Summary: Pavor!verse Magnus/Kate shower-room funtimes. Femslash ahead.

Rating: M for girl/girl smut and a bit of language

Disclaimer: I own nothing and turn no profit (although I do benefit greatly from the mental images presented below)

Abluō - Latin

literally: to cleanse or wash away, to purify
figuratively: to remove darkness

Timeline: Takes place in the alternate/future timeline of the Pavor verse some two or three years after the outbreak of widespread fighting.

Author's Note: I started this before season 3 aired and, when season 3 started, was pleasantly surprised by some of the Magnus/Kate teasing/banter/appreciation the two lovely ladies were sharing. So either I'm a precog or all sci fi geeks including the ones responsible for Sanctuary have roughly the same reaction to seeing two women that gorgeous and powerful on screen together. Hotness...

Author's Note 2: the title is because, let's face it, in the Pavor!verse, sex is probably one of the few things that washes away the cares of the outside world and blots out the darkness for awhile. Kind of like the Michelle Branch lyric "I sense that now the water's getting deep/I try to wash the pain away from me..."


Magnus sighed as she entered the locker-room for a relaxing soak before retiring to her room for the evening. The sound of running water told her that someone else was there and she was in no mood for the company of soldiers. But, given the fact that she had not had free time for a long shower in weeks, she decided to brave whatever company. A quick shower here or slower was in a basin of hot water in her room got her clean enough, but the feel of water sheeting down her body for long a short eternity and soothing aching muscles was not an opportunity to be passed up.

She was a little relieved to find only Kate in the shower, hands braced against the wall and head bowed as she let the water wash over her and cleanse away her tension. Obviously, she was of Magnus' way of thinking when it came to the 'finer' things like plentiful hot water.

"I didn't realize you were back," she greeted the girl, turning on a nearby showerhead and hanging up her towel before stepping under the water with a happy groan.

"Just got in like five minutes ago and have to go out again in a couple hours," she answered without looking up. "The government liaison took one look at the gore on my clothes and decided the briefing could wait until tomorrow, so I had some free time. Not that I'm complaining about the chance for a hot shower, but that's just pitiful." She smirked, grinning at Magnus. "Civilians, huh?"

"Definitely a pitiable lot," she agreed, turning her back to the shower-spray. "Mmm, the water's so warm this evening."

"One of the scouting groups found an ass-load of gas for the genny so, for once, we aren't on tight power rations." Groaning happily, Kate turned away from the water as well, back arching as the stream hit her between the shoulder blades. "God, the things I used to take for granted," she moaned.

Magnus chuckled and nodded, smiling at Kate and absently noticing the way the water streamed over the curves of her breasts and the planes of her stomach and thighs. It was no wonder every man in her unit was smitten. Several of the women were, too, and with good reason. Kate was soft where a woman should be and hard everywhere else. An alluring combination in a time when attractive and genial bedmates were difficult to come by.

Kate grinned over at her, her own eyes lingering on Magnus' wet body for a second before she swallowed and her dusky skin darkened a tad further in what was unmistakably a blush. Making a soft, chagrinned sound, she turned again, letting the water buffet her from another angle. Or perhaps she was simply turning away before her face could betray her emotions.

Biting her lip, Magnus turned off her jet of water, moving behind Kate and letting herself study the girl's naked body in more detail than she had before now. Kate tensed but, bold as always, she made no attempt to move away or evade the scrutiny. Like all of them these days, she had scars, recent and raw enough that there was a time when the sight of them would have been off-putting in the extreme. These days, they were just a reminder of the fact that Kate selflessly fought for the continued survival of the human race.

Will had commented only today how much Kate had changed, grown, since the fighting started, how much she had matured and evolved from the rebellious girl she had once been. It was increasingly difficult to view her as anything but a strong, competent woman. And, of course, there were few things as alluring as a woman who could, to use the phrasing of the current generation, kick ass, take names, and look good doing it.

