In a city much like Chicago in the 1920’s, but also different in many ways, at a seaside pier with an overall eerie feel, countless boats and yachts of up-class citizens, both through illegal and legal means, sat on the water on a clear night, the moon reflecting near perfectly on the water. A woman in her mid-twenties with soft, feathery silver-blond hair and poison green eyes fettered about one of the more luxurious yachts, setting up charges in the main cabin, hidden within the cupboards. Once she was completed she pressed her fingers to hear ear, pressing the button on her ear piece that connected her with the client.
“All devices are set up. Setting countdown for five minutes. Anything else you need?” she asked, all business.
Another voice, high pitched and with an almost indiscriminate gender spoke. “No. Everything seems to be in place. Now all we have to do is wait for the target,” they said before collapsing into a fit of hysterical yet skin crawling giggles.
“Fine,” the woman said before she flicked the headset off.
She snuck off the ship and onto another vessel before making her way back to shore just as a young woman walked up to the boat. She had blond hair, pulled back elegantly and her white pantsuit had nary a blemish on it. Her eyes were the clearest sea blue and her skin was nearly as pale as her clothes. She clutched a note to her hand as she stepped onto the boat.
“Noctis?” she called tentatively.
When there was no answer she walked down from the deck of the boat down below to the cabin, wondering if this Noctis had set up a sort of surprise for her down below. However, when she walked down, she noticed that the cabin was empty.
There was no answer from the man she was there to meet; however, when she listened hard enough she started to hear the sound of beeping coming from inside the cupboard. With a slight tilt of her head, she turned to the cabinet and opened it. Her eyes widened to saucers when she saw a clock inside counting down. For several second she stood there shocked, but when what was going on finally registered she turned on her heel and started running, but she wasn’t fast enough.
She had just barely made it to the stairs when the timer counted down to “Zero” and the charges on the side of the boat and inside the cupboard exploded, the woman who had tried to run being caught in the blast.
From the rooftop of a nearby building, the platinum blond woman who set the charges stared in horror at the blast, the boat being all but demolished, taking several boats along with it. Gasoline spilled out on the water and was ignited, the fires spreading from boat to boat. One blast caused a chain reaction, smaller ones starting as the other boats caught on fire. The woman covered her mouth with her hands, too mesmerized by the chaos to move immediately.
“N-no… y-you said it… o-oh my god…” she said and whipped her head around when she heard the sound of sirens nearing the pier.
She forced herself to turn away from the scene of the murder she just committed and ran off, keeping to the rooftops and the shadows.
* * *
Daylight came and most of the fires had been put out by the firefighters, allowing it to be safe enough for the cops to investigate. A man dressed in a black pinstriped suit, eyes the color of sapphires and black hair that fell in his face, stood among the crowd watching as the cops milled about, though his eyes were mostly focused on the stretcher with the body bag being rolled out from the moored remains of his boat. He had been contacted about his fiancée, Lunafreya, being on his boat when the blast went off and how her life was ripped from her. With his jaw and fists clenched, eyebrows pulled down together, he looked ready to murder someone, even to those who didn’t immediately know who he was.
Just beyond the “Crime Scene! Do Not Cross!” tape, the cops bustled about, gathering evidence and bagging and tagging to be looked at later. All but apparently one.
“Nyx! Quit daydreaming and get over here!”
The man who was standing over a pile of rubble from a boat that was brought ashore turned his head towards where the voice was calling him. He was dressed in the typical black police uniform but his hair was anything but typical. It was buzzed on either side but longer in between. It was gelled back and some locks stuck up spiked and the back was long. Chief Regis had tried to get him to cut it, to have a more respectable cut for a cop, however Nyx outright refused every time. But he was a good cop, according to Regis, and talent like his would be wasted if kicked off the force for something as trivial as his haircut. Or the scruff on his face. With a sigh he walked over to the officer that just accused him of daydreaming.
“Did you really just accuse me of daydreaming while I’m trying to think?” Nyx said as he walked over. “Can I help you?”
A man with graying hair and a beard looked at the younger cop. “Listen… if this is too hard for you, I can send you back to base,” he said, his voice stern. “If you’re here, you have to be here. Help father evidence or collect witness statements.”
“With all due respect, Chief,” Nyx said. “I’m fine. This isn’t the worse I’ve seen. Besides,” he held up an evidence bag with some odd looking and strangely colored debris, “I was contemplating this.”
Regis frowned at Nyx. “I wasn’t saying anything against your ability to work, Ulric,” he said. “I was speaking more to your closeness with my son and his fiancée who was just murdered. You did essentially have her under protective custody during the investigation of my sons… recent activities.” Regis reached out and took the evidence bag, taking a moment to examine it before looking back up at Nyx. “What about this is so interesting to you, Ulric. Share your thoughts.”
Nyx ignored Regis’s comment. If only he knew the truth… “I’ve seen the aftermath of enough explosions to know that this is not the usual color metal, stone, or would change under normal circumstances. The explosives that were used… they were peculiar. I can’t put my finger on it yet but… I’ve been finding a lot of patches of debris like this and they don’t sit right with me.”
The officer standing next to Regis rolled his eyes. “Yeah, sure ya rookie,” he said. “It’s just from the water. It's probably rusted.”
Nyx gave the officer a look, a hard one that could be considered a glare. “If you took more than two seconds to look at this bit here,” he said and pointed to a triangular piece in the bag, “You’d know that this used to be wood. And this,” he pointed to something else, “is charred stone. Neither of which rust. Who’s the rookie now?” He said and tossed the bag at the officer who fumbled to catch the evidence. He gave Regis a look that clearly asked where the hell he found the idiots that work for him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll actually be working. Back over there.”
Without waiting for a response from his superior and the dumbass that had the nerve to question him, he walked back to the odd patch of rubble he had been investigating before being interrupted. He crouched down and used a pen from his pocket to upturn a large piece of rubble, hoping to find something more on the people who did this. That was, until he heard the voice of Noctis, the son that Regis was speaking about before.
“Did you find any pieces of a detonator?” He asked in a voice that only Nyx could hear.
Nyx didn’t look up and simply tapped his shoulder twice, signaling that he’ll answer him later when there are less people around. Noctis got the message and walked off, leaving the scene and heading back to his speakeasy.
* * *
Later that night, Nyx, changed out of his work uniform and into something much more… acceptable for the rat of a mob boss, walked into Noctis’s speakeasy like he owned the place. It’s one of many establishments that Noctis owned and ran, but this one was the first, the biggest, and the best. The one Noctis cared for more than all the others. So Nyx knew that Noct would be there. He walked through the bar and through a door that led to the back room where his office was. Without even bothering to knock, he walked in, closing the door behind him.
Noctis was sitting at his desk, a bottle of clear moonshine standing in front of him. Its unopened but Nyx knew well enough to know that the other man had been staring at it all day since he got back, wondering if he should drink it.
“I could use a glass if you don’t want it,” Nyx said as he neared the desk.
Noctis simply waved his hand dismissively. “Do what you want,” he said and sat back in his chair as Nyx grabbed the bottle of booze. “What did you find out?”
Nyx pocked at the seal as he spoke. “There’s no question it was someone’s dirty work. Your yacht was the most damaged vessel so it was probably the intended target. We’re still running tests on the residue from the explosion so unfortunately you’ll just have to be patient about that.”
Noctis rolled his eyes. “Sure, patient. That’s all I ever am,” he said and ran a hand through his hair. The gears in the back of his head started turning as he already began to formulate a plan of action. “What else you got? I know you wouldn’t report back with just that.”
“Well…” Nyx hesitated a moment and grabbed a glass off of the table, pouring the clear liquid in it before sitting down in the chair. “I’ve got good news and bad news. And neutral news. What do you want first?”
“Start from the good and go from there,” he said simply and gave Nyx a level look.
“Good news is,” he started, taking a swig of the liquor, “based on my findings, I’m certain that Luna was close enough to the source of the blast that she went very quickly. I don’t think she would have suffered much, if at all.”
Noctis kept his expression carefully composed. He was a leader and he would damn well keep his composure. Especially because he had expected that Luna was only there to try to catch him with his latest dalliance. “The neutral news?”
“Nod done with good,” Nyx said and reached into his pocket to pull out a small evidence bag and put it on the table. Inside was a damaged engagement ring but it was still intact enough for Noct to know that it was Luna’s. “Officially this doesn’t exist in the evidence locker.”
Noctis only looked at it. “I see,” he said before he took the bag and put it in the top drawer of his desk.
“The neutral news is that the case is moving along, but it’s hard to tell if it’ll be quick or slow to solve,” he said, ticking the information off his finger, taking another hearty drink of the moonshine. “My next big of intel is both good and bad.”
“Out with it already,” he said and clenched his fist on the arm of his chair.
“You asked about a detonator. Well we found a charred one. Charred and in bits, but it was intact enough to make out an insignia,” Nyx said and let out a heavy sigh, downing the rest of his glass in a single swig. “It was Han’s.”
Noctis’s composure snapped and he glared hard at the man sitting in the chair in front of him. He straightened up a bit too quickly. “Are you certain?”
“Pretty hard to mistake that stiff design. Materials and make match others we’ve found in past crime scenes and trade busts,” Nyx said before offering Noctis the bottle.
He took it before he took a hearty drink of the alcohol. “Those bastards are going to pay,” he said and pulled out his phone. “Get out. I have a call to make.”
“Just don’t do anything stupid,” Nyx said before he left the room.
Noctis didn’t listen as he pressed the one on the keyboard of his phone, putting the device to his ear.
The phone barely rang before the other end clicked and a voice came from the other end of the line, distinctly feminine and absolutely playful. “Knightmare Assassins Incorporated. How may I help you this evening?”
