Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics.

Rating: T+

Note: The third story arc features Rose Wilson settling into her new life in Silverstone, trying to juggle a new job with taking care of a kid, as well as her nightly crime fighting ventures as Ravager. When she makes life difficult for the local mob bosses, however, they decide to do something about it. Suddenly, her alter ego finds herself with some of the world's deadliest assassins gunning for her!

All Chapters: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/ravager4s-fan-fic-archives/660884/#1

Rose Wilson: The Ravager

Chapter #14

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Morning

Six months. It seems like a long time, but if you don't pay attention, it can go by in the blink of an eye. For Rose Wilson, those six months went by even faster. It had been difficult, at first, adjusting to her new life; trying to juggle looking after Holly with working more than eight hours a day and fighting crime as Ravager. For a while, she honestly couldn't understand how Dick, as Batman, did the same thing, but eventually she'd fallen into a routine that she stuck to: get up early, make breakfast, get Holly to school, go to work, take her lunch break to pick up Holly from school, take her to a sitter, go back to work, go back to pick up Holly, return to the penthouse, make dinner, spend some quality time with Holly, put her to bed, set the security system, head out and beat up thugs for most of the night, come back and sleep for a few hours, then get up and do it all again.

It is, quite simply, a very hectic and tight schedule. However, Rose wouldn't trade it for anything at this point. For the first time in her life, she feels like she actually has, well, a life of her own. She isn't living in anyone's shadow, she isn't the sixth wheel on some team, and she certainly isn't being controlled by a manipulative, b**tard father. So what if her weekdays are busy and chaotic? At least she has the weekends completely free, allowing her to catch up on her sleep and spend even more time with Holly.

When Rose had first decided to take in Holly, it had been out of sheer desire to want to do something good for the girl. She hadn't known what she was getting herself into, raising a kid, nor did she realize how much she would end up liking her. Something about Holly just makes her happy, puts her at ease. She truly is a sweet, nice, and adorable young girl, who just happened to have been thrust into a horrible situation. In many ways, she reminds Rose of Lian Harper, the girl who she had been a nanny to for a short while, several years back. Deeply hidden maternal instincts? Perhaps. Whatever it is, Holly always has a way of putting a smile on Rose's face.

Sitting at the kitchen table, Rose sips from a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper (two things she never thought she'd ever be doing, least of all at the same time). Her eyes are focused on a front page headline that reads: 'The Blade Sighted Again, Breaks up Mugging.' Yeah, 'The Blade'. It's what the media's been calling her ever since she started frequently showing up as Ravager. Just goes to show how original they are. A short while later, the young blonde girl, Holly, approaches the table and hops up into a seat, swinging her legs back and forth with a smile.

Rose: Well, look who's finally up and about. Finish your shower?

Holly responds with an earnest nod.

Rose: And you got all your homework done yesterday, right?

Another nod.

Rose: Then I suppose you'll be wanting your breakfast now, huh?

The girl's smile widens, as she nods yet again.

Rose: Alright, alright, holds your horses.

One of these days, she really needs to get around to teaching Holly sign language. Head nods and written messages can only go so far. Getting up from her seat, Rose heads over to the stove to dish out the already prepared eggs and bacon, probably the only real breakfast foods she could cook without destroying them. She had tried pancakes once, but that didn't turn out so well, and her sausages ended up dried out and rock solid. Of course, that's why cereal is always on standby. Returning to the table, she sets the big plate of food down right in front of Holly, who proceeds to devour it.

Rose: Alright, so I should still be around to pick you up at the same time as always to take you to Mrs. Silva's. Today's my first 'real' day on the job, though. No more training, no more being babysat by an FTO, I'm all on my own now. Well, and my new partner, of course.

Swallowing a mouthful of eggs, Holly tilts her head slightly, holding it against her hand, and nods affirmatively. Rose folds her arms and forms a smile of her own.

Rose: Just remember to wish me luck.

The girl gives a thumbs up this time, mouthing the words 'good luck'. Rose has no doubt that Holly is really trying to say the words, but completely unable to make a sound with her vocal cords surgically cut. For a while, Holly had been completely crushed to learn that the condition was not temporary, and that she would never be able to talk again. In time, though, she moved on, recovering from the initial anxiety.

That's another thing Rose adores so much about the girl; she's strong willed. In spite of everything that had happened to her with Pavoni, somehow Holly finds a way to stay happy. Both she and Dick had thought that she might need therapy to get through the experience, but to their surprise, she found her own way to cope.

Rose: Alright, kiddo, finish up your breakfast and let's get going. If we don't leave in the next five minutes, we'll probably get stuck in traffic. Your backpack is by the door, and your lunch money is on the counter.

Holly polishes off the last of her food, then scurries away to finish getting ready for school.

Rose: And remember to brush your teeth!

Listen to yourself, Rose, you sound like a real parent. Totally bizarre.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day

Four months of eight hour a day training, and two months of supervision under a field training officer, that's how long it took Rose to earn her spot in the SCPD. The station had hired her shortly after a recommendation by Dick, a former police officer himself; it was largely due to his word that she had been able to start her training so quickly, and of course her new identity helped, as well. The worst thing that a background check would bring up on her now is that she had graduated high school as a B student. Today is her first official day on the job, however, as a full-fledged officer, no longer a trainee. A rookie, sure, but at least she doesn't have to endure her FTO breathing down her neck anymore.

There were two primary reasons that she and Dick had settled on this career choice for her. One, it gives her a chance to do a different kind of good, when she's not going around the city at night as Ravager. And two, it allows her access to a lot of resources that she would not have access to otherwise, short of breaking into the station after hours, which can aid her in some of her side 'investigations' as Ravager.

Closing the door to her locker, Rose takes a moment to make sure that her uniform is in order. Belt, check. Radio, check. Cuffs, check. Gun, check. Badge, check. Flashlight, check. Baton, check. Taser, check. Everything else that goes on her belt... check. Hat... hat...

Where the hell is my hat?

As she opens her locker back up to check and see if she accidentally left her hat inside, a female voice interrupts her.

Woman: Looking for this?

Rose turns to the voice, noticing another officer standing behind her. The woman is tall, with stringy brown hair and a dark tan. She's pretty, too, the kind of woman a guy would kill for. And she's also holding up a standard issue police hat.

Rose: Uh... that mine?

Woman: Was on the floor under the bench, you must have knocked it off.

Rose: Damn it, figures. Thanks.

She takes the hat from the woman and then ties her hair back into a ponytail. Once her hair is straightened out, she slips the hat onto her head.

Woman: So, you Sarah Walker?

Rose: Hm?

Woman: Sarah Walker?

Sarah, right, that's me. New Identity.

Rose: Oh, yeah, sorry. I'm Sarah, but you can call me Rose. It's my, uh... middle name.

Becky: Well, Rose, pleasure to meet you. Name's Rebecca Chavez, but you can call me Becky.

Rose: Chavez? So you're my partner, huh? Nice to have a face to go with the name.

The two shake hands briefly, then Becky opens her own locker and starts to change into her uniform.

Becky: I saw your marks from the training course, you know; highest I think in the last decade... at least in the field. Your written tests, though... not so good.

Rose: What can I say? I'm more of a hands on girl.

A small laugh escapes Becky's lips, as she buttons up the top of her police uniform.

Becky: That's good, so am I. Never liked tests much, couldn't stand them in high school. Hell, I think I might have gone loco if I'd gone to college.

Rose: You never went to college?

Becky: Nah, my family could never afford it. I took a year off after high school, worked a few odd jobs, then decided to do something good with my life. Got myself hired here, went through training, been on the force ever since. That was about four and a half years ago.

Rose: So that makes you... twenty-three?

Becky: Twenty-four in a couple months.

Rose: Shouldn't you still have an old partner?

Becky: Had one, sure, then he went and got himself transferred over to the second precinct. Was working solo for a while, then they assigned me to the new bisoña, the rookie. But what about you, ah? You don't look old enough to have been through college, either.

Rose: Same story; out of high school, worked some... really odd jobs, then found myself here.

Becky: That makes you pretty young then, ah?

Rose: Twenty, next month.

According to my new birth certificate, anyway.

Becky: Oh dios, you're a baby. You have a lot to learn, but not to worry; I'll teach you everything you need to know.

A few moments later, Becky finishes getting dressed, and straightens her hat on her head.

Becky: Alright, if you're ready to go, let's head out on your first real day of patrol.

Rose: Looking forward to it.

Holding a hand to her belt, Rose gives a nod and follows her new partner out of the women's locker room.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day

Rose sits passenger side in the police cruiser, while Becky drives it through their designated patrol area, consisting mostly of Midtown, and some of the East District.

Rose: So, you get to drive, huh?

Becky: Of course I get to drive, girl, I'm the senior officer, aren't I?

Rose: Well, I suppose if you want to go by that logic.

Becky utters a soft laugh, glancing at her partner out of the corner of her eye.

Becky: Don't worry, I might let you drive sometime. Eventually. Maybe.

A small, amused smile forms on Rose's face. As much as she's never been a 'people person', this woman is already starting to grow on her.

Rose: I'll be sure to remind you. Eventually.

Becky: So, Chief told me about your situation. Single mom?

Rose: Uh, something like that. I mean, she's not mine, but I look after her; legal guardian. Her name's Holly, great kid.

Becky: Oh yeah? How'd she end up with you, anyway?

Rose: She just doesn't have anyone else. It was chance that I even met her, let alone got to know her enough to want to look after the poor girl. She was in foster care before, but... well, it didn't work out for her. She went through a lot of crap.

Becky: Ah, pobrecilla.

Rose: Pobr... what?

Becky: 'Poor thing.'

Rose: I'm not gonna have to hire a translator to stick in the backseat, am I?

A slight smirk crosses Becky's face.

Becky: I'll try to keep it at a minimum, promise. Anyway, you heard about this 'Blade' character running around at night?

Rose: Ah, yeah, I think so. Read about it in the papers... some nut going around with swords and fighting crime, right?

Becky: Si, and it seems like every time she shows up, no one gets a good look at her. Gotta say, the mystery is intriguing.

Rose: You think?

Becky: Sure, mystery always makes for a good story.

Rose: I sense a 'but' coming.

Becky: Ha, so there is. I mean, I think it's great that someone out there wants to do some good, you know? But that isn't the way to go about it.

Rose: And what about guys like Superman, or Wonder Woman? Should they be going about it a different way?

Becky: It's one thing to have super powers, it's another thing for an ordinary person to be dressing up in a costume and running around the city at night with swords. She'll get herself or someone else killed real soon.

Rose: Batman might disagree.

Becky: Well... okay, maybe there are some exceptions, but guys like Batman, they've proven themselves. And this isn't Gotham, either; Silverstone doesn't really need someone like him.

At least as far as you know, Rose thinks. But there's a lot going on in this place that the police aren't aware of... case in point, Pavoni.

A few moments later, their police radio goes off.

Dispatch: We have a 211 in progress over at 324 Turckott Street, requesting immediate response.

Becky quickly reaches for the radio and holds it up to her mouth.

Becky: Copy that, dispatch, we're on our way.

Flipping on the lights and siren, Becky turns the cruiser around and starts heading back down the street in the proper direction.

Becky: A robbery on your first day, think you can handle it?

Rose: I'm pretty sure I'll manage.

Int. Marchini's Italian Restaurant – Day

The door to the restaurant opens, revealing a finely dressed woman in a fur coat entering. Her name is Emilia Marconi, and she walks calmly across the floor, heading straight for one of the tables in the back, the only table with anyone seated at it. In fact, the entire place is closed right now, something that they were sure to take care of. At the table are two other men, one aged and balding, the other younger with a neatly trimmed goatee. Both are dressed in clean suits, the older gentleman in blue, and the younger in black. She knows them both well; the older one is Rupert Thorne, and the younger is Frankie Baldoni. Both of them being the heads of rival crime families, she doesn't particularly like them; in fact, she rather detests them. However, today they're meeting with a common cause.

Thorne: Emilia, good of you to finally show up. Can I offer you anything to drink?

Emilia: Skip the pleasantries, Rupert, let's get down to business.

Thorne: Very well. So, I should assume we all know why we're here.

Frankie: Yeah, this new cape in town. The one everyone's calling The Blade. She took down one of my smuggling trucks last week, lost the shipment.

