A/N Well, it's great to write again. It's been awhile since I've given something to the Smash Brothers section of Fanfiction. It was entirely by accident. Just like with Seat Above A Galaxy, this was a half-year old draft that I randomly decided to work on. 2 pages became 16 and I got a great story out of it.
This is definitely a 15+ story. There's plenty of language, some gory violence and sexual references. Perhaps the most unclean story I've written yet, and it will be placed awkwardly with the rest of my inspirational romances and emotional dramas, haha. But writing a Wolf story is something I've wanted to do since I started Smashing. He's one of my best in Brawl, inexplicably, and he just exudes badass even if my Star Fox knowledge is extremely limited.
You may also catch a hint of WolfxSamus here, but it's entirely up to your own interpretation.
Also, I must give a resonant round of applause to my beta reader, none other than the utterly fantastic Byoshi. I'm eternally grateful for giving this story a thorough beta read as she's always been one of my biggest inspirations on Fanfiction, as anyone who's paid enough attention to my rambling would know. The fact that she not only accepted my request to but did such a great job without being hypercritical or judgmental is a powerful asset. Seriously, I'll say by my own accord that this author deserves your full attention, so search for her works. Any remaining errors are my full responsibility.
As always, the disclaimer: I own nothing, regret nothing and let them forget nothing.
I hope you enjoy! :D
Our next target's name rolls off my tongue, and I immediately commit it to memory. My partner nods from across the table, cracking the slightest of grins. It's pretty risky for us to be out here in the middle of Isle Delfino, even in the meager camouflage we have. After all, it may be easy to disguise a normal human woman but it's a lot harder to conceal a bipedal wolf like me.
She looks up at me again, blue eyes shining as they always do. "Not much is known about this Crimson lady, honestly. She rarely stays in the same place. Legend has it she has a winning streak of taking down anyone she pleases- no matter the name or notoriety."
I can't help but laugh. "Well that sounds familiar," I quip. She gives me a subtle nod, returning a smile as she twirls her chestnut hair through her finger. It's not her natural color, which I usually prefer, but she looks just as catching either way. I relax in my seat outside the Starfruit Café which, as the name suggests, is the most frou-frou place I've been in the past year, I believe. It looks like a grandmother's cottage in there, which is why I insisted we sit outside. It's not exactly easy to discuss murdering people across from the jukebox and the heartwarming Christmas paintings.
"So, what else is known about Crimson?" I ask, taking a sip from my black coffee.
"She's surprisingly secretive for such a notorious killer," is the response. "I was able to find a fuzzy photograph of her ..." She scans the nearby area to reassure herself that we're the only ones nearby. We'd better be. It's one in the morning; thank God this café is insane enough to run twenty four hours a day. After she confirms that we aren't being observed, she slips a piece of printed paper across to me, which I observe immediately. "Got this hacking into the street cameras here in Delfino. It's the best I could do."
I nod, looking it over. It's indeed a fuzzy photo, obviously not taken with the subject's consent. It appears to be taken from a black and white security camera, but I'm able to make out long, dark hair and a canine's snout. Not much else is visible, but it's a start.
When I'm pretty sure I have the image memorized I slide the photo back to her. "Anything else you've found out?"
"Just rumors, mostly. She's not afraid to use her feminine wiles-" she scowls, "which in my dictionary means we're facing a slut." I nearly do a spit take with my coffee, seeing as she's not one to make such a judgment. When she does, it always catches me off guard. When I can make myself swallow my coffee, I finally give a short, strong laugh. She doesn't even bother to scowl. She just gives me an amused, knowing look she often gives me, one that I've always been fond of.
"Also," she continues, "rumor has it she's taken a partner in her work lately, in addition to the occasional crony. Otherwise, she's incredibly secretive."
I nod. I don't quite care where the rumors come from. Odds are she either hacked into a radio wave or beat the answer out of some miscreant who crossed her path. Information is information. In addition she's the only person I trust, an unspoken truth that works both ways. "I'm guessing that the more information we find before the big kill, the better," I offer. "So why don't we do the usual?"
She nods her agreement. The usual is a simple strategy. She goes undercover, since she can hide easier than I can, and I scope the town out, not being afraid to bare my claws and get down and dirty if need be. We share any information we find with each other and create a way to complete our self-ordained mission. A simple strategy that often works well.
"All right then," I say, lifting myself out of my chair and stretching my muscles, letting the wonderfully cool night air run through my nerves. "I suppose we'll start now."
Again, she nods. She pushes her chair back and gingerly steps out of it. We meet each other halfway across the table, and take a fleeting glance to the neighboring ocean. I hold my hand out, and give a friendly smile. In return, she gives me a look of fleeting fondness as she shakes my hand. "Good luck, Wolf," she says.
