2011 06 27: Domestic Violence

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Mission Name: Domestic Violence
Date of Mission: June 27, 2011
Locale: Tenth Floor, The Manchester — Upper East Side - Manhattan

Tamara's adversaries aren't just sending warnings any more.

Tamara Thomas
NPC: Miki

The later hour brings Tamara home, if not for good, then at least long enough to get ready to go out again, which takes quite awhile in and of itself. The elevator arrives with a ding, and the woman emerges, her limp improving but still obvious, especially as she's not trying to hide it at the moment, figuring herself to be alone. She digs in her clutch as she goes, pulling out a small ring of keys and then separating out the one for her door, while the rest hang loose. Tucking the bag up under her arm, she inserts the key into the lock and begins with the usual process of letting herself into her apartment.

Just as the doors close again and the car begins its descent, another ding heralds the arrival of its counterpart, a muffled noise resolving itself into Thomas's voice. "…still waiting on an answer on the third part," he says, nodding absently to Tamara as he passes by. "Without all three parts, you don't get the bid. You don't want the bid? Been nice talking to you—"

A few moments after the elevator has been summoned once again to the ground floor, it's back on it's way up. A small-framed, thin-boned woman that could easily be mistaken as a child gets off of the elevator and looks around. When she looks around and sees both Thomas and Tamara, there's a brief look of uncertainty and alarm in her eyes. She's dressed all in black but her face is unprotected. And her hand is tucked into the waistband of her pants. The woman really does have a delicate, angelic little face, with vaguely Asian features. But they soon contort into something entirely different as the smaller woman takes a long knife out of her waistband, unsheaths it, and begins to stride toward Tamara on a mission.

Tamara returns Thomas's nod with one of her own, and a friendly enough smile. She's just got her door unlocked and has pushed it open ahead of stepping inside when the elevator dings again. That alone isn't cause for alarm, and Tamara just casually glances that way without giving it much thought. She doesn't recognize the woman, but that doesn't mean much. It's only when the knife appears that this small child-like woman manages to catch Tamara's proper attention, which happens in a real hurry then. "Oh bugger," she says in a low voice, reaching for her clutch in such a way that would suggest she's got some sort of weapon in there.

By the time the stranger starts approaching, Thomas is already at his door and is reaching for his key, having shifted the phone to his other hand as he listens. Once the knife comes out, though? "I'm going to have to call you back," he says, and promptly hangs up. Then, dropping both the phone and his keys, he reaches behind his back for the snubnose revolver concealed there. This is not the time for subtlety— and as far as he knows, he could just as well be the target. He knows he has enemies; he doesn't know that Tamara does.

Thomas is evidently not one of the assassin's concerns. She leaps toward Tamara like a wild animal and springs upon her, aiming the knife above wherever of Tamara's is the softiest and spongiest. It's not her head, luckily — but close. The woman goes for broke trying to stab into Tamara's chest and stomach wherever she can, hoping to have the blade connect with something vital. She has a choice between keeping her eyes on the target and keeping her eyes on the next door neighbor. Her obvious choice is the target.

Tamara manages to get a gun from her purse as well, but before she can bring it up to fire, the woman is on her like a wild thing. Not terribly steady on her feet, it's enough to knock Tamara off balance. She does manage to keep hold of her weapon at least, but in close range, with a blade coming at her, it's all she can do to try to block the smaller woman's blows, trying to use her hands and arms to keep the knife's blade from getting into anything more important to her continued ability to stay alive.

Mistake #1: bringing a knife to a gunfight. Mistake #2: bringing a knife to a two-gun fight. The woman may have had surprise on her side - if she'd gone slower, they could have drawn on her while she was still out of lunging range - but now Thomas is making up for lost time, closing distance as he aims squarely at her chest. Click. "Give up now and I let you live!" he calls out. Of course, he can't speak for Tamara, who has every reason to be less forgiving.

Considering that the small woman has her face uncovered and she's going berserker on Tamara, it's almost certainly a safe bet that this was a suicide mission of sorts. She doesn't stop struggling with Tamara on the floor although she does retrieve a morning star from her shoe and throw it at Thomas's chest. When she's done dispatching it, she goes right back to trying to stab Tamara as hard as possible. For such a small thing she does certainly have quite a bit of unexpected strength. And that knife? Sharp enough to cut tin cans, just like a Ginsu. Except it's presumably much deadlier to nice warm flesh.

