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Better Than Imprinted (A Between the Lines Episode)
damien listening guitar
Title: Better Than Imprinted (A Between the Lines Episode)
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)
Author: rogoblue
Summary: In morgan72uk’s Between the Lines universe, Dominic and Victor are having difficulty with an assignment. This story takes place a couple of months from where the previous episodes ended.
Spoilers: Slight for the senator story at the beginning of season 2.
Words: 8,000
Disclaimers: The toys are Joss Whedon’s. The idea is mine based upon the lovely template of morgan72uk.
Dedication: To she of the aforementioned lovely template.

“Do you mind if I sit down?”

Laurence Dominic looked up from his chicken burrito and the file folder splayed open beside it. Kilo stood with her tray, smiling tentatively as though she was afraid of rejection, even though he hadn’t offered her one to date. “No,” he said, tidying the contents and closing the folder, recalling the intensity in Adelle DeWitt’s eyes as she’d delivered the admonition that no one other than he and Anthony could know about the active’s latest imprint or the mission Victor undertook.

“Nice suit,” Kilo murmured, smirking over at him.

“This is starting to sound like Topher’s post wipe ritual,” Dominic said, thinking back to other lunches beginning just this way.

“If you didn’t dress so well, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself,” Kilo insisted, tugging gently at the sleeve of his slate gray suit jacket. “Have I mentioned I have a thing for sharp dressed men?”

“Better you than any member of ZZ Top.”

Kilo’s laughter faded in Dominic’s awareness as his gaze fell onto the file he’d closed. He and Anthony weren’t getting anywhere with this engagement and the clock was ticking.

“Have you always been this intense or does this place bring it out in you?”

Dominic found that to be an interesting question from a tiny, seriously cute young woman who drank her lunch—some kind of fruit, yogurt, protein powder concoction roughly the color of ripe raspberries today. “I’m not intense,” he said. “I’m focused.”

Smiling in a way that drew Dominic slightly closer, inviting a confidence, she asked, “What are you focused on, Laurence?”

Kilo was the only person who called him Laurence and Dominic wouldn’t have admitted it under torture, but he kind of liked it. “The answer to a more or less age old question,” he said, wondering whether posing it was asking for trouble. “What attracts a woman to a man?”

“Seriously?” she asked, her attention riveted on him, a flattering thing for a cynical guy on the other side of forty.

“Seriously, Kilo, I mean Elaine. Sorry.” Dominic speared a piece of errant chicken with his fork.

“I don’t mind Kilo,” she assured him, her hand coming to rest on his forearm. “Please go on.”

“A certain brilliant neuroscientist, who shall remain nameless, insists that women will go for the boy next door, the quintessential bad boy, the proverbial knight in shining armor or some amalgamation thereof. But the imprint’s not working. Why not?”

Stroking the sleeve of his jacket lightly, Kilo said, “Because some women are looking for something different, obviously. Her father maybe. Someone she feels comfortable submitting totally to. Or someone she feels uncomfortable submitting to but wants anyway.”

“Isn’t the last one a bad boy?” Dominic asked.

“Not as Topher would envision it.”

“You requested a meeting, Mr. Dominic?”

Adelle DeWitt’s British intonation lifted Dominic’s eyes to hers and Kilo’s fingers from his suit coat. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Is now a good time?”

Knowing she asked only for the sake of the appearance of politeness, Dominic said, “Sure. I’m done eating.” He stood, mildly uncomfortable about leaving the woman who’d asked to join him. “Thanks for the insight, Kilo.”

“Anytime, Laurence.”

Habitually, Dominic fell into step about a half pace behind DeWitt. In the time he’d been employed at the Dollhouse, he’d found coming straight to the point to be most effective in dealing with her professionally. Indirectness had a place in their interactions but now wasn’t the time for testing any kind of personal waters. “I’m worried about Victor. His imprint is proving ineffective and he’s getting frustrated.” Wondering whether he should go further, Dominic regarded DeWitt out of the corner of his eye. She looked impassive, cold and distant—the epitome of a boss who didn’t tolerate failure well. “He knows how close to the vest you want to keep this operation and we don’t want you to have to go to plan B.” Risking a rueful smile, Dominic added, “Particularly if plan B involves Mike and Carter.”

“What do you suggest, Mr. Dominic?”

“I don’t know exactly, ma’am. Kilo said—.”

“Ah, yes, Kilo.” Her tone demanded wariness. Dominic waited in just such a state of being. “This is the second time already this week you’ve had lunch with her. Fraternization between actives and handlers is not encouraged, Mr. Dominic.”

“Anthony and I are just friends.” Adelle’s startled half smile pleased him, but Dominic kept his expression perfectly neutral. “While Topher and I are clearly not anything approaching cordial, I have to say that Topher’s idea of an ideal man, which I sincerely hope Ivy had a lot of input into, isn’t doing it for Lizbeth Carson. At all. Full stop.” Knowing he risked Adelle’s wrath, he said, “I know Paul Ballard did a psyche profile of Ms. Carson, uninformed as it was by who she actually is, and it indicated a plain vanilla, run of the mill sex life or lack thereof. Tony’s a woman like that’s wet dream and she’s not buying what he’s selling. She’s not even handling the merchandize to consider buying. Topher says she’s shy and Tony says she’s not. Then Topher says she’s repressing things and maybe he’s right, but Kilo said the boy next door, knight in shining armor, bad boy mix wouldn’t work for everybody.” Rapt attention from Adelle DeWitt was a rush Dominic relished. “Say Topher’s ideal can garner the attention of 95 to 97% of women, there’s still 3-5% unaccounted for. Tony’s imprint isn’t getting the job done but maybe it’s not his fault. Maybe he just isn’t what the target wants.”

“Perhaps Ms. Carson is merely proving to be discerning, Mr. Dominic. As am I.” Adelle swiped her card key to call the elevator to her office.

