There were plenty of times in Arthur's job when his track of thought went something like this: Shitshitshitshitthisisgoingtohurtalot.
One of those times was now, when he had to jump from the third floor into a Dumpster. Glass and garbage sliced him, but he tried not to think of that and jumped out, using the edge for leverage. He had been attending a banquet, but word got around that Arthur wasn't actually Reginald Simmons III, and guards were after him. His mask had worn thin at the party, but he still refused to take it off, lest he show his true identity.
A black figure flicked out from the rooftops, following Arthur. He supressed a groan. 'Great, more company.' He couldn't fire at it, he'd just be broadcasting his location to the guards. He turned out of the alleys he was running through and merged into the streams of people on the sidewalk. Arthur snatched a jacket tied loosely around someone's waist and zipped it up. He ducked into a secondhand store and kicked off his shoes, slipping off his battered dress pants and getting into some jeans, ignoring the spluttering and blushing teen at the counter. He threw some money at her and followed the sidewalk for a while, traveling to a different part of town, eyes and ears taking in everything around him.
Above him, the dark shadow appeared and disappeared above in almost a teasing manner. I'm still here, nice try getting rid of me!
Arthur grit his teeth. How annoying. He stayed on the sidewalk, eyes going up to the figure every now and then. It stopped playing hide-and-seek for a bit, pausing to pull out its gun. A bullet hit the power line post scarcely a meter away from him. Everyone went crazy as the deafening BANG assaulted their ears. They screamed, scooped up their kids, and sprinted away in all directions. The figure fired again, bullets whistling through the darkening sky, giving more incentive to leave. In a matter of minutes, the bustling street was practically empty.
Arthur could feel the figure's smirk. It started to descend, crawling across window ledges. Arthur drew his gun, strapped to his leg, and fired. The figure jerked its head away, avoiding a bullet through its skull by centimeters. He kept firing, and the figure kept dodging. It reached the ground as Arthur's gun ran out. He grabbed another cartridge, jamming it into the gun, but the figure had disappeared. He whipped around and it was down at his feet, grinning. It kicked his feet out from under him and grabbed his gun, sitting on him and holding his wrists together on the sidewalk with one hand. The gun was pushed to his temple.
Wisps of dark dyed hair fell from a bun, the shade of black matching the bodysuit. A placid face was above him, heavy makeup caked on. She did well to hide her identity.
She smirked down at the suggestive position they were in, grinding her hips against his. Arthur glared up at her, visibly disgusted. She smiled more when he struggled against her and pressed the gun harder against his head.
"Just showing you and your agency what I'm capable of," she said in a cool voice. "Doing a little audition for my clients. Tell your friends!" She moved the gun off his head and got off, walking away. Arthur slowly reached for his other gun-a tiny little number; good for being undetected through airplane searces-and aimed it at her head. She whipped around, firing at his arm just as he was squeezing the trigger. Arthur lurched and screamed, the gun clattering to the ground, as well as he. She slunk away, leaving him to writhe on the sidewalk.
He sat up, forcing himself to steady his breath, and took off the jacket, pressing it against his arm. The pain made him want to scream again, but he stayed quiet, biting down on the jacket sleeve instead. Arthur stood up, stumbling a few steps, before falling back down, onto his good side, thankfully.
After what seemed like an eternity of uninterrupted agony, a shrill beeping made his eyes widen and the sleeve fall out of his mouth. He pulled out his cell phone, looking at the display number on the top. It was ______. He pressed the "answer" button and help it up to his ear.
"ARTHUR! Arthur, where are you?!" His fingers twitched, wanting to cover her mouth. She was screaming his name!
"_-______, poppet, you have to...c-calm down." He did his best to keep his voice steady, but it came out choked.
"Arthur? Arthur, are you okay? What happened? Where are you? Should I come and get you?!" Blood was dying the jacket red, dripping down his fingers. He should call the agency, he should go to them, but...______ would be frantic and then fuming that he suddenly left, and she would snoop around, and what if she found out who he really was? He would be ordered to kill her. Arthur took a breath.
"...Yes. I need you to get me, s-something...happened. I g-got shot."
There was a pause on her end. "_-______?"
"...You were shot?" She was crying. "Oh my god, oh shit, Arthur! I'll go call the hospital-"
"NO!" He yelled. "N-No. You can't. I c-can't explain why, but I can't go to the h-hospital. Please get me. I'm at..." Arthur looked around, gasping as his shoulder was moved. "...N-North Briar Street."
"I'll be there in five minutes." No doubt she would violate any and every traffic law on her way. As the line toned, showing she hung up, Arthur set the phone on the ground. He swiped off the mask, it had been suffocating him. Closing his eyes, he focused on breathing.
He heard screeching tires and looked up, craning his neck. ______ opened the car door and stopped, fingers covering her mouth. Her breathing shortened and she started hyperventilating, but steeled herself and took deep breaths. She went over to Arthur, hauling him to his feet, and made a sort of frantic hum as her hands were soaked in blood. ______ placed him in the passenger seat and grabbed a towel, pushing something else away into the backseat. She held the towel to his arm, cringing when he cried out. She slammed the car doors closed and started driving, eyes flicking back from Arthur to the road and back again.
"E-Eyes on the r-road," Arthur gasped out. _____ swallowed and did as he said, tears coming down.
When her house came into view, ______ drove as close as possible to it, grabbing Arthur and almost dragging him to the couch. ______ turned the thermostat up, hoping it would stop Arthur from shutting down due to shock. She ran around, gathering what she needed, and spread out her finds on the coffee table. ______ dragged up a chair and leaned over Arthur.
"I need you to breathe, Arthur. Just keep breathing." She said, tying her belt above the wound. ______ flicked open a lighter and held a knife to it, heating it up. She pressed the flat of the blade to the wound, holding Arthur down as he squirmed and hissed. ______ didn't have to check if the bullet was still in his arm; she knew the gun was specially made for mid-to-long-range attacks. It had gone right through. She heated the knife again and did the same to the exit wound, immobilizing Arthur with her one hand. ______ carefully wiped any more blood away.
______ wrapped his arm in gauze, tying it off neatly and wiping her brow when she was done. Arthur opened clouded eyes, looking up at her, and was barely able to get out a thank you before his eyes slid shut and he went slack. ______'s fingers went immediately to his neck, but his pulse was alright. A bit slower than she would have liked, but steady. She stood up, looking at her bloodstained hands. How symbolic. ______ washed them in the kitchen sink, scrubbing hard, until she was clawing at her palms, wanting every last particle off.
After checking on Arthur again, she slipped outside to the car. There it was, in the backseat.
She held up the black bodysuit and threw it down, jumping on it, ripping it to shreds, hating herself. She took out her phone and dialed the special number.
"Was it a success?" The monotone voice droned.
______ closed her eyes, clutching scraps of her suit. "Yes."
"Good. I'll be expecting you back in a few days." Click. The phone toned. ______ sat there, against the car, her breath making warm puffs in the dark.
It started as a whisper. "I didn't know, I didn't know, I didn't know..." It got louder as her despair and hatred bubbled up, filling her. "I didn't know, I didn't know, I didn't know!" Louder and louder, until she was screaming up at the sky, yelling at the top of her lungs. "I DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD BE HIM!"