Chapter Three – Outlaw

Disclaimer: Dunn own the lyrics for 'Outlaw' they are ©ed to the group 'MANOWAR', nor do I own anything or anyone JCA related they are all ©ed to Sony, the WB, Mr Chan and whomever else, I also dunn own Firefly or GI Joe related, they btw are all ©ed to Marvel, and DIC and I do not own Rachel Valmont nor Christopher Valmont, they belong to my friend Youkai Youko whom I give a special thanks to XD

Dedicated to: Mi amore the sexy and stunning Spleef, her works can be found both at under the name 'Spleefmistress' or at under the name 'Spleef' and to her fans as well as my own i.e. the ones who've commented on my fanfics, the names of those fans are as follows:

Spleef

Lord Shendu

Forgotten Love

Souma Kagura

ShadowElfBard

Hellblaze

Youkai Youko

Vampire Naomi

Feedback: Need it, want it, crave it, desire it, and thirst for it just as much as I need, want, crave, desire, and thirst for one of Spleef's kisses or a nice ice cold Diet Dr Pepper, you can reach me at: Nothing much to say, had a rather hard time trying to imagine what the background for this chapter would be, all the same I want to thank Youkai Youko for lending me her characters Rachel and Christopher Valmont. But most of all I want to thank the one and only Spleef who (despite the rats and flamers) has never once given up on her fics and was not only a wealth of help but was also responsible for helping me to get back to writing this story and so to Spleef I say:

Thank you for believing in me and helping me and just well being there for me whenever I needed someone to talk to you truly are the best girlfriend and lover a guy could ever have and I am also proud to call you my best friend and mi amoreJ

Summary: wellp since Zarana's out to get me and since most of the regular cast for JCA is against me I am thinking of asking the magisters to fill in lol

Magister 1: Forsooth! Yon Lord Valmont has hired the mercenary Firefly to deal with thine odious Jackie Chan!

Magister 2: But can the assassin do what none else could do and rid the world of thine knave?

Why must you guys speak that way?

Magister 3: He speaketh outeth against useth!

Magister Leader: He must be smotten posthaste!

OO! Uses Homestar Runner as a human shield

Homestar: This…does not look good for the Homestar Runner

But it does look good for me :D flees while Homestar is blasted by the Magisters who then chase after me

'Do not use my name' – Firefly – Eau de Cobra

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I'm a stranger in town and my guns never cold

I'm a gambler so bet on your life

You'll never live to grow old

I deal in lead I won't step aside

Where trouble's waitin well so am I

I live for the fight the thrill of the kill

Paid in gold for the blood I spill

…Firefly paused looking at the obscure little round objects before him again, the drop had to go off without a hitch and for that to happen meant he would have to go over every little piece of information about the city and the drop site itself before he made his move.

Not that that wouldn't be hard hell it was a walk in the park he thought with a chuckle looking at the map in front of him already planning to disguise himself in order to casually hand the talismans over to Valmont who would meet him in Lincoln's park which was well enough away from Chinatown and from Section Thirteen as well.

The question was what kind of cover should he use for this little job since he could go dressed as himself due to the fact that he happened to be on numerous wanted posters throughout the United States and the world at large.

Wanted posters with (not surprisingly) rather large prices in the ten billion dollar range and climbing by the second from what Firefly knew and suspected due to…frustrated law enforcement officials, military and intelligence agencies and citizens looking to make a name for him or herself by turning him in.

He smirked at that wondering how many of the people in the city would scatter once they knew he was here and ohh yes he suspected that sooner or later the press would find out about his arrival in this city, and then they'd blow it out of proportion bringing the military and possibly Cobra into it as well.

Not that he was worried of course, Firefly was better then any other person on this planet and he'd always be on top because he would never ever ever let anyone else take his spot at the top of the underworld's 'food chain' as it were.

His smirk grew and he chuckled with amusement, to some Firefly was regarded as a common thug, a killer who had no qualm killing anyone and everything in his path delighting in causing pain and misery wherever he went, being paid in what many believed was blood money and while that was true to some extent Firefly had his own code of ethics one he held to no matter what one that had ultimately been one of two reasons as to why he had quit working for Cobra.

