From chapter 14:
Champagne, even a lot of it, didn't dull Vicious' senses. He'd also had plenty to eat and an hour or so of luxurious exercise with Crys, who was still elated over having found Spike for him, so he was keenly alert as he headed for the rendezvous with Roper. He was also suspicious. Roper wasn't the kind of man to set up a job on his own and then call it in at the last minute. Knowing his men's characters was part of his skill as a leader, and this didn't fit. Because it didn't, he approached from another direction than he'd told Roper he would come, and his senses were fully open, probing the darkness.
At this hour, every place the weak streetlights didn't touch was opaquely black. Vicious used his eyes only to keep on the walkway, while his ears and his instincts were tuned to those spots of blackness: the mouths of alleys, the alcoves, the hidden places behind dumpsters and under stairways. He didn't know who wanted to lead him into a trap – possibly Kito, as a test, since Roper had been used. His ignorance put him at a disadvantage, but that didn't stop him. He wasn't one to hide from a fight.
Even with his wariness at full stretch, he never saw his enemy until the first blow had been struck. Had it been a killing blow, he would have been dead, but instead, his feet were swept out from under him at the same time that something struck the side of his head, hard. He went down, rolled, and came back to his feet facing his enemy, reaching for his sword.
The man was masked, hooded, and dressed all in black, like shadow, and moved just as quietly. He was small, about the size of Master Sam, and equally fast. Before the katana was fully out of its sheath, in a blur of action the man struck at him, and Vicious was forced instead to use his hands to defend himself against a merciless series of blows. He gave way, gauging, seeing a weakness to his assailant's left. Pretending to stumble, he went to one knee, then swung the sheath of his sword up as the man closed in, striking the hip hard. Instead of going down, however, the man rolled with it and at the same time aimed a kick for Vicious' face. Vicious used the sheath to block it, then his forearm to stop another kick, but not so effectively. Tasting blood, he flipped backward, out of reach, rising with his hand already reaching again for his sword. He was up against a trained killer, he knew. No one else could move so fast, and in such silence. No one else could have caught him off-guard like this.
For a moment they faced each other, the streetlight giving his blade, poised between them, a golden patina. The assassin, slight and short, stood before him in a perfectly balanced stance. Vicious grinned. "Come on, then."
He saw the movement of the right hand and lunged forward. But the movement had been a blind. The assassin turned away from the blade, and the side of his left hand struck Vicious' temple as he swept by. Stunned, Vicious went down to one knee, but willed himself to hold onto the sword and not lose consciousness. Then a knee went into his back, a hand grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, and the cool steel barrel of a gun came up hard under his jaw.
For a moment, there was nothing but the feel of the gun under his jaw and the sound of their harsh breathing. Then, as his senses came back, he realized something. The body pressed to his back was not a man's, it was a woman's.
He smiled. "Hello, Mother."
She released his hair, but the gun remained where it was. Pulling off the mask, she put her cheek next to his. "If you weren't my son," she said softly, "I'd have killed you."
"I know. I'm impressed," he said coolly. He'd be damned if he'd admit anything more to her. "I heard you'd retired, gone to seed. I guess that was wrong."
"I'm not what I was, but I'm still good enough to handle you."
"Is that your point? Or is this a social visit?"
She wasn't amused. "I hear you went into a liquor store yesterday."
"That's not a sin. Are you worried about my health?" he sneered.
He clearly heard the soft click as she eased the trigger back from the guard. "I'm not in a humorous mood, son," she said softly. "I know you found nothing there, but I want you to stop looking. Now."
He could easily give his word on that, since he no longer needed to look. But he knew that if she suspected he already knew, his brains could well be decorating the street in an instant. "If I don't?"
"You don't have the skill to beat me. The next time I come to 'visit', I won't hold my fire."
"You'd kill your own son?"
"I'd rather not."
"So you want me to promise not to look for you anymore," he said, managing to sound surly. The effort cost him, because much of his attention was on the sweat trailing down his face and the gun barrel still jammed under his jaw.
"I don't expect you to keep a promise," she said. "I'll make you one, instead. I won't kill you if I can help it. You're still my son. But if you keep looking for us, I'll take away so many pieces of you that you'll get a nice long hospital stay with the prosthetic experts. Long enough to really contemplate how good it would be for your health to forget about your mother. And your brother. Understood?"
"It was nice seeing you again," she drawled, and he blacked out.
When he woke, he was still on the street, still sweating, and just beginning to catch his breath. Whatever she'd hit him with, it hadn't lasted more than a minute. Cursing softly, he got to his feet and put up his sword. A few minutes of limbering proved he was still in good shape. Not good enough to take on the She-Wolf, perhaps, but good enough to take on Roper. Whether tricked or threatened, Roper had led him into this. If the bitch hadn't already killed him, Vicious would.