THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Epilogue - 11/6/16

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 2 - 2/1/15

Post by Alien_Friend » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:40 am

Hmmm I wonder if Bane is our Mikey G and if it is, is he really going find it easy to kill Maria. That evil man behind everything is so twisted if Bane really is Mike, tis tis.

I feel bad for Maria. I totally get where she is coming from wanting to get to the bottom of things but she is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. Life can be so cruel sometimes. I think that it is time that her uncle told her the truth to keep her safe.

I wonder if something happens to Maria if Max & Liz and Alex would consider trying to find her or getting to the bottom of it knowing what they do about her quest for the truth. If Maria had someone like a Bane on her side.

Lately, I have been reading old fics that are about the future which is ironically the present now and it has been making me think if only people knew back then what we do now about all the cool stuff we have technological wise that we didn't 10/15 years ago. Some of the things they were writing about could've been much easier. Especially with smart phones and all. Maria using a CD reminded me of that. Who really uses CDs anymore in 2015? I don't. But good for her keeping things old school. But with all the money her uncle probably has you would think he would have an iPod dock or something hooked up to those awesome speakers. I mean Maria did have a digital camera when she was little so she seems like an individual that would be into the latest technology. Anyhoo don't mind my random thought.

I am super intrigued. Eagerly awaiting more. Great part. :D

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Part 3

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:45 am

Roswelllostcause: There’s a definite plot to get rid of her, but why?

keepsmiling7: Yep, there’s a lot of truth in that one line.

begonia9508: Thanks for reading!

Eva: Lol, you certainly may.

Yep, with all those questions you wouldn’t be able to rest without the answers. She can’t let it go until she knows the truth.

Good question... perhaps we’ll get an answer to it today.

Earth2Mama: Lol, lots of questions and they seem to mirror Maria’s. The answers will come in time.

sarammlover: We’re so happy you’re enjoying the ride! There’s a lot more to come, so get ready to keep those guesses coming!

L-J-L 76: Thanks! That has yet to be seen.

jake17: Thanks! Maria’s got a lot of questions and it’s gonna be a rough journey getting to the answers.

Alien_Friend: Hm, who’s the mysterious Bane, that’s the question and the plot will thicken today. ;)

How M&L as well as Alex fit into this story and what their parts are has yet to be seen, hehe.

It’s so true. Technology has come a very long way over the last few years. CDs are kind of totally old fashioned by now, but sometimes we take comfort in something “old” and Maria has a lot of questions about her past, so maybe that’s an explanation.

Part 3

Just off Campus – Georgetown University – December 2015

Thank God, Maria Deluca was a predictable woman, Bane mused when he drove his dark green Dodge Ram onto the side street where his target’s car was parked. He had watched her for the last two and a half days closely, trying to pick up on her habits and behaviors. The timeframe he had been given for this mission was fucking short – a lot of shorter than normal, especially when they wanted it to look like an accident.

Killing someone was one thing. If you knew the person, you found a way to do it without leaving a trace. Fast. Clean. Efficient. A staged accident was a risk. There was always a certain amount of unknown variables. The victim could still survive, a third person could intervene. On top of that, he hated to operate under a time constraint. It could lead to mistakes or worse, it could end up costing him his own life.

There was nothing to fear about the college girl though. She was the niece of a senator and he was sure the reason for the hit on her was connected to him. The man kept her on a short leash although she was already 21. Their home was heavily secured with several kinds of warning systems as well as a high end alarm system and guards at each entrance. Not a good place for her last breath. Whenever she was out at a later hour, a personal bodyguard accompanied her. He played chauffeur and chaperone all in one and made his job even harder.

His best chance of getting the job done was in broad daylight, while she was at college or doing random things like getting a coffee. No bodyguard accompanied her and she didn’t have a lot of friends. To be exact, other than her interaction with a guy named Alex Whitman, she didn’t seem to have any at all. There was the couple she probably considered her closest friends, Liz Parker and Max Evans. Little did she know.

She never parked her car in the parking lot in front of the building where most of her classes were held. Maybe it was something her uncle had taught her or maybe she just wanted to avoid the heavy traffic when classes were over. Whatever her reason, it worked in his favor. The street was mostly unoccupied during the day – no shops or diners, no video surveillance.

Bane parked his truck a few vehicles behind hers and got out, grimacing at his reflection in the side mirror. The last time he had been forced to dress like a college kid had been almost two years ago when he had been on a job in Louisiana. He hated the tee shirts and ball caps with stupid logos. Facing the victim directly was something he tried to avoid, but he didn’t have time to hire someone or to prepare a more solid plan. More than half of his allotted time for this job had already passed, which called for immediate action.

He made his way to the nearby coffee shop and stepped inside, paying no mind to the two women sitting in one of the booths as they chattered on about kids, groceries and the mountains of laundry waiting for them at home. In the corner by the counter music played over the headphones of an abandoned iPod while its owner talked to the barista about a recent game. A young couple sat next to the window, their hands joined as they discussed potential names for the child they’d just learned they were having. Conversations that were of no importance to him, but he tracked all of them out of habit. In his line of work he never knew when he might need to improvise and he’d learned early on that being aware of his surroundings was a key element to his success.

He ordered a coffee, black, and found a seat that would provide him with the best vantage point as he waited for the target to make an appearance. He knew it wouldn’t be long. He had memorized her schedule and she would be getting out of class soon. She would stop in the coffee shop and order a vanilla latte, consider the pastry options for several minutes and then decide against them in favor of a whole grain muffin.

Maria shivered as she stepped out of the old building holding the last class for the day.

“Hey,” Liz approached her and rubbed her hands together in attempt to keep them warm, “I’m meeting Max at the diner. Come with me?”

