Log in

No account? Create an account
Aug. 22nd, 2007 @ 06:52 pm In the Fox's Den
Cosmic!Rays AU, Part 18. This is a very definite PG-13 and could be nudging an R. Depends on your point of view. Opinions?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17

"Francesca Vecchio!" A tall, grey-haired man dressed all in black came to a halt in front of where Frannie and Ian hung about in an empty corridor, waiting for the appropriate releases to be signed. He extended his hand and Frannie took it automatically. He shook her hand with vigor and a smile that reminded Frannie of the feral dogs that roamed the fringes of her home town.

"Ian MacDonald," said Ian, sticking out his hand. The man ignored it. Ian put it away again, shrugging his shoulders.

"My name is Thornton Hawkes. I work here in- Well, let us just say that my brief is wide-ranging. I have a proposition to put to you, if you would come with me."

Frannie screwed up her nose. When strange men made proposals to her it usually meant one thing. But this guy worked on a CourtShip, he must be illegitimate.

"I have to get the releases and get back to Titania. My brother is expecting us."

"We won't take up much of your time, I guarantee. Please." He indicated that she should walk with him.

Frannie looked at Ian. He stuck his hands in his pockets and leaned back with a resigned expression.

"I'll just wait here then. Kick my heels. Maybe rewrite the laws of physics in my head. I can do that, you know. I generally choose not to what with it tending to cause the collapse of the Universe as we know it but I can."

Thornton Hawkes raised one eyebrow. Ooh, nicely shaped, thought Frannie. I like a man who takes time over personal grooming.

"I am glad you are able to occupy your time so productively. Shall we?" And Thornton turned his attention back to Frannie, gesturing down the corridor.

Frannie flipped a little wave to Ian as she set off, Thornton by her side.

They made their way along the gleaming corridor, passing matching sets of doors on either side every so often.

"What's behind those?" Frannie asked. She'd never been further onto a CourtShip than Processing before.

"Offices. Mostly. This way." Thornton tapped a code into a keypad by the side of a door and it opened into a small, square, metal room, barely wider than the door.

Frannie briefly wondered why this nice man wanted to show her a box before realizing that this was, in fact, an elevator. She stepped in. The descent was short. As the elevator came to rest, Thornton's finger hovered over the button that opened the door. He looked at Frannie.

"Are you ready for this?" he asked.

Frannie had no clue what 'this' was, but Thornton seemed to be expecting a response and she was nothing if not obligating.

"Yes, I am," she said, straightening her overalls.

The door slid open and Frannie gasped.

"Oh, it's beautiful!"


Ray took a deep breath, collected himself.

"Right, I'm going in. If I'm not out in ten call the local LE, tell 'em to make it subtle. And you, do your best to look inconspicuous, don't set off the Muscle Twins over there," he jerked his head towards the two, large specimens of alleged-manhood that stood either side of the entrance to the bar, expressions so vacant they should have a 'For sale or rent' sign attached.

"I can be inconspicuous. I can do that."

"That's reassuring, Kowalski. Truly it is." Ray resisted the temptation to grab Kowalski's hand and squeeze it for luck. Wrong time. Wrong place.

He crossed the road without looking back.

The muscle didn't flicker an eyelash as Ray walked past them and into the bar. Five steps led down from the entrance and from the top Ray got a good overview of his surroundings. The bar had pretensions of old-school grandeur. The wooden counter itself swept in an undulating curve along two-thirds of the wall to Ray's left. Ray figured it wobbled that way so the patrons would forget if they were drunk or sober. High-backed booths lined the right wall and small, round tables broke up the grubby floor space here and there.

The light was dim and filled with smoke. Loud music throbbed from a screen in one corner and Ray could smell the sharp scent of sweat mingled in with the smell of stale alcohol. Over on the far left, a man leaned against the bar, reading. He wasn't going to do his eyes any good like that. There weren't many other people in the bar, a couple of old men playing chess, the barman who was wiping glasses and chatting to the reading guy, a couple of heavies picking their teeth and shooting the breeze and over in the back, more curves. This time belonging to a woman whose behind pushed against her flimsy dress as she leaned forward onto a table in one of the booths. She was out to impress. Ray thought he knew who.

