Jimmy stood on the steps of the Gazebo, wavering back and forth, blinking inconstantly. His side was on fire, tears streaming down his cheeks. The pain was as much a part of him as anything now. Even if- no- even when he won, he could not imagine ever coming back from it. Reaching out with trembling hands he grabbed the railing, keeping himself upright. Fatigue swept over him. He couldn't stop. Not with Rosa watching. Not with the world watching.
Never stop. Never stop, never die, never-
"Rosa?" He called again, his voice cracking ever so slightly. His words were garbled, and it was hard to speak, which only added to his annoyance. The girl wasn't coming. For a split second, he was sure she had abandoned him. But the thought was ridiculous. There was no reason for it, no basis...
Jimmy spun, hobbling back down the steps. Rosa was still there, like he knew she'd be, standing in front of JJ's corpse. He grinned, despite himself. She was looking off, towards their thing- no. Towards something else. Something else coming around the side of the Gaze-
His eyes went wide. Without even thinking Jimmy launched himself forth, as gunfire cracked over his head, his hands coming up instinctively to cover his face. A cry of terror rose up from his throat as he went down, tumbling in the dirt, his shoulder seeming to explode in agony. He could barely see through his tears as the gun sounded again a second time.
He began to panic, his breaths coming in frightened gasps. The second shot went wide, nicking the Gazebo rail, sending wood chips flying through the air. Jimmy swung his head around, seeing the girl, the girl he'd so stupidly disregarded, pistol raised, pointed his way.
No! No! Never stop, never die!
Without even thinking, Jimmy vaulted up, his gun abandoned in the dirt, fury in his face. She was trying to kill him, she was trying to KILL him, right in front of Rosa. He wouldn't stand for it. Jimmy began to run as fast as he could towards the girl, his head down, his legs pumping in rhythmic agony. He wasn't about to die like a dog, not after all that he'd done. If he was going to die, he'd face her head on. Teeth gritted, Jimmy felt the wind whistle past. For a brief day-dreamy moment, he was sure he was running at the speed of sound, like a bullet train. The girl was aiming- but he was so far away... In his gut he knew he'd never make it. Deep within him, a tired voice was screaming, pleading against what he knew was basically suicide.
But he couldn't back down, not in front of Rosa. Not in front of the audience...
Jimmy skidded down on his knees through the dirt, letting out a bloodcurdling scream. His fists bunched, arms up across his face in a makeshift X. For a second he was sure he'd been hit, but it wasn't a new pain, it was an old one, his ribcage screaming up against him, the all too familiar dizziness arising to assail him once more. He went sideways, his skid developing into a pitiful roll as gravity and friction brought him to a stop. He couldn't stop panting. The smell of smoke filled the air. Jimmy looked up, just in time to see the girl vanishing into the tree line.
Letting out a groan he dropped his head down into the dirt. He couldn't for the life of him catch his breath. He was shaking all over, his eyes wide with fear. What had he done? If the bullet had hit home, he'd be dead. He'd ran straight at her, not fearful... Just rage. It wasn't natural. It had been one of the stupidest, most ballsy things he'd ever done in his life. One of those things he'd read about, or see in a movie, dream about doing. A smile cracked across his face, even as he shivered. He'd nearly died, for what? The 10th time? It was incredible what he was capable of... But why was he shaking? Letting out a grunt of pain, he bunched his jaw, trying to stop his teeth from chattering.
What the fuck Jimmy. What the fuck! You trying to die? No. No, can't die. Never stop, never fucking die. So- so why-
For the umpteenth time he hauled himself up, stumbling awkwardly to his feet. Loosing his balance Jimmy staggered forth, catching the side of the Gazebo, holding himself up with all his strength. His heart was still pounding, his mind in a blind panic with the realization of what had just happened.
I can't die. No, I can't do that, that's not what I'm here for. No- Can't do it again. Get the gun next time, you stupid fuck. Get the gun, kill her. Don't- Don't- But.. It was ballsy. It was incredible, it was... Running towards the gunfire? Heroes do that. I wasn't afraid of dying. I wasn't planning on it, it was- reaction. Thinking with my guts. Guts everywhere. That wasn't suicide. That was guts and balls.
"Moxie." He whispered, his sentence coming out so garbled it was near impossible to tell what he'd said. His shakes finally stopped. Jimmy jerked his head back and forth, shaking himself like a wet dog. He'd forget what had happened, he decided. His valiant dash towards the girl... It was pure instinct, nothing more, nothing less. He'd been obscured by his rage, intent only on making a kill. Not again. It was a mistake, but no one was perfect. Not even the good guys like him. He looked towards Rosa, his eyes wild and maniac.
"Get your stuff. We gotta' big day ahead of us."
((Jimmy Brennan, Rosa Fiametta continue in The Man Your Man Could Smell Like