A/N This first appeared on my Witchblade Fanfic site. It is an update of one of my first fanfics: so possibly Mary Sueish.

I don't own Witchblade or anything like that. Characters etc. belong to Top Cow/WB etc. I just play with them.

Blood running over worn stone.. The scent of roses and jasmine assailed her nostrils. Screams and sounds of battle all around her as those arms held her. Arms that were strong yet gentle, shaking slightly as warm salt tears dripped onto her skin.

Alexandra Takeshi jerked awake, breath coming in short sharp gasps as she stared into the dim light of her apartment. The last images of her dream burned into the back of her eyes. Turning to her right, she stared at the bright numbers on the bedside clock.

"Geez.. 3am!" She groaned, lying back against the pillows and trying to find sleep. Half an hour later she gave up in disgust. Slipping out of bed, she turned on the lights low and paced into the kitchen. Her apartment was large and airy, wealthy looking yet comfortable. As she heated some milk for hot chocolate, she tied back her mane of black hair and slipped into a robe, concealing her lean, toned frame beneath soft white cotton. From past experience she knew she would not be getting much more sleep tonight. The mug of chocolate was warming in her hand as she curled up on the sofa and pondered her disturbed night. The dreams were not uncommon; she had suffered them for as long as she could remember. Sometimes she was fighting, others she was held tenderly, lovingly by someone she could not see clearly. On other occasions like the dream tonight, she could almost feel death hovering over her shoulders. Dream therapists had not been able to help and after a while she had begun to see the dreams as a part of her, albeit a little understood part. Rubbing her tired eyes with her thumb and forefinger she pulled her mind away from the dream and moved her vision to the dun coloured folder on the table nearby. Tomorrow she would meet the person in that folder and her task could begin. Carefully sipping the cooling hot chocolate, she focused her remaining energies on the job in hand, banishing the lingering images from her dream.

The screeching clock announced morning and Alexa stretched, pulling herself from the depths of the sofa with a tortured moan. Despite her best efforts, she had fallen asleep on the soft coach. Her neck ached as did her back. Dragging on a pair of sweat pants and T-Shirt, she started her usual morning exercise. Slipping into a yoga position; she cursed the late night interruption that had precipitated this. Moving slowly through the start of her exercises, she drifted her mind over the assignment. It would be difficult, his bodyguard was no slouch and it was not guaranteed that she would succeed. Still, she thought as she moved into the harder and faster martial arts manoeuvres', she wasn't the best for nothing.

A knock sounded on the door and she ceased moving, dabbing the sweat from her forehead, she headed for the door grabbing a fruit knife from the kitchen counter as she did so.

"You're early!" She intoned as the ratty faced man walked into the plush apartment. Behind him moved two large bruisers, their eyes widening with appreciation as they took in her form. "and you have friends!" She nodded to the two behind him. "How nice." Sarcasm lightly tinged her words as she spoke.

"Cute!" The ratty man exclaimed as his eyes roamed around the rich room. "I've got what you were after!"

"Hand it over!"

"I was thinking!" Rat-man stepped back as his two bruisers slowly moved in. "This took me a lot of effort and I was just thinking about the fee!"

"Oh of course you were!" Alexa purred, keeping tabs on the two guys as they moved forward. "Let me guess, not enough!"

"You about covered it darlin'"

"Sorry to disappoint you darlin' but we had a deal. And I'm not giving you extra!"

"Hmm.. I thought you would be stupid!" He nodded to his bodyguards who moved forward purposefully. "Now we'll take the money and anything else that you have to give!" His eyes flickered over her form with lewd approval.

Alexa did not answer, she was balanced and ready, the small fruit knife held gently in her hand. She breathed easily as they came on, waiting for them to get nearer. The beefy one on the right lunged first, reaching for her with one large paw. Almost dancing, she sidestepped and retaliated faster than the goon realised. Before he was aware of it, Alexa had neatly and efficiently cut his throat. A spray of blood fountained from the wound and he fell to the cream rug, bleeding out over the floor. Rat-man and his partner froze for a moment, stunned at the speed of her attack. That moments hesitation was all Alexa needed, she reached the second heavy and punched, breaking his nose with the heel of her hand before she slashed again, cutting open his throat with ease.

"Lenny!" She finally said his name as she turned to face him, her sweat pants soaked with blood. "That was singularly stupid!"

"Here.. take it!" He thrust the package at her, holding it out as though it were a shield. "I don't need the extra money and sorry for threatening you. I was only playing!"

"I'm sure!" Alexa nodded at the kitchen counter and with shaking fingers, Lenny placed the envelope down. The man backed off, watching her as she came forward to pick it up. "Is everything in there?"

"Yeah... " he nodded violently. "Invitation, plans.. everything you need!"

Alexa handed him the envelope. "Open it and show me. If there's anything missing, I'm going to get testy!"

Lenny swallowed and scrabbled open the envelope before spreading the contents on the countertop. Alexa ran a practised over the kit before being finally satisfied.

"Good!" Keeping an eye on him, she swept the collection into a drawer and shut it. "I'm done here!" Lenny backed towards the door.

"Well now you have everything, it's fine right. We're cool?"

She glanced at him, a chilling look in her eyes. "You tried to cheat me." She moved forward at speed and kicked him back against the wall. "You don't get to do that and live!" As he tried to rally his stunned thoughts, she casually sliced his throat.

Stepping back from the bloodbath, she stared at the mess with a resigned look on her face. "so much for being beneath the radar!" she muttered as she reached into her pocket for her cell and made the call to someone who would clean up the mess.