Date: June 3, 2010
An Asset and a Handler meet up.
"Good, Bad, or Ugly"
It's been busy lately for undercover agent Sam Wright. He's flushing out the leak, maintaining his cover, and doing a job on the side, so all-in-all his handler duties have been moderately neglected the last week or so. He waits in the rather seedy downtown Queens hotel in a back room of the kitchen.
If he dresses casual for the station he's a downright slob today. His jeans are ripped, his hair is ruffled, and his collar is a mess. He blends well. In fact, he looks like one of the workers at the nearby shipping yard.
He puffs slowly on a cigarette as he sits on a crate in the back room awaiting his asset. Slowly he blows out the smoke and then deeply inhales it again, taking in the air that he can as if trying to use the smoke twice.
The creaking of the old swinging door into the room heralds another arrival for the rundown room, blocked briefly by the tall shelf of supplies between the entry and where Sam sits. With only a few thumps of heavy boots, the man becomes visible, his hand braced against some randomly shelved containers as he twists the corner to see the agent there.
The Roscoe that Laurie has become fits into the environment in an entirely different way; his fine olive jacket over a rather dressy shirt, though partially unbuttoned and un-tucked… it's only those trademark boots, thick and forever stained with this or that morbid color despite being cleaned to a sheen — just those that look like they've put in a hard day's work.
Situating himself against the shelf, Laurie's posture looks temporary, like he could leave at any moment. Leaning back casually, he glances this way and that, perhaps checking the room for others, despite Sam clearly having been here already.
Between the glances, swift through they may seem, he sees another place, preserved in a perfect memory…
Nine Years Ago
The hotel room is hardly deserving of its name, the bed being something slightly less than appealing and the rest a level of sanitary accepted only by those too high on their own addictions to really notice or care. Her hair frazzled with inattention, make-up still heavy though smeared from days of application, the dark-haired woman sliding the door open to the wavering of her own balance looks every bit the kind of person who would accept such an establishment. As she's crossing the threshold, tipping backwards to push the door closed, there's barely a warning sound from the dimly lit bathroom to let her know she isn't alone.
Twisting around the archway leading into the main room, Laurence freezes to a stop on his first step, hand poised casually yet purposefully at his waist. It's a pose the woman across from him notices even as he sees her fingers tracing along the bottom edge of her skirt. After a second, smiles break both tense faces and the arms move away. Laurence's come to cross somewhat stiffly over his chest while Kris waves hers dismissing in the air. "You've got to stop doing that, Loz." She admonishes, strolling forward on hooker heels before, with a deft twist of heel and kick, banishing one then the other to the floor and shortening her by a foot. It's an extra one that she has to look up at her charge with as he looks only half as relaxed as her to know they're in safe company.
"What's up?" She asks, keeping her voice level but pressing that sense of urgency anyway, "Do we have to bail?"
"No," Laurence contradicts immediately, though he brings hands up to rub very seriously against his face in clear agitation, "No, that— It's just a… feeling I have. About Jidano."
"The dirty cop," he snaps off, barely even allowing the man even that title. Angrily, he presses the side of a hand against his mouth to stop from saying more, but the other indulges in a swipe that sends the hotel's one remaining lamp to the floor with a clatter and a crash of breaking bulbs. Kris doesn't jump at the display, but her mouth thins out into hiding her lips behind her disapproval. Pushing to her feet, she approaches, placing a friendly, familiar hand against his to draw the one away from his face, let her look him in the eye.
"Soo…" The drawl starts before he's fully glanced back around at the other, "How's it going?"
Gaze hard and unyielding, Sam's lips curl slowly into something resembling recognition rather than a smile itself. He runs a hand through his too-long-for-him hair and leans back against the wall behind the crate on which he's perched, lounging in a way. His feet firmly planted on the floor he leans forward and stares at it before answering, "It's goin'." He doesn't need to explain that things are an utter mess and the more he learns, the more he recognizes what a mess they are.
He takes another long puff on the cigarette. It was a habit he'd given up many many years ago, but lately they've been calling him. Yelling his name. His frazzled nerves need an outlet and this happens to be it. Slowly he blows out the smoke, creating an odd haziness to the recirculating air. "And you?"
Laurie's own upper lip pulls high on one side in a half-formed, but generally unenthusiastic, sneer of displeasure at the bath of smoke saturating the air. It travels a bit to get from Sam, sitting, to the standing consultant who, on an even playing field would still be higher, waves a dismissive hand in front of him to encourage it away again. Relaxing some afterwards leads him to drop his arms to sides, elbows crooked back as he hooks thumbs into his belt-loops and considers an answer. There isn't really a need or desire for pleasantries in this company, so he leads off simply with, "Your mole and I have had a few words."
At the wafting, Sam smirks and puts his cigarette out on the cold cement floor. What he wouldn't give for something a little stronger right now. Oddly something reminiscent pulls at his features while he does so, but it quickly dissipates into neutrality.
"I'm sure ya 'ave," the tone borders on bitter; bitterness that Laurie hasn't earned today, bitterness about his own posting and where his case has brought him. "And? Who is it? I'm sure my boss would love 't 'ave a name— "
Though having just affected the pose, Laurie breaks it briefly to raise a hand and tug faux-bashfully at an ear. As he eases into a better lean on the one shoulder, the fingers replace at his waist, pushing his coat out in a typical stance from the consultant-turned-gangster. "Actually," he voices, hissing out a breath for just as fake apology as the shyness before, "I had a better idea."