"Good luck, Jennifer," I reply. Jennifer. She doesn't look like a Jennifer to me, honestly, but they don't have to know that.
It becomes silent as we stand still, hand linked in hand and not entirely wanting to let go. Our missions are always tough, but sometimes I swear the hardest part is leaving each other at the very beginning. It's a chilling reminder of the unpredictability of our work and the fact that by the time it ends there's a chance that only one of us will be overlooking the ocean, wondering what they possibly could have done differently. It's the one time I get truly nervous. Eventually we do, though, our eyes not quite leaving each other until the other is out of sight.
"Well! Fuck me a-running."
Obviously, things do not go as well as I had hoped. I discover this when I awake to find myself shackled to the stone wall of an eight by eight cell made especially grimy and dire just for my own presence. What an honor.
It may not be a common occurrence but it happens more than I prefer, although if I handle it right it'll be nothing more than an inconvenience. Believe you me, I don't like waking up in dirty cells like this as a prisoner. Not because I fear death or anything of the sort. They can torture me and I'll still walk away. I always have. And if I die, I'd love to die knowing it was because I pissed my enemy off so bad they decided to off me. It'd be smart to let me live so they can think of more creative ways to fuck me over for their own benefit. No, they can do whatever they want to me and I'll still find some way to patch up the wounds and walk on, or just bleed out the head with a victorious grin and a middle finger raised up to the sky.
Sure, it's unpleasant being in an eight by eight defecation of hell, but I can live with that, too. The worst that I can get is a bruised ego and maybe a few more nightmares. Sounds petty, but in my field of occupation you have to keep your mind in tip top shape. If you doubt yourself, or spend the time running from danger contemplating what a damsel you are, you're going to find yourself second guessing your abilities right into another trap, possibly a fatal one to you and several others involved. Either that or you rear-end a delivery ship and fall out of the skies, which is probably the worst way for a bounty hunter to die. Sadly, it has happened before; take my word for it.
So why do I hate being kept a prisoner?
Simple. No one enjoys being a prisoner. Would you like being at the mercy of someone who doesn't care in the slightest whether you live or die? I'd like to think not. But you never know. People are strange.
I shake off the sleep, not that I'm expected to be anywhere. It looks like I screwed the pooch on this one. Pretty impressive how I was knocked out during what I presume was my kidnapping and my imprisonment. Last I remember I was asleep with a smoking hot twenty-something red wolf with long black hair I had picked up at the bar that somehow didn't recognize my face from all the wanted posters. Whether she knew I was the thirty thousand dollar date or not didn't matter- between you and me, she was very good.
Come to think of it, I wonder if she does know. Hell, she probably does. She's probably working for Crimson-
Shit, Crimson! I must be a goddamned professional to sleep with the enemy like that. I sigh and then laugh at my own stupidity. Jennifer would probably slap me upside my head if she knew what I had done. I immediately notice that, unlike when I fell asleep last night, I'm actually wearing clothes- the presence of my leather jacket alerts me to the fact that I'm wearing the same outfit I had when I picked her up and also confirms that the odds are ever in the vixen's favor.
All in all, though, it seems I quite literally screwed the pooch on this one. At the very least, I got myself transported directly to the enemy. So there's a bright side (and a good excuse to make to Jennifer if ever she asks what I was thinking.)
I continue trying to observe my surroundings, but I still feel foggy and my senses are all out of whack, which I hate, since I kind of rely on those. That's when I start to feel a little less cocky and a little more concerned. Things just got less inconvenient and more dangerous; because I'm seventy five percent sure she slipped something into my drink. Take my word for it. At the dive bar I met her at the drinks are definitely not worth dying for.
Lovely. I'm pretty sure that by now I should have learned not to get wasted during a mission. I can't imagine Jennifer drinking half a tavern at the apex of her job. I try to clear my head as much as I can, because in all honesty, I feel like shit. The room spins around if I don't keep still, and my hearing goes in and out in a patterned fluctuation. My hairs all stand on end, chilled to a haywire extent. I swing gently along my shackle, gyrating like a pop dancer because all my nerves feel like they're being individually attacked with a giant, ticklish feather. I look and feel ridiculous. I just hope that somehow either Jennifer or I can work a way out of this mess.
I'm almost grateful when I see thuggish guards of the rhinoceros variety, not even caring when they burst out in gravelly laughter upon seeing the almighty Wolf squirming like there's a snake up his suit. No matter. The reign of Lord O'Donnell has been over for a long while now, if you even want to call it that. They spend an annoyingly long time observing my uncomfortable antics, their laughs ringing in my ears every other second. They're probably insulting me too, but I can only make out half of what they say, so the joke's on them, I guess.
