So yeah, just a little diddy I wrote last night. Although it's an AU, I tried to keep most things as canon as possible (i.e. names, places, evil crime organizations). Basically, this is what happens when I drink and have access to a computer at 1AM. If all goes well, I'll definitely keep the story going (I already drunkenly outlined it lol). Can't tell if it's any good, but enjoy!
Madame Rouge said there were only two types of people in the world: those who had money and those who owed it.
As the smaller man crumpled under the brute strength of Mammoth's destructive jab, Jinx remembered why she was so set on being the former. Hidden beneath the shadows of the back alley, Jinx watched with mild interest as Mammoth and Billy took turns beating the defenseless man into a bloodied pulp. It wasn't often the two delinquents—or any of them for that matter—needed a babysitter, but after getting too "excited" the last few times things needed to change.
Collecting debts didn't work if the poor schmucks were six feet under.
After hearing a particularly gruesome crunch and anguished cry coming from the broken body lying at the two boys' feet, Jinx decided to step in. Strolling over with the kind of cool confidence that came from dealing with much worse than some bloodshed, she crouched down in her platform boots and looked the poor man straight in his freshly bruised eyes.
"Nicholas Hall, was it?" Jinx didn't wait for him to respond. "The Brotherhood gets angry when people play them for fools, and trust me—the Brotherhood is very upset with you."
She heard him manage a faint 'please' from his busted lips, but gave a quick look towards Mammoth. Immediately the gigantic man sent a kick to Nick's ribs.
"They need the money tonight, Nicky. Not tomorrow, not next week, tonight—and they want all of it. Bring it to The Hive by closing and you might live to make another bet." Running a hand across Nick's discolored face, he winced as her nails scrapped over the throbbing welts, "and I wouldn't run again if I was you—it didn't seem to go too well this time."
Rising to her feet, Jinx leisurely strolled out of the alley and into the soft glow of Jump City's sunset. Without so much a glance back, Jinx barked a farewell.
"Boys, finish up and get him out of here. We open in an hour." A small smile graced her face as the faint sound of skin hitting skin echoed behind her.
Nestled among the smokestack warehouses in Jump City's Northside district, The Hive looked every part the depleted, seedy bar it claimed to be. A dive bar in the most honest sense, its chipped paint walls, squeaky bar stools , and overarching stench of stale beer gave local law enforcement no reason to wander into its hanging-by-a-screw front entrance.
That was The Brotherhood's best kept secret.
Past the low hanging ceilings and layer of dust that coated everything stood The Hive's true function: one of the most notorious gambling rings in the tri-state area. From CEO's to city councilman, The Brotherhood entertained some of the wealthiest, well known, and infamous men on the West Coast all within the crumbling walls of The Hive. Seldom people knew of its existence (you had to be in a certain tax bracket to even get an invite), but those who did knew the magic words.
"I'll have a glass of Umqombothi, please, hold the ice."
Looking up from the shot of whiskey she'd been pouring for another customer, Jinx came face to face with an impeccably dressed man in a designer suit—completely out of place among The Hive's average warehouse worker clientele. Reaching into a special cabinet underneath the bar top's surface, Jinx pulled out a nameless clear bottle and poured the brown liquid into the man's cup. Umqombothi, Mounsier Mallah's favorite South African beer, was the drink of choice for those who could afford to play the game. Gesturing towards a lone door guarded by Mammoth and Billy Numerous at the back of the bar, regarded as The Backroom, Jinx leaned towards the man.
"Take the glass and tell them Jinx sent you."
The man gave a curt nod to Jinx when he took a quick sip of the Umqombothi and made his way to the guarded entrance.
"Sure are a lot of High Rollers tonight, huh," fellow bartender and Hive colleague Seymour mentioned as he slid behind the bar next to Jinx. High Rollers, as Seymour called them, were the handpicked favorites that The Brotherhood allowed into their very secret, vey illegal gambling racket. Jinx could only agree as she saw another affluent man waltz through the door and start towards her through the throng of blue collar laborers. Her eyes met Kyd's across the room from where he sat quietly observing. A silent enforcer, Kyd lacked all the loud dramatics of Billy and Mammoth, and stealthily kept patrons of The Hive in check from his usual corner booth.
"You think it has anything to do with that meeting Madame Rouge had to go to?" Seymour wondered aloud, reaching across Jinx to grab the margarita mixer and running to prepare the drink. As co-leader of The Brotherhood, Madame Rouge met with The Brain and Monsieur Mallah at least once a week so that wasn't an unusual occurrence. It was, however, an unusual occurrence that nearly 2/3's of the Umqombothi bottle was empty. Regardless of the reason, all Jinx knew was that behind her in The Hive's Backroom was more money than she'd ever seen in her twenty-one short years of living. Which reminded her—she needed to be on the lookout for a certain Nicholas Hall to bring The Brotherhood's money or he was as good as dead.
