2010-04-25: Looking In The Face Of Death



Date: April 25 and 26, 2010


Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes: Let's look death in the face and say, "Whatever man…"

Two separate therapy sessions spliced together, it's like death…

"Looking in the Face of Death"

Hope Hearth — NYC

Back into the swing of things, Sydney sits on her chair, feet flat on the floor as she leans forward with entirely open posture — there's nothing defensive here, in fact, it's quite the opposite. She scribbles a few notes down her pad, although it's not like the session has even begun. No one else is in here, but her appointment already arrived — she'd got the call from reception. Nervously she stands to her feet and pads to her door. Taking a deep breath, she holds it for ten seconds and the releases it slowly, managing a warm smile. In one fluid motion she opens the door and peeks into the waiting area, "Maggie Powers?" It's more a question than a role call — Sydney is too young-looking to get away with demands. Yet despite her youthful appearance, she appears professional enough dressed in a calf-length pencil skirt (belted at the waist) and a white collared button up blouse. She opens the door further and takes a step inside to allow her client to step in.

Sydney's patient is about thirteen years her senior. The off-duty, but on paid time, cop rises — tall — when her name is called, tucking the book she was reading against her side and steadies the strap of the leather satchel slung over her shoulder, serving as a purse of sorts. It's the most casual thing about her, if you don't count that her hair is pulled back into an unfussy ponytail; she's otherwise professional in a pair of grey trousers and bright, primary blue blouse. Maggie takes in the appearance of Sydney with wide but calm eyes and issues her a polite smile on her way into the room. "Miss … Falkland … right?" She figures out where to sit and aims for it.

Another Day, Another Dollar

Sydney had received another call from the police station asking her to see another one of their staff. And so she sits at her desk waiting with her MacBook Pro open, reviewing old case files. She's gone out of her way to look as unfeminine as possible — dressed in a grey pant suit, black high-necked blouse, and black ballet flats. Her hair is pulled into a tight ponytail and her black thick-framed reading glasses perch on her nose. With a sigh, she picks up her cup of coffee and reviews an old case file about a client who'd survived a fire — the only survivor. There's so much to catch up on. And then she glances at the time, the receptionist hadn't called her. Shaking her head she murmurs, "Useless. Where does Amy find these flakes?" Sliding out from her desk, she marches to the door and opens it, snapping her reading glasses from her nose. Once peeking outside she manages a deep breath, "Laurence Miles?" she asks with what is the warmest smile she can muster considering her irritation at the incompetence of the receptionist-of-the-month.

"There's no one checked in by that name, Dr. Falkland," Tara calls from behind the reception desk.

Sydney's cheeks redden a little as she issues the receptionist a gracious smile. "I'm sorry. I just thought — " Her eyebrows furrow as she leaves the door open, " — if he shows, please… just send him in…" Shaking her head again she pads back to her desk and reseats herself; at least she'll be able to finish some much-needed paperwork.

It remains peacefully quiet in the waiting room only so long as it takes Sydney to return to that desk and convince herself she can get some work done. Then, the outside door. Tara's work-appropriate greeting can be heard, which earns her a very concerned, "I do believe your vending machine is broken." While the receptionist swiftly drops everything to get on that, she conveniently forgets everything about checking in or the intercom. The man's footsteps are allowed to wander as they will straight to Sydney's door unannounced, and Laurie appears there unheralded. He immediately situates himself to be leaning against the doorway, a little bag of potato chips waiting in the hand he has raised. Staring into the office, the consultant's eyebrows also achieve some height. "Well, well, well. If it isn't Sunday In The Park."

"Doctor Falkland, actually," Sydney says with a shrug as she motions for Maggie to take a seat on the freakishly uncomfortable couch Syd meant to get replaced months ago (back in October), but has been preoccupied with other things, "But if it makes you more comfortable, you can call me Sydney." She assumes her seat and leans back with her pad of paper on her lap and her pen in hand. "So — what brings you here today?" She knows the reason; but it's her modus operandi. Naturally her posture takes on a open position — legs planted on the floor, and hands places gently on her lap.

