2010-07-30: The Princess And The Pig



Guest Starring:


Date: July 30, 2010


Where have all the good men gone

And where are all the gods?

Where's the street-wise Hercules

To fight the rising odds?

Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?

Late at night toss and turn and dream of what I need

"The Princess and the Pig"


The little blue tooth light on the earpiece blinks a few times, indicating a dying battery. To the wearer, all the indication he has before looking in the mirror is the blank spaces in his phone call. "God damn piece of crap!" He yells, pulling out of his ear and pitching it at the feet of the man in the passenger seat. Not his partner, his subordinate, and the latest in a long line of boot lickers that needed to be broken in.

"What the hell is wrong with you people? Hiding three whites in the middle of Spanish Harlem? If we weren't trying to keep them from getting killed, you'd think we wanted them killed." Mason barks, lately his bark has been better than his bite. As he slides the black SUV into a parking spot a little too tight, the man huffs a laugh as he looks over at the yesman. "Irony? I think yes. What do you think?" Sexual humor, you can't do that in an office of women without getting slapped on the wrist for offending their granny panties. "Let's put on our game faces… all we need is her turning."

Staring into the distance, even the noise of the new occupants doesn't cause Sydney to stir. Her head tilts just a little as she watches a fly on the wall; she's been watching it for hours, virtually catatonic in her position. Her face is healing — slowly removing the evidence of the beating she'd received a month ago — but underneath the discolouration is that white canvas, her still-paled skin.

Dressed in cargo shorts (that she'd never have purchased for herself), a purple tank, and a very oversized leather jacket (that was never really hers), she's curled into a kind of ball against the otherwise white worn sofa. Her arms hug her body, despite the warmth and the heaviness of the coat in which she's dressed.

On the other side of the room, the fly on which she fixates buzzes rather angrily, mad at one thing or another or perhaps just searching for food. Regardless, it's in its nature.


One formerly angry fly that's now dead. The black body flitters against the wall for a moment and then drops to the floor, completely still.

He'd left the yesman outside, talking to Falkland is something Mason wanted to do alone. As he stands in the doorway, hands on his hips, his eyes drift over the huddled form on the couch. She's so pitiful, is the expression on his face, an expression which hardens to something a little more firm as he takes a deep breath inward. Then he moves toward her.

His pace is cautious, as though approaching a caged lion. The woman may be tiny, but so is his wife and sometimes that woman can unleash the fury of a thousand banshees if she's approached from the wrong direction. Other times, she's as sweet as homemade apple pie. From all the documentation on Falkland, she's about the same. He squats just a couple of feet in front of her, tilting his head just enough to try to catch her eye. Then he smiles, a charming smile, testing the waters. "Sydney? My name's Thomas Mason… I'm a director with the FBI here in New York. I was hoping I'd get to talk to you a little bit, can we talk?"

The small creature on the sofa snaps out her trance as the fly on the wall is murdered. Her eyes flit to the dark-haired man in front of her as her features harden just a little, almost analytically as she watches every motion, every step, and even the squat. Eyebrows furrowing slightly, she considers something, letting it weigh on her mind as she hears her first name. Most FBI agents called her Falkland. Or doctor. Or doc. Her lips purse, discerning his motivations, but having no practice, she comes up empty.

Uncurling from her spot, she sucks in a warm gulp of air contemplatively. Arms uncurl from her body as she straightens and looks down at the man squatting in front of her. Cautiously she nods, just a little before clearing her throat. She'd been sitting her so long with no movement, it had cracked itself almost dry.

"Thomas?" the name is heavy on her tongue as she tries it out almost like a question. "Why did you feel that fly had to die?" her voice cracks, not with emotion, but with a kind of parched croaking caused only by lack of moisture.

The question catches him off guard, like one of the many questions from his young children. Why ids the sky blue? Why do zebras have stripes? Why did the dog eat dental floss? Why are you pulling the dental floss out of his butt? His head turns as he looks first at the spot where the fly died, then down to where its body fell. "Well, honestly, I didn't think about it when I did it." He turns back to look at Sydney, a tentative smile breaking the firm expression on his face. "I'm sorry… if you wanted it kept alive. I just didn't think." An honest and fairly straight forward answer.

