This is just something I came up with off the top of my head, a Yassen Gregorovich fic, as usual. Don't know if I'll continue. Please, Please, Please Review if you like it and I'll get to work on the 2nd chapter!

~Jasper Blood

Irina Vasilievna knew she was going to die. It was inevitable. And it was for a specific reason, possibly a good reason, in the eyes of someone else. At the age of forty-two and already a widow, she was smart enough to expect an early death. Mrs. Vasilievna didn't know exactly why her husband had been killed six years earlier, but she had something of a hunch.

Mikhail Vasiliev was a multi-billionaire, perhaps a few times over, and the once proud owner of MVBio, a biochemical company specializing in highly potent drugs. He was a philanthropist, a man of great generosity. But beneath the layers and layers of sugar-coated interviews and glorified news articles, Mikhail was not a saint. He was a man, a human. And like every human, at some point, greed had left its mark.

MVBio manufactured and sold nearly half of their drugs to hospitals, clinics, and any other medical facilities for the soul purpose of satisfying the press or, in event of an extreme security breech. The other half was sold to drug dealers, contract assassination organizations, or arms dealers who specialized in biochemical warfare. Some people paid exorbitant amounts for the drugs. Others, mainly dealers, wanted them cheap. They got them cheap. And then they were killed. Another life added to a long list, one that Mikhail rarely paid attention to.

Indefinitely, this information disturbed Mr. Vasiliev's wife, but she had come from a family that wasn't as pure as the driven snow either. She was used to the feelings of betrayal and hatred that followed the revelation of lies. And so, she did the only thing she could. She took her husband's company and righted its wrongs, his wrongs. She took matters into her own hands. But certain people didn't like that, dangerous people, people in high places. Irina Vasilievna knew she was going to die. And she was right.

"Target approaching." He murmured, the voices crackling through his ear-piece merely noise in the background. He wasn't focused on them. He was focused on her. She walked a few yards below him, as inconspicuous and nondescript as anybody else. But he had known what to expect. Someone tall and lanky with a long, thick braid of blond hair gliding down her back. Someone who wore black pinstriped pantsuits and carried a Coco Chanel handbag and a violet umbrella. Someone who didn't like to be noticed. But this information also meant nothing to him. He didn't have to know what she looked like. He already did.

"Target confirmed."

"Fire."

A shot echoed through the rain, but no one turned to look. No one seemed to notice the woman who had just dropped dead, a bullet in her back. Her name was Irina Vasilievna. Today, she died.

Marseille, France- Two weeks prior to Mrs. Vasilievna's death

"I want you to do something for me, Misha." Her voice was quiet, but firm.

"Yes, ma'am."

"I want you to go to Bormes- le- Mimosas. You will find directions in your car along with an address. You are my most trusted bodyguard, Misha. You are of proper strength and physique. That is why I have chosen to you to do this."

"What am I to be doing, ma'am?"

"I want you to go the address I give you. In affect, I want you to rob the address."

"Rob?"

"Yes. It will be your only means of getting what I want from the person inhabiting this location. The inhabitant is a contract assassin, one of the best. If you are to be caught by him, you must not under any circumstances underestimate him. He can kill you. He can do it quickly and quietly. He is not a man to be reasoned with, but you are an advantage."

"And my advantage is?"

She smiled. "You are working for me. It is probably inevitable that you will be caught, Misha. If you are, I am reasonably certain the…inhabitant will give you a moment to explain yourself. If he is not satisfied with your explanation, he will kill you. You must not let that happen."

"My explanation?"

"Say that you are working for Irina. He will know who I am. Tell him I want something of his. He will give it to you."

"And what am I looking for?"

"That is also described in the directions."

"Yes, Ma'am. Shall I leave now?"

"Yes."

Obediently, the guard turned and started off.

Bormes- les- Mimosas, France- Several days later

Misha Yakovich had been Mrs. Vasilievna's personal bodyguard and most trusted confidant for three years, her husband's for another three. He was a thin, yet muscular man, in his early twenties. He stood before a block of apartments, although they looked more like Italian style villas. The roofs were of terracotta tiling, the front of the building adorned by overgrown vines that snaked up the edges of the foundation, threatening to take over the intricate wrought-iron balconies and leaded glass doors.

He couldn't quite understand how a contract killer could live in someplace so…so nostalgic. It seemed as if it could have appeared in an old film, perhaps Casa Blanca or An American in Paris. It just didn't seem like quite the place for an assassin to live. But then again, with his job, he had been taught to expect the unexpected. But even his extensive training couldn't convince him of that. He glanced at the paper Irina had given him.

Address: Rue les 19, Le Cygne Appartements

Room: 12, third floor

Object: platinum ring, diamond scorpion emblem

There was a small note scribbled beneath this information.

