It started with an odd dream, and I figured I'd give it a shot. Title isn't great either, but I didn't have much of an idea to begin with...Hope I didn't make any characters too OOC and you'll enjoy the story :)
When In Custody...
The usually calm, collected Maria Hill wanted to bang her head against the closest wall. Her superior, Nick Fury, had recently been wounded in some stupid incident and the Council had named her as his temporary replacement. The job itself didn't scare her; after all, she was the Director's right hand and had dealt with her share of crap. After all, who took care of the unfinished business when Fury ran around the world after Iron Man or Hulk or whatever superhero he could find? No, what was really threatening to become a massive headache was the phone call she had received two minutes ago from Agent Coulson, the handler of two of SHIELD's best agents. Both the Black Widow and Hawkeye had been compromised.
Hill sighed heavily and rubbed her temple. It was supposed to be a random, easy mission. Five targets in the area of Sacramento, and five ruthless gang leaders to take out within three weeks. The pair was good at what they did, especially together, so it should have gone smoothly. But then, who could have anticipated the emergence of a serial killer in the area? Who could have predicted that Target #5 would be murdered by said serial killer? And who could have known that both Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton of all people would be spotted by the local police and FBI (the freaking BAU nonetheless!) and taken into custody!
The usual extraction was completely out of order; the agents were not in a battle or a life-threatening situation and knocking off a bunch of cops and feds would only lead to a disaster. She couldn't exactly call the FBI hierarchy to release them ether. While both assassins worked for the government, they were… well, still criminals. Technically, former criminals with erased records, but that didn't always suit well with those guys. Plus, she resented owing favors to people she hardly knew. Also, SHIELD was a strictly need-to-know kind of Agency, and pulling strings could make both the locals and the FBI very curious and they could start asking the wrong sort of questions.
The woman leaned back in her seat and breathed in deeply. Coulson had promised to call her the moment he had more information but Hill knew he could only do so much. She turned towards her computer screen and started digging for more information on the investigation. She needed an idea to get them out of there the legal way without alerting the big guns, and she needed it fast.
Lodi police HQ
It was just another case, filled with murders and suspects and endless interrogations, but Emily Prentiss was getting really tired. Ten people murdered in twenty days, with no relation by gender, age, race or social position. The locals had called them in five days ago, and they were still going nowhere. The profile had been changed twice already, and that bastard was still leaving nothing behind. Since their arrival, he had left two other bodies and according to his pattern, would be killing again within the next six hours. So when she got a call informing her that two suspects had been arrested, a twinge of hope rose in her chest. They looked good, Morgan had said without going into details. Hopefully, she thought as she entered the parking lot, they were onto a lead. Their profile hadn't included a partnership, but this unknown subject (or 'unsub') was so unpredictable that she would hardly be surprised if their one person turned out to be two.
"The manager of a nearby hotel confirmed the presence of a couple." Jennifer Jarreau, aka JJ, briefed upon her arrival. "Very discreet, but charming; a little too quiet, according to him. When we got there and asked to do a little search, they weren't exactly pleased...but then, I wouldn't be either if the FBI busted me holding a backpack filled with guns. Lab is running for fingerprints as we speak."
"You got an ID?" the brunette asked as they both moved in the room on the other side of the two-way glass interrogation room.
"Papers say their names are Ellen Rogers and Justin Baker, but Garcia didn't find anything concrete to support it yet." They entered the room, already occupied by Reid and a local PD and JJ lowered her voice: "Hotch wants to make her wait a bit before attacking."