“Not today,” she denied. “I need to do some grocery shopping and I have a paper due tomorrow that I haven’t even started yet.” Okay, that was an outright lie, but the truth – ‘I’m on my way to a little hidden place out of town that my Dad showed me when I was a kid and I’m gonna look over an illegally-gotten police report’ – sounded like something Liz didn’t need to know.

“You sure? Come on. There’s plenty of time for that later.”

“I’m sure. And I’m not hungry. Tell Max I said hi.” She waved and left to head for her car, feeling slightly guilty about dumping her friend like that, but she just couldn’t put off checking the new information any longer. Her pace was hurried to get out of the cold, especially when the wind picked up as soon as she rounded the corner to get a latte to go from her favorite little coffee shop.

“There she is,” Dave, the barista behind the counter, smiled when she entered at her usual time.

She smiled and joined him. “Here I am. And surprise, surprise, I’ll take the usual.”

“One vanilla latte and a muffin.” He nodded and placed everything on the counter. “That’s-”

“Five fifty-five,” she interrupted and placed seven in front of him. “Keep the change.”

“I was gonna say it’s on the house if ya finally agree to go out with me.”

Maria chuckled. “Nice try.”

“You’re cold.”

“Nope.” She sipped her latte, ready to leave. “But you ask every female walking into your shop. Makes me feel incredibly special.”

Bane tried to control the urge to gag at their encounter. What did people get out of a nonsense conversation like that?

“I don’t ask ‘em all.”

“Give or take a few.” Maria waved at him and prepared to leave. The muffin was still a little warm and smelled like heaven – it wouldn’t last until she arrived at her destination.

“See you tomorrow?” Dave asked, getting ready to serve the next customer.

“You know it.” She left and shivered as the cold from outside touched her cheeks again.

Bane emptied his coffee without looking hurried. He’d give her another minute to figure out that her car wasn’t working before he left the café, ready to be the nice guy that fixed it.

Maria turned the key in the ignition and frowned at the rrrrr-rrrrr-rrrrr sound that followed when the engine refused to turn over. She thumped her fisted hand against the steering wheel and turned the key again, releasing it when the sound repeated once more.

“Damn it,” she muttered and abandoned the key in favor of rummaging through her bag for her cell phone.

From a safe distance Bane watched her and as soon as she went for her phone he pressed a button on the device in his pocket and smirked to himself when she paused to hold the cell out in front of her. She squinted at it and shook her head before uttering what he was sure was a very creative curse and tossing it aside. Impossible to make a call to roadside assistance when you didn’t have a signal, he thought. He released the button on the jamming device, knowing she wouldn’t be attempting another call before he got to her.

Maria ran a hand through her hair as she shot a baleful look at the dashboard. She couldn’t believe the way things were going right now. An engine that wouldn’t start, a phone that wasn’t getting a signal… what else could go wrong? She checked the rearview mirror and after a moment decided if the car didn’t start this time she’d just run over to the café and make the call to roadside assistance.

Her hand rested on the key ring dangling from the ignition and she inhaled a slow deep breath before closing her eyes and turning the key. Rrrrr-rrrrr-rrrrr. “Piece of crap,” she snarled at it. “And to think when I saw you I thought you were the most perfect car I’d ever seen. What I’d give to have you hauled off to the junkyard right–” She jumped and nearly screamed when someone suddenly knocked on the window.

Bane forced a neutral expression on his baseball cap shaded face, knowing she wouldn’t accept his help if he came across too grim. He studied her through the window, watching her expression as it changed from shock to surprise to resignation.

Slowly and with a still pounding heart, she lowered the window a bit.

“Sorry for startling you,” Bane said, his voice rough from lack of use. “Problem with the car?”

“Yeah,” she sighed, looking from the dashboard to the man next to her. He had kind of a creepy attitude, but what she could see of his face seemed to be handsome, it even felt a little familiar. “No clue what’s wrong. It was working fine this morning.”

Bane followed the movement of her hand when she ran it through her long blonde hair. “I bet it’s just a loose cable. Typical for this model.” He looked along the car and nodded at the front. “Pop the hood, my Dad owns a garage and I learned a few things. Maybe I can help.”

She studied him for a few long moments, shivering when the wind blew through the open window to brush against her exposed skin. “Are you sure you know about cars?” she asked, her eyes narrowing suspiciously.

“You see anyone else offering to help?”

Maria cleared her throat at his question. No, no one else had stopped to offer assistance, but that was no reason for him to be rude about it. She started to tell him as much but before she could get the words out he spoke again.

“Lady, in case it’s slipped your notice, it’s cold out here.”

“Right, sorry.” She had no idea why she was apologizing to him. He was the one with the attitude. She leaned over and reached for the lever to release the hood, keeping a cautious eye on him as he moved to the front of the car.

Bane reached for the latch and gave it a nudge, muttering under his breath as it gave and he lifted the hood.

Maria forced her body to relax. He’s just helping you out, she reminded herself, knowing if Uncle Reggie found out she would no longer be able to get rid of Rob the Mob during the day. Oh no! She would NOT let that happen.

“Can you see anything wrong with it?” She leaned her head out through the open window but couldn’t see him behind the open hood.

Bane frowned when the control section in his hand was a little too large to attach where he needed it to go. The device needed a firm place to be secured otherwise the risk was too high that he wouldn’t be able to control her car while she was driving. “Just what I thought. It’s a loose cable. I have zip ties in my truck to fix it for now. You should go an’ get it fixed properly soon though.”

“Alright,” she said, relieved. “Thanks.”

Bane jogged to his Ram and got the zip ties before he went back to finish the installation of his device. Once it was set he pulled his cell out and connected to it. “Alright. Try again.”

Maria shifted in her seat and turned the key again, smiling when the Mercedes came to life with its usual soft purr.

He nodded to himself and slammed the hood shut, looking at her though the front window. She was a fine kind of woman, too bad her life would be ending soon. From everything he’d learned about her she wasn’t even involved in any kind of crime.

