Land Of The Free, Home Of The Cowboys



Scene Title Land of the Free, Home of the Cowboys
Synopsis Felix Ivanov finds a surprise waiting for him at the office…
Date July 16, 2010

Financial District

Twenty-three floors above the ground, looking over the Financial District of New York City like a reproachful parent, the offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigations has weathered many a storm, and while the nuclear explosion of 2006 may have sent a shockwave powerful enough to shatter windows, it could not topple the mighty skyscraper that these offices are settled within.

However, the chime of an elevator opening to the 23rd floor carries with it the kind of storm that the bureau has been struggling to contain for years and — against all odds — has just barely managed to. That particular storm is—

"Ivanov!" From across the lobby, the scowling countenance of the only man unfortunate enough to be directly responsible for weathering that storm knows when the human hurricane himself has entered the building. Rising up from a desk he was leaning over, the salt and pepper haired old man rolls his tongue over his cheek, patting a man seated behind the desk he was looming on at the shoulder before marching down the hall towards the elevator.

"Sound the horns and throw out the confetti I just got word down from Quantico about Kershner's offer," all toothy smiles replacing his scowl, this is not the man Felix expected to see— or at least not the side of his seemingly bipolar existance. "C'mon, son get outta' that elevator and we'll step into my office. How soon're you packing up your things and do you need a hand cleaning out your desk? I can get Clarkson and Whitmore on it faster than you can say right now, sir."

Big, bushy eyebrows and expectant smiles aside, this could have had better timing.

Much less a hurricane than he was. Not even really a zephyr, these days. In the six months since he was declared fit for active duty again, Fel's been intensely subdued, very quiet. To the point that some've declared him more a ghost than a storm. Dedicated, as usual, but sparing enough of words that there've been some jibes to the effect that he may've forgotten how to speak English.

And indeed, the bewildered look he wears is…really about par for the course these days. He's got the ascetic build, hollow cheeks, and distracted, unworldly air of a monk somehow shoved into a suit and out onto the mean streets. "Offer, sir?" he wonders, all innocence, docilely heading into the SAC's office, removing his glasses to polish them absentmindedly on the silk of his tie. And then 'cleaning out your desk' makes him blanch. To the point that some of the Agents watching with vulturish intensity… which is most of them, at this point, like this is all the beginning of some office-wide surprise party….wince in sympathy. He shoots the nearest a helpless look, as if to ask why no one at least called to warn him….and then vanishes into the boss's office.

Special Agent in Charge Montgomery Richmond has never seen eye-to-eye with Felix, never understood the way Ivanov gets things done, never liked the enture bureau being overshadowed by Ivanov's one-man Wild West show in 2009 when he — as far as the public is concerned — took down an entire terrorist cell of the Vanguard on his lonesome. He's also never understood why Ivanov, of all the agents in New York City, got plucked up by the CIA to perform some sort of anti-terrorism operation overseas.

But he does understand this:

"You're fired," and it comes with a slap of both of Richmond's hands down on his desk and a shit-eating grin. "Now of course I can't actually fire you on paper, but God-damn Ivanov if I'm not firing you off paper." Wavine one hand excitedly in the air, Richmond saunters around behind his desk, rolling the high-backed chair out and offering a raise of his gray -whisped brows to Felix.

"Lemme' put it this way, I heard that you got the offer from Kershner up in the President's defense cabinet about the whole Frontline thing," slouching down into the chair with a creak of the leather, Richmond offers a slow shake of his head. "Now on paper you have been a damn fine agent, you're a public fucking hero and I wouldn't be surprised if the general populace thinks you can walk on goddamned water." There's a pause, brows furrowed as blue eyes alight to Felix to ask the facetious question of, "Can you walk on water?"

Then there's a swipe of a hand in the air, as if trying to wipe that rhetoric away. "Doesn't matter, bottom line is I want you to take Kershner's offer and go down to Virginia for the training and get that sallow mug of yours out of this office before everyone in the media starts to think the FBI is a one-man show."

Gobsmacked is the term the British would use. Felix is….perhaps more accurately 'aghast'. IF it weren't completely against the unwritten but universal code of manhood, there'd be tears in the pale blue eyes. Tears or no, his lips are slightly parted, and he couldn't be more shocked if Richmond'd kissed him. He swallows, once, hard, and then says, flatly, "No, sir. I can't walk on water. What if I refuse this offer? I wasn't aware of it, not seriously, by the way. I remember General Autumn mentioning it the night of the gala, but….my attention was very quickly taken by more pressing affairs." Like the whole bit where I got tortured like a classroom hamster in the world's worst kindergarten. "And I never heard anything after."