"Why so tense?" Magnus murmured, licking her lips and resisting the urge to reach out and touch that gorgeous, tea-colored skin. After all, the fact that Kate sometimes looked did not automatically mean she was amenable to being touched. A moment's unguarded scrutiny of Magnus' naked form aside, her interest had always seemed to lean towards the males in her sphere before now.

"Used to guys checking me out in the shower," Kate whispered, not moving. "Less used to..."

"To what, Kate?" she prompted gently.

"To... hot women doing it," Kate answered, voice catching.

"Does it make you uncomfortable? I'll stop," Magnus assured her.

Kate hesitated, but only for a moment. Back still to Magnus, she murmured, "Maybe I don't want you to?"

"Mmm, watch yourself, love," Magnus warned. "I'm told that my direct approach to sexuality can be off-putting to some."

Kate spun to face her, dark cheeks flush and expression hungry. "I should have known. You've always struck me as the kind of woman who's good at taking exactly what she wants," she rasped.

Magnus resisted the urge to gasp at the abrupt change in the young woman's demeanor, licking her lips and forcing herself to breathe steadily. As urgently as she wanted the touch of another human being to send her tumbling over the edge into bliss, she was unwilling to push Kate too far or too fast. Given the young woman's difficult past, careful handling was only wise. And, given everything she'd shared with Kate to date, it would be well-rewarded.

"It sounds as if that appeals to you. Odd. I wouldn't have assumed you were amenable to being... taken."

"Oh, boss, I'm not," Kate answered, face momentarily hardening into that of the soldier she had become. It was an odd contrast to the gentle calm that had started to predominate when she was in company with her friends and family within the Sanctuary. "I'm as much of a top as you probably are."

Magnus swallowed hard, unable to believe that she was letting Kate have this effect on her, making her weak in the knees and warm in her center, not eager to take or be taken, but simply to feel whatever was on offer. The girl was beautiful and, just lately, powerful and commanding enough to be incredibly attractive to anyone with a taste for strong females. It was no wonder that dear Will sometimes stared at the former mercenary as if she was Aphrodite herself. A man of Will's temperament would be drawn to a personality as forceful and commanding as Kate's like a moth to flame.

But she was no Will and it wasn't in her nature to let herself be pushed about. Leering at the way Kate's eyes devoured her, she took another step closer, smiling darkly as her breasts brushed the girl's arm.

Kate moved quickly and, for a moment, Magnus was sure it was the soldier's instinct that made her react so forcefully to someone stepping into her personal space. She let herself be pinned to the wall without struggling in order to avoid injury and was about to break free from the rough hold when Kate's lips found hers. The girl growled and Magnus growled right back, hands clutching hard at her shoulders as their mouths battled.

Despite the profound affection between them, the kiss wasn't loving. It was a simple attempt to create sensation, banish the darkness of the outside world for a few moments in time. When Magnus tried to flip them and pin Kate to the wall, the girl growled and shook her head, kiss turning crushing as she 'forced' Magnus into the corner.

Moaning, Magnus tore her lips away from Kate's, groaning with pleasure and need. "You are going to insist upon being dominant in this, aren't you?" she half-panted.

"I don't submit," Kate answered simply, shrugging. For a woman who was shaking with what had to be desire, she was remarkably composed and unwilling to bend. "You have a problem with that?"

Eyes sweeping up and down Kate's naked, slick body, she shook her head, licking her lips. Her personality had always been dominant, but she still knew there was something to be said for occasionally giving yourself over to the will of another and, with Kate, something told her it might just be worth it.

Hands caressing Kate's arms, she let herself accept the idea of being taken, temporarily controlled. Her body language must have shifted as she embraced the concept because Kate gasped, breath coming faster and expression turning eager and calculating. Magnus eyed her heaving chest with a leer, smiling down at Kate through half-lidded eyes.

"Well, since you are unwilling to be possessed, tonight, I am yours."

Kate gasped at that, breath coming in ragged pants, harder and faster. The poor thing looked ready to fall apart at the simple idea of dominating and possessing Magnus, even if only for the duration of a single encounter.

