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31 July 2007 @ 01:57 pm
Fic: "Levee", Profit, Profit/Joanne, Rated R.  
Title: Levee
Author: sionnain
Fandom: Profit
Pairing: Profit/Joanne
Warning: Dubious-Consent, breathplay, a very vague ending that could potentially be disturbing.
Rating: R for themes.
Summary: Profit reminds her of the owl, ever-ready to hunt, devour.

AN: Written for the smallfandomfest prompt of "Profit/Joanne, semi-con". Thanks so much to resolute and jezebel873 for the beta. The quote is from Natalie Merchant's song Build a Levee.


Beware of the the devil my child but if by chance you should meet/ Beware his cold dark eyes full of bold and unholy deceit. He'll tempt you with a whirling pool of lies/And promises he'll deny/or that he will never keep.

She dreams about him choking her against the wall.

His fingers are against her neck, pressed against her racing pulse. Profit's smiling, in that way he has, poisonous mouth curved in some archaic smile and dead eyes swallowing light. They're so dark the pupils have vanished, and Joanne wonders if she'll see slits, like a snake, and if he smiles wider, will there be fangs in his mouth?

When she wakes up, her body is covered in sweat. She touches her neck, briefly, fingers trembling against her flushed skin. The air tastes like fear, and she can hear her erratic heartbeat and the whirl of the fan in her room. She lays back down, curled up in the safety of her blankets, and presses her face against the pillow. Her eyes shut tight. Joanne's hand slides between her legs. She's going to hate herself in the morning.

She always does.

* * *

"Good morning, Joanne," Profit says, and she tries to stop the instinctive jolt of fear she feels as he passes her in the hallway.

He is nothing like the man in your dream.

Indeed, his smile is too oily-slick, his words too forcibly cheerful to be anything other than unctuous. He's a kiss-ass, nothing more, just an ambitious hanger-on with expensive clothes. His scent is annoyingly pleasant, crisp and clean with the faint hint of citrus. She imagines him in the store, buying it, charming the saleslady with a low laugh and a pretty compliment.

"Morning, Jim," she says, willing herself to smile at him as if nothing is wrong. Jim is an easy name, non-threatening. Jim has a nice car and gets married on a clear Saturday in June to a nice girl with wide eyes, has two kids and a dog, and retires to build boats that rest in glass bottles when he's finished. "How are you today?" she asks on a whim. Maybe she's wrong. Maybe the man in her dream is some dark phantom, and it's just a coincidence he wears Profit's face.

Profit smiles at her. "Just fine, thank you," he says. They're still standing in the hallway. He's standing too close. He has a strange voice, Profit. Like it comes from a well, some rough-hewn stone thing, rancid water deep and still at the bottom.

Joanne watches him a second too long. The light in the hallway is artificial and harsh, it does something to his face. Pushes shadows where there are none, darkens the color of his eyes into something Stygian and fathomless. When she was a child, her father used to read to her about the devil, and how temptation was always beautiful. Shiny-red apples, boys with fast cars, cigarettes with sweet-smelling herbs. Profit is a good-looking man. That's not why Joanne finds it hard to breathe, suddenly, or can't seem to stop staring at Profit's hands.

He's not wearing gloves. But she knows, somehow, that he has them. In the pocket of his black wool coat, tucked away, resting quiet like serpents in the deep pockets. He only ever wears gloves when she's awake, in her bed, and thinking of things she shouldn't.

* * *

In the conference room Joanne is staring at his hands across the table.

Her dreams have become alarming. Profit, shoving her against the wall in Charles Gracen's office. His hand between her legs, his breath warm on her neck, and outside, the night is drowning-dark. Joanne shifts in her chair, and tries to think about something else, maybe about going outside and standing in the rain falling hard against the windows. Maybe it's cold enough that the rain will wake her up, from her fevered dreams and this stupid obsession with catching Jim Profit in the act of something seditious or criminal.

If he's gone, I don't have to worry about him.

