2011-02-13: Capable of Anything



Guest Starring:

Chloe, Owen, Hugo, and Kieran

Date: February 13th, 2011


Laurie gets acquainted with his kidnappers — particular sweet little Chloe, who finds she likes knives.

"Capable of Anything (Violence Called on Account of Pie)"


A humming noise permeates the room. It never stops.

Delicate tap tap taps come and go. A scratching, rustling sound bother a squeaky surface every so often when the wind blows outside. Male voices drift in and out at a distance.

But the humming never stops. It's a low, dull, technological drone. A generator powers all the computers that add their own monotonous song to the constant hum.

Chloe sits primly in the chair at the makeshift computer station with a laptop set upon her knees. Her chair has been dragged off to her left, past the table's corner, to look more clearly out upon the other chair where the mass of equipment would have otherwise blocked her view. It's a grim view she has of a prisoner who has been anything but grim.

Chair has become an improved prison. Ropes have returned tighter, lashing his wrists to the arms of the chair. Another set of ropes encircle each separate leg to the same purpose. His jacket's on the floor. Where its sleeves would have been are chains, banded heavily all the way up his forearms. A lock is tangled within each. There's no such thing as overkill with a proven escape artist.

It's cold. There's no heat, and no power, save for the generator pulsing life into the computers and the bright lamp. Chloe pauses her typing to lift her computer onto the corner of the table and pulls a white cardigan on. She halts halfway through, looking at Laurie; did she see him move? Was it a trick of the light, prone to such wild shadows? "Laurie?" cuts cheerfully into the hum. Up she goes. There's soon a finger pressing at his forehead, trying to push him to look up to the musical tune of: "Aaaare you awake yet?"

"Hnnnnn," is the generally incoherent noise out of Laurie, lazy affirmative akin to a teenager asking for two more hours. It's the chloroform's clinging effect again, as lasting as its tasty impression in his throat, where it causes his head to loll accommodatingly where Chloe's finger pushes. Blue eyes appear, disappear; his gaze is heavily moderated by eyelids that don't quite want to rise. Even before he's truly locked onto her, every muscle in his body runs a preliminary test, flexing subtly here and there versus chair, rope, and chain bondage.

Nausea keeps his jaw shut a moment longer, waiting for part of the initial burning to wear off— it will later be replaced by worse, when his body has full time to recognize the symptoms, but for now, some blinking, some physical compliance, and he's grasped the function to… straighten, sort of; there's no way to get comfortable. He begins to appear so, however. Ignoring that every muscle aches from some pretend amount of exercise — really, the constant five-second battering of voltage. So — kind of exercise. "Yep— " even electricity hasn't zapped the flippant out of his voice, " — definitely can taste it."

"O-oh! I'm glad!" Chloe exclaims; she's gotten no less enthusiastic in the interim. "N-not glad about that, glad that you're awake, it was a bit unfortunate the second dose of chloroform had to happen— but I had to, you understand, right?" Right? "Here!" There, gone; she scurries off to the table and returns with an uncapped plastic bottle of water. It's shoved against his mouth without choice from him. Though she is wary against spillage, the plastic is forced there roughly, straight-to-the-point, slightly at odds with her smile. "So," she ventures with anticipation, meanwhile, watching her newly captive-again-captive enthusiastically. "Other than your getting out of the ropes the first time, as far as kidnappings go, it was pretty good?"

Water bottle shoved against his mouth prevents Laurie from doing several things, the key one of them being… drink from it. Fingers trapped along arm rests furl and uncurl with their own futility. "As far as kidnappings go…" he mutters, lips rubbing lined plastic with every syllable, "There's a thought. Most of the, ah… kidnappings I've participated in weren't operations of vast finesse… I'm sure you've done your research. What does that tell you." Dry — but bitter only in what he tastes in every word — maybe she gets her answer better in his disinclination to give one.

