Welp! One more installment from the Kingverse, just in time for New Year's! Or, well, maybe a little early, really, but whatever. Anyway, this was supposed to be just a quick drabble but it kind of got away from me. Having Man Flu probably didn't help much, either...

Anyway, let's do this~

Somehow, getting in a car accident hadn't been an entirely negative experience for the woman called King. While it was true that breathing still hurt way too much and her knee was going to be permanently scarred, a little bit of good had come from the occasion: a new car that she sort of loved, insurance money (to help with the new car), and, most importantly, a fantastic excuse to avoid Ryo Sakazaki, who finally knew the horrible secret she had been keeping for the better part of a year.

It was always the same song and dance when anybody discovered what had happened to King: the same shock, the same pity, the same questioning of her mental state. No matter how much time passed, it was always the fucking same. But, somehow, Ryo finding out the truth was much more devastating; the second King confessed she saw it in his face: not pity, or shock, or curiosity about her sanity, but a very distinct change in how he looked at her as a person. His question ("How could you let something like that happen?") only cemented what she already knew: he thought of her as weak and incapable of protecting herself. Tarnished. She was no longer an equal...

As a result of her disclosure King had gone to great lengths to distance herself from the Kyokugens even more than she already had after the initial assault: she completely stopped sparring with them and blocked Ryo's number from her phone — as well as Robert's for good measure. She banned both of them from Illusion and refused to answer the door the one and only time Ryo tried to see her at her apartment. It was incredibly exhausting (and probably really bitchy) but it was better than having to deal with that look, or those questions, or just the sheer awkwardness of someone who had no idea of how they should act while trying to comfort her (especially when she didn't even need comforting in the first place).

Suddenly, weeks had passed since the explosive conversation and subsequent car wreck and King was back on her feet (literally), behind the counter at Illusion, closing up early for New Year's. With a crutch under one arm for a little added support (her leg still wasn't quite back to one hundred percent), she meticulously rinsed the small sink, humming along (off-key, of course) to a song that was playing on the stereo.

"Hey, Boss?"

One of King's employees, Sally, emerged from the back room with her purse slung over her shoulder, her brow furrowed.

"Are you sure you'll be okay if I leave?"
"Of course," King answered. "Everything is pretty much cleaned up and you've taken care of the paperwork and funds, right?"

Sally nodded.

"That settles it then," King told her with a smile. "Now go. I don't want you to be late."
"...okay. Happy New Year…"
"Happy New Year."

King watched Sally exit the bar before setting the crutch aside so she could sit down on the floor to check the contents of the small fridge. She heard the door open just as she was counting a few beer bottles and let out a quiet chuckle.

"What'd you forget?" she called lazily. She heard the distinct sound of the lock clicking into place and immediately reached for the nearby crutch, as there was a change in the air that told her that the other person in the building was not her coworker.

"You have two seconds to tell me who you are and what you want," she said through gritted teeth while pulling herself up, "otherwise you're going to be in a world of hurt."
"That's no way to talk to a guest, Kingy."

King's eyes went wide. She whirled around (the crutch nearly fell over) to see none other than her former employer, Mr. Big, standing by the door, eyes obscured by his sunglasses (even though it was a little after nine PM), a cloying grin on his face.

"You!?" King growled while tightening the grip on her crutch.
"How've you been, ma cherie?" Big asked casually.

King narrowed her eyes, set the crutch aside, and placed her hands flat on the counter as Big approached.

"You have thirty seconds to get out before I call the cops."
"Ha. The cops have bigger fish to fry, babe," Big said as he lowered himself onto the stool directly across from King, who scowled.
"Call me 'babe' again," she said. "See what happens."
"Ain't nothing gonna happen because you're back there with a bum leg and some jacked up ribs. You can't — and won't — do shit."

With a low, frustrated sound, King clenched a fist; Big was right: there wasn't much she could do in her somewhat beat up state — he'd have the advantage no matter what. She took a deep breath (fuck, that hurt!) and pressed her lips together in a thin line as she glared daggers at the man in front of her.

"Why are you here?"
"I was in the neighborhood —" Big adjusted his sunglasses — "and wanted to pay an old friend a visit!"
"We were never friends."

A pause.

"Tell me, King. Or do you prefer Cécile?"
"Fuck you."
"How's Sakazaki doing?"

At that, King furrowed her brow as a pit began to form in her stomach.

"I wouldn't know," she answered tersely.
"Ahhh, right. You two haven't really been talking much lately. Not since he found out that little secret of yours."

King stared, her heart pounding in her chest. How the hell did Big know that?! Almost as if to answer her question, he spoke up:

"A couple of my guys have turned up beat all to shit. One a day for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Did you know that?"
"Each one was like a little message to me… It was cute."
"Those idiots," King mumbled under her breath.
"Indeed," Big told her. "And it's adorable that Sakazaki clearly wants to get revenge for what happened to you — still a terrible thing by the way — but I will break him if he comes for me directly. Garcia, too. You do know that, right?"

King glared at Big and nodded slowly. She took a deep breath and briefly pressed her lips into a thin line before speaking.

"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because I want you to deliver a message for me," Big answered simply.
"I'm not delivering shit," King retorted.
"I beg to differ."
"I don't. You said you were done with me. You're an asshole, but you're also a man of your word…"
"And I am — done with you."
"What's that supposed to mean?" King inquired, her brow furrowed. Big offered a huge, menacing smile.

"How's little Yuri-chan doing?"

