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She didn’t expect this when she walked into the club. 

 

She liked Europe because no one questioned the remnants of her home country's accent in her English, she could practice a solid half of her languages in a good week, and she could get into clubs more easily. She may not look 21 yet, but she can definitely pass as 18, at least. 

And Americans... they’re a lot. She had a good network there, sure, but... they were sand in the well-oiled machine of her apathy; so loud and over the top and friendly. She hadn’t been to the midwest in at least four years. Even before her teenage years gifted her their angst and anger, she couldn’t stand the place. And the south? Any time someone said the words “bless your heart” or called her sweetheart, darling, hon, she wanted to rip someone’s face off. (If she hadn’t been on a ridiculously under-the-radar trip last time, she probably would have. She’s pretty sure she decked a guy, though.) She didn't have in-roads in Africa and she stands out too much in Asia, even if her Mandarin is flawless and her Korean barely accented. Standing out at all is too much. 

Europe was easier. She could blend a little more, talk a little less. Draw less attention.  

 

But apparently Denmark has no fucking chill. She thought it’d be easy, a nice way to work on her frankly subpar Danish accent with the nice safe English backup. Aren’t Danish people supposed to be like, super happy? 

Someone manages to land a hit on her shoulder as she tries to evade them. 

Apparently the fuck not.

 

She ducks the follow up and darts off towards the bathroom. She loses them in the crowd and makes it to the sticky-but-thank-god-it’s-small women’s room. She slips in, grateful everyone in the short line is too drunk to notice her cutting. 

The world lurches and she grabs the nearest wall.

Fuck vodka. Or was it tequila? The table she had infiltrated kept ordering rounds and she couldn’t say no. Her cover was— is— too important. 

 

“Shit,” she curses under her breath. “Motherfucking shit.”

”Uh, are you okay?” 

Turns out the nearest wall was actually the one stall door. Even fucking better. 

“Lo siento,” she spits out. It was definitely tequila. Maybe rum? “No hablo ingles.”

”I just heard you curse in English. Aunque puedo hablar español.“ 

 

Fuck. Who speaks Spanish in a Danish club? Wasn’t the accent American? Is it too late to try French? Would they buy it? 

She turns to size up her new opponent. 

Smaller than her, by a couple inches. A jacket covered in patches and buttons— rainbow, ask me about my pronouns, a Girl Scout patch?, a Puerto Rican flag (fucking hell she should’ve checked her target what a goddamn rookie mistake and fuck when did her tolerance get so low she's pretty sure that woman slipped something into one of those shots holy fuck) a knife— combat boots, jeans, a DIY dye job that works too well. 

 

“Are you here to go clubbing or a pride parade?” 

They laugh. “I don’t own clubbing clothes. I’m only here because it’s the closest to my hostel.” 

Their body language is relaxed. Her eyes flick over their stance— leaning against the stall, weight heavily on one side. Not a combat stance. Definitely a casual one. Too casual? Is it a trap? 

“You know you don’t have to go clubbing at all, right?” 

“I only have a couple months before I go back to the states. I figured it was time I took advantage of the drinking laws here and try,” they gesture around. “All this out.” 

Jones smells the liquor on their breath. A good sign, but there’s even more on hers and she’d say she's biggest threat in the building. Or at least top four. Speaking of— 

She’s forgotten why she’s here. She glances quickly at the (blissfully, thankfully) shiny metal of the stall door to look behind her. Clear. For now. 

“So, what do you think?” If they want to play it casual, she will too. 

“It’s fine. Some people've bought me drinks. Couple tequila shots. The beer is good here.” 

Jones grimaces. A quick shift so she can see a door, and a question to distract this person 

“Are you being followed?” 

She blinks. 

“What?” She’s never had someone clock her before who wasn’t an agent... or a threat. 

“Is someone following you?” they repeat.

 

Fuck. Jones grabs the lapels of their stupid jean jacket and pushes them into the stall. Still facing annoyingly observant human in front of her, she locks the stall behind her back. Not exactly a vault, but better than nothing. It’ll buy some time.

”Whoa, I came to Europe to find myself, not,” they look at the recently diminished space between them. “It’s, uh, not really my style? I mean, not that you’re not— I mean, I am, clearly, but— I mean, you’re definitely—“

“Who are you?” she demands, gripping their jacket as tightly as possible.

Their eyes widen. “Holy shit. You are being followed. Were you assaulted? Is someone stalking you? Are you being trafficked? Do you need help?” 

Jones almost laughs aloud but muffles herself to a indignant scoff. 

“I don’t think you can help me.” 

