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Of Assassination and Murder - part 2
[[ concurrent with Finding Aurora]]

Aria hide the amusement at Ayden's anger the boiled until near bursting. Aria didn't know why she was angry and it didn't really matter and she was playing the red head anger management issued girl to a T. Aria smirked as she left with possessive feelings floating amist the anger. If she only knew that she hid nothing.

Nox's concern was well placed as they headed towards their destination. There was no reason for her to be allowed in the building much less to Master De La Cruz' flat. But it was easy enough to do. Aria let her hair down and revealed a little more cleavage than necessary and tightened her leather coat around her to hid her swords and give her a little more mystery - what was underneath. She'd have opted for something other than her combat boots, but that was what she had. Aria laughed as Nox was at least getting an eye full. He was ever the boy with an eye for the girls.

Aria walked across the street checking the comms before she was at the door man. She smiled sweetly up at him, "I'm here to see Mr. De La Cruz."
Aria laid her hand on the man's ungloved one and Aria saw the moment of doubt flicker through his mind before he opened the door to admit her. Weak willed men were easily manipulated by a pretty face and a gentle touch, and with her gift even more so.

Aria walked in as gracefully as her boots would allow and up to the front desk. The man at the front desk watched her with a wary eye and she let her best smile slide on to her face. What she couldn't give for a little bit of fancy jewelry to add to the air.

The man asked, "Can I help you?"

Aria could feel that Aurora had been here all bubbling over with joy and fun and not a hint of the sadness at the apartment but her emotions were like flowers to a bee for Aria. She'd started tracking her and now she could find the littlest hint of her emotion as long as it wasn't months old. She'd never tried this after such a long time. "I'm looking for for Mr. De La Cruz."
Also in the lobby she could feel all sorts of excitement from giggling girls - the type of emotions that go with large crowds of fans. It was much the same in Vatican City except it was a bunch of pious idiots there to see the Pope or some other saintly character. "I'm not a fan. I have important business with Mr. De La Cruz."

The man's eyes flickered up and down her almost imperceptibly. It was evident he saw something distasteful and his eyebrow rose skeptically. "Business?" His tone made it clear he didn't believe her. "If you'd like to leave a message for MISTER De La Cruz, I would be willing to pass it along to his assistant."

Aria's smile widened and she reached across the counter and laid her hand on his with a little push in the right direction. "I need to talk to him. Can't you help a gal out?"
Aria hoped she didn't have to push too far, clingy men were annoying.

His eyes widened slightly and seemed to soften. He was an older, grandfatherly type. A small smile played on his lips. "My dear, I think perhaps you would be wise to leave Cruz alone." His tone became more tender. "The ways of men like that are things we must accept. Go home, dear. Let things be."

Well that was nice to know. Aria let her smile brighten and pushed a little harder. "Thank you for your concern."
Aria ran her fingers across the edged of his arm to his cheek. "I can take care of myself. I promise. I need to talk to him, it's important."

His face warmed and the concern left it as a new interpretation force itself into his mind. "An old friend then? I'm sure he will enjoy the surprise." He lowered his voice conspiratorially. "He's on the top floor, the penthouse. You should get up there with no problem." He winked at her. "Such a sweet thing. You take care of yourself, dearie."

Aria smiled again and caressed his rough cheek. "Thank you kindly."
Aria made sure to leave a lingering touch so he'd not call up immediately. He was weak but even the weak can fight easier without her touch. Depended on how much he believed her.

Aria headed for the elevators and pushed the button and was on her way up to the penthouse. She wondered what she was going to walk in on. She let her sense drift wide for any signs of Aurora but there was nothing active, only memories.
Edited by Aria, Sep 8 2015, 02:03 PM.
[Image: deigo3.jpg]

Diego's heart pounded in his chest as he ran down the last quarter mile. The massive VR screen updated its display, completing the illusion that he was running through the woods. He could see the cabin up ahead that marked the end of his run and he strained to increase his pace. The numeric display duly noted the rate change- 12 miles per hour. It wasn't something he could keep up for long, but for a sprint like this, as when quarry was in sight, he would try. Not that he had it in quarry mode. He wasn't in the mood for that at the moment.

Deep within, despite the struggle of his body to keep the pace and process oxygen, he felt the contented peace glowing silently, emanating outwardly, bringing stillness to his spirit. He knew he would hunt again. But at the moment, he was satiated. Aurora had been...perfection, pure and simple. Just the memory of her was enough to relive the experience.

Suddenly the display chimed and he realized he had reached the cabin. Funny, he hadn't even noticed the run. He was breathing heavily and yet he didn't feel spent. He looked down and laughed, making his way to his bath.

