Disclaimer: I don't own Leon/ The Professional. It belongs to Luc Besson. I'm also not Luc Besson. I'm not making any money off of this.
A/N: I hate these things. Thanks to my beta, Charlotte Temples, who likes free advertising space. This one-shot is graphic. There's cursing, some sex, and a lot of violence, and it's rated accordingly. You shouldn't be reading it if you can't handle it.
Embracing the Monster Within
He walked. That was rare for him. Most of the time, Stansfield, or 'Stan' as everyone called him, could be found going everywhere in his customary unmarked cop car, and he was rarely alone. With most of the shit he pulled, it was better not to go anywhere by himself, seeing as his enemies usually had friends. Friends with guns. Today was different, though. Today what he was going to do was best done without the other guys from the DEA following him around. Today was a 'Stan Day', a day of leisure. And he fully intended to enjoy it.
He found her at the Lunar café, sitting in the corner and reading what looked like Nietzsche with a little smile on her face, which made him smile as well. Stan had to admit, he never expected to find a woman as entertained and intrigued by nihilism as he was. If they ever just sat down and had a conversation, he was sure he'd find himself an even match with her. She was beautiful in a way that most people didn't understand. Tiny and fragile with a mass of sun streaked hair in two braids, a worn and beaten newsboy cap on top of all of that, one that he remembered quite fondly. It hadn't been hers. The first time they saw that hat, a rather pretty teenage girl had been wearing it. She hadn't staid pretty for long. The hat looked better on Penny, anyway.
Even though she was inside, she was wearing blue tinted sunglasses, something that made him smirk as he watched her from the doorway.
The café was crap, they both knew that. But it was where they had first met, during a shootout between the DEA and a few guys who weren't going to pay up for Stan and his men's silence. When she was interviewed, Penny had woven a story that earned Stan a commendation and who was going to say differently, when she was the only surviving witness? At first, he didn't know who she was, but he found out quickly enough. She would smile that Cheshire cat smile, and Stan would find himself lost in the world she had created for herself. When she had something planned for him, Penny would send him notice and he would come running to the Lunar café, because despite the fact that the coffee tasted like piss, it held fond memories for both of them.
He'd been at a meeting with a few of the punks who worked at the café, using it as a backing for the meth lab they had in the basement. Stan and his boys had been put on an investigation on these guys, who were paying them off (quite handsomely) so they would stay quiet. From the beginning, the meth dealers had known what kind of price they would pay if they didn't come through with the monthly payments. So when the meth business has suddenly flat-lined in that particular area of Manhattan and Stan found himself at the Lunar café asking where the money was, the punks had panicked. Guns had been drawn. People were shouting. A few of Stan's men blocked the door to keep the two customers that were there from escaping. The man was panicking. The woman wasn't.
When the gunfire had erupted, the male customer had been hit within the first few shots, his head splitting open like a ripe cantaloupe. When he hit the floor, the damage done by the bullet made his head looked like a dropped cherry pie with a body attached to it. When Stan and his men ran out of bullets, there was only one more meth dealer standing, and Penny had watched over her teacup as Stan beat the last man to death with the butt of a shotgun, her lips quirked in a smile of acute interest. That's when he noticed her.
Sometimes, he would go back to that case file and read her witness statement again and again, his lips moving silently with her words. It made his stomach flip flop with excitement as he read over the absolutely brilliant story she told, as if she'd been rehearsing it for several hours before she reached the police station. When he finished reading it, he'd laugh and kiss the paper before putting it away. And to think, he was considering killing her to cover up what happened. Who knew that surviving witnesses could be so goddamn useful?
