A/N: This fic sprang from a group challenge that I took part in, A Spa Story. (A link can be found under the "favorite stories" tab on my homepage.) My contribution is aptly named, "Commander Wolffe Gets A Pedicure," and can also be found on my homepage. It's not necessary to read CWGaP to understand this story, but it might be neat to see this story's inception.
FYI, events are referenced from TCW, Season One's "Malevolence" story-arc, as well as the TCW graphic novel, In Service Of the Republic. (It's not required reading, but it's a great story in of itself – especially if you've ever wondered just how Wolffe got that cybernetic eye.)
As always, I don't own Star Wars or any recognizable characters, just my OCs. Also, I make no money off of writing or posting this, and have used the song lyrics at the intro of each chapter without permission.
Fair warning: this fic is rated "M" with good reason. Although I took great pains to keep the narrative appropriate for this site, (as in, there's no explicit sex), much of the story does take place in a "pleasure-house," and is centered around two, sexually-active, consenting adults, so...yeah. ;) My hope is that this is sexy, fun and romantic, though – of course – there's a little bit of angst mixed in.
Many thanks to LongLiveTheClones for being my second pair of eyes!
Reviews and comments are always welcome. Please read and enjoy! :)
Fire and Ice
I want to live with a cinnamon girl;
I could be happy, the rest of my life,
With a cinnamon girl.
~Neil Young, "Cinnamon Girl"
No matter what he faced, no matter what his men faced, no matter how high the odds were stacked against him, Wolffe had never lost control of himself. He had emotions, of course, had drives and urges like any other man, but he had never given way to them while on duty.
Until Nar Shaddaa; until House Ambrosia.
As Ava watched him step through the atrium, casting his gaze around with all the wariness of one who has been hunted and one who has done the hunting, she thought she had never seen anyone she wanted quite as much.
To be honest, the idea of it startled her more than the heady flare of arousal that was her nature. A Zeltron experienced attraction all the time; it was nothing notable. In Ava's line of work, particularly, she felt attraction from clients directed at her, but it did not go the other way around because she could shut out their emotions just as easily as she could broadcast her own, and because she generally did not feel attraction for them, just as she felt no pity or anger.
As a rule, she did not feel anything for the ones who paid for her body.
But this man...
Tall. Broad-shouldered. Dusky skin and dark hair that was slightly mussed, though she saw his hand reach up as if to check that it was so, which she found curious. There was stubble all across his cheeks and chin, giving her the impression that he was normally clean-shaven. He moved like a predator: smooth, agile, strong.
From her place behind the curtain that divided the reception desk from the staff quarters, Ava used all of her training and studied him, trying to place the reason for her attraction. She thought he was a few years her senior, perhaps in his mid-twenties, but he seemed older in a way she couldn't quite articulate. He was dressed simply: tunic, trousers, boots, gloves. Every article was well-made, but nondescript, and though they fitted his body, she thought they were not his normal clothing.
His body was muscular. Even through the clothing, she could tell that this was no errant nobleman out for a pleasure-spree in the Undercity of Nar Shaddaa. Coupled with the way he moved and the watchful set of his eyes, she decided that he was, like her, here with a very specific purpose.
Ava decided that she wanted to know what it was.
He approached the desk, where Iolite was poised to greet him. "Hello," the Rutian Twi'lek chirped, straightening her spine and giving the potential client an alluring smile. "Welcome to House Ambrosia: where anything could happen! How may I serve you today, sir?"
The man regarded the teal-skinned female for a moment, giving Ava the sense that he was thinking over his response, but she missed what he said because she was too busy staring at his eyes.
Correction: his eye.
One was an unremarkable light brown, a purely Human color in which she had little interest. These were an ingot a dozen and she'd seen her fair share.
No, it was the other, his right eye, that drew her gaze and made her breath catch.
It was cybernetic, silver-white, gleaming with intelligence even through its mechanical nature. It was one like she'd never seen; Ava wondered what it would be to have such an eye look upon her and felt her attraction lift another notch. A jagged, nasty-looking scar rested above and below the eye, leaving a myriad of questions about what had caused him to lose it, and she wondered again what sort of a man he was to have come here, of all the places in the galaxy.
Ava didn't believe in much, especially destiny, but sometimes she wondered...
