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A Meeting of Equals

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He hadn't meant to go looking for her-- or anyone like her-- when he'd left the square with his hour's head start. John Wick might have been the Boogeyman's Boogeyman of his world, but there were others with similar titles, and there were rules about that sort of thing.

Being a part of a secret community with strict lines of demarcation naturally meant maintaining an awareness of all the other ones they slid between, and the High Council had an understanding with Wolfram and Hart. There were other powers in those particular shadows, but the supernaturally-inclined law firm was the largest and most powerful of them all-- or had been, until the incidents a decade or so back that had resulted in a long list of young, supernaturally strong women added to the no-go roster and some really strange stories coming out of LA.

Still, crossing the streams just wasn't done; John may have broken the rule about not bringing business into the Continental, but that had been necessary, and Winston's parting gift had given him a hint how to reverse that excommunication. Deliberately seeking out supernatural help would have put an end to that hope, though, like working on Vatican soil without permission from the Church.

He wasn't sure what the rules were, though, about stumbling across one accidentally. Or as a consequence of someone else's unwise greed. He was pretty sure all his limbs were still intact, but he could feel a row of toothmarks throbbing in his neck, and he was a little more horizontal than was usual during a fight. Three known assassins targeting him at once, he could have managed; but when all three sprouted fangs and could hit like a tank....

He struggled back upright as he pressed fingers to his throat, and watched the shapely brunette who'd interrupted the fight dance, stabbing each opponent in turn with a sharp piece of wood. Something to remember, next time he went for a tasting from the Sommelier... assuming he ever got the chance to revisit the Sommelier. Wooden knives; he'd have to look into one, just in case.

Her form was rough, but she had beautiful moves, and striking strength all out of proportion. Not enough protection, but then, with her speed, it would probably hinder more than help. She didn't flinch when each vampire collapsed under her weapon, either; probably a kill count at least in the neighborhood of his. Though not formally trained; each punch she threw carried enough passion to make it personal. It was that, more than anything else, that told him what she was.

"Slayer," he recognized, as the last vampire crumbled into dust.

The woman turned back to him as he got back to his feet, eyeing John warily in acknowledgement of her title. "Baba Yaga, huh? I've heard of you, too. Local Watchers had your picture up on the no-go board when we took over here. But I thought you were out of it. What's an assassin's assassin doing facing hired fangs like these?"

"Cleaning up someone else's mess, it looks like," he replied dryly, lifting the fingers from his neck and inspecting them for blood. It wasn't deep, he didn't think; it just hurt like hell, and he'd probably need yet another bandage.

"God, do I know how that goes," she snorted. She was wearing a black leather jacket over a clinging red top and matching black pants; a little younger-skewing than his classic black suit, but meant to serve something of the same purpose, he figured. Blending her in with a particular demographic, drawing attention to the body before the face.

Not that there was anything wrong with the face, either. Maybe mid-thirties; probably fifteen years his junior, the kind of dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty that would just get more distinguished-looking as she aged. "Appreciate the assistance," he offered, with a careful handshake.

She took it, returning it with just enough strength to make her dominance clear, then gave him a wry smile with just a hint of invitation. "If you know my title, then you know that's the job. I'm about done with my patrol, though. You need a ride somewhere? You look like you could use a little TLC."

Attractive as she was, as valuable an ally as she might be-- John knew better than to take her up on it. "That's the problem, actually. Had it. Lost it. Someone took advantage. Got a little messy."

She thought about that, vividly colored lips pursed as she let the flirtatiousness fade. "Uh-huh. Know how that goes, too. Anything else I can do for you? Call a doctor, maybe?"

"Call this number," he countered, taking a Continental card out of his pocket. He might be cut off for now, but someone really ought to hear about what had happened. "Tell them what you saw. Tell them who asked. They'll make sure no one else crosses the line."

It'd make sure she wasn't retaliated against, as well; but she didn't need to hear that.

Or maybe she'd already guessed. "Five by five. I'd ask if you counted as an exception, but I get it," she frowned, taking the card with a lifted eyebrow. "Though-- who do I say asked? Is this a nickname-only club? I know your title, but not your name."

"John Wick. You?" It seemed polite to ask.

"Faith," she replied, shrugging.

"Faith, huh?" There'd been a quote Helen had shared with him, back at the beginning; that faith made things possible, not easy. "It fits."

She laughed at that, a low, rich sound. "You know, you might be the first guy who ever said that to me with his clothes on?"

"Then I think you might need to meet better guys."

"You're probably right. So, I'd wish you good luck-- but you look like the kinda guy who makes his own."

"I'll take it anyway," he shrugged, smiling. "You, too."

Then they nodded to each other, turned, and went their separate ways in the dark.