Misha, do not question this man. Do not provoke him. Do not be arrogant, do not try to win. If you do, he will kill you even quicker. He is not a man to fight for revenge. He will kill you in moments. Do as he says. Do not disobey.

~ I. V

The bodyguard swallowed his fear and proceeded into the building. He hadn't dealt with killers before. Usually inexperienced robbers with about as much common sense as a fly. Any other occurrences were typically nosy journalists who wanted information. But that was all. He had been told what to expect of this person, but he didn't even know who he was. He had been given no name, no personality, no image to match the facts with. But it was too late now.

He took the back fire escape up to the roof, analyzing the map that he had been given. A small red dot pinpointed the apartment's location, near the rooftop entrance.

The entrance to the roof was actually a belfry. The apartments themselves had once been a chapel and the roof entrance was the remains of a bell tower, making for very difficult passage.

"Sometimes I wonder why I do this job." He muttered and hoisted himself up onto the roof. The escape was rusty and had nearly fallen apart as he balanced his weight on it. If he needed a quick escape, that wouldn't be it. And the belfry was several feet above him, with no grooves to act as handholds. It would take him forever to make his way down again. So he'd just have to hope that he could get out the apartment door, rather than going back out via window.

The back window of room 12 led into a small, sparsely furnished bedroom. Misha swallowed hard as he strained to get a good view of the room's occupants, if there were any. He was hoping to find a bathroom window, someplace small and less open, with more space to conceal himself if caught. But this would have to do. The hinges on the window were on the outside, indicating that it was pushed outwards in order to open. With a small screwdriver, he undid the screws and removed the window from its frame. His pathway lay directly before him now, his mind mutilating the small entrance into something like the cavernous maw of a wolf.

Cautiously, he slipped in.

It was a very nondescript room, everything of neutral color and modern style. There was a bed, a nightstand, an alarm clock, and a well-thumbed book. That was it. He glanced around, analyzing the details quickly. The book was a Japanese translation handbook. Peculiar. His eyes slowly evaluated any objects. Where would a ring be hiding? Hmm, obviously on someone's finger. He hoped to God that this wasn't so. If it was…he could forget about getting a promotion. By that time, he'd be well on his way to Saint Peter.

He glanced out the open doorway, scanning the main room of the apartment. Equally as sparse, containing only a sofa, a small card table and a Bombay table. Floor-to-ceiling windows allowed sunlight to come pouring in, casting haunting shadows onto the oak planks. The occupant was not at home. He scoured every object; determined only to have his hopes crushed. This killer may well have been wearing that damned ring, on a shopping outing or the like. How did Irina expect him to get it if he wasn't home?

Of course, young Misha hadn't considered checking the kitchen first, despite the fact that the door was closed. And he also hadn't considered that his target was hiding there, armed and prepared for attack.

He allowed him to believe that he wasn't home. Rather than waste his energy in a quick attack, he would wait; he'd give the boy time to let his guard down, allow him to believe he was all alone.

Misha glanced around for a moment. A ring wouldn't be in the kitchen. Nor would it be in the grate room for that matter. He sighed.

"I'll give the bedroom another try." He muttered. "Damn ring's probably in the closet or something."

Everything the young bodyguard had mumbled was clearly audible from his position. His eyes glanced involuntarily down to the gold ring on his finger, the diamond scorpion glittering in the waning sunlight. Perhaps a petty robber? No, he had been told what to look for. He was working for someone. As the man looked around once more, he was quickly processing each detail of his appearance. Tall, lanky, somewhat muscular. A boyish face that looked completely hairless. Not a single silver strand in his blond hair. He had to be about twenty-two years old, maybe younger.

He probably had the inexperience of most common house-burglars. He had also proven spectacularly that he was gullible and showed no true interest in his task. He didn't want to be there. That was probably a good thing. He wouldn't have wanted to be there either. He watched as the boy entered the bedroom, closing the door slightly as he went, obviously to keep himself concealed.

The current inhabitant of the apartment, a thirty-five year old assassin, stood up and silently slipped out of the small kitchen, a plan already formulated in his mind. He walked towards the door soundlessly, producing two keys. The door locked on the outside with a keyhole, but he had quickly installed a second keyhole on the inside to ensure that the door stayed locked at all times. Door latches and chains could easily be broken into, but robbers didn't bother him. But he didn't want any knowledgeable policemen or pedestrians to be snooping about.

He inserted the key, twisted it around a few times, mimicking the noise of someone unlocking a door, opened the door once and slammed it shut. He took a few steps and listened. And smiled. The low noise of the man rummaging about the bedroom came to a dead stop, silence slowly taking over. Quietly, the man emerged from the room, his face expressionless. Then in seconds, his gun was aimed, his finger on the trigger.

"Don't move!"

He sighed. "Put it down, boy." He took a step.

"I said don't move!" his hands were trembling now, the pistol shaking in his loose grip. The assassin continued forward.

