[Iris tried to hide her disgust at the way Alek’s eyes lit up when Cody spoke. “American! How delightful. How did you manage that?” Iris jerked her shoulder again in a half-shrug.] Came into the wrong club on the wrong night. [She was careful not to meet Cody’s eyes, knowing that their survival hinged on her making this sale perfectly. Alek’s eyes gleamed, and he sat down, surveying the both of them. She met his gaze with a steady stare of her own, and finally he began to speak. “She is pretty, very pretty, but too old. Nobody wants to fuck their mother,” he shrugged. Iris gritted her teeth. She had gone to Alek first, because he was the lesser of two evils. Some of her other contacts ran places she wouldn’t condemn her worst enemies to.] Age means experience. How many complaints do you get when your girls have no idea what to do and end up almost biting dicks off? Look at her. She’s got the all-American look going for her, blonde hair, blue eyes. She’ll be something different. And even if no one wants to buy here, you can stick her up on a stage, and I’m sure everyone would be flocking to see her. Or porn. Whatever. You’re not gonna get many opportunities like her again. [Alek stroked his chin in thought, mulling over Iris’ words. She felt sick just for saying them, but if Alek didn’t want Cody, then she had less hope for both of them coming out of this intact. “You ever fuck a Russian before? What about two at a time? We’re much better than your American boys,” he leered at Cody.]
[Cody kept her head low, listening to the exchange that went on between Iris and the Russian. She did her best not to look at the other woman, or even move until it was over, knowing that any kind of exchange between them could stop something from working smoothly. With every sentence that the conversation progressed, Cody could feel her stomach twisting. She had known what she was getting into when they decided she’d come here, but hearing the words in such a crude way was a different animal entirely and she knew that ven then it was only the beginning. But this was the only change they had, not only at their own survival, but the continuation of the case and the rescue of the hundreds of girls that were probably in this one house alone. When Alek’s attention turned back to speaking to her, Cody shifted a little, looking up at him, but attempting to try and appear slightly unsure and not bitchy or overly confident in her response.] Not that I know of…
[Iris watched out of the corner of her hands as Cody tried to calm herself. She failed miserably at it, and part of her wanted to reach out to help, but the facade was in place, locked down, and she couldn’t risk breaking it, not when the stakes were so high now. Looking up, Iris met Cody’s eyes, and her heart clenched when she nodded. This was the furthest thing from how this was supposed to happen. Giving her own curt nod back, she slipped her sunglasses on her face, the dark lenses masking her eyes, cast one more look at the other woman, before starting the car. The tires screeched as they sped out of the parking garage and to a warehouse where the mob took care of a lot of business. The drive was much too short, and too soon, they were pulling up into the empty lot, four or five other cars scattered about.] You don’t say a single world. I don’t want to have to use force, but I will if I have to. You keep your mouth shut, eyes down. Don’t make eye contact with anyone. And whatever you see, don’t react. [With that, Iris got out of the car, and made Cody walk in front of her into the warehouse. A couple men were scattered about, along with fifteen or so girls in various states of undress cowering in the corners. Shooting Cody a warning look, Iris strode up to one of the men, Russian spilling out of her mouth.] Where’s Alek? [The man shrugged, too preoccupied with the half-naked girl on his lap to give her a proper answer. With a roll of her eyes, Iris pulled her off and shoved her away.] Alek. Now. Tell him I have fresh meat. [The man looked irritated, but he looked past her to stare at Cody before finally nodding and calling out to one of the other men. Several minutes later, Aleksandr Korvin walked out, holding his arms out in greeting. “Iris, how wonderful to see you. You never disappoint me with the girls you bring in,” he grinned, circling around Cody. “How old?” Iris shrugged.] Why don’t you ask her yourself?
[Cody knew not to say anything. Now wasn’t a time for talking or reasurances and she knew that Iris would be trying to figure out a way to steel herself. It was probably best that she do the same. When they finally rolled up to the warehouse, she listened carefully to Iris’s instructions. They were once she understood easily. It wasn’t as though Cody was new to her own line of work, but she wasn’t going to argue with Iris right then. Now wasn’t the time for their usual bickering. Cody followed her into the warehouse, keeping her eyes low and trying not to let her stomach turn at the girls around them. She could remember Lopez talking about cases, about stopping them, and how it hadn’t worked and she bore her teeth down. What was one more promise to a girl that couldn’t hear it anyway? She’d find a way to make it worth it, to stop them. For Santana and her girl, the girl currently sitting in front of them, and now for Iris and herself. When the man spoke to her, Cody lifted her eyes just a little, enough to see and know his face before she answered.] Twenty five.
[Iris stood watch, back completely rigid as she watched Cody pour out her own bowl of cereal and eat. She was glad the blonde didn’t argue for she didn’t have the time or patience for that today. Not when everything was about to turn to shit. She raised an eyebrow as Cody pushed a slip of paper out to her, catching sight of the other woman’s neat handwriting on it. Hesitantly, she reached out to take it and pursed her lips, looking down at the instructions that the agent had written out. With a curt nod, Iris slipped it into her pocket before looking down at the other note. She swallowed hard as she realized what this was for. This was much different than instructions on making sure her cat was taken care of. However, she couldn’t refuse and took the second note, breaking away from Cody’s gaze and walking over to a hidden drawer under the cabinet for safekeeping. She didn’t want the Russians to get a hold of that note.] I’ll make sure he gets it. [She looked back at Cody and steeled herself, readying herself for a day she had never anticipated.] All right, you done? Then let’s go. We’re already late. [She grabbed her jacket and slung it on, tucking her gun into the holster at her waist, and another backup on her ankle. Pausing to let Cody pass her, Iris locked up the apartment and headed down to the garage. Sliding into the driver’s seat, she let out a quiet breath, needing a moment before she slipped into her facade.]