The other had been a personal one, one of only two failures on the mercenary's part, failures that…had had everlasting effects upon Firefly, ones that plagued him with dreams where he was reprimanded for his failures and forced to watch the consequences with brutal unending savagery. A savagery that continued on and on never ending, never ceasing thanks to his ohh so flawless and perfect memory.

He snarled forcing back those memories in an effort to put aside the past and concentrate on the present as he'd been trained to do and he paused turning on a laptop computer in order to find the routes for the various vendors who sold things in Golden Gate Park.

The more he focused the more the emotions left and he felt the cold come back to him, and he embraced it welcoming it to him with open arms as it were the nightmarish memories fading allowing him to see things more clearly something else he welcomed so very much.

He paused and allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction then chuckled having decided on 'setting up shop' near the Music Concourse itself and with a small satisfactory gleam he read the information on all of the vendors in the area as well as the accessibility both he and Valmont would have.

Getting there wouldn't be that hard either he mused looking through schedules and everything else he could find planning everything up determined to make sure that everything went according to plan.

One by one he checked off the steps for his plan memorizing everything down to even the minutes and the seconds it took for shows to be played and for intermissions and anything and everything else.

He smiled calmly, now all he had to do was decide what to go as, he thought with some amusement removing a cigarette and lighting it calmly inhaling the smoke from the cancer stick while he went through every single option available to him.

He wanted things to be perfect for this one since he had no real inkling of how long it would be before he would have another well paying job thanks to Cobra's attempts to force him to come back and work for them at a largely reduced salary.

To say nothing of the thought of having to work for Serpentor and for the other members of the Cobra Hierarchy all of whom Firefly would never ever trust no matter how much money he was offered and nor would he work for them not as long as they ran the show.

To put it bluntly they could go screw themselves with lead pipes for all he cared he thought with disgust already knowing full well that his chief rival the mercenary Scrap-Iron a piece of filth who would sell out his own mother for any price was quickly taking the position Firefly himself had once held as the best assassin and mercenary the world had ever known.

Ordinarily Firefly would have fried his rival or ripped out his heart for even daring to encroach upon his territory and reputation but now?

Now not even his reputation held much meaning for him despite how much he growled and pretended it did, to him everything felt…hollow and so very unreal.

Not at all as things had once been he thought bitterly remembering the fun he'd had as he'd executed such assignments like sabotaging the jets and other air vehicles the joes had carried, or the time he'd helped Cobra Commander steal from that small time crime lord in order to finance Zartan and his Dreadnoks in the Cold Slither operation.

He wanted things back to the way they were but reality was a harsh and brutal master or mistress of course neither title held meaning for him, because he himself was just as brutal and harsh and cold as reality was when one thought about it, however…there were times when he wished things were back to the way they had been five years ago, before…Serpentor and his appeasers had come to power, before she…had left him and…before he'd wound up alone with a price on his head for his standing up to Serpentor and his cronies.

Despite his wishes though things were as they were now and Firefly had a job to do, one he would do well in one that would impress his new employer enough for a possible long-term job one where he was well respected and one where he received a real profit instead of the 'so-called payments' Serpentor and his bootlickers had wanted to give Firefly.

After all money was real power he reminded himself, it couldn't betray you as people often did a lesson he learned daily from watching numerous politicians and businessmen and police and other law enforcement agents as they took whatever bribes offered to them, hell even armies and religious figures and ordinary working people could be bought and betray people who trusted them…if the price was right. He was just a person who'd realized that truth long ago, one who had also acted on that truth for his own enrichment as it were he mused his mood changing from bitter to a psychotic sense of humor mixed with his greed.

Picking the routes he wanted Firefly paused and started work on the rest of his plan contacting Valmont having decided to make the drop inside the Concourse instead of outside it due to the fact that it was a lot more private inside the large building rather then outside, especially if the security cameras were disabled.

Now all he had to do was to get Valmont to wait for him in one of the balconies having changed his mind from using the guise of a vendor to one of an usher which would give him plenty of leeway to make the delivery and to also ensure that the Englishman did not try to double cross him or for anything else to go wrong.

