Author: Chris Cook
Manhattan, New York City
Willow finished drying herself from her second shower of the evening and returned to the bedroom, smiling even as she felt her cheeks redden slightly at the way Tara's eyes strayed all over her. She in turn found much to appreciate about Tara in her short bathrobe - the robe may have been fairly plain, but the woman inside it was anything but.
"I'll be out in a minute," Tara said, brushing a hand across Willow's shoulder and leaning to kiss the tip of her ear.
"I'll be ready for you," Willow murmured happily. Tara picked up her outfit case and went into the bathroom with a sexy chuckle, and a moment later Willow heard the shower run.
"I wonder if Buffy and Faith have this problem," she said idly to herself, searching through her luggage for her mission outfit. Naturally they had both decided to have a quick shower before heading out to do some more covert investigation at Osbourne Industries' headquarters. Equally naturally - it had seemed so at the time, anyway - they decided to shower together, 'to save time'. Forty-five minutes later they had had to admit that showering together did not, in fact, save time.
"Buffy and Faith probably do have this problem," Willow shrugged. At least, it seemed to explain why most of their missions had included anywhere up to an hour of extra preparation time for 'miscellaneous delays'. She reflected on the 'miscellaneous delays' that she and Tara had had already: making love, lying in each other's arms, playfully talking and flirting, making love, dinner - including a beautiful red rose, which Tara had snuck into the room service order when Willow was distracted for a moment by someone's hand on her thigh - making love again, going over the night's mission plan - while lying in each other's arms - showering, leading to making- and so on.
"Yay Willow," Willow grinned to herself, "I haven't felt this good since-" 'Graduating? Passing my Ministry qualifications? All those successful missions?' "-ever."
Her good spirits were dampened a fraction as she laid the mission outfit's sealed case on the bed and hit the release latch, causing the case to spring open on its own, presenting her clothes to her ready to wear. 'Oh my god I can't wear that!' she thought, panicked. 'What if someone sees me? What if... Tara sees me?' A grin formed on her lips. 'I'm wearing it.'
A few minutes of dressing and struggling with tight clothing later, Willow looked at herself in the mirror, imagining she was Tara, looking at herself - that seemed to cure her nerves at wearing an outfit that was very nearly painted on. From her neck down Willow was covered almost completely in a layer - 'make that 'a thin film', more like' - of polished black leather. From the tips of her boots to her collar the outfit sported a snakeskin pattern that, no doubt, had some kind of useful purpose, 'though seeing as Anya would've designed this,' Willow thought, 'the useful purpose is probably to highlight my body as much as possible.' The only variations were her gloves, which left her fingers free for delicate work and finished in a series of buckled straps around her wrists, and a wide matching belt with silver studs slung low around her waist, which contained various miniaturised gadgets. Quite what she was supposed to do with a miniature sonar system in a skyscraper, or an ultrasonic projector for pacifying monkeys, Willow wasn't quite sure, but she knew from accompanying Buffy and Faith on their missions that it was better to be over-prepared.
'Just in case the fortieth floor floods, and then I'm attacked by aqua-monkey commandos. Hey, lookin' good!' Willow turned around in front of the mirror, studying herself. 'Wow, look at my butt! This outfit's hiding nothing... but wow, I look good. I want to grab my butt, and I'm me!'
Willow ran a hand up the back of her thigh and over her ass, purring at the sensation. Then she struck a pose and regarded her reflection through narrowly-slitted eyes.
"The name's Rosenberg," she said in a dangerous voice, "Willow Rosenberg, secret agent. I'm commandeering you in the name of the law. No choice, ma'am," she spun around, looked at the mirror over her shoulder and grabbed her ass with both hands, "it'd be a crime against humanity to let this hotness go to waste."
"I'll make sure it doesn't," Tara said from the bathroom door. Willow saw her in the mirror, spun around to face her, realised she was still looking in the mirror, spun around more, lost her balance and fell over beside the bed with an indignant "Oof!"
