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Rating: 3-3-3

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RPF* Real Person Fiction; IE Apping an actual celebrity

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Thread Contributor: Quethadia NyxThreats of Flirtation
Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

127 Posts
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Age:88
Job: "Travel Writer" (Smuggler)
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Moon

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#1
Queth was finally settling back into her life in the hub after far too long. This time, to move to the hub, Queth had to explain what was happening to her family- who were more than a little bit confused by the declaration that they had died. She didn't blame them for that one, after all she was still acclimatizing to the merging of her existences. On the one hand her mostly flesh body felt foreign and uncomfortable, and on the other, this grumpy personality seemed completely alien.

In other words, she had an excellent explanation for why she was only now properly thanking all of the people who had been so kind to her during such a difficult time. Er. Or difficult personality. Certainly she had thanked the redhead she was going to see, before, and during, their quest. Several times. And then by text several times after. Yet Queth knew that she very much owed Belle, so on the road she went.

Hopefully she wouldn't be angry at Queth for not visiting in person yet. Hopefully Queth's choice in fashion would make Belle laugh. Many many hopes. Including the hope that maybe the redhead would finally pick up on Queth's interest in her, now that Queth had enough soul to present that better.

She opened the door to Belle's diner, quashing her nerves as well as she could. Seeing the redhead, Queth broke into a grin. It occurred to her that she may look like an idiot, standing there in what was obviously a penguin themed tshirt. Probably even a pajama shirt. Still, that was half the point of the top, so she just opened her mouth and greeted the other woman. "Hey Belle, it's good to see you."

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#2
Well of course she knew Queth was grateful to her! But Belle still thought it was awful silly for her to keep saying so! She was dang well aware that she’d been at best a distraction for Queth, and at worst...well a distraction!

She’d known Queth from the Quest and the new well..softer side of her was a bit jarring, Belle did her best to acclimate to the change but she sort of missed her grumpy friend; she hadn’t been avoiding the elf but her own new business kept her..well busy! And she’d tried to make it clear that of course Queth was welcome to spend time with her there, but somehow the mechanic was always busy which she really couldn't blame her for now could she?

Now Queth had always had what Belle considered...questionable fashion choices, including the time she had rescued her and dressed Belle in pajama bottoms. So seeing her in a penguin shirt that might have doubled as sleepwear...well that didn’t do a dang thing to dim her expression.

“Hi Hon!” Belle quickly set down the tray she’d been carrying to bounce to the front, wrapping her arms around the taller woman, Belle was just a bit red, a thin prickle of sweat made its appearance around her slightly disheveled hairline, she’d just come from the hot kitchen and she’d been working non stop all morning, her bakery/restaurant was becoming more popular than she’d ever hoped but that also meant she was on her feet nearly constantly.

Thankfully her midday break was in about half an hour where she’d close down the shop for a few hours to rest and prep for dinner.

Speaking off…

Belle reached behind Queth to flip the sign to closed. There now, the customers she had now would be the last than she could really close out.

Belle gave Queth another squeeze, “Ya hungry?” she offered tugging her towards the free table near the kitchen entrance and bar.
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#3
There were benefits for having memories of over a hundred years- the one Queth cared most for at the moment was that she had so much practice reading people. Meant that when Belle scanned over Queth's clothes without so much as a word, the elf couldn't help but huff out a laugh. She began unbuttoning the shirt almost immediately- though she was stopped from doing so by an exuberant hug.

Queth grinned and leaned down to hug back properly- getting a face full of hair in the process. A quick breath confirmed without opening her eyes that it was Belle's hair Queth had her face nuzzled in. The elf smelled of fire, metal, and coffee. Belle smelled of peaches and lillies- and Queth wasn't certain when she had last smelled something so lovely.

Straightening back up, Queth let go with a little sigh of reluctance. Sue her, she liked hugs. Following the baker, Queth continued unbuttoning her shirt before pulling it off to reveal a tanktop underneath. "You know." She offered with a mischievous smirk. "It defeats my purpose of trying to make you laugh, if you don't laugh." She offered wisely, biting her lip to keep from chuckling at her own jokes.

