Salvatore knew his men had no chance against his Siren. He went out to find her himself.
He searched alleys but figured she'd change her usual spot. So he walked around the slums of the city, up to the halfway mark.
He figured she'd be around there. It's not exactly the slums but nowhere near the suburbs. It's a perfect hideout. Monotonous rows of white picket fences, green lawns and the listlessness of middle class provides the perfect cover.
He smirked as he saw curtains closing fearfully.
Even down here, he was known.
Even down here, he was feared.
As he stumbled upon his prize, he realized he was feared by all except one.
He found her sitting on a bench in a playground, watching the kids play. Emphatically, he sat beside her, waiting for her quake in fear.
That wasn't very reasonable given the circumstances.
He cocked a dark brow at her audacity.
"You've got a smart mouth, don't you?"
She shook her head, smirking. "No, I have a smart brain. Mouths don't tend to possess grey matter."
He sat quietly, taking in her rather detached features. She looked in her element; as if a murdering, ruthless, merciless Mafia Don was a component of her element. It unnerved him, it intrigued him. And it turned him on.
But more than anything, it made him cautious.
"Why aren't you afraid me?"
He knew she knew who he was by how she addressed him.
She snorted. "Seriously? I've had worse nightmares about failing AP chem," She shook her head, smiling briefly.
His eyes never left her face, never stopped roving her features for inconsistencies.
"When you live the life I've lived, Don, you don't have nightmares about big scary Italian men with guns and a bad temper," She turned to face him, her dark yet light eyes piercing him, hypnotizing him. It was painful and beautiful all the same.
"You have nightmares about winters and beautiful sheets of snow. And you pray for big scary Italian men with guns and bad tempers. Do you know why that is, Salvatore?"
He shook his head mindlessly, like a child engrossed in a story. His name on her lips drawing him in.
She turned away from him once more, and that smile was back.
"Because a round of bullets tearing through your body is much more humane than pneumonia. Arthritis. Starvation. Frostbite."
She got up, smiling his way. "To pick and choose your battles, you must pick and choose your fears."
"I don't fear you, Salvatore. Simply because there is nothing you can do to me that hasn't already been done."
"Or worse." And then she was gone.
Salvatore sat still, her words ringing in his head. He let her go. He wouldn't chase her. Not yet. But his mind was buzzing with questions. With curiosity, concern, and anger.
He still didn't know her real name. He didn't understand why she smiled the way she did.
She smiled as if she were the richest, most successful, most happy person this side of the Milky Way.
He wondered how she did it. She had a smart mouth; sarcastic and sardonic. Yet she was detached and cold. She was also warm and smiling. She was intelligent. She was well versed in the underworld, you could tell, but she was never on his radar.
She spoke to him like he was normal, yet in such a subtly condescending manner. She was wise beyond her years, not that he knew how old she was, but assumed she at least legal, which would put her at most four years younger than him.
She'd been through a lot; things even he never experienced. It sent guilt straight to his core again. She preferred death by a firing squad than to survive a winter. To most that may seem preposterous, but most have houses. Or at least cars.
She doesn't. She's out in the open by herself with nothing to keep warm, nothing to eat, no medicine.
Which brought him to another question:
She escaped his estate in under a minute, a couple of minutes within waking from unconsciousness.
If she could do that, surely she could steal? If she could stay off his radar, surely she could do it well.
So why not? Why choose to suffer? Why choose a slow painful death?
Salvatore closed his eyes, resting his head on the bench.
She was beautiful. She had brown ombre eyes; they were... peculiar, odd coming from him. She had red lips, just by nature; lips the color of sin. Begging to kissed.
She was small; five feet even. She gained a little more weight; not healthy yet, but he could see her figure was what wet dreams were made of. She had the softest looking, tan skin.
She talked like a song, weirdly. Everything she said came out melodious and mellowing.
He smiled at the thought of her. She was curious, that much was for certain. He felt a slight weight to his left and looked over. Seeing nothing, he looked down.
And there was a little boy, just looking ahead like an old man watching the sunset. He smiled because it immediately reminded him of Siren. The little boy said nothing as Salvatore eyed him, amused. The child knew who he was. He wasn't scared though.
He was scared of the people after him.
And this man was the only one who could help him. After he saw the lady sit down and get up without getting hurt, he decided to take his chances.
Salvatore noticed the holes on his shoes and clothes.
He's homeless, the little boy. He didn't see anyone with him. Not a parent, an older sibling.
"Are you by yourself, bambino?"
The boy looked up at Salvatore and nodded.
He shrugged. "Cause everyone I know is dead," he said flatly.
Salvatore frowned. This boy reminded him of someone.
"You have no one?"
The boy shook his head.
"What is your name?"
"Apollo." He said softly.
"How old are you?"
Salvatore just sat silently after that, quietly thinking. He didn't kill this child's parents, he didn't think. Usually, he checked to see if anyone he kills has children before he kills them.
How old they are. If they have somewhere to go.
He was heartless, he wouldn't deny it. But he lost his mother. He watched his mother murdered. He watched his father do it.
"Do you know who I am?"
"You're Salvatore Gambino,"
Sal looked down at the boy. "And you're the only one who can help me."
Shaking his head, he thought, I'm gonna regret this.
Still, he picked up the small child, put his coat on him, and took him home, wondering when he became a nice guy.