Hi, guys! Hope you enjoy this one shot. :)
Henry didn't even think before moving. It was instinct and his body reacted before he knew what he was doing.
He and Jo had been chasing down a lead in one of the suburban areas of New York and then they were chasing a suspect through the alleys of said area. The two of them had split up in order to gain more ground on the offender and as Henry turned around the corner of a fence, he stopped dead in his tracks.
Jo was being held at gunpoint. There was about three metres between her and the offender, a male in his early twenties, Henry guessed, and her gun was to the side of the alley, kicked away when the suspect had told her to, lest she be shot. He hadn't been seen yet and began to edge his way closer to Jo rather than the kid.
"What's your name?" Jo was asking, her hands up and palms forward in a surrendered gesture.
"K-Kyle," the kid answered, his hand shaking, making Henry more nervous. One wrong twitch and there'd be a bullet in the detective. He'd managed to get a little further along the fence without being noticed by either of them; they were at such an angle that Kyle couldn't see him at all and Jo was focused on the gun in his hand rather than in Henry's direction.
"Why'd you run, Kyle?" Jo asked.
"You're cops, aren't you?"
"I am. But that doesn't mean I'm going to arrest you." Henry saw her take a deep breath. "I only arrest people who do bad things and, if you put that gun down, I'm sure we can determine if you did a bad thing or not."
Kyle's hand shook harder and at this point, Henry was midway between Jo and the guy with the gun. It's also when he became visible to everyone. The gun was immediately pointed at him and Henry assumed the same position as Jo as he was gestured to move near her. She scowled and rolled her eyes and Henry knew that he'd get scolded when they got out of the situation.
"What are you going to do, Kyle?" Henry asked, making the tone of his voice as calm and as soothing as possible.
Kyle didn't get a chance to answer. A sound as loud as firecrackers exploded somewhere behind Jo and Henry, hitting their ear drums as well as the kid holding a gun. Kyle's finger pulled the trigger of the weapon as he jumped and the bullet rushed from the chamber, right in the direction of Jo. There was five or six seconds (Henry counted them) from when the bullet hit him to when the world went dark. The last thought he had before he woke up, gasping for breath in water, was how the hell was he going to explain this?
It was around evening when Henry made his way out of the water and towards a payphone. He lucked out when there was enough money on it already for him to call Abe and ask him to pick him up. Abe pulled alongside the curb just as he began shivering and Henry got dressed as quickly as possible. He'd had plenty of practice.
"You wanna tell me why I had a million missed calls from a certain detective?" was the first thing out of Abe's mouth.
"Something happened today."
"You don't say," Abe deadpanned. "More explanation is necessary."
Henry sighed and grabbed a towel from the backseat to get the river water out of his hair. "We went to chase down a lead, found a suspect instead, chased the suspect, Jo got held at gunpoint when we split up, then I got held at gunpoint, too. We were seconds away from getting the kid to put the gun down when a noise scared him and the gun went off. I got shot, disappeared before Jo's eyes and now I'm awake and you're getting phone calls." He winced. "I hope the kid didn't see me disappear."
Abe shook his head. "I knew you tagging along with Detective Martinez was a bad idea."
Despite the situation, Henry laughed. "Oh, Abe. How on Earth would you have known I'd die?"
He shrugged. "You better call her back as soon as we get home. You have a heck of a lot of explaining to do."
"Was she upset or angry on the phone?" Henry asked, already slightly wishing he hadn't come back this time. He had no idea how she was going to deal with this, and if she didn't take it well, he'd probably end up in a psychiatric hospital. Again.
"Is both an answer?"
"What else did she say?"
"That your body just disappeared and if I knew why."
"And you answered with?" Henry prompted.
"That you'd tell her later."
"Abe!" he exclaimed.
"What? I can't lie to a police officer."
"It hasn't stopped you before!"
"That wa-" Abe cut himself off as he pulled up to the antique store. An angry, brown-haired women with eyes permanently narrowed was standing on the stoop with her arms crossed. Beside him, Abe laughed. "You may wake up in the river again tonight, Pops, if you're not careful." He turned the car off.
"What did I say about calling me Pops?" Henry said rhetorically, getting out of the car with a sheepish look on his face. As he walked towards the waiting Jo, he went to fix the scarf around his neck only to remember he wasn't wearing one. "Detective!"
"Is this some sort of joke?" Jo asked when Henry stood still a few steps away from her. Though he'd only known her for a few months, he could hear the thinly veiled anger emanating from her words.
"It's not a very funny one," Abe said, sliding in past Jo to get to the front door of his shop.
"Abe," Henry warned. Jo looked from Henry to Abe before resting her still narrowed eyes on Henry.
Fix it, Abe mouthed before opening the door and slipping inside.
"To answer your question, detective, no, it is not a joke," Henry answered, trying to make his voice sound as honest and without sarcasm as possible. It was a little hard with his accent.
"You want to tell me how you got shot, disappeared and ended up wearing mismatched clothing?"
Mismatched clothing? Henry looked down at his body and scowled inwardly. Abe was seriously enjoying this situation, despite the fact that it was possible they'd no longer be able to live in New York. Putting the clothes on in the dark, Henry hadn't even seen what Abe had given him. A pair of brown slacks, a light blue button up shirt and a black blazer. He wasn't even wearing shoes.
