An Accidental Meeting

Summary:
July 03 2014: Jericho Runs into May and a trainee near his place. An accidental meeting, but a fortunate one. Mostly.

Hell's Kitchen

A crepe cart near a nice high rise apartment building with a view, about a block from the Hudson.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


There are few comforts more Jericho prefers more when convalescing than good food. Beyond painkillers (sometimes necessary) or booze (unless it's really, really good vodka) or a soft bed (hello? Infantry and SF) Jeri likes food. So it makes sense that today, despite things being a bit better on the pain management front, that he's took a little trip to that one crepe cart that sets up about a block from his place and acquired a bag full with fixins. This'll keep him set for a while. Okay. What'll it be. Chicken florentine? Mmmm, maybe mushrooms and spinach and swiss? Or just brush cinnamon sugar and butter. Decisions, decisions.

Wait. That phone in the area… that isn't…?

*

Melinda May approaches the crepe cart at a walk, stopping still several yards away. She has a recruit in tow, here to give the young woman a bit of field training in observation and basic intelligence-gathering.

"Lewis. Your task here is to gather intel on…" May glances around the area and, well, isn't that serendipity. "the man sitting about a block past the food vendor." She's indicating Trent. "Bring me back three solid facts that cannot be gleaned by simply looking at him."

*

"That's it?" Darcy blurs out, eyeing the man at the cart. Her red lips are turned up in a bright smirk.

"Gosh! I thought you were going to ask me to murder someone. Cuz, that would be hard since I'm not on my… you know what. I'm going now," she says thumbing toward Jericho as she walks away from May. Her attention turns back to Jericho, and Darcy opens her jacket a bit, revealing the 'i <3 nerds’ t-shirt underneath which is untucked over her hip hugger jeans. Like May, the outfit is civvies. Unlike May, it's not completely crisp and neat and tidy. The jeans have a hole in one knee.

Darcy moves over to Jericho, without the least bit of hesitation, a huge smile on her face.

"Ohmygod! Harry! God. It's been forever! How are you, you little shit?" she says, voice bright and bouncy and like she completely knows the guy.

*

Blink. Blinkblink. I are not a Harry. Jericho is just a bit befuddled. He had been trying to pick a crepe to nom on the way home. Chicken Florentine was slightly edging out the sweeter combinations, if anyone was keeping track. Then there's a… a… okay, he doesn't know this woman. Sadly for Darcy, Jericho is a paranoid jerk. May knows this. And it only takes a moment as his head jerks up and he jacks into every camera within three blocks looking for an answer to realize that it's May's cell signal coming from less than half a block away.

Darcy gets the man's best befuddled, mildly annoyed look. It's faked but not hard because, after all, his entire left side is one huge burn and pain tends to put him off his niceties.

What few he has.

*

Undeterred, Darcy steps right up into Jericho's personal space, to toss her arms about his neck for a hug… and to try to plant a kiss from her overly bright red lips on his right cheek.

"Cat got your tongue? It's okay. You're looking good," she says, bringing a hand up to rub at her left cheek, eye to jaw. And still bubbly, she looks at the menu for a heartbeat before looking back at Jericho.

"What the hell have you been up to?" Darcy asks, because she clearly knows Jericho! Yup! This is how you get phone numbers. Well, actually, you just pull your top down, but this totally works too!

*

Jeri lets out a hiss of pain when Darcy's arm goes around the burn on the left side of his neck and… well, he doesn't lash out with a booted foot. But he does bring his right hand up from his bag of crepes and fixins to hold the woman at bay, and he shies away at the same time.

"Ow! Hey, watch it there! I don't think you've got the right guy."

Oy. Did he wrong May in some way, that she'd sic this… incredibly peppy young woman on him with the notion that he's some kind of agent or plant or long lost friend or…

*

"What? Are you sure? You look just like him. What's your shoe size?" Darcy asks of Jericho, squinting at him for a better look. At least she took her arms away from his FACE!

*

There's a hiss and a… small… demon… thing jumps catlike onto Darcy's shoulder and bares its fangs. No touchy, it seems to say. Or maybe just 'hissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.'

At the same time Jeri is attempting to disengage but. Oh gods. So much hurt. Who the hell is this crazy lady?

"Okay, just, augh, the hell do you want?"

Melinda May has seen quite enough. Yes, someone is going to get a SERIOUS talking to. Or maybe multiple someones. She starts toward the pair and looks … Displeased.

*

"Sweet Monkey Jesus, what the hell?" Darcy exclaims, giving Jericho a full step's worth of space when cat-demon-thing jump son her shoulder. She brings her hands up to dislodge the… cat-thing, head pulling away from it.

"Your sign, your shoe size, and your twitter handle," says Darcy, most of her attention on the weird cat. Meaning she doesn't notice May. At all.

