2010-08-14: Exceptionless



Date: August 14th, 2010


A foray into federal prison to interview a killer with a copycat takes a few turns.

Previously: XeroxX-Rated


NYPD Police Station

The task of sifting through letter after letter of disturbing mail meant for a death row prisoner responsible for the gruesome murders of many women is, to say the least, not pleasant. It's also tedious and time-consuming: it's surprising just how much mail someone like Schaffer receives. A false-woodgrain file box sits on the corner of Maggie's desk to her left, full of it, and two more just like it rest on the floor, all organized by date. But not organized enough. The most recent mail is spread over her desk in various varieties of organization. Some are plain; some are colorful, not letters at all, but grisly drawings. Fan art.

The detective herself sits leaning over a page of shaky handwritten ink, her features knit in studious deliberation. She's not alone: an officer, young, a rookie who was excited to even be on a case like this until he was set to this job, sits on a rolling chair at the opposite corner of Maggie's desk by the computer with his own stack of envelopes, organizing them into piles by name. "Isn't there some kind of expert who could do this…"

"You could be an expert some day if you help me read," Maggie points out almost pleasantly without looking up from her study, which has her reaching for the next letter. Her progress is fairly expert, as she's quite quick to absorb what's on the pages and move on.

"Isn't somebody going to read me my rights or something?" There's a young man, a punk at best, handcuffed to the processing bench up front, but his string of complaints throughout the last fifteen minutes have been heard often enough, and through more of the building than is strictly pleasant. "You know you can't just leave me here. I didn't dooooo nothing. Don't nobody care about that around here? Ya'll are out of your minds?" Rattling the hand connected to the, also nailed down, bench, he strains to get a look around. "What about that lady over there? She jus' readin' shit. Hey! I got rights!"

"Like the right to remain silent," Kaplan mutters as he muddles through paperwork, finding it increasingly difficult to write as he presses the pen harder and harder down on the paper.

"Oh yeah, clever. You real clever, man," the partially arrested man complains, crossing his legs uncomfortably. But soon enough, he's glancing around the station for his next target. "Hey, you— yeah, you! Do you know how they treat people in here, I mean— Jesus!" With a clang of handcuffs and thunk of body against hard wood, the suspect nails himself to the back of the bench.

Though quizzical, and sparing a glance backwards, Laurie keeps at his pace strolling into the station and past benches and desks. As the suspect behind him rallies on to the tune of, "I know you! I know him, man! What is this shit?" the consultant full-face winces, naturally becoming a grimace afterwards as he brings a hand to his temple and twirls his finger about instructionally for the first person who meets his eye over the matter.

Helpfully now, several staring officers side-step out of his way, making his path to Maggie's desk an absolutely clear one and he hops the last step in order to get the height necessary to land, quite enthusiastically, on the edge of her desk. Fan art and gruesome poetry are efficiently crinkled. With one leg already partially raised, he draws his arm onto it, his palm up and accepting of his chin.

Laurie is no longer how she left him; he's since seen a change of clothes. Jeans still, but more fitting and less of the hole-and-paint variety. A dress shirt in a dark blue, unbuttoned near the top, with a vest, opened, and a fine black jacket not too terrible for the weather but too fine for the occasion. Sweeping a hand forward, he knocks several of the envelopes away, ruining their piles, but also claiming the top one for his own examination. It's turned about, end to end, then the paper removed and he narrows eyes at it, his head bobbing just so backwards while the letter is aimed slightly more away as well. "My name is Andrea Moore. I heard that you like to kill whores," a discerning look over at Maggie; the angled way he does it might as well be over the brims of snooty reading glasses. Then on the letter, "If I dress up for you. Will you do me in, too? And I'll be part of you for-ever-more." Lowering the letter, he gives a sharp flick of the wrist and the vaguely stiff material sends the note-card sized love note spinning across the room. "Didn't I say there was a better way to know all his fans?"

The change of lamentations of the suspect handcuffed across the way, the clearing path to her desk — these are all signs that have signaled the reading "lady" to look up. The top of her present letter is left to droop down at the fold as Maggie pauses her study to watch Laurie, through limericks and mussing of her desk and the flick of the note across the room — her eyes follow the paper's sailing path, and an instinctual urge to go pick up the useless love-note visibly quelled. "You came back," she states, managing to make even those three faintly sing-song words remarkably neutral.

The rookie has, meanwhile, frozen in place with one hand unsurely outstretched toward the pile of letters he was reaching for that are now out of equilibrium. He opens his mouth to protest, but, clearly not seeming to know what to make of this man who has suddenly appeared on the desk of Detective Powers, thinks better of it.

"Did you say that?" Maggie goes on with a hint of amusement finding its way through, darkened only when her gaze falls back to the letter in her hand. "It is mostly useless… like… Andrea Moore's. But some of these letters…"

"… are boring. I'm bored. Come on, then." And he stretches over the desk, past the baffled rookie — who he glances at with a passing "hey, hi!" — to pluck the letter directly out of Maggie's hands, too. It spins around so he can spy at that shaky ink then he sets it on the other guy's pile, instead. The hand comes up to swipe against his goatee, under his nose, and then he uses both to primp up the lapels of his coat, patting also the collar of his shirt. "Yes, well. Had to make myself presentable, didn't I. For our little date," once again, flickering of playful blue eyes to the rookie, whom he this time gifts with a companionable wink between men.

It would seem that's not all; adjusting his seat on the edge of the desk, he squares up his shoulders importantly and clears his throat. Though his gaze starts on Maggie, and occasionally drifts there, mostly it strays just over the top of her head, favoring the left side, to signal great concentration. "… I'm sorry, what happened before." Hmm, hmm. Another little adjustment, getting comfortable. "Completely was being a boar. I was — thinking ahead. When I should have," smug for the cleverness of him, "instead… beeeeen…"

Trailing off, he glances about the room seeking support. There are a couple of bodies in the room who betray their eavesdropping with various levels of amused chuckling, but none offer a rhyming scheme. So, rather, Laurie alights upon the discarded note where he threw it and his arm, pointing triumphantly there, slides over to gesture, fingers splayed, at Maggie, "With you — forever more! Alright, let's go." Leading to him leaping off the desk and giving several impatient claps — mush, mush, Maggie.

Laurie's turnabout sees Maggie trying very hard not to laugh, because after all, these are very serious matters surrounding them. It only works insomuch as she stays quiet; there's nothing to be done about the amused smile that curves its way across her face, fighting that laughter, making it look not unlike the silliest of winces, especially when her brow furrows as much as it does. She brings a hand (so recently relieved of the letter) to curl knuckles against her mouth as she peers up almost skeptically at the limerick-reciting consultant. On the clap, clap— "You're sure." She sets both hands atop the assorted letters on her desk and they hover there undecided about what to do with the mess and the remainder of the envelopes, but ultimately, she gets to her feet and sends the rookie an apologetic look. Not that he's upset about being off mail duty.

"Wait a minute, though— " Deft fingers brush over the mail once Maggie's up, nudging paper out of the way here and there until she can dig under a pile and retrieve— aha, a stack of several letters that might not be so boring. "C.S.," she waves them at Laurie, "Not Lewis."

