(X, if and only if, Y)
by Kira

"Don't move, or I'll kill him."

Boy, wasn't that original. You'd think that they could say something else for a change. Like 'I'd advise you not to move or I'll be forced to ventilate your partner's scull with a bullet from this very large gun I'm currently holding.'....or maybe not. It'd probably take too long to say and by then Jim would have moved, the neanderthal with the gun would have pulled the trigger, and I'd be dead. No. On second thought, I'll take the very succinct 'Don't move, or I'll kill him. ,' thank you very much.

We weren't planning on this, like we ever did. But somehow, Jim and I, with our incredible luck, found ourselves in the middle of a bank robbery while taking care of some banking. No, sorry. Taking care of *my* banking. Paying off a huge chunk of student loan, man, it's almost better than sex. Almost.

To make a long story short, I was -- as usual -- in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now we're standing in what I'm sure makes an interesting tableau. Jim's like a statue, with his arms out straight, gun rock steady at shoulder height. I'm quaking in my hikers, pinned to this ape standing behind me using me as a shield. He's got a very, very large arm across my neck and nothing I can do will budge it, and I'm in no mood to do anything about it, even if I could. Not with that gun sticking right in the corner of my jaw.

"Don't do anything stupid. Just put down the gun and let him go. Walk away, don't make me shoot." Way to go Jim. Almost sounding like you don't want to blast his head off for messing with your Guide. I can see your jaw clenching from here, don't need Sentinel vision for that.

//easy big guy// I whisper. Jim jerks his chin slightly, and I can tell that he heard me.

"Put down your gun. I'm walking out of here. Don't make me kill him." The crook's deep voice resonated against my back. God this guy is huge. He's like a freaking Goliath. But David managed to bring down that particular giant. Hmmm.

"Listen, man. Jim's not going to put down his gun unless you put down yours, and you're not going to put down your gun unless he puts down his. So basically, Jim'll put his gun down if and only if you put down yours. Get it?"

I can tell by the shifting muscles that the guy is trying to figure out what the hell I'm talking about and --as I suspected -- he is one of those guys who just can't think and chew bubble gum at the same time. The arm around my throat loosens its grip, and with a very neat twist -- Jim taught me how a smaller guy can easily throw a larger guy -- I pull him over my shoulder and thump him right on his back. Jim is there in, like, seconds, taking the guy's gun.

"Nice going, Chief. Seems you remember that throw."

"Yeah . . . thanks." My heart beats frantically, the adrenaline in my system finally making itself known. I pick up my back pack from where it had landed when the whole fiasco had started. I pull out the papers to make payment arrangements and peer about for the bank manager. Jim follows me over the desk after passing the robber over to a couple of uniforms who had been called to the scene. I stand at the counter and catch the eye of the lady who is rallying from the robbery scare.

"Can I help you, gentlemen?"

"Yes, please. I'd like to make arrangements to have a partial payment made on my student loan."

"Ah yes, please . . . take a number." She pointed to the little ticket counter on top of the counter. I pull one off and read it. Number 56. I look up at the sign on the wall. 'Now serving 4'. The lady points to the chairs and Jim and I take a seat.



"You should have let him kill me."