Lightning Strike by LCDRFireFly

Billy Timmons x OC

Rating: T, later M.

AN: Hey guys! It took me quite some time to figure this one out, but here is my Expendables fanfic. It focuses on Billy the Kid and my OC Kate and it takes place before and after The Expendables 2 in a slight AU where Billy survives being stabbed by Vilain.

The Italics are flashbacks of Billy's and Kate's past.

The story is named after the song Lightning Strike from Snow Patrol.

Now, I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do writing it! Feel free to leave a review on the way out.

Disclaimer: I don't own them, just Kate.


What if this storm ends?
And I don't see you
As you are now
Ever again

A perfect halo
Of gold hair and lightning
Sets you off against
The planet's last dance

Just for a minute
The silver forked sky
Lit you up like a star
That I will follow

Now it's found us
Like I have found you
I don't want to run
Just overwhelm me

What if this storm ends?
And leaves us nothing
Except a memory
A distant echo

I want pinned down
I want unsettled
Rattle cage after cage
Until my blood boils

I want to see you
As you are now
Every single day
That I am living

Painted in flames
All peeling thunder
Be the lightning in me
That strikes relentless

What if this storm ends?
And I don't see you
As you are now
Ever again

A perfect halo
Of gold hair and lightning
Sets you off against
The planet's last dance

Just for a minute
The silver forked sky
Lit you up like a star
That I will follow

Now it's found us
Like I have found you
I don't want to run
Just overwhelm me

(Snow Patrol: The Lightning Strike)


Chapter 1:

"Nice shooting, Kate!"

"Thanks."

The young woman smiled and chambered a new round, handing the rifle to the man standing next to her. Mr. Bennett took it with an imperceptible nod, than readied himself for the shot. He aimed, but missed the score Kate had set.

"Guess you owe me twenty bucks." she smirked and pulled out her earplugs. She'd decided to wear them even though she was used to the loud gunfire. Her ears were still a little deaf after last night's 'excursion' but she could not attract attention, hence the earplugs for Mr. Bennett.

That night she had been after a local drug dealer selling his product to kids. She could stand adults be stupid and take the stuff, but when it came to kids she knew no mercy. Eventually, it had ended in a minor shootout, but one of the cartel members had hit the gas tank of a nearby car causing it to explode in Kate's close proximity. Her ears were still ringing from the explosion but it would not last longer than a few days.

She was about to follow her boss, when a tall man wearing a coat and sunglasses approached them, but Kate didn't take further notice of him.

"Ms. Evans?"

She stopped and turned around to face the man, astonished that the stranger knew her name.

"Yes?"

"My name's Church."

"So how can I help you, Mr. Church?" Kate asked, a little puzzled by the man's appearance and his emotionless face.

"The question is more likely how I can help you." He made a small pause. "We know about your actions. About every single one. And we are offering you a way out."

One look into his eyes told her that he was definitely not bluffing. How on earth could he know that she had been taking down extortionists and small time drug dealers for the past year? She made damn sure that nobody would know. She had moved to the outskirts of New Orleans instead of back home to her family and friends. First, to make sure that she and her actions weren't placed with her or her hometown and secondly, to avoid that she was running into someone she knew. But it hadn't been enough.

"Who is we?" she asked defensively. She would neither confirm nor deny anything to that stranger.

"CIA. But it doesn't really matter. We do not have an interest in arresting you."
"Then why are you here?" Kate wondered, slightly getting a bad feeling about the whole conversation.

"We are interested in your skills, Ms. Evans. You have a certain talent for languages that comes in handy for us and apparently you know how to take care of yourself."

"There are many people out there how have the same skills if not better." Kate retorted arms crossed in front of her chest. Church merely chuckled.

"Yes, of course, but neither of them is on the verge of going to jail for taking down criminals on his own and without jurisdiction of the government. That is why I am offering this job to you."

"I'm done working for the government." she merely scoffed.

"But you are clearly not done doing the right thing. Making the call when nobody else does."

Kate thought back at her time in the service. She had been interested in foreign cultures and languages ever since. Coming from a military family, she'd joined the service as soon as she'd turned 18. But she had the feeling that she needed to do more than just sit behind a desk and translate documents coming from the forces deployed overseas. She wanted to be there, to see for herself what it was like. So when the Air Force was looking for female interpreters in particular to facilitate communication with the female population in Afghanistan, Kate had volunteered without hesitation.

