Picking up the Pieces

January 06, 2015:

Detectives from the NYPD come to see what's happening at the Allen Household.

Little Italy

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It didn't take long.

Within a few minutes of everything going down, Barry was quick to want to call the police. The corpses of two of the police officers are sitting lying, dead in his apartment. The entire apartment is destroyed, including large holes in the walls, and with the front door blown out. Not including the sides of the entryway which also blew out.

The remaining corpse, the third officer, is probably in the ocean somewhere. When Barry last saw him, he was very much undead.

His first call is to Paul Manning and Sara Pezzini. This does not look good, and it's probably going to be worse before it gets better.

Ronnie Hautzig, meanwhile, is just starting to feel it sinking in that this is some real stuff. She's leaning against one of Barry's countertops, and keeps running her hands through her hair… and checking her outfit for holes. She favors baggly, formless outfits that mask her body type ('Olympian') — and she'd rather not have any holes showing her superhuman abs when the cops arrive.

Over the weekend, Sara went on an actual vacation. There was an island. A sunny, private island. Steve confiscated her phone before they left. She got a tan.

So of course, when she comes back, there's a call from the forensic scientist-slash-superhero from down the hall at work about dead cop bodies in his apartment.

"You know," she says to Paul as they pull up to the apartment. "Sometimes I think this is the universe's way of reminding me about the whole balance thing."

"Is this balance?" Paul asks, getting out of the car and automatically checking his gun. "I've yet to see anything good happen on this job so where's the balance? Doing Captain America doesn't come close to evening the scales. Especially since I'm not." He gazes up the outside of the building and just stands there a moment. "Are those holes? Those are holes."

Barry, now back in his civilian clothes runs his hands through his brown hair. Regardless of his general upbeat attitude towards life, this whole thing was no too close. And it had a very concerning threat on his life and/or freedom.

Not to mention Ronnie. He hadn't even begun to think of the ramifications of all of this as far as that goes.

It's tough to have a relationship from behind bars, he reckons.

"Are you okay?" he asks her quietly, knowing that his co-workers will be coming soon. "I'm going to tell them everything. I'm going to be open and honest; it's the only way out of here. The two that are coming, they know about me."

"'Okay' is a relative thing, I think," Ronnie replies, and then does her dorkish laugh but it sounds kind of hollow. It's nervous laughter, like when you've just crashed a car and your body just makes you laugh without consulting your brain. "I— okay. Yeah. You'd know best, I guess…"

"Hey, I take what I can get. You should meet some of my exes." Sara lets out a heavy breath as she closes the car door, pushing a hand through her hair. "I really hope he doesn't try to run." She's not even trying to sound funny when she says it. It just slips out.

Hitting the locks on the car, she heads for the door, checking the directory to confirm where they're headed. "I also really hope we're not dealing with whatever made those holes," she grimaces, looking up at Paul's question. "Talk about compromising the evidence."

"Why would he run?" Paul asks though it's mostly rhetorical. "You don't think he did it, do you? Aside from lack of motive, assuming there isn't one that we aren't aware of, holes in the sides of buildings really isn't his style." He reache sup to run a hand through his hair, not in a hurry to get up there. "We can play it two ways: take his statement, call it in and let homicide take over or find a reason that this is our jurisdiction." He glances up at the holes again. "Beyond the obvious. Super powers is more SRD's thing. And you know the entire force is going to be watching this. Do we want to be in the spotlight and having the brass brething down our necks?"

Barry nods faintly towards her a few times, but his eyes are cast to the distance, somewhere past the hanging door on the white cupboard. "For what it's worth I'm sorry about this. I'm sorry you got involved. Sorry, for whatever happens."

Barry looks past Ronnie's shoulder and down onto the street. "They're here. Be as honest as you can. These are two of the good ones."

"Don't be sorry, I mean, this isn't your fault," Ronnie protests. She looks at the holes, some of which are due to her. Oops. "I… yeah. Yeah, I will. Promise." Well, Ronnie will tell the truth except for all the lies that she's constantly telling everyone about who she is.

"Hey, I ran from your body," Sara points out, shrugging. "Sometimes there's not a good explanation. He called, though. That counts for something."

