Roxanne froze before she completely knew what was going on. When she did, she almost felt her heart stop. All of the men surrounding her, holding their guns at her, she knew. Knew pretty well, in fact. And it horrified her. They all worked for the one man she hated more than any in the galaxy. In the universe. And they'd come to take her back to him. A death sentence as far as she was concerned. Still, she remembered what she held in both hands. Two weapons, while the rest had only one. Her day of reckoning had come. And Roxanne was going to show them just who they were dealing with.
"Well, well!" the man at the front said. "It looks like we finally found our little lady, Miss Roxie!"
Little lady her eye. Planting her bare feet into the concrete ground, Roxanne replied, "I happen to be Rosemary Singer!"
All the men laughed as though it were a cruel joke. "Yeah, and I'm the king of Mars!" the first man, Randy, said. When the rest stopped laughing, his tone became dark. "You might as well give it up, Roxie. You've been runnin' for way too long. And it's time we rounded you up and took you back where you belong."
Roxanne opened her mouth to speak, when she heard a now familiar voice cry out from behind her. "Wait!" She turned her head only slightly, and out of the corner of her eyes saw that the two bouncers had come out, and Spike was trying to stop them.
"What's going on out here?!" one of the bouncers demanded. But Roxanne didn't reply, knowing it would only make things worse. Instead, she put her hand up for them to stop. This was her fight. Once they did stop, she turned back around and stood tall.
"Listen up, Randy, and the rest of you, too!" she said in a loud, clear voice. "I'm the only one who says where I belong! I'd rather die than go back to that hellhole! Speaking of which, your boss, that spawn of Satan, can go rot where he belongs!"
Randy only shook his head, as if dealing with a rebellious child. "I'm afraid that's not the way it goes, Missy! Either you lay down your weapons, or we take you by force!"
Roxanne was about to say they could kill her, when she suddenly got an idea. They wanted her to lay down her weapons? Well, alright then. Roxanne dropped both the knife and the gun on either side, got down on her knees, and put her hands on her head. Immediately the men slowly lowered their guns, and they all looked surprised, much to Roxanne's hidden amusement. But they didn't move. So she had to encourage them.
"Well?" she shouted in frustration. "You want me? Now's your chance! Come at me!" For a moment, they all hesitated. But then they began to move forward toward her, their guns still at the ready should Roxanne attempt to make any sudden moves. But she didn't. Instead, she waited. Waited until they were all close around her, hands reaching to apprehend her. That was when she made her first move.
With lightning speed, Roxanne grabbed her knife with her right hand and shoved the blade below one of the men's hips. With her left hand, she grabbed the gun, and shot another man in the shoulder. Both men shrieked in pain and staggered back. That was when Roxanne felt a pain of her own surging through her jaw. She'd been punched. And with such force she thought she saw black spots in her vision. She raised the gun and fired, but both her arms were quickly pulled behind her and then jerked until she felt they might break. The pain in her jaw combining with the pain in her arms, she unconsciously let go of both weapons. She would've tried to continue fighting, were it not for the sight before her that made her momentarily stop and stare.
The bouncers had started fighting off the other guys. But that wasn't what made Roxanne stare. These were men whose job it was to protect her. What Roxanne was staring at was Spike taking on two guys at once, all the while taunting them, "You guys deaf or just plain stupid? The lady said she's not going with you!" Roxanne knew it could just be because he wanted her to go with him, but still, something seemed to stir within her. It was almost as if this guy she barely knew was standing up for her. But Roxanne was quickly brought back to reality when she was pressed into a hard chest and Randy whispered in her ear, "Trust me, you don't want to do this."
An idea struck in her mind, and Roxanne smirked. "Trust me, I do." Summoning all of her strength to her head, she rammed the back of it into Randy's face. His hold loosened, but fell away completely when Roxanne kicked her heel hard into his shin. She turned around to face him, and narrowly missed a swiping stab from Randy's knife, forcing her to dive and grab her own.
Now that she had a weapon again, Roxanne hurled herself forward, and soon found herself in a knife fight with Randy. He tried to stab her again and again, but she'd blocked every move. But Randy was just as good, dodging every attack she threw at him. Still, as both kept trying to land a stab, it seemed only Roxanne slowly remembered that every person trained to fight with a knife had the same weak spot.
The second she realized she had an opening, Roxanne seized it. With a quick and thorough swipe of her leg, she knocked Randy off his feet, the shock causing him to drop his knife. Before he even hit the ground, Roxanne threw herself at him, landing on top of him with her own knife to his throat. She had used this maneuver plenty of times before, but had never used her knife to slit another person's throat. With a gun it somehow felt less personal. But knives were generally more painful. Luckily, Randy didn't seem to notice her initial hesitation. "Go ahead, do it. You said you wanted to."
Roxanne was about to tell him not to tempt her, when she heard Spike let out a strangled cry. "Hey, buddy, that's my larynx!" Without turning her head, Roxanne saw out of the corners of her eyes that Spike was being choked by another one of Randy's men, and hard. For a split second, Roxanne thought she saw Spike look at her with wide-eyed desperation, almost as though he'd fixed his sight on her for salvation. Again, she felt that same unexplainable something stir within her. Before she completely knew what she was doing, Roxanne grabbed the gun she caught sight of nearby, and fired twice. First at the man's arm and then at his foot. She hit both her intended targets, releasing Spike from the stranglehold.
