Author: Chris Cook
Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, heading east
"Briefing incoming," the pilot of the super-jet announced over the cabin radio. Willow and Tara separated from each other's embrace and returned their seats to the upright position, just in time for the luxury passenger cabin's wall screen to activate.
"Good evening Bunnies," M said when she appeared.
"Ma'am," the two agents replied.
"I'm sorry we didn't have time to brief you earlier," the Ministry commander continued. "We've had reports coming in from all the agents we could tap on this case, and we thought it best to get you girls en route while we compiled our information. We believe we're up against the clock on this one."
An image of Mr. McDonald appeared in a picture-in-picture to M's side, and was quickly replaced by a series of corporate hierarchy diagrams.
"Your captive has given us a break," M explained. "The support McDonald lent to Osbourne's operation was primarily in setting up smokescreen companies to conceal the extent of Mr. Osbourne's activities outside the purview of his own corporation. We've been able to dismantle some key camouflage on the corporate landscape and discern a lot more about what he's been up to."
The rolling diagrams of McDonald's companies vanished, replaced by a series of orbital photos of various landmarks: Versailles, the Coliseum, the Brandenburg Gate, the Millennium Dome, and others.
M continued her briefing: "Osbourne Industries has had remote public dealings with Centennial Construction, a specialist consultancy group involved in a lot of major construction and restoration projects in Europe. There's hardly a major landmark on the continent, new and old, that Centennial hasn't either worked on, or constructed new facilities to compliment. To the public eye, Osbourne's interest is merely diversifying his portfolio and reaping the returns of investment in a profitable firm."
"But he's involved more deeply than that?" Tara asked.
"He is," M nodded. "Our new information suggests that Osbourne has been using Centennial's construction activities as a front to build infrastructure for his Panacea project. We've sent missions into several facilities already, and found data analysis complexes, computer centres and transmission control networks built into at least ten sites spread over six countries. Practically every major European data network, short of the Smut-Net itself, has been fatally compromised - in the event of a release of the Panacea virus, all defensive measures would be futile. There was even a rebroadcaster buried in a refurbished section of Buckingham Palace, and I suspect we're going to catch hell from the Queen when she hears about that in the morning briefing."
"Can we shut the network down?" Willow asked.
"We've got our best agents on the job," M replied, "but so far we're not confident that we can box Osbourne's virus in, in the event that he releases it. There are prototype versions of Panacea acting as watchdog programs in every site we've discovered - they make it impossible to trace the locations of other sites, we're lucky to be able to retrieve any data at all. It's a radically advanced program. That's why we're bringing you back to Europe."
"I'll be joining the hacking team?" Willow asked, her voice losing some of its enthusiasm. Tara discreetly took her hand and gave it a comforting squeeze.
"Fred asked for you, but no," M shook her head. "We're keeping you two together. At present, our analysts still believe that our best course of action is to disrupt Osbourne's project, and prevent the release of the virus. Until we can find out how he plans to release it, we can't build a countermeasure strategy we're sure will work. You know Osbourne - it's essential that you continue to engage him directly." Willow nodded, and stroked her thumb over the back of Tara's hand.
"What about Cordelia?" Tara asked quietly.
"That's another reason we don't want you two working separately," M said. "Agent Queen Bunny is likely the most dangerous element of Osbourne's operation - not only for her abilities as an agent, but because the mere fact that she's working for him means our files on her are somehow woefully inaccurate. You know her better than any other field agent we have - you have the best chance of working out what her stake in this is, and finding a way to use that against Osbourne. And," she paused, and continued sombrely, "if worst comes to worst, you're intimately familiar with her fighting skills. If she needs to be taken down, no-one has a better chance."
"Understood," she replied. M and the other images vanished, replaced by an aerial image of a soaring road bridge.
"This is the Millau bridge," M's voice continued. "Centennial was involved in the logistics effort during construction. We have strong evidence to suggest that their activities on the site were far greater than publicly revealed, and we've devoted considerable effort to uncovering any scrap of information about this location. We believe there is a command and control facility beneath the town of Millau, put there during construction of the bridge's foundations and maintenance sites. It's likely to be heavily guarded. Our information points to a coolant conduit as your best means of ingress - it's disguised as part of a ventilation system that was installed a year earlier by another of Osbourne's shell companies in a clinic on the outskirts of the town."
