowingly to herself. "Relax, Janet. They'll be finished soon."
"Maybe you should read a book," suggested Lucy.
"What?" Janet looked like Lucy had just asked her to cut off her own finger. "What did you just say to me?"
"Read a book?" Lucy glanced around at all the shelves lined with books. "We are in a library."
"Hah!" Janet caught Max shoot her a look from the other side of the room. She dropped her voice, leaned halfway across the table. "Why don't you just bite me?"
Lucy half-rose from her chair, leaning towards Janet. "Come a little closer and I will." Wonder if I can reach my ankle holster and shoot her before they can stop me?
Amy jumped up, arms out, effectively separating Janet and Lucy. "Sit down. Now. Both of you." she ordered. Both women glared at her. "There will be no biting. Period." Both women slowly sat down, shooting daggers at each other.
Janet glared at Lucy. Lucy folded her arms across her chest, leaned back in her chair, returning look for hateful look. Amy sat, twiddling with her gun, eyeing both of them.
"What is wrong with you?" hissed Amy.
Lucy refused to answer, staring petulantly at the table. Exasperated, Amy looked to Janet. "Fine," Janet answered. "I just don't like associating with - " she shot Lucy a disgusted look. " - a criminal. It's against regulations."
"Janet!" Amy reprimanded.
Lucy's head shot up, eyes narrowed as she focused on Janet. "Funny. Didn't seem to bother you while you were exchanging e-mails with Scud."
"Janet!" said in shock this time.
"That's different. That was - " Janet fidgeted. "Well, it was - "
"Okay, look. You overlook my - " Amy bit her bottom lip. " - indiscretion with Lucy and I'll overlook yours with Scud."
Janet stared openmouthed at Amy, then Lucy. She rolled her eyes. "Fine!" She glanced in Max's direction, caught the curious look on their leader's face. "Fine," she repeated, softer this time.
"I have zit!" Dominique shouted in triumph. "A credit card charge at a gas station."
"Let's move, ladies!" Max ordered, grabbing her gun off the computer table, flipping it with a flick of her wrist. She stormed across the library, out the double doors.
"Um, like excuse me," Janet power-walked behind Max. "But, WHERE are we going?"
Max turned and glared at her, a wicked grin on her face. "Reykjavik."
On a slope twenty miles outside the capital of Iceland, the D.E.B.S. squad took up position. Lucy knelt on the ridge between Max and Amy, all three outfitted in winter gear and sporting infrared binoculars. Janet and Dominique took up positions on the opposite side of the ridge, overlooking the building below.
It appeared to be an old coal factory, long since abandoned. Two delivery trucks were parked by the front doors. A closer look revealed one to have two flat tires. The other truck appeared to be in fair condition. A chain link fence surrounded the property, the rusted gates held in place by a shiny new chain and padlock.
Max's radio crackled to life. "We have movement. South corner, third floor."
"Roger that. Prepare for insertion. Is there a back door?"
"Oui. Twenty yards down zee slope," came Dominique's static-filled reply.
Max studied the structure through her binoculars once again. There were no lights around front. No signs of movement. Not even a sentry patrol at the door.
"Here's the plan," Max said, lowering her binoculars, turning to Amy. "I'll head down first, secure the front door. Once you see I've blown it open, you two come running. Keep low to the ground and move fast. I'll give the others the signal once I'm in position."
"There's a key in the bushes to the left of the door. Third rock from the bottom step." Lucy saw Max's frown, shrugged. "Be quieter than blowing up the front door," she suggested.
"How do you know that?" Max looked at Amy. "How does she know that?"
Lucy rubbed the back of her neck, exhaled loudly. "This used to be one of my places," she admitted.
"One of your lairs, you mean." Max eyed Lucy suspiciously. "Anything else you want to tell us about your secret headquarters? Any nasty surprises in there?"
Lucy bit her bottom lip, shook her head. "It was never a secret lair. Just a hideout when I needed one."
