2010-01-21: Red Light District (Phantasm)



Posting Date: January 21st, 2010


Karma says, don't mess with the hair.

"Red Light District"

Lena's Underground Club of Naughty

There's nothing say that every den of scum and villainy must be wretched; being underground doesn't always mean privation. Lena has done well for herself between the peddling of intoxicants and collecting information useful to both sides of the current conflict.

The dealer's sanctuary used to be a jazz club. These days it resembles a French bordello as envisioned by an opium dreamer. Descend this hidden flight of stairs and pass through that concealed door (where one of her empowered goons plays bouncer), and one will find themselves in a dimly lit chamber done up in tapestries and cushions. Red is the favored color, although golds and yellows come a close second. Bodies writhe in the shadowed corners and below the steady pulse of electronica, the hum of human voices can be heard murmuring in drugged pleasure.

Others, in a less altered frame of mind, lounge here and there, speaking or simply enjoying the atmosphere. Of the owner herself there is no sign; the door to her office is closed and flanked by two large men. Their frowns are either intended to act as intimidation, or due to the fact that Lena has insisted the pair dress as Turkish harem guards, complete with sword curved swords and curly-toed slippers.

She's always enjoyed the decorations. But decor was never part of the problem that cropped up between Daphne and the traveling production that was Lena's drug joint. There were… other things. Ones that seem ages ago to a speedster — especially one looking for a fix.

The new location kept her away for a while, but not forever. When it comes to playing hide-and-seek, this one's a companion; it doesn't hurt that she's good at collecting information, either. Following another usual patron is tedious, but it gives Daphne an in she needs to find that particular flight of stairs, and that little door. The bouncer's getting better. He actually swipes at her this time before she vanishes past him.

Inside, Daphne takes two normal-powered steps out of pure appreciation for the set-up once again. She looks like she could almost fit in here: red corset, pants as shiny as they are tight topped at the knee by the peak of fashion's boots, and she wears a gold tiara over her shortly cropped signature blonde hair. It's some royal family or another's inheritance. Pittance.

But a buzz is a buzz and she's soon setting curtains and smoke into scattered swirling patterns as she runs by in her special manner. She ends up in between the two imposing guards, utterly towered over with her own tiny size but completely unintimidated. "Heya, fellas," she quips, winking before setting about slamming a fist on Lena's door. "Hey, skank. I'm coming in!" And how polite of her to warn!

The warning is probably the only thing that saves Daphne from barging into a very cranky drug lord's presence.

The office is probably even tackier than the club proper, due to the slightly worse for wear four-poster bed in the center. It's been draped in gold mesh netting. Yeah. There's also a man who appears to be unconscious underneath the blankets, his face turned into the pillows, only a portion of his pale and leanly muscled back visible.

Lena is in the process of slipping into a robe of smoky and quite sheer black material, belting it snugly at the waist. It doesn't do much to hide the black lace bustier and boy shorts combo she has on underneath it but it passes for being technically dressed.

"I thought we'd agreed that if you showed your face here again, I was allowed to have you killed?" the woman remarks without looking at the flighty blonde. too busy crossing to the small vanity and reaching for a brush to run through her own thick black hair. It's somewhat mussed.

The duty of keeping an eye on Daphne is taken over by the big bare-chested fellow in balloony pants who has stepped in behind the speedster. To say that he is glowering would be putting it mildly.

There's a blown kiss from Daphne to her new thug-ish escort; she could make him cross-eyed and dizzy with his unfortunate new duty, but she behaves herself. For now. She has a drug lord to bother.

"We agreed to disagree," she retorts cutely as to the state of her acceptance into the club. "There was also the eensy technicality of how, oh, you definitely haven't got anybody that could take this." Drawing both hands along the sculpted form the corset makes her body, she pauses to maybe let that sink in, or maybe eye the spectacle in the bed. "… Good to know some things don't change."

Daphne's image appears in the vanity mirror as she slides in behind Lena. She seems hardly to contain her own excitement, in how bouncy her movements are, the way her fingers curl and uncurl rapidly. Her chin lifts as she contemplates the dealer's barely covered form. "Come on, skank. Just another hit. It's been a slow ass week and I just don't do slow."

The kiss only makes the goon scowl that much more. When he flexes his hands against his arms, a light flares in his eyes, timed to the pulse of heat that pushes out from his body. But like a good little subordinate, he keeps silent and watchful.

