(written for Rocket100 on Livejournal)
It was night now, but it had been burning daylight when the police came. Giovanni hadn't been at the secondary base more than half an hour when the frantic announcement came over the PA system that they were being invaded.
The agents lept into action, but the scant personell at the distant base could not overcome the invasive force.
The Iron Mask Marauder was wounded, grazed in the arm, but continued on anyway. The Team couldn't fail now, not before his plans were complete. Briefly, he reflected on the irony of a traitorous officer working to save the very organization he planned to rebel against, but pushed those to the back of his mind. That could wait until later.
He ran down the hallway, passing falling agents and police. He had to be getting closer to where the crux of the action was, and he held his gun at the ready. No time to call on his pokémon in a situation like this, this was mano-a-mano.
As he neared the Boss' office, the occasional gunshots got louder. Jenny had to be down this way, and the closer she was to the Boss, the more trouble they were all in. He quickened his pace.
Finally he saw the double doors marking Giovanni's office. They were open, which was a bad sign. "Sir? Are you in--"
He was cut off by a head popping up on the other side of the desk; Domino. She raised a finger to her lips for a moment, then gestured for him to approach. Lying against the wall was Giovanni himself, shot in the chest. He wheezed faintly as he looked up. "...Lord Vicious, you're here too..." he muttered. "Jenny got Persian..."
Vicious looked over to the side. Sure enough, the large cat lay lifeless near the door.
"I...I need you both to swear to me..."
Domino put her hand over her heart. "Anything, sir."
Giovanni took in a deep breath. "Swear to me that you'll get Jenny...for me...and for Persian..."
The Marauder nodded, kneeling and resting a hand on Domino's shoulder. "We'll do it."
"For you, sir, we'd do anything," Domino agreed.
"Good...I'll try to hold on, but I...can't promise anything..."
"We'll get her, sir, I promise," Domino assured him, rising and bringing Vicious with her. She picked up a gun from the top of the desk, one Vicious recognized as belonging to Giovanni. She brandished it, cocking it dramatically. "Try to hold on. We'll get her, and then we'll get you out of here."
The two headed for the hallway, only to be greeted by a loud gunshot in the next room. They rushed over, nearly running into a lower agent clad in white. The agent let out a cry, and the two officers could see that he looked shocked before he whimpered softly.
Domino spoke first. "Stop that whining! You're an agent of Team Rocket!"
The boy--he couldn't have been older than Domino, but her youth was a special case--held up his hand, which held a smoking handgun. Unable to form any words, he pointed with his other hand to beyond a table. Tears started to drain from his eyes as he covered his face with the hand that still held the gun. "I've never..." he choked out, his extended arm shaking.
Vicious took a look behind the table and his eyes widened behind his mask. This kid, obviously untrained, had managed to kill Jenny. He knelt down, checking to be certain, but could find no signs of life. "Damn, kid," he muttered, approaching the agent. "Do you know what you've done?"
He gulped, nodding slowly as he wiped at his eyes. "Never...never done that before..."
Curious, Domino looked as well, but her reaction was that of anger. "****...Guys, that was one of Viridian's Jennys. That means her sister will be here too."
The boy shivered, hugging himself to calm down. A soft, high whine escaped him, and Vicious shook him by the shoulders. "If you don't calm down, you're as good as dead. Got it?"
"I don't want to be alone," the boy blurted out. "I won't be a hinderance, I promise, and you can leave me behind if I am."
Domino sized him up. "We'll hold you to that. And you may have to use that gun of yours again, are you prepared for that?"
He nodded sharply, blinking away the last of the tears. His voice was more confident, and he straightened his back. "Thank you."
"So what do we call you?" Vicious asked. "Can't keep calling you 'hey you' or whatever."
"Mondo." There was still a weakness in his tone, but the shake was gone. "And everyone knows who you are, mister Marauder."
Vicious smirked. Of course they did. Why Domino valued her privacy was beyond him.