Max stared at Lucy for several long moments. Finally, she turned back to Amy. "I'm going in. Wait here with her. When you see the door open, follow me in. If the key's there, we do it the quiet way, catch them by surprise. If not, we do it my way." She had slung her gun over her shoulder and was halfway down the ridge before Amy could respond.
Lucy and Amy lay side by side on the ground, peering over the edge of the ridge, watching Max's progress. She was moving slowly now, methodically, crawling on the ground. Even at a crawl, Max still ate up more ground than some armies could at a dead march.
"Gotta hand it to her," Lucy admitted, "No one does commando like your Max."
"Yeah," agreed Amy, still watching her squad leader through night vision, "Max prides herself on her military expertise. Doesn't rest until she gets her man."
An uncomfortable silence hung in the air. Amy bit her bottom lip, debating on a topic to break the ice. She caught Lucy's profile out of her peripheral vision. The master criminal appeared decidedly worried, her brow furrowed, a frown on her face.
"Lucy?" Amy turned to her left, openly appraising the other woman now. "Why did you make that deal with Max?"
Chocolate brown eyes met baby blue. A sad smile played over Lucy's face. "To fix everything."
"What do you mean?" No answer. "Lucy, what do you mean?
"I " Lucy's voice cracked. "Scud and I had a fight."
A deep breath, a long exhale. "You." Amy's eyes went wide. "We had a disagreement about Scud thinks I should steer clear of you because you're a D.E.B."
"I mean, I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. But, we argued about it. I made him get out of the car." Lucy winced. "He was walking about half a block behind me when I saw a black SUV pull up, and some thugs snatched him."
"Oh, Lucy!" Amy's hand reflexively covered her mouth. "And you couldn't find him?"
Lucy shook her head. "I'd been searching for three days solid. I had nothing to go on. The SUV was a dead-end. I hadn't received a ransom note a taunting phone call nothing. I had nowhere else to turn."
"So you contacted the D.E.B.S.?"
"You, actually." Lucy flashed a weaker version of her normally stunning roguish smile. "But, then, I messed that up. And you were in danger. And I didn't see any other options. So "
"So, you made a deal with Max." Amy paused, checked on Max's progress down the embankment, turned back to Lucy. "Scud's lucky to have you."
A half-laugh from Lucy. "I'm the reason he's missing." A wistful look appeared in Lucy's eyes. "He's not just my head henchman like Max thinks, you know. He's my best friend. He's been there for me when no else was."
"Like when you needed this place for a hide-out?" prompted Amy.
A full-blown smile from Lucy this time. "Yeah. But it wasn't because I was on the lam from the law for some major heist. It was a girl." A surprised look from the D.E.B. agent. "She dumped me. I needed to get away for awhile."
A half-shrug. "I needed time to think. Scud took care of business for me while I was gone. Then, when I came back, he was there, waiting for me. I'm lucky to have him."
Amy reached out, touching Lucy's upper arm with her hand. "He knows you care, Lucy. And, he knows you're doing everything you can to find him."
Lucy nodded her head. Eyes focused on her upper arm, where Amy's hand rested. Hesitantly, she reached out, covering Amy's hand with her own. Her eyes sought, held Amy's gaze. She gave the hand a little squeeze. "Amy, I " Should I tell her how I feel? Should I tell her that I saw her would it scare her away if I did? "I just wanted to say - "
"The key's here. I'm in," came Max's voice over the radio.
With a sigh, Lucy turned and stared down the hill. Max was there, opening the front door, slipping inside. Amy motioned for Lucy to follow, already halfway down the embankment. With a soft growl, she rose to her feet, scurrying after the agent.
Amy and Lucy flanked the door, weapons drawn and ready. Amy gave the signal, and they both rushed the door, darting inside, Lucy crouching down, running right; Amy rolling to her left, coming up with her gun sweeping the room.