“Thanks,” she said, her voice trailing off as she stared at him. There was something so familiar about him, but at the same time she was certain they’d never met.

“Yeah, well, just get ‘er to the shop soon as you can. That zip tie will keep the cable from coming loose for a while, but I wouldn’t advise waitin’ more than a couple days.” Not that you have that long, he thought.

“I’ll take it in soon, promise,” she said with a wide smile.

One side of his mouth lifted without his intention, the feeling of even the minuscule smile so foreign to him. He nodded rather than responding verbally. He’d already used up more vocabulary with this woman than he normally used in the course of most months.

Maria’s eyes widened and she shoved the door open, not even noticing the way his body went taut in anticipation of a potential threat. “Oh, my god, Michael Guerin!”

Years of training kept him rooted to the spot. Never show weakness. Never back down. Never allow a target to get in a position to compromise the mission. They were rules he lived by. Rules that had been drilled into him since he was seventeen years old. “You should get in your car. It’s freezing out.”

“Don’t you recognize me?”

“Name’s Jefferson, not whatever it was you just said.”

She moved closer to him, reaching out with the intention of pushing his hat back when one of his hands shot out to clamp around her wrist, preventing her from getting any closer. “Michael?”

He frowned at her determined voice. “My name is not Michael,” he said firmly and only turned her wrist free when she made an attempt to lower it.

“But you look-” She swallowed as she realized he probably just looked a lot like the boy she knew was dead. “Sorry, you look a lot like someone I knew.”

“Well, I’m not him.”

“No, no, of course not,” she said slowly.

“Get inside before you freeze to death.” That would definitely be accidental but he wouldn’t get paid for that unless it happened someplace obscure. He shook that thought off. He already had a plan in place. “Like I said, next few days have those cables tightened.”

“I will, thanks again.” Her eyes strayed back to his face, moving over his features to memorize them. She paused when she reached the small half-moon shaped scar on the left side of his jaw. The blemish was visible where the light growth of beard shadowed his jaw, not growing over the scar.

The way she was looking at him was odd. Was it possible she knew something about his past? No, he decided. What were the chances he would meet someone who knew a part of his life that he didn’t remember? “Well, lady, have a nice life.” Even if it’s a short one.

She nodded, her eyes following him as he took off in the direction of his truck. Was it possible for two people to have that exact same scar? To have the exact same features? Maybe, but even if she could rule those two things out, could two people have the same eyes? She wasn’t so sure that one could be so easily dismissed. The same color, sure. The same intensity? No. But then again, they did say everyone had a twin somewhere in the world, right?

She turned and pulled her door open, sliding into the leather seat and running her hands over the steering wheel while her body adjusted to the warm interior. She shook those thoughts off, turning her attention back to her personal mission. Hoping that his quick-fix job with the zip ties held out she pulled into the light afternoon traffic and headed out of the city.

Bane waited behind another corner for her to lead the way. He got his cell out and slid his thumb over the screen a few times until a map appeared and on it a red blinking signal. He would follow her slowly until he found a firing place for the car to accidently crash. He glanced at himself in the rearview mirror, wondering what she had seen in his face. Or more likely, who.

Maria’s thoughts were running wild as she drove. There were so many questions and she didn’t have any answers. At least any that made sense. Yet. She just hoped when she reached her destination she could put some of the pieces together. She turned the stereo on and selected a CD before turning the volume up and singing along with the songs. There wasn’t much traffic the further she got out of the city and she enjoyed the freedom of the open road. Uncle Reggie meant well, but sometimes his controlling nature nearly suffocated her.

She drove along the winding roads, time seeming to fly as she neared her destination. Berkeley Springs was a couple of hours out of DC and she was the only one who ever came up to the cabin. Her parents had purchased it when she was two years old and kept its location quiet. Her dad had been cautious about revealing it to people because of his position within the FBI. She knew he had dealt with dangerous people in his job and she could understand why he’d kept so much to himself. She left the highway and began the slow drive along an unpaved road.

She applied the brakes when she pulled into the circular drive in front of the rustic looking cabin. Her mother had designed the interior herself while allowing it to maintain its natural ambiance in deference to her husband’s preferences. It was comfortable and familiar and it was the place where she could still feel her parents’ presence the most. There were so many good memories in this place and she only wished there were more. She turned the car off and got out, taking a moment to inhale the crisp, cold air that was so much fresher and clearer up in the mountains.

Bane waited for a safe while before he followed her down the lonely road. He parked his truck far enough away from the cabin to make sure she wouldn’t see it and made a connection.

On the way there had been plenty possibilities for her ‘accident’ but he had decided against it, wanting to find out about her destination. He was still wondering about her weird behavior and the fact she had been so sure about knowing him.

At one point she would go back the same way and he’d already located the perfect place for her last breath.

She walked up to the cabin, taking the three steps that led up onto the deck and looked around as she selected the key without even looking at it. The lake was so calm it looked like a sheet of glass and while there was snow on the ground it wasn’t heavy yet. She exhaled and her breath formed a cloud that quickly dissipated, but served to remind her of just how cold it was outside. The wind blew causing the leafless branches to sway, some of them creaking in protest and others bending without resistance.

It wouldn’t be much warmer inside the cabin but at least the wind would be blocked. She wanted to start back before nightfall so there wasn’t time to start a fire in the fireplace or turn the heat on. There was limited daylight this time of year and with the weather’s unpredictability during the winter she didn’t want to risk being stranded on the side of the road after dark if anything happened. She stepped inside and closed the door, leaning back against it as her eyes adjusted to the dim interior. After a few moments she flipped the light switch on the wall next to her and light flooded the room.

She smiled as she looked around, feeling warmer in spite of the lack of heat. If she closed her eyes she could easily picture her parents there; Mom in the kitchen cooking or baking something that would chase the chill away and Dad over by the fireplace stoking the fire and telling her stories about work. She knew now that most of those stories had been made up because his work had been classified and he wouldn’t have been able to share it with anyone outside of those he worked with, and of those, only the ones in need to know positions.

