Date: June 4, 2010
… but it's not funny.
"You Had Me in Stitches"
Amy is off being questioned by their captor, leaving Sydney sitting alone on her bed in their cell, staring at the wall, puzzling a way out of this situation. She knows Roberto is special as they say, and even if she could help him, there's no way she would. Besides, she only influences emotions and emotional responses, it's not like she could actually help him meet his goals if he wanted her to.
She glances down at the skirt she's been wearing for ages now— not that she doesn't have access to a shower here, but clothes thus far have been beyond the minds of her captors. Yet she doesn't complain. Her tactics have actually become very different as of late.
The TV is on— the volume freakishly high, but Sydney, well she's watching the wall. After standing she pads over to the cement bricks and gently places a hand on one. She doesn't really expect it to move, but she pushes on it anyways to no avail.
It's generally quiet outside the locked door holding her in there — until it isn't. But with the television blasting the imaginary lives of other people, it's next to impossible to hear the ones that raise out in the other room, thus eliminating all warning before there's a rattle from the door handle and the thing swings open. The room seems to have emptied; besides Roscoe on the threshold, there's no one visible or audible now over his shoulder.
He eases into the room, dragging a chair in with one hand, its legs screeching with protest as it swings the furniture in front of him in order to get the door properly closed. Rather than used for sitting, the seat is twisted right back against the door, stopping up the handle and preventing unwanted interruptions.
A swift glance to the television and then to Sydney, he raises his other hand — something clenched between two fingers in it as well — and beckons she come closer, rather than turn the TV volume down. But even from a distance, his condition is obvious. Paleness masks his face, marred by a pattern on red on his face, almost reminiscent of a hand-print. His lips are pressed thinly together even as he maintains neutrality when regarding the therapist. The usual amber jacket sits lumpily on his shoulders, not over his arms, and, underneath, the colorful mafia shirt also hangs oddly, as if it has lost part of its shape.
At the entrance and the appearance, Sydney's eyes widen considerably and her mouth gapes. "Y-y-y-you're— " her own face paling, her barefeet patter noisily against the cement floor as she extends a hand towards him, she's closer, and has certainly fulfilled the silent request. Her eyes narrow at him, taking him in, filled with worry. Something is certainly wrong. Biting her bottom lip she stares up at him, unsure of what to say. When she finally speaks, the television drowns most of her whispered words, making them virtually inaudible, but her lips move over them with annunciated accuracy, "What happened?"
At the first sight of her concern, Roscoe's mouth twitches higher in one part in cheery affected confusion much more telling of the Laurie he's pretending not to be. The undercover consultant doesn't immediately address this reaction of hers, choosing, instead, to take a passing look around the room in which the therapist has been involuntarily staying. There's something small and shiny visible tucked between two knuckles when he uses that hand to thumb his nose thoughtfully, though the sniffing breath in that follows exhibits an abnormal sound for breathing to make — there's a husky effort that doesn't translate to the casual, almost conversational, yet notably sincere way he asks, "How are you doing, therapist?"
Blankly, Sydney stares at Laurie. Stares, particularly as his lips twitch into a very Laurie-esque expression. "I'm fine," she says abruptly as her eyebrows knit together tighter with obvious concern. "Miles… what happened?" She pauses as her eyes linger on shiny object he holds between two fingers. "What's wrong? Y-you sound funny— " She presses her lips together into a thin line, silently worried. But the worry isn't out of control, she maintains a grasp on her ability. For now.
"Fine…" the revealed Laurie echoes, with just enough edge to suggest his mocking of the word choice. But his provoking her isn't followed up on, instead, he blatantly ignores both her questions to also eye his hand. Eventually, he brings it forward towards her, revealing that he's got a small needle; he rolls it over a couple of knuckles into a new grip and then wags it at her. "I enjoy the honesty — ahh, I'm afraid, miss steadyhands, that I have to ask a favor of you. I'd be rather obliged if you agreed." Up close, like this, the white of his face is only emphasized; it's also clammy. He's breathing often, but never well. The hand not holding the needle is on his hip, but there's the suggestion that some of that colorful red on his sleeve isn't just the pattern of the shirt anymore.
Her face pales even a little more at the needle, her eyes questioning silently. A needle means trouble. Must trouble. "Wh-where? I've— I don't know— I…" she sputters. "I… yes. I'll do it…" Whatever the favour involving the needle might be— something she can only guess at judging by the discoloured shirt, the strange breathing, and his delight in her honesty… her expression changes to curt determination. "Sit on the bed," she instructs now; she may be young and kidnapped, but she's still got that authoritative edge, at least she retained something.
