#1: UNLUCKY IN LOVE
Gotham-Metropolis, a city born of two cities that grew together through constant expansion into one sprawling mass of human civilization--the biggest city on Earth.
By the ocean, on what was still just called Metropolis Bay, Dr. Hailey Quinn and her fiance, a woman who just liked to be called Ivy these days, lived together. They'd met years ago when Ivy had just been Vivian Isley, college student/stop-at-nothing environmental activist, and Hailey, only a year older, a prodigy with several degrees and two doctorates to her name, had been a young visiting professor who'd decided to take on a permanent teaching position at the university when she'd fallen in love with one of her students. They'd been partners in crime--partners in Ivy's crusade to save the world's pant life--ever since.
The wedding though, was off- the partnership, over.
"So that's it then..." Ivy spoke softly, a few tears falling from her eyes as she reached up and touched Hailey's cheek with her fingers. Hailey met her eyes and did not wipe away her tears as her instincts still screamed at her to do.
"Leave." Hailey told her. "Now." She spoke coldly, turning and walking over to look out the window of the house that she and Ivy had shared, looking out over the water of the bay.
"For whatever it's worth: I'll always be in love with you, Hailey... Always." Ivy told her.
Hailey didn't turn around until she heard the door close and then she whirled around and threw a glass sculpture of two dolphins at the door. From there she proceeded to tear into everything around her, demolishing everything in the room regardless of value or sentiment. She just saw red, and the fury wouldn't leave her until it burned itself out. Because the truth was, as much as her pride meant she couldn't say it out loud, she would always, always be in love with Ivy too, and it just... It just, well, that had to be just about the most blatantly unfair and downright cruel thing in the world, didn't it?
An hour later, as the sun was setting, her wrath was spent and she found herself sitting on the floor against a wall in the shadows just crying piteously, not able to stop or think. She just hurt. Why had she done it? Why? Why couldn't they just be happy together?
She ended up finally getting up and going to bed in their room--her room--falling into a dreamless sleep.
The morning came and when her eyes opened, she felt like years had gone by since yesterday, but she knew they hadn't. Her thoughts mainly felt like just white noise, even though she knew that wasn't what it was... she knew her heart was broken the worst it had ever been and her head was still screaming and screaming and screaming from the pain of that... still, she was in control enough not let the screams out, and she just spent the morning taking all the plants out of the house and setting them on the large front porch. It was a warm day with a soft breeze coming in off the ocean--idyllic, really. She called a moving service and waited. An hour later they arrived and she told them to take the plants to the address she knew Ivy would be at, and warned the movers in no uncertain terms not to let them come to harm for anything (she knew that if they did, Ivy might very well kill these men for it, especially with the state she had to be in about now).
Once they were gone, she cobbled together a quick incendiary device and flipped the switch, walking away. She was a block away when the house went up in a fireball. She smiled a cold smile and went shopping, buying a new set of clothes and burning everything she'd had on in a trash bin in an alley.
Ivy just might have hated her forever if she'd burned the plants too. Hailey knew that. And even though, honestly, she'd been a little tempted to do it out of sheer spite, she knew she couldn't bring herself to got that far--to have Ivy actually... hate her like that. It just... it hadn't worked out, that's all.
She hadn't been enough for her.
She hadn't been able to make Ivy love her. Not how she wanted--not in the end. Simple as that. Now it was done. Burned.
She'd just make a new life- be a new person.
She felt like nothing really mattered to her anymore. Her heart felt cold.
So... if nothing really mattered, why not just... have some fun?
[about eight months later]
James Jessie (more infamously known as The Trickster) looked up into his boyfriend's eyes, caught spellbound. His breathing was just becoming more even, though his heart was still beating fast like a drum in his chest from what they'd just been doing in bed... He smiled an imminently satisfied smile and pulled his lover down for a kiss. "Come here, you." He whispered as their lips met again. As usual, Jace Station wasn't the type to kiss you half way, and James felt himself melting before his lover's passion yet again and loving it.
Their lips parted and Jace ran a hand through his hair, over his cheek, James returning the gesture as they stared into one another's eyes. "This won't last, you know..." Jace told him, a strange sort of distant wistfulness in his voice. "Nothing ever does."