Then she was being hugged again and pulled towards a table and okay. Queth was much too content with being manhandled by the redhead.

Plopping down easily, Queth smiled again. "That depends, are you joining me?"

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#4
“Hey now!” Belle slapped the other woman lightly on the shoulder, “No strippin’ here!” she play scolded, certain that Queth would be perfectly decent under her top.

Queths petulant statement stopped the redhead in her tracks her mouth forming a half surprised little ‘O’. Belle grinned at her, “Darlin’ if ya want me ta be shocked by what ya deem to wear-” Belle reached up to pat her cheek “Ya should maybe na keep offerin’ me pajamas!” Belle laughed than, a warm bright sound, reaching up she wiped a way a few errant strands pushing Queth into her seat.

“In a few hun.” Belle pulled out the long hair pin holding her hair up and out of the way, Sighing as the heavy mass tumbled down. “Gotta clean up and-” Belle paused to grin ruefully, “Ya know? It can wait.” she plopped down across from her friend, rubbing her hands into her scalp with a sinful little sigh of pleasure as the pressure eased.

“How have you been?” she asked peeking up through the strands of amber and auburn that covered her face comically from her ministrations. “Business good? No more rescues or quests?”

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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

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Age:88
Job: "Travel Writer" (Smuggler)
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#5
Queth laughed, the sounds reverberating from deeper than any such amusement she had without her full soul. "Well 'Darlin'" She started to reply, putting emphasis on saying the pet name similar to how Belle had. "Maybe I was trying to reference those pyjamas and look similarly silly to how a certain redhead did."

When Belle moved to clean up, Queth stood up comfortably. She could have pulled the redhead down, but instead she started looking around for cleaning supplies- before Belle confirmed that it could wait. Queth grinned in response, doing her best to ignore the sound Belle made when she ran her fingers through her hair.

For the best, because that was the kind of sound that could haunt a girl's dreams if she let it. While Queth would have enjoyed that kind of haunting, it seemed rude to let herself.

"You know I could help if you wanted. It's hardly the first time I've bussed a table." She spoke idly, not really expecting Belle to take her up on her offer.

She returned to her seat, shrugging slightly as she did. "Business is Business. My world is mostly rescues and quests- so the only real difference there versus the hub is that I usually work solo. Though as I'm back down to one timeline, I am back in my garage- didn't even know how much I missed that until the timelines merged." She offered easily. It was strange to her- on the one hand, no time at all had passed between her leaving her shop, and her coming back. And on the other hand, she had never really been in a mechanic's garage until she came to the hub.

Reaching forward to brush a few strands of hair out of Belle's face, Queth turned the question around. "How about you? You seem to be pretty busy in here." She leaned forward to take the other woman's hand, starting to massage the digits.

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#6
“Well now!” Belle’s fists made a cute little statement planted into her hips, “Thats completely unfair! I was kidnapped!” She complained, unable to maintain her petulant pout, transforming almost unwillingly into a bright grin for the joke.

“‘You being safe?” Belle’s smile vanished as she took Queths hand between her own, worry darkening her gaze. “You got good partners to watch your back? Ah bet Steve or Arjay wouldn’t mind gonna on a run if ya needed someone you can trust.” Belle felt very secure in her assessment that either man would come when called.

They were friends after all.

Belle might be patiently useless at the sort of work or help Queth needed but the boys seemed to have a good handle on all the skills she lacked.

And when they got back Belle would have dinner even the super solider couldn’t demolish ready and waiting.

Belle blushed slightly as Queth shifted the hold to massage her hand, “Ya don’t have ta, but ya have about a decade ta stop.” The corner of her mouth quirked up.

“Me?” Belle blinked chuckling, “Oh hun, nothing exciting happens to me you know that!” Seemingly obvious that several ‘somethings exciting’ had already happened. To Belle those were things that had happened around her, that yes she was caught up in but she could have been any random person and faired the same.

“But business is good. An’ im happy.” And finally letting the wounds on her heart scar over.

