2007-03-18: The Midnight Oil


Ed_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif

Summary: Ed and Mara are consummate professionals.

Date It Happened: March 18, 2007

The Midnight Oil

NYPD Interrogation, Fly By Night Cocktail Bar, 23rd and…. Lexington?

1 AM at the police station. It's technically an interrogation room, but Ed's set up shop in here. There's a whiteboard, covered with pictures of the most gruesome killings. A pot of coffee. A few used up black markers linking key words like 'Suresh' and 'Gray' and 'where are the brains???' along with other buzzwords.

And Agent Edward Boone, drinking coffee right from the pot, staring at the board. He looks like a zombie. His blazer is off and his sleeves are rolled up, and his tie hangs from his neck. "I can't look at this goddamn board for another minute. Let's… let's take five. Jesus."

Mara isn't even sure what sort of earful she's going to get for this meeting, but… Some things are just worth it. Sitting at the table with photos and evidence strung out before her, the detective hasn't touched any of it herself. She just looks at the board, grim determination in her face. She wonders if that's what she's going to look like someday - like Agent Boone with his angry eyes and his desperation and determination. Her hair is mussed from running her fingers through it countless times. She'd love so badly to tell Ed that she knows the answers, but to admit would be the worst thing she could do. "Why does it have to be Suresh?" she asks, probably for the billionth time. "Gray doesn't make sense. Suresh doesn't fit…"

"The book /has/ to be important. Everything's gotta matter. Gray was a watchmaker, and it shows. Everything… /everything/ has to fit. Ticking together. Like a clock," Ed says, fixing his tie. Again. "The profile says he probably likes to take the identity of his victims. He's probably already killed again, and is living someone else's life until he feels the need to move on and kill again. That's how we're going to catch him. If we can make a list of his potential victims, people he'd pick, we can track them down until we find someone who fits the description. We'll smoke him out of his own hiding place. But we need to figure out who those victims are."

"A list…" Mara smirks, in spite of herself. Gaze dark, she shakes her head. "A list. Really?" She chuckles and buries her face in one hand. "I'm sorry. I'm exhausted. I don't mean to laugh. I just… Can't help it. Just give me a second." She succumbs to the fit for a full five seconds before finally forcing herself to take a deep breath and calm down.

Ed turns his back on the board and sort of stares at Damaris for a few long seconds. "What the hell is so funny?" he asks, bleary-eyed. "We're trying to catch a murderer, here. This is how they teach us to do it. Profile. Predict. Prey. It's all we've got for someone who doesn't leave any material evidence. So we're going to make a goddamned list." He sounds furious until he stops talking. And then a few seconds pass. "Heh," he grunts, sort of deflating, the black whiteboard marker still clutched in hand.

"Calm down, Ed." Mara rises from her seat and approaches the board. "I'm just as stressed as you are. I don't mean to laugh, because it's not funny. But this is what I do when I don't know how to cope." She takes up one of the markers and circles 'Suresh.' "All right. It's the book. You've read it, right?"

"Not cover to cover," Ed says, and then stops to think. He grabs a copy from the table and flips through it. "… I guess I have, actually. Weird. Guess I must have steamed through it one night," he says, sounding a bit confused, and a bit… zombie-like. He's at the end of a long rope, by the looks of it. When does this guy not work? "It's a bunch of hooey, though, but I can see how a broken head like Gray's might latch on to it."

Mara aches so badly to snap in response to Ed's assessment of Chandra Suresh's work, but she refrains. It's better that he believes it all fantastical. Right? "Okay, so we assume Gray buys into it, right? We agree Gray's in competition?"

"Survival of the fittest. He wants to get to the top of a pile. So how does he pick his victims? It's gotta be deliberate. He wouldn't criss-cross the country if it wasn't," Ed says, and sits down, resting his head on the table.

"It's the book. It's the theory." Mara leans back against the wall and watches Ed carefully. He's burned this candle at both ends for too long and there's not much left. "It's the lure. The abilities. He wants to be the best. He wants it /all/." There's a sense of conviction coursing through the woman. She actually believes what she's saying, every word of it. "Only he's worthy to have what he believes he's taking from his victims. He gets a glimmer of something that's happened, something that seems like a miracle. Something fan/tas/tic. And he's there. He's there to take. what's. his."

"Him and every other serial on the books," Ed says, staring. "He needs to be the most special. And that means killing everyone who comes close. It means… he wants to have everyone's miracle, not just his own. But what about the mother? Is he just tying up loose ends? Tch. You know, you'll never believe this, but the crime scene report says he painted a mushroom cloud on the floor in his own mother's blood. A full day before the 'lower atmospheric event'," he says, referring to the bomb in the most sterile White House Press Corps language possible.

"The mother was an accident," Mara states very matter-of-factly. "He wouldn't even /look/ at the photos from the scene. Killers love to look at their work. He didn't want to see that." She frowns faintly, "You don't think he had anything to do with the explosion?" No sugar coating at this hour, thank you.

"I don't see how he could have. It's just weird. Why draw that, of all things? It's not like it's something somebody might just doodle. Profiler had a field day with it," Ed says. "Mostly /we/ don't talk about it. If we had an X-File, we'd have probably called 'em in about it. But maybe. Nobody knows what the damn thing was, and trust me — the bureau is on it 24/7."

"Agent Boone," Mara begins, pursing her lips, "are you being completely on the level with me about your theories concerning Gray?" The detective crosses her arms over her chest, sizing up the FBI man.

"Well, what the hell do you want me to tell you?" Ed says, putting down his whiteboard marker and sitting himself down. He doesn't look very thrilled by any of these developments at all whatsoever. "That I think Sylar might have special powers? That I've seen him do impossible things? Walk across ten meters of mud without leaving a footprint? Bury a coatrack two inches into a brick wall?"

"That's what I want to hear, yes. That is /exactly/ what I want to hear." Mara nods seriously. "Have you seen what he can do? Seen the impossible? Have you?"

Ed stares at Mara for a good thirty seconds. "We're off the record, here," he says. "I can tell you this: I've seen agents empty a clip into him and not even find a droplet of blood afterwards. I've seen him carve a head off and leave the scene of the crime before the blood could finish pooling. I've been one step behind him for months. I've seen the back of his head as he fled. And… and I can tell you that Agent McCain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In his presence. I don't know why." Ed's face contorts into rage.

"I just want to know she beat him to the point. I need to know why. I need to know what was worth throwing away even the smallest chance of escaping." A bit of anguish creeps in. Now, the investigation becomes a little clearer. That's what it boils down to. Now catching a crook. One question: Why?