Emilia: And she caught my son last month breaking into the local jeweler's.

Thorne: I thought you hated that boy.

Emilia: Don't get me wrong, Jonathan is a real screw up, but he's still family.

Thorne: I see... well, my point is that we've all been hit by this new 'hero' running around Silverstone at least a couple times, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon. The whole reason I packed up and left Gotham was to get away from those costumed freaks.

Frankie: So what do you want to do about it, huh?

Thorne: Well, that's why we're here, to figure it out. For now, I'm suggesting that we set aside our differences and work together on this, come up with a way to get rid of this Blade.

Emilia: I suppose I can live with that. For now.

Frankie: Yeah... for now. But no funny business, Thorne, you hear?

Thorne: Of course, I wouldn't dream of it.

Emilia: Did you have anything particular in mind?

Thorne: Well, I think we can all agree that our families and the people who work for us aren't anywhere near talented enough to take on someone like this.

Frankie: Hmph, you can say that again. This broad knows what she's doing, I'll give her that.

Thorne: So, perhaps it might be fitting that we bring in some... professional help.

Emilia: You mean hire someone to do it for us? I don't see why you would need us to do that.

Thorne: If my experiences with the Bat have taught me anything, it's that one pro is never enough. But these... assassins, you see, aren't what you'd call cheap. Spending that amount of resources to guarantee the job isn't something I'm willing to do.

Frankie: So what, you want us all to pool our resources and put up multiple contracts on her?

Thorne: That's one way of looking at it, yes. But I also thought I'd make things a little more interesting than that.

Emilia: Go on.

Thorne: I propose that we each choose one person, one professional to hire. With three killers on the job, there's no doubt that The Blade will fall eventually. However, we'll each be wagering a fair sum on our guy; the one whose assassin kills her, wins the pool.

The other two consider this for a moment. Emilia brings a hand to her chin, giving Thorne a long look, while Frankie pulls out a cigarette and lights it.

Emilia: I will admit, that does sound intriguing. How big a wager are we talking, exactly?

Thorne: A hundred grand.

Frankie nearly chokes on his cigarette.

Frankie: A hundred G's?!

Thorne: What's the matter, Frankie, too rich for you?

Frankie: No, no. It's fine. A hundred it is.

Thorne: In that case, I suppose the next step is deciding who to hire. I suggest we do it here and know, so no one ends up trying to hire someone who's already taken. There are only a handful of people out there capable of taking on a task like this, after all.

Emilia: Very well. We'll even let you pick first.

Grinning slightly, Thorne takes out a piece of paper and writes a name down on it. He then slides the paper over to the other two. Frankie snorts out a laugh at it.

Frankie: Come on, Thorne, guns? Really? No way, my guys have gone up against her enough to know that there ain't anyway you're going to take her down with guns. She moves like a demon, I tell ya.

Thorne: Then I suppose you have a better choice?

Frankie: You know I do.

This time, Frankie writes down a name on the paper, passing it over to the others to see.

Frankie: With someone like this, poison is the way to go.

Thorne: Maybe, but only if you can get close enough to her to use it. Now then, Emilia? Your go.

Giving them both a careful glance, Emilia quickly writes down her selection and slides the paper back to them.

Emilia: I believe the direct approach will be the successful one.

Upon seeing the name, Thorne lets out a hearty laugh.

Thorne: Sure, if you can find her! I don't know anyone with those kinds of contacts.

Emilia: You obviously don't know me very well, Rupert.

Thorne: Alright, alright, it's settled then.

He gives them each a careful look, while an amused grin curls along his face.

Thorne: You have one week to contact your selections and make the hire. Then... we let the games begin.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #15 Preview: Rose Wilson's alter ego, Ravager, has made herself a target by three most powerful crime families in Silverstone, and now she has three of the world's deadliest assassins on her trail! But who are these assassins, and will they be able to take down their target? Find out next time, as the first of these hired killers makes his move!

Chapter #15

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day

It's been two weeks now since Rose officially started her career as a cop, and so far everything has been going smoothly. Her partner, Becky, is a lot more fun and interesting than she would have thought, and it makes the days go by fairly quickly. There haven't been a whole lot of interesting events so far during her workday, other than a couple of robberies, pulling over a few speeding cars, and breaking up the occasional domestic disturbance. Compared to what she does later at night, it's a cakewalk so far.

A long sigh escapes Rose's lips, as she pulls off her uniform. With the work day over, she's looking forward to spending some time with Holly before her bedtime. Then, it's back out on the streets as Ravager. The slums are probably a good place to check out tonight, there's always something shady going down in that region. As she tends to her thoughts, the door to the locker room opens, Becky entering through it.

Becky: Hey, girl, leaving already?

Rose: Yeah, I gotta get going and pick up Holly, soon as I shower.

Becky: You know, I seriously gotta take you out some time. I mean, you work all day, then go home and take care of your girl; when do you ever get a chance to go out and have some fun, ah?

Rose: There's a lot of things going on in my life right now. 'Fun' just isn't one of them at the moment; well, not in the strictest of definitions.

Becky: Ah, come on, you'll go loco if you never get out once in a while. Even the best parents need to escape from their kids now and then, have a night to themselves.

Rose: Yeah, and do what? Go to a club? Get drunk and end up in some random guy's bed? No thanks, not my thing.

Becky: Ha, not quite what I meant. That isn't my kind of thing, either. But hey, there's plenty of other things a couple of amigas can to together to unwind, ah? Grab a sitter for the kid one of the days and I'll show you.

Closing her locker, Rose glances back at her partner for a moment, giving her a contemplative expression.

Rose: I don't know... maybe. I'll think on it.

Becky: Hey, that's all I'm asking. Open up a little, take it easy, leave the stress of this job behind, that sort of thing.

Rose gives an ever so slight smile, then turns to head to the locker room's showers.

Rose: We'll see.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Turning the faucet to the kitchen sink off, Rose moves back into other living room, having just finished washing the dirty dishes from dinner. Glancing around the penthouse, she scans the place carefully for any sign of the little girl that had been watching TV not too long ago.

Rose: Holly? Now where did you run off to?

A few moments later, Holly appears, crawling partway out from beneath the couch. She lies there for a moment, her head propped up against her hands, just smirking upwards at her caretaker.

Rose: Oh, thought you could hide from me, did you?

Holly simply shrugs, then rolls back under the couch.

Rose: Hey now, hiding under there isn't going to keep you from brushing your teeth before you go to bed, you know.

Kneeling down in front of the couch, Rose looks down beneath it just in time to see the girl making her way out the back of it and scurrying down the hallway to the bathroom. Letting out an amused breath, she stands back up again and folds her arms, smiling.

Rose: Just remember to use the toothpaste in the blue container this time. The one in the white container is the one that tastes nasty.

Holly returns several minutes later, now dressed in her pajamas and apparently all set for bed. But, it never hurts to make sure.

Rose: You brushed your teeth and washed up?

The girl only returns a vigorous nod, indicating that yes, she remembered to wash her face this time. Rose gives her a careful inspection, noting that her face is indeed still a little damp.

Rose: Alright then, kiddo, off to bed. I'll be there in a minute.

Once Holly heads off to her room, Rose returns to the kitchen for a moment to grab a glass of water, then follows into the bedroom. Holly is waiting for her, settled beneath her covers and tapping her fingers in her lap. Rose sets the glass on the desk next to the bed.

Rose: And here's your water. Just don't drink too much, you don't want to be getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Holly playfully rolls her eyes, as if the thought that she could make that kind of mistake is simply ridiculous.

Rose: Okay now, before I tuck you in, let's go over the rules again.

She hates having to have this discussion with the girl every night, but it's the only way to ensure that Holly remembers it down to the letter, especially considering the nature of the situation.

Rose: If for some reason anyone other than myself is trying to get into this apartment, you stay in your room and lock the door, then use your phone to call me immediately. The security system will take care of everything else.

Holly nods affirmatively, not once ignoring a single word. She knows how important it is.

Rose: And if I'm not back in the morning, what do you do?

Reaching over to her desk next to the bed, Holly pulls up a piece of paper with something written on it. She points at the writing firmly, causing Rose to smile and nod.

Rose: That's right, you call 911. Even though you can't say anything, they'll trace the call and send an officer over. You just let them know that I went out the previous night and never came back, they'll take care of it. You can also call them for any other emergency.

Holly smiles again and gives a thumbs up.

Rose: Good, now get some sleep. You have a big math quiz tomorrow.

Leaning closer to the bed, Rose lifts the blanket farther over the girl, tucking it around her. She then gives Holly a warm hug, and brushes back a loose strand of her hair.

Rose: Night, Holly, sleep tight.

Leaving the bedroom, Rose makes her way to her own room, immediately coming in front of the security panel and punching in the proper code. The back wall swings around, revealing her Ravager equipment.

Time to get to work.

Ext. Silverstone Slums – Night

A large box truck is parked outside an old, run down building in the back alleys of Silverstone City's slums. A group of young men are busily carrying large brick-like packages of white powder from the building to the truck, loading everything neatly but quickly. One of them, a twitchy guy by the name of Dave, periodically looks over his shoulder while he works.

Dave: Come on, Jim, hurry up. We shouldn't be out here.

Jim: And when else were we going to do this, in broad daylight?

Dave: It's not that, I just mean.. you know, she's out here. Somewhere. Probably watching us right now.

Jim: That's the point, isn't it? Quit being a baby and stick to the plan.

The two men throw up their load to the guy standing in the back of the truck, then head back towards the building to get more.

Dave: I still can't believe you signed us up for this. I mean, a buddy of mine, name's Marco, he came across her a few weeks ago while on a job. She broke his jaw! He'll be eating through a straw for who knows how long, and then he'll be in court and-

Jim: Oh would you just shut up already? Starting to give me a headache. Just stop worrying about it; it's not like we're here to fight her or anything.

Dave: But what if she catches us? What if she-

Jim: Like I said. Stick to the plan, and everything will work out just fine. You want to earn that hundred bucks I was talking about? Then keep working.

As they return outside, now carrying another bundle each, movement from a nearby rooftop catches Dave's eyes. He turns suddenly, staring upward. Most of the structures in this area aren't very tall, three stories at the most, and overall the city is built more like Gotham than something like Metropolis. Still, whatever he saw a second ago, it isn't there now. Thinking that it must have just been a random shadow, he lets out a sigh and continues with his work.

A moment later, however, a figure jumps down from the building behind them and lands just beyond the illumination of the adjacent street light. She waits only a moment before stepping out of the shadows and revealing herself, in the process drawing one of her swords.

Ravager: Greetings, boys. Out a little late tonight, don't you think?

Everyone immediately turns to look at her, half of them dropping what they're carrying out of instinct.

Dave: Sh*t, I told you, man! Move!

Without any hesitation, every single one of the men turn and run in the opposite direction, sprinting as fast as they can away from her. They don't even bother to save any of their stash, leaving the entire truckload behind. Ravager stands there for a few moments, utterly astonished.

Ravager: What the...

Usually, the people she comes across make at least some attempt at attacking her. After all, why should a group of men with guns be afraid of a single woman with swords? Half a dozen guys running in the other direction at the first sight of her, on the other hand... that's a first. Instead of chasing them all down, which would likely be far too tedious and annoying a task, Ravager instead focus on the truck and the cargo that the men left behind.

Ravager: I wonder what the reaction would be if I parked this thing right outside the station...

Moving forward, she eyes one of the fallen packages and notices that one of the corners had torn open when it hit the ground, leaking out a small portion of the white powder inside. Kneeling down, she inspects the substance, narrowing her gaze at it. Something seems a bit off about it... it's not as white as cocaine, and it seems to be quite a bit thicker, as well. Curiously, she taps one of her fingers against it and lifts it up to her lips, licking off a tiny taste.

Ravager: Flour?

Why the hell were they moving flour disguised as cocaine?

She never gets a chance to think any further on that question, as her precog suddenly flashes through her head, this time showing an incoming bullet ripping through the back of her neck. Reacting instantly, she dives to the left, just as a loud gunshot rings out and splits the quiet of the night. Almost instantly, another flash goes through her mind, forcing her to scramble out of the way again, as yet another gunshot follows. This goes on for several more shots, until Ravager finally throws herself behind the truck, blocking the shooter's vision.