*

Melinda May walks right up behind Darcy, gives K'Nert a glare (back off, cat), then crosses her arms.

*

"K'nert!" Jericho's more worried about annoying but otherwise innocent woman getting savaged at this point. He makes a swipe for K'nert's tail, right handed as the thing jumps off her shoulders and runs into the shadows. He'll be back… if he thinks it warranted.

"Hey, you okay?"

May gets a 'what on earth' look. Trent is now officially lost.

*

Darcy oofs softly as Que-Nerd jumps off her shoulder, and she gives the cat-thing a glare as she fixes her glasses and looks back at Jericho with a winning waitress-style smile.

"I'd be better if I got your number," she says, as if having demon things jump out at her happened every other day. (Actually, it's likely only Tuesdays, but who's keeping taps?)

Also, Darcy totally hasn't noticed May. Because she's an effing NINJA!

*

Melinda May does her drill-sergeant voice that has made Trent flinch in the past. But this time, it's aimed at college-chick here. "LEWIS." What she lacks in volume she makes up for in intensity. "Training session is over. What in hell do you think you were doing?" At least she says all of this with her almost trademarked lack of inflection, so it might not be instantly apparent whether or not she's actually angry.

*

It still kind of makes Jeri jump, but at least it's not into a Helicarrier bulkhead this time. "May…" Jericho says, catching his breath. Red, cat slitted eyes stare at Darcy for a moment from a shadow before vanishing entirely.

"Nice to see you and your…" He'd say daughter, but he's not up to getting hit. Burns hurt bad enough as is.

*

"Holy Moth Balls! If you weren't scary and my CO, I'd totally tase your face," Darcy blurts out, jumping a good foot into the air and almost grabbing Jericho's elbow to yank him between her and May. Almost. Not completely.

"I was totally getting the dude's number." Pause. "Duh." As if it were the most obvious thing, ever.

*

Melinda May raises an eyebrow at Lewis. "By hugging him? Take another look, and tell me why that was a bad idea." Her eyes flick over to Trent, as if telling him to just put up with this a bit longer.

*

Jericho nods, regaining his seat and looking over his bag of food to make sure it's all more or less intact. His number, hrm? That… probably works really well on guys that aren't him. He's willing to cut Darcy some slack though, because he's a bit of a special case. Glancing back up, now that he's not kind of scuffling with her, Darcy may note that the guy's eyes are an odd grey and banded amber color. Like a bleached out tigers eye. And they're not contacts either. No puffing of the eyes and so on.

*

Darcy mimics May's quirked eye brow move, only her painted lips purse in a half pout while she cants a hip up and plants a hand upon it. She turns to look at Jericho, green eyes flicking up and down his body as if she were just checking him out completely.

"Wow. Your eyes really cool. Those aren't contacts, are they? Man! I'm super jelly right now, for reals," she says, possibly distracted from the Real Question at hand.

*

Melinda May seems, if anything, even less impressed when Lewis quirks an eyebrow right back at her. She waits, then at the younger woman's reaction to Trent she actually has to keep herself from rolling her eyes. "That is not what I was referring to." And now Trent is offered an apologetic glance.

*

Jericho gives May a subdued, slightly pained smile and shrugs. He's actually kind of glad she showed up though… not sure he can talk about what he wanted to with 'Lewis' around. "They're pretty… um, notable, I know, but I don't think that's what your boss meant."

He doesn't offer his name, yet, partly because he's not sure she hasn't already been given it. "Bit… Peppy, isn't she, May?"

*

"Well, of course it wasn't," Darcy replies to May. She turns her gaze to Jericho, smiling at him very warmly.

"I know. I'm just hoping I'll find the chink in her robot-exterior, or else cause the humor center of her brain to implode. Hopefully before she loses all patience and just pops a cap in my ass," Darcy rambles at Jericho pleasantly. Undisturbed that this is now her life.

"Which would be a shame, since I have a really nice ass, but I digress," she adds, turning to May in that brief pause as she seem to recollect herself.

"Because you still think me hugging on a stranger in the mistaken idea he was an old friend doesn't work on, you know, normal people." Darcy pauses and looks to Jericho.

"No offense," she offers with candid honesty that it's hard to tell if any of this is being taken seriously.

*

"We're trying to work on that," May offers aside to Trent. She focuses on Lewis again.

"It doesn't. Now, again. What about this man did you miss almost immediately?"

*

Jericho chuckles. "I'll bet you are." He looks back up at Darcy, leaning back on his right hand to let her get one more good look at him. Then he'll stand.

"Did you two just happen to be in the area or were you headed my way?"

May is the only SHIELD agent that he wouldn't object to right now… well… maybe Steve would be okay. Jury's out.

