Code of Redemption
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the film Triple 9 and I'm not making any money from this fic
Spoiler-free Summary: AU. Things go different at the end of the movie
Longer Summary: Marcus has an attack of conscience and stops Chris from getting shot. Things progress from there
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the entire movie Triple 9; AU; violence; swearing
The crackling of his radio sounded again and Marcus, from where he hid round the corner, could hear Chris... calling for backup; calling for him. He thumped his head back against the wall. "Fuck."
He didn't care about Chris. He didn't. He owed no loyalty to the rookie cop, so standing by and letting him get shot should have been a piece of cake. His loyalty was to the others... but it was more than that. If he stopped the shooting, Michael would become even more desperate. And with Jorge as a loose cannon, who knew what would happen if Marcus failed... if he saved Chris?
The radio crackled again. "Marcus! Where the hell are you?"
Marcus would never have been able to kill Chris himself. He didn't fool himself that that was because he was a good man... that there was some semblance of care for the fellow cop he was partnered with. No. That wasn't it at all. He just didn't want anything to link him with the murder of a fellow officer.
Maybe, if he said it enough times, he'd believe it.
"Damn." Marcus pushed himself off the wall and retraced his steps, even as he spoke into the radio... switching over to the same frequency Chris was on and therefore ensuring Jorge and Michael wouldn't overhear. "I'm on my way, kid. Hang tight. Don't do anything stupid."
"Where the hell have you been?" Chris' response was caustic.
Marcus winced as a stab of guilt went through him... guilt he'd been feeling for far too long. He didn't make a response, but hurried his steps.
As Marcus rounded the corner, he almost walked right into Gabe. Startled to find the younger man there, he grabbed Gabe and wrapped his arm around his throat. "What are you doing here? Are you trying to get yourself killed?!"
"I'm trying to stop you..."
Marcus didn't know if Gabe was drunk, or on drugs, or just half-mad with grief... but it didn't matter. Going in half-assed, Gabe would get himself shot... wounded at best; dead or spending the rest of his life eating through a straw at worst.
Releasing Gabe, Marcus grabbed his arm. "Stay behind me." He was about to continue when he heard the sound of shots fired. Gripping hold of Gabe, he headed in that direction... ignoring the younger man's mutterings.
Circling round one of the corners, Marcus saw Chris, gun held in his hand. There was no sign of the gang member Marcus had hired to kill Chris... but a quick scan over the other officer's body revealed that Chris was uninjured and Marcus relaxed a fraction... but remained tense due to the fact he'd failed.
And he had no idea how Jorge and Michael were going to react to that.
Chris turned to face Marcus, but didn't lower his gun. "What the hell is going on here?" His gaze slanted towards Gabe and his voice turned cold. "You got a new partner?"
Marcus didn't know if Chris knew for certain, or if he was just guessing. It didn't matter. He was sick of it all... tired of being the bad guy when that was never what he wanted. He could blame Michael for dragging him into the situation; but the truth was, no one was to blame for this but himself.
When Marcus' hand moved to his holster, Chris stiffened and tightened his finger on his gun's trigger.
"Relax." Marcus kept himself between Chris and Gabe as he removed his gun with two fingers and removed the bullets, dropping them and the gun to the ground before kicking both items towards Chris.
Keeping his gun trained on Marcus, Chris kicked Marcus' to the side. "Is one of you going to explain what's going on? Or am I just taking you both in?"
"He hired a gang member to take you out."
"Shut up, Gabe," Marcus muttered.
"No... Let him talk," Chris said. "It sounds like he's the only honest one."
"I can explain." But when he thought about what he could say... there was nothing that would make this even approaching right. When he looked at Chris... the betrayal was hidden deep, but Marcus could still see it. "Actually, no... I can't. So you'd better take me in. Just... leave Gabe out of it, all right? His brother was dragged into this... he's just trying to do the right thing."