Those guys were never moving anything, she realizes. They were just trying to draw me out. Whoever's shooting at me is using a sniper rifle aimed at this position, if my visions are anything to go by.

As she contemplates what action to take next, yet another precognitive image goes through her head, but this time she isn't seeing a gunshot.

Ravager: Sh*t!

Lunging up from her position, she starts sprinting towards the nearby alley in front of her, just as the truck explodes. The resulting impact launches her through the air, sending her crashing into a pile of trash bags littering the alleyway. She stays there for a few moments, rolling away behind them and sinking back into the shadows. There are a couple things she can determine from this situation. Firstly, she can't run back the way she came, or she'll be dodging bullets again. Secondly, she has to determine exactly where the shots are coming from, so she can find the b**tard.

Reaching down to a small button on her belt, she clicks it, then waits. Another one of her new 'upgrades', a homing beacon connected to her new mode of transportation. Within a few moments, the hum of the high powered engine reaches her ears. Moving out the back end of the alley, she glances to her right to see the new bike roll up, currently acting on autopilot.

This thing isn't just an ordinary motorcycle, no, this one has been geared up specifically to act as her crime fighting transportation. The frame is sleek, extending down around the wide tires close to the ground, and built from a bulletproof alloy. When riding it, she's more lying down than sitting up, offering superb control over the beast of a machine. And the engine... well, the amount of horsepower between her legs puts her in a very happy place.

Ravager: Alright, mystery man, let's see where you're hiding.

Getting on her bike, she switches it over to manual control and revs the engine. Before taking off, however, she hits another button on her belt, this one connected with the built in micro computer installed in her new mask. Instantly, a small HUD scanning for sound waves appears in front of her eye, actually displayed on the mask's lens. One advantage of having Batman as a friend, it comes with a lot of neat toys.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

With that taken care of, she guns the engine and lurches forward, driving straight back down the alley and out the other side. In seconds, she's back on the main street, flying in the direction that the gunshots came from. Her precog goes off again, and she swerves slightly to the side. Another gunshot, this one deflecting off the side of her vehicle. Her lens HUD flickers, focusing in on the sudden loud noise.

Just a couple more now, come on.

A second gunshot rings out, the bullet embedding itself into the bulletproof glass of her windshield. The scanner focuses again on the loud burst of sound, getting closer to pinpointing the location. Rose begins swerving around traffic in complete control, never in any danger of striking another vehicles, even if some of the other drivers don't take too kindly to the apparent close calls. Then, a third shot. She swerves ahead of time, having seen the shot coming, causing the bullet to drill straight into street pavement. Finally, the scanner pinpoints where the shots are coming from, the small red target in her lens coming to focus around the top of the tallest building ahead of her, the old clock tower.

Ravager: Gotcha.

Now that she knows the shooter's location, she can take an alternate route, one that he can't see from that vantage point.

Int. Clock Tower – Night

Ravager races up the spiraling stairwell, which leads all the way up to the top of the clock tower. It's an old building, no longer in service. The only reason workers still maintain it is because it's admired for its aesthetics, a long standing part of the city since back in the early 1900's. It's the same reason why it hasn't been demolished yet, sticking around as a sort of landmark from Silverstone's past. Right now, however, it's the site where her shooter is holed up in, taking his shots.

Because it's such an old building, however, it doesn't have an elevator, just stairs, and with the thing being about thirty stories tall, even Ravager is getting annoyed at having to sprint up the entire way. She slows up a little when she nears the top, listening, readying herself. Stopping outside the door that leads into the mechanical chamber, she draws her blades. She doesn't hear anything, and after a few more moments, she quietly opens the door and slips inside.

Ravager keeps to the shadows, gazing up at all the massive gears and other equipment that once moved the large dials of the tower. They're not moving now, as the clock itself no longer runs. Leave it to the city to keep it around to look at, but not function. Making her way up to the platform in front of the clock face, she looks around carefully, but doesn't spot anything out of the ordinary. She's definitely in the right place, though, this is the only location where the shooter could have had sights on her in the slums, and on the main road coming through towards Midtown.

Noticing a portion of window pane removed from the clock face, she moves over to it and gazes out carefully, squinting into the distance. She can't even see where she'd been before in the slums, not with her naked eye alone. One thing she can admit, whoever was shooting at her certainly knows what he's doing. Even with a high powered scope and rifle, making such accurate shots in such quick succession is impressive. This isn't some street gang thug, this is a professional.

Guess I caught someone's attention, she thinks, moving away from the window. Too bad he packed up and left already.

In hindsight, the shooter never had any reason to believe she knew where he was, and so had no reason to stick around and wait for her to show up. Once she had left his sight for good, he must have decided to leave. As she turns to head back out of the tower, however, her precog goes off again. She dives to the side, flipping down off the platform as another gunshot rips through the silence. Immediately, she looks upwards to see someone standing there on one of the massive gears, a man wearing an odd body suit and silver helmet, equipped with a red optic lens over the right eye. He lets out a frustrated breath, as he glares down at her.

Deadshot: That's the last time you make me miss, sweet cheeks.

Ravager: Oh, I wouldn't count on that. So, who are you supposed to be?

Deadshot: You can call me Deadshot. Better known as the man who's about to put a bullet between your eyes.

Ravager: That so? Alright then... give it your best shot.

Deadshot: That supposed to be some kind of pun?

Ravager: Maybe.

Deadshot: Well it ain't funny.

Raising his arm, he points one of his wrist-mounted guns at her.

Deadshot: Sweet dreams.

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Chapter #16 Preview: The first of the assassins has struck! But he's not the only one after Ravager, and she's in for more trouble in the future. Right now, though, her focus is on getting out of this fight alive. In the next chapter, it's Ravager vs. Deadshot!

Chapter #16

Int. Clock Tower – Night

Deadshot fires, aiming right between his target's eyes. Unfortunately for him, Ravager reacts much too quickly, already moving out of the way by the time he pulls the trigger. He clenches his jaw, scowling. Each time she dodges, each time she makes him miss, it's like she's purposefully mocking him.

Deadshot: You can't jump around like that forever. Just hold still and make this easier on yourself.

Another shot goes off, as Ravager runs behind a large iron pillar, then ducks beneath one of the large clock gears and back into the shadows.

Ravager: What's the matter, can't handle a target that's faster than you can follow?

Moving across some old scaffolding, Deadshot gazes carefully into the shadows below. His optic lens switches over to thermal mode, tracking heat signatures now. He spots her shortly after and raises his weapon again. He fires, twice this time, but again she's gone before either bullet gets there.

Ravager: Bit of a quick shot, I see. That's okay, a lot of guys have that problem.

She moves around the bottom of the chamber, darting in behind various pillars, machinery, and gears. Though he clearly has a way of seeing her in the dark, she can still find a way to get to him without him seeing her. Judging from his sudden ceasefire, it seems that he's already lost her, as she makes her way behind his position. Within a few moments, she starts silently climbing up on the scaffolding behind him.

Deadshot: You're a bit more impressive than I would have thought, I'll give you that.

Taking a few steps forward, he gazes over the edge of his platform, scanning down below.

Deadshot: I don't think I've ever met a target who made me miss this much... but then, I've also never met a target who can see the shots before they happen.

Ravager stops a moment, remaining silent so she doesn't give away her position. Glancing upwards, she spots a well placed gear overhead and swings up to it, quietly.

Deadshot: That's your secret, am I right? Some kind of sixth sense, or something? Like ESP. I'd just call it super speed, except that you still dodge even when you don't know the shot's coming.

He stops moving momentarily, raising his weapon. He's listening, carefully.

Deadshot: That, and speedsters don't need a bike for transportation. It's a neat trick, I'll admit, but you're not the only one with tricks.

Ravager carefully moves in position, now poised close behind and above him. She bends her legs, crouches, and waits for the right moment. He starts moving again, turning his back fully to her.

Deadshot: Take this bodysuit, for example. It's not just for the protection, or even the fashion. It also enhances my senses. Like my sight, my reflexes...

When Deadshot stops again, Ravager makes her move, lunging through the air straight at him.

Deadshot: And my hearing.

Spinning straight around, he raises both his wrist guns at her. The next few moments seem to slow down, playing out in a near eternity as Ravager realizes she's been caught in midair with nowhere to go.

Deadshot: Gotcha.

He gets off six shots at her, three from either gun, before she lands right on top of him. They roll back a bit across the scaffolding, until he kicks her off and sends her crashing down through a lower platform. She finally lands with a thud on the ground below. Ravager lies there for a few moments before being able to move again, coughing out a stifled breath. The impact from the fall, as well as the six shots that hit her center mass, expelled the air from her lungs in a hurry. Groaning, she slowly begins to pick herself back up.

Feels like I just got hit by a train...

Her upgraded armor is the only reason she's still alive, stopping the bullets from penetrating into her chest. Had she been wearing her old armor, it would have been six shots straight through the heart. Still, she feels the result of their impact, every movement she now makes causing a stabbing pain in her lungs. She can practically feel the massive bruising already forming beneath the armor.

But she can't let the pain bother her, not right now. Another shot goes off, her precog alerting her of it just in time. Grunting, she throws herself out of the way and rolls behind a pillar, taking cover.

Deadshot: Fancy suit you got yourself there. My rounds are designed to pierce simple body armor, yet yours stopped them all cold. Makes me wonder where you got your hands it.

Ravager takes in a few deep breaths, each one causing her to flinch from a sharp pain in her chest.

Can't drag this out anymore, she realizes. Gotta end it quick.

She listens closely, hearing him jump down from his vantage point to her level, probably figuring she isn't about to move out of cover this time.

Deadshot: Doesn't make a bit of difference, though; just have to shoot your exposed neck, is all. Don't know what it is about you crime fighting loonies that makes you leave the lower half of your face exposed, but I'm not one to complain about an easy target.

Though his footsteps are mostly quiet, she hears the creaking of the old wood beneath his boots; he's getting closer. Time to make her move. Rolling out of cover, she pops up to her feet instantly and charges at him, at the same time drawing one of her swords. Her chest throbs, but the adrenaline pumping through her allows her to ignore the pain for now.

Deadshot: Dumb move.

Raising both his wrist guns again, he takes aim, this time at her throat. There isn't any armor to protect her there, and he needs only one well placed shot to the windpipe to put her down for good. When he fires, however, she leaps upwards and flips herself over the bullets. He moves his aim up at her, following her motion and takes another shot; this one hits her armored suit just below her neck. In the same motion, Ravager swings her blade, but Deadshot drops back and rolls out of reach. Landing on the other side of him, she crouches low, teetering on her feet. She clutches at the new pain exploding near the top of her torso; again, the bullet didn't penetrate, but it hurts nonetheless.

Deadshot: Nice try, but you missed.

Ravager: Not exactly; wasn't aiming for you.

Looking down, Deadshot raises his hands to see that both his mounted guns have been cut clean in half, rendering them useless.

Deadshot: Son of a-

His voice is cut off by Ravager's fist impacting the front of his helmet. He staggers backwards, only to be hit by another punch, then another, both shots to the head. Falling to the floor, he rolls in an attempt to recover, scrambling back to his feet. He tries to shake off the dazed sensation, blinking and holding a hand to his head. His ears are ringing, and the armored plating on his helmet has even cracked. Ravager comes in at him again, this time leading with her sword. Running back, he slides beneath a low hanging pipe and disappears into the shadows.

Deadshot: Looks like we'll have to finish this another time.

Ravager contemplates chasing after him, but only briefly. The moment she tries to pursue, she staggers again from the throbbing agony in her chest. She wheezes as she takes in deep breaths, followed by a few pained coughs.

Another time, then. Looking forward to it.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose stands in front of her bathroom mirror, her costume removed and lying haphazardly back on her bed. Lifting up her white undershirt, she carefully inspects the result of the gunshots, even through her bulletproof armor. The bruising across her chest is immense, a series of large, bright, purple and blue splotches that bleed into each other. Tenderly, she presses a couple fingers against it and flinches instantly.

Rose: Sh*t...

Pulling her shirt back down, she opens the medicine cabinet and takes out a bottle of painkillers. She doesn't know how else she's going to be able to fall asleep and get up in the morning, if every time she breathes it feels like she's being punched. Releasing a long sigh, she heads back into her bedroom and sits calmly at the edge for a moment, thinking on a couple questions.

