“I don't understand why I'm here.” Mike grumbled, glancing up and down the back alley for the twentieth time. They stood against the wall next to a dumpster, a dim bare bulb above them casting shadows across their faces.
“Cause I need backup and Sam and Hannah are busy.” Amanda said. She crossed her arms, her shiny blue purse dangling from her forearm. Mike didn't want to be there, he had made it abundantly clear the entire way over and for the past five minutes as they waited.
“What are they doing?”
“Restocking. Tito tipped Sam off to a small stash down at the precinct and was going to make sure they were clear to get to it, though only through the vents, so Sam and Hannah would be the only ones that can get to it.”
Mike shook his head, “I still don't trust Tito. I don't know why you guys deal with him.”
“He's dirty and cheap to pay off, and he's been more helpful than anything so far. Don't worry hon, we're keeping an eye on him. If he so much as thinks about turning on us, we'll make his life hell.”
Mike grunted. He saw no reason to trust the dirty cop, but he didn't doubt his three significant others could handle him.
Amanda glanced down at her wrist, noting the time on her watch when Mike elbowed her and she looked towards the mouth of the alley. Three men in button up shirts and suit jackets had just turned the corner and were walking up to them, a cocky swagger in their steps. The two behind the leader carried a crate between them.
“Was about to think you weren't coming,” she said in greeting, pushing herself off the wall. Mike stood next to her, tall and intimidating at her shoulder. She could see the lead guy eyeing Mike up, his expression wary. Good. That's what she had hoped for bringing him along.
“Wouldn't miss it for the world, baby girl.” The leader took his eyes away from Mike and purred at her. She felt like she was going to hurl, this guy was actually trying to flirt with her? She could hear the change in Mike's breathing, evening out as he attempted to keep himself calm.
“Yeah, we're not going there, Allen, just show me the goods.” She said.
“You got the money?”
“Show me the goods, Allen.”
Allen glared at her, but snapped his fingers as he stepped back. The two dropped the crate at her feet and pulled the lid off. In the crate was a pile of weapons, on the left were three pistols, each wrapped in police standard leather holsters, and to the right was a box of smoke and fragment grenades. She could see at the bottom of the crate there was the rifle she had requested as well. On top of it all though was a wooden bat, the handle wrapped in red and black grip tape.
“Didn't ask for a bat.” She said.
“Oh gosh, how did that get in there, that's my favorite bat.” Allen said with badly feigned surprise. He scooped up the bat, twirling it by the end of the handle before leaning it against his shoulder.
“We said no weapons, Allen.”
“Could say the same thing to you.” He said, side-eyeing Mike.
“I'm not allowed to bring a partner when you brought two?”
Allen shrugged and gave her a lopsided smile. “You want this or not?”
“Not. Have a good night, gentlemen.” She said, pivoting on the heel of her gogo pumps.
In an instant she heard the snap of Allen's fingers, followed by the crack of a gunshot and Mike's hand was on her shoulder shoving her to the side. She stumbled and barely got her hands up to protect her face before she landed hard on the ground. She rolled onto her back, her feet caught between Mike's as he stood over her. She looked up just in time to see Allen strike Mike in the side, the bat connecting hard with his ribs. Mike grunted but retaliated with a punch, the hit swinging just past Allen's nose as he ducked back. The goon with a gun turned it on Mike, who grabbed the guys hand, forcing his arm up just as he fired, the bullet whizzing over Mike's head and into the brick wall of the alley. He twisted the guys wrist and forcibly disarmed him, throwing the gun away. The other goon came from the other side and landed a punch to the side of Mike's head, making him stumble back and fall to one knee with a grunt.
“Mike!” Amanda shrieked, trying to sit up and help him. He extended his arm behind him and held his palm towards her, signaling her to stop, stay back and stay out of danger. She didn't want to listen, but she couldn't get up with the way he was straddling her legs.
He managed to get to his feet, stepping to the side to have solid footing without her legs in the way and getting into a stance before the now weaponless goon was on him, a flurry of punches that he managed to block with his forearms. He shoved the guys arms outwards, leaving his chest open and landing a solid kick to his chest, sending him reeling backwards.
Before he could get his feet back under him Allen was swinging for his ribs again, this time landing a hit hard enough to break ribs with a sickening crack. Mike roared at him, swinging wildly with his fists. Allen weaved and bobbed, avoiding every punch before rearing back for another swing of the bat.
It struck true on the right side of Mike's head, sending him reeling. He spun nearly all the way around and collapsed, landing heavily on Amanda and driving the breath out of her chest. She lay there gasping, trying to get even the smallest amount of air in her lungs.
