Author's Note and Disclaimer – not mine, I just wanted to play with them.  The mysterious woman is mine though.  I know this may seem as if it's the same kind of OUATIM fanfic, but hopefully it'll end up being different.  First fic in this genre . . . first fic period . . . so please be kind.  Flames not so much welcome, but constructive criticisms and reviews are.


She watched from the upper window of a building across the street from where the slaughter was taking place.  She had watched as soldiers and civilians alike had battled for dominance . . . for victory.  It's unfortunate for the soldiers that the people of Culíacan actually believe in what they're fighting for.  Perhaps if they were only being paid to defend the president, they'd surrender.  But when ethics and beliefs get involved, things have a tendency to get rather messy.  The best laid plans fall apart.  All because loyalty can be so unpredictable and so easily triggered.  She sighed and muttered under her breath, "The streets may not run red with blood tonight, but when the setting sun hits these streets and buildings of clay, it's going to appear as if they are."

   "Señora?  What are you waiting for, señora?  Why are you not in the streets helping the injured?"

   The woman turned from her vantage point to address the young boy who had also sought refuge in this formerly abandoned loft.  "Marcos, if I went down there right now, it is likely that I would either be shot on sight by both sides, or taken prisoner by the cartel.  Señor Barillo does not take betrayal lightly.  And if I were taken by his men, how would I help your friend?" she nodded towards the street outside.

   "Is he going to be alright?"  The young boy looked out the window down at the man lying alone in the street.

   "I don't know, Marcos.  If what you tell me is true, then he has lost a lot of blood.  It's within the realm of possibility that he is still living, but I can't do anything for him until things quiet down out there."  While she tried to comfort the boy, she was afraid that the American was indeed dead.  As much as she would love to undo as much of Barillo's work as she could, she almost hoped that the man was dead.  Surely that would be far kinder than what the cartel leader had done to him.

   But even as she thought this, the man moved his hand.  It formed a fist convulsively as if firing a gun he no longer had.  Does he fight fate, his dreams, or reality?

   "Señora!  Did you see that?"

   "Sí, Marcos.  I saw.  It appears as if he is indeed still alive."  That or there's random neurons firing in his brain causing random muscles to contract . . . .  Movement in a window in the adjacent building caught her eye and brought her wandering mind to a sharp focus.

   Ajedrez.  It had to be.  The woman was beautiful, her face a study in cold and cruel perfection.  Most men were fooled by the fullness of her lips, the lushness of her body, but she knew better.  Knew exactly what kind of product had been created by Ajedrez' upbringing.

   The woman was looking out the window that had just minutes ago housed the image of the president, and had more recently served as an exit for a man with several guns and a sash that resembled the Mexican flag.  She was scanning the street below, apparently pissed that her father's plans had gone so far awry.  Then, with the suddenness of undeterable determination, she disappeared from view.  With her gun at the ready.

   Did she see me, or was it our friend down there in the dirt who sparked her interest?  As much as she disliked Ajedrez, she had no interest in a confrontation with the woman.  Especially when she was unarmed and her opponent wasn't.  "Marcos, will you please bring me my holster?  It's hanging from my bedstand."

   "But señora, I thought you were a doctor? What use does a doctor have for a gun?"

   She looked at the boy with a sad, wistful look on her face.  "Even doctors have to protect themselves at times, Marcos."  She returned her attention to the street, waiting to find out what her adversary's next move was.

   Ajedrez appeared in the street outside the two buildings.  She threw a quick glance up at the window where the lone woman was still standing.  She pursed her lips as she mimicked firing a handgun.  Then she winked.

   Cocky bi-  "Marcos, get my gun.  Now!"  Ajedrez was headed toward the fallen CIA agent's position.  Without a doubt she was out for blood.  For more blood.

   "Here, señora."  She pulled the weapon from its holster.  Maybe I can help . . . or stop her, but before the thought could be translated into deed, Ajedrez had reached the black clad man lying in the road.  She pulled him up.  By the way he staggered and was holding his left arm it was a painful experience for him.  And more importantly, his body was now blocking any shot she might have been able to take at Ajedrez.

   Move.  One of you move.  She watched as the former AFN agent picked a pair of sunglasses up out of the dirt and slid them onto the man's face.  She felt her stomach turn as the heartless woman below toyed with her prey, kissing him gently.  That self-serving, heartless slut.  At this point in time she could have cheerfully shot Ajedrez, and not looked back.  But before she would take any kind of action in more than her mind's eye, she saw Ajedrez stumble back from the man she had been toying with.  She was clutching her abdomen, a look of surprise and shock on her face.  Still looking up at a man who couldn't see her, she fell to her knees and then to her back.

