AN - Stupid horse. A lot's been going on, blah blah blah, but here's more Redemption. To anyone following Begins, I haven't forgotten about it! Ch11 coming soon!
Lost & Found
Ljubica sighed softly as Lin pulled her teeth away, sagging back against the wall. The vampire licked gently at the wounds to close them, and then stepped back, looking into the other woman's glazed-over eyes. The hallway they were in was empty; most Saints tended to avoid the deeper parts of the Purgatory since clearing out the zombies.
"Thanks," Lin said, grinning lopsidedly. She was already starting to feel the effects of the alcohol in Ljubica's blood.
The Russian woman shrugged, adjusting her hoody to cover her shoulder once more and doing her best to ignore the pit of fear in her gut. She'd done all sorts of drugs in her life, but this was the most potent thing she'd ever experienced and she worried it was becoming an addiction. "I should be thanking you, is better than any drug."
"Uh huh. Likewise."
They both stood in silence for a moment. Ljubica broke it first.
"Am I doing right thing?" she asked.
"You're the Boss, right?" Lin retorted. "Your gang, you run it how you want. I think assassinating the CEO of a major corporation with an attack chopper was a littleextreme, but it's how you tend to do things."
Ljubica shook her head. "Is not what I was meaning. Us. This."
"It make you uncomfortable?" Lin asked. "'Cuz don't tell me you don't like it."
"I do like it, but…"
"Then what's the problem?"
"Johnny," Ljubica said warily.
"Johnny made his decision," Lin shot back. "He ain't here and I am."
"Is not so simple, Lin," Ljubica told her. "I-…"
"You love too many people, but can't… no won't make a decision. How do you think Carlos feels? He ain't got closure, either."
Ljubica didn't offer a response, instead just shoving her way past and heading for the stairs.
From the top of a grain silo along a lonely stretch of highway in the American Midwest, Johnny Gat peered through the scope of a 'borrowed' McManus, a 2015 model with a suppressor, bipod, and extended barrel and magazine. It had a night vision scope for the sliver of moon overhead.
The dark shape of the Bulldog carrying his target came into view, and he fired.
A single 50 caliber bullet crashed through the windshield, went through the driver's head with a spray of blood and chips of bone, and then punched through the seat and into the chest of the lady Saint behind him. The Bulldog swerved violently, nearly rolling as it careened to a stop on the shoulder of the highway.
Johnny worked the bolt of the rifle, sighting in on the last Saint guard, a husky man in a purple jersey and backwards baseball cap. The McManus bucked in his hands again, and the Saint crumpled to the ground. As a woman climbed out of the vehicle, he fired again at her feet, sending up a spray of concrete, and she stopped moving.
Johnny slung the rifle onto his back and used a pipe as a fire pole, sliding down to the ground and trotting towards the road.
"My hero," Tera said dryly as he ran up, looking him up and down. "Seems my work is in good shape. She didn't send you, though; you wouldn't have killed them."
"It's your lucky night, Tera," Johnny said with a grin. "Come on, let's talk."
Ljubica groaned as she rolled over, snatching her incessantly ringing phone from the night stand and noting the time. "Kinzie, I am on second hour of sleep… this had better be good…"
'Boss, I think I found him," Kinzie's voice said from her phone.
Ljubica felt alert immediately, and hopeful, but wouldn't let herself get too eager. She kicked her legs over the side of the bed and started tugging on a pair of black jeans, cradling the phone to her ear with her shoulder. "Go on..."
'Tera's transport never checked in. Turns out it was hit hard and fast a few hours ago. All our escort was killed, and she's gone. I'm tracking her anklet right now. Oleg and I think it was Johnny, he'd need Tera to make him more serum..."
"I think you are being right, Kinzie," Ljubica told her as she stood up, zipping up her pants and walking towards the closet. "Where are they heading?"
'Steelport is the only place to get that chemical they need. Ultor doesn't make it anywhere else in the country.'
"Good work," Ljubica told her. "Send me regular updates on their location."
She tucked her phone in the back pocket of her jeans, frowning as she pulled a purple hoody on.
Tera is a beautiful woman. Smart, ambitious...
Ljubica clenched a fist. I have no right being jealous of anything Johnny is doing, or with who. He is a grown man and made it very clear he doesn't want anything to do with me.
Then an idea hit her, chilling and troubling. Tera Patrick is also a manipulative, treacherous whore...
Ljubica snatched her phone back out of her pocket and dialed Kinzie. The hacker picked up just at the second ring. 'What!?'
"I need their location. Now, Kinzie. Is very important we are finding Johnny as soon as possible."
Johnny sighed as he slipped the needle from his forearm. Setting the syringe aside, he applied pressure and held the arm over his head while waiting for the bleeding to stop. Tera stood next to him, their backs to the queen-sized bed in the motel room they'd gotten in a bad part of town.
"All better?" Tera asked, trailing a finger across his shoulder.