Not that anything would go wrong, after all Valmont was smart enough to know what happened to people who did cross Firefly, so there wasn't a large possibility of him pulling something on the mercenary and nobody knew what Firefly looked like so there was no way he would be recognized.

With a chuckle Firefly imagined the money he would be making from this latest business venture, and possibly would have even more after he killed Jackie Chan off for his new employer.

"Still…it never hurts to not be too careful" he reminded himself placing several weapons from handguns to submachine guns to grenades and other explosives as well as knives inside the backpack he had bought recently.

And if anything the mercenary was the epitome of caution just as much as he was a man who was also the best example of a clockwork analytical and ruthless military precision based mind and persona, a fact that had been made clearer by the amount of destruction and death he had wrought with every step he took…

Outlaw, outlaw, outlaw ride

Into the West a gun by your side

Hell and glory honor and pride

A gun will decide where the outlaws ride

…It was without a doubt something he'd found himself missing for the longest time, Valmont mused sitting in a chair listening to the classical music and being taken back to a time...when his father Andreas Valmont had continued the work their ancestor Dr Moriarty had begun all those years ago.

Like his father, Valmont had a taste for the finer things, one that had never been sated, one that...Shendu had used to his own advantage.

He scowled thinking of that, he'd been Shendu's puppet and had wound up with nothing absolutely nothing despite the fact that he had gotten Jackie Chan to get them the talismans, him, not his enforcers, not the shadowkhan and certainly not Shendu!

His scowl though turned back to a smile as he listened to the hauntingly beautiful music his mind entering the past as he remembered when his father had taken time out of his busy schedule to take a young Valmont to see an up and coming musician play the piano while the two of them sat together, calmly eating a roast chicken together as they watched from one of the balcony seats.

That of course had been before he had been sent to San Francisco as a boy and met his future henchmen and Chan as well as that irritable niece of Chan's.

Soon though (once he had paid his debts), Chan and the rest would be dead thanks to his new hire he thought pausing to look at a watch.

4:15 pm and in a few moments his one part of his latest scheme would end successfully leaving him with the talismans thanks to Firefly's efforts.

He was without a question the best employee he ever had. Quiet, efficient, professional and far better than the idiotic cohorts he had seemed to be a magnet to as of late, cohorts who time and time again had cost him his so very dearly.

If his father, Andreas had still been alive, Valmont would have been ridiculed and pushed to do better then he had done so far, even going so far as to administer a few lessons ones that would have also added more humiliation for the English born crime lord.

Occasionally Valmont at times wondered if that would have been a bad thing, to be chastised and criticized by the man he had learned many secrets from a man whom he had respected and wanted to be like when he had grown up.

Despite his somewhat cold demeanor his father had loved him and had done his best to make sure Valmont had excelled in everything, yes he had been demanding but he had also been a loving, tender father and there had been many days when Andreas would take time out of his work to feed him a simple bowl of chicken soup or sit beside him and read to him of Moriarty's exploits especially the ones against Holmes.

Exploits that had the effect of keeping a very young Valmont eager to hear more of how powerful the Doctor whom he was related to had been and how large his own organization had been, an organization that had given way to many other organizations all headed by Valmont's family for years.

He missed his father who had wanted only the best for his son a trait he wondered and hoped his son exhibited…as well, a trait that he the crime lord also exhibited though he'd had to keep it secret after all.

He missed Rachel as well but he would not return to them a...a beggar and mooch off of his family, no he would rebuild then, then he would return to them as a man who could support them both even if his wife did not need to be supported and this time he would keep his professional life away from his personal life.

To do that though...he needed someone he could trust to be his lieutenant, but it had to be someone who was competent, someone loyal, someone … like Firefly.

In all honesty he hoped that Firefly would actually consider being that person since he fit the ideal lieutenant's role perfectly.

Yet at the same time Firefly frightened him like no one else ever had before due to the fact that the man was nothing short of intimidating even to his own employers going so far as to actually threaten them with torture and…death.

Alternating between silent and deadly and sadistic and cruel, Firefly reminded him of Chan's bad half...only darker and not only deadly he was...like a jaguar or some other large jungle cat playing with his prey.

Playing being…the key term here, Valmont knew that Firefly was good at it, and he did not have to worry about it. He was so very good at what he did that he could play and (unlike many other criminals he could name) actually get away with doing so a fact that was not at all lost on the crime lord.