Eventually, they kick in the cell door in what they probably class as an intimidating feat of strength that will shake me to the core. Again, joke's on them. Even in my barely functioning state I can tell that the thing is hardly a professional cell door- the metal's rusted and it looks like it can't weigh more than ten pounds. Obviously their hopes are on the shackles. If I was in any better shape, the shackles would be a non-issue.
Besides, I'm already shaking. Just not in fear. Laughter would be more appropriate as I see the 'thugs' walk in towards me, trying to emphasize how powerful they are. Frankly I can tell they're nothing more than poseurs whose strength migrated from their brains to their forearms. Nevertheless, I let them unshackle me and I let myself fall to the floor. I even let them throw me over their shoulder like a sack of rice and laugh at me as I continue to squirm. If I look weak now, that'll make it all the more surprising when I kill those weak sons of bitches first.
Trust me; clowns like those always fall first. Fucking rhinos always do.
Soon enough, we're out of the dungeon hall via a black steel door. The next room we enter is a drastic change of pace, so much that you'd think there isn't a horrid dungeon with shit all over the floor and blood coloring the walls through the door as much as a wine cellar and a personal library full of literary gods I couldn't give less of a fuck about if I tried. From what I can tell with my eyesight continuing to funk around, the ceilings are lined with gold patterns, the walls are covered with art I'd find gorgeous if I could ever possibly care, and of course, the stairs are made of white marble. Yeah, this is all necessary. If you gifted me a few million I'd… okay I'd spend it all on heavenly beer and sinning women, so I guess I'm not one to talk.
Obviously, whoever owns this place has enough money to pour a common person's life savings on the stairway to their dungeon. From this, even in my woozy state I can deduce that this person obviously isn't out for my hundred grand bounty. No, whoever this is just wants me dead or wants to use me.
This ought to be fun.
We pass through many sickeningly rich rooms and hallways before we reach a pleasant enough sitting room, a circle twice the size of my cell with a wide bay window showing a view of an adjacent shining beach. One of the thugs tosses me on a flowery couch across from two black leather chairs. Given the stretch of the room, I have to give them credit for good aim. I adjust myself the best I can and face the two chairs across from me, waiting for the seats to be filled by my enemy-of-the-week.
Soon enough, to little surprise, I see the red vixen saunter into the room dressed in a simple, form fitting red dress, seeming very pleased with her accomplishment. Definitely a winsome woman if ever there was one. At the moment, I regret nothing that went down last night. My senses conveniently begin to settle as I give her a winning smile, greeting her with, "Hey, sugar."
She smirks, taking a seat in the right chair. I stop swaying but my eyesight still isn't proper and my ears operate on an earplug level, barely perceiving outside sounds. "So, doll," I mumble, as I cross my legs and lay my filthy boots on a cherry tea table in front of me "tell me there's another one of you, and tell me she's as bangable as you."
She rolls her eyes this time, no longer amused by my devilish charm. I give an exaggerated sigh and decide to just wait it out, whistling and observing the room. "So," I try some polite conversation. "I'm assuming your name isn't Stacy." Of course not; it's Crimson.
She shakes her head. "Crimson," she states. Yep, that about confirms my staggering intelligence. How drunk out of my mind was I not to recognize her in the first place? She looks startlingly like the fuzzy picture Jennifer showed me. Regardless, I'm in her presence now. Nothing to do except wait for a cavalry or find my way out.
Not sure what else to say, I offer, "So. This place is nice." She simply nods, relaxed against the chair. From her uninvolved reaction, I have a solid feeling this isn't her place because she seems to take no pride in the fancy setup here. I decide to prod her a bit more. "Who'd you have to fuck to get this swag?"
This time, she glares daggers directly into my soul. "Struck a nerve." I crack a grin. Polite conversations are for commuters and receptionists. "Oh darling, I love your ways. What was that in my drink, anyway? Painkillers? Feels like a whole bottle's worth."
"Whatever you want to think," she speaks for the first time, her voice sultry even when disinterested. Just hearing her speak makes my blood heat up. A girl like this surely has had to have caught people in this manner before. Jen sure knows how to do proper research as Crimson is exactly like I imagined her to be. Sexy and dangerous, but incredibly amusing for some reason.
Finally, someone else enters the room, to my surprise a human male dressed in a suit and tie with three fruity looking drinks on a tray. His face betrays no emotion whatsoever but his more moderated amount of muscle speaks enough danger for me to understand. "So! This is your partner in crime. Certainly bangable, but not to my taste."
She rolls her eyes again before speaking for the first time. "No, this is Jules. He has the drinks, and he'll also be here to make sure you don't get away."
"I thought you already had two thugs for that," I reply with amusement. "Hell, you could get one of them to bring the drinks and another to make sure I escape, which I don't plan on doing just yet."
"The two rhinos are otherwise occupied," she explains simply.
