frea_o: (Maria Hill)
[personal profile] frea_o
Title: Badge and Shield
Word Count: 1,575 words
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Avengers
Pairings (if any) : Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers, Maria Hill/Steve Rogers
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/Underage): Sexism, violence, action, mentions of rape (this is an umbrella warning for the universe), homicide, suicide, pretty much everything cops deal with.
Summary: Maria Hill knows that when people look at her, they see “woman.” Followed by “bitch” or “cop” or even “bitch cop.” Or: the one where Peggy Carter and Maria Hill work on the gang task force and are awesome partner detectives.
Notes: So [livejournal.com profile] anuna_81 wrote an awesome little start of a series where Clint is a single father and a cop and Natasha’s a dance teacher (which you can’t read unless you’re friends with her, so you’ll have to take my word: it’s fantastic). The rest of the Avengers fit in the police situation somehow (I’m not entirely sure how, except that Tony is Clint’s partner and they’re very Tango and Cash), and somehow or other, our comments got around to talking about where Maria Hill and Peggy Carter fit. Then I imagined them as buddy cops and this little ficlet was born in the comments.

I regret nothing.

***


She sees the way the dealers eye the two of them when Carter puts the sedan in park, but it doesn’t particularly bother her. “Middle one’s packing,” she says, popping another pistachio into her mouth.

Carter takes the keys out of the ignition. “One on the right’s got a Napoleon complex.”

Maria eyes the shrimp of a guy and the stained wifebeater under his padded jacket. He’s leaning on the wall by the front door of Sticky’s Dry Cleaning—an unfortunate name, especially since every cop in the area knows Sticky runs an underground gambling league in his backrooms on Thursday nights—all macho malevolence and posturing. His friends, who seem a little more relaxed, aren’t much better. “Ugh,” she says, picking up the radio to report in to dispatch. “Is a little originality too much to ask? Dispatch, this is Unit 58.” She rattles off their address and tosses the radio back into its holster. “Ready?”

Carter shrugs. “I’ll take the one on the left if it goes down,” is all she says, and the women climb out of the car.

Maria knows what they look like: she’s known it since the Academy. When she wore a uniform, it was a little easier—people have a hard time seeing past a uniform sometimes—but now that she’s a detective, able to choose her own outfits for work, it’s a battle. It doesn’t help that both she and Peggy Carter, Lieutenant at the 12th and proud owner of the meanest right cross to ever come from Essex, have the faces of models and reed-slim builds. Maria keeps hers up through clean living (though oatmeal is a bitch), Peggy through sheer ornery force of will, and Maria knows the first thing people see when they look at the partners is “woman.” Followed by “bitch” or “cop” or even “bitch cop.”

It’s not too far off the mark, in her opinion.

“Evening, gentlemen,” Carter says, and like always, the strands of Mother England in her accent make the three punks do a double-take. “I’m Lieutenant Carter, this is my partner Detective Hill—got a minute?”

“For such fine ladies as yourself,” Middle Punk says, leering enough to show off a gauche golden incisor, “I’ve got a hell of a lot more than a minute.” As though either Carter or Maria could have had a chance of mistaking his meaning, he grabs his crotch, and his buddies crack up like he’s the finest thing to hit comedy since Red Skelton.

“Quite,” Carter says, giving him the polite-if-disdainful smile that always makes Detective Rogers start panting like a puppy when he thinks the rest of them don’t notice. “We’re looking for Johnny Schmidt—any of you gents know him?”

Shrimpy snorts, but Guy on the Left looks a little pale. Maria notices, which means Carter notices, too. “Red Skull Johnny? What would we want with that loser?” Shrimpy asks. “Amateur.”

Maria’s impressed he even knows what that word means. “So you do know him,” she says.

“What of it?” Shrimpy asks, and Guy on the Left starts to sweat.

Aha, Maria thinks. She wishes all cases were this easy. She spots the edge of a tattoo under Shrimpy’s wifebeater, interlocking circles that looks kind of like the Olympics logo. Ten Rings loyalist, it looks like. That explains the “amateur” diss.

“Nothing,” she says. “Just looking for him. Care to tell us where you gentlemen were last night between ten and midnight?”

“Banging your mom,” Middle Punk says, sneering. Maria wishes thugs would get new material already. “She was real sweet, too, went down on my—”

“Well, that can’t be true,” Carter says, giving Maria a sardonic look. “Her mom was already busy with me at that time. Are you sure you had the right person?”

Middle Punk blinks like he’s completely confused. It’ll come to him eventually, Maria figures.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Shrimpy says. “This some sort of interrogation? We in trouble for something?”

