Rating: PG13 (mainly for strong language)
Summary: We've all heard about the BMFM's past – the wars, the people, Carbine, Stoker etc, etc. We know everything about Vinnie, Throttle and Modo. What about Charley? We never really hear about her past – I know some details are given, but I've decided to recreate Charley's past – and give a glimpse into the life of the woman they call a best friend and ally.
Warnings: Original characters but NO Mary Sue's. I'm very keen on that point. No original characters that are mice – only humans from Charley's present and past. This fic takes place approximately one year after the Mice first arrive. Limburger is still planning his conquests for the glory of the Plutarkians, while the mice are content to stay on earth.
Spoilers: None really, that I can think of anyway.
Additional Notes: This is my first official BMFM fanfic. I've seen most of the episodes (own most of them too) and have never read a fic that portrayed Charley's life in any real fashion. Also, the police terms and procedures are based on what I've learned as a 2nd year Police Foundations student whose hoping to be a cop next year.
Charley wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand, not caring if she left a greasy streak. She'd had her hands stuck in the bowels of the ancient truck for nearly three hours and her patience had been worn to a frazzle. Standing up, she winced as her leg muscles protested the sudden movement after so much inactivity, tossed the oil stained rag to the ground, stepped back and mimed shooting a gun at the engine.
" Bang," she said dryly. She cocked her head to the side and sighed, shaking it sadly.
" Sorry Jake – there's not much I can do for her. You're gonna have to replace the whole engine."
Jake Peters was one of her oldest clients. Subsequently, he had one of the oldest vehicles on the face of the planet. The '68 pickup was the warhorse of the truck family, but even it had to succumb to the ravages of time. Frankly, Charley was amazed it had lasted that long with most of its original parts and knew part of that reason was due to her skill as a mechanic. Jake was a good man, an old friend of her father's, and he knew that if Charley wrote off his baby, there was no use in getting a second opinion. " You're sure?"
" Sorry big guy." She smiled ruefully. " I'm guessing Glenda's going to get the new Explorer then?"
Jake chuckled, gazing sadly at his truck. " I guess so. She's been harpin' on it for a while – guess I don't really have an excuse to put it off anymore."
" No, you don't."
" What do I owe you?" Jake pulled out his battered wallet that was nearly as old as the truck. He nicked a pen off Charley's workbench and held it poised over his checkbook. Charley shook her head at him.
" Forget it, Jake."
" Charley, parts don't come free. And you spent today and yesterday trying to patch up a lost cause. Every other mechanic charges for labour." Jake shook the pen at her. " And don't you try and pull that 'it's your dad's pal, the one who used to bounce you on his knee, I can't charge him, he's family' routine either."
" Even if it's the truth?" Charley grinned impishly at him.
" I know for a fact you charged your old man over the hill and back for that 'cycle job a few years back."
Charley laughed and finally gave in. " Thanks Jake. I'll write it up in a sec."
Charley stood at the garage doors, waving goodbye to Jake as he and his wife disappeared down the street. Glenda Peters was a perky woman with a devilish sense of humour. Arriving at the Last Chance garage, she had enveloped Charley in a bone-crushing hug for 'killing the blasted machine', despite Charley's cries of innocence.
Charley chuckled as she turned away from the door, eyeing the check in her hand. Despite her hesitance in charging one of the few remaining people in her life she considered family, she had to admit the check would definitely come in handy. If she wasn't mistaken, the hydro bill was due that week.
" Hey Charley-girl!"
The familiar voice rang out and Charley looked up with a genuine smile this time. Speaking of family…
" Hey Vinnie!" She shrieked in mock-fear as his tail snaked around her waist, hoisting her up, around and back down again. " Don't DO that!"
" And in saying that, you've just condemned yourself," Throttle chuckled, waving from his position from the door. " You should know by now Charley—"
" Ordering Vinnie to do something produces the exact opposite reaction," Modo finished. Charley shook her head.
" I know, I know…"
" Whoa!" Vinnie whistled, finally taking stock of the huge truck sitting in the bay. " Talk about your antiques!"
" She's old, all right," Charley agreed. " M'Lady's finished her last run."
" M'Lady?" Modo arched an eyebrow.
