It is oft said that women are the weaker sex and, in the physical sense of the word, they are correct. However, true power lies not in the flex and release of a muscle. True power is found in control. It inhabits the skill of manipulation, the ability to wrest control of a man's senses from him and play upon each one until everything he does, thinks, and believes, is done because you wish it to be so.
When his life is in your hands and he is not even aware that he has given up that power to you...
That is power. That is strength. The power of life and death and the ability to wield it That is the Covenant's stock and trade and it is dealt by feminine hands.
Women control the true power base of the Covenant because, primarily, women are the power base of the Covenant. Women like Helen Bryce and Lauren Reed.
They met first when they were teenagers, their parents long acquainted with each other due to their involvement in the Covenant's predecessor, and knew instantly one another as deeply and as fully as if they had always been friends. In each other they saw an echo of themselves, an echo which both of them instantly recognized and embraced.
They were daughters of privilege, pawns of power, and weapons in an unseen war.
It was an understanding that required little conversation. Both Helen and Lauren knew implicitly what it was to have every action graded and marked. To know there was no safe quarter and no sanctuary from the expectations placed upon them. To never hope to measure up to the standards set down for them but to continue to try anyway. To have each and every so-called rite of passage twisted for some darker purpose. Even an act as innocent as learning how to apply make up took on a sinister edge as properly applied makeup, proper posture, conversational skills...all could be employed to seduce and turn a man's thoughts to their control. To bewitch and entice him into their bed, thus giving them an opening into his life...
Which was, they supposed, why the sex between them was no surprise to either girl. It was their own private rebellion. Their chance to flout the stringent rules they lived their lives under and to make their own game. To pretend, if only for a brief moment in time, their lives were their own and their choices were their own. It was fumbling and inexperienced at first. Not very pleasurable at all but it was theirs and they clung to it fiercely.
As the years passed their meetings became harder and more difficult as they entered adulthood and their lives reached another, still intricately planned, stage and they were expected to employ the training that had been carefully instilled in them in the years before. However, for two women with the training that they had, all things could be accomplished if one simply tries hard enough and they try very, very hard.
Things have changed much and yet very little. The organizations and cabals which once ruled their lives have collapsed, crumbled, and given way to new successors and those successors have fallen and been replaced by still more. From the ashes of those has formed the Covenant, the proverbial phoenix that is still settling into the power vacuum they left behind. Within it's still strengthening organization, Helen and Lauren are still prisoners to another's will, their reins held by those in the Covenant's inner circles, and in each other they still find their rebellion. They need no games with each other, they never did, but they know now how to play them better than they ever did. They've made them what they were intended to be. The primary tools of their lives.
Sunlight filtering through the sheer drapes of Lauren's Parisian loft slowly coax her from her slumber. Knowing it was still early, she made no attempt to move. Instead, opting to lie in the sunlight, sunning herself like a cat, soaking it in. In the time since she completed her assignment as the doting wife of the rather pathetic Agent Vaughn she has been recuperating, the Rambaldi formula which, thanks the unwitting Bristow family, has regenerated many a Covenant operative flowing freely through her body and healing its wounds. She is as strong now as she was prior to being shot and secure in the knowledge that she will only grow stronger as time passes...
The gentle touch of Helen's hand passing along the bare skin of her back is not a surprise but is welcome nevertheless and with a smile, Lauren turned to regard the woman sitting on the bed beside her.
"How do you feel?"
"Good." Lauren responded simply, a smile playing at the edges of her lips. "I've had the care of an exceptional doctor."
Her lover laughed quietly and leaned over to kiss her. It didn't take much maneuvering on Lauren's part to pull Helen off balance and onto the bed beside her. Stretching out comfortably, the brunette regarded her with a look which was supposed to be chiding but didn't quite make it. "You're supposed to be resting."
"I'm supposed to be dead." Lauren corrected dryly, "As, if I recall correctly, are you."
"True." The other woman allowed. "Unfortunately for our 'husbands' they both have a ways to go in the homicide department. Though," Helen paused, leaning over to kiss Lauren's bare shoulder before continuing, "I think Vaughn came a little closer than Lex did. Surprisingly enough."
"Mm...true." Lauren trailed a fingertip along Helen's lower lip. "Though, we should give Luthor points for his creativity. Speaking of your darling husband, I hadn't heard, have we acquired from him..."
"We have. The Covenant's scientists are beside themselves over it and I have earned myself a much deserved vacation."
"To be spent aiding me in my recovery." Lauren looked amused, reaching out to slip a hand beneath the silk robe Helen wore. "Is that not merely another assignment with a fancy dressing?"
"It is." Helen bit her lip as the blonde's fingers slid down her abdomen, stroking her through the blue satin of her panties. "But, for once, their idea of an assignment is my idea of a vacation." She closed her eyes briefly, unconsciously moistening her upper lip. "Lauren..."
"Don't say I'm supposed to be resting." Sitting up, she pulled the tie of Helen's robe open, pushing the material out of the way. "Thanks to the wonders of Covenant medicine, I am fully recovered and we are both well aware of that fact." Her fingers tracing a lazy pattern on the other woman's stomach, she grinned impishly, looking much like the girl she'd been, letting the hardened woman she'd become slip away. "Besides, my orders from the Covenant are, currently, to rest and recuperate. I've had quite enough of both..." She tilted her head, her hair spilling over her shoulder, the motion drawing the other woman's gaze. "I think, what I need now, is a bit of exercise and I'm sure my doctor would agree."
"You're terrible." Helen accused.
"Perhaps." Her lover allowed. "But, you aren't disagreeing much at all."
"Maybe I'm trying to find a diplomatic way of saying it..." Her words ended on a gasp as the fingers that had been playing across her stomach returned to their earlier teasing, this time in earnest.
"No, I don't think so." Watching the brunette's reactions, Lauren leaned over to kiss her again, murmuring, "No, love, I don't think so at all."
Helen gave in. They both knew she would. It always was this way. The give and take, the teasing, the attempts to consider their lives average, but it was a thin veneer. The presence of the Covenant hung heavy in the air, the proverbial elephant in the room, and it was never really out of their minds. They accepted that. They knew no other way of living. They played their roles, achieved their goals, did as they were instructed, all the while saving just a little bit of rebellion in their heart of hearts. They lived lives dictated by the Covenant, and those like them, using their beauty, their intelligence, and their skill to achieve its will and its desires. It is their strength, their power, and they wield it as effectively as any man would brute force. Perhaps, better.
They are, after all, the source of power behind the power and, no matter who the man or what position he holds, they will, at the end of the day, be the ones to whom those men turn. They make the decisions and they...they are the ones in control.
It is theirs.
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