A/N: This is set in Storybrooke mid-season 1, roughly around the time of episodes 12 and 13 (Skin Deep/What Happened to Frederick) - I am, however, completely bypassing the majority of the Kathryn storyline. She's still in town and she's still friends with Regina, but she won't be getting kidnapped, and she's also still unaware of David and Mary Margaret's affair.
Trigger warnings for hostage situations, guns and general violence. This whole fic will overall be quite angsty, so here's warning for that!
I hope you enjoy - please feel free to give feedback in reviews to let me know what you think / any suggestions you might have.
A TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION
'Regina,' the blonde slammed through the door to the mayor's office with a piece of paper clutched in her fist. 'What the hell is this?'
Regina lifted her dark eyes up from the clock in the corner of her computer screen, where they'd been resting for the last half an hour while she had calmly waited for this conversation to occur.
'I don't know, Miss Swan,' she said, raising her eyebrows. 'But it does look an awful lot like the email that I sent out this morning.'
'Yeah – the email that you sent to everyone on the town council,' Emma said, slapping the piece of paper down between them, 'that says that I will be running a meeting on crime in the community this afternoon. I did not agree to that.'
'And here's me thinking that I'm the mayor, and that I don't actually require your approval before I arrange meetings,' Regina stood up as she spoke, walking over to the nearest filing cabinet and drawing out a thick bundle of papers. 'How foolish of me.'
'Regina, will you cut the crap, please?' Emma snapped, leaning forwards with her hands on the edge of the vast desk. 'You know that I wouldn't have agreed to this. You know that I've never run one of these meetings before.'
'I also know that you rarely show up to them either, let alone actually keep your eyes open during them,' the mayor said coolly, sitting back down at her desk and crossing her legs over. 'I thought that the experience might be enlightening for you.'
Emma narrowed her eyes for a moment, dragging them down Regina's tightly coiled frame. The brunette simply smiled back at her; that harsh, cold smile that always served as the most irritating barrier between the pair of them.
'You're really doing this?' Emma muttered, leaning further across the desk with her eyes unblinking. Regina didn't flinch. 'You're seriously so hell-bent on punishing me that you're going to force me to do this? Just so, what - you can watch me squirm?'
'As much as I know that you like to think everything revolves around you, Miss Swan, I'm afraid it's not quite that simple,' Regina picked up a pen, letting it form a bridge between her two index fingers. 'We need to have this meeting. And yes, it does just so happen that you've only been sheriff for a couple of weeks now – but I think you're ready to handle this one on your own. Don't you?'
Emma raised an eyebrow before drawing out a single word. 'Right.'
'Besides,' Regina said in her usual, clipped tones. 'Watching you squirm isn't exactly on my agenda for today. I have a lot of other important business to be getting on with, unfortunately.'
Emma's teeth gritted together, a hard muscle working in her jaw. 'Wait. You're not even going to be there?'
'And why would I need to be there, Sheriff?' Regina's brow furrowed in the most infuriating mock-confusion that Emma had ever seen. 'You're mature enough to try and raise my son, but you still require babysitting at a simple town meeting?'
'This is ridiculous,' Emma ground out. 'If you want to get back at me this badly, can't you just do what normal people do and slash my tyres, or spread a rumour about me having a drug habit or something? What the hell is setting up a phony town meeting going to accomplish other than making mine and everyone else's lives a whole lot more difficult for two hours?'
'Exactly that,' Regina said coolly, allowing herself to enjoy the startled expression that came over the sheriff's face at this admission. 'It's going to infuriate you. And I enjoy things that infuriate you, Miss Swan.'
Emma took a step back from the desk, crossing her arms across her chest. 'You're pathetic.'
'And you're going to be late,' Regina smiled tightly. 'Go on, dear: the meeting's in under an hour, you know. You'd better go and get yourself some notes together.'
For a moment Emma could only stand there, her jaw angrily clicking as she struggled not to scream profanities across the room at the most agonisingly annoying woman that she had ever come across in her entire life. She watched the smirk on Regina's face flicker and then drop completely.
