2011-02-08: An Education





Chloe, James Dean, Big Guy, and Student

Date: February 8th, 2011


The lesson does not end outside the classroom.

"An Education"

Hall Outside Auditorium

Eventually, not even the halls of the building are very populated, but for a few. Carefully making her way down one hall adjacent the lecture room is the enthusiastic questioner, fidgeting with her "C" necklace until it lays flat. She's dressed neatly, a white blouse, a pencil skirt; all very grown-up, but she can't help the youthful brightness of her face. The messenger bag over her shoulder is weighed with the accoutrements of student life. It's this hopeful face that peeks around a corner, searching.

The retreat of the wayward lecturer has been discovered, and he's not alone. A dozen feet or so down from the corner, where he stands near to the duo-toned walls of the administrative hallway, a slender blonde woman not from the lecture is his company. Jocelyn's hands move shyly around Laurie's front, giving strange, distracted little tugs to the front of his sweater, straightening the material over his fit chest. She moves as though she expected to get to tie a scarf but, finding none, has resorted to what's there in order to not reveal her mistake.

"Well, you managed to pollute the minds of several impressionable young people, and assault a police officer… so, all in all, I'd say you're getting better." Her soft laugh at what's meant to be a joke is met by a smile from him, that isn't quite right in place. Hands that had snuck to her sides, for what purpose is unclear, shirk suddenly at her conclusion, retreating naturally to the wall behind him without her noticing. When her eyes flicker up to his face, braving that personal space after the neutral ground of his light t-shirt, she only sees the smile. Still, she knows. A little squint, the hesitance of her own mouth falling slack, then: "Oh— Laurie— I didn't mean— "

Shrugging lifts his shoulders, high and slow. Same on his lower lip, creating tiny dimples below his mouth in gentle ehh. The wrinkle of his nose follows suit in expression; the suggestion of his head shake finalizes it: he's letting her off the hook. Doesn't matter. And in that shake, his eyes happen upon a note of color, a presence, in the corner.

Unconvinced, Jocelyn hovers to that spot, only to recognize his gaze has shifted beyond her. That following look in the ADA is reminiscent of a teenager, caught showing public affection in the hallway — it's nearly true. Hands lift away, twitching with the self-preservation of having touched something too hot. "Great! I'll just go— ahh… call Dean and this'll be checked off your list… I'm, umm. I'm…" What she is, is disappearing quickly, flashing a smile — vaguely judgmental — to the newly appeared girl, without finishing. The little clicks of her ever-present heels a ticking clock that counts the seconds.

The smile on Laurie is much friendlier, without mar, as he hefts away from the wall, exercising his new freedom to do so. "Why, if it isn't publish book and new position."

The young woman's gaze follows Jocelyn precisely down the hall, as if her head is on a swivel attached to the ADA. A certain knowledge exists in her eyes — as though, despite never meeting Jocelyn, she's aware of who she is and vaguely judgmental right back. One call to attention, however, and she's onto Laurie.

"Oh! Um." Bright smile! "Ch— Chloe," she clarifies, skirting around the corner to march right up to the profiler, her proud bounce and bright smile at odds with her stuttering nervousness. "I um, I w-wanted to thank you for coming. Not that I have any say asking who comes to lecture but I've been following your w— your work for awhile," she says, staring with big clever eyes up at Laurie all the while — quite a ways up, as she is a petite creature — and hanging tight to the strap of her messenger bag like she's expecting someone to run by and mug her for it here in the empty hall. Unconscious; all her attention is on Laurie. "I referenced you in my d-dissertation. I'm studying Behavioral Science and Criminology…"

She smiles; he smiles! It's a chain reaction of cheerfulness that, from him, blasts right by any lingering nervousness — or, more personally, any clinging attachments from the encounter that just occurred. The hall could be filled every inch with shuffling bodies; they would still be the only people in it. "Chloe," Laurie repeats warmly, extending the hand from his pocket out to her, fingers wiggling playfully to make sure she sees what with all that focus up on him. "You wanted to thank me— what happened?" Teasing shows on his face, where he doesn't mime seriousness in the nitpicking question, and he just as soon slumps forward around those tall shoulders to lend particular note to her follow-up. "Only bad things, I hope," he scrutinizes immediately, eyebrows pushing down to make thoughtful his tone of whimsy, "I've always wanted to be referenced very poorly in someone's dissertation…"

