You’d be lying if you said you enjoyed your line of work, but it paid the bills and it was kind of a way to see the world- albeit the world by night, and mostly bloodstained. The only thing you relied on was your AMT hardballer, and it was a good companion because guns didn’t talk.
People did, and more often than not their words were a pain in the ass.
That, and people generally didn’t like it when you opened up with ‘I’m a gun for hire, nice to meet you’, so you had started to just get used to not introducing yourself. Plus- the pay was amazing.
Your eyes were roaming along the page of your next assignment, scanning for some kind of sign that it might be a joke- but it wasn’t. Apparently, you were going to be travelling to Japan to get rid of a member of the Shimada clan.
A handsome member of the Shimada clan, but alas. The reward for this one was huge and you had been having trouble to buy food these past few weeks.
It was a long and arduous travel to finally reach the impressive, ancient mansion that was the headquarters for the Shimada clan- traditionally Japanese and with an impossible to find doorbell.
Your first impression of whoever gave you this assignment- an old, twitchy-eyed gentleman who was quite surprised that you were both a woman and wearing a suit- was not exactly stellar. They didn’t offer you drinks- after a 20 hour flight!- or snacks, and their lips seemed to be locked in an eternal battle of not speaking to you if it wasn’t necessary.
At least the head honcho seemed a bit more agreeable than the rest.
“Every year, Hanzo comes here to mourn the death of his brother. It makes him a sitting duck.”
At the way he states every year you guess this is not the first time they got someone to maim him, but it must have been quite unsuccessful.
“Then why isn’t he dead yet?” you throw the question at them with a shrug of the shoulder and a bat of your eyes- there’s a few gasps at the sheer nerve of you asking that question.
“He is...proficient...with a bow.”
You’d snort if it weren’t for the fact that apparently this guy had done in assassins with a bow. It was, after all, a rookie mistake to underestimate your target.
“I see. So, shoot him dead then? That’s it?”
Usually, your assignments also meant extracting information- you liked to think that was the more important part of your job, but it was hard getting rid of a reputation as a gun for hire- and it surprised you that they just wanted him dead.
“Yes,” he dryly answers you, whispers filling the room.
“Wonderful. All I need is a time and place,” you smiled coyly, already standing up and loading your gun as a show of power- if they were going to run their mouths while you were in the room, they deserved a bit of a scare.
A scare it was.
Immediately, three burly guards burst through the thin doors locking you off from the main hall, all charging right at you.
It seemed like a joke to you.
The first one wanted to subdue you by grabbing your arms- you smashed the gun against his forehead and locked onto his arm to break it with a swift knee-jerk. The second one followed not soon after, thinking that throwing a punch could work. You proved him wrong by ducking and drop-kicking the first assailant into him, sending both of them tumbling through the room.
The last one was a bit trickier- he came from behind, which was extremely rude- and caught you off guard by pulling on your vest. It was a mistake, though, to attack a woman’s clothes, especially clothes that were the only pieces of clothing she brought to a foreign country- gods help him if there was a tear somewhere- so you just sent your leg flying into his nether regions, leaving him grasping at his pachinko balls on the floor.
“Are we done?” you ask leisurely, stretching so your suit is in place again, all eyes on you.
“We are. Tomorrow, at sunset. The hall he will be resting in is the room to your right when you exit,” the head honcho says with a grin- but it doesn’t reach his eyes. There’s a glint of mischief, a hint of treachery and he is sorely mistaken if he thinks you will underestimate them.
You’d slept in the ornate hall, eaten in the ornate hall, and you were slowly starting to wonder if you could also somehow take a shit in this place. They hadn’t given you the courtesy of a bed or a room- they’d left you in the blasted room to set up.
As if a handgun needed setting up.
You kick one of the big lamps in annoyance, only to find your foot tearing through the thin fabric.
You skip ahead until you see a gigantic scroll- borders red and gold- with careful Japanese calligraphy painted on it. If only you could read it.
That’s not the thing that catches your eye, though- the tear in the scroll with blood splatters around it is positively disturbing. You could understand they wanted to keep something so beautifully crafted, but they could try to fix the damn thing.
No matter- you glance at the sides of the structure and find it to be perfectly made for climbing- carefully you find your way up onto a set of wooden planks that looks down upon the scroll, yet is conveniently out of sight.