"I'm assuming they're occupied with a mirror," I retort.
Jules doesn't react in the slightest to my taunts while handing me a drink, but I can tell that Foxy over there can't wait until her actual partner shows up and gets us to business. I look at the fruity, dainty drink, tempted to take a sip. As I go to pass the cup to my lips, I feel another brief amplified chill down my spine which stops me from toying with fate. After all, I certainly know what got me into this mess. Instead, I make an attempt to wake myself up by flinging the contents directly into my face, letting the brisk chill fully awake my senses (as well as leaving some lovely stains on the fine linens). She rolls her eyes once more, but hey, if she wanted to keep her deposit on this place, she shouldn't have brought her rowdy, drugged prisoner into her living room.
"All right, so when's your other guy going to be here? I'm getting bored," I whine. This time, the fox looks up to Jules, who says quietly, his voice soft enough to betray his strength, "He should be here any moment now, honestly."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm here."
Well fuck me, that voice sounds familiar. I keep my gaze fixed on the doorway to see a familiar face, this one surprising me. Dressed in khaki shorts and a white wife beater, Donkey Kong takes a seat right next to the red fox, his brown arms flexing as he takes his drink from Jules. He regards me with a gaze that I could almost detect to be respectful, and without even trying, I give a short chuckle.
Not that I'm offended or anything. This is hardly a surprise. Out of all the former contestants of the Super Smash Brothers tournament I attended once, I was the only one everyone initially despised. I was a bounty hunter of the unsavory sort. I screwed over the good and betrayed the evil. I was stuck somewhere in that void where no living thing wanted to associate with me. Almost all of them, at least. By the time the tourney ended three years ago, I did make it out with one friend.
"What's going on, Donkey Kong?" I ask. "Well I mean, for starters-" I jab a finger at the woman sitting with him "-you seem to be the luckiest man in the world, judging by your partner here."
"Perhaps." He gives me a grin that could almost be judged as warm. "Crimson Moon here is very good at what she does. None quite have the skill she has."
"What, at being a whore?" I'm barely even joking with this insult, although the name makes me snicker. What else could he be complimenting her on? I mean, come on, that name. That goddamn name even makes her sound like some stripper.
She scowls again, but DK laughs instead. "Not a horrible guess," he admits, and she gives him a defiant glare. He just laughs again, his eyes betraying any malice he could hold towards her. Their dynamic is certainly different than I had imagined- he doesn't seem to be attracted to her in the least. I'd venture to say that maybe they were related because I myself can't exactly understand why he doesn't seem to be attracted to her. I know he's a monkey and she's a fox but I've come to find that crazier stuff than that can happen.
Suddenly, I'm reminded of Jennifer and our last meeting in the café. I realize that their dynamic is quiet similar to ours. Being able to relate to them makes them just a bit easier to figure out, enough so to swallow the lump in my throat that the memory of my partner gives me.
DK turns back toward me, still grinning. Crimson hasn't stopped scowling but she seems to have lightened up. The conversation continues, courtesy of the ape. "But no, we're here for a very different reason. Care to guess what that is?"
"Certainly not to kidnap me."
Donkey Kong grins once more, his teeth reflecting the sunlight through the bay window. "Perhaps I should just cut to the chase."
"Yes," an irritated Crimson Moon takes over the conversation. "Wolf O'Donnell, you're one of the more infamous renegades of the known universe, correct?"
"Why thank you," I reply, beaming. "I'd like to think so."
"We're very aware of this fact." She grants me a plastic smile as she absentmindedly twirls a whisker around a claw. "You see, we are as well."
I crack a bold laugh. "Oh Lord," I sputter. "You're so full of shit, lady. You I can believe, but Uncle Heart O'Gold there? You couldn't get him on the side of evil if you copied and pasted him there."
"Agreed." Crimson glances over at Donkey Kong with a respectful smile, which he returns in full agreement. "But unlike you, we aren't known for our infamy." Crossing her legs, she asks, "Well, why don't you tell us a thing or two about your career?"
"For what purpose, may I ask?"
She sighs again. "If you refuse to talk to me, then we'll have to take the circumstances up a level."
This time I roll my eyes. "Blew it," I declare. "You played the torture card way too early, miss. Amateur imprisonment skills, I'm afraid." Stretching my muscles, I add "Besides, if you really want to know about my life of crime, I'm all for good exposition and for talking about myself, of course. Would you mind introducing yourselves first?"
"Why should we tell you?" Crimson would be red with fury if she wasn't already red by default.
"I won't tell anyone," I promise. "Who will I tell? I'm the true definition of a lone wolf."
She concedes with a quick look towards Donkey Kong, who shrugs. "We're bounty hunters quite like you. Unlike you, however, we do our job correctly. We eliminate the worst threats the world has to put up with on a regular basis."
