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The Space Between

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As Gwen rappelled down the building, the skin on the back of her neck started to prickle. She hit the ground, spotted a parking garage across the street, and ran inside. A moment later, there was a loud crack and the air grew thick with the scent of ozone.

Gwen waited a minute to see if the prickling under her skin would die down. When it started again, she reluctantly headed back straight back to her lair, instead of taking the scenic route.

Cordy was standing at window, watching the lightning storm, a glass of wine in hand.  “Took you long enough,” she grumbled. “I guess basic self-preservation is too damn much to ask.”

“Not my fault. Sometimes the electricity just wants to come out to play in a storm.”

“Yeah, right.” As Cordy turned and walked towards her, Gwen admired the way the dark blue velvet dress shifted with every movement. Cordelia could find the most flattering clothes in a pitch-black room with her hands tied behind her back.

It was one of her many virtues that had brought them together. Two years ago, Gwen had been looking for an accomplice to run a money-laundering front business. And then, at a party for some rich Hollywood asshole, there was a girl who looked fierce enough to be a plausible business owner and desperate enough to agree to it.

It was a mystery how a girl with such expensive tastes had ended up in dire need of food and shelter. Gwen had never asked about her life before LA, and never would. If she figured out all of Cordy’s secrets, she’d probably get bored. And their partnership worked well, on both the personal and professional fronts, so why sabotage it?

Gwen placed a stack of money on a rubber mat on the kitchen counter. “More for the boutique.”

Cordy grabbed the cash and shoved it into her purse.

“And for you,” Gwen added, unzipping the hip pocket of her leather jumpsuit. She gently laid a pendant on a rubber mat. Cordy reached for it, so Gwen said, “Give it a minute. Just wanna make sure there’s no more electricity hopping around in there.”

Cordelia stilled her hand, and stared. “Oh, wow. I’ve never seen a sapphire this big. How’d you know that it was my birthstone?”

Gwen grinned, “I have my ways.” The truth was that she’d just grabbed it because she thought Cordy looked hot in blue. But why spoil the moment with the true reason?

After a minute, Cordy picked up the pendant and put it around her neck. She grinned back at Gwen. “You wanna fool around?”

“Sure.” Gwen headed toward Cordy’s bedroom. It kind of sucked that they had to verbally initiate these times. Sometimes Gwen wondered what it would be like just to kiss someone and communicate through touch alone. Or how it would feel to fall asleep in the same bed as Cordy, instead of being paranoid about sleep because it could lead to accidental touching and electrocution.

She peeled out of her jumpsuit, lay down on the far side of the bed, and watched Cordy slide off her dress. With touch and taste off-limits, she had to indulge the other senses as much as possible. She breathed in, trying to detect Cordy’s scent underneath the smell of leather. Finally she caught a whiff of the citrus notes of Cordy’s perfume.

Gwen watched Cordy trace circles around her nipple. It was tremendously frustrating to be with a beautiful woman that she could never touch. Gwen had to live with those limitations, but Cordy didn't. Cordy could have picked a girlfriend without them, and Gwen wasn’t sure why she didn’t. There was something wary and wounded about Cordy sometimes. Maybe she liked keeping some distance between them.

Gwen slid her hand between her thighs, watching Cordy mimic her movement, and told herself that things didn’t have to be this way forever. She’d run into a few mages and witches and genius inventors in her line of work. Between magic and technology, surely someday there would be a cure to her freakishness.

And that would be the day when they found out Cordy wanted Gwen, or just the space between them.