The correction Doctor Falkland gains a small smile from Maggie, sincere in her apology though it goes unspoken. "I'm here because I signed a form," she answers. Honesty is a good start, right? The detective sets her things down to her right — hardcover book face-down on top of her satchel — and gives the room an observant once-over. She settles herself plainly on the couch with her head held slightly high. Her features are kept fairly kind, though, a smile pursed just so, her gaze steady and expectant on Sydney.

An eyebrow is arched at the entrance of the consultant. Taking a deep breath, the laptop is snapped shut. She manages a polite yet strained smile as she scoots out from behind her desk. She steps towards him with that still-present smile spread over her lips. "I'm sorry Mister — uh — " she can't remember his name. Maybe she never knew it. " — mister consultant — as much as I would love to swap barbs with you today about ethics and moral principles, but I really don't have time, I'm expecting an — " She stares at Laurie blankly for a moment. Blink. Blink. Blink. Her gaze turns towards the hall behind Laurie. "You're Laurence Miles, aren't you? What am I saying? Of course you are… the gods hate me." She motions for him to take a seat on her couch before she sits on her own chair and crosses her legs.

As she approaches, Laurie brings up his other hand and uses both to open the chip bag with an especially loud POP. Two fingers dive in to clutch around the first chip, he chews around the smug expression fit to escaping as he's studied to realization by the young therapist. He doesn't answer, only pulls his mouth for a comical 'who knew!' when she says his name. His immediate inclination is also not to take the seat; pushing off from the doorway, and rustling around noisily with his snack, he begins to wander the office, looking at everything. Rubbing his hand on his coat to get rid of the chip grease, he reaches over to pluck up some accessory or another for closer inspection.

Awesome. Cops are always so vague. Sydney manages to smile anyways, "You know I've heard a lot of responses to that question, that's a new one for me." She places the pad of paper on a nearby table and leans back, still smiling. "I guess we should just drop the pretense. I know you've been having a rough time at work lately." She'd reviewed Maggie's file before coming here. "Can you tell me about that?"

"I'm not having a rough time at work," Maggie replies; to her credit, there's barely an ounce of defensiveness in her voice. Instead, it's spoken casually, something that just happens to be true. Regardless of whether or not it is true, she seems to see it that way. "Some cases are rougher than others. It's just the job. What happened…" she trails off with a fleeting look down, a falter in the polite smile. She assumes the therapist has been updated on the stalker incident. "That happened outside of work."

"Please, have a seat," Sydney urges as politely as she can. Note: read files more carefully for clues and insist on having pictures sent with them. She tilts her head as her gaze follows Laurie through the room. She doesn't really care about the accessories on her desk, they were put there by some office lackey — most are kinder surprise toys because someone thought it was funny (pick on the weirdo who refuses to decorate her office!). "What brings you here today?" she manages as her gaze flits over him to the toy he's inspecting.

Pick on? Kinder Surprise Toys are the best — toys and something edible. The one Laurie is holding gets turned around with immense interest, a bit of a bemused smile ghosting his face as he spins the toy's little car wheels. Without really looking at Sydney, he shakes the toy in her direction. "You know, these are banned in the US." And if she didn't, now she does; this session is already helpful. As to the actual official questions, however, the consultant goes unhelpfully mute again. He shrugs. That's it. Shrugs and finally glances up to her to stuff a chip in his mouth.

"How about you tell me about it?" Sydney leans back in her seat, ready to hear Maggie's arduous tale of craziness. Her head tilts as she examines Maggie carefully. Her lips press together as she considers the older woman. "I know vague details — " she cuts herself off and shrugs. "I'd rather hear them from you."