Chloe's hand immediately takes Laurie's when she sees it; her handshake is the handshake of someone who has perfected the cheerful-but-professional method early in life. It doesn't linger too long, but her unyielding stare makes up for any lack of clinging. "You're v-v-v— " Deep breath, brighter smile— "very hard on yourself Mr. Miles. It's not Agent Miles again, is it? Um, but actually, the tone was neutral, I was using one of your cases as reference for exploring the methodology of organized serial killers," she explains all in one breath — but without a hitch in words. "Now I'm starting an experiment I think you'd be interested in and it's — w-well I was wondering— " Her free hand springs up to fidget with her "C" necklace. "I know you're busy all the time doing important things for your new position but…"

A pinch tightens one side of his mouth nearly imperceptibly against evaluation, making wry his smile — never lessening it. Keenly, Laurie observes her without hint of noticing any struggle to speak. His only possible faux-paus comes and goes, when his lips part to answer, but she's plowed on nonetheless, so he folds his hands to his sides, unintentionally flashing a bit of that golden insignia on his belt behind the sweater. Lowering his chin as she hesitates, he increases focus while also encouraging — though, following, his demeanor becomes instantly dismissive — of himself, in theme. "Important things? Oh, I never do those. Very taxing, and generally frowned upon by the majority of society… and, actually, it's Laurie. So, tell me about this experiment— unless the experiment is not to tell me… then I still want to know, but your job is to distract me."

"It's a social experiment that uses technology and people's base desires when masked by the anonymity of the internet to prove— " Chloe's passionate explanation halts suddenly. "W-w-well," she looks down for all of a second, giving a little awkward chuckle, "I don't want to give too much anyway right now because I'm not going to explain it well since I don't have time— I have to be g-g-getting home, but I'd love to tell you all about it. I think you'd really like it." Did she say that already… "But, I…" Those brown eyes — again on Laurie — are enthusiastic to the point of gleaming, fixated. They break away only so that she may flip her bag open and dig through it. She keeps it protectively squeezed to her side all the while, her rifling hidden until she comes away with a notepad and pen to write on. A small page is torn off and offered hopefully, even as she reluctantly backpedals. Written on the page is a neatly printed phone number. "If you want, we could talk about it!"

"Clever girl, Chloe…" Poised in captured intrigue — as amused by being unfulfilled as anything else — Laurie's not too distracted, yet, to squint with more restraint, his weight idling backwards, at her continued fixation. She's similar to a thank-you card — but only when she isn't looking. The paper is plucked at by two fingers, top and bottom, squeezing around, making a slight indent in the page before the number. It's one used to turn the handwriting towards his eyes better, then releases without claim an instant later. "Got it," he acknowledges, letting her go with a wink in his eye, not fully expressed. His voice, not raised for the benefit of her ongoing retreat, could reach her or not, where she goes, "Should be interesting…" Turned on his heel, he makes for the phone nestled into his pocket, spying with a kind of bashful expectation the screen: no new messages. "No accountability in text…"

Chloe bounces away all smiles, a murmured "oh of course!" in her wake, as well as a whole slew of unasked questions and declarations of interest. She looks back once before she bobs around the corner, and Laurie is as alone in the hall as he is on his phone.

It is, in fact, quiet aside from Laurie — so quiet that every footstep can be heard on the floor of the hall, echoing in the empty quality of the near-abandoned building. When a pair of steps not belonging to him squeak on the tile, then, when Chloe is well gone, it's nails on a chalkboard in comparison to the quiet halls. A Converse shoe and frayed jean hems turn a corner opposite the one Chloe vanished around and follow the lecturer. Another straggler from the audience: the shaggy-haired illegible note taker. He could pass as fifteen, but is closer to nineteen or twenty-something. He hurries; catches up. He's dripping with nervous energy, and his dark eyes are immediately avoidant. "Hey, man, you're still here. Uh…"

Laurie hasn't made it far, unconcerned with the time constraints that seem to be squeezing the rest of the world, and he rears in not much different from where he'd been cornered by Jocelyn, alongside several phones set in half-booths on the wall. Two of the three are missing their Yellowbooks; it's likely no one's noticed, or will ever, in this day and age. "So I am!" The announcement, broad and pleased, shares nothing with the younger — even a little reassured. "Well, that's good to know…" Laurie makes no pressure to catch the eyes playing allergic to him, only traces their goings-along, like a game. "And so are you."

