by Mathieu Roy and Michael Surbrook

Raven swiped her corp card in the cardreader next to the door to the hotel suite she shared with Shion. Obediently the machine blinked a green light and the door unlocked. She pushed the door open and stepped in. I can't believe Shion stopped at the bar for another drink. I've had just one and I'm barely...

Raven stopped in her tracks. Two men were sitting in the room, lounging on the couch. They stood in unison as they entered, with something that approached gallantry. They resembled each other so much Raven figured they were twins. Beardless, tall and broad-shouldered, they had tan complexions and dark brown hair. Their close-fitting shirts clung to their well-defined musculature—Raven didn't think she could have sculpted it any better. "Good evening," they said in unison, with perfect baritones. Raven's mouth went dry; these were the most handsome men she'd ever met.

Handsome or not, they had an explanation to provide. Raven tossed her bag sideways and gathered her power. "What the hell are you doing in my room?" she challenged them.

The two men looked at each other as if confused by her reaction. Raven felt Shion enter the room behind her; she turned to watch her step by her side.

"Again?" said Shion with visible exasperation.

"Again?" Raven echoed. "What do you mean, again? You know them?"

"These two?" Shion asked. "No. But I know what they are."

"And what are they? Room service?"

Shion looked at Raven for a second before disintegrating into tearful laughter. It was the first time Raven saw the Empress powerless to do something. She couldn't stop laughing. Whenever it started to die down, Shion would repeat "room service" and stronger peals of laughter would come out. Finally, Shion ended up leaning against the doorway, laughing to the point where her breath came in sharp gasps and she had to wipe at her eyes in order to see.

"You... you could say that..." Shion gasped out. "Go... go ahead and ask them what they are here for."

Raven's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Okay, I'll bite." She turned to the men, who'd somehow managed to stay quiet while watching the proceedings. "Well? What are you here for?"

There was a moments silence as the two men exchanged glances. Finally, one of them looked back at Raven. "We are your escorts for tonight."

"Escorts." Raven's eyes narrowed further until they were slits. "That doesn't mean what I think it does, does it?"

"Yes." Shion's voice sounded fairly calm, considering how hard she'd been laughing a moment ago. "I can assure you that they will be quite... invigorating. And there are more on call, both male and female, if you so desire."

Raven walked to a couch and let herself fall into it. She sighed. "I can't believe this." She looked up at Shion. "Why did you say, 'again'?"

Ignoring to two men, who simply watched the proceedings in silence, Shion walked over to the couch and leaned on one arm. "Escorts, Raven," she said, looking down at the other woman. "Sexroids, if you prefer."

"I'm not dumb!" Raven almost yelled. "I figured that out. You said 'again' when you first saw them. Why?"

Shion blinked, and Raven could swear the taller esper looked almost confused for a moment. An eyeblink later and the moment was gone, with Shion's usual calm expression taking its place. "I've been offered their services before. Anything to keep the Empress happy."

Standing, Shion glanced back at the two men, who smiled in return. "Well?" she asked. "Are you going to take them up on it?"

"I..." Raven stared at the two too-beautiful twins. "...I don't know. I mean I..." She fell silent, looked down, seemed to be trying to collect her thoughts.

"Well make up your mind, so I know whether to say yes to one or both of them."

Raven looked down at her hands; they were shaking. She put a clamp on her feelings, didn't want to look around to see if she'd manifested any unconscious TK. She took a deep breath. "Okay. Yes."

For a split second Raven could have sworn that Shion actually looked angry that she'd said yes, almost as if she was expecting the have the two men to herself. Then Shion stood and pointed at one of the identical pleasure synthetics. "You," she commanded, "in there."

Without bothering to see if he even followed her order, although privately, Raven couldn't think of too many men who wouldn't, Shion then turned back to the couch. "Just remember, they will do what ever you ask them to... a real man many not."

Raven glanced at the remaining synthetic. "I'm counting on it," she said in a voice that trembled just a little.

Raven glanced at the door Shion had just left through. Then she turned back to the synthetic. All perfect musculature and friendly smile, he was so downright gorgeous... "What's your name?" she asked.

"James." He smiled; he seemed genuinely pleased she'd asked. Perhaps his usual 'clients' didn't care.

Raven nodded at him. "I'm pleased to meet you, James." She hesitated, then added nervously, "as you've probably figured out... I haven't... well I never..."

"Please relax, Miss Raven. Don't worry. I'm here for whatever you want. If you don't feel like 'going all the way', then we won't. If all you want is someone to talk to, I can do that as well." He grinned, seemingly a little less 'professional' and more himself. "I have been told, however, that I give great backrubs."

