Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they and the world they live in, belong to the wonderful Kim Harrison. I just need an outlet for my Ivy/Rachel frustration.

I walked home that night. There was simply too much on my mind to get to the church in a mere five minutes. I needed to think. About who, you ask? The painfully obvious answer kept slamming itself against my forehead while my footsteps quickened upon the sidewalk. Rachel. I'd pick up my bike another day, when it rose higher on my priorities list—and I wasn't exactly certain of when that day would come. I couldn't think of anything else these days. I'd be assigned a red-headed target, and unnecessarily beat the shit out of them once they were in my grasp. Work was my outlet. In paradoxical contrast, however, I'd generally follow by holding the unconscious targets in my arms and stroke their bright red hair with excruciating delicacy.

God was I fucked up.

My heels clicked loudly against the cement as the church came into view. The sun was starting to come up, meaning I had been out for at least six hours. I was well aware that Rachel wouldn't believe me when I'd tell her I'd been out clubbing. The witch seemed to think I was incapable of letting loose once in a while. Well she was wrong. The only times I was wound tight was when she was in proximity.

I approached the front doors with deliberate slowness, not quite finished with analyzing my roaming thoughts. How long would it take Rachel to understand that I only wanted what was best for her? I sighed aloud. Hopefully, she'd recognize her denial for what it was sooner rather than later. It was with that last thought that my hand gripped the handle and pulled the immense door open.

"Rachel?" My voice echoed through the church as I pulled my boots off and placed them neatly beside our outrageous collection of other footwear.

There was no answer. She was probably asleep, I assumed. Recently, she'd been working insane hours, taking runs that made absolutely no rational sense, solely because she needed the money. Jenks was a bitch when it came to paying the rent, and I still resented him for applying so much pressure onto Rachel the first of every month. He, more than anyone, should know that the idiotic witch always has money problems these days.

My train of thought was interrupted by a squeak of the floorboards. My nostrils flared immediately, scenting the air for any possible sign of the individual lurking in the shadows of the other room. Nothing.


The scent hit me, then, and I whirled around—apparently not fast enough. Whoever had intruded my home now had one arm locked around my neck, the other snaking its way around my waist. I didn't think. I acted. My reflexes sent my elbow backwards to smash into my assailant's gut, and I was definitely surprised to hear a feminine groan emerge from the individual behind me.

As soon as I was out of her grasp, my body crouched into a feral position, facing the attacker. My eyes widened, and my brain was effectively rendered to a mass of juice as I stared idiotically instead of formulating a plan to immobilize the intruder and force information from them.

Skimmer brought her hands up to show me her empty palms. Her gaze bore into my body and clenched my heart—her air of dominance bringing back so many memories I had to bite the insides of my cheeks to refrain from crying.

"Ivy girl, I need you to calm down." Her voice was soothing; a balm for my gaping wounds. "No one's here to hurt you."

My defensive position did not falter and my expression remained solid, devoid of all emotion that could possibly render me into a more vulnerable state. I couldn't deal with this right now, I had finally been able to moderately duct-tape my life back together. And a loathed, yet alluring aspect of my past was most definitely not the thing I needed to aid my compost-like existence at the moment. I tried to remain apathetic and aloof, but I should have known Dorothy Claymor would see directly through my lies from the start.

She took a step towards my tense, rigid body, and I fumbled backwards clumsily. I hated the way her stare never left my own, the way she gave me the impression my every thought was known by all; my every secret spilled and laid out for the entire world to see. I couldn't do this.

"P-please," my voice came out as a pained whisper, my forehead gently resting against the cold hardwood of the floor. I felt utterly pathetic, but I knew Skimmer. The only way to overturn her power was to hit her where I knew I would receive a response: status. "I can't handle this—you—right now. Give me a minute."

It was ironic that the only way of gaining control was to initially relinquish it entirely. I knew Skimmer would not allow me a few precious seconds to recollect my dispersed thoughts if I ordered her to, but would be more than happy to grant me this favor that I asked from my submissive state. She crossed her arms just below her full breasts, evidently seeing through my scheme to award her control in order to gain protection, but choosing to be delighted with my behavior rather than displeased. I knew Skimmer wouldn't hurt me if she believed I was hers—and I fully intended to play along to save my skin.