And here they are. Unlike the last possible fan to approach Laurie, this fellow is not avid, not eager to learn or even to speak despite being the one to approach. He is as he was during the lecture, his head hanging down. "Yeah, well…" He can't even think of anything to say. He makes an effort to keep his gaze on Laurie, peeking up — it works for a span of awkward moments but it eventually edges momentarily behind the older man, to his left, where exists a door. Office, meeting room, break room; it's unnamed. The student's smart little eyes flash with a growing nervousness, a higher octane quality than what ought to belong to the dull, empty hallway.

The tiniest of creaks; flash of the young man's eyes—

— the game's afoot; Laurie's eyes have once again trailed the man's, betting, this time luckily, on that spot. His right foot, having slid progressively, preparatorily, out, points the toe to that suddenly available doorway, heel back. It's this back, retreat, that his weight shifts — reflexively at first, gaining immediate purpose afterwards. A domino effect of intertwined movements: foot, head turning, heel leading. On the instant's recognition of aggression in the hall's sudden new company.

Languid curiosity slowed him, and, in overcompensating, he withdraws on the attack with a bit more force than necessary. He's tossed to the opposite wall, fittingly aimed inside one of the phone booths. The mouth-piece rattles off the hook on impact with Laurie's back, caught from falling completely along his shoulders, as the plastic privacy barriers rise up on his either side like a fortress from being surrounded.

Striking out of the gate are two figures. They clamber out of the doorway to lurch toward Laurie, the phone booths; it wasn't supposed to go like this. Bold, they've made no effort to mask their identities or their intention: to attack this man, their night's teacher, the notorious Laurence Miles, right here in the hallway.

First out is a face that easily blends in to any crowd, but recognizable as part of the one in the lecture room. Fourth-row-middle, he never spoke up, never made a presence for himself, but now a tall and sturdy frame and fifty or so extra pounds lunge at Laurie head-on, as if to punch him further yet into his impromptu fortress.

Over the shoulder of attacking hulk is a glimpse of bright green and a determined sneer: familiar arrogance newly purposed.

The shaggy-haired kid skitters back, as relevant as scattered debris from an explosion.

Hi there! No attempt to hide the spark of realization, adrenaline — even entertainment on Laurie's face, as well as raised, impressed eyebrows for the sheer bulk coming for him. It would be the sizable one. In a flash of charging, the teacher's fortress threatens to flip side into a trap, the privacy guards merely a guideline for Hefty to follow for his punch to stay on the straight and narrow.

But Laurie proves wriggly. He drops like a weight straight down the tube of plastic past where it ends. Rolling off his shoulder, the phone slips along his back, bouncing as it expels to the end of its cord — into a waiting hand. Spring-loaded, Laurie's up. The fist, injected into the space where Laurie used to be, is slipped up and around, as the man tosses the phone between his rising hands alongside the attacker's. Whip-like spirals, one, two, three — Hefty's arm becomes jammed up in them, while the phone's dial-tone bleats dejectedly around the sound of that mouth-piece, clutched hard around the middle, being rammed like a baton into the opposing man's nose. Not enough to break, it could almost be playful — baiting — but that's certainly going to sting something awful…

His phone-booth now fully occupied by the entangled lunger, Laurie is forced out to his right.

Frustrated grunting overtakes the sound of the forlorn phone, as does a ruckus of tugging and battering against the half-booth, all of which springs the smaller instigator into action from where he'd scrambled away, now frantically leaping to the big guy's aid.

All background: because there, out in the open, to Laurie's right, the other man is waiting. He holds himself in a challenging pose, feet spread, arms spread apart slightly ready to strike, holding himself in such a confident manner that self-righteously labels himself as not only more handsome than his partners-in-crime, but more clever. A leader. He's still for but a second before charging — Laurie turns, he's coming at him — with knuckles firing much lower than his heftier pal's. It's quick and precise but determination and anger fuels the brawler's moves, not experience, but the result is still vicious.

"Didn't realize we were still in session— " Not completely casual, Laurie's words follow the track of his hands, snapping down to protect that targeted side — that particular side. A grunt of effort is both palms accepting all the brunt of the punch. But the agent's eyes, jumping to his attacker's, are bright and relevant to their previous encounter: yeah, I'm reading you. In taking the hit, he's also controlling it, turning onto one leg, and that side, so that James Dean's momentum is rolled along him. Laurie's elbow gives backwards, leading.

