Author's Note : Technically, I cannot post outright notes as 'chapters'. It's against this site's rules and regulations to have nothing 'chapter'-like in a chapter post. The original plan was, on April's Fools, I'd post an omake between Anna and Usov accidentally creating a black hole via Construction then point out there was a chapter posted for the next 'book' in this series at the end of it.
Unfortunately, I got too tired to do it and had to post the finished first chapter for the next part or not post anything for another day or so.
So, here. Have a 'deleted scene' instead. This is what I found in my work-folder for this fanfiction, having been cut and reworked for chapter 98 after it had been halfway-written because I didn't like how it worked out. This DID NOT HAPPEN, and is instead just extra stuff I could dig out quickly because I remembered I wanted to do this and reviewer JaguarVakarian reminded me I hadn't gotten around to it.
Also, there's about three chapters up for Russian Roulette: Second Barrel if you would like to wander over that way.
"The gentleman, and I am using the term loosely, by the pillars? One of the contacts of a guy by the name 'Hasso Herschel' maintains in East Germany, the guy who dug the Tunnel fifty-seven out with a couple of friends? That man's supposedly a diplomat, but can entirely smuggle people in his trunk. If you've got the cash to burn and need a quick exit, that's your route." Sonya then turned slightly and nodded in the direction of someone else. "That man, wearing the Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse uniform? They helped build the wall, a number of those soldiers might be interested in escaping. For a price, more than likely, but it's possible to find a way through them."
Renato slouched to see the man she was indicating, then straightened up and glanced around the slowly emptying auditorium curiously. "What are we doing here, aside seeing a play and getting an overview of the main political shakers around here?"
Given the play was well over, and only a handful of groups remained lingering as they discussed various topics or subjects possibly related or not to the entertainment they all just watched, it wasn't an entirely out there question to ask.
"We're waiting on someone." Admitted the thief simply, straightening her skirt so her bare legs weren't so exposed to the cold air. "Don't shoot him through the head."
The hitman shot her a look, then his eyes slid past her to someone rather clumsily approaching their two chairs in a rather large section that had no one else lingering still.
"Young miss Nikishina." Observed a significantly porky man as he weaved a more or less stable way to them through the various theater seats. "Not someplace I ever expected you to show up again."
"Herr Faulstich. How… rare." She temporized a touch less pleasantly. "Unfortunately, I am here to see you."
"Oh? I do hope this won't end the last way our meeting concluded."
"No, I am merely acquainting a… friend of mine, around." Glancing to the Mafioso smirking at her side, the Russian sighed and gestured to him. "Herr Faulstich, this is… Reborn. Reborn, this is Herr Faulstich. He controls the territory near the Bornholmer Straße border crossing."
The Italian, who she could not convince 'Reborn' was a horrible handle to be known by, merely raised his head enough to clearly see the new man under his hat. He then glanced at the two obvious bodyguards, bored-looking muscled types who both were not watching anything but the Storm-Cloud's person with suspicion.
"I take it the crossing this… fine gentleman controls fits the criteria I asked for?"
"I am… forced to agree. Again, I wouldn't suggest-"
"Not now, Sonya." Brushed off the Sun glibly, as agreed for the story they were going to use in order for the expected 'double cross' not to be all that surprising, standing up to tower over the other man by a good half a foot. "Herr Faulstich, a pleasure."
"Quite." Returned the elder German, glancing between the slightly disgruntled thief and the hitman. "Did you… require something specific?"
"Something that probably shouldn't be spoken of just anywhere." Agreed Renato smoothly, shifting only just so much so not only did Sonya have a good glimpse at the butt of the gun in his jacket so too did the three Germans. "I would be interested in a meeting about such things, if you can spare the time."
Heiner Faulstich glanced between the two of them, while she pulled a pipe out of her clutch to light up. Her part in this was over, and the rest of what she was for was just arm candy and the obvious introduction to other 'individuals of import' in East Berlin.
Eventually, having contemplated whatever he was pondering positively or something, he nodded slowly. "The night is still young, my… friends. Dinner, perhaps? I find myself with a certain… appetite."
