I struggled, and pushed myself into a sitting position. I heard hurried footsteps, and a figure barged through the door. I had my weapon readied, propped up with one hand while the other was compressed on my wound. I was loosing blood and all I needed was someone else attacking me.
"Beth! Whoa, there! It's just me, it's Jagan!" he said upon taking in the sight of me, quite armed. In, my dazed state it took far longer than normal to lower the gun.
"Jagan," I managed, "It's you. Thank God you're alright!"
"Yeah, I'm fine. But you don't look so good..." He knelt beside me and bid me release my hold on my right thigh.
"Oh, thanks," I joked, trying to pry my concentration from the pain. "You sure know how to make a girl feel good about herself."
He looked up at me, and smiled shortly. I saw him looking at my neck, which was bleeding as well. He was worried.
"Managed to get yourself into some mess, eh? You'll be alright, we just need to..." Jagan took my hand, and positioned it, telling me to push down on my femoral artery to slow the bleeding. "There."
He shrugged out of his shirt, his eyes never leaving my wound, and he began to rip the cotton into long strips. He hastily bandaged the bullet hole. A good field dressing. Tight enough, too. "Ah, now that's better."
"Thanks..." With him supporting me, Jagan helped me to my feet, and we hurried (as fast as was possible with my grimacing self) back, not forgetting the weapons.
We emerged not a moment too soon. Foster was over a bloodied and counting Harry, and Dani and Steve were being held by Harry's thugs.
"This is Jagan and Bethany. We've got your back, mate."
Jagan and I aimed the rifle together with our free hands and I fired twice, taking out two of the thugs instantly. That was all the "would-be hostages" needed. Dani and Steve broke free and came up fighting. My brother whooped with manical joy.
"Hell yeah! That's my sis! Ace shooting Beth! WOOOO!"
Dani was still shaky but Foster--her father-- threw her the knife he'd been fighting Harry with, and she nailed the last thug in the stomach.
I saw Foster turn back to our old Boss. Harry was afraid. Foster was icy. He picked up his gun. "The one's for Dani." He fired. I flinched at the sound. Harry fell back, his face a bloody and destroyed mess, with a solid, audible, thump. Dead.
Steve whooped again. I saw Dani was crying with all the mixed emotions. My brother grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her into a hug. He held him with a ferocity, a sort of vengeful smile upon on her lips.
Foster still had the gun raised, in the same position as when he fired. His face was a placid mask. I couldn't read him. But he seemed satisfied.
I dropped the rifle, weak, and looked up at Jagan, who was still supporting me. He returned my gaze evenly, and wrapped his remaining arm around me in an embrace. I buried my head in his bare shoulder.
"It's all right, Beth," he whispered into my hair. "It's all right now."
With Foster in the driver's seat and Dani beside him, we drove to the hospital. The bullet was firmly lodged in my femur, and obviously, Jagan's shirt wasn't going to cover it.
My brother held me and Jagan sat beside me in the back seat.
"Hey, Baby B, you all right?"
A pet name I'd not heard since we were little.
"Yeah, just stings a bit."
Steve dabbed at the blood from my neck wound. "Looks like we match now." He ran a finger down the side of his own neck. I smiled oddly at that.
"Scarcrow, Steve," I said, "I am so sorry for what happened between us. I was wrong."
"Shh," he said, "Don't worry about it. Not now--"
"No, I have to say this!" I almost yelled. "Back then, with all that happening, it was the most frightening thing that I have ever went through. But... strangely, it was exciting. I kind of... well, enjoyed the fight. I knew I could do what needed to be done. I felt like I, I don't know. But I see now why you do, why you love it. I just... I wanted to make you proud--"
He shook his head, and I could see the hint of tears grace his eyes. I always could tell when he was going to cry. It never was often, but I knew, ever since we were kids.
I caught sight of a dark wet spot on Steve's shoulder. My eyes widened. He'd been shot!
"Steve, your--" I pointed.
I couldn't say any more just then because we had reached the hospital. Steve and Jagan carried me and gently laid me down on the gurney the bustling nurses and doctors had prepared.
An awkward feeling of deja vu slipped over me. The roles had been reversed. It would now be my brother who was visiting me in the hospital.