" That's her name. She belonged to an old friend of my father's – Jake brought her in yesterday to see if I could work some magic on her." Charley moved over to her workbench and began cleaning the tools she'd used. " My magic touch isn't gonna bring the old girl back to life without a whole new engine. His wife decided that the money would be better spent on an Explorer she's been wanting for years." She pointed at M'Lady. " So I get the honour of stripping her."
" That sounded so wrong – and yet so right at the same time," Vinnie leered, waggling his ears at her. Charley threw the oil rag at him.
Throttle patted the hood of the truck. " Too bad – she's a classy lady. Built like a tank."
" Yeah – they don't make 'em like they used to." Charley sighed. " A part of me doesn't want to get rid of her. She's been in the family for years. Uncle Jake used to pick me up after school when I was a kid whenever mom had to work late. "
" Need some help?" Modo asked. Charley nodded.
" I'd appreciate it. If I do it, it'll take forever and I can't keep something this big here. I've got two jobs tomorrow that I'll need the space for. "
" Your wish is our command," Throttle saluted her, turning back to the truck. "Hell Charley-girl – I didn't even know you did jobs like this."
" Hey bud – I'm a mechanic. I may specialize in bikes but I have the same training as everyone else." She grinned. " I'm just better at it then most."
" Modest too." Vinnie joined Throttle under the hood.
" Yup. There's a lot you don't know about me. Now if you're going to help, get moving."
" Ka-nock, ka-nock!"
The strange shout out filtered through Charley's tired ears and she looked up, blinking in surprise. She wasn't expecting more guests that late in the afternoon – and she certainly wasn't expecting a greeting like that. She hadn't heard the voice in almost a year – since just before the mice had become a part of her life, she realized. Is it really?
Once again she picked up the well-used oilcloth, noting with amusement the curiously panicked faces of her companions who seemed to be looking for a place to hide. " Relax guys. If that's who I think it is, she already knows about you."
Throttle's face turned from panicked to concern. " You told someone about us?"
" It's a long story guys, and I don't think I have time to get into it." She strode over to the closed door and opened it, heedless of the frozen figures behind her. " Manda!"
A yelp was about all Charley had time to get out as a ball of energy, vaguely human-shaped, leaped through the door and attached itself to her, squeezing her breath out in a whoosh.
" Manda!" she wheezed. " Air…it's a good thing…"
" It's highly over-rated," the ball said, reverting into a human-shaped female, detaching itself from Charley. " Really." She peered over Charley's shoulder at the shell-shocked mice. " Wow, you weren't kidding! And I used to think I'd seen it all."
Charley chuckled and turned around, bringing the woman with her. " Manda, I'd like you to meet Vinnie, Throttle and Modo," she said, pointing to each one in turn. " Guys, this is my cousin Manda. " She smiled. " Manda and I were best friends growing up."
" Pleased to meet you ma'am," Modo said politely, stepping forward to shake her hand. Throttle gave him an odd look, but Modo shrugged. His grey-furred mama raised him with manners – and a gentleman always introduced himself when a lady was present. The girl grinned at him.
Vinnie stepped up, his shocked mind functioning again. " Vinnie Van Wham, at your service."
" Really?" Manda cocked an eyebrow at him. " Nah – too high maintenance I'd wager. I'll stick with Modo."
Vinnie blinked in surprise at the gentle teasing and then laughed. " Yeah – she's related to you, Charley."
Charley chuckled. She wasn't surprised that her cousin was winning them over. Manda had a history of making friends fast. Still, her irrepressible cousin had yet to come up against the ultra cool and composed Throttle – who incidentally, still looked vaguely annoyed with her. " Throttle?"
" I guess I can see why you'd tell your best friend," Throttle said quietly. Manda, Vinnie and Modo cut the joking and watched the tan-furred mouse silently. Vinnie looked like he wanted to come to Charley's defence, but the brown-haired mechanic put her hand up to stop him, motioning for Throttle to continue. " Did you tell anyone else?"
" No, I didn't," Charley said firmly. " And not telling Manda wasn't really an option. She would have found out sooner or later."
" That's right," Manda said, suddenly appearing in front of Charley.
Throttle took a step back, blinking. Manda was a little taller then Charley, he finally noticed. Her hair was long, but it's true length was hidden, tied back in a ponytail. She was dressed casually – not biker clothing as was the norm, particularly in the city area they lived in, but more as though the girl was an outdoorsman – woman, he corrected himself absently. She eyed him steadily.
