2010-06-04: Breathe Out

Starring:

Laurie_V5icon.pngMaggie_V5icon.png

Date: June 4th, 2010

Summary:

Breathe in breathe out, tell me all of your doubt

Everybody bleeds this way, just the same

Breathe in breathe out, move on and break down

If everyone goes away, I will stay

We push and pull and I fall down sometimes

I'm not letting go, you hold the other line

'Cause there is a light in your eyes, in your eyes

Hold on hold tight if I'm out of your sight

And everything keeps moving on, moving on

Hold on hold tight make it through another night


"Breathe Out"

Previously on Heroes MUSH…

"Miles. Miles," Maggie 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.

Now!

Gasping. A desperate, unbidden and impossible noise as Laurie's eyes shoot open and he fights to make the first, real heavy inhale that puts life back into his face. A clammy quality clings to his skin, complementing a sheen of perspiration, and the blood that's destroyed his shirt — colors his cheek like stray paint — but he's markedly improved: he's alive.

"Woooo," is the expression riding out on his next breath, "That was a — that was a doozy." He also moves; propping an elbow against the dock, the man tries to get a better look at the wound behind him but the twisting motion required of his shoulder tugs on the plastic, the wound. Groaning a bit he, remarkably, stops trying.

Maggie is silent, on pins and needles, listening, until Laurie's sudden and (as time passes with no signs of breathing) unlikely surge to life prompts an out-of-place reaction: laughter. Ha! The little delighted sound of victory is bright but cut incredibly short, as Maggie springs into action. She leans back onto her heels only to scramble against him, knees sliding this way and that against the wood slats beneath as she maneuvers around behind his head, taking his shorn jacket with her to help with the effort keeping pressure to that wound. It's messy, it's awkward — and she does it smoothly enough.

"You have a bullet in your chest," like he didn't know and she, the self-proclaimed not-doctor, is saying so like the attending physician, "Sitting up, it— maybe, it'll help you breathe." That said… "Don't— move." Because Maggie is the one who does the work. " — Oh my God you're heavy — " she breathes as she hauls Laurie up into something resembling a sitting position, braced against her. To get upright, to get air; that's the plan, in any case. She's the back of the chair in this scenario. Settling, she states more direly: "I have to get you help." Whatever the reason he's here, why he wouldn't let her use her phone … it doesn't seem to matter, in her mind. This kind of thing equals doctor.

"I have a bullet in my chest," the shot man agrees amiably. His face, turned from her as she props up his back, morphs from considering to questioning at what seems to be her rescinding her own — oh. Maggie lifting him, that declaration: even as Laurie disobeys her to help plant feet and hands to assist the endeavor, he's made somewhat disabled by the need to use all of that glorious new air to laugh. A peal of it, his head tipped slightly upwards, it's as extraordinarily out of place in this scene of bullets and blood as her short one was. Maybe more so.

But being only somewhat upright has a slew of its own problems. As he gets his back vaguely straight against her support, there's an adverse reaction in his gut, a secondary force against the opposite lung. This is just not a good day for his lungs. Doubling over, teeth grit, he tries to stave off the visible admission of pain more than the actual sensation. Still though — "No, you're right. Can't just sit around here all day." Breathe in, breathe ou— ow ow ow. "We did the… the hard part. Now we just… get the bullet out." His mind as set as hers, he takes in several shorter breaths, amping himself up for — the lean forward away from her and then stretch as he puts one hand on the opposite elbow and reaches his arm as far around himself as he can. A test to see how well he can get to the hole. You know, if she's not digging the whole doctor thing.

It's clearly, so obviously a difficult feat. He laughs around the effort, though; or he tries to. Somewhere in there, it becomes more synonymous with a harsher sound, coughing. "I don't suppose…" Wistfully, as he lets his hands rest in his lap for a break. "You happen to have my prescription with you."

Every one of this ill-advisable movements is followed by Maggie, leaning forward when he does, for one example, as if to stop him from doing whatever is he's doing. He seems to do that pretty well on his own, though. "Why would I have— …" She goes silent for a moment. Slowly, she answers, "No. No, all I have is … apparently, cocaine." The incongruous table with its duffel bags, money, drugs and goodness knows what else is given a flicker of attention. Maggie's gaze moves more slowly on the way back, dragging past the body of O'Meara.