"Just fucking shoot her!" Tamara grits out, with what might be a slight trace of English accent. Her hands and arms are not doing terribly well under that Ginsu-like blade, but the pain is certainly better than ending up with a knife in the heart, lung, gut or other squishy part. She takes advantage of the woman's distraction to throw the star, trying to bring her good knee up and get it between herself and the assassin, so that she has more strength to fend her off, or can at least push her back a bit and buy herself enough space to fire her own gun.

Goddamn kamikazes. They were a pain in the ass sixty years ago, and they're a pain in the ass today. It's a good thing she was splitting her attention two ways, or she might have caught Thomas somewhere really nasty like the eye. As it is, it thunks into his left arm above the shoulder: enough to draw some serious blood, but he's still able to get a quick shot off. After that, he has to drop the gun long enough to pull the star out, clapping a hand over the point of entry afterward. That better not be a damn artery.

The bullet hits the assassin in her back, right between the shoulder blades, just as Tamara's knee connects with her chest. It rather effectively knocks the wind out of the young woman before she slumps to the side. She's not dead yet, but her breathing is rather labored. It sounds like Thomas has punctured a lung. "Fuck you…" she mutters in a raspy voice, still holding her knife which she tries laboredly to stab into Tamara's thigh, right around the artery.

Tamara is just starting to breathe a little easier when the woman starts up again with trying to stab her in the leg. She lets out a colourful exclamation, trying to roll herself out of the way in a hell of a hurry, probably ripping her stitches in the process, but trying to avoid a critical hit, all things considered. Without flinching, Tamara brings up the gun to fire off a shot pointblank. She might have preferred to keep the woman alive, but she'd much prefer to keep herself alive instead. She's bleeding like a mofo, though, and between the pain and the fact that her hands are slick with blood, accuracy is hard to gauge, even at close range.

Isn't it funny how much neighbors turn out to have in common sometimes? Satisfied that he's not going to add to the body count within the next few minutes, Thomas rolls up his sleeve and wraps it around the cut. The items scattered around the carpet are picked up, and then he walks over and grabs hold of the woman's shoulders, shooting Tamara a meaningful look. Time to move the body, right?

Tamara's bullet collides unfavorably with the girl's chest and is enough to shut her up permanently. She stares at the ceiling blankly before her breathing stops and she relaxes completely. From inside of her pocket, a phone begins to ring.

Tamara catches Thomas's look and nods, unlikely to be much help in the actual moving, since her hands and arms are looking a bit like ground chuck right now. It takes her a few tries to even get to her feet, holding her arms, crossed, up against her chest, both to protect them and to keep them elevated. Her apartment door is still open, and she gestures towards it. Since it's her body, she supposes it should probably be her problem to deal with. Inconvenient, that. When death begins ringing through on the cell phone, it gives Tamara pause. "Hold on," she says in a slightly hoarse voice, intending to retrieve the device even if moving her hands and arms hurts like a bitch. It slows her down though, giving Thomas an open shot at the phone first if he decides to go for it.

Oh, great. Just when he was getting prepared to deal with the suck, now it's gone and turned into a whole different level of suck. "Watch it, it could go off when you touch it!" Or not. If only one of the gearhead from the office was here, they might be able to figure that out before having a heart attack. But in case it can be moved in time, he runs over to the nearest window, smashing the glass out with the butt of his gun when it proves to be latched from the outside. Now at least there's somewhere decent to move it to.

Whoever answers the phone will hear a man's voice. He has a crisp flavorless American accent. "Miki? Miki?" He asks twice before there's a silence on the other end of the phone. The man waits for a response, though his breath quickens on the other end.

Tamara winces as Thomas smashes the window, turning her face away from it instinctively, even though she's not really close enough to get hit. All the while, she works on extracting the phone from the woman's pocket, holding it gingerly both because it might well be incendiary and because, well, it hurts too much to hold it otherwise. She might have just chucked it out the window, but there's a saying about cats and curiosity, and when the phone fails to blow up on her, she opts to answer it instead. She pauses for a moment, just listening to the man, and then replies, "It's done. She's dead." Being deliberately vague, she waits to see if he'll buy her as the assassin.

Thomas ducks down, working out the likeliest throwing arc in his head— oh, but wait, that's interesting. Are they really so lucky that it isn't a bomb at all? Maybe it's both. Either way, he keeps his distance: glancing up and down the hall to make sure no one else is coming, giving Tamara a thums-up once he confirms that the coast is clear.

The man on the other end says nothing. He simply hangs up the phone. The phone number that Miki was called from is the only phone number stored in the phone. No other calls have been made or received to any other phone.

