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“No, no, no!”
Running late Faith grabbed her keys and ran out of the door. Barely staying within the speed limits of a normal human being she hit the entrance of the subway like a linebacker heading for the in-goal area. When on the train she gave herself a second to catch her breath before checking to see if she had dripped any of the apple tart she had for breakfast onto herself.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, first there was a meeting with Coulson with an update on the Mutant Brotherhood then there was sparring session with Natasha which somehow turned into date planning session with Natasha despite Faith wincing at the use of the word. Lunch resulted in her refusal to let Ollie take her to a hair and nail salon turning into Faith letting the girl take her on a quick shopping trip for a new top.
It was followed by yet another meeting this time ending with a private word with Fury who (surprise, surprise) had found out about the call she had made to Tony from her apartment the night before. This lead to an impromptu heavy bag session that only ended when the bag hit the floor with a hole in the side of it.
By the time 8 o’clock worked around and Faith made her way to the front door of the apartment she was in a better mood but a part of her was still sure that Steve would stand her up. She hadn’t seen him all day as they had him off looking at some new weapon or another and she’d desperately wanted to get a read on him to see if he was going to bail. Yet there he was waiting outside and from the slight blue tinge to his ears he had gotten there a bit early too. They stared at each other for a second then started to head towards the subway, hands in their pockets but walking close enough that their shoulders were within a hair’s breadth of touching.
The moved through the crowd heading towards for the subway station, each hoping the other would break the silence. It was Faith who took the honours. “How was your day?”
“Looked at some new equipment, saw a man walking down the street with a black cat on his head.”
“That must have seemed pretty weird even for a New Yorker.”
“Yes it was, back in the 30’s everyone wore brown ones.”
“Yeah well that’s fashion for ..... Wait what?” Her head whipped towards him. “Did you just tell a joke? Steve, you’ve been holding out on me.”
He smiled as they reached the entrance to the subway. “You shouldn’t make assumptions.”
Faith chuckled as they bounded down the steps. “True that.”
Steve walked towards the barricade pulling out his Metro Card only to stop once he realised that Faith was no longer at his shoulder. He turned around to see her standing a couple of paces back looking at a metro map, a faraway look in her eyes.
“Faith are you alright?”
She turned to look at him with a fixture of fear and self loathing in her eyes. Why tonight, of all the times to decide to do it why would I choose tonight?
“Faith is everything...”
“Is it okay if we make a quick stop first? There...there’s something I have to do.”
The front of the dinner was still covered in flowers, candles, cards and everything else you would find at an impromptu shrine.
The two of them turned to their left to see a blond head stick out of the side entrance.
“Faith I thought it was you.” Sandra’s head was quickly followed by the rest of her body as she came out to give Faith a hug which Faith did her best to return.
“I’m so glad your okay.” Pulling back Sandra gave her a sympathetic smile, her eyes darting between Faith and Steve. “You are looking a bit pale though I hope your man is looking after you.”
“Hey! I don’t need no man to look after me Double S you know that.” Faith turned her head around to look at Steve. “Steve this is Sandra, Sandra Steve. Steve’s my...”
“I’m a work colleague.” He interjected, shaking Sandra’s hand.
“Yes I’m sure you are.” Sandra said with a bit of a smirk and a look over which earned her a light smack on the arm from Faith.
“Get your head out the gutter.”
“You first.” The two women smiled each other while Steve hanged back, glad to see Faith’s mood start to lighten up a bit.
“Hey look is there any chance you can come in for a second? A lot of us knew April quite well especially the boss Casey and the press have been awfully quiet on what actually happened.”
Faith stilled for a second then nodded her head. The three of them went through to the side entrance which lead to a hallway leading to the kitchen as well as a set of stairs.
“If you could wait for a second I’ll see if Casey is available.”
The two watched as Sandra disappeared up the stairs. Steve watched as Faith headed down the hallway and paused for a second in a doorway before heading into the setting area of the restaurant. Slowly following behind her he watched as she hesitantly made her way to the front door of the restaurant to stop at the table where she and April had been sitting. The table had been replaced as had the chairs. The fact that they didn’t have the same wear as the rest of the furniture, along with the feint smell of new paint, were the only signs that something had happened there.