"...Why so cheerful all of the sudden?" James asked, only half playfully. Jace got these looks sometimes, like he was... older than the world or something. James never quite knew what to make of it, and he'd always been reluctant to ask after it somehow.
"I like you, do you know that?" Jace asked him.
James laughed. "I had gotten that idea, yes. I like you too."
Jace sighed. "I'm being too serious again, aren't I?" He asked.
"I've never minded that..." James told him, tracing his fingers over Jace's face.
Jace smiled and shook his head. "The way you mess with my head sometimes, I'd almost call it a miracle..." He told him, moving to snuggle up to him and kiss his chin, his neck, nip at his ear.
"A miracle, huh?" James replied, Jace's hand on his ribs going down to his hip and then stroking his sex a little. "Imagine that."
"Imagine..." Jace told him softly, titling his head to the side and kissing him.
They made out like that for a while, in no hurry at all, and, in time, fell off to sleep together. It had been a good day- one of the best. They'd actually gone out on a date, just a regular date. They'd never -done- that before, and James thought he liked it for a change.
He fell off to sleep holding and being held by his lover. He'd never really thought himself the settling down kind, but, he thought... maybe one day, with Jace, years from now, he just might be.
Instead of dreaming of possible bright futures though, his dreams quickly turned, quite literally, to Hell. He saw his family burning. He saw Jace laughing in joy, not a care in the world, then stabbed through the heart by Professor Zoom, The Reverse Flash--his murder's laughter a haunting refrain. He ran, but how could you outrun someone like Zoom? But then he wasn't Zoom, he was someone else... someone he never wanted to remember, and he was being raped, again...
Then there were demons, clawing at him, tearing his flesh away, dragging him down to Hell, and there were burning eyes... those eyes, and a symbol, and a familiar voice that told him to run. Then Jace was there, and he was being dragged away through a wall by demons. "I'm sorry about this, really, but you have to run James! Run!" He called to him (so that's who the voice had been).
Then he was waking up, sitting up stock straight in panic, his heart beating faster than he could ever remember it beating, sweat poring down his skin. He looked around, trying to get his mind to work right again. "Jace?" He rasped, his throat feeling dry.
Jace was gone, but his eyes alighted on the wall, and that same symbol burned into it, and it felt like his heart dropped out of his chest and someone had sucker-punched him in the gut at the same time. "Run..." He imagined he heard Jace's voice in his head. "It's not over yet."
He got up and grabbed some pants, getting out of the apartment as fast as he could, not caring about anything else.
He was on the street minutes later, having just put his pants on, when an explosion rocked the air and almost blew him off his still bare feet. He turned and saw his apartment--burning. Jace... not to mention all the money they'd had in there... What was -going on-?! What the fuck was...
He needed help, there was no two ways about it. "Hailey." He spoke to the night air.
Why hadn't he grabbed his cell phone when he'd had the chance?
[still about eight months later, plus a few days or so]
She was in Sylvan Scofield's bed, holding her down by the wrists, soft fabric that seemed alive caressing their skin in such completely sensual ways. Her newest lover offered no resistance; her eyes spoke that she was eager and wanted to be dominated--wanted someone to be in charge of her. At least, that's what she was like now anyway, what she was usually like in bed if you didn't know what things to say and do to set her off. Hailey smiled and claimed her lips in a suitably predatory kiss, coming down over her and then moving to kiss her neck, letting go of Sylvan's wrists and feeling her lover's arms wrap around her back. "Oh yes, oh Hailey yes..." Sylvan breathed as Hailey slipped her fingers inside her and started to play the body below her like a fine instrument, she a skilled and gifted musician of the highest order. And that wasn't bragging... or, if it was, it was also simply a fact. As smart as she was, as fast as she learned things, anything really, it usually took her very little time at all to figure out just exactly how to please any woman at all in the ways she most wanted, most needed. It was probably her favorite activity in the whole world, actually, despite how easily it came to her... Perhaps even a little bit because it was so easy--so easy she didn't even have to really think about it--and, at the same time, she really couldn't explain, even to herself, exactly how it worked. What it was in a woman's eyes, in the ways she moved that told her these things so eloquently? And, of course, it felt completely amazing... to be with another person like this. There was no way to put a value on it. It always left her feeling a sense of wonder, in fact, because it was one of the two things in the world that, at the end of the day, she could never really comprehend completely, and the only thing that still left her awed--what she saw spoken silently on another woman's face, in her eyes, and felt in her touch when love was involved between them.
