IQ sat in her dark apartment, only lit by a lamp on her table. She buried herself in her work, multiple files scattered on her desk. Her eyelids were heavy, the multiple cups of coffee she had been drinking for the past hour not enough to combat her fatigue. Eventually she gave up, flicked the lit off and crawled into her bed. Just as she was about to fall asleep, her phone rang. Groaning, she just decided to let it go to voicemail.
"Hey, its me."
IQ put her hands on her ears, hoping to shut Buck's voice out but he just continued. "Dominic already confirmed and I just wanted to check on you since you hadn't answered yet." Buck sighed "I know we haven't been on the best of terms recently and I understand why but I miss you, you know. Things haven't been the same here ever since you left and I just, I'd really like to have my best friend at my wedding, if that's what you still see me as."
IQ's hands were shaking as she listened to the voicemail, hugging her pillow tightly as she cried.
"Hey, wake up."
Buck stirred into conciousness, the silly grin on Alibi's face the first thing he saw. "You're awfully giddy."
"I'm getting married today Sebastien, of course I'm giddy."
"Slow down there Aria." Buck said, matching her excitement "Its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding."
Alibi scoffed. "You believe in any of that BS?" she asked, giving Buck a kiss "I'd rather have bad luck than to miss the oppurtunity to fuck you one last time."
"What do you mean? We'll still have sex even if we're married."
"Yeah but, the fact that it was premarital added more excitement to it. At least for me."
Buck chuckled. "Just get over here already."
Alibi crawled on top of him, putting her hands on the sides of his face as they began to make out. She got ready to mount Buck when a knock on the door interrupted them.
"Sebastien, Aria get up we're going to be late!" Castle's voice came through the door.
Alibi rolled her eyes. "Does he have to be so uptight?"
"He has a point though, who would want to be late to their own wedding?" Buck said "Sorry Aria. Looks like you'll just have to settle for marital sex from now on."
"We can still-"
"And don't even think of doing it in the shower!" Castle added.
"Jesus can he read our minds?" Alibi asked before getting up and gathering her clothes "I'll shower at the next room. Hopefully Julien and Ela are already done there."
Buck got up as well and got his phone from the nightstand, only to be disappointed to see that there was no response. Alibi noticed his change of mood and walked over to give him a hug. "No response from her yet?"
Buck shook his head. "I really hope she'll be there. With Marius gone, I can't have two empty seats in the main table."
Alibi pulled him in and held him even closer. "I may not know Weiss that much but I do know you and anyone who has the chance to be a part of your wedding would be stupid not to take it. She'll be there, I promise."
"You just keep on finding ways of reminding me just how lucky I am to marry you."
"Let me give you another one." Alibi smirked as her hand slowly made its way to Buck's nether regions.
"Don't make me come in there you two!" Castle yelled again.
"Fucking cockblock." Alibi groaned as she regathered all her clothes "I'll meet you downstairs."
Buck took his time in the shower, enjoying the many amenities the hotel had that they didn't back home. When he finished, he got dressed and made his way to the lobby where the guys were waiting for him. "Where are the others?" he asked once he sat down next to them.
"The girls are helping Aria get ready."
Buck nodded and looked for Bandit, approaching him once he found him. "Hey Dominic, any word from Monika?"
Bandit shook his head. "Sorry man."
Buck sat back down, turning his focus to Doc and Rook, who were discussing something. It didn't surprise him how busy he was recently, with Six gone, Rainbow needed a new director and he was the most qualified after Zofia and Thatcher, who were also gone. Their discussion slowly turned into an argument after Rook had said something.
"Why can't you ask her Doc? You're the one who clearly needs to know."
"I already told you Julien, it would be insensitive." Doc said "Her sister just died and I'm already asking her to take her job. She's still coming to terms with losing Zofia and I'm already looking for someone to replace her."
"Then why are you asking me to do it?"
"Because you guys are together. Don't tell me you two haven't discussed sensitive personal topics before."
Rook rubbed the back of his neck. "Alright fine, but that's besides the point. Why do you want Ela to be the director of operations?"
"Well for one it was her sister's job." Doc said "Plus being the director of ops isn't something most people would go for because you have to make decisions many people won't agree with. Since you and your friends aren't exactly popular I figured that, you know…"
"That may be true, but I'm still taking offense to that."
