Once again I do not own the rights to any character every published or to appear on screen.
Thank you all for the reviews, special thanks to eriktheviking who has been reviewing since the beginning.
The next couple of chapters will be taking place outside of the movies so I hope you all enjoy.
“MMMM ohh yes baby that hits the spot.”
People turned around and looked; if Faith did not have her eyes closed in gluttonous ecstasy she would have seen one lady even put her hands around her child’s ears. Even if Faith had seen she would not have not given a crap; she was young, hot, hung-over, and as of right now this was the best damn pizza she had ever had. She had found this pizzeria her first Sunday in New York and had been coming every Sunday since, the pizza’s where to die for especially if you had hit the town the night before like she had.
“They’re good pizzas aren’t they?” Faith looked up to see an attractive brunette in her early 30s smiling down at her.
“They’re alright.” Said Faith nonchalantly, automatically becoming defensive in front of an unknown entity.
Her new ‘friend’ was not put off by Faith’s change in demeanor. “Is that the Meat-tastic or the Beef Bomb pizza? Can be hard to tell the two apart.”
Deciding to take things by the horn, Faith hardened her tone. “Look lady what do you want I’m not exactly looking for company and even though I prefer my bed mates to have a bit of experience under their belt you’re not really my type.”
All she got for that was a slight reddening of the checks suggesting the woman either really was coming on to her or was professional enough not to let the comment get her too flustered.
“Do you mind if I take a seat.” She asked, still keeping up a conversational tone but with a little more steel showing through in the under tone.
Faith shrugged, keeping up her air of not-caring while secretly starting to go through her options in her head. It didn’t take a genius to see the lady was after something. “It’s a free country just don’t expect me to be sharing any.”
The lady nodded and sat down, she had only just made up herself comfortable when Sandra, one of the waitresses made her way over. “Hi Faith is your pizza okay?”
Faith nodded, her mouth full again. “Brilliant as always Double S, hey how’s Billy doing?”
Sandra beamed back at her. The first time she had served Faith she had spilled half of Faith’s milkshake down her front. Between the apologizing and babbling Faith had made out that her boy had just come down with a real bad case of the flu and was in hospital. Looking at her face Faith could tell that despite the smile this was just the latest in a long line of punches to the gut, a line that may have included physical ones.
“He’s doing really well; he started back to school on Monday.” Turning to Faith’s mysterious guest she gave another of her 200 watt smiles. “Hi April long time no see, I didn't know you and Faith knew each other. Have you already ordered?”
April shook her head “Nope just the usual thanks Sandra.”
“Okay then.” Sandra nodded wrote on her pad, as she went away she turned back to Faith. “Oh Faith I’ll pass it on to the chief that you really like the Meat-tastic but ahh could you maybe not so vocal about.” She dropped her voice to a whisper “You sounded a bit like Meg Ryan, you know from that movie where she’s with Billy Crystal in that restaurant and....well.”
Faith raised her hands in mock surrender “I get it Double S I’ll keep the moaning to the bedroom, well the bedroom and places with lots of background noise.” She added with a wink making both women grin.
Waiting till Sandra had left April turned back to Faith. “Double S?”
“Smiling Sandra. What, did you think it meant her breast size or something?”
The brunette frowned. “You are very good at that aren't you? Trying to throw people off by using double ententes and trying to sound like you don’t care about anything.”
“I am sick and tired of people trying to Psycho-analyze me by the way I speak. If I wanted that shit I would see a shrink. And for the record a lot of the time I really do not give a shit, sides it’s not like anyone gives a shit what I have to say.” The last but Faith hadn't meant to throw in but things had been very tense at SHIELD lately, plus she still had a hangover. Things had been strained between her and Steve since they had hit the town over two weeks ago and she had no memory of what happened let alone why she trashed her apartment. She had a very good idea what might have happened but had been too scared to talk to him about it in case he shut her out completely.
“That’s a tough attitude to have for someone so young.” April moved her hand across the table towards Faith’s who instinctively drew her hand away and got to her feet.
“Okay that's it lady.” Leaning forward, “who the fuck ...”
Faith stared in amazement as April’s head suddenly vanished in a cloud of bone and brain matter.
Looking down she saw blood pouring down her chest onto the table. And then there was pain. Then there was nothing.
New York General Hospital
20 minutes later
Steve and Clint made their way into the ER as the car made its way out back. The siren had got the attention of basically everyone in there, even if it hadn't the way they marched in definitely did.
A rather portly desk clerk came out to meet them.
“Can I help you gentlemen?”