Prentiss nodded and stared at their first suspect. A beautiful redhead, dressed in a plain black pair of jeans and black tank top, was walking around the room, arms crossed and sighing heavily. She appeared to be in her late twenties, or early thirties, tops, and very shapely. Totally the type of girl Morgan would go after in a bar, she couldn't help but think with an inside smirk. Surprisingly though, the woman did not seem nervous, just severely pissed off. Not in the I-got-caught-red-handed-by-the-feds kind of pissed though. More like...I'm-wasting-my-time-in-here. Before she could pry for further info, their unit Chief appeared in the door frame. The moment he spotted Prentiss, he motioned for her to follow him. They walked in silence to another room -the second observatory room, she supposed- and he pushed the door to let her in. When she stepped in and saw the suspect sitting on the other side of the mirror...
The redheaded woman wasn't familiar to her, but the dirty blond-headed man sitting across from Rossi definitively was. Even though she had put that part of her life behind her nine years ago, she would never forget the hard-ass stare of Clint Barton, alias Hawkeye from SHIELD...
"I don't think they'll be talking." Morgan said, crossing his arms as he stood beside her, oblivious to her shock. Prentiss blinked quickly, forcing her mind to follow her partner's words.
"We just have to try something else." Hotch muttered in turn, staring at Barton hard. "He doesn't react to Rossi. I want you to take the lead later." he added, turning towards Prentiss. "Maybe he'll be more cooperative with a feminine presence."
That still won't work, the woman thought. She had no freaking clue about the woman, but knowing the training agents got at SHIELD...this was no interrogation in the assassin's agenda. This was a walk through kindergarten park...Unfortunately, Prentiss knew how determined her team worked. Heck, had she not been aware of Barton's job, she would have considered his behavior -or lack thereof- entirely suspicious. And even then, she knew his style; their unsub's killings were bloody messy while his shots were clear and clean. Plus, if Barton had been caught with this woman, then there was a high probability that she belonged to SHIELD as well...If he still belonged, she suddenly thought.
When she was still an agent there, Barton had his little reputation and didn't seem particularly bothered by his lifestyle. Had it stayed the same, or had he had enough and quit like she had? Prentiss cursed inwardly; she couldn't walk in and ask the questions she wanted to, nether could she contact SHIELD...they hadn't exactly left their calling card upon her departure and that was definitively not something she could research on the net. She held back a heavy sigh; she needed a sign, something to tell her whether she should discreetly try and help them out with an alibi or leave things as they were...
As if on cue, her cell phone vibrated in her pocket. She checked the number -unknown- apologized to the others in the room and headed into the bullpen.
"Prentiss" she said as she picked up and was only half-surprised to hear a long-time, familiar voice answer: "This is Maria Hill. It's been a while, Emily."
"It sure has" Prentiss acknowledged with a nod to herself. She glanced around her and when she was certain no-one was paying attention to her, walked out the front door. She turned into a corner, in an isolated street where no-one could approach unnoticed. "I assume you are not calling for a catch-up chat." A heavy sigh was half her answer.
"Laurence Marshal was a target." Hill started, naming their latest victim. "Unfortunately, your killer got to him before they did. Wrong place, wrong time, and now you have two of our best agents in custody facing charges for a crime they did not commit."
"Kinda ironic." Prentiss pointed out with a smirk. "So Barton is still working for you guys. Who is his lovely partner?" There was a slight pause on Hill's side.
"I tend to forget you left while he was still on that mission." she muttered. "Remember his target at the time? When he left for Paris to take down that Russian assassin?" The FBI agent frowned, searching in her memory.
"Yeah I think...didn't she have a spider codename or something? Tarantella or..."
"Yeah, that one. What about it?" When Hill didn't answer, mostly to let her work things out, Prentiss had a vague idea. "Wait a moment, are you telling me that..." The amazement turned into a snort of bemusement: "He didn't actually talk her into joining...did he?"
"She's been his partner on and off for the past six years." The brunette burst out laughing.
"Jesus, only he would pull a stunt like that! I bet the big boss wasn't happy about it." she heard Hill chuckle, remembering the expression on Fury's face. That day, the man had earned his last name. "Jokes and memories aside, what's the problem?"
"You know the goddamn problem, Emily, two agents in custody. That must be the first in SHIELD's history."
