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

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 41 - 1/17/16

Post by Earth2Mama » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:49 pm

Glad to see the site is back up & running!

Sad though that ALL the stories I followed are now untraceable. :(

Great update. Looking forward to the next part :D
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 41 - 1/17/16

Post by sarammlover » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:09 pm

WELCOME BACK!!!! WOOHOO!!!! I feel SO bad for Max and Liz. I definitely think they need to find another place to live. Cheaper. Cleaner. Safer. And so glad Maria made it on the train. I am surprised she was able to!! SO glad you two are back. I have really missed this story!!

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 41 - 1/17/16

Post by fadedblue » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:46 am

OMG I'm so excited to see RF back and a new part of this story to boot :D! Might need to reread the story again since its been that long!
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Part 42

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:07 am

begonia9508: Thanks! Lol, well, if it’s a question of survival people are more likely to do something out of character. Michael and Maria had to find a way to deal with each other and it looks like they’re finally getting there.

We’re so happy RF is back and to be posting again!

Eva: It’s been crazy for sure! Looks like things are finally heading in the right direction.

Roswelllostcause: That is the way it seems for Max and Liz right now, but at least they do have that much on their side. Lol, survival is a great motivator!

Earth2Mama: We were excited to see RF up too!

Thanks! There’s more to come!

sarammlover: Thanks! We’re so glad to be back and to have RF back up and running! Lol, Max and Liz would like that too. Survival, what better motivator is there? Well, adrenaline probably played a pretty good role in that too, lol.

fadedblue: It has been a while but we’re glad to see RF back up too!




Part 42

“I guess no expectations means less disappointment, but think of all you miss out on.” She turned to look out at the passing scenery. “At least that’s what I believe.”

“You might miss a few things but on the other hand it saves you a lot of disappointment as well.”

“Yeah.” She looked at him. “You don’t believe the rewards can outweigh the risks in a situation like that, do you? I mean, that is how you determine whether or not something’s worth going after, right? Risk versus reward?”

“Yeah, it comes with the job. Weighing risks.”

“And relationships don’t tip the scale in favor of taking a risk.”

He nodded wordlessly.

She didn’t know why his answer hurt. It was what she’d expected. He’d never known anything different and he’d been conditioned to believe that relationships of any kind were a threat to his very existence. “Your friends make it work.”

“Yeah, they do.” And for some reason he even believed in the ‘to death’ vow where they were concerned.

She nodded and wondered how much longer they had before they would be on the move again. The train didn’t feel like it was slowing down yet, so maybe it would be a while yet. “What about Valkyrie?”

“What about her?”

“Is she like you? Does she believe that strings are a weakness? Or is she open to the possibility that she could have more if she reached for it?” She hoped for Alex’s sake the female assassin could see the potential for more. It was obvious to her that her friend was into the woman and she had seemed to be protective, maybe even possessive, of him while they’d been there.

“She’s probably worse,” he snorted.

“I hope you’re wrong.”

“For your friend’s sake?”

She rolled her shoulders. “For both their sakes, really, but I don’t want to see him get hurt.”

“Well, I don’t think Val would make false promises, Maria.”

“She won’t have to. Alex is the kinda guy who wants the strings of a relationship and it was obvious he’s into her.” She blushed again when he snickered and gave her a pointed look. “That’s not what I meant and you know it.” Although, that was true too, but she had been talking about more of the emotional aspect than the physical.

“Actually you thought I was ‘into’ her.”

“Yeah, well, you didn’t give me any reason to think otherwise.” And neither had Alex, but she could give him a pass because he wasn’t the type to brag.

“Hell, I didn’t even know what was up with you.”

“Well, I had no reason to think it was Alex doin’ his best to knock the pictures off the walls.”

“But you had reason for it to be me?”

“The only other option was Max and he’s so devoted to Liz he’d never cross that line.” She shrugged. “That only left you.”

“Right,” he snorted.

“You don’t believe that?”

“I believe that you thought it was me.”

She rolled her eyes. “It was a reasonable deduction.”

“I’ll give you that much,” he agreed.

“So why didn’t you do it? With her, I mean.” They’d had sex in the past so what had stopped him?

“You think she asked me and I said no so she went on to your friend?”

“Not necessarily. I’m just curious why you didn’t make a move on her.”

“Because I didn’t want to.”

“See, I don’t understand that. You’re obviously used to having sex and I know I frustrate the hell out of you, so why wouldn’t you do it with someone you’ve been with before?” Not that she wanted him to. She just wanted to understand why he hadn’t gone after that opportunity. And yes, she wanted it to be because he wanted her and not a tall leggy blonde with big boobs and a great ass.

He didn’t know what to say so he just shrugged.

That was his response? Maria made a face at him, not really sure what it meant. And not really sure if she wanted to know. “How much longer?” she asked and motioned out the door.

“Maybe an hour.”

She sighed and her shoulders slumped. She was ready to get out of this freezer. “Do you do anything but work? I mean, do you take vacations?”

