I probably should have made you guys wait for this but whatever. Here it is. I would like to remind you that only one person calls King "Céc" and that's her brother, Jean. Everyone else calls her Cécile... or King. I'm bringing this up for a reason.
It was one week later when King lay on the bed in the guestroom (which happened to be her old bedroom) at her aunt and uncle's house, her eyes fixed on the plain white ceiling. It had been a pretty eventful seven days: Thanks to Mr. Orange (whom she found out was named Ryo Saka… something) and his pal (Garcia?), Big and several other members of the Syndicate had been taken into custody. Thankfully the kidnapped girl — King was pretty sure her name was Yuri — was safely returned to her family and, although probably a little traumatized, was more than likely on the way to living her best life. Meanwhile, King was officially sentenced to one year probation… and out of a job, which meant she had to forfeit her tiny apartment in the city to move back in with her disdainful aunt and uncle in suburbia. And, just as she predicted, Jean was pissed off with and disappointed in her. But, despite that, he was still trying to help make her transition from independent adult to… unemployed-adult-with-a-criminal-record a little easier.
Aunt Maddy and Uncle Gary, though? Not so much — especially since they disapproved of pretty much everything King did even before she joined the mob. It wasn't ideal, but she was thankful that she had somewhere to go while she figured things out. After all, finding a new job and getting back out on her own probably wasn't going to be all that easy with a huge blemish on her record, but at least going back to school was still an option. Or maybe she'd just learn a trade? She wasn't entirely sure yet.
In addition to pondering her next moves in life King found herself a little preoccupied with thoughts of the cop, "Blue" Mary, and her overall kindness that day. The officer had made good on her declaration to stay by King's side as she disclosed everything about Big and the Syndicate, but was called away rather abruptly — just as Aunt Maddy arrived at the station (and subsequently tore into King in front of everyone). She felt bad that she hadn't had the chance to say a proper goodbye — or even "thank you" — and hoped that, wherever Mary was, she was at least doing okay...
With a dejected sigh King shut her eyes and started to drift off but the sound of the doorbell brought her back from the brink of unconsciousness. She glanced at the clock on her phone (it was only a little after five) and made a face when she heard her aunt's voice calling her from downstairs. She considered ignoring the shrill yells since Maddy had spent almost the entire afternoon berating her (and was more than likely still in a bad mood) but King knew she would have no choice but to eventually face her again. She grudgingly sat up, left the comfort of the bedroom, and settled at the top of the stairs.
"Que veux-tu de ma vie?!" She called somewhat rudely.
"Tu avez un visiteur," Maddy responded impatiently.
King furrowed her brow. She didn't know anyone, so who on earth…?
"Ouais, mais c'est qui, Auntie?" King yelled crossly as she descended the stairs. (Maddy hated when she called her that.)
"I don't know," the older woman snarled, switching to English, "Some… woman…! On a motorcycle!"
Interest piqued, King started toward the door where her aunt stood. Not only did she not know anyone, but she definitely didn't know anyone who rode a motorcycle. She hurriedly approached Maddy, who grumpily informed whoever was outside that King was on her way.
"Dépêche-toi!" Maddy exclaimed, exasperated, as she turned away from the mystery person so she could yell at her niece.
King rolled her eyes as she finally reached the front door.
"Laisse-moi tranquille, tu horrible salo —"
King stopped muttering when her aunt moved aside to reveal none other than Officer Blue Mary Ryan, clad in street clothes, standing at the bottom of the steps. She had one hand in her pocket while the other held a motorcycle helmet. (The bike itself was parked near the curb.) She smiled when King came into view.
"Uhhh… hi," King said, puzzled, as she walked past Maddy and out onto the porch. She shut the door behind her and crossed her arms tightly because of how cold the outside air was.
"Wow! Your bruises look a lot better!" Mary commented. "I can actually make out more of your face, which is nice. It's also really cool to see you in normal people clothes and not rags or tents."
King made a face; although the form-fitting henley top she was wearing was unremarkable, her house pants were another story: Adorned with little cartoon cats in space helmets floating among planets and stars, they were a far cry from the sophisticated dress slacks she usually wore.
"Ummm, thank you," King replied. "It's… really cool to not be wearing rags or tents…"
"So… why are you here?"
Mary dragged the word out a little bit while rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet. She glanced at King with an expression that was nothing but sincere.
"I couldn't help thinking about you. We didn't really get to say 'bye' and, I guess I just kinda wanted to follow up and make sure you're doing okay, especially after that scene with your aunt. So I nabbed her address from the database and… ta-da! Here I am!"
King raised her eyebrows: She was legitimately touched by Mary's consideration, especially after the day — no, days — she had been through.
"That's… very kind of you," she remarked. She then grimaced before asking, "You saw that?"
