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Truth or Dare

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—>z<—

Penguin charged Zsasz with locating Alessandro Nucci, one of Don Falcone’s most powerful remaining loyalists a few weeks back. Although Victor was unable to find Nucci, he managed to nab his enforcer, Joey “The Knife” Bianchi, as he visited one of his favorite bakeries earlier in the day.

Nucci’s enforcer was well-known for his stubbornness and Victor knew he was going to be a tough nut to crack. The Knife was so famously bullheaded, Zsasz even removed all his clothes once he got the man to his basement for a little “chat” since he planned to use Bianchi’s own methods on him. Victor wore one of his favorite shirts that day and hated the thought of ruining it.

Victor assumed Nucci’s physical capacity would match his stubbornness, but he miscalculated. He cracked Joey a little too hard.

Oops.

Zsasz gazes down and sighs wistfully at Bianchi’s fresh corpse lying in a pool of blood, the body riddled with cuts and stab wounds. Fortunately, the man gave up Nucci’s location mere moments before the life drained from his eyes.

The assassin runs his thumb along the bloody bolster of Bianchi’s drop point as he brings the blade up to his face. He pulls down the corners of his mouth and nods appreciatively at its craftsmanship before casually tossing it atop its deceased owner’s chest.

“Gotta hand it to ya, Joey. You sure can —uh, could take it. Nice knife, by the way.”

Bianchi really made Zsasz work for it today. Still, it felt good to finally have a challenge. While Victor loved his work, there were times he felt the job had grown familiar —easy even. Fortunately, Bianchi’s pigheadedness challenged him to get a little creative and work a little harder. In fact, the assassin had so much fun working on The Knife, he was now sporting a robust erection.

Victor saunters over to his workbench and reaches for his favorite boxcutter. He withdraws the blade to complete a tally set on his right pec approximately three inches above his nipple. He methodically counts as he savors the longer, diagonal slash.

Seventy...”

After he puts his boxcutter away, he cleans his hands and realizes he’s a bit peckish. He glances up at the clock and finds it later than he realized. Victor exits the basement and jogs up the stairs to see if The Girls managed to scrounge up any food yet.

When he opens the door, he’s greeted by the heavenly aroma of Frankie’s pizza and the sound of Donna Summer’s iconic “Bad Girls” thumping through the speakers.

“Bad girls
Talking about the sad girls
Sad girls
Talking about the bad girls, yeah…”

He stretches a wide smile and excitedly darts up the corridor, his mood celebratory after discovering Nucci’s location. Victor hurries to join his Girls in the lounge.

Zsasz and The Girls live in and run their business out of what was once a small manufacturing building and use the lounge as a reception area for high-profile clients. It also happens to be their favorite spot to hang out as a group.

Victor is thrilled to discover his timing is perfect. The pizza must have just arrived. Just one of the four boxes is open and there are only a couple of slices missing from it.

The twins, Saffronia and Egypt, are sprawled out on their black leather contemporary loveseat. Tasha and Astrid sat on the floor around the black lacquered glass top coffee table and Demaris had just seated herself on one of the leather chairs.

As he plops down and joins The Girls on the floor, Astrid (a lithe, pale brunette with dark eyes) hands him the largest slice from the pizza box.

Zsasz’s Girls think nothing of his nudity, erection or blood spatter since he’s frequently naked, erect or blood-spattered whenever he’s around —especially when he brings someone home to play with. The only thing that warrants a remark is his fresh tally. Astrid nods toward it as she rises to grab him a drink.

“I thought you were just supposed to ‘talk’ to him.”

Victor sheepishly shrugs.

“I was.”

She tilts her head and nods knowingly as she heads for the fridge. Tasha, a buxom umber-toned Caribbean woman, addresses the tawny woman on the loveseat.

“Okay, Saffronia. Your turn. Truth or dare?”

The tall stunner shrugs.

“I dunno. Truth.”

“Would you rather do Tabitha Galavan or Barbara Kean?”

Her umber-skinned sister, Egypt, answers instead.

“D’uh! Galavan! She never. shuts. up about her!”

Egypt rolls her eyes and imitates her twin.

“Tabitha Galavan is so hot!”

Saffronia sucks her teeth and punches her darker sister’s thigh before offering an embarrassed smile. Victor heartily nods and muffles in agreement as he eats his slice. Saffronia taunts back in a playful mock tone.

“I don’t go on about Tabitha any more than you do about your precious BarbaraQueen’.”

The group breaks into raucous laughter. Astrid rolls her eyes and shakes her head as she returns from the refrigerator. She holds up a small green bottle in one hand and a brown one in the other and wiggles them at Victor. After he nods towards the smaller green one, she opens it as she walks it to him, addressing the group.

“I don’t know why anyone even bothers asking Egypt or Saffronia anything when their sister always answers instead!”

As everyone laughs in agreement, Demaris turns to Zsasz. 

“Your turn, Victor. Truth or dare?”