Her work led her to numerous girl schools and she loved interacting with these foreign and heartwarmingly kind people. Seeing the girls being taught to read and write, she knew that she was doing the right thing. But it hasn't always been easy.

Her thoughts wandered to the very day that had changed her life, ended her career and brought her here. The grief and disappointment were still fresh and she felt the anger boiling up.

Church was right. She wasn't done doing the right thing. Weighing her options she was enough of a rational thinker to know that his man in front of her wasn't kidding. He would put her in jail, so she slowly turned to him.

"Fine, what you want from me?" Kate asked cautiously. "I don't think that I can be of much use to your operations. Beside, don't you have enough spooks to put on that job?"

Church merely chuckled.

"I've got my contacts when I need things to be done loud and fast. But that's not what I've planned for you. There is a group working for me. They are quite good at what they're doing but they sometimes lack the emotional intelligence of a woman."

Kate remained silent for a few moments; thinking it over quickly. Should she really get involved with a man like Church? And she didn't know this group she was supposed to be working with. But Church's words stuck out to her: Making the call when nobody else does.

As if Church had sensed her doubts he pulled out his phone and showed her some pictures. With every image, Kate felt the aching knot in her stomach grow bigger. He had proof of at least a dozen jobs she'd pulled over the last few months. He would send her to jail if she wasn't going to comply. She was sure of it now. With no other option left she nodded her agreement reluctantly.

Church merely smiled at her.

"Tomorrow, 1700 hours at this address." He handed her a small piece of paper. "Don't be late."

And then without any further comment he was gone.


While waiting for the next meeting with Church, Kate didn't dawdle away. She used all her military and ex-military contacts to get more information about Church and the group he was working with. But nobody could help her out. It seemed like nobody had ever heard about them. So she figured that they were not part of the force, no black ops, but still skilled enough to be hired by the CIA.

A sleepless night and a restless day later, still doubtful about the whole thing, she readied herself for the meeting. Putting on her soft leather jacket over her black tank top to conceal the gun in the back of her waistband, she looked at the woman in the mirror glancing back at her. Her long blonde hair was pulled into a bun and her bangs almost touched her long lashes. She flicked on her Ray Ban's and took in a calming breath while shooting one last look at her appearance. Confident, casual but still with a touch of femininity; except for the gun and the knife hidden in her ankle strap. Let's see what this guy Church is up to. One can never be too cautious, the thought and closed the door of her apartment, heading to the location.

Half an hour later, she arrived at the address Church had given her which turned out to be a bar in the suburbs of New Orleans. It was an old bar; the neon sign above the entrance flickered from time to time, casting pale blue light on the numerous motorcycles standing in front and on the left hand side of the building. While waiting for Church, Kate could not help but admire the machines parked in front of the building. For a while she used to ride a BMW, but when being deployed most of her time, she decided to sell it. Now she watched two people exit the bar. The two men headed for the small bench on the eastern side of the building, sitting down and talking. While watching them, something about the younger man stuck out to Kate. But she could not instantly place him and had no time pursue her thoughts, because a familiar voice greeted her.

"Ms. Evans. Glad you could make it." Church said, stepping next to her, following her gaze. "You recognize someone?"

Kate shook her head, cursing that her expression had given her away. If Church was sending her on some kind of covert op, she better started working on her acting skills. She sighed a little angry with herself and followed Church to the bar.


Meanwhile outside the bar…

Following his boss out of Lacy's bar, Billy felt an aching knot in his stomach. It had been almost a year he worked with Barney's group and he really enjoyed it. But at night, when the others met up at Tool's or here, he couldn't help but wonder what had happened to her. He had kept the letter she had written and he couldn't count the number of times he'd read it. The words written in her neat handwriting appeared in front of his eyes. He knew them by heart.

Billy,

I am sorry that I can't tell you in person, but I am ordered back to the states ASAP. Guess my little stunt hasn't gone unnoticed. I will face and accept any consequence they put up for me, but I will never regret my decision. I made the right call and I would do it again. I will not dishonor the memory of your friend by caving in.