Chloe pauses her unsuccessful effort to get Laurie to drink, a frown marring her bright smile. "It tells me that you're not answering because of the types of kidnappings you were involved in," she answers factually. "I have done my research. Here, drink your water." It's tipped more gently toward him more palatably while she glances at the door — now closed — and changes subjects: "Did they hurt you before?" Her small voice peaks in question. It sounds like concern, completely irrelevant to the fact that she, herself, just fired high-powered electrodes at him. Her eyes study him for every sign of damage she can see from her spot. "You're not bleeding."

There's not a whole lot he can do to persuade the bottle away from his face, so Laurie takes his face from the bottle, scooting his head back and then at an angle towards her. "Before, or before-before?" The clarification request is as good a rhetorical when he fixes it a second later with an incredibly lame, chain-affected shrug; his matching expression has to do most of the action for the purpose. Then he's squinting at her plastic offering, the grimy taste in his mouth swilled about by a couple of swipes of his tongue around the insides of his cheek. It's in his airways when he breathes. But more importantly: "Before I indulge, I just have to ask: will this is a kidnapping where I may or— may not use the restroom…?"

Chloe abandons giving Laurie water altogether for his question. "Just w-wait." She's not concerned with such concerns right now. She spins about to go put the bottle back where it came from, solidly upon the edge of the table, in sight. On her return, her left hand whips into Laurie's space to tug at his scarf — like some insignificant bit of lint, it's picked off his person entirely while she studies the skin underneath for imperfections, and the revealed collar of his shirt. The scarf is tossed to the wayside as she explains determinedly: "You need to look especially appropriate for the camera."

Squinting, she studiously goes about dealing with the two of the four buttons she finds buttoned. Fingers woman's fingers undoing his buttons; not an unfamiliar event this week, but the differences are marked. Chloe's fingers squeeze the buttons free with a detached demeanour; it's a task; a job. Shoving the material to the right and holding it against his shoulder, baring a bit of the canvas beneath, however, her touch of him is then venerable — she hesitates, her eyes widening — but it turns clinical and precise and awed, as if she's being graded for a practical exam. By her favourite teacher.

Abruptly, her right hand tucks into the pocket of her cardigan. It clenches and moves with a weight. The flash of light against silvery metal is unmistakable a moment later — a knife in her hand. "Stabbing often happens in crimes of passion or as a killer's substitute for sexual penetration…" she says with enthusiastic intrigue, looking from Laurie to the knife — simple, as knives go, straightforwardly designed for its purpose, several inches of underrated, sharp blade with a neat black handle. "But it's also just really practical if someone doesn't mind the blood." Flash of metal— flash of Chloe— her words come to illustrative fruition as the knife drives down with that stabbing motion without a force in the world to stop her.

Knife. The glint of it is reflected in Laurie's hardened eyes a second before it— she— drives downward, jamming familiar cold metal into his chest. But it isn't that metal. Tension you could cut with a knife is rather apt, where several inches of sharp blade dig into tight muscle, sending a firework of searing pain throughout followed by a numb chaser. Frustration, and the noise it makes, grits his teeth; a strained nnnnhh that, seconds after the breaking of skin, seems to relate past the attack, to a secondary reaction. A couple of breaths come too fast, scurrying ignorantly through his chest— a stabbed chest— and it only takes those two inhales and exhales to double the blood already swelling beneath, anticipating a gush as soon as the stopper the knife has become is removed. Throughout, Laurie's unnatural blue eyes stay uncommonly fastened on Chloe, unaffected, not hazy from what she's just delivered, but narrowed— and unfathomable. He stares right along the arm that connects them by a blade's eager handshake. "Wwhat— camera? Are you dressing me up and taking me out?"

Chloe's eyes are set immovably upon Laurie, yet a world away from his. Her dark brown lights up impossibly as she stares down the blade of the knife where half of it disappears into muscle, watching the blood trying to spring around the metal blockade. She stabbed him and he's still talking, her wholly fascinated look says as it hops from the knife to his face. When Laurie reveals no anger or anguish for what she's done, Chloe bears no horror or apology for it. Her features flash — like the glint of the blade — with a manic satisfaction. It's like he's invincible. It's like a game. She could do it again.

