Date: June 4th, 2010
"So you want to make him disappear?"
Docks — New York City
It's dark near the pier where the street and street lamps fall away to docks, trailing a few old boat stations before coming to form a rickety planked path around a warehouse that's seen better days more than a few forevers ago. Gritty with rust, the sick bronzen coloring striping the front and back facades, the rest of the building is lined with identical garages, their doors in varying positions of open or closed, broken or functional. Nothing's really been left inside any of them that can be salvaged, but a few blankets, broken shopping carts, and things point to signs of occasional habitation.
Now, though, the pier — stamped with a permanent but rotting '23 on the backside facing the water — seems as abandoned as it deserves from the front. Abandoned but for the old Toyota parked in a lot closed off by the main road with a chain and a sign barring trespassers.
The owner, so careless of the law, is not immediately apparent, though. There's no activity on the open dock, or the backs of the businesses immediately neighboring the lot. There isn't even a rattle in any of the garages along the pier. It's against that back facade that a deal is being played out. By purely the location, it can be guessed it isn't exactly a straight-up one.
If Maggie wanted to catch O'Meara in the middle of an illegal act, this looks like the place to do it.
She's watching the old pier, the empty warehouses. It's as it was nights before, with a few differences. She's outside, for one. She's on his trail, following the twists and turns of his life; not her favourite past-time, but when Maggie starts something, she will see it through to the end — usually. If she could just get one more piece of evidence against him — anything, that isn't so circumstantial, on top of those reports he signed off on outside his position, something to prove how right she believes she is — she could turn it all in. Make a case. Let her superiors and Internal Affairs deal with the rat.
The lot with the beat-up Toyota is too obvious. Even following it, at this point, with the car she rented is risky, lest he recognize it. No, Maggie's temporary transportation has been left further away, and she's on foot. On her own. Skirting the wall of the building furthest from the pier, her boots on grimy concrete rather than the rickety wooden path of the other side.
Her leather jacket, over a grey waistcoat, over a lightweight black turtleneck, atop jeans. Warm, for near summer, but sometimes she carries that coat around like the security blanket it is — because it so easily hides important things. Like the concealed weapon Maggie looks very ready to reveal as she moves along far from the lights of any streetlight. When she makes it to the end, the woman flattens there, waits, listening, and chances her blonde head around the corner.
" — take real kindly to the idea, too." It's a voice, picking up only as Maggie gets almost close enough to look. The murmuring lapping of the waves, how they carry sound out along them, doesn't help the snooping detective where she is. There's also an accompanied shuffling, masking some of her own movements.
"Oh. Yeah," O'Meara's charming tones; they aren't the only passingly familiar ones, but the most recently heard. He speaks louder than his companion, and that helps. "Because I'm to believe you're real concerned for my well-being. I think we both know you won't be sayin' anything about my little gains on the side. Let's think about who has more to lose for a minute, eh?"
Round the bend, the scene becomes apparent to fill in where half of a missed conversation cannot. Two men are positioned on this secretive side of the pier, both right shoulders to the water as they face away from each other. The one furthest — tall, possibly blond — is concentrated on the set-up in front of him; an old folding table that's been left behind has become a desk of sorts. On it is a briefcase, open. The ruffling of papers is followed up by a stack of money being dropped into the container. It comes from a second bag, this one duffel and on the right, hidden by the thug's body. "You think they won't notice some of it's gone, Mary?"
The detective's close enough to where Maggie's creeping for the agitation to twitch visibly at the corner of his mouth as he stuffs his tongue into his cheek and sulks over it. "I think," he declares after a moment, "that they'll know who had it last. And you can just— magically talk your way out of it. Yer real good at that, aren't you. Talkin'."
His companion pauses in his work a moment to give a hands-raised shrug that moves the amber colored jacket fitting snugly on him. Pulled up, the article reveals the tail end of his colorful shirt underneath — the gun tucked securely against his pants. The revelation clearly doesn't surprise O'Meara, though he does bring a hand to tap thoughtfully against his own side. "Let's just hurry it up here, now that we both understand each other." Only a chuckle from across the way. More money passes between one case to another.