He waits through all that she needs to get out, holding the needle like a tiny beacon up until that agreeing command, where she'll find the tool transferred towards her hand instead. Striding past her, he rolls his shoulders strongly, which effectively pops the jacket from his shoulders; it slides to the floor in a distorted heap. As revealed by the jacket's absence, his silken shirt's weird hang comes from the back of it being widely torn open. A similar observation can be made of the skin it displays. Not only is there a bullet hole, but it's been enlarged by the knife and made irritable with prodding. A section of plastic wrap seems to be basically adhesive as it sticks to his skin; most of the bleeding's stopped, but there was quite a bit of it when it was happening.
With a hand out first to somewhat guide his fall, Laurie drops heavily to the bed as he tugs another small bulk from his pants pocket. The box he offers her between two fingers has the thread.
Needle in hand she approaches and outright gapes at the wound. "Taking out glass is.. was.. I.." Yup, Sydney is questioning herself now. But then it's not as if he can just walk into a hospital and maintain whatever cover he's trying to maintain. Swallowing she steps closer, needle poised. "I'm… I'm going to have to take off the plastic. Do you have gauze or something so I can dress it after?" Her cheeks are pale again; she's worried. It's starting to seep into the room as much as she tries to push some air of confidence.
If he's at all worried, Laurie keeps it to himself as much as what has to be some manner of discomfort from the gaping injury. Though the current wound calls the most attention, a small study of his bared back notes other, older, sites. Small scars, puckered skin: a history of violence. "Don't be nervous," comes the relaxed, inappropriately amused reassurance. "It's a breeze. Don't even worry about the other part, you just do this and I promise I'll get out of your hair." After some gesturing with his words, he lets his arms fall to his legs, resting, while his hands clasp between them. He waits a bit of time for her to come to terms, then glances to the side of the notably empty room. "Where's your friend?"
The words are oddly easing. Oddly. In fact, Sydney manages the weakest of smiles before slowly pulling off the plastic and busying herself with the wound. Carefully she examines the wound, trying to figure out the best point to begin stitching and whether stitching inside is worth the effort. "Amy is… with him." Her face flushes. "There are moments when I'm just too good at my job. That's why I stopped working at the mental hospital altogether. Not because I hated the work or it was too difficult— because I was too good at it. I fed his delusions, apparently." Her eyebrow quirks as she winces just a little, "This is gonna sting— " not that the whole thing doesn't sting. And then she stops and looks at him, "Did you clean the needle?"
He isn't surprised to hear about Amy — the question was mostly for Sydney's sake — but Laurie's eyebrows twitch slightly at her next choice of words as he denies himself the full reaction. Under the surface, a torrent of rising guilt and anger brim to the top: most of all a planted and constant loathing. Self-loathing. A desire for harm and — but none of it surfaces. Just that twitch, and then he's cocked his head bemusedly at her. "Yes, Falkland. I cleaned the needle." He considers the rest, then, with a composure in complete opposition to his emotions. "People have — an immense capacity to pervert everything. Even that which is good."
The tinge of guilt is duly noted and met with further furrowed eyebrows. Sydney winces as she puts the needle into the skin. Her lips twitch a little as she cringes and then stops before pulling him forward just a bit to bring the wound more into the light. "But sometimes what we're good at is perverted in the first place," she observes as she pulls the needle through the other side of the skin, producing the first stitch. Her lips purse. "How did you get here, Miles? Who approved this— you're not… you…"
"Some argue it's not what we can do, but how our brains tell us to use it," Laurie counters, amiably, and without the passion to suggest this is his personal view. "And that these brains are programmed in such as way as that we are helpless to resist the urges." But the speaking, even the predicted sting of the needle, serves to vanish what feelings had been boiling. By the time he's musing dreamily over her question, he's become a blank slate. "I have arrived in this place through a series of choices and decisions. As I affect the world, so does it affect me."
"And your answer is…" Sydney focuses and starts the next stitch just as carefully as the first. "…typical of someone in your field. Very Skinner-esque of you. Very behaviourist." She smirks slightly now; an odd expression considering where she finds herself. "In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I'd end up like this. Ever. Not even after everything that happened… I kind of flew under the radar with… things." A semi-worried smile takes over. "And I am officially the worst parent in the history of caregivers." Her cheeks flush a pinkish hue.
Laurie's shoulders flex backwards briefly at her new stitch, but otherwise, sitting for a bit now, he seems to be losing posture, instead. Sagging. Tired — and not just physically, though that's rather overwhelming, considering. "Oh, you know me," he teases, seeming to hear her smirk in her voice as he responds in kind, "Always meeting expectations." A small, hoarse chuckle for the next, but he tries to keep still for her anyway. "Nahhh. I have something of a memory for several who top you easily. I've been doing this a bit longer, so it wouldn't be ridiculous to believe me."