   He shot her.  The thought had barely registered when the man also collapsed, his own knees buckling under his weight.  Blood loss.  He's going into a state of shock.  He's going to need medical attention real soon.  She was about to toss caution to the wind and race down to tend him when she felt a chill run down her spine.  She turned back to her window.

   Once again the window in what had once been the president's private residence framed a figure.  This time it was the man she had spent the last six years cleaning up after.  Despite the mass of medical gauze that obscured his face, she knew it was him.  Knew it was Barillo.

   She observed as he spotted his daughter lying in the dirt of the unpaved road, next to the man he had tried to punish and prevent from meddling any father in his private plans.  It hadn't worked.  The man must be either insane or insanely stubborn.

   She watched as the cartel leader's eyes rose from the street to the surrounding buildings, to the window she was standing in.  She saw the recognition, loathing, and unbelievable rage take up residence in his eyes.  Shit.

   Before Barillo could kill her with the sheer force of his hate-filled eyes, something or someone in the room with him called his attention away.  He disappeared from view for several seconds.  Then there was a sudden round of gunfire and his body came flying out the window.  He hit the ground hard, glass fragments raining down around him like frozen tears.  There's no way he could have survived that.  He couldn't have.  If he was dead, then she was finally free.  Go check.  Go make sure.

   She turned from her window for the last time that day, and found behind her an empty room.  Marcos had apparently abandoned her to go see to the health of his friend.  No matter.  Get downstairs, check on Barillo and Ajedrez, then look after the American.  Barillo's last victim.  My last charge.

The sun was starting to set on this bloody Day of the Dead.  Not that night would bring peace, or wipe the streets clean of blood.  It wouldn't bring and end to the fights, the riots, or chaos caused by the attempted coup.  It would just make guerrilla fighting easier to carry out.  Sounds of destruction and mayhem floated on the sun's setting rays to reach the ears of the doctor. 

   She ignored the melody of hovering death as she worked her way across the street.  The man in black was gone, although a trail of partially dried blood marked the course he had taken.  I hope Marcos is safe with him.

   Giving the prostrate form of Ajedrez a wide berth, she headed towards the place where Barillo had landed.  Getting closer, she saw that there would be no need to search for a pulse.  If the angle of his neck and the arrested spread of blood across his chest was any indication, then the cartel leader was well and truly dead.

   She felt relief and guilt flood her veins along with the knowledge that she'd never need to track this man's movements, never again need to clean up the ruin he left in his wake. She was released from her oath.  Freed from her duty . . . except for the American.  She needed to find him and tend to him before she could celebrate.

   Quickly she walked back to where Ajedrez was lying.  The man's trail started there.  The sooner they were tucked away from the sight of what remained of Marquez' men, the safer they would be, and the better she would feel.

   "Traitor."  The harshly whispered word caught her attention.  She looked down at the body at her feet.  Barillo's daughter wasn't yet dead, but from the amount of blood staining the ground underneath and around her, she soon would be.

   "You call me a traitor, but I'm not the one that just tried to overthrow the established government.  And failed miserably, I might add."

   "You betrayed your family."                                                                                                                                           

   Eyes and voice cold, the lone woman replied, "I have no family.  I never have.  I simply had people who found it was in their best interest to exploit me.  People like you."

   Ajedrez didn't bother to reply to this.  "Father . . . is he dead?"

   "As dead as you'll be in a few moments."  Years of cruelty and indifference were reaping their wages.

   "Damn you, you bitch."  They dying woman coughed painfully.

   Watching without pity or mercy, she answered, "I think that one damned bitch is enough for one family.  I'll remain a simple bastard, if it's all the same to you."

   "Go to hell."

   "I think that's your trip, actually.  Do you want me to see you off?"  There was no reply to this question.  No breath stirred the dust.  "Guess not."  She left the woman lying in the dirt that she had avoided for so much of her life.  The dirt she had let others handle by having them do the messy and degenerate jobs required by the cartel.  Irony was a great thing.  But she couldn't ponder on that now.  She had a rogue injured CIA agent to find and make peace with.


So, what did you think?  I'll continue this whether you like it or not, so I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope I sparked your interest.  I'll try to update again by Friday.