Partners Still

Summary:
June 23, 2014: A talk between Sara and Paul resolves some issues.

Pezzini's apartment. It needs cleaning.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Sara Pezzini did not have a great night. Or a great couple of nights. Yes, there was alcohol involved. But it didn't exactly improve her mood or her situation. She ended up going home alone, which is probably for the best in the long term, but only added to her general state of unhappy. So when there's a knock at the door, it's met by a rather unpleasant growling sound, and then a voice. "Unless it's the girl scouts and you actually have cookies, I'm really not interested!"

"It's not." Paul's voice answers. "I don't have any cookies. I don't even have any Girl Scouts. Open the door anyway, Pezzini. I really don't feel like owing you for the price of a new door."

"Seriously? What, you didn't get enough time to look down your nose at me?" The voice gets closer, and Sara opens the door…long enough to get some good leverage to slam it back shut. And then she opens it again, walking away not quite quickly enough to hide her wince. Maybe slamming the door wasn't as satisfying as she was hoping it would be. Inside, the house is something of a mess. More so than usual, even, with clothes and pizza boxes strewn around…along with empty beer bottles.

Paul didn't change position between openings and once it's open the second time, walks in and quietly closes it behind him. "Hang over? Been there, done that." And given his metabolism, it required a copious amount of alcohol. He looks around the apartment then heads toward the kitchen. "I wasn't looking down my nose at you." he points out as he walks. "I was telling you how stupid you're being and what a huge mistake it is. Very different things. And a huge mistake it is. But the thing at the prison? Not your fault. Don't take on the sins of others. We've all got enough of our own."

"It was my fault, Paul," Sara shakes her head, stepping into the kitchen to fill a glass with water. "I brought those kids together. I made it possible. Because I couldn't leave well enough alone." She takes a drink, bracing herself against the counter afterwards. "I couldn't save them."

"I couldn't save them either." Paul opens the fridge and pushes things around before he pulls out a couple bottles of beer. "And I didn't argue about taking them to a shelter." The ones they couldn't prove killed anyone, anyway. "In fact, you might remember I promised we wouldn't send them home. No one appointed you God, Sara. An oversight, I'm sure but still. You had no way of knowing what was going to happen even with that thing on your wrist."

"You know, maybe nobody appointed me God, but clearly I'm supposed to be doing something," Sara grimaces, taking her water and stalking back to the couch to drop heavily onto a cushion. "These sort of things happen for a reason. And this thing is…" She trails off, letting out a heavy breath. "It's too much to deal with if there isn't a reason, Paul."

Paul twists off the bottle caps then takes the bottles out to the couch where he sits down. He plucks the glass of water out of Sara's hand and replaces it with a beer. "Hair of the dog." He clinks bottles then takes a swig. "You did something. You did what you thought was right." After a pause, he adds "Both times. You were wrong." Though there's a pause, he doesn't add 'both times'. "It happens. Even I'm wrong now and then, believe it or not." As for the last point, he takes a look at Sara then takes a swig of beer. "News flash. Life has no reason. Shit happens. Crazy people happen. Evil people happen, small E not large. That's all there is. What you see is what you get. And we get to live in it and try to make things just a little bit better for ourselves and others because it's the right thing to do. There's your reason, as much as there is one."

Sara Pezzini takes the bottle, giving it a brief look before taking a swallow. "Doing the right thing used to be easy. The right thing was clear. Now, it seems like the right thing gets harder and harder to see," she says quietly, leaning against the back of the couch and pushing a hand through her hair. "I'm tired of hiding, and lying, and pretending. If I'm doing the right thing, I shouldn't have to hide it."

"Life's not fair." Paul points out. "Life's not unfair either. It just is. Life is a honey badger. It don't care. You want to stop hiding, stop hiding. It's in your hands. Just be ready to accept the consequences which are in everyone else's hands."

Sara looks over with a dry expression, then away, taking another drink. "I didn't say anything about fair," she points out. "Fair's the last thing I ever looked for." It's the ceiling that gets her attention next, for a long moment of silence. "Look, I know we haven't been doing this for that long. But I sort of hoped you figured I wasn't entirely stupid."

