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Parabellum

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TRRTRTRTRRTRTRTRRRTRR!

9mm bullets ripped through the air, clear cut, embedding themselves into silk, wool blended with cashmere and flesh. Lifeless bodies collapsed into asphalt with meaty thuds, blood diluted by the torrential downpour, bucketing down into a centimetres thick deluge.

Lena Oxton’s arms raised up to eye level, dual Uzi’s equipped. Peering through the industrial forklift’s cage-like bars by the seat. Spiky hair trampled by the rain, flattened against the side of her forehead. Ragged breaths escaped her, winded after the mad sprint from the entrance of the harbour. Gunning down all personnel that remained at eve of midnight.

Henchmen. They were all that remained behind, in escort for their superior, Williem Winters. A cruel, calculating but charming mob boss, responsible for a significant portion of drug trade plaguing New York City.

Her mark.

Weapons lowered to her waist, ready to fire nonetheless. Stepping to the side of the lift and proceeded forward, cautious. Lena spotted movement at the intersection, breaking into a furious sprint. A shadowy figure glanced around the corner in front of her, retreating before doubling back. Their right arm extended in the air, swinging around, a pistol in hand—Too slow. Lena dropped into a slide, the friction burns against her Kevlar jeans an afterthought as she ducked underneath the weapon and discharged her own, multiple rounds into their stomach.

CRACKCRACKCRACK!

Stray rounds chased after as the British female assassin tumbled away, distant muzzle flash giving away the enemy's position. Lena paused mid-roll, facing the source and raise both weapons up to eye level. She squeezed the trigger, inexplicably calm. Weapon recoil vibrated in her hand, she wrestled to control the circular whirl of the dancing muzzle.

TRTRTRTRTR—CLICKCLICK!

Empty.

Tucking the weapon in her right hand underneath an armpit, the extended magazine slid out of the weapon as she pressed the release button. She reached behind her waist and yanked a spare out and reloaded. The action repeated for the other.

Onwards.

………………………………………………………………………..

Finally, she had him. The salt and pepper beard and silver hair drawn back with the rain, crippled by the metal fragments embedded in hip and thigh. He fought to upright himself, groaning audibly as the gaping holes protested by squeezing out vital fluids underneath the harbour lamplights. Smooth concrete unlike the asphalt metres behind.

“W..Wait! Lets…Lets discuss this.” He called out at the figure, garbed in a trench coat. They stepped into view, eyebrows drawn into a furious scowl. A smile jerked the corner of his lips, “H..How much? Its money right--? How about power? I can give you the entire south east of—”

“Shut up.” Feminine, London accent, cockney? Willem couldn’t tell, geographically ignorant. They drew closer, raising presumably their dominant hand, submachinegun pointed at. Hand steady. “Williem Winter, you will no longer plague this city, especially the kids with those bloody drugs! Vile piece of trash!”

His eyes enlarged, “Wait--!”

VRRRRFTT—PLAH!

The concrete painted with blood, he flattened on the ground. Arms splayed out, walleyed.

Lena hissed and whirled around, scowl intensifying. Scanning the distance, unable to make out any notable tell-tale signs of human activity. “NO!”

A high calibre round had whizzed past her head and burrowed through her mark. A clean hole carved through his forehead.

Amélie Lacroix!

“FUCK!” Lena stomped her boot against the centimetre-thick water on top of concrete. Frustration welled, despite the chilling weather she felt heat span across lower to upper back.

Without a target left, she possessed no reason to remain. She spun on her heel and holstered the weapons into the slings on each side and stormed towards the source of the gunshot.

No bounty? WHO CARED? Amélie would pay. Tonight.

……………………………………………………

Perhaps it had been the influx of newcomers and veteran alike. Or perhaps the lack of training, Lena had found a lack of success lately. In the past she found it possible to comfortably sustain her lifestyle and support the kids. Now, the assassin struggled to make ends meet, day after day.

The streets remained treacherous, especially for an aesthetically pleasing woman such as herself. Their world different to the ordinary, guaranteed protection, a luxury that could be paid for, short lived however. In currency, a single gold coin. At Universal

Perchance too rash this month. Stash of coin dwindled down to one. Lena trembled, infuriated by the fact she had been unable to track down the woman responsible for thieving her kill. Her payout.

A drink, alcohol, to dull the defeat.

Impulsive.

Lena stepped into the magnificent hotel, drenched still. Familiar gazes drew to her, the concierge, Fareeha Amari and the residential doctor, surgeon and fellow orphan herself, Angela Ziegler. The rumours proved true, dating.

She shot the pair a perceptive smirk. Foul mood left her ill-equipped to socialise but the need for a drink and shortage of disposable income required a trip to the hotel bar. Boots clomping through on marble tiles, the welcome mat did little to drain the excess liquid.

At least they weren’t muddy boot prints.

Mahogany velvet room, classic music backdropped the soft audio of conversation in the background. An established regular around here, she lowered her head an indication the ordinarily bright woman, unprepared to socialize.

Last gold coin clicked onto the oak pub table, “Strongest shot, neat. Designation, Tracer.”

The Brazilian swiped the coin away with a smooth hand motion, Lucio Dos Santos. A polite and ever active barkeep, who seemed invulnerable to fatigue for she had never seen him rest. He informed, hinting at his upbeat nature. “That will cost two and a half of the five standard drinks.”

“Don’t care. Hit me.”

A glass slid in front of her downcast gaze seconds later. The fragrant aroma of wild elderflower and milk thistle. Vodka. She picked up the glass and sipped, the alcohol burned down her throat, tracing a tiny wince.

Smooth, cold and seductive, French. A voice tormented from her left, “Look at what the cat dragged in.”

Lena felt her body temperature flare up, frustration bubbled to rage. Leaping to her feet and reached for her trademark Uzis. Eyes wild. Screaming internally, “Amélie Lacroix!!”

A great gorilla hobbled over, garbed in a fine purple suit. Hyper-intelligent, genetically engineered and ruthless enforcer of hotel rules. Winston politely reminded his friend.in particular “Ladies. Need I remind you, no business can be conducted on Universal grounds.”

Amélie’s leer intensified, washing over the soaked figure before her.

Reluctantly seated herself, raising the glass up to lips and taking a deeper gulp. “You fucking bitch. Stole my mark. Mucked it all up…”

The French assassin’s head tilted, ever infuriatingly remarking. “I do not recall seeing your name on him.”

Clink

“Seventy-Five, classic. Designation, Widowmaker.”

Lucio started as per his policy, “That will cost two—"

Promptly cut off by Amélie, “Yes.” Gliding on to a barstool of her own, elbow rested on top of the oak table, smooth lilac cheek propped against a palm, drilling into the side of her head.

“…Whatever, you’re a bitch.” Lena tipped the rest of the drink into her mouth, a deep wince as the alcohol took hold, flushing her cheeks. Striding past the woman, headed back to the concierge. She doubled back, stumbling as a cool and firm grip snatched her by the wrist.

Amber eye stared at over drawn back shoulder, commanding. “Stay.”

Lena attempted to yank her hand away, unsuccessful. Grasping the woman’s wrist and pried at the grip, legs bracing against the carpeted floors “Let me go, you…You wanker!”

Winston’s deep voice boomed, “Lacroix.”

The grip released, she flailed as her balance toppled by the sudden shift in circumstances. Collapsing onto her rear with a grunt, the alcohol certainly did not help.

Amélie shot the ape an annoyed look. “I was merely watching out for our esteemed…Friend.”

Shaking his head, the ape wandered off. Despite appearances, he seemed confident in his decision, knowing full well that either of them would not step past their boundaries.

Lena picked herself up, wobbling a little. “Buzz off…I’m going to sleep.”

“Oh? And where will you take refuge tonight? Winter’s men will be hunting you for the rest of the night until news spreads.” Amélie countered smugly. Of course, she had been spared of such troubles, the advantages of those who preferred the extreme range of the sniper-rifle.

No doubt it seemed public knowledge of her lack of success had spread as of late. Every mark and bounty she had taken, just a step too slow. Taken by another associate. If not for her thorough nature however, they would have struggled with the events that followed, hordes of henchman or sympathetic compatriots rushing forth to avenge their fallen comrade.

Unfortunately, only the death of the marked mattered. Whomever dealt the killing blow received the reward.

“I’ll…I’ll manage.” Lena muttered.

“Oh? The streets are quite rough these days, plenty of Ice addicts roaming the poorer neighbourhoods if you still have cash but not coin. I’m sure they certainly wouldn’t mind taking a chance at a woman…Of even your appearance.”

The insult drew a hateful gaze from, “Bloody hell, what’s it matters to you anyway? If I get taken out, less competition for you.”

Amélie pivoted on the seat and faced Lena frontally, her arrogant sneer contrasted the ‘heart-warming’ speech, “I rather feel not responsible for an…associate’s death. When I can, at least.”

Lena’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. Own smirk hauled the corner of her lips, “Amélie Lacroix, is this guilt I hear?”

“Do not push your luck, chérie. I am merely offering temporary refuge out of the kindness of my heart.” Their voice turned from cold to icy, enough to remind the poor assassin that she was still drenched. A shiver rippled through.

“Pfft..Kindness of your heart…” Lena dismissed at first, gaze glided over to the fireplace. The licking flames tentatively tortured, drifting back to the cross-legged French woman garbed in a simple, form fitting mulberry minidress. Apparently, they had enough time to return, shower and get changed before coming down to harass. “…Fine I’ll take you up on your offer.”

A flicker of a pleased grin ghosted their features, Lena’s brows furrowed.

Did I imagine that?

……………………………………………………………………………..

Psshhffftstssssszss!

The steady stream of hot water blasted onto her shivering figure, she glanced around for the bar of soap and bottle of shampoo. Might as well clean-up, it might be the only shower in days to come…she reasoned.

Scrubbing and massaging all too happily at the dirt and grime whilst she reflected on the past few minutes.

Amélie had taken the drink to go as she led her back to the hotel room. The journey silent through the vast halls, Angela shot her a worried peep as they passed by concierge together. Aware of their differences and feelings towards each other, and more….

A confidant.

When they stepped into the lavish room, the French woman put up no resistance as she stepped into the bathroom almost immediately. But…Lena could feel their gaze on their back as she disappeared.

Heck…They even tossed in a spare bathrobe.

She soaked underneath for god knew how long. Sore muscles easing under the balmy stream.

Satisfied but reluctant, Lena twisted the knobs till the flow ended. Stepping out onto the bathmat, grabbing a fluffy white towel and dried off. Her hair however, remained saturated as she ruffled the towel through but avoided the blow-dryer. It provided a refreshing breeze as she walked.

Immediately as she stepped out, Amélie’s voice greeted her. The pleasant accent did little to curry favour to the suspicious brit. “That was a lengthy shower…Preparing for hard times ahead?”

“Shut up.”

Something jingled off to her right. Lena’s head snapped to the source. Between the wide gap between the golden sakura folding screen and cabinet, sat a leather couch with her benefactor on top. To the left and in front of, a queen sized bed, facing away from the hallway.

A pair of pink fuzzy cuffs.

They dangled from a lavender digit. Uncompromising, “Hands behind your back.”

“What?” Lena seethed at, she knew it. Everything too good to be true.

Amélie lofted a brow at, expectant. “Do you think I am a fool? I am aware you tried to kill me, earlier. I would rather not take my chances tonight..”

“Because you took my mark!”

“And yet…I am letting you sleep in my room. Or would you rather I kick you out, smelling like lavender and roses? I am sure the men and women of the ghettos would be more than thankful.” A tongue poked forward, leering at. “Perhaps I could request they record it, might be fun to watch…”

“You…Are the most infuriating…Condescending and cruel witch to ever walk these streets.” Lena hissed yet despite this she crossed both arms behind her back and turned around reluctantly. The muffled thud of heels crossed the room, the thin hairs of the fuzz tickled her wrists at first as they enveloped. “There? You happ--!?”

She cut off as her vision shrouded—Something inexplicably smooth draped over her eyes and wrapped itself around her skull. Bucking forward at first, the assassin fell forward onto the fine carpeted floors, straddled across her back, Amélie finished tying the silk blindfold over.

Pleased at her handiwork, “There~ Now I am…Happy.”

“What the fuck? Is this really necessary.” Lena spat venomously over her shoulder. A cool palm flattened her skull in the carpet, stiffening underneath. “Wait—You’re not…”

Mockingly chided, “Foolish girl, if I wanted that, you would be lying beside your precious mark in the downpour still.”

Lena steadily relaxed underneath. Partially satisfied by the response but fumed. Breath down her back as they leaned in.

Amélie continued, a hint of warmth as she whispered. Perhaps a touch saccharine, no… Lust. “I am only taking what I deserve for my charity.”

“Huh? Wha—Ackh!” Lena choked as finger enveloped her from behind, squeezing down. The weight disappeared from her waist and being lifted onto her feet. Pressure against her neck released, an arm looped through hers. “Kugh—Kugh…What the hell?!”

Amidst the artificially induced darkness, she stumbled sideways through. Brief memory of the room led her through the hallway and around the side of the king-size bed, perhaps at the foot? Arm un-winded from and placed firmly against her shoulders. Simultaneous pressure behind both knees, undercut her balance and collapsed to the carpet, lurching forward, face first against the satin sheets.

“Hold still..” The voice susurrated against her ear. Thud of heels as they hit the wall, barefoot now? Clueless to the woman’s intention.

Sqrrtrtrt.

“Huh?” Lena snapped her head side to side. The sound of a bottle?

Downward pressure against the bathrobe followed by an upward flick. Short but well-kept nails trailed against the cleft of her shapely butt.

“Wha--!”

The fabric of her underwear yanked downward, exposing her buttocks to the air. Fingers rested unevenly against her butt, a thumb pried her left cheek to the side, opposite side of thumb split the right. Her anus puckered in response to the unnatural sensation.

Something cold, jelly like.

“…!!!!!” Lena bucked her hip down. Smooth and rounded, it pressed against her rear. It slipped inside with surprising ease due to the substance coating it. “Wha—WRONG HMNFGHRPHH!” The pressure against her left buttock’s cheek lifted and instead bore down on the back of her neck.

“Shut up. It is either this or the streets, Lena.” A pause followed, voice drawling huskily. “Either way—I will get what I want. To see you squirm underneath me.

Compliance.

The threat, difficult to pinpoint idle or not.

Regardless the egg-shaped object, was pushed in considerably. It resided within her uncomfortably. String attached itself to a tiny rectangular box. Amélie departed from, grasping an ankle firmly as something lacey brushed against her toes. It slipped onto her ankle and dragged up to her thigh. Ah, a thigh strap, pinning the string and box against the respective limb. The underwear from earlier was yanked back up and secured tightly around the waist.

Lena tried to push the object out. To little avail.

“W—What are you doing? Please…” Her own voice came out…Submissive, subdued.

Silence.

Padded footsteps departed from, coming to a rest to her right. If her memory recall was to be trusted, a make-up table resided there.

Click—Click

Bzzztztzzztzz!!

Lena yelped audibly, the egg-shaped object in her rear vibrated to life—A vibrator!

Amélie mused out loud, “Much better…Like a puppy dog. As I expected.”

“W..Why do you h…have these t…Ahh…S-Stop it!” A rush of heat to crotch, a haze clouded her mind.

As if sensing the brow quirk, Lena turned towards. Still blindfolded, the response dulcet. “You’d be surprised…The right amount of pressure applied to any part of the body, with the proper application…Can range from, an annoying drone to intense discomfort to unimaginable pain.”

A pause followed.

“Or bliss.”

Lena shot back, brows raised with wide eyes behind the silk blindfold. “Definitely i..intense discomfort!”

Lukewarm hand placed gently against their shoulder reassuringly, “As intended, chérie…”

“I..I..I really fucking hate you!”

Amélie scoffed, voice turning cruel. “Off to the streets with you then.” A finger looped underneath the collar of her bathrobe, yanking backward and then up.

“No! Y..You said—Akh.” A sideways tug, her head rag dolling in the air. Full lips brushed against the shell of her ear.

