Note: This was a collab between Max and I for Siobhán's and Juno's shared capture story.
Siobhán strummed her guitar for the last time as she stood alone in front of the mic stand on the frigid stage (despite the best efforts of the heaters), her eyes closed and her face awash with emotion as the lyrics flowed through her.
♪♫ because your story is still... unfinished. ♫♪ she sang, grasping the mic and holding the last note for an impressive length of time as she vocally toyed with beautifully. Anybody watching could tell that to sing like she just did in the cold December New York night, was due to liberal amounts of talent and skill, not just the large scarf the beautiful, young blond had masterfully wrapped around her neck just so to, to provide warmth but still look effortless and fashionable. Siobhán was like issues of Rolling Stone and Vogue rolled up in one.
The crowed erupted into a cheers as Siobhán let go of the last note, the already jovial atmosphere of the New Years Eve party in Times Square only heightened by the live music performances, such as the world debut of Siobhán's new single. The young blond opened her eyes and smiled as she slung the acoustic guitar behind her. She then bowed and blew kisses to the cheering crowd for several moments before finally waving and walking off the stage into the wings and the awaiting care of Juno Rayes and the small protection detail.
For her part, Juno was torn between watching the stage and, you know, doing her actual job. Siobhán had a presence that was hard to ignore, for all the cool reserve Juno worked so hard to project while on the job. Besides, there wasn't really much else to look at. You couldn't see the audience from backstage with all the forelighting, and no one would be getting backstage without getting past Simon or Neil, the other two on the detail. One was on each of the entrances to the backstage area...the cast/crew door and the loading dock around back. Someone might try to vault the stage of course...that's what Juno was there for.
As Siobhán finished her set and started to leave the stage, Juno pressed the little activator stub on her earpiece. "She's wrapping. How are we looking out there?"
After a second Simon, at the cast/crew entrance reported, "Pretty quiet. A few walkbys, no one suspicious."
Neil then said, "Hold on. Someone's coming over. Tourist I think, got a foreign accent."
Juno motioned for Siobhán to follow her and started leading the way to the dressing room. Neil's message wasn't too concerning. You got that sometimes at jobs like these, with public contact. People saw a guy standing at a door and got curious. No big deal.
Even so, she felt a curl of something in the pit of her stomach.
Simon's voice came back over the earpiece, sounding amused. "You too? I bet I get rid of mine before you do."
Both of them?
"Simon, yours have an accent too?" Juno asked.
"Yeah, German I think. Hang on, let me..."
Abruptly Neil's voice came back on, loudly, "...get the package out! There's three and they're ar..."
He cut out abruptly.
Juno whirled around to stare past Siobhán into the dark of the backstage towards where she knew the loading dock was. "Simon," she called, "Disengage and fall back to rendezvous point." Silence greeted her. "Simon?"
Her eyes focused on Siobhán then, and she shook her head. "Something's gone wrong," Juno said with artificial calm. "I need you to stay close to me, do exactly what I say without hesitation. Crisis mode. Got it? This way."
She guided the singer past the dressing room and towards one of the narrow stairways that led up to the 'technical' level of the backstage, where stagehands could set lights from and operate any manual cues they needed to. A little high ground seemed useful at the moment...
"What? Here? Now?" Siobhán asked rhetorically as her eyes went wide with surprise. She had noticed some time ago that though the vast majority of her fans were absolutely wonder, there was a strange, tiny minority that was obsessed, or even worse, with her, hence the protection detail and self defense classes.
"Ugh! It must be some perv thinking they are gonna get a kiss at midnight." she said with a slight shudder.
"Talk later. Move your ass NOW." Juno directed firmly which caused Siobhán to be slightly taken aback. She was certainly not used to be spoken to in such a manner, but at the same time she could see the urgency and even, was that fear?.. in her eyes.
"Put your hand on my shoulder and stay right behind me." Juno directed as she drew and readied her pistol, but kept it close to her body.
