Title: In the Deep Dark Heart of Me
Author: Janine
Fandom: The Gates
Pairing: Claire/Devon
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Summary: Devon shows up on Claire's doorstep with an offer to help Claire deal with her cravings.

xxx

"Just a minute," Claire called out as she rushed down the stairs, brushing some strands of long, dark hair behind her ear.

She hated mornings, she really did. She always felt rushed and frazzled no matter how early she woke up. It was the sun, she knew. She never felt quite at home in it, even when she was fully lathered in sunscreen and safe from its effects. She only really felt at ease when night fell and the pale light of the moon illuminated the sky.

"Sorry," Claire began pulling open the door, "I ..." she trailed off as her eyes settled on the figure on her doorstep, the welcoming smile she had been wearing disappearing from her lips. "What do you want?" Claire continued in a voice that was noticeably cooler as Devon smiled at her pleasantly.

"To help," Devon responded, her smile not wavering despite Claire's inhospitable tone. "I come bearing gifts."

The blonde held up her hand revealing a small bag that no doubt held one of the special 'teas' from her Day Spa.

Claire's jaw clenched.

"I don't need your help, and I don't want your gifts," Claire ground out, her lips curling up in distaste to reveal the sharp tips of her fangs as her hand tightened where it rested against the open door until the wood started to splinter.

Devon's pale eyes lazily drifted up to where Claire's hand was crushing the door and she stared at it pointedly for a moment.

"I think you do," Devon murmured returning her eyes to Claire's. "You may not want my help, or my gifts, but Claire," the blonde said softly, reaching out to place her hand on top of the brunette's, "I really do think that you need it."

Claire breathed in deeply, struggling to contain the animal raging within her. She tried to focus within and find her calm inside of herself, but Devon kept her hand on top of Claire's and the brunette found herself focusing on the feel of Devon's hand against her own.

Claire breathed in deeply hoping to distract herself, but inhaling simply filled her nose with Devon's scent and Claire's body began to attune itself to the blonde woman even more.

The sounds of the community faded from Claire's consciousness as her ears fixed on sound of Devon's heart. It was beating calmly and the slow, regular sound of it combined with Devon's maddeningly sweet scent and the warmth of her hand served to quiet the beast within Claire.

Claire dropped her eyes to the ground and stepped back from the door, clearing a space for the blonde to enter the house.

As infuriating as it was, Devon was right. Claire's control had been almost non-existent for the past few days when it came to her cravings. She was acting rashly, dangerously, and she couldn't afford to screw up again. She needed to be calm, she needed to be control and that meant that she needed Devon's 'tea', no matter how much it galled her to accept the blonde's help.

xxx

Claire sat morosely at the island counter of her kitchen as Devon moved through the space, opening the fridge to remove a bottle of spring water, placing the stainless steel kettle on the counter, and resting a teaspoon measure on the countertop for the loose tea sitting in an open box nearby.

"Is it really necessary for you to be such a stereotype?" Devon asked, smirking over at Claire as she poured some spring water into the kettle.

Claire sighed deeply, which only made Devon's smile grow.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"The brooding," Devon clarified. "You're quite good at it, and lovely enough to make it fetching, but it's such a cliché."

Claire's jaw clenched and her dark eyes narrowed as she watched Devon with an intensity that would have unnerved a lesser person than the blonde.

"There you go again," Devon murmured playfully.

The comment only infuriated Claire more, and with another little smile Devon turned her back to the vampire to begin measuring out loose leaves to place in the teapot.

"You know, you shouldn't turn your back on me," Claire breathed out darkly, a threatening husk entering her voice as her eyes bore into Devon's back.

"Why?" Devon asked with her back still turned to Claire. "I couldn't fight you off if you really wanted to kill me so it hardly matters whether or not I'm looking at you. If you decide to make good on those charming threats of yours, well, it might be better that I don't see it coming."

"I think I'd like to see the look in your eyes," Claire responded slowly as she rose silkily from the stool she had been seated on.

"Mm," Devon hummed, turning her head slightly to watch Claire as the brunette began to make her way around the island. "Predators," Devon drawled, returning her attention to tea leaves in front of her. "Of course you wouldn't want to take away from the intimacy of a kill."

"Why aren't you scared?" Claire asked stopping beside Devon, close enough that she could feel the heat emanating from the blonde's body.

"I spent most of my life being afraid," Devon responded, not smiling for what seemed like the first time since Claire had opened the front door. "It never did me any good." Devon turned to look Claire straight in the eyes. "Frightened and cowering is no way to go through life."

"That may be true, but ignoring fear is a dangerous way to go through life," Claire murmured, her eyes lowering to take in the slight pulsing of Devon's jugular where it lay just beneath the fair, smooth, sweet smelling skin of Devon's neck.