“Excellent,” he said, not believing she’d left him this opening, not really trusting it but seeing no alternative to pursuing the matter. “So what sort of man would you … um … take to bed against your better judgment?”

Adelle DeWitt turned toward him as they stepped into the elevator and suddenly the conveyance seemed claustrophobically tiny. A miniscule hint of a speck of vulnerability on DeWitt’s part allowed Dominic to continue to breathe. “I require keen intelligence,” Adelle began. “Intensity tempered with control, power I prove capable of unleashing, strength with the possibility of vulnerability, passion with an undercurrent of reverence, finesse when I want it, mindless lust when I don’t.”

“Can I quote you when I ask Topher to alter the imprint?” Dominic asked.

“Let’s not be too hasty, Mr. Dominic. We don’t yet know whether Ms. Carson is simply playing hard to get or is, in fact, beyond Victor’s reach.” Adelle stepped out of the elevator and glided across her office in that predatory manner Dominic couldn’t help watching to look out at the vista of Los Angeles displayed before her. She was quiet for a time. Dominic stepped up behind her, a bit closer than was strictly comfortable. He swore he could feel her body molded to his even though they didn’t touch. “You should pose as another of Victor’s clients and watch him personally train Ms. Carson with your own eyes. That’s the best course of action in my view.”

Skeptical but having no better idea of his own, Dominic said, “Yes, ma’am.”

* * *

Adelle DeWitt smiled, perversely enjoying listening to Laurence Dominic swear not quite under his breath. Victor had ruthlessly put him through his paces—swimming a mile, weight work, running on the treadmill and more weight work. Now Dominic pounded away at a heavy bag, no doubt imagining he worked Victor over. For her part, Adelle imagined the sweat soaked T-shirt clinging to a lean torso with an amazingly small percentage of body fat for a man her age or near enough as not to signify. Adelle had ample images to fuel her imagination as Dominic and Ballard had taken to sparing lately. Remarkably evenly matched, the two men routinely wore each other out.

Uncharacteristically, Adelle wasn’t sure of her decision. On the one hand, she’d realized, as she’d answered Dominic’s question, who she well might have been describing, and saw the solution to the problem clearly and pragmatically. On the other, Adelle knew she wouldn’t mind terribly if she happened to be wrong in this particular case.

A knock on her door sent her forefinger to the mute button to cut short Dominic’s threat to render Victor incapable of servicing Priya for the foreseeable future. “Yes,” she called. Boyd Langton strode into her office, expression grim. “What is it, Mr. Langton?”

“Topher has imprinted Victor for a romantic engagement every day for the last eight days,” Langton said. “He and Dominic have gone out alone each of those days. No driver. No back up.”

Contemplating pouring herself a fortifying measure of Scotch, Adelle said, “Surely, you don’t think Mr. Dominic cannot drive or requires assistance with a simple tumble in the hay for Victor, Mr. Langton?”

“No, if that’s what this really is.”

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

Agitation betrayed by restless movements, Langton said, “There’s no record of this engagement in the system. My people and I don’t know who the target is.”

Finding turf battles tiresome in the extreme, Adelle said, “This engagement poses no security risk.”

“With all due respect, Ms. DeWitt, that’s for me to decide.”

“Not in this instance, I’m afraid.”

“I’ll have to report this irregularity to Rossum,” he said, expression hovering between resolute and regretful. “You give me no choice.”

“There’s always a choice, Mr. Langton,” Adelle said, more eager than she’d ever admit to get back to monitoring Victor and Dominic. “Whether the will to make the correct one exists or not is the only question.”

* * *

“I’ll fucking get you for this,” Dominic muttered, panting hard after delivering 200 pushups on top of everything else.

“You’ll fucking thank me for this,” Victor countered, grinning amiably. “Hey, Lizbeth,” he said, waving to a svelte redhead with an ample chest wearing a bright blue tank top and black shorts. “How are things?”

“Same old, same old,” she said, cool blue eyes taking in both men. “Are you ready for me, Evan?”

“Always,” Victor said, tossing Dominic a small towel.

As he wiped off his face and neck, Dominic considered several avenues of revenge, half listening to Victor’s plan for Lizbeth’s workout. The throaty quality to the woman’s voice drew Dominic’s full attention. “Who’s your friend?”

Victor clamped a hand on Dominic’s shoulder and said, “This, my dear Lizbeth—.”

“We’re mortal enemies,” Dominic growled, glaring at Victor who had the audacity to laugh.

“What happened today is the price you pay for ducking me for over a month,” Victor said, eyes challenging Dominic to play along.

“I was out of the country,” Dominic countered.

Shaking his head sadly, Victor addressed Lizbeth. “There’s always an excuse for not finding the time to exercise, isn’t there?”

“That sounds like a reasonably good one,” Lizbeth offered, smiling at Dominic.

“Don’t be an enabler, Liz,” Victor said.

“I hate when you call me that and you know it.”

“I promise I won’t ever call you an enabler again.” To her sound of mounting irritation, Victor said, “I’ll take annoyance if I can’t get any other reaction.” Victor’s gaze held regret, Lizbeth’s exasperation as the two shared a glance. “You need to cool down, not just stop,” Victor told Dominic. “Give me five laps around the track at a brisk walk.” Instinctively, Dominic opened his mouth to protest. “Save your breath,” Victor commanded. “All you’re planning to do is head back to work, so you have the time and you’ll be a more comfortable captain of industry if your muscles aren’t seizing up on you.”

“Fine,” Dominic muttered, eyes cast downward. “Nice to meet you,” he mumbled to LIzbeth who caught his arm as he attempted to pass by.

“I need to warm up,” she said. “I could walk with you, if you like.” Smiling slyly, she gestured to Victor. “We could plot his murder.”

“You should stretch, Lizbeth,” Victor said, frowning slightly.