"Good. /Good/." Mara moves back to the table and pulls her chair up to sit next to Ed. "We're off the record," she confirms. "I've seen it. I've seen what he can do. He's the fuckin' anti-Christ. He has abilities. The theories outlined in Suresh's book aren't theories. Are you still with me?"

"Agh," Ed grunts, grabbing his forehead. "Hell of a time to get a fucking migraine," he grimaces, and just leans forward and rests his forehead on his hand. "The Bureau thinks I'm a nut. They've been calling me Mulder for months. Things… Eden — Agent McCain — sometimes did things I couldn't explain, but I trusted her, so I let it slide." He hisses, and pulls a bottle of pills out of his pocket. He downs a couple. "And I think I'm crazy, too. And /you/ got suspended for going all Stockholm Syndrome. At least, that's what your el-tee thinks. So pardon me if I'm not so quick to buy it."

"Stockholm-" Mara gasps indignantly and sits up straight. "Do you want to catch this bastard or not? He's affected me, just the way he's affected you. I'm no more crazy than you are." Her eyes are stormy, barely restrained fury glimmering in them. "But if I'm too crazy, I'll just leave and you can figure out how you're going to catch him on your own. I'm sure Parkman and Demsky will provide the kind of help you're looking for."

"I'm not your lieutenant. If I didn't think you could be counted on," Ed says, "I wouldn't be here." He rubs his eyes. "So we're both crazy. The Bureau thinks the Sylar Case has driven me bonkers. And the NYPD thinks it broke you. Parkman…" Ed abruptly hisses again, clenching his eyes. He looks like he's in real pain. "Never mind. I just don't know who trust. It's too weird for me."

"Gray can do all those things you said. He /is/ the thing of nightmares. The abilities are real. If he wanted your Agent McCain, then she had one, too." Mara doesn't explain why she knows this. "She did things you can't explain, right? What'd she do? Blow her own brains out?" She doesn't wait for the answer. She's vaguely apologetic for the topic, but it must be addressed. "She knew. And she didn't let him have her. She might have escaped, but he might have taken her ability. Whatever it was she could do, she didn't want him to be able to do it." At least, that's what reason would suggest to her…

Ed leans even further in his chair, staring at the floor. "She didn't kill herself," he says. "I was right. I was right about Sylar." Unless Mara's a nutjob. "Rest of the world thinks she blew her brains out one day. I didn't believe it. I was sure… I was so sure, that it was him. That all the forensics were bull." He starts to laugh. It's a strained, desperate, exhausted sort of life. He maybe cries a little, but he squelches it, and pretends to himself that he pretended well enough that Mara wouldn't catch it. "So she's a hero after all."

"Do you…" Mara reaches over to rest a hand over Ed's in a steadying gesture. "Do you ever find yourself… Do you ever find moments you can't explain? Things happen that don't make any sense to you? I'm not talking about McCain, either. I'm talking about /you/."

Boone stares at his hand, and Mara's, and then back at Damaris. "What?" he repeats, with a dull gasp. "I, uh. The last… the last couple of days. I've been having dreams. I only sleep for an hour, but I keep having the same dream. It tells me things. People in my dream." Ed flinches. "Sometimes I see things, and I see more than what I see. Things I know that I've never learned. But it's just a dumb dream."

Could it be? No… But… Everything is connected. "What do you see, Ed?" Mara coaxes gently. "Tell me what you see in your dreams." She raises her eyebrows, expression encouraging and expectant.

Ed scowls. He doesn't like this. He's far from the map, as far as professionalism goes. "I'm in the city somewhere. I don't know where. Queens, maybe. And I go into a cellar, through this rusted old door. And when I get down there, it's just a tiny room with a little lightbulb dangling from the ceiling. And there's a thin man and a black man. A bald guy. I never remember what they tell me, but it's always important. I know that. And sometimes I remember. Something I'm supposed to do. Something I'm supposed to know. Every night for the last week."

Detective Damaris listens to the explanation of Ed's dream and bobs her head up and down twice as he speaks. She frowns faintly. None of that sounds too good to her. "Do you… have anything with you in this dream? Anything that has significance to you?"

Ed stops and thinks, very hard. "I don't bring my badge. I don't… it's weird. I bring it everywhere. But not there." He dwells for a bit longer, biting his lip. "My gun. I remember because sometimes in the dream I point it at them, like I'm scared. Or like I don't expect them. I don't know why I go there, but I go anyways, and when they're there I don't know that they're there to meet you. But I never shoot. And then the dream ends."

Mara's fingers flex anxiously. So badly, she wants to ask to see his gun. To touch it. To try and have a vision. To prove him right. Prove him wrong? To prove /something/. "You don't know who they are, but they're there to meet you?"

Ed downs a couple more painkillers. That's a lot of those pills. His head seems to be hurting. A lot. "I go there like I have to. Like I'm supposed to. It's just a thing I do. But once I'm there, I know I was there to meet them all along. I don't — I don't want to talk about this anymore."

"I…" Mara licks her lips, trying to think. "I understand." This is not good. "Let me know if you have the dream again though, okay? It's important." She offers him a small smile and then sits back in her chair, eying the pain pills, "You're going to overdose. I don't want to have to see you have your stomach pumped."

"Yeah. I don't know what's wrong," Ed says. "My head feels like it's tearing itself apart. I've been having migraines for days," he complains, before putting the pills away. "I think it's passing. Listen…" That was kind of awkward and intense. "Detective. I've been on this case for months trying to prove that Sylar was half of what he says he is. If we're right, it's just you and me. And that means we're going to have to kill him."

"I know," Mara agrees without hesitation. "We'll kill him and disappear. It's the only thing to be done." She runs her fingers through her hair and glances at the coffee pot. We need more of that. Badly. "I mean, I don't know about you, but I refuse to stand trial for the murder of a murderer."

"Well, one thing at a time," Ed says. "We're not going to go all Bonnie & Clyde. You've got a career. I'm probably done one way or another." He laughs a little bit. A little bitterly, anyways. "Besides, Detective. Feds and Blues don't get along. We'd turn one or the other in within a week."

"I don't have much of a career left," Mara admits. "And Bonnie and Clyde were the bad guys." She grins at Ed's comment about agents and cops and shrugs. "I'm getting along far better with you than my own department. We have a common goal. I don't believe in departmental lines when it comes to bringing people like Gray to justice."