"Just the two of you?"
"The two of us and the occasional extra security." Crimson beckons to Jules, who nods, knowing his fate as a career crony.
"Big job, wouldn't you think?"
"We get it done right." DK nods.
"And I'm next on your list?" I query.
"Perhaps not," Crimson offers, as if I'll believe her. "You get around, Wolf. Perhaps you could tell us some of your adventures?"
"I'm up for a good story. Hunter to hunter." Donkey Kong chuckles. This ape is just something else. Who'd have thought that he'd decide to go from smashing barrels to hunting undesirables? He doesn't seem the type… but maybe that's just it. He can put off an incredibly good nice guy front, one that almost convinces me. Almost. But that's a pretty big accomplishment on his part as it is.
Something tells me he's a hell of a lot better of a hunter than Miss Moon over there.
"All right, Mister Hunter Man," I start warily. "Let's go for a quick summary. Once upon a time, there was an incredibly dashing mercenary for hire and his crew of respectable miscreant hunters. They went around the galaxy, doing some dirty work for the right price. I'm sure a glance on any online article will tell you one obvious thing- I did not like any of the male members on the Star Fox team."
"Krystal?" DK is quick to ask with honest curiosity.
"Another story entirely." I crack a laugh. "Anyway, we went along our merry way, causing hell and cursing heaven, until eventually our team dissolved. Lots of personal issues and whatnot. I found myself on my own- on my own and incredibly bored. So I decided that I didn't need a team to do the dirty work. I went off the map and went solo. I don't hunt for money any more, just for the sport. Ever since I started, I've found people I wanted gone and I made it so."
DK's eyes widen when I say that- slightly so, but I think he's putting the pieces together. "Yep, I've made a name for myself, Donkey Kong. You can figure out whom I wiped out on your own."
Donkey Kong sets his drink down on the cherry wood table just below my feet. "Perhaps if you could give us some names, we'll let you go."
"Classified information, DK."
He frowns, and I can finally see the bad cop coming through. "Let me correct myself. Perhaps if you could give us some names, we'll let you live."
I growl, kicking his glass off of the table. "You must understand one thing about me, Donkey Kong. I do not fear death. You may hear other people say that, and you may brush that off as easily as it deserves. But I don't. What is my life anyway? The world is a playground to me, and playtime has just started. If you want to cut it short, that's fine by me. You'll have nothing to gain from it, though, just another dirty hunter out of the skies and off the streets."
Jules, whose very quiet existence I had forgotten about, goes to make a move towards me. Donkey Kong stops him simply by putting his palm up, and he walks over to me himself. I stand up, prepared for the worst, but he knocks me back on the couch with a simple push of that same palm. Before I can get up, he's placed that palm down on my chest. The unquestionable amount of strength he has pins me down and starts to take the breath from my lungs. Any harder and he could burst my heart like yolk out of an egg.
"This is a last chance offer," DK hisses. "I would like some names. Names that won't mean any more to you dead than alive. Are you sure you want to take that chance?"
Against my better judgment, I cave, waving my hand frantically to compensate for the loss of air in my lungs. He releases me and allows me to sit back up while standing directly in my way, making a silent threat. He is definitely a good bounty hunter, to say the least. I'd venture to say that he's better than Crimson, because he has a plan and he knows how to execute it without grasping at straws.
"I'll give you some names, you fucking ape." My voice oozes danger, and I even give him a crooked grin. "But trust me. You aren't going to like what I have to say."
Before he can retort, I begin. "Remember that fighting tournament we had? Great fun, am I right? For me, though, it was more of a learning experience. Can you believe that Master Hand would have been so ignorant as to give a wanted man a full catalogue of the power players in the known universe? For shame, my good man. For shame.
"King Dedede was the first to go. I never liked the fat ass," I admit. "He didn't have the game to back up the player talk. Shot him from my Wolfen while he was forcing a parade in his honor down a busy street in Dream Land. You know what the public did, DK? They cheered. I made their dreamy lives that much fucking easier." I laugh at the memory and the irony that comes with it. "I'm a bloody hero to them, can you imagine that?"
I smirk as DK takes the news in. The two of them were good chums when King D was alive, this much I knew, and that's why I started off with one that would piss him off. "Next was Pit. Useless little fly. I admit I didn't meditate this one like the assassination of the King. He attacked me in the name of his goddess of light. Kind of like you posers here, except that he was blinded by the idea of good always winning. I played dirty, and shattered his little idealistic vision with the bayonet of my gun.