But he was speaking, and she shook her head, leaning away from the curtain so that she would not be seen but so she could still listen.
"No, none of those...services will be required," he was saying, an edge of annoyance discernible even through an accent that she was unable to place.
"Certainly, sir," Iolite tittered and Ava rolled her eyes, though she could hardly blame the Twi'lek for her saccharine nature; everyone who worked in a place like this found a mannerism that suited them, and Iolite knew as well as Ava did that the clients who came here generally did not care for intelligence in their playthings.
There was the sound of tapping on keys as Iolite pulled up the master schedule, then a pause before she spoke again. "Let's see...Sylphy and Khaz are both free for a namana-oil massage, but not for another two hours. Would you care to wait?"
It was a ruse, of course. Rarely were all of the workers tied up; this was simply a method of keeping clients in the building longer, thus ensuring that they would spend more money. A patron well versed in places like House Ambrosia would know this, and ask who else was free. The fact that this man did not meant that he was unused to situations like these. He also, she noted, did not inquire about the genders or species available to service him, which also indicated inexperience with pleasure-houses.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Sylphy and Khaz were both female and Humanoid, but she idly wondered how he'd react to a male, or perhaps a Sullustan. Or both.
Another pause, during which Ava heard him sigh as if in irritation, then he spoke. "Look, I just need-"
He broke off with a noise of frustration, and she thought, you're not very good at this, are you, Silver?
When he spoke again, his tone was more agreeable, if also a bit forced. "That will do, but I'd rather not spend the interim out...here. Is there another treatment?"
Me, Ava thought, taking a breath to quiet the race of her heart. Against a wall, on top of a table, up, down, backwards, sideways...however you like.
"Certainly, sir," Iolite replied brightly. "We've a lovely spa, with a sauna, if you'd care for a soak or a steam. Loosens and relaxes the muscles, you know, and makes the girls' job easier."
Ava rolled her eyes again; she could practically see Io's wink at the none-so-subtle innuendo, and she wondered if he was susceptible to the Twi'lek's considerable charms. It was easier for her to gauge another's emotional reaction if she was close by, or at least looking at them; indeed, she caught a trace of irritation in the air but couldn't tell if it was his or her own.
"Sounds...great," he said, and she heard the rustle of fabric, as if he was withdrawing a credit-chip from his pocket. "How much for all of that?"
Iolite giggled. "Oh, sir! No payment until afterward! For now, you're our treasured guest. Our hostess will show you around. Melusiné?"
On cue, Ava stepped from behind the curtain to greet the client fully. Normally, she kept her eyes slightly downcast and her shoulders back in order to better display her breasts, which were – she'd long since come to understand – her best assets; this time, however, she tilted her chin and met the man's mismatched gaze.
Now they were only a few arm lengths apart, and she realized that her earlier assessment of her own attraction had been woefully inadequate. Oh, kriffing hell, she thought as she faced him and watched his gaze sweep across her body. This one is going to get me in trouble.
"Melusiné?" Iolite's voice was tinged with annoyance at her hesitation, but Ava marked the faint smirk on the man's face before she dipped her body in a low, graceful kneel.
"I'm at your service, sir." Her own voice was honey-sweet, sculpted both by nature and by years of training to be as alluring as possible, though being a pink-skinned, purple-haired, buxom Zeltron didn't hurt, either. Oh yes, she was made for this kind of thing, so she'd been told many times.
Io indicated the Human, who stood a little too still, with his back a little too straight. Oddly enough, she felt nothing from him, initially. No attraction, no arousal...nothing. But she could tell that he wasn't uninterested; it was as if there was a tight rein on his feelings, which piqued her interest even further. Here was a man who exhibited a great deal of control.
A firm hand, one might say.
Despite her outward attempts at professionalism, she shivered.
He nodded to her, once, as Io spoke again. "Show our guest to the locker-room and the spa. His appointment is with Slyphy and Khaz, in the Amaranth Room, two hours from now."
It was a well-honed system. Once the client was gone, Io would call Sylphy and Khaz, so that they'd be waiting to service him however he desired when he appeared, hopefully after waiting just long enough so that he'd forget he didn't want those kinds of services. When they were finished, he'd be too exhilarated to worry about how much he'd spent.
As Ava indicated another curtained door to the side, she gave him a smile that he did not return. "This way, please, Mister...?"