"More like heard. Her voice carried all the way to the other side of the station…!"
"Cécile Marie Levasseur —" Mary mock shouted in an angry tone — "Comment osez-vous tu faire arrêter?! Qu'est ce qui ne vas pas chez toi?! J'ai toujours su blah blah blah..."
The corners of King's mouth twitched slightly upward; not only was she impressed by Mary's accent, but she was amused by her impression of the hateful woman in the house, which was almost dead-on. She let out a low chuckle in spite of herself.
"You speak French?"
Mary nodded enthusiastically.
"Yup," she answered. "German, too. But, anyway, that's not the point."
"What is the point then?"
King pressed her lips together in a thin line, internally kicking herself because of how rude that sounded. Evidently she still had to work on re-learning how to communicate with people like a normal, well-mannered woman, and not like the cold, reticent enforcer she had been while working for Big. Not that it really mattered though because Mary either didn't notice or didn't care, as evidenced by her lack of a reaction. She tilted her head and regarded King very thoughtfully before she wrinkled her brow, obviously concerned.
"Are you really okay?" She probed. "I mean… are you really gonna be alright here?"
"I… y-yeah," King faltered with a wan smile. "I'll be fine."
There was a somewhat awkward silence as Mary used her free hand to push a lock of hair behind her ear. King, still a little confounded by her presence, decided that she should just cut the conversation short, bid the officer farewell, and go back inside to her less-than-fulfilling life.
"Well… thank you for coming over," she started. "And for all of your hospitality. I appreciate it."
"Yeah, of course," Mary said.
"Okay… umm… bye then."
Mary turned on her heel and started toward the driveway while King pivoted and reached for the doorknob. She had one foot on the threshold but abruptly stopped moving when the other woman suddenly called, "Wait!"
King furrowed her brow. She took one step backward, so that she was completely outside again, and shut the door before turning to face Mary, who was slowly walking up the steps.
"We should go out sometime," Mary suggested casually. "Not on a date or anything weird like that — not that girls dating is weird — but just to hang out or whatever."
The statement caught King completely off guard. She momentarily pressed her lips together as she squinted at Mary, who was now standing on the porch with her.
"You want… to hang out… with me?"
"I'm gonna be super honest here," Mary stated. "This might come as a shock to you, but I don't really like people all that much. I kinda keep to myself, but, I dunno. I think you're neat and would like to get to know you a little more. But, like I said — not in a weird way."
King stared at the officer, more than a little mystified.
"Why would someone like you find someone like me 'neat?'" King asked her carefully.
"Because you're a cop, and I'm a dangerous mobs — ex-mobster."
"Pffft. So? What does that have to do with anything?" Mary flashed King a pointed glance.
"Do we even have anything in common?"
"We're both super adorable," came a cheeky reply.
"I'm being serious."
"So am I. But, also, like… don't be mad at me —"
"Why would I —?"
"— but I did my own digging on you. And I think there are a couple of things we could totally bond over."
King hugged herself a little tighter (it was really chilly out…) and looked down at her socks. What the hell did Mary mean by her "own digging" and what sort of information would that have even brought up?
"We both like to fight, and we both like drinking, and… I'm pretty sure we both like eating… and I bet we both like television! There are lots of things!"
King raised her eyebrows, as everything Mary named off was pretty basic.
"It sounds like you didn't do much digging at all," she said with a frown.
"Okay, then. You grew up in Montrouge. You've been in America for five years, got into a lot of fights when you were in high school — which you'll have to tell me about some time — but you still graduated at the top of your class. You had a full scholarship and your major was undeclared when you dropped out. Madeleine is your biological aunt — on your dad's side. Also, you're due for your tetanus shot."
"What," King breathed, wide-eyed, "the fuck…?"
She stared at the cop, slack jawed. What the fresh hell sort of "digging" was that?! There was a part of her that almost wanted to punch Mary dead in her freckled face for somehow learning things that no one knew about her, but, at the same time… she was sort of in awe. She made a face while absently fixing her gaze on a burnt out Christmas bulb across the street.
"So… you were born in France, got in trouble for fighting, and dropped out of college as well?" King asked, deadpan.
"Pfft, no," Mary said with a nonchalant wave of her hand. "But, like, obviously we both had a trash time in high school, and we're both smart, so we can totally have deep, intellectual conversations — in French, if you'd like — and I need my tetanus booster, too."
Mary laughed, evidently very amused by the look on King's face. It took just a second, but she cleared her throat, suddenly very serious.
"Listen. I know you have your doubts, but I wouldn't be here if you were some degenerate piece of shit like the rest of Big's crew. I know that you're a good person who made some bad decisions, and I feel like you could benefit from my shining presence in your life. Maybe I could even help set you on the straight and narrow."