The screen changed to a computer-generated image of a conduit leading from wireframe-rendered buildings on the surface down to a sketchy map of an underground complex.
"If we're right about the purpose of this conduit," M explained, "it'll be full of highly toxic coolant fluid. You'll have to be very careful not to cause a breach when you enter, so as not to endanger anyone on the surface. You'll find sealed wetsuits in Kitten One's storage compartments, they'll protect you for exactly one hour - longer than that, and our tests indicate a chance of a suit breach, which would be dangerous, if not fatal."
"So we'll be swimming through a very long, narrow tunnel filled with poisonous liquid?" Willow summed up.
"Just another day at the office," M nodded, reappearing. "One more thing: Osbourne's private transports are fitted with some kind of stealth technology we haven't yet been able to crack, but from what we've pulled together from secondary sources, we believe he, Queen Bunny, and this personal assistant of his, Harmony, flew to Europe a short time after you escaped them in California. Our analysts give a 60% chance of them being at the Millau facility." Willow and Tara nodded soberly.
"We've prepared an infiltration plan for the hospital, and technical briefings on the coolant conduit you'll be accessing," M continued. "But feel free to improvise however you see fit - you're the agents on the ground out there. Any equipment not already on board Kitten One can be shipped to your landing zone, the Ministry's full resources are at your disposal. Good luck, Bunnies."
"Thank you Ma'am," Willow and Tara said. M's image disappeared.
"Cordelia's there," Tara mused.
"Daniel too," Willow added.
There was a moment's contemplative silence, then, as one, the two agents reached for each other's hands and held them tightly.
"You'll be okay?" Willow asked quietly.
"I won't let you down," Tara promised.
"Pfft, I know that," Willow replied. Tara ducked her head in a bashful grin, then looked back up, into Willow's smile.
"I really do," Willow said.
"If worst comes to worst..." Tara began.
"...I'll be there for you," Willow finished. Tara nodded, with unshed tears in her eyes.
Millau, Massif Central, France
Willow, clad in very proper-looking doctor's attire, breezed past the receptionist in the clinic and spoke directly to the duty nurse. Tara sat patiently in the waiting area, enjoying the soft, light feel of the woollen pants and crop top her role called for, and watching Willow air her flawless French with confidence, explaining to the nurse that she and her patient had been delayed several hours due to horrendous traffic, but would nevertheless, in spite of the lateness of the hour, go through a routine check-up that had been scheduled for the afternoon, which she, Willow, was perfectly qualified to perform without requiring any assistance. Tara watched Willow flourish her credentials, and direct the nurse's attention to her appointment in the clinic's schedule database, both of which the Ministry had provided for them. The nurse gave an accepting shrug, and she and Willow fell into a brief, friendly discussion.
The door to the examination suites opened, and a doctor emerged, chatting with her patient and her partner as she handed her key card to the receptionist and checked out for the night. The patient, an elegant brunette who was just beginning to show signs of her pregnancy, caught Tara's eye in passing, glanced at her stomach, and gave a warm smile. Tara returned the gesture, patting her eight-months-pregnant belly contentedly as Willow returned to her.
"All good," the redhead whispered as she helped Tara to her feet and guided her towards the examination suites. "We've got the right room, and we won't be disturbed. You'll be getting a full check-up, so we've got plenty of time."
"Doctor knows best," Tara murmured in reply. Out of sight of the receptionist and the nurse, her hand on the small of Tara's back dropped momentarily to her bottom and gave a quick squeeze.
"Is that really proper doctor-patient behaviour?" Tara asked with an arch smile as the door closed behind them.
"Just testing your reflexes," Willow grinned. "Salle deux, here we are." She held open the door to the examination suite for Tara.
"Thank you," Tara smiled.
"Hey, you're pregnant," Willow quipped. "Anything to help." She secured the door behind them and glanced around the room, which was clean, modern, and arranged around a padded chair with stirrups. Her eyes drifted to Tara, as the blonde leaned against the chair.
"What?" Tara asked, noticing Willow's gaze on her.