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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

127 Posts
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Age:88
Job: "Travel Writer" (Smuggler)
Ship Status: Trying to date Belle
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#7
Queth liked Belle's smile. She liked it even more when she caused it. Quietly she couldn't help the returned grin, and even more secretly, she clenched her fingers together in an under the table fist pump.

Putting on that dumb shirt had been worth it.

Queth's smile turned comforting as she patted Belle's hand. "I usually work alone because it's less suspicious- but if I have a job I need help with, I have people in my world I can call on. Some of my friends are still alive this go round." She replied easily before making a gesture and pulling an air spirit into existence. "Besides which, I'm rarely ever truly alone." She explained, a second gesture pulling a creature made of code into the air before both dissipated.

Queth threw her head back with a laugh at Belle's remark, returning to her task only a moment later with a smirk. "I can think of few better ways to spend my time than with my hands on you." She offered softly, not wanting Belle to feel put upon. Especially since Queth liked her for so much more than just her body.

She listened Quietly, snorting slightly at Belle's proclamation. "Yes because being teleported to a different reality and then traveling back in time are certainly not exciting. Pull the other one." She retorted drily before nodding her head at the diner. "Besides which, you've opened up a place of your own- I would have thought that that would qualify as pretty exciting."

Queth took a breath to speak again when she heard Belle and her words melted away. "I'm glad. You deserve it."

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#8
Belle didn’t know magic from a hole in the ground(or at least that was what she told herself) so she didn’t know how much help or autonomy Queths little friends had. Could they talk her out of a not so smart plan? Could they go for help independently? Or where they on the order of loyal dogs?”You just Promise me you are being safe, an’ you ARE gettin’ help when you even MIGHT need it.” There was real worry in her repressive order, Queth was a true friend, her first in this new universe that had opened up for her. And it would shatter her if anything happened to the pretty elf.

Belle would never say she missed the cybernetics that had once dotted her friends features (visible or not Belle had known they where there, having seen them often enough) because she’d seen the terrible price they had taken, and the horrific event that had spawned them. But...she was still getting used to the new different Queth.

Groaning Belle shook her head “Oh Ah know I promised ya all I’d try an’ learn how to defend myself…” Belle shifted like a school girl caught out with her homework incomplete, misunderstanding Queths comment about ‘hands’. “Just been busy.” She half whined.


“Well..” Belle blushed at being called off, free hand fanning the air to dismiss the event. “Everyone has one adventure you know.” Completely overstepping that she had now been on THREE ‘advenntures’.

Belle’s expression softened at the genuine feeling in Queth’s voice. “I’m happy we both are doin’ well.” She responded softly.
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#9
Queth squeezed Belle's hand softly. "I promise, Belle. I don't recklessly endanger my life-" She paused as her grin turned sheepish. "-anymore." She added, voice significantly more quietly. "Though if I got help any time I might need it- I'd have to have someone help me get dressed and undressed, just to make sure I I don't accidentally electrocute myself. Are you volunteering?" Queth purred, confident Belle would miss the flirting again.

She didn't miss the expression that Belle made- something not dissimilar to one she had seen on Arjay just the night before. She reached for her elbow to peel back the faux flesh sleeve. Metal hand now bare, Queth flipped her palm upwards for Belle to look at. "I'm still me." She offered quietly, stripping off the protective guards to reveal the same hand Belle had known. "I'm just more now- I used to be about ten percent of a person. I didn't just lose my family Belle- this isn't a matter of the past defining the person."

She paused, uncertain how to word it, unable to remember if she had told Belle before. "In my world, every piece of a person that is replaced- like my cybernetics- tears a piece of their soul away. So I'm just less empty."

The fact that her flirting went right over Belle's head didn't even surprise Queth. Though it did mean that as their conversation continued, she held onto a small part of her mind to contemplate what to say next.

Giving up on eloquence, she spoke. "Belle, I had a crush on you even when I couldn't be much more than angry. I'd really like to take you out to dinner sometime- which is to say. Would you like to go on a date with me?"