"Oh," Richmond's smile sags, brows furrow and one hand scratches at his hair above one ear. "Well uh, congratulations!" There's a half-hearted attempt at a smile there. "Maybe I should've waited for you to check your correspondance for the day but ah," he leans to the side in his chair, resting his weight on one elbow at the armrest, "you got draft picked is probably the easiest way to put it. Kershner's looking for a few good men to wear those three billion dollar Halloween Costumes and parade around the city playing Cowboys and Indians."

Scrubbing one hand over his mouth, Richmond creases his brows and looks to a photograph on his desk, then back to Felix. "Take the Goddamned offer, Ivanov. Let's face it, you don't fit in here at the bureau. I mean— you do— but you don't," and tat contrary nature has always been a part of why Felix is so good as an agent. "You've been a Cowboy since day one, Ivanov, and no amount of flat-foot intentions will ever really show otherwise. I don't know if that's just how they wire you Russians at birth, but I think you were a sight happier playing Army Man out with Kershner and Autumn than you ever were here at the Bureau."

Folding his hands together over his stomach, an uncharacteristically sober look crosses Richmond's face. "For all the shit I give you, you do perform admirably, but you would be a fucking moron if you clung on here and didn't take the Frontline gig."

Then, perhaps as an off-handed comment and an example of how much he peers into Felix's personal affairs, Richmond adds; "And they're willing to bump your salary up."

His eyes widen, his mouth rounds into an expression of mock-delight. "Oh, three more peanuts a week, and body armor. Be still my heart." The sarcasm, it just etched the glass top of Richmond's desk. There it is, the expression so very long absent, long thought stamped out by Emile Danko's tender attentions - that lip-curled sneer. But before he can really unsheath the claws and let fly, it fades away into a thoughtful nothingness. The thin lips purse for a moment, and then he reaches into his suit's inner jacket pocket, pulls out the ID wallet with its gold badge. Flips it open, and looks at it for a long moment. Like there's a last message to be read in the gleaming surface.

And then, gently as a mother putting her sleeping child to bed, he lays it on the desk. Followed, a moment later, by him pulling his pistol. There's a fraction of an instant, just enough to spike the adrenaline of the man on the other side of the desk, where it looks as if he has his finger on the trigger….but then he reverses his grip on it with the theatrical flare of the stage gunslinger he was more or less just named, one whirl of motion, and it, too,joins the badge.

"I hear they're starting up a little initiative you might be interested in," Richmond notes as he looks down to the symbolic placement of the badge and gun on the desk, then back up to Felix, "guess they're going balls to the wall out against some old friends of yours, the bigoted, hateful kind. Thought you might want to know that." Drumming his fingers on the desk, Richmond leans forward and then tentatively reaches out for Felix's badge, then narrows his eyes and reclines back in the chair, not touching it.

"I don't know how much vacation time you still have rolled up in your lap, but if I were you I'd take it all. Take some fuckin' time off, not the medical leave kind either, shape yourself up before the Marines make sure that shape is a pretzel. You can read the paperwork in your office, but it sounds like the Marines down in Annapolis will be waiting to hear your response. Couple of weeks of training to use those fancy suits will probably do you more good and skulking around these offices playing second fiddle to Audrey Hanson."

Brows lifting, Richmond tilts his head to the side and looks back up to Felix. "Congratulations, Ivanov, they'll probably put you on the fucking cover of US Weekly or something for this."

The way he stiffens at that is really kind of comical. Like a cat hearing the can opener. "Humanis First?" It isn't -quite- a hiss, but only because he restrains himself. The fire's lit, though, clear as crystal in those pallid eyes. That little spark of obsessive insanity that really sort of belongs somewhere more like the deck of the Pequod.

He does sneer at that, that old expression that has half the Bureau wanting to slap it right off his face. "Time, sir, Time. I'll be Man of the Year before I'm done," he retorts.

"…and God fucking bless America," Richmond notes with a shake of his head and a wave of his hand in the air, "land of the free and the home of the Cowboys."

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