“I take time to recover.”

“I’ll take that as a no.” She glanced at him and he shrugged. “So then the Maldives would be like a vacation for you too.”

Or like a prison, he thought. “Yeah.”

She frowned when his tone didn’t express any enthusiasm for the idea. “You wouldn’t have any idea what to do with that would you?”

He looked at her intensely. “Not at all.”

She nodded. “I guess we could figure it out. I’ve only been on vacations with Uncle Reggie so that kinda limited what I could do or where I could go.”

“Being on vacation with your uncle doesn’t sound like fun.”

“Well, most of the time it wasn’t. He had all these rules and even on vacation Rob followed me everywhere. I couldn’t go to the beach unless it was private and secure, and who wants to go out when you’ve got guys in suits watching your every move?” She shrugged. “Most of the time we didn’t go anywhere with a beach anyway.”

“That really sounds boring,” he snorted and closed his arms around her for some warmth.

Yeah, she could get used to this, she thought as she settled more fully against him. “It was. Last year we went to Aspen for a week and he wouldn’t let me ski because he thought it was too dangerous.” She sighed. “We only went because he had meetings to attend there. But Max and Liz showed up, which pissed him off, and that was fun. Well, until another skier crashed into Liz and he actually broke her leg.” She snickered. “I thought Max was gonna do the same to the guy that mowed her down.”

Michael chuckled. “Well, at least that gave you some entertainment.”

“He was majorly pissed off. The medics were trying to keep her on the stretcher and she was trying to calm Max down and Max was giving that poor guy hell. I mean, it was an accident, but all that mattered was that she’d been hurt. I think if she hadn’t been able to calm him down he’d have gotten into a fight with the guy.”

“Liz seems to be a woman who can hold her own.”

“She is and he knows that, but he’ll still do whatever he can to protect her.” She smiled as she thought about the two of them. “But she’ll do the same for him. I’ve seen it.”

“Well, I’m sure that makes him feel all man.”

She laughed and shook her head. “I’ve never heard him complain.”

“They’re a weird couple. But I guess they fit.”

“Yeah, they do.”

“They’re okay in New York.”

“I know. You said they would be. And they’re not part of the organization so they’re not tagged with trackers. New York’s so big it’s gotta be pretty easy to get lost there.”

“Yeah, it is. You don’t have to worry.”

“Do you think we can be tracked now that Tess removed that thing from your back?”

“No, we should be good. As long as we don’t cross borders and stay away from any kind of cameras.”

“That should be easy enough in the middle of the mountains of Colorado. But what about when we ‘rent’ a car?”

“Let me take care of that.”

She nodded and shifted to find a more comfortable spot. “I’ll be glad to be someplace new and safe.”

Safe wasn’t the right word but he didn’t want to destroy her illusion.

“So are you still gonna take me to the Maldives when this’s all over?” she asked and bit back a yawn.

“Yeah, sure. We’ll do that.” On the rare occasion he made a promise he kept it.

She tipped her head back to look at him, studying his shadowed features. “Do you want to?”

“Why not? It’s warm.” He had no clue if he could stay there long enough, but he would try.

That wasn’t exactly the answer she was looking for. “Yeah, I guess it is.”

“And it has a nice beach where you can walk around naked.”

She rubbed the side of her head against his chest and smiled when he easily slipped back into something familiar. “You’ve got a thing about me being naked on the beach, don’t you?” It was embarrassing and arousing all at once when he said things like that. Sure, in her fantasies she’d allowed her thoughts to go there, but until she’d met him and really gotten to know him she’d never really thought there was a chance of it becoming a reality. She still wasn’t sure she’d ever have the nerve to walk around naked in front of him, but he seemed to like the thought.

“Hell yeah,” he muttered and ran a hand though her hair.

Well, it was a place to start but she couldn’t just walk around naked forever. “Michael, what would you be doing if you hadn’t been drafted into the assassin business?”

“How should I know?”

“Wasn’t there anything you ever wanted to do? I mean, you must’ve seen so many things in your travels. Something must’ve appealed to you.”

“I don’t see much, Maria. I see the things I need to see to fulfill my duties.”

She nodded and her thumb played with the zipper on his coat, dragging it up and down. “You won’t be able to stay in this job when this’s over. Right? I mean, you’d work in the shadows but they’d know what to look for. They’d be able to locate you through your work.”

“Yeah, I need to get off the radar.”

“I wanted to be a journalist but that’s a pretty visible career so I guess that’s out the window.”

“Agreed.”

She sighed. “I have no idea what to do with my life now.” She shrugged. “I know it’s not something I need to figure out right now, and until this’s over there’s probably not even any reason to worry about it, but my entire life is a giant question mark because I couldn’t leave the past alone.”

“You shouldn’t worry about the tomorrows, Deluca,” he said and gently wrapped one hand around her neck. “Just concentrate on today.”

