the glory days

by renegadekarma

Tatiana whipped around. “What the hell were you thinking?”

Daniel cleared his throat indignantly. “I was thinking that my baby sister was going to get herself killed if I didn’t have her back!

“I’m going in for the shot,” Tatiana murmured, clicking her earpiece. A moment later, she heard the murmured assent of the police chief on the other line and she slowly moved forward and out of the cover that the building she’d ducked behind had given her.

The man at the other end of the street, a notorious drug dealer that her team had been on for weeks, had noticed her. He raised his gun, his posture matching hers. For a moment, the policewoman and the criminal locked gazes, neither of them moving.

And then there was a shot, and the dealer crumpled.

Tatiana hadn’t fired. She whipped around, baffled, until she caught sight of a figure behind her and glowered, stepping toward him angrily and whipping the gun out of his hand in one swift strike.

“Careful, the safety’s not on,” Daniel warned her, but she paid him little mind, instead turning swiftly to the rest of the team.

“Tell the chief that there was a change of plans and my idiot older brother here decided to take the shot himself,” she informed the nearest man sternly and he nodded before stepping off to communicate to their boss. Soon, the other members of the team followed until it was only the two of them left.

Tatiana whipped around. “What the hell were you thinking?”

Daniel cleared his throat indignantly. “I was thinking that my baby sister was going to get herself killed if I didn’t have her back!”

The glare didn’t fade. “Your ‘baby sister’ is twenty-five, Daniel, and she can take care of herself. I had that guy! There was no need to take that shot for me!”

“Well, what if you’d been hurt?” The older sibling justified defensively, crossing his arms over his chest at his younger sister.

“What if you’d been hurt?” The younger sibling shot back. She continued glaring at him through narrowed hazel eyes for a moment more before the blaze in her eyes dulled and her features softened when she sighed. “Daniel, this is your last week of field duty. You’re back to the desk next week, and I promised Mia that I’d keep you safe – don’t do anything stupid, alright?”

Daniel was silent for a few seconds, presumably considering his sister’s words. His wife had delivered their squealing daughter into the world only a month earlier; he might have been one of the most valuable additions to the task force, but he’d had a talk with his wife and quickly realized that it would be smarter to take leave from active field duty to be on the desk for a while. “Alright,” he sighed after a moment, seeming to admit defeat before he added, his tone more serious, “But I will always have your back.”

“Yeah, well,” Tatiana reluctantly handed him back his gun, motioning for him to follow her back to headquarters, “You can’t very well do that if you’re dead.”

Three days later, the drug enforcement task force had received more bad news; the drug ring that had been plaguing their city for decades hadn’t, as they’d thought, gotten scattered and weak. Rather, they’d regrouped and were returning to London with a vengeance. Wearily, the police chief gave his embattled task force the details for a break-in of the supposed drug den with instructions to end this before things got any further.

“Alright, here’s the plan,” Tatiana informed her team, her fingers twitching on blueprints of the warehouse they were heading to and the compilation of tip-offs they’d had. “Pierce, Jameson, you take the East entrance. Hamilton, the North. Jones, Gray, watch the South and West. I’ll be in position from above.”

In the time that she’d relayed instructions, her brother had stepped toward the group, toward the edges. She blatantly ignored him until her team dispersed and he came toward her questioningly. “What about me? Where do I watch from?”

“From base,” she answered, handing him a paperweight she plucked from the nearest desk. “You’re on desk duty, remember?”

“That’s not until next week,” Daniel huffed.

“Close enough.” Tatiana handed him another paperweight to placate him. “Look, just stay out of this one, okay? I have a bad feeling about this. It’s going to get ugly, and I don’t want you to be there when it does. Tatty Junior needs her Dad, remember?”

“My daughter is not named Tatty Junior,” Daniel grumbled, but he took the two paperweights and glowered at his sister as he reluctantly moved toward the desk he’d been assigned.

The view that the top of the building offered her was expansive; here she could get a cursory view of all of the entrances so that she could swoop in with her gun if a co-worker needed her help. For now, she merely pressed a button on the device in her ear and murmured, “Clear so far.”

She’d spoken too soon – there was the sound of a gunshot and she whipped around as the device in her ears flared up; it was Chastity. “I’m hit in the leg,” she informed the team breathily.

“Can you move?” Tatiana’s stomach curled in fear at how suddenly things had changed.

“I think so,” the redhead managed. There was a pause and then she swore under her breath. “There’s more of them coming. They’re storming the East and West entrances.”