"Yes, those are boring." Laurie has his tune and he's singing it, rolling his head dramatically in an arc arooound like one might roll eyes instead, "Reading is boring." Since he's being waved so conveniently at, he takes those, too, tucking several fingers about the stack to hold it together and then wrapping the rest of the fingers in a very tenuous hold on Maggie's equally available wrist. "We'll take them with us. Not you." Just incase the rookie was at all unsure in the matter, he's now out of the running by a very serious, and very brief, side-glance.

When it becomes too difficult to tug and hold onto a stack of letters at the same time, Laurie retracts his attempt on the detective, choosing to spread the front of his jacket out and settle the letters inside there. In the spare moment between outstretched and tucked in, his eyes flicker barely noticeably to the lettering of the first one on the stack. He's so quickly moving again, anyway, it becomes hard to keep track. Striding several paces away from her, he turns about to spread arms in a pose from earlier now made challenging by one tiny little change of formation. "Look, I have to be honest. Right now? You're not rating so well against the other escorts I've had…" And the rest of the police station is not going to be forgetting this one any time soon.

Maggie's hand closes on mid-air deprived of those letters, too. Though amusement isn't fast to fade, Laurie's very audible out-of-context joking does earn subtle alarm from the detective, a widening of her eyes that turns into a mild warning look but, ultimately, evolves into a little roll of her eyes.

"… and our C.S. hasn't been holding up well against the other escorts," she neatly angles Laurie's joke into serious territory as she heads around her desk to start the march out — toward the stairwell, without pause. "I made some calls when I got in, and there have been incidences with escorts from at least four agencies across the city involving a client who ran off after acting strange — aggressive, but nothing as violent as Ellie's experience. All recorded different names, but they gave similar descriptions. Caucasian… tall… brown hair, light eyes. Maybe thirties." No one said it was a good description. Furthermore: "Those letters are your reading material for the car."

But the joke's already out there, and there are several coincidental sniggers when Maggie passes by one or two of those other desks on her way to walk the very audible consultant to the stairs. Laurie, meanwhile, takes up his paces beside her with a glance at the same, sparkling with open admiration. "Well, you are very good at getting otherwise very private businesses of a questionable nature to talk to you, Powers." Displeasure that shows afterwards could be for that description, but nothing's definitely aimed.

As they near the front of the bullpen, nobody's bothered to remove the suspect hovering on that bench and he keeps a close watch as the both of them come close, though more notably on Laurie. Not until he comes up parallel does the consultant move on the attention; and when it does, it's a sudden burst in that direction, just a jerk towards him, barely formed, but enough to send the suspect scrambling, his legs off the floor and onto the bench and his arm straining the handcuff where he attempts to get as far against the wall as possible. "Hey!" He insists, glancing frantically around at all the gathered policemen, "Hey! You jus' letting him walk around! Crazy business up in here!"

Falling into perfectly normal step, the look of discontent also slides back into place on Laurie's face, though the tone has become distinctly more sullen and, therefore, less to be taken seriously. "Reading in the car, that sounds dangerous. Oh, wait, I see. Because you're driving," a gesture from him to her, "How come we never take my car?" Beat. "Oh, right…" And his shoulder bumps the door to the stairwell open for the both of them.

Metropolitan Correctional Center

New York, New York

There is no parking in the facility; there is only public parking sites. NO visitors will be permitted to present their request for visit to the front lobby officer after hours. All visitors must provide current photo identification such as a valid driver's licence, passport, etc, to ensure that they are on the inmate's visiting list and approved by the unit team. During the visit, any physical contact other than hand holding will be considered improper and is prohibited. It not permissible to bring food, drink, packages, gifts, or any item(s) not authorized in writing by the Warden. Visitors must keep their children under control. Visitors will not be permitted to wear suggestive or revealing clothing. Abusive, vulgar, or otherwise offensive language on the part of either inmate or visitor will not be tolerated. Purses, coats, and packages will be placed in the lockers provided in the Front Lobby area of the institution…

Bureau of Prisons staff may search you and your belongings before entering, or while inside.

The metal detectors are expected; they claim the pat searches to be random. While this pressing of the hands on the outer clothing was occurring, Laurie timed enough soft, stifled chuckles and subtle but effective shifts of weight to thoroughly distract his searching staff member; they barely even looked at Detective Powers, or her forms of identification.

But now, privately meeting the Deputy Warden in room alongside the Front Lobby, the matter of identity has brought up a very quick stop to the notion of this going any further. "Like I said," he sighs, pushing his hands together determinedly in front of a crisp, olive suit piece still smelling of the dry cleaners, "Housing an inmate like Earl Schaffer here, even for transfer, has already put everybody on nerves, and we're an institution that takes our rules very seriously. There wouldn't even be time to do a proper background check — all that paperwork, you're asking me to ignore. So, no. I'm sorry. But if you're not a name on the inmate's visiting list, then you're just not visiting with him."

Stopping up short, he side-longs to Laurie who has taken to a chair in the small, impromptu office setting, one leg crossed high and square over the other. Sans his jacket — which had to removed upon the search and kept until he leaves — he only has the stack of letters in his lap, teasing the corners of them with a flicker of paper every so often. Attempting to keep most of the suspicion off his face, the deputy warden tips a hand at the letters. "What are those?"

Without blinking, or meeting the warden's gaze as he's avoided doing this entire procedure, Laurie gives the stack a slap against his thigh, "Legal materials."

Some of the skepticism clears as the warden chooses to believe this, but abides by his mode of conduct without fail, "They'll… have to be inspected." He seems reluctant, yet, to require this of the former agent.

But Laurie only nods, lifting his head now to smile bright and approving, "Of course."

The secure environs of the prison are not wholly unfamiliar to Detective Powers, who goes through all of the measures — at least those that she encounters — stoically, most of which she was easily prepared for by default: no suggestive clothing, no packages, no purses, though of course she was relieved of her weapon. She abides by the rules — that is, until it comes time to pass by the Deputy Warden. Or not, if he has his way.

"Schaffer might be an important figure in a current murder investigation," she explains level-headedly to the man, and though there's clear determination about the detective, she is not, per se, pushy on the matter. While her partner is cheerfully seated, she remains standing. "While I understand the rules and regulations," she continues patiently, "I don't have time to go through every channel — I know that they're important channels, and I respect them, but I am with the police department… all I want to do is observe."

"Schaffer was an important figure in his murder trial," the deputy lays out plainly, his wrist twisting — on it, a very pricey looking watch. "Your current murder investigation is the reason he's even here, sapping up our resources, taking up one of our beds." Though his weight shifts, it is not a indecisive maneuver; his mind and face are as set as can be. "This is a remand center, not high security. Even more reason we need to keep to a strict code. Now— " There's a glance around as he lifts his head, eyeing the office and outside the door where the lobby desk waits.

But while he can't quite grasp the reassurance he wants to give, Laurie supplies a distraction by rolling out of his seat, and offering the warden his hand. It's accepted with the widened eyes that were expecting more of a fight. "Thank you, Deputy Warden. You can get to your… meeting now." When the consultant's eyebrows rise meaningfully, the Deputy Warden grins and then banishes the expression quickly and sheepishly.

"I — how did — " But, shaking his head and raising a hand to Maggie in a less official acknowledgment, he hurries to the door with one last nod to the would-be visitors, "Agent Miles you, of course, may proceed. Detective — I'm sorry — but you're free to use our lobby. There are vending machines in the corner, there."

