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12 July 2010 @ 11:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Sin - Prologue, Parts 1 and 2  
Written for numb3rs_bigbang Big Bang 2010
Crossposted to numb3rs_notice and numb3rs_fic


Title: Sin - Prologue, Parts 1 and 2
Series/Universe: Sin/Vice
Pairing/Characters: See Series Post
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1, 2 and 3
Summary: Taking over as CEO of a business is hard as a woman, but harder when it's a front for a major crime syndicate (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ



Tuesday, 10/2/07 - Day

'Luxe International': the letters splayed out in elegant silver as the elevators opened on the penultimate floor of the Prescott building. Megan smiled in approval as she stepped out, Matt ever-present by her side.

"I have all the paperwork to sign off on the final walk through," he was busy saying, head down as he flipped pages on his clipboard. "I don't see any reason why we can't finish this off within the hour and get you back to the mansion early so you have some time before staff meeting begins."

Megan put out a hand to halt him and force him to look up.

"Just take a minute," she told him. "This is one of those times you'll want to remember."

Her gaze took in the expansive lobby with its gleaming white and silver decor complete with stark modern art. As she stepped forward the double doors to the secure reception area opened automatically. She had barely taken three steps past the threshold when David came out of a side door to join her.

"Metal detector works perfectly," he said proudly. "It flagged you as armed right away and the facial recognition server? It had you pegged before the doors even opened to you."

"I'd hope so," Megan said, clearly not judgmental. "It cost me enough for that speed!"

"A worthy investment," David assured her.

They walked up to the reception desk where Dieter was sitting at the newly installed security workstation. Other companies had receptionists; Luxe International had a trained security operative manning the front door - one who just looked like a receptionist, or would once Dieter ceded the workstation to them for their opening day.

"Everything works great," Dieter piped up.

"Then buzz me in," Megan told him.

"Shouldn't I ask Matt for credentials first?" Dieter asked.

Matt rolled his eyes, but produced his biometric employee ID card anyway, scanning it hastily before putting it away.

"Thanks," Megan said to both of them. Dieter buzzed them in, the side door to the main part of the new company offices opening to the left. It felt wrong to expect her right hand man to show ID every time, but then she'd been the one to set policy that everyone save the absolute top management positions had to present ID at entry to any facility. The aftermath of Amita's betrayal had been unfortunate, but Megan felt that the odds of a second such betrayal were much lower if access was that restricted.

That plus making sure the word got out about how Megan dealt with Ian - and Amita.

She stopped and surveyed her surroundings. They didn't need much in the way of office space downtown. Most of the company was still run out of the mansion, but Don had kept some company square footage on the floor below The Loft, mostly for overflow catering work, but some for client meetings that would not be appropriate or convenient to hold at the mansion or at the client's location.

But Megan wanted to expand and expand mostly into legitimate areas, thus the from scratch overhaul of the entire floor - sealing off the extra catering space with access only from The Loft and their freight elevator and setting up new offices for Luxe International to be the public face of the company from now on.

She'd even set up a second office for herself here with equally impressive furniture. Her private meeting room was outfitted with every anti-surveillance feature known to mankind and a few Colby cooked up that she had to consider patenting some day they were so inventive. She could do business - of both kinds - here.

And she was ready to move forward.

"Hand me that clipboard," she said, turning to Matt. "If there's only an hour of work standing between me and the future of the company? Let's do it - now."

+

"Sir, our sources confirmed that Luxe is..."

"We don't use that word here." Everett interrupted his underling, staring him down from behind his massive desk in the CEO's office of JET Holdings International, the most legitimate of all his diverse businesses and shell companies. "Ever."

The messenger swallowed hard, clearly cowed, and Everett indulged in a moment of pride that a few words from him could put the fear of God into a man.

"O-our sources..." The man tugged at his shirt collar. "The target... The grand opening of their new offices is going to launch on schedule. Sir," he added hastily as an afterthought, looking panicked at having forgotten it.

"Good." Everett steepled his fingers in front of him, a contented little smile curling the corners of his lips.

"G-good?"

"You can go." Everett waved the man out, only at the last minute gesturing to halt him. "Have my secretary send Penfield in, will you?"

"Yes, Mr. Tuttle!"

The suit slipped out the door at record speed, but Marshall showed up at his leisure a good five minutes later than any other employee in the building would have dared for a direct summons from a man who could order an execution over breakfast without letting his eggs go cold.

"You wanted to see me?" Marshall looked as he usually did, petulant at being disturbed, yet just deferential enough to avoid Everett's ire - most of the time.

"Our competition is going to be having their grand opening on the 20th." Everett pronounced each word carefully, knowing Marshall understood the underlying meaning.

"Ungrateful of them," Marshall snarked. "After all you did to, well, discourage that event or at least delay it."

Everett waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "All of those were mere party tricks, designed to make it look like we were trying to stop them; minor efforts that I knew they could easily succeed in sidestepping."

"So if they weren't intended to succeed, what was the point of them?" Marshall asked, a quizzical expression on his face.

"A false sense of security." Everett rose, taking in the expansive and expensive view from the bank of windows behind his imposing executive chair. "If Ms. Reeves thinks I'm easily beaten she won't be adequately prepared when the real attack begins."

"Finally," Marshall mumbled just under his breath enough for plausible deniability, though Everett was definitely supposed to have heard it. In good humor, he let it pass. Marshall had proven time and time again to be a valuable asset so he put up with a fair amount of sass from him in private. At least the boy was smart enough not to quip like that in front of others. There were some advantages to having a genius on payroll. "So we're finally going to get out of neutral and move forward with taking down our 'target'?" The last word was icy, spoken with a relish that showed just how engaged Marshall was with this new project. "When do you plan to strike?"