“I want to walk and fantasize about your untimely demise, among other things, Evan.” The edge in her tone drew Dominic’s eye as she had undoubtedly intended. “So I will.” Linking her arm with Dominic’s, turning him away from Victor and toward the track, limiting their pace to a stroll, Lizbeth asked, “What’s your name?”

Wondering what drove this woman, Dominic regarded her for a full minute, allowing the intensity of his scrutiny to build. “Laurence.”

“Very pleased to meet you, Laurence,” Lizbeth said, smiling up at him, stroking his bicep with her free hand. “It’s comforting to know Evan annoys the living hell out of someone other than me. I mean, really. I get that he’s a personal trainer. I understand that he’s supposed to encourage me to push my limits and do things I don’t imagine myself capable of fitness-wise, but …”

“Otherwise?” Dominic ventured, not quite willing to admit to enjoying the proximity and Lizbeth’s light teasing touch on his skin.

“I need more than soulful glances and give me another three reps, Laurence.” Shifting to nestle a breast against his arm, she murmured, “Don’t we all?”

“I certainly do.” His doubt with regard to his response vanished in the face of Lizbeth’s clear approval.

“I knew it,” she declared, rising up to her tiptoes to kiss Laurence on the cheek. “I knew you’d get me.” Smile rueful, Lizbeth laughed. “Just like I knew Evan hadn’t a clue. I mean, please, you know. The whole … wholesome with an edge thing has been done to death. And way better.”

Dominic made a mental note to quote Lizbeth to Topher at the next available opportunity and, if one didn’t present itself soon, to manufacture one. “Better than wholesome without an edge,” he mused and Lizbeth rewarded him with a laugh that could be called nothing other than a cackle.

“Very very marginally,” she agreed, resting her head against his upper arm briefly. “I don’t think I’ll be working out here today.”

“Evan’ll take it out of your hide if you skip too many workouts.”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to work out,” Lizbeth said, gaze intent and heated. Laurence returned it in spades and manfully didn’t smirk when Lizbeth’s voice shook when she said, “I just said I wasn’t going to work out here.”

Lowering his voice, sharpening his perusal, Dominic asked, “Need a spotter?”

“Oh, yes.” Silence fell, companionable but replete with unspoken words and unfulfilled promises, expectations and assumptions. Dominic allowed it to lengthen, feeling the nervous energy humming through the woman at his side.

“You don’t talk much, do you?” she asked, tone in no way negative or judgmental.

Relaxing into the role, Dominic laughed. “I have five sisters. It was hard to get a word in edgewise growing up.” Dominic shrugged. “Never broke the habit, but that’s fine. Not talking’s worked pretty well for me over the years.”

Lizbeth crooked her finger, luring Laurence’s head down closer to the level of hers. “Taciturn totally does it for me, Laurence.”

Holding Lizbeth’s eyes for a long charged moment, Dominic murmured, “Good.”

* * *

“What is bloody well happening?” Adelle DeWitt feared for her carpet as she paced her office listening to Victor prattle on to a seemingly endless litany of acquaintances, clients, potential clients and random strangers. Lizbeth Carson hadn’t made a reappearance in Victor’s orbit. Nor had Laurence Dominic. “Am I right or is this mission flying even further afield?”

Talking to Herself—A Harbinger of Mental Illness to Come, a drama in three acts starring, in order of appearance, Ms. Adelle De—.”

This day, Topher’s unusual wit drew Adelle’s ire. “What do you want, Topher?”

“I have needs,” he announced, unabashed, impish grin no doubt barely contained. “Urges, if you will.”

“No urge of yours will be satisfied in this room,” Adelle said, shuddering internally at the mere thought of Topher-esq urges.

“Never say never,” Topher said, tone abstracted, as though he’d just realized something important and wholly unrelated to his urges, whatever they might be.

“Topher?” Adelle prompted, hand on her hip, eyebrow raised.

Topher blinked at her for several moments. “What are Victor and the Domster up to?” Topher asked, fiddling with one of Adelle’s Murano glass paperweights—her favorite to be precise. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

“To which inquiring minds are you referring, Topher?”

“Me, Ivy, Langton and the Langtonettes, Kilo, Echo and Ballard.”

“Mr. Langton should darken your doorstep no more in this regard,” Adelle said, realizing she’d recommenced pacing and halting abruptly. “I have made my position on this engagement clear to him.”

“He was being nosey and all hurt at not being in the know,” Topher said. “I was moved.”

“Your interest in the matter being more … professional?” Adelle winced at how odd that word sounded when spoken in reference to Topher Brink.

“Eight nights of fail, maybe going on nine is bad for morale. Without knowing more about what they’re trying to do, I can’t tweak the imprint.”

“Why would you want to?” Adelle asked, knowing there was no love lost between Topher and Mr. Dominic. “I’d think you’d sit back, pop some popcorn and watch the show.”

Topher sighed. “Ivy’s worried about Victor. Kilo and Echo are worried about Dom. And all kinds of people are starting to look at me with pity in their eyes, as if it’s somehow my fault.”

Adelle firmly believed the third reason to be Topher’s prime motivation but decided to explore another avenue. “Mr. Dominic is concerned about Victor as well,” Adelle said, suppressing a smile at Topher’s startled expression.

“That’s the first human trait he’s shown,” Topher mused, obviously considering the remote possibility that Victor’s new handler might be of the same genus and species. “Other than having a little bit of a thing for Kilo, but that’s understandable. She’s hotness personified.” Grinning at Adelle, Topher said, “She’s all that and then some when I’ve imprinted some improvements onto that fine base. Let’s not lose sight of my contribution.”

“It would be far more accurate to say that Kilo has a little bit of a thing for Mr. Dominic.” Adelle offered a wry smile to Topher’s scandalized expression.

“Get out of town,” he said, tossing the paperweight he’d been playing with into the air and almost failing to catch it.

“Do go back to your duties, so that I might return to mine,” Adelle said, growing impatient with the brand of arrogance that accompanied this particular genius.

