AN UNUSUAL INTIMACY
"You said you wanted to see me?"
Isabelle Lightwood's tone was harsh, the words coming like acid from her lips. She was here only because she knew the regret of disobedience would be far greater than that of submission. This knowledge, however, did not stop her from expressing her disgust in posture, expression, and tone.
The Inquisitor had asked to see her specifically, arranging a meeting point in the library of the Institute as to not be disturbed. The young Shadowhunter was still not certain as to why her presence had been requested, but the respect she had for the older woman had long since dwindled from the moment Jace had been condemned guilty of betrayal. Isabelle knew for certain this assertion was false, but nonetheless felt alone in the statement. Her parents had been swayed by this callous woman's lies, and her brother Alec had fallen into the same trap.
Strange, though, Isabelle thought to herself, how he so rapidly changed his mind.
"Indeed I did, little one."
Despite her pompous behaviour, Isabelle had much difficulty ripping her gaze from the Inquisitor's features. They were strong, defined, and beautiful in a way that could be described as nothing other than exotic. The older woman's grey hair rose subtly, as if a wisp of wind flew constantly around her like a domesticated pet. It was almost mesmerizing, Isabelle realized, as the other female's lips curved into a smile at the sight of the younger one's fascination.
"What do you want…?" Isabelle had never been a fan of patience, and for her, this circumstance was no different than any other. "You must have some reason for dragging me here other than the satisfaction of seeing I can't do anything about you being a dick."
The Inquisitor's eyes widened in surprise at the repetition of an earlier insult, but she quickly regained the calm and collected composure that seemed etched into her features at all times. "Place your weapons on the table to your right, little one. I don't wish to fight, and neither should you," she paused before softening her tone, "There shall be no war, and no reason to fight in the future. Let us refrain from creating one."
"That's what you think." Isabelle spat the words.
The grey-haired Shadowhunter was unfazed by the younger one's hostility. She simply gestured once more to the specified table with her open hand, and almost breathed the words this time: "Your weapons, please."
Isabelle placed a protective hand overtop the whip she had slung in her belt and clenched her jaw. It was the one thing that made her feel safe at all times, because she knew that with it, she could take control of any situation she desired. Without it, she thought to herself, she couldn't even imagine the anxiety that would arise from a lack of power.
The single word held a firm finality to it, and Isabelle fixed her gaze upon the Inquisitor's. She flipped her ink-black hair out of her face, unafraid of the intimidating allure the older woman was trying to conjure.
"Very well," spoke the Inquisitor, her tone a mixture of esteem and challenge.
"Please," she interrupted her, an indescribable pitch to her tone, "call me Imogen. What is the use of owning a name if it isn't to be utilized?"
Then, the older Shadowhunter chuckled. It was a strange sound, like the plucking of a guitar that was out of tune, and yet Isabelle couldn't help the way her heart leapt as the sound of hilarity filled the room. She wasn`t sure if the grey-haired woman`s laughter was genuine or sarcastic, but a small voice in the back of her mind told her it was better if she remained uncertain.
"Imogen…" Isabelle spoke the name hesitantly, as if letting it roll around in her mouth before allowing it to escape her lips, "I don't know why you asked to see me, and frankly I don't care. I just want to change your mind about Jace…"
The Inquisitor raised a hand as a weary expression took over her features. "Let's not speak of Jace this evening, little one. He is not the reason I called upon you."
Isabelle's eyes furrowed quizzically. "He isn't?"
Imogen began to step forward, her posture impeccable and her eyes wild. She was wearing a long white dress, entirely translucent at the exception of what was needed in opacity to cover the essential. Isabelle's heart began to pound as the older woman approached, adrenaline coursing through her veins; whether it was a fight-or-flight response, she wasn't certain. Without thinking, the younger Shadowhunter gripped her whip and held her hand above the hilt of it, eyes never leaving those of the woman approaching.
"I wanted to speak to you," the Inquisitor began, "and see how you were doing."
"How I'm doing?" Isabelle's eyes went wide. "You've got to be kidding me, Imogen. How I'm doing…this is a joke, right?"