He was also a professional and Valmont winced remembering how the jabs he had made at that professionalism were in fact ones that could have gotten him killed.

Well now he knew better then to antagonize and berate a man whom he knew for a fact would rip out another person's heart just for looking at him the wrong way much less belittle and insult him.

Idly he wondered how Cobra Commander had put up with Firefly's demanding attitude then chuckled remembering how maniacal the Commander had seemed...at first.

Their second meeting had been the one that had made Valmont reconsider upon seeing...that ruthless intelligence and powerful commanding presence that the man or rather serpent had as it turned out.

He listened to the music with half an ear as he let his thoughts wander towards the serpent that had (with ruthless and almost uncanny precision) campaigned to conquer the world leading an impressive army of his very own with weapons that were considered to be ahead of the current time itself.

It had been a surprise to find out that Cobra Commander hadn't even been human then again...the man was very cold and calculating just as much as he was a paranoid schemer who would double cross anyone at the first chance he got if it was in his best interests.

So why had he kept faith as it were with Firefly? A mercenary whose allegiance was to his wallet? A thug whom Valmont knew had a huge pricing arrangement.

Perhaps the mercenary actually...had something on the commander, something damaging? Perhaps something that had been useful too Firefly?

He wouldn't have been surprised and for a moment he smirked wondering what it could be before he turned to look down for the source of the music playing in the concourse.

As the musicians continued playing on he paused frowning looking down seeing...a woman, one...who had earned his hatred

He couldn't help but give himself a small smile of satisfaction upon...seeing that she did not look well at all.

For a moment he was tempted to have Firefly kill her here and now but that would draw unnecessary and most certainly unwanted attention to himself and quite possibly to his new employee and what he had in store for all those who had dared to humiliate and best him.

He was tempted though, so very and utterly tempted to have Firefly kill her here and now for all the times that common thief had dared to defy him, but instead he simply pushed the thought away staring at her for a few moments before turning back to the music.

Had he the pig talisman he would have killed her on the spot but he did not and so he would enjoy the show and allow himself to think of a man whose white hair had fallen out as chemotherapy and cancer had eaten away at him for years, a man who had smiled at him for one last time and simply said 'I Am Proud of You, Julian' his father had said...before he had breathed his last

That...had been one of the few people that he had ever truly cared about, one of the few people he had allowed himself too care about let alone love in a capacity that could have been argued to be well…selflessly.

His father had been everything Julian Valmont had strived to be like, and those last words, those six words had meant the world to him and had surprisingly eased the tension.

Tohru had been the only member of the Dark Hand to ever be there though he had been outside and didn't know who the man was that his boss was meeting.

Too bad he had lost Tohru; the sumo had been very loyal but at the end he'd betrayed him but then Valmont wondered if the verbal abuse he had inflicted upon his towering ex employee was what had helped to plant the seed of doubt into Tohru's mind.

He tossed that assumption away and shrugged instead musing on how interesting it would be to see Tohru dead for his betrayals, dead on the ground for daring to go against the man who had paid him so very well and given him a way out of a mundane life.

It would be very interesting he thought with almost cold satisfaction thinking back to an earlier incident caused by his new hire, an incident that had truly been enjoyable for him, an incident involving a copy of one of the many surveillance tapes from section thirteen's security camera courtesy of the same man who had humiliated Shendu while stealing the talismans for Valmont, only Firefly had also programmed the thing for sound so that Valmont could hear every word of what had been said.

He had loved hearing Shendu's impotent screaming, and had delighted in the satisfaction he had derived from hearing his chief tormentor rant and rave so thoroughly unable to stop Firefly from stealing from him, or even do anything other then curse and scream while the mercenary had laughed, heckling Shendu making him feel as pathetic as the dragon truly was.

He looked forward to playing that tape over and over again, possibly at parties, or in front of his own henchmen, or (more likely) just for his own personal amusement.

It was a thought one he planned on giving ample consideration to once he got back all that he had lost which would happen once he got the talismans back after which he would make not only enough cash to pay Firefly back (along with throwing in a bonus for the man's satisfactory work), but also?

