Sara has the nicest friends

January 19, 2015: Sara and Steve stop for a drink and run into an interesting fellow.


No sleep till…



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Mood Music:

Normally when such a mission would take place, you'd find yourself up in the middle of the night, contemplating the depth of it all, and the inner meaning. You'd be fretting for the dead and their family, and asking yourself why you couldn't get there sooner.

All of those things will probably come up, but given that it's now Sunday afternoon, there's still plenty of day ahead to do normal things like get food at a Mexican Bar down in Brooklyn. After a quick change of clothes they walk into the empty bar with only one elderly, hispanic man sitting down at the end of the bar. The music is classic mexicano fare and despite the cool temps, the fans swirl above.

The bartender, a man in his forties, gives a nod to Sara and Steve as they enter.

That's always one of the hardest parts for Sara. Walking out of the madness and into the bright, sunny world of normal. How do you face the rest of the world after you've been so far in the dark without yelling at all of them about how blind they are? It's almost easier when it happens in the middle of the night. When you can fall into bed before the sun rises and try to make it go away.

Usually, Sara keeps at least some distance. She likes her independence. She doesn't like to admit to needing anyone. Today, though, when they walk inside, she reaches out to take Steve's hand. "So, do you think our marine friend has a better idea about the places you can't drop bombs now?"

Steve takes her hand in his but looks to her confusedly. Our marine friend means Paul, he's pretty sure. As to what she means by dropping bombs, he looks to be absolutely flummoxed. "Pardon?" he says, clueless.

Sara shakes her head, smile flickering across her features. "Mini-you. Muscle-head from the interrogation, who was so convinced he had everything figured out and could beat it into what he wanted. Sorry," she adds, letting out a slow breath. "He was sort of pushing my buttons there."

Steve grins a bit as he shakes his head. "Guys like that just love to get under everyone's skin. It's their schtick. He wants you to be upset by the things he said—to push your buttons. I wouldn't give him any more credence than from the time he's in front of your face until the time he leaves it." He gives her hand a little squeeze before looking inwards, "Booth or table?"

"Oh, I know guys like him," Sara snorts, tipping her head toward a booth. "I've known guys like him since I signed on at the academy right out of high school. Why don't you go start the coffee, sweetheart? Why don't you fill out the paperwork while we talk to the perp?" She shakes her head, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "I guess I sort of broke the boys at the precinct of the worst of it," she smirks.

Steve reddens a bit as he walks with Sara over towards the booth and slides in. "Just so we're clear, I wasn't trying to be overbearing back there. I know you're a big girl and can take care of yourself." He looks at the menu, "Speaking of coffee are we drinking caffeine or ethyl alcohol?"

Sara quirks a brow at Steve's comment, amused. "I'm not convinced you're capable of being overbearing, Steve," she chuckles, sliding into the booth next to him. "And you can go with whichever you want, but I think I'm going to go with whatever sort of tequila they're serving in here," she admits, reaching for the drink menu to start flipping through the offerings. "It's way too early in the everything for whatever the hell that was."

Steve sighs a bit and nods at her before deciding on beer and a burrito. "You'd know better than I do," he says absently. He's completely unsure of what they just faced and he's extremely happy each of them made it out. He's remorseful for those who didn't, though, and the pang of regret still gnaws at him. "I'm glad you were there. You really came in handy."
"Much as it sucked, I'm glad I was there, too," Sara says ruefully, closing the drinks menu and reaching for the food one to take a look at the offerings. "That sort of thing is…kind of my strength. Whatever those things were, they didn't like the 'blade. And besides, if that's really HYDRA playing those games? They're going to come looking for me anyhow. They've tried to take it before."

Steve nods to her, "You're probably right. But you'll have all of us to fight alongside you when they do." He props his elbow up on the back of the booth, "Look, I don't really know how to bring this up, but I think we should probably talk."

Sara pauses, looking up from the menu with a cautious eye. "That sort of thing doesn't usually bode well," she says slowly, settling on some tacos and pushing the menu away before turning to face him more fully. "What's up?"

"Well, I mean, I know I've been kind of absent lately, and I know that we talked about that the night I came back," Steve says, having to pause every so often to find the right words. "And the more I thought about it, I realize that a lot of times that's kind of going to be how things go for us. I mean, that will be our normal. And we've never really talked about that, and I don't know how you feel about it."

Sara lets out a breath, shoulders dropping as she lets her weight fall back against the booth. "Jesus, Steve." She reaches out to give his shoulder a shove. "It's fine. And I mean that, not like a girl 'it's fine' that means you're in deep shit if you do it," she adds with a brief, crooked smile. "Look, you have important things to do. I do too. Sometimes I'm stuck on a case for…Well. You know. And short of me deciding I'd rather sign on with SHIELD, I don't see much of that changing."