"Yes," Devon acknowledged, ignoring the tea completely for a moment. "But I've discovered that I have a taste for danger." She smiled. "It must be why I like you so much."

"The feeling is not mutual," Claire replied uncharitably though she did not take her eyes off of the blonde.

"Which feeling would that be?" Devon asked lightly, "The taste for danger or the affection?"

"Both," Claire replied in a clipped tone.

"You say very hurtful things, Claire," Devon huffed though she didn't seem to be particularly put out by it. "It's that animal instinct. It makes you go on the offensive, even when you don't need to," the blonde continued turning away from Claire for a moment to drop a tablespoon of leaves into the teapot. "Lucky I find that primal side of you to be rather ... beautiful," the blonde finished softly.

Claire's nostrils flared and her eyes darkened. She had been quite attuned to Devon since the blonde had entered the house, and because of that she had immediately picked up on the way the other woman's heart began to beat with a tantalizing quickness as she gazed at her. Her nose had also registered the change in Devon's scent as she came closer to her, but it hadn't been fear that she detected wafting from Devon. It was arousal, and as much as Claire wished it hadn't, the blonde's excitement called to her.

"Peg and I make our living selling spells," Devon said breathily as Claire leaned towards her, close enough now that Devon could feel the press of the brunette's breasts against her arm. "But I would gladly help you explore avenues besides magic to work through your ... cravings," she whispered, allowing her fingers to gently brush across the back of Claire's hand.

Claire's lips parted revealing the pointy tips of her fangs, and in doing so her interest in what Devon was proposing, but when the brunette spoke it was to say, "I'll stick with the tea, thanks."

"You don't want tea," Devon husked, her chest rising and falling more rapidly as she basked Claire's hungry gaze. "You want to dig your fingers into my flesh and taste my skin. You want to dominate me," she whispered roughly. "You want to throw me down and feel me struggling beneath you. You want to taste my sweat and hear me moan and whimper, completely at your mercy," Devon exhaled tremulously. "You want to fuck me until I break."

Devon's eyes widened and she breathed in sharply as her feet lifted off the ground and the world spun around her. She was disoriented for a moment and then her breath escaped from her lungs harshly as she was slammed against the Radcliff's stainless steel refrigerator.

"Are you completely insane?" Claire hissed, balling her hands more tightly in the material of Devon's blazer, still holding the blonde off of the ground as she pinned her to the fridge. "I could kill you."

"We've already established that," Devon sighed, submitting to Claire's power by making her body go limp. "But I don't think it's the instinct to tear my throat out that you're struggling with at the moment. Besides," Devon continued meeting Claire's eyes, "I've taken certain precautions to ensure that my blood will be entirely unappetizing to you, so you won't be able to satisfy that particular craving with me."

She wanted Claire, badly, but she wasn't stupid. Devon knew how dangerous and unpredictable the brunette was. It was necessary to take feeding out of the equation and to make sure that Claire knew that feeding on her wouldn't be a satisfying experience. She was trying to provoke a very specific response in Claire. She wanted penetration, but not from the brunette's fangs.

Claire was still for a moment, watching Devon with unnaturally dark eyes, and then she leaned forward and sniffed at the blonde, which made Devon shiver. Claire sniffed her a few more times, but couldn't determine whether or not Devon was telling the truth from her scent, so she pressed her lips to Devon's neck, puncturing her soft skin just enough to release a small trickle of blood which she licked.

The second the taste registered with her, Claire growled and her face screwed up in disgust. She lowered Devon to the ground and then angled her head away from the blonde, swallowing compulsively to try and rid her mouth of the taste.

Devon chuckled softly at the response and Claire's head whipped around to face her again, her eyes blazing angrily.

A moment later Devon found herself pressed against the fridge once more.

"Feed or fuck, Claire," Devon whispered breathlessly. "I think I know which you'll pick."

Claire growled angrily and Devon moaned.

"Damn you," Claire hissed.

She could hear Devon's blood rushing through her veins and her heart beating madly, and she could smell the woman's arousal. The blonde's biological responses to her called to the animal trapped within her, and Claire knew she wouldn't be able to resist the witch. She wanted Devon, and she would take her the only way she could.

Claire's fingers tangled in Devon's hair, yanking her head forcefully, possessively.

Devon sighed and arched her body into Claire's submissively.

Claire surged forward and took possession of Devon's lips, kissing her like she wanted to kill her.

xxx

Devon brushed a few strands of blonde hair behind her ear and then dropped her hand as she stared at her reflection in the Radcliff's well-lit main floor washroom.

She looked presentable enough, she supposed. She knew of course that her thighs were sticky and bruised from Claire's fingers. She knew that her nipples were still tender and sore from Claire's earlier attentions and that the press of her bra against them was slightly painful yet made her body shiver with remembered pleasure. She knew that her voice was raw from the cries Claire's not-so-tender attentions had torn from her, and she knew that her underwear lay in tatters in her purse and that she was indecently bare beneath her skirt. But, she looked presentable and that was really what mattered.