"Willow, are you okay?" Tara asked, rushing to her side and helping her up.
"Yeah," Willow said, "fine... and not at all embarrassed by recent events which did not happen, right?"
"Right," Tara smiled, sitting down on the bed and pulling Willow down with her, onto her lap. "Never happened." Her eyes sparkled with humour as she leaned forward and gently rubbed her nose against Willow's.
"You look incredible," she whispered.
"Thanks," Willow said shyly, "and you... wow..." She leaned back, getting a good look at Tara.
"You like?" Tara asked. Her outfit was thicker than Willow's, padded all over, especially the shoulders and thighs, but even so there was no mistaking the curve of her waist, the generous swell of her chest... and there was something about the sight of Tara's dark golden hair falling loosely over the soft leather covering her shoulders and neck that made Willow feel all kinds of weak at the knees.
"Wow," she said again, "commandeer me any time..."
"I thought that didn't happen?" Tara smiled.
"Well, maybe it happened," Willow said, "you know, saying it just didn't happen at all would be way too hasty, don't you think?"
"Yes," Tara agreed, "I do think." She leaned close again to brush their lips together, then gave her squeeze around the waist. "Time to go?"
"Let's do it," Willow agreed.
"We-" Tara began.
"-don't have time," she and Willow finished in unison.
"But we will later," Tara promised.
"Love you," Willow smiled, luxuriating in the firm grip around her waist.
"Love you," Tara replied.
Carlyle Hotel Garage
Willow settled into the driver's seat of the DB9 Volante, took a moment to adjust it to her liking, then picked an earpiece from the glove compartment and put it in place.
"Hey baby," she said, "ever hear voices in your head?"
"Only the ones telling me to ravish you," Tara's voice replied. Willow laughed softly.
"Are you ready to go?" she asked.
"All set, the helicopter's waiting. How about you, are you in the mood for a drive?"
"Always. Anything with wheels, wings, tracks, treads, rotors, I'm your girl."
"Good to know. Time is twenty-three fifty-two and ten... mark."
"Roger that," Willow said, checking her watch. With a squeal of tyres the Volante roared out of its parking spot, spun smartly around ninety degrees and shot towards the ramp to street level.
Carlyle Hotel Roof
Tara watched with a suppressed smile as, far below, Willow's car raced onto the street, executed another sharp skidding turn, and sped away, weaving expertly through the traffic.
"Did you learn to drive like that?" she asked. "Or did you just sit in one too many traffic jams as a child?"
"Very good advice from my instructor at the Ministry," Willow replied via the radio, "I'm an elite agent, so I'm darn well going to drive like one."
"Toujours l'audace?" Tara asked, walking away from the edge of the roof towards the waiting helicopter.
Willow glanced up to see the lights of the NYPD helicopter moving slowly overhead, patrolling in a wide arc that just happened to take it over the Osbourne Industries tower.
"I'm going in," she said, leaving the car locked with its roof closed. "Happy landings."
"Next time I'm taking the elevator," Tara complained jokingly, "and you can jump out of the moving aircraft."
NYPD Patrol Helicopter
"This is my stop," Tara called to the pilot, opening the door and checking her bulky missile-loaded sidearm.
"No problem," he said, "never saw you, never heard of you."
"Thanks!" Tara nodded as the pilot gave her a quick salute with his free hand. She checked the straps holding her equipment packs to her back, lowered her flight goggles and stepped out onto the landing skid, sliding the door closed behind her. She waited a second for the tower to be directly beneath her, judged her landing spot as the helicopter's searchlight played across the roof, and jumped.
She fell feet-first towards the roof, aiming down between her legs with her gun, and fired just a second before it would have been too late. The miniature missile from her weapon streaked down ahead of her, hit the roof, and exploded into a viscous blob of translucent gel that rapidly expanded to be almost three metres in diameter, which Tara fell directly into. The gel slowed her descent, cushioning her perfectly, and almost as soon as it had expanded it began to evaporate, leaving Tara to drop gently to the roof, with a few stubborn patches of gel clinging to her.
