doyousmellfudge_archive: (kicked puppy)
Arthur "Artie" Nielsen ([personal profile] doyousmellfudge_archive) wrote2010-06-13 05:22 pm
Entry tags:

Implosion, part 6

Russia House Restaurant & Lounge
Washington, D.C.

Carol Augustine stares at Artie like he's sprouted an extra head."Why??"

"Because he stole something dangerous, and it's important that I get it back from him," Artie replies, perfectly serious. And, his mind adds, you weren't the first person I thought of in connection with James, but you're pretty high on the list. He has enough good sense not to say it aloud.

Carol looks away from Artie for a moment, staring down at the bar surface. "What makes you so sure it was him?"

"Call it a gut feeling," says Artie after a moment's hesitation.

"That's still annoying, you know."

"What is?"

"You, talking in riddles and intuition. You never change." Carol lets out a faint huff of not-quite-laughter.

"Yeah." A long, awkward pause, then: "So, has he? Y'know, contacted you?"

"I haven't seen or heard from James in fifteen years," says Carol soberly. "And the irony's not lost on me that you're the one who's asking."

Artie leans toward her, reaches tentatively for her hand. "Carol, Carol, look at me. No matter what you think, I'm not the one who drove him away."

Her half-smile is gone. "You made things intolerable. For all of us."

"Well..." Another hesitation; then Artie deflates. "If it makes you comfortable to blame me, then you should go ahead and blame me, I don't care, but the truth is that you made choices, and the choices you made--you chose badly. I'm not the one who disappeared."

"Oh, there it is." She looks away again, disgusted. "How did I not know?"

Artie blinks, bewildered. "What? Not know what?"

"Oh, stop it, Artie," snaps Carol. "You're in town for whatever reason, and you decided to twist the knife for old times' sake. Rub it in that I chose the wrong guy. Right? You're not the one who disappeared; you would have had to have been there in the first place. No, not Artie. All your secrets and your treasure hunts and that damn place." She stands, pulling her purse back on. "You know, James believed in life. You need to get one." She turns on her heel and marches for the door.

"Hold it, hold it, Carol--" Artie slides off his own barstool and follows in her wake, as rapidly as he can without attracting attention from the other patrons. "Carol, could you please, please, just--"

She stops just short of the door and turns to glare at him. "What."

"Listen, listen." Artie's voice is barely above a whisper. "Carol, if you're harboring him in any way, you're in danger."

Carol lets out another half-laugh; this time there's a sob threatening to break from beneath. She turns and leaves.

... well. That didn't go as planned. Now what? Artie shakes his head and heads back to the bar. He can at least finish his drink while he plans his next move.

When he gets to his seat, though, it's already occupied. By Mrs. Frederick. Who's tossing back a martini with casual ease as though she appears in random lounges on a regular basis.

Artie stares. "What are you doing here." It's not quite a question.

"I was just about to ask you the same thing," Mrs. Frederick replies, fixing her gaze on Artie. "Why are you bothering that poor woman and torturing yourself?"

"It's called 'investigating a case,'" says Artie, a little defensive.

"This isn't a case. This is self-pity. The case is the implosion grenade and the sword, and someone out there is running around using the--"

"Right, someone, and that 'someone' is MacPherson. And I can prove it." He fumbles in his pockets and produces the roll of calcium tablets. "Remember?"

Mrs. Frederick shakes her head. "Artie. We've both seen you like this before."

"No, no, no, no, no, he planted this on purpose, he wanted me to find it, otherwise he would've been much too careful, he's taunting me--!"

"Would you listen to yourself?" Her voice hasn't risen, but her tone stops Artie dead in mid-rant. "You are leaping to wild conclusions based on nothing. And meanwhile, your team is falling apart around you."

"No, they're not falling apart, Myka and Pete are fine," says Artie dismissively.

"Are they?" Mrs. Frederick quirks an eyebrow. "Did you know the tsuba is now under Dickinson's control? Did you know Bering and Lattimer had been detained? They're at the hotel. I'm taking you all off this case." She rises to leave, bodyguard in tow.

Artie is frozen on the spot in shock for a moment before jumping up to grab Mrs. Frederick's arm. "Wait! Wait, wait, wait--look, what if I'm right? What if it is MacPherson?"

"Go home, Artie." She turns and leaves without another word.

Artie sags in his seat. He never was any good at talking to women.

[Dialogue from Warehouse 13 episode 1x08, "Implosion."]