She's quiet again for a moment, this time staring off past Laurie, clenching her teeth hard and swallowing, seeming to gather resolve for some purpose. She must have succeeded, as her voice is strong with it. "Give me a reason. If you… expect me… to help you dig a bulletout of you… here! … tell me why I shouldn't find O'Meara's cell phone and call 911 right now." Granted, she couldn't reach the body without letting go of Laurie and she doesn't seem prepared to do that. Regardless, she seems to expect resistance from him, and crosses one arm over his chest to bar any movement he's thinking of to get her point across. "I'm sure that he has one. He— is DEAD, we shot him and you were out here with him. Tell me why I'm not supposed to take you to the hospital, Miles." Completely contrary to this track she's taken, there's nothing at all naive in the detective's voice. There's not even confusion.

This arm across him earns her a grunt of surprise, and both of Laurie's hands instinctively pull in to touch that barrier she's made of herself. His body tenses at first, coiling up in the last moment of some motion he has planned — one that never comes to fruition. Fingers against her arm loosen away, maybe not fast enough for her to not notice as they tremble. Though speaking now, it's not like he's looking any better. Some inspection might even say worse, with his light-hearted acting leading minds away from that conclusion.

"Because that would be very bad," is laid out semi-mockingly. His face pulls into exaggerated displeasure, "You're all wrong for my rep, Powers… O'Meara," glance to the body that was the rat, "is exactly where he was supposed to be." No trace of remorse, no hesitation; he barely seems to give the fallen cop a second thought. Ehhh… "More or less."

There's a twinge, above his eye, and he turns his head swiftly to the side at a tiny angle as though he's just thought of something. But no revelation passes from him to her; he only remains distracted a moment longer, and all it seems to have resulted in is him reaching to the side briefly.

Wary, heavy, and yet so plainly spoken: "You know I have to go back there." Ambiguous, 'there', kind of like 'why here'. On the words, he lifts the knife he's retrieved to his shoulder height as offering to her, but beyond that veil, it's really a command. "Also," he adds after a second, sing-song, "Your boyfriend would be very, very mad at you."

It takes Maggie a moment, what with everything going on, her face turned grim, her blue-eyed stare steady on the small knife that has made its reappearance, to understand that last comment. "Wh— " Who? What? Why? The question remains just a breath. The detective may have pieced together part of the story, but confusion makes its way in now, narrowing her eyes, striking furrows across her brow. "Sam? What?"

Thrown for a loop though she is by the seemingly out-of-place mention of Sam (presumably) as Maggie is, she splits her attention … by frowning, openly, at the knife. She knows time is of the essence, here, that they're going to have to act; but when her arm across Laurie shifts and her hand reaches out to take the pocketknife, it pauses and hovers in place instead. She does grab it, but doesn't take it; bloodstained hand wraps around it and the first few fingers of Laurie's that offer it, as a result. Command accepted.

Laurie lets her puzzle it all out as much as she needs, silent but for the wheezing he can't hardly control as he breathes. When it comes down to a question — or several, a portion of which are unvoiced — he only tilts his head and responds cheekily, "Sam Wright," as though her confusion were merely an error of speech. There's a strange sobering effect in the way she grips the knife, or maybe part of his hand. His blue eyes study their combined fingers, stained from blood, marked from gun residue. Sympathy narrows his gaze, softens the teasing from his face; this setting is hardly ideal, the nemesis of sanitary, with exactly no lighting with which to perform a complicated surgical procedure…

Fingers slip underneath hers, maneuvering just so he can get a thumb around her hand, ever so slightly running along the top of her skin in a near caress, an encouraging squeeze. With his head raised high and to the side, he can look at her from the corner of his eye without twisting his body too much. "Would you…" He murmurs, low. They're close, after all. "… like to see if they have a lamp inside?"

Maggie, her lips pressed into a paper-thin grimace, sends a look toward the warehouse, her expression highly animated with skepticism. While one hand holds onto the knife, and to Laurie, the other eases away from the wound — it's pretty bolstered by his coat and her body as it is. She wipes her hand on her waistcoat vest and hurriedly reaches into her leather jacket's pocket, ransacking its contents.

There's a succinct little click and a bright light shines down into Laurie's face. Thanks to a small and slender black flashlight. "Just so you know," she begins in a matter-of-fact rush as she angles the light source away, "this is insane." Also, "I don't suppose you have any alcohol…"

She starts to shift around, to prepare for this insanity, and is interrupted, briefly, by looking down at the consultant in gangster's clothing. Firm, searching, steady. It should be a good sign that there's no panic to be found on Maggie's features as she prepares to perform makeshift surgery — but there's something more dire. The long, messy fingers entwined with Laurie's and the handle of her pocketknife give a suddenly firmer squeeze. "Not to be dramatic, here, Miles, but this could save you…" The sides of her mouth twitch. "…or it could kill you. You're sure."

