The Name Question
The two groups stared at each other across the cool expanse of the frosted glass conference table. The distant sound of a brewing riot was the only thing brave enough to interrupt the tense moment. At the head of the table, unaligned to either group, Silvia Castro sighed in annoyance; she had been scheduled to meet Pepa twenty minutes ago but at the speed the negotiations were going she wouldn't be free until a week from Sunday.
"All those in favour of 'The Dead Femslash Group' please raise your hands," Silvia instructed; the four figures on her left raised their hands. "And now those in favour of 'Murdered Before their Time Femslash Group' raise your hands." The four figures on the other side of the table dutifully raised their hands.
"Dios!" Silvia turned on Ros Myers, "Why do you have to have 'murdered' in the title?" She herself had been gunned down on her wedding day, but she didn't feel the need to shout about it. "We're all dead, aren't we?"
"Exactly," said Janet Fraiser from her position opposite Ros. "Why draw attention to how we died? Surely, it's how we lived that's important."
"That's easy for you to say," interrupted Stella Goodman. "You already had a femslash following when you died." The French woman sighed in remembered pain. "I'd barely shared more than a scene or two of subtext with Eve when those bastards killed me."
"That's more than I got," said Sarah Cavendish, the newest member of the group. "Hell, I wouldn't even be here if my doppleganger hadn't tried to shag half of London."
There were sympathetic murmurings from the other side of the table but it was left to Talia Winters to articulate the group's feelings. "We understand your pain," said the telepath, "but we look upon the afterlife as a chance to change the evils that were inflicted upon us and that's impossible to do if you keep reminding people that we were murdered."
"And reminding them that we're dead is so much better?" asked Ros, her patience wearing thin. "I died protecting my country," she said, "and if reminding people of that will get me a little more femslash action, I'm all for it."
From her place next to Ros, Jo Portman laid a comforting hand on her former boss's knee. "They could have written us out together," she said, "instead of making Ros... making her..." Jo's voice dissolved and the room was left in silence except for the far off cries of 'Order!' and the mayhem it seemed to induce.
"Xena killed me dozens of times," dismissed Callisto, "but that didn't stop the femslash writers throwing us lashings of hate-sex parties." She smiled wickedly. "I even managed to sink my claws into her little sidekick once or twice."
Janet and Talia inched away from the deranged blonde but on her other side Jenny Schecter leaned in close, the cloud of infatuation misting her eyes. "I love hate-sex," she purred.
Retching noises issued from across the table as Ros voiced the entire group's reaction to that little titbit. "This is getting us nowhere," she said, "why don't we just split the group in two and have both 'murdered before their time' and 'dead'?"
"No!" There was no way Janet wanted to be left in an even smaller group with Callisto and Jenny. "There's strength in numbers," she argued, "and if we ever hope to wrestle control from the B.F.A.G. and attain our rightful places amidst the femslash elite, we have to stick together."
Even Sarah, who'd only discovered the existence of the F.A.G. the day before, knew of the power and insanity within the B.F.A.G. "Would sticking together help me get femslash attention?" she asked.
The chances were slim to none but even Ros had to admit they were slightly higher if they all stayed together. "We'd be willing," she said, "to substitute 'killed' for 'murdered'."
Silvia looked expectantly at Janet.
"The 'Killed Before Their Time Femslash Group'?" It didn't exactly trip off of Janet's tongue. "How about 'Dead Before Their Time'?"
Jo snorted. "Hands up anyone in this room who died from natural causes." Not a single hand was raised. "Right, murdered, one and all." She smiled smugly at Ros. "I think 'murdered' is back on the table."
Silvia sighed, Callisto cackled, Sarah looked confused and Jenny started talking about whales. It was just another normal day in the F.A.G.
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