"Breathe, love," she murmured, leaning forward to nuzzle her cheeks. "Take what you wish and tell me what you require and we'll both enjoy this."

"Oh, hell yes," she moaned, nodding and pinning Magnus' wrists to the wall as she kissed her hard.

Groaning, Magnus closed her eyes, doing her best to appear to be reacting rather than overtly attempting to guide the encounter. Kate was not violent but she was obviously used to a rough hand. It was hard to say whether she was used to giving such careless and fumbling attention or merely used to receiving it from others. Whatever the case, it didn't seem in her nature to be gentle and patient. There was a time and a place for tenderness but the fact seemed lost on the poor girl.

She obviously needed a better quality of lovers and Magnus was more than willing to be the first on that list. Forcing herself to breathe, she let her reactions suggest to the girl that something slower might be more rewarding. Gradually, Kate's lips moved over hers with less desperation and more desire. Moaning in agreement, she teased Kate's lips apart with her tongue, rewarding and encouraging the slower pace and gentler mood.

"Boss," Kate growled against her lips, need evident in everything from her voice to her gaze to the way her supple body trembled against Magnus' as they kissed. Deliberation in her encounters seemed entirely foreign to her experience and the urge to teach her a new way was almost overwhelming to Magnus.

"Kate," she whispered, kissing and nuzzling her face. "This is yours to dictate but... if you wish to take your time, there are better places than a public shower."

She groaned at that, face twisting into the desperate expression of someone who needed release, and quite possibly unconditional acceptance, right now.

"Kate," Magnus soothed, tangling a hand in her wet hair. "This is yours to direct. What do you need?"

She groaned in answer, pressing every inch of herself into Magnus and rocking firmly against her hip. "Need you..."

"Then I am yours. Just tell me what you want."

"Touch me," Kate groaned, hands finding Magnus' breasts and giving a squeeze that made the older woman's hips twitch.

Magnus gasped, nodding and letting her hands find Kate's small-but-perfect breasts. It had been too long since she'd been with a truly feminine woman and she planned on enjoying this opportunity to the fullest. Kneading the plump swells of muscle, she dragged her thumbs firmly over nipples already hard with pleasure and need.

Kate arched into her hands with a whimper, gasping, "Doc!"

"It's okay, love," she soothed, bending to give a nipple a firm suck.

It was Kate's turn to gasp, then, and she stared down at Magnus with something that looked like shock. "That's..."

"Quite intense, I know," she agreed, straightening and drawing her into a tender embrace. "The feelings are always more powerful with someone you care for. Didn't you know that, love?" she asked gently, abruptly annoyed with every lover the poor girl had taken before this. Definitely time to teach her a new way.

Kate shook her head, not meeting Magnus' eyes. "You don't shit where you eat. Sex with people you love..." She trailed off at that, flushing.

"Fouls the nest," the older woman agreed, cradling her cheek in one hand and pretending not to register her use of the word love. "But I still find myself wanting you. Perhaps we can reach an understanding that will prevent the usual difficulties?"

Kate gave a shaky nod, expression full of need that was not entirely physical, unless Magnus was much mistaken. "Nothing has to change. We'd just be... fellow soldiers with benefits, right?"

"More or less," she agreed, caressing her cheek. "You are beautiful and deserve more than I think you must be getting from the men you stoop to accepting into your bed."

"I don't know about that," Kate whispered, eyes sliding to the right. "But... God, Magnus." She shrugged, still not looking at her.

She raised an eyebrow at the blatant lack of self-worth but didn't press, unwilling to say or do anything to scare the girl off. At some point, this had become less about satisfying a need than about filling needs poor Kate didn't even realize she had.

"We can discuss that later. For now, I believe you were expressing your desire to dominate me?"

She swallowed hard at that, staring with wide eyes. "You'd let me? Top you?"

"Not every time, certainly, but there's no harm in the occasional act of role reversal," she pointed out, sliding to her knees since she absolutely adored that particular act of submission from her lovers. Judging by Kate's shocked look, it wasn't a gesture she saw much from her own. But she also seemed ridiculously excited by the unexpected course of events. "Just breathe," Magnus directed, placing a hand on her stomach and urging her back into the shower's corner.

