2010-11-27: Sin Of Omission

Starring:

Maggie_V5icon.png

Guest-Starring: Doctor Francis

Date: November 27th, 2010

Summary:

Clued in, Maggie goes back to the first person she went to back then.


"Sin Of Omission"

The many accomplishments of Dr. Jeffrey Miles on the computer screen don't earn an admiring eye from Maggie: only a curious one, edging into suspicion, a side-effect of her search rounding back to the source.

'The esteemed psychiatrist himself…'

The paperwork in front of her is significantly lessened, and the document full of numbers and legalese is nowhere in sight; she hasn't completely abandoned one task for another but, since a moment struck that saw let foot traffic around her desk, this side project of hers has taken priority. Into the pool of light her desk lamp lends her, she leans with a pen and transfers an address from the screen to a post-it. Dr. — she hesitates — Miles.

As the hour gets later, however — this tack of her investigation will have to wait until later, too. That's all right: when, studying all that lies in front of her (whether it's spread out upon her desk or not), Maggie rifles through a plain phone number and address book a moment later, and plucks her phone from her desk, it is not to reach the esteemed psychiatrist himself.

'I'm sorry, detective, but you've also told me things that I just cannot ignore…'

This time, the friendly nurse who picks up informs the calling detective that she'll be on hold a moment. Routed through to his office, the phone is answered by Dr. Francis half a minute later. Seated in the artificially lit rectangle of his office, the old doctor's inbox is fuller even than that of the detective. Most of it takes second-seat to what goes on in the hallways each day, so the last couple of hours, he's been settling in — with a cup of tea — to see what can't be done about all this paper.

Told by the peppy voice of the night nurse who is requiring his presence on the phone steels him off from the stresses of everyday hospital goings-on. Carefully, he rubs a hand over his mouth, eyeing the contraption through which his caller waits. Well; he's never been one to stall. No reason to start now.

"Detective Powers. What can I do for you this evening?"

"Hi, Dr. Francis," the detective sets in, friendly, even buoyant. While natural, some of that enthusiasm might be attributed to the fact that, yes, she needs something. "I've been looking into— um…" At her desk, Maggie leans into her elbows and plants a hand lightly along her forehead. "I've been considering our last— conversation— and I… I thought I'd ask you before— "

No good reason for her to stall, either, but isn't that what she's doing? Holding tighter to the phone, she barges past her delicate starts-and-stops to simply, firmly ask, "Do you know where Miles is?"

Francis' eyebrows take a small journey up and down during Maggie's starts and stops, but the aged face never really changes; he's used to these things, heard it all. It's only that the eventual question causes a stab of fierce guilt in his round belly that makes this one different than others. He feels like a first year again, wildly responsible every time the smallest thing happens. With a sigh not projected through the phone's mouthpiece, he leans to an elbow and swipes a hand across the bridge of his nose, effectively removing his glasses. "No, detective, I don't. And I can't tell you what you need, either."

Maggie's eyes are on the post-it upon which Dr. Miles is written as she listens to what doesn't turn out to be a surprising answer from Dr. Francis. Nevertheless, she leans a little harder into her hand. "Can't." Can't or won't, her repetition of him suggests, curiosity between the lines. It doesn't ultimately matter. She doesn't press it; her voice is only patient as she searches for answers, even shadows of them, from the old doctor. "Okay," she says. "Will you tell me, then— at least— whether or not you… did what I asked?"

'I'm asking you to… not do nothing…'

They even out in the same thing, in the end, so Francis feels no particular urge to clarify. "I don't much appreciate your fishing," he informs the detective without hesitation. He's been around the block often enough to speak to anyone in the same no-nonsense tone. "I believe I covered that the last time we spoke as well."

Maggie recognizes the no-nonsense tone, the attempt to put a quick end to her questions; hearing it is a job hazard. Hearing it now prompts — instead of a frown — a smile the doctor can't see, regretful but knowing. "I know, and I'm sorry," she says slowly, sincere, kind, "you know I'm just calling because I— well anyway, thank you, doctor. You have a good night."

"I know." Now the sigh — gruff; it's less a sound of weariness as it is inevitability. "And I'm not going to justify anything that went on, or throw your words back at you. When you see him — because I believe that you will — just… tell him — I'm sorry also." Inevitability: "I don't think he will ever speak to me again. Goodnight, Detective Powers." With that, Dr. Francis quietly hangs up.

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