tagSci-Fi & FantasyDeadly Friends/Unexpected Enemies 02

Deadly Friends/Unexpected Enemies 02

byFinalStand©

*If the only option you give your enemy is Death, they will choose your Death*

(This story is sex-lite; be warned)


***

For Salvador the day had started to fall apart shortly after ten in the morning. He'd spent the better part of fifty years ferretting out Marissa's secret caches of goodies and he was pretty sure he had gotten them all but one. Shortly after ten the human had walked into the bank holding one of those hidden treasure troves and brazenly grabbed up the stash. He had even convinced the bank staff that he'd brought Tegus's sword to store there; that is how he got it in.

Needless to say, he'd changed his mind about the sword. Salvador had dispatched two ogres to grab the human; they were to be discreet but forceful. They never stood a chance. The human charged down the stairs, brandishing the blade and buried the sword through the heart of the lead ogre. He grabbed that ogre's gun out of its holster and turned the second ogre's head into so much modern art before that creature could decide what to do ... and then he was gone - vanished.

Worse, the gunman had disappeared from Salvador's vision and hit four more institutions in the financial district before dropping out of sight, leaving a grand total of six Night Siders dead in the process. Divining his location was also daunting; it was more than mere street magic, fey glamour, or simple blood magic that stymied him. There was a true craftsman of the Art out there keeping him at bay.

Locally, there were about two dozen witches , half as many warlocks and sorcerers but out of that group only six bothered him in the slightest and none of them had ever appeared to be allies of Marissa and certainly not tied to her enough to risk certain death by opposing Armand at this juncture. He was missing something and he didn't know where to start looking.

The other trouble was that the NYC police had half-dozen dead bodies in the most secure part of town -- all armed and with little or no background stories. It was small consolation that he contacts in the police had given him a name -- Tessio Nerospina. It seemed the man was a professional assassin who worked for the Mafia; of all the eighteen million people in the greater Metropolitan area, Marissa had stumbled upon a trained killer -- how utterly unfair.

His opposition was Marissa, who grew this city up around her, Night Side and Daylight both, Tessio Nerospina, hitman extraordinaire, and some unknown yet powerful practitioner of the Art. He would need more tools for this job. Armand was a fool; as much a liability as an asset. He would need some foot soldiers, an Artificer, or two, and two Practitioners to build a hunting team.

Despite his bribes and betrayals he'd failed to kill her, then he had failed to find her, and now he'd gambled he could use her trinkets to draw her out but the killer had taken the trinkets and raised the visibility of the Night Siders in the process. Compounding the problem was that the FBI: Special Investigative Division was on the way, forcing him to make all the dead Night Siders' bodies vanish in a rather obvious fashion; damn all humans and their meddling.

He had a feeling this was going to be horrible, messy and brutal before this was over and a lot of people were going to die. His Masters had told him to do whatever it took to end Marissa and either locate her vault and deliver the contents, or make sure the vault was never found again. When they approved of his plan and his call for reinforcements he began to worry. For the first time he began to wonder what the hell was going on.

***

For an instant Marissa felt the lips of Tessio on her throat, kissing her as his hand brushed against her stomach on the way down ... and then she smelled Hexane's hair, not her killer's.

"What are you doing?" Marissa said quietly and a bit cross.

"I have decided on one of the prices I want for aiding you," Hexane purred.

"What is that?" Marissa said cautiously.

"I want Tessio," she informed the vampire.

"He's not mine to give and besides, what do you want with him?" Marissa grumbled.

"If he's not yours then stay out of my way, and as for 'why', do we have to go into that man's training and genetics? I want him to father my children," Hexane told her.

"Father your children? Are you serious?" Marissa scoffed.

"Witches are weird; are family dynamics very convoluted and bizarre. It isn't like most men want to hang around, so almost all of us are raised by our mothers. Trust me, that isn't as good as it sounds. Witches are Practioners first and women second. With a mate like Tessio I wouldn't have to worry about my child being alone or abandoned."

"Well, why haven't you ensnared him before now?" Marissa countered.

"How? His will is anything but weak so short of reducing him to a drooling idiot, I'm not going to force him to fall in love with me. Marissa, witches are one night stand material. Most guys get what they want and move on. Tessio stood guard over one of us for five days; he never left her side and he never touched her sexually."

