2010-05-04: No Man Is Stone



Guest Starring:


Date: May 4th, 2010


Sometimes the past doesn't always stay there.

"No Man is Stone"

Manhattan — Outside NYPD

Mid-day. That means lunchtime. While Detective Powers often eats on the go or at her desk and, on rare occasions, in the break room like the average person, today she can be glimpsed sneaking outside. It's bright and sunny today, the warmth instantly hitting the stark black of her button-up shirt. The detective's mood doesn't seem to reflect the May day around her as she takes hurried steps down the steps in front of the precinct toward the bustling downtown street; quite the opposite, her features are tensed and stoic, and her thoughts seem distant. Elsewhere. Then again, she might just be focused on being elsewhere if her fast clip down those steps is any indication.

Unlike your average detective, Sam isn't off to lunch either, although Maggie's actions catch his eyes. Grabbing his badge and his wallet he casually follows her down the steps of the precinct and onto the street. Hanging some distance behind her his gait is sure. He wants to know where she's going. Why? Because he's a jerk. Maybe.

Maggie has a very top secret, exciting destination in mind — anyone following her must be thrilled to see her take a turn off the steps, down the sidewalk and cross the street to sandwich vendor across from the precinct. Serious scandal.

There's a line in front of her, consisting of a man speaking rapidfire Spanish with the vendor, and a pair of teenage hipster types; the much quieter Maggie, while she waits patiently, folds her arms and adjusts the strap of a leather satchel over one shoulder. Her gaze wanders, and while it's casual, it does track back directly the way she came, lingering longer than an average by-stander's might.

Sam comes up behind Maggie. "Is this the place to eat in the area?" he asks her with a dimpled grin. He knows he makes her uncomfortable, but what choice does he have? "Judgin' from the line this is where all of the cool kids go for lunch." His grin broadens as he leans crosses his arms over his chest. "So.. how are your cases goin', Mags? I have lots to catch up on with this new job."

Maggie appears unsurprised by the appearance of Sam, but — predictably — she doesn't seem happy to see him, though she does turn to face him. Her face remains mostly unchanged, blandly sober. "They're fine," she replies, curt but diplomatic — kind of. "If you need to catch up, you can read the files." The line doesn't move — there seems to be a heated argument progressing in Spanish, at the front — but Maggie shifts again to face the vendor's direction instead of Sam. Now, with her back to him, she reaches up and brushes a hand over one brow in a little tired gesture. "I'm sorry, I'm trying to figure out why you have this new job, Sam. Just— forgive me if it's still hard to wrap my head around."

Sam continues to smile despite Maggie's continued cold attitude towards him. Slyly he leans from one foot to the over, shifting his weight before settling for awhile. "It's faster if you gave me the rundown. Ya know that." Pursing his lips, he makes a sucking sound with hiw tongue. He shuffles forward. "Ya insultin' my police skills? My competence? My intelligence? What exactly, Mags? Why are you so surprised I work with the NYPD? Hell, it's a far cry from Cheyenne, but ya think I'd stick around there after ya left?" His smile broadens, "Unlike you, I'm not made 'a stone."

"I'm not— " Can this line go any slower? Maggie presses her lips together and focuses ahead of her, though she might as well have eyes in the back of her head, for how readily she can picture the sight of Sam's smiling expression right behind her. "Yeah, Sam, I did sort of think you'd stay there forever. You and Cheyenne suited each other." Her head hangs down, a curtain of half-way, half-straight hair following. "It's not that you're a bad cop. You're a good… cop. You're a good detective."

"Thanks," Sam replies with much satisfaction. "You're a good cop too. Always have been. Don't go with yer gut enough, but yeah." With a heavy sigh, he glances at the front of the line where the argument is continuing to take place. "Ya have talent, ya know that." He half-smiles now while lowering his hands to his side and glancing around the street. "Yer partner is really… something, isn't he?"