"Dorin," he replied after a pause. "Kell Dorin."
The pause gave him away: a fake name, just like the one she used while she worked here. Far from unusual, but again, his hesitation indicated that he was not familiar with this kind of situation, which she found oddly endearing.
In any case, she humored him because it was expected. "Mr. Dorin, then," she said with a smile. "Welcome."
She led him through the marbled hallways, her bare feet making no sound in contrast to the steady clap of his boots. He was behind her, so she couldn't see him move – a pity – but she could hear his tread: so even he was practically marching.
Military, she thought with an inward nod. Of course. If not for his accent, she would have pegged him as CorSec; with the accent, though, it was possible he was from the Republic, but she had no way of knowing for certain.
Though, if he was Republic...she thought she had an inkling of why he was here; it was only a matter of time before her boss, Sinopé Scota,attracted the wrong kind of attention. In fact, there'd been rumors of Republic agents searching the Undercity for a few weeks now, though she'd yet to seen any come through House Ambrosia.
The males' locker-room was not far, just opposite the corridor that led to Sinopé's office and nurse's section. Ava entered the lock-code on the door and it slid open, revealing an empty room; business had been very slow, recently. "You'll find bathing packets along the wall when you enter," she said as he peered within the area as if expecting an ambush. "There are also ocular-scan lockers, where you can leave your belongings safely."
At this, he glanced back at her, blinking once. "Ocular-scan? Will that work with a cybernetic?"
"Oh, yes," she said, feeling her face heat from the full-force of his eyes on her. "It only needs one eye to work."
Kriff, he was a beautiful man; the planes of his face were all ferocity and fight, his cheekbones were sharp enough to cut her hand upon, and the silver of his eye reflected nothing back at her, which she liked. A lot.
"Please shower before you leave," she added as he peered back into the room. Thankfully, her voice was still calm, though the pulse of her desire had only elevated by being so near to him; she swore she could feel the heat radiating off of his skin. "You'll find robes and bathing shorts with the shower-packets as well. I'll be here when you're ready for the spa."
"Shower?" He narrowed his eyes at her. "Isn't a spa already like...a bath?"
Was it odd to find a man incredibly sexy and adorable? If Ava hadn't been convinced he'd never been to a pleasure-house before, she was now.
"We pride ourselves on our cleanliness," she replied, smiling. "It's customary to bathe before partaking of any services, here. My employer insists on everything being clean enough to eat off of. Including the staff," she added with a wink.
He blushed. Force help her, the man blushed and averted his eyes as he stepped into the locker-room, though she caught the flare of his arousal before it was immediately snuffed, as if he'd pinched a candle-flame into nothing.
But Ava knew what was real, right now: he was and she was, and she wondered what it would take to make him blush again.
She resolved to find out.
When the door slid shut behind him, Commander Wolffe surveyed the locker-room with full-on, unconcealed disdain. There was no one else in this crinking place, and he had the distinct feeling that his two-hour long wait until the massage was a ruse to get him to spend more creds. General Plo had warned him of such deceptive tricks in a place like this, but he'd been prepared for more...overt ones, he had to admit.
Anyway, the first part of his mission was complete: entry.
With the ninety-minute long massage he'd signed up for plus the two-hour wait, he had plenty of time to conduct his investigation, and something told him that it would be easy to hang around a bit longer if need be. Thanks to funding from Republic Intelligence, he also had what amounted to a bottomless purse and figured that such a thing entitled him to as long of a stay as he desired.
As long as it takes, he told himself as he began to strip down, folding his clothes neatly and placing them in a locker. Until I suss out that Seppie scumbag.
Republic Intel had gotten wind of a major Separatist informant – a Corellian woman named Sinopé Scota – who'd been pinpointed as owning a pleasure-house in this section of the Undercity; over the past weeks, dozens of Republic agents had combed the area, working undercover and trying to sniff out the Seppie...to no avail.
Sending a clone such as himself into this place was something of a last resort.
Of course, it wasn't supposed to be him, now was it?
It could have been an ARC trooper, but none had been free. Skirata's Nulls were all tied up as well, as was Captain Rex, whom Skywalker had initially put forth for this assignment. So, by process of elimination, Wolffe had been elected for this task.