Maggie's calm regard of the Deputy Warden — nothing he states is anything she doesn't already, technically, understand — becomes touched by a critical bit of curiosity when Laurie intervenes. By the time the warden is hurrying to the door, her normally perceptive gaze is hazed slightly by the beginnings of confusion; it doesn't last long. She is not exactly welcoming of her apparent relegation to the lobby, but she doesn't appear to be pushing it, either. "Well, Agent Miles," her eyebrows lift a touch at Laurie, questioning, then amused, "I'll be here observing the vending machines for clues."

"If only you were so lucky." Walking to the doorway, Laurie also throws Maggie a look, a bare smile that warps thoughtfully, "Does it irk you when I outrank you?" and he smirks, as though filing away some revealing information about Maggie, before he strolls purposefully out of the room. Straight up to the front desk is the path, to where the Front Lobby Officer stands, once in a while entertaining a few clicks of the mouse attached to the screen right below the counter. At Laurie's approach, his head raises.

He grins, warmly, and with a glow just past friendliness: excitement — that he's only minutely aware of showing too much of. "Oh, Agent Miles! Did you leave? Welcome back."

"And I'm superbly happy to be there. Right. Paperwork," scooping the needed elements from atop the stack of letters, he unfolds several pieces of paper — two copies of the same forms — and slides them with several fingers across the counter to the officer. "How's it been here, then, housing a hot commodity like Schaffer?" As he speaks, Laurie also pulls out two IDs from some inner vest pocket, flashing them, one layered just so over the other, at the officer who struggles to look at the paperwork and the IDs and focus on the question.

He also works to hide this struggle, determinedly moving his hands about like he's doing… something with the papers while he grins and nods at the door, "Been protests outside once in a while. Crazy people, I tell you. But we do get some weird ones, since we see them all pre-trial and then you got your attorneys and your families and stuff coming in more often. Okay, alright. Here we go, Schaffer's list," he gives a bit of a chuckle for that one that Laurie stamps with approval by smiling. "Agent Laurence Miles and— "

Turning over his shoulder, Laurie lifts a hand to Maggie, indicating her with a point but making no beckon that she should approach if she hasn't. "Jocelyn— "

"Ah, yes," the officer is quick to nod, grin, shoot a not so secret conspiratorial look between the two, "ADA Miles." Now though, he gives Laurie a meaningful lean, which the consultant reciprocates by putting both hands up on the counter that cover the paperwork. "What's it like, working with the Missus on cases and everything?"

There's just a smile the mysterious side of suggestive from Laurie while the officer gets about the official part of his duties. As he slaps up to the required badges for entry, the consultant only lifts his fingers to allow them on top of the paperwork, then it's all slid backwards with him when he rocks out of the lean. "Blissful," he responds, giving the counter a slap and then turning away from it all. His hand rises to Maggie's back, urging her gently in a direction towards two officers down the hall waiting to escort visitors such as them.

Maggie drifts about from one point to the next with no concrete clue as to what this plan of Laurie's is, evidenced by the fast blinks and slightly open mouth that appear when she's beckoned to the desk and hears 'Jocelyn', 'ADA', 'Miles' and Missus in the same space. She falls into understanding quite quickly, and goes along with the ruse — inasmuch as she remains quiet and moves upon the cue of Laurie's hand, though she shares none of the mens' knowing looks. As their strides take them down the hall, she leans toward Laurie for the purpose of, before they reach the two waiting officers, whispering harshly and breaking her accepting silence completely with, "The ADA?!"

Laurie quite naturally matches her lean and they are right then as personal, sharing a moment, as the names assigned them would suggest. His mouth not quite a smile, not quite a frown, twitches unreadably towards neither of these. "Welcome to married life." But it's then that the guiding hand on her completely falls away and his straightening quickens a stride that the first escort officer turns to meet. Spotting the badges that the consultant holds, the second man leans into a radio clipped to his shoulder. "Special Housing Unit, go ahead and prepare inmate Schaffer for visiting."

"You'll be on the ninth floor since Schaffer is considered a Special Housing Inmate and," there's a nod towards Maggie, "with consideration towards the attorney, you'll be given a room." Side-stepping to give them the clearest path, he also uses his sideways stance to point along the hall to the metal doors just at the end, "You'll be taking that elevator and a Special Housing Unit Officer will be right there to show you the rest of the way." But Laurie has come to a complete halt, and the officer's training, if nothing else, wrinkles his brow warily.

Maggie turns a look over her shoulder, staring down the hallway as if longing for that simpler, honest, albeit not ideal moment when she was meant to be alone with the vending machines — instead of here, dishonest, assumed to be an attorney; and not just any attorney. This, and what are many things ready to be said to Laurie are, however, is all set aside when he comes to a halt.

The focus of the detective-turned-attorney travels easily to the metal doors at the end of the corridor, linger there with some apparent measure of understanding, and she gives the officer a quick, reassuring smile, as if to say: don't mind him. "— there aren't stairs?" she poses casually before touching Laurie's elbow, hesitating on the words that were meant to follow, simplifying what she does say, quiet-voiced. "Are you alright, Miles…?"

The officer returns Maggie's smile simply out of politeness. He retains his right to be put off by Laurie's hesitation at what should otherwise be a completely simple next step. "No, no stairs, madam," he mentions, a beat late, absent, "Elevators are easier to monitor." There's an exchanged look between him and his fellow, shared over the overheard Miles.

A flickering reaction past Laurie's bright blue eyes; his head turns suddenly to regard Maggie, openly and with mild perplexing, "Peachy, honey." To demonstrate, he brushes off both her touch and everyone's uncertainty by taking off down the hallway right for those momentous metal doors. There's a quiet ding as they're approached, sent down, perhaps, by whatever law officer waits above on the ninth.

Easy as can be, he strolls inside the small enclosed rectangle, decorated up top by a glaringly obvious camera, and, when Maggie's also inside, removes his hand from the doorway, allowing the cool gates to shudder off their sensors and come to a complete close.

Maggie waits until they're boxed in to say another word, reaching with a thumb to press the button that should assure they're sent to the right floor. Her gaze sliding sideways toward Laurie while her thumb still indents the button, studying and full of attentive concern (not everyone's uncertainty is brushed off, it would seem), though there's a distance kept in her study. Her gaze purposefully does not bore too deep, and after a moment she looks straight ahead. "You've been avoiding small spaces all day," she states the obvious — a habit of hers, it seems — with no judgment. "No. Closed spaces." An unrelated glance goes to the security camera, gauging whether or not it has audio, as she changes tracks to say, "…if the DA were to find out about this— "

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. It's not the Chinese water torture; Laurie's rapid-fire twitching his finger against his leg as they stand there, doors solidly closed, and the gentle lurching of the machinery as it begins to work. His head tilted a tiny increment to the side, he's eyeing the numbers as Maggie has pressed one with more concentration than a bunch of elevator buttons really require. "Hmmmmmmmoh my God," low, noncommittal response to her detective-like sharp observations transforms as his head slips quickly to the side to stare at her. "I thought you were the DA. What is this lie we're living."

"Potentially, a serious one. Smart trick, and all, Miles, but impersonating the District Attorney wasn't high on my list of things to do today…" Unapproving of these circumstances as she is, the anger isn't filly committed. She did want to come along, though, didn't she; around Laurie, that's basically like asking for it.

As the elevator carries on, its count is watched by the detective more patiently than its other passenger, though the numbers are considered more intently than they would be normally. "I didn't actually realize you used to be married to Ms. Danvers." Stated calmly, she nevertheless reveals some bewilderment over the connection — she's clearly familiar with Jocelyn, which is, in their lines of work, just an inevitability. "Small word," she says after a moment, the inflection more fitting of something like 'makes sense', and why didn't she fully realize it before.