“Don’t give me the schpeal tonight,” Noct said, his voice clearly irritated. “I have a job for you. Come to the bar.”
The woman on the other end of the line giggled. “Fine, fine, I’ll be there soon. You know the drill. Leave the window open for me.”
“Fine. But hurry. It’s cold tonight and I’d rather not freeze in my office before you get here.”
“I’ll be there in ten,” the woman said and the phone clicked, the call ending.
Noctis shoved his phone back into his pocket and walked to the window of his office. Unlatching it, he pushed it open and went to sit back on his chair to await his… guest.
I stood in my room after hanging up on Noctis. Looked through my closet I searched for just the right thing to wear. It wasn’t like I was trying to impress him, I didn’t need to. But I wanted to show to the rest of his little gang that I was a force to be reckoned with. So I chose to wear a black dress with straps that revealed my shoulders. The skirt went barely passed my mid-thigh. I pulled on a pair of black see-through stockings and boots that hugged my legs in all the right ways. Reaching behind me, I pulled my hair into a ponytail, revealing my ears and neck more to show off the large diamond earrings and the clearly expensive necklace around my neck. It showed my status as an assassin: good enough to get paid the big bucks. Then I pulled on fingerless gloves that stretched to my elbows. Once I was dressed I turned to the mirror and let my eyes rove over my appearance. With a nod of satisfaction I left my apartment and made my way to Noct’s bar.
I walked through the town until I arrived at the building Noct had set up his favorite haunt. Finding open window, I waved my hand with a bit of a flourish and a bat materialized in front of me. It squeaked before it flew through the window and started to case the room. Through the bat, I saw Noctis sitting on his chair watching as the bat made sure that the room was safe and when it did, it perched on the man’s shoulder. With a nod, I walked through the main entrance of the speakeasy. I pushed the doors open and reveled in the feeling of every single pair of eyes turning to look at me. Men who went there to have a drink turned their heads and stared, practically drooling over me. Women looked at me with envy and I loved every second of it. The only people who seemed disinterested, or at least acted like they were, were the members of Noctis’s gang who turned, gave me a nod, and then went back about their business.
I walked with an air of authority and barely contained sexuality as I made my way through the bar to the door that lead to the back where Noct’s office was. When I reached the door, I walked in, closing and locking the door behind me before walking up to the desk. I perched on the corner, crossing one leg over the other, my skirt hiking up a bit to show off more of my deliciously smooth skin. Putting one hand back on the desk I leaned on it, turning my body so I was looking at Noct.
“So this job you mentioned, I take it that with the recent death of your fiancée, it’s not a casual booty call?”
Noctis gave me a look before speaking. “Yes. It’s about Luna’s death.”
I simply smirked at him with a wink in response to his glare before I stood from my perch to lean against the wall, going into business mode. My bad flew from his shoulder to mine where it disappeared in a puff of black mist. I crossed my arms.
“I’m already on a job so I hope it’s easy or you pay well enough for me to go through the trouble of working both. Or allow me to bring in a partner for this special case,” I said.
Without a word, Noctis picked up a black leather case from the ground beside him and put it on the desk. It clicked opened, revealing stacks of hundred dollar bills. “Fifty thousand in here to start. I would prefer it if no one else was brought in, but I’ll leave that up to you.”
I walked up to the desk and picked up a packet of hundreds, thumbing through it. After deeming the money was good, I put it back in the case and closed it, looking at the man again. “What’s the job?” I asked as I smirked at him. “Got a light by the way?”
Noctis nodded, passing me a cigarette and held up his lighter, flicking it to life. “Your target is Jumin Han and whoever helped him plant the device that killed Luna.”
I took the cancer stick and placed it between my lips, allowing Noctis to light it for me. I took a drag and puffed out the smoke before speaking. “You want me to take out a rival gang boss, hmm? Pretty risky shit. I might need a little more incentive then just a crap ton of cash,” I said. “My life could be on the line here and, contrary to popular belief, I like my life. Things to do. People to see. To kill…” I smirked and leaned over the table, giving Noctis a sultry smirk. “To fuck,” I said before pulling back and standing, going to sit in the plush armchair across from Noctis. I crossed one leg over the other. “Besides, what makes you so sure it was Han? He’s too calm and collected. I don’t think he’d have left evidence that it was him that killed the last vestiges of your previous life as the Good Son .”
Noct ignored my previous comment. “Then find out who that it is, Knightmare.”
I raised an eyebrow at him, taking a drag from the cigarette before crossing my arms. “Getting all codename on me, huh?” I said. “Listen, Noctis, I don’t give two fucks about who actually killed Luna. You know how I felt about her. She’s a sweet girl, but sweet and mobster don’t go together. You knew that, which was why you slept around, but you just couldn’t let go of the light she had and the reminder she had to your life before you fell in with all this,” I motioned to the room and his expensive suit he’d never be able to afford on a cops salary. “I’ll kill Han and his entire god damn gang if that’s what you want, Noctis. I’m at your beck and call. I’m just saying I’m going to need a little more than just money before I put my life on the line for your pointless vendetta.”
Noctis gave me a look, once that made me think he was just about ready to kill me. “Then do what you want.”
I rolled my eyes and sat up straight. “Don’t give me that look. You know I could have you living your worst fear before you could so much as summon your sword,” I said before sitting back down and puffing out more smoke. “I’ll take a favor to be called in when I want. And trust me, Noctis; it’s going to cost you something to fulfill it. This isn’t just some small task you want me to do.”
He sat back in his chair, looking deep in thought before he answered. ‘Very well.”
I smirked, glad to have gotten what I wanted, and finished off the cigarette before dousing it in the ashtray on his desk. “Glad we could come to an agreement, Noct. There’s just… one more thing, though,” I said before I got back on my perch on his desk. I purposefully made it seem like I was hot for him and grabbed his tie, pulling him roughly towards me so his face was close to mine. “Call me Knightmare instead of my name again and I swear to god you’ll only wish I killed you back when I was paid to.”
My codename was reserved for first time customers and when I was on missions. Exclusively. Those who were repeat customers and those who had gotten into my pants, as few like Noct actually had, were given the right to use my real name. If he wanted to call me by my codename, threat or otherwise, then I would act like the cold blooded assassin I was rather than the warm blooded woman. Which meant eliminating threats and completing the contract I was given to eliminate him oh so long ago.
Noctis met my eyes, his narrowing. “Understood… _____.”
I smirked, my entire demeanor changing and let go of his tie. “Much better,” I said and stood up, smoothing out my dress and grabbing the case. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a job to get to work on. And a partner to contact.” I turned to the door and put my hand on the knob before I turned back to look at Noctis. “Call me when you’re ready for an update on my investigation or are in need of a distraction from your… grief .” I said and stepped out.
As I closed the door me, I heard him say one last thing. “You’ll be too busy for that second part.”
I smirked back at him. “I’m never too busy for you, Noctis,” I said in a singsong voice.
Finally closing the door completely, I pulled out my phone and pressed the number three on my speed dial, placing the phone to my ear. I had hoped that my contact would pick up on the first ring, but he was a tricky one and he rarely sounded happy to hear from me. But still he picked up on the third ring.
“Yello,” he said.
I smirked. “Howdy Vanitas. I got us a job. Meet me at my apartment and I’ll give ya the deets. You can decide if you want in or not,” I said.
“I’m already there,” he said but before I could question what he meant, the line went dead.
I smirked and looked at my phone. “I wonder if there was something he wanted from me…”
* * *
It didn’t take long before I finally arrived back at my apartment and when I did, I opened my door to see Vanitas sitting on the window sill, peeling an apple. He looked up at me as I walked in. His golden eyes pierced mine and his spiky black hair reflected the moonlight that filtered in through the window.
“Took you long enough,” he said.
“I thought I’d made you wait a bit,” I said and put the briefcase on the kitchen counter that overlooked my living room where Vanitas was perched. “Was there something you wanted from me, Vanitas?”
“Nope. I already got it from your kitchen,” he said and bit into the pale flesh of the apple.
I gave him a look. “Can’t you eat your own food?” I said, clearly sounding annoyed and crossed my arms.
“Why would I do that when I can get it from you?” he said.
I rolled my eyes with a sigh. “You might as well just start living here, then,” I said, mostly joking. “You already eat my food, made a key behind my back, why not make it official!”
I threw my hands up in the air exasperatedly before disappearing into my room to change. I didn’t need to keep up the sultry and sexy woman act in front of Vanitas. He’s seen me spattered in blood and looking down at my victims as they screamed in terror while sightlessly staring ahead, trapped in one of my waking nightmares.
“Oh, is that a serious offer?” he said when I emerged from my room, wearing a plain t-shirt and comfy sweats. He caught my hips in his hands and pulled me into him, smirking down at me. “We can have fun together both at work and at home.”
I pushed him back and walked back to the kitchen, my mind working logically where his mind was below the belt. “It would make it a lot easier to get a hold of you when I have jobs I need to enlist you on,” I said before I finally decided to revisit his comment. “And if I need a bit of… relief and vice versa.” I winked at him before I walked up to the case on the counter. “Not that I need a roommate to help with rent, but as long as you pay your share, then yes, consider it a serious offer.”
Vanitas grinned and followed me into the kitchen, hopping up on the counter. “So what’s the job, then?”
I giggled a bit at his antics before I shook my head, turning serious. “Noctis wants us to either wipe out Han’s gang or find out who Luna’s real killer is and take them out. But since I’ve already got a job that needs my attention, I need help. Not to mention that taking out an entire gang is a huge threat on my life and I’d be fucking stupid to go it alone. So this is a two man job.”
Vanitas listened intently as I spoke and when I was done he took a minute or two before he answered. “Well, I’m not going anything particularly important right now, so sure. Why not?”