I mean, that was some guessing on your part but surely it was going to be too dark in here to see anything anyway.
It starts with the faint sounds of ass getting kicked and quickly turns into a flurry of screams and sirens that are cut off surprisingly fast. You were counting your change and unfortunately, because of all the commotion, dropped some coins down onto the floor below.
There goes being stealthy.
Alas, you could be lucky and assume he thinks there are no guards here- because there aren’t- but you probably wouldn’t get that kind of break.
“Just enough for a latte,” you sigh, looking down at your money down below. Just enough for a latte if your remember to pick those damn coins up again.
The sounds of people getting taken down get closer progressively, but you have yet to hear your target make any kind of noise. Carefully, you pocket the spare change you still had in your hand and get your gun ready- breathing silent and eyes fixed on the door.
What an entrance it was. You weren’t kidding when you thought it was a handsome guy- from his muscular yet lean build to his shiny black hair- the man oozed beauty. He took slow, careful, quiet steps into the hall, as if he was afraid to disrupt the dead themself.
You had your gun pointed at his head all the while- carefully keeping tabs on every move he made- but when his eyes shift to your coins on the floor you drop all pretence of doing this in the shadows and fire ahead.
He’s quick to dodge.
“It is a coward this year, is it? Come out,” he growls with a heavy accent- it’s surprisingly polite that he considers you might not be Japanese, but that might just be his experience with previous assassins- and you smile to yourself.
“Why don’t you get out that bow of yours, and we’ll see who’s a coward?” you grin from atop your perch- he knows in which direction you are but he still doesn’t know where exactly, which gives you the upperhand.
Angrily, he sends off three arrows and one grazes your cheek- they weren’t kidding when they said he used a bow. Who the hell still uses a bow- you wince when you touch the cut on your cheek- in this day and age?
“I will not ask you twice,” he continues, loading up another batch of wooden sticks with pointy ends with which to shoot you - honestly the weirdest thing you’ve seen in your entire career- but your voice stops him from shooting just yet.
“If I come out, will we have a fistfight? I honestly think my chances of living are better where I am.”
You’ve always had a smart mouth- and you were going to pay for that someday- dodging and curling up in between barrage after barrage of arrows until you finally give in and climb down.
He is kind enough to stop momentarily because you also aren’t firing- you breathe in the honor like a fresh breath of febreeze entering your nose because you just accidentally sprayed the can in the wrong direction- and you lean a hand on your hips and stretch your shoulder.
You both size each other up now that you’re both in the limelight of a stage called ‘kill the other one before you get killed’- and also the moon. The moon is giving off a lot of light.
“And how do you think you will succeed,” he begins, “contrary to the ones who came before you?”
You blink and shrug.
“It’s 50/50, honestly. Not going to jinx myself,” you smile, checking if your belt still has a few rounds- you’re glad to find it does.
His bow lowers slightly at your uninterested reply- you’re guessing most of the people that came for his head were a lot more passionate about it- but doesn’t lose focus.
In fact, if he shot right now, you’d have an arrow stuck in your midriff.
“That said, this is my job. How’d you like to duke it out?” you give him an even bigger, stellar smile and he gives you...the dryest expression mankind could muster.
What a stick in the mud, this one.
Time ticks by slowly as you are both locked in some kind of staredown- but you are temporarily distracted by noises to your right. Specifically, footsteps. Your head doesn’t turn but you are not comfortable hearing the sounds, since you were very sure Shimada would’ve taken out everyone properly.
Right when you’re about to shoot, you have to duck for other gunshots, rolling straight into the man with the bow pointed at you- catapulting you both into a hole in the ground of the other room, thigh awkwardly slung across his face as you try to get your foot out from under him.
“What are you doing!” he question-yells, yell-questions, awkwardly staring up at you while you crush his dominant arm with your foot. You give him a copy of the dry expression he’d shown you before- taking your time to study his face.
Neatly trimmed beard on a sharp face- this guy had cheekbones you would kill for.
“Those gunshots weren’t mine.”
He’s slightly greying around his ears, but besides that his hair is a beautiful shade of black.
“Does it matter if you will die here anyway?” he hisses- wrestling you from on top of him to under him with a sharp arrow poking at your neck.
You give a sigh through your nose- loud and annoyed.
“Get off,” you say calmly.
This job went from uncomfortable to downright hellish real fast.