“She tried to comfort me. I can’t remember what I said but she got this look on her face and she reached her hand across to touch mine. I...I guess I kind of panicked, got to my feet and acted all aggressive and everything.”
Steve stood behind her and rested a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “It’s not your fault Faith, you acted out of instinct. There was no way you could have know what was about to happen.”“It still doesn’t make it right.”
The two of them stood there till they were interrupted by a throat being cleared.
They turned around to see a young man in his early thirties with slightly long black hair. “Hi Faith, it’s good to see you back on your feet.” After Faith introduced Steve to Casey Jones they followed him upstairs to his office, taking a seat as he pulled put a bottle of whiskey from his desk.
They sat back and got comfortable talking about Faith’s recovery and when the restaurant would reopen. Then Casey decided to get to the point. “So Steve I take it you’re a Fed as well?”
Faith’s eyes narrowed as she leaned forward to pick up her glass. “I don’t recall telling anyone her who I worked for. Is that what why the reporter was trying to chat me up? ”
Casey almost chocked on his whiskey at that image. “I think she was generally interested in how someone as young got a shield, probably thought you were being used somehow.” He leaned back in his chair getting a distant look in his eyes. “No matter what the story she always tried to find someone to root for, someone that she could help out. Said that was what real reporting was about, actually making a difference in someone’s life.”
“Sounds like she was a hell of a lady.” Said Steve, his own eyes getting a little distant as he thought about Peggy.
“Yeah I’m sure she was all candy floss and sugar canes.”Snarked Faith, downing her drink and slamming the tumbler back onto the desk. “Look no offence Cass, I can get why you would be sweet on her but...” Faith stopped and turned her head to look at the wall. Still looking at the wall she spoke again in an eerily calm voice. “Do you have a bathroom around here?”
Cass looked at her, bewildered by her sudden change of tone but Steve had been around her long enough to know when she had picked up something on her ‘Slay-dar’.
“Yeah end of the hallway to the right beside the stairs.”
Waiting till Faith had closed the door Casey turned to Steve with a mischievous grin. “She’s one hell of a girl, if I was any younger...”
“Well you’re not.”
The two men stared at each for a second before turning their heads to at the sound of a door of the room to next door being smashed in the sound of fighting.
The both raced out the room swinging into the room to their right, Steve was the first to get past the broken door just to stop in his tracks.
Faith was quite literally suspended in mid air between two creatures. Her legs twisted around the neck of one while propping herself up on another creature with her right hand on its shoulder and her left drawn back for a punch.
Everyone stayed frozen in place till Casey finally broke the ice. “Hey do you think you guys could hold that position for a second while I get my camera?”
Slowly Faith lowered her left arm. “I’m going to need a bit of help getting down but if either of you try anything then this is back on.” The creature in front of her nodded it’s head and with that Faith began to slowly untangle her legs from the second creature’s neck, raising her right leg up and over his shoulder. Gently the creature grabbed hold of her legs and lowered them down while she used the first creature’s shoulder to keep her steady.
Once she got down she finally got a good look at what she had thought where demons only to find that they seemed to be man-sized ... turtles? They didn’t even feel demonic just ‘off’ like Steve and Peter did, which had her all types of confused. And what was with the masks? The one she had been about to hit was wearing a purple one covering his eyes while the one she was going to try Natasha’s move on was wearing a orange one.
“Thanks for the hand down.”
“No problem. I’m Donatello but everyone calls me Donny. And my orange clad brother here is Michelangelo ”
“But you can call me Mikey.” Gushed the second turtle grabbing Faith’s hand in both of his and shaking it enthusiastically. “You have amazing legs... I mean impressive... ehhh athletic?” He grimaced and leaned back slightly as if expecting Faith to hit him.
“Nah you where right the first time. I’m Faith but I’m guessing you already know that.” She took her hand out from between his. Looking back and forth between the two she couldn’t help but show her amazement as that they were still not registering as demonic. “You really aren’t demons are you? No offense but what the hell happened to you guys? I mean I’ve heard of humans being injected with fish DNA before but turtle?”