" What do you mean?"
" Well, it's obvious Charley's never told you guys about me," she shrugged. " I'm a police officer – a detective, to be exact. I could always tell when Charley was trying to hide something from me and this was no different. I checked around myself, came up with a few ideas and asked her to confirm them. She didn't just come up to me and start tattling on the Martian bikers hanging out in her garage."
Throttle glanced at Charley and saw her nod. He glanced at Vinnie and Modo. Vinnie had a pleading expression on his face, the same one he got whenever he saw the people he cared for fighting. Throttle blinked – he hadn't realized how defensive he had gotten, and so quickly too. Turning back to Charley, he returned the nod and watched as the tension in the room seemed to ease.
" Sorry Charley-girl." His tone was sincere, and he met her eyes squarely, acknowledging his wrong. She nodded with a smile, already forgiving him. It was easy to see why Throttle would have such concerns – while she and the local population had grown accustomed to them, she forgot that not everyone in the world was. The Biker Mice were still a fairly well kept secret, at least in the eyes of the government and whoever else would want a crack at studying the first piece of positive proof of life on Mars.
" No problem."
" What proof did you check out that Charley confirmed?" Vinnie wanted to know. Manda laughed out loud.
" Well…the fact that this city has one building that keeps being demolished and rebuilt in less time then it takes Pizza Hut to deliver, coupled with the fact that three people on custom-rides are scene nearly every time Limburger Plaza goes 'timber' was enough to spark my interest, especially since the action was taking place so close to my cousin." Manda poked Charley. " I do some checking and discover the rides are also found regularly in two other places – Quigley Field, and the Last Chance Garage. I called up Charley and asked. She answered. End of story."
Throttle looked a little miffed at the idea of he and his bro's being habitual. Vinnie snickered. " Stoker would approve of you."
"So what brings you to Chi-town?" Charley turned back to her cousin who had backed down as the tension ebbed. Manda grinned.
" What else?
Charley grinned. " Finally! I was starting to think you had no more use for me!"
" Are you kidding? You've got all the scoops girl – and my boss and I really need one for this case I'm working."
" Case?" Modo asked.
" Scoop?" Vinnie blinked in confusion.
Manda looked at them, at a loss. " You mean she's never told you?"
" Told us what?" Throttle asked.
Charley was turning red, trying to sink through the floor that was being insufferably unyielding to her wishes.
" Well, I'm a detective for Major Crimes," Manda said, eyeing Charley with a look that could only be described as evil. " But before then, I worked in Gangs. Charley was my lead informant."
" Charley?" Vinnie blinked again and stared at his friend. " Really?"
" You bet! Charley knows everything that's going down, anywhere in Chicago. And if she doesn't know, she knows someone who does. Having a three-generation biker family living in the same area for all three generations builds up a lifetime of contacts." Manda grinned. " Charley's intel helped bring down one of the deadliest gangs in the state a few years back."
" That sounds like dangerous work," Modo said, frowning. Manda shrugged.
" It is. That's why we pay her really well." Manda laughed. " My boss breaks down in tears every time he sees the books for the snitch fund, but even he can't argue with success."
" Charley?" Vinnie squeaked. He seemed to be stuck on loop. Throttle reached over and calmly smacked the back of his head. " Ow!"
" Sorry bro – but you were getting annoying."
" They pay you to spy on your fellow bikers?" Vinnie looked upset.
" Not really." Charley moved over to him, catching his eyes with hers so he could see the honesty in her gaze. " I use my fellow bikers to get information about the gangs moving in, or the ones causing trouble for everyone else. Only a few people know what I do with that information."
" How come we've never seen you do it?"
Charley mimicked her cousin's shrug. " Manda hadn't visited in a while, almost since the day you guys first arrived." She shot a glare at her cousin who looked sheepish. " I just figured the gang problem had died down."
" It did," Manda nodded. " Especially when you guys began taking on the bulk of it. I transformed to Major Crimes a year ago and have been working on a lot of different cases now. Homicides, kidnappings, and the high-profile stuff." Her gaze grew darker. " But lately, there's been a rash of B'n'E's on several large companies."