She let out a tiny relieved sigh, then sniffed the air and took on a puzzled frown.
"Oh, dammit Anya," Tara's voice sounded in Willow's ear.
"What?" she asked quietly, peering around the corner of a column towards the bored receptionist. She raised a tiny device and aimed it at the reception desk, causing a phone to ring and giving her a moment to slip by unseen.
"She's been at the para-gel, the stupid stuff's gone banana-flavoured. And... it didn't used to be this slippery, I'm sure."
"So..." Willow said, trying not to laugh as she moved towards the elevators, in a confusing pattern of sprints and sidesteps that meant the various surveillance cameras kept just missing her. "...you're on a rooftop, covered in banana-flavoured lubricant?"
"I'm going to leave this bit out of my memoirs. How are you going?"
"Kind of wishing I was up there with you," Willow joked. "Almost at the elevator. Thirty seconds." She reached into her pocket and retrieved a blank-faced keycard, programmed to duplicate Harmony's.
"And another forty for the trip to the CEO level," Tara said, "no problem, I'll be ready."
Tara drew a pair of hand-sized bolt cutters from one of her packs and opened one of the bulky relay boxes studding the rooftop.
"Let's see now," she said quietly to herself, "office systems, air conditioning, building maintenance... security. There you are." She unstrapped her largest pack and opened it on the ground, revealing an array of ECM gear laid out like a mechanic's toolkit. Quickly and efficiently Tara began connecting the tiny devices to the building's systems, watching as each one flashed a green light in turn before she turned to the next. Various LCD screens lit up, showing security footage of the offices and corridors in the building below. Tara concentrated on the one showing Daniel's office, working at the device connected directly to it.
"Lift's getting close to the top," Willow said.
"You're in the clear," Tara replied. "Right now you could stage the Edinburgh Tattoo in Daniel Osbourne's office and the cameras wouldn't notice a thing."
"I don't think I should ask Anya for a bunch of soldiers, she might make assumptions."
"Lord knows it's hard to stop her at the best of times."
"Here we go. Wish me luck."
"Always," Tara said sincerely.
With a muted 'ding' the elevator arrived, and Willow quickly exited it and headed for the imposing desk at the centre of the huge room. She slid the laptop case she carried across it, spinning it slightly, so that it ended up just short of the far edge facing Daniel's vacant chair, which Willow sat in, dropping her backpack on the floor by her side.
"Comfy," she commented, opening the case and unfolding the machine within. The miniature CD drive opened at a touch; however instead of a disc it contained two semicircular pads attached to the machine by thin wires. Willow felt around beneath the desk and fixed them in place, causing the desk's built-in console screens to light up.
"An alarm just tried to sound," Tara reported calmly, "it's bypassed."
"Good," Willow grinned, "if there's no security, there's nothing worth guarding." She studied her laptop's screen, which showed window after window of system information as it dutifully tapped into the desk's network connection.
"This is interesting," she murmured, typing a few commands.
"Daniel has himself a neural network hub. And... I think it's in the building."
"Translate for me?" Tara asked.
"Jackpot. There's only five known in the world," Willow said, typing furiously, "and if I were a supervillain intent on some scheme that required awesome programming, it's what I'd want to be doing my work with. What we need could be right here."
"Can you get into it?"
"'Can I get into it,' she asks," Willow smiled to herself, still typing. "This is my kung fu... and it is strong."
"Enter the very cute dragon," Tara chuckled. "I've got your back, go for it."
"Going for it as ordered," Willow grinned, getting into her work. She frowned briefly as a series of roadblocks popped up, then she lit up the keyboard built into Daniel's desk and began typing simultaneously on that and the laptop, one hand on each.
"Countering sixty-seven hack routines at once," she muttered, "not bad Daniel, not bad... let's see how you cope with an even hundred."