The two of them looked at each other over her head and then back down, Donny being the one to voice their confusion. “What? Oh no we have never been human we were just your average terrapins that got a bit of an um ... upgrade. ”
“You really know guys that got turned into fish? Man I’m never going to be able to eat sushi again.”
Donny didn’t even bother to take his eyes off Faith. “You don’t eat sushi now Mikey.”
“Oh yeah, hey I know sushi pizza! I wander if you can bake that seaweed stuff they use.”
It was all Faith could do to stop herself from cracking up, it was a hell of a double act they had going. “Way I hear that where more lizard, you know like out of the ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’.”
Hearing that Donny’s eyes shot up and he took his hand away from his face. “Oh reptilian DNA that would make more sense, it would be a little be closer to human then fish DNA, still it’s quite fascinating that someone was able to merge the two.”
“Try telling that to the kids that the bastard did it to.”
Everyone stood in silent contemplation till both Faith and Steve looked at the door hearing feint sounds of movement. Casey sighed and stuck his head out into the hallway. “They heard you guys so may as well come on in.”
Faith and Steve looked towards the door in confusion only to see another two ‘turtles’ walk in, one wearing a blue mask and one wearing red. Both look flustered at being heard but more importantly both of them where armed, one with two sai and one with two katana. This immediately put Faith on Steve on guard, there had been no threatening moves but going from three on two to 5 on two changed the picture completely.
“Faith and Steve I’d like you to meet Leonardo and Raphael.”
“Let me guess they go by Leo and Ralph.”
The eyes of the latter shot up at that. “Actually it’s Raph”
“Ralph, that’s funny ha-ha.”
“Shut it Mikey.”
Despite the words Faith could tell there was no real malice behind them, it wasn’t hard to see these guys treated each other like the Scoobies did. She wished she could have that; or did she have that already with Steve and Ollie and the rest of the guys? How was she supposed to know?
Seeing her start to shrink back into herself Steve thought it best to get things moving. “Maybe we should take things downstairs where we have a bit more space.”
They trooped down the stairs to see Sandra standing nervously in the entrance to the dining area causing Faith to stop in her tracks.
“Sandra you knew about this?”
Sandra blushed but before she could speak Leo explained what had happened. “We stopped Sandra from getting mugged a year ago, the guys already had her pinned down so we didn’t have time to take out all the lights.”
“Come on Faith.” Said Steve, knowing how she was still pretty paranoid about even the slightest sign of being betrayed.
A minute later they were all in the kitchen standing around the central table. Steve and Faith had their backs to the dinning area while Raph, Donny, Leo and Mickey lined up on the other side with Casey leaning against the door.
Steve was the first to break the silence. “You still haven’t told us what happened to you guys.”
“What’s it to you? Why should we tell you anything?”
“No I’m serious Donny how do we know these guys aren’t going to go back to their boss and spill the beans. Our home could be swamped by guys in suits looking to chop us up to see how we work so they can create super-solder GI Joes.”
“Because they have already tried it back in the last town I was in with demons, complete FUBAR, tuned into a smorgasbord with the GI Joes on the menu. Plus you guys must have been here for that mess in Harlem.” Steve raised an eye at Faith’s use of a military acronym and also made a note to find out what she had heard about ‘the Harlem incident’ between the Hulk and ... that other thing.
“Yeah we were in town for that and stayed well out of it, totally out of our league. Hey where those guys affected by ... Donny how did the professor put what happened to us?
Donny’s eyes almost rolled back in his head as he recited. “Came into contact with a mixture of disregarded chemicals accidentally exposed to a series of radiated waves”
Faith and Steve managed to not look at each other despite thinking the same thing. “Radiated waves sounds familiar,” said Steve casually, “but we would need to speak to this professor to confirm.”
“Not going to happen.” Donny told them bluntly. ”And he destroyed all of the company’s files. Heck the company doesn’t even exist anymore; it got bought out by Os...”
Leo cut back in before Donny could say more. “What Donny is trying to say is that even though you guys seem to be on the level there are some things we rather keep to ourselves.”
A puzzled Raph stuck his hand up. “Can we jump back to the bit about demons please? You mean to tell me the supernatural is real? You mean like leprechauns and Dracula and stuff?”