“I mean, I can definitely go get help—“

”Do not go get help.”

“—or at the very worst I have a black belt.” 

That catches her off-guard. 

“You do?” 

“Yeah, a couple.” Impressive. 

“You’re like, 12.” 

“Older than you.” 

“I’m 18,” she lies. “Can’t you smell the tequila?” 

“Yeah, but I can see your face.” 

Jones rolls her eyes. “Whatever. Who are you?” 

“Aren’t you the one being followed?” 

An eyebrow raise. 

“Ohh-kay. Understood. Should I be scared?” they ask, decidedly not scared. 

“Depends. Who are you with?” 

“I’m by myself. Gap year travels. Finding myself. Didn’t we cover this?” 

“No, I mean who are you with?” 

“Didn’t we— didn’t we also cover that, uh, before? And aren’t you being followed?” 

Either not an agent or the best she’s met. She’ll take those odds. 

“Get out of here, understand me? You don’t want to be around for—“ 

The door slams open. 

“For wha—?” 

 

Jones drops the lapels and uses one hand to cover this annoyingly hard to deal with person’s mouth and the other to push them further from the door. 

She hears high-pitched, drunken laughter. 

Someone raps on the door and Jones glares her companion down. Do. Not. Speak. She thinks those words as hard as she can as if telepathy were suddenly real.

Maybe it is, because they both stay silent. 

There's a rap on the door. Neither of them breathe. 

“It’s okay, you guys don’t have to be thaaaat quiiiiet!” A giggle followed by raucous laughter. 

Jones uncovers their mouth and steps back. 

“Look, mess up your hair, bite your lips a bit, and get out. If you want to help, take those girls with you and keep people out.” 

“You want me to leave you alone even though you admitted you’re being followed and in danger?” 

“I never admitted to anything. Go.” 

She forcefully ruffles their hair and pushes them out the door, closing it on their concerned glance back. 

 

A chorus of woos and claps and teasing voices follow, and she hears the one familiar voice laugh effortlessly along with them. 

“C’mon, this one’s broken. Why don’t we crash the men’s room?” They say suggestively, a suggestion met with a wave of conspiratorial coos. 

 

Thank god for drunk girls and charming smiles. 

 

She waits a second after the silence falls before opening the door and yanking the only window open. She got what she came for. Time to bail. 

She drags the trash can over, ties the trash bag, tosses it in the corner— she does not want to see what’s in there— and uses it to reach the opening. 

 

The door crashes open.

 

She’s really tired of that happening. Unfortunately, she’s pretty sure it’s not drunk girls cheering on a hookup this time. 

Her suspicions are confirmed when a knife sticks itself in the wood an inch from her head. 

 

Time for a performance. 

 

She turns slowly, laughing quietly in the way she knows scares even her grandparents. 

Facing down the assassins (or kidnappers, she hasn’t figured that one out yet), she meets their eyes and lets out one last luxurious chuckle. She sees the fear in their eyes. Good. They know who’s in control here. 

Before they snap out of their trance, she pulls the knife from the wall. 

“Shouldn't've done that. Haven’t you heard about me and knives?” She grins. Winks. “Last chance to run.” 

“Can’t do that.” It was the man, at least 6’ 3” with clearly defined muscles on a lanky frame. 

“Aw, you’re not the one calling shots, huh?” 

She nods to the woman behind him; only a couple inches smaller but a couple pounds of muscle bigger. 

“You in charge?” 

“Do you ever shut up?” she fires back. 

That's a no. The masterminds of this little scheme weren’t present. 

 

“I can be quiet.” She spins the knife in her hands. “But I don’t think you want that.” 

Without missing a beat she hurls the knife at the man, lodging its three inch blade entire in his shoulder. 

“FUCK!” He stumbles back. His partner whips out another knife, but Jones just laughs. 

“Wanna call it even?” She taps her shoulder, roughly where she was hit, subtlety shifting the emergency knife she kept strapped to the inside of her bicep down, as close to her forearm as possible. 

Before she can slide it all the way down, the woman launches herself at Jones, but before she can reach her, Jones rips the knife out of her sleeve and jumps off the trash can. She manages to kick her attacker squarely in the forehead mid-jump. 

Bonnie down, now Clyde, she thinks. Hopefully the heel to the head buys her time. 

 

She regains her balance quickly and meets Clyde’s attack head on. Their last fight wasn’t easy. She rarely gets hit like that. She’s smaller, and faster, but only barely. Maybe she can flip him. 