I grinned and opened the case, showing him the dough. “Noct said this is just a start. 50K. Split it down the middle like we usually do?”
He leaned back and looked up a ceiling before he smirked, looking back at me. “Hmm… a split and a night with you and you’ve got a deal.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “Coming from the man who made me seriously consider letting move in with me?” I shook my head and shrugged, wondering why he needed to make sex apart of the deal when all he needed to do was push the right buttons. But then again, there was a certain… appeal to having it be a part of the deal. “Fine, you’re on,” I said and held out my hand.
He took it and shook. “So when do we start and where?”
“In the morning. It’s late. And we start at the crime scene. Like real investigators,” I said, making my tone a mockery of excitement. “I’d rather do this without having to pick members of a gang off one by one, so investigating to find out who really killed Luna is the best place to start.” I closed up the case. “You can stay in the spare room. And if you’re serious about moving in, I’ll help bring any stuff you want or need over tomorrow or something,” I added with a dismissive wave and opened my fridge.
“Sounds like a plan,” he said.
I took an apple before closing the fridge, giving Vanitas a coy smirk. “And let me know when you’re ready for the other half of your payment,” I said with a wink and walked to my bedroom door. “Night, Vanitas.”
I giggled as he cursed and walked into my room.
Almost a week had passed since the murder of Noctis’s fiancée. All seemed to be calm, at least, on the surface. The cops were still investigating the murder of Lunafreya and _____ and Vanitas were going about their work trying to find out just who did it. But deep in the warehouse district of Chicago, where a certain mobster and his gang made their home, things were starting to go amok. The door burst open to his office and a man with silver hair and sea blue eyes burst in.
“Todoroki…” he said.
The man sitting at the desk with two different color eyes, right eye gray and left eye aqua blue, turned in his chair and looked at his second in command. His hair was two different colors, split down the middle. The right side was white, as pure and soft as freshly fallen snow. The left side was red, vibrant like fire. His right eye was marred with a burn mark, permanently there but long healed after almost two decades. He narrowed his eyes.
“Riku... What is it?”
The man who burst in swallowed. “W-well, sir, it’s… your mother.”
Todoroki frowned. “What about my mother?” He said, giving Riku a hard look.
“She’s… she’s dead,” Riku answered. “The guards went to change out their shifts this morning and found her on the floor, all the previous guards missing save one who says he can’t remember what happened.”
Todoroki’s frown deepened and his expression darkened. “How did she die?”
“Alcohol poisoning, sir. There were bottles throughout her study and in the kitchen trash.”
“That’s impossible,” Todoroki said. “She never drank. Especially after she was released.”
“That’s what I thought too… you think someone set this up, don’t you?” Riku said.
“It had to have been,” he said and clenched his fist. “And I already have an idea who it could have been.”
“Noctis and those damn booze runners of his,” Todoroki growled out.
Riku gave Todoroki a skeptical look, not quite believing it. “Seems… likely.”
Todoroki frowned at Riku. “MY mother never drank in her life. Liquor is still outlawed last time I checked. There’s no way she would have gotten it. We all know those damn liquor heads have it in for us. They can’t get to me personally so why wouldn’t they go after my mother?” he said, clearly having thought this out.
Riku was silent as his boss spoke. “With all due respect,” he said. “I’m not sure Noctis is that honor-less.”
Todoroki glared. “Noctis might not be, but one of his underlings could have orchestrated it, trying to impress the boss and move up in the gang.” He dug into his pocket for his cell phone. “I swear it, if he had anything to do with this, there will be no mercy.”
As his anger rose, the floor starting at Todoroki’s right foot started icing over. It almost seemed like he couldn’t control it and Riku took a step back to keep it from crawling up his leg.
“Sir, your ice.”
Todoroki pressed a button on the phone, uncaring that his quirk was taking over and icing up the room. “Get out, Riku; I have a business deal to close.”
Riku sighed and shook his head, leaving without another word. Once the other was gone, Todoroki brought the slender device to his ear, awaiting the call to be received. After what seemed like an eternity, the recipient of the call picked up, but her voice sounded like it was coming from far away.
“Damn it, Vanitas!” she shouted. “At least clean up after yourself when you’re done cooking!” There was some rustling before the voice spoke again, more direct. “Hello?”
“I have a job for you.”
There was a sigh on the other end of the line. “Right, okay. I’ll be there in ten. You know the drill. Window open.”
“It already is.”
“Okay. I’ll be there in ten,” she replied before the line went dead.
* * *
After I hung up the phone I glared at Vanitas. “I have to go. I’ll be back soon. And so help me if the kitchen is still a mess when I get home, you’ll be sleeping with skeletons tonight,” I said.
Vanitas raised an eyebrow at me. “So with you?”
I growled and threw a fork at his head. “You can kiss that desire goodbye if the kitchen is still a fucking mess when I come home,” I said and walked into my room to get dressed.
I changed quickly into the same outfit I wore when I met up with Noctis and walked back out. Vanitas whistled.
“Fuck me,” he said.
I sauntered up to him and put a finger under his chin and turned his head up so his eyes met mine. “Clean the kitchen and I’ll consider it,” I said.
Part of me found this whole… domesticity with Vanitas to be pretty… attractive. I couldn’t help it. The constant flirting with I went out to meet clients, working on the case together, the barely contained sexual tension… there was just something about it that turned me on . But there was also a part of me that was regretting my decision to let him move in with me.
“Fine, fine,” he said “You go, I’ll be here.”
I straightened up. “I’ll be home soon,” I said and left my apartment.
The walk to Todoroki’s hideout wasn’t all bad, especially because I didn’t exactly walk. The perks of having a creation type quirk was that I could make anything in the range of the creation I’m allotted. So I created a pair of grotesque wings on my back and I flew to the warehouse. When I landed, they disappeared in the same puff of smoke as the bat in Noct’s hideout. Finding the open window, I went through the same drill I went through with my bad, trying to make sure that the area was clear. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my regular clients. It was more the fact that I had my own bounty on my head and I wasn’t about to let anyone collect on it. Not yet at least.
I ended up walking into Todoroki’s office five minutes later then the promised time of arrival, but I pretended like I didn’t care. Instead I walked up on his desk and perched on it much the same way I did at Noctis’s speakeasy.
“It’s been a while, Shoto,” I said with a smirk.
Todoroki looked at me with a hard look. “You’re late,” he said.
“Sorry about that. Roommate was being a pest,” I said and crossed my legs, leaning back on my hands and looking at the ceiling. “So this job.”
“I need you to take someone out,” he said
“Don’t you all?” I said. “I would have expected so considering you called an assassin .” I waved my hand dismissively and looked at Shoto out of the corner of my eye. “Who’s the target?”
His eyes stared into mine and the intensity nearly made my skin crawl. “Noctis Lucis Caelum.”
The hand that held me up slipped and I nearly fell backwards on his desk before I was able to catch myself on my other hand. My eyes widened a bit. “ What ?” I breathed before I realized I let my composure slip and did my best to recover. “I mean, why? What do you think he did?”
Todoroki sat back in his chair, his hands folding together as he observed my reaction. I mentally cursed, knowing that what happened didn’t go unnoticed. “Since when do you ask what I think about the people I send you after?”
I cleared my throat and sat up, avoiding meeting his eyes and I folded my hand in my lap. “Since I’ve already got two jobs going and I need to know what it is you have against the target before I decided to take the job when it could mean my life.”
He was silent a moment, looking at me again. His expression made it seem like he was satisfied with my answer and I managed to repress a sigh of relief. “He killed my mother. Made it look like he drank herself to death when she’d never even look at the stuff, let alone drink it.”
I frowned a bit and tried not to fidget and give away my unease at his request. “That’s not his MO, though. How can you be so sure it was him? Besides, his more recent ven—” I cut myself off. “I just think that before you give into irrationality you actually let me investigate and take out the real killer. It would be safer for all involved. Especially me,” I said, hoping that was enough and it didn’t seem like I actually cared about Noctis.
Todoroki was silent for a long moment before looking away in annoyance. “You sound like fucking Riku,” he said.
“How’s he doing by the way? It’s been a while since he called,” I said offhandedly, attempting to distract him. Sure, I saw his second in command when I walked in, but I didn’t hang around to chat. “Listen, he has a point, Shoto. If Noct wanted someone dead, he wouldn’t leave any evidence. Much less any of his alcohol.” Hell, he’d call me , I thought. He did call me. I sighed. “Look, I have two other jobs going, both investigative. I’ll… handle it and take out the real killer. But… it’s going to cost you and I have a few… conditions.”
He sighed. “Fine. Find the son of a bitch, but if it is Noctis, I want him slaughtered and left to rot in the sewers,” he said and then took a breath to compose himself, meeting my gaze. “What are your terms?”
“First, I’m going to call in a partner. My… roommate to be exact. Having to juggle three jobs is next to impossible by myself.” I said “If you have an issue with that, you can find someone else. But good luck finding someone with as good a track record as me.”
Todoroki nodded. “What else?”
“Second, twice the usual pay. Especially if it is Noctis who did it, though I’m not saying it is. Taking out a gang leader is serious shit and if I mess up, it’s my life. Not yours.”
“If it’s him, I’ll triple it,” he said easily. “Otherwise, double the usual… fine. What else?”
“Third, I’m going to need a favor from you. Especially if I made it out of this alive,” I said and smirked. I put a hand on his chest, giving him a look of uncontrolled desire. This sort of thing was a formality and after Vanitas did it, I couldn’t deny that there was just something… sexy about this being a part of a contract. “It’ll… be called upon at a later date, but if I’m going to stick my neck out for you, I’d like a… reason to stay loyal to you. You understand, don’t you?”