Maria reached up to cover his hand as she tipped her head back to look up at him. “I’m trying not to. It’s not like any decisions can be made until this’s over.”

He nodded, his gaze wandering to her lips.

She recognized that look and suddenly the chill from the open door didn’t seem so noticeable.

“You want a kiss, Deluca?” he asked directly.

As if he needed an answer to that question. She curled her fingers into the material of his coat, pulling him closer as she whimpered in response.

“Guess that’s a yes,” he muttered and closed his lips over hers, letting his tongue run over the outline of her bottom lip to demand entrance.

There was nothing tentative about his kiss and she responded in kind. She gave him what he wanted, what she wanted, and parted her lips for him.

He groaned into her mouth when she gave in so easily. While one hand stayed to her neck, he used the other under her legs to shift her sideways for better access.

His strength was just one of the things that made him so sexy. She unzipped his coat the rest of the way and slipped her arms around his waist.

“Yeah, c’mon closer, I’ll keep ya warm,” he rasped in her ear while kissing a path down her neck. He could feel her tiny hands on his upper body and it felt amazing.

She was plenty hot right now, but she didn’t want to discourage him so she just wiggled closer and lowered her hands, searching for the hem of his shirt. Finding it she pulled it free of his jeans and slipped her hands up under it. There was nothing better than the feel of his skin!

He shuddered. “Jeez, your hands are cold.”

She smirked against his lips. “What’s a little cold for a man who faces death on a regular basis?” she teased and gently drew her nails down over his back.

He grunted something and attacked her neck again, biting the flesh over the high collar of her jacket. She was playful and he couldn’t deny that he liked it.

Oh, God, she had no idea why that felt so good but it sooo did! He was also hers. For now anyway and she didn’t have to share him with anyone else. They were going to be hidden away in that cabin with no one around for miles and miles.

Michael used the hand on her leg to travel upwards slowly. His palm rasped against the tight material of her jeans, driving over her thigh and then very slowly at the inside.

She moaned loudly and shifted to pin his hand in place. His touch was maddening and she wanted more of it.

Her reaction drew a small smirk from his lips. He used the back of his fingers to nudge her legs apart for him to move. “Gotta give me some room, babe.”

She did as he said, letting him do what he wanted. She trusted him, knew whatever he was about to do it was going to be worth it.

His hand wandered deeper when she let him and the heat coming from her center increased with every inch as he got closer. He stopped the journey of his hand before he could reach its goal though and lifted his head to gaze into her eyes while his outstretched thumb grazed the seam of her jeans.

“What’re you doing?” she rasped. His touch was slow and deliberate, but not quite as satisfying as she was hoping for. She could feel her body reaching for something and she knew he was the one who would unleash it.

He smirked without answering and held her gaze while his thumb repeated the movement again but added more pressure.

She could feel the pressure building, could feel her breath dragging in and out of her lungs heavily. This felt great but she wanted to feel him really touching her. Which, considering their situation seemed completely implausible. At least she’d always thought so when such ridiculous situations arose in books she was reading. Yeah, sure, it was good entertainment, but really? Who did things like that? She moaned when he moved his hand against her and briefly the thought ghosted past her mind that just maybe the heroine did things like that because at the moment she didn’t care where they were or that it was freezing ass cold outside… and not really any warmer inside except for the fact that he was touching her and she felt like she was burning up.

Michael dipped his head down and took her earlobe between his teeth, tugging on it. “Can’t ya feel what I’m doin’, Blondie?”

Really? He wanted to tease her now? “Don’t stop,” she whispered raggedly.

“What do you want me to do?”

Why was he asking her? Shouldn’t he know? “What?” Was he really gonna make her say it?

“I want you to tell me what exactly I shouldn’t stop.”

She rolled her eyes at him, wishing that just for once he wouldn’t be so difficult. He knew what she wanted, she could see it in his expression. It was easy enough to not be embarrassed in the moment, but having to say it out loud was another story. But amidst the amusement and stubbornness in his features there was something else, something she wasn’t yet able to identify, but it had her opening her mouth and answering him honestly. “Don’t stop touching me.”

A hint of a smile ghosted over his lips, accompanied by a nod. “Where?”

“My feet,” she growled impatiently. “Where do you think?” and she squeezed his hand where it rested immobile between her thighs.

“We’re gonna have to do something about your vocal expression,” he grunted against her neck and pressed his whole palm to her heated center. “Not now though.”

What exactly did he want from her? And her brain started to short circuit when his hand started to move again.

The train went into another curve, causing them to wobble gently. Michael looked up and checked the landscape outside. It was still a bit until the train would stop. Enough time to give her the first lesson when it came to sexual experience.

Maria had never in her wildest fantasies imagined she’d have her first sexual encounter in a moving train while dodging people intent on killing her. Not that her thoughts were on that. Her thoughts really weren’t anywhere other than the feelings coursing through her.

“Open your legs a little wider, babe,” he rasped when her legs squeezed his hand and made it almost impossible to move.

