Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Author Note: I wanted to explore how the awesome Amy Amanda Allen from the TV series might fit into the film. And here we are.
IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
Captain Charissa Sosa ground her teeth. There was another article about the A-Team in the L.A. Courier, the same paper that had given the team that ridiculous nickname in the first place. She was just waiting for Templeton to somehow start selling A-Team t-shirts over the internet, making them a profit, untraceably of course, and driving her crazy in the process.
Of course so far, nobody in authority had actually caught the team. There'd been sightings, unsurprising considering Smith's distinct way of doing things, and plenty of stories about people who'd been helped out of difficult situations by a very unusual group of men. Despite the positive publicity the group were garnering, and the fact that they hadn't gone after any military targets for revenge or anything, the DCIS wanted them caught and put away. They were an 'embarrassment to the service and now career criminals' according to Charissa's boss which really meant that they didn't want the CIA capturing the A-Team first.
No one but Charissa seemed to care that the team had been framed and falsely imprisoned in the first place, that they didn't completely deserve to be on the run either.
Templeton hadn't been answering Charissa's calls. Well, they couldn't be sure who was listening, but still, it would have been nice to hear personally that they were okay.
Maybe today she'd get the chance to talk to him about that because she'd gotten word that the reporter behind all of the L.A. Courier's A-Team articles was finally back in the country. She'd been doing a lot of foreign assignments apparently, somehow fitting those in while gathering a lot of details about the A-Team's activities. The CIA weren't going to get to her first.
The L.A. Courier office was unassuming compared to some of the newspaper officers that Charissa had had to march into before – reporters often had useful information when it came to disgruntled military personnel and they were never shy about citing freedom of information and their right to remain silent when questioned about anything. Charissa never enjoyed those days - reporters were squirrelly, self-entitled or smug or worse, all three - but at least this one had some idea of where Templeton was, which was more than Charissa had gotten from the man himself.
Charissa told her Miles and Grosen to get stationed at the front and back of the building respectively, just in case, and went in alone. She was directed to a small private office – 'you're in luck, she's not working from home today' – and there was Amy Amanda Allen, focused on her laptop, a phone uncomfortably jammed against her ear, dark brown shoulder-length hair, bright sharp eyes, and a slim tanned build clad in a white cap-sleeve blouse and fitted slacks.
"No, I got that, thank you, Dishpan...C'mon, you love it. It makes you one of the guys...Sure, fish tacos are on me, I'll see you there."
She hung up and flashed a quick unsurprised smile at Charissa. "Hi, sorry, can I help you?"
She hadn't stopped typing and wasn't trying to hide her screen or any of the papers that were spread out across her desk, despite Charissa's military uniform. That made the encounter a step up from most meetings Charissa had with reporters. She didn't take a seat.
"Amy Allen? I'm here about the A-Team."
The reporter's typing didn't slow at all and she smiled with some affection. "Sure. I mean, I haven't got an address. I just write what the witnesses tell me."
Of course. Charissa stepped closer. "Your articles contain a lot more information than that and we talk to the same witnesses."
Amy chuckled. "Maybe I ask different questions."
"Maybe you should tell me those questions."
At last Amy's typing stopped and she looked at Charissa while getting to her feet. Charissa raised an eyebrow, watching as after a moment Amy pointed to the edge of one of her crowded book shelves, her expression silently telegraphing something that she clearly wanted Charissa to pick up on.
"You'll have to make this more official then," was all Amy said, a challenge emerging in her tone.
Charissa's expression wrinkled and she turned to stare hard at the bookshelf, a suspicion coalescing. Yes, that did look like a bug. CIA? she mouthed at Amy, who nodded back. Great.
"Please come with me, Miss Allen."
Amy picked up her laptop and a messenger bag, leading the way out of the office. She stuck her head round a nearby door to tell her boss that she'd be gone for a while before following Charissa with an upset look on her face.
"They'll be watching," she explained out of the corner of her mouth.
Charissa gripped Amy's forearm, like the reporter needed encouragement, and signaled to Miles and Grosen that they were heading out. She couldn't see anyone likely amongst the passers-by who'd paused to watch Amy get guided into the back of an SUV. Amy blew out a frustrated sigh as she relaxed against the backseat, she didn't let go of her laptop or her bag.
"Thanks. Jesus, they really don't give up."
Charissa smirked, just a little, because she had Amy Allen and the CIA didn't. "You'll talk to us, about the whereabouts of the A-Team?"
Amy's smile was thoughtful, and tinged with some kind of amusement, but she looked suddenly exhausted as she closed her eyes. Her tan wasn't from a sunbed and she wore a simple engagement ring, which was odd seeing as Charissa hadn't found any evidence of a fiancé when doing a background check. She was full of questions.
Amy opened her eyes at last and didn't smile. "I'll talk."
They didn't go back to headquarters because the last time Charissa had taken a suspect connected to the A-Team back to base, Agent Lynch had swooped in. Instead, she got Miles to drop her and Amy off at a diner a little way out. He and Grosen went to headquarters to report in and hopefully distract any CIA agents hanging around. Charissa was armed; she'd faced one Lynch before and won.
Amy settled into a corner booth, facing the door, and ordered pancakes, home fries and a very large coffee. The waitress smiled at her sympathetically before taking Charissa's more modest order. Amy ran a hand over her face and managed a difficult smile.