And it had been a blast, the last eight months... well, mostly... She'd spent most of it in the Gems (another mash-up city--it used to be Central and Keystone Cities, nicknamed the Gem Cities, but, over time, people had just started calling it Gem City, or the Gems). She'd been carrying on a rocky but very engaging and rewarding love affair with Lisa Snart (better known as The Golden Glider). Things had ended badly between them. And that was a long story, but sufficed to say, Lisa blamed Hailey for her brother's death... which, really, was mostly fair. Even if Hailey hadn't been the one who'd killed him herself, she'd basically goaded him into getting himself killed for what had been, truthfully, just her being petty and cold (which... was kind of funny and ironic, because her brother was Captain Cold). True, she hadn't meant for him to die, hadn't thought he would, not really, but, well, she hadn't been exactly sad about it either, and Lisa could tell.
The break-up had hurt, and had been hard on both of them... It had taken Hailey weeks to get it through her head that Lisa really wasn't going to forgive her and to finally give up and leave (taking a truly spectacular bag of stolen party treats with her--which didn't make up for the loss of Lisa by any stretch, but was definitely a lot better than having nothing but more heartbreak and memories of love she couldn't have again to show for it). After a little aimless wondering, she'd ended up back here, in Gotham-Metro, where she and Ivy had lived. She hadn't tried to find Ivy again though, as much as a part of her wanted to. Because she had her pride, because she knew her and Ivy were probably about as over as her and Lisa were now, and because she couldn't imagine Ivy wasn't with someone else (probably more than one someone else, knowing her) and she really, really, really, really, -REALLY- hadn't wanted to see that right then (or ever, honestly). She'd started up a therapist's practice to occupy herself with something that was usually at least nominally interesting (sometimes genuinely rewarding, in fact), and done the crime thing after hours--nothing really big--mostly just political statements and murdering people (only the ones who were just asking a good murdering though, of course). For the most part, she went after corporate types, or the mob, or domestic abuse cases. And it was, she had to admit, mostly out of nostalgia--mostly so she could still feel some sort of connection to the women she'd once been in love with. The corporate types because of Ivy, because her ideals about saving the world were still in her and Hailey just couldn't fault the logic of it. The mob stuff because of Rose, and the domestic cases too. Rose, Ivy's estranged adopted sister, had been the first time she'd fallen hopelessly in love. Ivy had been the second (she'd only found Ivy because she'd been looking for Rose after Rose had left her one night without even a note for an explanation). And Lisa... Lisa might have started to be the third...
But, even as she held Sylvan in her arms and kissed her gently as her new lover came down from her climax, Hailey knew she wasn't going to fall for this one--that Sylvan wouldn't be the fourth woman to conquer her heart. She could tell that easily because, when Hailey looked her in the eyes, Sylvan too easily looked away. She was too timid that way... Hailey just couldn't see it--that spark, that bravery that would let a woman really own her own life. Because a woman would need a lot of that- would need to be much more intense, more driven and... maybe a little out of her mind too, in just the right ways, to really handle her in the long term. Because, since Ivy, well, she knew herself, knew her profession well enough to know that she'd been losing it more and more. She'd been so... utterly convinced that Ivy and her would be forever. She should have known better though- she'd been convinced of that with Rose too, and look how that had turned out? They were sisters! Like, really, take a clue Hailey! She really must have been stupid or something... It hadn't wrecked her any less though, for her own stupidity. She'd been more careful with her heart with Lisa, or tried to be at least, with not nearly as much success as she'd set out intending... A lot of the time, she didn't even try to stem the damage of it all. She was trying for Sylvan of course--trying to be a better person with her, trying to be a good lover to her... Mostly she was succeeding in playing her part, except for this one thing... It was just too tempting--too much of a thrill--to see, to feel, what was inside this woman... To have it crash over her... To just have her mind blown to dust and sparkles and lose herself for a while...
