Disclaimer: I really enjoy writing this story. It's one of the most fun I've ever had working on. And Murdock chews on my noggin often these days so here's another piece of the pie.

I still don't own anything but my original characters. This wasn't quite the chapter I started out with in mind, but then the scene with Murdock and Sam sort of popped into my head and I had to write it. It was too sweet a scene not to do. But we get mafia, we get our intrepid duo, and we get the team all in one chapter! Woohoo!

Reviews are crack. Let me know how it is going. I'm glad so many of you seem to enjoy this.

Chapter 31

The gun was loud in the echoing chamber of the warehouse. The sound rang out for a full twenty seconds before it disappeared. The scent of the burning gun powder lingered. Stewart Foster shook uncontrollably as he opened his eyes. Tommy Boy Dinello looked like a male model version of Satan as he stood there, the gun aimed slightly to the right of Stewart where he was being held by a very large man with no neck.

"DO YOU FUCKING REALIZE WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME? THIS SHIT IS ALL OVER THE NEWS!" He was screaming and ranting and Stewart saw that Victor was even freaked out where he stood nearby him. That wasn't a good sign.

"Tommy I swear I didn't know..." Stewart started groveling for the fifth time and Tommy raised the gun, square at his head. He quickly shut up.

"Don't…speak…fuckface." Tommy grated the words out between his teeth. He really really wanted to shoot him, more than once truthfully. But he still needed him for the business. Plus Stewart owed him big time and he was going to collect. "First thing…I received a call from my guy near Canada whose plane your sister and her fucking army boy destroyed. You are paying him for the plane and any and all goods that were on it. He's not asking for compensation for the fucktards that got off'd so I can only assume they were just as asshole brilliant as you."

Stewart nearly protested the massive bill that would be but self-preservation kicked in and he stopped himself. He wasn't that asshole brilliant; he knew when to shut up sometimes.

Tommy moved the gun away finally, pointing it at the floor and rubbing between his eyes at the massive headache this whole bullshit fiasco had started. "This whole thing is starting to play out in front of every dipshit with a TV. That footage is everywhere and they are going to start putting pieces together. We need to nuke that fucking jigsaw before it happens." He laughed, harsh and hollow. "You're sister is like Laura Croft or some shit…I swear man a fucking parachute…how many lives does that bitch got? And she's teamed up with Rambo…I swear to god if I wasn't going to be screwed by this I'd want to watch the fucking movie."

Stewart didn't know if he should laugh too or cry…so he just stood there silently and tried not to shake anymore. His curly brown hair was drenched with sweat, fear sweat that was as cold as the look in Dinello's eye.

Tommy turned back on him in a heartbeat, glaring. "Second thing you are going to do is you're going to figure out where the fuck she's put this data. She's backed it up somewhere and she knows that's the only thing keeping her alive. She's going to come get it. So figure out where she's stashed it, I don't care what you do. I'm going to have this town crawling with eyes looking for her. My guess is, since she's obviously the smart one in the family, she stashed it somewhere secure but close by. So find it because if I find her first, I'm going to enjoy figuring out just how many lives she's got before she tells me where it is. Do you understand me asshole?" He snarled the last question, grabbing Stewart's shirt collar and jabbing the gun into his ribs hard.

Stewart nodded. "I…I understand Tommy…"

"Good, I'm glad we have that understanding Stewart. Now get the fuck out of here and do what I said." Tommy gestured to the lumbering giant named Sven that had been holding the loser to drag him back outside to the waiting car.

Victor walked over to his boss who handed him the gun without even a glance. Victor put it in the velvet lined box that was its home. "This is becoming way more of a pain in my ass than I could have imagined Vic." Tommy's voice was filled with disgust.

Victor nodded. He was actually surprised by how epic the escape had been and how much destruction one woman and one man could leave in their wake. "Yes sir, it is."

"When this is over remind me to off Foster myself while his mom watches, I really hate that bitch too." Tommy said heading back to his waiting car.

Victor opened the door for him. "You're not going to off her too?"

Tommy sat down in the plush leather seat with a sigh. "Nah, I need someone to still move the stuff. And even if she's a bitch she's got more of a brain than her son. I guess the women in that family have the brains and the balls."