He would make more then enough money for himself a rather appealing thought one that he enjoyed thinking about every so often, and then?

And then...Jackie Chan and his associates would pay most dearly for interfering in Valmont's and that included each and every one of them would pay in blood for meddling in his affairs and that included Chan's blasted high strung niece!

He allowed himself to smile while he entertained various notions revolving around the deaths of those who had stood in his way, while the other music aficionados there thought he was smiling because of the music that was playing before them.

Who said crime didn't pay? He thought with a contented sigh the notes helping him to relax as he watched a new up and coming musician play in front of him and he imagined…another time, and another place…

The law of the West was the law of the gun

Shoot and be fast live on the run

Stay alive be fast on the draw

Live by the gun or die by the law

…Getting to the Concourse was not a problem for Firefly as a matter of fact all it had taken was a small matter of time and effort to get past the security guards under the guise of a vendor who was selling things he had easily slipped past everyone and had gotten inside.

Tapping the shoulder of an usher Firefly quietly and quickly led him away from the rest of the people, towards the entrance leading upstairs to the balcony on the right of the Concourse's main entrance as if he simply wanted to report some problem to the usher.

Once away from prying eyes however, the mercenary had wasted no time in slamming one hand into the man's nose or more accurately that part of the nose leading to the brain stepping back to watch as the man died from the deadly blow which was a combination of a quick jab and a lethal pressure point one which killed instantly.

As the man gurgled his last clutching at his own throat Firefly shrugged nonchalantly then proceeded to remove the man's uniform with cold and calm precision not caring at all that there was a dead body laying there before him his actions those of a man who had just stepped on a bug or had swatted away an impediment, and not those of a man who had taken and ended another life.

But then to Firefly killing the usher was of no more importance to him then if he had stepped on an insect because in his mind both were puny and beneath him, but then everyone else in the world was, all of them were pathetic, pieces of filth that were either in his way or were competition.

He had no compassion that was for the weak and Firefly if anything was not weak nor would he ever be weak again.

He had no conscience, but then he had never had one to begin with if one thought about it long enough, that is…if the people who knew of or who had encountered him were still alive to even think of anything but the fact that they had crossed him or had been targets he'd been hired to deal with.

Much like Chan would be once he got all this cloak and dagger scullery out of the way he thought shaking his head as he dragged the body and hid it before he finished putting on the clothes of the usher and began to make his way around in order to familiarize himself with the layout should he have needed to make a fast exit.

One could never be too careful in this business he reminded himself quietly heading up a flight of stairs as if to check in the balcony rows but in reality he was heading up to the rendezvous point where the crime lord Valmont awaited him.

It was fairly easy enough to head on up past rows and rows of seats a hand meeting one of the bronze railings as he walked onward and upwards to the second level passing the well kept walls with the red velvet that protected the walls from most types of defacement by the lower class.

He wasn't a fool to think that it would stop all of the types put into place by teenagers who had no respect for elegant buildings but it must have helped somewhat he thought looking at one of the elegant lamps that hung from the wall reminding him of some exotic fruit waiting to be plucked and eaten.

It was a pity that he was not here to listen and enjoy the concert, then again was it such a bad thing since he rather enjoyed the business he was in, he found it enjoyable killing people whether it was for money or because it was well? Fun he thought with a bit of a smirk.

The thrill and pull of taking and ending a life had always been a part of him and if anything Firefly enjoyed ridding the world of people who were weaker then he was.

It was fun to kill and destroy, fun to profit from the suffering of others he mused the craving for a cigarette starting to flare through him but he ignored it as he walked into one of the balcony rows and scanned the area searching for his employer.

He spotted Valmont seated on the other side in balcony 'four' while the music continued to play in intensity as if masking the killer and his new master from the forces of 'good' he mused looking up as the chandeliers slowly dimmed until the entire place was bathed in shadows something that Firefly enjoyed so very much.

He was a shadow in the eyes of the world, dark, faceless and terrifying and he liked it that way, hell he preferred it to the gleam of the light.

He was infamous but also mysterious with motives that were only his own motives that revolved around money and that meant lots and lots of money.

Hence why he was here working for Julian Valmont husband to one Rachel Valmont, father to one Christopher Valmont, and finally son…to the late Andreas Valmont.