[Cody didn’t speak. She figured it was best not to. Iris seemed to want or need the silence and she wasn’t even sure what to say if she were to open her mouth. Finishing her food with an unsettled stomach, she followed the other woman to the car, slipping into the passenger’s side and crossing her legs, smoothing the palms of her hands over her knees and noting they were already clammy. After a minute, she let her eyes shift left to try and catch Iris’s, running her lip through her teeth and wordlessly nodding when she finally did.]
[Iris didn’t close her eyes for even a second that night. She had no plans of sleeping when she knew what was coming in the morning, but she could not stand there and stare and yell at Cody anymore. It was too exhausting. Instead, she watched the shadows shift along the ceiling as she tossed on her lumpy couch. Her back was going to kill her in the morning, but that was the least of her worries. Having been undercover for almost a year now, Iris knew better than anyone what those girls went through, and the idea of Cody St. Claire being forced to do the same made her stomach roll. The FBI usually only got their hands on the girls long after they’d been broken. They only saw the end result, but Iris saw every moment of their destruction. They’re not always weak and stuttering. Some of them are strong, with even more fire than Cody, the ones who held out the longest, but they too were eventually forced into submission. They were the ones who were always the most broken. Slowly, the sounds of the city began to get louder, and looking over at the cable box. Iris saw that it was nearing five in the morning, and instead of rolling over to try and catch a couple precious minutes of sleep, she sat up, feeling like she had aged ten years overnight. She didn’t know if Cody had slept, but she shuffled past the bedroom and into the tiny bathroom and turned the hot water on as hot as she could bear it. If there was anything to be said about this crappy apartment, it was that the water pressure was awesome. She let the water beat out the tension in her shoulders and while it didn’t succeed completely, Iris felt a little better as she slipped out, not shy as she walked into her bedroom and began dressing for the day. Not saying a word to the blonde, she went out to the kitchen, pouring herself a bowl of cereal and beginning her morning ritual of cleaning her guns. It calmed her and the only sounds were the clink of her spoon against the bowl, the scrub of the brush against steel, and her own steady breathing. She didn’t look up as Cody entered, instead making sure there were no rounds in the chamber before flicking the safety on and holstering it.] Eat something. I don’t know when you’ll get another chance. You have fifteen minutes.
[ Cody knew as soon as Iris left the room that there wasn’t going to be any sleeping. Her stomach was knotted and her jaw tense, grinding her teeth back in forth the way her father used to always yell at her for. She knew that in a way Iris was right, that she was handing herself over to them, but both Cody and the other woman knew there wasn’t another option, because if there was, that’s what they’d be doing right now. Both agents were dedicated to their work, to bringing down the mafia, and Cody had sworn that she would take these men down once and for all. If that meant signing herself over and giving Iris the chance to, then that would be what she’d have to do. For most of the night, Cody forced herself to lie on the bed, knowing that she should at least try to rest even if sleep never came. After a few hours, she moved to take a shower, figuring that she should spend her time at least doing something before Iris started stirring. More hours passed slowly and Cody had to erase any thoughts she could from her mind, thoughts of her father and her brother, her own apartment and the small kitten that was probably wondering where she was. With a sigh, she scribbled a note down on to a sheet of paper, and then another, and then one more. One she wrote Iris’s name on and tucked it into her sock for safe keeping, the other her father’s, and on the third simple instructions to her apartment, her safe, and the name “Aequitas.” She finally moved into the kitchen, finding a very detached looking Iris and not saying a word, assuming this was how Iris dealt with things and not wanting to push the situation. With a simple nod she did as Iris said and poured a bowl of cereal, eating it but barely tasting it as she did and finally setting the spoon down against the bowl.] This… is for now [She slid the instructions across the table]. I have a kitten. His name is Aequitas… means justice. Can you.. just make sure he eats? [She then slid the other note with it] And… just.. give this to my dad if something happens. Only if something happens. Please.. [Her blue eyes finally lifted and met Iris’s, searching to make some kind of connection with them in the frigid air of the kitchen before they left. ]
Well, we can agree on one thing. Six o’clock. We’re leaving at the half hour.
Don’t you dare put this on me, Cody. I fucking told you to get out. I fucking said to leave and now you’re- Don’t you fucking dare guilt trip me into this. I’m sleeping on the couch. Be ready by six.
We’ve already established that I fucked up okay? I get it. I’m sorry. Which is why I’m willing to take the fall for it because all I’ve wanted from the beginning was to bring them down and I don’t want to lose that chance now just becuase I got ahead of myself. I’m giving you the only solution I know and you’re acting like I”m beginning to hand myself over tot hem. I tell you to do the opposite and now I’m guilt tripping you. This is obviously a lose lose conversation.
And they can leave us alone. We can play this game all night. If you’re so goddamned eager to get sold to the highest bidder, then I won’t stop you. Do whatever the fuck you want since what I say doesn’t seem to make it past all that peroxide in your brain anyways.
I’m not eager at all. You just keep putting the entire thing in my hands and that’s the only solution I have for you. If youdon’t like it, then go ahead, call your captain. Blow the case.
Yeah, you’re one person I can fucking save!
As opposed to the thousands you could save. And there’s no saying you’ll save either of us if you pull out now. They can still come looking for us.
I want you to be alive and intact when it’s all said and done.
You said hundreds of girls in the next month was better than thousands in the next year. I’m one person, Iris. I’m not by any means saying that I’m not going to be okay, because I’m going to do what I can to be but… there’s a greater good here.