That still made Sonya's skin crawl. She wasn't sure why it kept making her skin crawl, but the feeling was constant
"We do have reservations at the Ganymed Brasserie. I suppose it would not be too much trouble to add another seat to it." Allowed the Russian flatly, allowing her distaste to color her tone as her pipe started smoldering enough to pull on for her nicotine fix. "If you insist, Reborn."
"I'm starting to think you don't like the man, little dragon lady."
"Well… you would be correct in that. I don't think anyone-"
"Dinner at the Ganymed would be delightful." Interrupted Faulstich, without care of making it seem like he wasn't cutting her off. "Although… Nikishina, the offer still stands if you should change your mind."
"Go to hell." The thief advised him pleasantly, taking a long draw from her pipe just to blow in his face.
The fact the smoke could carry her Storm Flames and probably at best kill him or at worse scar his flesh just made her feel better all over. At least for her, he didn't know and just wrinkled his nose at her actions while the Sun…
Renato cocked an eyebrow at her, but turned his attention back to the Germans after nothing else came from her. "The reservation's for nine thirty, if you feel up to it."
"I believe," tugging his left sleeve down a touch, the slightly bulky Faulstich examined the timepiece he wore, "we are coming up upon nine as it is. As the two of you will be providing dinner and some company, how about my boys and I provide the transportation?"
"No." Refused the Russian abruptly, standing up abruptly and nearly forcing the Mafioso backwards a step he couldn't take due to the narrow rows the seats were arranged in. Instead she ended up practically in Renato's arms, before ducking them to end up behind him and away from the older man. "I recall the last time you offered me a ride, Herr Faulstich."
"We never could recover the car, you destroyed a good portion of it."
"Perhaps you've learned a little about why it happened, hopefully?"
"Sonya." Renato called again, glancing over his shoulder at her in what could be easily mistaken for amusement.
It wasn't, or at least she could see the harder set to his jaw and the narrowed eyes which equated to his 'less than pleased' behavior recalled from a lot of meeting in Mafia Land.
Given the last time she had seen the other man personally was back when she was fourteen, and the condonations of the last conversation they had ended up creeping her out enough to escape it the quickest way she could via Storm Flames, the thief was moderately surprised he had approached them rather than force her to do it instead.
He'd still deal with her no matter what might've happened the last time, because she was a reliable customer who paid the price as agreed, but she wouldn't trust him with a ten yard restraining order and her own bodyguard to equal out what he had. Faulstich wasn't used to being denied, most probably didn't get away with refusing him if that was what she thought it was, and hence she wanted little to nothing to do with him now she suspected he had his own motives over the aid he'd let her buy.
Even if he was one of her mother's old contacts.
Maddie and her four sons were a hell of a lot better to deal with, however bitterly sour the cook was. However, they were on the Western side of Berlin.
Now, these days, Sonya didn't really need local contacts. She'd use them on occasion, more of her mother's contacts if she could give the locals some financial assistance, but more often she used Mafia Land's methods as she had it available. With her work, and the very nature of stealing things that might have national or social significance to a region, it was just less hassle all around to do her own footwork than risk tripping over someone else's limits.
Losing him wouldn't be too troublesome for her, and probably not entirely a bad incident for East Berlin over all. Faulstich was very much one of those that would arrange a crossing for someone, then steal their luggage after alerting the guards to an illegal attempt to circumvent the Berlin Wall so you couldn't protest his behavior for fear of being arrested or shot.
Whatever it was he wanted would at least be clarified, and she'd then know if he was really as creepy as he felt to her or if she assumed wrongly.
The German obviously took Renato calling her name as chiding in nature, rather than a call to remind her she wasn't dealing with the creep alone. Apparently assuming the Mafioso she was admittedly hiding behind was the one calling the shots for the both of them, the equivalent to a Russian Pahkan or an Italian Don refocused on the hitman. "As the lady protests, a walk instead?"
"Why not." Agreed the man neutrally.
Sonya stuck the pipe between her teeth, accepting her clutch from her friend and skirting around the entire group using the isle a touch further away from the seats she had bought the tickets for rather than the isle behind the German natives. Renato shrugged, turning back to the men with a smirk.
