According to him, Emma was reckless, rough around the edges, took unnecessary risks, and was a disaster on two legs. She thought he was complimenting her until he began providing detailed reports after each job they completed, listing with exhausting accuracy the mistakes or risks she had taken. In her defense, every single job had been a success since she started.
"Powers and Cuvier's associates don't need the extra attention-"
"This isn't the Godfather, Grant. Everyone and their mother knows that Powers and Cuvier are in the splicing business together. Powers is funding Cuvier and in return Cuvier uses his creations to deal with the company heads that rival Powers' company. It also gives Powers some boosted security in his facilities. The various police departments generally stay out of the way if they want to keep getting their money. So there's nothing to worry about."
Grant Wilson deeply sighed as he pinched his temples. Why did Derek Powers have to hire him to be the babysitter for this lunatic? "Not if you insist on destroying everything in your path Red! One day you're going to attract too much attention."
She bit her tongue at that point; for all of the bullshit she was being fed, she had at least learned that eschewing conversation entirely usually worked in her favor. On the plus side, it seemed to piss off Ravager to no end, and therefore provided her with a special kind of pleasure usually reserved for winning large sums of money.
Her silence game sparked a battle of wills, and while Ravager was patient, she was stubborn. They sat and stared at one another, each of them sizing up the opponent on the field of mental battle.
Perhaps he was surprised but Emma was not at all to find themselves stretched out on the couch an hour later, still a little sweaty from their recent foray into more carnal forms of struggle. Grant cleared his throat, as he looked sideways at Emma, who had just finished putting her clothes back on and was staring idly at the ceiling while dancing fingertips over the material of the couch, "Um...I'm not entirely sure why that happened."
"We're not unattractive people and our bodies were revved up. All that energy had to go somewhere Grant."
He cleared his throat and turned his own eyes to the ceiling, "You realize that this creates a problem, right?"
"Not really," She simply replied with a shrug.
He sighed, perhaps a form of resignation, "Can I safely assume that you'll simply ignore this one too Red?"
At this, she turned to face him, "I don't see what the problem is."
"This is unprofessional and creates a conflict of interest."
Her face twisted into a mirthful, silent grin, "You've become a lapdog for Powers, sent here to put me on a short leash so they don't have to keep boosting the local economy with wads of bribery funds. I'm a mercenary who is admittedly enthusiastic about what I do, sometimes to the point of excess. You honestly think they would be surprised to hear that I rode you like I was auditioning for a rodeo? I think he doth protest too much."
That seemed to shut him up.
"Not bad, by the way," she added, and in truth it was simply an afterthought. She let her mind linger on this for a while.
She sat and draped a lazy arm over the knee she pulled to her chest, sneaking a glance at Ravager to ensure he was, in fact, still alive. He seemed to be breathing but his face registered part surprise and part dread. She rolled her eyes.
Emma could feel his eyes following her, as she moved around, giving her that tingling feeling on the back of her neck. She stopped at the counter, leaned against it, and turned, "Like what you see?"
She must have cracked something in his shell of decorum because when her eyes fell on him, he gave her a wolfish grin, "I do. And I'm starting to think that if I already broke a rule, might as well focus on asking for forgiveness later."
A laugh erupted from her at this, "Well, then. Let's not waste any time."
Three hours later, Emma and Ravager peered through an open window, overlooking a shorter building across the street. Ravager thumbed through a folder; Emma chewed on her bottom lip, her fingers drumming on the sill, while he ran through the information with her.
"All we need, then, is the combination to the safe in the back. Looks like there are...three people that know it."
She nodded absentmindedly, watching the shadows of people move through the building that she should be in. A sharp pinch on her arm brought her out of her reverie and into the focus of her personal ire, which she turned onto Ravager in an instant, "What the hell are you doing?"
"Getting your attention. Listen to what I am saying. Three people know the combination and that is the only information we need."
"What's in the safe?"
He visibly prepared for another bout of her persistence, "It doesn't matter. That's not the issue here, Red."
The muscles in her back flexed perceptibly, as she swallowed the news. And then she spit it back out, "It does matter. If it's money or if it's information there might be other ways to get it. Or there might be a better way to convince them to give us the combination."
She could tell that he was debating whether or not to tell her something. She crossed her arms and turned to face him fully, "What?"
"We were thinking-"
He paused, ignoring the question, then continued, "That you could just seduce the owner and he would slip up and open it in front of you."
There was a moment of silence, both expectant and awkward, before Emma doubled over with laughter. Ravager crossed his arms, waiting for her to finish with a disgruntled grimace. When she recovered, still chuckling, she shook her head, "No...no way. Are you insane? Have they met me? What am I supposed to do? Go in there and kick his ass into wanting to sleep with me and then just casually ask him what's in the safe? I'm sure that will go over well and he won't be suspicious at all."
Grant pressed his lips into a thin line, "You seduced me."
"You're easy," She shrugged.
"The same exact thing could be said about you," He muttered.
Emma either ignored this or she didn't hear him, "We spend a lot of time together; you get easily frustrated with me."
