She moved to New York when she was ten. The boys in her school thought she would be an easy target, and were eager to call her every uncreative name they had managed to come up with involving her French heritage and skin color.
She quickly showed them she wasn’t a damsel in distress, and her reputation grew from there.
Fiona Nova became Nova to just about everyone, and the shortened name stuck with her even when she left NYC. It came from the firecrackers she would throw out of car windows while screeching around the neighborhood, cackles bouncing off the buildings. When she walked across the stage for her high school graduation, she’d rigged fireworks to go off in the middle of the ceremony. (They’d never been able to prove it was her, and she disappeared without even picking up her certificate).
Moving to Los Santos had been her dream for years. Not necessarily with the thought in mind that she would become one of the greatest mercenaries in the city, but the anonymity and freedom the city sung to her. Being stuck in NYC for years had made her bored , and a bored Nova was a danger to public and private property.
Her mom sent her off with a warm kiss to the cheek and a forced promise from Fiona to behave, which was broken as soon as Fiona stepped off the bus in Los Santos and pickpocketed a man in a suit for celebration money.
Almost a full year later, Fiona was comfortable in her place. She did some low level jobs for people higher in the hierarchy: roughing up some people, intimidating others… It wasn’t the most interesting of jobs, but it paid the bills and gave her the adrenaline rush she craved. She had a loose group of friends that she ran around with, in a sliver of unclaimed area that was between the Fakes’ and Fakehaus’ territories.
Now, she sat in the car with her head propped in her hand outside of a club on a Saturday night. The music thumping from the club was loud enough to drown out the low music from her radio, but she wasn’t particularly concerned by it. Her friends were smoking and leaning against the car, laughing together as they waited for the rest of their group to join.
“Are you sure, Fi?” her friend whined, head thrown back in despair. “It’s boring when you’re not with us.”
Fiona smiled at her apologetically, reaching out to steal the cigarette and take a drag. “Sorry, I gotta do some stuff for tomorrow…”
A sleek, red sports car pulled up to the entrance of the club, drawing Fiona’s attention.
Her eyes were trained on the redheaded woman who had exited the car. Fiona’s jaw fell, and the cigarette stuck to her bottom lip, the ashes falling onto her shirt as she watched the woman pull on her jacket—Jesus, it looked like it was worth more than what Fiona could scrape together in a year —and stride towards the entrance of the club. More than a few eyes were trained on her, but everyone warily kept their distance when three hulking men in black suits followed her closely.
Fiona was positive she’d never seen a more beautiful woman in her entire life.
“Y’know what,” she found herself saying before she could stop herself, “I think I will go with you guys. A coupla hours won’t hurt.”
Her friends cheered and dragged her to the entrance, bypassing the line without hesitation.
She didn’t see the woman right away when they entered, but Fiona wasn’t particularly concerned. She was distracted by the thumping music and the throngs of people that were more than a couple of drinks ahead of her.
It turned out that she didn't need to seek her out--the woman sent for her in the form of two hulking men.
“A VIP guest wants to speak with you,” one of the men said curtly. Even over the thundering music, his voice was clear and threatening.
Fiona scoffed, taking a long sip from her drink and staring him down. Her friend next to her straightened her back, eyes trained on them and ready for any sort of fight. They’d been kicked out of almost every bar and club in the neighborhood (all of the ‘normie’ places--Fiona stayed away from the territory owned by any crew), and it wouldn’t surprise either of them if there reputation preceded them.
“And?” Fiona asked, setting down the now-empty glass.
“It would be best if you came with us now, or else we’ll be forced to bring you there ourselves.”
Fiona bit back the urge to laugh in their faces and accept the challenge right away. People really needed to get some new lines that weren't so clichéd. “Why should I do that?” she asked, crossing her arms. “I’m not really about meeting strangers from the club.”
The two men exchanged a look. “Dollface is waiting for you.”
Well, that certainly changed things.
The woman from earlier flashed in her mind. The dangerous smile, the sleek dress, the fiery red hair, and the outline of the gun she’d seen in her jacket.
Fiona’s interest was thoroughly peaked.
“Alright, I’ll bite,” she said, smoothly standing from the barstool.
“Fi, don’t,” her friend hissed immediately, grabbing her arm and stopping her. “This is a fucking stupid idea.”
Yeah, she was right. But that didn’t mean Fiona was going to listen.
“Don’t wait up,” Fiona said absently, waving off her friend’s worries. She tossed her car keys over her shoulder without looking, not caring that they clearly missed the mark as her friend stumbled and cursed in her attempt to grab them.
The crowds of dancers around them parted without complaint, nervous glances being thrown at the two bouncers and Fiona strolling behind them. She tried to look unfazed, but her heart was hammering in her chest, her breathing picking up as adrenaline pumped through her veins. She fought back the urge to run, and instead followed the bouncers up the staircase to a private room. They opened the door for her, but didn’t follow her in.
The room was soundproofed somewhat, creating an almost cozy environment, with the music thumping outside. There was an ornate desk, and two modern sofas that faced each other over a glass coffee table. A flatscreen television was mounted on the wall over one of them, and a drinks cabinet was behind the desk.