"Maybe we should let her… powder her nose."
She was going to slug him in the arm for that, later. Maybe.
When he wasn't so close to Faulstich.
Renato… slightly understood Sonya's distaste for the man she had spent a significant amount of money to set up a meeting with.
Aside his interest in eyeing up a woman a good thirty or forty years his junior who did not acknowledge it, the fact a ticket to the venue he frequented cost a pretty few marks to acquire short notice, the man seemed to love his food to the point of almost overeating at the high-class restaurant she set up for this… and kept eyeing Sonya up no matter the sneer she shot at him…
Gallingly, the hitman probably wouldn't care if it hadn't been for that last point. He had certainly dealt with worse crooks, and he was of that general oily snake feel to even just chat to, and while admiring a lady was something any age could certainly do... to do it as crassly and in spite of the lady's discomfort with it was another thing entirely.
They were seeking a 'quick and dirty' method through the Berlin Wall into West Berlin, which meant the options were going to be limited and probably not worth the effort. However 'surrounded' the other half of the city was by the rest of East Germany, they did have a mostly secure way back into the Europe and American controlled part of the split country. 'Herr Faulstich' had it, could demand what he liked for return of making use of his set up and resources, and obviously he got it frequently enough to feel secure in meeting foreign criminals for yet more business of that type.
…he really just couldn't overlook the thief's muted but utter revulsion for the man while they ordered dinner. Which was something he agreed with, even discounting his own interest in the same general subject, because the age gap was worse than just half the other man's age plus seven more.
Faulstich wasn't entirely overt in his preoccupation either, despite a ruined car that might've been a result from seeking out an answer from the disinterested woman.
"So! Now then…" patting his mouth with a snowy white square of linen, the German set an elbow on the table and dropped the cloth in favor for the dark glass of wine that was ordered by the bottle for them, "…what, generally, did you need from me?"
"We need to be on the other side, rather quickly." Renato informed the man simply, resting his arms on the back of the booth they were seated in. The fact it meant his right arm was around Sonya's shoulders, just for the reminder that the thief was not his, was entirely coincidental. "A bit of an event on the seventh, and the eighth, we can't miss. Our usual way… fell through."
"A fairly… common situation I see it no few times these days, if a bit of an odd reason to seek me out about remedying." Allowed Faulstich simply, twisting the half glass around to admire the color of the wine. "I… might be able to help you. If, of course, you can see it to helping me in return. I am taking you to be a man of very particular skills, much as young Nikishina is of a few certain abilities of her own."
"Of course." Agreed the Mafioso, peering out from under the brim of his fedora at the other. "Depending, it wouldn't be all that much to ask."
"Well, that is the issue. Is it not?" Gesturing to one of his lingering bodyguards, the overweight man passed on a short order to fetch the 'usual' list.
Exactly how many people was this man killing on a weekly or monthly basis, to have a whole list?
Of the 'usual', and not the 'unusual'.
"Not that much of an imposition then?"
"Ah well, I can work with it. Even with the short notice, since the two of you have seen it to be so accommodating in your plans this evening." Dismissed the German with a smirk, sipping the dark red liquor. "…nothing to say, Nikishina?"
"I have little to add." Admitted the thief blandly, mainly watching their fellow dinners than overtly pay attention to their guest. "We are in a hurry, and you were the best I could think of who could accommodate something short notice like this. However… expensive you're going to be."
"Hmm… this is true." Faulstich mused a touch bitterly, his eyes sliding a touch past her to the Mafioso's arm around her. "A pity our last… occasion to speak was so fraught with issues. I wonder, would you care to speak without… ah, your fellow here?"
"We really don't have the time right now." Sonya didn't roll her grey eyes but wanted to, finally shifting to pay their guest more of her attention. "Frankly, after that mess the last time we spoke, I'm surprised you will speak with me at all."
"There's always time for a situation to change." From the smirk alone, even discounting what the Sun could pick up from the other man's mental train of thought, the German expected things to change quickly now she had wandered back 'close enough'. "As you seem to understand yourselves."