King pressed her lips in a very thin line as she considered everything she had just heard.
"Okay," she finally said. "But… what do you get out of having me around? It's not like I have anything to offer at the moment."
"Sure you do. You actually get it," came Mary's simple response.
"What do you mean…?"
"Remember our conversation in the locker room?"
Something came over Mary then — the same melancholy King kept picking up on back at the station. It appeared as though she really did strike a nerve with her "Cool Girl" rant.
"That's the first time someone has been able to… get me since… well… for a long time, and..." Mary averted her eyes while she trailed off.
King watched her attentively: the way she said what she said, and the look on her face… she had definitely been through… something. Something that affected her on a massive scale, that took from her — changed her as a person, even. She suddenly found herself wondering who it was the other woman lost, and how long ago. She imagined it must have been either really fresh, or really heartbreaking. Or maybe both.
"You don't want that to go away," King noted softly. "Again."
The two women fell quiet. Mary stared down at the ground while King leaned her back against the door, unsure of what to say. Just like Mary could see through her, she was clearly able to see glimpses of who was behind the Cool Girl mask… and to say she didn't want to know more would have been an outright lie. She was about to speak but Mary beat her to it.
"Anyway, hanging out," she began jovially. "We could go get something to eat — I'd totally pay since you're out of a job — or, like… maybe we could just… hang out on your aunt's porch while you freeze your ass off, I dunno."
King let out a tiny chuckle. Maybe spending a little time with this woman would actually be good for her…?
"I... think I'd like that," she responded slowly.
"Yes," King asserted with a nod. "But you don't have to be Cool Girl in front of me. Okay?"
"Oh, I know," Mary said with a smile. "Another reason I think you're neat."
"For what it's worth, I… think you're neat, too."
"Great! So… do you wanna try this again?"
King quirked a brow.
"Try what again?"
Mary cleared her throat and stuck her hand out.
"Hi," she said. "I'm Mary. And you are…?"
King studied the cop, who was once again bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, grinning from ear to ear. She glanced down at Mary's outstretched hand and furrowed her brow as she realized that she didn't know what to call herself anymore. She was only King to the guys in Big's crew; now that she was no longer associated with any of that… who the hell was she? She thought back to the conversation at the police station, when she was told that she didn't have to play a part anymore. With that in mind, she took Mary's hand in hers and, with a smile of her own, gave it a firm shake.
"You can call me Céc."
So now you get why that last line is important, yes? Because all pretenses of bullshit are over. Mary can be Mary and King can be Céc. Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering what the hell King and Maddy are saying to each other (among other things), so let's get into it, shall we?
* King musing about maybe learning a trade is a subtle clue about her eventually getting into bar tending.
* Que veux-tu de ma vie = What do you want from my life?; Tu avez un visiteur = you have a visitor. Notice how Maddy and King use "tu" when addressing one another, and not "vous." This is because tu is informal, and, in some cases, can even be disrespectful depending on who you're talking to. Not only are King and Maddy family, but they just don't like each other.
* Gary and Maddy only put up with King for Jean's sake. If he wasn't in the picture things would be much different for King.
* Ouais, mais c'est qui = Yeah, but who is it; Dépêche-toi = Hurry up
* Laisse-moi tranquille, tu horrible salo — = Leave me alone you horrible bit —
* King (canonically) likes cats, and since she's just kinda lounging around, unemployed, well... why not.
* "Comment osez-vous tu faire arrêter?! Qu'est ce qui ne vas pas chez toi?! J'ai toujours su blah blah blah..." = How dare you get arrested?! What is wrong with you?! I always knew...
* Headcanon: Mary speaks English (duh), French, German, and is working on learning Spanish
* Remember: King's AOF 1 bio in the All About SNK book says she "appeared in Southtown five years ago." She would have been sixteen, and in high school. The thing about her fighting all the time is a headcanon I have; she beat the shit out of a lot of her classmates for various reasons. Maybe I'll go into it some other time.
* Montrouge is a suburb of Paris
* Tetanus boosters are given to adults around the age of 21 or 22.
* Headcanon: Mary was a huge geek in school (this is referenced in other fics, when she talks about D&D alignments and references Ents respectively) and even a little overweight. Hey, man, she WORKED for those abs, okay. But that's why she says she had a "trash time."
* The event King is honing in on is, of course, the day Mary lost her father and Butch in a shooting
* Obviously King goes back to assuming that "identity" at some point, as evidenced by later fics in which she is referred to as King — even by Mary.
Okay, party people. That's it! That's the story! I hope you all enjoyed it, and I doubly hope you'll stop to tell me if you actually did, and maybe contribute some input. For instance, did you have a favourite scene or line of dialogue? You know, stuff like that.