But before she could even think about what to do next, Roxanne felt a literal stab of pain worse than any she'd ever felt in her life. A scream erupted from her lips and tears sprung to her eyes. The pain intensified, her scream grew louder, and the tears fell down her cheeks when the knife in her thigh was wrenched out. The black spots returned in her vision with a vengeance. But she didn't let herself blackout. Instead, she instinctively started hugging her injured leg, quickly staining her top with blood. She thought she could hear gasps of shock, and a voice cry out, "Miss Singer!" But the only voice she really heard was Randy's.
"Bad move, Missy." Roxanne opened her eyes to see Randy raise his now red knife high above them, his eyes glazed with an intent to kill, but the knife was shot out of his hand. Randy cried out, hugging his grazed hand to his chest, and quickly turned toward the one who fired. "What was that for?!"
"Idiot!" one of his men berated. "We weren't supposed to hurt her! How do you plan to explain this?!"
"Simple!" Randy angrily shouted back. "She was trying to hurt me! What was I supposed to do?!"
Meanwhile, Roxanne was thinking of how she could use this as an opportunity to escape, when she was suddenly grabbed from behind and felt the barrel of a gun being pointed at her head. She let out a gasp but quickly stiffened against the person's firm hold. And when they spoke, she found she was being held by none other than Spike.
"Everybody freeze!" he shouted as though he might as well have been a cop. When Roxanne allowed herself to look around, she saw that more people had come out of the club, including, to her horror, Georgia. The woman herself looked horrified enough when she saw what was surely a heart-stopping sight before her.
"Rosemary!" she shouted with a voice that matched her face. But Spike remained unfazed as he kept the gun pointed at Roxanne.
"Now, I don't know about you all," he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "but I'd really hate to see this lady's pretty face tainted, if you know what I mean."
"Can't you see part of her's already tainted?!" one of the men asked. In response, Spike raised the gun and shot twice toward the sky, causing everyone to flinch and be silenced once more. But what Roxanne heard, that she figured no one else had, was the clack of the safety being turned on before he pointed the gun back at her. A silent signal that he wasn't going to kill her. Of course he couldn't. If he did he wouldn't get her bounty. But was he really so desperate as to plow through half a dozen armed men?
"I'm well aware of how I'm sure you ruined her day by letting her be stabbed in the leg," he went on in his cocky voice, "but I don't think you want to ruin it further. If you don't mind, this gal and I have a little date with the New Haven police. Ten million woolongs would buy a pretty hefty lot for a down-on-his-luck guy like me. Unless you'd like to explain to your boss how you let his ex-girlfriend die at the hand of a common bounty hunter. Come on, be my guest."
Roxanne bit her lip for a dozen reasons the whole time. For one thing, she still barely knew this guy. For all she knew, he could kill her at any moment. And even worse, to her pulse-pounding terror, he was practically revealing her in front of the people she'd come to know and...admire, not love. They'd never take her back after this. Meaning she had to find a new place to hide.
But then, with the seconds that seemed to pass slowly as Spike spoke, Roxanne found herself wondering if it would actually be a good idea to go with this guy. He did say he was going to take her to the police. Maybe if she could convince them that she was innocent, explain to them all the wrongs that had been committed against her... No. Considering all she had done, the chances of them listening to her, let alone believe her, were pretty slim. Either way, it seemed she would be going back to that pit of snakes. There was only one thing Roxanne could do, the one thing she'd always done. Run.
But she didn't run right away. Instead, she decided to lie in wait for the right time. When Spike finished talking, still holding the gun to her head, it seemed he'd gotten the upper hand. Reluctantly, Randy raised his hand at his other men. "Let 'em go. For now." Roxanne could practically feel Spike smiling behind her as he backed away, her still in his hold, into the shadow of the alleyway. Every step of her injured leg made her wince, and for a moment, she started to feel somewhat lightheaded. She was losing blood fast, and she knew it.
The moment they were out of sight of Randy, his men, and the people of Heaven's Gate, Roxanne knew it was now or never. As soon as Spike pulled the gun away from her, and began loosening his hold, she grabbed his gun and rammed her elbow into his ribs. She then gathered every ounce of strength she had left and used it to take off away from the bounty hunter, thinking of where she could go, how she could get there, when everything went horribly wrong.
Roxanne realized she'd felt more lightheaded than she thought. Before she knew it, she was falling in a heap face-first toward the ground, blood-stained pj's and all. And she now knew, if she hadn't before, that she was only in denial. The only place she knew she was going, as she slipped further and further into darkness, was into the arms of the one who had taken everything from her. Everything... Everything...
As he stared down at the fallen woman who looked now like a shot-down swan, Spike didn't know what came over him. Didn't know what possessed him to do it. As if empowered, not invaded, by a force other than himself, he knelt down and gently picked up Roxanne Sadler. He knew she'd put up a fight. But against all those guys, the fighting he'd witnessed against that bounty bull last night looked like child's play.
What he'd seen just now, that was the showcase of one who would rather go down in flames than be encased in ice. He'd seen it before, and believed he knew where. But he wouldn't go there. Not now. All that mattered was that he get this woman somewhere safe and secret, and tend to her wounds. And just as he knew she was fading fast, Spike knew the very place he would take her. The very place where no one would think to find them.