Everett stepped back to his desk, fingers running over the open folder of documents on his desk that the messenger had delivered, among them an invitation - purloined of course - to the Luxe International grand opening gala on the 20th of that month.

"Oh, I'm thinking I know just the date for a blitz. She'll never see it coming..."

+

Tuesday, 10/9/07 - Day

The stairmaster was the worst, but watching the morning financial news usually took Megan's mind off the burning in her muscles. That and the thought of crème brulee for dessert. She'd gained almost ten pounds her first month in charge, blaming it on too much to do, too much stress and Don and Charlie's former chef trying too hard to impress her so he could keep his job. She'd tried convincing him she had no plans to replace him, but his fear of being shipped out to one of the new restaurants seemed to take root in him and nothing she said could halt the flow of elegant pastries he was using to woo her with.

With two minutes to go she changed channels, making sure CNN didn't have any breaking news from the rest of the world to disrupt her day. People tended not to want to do business as usual when there was a fresh natural disaster or an outbreak of war. Sadly both were far too frequent and her datebook far too packed to afford another hurricane or border skirmish.

Once the final seconds counted down she stepped off the dread machine, mopping her brow with a towel as she reached for her cell phone, pressing the speed-dial sequence to reach her assistant Matt.

"Yes, Megan?"

She smiled at the sleepy sound of his voice. She'd forgotten it was only 6:45AM.

"You must have a special ringtone or something for me," she said, her voice making it clear she was already up and about. "You always know when it's me, even when I've woken you up."

"Actually when you took over I asked Operations for a second cell phone. I have everyone else routed to that number and only you get this one."

"You have one phone just for me?" Megan marveled.

"I never wanted you to get a busy signal."

Megan huffed out a chuckle. "Matt, you really take your work seriously."

"I wouldn't have this job otherwise," he retorted. "What can I do for you?"

"You told me you had a briefing ready for me on the status of Liz's requested upgrades at Polaris?" She hedged a little, feeling only a tiny bit guilty. "Any chance I can get you to deliver that briefing over breakfast? I'm kind of getting too booked up today and Liz needs an answer from me."

"I can be there in two minutes." No put upon sigh, no begrudging tone. Matt really was quite the find. She was going to have to find a nice perk for him this year. Maybe an upgrade from his season tickets to a VIP suite at Angels Stadium. Or a boat. Or both.

"Two minutes..." Her mind finally came back to do the math, almost as quickly realizing why Matt would be able to get there so fast. "You're downstairs," she said, nodding to herself in comprehension. "Tell Kit I'm sorry I woke him."

"Will do," Matt said, sounds of him dressing in the background. "See you in two."

+

"Hello, lover..."

David woke to an exploring fingertip working its way down his chest, blinking his eyes open to find Olivia looking at him with an almost feral hunger despite last night.

David closed his eyes at the memory. He'd only planned on checking in at the Platinum Rail, but Olivia had drawn him in - seductive and passionate as always - and he'd found himself in her bed once again.

The animal nature that drew him to her in the first place still attracted him, but more and more he was seeing that Olivia was all about the spark, the sex, the capture and kill, not the long haul.

Don had assigned him to Claudia and for a while it had been an assignment. Then it started to feel like more and both Don and Megan had encouraged it, perhaps knowing what he was only slowly coming to realize - Olivia wasn't the marrying kind and David was the settling down type. He'd been drawn to the idea of Antoine's life from early on, admiring how the man had managed a relatively safe career in crime while raising a family and was now enjoying his grandchildren even as he kept himself in the game on a part-time basis.

The only problem was Claudia wasn't one of them. Not only was she not a criminal, she worked for the other side: the law. Don had wanted him to look for an opportunity to turn her to their side, but she was too ethical to bribe, too goodhearted to be jaded enough to seduce with money and idealistic enough to believe in what she was doing: enough to put aside how much she could be making in private practice as a doctor to work in a dank basement morgue for the city of Los Angeles.

Still, Claudia made him laugh, made him want to take care of her, made him want to wake up with her in his arms. Olivia just wanted to fuck.

"What's the matter?" Olivia purred. "Cat got your tongue?" She moved to straddle David's supine form, slithering her lithe body against his naked one to get his attention. Despite his best intentions it responded, as it always did to her. Olivia knew every spot, everything that drove him wild. And he knew that about her.

"Just wondering," he said, out of the blue. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Olivia blinked at him, looking half surprised and half annoyed that he apparently wasn't thinking about sex with her or rather was able to think about something other than sex with her.

"I'm three, two, one..." she lowered her body until his awakening cock skimmed her wetness, "inches away from having you and you want to talk about my dumb ass family back east?"

He should have known she was from back east. Hell, she might even be from New York like him. He never asked. She never offered.

Olivia was about the here and now, not the past.

David needed to start thinking about his future.

"No talk," Olivia hushed, sinking down on him slowly, placing a finger on his lips to still his complaints. "Later."

+

Colby woke to soft sheets, hints of sun shining through the sheer drapes and a warm body beside him.

He opened his eyes to find Gabriel's just fluttering open as well.

"Morning," Colby said, his voice rough with disuse.

"Already?" Gabriel asked, not quite grumbling, but definitely wanting to stay in bed if his arm curling around Colby was any indication. "Can it be ten hours ago again? Ten hours ago was a very good time to be."

Colby's mind flashed back to the night before, briefly enjoying the memory instead of the moment.

"That would be nice," he agreed, bringing his attention back. "But since it's now I could make you breakfast so you don't have to get up right away." He nestled his face in the crook of Gabriel's neck, inhaling his boyfriend's scent. "Or we could play hooky."

"It's Tuesday - meeting day," Gabriel reminded him. "And you know there's no way we're going to skip out on Megan. We could be in the hospital with two broken legs and she'd show up asking for our status reports."

"She's not that bad," Colby assured him. "I have it on good authority she bullied Darby into not working for weeks after she got hurt."