Doc threw his hands up. "Oh come on Julien, you just have to ask her to be director of operations. Is that so hard?"
Rook groaned. "Ugh, fine. But if she gets pissed at me and makes me sleep at the couch I'm crashing at your place."
IQ was woken up by a gentle shaking from Blitz. "Hey Monika, something was in the mailroom back at the precinct for you and I thought I should bring it to you. It seemed important."
Blitz gave her an small envelope that had her name elegantly scribled in cursive. She didn't need to open it to know what it was. "Don't bother Elias. Just throw it in the shredder with all the other junk mail."
"I know about the wedding Monika."
IQ sat up. "How?"
"Dominic told me. He said he was invited and so were you, and yet you choose to sit here instead of being there for your best friend as he's getting married."
IQ's eyes began to tear up. "It just hurts to watch, Elias. It hurts to watch the man you love get married when its not you he's getting married to."
IQ felt Blitz's arms around her. "I know it hurts Monika, but look at it this way. He likes you as well and yet he chose not to make a move since he didn't want to risk your friendship. How do you think he feels knowing you're not there in what is supposed to be the happiest day of his life? It hurts for you to lose him but it hurts him more to lose you."
IQ sniffled. Blitz was right, if she can't go to Buck's wedding as his wife, she's going as his friend since that was what he clearly valued more from her. "Can I borrow your car Elias?"
Alibi and the others got to the lobby and one look at her nearly made Buck forget all about IQ. Alibi couldn't help but smile at her soon to be husband's reaction. "Close your mouth Sebastien or flies will come in."
Buck was going to say something in response when someone pulled his beanie over his eyes. "Its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding Sebastien."
"Get off me Campbell." Buck said as he adjusted his beanie only to have it taken away by Frost "Hey what-"
"You're not wearing this at your wedding." Frost said, waving his beanie in front of him before stuffing it in her purse.
"I wasn't going to."
"Like you weren't going to wear it when we were interviewed for Team Rainbow?"
"Wait, you wore that stupid beanie to the interview?" Castle asked.
While the others laughed, Rook pulled Ela away from the others. "Can we talk somewhere private?"
"Are you sure talking is what we're going to do?"
"Elzbieta." Rook felt weird using Ela's full name but it helped show her he was serious. She followed him somewhere where the others can't hear them "You know that there's an opening in the director of operations right? I know it was Zofia's job but-"
"Did Doc put you up to this?" Ela asked and Rook nodded.
"He already asked me about this. Like I told him, I need more time to think it over."
Rook rubbed the back of his neck. "Actually he needs an answer now. The administrators are already demanding a list of all the directors and if he can't give a name when we get back, they'll choose for him and chances are, since it was your sister's job, they'd choose you anyway."
"So I don't have a choice?" Rook shook his head "Fine. But if the people get pissed at me its your fault."
"Well we're not exactly popular to begin with."
From the lobby, Ash yelled at them to hurry up. "What the hell are you two doing? Sebastien and Aria already left, the entourage can't be late as well."
Rook and Ela ran to outside where a van was waiting for them. They all managed to fit and they drove off, making it just as the priest was entering the church. Mira opened the door before realizing the parking lot was pretty far.
"Wait, who's parking the van?"
"Pichon you had your birthday already, right?" Thermite asked.
Twitch nodded. "Good." Thermite said "Everyone over thirty get out."
"Wait what?" Rook asked while everyone got off including Hibana, who was the one driving leaving him the only one left. Ela yelled him a Sorry Julien as they all ran to the church.
"Goddammit." Rook muttered as he drove to the parking lot. Even if he could find a spot immediately he still be late. Thankfully he did find a parking spot immediately, although he was in a standoff for it with another car. He was about to get out and start arguing with the driver when he saw who it was.
"Monika? You made it." He said with a smile.
"Yeah I, I couldn't miss my best friend's wedding."
"It already started, come on."
"Just let me, you know, park my car first."
"Oh, right." Rook said "There's a vacant spot over there."
"You're not giving me this one?" IQ asked.
"I mean, I found the spot first and, ugh fine take it." Rook said as got back in the van "Save me a seat."