I sincerely hope that you will never be put in a situation like this and I pray that you will finish your deployment unharmed.

I will miss our little hideout. Having someone to talk to. Just sitting there with a friend. Maybe we see each other again- hopefully under better circumstances.

Be safe!

K.

Caught up in his thoughts, Barney's voice brought him back to reality.

"This life. It isn't for you." his boss asked, sitting down next to him, facing the entrance.

I sincerely hope that you will never be put in a situation like this. Her words were still loud and clear in his head, but it had happened and it had resulted in his new job with the Expendables. Billy sighed.

"Honestly, I wasn't sure about it after I recovered from my injury. I thought about stepping away from it but this job… It is what I am." He gave Barney a sheepish smile. "After everything that's happened you guys are family and I will not let you down. But I have to take care of something before I can continue working for you."

Maybe we see each other again- hopefully under better circumstances. But were the circumstances really better? He working as some kind of good-guy mercenary, she been kicked of the force and probably lost? He hadn't heard from her since she left Afghanistan, so why would she want to see him now?

His mind must have been an open book as Barney asked softly:

"Something or someone?"

"Someone." Billy replied, not surprised that his boss could read him that well. "I met her when I was deployed overseas. We became really good friends, but then she was forced to leave the service and I think she took it pretty hard. Haven't been able to find her since and I've got the feeling that I need to look after her. At least make sure that she's OK before I can have your back again."

Barney nodded thoughtfully. In light of the recent events, Billy surviving being stabbed by Vilain and his recovery, he could understand that his youngest team member wanted to look after the ones he cared about. He wouldn't even blame Billy if he had decided to quit the Expendables, but during and after his recovery from his injuries he had suffered back in Albania they had talked long hours and he had the feeling that Billy was looking up to him not only as a team leader but as some sort of mentor. And truth to be told, Barney had taken a great liking in the youngest Expendable.

"Take the time you need, Kid. I can make some calls; get you some Intel on your friend. Anything, you name it."

"Thank you, Barney." Billy smiled genuinely. "But I have to do this on my own."

"I understand. Come on, let's get back inside. Since you will be on leave for a while, next round's on you." Barney smirked patting Billy's back.

"Roger that, Sir." Billy laughed resignedly and followed his boss towards the entrance.


The air inside the bar was stifling from the smoke of numerous cigarettes and too many people crowding the small place. Billy and his boss made their way to their table. Seeing the familiar faces of the other Expendables, Billy was about to ask who was up for another round when he noticed the two people standing next to where Lee was sitting. He recognized the man as Mr. Church, their on-and-off handler for certain CIA operations, but he didn't recognize the woman. She was blonde, tall, slender but still athletic and something about her height and built seemed familiar to him, but he couldn't place her. The two obviously had sensed their presence and when they turned around, Billy stopped dead in his tracks.

"Mr. Ross. Good to see you." Church said indifferently. Everybody in the room could feel that he didn't mean his words. "Let's talk." he nodded Barney to follow him. The leader of the Expendables didn't move. Instead he glanced to Kate.

"Oh, this is Ms. Evans. She will assist you and your team on the next mission."
"There will be no next mission, Church. Last time…" Barney interjected, but Church cut is speech with a wink.

"Oh, yes Mr. Ross. There will be another mission." he merely said, is his voice dangerously low. "Follow me."

Reluctantly, Barney turned, not without a glance to Lee who obviously didn't like it either.

Left alone with a bunch of strangers except for one, Kate turned to Billy who had observed the short conversation motionless. Meeting his dark blue eyes, Kate couldn't help but hold her breath. She'd missed those kind blue eyes so much it hurt her to see them now. This was not the way she'd imagined their reencounter, but there was no turning back now. After a moment she pulled herself together.

"Nice to see you again, Mr. Timmons. I guess we have a habit of meeting in bars." she chuckled with a wink.

"Kate, what on earth are you doing here?" Billy asked. He could not believe the coincidence. Not a minute ago he'd talked to Barney about getting some days off to find her and by some miracle she was standing right in front of him!

"Mr. Church offered me a job." she replied, but by her tone he could tell that it wasn't her complete free decision to accept it. He was about to question her, when he heard Lee clear his throat.