Dangerous, cold. Amélie Lacroix. “Shut up. Or the streets. You haven’t. Off. To. The. Streets. With. You.”

Lena gasped, backpedalling quickly. “No! No no, wait. PLEASE Amélie!” She stumbled about as they dragged her around the bed and headed for the door. “Y-YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS, L-LIKE THIS?!”

No response.

Heart sinking. “OKAY! I’LL DO WHAT YOU WANT, ANYTHING—PLEASE! MERCY!”

Lena collided with. Wobbling about as she searched around for their presence, what did they look like? Pleased? Angry? Sad? Annoyed?

Please…Anything was better than this silence.

“A..A..Amélie?” Her world spun, back collided with something hard, waist hit a protruding object, round—The doorknob.

Amélie’s voice sickly sweet. “Anything…?”

Nod-nod!

“And you will be quiet, like requested?”

Again.

“….Let us find out.”

The British assassin tripped, dragged forward. Back to the bed…? Like a sack of potatoes.

“On your knees.”

The squeak of the mattress followed the command, Lena rolled onto her knee and shuffled up. How far up did she have to look to address Amélie? She searched around cluelessly. A hand grasped the back of her head, fingers intertwining with the short to medium sized locks, thrusting her head forward. Tepid to warm flesh brushed against her cheeks, mouth pressed against flesh, a nub rested between each lip.

A moan followed.

The aroma distinctly reminded her of blueberries but lighter.

“Lick.” A command. Uncompromising.

Lena extended her tongue forward, the tip pressed against the sensitive nub that swelled and throbbed underneath.

“Down.”

Again, she obeyed. The thighs squeezed against cheeks as they wrapped around her neck as her legs draped over her back. Effectively pinning her against the woman’s muff. “Mnmnnngh!” Tongue slipped downward, brushing against the velvet folds of the labia.

Hot…Sticky…Sweet…A touch salty…Intoxicating candy.

Lapping at the source, with each brush encouraged eagerly. Amélie twitched underneath her ministrations which provided supplementary recompense. At least she had some form of control over her.

Or so she thought.

Click!

The vibrator intensified in her rectum. Eliciting a sharp squeal, trembling underneath. Pressure around her neck intensified.

“Eat, you stupid girl. I figured a dyke like you could eat pussy better than this..!” She cursed and bucked their hip against.

Rage flared headfirst—She bit down gently on the sensitive nub of nerves, the clitoris. Provoking a harsh bark from, sparking a smirk on her own features.

“Lena…! I WILL FUCKING RUIN YOU.” Legitimate irritation, the first time. In her life she had heard the French woman speak with such a tone. The threat turned her blood to ice; the silk blindfold fell away to reveal a sub-zero glower. Doe-eyes had no effect.

The lengthy legs unwrapped around, arch of her right foot placed sideways against her neck. Kicking forward, rocking her backward, head banging against the wall. Stars appeared over her eyes, dazed.

Amélie leapt to her feet, storming forward to seize her by the bathrobe collar. Shaking her violently, “You think that was funny bitch?

Oh shit…

She felt her head rattle against the wall before pitching over to the couch littered with rifle cases and rucksacks. With practice the dominant assassin threw her head against the bottom of the furniture. The firm frame collided with the top of her skull, summoning a whimper as it added to her disorientation.

Perceptible rustling followed as Amélie dug through the rucksack. Once more they dragged her back to the bed and rolled out a length of tools. Some surgical—Others clearly sexual, perhaps all the latter?

A sneer decorated their features as they stared down at her. The fingers pointed at, “Another one of your indiscretions, I add another tool to our play. Understood?” Was that the intended effect? The threat summoned for surge of arousal despite the implicit torturous evening ahead.

Masochist.

Lena’s head rocked back and forth. Tears welled in her eyes, skull throbbing from the previous blows.

“Dismiss any and all thoughts of protest, chienne. If I am not satisfied by the end of tonight, I will personally deliver you to the nearest ghetto and line-up all interested parties. Assassins and bounty hunters will be the last of your worries”

“Okay! Please—I’m sorry..I..I was in the wrong.” Lena whimpered, she hung her head low. Motioning towards back to in between French woman’s legs with her neck extending.

A flutter of air escaped from her abuser. Expression flickering.

Amélie sat back on the bed, legs parted. Lips curled back into the slightest snarl, she possessed in her hand, a leather flogger.

Lena crawled forward obediently and buried her features back into the folds. Tongue readily lapping at the folds, occasionally diving into and swirling in a small circle. Amélie rocked her hip forward, sliding forward from the mattress, forcing Lena to crane her neck backward.

Amber eyes met submissive, conquered hazel irises. The fight had departed from.

Combined with the kisses, light suckling motion caused Lena’s upper lip grazed the sensitive nub, it sent a powerful tremor throughout the lilac female.

Smack!

The flogger landed across her rear, the milky white flesh covered by the fluffy bathrobe. Unsatisfied, Amélie hissed with displeasure. “Robe. Now.”

Lena’s eyes darted about, confusion at first before her cuffed hands scrambled to pull the flaps, revealing her shapely rear.

SMACK!

Harder than last time, squealing into. The thrum of her voice carried into which summoned forth a flood of juices from, splashing across her chin.

Amélie’s chest heaved as her breathing grew irregular, coming out in faint panted rasps. Upturned ambers narrowing, a hand grasped the back of the head and pulled toward, rough. Prompting to plunge her tongue into her depths, exploring deeper. The muscles of her sex contracted and milked at the moist appendage.

Not half a minute later, Lena felt the throbbing ache of her jaw, tongue and skull set in. Early indications of slacking drew an annoyed glare masking another emotion from, no time to ponder on it—Thighs enveloped her neck again, Amélie practically stood on top of, arching her back into a half bridge.

Airway cut off by the squeezing limbs, hazel orbs rolling behind flickering lids. Tongue slowing to a halt.

“LICK.”

She began trembling underneath, muscle spasming before picking up pace, the burning soreness screamed for a break. But Amélie’s threat loomed over, compelling her onward.

“Nnggh---Auuhh..haa…”

Warm fluids sprayed across the barely conscious girl’s features as they achieved orgasm. The pressure faded around her neck.

The duo collapsed onto their respective backs, Amélie’s arms off to the side comfortably as she basked in the blissful afterglow.

Few minutes passed by in general silence bar their respective breathless panting and huffing.

Without warning, Lena blurted out to the best of her ability, jaw slack and tongue all but numb. “Arhhh ooo happha…?”

Soft noise escaped from the back of their throat. Humour?

Amélie soon appeared into view as they erected from the bed, their gaze calmed down into her natural nonchalant. A smirk tugged at the corner of her lips.

“My turn now…”

Lena whimpered underneath, something not quite right with the announcement.

Their beautiful features dipped towards.

Please—I just want some rest…!

It seemed the night, far from over just yet.

Chapter Text

Kiss of cold steel, like ice on the skin.

Click.

The handcuffs slipped off.

Voice devoid of emotion, cold and uncaring. “Girls, it is time for lessons. You have a minute to eat.”

“Yes Madame.” She felt her lips move.

Staring down at the sterile tiles, the grey walls of the barracks as all the other children crammed their mouth with stale bread.

Denied of any, poor performance.

A fist jutted in front, waving frantically. Food!

She snatched the musty dough from the pale hand and flicked her gaze up. Meeting theirs. Aqua irises, upturned eyes and nose…The unforgettably short, spiky and dishevelled ash brown cut. A smile offered

A smile returned.

“Up girls. It is time to depart.”

The room melted away, colour flooded in.

Honey pine floors, pale bleached walls and sable ballet barres.

A dance studio. 

“A la seconde…Epaule…Ecarte.”

She toppled over, knee throbbing and heart…What did her heart do again?

“Amélie Lacroix, as clumsy as ever.”

“Madame--!” The fallen girl gasped.

“Off to the doctor’s office with you.”

“NO! PLEASE, ANYWHERE BUT—MNPPHGRMN!”

A rough and calloused hand smothered.

The cruel mistress’s emerald irises distorted, darting to the left and right. Followed by a nod. Signalling for the men to haul her. A demoness.

Click! Cold steel.

They secured an arm each.

Screams silent.

……………………………………………………………………………

Amélie Lacroix jerked, startling herself. Cold steel tickled her neck, eyelids flaring wide. They weren’t her limbs but the chains, lax. Mattress underneath cushioned her shoulder. Prudently she rolled on the spot, naked and pondering to whom would be so stupid to—

Ash brown, Spiky hair….

Tiana?

She bit back the gasp. Impossible.

Their eyes remained shut, undisturbed. Asleep. Turned away from and nearly perpendicular from, knees tucked up to chest in order to facilitate the position of their arms over her shoulder and around neck.

Continuing to scrutinize, events of last night trickled back, designation…Tracer. The harbour, rifle rested against the brick edge, barrel peered over, 6x rifle scope lined up to the male’s skull, trigger finger squeezed gently. Ready to claim the bounty, rapid gunfire followed by the distant cries of the fallen. Pressure lifted against the trigger, target fled in lieu for shelter elsewhere. But the disturbance tracked, too slow. Her aim, true.

Of course…The meddlesome girl.

Buried between her legs, lapping like a bitch. They had whimpered and squirmed underneath like an animal ready for dissection at first, but soon succumbed to the anaesthetic of pleasure and dread.

Amélie had made sure that the woman experienced both. A benediction and curse, shelter from the outside hazards in exchange caught in her web, cocooned and to never know when the end nigh.

She sunk back into the mattress with a sigh, facing away from. The British assassin’s arm cushioned her neck diagonally. An unpleasant sensation squeezed her ribs, almost precognitive. Her fingers darted up in time to catch the chains from enveloping her completely.

“I’m awake, you know.” Lena’s voice hissed from behind, strained, malicious.

As expected, anticipating the reaction after last night. Amélie’s shoulders bobbed, noise in between a scoff and chuckle. Humoured by the announcement, she cooed back. “Do we need to find Winston?” Weight doubled against her fingers, squeezing flat against neck. Her still free hand, grasped at the device tucked underneath her pillow. Searching for the remote.

Click!

The restrained woman yelped her body trembled violently. Chains slackened against, Amélie yanked them forward and ducked underneath. Releasing the shackles, rolled onto her other shoulder and scrambled to clamber over the squirming assassin, wrestling them against the bed.

French ballerina grasped the back of her neck with a vice-like grip and pressed into the fluffy cushions underneath.

“G-G-G-G-GEPH IPH OUHH! E-ENOUGH!” Lena squealed, soprano into the pillows underneath. Dissent, wild and inexperienced. Amateur.

Amélie returned the hiss, “You…If I were to report your actions—STOP STRUGGLING!”

“PHWEAASEE!”

Hand dived past the bucking hips, seizing the transceiver and yanked the egg-shaped vibrator out, still thrumming sadistically, tossing it aside.

Their struggles ceased finally, dwindling…Slack. Amélie’s knee pressed against the back of her waist, eliciting a whine. “Excommunicado, dear Lena…”

Lena bucked in protest and grunted as the grip around her neck shifted from, to the back of scalp. Fingers seized the scruff and yanked back, the victor leaned in. Breath tickled against their earlobe, “What were you hoping to achieve, idiot?”

Her response came forth as a whimper, “I..I wasn’t going to go through with—MNPHNMM!”

Amélie growled infuriated by the response, shoving her down into the pillow and smothered for good measure. “LIAR!” Counting the seconds in her head, yanking back up, the pressure against own ribs refused to let up, merely intensifying. Why?

Her victim gulped in mouthful of airs before continuing, “N-Nooo! I..I’m serious! Just trying to scare you—F-For last night!”

“I offered you, sanctuary.”

“Y-Yeah but you also—I didn’t even get…to…” They trailed off, refusing to finish the sentence. Perhaps a touch ashamed.

Ah, of course. Amélie felt a pull on the corner of her lips. Orgasm. “Really? And because of that, you attempt to choke me?”

“Yes—” Lena’s head guided forward, frantically bellowing “I MEAN NO!”  The French assassin held her still, “T-That was it, j-just that. A-A bit of choking, nothing more! I s-swear, just wanted a bit of pay back and to scar…….scare you!”

Fury subsided, digits laxed, releasing. Logic glided back into her mind, the comparatively meek woman underneath dared not to breach Universal rules. Their sickening moral compass would have rendered them immobile.

Relenting, Amélie rolled over to her bedside table, grasping the handle to the drawer and stared into its contents. Empty, except for a single object, a key.

Lena groaned on top of the mattress, climbing onto her knees with forehead pressed into the sheets. Fatigue sapped her movements, a lack of meaningful rest. Likely stemmed from the toy that had remained within for the night. “What..What time is it?”

Epicaricacy or schadenfreude, delight trickled into Amélie’s chest as she observed her victim. Reaching into the draw and retrieved the key and held it up in the air, pinched between thumb and index.

Deep Nutella eyes stared at it for a long second, flicking to meet her gaze.

Amélie answered smugly, sardonic. “Too late for you.”

“W-What do you mean?”

“By now, all the ‘good’ marks will have been taken and you…My dear, Lena. Will be at least three steps behind.”

Lena’s tired but still charming features drooped in dismay. Propped up to her knees and leaned forward, paling slightly, she repeated her question, “What time is it…?”

Amélie retrieved her phone from the bedside table, pressing down on the button. Screen and time lit up into view, turning it to. Colour draining out of their face, collapsing onto their rear and wobbled dangerously backward over the edge of the bed.

Lena whispered, “U-Uncuff me.”

Please.”

“Please, uncuff me. Amélie…Lacroix.”

Content, she circled around the bed and allowed the girl’s weight to press against her bosom. Seizing their wrist and inserted the key and twisted, the fluffy cuffs ticked and fell away. Legs swung over the side of the bed, turning towards, they stood up and wobbled unsteadily. Rubbing and massaging her wrists, shuffling into the bathroom to retrieve her effects.

Within minutes they stepped out, hair as dishevelled as ever.

Tiana…

They offered a sombre peep, a tiny nod followed.

Amélie still nude, trailed after the woman departing for the entrance, smirk embellished own sharp features. “Miss Oxton.”

Assassin froze, hand seized the door knob. Fringe in view as the turned halfway, refusing to meet.

She continued, “If you need a haven, do not hesitate. My conditions stand.

Door pulled near, they slipped out without so much as the faintest affirmation, the exit shut.

Arms crossing as she pivoted on a heel, gaze lingered however.

…………………………………………………………

“Bloody hell…”

Lena stormed across past the concierge desk, clothes scarcely dry from the downpour last night. Drawing an audible exhale from the Egyptian, she could feel their gaze on her back making her way to the bulletin board.

Crouching down to cup the back of her head, eyes sliding shut and attempted to reset. A mess.

A bloody mess.

At this rate, she would miss her monthly contribution—Payments.

She owed that much at least. One life for many.

Rushing back to the concierge desk. Fareeha addressed her as she came to a halt in front, modest Egyptian enunciation. “How may I help you, Ms. Oxton?”

“I need a new burner phone.”

“Very well.”

They stood in silence, brows raised expectant.

Lena muttered acerbic, “I’m…Struggling right now, can I exchange my current burner?”

“Ah, is it out of charge?”

A sheepish nod.

“Hrm…Well we can have it charged. For free. But we cannot replace it. To last the day, it will need thirty to fourty minutes. Might I suggest—”

A gold coin clicked onto the table, Texan drawl, “Ahh’ll hayndle this one lil lady.” Jesse!

“McCree!” Lena spun to the source of aid, expression softening. They offered a warm smile as the cowboy hat tilted backward with his finger, a wink. And just like that, his boots clicked against the marble, headed for the bar.

“Thank you!”

Turning back to the counter and glanced at the coin and concierge. Concern swept across their manner, swipe of the hand, and the coin disappeared behind the counter. In its place a flip phone, fully charged, Lena plucked it up and flicked to texts, eyes scrolling through all available contracts. Only four accessible to her.

“Ms Oxton, are you still suppor--?”

“Yep.” Lena shot her a look, silencing any further talk of the matter, not here. “I’ve gotta go.”

With that she whipped back to the Universal’s entrance, still damp trench coat trailed after.