It's a short trip up the stairs, and then Sara's tapping a knuckle against the doorframe to the apartment. "Allen? It's Pezz and Manning, NYPD. We've got a report of some…unusual activity up here." Just pretend it's normal, right? Like she and Manning would know what normal looks like anyhow.

"I think we can bypass most of the formal procedures." Paul suggests after Sara's rapped on the door frame. Instead, he just steps into the apartment since there's no door and Barry can just see them. He gives the man a nod, looks over the woman with him, then spends a few minutes studying the bodies. "Formal statement later, Allen. Now just tell us what the fuck happened."

"Well," Barry begins, making a clicking sound with his mouth while he searches for the words. "This is my girlfriend Ronnie Hautzig. We were here…had just gotten back from a walk. Three people, two of which were them—" He motions down toward the dead bodies on the floor, "Asked to come in. They said they were investigating a murder."

He clears his throat and takes a deep breath, "They brought that box of evidence over there, and were looking for someone named Seikatsu Takeda. I knew her as Reese. She was a smalltime thief who was sort of down on her luck. A meta, I think. A healer. Anyways, I had her stay with me so she could be warm and get food once in a while."

Ronnie isn't scared of cops, but she has to act like she's frazzled by them. This is easy because she just had a bunch of demons, or something, attack her. "Veronica," she adds to Barry's introduction. "Ronnie, it's short for… everyone calls me Ronnie." She bites her bottom lip, and folds her arms as Barry continues, nodding along to his story — especially because there are parts of this she doesn't know. Reese? Who? Well… that ~does~ explain the weird retching sounds from the bathroom she heard that one night.

"Hi, Ronnie," Sara nods to the other woman, stepping inside to start getting a look at things. She keeps her hands in her jacket pockets, an old habit now. Just in case the 'blade reacts to something. While Barry relays the story, she moves slowly through the apartment, tracing the fight with a practiced eye.

"We'll need to check and make sure they're real police." Paul mentions to Sara as he listens. "Did they identify themselves?" he asks Barry. "And who/where is the third?"

"Well that's the thing. They were real police. The bodies. But they were posessed. Once we realized they were full of it, the leader, the one with the red hair, snapped her fingers and the other two turned into…I dunno," Barry looks over to Ronnie, "I don't know what I'd call them."

"The other one, I ran out over to the ocean. Superpowered, whatever it was. It was incredibly strong. When I got back, the other two were down."

"They had, like, masks," Ronnie says. "And they puked black smoke. I mean, I don't know if… pukes is the, um. Word? But they had black smoke like… like their mouths were smokestacks. I don't know. I don't know what to call them either. But they weren't, um, human. I think."
"Just down, huh?" Sara arches a brow, crouching next to one of the bodies and looking up toward Ronnie. "Sure is nice when they fall down on their own." Using a pen, she taps at badges, though the talk of possession gets a grimace from the detective. "Turned into, like physical transformation?" she asks. "And if that's the case, did it revert when they 'went down'?"

"There was definitely something demonic about them." Paul tells his partner. "Though it's fading. Feels different from the ones we've encountered before but I'm not sure what the difference is. So yeah, I'm buying the whole possessed explanation. If the third one didn't revert back, it would be helpful seeing it."

Barry nods a few times, "I can do that." Before anyone says anything, he's gone, blazing a trail out towards the water and dressed in his familiar reds. The lines of the street lamps blur by as the setting sun shrouds the streets in the shadows of the skyscrapers. He's in the water in mere moments, searching.

When Barry disappears to do his Flash thing, to go play in the water, Ronnie is left with the two cops. She shifts her grip on her biceps, leaning now against a door frame. She lets her brown eyes flick from Pezzini to Manning, and kind of smiles, but awkwardly and not convincingly — like she's trying to be polite because she has no idea what to say. "So, uh."

"I am really tired of possessed people," Sara grumbles to her partner, straightening up from the body to look over to Ronnie. "So they just went down, did they?" she asks the other woman, taking a look around the apartment. "Doesn't look like they were taken with a fainting spell."

"So, uh." Paul repeats then adds "Just what happened to make them 'go down'? It could be important to know that kind of thing. Vulnerabilities, resistances, abilities, etc. Since he wasn't here, you must have seen the whole thing." Seen.