She moved to the wall that faced the lake, made of several sections of glass that was partitioned by thick wood beams. Her attention was caught by movement in the woods and a moment later a deer appeared, its head raised to check the area before fully emerging to make its way down to the water. She watched it for a moment before moving across the room to the large fireplace, crouching down next to it and taking a seat on the hearth. She twisted around and reached up inside, running her hand over the hidden door built into the stone and feeling around for the latch that would release it.

Bane moved around the cabin, quiet as a whisper. He stayed in the shadows, using trees and high grass for cover. The air smelled like snow – it wouldn’t be long before it fell. After a while he found a good enough cover. No one was up here but them and he used the scope of his sniper rifle to peer inside the cabin.

Photos where spread over the floor in front of her while she held a written file in her hand with a frown. Whatever she was checking, it was providing more questions than answers if her confusion was anything to go by.

Maria glanced over the report, her focus on the details of the so-called accident itself rather than the facts of the deaths that had been the result of it. She wasn’t prepared just yet to read through the reports detailing the final moments of her loved ones. She had been there and she had seen the destruction in the aftermath of the explosion. Ten years later that scene was still burned into her brain, there was no escaping it. She had seen it with her own eyes, heard it with her own ears, and she wasn’t ready to revisit that day just yet. Not that part of it anyway.

The explosion wasn’t an accident as she’d been led to believe. There was no way her uncle wasn’t aware of the truth, but why would he hide it from her? What did he think he was protecting her from? She turned the page and her eyes scanned over the list of deceased, her vision blurring as her fingertips ghosted over the names of her parents, aunts and uncles, cousins... she swallowed with difficulty and traced over one of the names. Alisha. For all of the good times they’d had together, the trouble they’d managed to get themselves into, the happy little girl she had been best friends with for most of their young lives, she had trouble picturing her beyond that moment she’d seen her bloody, broken body lying on the ground.

She closed her eyes and shook her head to force the memory away. “No,” she whispered. “No, don’t go there,” she ordered herself. She drew in a deep breath and composed herself as she continued searching the list of names and near the bottom she finally found him. Michael Guerin. “You’re dead. I know you’re dead and yet I could swear you were standing right in front of me today, that you stopped to help me.” She exhaled loudly. “But it couldn’t be, could it?” She started to close the file but slowly reopened it. “Or could it?” There were so many lies surrounding that day that she just didn’t know what to believe right now.

Maria sighed as she opened a little box where she stored the photos she had taken the day of the wedding before everything had gone to hell. She took a photo of the boy she had crushed on out and stared at it several minutes.

The same scar. The same features. And those eyes.

Had she made a mistake? Should she have tried to keep that man from leaving? He had claimed to be someone else, yet his face was burned into her memory. She took a pencil and turned the picture over, writing down the license plate of the Dodge Ram as well as the name Jefferson with a question mark.

Bane lowered the rifle and released a frustrated breath. He didn’t have a clear enough view to see what she was looking at or writing and somehow he had a feeling it was important. “You just bought yourself a little more time, girl,” he muttered. Whatever held her attention, he needed to know what it was. She moved and he brought the rifle up again, watching her through the scope as she returned the items to their hiding place. She was sure the documents she was searching were safe from being found, and under normal circumstances she would probably be right.

He had done his homework on her, researched her background, and unearthed the truth about the explosion with little effort. He didn’t know why she had been told lie upon lie, but he had a feeling it wasn’t only for her protection. There was more to the story but it wasn’t his job to look for the answers or try to piece the puzzle together. But he’d never run into a situation where a target seemed so certain he was familiar. He had precious little time to figure out what was going on. The clock was running out and his deadline was fast approaching. He had to get into that cabin and get a look at those documents. He could always catch up with her on the drive back and make sure the accident happened when and where he had determined it should happen.

He waited until she left and then sneaked into the cabin with little effort. The hidden door wasn’t secured properly so it took him under ten seconds to get to the information she felt the need to hide. The first folder was a police report about the day she had lost her family. He skipped through it briefly and then went for the other box.

Nothing could have prepared him for what he found there though.
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by begonia9508 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:08 am

Wow! I just hope I won't scare to death by reading one of your parts! :shock: The suspense made my stomach grips in fear... :roll: :wink:

So Bane is Michael... maybe he lost his memory and he will see his pictures as kid with Maria...
Never knew he would end on the wong side of the Law... :( And I guess him too... Hope he will be searching for answers too, like Maria does...

Anyway, waiting for more and thanks! EVE :mrgreen:
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by Roswelllostcause » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:22 am

Michael is a hired killer! What the heck!
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by Earth2Mama » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:40 am

So Michael is Bane! Sounds like the explosion caused amnesia. Would explain why he doesn't remember his past or Maria. But how the hell did he become a ruthless assassin? That's the puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit.

I hope Maria can get him to remember at least some of it before he attempts to kill her. And together, they can get to the truth of this conspiracy that plagues both of their pasts and get to the hard truths of the matter.
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by Eva » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:34 pm

I was right! And then again I wasn't! Michael isn't the boy from the past anymore, he doesn't even know who he is. Was he found after the explosion? And who found him? And is someone playing with him? Why on earth did he get that assignement? This can't be a coinscidence, it just can't be. The world is small, but not that small!!
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by sarammlover » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:36 am

Ok so that was true..Bane is Michael...though it seems he doesn't remember anything. Ooh.....they are going to help each other out!! Maria won't die her last breath yet! WHEW! Uncle Reggie is a sketchball and I don't like him. Great update ladies!

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 3 - 2/8/15

Post by Clari » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:50 am

Besides everything with Michael :shock: , one thing that got my attention was the comment about Max and Liz not "really" being her friends?