Both women were now face to face, the older one looming high above the younger, a smile curving her lips once more. She answered, "You needn't always appear so irritated, little one. You'll get wrinkles."
Imogen raised a finger to trace a line down Isabelle's cheek, simply to have her hand slapped.
"Stop calling me that." Isabelle's heart was now beating with indescribable rapidity, and the usually calm and collected Lightwood took a hesitant step back. "Why do you keep calling me that?"
"It's a simple reiteration of the obvious, little one." The Inquisitor's smile grew wider, and she mirrored Isabelle's attempt at distancing by taking another step forward. "Your need for control arises from lack of confidence. In truth, we are both aware of the fact that you're as fragile as glass within."
The raven-haired Shadowhunter stumbled backwards with a clumsiness that did not belong to her, and pulled her whip from its sheath. "Stop it."
"Delicate…" Imogen's hand shot out and caught the hilt of the whip before Isabelle could protest, and the weapon was flung to the opposite end of the room. "Petite. Vulnerable. Insecure."
Every term the Inquisitor hurled at the younger demon killer was accentuated with a step forward, to which Isabelle responded unintentionally with a step backwards. They were almost dancing, one would notice from a third person perspective: their feet moving in synchronized coordination, with Imogen leading the two closer and closer towards the opposite wall.
"What do you want?" Isabelle repeated the previous question, this time fear coating her tone. She knew what the Inquisitor had done to Jace, hence the reason her loathing for the older woman was so strong and apparent. Despite the fact that she felt a sincere sadness for the circumstances her adoptive brother had been placed in, she did not wish the same fate upon herself. Her hand fisted itself in the empty space her whip had been moments ago, tucked securely in the sheath of cloth that held it to her waist, feeling exposed as Imogen stood overtop her.
"To talk." The Inquisitor seemed calm, despite the fire burning in the depths of her grey eyes. "To see what it is that fuels such an independent young woman as yourself."
Imogen bent her knees to come face-to-face with the younger Shadowhunter, her expression holding something mysterious that not even Isabelle could decipher. The Inquisitor's voice was soft when she spoke, almost inaudible: "You intrigue me."
A wave of heat sizzled through the raven-haired woman, emotions racing across her mind at a speed that had never before been experienced. She decided to settle upon anger, clenching her jaw and fisting her hands in a very obvious portrayal of hostility. She took steps forward this time, expecting the Inquisitor to reverse, baffled. However, Isabelle was greeted by the statue-like composure of the older woman, unmoving, and she ended up pressing the length of her body against Imogen's, instead. The smaller demon killer stumbled rearward upon impact, hitting the back of her head against the wall she had been cornered into.
"I'm not afraid of you," Isabelle spoke the words with confidence this time, despite the fact that she was well aware of how subtly the Inquisitor had managed to back her up against a wall, without her slightest knowledge.
"And I don't expect you to be, little one. That would be the last thing I desire."
Imogen's choice of words and tone created a second wash of high temperature to course through the younger Shadowhunter, a feeling far different than fear settling itself within her core. She brought her brown eyes upwards to meet the grey one's that seemed transfixed upon her features, and felt her hand twitch as the urge to touch the silky texture of the Inquisitor's gown flit through her mind. She suppressed the desire, however, and placed both hands behind her back.
One of the older woman's hands snapped up to grab Isabelle by the chin, her long nails digging into the flesh of the younger Shadowhunter's cheeks. She was so incredibly strong, it was close to petrifying. Her tone, in contrast to her touch, was gentle: "Such a delicate girl thrown into such a cruel, torrid world…"
This close to Imogen, Isabelle could see the lines of wisdom that accentuated each of the older woman's features. She couldn't help but find the Inquisitor spellbindingly beautiful, despite the situation. It was almost frightening, the way that the grey-haired demon killer mesmerised her so. The grey depths of her eyes appeared to hold an innumerable amount of secrets, and deeper still, was a strange fiery presence that amplified its magnitude over time.
The young Lightwood blinked a few times to rid herself of thoughts that wandered her mind. Her tone wasn't the slightest bit gentle as she spat the words: "I don't need your pity."
"And you shan't receive it, either." Imogen always seemed to know what to say.
