Title: Business Call
Author: Derry (derry@anejo.nu)
Recipient: Caia
Character: Eddie Fyers

Eddie didn't like rooftops. They were too open. He preferred a nice little room with good visibility.

Unfortunately, he hadn't had time to scope out a room so he was stuck with the rooftop and trying to blend with a chimney. It was a good thing Ollie was as blind as he'd always been.

Which also meant Ollie hadn't noticed the suited midget skulking along behind him. Which wasn't, actually, a problem.

Eddie twitched his rifle into position and focused the cross-hairs on the dwarf's shoulder.

Slid them down to his heart.

Shrugged, focused them on the man's head and squeezed the trigger.

Drakon's head exploded.

Eddie put the rifle down and settled back on to his heels. Three, two, one-

"Hello, Eddie."

Eddie turned and looked up at the chimney, which now had Connor perching on top of it like a particularly pretty gargoyle. "Evening, Connor." He nodded at the street below. "Your old man's getting careless in his refound youth."

"You didn't need to kill." Connor's voice was hard, the way it always was when he defended his morals. It was familiar and disturbingly comforting.

"That was Drakon." Eddie lit a cigarette and took a deep pull. "He's lucky I only killed him. His wah was very tainted." He frowned. "Something like that, anyway. I didn't pay much attention in class."

"You still had no right to take his life."

"If I hadn't, he would have killed your dad. And I need your dad alive."

Connor's voice didn't soften but he shifted his position. "You have no business with my father."

"True." Eddie took another pull on his cigarette. "But I know some people who want to have business with him."

Connor frowned thoughtfully. "If they need an archer, they can have me."

"Sorry, son." Eddie started dismantling his rifle, making sure to keep it just loud enough to cover the sound of Ollie climbing up the side of the building. "No offence but you're not good enough. They want the best, not third-best."

"I don't like people insulting my son."

"Evening, Ollie." Eddie didn't bother looking up from tucking the rifle into its case. "I just saved your life. You owe me."

"I knew he was there."

"You never were any good at lying." Eddie stood up and held out his right hand. "Welcome back to life. I've got a job for you."

Ollie didn't take his hand. "I heard you'd quit all this to be a monk."

Eddie deliberately wiped his hand on his pantleg and held it out again. "It got boring."

"Really." Ollie still didn't take his hand.

Eddie switched his cigarette into his right hand. "You try it some time. It's not all pretty dresses and singing."

Ollie raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, you did try it." Eddie ran a hand over the stubble on his head and wondered if it was ever going to grow back fully. Made him even more glad he'd kept his moustache. "Didn't stick to you, didn't stick to me. Though they got your boy early enough he's never going to be normal. Did he tell you about the time a hot chick stood in front of him, stark naked, and asked him to take care of her problem? And he walked off."

Ollie looked past Eddie and Eddie could hear Connor shifting. "It's complicated."

"You sure he's your son?" Eddie said. "Because when we were hanging out, you'd never hav-" There was an arrow pointed at him. Eddie shrugged. "Just saying."

"Leave my city," Ollie said quietly. "Drakon hurt my family. I can cope with him being dead. But I want you gone."

"Ah." Eddie smoothed his moustache. "There we have a problem. Because I need you on this job. And I'm going to get you."

"Leave."

Eddie only just managed to keep his position as the arrow whistled past his arm, ripping his shirt.

"Next time," Ollie said, "I might miss."

And then he was gone. Connor stayed long enough to look at Eddie and shrug and then he followed his father.

Eddie settled back down on the roof and leaned against the chimney. He hadn't really believed he'd get Ollie on board that easily. Which meant he was going to have to go the nasty route.

He reached up to tug the arrow free of the brickwork and studied it.

He'd spent too long in that damn monastery. He really didn't want to go the nasty route.

***

It was easy enough to get on to the roof of Ollie's house. It was early afternoon and there was nobody around to see him. Even easier to swing down the wall until he was outside Ollie's office window. And then, he just had to wait.

After half an hour or so, Ollie came in. As soon as the door was shut behind him, he slumped and rubbed his eyes. Life in the Arrow House evidently wasn't as idyllic as he tried to make it look.

It wasn't Eddie's job to care so he rapped on the window and watched Ollie spring back to full Crimefighter Extraordinaire stance. After a moment, Ollie strode across the room and wrenched the window open.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't put an arrow through you."

"Because you're the good guy," Eddie said easily.

"And you're the bad guy."

"Connor wouldn't agree. I think he got quite fond of me. Opened up to me." Eddie studied Ollie. "I'd say I know him better than you do."

Ollie didn't say anything but his eyes were hard.

"You're not going to get rid of me until I've said my piece. It'll be easier for both of us if you just listen now."

Finally, Ollie stepped back from the window. "Talk."

Eddie swung through and glanced around. "Room of the Queen ego. Do you have to have so many photos of yourself?"

"Talk."

"Mind if I smoke?"

"Yes."

Eddie sighed and put the cigarette in his mouth anyway. "I quit these things when I was in the ashram. Soon as I was out the gate, I was addicted again."

"Have you come here to reminisce?"