At the truck stop it was getting closer to time for the team to show up. Murdock and Samantha had watched The Maltese Falcon in the hotel room and then gone out for lunch. The pilot would be glad to leave the truck stop simply for the fact he was getting sick of the food, the menu wasn't the best. But the company did make up for it.

Over burritos that were the size of their heads Murdock decided to find out more about his princess. He could already guess a thing or two, he knew some stuff, but he wanted to know more. And he doubted time to chit chat would be something they'd have a lot of in the next few days.

He chewed a bite carefully, looking over and wondering what he should ask first. Finally Samantha seemed to have enough with the perusal. "What…do I have a bug on me or something?" She asked him, wondering why he was looking at her so funny.

"Nah…nope…I'd tell ya if there was like a monster cicada crawling on your head." He dabbed at his lips with a napkin and folded his fingers in front him, leaning his chin on them like a curious 4th grader. "I was just wondering about you."

Sam took a drink of her soda and gave him a wary glance. "Wondering what?"

"Stuff and things…like what you did when you were growing up. What's your favorite movie of all time, how many times did you see Return of the Jedi. You know, important stuff." He grinned widely and she could tell he was completely serious.

Sam wanted to laugh, she felt like she was on The Dating Game suddenly. "You know a lot about me already Lancelot. You're still the mystery man for the most part." She told him and took a healthy bite of her own giant burrito.

He pouted at her. "That's not true. I'm an open book, but you're the femme fatale in this story doll. I don't know near enough for my rabid curiosity and general nosiness to be sated. So let's dish."

She rolled her eyes and took a drink of her soda to wash down the burrito. "I'm not a femme fatale by any stretch." She held up a finger. "Don't start…also if we're going to do this then it's quid pro quo Doctor Lecter."

He raised an eyebrow and in the eerie voice of Sir Anthony Hopkins replied "That's my line Clarice but you've got a deal."

A shiver ran up Sam's spine, one that should have been from being creeped out but wasn't. "You first." She raised her own eyebrow in challenge mimicking his stance of leaning his chin on his fists.

Humph, that wasn't the plan but fine he'd play along. "I've seen Return of the Jedi 86 times."

"88." She grinned at him smugly.

Hmmm… "My favorite movie is Jason and the Argonauts. Tom Hanks wasn't just whistling Dixie."

He saw her eyes get a bit brighter behind her glasses. He'd apparently said something right. "One of my favorite movies of all time is Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast." She said.

Ah yes, tortured hero…and it showed good taste and imagination. Murdock nodded to himself…she was in fact perfect. But maybe he should make sure Face didn't slip into speaking French around her. That seemed to do something to women he still hadn't figured out yet.

"But Golden Voyage of Sinbad is way up there too." She added and gave him a smile that, if they weren't in public, might have caused him to do something the parents in close vicinity with young uns might not appreciate. Yeah, he would have to either punch or gag Face if he started speaking French.

"Well we already knew you had taste." He said trying to play it suave when he really wanted to dance up and down in his seat. "I do in fact think Johnny Cash was one of the greatest singers who has ever lived."

Sam laughed. "That's just having common sense now. Come on. But if you want to talk music, Lindsey Buckingham is one of the greatest guitarists who've ever lived."

Jesus he'd never let Face near her. There, it was decided. Murdock glanced over at the clock on the wall. It was getting near time. He should probably call…Face…and see where they were and how close. "I guess we need to head back. The gang may be getting here soonish and I need to call in."

Sam had just been getting into the "getting to know you" discussion. She hoped they'd have time for that later, but she had a feeling that was a fool's wish. "Okay, can I take this mass of burrito with me?"

Murdock laughed as he'd finished his off. "Sure thing lightweight." He told her as he busied himself with cleaning up their table.

"That's funny." She popped him on the arm as she stood up taking her Styrofoam box with her. Sam walked back into the truck stops gift shop area while he tossed their trash away. Her eyes alighted on something and she grinned. When Murdock came to stand beside her she grabbed his arm. "Come here, we're doing this." She told him and hauled him over to stand in front of a photo machine.

"Man I haven't seen one of these in a while." The pilot said. It was an old one that looked like it belonged in a 1980's arcade or a roller rink. "I think we might catch on fire in there."

Samantha, who'd never had her picture taken with a boy she liked when she was a kid, wasn't going to be denied this simple thing. "Come on…don't be a wusspuss. I've never gotten to take a picture with a boy in one of these." For some reason she thought that might motivate him.

