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“I have a mission for you and I don’t give damn if you want to accept it or not.” With that Fury got back in the elevator, holding it patiently as Steve cleaned himself up from his work out and joined him.
“The world is stranger then you know ...” said Fury as he pushed a button. “And I am not just talking about meta humans and Twitter I’m talking about the stuff that even a kid couldn't dream up.”
“You’re talking about monsters?” Asked Steve not sure he was hearing Fury right.
“The supernatural to be precise." Replied Fury. "Vampires, witches, werewolves, demons with scales and everything in between. Grimm’s characters brought to life in all their bloody glory.“
“What that has to do with me? You want me out there chasing Rumpelstiltskin?” Asked Steve in disbelief, yeah he went toe to toe with a guy who looked like his head had been dunked in acid but this was a whole new game, hell it wasn't even the same sport!
The lift opened, as they walked down the hallway Steve could not help but noticed how everyone’s eyes widened a notch when the recognized who was walking with their boss. Every time he was around the whispering started “Captain America”, “the real Ice Man”, “the guy who pulled a Han Solo”. He still did not know what the last two meant, ever since he had woken up he had been scrambling to catch up with a world that had past him by.
“Nothing quite that dramatic there are others out there fighting the good fight which bring us to my point. I have someone I want you to meet, now I have stretched my neck out getting her here but she has a skill set that few others have and more importantly,” Fury said as staff scurried out of their way, “she is one of the few people in the world whose abilities match your own.”
“On the flip side she has more issues then you.”
“I don’t have issues.” Stated Steve trying to sound nonchalant.
Fury didn't buy it for a second, he stopped and stared at Steve “You've been frozen for 70 years. You HAVE issues.” Then turned around and kept walking and talking as Steve caught back up.
“Basically the girl’s got the goods. She is abnormally strong, has fast reflexes, quick healing and quite frankly would probably beat you in close quarter combat. On top of that she managed to get from Boston to California with no money and all sorts of things trying to tear her apart along the way.”
“And the issues?”
“Very low self confidence and she is on a very justified guilt trip.”
Suddenly what Fury was saying started to click together for Steve leading to his next question. “You pulled her out of prison didn't you?”
“She would be the first to say that she deserved to be in there. But to say her situation was F.U.B.A.R is an understatement. I haven’t seen such a combination of bad leadership, bad choices, bad timing and straight out bad luck since Nam." And with that comment Fury bought them up to the conference room.
They stopped outside the door to the conference room and Fury looked at Steve. “Look I understand you have misgivings but one of the reasons I have lived so long is by surrounding myself with people with different skill sets. You have a moral compass and experience in large scale combat, she has survival instincts and experience going one on one with things bigger and stronger then her.”
And with that he opened the door. The conference room was empty apart from a young woman quickly trying to tidy herself up, obviously having been perched on the table. It would have looked rather innocent if it was not for the knife she was holding.
“Hey Boss whose the Captain America wannabe?”
“Faith Lehane I would like to introduce you to Steve Rogers. Cap’ I would like you to meet the Vampire Slayer”
With that the brunette's mouth dropped “ You've got to be shitting me! But I thought he was just ... I mean how ...... Huh??”
“The comics book that I take it you where referring to where started as an attempt to raise moral and bonus bonds. As for Steve he has been frozen for the last seventy years in a kind of suspended animation.” Fury deadpanned acting like he was talking about something as mundane as the weather.
“Damn ...I’ll give you this your the best looking grand pa I’ve ever laid eyes on.” Said Faith giving Steve a quick once over with her eyes.
Steve lips twitched a bit as he struggled to keep her the same treatment with his eyes.
"If you two are done I would like to get down to business." Said Fury, gesturing at them to take a seat.
As they made to sit down, both men were startled by the sound of Faith's knife being dropped onto the table.
Seeing the look Faith quickly picked it up, then went to slowly put it back down again but stopped an inch above the table unsure what her next move should be. "I'm sorry about the knife I have just been practicing with it. Not that I mean to use it on anyone around here ... you're not about to ask me to use it on anyone around here are you? I mean I know you said there was the possibility I may have ..."
Fury raised his hands to ease Faith's nervousness. "Just put the knife down I promise you'll get a chance to use it soon and not on humans. In fact you are probably going to need something bigger."
Faith's eyes lit up as they all took a seat "Sounds like you got a big bad lined up."All hesitancy gone at the thought of doing some righteous violence.
"I guess I do but before we get started there is someone I'd like you both to meet." Fury said has leaned forward and pushed the comm. button. "Mrs Hill would you send in Dr. Karen Jenson."
All three looked up at the door as an African American women in her early thirties wearing a blouse and slacks walked in with several folders.
"Steve and Faith I would like you to make Dr Karen Jensen, Karen I would like you to meet Steve Rogers and Faith Lehane "
"Karen here," continued Fury as everyone sat down after shaking hands. "Is a former hematologist at New York Central. She has had some experience working with a counterpart of yours Faith by the name of Blade."
"Blade? Well I guess it is no weirder name then Angel or Spike, taking it his choice of weapon isn't a baseball bat." Commented Faith as she tried to place the name, Diane had mentioned that there was groups independent of the Council that hunted the supernatural but the name did not ring a bell.
"I am sure he has used one more than once or twice." Karen replied. "And with all honesty I have probably seem him use a gun more often than not."
Faith's eye's narrowed. "I thought you said he was in the same line of work? Guns are useless against vamps unless he somehow managed to get wooden bullets. "
Karen turned to look at Fury who took over. "When we first meet I mentioned that we know something about vampires the your watchers didn't let on. The big one being there are not actually one type of vampire but two."
Faith's eyes went up "What the fuc.." She stopped under Fury's glare and corrected herself "I mean what the hell do you mean there are two types?"
