Anna was angry. No, she was frustrated. Frustrated almost to the point she couldn't see straight. Jeremy could be driving her to the city's outer suburbs and she wouldn't have known the difference. Glancing at the man out of the corner of her eye, she curled her fingers into the striated fabric of her blue jeans. Behind her, Anthony tapped dully at the leather like upholstery of the door.

"I am sorry about this," Anthony's voice drifted bashfully to the front of the car.

"Forget it," Anna responded, looking out the window. Traffic had taken a detour alongside central park to avoid the heavy traffic and construction along the other side of the bridge. The dark twigs that remained of spring and summer foliage stuck up from the snow like wood crosses in an old, abandoned graveyard. Turning away from the dark image, Anna felt it replaced by a similarly dark thought, It's not as if I haven't given enough support to the criminal element.

She didn't notice the sharp look Jeremy shot back at Anthony or the confused expression given in return. She was to goddamn tired. Tired of trouble, and tired of crimes, and tired of the men who carried them out. She was tired of aiding them and especially tired of the broken souls she was incapable of repairing.

"You alright?" Jeremy asked cautiously, glancing over at Anna.

"I just want to go home," she replied, glaring angrily back at him. A small shudder seemed to run through Jeremy, but he had enough sense to look away from her and keep silent. Closing her eyes, Anna leaned her head against the glass of the window. The smooth, ice cold surface felt nice against her forehead.

"H-hey, Anna," Jeremy stuttered, looking for all the world like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar as the door opened for him.

"What are you doing here?" Anna replied, in no mood for bullshit. She had enough of seeing men she didn't want to see today. Casually, she leaned across the small crack between the door and its frame as if daring Jeremy to try and enter without her permission.

"I, um," Jeremy ran a hand awkwardly through his dark hair. Then, as if giving up, his arm sagged uselessly to his side as he finished, "I need help."

Anna arched her eyebrow almost disbelievingly.

"And you came to me?" she asked, a similar cynicsm coloring her tone, "As I recall, I threatened to rip your balls off the last time I saw you."

"Cut," Jeremy muttered softly, "You threatened to cut them off."

"Kinda odd asking help from someone who would do that, isn't it?" Anna replied calmly. Jeremy's eyes flitted up to meet hers for a second.

"You wouldn't do that," he replied, "Not really. You wou-"

He stopped at the flash in Anna's eyes. Swallowing, he debated using the only partial leverage he had.

"I didn't call the police," he finally added softly.

"Obviously," Anna responded, not giving an inch, "I haven't been to court."

Jeremy looked back at her, his dark eyes almost glowing in desperation.

"Anna, please," he choked, "If it helps, it has nothing to do with me. Anthony's the one in trouble."

Anna felt a slight twixt at the edges of her heart. It wasn't as if she were in love with Anthony, a mutual friend of Jeremy and herself. Most days she barely tolerated him. Anthony was a numbers runner for the mafia. In particular, he worked for the Rocci family. The boss of the organization, one Marco Rocci, had been the one who ordered the hit that killed Anna's parents, leaving her an orphan with a home and painful memories. A similar fate had befallen Anthony's family before he met her, spurning his work for the organization. A one man attempt to destroy it from the inside out.

Scowling thoughtfully for a minute, Anna looked Jeremy up and down. He had grown a bit more facial hair since the last time she'd seen him, six months ago There was a haggardness throughout his entire demeanor, and for a second Anna wondered if that might be her fault. The last time she had seen Jeremy, she had discovered he also worked for Rocci What his exact job was, she didn't know. The fact that he worked for the man at all was a betrayal in and off itself. Nonetheless, she couldn't turn her back on a fellow survivor in need.

"Come in," she said, sighing loudly. Stepping back she permitted Jeremy passage into the apartment. The tall man stepped in cautiously, as if wary of what or who he would find in there. His back straightened only when he realized they were alone.

"No Saint?" he asked, glancing behind the sofa, in case the fugitive Anna had been harboring would pop up like a jack-in-the-box.