Todoroki studied my expression for a moment. He knew exactly what I meant. He knew I knew, too. “You want me to fuck you.” It was a statement, not a question.
I smirked and nodded. “I knew you were smart. It’s nothing we haven’t done before, as you know but…” I leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “I want you to make it good enough for me to stay, as I said, loyal to you, Shoto.”
God was I ever glad that boy of my mobster… boyfriends hated each other.
He grabbed the wrist of my hand pressed to his chest. “Are you trying to say I haven’t been good enough?”
My smirk didn’t waver. “Now, when did I say that, hmm?” I giggled and flashed a heated look. “I’m just saying, if I’m going to have to take out one of my… previous customers, I’m going to need a damn good reason.”
“You implied it,” he said. “I’ll let you bring in your damn roommate to join us if it meant getting the bastard who did this dead and in the gutter.”
“Oh come now, I know you don’t mean that,” I said and moved my other hand to his cheek, leaning in more so that our faces weren’t too far apart. “I know you’re not into sharing. Besides, you’re perfectly satisfying on your own. As I’ve said, I just need a damn good reason to betray the trust Noctis one had in me. Are you going to be that reason?” My look turned challenging as I looked into his multicolored eyes.
“Don’t insult me,” he said and leaned forward so his mouth was next to my ear. The breath of his next words send shivers down my spine it was all I could do not to tackle him there and then. “I could make you never want another man besides me again if I wanted to.”
There was enough sexual tension in that room to choke a bear. Hell, it nearly choked me and we’ve had similar back and forth’s before, but there was just something about Todoroki. He was one of my favorites and while I was loathe to admit it, he had me wrapped around his finger, just as I had him wrapped around mine. Our relationship was full of heat and passion and neither of us could get enough of the other. I curled my fingers into a fist against his chest.
“Then why haven’t you?” I breathed.
Somehow, before I could even react, Todoroki had me pinned flat on his desk, my arms above my head. My breath was knocked out of me. By the time I was reoriented, he was leaning over me, so much intensity in his eyes that if he really wanted to, he could just as easily slip inside me and take me right there. Especially with his knee pressed dangerously close to my innermost thighs. My eyes showed my desire as I looked up at him. I could have gone all the way on his desk like that, but I had promised Vanitas I would come home tonight. Besides, why waste such a perfect opportunity to flirt with my favorite.
“Now, now, Shoto, I haven’t prepared for such acts.” I said. “I’m not ready to call in the favor I spoke of. And trust me; what I have in mind is well worth the wait. Not to mention we wouldn’t want your second in command to hear the sounds only you should get to listen to.”
Todoroki rolled his eyes. “Please, you know I don’t take my pants off till at least 11PM,” he said and moved off of me, straightening up.
He took the time to adjust his jacket and tug on the lapels lightly, sitting back down on his chair. He crossed a leg and steepled his fingers before looking at me as I sat up and smoothed out my dress.
“So say I was to call in that favor at 10? What would you do with me for an hour?” I said and stood up from his desk. Might as well get in a bit more teasing before we seal the deal .
“Tell you to call back,” he said before giving me a small grin. “Though if you asked nicely to see me sooner… maybe dinner.”
“Hmm… dinner sounds nice,” I said and giggled, leaning in and putting a hand on his cheek. “Well then, let’s see the deal before I’m on my way. I have a kitchen to make sure is clean.”
Todoroki raised an eyebrow and I could hear the faint note of teasing in his voice. “You clean kitchens now, too?” he said with a smirk. “You can clean mine for that hour then.”
I sighed and shook my head. “No. I’m not a fucking maid. My roommate left a mess before I left and I told him if he didn’t clean it, he’s sleeping with skeletons in his room tonight,” I said and straightened up. “And if you don’t want to seal the deal the way you and I usually do, I’ll just have to see if Riku is willing to seal if for you.”
I smirked back at him as I made my way to the door. I didn’t really intent to kiss Riku, though I’d be lying if the thought wasn’t tantalizing.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Todoroki said.
I turned to look at him, only to find him still in his chair, motioning me back to him with his index finger. I raised an eyebrow, but returned to him getting down on one knee so that I was just under eye level with him. It was like I was a knight reporting to my lord. Just more evidence that we had each other wrapped around our little fingers. He leaned down, taking my chin in his hand and lifting it.
“More like a contract,” I replied.
He leaned in, our eyes closing and when his lips met mine, it was like electricity. The kiss was filled with all of the sexual tension we build up in that short conversation. It was heated to the point where one wrong move without entwined tongues and we would be fucking right then and there. Both of us were loath to admit it, but we knew that any more of this and the game would be over. So I pulled away, standing up.
“I’ll let you know when I’m ready to call in that favor,” I said, my voice heavy with desire.
“It won’t take long,” Todoroki said and watched as I walked to the door. “I know you.”
I smirked at him. “What can I say, you know how to press all the right buttons,” I said and put my hand on the door knob, shooting a wink his way. “You know how to reach me if you want a status update, or if you want to make a personal call not attached to our little deal.”
“Just go,” he said, though there was a distinctive smirk on his lips.
“Yes, sir,” I sang and left his office.
Once I left Todoroki’s office, I shot a wave to Riku and walked down the hall, taking out my phone along the way. Pressing Vanitas’s number on my speed dial, I brought the device to my ear and awaited his answer.
“Yello,” he greeted, as usual.
“I’m on my way home. I hope the kitchens clean,” I said, though my voice wasn’t as threatening as it was before I left him. Something about making out with Todoroki after a good flirt session just seemed to put me as ease. “And I have another job for is.”
“Now what?” he said and I could already see his blank expression as his golden eyes stared blankly at the wall.
“I’ll tell you when I get home,” I said before I hung up and headed back to the apartment.
When I arrived and opened the door, I saw Vanitas on the counter, as usual. Big surprise, he was eating again. I let out a sigh and closed the door behind me, locking it before I turned to look at him. The next thing I noticed was that the kitchen was actually cleaned.
“Sup,” he said, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
I looked around. “Huh, I’m surprised. You actually cleaned like I told you too,” I said and flopped down on one of the kitchen stools. I was too lazy to change out of my work clothes. “Shoto’s mother was killed. He thinks it was Noctis. But I managed to convince him to let me investigate for the real murderer. So now we have that job to work on too.” I ran a hand through my hair and looked up at hi.
“Aren’t you spreading yourself a little thin, there, _____?” he asked.
“Who cares?” I said and leaned back in my seat a bit, keeping my hand flat on the granite counter. “Shoto’s paying double. And they’re investigative jobs. Then killing. No time limit on either them. I’ll be fine.” I gave him a look. “Besides, it’s not like I’m going at either of them by myself.”
He let out a sigh. “Fine, fine. How do you want to do this then?”
I shrugged. “I’ll have to see if I can’t tall in a favor at the station and get information on the cases before doing some hands on investigative work. Ask around; check out the crime scenes when no one is around. Maybe Noctis has a connection I can use. His father is the police chief, after all.” I said.
My mind was going a mile a minute, the word vomit just pouring out as I went. That was another good thing about Vanitas. He didn’t care when my brain went faster than my mouth did. Half the time, with the looks he gave me, I could have sworn that he thought it was endearing. Either which way, though, I needed to figure out just how I could go about these jobs. Especially since there was one that I couldn’t bring him in on. It was another job, hush hush and all under the table. It was from a presidential candidate who needed me to locate and retrieve his wayward daughter.
“I could ask around in our world, too,” Vanitas said.
“Yeah, that would definitely help,” I said and smirked at him. “I knew there was a reason I decided to bring you in on these jobs.” I leaned forward, putting my hand in my chin, keeping my eyes locked on his.
“Oh please,” he said and rolled his eyes. “You love me and you know it.
He lay down on the counter, on his back, so his head was under mine, looking up at me. I raised an eyebrow at him and lifted my head off of my head, turning my head down a bit.
“Hmm? Now what gave you that idea? I don’t think I ever actually said such a thing to make you think that,” I said with a smirk, my entire posture teasing. I put my hands on either side of his face, bowing my head a bit so our faces were closer.
“Every move you make is what gives me that idea,” he said, his eyes never wavering from mine.
“Oh? So… when I walk away from you to go take jobs from other men, men I’ve slept with before, that means that I love you?”
“No, that just means you sleep around and break my heart,” he said and reached up, putting a hand on my cheek. “But our time here is just ours.”
I giggled a bit at him, feeling comfortable enough with Vanitas to show a more… tender and gentle side to him. I brushed a bit of his black hair from his face. “Then wouldn’t the right thing to have said been that you love me?” I quirked up an eyebrow.
He smirked. “You already knew that.”
I tilted my head to the side, giving him a disbelieving look. “Do I now? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you say it, much less express your alleged love in anyway aside form sexual contact,” I said, my disbelieving look turning into a smirk. “Especially considering you had to add sleeping with me to be a part of the condition of you working with me.”
Vanitas shrugged. “What can I say? I’m like a stray cat. We don’t express emotions well.”
“Hmm… maybe that’s why it’s oh so easy to sleep with other men,” I said and moved my hands away from his face. “You don’t seem to care whether I do or not, so I do.” I propped my head in my hand again, looking down at him still with half lidded eyes.
He simply shrugged again and sat up. “Whelp, I’ve got work to do.”
I rolled my eyes and straightened up, throwing my hands up dismissively as he hopped off the counter. “And I rest my case,” I said, my tone changing from casually flirtatious to seriously annoyed and stood. “I’m going to get changed.”
“Kay,” Vanitas said and walked to the window, opening it.
I frowned as I watched him, mildly disappointed that he does this all the damn time. But like hell was I going to vocalize it. “I’ll be here when you get back,” I said and opened my bedroom door. “Be safe,” I said.
As much as I play around with him, I do care. And he knows it. He looked back at me and smirked.