“Say it isn’t so,” Topher repeated, “about Kilo and Dom, I mean.” Adelle pointed imperiously to the door. Shoulders slumped, head canted downward, Topher obeyed. The thought of Kilo’s apparent attraction to Laurence Dominic sat about as well with Adelle as it did with Topher. She simply had the good sense not to show it.

* * *

Thinking about a cold beer, Laurence Dominic stepped out of the shower in the health club locker room, a towel loosely draped across his hips.

“Lizbeth’s waiting for you,” Victor said, a harsh edge in his tone. “All this enhanced bullshit in my brain and she’s waiting for you.”

“You don’t have to say that in a way that suggests something miraculous.”

Victor took a deep breath. “Hey, yeah, I … ah … get that. Sorry. It’s just … you know.”

“I know you go home most nights to Priya, who is universally described as a babe, and I go home to an empty condo and, hopefully, some sports on television.”

“Priya wants to meet you,” Victor said, smiling genuinely. “She thinks that anyone who puts up with me must have a lot in common with her. Give me your cell phone.”

Drying his hair, Dominic pondered the conversational tangent. “Why do you want my phone?”

“You’re going home with Lizbeth, if she has anything to say about your plans for the evening,” Victor said, poking Dominic on the shoulder for emphasis. “Which means I’m riding in the van on this one and we don’t want DeWitt calling you at an inopportune moment asking for a status report.”

“You can just go back to the House,” Dominic said. “I don’t need—.”

“If you can watch my back, I can watch yours.” Victor grinned at Dominic’s wince of pain as he donned his button down shirt. “Tough work out?”

“Bite me, Evan.”

Victor laughed in a carefree way that Dominic envied. “This could work out just fine, so long as neither of us is a Rossum spy.” A few heartbeats later, Victor asked, “You’re not a Rossum spy, are you, Dom?”

“I’d tell you if I was?”

“You’re not,” Victor asserted.

“I’m not,” Dominic said. “You?” Victor shook his head. “Well, that’s a relief. Now I can see if I can get Lizbeth to spill her guts without worrying about a Rossum strike team taking me out before I can get her pants off.”

“Take this.” Victor offered a small listening device that allowed Adelle DeWitt to monitor the active’s conversations. Dominic shook his head. “Don’t worry. I turned it off a few minutes ago, ostensibly to take my shower.”

“I don’t want it,” Dominic said, backing away a step. “I can’t concentrate on seducing information out of Lizbeth knowing that woman is listening.”

“You get used to it,” Victor said, obviously suppressing a smile. “Really.”

“Not without the weird neurological shit Topher put in your head, you don’t.”

“Take it anyway.” Victor held the device before Dominic’s eyes. “Off,” he said, pointing to a tiny switch. “On,” he said, flipping the switch, waiting for Dominic’s nod before flipping it back. “Tune us in when you get her talking. That might keep you out of deepest trouble.”

“Roger that,” Dominic muttered. Saluting smartly, Victor moved off to collect his things. Dominic dressed slowly, mentally preparing himself for the evening to come, dusting off his undercover skills. Five minutes after Victor left the locker room, Dominic emerged.

A set of car keys flew at his head. Instinctively, Dominic snagged them. “Nice catch,” Lizbeth said. “Drive me home?” When he hesitated, she slipped her arms around his waist. “We can pick up your car in the morning, Laurence.”

“Awfully sure of yourself, aren’t you?” he said, glancing at the keys.

“No,” she murmured, “but I believe in planning for success.”

He laughed and shifted Lizbeth so she stood at his side, body tucked against his. “Ok,” Dominic said. “We’ll play this your way.” Eyeing Lizbeth avidly, he added, “For now.”

“You won’t regret it.”

Dominic spotted the van in his peripheral vision when he and Lizbeth emerged from the health club. Relaxing, he let her lead with her body and whistled when she stopped beside a black Ferrari. “Nice.”

“I figured you for a Porsche man,” Lizbeth said. “Am I wrong?”

“Mercedes Benz.” He shrugged at her moue of distaste. “I’m in a sedan sort of profession.”

“Can you drive something that’s fast enough to interest me, I wonder?”

“Please,” Dominic said. “Get in the car and prepare to be … fascinated.” Smiling, clearly excited, Lizbeth settled into the passenger seat. Dominic buckled himself in and chose his route, a winding road along the coast. To tease Lizbeth, he took his time in getting there. The moment he hit the road he’d chosen, Dominic pushed it to 110 mph and left it there unless he was motivated to push it beyond 120 mph, weaving in and out of the sparse traffic they encountered. Lizbeth’s color was high, her eyes shining with exhilaration and desire. “Where do you live, Lizbeth?” Dominic asked.

She looked at him as though he’d spoken in Swahili, so Dominic smiled indulgently and repeated the question. “Manhattan Beach,” she whispered, making an interesting noise low in her throat when Dominic spun the car into a tight turn more appropriate to a professional driver on a closed course.

* * *

Topher had opened the floodgates, apparently. After the neuroscientist, four more individuals had arrived with issues desperately requiring Adelle’s input. When she was finally alone, Adelle DeWitt checked in on Victor. Silence was neither expected nor acceptable. Angry and deeply concerned, she dialed Dominic’s cellular phone.

“Yeah,” said the wrong voice.

She glanced at her phone and the number showing thereon was correct. “Mr. Dominic?” she asked.

“It’s Victor, Ms. DeWitt,” he said. “I’ve pulled van duty.” Sounding like he might be gritting his teeth, Victor said, “Lizbeth’s undressing for Dominic at the moment. In front of her bay window, no less. Our target is something of an exhibitionist.” Victor’s pause felt significant to Adelle. “Or a sub. Or both.”

“Why is Mr. Dominic not wired for sound?” Adelle thought her tone remarkably even.

“We saw no reason to provide Topher with more ammunition to use against us,” Victor said.

