Fire And Rain
A/N: The setting is 1992, New York City. The prologue is 1985, New York City. The epilogue is 1995, New York City. I'm working from the assumption that Matt Bluestone is about 27 years old when he becomes Elisa's partner. I'm sure that this won't exactly correspond with other fanfics. I've checked to see if all the facts here are accurate, but if I'm wrong, please tell me. "Fire and Rain" belongs to James Taylor, "Superman" belongs to Five for Fighting. These are all on the Concert for New York City CD.
Chapter One: Superman
Matt Bluestone let himself sink into his chair and laid his head down on his desk. "One more lead lost," he moaned into the pile of paperwork. "It's just not fair," he told the acquisition forms waiting for his signature. "It's not fair."
"No one ever said life would be fair, Matt." Bluestone looked up at the voice and saw his bureau partner, Martin Hacker. Hacker, who looked more like a cabby than an FBI agent, leaned on the doorjamb to Matt's office. "Life is like baseball. It throws you a curveball, then a fastball, then maybe it'll let you get to first. But it'll strike you out if you aren't careful."
"What is it with you and baseball analogies? Are you obsessed with the Yankees or something?" Hacker grinned. "Do you want some coffee? You look horrible."
"You're not exactly leading-man material yourself, Martin."
"Still like it with half-and-half?"
"Extra caffeine. Lots of extra caffeine." Hacker shrugged and went in the direction of the coffee pot in the lounge. Matt put his head back down and wished he had the energy to go to his apartment and get in bed. He was still too young to feel this old, to quote a song title. In two months he'd be 25. Or would he be 26? Nah. Couldn't be 26. Surely 8 years hadn't passed. From up above, fluorescent lighting switched on, giving his office a pale blue glow. "Thanks, Martin." The other agent shrugged. "No problem. Can't have you drooling on those habeas corpus forms." Matt accepted the offered styrofoam cup of coffee and straightened himself up. "How old am I, Martin?"
"Oh, I'd say 65. You should start drawing on your social security. How long have you put money into your 401(k)?"
"If I'm 65, then you must be 85."
"In dog years." Hacker grinned good-naturedly at his own joke and slurped the weak coffee. He was at most 45 years old, was going bald, wore a newsboy cap to cover the baldness, and had lenses like coke-bottles. He wore a business suit and a tweed overcoat. Matt always said he looked like an unholy mixture of Kojak and a cab driver. Matt propped his head up with his left hand. "Why did we lose that lead again?"
"Because you're tilting at windmills, Don Quixote."
"Watch who you're calling a donkey." Hacker acted offended. "Oh come on. You've graduated high school- you've heard about Cervantes."
"Isn't he the one who makes the beer?" Something passed over the older agent's face. "Come on Matt, it's late. It's 11 p.m. You need to get to bed. Either you're needing some sleep pronto or Jackson spiked the coffee with tequila again." Matt rose from his chair and attempted to gather his coat and briefcase. "Can you drive me to my apartment? I won't make it past the tollway."
"Sure. Where do you live?"
"Norwood. In the Bronx."
"I know where that is." Hacker paused a moment and turned back to Matt with a wry smile. "Don't forget your cape, Superman."
Matt's domicile was a three room apartment in Norwood. He had painters and actors for neighbors, people who didn't mind if he cranked up his stereo. If anything, they'd bring some food and try to get a party started. Fun loving people. Much ado had been made about the riots in the Bronx in the 60's, but the borough was vast improved in 30 years. Martin pulled up in front of the correct building, setting his Toyota in park and surveying the landscape. "You've got a little bit of a commute, huh Matt?"
"No kidding. The traffic to Manhattan is a killer." He stepped out of the car and stumbled out onto the sidewalk, nearly tripping. "Matt!"
"It's okay. I'm just clumsy sometimes. That notch in the curb trips everyone."
"Get some sleep. That will help."
"Thanks again, Martin. And tell Eva I said thanks for those cookies." Martin's almost-19 daughter, Eva, had a slight crush on her father's bureau partner. She never told anyone, especially not Matt, and seemed always shy and blushing when around him. Martin had figured it out though. "Sure thing, Matt. Hey, why don't you come over for Saturday night dinner tomorrow. You remember my wife, Adele?"
"Yeah, I know Adele."