Steve looks away as he shoved and he nods a little, "I just wanted to make sure you were still on board. Give you an out if that's what you wanted. I mean, you deserve someone who is going to be there for you."

Jackie Estacado comes into Brooklyn from Lower Manhattan.

Sara snorts softly, reaching up to push a hand through her hair. "Trust me, Steve," she murmurs. "If I want to get out of a relationship, I'm fully capable of shooting myself in the foot." She's quiet for a moment, then leans forward, tipping her head to try to catch his eye. "Are you looking for an out? It's…" Pursing her lips, she pauses. "I'd understand. I'm pretty much a dozen kinds of disasters waiting to happen."

Steve shakes his head, looking mildly surprised. "I'm not, no. I just wanted to talk to you about it. As far as the disasters you keep talking about, I haven't seen any yet."

Sara laughs, shaking her head as she looks away. "Aside from getting jumped by Angelus warriors on Coney Island. Or laundry day at my place. Or my last attempt at actually cooking something…"

It's mid-afternoon on a Sunday, when most of the good little boys and girls of the world are getting home from church or attending other church functions. Some of them, though, have already done their part to rid the world of evil. Which means they're in need of food and tequila. Steve and Sara have claimed a booth at a local Mexican bar, and seem to be wrapping up an awkward conversation.

"Don't worry about being away," Sara summarizes, looking back with a crooked smile. "Seriously. As long as you invite me on the good ones, we're even."

There's a rather nice black Lincoln that rolls up out from the bar. The kind that just alludes to the idea that decked out to the nines on the inside. Stepping out of the driver's seat is a man in a rather impeccable suit, long overcoat an all, given the New York weather. Entering, there's no pause at the door, immediately heading for the bar. "Heard this place has got burritos as big as your goddamn head." he offers to the bartender by way of greeting. "Beer. Stout, if ya got it."

"Well," Cap says with a nod and a smile towards Sara. "It looks like we have an agreement." He notices the newcomer but doesn't pay him too much mind. Afterall, there are plenty of gentlemen with nice cars here in the city and more still who wear suits. It's not that entirely out of the normal, even if it's not prevalent in this part of town. "I think I'm going to go with the verde burrito."

"The asada tacos look pretty good to-" Sara is just starting to relax again, paying no mind to the latest arrival, when the Witchblade starts to prick at her wrist, angry tendrils climbing down her fingertips. Slowly, she pulls her hand from the tabletop, twisting to get a look around the bar. "Really?" she mutters. "Like we haven't had enough-"

Right, well, that explains it. She sighs when she recognizes Estacado, tugging her sleeve down over her wrist. "Company," she says flatly to Steve.

If Estacado has taken notice of Sara, he makes no mention of it. But really, why would he have to? Likely, there's enough shadows lingering in the corners, under every table and booth, for him to hear more than a couple different conversations going on, and the man is probably filtering out all the pointless ones. Likely, it's all by chance. Maybe he just really wanted that burrito. But thus far, he doesn't seem to trouble either Sara or Steven the man apparently content to drink the beer that's set before him.

"You know that guy?" Steve says as he nods over towards Jackie. Given the way the man dresses, he's considering the mysterious man is either a businessman of some sort, or maybe a gangster. Sara might have reason to know each, and he watches the man from a far, trying to get a read on how Sara reacts.

"Estacado," Sara replies to Steve, turning in the booth to try to keep her back to the man without losing a glimpse of him in the reflection of the glass framing a picture on the wall. "Used to work as a hit man for the Franchettis, when they could still hold a block or two of this town. Word on the street is he's come up in the world since then. Which isn't surprising, given he's batting in a different league."

The name doesn't mean much to Steve, but as Sara fills him in, he swallows with some difficulty. "How do you know him?" Steve asks with a raised eyebrow, but his eyes never leave Jackie's back. If it's making her tense, it stands to reason that this Estacado guy deserves watching.

"Remember how I told you about where the Witchblade comes from?" Sara asks, a smile flickering. "Offspring of the Darkness and the Angelus. Primal forces of light and dark. Order and chaos? Well, you and I ran into some of the Angelus sorts, back on Coney Island." And wasn't that fun. "There are lots of them, and most of them not very bright. Angelus is all about order and control, after all. Whoever's got the Angelus is mostly a puppet for it. Darkness? That's a different story."

Steve nods slowly, "You always take me the nicest places, Pezzini. It's been one heck of a morning with you, that's for sure. What's the scoop on this guy?"