Heart sinking as multiple texts bleeped through, notifying of their completion. Three remaining.

Andrusha Lukovna Dublinsky. Human Trafficking.

Flip

Lena tucked the phone into an inner pocket. ark but determined, slightly hollow from lack of rest.

Head throbbing, stomach queasy, rear aching and unsatisfied. Arousal lingered from hours before.

Fucking sadist…Edged her for hours.

……………………………………

Fortified, if anything…Defensible.

His sanctuary, a warehouse. Brooklyn. A remarkably grey location.

Two snipers perched high up…Well, were. They didn’t take much effort as she snuck up on both. One by one, a knife through the side of the neck and slashing either forward or back, to the neck. Blood gushed out from the wounds, silencing them without the ability to alert their comrades.

Too easy…They didn’t cover each other at all. Remarkably unprofessional.

Lena pumped her arms as she descended upon what remained, a rather small party of seven for a protection detail as she proceeded into one of three entrances to the complex. Catching three by surprise as she dashed past the hallway, Uzi’s squirting out a hail of fire.

Four to go. Sheltering themselves behind pillars that supported the sheet metal roof. Guns drawn--

RATATATATATATA.

Nothing even remotely close to her direction. But the source, near. Now it made sense, they weren’t unprofessional…Just unaware. Competition.

PAHPAH—PAH—PAH!

This time, chunks of concrete flicked past her eyes as the bullets landed against the concrete wall. Sharp aim and decent reflexes. Eyes reflexively winced as dust and shrapnel threatened to blind, Lena feinted a peek, more small arms fire. Extending her left arm around the corner and squeezed a small burst, counting in her head.

15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.

Suppressing only one but the other three retaliated, a bullet grazed her forearm eliciting a yelp. The weapon dropped to the floor, clattering.

Lena hissed, “Have it your way then.” Distancing away from the wall her back rested against and rotated to face it. Reaching for the folding stock equipped to her remaining weapon and unfolded it, bracing it against her shoulder. Assuming a traditional stance, elbows tucked down, leaning slightly in and feet shoulder width apart, non-dominant foot ahead. Weight on the balls of her feet. Slightly damaged hand raised up to wrap around the underbarrel of the weapon.

Leaning to the left, iron sight raised to eye level. White dress shirt—

TRTRRRTRTRRTR.

An accurate burst found its mark, dropping the first. More gunfire from elsewhere drew close, it seemed to stem from behind the steel double doors, the distraction drew their attention for a split second.

Just the advantage she needed, sidestepping wide into the open and gunned down two more.

One to go.

She hesitated, he raised his weapon. Combat rolling to the left. Berating herself quietly, Lena had uncharacteristically lost count. Dominant hand released the grip and pressed down on the magazine release, the extended mag dropped to the floor.

Frantic footsteps from in front. Releasing the weapon entirely and dropped to a knee, reaching for her karambit. The hand came into view first. Impatient.

If he had sliced the pie, the angle wide, he would’ve had distance on her. Lena leapt from her position, seizing the arm and thrust up, exposing his right and drew her weapon, slashing at his ribs.

Ready for it, he threw a straight punch and caught her in the jaw first, redirecting the knife attack to his forearm as she stumbled back. The gun discharged into the air before he relinquished it out agony, “BLYAT!”

Lena unrelenting, tackled for his midsection as he reached for his back-up. Deciding against it, he intercepted her dominant forearm wielding with the curved knife, physically stronger. His gun arm apprehended her around the neck, squeezing. They fell onto the floor, rolling around with her on top. She felt her right arm give way to his brawn, left hand searched for an advantaged scrambling around on his face.

Akhh—

Needing to alleviate the pressure around her neck immediate, her left grasped the arm responsible. Wet…His wound! Lena searched for the wound before digging her nails in ferociously, warm and sleek flesh, eliciting a cry from the scruffy bearded male. Both grips slackened—

“HURGGHYAH!” Her knife arm shook free and slashed, meeting resistance as it tore through his throat. Blood gurgled forth, bubbling at the lips as his eyelids grew lazy. The life departed from him, as she fell back onto her rear.

No time to rest.

The gunfire had ceased, breath coming forth in ragged gasps, crawling onward to retrieve both weapons. Heavyset fatigue weighed her movement down as she reloaded both weapons, stashing one into its holster.

Racking the slide of the unfolded Uzi to chamber a round in. Damn it all, tired. Her most advantageous asset, nullified.

Lena approached the steel doors, support arm stretched out as she kept gun raised to eye level and propped against shoulder. Seizing the lever, the door screeched sharply as it unlocked, pulling at first—Shit, push.

An oakwood room revealed itself, the dull colours of the outside a bitter memory in the well-decorated saferoom. Or rather…Former saferoom. Large mahogany desk overturned, papers and files scattered everywhere, the television had been riddled with bullets and thrown itself forward, strewing wires behind. Seats and couches flipped over with bodies similarly decorated against their dated designs.

An immense figure loomed over a disfigured body, their face crushed by a heavy blow. Brain matter, fragments of skull and blood splattered across the floor, nauseating. Lena aimed the weapon at the heavily armoured figure, they turned to the newest source of disturbance. Thick Kevlar, covered every single inch of their body, carrier plates pocketed in each pouch front and back, their bulletproof mask faced at them.

She recognised him immediately. Only one idiot existed to utilise a hammer in this day and resort to melee combat as his primary form of assassination. Lena cursed out loud, lowering the weapon, the stock jutted off to the right of her arm. “…FUCK!”

“HOHOHOHO!” The muffled voice boomed, evident, the only party content to be meeting. He reached up to the mask and pried it up, resting on his scalp. Revealing a scar running across his eye and silver mullet, a wide grin on his features. “Lena Oxton! Fancy meeting you here, lass!”

“Reinhardt…” Lena folded the weapon stock bitterly, displeasure scribbled across. Holstering the weapon. She stepped forward to inspect his handiwork, nose scrunched. “My mark…What did you do to him?!”

He shouldered the hammer and brushed his nose with the back of a bloody hand. “Unfortunate..” Head tilted to the side and peered past at the fallen men behind. He loosed another bout of booming laughter, “For I am the ultimate crushing machine!”

Lena buried banged her head and grinded against a palm. “Damn it all…Mucked up my day, you have.” Attempting to dispel the image in front of her, that was going to require more than a few drinks.

“Ah you’ll get used to it, lass. Better luck next time.”

She ignored him and continued to grind her forehead. Turning back to the entrance she had come in from. Muttering to nobody in particular, “How am I going to meet this month’s quota….”

That apparently snagged his attention, he stepped forth and gave her a hearty pat on the back. Sent her stumbling forward, “Hrm? Quota? What are you talking ab—” It clicked into place as he followed up. “You’re not still supporting those kids, are you?”

Lena snarled and ran her hand through own hair. “None of your business…But yes, yes I am.” She rotated over her shoulder to meet his gaze. He scrutinized, bloodied gloves rubbing his chin perhaps a chance curious.

He shook his head, “Bah…I suppose you did help, if not for you I would still have to fight through the stragglers that might have caught up. I’ll give you thirty percent of the cash. But the gold coins, I’m keeping. Sorry lass, I’m saving up for some new armour.”

A sigh escaped from her, a mixture of relief and annoyance. Shoulders slumping, “..Fair enough. Thank you, really. I mean it.” She pinched the bridge of her nose, “Sorry if I’m being a bitch. Just…rough night.”

Reinhardt strode close and gestured for them to walk and talk. German accent ever hearty. “It’s okay lass, you’ll always be my favourite English muffin around New York!”

Acquiescing, they trudged down the hallway. Kicking aside the bullet shells and bodies that littered the floor. Lena remained silent for a while before recalling, “I haven’t seen you in a while, when’d you get back anyway luv?”

He chuckled and swaggered alongside. “Was in Gothenburg, Sweden! Visiting an old friend and his family!” Rubbing the back of his neck and added, almost docile. “Might have a new apprentice, coming along.”

“What…?” Lena interrogated, eyes narrowed suspiciously at. “Did you get married?”

A huge hand waved dismissively at the idea, “Of course not! Just my friend’s daughter, she’s a bit of a troubled child, real stubborn. Wants to follow her old-man and me. Ingrid’s against it.”

Ingrid… Must’ve been the friend’s wife from the sound of it.

“I hope you’re not intending to teach her to use a hammer like you.” She grumbled. The exit to the compound came into view, boots crunched into the gravelly dirt underneath.

The rubbing intensified, he offered a nervous chuckle. “Well…It’s not like I cannot use a gun…I did use one to take out a sniper, earlier. But she’s…. She’s already pretty set on using a riot shield.”

Lena stared at him gobsmacked, before spinning as she walked, sarcastically remarking “Oh great…Another meathead…. Send her to me if she needs some firearm training.”

Reinhardt’s barrel chest heaved forward, hand clapping against his stomach. “HOHOHO! Gladly lass! Perhaps you will be a good influence on her.”

………………………………………………………………………

As promised, the hearty lunatic transferred over the thirty percent to the dot. Lena trudged down the shadowy streets, dented briefcase in hand. Battered…Winters’s men had caught up, they refused to let up despite their employer’s death it seemed. The sun had begun to set, the high buildings only allowed wide stretches of orange glow to seep between. She proceeded through the boulevard and headed for St. Vigri’s. At least she had given them the slip, for now.

The substantial chapel and manor bobbed into view, the fatigued assassin came to a halt at its entrance, straining her hearing…. And then rested at the wrought iron and aluminium fence. Children’s voices still lingered outside as they played under what little sunlight remained.

Not long now…

Steeling herself to wait under the autumn breeze, the noises fading with the minutes ticking by…. Fifteen then thirty. She should’ve picked herself up at least ten minutes ago but strength had long departed from her limbs. Sleep…Her eyelashes fluttered once….twice…

Darkness.

“….Lena? Lena Oxton..Is that you—My word!”

The young brit sensed a presence over her, their vision fluttered back in a blur. Something nudged against her shoulder insistently. Sight trickling back, arching her head back to the source, a pale mature face, dimpled on each cheek framed by black and white cowl stared down at.

“Uwah!” Lena bolted upwards, head nearly colliding with the sister’s in her haste to stand up. Thighs protested the sudden rise, threatening to give way at any moment. Addressing the still beautiful fading blonde, mother superior, “S-Sister Elaine, w-what are you doing out here?! I-I mean, it’s Reverend mothe-mnn”

A finger pressed against their lip kindly, silencing. Warm expression sallied forth as they pulled the gate inward, “Come inside, child.”

Unbeknownst to the sister, the assassin peered about. Coast seemed clear, she mumbled and stepped around the fence and past the gate. “I can’t stay for long…”

As she passed by, the head nun inquired, “Have you continued to--?”

‘Yes, Reverend mother.” Lena interjected with a slight wince. Blatant lie.

“You may continue to address me as Elaine, if you wish, Lena. We have known each other for far too long for such formalities.” Their tone calm and melodious, if they had detected the lie, they hid the fact well.

Nod.

Walking in silence, they entered the courtyard, patterned flooring once cracked and in shambles, now repaired. “The tiles, they’re fixed.” Lena remarked with a slight smile as the duo neared the working water fountain.

“Yes, we have for a while now. Received generous donations from an anonymous source.” The sister came to a halt with her childhood ward, staring into the gentle spurt from the mouth, a decade senior to when arrived. “Tell me, it has been too long, what have you made of your life since your departure from our care?”

The forward question caught her off guard, boots scuffing. Mind racing for an excuse, “I…I went into business…”

Elaine turned to, silver grey irises stared into, early crows’ feet intensifying as they inspected. Remarking, barely audible amidst the trickle of the water fountain. “How unexpected…”

“W..What do you mean?” Leaning to the side, attention drawn past the sister, two shapes peered out from the side of the building’s entranceway. Children.

Gaze focused upon her, trailing down as they measured up. “I had always expected you to enter the arts, after all it was your dream as a child. You had a remarkable talent for—You’re bleeding.”

Lena froze, snapping back to the sister, staring intently at her forearm. Bringing it up to her chest and leaned away from. “Oh—I fell earlier! No big deal—OWOWOW!”

Elaine’s hand darted forward and seized the limb, fingers pressing against the direct wound. Kind countenance misshapen into a frown, “Let me see. We shall treat—”

Snatching away from the grip, the fatigued brit shook free from the grasp. Narrowed gaze from the holy woman rooted her, like vines exploded forth and wrapped themselves around each calf. How nostalgic, every time she snuck food out of the kitchen or dining hall, the same look always resulted in punishment.

Before she realised, her legs dragged against the paved tiles as Elaine hauled her off to the infirmary. Like a disobedient kitten caught scratching up furniture.

What happened next hurt more than the actual wound.

………………………………………………………..

Lena rubbed at the forearm with a tiny pout on her lips, rustic stone architecture passed by her as Elaine kept a firm grip on her trapezius. “Y…You really don’t need to keep that grip on my shoulder—You’ve already treated the wound.”

Elaine shot her a wary gaze, flicking between face and trap. Grip releasing with a sharp withdraw into the air, “Old habits die hard I suppose. You would always run off, ready to play your next prank.”

A guffaw escaped from the injured, memory of fonder times. “Ahh…I was quite the rascal back then, wasn’t I?”

Head shake. Elaine botched the attempt to suppress her smile. Snorting softly, recomposing herself in a matter of seconds. Downcast gaze as she queried, the near mystical silver eyes flashing with recognition “…I never found time to ask, what was the purpose of your visit today?”

Wincing again, the mother reverend, sharp as ever. Both in mind and observation. Answering reluctantly, “Just wanted to drop off a package, a gift, this brief case.” Lena raised the object at hand, to the elder woman’s dismay.

“….I had hoped it wasn’t the case.” Morose, clawed hand darting forward to capture, Lena dodged out of the way with a yip, eyes wide at the precise caretaker. They continued with thin lips, backing the woman into the wall. “There’s a bullet crumpled in it.”

“Huh--?” Lena flipped the case around and gasped. Kicking herself mentally. Indeed, what seemed like a 7.62x39, flattened against one of three dented areas. Careless! Snapping back to the encroaching nun, arms out stretched forming a net of sorts.

Just like the past…She ducked underneath to the side and backed away from, sighing. Heart aching, grimace stretched across her features as a palm came up and rubbed against her respective temple. “I..I’m sorry, S..Sister—” Unable to bring herself to finish their name, choking up. Her turn to look down, unable to meet the disappointed gaze. Heat rushed underneath her eyes and threatened to overwhelm, grip tightening around the briefcase.

Storming forward, Elaine squeaked as the considerable brief case flew towards her head. Blocking it with her forearms, blinded for a moment. Contents of the case spilled out. Neatly packed bundles of cash, like each month drew the Mother reverend’s focus. Connecting the pieces, “No…!” Enough time for the remarkably agile girl to flee, disappearing from the lit hallway and into the darkness of the night. Climbing back to her feet with the aid of the rustic stone walls, yelling after. “LENA OXTON, YOU GET BACK HERE. THIS INSTANT!”

Betrayal. Scum…

She had seen it in Elaine’s eyes….Their voice only compelling to flee quicker, sore thighs flooded with adrenaline. Chest aching, a vice-like grip squeezed her heart, welled up tears leaked from the bottom of her eyes and bit down on her low lip, holding the sob at bay.

Further calls and demands quickly faded, unintelligible and disjointed as she absconded.

This being, the last time she could show her face at the orphanage. For the best….

……………………………………………………………………

Amélie sauntered back into the bar’s entrance, expectant to hear the familiar indistinct gabble among regulars. As usual. Garbed in a casual Crew-neck T-Shirt, skinny jeans, suede pumps and a biker jacket. All black, a simple outfit for off days. To the left.

Male cowboy, striking features with southern accent, rambling on to his…Friend. Sharing stories of recent success and adventures. How dull. An Asian, possibly Japanese with tufts of green hair with a Japanese blade strapped over his back listened contently to their stories, sharing a chuckle and sipped on liqueur.