"You're sexy when you're expecting," Willow said, waggling an eyebrow for emphasis.
"I'm not normally?" Tara replied, grinning.
"I didn't say that," Willow pointed out. "Nevertheless, let's deliver your baby, shall we?"
"Do the honours," Tara offered, leaning back. She looked down at herself and patted her round stomach. "After all, you put this here."
"I'm so virile," Willow nodded. With one hand beneath Tara's stomach, she put her finger to the blonde's belly button and pushed firmly. There was a moment's resistance, then a click and a beep, and a seam appeared around the bulging stomach, where previously there had been only smooth skin.
"Congratulations, it's an equipment package," Willow said, lifting the false stomach off Tara. "Have you got a name picked out?"
"Atlas," Tara sighed, pulling free the straps concealed under her top, and beneath the waist of her pants. "So I don't forget how heavy that was. The access to the coolant conduit should be behind that wall," she added, pointing.
"Righty-o," Willow nodded, turning the faux stomach over and opening its underside. "What we need is one high-resolution ultrasonic probe, which should be right... here."
Tara put a hand over her mouth to stifle her chuckle as Willow held up an impressively-proportioned dildo, which at the press of a button sprouted a sonar transceiver from the tip.
"Hey, don't laugh," Willow shot back, trying to keep a straight face. "This was in you twenty seconds ago."
"Uh-huh," Tara giggled, "I had a fifteen-inch penis inside of me... That's quite out of character for me."
"I should hope so," Willow nodded, blushing furiously as she held the monster phallus against the wall. Data streamed across the screen built into its base.
"According to Anya's dream machine here," she read off, "the conduit is filled with A7-H coolant... We can't open it up until we've dealt with that, or we'll flood the room."
"A7-H crystallises," Tara said thoughtfully.
"Right," Willow nodded, dropping the dildo and prising a panel off the wall to reveal a metal surface behind it. "So, pop a reactive mix into the conduit, wait for it to crystallise..."
"Use a condensing reagent," Tara suggested. "It'll solidify the liquid down to a fraction of its usual volume, enough to clear out the conduit for us to get in. We can seal it back up from inside and cut out way through to the liquid lower down."
"It's a plan," Willow agreed, selecting from the equipment pack a fluid injector, which unfortunately looked like a novelty fake breast. She placed its nipple against the metal, fired it with a dull clang, and held it for a moment.
"And... hard seal," she nodded. "Okay, give it... forty minutes? Then we can go in. This panel will pop right off with a nudge from a vibratory spanner, no problem."
"No doubt there's plenty of things that vibrate in that pack," Tara said wryly. "So, say five minutes to get our wetsuits on... What shall we do for thirty-five minutes, all alone in here?"
"Don't you hate it when missions have these pauses, with no spy stuff to demand our attention?" Willow smiled.
"It's terribly tedious," Tara agreed, with a matching smile. She looked over her shoulder, then swung her legs onto the chair and leaned back.
"There is always the obvious option," she suggested, giving Willow a sidelong glance.
"What's that?" Willow asked, adorably grinning and frowning in confusion all at once. Tara raised an eyebrow at her, then lifted her legs into the chair's stirrups.
"We're in an examination room," she purred. "And those impressively realistic credentials I saw you showing off earlier do say you're a doctor..." The grin on Willow's face spread from bemused to cat-that-got-the-cream in the space of a heartbeat.
"Okay then," she said, "we'll have to get your pants off, if you don't mind..."
"Not at all," Tara said demurely. She lifted her hips to help Willow tug her pants down.
"Very nice," Willow nodded, gazing at the gauzy lace that didn't quite conceal Tara's sex. "I like your taste in lingerie."
"You'll like my taste out of lingerie too," Tara chuckled.
"Mmm," Willow agreed, slowly drawing the thin lace down Tara's legs and, along with her pants and sneakers, pulling them over her feet and letting them fall to the floor.
"So, how should we begin?" Tara asked, mock-serious.
"Detailed examination first," Willow said. "We'll see how you feel, and then decide what course of action is necessary."