"Good parents don't leave their kids for God-knows-how-long without an adequate caregiver. I officially have no help in that regard," Sydney runs her tongue over her lips and completes yet another stitch. She hmmms quietly. "And I'm very new at this whole thing; and worry comes all-too-easily." Her cheeks flush a brighter red now. "So. I'm an acceptable therapist, huh? I'm pretty sure that's not a compliment coming from you— "
"I only said you weren't the worst…" Laurie informs her off-hand, leaving the rest unanswered. When it comes to the question of compliments, he also doesn't answer — not quite. He laughs. It rolls out of him in a chuckle, fine for a few notes and then hitching. The resulting cough negates what poise he was trying to maintain for her, throwing his shoulders forward and moving the wound. It isn't a long fit; he's able to stop himself mid-hack and force his breath to normality. "Well," a hand brushes against his mouth and blood comes away, "You sounded like a therapist, I had to give you that."
"Ha! Reassuring. Very reassuring Miles," the words are skeptical, but Sydney is smiling. Genuinely smiling. She carries no delusions about her status as a mother. "Hey! Hold still!" She's grinning broader now, "I've been doing this whole mothering thing for like three months or something and the truth is I really suck at it." She shrugs and tilts her head. "And what exactly does a therapist sound like?"
Laurie snorts at her command to be still, but does late respond, "Just trying to keep things interesting for you." Meanwhile, his hand, resting again against his leg, moves, fingertips tapping routinely against one another in an almost compulsive fashion. Repetition smothers the pain he's been otherwise weathering. "You know, statistically speaking, some studies say it only takes the human brain three and a half months to achieve total conscious assimilation into an unfamiliar environment. So. You're, like, really really close to whatever that is." Fingers raise for her benefit, pinching together as he squints to emphasize how hard it is to see that space of time she has left. His face grows wary, though, as he twists his head to try and look at her over his shoulder — like perhaps her question was a trick one, he answers carefully, "What do… you sound like?"
"Well considering I've been here for God-knows-how-long and he's ten and my first go at all of that was— … a smart court would've removed him, but more likely than that he ran away considering— " Sydney shakes her head a little and attempts another stitch, focusing on Trent isn't helping her so instead she changes subjects again. Flippantly she waves a hand. "Fine. What do I sound like? I already know you don't give any credence to my profession. Believe it or not— despite my current circumstances— we help people." And then she mutters almost bitterly, "Some of us more effectively than others…"
"Well," Laurie poses factually, "You sound like a therapist." His bit of a cheeky, yes I know what I just did, grin for her plays direct opposites to what is the return of that wholly intense anger. It lashes for a second— shows for none. He's more bitter than she even sounds for a little bit longer. While he's still turned, he takes advantage to try and see how she's doing; "So you're not currently helping, is that what you're saying…" he glances at the door. A bit of a hum escapes, low, passingly impatient, before he tilts his head down towards his hands, turning the sound into words: "What about Doctor Fred Stone. How effective is he?"
At the lash of anger, Sydney backs away and actually raises an arm over her cheek defensively, a reaction to another's emotion entrenched in her past. Her eyebrows furrow, her lips turn down slightly, and she watches Laurie somewhat skeptically, a little startled at what she has stumbled across. "You hate us. You actually hate us." Her eyebrows furrow but she closes in again to finish the stitching, she can't leave the job undone. "I'll let you in on something." Beat. "I'm a terrible therapist. I have little separation between myself and my clients because I'm too…" her nose wrinkles "…empathetic. Something I'm working on. More than once I've lived with clients because they were in a bad spot and if I'm honest, it's something that will likely happen again. Regardless… I'm trying to be more detached." Which is what Maggie and Laurie got. Lucky them. Her lips purse and her nostrils flare at the mention of Fred. "Fred is a liar and a cheat. I trust him as far as I can throw him."
Initially, there is no great reaction to what Sydney's said; Laurie actually starts to move as though he would get up before she returns to her work, stilling him at a somewhat transitional stage between sitting and standing. Hand braced on the edge of the bed, what was pushing him up now holds him there, half-bent. Slowly, eventually, he eases himself down to glance, to listen. The anger continues to simmer there, entrenched now with a guilt perhaps always there, or perhaps brought on by her calling him out. Either way, his emotions shift unhappily at each word until, as she mentions detachment, he snaps worriedly, "Don't." Shoving personal feelings aside, he instead intones another's: "The great gift of human beings is that we have… empathy." Then, a pause. He has his smile back. "I'll tell him you said so."