Maggie watches long enough to catch sight of the two figures and their deal, whatever it is; illicit, that much she can tell. Long enough to see that agitated twitch of O'Meara, and the gun of the other man revealed. What she can't see is that other man's face. Whatever passing familiarity of the voice not belonging to the errant detective is mostly swept up in the shuffling of the duffel bags, the laps of water, and her real focus here. O'Meara.
Easing back to the relative safety fully behind the warehouse's corner, she remains there, flattened, her palms pressed into the wall on either side of her while she thinks, thinks. Then, with cool determination, Maggie very carefully side-steps even closer to the corner's edge, watching her boots, looking out for gravel and the sort of questionable stray litter that could get underfoot in a place like this. The action make just a quiet, soft scuff, for her efforts. Thus inched even closer, trying to stretch her senses — ears to the voices, eyes to the papers and money — turns her head to the side, just able to see O'Meara and half the table out of one eye.
The low squeak of tired wood easing back and forth under the movement of the water continues to cover the quietest incidental noises, ushering Maggie to the corner. From her vantage point, there's only visible the wrong side to see the face of the man at the table as he twists around — probably glancing over his shoulder at O'Meara there. "Sure you don't want to to do this yourself?" He inquires cheerfully, carelessly, an air so inappropriate to the matter at hand.
Having been getting steadily sloppier, O'Meara's anxiety might have something to do with this. He shifts his weight now, impatiently glancing at improbable angles — even out to sea — to check that their status here is still unknown. Twitching out of sheer paranoia, he flickers a glance near Maggie-wards, but he's distracted by the other man's voice. Something there, maybe that melodious disrespect, causes his fist to form, collecting part of his jacket in its grip as he holds fingers there at this side. But even as he forms the motion, he forcefully relaxes, batting his hands against the jacket to smooth it back out. The fabric falls with the weight of a distinct shape in its pocket.
"Jus' put the money in, pal," he mutters, hefting up bravado to cover the unsure moment but not managing to shake all of the strange, rising nerves. He ends up sounding like he's working himself up to something. "And— And some of the product. Yeah. Why not, right. Treat myself a little. You don't mind, do you?" Only the sound of the duffel being grabbed, shaken to loosen some of the contents to the other end answers him. Something slaps heavily into the briefcase.
"You're going back on the deal, Mary," the other man taunts, "Nobody like a deal-breaker." Even as he continues to do what he's doing, there seems a slight hesitation in his movements. One hand continues the repetitive task of shifting money from one place to the other, but several fingers of the other disappear into his jacket.
As she listens, and watches, as best she can — twitching back, for an instant, when she thinks O'Meara might look her way — Maggie's brows come closer and darkly together. Lines of thought and a very concerned brand of wonder run all the way down to her mouth. A few things about what she sees stands out, and just as many in what she hears. There's a certain quality to the voice of the man O'Meara speaks with. It sounds awfully familiar.
There are more important things than wondering over a logistically and— as far as she knows, situationally completely improbable thing, though: O'Meara has a gun. Her expression of amplified determination puts her sure of it. She would have been even if she hadn't glimpsed that telltale pocket, and watching those anxious moves of his, she wouldn't be surprised if he's thinking about pulling a trigger.
No matter who's out there, she can't have that. Not on her watch.
And so, just in case, Maggie reaches into her unzipped coat, along the hidden curve of her side to reach for the service weapon that's holstered there, sliding it out of its snug position and into her hands, taking her eyes off the dealings for a few scarce seconds. She doesn't step out, but she grips the revolver, angled down at the ground. Poised.
"Nobody likes a smart-ass, either," O'Meara's saying on the tail of the other, giving a tired gesture of his hand in front of him that takes it away from his pocket entirely. "So, why don' we jus'— " It could've been anything; it could've been nothing. All that really matters is that several uncomfortable sensations are creeping up the detective's spine, causing him to twitch in a way even he's not used to. His head jerks to the side, thinking he's heard some noise, even as an angry vein in his forehead pulses at the on-goings in front of him. An arm raises to sweep across his forehead as he stares with almost manic concentration towards where Maggie is lying in wait. "This ain't right…"
A sigh. The man up front has also tensed, but not even close to as noticeably. Fingers disappeared into his coat stay there without crooking his elbow suspiciously so it'd be nearly impossible to tell from the other's view. Around the same time Maggie begins to reach for her own security, he lifts his head away from the count of the money, closing an irritated mouth around the end of that sigh as he begins — just begins — to turn around.
