"Boris," Alex hesitated, "I don't want to fucking do this anymore." The blond stood at a caustic blue payphone, hand braced to the metal casing. He was tall in ankle-breaking heels, painted in stereotypical camouflage, with synthetic hair down past his shoulders.
The handset was held away from his cheek; who knows what lived on its chipped paint surface?
A deep chuckle flittered through the receiver. Alex's eyes narrowed.
"You told me," he sucked his teeth, "you told me that if I proved I could be more, that you would give me...More. You told me, that if I tried my hardest to show just what I was fucking capable of, that you'd get me out."
"Yes, little bird, but you are very good at what you do."
"I didn't ask for it!" Alex cut Boris off, who cut him off in turn.
"It's just business. Nothing personal," the man's rolling accent battered against the blond's ear like the wings of birds.
Alex punched the handset into its holster and shook the metal frame.
Staring up at the ceiling above him, Alex's focused on a crack. It spiraled out to make a river in a seam, reaching for a far window that Alex couldn't see.
The blond looked over the shoulder in his way, trying to get a view of just how far the crack actually traveled. It was far more interesting than what he was putting up with, at the moment.
"I don't understand why he has me with the Sicilians; we're fighting over zip codes anyways—maybe that's why," the blond's leg was lifted far over his head, "he's sent me to this shit hole, with grunts, like a peace offering. When the actual way to solve this fucking problem would be to kill our competition, and be done with it."
The man manhandling the blond made an awkward face, spoke in a language Alex didn't know (though he knew three fluently), grunted, then fell on top of him.
"I wouldn't even care if I'd accepted it myself. You know? Family fucking business. Do you even...fucking understand a single word I'm saying?"
The man obviously didn't. The man rolled off of his body and reached for a pack of cigarettes, leaving Alex staring at the crack in the ceiling.
Another man entered the room.
"I've heard you were the best on Boris' list, but you look like a dead fish," said the new man. Tall, square-jawed, an obvious weapon at his side, mulling for a lighting in his pocket. He made a gesture, and the man on the edge of the bed tossed him the packet of cigarettes.
He pulled one out, lit it, walked closer to the bed, and stared down at the blond, who didn't meet his gaze. Alex resumed grilling the crack in the ceiling.
"Give me a cigarette," Alex said.
"Oh, she's making demands?"
"...he," Alex corrected, his gaze flicking to the tall man's face.
"She's making demands. Didn't think Boris would give me a mouthy slu—" the word didn't make it past his lips. Alex lunged for his gun and blew his brains all over the wall.
The man on the bed similarly dropped; now but a mere red stain across a television screen.
Seeing without seeing, moving without moving, Alex tore through the penthouse with a gun. He found more guns easily. He found more people to kill, easily.
He killed them, easily.
He killed a maid who knew what was happening and had been paid not to question it. He killed a mechanic who seemed to be fixing an air conditioner, because he was in the way.
He killed everyone he could find between himself and leaving the building. Even people who didn't deserve it.
Luckily for the humans of New York's streets, Alex's black-out ended the minute he wandered into a familiar back-alley and found a heavy gun in his hand.
Staring at it like he had the crack in the ceiling, the blond's eyes widened. He looked down at his hands; covered in blood. He looked down at his dress and found it splattered scarlet.
He had managed to destroy an entire wing of a rival group without getting hurt, without being seen by anyone who could say anything, anything at all. They were dead; he'd never have made it this far if he'd left anyone alive.
His hands shook.
"Little bird," Boris started up, sitting across from the blond who had managed to shower, put on his usual garb of 'annoying punk tourist', and was bouncing his leg up and down as they spoke in Boris' bar.
"What have you done?" The man Alex liked the least asked, furry brows tilting upwards, a hand smearing across his mouth to worry the sentence into his skin.
"...I've killed them. All of them. I'm...so fucking sorry, I don't know what fucking happened—I just," Boris raised his hand to keep Alex's voice level, who dropped his volume, "I just..."
Boris leaned forward.
"...can you do it again?"
"I'm—fucking excuse me?" Alex's leg bouncing accelerated.
"Can you do it again, little bird? Maybe..." Boris sat back in his chair, eying the blond whose eyes were red. He'd obviously wrestled with this in sleeplessness.
"Maybe this is what you do."
"Maybe this is more your style, yes? Maybe this is how you're useful. Maybe this—little bird—is how you sing."
Alex's flat, as always, had been a biohazard. But the reasoning for its messiness in recent months had nothing to do with his innate slovenliness.
Perched on the floor, the blond raised his hand and shuffled a series of sticky notes. Sticky notes with shorthand on them. Sticky notes he affixed to Polaroids.
Polaroids of people he knew, people he didn't, and one of a particular man, who he particularly liked the least.
A poorly drawn bird took up the white-space below this man's face; a symbol that said more than words ever could.
Alex's calling card in these operations had been birds.
When a mass murder of convenience happened—opponents or obstacles—an unassuming card was left behind featuring the etching of a bird.
This was the work of the Bratva, and therefore, of Boris. A show of strength, but not his own. He was just a tool.
One Boris had forgotten was serrated on both sides.
Alex took Boris' Polaroid and held it between his fingers, blond wig announcing itself by fluttering over his bare shoulders.
Alex stood, stalked to the far wall, reached for a thumbtack on a table, and skewered Boris through the forehead.
Another Polaroid was plucked from the floor, this time of a woman. A woman with messy brown hair stuffed beneath a hairnet, who looked positively miserable in the motion-blurred shot.
Alex scrutinized the Polaroid, then placed it gently on the wall, to skewer the white part with a thumbtack.
Alex snatched a pack of cigarettes off the table, pulled one out, lit it with a standard bic lighter, and blew smoke over his blossoming plans.
Hand on his hip, contrapposto in now-weapons, he surveyed what would be his masterpiece.
Operation: Something Awesome.
"Hello, Moira Narvaez. Moira Angela Darling," he practiced.
"I have an opportunity for you."