Sinker, Boost and the other members of the Wolfpack had given him no end of ribbing about the mission – the Commander, in a pleasure-house? No doubt he'll scowl the whores into submission! – but he'd considered no such thing. He was not here for his own personal enjoyment; this was a mission, like any other. Nothing more.
No matter that he'd never seen a Zeltron up close before, and thought she was-
Wolffe shook his head as he selected a shower-package from where the hostess – Melusiné – had indicated they'd be; a cursory examination showed him that it contained all manner of soaps and grooming necessities, which he figured he was supposed to employ. He only wished he could trim his hair again, but General Plo had suggested that a slightly more...unkempt look was necessary for this mission, so he'd let it grow out a little. But he didn't like it.
The shower-stall was one of many in a row once he passed by a series of sinks and toilets. Like the rest of this place, it seemed a little too fancy, but at least the water could be set to his preference: as hot as he could stand, enough to nearly scald. Enough to turn his skin pink as-
Focus, he told himself, ripping open the soap packet and beginning to scrub his arms and chest. Mission. Separatist scum. Remember? His forced discipline worked for a few minutes, long enough for him to clean his body, but his thoughts kept returning to the young Zeltron woman.
Melusiné, she'd been called. Shorter than him by a bit, full breasts, curving hips, a gorgeous smile, pale-violet eyes alight with intelligence; every part of her was right up his hyperlane.
No. The mission.
Kriff, it had been a long time since he'd touched a woman.
Part of the reason that Wolffe had survived as long as he had was by knowing when he was beaten; he decided that it would be easier to conduct his business here if he wasn't distracted by the desires of his body, so he spent a few more minutes than he'd originally planned beneath the hot, pulsing water.
She was a Zeltron; it was likely she could get some sense of his feelings, even if she wasn't outright influencing them, and she'd said she'd be waiting outside the door, so he tried not to think of her. But it was futile. The entire time he was taking himself in hand, his thoughts were of her smile and pink, flushing skin.
There were a thousand tasks Ava could have done while he showered, but she ignored all of them and waited in the hallway outside of the locker-room. It wasn't unheard of to do so, and House Ambrosia was so quiet today she figured she wouldn't see anyone else at all. Besides, if he was military, as she thought he was, she doubted he'd take long.
As it turned out she was wrong, but it was for a very good reason.
In fact, she might have wondered if the delay was because he'd slipped and busted his skull if she hadn't caught the throb of his arousal. Pheromones were not quite like scents, though that was generally how she explained the concept to those who could not sense them; they were something that a Zeltron could exude at will, if he or she desired, but they were also something that one could detect, if they were being projected with enough force.
Right now, this man – Silver, as she kept thinking of him – was sending out what amounted to a full-on assault to her attuned senses. Welling desire, rising passion, the desperate need for release and the crumbling walls of control...there was a span of a few minutes where she was buffeted by those things and when he reached his climax, the force of the feeling was enough to make even her knees a little shaky.
Thankfully there was a bench in the hallway.
Because it would not do for her to be flustered when he reappeared, she took a seat and worked on gathering her calm even as she pushed away any influences of his feelings. Take a breath, she coached herself. Calm down, for Force's sake. He's just a client, like any other. He's no one special.
A few deep breaths helped her regain her own composure, so she adjusted her form-fitting dress and smoothed out her hair. By the time the door opened and he stepped out, she was standing once more, looking – she knew – completely unaware that he'd just given his blaster a good, firm polish. To his credit, he met her eyes without a trace of hesitation, which she took as a sign of character.
Still, she couldn't quite help herself. "Was everything to your liking, Mr. Dorin?"
He nodded once. "It was."
Undeterred, Ava allowed a coy smile to cross her face; being flirted with was one of the reasons clients came here, after all. "The robe suits you," she added, giving him a once-over – eyes only, sadly. For now. "Do you require anything further before we continue?"
Like my legs wrapped around your waist?
"No, thank you."
Kriff, still no blush, though any disappointment she felt was mitigated by the way he filled out the robe so nicely. The white contrasted well with his dusky skin and caught the gleam of the silver in his cybernetic eye, though she did wonder if he'd chosen to wear the provided bathing shorts or not. His stance made her think he was a little uncomfortable in the plastifoam sandals that had been provided, but she preferred being barefoot, so she wasn't able to relate.
