A/N: The prompt for this one is a little long, but I think it would be impossibly cute. PROMPT: Person A was sent to kill Person B but they got hurt and now Person B is naively nursing Person A back to health and calling them cute pet names and Person A just cannot do this. It turned out to be its own monster, let me tell you. A lot longer than I thought it would be and so different than what I originally planned for plot. Once I start typing, all plans were out the door. Happy reading!
Chapter: Mission Impossible
"Well, it looks like everything is in order. You will have a protection order if you so choose and an unmarked vehicle parked on your block," the officer read off from a page and stood up to stretch out his legs. His deep voice echoed off the walls of the dank and blank walls of the interrogation room walls around them making it seem more like a cave or dungeon, "Do you have any questions?"
A younger man sat behind the table, his hands in his lap as he scanned his eyes around the room and then to the officer in front of him, "Is all this really all that necessary? He doesn't even know who I am."
"You can't think that he doesn't," the officer warned and sat down across from him again, "You are the only witness that we have against Stefan Barnes."
"I'm not even sure if what you're saying is what I actually saw," he argued and leaned on the table. He folded his hands over one another on the steel surface, "You all are making speculations at this point."
The officer opened the statement that he just signed, "You saw Mr. Barnes walk into the coffee house and joined Henry Perce at the table. After they talked over a few items- including the addition of Stefan to the man's will as successor- Henry was distracted. You noticed Stefan add something to his cup. A sip later and the man is dead. Yes, you don't know what was in that addition, but you can see where we would connect the dots."
"It could have been sugar and the poor guy choked on the bagel he was eating!"
"And the coroner just happened to find a fatal dose of Atropine in the system?"
The guy leaned back in his chair a little exasperated, "Why would Barnes single me out?"
"How many other patrons were in that coffee shop at the time?"
"We have been over this. Other than them, it was me and two men at the front."
"Those other two men are already dead. Car wreck, highly suspicious," the officer shook his head, "Mr. Barnes has connections to the darker parts of our city."
"Assassins?" a moment passed as he waited for the punchline, but it never came about, "I'm starting not to take this seriously. If you think that this man is truly guilty and you need my help, I will. I will testify that I was in the coffee shop, enjoying my morning when a gentleman died and I saw something go into his cup before hand. But I don't think that statement is worth my life. I doubt they would think that either. Any lawyer worth their merit could argue what went into that cup."
"Or just rid of the problem to begin with," the officer argued back, but then shook his head, "Don't come back to haunt us when you get taken out by someone like Black Feather, Phoenix or the Green Curse."
"I am an insignificant man in the larger realm of things," he pushed up from the chair, "Can I go now?"
"You are free to go and live your life. However short you make it, Mr. Fitheach."
"Diaval, please," he threw back and then walked out the door.
Diaval left the police station and shook his head at the slight audacity of the officers. How a morning coffee and something to nibble on can lead to a murder investigation he had no idea. Now, all he wanted was something to eat and head home.
As he reached his car in the parking lot, he noticed a small puddle of liquid from under one of the back tires. He leaned down and took a peek to see liquid not only falling from the one tire, but from the other back tire as well. He hummed to himself and leaned back.
"That doesn't look good, 'ol girl," he patted the trunk of his car from the bumper.
He frowned at his reflection in the chrome and noticed another form behind him. He looked over his shoulder and his chin nearly dropped to the ground. Diaval looked up to see one of the most stunning women he had ever met. Her eyes nearly glowed green with hazel gold, sculpted cheek bones and her brunette hair straight and shining under the sun. A small shoulder bag hung at her side. She wore a flowing dress that still was able to show off her slim figure and a short dark jacket and covered her top. Her hands were behind her back as she looked over him.
"Is everything all right?" she only lifted her brow as she looked him over.
He quickly scrambled to his feet and dusted himself off in front of her, unsure of how to continue without making himself out being a complete fool. His mouth opened and closed in an attempt to say something. Anything.
"With your car?" she asked as if she needed to explain her inquiry further.
"Oh!" Diaval turned back to his car and then back to her, "She's a bit of an older vehicle. Been falling apart for years. Need to get myself another new model, you know?"
"Is uh... she safe to drive?"
"Probably not," Diaval shrugged and bumped the tire with his toe, "I am no mechanic, but she seems to be leaking some kind of fluid. No problem, I will catch a cab more than likely."
