Title: May You Rescue Wretched Beings

Author: Tripetta tripetta@aol.com

Summary: Replacement Killers sequel. It's a year after the events of the film. Meg Coburn catches wind of a contract on John Lee and his family, prompting her to travel to China to warn him.

Disclaimer: 'The Replacement Killers' universe doesn't belong to me. Columbia/Tri-Star Pictures holds that privilege. I penned this story for love of the movie and characters and am making nada moolah from it. Please don't sue for it would be a fruitless endeavor. Trust me.

Authors Note: I've been an admirer of fan fiction and their authors for years, but never dared submit my own works. In this case I made an exception. I have yet to find a 'Replacement Killers' story anywhere on the internet, so I made up my own. What can I say? I'm a sucker for soul mates torn apart by outside circumstances. Someone has to throw them back together for a second chance.

Feedback: Yes, please. An artist lives for recognition. Me. An artist. I'm laughing now. Seriously;)

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"May you rescue wretched beings, ceaselessly tormented

By the fierce push of unbearably vicious evolutionary acts,

Prevent the horrors of their dread diseases, wars, and famines,

And restore their spirits in your ocean of bliss and happiness!"



-Prayer of the Word of Truth, by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama



Chapter 1

Meg Coburn adjusted her short black wig in the ladies room of Beijing Capital International Airport. Adding a layer of plum gloss to her lips and eyedrops to the ice blue contacts in her eyes, she stepped back to take in her reflection. Three hours from L.A. to Vancouver, an hour and a half layover, and another thirteen hours to Beijing had played havoc with her disguise. She fluffed her ivory blouse, straightened her charcoal gray blazer, and smoothed the matching knee length skirt. Just a little ol' American businesswoman closing a merger, she thought, making doe eyes at the mirror. Replacing the gloss and eyedrops into her large black tote bag, her fingers brushed a strip of photographic paper. Three vertical wallet size portrait pictures, all of the same man. She examined the stern and solemn countenance, the last picture showing a sad expression, eyes closed. Oddly enough, it was her favorite. So human. So John. Three pictures were the only physical reminders she had of John Lee. Well, that and a left knee that tended to go gimpy in cold weather. It was a good thing Los Angeles rarely got cold.

Meg started as the door opened behind her and a young mother with a wailing baby entered the bathroom. She mentally shook herself, thrust the photos into the depths of the bag, reshouldered her black leather knapsack and garment bag, and exited before the door fully closed behind the other woman.

As she approached the customs booths, she drew her traveling pouch from around her neck, where it had been hidden by her blouse, and pulled out her passport and L-Visa. The customs official did little more than give her a cursory glance before stamping her passport and handing it back. Well, that was easy, Meg thought. She had heard Beijing airport customs was somewhat casual about foreigners, especially those in typical American business fare, but it never hurt to be vigilant. Relying on heresay could get you killed.

Meg replaced her passport and L-Visa in the pouch and then dropped it back under her shirt. Rule number one - NEVER lose your passport in a foreign country. Especially if it's forged.

Carrying only the tote bag, garment bag, and knapsack, she bypassed baggage claim and stepped out of the Arrivals terminal, heading toward a line of taxis at the curb. Choosing the closest, she opened the door and slid in the backseat. She would've preferred a rental car, but foreigners weren't allowed to drive in China unless they had residence certificates and then obtained a Chinese drivers license.

"Wo yao qu fandian . . . Movenpick," Meg told the driver after a hesitation. She had told him she wanted to go to the Movenpick Hotel. She didn't know what Movenpick was in mandarin chinese, but since it was the closest hotel to the airport, it had to be a common destination. The driver apparently understood since he nodded enthusiastically and pulled away from the curb. She sighed and sat back in the seat, thankful she'd picked up that crash course language tape at an LAX gift shop before take off.

After being dropped at the hotel, she entered the lobby and approached the front desk.

"I have a reservation for Ann Thompson," she told the older Chinese gentleman in english. Most hotels catering to foreign clientele had employees who spoke several languages. The desk clerk exchanged polite pleasantries while he confirmed her reservation and activated her key card. He handed it over along with a pen and credit card form for her to sign. She hadn't been sure how long this trip would last, so her reservation was for two days. If she needed more, she would extend it. Actually, if she needed longer than that, she was probably in trouble and wouldn't be needing a hotel room anyway. She penned Ann Thompson's signature, thrust her copy of the bill into her bag, and headed for the elevators.

