Finn pulled up at the local deli on his way home, a few minutes before it closed. He was enjoying learning to cook, and while he’d mostly been responsible for it when he’d lived with his entitled mom and his lazy slob of a brother, they’d been firmly in the burgers and fries department, and Finn loved experimenting.
Last night they’d had vegetable curry, and tonight he was going to do chicken milanese. Vance’s mom, who fed them all even more than they ate at Betty’s, had been giving him recipes and instructions. Finn loved food, and Talon was happy to eat anything Finn put in front of him. He would always clean up afterward, though, sending Finn for a shower or to put his feet up for a few minutes. It was all Suzy Homemaker, and Finn loved every second of it. In fact, as far as compatibility went, the only time they clashed so far was at work… or specifically if Talon thought Finn was at risk. Which, unfortunately, because of the job they did, meant pretty much all the time.
The bell didn’t ring above the door as Finn walked in, which he didn’t think about until he saw the terrified look on Mr. Adeila’s face as he walked toward the deli counter. Finn had a split second to register something was wrong, and for the second time that day, he felt the barrel of a gun in his back. Shit. And surprisingly, it wasn’t the thought of whoever was holding the gun that terrified him; it was the reaction Talon would have, knowing Finn had managed to get himself in a situation again.
“Hands where I can see them,” the voice behind him clipped out.
Finn immediately put his hands up, and the robber came around from behind him. Finn took in the skinny body, the ripped jeans, filthy T-shirt, and the black mask. He also recognized the Sig SP2022 the guy was clutching as if his life depended on it.
“I have a gun,” Finn said evenly. Being shot, especially accidentally, wasn’t on his to do list today.
The man stiffened, and Finn lifted his arms higher, showing the holster clipped to his belt that had been hidden by his shirt. The robber lunged and fumbled to get Finn’s Glock. Finn didn’t move. He was nervous, but the gunman seemed completely terrified. The guy needed to calm the fuck down before the gun went off.
“You a cop?”
Finn shook his head. “No. I just want us all to walk out of here safely. I didn’t want to surprise you.”
The guy grunted and waved his gun with a shaky hand to indicate Finn should move. “Get over there.”
Finn walked around the counter to stand with Mr. Adeila. The old shopkeeper looked terrified. Finn was glad neither his wife or daughter, who helped in the shop, were here.
The gunman took two steps back and locked the door. “Empty the register.” He fished a small canvas bag out of his pocket and threw it at Finn.
Finn pressed the cash button, and the register drawer shot open. Bar some loose change, it was completely empty. Finn hesitated a brief second, and then he understood the abject terror on Mr. Adeila’s face. His wife and daughter would be upstairs in their apartment, and the last thing he wanted was the gunman thinking the money was up there.
Finn glanced at the gunman. “It’s empty.” He stepped back as the gunman stiffened. He knew if he could see his face, it would be incredulous.
The man leaned over. “Where’s the fucking money?” he shouted.
“My wife already went to drop it in the bank,” Mr. Adeila stammered. “We never keep any on the premises overnight.”
Finn started talking. “Look, I have my debit card on me. I can withdraw five hundred in cash, now. There’s an ATM just outside on the wall next to the dry cleaners. Let me put my hand in my back pocket and get my card out?” Finn sounded reasonable, which quite frankly shocked the fuck out of him.
The gun waved precariously between them.
“Let Mr. Adeila go,” Finn urged. “It will take us seconds to just step outside, and then you can go.”
The man leaned over the counter to the old man. “Where’s your phone?” Mr. Adeila gestured to a small cell phone on the counter. The guy grabbed it and threw it to the floor, stamping on it. Finn took a breath. That was good. If he intended on shooting them, he wouldn’t care about the phone. “Sit down, hands on your head,” he shouted to Mr. Adeila. “If I see you move, I’ll put a bullet in you, and then I’ll go looking for your wife.”
Mr. Adeila whimpered but sank to the floor, cowering. Finn didn’t dare take his eyes off the gunman.
“Outside… now.” The man gave Finn a push and then stopped. Finn realized instantly the second his plan wasn’t gonna work as a black-and-white pulled up to the dry cleaners. “Fuck,” the man spat out, and then suddenly the gun wasn’t in Finn’s back—it was pointed at his face.
Finn had a second to see the right side of the pistol before he dropped and did the move Vance had been teaching him for weeks. He punched the guy right in the balls just as he heard the small click from the useless weapon before it was dropped. The guy screamed, turned, and staggered to the door. Finn followed, and in another second, the guy was sprawled on the ground in the shop doorway with Finn kneeling in his back.
Unfortunately Finn was likewise sprawled out by the cops in the mad rush when they saw what was happening. It took some hurried explaining, and Finn showing his ID before he was allowed to his feet.
“Ballsy but dumb,” the officer from district three pronounced as Finn and Mr. Adeila were checked out by the paramedics. “You feds think you can pull some superhero stunts. Other people might get hurt.”
Finn appreciated the irony, especially when it didn’t say anywhere on Finn’s ID which unit he belonged to. “The safety was on.”
The officer paused as he was writing. “What?”
“It was a Sig Sauer SP2022. Some of them have manual safeties, but they’re not common. I’m pretty sure he knew nothing about guns, and I only noticed when he shoved it near my face,” Finn said matter-of-factly. The cop regarded Finn carefully, and Finn shrugged. He wasn’t going to explain the years he’d spent with his dad, pouring over the old gun magazines when Finn had told him he wanted to join the FBI. That was private.
Mr. Adeila had been incredibly grateful, and Mrs. Adeila came running down stairs. “Finn,” she had exclaimed when her husband had explained what had happened, and she had cried all over Finn’s shirt and then tried to give Finn his weight in food. Finn grinned. Maybe Vance’s weight in food would be a more accurate description. “Policemen need to eat,” she insisted, patting Finn’s arm.
“I do,” he protested, not correcting her, as the plastic sack was pressed into his arms, but it was nice. The gratitude, the appreciation. When he got an invitation to Mr. Adeila’s daughter’s wedding next month, Finn knew it was time to leave.