I sat on the ground, staring up at the living vampire whom had haunted my dreams ever since Piscary had been brutally decapitated by said individual. Neither of us said a word. Her expression held pride and satisfaction, whereas mine probably portrayed defeat mingled within despair. I didn't want to face her; I didn't want to speak to her. Most definitely not after what had occurred when Rachel had come with me to visit vampire, when detained. The memories flooded back into my screaming mind, the feel of her lips upon my flesh still vivid within my memories.

"I think you should go," I remained low, even tilting my head to the side so that my neck was exposed further. My voice sounded unfamiliar and ragged—the way she could render me to this state was something I would never be able to fully comprehend. What I suggested hadn't been idiotic. I knew she wouldn't leave, but the statement still held a firm indication that I didn't want her here.

Skimmer needed to understand that this wasn't another of our little foreplay games—the frail little being, held firmly within the jaws of the hungry vampire. We never switched parts. I can't exactly say it wasn't pleasant to wholly relinquish control to someone whom I trusted completely and loved endlessly, however the urges that had constantly pulsated within my veins were almost excruciating to have to endure. Many times before, when we had been together, I had forcefully held a submissive state, even though my primary instincts had cried out for me to lunge. To grope aggressively. To thrust. To sink my teeth…

"Ivy!" Her voice now held a more authoritative tone, snapping my roaming thoughts back to reality, and effectively making me realize she had just said something. She repeated. "I said I'm not going anywhere. We need to talk."

She came close enough to place a delicate hand upon my shoulder, and I backhanded her. My face contorted into a mask of vicious fury, hands curled into solid fists and teeth clenched painfully. My head spun. I spat the words at the suddenly disoriented vampire through gritted teeth, "Don't touch me."

She narrowed her eyes at me, an expression of amusement creeping it's way upon her features. One of her palms came up to cup her red cheek, but it was the only sign she gave to indicate the fact that she had just been hurt. Other than that, all she did was glare at me with that never-blinking stare, the faintest hint of a smile curving her sensuous lips. I couldn't see her small, sharp canines, and for that I was grateful.

My heart was pounding, unnecessary amounts of adrenaline coursing through my veins. My mind was rushing with various schemes to incapacitate the intruder, multiple ways I would be able to bring her inhumane quantities of pain. Every time Skimmer's eyes would twinkle with that familiar glint I was so familiar with, it felt as if her fingers plunged themselves deep within my chest to clench around my heart, slowly but surely squeezing the life out of me. The memories were almost unbearable. As much as I wanted to thrust her to the ground, my hands still curled into aggressive fists, and beat her until her nose was cocked in an awkward angle and her breathing ceased, I also wanted to feel the addictive violence of her love. Everything within me was screaming out for attention, and I couldn't think clearly—this wasn't who I was anymore. I wanted her to leave, I wanted to curl into a corner and cry until Rachel got home, but most of all I wanted to feel the throbbing pleasure of her teeth inside me.

"Ivy…" her tone was thickly domineering as she once again attempted to approach my suddenly quivering figure. My body reacted when she was in close enough of proximity, smashing my forearm up into her chin and tripping her by sweeping my leg to the back of her knees. She landed onto the hard ground with a loud thud and I once again regained my crouched, defensive position. My mind seemed to perceive her every action as an attack, and I couldn't help the racing power that pumped my veins with rage.

She stood up slowly, taking her time. Her posture was the same as before. Calm. Collected. Pompous. Her expression, however, had altered into one of devilish menace, as if a plan suddenly sparked her thoughts and she was certain of its efficiency. Her tongue came out slowly to lick at her lips, and the thick scent of blood hit me. Skimmer smiled innocently at me as my posture tensed, breathing ceased, and limbs went rigid. She took a cautious step towards me, and seemed pleased when I fumbled backwards like a crab to hit my back against the wall. My lips parted slightly to allow the ragged breathing to escape them instead of permitting the odor to flow through my nose, risking my loss of control. Skimmer crouched before me, her posture giving the impression she was about to speak to me as if I were a little girl in need of a scolding.