Victor thinks for a second and shrugs.

”Mmm... Truth.”

—>o<—

Fries and Penguin pull up to Zsasz’s place. The kingpin sought to clinch Gotham’s underworld, but faced several obstacles before he could do so. Penguin was growing restless and impatient trying to locate Falcone’s remaining loyalists. The task proved far more challenging than he anticipated. It had been weeks since he charged Victor with finding Nucci.

Oswald was relieved to receive Zsasz’s call earlier informing him he not only located Nucci’s enforcer, but managed to kidnap him. He was confident Victor would contact him the moment he extracted the information about Nucci’s whereabouts, but knew it would probably take some time based on Zsasz’s experience with he man. Victor was very familiar with Bianchi having spent several years serving Don Falcone.

Zsasz’s dubious response to the assignment surprised Oswald. It lacked the easy arrogance and casual attitude his henchman was famous for.

“I dunno, Boss. Joey might take a little… ‘work’.”

The weeks-long search made Oswald terribly anxious and increasingly paranoid. Despite the fact Zsasz found Bianchi, and Penguin’s confidence in his enforcer’s persuasive techniques, he still spends most of the drive wondering if Victor could actually break the man. He also worries about what might happen if they are forced to kill Bianchi without learning anything. Executing Nucci’s enforcer could quickly escalate into a protracted battle that Penguin hadn’t the numbers to fight. The likelihood of such a scenario ratchets up his growing dread.

He addresses Fries before exiting the car.

“Victor, I doubt this will take very long. Why don’t you wait out here? I’ll be back soon. Zsasz might not even be done with The Knife yet.”

Fries coolly responds.

“Got it.”

The kingpin hobbles up to the heavy door of the main entrance, wondering if he should have called first. Just as he walks within view of the security camera, he’s buzzed in. As the kingpin enters the threshold, he hears driving disco music loudly playing.

Toot toot hey beep beep
Toot toot hey beep beep…”

Penguin’s clicking cane soon synchronizes with the song’s 4/4 time signature as he walks up the corridor. He continues contemplating worst case scenarios with Bianchi, Nucci and other families still loyal to Falcone.

The sound of uproarious laughter in the reception area snaps him from his thoughts. Just as Penguin’s about to round the corner into it, he hears a rich, throaty woman’s voice with a West Indian accent —its deep timbre making her hard to hear through the music.

“Victor, we need to catch you up. You were busy chatting with Bianchi.”

Penguin blinks.

Wait. Did she say ‘chatting with’ Bianchi?

Oswald strains to listen through the music, but can only hear bits of Victor’s muffled answer.

“Hit me.”

“Would you do Penguin?”

Oswald stops dead in his tracks and blinks. This was a worst-case scenario he never considered. Over the years, he’d grown increasingly dependent on Zsasz and never had reason to question his loyalty or discretion, at least not since Falcone left Gotham.

Wait. Is Zsasz still loyal to Falcone?

He hears several women laugh, one cackling loudly in response.

Please! Like you even have to ask! Victor would totally do Penguin!”

The kingpin’s eyes widen. He strains hard to hear Victor’s response.

“Absolutely... but I’d hate to ruin his clothes. Gotta hand it to the man; he dresses really nice.”

Oswald feels the dread rise within him. He hears the cackling woman’s voice again.

See? What did I tell you? Stupid question! How ‘bout a dare instead? Oh, wait. This is Victor we’re talking about! He’ll do anything.”

Another woman pipes up.

“And anyone!

Another cacophony of laughter.

Penguin swallows and his palms grow sweaty, suddenly regretting his decision to leave Fries in the car. Oswald hears another woman’s voice past the music.

“Okay, Victor. How ‘bout this then?”

Victor’s response is breezy.

“Whatcha got?”

Penguin squints and strains to concentrate on the woman’s voice, but it’s difficult with the blaring music.

“I dare you to... (voice fading out) tap (Is that what she said?) Penguin’s little head the next time you see him.”

Eyes wide, Oswald gasps. He covers his mouth, waiting Victor’s response. The man is slow to reply, but his tone is resolute.

“Well... I guess I have to now.”

Penguin suddenly recalls Victor’s response to nabbing Bianchi and rethinks all the additional time he required for his assignment.

I should have known something was amiss. Victor never takes that much time with an assignment…. No. Wait. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid… Calm down. Victor would never...

As Oswald is overcome by his whirling thoughts, he absently drops his cane. He struggles to catch it as it falls, but it soon clatters loudly on the floor. Penguin cringes at the sound.

At that moment, he hears a woman’s voice come from above, her tone loaded and throaty.

“Hey, Victor. Looks like you’re gonna be hittin’ that little head of Penguin's sooner than you thought. Guess who just showed up.”

“Wait. Penguin’s here now?

“Yup. I just let him in.”

Penguin’s jaw slackens. He’s been made. There’s no way he can make it to the exit fast enough to get away now. His blood runs cold as he pictures Zsasz looming above him with one of his GSRs pointed at his head. He sighs with resolve.