She watches the way Profit moves (research, it's research) and the way his hands curl and flex, like talons seeking prey, ready to grip and crush and kill. His voice is smooth as liquid, and no one else seems to hear it, that seep of darkness in his words, that rough edge like the tip of a blade peeking out beneath cultured tones. They defer to him, Joanne notices, in gestures and nods and pleased, indulgent smiles.

Once, as a child, Joanne went for a walk in the woods. She got lost, and the sun faded and the trees looked like skeletons in the dark, and there was an owl a few feet above her in one of the trees. Wide eyes devoid of anything but the instinct to hunt, razor-sharp talons curled around a branch, senses on the alert. Profit reminds her of the owl, ever-ready to hunt, devour. Joanne leaves the conference room, and he stops her with a hand on her back.

"A word, if you don't mind?" he asks smoothly, and she can't breathe, because she can feel his fingers against her back. There are not sharp claws, but it hurts almost the same.

"I'm busy," Joanne says, voice choked with something she does not want to stop to identify, and she fumbles for the door and escapes into the light of the hallway, just like she'd done as a child, running out of the woods into safety. She doesn't look back, and he doesn't come after her.

This time.

* * *

She figures it's bound to happen.

Joanne is working late, trying to hack into the main computer system, eyes darting quick between the door and the computer screen. She knows the security systems better than anyone, of course, but still--there are layers, of course, and she can't be sure they're all disabled. Her mind is racing, thinking of fast cars and temptation and espionage, and she's clicking through screens in a clumsy attempt to find something, anything--

"Joanne. I didn't realize you were still here."

Jim Profit is standing in the doorway to her office, wearing his long wool coat, and his smile burns bright and false and cheery. "Can I walk you outside?"

"No," she says, rudely, and if that's fear in her mouth she'll be damned if he ever knows. "I have some mace. I'll be all right, Jim."

He chuckles, and it rubs her nerves raw, enough so that she feels him closing the door, the slight vibration echoing like a slap across the face. "Of course. But you know, sometimes, mace isn't enough." He crosses the room, and he's standing in front of her, and she sees he's wearing gloves. Black ones, stretched over long thin fingers, pulled fresh those from deep coat pockets.

Joanne clicks the screen closed just in time. She has enough sense left to do that, at least. She stands up, looking across the room. Stupid, stupid. Her purse is sitting on the chair by the door. Joann plasters a smile on her face, just as false as his, and edges around the desk. "You know, I didn't realize how late it is. I'll just walk out with you, sure." That's safer than being alone in a closed office with him, she knows it is, and in public she can at least run.

Profit smiles, and it's not a fake smile, not this time, and Joanne almost wishes it was. "In a minute," he says, moving closer, and she backs up because she can't really do anything else. Her back hits the wall and it's just like her dream (and other things) and he's too close and leaning forward, trapping her. "You keep watching me," he says calmly, vaguely interested, and his hand comes up to rest beside her head. The other he raises and flexes, like a taunt, before lowering it and brushing his fingers against her cheek, smoothing back an errant piece of hair and tucking it behind her ear.

Her knees almost buckle, then, from fright. The sensation is crystalline-sharp, not dulled by a dream, the leather is warm and her eyes are trapped by his. "Let me go," she says quietly, knowing it won't work--and you don't want it to, really, do you?--and Joanne tries to remind herself this isn't the safety of her room, where her shame won't ever be made public record, where he isn't real, and she won't have to face him in the boardroom over coffee in the morning.

"No," he breathes, and his fingers trace tortuously slow up her neck, resting under her chin. His fingers tighten and she lifts her chin, like her head is connected by strings, like a puppet, and he's pulling them with ease. "We don't have to be at odds, all the time, you know." He leans down, breath hot on her throat, and shivers dance excitedly over her body, somersaulting up and down her spine in glee. "We could help each other," he murmurs against her skin. "Wouldn't that be better?" His fingers rest beneath her ear, over her pulse.

He could kill me. He's wearing gloves, and I have disabled the security system. Stupid.

"Maybe," Joanne says, trying to be coy, swallowing thickly over her fear, thinking fast. Play along. "What do you have to offer?"

He laughs, and it's not that sleazy little sycophantic chuckle he's so fond of, either. "What do I have to offer. Hmm..." his thumb is rubbing over her pulse, tightening a little, and it's so hard to breathe. "This? How about this?"

