Title: Anastasia at the Allium
Author: Shatterpath
Feedback address: shatterpath@shatterstorm.net
Date in Calendar: 21 December 2015
Fandom: Light, Water, Muses / MCU
Pairing: implied Anastasia/Maria
Rating: PG
Word Count: 889
Summary: Looks and youth ain't everything. Experience is a quality that counts for a lot.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW15

Author’s Disclaimer: "Agent Carter," Marvel Cinematic Universe, the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Marvel Studios, Marvel Television, and ABC Studios. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Agent Carter," Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios, ABC, or any representatives of the actors.

The character of Anastasia belongs to ShatterStorm Productions and is the creation of A. Magiluna Stormwriter and Shatterpath. She also belongs in the Light, Water, Muses universe, tho’ this is a standalone within the whole of that universe.

Looks and youth ain't everything. Experience is a quality that counts for a lot. The sad thing 'bout experience, is by the time you've got it, it's usually all you've got.
-Belle, the Sleeping Car 'Starlight Express: the musical'

"There is no retirement for the wicked," Anastasia Rogers, the Queen of Hearts, murmured to herself with some amusement and her guide looked quizzical. The younger woman bore enough of a resemblance to her wife of many years that Anastasia felt a pang for her absence this trip. Maria's intuition was spot on and she remained silent and respectful where she held her temporary position at the grand lady's side. For, if there was anything like real royalty in their shadowy circles, The Queen of Hearts-- retired or no-- was top tier.

Decades ago, the four friends had begun to formalize their corner of the kink life, expanding until they were their own corporation, their fingers in a vast collection of clubs, bars and community projects all over the United States. While New York-- firmly the seat of power for the House of Spades-- was far from Anastasia's own center in Las Vegas, the Clubs in Chicago and the Diamonds in San Francisco, they moved freely in one another's territories, a strange, close family of oddballs. There were places the Four Suits didn't have some sort of investment in the shadowy world of kink and those who loved it. One could easily argue that they had pretty much written the rules of formal kink play in a public setting. All those that followed were still scrambling to keep up, sometimes even their own successors. The longest standing of said successors--the King of Spades-- had recommended the newer club, flattering the older woman by soliciting her valued opinion.

Now, clubs, like fads, might come and go but class was immortal. The Allium was interesting, the décor old-school gentleman's club with an oddly appealing veneer of fantasy slicked over it. Small groupings of dancing pinpricks of light dancing in shadowy corners, and the shapes of branches and leaves rustled in the dim uplights here and there. Some of the architecture was reminiscent of old stone ruins, but only where the eye needed to be drawn. All in all it had an air of geeky genius tempered with an even hand. There was even discrete ironwork and false, guttering torches. She would have to compliment the decorators, for they had made good on a theme difficult to take seriously.

The staff was dressed plainly and elegantly; dark cocktail dresses, dark slacks with snowy white shirts and black bowties with no rules for what sexes wore what. That big fellow in the royal blue minidress was as stunning as the stone butch in her crisply-pressed charcoal slacks and leather waistcoat. Colorful scarves and suspenders or vests scattered among them for some flash and sass. Each wore a simple masquerade mask in black, though there were a few white and even a red in the lot. An upright blood-red feather decorated each employee, the quill alight with a tiny red LED light. Most were tucked into the masks, but a few into armbands set high near the shoulder, including one beautifully sculpted and heavily tattooed young fellow in faded jeans and nothing else. One of the Dungeon Monitors then. The odd glove-like shoes were an interesting choice; her eclectic successor would have gravitated right to him.

"That fellow, fetch him."

There was a notable hesitation and Anastasia focused her intensity, making Maria flinch just a tiny bit. "He doesn't cater to women."

Anastasia knew there was a predatory edge to her smile. "There is no conceivable way he holds a paid position in such a place and confines himself from members of the community. Come now, girl, fetch him."

Maria's expression never changed, but Anastasia saw the flash of sulky obstinacy in the crystal blue eyes. Perhaps she would speak to Natasha about a lesson in discipline before she left. After a few words, the man glanced over sharply where Anastasia waited with regal patience. The interview began in that glance and continued as he strode over to stand just at the edge of her arm's reach.

"How may I assist you, ma'am?"

He neither acquiesced to her nor loomed to prove any sort of dominance. A big point in his favor. So far her impressions of the Lady Natasha's house were holding up well.

"Have you any open slots on your dance card this evening?" The question disconcerted him, that much was obvious and Anastasia continued to speak. "I am enquiring as to using you as a proxy. While wits and charisma have not failed me, I lack as strong a hand as I once did." Now he smiled in compliment to his good looks and relaxed.

"Of course, ma'am. I'll check my schedule and ensure my availability is brought to you."

"Excellent. Thank you for your time."

That startled him, the politeness of her polite gratitude. Or was it that she was clearly a dominant, no matter her age? Interesting. Setting aside the young man for the moment, Anastasia leveled a heavy, demanding stare on Maria, noting how the younger woman ducked her eyes away, nearly squirming.

"You and I, young lady, will be having a discussion about discipline and control. Do we understand one another?"

"Yes ma'am," she whispered and fell in quietly just behind Anastasia who was looking forward to a more interesting evening than just a fascinating new club to prowl. There were indeed perks to her station!