Well damn, now he had to. Murdock had doubts the thing would even work, but it would cost him a whole dollar it looked like and plus he'd get to snuggle her in a tightly enclosed space. There were worst ways to catch fire. He'd been through a few so he knew that for a fact. "I can't deny you princess. Plus I am not as you eloquently put it, a wusspuss. Get in there while I feed this beast some quarters."

She disappeared behind the tattered curtain and he quickly followed her after depositing the rest of the quarters. The bulb inside was faded but still bright enough and the bench was hard and uncomfortable. Samantha had to squish into the corner to make room for him. She was beaming like it was Christmas. Murdock pulled the hat off his head and hoped he looked presentable. The timer was nearly done and the pictures would start. "You asked for this, if we burst into flame this is all on you." He told her.

Samantha shook her head grinning. "Shush it." She told him and leaned over and kissed his cheek. The light flashed and the first picture was of Murdock smiling while she planted one on him. Turnabout was fair play. When she had turned to face the camera the pilot quickly leaned over and kissed her cheek too. The second picture was Samantha's eyes growing big and a goofy smile on her face while her knight returned the favor.

"Okay quick…badass pose!" Murdock called out, finally getting into the spirit. They each quickly grew serious and glaring; with their fingers pointed right at the camera as if they were guns. It was very Boondock Saints in Sam's mind. The picture flashed.

Sam realized she still was wearing her glasses and decided for the last one that was not going to be the case. She took them off and quickly wrapped her arm around her knight. "Final shot!" She said and Murdock pulled her closer.

She laid her head on his shoulder out of habit and Murdock found himself suddenly very crystal clear. It didn't happen often, but in that few seconds before the camera flashed for the last time James Murdock's brain was quiet and he simply knew that this was what he was supposed to be doing at that moment. Usually feelings of sanity like that scared the bejesus out of him, but not then. That moment of sanity was like a perfect little jewel that he'd hold onto as tight as the woman in his arms. He'd keep it locked in a corner of his brain safely tucked away so it wouldn't get stolen from him.

And when the final picture was taken it showed the bright eyes of Samantha looking into the camera as she rested her head on the shoulder of a boy she liked more than a little bit. And it showed James Murdock, his cheek lightly pressing against the soft hair of the girl who'd seen who he really was. His face was calm, his eyes locked with the camera and his smile was a secret…just for her.

Once the flash had gone off Murdock seemed to reset back to normal, at least for him. He almost had to shake himself back to himself. Samantha noticed the odd look on his face. "You okay? It didn't blind you did it?"

He shook his head. "Nah, I'm fine and not on fire which is a surprise. But speaking of blind…where are your glasses?" He asked her confused.

"Oh I took em off for the last shot. At least one of them without them on so I don't look too doofy." She pulled them from the pocket of her jeans where she'd hooked them.

Murdock took the glasses from her hand. "You don't look doofy, you look like you. So stop that crap right now. I'm not hearing another word of that talk. Next time you do it I'll smack you on the behind, I don't care who is looking." He put them on her and kissed her quickly on her slightly open mouth, then slipped out of the photo booth. Sam realized he wasn't lying. He'd totally spank her in front of people. This was a whole new area of good god what have I gotten myself into…even if he was trying to up her self-esteem it was a totally Murdock way of doing it. She half laughed, half sighed and then stood and stepped out of the booth.

"Have they started printing yet?" She asked him grabbing her burrito box before she forgot it. There was still an entire cow left to it, or at least it seemed like it.

The machine started making horrible noises, so horrible they backed away in fear. "Jesus!" Murdock made the sign of the cross. "If that isn't them printing then Satan's going to puff out of that thing in a cloud of smoke from the sound of it."

Sam looked disappointed. Maybe he was right and it would catch on fire. Or the devil might walk out, it did sound possessed. "Well, at least you can get your dollar back from the guys up front."

Murdock could see she was bummed out, but the machine kept on chugging along so maybe it would turn out okay. "To heck with the dollar, I want pictures with my gal and I won't be denied." He told her and then gave the machine a swift kick with his boot.

Out popped one and then a second strip of photographs from the slot on the side. Sam was almost afraid to look. But she warily reached over and pulled them out. "Wow…would you look at that." She said and felt Murdock's chin settle on her shoulder as he peered over it.