Gaze gliding over the rest of the room, the great ape seated in his corner sipping at wine and indulging in peanut butter. Brazilian bartender ever cheery, even the Swiss doctor popped in to exchange a few words with familiar faces, occasionally scolding for taking ill-advised exercises and risks while they recovered and dared to shoot a cautious look her way, returning it with a subtle smirk.

Golden amber orbs scanned for tell-tale signs for the popular girl, despite the competitive nature of the business. Lena Oxton often found rather interesting methods of befriending the newbie and veteran alike with her plucky attitude.

Something that drove Amélie livid, at one point becoming the butt of her pranks and jokes during her early days. It didn’t help they resembled a person of interest from her past…In time she found her irritation gave way to desire and perhaps sparking her inner sadist.

Remarkably alike in appearance, day and night in personality.

As of late, they had been acting odd. Stress of the job…?

Shaking her head leisurely, dismissing the thought. Unlike her. She had been in the industry far too long…Guilt?

Ribs squeezed, summoning a sharp exhale.

Absent.

The French assassin seated herself into a booth, sinking into the cushions and observed. A decent pastime, practice for the field. To read and predict bpdy language, valuable for a sniper and more. Greeting the tattooed waitress in her mother tongue and proceeded to order her usual. Eyes fixated on the entrance, mild curiosity to the next visitors.

Tall, bald, dark-skin and tattooed fingers. Ray-Ban Sunglasses Matte Black, Trained, Carrying. Smith & Wesson M&P Series…Maybe .45 ACP? Practical, former law enforcement perhaps.

The next stepped in.

Average build, Asian descent, Wayfarer black frames, Grey jeans, Charcoal Overcoat, Black Knit tie and patchy beard. Weapon, concealed. Confident body language. Not enough information, perhaps self-made.

It fell into a blur, sipping at her drink casually. Various individuals passed by with different backgrounds and stories, yet at the end of the night…. Paid Killers for hire.

Slumped, Belt Ruched Double Breasted Cotton & Silk Coat. Buttoned up, weapons concealed, thick kevlar military camouflage pants, a limp in their step. Downcast gaze. Aciculate hair style, hazelnut orbs. Unprofessional, amateur…Lena Oxton.

Amélie felt her spine straighten, observing. Any minute now…they’d burst into a wide smile and sidle into a conversation, full of cheer.

How odd…They merely sat at on the bar stool furthest away from the male duo, exchanging a quiet nod between. Amélie felt a frown tease her dark bows, having personally witnessed the cowboy, Jesse McCree? And Lena engage in hearty conversation many a times.

Nearly thirty minutes later, the nearly a decade junior assassin continued to nurse her drink. Without warning they pivoted in the seat, miserable as they spun in a small circle. Many approached for conversation only to be turned down politely, even the Swiss bitch, Ziegler shuffled away from with a concerned line through her forehead.

Unease took hold of the pits of her stomach, something not quite right with the picture.

Bah!” She paused, drawing multiple alarmed looks, was that out loud? Amélie snarled at the onlookers before gliding back to the only object of interest—Lena stared back. Gazes connecting for a minute. Amélie’s resting heartrate of fifty-three skipped a beat.

First to break away, the tattooed waitress distracted her. “Miss, are you finished with your drink?”

“Hrm? Yes.” Amélie answered curtly, snapping back to—Empty.

Typically, calm and composed, she leapt to her feet. The tail of their trench coat departed towards the elevators.

Compelled to follow, legs moving on their own accord, lithe digits balled into fists. The click of her heels irritated further, coming to a halt at the entrance and peered past the concierge. Lena had propped herself against the marble tiled walls, waiting.

Amélie approached cautiously, heels clicking deliberately unhurried almost ambling. Looming over. Nothing made sense right now and uncertainty a most lethal weapon. Brows furrowed together, lower jaw pushed forward.

Lena’s gaze flicked back and forth, shrinking further under her withering scowl.

“Amélie….Lemme stay the night.”

Nod.

On cue, the elevator doors parted. Amélie Lacroix stepped in, clasping Lena Oxton’s wrist and yanked. Falling into her grasp without a word, a devilish simper stretched across her cheeks as they trembled in her grasp, a shaky breath escaped from.

“Je ne vais plus te lâcher….Lena.”

Welcome back.

Chapter Text

FSSHHHHTTTZZZZZZ!

Lukewarm water blasted her from the side, staggering, fatigued.

Mauve lips, cold to the touch as if just returning from a snowy day yet pleasurable warmth lurked deeper in the flesh, pashed against with bruising force, “Mnm!” Protesting at first before surrendering, obsequious to their demands. From feet to upper thighs sore from the day’s events, actions stiff and unwieldy. Head swimming from the fierce kiss.

They stepped into the shower, shoving into the cool shower tiles—Like ice to her naked skin. Head banged against the wall bluntly, tilting backwards, revealing her throat to.

Like a cheetah, they pounced, suckling and peppering their way down her neck with wet lips. Murmuring, “Don’t fight me, Lena. You know what’ll happen if you do.”

Amélie Lacroix had barely offered respite, as soon as they had stepped into her room, she had guided into the bathroom without hesitation. Tossing her all black costume to the side whilst working on Lena Oxton’s, practically kicking in the back side to remove the trademark trench coat.

Steam from the heat of the shower fogged the glass cubicle.

Whimpering, Lena felt herself sink underneath the taller lady, only for a hand to seize her throat and tug back up. Amélie loosed a faint snarl, a warning. Graceful digits tightening around the gullet, squeezing firmly. A sharp twinge of arousal straight to her groin.

Vision flickering, own hand darting up to grasp the lilac limb. Lena tugged at it gently, doe eyes pleading for any semblance of mercy from the heartless fiend. It only encouraged her further, the grip tightened, and head dipped forward.

Lena’s head throbbed, legs turning to putty from the unstable concoction of fatigue, arousal and distress. In the kiss, she sensed a mixture of lust, distaste and passion. Passion? That made no sense, Amélie Lacroix enjoyed nothing but the sense of accomplishment from a successful hunt. Fact.

Or was it?

Eyes downcast as Amélie’s fingers dived down to her crotch, carefully manicured nails, short but still feminine. Brushing against rapid engorging nub of nerve bundles, the spike of white-hot heat rippled up to her core.

Trembling in the French woman’s grasp, gasp escaping from her lips, cheeks flushing from stimulation. Humid air moistened her otherwise dry throat.

Pondering on recent events, Lacroix had been unnaturally generous by their standards at least, offering free room and board in exchange for services of the sexual nature. Thus far, only their pleasure and taking a great deal of delight by edging her repeatedly. For hours. Till her mind threatened to give way.

Please don’t let it be so, tonight…She pleaded silently.

Amélie seemingly sensing her junior’s thoughts offered a cruel smirk, her grip released around Lena’s throat. Tongue brushing over droplets of water mixed with sweat, up to the earlobe and bit down. “Tonight…Will be all about you…”

Such gratifying words, empty.

True implication, a fate perhaps worse than…. Well, torture. For it was exactly that.

It did lead Lena to question what exactly she had done to deserve such Machiavellian treatment. If not for her pride and dislike for the deadly beauty, she would have pleaded for an end—To thrust herself into their grasp, surrendering ego and principles all for the sake of pleasure.

An additional finger inserted itself into her sex, doubling forward against the tepid body. Bracing against their shoulder with own arms, ragged gasps audible amidst the faint squelches and stream of water. In and out…. Occasionally stirring whilst the thumb circled around her clitoris, with the rare brush of flesh against tip. Impossible to defend against, even with every drop of willpower she could not hold back the cry of pleasure. White sparks intruded her vision but with an idea of what was to come…Her enthusiasm sorely lacking.

“What is wrong, chérie? You are usually so talkative…” Amélie teased, tongue poking out into a leer. Her practiced touches unrelenting throughout.

Lena failed to find an appropriate response, every time she believed, her voice hitched and squeaked an octave too high. Quelling anything further, “You…Nggh…Maybe…Ah…Ahhh…Sss…” She bit back the plea, knowing the consequences all too well. Reluctant tears welled up in her eyes. Cursing the woman for possessing such inexplicable charms and aesthetics. Wavering

But how could she complain? Shelter from those who wanted her dead, from the elements and other dangers that prowled the streets of New York. At least…Safe.

Damned to suffer.

…………………………………………………….

Nearly a quarter of the day, six hours. Merciless. From shower to bed, the only respite when they scrubbed down with a towel and even then, hasty. Lena had a grand view of the end of the sunset to the pitch darkness of late night.

Maddening.

And now…She lay on her front, blindfolded by a nightcap, hogtied by a leather harness. Again, rigged up with a vibrator—Or rather, multiple. Thrumming mildly, both breasts, cellophane tape secured to her nipples, anus plugged by another and crotch absent of Amélie’s fingers instead a studded dildo in its place, up to the hilt. Once again, her underwear secured the objects, the threat loomed over.

“If I find even a single toy misplaced, you will suffer consequences…. Consequences I deem worthy for the charity I have placed in sheltering you Ti—Lena.”

At least she could rest…Or try, the mild buzz and uncomfortable girth of the sex toys made it close to intolerable to ignore. Her night, a blur…Unsure if she had merely daydreamed or successfully fell asleep. The ever-present reminder of the studded toy, trickling pleasure into her core as she fought to keep it from escaping entirely, the weight too heavy for underwear to seal in completely.

It seemed to be the case that her aggressor, Amélie Lacroix not entirely impervious to night terrors and other unsavoury matters of the mind. Throughout the many hours, the only constant apart from the audible buzz of the vibrators attached to her breasts…. The rustle of sheets, tossing and turning repeatedly followed by grunts and groans not her own.

Lena took solace from, she had to, how else could she stomach what lied ahead. Anything to keep her insanity induced by at bay, having already decided her course of action by morning.

To hell with it…Just one night’s rest, a decent meal, early rise and everything could go back to normal...Surrender

……………………………………………………………………..

Lakeside air, pungent with the fragrance of jasmine, a natural basin filled with melt water. Luxurious garden around the natural basin, built to shroud the dark nature of her residence. Their residence. Their prison. Six feet up to the surface, viridescent opaque. Lily pads in bloom, magenta petals catching the breeze.

A hand seized her by the elbow, Amélie turned to the source of the disturbance. A mischievous smile decorated her companion’s features. Slick back spiky hair blew with the breeze. The only hour of respite in the day, they spent together. Hidden away from others in the tiny patch of paradise at the edge of the facility.

“Kiska.” Tiana murmured reaching up to caress a cheek, palms warm and smooth despite their environment. Her grip tightened against Amélie’s elbow and tugged close. Colour blossomed, contrast heightened up until the background turned a blinding white. Their eyes shut, basking in…

Bliss.

Like a flash from a camera, Amélie snapped back…Dusty grey tiles, an empty arena. Fellow trainees lined up, facing across each other. Staring grimly. A knot formed in her stomach, golden honey against aqua.

The mistresses on either side paced in unison, coming to a halt behind both, Amélie’s eyes broke contact briefly. To her horror, a firm push enacted across her back propelled her forward. Unprepared. Nearly tripping over own feet, arms spread, stabilising as she neared the centre. Head cocked backwards from the force, the sky a crisp blue, cloudless apart from the occasional wisp. Lowering in time to catch her opponent’s fist colliding with her jaw.

A flurry of blows, each sapping at the strength in her limbs. Dull pain blossomed across her skull, cheeks, chest and sternum. But her mind felt little…

Adrenaline rushed throughout, needlepoint syringes inserted into her arms, one after another at heightened pace. Occasional piercing further into the marrow. Injecting its contents inside, like ice and lava, they carved their way through her veins. She wanted it to end, endless pleading falling upon deaf ears as the men and women garbed in white continued to operate. A memory. A reminder of what was to come.

Her body screamed however.

Front kick followed a powerful uppercut, instinct took over. Amélie caught the attack with both hands seizing the boot and adjusting her grip, sweeping their foot out from underneath. They collapsed onto their side, unable to recover in time to stop the blow to their tummy. Skidding back a meter or so.

On autopilot, pounced after as they clambered back to their feet with the grace of a gazelle and jabbed forward. Slow. Seizing the wrist at first and drove forward, grasping their arm, eliciting a sharp gasp from. Resistance. Other hand reached around the shorter girl’s waist and seized the waistband, stepping in close, thrusting her knee up and rolling to the floor and initiating a cross grip judo throw.

A surge of hope. Adrenaline pumped throughout, alive amidst the dark world.

Clambering on top of the turtled figure, wailing blows from above until a crack in their defence. Meek cries evolved into a plea for mercy. Aqua eyes peeked through the defence at, seizing a moment’s hesitance to initiate an armlock, a jagged line ran up her arm. “Argh—GRRR!” Rage bubbled over, wriggled free, a left hook connected with the Russian girl’s jaw, dazing. Pivoting from above, feet dancing around the crumbled body as she maneuverer into an armbar.

Agile. The shorter of the duo managed to kick upward, initiating a back roll. The armlock withdrew, ignoring the wince across her features, leapt forward to retake the initiative. A trap. A sharp intake of breath.

Amélie had rolled onto her back and caught the figure mid-air, messy. Lilac hand seized an extended wrist, fending off blows occasionally with her free arm. Legs scrambling to grasp a hold of their neck and shoulder as Tiana struggled against her height and weight disadvantage. Locking in the triangle choke hold, feet scrambling helplessly against the dusty tiles, a lack of traction. Within the minute they had tapped out.

Amélie felt colour and light return to her vision, the girl between her thighs a choked mess. Short haircut pointed nose…Tiana, flushed from effort and lack of oxygen, immediately her grip loosened around, and they collapse onto her tummy.

A pair of footsteps stopped besides, staring down taciturn. An exchange followed between the mistresses, “Well done, Lacroix.”

“Yes, well done..”

Tiana still panting, moved to pick herself up only for a foot to stomp across her upper back. “Nnnghh!” Her fall cushioned by the French girl whom had defeated her for the first time.

The pair of senior and proper women addressed, “Stay down.” They spoke in unison. Turning back to the victor.

“Finish her.”

“Yes, finish her.” They turned to the rest of the females lined up still, “From this point onward, no safety nets ladies.”

Amélie craned her neck down, staring into Tiana’s eyes, wide with horror. A flat heel pressed on her forehead and flattened it back against the dusty tile.

“Well?”

“I won’t do it.” Amélie blurted out without realising. The knot in her stomach turned to lead, heart sinking as the pair of eyes narrowed down at. Heel lifted from, reaching down and apprehended by the scruff of her white shirt.

Mistress on the right urged her to stand up. Expression softening fractionally, voice modulated. “Well done, Lacroix.” She complimented, hand reaching forward to dust off the trainee’s shirt and repositioned them back a few steps.

A wave of relief washed over Amélie. Chest swelling slightly with pride, smile tugged at the corner of her lips.

Short lived.

The mistress’s knee drove into her stomach with enough force to crack each rib, darkness threatened to encapsulate her. Bleached vision as she collapsed onto the ground, ragged gasps. Ball of dread now in her gut, the black barrel of a silencer appeared into view. Pointed at the fallen, Amélie squeezed her eyes shut. So be it…

Puhhft!

…..?

Peeking open, the world came back into stark focus, the weapon absent. Blood oozed from the corpse in front, a hole drilled clean into the back of their skull and through a smooth cheek. Spiky hair drooped, aqua eyes stared off into separate directions, lifeless.

Amélie’s mouth parted in a silent scream.

Gruff arms seized her once again.

“Doctors.”

………………………………………………………………………

Lavish hotel room dimly lit by the sliver of moonlight spilling through mahogany curtains. Not enough to ignite the hues of the rug underneath. Enough to navigate through the furniture and to the hallway.

“Auh!” Amélie bolted upright. Sheen of cold sweat coated arms and back, ogling her blankets, without the sheets the tepid room temperature, cold to her naked skin. Gliding across the room, everything still in its place as she left it. Lena laid on her front, still. If not for the light snoring, Amélie could’ve mistaken her for a corpse.

Cradled her forehead with a sweaty palm, attempting to compose herself in case the girl stirred. Another reminder of her past.

“Zzz…Hmmnngh..” Lena grumbled in her disturbed rest. Drawing Amélie’s attention.