Somehow his request didn’t make sense, it seemed like she should be doing just opposite, but she did as he instructed.

“Good girl.” He shifted his position slightly, moving one leg under hers and then bending it to prevent her from closing up again.

She groaned loudly when his touch intensified and she pulled his head down, seeking his lips again.

He let her kiss him but took control of it soon after. His lips moved over hers eagerly, sucking on them and then soothing them with his tongue. Meanwhile his hand traveled along the inseam of her jeans once more, grazing her while it moved upwards to the button and zipper.

Her eyes snapped open when she realized his intent and her heart pounded, nervous anticipation, excitement, maybe even just a bit of fear, but nonetheless she wanted this to happen, wanted him to touch her with nothing between his touch and her. She settled back into the kiss, following his demanding lead as every nerve ending in her body seemed to be charged with electricity.

His talented fingers pulled on the material and opened the button easily. He pressed his lips to hers to nudge her face away, retreating to look into her eyes when he pulled down the zipper slowly. His own pants got tighter when his eyes took in the aroused expression on her face – cheeks flushed despite the cold, lips parted to breathe heavily and her eyes clouded. Damn, she had no clue how fine she looked in that moment.

She felt like she was on the edge of discovering something she’d only ever dreamed about. He was watching her, his eyes so dark they were nearly black, and she wondered if he was as turned on as she was. Her breath caught for a moment when the zipper was lowered as far as it would go and she felt him brush against her just before he pressed his palm flat against her stomach.

“You wet, Maria?” he whispered, although there wasn’t a doubt she was. He just wanted her to admit it.

Did he need to hear the words or did he just want verbal confirmation that he was able to put her in such a state? She didn’t know. She had no experience in this area, but if she was the one touching him she’d want to know he was enjoying what she was doing, wouldn’t she? “Yes,” she whispered. She was so wet, she thought as she shifted without satisfaction because his leg effectively kept her from completing that move.

He moved his hand downward slowly, letting the tips of his fingers play with the edge of her panties for a moment before slipping into them completely and feeling her readiness for him. A slight groan escaped his lips.

She moaned long and low and her forehead dropped to rest against his shoulder when he finally touched her. His fingers teased and tormented as he took his time, learning and exploring what drew certain responses from her, but she wanted more and she wanted it now. “Michael...” his name was drawn out on a needy sigh.

“What?” he asked, his tone half amused and half serious. “You wanna make a request?”

“I want...” How could she express what she wanted when she had no idea how to put it into words? What she really wanted wasn’t possible under these circumstances, right? She wrapped her hand around his wrist as she met his eyes and he shifted to give her room to move. She released a pent-up breath as she straddled his lap, as much in response to the way the move caused his hand to rub against her as the pressure being taken off of her healing thigh. “I want you,” she admitted as she rested her hands on his wide shoulders and met his gaze. She could feel the heat in her cheeks when he moved his hand and her hips rolled against him instinctively.

“Well, you can’t have me right now,” he said hoarsely while leaning his forehead against hers, “but I think I know a way to satisfy you. For now anyway.” With his free hand, he nudged her to lift up so he could move the other more freely, using one finger to tease her wet opening.

“Michael,” she breathed as her body adjusted to the dual sensations. The train rocked, the motion causing them to lean further into each other to avoid being knocked over. The creak of the boxcar, the constant noise of the wheels on the tracks, the rush of the wind past the open door, none of it could be heard above the sound of the blood rushing through her veins as she moved against him, reaching for something she’d never experienced.

“I’ll give you what ya need,” he promised and slowly pushed one finger inside of her, finding her tight but also wet and ready for him.

Oh, gosh, that felt... fucking great. She lifted her head to look at him when he laughed and she blushed furiously when she realized she’d spoken aloud.

“No need to hold back, M’ria,” he assured her and slipped the pad of his thumb right over the bundle of nerves that demanded attention.

Her body was humming with energy and she moved against him restlessly. Every pass of his thumb just pushed her need up and her movements quickened as she did her best to keep up with his demanding touch. It was there, just out of reach, but before that thought could even fully form, she felt something inside of her snap and she came apart with a loud, unrestrained cry of completion. She collapsed against him, her hips still in motion as she drew the feeling out.

“They call that an orgasm, ya know?” he teased softly.

As her heartbeat began to slow and her breathing was brought under control she shifted to look into his eyes. The fingers of one hand played with the hair at the back of his neck while the other was busy tracing over his features. Her thumb grazed over his lips, feeling his small smile and she couldn’t stop herself from leaning in to taste it. “It’s definitely at the top of my to-do list from now on,” she said with a grin.

“Right after staying alive,” he agreed with a nod.

“Right after that.” She glanced down at him before meeting his gaze again. “What about you?” It just didn’t seem fair that he’d made her feel so good and he hadn’t gotten anything out of it.

“I’m okay,” he assured her.

“But you didn’t...” She winced. “Aren’t you uncomfortable?”