Slowly, with her other hand resting, friendly and reassuring on Tara's shoulder, Willow let her fingers stroke down among the blonde's curls, and finally further down to sample her moist, soft labia.
"Mmm-hmm," she murmured thoughtfully. "Beautiful shape and texture... rather a lot of moisture though, isn't there?"
Tara took a deep breath as Willow's forefinger slid slowly into her, while her thumb continued to softly massage her lips.
"Tell me, does this happen often?" Willow asked.
"Uh-huh," Tara nodded. "Several times a day... at least."
"Indeed," Willow bit her lip in thought. "And do you know what causes it?" She slid her finger into Tara's channel firmly, burying it to the hilt, and began to stroke up and down inside her.
"Ah... yes," Tara nodded again, her chest rising and falling in deeper, more agitated breaths.
"And the cause isn't something you can avoid?" Willow asked.
"No," Tara shook her head. "Never... ooh..."
"I see," Willow mused, increasing her pace, wiggling her finger vigorously in its wet, hot embrace. "Well then..." With a teasing grin she withdrew, leaving Tara gasping.
"Uhhh," she moaned quietly, her hips lifting off the chair, seeking release.
"I prescribe orgasms," Willow said happily. "Whenever the symptoms reappear, as and when necessary."
"You sound... like Anya," Tara grinned, getting herself a little bit under control. "Would you assist in my treatment? Or, do I have to attend to myself?"
"My esteemed colleague Dr. Anya does have some good ideas," Willow offered sagely. Her eyes lit up at a thought, and she knelt down to rummage through the equipment pack.
"What are you up to down there?" Tara wondered.
"Just preparing to assist in your treatment," Willow said. "You could attend to yourself, of course, but it's always better to seek the help of a trained professional, don't you think?"
"I'll definitely do that," Tara smiled. Willow stood back up and reached beneath Tara's neck, stroking the back with her fingertips. In her other hand, she held up a pair of smooth metal balls.
"Oh," Tara nodded, her smile widening. "You want me to take two, and see you in the morning?"
"Why wait 'til morning?" Willow chuckled, lowering her hand between Tara's spread thighs. Tara gave a little twitch when Willow touched the cool metal to her lips, then sighed as the redhead delicately parted her folds and nudged the first sphere into her.
"Don't worry," she promised, "it'll warm up."
"Mmmm," Tara agreed. Willow withdrew her hand from behind Tara's neck and moved to stand between her splayed legs, her free hand stroking Tara's thigh as she nudged the second ball against her sex.
"I'll just perform a routine examination at this point," she explained. "No need for an impersonal probe, of course, when first-hand contact will work much better..." Tara murmured happily as Willow knelt down between her legs and inhaled the silky scent surrounding her core.
"Say 'ah'," she giggled, and leant forward to press her tongue to the bottom of Tara's sex, sneaking the tip inside to taste the source of the slickness coating her lips. Slowly, she drew her tongue flat against Tara's soft, hot labia, and licked up the length of her sex, finishing with a flourish on her clit.
"Ahhhhhhhh," Tara moaned.
"Good girl," Willow whispered approvingly. She placed a kiss on the second ben-wa ball, then used two fingertips to hold Tara's folds apart while she gently inserted it.
"There," she went on. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"
"Mmm, not unless you're finished," Tara murmured.
"Oh there's still a lot of procedures to follow," Willow assured her. "Remember, this is going to be a very thorough examination..."
"Good," Tara sighed happily. "I'm definitely... mmm," she moaned quietly as she shifted her hips and the spheres inside her slid smoothly around, "...definitely... in the mood... to be... thoroughly..." Sighs and moans overtook words, as her hips began moving in a rhythm all their own.
"Who said medicine can't taste good?" Willow smiled to herself, before taking another long lick at Tara's pouting sex just inches from her face. "Let me just slip into something more appropriate." She peeled off her jacket and undid her skirt, standing up to let it fall to the floor. Tara laughed, between deep gasps, at seeing Willow's remaining attire, a tight-fitting white nurse's dress with a zipper running up the front. With a tug Willow undid it far enough to reveal the perfectly formed cleavage within.
"Were you... thinking you might get... lucky with me?" Tara asked, as Willow leaned forward over her, holding her hips and adding to their rhythmic thrusting.