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Part 4

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:17 am

begonia9508: Lol, thanks for that compliment! Some of the parts will be pretty edgy, but hopefully not too scary.

How did he end up on that end of a sniper rifle? What does he remember? There are a lot of questions to be answered, but be prepared for some of them to take some time.

Roswelllostcause: There are lots of questions and the path to the truth is gonna be pretty rocky.

Earth2Mama: The pieces of the puzzle will begin falling into place but it’s gonna take time. How he ended up on that end of the sniper rifle is part of the story that will be uncovered eventually.

Well, it won’t be very long at all before Bane makes contact with her again. His curiosity’s sure to be piqued at this point.

Eva: Lol, you have lots of questions and you’re right the world is just not that small! The answers are coming, but it’s gonna take time for us to get to all of them.

sarammlover: Nope, he doesn’t have any memory of Maria, but her possession of that picture and others has him very interested in her. No love for Uncle Reggie, huh? We don’t blame you. Thanks!

Clari: We may just learn more about that today... or it may just bring up more questions.

Part 4

Apartment of Liz Parker and Max Evans – Washington DC – December 2015

Liz ran a towel through her hair as she walked through the apartment she and Max shared to answer the door. Her longtime boyfriend was passed out on the couch, his sock-covered feet propped up on the coffee table because the couch was too short for his tall frame. An open textbook was laying face-down on his chest and his forehead was pressed against the back of the couch. She stepped over shoes without even looking as she hurried to grab the door before another round of knocking could start.

She stared at the woman standing on the other side of the door, her hand raised to knock again. It was easy to see that something was off with her friend and she quickly ushered her inside. “Maria, what’s wrong?”

The blonde stood in the doorframe with a confused expression on her face. “I’m not quite sure.”

Liz frowned. “Okay, well, come inside and tell me what happened.”

Maria stepped past her friend, her gaze landing on her lightly snoring boyfriend. “Nice.”

“Cute, isn’t he?” She chuckled. “It’s not so cute when I’m trying to sleep though.”

“I bet. One point for being single.”

“There’s that, but I wouldn’t toss him back just to go back to being single.”

“Yeah, I guess he’s okay,” Maria agreed and glanced around the apartment. “Kitchen?” she asked, pointing at a door.

“Sure.” Liz followed her into the other room and gestured for her to have a seat. “Want somethin’ to drink?”

“No, I don’t have a lot of time. Uncle Reggie’s probably already on his last nerve before calling the cops.” She rolled her eyes. “I haven’t been home yet and you know how he is.”

“What, since we ran into each other?” Liz ran the timeframe through her head. That was at least five hours and usually Maria went straight home after class let out.

“No.” She winced. “Sorry, I know I told you I had to do a paper when you asked me to hang out… it was a lie.”

Every internal alarm she had was going off but she did her best to keep things light. “Okay, I’m guessing you weren’t meeting some hot guy for a little make-out time.”

Her friend snorted. “You know me. As if ANY hot guy would be interested in making out with me.”

She still couldn’t believe Maria didn’t see herself for who she was. She just lacked confidence thanks to good ol’ Uncle Reggie. “So not a hot make-out session and not hitting the books, so what?”

“I was heading to a place to… study. It’s out of town, but anyway, that’s not the point. When I got to my car it wouldn’t start and after a moment a guy showed up an’ offered to help. He was a little freaky and odd, but he managed to fix my car.”

“Something about him bothered you. What was it? Did he do something to scare you?” Play it cool, Liz, she cautioned herself.

“Not at all. He was just a little mysterious or something. I can’t really put my finger on it.” Maria sighed and ran a hand over her face, trying for the hundredth time to find an explanation that didn’t lead to Michael still being alive. “But then I got a good look at him and there were some similarities to someone I know.” She looked at Liz, shaking her head. “Someone I knew and should be dead.”

She reached out and placed a hand on her friend’s arm. “Who did he look like?”

“He looked like Michael.”

“Michael?” she echoed and after a moment her eyes widened. “The boy you were crushing on way back?”

“Yeah, the one who was at the wedding when,” Maria swallowed, “when my family passed away.”

“You and your uncle were the only survivors that day, Maria.” She drew in a deep breath after pointing out the obvious. “Was there something he did or said that made you think it was more than just a passing resemblance?”

“No, it wasn’t anything he said or did. I didn’t even know Michael that well. I was just looking from afar, but they have the same expression, Liz. The same scar on the jaw an’ they have the same eyes. How is that possible?”

“Well, I’ll admit that’s a little out of the realm of possibilities as far as the odds go. But, it was a long time ago and you’ve had that day on your mind a lot here lately. Do you think maybe you’re just seeing something you want to see?”

“I’ve asked myself the same thing,” she admitted. “But what if I didn’t just imagine it? They never found any parts of his body. He was just declared dead.”

“That’s a pretty long shot though. Sweetie,” she took Maria’s hand, “after that explosion there were some remains they probably just weren’t able to positively identify.” Yeah, even she didn’t buy that one. Not with the advancements that had been made in remains identification. “You said he was there that day and if he’d survived why would your uncle have hidden the truth from you?”

“Maybe he doesn’t know.” She shrugged helplessly. Maybe talking to Liz about this hadn’t been a good idea. Her friend was supportive in everything but the idea of looking further into the past. She couldn’t really hold it against her, but she wished she could find someone who shared her belief.

She found that hard to swallow. “Maybe not.”

A phone started to ring and after a moment the blonde woman recognized it as hers. She rummaged around in her bag to glance at the caller ID. “It’s my uncle. I really should go.”

“You want a ride? Max could always take a look at your car when he gets up.”

“No, thanks.” She got up again, ready to leave. “The Mercedes works fine for now an’ I’ve already made an appointment with Uncle Reggie’s repair shop to have it properly fixed tomorrow.”



“Do you think the guy that helped you could be Michael?”

