At Least The Morphine's Good


cassidy_icon.gif coren_icon.gif

Scene Title At Least The Morphine's Good
Synopsis Coren has run out of things to do, so he and Cassidy talk about their plans for Monday, when Coren is discharged.
Date June 5, 2009

Bellevue Hospital Center

One of the major downsides to being awake eighteen to twenty hours a day is all that time a person has to spend. So it is that by Friday afternoon, all of the Stephen King and John Grisham novels are well-worn — read twice — and each and every sudoku book brought by Abby has been completely run through. Cassidy's company, as much as he enjoys it, can only take him through so many hours, and not all of those hours they have anything to say, especially with their tendency to finish each other's sentences. It's very seldom that Coren Shelby finds himself bored, but in his condition, that is his present state. Bored. Bored. Bored. At least the morphine's good.

"Lunch time!" Declares Cassidy as she pushes open the door to her partner's room. No trench coat today, she is wearing a green t-shirt, worn comfortable jeans and her sneakers. "I went Chinese, cause I'm starving and craving it. So.. Dr. Shelby I hope you're in the mood for it." It's one of her weaknesses as foods go, but he probably already knows that. Pushing past the privacy curtain, she drops a sack of cartons and next to that a couple of newspapers. "Plus I figured we could use the fuel while we try to decide what to do, since you'll be out of here really soon."

"You got General Tso's chicken, right?" is Coren's only question, being one of his preferred Chinese dishes. He is, of course, pleased with Cassidy's attire, as her donning more comfortable and leisurely attire would suggest she's coming to terms with the whole him being shot thing. Or at least, she's accepted it. He's had a lot more time for reflection and has accepted it, himself, and is mostly over it. The only parts that are still of concern to him and weigh heavily on his mind are Abigail's having to witness it, and of course the implications of him being drawn into a trap like that. What if someone else had gone into that alleyway? "Yes, Monday's the big day. They decided to keep me just over an entire week. Fancy that."

Cassidy reaches into the bag and pulls out one of the boxes and offers it to him with a smirk. "Please.. have some faith in me." She teases, adding chopsticks to the offer. "And personally, Monday can not get here sooner. I swear I will never get this kink out of my neck." She pulls out another box, popping it open to reveal beef and broccoli. Inhaling deeply she says. "So any thoughts on what we're gonna do? We know there were two people involved with what happened to you. Course, one is now dead. But who is to say the other guy doesn't bring in more again? Crappy way to do things…" She shrugs. "And I know we both agreed both our places may be a bad idea." She stabs at a bit of broccoli and sticks it in her mouth before taking the carton and sitting in her… well, what's been her bed for many days.

"We'll burn that bridge when we get to it," Coren says to the question about plans. There is a pause when she mentions the dead accomplice and the idea of whoever did this to them bringing in another 'helper. "That had been a concern of mine, and whoever is behind this has clearly taken the whole, 'the only way for two people to keep a secret is if one of them is dead' thing to heart…" He pulls open his box of General Tso's chicken and deftly swipes out three pieces with the chopsticks. Clearly, he is famished. "When I was in Calgary, Alberta back in, ninety-nine, I think it was."

He pauses a moment. "Yes, it was definitely ninety-nine. I had just finished being the best man at a wedding." He eats another piece. "I wasn't supposed to be best man, mind you, the guy who was supposed to be spent most of the service talking to the white telephone. Anyway, I was craving Chinese food, so I stopped at one of the many Chinese restaurants there and they had this absolutely delectable dish. Ginger beef. Similar to this chicken, but beef — though they had ginger chicken too — battered and fried, then served in a spicy ginger, garlic, and pepper sauce. Now that was delicious. Alas, it seems to be only available in Western Canada. Sure never found any Toronto, and have never found any here. I haven't quite managed to replicate it, either, but I am getting close."

"Ninety-nine?" Cassidy asks around a bite, turning thoughtful. "I wasn't out of high school for more then a couple of years." She smirks at a thought, but it doesn't seem to show itself. She gives a bit of a head shake and continues. "Always seems like things are better elsewhere." She fishes out some beef and shovels it in.

"I'd been with the FBI for seven years. Had just been transferred to the Behavioural Analysis Unit that year, as it happened. As I recall, I was flown out about two hours after I had that meal. Time is very, very scarce in abduction cases," Coren says grimly before devouring more of his chicken. For all chopsticks are elegant, he is not so much elegant himself when he's as hungry as he is. At least he's gotten most of his appetite back. Now he just has to get used to walking again, and keep the pain killers handy, because walking with two tears in the back muscles do not make walking pleasant. Not that he can't endure it.