Maggie looks over her shoulder on the accolades, bright eyes softening and taking in Sam with less steady resentment than they have been since his arrival; regret takes over for a second. "I think we've been over that," she points out after a moment. "Leave him alone, Sam," she adds; it's spoken lightly, a knowing reprimand. "I know how you get when you don't like someone." And it stands to reason, based on every encounter she's witnessed, that Laurie has fallen under the category of someone Sam may not like.

The Spanish quarrel dissipates and the line shifts ahead. Maggie goes along with it. Unlike the first customer, the pair ahead of them only takes a second, and in no time, Maggie is digging in a pocket of her bag for a couple of dollars. "What I don't get is— " she interrupts herself to politely murmur an order to the vendor with a smile. " —you had to know I was going to be here…"

Two Years Ago — January, 2008

Cheyenne, Wyoming

"What are we looking for again?"

Maggie looks over her shoulder as she asks the question, a smile on her face and something of a twinkle in her eye. A length of curly blonde hair, half held away from her face with a small brown butterfly clip, spills down her back over the vivid red of her coat. She's in the middle of a narrow aisle surrounded by nuts, bolts, and tools one side and stacks of building timber on the other — the middle of a small-town hardware store. Country music no more recent than a decade old plays over the radio, drifting tinnily from the front of the store.

"A wrench. It's called an Monkey Wrench," Sam replies as he pads down the rows and rows of tools and building supplies. His button up shirt is askew, and his dark wash jeans are worn with holes — he's in work clothes. A denim jacket is worn haphazardly overtop his shirt, and is promptly removed as he peers from one tool to the next. "Someone needs to invent self-healing pipes. Damned things always leak…"

Despite his words, he is smiling.

Monkey wrench. Maggie's smile naturally spreads, close-lipped but warm — Sam is given a silly look. "Okay," she gives a little reply. She roams the aisle looking at things, her fingers running over a the hardware store's items; one finger in particular glistens with a diamond.

Music circa the 1960s keeps on drifting quietly through the store with the voice of Patsy Cline.

You expect me to be true, and keep on loving you
Though I'm feeling blue - you think I can't forget you
Until someday you'll want me to want you

"How many kinds of wrenches are there?" None of the labels on the packaged wrenches say Monkey Wrench. Maggie seems in no hurry, though. She steps in line with Sam and tucks her hands into her coat. "We could just go ask Walsh," she suggests cheerfully with a look to where the music comes from — the thirty-something salt-and-pepper haired man reading a book instead of overseeing the store.

"Walsh?" Sam asks skeptically with a shake of his head. His face scrunches into a small scowl, "That's like askin' for directions. You may as well wear my 'nads as earrings." Nothing more emasculating than having to ask for help. He manages a smile, however, despite the indignant tone, "I can find my way around a hardware store." He walks down another aisle, disappearing from Maggie's line of sight.

Maggie's smile tightens and purses, threatening to turn upside-down even as it dimples. It's not a very serious threat, She gives Sam a vaguely exasperated look, but that barely holds up too. She's clearly not surprised he doesn't want to just ask. "Suit yourself!" she calls lightheartedly from one aisle to another. While Sam hunts, she wanders, swinging her hands inside her pockets, heading in the general direction of the front of the store with its small counter and single cash register.

… When I'm strong for somebody new
Though you don't want me now, I'll get along somehow
And then I won't want you …

"Afternoon, Maggie," the man at the cash calls out leisurely from where he leans over his book.

"Hi Walsh!" She heads that way to wait for Sam to either return triumphant or empty-handed.

Sure enough, like the proud man he is, Sam is gone a good ten minutes before he shows up with entirely the wrong wrench; he'll order the right tool online if he can ever figure out that ebay internet thing. Running a hand through his hair he tilts his head at Maggie and then Walsh.

"Walsh," he forces a smile. No, he's not a fan of the shopkeep. In fact, it's the polar opposite; he'd rather not deal with the man at all and wishes there was another hardware store close enough to drag Maggie to.

Sam wraps his arm around Maggie's waist before addressing Walsh again, "Good weather, huh?"