They both pulled out their badges
“Agent Rogers and Agent Burton SHIELD a colleague of ours, Agent Dormer, was brought in 20 minutes ago we need to see whoever is in charge.” Clint looked at him with a raised eye brow, in the car Steve had agreed that Clint would do all the talking. He should have known better after all if it had been Natasha he wouldn’t have taken the back seat to anyone, well maybe Fury.
“Considering that person is currently trying to save your friends life that is probably not a good idea but come on in and I’ll see who is available.”
A couple of minutes later they were introduced to rather tired looking Dr Hudson. Faith had been very lucky, if she had arrived to the hospital a couple of minutes later she would have been dead from blood loss. What was also of concern was that Faith had hit her head on the table when falling to the ground. When Faith had joined SHIELD two versions of her medical records had been created one under Lehane and one under Dormer in case of a situation like this so the doctor knew about her previous injuries.
“So you’re saying she might go back into a coma?” Steve was having a hard time to comprehend that could be an option, he wished he could tell the doctor about her healing abilities if for no other reason to assure himself she could recover.
“It’s hard to say, it is rare for people to suffer a massive injury like this after spending so long in a coma. I am afraid to say only time will tell.”
With a sympathetic grimace Dr Hudson walked off leaving a rather stunned Steve and Clint standing in the hallway. They were still trying to process things when Olivia came bounding in still in her SHIELD uniform and with a laptop bag over her shoulder. There were two other agents with her, Reese and Charles.
“Is Faith alright? Is she going to be okay? Joe is here as well he is parking the car around back with yours. Is she in surgery? Do they need blood? I’m O positive so I’m a universal donor and...”
Steve held up his hand. “She in surgery now and I am sure she should be okay. Now does Agent Coulson know that you are here Agent Baxter?”
She looked at him flummoxed by his cold demeanor “I ... well ...no but Faith is my friend and I thought it was best...”
“You though it was best you came down here rather than stay at your post where you could help find the people responsible for this.” Steve moved until he was towering above Olivia, his eyes burrowing down on the short haired brunette.
A potential rant was stopped by a hand being placed on his shoulder “Heh Cap.” He turned to look at Clint “No need to take her head off.”
Steve looked back down at Olivia who was trying very hard to hold herself together. Taking a second to calm himself he looked back at her. “Is Faith the first colleague you’ve had who has been injured in the line of duty?”
Olivia nodded her head.
“In batt... in this line of work there are always going to be injuries, even fatalities. It is something you’re going to have to prepare yourself for.”
She nodded her head again, “I’ll take a cab back to HQ”, and then made her way towards the door.
Steve let out another breath “Wait.” She turned around. “I take it that you can work on that laptop?” Another nod. “Faith hates hospitals, you stay here and we’ll get in touch if we need anything. I’ll square things away with Fury and Hill, but only this once you understand?” Another nod followed by a small smile which Steve returned. “Alright, now from the sounds of things she is going to be out of it for awhile but if she wakes up you let me know; she better not catch you crying either, you know what she’s like. Here’s my cell.”
Once he was done he turned to Clint and the two headed off to the crime scene.
The pizzeria was on the corner of a residential block, not far from where Faith lived. Steve and Clint were dropped off outside the crimes scene and once they showed their badges were let under the police tape and meet outside the dinner by Captain Miller and Detective Yokas from Major Crimes. After the customary handshaking and offering of best wishes for Faith they went to the entrance of the dinner.
“Can I take a closer look?” Clint asked quietly and carefully went closer to Faith’s table. After taking a look at the blood and brain matter he bent over and peered out the window. Steve stayed beside the door, trying to shake the flashback he was getting of Bucky’s demise. Yes it had been under entirely different circumstances but the feeling of guilt would just not go away however unwarranted it was.
“I think I know where the shots came from.” They all moved aside as Clint walked out of the dinner and stood outside the shattered window. “From the angle I would say the shot came from one of those four windows.” Pointing at the building across the street he drew an imaginary square over two floors. “My money is on it being one of the bottom left one due to the angle. From the looks of things Faith was probably on her feet leaning over the table when it happened.”
Captain Miller nodded in agreement and indicated two nearby officers to come over. “The tape recorder we found suggests your girl was not too happy about having her meal interrupted. Officers Peterson and O’Reilly will go with you; they can give you some gloves.”
Clint nodded in consent. “Where going to want a copy of that tape, would it also be possible to have a look at the remains of the bullets afterwards?”
Putting himself on the spot Miller agreed. “We can get them to take you back to forensics after you’re done.”
Detective Yokas then jumped in, turning to Steve. “Do you two want to stay together? My partner and I are about to head to Channel 4 if you want to you can tag along while your partner takes the car.”
