The first time Ashley Williams saw Samantha Traynor, she knew the woman was going to be hers.
Stepping onto the Normandy didn't feel like a homecoming at all, surrounded by shapes and lines and lights that were almost-but-not-quite familiar. It set her on edge too much to notice much, but she noticed Samantha Traynor. The curve of her jaw, the sweep of her hair, the way the confident flow of her hands over her screens turned hesitant when she turned and looked Ashley in the eye...the way her hand trembled ever-so-faintly when she finally threw a salute a few seconds later.
Normally Ash would have been all over her for that - failing to salute a superior officer was not something she tended to take lightly - but in this case, she was inclined to be merciful...for the moment.
Shepard returned later that evening, her usual smirk firmly in place. Ashley met her in the CIC. In full armour as usual, the senior Spectre grinned coldly at the newest one, and Ash was careful not to give away how her stomach clenched at the sudden flood of memories. Her time in service to Julian Shepard had been short but eventful, and she did not want to remember herself as so very young and weak. She had risen past that, she reminded herself, had achieved things her former CO had laughed at her for even wanting.
Shepard saw her discomfort anyway, and flashed her a sharp, toothy smile.
"Specialist Traynor," the older woman said as she turned away from where Ashley stood, frozen in place.
"Ma'am!" Samantha responded quickly, snapping to attention. Something tightened in Ash's chest when she saw the way the other Spectre looked at the specialist, and her resolve to have Samantha for her own only strengthened. Ash was no longer Shepard's property to push around, and she was going to enjoy proving it very, very much.
"We're clear to leave," Shepard said shortly, her little 'inspection' complete. "Tell Joker and get us the hell out of here. I've got people to kill...and some batarians, while I'm at it." Chuckling at her own joke, the Butcher of Torfan stepped into the elevator. Ashley watched her leave, then turned to look at the comm specialist, who had studiously returned her attention to her terminal.
"Specialist," Ash said softly, purposefully stepping in just a bit too close.
"Ma'am?" Samantha responded, popping back to attention with just the faintest quaver in her voice.
"Suppose I wanted a...tour, of the new Normandy, just about the time you get off shift. Who would you," she paused, ducking her head in a little closer and thrilling to the sound of Sam's sharp inhalation. "Recommend for that duty?"
"Me," Sam answered breathlessly, then paused to swallow and take a proper breath."Ah, I mean, 'Me, ma'am'. I know the Normandy inside and out, so I can answer any...questions you have."
Ash moved just a tiny bit closer, until she could clearly see the other woman's pupils grow large and her cheeks grow flushed even under dark skin. "Sounds good to me," she breathed, and then drew back with a smirk. She drew back, snapping her heels together as she returned to attention. Sam jumped and straightened even further, looking as though her spine might snap if she were any more at attention.
"When does your shift end, Specialist?" Her voice was harsh and gruff, and she grinned inwardly at Sam's heavy swallow.
"At 21:30 hours ship's time, ma'am!"
"Fine. Report to Starboard Observation at 21:30. Understood?" Ash knew full well that it would be almost impossible to actually make it within the span of that one minute, but Samantha's reaction the order was of more interest to her. There was the briefest hesitation, the faintest flicker of 'that's not fair' in dark brown eyes, and then Sam snapped off a salute.
"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"
Ash just smiled at her, about-faced, and called the elevator.
Communications Specialist Samantha Regan Traynor - as revealed by Ashley's extensive exploration of Alliance channels - knocked sharply on the door of Starboard Observation at 21:30 and fifty-three seconds. The newly-made Spectre forced a smirk from her face as she opened the door, and made a show of looking from the soldier standing at attention in her doorway to the clock on her omnitool.
"Very good, Traynor," she said at last, gracing the heavily-breathing woman with a small smile. "I do like a punctual woman. Come in."
"Ma'am!" Sam tightened her salute in acknowledgement before dropping it and sidling past Ashley, who had deliberately given her only a small space to pass through.
"At ease," Ash said softly as she locked the door behind them. "Take a seat, have a drink with me." She turned her back on the soldier in the doorway and retreated to the far corner, occupied by a narrow military-issue cot and an equally small camp table, which bore up under the weight of two heavy glass tumblers and a large spiral-shaped bottle. Trailing her fingers absently over the sensuous curves of the orange-tinted glass and admiring the way the harsh light played over it, Ashley did eventually lift the bottle to dispense the cloudy, cream-coloured liquid inside.