"My brother..." Gabe sounded lost. "Russell would be so disappointed..."
"This isn't just about you trying to get rid of me as a partner," Chris said. "What is going on? Why are you trying to kill me? I'll go out on a limb here and say you're dirty... but I don't understand why you have it in for me personally."
"It's not personal." Marcus wasn't sure if that would make it better or worse. "You were just... convenient."
"Wow. Thanks for being honest."
Marcus spread his hands. "What do you want me to say? I'll tell you the truth, but I can't promise you'll like it."
"Just tell him everything..." Gabe was muttering.
"That sounds like a good idea." Chris' hard gaze remained on Marcus.
Marcus shook his head... but he wasn't refusing to answer. When he began talking, it was in a quiet voice. He didn't gloss over his own actions or attempt to sugar-coat them... but he did hush Gabe when the other man tried to interject his own comments.
By the time Marcus was finished, he felt emotionally drained... and he couldn't look at Chris' face and see the disappointment he knew was there. Worse than disappointment was the hurt he knew the other man was hiding.
The only good thing was that Chris had lowered his gun, apparently choosing to believe Marcus' word that he was no longer planning to try and kill him.
"So Jorge and Michael are going to make a move as soon as they hear the code?" Chris didn't wait for an answer, stepping away from the two of them as he took out his phone.
Marcus listened just long enough to make sure that it was his uncle Chris was calling... but he was gratified to realise that Chris wasn't revealing himself or Gabe's presence; just claiming that he had an informant who didn't want to be named.
Marcus stopped listening to Chris and started concentrating on Gabe. The other man was muttering and Marcus placed his hand on the younger man's shoulder.
It was obvious that Russell's death had hit Gabe hard. Marcus felt guilty for threatening him... even though he'd had no intention of carrying out that threat. He gently squeezed Gabe's arm and then glanced over at Chris as he heard the other officer calling in a Triple 9 over the radio.
Switching it off, Chris made eye contact with Marcus. "The other officers are on their way... they should catch Michael and Jorge in the act. Before they hurt anyone else."
"You didn't tell him about us," Marcus said quietly.
"I think I should have. You've had a change of heart now? So what? You didn't kill me... but you've killed other people. Having an attack of conscience doesn't change that."
"Russell wouldn't have gone along with it..." Gabe muttered. "If he was here, he'd take his belt to me."
Marcus barely paid any attention to Gabe's comments. He didn't know what he could say to Chris. There were no arguments he could make for himself. He couldn't deny that he deserved to go to jail, but Gabe still had a chance. The kid's heart was in the right place... no matter how much damage he'd taken emotionally from his brother's death.
Chris looked past Marcus and sighed, closing his eyes. He finally nodded... as if to himself. "If both of you get arrested, that's not going to help you make up for everything you've done... the people you've killed. But if there are no consequences, you'll both just be loose cannons. If I'm sticking my neck out for you both, you get one last chance to change... and I keep tabs on you. All the time."
Marcus wanted to ask what made Chris so sure that he wanted redemption. Gabe was obvious... but it wasn't until Chris made it clear that there was a chance to make things right that Marcus allowed himself to believe that things could be that different.
"Are you going to put us in the hospital?" Gabe's voice was barely a whisper.
"No." Chris sighed. "No hospital... and no jail. But I am going to physically punish both of you." His eyes lingered on Gabe as he continued, "You said that your brother would have taken his belt to you..."
"I'm not going to let you belt me!" Marcus quickly interrupted.
Chris met his gaze without hesitation. "Jorge and Michael are going to throw you both under the bus. I'll try and protect you... but if you're not prepared to even try and change, there's no reason for me to stick my neck out for you."
Marcus might have tried to protest... to say that he didn't want a shot at redemption; no matter how false that was. But Gabe pulled his arm free of Marcus' hold and stepped round him. "You'll... give us another chance?" There was a note of hope in his voice.