Maggie's mouth tightens, thins into a line — she'd really rather not go through the bother, but knowing she's more or less required to go along, she will… in some way or another. She glances off to the side, at an undecorated wall, in a momentary rebuff before she speaks up nonchalantly. "If you have any details… Dr. Falkland… they're probably from the report. A report which I wrote much of. So it is from me. They were my own words."

That said, she explains; sort of. Her voice continues to be level because she keeps it that way carefully. "I had a stalker. He came to my at my home, he followed one of my colleagues who also followed me home, I can't begin to explain why thought I'm fantastic. He'd been drugged by the guy— the stalker, they'd been talking. About me. And I guess he — Officer Parker — got a little to close and… it just all went down from there in my apartment. The case is closed. I'm fine about it. Really. I'm just here because it's procedure…"

"Banned in the US? I'll have to let my colleague know," Sydney manages while still watching Laurie's room restlessness. "Are the toys banned, the chocolate, or both?" She quirks and eyebrow as she twists in her chair to better watch him. "I generally defer from such clutter on my desk." Unless its work-related clutter. "Please, have a seat," she repeats. She's shockingly patient so far. "Since I don't think we got off on the right foot at our last meeting…" Oh the bar. "… I'll reintroduce myself. Doctor Sydney Falkland. You can call me SYdney if you like — "

"The toys. Choking hazard," Laurie informs her readily, checking the little toy car at a couple of other angles before setting it down next to the rest. Rather than sit, he maneuvers swiftly to another side of the room, eyeing a wall where have been hung credentials… and little else. "Yoooouu," he pipes up, brushing a finger along the top of the frame as if checking for dust, then leaning in to squint at the writing. "Didn't actually introduce yourself the first time. I said your name and you accused me of being there to get your story." A glance over his shoulder at her is quite pointed; what are they doing here now, after all? Then his eyebrows even out curiously. "And what defines the right foot?"

"Well and if you're fine about it, you're fine about it. I'm not here to make you think one way or another. Procedure may dictate your appearance, but this is a place of process. It's not just about survival; things happen to us sometimes and we need space to think about them without judgment. That's what this is." Sydney leans back in her seat while studying the other woman intently. She glances down at her pad of paper, "How are you feeling about it all?" She adds as an afterthought, "And fine isn't a feeling word."

Maggie toys with the edge of the couch cushion by her knee and looks around Sydney's office some more, her gaze wandering idly to corner after corner. Unfortunately, there's not much to focus on. "Fine" is stolen from her tongue before she even has a chance to say it. "Strange," she finally answers. "Yeah." She's making an effort, interspersed with a few tiny, mild smiles. More like twitches. "It's like I'm not sure how I could've missed it all. Someone died because I didn't know. Two… people. The stalker included. I'm usually a good detective. But I just didn't see it — even Officer Parker." Pause. "He's on leave now…"

"Uh. Toys. Right. I'll remember that if I ever have little ones in here," but then that's not Sydney's specialty; the youngest ones she has are normally in the double digits at least. With a small smile she's still forcing, she prompts, "Please. Sit." And then glancing around the room, she makes a decisive move and stands to her feet — it's unconventional and only four months ago, something she would've done, but here she is, growing. She pads over to her credentials and gives them a glance before eyeing Laurie and raising a single eyebrow, "Does it matter what the definition is?" She bites her bottom lip and then tilts her head, inspecting his body language, "Or is this just a ploy — another diversion so you don't have to discuss your psyche and near-psychotic violent tendencies?"

She turns on her heel and pads back to her chair before sitting down. "So. Tell me about work." Beat. "What makes you so angry?"

Laurie's eyes shift to Sydney as she approaches, his hands dropping to a casual pose inside his pockets. He appears casually interested in what she has to say, head lightly tilted. There's only a small shift to catch in his posture, he gives a noiseless exhale of a chuckle when she turns the arrow back on him, and it makes his shoulders tense momentarily then settle. He side-steps, swiveling to watch her as she moves to reclaim her seat. "None of us have to do anything," he suggests to her as she moves.

