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Black Swan

Chapter Text

"Have a nice visit Miss!"

You nodded at the security guard that was attending the front desk of the museum with a smile as you zipped your bag back up.

/Good. He's a softie/ You thought as you slung it back over your shoulders. You didn't miss the way his eyes lingered on your chest and it made your heart rate quicken for a moment before you realized he was probably just checking you out.

Little did he know, your bust was where you kept your gun concealed. It was fool proof. Most security guards were men and they wouldn't dare ask to check your cleavage for fear of being reported for sexual assault, so you always kept it there.

And now that you were inside, all you had to do was find a good spot to hide and wait until the place closed. You hoped the security guard hadn't been too interested and wouldn't notice if you didn't leave with the rest of the crowd, but it was too late to worry about that now.

As you started to scan for a good place to discreetly hide, you found yourself studying the art on the walls instead. The first room you entered was filled with impressive portraits of European nobility, the thick gold frames filled with such intricate details that they rivaled the paintings themselves. You'd always loved portraits. The way an artist was able to capture so much personality in a single image astounded you and made you wish that you had talent beyond stealing expensive things.

You sighed and moved to the next room, where the ring your father had targeted was supposedly being displayed.

As soon as you walked in your eyes found another massive painting on the wall. The theme of this room seemed to be darker, more ominous, and you felt a chill creep over your skin the second you walked in. But a surprising sense of serenity washed over you as you studied the bold piece hanging on the wall.

It must have been made with charcoal and paint alike, because the edges weren't sharp like the last room of paintings had been. It was also almost completely devoid of color, with just a hint of blue serving as the lighter tones that made the intense blackness of the charcoal pop.

The image was of a large figure dressed in all black with a cold expression on his face while he had someone held tight in his grasp. The person he was holding had almost no detail, almost as if they were just a shadow. The blue that had been used was also brushed over the tips of his inky hair, and the clearest thing on the whole painting was his piercing black eyes.

You stared at those eyes for so long that it felt like you were being held to your spot. They were so mesmerizing that you almost failed to notice the most impressive part of the whole art piece: his wings.

They were massive and thick with shining black feathers that cascaded down his back. He had them stretched out wide in this depiction, as if he was about to take flight and steal away the shadow in his grasp. For some odd reason, you felt like you could relate to this painting more than any of the other pieces of artwork in the museum. You felt almost drawn to it. You both were thieves, you and this mysterious figure, tauntingly visible while still remaining untouchable.

The buzzing of your phone in your back pocket snapped you back to reality.

-Updates? Did you get in?

You sighed and rolled your eyes. It wasn't like any skill was needed to walk into a museum, yet your father felt the need to make sure you hadn't messed that up yet.

-I'm in. Looking for a spot to wait it out.

You saw your brother enter the room then, his eyes glued to a glass case on the other side of the room.

That must be the target.

You approached him casually, making sure not to pay too much attention to the display like he was. It would be a dead giveaway if you were both studying the thing like your livelihoods depended on it, which they pretty much did.

"So, that's it?" you asked him quietly, making sure to keep your voice low but just above a whisper so it wasn't suspicious. He just nodded without taking his eyes off of the case.

The piece was interesting to say the least. You could see why someone would be willing to spend a lot of money on it. They would certainly be the only person in the room wearing a piece like that. It had a thick silver band that was patterned with intricate bronze adornments and set into the metal was a strikingly beautiful purple amethyst. You also noticed that there was a faint VII carved into the inside of the silver band.

It was a conversation starter, that's for sure.

Kain seemed absolutely mesmerized, his full focus on the piece of jewelry and not minding the fact that he was being obvious.

"We should move. Have you scoped your spot yet?" you said then, prompting him to let out the breath he'd been holding while staring at the ring.

"Yeah. Men's bathroom. There's a stall that's out of order and they never check those for stragglers."

You nodded, but his selection made you a little bit nervous. The men's bathroom was three rooms away, meaning he would have a much higher chance of running into a guard before he was able to make it back here.

You scanned around the room, eyes landing on the painting you had been standing in front of earlier before they dragged over to a large chest that was covered with black leather and hefty silver clasps.

It was definitely big enough to hold you, but there was no way of getting inside of it without being noticed.

You moved on, scanning the other wall and then finally resting your gaze on an apparent new addition to the museum, a piece that hadn't been revealed yet and was still being covered by thick black curtains.

Perfect.

No one would be checking the drawn curtains for stragglers at closing time and you could slip behind them quickly while no one was looking.

"We've got 20 minutes," you said to Kain while taking off your bag and pulling a pocket knife out of a small hidden fold to swiftly slip into the belt of your pants. "You ready for this?"

He finally tore his gaze away from the ring to look at you, his eyes filled with determination and a fire you'd only ever seen reflected in your father's eyes when he was set off my something that reminded him of your mother. There was a flash of fear before it quickly dissipated, and then he furrowed his brow once more.

"Failure is not an option," he said firmly. "We need this ring, Ash."