Although The Brotherhood preferred the High Rollers, they were smart enough the keep the Low Rollers around for economic cushioning. While the High Rollers could always afford their debts, the Low Rollers couldn't and subsequently paid in other ways. In Nicholas Hall's case, what he couldn't pay in cash could be made up through resources—not that Jinx understood their reasoning. Why The Brotherhood accepted the neighboring paper mill owner's offer of free access as a form of payment was beyond her.
Noticing the clock read 10:31PM, Jinx tsk'd to herself and smirked. Nicky had a little less than three hours to pay his $5,000 dollar debt or risk facing the wrath of some of Jump City's most notorious crime lords. Lost in her own head, the bubblegum pink haired girl didn't notice the newest man to sit at her bar.
"Can I have Shirley Temple, extra ice please?" Surprised, Jinx whipped around to find a pair of dark blue eyes staring questioningly back at her. A dumbfounded expression was all she could manage before regaining her composure.
"A Shirley Temple…like the non-alcoholic drink?"
"Yeah, do you know how to make it?" the man asked with a suspiciously friendly smile. Dressed in a simple red pullover jacket and jeans, Jinx wracked her brain for a memory of him. She usually remembered the regulars, High and Low Rollers, who came into The Hive every week. This man, with his bright ginger hair and relaxed demeanor, put Jinx on edge.
"Yes?" she snapped, trying her hardest to remember how much ginger ale was added to the mix. It took a quick Google search on her phone and a few moments of discrete fumbling to create the concoction, but when Jinx shoved the drink in front of the man he simply stared back at her. Impatiently cocking her head, Jinx frowned.
"…you forgot the cherry."
"We don't have any cherries."
"Hmm…what kind of bar doesn't have cherries?"
"The kind that doesn't serve Shirley Temples," Jinx hissed. Her normally effective glare fell on blind eyes as the man gave a mock gasp and theatrically placed a hand over his heart.
"And here you've made one just for me, I'm touched."
A beat passed between Jinx and the odd man before he smiled a megawatt smile. It was right about now Jinx regretted even considering making the out-of-ordinary request.
"Wally," he said reaching out his hand for a shake, "and you are?"
Most of the men she rejected while on the job called her a bitch or simply ordered another drink to ease the pain of Jinx's insults. Instead "Wally" let out a hardy laugh and continued to smile at Jinx, despite her walking away to take more customers' orders.
"Do you always work the Saturday shift?"
"And why would I tell you that?" Jinx questioned, glancing at Wally as if he was utterly stupid.
"I don't know, I was hoping I would have another chance to talk with someone as gorgeous as you."
In the midst of pouring a vodka cranberry for a woman a few seats over, Jinx nearly fumbled the liquor bottle at Wally's word and barely saved face in front of the crowded room.
"You're name will do," he spoke again. He still sat there on the crooked bar stool smiling that unassuming smile at her. Freak.
Mustering up the sweetest, tooth decaying she could, Jinx smiled (grimaced) at Wally.
"My name's Anna—"
"Jinx!" a nervous voice belonging to Nicholas Hall broke over the loud buzz of the room as he squeezed his way towards the eyes were nearly swollen shut and his face was a mix of yellowish-purple bruised blotches. Glancing at the clock again, Jinx nodded.
He came with 30 minutes to spare. Once at the bar, Nicholas crashed next to Wally and immediately started.
"I, um, have the orders—out back I mean!" Discretion was apparently not Nicholas's forte.
"Great, take them to The Backroom," Jinx dismissed.
Following his line of sight, Jinx found him anxiously staring at Mammoth and Billy who guarded said room. Lowering her voice, Jinx narrowed her eyes at the cowering man.
"I said, take them to The Backroom." Keeping illegal money out of sight seemed like a fairly easy concept, but the longer Nicholas looked between her and his assailants she realized she would need to break it down.
"Nicholas," she snapped, grasping the man's full attention, "take those orders to Gizmo in The Backroom. We don't need anyone else helping with inventory."
"Oh! Right! Right away!" and just as quickly as he came, the limping Nicholas Hall made a b-line for The Backroom. Jinx could only roll her eyes and pinch the bridge of her nose in irritation. Honestly, was working with complete idiots?
Taking a final sip of his Shirley Temple, Wally put a crisp $10 bill under his glass and stood to leave.
"Any chance I could call you sometime?"
"Hell no," Jinx spat, snatching his empty glass and the money with it off the counter. Wally, who now halfway out the door, flashed her one last grin. What was with this kid?
"See ya soon, Jinx."
Yawning, Wally leisurely stretched his arms above his head as he finally reached his car. He'd parked a few blocks over from The Hive and the chilly March weather made him regret it instantly. Once comfortably back in his car and starting his drive back to Jump City's Eastside, Wally made the call.
"Chief…? Yeah…she's here. I think we're onto something."