"Clear." Amy whispered, inching forward, weapon still at the ready.
The room they had entered was once the main entrance for the factory workers. An old punchcard timeclock still stood against the wall, cobwebs draping the hands of the clock like spindly fingers. A cloud of stale air hung about, thick and oppressive. The main power must have been shut off, but the backup generators were still active. Low-intensity emergency lights bathed the factory's interior in a sickly yellowish glow.
Amy shrugged. "Janet and Dominique reported movement on the third floor. It's a safe bet Max went straight there."
"Without backup?" Lucy's eyebrows shot up. "Is that standard procedure for you guys?"
"No. But, Max " Amy bit her bottom lip. "Max is independent. She's probably halfway to the third floor by now. Janet and Dominique will come in the back way. It's up to us to cover Max's rear."
"Oh." Lucy pointed to a corridor leading away from the main entrance. "I think there's a staircase over there."
Amy and Lucy hurriedly, but cautiously approached the corridor. Lucy covered Amy while she crouched down low, spun around the corner. "Clear." Lucy followed, gun ready, eyes darting left and right, expecting an attack any moment. She motioned with her head at the door at the end of the corridor marked "Stairwell".
They broke into a run, scurrying down the dimly lit corridor. They separated at the door, flinging their backs against the wall, Amy to the left, Lucy to the right. Amy stood on tip-toes, peered through the glass window centered in the door. Lucy covered her, checking to the left, center, right, then left again. They were at their most vulnerable at a T-intersection. Anyone could come down any of the corridors or the stairwell at any second.
Amy pulled on the latch, tugged Lucy by the sleeve into the stairwell. She bumped into Amy from behind, sending her stumbling up the stairs. Lucy lost her balance, landed atop Amy. They were a mass confusion of arms and legs. Amy rolled over, finding Lucy's face hovering inches above her.
"Sorry," apologized Lucy.
"It's okay. Just be more careful." She is just sooo cute! I could lay here with her on top of me
"I guess we should get going." Lucy made no effort to move off of the blonde beauty, however. She lay there, lost in the feel of Amy, the liquid of ocean blue eyes. What would she do if I kissed her?
A loud thud echoed from somewhere above them. They both glanced up at the sound. Amy squirmed beneath Lucy. Reluctantly, the master thief lifted herself off Amy, offering a hand up to the other woman.
"That sounded like the stairwell door," Lucy said in a hushed whisper.
Both waited, ears straining, listening for the sound of boots approaching. There were no further noises on the stairwell.
"Maybe that was Max?" suggested Amy.
"Sounded like it was only one floor up." The women inched their way along the stairwell, backs firmly pressed against the wall, weapons at the ready. "She should be on the third floor."
"Unless she's planning on coming in from one floor down and surprising them." Amy stopped at the next landing. The door to the second floor loomed before them. Standing on tiptoe, she peered through the grimy glass window. "I can't see anyone."
Lucy glanced up the stairs, towards the next landing. "What do you want to do?" she asked.
Amy bit her bottom lip, glanced between the door and the flight of stairs. Damn it, Max! Amy tentatively reached out, grasping the door handle. With a soft click, the door opened. She glanced back at Lucy. "You take the stairs. I'll go this way."
"Right." Lucy started off, back pressed against the wall, inching herself up stair by stair.
"Oh, Lucy - " Lucy halted, looked back at Amy expectantly. "Be careful." Amy turned, ducked out the door, softly closing it behind her.
Lucy remained frozen on the steps, staring at the metal door Amy had just gone through. Be careful. She's so into me. She's cute, too. Reluctantly, Lucy tore her gaze away from the door, forced her legs to carry her up the stairs.
Lucy crept along the hallways of the third floor. She heard noises when she first opened the door leading from the stairwell, had been afraid that someone had been alerted to her presence. So far, though, she'd encountered no one. No guards. No security system. No alarms. I hope it's not a trap.