"And don't think I've never dealt with women like you before." I glare directly at Crimson. "Samus Aran, the gorgeous little thing, tried to take me out once." It's a bit hard to think about this one, but I am able to convincingly continue. "A noble attempt, I admit, seeing the other monsters she's destroyed. She put up a good fight too, and I'd have liked to keep her around, but she was a nuisance, so I had no choice in the matter. What a shame it was to see her blood leak into those gorgeous blonde locks. Don't think you deserve any mercy just because you're a doll who's good in bed, sweetie."
I'm glad to see her face pale just enough to betray a reaction. Staring DK straight in the eyes, I state clearly, "And I probably shouldn't even mention Birdo, now should I?" His pupils dilate to the point where nearly all that is visible is plain white the instant I mention the name of the dinosaur he was known to have affection for, but he takes no action.
"You want to take me out? Go right ahead, take your best shot. But I'll tell you this. You two are fucking deluding yourself if you're trying to be the good guys. You're killing people and I'm killing people. We just happen to have different tastes of victim, you see. You think you're ridding the world of evil? How disgusting. Who made you the judge of that? Me, I know I'm a murderer. I don't have a preference. I kill people who fuck with me. And right now-" I take the brevity of standing up in front of Donkey Kong and digging my claw into his chest before hissing "-you are fucking with me."
To my surprise, Donkey Kong doesn't attack me. He simply removes my hand and takes his seat where he had before. "You preach a good sermon," he states, giving me a cracked smile as if he isn't affected by my words. "For a sinner, that is. Unfortunately, your words are meaningless because, as you know, we have the upper hand."
I do know this. I'm trapped in their house, if it's even theirs. There are a ton of textbook cronies all over the place, waiting to put a bullet in my brain out of pure reflex. I've barely gotten out of an overmedicated high. But I've had worse odds before.
Suddenly, out the corner of my eye I see a door open. A cool breeze flows through the room, and my hairs pick up on it immediately. I prepare myself for the worst, and the worst makes its way into the room. At least four other people- animal hybrids and humans alike- walk into the room, looking as if they have just stepped out of an action movie's acid trip. I make them out to be a jaguar male dressed in black with a shining silver katana, a much more modest woman with short black hair, dressed in a jumpsuit but bearing no other weapon, a buff rooster with no other weapon than his fists, and at the back, standing between the two rhinos…
Salvation. Holy hell.
Despite the odds, I can't help smiling ear to ear as Donkey Kong faces me, his expression serious. "You've got a valuable bounty on your head, Wolf. But it's not the money we're after. It's to kill you, and rid the universe of your presence at long last. That's why we're all here, to make sure you don't escape. Now that you've told us about who you've already gotten rid of-" at this he reveals a voice recorder barely visible in his pocket (oh big fucking whoop) "-we have proof of your villainy. I would ask you for your last words, but I believe the ones you've spoken are quite something in their own right."
I speak anyway, or at least I laugh. I laugh incredibly hard because, holy shit, this moment is beautiful. Just too perfect. DK raises an eyebrow, and I notice that all eyes are on me, except for two. I finally get some words together. "Wow, DK. 'Just the two of you?' You're such a liar. But that's okay." As I say this a thud resounds through the immediate area, jarring the crew into action. "I lied too."
Everyone turns around to find the thud, only to realize that it came from right behind them. The two rhinos are dead on the ground, a gaping hole burned through their stomachs that exposes their innards like a biology textbook. Holding a plasma gun in her hand is a tall, fit woman fit in a blue jumpsuit and sporting brown hair.
"Jennifer?" Crimson's mouth is agape to the point that the name barely is audible.
"Catch, Wolf!" 'Jennifer' pulls my treasured gun out of her boot. Jules steps from the side of the room in order to catch the object. Obviously he knows not with what he is fucking, but he finds out as the gun spirals across the room, bayonet slicing straight through the complacent guard's neck and spilling his blood which doesn't make it to the ground before he does. It's by the same bayonet that I catch my familiar weapon, letting the blood seep into my fur.
"You are a goddess among sinners, Samus!" I call out, grinning. She doesn't react but even from here I can see her smiling. My attention now lies with Donkey Kong, who finally looks ready to shit himself. "You lied about everything!" he mouths, barely audible.
"Oh? No, not everything," I reply absentmindedly as I make my way towards the fray. "I really did kill King D."
He growls, lunging towards me. Perfect. With my gun in hand I hold it in front of me just as he looks to crush me. And he does land on me, pinning me towards the ground. I feel the breath drain out of me, but luckily it doesn't drain as fast as the blood does out of DK's stomach. To his credit, he doesn't notice until he lands a punch on my right shoulder. I hear a bone snap and yelp aloud, but at least I'm not the one bleeding to death.
I let him fall and push him off me, snagging the useless little tape recorder. As I lift myself up, I glance at him with amusement, and I mutter one last thing in the tape recorder before I break it within my hand.
"Playtime's over, asshole."