"Well, she just got a new recipe for green bean casserole and it's the best that she's ever made. Eva's going to be there. She wants to see you as much as Adele does." Matt rubbed his wrist and palm where he had caught himself from the fall. "I'll be there. Still living in Richmond?"
"Same house and everything."
"I'll be there at 6."
"Great! I'll see you tomorrow then, partner." Martin put his car in drive and drove away toward the Staten Island exit. Matt trudged up the stairs to the third floor, and going to Number 333, fished around in his pocket for his keys. He yawned, twisted the key around until he felt the click of the lock, and let himself inside. Everything was as it should be, with the exception of the fact that he hadn't made his bed. Matt shrugged off his overcoat and suit jacket, dropped his briefcase near the door, and loosened his tie. Normally, the agent would have dinner, watch a few sitcoms and then go to bed. There was nothing worth note in the fridge, unless dinner was going to be diet cola, a few slices of canaloupe and a pickle. The television had news and talk shows at this hour, and a few educational shows about sharks and one about an ER. But a flashing red light caught his eye before he headed to bed. He pushed the button on his answering machine and heard the familiar robotic female voice, in which (wanting company) he had nicknamed 'Helen' one day. "Hello Helen. What do you have for me?"
"You have three messages."
"Oh really? Lay 'em on me."
"First message." He knew it was stupid, talking to his answering machine, but at least it made him smile when he was lonely. "Recieved at- 12:45 p.m." Helen continued. A long loud beep was heard, then the message itself. "Mr. Bluestone, this is Rod Chambers, your landlord. I just wanted to let you know that your next payment is due next week. Call me back ASAP. We need to have a little 'chat' concerning your payments." Matt groaned. What did that guy want now? Matt had always made his payments on time and in full value. That would definitely be the last thing he did tomorrow. He rolled his eyes and hit the 'next message' button. "Second message, recieved at 2:32 p.m." Another beep. "Would you like to be rich? Would you like to work out of your home? Call 1-800..." Matt hit the 'delete' button. "Yes on both accounts." "Final message, recieved at 11:52 pm." Matt checked the clock. It was now 12:10. The beep and then the message started playing. "Hey Matt, it's Martin. I just dropped you off about two minutes ago. I just wanted to make sure that you're feeling well. You looked really pale and sick looking. Don't bother responding to this, I'm on my cell anyway. Eat something and get some sleep. I'm worried about you. I know that the anniversary's coming up, and I don't want you beating yourself up about what happened. I talked to Adele earlier and she said that anytime you want to come over, there is an open invitation. I'm sorry for calling you and rambling like this, but I have to look out after you, y'know. See you tomorrow." Matt sighed and hit the 'save' button. "Thanks, Martin."
Cigar smoke wafted around the man reclining in the chair at the desk. He took a drag on a strong smuggled Cuban and waved his hand. "Go on." The man across from his placed a manilla folder full of pictures on the desk and slid it over to the one with the Cuban cigar. "There's a g-man trying to get info, boss. That's him," said the smaller man, opening the folder, "Matt Bluestone, FBI. He's young for a bureau, but he's good too. Our man in the office barely managed to yank him away at the last minute a few days ago. He's got a grudge."
"Something about someone killed his sister and he wants to put the guy away."
"Who was his sister?"
"Suzanne Bluestone. She was a CPA." He shuffled the pictures until he came to one of a pretty young woman with teased blond hair and could have been one of a number of Hollywood starlets. "She was killed in '85. NYPD said it was a botched robbery."
"Who killed her?"
"No one knows, sir. We couldn't find out."
"Could it be Illuminati?"
"Doubtful. She does have a connection to David Xanatos, however."
"Let me guess. She figured out his taxes?"
"That plus a little more. Anyway, we've managed to stymie Bluestone for about a few weeks." The boss leaned forward. "How?"
"He's going to be taking a little sick leave. We introduced influenza two days ago. It should be setting in now."
"Good. That should give us enough time to finish our business and maintain a clean look. Good work." The boss leaned back and studied the New York skyline while puffing on his cigar. His assistant gathered the manilla folder and hurried out the door, a small smile crossing his face. The boss finished the Cuban and snuffed it. He stared out the window, looking for the Erie Building. "It's about time I pay a little visit to my old friend David Xanatos..."
It may sound absurd…but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me