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#10
Queth answered the unimpressed twist to Belle’s lips sheepishly enough to mollify the redhead that she wasn’t being completely suicidal in her jobs. “Why would you accidentally hurt yourself?” She blinked “But of course I would.” Belle sounded vaguely confused as to the whys and hows but she was more than willing to help out with an extra pair hands!

Belle couldn’t help herself but to lean over and wrap her arms around Queth, “You were never empty to me.” she murmured holding the taller woman tightly. Because it was true; the Queth she’d met, shared adventures with was as full of spirit and personality as anyone, and far far more interesting and brave than she herself was!

Calloused hands, stained around the nail bed by the food dyes she used to make her cupcakes slipped the cover back over Queth’s arm with gentle precision that told of how carefully she’d paid attention over the months.

Fingers which stilled in their efforts at Queth’s little boomshell.

“Oh.” Belle blinked. And blinked again. There really was no way to misinterpret that was there! “Ah.” Blink. “Ah.” I never thought of you more than a friend. I’ve never really thought of girls like that. I don’t want to hurt your feelings-

A dozen responses chased around, bouncing off the sides of her brain, so many and none were perfect because the last thing she wanted to do was lead her friend on or hurt her.

In the end she decided to be...just honest. “Sweetie. I-” Belle blushed gathering herself to finish helping put her arm sleeve back on. “I have honestly not ever really thought about a girl like that.” she was TRYING To be mature but God she wished Queth had been a little more oblique! Than Belle could have answered with out worrying about hurting feelings!

Taking a steading breath reminding herself that it took a lot of courage to confess something like that Belle, met her gaze squarely. “I care for you. I love you.” She admitted her feelings openly and honestly, “As a friend. An’-” Belle pinkened further as the idea of say Arjay coming to her with the same proposition. She suspected she’d be just as blind sided!

“An’ I’ve never been with a girl like that.” She repeated almost helplessly, “I don’t wanna lead ya on….but…” She wiggled trying to figure out how to vocalize her thought with out sounding patronizing, “I wouldn’t...I mean...I’d be worried about ruining our friendship if you were a man too!” She burst out trying so hard to explain. “But…-” Belle’s gaze had drifted down as she focused trying to not ruin her friendship with a poorly placed word. “I’d not say no?” She ended with blinking wide slightly confused, and very concerned eyes at Queth.

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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

127 Posts
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Age:88
Job: "Travel Writer" (Smuggler)
Ship Status: Trying to date Belle
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#11
Queth didn't try to deny the quiet snicker she gave when Belle oh so innocently agreed to help her undress. It was just like the woman to be so willing to help that she didnt even think through what she was being asked. And Queth had expected the flirting to go over Belle's head.

It was the hug that reminded her again why she liked belle anyways. Even if Belle was oblivious to Queth's intentions, she was so kind and caring- and frankly Queth was lucky to have met a woman like Belle. She hugged back easily, smiling fully. "Thank you Belle."

She was even more touched as Belle carefully replaced the faux skin covering on Queth's forearm. Queth herself only wore it because other people were sometimes made uncomfortable from the dramatic shift from flesh to metal- and it kept shit out of her gears. But it meant the world to Queth that Belle didn't even flinch at touching the not skin.

When Belle froze, Queth finished the job, carefully sealing the end back in place so there were no obvious seams. She gave Belle a few moments to get her thoughts back in place- though her assertions made Queth want to laugh.

The redhead's final words stretched a new smile across the elf's face. Returning to her massage of Belle's hand- Queth replied. Though this time she made certain to keep eye contact. "Belle, I promise you that if you go out with me- and then decide you just want to be friends, I won't hold that against you. Drek, you could yell no in my face now and I wouldn't." She paused, smile softening.

"Did I ever tell you i was once engaged? This incredible idiot of a guy was going to marry me- back when I was human. We were going to grow old together- right up until magic came back and I stopped growing old. We tried but- eventually he left me for someone he could grow old with." Queth offered softly, knowing that this was probably not the best way to ask someone out, but wanting Belle to trust her word.

"My first life- I never forgave him. My second life, I had people to tell me off for my idiocy. Maybe I couldn't have what I had once hoped for with him- but if you care enough about someone, it doesn't matter what they can give you. Life is too short, even for me, to let temporary pain stop you from enjoying the lifr you can have."