Tara watched nervously as the lights on her ECM gear flickered one by one, the green lights turning red. The sound of Willow's typing came faintly through her earpiece, and she held her breath. Her finger hovered over the button set into the base of Anya's portable ECM super-jammer - she was reluctant to touch it, not just because of its shape, but because it would certainly leave traces in the security system, even if in the short term it did knock everything out.
"We're down to five countermeasures," Tara reported quietly.
"It's gonna be a close finish," Willow admitted.
"Or 'a tight end'," Tara quipped, "speaking of which, I've got the plug ready if you need it."
"Give me a few more seconds."
"You've got 'em."
Tiny beads of perspiration stood out on Willow's brow as she worked frantically, staring at the screen, her hands apparently flying around the keyboards on their own. At last she hit a final key and threw herself back in the chair, loudly exhaling a breath she had been holding. There was a muffled clank, then a hiss as pressurised pistons slowly started up. Willow looked around in confusion, then smiled as the entire rotating dais supporting Daniel's desk and chair began to rise up out of the floor.
"All the ECMs just went green," Tara said, "great work sweetie,"
"Thanks baby," Willow smiled, disconnecting her laptop, closing it, and retrieving her backpack. She walked to the edge of the slowly-rising platform and nimbly dropped to the floor, crouching down to see a huge mass of glowing circuitry and optical cables coming into view from below.
"We've found our jackpot," she reported, as the supercomputer rose into full view.
Tara peered intently at the screen showing Daniel's office, watching the banks of flashing lights and liquid-cooling tubes come into view. An in-screen display showed a reassuringly normal view of the same office, vacant and dormant, which was how the building's security guards were seeing it.
"That's a big computer," Tara said quietly.
"Big and brutish," Willow replied, "no elegance to it at all, just a few thousand top-of-the-line processors all linked up together." She opened her pack and began connecting optical cables to the super-computer's I/O ports.
"The security was the good part," she explained as she worked, "this is just brute force computing. Kind of like spending all your time reinforcing the front door, and not putting any locks inside."
"And you've got the key," Tara said with a chuckle.
"I have the key," Willow grinned, "and I'm in the house wandering around at my leisure."
"Now," Willow said, connecting a final handful of cables and starting up her device, "we grab the silverware and make good our escape." She studied the code-thief's displays for a moment, then shrugged and lay down on the floor, using her laptop case as a makeshift pillow.
"Didn't you get enough sleep on the plane?" Tara asked wryly.
"There's a funny story about that," Willow grinned, "but actually, this is just going to take a while. There's lots of data in here - millions of gigabytes in each node. It'll take twenty minutes or so to beam it all up to the satellite, and thanks to the genius of A-Branch it's all automated... not much for a gal to do but wait. Gotta remember to bring travel scrabble next time."
"Have a snooze if you want," Tara chuckled, "there's no activity in the lobby, and you'll have plenty of warning if you have to move."
"Thanks. What's the time difference between here and London?"
"It's... about half past five, in the morning."
"Funny... this time last night I was having a snooze." She thought a moment, then pouted. "And not long after I was rudely awoken by my alarm clock."
"I remember you looked a bit ruffled that morning," Tara commented. "Were you having a nice dream?"
"Very nice, as a matter of fact." Willow smiled and idly traced a fingertip up and down her side.
"Really?" Tara grinned. "What a coincidence, I was having a very nice dream of my own around then."
Tara nodded, grinned to herself as she remembered Willow couldn't actually see her, then paused for a moment, in which her grin turned mischievous.
"Would you like to hear about it?" she said in a soft, husky voice.
"I think I would," Willow replied.
"I think you would too," Tara chuckled. "Remember when we met in the gym? You minded my bag while I had a quick shower?"
"I remember you having a shower, definitely. The bag, not so much. I think it must have been driven from my mind by something Tara-shaped pressed up against the glass."
