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Almost an Avenger

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It’s her second case.

The first case was good, Kate thinks. At least, it had turned out how she wanted in the end. She’d gotten the bad guy (sort of) and gotten the flowers (well, flower) back.

She’d even gotten paid.

The money is long gone, and she’s starting to get desperate again. Cat food is expensive, especially when the cat is picky. The guy at the grocery store hasn’t resurfaced, and she hasn’t been able to find him. She barely had enough money in wallet for the pick up pizza from the cheap place last night, pizza she’d shared with Lucky.

There’s an email in her inbox. Someone’s actually inquiring about her ad. (Helvetica was definitely the right font to go with, she thinks) They need help locating a missing ring. Possibly stolen by someone in the family.

Jewelry theft, family drama? She’s Kate Bishop. She can totally handle this.

“So the ring was your mother’s?” Kate tries to sound professional as she asks the questions, jotting down notes in a small notepad.

“And her mother’s before that. It’s been in the family for three generations and I know it was my sister. She’s always wanted it.”

She nods at the tearful woman, writing sister, heirloom and horrible upholstery down. “And has your sister been here to visit?”

“Yes, last night. The whole family was here. I knew I never should have invited them.” The woman - Phyllis, she’d said, Phyllis Warburn - dabbed a tissue at her eyes, still sniffing. “I have a picture of my wearing it. Here.”

Kate takes the picture with a nod. It’s hard to see against the gaudy Christmas sweater the woman is wearing, but she can make it out. Gold, a bunch of stones…. That thing had to be worth a fortune. “Can I get her address, and the names of everyone else who was here?”

“Of course.” More sniffles, and Kate resists the urge to suggest the woman use the tissue for something other than dabbing her eyes. That way getting paid does not lie. She takes down the name and addresses, and accepts the fifty dollar fee to take the case. “Can I ask why you didn’t call the police?”

“Oh,” the woman looks suddenly vague, waving about the tissue bearing hand in the air. “You know how these things are. Best to be kept in the family. So to speak.”

Sure, Kate thinks, raising a brow suspiciously. Likely story.

“You tell my sister that just because I said her pot roast was dry doesn’t mean she has to accuse me of stealing that stupid ring. It’s a piece of junk.” Kate steps back from the shouting woman, taking the steps two at a time. “Sending a kid to do her dirty work. You tell her-”

“Okay, okay, I get it!” Her hands up defensively, Kate hopes it will stop the barrage. “Sorry, I was just doing my job.”

A job which is not going as easily as it should be, she thinks. All she’d wanted to do was ask the sister a few questions, and instead she’s copping abuse. Which, really, the questions had been, ‘did you steal your sister’s ring’ and ‘are you sure’, so maybe the abuse is fair. She still doesn’t like it.

Kate jogs down the block, out of sight of the still shouting woman. She’s not done with her investigation quite yet. She goes to where she’s parked her bike, Lucky waiting beside it with his head cocked to one side. Even he’s questioning her choices, it sees. “Look, just wait here for a minute, okay? I got this.”

After all, she was Kate Bishop, almost an Avenger.

It doesn’t take much to get over the fence and up the tree in the backyard. The first room she looks in belongs to a kid, or at least someone with too many video games, and questionable taste in magazines. The copy of Big Booty Babes on the bed makes her cringe, moving along the branch to look in the next window.

“Bingo,” she hisses, pulling out her phone. It’s tricky balancing on the branch and taking photos at the same time, but she gets what she wants: a shot of the woman clutching the ring to her chest before hiding it in a drawer.

It’s not all she gets, unfortunately. The resident of the previous room seems to be in the backyard, looking up at her. Male, teenaged, wearing a grubby looking Avengers tshirt (ew) and holding a flower pot. A flower put which flew at her head seconds later, accompanied by shouting. “Someone’s watching in your window, Ma! We got a pervert!”

“Hey!” She drops out of the tree easily, her phone safe in her back pocket. It’s her evidence, and she needs it to close the case. “You have Big Booty Babes on your bed and I’m the pervert?”

Another pot chucked, this one coming too close for comfort. Kate’s backing up (again, twice in one hour) when the woman comes tearing out of the house.

“Spy! Tresspasser!” She’s shouting (also again, and Kate is getting tired of this). “I’m calling the cops!”

“Go ahead!” She vaults to the top of the fence, perching there for a moment to survey the scene in triumph. “I have a picture of you with the ring. Explain that to them!”

Kate drops over the fence, texting the photo to Phyllis with an explanation. She can still hear the shouting, even after she dashes to her bike. “Come on Lucky.” She ignores the look that he gives her. That’s usually the look that he gave Clint, and she was not thinking about that now. “Let’s get out of here.”

“What do you mean you won’t pay me?” Kate stares at Phyllis incredulously, shaking her phone at the woman. The picture of her sister with the ring is right there, it’s proof. “Here, I found out what happened to the ring.”

“Yes, but now she’s hidden it somewhere. She’s claiming you caused her mental distress.” Phyllis wails, yet another tissue being used to dab at her eyes. “She’s threatening to sue. You can keep the deposit, but as I don’t have my ring, you didn’t finish the job.”

“But- But-” Kate splutters, unable to finish the sentence. “Fine.”

She storms out of the house, back to her bike and Lucky. “Okay, so you were right,” she tells him as she gets on, ignoring the looks he gives her, again. “But we got the fifty bucks. So… Pizza tonight?”