"Jacket pocket," is the location of the alcohol, which Laurie requires Maggie's help in retrieving seeing as how that article is currently crumpled and pressed to his back. Though for her efforts in the end, he crooks a free hand to accept the narrow flask first. In hand, he gauges the amount left — it isn't full by any estimation — and then tips his head to expertly down some decided portion. What's left is given to her to operate with. Literally. By then their other hands have been joined for quite some time, warming each other in the rapidly cooling river air, and the consultant lingers just so long as to fully accept the meaning of her grip, the implications in her voice, before he pointedly loosens his hand to make her take responsibility over holding the knife in the air. Not that he's dismissing what she feels… only what she has to say. Now he's attempting to hold the shoulder closest to which that bullet is imbedded as still as possible, but he breaks form a last time to try and find her eyes. "One fragment in me at a time," he explains coolly, bypassing all other issues of this ill-advised — or particularly advised against — procedure. The saving, the dying… they have no place in his odd mantra. "Do it."

The flask she helped to retrieve is taken with a clatter of the flashlight on metal, the knife is brandished in her solitary hand— "Okay," Maggie says, and that's that.

All these makeshift supplies are set aside on the unfortunately unsanitary ground, and Maggie, in preparation, shoves her way out of her own coat. It's thrown aside. Save for a wristwatch, the sleeves beneath bare her arms up to her elbows. She douses her hands in liquor, speedily cleans the pocketknife in the same, and tears the scrap that is the back of Laurie's shirt open the rest of the way. With a few murmured, stifled encouragements — "okay, sit up, I've got you" — she eases Laurie to lean forward more and quickly feels around the area, tracking with eyes so intent and focused they might slice into his skin without the help of a knife. The plastic seal that was so important moments ago peels back. The wound beneath gets a splash of alcohol, too.

For better or worse, it's time for the detective to become a surgeon.

"Here we go," she says, lightly by contrast to— everything else. The flashlight is clamped between her teeth and pointed to garishly illuminate the bullet wound, tenuously clean hands — still reddened, and about to be ten times that — pry into the hole. Pry, and dig, and search. She winces darkly, for his sake, but Maggie's hands are steady as the surgeon she's not — and when she finds nothing… "Try not to move," she murmurs calmly around the flashlight, "It might have travelled." …the blade she uses to cut the wound open bigger is steady, too.

That whistle and wheeze, it's at least an indicator by which to tell that Laurie's still breathing as the protective wrap is peeled away, once again exposing the open wound to the air all around. Pushed forward, he'd automatically crooked a knee out, using it as brace for the fist that he forces against his leg, on opposite side to the injury. The twitching of knuckles is the only indication as he pushes down or tightens the fingers in response to what's going on at his back.

At first it stays very quiet, Laurie grunting at that initial dig, and now just the rattle and the rocking of waves to nudge at Maggie's concentration. Those steady hands and their work bring on another wash of blood, coating everything. It's a lot of blood — too much blood — and hardly a visual aid for what she's trying to do. Blade being introduced to skin finally breaks the calm, as well, uncovering how highly tuned he is to the procedure with a frustrated, "Nnnngh." Faced away from her, his eyes push close but he forces them open with a determination that also tenses all the muscles in his neck.

Despite all this, bidden to do so, he remains almost perfectly frozen in place where it matters. No twitching, no pulling out of the way. The only unconscious movement is one slight sway forward but his braced fist steers him to stay before it makes much of a difference. With his lips now pressed together, he lets out a hum that has the audacity to nearly sound impatient.

The focus of the woman at Laurie's back is singular. Her dedication only intensifies, defying odds: Maggie didn't seem like she could get any more concentrated on the task at hand, yet those brows knit together, lines deepening and crisscrossing all around. Her eyes are rock, no matter how slippery her hands are. She whisks the flashlight from its impromptu hold between her teeth and holds it close to the messy, messy work.

"Going too slow for you, Miles?" she says with calm, entirely unserious sarcasm in response to his impatient sound. And then she starts to talk. "I was following O'Meara," she says, conversational. Despite the fact that the topic of question lies dead a few feet away. Her voice is meant to be a distraction. "I knew he was a mole. … Breathe out. I'd been trying to build a case against him. I was told…" Past tissue and bone between the expanded wound, Maggie wastes no time in following the path of destruction deeper than before. "…you were in LA. FBI assignment, when you disappeared." She digs. It's sudden, and it's fast, and if it feels like knives this time, that's too bad, because that's only what Laurie has to look forward to if she finds the bullet.