She cocked her head, straining her ears, listening for any type of sound. Just barely audible, she thought she heard voices. A woman's for certain. Maybe Max. Or one of the other D.E.B.S., perhaps. Taking a deep breath, finger itching on her trigger, she inched forward.
She paused at the end of the hall, slid low to the ground. The corridor opened into a larger room. Executive boardroom, if I remember correctly. Cautiously, Lucy stuck her head around the corner, taking in the surroundings.
The room had been converted into a studio apartment. A kitchen area was immediately inside the room, set off the right. Crouching low, scurrying along, Lucy darted into the room. She slid behind the kitchen counter, stilling her racing heart.
"You may as well give it up, sweetie. She's never going to come for me."
Scud! That's Scud's voice - He's here!
"Nyet. She vill come."
I know that voice. Lucy bit her bottom lip, knitted her brows in consternation. Who is that?
Back to the counter, Lucy rolled to the left, peeking around the edge of the cabinet. A dining room was to her immediate left, the table set with two plates and two champagne glasses. She scurried on all fours from the kitchen to the dining room. Crouching, she peered over the edge of the table. One of the glasses was drained dry, the other three-quarters full. Apparently, I've missed dinner. Lucy eyed the bones resting on the dinner plates. T-bone. Nice. And brussels sprouts - nasty!
Ducking beneath the table, Lucy surveyed the rest of the room. The kitchen was behind her now, the living room to her right, decorated in reds and blacks. A large, plush sofa loomed twenty yards ahead, its back to her. Two small end tables flanked each end of the sofa, matching brass lamps centered on each. A large, plasma screen entertainment center was visible beyond the expanse of the sofa. The television was on, the volume turned down.
To the left of the living room was what appeared to be the control center. A computer console was built into the wall. Several monitors flashed scenes of the factory interior, as well as the outside of the building. Lucy spotted Janet and Dominique at the South corner, working at the heavy chain and lock surrounding the door. So, it's just pure dumb luck we weren't spotted!
Beyond the control center, Lucy noticed a king-sized bed. The quilt covering the bed was a deep shade of red. The pillows decorating the top were covered in black silk.
"Checkmate." A pause. "Again."
Scud. A curse. The sound of chess pieces being swatted across the board in frustration. Living room. Crouching, Lucy scurried across the floor, sliding to a halt behind the plush sofa. Ears straining, she listened. Nothing. Cautiously, she peered over the back of the sofa.
Scud was alone, seated on the floor in front of a coffee table, a chess set spread out on the cherry wood. He looked a little rough around the edges, still wearing the same clothes he had on when she'd last seen him. His hair was mussed, and he needed a shave. His hands were tied with white clothesline cord in front of him. And, he was trying to set up the chessboard again.
"Scud!" More than a whisper, but less than a normal tone of voice.
Scud looked up at the sound of Lucy's voice, his whole face lit up as he saw her leaping the couch and rushing towards him. She flung her arms about him, tackling him, knocking him backwards. She kissed him on the cheek.
"I'm so sorry!" Lucy sat astride Scud's legs, working frantically with her fingers, trying to loosen his restraints. "I was such an idiot! I've been trying to find you for days - and I didn't know how - Please, don't hate me anymore - "
"Whoa! Chill!" Scud's eyes went wide. "Calm the sugar high, Lucy. We're friends. Fighting is what we do sometimes."
Lucy stopped untying Scud's hands, looked at him quizzically. "So, you don't hate me?"
"Nooo, but I will if I have to play chess or watch the ballet one more time." At Lucy's confused look, he jerked his head towards the television. Lucy's eyes grew wide as she realized what Scud had been forced to endure. "Four days straight watching men leaping around in tights and leotards is enough to make anyone snap."
"Oh, Scud! I AM so sorry!" Lucy redoubled her efforts at Scud's restraints. We have to get out of here! Now! "Where is that maniacal bitch?"
"Right here, darling!" came the feminine voice from somewhere behind and over Lucy's right shoulder.