“Don’t know about leprechauns but Dracula exists except he is apparently a bit of a pansy. Vampires werewolves, poltergeists you name it’s out there. You guys have never come across anything weird when you’re patrolling? I mean this is New York.” Faith was actually hoping the answer would be yes, as it had been a nightmare trying to get a lock on anything. Heck these days she couldn’t even be sure it wouldn’t be some mutant who’d ended up with scales or something.
Suddenly looking very smug Raph turned around and started jabbing his finger at his brothers. “I told you, I told you guys there was something weird with those dudes but nooo it’s just Raph looking for a fight.”
He back turned around to face the two bemused agents.“Nearly two months we starting seeing a lot of movement in the tunnels. I knew they were not normal humans because they seemed to spend half their time on all fours. And they seemed to sense us to, or smell us or something. These geniuses,” he said while waving at a rather sheepish looking Donny and Leo, “thought it was just a bunch of workers or homeless or something.”
“Hey you thought they were mutated members of a rejuvenated Foot Clan looking for revenge. They were a group of ninja thieves that where running around about 4 years ago but we took them out of action.” Leo added the last bit in for a confused looking Steve and a contemplating Faith.
She stepped forward, subconsciously rubbing her chin. “You know I thought I sensed something down in the tunnels just before everything went tits up with the Reapers. You guys didn’t happen to be down there about a month ago? I’m surprised people didn’t hear the gunfire through the grates”
Raph eyes shot up in understanding and then turned his head to his brothers and started mimicking Leo. “Relax Raph, why would anyone be firing machine guns in the sewer? It’s probably just some maintenance people with a jackhammer or something.”
“Ehh Faith?” She turned to her left to see a rather embarrassed looking Mikey step forward. “I was just wandering when you thought we were demons did you think we where a specific type? I mean have you ever come across demons that look, you know, like us?”
Seeing the hopeful look on their faces and understanding what he was leaving unsaid Faith felt a twang of sympathy for them. “I’m sorry I haven’t and you have to understand that if there are any there is a good chance you may not like what you find. I mean yeah there are some pretty harmless demons out there but most are of flat out evil, there is no telling what they will think of you guys.”
Raph threw his hands up. “Great, so not only would human mutants not accept us but demons wouldn’t accept us either.
Seeing the despondent look on their faces Faith searched her mind for anything that may help. “Look I know some people in California who know a hell of a lot more about demons then me they may be able to come up with something.”
“California? All right road trip! Hey do any of your friends know how to surf?”
This time it Leo who shut Mikey down “Forget it Mikey where not going. How would we get there without being spotted? Where would we stay? And you know that our species can’t last long in sea water.”
But Mikey was not in the least discouraged. “We could take the van and Casey he could drive. I’m sure once we get there we could find some sewerage tunnels or storm water drains to stay in.”
“They actually work out of an old hotel called the Hyperion. ” The idea of Angel meeting the turtles was making her want to laugh and cringe at the same time. “I wasn’t actually meaning you guys going, I was thinking more along the lines of giving them a call. I’ve kind of been meaning to get in touch with them anyway.”
Faith ran a hand through her hair. “Look this has been a really weird evening even by my standards and I could really use that drink about now (quickly glancing at Steve). All I can promise you is that Steve and I will keep our mouths shut about you guys to our boss. But frankly if you kept going around saving people sooner or later you’re going to pop up on his radar.”
The Turtles looked at each other and promised they would keep that in mind.
A minute later Faith and Steve where standing back outside the dinner getting strange looks from pedestrians due to the slightly stunned look on their faces.
“Turtles.” Faith said before turning back towards the dinner.
“Human sized turtles. Mutant.... “
“Faith we’re in public.”
“I know, I know it’s just...”
“Yeah.” Steve turned his head back towards her and poked his elbow out. “You still on for that drink?”
Faith blinked looked down at his elbow with trepidation. Slowly she slipped her arm through and with a small smile they were back on their way.