Once she's seated, he steps away from the wall, picks his way to the couch and drops down onto it leisurely. One leg comes up to cross over the other knee, his arms stretched behind him around the back of the furniture. Despite this casual pose, there's a flickering expression to acknowledge that this is just not a nice couch. He glances to the side to eye the so-called 'cushion' warily before attention is on Sydney. His mouth opens and he inhales as if to answer, but not fast enough; the breath huffs out at her follow-up question. "Heyyyy now," he chides, tilting an open palm at her, "Ploy."

There's a moment where the therapist just watches, considering the words and the weight of what the detective has lived through. Leaning forward she watches Maggie's blue eyes. "Sometimes it's hard to notice things when they're so close to us, a lot of people struggle with that," Sydney furrows her eyebrows and shifts in her seat. "Tell me about Officer Parker — do you know why he followed you home?" She doesn't ask about the stalker; not yet, anyways.

The detective's eyes seem particularly vivid against the bright blue of her shirt, and that only seeming to exaggerate the vaguely astonished stare she gives the therapist, Maggie blinks time and time again at Sydney in quick succession. "He's, um…" She presses her hands into the cushions on either side of her and tries to get more comfortable. She fails. "… you know, I don't really know him. I didn't try to know him," she says, a touch guilty. "He always works the same cases as me… he asked me out for coffee— I'm sorry, I thought we were supposed to be talking about the stalker situation. Off— Joe got knocked out."

"We're not here to debate free will," Sydney quips quickly as she shifts in her seat, settling into it, content that she managed to convince him to sit. She crosses her legs as her lips quirk into a small smile bemused that he's insulted by the word ploy, but not psychopathic — that's telling in and of itself. She reaches for her pad of paper which she'd set on the table before standing. Scribbling something down on it, she glances at him. "So… work?" One thing Laurie can't knock out of her is her persistence. Apparently.

He, at least, finds it worth a whistle-blow to point out that she used a ploy after calling him out for such a thing. Laurie had stuffed the chips in his pockets when his hands went there, but he removes them now while she's writing. Crinkle crinkle, crunch. "Work," he announces, playing with the plastic and also staring down at it, "spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need. You haven't been at work for a while, though, Sydney. I find it a fun bit of coincidence you returning right when this assignment popped up." His head lifts; he's offering her a nice big friendly grin.

"We're here to talk about whatever you want to talk about," Sydney replies with a small shrug while crossing her ankles and scribbling down a few notes. "Okay. So Officer Parker got knocked out… then what happened? And how did you manage to come out of the situation alive?" Her posture changes as she plants her high heeled feet on the floor and leans forward.

Maggie seems prepared to refute something or other that Sydney tells her, her mouth opening and closing a fraction as she considers saying so. "I'm here to answer your questions … or you wouldn't be asking them," she calmly outs with it after all. Again, she calls it as she sees it; there's no rancor in the detective's voice. "We fought," she answers. "Then my … another colleague of mine showed up on the scene, a police consultant I work with. The man ran out. I followed him up the fire escape outside my building. I fired on him and he tried to pull me down so I'd fall as well." It all sounds rather dull, recited not unlike she's reading from a report. Until: "And I would have," she says, "Fallen. If Miles hadn't happened to be there."

The chips are eyed suspiciously for a moment before Sydney refocuses on her client — the task at hand — "We're not here to discuss me and my position; we're here to discuss yours." She folds her hands in her lap and recrosses her legs. "I've been told you have less than by-the-book methods." She taps her fingers on the arm of her chair and narrows her eyes, "Can you share some of these methods with me?" She tilts her head again.

"Yes, I can." Then silence. Laurie eats chips (okay, not silence) and ignores her for several long seconds where he seems completely unaware there's anyone else in the room. Most movement involves shifting his back against the tough couch. After that required amount of time, he glances all around as if they have some kind of audience and then postures, "What, now?"