Maggie happens to be leaning onto the counter by the time Sam returns. Ten minutes is a long time to search a tiny hardware store for one wrench — but she didn't ask Walsh for help, Sam would hate that. Instead, she's got his book turned around to face her, a finger on the open page in the midst of discussion. She gladly cuts it short, looking back at Sam with a bright smile on her face, though it was definitely already there, leftovers from laughter. She wraps an arm around him in turn, leans in.

"The weather's not all that good…" Walsh answers dully. "Didn't find what you were lookin' for?"

Assuming Sam's answer to be no, Maggie smiles to the shopkeep pleasantly. "I'll see you, Walsh."

"You have a good day, Maggie. Sam."

"Walsh." Sam gives the other man a semi-polite nod before guiding Maggie out of the store. Once they're safely outside the door Sam lowers his arm from his fiance's waist. "Can you believe that guy?" Shaking his head he leads the way back to the car. "And I think the selection at the store is getting worse, not better." His eyebrows are raised as he unlocks the car and proceeds to open his door.

The parking lot is so quiet, and the store so neighbourless, that the tinny, and now muffled, sound of the old radio can even be heard outside, just slightly.

"What?" Maggie questions quite innocuously, a little thrown. She blinks across the roof of the car from her spot on by the passenger side door. Her smile hasn't gone away and it only increases. "I think he's nice. He's going to lend me some books," she says breezily before opening the car door and sliding inside. "The store is small…"

"Yeah. It's small alright." Sam puts the key in the ignition and starts the engine before putting the car into gear. "I'm sure he wants to lend you more than books, Mags." His eyes narrow before he reverses out of the stall and then puts the car into drive. His lips press together and he manages a smile; he knows he's the jealous type, they kind of both do, yet he still can't help it.

"He's got a thing for you. I can tell. I have a sixth sense for such things." With a heavy sigh he refocuses on the road.

" — Okay," Maggie cuts in abruptly in the midst of buckling her seatbelt, her smile starting to fade in gradual astonishment, though she's quick to brush it off. "I bet he has a thing for his wife, too." She purses her lips, all in all somewhat unamused by what she sees as unwarranted jealousy from Sam. But a big, reassuring smile appears not a few seconds later. She reaches out to grip onto his one of his steering arms before flipping the radio on.

— want you
I won't want you
And then I won't want you

She turns it off again. "Can you drop me off at the station? I have some things to finish."

"His wife wishes she had the attention he gives you," is retorted back. "Sure," Sam agrees as he changes direction to head towards the station. "What are you working on these days, anyways? Do you have a case I don't know about?" His eyes aren't removed from the road.

"I didn't know there was anything pressing," his nose wrinkles as he continues to drive.

"N— just some loose ends from the last one. No, nothing new," Maggie answers honestly. Workaholic; it was supposed to be her day off. She watches her fiance rather closely, all the while, but she's nothing but pleasant in comparison. "I'll be back in time for our dinner, I promise."

* * *

"Who said I didn't like 'im?" Sam asks as his half-smile grows into a full-on smile. Crossing his arms over his chest he tilts his head, "Ya think this was 'cuz of you?" His eyebrows furrow although his expression verges on comical. The notion is hilarious. "If it were, I'm like two years too late." He stifles another chuckle. "This was a precinct hirin' when most of the city has a hirin' freeze and I needed a change from where I was at." He stifles another chuckle with a matching smile, "Look, like it or not we're workin' together at least for awhile. After I pass my probation I'll try to transfer to another precinct. Awright?"

Maggie pays for her lunch and turns with a wrapped-up sandwich in hand; she seems disinterested in it once she has it. "A change," Maggie echoes. It's not quite incredulous but it sure is close. She turns about and starts to walk down the street the opposite way she came. She looks to Sam, expecting him to follow; he did follow her out of the station, after all. Her features have hardened. Not her eyes, however. No, those are a little stormier — a lot stormier than usual. She's not so made of stone. "I wanted a change, Sam. It didn't involve you being here."

