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In Tabitha’s world curiosity was a thing to be tempered. Knowledge was power, of course, but too much snooping was only liable to get your fingers burned.

Vale had never learned that lesson. At the very least she had chosen to disregard it in its entirety.

Because everywhere she went it felt like Vale was lurking, everyone she spoke to was getting asked for their insider opinion afterwards.

“You have a story to tell,” Vale said simply when Tabitha finally confronted her on it, the blade of her knife raising a single drop of blood against the pale skin of her throat, “and I want to be the one to help you tell it.”

“What makes you think I’d say a word to you?”

Vale smiled, something dark and knowing stealing across her pretty features.

“I can be very persuasive.”

Tabitha raised an eyebrow, challenging, but ultimately let her go that time.

Let her prove herself worthy enough, tenacious enough, so that when she took out a lowlife of a dealer Vale had been trying to question, the women trembled with a mixture of adrenaline and gratitude and asked whether or not she had passed her test yet.

What more she needed to do to convince Tabitha to speak to her.

Tabitha didn’t say a word. Walked away and made a show of huffing in frustration when she reached the doorway, glancing back over her shoulder to ask why Vale wasn’t following.

The other woman’s eagerness was gratifying. Had her stumbling in her sensible shoes, scurrying to make up the distance.

“What changed your mind?” Vale asked when they reached their destination, breathless with curiosity all over again.

“Careful or I might change it back again.”

Vale had a silver tongue, it was true. A way with words in her articles for the Gazette, decrying the crime rates and exposing the city’s ever rampant corruption. Hinting always at something bigger, something better, and Tabitha used her fingers to brush Vale’s hair back over her shoulder, just to see the patch of skin her blade had marred last time they had been this close to each other.

When they kissed Vale tasted of sickly sweet lip gloss and the bitter tang of coffee.

When she pushed Vale back against the wall she made a frantic sound that made her understand what the woman was really looking for.

“You like it rough?”

Vale just smirked at her, lip swollen from the kisses and the dirty fight beforehand.

“Don’t you?”

She gave as good as she got. Laughed as Vale tried to switch their positions, grinning herself as the push and pull melted away into passion and attempts to clutch each other closer. Biting kisses and the feather light touch of fingertips along her wrist and up the inside of her arm.

“I told you I could be persuasive.”

“You talk too much,” Tabitha countered because playtime was only just beginning.

She pushed Vale back onto the bed easily and watched the emotion play across her face as she let her thumb scrape across a nipple, peaked and wanting even through layers of clothing. Vale squirmed up into the touch. Made impatient little noises as she attempted to guide her touch to where she most wanted it.

Tabitha enjoyed watching her struggle. It had always been her favorite part of the hunt - not the planning, or the strategizing, or even the chase. The toying with the prey afterwards, working them into a frenzy.

That was what she set about doing now. Stripped her out of her clothing and unclasped her bra, laying her bare for her inspection. Almost, at any rate, the backs of her fingers brushing along the soft flesh of Vale’s inner thighs. The muscles were strained with tension, willing her closer.

“What’s the matter?” Tabitha cooed when Vale barely smothered a whine of frustration.

“I thought I talked too much.”

“Maybe you were just saying things I didn’t care about.”

Vale gasped at the lightest touch. Twisted so that her cheek was pressed into the pillow, legs shifting.

“I’ll say whatever you want me to.”

That was a dangerous offer. It could really come back to haunt her.

“Beg me,” was all Tabitha said, and felt a wave of heat wash over her when Vale obeyed immediately. Gazed up at her with unfocused eyes and begged her to touch her. Tabitha teased her. Rasped a thumb over her nipple and raked her blunt fingernails over the sensitive skin over her hip.

Vale twitched at that. Begged all over again, even when Tabitha’s fingers finally dipped into her wetness. She was sodden, dripping in readiness, and Tabitha held her gaze as she licked her fingers clean, enjoying the taste of her against her tongue.

It was so good she went right to the source. Held Vale’s thighs apart and lapped delicately at her swollen folds. Speared her tongue into her over and over again. Listened to her moans and her whimpers, beset with the urge to wreck her completely, and swallowed what she was given when Vale convulsed with shudders, fingers twisted tight in her hair.

They kissed again, messier this time. Tabitha slid her fingers in deep. Judged how much Vale could take and then pushed just beyond it, three fingers stretching her wide.

Vale couldn’t seem to decide whether she was attempting to get away or get closer.

Writhed and moaned and cried aloud when Tabitha worked her to the peak and simply kept going.

Worked her until her hair was damp with sweat and her voice was hoarse. Until Vale was begging her to stop, insisting that she couldn't take anymore. 

Tabitha dropped her head and soothed the ache. Licked her to another climax, loving the movement of her body and the tears clinging to her lashes. Took hold of her hand afterwards and gripped at her wrist to ensure the pressure was just right. 

“You could try calling me Valerie,” Vale suggested, eyes still closed and limbs sprawled inelegantly.

Tabitha considered it for a moment. Lay back comfortably and allowed a satisfied smile to creep across her own features.

“I think I need a little more persuading.”