|An Instance Of Fire
Author: Shay Stark and Raven Rogers PM
Antonia Stark despised the idea of needing a bodyguard. She was not some helpless woman, after all. But Erica Powers is far more than just a bodyguard. Far more than anything any of the Avengers could have imagined. And she is about to prove it. Fem!verse. Femmeslash. Tony/OC and others. Rated for swearing, character death s , and sexual situations. Read & review.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Iron Man/Tony S. & Loki - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,169 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 10 - Published: 06-07-12 - id: 8193862
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
An Instance Of Fire
"I don't know why you insist on trying to weasel through every single party in a tux," Pepper said, evidently enjoying their little trip to the mall far more than Toni was. "What's wrong with this one? You've vetoed everything I've picked out so far."
Toni muttered some form of gibberish s she glared at her reflection in the mirrors of her private dressing room. Luckily, being rich meant she could pay people to pick out gowns for her, and then she chose which ones she hated the least. Well, Pepper did anyway.
The one she was currently being forced to model was white silk, low in the front with no back and later top ties around her neck. It was too revealing and too flashy, and too many men would notice her in it, which was the opposite of what she wanted. As usual, the dress was wrong on her. The green velvet had been too plush, the crimson satin too sexy, the yellow silk too sunny. Nothing was her style, and she was not showing up in something stupid. If she was going to be bullied into wearing one of the dresses chosen for her, she was going to like the way it looked on her in the store. No reason in wearing something she hated just so she could have another slew of press photos to hate.
"White makes my skin too dark," she said, yanking at the ties so she could free herself from the dress.
Pepper sighed and returned the dress to its hanger, then placed it on the reject rack. "No white, then. Which one do you want to try on next, then? We need to have one picked out tonight."
"Hell if I no," Toni said as she eyed the rack of dresses she had yet to try on. She glanced at Erica out of the corner of her eye, then turned to face her. "Your turn to pick an atrocity for me to model."
Erica stood slowly and approached the rack, gaze blank as she thumbed through the gowns. In a plain gray t-shirt and black suede pants, she managed a casual elegance that somehow made her fit in the brightly lit dressing room. No make-up, but Toni had been informed Erica did not use any lotions or creams or powders in any way. She was so real, silently picking through the dresses in front of her.
"Miss Stark? I brought the coffee you asked for," the assistant chirped as she popped into the room, tray in hand.
Toni thanked Odin and whatever other gods existed as she retrieved a mug and added four sugar cubes to it. While she sat down, still grateful for the dressing room assistants, Erica added a pale orange sheath and a pink dress with a short skirt to the reject rack all without a word. She stepped close to the bubbly assistant and made gestures as she spoke in a whisper Toni could not hear. Then the assistant nodded and hurried off, returning with a huge dress bag a moment later. Erica nodded, thanked her, and removed the bag to reveal the gown inside.
It was dark blue, shades away from black, and a satin so expertly made it shone in the fluorescent lighting in the room. The full skirt was gold split open across the blue, and it was strapless. Awed, Toni sat her coffee down and allowed Erica to help her into the gown, noting it laced up the back with gold-trimmed blue ribbons. It was something out of a fairy tale and fit her perfectly, and she noted the colors matched Erica's eyes with a small smile. She turned a few times, examining the way she looked from every angle, then nodded once at Pepper. Though the gown was so feminine it belonged in a romance novel, she liked it and liked the dark flash she saw shoot through Erica's eyes.
She smoothed her hands down the slick bodice and licked her lips as she watched Erica's face out of the corner of her eye. Though it was always difficult to detect a blush beneath darker skin, she noticed her bodyguard's face darkening to a deep scarlet before she averted her gaze. It was all Toni needed to see to know she loved her gown.
"This is the one," she announced, rolling her eyes when Pepper released a relieved sigh. "Can you untie me, Erica? Miss Potts, pay cash for this so I don't get an unexpected credit card bill. We need to get this to a dry cleaner with instructions to clean it carefully. Gold heels to go with it, and if you plan on putting my hair up, a ribbon to match the ones on the back."
As she spoke, she was aware of warm fingers on her back, loosening the ribbons before untying them. Calluses stroked down her back, and she was aware, also, of the intense fire in Erica's gaze. The mirror in front of them revealed the guard's flaming eyes, clenched jaw, and the way her chest shuddered with each breath. When Erica returned to her seat, she was red-faced and breathing heavily, forehead dotted with perspiration. It was a visible chip in Erica's façade of control, one that made Toni smile in triumph as she pulled her suit back on and began to button her shirt. There was nothing she enjoyed more than watching someone try to ignore their lust for her.
Now that the dress business was resolved and she was back in her Armani three-piece, she took a moment to examine her reflection. She was thirty-eight and looked good for her age, curves hidden beneath her black jacket and pants. Her skin was still smooth and the same flawless cinnamon it had been since she graduated form MIT. Since she had put off cutting her hair for a few years, it now fell past her shoulders and had enough body to fall into a bevy of soft waves, dark chestnut with just a hint of gray. Of course, she firmly believed her best features were her eyes, wide and earthen brown and framed with long, dark lashes. She grinned at her reflection, satisfied with what she saw.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Erica extract a phone from her pocket and answer tersely, face as cold and empty as stone. She spoke into the phone in a language familiar yet unknown, muscles coiling until it appeared painful to be so tense. When she finally hung up, she slumped in her seat and scrubbed a hand over her face.
