STORY SUMMARY: Lives, fates, and time itself lie broken in the hands of the Witness.

DISCLAIMER: All characters and organizations (with the exception of small, mostly unnamed minor characters) throughout the series are the product of Marvel.

CANONICAL NOTES: This story arc utilizes a strange combination of movieverse and comicverse and none of the above. Sorry about that.

LANGUAGE AND ACCENTS: Cajun French is courtesy of Heavenmetal (many thanks). I will attempt to reproduce accents in this story arc.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is the granddaddy of my entire fanfiction universe (with a couple of exceptions). Expect to see characters, relationships, names, and premises you recognize. Realize: it all leads somewhere you won't.

Seeing Red

- T1.Q1.2 -

Story Summary: All in a night's work.

Canonical Notes: AU. Very AU. Timeline One, Queen of Thieves Base Timeline, Second Story: occurs during Queen of Thieves.

Acknowledgements: For LithiumAddict.

She considers it ironic sometimes: he's the ace of spades, but she's the harbinger of death. At least with Le Diable Blanc, you get a little warning, but with La Femme Fatale...

A touch of silken skin, red lips curving into a smile...

Say your prayers tonight, 'cause the angel of death ain't no better than Diable.

N'Orleans, la belle city, lies open before her. Night has perched upon her throne. Thieves and Assassins have taken the rooftops. The city lies drunk before the Guilds. And La Femme Fatale is on the hunt.

He watches her progress with interest. It has been ages, he thinks, since he has seen her, much less at work for either Guild she belongs to. She's changed. No longer the lanky preteen Diable remembers, she hunts with a feral grace that only comes with Assassin training and a Mercenary father named Wolverine.

La Femme Fatale slips through the night like a melting shadow. He follows her, simply because he can, and because ten years ago when they were still young, still children of the Guilds instead of mutants and Masters, she would have let him.

He watches her slip past the guards of a walled, upper-class home and enter through an upstairs window, and then he sits back on the garden wall to wait. It bothers him in some way he hates to define. Nightshade and Fatale mean more to Diable than he'll ever admit, but this... This is something they do that he cannot.

Just a touch, a stolen breath... Sugah, dream sweet 'cause you'll never wake again.

She feels him watching her; it's a small thing to angle her landing just a shade to the left, a little harder—fist slamming into gut, rolling with the punches, hissing when he yanks her arm too hard—and send them both tumbling off the wall onto the roof. It's rough and gasp and try to breathe and then she's pinned him and he lets her, smirking up beneath those blazing devil eyes.

"Diable," she bites out sharply.

"Fatale." His voice is smooth and steady, ever the charmer. But his gaze is keen. She knows he sees the blood against her cheek. "De mark put up a fight?" he asks, oh so casually.

La Femme Fatale glares at him and steps off. She brushes at the streak of red on her cheek with the back of her barehand. She flashes a grin, all teeth. "Not much o' one, cher."

A small sound of disgust in the back of his throat.

It irks her. "Y're one t' talk."

He cannot answer that. "Anna—"

A growl starts low in her throat and she cuts him off harshly by plowing her fist toward him, expecting the dodge that keeps him smoothly out of her way. But then he's touching her, one hand stopping her curled knuckles and she flinches away.

"Fatale," he breathes.

Too close. She snatches back her hand and flies into a running leap to the next rooftop. One last glance back. A flash of demon eyes and burning red.