Some time later, now completely relaxed and at peace, he threw on a loose fitting pair of white linen pants and padded out into the living room. The temperature control of the kept it nice and warm and he didn't feel any chill across his bare chest. His damp hair was already drying. He made his way to his chiller and pulled out a bottle of champagne and poured himself a long stemmed glass. Whispered commands to his auto-attendant brought the sweet sounds of a cello performance from the hidden speakers. He went to his white couch and sat down, letting the sound wash over him. Here, at home, at this very moment, he let go of any need to control and direct. He allowed the music the fill him and drive him. He was not artist, listening critically. He was audience, being directed and led.

He smiled to himself and let his head fall back against the cushion, feeling the warm light-headedness of the wine seep through his entire body. He drifted....
Aria was soon greeted with a wash of white as the doors chimed open. The walls were white, the floor, everything was a shade of white, if white could have a shade, it was here in this very posh looking flat. A man sat on his all white couch his legs getting lost in the decor. He was lost in thought, drifting in calmness until she'd disturbed him.

Aria smiled brightly. "Your door man was kind enough to let me in."
. Aria stepped lightly across the elevator threshold and into the white expanse he called home. She could feel Aurora here, but it wasn't recent.

His eyes opened and she could see the faint amber gleam behind them. A flicker of surprise in his mood. But that was it. He was mostly curious even as he lifted his head to watch her. He inclined his head as he listened to her.

Appraising her as she spoke before he got up and walked to his kitchen and got another glass. "Would you like a drink?"

Aria nodded, she had no intentions of actually drinking anything he had to offer her. "How kind of you."
She kept her best and brightest smile on. It was not hard to pull from Aurora's own memories here. The girl was nearly giddy with feelings for this man.

Aria took a few steps inside and never let De La Cruz from her sights. Her back up was only a word away, but even with Nox's talent he couldn't get up here any faster than the elevator would allow him to, if at all. But Aria wasn't worried about this man, he was hardly a threat, though he did appear to think the same thing about the little girl standing on the other side of his bar waiting for that drink.

"I was hoping to ask you a few questions."
If the vibes from the lobby were anything to go by this was a man who was use to women who fawned over him, so she made it seem like she was just another groupie, hoping he'd come close enough so she could touch him and use her ability on him.
[Image: deigo3.jpg]

The girl who walked in wasn't the usual kind who fawned over him or snuck into his place. There was a hardness to her despite the smile she gave. Still, she wasn't unattractive. And he was a gentleman.

A thrill wormed its way from his heart and felt the first stirrings of desire. She wasn't Aurora. That woman was a goddess all her own, now perfect and eternal in her beauty. But he felt the faintest flexing of muscle, the hunger to dominate. He poured the glass and allowed the music and the quiet to seep in to his soul. The spark, whenever he found it, was to be cradled and carefully, lovingly nursed, fanned until it was all consuming.

He looked up and slid the glass toward the edge of the counter, requiring that she come closer. The push and pull of the game necessitated it. She had snuck in, wanted something from him. Well two could play that game.

He purposefully looked her up and down, assessing her. "I don't answer questions."
He took another sip. "But I don't mind speaking to someone over drinks. Two people casually getting to know one another."
He nodded to her drink. "If that is acceptable, good. If not..."
He looked at the door, making his meaning plain. It would be his terms, not hers.

Edited by Aurora, Sep 9 2015, 03:03 PM.
Desire, possession - feelings Aria had come to know well, and one was oddly familiar and Aria had to push the darkness away. That obsession was far away from here - Mexico City last she'd seen. He pushed the glass forward to the edge and Aria smiled; he wanted to play, but he wanted her close too. She could oblige him in that. The drink on the other hand... The last drink... Memories flooded her mind and dark smile slide across her lips before she caught it. It was a momentary blip in her friendly smile.

Aria was going to get caught in a trap if she weren't careful. She was thankful Nox was on the other side of the line, but she couldn't hear anything he'd say, it was one way at this moment, no ear piece, but he'd hear everything.

"I think I can manage that."
Aria smiled. He wanted to play games, so be it. "How ever do you manage to keep this place so clean?"
She smiled at him. "A a man of your fine tastes surely doesn't just drink white wine or champagne. Accidents happen. Guests are clumsy at times. The moments get heated."
Aria took the glass by the stem, it felt flimsy between her fingers, she was afraid she might break it. She sipped at the bubbly liquid, barely enough to wet her lips and entice him closer.

She stepped around the bar towards him putting the fluted glass in her left hand and offered him her right with a bright smile. "Aria."
[Image: deigo3.jpg]

He watched her move. He'd give her this. She was graceful despite her pedestrian clothing. And she wanted to play. A smile tugged on his lips as he watched her oh-so-carefully take one single solitary sip. There was a deliberateness to it, as if she suspected it was laced with something and she was willingly taking that chance. It almost made him wish that he had put a little something there. That moment of recognition through the fog was sometimes so very exhilarating.