"Then why did y—"
With her chin still locked within the claws of the Inquisitor, Isabelle found her words silenced by the unexpected awareness of the wiser Shadowhunter's lips upon her own. Beyond the surprise of the unpredictable circumstances, the younger woman found the warmth of Imogen's mouth to be her focal point of attention: everything else about her had seemed cold, iced and bitter. Yet as Isabelle's lungs fought for breath against the temperate kiss, her body sandwiched between a cold wall and another living body, she realized that the grey-haired woman's warmth resided farther within than where most would have desired to venture.
Imogen pulled away, her grey eyes swimming with vigour and challenge. She took two steps back, the cold of the room a significant contrast to the heat of her form against the younger woman's. "You may leave, Isabelle Lightwood, or you may stay. The decision from now on is yours."
Breathing through parted, swollen lips, Isabelle eyed the older woman in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Despite running the previous scene in her mind over and over again, it was difficult for her to latch onto the idea that it had truly occurred. Her thoughts were racing, her heart was pounding, and her breathing had increased to an audible state. Regardless of the oddity of the situation, the younger Shadowhunter's mind wandered without authorization towards the rebellion this intimacy would entail. Her parents had seen her with warlocks, werewolves, faerie knights and even an outlaw or two…but this, she thought, eyeing the Inquisitor with a curious gaze, surpassed everything put together.
Imogen Herondale's eyes widened at the sight of the younger woman's first step forward, as if the Inquisitor had expected the absolute contrary of such a reaction. Isabelle's nails dug into the grey-haired woman's shoulders as she used her palms to push forward into the body, propelling the Inquisitor backwards. It was a sudden movement—one the young Lightwood would never have dared attempt prior to today's events. It was as if Imogen's advances had given the younger Shadowhunter a sense of invincibility.
The grey-haired woman landed on her feet, as graceful as a cat would have fallen, though tousling her hair in the process. The straight grey locks fell into her face, even as the Inquisitor looked up to Isabelle as a smile curved her inviting lips.
Isabelle's heart was thundering within the boned cage of her sternum, and the room began to spin as she attempted a collected posture. Her chin was high, prideful, and her tone was one of a domineering hostility—an interesting contrast to the growing heat located at the apex of her thighs. She flipped her ink-black hair out of the way of her vision defiantly, and spat an accusation at the Inquisitor. "What are you doing?"
Imogen rose to her full height, and ran her long nails through the rogue strands of hair that created a messy, ravaged allure. "Trying to seduce you."
It was obvious in the way that the Inquisitor held herself, that she was already very much aware of the images and desires racing through Isabelle's mind. The older woman's eyes were malevolent, challenging, the way a kitten's would be upon being presented with a wounded mouse. It was evident in the simple way she licked her lips shortly afterwards that she knew she already had sunk her teeth into the metaphorical victim, and that the young Lightwood was moments away from falling limp within the proximity of her embrace. She had too much assurance present within the scorch of her gaze, Isabelle noticed with what was an indescribable compulsion, and it was obvious that the older woman was used to receiving her heart's desire. Whatever that may be.
Just like that, the controlled composure melted from the younger fighter, pooling at the floor beneath her feet along with her arrogance, her sense of authority, and most of all: her rationality. The Inquisitor stepped forward again, this time making her fluid, sensual grace much more apparent. Isabelle knew she hadn't imagined the way the older woman's body exuded an aura of provocative domination—at this point, Imogen simply wasn't making a conscious effort to dilute the natural, dangerous beauty given to her by the Angel.
Isabelle's voice was but a whisper. "Why?"
"I've already told you, little one." The Inquisitor came to a halt before the younger Shadowhunter once more; this time, her features soft and almost kind. "You intrigue me."
Blowing a stray strand of raven-dark hair from her eyes once more, Isabelle's hand rose with hesitation. It was no surprise to anyone that the second Lightwood had been with women before—given, it had been more for show than anything else—but for a reason unknown, this was different. This was…a mixture of curiosity and compulsion, woven tightly together to create a sensation never before experienced. Imogen exhaled as the other woman reached out to pinch the material of the silk dress within her index and thumb, rolling the fabric through her fingers as if fascinated by the texture.