"Not at all," he replies as airily as one can with half-clenched teeth. "Take all the time you need." It gets quiet when she begins bringing up O'Meara; there's not even a noise of acknowledgment that Laurie's listening. When following instruction to breathe out, there's a small stutter in the action, causing him to gasp all the air back in too quickly by some misguided instinct of his crashing body. Afterwards, every breath is shallower, coming now in rapid succession to the similar rhythm — thump thump thump — of a heart working too fast and too hard. The blood his body wants is all over the dock, Maggie, everywhere but where it should be, paling skin and weakening pulse. Through it, he fights out a, "Good story," that's more breathy than straight-up casual, yet far from the concerned it should be.

"That's— " tilt of the head, fingers driving into the palm of his hand, "— yes. Usually how it works." What she was told, LA. Nothing is dismissive in the way he approaches it, except the continuing lack of detail, of taking her hints to fill in the information she can only guess at. But being close-mouthed is getting him nowhere fast except hazy in the eyes, focus drifting in and out. Even with Maggie's voice as a gateway, he finds he shifts to a more private mode of keeping his mind going. Filtering through what could have been any number of comments, all of which are tested first on the tip of his tongue before, every time, the mouth thins out and squashes them, he finally determines to address: "I'm going to dispose of — O'Meara's body." If he doesn't end up one first, at least.

Diligently, Maggie leans in toward the spotlight on Laurie's back. She's close to something, and the nearly vicious attempt to get the bullet out has stopped — she's carefully remaining motionless. She's breathing even less than he is, and both of her lungs are fully functioning.

As poised and concentrating as she is, Laurie's choice of reply draws a twitch of her lips. She doesn't lose focus — or lose her spot, so to speak — but her focus does shift, in a very purposeful, compartmentalized way. Her gaze goes from what she's doing to Laurie's face (what she can see of it, which isn't much). There's a pause. "Do you really think that's the best course of action?" she asks, slowly, not with any quarrel. Calm voice of reason. "…Hold that thought." Her voice becomes softer. "Okay… just… keep being very still… I think I've…"

There's a slow draw back. A clatter of the flashlight as she seems to decide she doesn't need it anymore. Something sharp. A gush of blood is followed, just as fast, by padding of plastic and fabric against the open wound that looks more furious now than when they started.

As though sensing her focus, Laurie's face turns away, denying her even that small glimpse that she had; his expressions are hidden. The breath he'd been preparing to answer, planning to be deeper than the others, is caught as she tells him to hold. Still through sheer force of will, his body wanting to react but reined in, only his head twitches to an angle at the prick, a lancing of pain that just soaks into the constant other ones. As soon as the wound's allowed to breathe, itself, it's closed off again, angry sore red skin underneath blood of similar hue.

On the press of fabric to skin, he releases the breath warily, forcefully making his whole self relax after every high-strung twitch and tension from the work, the mind-numbing, heart-racing fervor. Complete success eludes him but, after a few moments, he seems to have come to terms with that. Enough in that he begins to unwrap his hand, pull the arm back to his side as he glances one way and then the other. Then to the table in front of him. "I think he," it's that thought he was holding onto, " — and all this — need to disappear." Including himself?

It would appear that way as Laurie no less than rocks forward, palm coming to the wooden dock in front of him to use as leverage to push onto one knee. Opposite arm goes to twist around him, to catch the jacket that was pressed to him. It's a vantage point from which he can better assess the entire view of the scene, including Maggie who, though unlikely to approve of his movement, he turns to with utter nonchalance on a face pale and pasty. "Don't suppose there's any alcohol left…"

Maggie lets out the breath of her own she'd been holding, slow, thin, and almost imperceptible as she looks at the mess of knife and bullet in her hand. Her study is short-lived, the offending object quickly ignored for now. She presses firmly to the jacket Laurie reaches for, but also pushes into a ready crouch and takes the open flask from the ground. Like just about everything else, it's bloody, but sloshes with just enough alcohol to cover the bottom as she hands it over.

Though far from the sickly pale that he is, Maggie's naturally fair face is a little whiter and set in a stoic holding pattern, save for a few sincere, concerned turns quirks of her brow. "Are you okay?" she ventures instead of replying, something decidedly unconvinced in her voice. She didn't kill him, right? "You're not out of the woods yet," she states, convinced of that. Visibly gritting her teeth, she looks over the scene. "All this…" she begins her belated reply in a voice that escalates ever-so-slightly. Skepticism sharpens the detective's gaze. "Is it— " She starts; stops. "Forget O'Meara," she says firmly instead, "I have a car; it's … farther away, than here, but I can get it; I can take you … " Somewhere.