And while one hand keeps this up, the other loops around to snatch up the back of that pretentious polo. With a heave, Laurie propels James Dean behind him, overly biased towards the front, and with a extra shove to keep him along in that upended balance.

The owner of the pretentious polo is a substantial, strong guy; Laurie is bigger and stronger. His determination is not swayed — even though he is, right down toward his co-conspirators (and the floor) in upended balance. Heave and— ! He smashes right into the plastic phone booth divider, one arm flung up over top of it as the toes of expensive shoes twist against the floor. Still smug, he grunts acidly, "Classroom of life, man."

Turning, jostled by the crashing of his pal, is the tall, resentful figure… with wire-marks spiraling up his forearm from payphone bondage. The scrawny student stands adjacent with the phone newly in his hand, wide-eyed, as the other guy clenches his strong jaws and rushes Laurie like a freight train, one hand grabbing for violent purchase while his fist swings right at his face.

Contrary, Laurie's stance is not wide as he, resisting the urge to bounce, scopes out the bundled conspirators. "Mm. Poetic. I suppose," he voices, a little sniff, a brief expression of cheerful allowing for James Dean's metaphor, "This means I should start trying." Though he shows no initial signs of doing so, staring down so cavalier that charging figure. "What do you think?" He, in fact, inquires pleasantly of the opponent. But when Hefty doesn't let up, the life lecturer's right leg notably parts, gaining him that preparedness of a fighter where he was lacking — or, shirking.

It lends neatly to the way he ducks his head to the side at the last moment, sending the fist off the cuff of his ear. If this means the other hand gets purchase somewhere on him, he doesn't seem to take note, or concern. He's occupied; the left hand up by his own face gets what grip it can around the large man's sizable forearm, "Guess so," leading it with a swinging shove. Turns out, Laurie can give as good as — well, as he was intended; he throws, through the slinky rebound of his own dodge, all the way through his hips, towards the man's pre-softened nose. This time, without such restraint.

Crack! sounds to the tune of the big guy's anger, seeing red beyond just his cause as his head snaps to the side. He's still doesn't slip from the grapple he's got on Laurie — had not, even throughout shoves — instead, he holds on has he momentarily reels back, blood flinging from his nose onto the floor, risking the colourful stripes of Laurie's outfit. In a forceful shuffle, shoves his considerable weight at the wily striped target and in turn, right into the duotone wall as hard as can be.

"Guys—" the once mumbling voice of their youngest looking crew has become insistent. "I think there's someone coming!"

"Well then take care of it!" Pretentious Polo Shirt is more concerned with rushing in toward the other attacker's fight with Laurie — an attempt that has the big guy trying to pin him there so he'll stay freaking still. The shaggy-haired kid hesitates and bounces on his heel before taking off down the hall where, if it can be heard over the shuffling and heaving of breath, is the innocuous rattle of a door.

The sweet stripes of that cool-toned sweater, being stretched out of shape by harsh grabs and ensuing violence, is not the proud badge of a fighter — or the thick armor. Being careened into the wall winds Laurie, sucking all that air out of him, and loosening his already grimmer smile. His recovery is fast — forced — and is as inoffensive as a hand into his pocket. Which then, clutching something, pulls out, whipping some unidentifiable projectile at the polo shirt, bidding his reflex act the only way it knows how — distractedly catch. It doesn't summon an amazing amount of extra time, but hopefully enough before being double-teamed makes the next that much harder.

Almost vying for a chance to take Laurie down, the two men press around him. The sleeve of a green polo shirt brushes up against the bigger guy's drab plaid. Despite gleaming eyes — this is fun, for James Dean — the urge for violence is waylaid by reflex. A grab, a catch — what is it.
For the big guy, nothing is a distraction when he has a chance to strike. He takes it. His wide-set nose rapidly swelling, he's huffing riled breaths as his right fist abandons hold to swing back and crash forward right at the grimmer line of Laurie's mouth, and if were to get his way— well, he wouldn't stop.

Knuckles rattle teeth — a hard hunting ground for any hand — snapping Laurie's jaw to the side with an audible crack that, in anyone else's instance, would've been the force to wipe the rest of the amusement off the face. Not so; even with the distortion of his tongue pushing out the affected cheek, there's a perkiness to his features, that isn't really a smile. Though, he's certainly there to say cheese for the second of the big guy's connecting statements.