Fury sat at his desk, supposedly going over budget figures but his mind was really on the storm Faith’s shooting had caused. The girl may not have known it but she had caused quite a stir since joining SHIELD. Some staff really liked her while others thought she had no business being there or were jealous that she seemed to have jumped them in the food chain. All that changed with her being shot, even though it hadn’t been the line of duty as such it was still enough to change a lot of minds.
Suddenly his intercom burst into life. “Director Fury I have the head of MI6 on the line for you.” Fury lifted his head; he had contacted M and Harry Pierce of MI5 as soon as Faith had been shot to try and work out if it had been a Council hit or if the reporter had been the target and Faith was just in the way.“Hello Nicky.”
“Hello M I take it this is not a social call.”“In our line of work it is never a social call, how is she?”
“Suffering from a bit of shock but physically has made a complete recovery.”“Good to know, especially as I am sure it will make Quentin throw a bigger tantrum when he finds out.”
Fury paused, coffee mid way to his lips. “You know something don’t you? To be honest I was actually expecting to be having this conversation with Pierce.”“Harry and I decided that it would be best if MI6 took over keeping a watch on the Council as most of their operations are overseas.”
Frowning Fury put down his cup and processed what was being implied. “Pierce has never struck me as one to cede jurisdiction over anything, unless he thought the Council had someone in MI5.”“You always where a clever one, actually Harry and I know for a fact that they have someone in his organisation. It is why we are the ones running an informant in the Council and he isn’t, the Council thinks were not a threat because we’re not suppose to operate on British soil. According to our asset Travers has been throwing a bit of a tantrum complaining that you should never trust anything important to someone of ‘Irish blood.’
Fury closed his eyes and counted to five, “Bullseye.”“Our informant in the Council has only just got back from overseas looking into an attack on their personnel. Even at the Council someone walking in with a bullseye branded on his forehead is not something that can be kept completely hushed. MI5 has been able to confirm that he was in the country over a week ago but they were not sure why.”
Resting his arms on the table Fury chose his next words carefully. “You know I am going to have to do something about this don’t you. My man made it quite clear to them that Faith was off limits.”“They could do with a good roasting, arrogant bastards the lot of them. Harry and I are willing to be quite flexible where the Council is concerned despite them being British citizen.”
Leaning back in his chair he couldn’t resist the chance to lighten the mood. “Yes I can remember how flexible you use to be.” “Hmpf! Oh you cheeky bugger! You made me spill my tea.”
Fury chuckled with a reminiscing smile whilst picking up his cup again. “There was a time when you preferred something a bit stronger. If I remember our time in Jamaica correctly you use to prefer white rum.”“Hmm, if MY memory serves me correct what we did with it could hardly be called drinking.”
Now it was Fury’s turn to send his drink flying.“Is everything alright there?”
Fury could hear the mirth hidden under M’s fake sincerity as he cleaned himself up.
“Perfect, pass my regards on to James and tell him to let us now when he is in town next. I know he wants to meet the Capt. and I would love to see how he would handle Faith. I’ll give you and Harry the heads up if I think there will be any blow back on you.”
M put the phone down and let herself a brief smile of satisfaction. She had know Nick since the 60’s and she knew he would not take an attack on one of his agents lying down, especially one that he obviously had big plans for. And if she and Harry timed their own plans perfectly then within a year Travers would be unseated and the Watchers Council, with all of its connections and resources, would be lead by a proxy for British Intelligence.
I'mmmm baaack. Know it has been awhile but RL got in the way. Plus I have been struggling a bit on exactly where to go from Chapter 10.
I’m not making up the guy with a cat on his head I saw him with my own eyes.
The line ‘’....a mixture of disregarded chemicals accidentally exposed to a series of radiated waves” is taken from the second TMNT movie.
Harlem Incident is referring to the second Hulk movie with Edward Norton. Yes Rufuss takes over in the Avengers but there is nothing in it that really contradicts the earlier movie.
Retraction: Banner does specifically state in the Avengers movie that the last time he was in New York, the "other guy" sort of.. ..broke.. ..Harlem. - Thank you [CrystalBlaze]
Back in Chapter 7 I did mention Faith picking something up in the tunnel.
I know this was a talkie chapter, next one is shaping up a bit the same but things are going to pick up after that.