Raven smiled faintly, glad he was taking some measure of initiative. "A talk and a backrub. That sounds like a good start."

He nodded, happily, got up and strolled over to her chair. "Do you prefer sitting up or laying on your stomach?"

"I think I'd rather lay down. Won't you be able to work better that way?"

"Certainly, Miss Raven."

Raven stood, leaning on the couch until she was certain her weak knees could support her. She led James to her room, pushing the door open as she went through. God, I hope I'm not doing this just to prove something to Shion. She stopped by the bed and turned to glance at James, who was closing the door behind them. But he's so beautiful... She took a deep breath, then pulled off her robe and draped it over a chair. Still wearing her swimsuit, she lay down on her stomach, on the bed.

James moved over to the bed, sat beside her, and started rubbing her shoulders in a circular pattern. His hands were large, warm, and incredibly soft even though they radiated strength. His touch was light at first, then he started kneading the muscles gently.

"Hmmm." Raven started to relax under his rub. "You have exactly two hours to stop doing that." He chuckled at this, breaking some more of her tension. "You do give wonderful backrubs."

"Thank you." James started working on a few kinks Raven didn't know she had. In silence, he started to work his way lower, working on the muscles along her spine and ribs. "What is it you do for a living, Miss Raven?"

Raven's eyes had sagged shut, and she was quietly enjoying the treatment. "You might not believe this," she said. Then she giggled and added, "or you might hear it all the time. I'm a telekinetic—an esper weapon."

Though she could not see it facing away from him and with her eyes closed, Raven got the impression James was nodding. "Like Miss Shion, then. I don't know that I've ever heard of her in the company of another esper. You must be very special."

"I'm starting to think it myself." She smiled. "After all, they had you meet me."

"Thank you. You're still a bit tense, Miss Raven. Try to relax the muscles in your shoulders. Just let all the tension go. Let your worries and cares go." He started again on her shoulder, then went on to her neck and even her head, following every muscle cluster to it's end. His other hand traced her ears, very lightly.

"Hmmm... That's very nice...." Raven said dreamily. And the feeling of his hands running through her hair, massaging her head and neck, while his finger lightly stroked her ear, was indeed very nice. It was making it easy to do just what he said, to just relax like putty under his touch, banishing the tension with every stroke. "James, I think... I think I'm relaxed enough to go a bit further."

James leaned in; his chest brushed her back as he kissed her on the cheek, and then on her ear. Both his hands were roaming lower on her torso now—not quite on her breasts, but just behind them. Then he went back up and massaged her lower. Raven tensed when he tugged her bikini bottom off; but as soon as his hands were back on her the tension flowed away as quickly as it'd come.

He worked down her legs all the way down to her toes, in the same way he had for her her shoulders. Then he went back up again, giving her a full body rub. He was masterful, Raven's tension was long gone and... She moaned softly; she was quickly going from relaxation to arousal, a feeling she was not very familiar with, but she found she enjoyed it.

James moved all the way back up to rubbing her neck and earlobes. It was less of a rub, now really, and more of a series of gentle caresses. "You are so very beautiful, Raven," he said in a whisper.

Raven flushed. Her heart was pounding. She tried to control her erratic breathing enough to speak. Her mouth had gone dry. "Thank... thank you." The words, spoken on the tip of her lips, trembled. She didn't dare move a muscle, lest she break the moment.

James caressed her for another instant, then leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Do you want to go further?" One of his hand was stroking up and down her back; the other was caressing her cheek. "It's up to you."

Raven tensed again. It was the moment of truth... but he was so gentle, so romantic. She rolled over; her top came loose. He'd had to untie it to rub her back, but how had he done so without her noticing? She watched James, looked at him up and down. He'd found time to strip to his boxers (when?); his gentle face and strong chest melded in pure harmony. The hands he'd used so masterfully were at rest on his bare legs. He was... Raven flushed further. She was having a noticeable effect on him, too.

She swallowed. "I..." The voice was barely audible, and still her voice broke. She stopped, swallowed again. Then, slowly, she nodded, once.

James smiled. He bent on her, slid his hands behind her, rubbing her back, stealing the tension from her again. He leaned in; their lips met softly, his confidence making up for her hesitancy. Raven closed her eyes, wrapped her arms around his strong body, and fell headlong into the kiss. Several moments later they broke away. James looked her straight in the eye, smiling gently. Raven hesitantly smiled back. He leaned in again.

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