"Face says you can be trusted but I can't take any chances."
Charissa smiled a little, so Amy definitely was in personal contact with the team. She leaned a little closer, aware that any one of the customers who'd arrived after them could be listening in.
"Off the record, they're okay?"
Amy looked at her for a second and then smiled. "As okay as they ever are. Hannibal says he's got a plan and as crazy as those plans are, the guys are still alive to complain about them so."
Relief settled inside Charissa and she nodded, allowing herself a few moments to just breathe, to gather herself again. Because this couldn't be completely personal.
"Lynch is going to come for them and he's not playing around. I'm doing my best to get there first," she said quickly and quietly. "But I need something."
Amy chewed her bottom lip, several different emotions warring in her expression. She hadn't refused outright, which was a good sign. She checked her cellphone, thanking the waitress when her food arrived. She tucked in with gusto, like someone used to eating infrequently. Was that because of her work, here and abroad? Or from joining the A-Team on the road? Charissa had pulled Amy's travel history after all and there were correlations with A-Team sightings, though never any mention of Amy's presence with them.
"There's a general, Stockwell, who's been sniffing around lately. He's definitely not CIA because they were pissed when I mentioned him the last time an agent wanted to talk to me."
Charissa frowned, the name wasn't familiar. He definitely hadn't been mentioned in any DCIS briefings about the A-Team, which was bad news.
"You don't know him either," Amy surmised from Charissa's expression.
Charissa shook her head and drank her coffee between mouthfuls of slider. "I can run his name but…"
"But that could get him interested in you. He's worrying Hannibal."
Definitely bad news then. Charissa raised her head determinedly. "But if he's focused on me, then he's not looking at them."
Amy looked surprised. "Isn't the CIA bad enough?"
Charissa shrugged a shoulder. "It might convince my bosses that going after the A-Team is more trouble than it's worth."
Amy nodded thoughtfully and ate more home fries. The silence wasn't uncomfortable and Charissa took a casual look around the diner and then at the outside world beyond the nearest window. There was a guy in a nice suit reading a paper across the street; she could spot a CIA-stance from a mile off. She shook her head slightly.
"Fresh out of the academy," she murmured softly.
Amy laughed as she scraped up a last bite of syrupy pancake. "They're almost adorable. Even I can lose them when they're tailing me."
She took a few bills out of her purse and reached for her bag and laptop. Her bone-deep tiredness was still visible, but it looked a little more buried, like she was willing it away for now. Charissa wondered if that exhaustion was from the frequent travel or from trying to keep up with the A-Team.
"They're not alone, we're doing...well, we're doing something."
Charissa sat up a little straighter, grasping onto the important nugget of information in that sentence. "We?"
Amy's smile was knowing with a hint of apology. "Good people, just, you know, grateful citizens."
Charissa narrowed her eyes and wondered again just how Amy had met the A-Team in the first place and who else was helping them. Charissa was doing what she could to clear the team's name but her bosses were only interested in their capture and Charissa needed the clout of her job to try and make a difference without getting fired so she walked the barbed-wire line, every day. With no word from Templeton. Amy checked her cellphone with something like resignation, though her lips twitched upwards.
"I can tell you this. There's a laundry run by a Mr. Lee, I've been led there a few times by my sources."
That was something. Amy got to her feet, her messenger bag comfortably slung over one shoulder. She held out a hand for Charissa to shake, just as her phone rang.
"Tia, how's the…Oh, well, you can't choose your parents…That would be perfect and God, tell him to stay away from my car, you know what happened the last time he had a great idea…"
Tia. Charissa filed that name away. It wasn't that much to go on at all and it wouldn't go on any official paperwork but she'd definitely be following up on it somehow, out of the office. Amy grimaced an apology towards Charissa as she hung up.
"Sorry, my ride's almost here. It was great to meet you at last. Good luck."
"Off to see your fiancé?" Charissa couldn't resist asking as Amy began heading for the door.
Amy laughed, her face both wistful and amused. "That would be a really expensive taxi ride."
A long-distance relationship then, another fact to file away. Did Amy realize that she was dropping breadcrumbs? The reporter left with a final smile and Charissa kept her eyes firmly on the CIA newbie who was way too obvious in reporting back to his superior and God, Amy's ride had better arrive soon unless she wanted a tail. Then a taxi pulled up and Amy quickly got in with very practiced ease. For a brief second, Charissa got a glimpse of the driver – bright red ballcap pulled down low over his eyes, hair wild at the back, an incongruous battered-looking blazer and…and then the taxi pulled away sharply. Charissa blinked, she was almost sure that taxi driver had been one Captain Murdock. She closed her eyes, of course Amy hadn't mentioned that at least one member of the A-Team was currently in the city.
She'd dropped some hints though, intentionally or otherwise, and Charissa could run a marathon with those and use them send false feelers out. She settled her shoulders and dialed Miles to issue an order for a thorough background check of laundries with proprietors named Lo, that would keep the CIA and anyone else busy if she was being listened to again. She'd do her own work on finding Mr Lee, finding something, anything, to help break past military stubbornness. She doubted that all of the A-Team were ever going to completely believe it, given what she'd have to do to keep the job she loved while trying to get their case fairly reviewed. But like Amy, and whoever else was out there, Charissa was good people. And she wanted to beat the CIA. She got to work.