"Who are you?" he began quietly.

"Stop! Do not take another step!"

"I will ask again. What is your name? What do you want?"

The hands were trembling uncontrollably now. The pistol finally fell to the floor with a solid 'thunk.' Feverishly, he scrambled for it, but as he bent, the familiar feeling of a pistol's barrel was pressed against his flesh.

"I will ask, for the last time. Who are you?"

"I will tell you nothing!" the boy hissed. Annoyed, the assassin briefly considered pulling the trigger, stopping his mysterious search and silencing him forever. But he decided against it. The boy was foolish. He would give him a perhaps a few more chances to see if he opened up. The fear was written into his eyes and his face. It wouldn't take long to break him.

"Alright. Either you tell me something, or you die. Your choice."

The man suppressed a chuckled. "I would rather die." He spat. The gun was pushed harder into his flesh.

"That can be arranged."

"Then why haven't you done it?"

"You amuse me."

"A cruel game; playing someone for a fool for your own amusement."

"I did not say that I was nice." The gun was pushed harder, pinching at his skin.

"Understood." Misha readied himself. "But I am not all that nice either."

He brought his hand up quickly, knocking the gun from the assassin's hand. But of course, that was a foolish move.

He was yanked up by his neck, unable to reach his own pistol. He was dragged almost effortlessly to his feet, coming face-to-face with his attacker.

"Who. Are. You." He choked. The man smiled.

"That is for me to know." He squeezed the boy's neck harder. "And for you to never find out." He said quietly.

They were out on the roof now. It had all happened so fast. They fought, the man easily overtaking the bodyguard. Hand-to-hand combat was in his training, but not nearly as advanced. This man fought with the viscous cruelty of a samurai and the elegance and grace of a trained swordsman. His footwork was perfect, never stumbling, whilst the boy swung blindly, throwing meaningless punches that never met their target.

He held him by the neck once again. There was nothing in his icy blue eyes. No emotion, no life. Nothing but the color in his irises. But there was something, he just had to look harder. Something familiar. It was in fact, the nothingness in the eyes that reminded him. Irina. He briefly remembered her words. 'Tell him you are working for Irina. He will know who I am.' He knew that any moment, he could stop, he could give in, he could answer the questions asked.

But he didn't. He didn't know exactly why. He just couldn't. He couldn't give up. If he beat this man, all the doors in the world would be opened to him. Promotions, awards, more money. Anything. Irina had revealed that this man was one of the world's most accomplished assassins, and the most lethal. If he could only beat him….

"What do you want of me?" His captor inquired casually. Misha swallowed hard.

"Your ring."

"My ring? Ah, perhaps you are a common burglar."

"I am no such thing." He spat angrily.

"You seem like one. Trained robbers are typically more placid. And you seem to be having a great deal of trouble containing yourself."

"Give me the damn ring!" he hissed, but it was hardly audible, as the assassin's fingers were curled around his throat.

The killer chuckled to himself. The boy was amusing him, but he knew that he would keep trying until he got what he wanted. And he simply didn't have the time for that. A simple trick would end it quickly. Deception and Corruption. Specialties of Scorpia. Lessons that were drilled into the minds of every assassin.

Yassen dropped the boy to the ground, giving him a few moments to catch his breath. Almost at once, the boy stood up and prepared to lunge at him, but he held up a hand, stopping him.

"I will give you my ring."

"Excuse me?" Misha was taken off guard. Was he giving up? Silently, the killer slipped the ring off of his finger and held out his hand.

"Take it."

"What…." He was dumbfounded. Surely it couldn't be this easy.

"Take it. I haven't the time to deal with you." Misha stared for a moment in disbelief. But a feeling of triumph soon overwhelmed and he reached out for the ring, without the slightest clue that he was about to fall into a trap. His fingers touched the gold-plated platinum ring, the diamonds of the scorpion scratching at his fingertips. Slowly he picked it up, analyzing every detail of it. This was it, the object he had been sent for. And now he could leave finally….

As he closed his fingertips around it, his wrist was grabbed and he was flung down onto the terracotta tiles, the ring still clutched in his fingers. The impact of the hard concrete jarred his skull as he fell. He struggled to lift himself up, but was pinned down by the assassin's shoe, his gun aimed at his forehead.

"Wha…" he groaned, confused and disgruntled. His vision was blurred, but he could hear the low chuckling.

"Here is your first lesson, boy, whatever you are. Don't believe everything you hear."

And the assassin shot him.

The bullet sunk into his skull, blood pouring from the wound, an expression of shock forever bound to his face. But all was not lost, though it was for Misha. The ring, still clutched in his hand, slipped from his grasp as his fingers uncurled, rolling slowly then furiously down the tiled roof until fell, spiraling into the city below. Lost forever. The one clue in the whole world that could be traced back to Yassen Gregorovich.