Rook got to the church just before they spoke their vows, which he nearly interrupted. Awkwardly made his way to the altar where Castle and Thermite gave him fake dirty looks, as if they weren't the ones responsible for making him late.
Buck looked at the crowd, not being able to stop himself from grinning once he saw IQ in the crowd.
"Uh, excuse me sir, your vows?" the priest asked him, bringing his attention back to the altar.
"Oh, sorry." Buck said before clearing his throat.
IQ forced herself to watch as Buck declared how much he loved someone else and that someone else declare how much she loves him back, holding back tears. Next to her, Hibana put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm fine." IQ said even though she was clearly not "I just need a minute." She said as she got up and went outside, not strong enough to watch the two of them kiss, an act that would mark her losing Buck forever.
They went back to the hotel where they had booked a ball room for the reception. The program was relatively short, and knowing the bride and groom, it didn't surprise anyone that Buck and Alibi wanted to skip to the drinking part. Most of them were already drinking before the program even started and now they were still drinking and once there was enough alcohol in them, their judgement goes out the window and their banter replaces it.
"Are you not afraid Aria?" Ash asked.
Ash giggled slightly before finishing her sentence "Of only being able to use one dick for the rest of your life."
Alibi held Buck's hand as a smile crept its way onto her face "As long as its Sebastien's, I have no complaints."
They got up to get food after Ash's attempt at being funny failed.
"Ela seemed pretty jealous back there." Castle said to Rook while they were getting food from the buffet "Probably wondering when you're going to propose to her."
"You're one to talk. Quick to put a baby in Pichon's stomach but not a ring on her finger." Rook said which got him a pissed off look from Castle "Too far? I am so sorry I am very drunk right now."
"Give me that." Castle said, snatching the wine glass from Rook's hands "I need to get drunk to forget what you just said to me."
They went back to the main table just in time to see Maverick drop a plate of food to Mira. "Thanks Erik." She said "Are you sure you don't want to sit here? There's enough room."
"Yeah Thorn. We'd like to get to know who gave Elena the chance to have sex with someone that isn't herself." Ela said.
"Look who's talking. Didn't it take you thirty-two years to lose your virginity?" Mira said, which although a bit harsh, was enough to shut Ela up.
Maverick looked back to his table where Clash and Hibana were getting to know each other so he sat down next to Mira. "So we were both working late at the workshop…"
After about roughly half an hour of mostly drunken banter, Mira whispered something to Maverick and he gave her something from under the table which then caused her to promptly leave with a hurried excuse. Unlike everyone who either didn't notice or didn't care, he got up to follow her where he would catch her outside lighting a cigarette.
"Give it to me Elena you promised you would stop smoking." Rook said, trying to grab the cigarette from Mira's hand.
"I said I would try to stop smoking, I never promised shit."
Rook managed to swipe the cigarette from Mira and he threw it to the ground before stomping it. "This is for your own good Elena."
Mira pulled out another cigarette and lit it. "Fuck off Julien, we all have our vices. A damaged liver isn't any better than damaged lungs but I don't tell you to stop drinking do I?"
"That's because you don't want the others to tease you again." Rook said, no longer irritated as shown by the ghost of a smile on his face.
"What do you mean?"
"He means the time he fell down the stairs and broke his hand, then you acting like a mom and completely babying him, even cutting up his food and feeding him at one point." IQ said, joining them outside to get some air.
Mira and Rook suddenly turned serious. "Hey Monika. How are you holding up?"
"Why is that the first thing everyone asks me?"
"Maybe its because you're at your crush's wedding?" Rook awkwardly asked to which IQ sighed at.
"Sebastien's more than just that. He's my friend, and what friend would I be if I'm not there for him on the happiest day…" IQ trailed off, her attention turning to the armored truck that pulled up to the parking lot.
"I don't think that's part of the program."
"That's because it isn't." IQ said, pushing Mira and Rook back inside the hotel "Get anyone that isn't a Rainbow operative out of here, I'll tell the others."
IQ ran back to the main table, where Maverick was in stitches from a story Thermite was telling "Oh Monika, just in time." Thermite told her once she got to the table "Tell Erik about how you were Eliza's roommate the first time we hooked up. We were so drunk we didn't even realize there was someone else in the room."