'Miss Swan,' she said in a low voice. Her dangerous voice. 'I'm not playing some game here: if you do not head up that meeting, then I will consider that to be a deliberate neglect of duty. And I don't suppose that you want to lose your position after fighting so hard for it only a few weeks ago, do you?'
Some small muscle ticked in Emma's forehead. She could feel her own nails digging into the skin of her arms, even through the fabric of her brown leather jacket. She gritted her teeth together, taking a step away from the mayor's desk without once taking her eyes off of the woman sat proudly behind it. When the door slammed shut, Regina allowed herself to slump backwards in her hard-backed chair. A twisted smile was playing about her lips. She listened to the sound of Emma's furious footsteps stomping down the hallway, resting that pen back between her hands and almost wishing that she could be at the meeting to see just how badly it went.
Before she gathered up her possessions in order to go home for the rest of the day - just in case Emma stormed back into her office so as to drag her down to the meeting herself - she reached for her cell phone.
Sidney. There's a town meeting at 1pm. I need you to go and then come by my office afterwards.
She had barely replaced the phone on the desk when it buzzed with a reply.
Consider it done.
Emma sat on a bench outside City Hall, her thumb scrolling furiously across the screen of her phone as she waited for Google to produce some suitable discussion points regarding petty crime in small communities.
'God damn it,' she muttered to herself, letting the seventh page of entries load while she turned back to the email that Regina had sent her that morning. Her green eyes scanned back over the proposed agenda:
Our newly appointed sheriff, Emma Swan, will be heading up this afternoon's meeting regarding crime in the community. I have no doubt that this will be eye-opening for all involved. The rising levels of truancy at Storybrooke Elementary, as well as the issue of recurring graffiti at the Storybrooke Cannery, are the two main topics to be discussed. Any other issues that either the sheriff or the councillors deem to be appropriate should be debated as necessary and then noted down in the meeting's minutes. The sheriff will return these to me by 9 a.m. sharp on Monday.
Emma rolled her eyes. Even by Regina's usual irritating standards, this new scheme was a doozy.
She glanced back down at her phone to see that even Google had failed her this time. She sighed, leaning back on the bench and looking up into the damp Maine sky, feeling the weight of it tugging against the bottom of her blonde curls. Scraping her hair up into a ponytail, she looked across at the where the clock tower was crawling closer to one o'clock. A groan escaped from her throat, one that she didn't bother to smother: the meeting room would need setting up soon, and it would no doubt be her job to do that as well.
She reluctantly stood up from the bench, gathering her various rain-speckled papers into her arms before glancing up at the large window that framed the mayor's office. The lights inside were suddenly off: Regina had left.
Rolling her eyes to herself, Emma began to stomp back into the building with a haze of rain and irritation surrounding her. Two hours, she told herself. In two hours, this'll be over.
At five minutes to one, a heavy-set man stood waiting outside of City Hall. From beneath his pale grey baseball cap he watched as people began to arrive for the town meeting, thrusting his hammy fists deep in the pockets of his green jacket. Small beads of sweat were already forming along his greying hairline and he wiped them away with the edge of his sleeve, gritting his teeth together. A faded badge that read Game of Thorns was stitched onto the breast pocket of his shirt.
He looked up at the yellow building before him and wondered if the mayor was already in there. His hands were shaking in his pockets, no doubt as a result of the several shots of whiskey that he'd had before leaving his shop, and he clenched them more tightly until they finally laid still. One knuckle knocked against cold metal. He swallowed, taking a breath, before forcing himself to walk those last few steps into the building.
'Archie,' Emma said with surprise, looking up at the tall man who was struggling to fold away his umbrella. 'What are you doing here?'
Around them several workers were still laying out jugs of water and spreading the quickly photocopied agendas that Emma had thrown together in the last five minutes across each chair. Rows of benches to seat up to fifty people had been laid out by the time Emma had gotten there: she could only laugh at their optimism. Now, in the few minutes before the meeting was due to start, only ten other people had walked into the room. The red-headed man who was due to have a session with her son that very evening was the latest of them.