Deadshot is a professional assassin, one of the best in the world... So, who hired him? And why do they want me dead?

Also, with Deadshot getting away, it means that she hasn't seen the last of him. He'll be back, eventually, and she'll need a better strategy than the last one or things might not go as well as they did tonight. Holding a hand to her head, she breathes outwardly again and shuts her eye; she can think more on this tomorrow, right now she needs rest. After removing her eye patch and setting it down on the desk next to her bed, Rose collapses back against the mattress and relaxes quickly into a deep sleep.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day

Rose sits on the edge of the bench in the empty women's locker room, half stripped out of her clothes in the process of changing. She needs a moment to catch her breath, though; the bruises are worse today than they were last night, and just breathing is a pain in the ass, let alone getting up and walking around. Rubbing her hand gently across her bare chest, she flinches, the knife-like pain exploding again.

Suddenly, the locker room door opens; frantically, Rose works to pull her uniform shirt around her and button it up, but she's too slow.

Becky: Dios mio! Girl, what the hell happened?

Walking around in front of her, Becky reaches forward pulls back part of Rose's shirt to better view the bruising.

Rose: It's nothing, really, I-

Becky: Oh no, don't you go saying it's nothing. Who did that to you, huh? Boyfriend? Ex-boyfriend? Let me know and I'll beat their sorry asses to-

Rose: No, whoa, slow down there. Nobody did this to me, honest. You really think I'd let someone get a hand on me like that? Come on, they taught us more than how to slap on a pair of cuffs in training.

Becky: Well, yeah, but... still doesn't hurt to ask. Sorry, it's just- I mean, it looks serious, is all; had me worried. So what did happen?

A small sigh brushes past her lips, as she starts buttoning her shirt up.

Rose: Just a little... car crash, no big deal. Wasn't paying attention and I ended up swerving into a pole to avoid a dog. The bruising is just... from the seat belt, and the airbag.

Becky's eyebrows lift up a little, her arms then folding across her chest.

Becky: And you wonder why I'm the one who drives, ah?

Letting out a soft chuckle, Rose shakes her head, smiling slightly.

Rose: Sure, make all the fun you want.

Becky: Just glad to hear it's not abuse; my sister went through that once, b**tard nearly put her in a coma.

Rose: Sorry to hear that. Don't have to worry about that for me, though. Men are the furthest thing from my mind right now.

Becky: Not big on men, ah?

Rose: Let's just say I have a long history of failing miserably, as far as relationships go.

Becky: See, this is why you need to get out more.

Rose: Yeah, well... I said we'll see.

Becky: So you did.

Once the two women are finished changing into their uniforms, they head out of the locker room and back out into the main part of the station. While Becky waves to some fellow officers and stops a few times to make some small talk, Rose is caught deep in her thoughts about the previous night. She needs to think of a way to not only find Deadshot again, but learn who hired him. Though Dick taught her about detective work a long time ago, she's forgotten a lot of it, and she's only a rookie cop. Still, she does have on idea.

Rose: Say, Becky, you ever heard of a hit man called Deadshot?

Becky: Uh... doesn't ring any bells, no. How come?

Rose: Saw on the news that someone sighted him in the Silverstone the other day. Was wondering if it's something we should look into.

Becky: Strange, I didn't see that story. And you'd think information like that would have come by the station... but if it is true, I suppose it would be worth checking out.

Rose: Can you get us his file from the national databank?

Becky: Sure, though it might take a few hours to put in the request.

Rose: Just as long as we get it.

Becky: You have that look in your eye.

Rose: Just coming up with a plan, is all.

Ext. Marchini's Italian Restaurant – Day

Becky stops the cruiser just outside the restaurant, across the street. She looks over carefully, watching some of the patrons eating through the big glass window.

Becky: You sure this is the place?

Rose: According to this, anyway.

Looking down at the files, Rose double checks the information. First, the file on Deadshot, aka Floyd Lawton. Scanning down through his list of known clients, her eyes fall again on a specific name, Rupert Thorne. That's the connection; Rupert Thorne, a former crime lord, had moved to Silverstone after serving his prison term.

Moving on to Rupert Thorne's file, she reads through his information, specifically regarding his activities in Silverstone. Having been such a prominent figure of crime so many years ago, the police and other agencies still keep tabs on him today.

Rose: Yup, says he frequents Marchini's Italian Restaurant, 127 Pleasant Street. Comes in for lunch every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Becky: And today is Wednesday.

Glancing up from the files, Rose searches up and down the street. A few moments later, she catches sight of an older man in a blue suit, his hair grey and thinning.

Rose: There he is, I'm going in to ask him a few questions.

Becky: Hold on, I'm coming, too.

Rose: No, it's fine. I got this one.

Becky: You sure?

Rose: I'm sure.

Int. Marchini's Italian Restaurant – Day

After being pointed in the proper direction by the hostess, Rose finds her way over to where Thorne is seated. She walks up to the table, moving gingerly to keep the pain in her chest at a minimum.

Rose: Rupert Thorne?

The man glances up at her, his eyes just visible over the top of the menu.

Thorne: Yes, can I help you, officer?

Rose: Just hoping you could answer a few questions for me.

Sitting down across from him, she briefly flinches before settling in.

Thorne: Of course, anything you need.

Rose: The name Floyd Lawton mean anything to you? Also goes by Deadshot.

Thorne: Afraid I can't recall; I've met a lot of people over the years, and I have a hard time remembering them all at my age, you understand.

Rose: That so? Well, then it might surprise you to know that you hired him on a couple of occasions before.

Thorne: Ah, did I now? Well, I'm sure he was a fine employee, but-

Rose: He's a contract killer, Mr. Thorne.

Slowly lowering his menu, Thorne glares at her. Apparently, the amnesiac old man routine isn't quite going to work this time around.

Thorne: Fine, sure, I know him. What do you care, though? That was a long time ago.

Rose: According to my sources, he was sighted in the city recently.

Thorne: And you think I had something to do with it? Officer, I assure you, I didn't hire that man. Haven't spoken to him in near a decade. In case you haven't noticed, I'm on the straight and narrow now, my criminal days are long behind me.

Rose: That so? For your sake, you'd better be telling the truth, Mr. Thorne. If you're not, I will find out, and I will be back.

Thorne: I'm sure you will. Now, if that's all, I'd like to eat in peace. Good day, officer.

Ext. Marchini's Italian Restaurant – Day

Rose returns to the cruiser, getting into the passenger side and holding a thoughtful hand to her chin. Glancing over at her, Becky starts up the engine and rests her elbow out the window.

Becky: So, how'd it go?

Rose: Well, he seemed to push the whole 'I'm not a criminal anymore' shtick.

Becky: And you don't believe him?

Rose: If there's anything I know when I see it, it's a liar. His whole demeanor, the way he spoke, the way he acted... he's hiding something, I'm sure. If not about Lawton, then something else.

Becky: But a hunch isn't enough to go on, now is it?

Rose: No... no it's not.

Not for Officer Sara Walker, anyway. But I know someone who can work on a hunch just fine.

Ext. Silverstone City – Night

Three hours of staking out on the rooftop of the adjacent building, that's how long it takes for Thorne to finally leave his apartment and head out to wherever it is he's off to now. At least the rain held off while she waited, though the dark clouds have grown bigger now, threatening to open up any moment. Ravager acts quickly, leaping over onto the fire escape and scaling up to the proper floor. Carefully, she slides the window open and slips inside.

Int. Rupert Thorne's Apartment – Night

The apartment isn't huge or elaborate, but it isn't anything to scoff at, either. It's about what Thorne is supposed to be able to afford on his current salary; if he's obtaining dirty money from other dealings, he's careful not to show it. Still, there must be some clue around this place that can link him to Deadshot, or perhaps even something else. She's very careful, though, making sure to put everything she moves back to where she found it. Thorne won't have any reason to suspect that anyone was in his apartment.

An hour later, and she's no closer to finding a clue than she had been when she started. Whatever Thorne is up to, he's hiding his tracks well. Standing now in the middle of the apartment, Ravager gazes around closely, trying to think of any other place she can look short of cutting open the furniture. She doesn't get that chance, however, as she suddenly hears voices coming from the hallway; one of them is Thorne's.

Ext. Silverstone City – Night

Darting back across the apartment, she slips out of the window and closes it behind her, already on her way back down the fire escape by the time Thorne opens the door to his apartment. Ravager glances up for a brief moment, then hops across the alley over to the rooftop of the next building again. She pauses after she lands, holding a hand to her chest and grimacing. It's raining hard now, the cold wet sheet blowing in the wind against her and soaking her instantly.

Not going to find anything here, better keep looking. Maybe his office.

Fighting through her pain, she continues across the rooftop, jumping over to the next one, and then the one after that, and so on. She just needs to return to where she left her bike, then she can head to Thorne's office, across the city. Before she reaches her destination, however, her precog interrupts her. Falling forward immediately, she rolls and then slides across the slick, rain-covered roof, as the incoming pair of shuriken fly harmlessly above her.

Without any reprieve whatsoever, she's forced to roll back and flip herself upwards to avoid a lunging sword strike. The assassin's blade strikes the roof instead, though it doesn't stop there, coming in for another attack. Ravager ducks, rolls, and slides out of the way until she's far enough back to get a moment to gain her bearings and draw her own blades.

Assassin: Not bad, but I wonder how much longer you'll last.

Ravager turns to look at the assassin through the rain. The woman is dressed in a green outfit, with an assortment of knives hanging off her belt, and a sword scabbard strapped to her back. The most striking feature about her, though, is the white mask over her face, in the form of a grinning cat.

You having to be kidding me, another assassin? And why does this one feel so... familiar?

Before she can answer her own questions, the woman charges in at her again, sword prepared to strike.

Assassin: Let's find out!

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #17 Preview: The second assassins has made her attack! But as Rose will quickly discover, she knows this new attacker. Just who is this mystery woman, and how do they know each other? Find out next time!

Chapter #17

Ext. Silverstone City – Night

The assassin charges quickly through the driving rain and swings her blade with expert precision. Ravager steps to the side, parrying the sword with one of her own, and then countering with a strike from her second. The assassin ducks and spins low, sweeping her leg. Ravager jumps over it, bringing her own kick straight against the woman's side; the assassin catches her foot with one arm, trapping it against her, then strikes again with another kick, this one knocking one of Ravager's swords from her grasp.

I don't get it, she thinks, as she flips backwards to avoid another sword-strike. I've never seen that mask before, but something about this woman feels so familiar. The outfit, the voice...

Ravager parries another attack with her remaining sword, then drives a palm strike to the woman's sternum; she take the blow and counters with a quick blow of her own, pummeling her knuckles into a pressure point. Even through her armored suit, the impact is hard and sudden, causing Ravager to lose her grip on her weapon. Taking the opportunity, the assassin thrusts her blade, only have her arm caught and then greeted by a knee to the stomach.

Trying to press the attack, Ravager takes another swing, aimed a the woman's face, but the assassin in green escapes the grasp and flips several times backwards at a range. When she comes to a stop, she flings a series of throwing knives. Ravager weaves around them, jumping and spinning through the air. Landing back on her feet, she glances around to find one of her swords, but never gets the chance before being attacked again.

Now, the woman is attacking with small, metal finger claws, raking her hands in arcing motions. Ravager dodges, steps to the left, then the right, then blocks one of her attacker's arms. In the process, she kicks her leg straight upwards, driving her toes against the assassin's chin and catapulting her backwards to the wet rooftop. The grinning white cat mask flies from her face and skids across the slick surface.

Dazed for only a moment, the woman jumps back up to her feet, taking another combative stance. When Ravager sees her face, however, a wave of revelation strikes her mind like a bullet.

Cheshire!

Though it has been nearly five years since they last met, and though their meeting had been brief, there is no mistaking the Vietnamese woman with long, silky black hair standing before her. For a time, Ravager served as the nanny for this woman's daughter, Lian Harper. She finds herself frozen in uncertainty for a brief moment, as Cheshire dashes in again and takes another swipe at her. The brief hesitation causes her subsequent dodge to be sloppy, not quite getting completely out of the way, as one of the metal claws scrapes across her exposed neck and leaves behind a small cut.

Ravager: Cheshire, hold on! Stop!

Dumb, she realizes. She's not going to recognize you like that.

