|Risk vs. Reward|
|What: A surprise visit at an awkward moment turns into a meaningful conversation.|
What a night. Domino's been bruised and battered, soaring on prescription pain meds, chased it all down with vodka, then fell asleep in what amounts to a master thief's closet full of treasures. She's barely been back on the east coast yet and there's been too much happening for her to keep tabs on! Just when she thought there would be time to catch up on sleep she gets a call on her cell, proving once more that there's no rest for the wicked. Despite her recent arrival she's claimed one hit, apparently with a satisfactory result as she's suddenly given an offer to double her earnings by adding one more name to her vacant list. The problem is that there's not much time to work with. Still, some extra cash in exchange for some lost sleep? It isn't the first time.
She's barely rolled out of bed and gotten her gear situated when she walks with vodka bottle in hand across the tiny space, spotting a familiar white gold choker sitting on the table with a note placed beneath it. The instruction is clear enough, 'Take me.' Dom sighs gently while looking at the note, muttering "That better not have a second meaning" before she helps herself to a quick drink. She wasn't going to, she really wasn't going to. Now... The bottle gets set aside and the choker gets swiped from the table as she passes by to the door. (Face it, girl. You might need the extra money for gas and ammo.)
3:47 am. Day's going to be upon the city before many want it to. Dom's working in an ever narrowing window, fetching an extra piece of gear from the trunk of her black Jaguar then climbing up to the roof of a building near the bay. She only had one chance to see this bonus job through, which meant being precise. From a padded black polymer case comes the various pieces of a match-grade rifle, practiced hands assembling and chambering it within a minute. Eight minutes to spare. The optics get focused and the wind gets estimated by the breeze at the far end of her range. At least her nerves are steady, between the booze and fatigue.
She's also wearing that choker over her armor.
As for Remy, he stole a car, zoomed back to the machine shop, and caught two hours of rack time before he shook himself awake and started doing his homework. Phone calls. Personal visits. He's tapped many of his human resources while searching for information about Domino. The new merc in town. It took some palm-greasing, but he managed to shake loose a bit of information.
A hit, only on the market for a few hours before being offered to an out-of-towner. Odd enough, for crimelords, scumbags, and corporate icemen are known for a certain level of monogamy when it comes to covert ops personnel. But this hit went to a woman.
Which brings us to Rooftop B. The building Remy has chosen is a few stories taller and separated from Dom's perch by a narrow alley. The roof boasts an impressive number of air conditioning units, which he's using for cover as he watches her through a spotting scope.
The gentle, chilling breeze of morning is barely interrupted by the faint clicks of scope turrets being set for windage and elevation, black nails on white fingers poking out from the partial gloves covering Domino's hands. The stock gets cradled against her shoulder, lying prone on the rooftop with her left leg hooked outward and bent at the knee. Shorter cropped ebony hair plays across her ears and forehead as a single iced blue eye gazes through the magnified view with nothing but illuminated crosshairs marring the sight. It isn't going to be an easy shot. Fortunately, she knows her trade and knows it well. The target isn't in a building, set to arrive out beyond the beach on a battered concrete dock. If a .338 Lapua couldn't handle a kill at this range, not much else would.
Another glance is made at her watch, updating herself on the time. Plenty long enough to put herself into the zone, steadying her breathing and evening out her pulse to a slow, predictable beat. "One bullet..two grand," she mutters to herself. Just think of the coffee that would get her!
Time to make a move. Remy vaults from rooftop to rooftop, using his pole to clear the gap. His landing is timed with the passing of a garbage truck, muffling what little noise he makes as he tucks and rolls to absorb the impact. A few seconds later he's laying on his belly next to Domino. Not only does it happen fast, it's quiet. There isn't so much as a whisper from his leather coat, a scuff of boot against brick, not even a squeak from his armor.
He pillows his head on his crossed arms and watches her for a few seconds. Then, quite loudly, he clears his throat. "Bonjour, p'tit," he greets, grinning widely, his voice annoyingly cheerful. "De necklace look lovely on you."
If it isn't for adrenaline, Domino could have put herself to sleep right here on the rooftop with a rifle in her hands. Wouldn't be the first time for that, either. Steady breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Steady... Ste--
Any zen-like state is gone in a flash, the female merc leaping sidelong away from the rifle, rolling, and coming out on her side with a matte black pistol leveled in a two-handed grip at your head. "The Hell did -you- come from?!" she hisses, more akin to a feral cat than a human. "How'd you find me!"
Remy just cocks an eyebrow and makes a face. He nods in the direction of the pistol. "Really?" he says, a chuckle in his voice. It's clear that he's not just talking about the gun, though. "Mimi, I know every single scumbag, fixer, pusher, and fence in this town," he elaborates. "How'd I find you? Six hundred bucks. Dat's how I find you."
