A/N: Hello all, and welcome to To Be An Assassin! This is the first story I've written for , so I'm a little nervous... but it's okay, because I had to get it over with sooner or later, right?
I had a plot bunny for this after reading a chapter of a SinJa drabble fanfic. The chapter was called 'Two-Faced Ja'far', and it was basically about Ja'far actually still secretly being a foul-mouthed assassin under his mask of Sindria's well-mannered Head Advisor, and Sinbad, Hinahoho, and Drakon being terrified. It's hilarious. Anyway, after that I was just kind of wondering... what if Ja'far really is still an assassin underneath it all? Then it struck me that if he was, he probably wouldn't be happy about someone trying to kill Sinbad, and given how many enemies they have, that's bound to happen and keep happening. And so the plot bunny was born. I really, really wanted a fanfic about it... so I decided I'd write it myself. Without further ado, Chapter One!
Walking through the corridors of Sindria's spacious palace, a pile of scrolls in his arms, Ja'far almost stumbled on the way to his office. The walls shook, the floor trembled, and he heard the unmistakable sound of a muffled explosion. Normally he wouldn't have paid attention- Yamraiha's experiments with storing magoi often had rather explosive side effects, and the Generals' spars were frequently… destructive. Normally Ja'far would have rolled his eyes and kept walking. Normally he would have complained a bit, and scolded whoever was responsible later, after he'd finished his paperwork. Normally, the blast didn't come from the direction of the throne room.
Ja'far dropped the scrolls, barely noticing how they bounced and rolled along the hall in favor of drawing his weapons. He was already halfway down the corridor, bolting for his king as fast as it was physically possible for him to do so. Please let him be okay. He has to be okay! He skidded into the throne room in less than half the time it usually took him to get there. Ja'far scanned the room as he entered, noting with relief that Sinbad, while looking surprised, confused, faintly annoyed, and Equipped into Baal, was unharmed; the crater in the wall opposite him told Ja'far what the explosion had been from. Sharrkan was there as well, his drawn sword dropping warily out of a defensive position and streaked with slight traces of blood. And the glass from the east windows were broken, their silk curtains swaying in the breeze.
Ja'far darted over to a window, peering out just in time to see the last few men- dressed in muted red and black and cursing Sinbad's name- disappearing into the mess of the city's back streets and alleys. He stowed his sparking knives back in his sleeves, squashing the tiny amount of disappointment that rose up inside him that he hadn't gotten to slaughter- sorry, fight- them. Now that I know the immediate danger is out of the way, time to find out exactly what they thought they were doing.
"What happened?" Ja'far demanded, turning to his king. "Who were they? Did they say why they were here? What did they want? Sin, what did you do?" Sinbad hastily held up his hands in surrender, dropping his Djinn Equip as he did so. "Whoa, whoa, slow down, Ja'far! I can't answer everything at once. And wait a minute," the king added, wounded. "What do you mean, what did I do? I had nothing to do with it! …This time. Probably. I mean," he continued, as the rest of his Generals burst into the room, ready for battle. "I've been responsible lately! I've only been drunk a couple of times the past month, I've stayed out of taverns, I haven't seduced any women away from their husbands, and I've even been doing my paperwork!"
Miracle of miracles. Usually it was a pain in his ass to get Sin to do paperwork; the king would whine, complain, and procrastinate until Ja'far was ready to tear his hair out. Or commit regicide. At that point, Sinbad would usually relent and get it over with; he did have some self-preservation instincts. Contrary to popular belief. However, he admitted to himself reluctantly, Sin was right; he had been unusually well-behaved recently. Enough so that this recent, violent outbreak of unrest was most likely not his fault. As hard as that is to believe. "If it wasn't your fault," Ja'far started, eyes narrowing dangerously, "then why were they attacking you?!"