While he had respected Andreas, Firefly had almost no respect for Valmont, the man was an imperialistic bastard who almost had no substance in any portion of his body and even if he had his attitude was grating on Firefly's nerves.

Fortunately for the two of them, the mercenary wasn't going to act on his more basic instinct and rip him apart, due to the fact that the challenge Valmont had offered him actually did intrigue Firefly so much so that he was actually looking forward to the next part of his new boss's plan.

Still if Valmont tried to cross him Firefly would make him pay most severely, even going so far as to track down and kill his family.

A few years ago Firefly would never have done that, he would have simply killed the person who had berated him and left it at that but now?

Now things had changed.

Firefly just…did not care anymore about anyone but himself and when someone only cared about themselves it was then that they were often the most dangerous…

Outlaw, outlaw, outlaw ride

Into the West a gun by your side

Hell and glory honor and pride

A gun will decide where the outlaws ride

Shot through the heart in the blink of an eye

Buried up on boot hill

Life is cheap when the bounty is high

So be ready to kill

… …It was nice, yes defiantly nice just simply being here enjoying the scenery and not having to be out helping the rest of the J-team with some crisis over some new bad guy who wanted to use magic to rule the world or having to get Chan out of another fine mess he had gotten himself into or even…offering her expertise in various fields that were decidedly not on the side of law and order.

She loved helping her friends but sometimes, like today, Viper simply wanted to be alone and do something that would keep her mind off of the nightmares that had recently started to plague her constantly with no end in sight.

It had been just such a nightmare that had gotten her up and out of bed and downstairs for first a drink and then later a walk out into Lincoln Park where she'd been feeling feverish, dizzy and rather disoriented.

Suffice to say she hadn't been sleeping well or even eating much despite the advice of one of her only friends, one Anatoly Severatti a man who was not only her friend but the only person she actually trusted to be her doctor.

Even now after all this time she was still afraid of doctors and…of needles, a silly fear yes but all the same it had been one she'd had ever since the age of thirteen a fear she had never really gotten over no matter how hard she had tried.

Like the nightmares… she thought remembering them and…the man who was always in them with an almost perfect clarity.

A man who was on her list of 'shouldn't haves' she reminded herself wondering why the music wasn't making her forget him let alone all the things she shouldn't have done.

Viper hated being reminded of all those 'shouldn't haves', hated how they flitted about in her memories like flies around garbage or like moths around a light, never once letting her forget all the bad things that had happened in her life…

She should have never run away from home to begin with, while her life with her foster parents hadn't been easy it had been a lot better then living on the street.

That had been one of the most stupidest things she had ever done well…after all the other things on her 'shouldn't have' list surprisingly the first had been the most easiest for some reason.

She sighed coming to shouldn't have number 2.

She should have tried harder at getting a job instead of becoming a prostitute, no matter how old she had been that had definitely been something she should not have done because in the end it had become something that was always there now inside her, with every person she dated, or flirted with it was always there a constant reminder of…a time where she'd just been looking for an easy way out of a life as a starving beggar.

Then came the next one in that list of 'shouldn't haves', one that had involved her friend and mentor and at one point in time lover; Neelah.

She shouldn't have let Neelah get into her car, not when…the brakes were faulty at any rate.

She shouldn't have…gone to that museum and nicked the snake talisman.

She shouldn't have refused to hand over the snake talisman to Valmont when he'd demanded it.

And above all she shouldn't have gotten involved with someone who was even worse then Valmont or the demons!

It was amazing how that last one had been her biggest 'shouldn't have' she thought bitterly.

No, scratch that, it was the second biggest one on her list, the first being that she shouldn't have let him go at all because the truth of the matter was he had been perfect for her and instead she'd let him go and now? Now all she had of him were memories, memories that festered like an open wound.

She sighed softly inwardly berating herself for thinking about those nagging thoughts in the back of her mind.

She didn't come here to worry about all this, hell she had come here to forget about every one of those 'shouldn't haves' especially that last one!

But as usual, despite her best efforts she often wound up remembering the way his eyes had looked at her, remembered the exotic look of those twin orbs of jade green and his nearly perfect lithe yet strong body and that purr he'd give whenever he wanted her.