Maggie looks away. "Now, what are you— "
It's fast — surprisingly fast. O'Meara himself holds the gun out without seeming to quite realize that this is what he's doing. But the bullet's been aimed with purpose, tearing into the other man's upper back with a spray of blood that rains over the open displays of money and drugs. Impact alone forces him to jerk forward with a throaty noise as shoulders spring up even as the rest of his body collapses. His hand smacks into the table as if for one grab to stay steady, but it's a clear drop to the docks.
The crack of the gunshot knocks one person down and another into action. The sound tenses every muscle in Maggie's body, forcing her to launch around that corner in a flash. One second the spying detective's out of sight and the next— her gun is aimed down the length of the building at the shooter, even while the shot man crashes from the folding table to the dock. She doesn't stop moving. The same whip-fast instinct that drove her rush into arms at the gunshot, like a racer out of the gate, drives her now to keep striding straight for O'Meara.
As much as it's instinct, and as much life-or-death chaos someone being shot tends to aggravate, and despite the fact that she's putting herself in the line of fire of a twitchy gunman… the gaze of Detective Powers — though it flashes dangerously — is steady. So is her grip on her gun, held by one hand, steadied by the other. She's collected, for all the adrenaline. "O'MEARA!" Maggie shouts in a voice that (while high) does not mess around.
She tries to check the status of the man who fell, but she can't take her eyes off of O'Meara, and the half a glance she can afford the apparent gangster isn't enough. "Don't you move," she warns evenly. "I'm curious… Detective," safety off, "how long did you think you could get away with playing both sides? What else do you think nobody knows about you?"
Having his name shouted from an unknown party does more than make O'Meara jump; he swings the gun around in Maggie's direction instantly, though the first gunshot seems to have frozen his face in the momentary wide-eyes of surprise. His aim is indecisive, finding his fellow cop as she appears but shifting to the downed man as well, unwilling to just leave it at that one bullet. Ultimately, though, his other hand comes to steady the firearm as he decides that Maggie poses the biggest threat. By now he's moved, several times, though never from the spot he's standing in.
"I knew it!" He spits, triumph and rage a bitter combination on his tongue, "I knew this was a fuckin' set-up." But rats, widely considered to be cowards, are only creatures with finely tuned senses of self-preservation. Seeing the look, the steady hand, on his opponent, he begins to force in a few calming breaths, the muzzle of his gun raising ever so slightly away from her.
Still, very still at first, there's now movement from the other side. The hand that had thumped in front of him on the wood now rises, groping for the edge of the table — the first steady thing he can push his weight onto. Then, knuckles white with concentration, the shot man — this apparent gangster — pulls himself laboriously up from the ground. As soon as he's inched his knee upward into a half-kneeling position, the other arm whips out of his coat with a second weapon. A cop's weapon. With visible but steady effort, he eases himself off the knee and to both of his feet, the left one jutting forward to make sure he has his balance. But the whole time the gun never wavers.
"Jesus Fucking Christ," complains Roscoe — Laurie — the consultant.
Stopped several spacious steps way, it's not until the movement on the dock that Maggie dares look away from O'Meara. It's meant to be an singular glance, instantaneously back and forth to realize the second man is not only still alive, but has his gun aimed as well.
His gun. A cop's weapon. Smith & Wesson. And that voice. Cursing, but leaving no room for doubt.
What was meant to be that singular glance turns into a stare. Under those heatedly curved down brows, her eyes trail up the jacketed sleeve. It isn't a long delay, all told. In the time it takes for O'Meara to stop his spin to face the other, all the intensity of Maggie's gaze is condensed into a few seconds of looking straight at Laurie. Laurie.