"You can't... you wouldn't..." Kate began, expression completely unsure. Aroused or not, she was clearly having difficulty accepting the idea of Helen Magnus on her knees for the pleasure of another human being.

"I only insist on dominating others professionally," she explained. "In my sex-life, I seldom mind serving as long as the favor is eventually returned. Now..."

Taking Kate's hand in hers, she kissed it tenderly, smiling up at her with eager eyes and waiting for instructions or, at least, permission. Kate looked shocked and gratified, then just desperate as she tangled a hand in Magnus' hair, drawing her face closer to the thatch of dark curls between her legs.

"Would you believe I was over forty before I learned how to do this for a woman?" Magnus asked conversationally.

Kate trembled in response to that, licking her lips and probably thinking about how many years of practice that translated into. Most of Magnus' lovers got worked up considering the idea of a lover with that level of experience; it really was one of the chief advantages of immortality.

"So you've always been a cougar?"

Leering, Magnus let out a sound not unlike a randy mountain lion, smiling at Kate's shocked, hungry look. A little raw animal passion was seldom amiss in a sexual encounter, which she seemed more than aware of. Grinning, she spread Kate's already-swollen folds with her fingers, licking and sucking firmly and smiling when Kate's hand tightened in her hair. Her hips jerked the first time Magnus gave a nip, and she groaned happily as tender licks and kisses soothed away any possible irritation the bite had caused.

"Magnus," she rasped, panting and trembling already. "Oh, God, that..."

Smiling up at her, Magnus rested a hand on Kate's hip, fingertips caressing. "I know, love. It's okay. Just enjoy," she directed tenderly, tongue dancing over Kate's folds and fingertips teasing the girl's opening.

"Please," Kate whimpered, panting and straining towards those fingers. Slow, loving teasing seemed outside her experience as well, the poor thing. Well, they could cover that ground later.

"Steady on, love," Magnus soothed, slipping two fingers into Kate's clenching depths.

Kate let out a sound somewhere between a gasp and a sob as Magnus' fingertips found her g-spot and started firmly drumming against the rough tissue. Head falling back and body bowing, she tightened her hold on Magnus' hair, panting and bracing her free hand against the shower wall with a cry.

"Yes!" she sobbed, nodding desperately.

Ridiculously aroused by that response, she let her lips find Kate's clitoris and gave the swollen arousal a gentle suck. Kate nodded eagerly, whimpering and breathing faster. Sucking harder, Magnus let her tongue flick firmly over the swollen bundle of nerve-endings, moaning happily when she felt Kate's walls fluttering around her fingers. Nodding, she let her tongue and fingers fall into a quick, firm rhythm as she carried Kate higher. She couldn't remember the last time pleasing a lover had been so gratifying or heart-warming. It was dangerously close to romantic love but she was past caring because Kate deserved this experience.

Abruptly, the girl cursed, the expletives leaving her lips in a low, rasping groan as her walls clutched harder at Magnus' fingers. The hand tangled in Magnus' hair tightened almost painfully as her body tensed and started to shake, breath coming in short, broken pants. A few moments of steady, insistent attention later and Kate let go with a howl, hips bucking and muscles clenching as it took her. Groaning with pleasure, Magnus drummed harder against Kate's g-spot, earning another cry from the girl and making her knees buckle. Giving her arousal a few more gentle sucks and licks, she let her free hand brace against Kate and ease her to the ground, finally letting her fingers still as it passed for the girl.

Panting and wearing a dazed look, Kate smiled foggily at Magnus, licking her lips. "Fucking hell," she repeated.

Magnus chuckled at that, shifting close and gently easing a finger out of Kate. "Language, young lady," she chuckled.

Kate groaned at the withdraw, squirming a little as she adjusted to being less filled. "That was..."

"Enjoyable, I hope?" she teased, removing her other finger.