*

"What? The Freddy Kruegar look he's got going on? I noticed! Why do you think I kissed him on the RIGHT cheek? DUH!" Darcy says to May leaning forward at the waist and touching her right cheek with her right index finger. Serious overemphasis of point. Darcy does not care.

"Put some windex on it. You'll be fine," she says to Jericho now, only for his appearance to fully sink in.

"Holy shit, dude!"

*

Melinda May continues to look unimpressed by Lewis's reaction until the recruit REALLY gets a look at the man. And then she's nodding slowly. "Does this perhaps explain the reactions?" She then nods to Trent slightly. If he's ready to skedaddle, she won't try to stop him.

*

Jericho is indeed, visibly burned on the neck. He's wearing long sleeves and a glove on his left hand but, Darcy may note at this point that it was his right that he used to push her away. "Yeah… that's about the word for it, I guess." Jericho says deadpan, glancing back at May.

"Is she clean, May?" It's something of a loaded question, but the fact that people have been with May has counted for a lot in the past. And if she is… well, they may get food and better seating out of the deal.

*

"Well, shit," Darcy grumbles, mind catching up to the details. And then question of her sanitation comes up and she pouts, planting her hands on her hips. "Not cool, man. So not cool. I had myself checked last year."

*

Melinda May glances at Lewis in her 'indignant' pose, then nods to Trent. "She's about as sharp as a river stone about some things, but yes. She's clean." Then, she looks at Darcy and reaches to pull something out of one pocket.

*

"Okay, you two, follow me, there's food in it for you. I don't like talking out on the street and I'd rather sit somewhere more comfortable." Jericho's apartment building is only a bit up the block.

As it turns out, he's up on the 26th floor, in a rather specious apartment with a view. When they get there, Jeri goes to the kitchen to fetch some plates and lay out the crepes and fixins.

"So seriously, you two just happened to be in the area? And you thought it would be a good idea to sic Agent Lewis on me because…" May gets a mild look and Jer shakes his head with a chuckle, giving Darcy a short smile. "Have I wronged you in some way?"

*

Darcy's red painted lips open to argue May's river rock analogy when her brain registers May-reachinng-for-a-pocket. And Darcy's quick to get herself behind Jericho, using him as a body shield to protect her from the crazy Ninja Lady.

"Food? I like food. Food is good. Shooting is not so good," Darcy babbles refraining from reaching out to cling to Jericho, but just barely. All this as she follows him to his apartment.

*

Well, at least this kid has a healthy sense of self preservation, even if she has a piss-poor way of showing it. She ends up not taking anything out of her pocket as Trent offers to share food with them and leads them to the apartment that she's seen before.

Once they're inside she is a little more forthcoming with Trent. "I chose the area to try and give Lewis some supplemental training, didn't realize you'd be here as well." She follows Trent to the kitchen, shooing him away so she can get the plates et al for him. "Thought you'd be a bit more of a challenge than the average passerby when I saw you by the crepe cart." She sets the plates on the table and gives Lewis a LOOK. Best behavior. And set the table.

*

And Darcy sits herself down… on her hands.

*

Jeri actually looks grateful for the help. Doing this one handed is slow. And clumsy. "Fair enough. I do try not to haunt the area, though… the circumstances are a bit different. Thank your Russian friend when you see her next for making sure SHIELD didn't dump on my op a couple nights ago, by the way." Sure, actual help would have been nice, but he'll take what he can get.

*

Darcy sits at the table, like a good little monkey. Until there's a soft buzz and she pulls out her phone, manages to come where suppress the squeak of joy, and starts tapping at the screen. OMG is her TL the silliest!

*

Melinda May nods to Trent as she sets the plates down then goes back to the kitchen for beverages. Water for herself and Darcy (and no, you don't get to choose), and a bottle of whatever Trent has in the fridge for him. She eyes Darcy as she checks something on her phone, but doesn't otherwise protest. For now.

"I would have liked to be there myself, but I got tasked with ferrying people to Texas and back. And no way to say no without making it suspicious." She can't say more around Lewis, or at least isnt' willing to.

*

Jeri is… very tempted to hack the phone and see what she's doing. Or translate it all to Mandarin chinese. Mmmmm. Maybe not. Table set, food out. Time to eat.

"Don't stand on ceremony folks, dig in. Make yourselves comfortable. Darcy the restroom is by the front door and if you mention this place to anyone, I'll drop a satellite on your house." It's said in such an off handed way that it might be a joke. Jeri in fact does grin a bit impishly when he says it. Probably a joke.

Seriously though, don't mention this place.

"Ran into one of your co-workers a few days ago, May. He had quite a few things to say to me. Most of them about you."