Gabriel laughed, the sound of his South American accent rich and resonant in the room. "Oh, that is an accomplishment! I think the only thing harder from keeping Darby off her motorcycle would be to keep Marco and Terry from having sex." As his laughter died down, he curled into Colby, pulling him closer. "Today we woke up at my place. Maybe tomorrow at yours." He held Colby's gaze, the sincerity in his eyes waking Colby up the rest of the way. "How long do we wait before we tell Megan we don't need two apartments?"

Colby's breath caught.

"You know," he finally managed, "if we give up one of these swank apartments and then later want it back... They might have already given it away..."

"Then I'll give up mine," Gabriel told him firmly. "That way if you decide you don't want me anymore I'll be the one to go find somewhere else to live."

"If I decide I don't want you anymore?" Colby exclaimed, stunned. "No, it's you who's going to wise up and toss my farm boy ass out!"

Gabriel's hand skimmed under the sheets to grasp Colby's ass with a quirk of a smile on his lips.

"Oh, no..." Gabriel leaned in for a kiss, one deep and possessive, one Colby sank into, letting his worries fall away. "I'm definitely keeping you."

+

Megan settled in at the head of the conference room table, noting that everyone was in their seats and Darby was off to the side, her motorcycle helmet on the chair beside her - as always ready to go. She'd been reticent to attend the management meetings as a peer - even though she was the organization's top field operative, but Megan had convinced her to attend by framing it as data gathering for her so she'd know all that was going on, all the concerns, all the factors that might be impacted by what was going on with their competition and worse, their enemies.

She'd seen the logic in that, but refused to sit at the table, refused to speak up. So Megan was resigned to her attendance being as a listener, even though she could toss a few questions her way during and not ruffle Darby's feathers too much.

"Okay, I've reviewed all your reports and we'll get to them on the agenda shortly, but first..." She looked down both sides of the table. "Darby and I have been discussing Tuttle's pattern of minor attacks since word got out that Don and Charlie had retired and left the country. We agree that these are just nuisance attacks, designed to make us think... Well, we can't be sure, but my belief is that he wants me to get cocky, to think that he's easy to defeat. That means he's planning something bigger, probably more public as well."

"Well, public would be the grand opening," Liz offered. "It's the first official event you're hosting as new CEO so I'm sure he'll want to mess with you over it."

"Agreed," Megan said. "But he's got to know we're working really hard to prevent any interruption of that event. To that end..." She glanced over at Darby whose expression was tight, tense. Ever since Ian and Ivy had gotten the best of her, running her off the road, she'd been pushing hard for a chance to go back up against Ivy and Tuttle's crew. Megan had told her to keep a cool head, not think of revenge, but to Darby her honor and reputation were at stake and few things were more important to her. "We think Tuttle's going to strike right before the opening so that we're running ragged at a time when all eyes are on us."

David piped up next. "I've increased security at all our satellite locations, to the point of having to turn down a few lower end paying clients. Our regulars are getting good service, but it's more important that we take care of the partners who host our gambling operations..."

"And the other organizations who haven't come under our umbrella yet," Millie interrupted, "like Giuseppe."

David nodded his agreement and continued. "They'll be our focus for the near term. We'll still stay on schedule for the openings of the offices and the new hotel, but I agree with Megan: scaling back in the short term is worth it to ensure Tuttle doesn't do any damage."

Megan leaned forward, garnering their close attention.

"We have no idea how he'll hit us or where, who he'll target or to what level. We could be looking at anything from a tax audit to automatic weapons fire aimed at those of us at this table." A grim silence fell over the room. "So all of you, take David's extra security precautions seriously, lock up your loved ones and keep your heads down. We knew Tuttle wasn't going to let this grace period end. The war has begun, people. Let's make sure any casualties? Aren't ours."

+

Tuesday, 10/9/07 - Night

"So... What do you think?"

Marco turned in a slow circle, surveying the gleaming silver appliances ringing the main kitchen area of his new restaurant: Ice. Megan had picked the cold theme for their first boutique hotel/club/restaurant property, figuring it would stand out in the heat of Southern California in an appetizing way and Marco had approached the concept with glee, redesigning many of his appetizers and some desserts to be served over shaved ice mounds plus expanding the sushi portion of the menu. He'd even worked with the bartender to fashion some signature ice-oriented drinks.

He knew Terry was waiting for an answer, but she always moved too fast, always had. Talked too fast, worked too hard, her mind always speeding ahead of those around her.

But he knew how to make her take a break.

"Bravissimo!" he proclaimed, kissing his fingers with a flourish. "There is not one thing out of place. All is perfection!" He took a deep breath, breathing with the same gusto that he did everything in life. "I cannot wait for it to be filled with bustling staff, wonderful smells and the best food in all of Los Angeles!"

He grabbed her wrist and yanked her close, enveloping her in his arms suddenly hungry for the taste of her skin, the warmth of her body, the fire he knew was inside her.

"You're incorrigible," Terry scolded playfully even as she untucked Marco's shirt and ran her hands up his back, nails lightly scraping the skin there as Marco growled into her neck.

"Sì..." He lifted her up, light as air, onto the stainless steel counter behind her, fingers making short work of the few buttons on her shirt, shoving it off to reveal the racy red lace peek-a-boo bra beneath the stolid businesswoman's blouse. His mouth sought out each rosy nub beneath, raising them with his probing tongue as Terry's nimble fingers undid his belt and opened his pants while his own worked on wrinkling her nice proper skirt. "Have to christen it don't I?"

"Definitely," Terry murmured, teeth scraping his earlobe just the way he liked it. "But afterwards you are so making me dinner."