“Well, that went a little far. Do you still want this?” Allen asked, gesturing to the crate. He stepped next to her, placing a boot on Mike's back. She could only lay there glaring up at him, lack of air leaving her silent. “No, you don't? How about your purse? I assume that's where the money is?” He pressed down on Mike's back, putting more weight on her chest. The only response she could give was a wheeze. “Alright, no response is a yes in my books, so I'll be taking that too.” He reached down, snatching the purse from her arm. He slung it over his shoulder, striking a pose with it and the bat being used as a cane before smirking at her and walking back to the crate.
“Hey! Hey, are you ok?” Someone hollered from the street. “Oh shit, what's going on here?”
Allen snapped his fingers and his goons scooped up the crate between them and all three booked it down the alley in the opposite direction of the bystander.
As soon as she could breathe again Amanda started shrieking, her throat burning as she screamed for someone to help. Mike's head was just off her shoulder, his breath inconsistent against the side of her neck and she could see blood spreading through his hair. “Help! Somebody help! We've been robbed!”
The man that yelled was next to them in short order, his feet skidding on the cracked pavement. “Miss? Are you alright?”
“Yeah, yeah I'm fine,” she said. She couldn't get up, laden as she was by Mike's weight and her arms pinned at an awkward angle. “Mike! Mike, wake up. Please, Mike!” Her eyes watered, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks at the sight of Mike so still, so limp against her. “Please, I can't lift him.”
“Shit, yeah, he's a big guy,” the man commented, rolling Mike off of her.
She latched onto Mike, making the man drag her with him with her fingers knotted in Mike's t-shirt. Her eyes burned with tears and she could feel her throat tightening, a sob ripping its way from her chest painfully.
“Ma’am, please let go,” the man said, putting his hand firmly on her shoulder, “Let me get a look at him.”
“No, he’s my boyfriend! Mike, please wake up!” She couldn’t stop babbling. No matter the risks they took, the fights they got in, she could never get used to seeing any of her partners injured, but Mike most of all. He was always so strong, so steady. She had seen him fall before, almost lost him a couple times even, but it was painful to watch every time. God, what she would do for one of those tubes of healing goo right then. He wasn't even supposed to be here, he didn't want to be involved in this part of her life and yet here he was, bleeding in an alley he never should have been in.
She barely registered the man asking her questions until he put his hand on her shoulder again. “Ma’am, I need to go get help, will you be ok for a couple of minutes?”
She nodded, sniffing back tears as she tried to compose herself. The guy took off out if the alley again, barely disappearing around the corner before Amanda was trying to wake Mike.
“Mike? Can you hear me? Come on big guy, we need to get out of here.” She said, tapping his cheek.
He groaned, rolling his head away from her and then blinking his eyes open. “'Manda?”
“Yeah, it's me, I'm here Mike!”
“Are you ok?”
“Am I ok? What the fuck dude, you just got your ass beat and you're asking me if I'm ok?” She couldn't believe he was actually thinking of her at this moment and slapped his chest.
That was a bad idea. Mike clenched his jaw and his whole body nearly curled in on himself, his arms coming up to protect his ribs. “Ow! What the frick, that hurts.”
“Oh my god, I'm so sorry, that was so stupid and I shouldn't have done that.” She winced, pulling her hands away.
“I'm definitely awake now,” Mike coughed out.
“Can you stand? We need to get out of here before that guy comes back.”
“One way to find out.”
It took a minute of moving very slowly, but Mike was finally on his feet, leaning heavily on Amanda for support as they walked deeper into the alley and out the other side to where their car was parked. With Mike in the passenger seat and Amanda driving, they started the drive back home. Amanda hoped Sam and Hannah would be home by the time they got there to help take care of Mike. She felt so guilty, asking him to come with her only to wind up with him so injured.
It was quiet in the car for a few minutes, Mike had slouched in his seat against the door with his eyes closed. She glanced over at him a few times until he finally broke the silence.
“If you have something to say, just say it. I can hear you thinking from here.”
“I just… I'm sorry. I'm sorry for bringing you along and getting you hurt.”
He half opened one eye, squinting at her. “And what would you have done without me? If Sam and Hannah couldn't be there and I wasn't there, I don't think Allen would have let you off easy.” He closed his eye again. “And I don't know what we would do without you.” He added with a whisper. Amanda was surprised to feel his hand on her arm, gently tugging until she took her hand off of the steering wheel and letting him fit his fingers in between hers. He didn't initiate contact very often and she nearly swerved off the road in shock.
“I-I don't know what we would do without you either, Mike.”
Mike squeezed her hand and let their hands fall to the seat between them, fingers still entwined.
“You saved my life.”
Mike grunted in agreement.
Another grunt and then silence filled the car again.
“I'll probably do it again, but please. Just leave me to my boxes when possible.” Mike said, the hint of a laugh in his voice.
Amanda squeezed his hand before letting go to turn into their driveway to park next to Sam’s van. “I'll do my best,” she said with a laugh.