Sure “we” and “us” actually meant “Dominic,” Adelle said, “I have no intention of sharing the audio records of this engagement with Topher or anyone else.”


“Ms. Carson is undressing, you said?”

“She’s down to some very naughty underwear.” When Adelle didn’t speak, Victor said, “Minimalist, black and sheer shows off the merchandize very well.”

“Where is Mr. Dominic?”

“Sitting on the couch with his feet up on the coffee table, drinking a glass of wine.”

“Fully clothed?”

“Other than shoes, yeah.”

Ignoring the pang of what was clearly inappropriate excitement shooting through her, Adelle asked, “How did the two of them arrive at such a … configuration?”

“Dominic drove her Ferrari like he was on the Sprint Cup circuit and I think she probably jumped him the moment they stepped into her house or maybe even before, but I don’t have a sight line to the garage, the room it opens into or the kitchen. Anyway, they stumbled into the living room kissing like they were trying to devour each other. She said she needed him and Dominic stepped back, shoving her away a little. Lizbeth asked what she’d done wrong. I’m an excellent lip reader in case you were unaware.”

“Do go on, Victor.”

“Evan,” he said, the slightest rebuke imbuing his tone. “Dominic laughed at her. From the look in his eyes it wasn’t a pleasant sound. Lizbeth told him she didn’t understand why needing him was funny. He told her she didn’t understand what it was to need, but she would before the night was over and she’s been following his orders to the letter ever since.”

The thought of submitting to Laurence Dominic slithered into Adelle’s brain, as seductive as it was frightening and, of course, impossible. “He’s issuing orders,” she murmured, knowing the voice he’d use, the low vibrant one that sent shivers along her spine.

“He just told her to lose the bra and fondle her own breasts. Lizbeth looks like she’s hyperventilating.”

Breath catching in her throat at the visual image of a relaxed man and a frantic woman, Adelle said, “Keep me apprised.”

“In real time, if you like,” Victor said, voice holding a hint of amusement. Adelle chose to ignore it, but knew she couldn’t forever. She would have to address the Dominic issue head on and soon.

* * *

“Please, Laurence,” Lizbeth whispered, kneeling before him, touching herself even more intimately.

“You come and I’ll have to punish you,” Dominic said, yawning before pouring himself some more wine. “Have some of this,” he suggested, handing the incredibly aroused woman his glass. “While I consider how far to take you before I actually take you.”

“I’ll do anything.” Lisbeth’s eyes weren’t exactly focused and her mouth hung open unbecomingly. “Please, Laurence.”

Hating that he had to do it, Dominic turned on the audio pickup. “What was that?” he asked.

“I’ll do anything, Laurence.” Her low guttural groan-moan combination did a little something for Dominic, much to his relief.

“Prove you’re interesting.”

“Wha … what?”

“Prove you’re not just another middle management drone.” He smiled and felt a little bit sick at the way Lizbeth’s expression brightened. “Not that I necessarily think that of you, sweetness, but still … show me what you’ve got.”

“I’m not very interesting.”

“We’re done here.” Dominic drained his wine, stood and looked for his lightweight jacket.

“No! No, we’re not done. Oh God, please, Laurence, don’t leave.”

“Why shouldn’t I?” He stared down at Lizbeth with frightening intensity. “I don’t do boring. Never have; never will.” Shaking his head, he said, “Goodbye, Lizbeth.”

“I work for the company that’s going to rule the world,” she nearly screamed, gripping his pant leg like a puppy would with its tiny sharp teeth.

“What company?”

“Rossum Corporation,” Lizbeth panted.

“I’ve heard of them,” Dominic said. “Who hasn’t ? Cutting edge at pretty much everything, but still … rule the world. How?”

“I … I can’t say.”

“Well, then you won’t come either. Not by any hand other than your own and I’m thinking I might be able to do a bit more for you than you can.” Tugging his pant leg from her grip, he said, “But it’s looking like you’re just a waste of my time.” Leaning down, Dominic kissed Lizbeth’s forehead before he whispered, “The if I tell you, I’d have to kill you card has been played so many times it isn’t funny or remotely intriguing.”

Fire lit Lizbeth’s eyes. “Rossum could turn you into a gay submissive in less than two minutes.”

“What?” Dominic said. “As fucking if.”

Lizbeth leaned into Dominic’s leg. “We can wipe away everything that makes you you, Laurence, and turn you into a politician America will embrace or a mindless drone who will do anything we want or the ultimate sexual partner.”

“Are you looking for improvements?” he asked, kneeling beside her, touching Lizbeth in a way that left her moaning and pleading. “Seriously?”

“They could program you to be the guy I need to complete me.”

“How do you know they haven’t?” The fear battling the want in her expression unsettled Dominic fundamentally and it was clear he wasn’t alone.

“Who are you?” she shrieked.

“A guy you met in a fucking health club,” he said. “Get a grip, Lizbeth.” Grinning, he asked, “So what’s the plan then. How do you take over the world?” She hesitated and Dominic got more serious with his hand between her legs. “C’mon, Lizbeth. I love the fantasy so far. Don’t fail me now.”

“Oh … oh … oh my God! Don’t stop!”

“Answer my question , gorgeous.”

“We … oh God, yes … we back up the personas of our leaders several times to allow them to switch bodies and—.”

“Switch bodies?”

Wrapping her arms around Dominic’s neck, Lizbeth pulled herself up to look him in the eye. “I can download everything that makes you a unique individual onto a wedge and load it into another body—a younger one if you’d like.”

Dominic’s mouth dropped open as the implications occurred to him. “But … that would mean … I mean, taking that to its logical conclusion, I could live forever.”

“The technological fountain of youth.”

“Fuck.” Stroking her body soothingly, Dominic whispered, “But what if the powers that be don’t like me? What if I’m not good enough to earn another body?”

“Then you die.”

“That kind of sucks.”