In an instant, Tatiana was back to leader mode from concerned friend mode. “All agents, converge on those entrances. Chastity, take out the bullet and move in.” She had mercy, but today, there was no room for sympathy. Having dispersed her orders, now she too headed down from where she’d been standing on top of the warehouse, stepping down to the East entrance.

By the time she got there, there were already shots being fired, her co-workers yelling to and at each other as they whirled around in their gun-blazing, hair-flipping glory. When she didn’t feel so overwhelmed by the sheer number of people rushing at them, she would have been impressed.

But that was just the problem; there were too many people there.When the chief had handed her the assignment, they’d only accounted for roughly half the force that was rushing at them now. Tatiana and her team were woefully unprepared.

Still, they did their best. “MOVE IN,” she called, and they spread out, guns in both hands now, turning and shooting the way they’d been trained. She was a cog in a well-oiled machine now, doing her job to the best of her ability while intermittently calling out warnings to her co-workers when she spotted that one of the drug group members had a gun pointed at them.

Miraculously, they managed to pull it off, and with a final shot, she finally ran out of bullets. The last of their targets had fallen, and Tatiana stood silently for a moment, breathing heavily as she took in the gruesome scene, the bodies spilled over the alleys, the blood splattered on the bricks, the rogue bullets launched into the shadows.

Somewhat shakily, she glanced to her team, which had somehow all ended up convening on this side of the building. “Alright, let’s go,” she told them, casting her hazel gaze around. And then, before she could process it, there was a shout and then two rapid-fire shots. Tatiana whipped around and gaped.

Lying near the corner of the alley was a figure that was slumped over and breathing heavily. Only moments before, he’d had his gun pointed at the brunette, even if he’d dropped the gun when he’d been shot in the side. And limping in front of him was a tall figure, his gun pointed at the injured man. Tatiana would recognize her brother anywhere.

She stormed forward, lightning in her eyes. “Daniel, what the hell—“ she began but cut off abruptly as he stumbled forward and grabbed onto the wall of the warehouse to keep himself steady as he tumbled onto his knees. In a moment, his sister too had ducked down toward him, her team falling behind her as they approached.

“What are you doing here?” She barely let him answer before her hand was on the side of neck where he was clutching at it, his hands already unable to staunch the blood flow. Carotid artery. The bullet had nicked it nice and clean, and once this was cut, there was no way to fix it until they got him to a hospital immediately – considering that they were outside a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, this wasn’t possible.

Daniel seemed to read the fear in her eyes, but he shrugged it off. “It’s alright, I’ll be fine.”

“How are you going to get back to Mia and Tatty Junior now?” she asked him, trying to smile as her fingers pressed over the cut as well, trying to stop the bleeding even if she knew how fruitless this was.

“That’s not her name,” he muttered, his breathing coming out more sporadically now. Wordlessly, one of the other members of her team reach out and handed a strip of cloth (presumably torn from one of their shirts), out to her, and she tried to wrap it like a bandage around her brother’s wound.

“You idiot,” she found herself saying after a moment, “You completely daft, ridiculous human being. What the hell were you thinking? Damn it, you were safe. You were at base!” Tatiana didn’t realize that her voice had risen a pitch in her fear and she could see the members of her team turn away, a bit embarrassed to see her fall apart like this (hell, she was embarrassed too, but only the logical part of her mind because the emotional part was going haywire).

Daniel’s lips curved up slightly. “He was about to shoot at you, so I blocked him and fired one back at him.” At the cost of his own life, evidently. “I told you that I’d always have your back, didn’t I?”

She considered protesting, saying that she didn’t need him to cover her back, but the truth was, she did, and now she was paying for it in dearly-cost blood.

Daniel folded a gun into her hands, fingers bloody. “Safety’s off,” he murmured, slipping into a state very much unlike her alert, overprotective brother. “Take care of yourself, and the baby, and Mia.”

“Of course,” she murmured, trying to muster a last smile for him, but the blood was growing sticky under both of their fingers and the cloth. With one last exhale he was gone, his blue eyes growing dull.

For a moment, Tatiana merely stared at his figure, ignoring someone’s hand on her shoulder – Seren’s? – before she was standing, the gun in her hands slick with blood and tears that she hadn’t even realized she’d shed. Her amber streaked gaze was venomous, focused on the figure to the side of the alley that was still breathing when her brother wasn’t, his shoulders heaving with panic.

Without another word, Tatiana lifted the gun and fired two straight shots into his heart.