"Is something wrong?" Toni asked the blonde, sharing a puzzled glance with Pepper. "Bad call or something?"
Erica nodded and combed her fingers through her hair, giving Toni a weak, tired smile. "That was my sister, Shawna, who is assigned to Thora. There was a fight between the princess and some woman named Sif over Princess Lokie. Bad enough both Shawna and Ramsey are having bones set in the med ward at this moment. They were trying to break up the argument, but Thora is as much of an Amazon as she looks. This will be the first time my sister has ever been seriously injured in a fight."
"Ever? As in first time? But you guys are bodyguards," Toni said, frowning at what Erica's words implied. How could a good bodyguard avoid injury if they were supposed to take a hit aimed at their charge?
"We're bodyguards because that bitch, Fury, had been after us ever since we were kids," Erica explained, waving Toni and Pepper to sit down. Only when they had did she continue. "Volunteering to watch you upstanding women is the only thing keeping us from being strapped to a lab table, poked and prodded with needles. We're special. In Shawna's case, she can read the insides of people's minds like open books, so fights are easy. She simply takes a peek at an opponent and wins. She told me she could see into Thora's mind, but she was taken aback at what she saw. It broke her concentration, and Thora broke three of her ribs. Enlighten me. The Princess Lokie? Is she or is she not Thora's sister?"
Toni hated that question just because it had been asked so frequently, but she held back her irritation. After all, Erica was new to working with the Avengers, and it was so like Fury to not brief the muscle on the situation within their happy little family. Forget the fact they were all women, and forget the fact despite being heroes, they all acted like horrid, spiteful bitches when they had bad days or got upset. Like women in the real world, they start needless and stupid fights and cry for absolutely no reason. But Fury liked to pretend being heroes made them higher than other women, immune to the emotional tumult normal women went through. As if. Fury should have told Erica about all of the drama and ill will, then sent her in with one clear thing to remember. One lesson that would make dealing with the lot of them a hell of a lot easier because it explained everything.
The Avengers were just like everyone else.
But back to Erica's question. "Yes and no."
"Care to expound upon that?" Erica asked, lips twisting in a wry grin as she slid her pone back into her pocket.
"Lokie was adopted by Thora's father when he found her struggling to live in a temple in Jotunheim," Toni said, surprised when Erica's face did not twist in confusion. "He disguised her and raised her in Asgard. But she found out what she was and went psycho bitch crazy and tried to destroy the planet realm thing she came from. Then tried to take over this one. She's only allowed to stay because Odin would kill her. And Thora loves her far too much to let her die. You know how it is. She's trying to stay close with Lokie, but it's not going so well. Expounded enough?"
Erica clicked her tongue, a nearly unnoticeable sound. Her eyes went vacant for a moment, and Toni was about to ask if something was wrong when movement in her peripheral vision caught her attention. She watched the last mug of coffee float into the air and drift into Erica's waiting hand without faltering or losing a drop of coffee. Stunned, she wondered if that was why Fury had been after Erica for so long. Sure, lifting a cup of coffee was hardly an extraordinary talent, but what else could she lift? Could she throw them, rip things open, warp them? So much could be done with the gift of telekinesis, after all, and Erica hardly looked strained with the effort she had expelled. On the contrary, she looked like she had done no more than bend over and retrieve the mug with her hands instead of with her mind.
Toni sucked in a breath and watched Erica float the empty mug back onto the tray. "I'm thinking Fury should have briefed all of us on all of you and vice versa. I didn't know you could do that."
"It's a parallel to what Shawna can do, you could say. Are we done in this store? The amount of windows makes me nervous," Erica said.
"Yeah. I've got a girl who buys my shoes and delivers them to the house," Toni said, recognizing the sudden change in subject as a sign to let the matter drop for the time being. "I've got projects to work on anyway, so we'll be down in my work area, and there are no windows. Only Pepper and Stephie have the codes to get in the house."
Erica cocked her head, eyebrows lifting. "I assume Stephie is Miss Rogers?"
"Stars and stripes girl, yeah. Come on. Let's get going." Toni stood and smoothed her jacket down, noting the way Erica swore and immediately averted her gaze. 'I want to get a cheeseburger before school lets out for the day."
Of course, eating a cheeseburger was the last thing on her mind. She was much more interested in putting her mouth to work on something slicker and wetter, but she had more work to do. Though it was visible in Erica's shift in mannerisms her plan was beginning to unfold, she knew it was not even in the same ballpark as making a move. She could act, but an attempt at wooing her bodyguard now would end up in her losing the woman who was supposed to protect her. Which meant another bitching session with Fury. And it meant she would not get a chance to tumble Erica into her sheets, which she was really starting to look forward to.
Oh well. Cheeseburger first.