Sylvan wouldn't meet her eyes and so Hailey clasped her head and moved it a little roughly to the center before her. "Look at me. Look..." She told her coldly- though, inside, Hailey only felt heat, perhaps even need...
Hesitantly, but obediently, Sylvan opened her eyes. "Hailey, please..." She pleaded meekly.
"Please what?" Hailey asked, a cold but curious smile coming over her lips. "Don't you like me anymore?"
"You... You, that's not.... huhhhh!" Sylvan gasped as Hailey ground her thigh into her sex in a way she knew would melt her. Sylvan's body arched, her head lulled back, her mouth parting in a way that drove Hailey a little wild, and made her want to kiss her, which she did--owningly.
"You do like me, don't you?" Hailey asked softly into her lover's ear.
Sylvan didn't answer right away, but she started to struggle and, soon, Hailey found herself on her back, the silken fabric that surrounded them in the elegant bed they lay in holding Hailey down like tempered steal, and Sylvan over her, a wild look in her eyes. "Shut up. Just shut up... You know I hate it when you do this to me..." She complained. "You just won't stop, will you?" And she kissed her, hard.
Hailey smiled to herself and did as told, shutting up and letting her lover have her way. Sylvan was all wild edges and instinct now, grasping and needful. She repressed this side of her, but Hailey had found the ways to trigger it, to get her to show this side of herself. It was like a fever took hold of her, and Sylvan couldn't stop toughing, taking, trying to get closer, trying to burn herself away in the heat of what was between them. No, Hailey didn't speak, she just met Sylvan's desire with her own and lost herself right with her, letting a burning sort of lustful oblivion take her. They'd do this until Sylvan eventually passed out from it, Hailey knew. Sylvan was a strong woman, and something more than human somehow (out of respect for her privacy, Hailey hadn't pried for details on that point), but Hailey was a lot stronger, had a lot more endurance because of Ivy's formula. So Sylvan could go at her as fiercely as she wanted and it wouldn't matter, it wouldn't hurt her, it would just feel good- feel exciting, and so exquisitely primal and thoughtless...
Sylvan was a very beautiful lover, but Hailey knew, in the morning, she still wouldn't be able to hold her gaze- she'd still be meek and pliant, still wouldn't open up to her, let her in--not like Hailey wanted. There was just something... closed off there, inside her. Like a wall.
Oh, with enough time and patience, Hailey thought she'd surely be able to get past her defenses or get her to lower her guard more, but... she knew there were only two ways to do that. One would be to pretend to be someone she wasn't--someone kind and overly solicitous and cloyingly sweet probably--and the other... It was something she very much hoped she would never do, never even truly consider, no matter how far she let herself fall. No, to have something real with Sylvan, she would have to really earn her trust- really be... well, someone she couldn't be--just didn't have it in her to be. So, the sad fact was, they just weren't right for each other. Not in any sweeping romantic sense at any rate. She couldn't touch that place inside Sylvan that her lover really needed. There would always be something missing. And even with how brilliant she was, she couldn't put a name to what that was, that missing thing. She'd had it before though, with Rose, and with Ivy, and, yeah, with Lisa too, much as it made her kind of hate herself to admit it because it really had been all her fault that she'd messed it up so badly with her when she'd known that that could have been it, that Lisa could have been it for her--her happily ever after... So she knew what it was, and she knew she'd only be fooling herself if she tried to find it with the woman who's bed she was in.
Still, for what it was, what she and Sylvan had was beautiful, and she... She hoped that when things had run their course for them, that they could still be friends- that Sylvan would find someone who was right for her. But, as pointless and illogical as it was, knowing herself, she had to realize that the whole 'friends' thing, it probably wasn't going to happen... maybe she'd take a try at playing cupid from afar for her though? That could be fun...
She liked her... liked her a lot, and wanted her very much to be happy... And maybe it was wrong of her to even be here, with her, but she didn't have anyone else in her life right now- no one at all, even a friend (well, she had one, but he didn't live close by), and, after what had happened with Lisa, she simply didn't want to be alone--she felt she needed, or at least wanted very badly, someone to be with--even if she wasn't in danger of falling hopelessly in love again... Maybe even -because- she wasn't...