Senses highlighted the startling wake induced a spike in her adrenaline. The woman’s distinct scent, pleasant, a pinch of cinnamon filled the air. Nearly forgetting the events of just hours ago, a sense of satisfaction spread, fleeting. Groin aching from lack of attention.

Sense of time, lost. Amélie realised she had been staring at the asleep British assassin for an indiscriminate amount of time, certainly lengthier than a few seconds. A flutter of warmth shrouded her shoulders as she admired—Observed.

An invisible force squeezed her ribs, with every minute it tightened further until she excused herself to the bathroom. Navigating from memory in the dark, not bothered to flick the switch. Twisting the knob for cold water, like ice to touch.

Splashing her face with the frosty liquid, the temperature sharpened her mind to a point. What the hell was she doing? A dull pain emanated from her ribs, lowering to a knee. Clutching the location, feeling for the cause. Smooth.

Head pounded without reason. Rising with a grunt, Amélie made her way back to the bed, rounding around the décor screen and grinded to a halt before the bed. Gaze inexplicably drawn to the snoozer. Revelation dawning, guilt.

Lena Oxton, a double-edged blade. Perhaps it was hasty to impart earlier blessing and curse. For now, it had been realised. Remarkably like the girl that haunted her sleep, perhaps a distant cousin…? What a stupid place Amélie’s mind had wandered to. For every dark desire she wished to inflict upon the British assassin sheerly because her visage reminded of the deceased. And in time, guilt followed because she remained innocent of any sin towards her at least.

Mattress sinking underneath her weight as she climbed on top, crawling over before coming to a halt on knees. Seating onto buttocks, reaching forward gingerly to brush the spiky haircut. Individual follicles prickled her flesh, giving way under her weight. Pillowy.

Touch provoking a faint whimper from at first, instinctive distaste maybe? Amélie winced but continued, she found herself tracing the scalp lightly with the tip of her digits, ruffling Lena gently like a puppy. Whimpers presently turned to content noises.

Cute.

Perhaps she had been too harsh. Amélie questioned herself and the actions of the past days. Sinking further into the bed at her answers, stupid.

“Mmmnn… Amélie?” Lena’s voice rasped, groggy.

Fingers coming to a halt immediately, Amélie’s breath hitched. Uh oh.

Receiving no response, Lena searched the air blindly, head craning backwards as Amélie’s hand withdrew. “Guah! Damn toys...” Cursing to herself, “Amélie, ‘s that you?”

“….Yes.” Voice answered, Amélie’s eyes narrowed, bringing a hand up to own lips as if to inspect. Her mind and body, not in sync.

“W..What time is it? Can I get out of these—AUGH, E-EASY!” Lena began, yelping as cool hand traced down her rear and yanked the underwear downward, irritating the base of the studded toy. Wiggling as the toy was seized by its base, gritting her teeth as it slid out. Slick with her fluids.

The rest followed at a leisure pace. She seemed grateful for the mercy. Leather harness falling away with a gentle thud into the carpet underneath, rolling onto her back and massaged her wrists, undisturbed by the nightcap still. “Thanks...”

Amélie remained where she sat, still in the nude. Waiting patiently, expectant. Evident across her own expression as Lena eventually rotated to knee propping up and pulled the blindfold down.

Taken aback by the sight, even in the dimly lit room, head recoiling backward. Cheeks, a shade brighter than normal and it only deepened as they gazed at.

Lena’s lips parted, gaze above and to the side. Seemed hesitant, “A..Amélie, can I…?” Hazelnut eyes bounced back between the space above and golden amber orbs.  She continued, blurting out. “Do you hate me?”

Answer, obvious. Of course not-- Amélie responded smoothly. “Perhaps.”

Alarmed, the words escaped her mouth without her permission. But couldn’t compel herself to correct the mistake.

Lena’s head drooped, sadness flicked across before dispelling, prompt. “Good, I thought so…”

She sounded unsure.

“C..Can we make a deal then?”

Amélie’s lips thinned by the sudden question, hesitant. “What kind…?” She found herself anxiously awaiting an answer despite composed visage amidst their stammering. Unsure what to make of the situation.

“L..Let m-m-me stay a-a night. U-Undisturbed, and…a-and…I’ll never show my f-face around you, ever a-again. I..I’ll leave New York if I have t-to!”

The answer hung in the air for a moment. Taken aback by the offer. Purring a little, “Tempting…” No! It wasn’t, her mind disconnected from, a spectator of the stranger in her body. In truth, not far from the truth.

Spurred on by the indefinite answer, Lena blurted out. “L-Let me cum and I’ll definitely disappear.” Gaze connected with, features turning a shade darker into a tomato.

Amélie’s brows rose, blinking once. Accented words, rougher than earlier. Affected. “Pardon me?”

“…Please. Don’t make me s-say it again.” Gentle, trembling ever so slight, humiliated. Holding firm, insistent.

“Why?”

Lena’s head dropped, “…Probably because everyone else I know, it’d be weird. But…You…We don’t even like each other—But content to…I don’t know alright! Bloody hell…Just…Just forget about it, let me stay? Please? Winter’s men are still hunting me, I checked, I don’t even have a contract!” Reaching forward, tentative. Hand trembling, recoiling as the tip of her fingers brushed against.

A plea. “…” Amélie’s shoulders stiffened, deep seated knots in her muscles aching and bought to attention by the tick of the clock, hastier, a steady rhythm. Tiana’s features flashed in front of her eyes, consuming the silver, black room. A burst of colour as she returned for less than a split second to the lake. Jasmine tickled nostrils. Easing fleetingly, anxiety from earlier departing in lieu for a calm.

“Amélie...?”

She felt herself jolt back to, the dim source of light had shifted away from. Casting the girl in a pitch-black shadow, something from within shifted, the brew of distaste, years of memory and months of pranking faded. Draining. Fatigue returning, a drawn-out sigh. Tired. “…Very well. Just…one night.”

A shadowy motion followed by a near inaudible, “Yes!”

Amélie crawled back to the head of the bed, scoffing nearly, too dark to be awake. Burrowing into, silence encapsulated the room. Did that mean—Of course it did, the idiot. A pulsating ache pinched the base of her neck as she lifted her head from the pillows, peering over her shoulder. Smell of arousal returned, reminding of earlier. A growl followed blanketed by weariness, now irritated. “Well? Get in here…”

“O..Oh, right!” Lena leapt to her feet, circling around, tossing the blankets away as she squiggled in. Tugging the blankets over and settled.

Mattress shifted as weight transferred from side to side. “G..G’night!”

Amélie shook her head and muttered, side of her skull landed back down with a soft ‘pomf’. The tiny old-fashioned silver alarm bell clock closest, did little to aid. Despite the heaviness of lids and lack of vigour in her limbs. The cushioning mattress underneath, too warm…But a being she was reluctant to face, laid beside.

She shuffled closer to the clock, away from. Seeking a cooler patch.

Eventually drifting away.

………………………………………………………..

Late morning arrived, many hours past her usual rise. The sweaty French woman’s brows drew into a slight scowl, frustration lingered from earlier. Inappropriate to address the early day as the night before. Slight stinging sensation at the bottom of her eyelids, tell tale sign of improper rest, she couldn’t recall the last time it had happened. Perhaps a few years?

Gentle snoring emanated from her right, right… Amélie had nearly forgotten. The cause of her irritation, head tilting towards, eye following the direction and nose wrinkling. Temptation drew her left arm in the air, fist cocking backward…Bah…Unwelcomed warmth seeped into her chest, It wasn’t worth it, the limb clapped down.

A shower. Yes, that’s what was required.

After all, she could always settle the score another time.

Another time.

Thin follicles of carpet poked between her toes, tickling. Giving way to marble tiles, Amélie slunk into the bathroom.

Tepid water for an apathetic body.

By the time, Amélie had finished her shower and stepped back into the room, running a fluffy towel threw her hair. Lena still lay asleep like a sloth.

Remarking to self in private. “What a useless, stupid, amateur, cut—" Biting down on her tongue to discontinue the thought, a wince creased her face.

Technically the night, over. She had every right to kick the woman out of bed. But something compelled her not to, instead retrieving her effects. Particularly her lethal cases, there remained an additional night left.

Already late to the hunt. Amélie paused mid stride out the doorway, perhaps have Lena repay compensation….No. Being late, punishment enough. Likely resulting in another night with nowhere to turn. Pleased with the train of thought, it trickled into her lips, soothing the cloudy linger of irritation.

Another night in her web.

In time, a night that Amélie believed that may never come.

Chapter Text

Amélie drummed her finger against the mahogany round table, drink untouched. Impatient. A week and a half since their last rendezvous, nowhere to be found now. She hadn’t seen so much as a glimpse of Lena the entire stretch. Irritation clouded her mind, an uncomfortable sensation seized her chest, sense of unease only grew with each passing day.

Matters of the day, a dull drone as usual. Routine having returned to normal the very next day of Lena’s disappearing act. Wake up, peer at open and private contracts, find the highest offer and collect. Then came the matter of relaxation, she eyed the champagne glass and its tangerine coloured liquid. She felt her cheeks press into an open palm as her head tilted to facilitate the gaze. Drink having lost its flavour to her palate as of late, like flat sparkling water.

Distant voice drawling in the irksome southern Texan enunciation, “Ah’ll be, if it ain’t Genji. How are ya’ ol’ friend?” Amélie’s eyes rolled, relieved she resided within earshot but away from the duo. In no mood to indulge in any banter that may have followed if either had caught the motion.

“Jesse, it is good to see you again.” Asian from the other week, one with the Japanese sword and emerald hair. Genji. She had heard of him. Preference to mark his kills with primitive arms. Snorting at the idea but a begrudging respect endured, he had to have some skill to make it this far though.

Rest of their conversation garbled amidst the clink of glasses, tinkle of banter and general disinterest. Tilting her head back slightly to permit a lazy observation of the entrance. Leather cuffs of her biker jacket tickled the bottom of her jaw due to posture slumping off to the side.

Lena’s request slinked in, gaze unfocused as it bounced around in her skull. Give her an orgasm? And she’ll depart forever? How absurd. Stupid and reckless. How typical of Oxton.

But now she was gone. The deal unfulfilled. Unacceptable. Lips smacking to the side, part of the reason Amélie had declined because she desired to continue toying with the amateur. Even out of the bedroom, possible.

 Four unimpressive men dressed in black, unfamiliar. Entered through the hallway, by appearances, fresh faces. Gawking at the impressive décor and numerous guests, elbowing each other and not so discreetly pointing out individuals to their standards. Eyes narrowing dangerously as the one trailing behind the other three filed in, caught her gaze. Like a deer before headlights, frozen. His shoulders slumped underneath her golden honey irises.

One of my finer assets.... Amélie admitted.

Within seconds she had all four drooling. Pathetic. Dismissing them with a slow shift of her attention, away. Disappointment evident in the form of grumbles and hurried gestures to move along.

“Don’ let it bother y’all. Our Widowmaker o’er there is like this to everyone.” Jesse’s voice chuckled as he turned to greet them, a prompt return in greeting followed. He invited the party to join them. Amélie shifted to the other arm, forming a fist instead as her left began to ache from supporting her weight. How typical of him, to make pleasantries with competition. Biting back twinge in the back of her head that compelled her to mock.

The only reason Amélie found herself from avoiding any witty or snide remarks toward, for the cowboy’s exemplary dexterity impressed even her, not impossible to deal with but something she preferred to avoid if at possible in the future. He had enough respect to return the gesture.

Now party of six, shared friendly banter, what a dull drabble…

Lena still nowhere to be seen.

Snippets of conversation cut through the quiet bar.

Talk about work, business.

British, “Easy, we were contracted to capture some mug, elusive little bitch she was…”

Bout of activity picked up, table nearby finished up drowning out his story for a brief interval.

Amélie grunted, another no show tonight, maybe she decided to leave regardless. Tired of their games, for a better life. A fresh start yet doubt gnawed at such notion.

Slipping out from her booth, feeling around for the tell-tale bulge of her wallet and burner phone. Still there. Amélie strode past, suedes clicking muffled. Ignoring the degenerate gaze focused on her derriere. The same man from earlier, still recalling their catch.

“Finally caught the bitch by surprise, after three attempts. Each time with the element of surprise. Not far from here, hard to miss her with trench coat and hair like hedgehog, that one did… Fought and kicked like a madman.”

“Huh…I’ll be damned. Who did y’all say your employer was? ” Jesse cursed pleasantly, his drawl faint.

“Dunno, some mob guy. Wanted revenge or some shit for a cousin. This was all about a week back.”

Hair on the back of her neck pricked up, the comfortable room temperature to ice. Amélie came to a grinding halt, she pivoted back. Uncertainty and a choking smog lingered at the bottom of her lungs, mandating shallow breaths. Before her senses and mind pieced it together, she found herself looming over. Head pounding rapidly.

“LACROIX!!” Booming, a gargantuan hand gripped her by the shoulder. Heavy, hairy and dark. Winston. “Must I remind you that no business can be conducted on Unive…” .

Shrugging it off with a precipitous jerk, truthfully Amélie hadn’t even realised her knife was drawn and lingered just above the stranger’s hand. Rationale compromised, countering. “This isn’t business. Just interest. Ape.” Staring each other down. the newcomers fled a couple of feet in separate directions.

Breaking first. Sheathing the weapon into ankle strap and retreated, storming out, opulent room a blur, hips working overtime as she headed for room.

Later.

Amélie murmured, soothing murderous displeasure welled. Recovering in the elevator as the doors split down the centre, slipping in and banged the top of her head lightly into the mirrored walls. Right, she had to select a floor. Backing up to the right, fist crashing into the panel, roughly around her floor, 23.

Quiet hum of the doors disturbed, four digits peeped into sight. Prying open.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How unexpected.

 Suntanned cowboy and an….out of date Ninja pinned a man underneath each, revolver and wakizashi pointed at their throats. Victims, blonde and bald respectively. Scarcely visible in the night. Washed out alleyway still slick with grime.

The cowboy quoted, with an ever-casual smirk “Reach for the sky.”

Genji enquired, livid “Did you just quote Toy Story?”.

Jesus fucking Christ, Jesse McCree.

Amélie didn’t bother, turning back to and leaned in close to the bearded face she straddled from behind. A harsh whisper followed, “Last time…Where is she!?” His limb quivered underneath, blood oozed out of the wound. Hand responsible for the injury, rested above the grainy micarta hilt. Faint dips in its design to facilitate a grip, grooving.

“F…Fuck y—” He howled as the knife twisted in her grip. Bone and flesh severed and twisted, gruesome to the casual. Enough to call forth a cry from the unruffled…Boy of a man. He faltered backed into the alley, arms and legs spread wide, quaking like a leaf. The fact he remained upright, almost humorous. Gratification wrestled with the bubbling vexation.

“D..D..Don’t hu..hurt m..me!” Stammering, lips drawn back, and nose scrunched, tears free flowed down his cheek. Trash. “I..I’ll tell you e..everything!”

Amélie ripped the serrated knife, a chunky squelch accompanied. His cries falling upon deaf ears. Twirling the tool in her hand, fresh gore and blood still on the blade. Rising from the meat bag and stalked towards. Pointed tip aimed at heart, quiet apart from the stray vehicle passing by in the early morning, his continued drabble silenced as the point pressed into flesh.

Breaths spewing forth in ragged gasps, it stunk of harsh alcohol. “I..I don’t k..know w..where she is e..exact—Hugnnh!” Tip sinking into his flesh, drawing beads of blood. Vocals rising, frantic and desperate “W..WE DELIVERED H..HER TO A WAREHOUSE!”

Pressure behind the weapon lightened. He collapsed onto the ground, waist height to Amélie. Mauve Lips drawing back into a sneer, undisguised contempt.

Finer details offered without resistance. Every point filed into a non-tangible cabinet within her brain. Satisfied. Knee jerking back, crashing into his jaw. Sickening crunch complemented chilled aggression, not a shred of remorse.

“That. Was excessive.” Genji remarked from afar, flourishing his weapon. Releasing his captive.