Either Jackie is waiting or enjoying his beer. Or both. A phone is produced from his pocket, screen lighting up, checking the list for messages. Nothing of any real import, and it's shut off again. The slick and sleek screen of the phone makes an excellent mirror, and Sara's reflection in the mirror flickering onto it. In that same token though, she can see part of Jackie's face close in turn. The long haired man cracks a wry smile, followed by a wink upon seeing the woman in the reflection.

"You might as well come over and take a seat, Estacado," Sara sighs as she catches a glimpse of the man's reflection. Half her attention stays on the Witchblade, trying to keep the weapon in check. This would be an awkward place for a Witchblade freak-out. "I'm sure he's got a better story about it than I do," she adds to Steve, turning in the booth to actually face the opposite side.

Steve shifts slightly in his feet and despite Sara talking to him, he keeps his mouth closed. If he's what she's making him out to be, he's dangerous, and already the Captain is going through all sorts of permutations and plans in case this gets out of hand.
"I thought you would never ask, Pezzini." Jackie's voice is something of a cross between plush velvet wrapped around a handful of stones. Sliding off the bar chair smoothly, the suited man glides to where the pair is seated. A looking over is given over. "Who's this tall drink of water, Pezzini? Not lookin' to interrupt your…ah, couting, yeah? You know me, just tryin to be fucking polite is all." There's clearly a New York accent there, laced with Italian undertones. "But, don't hold up on just me. I'm just all sorts of eager to hear your perspective on things." Beer in hand, he takes a seat, across from Sara. For a couple of reasons, namely being even he's not eager to cause an inadvertent incident.

"Steve Rogers," Sara introduces, "This is Jackie Estacado. Estacado, this is Steve Rogers. Steve is a World War II super soldier. Jackie is the current host of the Darkness." Introductions provided, she leans back to gesture to the bar. "Can I get a tequila sunrise over here?" When she looks back to the others, it's with a careful sort of expression. "Play nice, boys."

"Why wouldn't we?" Steve asks Sara before turning back towards Estacado. He nods, "Estacado." He motions towards the bartender, who eventually makes his way over. "I'll have a beer as well," he says before pulling his billfold from the back pocket of his pants.

Hellboy comes into Brooklyn from Lower Manhattan.

Hellboy heads out to Queens.

"Ain't lookin to ruffle feathers, Pezzini. Somebody has already eaten today." It doesn't exactly sound like he's referring to himself either, while at the same time that 'somebody' Sara probably knows too-well about. "Some dealer thinkin' he could peddle his two-bit smack to high schoolers." is is mentioned blithely. "So," he leans back into the bench, casual as can be. "The Darkness, yeah? I mean, since you were askin' 'bout ancient horrors and entities an all that happy shit. Figure you know plenty, Pezzini. I was just lookin for a good burrito. Whattaya lookin to know? I mean, beyond the whole 'symbiote that wants to get behind the eyes and work all the levers' sorta thing."

"As you can see, Jackie's got a few more hands on the reins," Sara smirks at Estacado, though she's speaking to Steve. "Historically speaking, most Darkness bearers don't get along so well with most Witchblade bearers. Angelus gets buddy buddy sometimes. Darkness is usually being…well. A different sort of dick. Or do you guys not get the history primer?" she asks, arching a brow at Jackie.

Was that English? Steve understood about 10 percent of what Estacado said, and a little bit more about what Sara was saying. He's not sure how to respond, so instead he just grabs the beer which arrives just in time and takes a long swig.

"Mostly, it's gloating. Hissing. Spitting. You get the idea." Jackie deadpans. "From it's side. Really, I could've give two fucks about the whole thing, but it likes to make an issue. And your 'buddy' takes a lot time to explain that I'm just the unlucky sap who gets the see the business end that spear of her's. Or is it a guy now? Hell if I can ever keep track of that shit." Taking a drink of his own bottle, he shrugs. "It's like havin a roommate who doesn't pay the rent, but has some really good conncetions. So you put up with it for that." He's waves a hand. "C'mon, Pezzini, not like I've killed you or anythin'."

"Haven't seen anything but minions lately," Sara shakes her head to the question of the Angelus. "And frankly, that's the way I like it." She grimaces, giving her right hand a shake as she pushes the Witchblade back into quiescence. Which means she's free to take that drink now. "He's a criminal - not that anyone can prove it - but he's not a complete asshole," she summarizes for Steve.

Steve looks at Sara oddly. It's a situation he doesn't quite comprehend. He's a criminal. She's a cop. Yet, she seems alright with him sharing a table with them. There stands to be quite a few questions, that's for sure. But as for now, it's another drink from his beer. "Lucky us," he responds to Sara.
"'Businessman', Pezzini. No need for language." Jacike remarks smoothly, even grinning a bit. There a slight negative expression at word Angelus being spoken aloud, making his brows furrow. The light above them in the booth flutters, dimming before returning to normal, as if there was a minor power surge. "Sorry, it really doesn't like that word. Be glad yours doesn't talk to you." Pause. "It doesn't it, does it? Because havin' conversations with yourself really gets fuckin' circular after awhile." A thin grin is given to Steve. "You ain't got nothin ta worry about from me." Questionable that, but he seems to be behaving quite well today. So Pezzini, what's the word, eh? Took a couple of months off. Anything worth knowing lately? Or you gonna give me the shaft here, as usual?"

