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The scream that cut through the air sent everything into a stand still.

No sooner had Risk all but thrown Gambler off herself than did I grab my flaming opponent, though my actions were stopped short when Aim and Risk collided. It was only after the scream registered in my mind did I realize a gun had gone off seconds prior.

It felt like my heart stopped.

Aim's body covered almost all of Risk, and as I stared at the two of them I became acutely aware of a rush of red growing beneath them. 

It felt like my heart stopped.

I shoved Gambler away from me with full force. I was only vaguely aware of her crashing into the edge of the table. I was already moving toward Aim and Risk, trying to shake the shock from my system. 

She's okay she's okay she's okay she's okay, she has to be okay, was on replay in my head. She has to be okay.

I registered movement from the two of them, though under the circumstances determining who had caused it was near impossible. I crouched down and seized Aim's shoulders, rolling him over onto the floor effortlessly. 

Risk was covered in blood and had a knife in her shoulder. But her eyes were open, her eyes were wide, and the moment I looked into them I realized she was looking right back at me. Alert.


The rest of the world caught up with me. I made steady eye contact with her, reaching for the knife, and she nodded in agreement. In another situation I may have counted, but we were in crisis mode, and I pulled it out and pushed my hand over the wound in one smooth and practiced motion, not at all immune to the pain that flashed over her features. 

Then Gambler's scream registered in my mind. With one hand still on Risk, I flipped the knife so the handle was in my palm, shifting my body just enough to see Gambler hovering over Aim, her gaze mimicking that of Risk's when I'd first pulled Aim off of her.

Aim was pale. Too pale to be alive, and the blood that stained his chest was darker than what stained Risk's. Gambler was staring at the body of her partner in disbelief, now frozen and silent.

"I can't believe she did it," I heard someone behind me say, and truth be told, I almost couldn't believe it myself.

For as long as we'd been in opposition, both Gambler and Aim had goaded Risk and I with the reminder that we wouldn't kill them -- that we couldn't kill them. And for the longest time, they had been right. But not for the reasons they thought. They seemed to think we had more of a conscience, when truth was, if either of us had ended either of them, Boss may have gone off the deep end. Even Risk and I didn't know what that kind of act would lead to. For all either of us knew, Boss would shut down the entire operation -- and if he did, we knew it wouldn't have been in the "Now everyone just go home, I'm done with you," way. 

We weren't afraid of having their blood on our hands.

Risk had just proven that in ways that words never would have.

Risk struggled to sit up beneath my grip, and I relented just enough to allow her movement. I set the knife down and held her shoulder with both of my hands, one covering the wound to keep the pressure on, the other supporting her position. Even as she sat up, I kept myself between she and Gambler, watching the sole surviving member of Team Charlie continue to gape at the other in incredulity.

"It was your fault," Risk said, her words a snarl. Her amber eyes bore into Gambler with unrestrained hatred the likes of which I hadn't seen since we had been much younger. "You ended LASAR. You were the reason I almost lost Rebel forever. For all your efforts on our lives, you almost just took the easy way out."

I dully remembered her telling me about what had happened before I'd come out of the coma. In true Risk form, she'd made it seem like no big deal. Like she knew she would get me back. 

Her sharp features were twisted in an angry scowl as she glared at Gambler, her chin tipping up slightly before she coldly said, "This seems like a fair trade to me."

Gambler's gaze snapped back up to Risk then, and her voidless eyes now glowed like coals about to combust. I could see her skin beginning to go up in flames before she even began to move, so when she let out a war cry and lunged at Risk, I was ready.

I released Risk and met Gambler mid-air. 

She didn't stand a chance.

Before she could even fully ignite, I had her head in my hands. Her neck snapped with a loud crack, with no more effort than breaking a twig, and she collapsed in a smoldering heap at my feet. I stared at her unmoving body for a handful of seconds before turning away and pulling Risk to her feet. 

She held her own shoulder now, and she looked calmly between both Gambler and Aim's unmoving bodies before she looked back up at me. We searched each other's eyes for a moment, the mutual thought unspoken between us.

It was done. 

We both turned to the rest of our team only to be met with similar expressions. Astonishment and disbelief were present in each of their eyes, and it was Gunner who gave a quiet, "Wow."

"Yeah," Imitate murmured. She was holding Desmond's hand, and he was purposefully looking everywhere except at the two specific bodies in the middle of the room.

"Is cheering right now wrong?" Snag asked then. When I looked at her she arched a brow, a joyful sparkle glinting in her dark brown eyes. "Because I feel like cheering. I mean, you know what just happened, right? You realize we're actually done?" Her smile grew with every word she spoke.

I was about to tell her that she, by all means, could cheer if she wanted to.

Then the doors to the meeting room creaked open, and in came Catatonic and Low. Cat had that infuriatingly lazy smile on his lips as he looked between all of us. "What'd we miss?" he asked, arching a brow and going to lean on Low's shoulder.

He was successful for less than five seconds before she elbowed him in the ribs.

They both came just short of noticing the deceased Team Charlie before Rage leaned out of the room with all of the United Nations leaders. He barked, "You two, in here. Now."

"Not Rage's charming personality, I see," Cat managed to mutter before Low latched onto his elbow and dragged him off into the room.

No sooner had the door closed after them than did the double doors swing open again, this time with greater force than Cat and Low had used. My hand dropped to the gun that was still holstered on my waist, and I came just short of drawing it. Headed by Team Bravo and Slick was a mob of London's finest police officers, including our detective friends from our prior arrest.

"'Sup, hooligans?" Sergeant grinned at us.

"We're here to clean up your mess," Slick interjected, eyes roving about the room. Her gaze stopped on Aim and Gambler, and it stayed there for a moment, as though what she was seeing was fully registering in her mind. She looked back up at Risk and I then with brows high on her head. "And it looks like you could really use it."

Risk and I smiled.

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