Fandom: The New Avengers
Timeline: Set sometime during the series - could have happened anytime.
Rated: K+
Type: General
Cast: Purdey, Gambit
Summary: Why Purdey didn't go on to become a musical star
Disclaimer: The only thing here that's mine is the story idea - though it might not be entirely new to some ... Everything else belongs to those wonderful chaps who came up with the Avengers and the New Avengers, Sydney Newman and Brian Clemens.

Purdey peeked around the corner but quickly pulled back when they fired again. A tiny fragment of concrete, chipped away by the bullet, grazed her cheek and left a small scratch.

"I think they're still there", she told Gambit.

"So we're stuck'", Gambit said. "Stalemate. It all depends on who runs out of ammunition first."

Purdey checked her gun's magazine. "Seven bullets left. You?"

"Four - and another reload. Ten altogether."

"And your other guns?"

Gambit made a face. "What other guns?"

"What other - Mike Gambit, I don't believe it. For all the time I've known you you've carried enough guns for a small army and the one occasion where they'd actually come in handy -"

Gambit gave her an apologetic shrug. "I thought I'd heed Steed's advice and not rely on guns so much."

Purdey scowled at him. "Now of all times."

Another bullet ricocheted off the concrete next to her. She sighed. "Well, I guess that's what comes from letting a coin decide my future."

Gambit frowned. "What coin?"

"The coin I flipped. Just look where it got me."

Both Gambit and she ducked as another bullet whizzed over their heads. This time, Gambit checked. One of the men was foolish enough to try to get closer. Gambit fired once and the man went down with a cry of pain, clutching his knee.

"Purdeygirl, you're speaking in riddles. When did you flip a coin? This morning?"

"No. Years ago." Purdey pursed her lips. "I could be a musical star now, if things had gone differently. Or maybe even a film star." She beamed at him. "Just imagine. Me starring in -"

"Annie Get Your Gun?" Gambit asked and hastily retreated as three of the men fired at him at once. "If we stay here much longer, they'll shoot this thing to pieces", he muttered, casting a sceptical look at the concrete column they were using for cover.

"Annie Get Your Gun?" Purdey seemed to consider this. "Maybe. After all -"

She grinned and then whistled the first few notes of "Anything you can do I can do better".

Gambit smirked. "You wanna bet?" More shots. Gambit risked another look. "Another one. Your side."

Purdey looked round the corner, took a well-aimed shot and another man went down.

"Two down -" she said.

"- three to go", Gambit finished.

Things were starting to look up. They probably could handle those remaining three. If they didn't run out of bullets first.

"So what about that coin?" Gambit asked.

Purdey frowned. "What coin?"

"The one you flipped."

"Oh, that one. That was shortly before I started my training. I had a choice to make. Audition for 'Hair' or join the Department. I couldn't make up my mind. So I flipped a coin."

For a moment, Gambit just stared at her.

"You - what?" he finally managed.

"Flipped a coin. Like this." She mimicked the motion with her left hand.

"You let a coin make a decision as important as that?"

Gambit thought he must have misunderstood something but Purdey looked at him perfectly serious and nodded.

"Yes. I sad 'heads - Department wins, tails - musical loses' and since I tossed tails -" She shrugged.

Again, Gambit stared at her. Then, he started to laugh - so loud and hard that the three men on the other side exchanged nervous glances. Before they - or Gambit, for that matter - knew what was happening, Purdey was dashing towards them. The first two, she took out with a high kick and a right hook. The third one managed to point his gun at her. "Hold it!"

Purdey shook her head. "Really, they never learn", she muttered.

She kicked the gun from the man's hand, then delivered another blow to his chin and he, too, slumped to the ground. "Next time, shoot - don't talk."

Gambit, for his part, was laughing even harder. The startled looks on the men's faces were priceless.

"Oh Purdey." When he finally could stop laughing, he wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes and moved around the column. He shook his head. "Only you ..."

-- End --