At that point his stomach began to growl and he looked mortified as he looked from his stomach to the woman. He scratched at the back of his head in embarrassment, "Sorry, I'm a bit peckish. Been in a meeting all morning."
"If you head down 5th street, there is a lovely little bistro-" she offered and began to point before she stopped and took his hand, "Come with me."
"W-wh-hat?" he stammered, but let her lead him irregardless.
They found a booth with no problem and she sat down across from him. She peered over at him, her eyes narrowed as she looked him over. He was nothing special as far as he knew. Dark hair, darker eyes and a penchant for dark clothes as well. He desperately hoped that she didn't think he was into the darker side of life. He actually enjoyed the brighter side quite a bit.
"You are a bit of a quiet one, aren't you?" she asked and took off the short jacket. It slid off her shoulders and fell beside her in the booth seat. She grabbed the menu and began to peruse the selection in practiced familiarity.
"Just wait until you get to know me," Diaval shook himself out of a quiet stupor, "Then it's a bit of a difference, I am afraid."
"Afraid? You talk too much?" she asked with a slight frown though she kept her eyes on the menu.
"I wouldn't say that either," he shrugged and tried to distract himself with the menu as well, "I don't slip secrets or anything of the sort, but once I am familiar with you, I start to spout gibberish or facts about things that I find interesting. My interests aren't always everyone's cup of tea."
There was a slight pause and he flicked his eyes up to find her staring at him again as if waiting for something.
"Such as?" she prompted.
"Oh, well," he looked out the window for a moment, his brain scrambling to remember his own interests. Sitting not to far away from them on a small tree were two ravens and he smiled, "Ravens."
"Ravens?" she tilted her head and another brow lift.
"Yes, did you know they have to be the most intelligent of birds? Right up there with chimps and dolphins as far as brains in the animal kingdom."
"You don't say," she said in a aloof tone, but he saw the slight smirk in the corner of her lips.
The waiter came back to the table, "Are you ready?"
"We will both have the lobster bisque with a basket of french bread to share with extra sharp cheddar," she handed her and his menu to the waiter without another word. The waiter bowed and walked to the kitchen.
"How did you know I wanted the bisque?" he tilted his head.
"I'm a very observant individual. I saw your eyes drift to it more than once," she nodded and looked at him again. She leaned forward on the table, her perfect skin almost luminescent in the bistro's dim lights, "Tell me something else."
"About ravens? Sure, they are very adaptable. Able to trick most of their predators to actually hunt for them. They can mimic a wolf's howl so that a pack will take down an elk or open up a fresh kill and the raven will feast on what is left. Not only that, they usually know if they are being watched and will try to trick other birds on where their hoard is hidden. Clever things. They are also very empathetic. Care very fondly for one another."
"You are passionate about them."
"They're on my family crest. I started young," he scratched the back of his head a little in embarrassment.
"Do you see some raven qualities in yourself?" she asked as the bread and cheddar was placed between them. She immediately took a slice of the bread and a piece of cheese to her plate to nibble on.
"Adaptability, I would say so," he nodded and then shrugged, "I don't know about intelligence as I keep putting myself in bad situations."
"Is that why you were in the police station?" she asked.
"More of wrong place, wrong time, but nothing on the criminal spectrum, I assure you."
She hummed to herself and took a bite of the french bread and the cheese. She shifted in her seat and then her jacket fell to the floor. She muttered something as she put a hand to her mouth so she wouldn't spit out her bite.
"I got it," Diaval assured her and picked up the jacket from the floor. He handed it back to her and she nodded her thanks after she finally swallowed. She put the jacket on the other side of her.
"The bread and cheese is so good here," she mentioned and looked up at the waiter as he set down their bisque, "Thank you."
"I am more of meat eater," Diaval mentioned and picked up his spoon to dig in to his bisque, "Even if it is shellfish."
She looked a little disappointed, but continued with her meal.
The rest of the meal was spent talking over his other interests- food critiquing mostly. Then it turned to her quite quickly as he wanted to know more about her.
Hesitantly at first, she told him very vague things of her childhood and her family. Her parents had been killed on the same day, leaving her distant relatives to care for her. The harsher life that she fell into after being used to more grand things when her parents were still alive. She even went into the silly crush in her youth that turned into a dead end. After minutes slipped by and an hour almost passed them by, she relaxed and more of herself opened to the stranger. Her standoffish nature melted away with the minutes and she even found herself smiling at something that he said, but then the smile would turn sad and she would build another wall up behind her eyes.