Still remembering the day not quite a year ago with fondness, Stan stepped fully into the café and approached the table, where Penny was still fully immersed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Her favorite part was when Nietzsche talked about homeless people. Something about it tickled her, and he had no doubt that she was probably reading it over again. He was loathe to interrupt, but Stan couldn't stand to be without her for another moment. When Penny had sent him the rather obscure message of a white pizza with anchovies and green peppers, which meant that she wanted to see him and he'd have to drop whatever he was doing and go to the Lunar café, Stan's mind had immediately begun wandering, imagining what it was that she had planned for today. He cleared his throat, and she looked up harshly at first, her expression softening when she realized who it was. She rarely spoke, something that always had him on the edge of his seat, waiting for the next moment when she might find a reason to voice her thoughts.
He offered her a hand, and she took it, rising. Penny always carried a big purse, and she shoved her book in it before dropping it on the floor and falling into his arms, a customary greeting. Stan held her for a long moment. She smelled like lavender and vanilla, a scent that was frustratingly alluring to him. He'd only smelled it on one other woman, as she passed him on the street while he was on his way to Starbucks. He had followed her back to her apartment and killed her, though when telling Penny about it as they bathed together later that night, he couldn't really pinpoint his reasoning. It had just felt right, according to him. She'd been pleased, which was a good enough reason on its own.
When he finally released her, Penny picked up her purse and took his hand, leading him out of the café. The man behind the counter breathed a sigh of relief that neither of them heard. She was fast despite the habitually crowded the streets of New York, weaving through them with Stan in tow. He allowed himself to be tugged about, knowing that it was all immensely worth it. Penny rarely got this excited about something, so judging by the little hop in her step, it was going to be a good day for the both of them.
The walk took longer than Stan would've preferred, and he found himself in a rather bad part of town, in front of an apartment building. Penny didn't live here. In truth, he didn't really know where she lived, but he knew this wasn't it. Excitement began to build up in him as they stopped in front of the panel of buzzers. He was well aware of what they were going to do now. He grinned. She smiled back. While he stepped back to take out his pill case and pop a pill, one of Penny's long, elegant fingers trailed over the buttons before randomly pressing one. The buzzer went off, and after a long moment, an irritated sounding voice came over the speaker.
"Yeah? What do you want?"
She leaned in closer. Adjusting to the sensations running through his body from the pill he had just imbibed, Stan stepped up behind her, eager hands finding her hips, lips pressing against her bare shoulder, exposed by the drooping shoulder of the large sweater she was wearing over a floral dress that didn't really fit her, but suited her. Stan couldn't wait to see it puddled on the floor, a fact that he informed her of as she leaned into the speaker, pressing a button so she could talk to the man on the other end.
"Hi, it's Amanda. I forgot my key. Can you buzz me in?" her voice was guileless and pretty. This wasn't a great apartment building and there weren't any cameras equipped so the guy couldn't see her, but her voice alone was enough to convince anyone that she couldn't hurt a fly. Stan vaguely wondered if that's what everyone thought of her besides himself. He didn't know who Penny was outside of the Lunar café, if she was even really named Penny. The person who was standing with him right now, though, was good enough. Neither of them planned on making it permanent. She knew who he was, and where he lived, but only because it wasn't hard to figure out. For all he knew, she was secretly a kindergarten teacher. It didn't matter, they both knew quite well they weren't going to survive each other. The man buzzed them up, and the door unlocked.
Always a gentleman, he released his lover to open the door for her, and she stepped in nonchalantly, as if she'd been to the place before. Stan didn't doubt it. Penny always seemed to know where she was going when they got together, sometimes to extreme detail. She'd probably found the place a month before and decided that she wanted to take him there. He'd never have known, though. Other than their trysts, he didn't see her anywhere else. More than once, he'd driven through the neighborhoods they'd been to, wondering if he'd see her out on the street or in one of the windows, but he never did.
He followed her up the stairs to the third floor, not to the same room she had buzzed, but to another. From what Penny had said the last few times they saw each other, she seemed to pick their victims out using criteria he'd never understand. They were never exactly the same. Penny didn't discriminate, she'd kill anybody that interested her, but she had a penchant for couples. She dug around in her bag a little before pulling out a gun, one she had stolen from Stan a few months earlier while he was asleep on a motel bed. He followed suit, knowing quite well how this game was played. She reached out a small hand and knocked three times without hesitation.