'Regina asked me to be here,' he said as he approached, smiling apologetically at her.
'Regina doesn't ask for anything,' Emma said dryly, glancing back down at her crudely scribbled notes. She had been trying to remember them before Archie had walked in – unfortunately, she was realising that she didn't have enough written down to actually justify memorising them.
'She suggested that I should be here,' Archie corrected himself, leaning on his black umbrella. 'She thought that you might appreciate my opinions on the truancy levels at the elementary school, given that I have sessions with several of the perpetrators.'
'My son included,' Emma muttered, folding her notes away. Archie could only shrug. 'I suppose you should take your seat, then. The meeting's about to start and I need to—'
'Excuse me,' a voice, one tinged with an unfamiliar accent, came from behind Dr Hopper. She frowned at the interruption, leaning to one side to see a heavily-built man in his late-forties watching her. He had a grey cap on, one that he had pulled down in an attempt to cover his eyes. Even so, Emma could see that they were slightly pink and blinking rapidly.
'Hi,' she said, taking a step towards him as Archie sat himself down in the front row. 'Are you here for the meeting?'
'Yes. I… um.' He faltered. 'Is Mayor Mills going to be here for it?'
Upon hearing that name Emma inwardly winced, her irritation immediately returning to her. An inexplicable desire to add yet another name to Madame Mayor's ever-growing list of enemies suddenly struck her, and her green eyes narrowed.
'Oh yes,' she said coolly, watching as the man straightened up. 'Of course she is. No good mayor would ever miss something as important as this. Why don't you take a seat – the meeting's going to start in a bit.'
He nodded and took up his position in the back row, pulling his cap even lower about his eyes as Emma slowly walked to the desk that sat at the front of the room.
'Okay, everyone,' she said loudly, taking in the half a dozen people who were sat before her. Some of them she recognised from other council meetings – most of them, however, she hadn't seen before in her life. 'I suppose we should, you know… get this thing started.'
She sat down at the desk, facing the sporadically placed onlookers, and took a deep breath. Placed in front of her on crumpled paper, her notes looked even more pathetic. She'd be lucky if this meeting lasted longer than fifteen minutes if she was forced to follow them alone.
She turned to Sidney, who had inexplicably shown up at the last minute and offered to be the meeting's minute-taker, and nodded for him to proceed.
The first five minutes alone seemed to drag along as Emma mumbled and bullshitted her way through what she assumed Regina meant by 'recap the events of the last meeting'. She had been there, as far as she could remember – but that was about as far as she had gotten in her preparations. She could see people exchanging confused looks ahead of her as she talked, but she still ploughed on with her eyes down, wishing that she'd thought to wear her more powerful red armour as opposed to the battered old brown leather jacket that she'd thrown on at the last minute that morning.
'Now, onto the next point. Dr Hopper is here to—'
A voice from the back of the room interrupted her once again. Snapping her head up, Emma glared at the grey-faced man who was fidgeting in his seat in the back row.
'There will be time for questions during the discussion portion of this meeting,' Emma snapped, rolling her eyes to herself. 'Now, as I was—'
'When is the mayor going to get here?'
Emma's eyes widened in exasperation. 'Soon. But I doubt she'll appreciate you interrupting her every five seconds any more than I will, so can I ask you to please shut up for a moment and let me talk?'
The man fell silent. Emma gritted her teeth together, before inviting Archie to stand up and say something that might actually help the meeting along.
Sidney furiously tapped away at his keyboard as Mrs Carter, the school's vice-principal, began to launch a tirade against Dr Hopper in response to his calmly-voiced suggestion that the more 'troubled' children at Storybrooke Elementary perhaps needed to be included more in their class activities. Emma watched her round face getting progressively redder as she defended her school and its flawless teaching techniques, trying not to roll her eyes. She had heard what Henry had to say about her – she knew that Mary Margaret was one of the only competent teachers in the whole school.