Well, if anyone’s going to execute me, I’d rather it be Zsasz.

Oswald slowly rounds the corner and finds himself facing several of Zsasz’s women with their weapons pointed at him. He blinks and swallows, slowly raising his hands in surrender.

 

—>z<—

Victor instinctively rises at the unexpected clattering sound behind him. He quickly pivots around onto a knee with one foot on the floor, ready to spring to action. He reflexively assumes a fighting stance and raises his hands. The Girls also draw their weapons before hearing the announcement of Penguin’s arrival.

Zsasz suddenly finds himself kneeling before Oswald, his head and hands at the level of his crotch. He arches a brow and tilts his head at the serendipitous timing of Penguin’s arrival and opportune position so quickly after the dare. Egypt leans into her sister and remarks under her breath.

“Well that’s convenient.”

Oswald looks down at his naked, blood-spattered lieutenant kneeling before him. Victor nonchalantly greets him.

“Oh. Hi, Boss.”

Victor swivels his head towards The Girls before returning his gaze to Oswald. He nods his head and addresses Penguin with a wry and knowing tone.

“So… I guess you heard all that, huh?”

Penguin swallows thickly. He shuts his eyes and presses his lips together before resolutely nodding in response. Victor replies with his typical candor, voice sober and matter of fact.

“So ya know what I gotta do then, right? Can’t back out now.”

Penguin resigns himself to his fate, but doesn’t want any witnesses to his execution. He addresses Zsasz with as much dignity as he can muster as he glances towards Victor’s women.

“I do, Victor. However, if you must, I’d like to do this privately. I’d prefer to keep this between you and me, if that’s not too much to ask.”

Victor offers an understanding nod before addressing his Girls.

“Ladies, you heard the man.”

The Girls immediately lower their weapons. They efficiently collect the pizza boxes and drinks before quickly exiting the lounge.

Oswald stands motionless, uncertain what to do. As the women exit, he glances to gauge the distance to the exit and his cane, before nervously peering down at Zsasz (who appears unfazed by his nudity or the situation at hand). Apparently, Victor has no qualms about taking him out. If anything, his erection makes him appear pretty enthusiastic about it.

Well, this is Zsasz we’re talking about.

Victor addresses Penguin once they’re alone.

“So. Did you wanna take off your clothes or should I?”

Oswald figures this is his last chance to demonstrate any dignity before his execution. He seriously doubts he can talk Zsasz out of taking him out. The man thoroughly enjoys killing and isn’t one to be bargained with.

The kingpin sighs and proceeds to remove his suit jacket, tie, cufflinks and waistcoat. He slides down his suspenders before removing his shoes, socks, trousers, shirt stay, shirt and undershirt. He methodically folds and lays them on the black leather loveseat, stripping out of everything but his silk boxers.

All the while, Victor silently and patiently waits on his knees, his expression open-faced and nonchalant before arching a brow at Penguin’s boxers.

“What about your underwear?”

Penguin swallows thickly, his face hot. He presses his lips together and nods with resignation before sliding his thumbs beneath his waistband to remove them. Victor looks curiously at Penguin’s crotch. He quirks a brow and screws his mouth to one side before returning his gaze to Penguin.

“Wow, Boss. I thought you’d at least be a little excited.”

The remark finally sparks Penguin’s indignation. He spits a snide retort.

Really, Victor? Does anyone actually get excited about this sort of thing?”

Victor tilts his head before deliberately peering down at his enthusiastic erection. He returns his gaze and raises a brow.

Well off course Zsasz would get excited about this sort of thing! Wait. Victor’s unarmed. If I can just get to my cane and stiletto, I might stand a chance...

The moment Victor reaches for Penguin, the desperate kingpin makes a run for it. He barely takes a step before Victor grabs him and pulls him to the floor. The man is lightning fast and extremely powerful.

When Penguin struggles to get away, Zsasz clambers on top of him. Victor pins Oswald and stares down at him. The assassin’s predacious eyes gleam. His grin is wide and wolfy.

Relax, Boss. This won’t hurt a bit. Promise. I’ve done this lots of times. I know what I’m doing.”

Victor licks his lips.

“In fact, lotsa people tell me I’m really good at it.”

Penguin makes every effort to free himself from Zsasz’s clutches right until he doesn’t anymore. Oswald gasps with fear, then surprise and eventually... understanding.

Oh. Zsasz really does know what he’s doing.

 

—>o<—

Sometime later, a disheveled and astonished Oswald Cobblepot hobbles back to his car in a daze, still struggling to process what just transpired with Zsasz. Once he closes the door behind him, Fries breezily addresses him.

“So, did Bianchi give it up on Nucci?”

Oswald blinks in puzzlement before suddenly remembering the whole reason for the impromptu visit in the first place. Penguin shakes his head, his reply exasperated and embarrassed.

“J-just take me back home, Victor! Drive!