“Just curious,” Carter says, and Guy on the Left finally breaks. He takes off running, shoving Middle Punk out of his way and into the door as he does so. Maria and Carter need absolutely no prompting. Maria was waiting for that; she tears after him, a long history of high school and college track aiding her. But as always, Carter is faster, her shorter legs somehow churning so that she’s got Guy on the Left shoved up against an alley wall, cuffing him with the ease of long practice.

“Oh, would you look at that?” she tells Maria as she pulls a Saturday Night Special out of his jacket pocket. “Got a license for this thing? I thought not. Why don’t you come with us to the station and answer some questions? See, Hill, told you had the guy on the left.”

“Dumb luck,” Maria says, but she’s grinning as they lead their cuffed suspect to the car.

***

Guy on the Left turns out to be Nate Brooklyn, a kid with three arrest warrants on his name for assault with a deadly. He doesn’t know diddly about Johnny Schmidt or Red Skull, but at least Maria and Carter have a solid arrest under their belts. Maria will take coincidence if it means getting a thug behind bars.

Unfortunately, the interrogation takes hours—hours and hours of grilling Brooklyn, switching between good cop and bad cop and bad cop and bitch cop—so by the time Maria has time to collect her lunch from the break room fridge, it’s nearing four thirty, and her stomach is growling. She thinks about low blood sugar, thankfully staved off since Carter tossed her an apple earlier, and the effects this will have on her metabolism as she unloads her lunch onto her desk.

“I don’t get it,” Sitwell, who sits across an aisle so narrow that she can prop her feet on the edge of his desk—and has, many a time, staying late with Carter—says, wrinkling his nose at her carrots, sprouts, and turkey wrap. Maria’s indulged herself with some light vinaigrette dressing today. “How do you eat that stuff and not grow rabbit ears, Hill?”

“Who says she doesn’t have furry ears, Jas?” Carter asks. Her desk is pushed up against Hill’s. As a lieutenant, she should have her own office, but budget cuts means she’s in the bullpen with the rest of them. It means there’s probably less goofing off in the twelfth, but nobody actually seems to mind.

Sitwell very obviously checks out the top of Maria’s head. “The way you comb your hair may cover ’em up,” he says.

“Shame the way you comb your hair doesn’t cover up that point,” Maria says. It’s an old, tired joke, but it gets a laugh from Sitwell and a smile from Carter, and Maria digs into her wrap. Her body is a temple, and besides, if she eats healthy now, she can justify a slice of cheesecake later from the bodega under her apartment. Vinnie makes the best cheesecake this side of 73rd.

While Maria eats, Carter checks her messages, replying to emails and handling details. Maria knows she’s being groomed to take over for Carter in a few years—it’s been obvious since Carter first strolled into the bullpen and grabbed Maria, then a beat-cop and said, “I need an aide.”—but she’s happy to wait on that, just by the sheer number of tasks Carter has to handle on top of being a detective. Maria covers for her by filling out their paperwork, which she’ll be staying late tonight to do, it looks like.

Except, she remembers, she can’t stay late. She has something to do. “Hey, Sitwell?”

“What’s up, Doc?” he asks without looking up from his report.

“What do you get a four-year-old kid for her birthday?”

“Some kind of toy, I imagine. What’s she like?”

“She’s my niece. She likes...” Maria tries to remember. She tries to be a good aunt, but working at the 12th means a lot of late nights and a lot of missed parties. However, because she’s a cop, she remembers that when they last went to Central Park, Haylee was wearing some kind of pink T-shirt with a girl with stupefyingly long blond hair and a green iguana on it. Seemed like a Disney thing. “Princesses, I guess? Pink stuff?”

“Buy her something pink, then. You can’t go wrong with that.”

“She wants a Rapunzel Barbie,” Carter says, still typing away at her email.

Maria leans to get a look at her around the computer monitor. “How do you know that?”

“Your sister emailed me to remind you of that today.”

“Oh.” Maria takes a big bite, finishing off her wrap, and swallows. “Does that mean you’re coming with me to Haylee’s party?”

“Yes. I’m bringing the Flynn Rider doll. We’ll stop and pick it up on the way over to Central.”

That means it’s time to go. Maria brushes crumbs off of her jacket, picks up her weapon out of the drawer, and rises. “It worries me that you know my family better than I do sometimes, Peg.”

“To be fair, you probably would if you checked your email more.” Carter’s smile is teasing as they head for the door.

“What’s happening at Central?”

“That was Doctor Ross, from Forensics. She says she’s got something we need to see about Johnny Schmidt.”

“Oh, finally,” Maria says, and they leave the station.
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