I approach the rest of the brawl with reckless abandon, firing a laser towards the woman in the jumpsuit. To my surprise, she leaps over it and lands on the ground directly in front of me. Before I can react, she flips me over her shoulder and throws me on my back, onto the same shoulder DK punched. Thankfully, though, I don't land on my gun. Unfortunately, it's now halfway across the room, and to make matters worse she's landed on top of me. The last time a woman straddled me I ended up in this mess, so when she yanks a dagger out of her sock, I'm more than prepared.
She tries to send it toward my throat and manages to draw blood from under my chin before I manage to push the dagger away from me. However, she establishes that she has a freakish amount of strength once more by pushing towards my face with twice the strength I had. A large cut emerges near my nose, sending blood onto my tongue. When I taste it, that's when I get the idea.
She jerks her arm away, but only after I've sank my teeth directly through her wrist, sharp enough to sever the connection to her hand. She only gasps as she watches her blood pour onto the dagger, still connected to the severed hand lying on the floor, before she falls across from it, watching the breath as it disappears from her chest.
Astonished, I pick up the severed hand. I don't remember the last time I tended to my teeth so I'm surprised I killed her so easily. I look to my left to find Samus has just about finished with the rooster. Her plasma gun has shot out her trademark whip and she's wrapped it around the rooster's neck. She doesn't even have to yank hard before he's been successfully strangled- when she retracts the whip, the deep burnt-in indents around his neck speak for themselves.
Good God almighty, what would I do without this woman?
Before I can say anything, the jaguar is going for me next, his katana already headed for my chest. Out of reflex, I place the severed hand in front of my heart, watching as the blade sinks into the palm and pokes out the other side slowly, barely tearing into my fur. Trust me, I'm aware of the absurdity of using a severed hand as a chest guard, but it works. The dagger enlaced in her disembodied hand falls toward the floor and lands directly into my boot and through my toe. I howl again, as I'm very vocal with my pain- after all, biting my lip is out of the question. I stagger backwards and fall against the bay window, the knife going through my boot and out the other side, the blade sticking out a full inch. The jaguar smirks, standing over me with his own blade, and this time I'm not entirely sure what I can do.
Before I know it, he's swung at me. I don't have the time to move away, and he swipes a gash right through my gut. The impact is shallow but the cut is long, and I can see the blood run through my shirt and can feel the pain sear my nerves, putting me on higher alert. Alarmed and just a touch angry, I kick the jaguar in the knee, not expecting to have any impact, so I'm surprised that he falls back against the drink table, crushing it under his weight. I pull myself to my feet before he can attack again, and I look down on him to see that he has a deep gash right in his kneecap.
It's as my footstep causes the knife to gently sink back into my boot that I realize how he got that gash. Oh lord, if only I meant to do that. With my foot, I maneuver the dagger back through my shoe and give the jaguar a wicked grin and, before he gets up, I've leapt onto him, digging my foot right into his chest. I swear I can hear the pop as his muscles collapse and I pull the bloody dagger out of my shoe altogether and into my jacket pocket.
From what I can tell, that's everyone. The rooster, the rhinos, Jules, the dagger lady, the jaguar, Mr. Kingpin Kong, and-
As soon as I realize whom I had forgotten, the gunshot goes off. I'm aware that Samus doesn't carry a traditional bullet-loaded gun, so I trace the sound down the hallway. As I try and run, taking my first right, I gain the vision to match the sound.
It's ironic, how I mocked her so many times for blowing various aspects of a successful capture when I utterly fucked up the first rule of being a hunter: never underestimate your opponent. I was so fixated on the fact that she was a seducing bombshell who couldn't stand the sight of me that I'd never have guessed that she would fire a bullet into my own partner. Why did I not even consider this? Samus told me she was dangerous, and she already brought me to her lair. I'm an idiot, an utter fool.
Samus slumps to the floor, falling into the wall with such force that one of the fancy, ugly paintings falls next to her. Crimson doesn't even notice me staggering around behind her, and doesn't seem to make much fanfare of the fact that she has shot Samus, when all the alarms buzzing around in my head are telling me that bitch shot my fucking partner. Crimson seems barely fazed, but there's a victorious smirk and a fire in her eyes which lights up her face, a face which is now the ugliest sight I've seen in a very long time.
That bitch shot my fucking partner!
I reach in my other pocket for my laser gun and prepare to shoot, but it's as I do so that she turns in my direction, prepared. Without even so much as a threatening line, she fires. But I've done enough failing for one day, and I dodge effortlessly.
As I prepare to shoot again, she does the same, and it becomes a matter of a quick draw. We fire at the same time, but both of us are too preoccupied with dodging to aim correctly. I slam against the right wall, trying to think a strategy over at the speed of a bullet before that speed ends up killing me.