"Maybe if you went in and just didn't talk?"
This cost him a glare from the woman. Already getting impatient, she pointed at the building across the street, "You're a goddamn idiot if you think anyone of those people would trust me enough to just open a safe in front of me. And besides, it would take a long time to get any idea of what is in there."
He pinched his nose with a sigh, "What do you suggest then? Blow up the safe?"
She grinned at that, "No but now that you mention it..."
"No blowing up the safe."
She pouted and watched the building again. Her first instinct here was to blow up the safe just to do it but she also realized that she needed to grow up a little bit at some point. Here was the promise of some lucrative, steady work, and she was not stupid. Letting out a sigh, she glanced over at him, "I think I could work over the woman just barely and get what we need."
Ravager paused, "What do you mean work her over?"
Emma rolled her eyes, "Now you have a problem with what I do?" When he didn't answer right away, she sighed, "Probably just scare her a bit, that's all."
"You wouldn't break under pressure."
"Yeah, well, I'm not normal. Ready to do this? If you want some seducing to happen, I suggest you go in and get her out. I'll take it from there."
He still hesitated, but finally, with a nod, he turned to go do as she asked. When he passed her, she smacked him on the ass with a wink, "Oh, come on. No turning back now."
Emma tightened the final strap holding the woman in the chair. The woman, probably only a few years older than her, was still unconscious from the drugs, so Emma didn't feel it was rude to be so cheery about her job at the moment. Securing everything, she stepped back, tilting her head to admire her work, then sat in the chair opposite the woman to wait.
Ravager appeared in the doorway, fidgety and, frankly, annoying. Emma sent him a biting look in warning and he slunk back into the shadow of the hallway beyond.
It took longer than she would like but the woman began to stir after about a half hour. When she did, Emma leaned back, propping her feet on the small table next to her.
"Wh...where..." the woman began, her voice slightly hoarse.
Emma smiled, "You're not at liberty to know our current location but I can tell you how you'll get out."
The woman's eyes raised slowly and met Emma's, "Who are you?"
"I'm afraid that's oh for two, my dear."
Emma waited, she was a gracious host, for the woman to go through the motions. Her eyes swept the room for familiar sights, any chance of escape, and an idea of how many people were here. The last thing the woman looked at were Emma's tools on the table. Then they flicked back to Emma, questions and fears written on her face.
The half-Thanagarian shrugged, "That's up to you. Like I mentioned, I can tell you how you'll get out."
The woman looked at the tools again, clearly not feeling comforted by Emma's simple statement.
"You should know how this works. You tell me what I want to know and I skip all of this," she motioned at the table.
"What do you want to know?"
Emma smiled, "The safe. How does my employer get into it?"
At this, the woman's eyes widened fractionally, and she bit her bottom lip, "If I tell you, my husband will kill me."
"If you don't tell me, your husband won't get the chance. And then he'll be next or your son. He knows the combination, too, right?"
That did the trick.
The two mercenaries sat across from one another at the diner. Emma was almost unrecognizable when not on the job. Her black work gear was replaced with jeans, a t-shirt, and a pair of worn-out converse. She was face-deep in her cheeseburger when Grant chose to speak, "I don't know how I feel about our last job."
Her only answer was to shrug while she chewed.
"I mean, the employer won. You didn't blow up the safe so that was good. But that woman could pick you out of a line-up with her eyes closed."
Emma licked the mustard off the corner of her mouth and waited patiently for him to continue.
"I guess what I'm saying is that...maybe...you have a way of doing things for a reason."
Silence stretched between them, and Grant could see a war between amusement and anger flitting through her eyes. She cleared her throat, opened her mouth, and took another bite of her burger, obviously choosing her words. When she had swallowed, she looked up, "Are you fricking kidding me, you say this now?"
Grant cleared his throat and reached his hands out, palms up, "Look, I was hired to show you how to do things more discreetly."
"Yeah, and as you saw, discreet is a little tricky sometimes. Besides, what have you taught me, really?"
"You certainly don't blow up as many things now..."
Emma rolled her eyes and polished off the burger, then took her time nursing the soda in front of her before speaking again, "So it's much better that the mark's wife knows my face?"
"Well I know some people," he stammered. "And I'm sure Powers can protect y-"
"Don't even say it. I don't need his protection or yours. I can protect myself just fine; I'm just annoyed that this is still going on. I get the job done and if they're going to insist that you follow me around like a lost puppy then I will take my highly-qualified and attractive ass to a competitor. And I won't think twice about it. You know it. I've also been mighty patient but this last job was bullshit. I know it. Now you know it. Your call here, Grant."
He began to argue but she stood, threw some bills on the table, and began to walk away. A thought paused her and she turned, "I'm giving Powers twenty-four hours to make up his mind. Then I'm in the wind."
Grant could do nothing but watch her exit the diner and disappear down the street. He gulped down his own beverage and fumbled with his phone to find an answer for her, hoping beyond hope that his employer wouldn't be stupid.