Tamara frowns down at the phone when she gets hung up on, but after a moment, she shrugs. It was worth a shot. It might have taken her head off, but it was still worth a shot, apparently. "No such luck," she remarks to Thomas, reciting the phone number to herself a few times to commit it to memory, before she chucks the phone to the ground, letting it slide on the carpet. "Stomp that would you. Not sure I have the strength." This from the woman who refused to limp after being shot in the leg. Looking down at her butchered arms, she does have to wonder how much blood loss is too much blood loss. She brings her arms back up to her chest and stumbles back a few steps to lean against the wall.

Before the phone even stops moving, Thomas brings a foot sharply down on top of it, once, twice - yay for cheap flimsy phones - then picks up what's left and chucks it out the window for good measure. Might as well get some use out of it. Only then does he look over and realize how unsteady Tamara looks— "Inside, c'mon." Her place or his, he's not going to be picky about it. Did she manage to get her door unlocked before Miki so rudely interrupted?

Under normal circumstances, Tamara would probably argue about being told what to do, but right now, she just straightens up and starts shuffling forward, keeping her arms to her chest. "Thanks," she offers simply, one blanket thank you to cover the massive ass-saving he helped with here tonight. But she's grateful at least. Her door was left open when the woman attacked, and remains so even yet, so it's her natural inclination to head for her own space rather than his - but she wouldn't be terribly difficult to steer otherwise either. "What a night."

Thomas shakes his head. "Could be worse. We could be her." He gestures toward the would-be assassin, before hooking his arms around hers and dragging her toward the open doorway. What are they going to do with the body, anyway? He'll figure that out in a minute, once they're not out in the open any more.

Tamara follows behind, frowning at the mess they've left on the carpet as well. She is really not going to get her security deposit back, is she. Odd thought at a time like this, but it's easier than dealing with the much larger picture. "Yeah, I think I'll pass on that one," she replies, watching the body as it gets dragged along. Once they're both inside along with the body, Tamara kicks the door shut behind her, and then heads over towards the kitchen area with a slight weave to her step - to do something about her injuries. "Make yourself at home," she invites, like he's just come by for a visit.

Visibly relieved, Thomas lets go of Miki's arms again, which unceremoniously thud against the floor as he straightens up. "Thanks," he replies, locking the door and following her over. He's looking for a stiff drink first, then any bleach or other cleaning products that might be handy— there's still an inconveniently large mess to clean up after. "So," he muses, "got any idea why crazy-bitch over there wanted to cut you so bad?"

There isn't a whole lot in the kitchen - Tamara really wasn't joking about not being domestic in the least bit. There's a good selection of alcohol, however, in one of the cupboards, and an assortment of cleaning products under the sink. The fridge is mostly bottled water and diet drinks, although there are also several containers of homemade food, incongruously taking up space in the otherwise barren fridge. "I imagine 'no' is not an answer that's going to get me very far," she muses, using the counter for support as she grabs a tea towel and begins mopping up some of her own blood from her arms and torso. "It is probably the safest one."

"I imagine not," Thomas echoes, shaking his head, even as he pours a couple glasses of the stronger-smelling booze and offers Tamara one of them. Nothing's been said, exactly… but a lot of people would be freaking out about having a dead body in their apartment. Not her. "Okay if I steal this one?" he adds, picking up another towel. "The shirt sleeve really isn't doing it for me."

Tamara takes the drink, pausing her first aid efforts long enough to indulge in a good, long swig of it, revealing she is perhaps not quite as blase about the whole thing as she appears to be - but she's not exactly about to have a breakdown over it either. "Thanks," she murmurs as she sets the glass back down, gesturing for him to help himself to the towel. "I do have an idea, but honestly, not a very detailed one. There's something going on and clearly someone doesn't want me to know what." She nods towards the would-be assassin to back up that claim.

A shot and a makeshift tourniquet later, Thomas is feeling a good bit better. "I know the feeling," he says, tacitly copping to being in the same boat— he took things relatively well too, considering, and not just in a general fuck-you-I'm-from-New-York way either. "And that sounds like a good reason to find out what that something is. They'll probably keep coming after you anyway, whether you do or not."

"Yes, it seems like you do," Tamara replies, giving him a thoughtful look of her own. The tea towel is nearly sodden through, so she tosses it in the sink and grabs a clean one from a nearby drawer, taking it and her drink over towards the dining table, feeling like sitting down would be a good thing right about now. "My thinking exactly. Besides, they killed someone I know. I'm not going to let that go."