She smiled again at Belle. "But my point is, I care about you too much to lose you to a couple bad dates. I'm like herpes, once you have me, you're stuck with me for life." Queth winked at that thought before clearing her throat.

"Which is a long convoluted way of saying, will you go to dinner with me Friday night?"
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#12
For all Queth’s reassurances, worry tightened lines around her eyes; she’d had more than one friendship ruined because a boy couldn’t take a soft ‘no’, and she’d yet managed to stay friends with a boy she’d used to date.

Belle blinked back tears at Queth’s simple heartfelt statement; it was too near to what she’d had with James...how she felt knowing that she’d grow old….that they would never have children together...all the sacrifices she’d accepted to feel his love.

Even if in the end she’d only had a few short months.

The scars were healing, but they were still scars, too much pressure would reopen the wounds.

All that was in the background of her thoughts though; her main focus on the lovely woman infront of her and- Belle blushed, yes of course she thought Queth was beautiful! But now she had to think about it!

Her expression shifted, mouth quirking down in thoughtful contemplation; ‘night’ her shop was most active from 8pm - 8am, so that was square in her ‘up’ time and it would be more convenient to do something in the day and-

Belle cut off the thought. No she could afford a night off and the better to make this more ‘traditional’ and...solidify that this was a date date and not just a night out with a friend.

“Ok.” Belle swallowed against her sudden attack of dry mouth, “Friday night.” Her head bobbed comically, stray hairs flying with the violence of the action.

She would be praying that no matter what happened she wouldn’t lose her friend.

….and Belle needed to have a long think with herself.

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#13
Seeing Belle's near tears stole the wind from Queth's speech. She wanted to slap herself in the face because- damnit, she should have known better. It wasn't like it was new to her that Belle's fiance had left and not come back- in fact it was the very opposite. It had been some fifty years give or take since she had last seen Belle wearing her ring on her hands.

So apparently there were some very big downsides to having a great life. This one being- she was trying to convince a girl to go out with her- but her fragging memory made her bring Belle to tears. Queth squeezed Belle's hand as she rubbed at her temple. "I'm sorry. I should have remembered that was- I should have known better." She offered quietly, before unhooking her own necklace to lay on the table.

The small rose gold ring shone brightly, despite its age. It hadn't been worn for long enough to suffer any real damage- and her once love had given it back to her once they reconciled. "I know that it's much easier to say you've moved on then to actually do so. If this is too soon, that's okay." She gave a crooked grin to the redhead. "It took me nearly thirty years to get back in the dating pool, and I do try not to be too much of a hypocrite."

Clearing her throat, she didn't try to hide her smile. "That being said, I just want you to know you can change your mind- and that either way I'm still going to count the minutes until Friday night." She bit her lip slightly. "Really. If you decide that it's not something you want to explore- then I'll bring over Chinese food and wine. We can watch some shitty romcom. Otherwise." Her grin grew again. "I'll come pick you up- does seven work? I mean if seven doesn't-"

Queth did something decidedly out of character then and blushed notably. "I'm rambling. I think I might need to start washing dishes or something. My garage is empty right now and I need something to do-" She squeezed Belle's hand one more time before standing up and looking around the restaurant. With a gesture she started gathering the dishes from all over the place all at once. "Do you have a specific sink I should use?"

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#14
Wait no-
Belle shook her head; she’d not meant to have Queth comfort her! Yes it hurt, (and she doubted it ever really would, just diminish over time) but it had been the reminder that Queth had the same pain that drew tears to her eyes!

“Ah no Honey I-” she verbally flailed, shutting up as Queth revealed more about her own tragic past...a pain that still remained even after ‘fixing’ things.

“Seven is good.” Belle nodded, part of her mind already spinning off to try and figure out what to WEAR!

...only to get whiplash as Queth suddenly started bussing tables! “I mean yes-” Well it seemed she was just going to be flustered for the foreseeable future. Wonderful, she loved looking like a goldfish.