"I picked up the odd sign here and there," Willow admitted.
"I thought it... yeah... was only, patients, who... uhh... wore short dresses for easy access?"
"Why shouldn't doctors have some fun too?" Willow dipped her head down, pulled Tara's top up over her breasts, and licked at the soft mounds straining to escape her bra.
"Are you... yeah, like that... are you a doctor or a nurse now?" Tara wondered.
"I'm all your health care needs, in one convenient package," Willow murmured into her breasts.
"One lovely package," Tara breathed. Willow licked her way thoroughly down Tara's cleavage and onto her stomach, bathing her with long, firm strokes of her tongue. Tara's hands found their way to the back of Willow's head, her fingers winding among her hair.
"You're responding to your current treatment quite well," Willow joked as Tara moaned and arched off the chair. "How about upping the dosage?"
"If you... oh baby... if you think so..."
"Trust me," Willow grinned, slipping out of Tara's embrace, "I'm a doctor." She crouched and searched through the equipment pack for a moment, then returned to Tara's side.
"Ready for the healing hand?" she asked, holding up her hand to show off the thin, smooth sleeves over her index and middle fingers.
"What're those?" Tara asked, slightly breathless.
"I think it'll be more fun if you find out for yourself," Willow smiled deviously. "I should warn you, there will be side-effects."
"Moaning at the top of my voice?"
"Definitely," Willow nodded.
"Thank you for fully informing mmm... me, before my treatment begins," Tara said seriously. She took a long look at Willow's scantily clad form. "I don't suppose you'd have anything that could cover my mouth, would you? It'd be a shame if someone came to investigate any excess moaning and interrupted us."
"It would be a shame," Willow agreed. "Lucky for you, I think I have just the thing." She grinned and lifted her dress, revealing white silk panties, with a large red cross emblazoned on the front.
"A first-aid kit," Tara noted hungrily, "how convenient. You think of everything."
"I never attend to a patient without it," Willow said, reclining the chair back and straddling it, facing back down Tara's slowly moving body as the blonde stared up from between her thighs.
"What should I do?" Tara asked innocently, stroking one hand over Willow's mound, while her other took a firm grip on her hip.
"Just open it up..." Willow murmured huskily, "and eat what's inside. It's good for you," she finished with a wink.
"Doctor's orders?" Tara whispered, pulling Willow closer to her lips.
"Doctor's orders," Willow nodded seriously.
Tara's innocent smile turned predator in a heartbeat, and she wasted no time in wrapping her arms around Willow's thighs and pulling the redhead down onto her mouth. Willow giggled and wriggled her hips as Tara carefully took the fragile fabric of her panties in her teeth and pulled, tearing the crotch open to reveal her sex, already generously soaked. Pausing only to utter a muffled 'love you,' Tara held Willow firmly atop her face and sent her tongue questing deep inside.
"Ohhhh! Mmmm," Willow moaned, clamping a hand over her mouth to muffle her initial outburst. Gaining a little control she removed her hand long enough to touch the sleeves on her fingers, tapping on each a tiny stud at its base, on top of her knuckle. With an almost inaudible whirr her fingers began vibrating. An anticipatory grin spread over Willow's face, and she experimentally touched a fingertip to her nipple, already poking prominently through the thin material of her dress.
"God!" she exclaimed, forcing her voice down to a whisper. "Oh baby, you are going to love this..." Leaning forward, keeping her core grinding against Tara's eager mouth, she rested one hand on the blonde's thigh, and brought the other with its two sleeved fingers near her sopping sex.
Tara jerked the moment Willow's fingers touched her labia, and gave a long, throaty moan into her sex. Willow toyed with her soft inner lips, taking one and then the other between her fingertips, sliding up and down their length, as all the while the finger-sleeves sent frantic vibrations into the blonde's heaving body.
Willow, feeling light-headed from Tara's now-erratic but still vigorous exploration of her core, played her fingertips all around Tara's sex, up and down the insides of her thighs, along her lips, all over her mound, delighting in the desperate, uncontrolled thrusts and shudders she drew from her lover. She forced herself to curtail her teasing, as she felt her own climax straining to gush free from within, and dipped her forefinger between Tara's lips to stroke her entrance, pressing gently against the yielding opening. Between her legs, Tara groaned loudly into her sex.