"We don't find men like that very often. In over a century of living I've never found someone like him at all. All our weirdness doesn't affect him. I'm sure you've noticed that by now," Hexane related. Marissa knew that to be true. Tessio had calmly blown a werewolf away when the average man would have freaked out and fled in terror.

"He is not mine to give, Hexane," Marissa evaded.

"He turned you down, didn't he?" Hexane countered. Marissa knew lying to the witch was dangerous and the truth would not help her cause. "He threw your brand of immortality in your face," Hexane chuckled.

"So what if he did? I'm not going to offer it to him a second time," Marissa snapped.

"You agree to give him to me then?" Hexane challenged her.

"No. I agree that we will be leaving when he returns; where is he by the way?" Marissa asked.

"He went to retrieve your goodies. To avoid detection I showed him how to get back by using the Parade of Fools," Hexane smiled.

The Parade of Fools was a favored marketplace for Night Siders trading in Daylight goods. A human would not be totally out of place there. It was still the Night Side thought with all of its dangers.

"You sent Tessio into the Night Side unescorted!" Marissa gasped, pushed herself up and searched for her clothes.

"It is the last thing they would expect and they'd lose any specific tracking spells if he crossed over -- for a time anyway," Hexane pointed out.

"It is too risky. I'm going to get him," Marissa insisted.

"You will do no such thing," Hexane commanded. "He will do fine. There is a reason why their FBI hasn't put him in prison by now and that is because he is clever and resourceful."

"Besides," she pointed out, "you being there won't do him any good if he is discovered."

"Besides," Tessio said from the doorway, "I'm already back." Marissa and Hexane turned to him, both surprised. They had not noted his approach.

"Tessio ... did you get my items?" Marissa struggled to remain calm.

He tossed a Macy's shopping bag onto the bed.

"I killed six of your kind getting these so I hope it was worth it. The city is crawling with cops hunting for the killer, but I've heard the bodies have already gone missing and that the FBI is putting a special task force together," Tessio informed them.

"Already ..." Marissa mused, "that can only mean the SID." Since Tessio seemed curious, she informed him of what that meant. "The Special Investigative Division is the government's group that investigates matters involving the Night Side and it is our duty to keep them as ignorant as possible."

"Oh...Okay, I think I know what the next step is then," Tessio asserted. "I'm not sure how I can pull it off yet. I need to study the situation and get more information."

"What are you trying to do?" Hillary asked.

"Right before crossing over through the Parade of Fools I made contact with my family. My Boss wants me to come in -- people are asking about me," Tessio informed them.

"If you are getting bad attention that is the last thing your organization should want," Marissa mused.

"Shouldn't your family be protecting you?" Hexane questioned.

"No, they should be keeping me at arm's length. It broke that I was involved in crimes at five banks, killed six people and have brought in the FBI. The Mafia wants no part of that," Tessio told her.

"They want to kill you or turn you over to someone else," Marissa concluded. "The only people they would turn you over to would be the Night Side under some alias."

"And I thought my people were cold," Hillary chuckled.

"It is business," Tessio stated. "Publicity is bad. The thing is if they wanted to silence me my personal family would have staged an ambush. My uncle's crew is pretty good at killing people; they trained me after all."

"I could have contacted your Don, Marc Scarletti, when I was Liege Lord and kept it quiet," Marissa affirmed, "especially in a case where the Daylight World might miss that person."

"So Armand is going to use a Mafia Don to grab Tessio," Hillary sighed. "How do we react?"

"I kill him...Scarletti that is," Tessio nodded in some internal debate. "Armand is using the structure of the city to hunt us so let's create chaos to mask our maneuvers."

Marissa didn't bother hiding her smile. She admired ruthlessness and she admired loyalty but any passion could be taken overboard. Tessio was loyal to his Don until his leader decided to betray him to an outside force. He was right about the situation too; she was used to working from the top of the pyramid and hating all those termites that gnawed away at the base. Now she was one of those termites.

"I popped some second raters today," Tessio returned to the subject at hand. "What for and why?" Hexane looked to Marissa. Marissa thought she knew but she wanted to have the Tessio's description first.

"Most stood outside the door and waited brazenly for me to come out. On group was parked across the street and the other waited on either side of the door. Also, despite my success, they never deviated from the first 2-Nightsider teams -- zero learning curve," Tessio explained.