"I still manage to find myself still at his beck and call," she sighed heavily and scooped at the last of her bisque with the last bit of her first slice of bread. She popped it into her mouth and then sighed, "He calls for favors and I fulfill them. Even now, when he has moved on and married and has a child of his own."
"You still love him?" Diaval asked and poked his spoon in her direction.
"I don't even know anymore," she answered truthfully and looked at his bowl, "Are you going to finish?"
"I am finished," he pouted with a slight chuckle and looked at his bowl which held smeared remnants of his bisque.
"No, you are not," she frowned and reached over to pick up another piece of french bread. She put it in front of his face to show him, then mopped the bottom of her bowl with the bread until it was clean and took the bite that had the bisque. She nodded then as if to show him that was the way it was done.
"If you say so," he huffed and frowned at his bowl, "I think that I'm all full. You know, we've been here talking this whole time and I don't even know your name or why you'd even want to sit down with me."
There was a long silence and he looked up to find her eyes dilated and her breath shallow. She blinked slowly a couple of times before she frowned a looked at the table confused.
"Are you okay?"
"I- I- so stupid," she gasped between breaths and dug into her purse. She brought out a vile and drank some of the substance inside. She took deep breaths after and continued to blink slowly.
"You need help, I'll call-"
"No!"she yelled tough it was quite slurred and put her hand over his, "No ambulance, no police... please. I'll be fine- had medicine."
"Are you having a reaction to the food?" he asked and put his other hand over hers.
"You could say that," she smirked and began to waiver in her seat.
"I need to get you out of here," he whispered to her and she only bobbed her head.
"Is there a problem, sir?"
"She's having a bad reaction to the food. I don't know why," he said and walked around the booth to grab her jacket and threw it over her shoulders, "I will pay in a moment, but we have to leave now."
"We did not know that she was allergic to shellfish-"
"It wasn't the shellfish," Diaval muttered, "She got sick after eating more of that bread."
"Take your wife home, sir. We will take care of the check," a manager came up from behind the waiter, "She doesn't look well to stay."
"Thank you," Diaval didn't bother in correcting his assumption and picked her off her seat. He pulled her arm over his neck as she wobbled as soon as she stood. He held her tight around her waist and pulled her against him so she wouldn't fall to the floor. They made their way out to the curb and waved down a taxi. He settled her in the cab and then sat next to her, "Where are we going?"
"Going? Are we on a trip?" she asked with a hand to her chest.
"One of us is," Diaval noted and looked to the cab driver, "Home it is."
He gave the cab driver his address and they were off.
Once they got to the apartment building Diaval helped her out of the cab, to the elevator and all the way in to his studio apartment. He laid her gently on the bed and headed to the sink. He dampened a washcloth with cool water and came back over to her. He patted her forehead with the cloth and noticed that her breathing had finally evened out.
"Are you still with me?" he asked and brushed the washcloth carefully over her forehead, "You gave me quite a scare back there."
"Barely," she huffed and her eyes fluttered open, "I'll be okay. Took medicine. Do not call-"
"I know, no doctors, no cops," he smirked, "Just like me to find a stunning woman with a possible sketchy past. Don't even know your name. This is what I mean about the lack of intelligence."
She gave a soft smile back at him and put a gentle hand at his cheek, "Such a empathetic raven, you are."
"That's me," he nodded, "Are you okay to sleep?"
"Sleep would be good," she nodded and turned her head into the pillow.
"Well, we may be here for a little while," he hummed and went to re-wet the cloth.
Diaval didn't leave her side for more than a few moments at a time over the next few hours. She would talk in her sleep of ripped wings and dangerous places, but nothing that made sense. He trusted that she knew what she had talked about with the medication and he hoped to God that she would wake up good as new. Evening time came about and he cooked basic bacon and eggs at his stove as that was all he had in the fridge. He was not used to company and he definitely did not see her coming into his life.
"Are you cooking bacon at this hour?"
He quickly turned to the voice from the side of the room. She sat up in the bed, a hand to her head as she blinked and tried to make sense of her surroundings.
"... and eggs," he added with a nod. He took the pan off the fire and walked over to her, "Do you need anything? You've been out for the past five or six hours now."
"Water," she said and grimaced as she held her head.