The pilot felt a little flitter in his chest as he looked down and saw the first image of himself and his princess beaming up at him. He hadn't told her the fact that he'd never really had a picture of himself with a girl either. Never had a chance or the inclination really, not with his history of course. But as he looked at the photos on that little strip of paper he saw a rarity…he was stupidly happy in them. "You could be on a cover of a magazine girlie." Murdock said, and then thought about what he'd just said, "but not a girlie magazine…no…not gonna happen you are so not allowed to do that."

Samantha laughed. "Stop being a dork you dork. These turned out pretty good. I'm amazed and hey, we could be avenging Boston bad ass's here." She pointed to what would forever be in her head, the Boondock shot. She loved the last picture though, it was her favorite. Not because of her lack of glasses but because James looked like…James. He was handsome as heck in that picture and it was odd but it was if all those personalities he had flitting around in his mind were at ease behind those eyes of his.

"You could be a cover boy here." She pointed at the shot. "But I don't think I'm letting you near Playgirl. Maybe GQ…I bet you could rock a suit." Sam turned to glance at him grinning wickedly, her voice nearly purring on the word "suit."

"Play your cards right baby and I'll dig out the Versace we use on special occasions." He told her, trying not to blush at the compliment or the way that purr in her voice made him suddenly feel as though the room was a 100 degrees. There was in fact a Versace three piece that was stored away that he'd worn a whole once for a mission a few years ago. It still fit he was proud to say, or would if he ever got to wear it again. BA had nearly knocked him out during that time because he just felt the need to be Sean Connery for a day or two or three. BA was not a Bond fan.

He was glad he'd gone ahead and chanced it that it wouldn't burst into flame and went for the two copies. He wanted his own to keep with him forever and always. He reached over and took the strip on top. Sam watched as he folded it carefully and slipped it into his wallet for safe keeping. "Alright baby, let's go call the boys and prepare to blow this pop stand."

They head back to the same, less busy area outside away from the fuel tanks. Murdock punched the numbers on his phone for the one Face was using and waited. He kept one eye on Samantha as she leaned against a light pole and looked out towards the highway. Face picked up on the second ring.

"Hey Sonny, how's the boat?" Face asked. He was sitting in the passenger seat of the minivan.

"Only rocking slightly." Murdock replied kicking a rock with the toe of his boot. "So when are you drifting this way Tubbs?"

Murdock heard Face asking BA who was no doubt driving something. "Oh I'd say you'll have time for a couple of daiquiris before we get there."

That meant two hours. They were close and honestly Murdock would be glad when they got there. The run of good luck he'd been having was sure to run out. "Sounds good, I'll make sure to have one ready for you."

He hung up and headed over to collect Sam.

Face flipped his phone closed and settled back into the seat. "How's the fool doing on his own?" BA asked him while taking an Exit ramp.

"He's not on his own; he's got his girlfriend with him." Face chuckled as he said it.

"Girlfriend? She's his girlfriend now?" BA glanced over at him with a knowing look. He'd been wondering if the fool had figured it out on his own or not.

"Well he didn't say it out right but I'm gonna tell ya BA," Face took a sip of his bottled water. "When I called him last night I'm pretty certain I woke him up. And he sure was talking pretty quiet for a guy who was alone."

BA didn't look convinced. "Don't mean they're official or nothing man. She coulda been just nearby sleeping is all."

Face laughed. "True enough. Call it a gut feeling then."

Hannibal piped up from the back seat where he was scanning through some downloaded PDF's of local newspapers giving details of supposed Dinello crime activity. They weren't light reading. "If you don't mind I'd appreciate you two getting this bizarre soap opera fix out of the way before we get there. I need Samantha Foster to be able to focus and not be distracted by the two of you trying to figure out her dating history or future. That includes goading Murdock into hyperactive mode."

BA and Face got a little straighter in their seats, staring out towards the road. "Sorry boss…" Face replied. "But you have to admit it's going to be interesting to watch right?"

"Face…" Hannibal rolled his eyes. "Not everyone has the same Jerry Springer voyeuristic tendencies as you." He looked over at the younger man then, barely keeping his smile in check. "Plus with your history I wouldn't be talking about anyone's love life."

BA had no intention of keeping his smile or laughter in check at that remark. Face actually looked like he shrank in his seat, his legendary ego deflated down a size.