2010-07-10: Dreaded Knock



Guest Starring:

Agents Gardener and Taylor

Date: July 10, 2010


“Never awake me when you have good news to announce, because with good news nothing presses; but when you have bad news, arouse me immediately, for then there is not an instant to be lost.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

"Dreaded Knock"

Sydney's Townhouse

It's one man, outfitted in a plain gray work-suit to clean-cut to be quite ignorable, poised in front of the complexes of townhouses, his eye on the raised numbering outside of the door to which he's raised his fist. The hand hovers there briefly as he glances over his shoulder to where a second man waits. This one, similarly clothed, stands officially by a car of fittingly same description — unremarkable, and yet just unnervingly too clean. There's also little done to disguise the mount on its top to which a, currently colorless and quiet, siren used to be affixed. If they were only just wearing the traditional garb, they'd look the picture of armymen come to consult the new widow.

As it is, the man who drew the short straw turns back to the door and then lets his hand fall in a polite but insistent knock once or twice. "Miss Falkland?" is ventured as he tips his head to listen as best he can through the wood of the door. "Miss Falkland, open up please."

She's barely moved since she got back to this home that is and isn't hers. Still having not ate nearly enough, her skin is pale, gaunt, and tired-looking. The swelling on her face has gone down some thanks to ice and minor treatment that's helping it heal. Everything about her is tired and spread thin like too little butter on too much bread. Dressed in a pair of pink pyjama pants with cartoon cats on them, a white tank, a crocheted white sweater, and oversized tiger slippers, Sydney peeks through the peep hole cautiously before opening the door rather slowly. She blinks and peers curiously at the men on her door step.

She blinks at the men. Unsure. Unclear on how to proceed or what to say. Instead, she runs with the one thing she can do easily enough, "It's doctor actually. Doctor Falkland. I have my PhD…" her voice is broken, a small croak and nothing more.

"I'm sorry, Doctor Falkland," the man corrects himself, not at all facetiously, but with all the soothing apology his young face can emit. Glancing down the stairs a second time, he indicates the man and then himself, his voice quieting some. "That's Agent Tyson, I'm Agent Gardener." As proof, he subtly shifts aside his jacket to show where his badge is hanging on the inner flap. It's a quick movement before he flattens it again, shifting his weight to make himself less visible to any prying eyes in other windows. "Could I come in for a moment, please, doctor?"

A suspicious glance is given to each of the men in turn before Sydney steps back to allow the Agents inside. A hand is run through her wavy hair as she raises a hand to beckon the pair into her living room. It's a decent enough size with a couch and two small arm chairs opposite it. "Please… sit down," her voice is quiet, mirthless, spiritless, even. She assumes one of the armchairs and draws her legs into her chest. Two agents visiting her home and wanting inside can only mean one thing, bad news. Her eyebrows furrow with concern as her lips quirk downwards into a small frown. She doesn't dare ask the question and just lets the silence fill the room.

It's only Gardener who accepts her invitation with a nod of his head; his partner remains near the car on a only somewhat relaxed look-out. Any passerby could certainly tell he was waiting expectantly on someone. But the door closes behind the younger agent, leaving him and Sydney as she takes the chair as he opts to only stand near the other. A hand goes to the back of it as he openly debates his first words. "Doctor Falkland…" That seems safe enough, so he plunges forward, "We understand that you've previously opted out of the witness program… while we respect your decision… it's become necessary that we— insist upon your furthered protection."

Pale lips press together into a line. Sydney's face pales a little as she hugs her legs even closer to her body. Her eyes close for a moment, the numbness in her emotions welling with something else, pure dread. Dejected and prepared only for more bad news she reopens them and stares up at the agent. Her voice is but a cracked whisper when she manages to speak, "Why?"

His fingers knead into the fabric of her chair as the agent's forehead wrinkles with the precision of finding how much to say. Something like pity has been etched around his lips ever since he saw her, pale and pajama'd, and now to her fear he tries to raise a hand to reassure — that falls short. Perhaps because while he's raising the hand, he's saying, "Recent events… have made it… more difficult for us to keep track of your kidnapper's movements." At once, his other hand jumps to join the first. "I don't mean to scare you, but that's why we'd like to make sure you have the best in department resources."

That sick feeling that had been building inside her grows, her skin turns a green hue as something begins to process in her mind. Raising a hand to her forehead she fights the dizziness and raw emotion that so easily bubbles to the surface these days. The emptiness is completely replaced with a kind of morbid curiosity that she can't fight. She presses a finger to her lips, trying to seal them together, trying to suppress the question on the tip of her tongue. Her chin quivers with emotion as her dark eyes gently close. With a long deep breath she reopens them.

Cupping a hand over her mouth, suppressing anything she can, the question to which she dreads the answer escapes. "Is Laurence Miles dead?" the tone is even until the last word when she gasps for air to fight her emotions further.

