Disclaimer – hey, if Fox doesn't want them anymore, does that mean that they're ours now? (sigh) Didn't think so…
So I wrote this some time back and didn't finish it, and now I've come back to it, but I'm still not sure if it's going to be finished. I know I have seriously dug my own hole with some of my previous unfinished fanfic (Fates Intertwined people, don't kill me!) and this one may end up unfinished, too. Not because it doesn't deserve to be finished, but because I just honestly don't know if it's any good.
I am totally not the kind of person to put my work down in hopes others will say, "No, its great!" I am pretty confident in my skills as a writer, but I had a hard time catching the character of Guerrero, and I'm really not feeling all that confident about my portrayal of him. So I shall post a few chapters, see if anyone is interested, and maybe some feedback will help me improve the character.
One of the things I did for this fic is that I named it after a song by Linkin Park called "Waiting For The End," and I became completely obsessed with the song! So I decided to name each chapter after a line from the song. Hope it isn't too lame.
Okay, enjoy, and please let me know if I should continue!
This is not the end; this is not the beginning
Elle turned and aimed the gun at him. For a moment, Guererro didn't quite get it, but then the click came. Instinct made him still, but his heart was beating much too fast, and he disliked it.
He remembered this feeling before. It was what had made him kill Matheson.
"You and I," she said, almost imperiously, "have unfinished business."
"Jesus," he heard himself spitting, "spare me the Kill Bill shit, it isn't like I tried to kill you!"
Her eyes widened, and to his dismay, she smiled. Almost laughed. "If only you had!" she cried. "I could have understood that, even forgiven it!" Her hand which held the gun had not moved, until this moment, but just then, it seemed the weight was bending her wrist. "No, Guererro," she spat the name as if it were an insult, "you did much worse than kill me – you destroyed me!"
Her arm lowered. For a moment, Guerrero was sure she was going to shoot him, just low, to make it hurt. It was what he'd do. If he was as pissed as she was at this moment.
But she didn't.
"Destroyed me, in every sense of the word." Her eyes didn't leave his, not for a second. "Everything that was important to me, you took away. My livelihood, my reputation… my future. Anna was grooming me to take her place! How could she, then, after my utter failure, thanks to being betrayed by the man I was supposed to be able to trust!"
Guererro, wisely, said nothing.
"And why?" She flung her hands out, more to make her point than out of any need for an answer. "Tell me! Can you give me that much? Tell me why!"
After a pause he was sure was too long, he said, "To prove a point."
"And how did that work out for you?" Her voice had gotten so quiet, it was worse than the screaming.
"Didn't." A rather typical Guererro look followed this declaration. The curl of his upper lip into his cheek, the flattening of his lips in something impersonating a grin.
She stared at him. Anyone else might have mistaken her wide-eyed gaze as being shock, or surprise, or even amazement. Maybe there were those things in it. Disgust, though – he could feel it. He knew her well enough to see it, even after all this time.
"So, it was for nothing." She sounded…defeated. Alarms were going off all over his brain and yet, still, he could only stupidly stand there. Waiting.
She let out a very small sigh, and then raised the gun again. "Perhaps, at the very least, I should make us even." And she turned the gun to Chance.
One Week Ago
Guerrero, discreet as usual, paced the perimeter of the amphitheater, but was distracted, which was unusual. The events of the last few days – that nasty business in Alabama still left a sour taste in his mouth – had not quite settled themselves into the corners of his brain. Things kept popping up, a moment, a beat, pulling his momentary train of thought away onto a different track.
(gotten too dependent need my own space since when did I need someone to rescue me?)
It was dangerous. He had watched Chance get derailed by his personal feelings for Maria, and knew in his own heart of hearts that such a thing could happen to him.
When personal feelings got involved, things went bad. That was just how it was.
At any rate, he had to finish surveying this place. Find all possible places an assassin could hole up. He was running through his own personal checklist – he had done this kind of thing himself too many times not to know every possible vantage point – for about the third time. He didn't want to miss anything.
He was just beginning to contemplate the angles of where a manhole cover was placed and how a gunman could fit underneath in the wide pipe below, and remembering in Cairo how badly he had stunk for almost three days after trying that particular route – how many showers had he had to take in a single day to make the smell even bearable? – when he was suddenly aware that he was being observed.