"No," she chirps, getting a grip on the knife with both hands— "The opposite. People are going to watch you here. They're going to see you on the internet." — and tug— "Hundreds— maybe thousands!" The knife slides out of its shallow grave only partway; Chloe scrapes it violently toward his center a couple of bloody inches before flesh is relieved of sharp metal. "You're a public figure. You're an expert on people's darkest behaviours. It's perfect. Tomorrow you'll be in their hands without leaving this room. We'll get to see just how terrible everyone can be when they have the chance to hurt someone all the way from the safety of their own homes." Terrible; Chloe happily turns the knife over in her hand, wondering. "I don't know if you're bleeding enough for the camera…"

There's blood; it gurgles upwards, chasing the blade's partial removal, leaking out from around metal when it veers into neighboring flesh. A hard gasp is bit off when his jaw clenches, jerking his head at an angle, as all the muscles in his neck flare tight for all the ones in his chest— all the ones everywhere, wearied from the taser and now sharing— because he stuffs the pain, driving it where he wants. Acceptance; his body hurts; moving on. The blood has also moved, billowing out from the unstoppered gash with an enthusiasm that challenges the stabber's. Tracing a defined form — not just by muscles kept in shape when they aren't severed, but hints, below, of other people who took the chance to hurt someone. A trail races down to where his dragged shirt sits, blooming against the fabric.

Separate from the pain, the blood, this physical thing, Laurie watches her after a single deviance: his eyes briefly flying ceiling-ward back when his jaw was shut so tight. "It is— responsibility," he delivers, every second steadier, powerfully multitasking between having been stabbed and giving Chloe apt attention. It is like he's invincible. "Whether… social, or personal— religious, or moral… that stops us. In anonymity… we are cleared. Capable of, really, anything." His eyes, defiantly, follow those of Chloe, instead of the potential path of the knife rotating so easily in her clearly capable— of anything?— hands. "I think the camera will make its own."

Chloe's excitement is running a race with the blood pouring from Laurie, each flowing out of their separate vessels. Just when it seems her face can't light up anymore, it does, like a Christmas tree, beaming with excitement that Laurie only feeds. "Exactly," she agrees, her rapt interest placing her almost in his face— but she barely needs to lean down, her petite stature in front of his tall one, even seated, giving her easy access. "But for the experiment, while the viewers will think they're hiding behind their anonymity, we'll know. Our website catches their details. Their demographics. It's a study."

The blade thoughtfully taps against not yet bloodied skin. "Oh, the camera will do its job. But people can be like sharks that way when they see blood, can't they? And they have to believe we're authentic. Of course, that's what the first video will be for in the morning…" Smiling with anticipation, she watches Laurie's face. "I hope you're not too camera shy…" Rhetorical, perhaps; he doesn't have much of a choice

Every in and out of Laurie's breathing only pumps out more of that blood, out of him, for Chloe, at this future camera— the world. Up close, his face is not without strain — the tenseness of thought; his anticipation less eager than hers, possibly no less fierce, but so guarded as to not tell. Yet, 'lo and behold: he smiles. He laughs, sheepishly, even. "I'm— in fact, incredibly camera shy," she's told, with a bit of jaw-tightening, head turning. He hasn't leaned into or away from her closeness, acting mostly as though he isn't aware. The tap tap of metal playing knock-knock on his skin; his eyes flicker down to it contemplatively. He's still bleeding elsewhere — the only effect of the stabbing that appears to have left a lasting impression on him.

"For most of my life having my face recognized would mean— exposure…" eyes up to her, "gruesome death." Cheerful?; he certainly isn't lamenting. "Not entirely positive that's changed…" Around and 'round the room he glances, as though sorting out each silhouette in the lamp light and what it'll mean tomorrow, where's the camera. A randomly quickened breath, body revolting, is settled with a gulping swallow. Chloroform and blood. Settled. "And what about your details, Chloe."