At that, King's eyes went wide. In one quick motion she reached across the counter, grabbed Big's tie, and yanked his head forward so she could grab the back of his neck; once she had a firm grip on him she slammed his face right into the surface as hard as she could. His sunglasses cracked in half from the force of the sudden blow.

"Laisse-la en dehors de ça!" King shouted angrily.
"You… bitch!" Big exclaimed as he wrenched himself out of King's hold. He pulled off the broken sunglasses and sniffed as he wiped blood away from his nose. Meanwhile, King readied herself; there was no way he wasn't going to retaliate after that. Just as she expected, Big made to grab her, but she quickly backed up, snatched an empty beer bottle that was sitting near the sink, and smashed it against the edge of the counter, breaking it. She held the makeshift weapon out toward Big's throat.

"You know," she started, "Ever since your guy did what he did I've reevaluated my stance on murder. With that being said, I'd like you to give me one good reason why I shouldn't jam this right into your fucking jugular."
"Your brother," Big answered without missing a beat.

King's hand involuntarily shook as her breath caught, which gave Big the opening he was looking for. He took King's wrist in his hand and twisted it; she cried out in pain as the bottle fell from her hand. Big then violently pulled her forward, over the counter, and threw her down onto the floor. She cried out as she landed on her back, and then screamed when Big placed a foot down on her bad knee and pressed down with all of his weight.

"The message," he growled.
"Deliver it yourself!"

Big laughed as he pressed harder.

"Oh, Kingy. Still so full of fight. I like it!"

Despite the pain King (who was now very pissed off) hastily pulled herself into a sitting position, seized Big's ankle, and yanked it toward her, effectively knocking him off balance. As he toppled over one of his Eskrima sticks fell from his long coat: King snatched the weapon and jammed it directly into Big's groin the second he hit the floor.

"Here's what going to happen," she grunted as she pushed down with all of her strength. "You are going to leave Yuri alone. And Ryo, and Robert, and especially my brother. Do you understand?!"

Big let out a pained wail. But while his anguish was pleasing to King, she wasn't looking for sound effects: she was looking for an answer.

"Est-ce que tu comprends?!" she exclaimed. She punctuated the last word by putting even more pressure on the stick.
"I-I-I understand," Big grunted.
"Say it, you bald asshole! Say you'll leave them alone, and maybe I'll stop before I rupture something!"
"Fine! Fine," Big cried. "I'll leave them alone! Please just… stop!"

King removed the stick from Big's crotch and brought herself up to her feet while he writhed around on the floor. She limped over to the door, unlocked it, and tossed the baton outside.

"Get out," she said calmly.

Big sucked air in through his teeth, making a loud hissing sound, as he slowly pulled himself up. Seething, he fixed his dark eyes on King.

"You're a real piece of work, bar wench," he grunted as he started toward the exit. "It's times like these where I wish I was a less honorable sort because then I wouldn't have a problem going back on my word and tearing you apart."
"Poor baby," King said as she crossed her arms and leaned back against the open door. She watched silently as Big shuffled past her, out into the cool night. He turned to look at her, his face contorted in anger and hatred, before opening his mouth to address her once more.

"One of these days you'll get what's coming to you."
"I think I already did," King said thoughtfully, "and I lived to tell the tale and kick your ass. Twice!"

Big narrowed his eyes and scowled at King, who flashed him a cheeky grin and waved.

"Bonne année!"

With that, King shut the door and promptly locked it. She placed her back against it and slowly slid down to the floor. Once she was sitting she brought her knee toward her chest and pulled up her pant leg to survey the damage. Thankfully the small gash hadn't reopened, but the area was extremely inflamed and hurt like a bitch. She would definitely have to take something for the pain when she got home.


Some time later a very buzzed King was laying on her living room floor, squinting up at the ceiling, and laughing as her cat, Marron, curiously sniffed her face.

Jean and Yuri were safe.

Ryo and Robert were safe (provided they didn't do anything too stupid).

She was safe.

Of course, she was still going to have to face Ryo eventually… but that was a problem for another time. For now she was going to lay on the plush carpet, content with her handiwork (and her booze) and at peace for the first time in awhile. She stopped laughing so she could pick up a prismatic black and gold New Year's blowout that was on the floor beside her, stuck the plastic tube between her lips, and blew the streamer out just as the clock changed from 11:59 to 12:00.

Happy New Year indeed.

Alright, people. A couple of little notes - as per usual:

* In case you didn't read Accident, King's injuries from the car wreck were two fractured ribs and a really nasty gash in her right knee.
* Ma cherie means "my darling"
* King's totally not canon even though it totally should be name is Cécile. It's super girly and delicate, which directly conflicts with her more masculine tendencies.
* Big has a lot of connections; as such, he just knows things
* Obviously, Yuri's pleading in Another Know It All was mostly disregarded by Ryo (and Robert, too, who will always support his bro in his endeavors)
* Laisse-la en dehors de ça! = Leave her out of this
* Est-ce que tu comprends?! = Do you understand?!
* In Oxygen to Breathe Big decides that King isn't worth his time anymore, and decides not to waste anymore time with her, which is where that comes from
* Bonne année! = Happy New Year!

And, with that... that's a wrap for 2019! Thank you to anyone who has been so kind to read and review and generally stick with me through all of my weird fandom shenanigans. I absolutely adore you; doubly so if you've actually left a review because I crave validation and feedback. Also, a very special thanks to Rex Madison, jojoDo, RobertCop3, and anyone else who has listened to me bitch and whine in Discord. If I could buy all of you pastries I totally would.

Happy New Year!