Before she can make another attempt at having words with the woman, Cheshire unleashes another wild series of attacks; her style of martial arts is completely foreign to Ravager, and her astounding level of acrobatics makes combating her difficult. Not to mention, the sheer speed of combat gives her precog one hell of a time in trying to keep up.

Ravager waits for the right moment, then blocks Cheshire's next attack. She delivers an elbow to the woman's jaw, splitting open her lip, and then brings a hard kick up towards her side. But Cheshire is ready for it, blocking the kick and delivering a palm strike of her own to Ravager's chin, followed by a hard kick straight to her chest. The sudden impact to her bruised torso causes her body to jolt with sharp pain, and in the process her boots slip in a puddle. Suddenly, Ravager finds herself falling, landing hard on her backside.

Cheshire rolls away and retrieves her sword, then dives in again, leading with the steel point. Ravager just manages to roll back out of range, then springs back up to her feet.

Ravager: Cheshire- Jade, stop!

Cheshire freezes momentarily, a look of confusion and caution coming over her face, wondering how her target knows of her real name.

Cheshire: You... do we know each other?

Reaching up to her face, Ravager slips her own mask off, exposing her face.

Ravager: It's Rose. You probably don't remember, but-

Cheshire: You were Lian's nanny.

The woman's eyes widen slightly, the recognition hitting her. It's been a long time, but her memory is sharp.

Cheshire: So... you are my target?

Ravager: Yes... but why? I heard you gave up this business after...

Cheshire: You mean after my daughter died?

A stone dead silence drifts over the two for a moment.

Cheshire: So I fell back into it. A woman has to live, and this is what I'm good at.

And it distracts her from the emptiness left behind by the loss of not just Lian, but of her other child, as well, her son. This, however, she doesn't mention.

Ravager: I used to think that the only thing I was good at was fighting, too. But believe it or not, I've managed to do more with my life than just beat the crap out of people.

Cheshire: Is this the part where you make your big hero speech, and tell me how I don't need to do this, and that you just want to be friends, and all the other clichés?

Ravager: Not even close. I will say that I don't want to fight you, and I don't want to bring you in, but not because I want to be your friend. You're still an assassin, and a dangerous one at that, and you're trying to kill me.

Cheshire: So then why are we even having this conversation?

Ravager: Because I know that life has kicked sh*t in your face for a while now, and even you don't deserve that anymore.

Cheshire: And what do you know about it, huh?

Ravager: I know that you loved Lian, no matter what kind of life you led, and I know what it's like to lose someone you love. That's why I'm giving you the chance to turn around right now and leave. And maybe reconsider your career path.

Cheshire: And if I instead decide to finish my job?

Ravager: Then I'll break both your legs and drag you to the police station myself.

Another cold silence drifts over the two, broken only by the patter of raindrops around them and the whistling wind blowing across the rooftop. Cheshire gives her a long look, eyes narrowed and grip tightening around the handle of her sword. Eventually, however, she raises her sword and sheathes it back into its scabbard across her back.

Cheshire: You helped care for Lian when I could not; for that, you have my gratitude. Because of that reason, I will leave you be.

As she begins to leave, Ravager holds out a hand to stop her.

Ravager: Wait, can you tell me who hired you?

Folding her arms, Cheshire glares at her for a few moments, until finally responding.

Cheshire: A man named Francis Baldoni.

Ravager: Is there anything else you can-

Cheshire: You have the name, don't push it any further. Goodbye, Rose.

And with those words, she retrieves her mask and then leaps down off the building, disappearing into the adjacent alleyway. Taking in a deep breath, Ravager holds a hand to her head and then sighs. Things certainly could have gone worse.

Francis Baldoni... Looks like I have a new lead.

Moving to retrieve her swords, Ravager suddenly stops and flinches. It isn't the the throbbing pain from her bruises, however; it's from the wound at her neck. Gingerly, she reaches up and touches the cut, only to let out a sudden yelp as it burns like fire for a few seconds.

Sh*t, what the hell?

The stinging pain disappears as soon as it came, however, once she removes her fingers. Taking in another breath, she shakes it off and keeps moving. After picking up her swords, she starts heading back to her home; she should be working on her new lead, but the fight with Cheshire has left her exhausted and battered, only reinforced by her previous injuries sustained against Deadshot. She's in no condition to keep going at it tonight.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

By the time Rose makes it back to her penthouse and out of her costume, she's stumbling and struggling to breathe. The cut on her neck is burning again, this time refusing to stop. As she trips her way into the bathroom, her vision goes blurry and the room starts to spin. Taking a moment to regain her balance, she holds a hand to her head and groans.

Poison, has to be. Cheshire's claws... she must have laced them with something.

Making it in front of her bathroom mirror, she inspects the cut on her neck; it's bright red and swelling, while the blood vessels directly surrounding it are traced in black. This definitely isn't good. Doing her best to maintain consciousness, she returns to her bedroom and hurriedly puts her gear away. Then, she grabs her cell phone and makes a quick call.

Operator/Phone: 911, what's your emergency?

Rose: Please.. need... send... ambulance.

Operator/Phone: Ma'am, I can barely hear you, you'll have to speak up. Please state your emergency.

Rose: Just... send a f***ing ambulance... goddamn it. Residential Towers, top floor... suite number H... H356...

Her grip suddenly loosens on her phone, as her right hand goes numb. No, not just her right hand, her entire arm. Falling against the wall, she frantically enters another code onto the security panel, in turn deactivating the alarm system. She lasts only a few more seconds before plummeting straight to the floor, unconscious.

Int. Silverstone General Hospital – Day

Rose awakens suddenly, eyes snapping open and body bolting upright. She takes in a deep breath and looks around, blinking the blur out of her vision. Judging from the atrociously depressing atmosphere, it looks like she made it to the hospital. Groaning, she suddenly brings a hand up to her neck, pressing it against the poisoned cut from before; she feels only a gauze pad and tape holding it in place. No pain.

Becky: Rose?

Turning to the door of the hospital room, Rose sees her partner standing there, carrying a cup of coffee. Two second later, she drops said cup of coffee and hurries across the room.

Becky: Gracias a Dios! Goddamn, girl, you know how to cause a scare.

Rose winces as Becky pulls her into a friendly hug; apparently her bruising still hasn't healed.

Rose: Ow, ow, Becky- hurting.

Becky: Oh, right, sorry. My bad, I just- I didn't think you were going to make it.

Rose: Didn't think... how long have I been here?

Becky: Three days. You've barely moved the entire time, the doctors, they... well they didn't know if you were going to wake up.

Panic suddenly rips through Rose's mind, her eyes going wide with concern. Three days?!

Rose: Where's Holly? Is she alright? Who's looking after her?

Becky: Easy, relax. Holly's at Mrs. Silva's right now. I brought her by a few times to see you; she's worried, you know.

Rose: Mrs. Silva... guess I'm going to have to pay her some crazy overtime. But still, no, that's good. I'm glad Holly's alright.

Becky: Well she might not have if you didn't wake up. Dios mio, girl, what the hell happened? The doctors said you were poisoned by... something, they couldn't even figure out what it was. They did what they could to keep you alive, but... it mostly came down to just hoping the poison ran its course and you pulled through. Luckily, it was a very small dosage.

I bet my heightened immune system and metabolism didn't hurt, either.

Rose: I, uh... I don't really remember. I recall being in my bathroom and then... I don't know, I just collapsed. Maybe it was something I ate.

Becky: Something you ate? And I suppose that cut on your neck just appeared out of thin air? Come on, Rose, don't you do this to me.

Rose: Do what?

Becky: Lie through your teeth, jueputa! Poisoned cuts, massive bruising? Which, by the way, the doctors said could not have been caused by a car accident. What the hell is going on with you, girl?

Rose: Nothing, really, I-

Letting out a frustrated breath, Becky throws up her hands and starts muttering to herself in Spanish. Eventually, she turns back to Rose and points at her.

Becky: Would you listen to yourself? Do you have any idea how full of it you sound right now? Who did this to you? Who are you trying to protect? If someone's roughing you up and you're keeping it bottled in, I swear-

Rose: Rebecca, it's no big deal, I swear. I'm fine.

Becky: You were just in a coma for three days! You're not fine! Whatever it is that's happening with you, it's getting you hurt and... For Christ's sake, at least think about Holly. You think she wants to lose you, huh? You think I want to?

Rose: Why do you care so much about it?

Becky: Because you're my partner! And my friend. And... and Christ, I don't want to lose another one!

Rose goes quiet. Becky takes a few steps back, holding a hand to her head and closing her watering eyes. Shaking her head, she mutters something else in Spanish and drops into the seat next to the bed. A long sigh leaves her lips, the implication beginning to sink in.

Rose: You said your former partner got transferred.

Becky: Yeah, well I lied, alright? I just... didn't want to talk about it.

Rose: What happened?

Becky: Drive by. Was just... a normal day, you know? Lunch rolled around, I waited in the cruiser while he went to get the food. Then he got hit in the crossfire of one gang shooting at another. I tried to help, but by the time I got to him...

As her words trail off, Rose reaches out and holds a hand to her partner's shoulder, trying to offer what little comfort she can.

Rose: I'm sorry, I didn't realize...

Becky: He was... one of my closest friends. Since then, I worked solo, because I couldn't bring myself to work with another partner, not that soon after... Now here you are, my new partner, going and nearly getting yourself killed less than three weeks on the job.

Rose: So... you just don't want to lose another partner.

Becky: Well, yeah. And.... you know, maybe I kind of like you, too. We're friends, remember, not just partners.

Rose: Right... friends.

Becky: So you still gonna say you can't remember anything, or are you going to tell me what happened?

Rose: It... was an old acquaintance. Not something I want to go into detail about, just some of my past trying to crawl its way out of the gutter.

Becky: And you went and let him get away with that? Christ, girl, he nearly killed you! Whoever this guy is, I swear I'll have his head for it. You don't get to attack a cop and walk away free.

Rose: No, don't, really... was just an accident.

Becky: An accident, right. And I'm supposed to buy that? Ni en sueños,

Rose: Believe what you want.

Becky: So what, you expect me to sit back now and let these 'accidents' keep happening?

Rose: No, of course not... But I wouldn't worry about it anymore.

Becky: And why's that?

Rose: Because I broke the b**tard's nose and told him if he ever came near me again, I'd slap cuffs on him and throw him in a cell so fast, he'd be suing for whiplash.

Becky: Should have done it anyway; can't let an a**hole go thinking he can get away with laying his hands on a cop. Or my friend.

Rose: It was a personal issue, Becky... I had to handle it myself.

Becky: If you say so... Anyway, I'm glad you're alright, I really am. Just... be more careful, alright? I... don't want to see you in another hospital bed.

Rose: Yeah... got it.

Becky: Guess I should probably let you get your rest now. I took the day off, though, so I'll stick around for a while; be right outside if you need me for anything, kay?

Rose: Sure, alright. Talk to you later.

Smiling slightly, Becky gives a wave and then finally leaves the room. Now alone, Rose falls back against the bed and exhales a long breath.

Just keep spinning your lies, Rose... god, you are such a b***h.

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Chapter #18 Preview: Ravager has a new lead on the assassins that keep showing up to kill her, but the third one is already on her trail. She's dealt with these attackers so far, but will this new enemy give her an even greater challenge? Also, what happens when two different assassins cross paths when competing for the same target? Find out next time!

Chapter #18

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day

Two days later, Rose is finally cleared to leave the hospital. She honestly could have walked out of there under her own power just fine when she first woke up, but of course the doctors never would have let her. Neither would Becky. Now, though, she's finally out of that depressing atmosphere and back on her feet.

Becky: See, is this so bad? Doesn't kill you to get out and spend some time with a friend, ah?

Rose: Yeah, okay. You were right. I guess this is... nice.

Being the weekend, Rose has the entire day free. Becky was more than a little insistent that they hang out together other than when on duty, for a change.

Becky: And you even got to bring the kid along.

Holly, one hand holding onto Rose's arm and the other holding an ice cream cone up to her mouth, looks up and smiles. She likes this Rebecca person; not only is Becky a police officer just like Rose, but she's also nice, and friendly, and funny, too. Glancing back down at her, Becky gives her a little wink.