Belle pointed sheepishly towards the kitchen doors, “Big-un next to the washer, na the one next to the sink.” What Belle REALLY wanted to do at this moment was take a long bath, nap THAN freak out on Chris. But that was not going to happen, which honestly might be for the best, because if nothing else Queth sticking around would not let Belle flip out that this Changed Things.

Taking a deep breath Belle pasted on a smile that wasn’t exactly fake (she just needed it to make her feel normal than she would be!) and started to cash out her remaining customers.

By the time she joined Queth, the last had left and her small cafe was quiet once more, and Belle herself thought that maybe she’d achieved SOME kind of balance. “You didn’t hav ta-” Belle seemed to almost gather herself to flirt a smirk, “Ah don’t make all mah suitors show their homely skills-” She needed to treat Queth like she would a man, than the mental switch would be flipped...she hoped. “Ah least na till the second date.” she purred, the same teasing, inviting smirk pulling at her lips that she’d give any man she flirted with. It wasn’t fake she found just...different.

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#15
Queth couldn't help her smile when Belle agreed. She paused for a moment- plates balanced perilously in the air- to turn back to the redhead with a full smile. "Then I'll be here at seven." She replied, before continuing the magic collection that had a few of the remaining customers watching in amusement.

She took the given instructions and filled up the sink comfortably, getting to work without a complaint. She had just started neatly stacking the dishes when Belle came over.

Then she was flirting, and Queth went red to the very points of her ears. She had not been even remotely prepared for- for belle flirting! Queth had honestly been expecting to be shot down so this was completely out of the realm of expectations. She tried to lean against the edge of the sink and portray some kind of calm, teasing energy- something to make it so Belle didn't think she was a flustered little kid.

It may even have worked- if her hand hadn't slipped and she hadn't ended up with her whole arm in the sink. That just had her even more red, even as she brushed the more soaking tips of her hair back over her shoulders. Unable to not laugh at herself, Queth smiled and gave her most charming voice. "I had to do something to keep your attention, didn't I?"

And with that said, she reached out and placed a dollop of bubbles on Belle's nose.

Her shit eating grin probably didn't make the action seem too innocent.

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#16
Well would you look at that.

There was a sway to her hips as she closed the distance; Belle might be new to having a girl lookin’ at her like that, but she knew when she had the upper hand...and if she was going to do this...well Belle was all in kinda girl. Not to say she wouldn’t scream in Chris’s ear later but in the moment?

Rubber soled tennis shoes squeaked softly as Belle sashayed dropping the final tray off next to where Queth was making a more intimate acquaintance with her sink; Belle was tried, slightly sticky/sweaty and had bits of hair still flying, yet at that second she felt she owned every inch of whatever assets God had gifted her. The little smirk she gave when Queth marked her nose promised retaliation.

“Careful darlin’-” her fingers trailed up Queths arm, ostensibly to pat it down with a dish towel. Belle was a flirt, she played the game for the joy of it, and she found that there was apparently no difference in her mind once she tried between a man who was flustered by her and a woman. “Don’t wanna get wet-” smoldering blue watched her from beneath feather fine lashes; “Ah least na yet.” she purred drawing out the words.

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#17
Frag her, Queth was so incredibly out of her league. She was a hundred years older than Belle if you counted all of her memories- but the redhead was playing her like a fiddle. Her attempt to tease Belle had backfired in the best possible way and Queth was torn between immense satisfaction and overwhelming embarrassment.

Hell, she had been on her best behaviour earlier, trying not to memorize the sound of Belle's little moans of relief- and Queth was damn near certain that her crush's smirk was going to haunt her to the grave. And oh what a way to go. Queth would probably walk willingly off a cliff right then if Belle asked her to.

It was all she could do to summon enough magic in her mind to leave a trail of pleasurable sparks on Belle's skin as she returned the caress. "Oh beautiful I would wait forever if that was my reward." Queth purred, eyes dark from the teasing. "That is to say, you, warm, wet, and willing." She leaned forward slightly, using the motion to lower her mouth to near Belle's ear. " You give me a challenge and I'll prove I'm more than a match for it." She promised, confident that even one kiss would have Queth ready to fight a dragon to the death.

