2010-05-10: The Line



Guest Starring:


Date: May 10th, 2010


Sam gives Maggie a cover story as to where her partner disappeared to.

"The Line"

The Line

Whistling all the while, Sam is tidying up the bull pen, moving things and cleaning up as best he can. Currently he's tidying Laurie's former desk. In one foul sweep of his arm, he tosses all of Laurie's paper cutouts into the trash. His blue jeans and grey button-up shirt are smoothed out as he finishes disposing of the rest of the items, sits on Laurie's chair and props his feet up on Laurie's desk. All in a day's work.

On the other hand, the nearby desk of Detective Powers is empty, at least of its owner. It does, however, have evidence of her recent presence: a is a stack of folders off to one side, the monitor of her computer on, and a red thermal mug, set neatly atop of a folded piece of paper.

It's not long before she reappears, entering the bullpen with her cell phone to her ear, head down as she speaks in quiet, professional important tones — something about forensics and jurisdiction. Her strides are so purposeful on her way to her desk, a familiar route she doesn't even have to watch to traverse, that her somewhat straightened blonde hair shifts and bounces strictly with every step over the shoulders of a blue blouse and shoulder holster.

A few things happen at once when she's in a few feet of her destination: the call ends and she snaps the black phone shut, looks up, stares at Sam, and realizes he is at Laurie's very empty desk. "Sam?" she prompts, sounding remarkably innocent in her questioning instead of accusatory — even as she asks, "What the hell are you doing?"

A smug kind of smile is shot towards Maggie. "I'm just relaxin' in my new desk, Mags," arms are folded behind his head as his eyes close. Yup, he's just another one of the detectives; another member of the boys club who doesn't take his job seriously, or, at least, that's the role he's playing.

Feet are lowered to the floor as he turns to face Maggie's desk. "What you workin' on? Talked to the DA the other day, need more evidence before we can bring anyone of real interest in for questioning — "

"I could have told you that," Maggie replies a touch stridently, since… "I did tell you that." There are more pressing matters than what she views as Sam's self-importance and answering his question, right now, which is why she comes to stand in front of Laurie's desk. Planting her hands not on her hips, but against the sides of her legs, the seams of her jeans, she looks down at him seriously. No nonsense. All in all, she does a good job of looming. "What's going on? That's not your desk, Sam, where's Miles? He hasn't been around, I can't contact him, it's like he vanished, what are you doing sitting there?"

Sam clucks his tongue as he leans forward and furrows his eyebrows. "I'm shocked Fuller didn't tell ya, but Miles got pulled onto an FBI assignment in LA; he's done with the NYPD. Don't think he'll ever be back." Eyes narrow while he examines her and an idle hand brushes against his whiskers. He would never admit it, but more than anything he's got some measure of satisfaction from this, although that's a byproduct of rather than a reason for the circumstances in which they find themselves. He shrugs again. "Hurts, don't it?" he wrinkles his nose.

The incredulity (over the news) and anger (at Sam for being the messenger) that has been building up on Maggie's face freezes in place. So does her stare, wide and fiercely resentful, zeroed intensely in on Sam. Tensely, she swallows, very obviously abolishing whatever response she wanted to give on first instinct. "That doesn't make any sense— he was just on a case with me— "

"Sense or not, that's what happened," Sam replies bluntly while standing from his new chair and pushes himself away from the desk. "It's not like he went on a Starbucks run and never came back — this was all cleared with the section chief and such. I just heard about it all on Friday." His hair is pushed away from his eyes while he leans back and watches Maggie again. "Cops come and go. Someone I know taught me that — even mid-case people can do things slyly behind others' backs…"

Maggie's gaze only intensifies on the familiar face, pressing her lips together until they all but disappear. They say don't kill the messenger — she appears very much like she's going to break that guideline in half. "Yeah, Sam. I'm sure you're getting a real kick out of this," she says, smart alec. Not exactly a trait she's known for. But every now and then, something — or someone — draws it out. Finally, abruptly, Maggie looks away and clomps to her desk to fall into her chair, her knuckles rising rise to her mouth to halfway disguise the distraught turn it's taking. "All I'm getting at it is, it doesn't add— hey," an out of place, inept smile, "forget it. I'll ask the chief myself."