YES! She wanted to believe it was him. She wanted to believe she had finally found proof that everything she’d been told was bullshit. “You’re probably right. He’s just someone who reminded me of him an’ I wanted him to be Michael.”

Liz nodded, but didn’t believe her. Maria was so determined to prove that everything she’d been told about that day was a lie, but was she so certain that she was seeing something that wasn’t there? Or was it possible that her beliefs were right? That her uncle was hiding the truth from her and there was something far more sinister going on than any of them knew?

Capital Crescent Trail – Georgetown – December 2015

Bane adjusted the black baseball cap on his head and sat down on one of the benches set up along a less traveled part of the Capital Crescent Trail that ran from Georgetown DC up into Maryland. All year long it was occupied by bikers and joggers, but they thinned out as winter settled in.

He stretched his long dark grey sweatpants-covered legs in front of him and unfolded the newspaper he had brought for cover. All of his senses were focused on the little integrated monitor in his sunglasses. For the past twelve hours he had watched the woman who obviously knew something about his past – something he couldn’t remember.

In the little secluded cabin he had found several photos of himself. They had been taken while he had been a teenager, maybe 15 or 16 and had showed him in a location that had looked like a wedding setting. He couldn’t remember the day, couldn’t say a single one of the people in those photos seemed familiar, and yet it was him. No doubt about it.

Who was she? And why was she in possession of photos of a part of his life that had been banned from his memory?

His mission’s timeframe was closing soon and he knew he needed to kill her sooner rather than later or The Circle would send someone else to take them both out. But first he needed answers.

Maria Deluca had just finished a phone call to her hacker friend Alex Whitman and was about to meet him at the end of the jogging trail to hand him information about his name as well as his license plate.

Little witch had been more attentive than he had expected and he couldn’t let any information about him pass her lips. It was bad enough she had told Parker about their encounter, but she had been too quick for him to prevent her from doing it without blowing his cover.

He switched the digital glasses off when he got the signal that she had just left her house. It would be just a few more minutes before she passed his current location. It was time to introduce himself to her a second time.

Maria got out of her car and patted the pocket of her Georgetown University sweatshirt, sighing when she felt the crinkle of paper there. She would be so relieved when she handed the information over to Alex. If anyone could find out any information on the guy that she was more and more certain was Michael, it would be him.

She went through her stretching routine before setting out, enjoying the cool air on her face as she began to jog. The trail was fairly deserted this time of year and she knew if Uncle Reggie knew she was there he would’ve sent her shadow with her. He thought she was just taking her car in for a repair, and she was, just not yet. She took to the trail with enthusiasm, welcoming the opportunity to clear her mind and sort her thoughts out.

She knew better than to run with her iPod when she was alone, but even without the distraction of music or a good audio book it didn’t take long for her thoughts to shift away from her surroundings. There were answers out there, she was sure of it. Answers about what had happened. Answers about why the man from yesterday looked exactly like the boy she had crushed on.

Bane saw her approaching out of the corner of his eye and he waited patiently until she had passed before he folded the newspaper and placed it on the empty bench. There was no one following her and no one approaching, so he began to fall into a slow jogging pace about 15 yards behind her.

He stayed behind for a while, watched her from a distance. She was in good shape for a college girl, thanks to her regular workouts, but he knew she wouldn’t stand a chance if she decided to run from him.

With ease, he increased his pace, getting closer to her until they were almost running side by side.

Maria turned her head when a shift in the air drew her attention back to the present and she realized someone was running beside her. Not expecting to recognize the man beside her she stumbled and nearly fell when she saw who it was. “Are you following me?” Her voice was pitched higher than normal because of the adrenaline that suddenly flooded her veins.

“I’m just doin’ my daily morning workout,” he replied simply, not stopping, but slowing his pace. “Did your car give you any more trouble?”

She shook her head. She had never seen him on the trail and she ran nearly every morning, rain or shine. He was lying, she was sure of it. “No, and I don’t believe you.”

Bane gave her a half shrug. “You don’t have to, Maria.”

Her stride faltered and she swallowed hard as she realized she was alone with a man she didn’t know with no one else around. A man who knew her name when she had never introduced herself.

He reached out for her arm to pull her along with him before releasing his grip again. “This can go one of two ways, lady. Either we jog and have a nice little conversation or you decide to try to escape and lose.”

Her eyes narrowed as her anger spiked at being manhandled by him. “How dare you! Who the hell do you think you are?” She took a step back and dug her heels in, refusing to be moved. “A nice little conversation? About what? How my car’s doing? If this’s your way of hitting on a woman you need to work on it. I’m not gonna just go along with you when I don’t know you and you have God only knows what in mind. What’s wrong with you anyway?”

Bane clenched his fists in anger and stopped as well, facing her with a stern expression on his face, his dark sunglasses not revealing his pissed off glare. With one large step, he moved against her, towering over her, his body language tense. When he saw the fear in her eyes, his temper settled down a level or two. Maria Deluca was tough, but she knew she didn’t have a chance against him if it came down to it. “You want honesty, Maria Deluca?”

“You have no idea how refreshing that would be,” she spit out defiantly.

He nodded, glancing down her body and reaching into the pocket of her sweatshirt.

“What do you think you’re doin’?” Maria tired to shake him off, but he hardened his grip on her and dragged the photo with his name and license plate number on it out.

“Where did you get this from?”

“What business is it of yours? You’re the one acting all suspicious!” She fought against his grip and anger rushed through her once more when the combination of fear and frustration caused tears to come to the surface. She hated that reaction but unfortunately she could do nothing to prevent it. “Let me go!”

“No!” he said sternly. “Answer the question.”

She shook her head stubbornly. “I’m not telling you anything you… you… bully!”

He smirked. “Assassin would be my correct job description.”

