onebehind: (push you off of the throne you erected)
Special Agent Dylan Rhodes ([personal profile] onebehind) wrote2013-09-22 02:40 am

(no subject)

Who: Dylan, Alma, Daniel, Merritt, Henley & Jack.
What: Directly after the Horsemen's first show post-Bradley, Dylan and Alma are called in to detain and interrogate them. Again.


It had started, as it had before and as planned, with a phone call.

Dylan had been standing outside the theatre with Alma, watching the mill of people as they exited, the Horsemen's name on all their lips, doing his best to look baleful -- which, to be perfectly honest, was much harder than it looked, despite how well he pulled it off, the show everything he'd thought it would be and more, despite knowing the plan -- when it had come. He'd grunted, pulled the thing out of his pocket and checked the Caller ID, as if he had no idea who was on the other line, and then waved Alma off before answering. The conversation had been quick and just this side of pointed, as Dylan suspected his boss had no great desire to chase the Horsemen around anymore but also no choice since, despite the fact that they hadn't been doing strictly illegal this time, bringing someone back from the dead was still a little fishy, and then it was over. He'd snapped his phone shut, glanced at the doors that lead back into the theatre, and breathed out a heavy sigh, gesturing Alma in that direction before heading in it himself.

Belatedly, after he'd flashed his badge at one of Daniel's crew and been waved on, he thought that maybe he should have done more than gesture, if only for the sake of the act. Sure, Alma knew what was really going on, but having to stop, to explain, even if it was pointless probably would have made more sense. He'd simply been too excited, despite the fact that he kept his face twisted into a scowl as he knocked on the green room door and pushed his way inside, and well, it was too late now. At least, he thought, he could play it off as not wanting to let the Horsemen escape again, if anyone got too curious, and then --

-- and then Daniel was glancing over the back of the couch at him, something like a satisfied smirk on his face.

"Agent Rhodes. Good to know you caught the show."

"Save it, asshole," Dylan growled, taking another half-step into the room. "You're under arrest."

Daniel breathed out a sigh of a laugh but didn't move -- or at least not any more than he had to to turn and face the others. "Apparently we're doing this again."

Alma had thought she had known what to expect from the show, but they had managed to surpass expectations - again. Fortunately, she didn't have to try quite so hard to look angry about it, just puzzled, and she could manage that well enough, considering that, though she had no real desire to learn how the tricks had been done, making the attempt to figure them out was still fun. The phone call Dylan received had her raising an eyebrow at him - but then turning away as he went to answer, still carefully hiding a smile. At his gesture, she moved immediately to follow, offering the crew member a bemused look as they moved past.

She followed him into the green room, standing in the doorway and crossing her arms, expression drifting toward stern.

"Apparently," Merritt returned wearily with a glance toward the mostly closed door to the green room's private bathroom before he looked back to Dylan - and then past him, to Alma. "Good to know the love birds are still flocking, though." He didn't even try to keep the hint of euphemism out of his tone. If it could even be called a hint.

"Five seconds in the same room as you guys, and I'm already tired of this bull -- " Dylan stopped abruptly, albeit intentionally, and affected a look that passed as vaguely haunted, as if he'd been about to call bullshit quite literally and then remembered how that had ended before and thought better of it. He took a moment, apparently re-centering himself, and then the scowl returned. "Where's Wilder?"

"Contrary to popular belief -- or, more specifically, popular culture, actually -- being dead's not exactly the neatest state of being ever," Daniel answered.

Merritt smirked in response to Dylan's pause, though it slid off his face a moment later into something darker, like it had during their first interrogation when Dylan had brought up his brother. "Give the kid a minute." There was a vague hint of menace, of threat to his tone this time. "You owe him that much."

Dylan didn't flinch, implied threat or not, though he seemed to give the idea thought all the same. Finally and with a small, irate noise, he brought his arm up to glance at his watch. "He's got five. Any longer and I'm breaking down the Goddamn door."

"I think that's a song," Merritt returned, too lightly considering the tone he had taken just a moment ago, but he didn't argue.

Fortunately for the door, it was just under five minutes later that Jack pulled the bathroom door open - and then stopped, staring at Dylan for a moment warily before he looked to the others, keeping one hand on the door frame, apparently for support. He had changed out of the clothes he had worn on stage into another pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The blood and dust was gone, though he was still a touch pale with circles under his eyes, but that was as much a product of his inability to sleep the night before a show combined with the effects of using his actual magic during the show as it was anything else - not that anyone outside the team had to know that. "So who won the bet?"

"Oh, you mean the pool we had going on how long it'd take Agent Rhodes here to show up and -- " Daniel held up his hands, making quotes in the air. " -- 'nail our asses'? I think it was Henley."