"Mia Teresita..." Marco captured his wife's mouth, drunk with pleasure at the vibrating energy flowing between them. "You are the only food I need." An idea came to him and he cast an eye towards his satchel; he had just come from a new product tasting and still had the samples he'd shown Terry earlier with him. "On second thought..." He kissed her firmly then pulled away, leaving her watching him with questioning eyes even as she finishing shedding the last of her clothing.

Once he pulled the cork on the bottle of gourmet macadamia nut oil the aroma spread quickly throughout the room.

"Oh..." Terry smiled her approval as he brought it over to her. "I liked that one."

"It will be even better on you," Marco proclaimed. He eased her down to lie on the counter, drizzling oil lightly over her torso, coating her breasts liberally and letting it pool in the y of her thighs. Putting it aside, he set his hands to work - gorging himself on touching the slick slender body beneath his hands, bending to lick the nutty oil from her skin and sliding slippery fingers into her as she gasped and writhed before him.

A moan of impatience told him not to wait any longer so he pulled her from the counter so she stood facing it, bending at the waist to display her perfect ass to him.

He drizzled more oil down the crack and had to bite his lip as he used it to slick his cock.

Pressing inside, a flood of little curses - all breath, no real words - fell from his lips.

With oily hands he grasped his wife's hips and began to thrust with vigor. He could barely hold on with the violent motion each time he buried himself in her, but that was all right - Terry always met him with equal fervor, every time.

+

"Are those the new bulbs or the old ones?"

The contractor checked his clipboard. "The new ones."

Liz shook her head, plainly disapproving. "No. They're still not bright enough. You promised me the fixtures could handle the wattage we needed."

"They can," the man said hurriedly. "They can handle fifty more watts than we've got in there now."

"Then put in bulbs with 50 more watts," Liz instructed. "This is the one place where clear crisp white light will be the most visible to our clientele." She stood back, examining the silver metal letters making up the club's name: Polaris. The white lights made the silver pop and glisten, but not quite enough to awe. "If I'm going to pay that much on my electric bill every month it better be worth it."

"Your bill should be very reasonable with all the energy efficient lighting we've used throughout," the contractor added.

"By design," Liz pointed out. "But as I said, this is one place where we don't cut corners." She reached forward to polish an imagined spot on one of the letters. "This is the place where it has to look perfect."

"We're done hanging the art," a young man said as he approached. "Would you like to check it now?"

"Absolutely." Liz followed the man into the club and began a survey of all the wall art they'd had commissioned exclusively for the club. Megan had found an artist in Santa Monica who was originally from Greenland - an island far more known for its ice than Iceland - and worked with her to develop a signature style that was inspired by ice yet still modern enough to be considered sculpture and not decoration. She'd bought out the rights to the designs as well, ensuring the artist could not make any more sculptures in that vein without Luxe's permission.

The effect was breathtaking. Liz felt like she'd walked into an ice museum from some sort of fantasy world. The works shimmered, looking as if they were hovering in time and space about to melt or crack and be gone forever despite being built to withstand the reveling of hundreds of drunken partiers. The club would not be empty once they opened, but the works were hung high enough that they would be visible above the heads of the dancers on the dance floor and the bar patrons as well. The most impressive piece was behind the bar itself, a motion sculpture that evoked a frozen river and thousands of icicles making their way down the flowing waters. Liz wasn't sure how the artist had done it, but she couldn't take her eyes off of it.

"Does it look okay?" the young man asked from behind her.

Liz looked around at the pristine whiteness, the glittering iciness and the beautiful symmetries.

"It looks like heaven."

+

Robin held two dresses up to herself in the mirror. She'd worn both of them to work before so it wasn't like she couldn't choose either of them and be fine, but she wasn't always decisive about how she felt each night.

"How about this one?"

Tim appeared from behind her and held a dress up in front of both of the other two. The dress was from the back of her closet, one she'd bought but kind of forgotten about since, figuring it needed alterations before she could wear it. Then again, Tim's good cooking and no longer having to have sex full time for a living had given her curves a bit more time to regain their curviness.

"I can give it a try." She tossed the two other dresses on the nearby bed which left her with the rejected dress she already had on. She turned her back to Tim purposefully. "Unzip me?"

"I thought you planned on going to work," he joshed even as he complied.

"Ha ha," she tossed back, sarcastic. "I know you too well. You have too much self control to make me late for work with just an unzipping."

"Clearly I have to work on surprising you more," Tim stated playfully with a boyish grin, pulling the dress in his hand off its hanger. "Here. I think this one will look hot on you."

Robin slipped out of the tangerine colored sheath she'd had on first and pulled the chocolate brown dress over her head. It was made with a lovely raw silk fabric and a empire waist surplice top that made the most of her pushed up cleavage.

As suspected the extra filling out made the dress fit like a dream, giving her curves beyond even those she already had.

"Wow..." Tim stood behind her staring into the mirror at her. "Is it too late to change my mind and make you late for work?"

Robin just laughed. "Yes, it is, but let's plan on you unzipping me again once I get home." She planted a quick kiss on his lips and went to go find some shoes to wear. "Hey, I had a nice chat with your sister today while you were gone."

"Kim called? How's she doing?"

Robin emerged from her closet with a pair of heels she'd bought to go with another dress but discovered they'd be great with this one. "She feels as big as a house. Don keeps telling her she's beautiful, but she's already missing having a waistline." Once the shoes were on she stood in front of the full length mirror again to inspect her reflection. "I told her she's going to be gorgeous even at nine months."

"She totally will be," Tim agreed. He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and their eyes met in the mirror. "You know you would be too. I mean, beautiful at any size."

"Is that your subtle way of telling me you want to have kids someday?" Robin teased.

"You know me, babe," Tim said with a friendly chuckle. "I suck at being subtle. But speaking of..." He took her hand and pulled her over so he could sit on the bed and look up at her, situating her between his legs where she settled comfortably, hands on his shoulders. "Megan said, I mean she gave me the option..." He flushed, a little nervous blush coloring his cheeks. "Well, she said if we wanted to have one of the apartments in her building we could. So I thought maybe we could, you know, if you thought that was a good idea."