Just as she was scribbling down a vague note to herself that she should buy her roommate a gift of some sort for putting up with this woman's nasal voice day in and day out, Emma was momentarily distracted by a thud from the back of the room. She glanced up to see that the man from the flower shop had stood up and was waiting for her to notice him.
'Sorry,' Emma said, raising a hand to stop Mrs Carter's ramblings for a moment. 'Is there a problem back there?'
'When is Mayor Mills going to get here?' the man spat out, his hands trembling by his sides. The room collectively groaned.
Emma stood up, leaning forwards against the edge of the desk.
'Look,' she said in a low voice. 'You're clearly not here because you have any serious opinions on the graffiti issue down by the docks. You have some issues with Regina, which, you know, isn't entirely surprising. But this is not the place to address them. Now, I'm going to ask you to leave, and when Regina decides to show up, you can speak to her about it then.'
The man raised his eyes for a moment, annoyance flashing through the pinkness. 'But—'
'Go,' Emma snapped. 'Now.'
Heads swivelled as they waited for the man to act. He simply stood there for a moment, clenching and unclenching his fists against his thighs. Then, with a small shake of his head, he pushed his way out of the benches and began to walk towards the open door at the back of the room.
'Right,' Emma sighed, sitting back down again. She threw a half-hearted smile towards Mrs Carter who was, no doubt, inwardly laughing at what an incompetent teacher she herself would make. 'Mrs Carter: would you like to continue with—'
And then she stopped. Ahead of her, the man had reached the double doors and, with those two shaking fists, pulled them closed and locked them. Before he had even turned around Emma could see the heavy metal object in his hand.
She threw herself to her feet without thinking, her eyes wide. 'Gun – gun! Get down!'
The sound of the gunshot rang down the street. As a dozen different people immediately dialled 911, they each heard a click as their calls were rejected by Emma's cell phone, sending the frantic messages to the emergency back-up team half a mile away instead.
'Look,' Emma said, trying to stop her eyes from settling on the bullet that was now lodged in the ceiling above her. 'Why don't you just try and calm down, and then—'
'Where is she?!' the man shouted, holding up the gun between them. Every other person in the room sat completely still, most of them now crouching on the floor between the benches. Emma stood alone at the front of the room, utterly exposed and knowing without question that there was no way that she could reach her own gun before he pulled the trigger of his.
'We need to—'
'You said she was coming! Where is she?'
Emma swallowed, watching the gun as it moved in his shaking hand. He had pushed his hat back from his face and those pink eyes were terrifying, verging on deranged. She knew that if she uttered a word about Regina leaving the building, then he'd only go right after her. And like hell was she having that on her conscience.
'I don't know,' she said quietly, holding her hands up. 'I'm sorry. I really don't know. I thought she was coming but obviously she's been—'
'Don't lie to me!' he snarled, taking several steps forwards through the room. As he walked past them each person flinched, letting themselves shrink back against the floor. Glancing to her left, Emma saw that even Sidney was crouched below his desk. The only person left facing him was her.
'Give me your gun, sheriff,' the man said. He sounded almost calm until he realised that Emma wasn't moving. 'Come here and give me the goddamn gun!'
She jumped and began to walk out from behind the desk, stepping towards him with her hands still outstretched.
'Mr French,' a small voice made the man snap his head to the right. It was Archie, crouching down by his feet in the front row. 'Moe. Really. You don't have to do this.'
'You be quiet,' Moe snapped, turning back to Emma with his gun still pointing between her eyes. Gritting her teeth together, she kept walking until she was stood directly in front of him. He moved forwards, sliding his free hand beneath her jacket until he found the metal object that was resting in its holder at the side of her jeans.
'Good,' he said, motioning for her to take a step back before placing it in his pocket. 'Now we can all wait for Regina to arrive, can't we?'
Emma flinched. 'And… if she doesn't come?'
'She will. You said so.'
'But if she doesn't?'
The man blinked. 'Then there's going to be some trouble, isn't there, sheriff?'
