(AN) This is a song fic to the Police's "Murder by Numbers". I was working on Circle when this came on, and I just had to. I'm not quite sure about the rating. How bad does something have to be to be rated M?

Once that you've decided on a killing,
First you make a stone of your heart.
And if you find that your hands are still willing,
Then you can turn a murder into art.

She knew how to kill in passion. She knew what it felt like to take a blade or a gun or whatever else might be on hand and use it. She knew how to channel hatred and pain and the flames of Imam's Hell.

But how to kill cold?

After she'd spaced the mercs' bodies, she sat down at the ship's computer. There she found a list. Clients. Two years worth of men. Most the names she didn't recognize, but at the time she'd hated them with everything in her—at least, everything not already consumed by the men who had betrayed her. She searched their names and found, to her surprise, that most were men of standing. Rich men. A few politicians. They had families. Most had children.

She pulled up a photo of a smiling woman, two laughing little boys. Their faces, covered in ice cream, looked so happy, so alien. She imagined the woman sobbing, the boys dressed in somber black funeral suits.

Can I do this? She wondered. Make that woman a widow, those innocent kids orphans? But she knew the answer before she'd finished forming the question.

There really isn't any need for bloodshed,
You just do it with a little more finesse.
If you can slip a tablet into someone's coffee,
Then it avoids an awful lot of mess.

There were two things she wanted from this, besides just his death. First—a sense of balance. In her eyes at least, this was an execution. The punishment should fit the crime.

Second—probably more important—she wanted to get away with it. He was only the first on her list.

She considered stabbing him in the back, slicing off his dick. The idea made her smile. But that would create a mess she wasn't sure she could get out of. In the end she found something almost as amusing, and far more elegant.

She broke into his home, found his 'little helpers'. The pills that helped keep his marriage… healthy, the pills that had helped him torment her. Easy, so easy, to switch them for some helpers of her own.

When she heard his name on the news she laughed to herself and, on a whim, went out for ice cream.

She was gone the next day.

It's murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's.
Murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's.

She went straight down the list, deleting names as she went. The work went faster then she thought it would, and the mercs had earned more than enough money off her to finance it. She sometimes thought that if she cut herself, she might bleed irony.

Except she'd seen more than enough of her own blood over the years to know that wasn't the case.

Now if you have a taste for this experience
And you're flushed with your very first success,
Then you must try a twosome or a threesome
And you'll find your conscience bothers you much less

She made sure to switch up her MO. One received a bullet between the eyes. Another got that knife in the back. Another was the victim of a hit-and-run. Next was a name she remembered—him, she lured into an abandoned brothel. There she tied him up, cut him up, and left him to bleed out in the dark. On the way out, she heard him begging and grinned. Pure dumb luck, that he'd be afraid of the dark.

She knew she'd been afraid of the dark, once upon a time, but those memories had faded.

Because murder is like anything you take to
It's a habit-forming need for more and more.
You can bump off every member of your family
And anybody else you find a bore

She remembered Imam, but she didn't think of him much. She was washing blood out of her hair one night when she saw his sad eyes in her head, and she wondered what he would say if he could see her here. She wondered if his words could still hurt her, or if she didn't care enough anymore. She wondered how angry he could make her—angry enough to kill? She imagined her hands around his throat, squeezing the life out of the man who might have saved her, if she had let him.

Then she laughed. She wouldn't have to strangle him. She could dissect him with words, tear him apart with the plain truth of what she'd become.

She wouldn't, though. If she had it her way, she'd never see him again.

Thoughts of Imam lead to thoughts of him. Now there was somewhere she rarely let herself go. There had been good times, a lot of them, on their way to New Mecca, but she found now that her clearest memory was of their meeting. "Forth lumbar down, left of the spine… the abdominal aorta…". That was what she'd gone for tonight. Strange, that she hadn't thought of him while doing it. It was a real gusher, she'd discovered—she knew now why he'd called it the 'sweet spot'.

She imagined finding that spot and slipping her blade through cloth, through skin. She imagined those strong shoulders slumping while his blood, red and coppery and burning hot, slid across her hands. The image disturbed her. She knew his blood would make her scream, but she wasn't sure if the sound would be filled with grief or celebration.

She put it out of her mind, figured she'd never get the chance to find out.

Because it's murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's
Murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's.

Twenty names gone. Twenty five. Thirty. Even after they were gone, she didn't remember all their names. But the faces… the faces were burned so deep she knew she'd never get them out.

She never dreamed of them, or anything else. That made life easier, since there was no one to hold her and rock her and tell her to shut the fuck up.

Now you can join the ranks of the illustrious
In history's great dark hall of fame.
All our greatest killers were industrious
At least the ones that we all know by name.

She'd left careful hints, and finally, they were starting to catch on. The story exploded. All those murders, seemingly unconnected. All those executions, dealt out to men who had all committed the same crime

Many called her murderer, some called her vigilante, and a few—very, very few—called her hero. There were debates and protests and riots as the people tried to figure out how deep the taint had spread. She had to be much more careful, and she knew she'd be caught soon. She knew what she had to look forward to then—a farce they would call a trial, a speedy conviction, and then the slam.

She looked at the chaos on the streets and came to a surprising realization—even if she never made it out of the pit they would dump her in, the name Kyra would not be forgotten.

But you can reach the top of your profession
If you become the leader of the land,
For murder is the sport of the elected,
And you don't need to lift a finger of your hand.

She had one name, one fucking name, left when they nabbed her. She was on trial within a month. She laughed when her attorney told her the name of the judge—that irony again.

They put restraints on her wrists, but left her ankles free. She knew what the outcome of the trial would be, saw no reason to pay attention. Instead, she stared at him, watched him sweat with a vicious little smile on her face. When she was called up to testify it was easy, so easy, to vault onto the bench, to snap his neck.

The courtroom exploded. Some screamed, some fainted. At least half a dozen guns were suddenly trained on her. Her attorney threw his notes across the room and declared that the 'psycho-bitch' could defend her own actions. She just smiled, because she'd finished her list.

Because it's murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's.
Murder by numbers, 1, 2, 3,
It's as easy to learn as your A, B, C, D, E,...