Happy Halloween!

I once again find myself not writing chapter 3 for Unusual Beginnings or TLC #4 but instead writing something for Beka Cooper. I hope none of my readers mind. I swear that most of chapter three is written. It's just that I really don't like it right now and have decided to step away for a little bit to focus on other things such as my paper on existentialism after WWII for one of my classes.

Anyways, here is my Halloween fic featuring Beka and Rosto.

FYI- there are no spoilers for Mastiff in here because I haven't read the book yet.

Disclaimer: all characters belong to Tammy; I'm just borrowing them for a bit.


You don't become the Rouge of a city by being nice. At times you have to be downright scary. So the day Beka told me I was about as scary as a buttered muffin, I took it as a challenge.

I would make her scream my name if it's the last thing I do, and I'm not talking about an angry scream. I've gotten those from her before.

Now, I have encountered a couple of issues with trying to scare a dog.

First, you can't use the standard methods of blood or corpses because they just won't understand you're joking and arrest you.

Second, they're trained to not show fear, so it's very difficult to make them scream at all. They're more likely to scowl and slap the back of your head.

Third, there have been a couple of times I have tried to scare her and ended being scared myself. It's the ghost eyes, as much as I hate to admit it. Her lovely little ghost eyes.

Now, this challenge has been going on for the better part of the year and I do believe all the bets at the Court are on Beka winning and I have to admit, if it takes much longer I may place my money on her as well.

There have been a couple of different tactics I have tried so far. All of the standard tricks have been done.

Jumping out from behind a wall like a crazy man didn't work. Not that I really expected it to mind you, I just felt I had to try the simplest ways first and move one from there.

I once tried sneaking up on her and it did work until she caught me by surprise and tossed me over her shoulder and into a puddle of sewer muck. But once again, there was no scream. All I got was a scowl.

Why is it I still think Beka beautiful when she's scowling?

I've also tried all of the bug tricks like spiders in what should be a jar of sugar. A snake coiled outside of her bedroom door. Trickster help me, I even put some mice in her dresser drawer and the girl doesn't even flinch.

Perhaps it is a side effect of hanging around with pigeons?

It was at this point I realized this was going to take much more time and effort than originally planned.

I was going to have to start playing dirty and one of the typical ways to get to a person and scare them half to death is to kill off one of their pets.

Of course killing off any of Beka's pets was completely out of the question. For one, she would kick my ass for it and arrest me. Second, one of her pets is a constellation and that just really won't work. And third, I love that silly little dog Achoo almost as much as Beka does.

This left me with only one choice. Train the dog to play dead.

Too bad the dog is as smart as Beka, or should I say smarter at times, and wouldn't take any commands from me because I don't know the foreign gobble she was trained with. Luckily, a little sweetener and an explanation as to why I wanted I wanted Achoo to play dead convinced Phelan to train her for me.

Apparently he's the only one with his money on me.

The plan was simple, order Achoo to play dead and go tell Beka what I had found. The best part is that it was all working perfectly.

I delivered my solemn news to Beka when she was on her way home from the market and followed her as she rushed back home.

However, once again I did not count on Beka having a different reaction than every other mott I've ever known. Of course the first thing that Beka would do would be to go check Achoo's vitals.

And that's when the dog started wagging its tail, the traitor.

I was chased out of her rooms by Beka calling me a lobby for not knowing the difference between a dead dog and a sleeping dog.

I was really starting to run out of legal ideas.

I had tried to get Pounce to give me some ideas but he just turned around with a mrrt that I think was his laugh and bounded away. I'm not sure why that mangy cat doesn't care for me.

Beka's friends also weren't any help. The only advice Ersken could give me was to tell me to give up.

Great, just what I wanted to hear.

Beka's old partner Goodwin also wasn't any help. All I got was a raised eyebrow and a door slammed in my face.

Yes, I was that desperate.

As the Rouge I could not fail. If I was beat by some dog what would that say to my fellow rats? It doesn't matter what the competition is about. It's just not in my best interest to lose.

Although, I have to say that I don't mind that I get to devote so much of my time to Beka right now without anyone saying anything. I suppose that I almost don't want this to end. My time with Beka is already short and I really do care for the mott.

And it's not just because she doesn't like me like Aniki had said.

I won't go spewing nonsense about love at first sight but I have to say she did catch my eye. Now she has control of both and I'm not even sure she has noticed.

Don't get me wrong, I like a challenge but I don't like torturing myself. That's why I had decided to stop pursuing her. Plus I figured she wouldn't be expecting that. Sometimes a person doesn't want something until they can't have it.