“I wouldn’t let you die, Laurence,” Lizbeth said, pressing her body to his. “I won’t.”

“How can you intervene, if the people higher in the food chain decide I buy it?” he asked, more interested in the answer than he ought to be.

“I’d make sure you were protected from the blanket signal and beyond.”

Bringing her to the very edge of climax, he murmured, “Blanket signal?”

“Creating an army, “ Lizbeth nearly screamed as she came, shuddering in Laurence’s arms, molding herself to him, cuddling until he bit her right nipple. “Oh. My. God.” She moaned when he worried at her nipple with his lips and tongue. “More, please, I need more.”

“You want more?” Dominic sighed. “Well, I don’t know, Lizbeth. I have a lot of work to do.”

“Please, Laurence.”

“I haven’t been satisfied yet, gorgeous,” Dominic murmured, relishing the shiver of lust her needy whisper sent through him. “You weren’t planning to leave me in this state, were you?”

“No, baby,” she said. “Don’t worry about that for one minute.”

“Good, because I’m too busy worrying about your company making an army.” Dominic smiled at Lizbeth until she shuddered with want. “What’s a company need an army for, anyway?”

“To take over the world.”

“Yeah, that’s right. That’s the goal we started out with. But if they want to take over the world, why not just unite the Chinese?” he asked.

“How long would that take?” Lizbeth said, arching into Dominic as his clever fingers aroused her to the brink of orgasm again obscenely quickly.

“A while,” Dominic admitted, kissing the woman into complete and utter submission.

“Too long,” Lizbeth moaned. Sprawled boneless beneath Dominic, Lizbeth personified surrender. “No one wants to wait for that. The timetable doesn’t allow it.”

“Timetable?” Dominic paid full attention to her body for another ten minutes, until she writhed beneath him uncontrollably. “What timetable, Lizbeth?” he murmured, lips making themselves home at the base of her throat. When she pulled his hair in an effort to draw him closer than it was possible to be, he said, “God, gorgeous, are we in that much of a hurry here?”

“No,” she replied, holding his head in place tilting hers to give him greater access to her throat—prey giving over to predator. “Not yet.”

“Soon?” he asked, thrusting into her, relishing her moan of utter lust.

“With … oh, Laurence, that’s so damn good … within the year. Don’t fucking stop. Oh God, please, please, please, please.”

“Relax,” he advised, smiling as Lizbeth did and moaned loud enough to be heard three states away when she came again.

“Does your company have any worries or rivals?” he said, as he held Lizbeth when her breathing returned to something approaching normal. “Are they concerned about something that might go wrong or about someone who might foil their plan for world domination?”

“They keep mentioning someone named DeWitt as though he’s a threat to the entire thing.” Lizbeth’s skepticism apparent in her tone, she said, “As if any one person is that important.”

“So what happens now, Lizbeth?” Laurence said, picking up the pace of his thrusts again. Lizbeth met him more than half way, desperation personified. “What do you want from me?”

“A simultaneous orgasm,” Lizbeth declared and Laurence delivered, belatedly realizing he hadn’t turned off the audio pickup. Worry faded into fatigue which rapidly begat sleep of the deep dreamless variety.

* * *

Adelle DeWitt poured another measure of vodka with hands that shook slightly. Rossum was indeed already abusing the technology and planning to do so on a grander scale as well in order to dominate a world that seemed oddly amenable to it. Worrisome news to be sure but nothing less than Adelle had suspected, knowing the arrogance of the principals involved.

Far more troubling was the fact that Laurence Dominic had seduced her as thoroughly as he had Lizbeth Carson. Dominic’s voice and Lizbeth’s enthusiastic and increasingly desperate responses had stoked Adelle to a fever pitch. Only through self-gratification had she been able to clear her mind. That she’d had to bring herself to climax twice was something she would never admit, but Adelle recognized a problem when she saw one. Usually. In the case of Laurence Dominic, she wondered—is he the problem or the solution?

* * *

“I told you we’d be picking up your car in the morning,” Lizbeth Carson said, smiling down at Laurence Dominic sprawled on her bed, blinking his eyes rapidly upon wakening.

“You did,” Dominic said, laughing, pulling Lizbeth down beside him, “but I’m not ready to retrieve it yet. Are you?”

“No.” They shared conspiratorial smiles before Lizbeth rolled on top of Dominic. “Not nearly.” She leaned in and kissed Dominic hard on the mouth, but he took over with his tongue, teeth and technique. “Wait a sec,” Lizbeth panted, pushing against his chest with both hands. “Oh, God, Laurence, wait!” Dominic kissed and caressed Lizbeth until she clung desperately to his shoulders, whimpering uncontrollably, shifting her hips in an effort to inspire him to give in to her unspoken demands.

“What do you want, Liz?” he asked, deliberately speaking a nickname she didn’t seem to like in a low intimate tone. Her wild eyes met his. She opened her mouth but didn’t speak. “Tell me,” he demanded, punctuating his command with a sharp twist of her right nipple, gratified that her entire body arched in response.

“Top,” Liz moaned.

“You?” he asked, smiling nastily at her eager nod. “A natural born sub?” He laughed. “That isn’t the way this works.”

“But I want—.”

In no mood for petulance, Dominic said, “You want to come more than once this morning and you will. After you amuse me with another tale of world domination.” Grinning, he said, “I like that you made your company do to the world what you wanted me to do to you. Intelligent. A little light on the subtlety but you can’t have everything, right?”

“I don’t know what else to tell you,” Lizbeth whispered, obviously not satisfied with the light teasing touches Dominic chose to bestow.

“How about I ask questions and you answer?” he suggested, concentrating the lightest of caresses on her breasts. Another eager nod drew a chuckle from him. “How do you know you’re still you? How do you know Rossum hasn’t erased bits of you or altered them?” When she didn’t reply, he said, “Have you always been submissive sexually or is this a new thing you’re trying out? Do you even know?” Watching Lizbeth fight to regain the control he’d taken from her with both his hands and his words was an immense rush. “This is kind of like Bladerunner. Are you a replicant, Liz? More importantly, does it matter?”