Her features tighten, pre-emptive, twisting as she grits her teeth, bares them in a scowl. Without saying a word, she looks back to the spun O'Meara, gauging his stance, his closeness to Laurie, his indecisive gunhand. The fact that the shot man's hand is steady as hers somehow doesn't factor into the equation.
Maggie tightens the grip on her trigger.
Noise of the gunshot seems to stutter, echoing voluminously with the two other fired at almost the exact same moment.
First out of the stalls is Maggie's: clipping O'Meara in the arm he has drawn backwards, it pierces near his shoulder, whipping his body around.
Second: In the beginning of his spin from the first shot, the unfortunate rat detective is saved from Laurie's exact aim only to have the bullet bury into his other side right next to his neck — its intended, and very deadly, target. Not that O'Meara looks exactly healthy as he goes to his knees, one arm flailing uselessly to stop bleeding near the other.
Unfortunately third from the gates, O'Meara's own bullet is ripped wide by his twitching arm after the first hit; it only skims past Laurie's arm, slicing by but not finding home. His gun drops, though he gropes for it as he crumples from knees to docks.
Standing poised the same as when he took the shot, Laurie watches it all — firing, bleeding — he takes the clip to his shoulder without seeming to notice. All he does is watch intently as the detective takes a drop. Slowly, the crook of the arm holding the gun relaxes with a grimace that spreads on his face even as he tries to find a more pleasant, almost dreamy expression. "Huh," he voices, far away from the violence that just occurred, "That was— "
The sentence abruptly ends by the consultant succumbing to his wound with a straight tip forward. Consciousness wavers even before he's done falling, leaving him no presence of mind to catch himself. Just a hard thud to the wood paralleling his shooter across from him.
This leaves Maggie standing solitary. Her gun is still raised — at nothing, now, her target down — but the focused anger that matched it is rapidly draining out of her face at a rate fit to pale her skin. She starts to open her mouth, wavering — to say something or to breathe. Neither happen. She's barely stationary for a second longer, holstering her gun out of reflex before she crashes to her knees between the two men on the rickety wood, slick already with someone's blood.
She looks from one figure to the other, instinctively touches O'Meara near the throat — to find that, not only is there not an immediate pulse obvious, but that she doesn't have the motivation to double-check, because she's grappling instantly bloodied hands onto the nearby amber jacket instead. Palms find the bullet wound on Laurie's back and press to it, but then she's pulling, tugging, trying to turn him over, pushing and, when that doesn't work, pulling him over on his back toward her instead.
Any level-headedness the detective had takes a sabbatical as her study of Laurie's state goes a mile a second. Maggie's left hand goes up to splay bloodily on the side of his face — to check consciousness as much as to determine, not for the first time, that she's actually seeing the consultant. So much for FBI assignment in LA. Her voice comes out unintentionally tiny. "Miles— "
His hair is styled differently, slicked high and away from his forehead and the amber jacket's new — or old — as well as the silken, colorfully patterned shirt… but the face is unmistakably Laurie's as the blood drains away from it and out the gaping hole in his back. That there is no larger one accompanying it in the front can only mean that the bullet is still sitting inside there somewhere.
First checking for consciousness will find none, Laurie's body slouching wherever Maggie is able to drag it around. But, a few seconds past the sound of his name, and the consultant seems to obediently open his eyes. They flicker a few times before truly focusing on her. "… Well, hey, Powers."
His first movement is to try and put his hand out to his side and gain himself some level of self-supporting. Before he's truly found purchase, he tests a breath that elicits a hissing sound that's never really good when it comes to that action. As blood pumps out the wound — air rushes in. Sweat's already formed on his forehead as he tries to sit up past her hand on his face, wavers in doing so. Gentle attempts to get him to be still are batted aside; forceful ones… may be slightly more effective, considering. "No time…" he mutters, bending a leg to prepare to stand, "I'm going to pass out again in a second."