"You could say that." Eddie settled himself in Ollie's chair and rested his feet on the desk. "I'm doing some work for the alphabet soup agencies again. Strictly freelance. But a certain agency has a friend abroad who needs your skills for a very particular job."

"You're not going to sell this to me," Ollie said and turned away to study his bookshelves. "You might as well give up now."

"They can offer you half a million."

"I've got enough money, thanks."

"You'd be fighting for a nice liberal cause."

Ollie snorted. "I wouldn't agree with any cause supported by this government. And if it's such a nice cause, why can't you give me more details?"

"Come on, Ollie. You know better than that."

Ollie turned round and stared at Eddie. "And you know *me* better than that. You can't buy me."

"I know. But I wanted to see if I could do this the nice way first." Eddie swung his legs off the desk and leaned forward. "What you have to understand is that, while I was watching Connor's back, I met Moonday Hawke."

Ollie stiffened.

"In fact, I got quite chatty with Moonday Hawke. We talked about you. We talked about the time you came to visit her and baby Connor. Which means that you've known about Connor all his life and yet you just weren't interested." Eddie folded his hands on top of the desk. "Now. How do you think Connor would feel about that if he happened to find out?"

"Get out. *Now!*" Ollie's face was white.

"I'll be back this evening for an answer, Ollie."

"Get *out!*"

Eddie slung himself out the window just in time to avoid the arrow that thunked into the windowframe.

***

He spent the rest of the day lying on his back on his hotel bed, arms folded behind his head as he stared at the ceiling and smoked.

***

It was even easier to get into position when it was dark. There were no lights in Ollie's office, which meant he was probably sitting in there, waiting for Eddie and pretending to be stealthy.

It was quite funny.

Eddie positioned himself at the neighbouring window, also dark, and pulled out a suction cup and a diamond-edged blade. It took less than thirty seconds to cut out a circle and reach through it to open the window. Then it was just a case of sliding in and-

Eddie stopped with an arrow at his throat. He swallowed. "You've improved. Being dead must agree with you."

"Would you like to try it?" Ollie's voice was soft.

"I wouldn't like to step on your turf." Eddie reached up and gently pushed the arrow away. "Now, business. You've had a chance to think it over."

"My answer hasn't changed."

"Come on, Ollie." Eddie leaned back against the wall and folded his arms. He could just make out the gleam of Ollie's eyes and the pale smudge of his beard in the darkness. "You're going to throw away your son, just to avoid a bit of work for the government?"

Now he could see Ollie smiling as he swung his bow up again. It wasn't a reassuring expression. "I could just kill you and avoid the whole problem."

"You don't kill." Eddie made himself smile back. "Or is that rule still as flexible as it used to be?"

Ollie was holding the bow at full pull. Eddie knew just how heavy that bow was and he knew just how much it was costing Ollie to keep it steady, to keep himself so completely still.

"I know you're not going to kill me," Eddie said quietly. "And I know you're not going to let me hurt Connor. So just give in. Stop bluffing."

Ollie's laugh was breathless. "I could say the same. I've been speaking with Connor about you."

"That's nice."

"He's told me how often you saved his life, even when it meant putting yourself in danger."

Shit. "I like danger."

"No, you don't. You like getting paid. And there was no money in keeping Connor safe. There certainly wasn't any money in following him into the ashram."

"What's your point?"

Ollie slowly released the pressure on his bow and lowered it. "My point is that you'd be quite happy to hurt me. But you *like* Connor. You wouldn't break his heart like that."

"You sure you want to test that?" Eddie could feel control of the situation finally slipping completely out of his grip.

"Sure. Want me to call him up?"

Eddie waited as long as he could, then sighed. He raised a hand. "Okay, you win. I wouldn't tell him." He smoothed his moustache and settled into a more casual stance. "Sure you don't want to do the job anyway? There's good money in it. They'd probably go up to a million for you."

"I told you. I've got enough money."

"Think your boy Arsenal would take it?"

Ollie's bow was up again. "You even think about talking to him and you'll *wish* I'd killed you."

"Okay, okay, just a suggestion." Eddie pulled his cigarette packet out of his shirt pocket. "Looks like I'm going to end up working with Merlyn." He stuck a cigarette in his mouth. "Unless crossbows would do," he mumbled round it. "I might try Huntress."

"I wouldn't recommend it," Ollie said, putting the nocked arrow back in his quiver. "She's enthusiastic with those things but not always entirely accurate."

"She looks so much better than Merlyn I can let her off. Smells better, too." He lit a match and took a deep draw on his cigarette.

"I told you last time. No smoking."

Ollie didn't sound particularly vehement, so Eddie ignored him.

"You going to come down and see Connor?"

Eddie let the smoke linger in his lungs for a few seconds more before breathing out. "No. He's always edgy for a couple of days after I've killed someone. Besides, I need to get moving on getting your replacement."

"I'd wish you luck but I probably want your mission to fail in a blaze of publicity."

Eddie grinned. "Same to you." He swung out of the window and stayed, holding on to the ledge for a moment. "See you around. And - tell Connor I said hi."