"Yeah." If Chris wondered if he might be making a mistake, he gave no sign of it. He reached out and closed his hand around Gabe's wrist as the younger man reached his side, after placing his gun back into its holster.
Gabe held still and Marcus could see the hopeful look that passed across his face. Chris' grip was firm, but Marcus could see there was plenty of room for Gabe to pull away, if he wanted to, as Chris gently spun him round to face the wall. "Place your hands on the wall. Bend over," he directed.
As he shifted to the side, Marcus thought about leaving while Chris was occupied with Gabe. He didn't think his ex-partner would chase him down... not while Gabe so clearly needed this from him. He could disappear without a trace...
But where would he go? His home was here... his life was here. And Chris was giving him a second chance. Marcus didn't want to admit how desperate he was for one of those.
Marcus saw Gabe flinch as Chris pulled his belt through the loops. He grasped the buckle in his hand and doubled the leather over... then braced his hand on Gabe's back, raising the belt and bringing it down in a hard strike.
Gabe let out a harsh sound Marcus had only heard when his brother had been killed. Chris' hand pressed lightly as he raised the belt a second time and brought it down again and then a third time. He worked his way down to Gabe's thighs and then started over from the top, each strike landing with a dull sound.
Marcus felt frozen in place, but he had to fight not to haul off and punch Chris when he saw Gabe slump forward and heard him begin to sob quietly.
Marcus wasn't sure how many times Chris landed the belt, but he stopped when the fight went out of Gabe. Placing the belt on the floor, Chris stepped over to Gabe's side and wrapped his arm around the younger man's shoulders. He didn't seem that comfortable with the contact... but when Gabe turned into the embrace and wrapped his arms around Chris, he responded by hugging as tight in return.
All too soon, Gabe's tears had died down and Chris was turning to Marcus. He held his arm around Gabe's shoulders to guide him towards the wall. "Stand there." He squeezed Gabe's shoulder and then looked at Marcus. "Take up position," he directed.
Marcus thought again about refusing... more so when Chris stooped to pick up his belt once more. But his feelings of guilt flared up and he walked towards the wall, bracing his hands and feeling the rough surface beneath his palms.
When Chris placed his hand on his back, Marcus nearly jumped... but he held his position as he felt the doubled-leather rest against his backside. He couldn't help tensing in anticipation... and when the belt landed for the first time, his breath hissed out in a sharp gasp.
Just like Chris had with Gabe, he brought the belt down to Marcus' thighs and when he started over from the top and the leather began impacting already-sore skin, he could hardly stifle the cries that sprang to his lips.
The dull sound of leather against his trousers echoed through the room... but as painful as the thrashing was, it could hardly touch the sense of guilt that had been shimmering below the surface since he'd set up the hit on his partner.
And all Chris was doing was taking his belt to him in a well-deserved beating.
The tears sprang to Marcus' eyes as his backside throbbed and pulsed under the belt's impact. Guilt rose and threatened to choke him... and he slumped forward, his forehead gently colliding with the wall as the tears began to fall.
And then it was as if the dam had burst and the tears he'd never shed before were streaming down his cheeks, blinding him and making him feel even worse with every quiet sob that escaped.
By the time Marcus realised the thrashing had stopped, he felt Chris' arm around his shoulders and he leaned into his partner, gripping hold of Chris' shirt with one fist as he tried to calm himself down.
Chris rubbed his shoulder. "I can't say things are going to be easy... and if Jorge and Michael are taken alive, both of you are going to be in danger. We'll need to come up with a plan of action... but like I said. I'll stick my neck out for you." After a brief pause, he spoke in a much quieter voice. "Don't make this be the wrong move."
Nodding, Marcus gulped back his tears and pulled back. Looking at Gabe... he felt a sense of hope he hadn't felt in a long time.
Chris patted Marcus' shoulder and then stepped over to Gabe, grasping his arm. "Let's go make things right."