The Art of the Kill
Author: Carol K
Summary: This is a MacGyver-ish fan fic of everyone's favorite assassin, Murdoc. Twenty two years after the events in "Obsessed", and Murdoc is still working for H.I.T.--but as an instructor rather than an assassin. One female pupil in particular (code name "Jezebel") is especially brilliant and has as much of a flair for the dramatic as Murdoc does. She becomes his protégé, and after she completes a successful first-kill, they share a passionate night. Two months later she disappears, seemingly off the face of the earth, and H.I.T. orders Murdoc to find and liquidate her. But MacGyver's interference and a shocking revelation cause Murdoc to rethink his loyalties to H.I.T. and true feelings for his wayward pupil...
Rating: PG-13, mild violence and some sexual situation
Feedback: Yes, please, write to shamanreikiwoman[AT]yahoo.com, or use this convenient form. Feedback tends to motivate me to continue a story, and it often pushes it in directions I did not expect it to go.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters nor am I making any profit from this. I'm just an enormous MacGyver/Murdoc fan--this is my first foray into the MacGyver genre, so I hope I do not disappoint.
(Opening song: "Obsession" with vocals by Michael Des Barres and Teal Collins Zee)
From the journals of Murdoc, assassin extraordinaire:
Ah, my little Jezebel--she was my favorite, and I have never played favorites. A quick study--she knew exactly when to pull the trigger. I admit that I was smitten with her from the beginning. Your mind was sharp, as sharp as mine I am reluctant to admit, but I am finally being honest with myself. I enjoyed training her for H.I.T.--it had been a while since I'd been sent on an actual assignment, and she was the best challenge thus far. Running on pure rage, she was rough--obviously willing to kill, but she lacked the finesse of a cold-blooded killer like me. Ah, but she was an eager student--spending months in physical and mental training.
That week in Venice I saw her bloom into the rarest of flowers, and the keen thrill of her smile as she thrust the knife into her victim's heart--it even made my cold heart sing. I had captured it all on film, and watching it later, I noticed that I had focused more on her than the actual kill--completely out of character for me, but I just wasn't myself that night.
Perhaps it was the joy of being back out in the field again, if only as an observer. Passions were running high that night, and back at our shared room, I could sense a change in her own demeanor as well. Even I had to admit Jezebel looked quite scrumptious in her harlequin costume, stained with her victim's blood.
That first kiss was intense, and it quickly flared into a passion that I didn't know I possessed. And Jezebel--my Jezebel...she was a more than enthusiastic pupil, though, truth be told, I think I learned more than she did that night--about her...about myself. Some emotions are better left buried. When we returned to H.I.T. headquarters it was business as usual, but she and I never forgot that night in Venice, and when she disappeared just two months later, I felt an ache in my heart I didn't expect, and gladly took up the task of finding her and bringing her back to H.I.T. to answer for her crime: desertion.
6 months later...
Angus MacGyver was enjoying his retirement...old friends and family were finally number one, and he was happy to volunteer his knowledge of ice hockey to the children at the local shelter, and allowed himself the luxury of occasionally sleeping in. On top of that, he was finally able to pursue romantic relationships, though he shied away from the websites and speed dates. He thought he'd put his years at the Phoenix Foundation behind him. But that night, as he walked up to his houseboat, he sensed that someone was nearby, watching him. That eerily familiar sensation made his blood run cold--he was on his guard, though he wasn't sure of what he'd find.
His kitchen and living room looked exactly as he'd left it, but outside his bedroom door, the hairs stood on the back of his neck. The room was engulfed in darkness, but suddenly a hand flicked a switch, and MacGyver was nearly blinded. The first thing he saw was the handgun pointed at him--his gaze was deflected immediately to a very pregnant belly and then to the face. High cheekbones and large blue eyes gaunt with hunger and desperation looked back at him. Slowly her arm lowered to her side, though her long, thin fingers still gripped the gun tightly.
"Sorry about that. A girl can't be too careful." MacGyver relaxed only slightly when she slid the gun into a secret pocket in her skirt. "I need your help, MacGyver. Yes, I know your name. I also know you used to work for the Phoenix Foundation and that you had several run-ins with H.I.T.--one assassin in particular--Murdoc..."