She gave Magnus a shocked look, then the Freelander bravado seemed to kick in again. "Not the absolute worst I've ever had, anyways."

"Well, I suppose that's all one can ask for," she answered with a smirk, leaning in to steal a kiss.

Kate returned the kiss with a groan, hands coming up to squeeze Magnus' breasts as she shyly tasted her own pleasure mingled with Magnus' taste.

"Not sure I'll be able to make it as good for you as you made it for me," she admitted as they broke the kiss, biting her lip.

"Kate," Magnus chastised gently, shaking her head. "This isn't a contest or a transaction and, even if it were, I'm sure I'll enjoy myself immensely," she promised, leaning into the hands against her breasts and smiling warmly. "Why so worried, hmm?" she asked, smoothing back Kate's hair and ignoring the needful ache between her legs in favor of comforting and trying to understand her new lover.

"Don't know. Just... not used to this."

"To being with a woman or to unselfish exchanges?"

Kate remained silent, hands falling away from Magnus' breasts. Expression mortified, she drew her knees to her chest, every inch some little girl caught out in a mistake.

"Come here, love," she directed, drawing the girl into a hug.

Kate didn't try to pull away, but she did tense. "I'm not good at this kind of thing," she whispered.

"Neither am I. More Will's forte, I should imagine."

"Maybe we should page him?" Kate suggested, smiling wryly up at her. "Assuming the sight of us all wet and naked doesn't break him, he could probably offer some shrinkly advice."

She laughed at that, kissing Kate soundly and relieved to feel her smile into the kiss.

"Still friends?" the girl asked finally.

"Always, Kate."

"Good, 'cause you've got to be feeling a little wound up by now."

"Quite," she confessed, expression rueful. "Still, if you're uncomfortable taking this any farther, I'll be more than happy to deal with that myself. It would hardly be the first time."

"Oh, you're not getting out of this that easy," Kate answered, shaking her head and leering. "You made me squirm pretty much non-stop for like six months after I came to the Sanctuary. My turn to make you squirm for awhile."

"Mmm, perhaps you should handcuff me to a chair or bed?" she offered, licking her lips and flushing at the idea of Kate 'making her squirm'. "Only fair after I did both to you in short order so soon after our initial meeting."

"Kinky," Kate answered, leering and caressing Magnus' inner thighs. "Maybe next time."

"Or maybe I'll be the one doing the handcuffing. Being tied up by me can be a remarkably pleasant experience," she told Kate, spreading her legs and breathing faster. The idea of tying Kate down and having her way with the girl produced a warm flush inside that was only half-physical. She wanted the girl to know what it was like to be lavished with tender attentions and not just for her own sexual gratification. Something told her that Kate would find the experience as illuminating as it was arousing. "Would you like that, Kate?"

Kate drew in a shaky breath, eyes wide and expression conflicted. "I can't say I've ever enjoyed being tied up."

Magnus nodded, recognizing that Kate had either never engaged in bondage or had and had a bad experience of it. Either way, it would take time to get her comfortable with the concept and this was far too early in their burgeoning relationship to push her outside her comfort-zone in any extreme way.

"Then we'll forget that idea."

"No. I... maybe," she whispered, shrugging. "Just let me think about it?"

"Of course. And, obviously, if you allowed it, I wouldn't use the experience to attempt to degrade or harm you in any way. Those forms of play have never much appealed to me. For me, bondage is largely a matter of trust and affection, one party focusing entirely on the needs of the other," she soothed, nodding and catching one of Kate's hands in hers.

"Doesn't sound so terrible when you put it like that," she admitted, biting her lip.

"No, it truly isn't. Touch me, Kate?" she requested, tenderly kissing the younger woman's fingers.

"Yeah," she answered, licking her lips. "You just want me to..." she began, tone questioning and expression almost shy.

"Whatever you're comfortable with. You could show me what you enjoy doing to yourself?" she suggested, biting her lip and resisting the urge to gather Kate into her arms and try to soothe away some of that uncertainty. Kate was not the type to accept that sort of nurturing readily, would ask if she needed it and probably still resist an attempt to deliver it. The best way to acclimate her to a new situation was generally just to allow her to experience it in a safe setting.