Siobhán nodded quickly and complied, resting her hand on the bodyguard's shoulder as her own fear began to bubble up inside her at the though that the bodyguard thought the danger warranted drawing her weapon. Siobhán closely followed Juno with her free hand gripping the neck of the guitar slung over her shoulder and hanging behind her, so as to keep it from hitting things.
Juno moved with purpose, her senses sharp as she kept alert of her surroundings as she began to move towards the proverbial 'high ground' through the equipment, stacks of cases, and coils and lines of various cables winding around the floor like serpents. It was dark backstage even on a good day, and being nearly midnight certainly did not help the pair navigate, but it did conceal the movements of others backstage until one stepped out from behind a large stack of hard cases for transporting gear.
He was a blond man with a strong jaw, not overly muscular, but certainly quite fit from the way he wore his suit. Immediately Juno's gun was aimed right at him.
"Step back!" she commanded with a firm, authoritative voice.
The had a confident smile that reeked of smugness as he held up his hands and approached slowly.
"I said STEP BACK!" Juno warned again, intensifying her tone.
"Be calm, fräulein." the man said in a clear German accent. "Violence is uncalled for. Surrender your veapon and-"
The sound of two gunshot echoed backstage, though they were hardly noticeable above the sounds of the next performance, but at this range, Siobhán had hardly ever heard something so loud, causing her to shriek and jump.
The man went down instantly, falling back and way from the pair.
"Molon labe, asshole." Juno said mostly in Greek to the man as she heard Siobhán shriek again and release her shoulder.
Juno spun around, bring her gun to level on another, very similar man holding Siobhán and using her mostly as a shield.
"Drop ze veapon, fräulein. I vill not ask again." the man instructed in an even thicker German accent than the last.
"You can't have her! She's gonna be my wife!" a man yelled in perfectly normal American English from behind the man holding Siobhán as he was grabbed and yanked away from Siobhán and thrown down.
Without hesitation Juno leveled her gun at the apparent German and felt herself get grabbed from behind.
'Damnit! He must have had a vest!' she thought to herself as the first German wasted no time in going directly for her gun, twisting and slapping her hand against the hard case, causing her to drop it.
"She is gonna be MY wife! We will live and die together! Tonight" the third man, apparently American and a psycho fan said as he lunged for Siobhán, only to be tackled by the second German.
The pairs scuffled and struggled for position for several moments as Siobhán got back to her feet, which seemed to get the attention of the man Juno was grappling with, giving her an opening to strike him right in the groin, which sent him crumling down to the ground in a heap... right atop her gun.
"Shit! Run!" Juno instructed, grabbing Siobhán's wrist and taking off in a new direction leaving the fray behind them.
All hope of hiding out while the police came were gone. These guys were aggressive, and they'd paid the price for it, but it didn't slow them down at all. Were they German? What the hell was that even about? Juno dragged Siobhán, who...to her credit...had calmed down enough to keep quiet and focused, through the backstage area to the set of doors that opened up to the wings of the amphitheater outside.
Footsteps behind her. Time was too goddamn short.
Juno and Siobhán burst out of the backstage door, hitting it loudly enough to draw eyes from a few nearby seats even over the noise of the performance onstage. More importantly though, it drew eyes from a tall, blonde man leaning against a pillar nearby. He immediately began to move towards the women.
Could be an usher. Can't take the chance.
She tugged Siobhán again and set off running at full tilt away from the concert. For a moment Juno felt her heart lift; they were free of that goddamn deathtrap!
Three men swiftly coming around back though, from about where the rear entrance door to backstage would be. They must have been called in...radios maybe. Footsteps behind, this was a race now.
"Move it!" Juno shouted, and very intentionally paced herself to run alongside Siobhán, even though she could have run faster if she'd pushed herself. Almost immediately she could tell her charge wasn't going to make it. A couple of the men chasing them were just faster than her, and her conditioning wasn't up to just sprinting madcap across the park.