Lucy had just enough time to halfway turn around before the butt of a telescopic rifle collided with her left cheek. Her head jerked around, she went flying off of Scud, her back crashing against the coffee table, sending chess pieces flying. From her peripheral vision, she saw the White Queen land on its side in front of her. Then, her world went black.
A series of soft kisses were trailing along her jawline, to her neck. A tender touch traveled across her breasts, down her abdomen. A soft mewling sound escaped her lips. The touch grew more confident, firmer as it pressed between the juncture of her legs. She squirmed at the contact.
A set of hands moved to the waistband of her pants. Fingernails scraped along tanned flesh. She heard the buckle of her belt being undone, felt her jeans being unbuttoned. She tried to reach for the set of hands, found she couldn't. It was as if her wrists had been fused together.
Her eyes opened. Things were fuzzy. But, she was cognizant enough to recognize blue eyes when she saw them. "Amy." A soft smile played over her lips.
The hands stopped. A sharp slap across the face. "Dumbkoff!" Lucy groggily shook her head from side to side, jarring the cobwebs loose. "I am not your stupid American whore!" The side of Lucy's face pounded in protest. Her cheekbone throbbed. She was certain she felt blood running down her face. Her arms pulsated, her wrists ached. Warily, Lucy opened her eyes again.
Her vision slowly cleared, the woman's profile came into perspective. Blonde hair and blue eyes had given the illusion of Amy. But, that had been while she hadn't been able to see straight. Now, in the harsh glow of artificial lighting, she was able to see the reality of things. The blonde was a peroxide-dye job. The makeup was put on too severely. The black mascara clumped thickly around the wrong shade of blue eyes.
"Ah, so you remember me?"
"Of course." Ninotchka Kaprova. Ex-KGB. Freelance assassin formerly residing in Prague, Czech. And, the worst trainwreck of a blind date Scud has EVER set me up on!
"Then, you felt it, too; The vibe between us?"
"Umm - " Lucy shrugged, trying to buy time. "Look, Ninotchka, you're a nice person. Really. But, I'm just not ready for a relationship."
"I'm not looking for relationship!" Ninotchka leaped off the bed, paced the length of the room. "I'm only looking for good time. Do you know how lonely it is; how hard it is to find date when you're trained assassin?"
A half-shrug. Lucy tried to take stock of the situation. Her wrists were tied in front of her with the same clothesline that had been used to tie Scud's. What's she done with Scud? She was able to scoot herself backwards until she was able to sit up, her back propped against the headboard. She spotted Scud, bound and gagged, helplessly tied to a straight-back wooden chair in front of the television. The Russian ballet boomed full blast as the dancers spun and pirouetted in time to a classical composition. Lucy brought her legs up, curled them beneath herself.
"Well, let me tell you!" Ninotchka spun around, directed her piercing gaze at Lucy. "It's not easy! That is why I resort to blind dates and fix-ups. Trying to find a nice girl - "
"I'm sorry. I just got out of a bad relationship and Scud thought it was time - "
"So, you're blowing me off?"
"I'm sorry." Lucy apologized again. Did that noise come from above us? "I shouldn't have gone out on that date with you in the first place. I told Scud I wasn't ready."
"Hah! Then, who is Amy?"
"Amy?" Lucy subtly worked at her bonds.
"Amy! The cheap whore's name you called out when you thought she was me!" Lucy stared at Ninotchka dumbfounded. "I was she! She was - Oh, you know what I mean!" She turned from Lucy in frustration.
With Ninotchka's back to her, Lucy openly worked at her bonds. The knots were tight, the cord unyielding as it bit into her wrists. If I can just get loose and reach - A ripping sound caused Lucy's and Ninotchka's gazes to jerk upwards. The ceiling gave way, a figure hurtled to the ground.