"Twenty minutes almost to the second," she put in brightly.

Dylan ran a hand over his face, shaking his head when he dropped it.

"I'm not even gonna touch that," he grumbled. A beat and then louder, "You get that you guys are under arrest, right? I said that, right?" He glanced back at Alma for confirmation. "That means you four can stop screwing around any day now and come outside to my car, or I can make four pairs of handcuffs 'magically' appear. Your choice."

"There's something I'd like to see. You, doing magic." Dylan took another step forward then, reaching seemingly to reach for Daniel, and immediately he held up his hands. "Whoa, hey, no need to get all handsy prom date on me."

"I heard it," Alma offered, helpfully.

Merritt pushed himself up out of the chair he'd claimed, drifting over to take Jack's leather jacket - now looking slightly the worse for wear - down off the peg where he'd left it. "Are you sure? I mean, really sure. Because we all know how this turned out last time." He walked backwards a few steps as he spoke, and once he stopped, held out the coat for Jack like someone actually would for their date.

Jack looked momentarily confused but let Merritt help him with it, though he still winced slightly at the movement required, nodding to Merritt's muttered question as he zipped it up.

"Yeah, I'm sure," Dylan answered, glancing between Merritt and Jack, a searching frown on his face. "And trust me when I say this time's gonna be different. Your -- your luck or whatever you want to call it just ran out."

"Guess we'll find out," Daniel muttered. He took a moment to compose himself -- and quietly, secretly Dylan felt a twinge of guilt that he had to in the first place, that his upset was real, not feigned -- and let out a breath as he got to his feet. He glanced to Henley, who did the same, sliding up off her perch on the arm of the chair he'd been sitting in, and then she moved to Jack to offer him her arm.

"C'mmon, Jack," she said, her voice so soft Dylan almost couldn't make it out. "We've got you."

Merritt met Dylan's eyes for a moment, after that, something in his expression daring him to comment before he moved away from Jack to pick up his hat from where he had left it on the coffee table and set it on his head.

"Thanks," Jack returned just as softly as he took her arm.

Alma tilted her head, frowning at them. "Do you need a doctor?"

Jack immediately looked up at her, shaking his head. "No. No, I'm..." he trailed off, letting out a wry and slightly exhausted sounding breath of a laugh. "Apparently magic can't fix just being sore."

Dylan flashed Merritt a cool, humorless smile in response and, once everyone seemed ready to go, gestured to the door. "Agent Dray first, then you four, then me. And if you so much as think about trying something funny ... "

"I don't know if you noticed," Daniel started, taking up the lead at the head of their part of the precession, "but about one-fourth of us aren't really in an position to, I don't know, run or whatever it is you think we're going to do."

"Right," Dylan drawled, sounding largely unconvinced.

"The missus agrees with us," Merritt pointed out with a nod toward Alma, who had shot Dylan a look that was meant to be quelling.

She only rolled her eyes at Merritt, though. "Shut up and come on already," she told him as she turned around to lead the way out of the green room, as Dylan had said.

Daniel moved to follow wordlessly, Jack, Henley still at his arm, behind him. Merritt took up the rear of the group, Dylan behind him until they reached the car, parked at the curb outside and a few feet down, in front of a parking meter. Then, apparently satisfied that they wouldn't be going anywhere, he rounded them to open the door and gestured them inside. When they were settled, the door closed behind them, he caught Alma's arm.

"You know how to get to the Federal Building on Foley Square from here?"

Alma thought for a moment and then nodded. "I think so."

"That's where we need to be," Dylan continued. A beat, a glance back at the car -- particularly its backseat -- and then, by way of explanation, he offered, "I wanna sit in the back with these guys, just in case. I know you think they're not going anywhere, but I really don't wanna have to explain to my boss how they broke out of my car and made a run for it."

In all honesty, his reasons for wanting a moment alone with them had less to do with wanting to make sure they didn't escape and more to do with the fact that, beyond the facade, they were family and he wanted to spend time with them, however he could.

She thought that might have something to do with it, but she just followed the glance toward the back of the car. "They won't leave him behind again," she said after a moment, explaining why she didn't imagine they were planning on running this time. Still, she had no interest in another footchase through a major city, and she just nodded a moment later. "Do you have the keys?"

"Yeah." He shifted, reaching into his pocket for them, and held them out to her. "Here."

Alma took the keys from him, moving to round the car to slide into the driver's seat, looking into the rear view mirror as she put the key in the ignition and buckled her seatbelt. Jack was curled up tightly in the middle of the bench seat, sandwiched between Henley and Merritt. As she studied them, Merritt caught her eye in the mirror and raised an eyebrow, again apparently daring her to comment.