"Are you asking me to move in with you officially?" Robin asked teasingly, running her fingers through the slightly too long curls at the back of Tim's neck.

"Not exactly," Tim admitted. He fished around in his pocket and pulled out something tiny and shiny Robin didn't get a glimpse of until Tim held it up: a diamond ring. "I was kind of hoping to ask you if you'd be my girl...for good."

For a heartbeat Robin couldn't breathe and then she leaped at him with a squeal of delight all but tackling him down to the bed in an explosion of kisses.

"Yes! You silly man! Yes!"

+

"Darby's here."

Matt's voice, although quiet, bounced around the walls of the empty offices. This late at night it was just Megan and Matt; she'd made him work too late again, forgetting he had someone to go home to. She made a mental note to consider offering Gabriel's apartment to Matt once Gabriel made things official with Colby by moving in with him. Matt had turned down an apartment before, but considering how much time he and Kit spent together he might not need it for long before those two became a permanent item as well.

Antoine and Celeste, Millie and Sandra, Marco and Terry... Now Matt and Kit and Colby and Gabriel were settling down. Even David had two women in his life, one of whom she was sure he'd eventually decide on. It was starting to feel like she was the only one of them over 30 who was still alone.

"Megan?" Matt's voice had a hint of concern to it and Megan realized she'd been slow in responding. She gestured to him impatiently.

"Yeah, yeah. Show her in. And take off will you? You have to remind me that you should be able to leave at some point."

"You sure?" Matt gave her a look that reminded her of her mother asking if she was eating enough. He was a great assistant and he really kept the mother hen routine down to the bare minimums so she must be working too hard. She had to. With Tuttle breathing down her neck she didn't have time to rest. Too many people were counting on her and it wasn't just the bottom line at stake - it was lives.

"Yes, I'm sure. Give Kit my best."

"I'm headed home tonight actually," Matt admitted. "I need sleep and it's not like I won't see him here tomorrow."

"Then get some rest," Megan said as Darby slipped past him into the room, her helmet in one hand and a coffee in the other as she settled onto one of the guest sofas in her discussion area, not a guest chair in front of her desk. A long talk then or a serious one. Not a good sign. She rose, heading over to where Darby was, waving Matt off. "Go. I'll try not to call you at oh-dark-anything tomorrow."

"Thanks. Night... Night, Darby."

"Later, Matt." Darby waved haphazardly to the area behind her, not unfriendly just efficient for her as she drank her coffee.

Matt closed the door behind him and Megan settled into the sofa across from Darby.

"I'm not going to like this am I?" she asked, bracing herself.

"Nope," Darby told her, ever the straight talker. "You're not."

Megan let out a long breath.

"Hit me."

"It's coming," Darby said, her tone dead serious. "And it's going to be bad."

+

Thursday, 10/11/07 - Day

"No, put them in the White Room." Gabriel switched his cell phone to his other hand to fish out his car keys with the other as he walked to his roadster. "They're too important a client. Megan would want us to pull out all the stops to impress them. And put extra servers on staff that night. We need to make sure they want for nothing. If anyone gets thirsty at that event, we've failed. Hey, can you do me a favor? Call Operations and ask them when they send over the replacement for my broken Bluetooth headset if they can give me two? That way I won't have to wait once I break the next one and you know I go through those things..."

"Gabe! Wait up!"

Gabriel turned to find Colby jogging towards him through the parking structure of the Prescott building.

"Call me if you need anything else." Gabriel finished up his call and held out his hands in confusion at why Colby was rushing over. "What?"

"You left before your follow car got here!" Colby admonished. "I know we're spread a little thin, but you're supposed to wait for your security detail before you leave."

"David said they were two minutes out when I called him," Gabriel explained. "I was going to wait for them."

"Wait inside from now on, okay?" Colby, having caught up to him, ran a protective hand up Gabriel's arm to squeeze his shoulder. "Please?"

"Para ti? De acuerdo." Gabriel leaned in for a quick kiss. "I won't be gone long. I just have to meet with a restaurant supply company about expanding our account to cover the new hotel." His phone chimed with a new text message and he glanced at it. "My follow car is at the entrance to the parking garage."

"I'll ride down with you then." Colby went around the other side of the car and let himself in once Gabriel, shaking his head, remote unlocked the doors and got in himself.

"So who's watching over you?" Gabriel teased as he started the ignition.

"Me, myself," Colby ticked off on his fingers, "the Prescott building security cameras, David's team hacking into those feeds, the tracker in my watch..."

"Those aren't bodyguards," Gabriel admonished. His expression turned serious. "I know you're trained for security, but you're still a target too. Don't forget that." He took a second to cup Colby's jaw in his hand. "Be careful."

"Always," Colby assured him.

Gabriel pulled out of his reserved parking space and began the series of turns to make it out of the multistory parking garage. As soon as they made the turn from the second floor to the first the light from the exit to the California sunlight glared in the windshield and he started at the loud sound of rapid popping noises.

In a flash Colby was over him, dragging him down below the window level. His feet went out automatically, slamming on the brakes, throwing him awkwardly into his seat belt. Colby let out a painful sound as he went into the dash; he clearly hadn't had his seat belt on.

The sounds of running feet and more popping split the air around them, but Colby just held him fast.

"Stay down!"

Gabriel caught a glimpse of something in Colby's hand: his gun.

With a shiver he envisioned his father and brother - the last moments of their lives before they were murdered in Colombia - and froze up in fear.

He almost jumped out of his skin when the driver's side door abruptly opened up.

"Is anyone hit?"

Colby pulled back and Gabriel could see Carlos' concerned face gazing at them from outside.