Becky: Like I said, going out and getting drunk, meeting random guys, so not my thing. Sometimes, it's nice just to walk around and enjoy the city. Even better when you're with a friend.

Rose: Well, I will admit that the additional company is welcome.

Becky: Ahh, just welcome? Come on, you like me.

Rose: Okay, maybe a little.

A small smirk curls across Becky's face.

Becky: That's what I thought. Now, have you been to the Silverstone Park yet?

Rose: Can't say that I have, no.

Becky: Dios mio, seriously? You've been living here for more than half a year and you never once took a walk down to the park? Girl, you really don't get out much, ah?

Rose: I just... never got around to it.

Becky: Oy, come on, I'll take you. Holly will love it, too, it's got a playground and everything.

As the three begin heading down another street, a calm figure watches them from the corner of a nearby building. The woman is dressed in a long coat, red and gold top, and dark pants. Holding up a small, ocular device to one eye, she focuses through the lens to get a closer look, as the image of her target grows larger. After nearly a week of careful planning, observation, and contemplation, she has finally decided to move in.

She had only one question she wanted answered out of the inevitable confrontation: how would this one compare to the others? Emilia Marconi had assured her that the one known as 'The Blade' would be a worthy opponent, one deserving of her skills. Still, from what she had seen so far, she has her doubts. This 'Sarah Walker', as she's going by now, is still very young, with much to learn. She can only hope that this whole venture has not been a complete waste of time. Lowering the magnification device from her eye, she holds her hands in her pockets and swiftly follows.

Ext. Silverstone City Park – Day

Becky: So this is nice, right? Unless you're one of those people who really hate nature.

Rose: No, no, it is. Nice, I mean.

The park is a natural haven amongst the concrete and steel of the city surrounding it. Open fields, well tended grass, large oak trees, bike paths, flower gardens, a pristine pond, and a children's playground are among its many attractions, making it an ideal place for stressed out individuals to catch their breath and relax. Rose had never been one for just sitting around and enjoying nature, admittedly, but she still finds some weird sense of calm about the place. Becky's positive attitude about it probably helps a little, as well.

Becky: I like coming here, just watching the people go by. Helps pass the time, and there's always something interesting.

Rose: I guess you weren't kidding when you said you weren't a party girl, huh?

Becky: Ha, nope. One hundred percent true.

Holly, having finished her ice cream cone a few minutes ago, quickly makes her way over to the playground, quite intent on having a blast. Rose sits with Becky on a nearby bench, keeping an eye on the girl.

Rose: I would have thought she'd started outgrowing things like playgrounds by now. She's almost ten.

Becky: Please, you're never too old. Well, except maybe when you're too big to fit down the slides anymore.

Rose chuckles softly, smiling.

Rose: Yeah, suppose so. Wouldn't really know, though, was never much of a playground kind of girl.

Becky: So, even as kid you were a stiff, ah?

Rose: That's one way of putting it.

Smirking, Becky leans back on the bench and holds her hands behind her head.

Becky: Ah... s'a good day, yeah?

Rose: A little chilly, but yeah.

Becky: It's brisk, I wouldn't call it chilly.

Rose: Well I would. And I did.

Becky: Hmm, so you did. Anyway, you hungry?

Following Becky's gesture, Rose looks up to see a hotdog cart sitting just a short distance away.

Rose: A little bit, actually.

Becky: Good, I'll go grab us something. How do you take yours?

Rose: Ketchup, mustard, onions.

As Becky gets up to go make the purchase, the woman watching them folds her arms, simply waiting. She can't make her attack here, not in public, not during the day. Until the proper moment presents itself, she will keep her distance, never letting her target out of her sight. Several moments later, her cell phone rings. She lets it ring a few times, before finally picking it up to answer; she already knows who it is.

Woman: What is it?

Emilia/Phone: Just checking in. It's been nearly three weeks now since I contacted you.

Woman: You shouldn't worry; I know what I'm doing.

Emilia/Phone: Yes, of course you do. I'm simply concerned about your sense of timing, is all. Though Cheshire already ducked out on Frankie, Deadshot is still on the job, too. If he gets to her first, you don't get paid, remember that.

Woman: The money doesn't concern me.

Emilia/Phone: Yes, right, your whole sense of purpose thing. I don't suppose it bears repeating that if Deadshot kills her, then you'll never get a chance to test yourself against her.

Woman: If he does, then she wasn't worthy of my time anyway. Regardless, I am keeping a close watch on her.

Emilia/Phone: Keeping a close... are you telling me you know who she is?

Woman: Yes.

Emilia/Phone: What, how?

Woman: Figuring it out wasn't difficult. You just need to know what to look for.

Emilia/Phone: Well, who is she? What's her name?

Saying nothing more, the woman hangs up her phone and puts it away into her coat pocket. She still has her honor, if nothing else, and handing out a person's secret identity to some lowly crime boss is not on the top of her priority list. Crossing one of her legs over the other, she continues watching.

Becky: So, the guys down at the station are pitching in for a cake when you make your big return on Monday. Just giving you a heads up.

Munching on her hotdog, Rose lets out a small groan and rolls her eyes.

Rose: A cake, really? They're not going to buy me one for my birthday next week, too, are they?

Becky: Oh no, you don't get birthday cakes here. Only 'glad you didn't die' cakes.

Rose: Sounds thrilling.

Becky: Oh, it is. But it's okay, we'll do something together for your birthday, my promise to you. I know this great little place over on Levitt Street, best burgers in the city.

Rose: As long as you don't have them come out with one of those little cakes and sing 'Happy Birthday' to me...

Becky: Oh please, I would never.

Rose: Yeah, that sounds reassuring.

Becky merely grins, going back to eating her hotdog.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose stands in the center of her room, staring down at her Ravager mask that she holds in both hands. Though she put Holly to bed a half hour ago, she hasn't left yet. She's just been standing there, contemplating, wondering... Is what she's doing really worth it? She knows that she's putting her life at constant risk, knows that every night she goes out could be her last. Even with her enhanced abilities, she isn't invulnerable like Superman, or Wonder Woman. Aside from some marginally increased resistance to blunt force, she still takes damage just the same as everyone else. All she does is heal a little faster than normal.

Those facts have never mattered to her before, though. Of course, that's because she never had anything to lose before. She did what she could, and if she got killed then so what? Just another cog in the wheel that needed to be replaced. Now, however, she has Holly. She has a best friend in Becky. She has a job, with people who actually care about her. She has a life, a real one. If she goes and gets herself killed now, she'd be leaving a lot behind, more than she's ever had before.

It would be easy, too, to just put her swords down and go on with her life, settle down with what she has and simply handle things as the police officer she trained to be, not a vigilante. So, is it worth it? She goes back to that question again and again, asks it in her head repeatedly. Is it worth going out every night, risking her life, and lying to everyone around her to cover her ass? The answer finally comes to her, when she thinks about Holly. If not for Rose's actions, if not for Ravager's actions, Holly's life would still be hell.

Yeah, it's worth it, she realizes. No matter how much I have to lie or risk my own neck, if I can help more people like Holly, then it's worth every second... at least for now.

Taking in a deep breath, Rose finally pulls her mask on and works on getting dressed in the rest of her armor. She has a lead that she needs to follow up on.

Int. Baldoni Household – Night

It's quiet. Ravager had made sure it stayed that way during her infiltration, taking out the few thugs patrolling the property with stealth and precision. They'd be out for a while. Now, she stands in the shadows of the master bedroom, near the foot of the bed. Frankie and his wife are sound asleep beneath the covers. She wouldn't normally invade a man's home like this and grill him for information with his family close by, but she doesn't have much of a choice.

Night is the only time she can approach him; she has to do this as Ravager, or she'll give away her identity. If she had the time, she'd dig up some information on him, where he works, the clubs he frequents, things like that. But the longer she takes, the more at risk she is. Cheshire might be off the job, but Deadshot is still out there, no doubt still looking to put a bullet in her head. The next time, he might very well succeed, too.

Moving forward, she grabs Frankie by the collar and yanks him out of bed. He awakens instantly, just in time to be forced up against the wall, eyes wide with shock.

Frankie: Holy sh*t! What's going- who are- oh no, f**k! What the hell are you doing here? What do you want with me?!

Ravager: I want some answers.

Frankie: Answers for what? I don't know what you expect from me, I'm just and honest guy who-

Ravager: Don't jerk me around! I know you hired the assassin Cheshire to kill me. Did you hire Deadshot, too?

Frankie: Oh sh*t, she told you I hired her? Backstabbing little c-

Pulling him back and then driving him hard against the wall again, she silences him.

Ravager: Just answer the question!

Frankie: No, alright?! The only one I hired was Cheshire! They hired the others!

At that moment, movement comes from the bed. Frankie's wife is beginning to stir, consciousness coming a moment later to the sight of her husband being held up against the wall by a psycho woman with swords.

Donna: Oh my god! Frankie! Put him down!

Frankie: Donna, don't worry, just get out of her. Call the cops or something, just let me handle this.

Ignoring the woman, Ravager allows her to leave. It doesn't matter if the cops show up, she'll be long gone by then. Besides, with the kind of stuff that Frankie's involved in, she doubts that he really wants the cops snooping around the place anyway.

Ravager: Others? You mean there's more than Deadshot? How many?

Frankie: Just one, I swear.

Ravager: And who hired them? Who else is involved?

Frankie: Oh come on, I can't go and-

In the blink of an eye, Ravager reaches back and draws one of her blades, bringing the point of it to his neck. It's a scare tactic that works beautifully.

Frankie: Oh god, alright! Rupert Thorne hired Deadshot. The other one is Emilia Marconi, she hired the third.

Ravager: And who is this third assassin? What's the name?

Ext. Silverstone Suburb – Night

Running across the yard, Ravager quickly scales over the surrounding wall and lands on the other side, heading for her motorcycle on the side of the quiet, deserted suburban street. When she realizes that she isn't alone, however, she freezes, glancing to her right. She knows she saw movement. It was only slight, but it was there.

Ravager: Come out; I know you're there...

With that command, the figure steps out from behind a nearby tree. It's a woman, Asian with dark hair down to her shoulders, and dressed like she just stepped out of the Matrix, minus the d**chey sunglasses.

Ravager: ...Lady Shiva

Lady Shiva: Very perceptive. You're off to a good start, so far.

Ravager: so, you're Shiva, huh?

Lady Shiva: Correct. And you are 'The Blade', as the media calls you. Or Ravager, as you are more well known. Also known as Sarah Walker. Or Rose Wilson, daughter to the mercenary, Deathstroke.

Ravager's eye goes wide.

Ravager: How do you-

Lady Shiva: I've been watching you for a while now, and I like to do my homework before confronting an opponent.

Ravager: So now you're gonna try to kill me, too, huh?

Lady Shiva: Perhaps, if you're worthy.

Ravager: The hell do you mean by that?

Lady Shiva: I mean, I have yet to be convinced of your skill. Your father is a man well known for his skill and talents, and I have often wondered which of us would triumph if we should do battle. However, you are yet unproven. Though the scum of this city seems to fear you enough to put a hit out on you, I will be your true test.

Ravager: A test?

Lady Shiva: The only ones worthy of falling by my hands are the very best fighters in the world. If you fall short of my expectations, I will not give you that honor.

Ravager: You say that like you can. But please, I invite you to try.

Lady Shiva: If that is what you wish. But not here, it is too...public. If you follow me, I have a better location in mind.

Ravager: Fine.

Right, follow the assassin trying to kill you to an unknown location. Brilliant idea, Rose, it's totally not a trap.

Still, something about this woman strikes her as trustworthy. Vicious, lethal, and cold blooded, sure, but somehow strangely bound by honor. No, she's sure that Shiva won't try anything funny. Waiting a moment, she watches Shiva walk a short ways away to her motorcycle, colored cherry red, and hop on. Ravager follows suit, mounting her own bike and starting up the engine. Within moments, they're both speeding down the street.

Ext. Construction Site – Night

This late at night, the construction site in the middle of Silverstone City is plenty abandoned. Steel beams and girders rise around them, a mere skeleton of a building so far. It's a fine place to fight, neutral ground away from prying eyes. Ravager looks around for a few moments, then focuses back on Shiva

Ravager: So, what are you waiting for?