"Well. I'll see what I can do about that," Ed says. "I lost one partner to Sylar. I'm not going to let him break another one. I've probably got enough clout to take some of the heat off you."

"He can beat me, but he can never /beat/ me." The conviction in Mara's voice is unshakable. "After how he's gotten to me, nobody on the force is ever going to trust me to keep things from being personal again. You know that, right?"

"Yeah. I know," Ed says. He didn't say anything about it earlier. "It's not the kind of trust you can get back. But after a while maybe it'll stop mattering. I'll always be a whackjob at the Bureau. The guy who suggested that Sylar could float, and that's how he never left any footprints. So, I guess we both shot ourselves in the foots."

"Yeah, a bit." Mara grins. "But isn't there some sort of satisfaction in knowing that you're /right/? We both know we know. We know what he is. What he can do. And now you know what he wants." Damaris stands up and moves to the whiteboard where she writes "LIST" and underlines it. "Go ahead. Give me number one. I know you want to."

Ed sits back and slurps the last of his coffee. "People like him. People with abilities. These people… probably find their way to Activating Evolutions. To Suresh's book. They might even try to contact him, or they might have been contacted by them. Gray may even find them through Suresh. I was never able to connect him to Suresh's murder — wasn't his MO — but I'm sure as hell going to try. They might be connected to strange events. He might find them by watching or reading the news. He might know, now, what he's looking for when he watches."

"Come on, Ed. Put your first name on there. You know who he's looking for." She wants to hear it from him. Mara taps the bottom of the marker against her palm absently. "You're right on all accounts, though. He knows what he's looking for."

"Edward Boone," he says, with a grunt. He still doesn't buy the theory, especially when it comes to himself, but whatever floats her boat. "Special Agent Edward Boone."

Mara just about drops the marker. "What the fu- That isn't the answer I expected." She writes it down anyway. "Fine. You're on the list." But she doesn't give him the top spot. "Detective Kay-Ell Damaris." She adds her own name. I get the top spot, thanks. "I'm going to ask you this not because I'm nosy, but it because it matters. Was there more between you and McCain than just being partners?"

Ed grins. "Thought that'd get you, dream reader," he says, in a moment of levity, before falling silent. He thinks about it for a couple of seconds. And he seems suddenly confused. His eyebrows knit. "… No. Maybe it was going to be. Maybe I thought it could be, anyways."

"Did /she/ think there was something, do you reckon?" Mara shoots Ed a Look and erases his name. Did she just stick her tongue out? She might have. "I don't read dreams, by the way. Or I'd have answers for you."

The FBI Agent leans back in his seat, draping his arms over the back of his chair. "I couldn't say for sure. And it's kind of personal. I don't see how it reflects on the case, anyways."

"Because you /will/ be on the list of Gabriel Gray thinks you meant anything to McCain, that's why it matters." Mara fixes Ed with a serious look again.

Ed shakes his head. "Then I don't know," he says. "It might sound silly, but I can't really remember. I guess some days I thought it was one thing, and on others it was something else. You probably know how it goes."

Mara looks down at the floor and nods with a rueful smile. "Yeah. I know how it goes." More than she'd ever like to admit. "Okay… So, we have our first name. What do we do to stop him?"

"He can stop bullets, so we can't shoot him. I can't even believe I'm saying this, but maybe he's bulletproof," Ed says. "Explosives? Poison? Maybe cyanide'll do it."

Mara oooh's appreciatively. "Cyanide. I like the sound of that one." She tips her head to one side, seeming to consider things. "I know he's been stabbed before."

"Then, I don't know how it works," Ed says. "Maybe he's bulletproof but not sword proof. It doesn't make any sense, but whatever. This guy doesn't make any sense," Ed says. "We could hit him with a car. Drown him. Jesus, it's like we're planning to murder Rasputin."

"A bit, eh?" Mara turns to look at her name on the board. "That's a bit eerie, that is." She shakes it off and caps the marker to tap it against her palm. "What are you gonna do? Sit outside my apartment and wait for him to show up to kill me?"

"No, Mara," Ed says. "We're going to do policework. And if he finds us before we find him, then that's how it goes," he explains. "Detective," he self-corrects, a second later. "We'll find out just how unkillable he really is."

"We're talking about murder. I think you can call me Mara." The detective rubs her face absently. "I… have his last known whereabouts, if you want to poke around for clues."

"Last known whereabouts? I didn't read anything about that in the report. But… hit me, sure. You never know what you might turn up. Nobody's perfect."

Mara reconsiders after a moment. "I should probably talk to the owners of the property. Let them know we're going to have a look." She runs her tongue over her teeth, "I'm sure they'd appreciate the heads-up… They're very private people."

"Yeah, well. If they've got Gray tooling around on their property they'd better learn to toss away their love of privacy real fast," Ed complains, with a shrug. "But whatever you need to do to protect your source. I've got plenty of things to busy myself with hereabouts."

"You'll be the first one I call when I've got the go ahead to make with the trespassing," Mara assures with a smirk. "He may be injured. This could be good news for us. I mean… Maybe he just crawled off into an alley to die." That's a bit much to hope for, of course. But hey, why stop dreaming?

"It would explain why we haven't heard from the bastard in a few days," Ed says, with no small bit of glee to his voice. Sort of bitter glee. "That said, we've been at this for… what, the better part of six hours? My head's starting to swim."

"I'm ready for a few drinks," Mara agrees, setting the marker down and stepping away from the whiteboard. "Let's get outta here before daylight's upon us, huh?"

"Yeah, me too." Didn't he just have a bunch of pain pills? Well, maybe that's the whole point. "Ugh. I need a stiff drink and maybe a half pound of heroin," he says, with a grimace. "I'm kidding about one of those."

"I'm going to assume the heroin. You look more like a quarter-pounder to me," Mara quips. "Come on. I'll buy you a round." She tips her head toward the door, taking a step in that direction.

Ed grabs for his jacket. He's doesn't bother to unroll his shirt sleeves, though, albeit he does adjust his side holster. "Where do you guys have your watering hole, anyways?"

"I know this great place. It's called the Fly By Night…" Mara hesitates as she reaches to gather up the files they spent the evening pouring over.

"Sounds like a dive," Ed says, without delaying. "But, hey. Whatever. I'll hold you to it, by the way. About that round." Ed doesn't miss a thing. "Once we get a beer in you I can find out what the problem is between you and Parkman, maybe, too."