"Are you hit?" Colby asked, frantic, patting him down.

"No, no... I'm fine," Gabriel managed. It was then he saw the splintered glass where the bullets had impacted his windshield - impacted but not penetrated thanks to Megan insisting on refitting everyone's car with bulletproof glass.

Colby let out a breath beside him. "We're good," he told Carlos as Rodolpho appeared by his side. "Please tell me we got those sons of bitches."

Rodolpho shook his head. "They apparently rappelled off the second floor to the back of the garage and had a car waiting. Dark sedan, no plates, probably stolen anyway."

Gabriel sat back, letting his head fall against the seat behind him.

"They tried to kill me."

"Yes," Colby said, his voice sounding scared in a way that made this so much more terrifying. "They did."

+

"Are you sure you're all right?"

Megan looked between both Colby and Gabriel, worried. They'd both had a serious scare, but Gabriel wasn't used to being shot at and Colby wasn't used to caring about someone as much as he clearly cared about Gabriel. He hadn't left his boyfriend's side since the attempt on his life and Megan wasn't about to ask either of them to leave the safety of the apartment building.

"I'm not hurt," Gabriel told her. "Just..." He held out his hand and watched it shake until Colby took it in his, pressed it to his lips in a kiss then held it tight in both of his own. "I'll be fine."

"Still, we're on red alert," Megan said solemnly. "So none of this business about going anywhere without your full security detail." Her voice softened when she realized how harsh that had come out. "Listen, Gabriel. All these precautions are to prevent things like this from happening in the first place. So please, from now on..."

"I promise," Gabriel answered quickly. He stared down at his and Colby's joined hands for a moment then raised his gaze to her. "You'll get those bastards, won't you?"

Megan nodded. "Count on it." She gave Gabriel a final pat on the arm. "Call me if you need anything."

With a grim smile to Colby in farewell she let herself out of Gabriel's apartment to find Matt waiting for her, equally grim.

"Give me some good news," she bemoaned.

"David's hacking team found a security camera on a wi-fi system near the parking garage that recorded the getaway," Matt told her as they walked down the hall to the elevator. "We ran the images through facial recognition and have IDs on two of Tuttle's crew as the shooters and one as the driver."

"Let me guess, but not enough to prove they did it?"

"Enough to prove it to you," Matt told her. "But no, not in a court of law."

"Still, I'll take it to Walker." She stood in front of the elevator not pressing either the up or down button. "I know I should go down, get back in my limo and head back to the mansion to work." A brief pause. "But part of me really wants to go upstairs to my place, scream into my pillow, drink a bottle of wine and go to bed so I can forget this day happened."

"If it helps?" Matt said, looking encouraging. "You can raise the partition between you and the driver and scream in the back of the limo. My ears can take it."

Megan huffed out a laugh with no mirth behind it.

"Matt, you're so prepared for everything I bet you carry earplugs with you."

"Nah," Matt told her, pressing the down button. "I hid them in the back of the limo instead."

+

The teleconference was chaos, everyone talking at once over a less than optimal connection, but Megan wasn't willing to risk anyone traveling unnecessarily to get to the mansion for an in person session.

"Are you sure Gabriel's all right?" Liz's voice, she thought.

"Do we have the bulletproof glass in everyone's car already?" That was likely Marco.

"Quiet! Please! Everyone!" she said finally. After a second, more to compose herself than ensure the silence, Megan continued. "This call is more about me sending a message to all of you than a meeting so please just listen. Our code red stands. We are not dark, we are not going dark. We saw this coming, people. Darby warned us there would be violence and there has been. Clearly Tuttle's not satisfied to come after us in the board room or the courtroom. He wants blood. But he's not going to get any. David?"

"Yes, Megan?" David was always steady, a rock even in the most frenetic of times.

"Stop accepting any new business for Security unless it's a priority client. We need to allot more of our staff to protection detail."

"Understood."

"To all of you: inform your staff that all unnecessary travel outside of our facilities is to be canceled or postponed. Everyone should stay in one of our buildings as much as possible; we're safe there. Now is a time for keeping our heads down."

"Question?"

She wasn't sure who had asked, but thought it might be Alex.

"Go ahead."

"What are we doing to fight back? I mean, we're not going to just let Tuttle do this to us, right? We can't just hide and hope it blows over."

"We do not hide, we play it safe to protect our assets," Megan stated firmly. "Which would be all of you - the members of our family. We are not hoping it blows over, but we are prepared for this not to be the end. And I assure you..." She flipped open a file on her desk and glanced over at Howard sitting across from her. "We are not letting this go unanswered."

+

David rushed out of his car so fast his follow team barely caught up with him by the time he got to the main office - or what used to be the main office of Giuseppe's luxury car rental company.

"Jesus..." He shook his head at the smoky ruins and broken glass. Tuttle had come at one of their own then firebombed one of their partners in broad daylight.

"It could have been worse." Giuseppe appeared by his side, looking into the remains of his posh office.

"We will pay for all the damage and then some, of course," David told him.

"I know." Giuseppe just kept looking at the burned out shell of the corner of the building. Amazingly the damage was limited to just that one portion. "The important thing was no one was hurt. When Megan called me I sent everyone home and did like she said, put your security guys in their mechanic's and driver's clothes so it would like like business as usual. So none of my people were here when it happened - just me. And your men? They were so fast with the fire extinguishers! The firemen said that's what kept it from spreading, taking the whole building."

"Still, I'm..."

"No apologies." Giuseppe waved him off. "I know being with Don has kept me safe many times in the past and I have faith Megan will deal with this too. She's strong, tough..." He nodded, almost to himself. "And Rodolpho trusts her."

"Your son's a good man," David told him.

