Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel" Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel". These properties expressly belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corporation, 20th Century Fox Television, WB Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are the author's.

Historical Note: The action in this story takes place between the events in "First Impressions" and "Untouched".

Author's Note: This is an excerpt from my first Season Two story: "'Til There's Nothing More to Give" and it draws from a story I wrote for Kate in Season One titled "Necromonger". "Gone" off of Madonna's MUSIC CD is a fitting tune for the piece. I thank the most wonderful and generous Ebonbird for the excellent Beta that 'Til is receiving. e.c. 10 dec 2000




CONSTRAINING ORDER
by Evan Como




Kate Lockley slightly increased the volume of her portable scanner. Reassuring chatter emanating from the device bounced against the enameled walls of the bathroom as she gargled, anonymous voices engaged in a call-and-response as repetitious as the swishing in her mouth.

During a brief pause of vocal activity, Kate discharged the antiseptic liquid held long past the point of discomfort and reloaded for the third of an intended five rounds.

The gaze peering back at her teared while she applied another thin sweep of dark mascara to her blond lashes. She involuntarily blinked and spit again, swallowing uncomfortably before taking another swig directly from the mouthwash bottle. Back at her reflection, she could scarcely distinguish where the mascara had smudged into the dark hollows beneath her eyes; but she took a moistened tissue to the area anyway.

She paused. Kate's ears pricked to one particular call and she neared the radio, touching it as if doing so would relay the obscure message that much faster or decipher it instantaneously. Expulsion and reload were completed in fractioned seconds, just in time for her to catch an address.

Responding. E.T.A. 25 minutes,>> she projected.

3:38AM and the bedroom was very dark. The digital time displays between the clock radio and VCR, however, provided enough illumination for her to complete her harried outfitting. Gingerly, she sat on the edge of the mattress to tie her boots, ignoring the cutting discomfort of her empty holster strapped between her shoulder blades.

"Katey?"

She froze at the playful scrabble of familiar fingertips on the small of her back. "Yeah, Har?" she inhaled.

"You should really see about catching a day shift, Hon'," the sleepyhead mumbled while readjusting the comforter.

Twisting sideways, Kate stared at her former deskmate Detective Kent Harlan. With his pleasant dark features relaxed from slumber he seemed more handsome than usual. The eerie darkness probably aided that perception somewhat even though the slightly older man couldn't be considered unattractive in any amount of light.

There was little unappealing about Harlan.

It had taken nearly six months after her Father's death before Har had used the unfortunate occurrence as an opportunity to bridge their estranged relationship, one that had never completely recovered from confessions the entire precinct uttered to one another during a sudden outbreak of candor. A shiver traced her spine when Kate realized how naïve she had been at the time -- both to Harlan's repressed feelings and to the knowledge of what a mythically evil object a Talking Stick actually was.

"If you ever need someone to talk to, Kate," was how it had all begun. She had accepted Harlan's offer of a movie with the full intention of only using him for two hours of calm in a darkened setting where she could engage her mind with fantasy, enjoy the contiguous presence of mortal men and temporarily visit much-needed demon-free oblivion.

She barely made it through the trailers before suggesting they leave.

Kate gnawed her lip. He had been so understanding it was painful to reflect on his courteous behavior. Har had accompanied her to the door, seen that her apartment was clear and waved goodnight to her -- no expectations hidden behind his genuine smile. Her sudden liplock had been as bewildering as her bullying him from the hallway into the apartment, past her orderly stacks of reference books and onto her couch.

She had partially undressed herself. Impatient for Har to catch up, she'd torn every button from his shirt after straddling him. If he'd said anything about it, her rabid grunting had drowned out his complaints. Mounting him effortlessly, his excitement expanded within her while she'd abraded him enthusiastically without thought of disease (because she was all too aware of so many worse things in the world that could dispatch life within a heartbeat).

His firm hands had been gentle, with tender attention to her angry tendons but, despite the self-bliss of her carnal throes, his technique had annoyed her. "Harder!" she'd commanded. "Stronger!" she'd seethed at him. In the end he hadn't been either and a relationship that she neither wanted nor had the mental capacity to attend to had been instantly cemented.

Closing her eyes, Kate concentrated in an attempt to ignore her beckoning arousal. Recalling that only a few hours earlier, she'd celebrated her and Har's third month anniversary without much regard for his participation, the thought of his affable nature provided the necessary defusing.

At peace on his back, there was a sonorous rhythm to Harlan's nocturnal breath.

E.T.A., Katey,>> she reminded herself.

She rose with an unsavory taste in her mouth but there wasn't enough time for another set of dental hygenics. Reaching into the pocket of the jacket she'd shrugged on, she retrieved an ubiquitous tin of lavender lozenges.

Yeah, Harlan was sweet and kind, and most importantly warm and alive -- all the qualities any other woman would appreciate in a man. But Kate Lockley didn't feel much like a woman very often and those definitely weren't the qualities she was looking for.

At least, not anymore; her personal passions preferring little involvement these days with actual men.

-0-

evancomo@netscape.net

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