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carlyinrome organized femslash_minis: Bad Girls. I was assigned carlyinrome, who requested Darla/Vanessa Brewer, pre-series, training, and extrasensory perception of super-hotness.

Title: Burial or Ash
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Angel
Pairing: Darla/Vanessa Brewer
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Dive down into the dark waters with knives and a hunger.
Notes: Very pre-series. References to 1.21.

Vanessa regretted blinding herself for five months, though she never admitted it to the Nanjin. She'd held the knife in her hand, after all, felt the searing hotness of it, fresh from the fire.

She'd spent the past year training with Qing, and she had assured Vanessa that she possessed the potential to see what others could not. For three months, she had fought blindfolded, using her ears, reaching beyond the limits of her body. When Qing had brought her before the fire, she'd felt triumphant. She'd raised her arm high and gritted her teeth against the anticipated pain.

It took her five months to recover her health fully, to move without feeling those ghost twinges. She'd second-guessed herself for five months, wincing when she moved, and aching from the bruises Qing and the other Nanjin had laid upon her as she rebuilt her understanding of the world.

Then during an afternoon session, she saw Qing's arm sweep down, a wash of faint blue that preceded the whisper of her sleeve.

Vanessa blocked the blow, the first she'd blocked since she'd blinded herself. Qing grunted, and there was a gust of purple before her fist slammed into Vanessa's belly. Vanessa fell, winded, but when she raised her face, she saw the lavender outline of Qing as she bowed.

Two months later, she could anticipate every blow, and block any she might miss. The Nanjin tested her with every weapon they had, and finally, they declared she could see into the heart of things. Vanessa smiled at their ceremony, and bowed her head to show humility.

When she took her retribution, she killed Qing first.


The remnants of the Nanjin were testament to Vanessa's abilities, and after her third hit, she could afford an assistant for the public's eyes, somebody who pretended to be her caretaker when she was, occasionally, dragged into the courtroom.

The car had been a stupid idea.

Afterwards, she had her assistant turn down jobs for a while, letting the cops learn to ignore her again. To keep form, she took to the streets, cursing every moment she had to fumble around with a cane, feigning helplessness. Every whisper drew the blade of her attention, and she slowed her sidelong glances to shy stutters.

And she turned down alleyways and leaned the cane against the brick wall, and hoped someone would try to take advantage. Most often they were human, and she snapped wrists, kicked out knees, and yawned. It was only later, darker, lonelier, that she felt truly challenged. There weren't many demons in the neighborhood around her apartment, but vampires trolled the streets like human predators, and she started using a razored garrote when she found a whittled stake made the kill too easy.

One night, it was three vampires, and the first was large, a hulking blur of turquoise, and she flipped over it, twisted and pulled, bracing her feet against its back as it snarled and died. She almost her lost her balance as it disintegrated, but a flash of orange wrapped about her throat--an arm that she snaked her hand beneath, breaking the hold even as she used the vampire's stance to steady herself.

She bent at the waist, flipped it over her, and she lashed the garrote around its throat as well, twice over, and the vampire's attempt to jerk away ended the struggle.

Then, silence. Vanessa tilted her head, slowly turning in a circle. The pinks and purples of intention didn't flicker, nor were there any orange flashes of rage, or bluish-greens of hunger.

A flash of carmine, and Vanessa whirled. The shape of a woman, and then she was giggling, clapping. "That was delicious," she said, "but I think you should put that away now."

Vanessa shifted her weight onto her heels, relaxed her shoulders and let the garrote prick idly against her thumbs. The colors flickered, reddish-purple, and Vanessa observed, "You're a vampire."

"And you're an assassin," the vampire said. "Why are you playing Slayer?"

"I was bored." Vanessa slid her gaze over the vampire's body, sleek lines and the flirt of a high hemline. Impractical clothing for a fight, but perhaps the vampire meant to provoke other kinds of activity. "Vampires are good sport."

The reds flared almost white, and then the garrote was ripped from her hands, tearing the skin of her palms. Vanessa hissed even as the vampire pinned her to the wall.

"They were young," the vampire said, "but I'm not." She blocked Vanessa's strike easily, slamming one wrist against the brick, while she almost crushed the other in her grasp. Vanessa gasped as the vampire licked over her bloodied palm, sucking her forefinger into her mouth, fangs pricking Vanessa's skin. "You taste like a fever," she purred. "Like some kind of magic."

Vanessa bucked her hips, but the vampire grazed her fangs across her throat, next.

"Ah, ah," she taunted. She worked one hand between them, plucking at the buttons of Vanessa's cardigan. "Such a demanding little human." She brushed her fingers against the lace hidden underneath. "Playing weak doesn't suit you."

Vanessa's snarl melted into a moan as the vampire's nails scraped over her nipple, slowly. "What do you want?" she asked, her voice a low echo in the alley.

The vampire pressed her hips against Vanessa's, drawing Vanessa's skirt up between them. "Maybe I want to play." She sucked on Vanessa's middle finger, laughing as Vanessa bucked against her again, for entirely different reasons. "Maybe I want to kill." Vanessa arched as the vampire's fingers pressed against her sex, and all around her was a halo of scarlet, of fuschia, and blacker-than-black. "Maybe I want to make you scream."

Vanessa ground against the vampire's fingers, choking moans back when her panties were ripped away.

"My name is Darla, little assassin," the vampire murmured into Vanessa's ear, two fingers, then three delving deep. "Remember my name when you scream."


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Martin Ott's Shaman Gets Facelift After a Dream. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)

This is exquisite. In so few words, you painted such a portrait of such a minor character, and you created such a believable attraction between two characters who never even met onscreen. Thank you.

Jun. 6th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Great response! You've made more of Vanessa than canon, but without making her any less terrifying. Darla's response is fascinating and believable: someone who's worthy of attention, at last.
Jun. 8th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
I love how you capture the all-too-dangerous aspects of both characters here. I don't think Vanessa will be bored for long with Darla around. Well done!
Jun. 8th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
I love this Vanessa backstory. And there's such a richness and a texture to the writing -- throughout, not just in the backstory. And your descriptions of her sensing forms. And Darla's "You taste like a fever"! Really, so much of Darla's dialogue -- "Maybe I want to play." "Maybe I want to kill." "Maybe I want to make you scream." "My name is Darla, little assassin. Remember my name when you scream."
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Nice read - great to see TV and poetry intersect...as I love both.


Martin Ott

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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