He ducked his head and walked down the steps, avoiding looking in the direction of the woman and her companion. He went up to the bar and stood staring down at the grain of the wood until he heard a cough and looked up to find the barman looking back at him.

"Welcome to Reynard's," he said. "How may I serve you today, sir?"

Ray licked his lips. Here we go, he thought.

"Right becomes might when might becomes right." He kept his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.

The barman looked surprised.

"You're older than I expected," he said.

"Yeah? And you're uglier than I expected. Where is he?"

The barman smiled, apparently mollified by this exchange of pleasantries. Ah, the power of the insult.

"He's back there. Currently in ... consultation with Starla. He's expecting you, though. Go right over."


Ray turned and now he could see Frankie clear as day, the profile that Ray'd messed up only feet away. For one wild second Ray thought he was going to puke but he pulled it back together and headed towards the booth, hand moving slowly towards his pocket. Frankie had obviously spotted him coming out of the corner of his eye because he was lifting Starla's hand to his mouth and kissing it, patting her on the rump as she turned to leave with a giggle and a hair-flick. Starla was just going to have to stay home and wash her hair tonight; her date would be otherwise occupied.

Before Frankie could do so much as look his way, Ray slid onto the bench next to him and pressed his pistol up against Frankie's side.

"Don't move," he said, low and pleasant. "Don't think about raising any kind of an alarm because if I'm gonna be dead you're gonna be dead too. Capice?"

"Ray," Frankie breathed out his name, almost as if it was a relief. Ray clenched his teeth and pushed the gun in further. "I knew I'd see you again one day."

Frankie turned his head and smiled. It was the same arrogant smile that Ray used to kiss off his face way back when. It was the same Frankie, give or take a broken nose and the lines that come with wear and tear. Ray was shocked by the powerful jolt of feeling that shot through him, a jumbled mixture of hate and disgust, love-that-was and despair, blind rage. It took all his concentration not to flinch.

"Zuko. I'd say it was good to see you but that would make me a liar and my ma taught me to tell the truth."

"Then tell me the truth about what you are doing here, Mundo. And why you are threatening my life. Isn't revenge a little ... overdue?"

It was amazing how civil a gun between old friends could make you. Ray smiled back.

"This is not about my sister, you twisted bastard and you don't get to think of her, you understand?

He laughed a little to throw anyone watching off the scent.

"I'm here to arrest you in connection to the planned bombing of the Contingency Offices in Nuorlayon. Be a good boy, Frankie and come quietly."

"But, Ray, what would I have to do with terrorism? I'm a businessman. I run my bars; I go home to my wife and kids. I pay my dues. A model citizen, that's me."

A wife and kids. So Frankie had gone straight. At least in one way.

"We got proof. Don't fight this."

Frankie pressed his hands together, steepling his index fingers and pushing them against his lips. Ray shoved the gun into him again and he dropped his hands back on the table.

"You are so jumpy. You should relax, we're old friends here. So you can't work for LE here, you must be one of those COPS, am I right?"

Ray nodded.

"What do you make in a year?"

"None of your fucking business, Zuko."

"I'm sure that your mother would appreciate a little extra sent home each month. I heard your pa passed away. It must be difficult for her."

"Swear to Mother, Frankie, I will add bribery to the list of charges. Don't push me. I wasn't going to be one of your boys then and I'm not now."

"Oh, but you were my boy, weren't you, Mundo?" Frankie's voice dropped lower, purring. "You were very much my boy. Don't you remember how you used to feel when I was inside you? Don't you remember how you used to beg me not to stop? Don't you remember how I'd put my mouth on you and suck you until you were dry? It was good. We were good, weren't we?"

I could pull the trigger, thought Ray. I could pull the trigger and then he'd be dead and yeah, so would I but then I wouldn't have this pulling at me, tearing me. It would all just stop.

"Let me go," Frankie was saying. "Just walk away and we'll pretend this never happened. You go your way, I'll go mine. Old lovers, parting on friendly terms."

