Sun, 8 Oct 2000
La Belle Dame sans Merci (PG-13)

There's something about exams (well, okay, it was just a mid-semester test but it did make me fret) that gets my creative dander up.

I liked Belladonna when she first appeared in X-Men, but then she degenerated into the same whiny, half-mad, weird kind of woman that DC managed to turn Huntress into as well. Then she vanished, only to reappear as a love-sick, still whiny, not terribly bright woman in the Gambit comics. So I thought I'd try and recapture a little of the Belladonna we first saw - fierce and independent, intelligent and utterly amoral. And born and raised as an Assassin, which would have to give you a somewhat skewed outlook on life.

This is PG-13 for adult themes, a couple of nasty swear-words and a serious attack of amorality. I like the girl, but that don't mean she's nice.

Oh, and you also get to play Choose-Your-Own-Dialogue. A great way to save on writing time - only write one half of the conversation <g>.

Disclaimer: Marvel's. Shouldn't be allowed but there it is.

La Belle Dame sans Merci



Stop playing with that thing. It's a gun, not a penis substitute.

If you're going to continue with remarks like that, I'd suggest we change the topic. You can't afford to be distracted.

Why did I become an Assassin? I didn't *become* an assassin. I was born an assassin. Born with death in my veins, named after poison. I knew more about weapons by the time I was five than you know now. I can murder you in a thousand different ways and you wouldn't know I was doing it until you were already dead. I am the Queen of Assassins. You'd do well to remember that, boy. You're going to have to impress me if you want to join the Guild. Shouldn't you be keeping an eye out for the mark?

Ah, so you know about my powers. No, I don't use them during a contract. That would not be - subtle.

I realise that blowing a man's head off from a mile away with a high-powered rifle may not necessarily be considered subtle, but it is. How long it is going to take for them to work out trajectories and trace the shot back to here? We can be four states away before they burst in. Considering who's going to have his brains splattered all over the concrete, don't you think that getting away with it is subtlety enough?

Assassins are always subtle. Subtle, professional, paid. Read Pratchett, he has it right. Nil mortifi, sine lucre. No killing without payment.

Yes, I read Pratchett. I do have a sense of humour. I also speak Latin. And Greek, Russian and Mandarin Chinese. A girl needs an education if she wants to get ahead in this world.

Well, I can't have my rivals killed to get ahead. Assassins don't kill assassins. It's one of the rules. If you succeed today you'll get to find out the other rules.

I think we should change the topic. You need to be admitted before you can find out more about the Guild. You wouldn't want to stray into dangerous territory.

Why am I in love with Remy LeBeau? Who told you about Remy?

Well, Gris-Gris should learn to keep his mouth shut. What has he told you about Remy?

A fairly accurate summation, I must admit. I love him because he is my blood, and blood calls to blood.

No, not blood-kin. Guild-kin. He is Thief, I am Assassin but we are both Guild. Born in our own world, brought up in our own way. He understands me, I understand him. You can join the Guild but you cannot imagine what it means to be born to the Guild. Remy knows. I know.

He was with me, the first time I killed. He wasn't supposed to be, but he followed me, followed us, spied on me. He watched me when I went from apprentice to assassin. He held me afterwards, held me in his arms and kissed me and he *loved* me. Only Guild can do that. He watched me kill a man in cold blood and he never stopped loving me. How can I stop loving him?

I think it might be an idea to shoot him now. Difficult shot, but it makes it all the harder to trace it back. Go on. Impress me.

* * * * *

You shouldn't have killed the bodyguards. It's - messy - when you do things like that. It wasn't necessary.

I'm aware that I'm in a somewhat compromised position in regards to protest, but it shouldn't be done.

No, this does not mean I love you. It means I was willing to fuck you. Killing people doesn't turn me on. Dinner, dancing, this - they're just tension relief.

Don't ever think of yourself as a replacement for Remy. You haven't got a chance, boy, no matter how good you've just proven yourself to be.

Oh, Gris-Gris told you about that, too, did he? I'm really going to have to talk to that man. Some of his indulgences make him a little too talkative for my liking. Remy will come back to me in the end. I watched him, too, the first time he killed someone in cold blood and I still loved him. They won't do that. *She* won't do that. Something will happen and he'll have to kill someone and she'll get on her high fucking horse and ride out of his life in a cloud of moral indignation. He's Guild. He'll be back.

You're sweating on me. I know you've just been exerting yourself, but I'd really prefer if you didn't sweat on me. Or is it starting to sink in, boy? Who you killed? How many you killed? Getting a little tense, are we? Or are you worried about whether you passed the entrance exam? Considering the penalty for failure, I'd be worried. An assassin learns to control these things. It's just death, that's all. A small step. A moment. An ending. A nice fat pay-cheque.

Oh, so we aren't worried? You must have passed? Why?

Because Belladonna fucked you? The beautiful woman or the poison - which one's sliding through your veins right now? Don't ever be a cocky bastard around me, boy. You shouldn't have killed the bodyguards.

I know it's easier if they're dead, but it isn't professional. We don't get paid for killing them. It's not assassination if you're not paid. It's just murder.

I'm going out, that's where I'm going. No, don't bother getting up, I doubt you could manage it.

Oh, and by the way, you failed. You aren't going to be part of the Guild. We don't take murderers. I told you you shouldn't have killed the bodyguards.

You're very pale, you know. You don't look at all well. Normally I'd call a doctor but I really don't think there's much point in your case.

I'm pretty sure it was something you ate.

The End

La Belle Dame sans Merci is a ravishingly good poem by John Keats. It means "The Beautiful Lady without Mercy" and, all things considering, seemed rather appropriate for a story about an assassin named Belle <g>.