Eventually, Barry returns with the body. He lies it down softly with a look to the others. In an instant, he's back, dry, and in his normal clothes. Like the others, his neck was snapped and it was done quickly and without warning. No struggle.

Barry motions towards the box of evidence. "Before these people were killed by whatever it was that killed them, they were some top LAPD cold case detectives. In that file, there's evidence about Reese going back 40 some years. In most of those pictures, she's by herself, but in those that she isn't—well, those people have died. Whatever this is, is killing everyone who knows anything about her."

Ronnie has a moment before Barry returns to try and explain what happened without using the words 'I beat two of them up with my super strength.' "They were going after Ba— um, Fl— I mean, Barry," she says. "And smashing the place up. I got in a lucky, like, sucker punch, I guess, one one of them? With, uh," Ronnie's eyes scan the debris, as if looking for something. A piece of a broken cabinet. "That. That, like, board. And it, um, it broke the mask."

Flash returns just then, and Ronnie says: "I was just telling them how, um, I broke the mask with the piece of junk. I mean, not junk, wreckage, I guess… no offense calling, um, your stuff 'wreckage'…"

Sara pinches the bridge of her nose between two fingers, and for just a moment, the red jewel in her bracelet seems to…flash with a light that isn't in the room. "We know about Barry," she points out, gesturing between the hole in the wall where he ran out and…oh look, he's back. "So you can relax about that. You mentioned masks?" she continues, looking toward the bodies. "Could be dealing with some sort of possessed object." She wrinkles her nose, then glances to Paul. "I could call Ian. He's pretty up on the Japanese scene."

"So now we have one body, soaking wet with sea water and the other two aren't. That's going to be an interesting addition to the report." Paul notes, glancing at Sara. "The weirder this is, the more it can be blamed on some unknown meta. Which is true enough. Is Ian the ex who tried to kill you?" He looks back to Ronnie. "So you broke the masks they were wearing and then they dropped over dead? Did they put on the masks at some point or were they invisible somehow?"

Barry, now done with his part of the recollection of the story goes to stand by Ronnie at the counter and leans against her a bit. She, of course, must be very overwhelmed with all of this, being to him an unseasoned mutant not ready for this sort of thing. He folds his arms over his thin chest and sighs, "How do you guys think this shakes out? I'm going to need to get a new apartment."

"I'm new — to… ~this~," Ronnie says to Sara when the detective points out that everyone here knows Barry's secret. It's only a little bit defensive, but it's nothing out of the ordinary for someone who went from a date to a murder scene in short order.

"They were normal and then they, like… transformed. I didn't see them do anything to make it happen, they were just… normal, then, um, not." Ronnie steps over to Barry and puts a hand on his shoulder. "You can stay with me, you know. I mean. For a while, it's pretty tiny where I'm at."

"Let's just go with we had a complicated relationship and leave it at that. I kind of lost track of the heel-turns in that one," Sara replies to Paul's question about Ian, moving over toward the box of evidence to start leafing through it. "Pretty sure we can file this one under unusual meta activity, though," she agrees with her partner. "One thing you've got going in your favor, Allen, no one's going to buy that you took these three out this spectacularly. Any of these have you in them?" she asks as she leafs through the photographs. "The quicker we can establish you as a victim, the quicker you can get on with your life."

Paul nods at what Sara says. "None of this can possibly be blamed on you. I'm just not sure if we should even mention them being demon possessed. We don't know what the autopsy will show; their hearts might have just stopped when you broke the masks. Maybe… the cops came in to ask some questions and while you were talking to them, some Japanese demonic looking things suddenly appeared. Some metas showed up to fight them and you both hid in the closet or something. Next thing you knew, there was a hole in the wall, the cops were dead and you called the police." He looks to Sara with a quirked brow. "Yes?"

"Thanks, Ronnie," Barry says with a sort of somber nod towards her. Well, this is just getting more awkward by the second. Perhaps they'll be attacked by a bulldozer through her living room wall next. It'd be par for the course, that's for sure.