Claire was seated at the kitchen counter looking wild, dishevelled and brooding in a way that made Devon want to provoke the woman into taking her all over again, but the aching in her body as she walked towards the brunette dissuaded her from it. Claire had had her on the floor and the island counter top, and neither surface had been particularly comfortable. The time she had spent on the floor and island had been pleasurable while Claire's mouth was on her and her strong fingers were thrusting within her, but Devon wasn't sure that she could handle another few rounds with Claire and still walk out of the house.

Claire glanced up as Devon re-entered the kitchen, but the brunette didn't say anything and so neither did Devon. Instead the blonde walked silently towards where she had abandoned the tea she had been preparing earlier, and she placed the kettle on the stove to heat before making her way over to the table where Claire was sitting.

"The general rule of tea making is to use one teaspoon of leaves for each teacup of water, but depending on how powerful the urges are, you may want to increase it to two. The tea won't be quite as savoury, but it won't harm you," Devon said softly as she came to a stop beside Claire's chair.

"Are you okay?" Claire asked softly, biting down on her bottom lip nervously as she looked up at the blonde.

Devon looked fine, but Claire had seen the bruises forming on the blonde's skin before Devon had retreated to the washroom and she had noticed the way the blonde had limped slightly as she re-entered the kitchen. Devon had always brought out Claire's more aggressive nature, and they argued with each other all the time, but even in the state Claire had been in she had not intended to hurt the blonde. It was just that she hadn't been with a human since she being turned and she had underestimated her strength while touching Devon, not to mention that she had been unprepared for the force of her desire for the other woman.

"I'm fine," Devon responded making sure to looking directly at Claire as she spoke. "Honestly," she continued when Claire continued to look tortured as she gazed up at her. "You left your mark," Devon breathed out, her lips curving up in a sly smile, "a few of them actually, but I thoroughly enjoyed receiving them."

The kettle began to whistle and Devon turned from Claire and headed back into the kitchen to remove the kettle from the stove and pour the steaming water into the teapot she had prepared earlier. She could feel Claire's eyes on her as she removed a teacup from one of the fashionably clear cabinets in the kitchen, but she ignored the brunette's gaze as she poured the dark liquid from the teapot into the teacup.

"Next time you start to feel ... overwhelmed," Devon began as she moved back over to the table, teacup in hand, "come see me first," she continued placing it before Claire. "I adore Peg, but we both know that I can help you in ways she can't," the blonde murmured, reaching out to Claire slowly and then running the backs of her fingers across the brunette's cheek. "I understand you," Devon whispered, "I know what it feels like to have desire burning so hot in your belly you feel like it's going to incinerate you from within. I'll always help you soothe the beast ... one way or another."

"Dylan," Claire began, but as Devon's thumb ran over her lower lip she lost the thread of what she was going to say.

"He loves you," Devon said, "but he doesn't understand. He's been a vampire too long. He's forgotten what it's like to struggle ... to burn. He's here, but you feel alone," she continued as Claire's eyes cut away from her and the brunette began to blink rapidly. "Husbands are wonderful, but every woman needs a good girlfriend," Devon continued leaning down to brush her lips gently against Claire's cheek. "I can be that."

"Most girlfriends don't do what we just did," Claire sighed as she leaned her head into the warmth of Devon's hand.

"We're special," Devon breathed out, the light, playful quality back in her voice. "It makes sense that we would be special friends."

"Friends?" Claire repeatedly dubiously, her tone more confused than combative as if the idea of herself and Devon getting along was strangest thing she had ever heard.

"You'll see," Devon said, a smile touching her lips to match her tone. "This is The Gates. Stranger things have happened."

"I know," Claire breathed out, her lips quirking up slightly though it couldn't really be characterized as a smile. "One of them just happened on my floor."

"And on your counter," Devon added helpfully.

"Yes, we mustn't forget that," Claire muttered darkly, though when she met Devon's eyes her expression was almost warm.

They held each other eyes for a moment, but only a moment before Claire seemed to remember who she was talking to and looked away, her expression becoming guarded once more.

"Enjoy the tea," Devon murmured moving away from the table to retrieve her purse before heading towards the hallway.

"Devon," Claire called out just before the blonde disappeared from her line of sight.

Devon paused and turned to look at her.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome," Devon responded smiling gently, and then she turned and continued towards the front door

Claire slumped back in her chair once Devon was out of sight and brought her hand to her face to pinch the bridge of her nose. Her life was problematical enough, she didn't need any more worries, but as she brought the cup of tea Devon had placed before her to her lips, she knew that her life was about to get a lot more complicated.

The End