By Mercy_ 18 Comments
*Credit for the cover (and the inspiration for this) goes to War Killer
The pale pink light cast by the very edge of the rising sun peeked through the curtains billowing in the open windows, casting dawning rays of light across the bed. Cassidy stirred lightly, her mission foremost in her brain until Kaz reached out and touched her just as she began to slide from beneath the covers. "Morning." It was a single word and yet still held everything in it. Her heart warmed as she braced her hands on his chest and kissed his slightly stubbly cheek before sliding out of bed.
"You're up early." He wasn't questioning her, just stating a fact as the Last Arashikage leaned up in bed, bracing himself on an elbow as the sheet slid down his torso. Drawing her attention away from the armoire in front of her, Cassidy lasciviously gazed up and down at his washboard abs, a twinkle in her eyes. Ignoring the urge to while away the time relaxing in bed with him, she pulled on a pair of low-rise skinny jeans over her panties, slid into a bra and pulled an ordinary black v-neck on over that.
"I have...plans." Her vague answer was met with a look that demanded a response. Wary to reveal exactly what she was up to, Cass took a seat on his edge of the bed and leaned into him, absorbing the scent of his cologne and body wash. "Today's the fifteenth anniversary." She didn't have to say anything else, there was an immediate understanding between the two of them and he pulled her close, kissing her gently on the top of her head. "I'll be in Boston for a couple of days, maybe a week dealing with some things. It shouldn't take much longer than that." Tilting her head up to his, she kissed him gently, slowly working more passion into it before finally breaking away. "Je t'aime."
Her first order of business upon stepping outside the doors of Logan International Airport in Boston, MA was to hail a taxi cab and direct it to the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Adopting a Boston accent among check-in, she happily handed over her credit card. "Penthouse suite, please. Book under the name Alana Locke."
"In town for pleasure or business, ma'am?" The young woman behind the desk was asking her scripted questions, designed to set the guests at ease while still valuing their privacy.
"A bit of both. I've got a family thing and then hope to get some pursuits of pleasure fitted in. Newbury Street has always been a favorite haunt of mine." Collecting her key card and signalling a bellhop, Cass headed up to the penthouse suite and made herself at home with the wishes of 'we hope you enjoy your stay' echoing in her ears. Settling in, clothes in drawers and in the closet, her mobile electronics center and SEER systems set up in the dining room of the series of rooms that made up the suite, she was beginning to feel as close to home as she could.
This week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the O'Rourke family massacre. An event that had led to her becoming who she was today and an event that had gone unsolved. The task force that the majority of her aunts and uncles had been on (including her father) had been tasked with trying to break down the factions of the mob in the city that were dangerously close to bringing the place back to the darker days of the Bulger brothers. Somebody on the inside of the police force had been dirty and the mob retaliated by taking out the entirety of the O'Rourke family, save for Cassidy.
Pulling the militarily influenced black pea coat around herself and fastening the buttons, Cassidy tucked her red hair up beneath a stylish black fedora and pulled on a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses. Leaving through the front door of the Plaza, it was a short trip to the cemetery where the entirety of the O'Rourke clan was buried.
The cool evening wind whipped around her, causing her to shudder as she traversed the paths of the cemetery, finally standing in front of the graves of her parents. She stood there for a full thirty minutes internally reliving the experience of that night for the umpteenth time. Haunted eyes shone dimly in her face as she crouched down and ran her fingers cross the edge of the headstones, wiping off extraneous pine needles and other errant bits of nature.
It was the crackling of leaves that sent her straight to her feet, turning around as her palms itched to fight. "Apologies, ma'am. I wasn't expecting to see anyone hea." He had the cliche Boston accent and there was something about his voice that set her on edge. "How did ya know the O'Roake's?"
Warily looking at him from behind the lenses she smiled charmingly at him, holding out a hand to shake and gathering her wits. "I grew up down the street from them. Always made me feel like I had a second home there." Her voice was warm but brusque as she wracked her memory for this man. He was about 55 years old, well muscled and if she had to peg it, ex-military. But everything else about him screamed mob and as they shook hands, Cassidy caught site of the same tattoo that graced the inner forearm of the man she'd killed the night that Gambler had taken her under his wing. "I'm afraid I have to be going now, it really was a pleasure, though."
She sat, legs crossed, on the center of the California King Bed in the bedroom of her suite. Papers were spread out all around her and right in front of her was her laptop, connected to SEER and Aria, the tracking and AI systems that she'd developed. There was a trace currently being run on the tattoo she'd seen and all of the features of the man that she could remember, including a hand-drawn picture of him that she'd scanned in.
It was three hours of impatiently drinking coffee with her systems going full blast as she leaned back against the sumptuous pillows, the laptop balanced on her knees before anything came through. Right as she'd closed her eyes for just a moment and begun drifting off to sleep, the shrill alarm that meant pertinent information had turned up cut through the melodic tones of Tchaikovsky and roused her immediately. Staring at the screen dumbfounded, there was a single name that appeared, one that had been whispered for years and nobody had ever paid any attention to. Samuel Flaherty. He had started as an enforcer and was now, by all reports, one of the head men - if not the head. His name had been on the fringes of her own investigation for a while and this, this was far too large a coincidence for her to believe in.
Already beginning to formulate plans and strategies for how to approach this began soaring through her mind as a huge yawn escaped her lips. Knowing when it was time to call it quits for the night before her brain decided to cease functioning entirely, Cassidy quickly called home to speak to her children and Kaz. After a fifteen minute conversation with the three of them, she secured her room and shut of the lights, hoping that her racing mind wouldn't keep her up until the wee hours of the morning and knowing that tomorrow would be a momentous day for her.