Outside of the room Emma slowly began to hear the sounds of nervous chatter. Engines were running in the street below. Catching sight of a flashing light out of the corner of her eye, she sucked in a breath as she realised that someone had called the police out to them. Moe seemed to realise it at exactly the same moment and his face quickly clouded over.
'God damn it.'
'Moe,' Emma said slowly, letting her hands fall to her sides. He watched her with narrowed eyes. 'Look – whatever Regina did, we can sort it out. Okay? I promise you. We can—'
'You don't know!' he snorted. 'You have no idea what she's like!'
'Actually, I kind of do,' she said, raising her eyebrows. 'Better than most. But even I wouldn't—'
'She's ruined me,' he snarled, closing the gap between them with the gun still outstretched until he could press it hard against Emma's forehead. She swallowed. 'Do you realise that? She's destroyed everything.'
'What has she done?'
'My shop,' he shook his head. 'I'm going to lose it. She's refusing to pay me and I'm going to lose everything.'
'I don't understand…'
'No, of course you don't. You wouldn't.' He leaned forwards into Emma's face, grinding the metal of the gun against the front of her skull. 'I have a loan from Mr Gold, sheriff. I have a loan that needs paying off this week, otherwise he'll take my van and he'll take my shop, and I'll be ruined.'
'Then surely Mr Gold is the one who—'
'The mayor owes me money,' he exploded, angry globs of spit raining down on Emma's face. 'She employs me to look after her garden. She had me do a whole week's worth of work – a whole week – and then wouldn't pay me. I need that money. I need that money to pay Gold and she is refusing to pay me, because she says that I did a bad job.'
'And did you?' Emma asked before she could stop herself. Moe narrowed his eyes, removing the gun from Emma's forehead and holding it upright beneath her chin instead.
'No,' he hissed.
There was a pause.
'I wonder,' Emma muttered, not blinking, 'why I don't believe you.'
The butt of the gun whistled through the air. She heard the crack of it against her temple before she felt it.
A gasp shot through the room as she fell to the floor, clutching her hands to the side of her head. She could feel the blood trickling down into her closed eyes. Moe stood over her, pointing the gun down towards her with a surprisingly steady hand.
'Get up,' he said. She opened one eye, glaring up at him.
'Go fuck yourself.'
His response was to bend down and grab hold of her hair, tugging her bruised face up towards him.
'Get,' he muttered, squeezing her cheeks between his fingers, 'up.'
Swallowing down the blood that was clinging to the back of her throat, she struggled back to her feet. Moe pressed his face back into hers, a smirk twisting about his lips.
He moved behind her, holding the gun out to the back of her skull as he finally spoke to the rest of the room.
'Now, everybody,' he said calmly, sneering down at the people quivering between the rows of benches. 'That is what is going to happen any time that anybody tries to talk back to me. So I suggest, if you want your sheriff to still be in one piece at the end of the day, that you all stay quiet and do what I say.'
Emma gritted her teeth, the dull throb of her temple already spreading like smoke through the rest of her head. Every person there avoided eye contact with her.
'All I want,' Moe muttered against her ear, his breath hot and sticky, 'is to have a word with the mayor. So let's get her here, shall we? And then we can all go home.'
There was a brief silence as the room waited for what he would say next. Emma reached up a shaking hand, wiping the trail of blood from her temple.
'Moe,' the same small voice came from the front row. Emma snapped her eyes onto Archie as he stood up, terror grabbing hold of her stomach with fiercely drawn claws. 'Come on, now. Why don't you just try and take a deep breath, and listen to me.'
'Sit down, Hopper,' the man said, digging the gun more fiercely into the back of Emma's neck. Emma shook her head at the man stood before her.
'You don't have to do this,' Archie said, taking half a step forwards. 'We can talk.'
Moe only scoffed.
'Oh, can we?' he asked smoothly, and Emma felt the presence of the gun disappear from behind her skull. It came back down on the curve of neck a second later and she thudded back to the floor, a low howl erupting from her lips as an electric pain shot down her spine.