Two is quite enough. Struck higher near the temple, this time, Laurie revs with this rebounding momentum, bouncing his head and what part of shoulders he can force away from the wall. Straight forward. Bam. The art of head-butting is precise, requiring absolute aim in order to not damage yourself more than your target. Laurie's straight-on: bam; the rippling of impact goes right to the man's highly afflicted nose.

Generously deciding to give his opponent time to think about this development, there's — what else — a wiggle. Stunned hands are not good holds, but not vanished ones, either. Right in this in-between, he sidles downward, twisting and dropping, and taking whatever comes with — leaving
behind what sad stripes do not.

"Motherf— " His head reels back before the full extent of his cursing escapes. Holding hands become stunned hands become useless hands— gripping no more than fabric. With what must be a pounding head, he stumbled back — in fact, right into his friend.

The self-professed leader of this assault crew is propelled back by his comrade, but he wraps a supportive arm around the big guy's shoulders— before shoving him away to try lunge around him after Laurie. In the midst, an annoyed glance goes to his hand as he dismisses candy onto the floor. He can't get around his friend in time— Laurie's sneaking away— !

And down the hall — through these mere seconds of brawling — that rattling door that the third member of the party runs after has opened a crack. White hair and a strict but nevertheless smile-lined face fill the narrow space. It's the professor who was sitting in on the lecture, looking down while he sorts through his keys. He seems unaware of what's going on so nearby. Perhaps the plastic hearing aid device coiled around one ear isn't turned up. It would only take one glance up to spy the scrap, and the student rushing toward him.

Someone whose hearing is well intact and whose sights are attuned on the violence, however, is witness. Her keen brown eyes peek around her reclaimed corner as her head appears there, staring in dazzled surprise and open-mouthed horror.

The hurried student rushes the professor's door, grabbing the doorknob and trying to slam it shut on him— if he's locked in, he can't very well be a witness! The distinguished old fellow looks up just in time, however, and grabs onto the door from his side with surprising tenacity. "Excuse me young m— " Slam; a struggle with the door begins. One pulling to close, one pulling to keep open— in frustrated desperation, the young man pushes in. The professor is struck by the door, and is flung back to stumble colliding with a framed certificate on the wall. Crash

Chloe gasps, ducks down and tries to keep out of sight.

Seconds later— the student is too out-of-sorts and guilty to move, and the old man; who, all right, after all, strikes out of his office bleeding from the face; blearily, he spies the hostile men in the hall and, dazed and alarmed, jogs the other way— opposite them and their spy, where Green Polo Shirt is still scrambling after Laurie.

As he winds his way to solid footing, the crash alerts Laurie to the presence — fleeing — of an uninvolved party; the fun is over. In his righting, his hand goes for a tool more handy than the Snickers bar: his phone. He steps continuously, sideways and backwards to keep a view aligned on every member of this little escapade, and blindly stabs down on a button — speed-dial. Eyes are not locked, shared between his opponent, and the one who remains closest to what fleeing witness there's been. And, underneath the fumbling of everyone's footsteps, a click of pick-up: "This is Officer Parker."

The instinct to stay and fight, to finish what they started, wars with their urge to scram at the sound of the official voice on the phone. For a second, the pair of attackers freeze. Their third is already firmly affixed to the notion of getting out of here; he stares at them from down the hall, making wild gestures.

The bleeding attacker launches at Laurie as if to whack that phone away— but of course by then the call's already been made, and what does it matter, and his friend grapples onto him to hold him back. His smooth voice warps into a growl of anger and frustration. It's not a decision he wants to make, but he makes it. He eyes Laurie; this isn't over… whatever it is, the power-hungry dispute sends him glaring. His gaze moves off. No one speaks — they just look at each other and take off, two one way, one the other.

C is gone; the professor is gone. Quiet slowly settles over the hall. Laurie is alone again.

Alone, but for the concerned buzz of Officer Parker's tones: … Hello? Not quite the menacing official presence to have scared off three attackers. … Miles, if this is— A second click effectively cuts off the officer's swift impatience.

Truly alone.

Back of the hand swiping along a puckering lip, Laurie works his tongue around the blood building in his mouth. It's sucked off his lip, swallowed to keep from spitting. Here, where only his footsteps pound lonely echoes, those sounds as much slower, an affected gait over to that crumpled bit of clothing where it's been dropped by the hall wall. Shoving the phone where it belongs, he gathers the sweater into both hands, standing in only that slim grey tee while turning the outerwear over for flaws or tears. It'd be such a shame.