"Kid, don't you want to introduce us to your friend?"

Billy apologized.

"'Course. Kate, meet Lee Christmas, Toll Road, Hale Caesar, Yin Yang and Gunnar Jensen. Guys, this is Kate Evans." He pointed to every one of them who reciprocated her nod.


Two years earlier…

The thumping of helicopter rotors mixed with the constant humming of generators as Kate was on her way to the galley. Over the past few months she'd become accustomed to the spartan lifestyle in the US Armed Forces FOB Griffin. But it was luxury compared to the command outpost they had slept in over the past few days. Running water, constant electricity not to mention real food and no MREs. They had been on a multi-day mission to one of the villages in the surrounding rural areas and even though Kate liked the direct interaction with the locals, she was glad to have her own bed to sleep in and something that actually deserved to be called a bathroom.

In the galley she met up with her team. The five men were already waiting for her. As they saw her approaching, a grin crept over their faces causing Kate to sigh impatiently.

"What is it this time, guys?"

"Better question: What took you so long, honey?" Brian, a tall man with short blond hair smirked good-naturedly. "Getting' pretty for the mysterious guy?"

"Look at me." she rolled her eyes. "I haven't even got time to take a proper shower."

Even though they had just finished their mission, they were always on a tight schedule and Kate had barely time to freshen up and change her dirty stained uniform for a clean one when their Captain had ordered them to get some food before the mission debrief.

Brian leaned in and sniffed.

"You smell like roses, dear. I think he will love it!"

Kate pushed him away with a laugh.

"Stop it, will you. He'd smiled at me once," she held up one finger, "and doesn't mean anything."

"Yeah, keep yourself telling that." Rico smirked as they shuffled forward in the line.

Kate decided not to answer this aloud mumbling something under her breath. She really liked her team but sometimes the whole getting-picked-on-because-she's-the-girl thing wasn't treating her nerves too well.

It had been a few times over the past couple of weeks that Kate kept running into that Army guy, once maybe twice a week. Not literally, but he would sit in the exact same spot with his team every time she got to lunch and if it hadn't been for her team mate Brian to tell her she probably would never have noticed him.

"For heaven's sake, Kate!" Brian had laughed as they ate dinner one day. "He is practically undressing you with his eyes! Will you please look at him?"

"I'm not interested." she'd muttered, stuffing more noodles into her mouth to not have to answer the stupid suggestion. But her curiosity had been awakened. Why on earth was this guy stalking her?

"What, do you chicken, Tech. Sergeant Evans?"

"I am not!" Kate had exclaimed, letting her fork drop on the table. She was tired always having to justify her actions but she could not lose her face before her team.

Jesus, what's the matter with you, girl? she scolded herself. Just look and smile back and everything will be fine.

With that she'd turned around and it had taken her no time at all until she'd spotted the guy her team mate had been talking about. He was sitting a few tables to her hind left glancing in her direction.

His light brown hair was military short and he had a visible three-day stubble instead of being clean-shaven. A camouflage scarf was wrapped sloppily around his neck only emphasizing his rough and somewhat dangerous look. But when their eyes met and he reciprocated her look, she could not help herself think that she'd never looked in such beautiful kind blue eyes. They so didn't match his outer appearance but Kate was instantly fascinated by the contrast. He had returned her greeting nod with a smile before he faced his squad again.

"See, wasn't so bad after all." Brian had teased her patting her on the shoulder.

"Yeah, stupid." she muttered and turned her attention back to her meal. But all the appetite was suddenly gone. The only thing she could think about were those blue eyes.


The next days passed with Kate and her team stationed at FOB Griffin so she saw the handsome stranger in the galley almost every day. He would sit in his regular spot and greet her with a friendly nod and a smile when he spotted her.

Her team was driving Kate nuts, urging her to talk to him, but she refused. She kept her distance for not letting a man interfere with her work or her reputation which could be easily destroyed by getting involved with a fellow soldier. However, she caught herself looking for him every time she entered the galley and had to admit that she was curious why this stranger had taken such an interest in her.