*

Darcy stuffs her phone in her back pocket. "Satelite, house. Got it, Freddy. I'm totally going to tag my location: ''Eating with Crazy Ninja Woman and Freddy Kruegar; Suck it bitches!'' Maybe SHIELD'll get me a nicer place," Darcy replies just as off-handedly. Seriously, she's not going to. Time to 'powder' her nose then come back and dig in. LUNCH!

*

Melinda May realizes that this is probably something she and Trent should talk about without Miss Facebook 2014 here, so he pulls that $20 out of her pocket she'd been reaching for earlier and offers it to Darcy. "Go get us something for dessert. There's a Ben & Jerry's about three blocks away, get a hand-packed pint for each of us."

She waits for the recruit to finish yeeping and fleeing, then turns back to Trent. "All right, so who did you talk to the other day?" There's a dangerous hint to her voice, like she's going to hunt down whomever it was.

*

"Barton. Also Manning but he's my problem and not yours. It was your Hawkeye who worries me most. According to him your association with me is raising unfriendly eyebrows in your direction?" Jericho has absolutely no idea what May has and hasn't heard. It wouldn’t surprise him to learn that no one had talked to her about this. Spies.

*

Melinda May huffs faintly in annoyance. Should have known it would be Barton. He's always been a bit of a gossip monger, and he's been hanging around the NYPD detectives way too much. She just might have to corner him next time he's in the gym and beat the truth into him. "Barton doesn't worry me." Manning she can't do that to, but as Trent said, the man is his problem, not hers. This might warrant dragging Barton (and probably Hill, too) in to talk with Fury.

*

Jericho sighs. "He worries me. Because he's very certain of himself. Certain people can be very unreasonable. I know, I am one on some matters. May, I don't want to make your work difficult." Or, worst case scenario, cost May her job.

"I am also just about done working with them. I know these are your people May, but I'm getting tired of being reviled, suspected and maligned for my efforts."

*

Melinda May frowns faintly. "I can't say I blame you." She's quiet for a few moments longer before adding, "Would you be willing to trust me one last time? I think it's time that you and I and everyone else go have a talk with the Director." She'll have to arrange it through Romanoff to make sure Hill doesn't get all up in arms about it, but she's willing to do that. "I think if everyone airs their grievances there all at the same time, maybe we can all get on the same page and stop talking behind each other's backs like some kind of soap opera."

*

There's a long pause. Jericho takes a bite of crepe just to give him something to do while he thinks. "I'm not particularly eager to go back into that building May. It gives your people too much leverage. In their own castle they can get away with a lot more than they can out here in the open." And it's not exactly like their options are limited out in the open either, so that's saying something.

"One day they're going to ask me questions that I'm simply not willing to answer and it's going to go badly from there."

He blows out a long sigh. "But… if you can arrange it, yes, I'll come. You've earned that much from me, I think."

*

Melinda May nods to Jericho. "I know. And I hate to ask you to go in there again. But if I can't arrange to have everyone meet off-site, that will be our only option." One thing's for sure, regardless of where the meeting ends up being held, if the naysayers don't start to see reason, she will very intentionally and without any regrets lose track of Trent and let him disappear. She knows it would be a mistake and then some, but she'd willing to do it if necessary.

*

The hacker nods. "Let me know. Until then I'm going to try to keep a low profile. For all the good that's been doing." It goes without saying that the Hydra bioweapon needs tracking, and while he's handed a lot of his hard data over to SHIELD, there's a lot of things, connections he's not certain about, that he didn't give them if only not to waste their time chasing shadows. He's very good at that, and with the Ubermesch project on its back heels he'll have more time to do so now.

One thing May might note is that he doesn't ask for that tracker back. The one tuned to his traces that can, without question, find him. The one he gave her before he was hauled in and interrogated the first time.

*

The tracker that May pulls from her pocket. Apparently she's been keeping it on her person. "If this meeting goes south, which I really hope it won't, I'll give this to the Captain. If there's any one you can trust regardless of anything SHIELD has to say, it would be him."

*

"He seemed on the fence about me last time, though a lot warmer than anyone whose name begins with 'Agent.'" Jeri smiles, a bit wryly. "Present company excepted."

He'd hoped for a longer association with SHIELD, maybe a more friendly one but given his own trust issues compounded by dealing with a spy agency… Well, on the other hand it's not over yet and maybe this can be salvaged. "In any case I'll help out with the team like I promised." He never promised he'd be easy to get a hold of.

"If you think the Cap's alright, I'll risk that. In any case, here's hoping it doesn't come to that." Jeri doesn't look particularly enthused at the possibility of watching over his back for SHIELD and Hydra.

*

Melinda May nods. "Likewise. So. I'll look into arranging that meeting, and I'll tell you where and when."


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