"No, I'm not in any of them. You'll notice that there's over 40 years of pictures in there, but that she hasn't aged a day. I wish I could tell you more about her, Sara, but I really barely knew her before she left.

Barry's not sure if he agrees with lying in this case, but stays quiet for the moment as he looks to Paul.

Ronnie immediately regrets telling Barry he could stay with her. She half expected a 'no, no, I'll stay in a hotel.' It's a lot harder to keep secrets when someone's in your home a whole bunch.

So Ronnie runs her hands through her hair in what looks like a mild panic, but maybe that's just because there's some talk of a cover-up flying around. She looks from the two non-Barry cops to Barry, and does her best to mostly just look a bit helpless and scared. Because she's the one normal person in the place. Right?

"We can work around that," Sara muses to Barry. "We're going to need a list of times and places where you might've been seen with her. We can check traffic cameras, security footage. We find footage of you with the girl, we match it up to these pictures, and you're clear as far as why these guys came to your apartment." She gives the box a look, putting the pictures back inside. "Up side, this actually counts as a lead," she says cheerfully.
As Sara seems happy witht he story, Paul gives a nod and looks back to the two. "That's what we'll work with then. Always stick to the truth when you can; just in a way that'll make others believe what you want them to. Believe me, Internal Affairs is totally not equipped to deal with demons. It might be best to admit to knowing the girl since you said she stayed here. One of your neighbors could have seen her."

"I'm sure people did see me with her," Barry says to Paul with a nod. "I mean, I wasn't trying to hide it." He nods to Sara, "I can get you that stuff right away. We spent some time on the Lower East Side. I can try and backtrack and get the dates."

"All right. So we'll work with that," Sara nods to both, though she's keeping an eye on Ronnie as well. She doesn't look particularly convinced about the other woman's part in this tale, but given the situation, there's not really a good way to ask. She arches a brow at Barry, giving him a closer look. "You okay, Allen?"

Paul nods, satisfied. "The demonic tie in should keep us on the case even when it gets turned over to others. We'll just come at it from a different angle. So you two need to take a moment and get your stories straight. Not exactly though; the most suspicious thing is when two eye witness stories are identical. Be hazy, fudge details, but stay with the basic truth as we outlined it."

Barry nods to Sara, a bit distractedly. "Yeah, I'll be fine." When Manning discusses the plan with Allen, he's there, but not really there. "Yeah, we can do that, Paul." He looks between both Pezzini and Manning, "Thank you, guys."

"Hey, it's what we do," Sara sighs, looking around the wreckage of the apartment. "You, uh. You got a go bag back at the office?" she asks. "Crime scene techs aren't going to want you taking stuff out of here. I try to keep some things back at the precinct for these sorts of situations. Otherwise it turns into all department sweats, all the time."

"Which reminds me we need to call this in now otherwise there'll be too much time since we arrived." Paul says, stepping off to the side to put that call in.

"No, you know, I never really thought of it," Barry says with an inward sigh. "I'll have to stop by the store on the way to Ronnie's tonight." Good thing that tax return is coming up, right?

"Next time," Sara says encouragingly, reaching out to clap a hand to his shoulder. As Paul goes to take care of the call, she lets out a breath. "If things get a little awkward," she gestures between him and Ronnie, "Let me know, yeah? Boyfriend's been bugging me about moving in, but you know how it is finding a place in New York. Don't want to sell my place. So if you need a place to land, it'd be good to have someone keeping an eye on the place."

Barry nods, "Yeah, I'll give it some thought. Where is it at?" The idea that he could have an in at a sublease, seems to lighten his spirits a bit. He's sure his landlord is going to want to have a long, long talk before this is over.

"Brooklyn," Sara answers. "Easy transit to the bus or the subway, not too bad a commute to the precinct, all told. Brownstone. Three bedrooms. Used to be my great-aunt's place, she left it to me a couple years ago."

Barry nods, "Well, I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Thanks guys. I gotta get this mess cleaned up and see where we go from here.

"You do that," Sara nods. "Meanwhile, I'll just be over here. Figuring out how these guys threw themselves into so many cabinets. And couches. And walls." Cough-Ronnie-cough.

Paul looks up from his call. "Don't touch a thing, Allen. You know better."

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