"See," he adjusts physically again, as though trying to get comfortable picking words he's probably already had his mind set on for a while, "Basically, the FBI would just fuck everything up." A beat. "In the case of the mole." He shifts to free both hands again; they come up in front of him, fingers tucked and then splayed like fireworks as he declares, "Instead of getting pulled in, it'd be better if this thing just… disappeared." *Poof*.
Sam's eyes narrow. "We need to question him. I want the kingpins behind this gang war and to do that, I need evidence. The DA has made that abundantly clear. They won't even let us talk to Takahashi until we have something substantial— problems can't just disappear." Although, judging from Sam's weary expression, he wishes they would. "I've been following this case for years. And we've been tracking this mole for a good portion of that. I need information." Beat. "Who is it?"
After a moment's consideration on all this, the undercover consultant gives a short sniff, commenting, "Has anyone ever told you you're a very needy person?" Laurie's mouth drags into an exaggerated questioning look to match the jump up from his eyebrows. It's gone as fast, him choosing to rub at his chin more seriously, where there's been grown a bit of stubble that lends to his image and this type of movement.
"Know how you're not going to get your evidence?" he counters, remaining casual in tone, though his blue eyes are equally focused, "By revealing that the law knows who their source has been. They'll close shop on everything the mole could finger — and, frankly, that's exactly what I'd be telling them to do. You start bullying the whole, they close in tighter… on the other hand," to which he displays a hand of his own, "You create insecurities from the inside…"
Shrugging, evaluating Sam's reactions, he adds with a bit less of an attempt at convincing, "Anyway, all you gotta do is track the fuckin' mole on the breeze. Wait till everybody stops lookin', whoosh, scoop up your precious rat."
It's Sam's turn to sneer. "Are you suggesting I let him continue to be a mole for now?" He quirks a single eyebrow skeptically before frowning a little. "So you want to make him disappear?" Drumming his fingers on his leg, his eyes narrow, "How do you propose to make this man disappear?"
"Well, you've let it go this long," It's a light jab, accompanied only by a tilt of the head that Laurie abandons to, instead, jut out his lower lip carelessly at the sight of that frown, the ongoing skepticism. "Easy," he declares, moving the hand from his chin to scratch at the side of his neck before it drops. "He — sure, let's use 'he' — believes he's blackmailing me to stay quiet on account of him knowing I'm less than I say I am. Unfortunately, he's unaware that I've set him up to take the fall with a bad deal about to go down. He'll bolt. And when he does, he'll take his precious marked, tracked bills with him."
Long moments pass as Sam massages his temples. Why did it have to be such a stubborn asset? He always has to deal with the stubborn ones. He swallows hard and stares at Laurie. "Fine. You make him disappear. And I'll keep at my post." The undercover post that he never really wanted. "I suppose there could still be others." Other moles. Perhaps deeper moles. Moles that the FBI hasn't even considered.
They have something in common; though it'll never show as Laurie keeps on smiling. Hand up again, he tips it jauntily off his forehead in a perky salute. "You're the boss, boss." Even though it was his own idea that's been grudgingly agreed to. Shoving off from the shelf, he completes the time limit on his temporary stance, turning vaguely doorwards before giving a considering glance back at Sam. "You should try lightening up, boss. Have fun. Otherwise… you could get ulcers. Nobody really likes an ulcer."
And that's his last word on the matter, as he turns on thick boot heels and goes out the way that he came to work on making a man disappear.
Laurence disallows the connection, choosing to gaze away across the room. "He's the only one still suspicious. Like he's got it in for me. I let that bookie go last week and he nearly jumped down my throat. Kris," on her name, he finds her eyes, making a bid for approval even as he speaks firmly, "I have to step it up."
Something clashes in Kris. Even as she knows this is what they have to do, she feels a tug on her… almost a voice. Almost asking to be—
Laurence's head suddenly turns, twitching to the side like maybe he had a revelation but Kris knows better. The movement helps her to refocus her thoughts, and now the voice has vanished. She instantly shovels into her ratted prostitute purse to shake a bottle at him, "Headaches?"
"Only with you," he chuckles grimly, accepting the offering and picking his way back towards the bathroom and its questionably running water. By herself, Kris surveys the room while actually seeing another place in her mind. A short sigh. She can hear the faucet as it squeaks violently on and then off.
"I'll file a report to headquarters," she calls out, as loud as she dares to reassure the absent agent, "Just hang in there, they'll know what to do."
As Laurie leaves, Sam shakes his head and rubs his temples again, stress visibly wearing on his features. After a few moments, he reaches into his pocket and places a phone call. "It's Wright." Beat. "Nothin's goin' as planned. He's takin' care 'o the mole." His lips purse together as he listens to the chatter on the other. WIth a nod he blinks again. "I understand. Thank you. Wright out." Snapping the phone shut, he stands to his feet, faces the wall, and gently bangs his forehead on it a few times. Good, bad, or ugly, the decision has been made.