Hell hath no fury
Disclaimer: As you know, it's not mine. Sigh.
A/N: It has been AGES since I have visited this beautiful fandom *lowers head in shame*.
Inspiration and time have been sorely lacking in life for a little while, sadly enough, but I hope this one-shot shows you guys that I absolutely haven't forgotten this awesome universe! I hope I'll be making my way back to it very soon!
This one shot is dedicated to all the woman here on FF! Happy Woman's Day, ladies! Never settle for anything less than the best, and remember, we've all got our inner Stephanie waiting inside us when we need to be a little badass ;-)
To the amazing women who make the world a better place! Cheers!
"Put your weapons on the ground, hands where I can see 'em, right now! Or I swear to Christ, I will blow his God damned brains out!"
Jesus, I thought frantically, fear bursting inside me, please let this be some kind of tasteless joke.
No such luck.
The wild-eyed man tightened his grip on me to make his point, and it seemed to work, because in the next moment, his command was obeyed to the letter. The men, presumably to whom he had spoken, calmly laid two identical guns on the floor in front of them, before kicking them towards us. I spared a moment of my total panic to be confused; the men, aside from looking completely at ease, were dressed in black cargoes that seemed to be a uniform of sorts, but I knew of no cops or detectives that were allowed on the field clothed like that. Then again, if they weren't law enforcement, why were they carrying guns?
Security of some sort, my brain surmised, and as soon as I had solved that riddle, the fear returned in full force. I fought to stop my breath from coming out in harsh pants as adrenaline coursed through my veins in reaction to the situation.
When I'd come into the bank this morning to open up, I never thought I'd end up being held hostage there, by a crazed looking gunman who seemed to have a particular grudge against the two cargo-clad gangster types, if his unwavering glare on them was anything to go by.
Son of a bitch. I should have just called in sick this morning.
The guy pinning me to his chest started to move forward, forcing me to step with him. "Ranger Manoso and Lester Santos, at my total mercy," he crowed, and I flinched instinctively. He ignored my reaction, still smirking maniacally at the other two men. "I have been awaiting this moment," he announced loudly. "Been planning it for three years! Ever since you two ruined my life!"
The slightly shorter of the two guys, the one with the green eyes, looked to his companion, exaggerated interest in his expression. "Ranger, man, we ruined his life?" His flippant tone belied the tension I could see in his stance. "You'd think we'd remember somethin' like that, cousin."
The pony-tailed man – Ranger, his friend had called him – considered the madman with an almost bored expression on his face. While his friend had exuded barely noticeable signs of stress at the predicament, this Ranger seemed genuinely unbothered by it. On the contrary, he regarded the gunman the same way on would a troublesome fly.
"We would've remembered, Santos," he replied to his friend, his deep voice betraying no emotion, "if he'd been of any importance, whatsoever."
Was the bastard trying to get me killed?
As soon as the thought voiced itself in my head, the crazed man threw me to the side. I landed hard on the floor, my breath driven from me in a whoosh, and I instinctively lifted my arms to cover my head.
"You!" he barked at me, and I flinched again as the gun was aimed at my chest. "Get their guns and bring them to me, now!"
Not wanting to antagonize Mr. Madman any more than Ranger had done, I simply snatched up their pistols and handed them to him with shaking hands. If I'd have had any idea on how to use them, I might have tried to get a shot off, even just to create a distraction, but I didn't dare try it. The last thing I needed, was to make everything worse by possibly killing one of them with a ricochet bullet.
"He obviously has some inferiority complex." Santos voiced his observation directly to Ranger, not making any effort to even pretend to include the gunman in the conversation. Briefly, a laugh tinged with hysteria threatened to burst from my lips, and I held it back by sheer force of will. "He had to threaten an innocent bystander just to get us unarmed."
"No discernable honor or pride," Ranger nodded, also training his gaze on his friend. "Probably never enlisted with us, then."
"A skip! Gotta be an old skip," Santos grinned boyishly, once again masking his tension. Maybe it was ridiculous, but knowing for certain that they were bounty hunters, kind of made me feel better in the impossible situation.
If I die today, at least I'll die knowing why guys who weren't cops, detectives or bodyguards were packing heat.