The gentle attempts to keep him still are there, but before any effort to actually keep him still can be made, there's a search, with Maggie's other hand, over that especially colourful silk shirt, to find a wound that isn't there. She holds his shoulder down, after that unfortunate realization, and looks intently at his face. "No, you're not— " she insists, forcing some measure of calm into her otherwise desperate words. The result is lilted; emotional. But firm of intent. "You are not. Going to pass out. You are going— "
Maggie hitches, pauses, as the searching hand scoops under Laurie, holding pressure to fabric to bullet wound underneath. She has to let go of his shoulder to reach into her pocket, for her phone; dialing is a challenge. Her fingers are slippery. She doesn't cease to speak, throughout it all. " --to keep talking to me, and tell me what-- is going on, here. Why-- are you here, Miles."
Her hand is all over his chest for a reason he's already deduced, and a question he's answered for himself, but Laurie's chin still ducks slightly to watch her, leading into him glancing over when she makes such an intense bid for his attention. Some measure of bafflement, unhidden, unhindered by years of training to hide reactions, makes arcs of his eyebrows as he listens to that particular lilted speech. Another rattling breath ruins any surreal emotions off of Maggie's concern and he takes this as a signal to move again, around her grip on his shoulder: some tiny lip-twitch of discomfort the only reaction to her new focus on the wound.
He's not giving her much mind until he spots the phone coming out. Immediately, the device is snatched up, chucked: it scatters across the docks, free to find any crack in the planks between them and the wall of the warehouse. "No one— no one can know I'm here." Which isn't a why.
Instead, his hands come to his face, drawing along his smeared cheek, along his jaw, pressing himself to find a steady line of thought. It's there when, an instant later, he's shifted, sitting up with a lean on one knee, he turns, leaning towards Maggie intently. Facts plain and simple he states, as though he were a doctor, not the patient. "Right now. My lung is collapsing." All the while, he's unconcernedly peeling away the amber jacket. "When I go out again, I need you to — go over there," head nod to the table, "get the— " wince, " — plastic wrap from the cocaine — "
Instructions turn into fill-in-the-blank when, breath hitching as it only goes through one lung, all the thoughts erase from his face. He stares, unseeing. Then, eyes roll away, head rocks back, and his body — for the third time in less minutes — slumps unsupported to the side.
Maggie actually flinches when the phone is torn away, and watches it disappear, her lips pressing together in defiance of the action. There's little she can do about it now, though, when Laurie's efforts have her following along with him, holding on out of the very vindicated concern that he might collapse, until he starts to peel the jacket off and his plan starts to form. When he does collapse, she reaches out a little too late and protests: "N— Miles!" Frustrated, she draws her hands back, and the back of her wrist — this one saved from blood, just barely — snakes away from her coat sleeve up to press against her mouth as she very quickly takes a moment to go over what she has to do.
And then she does it.
Launched to her feet, the detective's bloody hands are soon all over the illicit spread of packaged cocaine on the table. Her gaze washes over it all with some appalled wonder, but that's put on the backburner as she tears into a block of the stuff as fast as she can — but carefully, salvaging as much as the white wrap as she can. The drugs are dumped with the rest, and Maggie is quickly, once again, at Laurie's side. Or rather, at his back.
Reluctantly, expecting more blood — it's a risk — but without hesitation, she retrieves some manner of pocketknife from her coat and splits Laurie's colorful shirt. The little blade is dropped and she immediately spreads the plastic on the entry wound, trying with anxious but steady, purposeful movements to seal it. She has nothing to affix the plastic with, but the blood suctions to it, and she holds it there. If nothing else, it better stay there through the sheer force of her will. "Miles. Miles," she tries again. In her study of the gunshot man, she's forced to awkwardly hold the dressing with her left hand and bridge over him, bracing on his other side with the other, leaning in close — blonde to blonde — to check for breath sounds. "You have to wake up," she insists with that same lilted voice, this time breathier yet more command, "I'm not a doctor. Come on!"
Some of the work is also done by the very injury, pulling the plastic up against itself as it would the air that material is now stopping. But even as no more goes in through the wrong channels, there's nothing to re-inflate the lung to complete the process: Laurie isn't breathing. He lies still against her hand while his blood turns the make-shift bandage into a sheet of red.