"I hoped I'd get your attention," Tara said.
"You did! I couldn't think about anything but you that whole night..."
"Well, in my dream," Tara sighed happily, "you didn't limit yourself to just thinking."
"No... it was daytime, but everything was the same otherwise, I was showering, you were waiting outside. I finished, turned off the shower, and... no towel. Strange, I thought, I definitely remember wearing a towel, I put it on the rail inside the shower... then behind me I heard the screen open... and there you were..."
"Right there, staring at me... smiling. I had no idea what to do, I'd only met you a moment earlier, and now here I was, stark naked in front of you, on show... I couldn't move, I thought of covering myself with my hands but the shock... or maybe I just didn't want to. The way you were looking at me... I didn't want that to stop."
"Really," Willow said, her voice shaking slightly, "how was I looking at you?"
"Hungry," Tara said at once, "like a big cat... you wanted to eat me up. Your eyes were moving over every part of me, and I could feel you thinking 'yes, I want those legs... those hips... that stomach, those breasts... those lips'... and just like a cat I knew you wouldn't take me all at once... you were going to play with me first. More fun that way."
"I was quite the predator," Willow whispered hoarsely.
"Yes, and I was quite the prey," Tara replied, grinning at the note of desperation in Willow's voice. "Naked, dripping wet... my skin flushed bright pink, from the heat of the water, which was still sliding down my body in droplets, dripping wherever the drops found a point to fall from - fingertips, chin... I'd been leaning forward slightly, just enough that the water wasn't running from my breasts down to my stomach, but dripping off, and I could feel each one leaving my skin... drip, drip, drip... leaving me more naked with every drop.
"'Treacherous things, towels,' you said. 'Always vanishing just when you need them.' Do I need a towel, I asked - I felt my tongue trip, 'd-do I-I', the way you were looking at me... 'You're wet,' you pointed out. Something in me made me bold, I was facing my fate, with nothing to hide behind, so I didn't hide. I like being wet, I said. And you smiled again, a smile like... god, the kind of smile you'd smile when I'd come and come and come, and finally looked down, between my spread legs, and met your eyes, and you'd smile like that.
"That's how you smiled... because you'd already taken me, right there, and you knew it. No need for words, you simply looked at me and knew... knew I wanted to be played with, toyed with... and eaten. And do you know what you said to me then?"
"What," Willow murmured, trying not to breathe too loudly.
"'I can make you wetter.'"
Willow gasped and rolled over onto her stomach, pressing her cheek against the cool floor. Her hands found their way beneath her and pressed their palms together, squeezed between her leather-clad thighs.
"You touched me for the first time, a finger on my chin... lifting my head, looking me right in the eyes. When you moved, you didn't need to tell me to follow. With just a finger you led me out of the shower, into the changing room... all the other agents were busy, getting changed, using the showers... everyone could see me, and you leading me... you didn't care, I couldn't care... I couldn't do anything but follow. You led me to the bench, had me sit down. I sat with my legs together, my hands in my lap, nervous, but... that wasn't what you wanted. You used the most sparing touched, a fingertip tapping my knee, my elbow, my wrist, telling me how to move. You put my arms behind me, bent, my palms flat against my lower back... I'd never even changed out in the main room before, always used a stall... but now you had me, naked, showing myself, for you... and then... then you started to touch me."
'God,' Willow mouthed, squeezing her thighs together as tightly as she could. She flexed her hands, pushed her hips against them, but she needed more. With Tara's words sliding into her mind she sat up on her knees, and holding her breath, began to stroke her hand between her legs.
'Naughty girl' Tara thought, watching Willow on the tiny LCD screen. Her own hand strayed to her inner thigh, and she rubbed her fingertips back and forth speculatively. 'I think she's got the right idea.'