Max leapt up from the floor, weapon at the ready. She felt the barrel of a gun press into her temple. Her own weapon hung limply from her grasp. Her heart hammered in her chest, blood thundered in her ears.
A commotion sounded from the front of the apartment. Janet, Dominique and Amy rushed into the room, taking up defensive positions. Janet slid to a halt behind the kitchen counter. Dominique crouched by the computer console. Amy knelt behind the expansive bulk of the sofa. Weapons were drawn, all pointing at Ninotchka.
"D.E.B.S.! Freeze!" Amy shouted from her crouched position.
"Don't move, or I vill shoot her!" warned Ninotchka, jerking Max by the arm to emphasize her point.
Lucy's fingers darted for the hemline of her pants leg. She came up into a kneeling position on the bed. Hands still firmly tied, she held her gun to the back of Ninotchka's head.
"I vill blow your friend's head off!" warned Ninotchka, cocking the trigger of her own gun. The D.E.B.S. took a collective gasp at the threat to their squad leader.
"She's a D.E.B.," reminded Lucy, thrusting the barrel of her weapon harder into the base of Ninotchka's neck. "She's no friend of mine."
Several seconds ticked by. No one moved. No one spoke. Muscles tensed, sweat formed on collective brows as the tension mounted.
"Ah, nuts!" Ninotchka relented, tossing her gun onto the bed, raising her hands in the air.
Max flicked her gun back into her grasp with a twitch of her wrist, turned to train her weapon on Ninotchka. Lucy released the trigger of her gun, returning it to her ankle holster. D.E.B.S. rushed the room. Dominique lit a cigarette, took a long drag on it as she turned to hack into the computer system. Janet rushed to Scud's side, stopping only long enough to turn off the Russian Ballet before freeing him. Amy hurried to check on Lucy - and Max.
Lucy and Amy sat on the couch in the living room of the D.E.B.S. house. A movie played on the television in the background. Dominique was in the kitchen, making popcorn. Janet had taken some personal time off and was out of the house.
"So, this was all because you dumped that Russian chick?" prodded Amy.
"I didn't dump her." Lucy rolled her eyes. "She was a disaster of a blind date. I blame Scud."
"Still, it's flattering in a way." Lucy's mouth dropped open in shock. "I mean, knowing that with just one date, you were so charming and irresistible that this woman felt the need to kidnap your best friend and hold him hostage at one of your secret lairs, all in the hope that you would come running." Amy's eyes twinkled as she teased Lucy. "It's sweet, in an evil-genius sort of way."
"I guess she didn't count on me bringing in the Calvary, huh?" Lucy shyly picked at the fringe on one of the couch cushions.
Amy's smile fell, her eyes saddened. "You know, you don't have to go through with this. I could turn my back - "
Lucy stopped Amy's ramblings with a finger to her lips, a soft kiss to the tip of her nose. "I have to, Amy." She held Amy's hands in both her own, tenderly stroking the backs of her hands with her thumbs. "I know you don't understand me. Why I do the things I do. The things you consider to be bad -- feels so good." A deep breath. "I may not have a lot of qualities that you respectable do-gooders may find admirable. But, one thing you should know; I never go back on my word."
Amy blushed, bit her bottom lip. Reaching out, she tentatively brushed Lucy's cheek with her fingertips. The flesh was a dark mass of black and blue splotches. It had taken seven stitches to seal the gash on Lucy's cheek. And, the area beneath her eye had started to swell shut. Still, she thought Lucy was just about the cutest thing she had ever seen. Lucy initially flinched away from the touch, before leaning into it, pressing harder into Amy's touch, reveling in the mixture of pleasure and pain.
The front door slammed open. Amy's hand jerked away from Lucy's face. Lucy reluctantly dropped Amy's hands. They both turned to see Max staring at them from the doorway. She grasped her gun in both hands, held it level with Lucy's midsection.
"Put these on." Max flung a pair of silver handcuffs at Lucy.