“I always am,” he said before he took off.
I let out a sigh once he left and walked into my room. Slipping out of my “work” clothes, I changed into something more comfortable, a simple pair of blue jeans and a black tank top. Grabbing my glasses case and laptop, I walked back into the kitchen and set up. After I opened my computer and moved my fingers over the track pad to wake it up, I tied my hair behind my head as it booted. Once it was all set up, my reading glasses got placed on my nose and I set to work.
Boy was I ever glad that I managed to get Noct’s second in command to teach me entry level hacking. It made it so much easier to get police information when I needed it the most.
* * *
After he climbed down the fire escape in on _____’s apartment building, he set off towards the one place he knew that lowlifes like him congregated. It was one of Noct’s underground speakeasies, but it was one that was mostly unkempt and left for the gutter rats like him to trash and destroy. Not that he minded, while he liked living with _____ in her upscale apartment, living the life of luxury only assassins who get high paying jobs like she can have, he felt more at home in the disgusting run down bar that smelled of booze and blood.
So he felt right at home when he opened the door and found Lance bickering with Train as usual, Ban shouting something about being whipped, and the three of them nearly coming to blows. He smirked as he looked around.
“Well look at all the usual lowlifes,” he said. “It feels good to be home.”
The patrons looked up at him as he walked over to the bar where Lance was sitting next to a woman with platinum blond hair and poison green eyes. He recognized her immediately, though he didn’t know her name. She was typically there on Fridays, flirting with Lance and Train, but he never really gave her the time of day.
“Oh look, another man who’s tied oh so neatly around someone’s little finger,” Lance said the second he saw Vanitas, trying to pull him into yet another one of his useless squabbles with Ban and Train.
Vanitas glared at him. “I’d ask what you mean, but since you’re clearly not talking about me, I think I’ll let it slide,” he said, his voice daring Lance to challenge him.
Lance rolled his eyes. “I am 100% talking about you,” he said. “How’s Yoru? Haven’t seen her around. She too good for us now that she’s working for the gang leaders?”
The woman then spoke up, looking at him after taking a sip of her drink. “What are you doing here, Vanitas?”
Deciding that the woman next to Lance had a much more… favorable tone of voice, Vanitas ignored the thief and looked at the woman. “Information gathering. I’m helping out on a couple of jobs and I said I’d come here to see what I can dig up.”
“Oh well, you’re in the middle of Lance’s drunken fest and about two fights ready to break out, so please, come join,” she said a little sarcastically and took another sip of her drink.
“I’ve noticed,” he said. “He still not ready to realize that you’ve got him wrapped around your pinky?”
“Hey! You still didn’t answer my question!” Lance said.
Vanitas lifted his attention to the man and glared, his fingers twitching, about one wrong move away from summoning his keyblade and really starting a fight. “One more word out of you and I swear you’ll wish you hadn’t challenged me.”
“I wouldn’t. Lance is ready to fight anyone at this point,” the woman said.
“You think I can’t handle myself?” he said, shooting a challenging look at her. “_____ doesn’t so much as think of calling on these other clowns when she needs help on missions. You know why she calls me?”
“AH HA!” Lance shouted, pointing at Vanitas. “So you are working with her! I knew it!”
Vanitas studiously ignored Lance’s drunken shouting and continued, keeping his eyes locked on to the woman. “Because I’m better and stronger than every single one of these dumbasses who don’t know the difference between an elbow and a handgun.”
The bar went silent as half the patrons turned to look at Vanitas, varying looks of irritation on their faces. Let’s be real here though, who would really be okay with a rival assassin essentially calling everyone else incompetent. But Vanitas honestly couldn’t give a damn about what they thought. The woman slapped her forehead and shook her head.
“Can the dick measuring contest please be over with?” she said. “This is getting annoying.”
“It’s never over,” Train said. “They’re men.”
Lance turned to look at Train. “Oh, so you’re not a man, then? I guess that explains why you’ve never had a girlfriend.”
Vanitas couldn’t help it. He snorted. It was funny he had to admit.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say men? I meant boys. I’m the man,” Train said and gave Lance a completely deadpan expression.
Vanitas looked up at the other man. “Actually, you’re among the boys. I’m the man. I actually have sex, unlike most of the children here.”
“Paid for sex,” Train muttered.
“I’m sorry, what? You paid for sex?” Vanitas replied and put a hand up to his ear like he didn’t quite hear what Train had said.
The other man simply rolled his eyes, bored with it already.
“Anyway, I came for information, not to have fun,” Vanitas said and looked at the woman.
“Well good luck, most of the gang is boozed out of their mind,” she said and motioned to everyone. “If you hadn’t already noticed.”
Vanitas smirked. “Don’t you know it’s easier to get them to talk when they’re all liquored up?” He said and leaned back against the counter. “Speaking of, I can start with you. What’d you know about the murders of Lunafreya and Todoroki’s mother?”
“Didn’t know Todoroki’s mother died. As for Lunafreya, all I know is what’s in the papers. You know I’m not an assassin. I just steal,” she said and waved her hand. “But… that doesn’t mean I didn’t happen to be stealing something from the police chiefs house the other day.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Stole something, eh? Whatcha go? Something I can use?”
The woman shrugged and pulled a bag up on the seat next to her, starting to search through them, muttering as she went, she pulled out a stack of files, flipping through them until she found the right ones. When she found the right ones she pulled them out of the stack and set them aside. When she finally found all the ones she was searching for she handed them to Vanitas, all five of them.
“This is junk to me, but you can look through these,” she said. “I just grabbed what was on his desk.”
Vanitas took the files and skimmed through them. “Hm… If you don’t mind, I’ll take these with me. _____ might be able to find some sort of use for the information here…” His voice trailed off as he noticed a charred note in a clear plastic bag held in the file. The ink was running a bit and parts of the note were burned but there was enough of it to still be legible.
“This… this might actually be really helpful,” he said with a smirk and closed the file. “Thanks.”
The woman snatched the files back before Vanitas could stuff them in the back. “Hold on there, hot stuff,” she said. “I’m not giving this away for free.”
Vanitas raised an eyebrow. “Name your price.”
He frowned. “Seven what?”
“Inches,” the woman smirked.
Vanitas’s eyebrows knit together. Whatever it was she wanted went over his head. “Seven inches of what?”
Lance slapped his forehead. “Just… just ask for money.”
“At this point, I’m considering it,” the woman replied to the man next to her.
“He’s clearly not interested. He’s wrapped around _____’s finger and is at her beck and call. Innuendos like that aren’t even blips on his radar.”
Vanitas frowned and crossed his arm, raising an eyebrow at the both of them. “Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?”
“She wanted to fuck. Now she thinks you don’t know the difference between your dick and a cucumber,” Train said and took a sip of his beer.
“How much cash you got on you?” the woman asked.
Vanitas shot a look at Train that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but murderous intent before he directed his attention back to the woman. “Ten thousand,” he replied easily. Paying for information was nothing he wasn’t used to, so he had liquidated some of his… assets.
“Then that’s my price,” she said.
“Fine,” Vanitas said and pulled out a brown paper bag from his backpack and placed it on the counter. He held out his hands. “The files.”
After checking the bag, the woman handed him the files. “Pleasure doin’ business, boy ,” she said.
After he took the files and put them in the bag, he glared at the woman. “I’m no boy. Next time you want sex with me for information, get your facts right and be more straight forward. I’m eight and a half inches,” he said and turned around, stalking towards the door.
“Maybe in your dreams,” the woman snorted and rolled her eyes.
Vanitas turned after he opened the door. “I think you mean in yours. Too bad you'll never get the chance to find out. I'm not interested in girls who think they're all that with nothing but talk to back it up,” he said before he left the bar, the door slamming behind him.
Nyx stepped out of the cruiser when it arrived on the scene of Mrs. Todoroki’s “suicide.” Following the caution tame, he couldn’t help the feeling that this whole suicide thing was just a load of bullshit. But he couldn’t exactly speak out against it without some kind of proof he could present. As he walked into the outpatient housing, he saw his partner Jihyun, a man with light blue hair that swept over his forehead and eyes of the matching shade, standing in the room, overlooking the scene.
“Hey, stranger,” he said.
Jihyun looked up at him. “I had a feeling that you’d have just gone home,” he said, a small smirk on his face.
“What? And leave all the fun to you? Not a chance,” he said. “What do we have?”
“Looks like a cut and dry suicide to me,” Jihyun said and walked over to the pile of empty bottles. “The vic has a history of mental illness. Looks like she was looking for a way to forget her problems and found it at the bottom of the bottle.” He kicked the pile of empty glass. “Several bottles.”
Nyx walked over and crouched down to a better look, nudging a bottle over with his pen. “This seems… rather excessive.”
“Sometimes people just don’t know when to stop,” he said and Nyx could tell that his partner was of the persuasion that this was just as it appeared. A suicide.
“No, that’s not what I mean…” he said and straightened up.
Walking the few steps to the taped outline of the body which had been moved to the morgue, he sighed as he examined the scene before him. He took note of the slender frame, comparing the outline to the crime scene photos. The alcohol bottles around the body and the size of the woman and how much it appeared that she drank… she should have been dead long before she finished all of it. Or at the very least passed out. There was enough booze on the ground to knock even him out. And he wasn’t a lightweight.
Another cop walked up to Jihyun. “Is he having one of his… moments?”
Jihyun nodded and looked on at his partner. “Best not to interrupt.”
Finally Nyx turned to his partner. “Listen, Jihyun, I strongly suspect that this was in fact not a suicide.”
“Your reasoning? It better be enough to convince Regis. He’s ready to write this off as a suicide,” V said.