Giuseppe smiled, oddly calm. "Yes, and when he's ready he can run the business. But for now? I think it's time I step aside and let the next generation take charge." He turned to face David. "You tell Megan that I accept her offer. As long as she lets Rodolpho run the business like we discussed I will hand it over to her. I'm an old man, ready to spend my final years playing with the grandchildren I know Rodolpho and Bianca want to have right away." He took a final look at the building, taking in the office, the lot of fancy cars and the garage behind it. "She can fix it up for him. I'm done."

+

Thursday, 10/11/07 - Night

David's follow team was getting better at keeping up with him by the time his car screeched to a halt in the organization's reserved space in the Platinum Rail parking lot.

He ran in, both men only seconds behind, to find the elegant bar looking completely normal: patrons sipping expensive Scotch in bespoke suits as the bartender calmly polished glasses behind the bar.

"Not here."

Olivia appeared, cocking her head to get David to follow: no hello, no greeting, just a brusque businesslike tone with more than a hint of anger.

David gestured to his men to have one stay and one come with him and followed Olivia into the back room where the illicit wagering took place.

This was indeed where it had gone down.

Tables knocked over, chairs broken, even a couple of flat screen TVs cracked and dark, hanging askew on the walls.

"Anyone hurt?" David asked quickly.

"Not any clients," Olivia told him, also surveying the wreckage as staff went about cleaning it up. "A few of my people got their punches in and got a few punches in return."

"How the hell did Tuttle get enough people back here to start a riot?" David mused aloud.

"Trust me, I'm going to be right next to your guys reviewing the security tapes trying to find out," Olivia said darkly. "I am seriously pissed." She finally turned to David, hands on her hips. "I have to admit though, having the room stocked with your guys and my guys both shut them down damn quick. Still they did a lot of damage in five minutes and I'm not talking about to the furniture."

"Believe me, once word gets out Tuttle's behind this?" David kept his voice low. "His clients are going to freak and none of our clients are going to ever go back to him."

"You can't prove Tuttle was behind this." Olivia frowned. "I bet he took a bunch of our once in a blue moon clients, wracked them up with a lot of debt then promised to wipe it out if they fucked up the Rail on cue."

"We'll be looking into that, especially once we run the facial recognition on who was here tonight and who were the ones throwing the punches - and the furniture." David finally put a gentle hand on her arm, feeling her stiffen slightly at his touch but not enough to shake his hand off. "Are you okay?"

She took a step forward to pick up a fallen chair at her feet and that did break the contact between them. She righted the chair then turned back to David, her eyes stern and cold.

"You know me. I'm tough. I always come out on top."

+

"This is insanity!"

Megan was pacing her office, feeling for once like the expansive mansion was like a prison. She'd been the one to forbid any unnecessary travel for employees, but now she felt like she was stuck there, putting aside the fact that she had a fully stocked suite of her own at the mansion for those all too frequent nights she didn't feel like driving back late to the apartment building only to come back first thing in the morning.

"I agree that it makes little sense in terms of an offensive, but it is what it is," Matt offered. "Tuttle's sharp. So maybe we can't figure out his game plan, but we still have our own to consider."

"We do," Megan agreed, pausing her pacing briefly. "Any news from Howard or Sandra?"

"Not yet."

Megan resumed her pacing. "He's attempted a hit on one of my new managers, he's firebombed a partner company, he staged a riot at one of our gambling locations... What do those attacks all have in common?"

"One, they threw us into red alert mode," Matt enumerated.

"But they weren't enough for us to go dark..." Megan stopped pacing and slipped into the big executive chair behind her desk, looking pensive. "So was that on purpose, trying to keep us open, or have we just adjusted our tolerance for code blacks?"

"We have, but if he wanted us dark," Matt mused, "why firebomb Giuseppe's and not Code or E?"

"Code and E are too well protected." Megan waved off the idea with a gesture. "And The Loft is too remote for a firebomb being on top of a skyscraper. No, he's not trying to make us go dark. What the hell does he want? There's no logic to it all!"

"Logic..." Matt perked up. "Listen, I know you're going to say I've been spending too much time with Kit, but he talks a lot about how math is logic."

Megan drew a breath. "Penfield..."

"No, wait! Hear me out!" Matt interrupted, rising. "We know Tuttle has a top mathematician and logician working for him, same as we once had Charlie so we assume that any plan Tuttle puts into play has been at least run past Penfield for logic testing."

"Yes..." Megan looked to him to continue.

"What if this is the whole point? What if they are choosing to not follow any specific logic in the hopes that we'll waste hours trying to discern their plan when the hits are essentially random?" Matt faced Megan from across her desk. "I say ignore logic and patterns and go with what your gut tells you. What is Tuttle doing?"

Megan stared back at Matt, tuning into her intuition. Don had told her once that her instincts were what got her the job even though Terry had long been next in the line of succession and her instincts were screaming at her right now.

"He's not trying to kill us. He's not trying to shut us down. This is all about competition. He wants our clients and if he can't get them by doing a better job he's going to try to make it look like we're the worse choice."

"So the riot at the Platinum Rail?"

"To scare the customers into not going there," Megan explained, rising. "To make them think places related to us are dangerous."

"Giuseppe?"

"To make sure all our partners think working with us is too risky." Megan quickly speed dialed on her desk phone.

"And Gabriel?"

Megan answered as the phone rang.

"To frighten off potential new employees. He knows we need to staff up for the new hotel and no one wants to get shot just for a paycheck."

"Lake."

"Terry," Megan snatched up the receiver, "Get Howard on the line. I need your MBA and his legal expertise. We've got to fight this war on the public relations front and fast!"

+

"So, the shooting went fairly well. The firebomb did a nice amount of damage. The riot was a bit shorter than hoped, but word will still get around about it." Marshall looked up from where he'd been checking off items on their offensive to find Everett staring out the window of the office at his estate, looking out into the darkness of the dimly lit terrace and grounds beyond the window panes. "Am I boring you, Sir?"

