Chapter Forty-ThreeMature

'Well go on then,' I shouted at Steve as his finger hesitated on the trigger, 'just get on with it and shoot me!'  But still Steve hesitated, his eyes moving away from me and towards the space behind me.

'Put the gun down,' a voice said, sending stabs of pain through my body.  'You don't want to know what will happen if you harm her.'  I heard the rest of the room gasp but didn't dare look around

'Well, well, well,' Steve said, refusing to lower the gun away from my head.  'It looks like your little soldier has pulled a bit of a magic trick.  I didn't know people could come back from the dead.'

'You know me.  I'm always full of surprises.'

'What's the matter?'  Steve said, turning back to look at me, still lying on the ground.  'Don't you want to see your guide?'  He reached down pulling me roughly to my feet and spinning me around so my eyes met those of a man I thought was dead.

'This can't be,' I breathed.  'I must be dead because you can't be alive, I saw you killed.'

'Sorry I'm late,' Demitri said, a small smile creeping onto his face.  'It took me a little longer than I'd thought to heal.  I've never had a head wound that serious before.'  His eyes flicked to the figure standing behind me, the gun still in his hand.  'Put the gun down Steve.'

'I don't think I want to do that,' Steve said, his voice suddenly harsh and cold as I felt his arm around my waist and the barrel of the gun press against the side of my head.    'Because I know what will happen if I do let her go.  By some implausible turn of events me and my men will be defeated and will have failed in our task.

'I'm not going to have that.  I might not be able to kill you, but your chosen one is very mortal.'

I tensed up, waiting for the crack of the gun firing, followed by a lot of pain.  Would I even hear the gun go off?  Would I even know when I died?  I kept my eyes open and fixed on Demitri's face, wanting him to be the last thing I saw.  I knew I'd let him down but there was nothing I could do now.

As I prepared for my inevitable fate I felt Steve jerk backwards and screamed as the gun fired, a loud crack reverberating around the room.

But I wasn't dead.  My head was still attached to the rest of my body and I could move.  I spun around to see where Steve had gone and saw him wrestling with a battered looking Mark.  The gun had been knocked from Steve's hand and was lying discarded on the floor.

'What are you doing?'  I exclaimed, my brain still not processing what was happening.

'Saving your life,' Mark said, the strain in his voice showing how much effort he was putting into keeping Steve at bay.  'Now run for God's sake.'

'What are you doing just standing there?'  Steve yelled at his men as I began to run towards Demitri.  'Stop her.'

'You lay a finger on her and I'll shoot you where you stand,' Demitri threatened, pointing his gun at the men who were now dithering in between Abril and Clay, and me.

'You don't want to know what will happen to you if you don't stop her.'

But it was too late, I had already reached Demitri and thrown my arms around him, just to make sure he was real.  I was elated when he didn't disappear as I touched him, almost laughing with relief.

'Are you alright?'  He asked me, his face suddenly very close to mine.

'I am now,' I breathed, smiling up into Demitri's face.  'I thought you'd gone.'

'You're not going to get rid of me that easily,' he chuckled.

Suddenly he was all I could see and all the fear I'd been feeling vanished as I stared up into his eyes.  The meaning of the phrase 'you never know you have something until you've lost it' was now made perfect sense.  I'd taken Demitri for granted, thinking he would always be there for me and when I'd lost him I had felt so lost.  But I'd been given a second chance.  I wasn't going to waste it.

'Demitri move!'  Abril screamed from across the room.  I heard a loud groan and looked away from Dem in time to see Mark fall to the floor and Steve pick up his gun.  His eyes were burning as he pointed the gun at us and fired.

The End

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