"That meant Armand doesn't trust my first string players," Marissa murmured. "Which means the city is ripe for a civil war."

"He killed a few but the Council of Night can't afford to leave their hitters hanging around or they will show their hands so all Armand has is his own meager following and whatever low-lives who would take a bounty on a human," Hexane grinned.

She was loving this but then witches formed few close ties.

"Okay, that explains the softball approach this time, but we have to figure they will bring in some effective talent soon enough," Tessio nodded. "Now why exactly have I publically killed six people?"

"I doubt there will be bodies by next sunrise," Marissa gave a lopsided smile. "With the SID on the way, Armand had better hide the corpses because no glamor I know of will hide the facts from an autopsy. The why is simple enough," she added as she began laying out the bags and boxes she had stored away in various safe deposit boxes.

Marissa opened the largest box, took the first of the two golden guns out of the box and gingerly handed them to Tessio; sure he would be pleased at a firearm of such exquisite craftsmanship. He took it studied it for a second then looked at Marissa somewhat confused.

"What?" she gasped. "You don't like it?"

"Well -- ummm Marissa, this is a hand cannon -- it is a .454 Magnum," he looked worried. "Did the pimp you took these from give you all of his gold-plated teeth too or was he happy to get rid of these unwieldy monsters."

Hexane laughed so hard she fell off the arm of the plush chair she was sitting on. Marissa was closer to furious as she rose.

"These are precision instruments of death," Marissa growled.

"Instruments of death -- yes; precision -- no," Tessio corrected her. "I am not as strong as you are Marissa and the recoil on these is a bitch for me to deal with. I'd hate to fire them more than three or four times before taking a break and I would be reacquiring my aim after each shot."

"He doesn't understand," Hexane gasped joyously from the floor, "what they are." Marissa's mouth dropped open and she felt so incredibly dense. How could Tessio have knowledge of artificers and the artifacts they created; he was human after all.

"I apologize Tessio," Marissa began again, "These are Invincible Guns; they take on the aspect of the last bullet fed into them. I wished the largest production handgun available so that was the bullet it was given. They will match the style and characteristics of the bullet you feed into it which will also bond the weapon to you."

Tessio nodded quickly. He removed the clip out of the hefty automatic, cleared the round out of the chamber then put the gun on the sofa. He began popping the bullets out of the seven round magazine; stopping when he hit ten. He looked over the bullet then looked to Marissa for explanation. She held up a hand, signaling for him to be patient. A minute later on the dot the bullets began evaporating.

Tessio turn around and took out a .40 caliber and repeated the process to a point.

"One bullet is all you need," Marissa indicated. Tessio pressed the smaller .40 bullet on top of the top .454 in the clip. I fitted perfectly so Tessio put the clip in. It started transforming to a dull grey exterior and black grip -- very generic -- and had finished its transformation in thirty seconds. He was testing the weight when Hexane piped back in.

"It is also undetectable by normal means while holstered," the witch added. Marissa was still getting pissed about Hexane releasing the secret she'd plan to tell Tessio when she caught sight of him closing in. Marissa determined he was going for the cheek but she wasn't having any of that. She met him lip to lip. The first seconds where awkward then Tessio snaked a hand to the back of her head and drew her in tight. Their tongue's flickered then embraced as well. Marissa felt truly victorious.

"Better than my best Christmas present," he panted after a minute, "and that was my first sniper rifle -- I thought nothing would ever top that."

"You are a very unusual man," Marissa purred.

"I am what I am," was his response.

"Aren't you going to ask if those two do anything else?" Hexane teased.

"Hillary, they have unlimited ammo and are the perfect assassin's tool. I don't want it to do anything else," he smiled at her.

(Mafia Showdown)

"Here comes the birthday boy," Special Agent Jason Cooper joked. He meant Tessio Nerospina. Like the other three agents in the room overlooking the Tabula Rasa. When Scarletti had slashed and burned his way to the top five years ago he'd rebuilt the restaurant to make it nearly impregnable to outside surveillance and not bug had made it 24 hours when agents had planted it inside; so all the team could do was take video of the wise guys as the went in.