It seems that maybe as she becomes dizzy, so does Gardener become twice as uncomfortable, waving in his spot. Quickly, he raises a hand to rub down his nose, covering a more unprofessional surprise when her question is so blunt and detailed. His wide eyes soften apologetically, the same note on which he turns his head just slightly to the side to create the tiniest separation between him and the distraught female. "I'm sorry— " is almost a yes, "but that kind of information I can't disclose. There won't be any names in the report. But…" which is also almost a yes; in seeking not to say those words, he spills more: "There was an asset by which the FBI could track the behavior of the Irish, and that tool has, unfortunately, been lost to us… therefore— "

"Laurence Miles was more than an asset!" Sydney snaps back as her eyes fill with tears. Her hands are raised over her face as her numbness gives way to grief. Through her hands she continues to speak, this time in stammered whispers, "…he… has… a… name… I… owe…" she hiccups as she frantically sucks in breath for air, her hands peeling from her now tear-stained face. "Don't you dare dishonour the dead by forgetting them!" her voice changes to anger all-too-quickly. THe sad pathetic mess that she is remains raw and on the surface, but then the fight goes out of her again, her body slides off the chair, crumpling to the ground into a mess of tears cried to her living room floor in a serious of noisy, pained sobs.

" — it's… imperative that.. you… — uhh — come with us — today…" Head twitching from side to side, Gardener seems to expect some kind of fairy godmother to appear out of some corner of Sydney's house to make things sane again. As he stumbles through the rest of his sentence, blunting ignoring her outbursts just to reach the end, there's a kind of stuttered start towards her then back, his hands jumping awkwardly into his pockets. O-Oh God, she's crying — it — a woman crying. A look for Tyson, but Tyson isn't there. So, slowly, hesitantly, the agent steps around the chair and towards Sydney. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Doctor. I didn't mean to upset you. We're just here to — escort you. Perhaps there's someone you'd… like to call first?"

If the mention of leaving today is heard, it's hard to be sure, Sydney essentially ignores it, resting her forehead on the ground. Her eyes close again as she shivers with her weeping. The tears cause her to hiccup and gasp for air. With another shake she twitches. The mention of calling someone she shakes her head. There's no one she would call. No family she trusts, her true friend already in Witness Protection. But then she thinks and points upstairs, her head still resting on the floor. "M-m-my ro-roommate," her voice cracks again. "…has to come…" It's not a question. Not even remotely. She sobs madly as she hiccups gasps of air.

Yet Gardener finds it in his hard agent training to counter, "I'm sorry… we're only allowed to take witnesses and immediate family members. I'm sure your roommate will be just fine. There'll be a car around every so often to make sure…" Coming up to where she is, he crouches down, pulling a wrinkled — but clean! — hankie from his pocket to sort of extend in her general direction. "I know this is a very difficult time for you. But I'm sure this is what the…" a long pause where he clearly switches one important word, "man who got you out would want. For you to be safe."

Feeling empty and alone, Sydney trembles as she stares at the floor again. Goosebumps form on her arms and neck as she holds her body tight to her frame. With another tremble she nods, just a little, the fight gone entirely out of her eyes. Biting her bottom lip, she quivers. With another hiccuped gasp she murmurs to the floor, "I… need… a few hours…' she could go now, but then she may as well feel like a prisoner all over again. Another sob escapes her lips as she straightens enough to take the crumpled hanky to dry her eyes.

"Of course…" Gardener waits a moment to make sure she isn't about to… he doesn't know, do something drastic, and then he gets to his feet, taking a few polite steps away towards the edge of the room. "If you don't mind," meaning he's going to do it anyway, "I'll wait here." Once again. Incase she tries to do anything drastic. There's a vague sort of gesture towards the rest of her apartments, "Unless you need… help with anything, doctor…? Do you have any other questions…" That he won't regret asking for, preferably.

Sniffling again, she shakes her head a minute. She doesn't exactly want him in her home, but apparently Sydney gets no say in the matter. Sniffling again, she dries her eyes and finally sits up from the floor. "D-d-did you call Laurence's… family….or…?" She stifles another sob as best she can, choking back large crocodile tears as she peels herself from the ground. Again her body struggles to move and she finds herself stuck there in a sad pile of pathetic. "W-w-where am I go-go-go-ing?"

He had to go and ask, didn't he. Gardener's fingers draw to his collar, tugging a bit there and on his tie as he clears his throat in what he hopes is an agent-like manner. "That's not really in my… — it's likely Mister Miles' situation will not be released to the public until the case. You— probably shouldn't discuss knowledge of the asset." He winces, always apologetic, but, lips pressed, holds to his official standing, letting her know how things will be going. And as for where she will be going: "You'll be taken to a safehouse with the others while identities and transport is being arranged. I promise it won't take long and then you can start all over. Safe."

That word feels foreign to her ears. Now, managing to fight the bubbling over grief Sydney shakes her head, "The world deserves to know what a hero he was…" her voice crocks and she frowns before turning on her heel towards the stairs and pausing. Her voice is a whisper as she tries to snap back, but there's no anger in her, just hopelessness and so the words come out pained rather than angry, "I will never be safe." The eerie flatness of the tone has her choking back tears again while climbing up the creaking stairs, utilizing both wall and railing to move herself up.

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