"You said 'shouldn't'." Paul points out. "Any time should and shouldn't come into things, it implies some larger design usually including fairness. After all, if everything is just random, there is no should." He's happy to stay quiet and drink beer but then Sara ruins it and he shrugs. "No, you aren't stupid. That doesn't mean you can't act stupid or make stupid mistakes. Road to hell, you've heard that one? Making a deal with the joker is another good one." That's the Gotham version.

"Slightly less insanity in play here, the way I understand it," Sara snorts softly, taking another sip. "I meant it when I said I'm trying to do what I can, Paul," she says quietly. "If I thought we could catch the Partisan and keep her in a cell, I'd do it. I'm just…I don't think it can be done. And I think this is the best way for me to minimize the damage."

"More powerful villains than her are locked up." Paul notes. "Maybe we can't catch her. Fortunately, there's more powerful people than us out there too who love to catch super powerful terrorists. And when they do, and look into things, know what they'll find? She's been feeding information to one Detective Pezzini of the NYPD and now you're the focus of the investigation."

"Why do you think I went with you to talk to SHIELD?" Sara replies, looking over with an arch of her brow. "She was on that mission, Paul. You really think they aren't watching her, and they don't know?" She lifts one shoulder, taking another drink. "Was going to bring it to them, anyhow. Because I'm not- This is complicated shit. You're right, it's not as simple as a confidential informant. I don't know what I'm doing. But you can bet your ass they do."

"Stay away from her." Paul says flatly. "She's crazy. She's a murderer and she's a terrorist. There is no way to be near her and come away unburned in the end. You also can't keep her from murdering people by joining her crusade. She will /never/ run out of people to kill. Your intentions were good but it's a really bad idea."

"Yeah, well, she's a crazy, murdering terrorist who thinks I'm good people, apparently. Which should concern me more than it does, I'm sure." Sara grimaces, tapping her finger over the mouth of the bottle. "I'm still not disagreeing with you, Paul. You're right, she's always going to find someone who needs killing by her opinion. On the other hand? Not sure I think she's wrong about that, entirely. There are a lot of people out there who've got something coming to them."

"There are." Paul readily admits. "And when they try to kill me or my partner, they get it. At other times, it requires an investigation followed by a trial and a conviction. Is the system flawed? Sure. But it beats three hundred million people all acting like her."

"At which I reiterate: Shit be complicated." Sara drinks again, then lets out a heavy breath. "I'll take it to SHIELD," she finally says. "They deal with terrorists. It's not really NYPD's place anyhow. If they want to take us on, then they can figure out how the hell it ought to be handled."

"Now that I won't argue with." Shit indeed be complicated. Though Paul does note "Catching a cop killer is the NYPD's place. But she's more than that. And above our pay grade, fancy bracelet or not. I'd think one of those federal prisons built for super powered criminals should be able to hold her."

"What'd you think about those two we ran into the other night?" Sara asks, turning her head enough to look over without lifting it from the back of the couch. The cushions are soft. It's nice. "Not exactly top of the line normal there, right?"

"The Iron Fist guy from Heroes For Hire and the girl who could create guns out of thin air?" Paul asks. "He's busy gently swirling his bottle and watching the beer within. "Above their pay grade too. Fists and guns aren't going to stop her if you're right about what she can do. Maybe one of those magician types like Zatanna."

"I meant the two from the bar. Short guy and the girl," Sara clarifies. "The other two are all right, but I don't figure they can handle something like this. Need other sorts of resources. I meant more, do you think there's anything to the talk of kids going missing in M-Town?"

"Haven't had time to look into it." Paul answers. "Too much shit, happening too fast. We could go take a look, talk to the precinct there, see if anything strange is going down." After all, strange is their duty assignment. "Those two though… No idea. Girl could be a mutant. After all, why care otherwise? Not like people don't disappear all over the city every day."

"I care about kids who go missing," Sara says quietly. "Even if I manage to fuck it up sometimes." She takes another long drink, then sets the bottle down on an end table. "Moot point, I guess. I don't think they're likely to call. Seemed to get spooked."

"We can go take a look." Paul repeats. "We don't need her to call to ask questions. Mutant kids being kidnapped can fall into our jurisdiction if we word the report right."

"Considering the weird things most of them can do, sure." Sara rubs a hand over her brow, eyes closing wearily. "I really do need that beach vacation. With the cabana boys. And the frozen drinks with little umbrellas in them."

Paul mmms at the thought. "That sounds nice. You can really get trashed on those girly drinks. They make em strong and all the fruit juice covers it up so you never know you're well on the way to being wasted." The cabana boys need no comment.