"You're assuming I'm going to drink beer," Mara chuckles, "That's cute." She withdraws from the table without taking the evidence, "You get that stuff squared away and I'll pull my car around up front?"

"Yeah, yeah," Ed grunts, before walking out the door with a box of evidence. Coincidentally, the clock clicks over. Two in the morning. The wee small hours. At the same moment, Ed's phone rings as he heads down the hall. His voice grows muted as he heads off. "Ed Boone. You'd better want something important at two in the morning. What's up?"

Mara's steps falter when Boone answers his phone. She stops and turns to peer curiously at the agent. Who the hell could that be at this hour?

Ed keeps walking down towards the locker, unaware that Mara is still paying attention. "… What the hell did you say? I don't…" Ed says, and stops to set the box down for a second. The fatigued agent leans in, setting his weight on his hands and his hands on the desk. A little bit of a wobble, after so much nonstop work. "No. Not now. 24 hours," he says. The tone of his voice shifts again, from muted to attentive — "Hello? Hello? Oh, for cryin' out loud," he says, and hangs up the phone. "Some fucking people," he calls back, Mara's way, taking the brown evidence box elsewhere.

Mara turns away quickly to hide the fact that the colour is draining from her face. You're being silly, Damaris. It was just… It was probably nothing. The woman shakes her head and calls over her shoulder, "I'll meet you outside!" She rushes out to her car, fishing her keys out of her pocket as she goes.

Ed disappears down a hallway. Funny; as he walks off, he looks even more exhausted than before, like he's about to pass out. A little alcohol surely can only help matters. Ed emerges out the front a few minutes later, somewhat incredulous. "People in this shithole town really /drive/?"

"I do," Mara confirms. "I like not relying on a cab to get to work." She locks the doors after he's settled in and pulls out slowly. "So… who called?" Not that it's any of her business, but it makes for good conversation, right?

Ed falls silent for a second, and looks straight down, as though trying to remember. "The Bureau," he says. "Somebody was pulling a night session like us, I guess, and wanted to ask me something about another case. I told him to call me back tomorrow," he explains, slowly.

"Ah," Mara responds quietly. She doesn't know whether or not to buy it, but she isn't going to call him on her suspicions. "So where are you from anyway? Where d'ya call home?"

"I live in Washington," Ed says. "But I'm from Cleveland. Which, I guess, makes New York look like heaven on Earth, but whatever. Home is home. Haven't been there in years and years, though."

"It's been two or three years since I've been back to England," Mara muses. "I was born here, though. So I suppose I'll always claim this as home, even though it's not where I grew up."

"England, huh?" Ed asks. He'd probably noticed, being a super detective, and all. "Pretty classy. What brought you to the States?"

"Parents studied abroad here. I spent my school years in Louisiana and my summers in England. It was kind of stressful at the time, but looking back, I wouldn't change it." Mara shrugs and starts scouring for a place to park as they near the cocktail bar.

"Sounds like it probably must've given you a funny case of cultureshock," Ed says. "Me, I've never left the country," he remarks. "Actually, wait. That's not right. I went to… you know, I've forgotten. I guess I must have been a kid. Maybe we went to the Bahamas, or something. So, then. There's the obvious question. Why a cop?"

The car is cozied into a parallel parking space oh-so-carefully. Only once she's pulled in does Mara answer the question. "I wanted to be a lawyer. Studied at Oxford for a year. But the research was tedious. So I chose the next best career in justice. This kind of research is /rarely/ dull."

"Oxford? Big brains, too. And you wound up here of all places," Ed says, getting out of the car. If he has a couple of seconds, he comes around and opens her door. Oh, FBI boys. They're such boy scouts. "James Bond went to Oxford, you know."

Mara grins widely as she allows the FBI boy to play the gentleman. "Yeah, I know." She hits the lock button her key to close up the car. "Maybe I'm a double-oh agent and you don't even know it."

"So brains, looks, and everything. And now you're looking to toss it out the window. You sure you don't want me to take some of the heat?" Ed says, holding the door open for the detective. "I wonder if I can put this on my expenses report."

"I think it counts as entertainment expenses. Just tell them you needed to get me loosened up, yeah?" Mara winks and steps into the bar ahead of Ed. "Which d'ya prefer? The quiet or the noise? I can go either way." She's going to bet he doesn't feel like dancing, and that the quiet is far more conducive to getting rid of a headache.

"Little bit of noise," Ed says. "Call me a masochist," he says, with a grimace. "My head doesn't bother me so much anymore. I guess the pills got to it. Now to drown them a little."

"You're sure you're okay?" A little belated, but at least she's asking. Mara leads the way to a table, rather than to the bar itself. "I don't want to have to call you a bus. Explaining that to the ell-tee would be a nightmare."

"Yeah. I'm fine. It's probably just the stress. This is the best way to get rid of the stress," Ed reasons, albeit, perhaps, somewhat self-serving. "You come here a lot? Nice joint."

"More lately. This is my 'hey, Gray hasn't killed me yet' place." Mara takes her seat and looks around the bar slowly, like she would look over one of her crime scenes. It's like he can see her mentally noting details about people and her surroundings.

Ed's less deliberate. He sits himself down and clearly… turns off. Lets his guard down, a little bit. He's done being a GI Joe for a little bit. "I'll take a Jameson. Rocks," he says. A nice, basic, drink.

As soon as someone stops by their table, Mara murmurs Ed's order to them, tipping her head in his direction. "Jack and cherry cola for me," she requests with a gracious nod. Once she's satisfied there's no immediate threat in the bar, Damaris too begins to relax. "How about you, though? What made you decide to join the FBI?"

There's the question. You hear it sometimes. Ed leans back in his chair. "I wanted to do something good. I don't know — I figured I wasn't the guy who was gonna have a family and I wasn't the guy who was gonna write the Great American Novel, and I wanted to do something… good. Some guys say they've wanted to be agents since they were kids. Me? I guess I just wanted… to be a good guy."

Now that's an answer you don't hear often. "That's kind of how I was. I wanted to be the person who brought justice. You're just a… little simpler about it." Mara smiles gently. "Very refreshing to hear you aren't out for the glory or something."

"Yeah, well. I wish I was. I'd have succeeded a little bit. But when you want to be the good guy…" Ed looks away, frowning. "… You'll mess it up every time."

"Surely not every time." Mara assures. "Even good guys make mistakes." Their drinks arrive quickly and Damaris brings hers to her lips for a long drink. "God, that's good," she comments dryly.

"Yeah," They do make mistakes. Ed says. "Good guys can make mistakes, too." Ed takes a long drink. Maybe a little too long. "And it only takes one."