"The first touch was a kiss," she murmured, quietly lifting the edge of her leather top and undoing her pants. "A kiss, right on my left nipple. My mouth fell open as your lips closed, and I let out a startled gasp as I felt your tongue playing with me, running from the edge of my areola, which your mouth had covered completely and was bathing me in heat, right to the tip of my nipple. Beckoning me deeper into you... and I responded, my nipple grew harder and harder, trying to reach deeper into your mouth. I didn't even realise what I was doing, but I arched my back further... pressing my breast to you, into your hands as they closed around my soft flesh, squeezing... my body wanted to turn to liquid and flow into your mouth... and the liquid was building, between my legs, and I knew I would be flowing into you soon..."
Tara bit her lip for a second as she slipped a single finger deep between her thighs, parting her lips and resting between them, in the warmth and wetness.
"Yes, sweetie," she whispered, "so wet, and hot, and yours... all yours..."
'All mine,' Willow mouthed, leaning over, her hips rising and falling as her hand worked over her the leather encasing her mound. Her other hand strayed on her chest, pressing firmly against her breasts. Then her fingers brushed against the silver ring attached to the zipper, done up to her neck. She paused, hesitating, staring down at her body.
"I closed my eyes for a second," Tara whispered, "then opened them again... with my eyes closed, you see, only what was touching me was real, you licking, sucking, suckling one breast then the other... All the agents and officers moving about the changing room, glancing at me, shocked, surprised, none of them were there when I closed my eyes... and do you know what, Willow?"
"W-what?" Willow breathed. She licked her lips and pulled her zipper down, opening her suit to her breastbone. Wasting no time she tucked her hand beneath the leather flaps and clutched at her breasts, one then the other, remembering Tara's hands and lips on them.
"I wanted to be seen," Tara went on, "I wanted everyone... all the people who'd walk in, stop in shock at the sight of me, naked, giving myself to you... it was like being revealed to the whole world, and I wanted the whole world to see, to know... to know I'm yours... to see how I gave myself to you... how I hid nothing from you... I didn't care what they saw, what they thought... to hell with them, I wanted to be taken, by you, forever... and you did... you took me... right there, for all the world to see."
Willow scrunched up her face in anxiety, then let out a quick sigh.
"The hell with it," she whispered to herself, pulling the zipper further down, pulling her catsuit open to reveal her breasts fully, then her stomach, and finally sliding the zipper down over her crotch, removing the barrier between her hand and its goal.
"God yes baby," she whispered, plunging a finger into herself, "I've got you, I'm in you forever..."
"I know sweetie, I know, I feel you... two fingers sweetie, yes..."
"Yes," Willow confirmed, quickly adding a second, panting as her juices seeped over her hand, trickling over the snakeskin patterns on the leather covering her palm and the back of her hand.
"Yes, you're in me sweetie," Tara moaned, "you took me, just like that... just like that, two fingers sliding deep, you let my breasts go free and stared at me, watching me surrender, lean back, open my legs for you, open myself to you-"
"Yes baby, give yourself to me," Willow whispered fiercely, "give me everything, I'll take you, I'm taking you... deep... tight, baby... oh god!" Her moans became rhythmic as she thrust into herself, rubbing her clit hard with her thumb on every stroke. "Yes, baby, yes, got you, take you, yes, sweet, hot, in you, in you, yes, my baby, my lover, my yes, my, my, myyy... aaaaaah..."
"Yes sweetie!" Tara gasped. "Yes do it, make me come! Oh please baby make me come, so sweet and hot and all yours all over your fingers your lips lover yes-"
"YES!" Willow screamed, as she thrust deep and convulsed, her fingers remaining buried in her throbbing sex as she shook and came, dimly aware of Tara's answering moans. "Oh god, Tara, yes! Yeh... eeeaaah... ah... ah..."
"Sweetie," Tara gasped, "my sweetie... you taste so good, my sweet Willow..."
Automatically Willow withdrew her fingers from herself and brought them to her lips, inhaling the heady scent before quickly engulfing her fingers in her mouth, hungrily sucking her juices down. She moaned around her fingers, and let herself down to the floor, rolling onto her back, staring up.