Sam pays for his sandwich before he follows after her. "Ya took off without so much of a word, Mags — in all honesty, ya don't git to be pissed off 'bout this. In fact, I should still hate you." He unwraps his sandwich and takes a big bite. "Mmm, Mmm mmm mm mm mmmm. That's good tuna." He smiles broadly while still stifling a snicker.

"You're right. About that. You are," Maggie admits quietly as she heads down the street and away from the precinct. She has no real destination in mind. "I know, that I left, and that it was two years ago— " Almost to the day, strangely enough. Her steps, once brisk, start to slow, and she looks across at Sam, whose smile has not been contagious. "But if you did hate me that much— you would have found a job somewhere else," she points out. Hiring freeze or not. "I don't even hate you, Sam, but if it were me — I wouldn't willingly interview where you work if I had any kind of choice. I just wouldn't. It's fine. The past is the past. I can deal. It's just, I was blindsided."

"Well this is where I am," Sam quips with a sly smile. "I like New York, I've always wanted to live here, this was an opportunity to git me here, so I took it. Plain and simple." He clucks his tongue before taking another bite of his sandwich while he falls into step with Maggie. "And no matter what anyone back in Cheyenne says, I don't hate you, Mags. I should, but I don't." His smile disappears as his expression turns thoughtful, "I did, but my court-ordered therapist says I let go 'a it by writin' it off to all women. They all screw with ya." He half-smiles again.

It's only as Sam's smile disappears that Maggie's appears. It's small, and thoughtful, but it's there, quirked as much as her eyebrows she studies him. "You had a court-ordered therapist." The thought seems funny, almost absurd. As does: "All women?" Seeming reluctant to study Sam for too long, she looks off at a permanent fixture of Manhattan — a flock of pigeons across the street. "Did I ever tell you my mom was from New York?" As soon as she says so, she flattens the smile out of her lips and comes to a halt on the sidewalk.

"You mighta, I can't remember," Sam admits as he finishes the first half of his sandwich. "And yeah — a court-ordered therapist. Seemed ta thing I fell off the deep end or somethin'." His smile grows. "Had ta take me in there kickin' and screamin'. But I went eventually." He shrugs again.

"Sam." Firm; a command. Maggie, hooking one thumb under the strap of her satchel on her shoulder, then stands stark still. Imploringly, she stares at her blast from the past imploringly and waiting for him to stop talking and turn around.

The command does its job. Now silently he runs a hand through his hair as he finally faces Maggie, his smile gone, settled into something contemplative. He can't smile anymore, no matter what training or ideas he pushes forward.

"I won't be your friend," Maggie states as adamantly as she can manage, which is pretty damn resolute. "I'll work … with you … Sam. I will catch you up on whatever case you need me to." For an instant there they were almost getting along. "But that's it." She stares long and hard at her former fiance before her jaw hardens and she looks back the way she came — and starts to head that way. It looks like she'll be having her lunch in, after all. "I'm heading back inside."

Sam's lips crack into a large toothy grin, "Wow! Just …. wow… New York has certainly changed you, Mags. Do you honestly think I want to be your friend?" His eyes narrow as he looks her over studying her features for several moments. "Ya basically ripped my heart out and ate it. And now you think I'd want to be friends with you after that? New York really has made you conceited, hasn't it?" He shakes his head, "Look, I've tried to be nice. I've tried to put on the facade that I can be at ease with you, but I never planned to be your friend. Ever. Again. I can guarantee you that." He takes another step away, "Wow." He continues to shake his head in disbelief before walking towards Central Park, yup, now he's clearing his head.

Maggie makes no move to counter any of that. If she has an argument, it goes unsaid. With her wide open eyes and parted mouth and decidedly wounded stare, she certainly doesn't appear as if she's made of stone or conceited or any of it. She's left standing, stationary, on the sidewalk, the busy afternoon rush of New Yorkers coming and going around her, until her resolution returns and she strides off in the other direction to dive hard into her work inside the precinct.

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