Cassidy shakes her head slowly giving him a look of fascination. "Before I even started my career, yours was well underway." She looks amused at that. "Should I start calling you old man.. Lord knows you're gonna hobble like one for awhile." Yes, she's teasing, trying to keep his mood a bit lighter. "So.. I know you did all that profiling stuff.. worked in what I would think to be a much better job. And here you are with the NYPD, stuck with me." She arches a brow. "Why? Who the hell did you piss off?"

"Believe me, working with the FBI, particularly in the BAU, is an incredibly exhausting job. I don't know if you've ever gotten involved in cases involving serial killers, but I will tell you that, save for child abductions and a very small handful of other things, they're about the worst thing imaginable, especially how some of them operate," Coren says, setting the empty box of chicken aside. "As I said, I was transferred to the BAU in nineteen ninety-nine. Not long after, in fact the very case I was flown from Calgary to start working on, was the worst case I have ever encountered to date.

"Nineteen women — that we know of mind you, I always had a feeling there were more — were abducted from their homes. We found the bodies of eighteen of them. The last victim, Meg Manning, escaped twice. I worked with her extensively, trained her on memory recall to try and get something from her to try and identify where she'd been kept the two times she'd been abducted. She barely remembered me the second time she escaped, so we worked on those exercises again and again. It had been about a month between abductions. I was with her for probably fifteen hours a day working with her, trying to simultaneously counsel her and help her remember what had happened to her and every tiny little detail. Trauma does some pretty nasty things to a person. Plays with the memory. But we needed everything she could tell us.

"We had her under our watch, our protection. She had been with us since early two thousand. She disappeared again in September. We never found the body." After telling that bit, admittedly quite abridged, Coren is visibly paler, emotional exhaustion setting in just from thinking of those moments. Those long, arduous moments. "After that, everything stopped. We never found any sign of her or the killer again. We figure he probably got killed in an accident or had perhaps satisfied whatever compulsion made him kill those women in the first place. Our profile never seemed accurate, and I spent the next three years poring over every interview, photograph, note, everything. In oh-two, my wife left me and took our son with her. About a year after that, my supervisor came to me and told me I needed to resign and that he would write me a letter of recommendation that would pretty much guarantee me a position at any law enforcement agency in the United States. I just had to resign. So I did.

"I spent about seven months just getting myself together. I realized what that case had done to me and I sought counselling. My parents passed and I came to New York and joined the department. Been here since two thousand four. So I really didn't piss anyone off, I just compromised my work with an obsession over a single damning case."

By the end of his tale, Cassidy makes it through the last of her own food. Though by the end of it her stomach doesn't seem to be handling the food well. "I've never really dealt with a serial killer. But I've seen what it can do a man." The images of the victims flipping through her head as he spoke don't seem to agree with her stomach. "One of my surrogate fathers dealt with one." He was also the last partner she has before she move. One she knew killed that evolved. She drops her fork in the empty container with a muffled clatter and sets it on the table. "So…." She starts carefully. "That explains why you are so protective of Abigail." The similarities of that Meg to Abigail not lost on her, though she doesn't exactly understand why she knows.. she just does.. Ever since he mentioned her and Mortimer.. She's known something was up.

"The fact that Abigail's been kidnapped twice. It felt like that killer all over again," Coren admits. The only other person who has heard that tale being Abigail herself, although he tried to leave out the part where Meg was taken a third time and never was seen again when he told Abby. "So you know what dealing with a serial killer can do. Now imagine having a job where that's pretty much all you do. Even before I joined the BAU, I still helped with profiling. I was bounced around from field office to field office every couple of years. Drove Angela nuts. We didn't have to deal with that too much once I joined the BAU, though, since I was only gone for several days to a week or so at a time instead of home only on weekends, or however my shifts worked out at the time. Believe me when I say, it was not a much better job. It only occupied eleven years of my life, at any rate.

"Before nineteen ninety-two, when I joined the FBI, I worked with the Philadelphia Police Department, where I'd worked since nineteen eighty-six. Before that I was at the University of Pennsylvania — where I actually was on and off between eighty-one and ninety-two — and before that, from seventy-eight to eighty-one I was a bobby back in London." Which is what he got into after his first wife was killed. He intentionally says bobby instead of police officer for comedic value, what little he can drum up in his present state. "Yes, I'm old," he says at last.

Curling up sideways on the chair, an elbow propped on an arm of it and her head resting on that, Cassidy hmms thoughtfully. "I was born in seventy-nine. Sooo.. mean you've been on the jobs.." She looks impressed. "Wow." She studies her partner for a long quiet moment. She really wouldn't have thought him that old by looks. Eyes narrow a bit and hmms. "I only know about the one abduction on Abigail… but that makes your protective streak all the more understandable." She gives him a soft smile. "Tell me about your son. You don't ever mention him much. But then I don't think I'v ever pressed into your personal life much."