Amélie received the comment with a concerned stare from the duo. Brow shooting up, alarmed as Jesse finished his target off with a brutal kick up the jaw, the back of their head crunched into the asphalt. He spat, gaze flicked off to the alley’s exit.

Gaze mayhap connecting with Genji’s, he explained with a flick of his wrist to the side.

“What? Lena’s a friend…They’re..”

Amélie ambled over, wiping the flat of her blade against her coat. Upon closer inspection under the bleak lighting, a distinct lour sat upon his features. If they wanted her alive…Rose lips curled upward into a contorted shriek followed by clatter of steel as flesh rattled against the binds, hazelnut eyes screwed shut as volts—Curse her vivid imagination.

“Something wrong, Lacroix?” American.

“I knew that accent was fake.” Her lips moved on their own, the snippy remark caught her by surprise. Mayhap the recent compassion influenced the response, no regrets.

“Heh, well I’ll be. Ya still got some perk.” Accent returning for a split second, he provided a grim chuckle as her glare drilled into him. “In all my years, never seen such an outburst from. That grunt earlier, said it all.”

Amélie offered a quizzical look. “Grunt? I did no such thing—” Blinking swifter than ordinary, focus searching around for an answer.

“Just before I asked.”

Genji interrupted, shrugging. “I heard it too. If that matters at all.” He glanced between the two, “We should be focused on friend.”

Amélie growled, lips moving. Huh?

McCree exchanged a glance with his friend. “You’ve been spending an awfully lot of time with her despite that claim.”

Her jaw parted, twice attempting to reply. But struggled to find an appropriate answer. What could she have possibly answered with? She didn’t even recall what she had said. Finally answering, “…Whatever.”

Their Snickers.

Bah. Musing, “I would kneecap the both of you if it weren’t for the fact that the two of you had helped.” Amélie stalked past, between the two. Expression souring, she had plans to make and the precious commodity of time did not facilitate for what others may have considered, friendly teasing.

Clink of spurs trailed after, “So…What’s the plan?” His casual tone, lacking urgency did not invite a welcoming response from. Whirling onto, Genji strode beside McCree, weapon over his shoulder. His footsteps, silent.

The sense of unease swelled, ballooning in her chest. “Stupid girl, I’m not finished with you just yet…Why did you have to go get yourself captured like a fool?”

“You two are coming along?”

McCree scoffed with a raised brow, spiking her ire.

“We should be asking you that. Since when has Amélie LaCroix ever offered her services free of charge?” He raised both hands defensively, perhaps sensing—Or rather observing her teeth gnashing.

Genji nodded along.

“THAT is…!” Amélie’s temple throbbed, concluding with visible effort. Finger jutted at “Shut. Up.” Monitoring the male sheathe his weapon, continuing past her and paused at the alleyway to check the streets.

McCree joined him within the second. She trailed after, nowhere else to go.

“It seems clear.” He remarked, first to arrive.

Gentle click, orange glow followed by the stink of tobacco. “Mmm, then let’s go.”

Amélie grunted, first of the trio to step into the lamp lit streets again. Reminded of why she preferred to work alone.

………………………………………………………………………………….

Wet and aching.

Groggy. Her entire body languished, from hours supine. Clammy. Surroundings pitch-black to her naked eye. Eyelids leaden. Turning her head disturbed by the tug of leather constraints pricking wrists, retarding her motion. It drew awareness to the pressure against her ankles and the top of her feet.

A battering ram bashed against her skull from inside,

Beads of water dripped off her neck. Struggling to fill her lungs. A damp object, a towel…? Rested across her face, a faint jerk slipped it off. Landing with a soggy flop, light burst into view. eyes squeezed shut, it didn’t matter. Too bright. Too many questions popped up, the windowless room seemed familiar….Deja vu?

A sweet foulness pierced through the musty air, like calfskin tanned over a fire. Taste pricking tongue. Rancid. Across her mid-section, numerous stings re-emerged. Exhausted.

Sandpaper lined the inside of her throat, groan stinging. Trying to recall place and time…Nope. How about a name? …Lena? Lena…The extent of her memory, head spinning like a spinning top toy.

Lena willed for the energy to resist against the bind. Nothing

The mere notion in her mind reminded of two shadowy figures leaning in, individual on the right wielded a pair of baton-like sticks, crackling. She remembered shying away from, mouth working overtime. He jammed into various areas of her body, powerful currents ran jagged, muscles snapped taut. Convulsing uncontrollably.

Thighs jolting to the memory, now keenly aware of the aching after attempting to jerk free, still strapped firm to the surgical table. Whimper

She squeezed her hazel eyes shut. Hoping for the instance to pass.

It did not.

Shoulders and hips stiffened, like rigor mortis set in. Clutching at internal organs with a vice, weak wheezes wisped through her lips. Splinter of the nightmarish visions trickled on, after the hours of electrical torture. Picking out the scent of charred flesh, unable to even gag at the time.

Cramped muscles, seizing and spasming involuntary all over. Tears streaked through puffy lids and down high cheekbones, a filthy rag fell over.

Gruff pair of hands stretched the linen against her face. Gripped by darkness—A trickle followed, then a downpour into a flood. She thrashed and ripped at the binds, every joint shook with protest, screams muffled and garbled by the free pour, claustrophobia took a backseat, water poured down her nose and clogged the passageways, stinging and choking. Inhaling mouthfuls of harsh liquid. Suffocating. Her chest dropped, nausea emerged, she bucked against the hard table. Wishing for an end. Body shutting down with every passing second, her already spent form unable to act proper.

A brief respite, harsh voice interrogated her. What was it again?

Lena recalled pleading. Feigning ignorance.

He recommenced.

She resisted and spat.

The backhand, a tickle compared to what followed, he basked in her suffering. His incessant

Again…She resisted, steeling herself

Day…After day.

No end in sight.

By the time her voice faded, reduced to a blubber and gurgle. sapped from the endless hours of shrieking. Different instances of her life flicked behind hazy irises. Laughter as she from a nun, joy as she earned her first candy. Horror of her first kill. Jubilation at pay check. Egregious pleasure as the nameless face fell under a hail of fire. Lust as she squirmed under the cruel but luscious body, their precious features shrouded in darkness.

On repeat. Darkness encroached further, shrouding her memories and consuming everything in its path with each replay, muddling and deleting... Her mind began to fissure and the remaining memories that spiced her mundane days in this prison began to whittle. Slow descent in to madness.

Blood pounded in her ears, heart thudded in chest, hands trembling in the leather straps, vision disfigured by a fish-eyes lens. Wild buckling ensued, the audible clamour a dull drone.

Door creaked by her feet creaked open. Male’s voice emitted a guttural gurgle of a chuckle.

Slender neck clutched, Lena’s doe eyes trembled open, wide. Pale claw of a hand squeezed, belonging to a man with a grim expression, broadening into a wicked smile revealing crooked yellow teeth, profuse stench of cheap tobacco haunted him. The interrogator from her memory, his cracked lips moved. Russian.

“Still alive doll? Good…I was beginning to get worried. Can’t have my favourite dog dying in under a month…..”

Paralysed, Lena could only observe wide-eyed as he inspected her body. Groping and feeling areas still unblemished by his scarred and unpleasantly abrasive touch. She screamed at him to unhand her, but body disobeyed mind,

He inquired, “Did you eat all your food?”

Instinct fuelled frantic nodding rather than conscious response.

It seemed to please him. He paused and stared back, expression unreadable. “Then we can get back to play…I’ve got a new toy today.” With a wave of his arm, a shuffle of footsteps. Box shaped with two cylindrical knobs at each end of the length, red and blue. Familiar…She had seen it somewhere before…

Wispy beard appeared back into view, tear drops tattooed across each lower eyelid. He glowered, unimpressed. Why?

“Do you know what this is?”

Lena shook her head weakly.

Her cheeks stung after, the backhand snapped her head to the side. She could hear him cursing whilst her ears rang.

Distant rant about how stupid animals were.

“STUPID BITCH, IT’S A CAR BATTERY. Fucking useless dogs, good for nothing little shits!”

Her brain operated at a snail’s pace.

Nameless figure hunched over the object, obscuring it from view, he tinkered for a while. Quiet snaps and ticks disturbed the secrecy, A hum followed by a crackling pop.

He whirled around, wielding a pair of clamps.

Lena’s blood turned to ice. Cheeks drained of colour, the tomato mark of the slap faded with eerie quickness.

Jaw ajar, a ghoulish noise came forth.

Sparks flew across eyes, the ringing returned, photoreceptors ignited.

Daisy white consumed her.

Wetness, sores and throbbing aches vanished without a trace.

The table melted away, in free fall. Black rushed forward, the distant daisy white soon but a tiny speck in the distance.

Goodbye…

………………………………………………………………………………………

“I can handle the two on the containers.” Genji announced just above a whisper. He pointed to the two patrolling figures, wielding rifles of some kind. Too far to tell.

Posted with the two males, Amélie propped her leg up against the waist high brick railing. Below, a steep fall of twelve stories. The highest building within line of sight of the portside warehouse. Briny air chilly to inhale.

Jesse grunted in agreeance. He had faith in his friend, valuing his skills highly it seemed.

Amélie did not. Pointedly noting with a hiss. “You mean to tell me, you can cross this distance and take those two out without a gun?”

Genji’s answer swift, lacking hesitation. Taupe eyes addressed her with an affirming nod. “Yes.”

A pleased snort escaped Jesse McCree, “Oh ye of little faith, Amélie.” He scanned the distance and called out his targets, “I’ll take the two at the entrance.”

Shoulders rising before dropping, irritation had subsided for the moment. Deciding now was not the time to allow her emotions to dictate her actions. “Fine. That leaves me…Three on the crane.” Glances shifted between each other, exchanging looks between each other. Eventually resting on her, she had to ponder silently if this was intentional. They had given her the sniping post consequently the closest to an escape route.

Amélie’s eyes narrowed, the duo trying to prove a point. Scoffing but consenting.

Genji added, “We go in quiet, no guns.”

Deep violet locks whipped in the air, Amélie glared before demanding. “You’re not serious.”

His expression confirmed otherwise.

Ridiculous… Stressing, “What the hell am I supposed to do against THREE. Even if I take out the first one, it’ll be two against one afterwards.” 

McCree snickered. He flicked his cowboy hat, cloak blowing in the wind. “What? The legendary Widowmaker can’t deal with a trio of big burly men? What happened to the stories of making entire militias disappear?”

She jutted a finger into his chin. He reeled back from the force.

Raising both hands into the air, he chuckled. “Fine, faahn.  I’ll tay-uk thuh three awn thuh crane.  Since our esteemed lacroix hair is s—”

It had to be on purpose, that fucking accent... She cursed and fumed. “VA TE FAIRE ENCULER! Fine! I’ll figure it out.” Pivoting on a heel and stalked back to the building’s staircase, descending the steps with Jesse and Genji in tow. Their chatter yet to halt.

Jesse settled down after a brief chuckle, his tone taking a turn for grave. “What’s plan B? In case the unexpected happens.”

In a foul mood already, Amélie started, “McCree I swear to god—”

I’m being serious. My friend’s life is in danger.”

Genji ever quick to agree. “Yes, it would be best if we went in silent at first. But if it comes to it, we may have to resort to guns blazing.”

God, what a pair….

She froze, turning back to Genji with a lofted brow. McCree in unison.

He shifted between their gazes, clutching his chest. “…First, I was being figurative. Second, I do carry a gun. Just don’t ever need it.”

Amélie hard pressed to say if he was feigning insult or not.

McCree demanded, “Why the hell have I never seen you ever use one?”

She mused, the frown teasing the cowboys face hinted at the betrayal, such sickening banter between two children. And of course, side-tracked.

Amélie turned back to the lengthy descent that remained. Fingers stretching limbering up, or at least attempted to.

What a night ahead.

………………………………………………………………

Shadow to shadow, his strategy tested and sound through years in the military. Assassination a mere sideshow compared to the atrocities he committed during his stint in Black-ops. Infiltration, destabilising governments and kidnapping, just a fraction of the clandestine operation he had participated in.

Jesse sucked in a deep breath, the footsteps above rattled around against the metal containers. They paused just above, overshadow just centimetres in front.

Don’t you look down…

Ten seconds passed.

Thirty.

A minute.

Amidst the neat port warehouse district, containers filled with various goods were placed in an intersectional pattern. Allowing workers, guests and any other folk to travel alongside the width and length of each individual sheet metal transport. Jesse had placed himself by the closest to the warehouse, his left potentially exposed without cover.

Boots clanked away. Headed for the other side, a quiet but gruff exchange in a language all too common as of late. Russian.

He rounded the side of the length of the container, maintaining a strict inch of distance, careful not to brush his shoulder against the metal. Right side exposed, his faith placed into his pal. Nerve wracking numbness seeped into his bone.

It’d be impossible to live down the failure if he, Jesse McCree had failed to meet his end. Genji Shimada, he could handle.

Amélie Lacroix? Not a chance in hell. The absolute last person of their ragtag team to have ammunition against. Err…Figuratively and literally. Their reputation considerable, even by his standards.

He could count less than the fingers on his left hand the number of marksmen that could destabilise militias, unaided. To top it off, if looks could kill, that French woman had what it took to freeze a man’s heart in its place without anything more than a mere glance.

Approaching the neatly stacked milk crates ahead, makeshift steps dipped down to the warehouse’s frontal entrance but offered easy passage up to the container built for overwatch. McCree broke his silence, clink of boots ringing.

They whipped around. Too slow.

He leapt from crate to container in one smooth movement, the first slash ripped through his throat. Their proper trigger discipline resulted in a quiet thud, toppling over the side. Bloodied knife whistling in the air as accelerated to the last of the pair’s jugular. Resistance

The burly man had managed to raise his rifle defensively, blade plunged just a few centimetre’s short but the wound, fatal. His strength sapped quickly, finger reaching for the trigger. Possibly to alert his allies of his presence. McCree’s dagger sunk in smoothly, free hand darted up to seize the thick finger and pry it away from.

And he too, joined his friend for a dirt nap. Blood spurting from the cut artery.

Cold satisfaction from a kill numbed by years. Trickled back in, this was personal.

Jesse winced as stray blood squirted towards his eye. He glanced at his knife, inspecting it, cleansing it against his cloak. Leaping down and landing with cat-like agility. He had faith in his friend, an unparalleled specialist in silent kills.

Turning his attention towards the moon obscured by the large transfer crane. Curious to see how Widow performed. Still climbing up the numerous flights of stairs, composed as ever. Trio whom patrolled above, blissfully unaware of her presence still.

“Hrm… Impressive…” He remarked silently, glimpsing towards the source of an anticipated disturbance. Muffled cries off to his right. Meaty thuds followed, blade whistling in air, Genji stepped into view after the flourish. Ever to be one on time.

“How’s it coming along?”

McCree scratched his beard and gestured, "See for yourself”

Amélie slowed to a slither, head appearing into view on the platform as the trio faced off into their own directions, scanning the distance. Genji shuffled closer, allowing the shadows to obscure him, a precaution.

Pressed against the cold metal container together, they peered out from their respective corners, tracking the femme fatale’s movements. With a swift reverse L motion, an item flew in the air, glinting in the moonlight and found its mark in the back of the man closest to him, plummeting to a messy end no doubt.

McCree observed her bursting into a sprint, striking the man closest in the throat before shoulder shoving him off the edge, meeting a fate similar. Then reaching to her wrist and clasped something, darting forward to intercept the weapon, arms swinging wildly in a circular motion.

Understanding dawned on the cowboy. Garrotte wire. Amélie leveraged force and momentum to dictate his motion, numerous kicks and blows to his legs crumpled him. Personally, he anticipated for her to toss him off the side.

Amélie instead turned around and sprinted towards the edge, hopping off towards the side of the steps, platform underneath to catch her fall if need be. Crumpled man fighting against the woman’s entire weight and gravity, dead within seconds. Yet she took no chances, hanging like a spider from its web.

Golden amber eyes clear cut as they stared piercingly towards the duo. Message received.