Behind her, the room echoed in silence. With a small amused smirk twisting her mouth, Ash tipped the bottle to one of the glasses a second time before finally corking it. With a cup in either hand and a smooth expression once more on her face, she turned back around. Sam hovered just inside the doorway, feet together and arms flat against her sides.
"I do believe I said at ease, soldier." Ash put on her officer voice, snapping the last few words like an angry drill sergeant, and the nervous Specialist immediately dropped her hands to her low back, feet spreading to shoulder-width. "Now put your ass in a chair," Ash continued sharply, then had to stifle a laugh when the other woman jumped and scrambled to take a seat. Traynor even sat military: back straight, feet together, hands lengthwise on her thighs.
The Spectre covered the short distance between them in only a few steps, boot heels clicking loudly against the metal floor, and stopped beside the Specialist, a devious smirk still playing across her mouth. She waited, watching, as the small muscles in Samantha's neck and face moved, her hands twitched, and her eyes slowly - oh so slowly - left their straight-forward attention position to settle on the blue-clad soldier.
"That doesn't look like at ease!" Ashley barked as soon as the worst of the tension had left the smaller woman's frame, her smirk only deepening at the way Samantha jumped. Slender brown limbs shifted awkwardly, feet moved apart, and hands beat a nervous tattoo against the white surface of the bench. A poor facsimile of 'ease', certainly, but the Spectre forgave her new toy. Sam would learn.
Careful not to spill the over-full glass, Ashley handed it down to the seated woman. "Drink, Specialist," she ordered, then hid her smile by sipping slowly from her own cup, her calm steadiness a sharp contrast to Samantha's shaking hands and quick gulps of liquid.
A moment passed in relative silence, the Specialist trembling in the Spectre's shadow and the Spectre, in turn, watching the level of the other woman's glass with a rapidly-growing smirk. They finished at the same time and then waited, the tension slowly rising between them. Nothing moved except Ashley's mouth, curling into a nasty, triumphant little smile as she watched the smaller woman's muscles - forearms, jaw, neck - clench and release as she planned and discarded a dozen things.
Eventually, once the tension had built to a satisfactory level, Ash broke it.
"Would you like more?"
Sam jumped yet again, and Ash watched with an inward laugh as deep brown eyes darted towards her, hesitated, and then flicked upwards. She could almost see the realization dawning on the Specialist that she was right at chest height for the standing woman, could almost hear the 'oh shit I'm looking at her breasts' that must have flashed across the other woman's thoughts. Finally their eyes locked, rich whiskey against dark chocolate, and Ashley allowed her smirk to spread slowly.
Sam's blush spread much more quickly, until even the tips of her ears had taken on a faint reddish tinge under her naturally dark skin.
"N-no, ma'am," the smaller woman finally answered, and Ash was struck by the sudden, intense urge to claim those slightly-parted lips, to kiss her until their lips bled. Instead, she raised her eyebrows.
"Any reason, Specialist? Do you dislike it?"
"Do you dislike drinking with me?"
"No, ma'am!" With each answer, Sam's denials grew stronger and more emphatic, while Ash's smirk grew broader and more self-satisfied.
"Then what? Would you rather a different drink?"
And there, that moment of hesitation that Ash had been seeking, the glint of panic as Samantha struggled to choose between the only responses available to her.
"No m-, uh yes m-, um...permission to speak freely, ma'am?"
A long pause, Ash once again savouring her new pet's discomfort.
"Ma'am! I'm, ah...honestly not much of a drinker? Ma'am. So perhaps it's best if I refrain."
"Perhaps it's best if I refrain...what?" Ash moved a little closer, throwing her shadow even further over the seated woman, and Sam shrank almost instinctively away from her, hands visibly shaking around the glass in her hands.
"Ma'am!" she yelped, voice suddenly much higher in pitch. Ash's hands twitched, and she leaned forward briefly, almost aching to push the smaller woman down and be done with this little game. She reined herself in with a conscious effort, forcing a calm look onto her face.
Without reply, the Spectre reached down to pluck the empty cup from her subordinate's grasp. She turned back to where the bottle still rested beside her cot and poured another glass in silence, not speaking again until she'd returned to the specialist's side.