Further musings from Murdoc, assassin extraordinaire:
I am hot on Jezebel's trail--her bread crumbs could not be more obvious. Today's revelations have been illuminating to say the least. The patrons at the biker bar proved to have loose tongues where she was concerned. I almost smiled when they described the brawl she had started, but at the barkeep's final statement concerning the incident, I almost lost my composure: "She was a damned good fighter, especially considering her condition--looked like she was ready to pop...said she had a couple of months before she was due." What am I going to do now? That night in Venice is all I can think about now. All that preparation for the job had not prepared either of us for what transpired.
In the present day:
"Are you sure about having second thoughts about being an assassin? From what you told me you still have some of the killer instinct, and I know Murdoc--he won't stop until he finds you, but you knew that already." The pregnant woman who only identified herself as Jezebel nodded in agreement, her right hand moving protectively over her belly. "You're right MacGyver, he won't stop, and neither will H.I.T. I was a fool for thinking I could escape them. I guess I was just buying some time. The thing is...I LOVE the job, but with this baby, everything has changed. And if they figure out who the father is--he's dead too. After his years of loyalty to H.I.T. he deserves better than that." Suddenly, Jezebel stiffened and pulled the gun, while swiftly pivoting to face her foe. In the shadow of his darkened hallway, MacGyver barely made out the outline of a man, who limped into the light. He was older, but the steely cold gaze was as sharp as ever. "Murdoc."
Everyone remembers their first. Mine was in Venice...I had just joined H.I.T. and put under the watchful eye of the greatest assassin in the world-- Murdoc. I was intrigued by him even then--he taught me that there was more to being an assassin than simply aim-and-fire. I appreciated his flair for the dramatic, though I think he was a tad disappointed that I did not take to the piano--I simply didn't have the knack for it. But I enjoyed our many hours together in weapons and martial arts training. He was a hard taskmaster--he taught me that it took more than pure rage to be a cold-blooded killer. My first assignment (under his watchful eye) was to track down the very man I had sworn vengeance upon, and kill him. It was Carnival in Venice, and the bastard was there on business--still profiting on his ill-gotten gains. For the first time I went against my teacher's advice...I wanted to get as close as possible, to see the look on his face when he realized who had finally bested him. I wanted to watch every exquisite expression of torturous pain. For my disguise I was a harlequin, and Murdoc was a pirate. I disliked period costumes for one major reason--they were designed by men, meant to accentuate everything they deemed attractive in the female sex, and God help you if you didn't fit the image. Oh, I had my curves in all the right places, not that Murdoc noticed...I remember shaking my head, wondering where my brain was taking me. I had a job to do--and I did not want to disappoint my mentor...and I especially did not want to disappoint H.I.T.
I stood in front of the mirror, making sure to hide the dagger where it was easily accessible--in the middle of my bodice--damn those confounded laces. Nervousness mixed with excitement, but one look from Murdoc and I was all business. Venice was quite beautiful, and the mixture of French classical music, fine wine, and very expensive and elaborate costumes almost made me believe we were simply there to take in the ambience...almost. But then, as Murdoc and I made our way to an open courtyard, I saw HIM. My target. My prey. And yes, the brainless twits who flocked around him like preening hens were there as well. No matter--even they would not get in my way. I waited until the exact moment when he was his most vulnerable, and his most distracted--the fireworks lit up the courtyard like the midday sun, but no one, save for Murdoc, saw as I slipped silently up to him, slipping the knife out of its hiding place, then thrusting it into his heart.
In that moment he looked me in the eye, and I grinned wolfishly as the recognition quickly turned to fear and the sudden realization that he was about to die. I twisted the handle and he gurgled, choking on his own blood. He dropped like a stone when I yanked the blade from his body--it took only moments for him to die. I was able to slip easily back into the crowd and rejoin Murdoc. We returned to our shared room in high spirits. I remember coming to a halt in the doorway at the formal meal set in the middle of the room, complete with an elaborate candelabra in the center of the small table and a bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket overflowing with ice. At my questioning glance he laughed, "Your reward for a job well done."