Willow leant back for a moment, savouring the sight of Tara as she was, totally devoted to their lovemaking. Her face buried between Willow's thighs, eagerly seeking the release which Willow knew she could not hold off much longer; her ample breasts, still encased in her bra, shuddering as she took great gasps of air in between thrusting her tongue as far as she could into Willow's depths, her body writhing, legs trembling, her sex glistening with arousal, her lips pouting open as she pushed against Willow's fingertip on her channel's mouth, trying to enfold it completely. Willow swallowed a moan, and knew it was time.
She lifted herself off Tara's mouth a fraction, not without difficulty as Tara held her thighs firmly. Willow looked down at Tara, between her nectar-soaked thighs, saw her deep blue eyes staring back at her, needful and giving, in a face gleaming with Willow's juices.
"Wanna lose control?" Willow whispered. Tara's eyes widened, then she nodded quickly.
"It's alright, I've got you," Willow promised, lowering her hips again. Tara's tongue was already outstretched, so that Willow felt her slide within as she settled once more on her lover, and leaned forward to lie on top of her, resting her open lips around Tara's clit, not yet licking or sucking, simply enclosing her. She withdrew the single finger tantalising Tara's entrance, and curled it and her middle finger into her palm, feeling their vibrations run through her hand. She pointed her ring and little fingers instead and, without warning, thrust them into Tara to the hilt.
Tara's body accepted the intrusion without reserve, thrusting back to meet Willow the moment she felt her fingertips enter. Willow fucked Tara vigorously, thrusting her fingers into her again and again, jostling the spheres nestled inside her, ignoring the ache in her wrist. Her whole being focused, shutting out everything but a circular path of sensation that ran through herself and Tara, joining them at Tara's tongue inside her, and her fingers inside Tara. Willow's body sank into the sensation, guzzling pleasure like an animal, while her mind floated, slightly detached from events, wrapped tight in the idea of herself and Tara uniting, their souls flowing through both their bodies, forgetting which was which.
The first shudder of climax brought her mind back to the task before her, and she breathed in a lungful of Tara-scented air, thrusting one last time, deep, curling her fingertips to press against Tara's g-spot, breaking the wall of self-restraint that was holding Tara's climax barely in check. She felt Tara spasm beneath her, muscles clenching, her body heaving up off the chair, lifting on her legs and shoulders, carrying Willow stop her. Her sex pulsed, engorged with feeling, drew taut in preparation for the next heartbeat's release - and then, Willow withdrew, straightened instead her two vibrating fingers, and thrust them firmly into Tara's core, thudding into her target, the vulnerable, sensitive spot within her, with surgical precision.
Tara lost control, utterly. Willow knew, not by experience but simply by instinct, what her lover was feeling - trapped in her own body, unable to command it, a prisoner in a cage of gilded flesh that was being tossed on a stormy sea, exploding in climax. Tara was lost, without anything to guide her save her trust in Willow. Her fingers clawed into Willow's hips, scratching her, and Willow came into a mouth helplessly open, around a tongue moving randomly inside her, and Tara felt herself swallowing her lover's nectar without trying to. Her own sex was almost painful, almost more than her body could feel - it was as if her heart had opened up and was pumping her life out of her, but it was clear, sweet juice that Willow's lips tasted as she spread her mouth wide, touching the base of her fingers as she enclosed Tara's sex and tongued her clit for all she was worth.
It seemed endless for Tara - not multiple orgasms, but one, stretching on infinitely, pumping narcotic pleasure through her veins as long as Willow held her fingers inside her. Points of reference slipped away from the blonde as her body continued to surge, leaving her defenceless and disoriented - it should have been terrifying, but the trust she had in Willow made it exhilarating instead. In the moment before she lost all comprehension, she felt what Willow had imagined - both their climaxes circling through them, the juice flooding into Willow's mouth, passing through her body, flowing from her sex back into Tara's eager mouth, and in turn through her.