" 'Break-and-Enters'," Manda clarified. " The heads of the companies began hollering at the Mayor to do something about it, and so the Mayor got on Major Crimes back. Previous intel gathered showed a few things that reminded me of gang behaviour. When we investigated, one of the companies showed us a security tape that had survived the destruction of the rest of the cameras. The perps were riding big wheels. I recognized a few Harleys, some Kawasaki's and a few I have never seen before in my life. Two of the perps were identified as being part of a gang that had broken up just before I transferred. With that info, and my prior experience, I was given the case."
" Just you?" Charley asked. " What about Kevin?"
" He's coming. Had to kiss the wife goodbye and all that." Manda grinned.
" Who's Kevin?"
"My partner, and yes, he knows about you." Manda scowled at Throttle. " And no, I didn't tell him."
" Then who did?"
" A friend of his in Uniform Patrol. You guys think you're top-secret, but the patrol guys in this area know all about you. Why do you think you get away with half of what you do? The cops keep the civilians safe and out of harms way while you do your thing." She waved her hands. " You know, blow stuff up."
" Isn't that against procedure?" Throttle leaned against his bike. " I mean, doesn't your chief care about property damage? Regulations?"
" Normally he would, and I assure you, everywhere else in the world, they would. But you four aren't the only one that knows about the fishy dealings going around. We've had undercover agents go into companies under Limburgers name and see some really weird shit go down. The government doesn't buy it, especially since Limburger is actually a very wealthy man with some powerful political friends. Without that support, we're limited as to what we can do without hard hitting proof." Manda shook her head. " You guys do the dirty work for us, sad to say. And the Chief is willing to turn a blind eye if it keeps his city safe."
Throttle sat back, silent. That certainly explained a lot. He had often wondered why the police didn't come battering down Charley's door, demanding to search it for three six-foot tall mice.
Vinnie's tail lashed back and forth slowly, a sign that the white mouse was thinking about something with only a fraction of his usual levity. " Vincent?"
" So what do you want with Charley?" he asked suspiciously. Based on Manda's tale, he already had a fairly good idea but he hoped he was wrong.
" I need info," Manda confirmed for him. She looked at Charley. " I need to know if you've heard anything about any company break-in's."
"What was taken?" Charley asked.
" Some labour machines, a lot of high-tech computer junk." Manda reached into her pocket and pulled out a battered notebook. " The walls were literally melted rather then going through the doors. The lab's having a ball, running all their tests on what could have caused it. I haven't seen Marie so excited in years."
" Culture-groupie," Charley snorted.
" You know it. She says hi, and to come visit some time."
" I know. God forbid she should ever pry herself out of that lab," Charley grinned. " I haven't been back there since you took me on the tour so I could see just who I was helping with all my tattle-telling."
" That was six years ago Charlene," Manda said sternly. "Marie has a right to be angry with you."
" I am supremely sorry."
" Good. You can tell her that when you come to her barbeque next week." Manda looked back down at the notebook, dismissing any attempt Charley might have made to get out of the invitation. " There's a few discrepancies though – at two of the five companies targeted, there was a lingering stench in the air, like rotting fish. We checked – the companies don't manufacture anything that smelled like that."
Charley and the mice exchanged knowing looks.
The sound of a car pulling up to the garage broke off their conversation. Manda lifted her head. " And that would be Kevin."
Vinnie shifted. " Is anyone else here a little freaked out yet?"
Modo shrugged, keeping one eye on Manda and Charley as they made their way to the garage doors. The mice watched as a tall young man got out of the car and greeted them, wrapping Charley up in a hug. " I just think its odd that we're learning all of this so suddenly."
" About the break-in's?"
Modo scowled at Vinnie. " No bro – about this! About Charley! How come we've never heard of any of these people?"
" Well, it's not like we ever asked," Throttle pointed out candidly. " And what Charley does on the days we're out riding, or hanging at the 'board is none of our business."
" She did have a life before we got here," Vinnie shrugged. " She showed me pictures of her mother last month."
" She did?" It was Throttle's turn to blink. "Why?"
" It was the anniversary of her mom's death and she was feeling down. I asked her what the problem was." Vinnie whistled. " Charley got her looks from her mother all right."
