Author: Guede Mazaka
The kid-and it is a kid, probably still dishing out the tickets to the posh bastards-is shivering on Paul's doorstep.
In the next room, weatherman's just finished saying it's a bright sunny day, so clear you can actually see the bastard who keyed your car zipping out of the parking lot at forty-five, and that the high's going to be at a pleasant level. Read: sweatroom hell for those who don't know how to wear heavy suits.
"Ag-Agent Smecker." Big puppy I'm-cute-don't-kick-me-when-I-piss-on-your-shoes eyes.
"Yeah." Paul leans against the doorframe, wondering when the fucks with the cameras are going to jump out and say, "Candid-"
His thoughts aren't cut off. It's just that that's where his gun comes in. Nine in the fucking morning, and he still doesn't know if he can make it to the elevator. His stomach wants to stay put and just seethe, double double boil and whatever the hell, and his head's screaming at him for that seventh pitcher. It wasn't his fault. Really. Someone buys a guy beer, it's rude to turn it down.
And fuck his reputation. He dares the pretty white pope to refuse those goddamn eyes of Connor's, and that smile of Murphy's.
Actually, just fuck the witches' brew those Irish pissants think is beer. In the future, Paul's sticking to whiskey. Scotch whiskey.
He has time to think all this, despite the rattle-bang-shitthat'sloud in his head, because it takes that long for the kid to hold out a steaming cup of coffee. "Her-here. Sir. Here, sir. Sir. Um-"
"Thank you." It's definitely a bad hang-over when Paul's first reflex is to be polite. But the light is fucking his optic nerves something wicked, so he simply takes the cup and slurps down half the java. Burns off most of his throat in the process, but damn. Coffee. Good.
"Oh, thank God," the kid's muttering. "That bastard Greenly couldn't remember one sugar or two…"
Now Paul's really hoping he's hallucinating. "What?"
"Uh. Well. Greenly said you'd need the coffee. And, um, you should check your answering machine. We've-we've kinda got…" As he's sputtering, the kid is backing up and gesturing and making big wide smiles. When his heel touches the staircase door, he turns and bolts.
Paul sips his coffee. Not thoughtfully. Not ominously. He's sipping wrathfully, damn it. He is not amused. He isn't.
God, he feels like shit.
"Sweet and Low."
Greenly, Paul's happy to see, nearly jumps over the desk. The man's shoulders hunch over the crime-scene photos, glossy and new and full of black-and-white gore, and he very pointedly doesn't turn. "Hi, asshole. You're very welcome for coming around."
"I didn't thank you. I thanked the kid that had enough guts to actually obey orders. Not his fault that he didn't get it right. Sweet and Low. Do I have to carve it into your skull?" Paul squeezes in, almost not noticing the flinch and hiss. Happens too often for him to bother.
Anyway, he's so drugged up that he probably couldn't hear a train coming at him. Nice that he's in a city.
"What, you dieting or something?" Defensive, Greenly snatches away a photo, like it's his most favoritest toy in the world, or something sentimental like that.
"Well, if I were a diabetic, you'd be in deep shit. As I'm not, you're merely stinking up my air." Well, well. Another Saints copycat, only like Greenly, they'd fucked up all the little details. Quarters, and not pennies. No crossed arms. Paul wondered how early he could slog home and marry his bed. "Next time, just bring it yourself. Be a man, honey."
It's mildly amusing to watch Greenly jerk, then stare furtively around. As if anyone around here isn't used to Paul yanking the chain. They're all doing the smart thing and working their asses off so Paul won't co-opt them for a little errand or two. Seeing as Greenly is just terrible at following even a grocery list. Honestly, it's amazing that the man's gotten as far as he has.
"The coffee." Someday, Paul's going to find who fucked who to get him stationed here. And then he's going to do a little administrative vigilantism.
Greenly looks blank. It's a hard expression to discern, because it's so close to his normal expression. It's also very, very fake. "What coffee?"
Paul doesn't bother with words.
"Hey, look. Whatever went down this morning, it wasn't me. It wasn't me." The other man puts up his hands, as if that's going to tell Paul something incredibly important that will change his life forever.
"Sure. And I moonlight as a ballerina." Sarcasm's tasting a little stale today. Paul reminds himself to chew out at least one person before he leaves to hone himself.
And Greenly does that quick check for onlookers again. Then he leans forward, sort of bouncing on his heels. "Well, I hear you have the legs for it."
Oh, for-Paul drops the photos in his hands and digs in his pockets until he finds his keys. He pulls off his spare and tosses it at the idiot, who is, in fact, coordinated enough to catch that. "Stop being a girl, Greenly. If I want a fuck, I'll say. And if you want to bring over coffee, then bring over the fucking coffee. Euphemisms are a waste of time."
That's about as good as the jackass is going to get. Paul rubs his temple, trying not to feel the throb, and ignores the weird silence beside him.
Paul isn't hung-over. He's in the process of reaching for the doorknob, in point of fact, when it opens from the other side.
"Sweet and Low. That stuff's gross, you know? All fake and chemical and nasty-actually, that's perfect for you." Greenly looks far too cheerful.
Though it's nice of him to give Paul a head-start in demolishing the good mood. So Paul takes a sip first before he replies, just to give Greenly a few seconds to retreat.
The shithead doesn't. Well, in that case, he can take what's coming to him.