Nyx sighed, sometimes hating that his partner was so… level headed and wasn’t ready to just jump in the fire with him. “First of all, this is an outpatient housing facility. How the hell would she have managed to slip all this passed the nurses and assistants?” he said as he motioned to all the alcohol bottles littered around. “Sure they could have helped her, she could have built up the collection, but if she was intending to take her life in a single evening, there’s far better and faster ways. Why spend all that time collecting and overly excessive amount of alcohol and how? It’s illegal. No one gets this much liquor out of nowhere…” Nyx put his hand on his chin, looking deep in thought. “There would have been nurses and attendants in and out. It doesn’t pay for them to lose patients even if they are a difficult case.”
Jihyun nodded, contemplating what Nyx was explaining. “If that’s the case, do you have any suspects who could have done this? And their motive? Without a motive, there is no case.”
“Hard to say,” Nyx sighed. “This woman would have been dead long before she polished off all this even if she were a heavy drinker. She may have had it in her system, but I don’t think she drank it willingly. It… almost seems sloppy that someone would want to make this look like a suicide to leave this much… evidence .” Nyx pursed his lip and looked at Jihyun. “Do you have her file?”
He shook his head. “No. Enji wanted to keep it with him, not wanting our judgment to be biased based on what was written in her file.”
“Let me see it,” Nyx said.
“I just told you, Ulric, I don’t have the damn file,” V said.
“Then call him!” Nyx threw his hands up like the answer should have been obvious. “Pretty sure popping your heads in, shrugging and giving a thumbs up for suicide is pretty damned biased.”
“Good luck with that,” Jihyun said. “Enji won’t even let Regis see it. I guess he doesn’t want us knowing the truth about his ex-wife.” He crossed his arms. “We should probably just take the easy way with this one. Unless you want to turn into a piece of charcoal because I certain don’t.”
Nyx held out his hand. “Give me your phone.”
Jihyun simply sighed, but handed it over. “You’re not going to get anything from him but if you insist on trying anyway…”
“Thanks,” Nyx said and clicked Enji’s phone number, walking into the hall to await an answer.
“Hello?” Enji’s rough voice answered, characteristically angry.
“Detective Ulric, sir,” Nyx said, gritting his teeth as he kept his tone professional. “I’m currently at the scene of your ex’s… suicide and I have some suspicions. I understand that you’re keeping her file under wraps. With all respect, I would like to read it to help get a better idea of what could be going on. I believe she may have been murdered.” Nyx explained, trying to sound as… passive and docile as possible even though he hated ending with a passion hotter than his hellfire. “Based on what’s here, it seems very possible, but I can’t determine a motive or possible suspects without more information on the victim herself.” “Request denied,” he said simply. “You don’t have the clearance.”
Nyx knew that was just a thinly veiled excuse. In Enji’s world, those who didn’t have clearance were people he didn’t trust. Nyx opened his mouth to protest, but the man went on, cutting him off.
“Now if that’s all you wanted, I have work to return to,” Enji said before he hung up.
“Told you,” Jihyun said.
“Is there anyone he does trust to look at it?” Nyx asked, running a hand through his hand.
“Nope. Like I said. Even Regis hasn’t seen it.”
“He didn’t seem like he even cared…” Nyx sighed and shook his head. “Or maybe and did and he wanted to get off the phone as fast as possible… what is he hiding…”
“Well you can theorize all you want. He’s the lieutenant. There’s not much you can say against him,” Jihyun said and crossed his arms.
“This isn’t suicide,” he said again, not wanting to give this up.
“Well, if you can think of a good enough reason to convince the brass, then you can shout until your face turns red,” Jihyun said. “It won’t change what they write in the files.”
“She’s a cops ex… there has to be some motive here,” Nyx muttered, ignoring Jihyun.
He got down on a knee and examined the pile of liquor bottles. Leaning closer and careful not to move them, he noticed something that made his stomach drop out from under him. On the bottles, on the underside of the glass was a small engraving of an insignia he recognized all too well. It was Noct’s insignia for his gang.
“Well, you keep looking for that motive,” Jihyun said, not noticing Nyx’s reaction to what he saw. “Let me know when you figure it out.”
“I’ll keep looking…” Nyx muttered, his voice low. He looked pissed.
“All right. Well, I’ve got to call this in. Can I have my phone back?” Jihyun asked and held out his hand.
Nyx looked at his hand, just then realize that he still had Jihyun’s phone. “Right, sorry about that,” he said and handed it over.
“Thanks,” he said and walked off.
A few minutes passed before he returned. Nyx already knew exactly what he told Regis. That they didn’t find anything that suggested there to have been any sort of crime. Not to mention that Jihyun had also probably told him that Nyx still wasn’t convinced. He could just hear the exasperated voice of Regis now, telling Jihyun to tell him to give it up. But he’d be damn if he let Noctis get framed for offing the some poor old woman living in an outpatient facility.
“He said that you can keep investigating if you want, but until you find hard evidence that an actual crime took place then the case is closed,” Jihyun said as he walked back into the room.
“I get it, I get it,” Nyx said and straightened up.
“Look, I have to get back to the station. Are you going to stay here or are you going back, too?”
“I’ve seen enough,” he replied and sighed. “I’m going back and clocking out. I’m already on overtime.”
“All right, I’ll give you a ride back, then,” Jihyun replied and the two walked out of the house.
* * *
Nyx didn’t bother stopping at home after he clocked out of work. Instead, he immediately made his way to Noctis’s hideout. As he walked in, he made his way to the back room, but before he did, he stopped by Prompto, Ignis and Gladio, partly to say hi and partly to see if Noct was even here.
“You’re back,” Gladio said when Nyx walked up to them.
“How was work?” Prompto asked.
“Good in a bad way,” Nyx said and looked towards the door that lead into the back. “Is Noct back in his office?”
“Yes, but Saeyoung is in there,” Ignis said. “I would exercise caution before barging in there.”
“No idea,” Prompto said with a shrug. “Closed door meeting, I guess. Feel free to interrupt but don’t expect backup.”
“Don’t need it,” Nyx said. “I can handle myself.”
Stepping away from the bar, and the three closest friends to the leader aside from Saeyoung, Nyx walked towards the door that led to the back. Pushing it open he navigated the halls until he arrived at Noct’s door. He listened hard, hearing hushed voices filtering through the hardwood but he couldn’t make them out. Not even hesitating, Nyx knocked on it.
“Who’s there?” It was Saeyoung’s voice that answered.
“It’s me. I have to talk with Noctis. It’s important.”
There was another short hushed conversation before Nyx heard Noctis’s voice. “Come in.”
Wordlessly Nyx walked in, shutting the door behind him before looking at Saeyoung and his boss. The boy looked the same as he usually did. Sleep deprived and wearing the same clothes he always wore. Part of Nyx wondered why the red headed hacker was Noctis’s second in command when he was always holed up in a room with screens looking at him from every direction. When he asked about it, Noct simply dismissed his question with a wave and moved on.
“I’ll leave the two of you alone. I have work to do now,” Saeyoung said, shooting Noct a look and sounding almost as if he was put out by having a job to do. “I’ll give you a status update tomorrow, Noct.”
Noctis nodded at the other and then looked at Nyx as Saeyoung left. “What brings you back here so soon?”
“More trouble,” Nyx said.
“Shoto Todoroki’s mother, according to the police, committed suicide, but I saw the crime scene. There was definitely foul play,” Nyx said.
“Explain to me why I should care that Todoroki’s mother offed herself?” Noctis said and crossed his arms. “Expect me to send a condolence card or something? I hate that bastard.”
“No,” Nyx said and gave Noctis a look that clearly said let me finish . “The scene was made to look like she drowned herself in alcohol. The reason you should care is that the alcohol was in your bottles.”
Noctis narrowed his eyes at Nyx. “Are you accusing me then?”
“No, but I think someone’s trying to set you up,” Nyx said. “We might have to worry about the druggies looking for blood thinking you were behind it.”
“I see…” Noct said. “Well, I didn’t put out a hit. She had to have gotten the alcohol from somewhere else.”
“I know you didn’t, dumbass,” Nyx said. “That’s not even the point. You really think that Todoroki is going to take your word if he has a gun to your face?”
“I’d love to see him try to get that close,” Noct said.
“Stop messing around. This is serious,” Nyx said.
“I am being serious,” Noctis replied and gave Nyx a hard look. “And I don’t have time to deal with that child when I have Jumin to deal with.”
“Just think about this carefully,” Nyx sighed. “I can’t do much if you die. I’m not a miracle worker.”
“I’m not going to die, Nyx,” Noct said and flashed a devilish smile. “At least not until I found out who killed Luna.”
Nyx let out another sigh. “Well… I’ll let you get back to chatting with Saeyoung or whatever you have to do now,” he said. “Just watch your back and don’t do anything stupid.”
I pushed my glasses out of my face while as I rubbed my stinging eyes. Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time was not my cup of tea and honestly, I wondered how Saeyoung had even done it for most of his life. The man barely got any sunlight and I swore Noct watered him like a fucking plant. At least it wasn’t hard copying the files from the police office on Lunafreya’s murder and the newly compiled file on Todoroki’s mother. I was just saving them to an encrypted file on my computer when I heard a loud bang.
I jumped and whipped my head around to see Vanitas standing in the doorway, a huge grin on his face like he had just gotten high. Or laid. Could have been both. Who was I to say? There was also a bag in one hand and his backpack over one shoulder.
“Oh, _____~” he sang as he walked up to the kitchen counter.
“Uh… hey, Vanitas,” I said and frowned slightly, wondering why he was so damn excited.
“Miss me?” He asked as he shoved all my stuff aside on the counter, hopping up on the seat he just made for himself.
“Did you get… high before you came home?” I asked. I was going to be so pissed if he did. We had a rule. Sharing is caring.