I'm so caught up in my thoughts that I only realize that the painting that was on the floor is in the air until it hits Crimson directly in the side of the head, knocking her to the floor. Seeing my chance, I abandon all sense of style and shoot my laser directly between her eyes. I hear the familiar burning crackle as it leaves an ugly burn mark on her forehead and she goes limp instantly.
My attention turns to Samus. There's hardly a scratch on her zero suit, but there's a predictable amount of minor battle wounds. Couple that with a gunshot wound and she's in bad shape, but she's alive. I can't help but smile, shaken up inside. She gives me a smile in return, glancing over at the painting she had hurled at the bitch. I scan the full length of her body, looking for the bullet. She notices, pointing towards her neck, where the bullet has shot through the joint where her shoulder and her neck meet. How can she be so calm when she's got such a grievous injury? I don't know, but I sit down by her anyway. I'm pretty worse for wear myself. Between the cuts on my face, the gash on my gut, the stab through my toe and the punch to my shoulder, I'm wondering how I'm going to stand on two feet now the adrenaline is gone.
I glance over at my partner, just grateful she's alive. I declared to DK that I don't fear death. I was half right, it turns out. I don't fear my own death. I know my existence is temporary and I'm just here to cause trouble and wreck shit. No, I don't fear death.
Her death, however, I fear.
Especially when it is my fault, entirely my fault, that she's on the ground with a bullet lodged in her shoulder. I could have done so many things differently. Not get drunk and not get seduced the night before our job. Find a way to escape before she got here. Not spend my time toying with the opponents. It seems as if I fucked everything up so easily. How did this-
I look to my left to see that she's looking back at me. "I didn't say anything," I argue, although I know it's a weak argument.
"You were thinking it," she insists with a broken laugh. "Very vocally, I may add. You're thinking this is entirely your fault."
"That's because it is," I argue. "I fell for her trap like a drunken, horny fool. I literally screwed up." At the very least, she gives a short chuckle at my half-joke. She shakes her head, though, as she mumbles "if we were to argue about every time one of us screwed up, we'd get nowhere. Today was just a bad day, and anything could have gone wrong." She gives me another smile, her hand gripping mine, tightening with every gasp of pain she emits.
"Don't fucking die, Samus." My command is hoarse and scrapes my throat with the pain that it causes. She shakes her head, her own voice shaking as she replies, "I promise, Wolf. Not today." She's still smiling, but I can see a small tear in her eye and it nearly makes me crack too. As carefully as I can, I take her into my arm, wanting to comfort her somehow, and wanting her own comfort as well.
It begins to rain outside, and for whatever reason we lift ourselves up and stumble out into it, allowing the cascade to drench us. The blood on my shirt turns nearly black from the saturation as we try and walk out, feeling the full sting of our wounds and the bittersweet taste of a victorious defeat. We don't get far across the stone patio until we stop, reclining against the white pillars of the house. We overlook the ocean together, hands still clamped together.
"Looks like we're going to get caught," I warn her, a pit in my stomach.
"We'll escape," she insists. "Just like we always have."
I nod softly, believing it despite the impossibilities of the statement. She glances at me with that familiar, fond look that seems to read my every thought. "No regrets?" she asks.
It takes me a little while to think it over. Do I regret anything? Do I wish anything could change? Have I ever wished that I had taken Krystal and run away, far away from Star Fox or anything of the sort before she left with them for good? Do I wish that I had stayed away from Birdo so another hunter would have never thought to kill her? Do I wish that Panther hadn't fallen from his ship in the skies after hitting that accursed delivery truck? Do I wish that I never had to kill Pit after he attacked me? Do I wish I had never slept with Crimson and gotten us into this mess?
Some of it I wish I had gone differently, some of it not. In the end, we're here where we are now. We're together, still alive, with the possibility of escape engrained into my hand as nothing short of faith and fact of biblical proportions and the fact that we have gotten out of worse situations before. That's enough for me.
"No regrets," I promise in solidarity. She smiles, closing her eyes as we hear the sirens sound off. We're done playing today, but we'll be back another day.
Our hands are still linked until the authorities pry us apart, separating us into different ambulances once more. That familiar ache is stronger than ever as I can only think my goodbyes, but one thing that's always stayed the same after every goodbye is that eventually we find ourselves back together, victorious and staring across the ocean.
That's something I can always count on.
A/N Well. I'm pretty satisfied with how this turned out. It's totally out of my comfort zone yet I felt pretty comfortable writing it. I hope I kept my style pretty evident.
Thanks again to Byoshi for beta reading this! I'd have missed so many things if it weren't for you, not to mention I learned a thing or two. Totally grateful for your help.
Let me know what you think! I love to hear your reviews, they mean a lot to me. ^_^