One day, after long hours of mission preparation and tons of paperwork, Kate decided to go to the gym. While she ran on the treadmill, she had her iPod playing music from home. Her family and friends had put together a playlist with songs she liked and she always found it easier to stand the separation from her loved ones, knowing that they'd showed her their support in those songs.

Still smiling about some memories from her last night out with her friends, Kate was on her way back to her bunk, when she spotted a couple of men approaching from across the yard. She didn't take notice of them until they started whistling when they saw her. It wasn't the first time that it had happened and she'd learned to ignore the unwanted attention. Only this time, the tight corridors between the containers would make it difficult to get past them. The dim light shed by only a few lanterns didn't make her feel any more comfortable but she wasn't about to turn back and make it look like she was scared of them.

She squared her shoulders as she headed her way. She reached the group and when she was certain that everything would just be fine, one of the men purposely leaned in to brush against her as she tried to slip past.

"Hey, hands to yourself!" she said firmly.

"So you mean I can't do this?"

There was a slap on her derriere followed by some raucous laughter. Her face flushed bright red and she whirled around.

"You heard me the first time!"

"Well, I'm not a very good listener, so you'll have to tell me again, babe." the man replied.

Kate turned again to leave when she suddenly felt a large hand close upon her wrist. Fear was tightening her chest, but she wasn't going to show him.

"Let go!"

The man came closer and she tried to step away but bumped into the wall of the container behind her. He pressed his body against hers, his leering face and stale breath unbearably close.

"I've never seen you around. So won't you tell me where are you coming from?"

"Get off!" she shrieked, trying to push him off and feeling pain in wrist the stranger was pinning against the cold steel wall. But he just laughed and joked with his partner, who stood beside him.

"Hey, get away from her!"

The order came with a strong shove and the man slammed back into the opposite wall two feet away. Kate could not believe her eyes as she recognized her savior. The blue-eyed stranger from the galley was blocking the way between her and them, shielding her from her attackers.

"Who do you think you are, buddy?" the stranger growled stepping closer to him.

"The guy telling you to take a walk."

The man raised a fist.

"I'm gonna…"

"What's going on here?"

Everyone froze at the sight of the officer, who stood there observing the scenery, waiting for an explanation.

Kate's savior spoke first.

"Just a small disagreement, Sir. We'll be moving along now with your permission."

As soon as the officer nodded he took Kate's hand and pulling her with him and they left, though not before hearing the officer give a stern warning to the two men. They were far away from the area when he spoke to her.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I think so. They were just a couple of morons." she mumbled, surprised by the look of concern in his eyes.

"Well those 'morons' had you alone and cornered in an empty alley."

"I know how to defend myself." she shot back, but instantly regretted her harsh tone. She didn't want to appear ungrateful. "But I'm really, really glad that you came along."

"Me too. I was kinda lost. Are you sure you're ok?"

"Yes." Kate sighed.

There was a small pause where they looked at each other.

"Where are my manners." he ruffled through his hair with an apologetic smile. "I'm Billy Timmons."

He stretched out his hand and Kate took it with a smile.

"Kate Evans. Nice to meet you."

He glanced at her insignia. She probably was his age, maybe a little younger, but already an USAF Tech. Sergeant meaning she was a higher rank than him. He snapped to attention.

"The pleasure is all mine, Ma'am."

He shot her a questioning look, as he saw her smirking.

"Oh, for heaven's sake, cut the Ma'am crap. It makes me feel old. And besides, we're off duty." she added with a genuine smile. Billy reciprocated it sympathetically.

"So where are you headed?" he asked her.

"To my bunk. I was on my way back from the gym." she explained looking up to him. While seeing him in the galley she'd never noticed that he was quite a tall man.

"Where is it located?" he asked.

Kate shot him a suspicious glance.

"Why do you want to know this? Are you stalking me?"

That earned her a disbelieving look from Billy.

"Why on earth would I stalk you?" he asked quite confused.

"Well, you kept glancing at me in the galley and you showed here…" she trailed off realizing how ungrateful this sounded. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you."

"I was just wondering what a woman was doing in an USAF response team. I always thought women weren't allowed in ground conflict." he replied with such honesty Kate had to believe him.

"And besides," a sheepish smile crept onto his features. "I saw you joking with your team. You have a nice smile and I would like to get to know you better."