Throttle and Modo exchanged rueful glances. It was starting to sink in that they simply took Charley at face value most of the time. They hadn't considered that when they had entered her life, that she had actually had one of her own. It wasn't entirely their fault – Charley never had visitors over. If she did, they never knew about it. Throttle backtracked that thought as he remembered Charley's story about the truck in her bay they had almost finished with. The man who owned it had obviously meant a great deal to her, and she spoke of him with a sense of familiarity one wouldn't have if one was a distant relative or an introverted friend. He supposed it really was all as simple as that. They simply didn't notice what Charley did in her spare time.
" You know any of these guys?" Modo asked, gesturing to where Manda, Charley and Kevin were having a cheerful conversation. Modo figured the two girls were explaining to Kevin what he'd find when he entered.
" Heard of them yeah, but no names or faces." Vinnie pointed at Manda. " I was fixin' the newest dents in my baby when she called to talk to Charley. I recognize her voice now."
Their conversation was abruptly halted when the three humans decided to bring theirs indoors. The three Martian mice watched warily as Kevin entered the bay.
Kevin Wedgeman was as tall as the mice but didn't have quite the same musculature. He still retained a fair-sized build though, and his blue eyes had a friendly spark in them as he reached out to shake their hands. His blondish-colored hair was long at the tops, and he kept brushing the fringes away with his free hand as he addressed them all.
" Pleased to meet you all," he said, nodding at each of them in turn. He studied them thoughtfully before pointing at Vinnie and Throttle. " You two, she'd like. You—" he pointed at Modo."— She'd take home."
" That's what I was thinking," Manda chuckled.
" Excuse me?" Throttle finally had the same confused expression on his face that Vinnie and Modo had been sharing earlier.
" Marie," Charley clarified, muffling a laugh. " She's a big fan of the Mr. Olympia contest."
" Body building," Manda added. " You guys are just her size."
Modo cheeks turned bright red, an interesting feat for someone covered with dark grey fur. Throttle looked faintly embarrassed but Vinnie was preening.
Charley decided to get the guys off the hook. " Manda? Intel?"
"Spoilsport." Manda pulled her notebook back out. Kevin did the same. Then Manda put it away again. " Nope, that's it!"
Charley groaned, and smacked her in the arm. " Nutball."
"I'm serious Charley." Manda frowned. " Like I said, we really need a lead – that's why we came to you. Whoever's behind this is obviously working for someone. The two I ID'd don't have an IQ between them, and none of the stolen property has shown up in the usual markets. Not to mention a lot of this stuff is so high-tech it'd blink like a beacon if it sold on the net. The fence's won't touch this stuff – it's a dead giveaway to the cops and no one wants to get nailed. That tells us that it's going back to the thief's boss for personal use." She sighed, one hand tugging on the loop of her cargo pants in an automatic gesture. " I don't mind telling you Charley, that this has me worried."
" How come?" Throttle asked, brows furrowing.
Kevin met his gaze. " Because this stuff is dangerous. The computers housed a lot of intricate details on explosive devices – these companies are all privately owned labs. Not to mention the raids on the supplies that the scientists have told us could be combined to form dangerous toxins. We don't know what we're dealing with here. Biological warfare? Local or international? The grownup equivalent of the kid who wants the most detailed play-lab kit?"
" No demands, no threats and no boasters stepping forward to take the credit," Manda continued. " We're at a loss right now, and the best we can do is wait for them to strike again and try to take at least one into custody for questioning."
" Sounds rough," Charley murmured. She chewed on her bottom lip, her eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the distance as she ran the facts through her mind. Manda sighed – and then squealed in delight, shocking all of them at the sudden noise.
"Manda?" Kevin growled, rubbing his ear. The mice echoed the gesture and the glare. Manda ignored them all.
" Oh my god – Charley! Is that M'Lady?" Manda dashed around Throttle and Vinnie, sliding to a halt in front of the half-dismantled truck they had been working on. She took in the pieces littered about the floor and her eyes grew large. " You're breaking her down?"
" Jake brought her in yesterday," Charley said, sighing sadly. " I did my best but it was just too late."
Manda shook her head, stroking the hood of the truck. " That's awful. Poor girl." She grinned at her cousin. " Remember the time we tried to teach ourselves how to drive a stick?"
" You wanted to drive. I was dragged along," Charley defended herself. " And I was the one that told you that you had to use the clutch."