"Enough of that. We're here to enjoy ourselves, right?" Mara raises her brows, as well as her glass. "To life, yeah?"

Ed raises his glass. Tink. "Yeah. To life. And hopefully living it for a longer time than probability suggests," he adds, with a characteristic scowl. He's a bit of a party pooper, isn't he?

"That's the best one can hope for, right? No matter what your odds are, life is about beating them." Putting a bit of a spin on it, yes. "C'mon, lighten up. I know it isn't easy, but jobs like ours will kill us if we don't try the whole relaxation thing once in a while." Mara tries to keep the concern out of her features, but it isn't easy.

"Hnah. Guess so," Ed says, and drinks some more. He leans forward. "Anyways, I guess this Sylar thing… this Gray thing. This is me making up for all the bad things I've done. Just because you have a badge doesn't make you one of the good guys. This is me showing the world I'm a big damn hero, and not a bureaucrat with a gun."

"So it is about the glory." Mara sounds faintly disappointed. "That's what Parkman reckons I'm after."

"I didn't mean the people in it," Ed says. Not that world. "I messed up. McCain's just part of it. I don't need to convince them. Fuck them," he says, presumably of everybody else. "I need to make up for my fuck-ups. If that makes any sense."

"So you're doing it for you, then? Not for what people /think/ of you?" Mara takes another long, long drink. Make sense, Ed. Jeez.

"Ah, fuck it," Ed says, and drinks again. He's done talking, by the sound of it. "Anyways, the point is, we've got a job to do. Speaking of which. What's the deal with you and Parkman?"

"Why don't you tell me, Mister FBI Man?" Mara smirks, sincerely wanting his assessment of the situation. "Parkman is a /damn/ good officer. It was about time he got promoted to detective."

"Alright," Ed says. "You're rivals. He had a personal investment in the Gray case. He's got a background with the FBI, too. You took lead on the case. He wants to take you off it. Maybe because he wants it, maybe because he thinks only he can handle it, maybe because he just doesn't like you."

"I'm not sure what he thinks. I know he wants me off it. He thinks I'm a glory hound, I reckon." Hazel eyes narrow, "He doesn't know I know… the things that I've told you tonight. At least, he doesn't realise how /much/ I know."

Ed slumps against the desk. "Business again, huh. Well… what does Parkman know? About Gray. I always thought had the same theories I had, but she never talked."

"I don't want to talk about it. I won't speak for Parkman." Mara's already thinking about a refill, a heavy sigh escaping her lips. "Forget I said anything. He doesn't like me for whatever reasons he has. I'm sure he'll get over it."

"Fair enough," Ed says, and seems to disengage a little — space out at the ceiling. "So, there's that, then. All that's left is to do some real crimefighting. It'll be like the academy."

"Was it exciting?" Mara asks. "The academy, I mean. Everything was new and exciting for me. But I couldn't wait to get out there and… be a hero."

"Quantico isn't fun for anybody. It's like being put through a ringer," Ed says. "But it ended, anyways. Fighting terrorists and serial killers ever since. Gray would've made my career. If I hadn't decide to do /this/, he still could."

"We both know if he lives, he'll just kill again." Mara's expression turns somber. "He can't be allowed… You've never looked him in the eye, have you?"

"No," Ed admits. "I haven't. I intend to, at least once. Maybe I'll get lucky. It'll be the last thing he sees."

"It's funny you put it like that." Whiskey and cola is drained completely, the empty glass set on the edge of the table to grab the attention of a server. "Because when I look at him… When I /really/ look at him - right into his eyes… It's like I know that he wants to be the last thing I ever see."

"I'm sure it is." Ed finishes his. He does something funny, too — he chews on his ice. Chomp, chomp. "But I won't let it be. I promise."

"That's nice of you to say." It's obvious from her tone and the rueful smile that Mara doesn't believe he can protect her. "If… If he kills me, Ed…" She closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath, not sure how to finish that sentence. Not without giving too much away anyway. "Just, don't blame yourself if he does." It's a reasonable save.

Ed looks Mara's way with an equally depressive frown. "Yeah. Well. Now it's your turn to quit talkin' like that," he says, sternly. He's probably done losing partners.

"Sorry. You're right." Gratefulness washes over Mara when fresh drinks are brought to the table. "I think we might have to call a cab when we're done here. Just a guess."

"I'll cover the cab," Ed says, with a grunt. "Gin tonic," he says, for this round, and he orders Mara's, too. "So what's an Oxford-educated serial killer hunter do in her off hours? Family? Dog? Cat?"

"No, no, and no. Unfortunately, you're looking at my off hours. I just usually do this at home." Mara /might/ be poking a little bit of fun at herself. Maybe. "I didn't think it was exactly professional to invite you back to my place for drinks. Demsky would have a goddamn fit if I did."

"Demsky. Your other partner, right? I thought he was gay. Boyfriend, maybe? Would-be boyfriend?" Ed asks, and has himself a cordial sort of drink. "And we're probably far from professional."

Mara can't keep the blush from creeping into her cheeks at the mention of 'Demsky' and 'boyfriend.' "It's not like that," she insists gently. "And /I/ don't think he's gay. He just… doesn't go out. It's not my place to say, but… He lost someone close to him. I don't think he ever got over it."

Ed gives a lopsided little smirk. "Yeah, well. If you live, maybe you'll find out," he says. "Everybody's gotta get over it sooner or later."

"Are you giving me relationship advice, Agent Boone?" Mara in a decidedly girlish fashion as she brings her glass to her lips again. "I'm not sure what to make of that!"

"Tee hee," Ed says. In a dull, flat, deadpan voice. "You want advice, go find Dr. Phil. I'm sure he'll tell you all about it."

Mara snorts and covers her face as she laughs at the deadpan. "He's my partner," she says in all seriousness. "Or at least, he /was/ my partner. I care about him, probably similarly to how you cared about Eden. We watch out for each other."

"Yeah. Similar," Ed says. He occupies himself with the music for a couple of seconds. "My kingdom for a vicodin," he grunts, before rubbing at his eyes again.

"Good God, it's /still/ bothering you?" Mara leans forward, making no attempt to mask her concern. "Have you seen a doctor?"

"I don't need a doctor," Ed protests. "It'll be fine. /I'll/ be fine."

"You don't look fine to me." Mara shakes her head. "Humour me, all right? There's this doctor I go to see… You've heard, no doubt, about my blackouts?"