"I, uh... I don't usually like to waste a lot of time when it's just me," Kate began, extending a shaking hand towards Magnus' center.

She smiled faintly at that. "I've been known to bring myself to orgasm in a matter o f minutes as well. Especially these days, there isn't always time to be spared for anything leisurely. Quick and forceful can be such a welcome relief from the pressures of this life."

"Yeah, I guess," Kate answered, her smile relieved and almost radiant as she let her fingertips stroke firmly over Magnus' folds.

"Mmm, Kate," she sighed, smiling and watching her through half-lidded eyes. Obviously soothed by the reassurances, the girl's hands were deft and immediately left Magnus' core feeling warm and tight. "You have beautiful hands. Lovely, long fingers. I've always admired them."

"Yeah?" she asked, biting her lip and stroking more firmly over the increasingly swollen tissue. "God you... pink's a good color on you," she breathed, licking her lips and drinking in the sight of the flush creeping up Magnus' breasts and stomach.

"That feels wonderful," she whispered, head falling back as she enjoyed Kate's attentions, not gentle but by no means rough, either. Kate knew precisely how much pressure to apply to coax more blood into already-engorged tissue without overstimulating nerve endings that were sensitive enough that too much could be uncomfortable.

"Wow, Helen Magnus has the same buttons as the rest of womankind?" Kate teased, grinning and looking relieved as well as smug.

"Well, she does have buttons," Magnus answered, leering at Kate. "Why don't you push one and see if it works the same way?"

"Oh, now there's a challenge I'll be happy to answer," Kate moaned, two fingers finding Magnus' arousal and rubbing in hard, quick circles.

"Lord!" she cried, arching into the touch as its effect shot through her body in white-hot jolts of sensation. "Yes, Kate! Just like that," she gasped, rocking slightly as pleasure started to coil and build in her aching breasts and swooping stomach. Perhaps it had been too long since she'd truly cared for a lover; she could already tell that this orgasm, when it came, would be one worth remembering.

"Wow," Kate whispered, swallowing hard as she kept stroking her. "You're, like, totally..."

"On fire," she moaned, licking her lips as her breath started to hitch. "Please don't stop, Kate."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Kate assured her, fingers moving faster and pressing harder.


True to her earlier words, Kate did not 'waste time' in bringing Magnus the rest of the way to climax. The callus on the girl's trigger-finger was rough and raised enough to feel delightful as it caught on the shaft of the older woman's arousal over and over as Kate quickly stroked and rubbed. Every time her body seemed ready to acclimate to the building pressure, that rough, raised ridge sent an even more intense jolt through her, rendering her helpless to do anything but whimper and nod, rocking slightly as Kate worked.

Her climax came quickly, borne on a wave of molten pleasure. Moaning happily, she grabbed Kate's knee with one hand and squeezed, panting and trembling as it washed over her. Looking stunned by the force of the climax, Kate whimpered, hand moving for a few more moments before slowing.

"It's okay, Magnus. You okay?" she murmured as it passed.

"More than," she assured Kate with a smile, leaning forward and kissing her sloppily. "Mmm, and you were worried."

"Yeah, well, didn't realize you would enjoy anything that basic."

"Age aside, my anatomy is no different than that of any female. Come here," she directed, drawing Kate against her chest and moaning at the way it felt to hold her like this. "We should make occasion to share this again."

"Yeah, next time there's warm water," Kate scoffed, smirking and reaching up to turn off the shower which had gone from hot to lukewarm at some point during the encounter without either woman noticing.

"Nonsense. No reason to waste fuel when my room has a fireplace." Smiling and gently smoothing Kate's wet hair out of her face, she asked, "Have you ever made love in front of a roaring fire? The way the light dances off a woman's skin..." Especially skin as rich and dark as Kate's.