"Wow," she breathed, releasing her hand at last, "baby..."
"Uh-huh," Tara sighed, "and another wow on top of that..."
"That... that was..."
"Much better than travel scrabble." Willow grinned as she heard Tara burst into giggles.
"So then," Tara said, after she recovered her breath, "how did you like my dream?"
"Why is it they call you 'Shy Bunny' again?" Willow chuckled, listening to Tara laugh again.
"I'm not the one lying there with my clothes open from neck to crotch," she pointed out.
"Huh?" Willow frowned in confusion, then noticed the dim red glow of a security camera's indicator light. "Have you been peeping on me?"
"You naughty girl!" Willow exclaimed in mock-indignation.
"Me naughty? I'm the shy one, remember?"
"Sure you are," Willow smiled widely, "so, shy girl, did you get that on tape, or do I need to do an encore performance?"
"Suppose I did get it on tape..." Tara mused.
"Just make sure it doesn't end up in the official mission report," chuckled Willow. "And save it... we can watch it together, later... how's the picture resolution from up there?"
"Could be better," Tara admitted with a giggle.
"Well then, later on we'll have a screening, and I'll demonstrate all those tiny details the camera doesn't capture."
"Are you trying to seduce me? You do remember you've already got me, don't you?"
"Oh, I remember," Willow said earnestly, "I remember all right... I just like the idea of seducing you... repeatedly..."
"Consider me seduce-able, any time you want," Tara purred.
A blinking red light got Tara's attention, and she was suddenly all business, studying the video streams from the security cameras.
"Sweetie, do up your suit," she warned.
"Trouble?" A faint zipping-up sound came over the radio.
"Someone's in the lobby," Tara replied. "I think... it's Daniel, I think he's coming up. Get to the lift, he's still twenty seconds from it, you can get to another floor in that time."
"To soon, the upload won't be done for four minutes."
"Damn. Get out of there," Tara decided, "we'll make do with what we've got."
"Thirty seconds will give us 98%," Willow reported, "I can get out with Plan B."
"Okay, but don't waste time," Tara said.
"I never do," Willow replied, strapping her laptop case to her back and getting the satellite uploader ready to move. "After all, time wasted is time I'm not snuggling with you."
"That's a good way to think of it. I'm ready to go up here, say the word."
"Fifteen seconds," Willow said. She undid a second pocket on the uploader's backpack and slid out a long, slim cylinder with a hook and motorised winch half-way along its length. Carrying it she crossed to one of the huge windows looking out over the New York skyline, and looked up at it.
"This is going to make a heck of a noise," she commented, fishing a ring out from beneath one of the straps at her wrist.
"Found it in Anya's multi-purpose pack," Willow nodded. "Ultra-high frequency vibrating clit ring - not that I can wear it the way it's intended, but luckily it's small enough to fit anywhere. So we just..." She twisted the tiny ball holding the ring closed, winced at the thin whine as it began vibrating too fast for the eye to follow, and touched it to the massive window. In a heartbeat the flawless glass was a mass of frosty spiderweb cracks, then - with Willow ducking out of the way - it collapsed into a heap of granules, spilling over the floor inside, and falling away outside.
"Thirty seconds are up," Tara warned.
"On it," Willow said, sprinting back over to the uploader and disconnecting it. With a hydraulic hiss the dais began lowering itself back into the floor, returning the room to its appearance of merely an ultra-spacious office. Willow wasted no time in packing away the uploader and securing it to her back.
"Daniel's in the lift," Tara reported.
"Just enough time for escape plan B," Willow nodded. "You're clear to disconnect up there. See you on the ground."
"Be careful, sweetie."
"You too baby." Willow started back towards the window, then paused, and grinned devilishly. Sprinting quickly she rounded the desk and tapped the built-in computer to life, typing a quick message. Then she returned to the window, picked up the tube she had left there, and extended both ends so that it braced itself against the intact panes of glass on either side of the gap.