Yet at the same time I haven't been able to get Beka out of my head. The only thing that made things easier was the fact that Beka wasn't seeing or sleeping with anyone as far as I knew and I have excellent sources.

Or at least she wasn't seeing or sleeping with anyone until she went to Port Caynn.

Who the hell is Dale and what does he have that I don't? From what I hear he's a bit of a player, both with women and gambling which definitely fits into my definition of crooked.

Too bad it doesn't fit in with Beka's definition. The only good part of that relationship was it showed me that Beka didn't stay away from me to keep her virtue. That obviously was already gone.

Nope, she continued to say no just because it was me asking.

Here I was worried about the girl when I apparently shouldn't be. Although I suppose I should start saying woman. She's all fine and dandy waltzing around with boys and taking down Rouges while I have to stay away.

I felt that there was only one cure for the disease of the heart that I had and that cure was to find a replacement.

I used to stay pretty good and keep to just two motts, but soon after we came to Corus I lost Kora to a Dog and awhile after I'd lost Aniki to who know what.

Yet, it wasn't as big of a deal as I had thought it would be. I had become fixated on Beka. Lovely, lovely Beka with her ghost eyes and soft skin. Beka who said she couldn't love anyone crooked.

Honestly, I had thought if I stayed away from the girls then Beka would like me more but that wasn't the case. She didn't even notice when I began to go to bed alone every night.

I had shortly contemplated just getting her drunk and sleeping with her to get it out of my system but realized that wouldn't work.

As strange as it was, I didn't just want her body. I wanted everything. I wanted her to love me.

People were noticing my fixation and that wasn't safe for her or for me. That's when I started to pull away again.

At least until she had unknowingly issued the challenge to me.

Yet, the challenge that was at first a blessing was starting to become a curse. I just couldn't lose, even to my Beka.

I was running out of ideas.

It had been awhile since I had tried to scare Beka and I had been leaving her alone for the most part. Outside of breakfast I had had limited contact with her. Yet, the night I saw her walking up to her lodgings with tears running down her face I couldn't keep my distance any longer.

The only thing people have never seen besides Beka being scared is Beka crying.

I did the only thing I could do. I whispered her name softly and reached out to grasp her arm. I felt her muscles tense up automatically as she slowing looked up from under her bangs to see my face.

It must not have been what she had expected to see as I saw and felt her shoulders hunch up while the tears start to flow faster.

Knowing that this wasn't something Beka would want to been seen in public doing, I gently guided her up the stairs and into her room with the key I had to pull out of her pockets. I could tell she didn't want to talk and kept silent other than to issue orders such as for her to change while I filled up her wash basin for her.

I know being clean always helps a person to feel better.

A short while later Beka once again emerged and put on her night clothes. The soft white cotton was a stark contrast to her usual uniform but still suited her.

She once again walked towards me with her face pointed towards the ground.

When she stopped a couple of feet away from me there was still silence. It wasn't until I closed the distance between us and lifted her chin up to meet her eyes that I finally got any sort of response and it wasn't what I was expecting.

"I'm sorry you had to see me like this Rosto." Beka said without the usual firmness in her voice. She looked like she was about to break. How could I respond to this to make things better?

What's wrong? No, she might start crying again.

Are you ok? Nope, she obviously isn't.

What can I do to help? She'll push me away if I try that one.

"I don't mind." Ended up being my response.

"I know, you never do." Beka said with her voice cracking.

I felt my heart break and jump for joy at the same time as she said those words. She relies on me for something even if she hasn't realized it yet.

At this point we were standing barely an inch apart and so I did the only thing I could think to do. Wrap my arms around her smaller form and hold her close. For once Beka didn't seem to mind as she buried her face into my shirt.

We stood like this for some time until I finally tucked her into bed, kissed her forehead and left her to sleep. Silently wishing her sweet dreams as I gently shut her door and planning to leave some gilly flowers for her to find in the morning.

It was after I had arrived back into my rooms that I realized how I wanted her to scream my name and that wouldn't be in anger although it would be a kind of passion. I might not be able to tell the rest of the world how I had won my bet, but it wouldn't matter.

I would get Beka to yell my name while we made love and I would make her forget her boy in Port Caynn and whoever else she's ever played around with. She wouldn't walk to her room and plan to cry by herself alone. All she would be able to think about is coming and finding me.

I would make it so that I was the only person she would ever want to hold close or that she ever thought about when she unknowingly had the small crooked smile gracing her face.

It was my new challenge and I was going to place all my money on me winning.

And as the Rouge, it wasn't in my best interest to lose.


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Thank you!

Ranna