"Yeah, I've heard," Ed says. "That's why everybody thinks you're crazy. Part of it, anyways. I wasn't gonna say anything."

"Gee, thanks." Mara rolls her eyes. "You haven't seen me pass the hell out once, have you? No, you haven't. Because I ain't crazy. And because my doctor's got a fix for me. I bet he can figure out the cause of your headaches and stop those, too."

"If he can get me to sleep, I'll have him canonized a saint," Ed says, glowering at his liqour glass. "The FBI can do that, you know. We have the authority. J. Edgar Hoover was the Pope."

Mara actually snickers at that comment. "It's settled then. I'll call him in the morning and let you know when he's available." The alcohol is clearly getting to her, as all the pistons aren't firing to remind Detective Damaris that she should really be keeping the FBI man away from anybody with the last name 'Suresh' right now. Oh well, it'll come to her sooner or later.

"Great. I'll tell him you recommended me. Maybe we'll both get a discount on services rendered," Ed says, and chews on his ice like an astronaut until his next drink arrives. "So people really have magic powers, huh. Go figure."

"Pssh. He don't charge me a /dime/," Mara says with a dismissive snort. "Totally. Maybe you have them too."

"I don't have magic powers. Just stupid dreams. Once I dreamt about my cat dying and it did the next day," Ed says, with a notable slur in his voice.

"How terribly upsetting that must have been for you." That settles it, in Mara's mind. At least, mostly. "Mmmmmmm…" She starts to try and form a word that must begin with the letter 'M', but she doesn't seem to know what she wanted to say.

"Mary, Mother of God," Ed says, finishing Mara's sentence for her, randomly. "Mobile Phone. Moolah."

Mara's head slooowly tips forward until she thunks it lightly on the tabletop in a fit of giggles.

Ed isn't laughing until Mara loses composure; then he breaks into a fit of cackles. Not so much giggles, as cackles. He's that sort of guy, it would appear. "Murphy's Law. Mr. Rogers."

"Murphy Brown! Missus Beasley! Madonna! Mary, Queen of Scots!" Mara rolls with it, deciding that if he doesn't feel the need to laugh quietly, then she doesn't either. She doesn't quite cackle, but she comes close, squeaking when she inhales sharply.

Ed snorts — an actual snort. "Anyone ever tell you you squeak like a mouse when you laugh real hard?" he observes, still giggling.

"Once or twice," Mara shrugs. "Fuck what anybody else thinks, though. If it's hilarious, I may s'well laugh a' i'!" Slowly, but surely, her British accent is taking over her carefully maintained American.

"And now you sound like one of the Spice Girls," Ed says, apparently content to play devil's advocate and poke the British bear with a stick. "You really are from the other side of the pond, aren't you."

"Now 'e gets i'." Mara's nose wrinkles as she grins across the table at her drinking buddy. "Yeh, I have to play nice with the Yanks, tho'. Depar'men' says I sound less threat'nin' if I try 'n' soun' less York an' more /N/'York." She clears her throat and sits up, changing gears. "Or, ah can talk lahk this an' draw 'pon mah Canjun sahd." Perfect Southern belle, if a little slurred, "But it ten's ta make people think ahm jus' a li'l too redneck for 'em. Yah reckon?"

"The rain in Spain, my dear, falls mainly in the plain," Ed says, protesting, and leans in towards the table a bit. "That's a very impressive talent you have. Is rum an essential component?"

"Oh, gawd, no." It would appear the British is the more prevalent of the two accents, as she seems to slip back into it easily. "/Whiskey/ makes me less self-conscious about hidin' my accent. Bu' I could talk like this 'roun' ya all th'time if i's wha' you wan'ed."

Ed just laughs. He seems more the introspective, depressive sort of drunk. "And what if it was? You'd conduct the whole investigation sounding like a bit part from 'Dallas'?"

"Pssh. I get secon' billin'. A' leas'." Mara tips her head back and down her whiskey and cola smoothly. She's no stranger to her drink, obviously.

Ed brings a fresh round in for the two to enjoy / hurt themselves with. His speech is slurred and he's probably seeing double. This, on top of his insomnia, probably isn't contributing to an altogether positive state of being. "Sure thing, Lucy Ewing Cooper," Ed says. "Whatever you want."

"Are you disrespecting the house of Cooper?!" Mara feigns indignance, a hand over her heart in melodramatic shock.

"The Coopers were hangers-on anyways. Lucy was the Poison Dwarf," Ed says. He… knows a bit too much about soap operas. "I'm glad she left the show."

Mara gives up all pretenses of actually savouring her liquor and proceeds to the part where she just gets liberally smashed. "Y'know wha'? The doctor- My doctor, he said he wanted to see me. I think we shou' go bother 'im."

Ed looks at his watch. "What are you, nuts?" he says. "It's 4 AM. Hell, /this/ joint is gonna be closing before long." Indeed, it is switching to a 'sweep up' sort of mode.

"Wha's yer poin'?" Mara peers at Ed, confused. "Ohhhhh…" There it goes. Now it's coming together. "Four? In the /morning/? B'God, no! Really?" She rubs her face and looks down at her empty glass, plucking a cube of ice from it and popping it in her mouth. "Mmmm."

"You're stealing my schtick," Ed slurs, and starts chomping on his ice cube. He giggles again at nothing in particular, but he does start reaching into his glass to fish one out with his fingers. "Open up," he says, from across the table, and prepares to shoot. "C'mon, trust me. FBI trained. We're like Robin Hoods."

Mara doesn't hestitate, except to giggle. She leans forward just a bit. "If you throw i' down m' shir', I'm makin' you go ge' i'. Jus' for the record." Then she does as instructed. This can't possibly end well, can it?

Ed shoots, and misses. The ice cube goes straight where it was proscribed against going. Ed slumps back in his chair. "Oops."

Mara just about jumps out of her chair. "Cold! Cold! Oh Go' tha's cold!" She narrows her eyes at Ed, "You di' tha' on purpose!" She continues to squirm, the ice cube just refusing to be less cold.

Ed shrugs. "Who, me?" he says, playing innocent before popping another ice cube into his mouth. "I'm too sloshed to be that good, even if you blues are probably rightly stunned by a proper shooter," Ed says, taking a jab at the NYPD in the process. Just to sidetrack the conversation.

Mara fishes a cube out of her own glass and flings it at Ed in retaliation. "Bastard." All the same, she's giggling. "I think they wanna boo' us ou', Ed." She looks around and then toward the door. "You… wanna come back to my place? I go' more ta drink there."