She inhaled sharply and the cold air took her breath away for a moment before she was able to collect herself. Why would an assassin be talking to her? Why would he tell her what his job was? Her eyes widened. He was there to kill her. “You’re just a b-bully with a g-g-gun,” she stammered out.

Bane brought her closer. “I don’t need a gun to kill you.” With his free hand, he pressed the photo against her chest. “Answer the question, Blondie,” he growled low. “I swear it’s the only chance you have to breathe longer than a few more minutes.”

Okay, how was she gonna get out of this? “No. You wanna know where I got that picture? I hope you’re better at mind reading than you are at threatening people because even I know that if I tell you what you wanna know I’m dead.”

It took an immense effort not to lose it in front of her. This little pixie was playing with him and every cell in his body reacted with anger. “That’s where you’re mistaken! I kill without asking questions. The fact that I am is the only hope you have when it comes to your life.”

He was angry and somehow she felt like that gave her the upper hand. “You say that, but it’s only to build false hope in your victim.” Yes, she was sure she was right now. How many movies had she watched with some stupid girl handing over the information because the killer promised if she did he’d let her live? And then he killed her as soon as he had what he wanted. Every time without fail. “Is that why you stopped to help me yesterday? Huh? Did you think you could build some kinda rapport and you’d learn what I know?” Yeah, she was making things up now. How could he have known about the picture before yesterday?

His patience was seconds from snapping. She was feistier than he had thought she’d be and while the logical thing would be to just get it over with and take her life, he knew he’d possibly be killing the only person on Earth who knew who he really was.

Looking around, he found a secluded spot that would take them out of sight. He tightened his grip around her wrist and dragged her along until they reached a group of trees. He whirled her around and pressed her against the biggest one, noticing her fearful expression beneath the tough exterior. “I stopped to help because I was the one who manipulated your car in the first place, Blondie. I don’t do rapports. I kill people.” He lifted the picture to her gaze. “This’s the only reason you’re still breathing. Now tell me,” he shoved the photo into her hand and reached up to pull his dark sunglasses off, staring down at her intensely, “who do you see?”

“You manipulated my car,” she repeated slowly as the feeling of panic began to set in with a vengeance. “But why? I don’t have any enemies. I mean, okay, Angie Davis hates me because Professor Stephens caught her cheating off of my exam. Okay, I guess I kinda told, but it wouldn’t be fair for her to pass because of cheating, right? But I don’t think she’d wanna have me killed for that,” she babbled.

This woman would stretch his nerves to the far end! “Who. Do. You. See?” he repeated sternly.

“Who. Wants. Me. Dead?”

“I don’t fuckin’ know who! I don’t ask questions when I get my orders.”

“Then I’d say you have a problem, don’t you?”

Time for a different tactic, he decided. She wasn’t going to tell him what she knew of her own free will. “No, lady,” he let go of her and slipped his sunglasses back on, “you’re the only one with the problem. You wanna refuse to tell me why you’re lookin’ for me? Fine. Go ahead an’ talk to your friend about my license plate. The car’s registered under a William Collins, 30, from Philadelphia.” He turned to leave and looked back at her confused fearful face. “Oh, and if I were you I wouldn’t spill my guts to a couple of security people like Evans and Parker. You never know who might find out about your little secret investigation. Good luck with the next assassin they set on you.”

He wasn’t planning to leave Blondie to someone else, but if she wouldn’t cooperate he didn’t have much of a choice. By now his bosses had already discovered his pathetic performance on the job and had picked out someone else for her.

Maria frowned as his words sank in. “You can try every tactic in the book and maybe you’ll eventually find one that works, but suggesting that my friends are anything but that won’t get you anywhere.” She had no idea where her sudden show of courage, or possibly blind stupidity was a better description, but either way, she had no idea where it had come from.

If she believed what this man was saying then someone wanted her dead. And he was the one chosen to carry that order out. What could she have done to warrant such an action being taken? It didn’t make any sense. Why her?

Bane shoved his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants and shrugged. “Believe whatever you wanna believe, Blondie.”

“My name is Maria as you obviously already know,” she snapped.

“Blondie will work fine for your headstone.”

“Yeah, well, asshole would be fitting for yours.” Why was she antagonizing this guy? What was wrong with her today?

He smirked to himself, although the situation was bad. He needed to take care of her one way or another, but he couldn’t just kidnap or kill her in the middle of the day in a place like this.

“So what’s the plan, Mr. Collins? I’ll assume that isn’t your real name.”

He stared at her for several long moments in silence. A jogger passed by without giving their location much more than a passing glance. “My orders won’t change and for now you haven’t given me a reason to defy them.”

“Then why are we still standing here?”

“Giving you the chance to change your mind, Blondie.”

“Or what? You’ll kill me?” She had no idea why she was behaving this way. The man staring her down had been sent by someone to end her life.

He nodded slowly, seriously. “If not me, someone else.”

“Then just do it and let’s get this over with. Somehow I don’t think it matters if it’s you or someone else.”

“No, it doesn’t matter,” he agreed, but walked further away from her. “Until next time, Blondie.” He turned to leave but hesitated after two steps. “One more tip. If you don’t want your friend Alex in danger, you’d better not feed him anymore information.”

Maria ran after him before she had time to think about just how stupid her actions were. She grabbed his arm to stop him. ”You can’t threaten him! Who do you think you are?”

“It’s not me he needs to fear, lady.”

“Meaning what? You’ll tell one of your little assassin friends about him and then he’ll be on their list too?” She poked him in the chest as hard as she could. ”You and your friends better leave him alone.”

He grabbed her wrist in a tight, harsh grip and came face to face with her. “Listen! This isn’t some bad bullshit hitman movie. Someone has you in their sights because obviously you or someone involved with you is a threat to them. I’m just the one they sent.”

“Then why am I still alive?” Maybe this was just some sick prank someone was playing on her. “Or are you just not very good at your job?”

