Nico watched the discussion with mild interest. Obviously, this was a touchy subject. "It made you stronger." he reminded Maria, shrugging."and yes, I am ready. My first 'mission', huh?" He asked. He stared at alex for a moment, trying to place what animal he resembled. He already though of Maria as a snake, but alex? hmm...he'd find out soon.
She bit her lip.
"Alex doesn't believe that," Maria mumbled angrily. "Anyhow, we're moving along. Don't mind the ones in the forest, they're just here to protect us."
Maria and Alex began leading Nico away, Maria in the front and Alex trailing behind, holding his gun loaded with the hammer down. Maria moved with the utmost of grace, her body seemed like it was almost trailing above the sand. When they entered the forest, two men began walking in front of Maria, and then two behind Alex. They were hugely muscular, guns strapped to their backs.
"Jared, Kevin," Maria nodded to the two in front of her.
They nodded back, moving so silently that it would be easy to believe they were a hallucination. The men led them to an abandoned house a few miles out, deep in the forest still, and covered in all sorts of greenery. Maria pulled aside a curtain of sticks and leaves from the door and ducked inside, motioning for the others to do the same.
The home was rotted from the inside out, wood cracked into pieces, not a shed of light making its way into the home. Other rooms were in the back, looking less destroyed than the main room.
Nico tried his best to not make a sound. surprisingly, he did prety well, just trying to copy Maria's movements, the way her feet slide over the trees roots and carefully over the rocks. considering his lack of "training"-or whatever you call it-he at least thought he did pretty good. But he supposed it didn't really matter what he thought. not anymore, anyways. "nice place you got here." nico said, his words lightly coated with sarcasm as he took i nthe cracked walls, the rotting of the wood."Surely you guys have better headquarters then this."
Maria listened to Nico's footsteps, surprisingly silent for someone who had not been told how to walk yet. He would need work, but not nearly as much as she had supposed at first.
"We've had better homes than this before," Alex said quietly, propped against the doorway. "All usually abandoned, hidden, nondescript."
Meanwhile, Maria was in a fit of laughter, the pealing sound like that of chiming bells. "Headquarters?" she choked out. "What have you been watching? T.V. crime shows? You'd believe that we, we who live off of secrecy, would have a place where all of our secrets are hidden?" She doubled over, her corset protesting from the movement. "You've got to be kidding me," she chuckled as she slid off into one of the back rooms. All that was visible from the crack of the door was a nondescript black suitcase, and then the door shut.
Alex shoved himself off the rotting doorway and moved into the main room. "Maria's very... volatile," he whispered to Nico. "If you haven't noticed that yet. She keeps her secrets ver far deep inside her soul, and no matter how much you think you know about her, you know nothing."
Alex sighed, hating to have this conversation with newbies. But it was always proven necessary in the end... "Maria is the bait because Maria has a gift for seduction. Everyone here has had a taste of it; we're often her guinea pigs to see how well something will work. I want you to be the one who never goes through that. So watch your back, okay showgirl?" Alex patted Nico on the shoulder. "Because she'll make you forget your own name, if you give her the chance."
Nico wasn;t nessecarily offended by Maria's laughter; on the contrary, he was curious, like he is with everything else. Was his comment really that funny? Or was she just being cruel? He predicted the latter.
On a gut reaction, he leaned back away from Alex, on alert. He listened to his words and blinked. so Maria was Miss Mysterious? Ha. He didn't need Mr. High On His Horse to tell him that.
But something about alex tugged relentlessly at Nico's real. He cursed as he findly placed it. His advice, the comedic nature, the brotherly but surprisingly nice pat on the shoulder. Nico shook his past friend off his shoulders. No. He strictly thought. he will not get attahed, not even to the seductive Maria, not to even alex who reminded him of his friend. No."Ah, the fruto prohibito." Nico sighed, his tongue much more smoother in his native language."I see. To be honest-and most of the time I am- I'm surprised by your advice, or at least your warning. wouldn't you have enjoyed to see me struggle, then get heartbroken?" Not like Nico would of fallen for it, but still, he was inquisitive.
"Yes, she is exactly the fruto prohibito. You think we enjoy watching our people suffer? We've all gone through it, and each time it's equally painful for all of us to just watch what she does to each of us. Maria plays by her own rules; nobody can control her here, none are strong enough. But then there's you..." Alex's voice trailed off into a whisper. "You almost match her in strength. You have a level-head quite the opposite of her own, something none of us have ever had."
Alex was interrupted by Maria's entrance into the room again, devoid of her earlier ball-gown. Instead of that, she was clad in a pair of old, torn jeans- shredded by what seemed like a pair of claws- and a grey camisole. Her hair had been pulled back into a ponytail at the top of her head, swinging around as she walked towards them.
Alex smirked at her. "I can't believe you kept those jeans from that week in Africa... one might have thought that getting them shredded up would convince you to throw them away. But no, not Maria," he rolled his eyes at her, smiling. "No, Maria bares her scars for all to see." And he was correct, the rips in her jeans layed over matching scars, raised and dark pink in color.
Maria pushed him lightly, smiling back. "Say we teach our new friend some rules?"