Despite his relative inexperience with mentalism, Daniel, opposite Merritt, caught the look and smirked. It disappeared a moment later, when Dylan slid into the seat across from him and at Alma's back. Still, though, he felt it necessary to comment. "Well, this is ... cozy. I think that's a nice word for it."

"Not the one I'd use," Merritt grumbled, finally looking away from Alma as she started the car and pulled into traffic. "Agent Rhodes is afraid he'll have to admit to being three and oh for chasing us down." Considering the times the FBI had actually managed to bring them into custody, they had been waiting for them.

Dylan rolled his eyes and leaned forward slightly, his lips curling back into a sneer. "Somehow, I'm pretty sure that's gonna be a nonissue, regardless of whether or not I'm sitting back here. Not that I actually believe that you somehow brought him -- " He glanced at Jack. " -- back from the dead, but if you wanna hold onto the illusion or whatever, he's going to have to keep pretending to look for the bus that hit him. And you won't leave him behind."

Clearly and despite the fact that he'd still chosen to sit with them, he'd changed his official stance a little.

Unofficially, on the other hand, he caught Merritt's eye and raised his chin slightly, silently asking how everyone was holding up. He figured Jack's act was just that -- or, worst case scenario, he was sore and tired from the show itself, like the rest of the group -- but he couldn't help his concern.

Jack, for his part, raised his head slightly at the mention of his name, raising an eyebrow at Dylan, but resettled against Henley an instant later, apparently too tired to bother getting into it.

Merritt just smirked at Dylan's sneer, though the darkness that had crept into his expression in the green room returned. "No, we won't."

At the silent question, Merritt let one side of his mouth lift in the faintest of smiles, momentarily at odds with the troubled look in his eyes. The worst case scenario did apply, he thought - he knew none of them had slept well the night before, too keyed up to get much rest even if they had tried - but the rest of it was part of the act.

Dylan made a small sound, relief cleverly disguised as disgust, and leaned back in his seat, glancing over his shoulder to check their progress in earnest. When he looked back, he offered Merritt another vaguely meaningful look, this one suggesting that they'd done well, that he was proud of them, and that, if it wasn't already obvious and if Merritt felt like sharing that with the rest of the group (without saying it aloud), he was more than welcome to.

Merritt tilted his head faintly, acknowledging that, too, and then, in the name of getting more comfortable in the cramped space, shifted to rest an arm along the back of the seat, behind Jack and Henley's shoulders, resettling and happening to nudge Daniel's foot with his, offering him a look that might have just been reassurance. He could pass it on later if he needed to, if it was too subtle.

Dylan reached up to run a hand over his face, hiding a smile as Henley and Daniel -- the latter in spite of his usual issues picking up on subtle cues -- both seemed to get the gist of it and smiled themselves. When he dropped his hand he made a show of looking sour and then glanced back over his shoulder at Alma again.

"How's traffic?" he asked, apparently impatient. Without, it would only take ten minutes to get to the Federal Building. With, and in New York it was always with, it was debatable.

Jack didn't move this time aside to raise his eyes, the smile in them faint but there for the moment before Dylan turned around.

"We are in New York," she reminded him, equally impatient with the question. They were at least moving for the moment, but even if she could manage in a high speed chase, things were different when she was actually following the laws.

"Women drivers, eh?" Merritt couldn't help but put in.

To his credit, both in character and out, he managed to keep a grin off of his face, passing the twitch of his lips off as another sneer. "Can you shut your mouth for five minutes? Do you actually know how to do that?"

Merritt just blinked at him, this time. "I didn't see anyone else volunteering intelligent conversation, and apparently this thing doesn't come with a radio. We can go back to those abandonment issues if you'd like. I'd still take that tenner."

"That's enough," Dylan growled. "This isn't some kind of ... " He made a vague, irritated gesture.

A moment of silence followed and then Daniel snorted. "Someone's touchy."

"I mean it," Dylan continued, as if he thought he wasn't adding gasoline to the fire.

"Anybody want a peanut?" Henley put in helpfully. It took all of Dylan's willpower not to break into laughter; even she could see that much on his face.

Alma couldn't contain a snort, though she covered it a moment later by clearing her throat and carefully keeping her attention on the road. Really.

Daniel glanced first over his shoulder at Alma and then turned his attentions back to Henley, a smile, not even remotely as well-concealed as Dylan's on his face. "Well, at least someone thinks you're funny."

"I'll take what I can get," Henley answered, grinning madly. Daniel strongly suspected she'd reached that point where she was exhausted, and therefore, everything was funny.

Merritt felt sure that's what it was, too, but he couldn't help but add, "That's what she said," in an attempt to make things worse.