She liked dangerous games. Her emerald green eyes were deep and still as she offered her name and hand in the same moment. He savored the sound. By now, the warmth and relaxation of the champagne coursed through him, both soothing and lighting afire his senses. "Aria"
he repeated, as if tasting it on his tongue for the first time. Somehow it fit.

He smiled at her, allowing the word to explode in his mind. An aria was more than just a song. It was a single solo expressive piece of music. Its power and emotion stemmed not from the music itself but from the soul of the one singing it. It was an emotional outflinging of a soul out into the audience, airily dancing above the crowd, fluttering about like a little bird, winging its way through ones body and deep into the heart.

It was a full throated cry, a singing scream, a screaming song. The flame flickered at the momentary gust, nearly guttered and extinguished itself and he calmed himself, allowed his heart to calm for just a moment. Too fast. It was too fast. He wanted this to last.

He looked at her hand but did not touch it. As if to distract her he spoke to his auto-attendant and selected Bizet's Je crois entendre encore from Les pĂȘcheurs de perles. The aria was haunting and powerful, the voice displaying male and female notes, a pining for love, for hope, for the opportunity to find what it has been seeking.

The final verses played out, leaving him with that familiar sense of incompleteness. Did he ever find it? The song never gave the answer, nor did the opera itself. He opened his eyes and looked at her. "I am sorry. Your name. It reminded me of a song."
He didn't take her hand and Aria felt slighted but she kept her smile on. She took the glass in her right hand and brought it carefully to her lips. The liquid was not bad but she knew better - far better than the last time what could happen. She had control, but she was a light weight and she knew it.

She could hear Nox yelling at her. It had never occurred to her that she'd never refused a drink with Lucas - neither of them drank. And for good reason. A shadow crept over her face. The sadness wanted to burrow its way in. Thankfully the song was painfully sad sounding and she could hide her emotions in that fact. She smiled as it ended. It wasn't the first time her name had made someone go on about music, but De La Cruz was the first to actually play an aria - a french aria none-the-less. "mad euphoria, sweet dream! Get lost in your own?"

Aria set down the fluted glass and smiled to her host. "Can I trouble you to use your facilities. I promise I won't snoop around."

He smiled at her and nodded. "Down the hall on your left."

If he was going to avoid contact this was going to be a lot more difficult and a bit more dangerous. Aria walked down the hall and found the bathroom on the left. She could feel Aurora much stronger here. She'd been upset. Aria sighed. But there was no telling why. Aria stuck the ear piece in. She locked the door behind her. She whispered softly making it sound like a prayer, "I'm going to need help. I won't be able to hear you but I know you are listening."

Aria heard Nox over the line. "Be careful Aria. I'm here if you need me. If you need me in an emergency, tell him who's haunting your darkness and I'll come no matter what's in my way."

Aria nodded, "Thank you."
Aria left the ear peice in and took off her leather coat, her sword hung on her hip. She carefully undid the buckle and put it carefully inside her coat. Aria looked at herself in the mirror. She wasn't dressed to hook up. She hadn't been dressed to seduce the reporter either, but she'd managed. Her ability had helped greatly. Aria took a deep breathe and smiled. She could do this. Aria took the ear piece out and stuck it the inside coat pocket and zipped it shut.

Aria unlocked the door and stepped out. Aria took her coat and walked out towards the main room. She put her coat and sword in an unoccupied chair and made her way back to the fluted glass sitting on the counter. She turned her attention back to De La Cruz with a smile. "Thank you."
Aria grinned playfully. "Now, where were we?"
Aria wished for Nox's natural buoyancy right then. "What dreams were you getting lost in with that song?"

Aria put the glass to her lips again wetting her lips. She knew she had to be careful.
[Image: deigo3.jpg]

She left the room and Diego looked around for a moment, contemplating things. She wasn't exactly his type. The air of fragility and hunger was missing. But in its place was something else, something new. The need to be dominated. Broken.

Up to now, every woman had been closer and close to his dream, gradually building to a crescendo, a melody dancing above and below the perfect key, getting ever closer and closer, until the hunger, the need built up in anticipation of hitting that one final phrase, releasing that pent up pleasure and rage in one orgiastic moment.

None had been as perfect as Aurora. No one could be again. The thought deflated him. He had drawn her out, had let each moment build and linger, savoring, allowing the anticipation grow. He'd known it couldn't last forever, but he had tried. Oh how he had tried.

But this woman here, now, only made him realize it had ended. Disgust wormed in his stomach. A lick of anger flicked out from his heart and the ember flared. The hunger was still there. But now it was tinged with black. Malevolent. The image of the woman, her eyes bulging, fear caught in her throat, struggling to get passed his hands...his hands. Yes, the thunder of her heartbeat against his palms.