If Laurie were at all queasy about blood… well, let's just say he slips a grip around the stained flask without pause, putting it to his mouth and jerking back for the last of that desirable liquid. Afterwards, it's stored away, slipped into a pocket. Bouncing from one knee to the other, he tests his balance and the likelihood that his body will just rebel and send him crashing down again should he stand. Distracted somewhat from the experiment by Maggie's question, he turns his head — really, it's the first good look he's gotten at her since this whole situation came crashing down. He smiles at her: soft, fleeting, reassuring — or at least meant to be. He's not dead yet.

Her words, though, become the final motivator that raises him from careful kneeling to getting to his feet. There's a definite waver as first reaction; dizzy, he blinks, tries to shake it away with a swift head movement. Maggie's starts of questions have him equally start to glance over at her and then abort each, choosing to stare at the morbid display of his own life's blood spilled out over the environment. It's not just there, but arrayed across the table of drugs and money, the two cases meant to carry them. Evaluating each of the spots, his ignoring of her talking is fit to continue except, at her insistence, his expression of concentration cracks.

That impatience, hinted at during the home surgery, surfaces. It's something she's really not seen much of before on him, though it fits with his current style, ignoring the current ruined state of that shirt. "He has a car, too," he states coolly, gesturing with the arm on the uninjured side past the warehouse, "And a body. And someone's expecting him. This," the payment on the table, before he splays a hand against his chest. "Me."

Exhaustion, plain and simple, wipes the irritation clear as he raises one hand to rub under his nose. The other soon joins where he tries to press palms against his mouth: think. One arms drops; he wraps it far around his stomach as support for his side. Despite: "I can't go with you, Powers. But you can take the evidence. It's expected."

Maggie is on her feet and shrugging into her own jacket, which has fared better than most things — her vest and jeans are smeared darkly. There's no more sign of the knife, flashlight, or even the bullet, but one bloody hand is in her pocket. "I just dug a bullet out of your insides. Where are you going to go?" A fair question, in her mind. It's ventured somewhat tenuously, not exactly expecting a clear answer, which is maybe why she follows up with a half-hearted, light smile and a jab that's just the same: "You're being a terrible patient again." Laurie is under close watch all the while — she's not convinced he's fit to be standing. In fact, she's more than sure he really shouldn't be, but given where they are she doesn't argue it.

"The evidence?" Does that include a body? Maggie glances to it and reacts with a rather visceral frown for the first time and quickly looks away, back to Laurie, pointed. "And what am I supposed to say." Though she stops there, it's clear she's holding more words back: anger just starts to rise to the surface which had been so controlled.

He's ready for her jab: "Guess I'm just not used to having doctors as nice as you~" There's very little Laurie is fit to be doing, but this doesn't much put a hamper on him striding over to the table of indicated things. Some notable sarcasm for the rest with, "You can tell him you want in on the circle of trust." Starting to sort the stacks of money that haven't been damaged, he stops nearly right after, only a few hundreds lifted, eyed, and then pushed to the side. He eases, moving in measured caution, so that he can half-sit against the empty portion of the table's surface and face her in doing so. One hand remains around his waist, the other grabbing the front edge of the table. A casual enough pose, some study of the tightness of his grip might give him away.

His breath remains short as he gears up to talk, glance passing to the side away from her for internal consideration. "O'Meara," he begins to explain, as bland and factual as if he weren't out-right lying, "cut and ran. Took the latest goods — and the buyer's millions up-front with him. Now," the hand on the table briefly detaches to hold up an emphasizing finger, "this buyer — will definitely demand recompense. Bad deal. Black mark. Falling credibility. Enough times?" A shrug, tug down of the mouth, "The weakest, least connected, members," he runs his fingers across the air, "take O'Meara's example." Wanting to shrug again, he only makes a shallow motion of it.

She listens. Her eyes narrow, she looks unpleased — inner circle; she's still regrettably unclear on that part, and making guesses only makes her features harden. But afterward, for all that Maggie watches the man on the table, despite her prompting for him to talk, there's little to suggest she's actually interested in what he's saying. It's just processed. Buyers, billions, bad deals, BS.

Avoiding looking directly at the dead man this time, Maggie glances around the place — empty. No one sprung out of the dark at the sound of three gunshots, no one is there now. It's almost too quiet back here, for the city. She's quiet as well, for a time, although there's a certain urgency even to her silence; they don't have much time, do they? To stand around and lay everything out on the table with the blood money.