Lena makes Daphne wait, because she's mean like that. Also, she has to touch up her lipstick in order to be presentable for company. So a moment is spent on dabbing and lip-rolling and blotting before she turns to fix a crooked smile on the other woman. An idle flip of her hand sends the weight of her hair back over one shoulder. "Call me that one more time and I'll remind you about how I can take that," she observes, returning the favor of a slow inspection of Daphne's appearance. The smile returns. "You can't run if you're in a goddamn coma. And this time I might shave your head 'stead of just dying it."

The brunette settles back against the vanity then, braced on her hands, lips pursed thoughtfully. "What's one hit worth to you, Fifi? And it better be more than it cost me for repairs from the last time you were in here."

Daphne's always had a certain talent for getting a rise out of people so they'll reveal what she wants. Count this goon as no exception.

The waiting is as killer as Lena knows it will be. Even seconds to put lipstick on is longer minutes for Daphne, who crosses her arm and just juts out chin, lips, raises an eyebrow. Her expression is as prepared and put-on as the other woman's make-up. "That," she deliberates as specifically as possible, eyes cold, "was a cheap shot and we both know it." Her eyes flicker upwards where she can't even see her bangs anymore, they're so short. The locks were part of her image, but then she streamlined. After this innocent seeming gesture, she appears in her sudden fashion next to Lena, hand braced against the vanity, face bent down towards the other. "And it isn't going to happen a second time." Quiet, low.

Just as soon, she's now on Lena's bed, bouncing with all casualness next to the sleeping man's legs. She whistles out a single note. Let's not talk about repairs. Let's talk about— "I knnnnoooow their next target." Whose? Where? She's gonna make Lena ask.

"That," Lena mimics, "Was what some people would call justice." Daphne earned that makeover. Multiple times. But she's smiling, and didn't react with a flinch or a punch at the sudden flitting about, both of which are probably a good sign.

The gentleman on the bed is oblivious to the bouncing. Less so is the bouncer but he's handled with a look from the lady in charge. Giving one of those low rumby complaints that the muscle-bound are best for, he stalked towards the bed to haul the unconscious fellow out from beneath the blonde. His naked body is slung over one shoulder and carried out. The door closes.

And Lena approaches the bed. Not to join Daphne, but to stand beside it with arms folded and brows lifted. "Go on." Sweet tone of voice or not, that was definitely not intended to be mistaken for anything other than a bossy sort of prompt.

The speedster was more opposed to Lena's claim of overpowering her than that particular shade of purple, but… the past is the past. And when there's a fix on the horizon…

Daphne regards the thug who comes to remove the boytoy with exactly as much respect as both of those terms deserve. Turning back to Lena, her pat indicating the drug dealer join her ignored, she just resettles with the extra room she's been given. Oooh, is this satin? It feels like satin. Her fingers trace along the fabric before flicking it aside. She straightens to a more attentive position — the good little tattletale.

"There. Is. This. Really important government meeting happening. I mean, like, bigwigs and whistle-blowers… you know, those kind of people who oppose to getting dead and fix it by throwing cash around." Her favorite kind. And here, Daphne butt-wiggles her way down the bed towards Lena, grabbing the nearest pole for the canopy and leaning into it. "A taste. Come on. Gimme a taste."

"Oh yeah?" Good little tattletales are ever so much more welcome than bad little destructive whirlwinds. Which is why Lena allows that shift in proximity, even invites it by tilting her head just so and reaching up to tease a wisp of pale hair back behind the woman's ear. There's no actual contact. But there's a promise of it. If…

Red lips curl in a very encouraging sort of smile. "You go ahead and whisper what I need to know about that meeting into my ear, Fifi, and I'll take care of you," she instructs, shaking her head to expose the aforementioned ear. One fingertip taps the angle of her jaw just beneath it. "And if what you know is good, maybe we can talk about you not being carded at the door anymore…"

Of course, it's intended to be a temptation, being that close. If Daphne gives into it, without the info being handed over, it won't be speed she'll pick up from Lena's skin…

This isn't a new place to be for Daphne, but it's one she hadn't been in for a long time before she happened to get a taste of Lena's medicine. The role of dependency, of needing something someone can give… or you'll lose something you want… for a while now 'really fast' hasn't been fast enough. And the threshold is always climbing. Inwardly, she grits her teeth. Outwardly, she bats her eyes contentedly at the woman's audacity.