When you catch him staring you down- examining your face much like you did his- you find an opening and crack the arrow so it’s out of your neck-area, and swing yourself back on top of him.
Hell hath no fury like the man you’d just manhandled if his face was any indication.
“Ok, look, grumpy-face, I don’t want to be in here with you either. Thing is, my man, that somebody knew I was going to be here assassinating you and they clearly weren’t going to stop me, so they’re not your friend. And since they want to kill me, they’re not mine either. If you help me now, I’m going to leave you alone in your whatever-”
“- yes, that. Pinky promise as well as I’ll give you the files so you can get rid of them.”
Your chest awkwardly shoves forward into his face- this was not a spacious hiding place, and you seemed to not give a fuck about modesty. It annoyed him, and though he moved back it hardly seemed to deter you from avoiding his body.
After three more rounds of ‘dodge physical contact’ you sighed.
“Look, big boy. I can’t get out without touching you. Get over yourself.”
“It is inappropriate,” he mutters, and you give him a smirk.
“I’m sure a handsome fella like you has done some bumping and grinding already,” you say, distracting him enough so you can pull yourself up into the room- crotch dangling very close to Shimada’s face.
Ah well, if that was going to be the worst thing about today, you could deal with it. Sleeping on the hard wooden floor definitely was worse than this anyway.
And you still hadn’t gone to the toilet.
“I am going to get out, kill that motherfucker, and then give you what you need,” you started, getting ready to launch yourself into raging gunfire, “don’t get in my way.”
If there was any way to make Hanzo even angrier, you’d found it. It was a feat how angry you’d gotten him in the span of 5 minutes.
No matter for you, though- you jump out and immediately duck behind one of the ornate lamps that were way too big- even though bullets fly right through it he at least has no idea where you are.
Now that you were finally alone and not trying to protect the honour of some guy that was probably older than you- the phrase rolled around in your head some more.
Thing is, my man, that somebody knew I was going to be here assassinating you and they clearly weren’t going to stop me, so they’re not your friend. And since they want to kill me, they’re not mine either.
After a few moments the coins drops and you let out a gasp.
They probably wanted to cover this up and keep it in the family- hence the whole secretive business- and you needed to be dead for that.
How rude! You were just trying to do your job. A job they hired you for. A job you still had to get paid for, as well.
You hear footsteps shuffle and that signals that your other attacker- not Hanzo, he’s still brooding in that little hole in the floor- is getting closer and it’s about time you formed a plan of attack.
When the footsteps are almost right behind you, you figure this will take too much time to think through so you jump out- firing away at anything that moved.
Lucky for you, a body fell to the floor- limp and bleeding.
You made sure he couldn’t get back up with a few more shots in the head- and one in the neck.
“An ambush, huh?” you muttered, reloading calmly.
You couldn’t help the dry, sarcastic expression on your face when you felt the cold metal of a knife against your neck- your gun positioned at his side at lightning speed while the empty cartridge fell on your foot.
“Bet you 20 I can shoot faster than you can cut,” you started, cocking the gun slowly, “so it’s either we both get out alive or both die. Your choice.”
“You think I fear death?” he spits, emphasis on every single word.
“Starting to think you’re a bit too eager for it,” you whispered- more to yourself than to him, but alas- you took out the holopad you had stashed in your coat and threw it at him- a resounding tap let you know he caught it-, “look, all info’s on there, as well as the down payment. You got that, you go free- until they realize you are in fact alive, of course. But it should give you at least a 2 month head start. And it should give me time to get out of their sight as well. Win-win.”
When he doesn’t respond, you only need a split second to pull his entire weight down with yours using the hand that’s holding the knife- slamming it against the ground so the knife clatters away and his chest is against your back- you can feel his beard tickling your ear, moving your gun to his neck.
“What’s it going to be, mr. Shimada ?” you whisper- some might call it seductively, you call it persuasive- and you grin when he swallows a lump in his throat, clearly disgruntled.
“Fine,” he hisses, and you can’t help but notice that his deep tones sound really nice up close- but you let go and kick the knife away, jogging over to the side of the building.
“Well then, goodbye.”
Hanzo fears for a split second you’ve actually gone and committed a mindless suicide- casually hopping over the edge with your jacket swaying in the wind- until he sees the grappling hook and clicks his tongue.
You stop in your tracks when you’re already far away from Shimada castle.
“My latte money-”