"Oh? But it wasn't off your list?" Eyeing Maggie instead of numbers puts some ease back into Laurie's posture, but not entirely. The only thing completely natural is his voice, comfortable in conversing even their illegal dealings watched by a camera. "That's good. Otherwise, this might have been bad." Asking for it, and willing to not hear any responsibility after the fact; Laurie maintains a certain delinquent casualness.

Maintains it even to the tune of his former marriage. "Really, I'd think 'had once been conjugally matrimonified with Miles' would be one of those things you instantly assume," his tapping finger twists to give several sharp snaps in succession, "upon meeting a person." But he jerks his head away — mainly to give his neck a sound crack off to the right. Following, his hand drifts purposefully towards the numbers: the unlit L button where they came from. "Of course, if I made a mistake letting assumptions be made…"

"Well…" Maggie trails, undemanding. Eyes ahead, she cants her head to one side in a manner contrary to her apparent opinions on the ruse; and the way in which the corners of her lips move upward, just barely, into something like a smirk, is light — almost facetious. "We've come this far. And I used all of my change for the vending machines on coffee."

So the hand falls away and the numbers continue to light upwards. It drops along Laurie's side, in complete relaxation, perpendicular to the one propped also quite naturally at his hip. An ahead stare seems to move beyond the closure of the metal doors and down the hall to yet invisible destination. When he rolls onto his heels and then forward again it's a lazy gesture. "Then I guess you're with me."


* * *

"There will be no touching, no swearing, no food, and no items except these ones as we have examined them now. If there is anything else in your pockets, you will remove it now." It's the recital of a school report to the Special Housing Unit Officer who now drags a metal wand along Maggie's side, close but not getting touchy. "Failure to comply with the rules as laid out in the Notification to Visitor Form could result in the loss of visiting privileges and possible criminal prosecution." The metal detector flies up and over Maggie, completing its round as its already done for Laurie, who waits beside with the stamped identification badges. "You will enter the room first and then the inmate will be brought in. You will have an hour, or until such time as you, or Agent Miles, presses the 'call guard' button located near the door."

Understanding appears to be generally assumed between the guards here, both looking substantially more worked up over dealing with the inmates than those below — though the grade of 'substantially' being only the subtle masculine gestures a detective, or a behavioral analyst, might be privy to noticing.

"Alright," is the shrugged continuation; it would seem the second fellow eyes them both with condescension for ever wanting this meeting, but he presses the button to release the door nevertheless. "Go on it."

For all that she's here under false pretenses, Maggie is, of course, completely dutiful through the further security measures — and seems stoically unaffected by all else. All business, she gives the guards a dip of her head in acknowledgment of their rules, regulations, and cue to enter before she moves to the door purposefully. Hopefully, no one has noticed that she is slightly dressed down for a typical District Attorney, or that the boots she strides with have canvassed a lot of street; but then it is the weekend. The unlocked room is opened up, and the door held open for Laurie along the length of one arm once she's inside — now they just wait.

A minor hiccup only in Laurie's steps when he gets in front of the doorway enough to really scan the space — it's small. Not as small as an elevator, but a certain pallor falls over its square perimeter possibly more so. Stepping inside, they're treated to only two chairs at a table, one opposite the other, which is directly in front of another door, and secured to the floor by way of currently empty trappings awaiting the kind that will be already around the prisoner. Otherwise, four walls, all strictly the same size, all grey. And, when the door shuts behind Maggie, it does so with a finality and the click of an electric and unbreakable lock. To the sound of it, Laurie involuntarily flinches.

It's a reaction that doesn't go unnoticed by Maggie. Realization softly washes her features, becoming conscious of Laurie's source of fear, or at least what she perceives it as — but she says nothing of it. She steps away from him — casually giving him space — and lingers beside the 'call guard' button, her pose open and relaxed, perhaps more than it ought to be while waiting for the inmate to be brought in. "When you want to leave," she explains simply, "let me know, and I'll press the button."

Coming off of the reaction, there's no sign that it happened but the still way Laurie stands where it did, his posture just tense enough to suggest that he's acutely aware of every other movement happening or not happening in the room. Maggie is glanced at not with a turn of the head but only a shifting of the eyes. "Why would I ever want to leave."

Buzzing. Loud, it violates the small space fully. It also signals the opening of the door across from them and the arrival of three bodies: two guards, with an inmate in baggy khaki coverings between them. Handcuffed to his own waist by a thick security belt, chained at the feet, and maneuvered bodily by the two hands on each of his forearms — Earl Schaffer is not overshadowed. Over six feet and built like a brick wall, his nearly shaved head and a thick, uneven jaw paint the aggressive picture of the animal he's portrayed as, bound hand and foot. Without words, the guards settle him into the chair — he sits without fuss, shoulders back and proud — and undo the bindings around his waist and feet. Every cuff is taken away with them when they march disinterestedly out the door and slam it behind. Zzt: locked.

A king on his throne, Schaffer takes in the room one visitor at a time. He begins with Laurie, and his wide mouth splits into a bitter but extraordinarily still pleased smile. "Why, if it isn't SSA Laurence Miles. Come to see me. And you said there'd never be a day." Coolly, precisely, his cold green eyes mark their way to the side and narrow in on the sight of Maggie. But rather than address her, his attention clearly has never left the consultant, whom he glances to with a soft, offended chuckle. "But that is not ADA Jocelyn Miles. You're lying. Do you really want to start this interview with lies, super special agent?"

The woman who is not ADA Jocelyn Miles could be a statue, a new fixture of the locked-in room. She's unmoving throughout the appearance of Schaffer she and remains so now. Maggie is also quiet, so far, offering no introduction; the inmate's question is for Laurie to answer. She is truly an observer in this blast from someone else's past — and a thorough observer, at that: nothing about the inmate is likely to go unwatched, unnoticed, or unrealized by her steady stare.

"I didn't lie to you," Laurie does indeed answer, pressing a hand to his chest and then thrusting the thumb at Maggie, "She didn't lie to you. Those guards must have just made a mistake." Though it takes a moment to do so, the response causes Schaffer to chuckle: wholly and completely amused. His posture in the chair relaxes just enough for him to raise his hands to the table, folding them politely in front of him. Two fingers detach from the hold to note the chair across from him — empty.

"Then let's talk. Doesn't anybody want to sit down, like civilized people?" Green finds Maggie, still pointed, his gaze working like an exact science. "Not her. She's practically hugging the door. I think she wants to leave."

Where green finds Maggie they find that her own eyes are just as exact, though their blue has been made almost grey by the four dull walls and the pale grey of her shirt. No tricks of the light can lessen the depth of her stare, however, and no comments by the murderer move her. She does, however, betray her statuesque appearance by answering levelly. "I'm fine where I am." Not leaving — or sitting. Or, apparently, talking: "For now you can pretend I'm not here."

"Well, I don't want to pretend you're not there," Schaffer levels right back to her, perfectly even, no sign of agitation when his demands aren't met. In fact, he elaborates idly: "Nobody wants to talk to me, I don't want to talk. Guards!" Commanding, righteous; as though the security were here to serve rather than restrain him.

