Title: Necessary Evil
Rated: R. Drama.
Fandom: Gunslinger Girl.
Summary: Where was Rico when Captain Raballo had his fatal accident?
Warning: Contains angst and violence.
Disclaimer: I do not own 'Gunslinger Girl', no profit is intended in the writing of this story, and the Italian government denies using killer cyborg children.
Feedback is required for sustenance, so please email me. Archiving is welcome, but try and contact me first. My thanks to Kerensa for her beta work.
Rico normally enjoyed being outside the compound, but she'd been sitting on the bench for three hours now. Heat radiated from the concrete of the newspaper building and the exhaust from passing traffic was making her ill. She'd eaten an ice cream earlier and her hands were sticky; Rico wished she could wash them. But Jean had ordered her not to leave her position.
"Are you all right, little one?"
An old man (ancient!) wearing a flat cap, his nose a pink teardrop on his waxy face.
"I'm fine, thank you, sir." The pre-rehearsed answer. "I'm just waiting for my brother."
"Well, you should get out of the sun. It can damage your skin, you know."
"It's OK. He'll be back soon."
Rico hated being in one position for so long; she preferred to move about. She began to swing her feet instead, bouncing the rubber soles of her shoes against each other. It was then that she saw the mark.
Captain Raballo was hobbling toward the newspaper building, moving slowly, glancing in shopfronts and the windows of parked cars. Where there were no reflective surfaces he stopped to look behind him, not trying to hide it.
She could tell the moment he saw her. Raballo's step faltered and his hand twitched for a sidearm he no longer carried. His head twisted from side to side, scanning the street for any sign of her handler. Rico picked up her violin case (it felt good to be moving again) and began walking towards him, her pace unhurried.
"If possible, approach the mark from the front so as to make a positive identification. Walk past, then turn and fire at the base of the skull."
Raballo was trying to hurry despite his artificial leg and keep an eye on Rico at the same time, so he never saw Jean when he jumped the curb in a stolen four-wheel drive with high bumper bars that smashed him under the wheels.
Oh no a HANDLER has been hurt! Oh poor Claes!
thought Rico, as she stopped to gape like any other bystander and for a moment she was two people; one noting the extent of the injuries for her after-action report, the other screaming at the blood and spilled viscera, the splintered cane and the broken limbs twitching as dying neurons cried their final protest Oh Mother of God someone was moaning again and again as she
squeezed the trigger, feeling the joy of the perfect shot through Emilio's heart and the gleam of the ejected cartridge as it arched through the air
stayed frozen to the spot Oh Mother of God not able to move; the familiar nightmare of waking up and NOT BEING ABLE TO MOVE OH MOTHER! then suddenly Rico was stumbling down the street, just an innocent child fleeing the horrible sight but inside Rico felt such happiness at being able to run - for a terrible moment she'd thought there was something wrong with her.
Jean was waiting at a nearby car park. He sat in a white Japanese subcompact; the four-wheel drive was in a garage being sterilised by Section Two personnel. It would be dumped outside the city for the police to find, marked with the fingerprints of a known teenage car thief with previous drug convictions.
"The mark is dead, sir."
Jean's face was pale and his hands trembled on the steering wheel. She'd never seen that before.
Rico did so but her handler made no move to start the vehicle."I'm sorry, sir," Jean said in a whisper. "It was necessary."
Rico turned to look at her handler, wondering who he was speaking to. Jean realised he was being watched and his face tightened. He spoke in his usual cold tones.
"Rico, you're not to speak about today's mission to anyone, do you understand? That includes the other fratella, especially Claes."
"He was my friend, but some things are necessary."
Jean started the engine and they drove back to the compound in silence.
Her eyes dilated as the drugs flooded her system to compensate for the psychosomatic reaction, then Claes dropped to the floor like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Jean looked dumbfounded for half a second, then he grabbed his mobile and punched in a number with stabbing movements of his forefinger.
"A cyborg is down. North Wing, Room 518."
Triela was glaring at Jean as she cradled their friend in her arms. Her expression made Rico automatically calculate the quickest means of disabling Triela's motor functions.
The men in white arrived within ten minutes; they strapped Claes to the familiar gurney and wheeled her off down the corridor. Triela and Rico made no move to follow. The hospital wing was a place they avoided whenever possible.
Jean pocketed his mobile and left without speaking to either of them. Triela watched him go with narrowed eyes.
"Do you know anything about Captain Raballo's death?"
"No," answered Rico without hesitation. "Jean and I were out of town that day."
Triella stared at her for what seemed like a very long time, then she abruptly turned and walked out the door.
Rico followed her down the corridor to their dormitory. She felt bad about Claes, and didn't like lying to her friends. But Jean had said it was necessary. And if her handler said that, then it must be true.