First: Purchased: Negotiation
Don’t let her get hurt. That meant Leander had to get her out of the line of fire. Five of them. One of him.
He ducked his head, took a second like he was really considering it, and pushed all the force he had into making a sort of dimple in the brick wall just big enough to hold Sylviane.
He’d been talking fast, but it was still not fast enough. One of the goons grabbed his shoulder.
He shoved backwards at the same time he grabbed the gun, twisting it away. He shoved that goon hard into the next one and kicked out towards the third.
Then it was target, hit, repeat, target, hit, repeat. The guns went away, the goons went into the wall, he kicked one and punched another and didn’t even pause before he hit the girl, grabbed one last gun before it could aim Sylviane’s way –
-the gun went off, a silenced woof that wouldn’t be heard on the other side of the wall, and he slammed a fist into the asshole’s face before he registered that he’d been hit.
That was okay. That was one gunshot and he knew where it’d gone.
He broke someone’s hand, stepped on someone else, took the gun away again from an idiot who’d gone for it, and slapped the girl in the face.
“You don’t come near her again,” he hissed. He kicked someone until they stayed down and slammed the butt of the gun he’d taken into someone else’s nose and picked up the girl one-handed. “Do you understand? None of you touch her, none of you look at her, none of you think about getting anywhere near her ever again. Understood?” he hissed.
“I’m not in charge,” she whimpered. “I’m not, I’m not-“
It didn’t matter whether she was telling the truth or not. “Then you explain to the one in charge. Got it? Next attempt like this ends in blood and I track down everyone who did it and make them pay.”
Sylviane whispered a word behind him. The girl, her eyes on Leander, nodded weakly – and then passed out.
She took Leander’s arm. “I’m okay, I’m okay, you’re hit. Can we – are you – we. Leander. Police, okay?”
He wrapped his arms around her and put his nose in her hair, breathing her in, patting her back. She was okay. She was okay.
“Leander,” she repeated. “Police?”
“No record, no prints, I don’t have prints. Yeah. Let’s – move away from here.”
“You don’t – of course you don’t,” she muttered. She untangled herself from him and led him out onto the grass while, with her other hand, she dialed her phone.
“Dad? Dad, I’m going to call 911 in just a moment but I need you to talk to Leander, okay?”
The grass in front of the buildings was softer than anything he’d ever felt. Leander took the phone she pressed into his hand and barely noticed her taking the one Mr. MacDiarmad had given to her.
“Kidnappers,” he grunted into the phone. “Mundane, I think. I stopped. Stopped ’em. She’s fine, she’s fine.”
There was a low hiss. “Good, well done, Leander. And you?”
“Hit once, no big deal. Hit once.”
“Okay, listen closely. Go with the ambulance-“
“Sylviane didn’t get hurt?” He looked over at her, but everything was blurry. She was – “Ow, fuck.”
She was pressing on the bullet wound with something, with her shirt, with her shirt. “Sylviane!”
“When you go with the ambulance, if you can’t stay within 40 feet of Sylviane while you are being treated, that is okay. I’m sending back-up. Your first priority right now is to be safe and take care of yourself. That’s it, understood?”
“No? No?” He looked at the phone as if it would help.
“Back-up will be there soon. Just – take care of yourself, too, Leander.”
The phone clicked off. Leander allowed himself – or perhaps the order allowed him – to lose consciousness.