A Game of Cat & Cat by Rhi
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimers: Not mine, no profit incurred nor infringement intended. Rysher: Panzer/Davis owns Amanda; Tanya Huff owns Henry. Written for Medie's Kissin' A Fool challenge; the prompt was "Blood Ties/Highlander; Henry/Amanda; good times." Also written for Crossovers100, prompt #10 -- years.
Rated: PG at worst.


Amanda paced by him in a slither of leather miniskirt and rustle of silk stockings timed by a staccato tap of heels. She murmured, "Your Grace, you look much recovered," as she went and made her way to a quieter corner of the bar.

Henry, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Earl of Richmond, (deceased) joined her before she'd quite finished her poinsettia. Amanda just smiled and handed him a glass of pinot noir, then waved to the bartender for a refill of her own drink.

She looked him up and down, let a slow cat's smile curve her lips, and made the whole interaction look like a woman garnering a new acquaintance. "So very good to see you."

"As pretty a purr as ever, Madame Darrieux." His voice was light but barbed with danger. He smiled, and reached for her hand; Amanda twitched it back.

"No, thank you. I think perhaps I should be wary of your mouth. So very pale, sir."

He cocked his head, loose curls framing his face. "All the latest fashion, m'lady." He smiled and added, "And this once, I'll forgive the familiarity. Henry."

"Certainly. Make it Amanda, please." Amanda smiled at him, grateful that she'd been here to study a few interesting marks and had dressed accordingly. Her hair was sleek and dark as a mink, lips full and rich as ripe cherries, and her clothes and jewelry spoke of money and taste, two things which didn't always go together.

"And I'm sure you didn't actually mean to threaten me, o Amazing one, so what can I do for you?" His smile added, You are smarter than that, aren't you?

Amanda paid for their drinks and added a tip to the bartender's jar. "Well, I'd love a lookout in a fortnight, but really, I'd settle for a dance. Do you know how hard it is to find a man who can waltz properly?"

"Not that hard for you," Henry murmured, but the edges had slid away from his smile, leaving him young and charming rather than honed sharp by time and undeath. (Or so Amanda assumed; he only bothered to breathe before he spoke, which was going to disconcert her if she kept paying attention. It was damnably mesmerizing once noticed....)

"Oh, all right." Amanda subsided with a sigh, both because of the anniversary of her teacher's death and because she wasn't fool enough to see if Henry VIII's son still had claws. "I saw you and it reminded me of Rebecca and I wanted to talk to someone else who remembered her." She glanced up, hopefully. "The Marchioness of Salisbury?"

His smile brightened suddenly, perils concealed like a cheetah in court jewels. "Ah, yes. A wicked player of Ruff and Trump. I'm sure we can trade stories." Henry offered Amanda an arm. "Have you had dinner yet?"

Amanda settled her hand delicately on his sleeve, admiring the sparkle of her platinum and gold jewelry on the blue silk of his shirt. She considered him carefully before asking, "Have you? And can I afford you?"

"That, perhaps, we should discuss while you eat," he murmured, his voice low and wicked as hers had been when she began this game. They wound through the crowd, tangling people's steps for the pleasure of being able to do so, and Henry laid his free hand lightly over hers, tracing between the bones of her hand with the pad of his thumb until Amanda shivered and let her head drop to rest on his shoulder.

"Perhaps we should," she agreed, pretending a concession that didn't exist. He chuckled as if he knew how little surrender was truly involved; a deliberate ruffle of breath feathered her hair and drew goose bumps from crown to shoulders as he kissed the top of her head.

He did that on purpose.... Amanda straightened up after a brief moment and smiled as she contemplated the night ahead and what other things he might do on purpose... and she might, for that matter.

No matter who trumped who at what... this ought to be very, very pleasant game.


~ ~ ~ finis ~ ~ ~


Comments, Commentary, Miscellanea:


Henry Fitzroy from Blood Ties was, in life, Henry, Duke of Somerset and Richmond, Earl of Richmond, bastard son of Henry VIII. He died suddenly, pale and wan, of what may have been consumption but is presumed in this universe to be a vampire lover.

Amanda Darrieux is an immortal thief from Highlander; Rebecca was her teacher, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no such title as Marchioness of Salisbury.

A poinsettia is a drink made with champagne and cranberry juice. Cheetahs were great favorites at European courts, decked out in elaborate jewelry. It made them no slower, nor less dangerous, but the hunts were a little prettier.... And Ruff and Trump, or Triumph, is a precursor to Ruff and Honor, which is precursor to Whist, which led to Bridge.