"As my mistress commands," he nodded and went to the fridge to pull out a bottled water. He brought it back to her and sat at the end of the bed.
"Mistress?" she asked as she took a sip.
"I still don't know your name," he offered back and shrugged his shoulders, "With you getting as sick as you did, I thought that you had the right to order me about if you needed. So, what else does my mistress ask of me?"
"I have been out cold for the last five or six hours and the worst you have done is come up with a nickname for me?" she asked a little shocked.
"Another thing you need to know of ravens," he stood up and pulled at the front of his shirt, "We are gentlemen through and through."
"And here I thought that you could have been a dragon," she added on.
"I bet if you give me the right motivation," he shrugged and turned to the stove, "I'll get you a plate."
She watched after him and looked over the side of the bed where her purse laid on the floor. It was still partially open, but she found all of her items there. Everything that she had was still in the same pockets, the same lay out that she had meticulously put them in. He didn't even look for a wallet- a phone. He just trusted her to know and do what she asked of him.
"You trusted me..." she whispered. Then to the side of her bag was a bowl of water and a few drying washcloths on the rim. He had cared for her during the time she was out. She knew so many people who would have left her on the curb, but he took a stranger into his home and helped her in whatever way he could, "You tried to help me."
"You seemed to know what you were doing with that medication, but you were getting warm and weren't sweating. I hoped that you weren't running a fever. Whatever you had a reaction to from the bread was bad," he said as he came back over to her and handed her the plate with a fork, "Hope you can eat something now, Mistress."
"I don't need you to call me Mistress," she narrowed her eyes playfully at him.
"Well, then I will need to call you something," he smirked and went to grab his own plate. He sat down at the end of the bed again, "You can call me Diaval."
She looked him over and shook her head before she let out a single syllable, "Mal."
"Okay, Mal," he smiled brightly and then began to eat.
She took a long look at him one more time before she began to eat.
A few hours passed since she first woke up and during that time they found more to talk about between his food critiquing and her mysterious food allergy to pass the time. He also showed her his collection of polished gem stones as he was always drawn to shiny things and strange little nick-knacks. She told him some of the gemstones were used in a variety of ways and he was enamored with her knowledge.
She looked at his bookcase where there was a picture of him and a little girl with golden curls, "You have a daughter?"
"Oh, no," Diaval smirked as he caught sight of the picture she was looking at, "That's Rory. She's my little sister."
"She doesn't look like you. I don't see the family resemblance."
"Not blood related," Diaval walked up to her and pointed to the shirts that they were wearing in the picture, "Part of the big brother program. Knew her since she was just a little thing. Her parents aren't around much. She usually stays with her aunts for the most part. Her mother's busy with her own father and his business and I never met Rory's father. She doesn't talk about him much."
"Hm," Mal hummed and drew a finger down the girl's hair, "Pretty little thing."
"Turning sixteen in a few months. Throwing her a party since her father won't."
"You sound more like a father than a brother," she folded her arms over her chest.
"Sometimes feels like it,too. I call her my little fledgling," he took a pause and looked at Mal, "She would get a kick out of you."
"Always likes a puzzle, just like me," he laughed at her expression.
She paused for a moment as if in deep thought, "You are a good man, Diaval."
"I don't know about that, I'm just trying to do my best with the cards I'm dealt," he felt his cheeks heat for a moment and walked toward the washroom to make sure he didn't embarrass himself.
"Yes, Mistress?" he asked as he reached the door.
She frowned again at the nickname, "Thank you again for your hospitality... and the meal."
"Anytime," he hesitantly turned back at to her and leaned on the door frame, "Would be quite happy to do it again, in fact."
"We shall see, you silly bird," she teased him.
He excused himself to the restroom, but when he came back out she was gone and there was a small handwritten 'Thanks again' on his bed.
"We shall see," he whispered and let out a sigh before actually getting some sleep.
Over the course of the next few days, Diaval was able to pick up his car from the police lot. He found out that it was his brake lines that were leaking from behind his tires. Definitely not a good sign. He was happy that he noticed the leak, otherwise he would have been devastated if something happened to Mal if he had tried to drive them to his apartment in his car after her food allergy episode. The cops were even more paranoid- as was the usual.
He walked down the sidewalk on his way to the market for some essentials when he turned the corner and ran right into someone. They both spun for a moment and he landed with his back against the brick wall and the other person right in front of him. He looked down and a smile bloomed on his face.