His eyes study every nuance of the woman in front of him, analyzing and picking out queues. He pauses on the jacket, the shorts, the tank top. What would have been a general mishmash of generic clothing is offset by that heavy coat. A coat he's seen in photographs but can't quite put a finger on. It takes him a few seconds but in a whirling in his mind he figures it out. It's his coat.

"Sydney," his voice is calm and soothing, not quite matching the cautious demeanor. The woman has something that he wants, desperately. "I want to talk to you about what happened. Not.. not like everyone else. Not like the therapist, or your friends, or even the other agents. I just want to know why. Why don't you testify?"

Eyes are narrowed at the response, evidently it's not satisfactory. Her lips purse and her nostrils flare, the small nuances of some internal fire, something flared, just because. Her lips, however, remain straight, even, painfully so, no indication of her internal though or current state, like grace under fire. Her eyes flit away from his, staring at the dead fly on the floor. But then it was never really about the fly. "Is that how you run your department? With little thought or feeling on collateral damage? Pure, uncalculating, instinct?"

Instinctively, the coat is tightened around her. Her own thoughts and feelings muddled by that numbness once again. Her lips press together, fighting against any feeling that threatens to creep out; she doesn't feel like giving the FBI more fodder.

She considers the question though before answering, her thoughts pull together with a small downward twitch of her lips, but the words that come out are cold and clinical, matter-of-fact, even, "It wouldn't be fair. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial."

"Well, no, That's not how I run my department. I take my time, I don't like to take unneccessary risks. I don't like to shoot from the hip when I have a mounted scope nearby. That's why I wanted to talk to you." Her flare of anger is something, an improvement from all of the reports he's read since she was brought here. It's something, rather than nothing. Taking a deep breath, he twists his ankles and stands just long enough to take a step toward the couch and sit beside her, angled facing her. Not too close, not too far away.

He eyes the coat again and swallows, as though trying to pick the next course of action. Calculating in his mind exactly how each situation might play out before discarding the notion. "Sydney," he repeats her name again, a technique to humanize her again and make himself seem somewhat approachable. "I know you think it might not be fair if you testify. But if you don't, how fair would it be? The jury won't get the whole story, they won't see the full picture."

Sydney hmmms at his response. While she may be territorial overall, especially with the couch, she doesn't tense or move away. Biting at one of her fingernails she twists around just a little, not enough that she's facing him, but she can watch him from the corner of her eye, just enough movement to register. Her own gaze remains low, not really on him, but studying the pattern on the carpet, letting it become etched in her mind. Something to keep her here in a way.

The words, however, tug on those lips again, pulling them down. With a small shake of her head, she manages to neutralize them, pressing top into bottom into a thing straight line. Pointer finger is moved over them as a kind of seal to prevent secrets from spilling out, yet one does in a quiet whisper accompanied by a small, almost bitter, smile, "You have no idea."

"You're right, I don't have an idea, Sydney." Mason keeps repeating her name. Leaning forward, he picks up the pitcher of water that's been left there for her for who knows how long and pours a glass. Not for himself. He holds it out to her in offerance, the neutral expression on his face bordering worry. It's a worry that might be for her, might be for his job, might be for many things… whether his son't t-ball team will win their next game is also a distinct possibility. "Have some water, you sound thirsty."

The glass is held a little closer to her, the circular pattern at the surface indicates a slight shake to his hand. Not enough to be noticable without it, but enough to give her a sense of his nervous state. "You're still wearing his jacket," he begins again. "Laurie, right? I only knew him as Myles." There's the sharp hiss of a breath as he takes a small risk. "I need your help, Sydney, I'm not going to lie to you. I need you to testify… I'm afraid…" He pauses for a moment and clenches his jaw, "I'm afraid that we don't have enough evidence and testimony without you, to keep them locked away. For Laurie's murder, for beating you up, for everything they've done and what they will do if we can't throw away the key."

Quietly, near silently, the water is accepted hesitantly, the blonde still unsure she can, or even wants to, trust this Director-fellow. Regardless, she accepts the glass and brings it to her lips, the water would have a rejuvenating effect if she paid it any attention, but she's too busy watching Mason, the signs of his worry only drawing deeper lines of perplexion on her features.