"Serving on an Alliance ship with no alcohol tolerance, Specialist?" she chided with a smile that skirted the line between friendly and venomous. "I'm told that can be dangerous. What if someone decided to get you drunk and...take advantage?" She licked her lips slowly, looking the seated woman up and down.
"It's not that I have no tolerance, ma'am!" Traynor protested, face red and hands held up defensively. She met Ashley's eyes briefly, and her own widened almost comically. "I'm j-just not," she stuttered, "N-not, you know, e-especially...fond of being d-d-drunk. I suppose. Ma'am."
She dropped her hands to her lap, twisting and rubbing them together as if scrubbing them clean, and refused to lift her eyes higher than her own knees. She did not move otherwise, the stiff muscles of her neck standing out in stark relief. Laughter bubbled up in Ash's stomach, and she shook her head before upping the ante - she squatted at the end of the bench, putting her eyes at just about shoulder height for the seated woman, and spoke a command calmly but sharply into her ear.
Sam gasped and jumped away, hands coming up defensively. The black of her darting eyes devoured the brown and she breathed in fits and starts, noisy. The Spectre just waited, one eyebrow raised, for the adrenaline to subside.
"Whoever trained you in hand-to-hand should be shot," she noted mildly, once Sam's breathing had slowed to normal and her eyes had locked once more onto Ashley's own.
"Your defensive stance is terrible. You move like a raw recruit. I know you're a comm specialist, but soldiers like you make the Alliance look bad. Here, drink." She pressed the glass she'd poured into Samantha's hands and stood. "Once you finish that, you can take me on the tour I requested."
Ashley paid very little attention to the tour. Sam described the layout of the ship at length, speaking rapidly and constantly in that luxurious voice of hers. She gave details of functions and schedules and rules, mentioned shortcuts and special regulations and a little ship's gossip...and Ash absorbed not one whit of it. The ship's intranet existed for a reason, after all; anything germane could be found there at her leisure.
Instead, Ashley paid attention to Samantha: to the way she moved and breathed and spoke, when she flinched and skittered and looked away and - more importantly - when she did not.
"Alcohol makes you chatter," Ash said, interrupting the flow of speech and drawing the specialist up short.
"Ma'am?" Sam asked, drawing herself hesitantly up into a passable parade rest.
"Did I stutter?"
"N-no ma'am, I was simply...unaware. Of that fact. Ma'am."
"And now you are aware. Let's continue. What is down those steps?"
"The subdeck, ma'am. There's really nothing down there, ma'am, it's mostly storage these days. I understand it was used as quarters by a previous crewmate, as well, but she's-"
"I want to see it."
Ash interrupted, torn between pleasure at the other woman's military precision - her eyes hadn't so much as flickered to the side at the question or interruption - and irritation that said precision gave her no excuse to further torment her new pet.
Then again, she hardly needed an excuse. She stepped in front of Samantha and stared down at the specialist silently for a long moment, face solemn. The high heels of her boots provided for a useful - and highly satisfying - height difference.
"Specialist," Ashley said coldly, clasping her hands behind her back, "That is the second time you have responded with confusion to a perfectly clear statement. Which needs examination, your brain or your ears?"
"Then I suggest you stop playing the fool and do as I say. Understood?"
A moment passed in silence, and Ashley sighed.
"The subdeck, Specialist."
"M-ma'am! This way please!" Sam scurried down the metal steps, the sound of her boots echoing all around them, and snapped to parade rest in the middle of the small, red-lit space.
"The engineering subdeck," she said as Ash joined her, much more temperate on the stairs than her younger companion. A single gesture from the specialist easily encompassed the entirety of the small, red-lit space. "When the Normandy was flying Cerberus colours, this subdeck was employed as crew quarters for one Jacqueline Nought, aka Subject Zero. During retrofits it was used as miscellaneous storage, and...well, I suppose we've simply let it be since launch, ma'am."
"Miscellaneous?" Ashley mused, stepping past the other soldier to inspect the haphazard pile of boxes. "What kind of miscellany, exactly, is kept down here?"
Sam was silent, and when the Spectre glanced back towards her, she could see the smaller woman fidgeting a little, tightening and loosening her parade rest grip on her own forearms.
"Well," she began, then paused, "I'm afraid I don't know the specifics of each crate, ma'am, but-"
Ash smirked, stepping lightly up behind Samantha, close enough to see the muscles in her neck as they tensed and relaxed.