“No, but I have a present for you,” He said and smirked at me. “For a price.”
I raised an eyebrow. “A price, eh? What’s the present and price? I’ll tell you if I’m willing to pay it,” I said and putting my chin on my hand, looking up at him.
“The present is I have files on the Lunafreya and Todoroki cases… and some other random case, which isn’t all that important,” he said and smirked at me. “The price is another night with yours truly, breakfast included.”
I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms, pretending like I was thinking about his offer. “Already asking for a second night when you haven’t even cashed in on the first? Gosh you’re bold, making me work up a tab like this,” I said and smirked. “Considering you live here now, breakfast would most likely be included in both instances.”
“Yes, but you have to be here to enjoy it with me.”
“You really know how to butter a woman up, don’tcha?” I said before shrugging. “All right, I think I can make time for that. Especially if you’re information helps me solve these cases.”
“Perfect,” Vanitas said before he handed me the files. “These cost a lot so I hope there pretty damn useful.”
I giggled. “I wouldn’t say it costs a lot, considering I quite enjoy the nights you and I spend together.” I smirked at him before picking up the first file and skimming through it. “Regardless of whether or not you think I don’t. Just let me know when you’re ready to… cash in those nights.”
“I will,” Vanitas said and smirked. “And I meant these files cost me then 10K I just got from the last job I did.”
I looked at him and raised an eyebrow before shrugging, looking back at the file. “Eh. It’s just money. We’ll make that back easily with the bounties I’m getting on the three jobs I’m working,” I replied before closing the first file and grabbing the second.
“Well if you ever need more files stolen I know just the thief to ask,” he said offhandedly.
I raised an eyebrow, but didn’t look up from my reading. “Oh yeah? Who? I might have to see if I can’t get info from them on that other case I’m working on…” I mused offhandedly.
Vanitas paused a moment, thinking. “Uh… blonde chick. She usually hands out at the assassin’s speakeasy with that lot. Usually in there every Friday hanging out with Train and Lance.”
I looked up at him. “You don’t even know her name, do you?” I shook my head and smirked. “I should probably go visit. I haven’t been around that haunt in some time… could be nice to see the guys.”
“So, anything useful?” He asked
“So far, it’s just the information I already managed to get from the cops,” I said and sighed.
I put down the second file and picked up the third. So far there wasn’t anything really super important or eye catching in these files that I didn’t already get from the ones I managed to download from the police database. Not to say it wasn’t useful to have paper copies, but it was all things that I had already known. It wasn’t until I picked up the fourth file that I noticed something that wasn’t in the reports.
It was a piece of paper. Water damaged and slightly charred, but relatively intact. It was neatly inside a clear plastic evidence bag, held securely in the case file. I frowned at it slightly as I skimmed over the just barely legible ink on the paper and my eyes widened.
“This…” I muttered. “I’m probably going to have to give Noctis that update sooner than expected. Just In time to, I have to ask him about Shoto’s mother’s murder too.”
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, taking my hair out of the band that held it back and letting it fall to my shoulders. These cases were really a pain and I details about both of them just… didn’t sit right with me.
“That’s what originally caught my eye, too,” Vanitas said. “It was when I realized that you just had to have them.”
I smirked up at him. “This is why you and I get paid the big bucks,” I said and closed the file. “I’ll give him a call in the morning. It’s getting late and I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate the interruption to his bar at its busiest time.” I set the file and my glasses aside. “Any ideas on dinner or did you already eat?”
“I brought pasta,” he said and plopped the bag he had in his hand in front of me.
I blinked at the fact that he thought so far ahead. “Oh…” I said before my look of surprise melted into a smile and I stood up from my seat. I went to the cupboard and got plates and forks for us, handing him his set. “Shall we?”
He took his with a grin and sat down at the table. “Sound’s good to me.”
I grinned and sat down next to him, portioning out my pasta and setting the rest aside. I was just about to eat when I realized that it was my favorite. From my favorite restaurant. All the way across town. In the exact opposite direction of the bar. I looked at hm.
He looked up at me, his mouth full. His head tilted to the side in question.
“Why did you go through all the trouble to get this for me?” I asked. “You had to have gone all the way across town to get it.”
It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful. I was, truly. But sometimes Vanitas was well... Vanitas and he wasn’t usually the most thoughtful person. The only languages we spoke together were sexually charged flirting and domestic fighting. Vanitas and being thoughtful went together like… oil and water.
He simply shrugged. “I was hungry and I figure you wouldn't be too.”
I couldn’t help the small wave of disappointment that washed over me at his answer. Just because I was an assassin, typically a breed that was known for being cold hearted with a skin thicker then iron, didn’t mean that I wasn’t a woman with feelings. Then again, I did toy around with him on a daily basis and I couldn’t really expect anything different from him. Yet still, I let out a small sight before taking a bite of my food.
“Right. Well… thanks for thinking of me,” I said before giving him a small smile, to which he returned with one of his own.
We soon finished dinner and I stood over the sink, washing the dishes we used and putting them on the drying rack. Vanitas was sitting on the counter, as usual, watching me as I cleaned. Honestly, that boy had a thing for counters. He really didn't like sitting on chairs. Or even the couch. When we watch TV at night to unwind, he sits on the bloody coffee table!
“Hey, Vani? I’m going to report to Noct in the morning,” I said and looked over my shoulder at him, deciding to at least let him know I’m going out.
He blinked at me. “Oh. Do you want me to come with?” He asked.
That is a terrible idea, _____ , I thought. “No, I just thought I’d let you know in case you woke up and I wasn’t there,” I said and turned around, leaning back against the counter. “Or if I don’t come home.”
I smirked at him, my voice taking a distinctive tone, one he knew I used only for when I was expecting to have a little… fun with whoever I was meeting. I wasn’t intending to sleep with Noctis while I was giving him a status update, especially so early in the morning. And not while he was still… acting the way he was, pushing me to the side while he raged over the death of a woman he hadn’t had romantic feelings for in over a year.
“I wouldn’t want you to worry,” I added and winked at him.
Vanitas rolled his eyes and hopped off the counter and walked over to me, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me into him. “Well then… in that case, I’ll just have to keep you here,” he said.
I raised an eyebrow at him, but stayed in his arms. This time. The corners of my mouth quirked up as I smirked at him. “Oh? And how do you expect to do that, hmm? I still have a job I need to do.”
“I’ll just…” he bowed his head and pressed a kiss on my neck where my shoulder meets. “Have to convince you…” he placed another one a little higher. “To sleep in.”
He kissed my neck once more, just under my ear. I did my best not to react to his kisses, despite the fact that he was hitting all the right spots to get me going. And he knew it too.
“That won’t keep me from leaving later in the day, Vani,” I said, giggling.
I could feel him smirk against my ear as he moved his head up. “Then I’ll just have to keep you begging for more,” he whispered sensually.
Despite my best efforts, a shiver went through me at his breath on my ear. “Hmm… but… can you keep it up all day?” I asked. “Especially when not reporting in could cost us a lot of money?”
“Hmm… probably true,” he said and nibbled my earlobe once before letting me go. “Sadly.
I reached out for his hands as they left me. “Nice try,” I said and smirked at him. “But at least now I have a reason to come back home to you pretty quickly tomorrow.”
“Heh, I guess so,” he said and smirked.
I giggled a bit at him, standing up at my toes so I was as close to eye level with him as I could get. “By the way, for the record, if you do actually love me then,” I winked at him, referring to the conversation we had earlier that morning. “I might actually love you, too.”
I smirked and teasingly pecked his lips. Shoto might be my favorite boy to play with and Noctis and I had a… special relationship, but I did certainly have feelings for Vanitas. There’s just… something about him, like the fact that he’s a merciless killer when he’s on a job, or the fact that red suited him well or maybe how I could actually be the woman I really was around him, but I cared for him, I really did. He was precious to me.
I turned my head back to wink at him as I sauntered out of the kitchen and smirked when I saw his red face. I giggled. For an assassin who claimed to have slept around as much as I do, he sure does get flustered easily with me.
“Good night, Vanitas,” I said. “See you tomorrow.”
“N-night,” he said and made his way into his room.
I giggled again and walked in to mine, getting ready to turn in for the night before I crawled into bed and fell asleep.
I woke up early the next morning dressed in a comfy pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Walking into the kitchen I grabbed my cell off the counter and pressed Noct’s number on it before placing it to my ear. As I awaited his answer, I walked to the door, slipping a pair of comfy shoes on and grabbing my keys. As I heard the click that the call had been received I was just grabbing the bag that had Lunafreya’s note.
“Hello?” came Noct’s voice after the third ring.
“I have something to report,’ I said. “I’m headed over. I’ll be there in ten. And don’t tell me you can’t. This is important and I have something you’re going to want to see. I’m already on my way.”
Even as the words left my mouth, I was opening the door and walking out, locking it behind me.
“Fine, just hurry,” he said, sounding bored. “I need to be somewhere.”
I snorted and rolled my eyes. “Whatever,” I said.
I hung up the phone after that and started walking. Noctis had been… different to say the least since Lunafreya’s voice. Normally, I wouldn’t give a damn. But with the way he’s been acting towards me, there was something I definitely did not like. At all. I’m not one to roll over and take crap from my partners. Noctis knew this. Yes I cared about him, but I wasn’t going to let him take out his “grief” on me.
When I arrived at the speakeasy he typically frequented, I didn’t bother checking the place with my bet. This was an… impromptu meeting. Besides, Noctis told me to hurry. If only he remembered I wasn’t quick about anything . I shook my head and walked through the mostly empty bar, ignoring Prompto who was trying to get my attention and walked into the back room. When I reached Noctis’s office door, I threw the door open and walked in.
“Noctis,” I said as the door closed.