Kate gazed at him completely caught off-guard. It took her a few seconds to find her tongue again.

"That's rather flattering." she mumbled, trying her hardest not to blush. It had been a while since someone had paid her a compliment. A real one, not the mocking ones she got from her team mates ever so often.

Billy, however, seemed to have sensed her discomfort.

"I would really like to walk you back to your bunk, if that's OK for you. Just to make sure that you get there safely." he added as he caught her glance.

"That'd be nice." she said with a small smile.

"So, where is it located?"

She told him the segment and label and together they made their way through the camp. They walked in silence for a while before Billy spoke again.

"Tell me, what is your actual job here, Kate?" Billy asked as they walked side by side thought the cold night air.

"I'm an interpreter for the Air Force. They needed someone to talk to the female population, because it is often easier to gain the local women's trust when they can speak with a woman, so here I am."

"That sounds interesting." he replied. "What is your team doing? Just getting in contact with the locals?"

Kate nodded.

"Yeah, mainly. Surveillance, patrolling. We are in charge of supervising the build-up of girl schools."

A sad smile crept over her face. Billy noticed it instantly.

"But that's a good thing isn't it?"

"Yeah, sure. But there is so much…" she sighed "… so much hostility from the elders in some parts of the province. They don't want their children to be educated. They are afraid that they will see the misery they are in and abandon them. But these kids, they are not like that. All they want is to live in peace. In their homeland."

Kate sighed and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. She had no clue why she was telling this stranger this, but it just felt right.

"But it's quite dangerous; going into these villages."

She nodded.

He'd experienced it multiple times. It was no walk in the park. His glance wandered to the gun holstered to her upper thigh.

"So you are actually defending yourself?"

Kate glanced to him with an almost impatient sigh.

"Dear, this is not just for show."

She patted on the gun holster then continued in a calmer voice.

"I have to have my teams back, right? I cannot stand there and say 'I am a woman; I am not allowed to engage in live combat.' My squad leader is pretty much the same opinion so he treats me like every other male team member."

That earned her an impressed nod.

"Do you get in this kind of situations a lot?" Billy asked watching her askance. She seemed to be tough but caring at the same time. And he liked her smart mouth.

"Sometimes the insurgents would just show up and open fire at us and at the kids, to make us quit our work. They say we are taking away their children but that's not true. We are just giving them the opportunity to go to a school. All we want is to help."

There was such desperation in her voice, Billy could strongly relate to her. He watched her ruffling through her hair again.

"I am sorry. I don't know why I am telling you all this." she said with a sheepish smile.

"No, it's OK. It's interesting to hear about your work."

"Well, enough about me." she stated, her mood lifted by his kind words. "I want to know something about my mysterious savior. You're US Army, right?" she asked her companion, still feeling bad about being so rude to him earlier.

Billy nodded. "Almost six years now."

"What's your job?"

"I'm a sniper."

"Hm, nice. Takes a lot of patience."

"Tell me about that." he grinned without looking at her.

"We're here."

Kate stopped in front of the container she shared with three other female soldiers.

"I guess you got what you wanted." she winked as she searched for her keys.

Billy shot her a questioning look.

"Getting to know me better."

"I'm not anywhere close knowing you, Kate Evans." he said with a grin. "Maybe we can see each other again. Let's say tomorrow, same time same place?"

"You mean you saving me from some guys?" Kate raised an eyebrow. Her reply earned her a laugh.

"I'd rather suggest we skip that. How do you feel about some coffee?"

Kate hesitated. She didn't know this guy, but something about his kindness stuck out to her. He was not like the other men on base and she wanted to know more about him.

"Fine." she finally nodded.

"Alright. Tomorrow 15.00 in the galley?"

"You think you're quite the guy, huh?" she shook her head disbelievingly about his final tone.

"What, can I say? I am quite persuasive, Ma'am." he smirked.

"So, do you always hit your mark?" Kate asked before she could stop herself, instantly regretting her flirting tone.

"Always." he winked.

Kate shot him a disbelieving look. Had she just agreed to go out on some sort of date with him?

"Fine. I'll be there. Good night, Billy. And thanks again."

He nodded with a smile.

"Good night, Kate."

He turned around and without any further comment he was gone.