"All this," she says after her pause. "It doesn't seem worth it." The detective crosses her arms and steps toward the table. Her limitless stare comes to a one-hundred percent standstill on Laurie. "You could leave. You have the chance," she states slowly and she goes on just as even and pointed, "I could arrest you. It's not like I wouldn't be upholding the law." Without even the slightest adjustment in her fixed stare, Maggie moves closer to pick up a stack of hundreds in gesture. "Whoever you're pretending to be … he's not worth losing who you are."

"Doesn't it?" Not asked as a challenge, only for the sake of asking. "Aren't you building a case? Isn't everybody getting what they want?" Laurie's a portrait of weariness up close, in ways he can't mask: white as death, hair scattered, his shirt in ruins. Everything in that pretend casual stance against the table is from a need for support. Even his eyes are tired, though they flash defiantly when he glances over with a twitch of a smirk. "If you tried to arrest me… I'd run." It's almost comical, that image, considering what condition he's in; he noiselessly chuckles over it once — but the sentiment is no less sincere. As for the rest, the humor thins away, smoothes into a sad little smile that quickly dies.

"Who I am— " the tiniest pause as the train of his sentence switches tracks, "See, now. I was told on good," some parts sarcasm, "authority — that I'm the crazy SOB needed for this little shindig after speaking to the DA flopped. They say I'm an expert at pretending to be." He spreads his hand helplessly, what's to be done about that. "Are you going to tell me differently?" On the verge of smirking again, he's caught instead by a scratching at the throat that turns into a cough, hacking away at damaged insides. During, the hand from his side comes to cover his mouth and pulling it away, his eyes flicker downward briefly. The hand is turned at an angle when he opts to also brace it on the table, tucked away opposite her.

Nothing is missed. The particular movement of Laurie's hand, just for example. Maggie's eyes move down, tracking uninhibitedly, before they resettle on his face. "No, I'm sure you're very good at it," she states, without judgment — for that. "Just because you're an expert … it doesn't mean you have to lend your expertise," she then points out, her voice that of a neutral party, even if she herself might not be. "I am building a case, and no one asked me if we needed help. The DA wants a case-breaker, how long will that take? There are other ways to get one. Like police work. Not— " Her arms uncross with and a stiff gesture with crooked-in red fingers wave past the spread on the table and shoots toward the body of O'Meara. "This."

That expressive gesture of her hand makes a sudden and violent grab across Laurie to his wrist where his hand braces on the table.

"I dimly recall you saying a little something about needing it more than ever— " Laurie's merry-making is interrupted by the movement by her that he doesn't necessarily predict but does recognize the instant it changes intention. He may look sluggish, but the consultant moves with the same instinctive speed. Unfortunately, the hand she goes for is on the injured side, compelling him to not twist it out of the way. Instead, he only surrenders the other hand, bringing it up in front of him, fingers spread wide like a statement, as he attempts to bar her grab. It isn't very effective, and he knows it, with an aborted, "Powers— "

The targeted hand's firmly planted now as the only one supporting him. Removing it will cause him to double his efforts to remain upright, jaw clenching in reaction and chopping words off stiffly, as well as leave a partial hand-print from the palm now splattered with the same blood all around.

"I didn't mean from the other side of the fence." Maggie fights with Laurie's braced wrist a moment, but she doesn't destabilize him totally: enough for the blood on the palm to smear visibly the table. Long enough for him to try to stop her.

The problem with Laurie's other hand barring Maggie is that she grabs that arm instead.

Her other hand retreats briefly from sight behind her back. A fast-as-can-be rustle of leather and a small clink of metal precedes that wrist of Laurie's being fastened with the ratcheting cinch of a pair of handcuffs. A flash of apology crosses Maggie's face, for the act — otherwise, she's toughened. "You're not running away." As if he literally could even without this new development? "I admit that I do not know the full extent of what's going on with this operation, and I probably don't have a say in how it works, but what I do have a say in where you're going right now. With me. While I figure out what's going on, you're going to a hospital." No ifs, ands or buts from Maggie. She moves to his most injured side and leans onto the table next to him.

She waits, silently asking permission for the other hand, for Laurie to move when he's ready; she'll be there. …To cuff him, but, more importantly, to support him.

Laurie's expressions track the abrupt progression from barring to cuffed, his eyebrows pinched down in a strangely naive bafflement as he dips his head to follow where her hand's going, pulls back again to watch the click of metal encircle his wrist. He twists it curiously back and forth as much as he can, squinting at the sound of the metal jangling against skin. A sort of sigh and groan team up after it happens, his shoulders sagging from the tension the sudden movements caused. "I was really hoping you'd leave first…" He admits, mournfully and with a touch of mysterious knowing that complements the lack of surprise despite the faces he was pulling just before.