Good genes. "I don't have much of a personal life left. Jacob was born in ninety-nine, and he was three when Angela divorced me and moved him back to Philadelphia where we met. Not that I blame her. Obsessed husband with a chip on his shoulder isn't much of a husband. Or a father," Coren says. It's a sore spot for him, which is why he never mentions it. He isn't really a part of his son's life, and given the things he's seen, and especially now with someone apparently painting a target on his head, his son is the last person he wants to get involved in any of this.

"I guess I can't blame you there." Cassidy says softly watching him. "I sometimes wonder if my dad would have wanted me where I am. I know my mom does. She wants to to find someone and settle down. But.. I dunno. I don't see that happening." Eyes flicker down as she adds. "Probably best. I mean. Look what happened with my dad.. And I know my grandfather died when my dad was a teenager.. and my grandfather never met his." She presses her lips together. "Not sure I want to subject any kid to that.. which is probably why I'll be thirty this year… single for the last what.. five.. six… I stopped counting." She looks up again and smirks. "I still swear I'm gonna get me a cat or two."

"Just so long as you don't turn into one of those creepy old women living in an apartment with a hundred and one cats," Coren says with a bit of a smirk on his face. Not the most tasteful joke, but possible smile-provoking. "Of course you're completely right. That part has made me not try to bridge the gap. I'm not willing to subject a child to this kind of life. It's not a pleasant one."

Cassidy laughs and shakes her head, the image in her own head to amusing to not. "Somehow I don't think you'll let that happen." Giving him a somber look she says. "If I live that long either way." She gives a little sigh. "But yeah. It's not. It sucked completely, even with his buddies trying to take his place." She sighs. "Every girl should have her father around." On a brighter note she says. "but I got nine years with him. So it wasn't like I was completely fatherless." It's been enough time that it doesn't hurt anymore, it's now just a fact of life.

And here Coren got 43 years with his father. Well, with him alive, at any rate. He didn't exactly visit particularly often. No time. "A pity it doesn't always work out that way. Law enforcement is not the best career for longevity." He rubs his shoulder with a wince, "Once I heal up from all of this, I'm getting a massage."

There is a simple shrug of her shoulders and Cassidy states. "I didn't decide to become a cop to live forever. Just wanted to keep people safe, even if it's one hell of a thankless job." An amused smile touches her lips at his complaint. "Well, I'd say you'd deserve it." She climbs to her feet and pulls his hand away from his shoulder so that she can that for him, worried he'll pull the muscles wrong trying to do that himself. "I'm sure someone knows someone that can do a good job of it." Fingers press lightly along his shoulder rubbing at the tension there and on the back of his neck, being mindful of his injuries. "So.. are we going to hole up in one of our places and take a chance. Or do I start apartment hunting tomorrow morning? That way we have a place to put you when you get out." It's easy for her to say 'us' and 'we' as she's determined to help him. It's what partner's do.

"Eighty-five west street. It's the Marriott Financial Center Hotel. Worse comes to worst we stay there a few days. At a hundred dollars a night, it's not the most expensive option. Certainly not going to stay at either of our places, and I'd recommend a police detail just to pick up what we'll need," Coren says. "Not sure how much apartment hunting you can do on a Saturday, but you're welcome to give it a shot. Better than Sunday, at least." Then there's a pause. "We … no, never mind." He was going to suggest the Village Renaissance, thanks to their decent security, as Abigail so fondly explained to him. But, given the circumstances, living in the same building as Abby is probably a bad thing.

Fingers work the back of his neck as Cassidy listens. She shakes her head slowly and says without thinking. "No. Definitely not the Village Renaissance place.. would be stupid of us to put her in that kinda danger." When she realizes she just voiced his thoughts, her fingers are snatched away as if she burned herself. "Uh… anyway…" She swallows and rests her hands on the bed rail. ".. probably gonna end up at that hotel. I have some places marked in the papers, but you're right. Chances are slim we'll be able to find anything that soon. Plus we may not even need an apartment. Case could close any day." Never know when that important clue will show up.

Coren stares at Cassidy a moment, "You know, you're a bloody mind reader sometimes." He rubs his neck a moment, already missing Cassidy's tender ministrations. "God I sure hope we don't need an apartment. Your company notwithstanding, I don't exactly like the idea, mostly because of the why behind it."

"Yeah… I've noticed that lately too… " A small frown of consideration. "I could say the same about you too." And it's true. She seems a bit uncertain and confused at the prospect. Shock aside, fingers reach to start where they stopped. "I agree.. you're right of course.. Hotel it is.. and at least we don't have to clean it." There is a touch of humor at that.

"Not that I don't have all the time in the world to do it," Coren says, not commenting on the fact that he's been reading Cassidy's mind a lot too. He's still not entirely certain how to explain that. "Granted, I'm sure bed rest is still on the doctor's ever-so-short list of things one can do after being shot. Even once I'm out of here." He gives a short glance at his IV. "At least the morphine's good."

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