But even before Daphne was an addict, she was a skeptic. She trusts Lena about as far as that robe covers her. The speedster shifts up on the bed, yanking on her grasp of that pole to put her own lips teasing that air before the woman's ear, trailing closer to that tempting jaw as she goes. "Wilshire restorations. The basement. Group of unmarked, untagged, and unhappys already got the place pegged. They've bribed security. The whole thing's—" And she spreads her hands in front of her, making a comic 'poof-explosion' noise.

After that visual distraction, she puts her hands back down, casual as ever. But one starts to trail towards the top of her boot. Lazy. Settling.

And that, friends and neighbors, is why Lena hasn't actually followed through on the many, many (and many more) threats of death she's made against Daphne. The blonde is still useful. When she's what passes for sober, for an Evolved speed freak.

"Good job, Trixie. See, was that so hard?" The reprimand is gently, almost affectionate. It isn't that she hasn't noticed that shift of hands; it's simply that Lena isn't so very concerned about it. That's because she's reaching up to cup her hand against Daphne's cheek. It would seem that the flighty creature has earned her reward, because the good stuff has been turned on. Cue the rush.

But not too much of a rush. There were repairs required last time, remember? The touch is intended to last about five seconds before Lena begins to shift away, meaning to waltz back to her vanity. "You can show yourself out, right?"

And what a rush! Daphne, as good of an addict as she is a tattletale, leans into that wonderful reward-giving touch, that font of good stuff. Eyes rolling back slightly, she can feel the whole world begin to shake like it's boiling. You don't rush until you rush like a speedster. She feels like if she just leaned back, she'd rocket into the past and sit forward into the future.

So the first time's, she was a bit rambunctious. But every time has been an increase in control until, this time, there's no lag as Lena tries to pull away. No, this time, the speedster is on the move as soon as that hand tries to go away.

"… sure. When I want to." The hand that was lingering near her boot now reveals a blade. Wider at the tip and skinnier towards the hilt it's instantly drawn behind Lena's neck, politely discouraging her from moving back any further lest she lose some of that precious skin. She's already lost some of the hair.

Daphne's other hand goes for the drug-dealing hand, forcing it to stay against her face while a secondary grip on Lena's wrist only encourages the connection. Who's bossy now?

"Daphne." Lena was maybe expecting a little more of the eye-rolling and less of the grabby grabby. But caught off guard or not, she sounds more disappointed than anything. Her eyes hood, her lips purse, and she looks generally put out by this turn of events. "I thought we had a deal. I didn't even let the boys rough you up and now you're going to draw a knife on me?"

As if she were drumming her fingers on a table, the woman taps her fingertips against the speedster's temple. Otherwise, she remains still. That is a naked blade at her neck.

"You let me go now, Fifi, and I promise I won't have you shaved and tossed out into the street. You don't?" Tap tap tap. And then, an experimental tug on the grip holding Lena in place. "Gonna have to put you to sleep, li'l bit. I won't be responsible for what happens while you're under, either."

An easily maniacal grin spreads across Daphne's face. Not only is she feeling large and in charge, but she's getting what she needs. It's a bitch, building up a tolerance for something you can't live without. "Yeah, well. Your — al wasn't — the trick," she responds, her voice jumpy and she seems to burst forward to a different part of the sentence faster than she means. Her fingers are beginning to move, too, getting jittery and blurry with every twitch.

"Turns ou— fast. I'm fast. And I'm so sick of your 'oh my boys' superior bullshit, skank." Spitting out each word with a sneering bite seems to help keep her at pace, "I will sense the instant you change this shit up. So it's a little more juice or night-night for both. And I am more than willing to gamble I can spring out of here before I collapse over your ability to grow a new head."

Junkies. How Lena despises them.

"You're gonna want to take a deep breath and think about this, Daph." Not that she's nervous. Really, she wouldn't come out with the blonde's actual name just for being nervous. But…hey…knife. Speed freak. Aggression maybe isn't the best route.

Lena's fingers crawl over the other woman's skin, angling towards the nape of her neck. She's trying to get Daphne closer. Pull her in close, or lean in herself. There's no risk of losing contact that way. "See, you cut me up, take me out…no more go-juice for you. And I haven't even let you try the good stuff yet."