Another cough, this one that he contains right out of the gate, does not rattle the casual bravado, only delays it slightly. His hand does adjust, but not to remove itself from the table; he only rearranges the fingers one by one and reaffirms the grip. "Well, if you're taking me in," he declares, "No reason to do anything half-assed. Go ahead." As in, go ahead and do the work yourself. Then, with a generous nod towards her that has him looking her in the eye steadily. Now, his face is unreadable; he doesn't even try to cover with a false look but remains private. "You can still change your mind, you know."

Maggie looks Laurie straight in the eye right back. "So can you." Though his face is unreadable, there seems to be some measure of understanding in her own still features all the same — though understanding of what goes without clarification.

She's unmoving for a moment before she cinches her own grip, not that of the handcuffs, around Laurie's unrestrained wrist — to try to move it so it can join the other. It's not so aggressive, she's careful, but she is strong. "You know the only reason I'm just doing this because if I don't, you're going to hurt yourself trying to stop me."

"You're probably right." Just like that, Laurie's hand pops off the table, shoving forward too easily for how strongly she's pulling. At the same time, his restrained wrist jerks backwards, roughly yanking the handcuffs away from her as he catches the still loose half in his. A slapping motion brings the free side against Maggie's wrist, the ratchet clicking merrily shut on their owner. For a moment, the two are handcuffed together. But the grip he's let her have he reverses on, twisting against her thumb until he can slide out, grab her arm, and push down. One leg he slides between hers and then to the side, attempting to unsettle her balance enough to get her to lean forward easier— lean forward and put her hands conveniently at the table's leg level.

Now, his other wrist is also mysteriously free, letting a new available side of the handcuffs drop into his palm. In this parade of motions, he's gotten himself out and her arms on opposite sides the leg of the table. With a final *snap* from the cuff that was so recently on his own wrist, she's also secured into place there.

Though he stumbles, breathing somewhat unsteadily from the sudden exertion and loss of his own support, Laurie doesn't hesitate as he ends up behind her. His quiet, and rather sincere, "I'm sorry — you left me no choice," rings opposite to the unapologetic way he delves hands into each of her pockets for the handcuff keys, finalizing her predicament.

The detective is grabbed, moved, handcuffed— and it seems too fast to stop in time. She finds herself bent ahead, essentially made to hug the table leg, locked into this new, awkward, and pretty effective position. Maggie wrenches with a belated tug of wrists against cuffs, and cuffs around the table leg, to express her frustration over the whirlwind switch — but it's a pointless gesture, by this time, and it's the only one she bothers with.

She twists — sort of, with a screech of the cuffs to show for it — to look over her shoulder at Laurie. What can be seen of Maggie's expression through a shield of her hair doesn't show surprise — she has that frustration, sure, and bites down resentfully, but even that evens out after the first few seconds of being restrained. Surprise doesn't factor in. Anger only flashes. Instead, it's a surge of apology that washes past as she's searched, her face and her wide eyes transparent in her sentiment: she wishes she thought there was another way to go about everything, too. But apparently there isn't, so … here they are.

"Well," Maggie says dully, tranquilly all things considered. "I don't know about you, but this isn't how I expected my night to go."

Laurie's fishing expedition into Maggie's personal space has him hooking two fingers around one key from inside her coat; he finds the other at her back but his hand only lingers there a moment before retracting. "I am open — to the guidance of synchronicity, and — do not let expectations hinder my path." He releases the zen-like statement as evenly as it requires to match her own tone, just as diligently avoiding Maggie's over-shoulder gaze and therefore ignoring whatever sentiment she's assigned to the situation. With a rustle of clothes, both hers and his, the feeling of him there next to her vanishes and he angles into an easier view for her not by getting to his feet but a few shuffles backwards that end with him sitting completely, there on the dirty ground.

The scuffle that put her in that place was not easy on him as he sits, palely, arms strewn across knees, eyes regarding her perhaps not fully as his head bobs dizzily. In idle habit, the key he took is rolled between his fingers and over his knuckles. The repetition seems to help him think even while the pain, the light-headedness and exhaustion, threaten to loom too far.

After just a couple of these still, unreadable seconds to give his body what little time he's allowing it — he gets up.