Taking a few steps forward, Shiva removes her long coat and folds it neatly, placing it on the ground next to her. Then, taking in a deep breath, she enters into a ready, fighting position, body turned and arms stretched out to either side.

Ravager: You realize I have swords, right?

On that note, she draws her weapons and charges forward. Shiva doesn't even flinch. When in range, Ravager swings her swords with careful precision, aiming to cripple but not kill. She never even comes close. Before she even realizes that she missed, Shiva's fingers drill against her wrists, causing a sudden recoil that forces her to drop both blades.

Lady Shiva: No weapons.

A lightning quick palm strike whips up and strikes Ravager across the face, sending her stumbling backwards. Though dazed, her precog goes off a second later and allows her to flip backwards, away from an incoming kick. Holding her nose, Ravager stares back at the woman with surprise.

She's so fast, she realizes. Can't fight her like I normally do.

Ravager: Alright, fine, no weapons.

Sucking in a deep breath, she takes her own combative stance, readying herself. Shiva comes in fast, pressing her attack with a vicious series of blows. Ravager's precog alerts her of the first couple, but within moments the fight is moving too fast for her mind to keep up with it, forcing her to rely solely on skill and instinct. While she manages to trade a few blows with the woman for a while, she eventually falters. Shiva's knee plunges against her chest, followed by a leaping kick that whips her face to the side. Ravager goes down hard, but recovers mid fall, catching herself with her hands and forcing herself straight back up. She holds a hand to her lip, feels the blood.

Lady Shiva: You're good, but not great. Fast, yes. Strong, yes. But your skill is lacking. In a fight like this, you fall behind.

Ravager: Oh yeah? Well this fight isn't finished yet. Keep it coming.

And so Shiva comes in again, unleashing another brutal assault. This time, Ravager is ready for it, waiting for her precog to flash the first time and then countering instantly. Her fist connects with Shiva's jaw, but at the same time she feels the woman's boot strike the side of her head. Staggering to the side, Ravager manages to maintain her balance, shaking it off. Shiva brings her hand up to her jaw and glares.

Lady Shiva: I will say, you hit hard. That's good, you're starting to impress. A little.

Glowering at the woman, Ravager regains her poise and comes in for another attack, leading with a hard kick to the chest. With about as nonchalant an action as possible, Shiva raises an arm to block the kick, then counters with a jab to her throat. Though she manages to move enough to the side to lessen the blow, it still causes a sudden fit of coughing to overtake her. Stumbling back, Ravager holds a hand to her throat, struggling for air.

Shiva doesn't stop there, however, rushing forward and throwing a hard punch to her opponent's chin. Ravager staggers, but remains standing, then she sees the next strike coming. Grabbing Shiva's wrist, she stops the blow cold, then reaches her other arm forward and grasps onto Shiva's other wrist, locking her up with superior strength.

Ravager: Okay, now-

She suddenly brings her forehead forward, smashing it against Shiva's nose, then follows it with a spinning kick to the chest while the assassin is dazed.

Ravager: -you're really starting to p*ss me off.

Shiva falls to a knee, holding herself up with one hand on the ground. Her other hand is pressed to her broken nose, which is leaking crimson over her lips.

Lady Shiva: Better. Much better.

Ravager: So, am I worthy yet?

Lady Shiva: We shall see.

What follows can only be described as a brutal, unrelenting, even-sided beat down. The two women come in at each other again, engaging in a long series of lightning quick attacks. They each trade blows, taking turns in smacking the other around. Though Ravager lands fewer strikes, hers hit a lot harder. Her strength might barely qualify as meta-level, but it's still just that: meta-level.

Still, as much damage as she's inflicting, she's taking the same in return. After what seems like an eternity of prolonged combat, both women land a vicious blow to each other's jaw, sending them stumbling to the ground. Taking in deep breaths, Ravager pushes herself back up to one knee, spitting out a glob of blood. Shiva, too, rises back to her hands and knees, gasping for air.

Lady Shiva: It appears... I may have underestimated you.

Ravager: You don't say. Told you...

Lady Shiva: That means I can end this now.

Rising back to her feet, Shiva slowly walks forward. Ravager stands up again, as well, preparing herself for whatever this assassin has planned. For a long moment, they both just stare at each other. Then, Shiva strikes, bringing her hands in viciously. Ravager sees it coming, blocks the strikes, tries to counter with her own; but Shiva anticipates it. Leaning to the side, Shiva evades the punch and then brings the point of her knuckles straight forward, exploding them against her opponent's sternum with astonishing force.

Even through her armor, Ravager feels the blow go straight through her, bringing with it sudden pain that sends her hobbling backwards with a hand pressed to her chest. Almost instantly, she doubles over and vomits up a mouthful of scarlet, her blood showering the ground. She coughs several times, spitting out the last of it, and then slowly rights herself. Her legs feel like jelly, and she can barely keep herself upright.

Lady Shiva: That was merely the precursor. Now, for the finishing blow.

Taking in a deep breath, Shiva lunges forward, her palm flat and fingers extended. With a fierce yell, she thrusts her hand forward, the tips of her fingers aimed straight at her opponent's throat. This is the killing strike, the leopard blow. Ravager blinks, bringing her shaky arms up to defend herself, but at that moment her precog goes off. Though, the flash that goes through her mind doesn't show her own imminent death at the hands of Shiva. Instead, it shows something else.

Adrenaline suddenly surging through her body, she throws herself forward before the strike can land and tackles Shiva back to the ground. A split second later, a gunshot goes off, the bullet ricocheting off a stone on the ground. Immediately, Ravager grabs Shiva and starts dragging her backwards behind a rubble pile, as several more shots go off. From his spot on one of the steel girders up above, a familiar face is scowling behind his protective helmet.

Deadshot: Ya know, that's really starting to get annoying. Come on out, ladies, can't hide forever. I got a bullet for each of you; one for the paycheck, and the other for the b*tch trying to steal it.

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Chapter #19 Preview: Deadshot has interrupted the fight between Ravager and Lady Shiva, now with both women in his sights! It may be two against one, but after the women have beaten each other almost to death, how will they fare against a fresh opponent? Find out next time!

Chapter #19

Ext. Construction Site – Night

Ravager takes in a deep breath and glances to her side for a moment. With Deadshot here, things are definitely more complicated, especially if Shiva decides to keep fighting her. She looks back at the woman again, ready to make a move just in case. However, Shiva is sitting on the ground, a hand pressed to her shoulder and a scowl on her face.

Lady Shiva: I hate having my fights interrupted.

Ravager: You hit?

Lady Shiva: It is minor, I'll be fine. However, I would be dead had you not knocked me out of the way of the first shot, which you did so even though I was about to kill you.

Ravager: Please, I had a counter already worked out.

Lady Shiva: But why save me?

Ravager: Because I'm the one trying to save lives, not end them. Now, can you stand or what? We got a madman with a gun breathing down our necks and we're both in bad shape.

Lady Shiva: Of course I can stand.

Pushing herself back up to her feet, Shiva leans against the rubble pile, taking in a deep breath. The gunshot may just be a flesh wound, but it's still painful, and she's still losing blood from it.

Deadshot: Ladies, ladies, you're not seriously gonna make me come find you, are you? Come on out and give me a challenge, make it interesting.

Lady Shiva: We will need to work together, or he will kill both of us.

Ravager: I can agree on that, for now. Don't suppose you have a plan?

Lady Shiva: One of us could draw his fire, while the other climbs the beams up to his vantage point to strike when he is distracted.

Ravager: No, can't sneak up on him. Believe me, I tried that already. We'll need to bring him down to us, without getting shot in the process.

Lady Shiva: Can you keep him occupied for a moment?

Ravager: Uh... I can try, yeah. Why?

Reaching down beside her, Shiva picks up a long steel pipe with her good arm. She tests its weight for a moment, eventually deciding that it's just right.

Lady Shiva: I know how to bring him down.

Ravager: Fine, just don't miss. I don't really feel like getting shot. Again.

Waiting a few moments, Ravager eases her way to the side of the rubble pile. Then, she darts out of cover and starts racing across the construction site, in spite of the pain her body is in. She's relying on her precog to keep herself alive here, ducking and rolling and lunging away from the incoming shots accordingly, before they happen. If not for that ability of hers, every single one of those shots would have hit, most of them probably being fatal.

Deadshot: Like trying to shoot a grasshopper on crack... Hold still you little....

Ravager positions herself behind a large beam, taking cover. A close shot zips right by her ear, as she vanishes from Deadshot's sight. By now, his back is turned to where Ravager had started from, his focus on trying to put down the one trying to run for it. He already hit the other woman once, he can finish her off later. However, with his attention drawn away, he doesn't notice Shiva coming out of cover now with the steel pipe pulled back in her good arm.

With a small grunt, Shiva whips her arm forward and tosses the pipe with pinpoint accuracy. Deadshot's enhanced hearing picks up the object as it flies through the air, causing him to turn back around in surprise. By the time he sees the pipe spinning at him, it's too late for him to get out of the way. The best he can do is hold his arms up to try and protect himself from most of the impact, though the resulting blow pushes him just enough to send him toppling over the edge of the girder.

Deadshot: Son of a b-

His words are cut off when he lands on another girder below, smacking off of it and then spinning down to the ground, where he lands with a thud. Fortunately, his protective bodysuit absorbs most of the force, though the suit itself is badly damaged from the fall. Grunting, he slowly pushes himself back up to his hands and knees. His senses come back to him just in time to see Ravager charging, allowing him to roll back and take a couple shots at her.

The first shot misses, but the second one he places in a spot where even she can't dodge completely. It strikes her left arm, but does little to actually slow her down since her armor is bullet proof. He's forced to engage her in hand to hand, not his strong point. The only thing that enables him to hold is own for a short while is the fact that Ravager has already been worn down from her fight with Shiva, leaving her slower and in pain.

This doesn't last long, though, as Ravager finally manages to put him down with a hard shot to the face. Before he can get back up, Shiva comes in a flying kick to the back of the head. This time, he topples forward and doesn't try to get back up, lying there and groaning. Letting out a deep breath, Ravager falls back against a nearby pillar and bows her head.

Lady Shiva: I don't think he'll get up for a while.

Ravager: I'd better find something to tie him up with, anyway. He's my link to Rupert Thorne's involvement in this, plus two other crime bosses. I can't risk him getting away again.

Lady Shiva: In that case, I will take my leave now.

Ravager: What, not gonna try and kill me first?

Lady Shiva: Our battle was interrupted and its outcome tainted. Finishing it now would be in pointless, and would not tell me what I needed to know from it.

Ravager: And what would that be?

Lady Shiva: Which one of us is the better?

Ravager: You seemed pretty confident that I wasn't on your level earlier.

Lady Shiva: And you proved me wrong by holding your own, even evading my leopard blow. Granted, you did so by saving my life in the process, but it still leaves the results inconclusive. In a way, I suppose I am pleased that we were not able to finish this fight now.

Ravager: And why's that?

Lady Shiva: Because you still have a lot to learn. Your skill is still growing, and I see a lot of potential in you. In time, I think you could very well surpass me, just as my daughter did when she reached her full potential. If I had killed you tonight, though, we would never know.

Ravager: And I suppose you do want to know?

Lady Shiva: You are correct. Once you have further improved, I wish to test myself against you again to determine which one truly is better.

Ravager: You just say when, and I'll be glad to put you in your place.

Going quiet for a few moments, Shiva walks over to where she left her coat and picks it up, putting it back on.

Lady Shiva: One year to the day. Look for me to contact you then.

Ravager: A year, huh? Works for me.

Lady Shiva: Very well. In that case, I bid you a farewell for now. Until we meet again.

So, any reason you're letting one of the deadliest assassins in the world just walk away from you, Rose? she asks herself, as she watches Shiva leave. You should be taking her in, not planning to fight her again in a year.

The answer to that is simple: curiosity. Shiva isn't the only one who wants that question answered, and Ravager isn't one to back down from a challenge, either.

I just hope she's ready for me a year from now, because I'm only gonna to get better.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Night

The next week is hectic at the station. After a bound and unconscious Deadshot, armed and in full costume, inexplicably showed up on their doorstep, they had been working overtime to try and figure out just what was going on. Namely, why was Floyd Lawton, a well known killer and highly wanted man, in Silverstone, and who had hired him? Also, who took him down and dropped him off at the police station? Rumors circulated that it must have been The Blade, though some had their doubts. After all, how could a regular citizen take down one of the deadliest assassins in the world? Unless, of course, The Blade wasn't just an ordinary person like they all believed her to be.

