A Bit Charlie's Angels, Maybe


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Scene Title A Bit Charlie's Angels, Maybe
Synopsis JJ and Nicole cross paths while brushing up on their target practice. JJ winds up brushing up on something else altogether.
Date December 19, 2010

Shooting Range

After buying his time and ammunition, JJ heads into the white walled shooting range, ear protectors around his neck as he strolls down the aisle toward the first empty stall he will find. It might be strange for a FRONTLINE officer to be at a commercial firing range, but Jameson Jones has an ego to keep intact and a shooting record to improve if he's going to save face in that squad full of double-Xers.

Why Saturday before Christmas is a busy day in the firing range might be a matter worth worrying about later, but for some reason it's a popular place, and the first five of ten stalls are taken — it's passing the fifth that JJ pauses mid-step.

The brunette currently reloading her gun looks a bit familiar. He squints green eyes, standing behind her for stall, trying to decide whether or not to speak to her. Give it ten seconds — if she doesn't notice him, he'll keep on walking. After all, she won't hear him through the sound protection.

Nicole doesn't notice JJ at first. But it only takes her five seconds before she's glancing over her shoulder and spotting the man standing nearby. He's familiar, and so she actually turns around to look at him, leaving her gun on the counter behind her. She tugs her ear protection down to let it rest around her neck like he has done and offers a smile that turns a little shaky once recognition sets in. "You're one of those officers from the, uhm… The supply line in Queens."

Don't trust the police, Russo had said earlier. Nicole finds herself suddenly on edge. Despite telling herself she's just being paranoid. "I'm sorry. I… don't think I ever caught your name. That's shameful of me, really. I'm normally much better about that sort of thing. I'm Nicole."

"Heyyy," JJ says with a broad grin, stepping forward now that he's been acknowledged and recognized. "I thought I recognized you! No reason to be sorry. I was working, you were looking pretty busy yourself. I'm JJ."

He steps forward, pulling his glove off before offering his hand for a handshake. "FRONTLINE," he adds, to fill in the details on just what kind of officer he is. "Don't shoot me for that little bit of trivia, all right? It's a job, and I really am trying to do some good with it. If it helps, I wasn't in town yet on the 8th. Was still back in Sunny California."

Nicole takes the offered hand. She shakes like the good politician (or politician's assistant, at any rate) that she is: firmly and only as long as she needs to for that first impression. "FRONTLINE. That's an admirable thing." She doesn't make any speculation about the actions taken during the riots, maybe simply out of social politeness. Maybe not.

"What's the proper address for a member of FRONTLINE anyway? Officer? Agent? Or is it a rank thing?" Nicole can't quite keep her eyes from darting around, looking for anyone else who might be about to show up unexpectedly. Back-up, perhaps? Then again, one FRONTLINE officer is probably more than enough. Especially in a shooting range.

"Officer Jones I guess would work, if we were in proper public and all," JJ says with a smile and a shrug. "I don't really like titles and formalities, though the little bit of military training I've got makes me want to throw Ma'am and Sir after every single sentence I ever say. That's just a bad habit that one day I hope to lose, polite or not. That, and I called a checker at the supermarket 'ma'am' the other day?"

He shakes his head ruefully. "Turned out she was like 29 and turning 30 the next day? Bad move. Bad move. I got a 30 minute lecture about how ma'aming people is not polite unless I'm sure they're old enough to be my mother. And it was the express checkout, so everyone behind me in line was pissed off! All I wanted was my six-pack of Corona, you know?"

Nicole finds herself actually laughing at JJ's story. And then feeling a little guilty about it, since it was one of misfortunate, after all. "I'm suddenly reminded of the fact that I'll be 29 next week." She shakes her head. "I promise I won't lecture you if you call me ma'am. I'm used to it in my line of work. I've met enough military types to come to expect it, too."

Elbows are angled and forearms rest on the counter behind Nicole, her posture casual, and her gun now closer if it comes down to a need for it. "Why New York? Especially this time of year. It must be miserable compared to California."

JJ arches a brow. "You? 29? You don't look a day over twenty four," he says. "And I'd know. I'm 25, right, so like, I have a lot of experience with 24-year-old girls."

His cheeks flush just a little. "I mean, not like experience — though it's not like I don't, either. Ah, shit, now I sound like a freak."

He reshoulders the bag containing his gun and its ammunition, a bit fidgety. "Why here? Well, once they decided I should be FRONTLINE, I didn't get a lot of choice. There were spots to fill out here, and more need out here, so out here I am, right? California's not as … you know. Rough… as it is here. 'Cause of the riots and all." He shrugs. "It is freezing. I think anything under 50 is too freakin' cold you know, so this is too damn cold for a boy from San Diego."

Once again, Nicole finds herself laughing at JJ. "I'm sorry. That's rude of me." But she's still grinning. "You're cute." Whether she means like adorable and childlike, or rrrowr is up for debate. "Who's they, anyway? The military? They tell you you're going to be FRONTLINE?" Thin brows arch upward, genuine curiosity.

"I was in the Reserves, and kinda got pushed this way. I wasn't opposed to it, you know — I was already sorta serving and protecting so to speak, and I figured this way I'd stay in the country rather than have to go out somewhere else. So it was a kinda strongly worded request that I chose to accept, more or less? And then I was getting trained and New York did what New York does, and they sent me here. That part wasn't optional, but," JJ drawls the word out as he leans in the stall, grinning at her, "can't say it's the worst place I ever been."