Clearing his throat, he sits forward, resting elbows on his knees and spreading his hands in emphasis to explanation. "Alright, let's see. I don't follow procedure, I trespass, I harass victims and punch suspects. Make claims I don't have authority to make, skipping Forensics measures, breaking into people's personal lockers at work, carrying concealed weapons I have not been okayed to wear, using station space inappropriately, firing on a suspect not as a last resort, escorting officers who do not have permission onto a crime scene… umm. The book doesn't actually mention the thing with the pencils, but I'm going to keep it in. But," starting to sit back again, "I know the book methods, too. And I'm a very positive person, so I like to think of these are more than by-the-book." He tips his hand towards her. "You can go ahead and write that down."

"This isn't an interrogation," Sydney shakes her head and issues Maggie a warm smile. "It's not really psych eval in the traditional sense, in fact, if you weren't having trouble dealing with some of this, then we'd have something to worry about. My questions are just there to figure out where you're at. Plain and simple." Her tone is warm, and it's not wholly a lie. "And really when bad stuff happens talking to someone else just lets us process it." Syd should know, she's talked to a therapist before and ought to be talking to one now.

"I also want to know more about this Miles character. He seems…" her lips press together as she searches for the most unbiased word she can muster "… untraditional. What can you tell me about him?"

"What I can tell you about him is that he's untraditional," Maggie confirms simply, a smile tightening her lips for a split second as if to say, 'that's about it'. She shrugs, barely, before lifting a hand to use as counter, starting by jutting out her thumb. "He has a habit of not following the rules," Thumb. "He trespasses," Pointer. "He oversteps his boundaries; violently," Middle. "He skips procedure," Ring. "He carries weapons that aren't cleared by the department— " Her splayed fingers gesture at the therapist just then. " — this is confidential right, you can't report that? Um… I don't know. He's … quirky. And I think he'll need a psych eval more than I do. Good luck, by the way. You'll need it."

"As for where I am…" The detective smiles genuinely, followed by a more somber, serious answer, "I'm just trying to focus on doing my job the best way I know how."



Sydney thinks this is what it feels like to have an aneurysm.

Or an out-of-body-experience. But all things considered her shock doesn't wear for very long. Straightening in her seat, she reaches over to the pad of paper and scribbles down some quick notes, writing down the laundry list of presumed erratic behaviour. "What happened to you?" Studying him carefully she places the pad of paper on the table next to her. "I read your file. And believe it or not, I know people. Self-proclaimed optimists aren't in the habit of shooting first and asking questions later. And I don't believe people are given dangerous assignments when it such a place of instability."

There's a long pause before she tilts her head the other way, "When did you begin bending the rules so much?" In the end, timing is more telling than the fact a behaviour exists.

It's lightning fast — there and gone again — but it existed. What happened to you sparks an instantaneous reaction, spoken only in the flexing of muscles in his throat and a bitter edge to Laurie's eyes as he stares at her. There's exactly no other clues, his posture still relaxed, and it makes that one flicker of emotion seem like an illusion for it. "That's too bad," he voices airily, and in complete contrast to anything more irritated in him, "They should be. Everyone, I mean. Be an optimist. Then optimists would be in the habit of doing everything. There's a kind of wholeness to that. Like believing. You should try opening your mind up more to the possibility. Possibilities make our lives more fruitful."

He bounces against the seat, shoulders twisting as he looks side to side for something — what, it isn't clear, but he's definitely searching the bland room. "Ahhh… I don't know. They gosh-darned change the rules so frequently. Perhaps a more thorough read of that file of mine will answer your question."

"Yes, this is absolutely confidential." Sydney shifts in her seat a little. "Does it make you uncomfortable when he works untraditionally or are the quirks effective? I recognize there's a fine line there." She quirks an eyebrow as she scribbles a few more notes on her pad of paper.

