Title: Barely Breathing
Theme(s): #27. Line between Love and Hate (~Dying just for you)
Pairing/Characters: Wyatt and Bianca
Disclaimer: Belongs to Spelling Entertainment and all other associated people. I do however claim half of Bianca since they never fully developed her.
Word Count: 2,336
Written For: 30_angsts
“One more try,” Wyatt said, straining to reach further overhead and pin a balloon to the wall.
“You could give yourself an extra lift you know,” Bianca suggested, her arms folded as she watched him from behind. “You don’t have to strain your back.”
Wyatt turned back to look at her. “Am I going to have to remind you about the mortals that work for me?”
“I’m just thinking about later,” she responded with a sly smile. Wyatt tilted his head and shook it reproachfully.
“This is the last box,” Joe said, placing it on the bar. He peered over the top and glanced at what lay on the counter behind it. “Aren’t those finished yet?”
“Bianca decided it would be more fun to make a mockery of me instead of finishing what she was doing,” Wyatt explained.
“I could poison myself licking so many envelopes!” Bianca protested innocently.
“Well unless you want to invite the whole club you better finish before we open,” Wyatt said.
“I think the band’s already here,” Joe spoke up, thumbing back towards the door. “I saw a van parked outside.”
“Damn, I still haven’t got everything ready for their soundcheck,” Wyatt cursed. With quick strides he made his way over to the stage.
Bianca began to head back towards the bar but before she could reach it a bullet sailed before her and imbedded itself into the edge of the counter. The sudden appearance of a threat as shots rang out through the club made her jump with a start. They had company, and it wasn’t friendly.
“DOWN! NOW!” a male voice thundered through the establishment.
Without clear knowledge of what was going on or where the threat was coming from, Bianca instantly dropped to her knees. She raised her hands slightly, looking around cautiously and trying to gauge where everybody else was in location to herself and the gunman who slowly emerged from the shadows.
“Is everybody here?” the man asked.
Though she couldn’t see them, Bianca could feel the additional danger from the hidden watching eyes that accompanied him. She stared at the gunman, quite aware that everybody else would be doing the same. Why would this armed stranger break into the club with the intention of holding them all hostage? Hearing a squeal off to her side, Bianca knew that Sam – who had previously been in the back room – had now joined them.
“That’s the last one? Good,” the man said. His eyes roamed over the four of them. “This’ll make it easy. Hands where I can see them people.”
Stay calm, stay calm, Bianca repeated to herself, her heart thundering in her chest. To be caught by surprise was something she was not nearly used to happening to her. She was usually very alert.
“Where’s the Phoenix?” the gunman demanded. Bianca’s heartbeat picked up the pace. He wanted her. She wasn’t ready for this.
Bianca’s gaze turned back to Wyatt full of confusion and warning. She didn’t know why he was doing this. There was no way he could prove he was. In her mind she thought the best course of action was to stay silent.
“My name is Wyatt Halliwell,” Wyatt continued. “I’m in charge here.”
The gunman nodded, as if accepting this. His weapon by his side, he swung his hand to indicate a spot beside him.
“Come here,” he demanded.
It all happened far too quickly. Whilst Bianca was contemplating what he wanted Wyatt to do, hearing those few steps as he walked forwards, she did not see the quick movement made by the man in front of them. Her mouth dropped open in shock as one loud bang led to Wyatt’s body falling to the ground before her, a single bullet hole in the centre of his forehead. He had not expected this either, or he would have rapidly defended himself before the bullet left the gun.
Her body shook and her eyes locked onto Wyatt’s lifeless form as the pool of blood began to spread out from the back of his head. She wanted to touch him, she wanted to do something for him, but she could not heal and she could not resurrect the dead, if indeed he truly was. She took his hand into hers, the least she felt able to do – to give him warmth, to signal love, to hope for a response. She could hear Sam weeping behind her, unable to contain the emotion of their situation.
“Bianca,” the gunman said. Her gaze lifted. Again she remained silent. “Bianca, stand up now.”
She had to admit who she was. Wyatt had already taken the fall for her, and Sam was in no way capable of dealing with this. Wyatt’s hand fell from her grasp as she slowly climbed to her feet.
“Come here,” he insisted.
Bianca closed her eyes and swallowed the lump in her throat. Those two words now felt as if they signaled instant death. Gingerly she took a step forward over Wyatt’s body, then another as she glanced back to him laying prone on the floor, reluctantly moving towards the gunman. She, however, did not suffer the same fate. Instead he grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm into the air, her sleeve slipping down just enough for him to spy the birthmark on her arm. Angrily he thrust it away.
“You would dare have someone sacrifice themselves for you?” he snapped.
“I never asked him to,” Bianca returned.
“Don’t lie to me again,” the man warned. Lifting an invitation from the bar, he held it before her. “You know his family?”
“Good.” He indicated towards the phone. “Answer that and make sure you convince them that nothing is wrong. If you even so much as hint there’s a problem I will kill everybody in this room, starting with you.”
Bianca looked up to him defiantly, unappreciative of the menace in his voice. She couldn’t let that happen. She needed to get everybody out of here, and hopefully save Wyatt. Silently but with anger etching her features, she reached across the bar and picked up the receiver.
“Hello, Bianca speaking.” She glanced towards the gunman, fire in her eyes as her hand clenched the receiver hard and pressed it firmly to her ear. “No he can’t come to the phone, Chris. You know how busy we are setting up the engagement party. He can’t be in two places at once, okay?” Anger was the only thing masking her sorrow right now, and she held onto it for all it was worth hoping that Chris would pick up that something was not quite right. She gritted her teeth together. “Yes, everything’s fine. If you stop harassing us maybe we will be done on time.”