He looked at me completely unamused. “_____.”
“First things first. Did you or any of your subordinates kill Todoroki’s mother?”
His eyes narrowed as he looked at me. It was a challenging sort of look but I was too worried about Shoto’s job which entailed me to kill Noctis if he killed his mother. “No. I heard already.”
I couldn’t help the sigh of relief that escaped my lips. Honestly, it would have been such a shame if I had to kill Noctis. He was a pretty good lover when the mood took him. If only the mood took him more often these days.
“All right, good. Then, down to business, I guess,” I said and walked up to him, putting the charred and water damaged note on the table in front of him. “Recognize this?”
Noctis squinted at it, picking it up and trying to make sense of the words I was barely able to read with my crack investigative skills. “What is it?”
“A note,” I said. “From you to Lunafreya telling her to meet you at your yacht the night she was murdered. You didn’t send it?”
His eyes widened and the note slipped from his fingers back onto the desk as he looked up at me. His eyes flashed between rage, panic and then back again. “No!”
I frowned and took the note back, folding it back up and slipping it into my back pocket for further examination back at my apartment. “Why did you think she was at the yacht that night then?” I asked.
“I have… no idea…” he said and looked at his hands. “Unless… it was sent to her by someone trying to set her up.”
“Yeah, I got that. But that doesn’t answer my question to you , Noct,” I said and reached out, catching his chin in my hand and forced him to look up at me. My expression would rivaled the looks those pigs gave suspects in interrogation rooms. “Why did you think she was there?”
He was silent a moment. “Trying to catch me cheating.”
I let go of his chin and straightened up. “Good thing we’ve never met at your yacht then, huh?” I said, trying to use my A+ defense mechanism of humor to make him look… less destroyed. It hurt me to see him like this. Especially when it was over the woman he was cheating with me on.
“That’s not fucking funny, Andria,” he said.
“It’s pretty funny,” I said just before it registered what he called me. I glared at him and crossed my arms. “Watch it, Noct. You’re on thin ice as it is, mourning over a woman you didn’t even love while your most recent lover is trying to find her murderer for your stupid vendetta. You have no right to call me that name.” Not to mention that I went out on a limb for you with Shoto, I added as an afterthought. “I get that you’re… upset about her death, but you don’t to take it out on everything around you. Some people won’t stick around to watch you destroy yourself.”
“Don’t you dare accuse me of not caring about Luna!” He said and stood up from his chair. “And it’s not funny to say that when she just fucking blew up on my yacht!”
My expression didn’t waver as I looked at him, lifting my chin to meet his gaze. “You didn’t love her enough not to fuck me senseless while you were engaged to her. You didn’t love her enough to stick to your old life of being the Good Son . So forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you have the right to treat me like you never cared about me when you hired me to find out who her killer is.” I glared hard and my postured turned much more… aggressive. “Get off your fucking high horse, Noctis, and call me when you’re ready to hear the rest of my fucking report,” I said and started walking towards the door. “Because god knows you’re not getting this ass until you'd calm the fuck down and beg for my forgiveness for treating me worse then—”
I clammed up. He needn’t know my home life was less than idea. That my father was an abusive prick after my mother died giving birth to me or that while I was raised in high society, I snapped when I turned 14 and killed my father. He simply thought that the scars on my body were from jobs gone wrong. I wasn’t about to correct him. The only person who knew was Vanitas and that was only because I fell in with him and his crew after the cops deemed the murder of my father to be a case of “battered woman syndrome” and cut me loose. And I sure as hell intended to keep it that way for as long as I could.
As I was reaching for the door knob, I heard Noctis let out a sigh. “_____… I’m sorry about the name thing… but the joke was pretty fucking tasteless.”
I stopped moving and sighed, my shoulders slumping. “I’m sorry. But… my defense mechanism kicks in when I see you looking so… broken.” I turned back to look at him to see him sitting back down, leaning against the closed door, crossing my arms. “I care about you, Noct, really, I do. It’s why I didn’t kill you when I was paid to. I just… don’t want to see you destroy yourself over a woman that was probably going to leave you anyway when she found out about your… extracurricular activities.”
“I did love her… once,” he said. “Completely. And now because of me, she’s nothing but ash.”
“Love changes and fades over time. When you realized you didn’t love her anymore, you should have just left. Me, Prompto, Gladio… even Ignis thought it was pathetic how hard you tried to cling to what you once had when you just kept sleeping around anyway,” I said, my voice wasn’t harsh or accusing. I was just… tired. And part of me wondered when this report turned into a therapy session, but I was smarter than to actually ask that question. “And for the record. It’s not your fault that she was murdered. It was whoever set up those charges and sent her that note.”
“To get to me,” Noct said. “That’s why.”
I sighed and walked back over to him, sitting on his desk and folding my hands in my lap, looking at Noctis. “Then don’t let it get to you. Don’t give them that power. I’ll catch Luna’s killer and make them pay, believe that. SO don’t let whoever did this how this kind of power over you. Just take solace in the fact that she’ll be avenged and move on.”
“Why do you care, _____?” He asked. It wasn’t… an annoyed or snarky question and when I looked into his eyes, I saw that he was genuinely asking.
“I told you, I care about you and I don’t want to see you destroy yourself.”
“You’re asking me this now?” I asked and raised an eyebrow at him. There was laughter in my voice. I couldn’t help it. I found this a little funny. “It’s been months since we’ve been intimate and you wait until now to ask why I stick around?”
“Shut up,” Noct said and looked to the side. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was a bit embarrassed. Maybe even a touch shy.
I giggled and put a hand on his cheek, making him look at me. “I care because of who you are, Noctis. Strong. Intelligent. Helps that you pay me to kill people and you’re a beast in the sack,” I smirked at him, my voice teasing before I took a more serious note. “But underneath it all, you’re still just a boy trying to make it however he can. Reminds me a bit of myself and I’m drawn to that part of you. That’s why I care.”
He just looked at me for a long moment, taking stock of my expression to see if I was telling the truth. A woman can have three loves in this line of work. So long as she took measures to keep those loves from crossing paths. When he couldn’t find anything in my expression to deny my claim, he let out a light laugh and grinned only slightly.
“So you love a piece of shit like me, huh?”
I shrugged. “I’m not a price either, so yeah.”
He shook his head and took my wrist in his hand, removing it from his cheek. “You’re a prize… though it takes a fuck ton of reminding half the time.”
I rolled my eyes and took my arm out of his hand. “Could have fooled me five minutes ago.”
“I got reminded.”
I raised an eyebrow and smirked at him. “Were you now? And what exactly reminded you? I’ll have to make note of it for next time something like this happens.”
Noctis gave me a blank expression. “You’re making me forget again.”
“Oh come on, indulge me just this once,” I said and smirked, sliding off the desk and into his lap, sliding my arms around his neck. “I’ll give you the rest of the report if you do~”
He didn’t look amused and I sighed, dropping my arms and stood up out of his lap.
“You’re no fun,” I said.
“Mind telling me what you have left to tell me then?”
“Now I’m not sure I want to,” I said and sighed. “First you basically tell me you love me and then you get all… stiff.” I ran a hand through my hair. “There isn’t too much more to say. I just needed to know if you had anything to do with the murder of Todoroki’s mother and if you knew about that note.”
“No and no,” he said. “I’m after those damn arm’s sons of bitches anyway.”
“Yes, yes, I know. I just… needed to be sure. Someone was asking about it and they know I work for you now,” I said and crossed my arms. “I’m guessing you’re going to kick me out now?”
I frowned at him as I looked at him. My look and posture clearly expected him to do… something more. My eyes were screaming at him to get his act together pretty soon, too. Otherwise, I wouldn’t blink twice at putting a bullet between those pretty blue eyes of his.
“I told you I have somewhere to be,” he said. “But have a few drinks if you want. On the house.”
“If you think that’s going to make up for you snubbing me just now, you have another thing coming,” I said and saved him off dismissively. I started back towards the door with a roll of my eyes. “Call me when you want to try at being romantic again.”
He was silent for a moment. “I’ll give you two favors for the job.”
“You really know how to charm a girl,” I said and leaned back against the door again. I looked at him blankly. “I might be the best assassin this side of the Great Lakes, but I’m still a woman with feelings and I’ve shared mine. Give me a call when you’re ready to actually share yours of I’ll see you at my next urgent update.”
“You know I’m not a talker, _____,” he said and ran a hand through his hair. “And… the second favor comes with dinner,” he added. He avoided my gaze and I could have sworn I saw the faintest color red dusting his cheeks. “Maybe some lit candles.”
I raised my eyebrow at him, a lazy smirk gracing my lips. “Hmm… I think I can get into that, if that’s the case. Just tell me when,” I said and walked back up to him. God with all this walking back and forth in his room, I could have sworn I was one more back and forth away from creating a rut. I put a hand on his cheek and making him look at me. “And you don’t have to be a talker to share your feelings, Noctis. All it takes is three simple words.”
“7 o’clock. Next Friday. You pick the place,” he said and moved his face away from my hand, avoiding eye contact again. “Wear something that’ll look good with new diamonds.”
“It’s a date. I’ll text you the place when I decide,” I said and giggled at his shyness. I leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I’ll see you then.”
“Just go,” he said, the corners of his lips curled up in a delicate smirk.
“Kiss me first,” I sang, but straightened up. It’s been weeks since we shared a kiss and I wasn’t expecting him to break that streak yet. “See ya, love.”
Before I could so much as take a step, he grabbed my wrist and pulled me back down. He smirked and placed a feather light kiss on my lips before letting god. That mean sure did know how to leave me wanting more.
“Now scram,” he said.
I giggled a bit. “Why I do like it when you’re rough, you could be a little… sweeter sometimes,” I said and winked at him before I walked out of his office.