“Story of every man,” he snorted.

“When we get to the cabin?” she asked, hoping she didn’t sound overly eager.

He just nodded and started to zip her back up.
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 42 - 1/24/16

Post by begonia9508 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:54 am

Great part... Eve
- Les jouissances de l'esprit sont faites pour calmer les orages du coeur!
- On reconnaît le bonheur au bruit qu'il fait quand il s'en va!
- L'amour vous rend aveugle et le mariage vous redonne la vue!

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 42 - 1/24/16

Post by Roswelllostcause » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:02 pm

Well things are starting to heat up between Maria and Michael.
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 42 - 1/24/16

Post by sarammlover » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:03 pm

Oh boy.....those two. always so hot. I can't wait until they get to Colorado!!! HA!! Great update. And I like that Maria still worries for Max and Liz and still talks about them with fond memories. Because they were her friends even though they worked for her uncle.

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 42 - 1/24/16

Post by Earth2Mama » Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:59 am

I'll say... they took things to a WHOLE new level. :twisted:

Uhm... so what was that about a cabin? :wink:
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Part 43

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:55 am

begonia9508: Thanks for reading!

Roswelllostcause: Yeah, they keep that up they’re gonna melt the snow, lol.

sarammlover: Lol, yes, they are. It won’t be much longer before they reach their destination. Maria misses Max and Liz and will worry about them because in spite of everything that’s happened they are her friends and their loyalty lies with her.

Earth2Mama: Indeed they did!

Lol, we don’t have long to find out about that cabin.


Part 43

“How far will we have to go once we get off the train?” she asked when he was finished. She shuffled around to settle more comfortably against him, hoping she wasn’t making things worse for him in his condition.

“If we don’t stop too often, we can make it in a day.”

She made a face. “I hate sitting in a car that long. Not that I’m complaining, just stating a fact.”

“There’s not much of a choice.” He rested his back against the car, trying to relax.

“No, I guess not.” The palm of her right hand settled on his thigh and she started to unconsciously rub her hand back and forth.

“Stop,” he growled in her ear and used one hand to still her movements.

“What...?” Her gaze dropped to the hand pinning hers in place. “Oh, sorry.”

He snorted. “Nothin’ to be sorry for, Blondie.”

She nodded and bit back a yawn as she stared at the snow-covered landscape beyond the open door. “I’m so ready to crawl into a nice warm bed.”

“Gotta hold out on that for a while,” he muttered.

“Yeah, I guess so. Maybe you can ‘borrow’ a vehicle that’s roomy.”

He snorted. “Like a van?”

“I don’t care as long as I don’t have to be all cramped up for, what’d you say, 18-20 hours?”

“Yeah.” He frowned while he thought about it longer. Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea. They could find a small SUV. It would be less conspicuous.

“Mmm,” she mumbled. The passing scenery was kind of hypnotic, she thought as she stared at it unconsciously. “Have you ever been to Colorado?”

“Passed through.”

“It’s gorgeous this time of year. Well, there’s probably not a time of year it’s not, but with the snow everywhere,” she shook her head. “It’s just amazing.”

“Thought you were fed up with snow.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.” She shrugged. “I’m just tired of having to trudge through it.”

“We might have to do that just a bit when we get off this train.”

“I don’t care. At least there we won’t have to be worried about the owners coming home and finding us there. And if we get located your friends have escape routes planned out.”

“We just have to make it there first,” he agreed and leaned a little forward to check their location.

She turned her head to watch him, her eyes tracing over his features. It was amazing to her how they could change in a heartbeat. “Are we almost there?”

“Yeah, a few more minutes.”

“So, is it gonna be moving when we jump?” Please say no. But she didn’t say it aloud. She had a feeling his answer wasn’t going to be what she wanted to hear. If they waited there might be people or cameras around and she knew they couldn’t risk that.

“Yeah.” He got up. “We’ll find a place with deep snow.”

And she was back to hating snow. “How far do you think we’ll have to go to find a vehicle?”

“Not too far. There’s a small city close by.”

Um-hmm, it was never good when he didn’t spit out numbers to go along with the distance. “Okay.”

“Come on,” he waved her over to the door.

“Already?” She got up and moved to stand next to him, swallowing hard as she looked at the snow-covered ground that was rushing by them.

“It’s gonna slow down soon.” He pointed at a curve in the distance. “When we jump you need to roll into the snow. Don’t try to absorb the impact with your legs.”

She could just imagine herself rolling down an embankment and turning into a giant snowball like the characters in cartoons did. She giggled at the absurd image but quickly brought it under control when he shot a look at her. “Sorry. Tuck and roll, just like when we jumped from the plane, got it.”

He nodded. “Easy thing.”

“Yep.” So easy, she muttered silently. Jump out of a plane? Easy! Medieval surgery? Easy! Board a moving train? Easy! Jump off that same moving train? Easy! She shook her head. Jumping out of a plane was the only one of those things on her bucket list and it wasn’t what she’d had in mind when she’d added it and it had not lived up to her expectations.