The only person in the room was the redhead from before. Up close, she was even more radiant, even as she leaned casually against the sofa and stared intently at the video game on the screen. Her jacket was draped over the back of the office chair, revealing a half-sleeve of roses and a bloody knife, and the sight of the tattoo helped all of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place--this was Dollface, the model-turned-gangster that was known to run with the Fakes.
Dollface hummed happily to herself as she finished the level, the screen chirping a triumphant tune. She set the controller down and finally stood up from the arm of the couch gracefully. She smiled warmly at Fiona as she walked over to the bar area.
“Go ahead and sit down anywhere. Want a drink?” she asked, reaching for a crystalline glass and a bottle of whiskey.
Images flashed through Fiona’s mind of bodies convulsing on the floor, foaming at the mouth, and a news report from earlier in the month of a string of poisonings. She swallowed convulsively, and Dollface watched her with a predatory smile.
“I’ll pass," she said slowly, carefully sitting on the edge of the couch.
Dollface shrugged, and proceeded to open the bottle with a switchblade that had magically appeared from her gown. She cut through the wax seal and poured herself a glass. She took the glass and the knife with her as she went back over to the couch, sitting across from where Fiona was frozen in her seat.
“You’re pretty notorious around these parts,” the woman said conversationally, as if she wasn’t absently tossing her switchblade into the air and catching it without looking. (It took all of her focus for Fiona to not stare at her hands with a mixture of terror and arousal, fighting desperately to match the woman’s casual expression).
Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, Fiona shrugged. “I can’t help that,” she blurted out in response. Internally, she berated herself for speaking so frankly to a known killer that was holding a knife .
Dollface took a sip from her drink before setting it on the table. Her expression was serious now, the dangerously playful smirk gone.
“The Fakes want to meet you.”
“I don’t want anything to do with them,” was Fiona’s immediate response. It didn’t matter if some secret part of her had been thinking about it. (Who didn’t dream about joining one of the best and craziest groups in the city? She was still starry-eyed from the time she managed to see Mogar yank someone off their motorcycle, and then in one fluid motion spin it around, climb on, and take off in the opposite direction).
Dollface raised an eyebrow. “Well, you’re certainly playing with fire, if you actually don’t,” she said in a deadpan. “Most people are smart enough to not mess with those idiots. You know that little tussle you and your friends got into last week? It got in the way of a heist they’ve been planning for a month . The police were crawling over the place for the rest of the day.”
Fiona was lightheaded from the adrenaline pumping through her veins, her body already preparing to fight and run. Her automatically opened her mouth to try and protest, to tell her it wasn’t her fault, dammit, but the woman-- Dollface , it was really Dollface , oh God, Fiona was so screwed--was speaking again.
“If you’re not interested, then you better get the hell outta town, Nova,” Dollface told her. She picked a piece of nonexistent lint off her dress. “You’re awfully close to the Fakes’ territory, y’know.”
“I—I’m not on it, though,” she managed to splutter defensively. “I’m next to it.”
Dollface giggled delightedly, leaning back in her seat. “Oh good, you’re one of the fun ones,” she laughed. “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me.”
Terror and excitement tightened Fiona’s stomach, and she let out a nervous laugh that was just shy of hysterical. Dollface’s moods were switching fast enough to give her whiplash, and the way her own emotions tried to match her pace made her feel nauseous.
“So, what’s the verdict?” Dollface asked. “As much as I’m enjoying our time together, I have business I still need to take care of."
It felt like Fiona didn't really have an option, and when she voiced this thought, Dollface cheerily told her she was correct.
Dollface strode around the desk and rummaged through the drawers. Fiona only had a moment to fear for the worst before the redhead pulled out a sleek, metallic card and tossed it to her. Fiona deftly caught it, slightly surprised by the heftiness of it, and turned it around, noting that it had the Fakes’ logo carved into one side, but otherwise had no other markings.
“The next time you go to the docks, give that to whoever’s outside of Warehouse 3,” Dollface instructed, crossing her arms. “They’ll get you to where you need to be. And I’d recommend going sooner rather than later, before Jack gets bored and decides to bring you over herself.”
Fiona nodded, putting the card into her wallet. Dollface let out an excited noise, and she froze.
“Is that a Persona 5 wallet?”
Fiona blinked, looking down at it. Her cheeks warmed. “Yeah,” she said slowly. She was used to people scoffing at her anime obsessions, judging her ‘childish’ interests.
Instead, Dollface’s eyes lit up. “I love Persona 5. I’m glad you have such good taste.”
As quick as the moment had happened, it passed, almost giving Fiona whiplash. The redhead’s face morphed into her mask again, pure danger behind her sweet eyes. When she grinned, it was all teeth.
“I’ll see you around, Fiona Nova,” she purred.
Fiona’s brain was fried, stuck between running for her life and asking for Dollface’s number, but her legs automatically started walking her towards the door and out into the hot night. The humid air felt like walking into a brick wall, but she didn’t stop moving until she was blocks away and found herself in the gas station parking lot, sitting on the curb and staring dreamily at the starless, light-polluted sky.
Her friends would yell at her later, but that wasn’t important.