Appearing unaffected by the display, the threat of dismissal, Laurie takes the strides necessary to approach the table, yanking the available chair out and dropping hard onto it, his hands already falling onto the table in an exact mimic of Schaffer's. Blue to green, they stare, neither blinking. Except then Schaffer begins to squint, broken from his posturing with a surprise that he instantly flushes away except from his cold, focused eyes. Just a bark of laughter, then another. Attempting to quell the chuckling, he lurches forward on his next gesture without getting so much of a twitch from Laurie. "You got old, agent. Old and whipped." He brings up a hand, tracing on his own face where the darkest of Laurie's scars would be if the wounds were transferred. "I appreciate the intent, but, really… shoddy craftsmanship. No respect at all for purpose or restraint. Like a child. If you need me to catch this person for you," he shrugs, a completely deliberate up and down motion, as he sits back, hands folded. "I don't think I could stoop so low."

Hands unclasp on Laurie's side; he excuses himself far more gently from the chair than he sat in it. Just as pointedly, he turns away from Schaffer, breaking the stare, to regard Maggie at the wall. "Detective Powers," he says, coolly, "You have some questions?" The back of the chair is patted.

Maggie's first glance away from Schaffer is to Laurie on her name being spoken — and, in turn, to the chair. It lingers there a moment before she gives the man who left it a long look as if searching for precise reasoning or or confirmation. She approaches the bench, so to speak, and takes her seat (like a civilized person). She settles in only as much as she has to, not comfortable by any means, but not uncomfortable, either; everything about the detective is set on neutral, including the calm, almost instructional voice the inmate is then addressed with. "If you're wondering… why there's been so much excitement today… it's because a woman was killed and left off of 10th Avenue. She was beaten, and strangled with a belt, and an X was carved into her face." A pause. "We know that it wasn't you… so. What do you know about your special admirers?"

Tap tap. Only twice. But it's evident for the tiny moment that Laurie's hand lingers against the back of the chair while he holds it there for Maggie to sit. Then the grip vanishes and the consultant is only standing there, the pillar of silence that the detective once was. A disdainful glance from Schaffer passes up to Laurie's standing height, but then he carefully lowers his gaze to meet Maggie in the eye. Even as he stares right at her… it's like she could be dust. There's nothing in that gaze at all to register with until pride comes over his face — just slightly warming it, just barely lifting his chin. His hands readjust. "You brought me pictures." Barely a question.

The detective blinks slowly. "No. You'll have to use your imagination." A thought which mars the woman's neutral voice with the faintest inflection of contempt, especially because she chooses to help the image form, and some of that subtle disgust might just be for what she makes herself say. "Shoddy workmanship, too. A little shaky. Probably his first time. Or he was nervous." She gauges Schaffer at every second. "Do you know who might try to copy you like that?"

"Yeah, well, I've been in here a while. Maybe I need a little— inspiration." A touch of a grin despite his words of deterioration; it can be counted on that Schaffer's marked even that tiny bit of difference in Maggie's voice. It isn't a nice or a happy grin. And it's interrupted by the sudden vanishing of Laurie from Maggie's side; the consultant has seemed to wander off in some boredom from his post. Schaffer attempts to ignore it for a while, eyes jumping between Maggie and the man, but then he can't stop the sneer. "Where are you going?"

"Hmm?" Laurie about-faces — late. Pulling himself forcefully from some reverie in which Schaffer had absolutely no part, he glances to the side then to the convicted felon. "What, me? Well. You're not answering anything. I don't find reason to pay attention to you at all, no. So I'll just go over here, and— "

"No." Schaffer's word is meant to be final, and is spoken as such. If just a little shakier than before. Clasped hands relax out of near fists. He shoots a direct but annoyed look to Maggie, the sneer lingering. "Fine. I'll just look at the agent's face for inspiration." Thus compelled, Laurie makes his way to Maggie's side again, his hands wandering at his own. Tap, against the table. Schaffer meanwhile adjusts his chest, his shoulders, and then realigns with Maggie across the way as though nothing had happened at all; there's only a begrudging sniff as he deliberates over his words visibly for the first time. "Nobody," he declares heavily after a moment, "Can be shoddy and copying me. So," near mocking in his obedience in answering, "no, Madame Powers."

"Detective," Maggie corrects firmly. In contrast to the consultant and the inmate, she hasn't moved a even half an inch, a continually still presence. "I think that there is somebody, and I think you know who they are. You're in here… and he's out there," she states slowly. "You can't blame a student for imperfect work when their teacher isn't around." She glances to the side, more or less toward Laurie, and slightly down, marking her next quiet question as meant for him. "Do you have the letters?"

"Sorry," not really. "You looked kind of like a madame." Now that Laurie's still, Schaffer has no problem being a rock, himself, and treats Maggie with a thin, barely patient look. Slowly, he moves forward, weight moving to his hands as he pulls himself over the table, leaning into Maggie's side with a steady and unhurried motion. There, he takes in a deep, nostril-flaring sniff and he sits back with the same speed. "But no. It's just a cop. Cops are almost as bad as shrinks." To which he must mean Laurie, judging by the glance. "Trying to understand something they never can. And then here's you. Are you very stupid, lady? I said — if it isn't perfect, then it isn't mine."

"Are these yours?" In reference from Laurie to the letters that he retrieves, slapping them down on the table and pressing his fingertips to them, creating a tiny barrier between the letters and Schaffer's ability to touch them without breaking visitation rules. Tap tap tap tap tap goes one finger against that paper.

Schaffer, watching that tapping with all his capacity to observe, is struck using the sign of agitation to rankle his own. "How nice of you to bring them back to me."

The detective is ever impassive to Schaffer's proceedings. "Do you recognize these letters?" Rhetorical, in part; obviously he knows they're his. "I'm not stupid, Earl…" she says straightforwardly — no trace of defensiveness — it's just a fact, though there's no ego to be found, either. There is an increasing intensity, however; he straight posture cants forward. "I think… we both— "

Both; Maggie lays her hands on the letters, beside the tapping finger of Laurie, making another barrier between Schaffer and the papers while being, also, casually dismissive of the rules applied between the inmate and his guests: he can't touch them but her hand brushes Laurie's, not abiding the same rules.

"…understand more than you realize," she tells Schaffer, slow and steady. "Because I think the author is not only a fan; he is your biggest fan, enough of one to imitate you … even imperfectly. And," the cop is just full of opinions! "I think you know who wrote these letters."

"No." Plain as can be, Schaffer needs so little time to calculate Maggie and come to this exact conclusion; she's found wanting. "No, you don't. Let's ignore him a moment," glancing Laurie's way and back, "he doesn't need the ego. But you." And as though he's suddenly finding an interest, a holding, in these proceedings, the inmate shuffles forward, a more honest lean into his hands than the predatory one of before. Not that this should be considered less of a power move.

While Laurie's hand ceases its time-keeping, Schaffer spares that contact between them a kind of twisted gleam in his eye. "You don't understand, not really. You're much too uptight and righteous for that. You think like a cop — move like a cop. Worst of all — you ask questions. Like. A. Cop." His fingers all raise and then resettle as he takes a pause, a calm and studied thing during which he also slowly licks his lips. "Why." His low, rumbly voice raises, high and mocking falsetto, "Why do these happen? Why would somebody want to dooo that? Why, why, WHY." Increasingly, his tone returns to normal and then demanding the last.