She had loved that purr; any time he purred like that she melted and let him possess her not caring about all the things he had done to her because in the end it had felt so very good being owned and possessed by him but in the end…

...Things had gone to hell in a hand basket for her and she'd seen the darkside as it were, seen and had flinched looking into the eyes of a man who'd had the power to destroy her.

In the end she'd felt that she had to stop it before she let that darkside ruin her very life leaving only a lifeless and utterly useless shell.

Sometimes she wondered what it would have been like had she been with him still

Would she have become like him?

That thought had frightened her more than anyone else or…anything else on this earth especially when one considered just how much the two of them were alike.

She hated thinking about those dreams, hated feeling so helpless especially concerning someone who wasn't as nice as…Jackie was.

The music played and after a few moments she reminded herself why she was here and pushed the images into the back of her mind.

She prayed that they would stay there this time.

Sadly she suspected they would continue to haunt her even here…in a place filled with such passionate and beautiful music, music that was…breathtakingly beautiful and got her to close her eyes again, only this time she let that music carry her off away from her troubles.

It was...peaceful here she thought allowing herself a gentle smile as the music started to go faster and faster and she found herself forgetting all her troubles.

Had she not closed her eyes she would have seen an usher heading up towards the balcony where a certain crime lord was seated waiting for twelve items of a priceless and (in the right hands) a deadly value…

The law of the West was the law of the gun

Shoot and be fast live on the run

Stay alive be fast on the draw

Live by the gun or die by the law

Shot of whisky I'll be on my way

Back in the saddle pull on the reins

Spurs to the beast over the hill

Another town one more kill

…Valmont meanwhile was enjoying the show too, also being taken to a happier place, a place where he and his father had been when he'd been at the tender age of ten.

It had felt so good thinking of Andreas Valmont he mused enjoying the epiphany it brought with him.

Then came that low and dark chuckle, one he was beginning to think he wouldn't be hearing quite so soon or at least not until he had been more alert.

He turned almost bolting upright in his chair a hand clutching at his chest before he turned to glare at the usher who had appeared behind him who knew how many moments ago he thought with some trepidation.

And with some fear as well but that gave way to his British resolve and to a glare which he directed at Firefly who simply smirked obviously enjoying Valmont's discomfort.

"Jumpy aren't we?" the usher replied with a snicker of sadistic amusement as he watched the man's face turn from surprise and fear to a cold, grim, resolved face.

For a moment neither Firefly nor Valmont spoke as he entered the box and handed the crime lord a bag, watching as Valmont removed the talismans and put them into a specially prepared suitcase.

He decided to break the ice, something that seemed only appropriate considering how Valmont was his new employer and it looked like the other man was more then a little unnerved by him.

Good he thought with a bit of a smirk, "well?"

Valmont glared at him about to say something sharp before he reminded himself that this was Firefly, the man who had gotten him the talismans when no one else had been able to do so.

He blinked a chilling thought hitting him as he studied the mercenary's 'face'? "Is that you're-"

"No it's not my real face something you should be grateful for anyways due to the fact that I always kill the people who see my real face" 'well most people…' he thought darkly for a second before he returned to the present situation. "This" he replied pulling at his face a little for emphasis "is a special synthetic mask that was developed by my last employer's science division. I have the chemical compounds memorized in case I need them"

Valmont nodded for a few moments admiring the dragon talisman for a few moments before he put it into the suitcase with the others.

Firefly shrugged watching him calmly before continuing having decided not to comment on his employer's sanity or what he perceived to be a lack thereof "at any rate here are the items you hired me for, though why you want them and not a thermal nuclear weapon is beyond me"

"Thank you and as for why, they are a lot more valuable and are easier to conceal" Which was true considering almost nobody in their right mind would believe the talismans to be well…magic

"What about my money?" the mercenary asked biting down on the scathing and also decidedly scornful remark about Valmont's assessment.

The idea that Valmont thought those stupid pieces of stone were more useful then a nuclear weapon or even a vial of anthrax was a little unnerving to him but at least he wasn't working for a lunatic like Serpentor.

Whether he would be remained to be seen he thought while watching his 'new employer' who shrugged a little.