Archie fell into silence, sliding back to the ground with his eyebrows knitted together.
Moe drove the toe of his heavy gardener's boot into the small of Emma's back, watching her as she jolted backwards. Her moan, even as she desperately tried to smother it, rolled across the marble floor. As she curled herself back into a ball, she felt Moe kneel down beside her once more.
'Such authority you have in this town,' he muttered, pushing a blonde curl away from her clammy forehead. 'They really respect you, don't they?'
'Go to hell,' she hissed from between her teeth, unable to stop herself. Moe's eyes clouded over once more, just before his fist thumped down against the side of her nose. The crack that followed echoed off of the walls. Emma sucked in a breath between her teeth, forcing herself not to scream as she felt the hot, sticky blood running down onto her lips.
'I repeat,' Moe said loudly as he stood back up again, driving his boot into the back of Emma's ribs for good measure as he did so. 'Every time that someone steps out of line – she pays.'
Emma winced as he leant back over her, immediately registering the presence of an object before her closed eyes. She waited for the cold metal of the gun to press against her bruised skin.
Instead, however, she opened her eyes to see her own cell phone hovering in front of her.
'What's that for?' she choked out, licking blood from her lips. She watched the smile that began to spread across Moe's jowls.
'You're going to call the mayor for me.'
'No. Actually, I'm not.'
'I think,' he hissed, pushing his knee into the small of her back, 'that you are.'
'Bite me, florist,' she spat out, sitting herself upright and glaring directly into his face. 'I know that I have some problems with Regina – but if you think that I'm going to drag her into this? Then you're even crazier than I thought.'
'Crazy? Me?' Moe said, raising his eyebrows. 'That's the first time I've heard that.'
'Well, it won't be the last,' Emma said, reaching up to the throbbing lump on the side of her head. 'So you may as well shoot me now, if that's your only bargaining chip. Because I'm not calling her.'
Moe's jaw clenched for a moment, gauging what to do next. He blinked. The whole room waited.
And then the gun was pointing at Sidney. Emma's breath caught in her throat.
'I think you will,' Moe said, holding out the phone once more. 'Do it. Now.'
Emma watched the terror building in Sidney's eyes – the one man in the room whom she knew was on her side. Her ally, he'd called himself that night at Granny's. She blinked frantically, the throbbing of her temple already starting to deafen her. She shook her head to try and clear some of the haze that was clouding her vision.
'Call her.' The phone was pressed into her hand and she swallowed, glancing down at it. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought that she saw Sidney scrubbing a tear away from his cheek.
Gritting her teeth together, she pulled up Regina's cell number onto her screen and let it ring. She pleaded, squeezing her eyes shut with the effort, that the mayor wouldn't answer.
As usual though, Regina did everything that she possibly could to irritate her. She picked up on the second ring.
'Already struggling with your one, simple task, Miss Swan?' was her greeting of choice.
'Regina,' Emma said, her eyes fixed on the gun that was still hovering between Moe and Sidney. Moe watched her, a lazy smile on his lips. 'I… I need you to come to the meeting. Please.'
'And why would I do that, dear?' Regina, sat in her study back at home, lounged back in her chair and slowly crossed her legs over.
'Because,' Emma's voice cracked momentarily as she tried to think of a plausible reason. She quickly realised that she couldn't. 'Because I need… I just need some help with it.'
Regina blinked, pursing her lips. 'You're asking for my help running the meeting?'
'Yes,' Emma choked out, closing her eyes. She heard the sharp inhalation of breath down the line, followed by a pause.
'But you don't ask for my help,' Regina said slowly. 'What's happened?'
Moe heard this all too clearly, and his eyes narrowed. As he glared at the phone in her hand, Emma could see Sidney flinching out of the corner of her eye.
'Nothing's happened,' Emma said, struggling to keep her voice steady. 'There's just a lot of people here… There's a lot of questions that I can't… I don't… I just need a hand. That's all.'