Then calm. Ohhh, so slithering and calm. "And you kinda wanna know. Just a little bit. You need to know how 'something like this'," quote fingers, they're there, "would happen." And the lower his voice gets, the more personal — the more intimate — then the more those eyes drill into Maggie's unrelentingly. "You're curious," he pronounces, full and sensual… and then suddenly distasteful, "And that's a little sick … And you know it."

The whole time that he's been zoning in on Maggie, burrowing into the detective from the parasitic reach of his gaze — someone else has been watching him. "Is your fan a little sick…?" Laurie asks, not pushing: a question he knows the answer to.

In response, Schaffer's head jerks unhappily away from his intent, lost a second in finding where the consultant has moved — distracted that he didn't realize he had; he snaps, "What?"

The inmate's stare is met with a stare just as unrelenting from Maggie's side, and for all his needling, her look becomes intensified. A mild contraction narrows her eyes, and her mouth tugs straighter, tenser — maybe that same contempt as before, or something more pointed — but she's unwilling to look away from his drilling gaze. She remains still. Composed. No reply and no questions from the righteous cop pegged to ask so many of them, only a prompt: "He asked you a question."

Nonchalantly, she picks up the top letter, sets it front of her, smoothes the creases, and lifts it from the table. It's tipped just so with both hands in order for her gaze to run along the page, appearing to read the lines in her mind. "He sounds sick, our C.S…"

"Yeah, I heard him." Schaffer sighs heavily, so burdened by their pestering, even as it matches his own. He might have found his way to looking at the consultant, but there is that letter…

"He is, though, isn't he," muses Laurie, not bothered or slowed by Schaffer not responding to him precisely. "Sick. Weak. Feeding off if you, but not like you. Needing you— " A tilt of the head, giving time to a thought everyone here knows he's already had and is now making a show for. "But you need, too."


"You do," Now Laurie's growing eager with his theory, "You needed those women. Needed them to be victims. You couldn't help it."

"I kept it fit days," as Schaffer grows more prideful, he also becomes fitful, "Days agonizing, crying, desperate. I wanted to… feel it… do it…" His hands raise; from a certain angle — his own — he could be seen to be strangling Maggie. But want as he might… no agony. No control. His hands drop. "But I made it last.""

Her eyes raised from the letter, the very unharmed woman in the room tenses only slightly, over the inmate's descriptions, desires; the lines of her brow embolden. "You made it last," she echoes with none of Schaffer's inflection. "But not by yourself — now; you can't do it yourself anymore. No, it's been nine years and you still…" she goes on in a calculated repetition of Laurie, this time, her neutral voice taking the most subtle of turns to something more challenging, beguiling: "… need."

There comes a faint narrowing of her eyes and Detective Powers turns the letter in her hands over, to face Schaffer. It's held up neatly either side like a sign, out of reach, the scrawl too distant and cramped to even read; but then, he should already know the script. "So the same thing you did to women … happens to another— is it the same, living vicariously?"

"No, it is not!" But this from Laurie, who, in his newfound eagerness, leaps to the edge of the table, sitting himself upon it much as he did with Maggie's desk in a place much different than this. "It," enunciated perfectly, attached with a morbid brightness, "sucks." With a hand, he scoops up the next letter in line, squinting theatrically but ultimately disdainfully at the words. "This," stabbing at the paper enough to crinkle it, he earns a snarl from the fiercely attentive Schaffer, "isn't feeling a person. It's not control, or life, or the deceptively little actual pressure it takes to squeeze that tender but vital spot until bones… start to…." Now, Schaffer could just as well be salivating in that stare and his hands nearly do harm to themselves clenched so tight. But he's left wanting — writhing — when Laurie doesn't conclude his suspiciously experienced description but takes the letter in both hands by the top, "This is nothing." And he rips it, a complete tear top to bottom that sends Schaffer into a single, wrathful convulsion.

"You didn't just get old…" The inmate concludes when he's composed enough again to eye the consultant with the old intelligence.

"Anyway," deliberates Laurie breezily tossing the pieces of fan mail over his shoulder, "You're a liar, Earl," From his perch, he can quite well lean over Schaffer, looming in judgment. "You lied. There was no control when you couldn't wait, had no choice but to slice Dawn Frank's face before she was dead. You were desperate, driven. A slave to your base urges."

Schaffer, snarling beyond his control, scoffs yet as he breaks his clasps hands to give one knuckle an irritate scratch, "Yeah. yeah. I've heard all this before."

"Then how about," Laurie's perfectly content to move on; that's what he wanted, and he let's everyone see that, "the story of why you needed C.S."

Maggie tucks her head down a little, restrains the flexion of her jaw when it's Laurie's descriptions, not Schaffer's, that draws a reaction in her. She folds her hands — relieved of the letter — on the table benignly, then, and calmly continues to listen as before. The detective's eyebrows eventually lift, prompting, giving the murderer a look of complete, attentive interest. If it weren't for the certain knowing in Maggie's eyes, it would almost be a pleasant expression — open and blinking, innocently expectant. She's waiting for story time.

The tapping may have ceased, but there's something else to contend with. Sitting there on the table, his hands folded serenely over his lap, Laurie 's left foot has begun to twitch in similar pattern, even ups and downs. But a face clear of stress watches Schaffer, measuring out a second where the inmate is also compelled to defer to storytime, forcing himself relaxed and quiet. "For some reason, this started out different than the others. CS stood out," Laurie almost sounds like he could sympathize, but it's a trap; he's patronizing below that. "A spark. Potential. Something to mold and shape again, influence in every way." Sniffing slightly, the consultant lets his gaze wander then return, "But then it happened imperfectly." Low, dangerous: he channels the exact emotions to which he makes reference. "That little fucker dared to act in your name and be wrong."

Again, Schaffer is caught letting his grip become violent, full of unfulfilled intentions. "He said he could do it. She was so ripe for it…" He speaks contemplatively, scheming, forgetting his audience.

"But you couldn't let something like this go to waste, no," Laurie's narration could now almost be the voice in Schaffer's own head, "That would be an even worse sin. He let you down — you should have known, Earl," companionable, Laurie leans in, "They just aren't as easy to shape when they're still breathing. There's where you fail… Earl. They always have to be dead and leave you."

Immediately alight with rage, Schaffer snaps out of his daze to stare at Laurie. "…. May," the first sign of loss of authority, and he takes that question, but not the emotion, to Maggie, "I have those letters now." And Laurie nods just so at her.

The nod is seen and followed immediately, as Maggie had been watching Laurie tell the story — thus giving him all of her attentive stare with not another glance to Schaffer, even upon the confession of contact with C.S., until now. She moves the stack of letters toward the convict with a small, measured push across the table. As her hand draws back, her shoulder shifts in an uneasy roll back, working out some twinge of disquiet half-hidden by the way she gives her chin a composed lift up.

Maggie's hands re-fold in front of her, and she leans ahead faintly to regard Schaffer and the letters. "What do you have to say to him now — to C.S."

Anger makes Schaffer overly eager in stretching across that no man's land to reclaim his rightful property. Each letter, ignorant of the words said against their author, is spread out in front of the inmate in an arc that shows at least part of every one, orderly but visible. A few set farther apart then others, otherwise uniform to the point of neuroticism. "I think… I have to refresh my memory…." Fondly spoken, even now — even for C.S. — Schaffer lays his hands on the material and seems set to do exactly this — by silently reading every sentence. Or absorb them by osmosis if his pose if one was to take his pose seriously.