Thomas shakes his head, continuing to lean across the counter for a few moments longer. "I don't think I ever asked you how you hurt your leg. Was that them, too?" His pace is a little unbalanced as he makes his way over to another chair. "I broke mine, once, it still acts up sometimes. Shoot the bastard in the face if I ever found out who it was."

"I wouldn't have told you anyway," Tamara replies, feeling rather honest at the moment - at least selectively so. "It isn't the sort of thing one shares with her neighbour who works in purchasing." She gives him another of those thoughtful looks, before turning her attention back to her own wounds. "But yes. Same people, I assume. I hope so. I'm not sure I could keep up with two of them." She frowns at that idea and pauses to take another sip of her drink. "How did yours end up broken?" she asks lightly, testing the waters there.

"Got hit by a car. Guy had his head down, gonna get somebody killed. Probably already has." Again, selective truth: the car and driver are described accurately enough, but the men who were running after him on foot at the same time are left unmentioned. Shoving the memory aside, Thomas looks over to meet Tamara's gaze. "So where are you planning to look? And what are we going to do about that, anyway?" Picking up the empty glass, he gestures toward the body slowly assuming room temperature on the carpet.

"A car," Tamara replies, considering that for a moment before nodding, seeming to accept he's telling the truth on that point. If she suspects there's more to it, she refrains from further questions. As he brings up the body, she gives a sigh. "I'm not sure. I know someone who could help, but … I shouldn't even ask." She knows she shouldn't. She may have to, however, as much as it bothers her. "I'll probably continue to look where my associate was looking when she died. And try to avoid the same fate," she adds with a faint smirk.

"Well, let me know and I can watch your back, okay?" Because having assassins sent to your floor is a bad thing, even if they're mainly going after someone else. Thomas gets up again, going for another drink while the bottle's still out. "Hope your someone is okay with it… I can try, myself, but it'd be pushing it." His bosses are more about taking the fight to someone else's turf and letting them deal with cleaning up the mess.

"I usually prefer to operate alone," Tamara replies, before glancing down at her rather damaged and broken body. "But I may not have that luxury this time. I'll keep the offer in mind. You'll want compensation, I assume?" In a mercenary world, everyone wants compensation, and she'd rather know what the price is beforehand. "My someone is … not going to be pleased," she goes on with another sigh. "But I'll figure something out. The fewer people involved, the better."

Another glance toward the door, just in case, before Thomas returns with the bottle in tow. Maybe they'll just end up finishing it off. "I'm pretty well covered for money— tell you what, you help me out next time it's my ass in the frying pan? We'll call it even." And there will be a next time.

"I think that could be arranged," Tamara replies with a nod, after considering the offer for a moment. "I do sort of owe you one already. I mean, I'm sure I could have taken her eventually, but it was nice to keep all my insides inside," she comments, still making light of the situation. "Good thing for me that New York neighbours aren't as isolated and oblivious as they say."

Thomas offers a faint smile. "Oh, you would've been fine. Did she look hopped up to you? I didn't get a look at her eyes—" Not until after she was already dead, anyway. "Wouldn't have waited if I'd known that."

"Something was definitely wrong with her," Tamara replies. "Whether drugs or just plain old insanity. I've never seen someone that unconcerned about her own personal safety. She was like a goddamn Terminator, refusing to stop until she was dead." Tamara glances back towards the dead body, giving a little twitch of her shoulders as she remembers the woman just coming at her without relenting.

"Who knows. Maybe she was dying anyway and they were paying her family." Thomas's voice sounds skeptical, though— he's leaning more toward the drugs or insanity idea. He leans over, offering the bottle back to Tamara. "Anyway, I guess you better call your friend before the landlord stops by. Or Rebekah— goddamn, that is about the last thing I need right now. You know she still thinks I'm jumping you behind her back?" he adds, voice too loud in the enclosed space.

Tamara takes the bottle, needing to maneuver it carefully to avoid the deep cuts on her hands. "Bitch was strong too," she adds, reminded of that fact. Filling up her glass, she nods. "I guess I'm going to have to face the music eventually. Better sooner than later. If you hear yelling, I'm … probably not in any actual danger." She won't rule it out entirely though, considering how many assassins are paying her house calls these days. Setting down the bottle she smirks and shakes her head. "It's a very special young woman you have there, I must say. I've still got a fridge full of food from her. And yes. I had picked up on her … suspicions." It just amuses Tamara rather than frustrates her, but then, she has little to lose by it.