Grinning, he rolls over on his back, his head still pillowed on his hands as he stares up at the sky. "What's wrong?" he queries guilelessly. "I didn't catch you at a bad time, did I?"
"Six hundred dollars!" Dom doesn't know what's worse, that it only cost six hundred to track her down or that you'd so easily throw away that kind of money just to say hello! There's a frustrated growl from the depths of her throat as she slips the gun back into its shoulder holster, moving back to reclaim her rifle. "No, of course not," comes the sarcastic reply. "I really don't mind having a witness on my hands. Look, I don't get in the way of -your- career as a thief."
Though she can be bribed by it, apparently. With one hand ready by the trigger the other comes up to lightly trace the edge of that choker, physically reminding herself that yes, she did take it, and yes, she is wearing it. And yes, you're now lying next to her. Damnit girl, focus! Time--two minutes. She braces once more, now having a much harder time getting herself relaxed. "What do you want from me, Gambit? I'm kind of in the middle of something, in case you haven't noticed."
"Don't mind me," Remy replies, shifting around to find himself a more comfortable position. The smile is still tugging at the corners of his mouth despite any and all attempts to suppress it. He's enjoying this. Not in a cruel sense, but he's definitely amused. "I just thought I'd drop in. Invite you out for a proper drink. I don't want to distract you, though. Am I distracting you?"
Not only is it a dirty trick, he knows it. He coughs to cover a chuckle. "Ahemhem. Heh. Man, it's a nice night."
"I usually don't," Dom quickly replies in a darkened tone. Focus on the shot, not on the guy being an ass beside you... "Six hundred dollars to drop in and ask me out? You need a better hobby." Are you distracting her? "No."
Time--fifty-eight seconds. She's almost nervously checking her watch now. "Yeah, real lovely night." She has to close her eyes and take a few long breaths, there's no way she's going to make this shot otherwise!
"You could just agree to go out with me. It'd be de fastest way to shut me up." Still staring at the sky, still occasionally clearing his throat to cover his chuckles, Remy seems awfully comfortable in his sprawled-out position. "Just sayin'," he continues. "How bad could it really be? We talk. We get to know each other. We get drunk, maybe fight a lil', maybe play some strip Twister. Or darts. I like playing darts."
It's a steady stream of comfortable, companionable chatter. It's also coming during the last few crucial seconds before Domino lines up her shot. Even though Remy still has a smile on his face, he knows he's pushing his luck. More than that, he's enjoying it.
Oh god. Did she just hear that right..? Little by little Domino's jaw tenses. Her shoulders and back start to follow suit. Then, as you're explaining things, she swipes out her other pistol with her left hand and holds it to you, right underneath the stock of the rifle. "How about we skip ahead to the fighting part." *Click!*
Now she's covering two targets at once, somehow still keeping the sniper rifle steadied while keeping a ten millimeter to your temple. Sure, let's just make a difficult shot a little more impossible! Back to the lens she sees the target emerging, a pale finger drifting from the stock to the trigger. The range is pretty insane. The wind isn't still. And there's a talkative Gambit at her side.
"You're a gambling man," she offers back in a tone which has suddenly gone awfully level. "Bet you two grand that I hit the bullseye in one shot." While tense, distracted, and focused on two people at once. And the wind. Maybe she's insane. Either way, she doesn't have time to wait for a response, squeezing the trigger...
Sometimes luck needs to influence a thousand insignificant details to come out Domino's way. Other times there's nothing to interact with but the air, itself. The breeze stabilizes perfectly, the humidity and temperature reaches that ideal sweet spot, and as graceful as can be the man's head disappears in a red mist before the echoing shockwave of the shot ever reaches his ears. Perfect fucking bullseye.
"I only accept cash."
Remy snorts. He doesn't shift postion. Not when he's covered by a gun. Again. Not even to check Domino's shot. "We both knew you were going to make that," he says. "But I guess you leave me little choice. I pay, because I'm a gentleman. If you'll go out with me. S'only fair. You cornered me into something, now I corner you."
Persistent. Very persistent. The Cajun twists his head to the side, producing an impressive snap-crackle-pop from his joints. "Nng," he grunts. "So. Do we have a deal?"
"I could just shoot you now and take everything for myself," Domino retaliates. Unfortunately, both know that it's an empty threat. Target's down, money for that. Even more if she agrees to a date. With you. Cripes, a -date?- Bad things always happen to people that stick around her. It's just how fate works, with all of her amazing luck everyone else seems to be at their worst.
Maybe that's why she's starting to grin. "You've got yourself a deal, Thief."
The (other) pistol gets put away, the rifle gets stripped down, and the spent shell casing she holds up between her fingers to you before she tucks it away into a pocket. "One bullet, one date, two grand. Cash." She'll hang onto that casing until the deal's seen through.