At his side, she turned to the door. "You can call me Domino." That was how she always said it, never that it was her name. "Now come on, we have to hurry and find the other Jenny before...right away." She wasn't about to tell just anybody about the Boss' condition.
The three of them headed out into the hallway, and as luck would have it encountered another agent, who saluted the only agent he knew. "Sir! The shooting seems to have stopped in this area."
"So I hear," Vicious said. "Any idea where the remaining Jenny is?"
"Remain--oh!" Jenny's fate dawned on the man. "Probably where the action is, in the basement. How is our leader?"
They were standing outside Giovanni's office, but the open doors must have lead him to believe that no one was inside. "He's fine," Domino interjected. "Now go do something instead of standing around!"
"Of course!" The man darted off, leaving the three other agents to head for the stairs.
Sure enough, the basement rang with shots, a few a minute, but one right away as they reached the door. The two Elites looked at each other and nodded, cocking their guns nearly in unison. Mondo looked anxiously at the other two, but followed their lead anyway.
"I'll take point," Domino said, cracking the door open. "Watch my back." She kicked the door open and slid into the hallway.
There was a sudden movement at the end of the hall, and Domino fell back, not hearing the gunshot that claimed her, or Mondo's scream. The Marauder didn't bother checking her, he knew she was gone, and he focused instead on the assassin.
He could see an exposed leg--Jenny's short skirt. She was leaning around the far corner, and from the angle of her leg, she was bending over, probably to avoid a head shot. He never took his eyes off her location, walking forward and aiming his weapon to afford the fastest shot he could make.
Mondo came up behind him, frantic and babbling, but he didn't look away. The younger agent's talking seemed to act as a lure, though, and soon, Jenny's leg moved like she was standing. She had difficulty, and had probably taken injury, but she was still faster than he thought. There was a shot and a metallic clang, and the Elite started firing. His mask had stopped the bullet, but it had disoriented him, and a sharp pain jolted through his head. He could hardly aim, but Mondo surprised him by taking up the slack and firing at the police officer too.
One of the shots, more than likely from Mondo, hit Jenny in the knee, bringing her down. Through the haze, the Marauder smirked. He could hit her better now, and while she was distracted, he put all his focus into making that perfect shot.
Two bullets hit her at the same time, one to the shoulder and one to the chest. Jenny jerked backwards, stumbling for a moment before falling. There was a shout around the corner, another police officer. "Jenny's down! We gotta get out of here!" the man shouted, followed by the faint sound of running. They wouldn't get far, Vicious mused, leaning against the wall and slowly approaching the fallen policewoman.
"Sir...?" Mondo asked from behind him, but he didn't stop until he reached her. She was still alive, if barely, so he fired at her again. He had aimed for her head, but the bullet struck her in the throat, causing her to rasp and heave for a moment before lying still. If she wasn't dead then, she would be in a minute.
Finally, the Marauder turned around, facing the younger agent and trying not to look at where Domino had fallen. "...get me up the stairs," he ordered, and Mondo nodded, wrapping his arm around the Elite's waist and guiding him down the hallway. As they passed Domino, Vicious broke away from Mondo's hold and knelt down to her as best he could, closing her wide violet eyes and bowing his head. "She was a damn fine officer," he muttered, brushing her bangs over the hole in her forehead.
"I'm sure she was, sir..." Mondo sighed, looking around at the floor, the walls, the ceiling, anywhere but at her. "We need to get you some medical attention."
"Yeah..." His headache was getting worse, and now his grazed arm was starting to sting. With a grunt, he leaned against Mondo to stand, and the two of them started up the stairs.
It took them nearly five minutes to reach the top. The Marauder had to stop every few steps and rest. He would never admit it, especially to someone so far beneath him in rank, but he was about to black out.
Finally they were on the first floor. "There's something I gotta do..." he said, wobbling towards Giovanni's office. Mondo followed suit, helping the older man over.