"I don't know what you mean," Sam quips back simply as he sits on his desk. "Do whatever you want. Say whatever you want, but he ain't comin' back, Powers. You are, essentially, stuck with me. Like it or not, we lost some karmic battle and we're stuck together." For reasons unbeknownst to Maggie. But then, she doesn't know he's FBI. "Yeah, go talk to the chief. He seemed pretty pleased about it, anyways. Wanted Miles to be someone else's problem." Sam's problem.

There's now a constant battle in Maggie to keep restrained, something boiling under the surface, rare and unwanted. Features frozen moments ago twitch and shift often now and she tries to focus on doing something on her computer screen. "You're the one who sounds pretty pleased." Maybe not pleased — but Maggie is well aware he could be saying the same things with fewer words. "The chief wanted Miles here— " She eyes Sam; now there's the accusation. "… and since when have you believed in karma?" She swipes her cup off her desk just because it's there, gripping it faster and harder than she intended. It's the paper beneath that her attention drifts to rather than the still hot coffee she sips.

"Wanted him or not, Miles is gone," Sam simply shrugs. "Chief may have wanted him earlier, but Miles hasn't exactly developed a fan club here." He taps his pen on the desk and shakes his head. He taps his fingers on the desk he's sitting on and fights the sly smile creeping over his features.

There is an almost palpable inhospitable aura around Maggie and it only becomes more thorny the more Sam talks. The coffee is set down — quietly, at odds with her present mood — as well as her phone and, stiffly, she focuses on her monitor. She doesn't have to look at Sam to know the expression on his face, or at least the one he wants to be there.

She looks anyway. "And— hey, Sam. In case you haven't noticed," Maggie starts as she gives up on the computer and swiftly gets to her feet, chair rolling back with the sudden shift. She's barely upright before she's twisting to grab the stack of files, hefting them into her possession, holding them against her side. As an afterthought, and with a guarded to Sam, she swipes the note — from Laurie — too, too, evidently not trusting her bit of karmic disaster over there not to nose around her desk. "People disappearing? It's not new to me either."

"I guess you learned from the best," Sam sits back in his chair before rolling up to the desk and opening the drawer of his desk. He shuffles through it, before extracting a file of his own — one that he put there earlier today. "Some of us stick out the course. For better or worse. Others are fair weather friends." The smile is long gone as his eyes flicker something nearly indiscernible. Then something can be heard buzzing from the inside of his desk. He opens a drawer, pushes a button, and then closes it again.

Maggie didn't plan on stopping — she planned on spinning right around, taking her things and leaving. Somewhere. Anywhere else in the station, with her stack of work. But a few key words of Sam's — learned from the best — stop her. Paused midway through a turn, she very slowly to face Sam. What starts out in her look as surprise that he's sunk so low — to say nothing of his bitterness; that's to be expected — turns into something more powerful.

She marches straight up to Sam, more or less in his face, pointing at him with one finger; the rest are curled around the note. Her soft tone is hushed, intensified, angry. "… There's a line, Sam. If we weren't here, on duty … right now — " The detective's mouth clamps shut, thins out. After a brief wavering of her resolution, she stares him down a moment longer and just turns away.

"There is a line. You crossed it two years ago," Sam opens the drawer again, extracts something and slides away from the desk. "And of course. Duty. Always duty." Shaking his head, he disappears down one of the lesser used hallways to return a phone call on a phone that no one is supposed to know he has.

Maggie may have been the one to turn away first, but she looks back to watch Sam vanish after she realizes they're both going their separate ways, hitching her step that was so determined a second ago. It's a very quiet infuriation she undergoes now, fighting quite determinedly to remain composed on her way past her colleagues.

As she whisks by her desk, this time, the breeze left in her wake gusts a little scrap of white paper out from who-knows-where it wound up a few days ago. It falls to the floor. It's a fortune, from a cookie:

The important thing is to never stop questioning.

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