He sighed and gestured behind her. "Would you like to come in? I can make you a cup of tea or coffee or something?" He figured if he was going to tell her, she'd probably be better sitting down.
Jo hesitated, thought about it, before nodding. "Coffee," she said, turning on her heel. Henry followed her in and they sat at the table he and Abe always played chess on.
Abe had clearly been listening in on their conversation because he swooped in as soon they were seated and placed two mugs on the table. He poured the coffee with a smug smile before disappearing into the back room.
"Before I tell you, I have to ask," Henry began. "What happened after I died?"
Jo rolled her eyes. "Self-preservation?" she said rhetorically, taking a sip of her coffee, and Henry winced. "The kid freaked when he realised he'd pulled the trigger," she answered before he could say anything. "He ran before you disappeared. You only vanished in front of me."
Henry let out a breath he didn't realise he'd been holding. "No one knows but you?"
"Unless there's a street camera, yes," she replied.
"Alright, then," Henry said, clasping his hands together with the coffee cup in between. It did wonders for the shivers he'd been expecting to experience. "I'm immortal. Sort of. Every time I die, I come back."
"You always tell the story wrong!" Abe shouted, his voice muffled by the wall of the room he was in.
"Stop listening to my conversation!" Henry called back.
"Immortal?" Jo repeated, as if she'd never heard the word before.
"I was born in the early 1800's," he confirmed.
She shook her head. "That isn't possible." But she knew it was. She'd trusted her instincts for as long as she could remember, and her instincts told her this was all true.
"I died in front of you, detective, and came back to life. It's pretty possible." Henry noted that it was a good sign she was still calm. When she didn't say anything else, he continued. "The first time it happened, I was forced off a boat in the middle of ocean. I thought I was dead but I came back to life almost as soon as I died."
"How?" Jo wasn't completely believing but she wasn't completely disbelieving either.
Henry shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. That's what I've been trying to figure out all this time."
"So every time you die, you come back?"
"More or less," Henry said, nodding. "It's always in a body of water. It's mostly been the East River since I've lived here."
A minor smirk appeared on her face. "And naked. That's why you have so many mentions in your file."
"You've read my file?"
"I read it the day after I met you. You were weird, even for an ME." She paused before adding, "And you wear scarves."
"It's New York, detective," Henry defended. "It's always cold."
"You'd know," she said, sipping her coffee to hide her smile.
Abe laughed from the back room.
"You don't seem at all affronted," Henry admitted. "And you don't seem like you want to lock me up."
"Are you saying you didn't think I'd believe you, Henry?"
"That's exactly what he's saying!" Abe called out.
"I had a wife who put me a psychiatric home when I told her, that's all. I'm extremely grateful that hasn't happened this time."
"Abigail?" Jo asked, curious. "And what else can I do? I've seen what you've told me firsthand. You got shot, died and now you're alive." She shrugged. "There's proof, and I'm a cop. I can't dismiss what's there, otherwise I wouldn't be a very good detective. And I'm not saying it's not ridiculously weird and confusing but it just is. Besides, I may have only know you a few months but you wouldn't be telling me if this wasn't true."
Henry's face fell a little at the mention of his wife. "No, no, not her. The wife I had in the 1800's." He gave her a smile at her last words, though.
"Oh. Did Abigail know about you?"
He nodded. "Yes. But she didn't seem to care that she'd age and I wouldn't."
"That's sweet." Henry talking about Abigail made Jo miss her husband even more, if that were even possible.
"That was Abigail."
"How'd the two of you meet?"
"I was a soldier in WW2 and she was a nurse. That's where we met Abe, actually."
"Is he like you?"
Henry laughed a little. "He wishes. No, Abigail found him as a baby. His parents had deserted him so we adopted him."
Jo accidently snorted a little of her coffee. She wiped her nose. "He's your son?"
"Yes. He is. Abigail and I raised him." He could see her trying to work it out in her head. "But that's a story for another day. We have to go catch the kid who shot me."
"He shot at me," Jo corrected. "By accident, too. You just got in the way."
Henry shrugged. "You're not immortal. And the city needs an officer of the law more than a person who examines dead bodies."
"You wouldn't mind if you didn't come back?" she asked, surprised.
"I've been around for a long time, detective. I'd be with Abigail and Abe knows the risks." As harsh as he sounded, he and Abe had talked about the situation a thousand times.
"No, he doesn't!"
"He's saying that for your benefit," Henry stage-whispered.
Jo shook her head, an amused look on her face despite the fact that she'd just been told the medical examiner she'd been working with could never properly die. She finished her coffee and stood. "Well, as weird and enlightening as this conversation was, it's late and I have to go home."
"You don't want to stay for dinner?" Abe asked, coming out from the back room. He gestured to where he'd come from. "I'm about to start making spaghetti."
"Thanks for the offer, Abe, but I think I'll just go home. I need to debrief before I deal with him again tomorrow." She cracked a small smile.
Abe laughed. "That's how I feel every day."
Henry put a hand to his chest as if their words hurt him. "And I was just about to say how nice it is to work with you, detective."
"It's nice to work with you, too, Henry," Jo said, heading towards the door. She paused at the doorframe. "And thank you for saving my life. I'm glad you aren't dead."
"You're welcome, detective." He gave her a smile.
The door was just about to close when her last words drifted in.
"You might want to have a shower before you go to bed!"