She caught them one-handed. Lucy slipped the cuffs on, the soft click echoed loudly in the quiet room as they locked into place about her wrists.
Amy looked at her squad leader, pleading with her eyes. "Max - "
"Let's go." Max jerked the barrel of her gun, motioning towards the front door.
With one sad, wistful look at Amy, Lucy turned to go. Amy reached out, caught Lucy by her arm. Lucy looked down at the touch, then up at Amy. Her blue eyes were sparkling with barely restrained tears. Max made a motion of thumping the door with her gun. Lucy jerked out Amy's grasp, following Max out the door.
Lucy squinted against the harsh daylight as she left the D.E.B.S. house. A government car with tinted windows waited at the front gate. Lucy couldn't see inside, but she assumed it was filled with federal agents. Max motioned with her gun, urging Lucy down the front steps.
When she stepped onto the sidewalk, Max jerked at Lucy's elbow. The master thief spun around, meeting Max's gaze. Max eyed Lucy warily.
"What I can't figure out is how you got that gun, Diamond."
Lucy shrugged. "Ankle holster. Never leave home without it."
"And my squad frisked you, and didn't find it?" asked disbelievingly. Someone's doing extra pushups for that one.
Another casual shrug from Lucy. "Guess so."
Max continued to stare at Lucy. The inspection was intimidating. And, Lucy felt herself squirm beneath the unnerving glare. "What?" she finally asked.
Max turned her stare from Lucy, to look at the car parked at the gate. "No one's in the car. Keys in the ignition." She openly appraised Lucy again, looking at her from head to toe. "Figure even with cuffs on, you should be able to make it."
"You kidding me?" Lucy glanced at the car, then back at Max. Eyebrows raised, meeting her hair line. "What, you figure you're gonna shoot me in the back and haul my dead carcass into D.E.B. HQ? Will that make a big name for you with them?"
Brown eyes narrowed. Max's finger stole to the trigger of her gun, then retreated. "Believe me, I'd get more accreditation for hauling your sorry butt in alive." A deep pause, a rueful smile. "But, I owe you one for pulling my fat out of the fire with that Russian lunatic. And, even without you, she's a good enough catch to get my accolades from Phipps and Petrie for months."
"Oh. Glad I could help," Lucy bobbed her head, attempted to shake Max's hand. "Well, thanks, I guess."
"Yeah, we're even now." Max slapped Lucy's hands away. "You better get going before my gun unjams."
Lucy gave a mock half-salute to Max, turned and ran down the sidewalk, hands cuffed in front of her, swinging from side to side as she ran. She jumped, slid across the hood of the sedan. Landing on the other side in a half-crouch, she tried to door handle. Unlocked. Sliding behind the wheel, she was surprised to find the keys in the ignition.
Gunning the engine, Lucy jerked the car into gear and peeled out of the drive on screeching tires. Glancing in the rearview mirror, she noticed Max standing on the front lawn, flanked by Amy and Dominique. Probably telling them about how I escaped. They made no move to go after her.
"I thought they'd NEVER leave," came a voice from the backseat.
Lucy let out a little scream, turned in the driver's seat. Scud was moving from the back floorboard to the front passenger's seat. "Scud, you scared me to death! What are you doing here?"
A shrug. "Couldn't let you do it. Get taken into jail and all for me." He batted his eyelashes at Lucy. "I gots your back."
Lucy laughed, patted Scud on the leg. "And I gots yours, man." Her smile lit up her whole face.
They neared a residential area. Lucy slowed the car to a respectable speed. Checked her rearview and side mirrors. All clear. She glanced at Scud, sitting beside her in the passenger seat. Best friend. Confidant. Her smile broke into a full-on grin.
"So, what do you want to do now?" He asked.
Lucy shrugged. "Anything you want, Scud."
He turned to look at Lucy. Smiled a devilish smile. "Well, you know, there's this cute little spy in from Romania named Petra that I think you might like. I could set something up - "
" - Scud!"
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