My breath hitched audibly as she slipped her index finger in her mouth, and removed it moments later to reveal the thick blood covering its surface. The vampire slowly, deliberately, trailed her wet finger across my quivering bottom lip before licking it clean. The mere smell overrode my every rational thought, sending me to the brink of insanity. The memories. I fully remembered being allowed to taste the sweet essence that flowed freely through Skimmer's veins, entailing the wild, passionate sex that would generally follow.

I couldn't stop my tongue from slowly slipping out to taste the crimson trail upon my lips, the flavor exploding within my mouth. All these years—all those partners—were spent looking for an individual whose blood was as rich as the one coursing through the slender figure of the woman before me. I desperately wanted to grab her hair and thrust her head to the side, sliding my fangs into the smooth, unblemished texture of her slender neck. My breathing increased, and my heart beat wildly beneath my breast as the multiple scenes of our vicious lovemaking plagued my mind with their sole presence. They clawed at my control, effectively piercing my soul and toyed ruthlessly with my senses. Disorientated and vulnerable, I found my only escape from madness to be an attack, so I lunged at the blonde vampire, wrapping my hands around her meager neck in a desperate attempt to make the pain cease abruptly. Skimmer gasped for breath beneath me, but otherwise remained limp in my arms, completely pliant and willing. I screamed at her. At us. The welled up frustration burst painfully from my lungs and ripped its way through my larynx without further rational inhibition. She didn't even move as I tightened my grasp, and I shook her violently.

To my surprise, the choking vampire beneath me trailed her delicate hands up my spine until they rested possessively curled around the nape of my neck. She applied no pressure to cease my breathing, but simply held her hands there, fingers splayed out to soak up as much of my skin as she could. I almost gasped as one of her thumbs trailed off to softly stroke at one my old scars, and I released her from my death grip only to slap her sadistically across the face.

That last move seemed to topple Skimmer over the edge.

She tightened her grip upon the back of my neck, swung her legs around my waist to lock me in place, and brought my forehead down to smash painfully against the floor. I cried out in pain and tried to get up, but her grasp tightened and a sharp pain sizzled through my body. Her lips brushed the lobe of my ear ever so slightly, and I shivered at her touch, memories flooding into my racing mind and overwhelming it.

"I only wanted to talk," Skimmer's whispers brought uninvited butterflies to the pit of my stomach. "I thought you would have been glad to see me, Ivy girl. Instead here I am, looking like the bad guy, having to hold you down like a rabid puppy so that you don't bite me. Do you know what that does to me?"

The sarcastic sadness in her tone bubbled up the fury that was already consuming my every rational thought. I once again tried to rise, and I felt her hand tremble with strength as she kept me low, submissive. Her thumb once again softly caressed the small ridges that lay evident upon the otherwise unblemished texture of my neck. My back hunched in, and I moaned through closed lips. Pleasure coursed through my system, entailing the dreaded feeling of wanting to take her, consume her, and make her rightfully mine.

"Do you, Ivy?" Skimmer posed the unanswered question once more, her voice seduction itself. "Are you even the slightest bit aware of what this does to me? What you do to me?"

I nodded my head as best I could.

If it were even remotely possible, the vampire's voice dropped another octave, her tone sending a sliver of anticipation racing up my spine to latch itself upon the nape of my neck and meet the cool hands that rested there. Skimmer's voice was a whisper, a promise. "Show me."

My eyes squeezed shut and my head shook from side to side.

Her soft lips found my neck, and pleasure coursed through my system as her tongue darted out to tease my flesh ably. The intensity deepened drastically as she begun utilizing her small canines to test my capabilities of self-control.

"Remember what we used to do, Ivy? I do. And by God, do I miss it." She murmured the words against the unblemished skin of my neck, fingers trailing dangerously low and making me gasp. "You were always the only one that could send me crying and screaming, desperately trying to sustain the unimaginable amounts of pleasure you would hurl at me. Oh Jesus Christ do I miss it."