"All better," he agreed. "So, I need a lot of this stuff made in short order."
"I adjusted the formula," she told him, smirking faintly. "It'll last a lot longer, now."
"And without a computer?" he asked, wrapping a bandage around the puncture wound. "Beauty and brains, I like it."
Tera didn't smile, instead coming around behind him and rubbing a hand across his chest. "You can always show me how… appreciative you are, Johnny," she purred.
"Can I take a shower first?" he asked, grinning lopsidedly.
"Take all the time in the world," she replied, hiding a dark smile as he headed for the bathroom. She just needed him distracted. As soon as the door closed, she went to the phone. She didn't have much time, Kinzie's anklet would make sure of that. And so she planned to make the most of the time she had before that psychotic Russian showed up.
By then it would be too late.
"Lin, I am needing you to be staying here," Ljubica said hastily, loading a duffel on her bed with extra magazines for her D3TH Blossom and Shepherd. Anything else she could get in Steelport.
"And I ain't lettin' you go all by yourself," Lin growled, low and hot. "No way. You know there's gonna be a trap involved."
Ljubica shook her head. "Sunrise is soon and you will be slowing me down."
Lin punched a hole in the concrete wall next to her, eyes blazing. "You let me worry about the damned sun!"
Ljubica narrowed her eyes at the display of rage. Lin had been having trouble with her anger lately. The vampire suddenly looked down at her still-clenched fist, then glanced at the damage she'd caused.
"Lju…" she murmured. "I…"
Ljubica shook her head. "Save it. You are staying here, I will be bringing him back, is no trouble at all. You're in charge while I am gone, so fucking control yourself or I will leave Oleg with it instead."
"I should be going with you."
Ljubica sighed. "But you are not. Da?"
Lin rolled her eyes. "Da…"
"Boss?" Carlos asked from the doorway. He was wearing black sweats with purple trim, and his ever-present purple beanie. He looked uncertain.
"Doesn't anybody knock in this place?" Lin asked irritably, but Ljubica shook her head and zipped the duffel bag closed. She pulled on a black, purple and white Mamba leather jacket, shouldered the bag, and headed for the door.
"Nice to see you, Carlos," the Russian woman said gently. "But I am heading for Steelport right now, we found Johnny."
"Take him with you," Lin offered. "The sun doesn't hurt him right now."
"Right now," Carlos retorted bitterly. He clearly still harbored resentment over being force-fed human blood, and what it had possibly cost him. Now he found that he craved it, and worried that it was only a matter of time before he gave in to the urges.
"I am not having time for this, Carlos," Ljubica grumbled, not wanting to spend hours alone with the brooding undead. "Get out of my way."
Carlos defiantly stood his ground, glowering down at the smaller woman, but after a few moments sighed and stepped out of the way. "We're having a long talk when you get back, though, niña."
"Fine," Ljubica shot back. "By the way, Lin is being in charge while I am gone, Carlos."
"So who do we take orders from while the sun is up?" he asked sardonically.
"Fuck you, that's who, 'Los," Lin growled, irises slowly fading from brown to purple. "Any other stupid questions?"
"Children," Ljubica quipped as Carlos took a step forward. "Be nice while I'm gone."
"Sorry, Boss," Carlos mumbled, rubbing the back of his head. "I… yeah. And Lin. Just being fussy I guess."
"Whatever," Lin huffed, crossing her arms. "I still don't like this."
Ljubica walked back into the room and gave Lin a quick kiss on the cheek, then looked into her eyes, which was easy since they were pretty much the same height. "I'll be back soon enough, promise."
Lin finally quirked a wry smile, nodding. She'd accepted how things would be, and so she was done bitching. "I won't pout while you're gone."
Ljubica headed for the door, stopping to give Carlos a quick hug. "You be safe, too," she said quickly. "And we will be having talk, do not let me be forgetting."
Carlos nodded. "Believe me, I won't."
Ljubica swerved her way through the traffic around Steelport's highways, gritting her teeth each time someone pulled out in front of her. It was a short flight, but the sun was coming up, and rush hour was going to be soon. She had to get off the highway before it came to a crawl. Her purple Attrazione responded eagerly to her control, engine screaming to the redline before she shifted again.
Overhead, an electronic sign over the freeway advised 'PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY' across it's display, before cycling to the number for roadside assistance.
"Kinzie, are they still there?" Ljubica asked harshly, cutting the wheel and flooring it. Several other drives honked as she roared past.
'Her anklet is showing her to still be at that motel, unless she figured out a way to take it off without blowing herself up,' Kinzie replied, annoyed. 'And she didn't, because that whore can't hack me.'
Ljubica chuckled. "There there, Kinzie, I killed only person that could get drop on you from time to time."
'That sleazoid cheated half the time!' the hacker insisted. 'And the other half he got lucky!'