“Stop it,” she muttered. “You’re scaring me.”

“Seriously, is that where you got the story you told me last night?” Dominic asked, reducing Lizbeth to a squirming bundle of lust with a long look and clever fingers. “Bladerunner, I mean.”

“No!” Lizbeth moaned. “Rossum is gaining influence over the wealthy by catering to their every desire for a price in order to have infinite blackmail possibilities available when needed. They’ve placed a man they rebuilt in the United States Senate.” She giggled. “We made him into a champion of patient’s rights and aimed his probe at us, so that he can recant later and we come out smelling like a rose.”

“How could you know that stuff, Liz?” Dominic asked, taking her to the edge of bliss. “Why would they tell you about the Senator?”

“Who do you think made him who he is today, Laurence?” Dominic froze only for an instant but Lizbeth noticed. He saw the slight narrowing of her eyes before he gave her the first orgasm of the day. The intensity of her pleasure evidently excused his reaction to her pronouncement as Lizbeth snuggled against him and kissed his breastbone. “How soon do you need to go?” she asked, voice soft and contented, arm tightening around him.

“I can call a friend to come and get me. He’ll be here in a half an hour or so.” Smiling indulgently at Lizbeth, he said, “You don’t have to drive me anywhere. You can continue to be impossibly cute right here in your own bed.”


“I meant that in the sexiest possible way, Liz,” he said.

“I like it when you call me that,” she murmured, shifting to look up at Dominic. “I hate it from everyone else. I wonder why.”

“Because you just came harder than you’ve come since last night?” he said, not bothering to dodge the good natured punch Lizbeth aimed his way.

“Arrogant bastard.”

“Truth is a defense.”

“When can I see you again?” she asked.

“How long can you wait?” Dominic countered.

“An hour. Maybe two.”

“I have to work, Liz.” Dominic tilted her head up a little more and kissed her with exquisite thoroughness. “I’ll call you, ok?”

* * *

Laurence Dominic stepped into the black van. “Rossum is fucked up,” he said, accepting the cup of coffee Victor offered. “Delusions of grandeur much?”

“They aren’t delusions if they can make them happen,” Victor said. Sober expression fading into mischief, he said, “You can turn off the audio pickup now.”

Dominic’s mouth dropped open. Smirking openly now, Victor reached over and deactivated the device for Dominic. “I am so screwed there isn’t a word for how screwed I am,” Dominic groaned, dropping his head into his hands. “When Topher gets hold of this, I am fucking completely and no doubt publicly screwed.”

“DeWitt says she’s not sharing the audio files with anyone and I believe her,” Victor said, clapping Dominic on the shoulder. “There’s no way she’s going to advertise ‘The Dominator.’ Demand a personal reprise of the role, maybe, but tell anyone that you made a lovely young woman scream in ecstasy repeatedly? No. I think she’ll keep that bit of information to herself.”

“What about you?” Dominic asked, watching Victor toy with a piece of what looked to have once been a scone. “What are you going to do with that bit of information?”

“Other than call you ‘The Dominator’ from time to time, nothing. My ego is well and truly bruised, Dom. I don’t intend to make it worse by tooting your horn.” Victor chuckled. “So to speak.”

“Not funny.”

“Now, how can you be in a bad mood when you got off less than ten minutes ago?” Victor asked. “You should be disgustingly relaxed and feeling superior and smug because that woman is already thinking about next time.”

Dominic smiled. “I am feeling kind of mellow to be honest. It was just the shock of the audio thing that threw me off stride.”



“No particular reason.” Victor laughed at Dominic’s expression of blatant disbelief. “I’d give anything to be a fly on the wall when DeWitt debriefs you.”

“What are you talking about? You’ll be in the room.” Victor shook his head. “You won’t be in the room? Why not?”

“Boss lady wants you all to herself.”

“That can’t be good.”

“My advice to you—drink your coffee. You want to be alert for this.”

“Asleep might be better,” Dominic said, sipping his coffee as instructed.

“Asleep could be lethal,” Victor countered, laughing at Dominic’s scowl.

* * *

“Do come in, Mr. Dominic,” Adelle DeWitt said, rising smoothly to her feet as the handler turned pseudo active approached, masking any reaction whatsoever to the looseness in his gait, the unconscious swagger of a man who’s pleased with himself.

“You wanted to see me without Victor, ma’am. May I ask why? Over the course of this assignment, he’s spent more time with the target than I have and his insights might well be relevant.”

“You gave Lizbeth Carson what she needed, Mr. Dominic, not Victor and I wished to be able to speak frankly and candidly without running the risk of dealing a blow to Victor’s not insignificant ego.”

“He’s a professional—.”

“He’s a man who was found wanting. As such, he requires time and the tender attentions of his lover to build him back up to par.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You disagree, Mr. Dominic?” Adelle enjoyed challenging this man far too much.

“No, ma’am.”

“Is something amiss?” Adelle asked, thinking three ma’ams in thirty seconds excessive. Dominic shook his head and looked away. “Did you never sleep with anyone during the course of your undercover assignments for the NSA, Mr. Dominic?”

“You know I did.”

“Then what is the problem?” Adelle asked, suspecting she knew the answer but perversely wanting to hear it from his lips nonetheless.

“My … ah … boss wasn’t listening.”

“It disconcerts you that I heard your interrogation of Ms. Carson?”

Dominic closed his eyes. “No,” he said.

“Let me assure you, Mr. Dominic. I have heard a vast number of sexual encounters during the course of my work here. Yours with Ms. Carson neither shocked nor particularly interested me.” Adelle retreated behind her desk to maintain the correct amount of distance. “Do make your report.”