He tries to grab her, but a knee to the stomach has him doubling over. She takes the chance to use the back of his head as a step stool and he’s forced to brace his fall with his hands. Good. She turns and kicks him hard in between his shoulder blades, slamming his head into the tile, and braces for another running attack from Bonnie. Why does she keep doing that?! 

She deflects with her forearms and grabs the wrist with the knife and twists. Bonnie hisses but doesn’t cry— respectable, she supposes. But apparently good ol' Bonnie is taking inspiration from Jones's brilliant performance, because she knees her in the gut. 

Jones hisses but doesn’t cry. She never does. Honestly, any show of weakness is too many, and she's at three now, thanks to their first fight and a very perceptive teenager.

 

She headbutts Bonnie and uses the momentum to kick her back into the stall door, holding onto her wrist as long as possible. It doesn’t break like she’s hoping, but the blade goes flying. 

It scatters into a corner and Jones uses the distraction to grab one of her non-emergency knives from her boot. Six inches long with a heavy metal handle. Her favorite plaything. 

She steps onto Bonnie’s chest to pin her down before slamming the end of the handle straight down on her head. She watches Bonnie’s eyes roll back into her skull and eyelids shut, knocked out. Time to leave. 

 

She runs towards the window and puts the trash can back under it. 

“You’re not going anywhere.” Clyde staggers up from the floor, a sticky substance plastered across his face. 

Ugh. Fine. 

 

Knives out, she walks steadily toward him. He throws a punch. She dodges, slides under his arm, and hears his ribs crack as she elbows him.

He turns, and she ducks another of his punches— this is the guy who manage to hit her?! This fucking guy?— and knees him in the stomach again. She follows with a knife handle to his jaw. (She doesn’t want the club staff to have to clean up too much blood. Clubs are already disgusting enough without hitman blood all over the floors.) 

The hit to his jaw sends him back, scrambling for balance. She forgot she stabbed him. 

The blood dripping from his shoulder is making a cool ass stain on his white shirt, she muses.

She steps forward and yanks the knife from his shoulder. 

 

“Sorry. I like this one.” 

He growls. She rolls her eyes and drops to the floor, sweeping his legs out from under him with a powerful side kick. That should do it, she thinks. 

Best be sure... 

She bends over his pathetically sprawled out body and grabs his hair. A quick smack against the tile is enough. She’s got enough time to escape now. 

She tucks her new knife— she really does like it— into the leather sleeve she keeps in her boot. She finally gets onto the trash can and out the window, careful to wipe it clean with her sleeve and close it right. 

 

If she had stayed a second longer, she would’ve seen Ren drag a (5’ 8”, lean, groaning) body into the room. She would've seen Ren drop the body to the floor with the others in mild shock, seen the police entering the club, questioning everyone, surprised to find the apparent hero of the day in the body of an American teenager. 

 

But she doesn’t, and she makes it safely to the cafe basement she’s set up shop in. She locks its single door— a small, five inch thick metal door hidden behind a dumpster in an alley— and surveys her wounds. 

Wound, she realizes. From the first fight. She still can’t believe that Clyde managed that. Maybe it was Bonnie. She was much more fun to fight. 

She sighs, and lets herself fall into the cot in the corner. She knows she should scan for bugs, but her trip wire wasn’t activated and she’s tired. 

She grabs a smart phone from under the pillow and scrubs through her one security camera’s footage. Nothing. She’s probably fine for a night. She can check in the morning. 

 

She sleeps. 

 

But she’s up at four to leave the city— preferably the country. She packs her things, throws the cot in the dumpster, and sets it on fire. 

 

She gets herself to a different cafe four blocks away before anyone notices the flames, and pops in for a coffee (holy shit she hasn’t had a hangover in forever, BonBon must’ve gotten something into one of those shots) and whatever hot food she can get. 

 

As she waits, her eyes catch the day’s front page. 

 

THREE WANTED GUNS-FOR-HIRE FOUND  SUBDUED IN CLUB BATHROOM; AMERICAN TEEN CREDITED WITH TAKEDOWN

 

That face. She knows that face. It’s blurry in her memory and the picture is small, but that’s the American weirdo she pulled into a bathroom stall. Next to Bonnie and Clyde, who’re next to a face she hasn’t seen. Huh. 

 

She had noticed a third agent with them on the club floor, but didn’t get a good look during the fight. She’d assumed she’d knocked him out then when he didn’t come back for more, but... 

 

Maybe multiple black belts came in handy. 

 

Ha. She shakes off the thought. If it’s not a coincidence, she’s sure she’ll see the weird American soon enough. 

 

She knows her grandparents’ type.