At the observation, however, she only sinks further into the jacket that is clearly too big for her. The water glass is returned to the coffee table in front of her as she twists away from Mason now, her attention returning to the dead fly. "Murder?" no longer a croak, her tone is more present and lively than before. Her lips press together as her suspicions are, indeed, confirmed. Laurence Miles is dead. Yet something else eats at her for a moment, "You're angry with me." Her head snaps to face him for a moment, challenging him to disagree. "That's…" she pauses, taking time to be selective with her words, "…fine." Returning her gaze to the fly, her head tilts, "But perhaps we're all a little like that fly in this. Tormented and punished for our nature." Eyes and lips zero in on him. "Smushed thoughtlessly against a wall for merely being who we are." She stares at it a moment longer. "Always at someone else's mercy. Like Laurence was at his. Like I was." There's a distinct pause as she leans forward and grasps the glass again, "And like you are at mine."

Shaking his head, Mason brings a hand to his forehead and rubs it, the frustration mounting just a little when she twists his meaning. "No, Sydney, I'm not angry with you, not at all. Never with you." The hand is pulled away and he gives her something of a weary smile. It lasts too briefly before it falls from his face. "I'm angry at them. I don't accept that Laurie might have died for nothing, I can't accept it." There's hopelessness and despair in his voice and on his face.

His eyes follow hers toward the carcass of the insect that he'd so brutally murdered when he walked through the door. Then he turns back to look at her and nods in agreement. "You're right, Sydney, I am at your mercy. Everything rides on you, on what you want to do." He folds his hands, lacing his fingers together and shaking them just a little bit. "I say want.. the D.A. could make you testify and if they don't the defense will use that as ammunition to say they did nothing wrong. That he the one that beat you up and murdered Laurence didn't do anything wrong." His eyes find hers and his eyebrows twitch just a touch, in worry. "Sydney, he did something wrong."

Another gulp of water to refresh the palate, once again, goes relatively unnoticed. Idly a finger is run over the top of glass, producing an eerie kind of high-pitched music, and a kind of distracted disconnect from the moment. Sydney closes her eyes wistfully willing the presence of more glasses of water to play, but when she opens them, she's still here, in this place, running her finger along the rim of one. She sighs, her shoulders sink with the motion as she draws her legs towards her chest only to rest the glass on one of her knees.

Choosing to tap on its sides instead, she stares through the glass at Mason, the image becomes silly and distorted with refraction, and draws a bemusement in her eyes. "There are two other witnesses. At the very least you could nail him for kidnapping." She lowers her legs and, consequently, the glass to meet Mason's gaze. "And. As we've already covered. I don't testify." There's a small pause as she shifts along the couch. Bitterly she scoffs, "Your records should attest to that."

"You're right again, there are two moe witnesses. And maybe we could nail him for kidnapping, maybe." There's that maybe, Mason puts the emphasis on that last one and finally breaks his eye contact with her. Bouncing the two hands up and down a little, he stares at them for a long time before speaking again. "He needs to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There's the catch, Sydney, reasonable doubt. Without you in our corner, it leaves the defense with a channel to that reasonable doubt."

He stands and rolls his shoulders backward, stretching out his back and neck. Then he pivots on his heel and walks toward the door, toward the fly. "Why isn't Sydney Falkland testifying? She's the one that Roberto Harlin was apparently fixated with, is the prosecution making that up? Is this story completely false because they can't produce any hard evidence or testimony other than two therapists that could be lying?" Mason pulls a Kleenex from his pocket and bends down. Carefully, he picks up the fly and wraps it gingerly into the tissue before tucking it gently into his pocket. "Think about it, Sydney, that's all I'm asking you to do. I know you said you don't testify, but it's important. Laurence Miles won't have a fair shot if you don't at least consider the options."

Unexpectedly, even to her, Sydney pushes on her thighs and rises from the couch for the first time in hours. Eyebrows knit together as Mason puts the dead fly in his pocket, leaving Sydney all the more unsure. "Laurence Miles didn't have a fair shot because of you and your department," while the words aren't said emphatically there's certainly an edge to them. "He never should've been cleared for this mission, I spoke to him several times, last time he pulled something like this it nearly destroyed him; he barely talked to me and I could tell that much."