He shook his head as if to dispel the image that taken over. The hunger lurked silent far beneath the surface, still waters a lie to the danger below, waiting for its chance. The woman would come back and try to flirt, try to manipulate him. She wanted something.

Well so did he. He touched a display in the kitchen and locked the floor down. It was standard issue for the building. Short of a panic room- the term left distaste in his mouth- it was the best that there was. No one was getting through the cage of 2 inch bars that reinforced the doors. A visit to a drawer found what he sought and soon the contents were disintegrating among the stray bubbles that continue to form in her drink.

He was stretching his neck and heard a satisfying crack as she returned, this time carrying her large coat that she deposited on a chair. She was so transparent to him as she tried to saunter her way to the counter, to entrap him in her eyes. A house cat hunting a panther.

"Now, where were we? What dreams were you getting lost in with that song?"
She took another sip, controlled. He raised an eyebrow at her and gave her a warm smile, as if to play along.

"I dream what I always dream of. Of perfection."
He came around the counter and looked down into her eyes, hoping to see the cloud that would soon pass over her gaze.

Edited by Aurora, Sep 14 2015, 09:35 AM.
A slight fog started to drift over the world around her. The feelings of others were more distant. She could barely make out Nox across the street. She focused on him and things cleared slightly. Diego spoke of perfection and Aria could feel the pride in the man for his accomplishments. Whatever it was for she was undoubtedly the dupe of, but with Nox's presence floating inside she felt better. As long as he stayed with her it would be alright. At least that was what she told herself.

The weight of her sword was no longer at her hip and she direly missed it. If she'd brought the silver dagger it would be a comfort. She glanced towards the kitchen and smiled softly at the memories of a parring knife that sat in a small drawer beside her bed - a parting gift so to speak. The beginning of her undoing - a simple knife.

She turned her attentions back to him. Whatever he thought would happen would not. That was her last sip and its effects had done the job - control was lost, but not completely gone; she could feel the world, but it was hazy and with the dampening effect the darkness grew. The darkness wasn't clawing it's way to the surface it was slithering up the tunnel and crept into her eyes, and her smile reflected the darkness.

"You shouldn't have done that."
She could invoke Dane's name and Nox would come running, fighting his way in if necessary. He'd save her but there was nothing left to save at the moment.

Aria walked towards her gracious host; she wanted to touch him. There were far greater things to play with than just her ability. But there was time for that. She would make him hers. Aria advanced on De La Cruz and grabbed his wrist, she sent the most vile fears she'd collected from the girls in the dungeon and the pain they felt into that grip. He would cower before her.
He shifted his head slightly and looked at her. For the first time he felt puzzled. Did she know? If she did why was she playing? Most of all, though, the beginnings of anger began to flicker as she came toward him. He didn't like this woman taking charge. He could see it in her eyes. Arrogance. Smugness. Disdain. He felt disgust. And he hungered for her. No, not like Aurora. She was not Aurora. She didn't deserver to be worshipped, to be immortalized. She needed to scream. He wanted to see fear. He wanted to see terror. He wanted her to beg him, to submit with every part of her.

She grabbed his wrist and for a moment those very things he imagined in her- the realization, the fear, the weakness, the pleas, the begging- all of it came to him, hit him as if it were happening to him. It was an instant that felt like an eternity and every muscle and every cell and every nerve and every thought- every shred of him screamed a defiant "NO!!", the single lone word expressed in one explosive cathartic rage, bunched muscle hardened to iron with adrenaline, lashing out from the very core of him to hit her with every ounce of strength.


He reacted faster than Aria could. Before she knew it there was pain and then nothing.


The fog of overwhelming fear seeming to disappear in a moment and suddenly he found himself standing over her lifeless body. He was breathing heavily and was still having trouble focusing his thoughts. Calm. Be calm. Deep breaths. Gradually, slowly, he gained control...

And found that he was grinding his teeth. Inside he felt a churning of rage and pleasure, of pure fury and that deepest hunger of all. Her head was positioned so that he could only see her profile, her delicate doll-like features quiet. He wanted to see what she looked like awake, wanted to see those eyes flutter awake, the fogged look as she tried to figure out where she was, what she was doing. To see her mind struggle to understand what was happening to her.

His heart was racing again, but this time he let it, let the feelings overwhelm him. He never did this at home. But she had come to him. She had come here. And she had awakened him. He had never felt this much before, never. It was as if that sense of pain and hopelessness and fear had painted the most intense darkest black of the black across his mind and now the pleasure he felt matched it as a mirror, giving him a new range of music to play.

He went to his drawer and pulled out his zip-ties, some silk scarves and some nylon rope. Carefully, he rolled her over and bound her hands and then her feet.

He put down a blanket and then picked her up and carried her to it. And then, he just sat on the floor and watched for signs that she was waking. He could do this right. If he was patient, he could.

Edited by Aurora, Sep 14 2015, 12:40 PM.

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