"I don't know! I was just wandering around with Sharrkan, you know, chatting with him about- um," Sinbad coughed, then rushed on before his advisor could do anything more than contemplate maiming him. "Anyway, we walked in, and then about fifteen of them broke through the windows. They attacked almost as soon as they got through- I barely had enough time to Equip Baal. There was a lot of screaming and yelling, I didn't catch most of what they said," He said apologetically. "But what I did hear… something about the palace not being as secure as we think. I don't think we have a spy; they could have just meant our guard's not as tight a perimeter as it needs to be." The king finished his briefing with a hopeful, almost pleading look at the gathered Generals.
"I gathered about the same," Sharrkan put in. "But at the moment, they're running; shouldn't we go after them? If they do have a spy in the palace, it shouldn't be too difficult to discover who it is once they're apprehended." Masrur nodded, and Ja'far made a sound of agreement. We can't let them get away. They'll have more time to regroup and attack again! But Yamraiha narrowed her eyes and hmmphed. "We can't just go running after them unprepared! Yes, we need to find and stop them, but it would be easier if we hung back and tracked them with magic." She crossed her arms. "Not that I would have expected that to occur to you." Ja'far inwardly groaned. Great. Now it's just going to devolve into an argument… yes, there they go.
Sometimes the childishness of the other Generals made him want to slap sense into them. Other times it made him want to murder them all and make it look like an accident. Oh, how horrible, I suppose I'll have to rule Sindria and protect it all by myself now… I'm sure I could do a better job than these losers. But if he were honest with himself, that wasn't what was really bothering him. Really, bothering wasn't a strong enough word. There was a cold fury coursing through his veins, making him clench his fists so his hands wouldn't tremble in rage.
Whoever those men had been, they had attacked this palace, which he had made his home. Attacked Sindria, the country he'd shed blood, sweat, and tears to help build. But most of all, what was completely and totally unforgivable in Ja'far's eyes- they had attempted to kill Sinbad. My king. The man I vowed to follow, fight for, and protect. The man I've killed for, who I would die for, who literally saved my soul- they tried to murder him. To extinguish his brilliant, blinding light from this world forever.
I'm going to kill them for that.
Certainty, laced into every word of that thought. He didn't care what the other Generals would argue out and eventually decide on. Didn't care about the time it would take, the amount of work he'd have to take care of tomorrow because it would probably take the whole day. These men had tried to harm his king. If Sin had been any less used to lethal danger… they might have succeeded. And that is unacceptable.
Ja'far stood perfectly still a moment longer, letting the voices of his bickering friends wash over him as he wrestled the murderous anger into a clear cold focus. Then he quietly and determinedly turned around, left the room, and headed to his quarters. He felt more than saw servants scattering out of his path, his aura blazing a warning that anyone who got in his way would meet a swift and bloody end. Upon reaching his chambers, he went straight to his wardrobe, shrugging off his First Advisor's robes as he went. In the bottom of it, hidden under a false board, were the items he'd quietly purchased and stowed away for exactly this purpose, should they be needed.
The clothes were light, comfortable, and unrestrictive; they were also dyed in shades of black and grey, to better blend into the shadows. He pulled them on quickly, and checked his weapons, making sure they were properly wrapped and the edges were expertly sharpened. He gathered a few coins and a water skin, and tucked into his belt, out of the way. Then Ja'far slipped out of his rooms, and back to the throne room, habitually keeping to the darkened alcoves and ducking behind columns out of sight of various members of the palace staff.
Back in the throne room, the others were still fighting amongst themselves. Ja'far rolled his eyes, pulling a dark cowl around his face to hide his distinctive features, and strode over to one of the windows the group of assailants had both entered and exited through. He stopped, and hesitated a heartbeat longer, glancing back at his king. "Sin, I'm going out," he called, making up his mind. Then, not bothering to wait for a response, he quickly turned and lowered himself out the window, dropping lightly onto the ground below. He darted over to the street Sinbad's attackers had turned down, and easily slipped into the mindset of a Sham Lash Chief Assassin. He needed to track these bastards down, and with his skill set- even if he hadn't used it in a while- it shouldn't take long at all for him to find them. And then I'm going to slaughter them for daring to even consider touching that which is precious to me.