"Yes?" it was a woman's voice. Young, no doubt. Stan's smile widened into a grin. He spoke up at Penny's beckoning.
"Pizza delivery for apartment 33C," he said in a voice a bit lighter than the one he normally spoke with. There was nervous shuffling for a moment before the chain slid across and the door opened slightly to reveal a petite woman dressed in a tank top and short shorts. She was pretty, he noted, though not the same way that Penny was pretty. The girl in the doorway was the kind of girl good for a single mindless fuck and that was it. The one next to him was quite another story.
"I didn't order any–," she was cut off when Stan kicked the door open the rest of the way, followed quickly by Penny, who shut it quietly behind them. The woman's eyes had widened, but she only whimpered in shock. Too afraid to scream... that was a good sign.
"Don't fucking move," he warned her as Penny disappeared into the depths of the shabby apartment. The woman stood completely still, her eyes fixed on Stan's gun.
"I-I don't have any money," she stuttered, tears beginning to fall down her cheeks. Stan twitched a little, the overwhelming impulse to shoot her then and there almost overpowering him.
But no, he reminded himself. The fun will come later.
Penny reappeared with a half naked man who looked like an underwear model. On her way in, she turned on the rather nice stereo system, which looked a little out of place in the crummy apartment. Jefferson Airplane came on, and Stan smiled a little, head bobbing to the music. It wasn't quite Beethoven, but it was good enough.
"Stand next to each other. Don't move. You move, and I'll shoot you in the kneecaps. I don't think I have to tell you how painful that'll be," he warned them, and the two seemed to turn into living statues, except for the man's eyes. They were darting everywhere, desperately looking for an escape. Stan turned to Penny, who was standing beside him. She had placed the gun back in her purse, and stared at the couple with unabashed interest "Well, darling, what would you like to do?"
"I'm curious," she stated, immediately catching his interest. Penny's curiosity tended to be something he wanted to investigate. The two of them had learned quite a bit, thanks to it. "When do you think that someone stops loving someone else? How much pain does it take before you ask us to kill your significant other rather than yourself? Would you do it right now, without pain? Or would it take some prodding?"
Silently blessing Penny's brilliant mind, Stan watched as the couple looked at one another hesitantly for a moment. The man spoke up, which wasn't surprising.
"Nothing you can do can talk me into letting you kill my wife," he replied, shifting slightly to stand in front of her. Stan's gun was leveled at his head, but he didn't flinch away. The DEA smirked a little.
"Maybe we should test that."
The next hour was more fun than Stan would normally care to admit. In the end, as Penny had predicted he would, the man had begged for his life, asking them to kill his wife in his place. The woman's screams would've alerted the police if she hadn't been properly bound and gagged. It hadn't taken that much to break the husband down, either. Stan and Penny had taken turns torturing him. There were a few things that his female counterpart wouldn't do. Paper cuts, for example, made her balk. But she could do some pretty fascinating stuff with kitchen utensils, and she had nearly killed the man at one point, tilting his head back and squeezing a bottle of Dawn liquid soap down his throat until he was suffocating from it. That alone had made Stan's day. He, on the other hand, liked a less subtle form of torture, though he didn't often use it in his line of work. Penny had brought it out of him. Penny had brought a lot of things out of him. Stan had known about the monster within for a very long time, and she had taught him to embrace it as she had embraced her own. He'd feared retribution, and she taught him how to escape it.
The couple had died much too quickly, and the CD changer put on a Rolling Stones CD as the woman's muffled death rattle finally escaped her lips. They had killed her last, at Stan's request. Her husband, after all, cared about his life enough to let his wife die in his place. It was at that perfect moment of acceptance of life that Stan preferred to kill his victims. It was so satisfying, knowing he'd just shown them that glimmer of possibility, just to take it away from them an instant later. The wife hadn't taken long to break down, which was probably why they had tortured the husband initially. Stan had managed to get the dishtowel almost completely down her throat when she started to turn blue.