"It's a shitty conversationalist." Sara doesn't necessarily seem comfortable with Jackie so much as the pair has developed a sort of wary respect. Mutual enemies. "Knock it off," she adds in a low mutter at the dimming of the light, 'blade glinting at her wrist as she takes a drink of her tequila. "Keep an eye out, though," she concedes after a moment. "I think the rumblings about elder gods trying to break down have died down a bit, but you know that sort of thing never quite goes away. And there's cape-killers running around, so if you're mentoring anyone on that side of the fence? You're gonna wanna keep eyes on them."

"'Hands on the reigns' doesn't mean constant." Jackie retorts, the frown on his face indicative of the fact that he's not too pleased the whole minor light show as well. "At least you've got a better handle on that whole control shit." Her explanations are received with the likely result: apathy. "So nothin' new, more or less. Though that last bit is a little interesting." statement ending with an amused snort. "Mentorin' Please. Ain't nobody wants what I got ta teach. An the ones that do ain't exactly the type that're lookin fer lessons. More likely they're lookin fer an autopsy, seein' what makes me tick. So, no, I'm not. Things have been quiet over on my 'fence', as you put it. Figure it's just a low or somebody someone is plannin'. The former is just buisness as usual. The latter? Well, if there's somethin' goin' on an I don't know what it is, give me a week."

"Please try not to end up on an autopsy table," Sara grimaces, pinching the bridge of her nose between two fingers. "I don't even want to think what that would do to the balance." Apparently it's very much a case of the devil you know. She takes another drink, glancing to Steve to check in on him. Right when he says he hasn't seen any disasters…

The conversation is going completely over Steve's head at this point, "I'm going to see what they have on the jukebox. I'll leave you two to sort things out." Whatever that means. As he gets up to take a look at the electronic music machine, he idly wonders if he'll be able to work it. And if it has anything by Ellington.

"Yeah, because being picked apart is at the top my list of fuckin' things to do." Estacado says, pausing, moving to get out of the way when Steve move to pass by. After he's gone, he focuses on Sara. "I may not give a damn about the balance, but I'm pretty attached to my own skin. It's not a worry." Another pause. "So who's G.I. Joe? I get the impression you two on a bit more than just a 'work' aquaintence, eh?"

"Steve Rogers," Sara repeats, then arches a brow at Jackie. "Seriously? Captain America. I'm dating goddamned Captain America. God only knows why he's dating me, it can't be because of the company I keep." That might be a dig at the gangster on the other side of the table. Just a little bit. Just then, the food arrives, including a plate of tacos for Sara.
"Huh. I guess I never paid that much attention to tha whole 'so good it makes my eyes hurt' thing." Jacike shrugs. "Not like there ain't enough metahumans ta swing a goddamn cat at. Probably gonna hit someone that can do something shit-crazy." Licking his lips, he considers. "Well, good on you, I guess?" Not the best person to talk to about relationship stuff, especially if anyone knows anything about him. "Why? I could think of a couple reasons. Two in particular, but I'm sure someone like him sees beyond that. Unlike me, Perzzini, you ain't completely damned."

"I will kick you in the balls," Sara points out, picking up one of the tacos and taking a bite. "For the record." She chews, then shakes her head, looking toward the door. "Damned is a relative term these days anyhow." She eyes the gangster then, cautious. "Back in business here, then, huh?"

The threat receives a quiet chuckle in kind. "An they call me depressin'. The more you talk, the more out of tha loop I feel. Not a feelin I exactly like, but I blame myself. I did leave the country for a bit." Doing what, there is a clear lack of elaboration on. Not to a cop, anyways. "Such as it is, if there's one thing I do know, it's runnin a tight ship. Things beyond that, I've been gettin' back in the know. It's been entertain', at least."

"Do me a favor, try not to do something I'm going to have to nail you for," Sara suggests as she takes another bite of taco. "I've got enough on my plate without trying to do that."

"Pezzini, here I would figure we would have both learned our lessons on what happens when we get angry at each other." Jackie replies easily, draining the last of his beer. "Can't speak for the four of us, but I know at least two don't really feel inclined to level a city block or two." Beat. "Again." A thought passes. "Well, I know one who just love it. Anyways, I'm not goin' to go on some blue blood hunt so long as they don't come lookin for me. It's that easy."

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