That draws a short laugh out of Thomas. "Yeah, I don't know how long I'm going to have her, the way things are going. She's a lot of fun, but the way she keeps going back and forth with the mood swings…" That was her food he saw in the fridge? Must be a Southern hospitality thing, whatever the hell that means.

"To be fair, I probably was baiting her a little the second time we met," Tamara admits with an utter lack of concern - she's not even sure whether she was or not, but it sounds like something she might do. "Now it's been determined that we're going to be friends. It's good that you're not terribly attached because I may need to kill her," the blonde goes on serenely, probably joking about that last part.

About halfway through his latest round, Thomas picks up his glass and peers down into it, considering whether to keep going. Well, if they were going to send anyone else tonight, then they probably would have had them and Miki go in for the kill at the same time, so he might as well. "What do you need to kill her for?" he asks.

"I don't really," Tamara replies, pausing to take another sip of her drink. "But I'm not sure we'll both survive a friendship." She rolls her eyes and gives a shake of her head, as though to wave off the matter as something not terribly serious. "Hopefully she has an ulterior motive for it. That I could understand."

Thomas shrugs. "I don't know," he mutters, leaning back and setting the glass down— it's a little off center, enough to wobble for a second before stopping. "At this point, I figure she believes whatever she believes. What can you do about it, right? My luck, she'll walk in on something like this some day and panic."

"This would be one hell of a kink," Tamara notes irreverently, as she looks down at her butchered arms and then nods towards his own injury. "I'd be helpful and offer advice, but I'm the last person you'd want to follow on this sort of thing." She doesn't say it to be self-deprecating - it's just a fact.

Thomas leans over to one side, pointing toward the floor. "No, that would be one hell of a kink." Enough to unseat your average senator, most likely. "Why are you the last person? Just because she's already got ideas about you?" While he talks, he reaches over with one hand and absently adjusts the knot around his arm, lifting it up to get a look at how much blood it's soaked up so far.

Tamara angles her glass towards him, awarding him that point. "It's really got nothing to do with her. Not her, but your friend, I mean," she adds, gesturing towards the body and then vaguely towards the door. "I don't like getting attached. It makes me terrible at relationship advice. Which is why I don't generally give any, as a rule. Do what makes you happy, I say. Whatever that is." She's more or less given up at trying to do anything further for her own injuries right now, and is more focussed on numbing the pain with alcohol.

"Well, if someone might be coming after anyone close to you, then I can see how that would be a problem." Thomas's voice is increasingly drawn out now, as the liquor works through his system and the adrenaline rush from earlier keeps draining off. He picks up the bottle and refills both glasses, one hand bumping into the side of hers when it draws back too slowly afterward.

"Cheers," Tamara replies with a smirk as he refills her glass, and if she minds the contact, well, she certainly doesn't show it. "I could say it's just that, a desire to keep them safe. But I'm not that good a person. I just… I like company, but then I like being free to do my own thing, and I'm terrible at compromising on that," she muses, as she lifts the glass and gives it a thoughtful look. "Not losing anyone important to me is more like a bonus."

Another laugh, rough around the edges. Tamara, not that good a person? Look who she's talking to. "I know what you mean there, too. Other people get in your way right when you don't want them to." Then again, sometimes they come along at just the right time. And sometimes— Thomas reaches out, taking hold of her hand directly this time. "Don't worry about it, you'll kick their ass for what they did."

Tamara looks over at him, the wryness, the irony, even the attempts to simply brush off the whole thing - they fall away for a brief moment as she gives him a thoughtful look. It isn't exactly like her walls come crumbling down, but she at least allows herself a moment to take the whole thing seriously. "Damn right I will," she says in a hard-edged, determined tone. "They clearly have no idea who they're messing with." She smiles more faintly then, glancing briefly to their hands and then off into the middle distance. "It's not often someone actually understands that sentiment." Revenge or operating alone? It could apply to either.

"Better stick with it when you find it." Now here is someone that Thomas can see eye to eye with. There'll probably be some more small talk in the hallway, but now they both know it's an act. "Go, call your friend and bug them," he adds, gesturing toward where he thought he saw a phone earlier. "I'll keep an eye on the door, in case that guy on the phone comes by to check up."

"Mm. Perhaps I'd better," Tamara concurs, that slow smirk returning as she considers that point. When the dead body comes up again, she lets out a sigh and withdraws her hand slowly, first so that she can tip back the rest of her current glass in a single go, and then secondly so she can rise from the table and go see to cleaning up her mess. "All right. It's not often I get someone offering to babysit the door either, so I'll take you up on that."

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