Valmont made no attempt to deny the truth, "Your money will be deposited in your account within three days"

Firefly narrowed his eyes and for a moment Valmont thought the man was going to kill him right here in the Concourse "then it would appear that I will have to make sure you do not get into any trouble or wind up dead" he stated with a growl "how convenient for you"

Valmont sighed softly and nodded "I will pay you as soon as possible, you have my word, what more could you want?'

He knew it was risky saying that, but lying to Firefly wasn't a good idea, lies sang out to the man yes it would buy him some time but there would be nowhere on earth he could hide from the mercenary and they both knew that.

"Ohh I won't kill you Valmont, I'll torture you for a very long time"

"Why am I not surprised by that?" The Crime Lord remarked dryly earning an icy stare from Firefly one that caused him to shiver inwardly.

"And then when I'm finished I'll cut up you're body and leave it on display for the entire underworld to see" he added and Valmont shuddered a little more.

"Yes well…you have made your point more then plain to see" he said trying not to sound ruffled and unnerved by Firefly's threat.

"Good because I frankly am not in the mood for anymore of you're imperialistic attitude" Firefly stated in that cold voice of his daring Valmont to comment and for a moment the crime lord was about to fire back only he held back the biting comment he was prepared to throw at Firefly and instead shrugged noting how there was still Rachel and Christopher to think about.

If he died then he wouldn't get to see them and make things right he reminded himself swallowing his pride or much of it and deciding to use logic when speaking again "why wouldn't I pay you? You've done better then anyone else I've dealt with in the past"

Removing a cigarette Firefly paused and lit up "I myself prefer Metallica or Korn to this junk" he replied ignoring Valmont's comment deciding to get one last verbal jab into the other man wanting to not give the other man an edge over him especially in logic.

Valmont said nothing the smoke starting to bother him but he dared not complain considering he needed a man of Firefly's skills for the next phase in his plans to work.

"You said you wanted Chan eliminated" Firefly began calmly "in what way?"

"I want him dead I do not care how, as long as he is dead"

Firefly nodded watching the man, studying him "anything else?"

"I also want the rest of the J-Team to be dealt with as well" a pause "you know of them don't you?"

"No but I can look them up later though you'll need more people for that"

Valmont nodded "that should not be a problem"

"Might not be a smart move to rehire the idiots you kept around before contacting me, they had their chance and they blew it from what I understand"

Which was true considering how many times the enforcers had failed and screwed things up for him Valmont thought with a shake of his head "I heartily agree with you on that, they were…not good enough"

Smirking Firefly crushed the cigarette beneath a black boot "how do you want to deal Chan?" Firefly asked while raising an eyebrow, "painfully or do you just put him in his place for a little while? Either way is fine with me as long as I am paid of course"

Valmont paused frowning a little, "perhaps later when things settle down, first I want to know more about the people you have lined up"

"The individuals I am recruiting for you are the best in their fields, that's all and I mean all that I am prepared to say on the subject" Firefly stated in a cold and somewhat insolent tone "I want my money Valmont soon"

"And you will get it soon rest assured Firefly."

He nodded getting up turning to go not caring that Valmont was watching him quietly, "don't cross me Valmont otherwise we won't get along well"

"I have no reason to cross you" Valmont stated watching as the man left for now…

Outlaw, outlaw, outlaw ride

Into the West a gun by your side

Hell and glory honor and pride

A gun will decide where the outlaws ride

Where trouble's waitin well so am I Not at all as things had once been he thought bitterly remembering the fun he'd had as he'd executed such assignments like sabotaging the jets and other air vehicles the joes had carried, or the time he'd helped Cobra Commander steal from that small time crime lord in order to finance Zartan and his Dreadnoks in the Cold Slither operation. After all money was real power he reminded himself, it couldn't betray you as people often did a lesson he learned daily from watching numerous politicians and businessmen and police and other law enforcement agents as they took whatever bribes offered to them, hell even armies and religious figures and ordinary working people could be bought and betray people who trusted them…if the price was right. He was just a person who'd realized that truth long ago, one who had also acted on that truth for his own enrichment as it were he mused his mood changing from bitter to a psychotic sense of humor mixed with his greed.