The spidery shape of a tripod set upon its side intermingles with the shapes of the computer equipment, missing its camera, but it can't be far away.

Chloe nods, understanding for what it has usually meant for Laurie's face to be recognized, seen, witnessed as it will be … gruesomely. Her details— well, she smiles sweetly; not dismissive, pleased, in fact, but her details aren't as important right now as: "Now your public reputation makes you a target." Distant, those words — distant from her own purpose that seems so similar. "It's too bad," she seems sincere, her eyes lifting up with veneration, "that those things interfere with your life— especially at w-work…" Chloe's eyes narrow and sneak off to the side for a moment of deep-set annoyance— and she's back. "But isn't it an interesting cycle— how the press uses you. They don't care. The more they target you the more you're a target… the more you're a target the more people want to know about you."

The knife has trailed to the staining dark fabric at the end of the open V of Laurie's shirt. It's not careful; its sharp tip lightly leaves its mark without her even noticing. She's staring at its point, staring at the hints of scars past. "But the more they want to know about you— the more they'll come to watch you tomorrow. You're perfect." The dark gleam in her eye, greedy, is tempered immediately by a meeker little smile. "I'm s-sorry, you already know all that, it's your l-life— "

It's only in his lips, twitching every once in a while, that Laurie engages with what she's saying, even with his eyes as heavily set on watching her. A stare means very little without emotion to define it. "Mostly, I don't think about it…" he mentions, too lightly to suggest he thinks he'll interrupt her. Streaks and blossoms of blood only ease the throbbing higher up. And in tracking the knife, focusing on her, it's evident when her idle cutting has made a notion, a notice, of a patch of callous, there where the V ends, with shirt shoved off-kilter. Something old.

Nudging his head forward, dipping, his eyes actively seek hers, instead of just pinning the stare. From the chair, and this tilted glance, he's peering endearingly up at her, requesting she look at him back. Not at the old. He's caught off purpose only once — perfect — and his aim rearranges easily, so easy, when seeing the look in her eye that results — for this. Gruesome. "And I find myself incredibly boring," he quips, sad fact, "So much so that I imagine I will be very sick of myself by tomorrow. Not to mention absurdly contrary. Because you see, Chloe, you see…" Tug tug. The bizarre auditory of chains rattling — not a common day to day sound effect — as Laurie does his earnest best to lean in, as if to scoot in. Even into the knife, if it meant giving her this very intent look the very best way. "The more I'm a target— any of them, targets everywhere— … the more I want to know about you." A hint of a smile shies away for more confident humor. "Don't hide behind your study, dear. That's for psychologists, and cranky old men." Pause; eh, "Sometimes they're both."

"Like your father?" Chloe chirps right away, researched, indeed, on Laurie's past and certain cranky old psychologists in it. She's wholly engaged on him, her eyes following wherever his say to go, even after
intrigue started to peak at her discovery of scar tissue full of tales. She withdraws the knife after as moment of her captive leaning into it, an afterthought, its blade teasing so near the pristine white of her cardigan, the sullied metal slick with a shade not so dissimilar from her dress. Long-lashed young eyes stare at him with rapt and eager as ever — endearing, endeared. "I'm not— hiding," she says, "I just— I'm very p-passionate about my study— it is— " Her lips twist about, not frowning or smiling but fighting somewhere in between; the latter wins by a mile. "What do you want to know?" A beat. "Do you really want to know ooor— " Return of the knife comes in the more harmless form of a tap against that partly bared shoulder. Despite its recent dive into blood, it's already cold again. Curious, near excitement replaces what would be the logical tones of admonishing or wariness: "Are you going to try to manipulate me?"