"No," Anna replied, shutting the door behind her. Her hand moved to the lock before pausing in thought. Dropping her hand, she turned back to Jeremy. It wasn't that she was afraid of him, but she had become steadily more wary of strangers in her home. She wasn't about to remove a potential exit.

"But you're still in contact with him?" Jeremy replied sullenly, turning back towards her. Anna stiffened, a sudden memory of pained blue eyes flashing through her mind.

"No," she answered somewhat hoarsly, "Not anymore. Is there a point to this interrogation?"

Jeremy flinched at the tone of her voice. Backing up to sit on the couch, he shook his head knowing not to push anymore.

"I'll get us some water," Anna said, walking towards the kitchenette. A moment later she returned, placing two cool glasses on the coffee table. Leaning back on the other side of the couch, she fixed Jeremy with a hard glare.

"Okay, start talking," she ordered.

In a few minutes, Jeremy laid out all the facts for her. Apparently the cops had gotten an anonymous tip that Anthony was selling drugs from his small, two-bit apartment on the west side of the Manhattan. Though no drugs had been found, Anthony had been charged and carted off to arraignment. The judge had apparently been a hardass and posted a bail Anthony couldn't pay. He had called Jeremy when he was finally put in his prison cell, asking for help.

"And you expect me to pay his bill?" Anna asked, looking at Jeremy dubiously, "I'm not running a criminal charity, Jeremy."

"But he didn't do it!" Jeremy argued, "Look, I...we don't need you to pay all of it. I can cover most of it, in fact. You just need to chip in the bit to get us over."

"How much?" Anna replied.

Jeremy looked down at his knees.

"How much, Jeremy?"

"$800," Jeremy replied in barely a whisper.

"Christ," Anna exclaimed, falling against the seat, "That's a full month's rent, Jeremy."

"I know..I know...Anna, I'm sorry. But Anthony didn't do anything."

"More than he already does," Anna snapped back. Jeremy sighed.

"Anna, you're the only other person he trusts...please."

Anna glared at Jeremy, staring straight into his eyes. He looked back into her's as muh as he dared. There was nothing but defeated sincerity in his tone. He sounded like someone out of options, and yet...

"Haven't you tried a loan or something?" she asked quietly.

"Of course," Jeremy replied, "You said it yourself, it's not wise to ask help of someone who threatened to cut your balls off."

Anna could feel the faint pull of smile at the corners of her mouth. God, it seemed like forever since she had smiled. Today had weighed heavily on her though she would never openly say so. She felt ashamed of herself for giving up on Connor and Murphy, but what could she do? It wasn't like se could change their minds, even if she could heal them. It was a burden placed unfairly on her shoulders and she'd be damned if she let herself get bullied into. No, she had made the right choice but it seemed the work was never done. Sighing loudly, she shook her head, wondering once again what she was thinking.

"Alright, alright," she said, "Let's go."

"Go?" Jeremy looked up at her in surprise as she stood, "Anna, you don't need..."

"Like hell I'm going to give you a check and watch you walk out of here with it," Anna interrupted him, "I want to talk to Anthony."

Jeremy opened his mouth, his face brookering an argument. Instead, he droped his head and lifted his hands in concession.

"Okay, okay," he said, not sounding all too happy, "Let's go talk to Anthony."

Opening her eyes, Anna felt something play along her gut. It wasn't the same feeling she had gotten when Anthony showed up at her door, but something close. Jeremy had been teling her the truth about Anthony, and she had acted accordingly. This feeling, however, gave her the impression something was not quite right. Glancing at the dark line of water along the edge of bridge, she sat up in her seat. Wrapping her arms around her torso, she felt a chill run along her back. As flashing red and blues came into view around her apartment building, she felt the encumbersome weights of fate and responsibility press against her once again.

"Damn it," she cursed aloud, earning a look of surprise from Anthony and a look of mild annoyance from Jeremy, "Damn it. Damn it."


A.N.: See, I wouldn't hurt Anna. I like her to much (despite her stubborness). Anyway, reviews are like chocolate and I love chocolate!