Beep beep bee— Calmly, the twisted, needy phone is resettled onto its shaken receiver.

The straight-and-narrow is then chosen; easily, it's the escape route taken by the also-injured professor, and inspires a short speedy trot before slowing as he nudges the large double-doors to go through.

In an instant, the atmosphere completely and utterly changes.

The air is chilled, the city alive with sound, the night dark — but lit, here, at the building's side exit by outside lights that will eventually be shut down by the night maintenance workers. A couple of proud trees stand tall in the miniature courtyard between the building and the street. The city's ever-present nightlife is blithe to the violence that occurred inside.

The professor's half-accidental attacker is nowhere in sight. Neither is the professor. Only a single drop of blood tracks his path on the few steps that lead down. A sedan is pulling out of the adjacent staff and student parking garage and disappearing down the street — maybe it's him.
On the street parked on a direct eye line with the door is a more familiar vehicle, however. A generic dark blue. Its driver's side slams, giving way to one suddenly appearing Detective Powers. A purposeful presence of black leather, black denim, and badge (and, somewhere, handcuffs), she strides straight for those double doors, only to stop right in the middle of the lit courtyard upon looking up.

Thumb pressed on the throbbing lip, stemming more blood, has frozen at the cast of eyes onto that reappearing detective. Poised between top and just-before-top stair, Laurie drops the hand, uncurls his mouth, and grants her a smile that cracks that lip — pops his jaw. Ignorant, more likely ignoring, of these incidents, he beams on through. "If you're here for our date, Detective Powers…" he muses, strolling a couple of steps towards her in the courtyard, angling to be past her when they've reached such a point, "You're a little late, I'm afraid."

Maggie's stare is one of frozen surprise — surprised to see Laurie, first of all, and secondly, as her gaze very quickly hones in on the blood, surprised to see him in a different state than when she left a short time ago. "I came back to find my phone," she clarifies to using musing, flatly, until, "…somewhere after your— math, I must have put it down and forgotten it." She swivels to follow his path. Surprise turns to concern; concern mingles with bewilderment. "I know you said no promises about being mobbed by fans…" Her steps, rerouted, find Laurie's side as she tries to get a look at his face, "But what," a gesture, "did you incite a riot after I left?"

His face is not immediately accessible, sheltered by the turn of his head, or a hand where he runs it in affected sheepishness along his hair, resting towards the back of his neck with a soft rub; his head isn't exactly thanking him for tossing it into a larger's man temple, even if performed spot-on. "I just got so jealous when you said you were going to handcuff somebody else…" he proclaims with faux-sullenness, drying out its whine in the pause before he mentions, "But technically speaking," and, already having slowed, halts his meaningless retreat to turn on her. "They started it." The arm drops: cut lip, swollen temple; they aren't new looks on him, and he easily makes puzzling eyebrows around the lump forming against his head. "… Forgetting your phone doesn't sound like you."

The amused smirk Maggie has for Laurie's play at whining is short-lived, fading into seriousness by the time they both stop. "No," she distractedly agrees that it doesn't sound like her; it's not like her. "But I'm only human." Laurie's recent adventure is more important than her phone, besides. A few seconds of study and she's already taken in the extent of damage; searching, precise eyes further assess the various possibilities of violence that could have resulted in the split lip, the banged temple. Still they linger in concern, and her hand stops mid-gesture between she and Laurie. "What happened?" she asks, level-headed but insistent. "Who started it? It wasn't that cop you kept kicking, was it?"

"Ahh, no…" assures Laurie, taken here and there by glances — thoughts — in another place, that put a distant lack of filtering on his muttered replies, "I… probably wouldn't have hit him back so hard…" Blinking around the night, he affixes on Maggie in time to surrender the moment; behind him, conveniently, a concrete perch where the construction upholds a small, mostly seasonally dead, garden. It gives him somewhere to half-sit, not fully seated, but up against, his legs out in front of him lazily. From here, he's free to toss one side of his sweater around his shoulders, fingers stretching out the sleeves to check it a second time over for wounds worse than his. "Just a couple of kids…" He blinks, blearily — I've just been bull-dozed by a large football player, bleary — at her then flicks his eyes pointedly to the double-doors. "You should get your phone before the janitor does…"

The advice goes unacknowledged; she doesn't even bother following Laurie's pointed look to the doors. A quieter voice of Maggie's follows up, changed ever-so-slightly into subtly gentler tones. "Kids, what kids." She'll hunt them down. Big kids, reckoning by that split lip. "Where are they now— ? I hope you plan on reporting this." Skeptical, that hope, as though she already suspects he has other plans. After a quick pause, one of her boots, dusty from who knows what, shuffles on the stonework of the courtyard, leaning her almost imperceptibly closer to Laurie's perch. "Hey," she says quieter still, frank in her concern when her halted hand gives in to reaching lightly toward his face in empathetic, investigative instinct.