"What is Fury's say in this?" Prentiss asked, ignoring the snappy tone of her former colleague. Hill sighed.
"He's on medical leave, but he'd probably throw a fit. I'm dealing with this right now."
The FBI agent blinked. Maria Hill, the reserved but brilliant newbie who was barely twenty-one when she integrated SHIELD was now THE Director's replacement? Prentiss vaguely wondered if she should be surprised...after all, the young woman had shown a bright, solid and intelligent mind since the early days.
"Believe me, right now I wish he was there." Hill's tone turned more serious and Prentiss knew she meant business. "I need your help, Emily. I can't send agents in case it interferes with the investigation and I don't want to implicate higher-ups. Not that they'd give a damn anyway."
"I get it. What do you need?"
"How suspicious are the police about them?"
"Honestly, it's not looking good. My teammates caught them with a bag of guns and other weapons; although now that you mention it, I doubt it's theirs. I don't know much more...I was on an interview when they were arrested. They should be released if a new murder occurred, but they'd have to hold on until then. I can always try to help them remember an alibi or something but I can't guarantee my team will buy it."
"Great." Prentiss smirked; only Maria Hill would make 'great' sound like an F-bomb. "And before you ask, they have official covers and ID."
"Make sure it is well done, because we have one of the best hackers on our side. A very curious hacker."
"I'll keep a close eye on that." Hill assured. God forbid if Garcia ever found out who they really were..."I'll try to find some background picture or documents that can be used to support their cover." There was a pause. "Is there anything I can do to help you solve this case in return?"
"Maybe, I'll have to check a few things first though. How can I contact you?"
"I'll keep in contact. And permanent contact. Agent Coulson will meet up with you and give you the earpiece-communicators we use on missions. I'll be able to hear you and speak to you if needed. Remember Agent Coulson by the way?"
"I might have left nine years ago, but I did stay for five." Prentiss reminded her, ignoring the light flutter in her chest at the name. "And of course I remember..." she let her voice trail off as she sensed someone approaching. "We worked together before he became birdie's babysitter."
Hill immediately picked up the lack of names and the tone of her voice.
"I take it you are no longer alone?"
"I gotta go back to work. Just tell me when you set up the meeting with that guy."
"Do you have pockets?"
"What do you mean, I need a jacket?"
"You'll have the communicators when you get back; Coulson is nearby the police building, he'll bump into you and slip them in there. Just make sure you take the front door."
"Oh and Emily? Once this is done, you might want to buy a new phone."
"Figures." the FBI agent snorted, the corner of her lips tugging upwards. "You owe me one."
"I know. Talk to you later."
"Bye." Prentiss said before hanging up and turning towards the newcomer. True to her instincts, Hotch was standing a few feet away, staring at her with a mixture of annoyance and worry. Knowing him, he would have noticed her absence and decided that she must have a good reason for deserting her post.
"Everything all right?"
"Sure" she assured with a half-smile. Hotch frowned, not quite believing her, but she held onto her mask firmly. This was something she actually dreaded, holding onto the mask. Hiding her motives from the locals would be easy. Deceiving her team, harder, but she had managed with the Doyle situation before -even if Morgan had felt something was going on. The one person she feared would catch onto her act was Aaron Hotchner. Since her return from the dead, they had grown closer and sometimes, tip-toed around the line of friendship and more. He could figure her out like no-one else, and vice versa. Lying to him, even for the sort of right reasons would be a pain and something she was not quite comfortable with. But telling him would not be an option; because Aaron Hotchner might sometimes understand or feel for a criminal, but he would absolutely condemn an assassin, friend or foe.
Oh yeah, Prentiss thought as she followed him back to the bullpen, Maria Hill owed her one. A big one.
I liked the idea of Hill and Prentiss being friends...and Prentiss being in SHIELD. I think she'd do great xD
So, is this worth another chap?
Thanks for reading :)