The setting was more intimate than I expected, and I didn't quite know what to make of my scattered thoughts. I had always prided myself on my sharp mind and even sharper tongue, but I was suddenly incapable of communicating in little more than monosyllables. The candlelight created soft shadows over his otherwise sharp profile, accentuating the scars, making him appear more handsome. He in turn noticed the shift in the mood, and seemed equally perturbed. He was looking at me as he had never looked at me before. We were both surprised that I made the first move, reaching quickly across the small table to grab his hand possessively, but it was Murdoc who brushed his lips caressingly across my knuckles. No more words were said that night--the hunger we shared had no need for words. We spent all night exploring this new aspect of our relationship.
The next morning it was all business again, and we returned to H.I.T., no one the wiser...or so I thought. I couldn't help but replay that night over and over again--even dreaming about it. Then one day, I was ordered into a top secret meeting with the committee of H.I.T. My blood ran cold--I guessed what it would be about, but was careful to be a true image of icy composure they'd come to expect. This was one time I wished I wasn't right.
"Well isn't this sweet? The damsel in distress runs straight to the hero--and of course she leaves a trail of bread crumbs so obvious a blind lumberjack could find it. I'd expect something so foolish from MacGyver, but you Jezebel. Tsk. Tsk. Motherhood has made you sloppy." He was older than MacGyver remembered, with white hair, and the scars had faded a little with time, but he still had the same old swagger.
"Well I certainly hope you had the brains to sweep away those bread crumbs along the way--don't want too many people on my trail, now do I?" To say Jezebel was tense was the biggest understatement since the captain of the Titanic said, "Pool's open." Her back was perfectly straight and her hand was steady as she pointed the gun toward her new target--neither an easy feat considering how far along she was--and MacGyver guessed she was near the nine month mark. But MacGyver was distracted by the way Murdoc was staring at the woman, and suddenly guessed which "he" she had been talking about. This was also the only time he'd ever seen anyone stand up directly to Murdoc and continue breathing. To his surprise, Murdoc actually laughed at her sarcasm. "My, my. Such a little spitfire, eh Jezebel? I see your condition has not improved your temper."
MacGyver nearly jumped out of his skin when Jezebel stepped forward, her gun firmly aimed at Murdoc. When she got close, too close for his liking, she suddenly lashed out like a black mamba, the slap wiping the smirk off Murdoc's face. She brushed past Murdoc as if he were nothing more than an annoying piece of furniture that was in her way, one hand clutching her round belly. Against his better judgment, MacGyver followed, and found her in his kitchen--rummaging through an old army duffle bag that certainly didn't belong to him--she must have brought it in with her while she had waited for him to return home. She began pulling out a wide variety of knives and gun components, along with a dog eared book that she threw down with no thought--just another tool of the trade as far as she was concerned. MacGyver stepped forward and read the title: Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond.
Other instruments were thrown with little ceremony next to the book--he recognized their use in natural births from his own childhood memories on his grandfather's farm. Fresh clean newspapers in plastic baggies, surgical scissors for cutting the umbilical cord, and thick cotton towels landed with a resounding whump onto the large wooden table. Without looking up, she continued to take inventory of her supplies, and her tone was chilled. "So nice you could join us, Murdoc. Would you be so kind as to assess the terrain? More of them are coming, and I don't want them sneaking up on us." Without a word Murdoc turned on his heel, whatever weapons he had on him well-concealed, and stepped outside. Only when the door was closed did MacGyver see Jezebel suddenly wince, leaning with one hand heavily on the table, the other protectively cradling her belly. "Why don't you sit down?" She glared daggers at him, retorting, "Because every time I sit down, I am completely useless--and helpless. There'll be time enough for that when..." She trailed off uncertainly and sighed. Despite the insane situation he found himself in, and knowing full well what Jezebel was capable of, MacGyver felt the old need to help. This was going to be tricky though, with Murdoc in the picture. Then again, was it ever easy with that socio-path around? And this Jezebel was an expert killer as well--but MacGyver sensed a deep, underlying pain, which, along with this unexpected pregnancy, revealed the vulnerability of a young woman nursing some very old wounds--certainly not the image she was willing to convey to Murdoc.