Her features harden substantially, Sam's voice resounding in her head, taunting her and telling her she did this; that they sent him in based on her assessment. Her cheeks flush slightly as she shifts her weight, still staring at Mason. Jaw tightening, she finally hisses, "I'll think about it." She won't.

"We were following protocol, he had all the credentials and the fact of the matter is… He was cleared. He had experience, a clean bill of health, physical as well as mental." Mason pauses for a moment and his eyes avert from the woman in front of him. She cleared him herself, she knows it, she doesn't need to be reminded. Not yet.

"Thank you for at least agreeing to think about it." He starts again, turning his head to give her one last look as he reaches for the doorknob. "When these men are put away, you'll be able to go home. I don't know if you were told before… but Roberto wants you back, one of the last things the wire picked up was him screaming about how much he wanted you back." The words were stronger, worse, much more defined than what Mason is letting on. "We brought you here because without Laurence Miles, we can't track his movements. You want to go home, I want you to go home. I can't clear you unless I know you're not going to be murdered the moment you walk through your own front door."

"Protocol," Sydney repeats coldly. Goosebumps form along her skin. She hugs the jacket a little tighter to her body again, willing herself disappear among its many folds, but again these pipe dreams go unfulfilled, and Mason mentions her one real desire. Home. Her cheeks flush further as she steps towards him with silent bare feet. "There are worse things than death. Being murdered is the least of my concerns." In a way she just wants to feel something, anything, really. She wants to be angry, but she can't bring herself to grasp it wholly, even if it burns silently in her subconscious.

She runs her tongue over that scar along her lips, feeling her way around it and still getting used to its presence while considering. "Laurence Miles was a hero. A true hero." She presses her lips together, as an emotion she's suppressed for weeks scratches it's way into her conscious mind thanks to that dream, a representation of her own fear that she's too aware of thanks to her new ability. "I'll talk. But you record it. No witness stand." There's another pause before she adds, "But Detective Powers needs to be there."

Powers, something about that name, that word, it gets under Mason's skin and he freezes for a moment. The ire growing inside of him. He just nods once, clenching his teeth as his jaw works overtime tensing and releasing.

"No witness stand," Mason agrees, there's a hitch there though and he furrows his eyebrows and clenches his jaw. "I'll talk to the D.A. about it, make sure they're fine with that… I won't let them force you up there, you can trust me on that." He pauses once, considering his choices carefully once again. "If they don't go for it… would you agree to a satellite feed? You could be in a room somewhere around the world if you felt like it, Powers could be there with you. You wouldn't have to look at him and he'd have no idea where you are." It would be tricky, but with a bit of work if could work. Mason's confidence creeps back a little bit at a time and another tentative smile is given to Sydney.

Sydney's lips tighten almost like she's trying to force a smile and fails miserably, but she nods, which is at least a good sign. "Fine. Recording is better. But no, I don't want to face him. Or any of them. They can see me, but I can't see them." She doesn't particularly want to be cross-examined. That much is obvious. Her arms fold across her chest as she lingers for a moment just facing him, unsure what she's supposed to do next. "And I have to be able to go home. Sooner than later." For the first time, she's recognizing what she has: leverage and so she presses, "If you don't make an arrest within the next couple of weeks, the deal is off." It's another challenge her gaze remains heavy on him. "I realize it takes awhile to prosecute a case and so I won't be home until it's over, but I need some reason to believe I will get there."

"Deal," Mason says quickly, there's no hesitation in his voice at all. In fact, his confidence grows as she makes her demands and there's even the twitch to the corner of his lips. It's clear that the case against Roberto lies with the three therapists. Especially the subject of Roberto's fixation. Sticking out his hand, the director offers it to shake as a traditional seal.

"We'll get him and you'll be able to go home," the man promises. His demeanor much improved since his first steps into the room. Whatever leverage and muscle she's flexing, it doesn't seem to bother him. They have what they want, she'll get what she wants. Back into her own kitchen.

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