The Inquisitor's hands were curled into what appeared to be aggressive fists, held at her sides almost as if glued from the bicep downwards. She had made clear the fact that the decision to proceed was entirely up to the younger Shadowhunter, whose hands seemed to be trembling at the moment, simply as the other woman stroked the white fabric of her dress. Isabelle's eyes flit upwards to find grey ones staring down at her, their irises swimming with heated, unspoken yearning, and the dark-haired demon killer shot her gaze elsewhere almost immediately. It was very unlike her to be shy, especially in a situation that demanded a confident allure, but Isabelle couldn't help the bashful introversion that tackled her again and again like waves. The reason for this was clear: she was not the one in control.
Isabelle's lips parted as she stood baffled by the simple presence of such an important figure, such a naturally beautiful woman, offering herself to the second eldest Lightwood. The Inquisitor's hands were still clenched into restrictive fists at her sides, and it was apparent through the composure of her jaw line that the maws of her teeth were being pressed together with powerful force. It was almost tempting to tease the other woman to a point of incoherency, but the younger Shadowhunter was well aware of the consequences such an action like would inevitably entail. Was it worth it? The more experienced demon killer was known worldwide for the grudges she held, and it was quite apparent that she had difficulty in limiting the control she exuded simply to ascertain the younger demon killer's comfort.
"Why me?" Isabelle could not prevent the enquiry from escaping the tip of her tongue.
The Inquisitor averted her gaze, licking her lips and returning her jaw to its locked state as the raven-haired woman eyes her inquisitively. It was frustrating, the way the grey-haired Shadowhunter kept such crucial information to herself while at the same time expecting the younger one to trust her in the most intimate of manners. It had become a trade, of sorts: an exchange of information for the intimacy of a touch.
"You remind me of myself," Imogen spoke suddenly, sharply, and in a matter-of-factly tone. "You remind me of the young woman I used to be before I was forced into a position that wasn't necessarily the one I desired. You remind me of neglect, being reckless and of indifference to the world around me. You care about nothing, when I must care about everything. I envy you."
It was sudden, the words slicing through Isabelle like a knife. Imogen Herondale, the Inquisitor and likely most respected member of the Clave, envied the second eldest Lightwood. It was flattering, of course, but other than that simply shocking.
"You…" Isabelle was at a loss for words.
The one with the chocolate irises licked her lips before nodding, and willingly met the grey swirls of intrigue that stared back at her with what was an indescribable mixture of compulsion and confrontation. The undefined desire that both women were compelled to was still a mystery to the younger Shadowhunter, though she did not try to dissect the situation as she normally would. Instead, her hand travelled to the back of the older woman's nape, and she lifted herself up on her toes to once again meet the soft texture of Imogen's lips.
The Inquisitor's fingers descended to trace the apparent contour of Isabelle's ribs overtop the material of her shirt, in a way that made the younger woman's breath hitch audibly as she fought for breath beneath the heated kiss. The sensuality of her touch was astounding, Isabelle noticed—it oozed of experience and promise, of security and familiarity. The simple possibility of such a touch becoming even the slightest bit more intimate had the pulse inside her neck pounding in a way that made the inexperienced demon killer's head throb. The effect the grey-haired beauty had upon her was pleasant, yet uncomfortable. It was different than anything she'd ever lived, distinct in a fashion that made her know for certain that if, by any chance, the older woman were to pull away at any moment, Isabelle would fall to her knees and plead for more.
Imogen's touch was gentle and calculated, in no manner what would be expected from a woman in such a domineering position of authority. She was sensual, soft, and careful, almost as if afraid to break the younger Shadowhunter upon contact. Isabelle pushed up into the older woman, and brought her arms into a tight lock around the Inquisitor/s neck.
Lips finally parted, heavy breathing filled the air surrounding the two women, and chocolate collided with grey. It took a few moments of pleasant silence before the younger one inhaled slowly, and spoke: "The door…did you—?"
"Locked." Imogen smiled. "Yes."
I'm not certain whether this type of a pairing would be well-received by the femslash community…so not sure whether I'll be taking this a step further in the next chapter. Thoughts? Criticisms? Let me know.