"Why are you playing so hard to get?" Remy asks. He props himself up on one elbow and looks Domino right in the eye. All the coy pretenses are gone now. No more playtime, no more smartass comments. His query isn't a rough one, just direct. He reaches out, not quite touching the choker she's wearing. "Don't try and bullshit me. You didn't just take dat because it's worth a shitload of money. If you did, you wouldn't be wearing it."
And there he sits. One eyebrow raised just a hair, his mouth curled into a curious curve. As he's done before, he studies Dom intently, as if looking close enough will reveal her secrets.
That's a damned fine question, why -did- she wear it? The answer is more simple than Domino would like it to be. "Because I wasn't planning on fencing it."
There's another slow breath as she puts the pieces of rifle back into the overly padded case. "Look, Remy, I'm in something of a transitional period here. Sometimes, I get lucky and everything turns out just right. Sometimes, I don't. I haven't been out this way in a long time and I wasn't known for having friendly relations with a whole lot of people. I'm wearing it as a reminder." Her words are punctuated by a pair of heavy snaps from the lid being latched closed. "Now kindly get off my case."
"You're wearing a piece of jewelry you got from a guy who likes you to remind you that people don't like you?" Remy frowns and lets out a small, incredulous noise. "Okay, okay. If dat's de way you wanna play it, I'm not gon' argue with you. I'm not greedy. I got what I came here for. Just keep tomorrow night open, me."
The Cajun's eyes haven't shifted. Not even a fraction. His expression is difficult to read. The frown has smoothed away. He's not quite smiling or smirking, but he still seems pleased.
Domino's still not looking terribly friendly when she shoots her gaze back your way, hefting the locked case off of the roof. "It's a reminder that right now you're all I've got. Go on, be flattered, gods know it's gonna go to your head anyway."
She planned ahead, the entire case can be slung across her back for even easier transport. It gets thrown on over the rest of her gear, a thumb sliding across the front of the strap to get it situated. The armor she wears doesn't hide any of her physical assets, though that diagonal strap might just assist them a little further. "Tomorrow night? Fine." That's still early enough within her schedule to work, plus it gets things out of the way sooner rather than later.
"Stop. Just stop." Remy holds out a gloved hand and shakes his head. He leans a few inches closer, and surprisingly enough, his eyes don't wander in any of the expected directions. "Yes, I'm a little bit in love with myself. Yes, I can be kind of obnoxious. But I haven't done anything but be nice to you. Gimme a little credit, yeah?"
A long, quiet moment passes before he averts his eyes, climbs to his feet, and starts dusting himself off fastidiously. It's a few more seconds before he speaks. When he does, it's clear that Remy LeBeau is talking rather than Gambit. "I was hoping you'd think it was charming dat I went to dis much trouble to find you. You don't have to see me if you don't want to, okay?"
Much like before, Domino needs a moment to collect herself. This time it isn't to make a shot. Rather, she has to pick her words with a little more care. Both of her hands come up, palms open, before she can even consider re-establishing eye contact with you. "I've been under a lot of pressure lately. Life's turned to shit, I feel like I've got crosshairs on my back, and survival comes down to doing jobs like this. (And placing bets that strongly favor her, apparently.)
"I'm not gonna go all 'it's not you it's me,' but you're it. And I still don't know if I can trust you. Nothing personal kiddo, but you're a thief. If you want to go from the other direction, I'm a merc. Trusting people isn't exactly in our nature. You're right, you have been nice to me, but I've been stabbed in the back over these things before. Try to understand that."
It takes another few seconds and another long inhale of breath before she can add the word "Please."
Remy lets out a long, low breath. "Okay," he concedes. "I can respect dat."
When he turns back to face Domino, something has changed. There's a a heavier, more serious air about him. "Just think about dis. You risk your life as a merc. For what? Money, yeah? But you're not willing to risk your personal life, and de reward is so much more interesting."
He shrugs his broad shoulders and reaches inside his coat for his staff. He doesn't trigger it, though. "I imagine you need to go take a picture of dat dead guy. I'll see you around."
Is this really how she wants to start things out..? The 'last that she's got?' Just because half of the world may be after her doesn't mean that the -entire- world is after her. (Come on, Dom. Even if all you take is a little step, just take a goddamn step.)
"Neena," she offers without any warning. "Domino, while on the job. I know I've been a real bitch to you since we've met but I appreciate what you're doing for me." Just don't let her trash this alliance before it even has a chance to take root...
Already turning to leave when she speaks up, he pauses. "Remy LeBeau," he replies, speaking over his shoulder. "Nice to meet you, Neena."
He turns back a little; just far enough to smile at her crookedly. "When you hear dem talk about Gambit or Le Diable Blanc, dat's me. I hope you keep wearing de choker. It looks good on you."