His eyes were wide and innocent looking. It was hard not to punch him in the face right then, but Ray managed it.

"You got some nerve, Zuko. You think you can use that on me? You think I'm gonna say 'Of course, Frankie, you go right on aiding and abetting terrorists to blow up innocent people because one time you sucked my cock and didn't quite rape my sister.' Are you insane?"

Frankie's expression closed down. He sneered. Here was the real Frankie at last.

"I'm perfectly sane. It's you who's the crazy one. You really think you're going to get away with arresting me? You really think there won't be reprisals? You're an idiot."

"It's a risk I'm willing to take."

Ray was implacable. Frankie rolled his eyes.

"It won't stick. Nothing ever sticks. Dirt just rolls off me – saves a fortune in cleaning bills."

"The only way you're getting out of this one is if you gift-wrap us some vital information and tie it up with a bow. You know, some part of me was hoping you'd do the decent thing and confess. I always was a hopeless romantic. But really, this way is better. This way I get to shoot you if you so much as look at me funny."

Ray withdrew the pistol the smallest fraction of an inch.

"Now, my partner, he'll be getting bored. Man's got the attention span of a stunned hurtle-bee. And if he gets bored there's no answering for what he'll do so what's going to happen is this. We are going to leave here just like we were going off to do whatever it is you would have taken the kids off to do. And let's just say I don't want to go there for many reasons. You are going to walk ahead of me. You will say nothing to anyone. If you do, you will die. You will walk past the Brain-dead Twins out there and straight into the lovin' arms of my partner. You'll know who he is, he'll be the one mumbling to himself and jiggling about on the spot. You do not deviate from this plan, if you do, you die."

Ray gave Frankie a long look, his bravado was slipping and Ray could see the old, cowardly Frankie coming through, eyelids blinking a little too fast, breath coming shallow.

"This clear to you, Zuko?"

Frankie nodded.

Ray palmed his pistol and moved aside to let Frankie by.

"You know, Mundo," said Frankie, pushing past Ray's legs. "If you'd wanted to see my ass you could have just asked."

"Move, you fucker," Ray ground out, casting a general smile at the occupants of the bar as he stood up.

The walk to the door seemed to take forever. Ray ducked his head and did his best to look like an insignificant worm following the great and mighty crime-lord. No one gave them a second glance. They walked up the steps and into the harsh SOL-light. Ray squinted, trying to adjust. He reached for his sunglasses but before he could retrieve them there was a roar and a blur as Kowalski took out Zuko, knocking him to the ground.

Ray felt the sudden movement from behind as the Muscle Twins leapt to the defense of their boss. Without hesitation he flipped the switch on his pistol and fired noiselessly once, twice and two unconscious bodies dropped like sacks of grain. He turned his attention to the scene in front of him.

Kowalski was straddling Zuko, one fist twisting in his shirt, the other holding a gun against Zuko's cheek.

"You bastard!" he was shouting. "You fucking bastard! You are so dead, you hear me. So fucking dead."

And Frankie? Frankie looked like he'd seen a ghost.

"Kowalski!" said Ray.

No response.

"Kowalski!" he repeated. "Kowalski, what the fuck is going on?"

Part 19
Current Data
ray/ray just another day
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 22nd, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
*looks all wide-eyed and curious*
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 22nd, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
*pets you*

That's the beauty of posting in parts - being able to cliff-hang. I'm enjoying that about this fic.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 22nd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)

Is it? Oh! I think... *jitters in suspenseful eagerness*

(Excellent chapter, yay!)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 22nd, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Hee! It could be. I'm not saying.

Thank you!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 23rd, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Am all caught up, and the only thing I can think of that would make Ray go off like that at the end is that Zuko was going by the name of Volpe at one time or another or Zuko was the source of the bad shit.

Either way, I'm looking forward to the next part. Yay!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 23rd, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
(Permanent Link)

*points up - that's where my lips are sealed*

I have to go to work now (in my holiday) and I want to write the next part. Waah!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 23rd, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
(Permanent Link)


*loves you*
[User Picture Icon]
Date:August 23rd, 2007 07:38 am (UTC)
(Permanent Link)

Thank you!