A bemused smile spreads over her lips, "Why do you think Miles is in need of a psych evaluation?" The smile fades a moment later as she considers something, "Has he done anything — suspect?"

"And I'm glad you're finding some semblance of normal through the storm; it shows some strength. Your escape was essentially invaded — home is a place where we're supposed to feel safe — " irony coming from the therapist who couldn't live in hers for the last four months " — and that became a dangerous place for you. It must've been scary, even in light of your job. I think anyone would be shaken at the very least."

"Sure, it makes me uncomfortable," the detective admits first of all. "Rules are there for a reason. But he's gotten me out of some tight spaces breaking them, and he's good at what he does; you're right, it's a fine line." She smiles slightly. "If you want to know more about Miles, Dr. Falkland, you're going to have to ask him."

Maggie looks around the room again — but instead of searching out something to look at, she's searching out her thoughts. There's a lot to address this time. "I — " Restless, she lightly scratches the side of her face and delays. But she's trying, or else she'll sit there and say nothing and more questions will come. "I don't let anyone in my apartment here." She knows that will probably be important to psychoanalyze, and as such, she's reluctant. "That was literally the first time anyone's even been in it since I moved to New York so yeah. Plus I was hanging off a roof and almost died. Yeah … by all means. I was shaken."

The body language is caught, and Sydney straightens in her seat following it. "Optimists hope for the best by definition — I would've thought that important to you as definitions are so important in general," her tone lacks sarcasm so her meaning is difficult to discern. "Possibilities are, in fact ruined by restrictions like definitions." Beat. "Is that why you ignore the rules? To open up to more possibilities?"

She glances at her desk where his file is hidden away in her drawer under lock and key; she prefers paper to electronic. "I noticed you had kill authorization and judging from the notes of your last psych eval, you shouldn't have passed, not that I'm in any position to judge a colleague's choices." She purses her lips, "What were you working on?"

"Are they? That's very interesting." He sounds, in fact, very interested, diverted from his search of the room briefly to give Sydney this approving look and a wave of his hand. "Is that why I do it? I think you should take this one, you're doing so well so far." Laurie's glance follows hers to the desk, that drawer, what he can likely assume is inside. Only an acknowledging thoughtful noise comes out at her next observations, and he tugs absently at the edge of his pants over his shoes. He's dressed up typically: blue and yellow shirt, slacks, he hasn't even taken off his coat; he looks like he's just about to leave at all times. "Well, killing people. Clearly."

"I plan to ask him," Sydney says with a small smile. "I wonder — " she cuts herself off and shakes her head. "In my experience, I've learned that often when someone is acting suspect there's reason to — " she shakes her head a little. "Sorry, we should focus on you instead of suspicions and conjecture. Unless there's something to be suspicious of — " She purses her lips.

"Why don't you have visitors into your apartment?" Sydney asks with another tilt of her head. She scribbles another note on her pad. "Did something happen where you lived last?"

"No!" Maggie is quick to clarify with a healthy dose of reassurance, smiling. "No, never, it's just that— " She pauses to carefully watch Sydney's scribbles, zoning out for several moments as she intently observes herself be written about. " — I don't … really know anyone here outside of work and I just like to keep things separate," she says easily enough. "My apartment is— it's … very … it's different. That's all. I keep things there that happen to be important to me."

"Clearly," Sydney says plainly. And then, not missing a beat, and tapping into some of her newfound bluntness she continues. "If your plan is to shock or horrify me, you're not going to succeed. I've counselled sociopaths." That was an adventure. Shifting in her seat again, she tilts her head, "What was the job?" She has a sneaking suspicion. She stares at him for a few moments, "I have a theory. I think you were different before it. Having authorization to kill people and actually carrying it out are two very different things. And if you carried it out — " She narrows her eyes. "Who did you kill? How many people? To what end?"