"Ow! Hey!" Ed gets hit right on the cheek by the ice, before he, too, looks out the door. "I thought /that/ was just — dread 'ully unpro'essional," he says, coyly miming her accent poorly. "For two distinguished pro'essionals such as ourselves."

"Your droppin' the wrong le'ers, wanker," Mara teases. "I think we lef' professionalism back a' the station." This gets a very sage nod. Professionalism was abandoned a long time ago.

Ed finishes the last of his drink in one big gulp. That can't be good for your health. "I don't know about you, pardner, but /I/ am always a consumate professional. And /you/ are not driving," he adds. "So I suppose we shall have to walk!"

Mara climbs to her feet shakily. "Hey now… No takin' jabs at Juuuuuuuuuuuuu… Demsky." I totally wasn't going to call him by his first name. No. Ignore me. "An' I though' you said you were callin' a cab."

"Alright, alright, fine, a cab," Ed says. "Juuuuuudah," he repeats, with a dull giggle. "You sure he's not gay? 'cause he's awful handsome, and I'm awful single," he says, with a slurred deadpan.

Even drunk, Mara still manages to show the blush the turns her cheeks a furious shade of crimson. Rather than respond to the question, she ignores it entirely. "Single," she repeats.

Ed makes sure the money is taken care of and sort of staggers, wobbily, towards the door. After a few paces, he breaks into laughter. "Ahhahaha — you're the most gullible drunk little detective in the world. I bet you really believed me, for a sec, there," he says, still giggling.

"Not even for a /second/," Mara insists, grabbing hold of Ed's arm partially to stabilize him and partially to steady her. "We can walk, if y'like, bu' we migh' end up stagg'rin' inta th'street."

Ed's already flailing his arm for a cab. "I bet if I pulled my gun we'd get one lickety split," he grunts, leaning into Mara like the drunkard he is. "And — Bull! You turned red as a cherry, Dee-teck-tive."

"No' b'cause of tha'…" Mara fixes a furious stare on Ed, which really isn't so effective when her forehead is almost brushing against his and she's trying not to giggle.

"Because of Juu-dah," Ed says, enunciating the syllables. "Y'big puppy," he says. He's white and he's wearing a suit, so he gets a cab pretty quickly, flagging it down with a wave of his arm.

"Y'wanna know a secre', Agen' Boone?" Mara grins impishly up at Ed after she climbs into the cab.

"I'm the FBI," Ed says, slipping into the cab. He says it like 'Fuubee', probably because it amuses him. "I already know all y'er secrets," he says, and shuts the door. "Take me to 23rd and …" He trails off. "You don't live there. Tell the man where you live. What the hell's on 23rd?"

Mara's face lights up and she leans in, "Maybe it's the place in your dreams. Let's go to 23rd, huh? It'll be fun." If the idea that he knows her secrets bothers her, she doesn't show it. Or she's too drunk for it to register. And he doesn't even know where she lives. HAH!

"It's a whole /block/. Runs from river to river!" Ed protests. "Anyways, what's the secret?" The cab driver is getting agitated. Ed says, "Drive… north. For now."

Mara leans in close enough to brush her lips against Ed's ear when she whispers, "Juuuuuuude's no' the one I wan' righ' now." He can feel her mouth twist into a grin against his skin.

"You're not a very good professional," Ed protests. The driver looks in the rearview mirror, and Ed sort of glares at him. "It's Parkman, isn't it," he adds, just to be a pain in the neck.

Mara leans back, blinking several times as if she hadn't just suggested what she just suggested. Not her. No. Totally professional. "I beg yer pardon?"

Ed squints, out of focus, as he considers how to handle it. "Uh. Pardon what? I didn't say nothin'."

"Tha's wha' I though' you said." Mara leans back in her seat and scratches at her neck. "Think, man. 23rd and wha'?"

"Hell. 23rd and…" Ed thinks. "Hey, driver, 23rd and… Lexington?" he asks, of nobody in particular. "But there ain't anything there," he says.

"Tha's where we're goin', then." Mara's tone is leaving no room for argument. Pushy broad.

"Fair 'nuff," Ed says, leaning back in. "You heard that, driver?" he calls. The driver is eavesdropping, so of course.

Mara tips her head to rest against the window, watching Ed as the car drives on. "Tell me all my secre's, mistah fuubee man."

Ed sits back in his seat and reaches into his pocket. He slips a cigarette behind his ear, and starts talking. "Kaydence Lee Damaris," he starts. "Age 28. Remember, remember, the 5th of November," he rhymes, slurring his words. "You use too many purple pens. You're self-conscious about your teeth but they look cute," he says, rambling off observed details.

Mara looks absolutely stunned, and she doesn't try to hide it. Unless you count the hand the slips up to cover her mouth and those teeth she's self-conscious about. "Go on," she urges.

Ed looks at the window, a look of vague dread on his face. He's gonna blow it to prove a point, isn't he? "You don't trust anybody, not really, and you treat your partner like a Fabergé egg, you're so worried you'll break him. You're keeping things from me, but you're allowed to do that, and you've said as much. We're going to 23rd street because you think maybe there's a reason for everything, because if there's a reason for everything all the things that don't make sense make sense, you just don't know it yet. It bothers you. That's how Sylar thinks. For him, everything's a ticking clock. Everything works. You don't want to want to think like him, but you do. And you're drunk, but you're probably not this drunk," Ed says, "Because that'd mean can let your guard down. But it's fun to pretend you can. You play it a little safe. You live alone, and you probably sleep alone, without exception," Ed says, still slurring. "And maybe you dye your hair. Not sure."

There's a very, very long moment of silence from Mara in the aftermath of all of that. There's a flicker of something in those hazel eyes… Fear? It could very well be. Fear that she's been figured out so very, very easily. It's almost a full minute before she finally responds with only one sentence. "I have never dyed my hair."

Ed shrugs. "Can't be right all the time," Ed says, and looks out the window. "Bravo. It's a good color," he says, before scratching his ear. He knocks on the back of the driver's booth. "You're probably gonna wanna let me out in a second, boss," he says.

"Am I that easy?" Mara doesn't even slur her words. Part of this is that she really isn't as drunk as she was acting, and part of it is that she's just felt this sudden need to sober the hell up. "Aren't you going to look with me? I want to see it. Don't you want to look? Don't you want to /know/?"

"Yeah," Ed says. "Kind of. But I don't have to fit in to the big plan. I'm not a cog, I'm just a cop." Either way, the taxi pulls up to the corner in question. "Shit," he grunts.