“Get ready,” he told her. “I’ll go first.”

How generous of you, she thought uncharitably. Not that she wanted to go first or anything. Really she didn’t want to go at all. She straightened up and took a deep breath, pushing those thoughts down. No, she didn’t want to, but it wasn’t a question of what she wanted, was it? It was a question of survival, and she definitely wanted to do that. “Do I just jump right after you or wait?”

“Shortly after me. Don’t wait too long.” He leaned out, judging the train’s speed as they neared the curve. “Give it a count of five and jump.”

“Okay.” She nodded and watched him, waiting to see what he would do.

Michael waited until they reached the curve and the train slowed slightly. It was still faster than expected but it was now or never. There was an area coming up that was covered in deep snow and he just begged that there weren’t any hidden rocks. He took a step forward until he felt the wind in his face and threw one last glance back at the girl with him. With a wink, he focused back on his task, jumping out with their packs and then rolling in the snow to prevent his body from being injured.

It looked so easy when he did it. And it was just snow, right? Of course, that didn’t mean it wasn’t hiding a bunch of rocks under it, did it? No. She knew that from experience. She remembered a snowball fight with her cousins when she was little and one of them had scooped up a handful of snow, unknowingly pickup up a small rock with it. She’d never forget that. She took a deep breath before she forced herself to jump out, feeling the icy wind rush past her and steal her breath. Seconds, minutes, hours, it all blurred together as time seemed to stand still. Until she landed in the snow, remembering to tuck her legs under her and roll just before she came into contact with the ground.

“Well done, Blondie. Hurt yourself?”

She coughed as she got to her feet, dusting the snow from her clothes. She looked at him as he crossed the space separating them, watching him navigate the terrain with little difficulty. “No, I’m all in one piece.” She balanced her weight on her injured leg, testing it and deciding it hadn’t been reinjured. “Nope, all good. What about you?”

He rolled his shoulders and stretched his neck from one side to the other. “Fine.”

Of course he was. “Where to now?”

He pointed up a small mountain. “Over.”

“Seriously?”

“It’s a lot shorter than goin’ around.”

“Well, yeah, but won’t we need special equipment to climb a mountain?” Yes, he knew what he was doing but she sure as hell had no clue.

“We don’t need much more than a rope.”

“That might be all you need,” she muttered under her breath as she followed his lead.

“It’s all we need. I’ll go up first then you follow. I’ll keep ya safe, trust me.”

She nodded. She’d followed him this far. “Alright. It’s probably bigger than it looks, right?”

He snorted. “No.”

“Well, I guess I never said I wanted easy. Next time I’m putting that on my list of requirements for death-defying feats.”

“Of all the things we’ve done, this mountain shouldn’t scare you.”

“Oh, it doesn’t scare me, it just makes me tired.”

“You’ll survive it.”

“Yeah.” It was really more of a big hill than a mountain, she was sure of it. It had to be. In her mind that’s what it was going to be otherwise she’d never get over it. “So, the town’s on the other side?”

“As good as,” he agreed and dropped everything but the rope on the ground. “When I’m up I’ll let the rope down and you tie everything up so I can pull it up. Then we’ll do the same with you.”

“You’re gonna free climb?” It wasn’t one of her brighter questions. How else was he gonna get up there?

“Yeah, so?”

She shook her head, regretting the question. “No reason.”

He frowned at her and then concentrated on climbing. The mountain was easy, he was sure even she could do it without a rope but he didn’t want to risk it. His arms were trained, he could pull his weight up easily – that might be a problem when it came to her.

Well, it wasn’t anything like running, she thought as she watched him. Her body was conditioned for running and she worked out regularly, but this was a completely different kind of exercise.

He made it up in less than ten minutes and then leaned over the ledge to look down. “Everything okay?”

She gave him a thumbs-up. Okay, ten minutes or so, that wasn’t too bad. The worse she could do was double that time.

“I’m letting the rope down,” he yelled and swung his arm wide.

She jumped back when it landed right beside her and she stared at it as it danced in the wind. “You can do this,” she muttered to herself. She wasn’t weak, but her upper body strength could use some help. “And this isn’t the time to think about that. Think about people wanting to kill you. Hell, if nothing else motivates you that’ll do the trick.” She grabbed onto the rope and copied the moves she’d seen him make, hoping like hell she could make it.

“The packs first,” he yelled down.

She rolled her eyes and dropped the rope so she could grab the packs. She hated being so scatterbrained. She ran the rope through the shoulder straps and knotted it before standing back and nodding.

Michael pulled them up and then dropped the rope down immediately. “Now your fine ass, Blondie.”

She blushed and lowered her gaze to hide her grin from him. It wasn’t completely embarrassing when he said things like that. She wrapped her hands around the rope and gave it her best effort.

“Make sure you secure it as well as you can then help me with your hands as much as you can.”