There was blood everywhere. In their hair, staining their clothes and skin, and Stan didn't mind. Penny had stripped down to a singlet and panties, her hair loose, her hat and sunglasses discarded. She danced through the kitchen and living room to the music, twirling and moving to a beat that didn't quite match the song that was playing so well as it matched the one in her head. He followed after her, shedding his suit jacket, shoes and socks, feeling the warmth of the last remnants of someone's life beneath his bare feet as he danced with her. It escalated fairly quickly, their lips meeting in a feverish kiss. She tasted coppery, but Stan wasn't averted to it. In fact, thanks to Penny, the scent and taste of blood turned him on more than anything. His shirt lay forgotten on the living room floor as they backed into the bedroom. Penny backing him onto the bed. They must've interrupted the couple right after they had taken a shower, a cold damp towel was laying on the bed, and Stan tossed it in the corner, letting the petite woman take full control of him.
It was painfully good, laying in the bed of the couple they had just killed, covered in their blood. Penny held a knife to his neck, drawing a little blood, but he didn't beg for his life. He knew quite well that the day he did was the day she was going to kill him, if he didn't beat her to it. When they both finally climaxed, it was enough to make Stan black out for a moment as he clutched onto her thighs, leaving black and blue marks that would still be there the next time they met up. Her name was a hoarse gasp on his lips, backed up by her soft whimpers. She collapsed alongside of him in the bed and Stan gathered her in his arms, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. They laid together for a long time, the couple's blood drying on their naked flesh until it was crusty and itchy. Once they had gotten their energy back, they climbed in the shower together, though they didn't have sex, just washing each other and kissing in a display of intimacy that onlookers wouldn't completely understand.
Still naked, Stan watched as Penny opened up the couple's bedroom window, leaning out to the fire escape and returning with several canisters of gasoline. He didn't bother to ask how she hid them there without anyone noticing. He just smiled at her cleverness and kissed her again, taking one of the canisters from her grasp. They set to dousing the apartment, the couple especially, in a fine layer of gas. They stole clothing from their closet, Penny fitting easily into the woman's clothing, considering that they were nearly the same height, though Penny was thinner. Stan knew to appreciate Penny's genius when the man's clothing fit him as if it had been made for him. When they killed couples, more often than not the couple was a reflection of themselves, had they been born differently. It was actually rather invigorating, killing a part of yourself, who you could be, or could have been. Stan knew that there was a pointed lesson in Penny's teachings, but he hadn't quite figured it out yet. The day he did, he was sure he'd know everything there was to know.
He put the newsboy cap back on Penny's head, edging it down until she couldn't see, making her laugh before she adjusted it. She picked up her bag and put her sunglasses back on. Their bloody clothing was on the kitchen table, in front of the corpses and just as soaked with gasoline as the couple was. There would be no sign of their presence. No one would ever know that a supposedly heroic and professional DEA and a witness to a shootout were some of the most heartless killers in the history of New York City. They stood in the doorway, and kissed again, this one as blistering and passionate as earlier, tongues dueling each other into submission until they pulled away, panting and smiling. Stan lit a match and tossed it inside as they stepped into the hallway, the whooshing sound of an igniting fire signaling that it was time for them to leave. It would be a good ten minutes until someone noticed the smoke pouring out from under the door, and by then the nameless couple would be reduced to ash and bone.
As they stepped out of the apartment building, Stan planted one last kiss on Penny's lips before drawing her close to him. The smell of lavender and vanilla was back, though he couldn't figure out how. It didn't matter. He breathed it in deeply, appreciating the sweet scent. The woman he held right now was the closest he'd ever come to loving another person, and some day he was going to kill her with as much compassion and caring as he had made love to her not so long ago.
That was, of course, if she didn't beat him to it.