"C'mon, mistah big heap FBI man." Mara nudges Ed. Not getting out until you do, buddy. "Humour me. Just… do it. /Please/. You know I can't afford to investigate this by m'self."

Ed opens the door and steps out, and starts looking around. "I'm not sure. I don't… it's just a dream," Ed says, looking around. "Alright… um… maybe this way."

Mara climbs out of the cab and follows after Ed quickly after fishing some bills out of her pocket and tossing them at the driver. Get lost. "You're right, you know. I think like him, as much as I don't want to."

"Don't feel too bad," Ed says, and just starts walking. He's not even particularly sure where. "That's why you can catch him." He stops, then, outside of a building's grody metal grate — a sort of underground passageway that leads to the courtyard. It's where you put the trash out, too. They're all over New York.

"You're right. It terrifies me, and at the same time, it's my best weapon against him." Mara almost walks into Ed's back when he stops. She peers through the grate and then back to the agent. "Ringing some bells?"

"This place can't be real," Ed says, but he steps down into the pit anyways. The grate's open. There's rarity #1. He takes a couple of steps inside… and, sure enough, there's a little lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. It's off. "… this is it. This is where I meet them. I've never been here before in my life."

Mara hurries after Ed, reaching to put her hand on her gun. "You meet them here," she repeats. "You're sure you've never been here b-" She eases her hand off her own gun and holds her hand out. "Ed… May I see your gun?"

"Yeah. Don't shoot me," Ed says, and passes Mara his gun. The safety is on; Ed knows his way around the weapon. He hands it over almost absently. How can this little rathole be real?

"Promise," Damaris murmurs. She takes in a deep breath before she wraps her hand around the weapon to bring it close to her as the first jolt runs through her body. A visibly violent shudder courses through her frame, and her eyes snap shut immediately.

A flash of images. A *lot* of images, really, and not all of them make sense. It seems like a slideshow of similar scenes — the chronological order difficult to determine.

Ed, pointing his gun at a young child. The barrel shakes and trembles before he puts it down. Doubt. Guilt. Fear. Shame. Doing the right thing.

Ed, pointing his gun at a middle-aged man in a suit. Some kind of FBI agent? His superior? Anger. Betrayal. Rage.

A black man with a shaved head steps out from behind Ed; taken by surprise, he gets his hand on Ed's forehead and he goes limp. His gun clatters to the floor. Nothingness.

The thin man and the black man, looking down on an unconscious Ed.

"Go deep."

Ed, at a shooting range. Loyalty. Pride. Family. The thin man comes from behind; smiling. The two smile together.

Ed, with his gun under his chin, both hands on the trigger. Despair. Fear. "It wasn't meant to be like this."

Ed, in a sterile room. A hospital room. He's seated on a metal table, his gun holstered at his side. A woman in a labcoat steps behind him and slides a six-inch long needle into the back of his head.

He lets her.

And then it's over.

"Hey? What the hell are you doing? Don't play around with a gun. That thing's loaded."

Mara's knees buckle and she wobbles only once before hitting the ground. Hard. She lets out a strangled cry of pain, rolling from her side, where she likely bruised her hip, onto her back. The gun is clutched safely against her chest the whole time.

Ed is still standing when Mara hits the ground. He sort of pokes her with his foot. "Very funny—" Poke. "Son of a bitch," he says, and crouches to get her head off the ground. "Mara? Hey! Mara!"

Mara stares up at Ed, bewildered. "Oh my God," she murmurs. "So alone. So very, very alone." She stares up at the man, as though seeing him for the very first time. "My God, my God."

"Jesus Christ," Ed says, "Did you drop a pill when I wasn't looking? Tell me you didn't break your hip like an old lady. What the hell is wrong with you?"

Fear washes over Mara and she tries to scramble away from the FBI man. "No! No no no… No… /FUCK!/" That can't be what I thought. It's not possible. There's no way. No. NO! "Stay away!" Despite still having his gun clutched tightly in her hands, she doesn't make any attempt to point it at him. "None of it m- I- Don't touch me!"

"Holy— whoa! Hey! Cool it!" Ed says, throwing his hands forward. "Take a deep breath while you're holding a gun. In fact, why don't we just put the gun down on the ground, now, okay? I think we'd all much prefer that. Alright?"

Mara lays the gun out beside her on the ground slowly before knocking it away from the both of them. "Ed… Oh my God." She puts her hands over her eyes, as though it might block out everything she's just seen. Or maybe bring it back? "I need help," she begs."

Ed knows all about drugs, and this isn't one of them. He quickly collects his gun, checks the safety, and holsters it. "With what?" he asks. "Jesus. Didn't I tell you this was a bad idea? C'mon. I'm taking you home. You'll sleep whatever the hell it is off."

"Don't!" Mara throws her hands up as if to shield herself. "I- I- I need to know… Because it /matters/." She peers through her fingers at Ed, eyes large and fearful. "H- Have you ever thought even once about pulling the trigger with a child in your cross hair?"

"What? That's ridiculous. No. Never," Ed says. It's clearly not a thing he expected to hear. Seeing as how it makes no sense. "What are you talking about?"

"Have you ever come close to killing yourself?" Mara relaxes only marginally. This is not a good situation.

"Never," Ed lies. "… Not for a long time, anyways."

Mara reaches out her hand slowly, waiting for help up. "Yeah, me too."

Ed gives her a hand up. "You're kind of freaking me out, y'know," he says, pretty much stone sober. Blown opportunities. "So you really do have blackouts."

"That wasn't even close to a blackout," Mara says with a straight face. "I was completely conscious for the whole thing. Normally, the boys would be calling a bus in right about now."

"Yeah. Great," Ed deadpans. "Let's get out of this skeezy place, seeing as how we are, in fact, trespassing."

Mara nods quickly and grabs Ed's arm to keep her steady as she heads back out to the street.

Ed starts walking. "So do you do this kind of thing /often/? Or what?"

"More often than I like to admit," Mara confirms, watching the shadows closely. "Sorry if I scared you…."

"Yeah, well. Mostly I didn't expect you were going to pass out," Ed says, "Holding a gun. "Listen, let me walk you home. You can call your doctor guy if you need. I hope it's not a trillion blocks away."

"I certainly didn't mean to." Mara's actually quite worried about the fact that the vision caused her to collapse. It could mean a lot of things, and none of them already good. "It's not…. /that/ far," she assures.

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