I remember thinking how old the three members of The Board were as I stood waiting to be given my assignment. How long had it been since they'd put their lives and reputations on the line? And now they were about to put MY life on the line yet again for some nameless, faceless target. Except it wasn't a nameless, faceless target this time. My blood grew as cold as Sonia Chapel; the only female member of the Committee gave me my new assignment. "Jezebel. We have a very special target for you. He is as cold of a killer as any of us, so you must take special precautions with this one."
She nodded to a suit that resembled an accountant. In his hand he carried a single file folder. I took it and opened it to the photo on top. My face was a perfect mask as I looked back up at their grim smiles. I betrayed nothing of my thoughts as I slapped the folder closed and passed it back to the suit. "It will be done." But inside my head the wheels were already turning as the seeds of my rebellion took root, and what came to be known as THE PLAN began to rapidly formulate.
Back in my living quarters, nothing fancy, something akin to military barracks, I began to pack clothes and weapons, as if nothing was wrong. I knew that once the Committee realized I had betrayed them, they would send their best people after me. Be loyal to H.I.T., and H.I.T. might decide to not kill you. But betray H.I.T. then you might as well put a gun to your own head...for sooner or later, the bullet would find its mark--in the heart or the head--it would find its mark. The thing to do was to get them before they got you...
"You love him, don't you?" MacGyver regretted the question almost as soon as he asked it, but despite the situation, he wanted to understand. With time, his memories of Murdoc had become less judgmental--he sometimes wondered what would have happened if Ashton had lived. He still didn't trust him--time had not softened him. If anything, Murdoc seemed to enjoy the cat-and-mouse game even more. But this Jezebel--there was something delicate in her that required special care, and it was not just that she was pregnant. The hurt was evident in her blue-green eyes--of a love betrayed. "You have no idea..." She breathed a deep sigh, and spoke in a faraway tone as she once more took up the task of taking stock of her supplies.
"I first joined H.I.T. when I was only 17--my entire family was wiped out simply because my father could not be bought. The son of a bitch didn't even have the balls to murder my baby brother himself. Instead, he had one of his henchmen do the dirty deed. He wasn't even a year old, and all I can remember is that single red dot in the middle of his forehead. At first, he just looked like he was sleeping...until I turned him over and saw the gaping hole in the back of his skull. You know, I could handle seeing my mother and father dead on the living room floor--but how could they just so coldly shoot an infant? One minute I am enjoying a nice, normal life out with friends, the next, I am walking in on absolute carnage. At least my brother didn't feel any pain--can't say the same for myself..." Jezebel winced suddenly, pressing against her lower back with one hand. "I need to sit down." MacGyver quickly took some pillows from his couch and put it against the back of an easy chair, and brought a settee over for her feet to be elevated. He noticed, but said nothing, when she slipped several small throwing knives into the sleeves of her denim jacket and into her leather combat boots, then slipped none too easily against the thick pillows. Her feet must have been hurting, but her sense of self-preservation over-rode any feelings for her own comfort. She was tense...on edge--waiting for the inevitable fight she knew was coming.
"H.I.T. gave me a purpose. When I first came into the fold, I was untrained, fueled by rage, and with a thirst for revenge. I didn't even know how to fight. Until the day my family was taken from me, I was peaceful enough--if anything I had been a pacifist. But I became violent afterwards. I tried joining dojos, but no one would take me--word had gotten around about my family, and no one wanted to encourage me avenging their deaths. It was Murdoc who brought me in. I was living in this rat-hole of an apartment--I was spiraling out of control...drinking tequila and watching home movies of happier times. When I wasn't watching home movies I was reading martial arts magazines--practicing the moves I saw there. Abandoned railroad yards, empty lots, even alleyways became my training fields. Even falling down drunk I could still hit a rat at 100 paces. I still had to prove myself at the Helman Club, but Murdoc was certain I'd be initiated. He was right--as usual..."