He chortled to his friend, “Well…She’s not happy.” The cold reception only heightened the dark humour, a fleeting chuckle in his chest welled up. He trailed after Genji as they shook their head and grunted about getting in position.

Silence fell between, he reminisced on the past few days. Idling around his cloak, rubbing the material with finger tips, “…Hey. You know, you didn’t have to come along.” Startled by the Japanese man’s answer.

“Friends and allies are rare and far between in our world. I admit…My curiosity is piqued as well. “ Genji hesitated, he seemed to be recalling a memory. Adding softly, “To inspire unwitting rivals to form a temporary partnership. I only—” He cut off, expression stony, weight shifting to the other side and fingered the hilt of his weapon.

A distraction….Ah.

“I think ya mean, few and far between.” Lips pulling into a light grin as the ninja waved dismissively.

Remarking with a groan, “Idioms are difficult. I wish they taught it better.”

McCree reached for the tip of his hat, about to speak.

Cold and cruel voice interjected from behind, a freshly whetted dagger sank into his hardened heart, chilled by their tone. A hint of urgency decorated the hilt of the metaphorical weapon. “What are you idiots doing...? Can we hurry up, please.”

McCree hopped onto a foot, a convulsion in a sudden jolt. When the heck?! Amélie Lacroix had reappeared. His heart double tapped. Whirling around to meet the purse lips and drawn brows. Hands rested on each hip.

“..Yeah, hold your horses we wer’ waiting for ya.”.” He spun on a heel and drew up beside the Japanese male. A tender warmness seeped into his bones despite the chilly sea-side environment, the connection between deepened. Brotherly.. “Genji?”

“Hrm?”

“If you need help with idioms or anything else…I’m your huckleberry.”

………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

Chapter Text

Spoilers to the previous chapter. A very brief summary.

 

For those whom averted their gaze from the chapter due to the trigger warning. I'll try to cover the torture part in plain brief text. I hope this is enough to provide an understanding to continue ahead.

 

It has been approximately half a month since their last encounter. Amélie is growing increasingly antsy, disassociated with her lot in life. She dismisses the newcomers immediately and keeps to herself.

Amélie, Genji and McCree form an unlikely temporary alliance between the three to investigate a trail that fell into their laps concerning Lena's disappearance.


Our favourite little Brit has been captured and undergoing intensive interrogation, torture via electrocution and waterboarding. For many days, her psyche is shaken and on the verge. She barely remembers the reason they bought her in and is skating on thin ice. 

Just as she recovers enough to recall the past few days, the interrogator returns. It is obvious that they resume. It is implied she's lingering...I won't say what but you'll find out next chapter. To which I've only written like 300 words due to schedule.


A tiny bit of assassination between the three characters musket-queers, tiny bit of banter. Kidding, only Amélie and Lena are gay af. 

 

That is it.

 

Kind regards,

The author who sucks, have a japanese emoji with a sniper rifle pointed at an innocent (You)! ( う-´)づ︻╦̵̵̿╤── \(˚☐˚”)/

Chapter Text

Jesse’s spurs clinked after the weighty clack of heels. Trailing after the woman, eyeing warily as his right hand rested against the handle of his revolver, ready to draw at a moment’s notice. The other buried into his leather chaps’ pocket, gloved fingers brushing over the tiny near rectangular chip.

Scent of French toast with a hint of cedar wafted up, breathing in deep. He sucked on the cigar and sedated himself, the black sky and tall desolate constructions counteracted the usual pleasures he associated with tobacco.

A presence crept up to his side, like a shadow. He recognized it, the third member of the trio and ever guile when necessary. Genji’s quiet voice followed, “Do you have to smoke?”

“Yes.”

“…The stench will linger, it will make sneaking up on potential—” Presence slipping away.

Waiting for him to finish. He continued to stalk after Amélie, drilling into their slender back, searching for any tell-tale sign of betrayal. Keenly aware that his eyes squinted and softening at the additional arms and legs spilling out to the side of the French assassin. He cursed, now was not the time for such distractions.

A muffled splutter in the distance cut through the rush of traffic from afar. Personally, used to it by the years of experience. Amélie skipped a step however still unaccustomed to operating alongside the master of stealth.

She cursed underneath her breath, just audible enough to pick up from where he stood. “Merde…” Unable to explain the gentle soothing sensation washing over him at the reaction, maybe…No, he brushed away the thought.

Jesse’s throat worked, the same blood stained his hands. Gunning and knifing down the various empty faces but…At least he held the slightest remorse for his actions. Hesitating to say the same for the woman before him. Well, at least up until the end.

Admittedly observing the final moments of the wispy interrogator’s stained teeth crunching into the back of their throat, sparked a sickening delight. He recalled raising his hand, bashing until a bloody pulp, various pieces of bone, teeth and brain.

The sight gorier than the usual for this line of work. Genji stepped out of the room at the time, unable to bear it himself. Amélie didn’t even bat an eyelash, if anything he sensed immense satisfaction distinctly educing a deep breath from her. Disturbing.

Jesse dared to break his gaze, peering off to the left. Familiar figure of the sturdily built Japanese male melted back beside.

Without skipping a beat from his sentence earlier. Genji continued, near neon green hair indiscernible in the night. “Unsuspecting targets, difficult.”

He countered, lips working around the dense pipe of the cigar, “Ya didn’t have any issue there.”

“The fact you knew. Proves my point entirely.”

Amélie interjected with a grunt, rotating around. Revealing the cargo cradled in her arms, the wrapped-up figure of his friend. Lena Oxton just scarcely alive. Perhaps the shallow gasps stemming from their friend or the deathly stare delivered by the unlikely ally effectively silenced him and Genji.

Jesse struggled to find a definitive answer to the cause, the inside of his sewn leather gloves suddenly too hot. Growing clammy and uncomfortable to touch. He experienced an unnatural urge to remove a piece of his trademark.

She beckoned silently, “Onward.” Golden amber eyes glowed abnormally in the night. He found himself questioning if those orbs were always so luminous. He never found himself without a witty or snippy retort against her in the past.

“Lets go.”

Jesse growled an affirmation.

………………….

They came to a halt before the steps of the familiar hotel, a hub of crime, villainy and underground law-abiding citizens. Barely audible clink of glasses escaped from the slit of light that peered through, an Egyptian woman marked by her trademark tattoo elevated by the steps arrived in time to welcome them, Fareeha from concierge.

Jesse rolled his ankles; a slight wince pinched his features. Safety at last. A wave of relief consumed his tired being, fatigue a backseat to Lena’s well-being. He caught Fareeha’s gaze, their brows furrowed into a v and irises twitched side to side as they darted back to inspect the unconscious woman.

He found himself staring back at Amélie, realising seconds later as the foul stench of dried sweat, bile, piss and charred flesh irritated his nostrils. Amélie deposited Lena into his arms and stepped past, away from the safe grounds of the hotel.

Glimpsing a flicker of rare emotion from, exhaustion must’ve taken its toll, mauve upper lip curled back into a snarl. A blizzard stormed behind the near luminescent orbs, icy wrath incurred. Jesse demanded, “What do you think you’re doing?”

A hiss whispered back as they faded into the night. “Finishing it.”

Wrestled with the swirling concoction within his chest, conflicted. His legs itched to give chase, the urge, great but an unaccustomed weight against his left breast dismissed it like a breath in the wind.

Lena nestled into, whimpering, “Nnngh…” Like a child suffering through a night terror.

His friend clasped him on a shoulder and urged onward.

Jesse slumped, eyes squeezing shut and stepped in.

Unable to recall exact details as he autopiloted to the inhouse med-bay.

His hand rubbed over the tiny chip, handing the storage device over to the milky faced doctor. The rest of the night a blur, bright carrot apricot colours whirled as they transitioned from room to room, harsh words and tortured screams dulled his hearing.  During the brief interlude he witnessed her torture and rushed to Lena’s aid, he possessed little to no knowledge of the days that already passed.

Jesse witnessed as they brutalised the poor woman, stringing her up and utilising as a make-shift punching bag. Shoved into a barren prison, forced to subside off canned dog food and put through many torturous ordeals he wished to purge.

But…Jesse’s calculated mind began to unwittingly piece together the events. The man he bludgeoned to death, without a doubt an interrogator tasked with extracting information, searching for the killer of Williem Winters.

He struggled to recall the last time he observed such machinations. Glimpses of familiar faces, and the harsh sweetness of whiskey downed. He failed to find an alternative to clear his brain, to let the distasteful memories of tonight pass like a terrible song, burying his soul underneath the hazel liquid.

Genji’s foreign accent intense, squeezing his shoulder, shaking but unable to pierce through the stupor he wished to cocoon himself in. Hopefully the end of Lena’s tribulation.

Hopefully.

……………………………………….

“After the blackness of night, Earth's star rose across the horizon, spreading her gold in every direction. Spilling forth in the way that natural forces do, needing no invitation and always welcome. Gift of light, bold and free, for anyone who cares to open their eyes in the dawn and watch the world awake. Our sun, a fire ignited to bring warmth to creation and inspire us to seek our own beauty within.” Voice exclaiming close by growing increasingly distant, for three days now the student continued to depart from his dormitory with a literary description of the world. A daily habit probably.

Amélie fought against two urges. The call of sleep.

And the urge to shoot the fresh-faced boy dancing across the grassy fields, toward campus grounds. Swivelling the bipedid sniper rifle away from the dilapidated apartment block, lining up her aim towards the singer. Pale blue butterfly fluttered across her magnified scope—She released her grip around the stock to swat.

“…?” Amélie perked up. Glancing about in the barebones studio bar the flimsy plastic chair and cheap wooden desk propped underneath the windows.

Without a trace….

Amélie glanced down at the dark screen of her mobile device. Reaching down and flipping it open, battery down to the last quarter bar. Eyes flicking over to the visible digital clock, 7:36AM. Heavy lids blinking.

7:43AM.

She was drifting in and out of consciousness.

Her head swam and vision began flicking, the entire world like a low-resolution movie. Confusion blossomed in her heart for a brief minute eventually Amélie turned back to the task at hand, short of time. Finish the mission…

Rotating the weapon back to the broken-down apartment block, peering through the scope. The magnified view provided a clean view, one final kill. Amélie could be free of the force gripping her ribs and brain, with all her effort…. She tried to reason with herself days earlier.

Numb herself to the bone. Not responsible for Lena’s current condition.

Or

Start listening to her conscious. Responsible for every minute of suffering, the past week briefly flicked like an old film. The pleasant sight of the blindfolded brunette buried between own thighs, spiky hair poking through grip over the top of her skull

The middle ground was no good to anyone.

Amélie made up her mind. Pressing the butt into her shoulder and sucked in a deep breath…Lining the crosshair against the back of the buzzcut, swaying ever so slight. Exhaling with practiced motion till the last drop of oxygen departed and held. Aim steadied. Finger squeezing, corner of her eyes squinted.

A deafening crack of thunder resonated in the studio

Aim true, bullet punching through his neck, a gaping hole in its wake filled with blood and gushed out. The sight remained brief as he collapsed, disappearing.

Finally….

The trained assassin basked in her success, sinking back into the chair, pressing a palm to her heart in wake of the bloodbath she had committed for the sake of quenching her guilt. Distant sirens interrupted.

Time to move.

Scrambling to clean up the scene, she snatched up the bullet casing and bent down to pack away her weapon. Hands working rapidly to disassemble the sniper-rifle, heat of the barrel seeped through gloves. Grasped the pistol strapped to her waist, ready.

Grasping the discreet gun case by its handle and murmured, body losing its stiff posture as she did. “Little one…Everything will be alright now..."

A welcome breeze brushed through, kissing her sweat and bloodstained neck. Now all that remained was…Sleep. Preparing for the last leg of the marathon.

Bolting out the studio door, Amélie rushed down the hall and hurried down the stairs, rounding corner after corner, the carpeted floors painful to her tender feet, within seconds she arrived before the fire escape.

Hand reaching out and grasped the trigger, squeezing the release and pushed. Stepping out into the crisp air        , the kind that revitalised and invigorated with life when inhaled.

“FREEZE! HANDS I WANT TO SEE THEM-- Amélie!?” Emanating from her blindside, firm and commanding.

Heartrate spiking, nearly leaping from her skin.

Amélie rotated around, the young and accented voice…Korean..?

Perhaps today was her lucky day after all…

Police lieutenant, Hana Song.

…………………………………………………………………….

The vehicle cruised to the curb.

“…Thanks.”

Sensible as always, Hana dismissed, “I don’t want to hear it. Just get out.”

Chuckle tickling Amélie’s throat before escaping stifled. “Hmmnnmhmm…” Pulling the chrome handle, the hustle and bustle of the city flooded into the cramped and messy police car as the door parted.

“Wait.” A small hand ceased her by the forearm, “The past few days, all those…Deaths. Were they?”

Amélie stared at the window’s reflection, the law-abiding officer conflicted. She answered without turning, nodding. Weak grip retreated and shoved gently against her back, urging for her to leave. Stepping out and stretched, reaching for the sky.

“…In the future, please try to exercise discretion. Three precincts are in absolute mayhem because of you.” Hana scolded, “Try to lay lo—”

Amélie shut the door firmly, meeting their gaze. Unable to make out the look she received. Her sense of time muddled, because the car simply vanished from her sight with the next blink. Feverish

Sleep…

Obeying her body’s call. Trudging in to Universal, again time eluded. The journey towards the elevators skipped, Amélie found her queen-sized bed, case thudding and falling forward to vanilla sheets.

Recalling a concerned voice, insistent. The pale annoyance of Doctor Ziegler kept repeating the same garbled words, suddenly aware of the sting on her cheek. Unable to recall the exact sentence, she pressed to make sense of it, but own tired mind dragged her into the oblivion of sleep.

…………………………………………………………

The alarm clock blared, so very, very rude. Amélie’s vision brought sharply into focus. Initial anger flared and passed, frustrations at the inanimate clock which did not grant the courtesy of an apology, breathing long and slow. 7:15AM Shit...  a terrible rude and early time...

Well-rested but still irritated, Amélie peeled herself from the bed and slapped the old-fashion clock into the wall, for she cared not who crafted the intricate springs. The guts of the device spilled out.

Hair sticking to like a second layer of skin to cheeks, dried sweat acting like a weak adhesive. Upper lip drawing back into a snarl, she felt absolutely disgusting. Rolling off to the side and stumbled up to her feet, well-toned muscles struggled to support herself and wriggle free of her filthy clothes as she did. Colliding into a desk, knocking free a ripe orange from the fruit bowl set behind the four-panel folding screen

Practically crawling to the bathroom, filed nails scratching the carpet underneath over and over. She collapsed into the corner of the well decorated cubicle, nude. Amélie reached up, twisting at the knobs until a hot Jetstream of liquid poured over.

A well-deserved preen if she dared say so herself.

Within the hour, Amélie had tidied up nicely. Garbed in a plain white t-shirt and apple bottom jeans, refreshed. Yet the throbbing soreness from over-exertion lasted, it provided a soothing comfort however.

Almost imperceptible, these little felicitations sparked joy few know how to enjoy and admire; one of the few perks acquired through her early years. Society, the modern world, even in the bleak pits, so worried about money, about work, about what other people thought, they forgot to enjoy the tiny things.

However, that did not mean today was just any other day. If anything…A day of excitement lay ahead, butterflies blossomed in her tummy at the thought of reuniting with the energetic brit. After all, as their benefactor she expected many rewards.

The sheer thought of having the woman at her beck and call tickled her, delighting a rare smile across her strict features. She could picture it now…

Oxton’s full lips pulling into a grateful, relieved smile and enveloping in a warm embrace with slender smooth arms. Slightest shudder as the nightmares of her past week melted, a desire to return the favour from the deepest depths of their heart.

Squeezing a dark grape free from the complimentary fruit bowl as she passed by, popping the piece of fruit into her mouth. Flavours and aromas of ripe cherry, wild strawberry, earthiness and caramel spread through.

Surprised, unable to recall when the fruit became so delectable.

Amélie tempted to return for another but steeled herself onward for something sweeter laid ahead.