Laurie's obliging grumble, his mouth a thin line for the first time since this started with chloroform, makes no mask of his fatherly opinion, nor a commitment on any deeper emotion. It isn't long; he has her engaged, and he reciprocates with unshakeable affections of the eye: staring, the blue a'twinkle in a way that wasn't for anyone else she's seen him look at. And she's seen him. This is for her isn't it; this is only for her. Rustles of chain, but the rope doesn't give much, even against the attempted stretching of his wrists. Just a bit of irritation on skin already made tender by the previous escape. Bare honesty on his face leaves no room for sheepishness of any kind. He doesn't flinch tellingly at her question, or avoid the eye. He shrugs around his mouth and responds cleanly, "Probably, yes. I may already be. But I also want to know. So." Hemming, hawing; there's a bit of overly visible deep thought. Narrowed, his eyes gain a brief suspicious edge. The sniff that he exercises clears his drugged airways, and tugs on his chest; bleeding. It's dead serious in here: "… How do you feel about pie?"

Those blue eyes, on her. Laurie fans the fire. Chloe looks increasingly more adoring every second his attentions are so focused on her. Although she's standing, it's as if she's looking up at him instead of down. The ropes, the chains— they're irrelevant. Necessities. They're having a conversation. Manipulating or not, she looks just like she'd do anything he asked of her in the moment. Even his odd question doesn't throw her entirely, only causes her more thought than such a simple query should; little crinkles around her eyes tell her consideration, weighing… pie. "I… feel… okay about pie?" Should she have been more gung-ho? Wariness ranges out searchingly for a second. "Who doesn't like pie…"

Bang at the door; metal clinks tease at a strangely placed lock, barring inside from out. "C— " Deep, not deepest; smooth, the smoothest. "Are you, uh… all right in there with that— "

Chloe is forced to partake in the rude interruption, swinging her head toward the door to shout with pent-up aggravation: "We're fine, I'll talk to you later, Owen!" The lock hesitates, a grumble sounds in the hall, and Chloe beams apologetically to Laurie. Where were they?

But the line of blue sight is broken partially. Though he refrained from turning his head to the unyielding door, Laurie's eyes passed in that direction, and they return to Chloe changed. A pressure has arisen, hidden behind his keen interest, but felt subconsciously. You're smart; you know this already. Somewhere between pie and yelling, he's leant closer — the closest — those chains imbedding their shapes into the flesh of his arms aren't going to let him become any more intimate. It's already a strain, though not visible, to stay as pressed forward as he is, locking eyes. Accept it. "I bet Owen doesn't like pie," he mentions, humored but soft, personal, leading into: "He seems more like a tiramisu guy," judgment is reserved, but yet there's a meaningful pause, a soft sigh: he wants something and it's too forward to just say, not hint; Chloe will have to come to the conclusion herself — is it herself. Leading to: "Send them home." Alone.

Hints of annoyance direct back to the door, where low mumblings can still be heard, when Laurie isn't attentive again right away, but her attention remains strongest for him — not Owen. Closeness is undeniable; Chloe stays still, doesn't move, doesn't reciprocate save for locked eyes, but she notices every detail Laurie puts forth, acknowledges it, studies it, takes it in thirstily. The knife is left almost lazily — comfortably — where it last touched his shoulder, but a closer lookwould see her fingers still curled tightly about it, the weapon not forgotten. "Owen d-doesn't like a lot of things…" she says with some regret, "but he likes me…" Spoken like a mantra and yet it's a fact which seems moot at the moment when she'd rather brush him off to be locked in a room with Laurie. Indecision tugs at her mouth, however; it's bashful. "They won't leave without me. But I can keep them out— !" she says so fast she barely gets it out clearly. Close enough to being alone, isn't it? Is it good enough? Hopeful eyes blink, childlike, but her naivete is quite questionable when the same eyes pry so sharply. "We can talk all n-night if I tell them to leave me alone."