Not-so-old Tessio Nerospina was a boogeyman and the agents in the room were happy to have a face to put to the contract killings they suspected him of. His sole contact had always been his uncle, Enrico Nerospina who everyone suspected of being Scarletti's own Murder Incorporated. Unfortunately, while his sons were the normal breed of Mafia thug, his niece and nephew where virtual ghosts.

Today everyone in the FBI figured Tessio was going to really become a ghost. He'd fucked up in some unknown manner the FBI was scrambling to nail down. They would have snatched him up before the meeting but they had nothing to hold him on, which didn't matter because they couldn't find him. He'd simply turned the corner two blocks down and blithely walked up to the club.

"I still think this whole situation is plain wrong," Special Agent Magdalena Alvaro muttered from the other camera. "Midday not night; a known hangout when this thing should go down in some abandoned industrial site and a fuck load of guys. Special Agents Foster and Chu chuckled at the 'new guy's' pretense to knowledge.

"They are mobsters," Foster pointed out, "not special forces operatives. Most of them are a step beyond morons."

"No," Cooper backed Magdalena. "Tessio Nerospina asked for this and worse, Scarletti agreed. How often does a foot soldier tell the Don what to do?"

"So, he wants to die so the rest of those scumbags can go to prison -- why should we stop any of them," Chu snorted. "Pinning a crime on that kid was going to take years. This is a win-win."

"What about we not being judge, jury and executioner -- as the Constitution demands," Alvarado snapped.

"You work enough of these Organized Crime cases, it gets harder to see them as citizens," Cooper tried to calm her down.

"Well, he's inside now," Alvarado sighed. "God help him. What do we do if things go wrong?"

"With over thirty armed men inside that club, we try not to get shot," Cooper smirked.

Tessio nodded to the two men at the door. He'd met them twice briefly -- Don Gelano's men, tough but not too imaginative. The fact that there was no verbal recognition confirmed Tessio's status as a dead man. He didn't say they'd see him again because they wouldn't. That wasn't the plan.

Inside the door, in the antechamber, two of Scarletti's men patted him down twice. He lost two generic guns he'd picked up earlier in the day as well as two replacements for his normal blades. He was sorry to see his buckle-blade but there hadn't been time to get a replacement for that. They were good at what they did; not that it would help them this time. One of the two began steering him toward the rear tables.

"I'd like a word with my uncle, Antonio," he requested from the goon pulling him along. The guy grunted, chuckled and kept pulling Tessio along.

"Antonio, I'm going to kill you; that's a given," Tessio said calmly. "If you allow me talk to my family one last time, you'll live five minutes longer." Like most mad bulls, Antonio spun on Tessio with the intention of knocking him to the floor. Tessio bent his body around the blow, hooked the bigger man's neck in the crux of his elbow then fell and twisted.

Antonio's neck snapped like dry timber before Tessio dropped the dying man to the ground. Everyone had guns out except Tessio.

"Please inform the Don that I would like a word with my Uncle before we conclude our business," Tessio addressed the rear of the restaurant. He couldn't see the Don himself through the wooden partitions that separated the place.

Whispered words came to the fore and finally one of Scarletti's grandsons gave Tessio permission. He nodded back then approached Uncle Enrico. Enrico's sons were on either side but Nina was the one closest. Tessio started to lower his head to kiss his uncle's ring but Enrico stood and the two exchanged kisses on each cheek.

"I'm sorry Uncle," Tessio began. "I didn't mean to bring shame to our family."

"I don't know what happened, Tessio," the older man shook his head. "I want you to know that I asked to take care of this personally but..." It wasn't only family honor that drove Uncle Enrico's decision; Tessio's actions had brought doubt about the Nerospina family to the paranoid yet careful Don Scarletti -- that was dangerous.

Tessio could also see Nina angling for a shot at him with a gun she concealed in her lap.

"I could..." she whispered.

"I'm leaving here alive," Tessio smiled at the girl he had always considered his little sister. She wasn't little anymore, but since they were both orphans from different Nerospina siblings, she had clung to him as the only one like her -- both as kinsmen and dedicated assassins.

She and Uncle Enrico were his only true family; he'd never been close at all with Enrico's own sons. They had enjoyed plucking the wings off flies and bragging about all the Penny Anny shit they pulled off, as if knocking over a bodega was high crime. Tessio had broken six bones in the hand of the only one of Enrico's sons to touch Nina. Uncle Enrico's response was to remind the boy of the price of being 'pinched'.

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