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Written for the tenth round of femslash_minis: Bad Girls. I was assigned alixtii, who requested Eve/Saffron, with old men playing a chess game, a hand on a shoulder, and a pair of red shoes.

Title: A Conquer'd Woe
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Ats/Firefly
Ship: Eve/Saffron
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow.
Notes: Set post-NFA, no Firefly spoilers

Humanity is a relative state of being, Eve has found. And having previously been an immortal being, she's never really been in the proper mindset to die.


The world ends, and she closes her eyes.

When she opens them again, she's in the white room.

In the center of the room is a table, with two seats on either side. In one, Chnum sits, reaching forward to move his king forward. In the opposite is Fenrir, and he's flipping a bishop between his fingers.

The Senior Partners look older than she remembers, bent and dry. Then she realizes who's missing, just as a strong hand touches her shoulder, and when she looks over her shoulder, Lasca grins.

Eve doesn't return the smile, doesn't feel anywhere near equal to it. "Ma'am," she says.

Lasca's fingers tighten on Eve's shoulder. "This world is done." At the table, Chnum scowls, and Fenrir barks harshly, laughing. "Would you die with it?"

"Can I?" Eve asks, and she can't quite keep the petulance out of her voice. "I didn't think I could."

Lasca releases her, and Eve turns, bows her head. "You live," Lasca says, "because we allowed you your time." She reaches out, and her fingertip is a claw under Eve's chin. "But we have use for you again."

The part of Eve that is human quails, but over the centuries, it's long grown weak.

Eve takes a deep breath, and realizes she doesn't need it. She clenches her fists, and nods.


She'd forgotten how she missed this, the easy traverse between dimensions. The respect in some people's eyes, and the fear in others. For so long, she'd been deprived of both.

She takes her rest in Pylea, claiming quarters in the name of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. She looks down at the ruins of the countryside, and thrills at the results of abject capitulation.

And sometimes, she wakes up, and she's standing in the white room again. Sometimes all three of the Senior Partners will be there, sometimes only one.

In whatever circumstance, she straightens her pajamas and takes her orders without question. What else, after all, is there?


One day, she's pulled to the white room between blinks, between breaths. For a second, she's disconcerted, because she'd wanted to finish her salad.

But Chnum is waiting, so she swallows the last of her arugala and smiles.

He's alone, and he stares for her a minute, face impassive. She's never been able to read Chnum, even though he seems the most human of the three. There are wrinkles around his eyes, and the set of his shoulders indicates weariness.

His eyes, however, are young as they've ever been, and as she waits, the rectangular pupils contract. He clears his throat. "I liked that world," he remarks, almost casually.

"Yes, sir."

He turns and paces away, then back, his footsteps clopping sharply against the floor. "There are still humans in that universe, and they are still useful to us."

Eve nods, and waits.

Finally, he halts before her again, and gestures with his hand, pulling a figure of a woman, inches tall, into the air. The image is kinetic, compelling. Eve leans closer, focusing on the fine features of the woman's face, the kink and curl of her hair.

"A new contact?" she asks.

Chnum shrugs. "A means to an end."

Eve glances at the image again. "Tell me more."


Eve meets Saffron in Londinium, over drinks and three unconscious Alliance troops.

She raises her glass of wine, smirks with calculated carelessness. "This isn't a place I'd dare to fight. Not with Alliance, anyway."

Saffron spits at the bodies, sneers at the pub's patrons. "They can't do anything if they can't catch me."

"True." Eve leans against the bar, licks her lips. "How about a little insurance?"


They con their way onto a luxury cruiser, and Eve admires the way Saffron primps and pouts and postures past every obstacle. It's been a while since she's had to work for what she needs, and feminine wiles weren't part of Wolfram and Hart's training program.

When they've finally stowed themselves in a spare crewman's quarters, Saffron kicks off her crimson sandals, scuffed and improbably sexy. She strips off her jacket, her skirt, her blouse. Eve watches the performance with raised eyebrows, and finally Saffron rolls her eyes.

"It's a long flight to Persephone," she says. "Don't tell me you wanted to work?"


The steward enters their quarters later that evening, and finds them intertwined in one of the bunks. He makes a startled noise and staggers against the door.

Eve touches her lips to Saffron's throat, adds a bit of tongue for emphasis. She rolls her hips against Saffron's hand, and then they both turn to stare at the steward.

"Close the door if you're going to watch," Saffron snaps. "It's cold."

Eve stifles a giggle, and then a moan, and the steward carefully shuts the door.


When they touch down on Persephone, Saffron steals a bottle of champagne and half of the steward's purse. She tucks it into her pack and slinks an arm around Eve's waist, and they slip into the city proper together.

"Are we going to drink that?" Eve asks, and winks at watching passersby.

"We're going to sell it," Saffron explains. "I know someone who can fence this lan dan jiang for good coin."

Eve watches a transport ship streak down for docking, and asks Saffron if it can wait thirty-five minutes.


After a quick drink and a quick fuck, Saffron leads her to Badger's place, where he's already engaged in a transaction.

Regardless, they sway past the guards and into the inner sanctum. The participants within stare, and one of them curses.

Badger stands and sketches a bow. "Mariela, my dear. I'm busy at the moment."

Saffron ignores him, looks past to the cursing man at the table. "Eve, I should introduce you to my husband, Mal."

But Eve's beyond that now, because there's a slim girl behind Mal, and she's standing up.

Eve holds a hand up, and the room falls silent. "River," she says. "It's good to finally meet you."

"Likewise," River says, and smiles.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Shakespeare's Sonnet #90:
Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for and after-loss:
Ah! do not , when my heart hath scap’d this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer’d woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purpos’d overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come; so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compar’d with loss of thee will not seem so.

Originally linked on femslash_minis.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ooooo, this is so fascinating. I love the link-age happening between dimensions. It's quite clever, and I feel like it's totally plausible. The idea that Saffron is a Wolfram & Hart contact makes me so unbelievably happy, you've no clue. Actually, Saffron in general is just amazing. But you've made me like Eve, which is an amazing side effect.

I think, perhaps, the best moment is when River stands to greet Eve. That is pure poetry.

I love this. It's definitely in for a re-read.

Thank you!
Jan. 28th, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! And I'm inordinately fond of the moment when River stands up as well, so I'm thrilled you liked it. *g*
Jan. 29th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
I love the way that you flesh out Eve's backstory and show us the Senior Partners--it's a depiction that rings true, for sure. Although I find it hard to believe that "feminine wiles" weren't deliberately and explicitly made a part of Eve's repertoire.

And the final moment with River is just so great. Thank you.
Mar. 1st, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!
Jan. 29th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful! I love the interactions between Eve and Saffron and how you bring us together. The moment that River stands up to meet Eve, though, is the best. :)

Great job! Thank you so much for writing this for femslash_minis!
Mar. 1st, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

And thanks for organizing all of these challenges. I've really enjoyed writing for them.
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:25 am (UTC)
Wow, very eerie and effective. I love the way you create Eve as somehow sympathetic, in that she's forced into this role for W&H but by the end we can guess her evil plan. I liked too how W&H were everywhere, everywhere you can imagine.
"Close the door if you're going to watch," Saffron snaps. "It's cold."
Oooooh. Very nice.
Mar. 1st, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Jan. 14th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love just how uninhibited Eve and Saffron both are, as well as how just the right note of vulnerability sneaks through on Eve. Thanks again for this.
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Thank you!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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