As the quiet stretches on, with not even a squeak from Schaffer for any measure of interruption — Laurie stays in reflective pose as long as he can before the study of his nails can no longer keep him from shoving off the table. He's instantly set on a course back and forth across the room, what space there is. The movement eventually raises Schaffer's gaze from the letters, but he only makes a paper-shuffling obvious return to reading.

"You don't care about those letters," pipes up Laurie after he observes this play, "Not really them at all. They're too attached to the disappointment now— C.S. is just a meal ticket."

Schaffer's upper lip curls in displeasure but nothing else; he reads. For at least several more minutes before he seems all but forced to raise his body and openly regard Laurie's measure strides past him. "Look at you…" He mutters, truly curious, with a touch of more, "You're doing worse in here than I am…" The curiosity latches on, morphing with realization into — dark delight. "Oh. Oh! Ho ho ho… how didn't I see this before?" His hand parts from the letters, curling under his chin as he sets in for the long watch, "You've done it, agent, switched over. Now you're on our side," in his glee, his triumph, he almost laughs: a bark. Laurie, his to tongue pressed to the inside of his cheek to stop it moving, pretends not to even hear the criminal. But if course he can. "My side," the clear implication flexes Laurie's hand and his finger — tap tap tap — is only secondary to his whole hand twitching at his side. Schaffer eats it up with the appropriate grin and leans so leisurely back against his chair, no more physical wall, "Where did they lock you up to give you an itch that bad?"

Silence. Calm. Laurie stops pacing and his body stills from each compulsion. A beat. He glances sideways along where he's stopped past the table on the prison's inner side. Sniff; his head turns away.

And then feet twist and he launches at Schaffer's unguarded, overly relaxed body.

There is a calm before every storm, a moment of silence before every tsunami. It is — arguably — a good thing that the cop in the room is so attentive; that when, after the inmate's provocations, playing on those things she's already realized herself, Laurie's tapping gestures stop … Maggie's eyes hone in on him. The rush comes and she's on her own feet with a quickness and force that might bruise her legs against the table's edge as her body shoves and slants over it. A strong and sharp-elbowed arm aims to go across Laurie in her attempt to bar him from the Schaffer— and in doing so puts herself quite close to the latter, for an instant looming down at his face. Her firm, intense glower is, however, for the provoked consultant she's set on struggling with. "Back off."

The burst of Laurie's initial charge powers past Maggie's interference, even as her elbow gets him at the chest. No force can remove the hands that he grapples ferociously around Schaffer's khaki'd collar, heaving the inmate towards him with a violent shake. Schaffer's chuckle quickly becomes a cough as the rattling he gets interrupts his throat and, as he's bodily made to go face to face with his new aggressor, his eyes — those cold, unfeeling eyes — widen.

Fighting his own partner's barricade, Laurie can't quite lean against her planted arm, so he jerks Schaffer yet forward, pulling him past until he can mutter privately into the convicted man's ear. Seven to ten words — a single sentence — fast, low and, for all Maggie can hear of inflection.

As soon as they're out, his hands completely loosen without hesitation and he goes so far as to lift both arms up and away, displaying his compliance with doing no more. Dropped into his seat, having made no effort to modulate the detachment from the attack, Schaffer is as tall before… but now because of how stiffly he sits. Beyond his tightened jaw, made of nerves since there's no flicker of even an instant's expression trying to escape on his blank face, his eyes resolve into two hard green pools of emotion. Candid, impossible fear. On a declared sociopath, it's surreal.

A moment passes with Laurie scuffling backwards in further motions of passiveness. By then Schaffer has given a dry lick to his lips and he cracks his mouth apart with stored determination in uncaring. "Doesn't matter," he declares, too bland to be that same triumph of before, but similarly victorious in fact, "Any of that anymore, does it." As he warms to the subject, so does he find he can turn his neck again, make his old expressions of challenge as he looks between them — Laurie's back as the consultant has turned away, an arm hunched towards his own face, "In a little under a month, it'll all be done. They're gonna kill me, you know." This on Maggie; she's new, after all. Even if she knows things. "They're going to give me whatever meal I want, and then they're going to march me down a hallway to a little room with a curtain, which they'll draw aside once I've been properly strapped in so that the vultures who call themselves people can ooh and ahh as the needles slide in — so easy, so painless they say, but you can always feel that prick," his hands curl almost one with his mouth, "The one that turns your own body against you as blood pumps that poison right in like honey, like life. But it's not, it's death. Coming for you. From you…" Fingers spread, landing every tip on a different letter in front of him. "It all ends."

It's a whirlwind at first, and Maggie — who backpedals only to leave the table and shift, quickly, to position herself between Schaffer and Laurie once he's off — is left looking back and forth between the two. Initially, she seems horrified — disturbed. The undisguised expression soon turns into confusion before hardening. She spends a moment looking back at Laurie, but as Schaffer goes on and on about his upcoming execution in such a way, a rare thing occurs: Maggie actually becomes acutely impatient. Agitated.

She's the one to launch toward the table this time, though she has no intentions of laying hands on Schaffer — only the table. Her hands slam down around the corner from the inmate, and she stares at him from his level. "Then it doesn't really matter," she repeats, "what you tell us. It's all set in stone for you. You're here now. You're going to be executed. And C.S…. you won't be around, to live through him, and you don't think he's good enough to carry on for you, do you — so what use does he have for you anymore." Maggie gives one of the letters a solid tap. "I bet he'd like to show you personally what he did, though. I bet he'd like to come see you."

"Of course he would," postures Schaffer, finding an actual twisted solace in Maggie's agitation over Laurie's just a bit ago; the hands he caught shaking against the table have stopped since. "Everybody wants to come see me nowadays. I've had so many requests." And his eyebrows lift pointedly at the leaning detective; she came. "Besides, so he isn't a use for me," he'll allow her that, "what makes you think I should turn around and make him one for you."

"Because it won't end." The statement exists purely on its own when Laurie at first pauses, lingering in that sentiment far different than if he were offering it to them in actual conversation. Eventually, he does turn, pulling his hand away his face with a smear of blood to show for its being there; a tiny bit more wells at the bottom of his nose but refrains from dripping further. When he inhales sharply, it's banished. "Not even when you're dead, Earl. It's going to continue — he will," his raised hand, slow as if to stave off any ideas that he'll attack, turns eventually downwards accusingly towards the precious rainbow of letters. "He'll just go on with his imperfect, imprecise, imbalanced killings until his name is completely immortalized with yours. Right next to you. When people think back about that Earl Schaffer and how he murdered all those prostitutes, the next thing they'll say is how about that copycat. The one who didn't get executed. Well. Didn't he just top the original. Forever." It's not anger that springs up next; but it isn't really not, either, "And you'll just be dead."

"Come on, agent," Schaffer's low threat has become a low mutter, instead. Sullen, childish, but important. He still can't quite look Laurie in the eye without that fear resurfacing, so he gives up trying. Instead, he watches his fingers squeeze, strangling the letters on the pages. "You got me… don't sell yourself short on my copy cat already…"

"Where are the other letters, Earl?"

Now he reflexively looks up and is caught regretting it. "… What?"

"One," precise pointing at one of the spots where the letters are spaced that little bit differently, "Two," the next, and more: "Three, four." Laurie concludes with his arms crossed lightly and unrelentingly across his chest. "Four of these things are not like the others."

