Author's Note and Summary: Vincent is a professional hit man. Upon facing this nights last hit, he starts questioning whether he can finish it. Along the way, he begins to question his whole way of life and the choices he has made. This story takes place two years after the movie, obviously Vincent didn't die; you don't die like that because you're shot through the right lung! AU. Vincent/OFC.
This has been through three lovely betas during the course of time: Rascalsbaby, Turncopper, and Romany. They are brilliant and remaining typos and other errors are entirely my fault.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Vincent and I make no money from this story.
Chapter 1 The Last Contract
It was late evening at Denny's Coffee House. The music had gone silent and she'd already turned off the lights. She preferred it when it was a little darker; it allowed her eyes some rest. The buzz from the evening's customers still rang in her ears and she enjoyed the silence; it was bliss. The neon lights from the street played in purple and blue across her face. Only a small lamp was shining at the counter, and to her left a ray of light fell in through the crack between the kitchen door and its frame, where the door was left a little open.
Sarah was counting the register before closing up. The night had been busy, and she was dying to get back home to her bed, to sink down into white, cool sheets with a beer and a little TV before sleep. It was already eleven p.m. and she still had some cleaning up to do.
Just as she pushed at the door to the kitchen, she heard the entrance door open, the small crack as its hinges moved, the slight rush of air and the increased noise from the traffic outside. Sarah froze, realizing she hadn't locked the door yet. But, to be honest, there were still a couple of minutes left before closing time.
Sighing, she turned around to face her last customer.
The put-on smile on her face became somewhat strained as she looked at the man who approached her. He appeared to be in his fifties or sixties, with his silver-grey beard and hair, but his controlled and exact moves betrayed him, he could be no older than forty at most.
Sarah felt a shiver run down her spine. She couldn't tell why, but his presence in the room didn't feel good. And he hadn't even looked at her yet! Instead, his eyes were constantly roaming the room.
She cleared her throat. "May I help you?"
Please say no, please say no. Just ask for directions and be on your way. You don't need a coffee. Right?
Denny's Coffee House, just before eleven p.m. He looked at the watch and then up and down the street again. No one was in sight. No one would see him enter. The target was in place. Three clean shots; two in the sternum, one in the head, then work would be done for tonight. After, he'd find a decent hotel close to the airport. There were no more flights out that night, but he planned to spend an hour in the hotel bar, and then enjoy a good night's sleep. He checked the watch on his wrist again and began to cross the street. Two minutes before closing time. No customers.
His mind cleared of stray thoughts. His eyes focused on the target; he could see the shape of it moving inside, behind the bar. The lights inside were down.
How very convenient.
A small noise from a nearby alley caught his attention, and his arm froze midway as he listened, trying to locate its source. He relaxed when he saw a cat exit the alley and run off in the opposite direction.
Pushing at the heavy glass door, he entered. He already knew where the target was located. He didn't need to look at it. Instead he looked around the room, noticed where the back door was, how the chairs and tables were arranged, listened for any sound that could indicate the presence of another person. All the time he kept track of the target in the corner of his eye. Everything was as it should be.
He was ready.
His head snapped in her direction at the sound of her voice, and she inhaled sharply as she met his eyes, the intensity with which he studied her was breathtaking. The moment ended and he smiled. It was a small smile that never reached his eyes. He licked his lower lip with the tip of his tongue, looked once more back at the entrance and approached her.
Sarah's feelings of uneasiness intensified. She moved a little closer to the kitchen door, stretching out a hand to let the tips of her fingers touch it. She wasn't sure what it was, but there was something about this man, something dangerous and, at the same time something vaguely familiar. She couldn't put the pieces together.
As his eyes locked with hers all the alarms in her body went off, and the only thing she wanted to do was run. Just run until she couldn't get further, until she was safe.
"Matter of fact you can."
Then everything happened fast. Within a blink of the eye, the man had produced a gun, pointed the barrel at her face and a 'poff' was heard. Sarah had dropped behind the counter at the same time as he'd moved and now she dove through the half open door to the left of her and threw herself at it from the other side. Frantically she fumbled with the locking mechanism, her shaking hands unwilling to obey at first. The shockwave from the shot reverberated through her body, as she scrambled as far away from the door as she could. Flinching when the door's handle was pressed down, she squeezed her eyes shut and prayed.
Go away, go away, OhGodPleasegoaway!
Hot tears burned on the inside of her eyelids, and she swallowed, trying to get her breathing back under control. Hiding under the bench in the corner, where she had pushed the garbage bin aside, she hugged her knees and tried to make herself disappear into the wall. There was nowhere she could go; the tiny kitchen didn't have any other exit as the emergency exit had been temporarily blocked a couple of weeks before due to a construction site in the adjacent building.
"Open the door."
His voice sounded calm and controlled, like he had all the time in the world. There was something about his voice; it was smooth and mild, just a little raspy, almost likeable.
"No fucking way! I've called the cops. You're not getting anything, they'll be here any minute!" she shouted back at the door, praying that he'd leave.
"No phone in there, Sarah."
She froze, suddenly feeling an urge to throw up. This was not just a robbery attempt. He knows my name! How does he know that? I'm not wearing a name badge! What the fuck was going on? And it was true that she didn't have a phone in the small space where they prepared the little food, mainly sandwiches and salads, they served.
Sarah's whole body went numb with fear, as she began to realize he had come… for me…
Suddenly, two muffled bangs sounded and the wood around the lock flew through the room. Sarah crawled further into the corner where she was hiding. The door flew open, and the man came into her vision once more. He held his stance almost like a dancer, quickly searching the room and immediately finding her huddled in the corner.
With the gun aimed steadily at her, he slowly advanced, eyebrows raised and a hint of a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.
"Playing a little hide and seek, are we?"
She could see his finger about to squeeze the trigger and suddenly it struck her. "V-Vincent…?"
He froze, the barrel of the gun still directed at her. His intense eyes focused on her, narrowing, like he was reading her.
"How do you know my name?"
Sarah swallowed. Unexpectedly, she had gained some time. Let's see what she could make out of it.
"I'm Sa-" Her voice hitched in her throat, "Sarah James. You-you already know my name…"
He frowned slightly and nodded.
"We grew up on the same street. I'm Simon's little sister."