Maggie's expression has changed little, during that time. She regards Laurie there on the ground, her observation — particularly of his well-being — only interrupted by a few blinks when he makes the move to get up. As for her, she gives a wriggle this way and that, shifting her legs, moving her hands in those few seconds; it's not really a legitimate attempt to get free of her bonds. Thinking ahead, maybe. It doesn't take her focus off of Laurie, and none of the effort shows on her face. "Dalai Lama."

"Dalai Lama," Laurie confirms soft and approvingly as he walks, hand supporting his side, as briskly as possible to where O'Meara is strewn. Easing into a crouch, he uses his other hand to rifle through the dead man's pockets, overturning each one with no regard for shuffling the body about until he's claimed in his fingers a piece of paper and the detective's phone. Clutching both simultaneously, he twists the phone to face him, operating a few buttons. The screen lights up, creating a dim glow on Laurie's concentrating face as he scrolls swiftly through the list of contacts. He presses a few more and then, with some shifting of his weight, puts the phone near his ear to listen. Seconds pass. The phone lowers and is done; he drops it right onto O'Meara's back.

As he's bracing to stand, only a warning sniff precedes a hail of coughing, this time into his arm as he raises it. The wracking fit jerks him forward, nearly on top of his shooter, but he catches himself with a hand, partially crumpling the paper in it. When it's over, he rubs the sleeve against his mouth to remove traces of blood and methodically pushes to his feet, glancing around for the next thing. It's a bit further away, so he strolls part of the docks and ducks to pick it up.

Quietly, the handcuffed detective leans down further while Laurie goes about his business. Her continual watch doesn't waver as she does so, the end of her coat just brushing her legs, arms — testing, again, how much she can move and what she can reach. Laurie's exploration of O'Meara's property prompts a frown, but no comment is made; when he picks up something on the docks, though, Maggie stops what she's doing. "Is that my phone?" she asks, pointed but casual.

He's already on his way over to her when he turns the hand outward to show her that it is, indeed, her phone he's carrying. Coming to the end of the table, at Maggie's left, he puts down the paper, reaches for something in the briefcase, and then scribbles thick black letters. The paper is propped up against the briefcase, then, though it slumps in slight dejection. Whoops, it reads, in the same handwriting as a note folded in Maggie's desk: She did it. And a smiley face.

Then he comes around Maggie's other side closer to her hands, so she doesn't have to twist. Crouching to her level, he places the phone into her palms, fingers overlapping hers a touch as they did before with the knife. "Tell him…" He pauses, betraying himself by showing conflict on his face a flicker of an instant before, chin jerking, he's fine: "Tell him O'Meara didn't have what he wanted. And I'll," determination, and… fe— no, he's just tired. Very tired, "— get the information another way."

A beat, as his head dips downward, focusing. On his words. On breathing. He looks sideways up at her again, cheery and curious. "Do you want to say goodbye this time?"

Maggie seems in limbo between smirking and frowning when she glances sideways at the note, but does neither, though there's an glimmer of some kind in her eye. The phone is gripped tightly at once, tighter for the fact that it's not likely to be clean, and Maggie doesn't want it to slip, now that she has it again. "Mmm— " A thoughtful sound. "To you? No," she dismisses cheerlessly in response — but now she her kind smile appears, against the odds. Of being handcuffed to a table near her dead ex-partner by her not-quite-current partner.

"Goodbye is something you do before you die, which you better not do," Maggie states lightly, "because I worked very hard to save you. So goodbye would just be a waste of my time." Her smile spends some time settling into place. "See ya later, Miles."

Laurie has all the lack of grace to look downright cheeky when she mentions death — even here, even with a dead guy nearby, and his own insides a veritable mess. What adrenaline or sheer will-power he's been working off of deserves a medal. "I agree. Never did like the word, anyway," he admits to her, smiling easily when she does. A wisp of wistfulness teases the expression, accenting the way his gaze grows hazy staring at her. Caught up in this moment, whatever he's seeing instead, he lifts a hand towards her cheek, the wild way her hair is framing her. Did he mean to clear her view of the phone, or something else? — would it have been gentle, caressing?

Doesn't matter; it never happens. He just breezes by the edges of the first strands of hair as he gives up the idea. Gone. The hand is on his knees as he prepares to push up, saying only a utilitarian, "Okay." It seems meaningful, but of what, there is no hint.

"See you on the other side, Powers," is his choice of phrase, stepping around her and finally towards the exit off the docks entirely. His jacket he's managed to get over his shoulders, partially concealing most of the worst evidences of blood, the way his shirt is torn all down the back. Eventually, there'll be the rumble of an engine, a flare of headlights. Just a scan of those high beams into Maggie's eyes, then past, and the car — O'Meara's car — is gone.

(FADE)

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