“Secure it,” she mumbled, realizing he didn’t intend for her to attempt the climb without help. “Right.” She wrapped it around her waist and knotted it before giving the rope a tug to let him know she was ready

Michael looked for a solid stance and leaned back when he felt her weight on the rope. Slowly, inch by inch he moved his hands along it to pull her upwards.

Hand over hand, Maria did her best to help, pulling herself up. She tried to brace her feet against the side of the mountain wall but couldn’t find any purchase there. Her hands and cheeks burned from the wind and her palms stung as the rope abraded them.

It took a while and his upper arms started to burn, but he kept going until he could see her appearing over the ledge. Leaning forward, he reached out and covered one of her hands with his to pull her up the rest of the way.

“Oh, wow,” she exclaimed as she dropped down in the snow next to him. “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.”

He crouched down next to her and looked at her red hands, taking them between his to warm them up a bit. “Told you so.”

“Do we get to go down the mountain now?” she asked hopefully.

“Yeah, it’s not that steep on the other side.”

“Good. Going down has to be easier than going up.”

“Not always, but I agree in this case. C’mon.”

She got to her feet with his help and reached for one of the packs, intending to strap it on so he didn’t have to take all of the weight.

“Here, take this one. It’s not so heavy.”

She nodded. She was all for equal rights, but if he wanted her to have the lighter pack, who was she to complain? She shouldered the pack and tried to reach the straps but her coat was just bulky enough to make it impossible to get her arms far enough back to catch them.

He rolled his eyes, slightly amused as he helped her.

“Thanks,” she mumbled when his big body crowded her as he reached for the straps and brought them around to snap them into place at her waist and chest.

“Let’s go.” He pointed at a few houses in the distance. “That’s where we’re going.”

“But those are just houses. Won’t it be noticed if we borrow a car from one of them?”

“It’s a town. You can’t see it because the rest is in the valley.”

“Oh, right.” She patted his arm. She should’ve known there was more there than just a few houses.

*****

The return to consciousness brought with it a pounding headache, a bladder screaming to be relieved, and a throbbing in his thigh that reminded him he really didn’t care for being shot. He was groggy and the room shifted crazily when he sat up. His gut clenched and he couldn’t decide if it was hunger or a warning that his intestines were about to revolt. He carefully shuffled down to the end of the bed and wrapped one shaking hand around the footboard so he could get to his feet.

“Note to self,” he muttered as he looked around in an effort to get his bearings. “Don’t get shot again.”

“That’s good advice.” Valkyrie watched him for a moment before nodding at a door across the room. “Bathroom’s through there.” She didn’t offer to help him but she stayed close enough to catch him if he fell. She turned to lean against the dresser when he braced one hand on the doorframe, giving him his space.

“This’s like the worst hangover I ever had magnified by about a thousand,” he rasped as he forced himself to start moving again.

She crossed her arms over her chest as she smirked. She’d bet he’d had exactly one hangover in his life and it had probably happened right after his girlfriend dumped his ass for Europe.

“That when you got that ridiculous tat?” she asked conversationally.

Alex braced his free hand against the wall above the toilet and glanced at his left shoulder. He would’ve raised an eyebrow at her mention of the tattoo but even that small movement would’ve required too much effort. “Can I assume it bothers you?” he countered as he finished up.

“It’s an identifying mark and it needs to go.” And she didn’t care for some other woman’s name marking him. She kept that thought to herself though.

He gave a non-committal grunt as he limped back over to the bed. He wanted to say her tone hinted at jealousy or possessiveness but he was too fried to go there.

“Don’t you know the cardinal rule about getting anyone’s name tattooed on your body?”

“Rationally, yes.” He shuffled around to find a comfortable position and sighed in frustration when he couldn’t find one. “However, with enough tequila rational thought gets tossed out the window and you wake up the next morning with further proof that drinking that much is beyond stupid.” He reached up to run a hand over his face, grimacing when he felt the stubble there. “I’ve been out for a while, huh?”

“Sleep promotes healing.”

“You knocked me out.”

She shrugged unapologetically. “That’s why you feel like you’ve been run over. The sedative and antibiotic cocktail has that nasty side effect. But your thigh’s healing nicely and there’s no sign of infection, so the benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort.” She straightened up and crossed the room. “You need to eat something.”

He nodded and started to get up again.

“Stay here, I’ll bring it to you.”

“I need to piss.”

“I guess your bladder’s working overtime,” she muttered drily.

He frowned. “Why?”

She narrowed her eyes at him, trying to determine if he was screwing with her. “Because you were just in there like three minutes ago.”

“I was?” He sighed. “Right.” Shaking his head he tried to relax. “Jeez.”

She gestured to the bathroom. “Knock yourself out.” She stepped out into the hallway. “I’ll be right back.”

He nodded and waited until she had left before making another run for the bathroom, this time taking his time to look in the mirror. “Whitman, you look like shit,” he muttered to himself.