"Da, da," Ljubica agreed absent-mindedly. "I am almost to exit, according to GPS, Kinz, I'll have to be calling you back."
Ljubica clicked the button on the headset that would end the call and took the exit towards Henry Steel Mills. That was where Kinzie had traced them, to a sleazy dump of a motel in a bad neighborhood.
"I'm coming, Johnny."
The door to the room was suddenly and violently flung open, frame shattering by the knob, and Tera looked up as it bounced off the wall, shockingly still on it's hinges. Ljubica strode into the room like a raging storm, lightning in her eyes and thunder on her brow.
"Where is Johnny?" the unstable woman growled dangerously, looking around. "Johnny! Be coming out!"
"He's not here," Terra purred, something in her voice betraying there was more to the story than that.
"Where is he, suka?" Ljubica hissed. It was taking all her restraint to not kill the woman in front of her with only her hands, let alone not reach for her Shepherd.
"You almost seem like you care," Tera shot back, tattooed arm bent at the elbow and hand on her hip. "Of course, if you did, he wouldn't have come looking for me…"
Ljubica took a deep, steadying breath. "You will be telling me where he is, or I will be killing you, is being simple as that."
Tera laughed, a bitter, bitchy sound. She was told to delay the Boss as long as possible and had an idea. "How long have you been in this country? And you still talk like a half-wit?"
Ljubica finally pulled her Shepherd and aimed it at the other woman's chest. "I will not miss from this close, sweetie."
Tera's eyes widened slightly, lips parting ever so much in surprise. The woman before her had just used much better English.
"Oh?" Ljubica asked, sounding amused as she noted the other woman's look. "Yes, my English is actually perfectly fine. Do you really think I could live in this country surrounded by all the television, radio, movie, and billboard advertisements for so many years and not learn the language?"
"Well… I mean…"
Ljubica chuckled darkly. "It suits me to have my enemies think I am just some dumb foreigner. I will take every advantage I can and use it to crush them."
"Oh, you clever Russians," Tera admitted, smirking. "Remind me not to attack you in winter, too."
"Last chance," Ljubica told her sharply. "Where. Is. Johnny!?"
"I gave Joonie to the Russian mob," Tera told her boldly, hand slowly reaching towards the headboard and the pistol she had taped behind it. The surprise on the Boss' face told her she probably wouldn't be noticed, and so she pressed further. "You shouldn't have let that one go, he's real good in be-…"
Ljubica squeezed the trigger once, a .45 caliber bullet punching into Tera's stomach. The microbiologist staggered back into the wall as her knees gave out, and she collapsed against it, sliding down and leaving a trail of blood.
"Wh-what?" Tera stammered, fear flooding through her. It never occurred to her she'd be the one shot and bleeding on the floor, despite the other woman's reputation. She'd had all the cards, home field advantage, even the element of surprise. "Y-you c-can't kill… need me t-to find hi-…"
Ljubica fired again, over and over, hot chunks of lead hammering into the Asian woman's body like the fist of an angry god. But this was a pistol the Russian woman was intimately familiar with, and her anger was cold, controlled and calculating at the moment; the last bullet took off the top of Tera's head, blood, chips of bone, and other things spattering the wall with gore.
Ljubica fell to sit on the edge of the bed, arms flopping down at her side as she sagged. "Johnny…"
Only silence answered her. The smell of burnt cordite seared at her nostrils, a cloud of it hanging thick in the air. Someone had probably already called the police, and she couldn't find Johnny from inside a jail cell.
Ljubica nodded, got up, and plucked her phone out of her back pocket as she headed for the door. Before she could call Kinzie, and unknown number appeared.
"Hello?" Ljubica asked warily. A man's voice, thick with a slavic accent, started talking.
'If you want to see your American friend again, you will pay your debts to us with much interest.'
Ljubica felt her lip curl in a snarl, blood boiling as someone dared to take from her, to steal what was hers.. "I am not knowing who you are. But I can tell you right now is not time; I am not having lots of money anymore. But what I am having is special set of skills gained over lifetime of killing. Set of skills that is making me nightmare for assholes like you. You can be giving Johnny back and this will all be over. But if you don't, if you choose to be continuing this, I will be stopping at nothing to get him back. I will find you, and I will kill you."
There was silence for a few moments, then the man said two words before hanging up.
Ljubica took a deep, cleansing breath instead of hurling her phone against the wall with a shriek, releasing it shakily before dialing Kinzie. The former FBI agent answered on the first ring.
"Kinzie, be tracking every flight that has left country in past twenty four hours, or leaving soon," she told her Lieutenant heatedly, slipping easily back into her 'disguise'. "Be on lookout for flights that are heading to eastern Europe. Be finding shady flights especially, ones that are not quite making sense."
'I'm on it. But what's going on? Why would Johnny be heading to Europe?' the hacker asked warily.
"He was taken," Ljubica growled. "And I intend to find him if it means ripping Europe apart."