It was a prickle, mostly, on the back of his neck, which told him he wasn't alone. He looked around, although he was pretty sure his observer wouldn't realize that was what he was doing, and saw nothing.
Imagination? he wondered. Might make sense. Paranoia in this business was just good common sense.
Again, the prickle. He didn't see anything, and wondered if senility had finally decided to visit him. It was just a matter of time, really – he'd seen so many talented men in his line of work succumb to the crazybug, and suspected that some day he would go the same way. It wasn't possible to know all the horrible things that lay just under the surface of society and keep sane. At least not indefinitely.
That was when the blow came. Sharp and hard, right across the jaw. He rolled with it so that it didn't rattle his skull as much as the attacker intended, but whoever it was, was moving so fast that he couldn't get enough of a beat on them to strike back with appropriate countermeasures.
He spun, getting his balance quickly and avoiding another blow, but it seemed that whoever he was fighting had anticipated this as well and it just led into a trap – an arm, not thick but strong, immediately chopped him right across the chest like a living two-by-four and knocked him back. He went into a nearby parked car – the security logo blazed across it in mocking fashion – and slammed onto the hood on his back, pressing oxygen from his lungs.
Other men might have slid down, winded and gasping, onto the concrete, but he kicked his legs up, knocking his attacker back from him a good ten feet and evoking a satisfactory grunt of pain for his effort. He flipped down hard, almost as if he were going to roll himself forward from the hood, but whoever it was had ducked down, and the effort it took him to swing and miss almost got him off his feet again.
Almost – it was when the leg went behind his and swung out in an arc that took his feet away that he hit the concrete, pride smarting much more than the scrapes on his calloused hands. Still, he was quick, and was in a crouch, ready to get back up and keep fighting when he heard the heavy click of a rifle, and saw the barrel fill his vision.
It wasn't the blackness of where the bullet would enter his brain and end his life that got his attention. It was the pair of eyes behind it. Eyes he recognized. Eyes that recognized him.
He didn't know that voice, but if he hadn't been so stunned at the moment he would have taken advantage of its sudden emergence to knock that shotgun from its line to his brain. Instead, he could only stare, stupidly. Later he would berate himself. Right now, even he could not believe what he saw, and he could believe more than most.
"Lisa, don't!" that voice came again, sounding a mite panicked. "They're working for us!"
Lisa, Guerrero thought in his head. It was not the name he had known her by, but it started with the same letter. She had changed it so much that he eventually just started calling her Elle.
He knew she recognized him, as well. His hair was thicker, his clothes were different, and maybe she had known damn well who she was attacking when she came at him like a ninja, but nothing in that face betrayed the slightest hint of her feelings. She had the stone cold mask of a professional.
He could have respected that, if it hadn't suddenly pissed him off so badly.
She didn't take her eyes from him, for all of that. She couldn't – glancing away would give him a window, even if she had been ordered to stand down.
"I hired them." The voice was coming from the client, Guerrero realized, although he had only heard it once. She, however, seemed to know it very well, and with a single blink that gave him the queer feeling he was being dismissed, she finally turned her head.
"And you didn't tell me," she said, her voice perfectly even in tone, but joined to the look in her eyes was ripe with disapproval. "May I ask why?"
Confident that she wasn't going to pull the trigger, Guerrero got to his feet. He dusted himself off, feeling his irritation in his quick, harsh strokes. He looked from Elle to the client, wondering what the client would even say, but knowing that Elle was still doing her old job, nothing had changed. And she did not like surprises. Not one little fucking bit.
The client, a man in his prime, not even a few years past forty and what the commonwealth of women would probably define as highly attractive, did not seem to be able to answer this question, but gave what Guerrero supposed was to be a disarming shrug. Elle did not buy it, but she did put the rifle down.
"Well," Chance said, and for the first time Guerrero realized he was there, along with Ilsa, who was responsible for bringing the client in the first place, "now that we've all been introduced, maybe now is the time to open the channels of communication."
Coolly, Elle's eyes turned to Chance. "You must be Junior," she said, unflappable.
Chance, who was definitely flapped by the sudden reference to his former moniker, did a brief little double take. "Um…my name is Christopher Chance," he said, giving Elle a charming smile to cover his reaction.
She nodded curtly. The charm had no effect. She looked to her employer, and said, "We should move this conversation to a more discreet location." She said nothing more.