He wished he had killed her. “Seems like your hair color speaks for itself,” he muttered, tugging at the photo she was holding. “If I hadn’t seen this yesterday, you and your car would be nothing more than a pile of burnt wreckage at the bottom of one of those steep drops right now.”

“Then I guess we’ve reached an impasse because I’m never gonna tell you anything about this picture.”

“We’ve already gone over that.” He dropped her wrist in annoyance and once more started to leave.

“Just making sure we understand each other, you cretin!”

“Enjoy every breath you take, Maria Deluca. It won’t be for long.” He made a saluting motion with his hand and left, knowing he was in trouble for talking to her, but he had to at least to try to find out about those pictures.

She stared after him until he disappeared, trying to make sense of what had just happened. She pulled her cell out and thumbed a quick text to Alex to cancel their meeting, telling him she would explain soon. Shoving it back in her pocket, she hurried back the way she came, climbing in her car and collapsing behind the steering wheel. Her hands were shaking so badly she couldn’t get a grip on her keys and she wrapped her fingers around the wheel, slumping over it and resting her forehead on her knuckles as she tried to bring her breathing under control.

Someone wanted her dead. Alex had been threatened. Her eyes widened and she lifted her head to stare out through the windshield. He’d said Max and Liz weren’t who they claimed to be. She had to get some answers and quickly.

Operation Snake Eyes: Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 2015

The fireworks exploding in the night sky illuminated the darkened interior of the lush hotel suite, but the occupants were oblivious to the beautiful display. The general was a powerful man; harsh, unrelenting, and without question, one of the most feared men in the Albanian army. He was also heavily connected to the largest criminal organization in his country. He was in a position to provide his business associates with a certain anonymity and immunity as they trafficked in drugs, weapons, and humans.

It wasn’t those proclivities that had put him on The Circle’s hit list though. It was his outspoken political views that had made him a target. Valkyrie had been assigned to take him out and while she took a great deal of pride in her work, and she was careful to never get personally involved, her research into the general had made her want to see him dead.

He should’ve been taken out long ago and it should’ve been because he dealt in human trafficking rather than his politics. It was just more proof that the world was completely fucked up. The general had a thing for leggy redheads and he had a kink about being dominated in the bedroom. She didn’t much care for the temporary dye job, but she was more than pleased to take this piece of garbage out permanently.

It wasn’t a job she would’ve chosen, but that wasn’t the way it worked. She worked for The Circle. She was well paid for her services, but the jobs weren’t a matter of choice. Failure to complete a mission once resulted in severe punishment. A second failure or a refusal to take an assignment resulted in another assassin being assigned to make sure a third failure never happened.

She never questioned her orders. She carried out her assignments, collected her paycheck, and went back into seclusion until her services were required again. She was good at her job, she had never refused or failed an assignment, but it wasn’t because she was dedicated to the job or The Circle. It was the only thing she knew.

Her past wasn’t something she thought about often. It wasn’t full of happy memories or a warm, loving family. It wasn’t full of laughter and dreams. She was the only survivor of a multi-vehicle accident that had occurred just before her seventeenth birthday. She had been left with very little recall of that day or her life before it. Research had painted a picture she didn’t want to remember.

Everything she had unearthed about her past indicated a troubled childhood that had eventually led to her seeking solace in whatever form she could find. Self destructive behavior, a rebellious attitude, and finally her involvement in the accident that had killed her family and several others.

She had been recruited by The Circle not long after the accident and after a couple years of intensive training she had been given her first mission. At nineteen her first kill had been confirmed. Now at twenty-five that number was significantly higher. It didn’t matter how successful she was or how much money she had piling up in offshore accounts because none of it made her feel alive.

She spent hours just observing people. Watching them as they went about their lives. Wishing for some semblance of normalcy, some way to just disappear, some way to have a life with a man who could love her in spite of who she was. Wishing for someone who could make her feel alive again.

A quiet moan brought her focus back to the man sliding his hands up under her skirt and she leaned back far enough to slap him hard across the face. “What part of ‘wait’ did you not understand?” His eyes glittered with arousal as he rubbed his stinging cheek and she wondered how anyone got off on this type of thing.

Valkyrie moved back away from him and crossed her arms over her chest as she stared at him. “Undress so I can see you.” Her tone was authoritative and he hurried to do her bidding. Watching a paunchy middle aged man undress wasn’t something she wanted to make a habit of.

“That’s a poor excuse for a salute, General,” she said with a pointed glance downward. “I expect much better from a man in your position.” Disgusting, she thought with an internal shudder when her words had the desired effect. At least on his end. “Much better.”

“Permission to-”

“Denied! At ease, General.” Her gaze was appraising as she moved around him and as much as she wanted this over with she forced herself to move slowly. His hands were clasped loosely behind his back as he waited for his next order and she moved up behind him, her fingertips trailing down over his arms teasingly as she carefully worked the zip tie around his wrists.

By the time he realized what was going on it was too late. Before he could utter his outrage his mouth was covered and she rammed her knee into the backs of his, dropping him to the floor. Garroting was a nasty choice, but effective.

Once she was satisfied he was dead she gathered up everything that could in any way be tied to her, sealed each item, and packed them away in her bag. Then she set about sanitizing the room and the general’s body for any trace evidence. When she was finished she picked up her bag and left through the balcony doors, shutting them and pulling out the handheld device that would allow her to reset the alarm so that there was no evidence the doors had ever been opened.

Valkyrie turned to look out over the city, her eyes following the last of the fireworks as they faded into the darkness. She had timed it so that the dark of night would cover her escape as she free climbed up three floors to the suite she had reserved under one of her many identities. Thanks to her skills there would be no way to prove she had ever left her room and she would be gone by morning anyway.
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 4 - 2/15/15

Post by Roswelllostcause » Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:37 am

Things are really starting to pick up!
Check out my Author page for a list of my fics! ... 1&t=155639

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