But maybe she'll let the addict try it now. That's the promise in the brunette's eyes as she tips her head and makes as if a kiss is about to be forced on the other. Except it won't be a good stuff kiss. No, this time, Lena's ready to flip the instant overdose switch— the one that'd stop the heart of just about anyone. Or…almost anyone.

She maybe might've underestimated Daphne's tolerance.

Actually, this is kind of thrilling, too. Daphne might be getting a hit just off of getting a hit from Lena. She's always been the errand-girl, free maybe, but never in-fucking-charge of anyone. "You think I'm not thinking? I'm thinking! Because I don't have to do the slice unless you do stupid." Honestly. It's like Lena was really focused on that knife or something.

She lets the hand crawl, she lets the inches between them melt away. A change in the intense feeling she's being amped up with is the only thing she won't tolerate. "Your choice… where you go at this point…" she murmurs as the space becomes altogether intimate. Her eyes lock onto those promising ones across from her, her own gaze hazy but driven. Pure jolts of that sweet thrill squeeze her heart every mili-second. She's heading towards overdrive…

Heading more than she knows. As pale pink lips meet lipsticked ones, the motion hits critical. Adrenaline pumps into the speedster's blood, replacing it, as her eyelids flutter in fastforward and she begins to fall… backwards…

And then she's gone. No, not gone. She's just explored every inch of this room and returned behind Lena. Crazy. She can't control the twitching— she can't stop moving. Can't stop can't stop— if she did, she might die. When she opens her mouth and relays her feelings on the matter to the other woman, it registers as nothing at all— too fast to even register.

No, no, wait, time out! Daphne is supposed to be dead! Not gone, not hyper beyond the laws of reality. Lena actually staggers forward, partially collapsing on the bed when the blonde just…disappears. She props herself up with a hand on the nearest post and twists to discover Daphne there. Babbling with the mute button on.

"Oh shit."

It's practically a ballet, the way the brunette dives onto the bed and grabs for the gun under the pillow. There's even a neat flip onto her back, the gun held in both hands and aimed where the speedster should be. This time, there will be no prankish hair cutting or dyes. This time, Lena pulls the trigger without hesitation, her beautiful (tacky) office-bedroom filling with the sound of multiple gunshots.

She looks like an animal, mouth opening and closing in weird intervals around sentences that look like syllables so that there's even a stutter between movements. Like maybe Lena's watching her on a bad television that keeps skipping frames.

Daphne's head tilts mechanically to the side as the druglady dives away. It's a predatory stance and yet… she's filled with blind, beautiful, childish curiosity. You see, because Lena movements are like she's swimming through invisible murk, every single tiny flex of a muscle emphasized like it's a whole stage production because of the way the slowness puts so much importance on it. The speedster never really put a lot of stock in other people's movements before, but it's sort of fascinating watching the doomed experiment that is Lena going for the gun.

How quaint. But this is Daphne's show now.

Speedsters, man. When are they ever where they should be? Although Daphne lingers for what she feels is several long moments, she's easily long gone by the time the shooting starts. Holes erupt into the walls, shatter the vanity, burst through curtain-y veils over the bed. But none find a woman so fast it's questionable she's even existing in certain key moments.

There's a stutter, though, as everything comes rushing back to Daphne like a waterfall of movements that have been held back like a dam. Whoosh! Her iconic noise is pounding in her ears. She hears her own sentences, the gunshots go off again, the beginning of the conversation, she can feel her movements from each moment repeat again…

And, when she looks, she realizes that the warning slice she just meant to give the drug woman somehow turned into a thousand deep cuts in the same amount of time, spanning every tiny twitch of her wrist as she executed the movement.

The silence is deafening. In that weird place between normal time and whatever it is that Daphne has achieved, even the curls of smoke drifting up from Lena's gun would look like poetry. The sudden slow motion rush of crimson over pale skin and dark lace even more so. The weapon drifts from limp fingers, dropping to the floor leisurely as a leaf and then Lena's torso follows it (somewhat more ponderously), separate from her lower body.

The look of shock and anger in those baby blue eyes seems trapped there, for an eternity.

When the door flies open, admitting her guards, the scene they find is somewhat less beautiful. Their mistress, dead. And her murderer?

Who knows where a speedster with blood on her hands and adrenaline in her veins might have gone.

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