The dragons of her world too, not the more pathetic tamable ones from other words.

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#18
Belle played the game under the rules she’d been raised under; old school southern, which boiled down to a hell of a lot of talk, back and forth, parry and thrust of innuendo that could be brushed off as innocent for all but the tone. Talk came fast and furious, action? That was a glacial pace. Casual affection was reserved for platonic friends, the moment romance entered the scene hands were off like a scalded cat. Now Belle had opened the door by her ‘innocent’ (and that was what the game was all about, plausible deniability, running hot only to dance away to cool down) drying off of Queth’s arm. That however did not mean Belle was going to jump into anything more.

At least while she was in control.

And that was the flip side to the coin. While it was still in the ‘game’ stage, Belle could be in control, flirt give better than she was sent and enjoy the hell out of herself. The moment is became well for lack of a better term real when her emotions (or hormones) over took her ingrained responses….well than all bets were off.

Queth made two (minor) missteps; either alone would have had Belle able to recover: 1) she returned very blunt rejoinder that lacked the finesse of deniability that Belle expected and more seriously...she used magic.

To make things clear, Belle had no hate of magic, she used it every day to feed her customers, her brother made his wonderful toys with it, and it kept her friends alive. These were wonderful reasons to embrace the practice!

Except.

James. Before he had been able to touch her truly, the only way he could was brushing his magic across her skin, it had become a way to awaken her, a reminder she wasn’t alone, a welcome home caress after an exhausting day.

The loss of a love was not something even the soft blessing of a goddess could fully heal, and Belle was healing; there were some reminders she had not had a chance to build armor around. And Queth stumbled right into one with her whispered promise combined with the feel of delight dancing over her skin.

Queth didn’t deserve her to break down, not over something that wasn’t her fault. Belle sternly told the tears threatening to retreat and swallowed past the thickness in her throat to salvage what she could. “Ah think i’m gonna take a nap.” She murmured what could in a slightly different tone have been mistaken for an invitation. “Thank ya for your help honey.” Belle flashed Queth something like her normal brilliant smile. “I’ve been on mah feet near 14 hours now.” There was no acting needed to show the exhaustion Belle had been battling since before Queth had dropped her little bomb. “You wanna come over before openin’ an’ we can have dinner or I’ll see you friday?” she offered either path, finding her footing again pushing past the moment of grief. The fact that she HAD gotten over it in a few short sentences told Belle that she WAS recovering and it was just that she really WAS exhausted that she was acting so emotional.

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#19
Queth lived in a decidedly different world than Belle had been. Not just in the literal sense either- but Queth was ex military, was from a dark part of society where love was cheap and talk was cheaper-

Not to mention that in her home, the very idea of an elf flirting with a human could get either one of them killed.

So she wasn't used to patience, certainly not when it came to romance. Subtlety was for when you knew you'd be alive tomorrow. As a general rule, Queth had stopped assuming such about herself. There was always the distinct chance that someone she had crossed would track her down and express their dismay.

She had seen more than enough folks become 'examples'.

Her heart dropped despite that when she saw Belle blinking back tears- again. Queth could only hope that they really were from exhaustion, though she had the sinking suspicion she had done something wrong.

If Belle wanted patience-... Well. Queth would attempt to learn how to flirt better.

Queth reached out again, this time carefully on Belle's upper arm, where she let her magic flare again. This time she flushed a slow acting spell to erase the majority of her muscle pain, and a spell to guarantee restful sleep. Both spells subtle enough to be easily missed. "I've got to be in my world for a run tonight, so even though the last thing I want to do is say no- I'll take a pass on dinner."

Sliding her hand down to meet Belle's, Queth smiled. She bent halfway, lifting the hand the rest of the distance to press a small kiss to it. "Sleep well." She offered quietly.

She took off her apron as though she were getting ready to leave and then waited until Belle had trudged away to return to cleaning up the kitchen. If Belle had been awake for 14 hours and could only catch a nap, Queth could kill an hour making sure she had less work to wake up to.

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