I growled softly and dug my nails into the flesh of her back, arching my body into hers. Surprisingly, I don't believe she expected my sudden change of mood. Her head lifted so that her glistening cobalt eyes could gaze into mine, and I felt a surge of power leave me when the coursing pleasure did; I felt empty.

"Do you miss it, too?" Her voice lost all domineering quality to it, and now all she sounded like was a lost puppy. Her hands, however, in no way matched the tone of her voice. They slid down the length of my body, groping and grasping along the way as they pleased—as if my body already belonged to her, and there was nothing I could do about it. My hands came around her waist to hug her closer to me, missing the feeling of another living being so near and desperately craving the proximity.

Before she had the time to ask me once again, a burst of energy shot through my system and jerked violently toward her, sliding my fangs deep into her neck. Skimmer cried out, surprised, but her wail of pain rapidly altered into a moan. She moved suggestively beneath me as my mouth remained latched upon her throat, sucking fiercely and without reprimand. I simply couldn't take it anymore. The allure, the sexiness, the utter compulsion to submit; everything played against me when I tried to keep Skimmer from completely consuming my thoughts.

I had just begun to push the blonde's clothes off her lithe, desirable body, when I felt a sharp pain at the back of my neck. My mouth was still firmly attached to her throat, and I didn't intend on releasing her anytime soon—the blood sliding oh-so familiarly down my throat almost had me purring in content. The pain burst into existence again, sharper, slicing agony shooting through my spine. I allowed her to pull me away from her neck, sated and yet craving more.

"Enough." It was a firm command, oozing with domineering authority. Her fingers were tangled viciously in the hair attached to the nape of my neck, and her nails dug painfully into my skin. I arched my back into her body, letting out a pleasurable hiss as she painfully burrowed her flawlessly manicured nails deeper into the flesh of my neck. In an act of submission, I let her pull my head back, willingly exposing my throat and silently begging her to take me to the ends of ecstasy.

Her tongue flicked tauntingly over the skin of my neck.

"You know you're my bitch, right Ivy girl?" Her voice dug deep into my chest and ripped my heart open. "You're pathetic, really. The only reason you fought me when I first came here was because you didn't want to indulge yourself due to that annoying little witch. You'd be much better off without her, baby. All you need is me."

I stopped suddenly, remembering what sparked my will to fight in the first place. Oh God, I was pathetic. Everything I had worked for with Rynn; I had tried to show Rachel I'd be capable of leashing my instincts if it entailed her safety and protection. Now here I was, entwined on the hardwood floor with a female vampire, blood leaking from her neck and my lips—the same blood. I had been ready to rip her clothes off, to take her right here and now: on the floor.

"Show's over!" Skimmer's voice boomed extravagantly for such a small figure, and I nearly jumped at the sound of her tone. At first, I didn't quite understand what she meant, but my heart began to pump wildly in my chest as I heard a door creak open.

I shifted my weight to stand, but Skimmer's hand was in my hair again, holding me aggressively to the hard ground. I watched, helplessly, as Rachel stepped out of the room, tears streaming down her delicate features. She was so beautiful I almost joined her in tears. The vampire beside me seemed to sense my urge to rise, and her grip tightened enough to make me cry out. Rachel, however, didn't seem to mind my distress. Her footsteps were loud as she raced towards the door.


My voice was throaty, inconsistent. I didn't know what else to do, to say. Skimmer held me down domineeringly, and I kicked and beat at her to let me go, but all it entailed was more pain. I screamed, calling Rachel's name out one more time in my desperate attempt to explain.

"Ivy…" I heard her sobbing tone from the back door. "I'm sorry. I can't—I…I'll try to come back."

And those were the last words Rachel Morgan uttered before the door slammed and I was reduced to a pathetic heap of blood and tears. Skimmer lowered her lips to my ear once more, whispering overbearingly into my ear: "And that's what you'll always only ever be. A bitch. Mine."