A desperate plan formed in her head. Run farther. Let the faster ones separate out. Try to take them down quickly before the other three caught up. She...might be able to handle three on one, depending on how good they were. If not, she could delay them while Siobhán got more distance, then disengage and catch up.
"Keep running," Juno urged Siobhán. "No matter what. Keep running as fast as you can."
For an agonizing few minutes they kept running, and the faster two pulled farther ahead of the others, and kept closing distance. Abruptly Juno wheeled a sharp left to circle around and plowed into one of them. The other one hesitated, and when he looked to be starting up after Siobhán again, Juno launched herself at him and shoved him forward, making him stumble.
By that time the first one was picking himself back up again, so Juno whirled around and threw a kick at his midsection. The pursuer saw it coming and shifted himself to catch the blow on his abdomen instead of his ribs...but it still forced the air from his lungs and forced him to pause in getting up. No time to rest though. Juno immediately whipped back to face the one she'd shoved and found him already moving in on her. He was winded though, from the run, and his punch was sloppy as hell. She caught his arm on either side of his elbow and brought her knee against the joint with brutal force. The sound wasn't just a crunch, it was a wet ripping noise. Followed by a hoarse scream.
The first one was on his feet then, but his eyes went to his companion, who was now on the ground, rolling back and forth in agony clutching his ruined arm. Juno took advantage of his moment of distraction to take off running again. There were more than three more coming up she could see now in the circles of light from the park's lamps. There were a lot more. She had to get to Siobhán, now.
For someone who didn't work on cardio every day, Siobhán did really well. Maybe it was a singer's lung capacity, or maybe Juno just underestimated the value of panic, but the pop star was still running when Juno saw her next. Not at a pace Juno would have liked, but still running. She'd almost caught up, could hear her breathless gasps, could see where the park ended just ahead...when a black SUV pulled over and drove up onto the sidewalk and onto the turf.
Should have told her to turn somewhere once she got clear. Jesus, who are these guys?
There were way too many of them, way too well coordinated to just be fans or kidnappers. Paramilitary group of some kind? Why the hell would something like that be after Siobhán of all people??
"Siobhán, wait!" Juno shouted. "Break left! I'll...I'll..."
The SUV doors opened, and three more men got out. The passenger side door let out another man, wearing a black overcoat. He looked older than the others.
She shook her head. That plus the driver. Too many.
"...I'll catch up. Go!"
The taller one's face twitched a little. "As much as I vould very much enjoy to see vat you vould do now," he said with a much more pronounced German accent than the others had had, "Zis spectacle has become far too public, and threatens to put us behind schedule."
His lips curved in a hard, barely-there smile.
"And vee can't haf zat."
There was a coughing noise, and a twinge of pain in Juno's upper thigh. Like bee stings, almost. She glanced down, saw darts and wires, and started swinging her arm in a desperate attempt... An electric buzz, and Juno felt her muscles clench as one, then go slack as the taser hijacked her nervous system and drowned out her brain's feeble signals.
The tall man took his hands from his pockets. In one was a hypodermic needle. He motioned with his head in the direction Siobhán had staggered away in. She couldn't see her, but these guys were fresh, and Siobhán could barely jog now.
She could feel the pinprick of the needle when the tall man hunkered down next to her.
"Do not fear," he said smugly. "Zis...confusion you feel vill end soon enough. You vill learn your place."
Siobhán shrieked as she saw two of the men coming after her at full sprints. She reached down deep, looked for some wellspring of energy that might let her ignore the pain simmering in her thighs, and the feeling of weight that had settled over her. There was none. She'd given it her all.
All she could do was scream weakly as heavy hands grabbed her from behind. She struggled and fought, but they held her with infuriating ease. A wet cloth was pressed against her mouth and nose, a gag she thought. But then the heavy chemical smell, almost like a hospital but far, far stronger. Siobhán had just enough time to realize she was getting dizzy...and then slumped over unconscious.