"Why didn't you say anything? Or leave?" Maverick asked between laughs.
IQ felt her face heat up. Until now, she was still too embarrassed to answer that question. Thankfully, she didn't have to since there were more pressing matters at hand "No time, there are some white masks outside, we need to get out of here."
"That's the lamest excuse I ever heard Monika, just answer the damn question."
"I'm serious, we have to-"
The main doors to the ball room blew open, cutting IQ off. Two cans of tear gas flew into the room and quickly spread, causing her eyes to water. She grabbed a napkin from the table and pressed it on her face as she got down to the ground. The visibility was so bad she didn't see the boot of a white masks wearing a gas mask until it was used to knock her out.
She woke up with her hands tied, surrounded by the others who were in the same condition. At the center of the room was a white mask, walking around so that everyone can hear him. "Listen up, we're not here to hurt you. We just want the new directors of Team Rainbow." He said "And that's directors as in plural so the assistant and director of operations are also included. Just hand them over and we'll be on our way and you can go back to this wedding."
Everyone stayed silent. "No one going to give them up?" the white mask asked "Fine. For every minute that no one surrenders themselves, one of you dies." The white mask walked over to Alibi, kicking Buck in the face as he grabbed her and dragged her back to the center "Starting with the bride."
"Don't!" Buck yelled "Take me instead. Please."
"That's very noble of you sir." The white mask said "But you can't do anything for her now. Her fate rests on the hands of your director. Speaking of which, whoever you are," the white masked cocked his pistol "you have twenty seconds left."
Doc stood up with his hands raised. "Its me. I'm the director." He said "I chose to do it alone, there is no assistant director."
"Ok then." The white mask yelled at one of the white masks to secure Doc "There's still a director of operations. Whoever you are, let's make this quick please."
Again, everyone was quiet.
Irritated, the white mask fired off a shot to the ceiling before pointing the gun back at Alibi "People, people does blood have to be spilled before you cooperate? Let's make it harder then. Director of operations, you have ten seconds."
The white mask began to count and Ela prepared to rise up only to be beaten to it.
"I'm the director of operations." Rook said as he stood up "Just take me and let the others go."
"Smart man." The white mask said but as he let Alibi go to cuff Rook, Ela stood up.
"He's lying. He's not the director of operations, I am."
"No you're not Ela. I'm the director of operations."
"You're delusional Julien, I am the-"
"Enough!" the white mask yelled "Maybe I'm the director of operations. Who knows? You clearly don't." he turned to face another white mask "Fuck it. We're taking them both."
Once they were both cuffed, the white mask ordered them to be brought to the truck. "We're taking them back to base then we'll come back for you two." He said "Kill them all and dispose of the bodies before we get back."
"What? You said you'll leave them alone."
"You actually believed that bullshit? Wow, law enforcement is so gullible."
The uproar from the ball room could still be heard by Ela even though they were in the parking lot already. "We can't just leave them to die Julien." She whispered.
"We're not." Rook said "Once we're in the truck and far enough that the other white masks in the ball room can't run to help, follow my lead."
Ela nodded while Rook whispered the same thing to Doc. The back of the truck was opened and the three of them were thrown inside, accompanied by an armed white mask while two white masks, one of which was the main leader, sat up front. They sat in silence for a while, waiting to get far enough and once they were, Rook nodded to Doc and Ela.
Doc disarmed the white mask, kicking the gun out of his hands while Ela took him down. Rook then grabbed the driver by the neck from behind and kicked the white mask in the passenger seat. He snapped the driver's neck and the truck swerved, the white mask in the passenger tried to regain control but to no avail. The truck still rolled over onto its roof.
A white mask walked around the tied up operatives, examining their faces one by one, studying their reactions as he prodded them with the barrel of his gun. Some would shy away, but most of them stared at him with a fire in their eyes, almost daring him to pull the trigger. He would pick the latter first, kill of the braver ones first to scare the others even more.
"Are you done?" the other white mask asked, now sitting down and helping himself to some of the food, bored from watching his colleague try and fail to intimidate them "Can we kill them now?"