"All things considered, I'd be a bit concerned if the phrase 'killing people' shocked you," Laurie returns, some of the wryness dropping out of his voice to sound bored, a touch exasperated. "And I don't have a plan. I'm doing this as a favor." If anything, it's one of the more honest things he's said, casting a wistful glance at the door he should very much like to use. He generously sits up and makes an effort to look like he's paying attention when she announces her owning this theory deal, his hands clasping in his lap. "We talked about this last time," he mentions, sniffing idly, "How we're experiencing all the time. That'd suggest it'd be directly impossible for me to be anything but different. I may therefore share your theory, if you're not too greedy with it." How many? He blinks. Fingers flex; he rolls one after another along the knuckles of the opposite hand. "To the end my superiors desired, of course."

"Do you have friends outside of work?" Sydney asks slowly, "Have you tried to meet people? Connecting in a new city is important and I understand wanting to separate work and personal lives — " Not that Syd ever succeeds at this. Except maybe at the police station, but only there, she lived with her boss for awhile there. "I can understand that." With a quick blink she asks, "What important things do you keep at your apartment?"

"And which superiors were these?" Sydney asks carefully. She rubs her fingers together before smoothing her suit jacket, distracting herself somewhat. "Why did you retire? Were you so desperate to avoid talking to one of my colleagues like the file suggests? I didn't think we were that intimidating." Not that Sydney is desperate to talk to a therapist, although when she needs to, she does choose to talk to a therapist, but only when she feels she needs it, not under someone else's mandate.

Maggie tucks a wisp blonde hair behind her ear, one of many escaping from her ponytail, before she answers her much younger therapist. She blinks at Sydney in return. "I paint," she states plainly. That's all she states. Instead of skirting around more answers, those blue eyes remain evenly levelled on Sydney, almost daring her to ask again. Almost.

Laurie rubs a hand along the stubble underneath his chin, "Coincidentally, the same ones who put me on the assignment." Amusement threads its way back into his face as he delivers to her a very exaggerated look of bafflement. "Oh, you're very intimidating. There, see. Not opening up your mind again. There's a whole vast amount of adjectives I bet you're not even considering for yourself."

The dare-like stare is noted and the therapist leaves the notion of friendship alone. "What do you paint?" Sydney's eyes narrow again while she drums her fingers on the arm of her chair and shifts in her place.

"I'm sorry to change tracks, but something you said has left me… unsettled. It's about Miles… has he been using resources to his own ends? The erratic behaviour suggests there's something else…"

"… I paint. I don't know what to call it." How do you define art? Maggie didn't go to art school. Before she can even attempt to articulate, the therapist's revisited route regarding Miles has her curious — perhaps even concerned. Her lips twitching downward, while her eyebrows go in the other direction. "Has he been using resources to his own ends? N— if he is, I don't— " She pauses, suddenly, brows knitting, gaze drifting away. "Well I'm not entirely certain about anything Miles does." The woman's head tilts to the right. "Why?"

"Hmmm," Sydney manages before she uncrosses her legs and lowers her arms from her chest to consciously open her posture. Naturally, she closes off to Laurie, and she has to be careful about maintaining some level of openness to the man's ideas, thoughts, and the like. Straightening in her seat, she leans forward. "Well perhaps I should cut to the chase." She blinks a few times and places her pad of paper down on the table next to her. "We both know why you're here; I'm assessing whether you're fit for duty. Thus far, you haven't convinced me." She tilts her head. "But someone else has made me aware you get results." She drums her fingers on the chair again before leaning back this time. "And so I have a question for you: do you think you're fit for duty?"

"Hmmm," he echoes her, almost unconsciously. Laurie mournfully unfolds the top of his snack bag to see that there are few inside — they just don't come with that many these days. She cuts to the chase; he snatches up the last couple of crumbs inside and sucks them off his fingers. "Hmmm! Mhm." But, see, he's definitely listening. Except then movements slow, his last finger sliding away from his lips without any real aim as eyebrows deliberate between surprise, curiosity, and amusement. They're not extreme versions, either; he's startled enough to show the true emotions playing out. Even as, quickly, they even out to an almost wistful bewilderment. "Our duty… is to be useful," He quotes in a matching light tone, "not according to our desires, but according to our… powers."