"Amen," Sara murmurs, a faint smile tugging at one corner of her lips as she lets out a slow breath. "You're a better partner than I deserve, Paul," she says quietly, reaching over to clap a hand to his shoulder. "Do me a favor and don't go getting killed, yeah? Be a bitch trying to replace you."

"Just make sure you jump in front of me with all that armor." Paul returns. "And you… don't be giving her a hard time." He reaches up to flick a finger against the bracelet. "She has enough problems without you adding to it."

Sara snorts back a laugh. "You've got no idea," she says ruefully, shaking her head. "I'll be honest, as scary as that mission was, it was sort of a relief to just be able to let it do what we needed to do. Not have to spend the whole time fighting it, or trying to hide it."

"Better you than me." is Paul's heartfelt answer. "I had a boyfriend like that once. Not only a huge pain in the ass but closeted as well. And he didn't have the upside of turning into armor or weapons." Which brings up an interesting question. "Are you able to dump that when you want to or are you stuck?"

"Really crappy boyfriend is seriously the best analogy I've ever been able to come up with," Sara admits, reaching for the beer again. "Screws around. Fucks with your head. Likes to play rough. Tries to be controlling. But no matter how many times someone else tries to take it, or it wanders off? It always ends up back with me. So dumping it's sort of complicated. There've been other people who've tried to take it. Problem is, it always seems to twist them. And I end up taking it back. I kind of get the sense most bearers don't really get a choice to give it up so much as they die using it."

"So I guess chartering a boat and tossing it overboard in international waters wouldn't work?" Paul asks dryly. "Doesn't work with boyfriends either. So where did the thing come from? Who made it? And the other ones you mentioned."

"I threw it in an incinerator after the first time I used it. Managed to wake up with it the next morning," Sara shrugs at the idea of dropping it into the ocean. "I couldn't say where it came from. Not really. The Angelus and the Darkness. Forces of light and dark. And I know the first woman to find it was pretty much prehistoric. Aside from that? Not exactly detailed. I know even less about the other Artifacts. The Spear of Destiny is real, though, for what that's worth. Carried by an honest to God descendant of Christ."

"Or so they claim." Paul notes skeptically. "Still, it's a nice story especially since nothing else is really known and the power is real. That's a step up from most of those kinds of claims." He considers a moment then asks "So, do Light and Dark mean Good and Evil with your set of… things?" he gestures vaguely to Sara's wrist to indicate just what things refers to. "Or just literally Light and Dark without real moral values?"

"Closer to the latter," Sara points with her bottle. "The Angelus is female. Has a whole host. All about control, and order. Total bitch. They're pretty and all, but I wouldn't say good. Angelus tends to treat its host like a puppet. And it looks down on most of humanity. Darkness…chaos. Fear. Creation, in its own way. A single host, a single bloodline. He's not exactly a nice guy, either."

"So you got the prize of the lot." Paul eyes the bracelet in light of this new information. "They both must love you. Fence sitter."

"You know, they sort of do. In a weird way." Sara wrinkles her nose, taking another drink. "Thing is, if either of them can control the Balance - or the bearer - they're kind of under the impression they can remake the universe in their own image. More or less. Problem is, they're not usually shy about being willing to kill me and try again with a new bearer if they can't win me over."

"You couldn't pay me." Paul says, shaking his head. "So, do they have any particular weaknesses? Like garlic or silver bullets? Just in case they try to get a new bearer on my watch. Or will shooting them work just as well as with anyone?"

"Angelus, you're pretty much stuck with the Witchblade. I mean, you can shoot and stab them, but they take a lot of damage, and there are always more. The Darkness is vulnerable to sunlight. It won't harm him, but we can't use his powers in the sun. And I swear, you make one vampire comment and I'll stake you," Sara threatens as she takes another drink.

"I wouldn't dream of it." Not after that threat. Out loud. "I'll leave them to you then." Paul assures Sara. "So, tomorrow. Mutant Town."

"Tomorrow," Sara agrees. "Mutant town. And calling SHIELD," she adds, setting the bottle down. "Thanks, Paul. You're good people."

Paul finishes his beer and sets it down on the table before standing. "And calling SHIELD." he agrees. "Just doing my job and protecting my partner. You do the same." Except he's looking at the bracelet.


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