He gives a nod toward her gun. "But I'm keeping you from your practice. I'll let you get back to it."

Nicole tilts her head back to indicate the hall behind her where the paper target sits at the other end. "You wanna show me how it's done? I'm really not very good. I can't hit shit from long range. Short range is so much easier." She steps to one side, clearing her things to give JJ room to join her. "I'm sorry that New York did what New York does. It must suck to get uprooted so suddenly like that."

The young man smirks and gives a what are ya gonna do sort of shrug. "It's where the action is, so I guess I can't complain, right? And as far as shooting, that's how it is for everyone. Longer's always harder."

He blinks a moment longer than necessary, cheeks pinking just a little bit more as he steps closer to nod toward her gun. "I'm not as good as I could be. It's why I'm here — I don't wanna practice where the others'll see," he whispers as if confessing a deep, dark secret. "Can't be one-upped by a buncha girls." He winks, clearly not really all that offended that the women can out-shoot him.

He nods toward the target. "Let's see your stance."

"Well, I can guarantee you that you're better than me, at least," Nicole assures, turning her back a little less reluctantly now than she would have a few minutes ago, and perching her clunky ear protection properly on her head once more. She lifts her gun. The weight of it is unfamiliar in her hand, compared to the gun she usually carries in her purse. This one she usually keeps stashed in a hat box in her closet. But it'll put a bigger hole in someone, and that feels comforting right now.

It's obvious that Nicole's never had any proper training with a firearm. She stands like she's watched one too many cop dramas. She probably has. But at least she isn't twisting it sideways like a TV thug, or an action film where cinemagic makes people believe that bullets can bend through the air.

He watches for a moment, then tugs his own ear protection over his head and steps up close behind her. He reaches to lift one of the ear "muffs" to murmur into her ear, "Not bad, though a bit Charlie's Angels, maybe, kid," he says playfully, moving his hands around hers to adjust her fingers on the gun.

"Tipping just a tiny bit to the right," JJ murmurs, one hand cupped around her balancing hand as the other touches the gun to tip it in the correct direction.

His fingertips pressing against the gun to correct it linger longer than necessary. Behind her his eyes narrow, and he stares ahead at the target as if he's the one aiming.

Nicole stands just a little bit rigid when the piece over her ear is lifted enough for JJ to murmur to her. She also blushes quite a lot. His arms circling around her body to correct her hold on the weapon doesn't make things any better.

Doesn't make things worse, though. She's glad she's got her face away from him so he can't see the shade of red she's turned. It's Nicole's turn to be flustered. She takes a deep breath, and holds it the half second it takes her to squeeze the trigger and fire her shot.

A blonde woman clutches Nicole's gun in one shaky hand, hidden in the pocket of a dark jacket. She stands across from a man in his fifties.

"Nic'. You look good," the man says, looking the blonde up and down with a sweep of dark eyes.

"Spare me," the woman spits. "You were supposed to leave her alone." There's so much anger there, bubbling just beneath the woman's surface. Anger, betrayal, and sadness.

The man's lips curl in a smile that looks more like a sneer. "You got old," he explains simply.

It makes that anger worse. She looks sick. "She stood a chance."

"You never said stop." The sneer forms this time. Doesn't fade when the gun comes out of the woman's pocket. "What're you gonna do with that?"

The weapon lowers slowly, like she might let it drop to her side. Then the muzzle flashes. The first bullet expended. From close range, she has no trouble hitting her target and the man crumples to the ground, screaming and clutching between his legs. "You liked it, you whore!"

The trigger is squeezed several more times in quick succession, bang! bang! bang! becomes click! click! click! click! click! long after the magazine has been emptied into the man's chest and he lays dead on the floor.

Nicole's aim was better this time, if the previous holes in the target are anything to go by. But it still goes wide. A shot to the shoulder, rather than one to the chest proper.

The hand steadying the gun drops suddenly and JJ steps back rather abruptly. She can't see the shock on JJ's face, the way the golden color drains out of him, leaving him sallow, the freckles standing a starker auburn across nose and cheeks. Green eyes are wide as he clears his throat, a slightly shaking hand lifting to pull her ear protector back into place after a terse, "Looks good. Fire when ready."

One hand reaches for the wall of the small stall to steady himself as the other presses his forehead as if to ease away a headache, eyes narrowing as he stares at the silhouetted target in the distance.

She lets out the breath she'd been holding in, turning around to see how she did and then blinking with surprise. Nicole sets her gun down again and tugs the muffs off her ears, rushing to rest a steadying hand on JJ's arm, peering at his face with confusion. "Are you okay?" She appears genuinely concerned, and the red of her face is bleeding away to something paler in her worry.

He blinks when she turns around, and tugs off his own ear protection once more. "Sorry, yeah, just a little headache all of a sudden," he manages, then pulls out a phone from his pocket as if it'd gone off.

"And duty calls… great timing. I think I get precognitive headaches to let me know works about to call. Is that an ability?" he asks, typing into the phone quickly as if in reply. "Looks like no shooting practice for me."

JJ shoves the phone back in his pocket. "Nice to see you again, Nicole. I gotta get. Remember not to tip to the right, and it's about balance, not style — Charlie's Angels look hot and all in their little disco jumpsuits, but it's not the most efficient stance. You look fine enough without posing like Jackie Smith."

He gives a little Army salute and backs into the hall.

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