"Pretty sure I've never done anything that could accurately be described as making love. More like, uh... rogering?" Kate answered, shrugging and pressing a kiss to Magnus' shoulder. "But this was damned close. I don't think it's ever felt like you made me feel."

"How so?" she asked gently, caressing Kate's back.

"Just... gentle and... considerate. Like the whole point was for me to have a good time instead of just..."

"Instead of just a desperate race to the finish-line? Orgasms are lovely but they're hardly the end-all and be-all of sex, either. Come to my room tonight, Kate," she breathed in her ear, nuzzling her hair. "There's a great deal I can teach you."

"I'm not sure I'm ready for those lessons," she admitted, squirming and looking everywhere but at Magnus. "Besides, I thought we were just going to be fuck-buddies."

"Well, that's no reason for us not to enjoy ourselves to the fullest," she pointed out, ignoring the vulgarism because Kate was clearly used to 'being fucked' by her partners rather than any kind of actual lovemaking. "Come now," she directed, drawing Kate to her feet and reaching for her towel. "You'll catch a chill."

"Why are you being like this?" Kate whispered, expression uncertain.

"Because you're my friend," she explained, gently wrapping the girl in the length of fabric. At Kate's continued look of discomfort, she tried again. "I quite adore the sexual attentions of men, Kate, but I look for a different experience from my female lovers and this is a part of that. It's not a matter of having more or less regard for any one partner, simply of what I enjoy from each. Sex with a woman is soft, tender, slow, repeated, gentle."

"Everything a guy can't really give a woman?" she ventured, biting her lip and looking soothed that Magnus wasn't trying to profess undying love or anything equally absurd.

She made a sound of assent, reaching for her robe and shrugging it on. "Will you come to my room, Kate?"

"I'm not used to this kind of thing, Doc. A quick screw in the supply closet after which both parties go their own separate ways before anyone notices they were gone is more my thing."

"Well, there's no pressure, certainly, and not a thing wrong with quick and passionate sex, but there are other experiences to be had if you ever want them. Think on it," she urged, kissing Kate tenderly.

Kate swallowed hard, nodding and giving Magnus a look that was as hungry as it was hesitant. Magnus smiled. She had suspected that the girl might be eager to experience a new way of taking her pleasure after the small taste she'd been given. This was a fair start to a relationship that could be rewarding for both, especially for Kate who was past due for some genuine affection in bed.

"You know where to find me," she breathed, giving her a slightly more passionate kiss. "I'll look forward to seeing you again."

Kate bit her lip, expression suddenly a combination of shy and eager that was utterly enchanting to Magnus. She'd never attached special significance to virginity but that was almost precisely what Kate's manner reminded her of: an inexperienced girl eager and excited to be taught what her body was actually capable of beyond the basic. Magnus had always loved teaching others about themselves, in the sexual arena, too. Teaching a friend like Kate would be incredibly satisfying on more levels than the physical.

"I have sentry duty from nine tonight until one in the morning," she told Magnus, "but I can drop by right after?"

"I should be done with my work by then," she agreed, smiling and wondering if having a nice bottle of brandy waiting would make Kate more or less comfortable with the liaison. "An excellent way to warm yourself after several chilly hours walking the perimeter, I'd say. I'll see you then. I'm looking forward to it."

"Me, too," Kate answered, stealing a quick kiss. "See you soon."

"I'll be waiting." Smiling and nodding, she turned to leave the shower room.

"Magnus?" Kate called after her.

"Hmm?" she asked, turning back to smile warmly at her.

"I, uh... thanks. For everything since I joined the Sanctuary, you know? Having a home with you guys..."

"I understand," she assured her, nodding. "And thank you as well, Kate. I should have said this years ago, but I've never had cause to regret welcoming you into my home." At Kate's shocked, teary-eyed look, she added, "And now I have one more reason to be glad of your presence."

Kate grinned at that, biting her lip. "Thanks, boss. I'll see you tonight." Whistling what Magnus recognized as a rather obscene ditty popular among the soldiers, Kate left the shower-room with a spring in her step.

The End