Still trembling with the aftershocks of her own orgasm, Willow slowly withdrew her fingers from Tara, snagging the balls' cord and pulling them free at the same time. She tenderly lapped at Tara's weary folds, as her body continued to shake and yield sweetness. Willow used her tongue lightly, with infinite care and grace, soothing the blissfully tortured softness before her until Tara relaxed, her body settling limply onto the chair. Finding the strength to move she lifted her hips, feeling Tara's hands clutch feebly, then slip and fall away, and turned herself around, facing the spent blonde. Tara's eyes were closed, and her mouth hung open, coated inside and out with Willow's juices.
"Hey," the redhead whispered, stroking a stray hair from Tara's sweat-covered brow. She stirred, and her eyes flickered open.
"H-hey," Tara murmured, her voice trembling. "A-am I... still coming?" Willow chuckled softly.
"It's over now," she promised. Tara nodded weakly.
"I couldn't tell... for a moment there..." she whispered.
"Are you okay?" Willow asked, wondering if she might have pushed Tara too far.
"There aren't words for how okay I am," Tara smiled. "I feel like..." she trailed off, searching. "Like you and me, us, got mixed... We turned liquid and poured together and flowed into each other, and... and now we're full of each other."
"You too?" Willow asked. Tara nodded.
"Um, so," Willow continued, looking sheepish, "you're not too worn out, are you? For the mission, I mean? I didn't mean to get quite that intense-" Tara put a hand to her lips, silencing her, and glanced at her watch.
"We've still got ten minutes before wetsuit-time," she said. "In five minutes, you'll be in this chair, naked, I'll be between your legs drinking more Willow-juice than you ever believed your body could produce, and I'm not going to stop until the very instant we have to get ready." She raised an eyebrow at Willow's shocked, eager smile. "If that's okay with you?"
"There aren't words," Willow grinned broadly, "for how okay that is with me."
Millau, Massif Central, France
Agents Shy Bunny and Adorabunny, safely enclosed in sealed wetsuits and helmets, swam steadily down through the blue-tinged coolant. Tara, in the lead, was busily taking ultrasonic readings of the conduit walls every few metres, while Willow, swimming behind her, was mainly concerned with how good Tara's ass looked in her silver wetsuit.
"Got something," Tara said, her voice being relayed through the helmet's point-to-point radio to Willow. "I think there's an airlock - well, fluid lock I suppose, behind this panel, we should be able to get out."
"Need a spanner?" Willow offered, reaching for her equipment belt. There was a muffled clang.
"No, I've got it," Tara replied, pulling the side of the conduit open. There was momentary rush of liquid as the empty lock beyond filled with coolant, then everything was still again.
"There's room for us both," Tara said, sliding her legs into the fluid lock chamber and reaching up to help Willow manoeuvre in the confined space of the conduit.
"It's just as well we like cuddling," Willow quipped, as she slid in beside Tara and pulled the hatch closed above herself. "Otherwise we'd have to get through this one at a time, and that'd be inefficient, you know?"
"Cuddling is very efficient," Tara agreed seriously. Willow saw the humour dancing in her eyes, through the transparent faceplace of her helmet.
They held onto each other as the fluid lock cycled, opening vents above them to admit a rush of icy-cold water, while the coolant seeped out from more vents below. In the space of a minute the vents closed, and they were immersed only in water. A funnel opened in the side walls of the lock chamber and drained the water.
"The alarm on this is just a hardware job," Willow said, reaching awkwardly down between her and Tara's feet to clamp a hotwire pack to the outer door. She fiddled with its controls for a moment, adjusting it to the alarm system it was tapping into. "No... problem... at... all!"
The door swung silently open, allowing Willow to crawl feet-first into the room beyond. Tara followed her, and they removed their helmets and drew tranquilliser pistols.
"Now we find Osbourne," Tara said, with quiet determination. She started forward, but then a blaze of crimson light filled the room, and Willow lunged to catch her and keep her from stumbling in surprise. Tara stared down at a thin, deadly laser beam that had appeared directly in front of her.
The two agents looked around carefully, finding their way blocked by dozens of beams - a cage. As one they looked up when a speaker crackled to life.
"Don't bother," Cordelia's voice echoed around the room. "I'll be happy to bring you to him."