"Hello, silly bird," she greeted and dusted herself off as she took a step back from him.
"I'm not just a bird, a raven," he corrected and pushed himself from the wall.
She turned to one side and pulled him with her as he heard something hit the wall where he just was, "What are you doing, running around without your car?"
"She's falling apart," he shrugged. He heard something hit the ground behind him and he turned his head to look, "Ready for a new one, I think."
"You could always walk and taxi," she shifted again and pulled him with her with a grip at his sleeve.
"I guess- what are you doing?" he asked with a chuckle.
"Thinking," she narrowed her eyes, "Are you free tonight?"
"I- I... uhm, yeah," he muttered out.
"Good, come with me," she looped her arm through his and began to walk down the opposite corner of the building.
"Where are you leading me this time?" he asked, but was happy to be led.
"Dancing," she smiled up at him as she led him to a little hole in the wall dance bar, "It's as close to flying as you can get around here."
The next few weeks continued on much like that day. To or from work, Diaval would bump into Mal or vice versa and they spent the rest of the day or evening together. They would have dinner- taking great care with any gluten- or would enjoy one another's company in an outing. He even introduced her to Rory on one occasion. She was a bit uncomfortable with the teenager at first, but warmed up to her in mere moments. Rory had a way to do that with people. When she had left to walk to the town car her mother sent for her she had hugged Mal goodbye. It shocked the usual stoic woman who lightly hugged her back.
"She is quite delightful," Mal said as they waved down at Rory from his window, "You've done a wonderful job with her."
"She's a good kid all her own. Didn't need me," he waved her compliment away and then turned from the window. He walked to the television and held up a couple of disks, "What's it to be tonight? Horror or slap stick?"
"You know I enjoy a good blood bath," she smiled warmly over her shoulder. He went back to the player to get the disk ready while she turned back to the window. She looked up at the top of the next building over and frowned.
"Are you ready?" he asked from the couch.
"Yes, just going to close the blinds," she said quietly and she moved to do just that.
The court hearing finally came and Diaval was asked to come to play witness. He dressed his best as it was still a court room and rolled his neck. He really disliked court. Even if he was just to be a witness.
"Are you sure you should do this?" Mal asked from the end of the bed as he fiddled with his tie, "The police are constantly at your block and haven't lost sight of you in weeks. What if they really have something to this whole assassination attempt?"
"If there was a hit on me, I would have noticed it by now," he rolled his eyes and walked over to her. He knelt down in front of her to look her directly in the eyes, "And I wouldn't have let you anywhere near me if it meant that my dear mistress was in danger."
"I know you wouldn't," she pinched his chin playfully and looked at the mess of a tie he had on, "Let me see this."
He sat still as she fixed his tie and pulled on it to make it secure. He watched her face as she concentrated on the knot. Her straight hair fell flawlessly over her shoulders and her lips pressed and puckered as she worried over the tie in her hands. Her beautiful eyes swept from one side of his collar to the other and then to his face when she had finished. For a moment he couldn't catch his breath.
He coughed into his hand to clear his throat, "How do I look?"
"All preened and ready to go," she smiled and carded a hand through his hair, "Handsome raven as ever."
"You coming with?"
"Of course I am," she smirked and followed him to the door, "Need to make sure you stay in one piece."
"And just what are you going to do to an assassin should one come after me?" he asked as he opened the door for her.
"You'd be surprised."
After the hearing they stood outside the courtroom and heard that the case was going to trial. In part thanks to his testimony and there were also more factors and evidence to consider.
Diaval nodded to her and then toward the elevator. He laughed to himself as they waited, "Well, if they wanted me dead before, it's going to be worse now."
"Stop talking like that," she hit his chest with the back of her hand.
"Should I take them up on the safe house?" he joked, earning yet another hit to his chest.
"Mister Fitheach!" a voice called from down the hall.
Both Mal and he turned to see Stefan and his lawyer walk toward them. Mal stood in front of Diaval as they approached. Diaval put his hand on her arm and took the step in front of her in response.
"Don't think it's a good move to talk to a witness outside of court, Mister Barnes," Diaval said and stuck his hands in his pockets, "I don't have anything for you."
"All my client wants is the truth," the attorney summarized.
"Then he needs to remember what he put in that cup of coffee. I told them what I saw. I didn't say it was poison and I didn't say it was creamer. The jury can think for themselves on the contents."