* * *

“We should cultivate Lizbeth,” Laurence Dominic concluded, watching Adelle DeWitt’s expression, undoubtedly seeking a hint as to her thoughts. “If we play her correctly, she’ll tell us everything she knows and then actively seek more information to keep my interest.”

“No,” Adelle said. “The danger of exposure is too great. I don’t want Rossum to know how much we know about their plans. We’ll obtain more information in a different manner.”

“What manner?” he asked.

“In the manner I see fit,” Adelle said.

“With all due respect, ma’am—.”

“That will be all, Mr. Dominic.” Their eyes met and locked, blue battled green. Adelle wondered for what exactly.

“No, Ms. DeWitt. That will not be all. That is far from all. This woman gives us a window into Rossum, a fucking back door. Why would you throw that away?”

“I understand your need to have an undercover operation progress smoothly and to a successful conclusion,” she said, standing to face him. “This one has. Congratulations.”

“We could accomplish so much more.”

“Are you quite sure this isn’t about the sex, Mr. Dominic? Such a responsive partner is difficult to find.”

“Are you, Ms. DeWitt?”

Adelle smiled coldly, even as she felt her nipples harden at the hint of a snarl in his voice. “Don’t flatter yourself,” she murmured.

“I didn’t. Lizbeth did.” Dominic took a step closer, intensity radiated from him. “You heard what she said about me, about the things I did to her and how they made her feel.”

“You overstep your bounds, Mr. Dominic.”

“I don’t think you know what my bounds are,” he said, adding, “ma’am,” as an annoying afterthought several heartbeats later. “I know I sure as hell don’t.”

“Then I suggest you educate yourself.”

“Educate me.” Tone soft, stance as relaxed as Adelle had ever seen, bearing the casual confidence of a man who’s had excellent sex very recently, Dominic threw the proverbial gauntlet down at her feet.

“Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Dominic.”

“Somehow I don’t think being careful is going to cut it.” He stepped well into Adelle’s personal space. Pitching his voice in the low rumble that wove its way right through her, he said, “I don’t think you like or respect careful and you sure as hell don’t want or need it.” Inching closer, eyes intent, expression almost angry, he said, “What’s it going to be, Adelle? Care to be more specific than not careful.”

“No.” When he opened his mouth to offer some disparaging remark or another, Adelle slipped her tongue inside and lured Dominic into a slow, sensual kiss replete with myriad promises of passion and fulfillment. “That,” Adelle said, smiling at the slight flush in his cheeks and the rapidity with which his chest rose and fell, “is beyond your boundary, Mr. Dominic.”

“That,” he said, smile the epitome of sin, “is a damn shame, Ms. DeWitt.”

“Perhaps,” she said, putting every ounce of sultry she could muster in her smile. “As for Ms. Carson, I suggest you tell her that you’ve met someone who does for you what you did for her.”

“Have I?”

Surprised, intrigued and dangerously tempted, she said, “Perhaps.”

“You like that answer,” he said, grinning. “But that’s ok. I’m comfortable with ambiguity. For now.” Expression turning serious, he said, “I wish you would reconsider about Lizbeth, Adelle. We could make something of her. I know it.”

“We need to cut her loose, Laurence,” she said, enjoying the widening of his eyes at her use of his first name, suspecting it called his attention to his, likely unconscious, use of hers. “She could identify you. She could make it clear how much we know. It’s not worth the risk.”

“Fine,” he muttered, looking as though defeat tasted bitter. “Whatever you say.” Making for the door, he muttered, “That will certainly be fucking all, Mr. Dominic.”

“Perhaps not.”

Dominic turned at the threshold and flashed Adelle a smile. That she returned it put even more spring in his step. Uncharacteristically, Adelle didn’t mind.

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Honestly, it was everything. I enjoyed everything in this fic. The beginning with Kilo and Dominic I loved, Adelle being jealous, her listening in on 'The Dominator,'...all of that was just perfect! What I really enjoyed most of all though, aside from that brilliant ending that had me cursing it's finality, was the way you captured their voices and their essences so well. I just adore the way you write both Adelle and Dominic, and it was just so apparent in this chapter. That chemistry and subtext and UST that was so obvious in the show is so obvious here as well! It's just perfect!!

Thanks. Seriously. This was intense to write because of everything I wanted to pack into it. I'm glad to know it worked for someone else.

I imagined Dom as kind of flattered by Kilo's attention while wanting that sort of attention from elsewhere and seeing what he could do to get it. The end just came out of no where. Adelle doesn't want him working undercover for a lot of reasons (not the least of which was the sex). Dom wants to do something useful and bristles at being cut off. Then I thought, why not make it personal, because it is whether they admit it or not.

I like that Dominic in this embodiment can be aggressive or assertive or whatever you want to call it. And that Adelle is a bit vulnerable beneath her competent, cold when she wants it to be exterior.

Glad you enjoyed!

I imagined Dom as kind of flattered by Kilo's attention while wanting that sort of attention from elsewhere and seeing what he could do to get it.

Yes, I got that feeling! Like, it was incredible to him to have that sort of attention from someone like Kilo, but that he necessarily didn't want it from her.

I'm so surprised that the end came out of nowhere for you because, to me, it seemed to flow perfectly within the context of the fic. What you said about Dom wanting to be useful was obvious, and making it all personal just added that extra bit of unf to it all.

I like that Dominic in this embodiment can be aggressive or assertive or whatever you want to call it. And that Adelle is a bit vulnerable beneath her competent, cold when she wants it to be exterior.

That was my favorite! I think if there's anyone Adelle can be vulnerable with, it's Dom. And, in addition to that, I think if she wanted anyone to be aggressive with her, it would be him as well. Just perfect!

I guess what surprised me about the ending was that it felt right for Dominic to challenge Adelle more directly, asserting that she doesn't know his boundaries and admitting that he doesn't. And Adelle responding with something she deems out of bounds just made it all work. I was sort of left with--that was more powerful/intense than I thought it would be.

Thanks for all of the feedback.

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