"A general idea will be sufficient, Specialist."
When Ash spoke, those neck muscles jumped and fluttered much like the woman they belonged to, who also favoured Ashley with a small, startled squeak that only fed the Spectre's growing smirk.
"I, ah," Sam stuttered, "That is to say...most of the things down here are, well...personal belongings, ma'am. Things left behind by former crew members."
"By Cerberus crewmembers, you mean," Ashley clarified, her mouth so close to the curve of one brown ear that she barely needed to speak above a whisper. She watched, fascinated despite herself, as Samantha licked her lips, swallowed, opened and closed her mouth, and finally spoke. From that close she could smell the specialist - her shampoo, the musk of her skin, and the faint sweet scent of the alcohol she'd drunk.
"Y-yes, ma'am," came the eventual, whisper-quiet, answer.
"Fascinating," Ash responded equally softly, eyes fixed on the smooth column of that brown throat as she licked her lips, moving closer for the span of a single breath. She paused, pulled away, took a deep breath and closed her eyes briefly, until her hands ceased their shaking and her heart stopped jumping in her chest.
Then she waited. A full minute, as judged by her omnitool rather than her own unfaithful sense of time, trickled by one endless second at a time, and still Ashley forced herself into stillness, silence. Only the endless, omnipresent hum of machinery and the loud, ragged sound of Samantha's breathing filled her ears until the minute clicked over and she allowed herself to speak.
"Are you attracted to me?" she asked, relishing the way the specialist jumped at the sudden sound of her voice, mere centimeters from her ear.
"Yes ma'am," Sam answered softly, so softly that Ash had to strain to hear her even at such close quarters.
"I can't hear you!" the Spectre barked at volume, directly into the other woman's ear. Sam yelped and flinched away from her as if from a blow, ducking her head and turning away. Ash's fingers itched to grab her chin and force it back into place. Instead, she clasped her own hands behind her back and bellowed once more. "I asked you if you were attracted to me, soldier!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Samantha shouted back, her voice high and sharp and her head snapping back into place.
"Yes ma'am what, Specialist?" Ash yelled right back, her mouth so close to Sam's ear that she could have bitten it, had her self-control flagged.
"Yes, I am attracted to you, ma'am!" Call and response, shout and shout, a big, scarred, angry man screaming that no Williams was going to survive his boot camp. Ashley shook her head, grounded herself in the present. No boot camp instructor had ever had in mind quite what she did.
"Do you want to fuck me, Specialist?"
Breath hissed sharply through two sets of lips as the two women fell silent, their voices still echoing in the small space. Eventually Sam spoke up, her volume falling to something like her normal range and a soft quaver in her tone.
"Denied," Ash interrupted, circling until she stood directly behind Sam, then purring into her pet's other ear. "Now answer the question."
"I..." Samantha fidgeted. She drew deep breaths and released them slowly, she shifted her weight from foot to foot, opened her mouth and then shut it again, but she did not manage a single word for the better part of another minute. Eventually, quietly: "Yes, ma'am."
"On your knees, Specialist."
Samantha obeyed without hesitation, only to be stopped by an unusually mild voice before she was halfway down.
"I believe you were at parade rest, soldier?"
"Yes, ma'am," The specialist confirmed, clasping her arms behind her back again with a small wince as sore shoulders protested the movement. She nearly fell over twice while attempting to drop to her knees like that, but despite her clumsiness she did eventually succeed. The sound of a zipper being opened filled the small space, and Sam froze once again, grip turning white-knuckled and breathing hitching up.
Out of sight, Ash grinned cruelly, watching Samantha swallow, and drew down the zipper of her other boot even more slowly.
"Are you a lesbian, Traynor?"
The kneeling woman opened her mouth to respond, but all that came out was a squeak - Ashley had interrupted her once again, this time with the zipper to her tunic-style top. The space fell silent again. Ashley occupied herself with neatly folding her tunic, pants, and underthings, while watching Samantha's jaw work silently for a moment. Ashley had created a military-precise stack of clothes, sorted by size, by the time the other woman managed to stutter out a reply.
"Good," the Spectre responded tersely, stepping around in front of her new pet. Without giving Sam time to respond, she grabbed the back of the kneeling woman's head and forced that slack-jawed mouth between her thighs. "Lesbians always give the best head."