"Just a gut feeling. Perhaps intuition shouldn't guide our senses, but when it comes to my profession, it's done me well," better than most all things considered — her feelings are generally quite accurate. Sydney issues Maggie a weak smile. "This is more a personal thing than a professional one, but I suggest — assuming Miles passes his psych eval — keeping an eye on him and his use of resources. Call it intuition or whatever you will."

"You don't have to worry about that. I always keep an eye on him." Maybe not enough. It seems the detective has her own curiosity, heightened not only by the therapist's observations (gut feeling, intuition…) but her own. "Assuming he passes," Maggie echoes with a tight smile, which remains as she skirts a glance to the door. As politely as possible, she ventures hopefully, "Are we done yet?"

"Our… powers…?" Sydney's face pales some, but her expression reveals little. Yet her hands grip tightly on the arms of her chair. The line is suspect in light of the last four months of her life.

Finally, decidedly, she leans forward. "I'm passing you," and then she raises a hand as if to silence any thanks or objections for that matter, "on several conditions." She uses her thumb, "One: you come visit me for weekly appointments until I say otherwise. If you are a loose cannon, and I let you through here, it's my ass on the line." Pointer finger, "Two: You will submit to an actual assessment. I'm not convinced you're not sociopathic." Middle finger, "Three: You will come for monthly appointments along with Detective Powers. This is solely for me. I feel that your partnership makes for a fascinating case study and beyond that I believe there's something to be learned about police work. Further, it's your duty. To be useful. You said so yourself." She smiles sweetly. "Do you agree to these terms?"

The way Laurie gnaws on his lower lip is reminiscent of a child who is similarly being told how they will be spending their weekends. For a long contemplative moment there is only him staring Sydney in the eyes, his intense blues oddly compelling her to stare back throughout the entire length of his inner debate. Time passed, he pushes forward and reveals that he also has a finger for her — not the one you're thinking of; it's just the pointer.

"Screw the actual assessment," he delivers decisively, now lifting middle finger to make the pair, "Third will only happen when Detective Maggie Powers is graciously asked if she doesn't mind, upon which she will then be reimbursed."

He cuts off, sharply. And he blinks, and the stare is gone. He even smiles. "But yes, that sounds quite peachy." Pushing off his hands from his knees, he gets right to his feet and walks to the door fully intending to leave without any sort of permissions at all. "And at any price," he thumps a hand against his chest, "I will do my duty."

"We are! You, Detective Powers, are officially cleared for duty. I have no reservations about doing so," Sydney stands to her feet and extends a hand for Maggie to shake. "Although, perhaps you'd consider getting plugged into an arts community in the city. I might be able to refer you to one — we have easy access to such things." She smiles broadly at Maggie, as she pads towards the door to open it for her client.

Freedom! "I'm officially still sane?" Maggie eases to her feet, sliding her bag back on her shoulder and reclaiming her book quickly before she shakes Sydney's hand in her strong-but-gentle grasp. She smiles more freely now that the session is over, but there's a reluctant edge as she answers, on her way to the open door. "I am— plugged in! Kind of." And the reluctance vanishes as the topic moves away from her art, just like that. "But thank you! It was lovely to meet you, Sydney."

Laurie's gaze is rapturing, Sydney can't look away as the consultant makes his decision. Standing to her feet she nods, still maintaining eye contact. "Agreed. On all counts." She steps towards him and extends a hand, "Congratulations Mister Miles, you're cleared for duty." Even if it took some negotiation.

If he is surprised at her easy agreement, Laurie does not show it, turning only from the doorway escape to accept her handshake more easily than the entirety of this session might suggest. "Congratulations," he repeats, not wholly convinced — unlike the next, to which he asserts especial importance. "There should be cake."

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