" Yes, you did," Manda nodded. " It's just too bad you never told me how!" She snickered, facing the mice and her amused partner. " We went screeching down the driveway and into the road, Charley's hands over her face so she couldn't see, and Uncle Jake chasing behind us wailing 'Come back, M'Lady!'"
Charley burst out laughing. " And he caught us too – right after you drove M'Lady through Ms. Jenson's hedges!"
Vinnie snickered. " What happened then?"
" Oh," Manda wiped her eyes where tears had leaked out from laughing too hard. " We got grounded for two weeks, and had to pay to have the hedges replaced. M'Lady—" she thumped the hood affectionately."—is and was too strong to get damaged at that slow a speed."
Modo grinned suddenly. " Reminds me of the first time me and Throttle ever rode a bike."
Charley looked interested. Manda took a look at the blush forming on Throttle's face and clapped her hands together. " Spill it!"
"Oh no – we don't need to hear that!" Throttle slammed his hand over Modo's mouth – but he forgot about Vinnie's.
" Yeah, you don't need to hear it – just trade the truck for bikes, the hedge for a river, and your uncle Jake for a old woman out for an evening walk!"
Throttle groaned as the rest of them burst into a fresh round of laughter. " Thanks Vinnie."
" Anytime bro."
Charley let out one last chuckle and then let it die down. She reached out for her jacket, thanking Vinnie as he handed it to her. " I think I might know someone, Manda. And you're in luck – he happens to be working tonight."
" Wait – Charley, you're going out now?" Vinnie looked back at Throttle. " Where are you going?"
" Chrome's. The guy I want to talk to is a bartender there."
" Chrome's? That place is a dive, Charley-girl!" Vinnie looked horrified. " That's where all the other gangs not associated with Limburger hang out."
" I know that." Charley grabbed her keys. " Rusty's a friend of mine. And he and I share clients."
" Clients?" Modo cocked his head, one ear twitching.
" Yeah, clients. Those people that bring me their poor broken cars and motorcycles and pay me little bits of paper to make them work again? Those are clients." She snorted. "You don't honestly think my place has survived this long without clients, do you? What do you think I do all day?"
" Uh…" The mice exchanged more guilty looks.
" Manda, you gonna be here?" Charley asked, fastening the snaps on her helmet. Manda glanced at Kevin and shook her head.
" Kev's got a snitch of his own to check out. You're family so I can get away with it, but partners go where partners are." She smiled. " And Kev's wife will beat me up if I return her handsome hubby in less then the mint condition I borrowed him in."
Kevin nodded. " Tracey's gotten very strong – she will too."
" I'm not surprised," Manda pointed out. " All that lifting of the kiddies. You gotta leave that poor woman alone – four's a lot, five is just pushing it."
" Five kids?" Charley blinked. " Last time I checked there were only three and Trace was expecting—no. You don't mean to tell me—"
" Yep," Kevin grinned proudly. " Twin baby boys. After three gorgeous little girls, I finally got my strapping, manly boys!"
" Belated congratulations!" Charley exclaimed. "I'd hug you but I'd probably knock you out with this thing on." She pointed to her helmet. " I had no idea. When were they born?"
" They turn six months old next week."
" Next week…" Charley turned to Manda who nodded.
" Yup. That's why Marie's throwing a barbeque. And you're coming you know."
" I know, I know." Charley tugged the shield down over her face. " Be back later."
The bike's engine roared as Charley spun it out of the garage, taking the narrow corner at the street's end with ease.
" Hey!" Vinnie objected. The mice had all but been dismissed. " You're letting her go to the Chrome by herself?"
Manda looked at him in surprise. "Why not? The Chrome was a second home to her father and Jake. No one in there would dare lay a finger on her – not if they don't want to come back. Rusty would bar them, and he makes best 'wings in town."
" We didn't know," Throttle said, embarrassed. " We're starting to see there's a lot about Charley we didn't know."
" Well, it's not your fault. Charley's never been very forthcoming about personal information. Just trust me that Charley can handle herself there."
The sound of another engine roaring to life filled the garage, and the mice and the two cops spun around to see Vinnie take off in Charley's direction. Manda grinned.
" Protective much?"
^^ I liked writing this chapter. I just let the dialogue flow forth. Charley's background is wide open for anything I want – and I got lots of ideas! What do YOU think?
Feedback is good. Really. I promise. ^^