The thought made me want to giggle again and I forced the impulse down. The gunman seemed to be watching the men's exchange with mounting fury and I was inclined to believe that it wouldn't take much longer for him to snap; even more so than he had up until then.
"You hunted me down like a dog!" he spat.
I realized with a start that his attention was focused solely on the cargo-clad men; as they had intended it to be. They were trying to distract him so that I could get away. A quick glance at them proved my suspicions, as the man called Santos met my frightened gaze for a split second and nodded, almost imperceptibly, at me.
"You tracked me down to my mother's house," the lunatic continued to rant, unaware of my steady progress to the counter that had the trigger for the silent alarm built into it. I forced myself not to increase my pace, lest he discover me. Thankfully, he seemed more absorbed with screaming at Santos and Ranger. "You arrested me in front of my entire family! My girl left me, my ma won't even talk to me no more! You two destroyed for my entire life for a few quick bucks!"
"Hey man," Ranger drawled dispassionately, shrugging a shoulder, "you were the one who chose not to show up to court. We were just doing our jobs."
"Your jobs?" He scoffed, stabbing the gun wildly in the air. "It's your job to ruin innocent people and sully their reputations?"
I depressed the trigger, relief surging through me as the signal went out to the cavalry. Turning my attention back to the confrontation, I watched in morbid fascination as Santos' eyes darkened. Ranger still remained unruffled, amazingly, and all he did was raise a single eyebrow in response.
"I wouldn't think multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon would make you an innocent man, Mr. Gordon."
Gordon's eyes lit up in triumph. "So you do remember me!" He puffed out his chest, so engrossed in the boasting of his recognition that he didn't realize what was going on just behind him.
To be fair, though, I wasn't even sure what was happening just behind him.
I looked on with awed disbelief as the air vent on the ceiling popped silently open above him, just behind Gordon. I knew it was way too soon to be the cops, so I could only assume this guy was Ranger and Santos' back-up.
Gordon continued to tirade about the injustices done to him, and in the interim, came a pair of black leather boots, followed by toned, long legs clad in fitting black cargoes, and a lean, curvy torso in a black tank, being revealed as – what was undoubtedly – a woman lowered herself soundlessly through the air duct.
She landed silently behind the gun-wielding psycho, as though she were made of nothing but air, her riotous curls bouncing slightly as she did. Despite the circumstances, I was invariably attracted to the beautiful badass, unable to take my eyes off her curvy figure and angelic features.
She drew her own gun from her the waistband of her cargoes, stalking forward predatorily, her entire focus on Gordon. Taking up a shooting stance and tightening her jaw, she very deliberately clicked her safety off.
The sound stopped Gordon in his tracks.
"Show me your hands, asshole," she commanded evenly, her eyes hard as blue steel. I was enraptured, barely remembering to breathe. "Slowly."
Her voice brokered no argument and I refrained from fist-pumping the air when Gordon complied, seeming to realize that he shouldn't try the hand of the avenging angel in the room.
"A bit late to the party there, Babe," Ranger threw out casually, as though they had met like this frequently. I blanched at the thought, but with these mystery people, who really knew?
The woman grinned, a mischievous glint appearing in her cerulean eyes that just made her exponentially sexier. "Eh," she shrugged nonchalantly, "I had a bit of a lie-in this morning."
She kept her own gun trained unfalteringly on Gordon as she walked to Ranger and Santos' discarded firearms. Kicking it to them, she waited patiently until they retrieved them, and once they did, she relaxed. With quick, efficient movements, she twisted Gordon's pistol out of his grasp and stuck it in her waistband, keeping her gun on him all the while with her other hand.
"It was stupid, going after them," she informed him, her voice lightly chiding. "Hell hath no fury like a woman whose family is threatened."
Gordon looked up at her incredulously. "Who the hell are you?" he asked weakly.
A chill ran down my spine as icy rage suddenly permeated those stunning blue eyes. In a single moment of perfect, stunning clarity, I realized that the biggest threat in the room wasn't the psychotic gunman or the hulking mercenary-type men in cargoes.
It was the blazingly beautiful angel with the fire in her eyes.
She brought the butt of her gun down hard against his head and he slumped to the floor, out cold. She narrowed her eyes at his prone form, danger radiating off her in waves.
"I'm Stephanie Manoso…that's who the hell I am."