"This way," she said as she turned to lead him to the spa. The marbled hallway was empty and their steps made no sound against the floor. Force knows she usually didn't need help getting male attention, but Ava wasn't above putting a little extra sway in her hips right now.
After a few corridors, they reached the frosted glass door that led to the spa area; once she activated the door and they entered, she realized that no one else was here. Silver stepped in after her and the door closed.
It was a lovely sight, she had to admit. Sinopé spared no expense making House Ambrosia one of the nicer Undercity pleasure-houses in the district, and there were times, like right now, when it wasn't such a bad thing to work here. The décor was lush and vibrant, even when it was only a facsimile of something real. There were colorful holographic trees placed at intervals, giving the entire area a vivid glow, and the waters of the multiple pools were lit with individual colors themselves. Soft music played from hidden speakers, and the scrubbers in the air-filters ensured that no toxins from the Nar Shaddaa atmosphere reached this place while also adding a fresh, clean scent to the air.
She shot a glance at Silver; he appeared to be studying the area with the gaze of someone taking in as much information as he could, and she thought again he must be from the Republic. The Seps had no reason to contact Sinopé in this way, after all, and Ava's true owner would know if another, third-party, like CorSec, had come looking for the Corellian woman. No, it made sense that he was Republic.
"There are hooks for the robe and a place for your sandals, there," she said, indicating the wall to their left. "The pools are color-coded: red is hot, blue is cool, purple is in-between. The sauna rooms are off to either side."
He nodded again, almost absently as he looked around, then he glanced back at her. "Will you return when it's time for the...treatment?"
Again, the nod. Just one, like he only rarely doled out even the single, curt gesture.
Ava smiled at him again, but this time it was genuine. "I'll come back for you; there's a chime at the edge of each pool that will summon an attendant. Or," she paused, glancing around again to make sure the coast was clear. "I can...stay."
For one sweet second she thought he'd agree. He blinked once, then she watched the movement of his throat as he swallowed and shook his head. "No...thank you, er...Melusiné."
She'd expected as much.
Besides, any services she provided would most certainly not be on his bill; though Ava was ostensibly employed as a hostess by Sinopé Scota, it was Jurma the Hutt who truly owned the young Zeltron, and it was the Hutt whose orders she ultimately had no choice but to follow.
For this job, Ava was purely an intel-collector; Jurma had heard about Sinopé's Separatist leanings, and so had managed to get Ava hired at House Ambrosia to spy on the Corellian. It wasn't a bad job at all – much the opposite, in fact – but the best part of it was that Ava was under no one's daily, direct supervision but her own, which meant that her body was hers to do with as she wished.
It had not always been so and she was under no illusions that it would remain this way, but for now, for this assignment, no one touched her unless she agreed to it.
And, truthfully, it had been far too long since she'd touched a man like Silver, if indeed she ever had.
"Another time, then, Mr. Dorin," she replied, offering another smile that was not returned. "Do you need anything else? A drink, perhaps?"
His mouth opened to object, but then he seemed to think better of it and exhaled, casting her a look that was only a little annoyed. "You don't have any ale, do you?"
An ale man. Nothing better in the galaxy. Ava rattled off the list of the types they carried – not a bad selection, really – but she saw at once that he had never heard of half of them, if that many. Strange, indeed, as military types were often worldly enough. When he didn't select one right away, she cleared her throat. "The house specialis my personal favorite," she offered. "It's dark and delicious, but not too strong."
He seemed like the kind of man who did not often imbibe, let alone in public, but if he was here on a mission, like she suspected, he'd want to keep a low cover and a clear head. Indeed, her instincts were dead-on. A look of relief crossed his face and he nodded again. "Sounds perfect. Thank you."
"My pleasure, Mr. Dorin," she replied, smiling at him again. Of course, he didn't return the look, but as she slipped out of the room, she thought, maybe soon.
Ava's thought about Wolffe having a "firm hand" comes from a comment by Threepio from the Season Four episode, "Mercy Mission," and makes me giggle far more than I'm sure the TCW writers ever intended.
(Speaking of inappropriate giggling...there's a lot of innuendo in this story. A lot.)
FYI, CorSec = Corellian Security. It comes up again. ;)
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to let me know what you think!
Next time...chivalry still exists. ;)