"You little piece of crap," Stefan took a step toward him.
Mal was instantly in front of Diaval and took a long look at Stefan in the eyes.
"Mally," Stefan breathed out and looked from her to Diaval and then back again, "Not as strong as I thought you were."
"Stronger than you ever dared to hope," she growled back at him.
"I would sleep with one eye open, Fitheach," Stefan said as he still stared at Mal, "She's not who you think she is."
"Come on, Stefan," his attorney pulled at his client's arm to the elevator.
As soon as the elevator door closed Mal let out a breath.
"I didn't know you knew him."
"I thought that I did," she muttered and looked at Diaval who just looked confused and a little hurt. She took another deep breath in, "I need to tell you something."
"Something that is better in private, I think," he nodded and pushed her toward the other elevator that arrived.
Once they made it to his apartment, he threw off his jacket and pulled off his tie. He sat on his small couch and looked up at her, "So?"
Mal shuffled on her feet and opened her mouth a few times to start, but couldn't get very far past one word. He ran a hand through his hair and shook his head as she struggled with words. He got back off his couch and went to the cupboard for a glass and something harder to drink than water.
"This is harder for me than you think it should be," she finally said after he took a shot.
"He's the childhood crush, I get it," Diaval nodded and turned to lean back against his stove, his arms crossed over his chest, "Did he send you to- what? Provoke me? Threaten me? Distract me?"
"No, he... he," she muttered and let out a muffled scream from between her teeth in frustration, "He did much worse."
"How's that?" Diaval tilted his head to the side in wonder and then shook his head, "How could it be any worse than throwing your ex at a man even though she still had feelings for you? What kind of man would do that to someone who clearly cares for him?"
Mal's lips trembled a little and she looked away for a moment to pace.
"Did he tell you to keep seeing me? Running into me?"
"No!" she fumed, her temper now beginning to show.
"Then why do it?!"
"To keep you safe!" she screamed and threw her bag across the room and onto his bed.
"Safe? From what?"
"From others like me," her shoulders dropped and she stared at him with a gloss over her eyes, "Others that would take my place and try to kill you."
"Kill me?" he narrowed his eyes at her and opened his mouth to say something else, until he ran right at her. He caught her around the middle and they both dropped to the floor just a moment before the vase behind her shattered. He stayed over her for a moment before he looked over at his windows, now wide open instead of closed and locked like before. He then looked up at the wall and noticed the red dot that had been over Mal's chest. He looked down at her and raised a single finger, "We are not done with this discussion."
She nodded and looked toward the bed where she threw her purse, "My gun is in my purse."
"You smuggled a gun into the courthouse?"
"I always have a firearm handy," she said nonchalantly.
"Strange," Diaval muttered and then rolled to his couch a foot away and hit the side panel of the base. The panel slid out and pulled a small glock with a silencer. He handed it to her and then pulled out a rifle with the same outfitting before he closed it up again. He checked for ammunition and then looked back at her again, "I'm the same way."
Her eyes were so large at that point, he didn't know if they were going to fall out of her head.
"Get this guy off our tail and then we have a long night of questions ahead of us. Agreed?"
"Agreed," she breathed out.
"I'll take the East window."
"I'll take the West," she nodded and they both crawled toward their windows.
"Think you know who it is?" Diaval asked as he carefully set up his rifle and looked out the scope.
"If I had to guess, it would be Borra," she explained and tried to get a good feel on where he was set up, "If there was anyone that would take the contract on you and get to take me out as a bonus, it would be him."
"Bulky, likes his muscles and rifle do the talking," Mal growled, "Not much going on up stairs."
"Good, won't be as big of a mess."
"He's on the Southern edge. Laser scope."
"I see him," Diaval focused his sight and just as the laser pointed his way again, he squeezed and no more laser. No more shooter.
"Hold for a moment," Mal said before either of them moved from their places. A second lazer came into view from a story down from Borra, "There is another."
"Yeah, I see the end of the rifle, but not them," Diaval frowned and leaned back, "They have a better shot at me then I do of them."
He heard the soft shot through the silencer from his other window. The end of the other rifle fell back and then it was still. He looked over her Mal who shook her head and stood from her spot at the window.
"You hit them with the glock?"
"I had a shot," she said as if he had insulted her, "Give me some credit."
He finally shut his window and walked over to shut hers, "Okay, so questions and answers."