"Ooh..." Mondo choked, seeing the Persian on the floor and having to turn his head immediately. "Why are we in here?"
Vicious took a few shaky steps away from the boy, holding onto the desk. Giovanni was still there, but he looked to be unconcious. Or worse.
Mondo spotted the Boss at the same time and gasped. "Sir? Oh my god no..." He nearly threw himself to the ground, checking frantically for any signs of life. "There's a little pulse, but--"
He was cut off by a faint moan. Giovanni moved a little, trying to see who had arrived, but he lacked the strength to raise his head. "Who--?" he asked weakly.
He'd manage to hold on for this long. Maybe he had a fighting chance. Vicious knelt next to him as solidly as he could, but the pounding in his head was almost unbearable and he flopped down considerably less gracefully than he would have liked. "Sir, it's me, Vicious."
The Elite smiled sadly. "You would have been proud of her, sir. She went down taking out Jenny."
Giovanni sighed. "...serving the Team...of course."
"She was a hero, sir," Mondo cut in.
"And so were you," Vicious reminded him. "This kid here, some grunt called Mondo, took out the other one."
The Boss' lips turned up slightly. "...afraid I won't be able to...to make a commendation..."
"Sir?" Mondo started shaking again. "Sir, we'll call for help. The police are leaving, you'll be fine...please be fine, please!" he wimpered.
Giovanni closed his eyes, which had only been open a sliver. "...glad I could be among my finest..." He took in a breath, releasing half of it with a slow shudder before ceasing to move.
"Sir? SIR?" Mondo was near manic as he checked for any signs of life. Not finding any, he lightly slapped the man's face. "Sir please! Wake up! You can't die like this, you can't!"
"You can't..." the Marauder repeated, bringing himself to his feet and pounding the desk. This couldn't be how it ended! He was supposed to bring down Giovanni, not some punk cop! "Dammit..."
His knees gave out from his sudden actions, the pain in his head too much for him to bear. The last thing he heard before he passed out was Mondo shouting "Sir!?", but he wasn't sure who the boy was talking to.
"Sir?" The word cut through the haze, and the Marauder slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he noticed was that it was too damn bright in the room, and then he realized that someone had taken his mask.
Things came to him in sequence. He was in a hospital room. He had IVs in his arms. He had sensor pads taped to his chest and head. And Mondo was sitting next to the bed, watching him. "...ugh...how long have I been out?"
Mondo smiled, but it was a restrained one, hampered by the events of the day. "You've been out about five hours. The doctors were starting to worry."
Vicious tried to sit up but failed. "Giovanni--he's really gone?"
"...I'm afraid so." The boy averted his gaze. "The executives are going to meet tomorrow to decide on a new leader. But we managed to capture the rest of the invaders."
"That's good..." His head still hurt, and he winced from the fluorescent lights. "Can you get that for me?"
Mondo nodded, getting up from his chair to turn off the lights. "The doctors wanted to know when you woke up. Should I tell them now?"
"Gimme a minute." He closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift. With Giovanni dead and a new leader to be named, it would complicate his plans. He was familiar with Giovanni's style of rule and personality, but with someone new, he'd have to start analyzing them from the beginning. But he could do it. He'd gain their trust just as he had Giovanni's, and turn on them. He would have to take his time--the Team wouldn't accept two new leaders in a short amount of time. But he was young, he could wait a while yet.
The younger man went to the window, taking the cord for the shade in one hand. "...I think I learned a lot about myself today. It's amazing what you become when you're in situations like that. But I can't help but think I was acting like an idiot."
"You'll learn," the Marauder muttered as the room got darker.
Mondo returned to the bedside. "Teach me, sir. There's so much I have yet to learn."
An almost cruel grin spread across the Marauder's face, but Mondo didn't see the malice to it. A capable agent wanting to be molded by the future leader of the Team. It was almost too good to be true. "Everyone's got to start somewhere," he said, talking more about himself.