Eventually, interrogators got Lawton to talk in exchange for a deal, and in turn he implicated Rupert Thorne as the one who hired him. Along with the confession came a bank record showing Thorne's down payment as proof. The former crime boss was brought in just hours later for the crime, and further digging uncovered the rest of his underhanded operations. Thorne tried to bring Emilia and Frankie down with him, but with no evidence to back up his testimony that those two had also hired assassins to kill The Blade, they get off scott free.

Now, though, things have quieted down for the most part. The Deadshot/Thorne case is all wrapped up, and things return to normal around the station. Standing in front of her locker, Rose calmly dresses out of her uniform, ready to get off for the day. Hiding the injuries she had sustained at the hands of Lady Shiva had been a bit of a challenge, but fortunately her marginally accelerated healing had reduced the visibility of most of the minor cuts and bruises over Sunday.

By the time she came in the following Monday, she could hide whatever was left with a bit of well placed make-up (probably the first time she'd ever even bothered to wear make-up at all). At least this way, it didn't look like she'd had the crap beaten out of her again, especially just a few days after having that whole conversation about it with Becky. That had been a week ago, though. By now, her body is back to one hundred percent.

As she starts getting her clothes together so she can go hit the showers before leaving, the locker next to hers closes, revealing Becky standing there with her arms folded casually over her chest.

Becky: Trying to duck out early?

Rose: What? No, of course not. Just... really needed a shower. It's been a long day.

Becky: Mhm. You haven't forgotten what today is, though, have you?

Rose: Uh... Monday?

Becky: Very funny.

Rose: I'm sorry, I really have no idea...

Becky: Dios mio, I swear there's something wrong in that noggin of yours. It's your birthday, girl!

Rose: My... oh, yeah. I honestly forgot.

Becky: Forgetting your own birthday, that's a new one.

Rose: Yeah, well things have just been a little crazy around here lately, completely slipped my mind. But what about my birthday, anyway?

Becky: Come on, I told you we were doing something together, didn't I? Wasn't just blowing smoke when I said that. You and me, tonight, we'll go out, have a good time, celebrate; I'm gonna make your birthday special.

Rose: You're serious?

Becky: Of course I'm serious, girl, why wouldn't I be?

Rose: It's just... I don't know, guess I'm not really used to people making a big deal over my birthday.

Becky: Well then I guess you've just never had a friend quite like me, now have you?

Rose can't help but utter a genuinely amused laugh.

Rose: Yeah, you don't know the half of it. But still, I don't know, I mean I have Holly to look after...

Becky: Oh come on. You'll come up with any excuse not to go out, won't you? Hire a sitter. I'm sure you can manage one night, ah?

Rose: Well, it's just a little short notice to find a sitter. Mrs. Silva isn't available after six, and I don't know any others who-

Becky: Then my sister will watch her. She's great with kids, and she lives over on the other side of the city. I can have her over your place at any time, she's not doing anything else tonight.

Rose: Uh... well, I guess.

Becky: Perfect! In that case, I'll pick you up around seven, ah?

Rose: Yeah, sure, seven. Sounds good.

Becky: Trust me, you won't regret it.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Celebrating her birthday isn't something that Rose is very accustomed to, at least not for quite a few years. Ever since meeting her father, which sent her down into that dark period of her life, it was always just another day. She can't even remember the last time she had a birthday cake, definitely not since her mother was alive. All those facts in consideration, she really hadn't been expecting much out of tonight. However, she ended up enjoying herself a lot more than she thought she would.

As discussed before, Becky had brought her down to the restaurant on Levitt Street, where she had boasted about the the best burgers in the city. Rose had to admit, the burgers were indeed quite good. Of course, towards the end of the meal, Becky had to go and mention to the waitstaff that it was Rose's birthday, which resulted in a little chocolate cake with a candle in it, and a group of people singing 'Happy Birthday' to her.

While she felt like punching the entire staff throughout the ordeal, she never once felt ill about it towards Becky, who was just having her fun. A few years ago she might have gone and flipped the table on her, then stormed out of the restaurant in annoyance, but that was the old her. The old her didn't really have a best friend, not like this. She couldn't be mad at Becky for something that stupid, even if she did want to kill someone during the entire song.

Following dinner, Becky took her down to the local ice rink to try out some ice skating, something she'd never actually done before (because really, when is there ever time to ice skate when you're fighting crime?). Still, Becky was adamant that Rose try something new, and at that point she couldn't really say no. What she discovered from the experience is that she is a terrible ice skater. All her enhanced attributes, training, and skill are nothing when strapped to a pair of blades and sliding over frozen water. No matter how much Becky tried to help her, she ended up crashing and burning more than a few times.

Still, as much as Rose ultimately decided she hated ice skating, she somehow managed to enjoy herself, if only because of Becky constantly making witty quips on her failure, giving her opportunity to shoot back snarky remarks of her own. Witty banter between friends: 1, ice skating: 0. From the ice rink, they went down to the local bowling alley, something else Rose had never tried before. She honestly couldn't understand how people could find fun in rolling a ball at a bunch of white sticks. However, when she discovered just how amazing she was at the game, she suddenly changed her tune. In the end, she beat Becky by about a hundred points.

With all that behind them now, though, and the night drawing to a close, the two women walk together down the night street, heading back to Rose's home. They stop briefly at an ice cream stand, buying a cone each, and then continue on their way. The air is crisp, maybe a little chilly, but the night sky is clear and calm.

Becky: So, and be honest now, was that not the best birthday you've ever had?

Rose: Honestly? Well... actually, it was.

Raising an eyebrow, Becky gives her an odd look.

Becky: I was only joking, I swear.

Rose: I wasn't kidding before when I said people have never really made a big deal out of my birthday. It's just... never been different than any other day for me, really.

Becky: For real? Even when you were growing up?

Rose: Well, I mean maybe I got a cake and a present when I was growing up with my mom, but I never went out and did anything special. Then when she died, I ended up in my dad's care and... well, let's just say he was never one to bother with cakes and presents.

Becky: So you've never had a big party, or gone out and celebrated, or anything like that?

Rose: Nope.

Becky: Qué mierda, that's just not right.

Rose: Maybe, but it's all I ever knew.

Becky: Guess that just makes this day all the more special then, ah?

Rose: Could have done without the singing, or falling on my ass ten dozen times, but... yeah, I suppose it does.

Becky: Ha, next thing you'll tell me is you've never even had a best friend!

A brief moment of silence passes between them, as Rose occupies herself with her ice cream cone. She doesn't need to say anything; her non-response says enough.

Becky: Get out, you're kidding.

Rose: Don't get me wrong, I've had... friends. Sort of. A couple good ones, even. But as far as 'best friend', as you'd define it, not really.

Becky: Wow, rough life?

Rose: That's... one way of putting it, yeah. Rough.

Becky: Ya veo... but hey, at least now you got me, ah?

A small laugh escapes Rose's lips, followed by a genuine smile.

Rose: You're a lot more fun than I would have thought, I'll say that much.

Becky: So then you did have a good time.

Rose: I know, I'm shocked, too.

Becky: In that case, we should do this again. You know, go out?

Rose: Uh... sure. Actually, yeah. I'd like that.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose opens the door to her penthouse, followed by Becky. It's dark inside, and mostly quiet except for the sound of the television on in the living room.

Becky: Abby, hey, we're back.

A few moments later, a pint-sized woman emerges from around the corner. She looks just like a mini Rebecca, but with shorter hair and smaller features. This is Becky's sister, a couple years younger and about a foot shorter.

Abby: Oh, hey, you two have fun?

Becky: Of course we did, I mean I was there.

Rose: How's Holly? She didn't give you any trouble did she?

Abby: Heck no, that kid's a damn angel. I've babysat a few kids in my day, and they were terrors, every last one of them. But Holly, sweetest girl I ever met.

Rose: Yeah, that definitely sounds like her. She sleeping?

Abby: Like a baby.

Rose: Alright, good. Hold on, let me pay you.

Reaching into her wallet, she pulls out a fifty and passes it over to Abby.

Abby: It's been a pleasure, but now I think I should be going. I'll leave you two girls... alone.

And with that, she quickly heads out of the suite, giving a small wave as she disappears out the door. Closing the door behind her, Rose then makes her way into the kitchen with Becky.

Rose: So, you want a drink or anything? I got... well, I got beer. Unless you want orange juice.

Becky: What's that now? Oh girl, you're only twenty, you know. Am I going to have to slap my cuffs on you?

Rose: Very funny, you want one or not?

Becky: Hook me up.

Pulling out a couple of beers from the fridge, Rose passes one to Becky and then heads into the living room. Letting out a long sigh, she plops herself down on the couch and sticks her feet up on the coffee table. Becky sits down next to her, though curls her legs up on the couch instead of resting them on the table.

Becky: So, you seriously afford this place on a cop's salary?

Rose: Well, uh... no, not really. My, um, uncle pays for it.

Becky: So you have a rich uncle?

Rose: Something like that.

Becky: Wow, never thought I'd meet someone with an actual rich relative. Not complaining about the set up, though. I mean, damn, this place is nice.

Rose: Yeah, tell me about it.

Taking a swig of her beer, Rose leans back more against the couch and stretches her legs out, trying to loosen a few tight knots in her back.

Becky: So... you really did have a good time tonight?

Rose: I told you I did, didn't I?

Becky: Yeah, I know... just checking. I, uh... I had a really good time, too.

At that moment, Becky's hand drifts over slowly and comes to rest on Rose's thigh. She's leaning closer now. Glancing over at her friend, Rose raises a curious eyebrow.

Rose: Uh, Beck, what are-

In quite possibly the last thing she was expecting to happen, Rose's words are cut off by Becky's lips coming into contact with her own. For the briefest of moments, she sits there like an idiot, dumbfounded. Then, she hurriedly pulls back, eye wide.

Rose: Becky, what the- what are you doing?

Seeming genuinely surprised at this reaction, Becky blinks back at her, confused.

Becky: I'm... well, I- I mean I was...

Rose: Becky, hold on. You're...?

Becky: Yes? I thought... I thought you knew I was- wait, you're not?

Rose: Uh, I don't... mean, I've never really... well, no.

Quickly, Becky springs off the couch and holds her hands up to her head, looking utterly flabbergasted.

Becky: Oh Dios mio! You're serious? Oh my... Oh I'm sorry, I'm so- Oh, stupid, stupid, stupid! Rule number one, Becky, don't make a move if you're not completely sure! I just thought, I mean... I mean you just seemed so... and you said you weren't into men, and, and-

Putting her beer down, Rose stands up as well, giving Becky a confused look.

Rose: I... meant I was more not into being involved in a relationship... at this point in my life. I didn't mean... wait, did I really come across as...?

Becky: Well, sure, you- I mean, no! No, I didn't mean that, it's just... well I thought that we were close, and you liked me, and then there was tonight, and, and-

Rose: Tonight... wait, was this whole thing supposed to be a date?

Becky: I thought it was obvious! I, I mean I thought I was clear, I was trying to... to get closer, and- and I was flirting with you all night, for Christ's sake!

Rose: I thought you were just being nice. I wasn't... thinking about it that way. I had no idea you were...

In retrospect, now that she is thinking about it that way, it leaves her wondering just how the hell she didn't pick up on it before.

Becky: Oh hijo de puta, I'm sorry, I'm such an idiot. Sh*t, I should go, I should really go, I- I shouldn't be here now.

Rose blinks a couple times, watching as Becky quickly starts heading for the door. It takes her a few moments to react, mostly because she's still utterly astonished at the current situation.

Rose: Becky, wait, hold on!

But Becky isn't listening. Within seconds, the woman is out of the penthouse and hurrying down the hall to the elevator. Rose contemplates chasing after her for a moment, but really, what would she say? Instead, she continues standing there, staring at the open door.

Did that... seriously just happen?

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Chapter #20 Preview: Rose's daily life just got a bit more complicated with Becky's surprising admission, but while she struggles to figure out how to handle this situation, someone else is watching her closely, someone who knows about her crime fighting secret. When the people closest to her are threatened, Rose will have to make a difficult choice about her future as Ravager.