"How?" she asked and held up the glock, "You're a food critic."
"Part-time food critic," he corrected and took the glock from her before he went to put it back into the couch hide hole, "You know how I wasn't worried about assassins?"
"Yes, I thought that you were being way too under prepared for it."
"Ever heard of Black Feather?"
He laughed, "I really had hoped that they would pick up on the feathers left on the bodies belonged to a raven, but when you leave it to the media to name you..."
"Raven... you and ravens," she shook her head and sat on the back of the couch to face him.
"Like you should talk," he smirked and sat next to her, "Phoenix."
"How long have you known?"
"Since you picked me up from the police parking lot," he admitted and looked at the floor at their feet, "I knew that someone was after me when my break lines were cut. Then a gorgeous woman takes me to lunch out of no where? What did you have behind your back at the car?"
"Injectable nightshade," she said quickly as if to soften the blow, "You saw me quick. I'm glad you did."
"Good trick with the jacket at the bistro," he shook his finger at her, "Would have tricked most men. I'm sorry I didn't stop you from eating that second slice. I thought that you knew which slices were safe to ingest since you put the poison on there."
She laughed under her breath, "Yes, that. I got distracted."
"Oh, how the tables have turned," he smiled and bumped her shoulder with his, "I distracted you into poisoning yourself. That is a new one."
"Stop that, you insufferable raven," she rolled her eyes at his laughter and looked at his profile, "Then you knew what I was doing after that day."
"You probably tried to get the gang to call off the hit on me on the days following our meeting," he guessed at which she nodded and then he frowned, "But once you found out someone else tried to take up the bounty, you came to keep me out of harms way- you know, I thought those were bullets hitting behind me."
"What changed from today where they targeted you too?"
"Stefan," she shook her head and her teeth ground together, "He put the hit on you to begin with, just like the other men who were caught in that coffee shop with you. He asked me to take care of it. When he saw me with you today, he finally realized that I truly wasn't going to go through with it. I wasn't going to kill you. I was going to protect you. I then became the second target."
Diaval took a moment and finally looked back at her, "Not that I'm glad you didn't keep trying to kill me after your disastrous first attempt, but why didn't you?"
She looked at him, deep in his dark eyes and shook her head, "I was being stupid and reckless and sentimental..."
He chuckled and she laughed lightly with him.
She took his hand in hers to poke at his palm, "And, I may just had fallen in love with you."
"After that first day?"
"No, I knew you were a good man after that first day," she rectified and kept a hold of his hand, drawing over the lines in his palm, "Then I got to know you, and Rory. More and more and it just grew. You were the first one to genuinely ask after me. About me."
Her head suddenly lifted in a single notion, "You did want to know me?"
"Yeah, I did," Diaval nodded and pulled at the hand that was in his, "I still do."
"After everything that I told you? After you know what I am?"
"A killer just like me?"
"You kill the bad guys. You're a vigilante and a hired gun for those you deem worthy. I've read up on you," she smirked, "The blood on your hands is merited, mine is dirty... so very dirty."
"Blood is blood. We've both done things that we regret- some things that we will never speak of because we think it will label us monsters. Things we blame ourselves for. I know your track record too. Every single target," he answered and took a deep breath. He put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her tight to his side, "The worst part is, I love you anyway."
She smiled up at him and then leaned her head on his shoulder as he hugged her to him.
"I need to let you know something," he whispered into her hair above her.
"More?" she asked as she pulled away.
"Yeah," he squinted and rubbed the back of his head, "I was supposed to kill you too."
"What?" she frowned.
"After you killed me, actually," he chuckled a little, "Stefan tried to contact Black feather to take out another hit man after they finished with their target. He wanted to tie up loose ends. I think he figured out that wasn't going to happen either. He kept asking, I kept ignoring him. He finally gave up."
"So, we were asked by the same man to kill each other?" she asked and narrowed her eyes at him, "I think that we should at least let him know that the contracts cannot be completed. Don't you?"
"Absolutely," he nodded as she tried to pull away from him. He caught her arm and pulled her back to sit in front of him, "But before we do-"
She looked at him in question until he leaned forward and kissed her. His hand lifted to gently caress her cheek and fingers gently stroked the hair pinned behind her ear. She smiled into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him closer. She nearly crawled into his lap as he tried to steer them to the bed.
Much later that night, they found themselves wrapped in the sheets in his bed as they planned their first of many team contracts.