"My kung fu is strong," she muttered to herself, fixing the hook to her belt and ducking underneath the bar to stand on the edge of the forty-storey precipice. With a deep breath she let herself fall forwards. With the winch cable taut behind her she ran down the side of the building, doing her best to ignore the fact of what she was doing, and instead thinking of it as just a big long glass plain.
Tara could help but grin as she watched Willow's descent from the edge of the roof. Her equipment was stowed back in its packs and strapped tightly to her, and she was busily fixing a fold of material to the inseam of her pants. Stretching between her arms and her sides were similar flaps.
"Too late," she said softly, seeing Daniel's head poke out of the hole in the side of his office and look down, just as Willow dropped the last couple of metres from the end of the cable and sprinted off towards the car park. With a devious grin Tara made an adjustment to her para-gel gun, removing a tiny capsule marked 'dispersal catalyst', then took a few steps back from the ledge, and ran at it as fast as she could.
"Security needs upgrading," Daniel mused grimly, staring out at the skyline, the wind whipping around him.
"Hey boss, what's that?" Harmony asked, pointing up. He looked, just in time to see Tara drop from the edge of the roof above and spread her arms and legs, pulling taut the fabric stretched between them. Her suit cupped the air beneath it, and she soared away from the building.
"Huh," Daniel noted with mild surprise. Harmony squealed in panic as Tara flipped over, dropping like a stone momentarily, and fired back towards the building. Then she rolled back onto her front, spread her limbs again, and flew away.
"Ow!" Harmony squeaked as the low-velocity shell hit her in the stomach, just before she and Daniel found themselves at the centre of a rapidly-expanding blob of banana-flavoured lubricant. Unlike Tara's earlier descent, the gel failed to evaporate, leaving the two villains to awkwardly claw their way free.
"Now I'm annoyed," Daniel frowned, wiping his face clean.
"God dammit my suit is ruined!" Harmony complained. "Banana-flavoured too, this is just like pledge week all over again."
Doing his best to maintain a dignified air, Daniel stalked over to his desk and sat down, with a faint squelch. He glanced at the lit screen in the desk's surface, and read it, his brow furrowing slightly.
"Upgrade that to 'vexed'," he said.
"'Your kung fu is not strong,'" Harmony read over his shoulder, "what the heck is that supposed to mean?"
Manhattan, New York City
Willow roared along in the Volante with the roof down, making short work of New York's infamous traffic through a combination of skill, raw engine power and calculated intimidation. She glanced to her side, into Central Park, then adjusted her rear view mirror to look up into the sky behind her.
Tara flew along above the street, descending steadily as she steered herself with minute twitches of her arms. Choosing her moment just as she neared car-roof-level she flipped her legs forward and lifted her arms, folding up her suit's wings against her body, and dropped neatly into the passenger seat of the Volante beside Willow.
"Is this seat taken?" she asked, straight-faced, as Willow grinned across at her.
"No, I thought you might drop in," Willow quipped, slowing down and starting the automatic roof on its way to closing.
"I just happened to be flying by" Tara said, opening a concealed compartment between the seats. She grinned as she produced a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
"Standard equipment in Ministry vehicles," she noted. "To celebrate successful missions. And if you're very lucky," she added in a soft purr, "we won't just celebrate with champagne."
"Ooh!" Willow giggled, "am I very lucky?"
"Let's find out," Tara replied, licking a droplet of condensation from the bottle. "Find somewhere to pull over and switch on the window camouflage system... I'm a touch more shy for real than in my dreams."
"Just as well," Willow chuckled, "I prefer an audience of only one."
"Planning another performance?" Tara asked. "Incidentally, what was that about you not sleeping much on the plane?"
"Ah, well," Willow smiled, parking the car and hitting a button that made the windows turn opaque, "it might be more effective if I showed you..."