It takes her several seconds to answer. "What makes you think," she begins, and there it is again, that laugh, before she can finish. That I want this?

"Oh, Joanne. Joanne." His hand tightens on her throat, again. "I'm not nearly as stupid as you seem to hope I am."

There is a moment that stretches out between them, where she can't breathe because he's choking her with his fingers and his laugh and his warm breath, and she can't move because of fear and that slow pulse of blood that throbs in her body and makes her dizzy and weak, that she thinks, just give in. It'll be so much easier. Her eyes slide close, and the sound becomes tinned and muted, and his hand is too tight, and why does it matter, why did she hate him, why--

always been so: : accomplishedaccomplished
Jess: look upwillowaus on July 31st, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
I have never seen Profit and now have this great need to see this show.

Uh, that is I liked the story.
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh it's on Netflix! Get it! It's a bit dated, but omg, so HOT and WRONG.
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
And thank you, of course, for reading :-)
linaerys on July 31st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
Yay Profitfic!

I love your metaphors for all his mannerisms, they paint a very vivid picture. This is creepy and awesome!
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I do really love writing him being all creepy. :-)

Satyr: Mocha Calorcain_iii on July 31st, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
once again, luv....u rock mine socks.
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: kudos
Yay!! *beams*
Sandrine: sexsandrine on July 31st, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
See, I know this is creepy and disturbing, but that didn't stop my mind from shutting down and going all, "guh!" when I read that because, creepiness notwithstanding, it's incredibly hot!
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Hee, yay! I am glad you enjoyed it. And yeah, it was supposed to be a *little* hot. *G*
velvetwhip: Velvet Whip by Countessmaryvelvetwhip on July 31st, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
I love this! Thank you so much for posting this today!


inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm so glad you liked it :-)
I don't see another goddamn narrator, so pipe down: does profit have to choke a bitch?lunacat on July 31st, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. I just read this and your other
fic and...
! (I don't think I can't put enough emphasis on that word).

You did a wonderful job with this and that ending actually gave me chills. Excellent work.
inathunderstorm on July 31st, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)

Oh, thank you! I am really glad you enjoyed both fics.
issuegirls: sexissuegirls on July 31st, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
I've never seen the show, but OMFG, this is unbelievably hot. *fans self*
And Profit... is he the guy from 'Heroes'? If so... yeah, his voice is honey-coated gravel wrapped in sex.

Loved Joanne's dark desire for someone dangerous, someone who might not stop or be the good boy with her, and that Profit knows far more than she thinks he does. *shivers*
inathunderstorm on August 1st, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, that's Adrian Pasdar all right. *pets him*

And it's a great show. He's a very bad man. *purrs*

Thanks so much for reading!!
Adina: heroes: nathan fence climbadinarj on July 31st, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)

Yeah, that's all I got.

Fantastic job. I itch for Profit fic.
inathunderstorm on August 1st, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
Than you so much! I am so happy to be able to write in this fandom--I'm just thrilled people are enjoying the fic!!
bewizeficwize on July 31st, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
I do not know this fandom, Profit. But I can see that I should.

Strange, but I found myself holding my breath right along with Joanne as things progressed. I also found myself insanely curious as to what was going on behind the scenes here, because it was so obvious that something was.

Really nice fic. I loved the strong imagery. *shivers*
inathunderstorm on August 1st, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
OH yes, you should. Guh. It's really awesome, even if a bit dated (the computer effects are really hilarious) but SO AHEAD OF ITS TIME. You should watch it if you can--he's a bad, bad man, Jim Profit. But so, so hot. *G*
Wednesday Addams in Grad School: Profit//namelittlewings04 on August 1st, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Oh, goodness, yes. If Jim Profit purred in my ear, he could have just about any damn thing he wanted. Because really? I'd probably enjoy the fall.

Gorgeous and hot, so much tension in such a short space. Guh. Excellent.
inathunderstorm on August 1st, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I totally agree on Profit's voice, guh.
(Deleted comment)
inathunderstorm on April 22nd, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)