Valkyrie returned a few minutes later, nodding when she saw him settled in bed again, his features showing the strain of his moving around. She was carrying a tray that she placed over his lap. She nodded at the bowl of soup and grilled cheese before taking the ham and turkey club and sitting down on the foot of the bed. “Eat.”

“Yes, Mom,” he rolled his eyes and sat up.

“Whitman, I’m about as far from bein’ your mother as anyone can get.”

“Right now you’re treating me like a child,” he shrugged and went for the soup.

She chewed the bite she’d taken, every move slow and concentrated as she stared at him. “You’re injured,” she pointed out after a moment.

“I am, but would you have appreciated me treating you like that when you were?”

“You and I are not the same. I’m trained to work even when injured and you don’t have a clue what your limitations are.”

Alex looked at her and bit his lip before he could say more. Shrugging one shoulder he concentrated back on his food. “What’d I miss?”

“Not much more than one helluva long drive.” Hundreds of miles of snow-covered terrain. She hated it. She felt like she was boxed in.

“Where are we?”

“Sioux Falls. It’s just large enough to get lost in until it’s time to move again.”

“Wow, you covered some miles.”

“We needed to put some distance between us and our last location. I still haven’t figured out why we only had one assailant when we broke into the compound. It could be because he spotted us and rather than report in he thought he’d take me down and take the reward all for himself. But we should’ve had a lot more resistance when we hit that location.”

“I’m glad we didn’t.”

“I am too, but it’s still a question I don’t have an answer to.” The people in the organization didn’t take time off to celebrate holidays. And why would they? They didn’t believe in anything outside of their cause. They’d timed their break-in down to the second and they’d executed it with precision, but she’d still expected resistance. She finished off her sandwich and dusted the crumbs off of her hands. “When you’re up to it I’ve got a secure line established so you can get to work.”

“Sure,” he nodded. “What about Michael and Maria?”

“They’re on the move again. Based on time since their last contact I’d say they should be arriving at their destination within the hour.”

“Where to?”

“They’ll hole up in Colorado for a while.”

“Colorado,” he mused. “Anyplace special there?”

“Valenti’s got a place out there. They’re fanatical about their privacy so it’ll be difficult for anyone to make a connection.”

“Sounds good.” He looked at the laptop on the nightstand. “What’s our next mission?”

“Find out what information we pulled from the compound servers.”

“Right.”

“When you’re finished eating I’ll change that bandage and then if you feel...” she trailed off when she saw the dark look on his face. This was just one more reason why she never bothered to get involved with anyone. She had no experience in the workings of interpersonal relationships between men and women. She was just trying to avoid pushing because he was injured and he took it as some sort of slight. “After that you can get off your ass and get to work on decoding that information,” she bit out finally.

“Ay ay, Captain,” he saluted.

He was mocking her. “Smart ass.”

“I am smart,” he agreed.

“You’re also an ass.” She got up and prowled around the room restlessly while waiting for him to finish eating.

“I am?” He grinned.

“Is it everyone you’re this difficult with or is it just me?” She was out of her depth with him. Give her an armed soldier to fight, no problem. Enemy target? She could take them out without a second thought. But this one man, a man who shouldn’t even register on her radar, this one she had a difficult time figuring out.

“Why am I difficult?”

She shook her head at him. “Just finish eating.” He was seriously asking why? Always pushing, prodding for something she wasn’t sure she even understood. Even when he wasn’t vocally pushing he was still pushing, she could feel it. “After you got shot,” and she hated that the sight of him wounded and weak had scared her, “you kept talking about what happens after this’s over. Why?” He wasn’t subtle about his hints, wanting to know if they’d be able to be together when the mission was complete. “You know what I am.”

“So?” He lifted an eyebrow. “You’re a woman who worked as an assassin.”

“Exactly. A trained killer, someone who kills on command and for money. You’re...” she waved a hand over him, “you’re normal!”

“A person like you would say that,” he agreed. “Believe me, people in my class never thought I was normal.”

“You’re bein’ difficult again. You know what I’m trying to say and you’re taking it completely out of context.”

“I know,” he sighed. “But you could look past all of that, ya know? The world has other opportunities.”

“What else would someone like me do? And I’m being serious, it’s not a joke.” She paced back and forth. “I know how to kill using more methods than most people even know exist. I know how to track a target and set them up to die so the rest of the world thinks it was accidental. I don’t know anything about how to live like a normal person.”

“Who says you have to? You’d just have to use your abilities in another way.”

“I’m waiting for a suggestion.”

“Well, like a private detective? Or a bodyguard...”

She stared at him when he tossed out two viable options. “Yeah, well...” She moved to the window and moved the curtain aside to look out into the darkness as she brought her jumbled thoughts into order. After a couple of minutes she turned away and determining that he’d finished eating she took the tray and left the room.
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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

Roswelllostcause
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 43 - 1/31/16

Post by Roswelllostcause » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:03 am

Great part. Things seem to be moving along.
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