"Empathy is my curse," Sydney quips back with a quiet sigh before chewing absently on her bottom lip. She wishes more than anything she could control what she can do, until then, she'll be trying to live outside of the emotive. Trying and failing. Her cheeks flush at the notion of Fred knowing her thoughts on him, but she shakes her head, "I wish I had the gaul to say it to his face. I'm pretty sure he already knows though after… after everything. We were good friends once. I'm pretty sure I painted his nails black back in those days…" She smiles reminiscently but only for an instant as she busies herself with her work again.
"Painted his nails," is repeated with no lack of amusement from Laurie, "I should really get shot more often. I am learning new and exciting things about you, Doctor Sydney Falkland." There's a bit of a pull from him, as he leans to one side, ignoring her work as easily as he'd been holding still before. "Well, then, excuse me. If it's a curse, I suppose something should be done about it. How do they usually fix curses, again… spell-casting… and kisses from princes. Alternatively, tossing oneself into the ocean." Lips draw, waffling intensely on this one. Not that he's sounding at all serious, his voice high and unquestionably light with merriment. "Don't suppose I'd particularly recommend that one— but if it does the job, I suppose it does the job."
Sydney smirks in response. "Neither myself nor Fred had a particularly easy childhood which resulted in a rather misspent youth. SO yes… I believe I painted his nails at least once. I did that for a lot of my friends. I almost miss my goth look now and then." Pause. "But it's not really me anymore." Her smirk broadens into a lopsided grin, "Ha! I'd say this has less to do with you getting shot and more to do with me enduring these four walls for weeks on end— and call me Syd or Sydney. I'd rather forget about the doctor part in here…"
"I'm afraid it's as Doctor Sydney Falkland that you introduced yourself to me." Laurie determines, somber for her sake, "The other part, however, I will accept." This is allowed to sit, and then he shifts definitively, starting to move forward and stopping just short. "Alright, whatever you've done, it's done. I tell people to buzz off, they come back eventually and the longer it's been, the more unruly I have to make my excuse for being in here." He's grinning as well, but there's a more focused attention in his eyes when he glances to the door. Determined; he's thinking about where he has to go next.
"Yes, well, it's pretty much what got me in this mess in the first place," Sydney hmmms as she finishes another stitch. "I'd like to think I'd done some good in the Psych Centre… and now? Now a man who is, by all rights, clinically insane wants me to find a way to enable him to control others… this doesn't exactly…" her nose wrinkles "…a change in profession might be called for when I get out of here… if I get out of here." She shrugs with mild resignation. Thus far she's been cooperative with her captor, but considering she's pretty sure what he wants is impossible and even if it were possible she wouldn't help him do it, the chances of leaving seem slim. "What exactly are you doing here anyways?"
"Does one man have the power to negate all other good?" It's the last question she gets before Laurie makes good on his warning, pulling away and standing up whether she's completed the stitching work or not. He wavers a bit once up — in so much as he briefly closes his eyes and tips his head. Dipping to grab up his shed jacket, he gives her a curious glance. "Didn't you know…" he straightens, brushing the torn leather off and casual as can be, "I'm getting you out of here."
"I suppose not," Sydney quirks, the stitching is at least mostly done, but incredibly crude. "All things considered, I'm pretty sure that's not why you're here, but thank you just the same." A weary hand is lifted to her forehead as she also straightens. "Be careful okay… and.. don't get… don't get shot again." Absently, she chews on her bottom lip once again.
Hand unfolding in small waves before he gestures aside, Laurie executes a short, silly salute that ends with both hands out in allowing form. "Just because you said so, I'll try not to." With a test of how well his arms will move, he maneuvers into his stained sleeves, tugging the jacket around his shoulders properly. The hole's pretty obvious, but he wears it well. As well as one can. A hand slides through his hair, reenforcing the longer hairstyle, and, with what seem almost invisible posture changes: he's Roscoe. "By the way, shrink," he comments aside, that slur to his voice native to the gangster, "I guess you make an acceptable nurse, too."
The transformation itself is somewhat eerie and at least a little unsettling, but Sydney only folds her arms over her chest and furrows her eyebrows in response. She lowers herself back onto the bed and quirks half a smile, "It's what I aim for. Acceptability. Just glad I meet my goals. Gives me something to work towards: acceptability."
An idle kick sends the chair skidding across the room where it hits the wall and then stabilizes. Hand on the newly freed doorknob, it's the thug Roscoe that looks back at her initially but his bright eyes, the curve of the lip are Laurie. The two are interchangeable. "All we can ask for, right," he says, waving a heavy hand, "Fillin' our roles and shit." A wink. Then the door flies open, hesitating almost unnoticeably right before he stretches his shoulder so far as to undo her work. "Hey. Who's hidin' the fuckin' booz—" And the door shuts behind him, letting the television once again drawn out the noise.