You just nodded once quickly before turning and beginning to stroll away, back towards the painting of the dark figure on the other wall. When you turned back around, Kain had already disappeared from the room.

Your phone buzzed again and you saw that your father had sent you another message.

-Closing announcement in five minutes. Get in position.

You pocketed the phone and then made your way over to the curtained painting, pretending to look at the art around the room as you scanned the thinning crowd to see if anyone was paying attention to you. Then you slipped behind the curtain in one swift move, making sure to steady the swaying fabric so that no one would come to investigate.

Your father was outside observing the front desk and streets to make sure you didn't get surprised by any alerted authorities or suspicious guards. Your job was to crack the case open smoothly, using your nimble fingers and pocket knife to pry the glass apart at the seams while Kain stood guard. He was supposed to be the one to take the ring from its satin pillow, though your father really never explained why. You figured it was because they didn't trust you not to fuck up and lose it somehow. But in the back of your mind you also considered the fact that their pride might be their motivation in not letting you do the rewarding part of the work.

The announcement that the museum was closing in ten minutes rang through the building and you heard the few remaining visitors begin to make their way to the exit as security came through to do their rounds.

This was the worst part. The wait was agonizing. You had to remain completely still and silent until the lights were turned out and security had finished locking up. In those ten minutes you worried for your brother, that he would be caught and forced to leave, that you would be discovered and arrested for being so obviously hiding. But what you worried most about was leaving empty handed. You just wanted your father and brother to recognize you as someone valuable. You wanted them to be proud that you were a part of their family and to stop resenting you. If you could just pull this off, maybe they would see your worth.

Finally you heard the rattling of keys as security locked the doors so that no one else could enter in, before settling back in at their desk at the front of the museum.

-They're comfortable. Go now.

You father sent green light, so you peeked out into the dim room to see if Kain was in position.

You let out a sigh of relief when you saw him standing against the wall by the case and you slipped your gun out of your bra to tuck into your waistband before pulling your pocketknife back out. He nodded at you as you approached stepping toe to heel, light as a fox. Then you immediately got to work on the seal on the glass case.

You began to think about the security guard that had greeted you while you worked and a twinge of sadness hit you. It was a shame that he was going to have to die. You needed their keys to get out and there was no way they were going to just hand them over. Luckily, that part of the job was Kain's responsibility. You still carried a gun just in case, but you hoped you would never have to use it.

"Hurry the fuck up," Kain hissed after a few minutes of you trying to pry the glass apart.

You shot him a look and then refocused, ignoring the guilt pulling at the back of your mind about the oblivious guard that had no idea he was about to be killed.

Your knife finally caught an edge and you angled it to break the seal, slipping your fingers into the slight crack to pry it the rest of the way off.

Kain approached with an outstretched hand and excited eyes before you heard a shout come from the other end of the room. He immediately fired at the source and you shrieked as you watched a guard fall to the ground with a heavy thud.

"Shit. We need to go right now. That was only one."

Fast approaching voices and the cocking of guns could be heard and you looked at Kain in fear, seeing his eyes glaze over dangerously before he moved in front of you and took aim at the entryway to the room.

"Just grab the fucking ring if you're not going to help me shoot," he hissed at you. Your hand hesitated over the gun on your hip, but when you heard Kain's gun go off again your covered your ears instead.

Another guard went down and more frantic shouts could be heard echoing through the rooms surrounding you.

"Ash! Grab the fucking ring!"

You jolted out of your shocked state and turned to grab it from the satin pillow it sat on, surprised by how heavy it felt in your palm as your hands began to sweat profusely.

Right when you turned back around, Kain let off three more shots and you screamed at how loud it was in the spacious room, the high ceilings amplifying the sound and making it somehow even louder. You looked down at the floor to see who had been shot and saw the guard that had greeted you with blood pooling around his head as his vacant eyes stared right back at you.

"Oh God, Kain!" you shouted as you reached for his arm. Right as you began to run, the ring slipped out of your grasp and you pulled Kain to a stop.

"Fuck, Ash! Go get it!" he shouted at you as he fired at another guard the was turning the corner.

You ran back to where it had fallen and snatched it from the floor, turning back to Kain right as a bullet when through his head.

The scream that you let out didn't even sound like yours. It sounded distant and warped, like another person's voice was screaming for you.

Without even thinking, you slipped the ring on your finger so it wouldn't slip out of your grasp again and then reached for the gun in your waistband.

You held it up in front of you, aiming at the impending sound of footsteps with shaky hands.

Blood pounded in your ears as it leaked out of your brother's skull, his body crumpled on the floor at your feet.

But right as the last guard turned the corner and you were about to pull the trigger, your mind went blank. Darkness began to cloud your vision and suddenly you were /cold/, so cold… You barely even felt your body drop to the floor as a figure emerged from the black clouds that were blooming from every doorway and every corner of the room.

His eyes flashed as they zeroed in on you and a bone chilling shiver went up your spine before the darkness completely consumed you.

You recognized those eyes.