Nico was honestly surprised more than anything. Equal in strength? Interesting what Alex though of him. Overall, Nico decided he liked Alex, despite it being a risky gamble to like anybody. He was just too much like the friend he lost long ago.
Maria was even stunning in regular clothes. Nico's brown eyes swept over her, like she was an intreging T.V show. She had scars. From Africa? this just kept getting more curiouser curioser.
"rules? In a tux?" He pointed out, disbeleiving."I should atleast be allowed to change, don't you think?"
"Yeah, showgirl. Go ahead and change," Alex said as he tossed Nico a pair of tattered jeans and a flanel button-down shirt. "First door on the left, just across from Maria's room." He pointed to the dark room, the door rotted half-way off the hinges. "Hope you don't mind the dark..."
Nico smirked, catching the clothes. They'd fit him, even if Alex was taller than him, they had the same brawny but slender build.
He didn't mind the dark. Half his life, he lived in it. It was smelly, but he didn't really expect a fresh lilac scent either. He quickly dressed, coming out looking handsome and clean cut. He usually didn't wear flannel shirts, but hey, it was better than his tux."Any shoes?" He asked, holding up his black shoes weakly."I'm a size 11, but can squeeze into a 10." He explained.
Alex grinned, looking down at Alex's feet. "Sorry man, but we go barefoot here. Quieter, you know? Your skin will toughen up eventually." He motioned to his and Maria's feet, both bare and covered in the occasional slices and bruises.
nico nodded. He could handle it. 'Okay." he simply said, shrugging. He tossed his shoes on the couch, not really caring if he was rude at that point. They were gunna have to get to know eachother eventually. might as well start now."your wish is my command." He added, a smirk dancing on his lips.
Alex and Maria laughed for a moment, their bodies transforming into animals as they moved. Maria the snake, and Alex the jaguar. They both moved to the couch, sitting themselves down in the deflated cushions. Maria threw her legs up on Alex's lap, leaning back into the seat. They motioned for Nico to sit on the neighboring chair.
"Well it sure as he.ll had better be," Maria said. "Otherwise you'll be dead before sunrise."
(funny...I was gunna call alex a jaguar at first but decided against it....haha)
Nico again, didn't mind their laughter. They were superior now; pride was not one of his si.ns. He did finally figure out what Alex was though; a jaguar. Much more subtle and hiden than a lion. Graceful even. Nevertheless, Nico sat down, his brown eyes focused, glints of attention gleaming."I would pefer it if I was alive tomorrow." He evenly said, twinging his lips."Should I have gloves? If I remember correctly, gloves are very imprtant. oops, that's not questioning you, is it Maria? Oh, there I go again, asking questions..." he sighed, seeming comfortable to talk to them with casuality."forgive me. I'm new at being a mass murderer."
(great intuition then XD)
Maria giggled wildly, tossing her head back into the couch. "Dear Nico," she sighed. "I do so love how afraid of me you are! When he said questioning me, he meant challenging me. As in, if I call shots on someone, don't you dare interefere with that. And if I say I can handle something on my own, don't try and contradict me. I don't mind little questions."
Alex pinched her pinkie toe lightly, smiling when she smiled back at him. "Yes, you need gloves. I'll distribute them on every job, they're just disposables. You've got to burn them when you've finished with them though."
Nico raised his eyebrows at the laughter, smiling himself. so she thought he was afraid of her? fine. Let her pick up what she wanted. Faintly, he wondered if alex and Maria were being flirtatious. He'd find out sooner or later; he was a paitnet man. "Very well then." He said, his brown eyes seeming brighter."thank you for explaining. So, my first mission is..?"
Maria whistled to the front door, beckoning with her hands for two men to enter. "Jared, and Kevin," she said, showing them to Nico. "They're our guards. They'll be watching you while they watch Alex and I on the mission. They should be pointing out key instructions to you, having you notice what to do and what not to do. I assure you, Alex and I will do lots of things wrong. We always do. But everything usually works out in the end. We rarely have any extremely dangerous mess-ups."
Alex gave Maria a stern look. "Rarely, but they do happen. Usually with Maria, since she's bait. She'll be out for the next few days, tracking down the subject, while I keep you around town teaching you how everything works. How does that sound?"
nico leaned closer, remembering the two guards. They certainly looked like guards. and apes. giant apes. But he decided to keep that thought to himself. "Okay. That sounds reasonable to me. Should I take notes?" He genuinely asked, as if this was some school assignment. He didn't know if he could remmeber everything by head, but if he had to, he'd adapt.
"Don't take notes," Alex almost barked at him. "You need to know this, not just memorize it for a short amount of time. This is your life now, until you die on a mission or get old enough to retire. Most likely not the latter.... The next subject is a personal matter for Maria and I, which is why we're letting you even come to watch the job this early in the game." Alex chuckled a bit. "You could cost us our lives, but life doesn't much matter to either of us anymore. He's a dealer. Dru.gs, that sort of stuff."
nico nodded, not even offended by his tone. He supposed he didn't have the right to be offended; this was their turf, after all. and soon to be his. "Okay." nico simply replied. He didn't have another remark, mostly for the amount of anticpitation coursing through his veins. This was a whole new ball game; he liked new."Is this usually fun, killing people?" He asked."A good adreniline rush, I suppose?"