With a quiet ‘ding!’ elevator doors parted to reveal a homely lit interior. She stepped in and tuned into the snazzy muzak playing, eyes sealing shut to enjoy the brief journey. Just as entered, the ring indicated her arrival, parting way to reveal the grand halls. Amélie glided through, coming to a stand still beside the concierge desk.

Empty.

Odd…

Egyptian woman nowhere to be seen but business as usual. Golden coins piled up on the desk in wake of her absence, neat scribbled notes accompanied each stack.

Amélie proceeded onward, heading off to the left. Where else to find staff but the most populated area?

Spacious archway stood before, the burn in her calves soothed at the sight. Mixed scent of various alcohols, luxurious proteins and other pleasures wafted over, luring further. Doors parting inward automatically upon approach.

An invisible force froze her mid-stride. Peripheral vision widening before narrowing, a welcome sight.

…Lena Oxton.

There they were, back arched as she sat forward in the delicately shaped top mahogany chair, a pierced interlaced carved splat flanked by shaped and moulded arms, supported by a H-formed stretcher. Garbed in a gown and arms wrapped up in bandages.

Staring off into the distance, jaw working as idly as her hands, carving up the three plates piled high with steak, shrimp and lobster with their respective accompaniments. Doe eyes unfocused and distant, like a child daydreaming about vacation in class to escape the dull activities of the day.

Amélie slow to realise the relieved grin she possessed.

Days ago, the unconscious girl now seemed serene, at peace with their waking hours. Enjoying some well-deserved amenities, no doubt. The conclusion satisfactory to Amélie’s mind.

Now to claim her reward.

Chapter Text

Amélie drifted over, discovering herself inexplicably drawn to the serene figure. Hand outstretched, the warm air brushed over and excitement blossomed in her heart. But the moment her sneakers crossed the line separating hall from bar, tension laid heavy in the air. Thick enough to form an invisible barrier against.

Confused, Amélie glanced around only to be greeted by the vaguely familiar faces. The sensation of every pair of eyes fell upon, drawing a rare roll of her shoulders, the assassin composed herself and pushed forward. Noting the pair of gentlemen, she formed an impromptu alliance with, residing at the end of the counter.

As she arrived before the daydreaming woman, still staring forwards with unfocused eyes. A smirk tugged at the corner of her lips, any second now they would leap from their seat….

Nothing.

Amélie’s brows tugged downward a little, a thin veil of concern nagged. Moving across and grasping the seat opposite, plopping down lady-like, long legs crossing by the knees, feigning smug. To her relief, Lena snapped back to attention, hopping in the seat. Cute lips pulling off to the side mid-chew followed with a ginormous gulp, almost inhuman as the large mouthful visibly traversed through their throat, a wonder how the woman’s throat could handle the effort.

Lena’s round innocent eyes lit up, rounded shoulders curled back, and chest pushed forward. A clatter of cutlery followed, out of nowhere, a colourful magnetic drawing board appeared in front of their chest. Scribbled onto, balloon text that read. “Hi!”

The urge to tease rose. Head tilting to the side, tip of her tongue poked out the side, lips half-parting seductively. Breathy, “Pleased to see me, chérie?” Amélie rested her right hand on the table, drumming lightly. From the corner of her vision, she noticed Genji wincing as he retracted from a motion, a half-wave? Turning back to the hunched-up figure of the cowboy, forehead buried in the crook of their arms…

Lena’s drawing board flipped back. Bandaged hands grasped at the pen, scribbling into it hastily before revealing the text and directed a beam. “Of course! How are you?”

Amélie tilted her head to the side in a half shrug, casual. She replied, gesturing at own neck with a finger and quirked the arch of her left brow. “Refreshed after a lengthy rest. Something wrong with your voice?” A nod in response answered her question.

Resting elbow against the table and propped her chin against a palm with a smile. Hushed murmurs of idle banter tuned out, in its place the quiet thump of her elevated heartbeat. Uncaring for the faint upward tilt of her lips betraying her affection.

Again, the board flipped around. Lena, bouncing a little in the seat, arms hurried, like a child with a new toy, tongue pushed forward and parting her lips, curling upward whilst her brows knitted with concentration.

Drawn in, Amélie’s gaze rested against the toy, flipping back towards. “Nobody else will talk to me…”

Back and forth the sentences were limited with the device. Lena’s features broke into an impossibly innocent grin, the two exclamation marks almost comical “I was getting lonely!”

A smile tweaked in response, braincells shifting out of focus. Staring back mildly bewildered.

Lena continued to jot onto the board, revealing text near illegible. “Please, have some food! There is far too much…And they said it was free too—”

“—I’ve tried to share it with others, but nobody will help….” Expression drooping as if a Shakespearean tragedy.

It looked genuine.

Drawing a shrug from, Amélie reached over to pluck a piece of shrimp and popped it past her lips. Flashing a coy simper, fending off a titter.

Back and forth the board flipped. “Thanks!”

Once more.

Revealing moderately spaced wide text. Cheerful in disposition….

Without warning the ground fell out from underneath Amélie’s feet. Idle chatter and distant noises returned with a rush. Filling her head with random indistinguishable chatter, few words clear cut and struck deep. “…Idiot. Shame. Gone.”

Like somebody punched her in the chest, full force. Mouth drying up, shoulders rising and lowering rapidly.

Blurry eyed, unaware her hand squeezed into a fist, taking the sheet white table cloth into a tight bundle. The barely distinguishable figure of Lena’s head cocked to the side, tilting with the motion.

Amélie’s cheeks drained of colour. Eyes screwing and shaking her head side to side, she did not want to believe the words written on the board. But they stared back at her, the innocent text an evanescent reminder.

“My name’s Lena, pleased to meetcha!

As if on cue, Jesse McCree peered over his shoulder with bloodshot eyes. Their eyes met. Delivering only a slow shake of his head and turned frontward, swigging out of a clear flat flask. Chest hollowing out.

Amélie tried to rise but what strength remained within failed. Collapsing into it, wide-eyed at the realisation. Unable to bring herself to meet Lena’s inquisitive stare, even as they waved the board in front of her.

Carpeted floors vibrated ever so gently, the familiar dark shape of the owner cast a shadow over. She felt her arm loop around furred body. Herself growing distant from own body.

A sudden grip snapped around her wrist, tugging insistently. It was…Warm and something else lingered behind it, unable to place her finger on it immediately. Amélie turned to the source.

Who else but…

The bandaged-up woman stared up, strangers to each other. a crease ran through her forehead, hazelnut eyes darting away from and back.

Winston’s deep voice reassured, “I just need to speak to her—”

The table banged, tipping drink and clanging cutlery. Grip tightening—It hurt. A hand furious scribbled onto the magnetic board, shoving it upward to his face. From the awkward angle, Amélie could barely make out the tiny but lengthy text.

“Every time you take them away, they refuse to talk after! Stop it!”

The hotel owner cleared his throat uncomfortably and shuffled on his feet. He glanced to her, the meaning clear. ”Help.”

Casting her own gaze downward, shoulders slumped. Peeling at the grip delicately, their knuckles turned white—She winced.

They gasped and yanked their hand back, a split second later darting forward. Fingertips brushing against as Winston dragged her away. Two well-built figures melted into view acting as a barricade.

…………………………………………………..

“..What’s wrong with her?”

Near motherly voice snapped back with a thick swiss german accent. “I already told you, Lacroix.

Amélie cast her gaze to the source residing in the corner. Jaw clenched, glowering venomously at the puffy eyed Angela Ziegler, they flinched and took half a step towards the receptionist, Fareeha Amari. The duo stood in the corner of the poorly lit private booth, opting to stand instead of seat themselves on the violet cushioned seats.

Hissing, “When did you tell me?”

Angela pointed her index finger accusingly. “Yesterday! In the—”

Voice drifted out, memory trickling back. Amélie’s voice reached up to the affected cheek and rubbed, releasing a shaky sigh. Everything began to fall in place, Genji and McCree seated far off in a corner unlike their usual selves. Lena by herself.

“How long?”

“How long to what?! She’s--”

Winston interjected, a trunk-like arm motioned upward as an impressive digit pushed up against the rim of the pair of glasses. Comparatively a twig to his finger. “In such cases, it is difficult to tell. Days…Months…Years, maybe never.”

The prim doctor stepped past the stoic receptionist, “…It would be better if she never—”

Pain shot up Amélie’s wrist, wooden chair clattering to the floor behind. “WHAT?”

“YOU DIDN’T SEE WHAT THEY PUT HER THROUGH!” Angela countered with a roar, a heel clacked as she stomped a foot towards. A pale hand waved through the air, turning to the side until their left shoulder faced, respective index finger shaking at accusingly. “You—I..I had to watch e-everything…W-Watched them string her up…Beat her—Worse than a d..dog. And..And her screams..” Milky hands reached up to cup their own ears.

Amélie averted her gaze away from the shivering doctor. Squeezing her eyes shut as Angela rambled on in detail…Imagination betrayed her, skin crawling at the various visualisations that flashed.

“Hours… Lacroix. They subjected her to hours of waterboarding and shock therapy! Day after day…” Angela trailed off, room quiet enough to hear the sound of her swallowing. Beginning again, barely a murmur. “They…They…kept demanding to know the identity of someone…Someone skilled with a sniper rifle.”

Blood ran cold in her veins.

“They were after…You

Amélie slumped in the seat.

A pair of hands grasped her by the arms, shaking violently. Rag-dolling in Angela’s grip. “Weren’t they?! Tell me I’m wrong Lacroix! TELL ME! ITS YOUR FAULT ISN’T IT?”

Within seconds the hands darted away whilst snatching at the air in front of. Fareeha retrieved the doctor with a yank and attempted to sedate her with words. “Calm down…they would have killed Lena if she didn’t steal her mark. We should focus--”

“WE SHOULD WHAT?” Both slender arms flew into the air beside their head wildly. “THANK HER?”

Within seconds they began arguing against each other. Back and forth, on and on…A pressure gripped at her heart, tightening—Squeezing. Unease slithered down her spin and still failing to tune the arguing duo out…She buried her forehead into sweaty palms. Winston after what felt like an eternity requested their departure, waving them away with all his authority.

He sat down across from and cleared his throat. “We have three points of matters to discuss.”

“I don’t—”

“First is the case of my dear friend, Lena. I wish to have her moved to…A safer location.”

Amélie’s lips pursed, forehead jerked downward.

“I intend to have one of my men ask her…As you can see we are…”

He didn’t finish.

Winston clasped his furry hands together and cleared his throat. He shifted, seat groaning in protest underneath his weight. “Then there is the matter of your payment.”

Eyes levelling with.

He continued, gesturing to the screens. Scores of deceased bodies lay on silver trays, the orange glow of furnaces in the background accompanied. “Many of them had bounties. Since you did the deed, it is only right you—”

She rasped, cutting him off. “I don’t want it.”

“Rightfully it is yours. As per our rules, we must hand over the monetary—” Giant gorilla hands gestured with a palm, silencing her. “What you do with it is up to you. Might I suggest discreetly putting the funds to use for a purpose that might ease your conscious?”

Lena. Nostrils flared as she released a quivering breath. Sweat rolled down her spine. Pinching at her thigh, head twitching occasionally to the door behind. Less than a minute away but further apart than ever. “…Okay.”

“Onto the last point then…”

……………………………………………………………..

Pulling her knees to chest, arms wrapping around firm. Angela buried herself between her knees, just a few meters out of the dark conference room earlier. Fareeha Amari, love of her life, excused themselves back to the receptionist desk. No doubt the work piled up but it hurt nonetheless.

Quiet sobs escaped, tears streaked down high cheekbones and ruined her carefully applied mascara. Angela wrung her hands, seeking an outlet. The outburst earlier…Misdirected anger.

Above all else, Angela blamed nobody but herself.

If only she kept her distance…More than anything else, she wanted to pack up and bolt…But that involved passing by the amnesiac. Their years of friendship as fellow orphans crumbled to nothing, they remembered nothing but their own name and dreams.

The Swiss German found a faint beam of solace…A chance for a new beginning, repeating like a chant to calm herself. A nagging worry in the back of her mind barring escape. Losing count of the minutes that ticked by.

Angela rocked back and forth on the spot, sniffling occasionally. The door parted, raising her head in time to meet the pair of sombre honeyed orbs. Amélie averted her gaze quickly and moved to pass by.

“Wait…” Croaking after.

The French woman did, pausing mid-stride.

“C..Come back, I didn’t m..mean what I said inside..”

Revolving around, Amélie’s gaze still held off to the side. Swallowing visibly. They waved a graceful hand in the air, “It’s fine. Excuse—”

“It isn’t.” Angela terse, brows furrowing a little. Chest heaving, “Fareeha was right…If it wasn’t for me, Lena would have never been in this situation.”

“…Huh?”

Sensing the French woman’s puzzlement, “I pushed her away from her dream…If only…If only she remained in the orphanage, could have become a sister…Or…Or an artist. Like she had always wanted to...If only I didn’t guilt her!” Rambling on, Angela brushed at her forehead with clammy palms. “Lena was always talented…The portraits she used to draw. My god, I could hardly tell the difference.”

 Only receiving a soft response in turn. “Ah…”

Voice cracking mid-way, “B…But all the other children. There were so many of them, we…we couldn’t..I didn’t have a choice! St. Vigri’s would have run out of funds, we had to leave…It was the right thing to do—Mhm…Right thing to do...” Angela’s vision narrowed onto the scuff of a boot mark in front of, her world grey.

A lilac hand rested gingerly against her arm, lukewarm to the touch. Hesitant as if conflicted or not to continue or retreat.

The doctor sniffed and wiped at her eyes with the back of her white coat’s sleeve. Fingers fidgeting with each other. Mumbling, the back of her throat and arms ached. Fatigue of the past few days deposited against her lashes in the last few minutes. “That was nearly a decade ago…And still she sends most of her pay checks…Stupid girl!”

As soon as the words left her mouth, a mirthless smile took hold.

Angela sighed, shaking her head. Right hand curling into a fist, bashing it against the side of her temple. “No..NO! That’s not…Urgghh…I don’t…. Did not even try to stop her. If Lena just…Saved some for herself…She could’ve pursued her dream years ago.”

……………………………………………………………………..

Tall Romanesque architecture centred around a square courtyard. Pointy metal fence gated her entrance. Autumn day cast the pedestrian walkway awash with multi-coloured offerings of the immense oak trees that lined the cramped roads.

Amélie stared into the centre of the courtyard, a weekday….A school day. It made perfect sense for it to be vacant. The idea, simple. Step in, deposit the suitcase and leave. A final donation on behalf of the amnesiac, Lena.

Sidestepping to the gate, pushing it forward with a light creak. Stone tile pathway steady and well-maintained. St. Vigri’s…It didn’t seem like the orphanage required such hefty donations. Amélie continued forward, dismissing the notion with a wave, it hardly mattered. Crisp crunch and clack of her heels prominent over the distant rush of mid-day traffic of New York City.

Amélie stepped out from underneath the archway and into the courtyard, taking in the sight. Rectangular tables lined up in a corner to form an L shape, laden with bowls of snacks and treats. A birthday? Yet empty as witnessed…Bar the sloped stepladder propping up a figure cloaked in black. A nun. Their attention focused upon stringing up the banner, unaware of the fact that the ladder unsteadied.

A quiet yelp emanated as the ladder slipped out from underneath, hands darting up into the air and grabbed at air.

Without realising it herself, Amélie caught the figure with a grunt, having ambled their way over earlier. Aluminium suitcase thudded onto the floor.

Aged silver darted to the tipped over suitcase, concern for her saviour’s items decorated across their well-preserved features. Light of breath but insistent on paying forward her gratuity she rasped out at the end of an exhale. “Thank you so—” The voice cut off, catching Amélie’s stare.

Nun flicked between suitcase and the stranger. Their features screwed up, inscrutable at first before suspicion narrowed their eyes, leaning in to sniff. Unsurprised as Amélie pulled back and mirrored their expression.

Querying with a thin veil of hesitation. “Are you here to make a donation…?”

Amélie raised a single brow, quirking in response and shallowly tipped her head once.

Where’s Lena?”

…………………………………………………..