She rapidly thrust the receiver back into the cradle, knowing she could not play pretend for much longer. Turning she saw the gunman now had an invitation in his hand, slapping it against his forearm.
“Engagement party?” he asked suspiciously. He held the flimsy piece of paper up to show her the writing on the front. “This is a wedding invitation with a rather close date.”
Bianca shrugged nonchalantly. “We rushed to the alter.”
“You didn’t make it to the alter,” he said pointedly. “Sit back down and keep your mouth shut.”
With a glare Bianca returned to Wyatt’s side, slowly sinking down behind him once more. She noticed now that the gunman had a small earphone attached to his ear. First looking around cautiously, he turned away from them and tapped the side.
“You okay?” Joe whispered to her from behind. Bianca nodded silently. It was all she could do to keep herself together with her possibly dead fiancé in front of her.
“We’ve got her, sir. Holed up in the club with two other negligible mortals. And a casualty. What’s our next move?” the gunman asked. Hearing Sam belt out another wail, he abruptly interrupted his telephone conversation and waved his gun towards her. “Would someone shut her up? Or just get rid of her. She doesn’t matter.”
Bianca watched as the two other armed mercenaries emerged from the shadows with their weaponry aimed towards her. One pressed a small magnum to the side of her head. The more danger she faced, the more hysterical Sam became now crying and screaming and pleading for them to let her go. No matter what she said, it was quite clear they weren’t going to listen. If the gunman ordered her killed, his companions would comply.
“No!” Bianca shouted, climbing to her feet. “No! Leave her alone!”
She felt a sharp solid smack to the side of her face as the gunman backhanded her with the handle of his gun. The skin over her temple split and she barely felt the blood begin to trail down her face as the throbbing pain overtook that side of her head.
“Bianca!” Joe exclaimed, crawling towards her. He lowered his voice as he looked up to their captors. “I’m going to take them.”
“No, Joe,” Bianca said dejectedly. “You can’t.”
“I’ve had enough of these distractions. Lock them all in the back room. But keep her here.” The gunman’s eyes fixed on Bianca. “All of you, stand up.”
“As soon as I go left, you go right,” Joe whispered to her. He shifted closer to Sam and helped her up, pushing her towards the back room.
“No! No! I don’t want to go!” Sam protested. “Joe, please!”
“Just keep going, Sam. It’ll be okay.”
“Our boss is dead! How’s it going to be okay?”
“I’ve got a plan. Trust me.”
As soon as Sam was safely through the doorway, Joe lifted his elbow and smacked the nearest armed man in the face. Working from his cue, Bianca dived to the right and tackled the gunman. Rolling her from his body, he grabbed her by the shirt and tossed her towards the bar. She fell just short, sliding back between two stools and hitting the wall. Shimmering out, she reappeared behind him and jumped onto his back, grabbing the strap from his gun and bringing it up to his neck as she tried to strangle him with it. Reaching back he gathered her shirt and hair into his fist and pulled her over his shoulder. She landed hard on the ground and he bore his full weight down upon her, his gun pressing down towards her body. She wrestled to keep the barrel away, to stop herself suffering the same fate as Wyatt, and suddenly she heard a loud explosion as the man disintegrated over her. She blinked away the falling ashes, turning her head to find Piper and Chris in the same room with them. Piper dropped her hands and headed towards the back room to finish off the others who had invaded the club. Looking around quickly, Chris headed towards Bianca and offered her his hand.
“Glad I can take a hint,” he said, helping her to her feet. “You can be damn well confusing when you want to be.”
“Thanks,” Bianca returned. Her gaze dropped to Wyatt’s bloody body and her face crumpled with sorrow. “Is he…”
Chris dropped beside his brother, feeling around for a pulse. There was nothing he could do to help his older brother. Nothing except turn to his father.
“Dad! Dad!” he screamed into the air.
A bright light appeared nearby as Leo manifested. He took one look at Wyatt’s body and panic suddenly overtook his features.
“Wyatt!” he cried desperately. Pressing his hands to his son’s body, he discovered the fading glow could not bring back the life that had once shone in this magical figure. Chris slowly stood as Leo’s hands surrounded his eldest son’s face, pleading, begging. “Wyatt, please. Don’t give up. Not yet.”
“I don’t think… it’s not going to work, dad,” Chris said softly, shaking his head. He put his arm around Bianca and looked down at her with concern. “Are you okay?”
Bianca swallowed the lump in her throat. She did not think she could produce any words without bursting into tears at the loss of her fiancé. She shook her head and bit her lip, avoiding any contact with Chris’ eyes. She glanced one last time at Wyatt’s body as Leo removed his jacket and gently placed it over the corpse.
“No,” she admitted.
Chris pulled her closer and she turned her head, burying her face into his shoulder. As he wrapped his arms around her the first tear escaped her eye and wet the shirt that smothered her strangled sob. She felt his hand press against the back of her head, smoothing her hair as his chin rested on her shoulder. She could feel that he had turned her away from the body, leaving the view completely open to himself. Despite the grief around them, he was strangely silent, though she could feel his heart racing a million miles an hour. He was affected but better at hiding it. She pulled away just enough to see his face.
“This is my fault. I killed him. If I hadn’t hesitated…” she stammered. “He took the fall for me. He died because of me.”
“He died because he loved you,” Chris returned. “Wyatt would not risk his life for anything less. You remember that.”
A small part of her felt like they were talking about some distant stranger. There was no way she was ready to accept that she had lost someone she loved so dearly, yet here was Chris delivering a message to her that seemed to be from someone beyond the grave. It was absent of the warmth she felt when Wyatt told her those three important words. The coldness was beginning to bury itself inside her knowing that she would never be with him again, never hear him speak to her. It was all gone because he had so valiantly and so suddenly died just for her. And that was the greatest sacrifice anybody could make.