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New Life (GREED/READER)

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The atmosphere of the Devil’s Nest was always one that made you uneasy. The air was thick with cigarette smoke- a smell that often stuck to your hair, to the leather sofas, burning your eyes. The body heat radiating from drunken visitors seemed to rebound off of the walls, and created a suffocating sensation that made you feel especially anxious. You weren’t used to this many people, this much noise. This whole experience was strange to you, a new world in which everything seemed fleeting... exotic. It didn’t matter. This was temporary, you thought, why would they allow someone like you to stay here for long? You shake your head, trying to stop your thoughts from spiraling. Frustrated at yourself, you repeat a mantra that has gotten you through the especially tough nights of work.

This bar saved your ass, remember that!

It was just three short months ago that you practically fell into the arms of your new employer. You close your eyes, remembering a time when you were much less wise. It seems like yesterday that your life changed forever.

Rain and a cold, biting wind swept the streets of Dublith, making the lights dull and the sidewalks slick. You feel yourself growing anxious at the worsening weather. It was a little bit after sunset, and the newfound darkness only made the air more frigid, cutting deep into your bones. Grasping a small pocketknife under your sleeve, you lean into the side of a brick alley wall, every ounce of hope you had clinged onto slowly dispersing. A feeling of dread sunk into your stomach- you were freezing, your hands and feet had lost feeling what seemed like hours ago, your vision beginning to slowly tunnel- most likely from the lack of food and the harsh weather, this was starting to seem like the end. It would be so easy, you thought, to just sit down and shut your eyes, to let the elements take you. To stop fighting. This idea again crept through your frozen psyche and lingered. “Shit,” you hissed to yourself, “Can’t do that.” You pushed yourself off the wall, determined to get your mind off of the subject. You had to start moving, had to hang on a little bit longer. You hunch over and start walking, back to the wind. Think! What are my options right now? If I don’t get out of this weather, I’ll die. I’m too weak for another night of this. That’s simple. Okay, next. What do I do? Before you could finish your thought, an answer strolled out before you. You caught him in the corner of your eye, opposite side of the street from you. Finally. That must be a sign. You glanced again at the man, making sure your gut wasn’t lying when it screamed at you to take action. He was tall, much taller than you, with an attention grabbing, commanding presence. You tried to get a better look without drawing too much attention to yourself. He was... Flashy. That was the word you chose for his obnoxious dress. He sported leather pants, surely insanely uncomfortable in the rain, pointed dress shoes and... Was that a vest? Wasn’t that asshole cold? He leisurely strolled down the street, both hands in his pockets, seemingly ignoring the brutal weather. You made up your mind in a split second. Yeah, you should rob this bastard.

You trailed the man for about ten minutes, feet carefully maneuvering around the wet cobblestone, waiting for an opportunity to strike. How you were going to do the deed wasn’t yet clear, with your mind being the sort of numb sludge it was currently. You held your knife like it was the only thing tying you to the earth, trying your hardest not to shiver. You had to make special care to not be seen, but in these few minutes you picked up on a few things about your target: The man’s wallet was stuck in his left back pocket, which makes you think that the man was either luring out pickpockets or an idiot. You hoped the latter. You also noticed that his destination did not seem entirely urgent to him, seeing as he was walking in the freezing rain as if he was a tourist in an exotic new country. With the weather as heavy as it was, you almost missed him turning right onto a new street. You grinned as you silently watched him, you knew that the time had almost come. It was a dimly lit, thin street, shooting off into many smaller alleys, acting like a web for its shady inhabitants to dwell in. You had no idea where this man was going, but you knew if he was here, you had to act fast. Quickly, you caught up to him, knowing that the rain should mask your footsteps. It was time to set your plan into motion.

Having been long since soaked in the downpour, you pulled up the hood of your cloak- in a strange attempt to make you appear more pitiful- brushing the sopping wet hair from your face. Your knife still secure in your pocket, you approached him, rapidly shifting your demeanor.

“Mister!” You called softly to the man, your arm extending to his, “Can you help me?” You touched the mans forearm, which was big and muscular, and a twinge of fear pulsed through your body. Shit, this guy looks strong. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. This notion of regret was quickly washed away by your hungry stomach, your freezing fingers. The man turned to look at you, eyes guarded by a pair of small, round sunglasses. He looks down on you, on this weak, starving girl, and smiled. Seeing him in closer detail, his teeth pointed and large, his features sharp and severe, you felt like prey. “What can I do for you, baby?” You gripped your knife, smiling back.