"No, no," Everett waved a hand in his direction. "Hearing about besting our enemies is always amusing, but it all seems so trifling compared to the big picture." He rotated his chair back to look at Marshall instead. "So has your randomizing matrix come up with a second set of attacks they won't be able to predict or comprehend?"

"Of course," Marshall said haughtily. "I think you'll like them." He handed a printout across the desk then returned to his chair as Everett read the items on the list.

"Oh, very nice."

"Thank you, Sir."

"And you seem to think these random waiting periods between attacks will throw them off even more?"

"It will keep them constantly guessing," Marshall said proudly. "They won't have enough time between them to relax and they won't have enough data with which to predict future behavior on our part. That's the beauty of it. We have full control, they have none. We do the planning, they just react - and react badly."

"We hope." Everett turned back to the windows. "So far the effect has been minimal, but I can be patient when it comes to getting what I want. I didn't get to be the man I am today by rushing into things. If I'm going to lure their clients away before Reeves and her organization crumble into dust at our hands? I'm going to make sure I do it right."

"What makes you believe that another organization won't rise up in their place once you're done with them?" Marshall asked, brazen as always.

"Oh, they could," Everett smiled, white teeth bared in more of a wolfish threat than a proper smile. "But once they see what's left of Reeves when I'm done with her and her pack of mongrels and whores? They won't want to go up against me."

"Because to go up against you is to lose," Marshall supplied.

Everett rose from his chair and walked to the window. Only then did Marshall see the tension in his body, balling his hands into fists despite his outwardly calm demeanor.

"No, to go up against me? Is to be destroyed."

+

Gary knew the drill, but the apprehension he'd felt each time he was called before Don hadn't gone away when Don retired and Megan took over. If anything, Megan was even colder, more businesslike - if that was even possible.

"Gary."

"Megan."

Megan stayed in the shadows, but he knew her voice well enough by now.

"This war with Tuttle... It's getting out of hand."

"Tuttle's not in my purview," Gary said, splaying out his hands. "If he was a cop I could help, but since he's not..."

"The law is your purview." Megan's voice rumbled with displeasure and Gary felt like his shirt collar was suddenly a bit too tight. "He shot at one of my employees. When I last checked that was still illegal."

"It is, but if there's no proof..."

"Screw proof!" Megan spat out. "You know we'd bribe some people to say they were eye witnesses if that's what you needed, but you can't guarantee that even if we arranged for witnesses that you'd bring Tuttle in."

"We could bring in a few of his men maybe, put a crimp in his style. But Megan, you know as well as I do that J. Everett Tuttle insulates himself from his crimes just for this purpose - so he can't get charged with anything. I mean, we could trump up some charges, but nothing would stick so it wouldn't be worth it in the long run." He offered up a slight shrug. "Now if you could get me some hard evidence of racketeering or hell, even tax evasion! I'd be happy to read him his rights. But I'm not the police force and the judge and jury rolled into one. I'm just one cop, not a miracle worker."

"I don't pay you to work miracles," Megan retorted. "But I do expect you to use your position to look after my business interests. We haven't even gotten any intel from you in weeks."

"Tuttle's got these people scared," Gary explained. "No one's talking to the cops, not even for a few bills. He's got them believing spilling on him means a funeral and I can't threaten them with the same to counter it." He stood up as straight as he could. "I stand by my word. I'm not scared of Tuttle. You get me some evidence? I'll put him in handcuffs myself even if I have to go to his own house to do it."

"Then keep those handcuffs ready," Megan told him, slipping away into the shadows. "You're going to need them."

+

Part 3


 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 14th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
Confession
Please see the Sin Series Post for information on and Confession for this Series.

Information on the Viceworld universe, of which Sin is a spin off occuring following the events of Vice and Virtue, can be found in the Vice Series Post and the Virtue Series Posts 1 and 2.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on July 14th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Hey doll! Just a quick run-by squee for this! squeeeeeeeee! for a minute there i didn't think you had posted cause i was tracking n3bigbang and there was no notification for yesterday. how lovely it was to see this on my flist after all! <3 /adding your journal to my tracking options now/

can't wait to re-read this again and go for the sinfully delicious ride you created. much much much love

xoxoxoxoxo
T
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 14th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
/smishes you/

I'm still waiting for the NBB mods to approve my post since the comm is moderated.

You're in for a surprise on reread - I expanded the Marco/Terry scene. Hehehe ;-)

Thanks for all your support for Sin/Viceworld/everything.

t_vo0810t_vo0810 on July 22nd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
;ld%l@fs$@3#!

good god almighty. i might need a little time to myself now. /takes calming breath/ u r an evol wicked lady, ms. emma. macadamia nut oil? good lord, i didn't know whether to wipe my mouth or change my undies, if u pardon my vulgarity. you wicked lovely porny woman, you.

Ok, so I have to confess something. U know how completely much i love viceworld and the eppes brothers, and while i was excited for Sin, I did not look forward to it with the same tenor or verve that I have for the other vice installments. I would just like to proclaim here and now that I am a total f*cking idiot. I LOVE your vice!megan. like I wanna marry her and have her babies kind of love. And Marshall is just as delightfully and maliciously devious in this even without Charlie as a foil. And the porn I just love all the various kinds of porn. Sin has it all ('cept the cest, but that's ok). It has adorable geek love and muy caliente love and holy f*cking hell that's hot food porn love and completely precious and sweet MFEO love. It just completely awesome.
And the action! good night, nurse! i forgot how quick Sin jets into rising action. right away, we are already worried for all of our vice!boys and vice!girls. Just brava, luv! you totally outdid yourself. I love Sin just as much as Vice and Virture. It's just completely brills, my dear, and all without the help of the brothers eppes. Now that is IMPRESSIVE!