Murdoc kept his eyes on the surrounding terrain, but his ears were completely on the conversation unfolding in the living room. Those damned feelings that he had long since buried were making a nuisance of themselves. He did not want to be the father of Jezebel's unborn child, but a paternal pride welled up within him, and he found himself wondering who the child would resemble. Her high cheekbones--his piercing eyes? For a few fleeting moments he even hoped it was a girl. He shook his head, wondering at himself. Sentimentality was never his strong suit, except where Ashton was concerned, and when she died his only purpose in life was to be a world-class assassin. But hearing Jezebel reminisce about their first meeting had caused him to re-think his loyalties. H.I.T. had tried to kill him and threatened his sister when he disobeyed a direct order from the Board. What does the Board know of risk? None of them had risked their lives in the field in years--choosing instead to hide in their ivory tower, shielded behind their damned desks. They dished out orders without considering the consequences. Suddenly a new thought popped into his head. What if this was Jezebel's motivation behind her desertion? What orders could she have possibly received to cause her to make such a drastic decision? Who are you protecting, Jezebel? Murdoc decided to eavesdrop a little longer before confronting her. What he heard next shook him to his core.
"Eight months ago, the Board had called me in for my new assignment. Sonia was all smiles when that damned suit handed me the folder containing my new target. You can imagine my surprise when I saw Murdoc's face staring up at me from the photograph. In that moment I knew...I knew. I couldn't--wouldn't--kill him. I made my decision then and there to betray H.I.T.--for him. Oh, my face was an emotionless mask when I accepted the assignment, no questions asked. I wanted them to think I was still their good little soldier. You know, I didn't even find out I was pregnant until two months after I disappeared? To answer your question, yes, I love him, and it was for him that I threw my life away. There's no escaping H.I.T.--maybe that's the point. I'm tired of running. All I want is for this whole damned mess to be over. But be sure, MacGyver--I will take as many of them out before I leave this world in a blaze of glory. He is the only man who ever--"
She cried out in pain then, and Murdoc's stomach tightened in knots as he watched MacGyver help her back to the chair. "Damn Braxton-Hicks" he heard her mutter. Every bit of her strength seemed to be going toward this pregnancy. He wondered what she'd been about to say, and now he may never know. H.I.T. would kill them both, no--he had to include the baby now, no matter what he thought or felt, when he allowed himself to feel anything at all.
Murdoc walked the perimeter of MacGyver's property--well, not so much walked as slinked. His mind raced with the ripple effect Jezebel's actions and condition would cause within H.I.T. and what it had already started, though he knew this had been a long time coming. He just hadn't fully admitted it to himself until now. His usefulness with H.I.T. had been spent, but he was either too feared (by some of the older assasins) or too popular (with the younger assassins he had trained personally) to be killed directly. They could be still be a problem if they were unwilling to either step aside, or stand with them against the army of loyal assassins who were still willing to protect the Board. The most insane plan of his career (and that was saying a lot) was just barely beginning to formulate in his mind. It was a long shot, but it was still a shot...
Back inside, Jezebel had finally fallen asleep, though uneasily, her left hand near the cuff of her right sleeve, ever at the ready. She was only partially asleep though and she smiled, eyes still closed as MacGyver tucked a blanket around her. In her semi-relaxed state her dreams were filled with violent images--her brother's bloody corpse, the dead rats in the alley way, the daily regimen of exercise, martial arts and weapons mastery--the dominant image being Murdoc's piercing blue gaze. Always Murdoc. Her thoughts from before about H.I.T. came out of Murdoc's lips, in his voice: "The heart and the head, Jezebel. Above all, strike the heart and the head, and you will always fell your prey." Instinct caused her eyes to fly open and without thinking she pulled her gun, ready to kill the unseen enemy. She stared down the barrel at Murdoc's piercing gaze. She pulled the gun away reluctantly, though her fingers remained curled around the trigger. Without pulling her gaze away from his face, she spoke coldly. "I hope you won't mind, MacGyver, but Murdoc and I need to talk...alone. You might want to get a few things together--we're going to be in for a busy night."
To Be Continued. (Share your thoughts. Please!)