There's something a little tired about him; there must be, when he makes no retreat, that face — the injuries, surely the goal — free to her hand. His eyes, half-mast but focused on her, watching with a quiet radiance not his usual. "They left," Laurie swallows around a bit of build-up. Swallows decisively; he shifts; it's away. Molding around the concrete perch for to slip off, he's interrupted by a chime near his pocket — no, in. Vibrating merrily, his phone, not lost, is pulled from its fabric-y holding, leading his head to tip down, his body half-formed in escape leant away from Maggie. He flips it and, as though the phone were a miraculous switch connected to his brain, he also lights up, sparking with that inexhaustible good humor, "Sorry, Parker," into the phone, "It was nothing. You don't have to leave me anymore passive-aggressive messages…"

Maggie's hand is dissuaded just short anything more than a graze of investigating fingertips and, as Laurie leans away, her head cants that-a-way with not only concern but curiosity over his phone call. "You called Parker?" It's only wonder that drives her quiet voice — still low, it's likely a muffled hum to anyone on the other line, though such privacy is not her goal. She regards the phone throughout its use, clearly waiting; but this, and her presence in the courtyard with Laurie, is approached with a patience contrary to the time constraints she's under— the soon-to-close building that may trap her own, rather important phone, the pressing work situation she's meant to be at upon the looming hour.

"Well, sure, Miles," Parker's voice clips in just audible, lathered in that determined admiration the detective listening in used to be the victim of, "Just don't han— " The phone folds obediently to Laurie's snap of the wrist, the same that trails it to its holster of a pocket — brakes, realigning to the building when he opts on a gesture with the cell included. "Ahh— Jocelyn's still inside, likely, making a phone call… If nothing else, you could probably steal hers… I'm willing to bet she has most of the same contacts…"

"…I don't— well I'm not stealing anyone's phone today, I like mine," Maggie says quite decisively, though it's with a hint of a smile, as well as a dismissive wave of her hand. She side-steps slightly to realign herself with Laurie, her gaze once again quick to find the evidence of his recent hallway scuffle. "It wasn't nothing," she gently but firmly corrects his prior statement to the officer. "They shouldn't have done that to you. And not only because they probably had no chance…" Humour lights up her face briefly before she settles back into earnest seriousness. "You were there as a teacher. That shouldn't have made you a target."

Her loss, Laurie's casual expression defines; he's also extra careful to get his own phone pocketed, eyeing her for signs of imminent deception — it wouldn't be the first time he was jumped… in the last five minutes. The shiny swelling of which is evident, and easy to find. Warily, his easy-going tapers, preparing for some disagreement, only to re-double a second later. "But I am a target, Powers," he admonishes her as gently, swaying to the side in regaining of some of his seat: his escape postponed. "Not from that, maybe— but by the fact of my own popularity."

He has no ego, in fact, no opinion at all, to hear him say it, the same as: "There's nothing more fulfilling than seeing a dark horse rise, except tearing him down once he's there." More distant, even, in words that are not his own, but lively spoken — not stilted: "And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination— you know." Patting his hands to his thighs, he works off of his perch a second time, giving her a bob of a farewell. "Maybe that date… another time, detective…"

Maggie's understanding gaze accepts the admonishment and words; her small frown marks it all as a truth she doesn't have to like. Truth, nonetheless. "I know, it's just… it's so pointless, you know. They should still have to pay." As Laurie starts to take his leave, she starts hers, too; a backpedal gives him space, and her hands slip into her back pockets, pocketing her own reluctance over letting him wander off. "Take a few minutes before you get on that bike of yours, alright?" she advises good-naturedly (and a bit hopefully) as her own parting words.

Not quite parting words. As she just begins her amble toward the building before it's lights-out, she calls back: "And I'm holding you to that date— !"

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