Disclaimer: anybody you recognize isn't mine. You don't recognize JC.
Author's note: Ok, folks, this is my first attempt at a Richie fic...we'll
see how it flies. Hope you like it! Thanks to SouthernChickie for the encourage-

I shifted the brown paper bag to my other arm, being careful not to drop
anything. I had no idea what Mac was making for dinner, but it sure included a
lot of different things. He didn't cook that often – he mostly left that job to me –
but when he did, he got these crazy ideas that took hours to put together and a lot
of food. He had been really busy that afternoon, so he sent me out for groceries,
and now here I was with a bag threatening to explode all over the sidewalk. I
probably should have used two, but I thought one would be easier to carry.
As I was walking along, someone suddenly ran in front of me, heading down
the alley to my left. Two someones, actually – the second one came so close they
almost knocked the bag out of my hands.
"Hey!" I yelled after the speeding figures. "Watch where you're going, why
don't you!" I stood and watched them race down the alley, curious what was
going on. The second person was gaining on the first, and suddenly he leaped
and brought down whoever had been in the lead. There was a muffled grunt from
the person who had been landed on, and it looked like they were struggling to
break free, but the man was sitting on the person he'd brought down, and they
seemed trapped.
Setting down the bag, I stepped into the alley to get a better look. As I
approached the pair, I could hear them arguing.
"Listen," the man was saying, "You come with me, right now, and we won't
have any more trouble. Continue this obstinate crap, and there won't be anyone
left to come with me."
"Like hell," snarled a girl's voice. She sounded like she was in her teens.
"Nobody tells me what to do. Now get off me." The man drew back his hand to
hit her, and before I thought, I raced towards him.
"Leave her alone!" I yelled. "What kind of bastard picks on a girl like that?"
When I got within twenty feet of them, I gulped and stopped cold as a buzz
started in my head. One of these two was immortal.
"Who are you?" asked the man, looking over his shoulder at me.
"What business is that of yours?" I demanded. "It doesn't matter who I am – I
want you to get off whoever's under you! Come pick on somebody your own
size!" It was an old line, but it always seemed to work – and sure enough, the
man turned around and stood up, facing me.
"All right, all right. I think I've got little missy under control here anyway." He
crossed his arms and glared at me. "Satisfied? Then leave." I shook my head.
"Come over here," I said. I was hoping the girl still had the wits to run while I
held the guy off. He grinned.
"What, you want my head? Not a chance." So the guy was the immortal, I
"Come here!" I said again. "Get away from her." He walked a few steps
forward, then stopped.
"Your turn," he said. "You come here, and you can have your fight. And then,
of course, I can have your head."
"You think so," I retorted. "I'll give you a good fight for it." When I judged that
he was far enough away, I called to the girl to get up and run. She didn't do
anything, though – it looked like she was struggling against something and
couldn't get up. Looking closer, I realized that her hands were tied together. That
must have been why the guy was sitting on her. Buying time, I said to the man,
"So who are you, anyway?" He had brown hair that needed to be cut, and a badly
scarred face. Now that he no longer had his back to me, I could see his sword
under the long black coat he wore. I started to get nervous, as I didn't have a
sword with me. I'm screwed, I thought. If he pulls that, I'm done for.
"They call me Black Jack," he said simply. "That's all you need to know." I'd
never heard the name before, but someone had to have a reputation to have a
nickname like that…and his scars said enough by themselves. Suddenly he
lunged for me, but as I leaped backwards, he stopped in mid-air like a dog caught
on a too-short leash. Staring at him in puzzlement, I saw what had happened –
the girl on the ground had somehow gotten untied, and now had him in a
headlock. He bent forwards and easily flipped her over his back onto the
pavement, forcing her to let go of him.
As he went for her, I ran in and punched him, but he must have seen me –
before I knew what was happening, he had me pinned against the brick wall of
the alleyway, and I couldn't get free. His arm was across the back of my neck,
pressing my throat into the brick, and I found I could no longer breathe.
"Hey," I croaked. "Don't"- the pressure from his arm changed, and he started
forcing me down the wall onto the sidewalk. I winced as the brick scraped my
face mercilessly, and by the time I reached the ground, I could feel blood running
down my cheek.
As the world was starting to flicker from my lack of air, I heard a surprised grunt
and suddenly the pressure went away. I rolled onto my back and gasped for air,
relieved, but wondering what had happened. I turned my head and saw
something I had definitely not expected to see: the girl had one of Black Jack's
arms twisted around in a way that arms don't naturally move, and as I watched,
she brought down her other arm and slammed it into his elbow. I made a face at
the loud crunch that resulted, but there was more. Before Jack could stand up
again, the girl grabbed one of his legs and flipped him over. His head hit the
pavement, and he stopped moving altogether.
Pulling myself into a sitting position, I stared at the girl in amazement. I had
only ever seen Mac pull off a trick like that.
"Who are you?" I asked her. She turned to look at me as I stood up, using the
wall to help me. She was about my height, with long hair that was a brilliant
shade of coppery red. She was dressed all in black leather, and wore boots that
laced up the front and reached above her knees. She wore no jewelry or
accessories of any sort except for a pair of large silver hoop earrings, with a
jacket, skin-tight shorts, and those boots. She crossed her arms and regarded me
"I could ask you the same thing. Why would try to save me if you didn't know
who I was?" She had green eyes and a sarcastic smile. I shrugged.
"Because it looked like that guy wasn't up to any good," I said lamely. "I mean,
it looked like you needed help."
"Thank you," she said, "But I'm perfectly fine on my own."
"Well, I see that now," I replied. "So who are you, anyway?" She raised an
eyebrow and started walking away.
"Why do you need to know?"
"I want to know who I just got my ass kicked for!" I retorted, following her.
"If you really need a name for me," she said, "Then call me JC." Then she
turned and ran down a tiny alleyway. I followed, but by the time I turned the
corner, she was gone.
"Hey," I called. "JC? Where are you?" But there was no answer. I turned with a
sigh and headed back to the street where I had been before jumping into this