Maggie settles stiffly into her standing lean, poised over the table as unmoving, now, as when she had been sitting. The observations Laurie voices — all of them — bring about barely perceptible nods of confirmation and approval. More obviously, she tips her head to indicate him while, in a voice much lighter than the threat her words deserve, she advises Schaffer, "You know… Earl — I'd answer his question… if I were you."

Hate is not foreign to a sociopath, and he Earl Schaffer wields it well against Maggie, his hands scrapping, crinkling letters as the fingers retreat into clenched fists wrapped around the edge of the table. His mouth twitches, testing a stubborn look — seeing if the hint of it will set off something in his interrogators — then switching to anger and then to a miniscule suggestion of compliance. But the leer that his face forms is none of those. And it's only for Maggie, upon whose space he intrudes just enough to breathe heavily where she can pick up the heat. "I'll answer his…" he says, gaze flickering unbidden to Laurie, unintentionally seeking, of all things, permission from there. When he realizes, tension ripples through his body like an affliction and it only toughens his stance towards grinning at Maggie in the worst way. "If you answer mine."

There ought to be a saying for these circumstances, I don't negotiate with serial killers; but whether she'll accept the breech by answering Schaffer's question remains a mystery for a good, long moment. The consideration Maggie takes can't even be scrutinized — her expression is completely unyielding. Just like the blank response to his stubborn look and the invasion of space, the detective gives away nothing, now, until she speaks. "I hope you have a good answer."

"I have a better question." Schaffer's promise is serious, as pointed as the slight tip of the head he gives her for all her non-allowances and her blank looks. Easing up from his seat in slow, but steady, increments, he's soon at somewhat of a level with Maggie, bent over so that his hands can stay primly on the table mostly where he left them. With his face meant to mutter so intimately to Maggie's ear, it's nearly a mimic of what happened to him. In fact, the whole time he speaks, his eyes stay trained on Laurie, daring him to oppose the closeness. The purpose of which the consultant does not get to be privy to. "Does he frighten you?"

For the closeness, Maggie twitches faintly against a frown. For the question, she hardens. Slowly, she glances off to the side; unlike Schaffer, she's far from actually getting Laurie in her line of vision. She could, if she turned her head; she doesn't. Reluctance is dutifully fought passed and she lays out her simple answer very slowly, very candidly: "Sometimes." Decisive, for such a guilty word.

She immediately straightens and takes a solid step away from the table, folding her arms. "It's your turn," she reminds firmly before Schaffer has the chance to interject any sort of follow-up to his question. "The letters. Where are they."

There is no follow-up; as soon as she's answered, Schaffer is already on his way to his seat, settling thick shoulders against its uncomfortable back — king again. She's given him a warm glass of milk to sleep with. Even his eyelids get lazy. "Thank you for not lying to me, Detective Powers." For more than just the courtesy of answering.

Until, as it is prone to doing, reality sweeps in and he shifts up, sitting straight and attentive, but not entirely willing. It takes much longer than that, more picking at the skin around his knuckles and unhappy wallowing before he's prepared to appeal at all to her pressuring. "I have them," is finally dragged out, "I wasn't about to let the wardens and the police fumble all over such good, nice images." Pleasure, at their memory, can not be held back by his other less desirable feelings.

"Pictures of Eleanor Epstein," is decided by Laurie as he stays with unwavering attention on Schaffer's every tiny move, even those only thought about. (If he found their interlude at all distracting, he shows nothing of it now) Off the look from Schaffer, questioning in its annoyance, he elaborates, "You described a woman you would have otherwise never seen as 'ripe for it'."

Biting at his lip, the offender in this case, Schaffer can't quite be angry. But he can be grudging, and he's certainly that. "Well, I suppose I did, friend."

Schaffer is, for the record, given no welcome in return to his thanks. Maggie's arms unfold when she hears the answer, unsurprised by it, not appearing particularly impressed or satisfied with it, either. "Are we going to find them if we have your quarters searched?" A studying look quickly travels up and down Schaffer, skeptical of the more convenient possibility that he could be hiding them close to his person. The detective takes to walking about the room, though it's a short venture, leading her to a standstill near the door — by the 'call guard' button, with a quick pointed look to Laurie — before she faces Schaffer again. Her arms fold once more in serious carriage. "Does he have a name — or do you only know him by initials?" A quick pause. "There won't be a question for a question, this time."

He's negligent in answering, avoiding in general but keenly aware of that beacon by which she stands. A kind of tight swallow; Schaffer leans to his side, picking at the letters' arrangement that so revealed him. "Then how about… a person for a person." In a pause, he is quick to raise his hand — hold, there's more. Not inclined to let either of them decide not to play because they're tired of interludes. "He'll come here, your little buddy," he says neatly, beginning to slide one end of the letter arc towards the other, "Like a puppy, if I let him. Just like that." End meets end; now he has a loose pile that he pats together into a clean one. "Hell," he gives a generous sniff, crossing one arm and gesturing the other out as he leans into the chair, "I'll even do your job for you and get him to incriminate himself."

"Hmmmmmmm," it's a long, completely unconvinced noise from Laurie as his own arms unwrap to press hands at hip, kneading fingers into pockets before they can be seen to be making any especial twitches. The longer he keeps the hum up, the more high-pitched and doubtful it gets, coinciding with the skeptical raise of his eyebrows. "Cute," he allows first, before becoming quickly heartless, "Nice try. But I'm pretty sure the feds want to fry you the mostest, Earl." He thinks, licking lips. "You know," hand away from his hip briefly, "If there were actual frying involved."

Maggie steps into this dialogue — literally, coming up alongside Laurie. "But your execution might get delayed," she states in what would be an offering of negotiation if it weren't so factual. "If you were to bring him to us. All of that evidence … and because of you. A new murder trial linked to the old one…" she posits with a tilt of her head that seems favorably considering, if skeptical of Schaffer's response. "Not… to sound like the actual DA, here, but there might be a case to made for a stay of execution." Unlikely; possible.

Laurie's finding of Maggie there is quick, sharp — but not enough to stop her from putting forth this offer — one to the sound of which he gives a loud, grumbling scoff. One side of his mouth curls down, reminiscing on some bad taste in it. "You're really— " The self-imposed interruption also moves him physically away from her, a varying distance when he can't quite settle to a spot.

Bemusedly watching, eyes nearly drinking in the radiating unhappiness like life's blood, Schaffer's shoulders wiggle with a glee he manages to more control in his voice. "Then I guess you'd better get on that. I believe I've said all I need to here."

The next several paces of Laurie's put him where the detective had just been standing. But rather than hover there, he decisively slams down on the call button. Over the bzzzztt of its alarm, he interjects, "Figure it out on your own time. We're done here." It takes only seconds for the sound of one door unlocking to occur, but it's the one meant for the man going back to prison. Already riled by the very sudden deadline, he resists a bit more to the grips appearing at his forearms, hauling him upwards.

"No, no, no — no! No, agent! First— " He frees one arm forcibly, using it to point at the impassive Laurie. The hand is easily recaptured, but Schaffer thrusts forward without, "Tell me how it felt! I bet it was good! Tell me it was good for you like it was for me!" Hefted up and off his feet, and therefore his balance, the serial killer is relentlessly made to move closer and closer to the door until he can only stretch his neck so far to still be seen, "I won't let you go until you—" The slam of the door cuts him off, though his muffled yelling does not disappear entirely for several moments longer.

Bzzzt, and now they're free to go.


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