CW: violence and language.

Jemma focused on the sound of her breathing, her ears rang, and her heart was beating so hard, her body pulsed with it.

Slowing her breath, she tasted the musty metal smell in the boot of the car where she was tied up.

The freezing cold no longer bit because of all the hours she had been in the boot. It became hotter as they drove. Her body jostled, her wrists were cut by the zip ties, and her body was taut and stiff as her ankles were tied to her wrists behind her.

Sweat covered her, and even though it was hot, she shivered.

She swallowed the bile that sat at the back of her throat, and part of her shut down. She couldn’t feel anything. She was going to die.

In those fear soaked hours in the boot, she wondered how it could have been different, but there was no changing reality. There were consequences to her actions.

Cause and effect. She stole information and money from some dangerous men, now she had to pay.

The car stopped. She swallowed the bile again.

The cold air and swirling snow struck her, waking her up, flaring the panic in her body, but not her mind.

The two men grabbed her, and she struggled; she wouldn’t make it easy, but she was little more than an animal to them, and her life was disposable. For a second she looked them in the eyes and pitied them, how awful to be so devoid of any approximation of love or humanity. How sad it was that they only bore hate.

Such delicate men, hiding behind an illusion of strength; they were nothing. The world wouldn’t remember them, and if anyone did they wouldn’t be mourned, it would be with a sigh of relief.

Jemma was set down on her side, and the hard freezing ground pressed into her. She was only wearing jeans, her para boots, and a long sleeve t-shirt. Her body, damp with sweat dropped in temperature and she shivered harder.

If they didn’t shoot her, she’d die from the cold soon enough, at least she wouldn’t be raped; it was too cold for that.

She closed her eyes hard and opened them, she let her vision clear as the light no longer blinded her, and she looked at the woods around them. The thin trunks and bare branches were laced with snow, and the ground was covered with it.

It was so beautiful. She smiled, at least she was going to die where it was beautiful. She took a deep breath.

The two men righted her onto her knees.

“Do you know what’s going to happen?”

The man’s voice broke her composure, her violent shivering was out of fear as much as cold. She looked up and tilted her head.

Her voice chattered through her shaking. “What happened to you, so that you’d end up such a fucking shit?”

He slapped her hard, and she smiled at him.

“See?”

“You’re going to die, bitch.”

“Calling me a bitch is case in point. You’re such an obvious little man.” She raised a brow, and she saw the rage slice through him, her own rising with it.

The second man stopped him. He was handsome, more than the older thug. The second man turned to her.

“Give us the money and the flash drive.”

She said nothing.

A cold hardness went over his face, and he stepped near to her. “Where’s the flash drive and the money?”

There were no words left to say and no way out of this. Only anger and inevitability.

The man with the gun raised his hand and pointed it at her face. “Yeah? Looks like you lose from this perspective.”

Yes, it was such a beautiful place to die.

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