"In a way the type of vampire you are use to dealing with is actually a mix of two things. One is the vampire and the other is demon. The other type is pure vampire, victims of a virus which may rob them of their humanity but technically not of their soul."
"These vamps they still feed off humans, may be play with them a bit just to make the taste a bit sweeter" Faith asked her with steel in her voice.
"Yes but..." started Karen.
"Then trust me lady you do NOT know what you are talking about." Faith turned to Fury. "Where did you find this tree hugger again?"
"This 'tree hugger" snapped Karen. "Was bitten by a vampire so I assure you I know what I am talking about. Just because they have technically kept their soul does not mean the are able to use it. The virus effectively subdues a person's pre-frontal cortex which is where all your moral decision making occurs. When you add that to the increase in senses and thirst for blood a person's conscience, becomes dormant and their soul along with it."
"It also means that unlike the daemon vampires you are used to dealing with they are allot more sophisticated, they have their own verbal and written language. There is a hierarchy in place and they have 'familiars' humans who do their dirty work for them, help them cover their tracks and even provide armed security"
Faith was silent for a minute "I just can't believe that Diane never told me. I remember her saying some vampires don't dust like the rest but she said it was just a aberration. Did B ... " Looking up at Fury.
Fury shook his head. "No she was just as surprised as you. They tend to stay away from the whole apocalypse deal, bad for business and everything so it is possible they thought it was not necessary"
Faith's eyes lost focus as she tried to process. "I can't believe Diane wouldn't have told me or that Giles wouldn't have told Buffy. I mean the diaries of previous Watchers would have mentioned them. And the fact they don't means that none of them knew so either the Watcher's Council has been completely in the dark or ... or ... oh Jesus Christ." Faith leaned back in her chair, her eyes having gone as wide as saucers in disbelief.
Once again Fury found himself placating one his newest employees. "I know, look I cannot say one way or another. What I can tell you is that they exist and there is people out there fighting them".
"Who?" asked Steve. The whole time he had been sitting there quietly, arms resting on the table. It had been allot to take in, not only was it the craziest debrief he had every had but he was also studying the mannerisms of his new partner. So far all he saw was a girl who seemed more out of her depth then he was.
"They call themselves Nightstalkers, they work as sleeper cells one goes down another one takes up the slack. It is the only way I could keep it low key and the funding hidden from the bean counters."
"It's off the books?" questioned the rather straight laced Steve, not too sure how he felt about it. But considering his first mission with Peggy and Hank hadn't been authorized on any level he could not really object.
"The US government does not officially recognize the existence of vampires so as a federal agency S.H.I.E.L.D cannot officially go after them. But I will be damned if I am going to sit back while these bastards run our streets."
"You have me been down as a meta-human don't you? It was how you managed to get me out of prison, said I would be useful against others of my kind while really you wanted me to get back to slaying." They all looked at Faith who was looking at her hands like they where back in cuffs.
Fury merely nodded his head. "That about sums it up. But I want you to help with both the supernatural and the meta."
"Okay ... okay then." Said Faith nodding her head in consent as she straightened up and got her head back in the game.
Fury and Karen then continued debriefing them, going over the differences in the two kinds and how they could be 'dusted', a term both Karen and Fury found themselves adopting as the discussion went on. When Faith commented that the virus vamps or, 'VVs' as she put it, seemed to have allot more weaknesses with both silver and garlic effecting them both Fury and Karen agreed it was worth looking into to see if there was actually a connection between the two species or if they evolved separately
Finally it came time to discuss what was going to happen next for Fury's two new agents.
"Do you really have shield?" Steve nodded "That is cool, not my style but still cool" Faith paused for a second "If we are going to do this then you're going to need to go old school, silver bullets may work on these 'virus vamps' but they do not work on the demon kind, allot other demons would just shrug them off as well. And I am guessing a lot of metas will do the same if it comes to that "
She turned and looked at Fury " For Steve I'm thinking of some kind of short sword, you know like the Greeks or Romans used"
"There called a gladius" Interjected Steve grateful to finally be able to add to the discussion.
"Yeah gladius, maybe two for you cause carrying around shield ain't exactly discreet. I'll go with a claymore, I can use my hair to hide the hilt if necessary. Going to need some silver stakes as well, I've only got a couple of wood ones B gave me. I'll let Steve take the lead on the guns."
Though Faith quickly added "...but if you have something that takes a bayonet that would be cool, oh and a real solid butt in case we need to smack someones face in. And no Glocks, I know you guys all carry them and the plastic is real strong but I don't trust them not to shatter if I have to pistol-whip something."
"I can tell Blade is going to like you" said Karen with a sad smile. "If it helps when I was with Blade he was using Magnum Munitions MAC-11, though he was tinkering with a STK* 9mm USP last time I saw him."
It took a second or two for Steve and Fury to get their eyes fully back in their heads, the Doc really was full of surprises. "I'm sure Steve will take that under advisement for the future." Fury deadpanned. "But neither of you are going anywhere till both of have been cleared by our range master with modern weaponry. And until you," looking at Faith "are happy with the Cap's close combat skills."
Faith's face went white for a second before her trademark grin came back up "sounds like fun" then turning to look at Steve "what do you say Cap, you ready to get all hot and sweaty with little old me" with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
Steve smiled, trying to hide his nervousness. Many of the USO dancers that had backed him while he was touring to sell War Bonds had been anything but subtle but he had feeling Faith was on a whole other level."I am sure it will be fun for at least one of us. I have never done any proper sparring before".
His smile faltered when he saw the evil twinkle in her eyes.
STK = Stark Industries – the gun names I pulled from IMDBF and just tweaked them to fit the Marvel Universe