Author: shrift
LJ: shrift
Recipient: Blythe
Requested Character: Sasha Bordeaux
Summary: How many times could a woman die and be reborn?
Rating: Adult
Spoilers: Through all of The OMAC Project and Infinite Crisis.

Once upon a time, Sasha had thought she was tough. Hard. A fighter, a bodyguard, and a protector. But Bruce's grief and loss had made her crack like an egg, the shell coming apart piece by ragged piece. The 911 tape of Vesper Fairchild's murder cracked her open some more, and listening to it over and over had made her weep for a woman she couldn't stand. Then prison. Bruce's abandonment. The night she'd sat next to her handwritten false confession, a poor man's Kevlar too late to protect her from the fatal bullet wound.

That was before Maxwell Lord promoted her to his Black Knight.

Murder never made her cry anymore. Not much did.


"Waller wants you back ASAP," Jess said. Smoke billowed from the wreckage in the sand, flames flickering over her face, reflecting off the sweat beading on her forehead.

Sasha pinched her arm. Felt flesh bend under her fingertips. Not metal, not a... composite polymer/ceramic/metallic mixture. Not anymore. Sasha felt the heat and grit, ash stinging her eyes and getting in her nose; she couldn't stop smiling. "Safe house first."

Everything hurt, from her little toes to her eyelashes. She'd gone to outer space in a ship shaped like a bug, elbow to elbow with metas and legends. And she'd destroyed Brother Eye as Batman asked, exploded that presumptuous, metallic piece of shit all the way back to hell where it belonged.

She knew Batman would win his fight if he hadn't done so already, a limping, injured kind of win that only went down as a victory in the history books because there were too many funerals for Earth's heroes to plan to be happy about it.

Yeah, they'd won. Now all Sasha wanted was a long, hot shower, a new uniform, and flat surface to crash on for about the next five years. The four hundred thread count sheets were optional.

"Safe house it is," Jess agreed.

"The Wall won't like it," Fire told them, gazing at the wreckage of Brother Eye. Her arms were crossed, but she didn't look committed to making them obey.

"The Wall can kiss my ass," Sasha said.

Jess grinned. "Let's move out."


The other inmates had called her "Queenie" in prison. Queenie and Fancy Pants. Sasha and Bruce. No name and Batman.

Everyone had thought they had money and airs, that they were weak, that after a couple of days inside they would cry on their knees begging for their mothers. The inmates couldn't have known how wrong they were. Bruce Wayne had done his job too well, and so had Sasha. She'd taken the bullet for him. A slow death bullet, a gut shot that would take years to bleed out.

Sasha had spent months hating herself for doing that. Batman was her principal, and he'd never needed her protection. But maybe Bruce had needed her, if only just the once.


Sasha didn't want to come out of the shower, didn't want to stop feeling hot water and soap and a razor against her skin. Skin. A rush of cool air made the hair on her body prickle and stand up.

"You look a bit David Bowie about the eyes," Jess said from the open doorway, cocking her head to get a better look. "Not bad."

Sasha blinked the water out of her eyes. "Help me with this, will you? I can't reach the shell on my back."

Jess stared at her for a few seconds, a corner of her mouth turned down in thought. "What the hell," she said, and stripped off her uniform. She stepped in the shower stall behind Sasha, soaped her hands, and began prying the metal off Sasha's body with her fingernails.

It felt like ripping off a bandage, like peeling burned skin, like picking fingernail polish or peeling paint chips from walls. Sasha concentrated on her front while Jess got her back; the loose metal clicked against the bottom of the shower stall until all of it was gone but for a stubborn spot here and there. Her eye. Part of her arm. Sasha didn't want to look too closely. Not exactly perfect, but it would do. She was more woman than machine now, just the way she liked it.

"Mmm," Sasha hummed. Behind her, Jess chuckled.

It had been a while since she and Jessica had been easy like this. Months. Ever since Sasha had become Maxwell Lord's sword and shield -- or rather, ever since she'd gotten good enough for Max to notice her. Losing Jess's trust should had been one of Sasha's many regrets, but it had kept both of them alive long enough to see Max to go down.

"We were good once," Sasha said. She felt warm and loose, speaking the truth after pretending to be faithful to her King for so long.

"Yeah, we were," Jess said. She pressed her forehead against the back of Sasha's neck. "Dammit, Sasha. You could have died!"

Sasha didn't apologize. She just turned around in the shower, felt Jess's body slick and warm against her own. Sasha cupped Jess's face and kissed her. Jess gathered her close and opened her mouth, kissing Sasha back as if she had missed this more than she'd let on. Sasha had missed her too, but she was used to going without sex or touch, or having anyone to talk to at the end of the day.

Sasha slowly let her hands slide down Jess's neck, over her breasts and abs. When she finally slipped her fingers inside Jess's body and touched her clit with the pad of her thumb, Jess laughed, holding onto Sasha's shoulders so she could widen her stance.

"Oh, damn," Jess moaned. "I forgot you were as good at this as you are at everything else."


Sasha had never had any privacy in Blackgate, but it didn't matter. Hostile eyes meant nothing. She'd been tried and convicted, and there hadn't been anything worse that they could do to her. Not without the gas chamber or a shiv made out of a toothbrush.

Visitors were allowed every Thursday, for an hour. Not too many people had bothered to come see her. She had no family and no friends. People in her line of work had business relationships only. Made things easier.

Working for Checkmate under Maxwell Lord had been worse than prison. A domino mask could hide a multitude of sins; making one out of her own face had taken more effort than she'd realized.

Only then had she felt the smallest iota of sympathy for what it must be like for him to go out in public as Bruce Wayne.


Jessica had her spread open, her damp, dark hair brushing the insides of Sasha's thighs. Sasha dug her heels into the mattress as Jess licked and fucked her with her tongue. The sheets stuck to her back and her hair tangled in her eyelashes, and her neck felt like somebody had pulled her strings too tight, but it was perfect, just fucking perfect. She was wet and she could feel her pulse beating under Jess's tongue, and if she didn't come soon she was going to shoot someone.

"Jess," she said. "Dammit, Jess, would you just --"

Jess pushed three fingers inside her and pressed up. Her breath caught in her throat, Sasha closed her eyes, arched her back, and came. A moment later she felt the mattress dip as Jess got off. The faucet came on in the bathroom. Sasha's sidearm was still on the nightstand, easily within reach.

The air in the room moved as Jess exited the bathroom; the slightest whisper of fabric indicated she'd put the uniform back on. Someone knocked on the door, and Jess stepped into the hallway for a moment.

"Fire says our transport will be here in an hour," Jess said as she climbed back onto the bed.

"Wake me in forty-five," Sasha told her drowsily. Jess's arm was a welcome weight on her body.

"Sorry I didn't trust you," Jess said, her lips brushing against Sasha's throat. "Guess I should have known better."

"You weren't supposed to," Sasha said, opening her eyes. "Kind of the point."

"Well, you did learn from the best," Jess said with a lopsided smile.

Jess had never liked Batman. She never hated him, but she never quite forgave him for busting up her face, for screwing up Checkmate's missions, and probably most of all because Sasha refused to discuss him. There was something inevitable about Batman. He wasn't a fairy tale, or even a nightmare. He just was. A myth, a legend, and a man she had fallen in love with a lifetime ago.

Jessica's had been the first face she'd seen when she had woken up from prison, and the last face she'd seen before she died the second time, as much of a constant in Sasha's life as Batman. How many times could a woman die and be reborn?

Sasha hoped she wouldn't have reason to find out.