10 minutes later the two detectives and Steve walked into the office of Channel 4’s Chief Executive Michael Diles, a scrawny man with intense blue eyes hidden behind wire rimmed glasses. With him was a Jenny Redgrave, a rather dour looking lady who was the stations chief legal adviser. Once introductions where done and everyone sat down things got under way.
It was not an easy conversation by any means, both sides trying to get information without giving anything away themselves. Steve was relatively disgusted by it all, it becoming clear to him they were more interested in getting information for stories to air rather than the fact one of their own was shot. Thankfully he had the sense to leave the room and ‘get some air’ after he voiced this opinion aloud.
The detectives came out with a relatively satisfied look on their faces and more importantly a name:
“Apparently she was looking to do a large expose on him revealing him as ‘the Kingpin’, a major player in the underworld. He has been on our radar for awhile but no-one can make anything stick, they’re not actually sure what she was doing talking to your colleague.” Miller stared at Steve trying to size up his mental state. “No offense but are you up for this? We can have a uniform take you to forensics.”
Without even taking time to blink Steve shook his head. “I’m going to see this through; there is still no way of knowing for sure who the real target was.”
“I think it is best we speak to some colleagues of ours down town at the 5-3 Anti Crime Unit, your friend should be done by now give him a call and we can meet him down there.”
5-3 Police Station
They where meet by Lieutenant Davis and Sergeant Finney who apparently knew Detective Yokas from when they where beat cops.
As soon as they got to the squad room Steve got straight to the point, “This Kingpin how come you guys can’t take him down?”
Lieutenant Davis tried not to look insulted. “Because he’s smart, he’s not directly involved anymore on the street level. We think he is working kind of like a landlord, local gangs pay him rent to run a block. They don’t make their payments another gang takes the block, where they get their drugs from is their problem. Add in the gambling, prostitution, extortion, and legit business he has a toe in he can afford enough muscle to stop anyone from cutting him out.”
As much as Clint hated to admit it he was in over his head, he left the scheming to Fury. But there was one area that he knew he could contribute. “The guy who took the shot was a pro do you know if he has anyone on his payroll that is ex-military?”
Davis went quiet and shared a look with Sergeant Finney. “He has a couple but there’s been talk that he has a real mercenary on retainer, apparently he has a burn in his head that looks like a target or a bullseye. Someone matching that description was actually arrested two years ago on suspicion of murdering a Nicholas Natchios and trying to pin it on Daredevil but he escaped custody. ”
“Shit.” Whispered Clint, his face placid apart from his eyes which made it obvious to everyone he had someone in mind.
“Care to share with the rest of us?” Asked Yokas, who could not help but feel a bit of excitement at what could be their first real break.
“He’s Irish or Irish-American, possibly from the Bronx. No one is too sure as he has turned up in both countries and is known to make up stuff about himself. We are not even sure of his first name but it is possibly Lester or Leonard. They say he can kill with just about anything even a paperclip, I know that he has used a toothpick at least once. For obvious reasons he goes by the name Bulleseye, we’ve got a file on him in back at SHIELD.”
This was news was seriously damaging Steve’s calm. “And you let him walk the streets? No police alert or anything? All the fancy technology you have and you don’t even know his real name?” Turning back to the cops “I want everything you have on this guy and the same goes for you Clint. Get it sent to Olivia’s laptop, I’m going back to check on Faith.”
They all stared rather in-diligently at Steve’s back before the cops all rounded on a squirming Clint, Davis being the first to get his dig in. “So much for seeing this through. What’s his story? Is he sweet on her or something?”
“Agent Dormor is his partner, he doesn't like losing people.” Though Clint would have to admit it was a fair question. When they had gone out to celebrate Steve and Faith surviving their first mission together Steve had spent most of the night sitting at a table trying to scare guys away from dancing with Faith by staring at them. And he really did not want to know what happened between the two when Steve took her home.
The revelation on Steve’s relationship with Faith calmed the cops down. “He should be careful.” Advised Miller “I’ve seen guys go off the rails going after people they thought had hurt a partner, quite often the perp walks because the officer didn’t follow procedure or was too rough.”
Clint nodded and mentioned he would keep it in mind. “So where do we go from here?”
“Honestly not sure.” Admitted Miller, running his hand slowly through his graying hair before continuing on. “There is going to be some heat on this that’s for sure. Mayoral elections are up next year and they're already getting ready to start campaigning.” Turning to Davis and Finney, “needless to say if there is some kind of taskforce put together....”
Davis nodded his head. “We’ll want in but honestly I’d rather we not let it get that far, you know how much of a circus those are. We've got a couple of CIs who may be able to help us, and there are one or two places associated with the Kingpin that we have been meaning to hit but not had enough grounds to get warrants on.”