"What's the rush?" he asked "You heard the boss. He said he'll bring those three back to base first then come back for us. You know how far away it is from here, if we kill them all know we have nothing to do until they come get us."
"Well whatever you're doing isn't any fun either."
"Fine." The white mask threw his hands up "We'll kill a few, will that shut you up?"
The other white mask finished the rest of his wine. "Yeah, but I get to choose."
The first white mask took a step back and gestured to them, as if showing off a product to a potential buyer. "Be my guest."
The other white mask looked at the tied up operators, scratching his chin as he decided who was going first. "Her." He said, pointing to Alibi "Seems fitting that the bride goes first."
The first white mask grabbed Alibi and dragged her to the center while she was struggling to break free from his grip, stifled yells coming from her duct taped mouth. "Stop struggling will you?" he demanded as he pistol whipped her in the back of the head.
The sight of Alibi turn limp made Buck stand up and charge at her attacker, sending bit of them crashing down onto a nearby table. While laying in bits of food and broken glass, Buck got up began to beat the man in front of him while still cuffed. The other white mask interfered, kneeing Buck in the ribs. He fell down and the white mask he was beating got up and ripped the tape from his mouth.
"You have a death wish motherfucker?"
Buck spat in his face as a response.
The white mask wiped his face before kicking Buck in the ribs again, over and over. Once he was tired, he stopped "I get it, I really do. You love her, you wouldn't be marrying her if you didn't." he said as he grabbed Buck by the collar "But I will not…tolerate…any…more…bullshit!" he yelled, pistol whipping Buck across the face in between his words while Alibi was crying as she was forced to watch.
Bruised and bloodied, Buck finally gave in and closed his eyes as he let go of a deep breath. The white mask pulled Buck up to his knees and spun him around so that everyone else can see. "Change of plans, the groom goes first."
The white mask cocked his pistol and pointed it at the back of Buck's head, who looked at Alibi and gave her a weak but genuine smile. He wasn't scared, he didn't beg for his life, he just wanted to see her face one last time.
"I love you Aria."
From the group of tied up operators, IQ was crying almost as much as Alibi was. She closed her eyes, not wanting to watch Buck get executed. She felt her heart break when she heard a shot go off, quietly whispering Buck's name as she heard a body fall to the ground.
What surprised her was the other white mask yelling followed by several more gunshots. IQ opened her eyes and saw Ela slowly help a limping Rook sit down while Doc was untying the others. Once Buck was free of his restraints, he ran to Alibi, who met him halfway. She kissed him as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"I thought I was going to lose you."
Buck wiped her tears away. "I will always be with you Aria. No one will ever change that."
Doc untied IQ while she just stared at the two of them. Her heart was fixed when she found out Buck was still alive only to have it broken again at that moment between Buck and a woman that he loved more than her. She was too sad to notice Ash coming to her side. She offered her a glass of wine and IQ accepted it, finishing it in one gulp.
"So, what now?" Castle asked once the duct tape was off his mouth.
"We still have alcohol and food." Thermite said "I say we pick up where we left off."
The music turned back on and once everyone was drunk enough, they all went back to celebrating, as if their lives weren't at stake just hours before. They were even dancing now. Maverick joined the dance floor and Clash wanted to follow but Hibana stopped her first.
"I nearly died today so I'm not wasting any more opportunities." She yelled over the music "Can I have your number?"
Clash couldn't help but smile at the Japanese woman in front of her. "Sure." She yelled back "Do you want it now or in the morning?"
The look on Hibana's face was priceless, making Clash's smile even wider. She offered her her hand "Do you want to dance?"
Hibana took her hand and they went to the dance floor. Soon enough, every couple joined the dance floor as well and once IQ saw Buck and Alibi there, she got up to leave. Rook saw her and excused himself from Ela as he stopped their dance to run after her.
"Monika!" he yelled at her while she was walking to the parking lot "You're leaving?"
"Yeah, I-I have some work to do."
"Are you sure you don't want to stay for a bit longer?"
IQ shook her head.
"Well, goodbye then." Rook said "I'm sorry things didn't workout between you two."
"I'm not. I love Sebastien and I want him to be happy." IQ said as she looked back to the hotel where Buck and Alibi were slow dancing, their smiles from ear to ear.
"Even if that happiness doesn't include me."