Pressed lips, licked; ah, but there it is, Chloe. You don't, do you? "But maybe you're right. Owen likes you… he doesn't like me— but he— " a little nod, as though he's puzzling carefully to himself, only half to her at all, though he looks that way, into her eyes. His to hers. "He likes you. So," soft laugh, it aches in his chest, but he does it, shaking his head to dismiss these silly things he's saying, "You know, why would he want to leave us alone, hmm? They'll find reasons…" quieter, maybe she's not meant to hear: "They'll keep finding reasons…" He wants to rub at his chin — maybe scratch his nose, even — mundane tells denied him when his fingers flex into the hard wood that's their home. "But! I'm— what am I going on about. Chloe," her name is practically sung as he his head snaps up, "Now then." Hands stretch rope, seeking a weak slap on armrests for enthusiastic emphasis. "We were talking about your reason for all this— "

Chloe seems unbothered by the turn to a more academic pose by Laurie — in fact, she attunes to it expectantly. The rest, however, has her catching her breath and holding it, and she builds up silent momentum, puffing up in preparation to let out a slew of convincing expressions of how much she does want to be alone with Laurie. Her cheeks turn rosy, somewhere between blushing and angry in denial; tensing, she could so easily panic, a contrast to her special captive's laidback attitude. She gets out: "B-but— "

The mumblings outside persevere, by their tone complaining, Owen and Hugo and every so often the softer sound of Kieran not really wanting to interfere. It's Chloe who interferes, shouting toward the mumblings. "Be quiet!" Quiet is almost as good as gone, isn't it — it's not though, is it, her afeared glance to Laurie says immediately afterward, it's not good enough, she could still do better, she could tell them to go home— "Reasons," she picks up with full attention; her clear neediness is tempered by another of those smart prying looks at Laurie. In turn, she tempers the flow of words that want to get out — just barely — for a smile that appears. It's manic. "You should know," she says — accusing, but upbeat. "You're the expert."

Another metal rattle interrupts Chloe, though not enough to chase the excited, expectant expression off her face. She tries not to look at the door, but then it opens, spilling all three of the boys in. They won't be denied. Each one brings a new judgment — every one with their separate reasons. Owen bursts in first in a state of annoyance, glancing at Laurie along with Chloe's intent pose in front of him with clear disapproval in his narrowed eyes. Wishing he was somewhere else, Hugo only eyes Laurie suspiciously. Kieran, carrying a laptop and coming in last yet trying to hurry more than anyone, is wracked with worry; catching sight of the blood and the weapon in Chloe's hand, he suddenly looks away, but not before a flash of a sentiment not previously glimpsed lands on Laurie, their abused prisoner. Sympathy.

Before Chloe can truly deny them — she doesn't want to look away from Laurie — they've situated themselves at the computers. "We were running last minute tests on our network from downstairs," Kieran says as he sets the laptop down near Chloe's, strained. "I know we made everything as
secure as possible, but we found a weak spot— if someone knew what they were doing…"

"It better be as secure as the Pentagon when we're through," Owen adds bitterly, grabbing Chloe's previous chair to swing it around behind the table and claim it as his. Kieran sits on the floor. Hugo is rummaging…

The flat blade of the knife bears down against Laurie's shoulder, pressure building. It seems a physical effort to tear herself away from Laurie, and just as much of one to not become a tiny cyclone that whirls the others out of the room. "Well, fix it," she snaps without looking away from Laurie.

"You're better at it, C," Kieran reluctantly argues.

Chloe is immovable, staring hopefully at Laurie until— "Rrrrghhh!" Her frustration hardly sounds as menacing as her intent would clearly like, only childish, but what she lacks in a threatening voice she makes up for with the knife she wields when she whirls around. "We should have found this earlier. We can't make any mistakes, Kieran!" Longing apology is shot back to Laurie over her shoulder, and she frowns— "I'll come back." — but she goes.

…rummaging, rummaging… Hugo finds his prize in the midst of computer equipment: a roll of duct tape. He replaces Chloe's position, a more looming and less excitable stand-in. Tearing a wide strip of the sturdy stuff off, he roughly grabs Laurie's face with a large hand and prepares to shut him up while the others work into the night to make all the more assurances that no one finds them — any of them.


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