'Miss Swan, is everything okay?' Regina asked, leaning forwards in her seat. She could hear a slight tremble in the sheriff's voice, a wobble that the strong-willed blonde would never normally allow her to hear. Behind that, in the meeting hall, there was only silence. Something wasn't right.
'Are you sure? Because you sound odd.'
'Everything's fine, Regina, now will you please come to the damn meeting?'
There was a long pause. Emma wiped another smear of blood from her mouth, her hand shaking.
Eventually the mayor inhaled, pressing her face as close to the phone as she could.
'Emma,' Regina spoke softly, so quietly that Moe couldn't have heard it. 'I want you to cough if something's wrong.'
Moe frowned, leaning forwards to try and catch what was being said. Emma blinked, taking a deep breath.
'Everything's fine. I promise you,' she said. And then a tiny choking sound came from her throat. Blood trickled down from her broken nose.
Regina sat bolt upright in her chair. 'I'm calling the police.'
This, Moe heard. A low growl came from his chest and suddenly all Regina could hear was a thud, followed by a sharp cry from Emma. There was a clatter as the phone fell to the floor. Then the line went dead.
Regina staggered to her feet, grabbing her car keys with one hand and phoning the emergency police number with the other as she ran to the front door.
Holding Emma up off of the floor by the scruff of her neck, Moe hissed directly into her face, 'Useless. You useless piece of shit.'
'It's not my fault that she didn't buy it,' Emma choked out, blinking rapidly. The gun was back beneath her chin, twisting against the thin flesh there.
'And who else's fault is it?!' he sneered, raising the gun above his head as he pressed his nose against Emma's cracked, swollen one. 'The only person that we have to blame for this, Emma, is you.'
The butt of the gun fell down, hammering into her cheekbone with the ferocity of a bullet. Emma thudded back onto the floor with a moan, fire burning through her skin.
Moe stood over her for a moment, his back turned against the rest of the crowd. With the gun aimed down at the back of the blonde woman's head, hardly shaking as he released the safety catch, he inhaled sharply through his teeth. He didn't notice as Archie rose from the floor, raising his umbrella above his head.
The heavy wooden handle hit the side of the man's skull and, with a grunt, Moe staggered to the side. Emma watched from her position on the floor as a group of councillors finally piled forwards onto him, tugging him to the ground. All the while he clutched at a cut on the side of his face, shouting in pain and in outrage.
As he fell the gun skidded towards Emma and, biting down against the wave of nausea that was clenching at her stomach, she reached out for it. Archie pinned Moe to the floor, the umbrella clamped across the back of his thick neck, as Emma struggled to push herself up into a sitting position. Sidney reached into the man's pocket, pulling out the second gun and sliding it across the tiled floor. It hit a small puddle of her blood on the way, smearing red across the stark white.
Moe looked around at her, watching her hands shaking as she pointed the gun towards him. They both knew that she wouldn't use it.
'Emma!' Sidney said as he finally came to her side, holding out a tissue to stem the flow of blood oozing from her nose. She batted it away.
'I'm fine,' she said through a wall of bruised muscles and broken bones. 'Where's my cell?'
He looked about him and then, after scrabbling about between two benches for a moment, reappeared with the small object clamped between his hands.
'Call Bill,' she said, leaning back against the nearby bench with the gun dangling over one knee. 'He's the lead officer of the back-up force. They'll all be outside. Tell them to come in and deal with him.'
'Okay,' Sidney said, standing up and finding the right number. As he called it he turned his back on Emma, leaving her alone on the floor. The rest of the room still stood around Moe, making sure that he was firmly pinned to the ground.
Several hot tears slipped down her cheeks as she listened to the phone conversation. Outside, over the sound of Moe's furious grunts, she could hear people jumping into action.
When she looked back up again, she realised that several people were watching her. They saw the pitiful tears that were streaking through the blood caking her face and they paused, biting at their lips. Emma froze, aching with humiliation. No one else approached her.
It was a blinding relief when she heard the trampling of footsteps tearing through the corridor, smashing through the glass of the locked doors in order to get into the room.