“My boss may be able to help with that.” Added Clint, looking forward to getting things moving on in case Steve decided to go after Bullseye and the Kingpin himself. “I’ll give him a call and see if he can grease some wheels.”
Back at the hospital
Steve rubbed his eyes, he still wasn't convinced that computers where all they where cracked up to be. Yes he would not be able to do what he was doing now back in the 40’s but it was hell on the eyes and it did nothing for people’s grammar.
“How you doing?” Steve looked up to see Olivia in the doorway, staring at him a bit nervously.
“I’m okay, just going through what we have on this...,” pausing to wave at the screen, “Bullseye character. Nice choice on the flowers I think Faith will appreciate them even if she didn't say so out loud.” Admittedly he had not noticed them till he had stopped brooding at the edge of her bed but there was no doubt in his mind that the flowers and large get well card brightened things up.
“Thanks. What are you doing?”
Steve startled at the uncharacteristic bluntness from Olivia, and from the look on her face she was a bit surprised as well. “I mean you dragged me over the coals for not staying at my desk and doing what I can to help and then you tell me to stay and keep you informed yet here you are when you could be off getting the bastard who did this.”
After looking back at the laptop’s screen for a second he closed the lid, got up, and handed the laptop to Olivia giving her arm a quick ‘thank you’ squeeze before heading out the door. Walking back towards the lift he pulled out his cellphone and dialed Clint.“Took your time, how is she?”
“She just got out of surgery, she’s still out. They think there may be a bit of swelling in the brain but it should go down. Where are you guys?”“We've just raided a place up on Lexicon netting a couple of sprats and one medium size fish. About to head back to the station, the cops are going to want to know if you plan to go old school on the guy before they let you near him. ”
“If that means if I plan to hurt him then the answer is no, I’ll see you soon.”
5-3 Police Station
Steve was beginning to re-think his pledge of not hurting the suspect.
Jimmy ‘Silver Tongue’ Lincoln was not living up to his nickname, the only words out of his mouth had been a variation of “I want my lawyer.”
Realising Bullseye may have already fled the country he wasn't putting up this any longer. Catching Clint by surprise Steve strolled out of the viewing room and into the interview room, stopping to stand behind Miller and Yokas.
“May I have your handcuffs please Detective Yokas.” He asked quietly, his hand out stretched as his eyes never left Jimmy. Yokas did as asked staring in confusion as Steve gripped each cuff and started to pull. Her stare slowly turned to one of bewilderment as the chain started to stretch and then she flinched as Steve’s arms suddenly flew apart. Looking back up over her shoulder she saw Steve’s face red with exertion, holding half the handcuffs in each hand.
He leaned over Yokas and Miller’s shoulders and slammed the broken hand cuffs down on the table. “An employee of your boss almost killed my partner this morning, I suggest you start answering their questions; unless you want to be transferred into my custody that is.”
Jimmy looked at him then back down to the cuffs in front of him. “I’m going to want protection from the Kingpin the dude will kill me when he finds out I talked.” And then he looked up to Steve. “I’m going to want protection from this crazy mother fucker as well.”
Now this was a game Miller knew well. “You’re going to need to give us something first, tell us where we can find Bullseye and who the target was and then we can talk about a deal.”
“He’s hold up with some cats down on 23rd, it’s a warehouse that the boss had done up for people he wants to keep off the grid. Got no idea which of those bitches he was after, the boss doesn't share that kind of stuff.”
“Heh.” They turned back from the door to look at a still paled faced Jimmy “I’m going to need a new lawyer the dude coming will be from Wolfram and Heart, the boss has them on retainer or some such shit.”
Miller nodded then they finished filing out the door to find Clint waiting for them, Miller and Yokas then went off to get thing’s organized for the raid leaving the two alone in the hallway.
“Are you ready for this? If your head is not in the right place then thing could go pear shaped, we need to keep the cops onside. ” Clint asked Steve.
“My head is right enough to remember that Eli Damaskinos used the same lawyers, something which I doubt is a coincidence. Have we got equipment for this in the car?”
“M14s and vests, we’re ready to go as soon as they are. Remember this is their show, they will let us tag along but at the rear so don’t try and take the lead. “
Steve looked at him trying to hide the mix of feeling twirling around his mind. Back in the war he had been in the front with a squad behind him, not to mention an entire division of men at his call if needed. But he saw the rationale behind it so he swallowed his pride, nodded his head, and steeled himself for what was to come.
And so the characters of Third Watch enter the Marvel universe, the bit about Bullesye possibly being Irish is due to Collin Farrell keeping his accent in the movie plus gives it a bit more of an international angle.
Some of you may have gotten a suspicion or two what universe April was from, there will be more hints next chapter. :)
Next chapter: Steve vs Bullseye!