Letting herself into her room on the second floor, she dropped her bags on the bed and checked the door to make sure it was locked and latched. She then headed to the bathroom, shedding clothes along the way. She was dead tired, having been awake for over twenty-four hours. A frantic, chaos filled twenty-four hours. She would've preferred going straight to sleep, but had to wash off the travel grime first. Feeling immensely better after her shower, she crawled into bed and fell almost immediately asleep.

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The next morning, Meg woke famished. She ordered room service, asking that a travel guide and city map be sent up with her food. There had been no such paper goods at the Beijing airport and LAX seemed to have guides for every city except this one. Figured. Would've been helpful to have it to study on the interminably long journey here. Meg liked to be aware of her surroundings, have escape routes plotted, know a little geography ahead of time. After being in home turf L.A. for so long, knowing all of the people and places, she was suddenly the outsider. No connections, no inside scoop, no nothing. It was a disconcerting thought.

While she waited for room service, she pulled on the wig and inserted the contacts. There was a knock at the door before she could get dressed, so she conducted the room service exchange with the door only slightly ajar. The waiter looked all of sixteen, but seemed friendly and courteous enough. His name tag read 'Son'. She didn't want to offend the young lad by subjecting him to a view of her wearing nothing but a white v-neck t-shirt. He didn't seem to mind though. In fact, she could swear he was trying to sneak a peek at her bare legs. She handed the bill back after signing it and told him to leave the tray on the floor outside her room. He looked blankly at her and motioned with the tray into her room.

"No, no, no, no. Just leave it on the ground," she told him slowly, pointing at the tray and then the floor. He finally seemed to understand and set the tray down. He turned to walk away, but as soon as she leaned out to pick up the tray, he whipped back around. Never one to shrink from a confrontation, Meg stood to her full five feet, eleven inches. She hoisted the tray up above her head with one hand, cocktail waitress style, and balled the other into a fist on her cocked hip. "Enjoying the view?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Very much so," he replied in perfect english. He then laughed and spun on his heels, jogging down the hallway and out of sight.

"You little shit!" Meg shouted after him. She then became aware of how underdressed and out in the open she was and slowly backed into her room. Way to keep a low profile, Meg. "Men! They're the same everywhere," she announced to the room. She put the little pervert out of her mind as she dug into her buttermilk pancakes and looked over the map.

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After eating, Meg dressed in black leggings, a long sleeved red shirt, and black boots. She packed everything back up in the tote and knapsack, leaving the rest of her clothing in the garment bag in the closet. Clothes were expendable, her other items were not. If she made it back to the room tonight, she could deal with the inconvenience of unpacking again as opposed to leaving them in the room and needing them elsewhere.

She slipped the travel pouch around her neck and made sure it was hidden by the high collar of her blouse. She missed the presence of her razor blade necklace, but harmless little American businesswomen didn't carry such items, much less wear them. Besides, it wouldn't have made it through LAX security anyway.

Giving the room a last glance, she slipped out and headed downstairs. At the front desk, Meg had a taxi called then asked the clerk to write down her destination in Chinese. He obliged, doing so on a business card sized paper and then handing it to her. She thanked him and stepped outside to her waiting taxi.

As the taxi made its way into the heart of Beijing, Meg followed along on her map, orienting herself as best she could. She had a fairly good sense of direction and distance. If she had to slink her way through alleys and back streets to make it to the hotel or even the airport, she was pretty sure she could do it.

When the car came to a stop outside the Wenjin Jie Temple, Meg got a sudden case of the nerves. What was she thinking traveling halfway across the world to a foreign country, putting herself in personal jeopardy, for a man she had known all of three days over a year ago?! She knew why. And that particular knowledge didn't make her feel much better. The driver began to get impatient, not earning anything by sitting with the car idling. He started bitching at her in rapid fire chinese, using lots of hand gestures. She wasn't catching much of what he was saying, but it seemed to be somewhat derogatory.

"Okay, okay. Jesus. Here!" Meg told him, throwing an indeterminate amount of RMB's his way. She slid out of the backseat and stood facing the imposing facade of the temple. Despite the movies and stereotypes, China was officially a country of atheists. Only about four percent of the population practiced religion, and of those, only about two to three percent were Buddhists. Most temples that were still standing were more tourist attractions than anything else, few of them housing monks anymore. But this place had at least one. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she walked through the entrance.