Henley laughed. "In fact she did."

Dylan let out a long-suffering sigh and looked to Alma again. "Please tell me we're close." As if he wasn't quietly enjoying this.

"That's also what she said," Merritt said again as soon as Dylan finished speaking.

Henley giggled again, reaching up to cover his mouth a moment after the sound had passed her lips. This time, as he probably should have done in the first place, Dylan ignored all of them. "Agent Dray?"

"We're almost there," Alma assured him, trying very hard to keep her own amusement under control.

It was only another few minutes after that that she pulled the car up in front of the federal building and put it in park, shot another look in the mirror at the backseat, and slid out of the car.

Breathing out a sigh of relief when they turned into the parking lot, Dylan all but bolted out of the car when they stopped. He took a moment to compose himself, both in earnest and as part of the act, quelling his amusement and his feigned frustration both, and then gestured the Horsemen out of the car. "Second verse, same as the first."

Alma first, then the Horsemen, then him.

Merritt let Daniel slide out ahead of him and then followed, turning back to make sure Jack didn't need help - and frowning when Jack didn't immediately follow. "Jack," he said, shortly and with concern, ducking back in to put a hand to Jack's arm.

Jack startled slightly at the touch and then blinked at him for a moment before he shook his head to clear it. "Sorry," he mumbled, still sounding half-asleep, and then got out of the car, too.

Dylan glanced at them, frowning. It softened slightly when he realized that Jack had honestly fallen asleep, took the words from him where he'd been about to make some sort of effortless, snide remark, and he had to force himself to turn away. A sigh followed, and when he'd managed to mold hismelf back into the G-Man he was supposed to be, he turned back, watching them fall into step as they had on the way out. He gestured to Alma to lead the way.

"We're on the 26th floor."

Alma started forward, glancing back over her shoulder to make sure they were following as she led the way into the building.

"At least we have a reservation," Merritt couldn't help but snark.

Dylan grunted but otherwise didn't respond, simply following silently behind until the reached the front desk. There, from his place at the back of their procession, he held up his badge, grumbled something about taking the Horsemen upstairs, and then continued on, taking long strides to catch up where he'd half-paused to get them access in the first place. And as the elevator opened to them and closed behind them, he leaned up against the wall, folded his arms over his chest, and made a show of pointedly not looking at Merritt, as if he expected that any acknowledgement would lead to more unwanted commentary.

It was entirely likely, really - though Dylan's refusal to look at him still got a snort of amusement before Merritt turned to watch the numbers tick by.

When they reached the 26th floor, rather than wait his turn to take up the rear, Dylan shot Alma what was meant to be a meaningful glance -- he'd need to do more than just flash his badge to get them set up to go at the Horsemen -- and then pushed ahead, stepping out into the FBI's headquarters in New York. He glanced over his shoulder once, just to make sure they were following, and once he was satisfied that they were, moved to stand in front of the desk here, passing what little he had in the way of credentials on him over the counter to the agent sitting there.

After she'd gone through the process of confirming his identity, he glanced over his shoulder again before telling her, "I want four separate rooms for these clowns." And maybe a cup of coffee, the change in timezones still wearing on him as much as the show was the Horseman -- and despite the fact that he'd lost time rather than gained it -- but that could come later and during the pretense of giving the Horsemen time to stew. "Evans from the Las Vegas office wants us to talk to these guys." He didn't say again, but it was there, unsaid, all the same.

She nodded, reaching for a phone at the desk, and while Dylan assumed she would put in a call to the Vegas office sooner rather than later, at the moment it was to summon a handful of other, more well-armed agents with the sole purpose of presumably manhandling the Horsemen into their separate enclosures.

Alma caught the glance and took her turn at hanging back, keeping an eye on things, even if it was even less necessary, now.

"Hey," she said shortly at Merritt as he turned around to face Jack, speaking lowly, and Merritt looked back up at her, expression tight.

"I'm just making sure he's okay, sweetheart, since you're splitting us up again."

"Merritt," Jack cut in over whatever Alma might have said. "I'm okay."

Without thinking, Daniel shifted a little closer to Merritt, to Jack, his response just the wrong side of real, despite the fact that, logically, he knew they were all on the same team, that Jack really wasn't in any bad way and that this was all going to go nowhere. He said nothing, however, choosing instead to just stand there, hovering, a frown fixed on Alma. Henley turned to do the same, though her reaction was more pure act.

The tension, feigned or otherwise, broke a moment later when Dylan moved over to them, the others the agent at the desk had called coming up behind him. "Okay, kids. Let's break it up."

Merritt ignored Dylan and the other agents for a moment to keep talking to Alma. "If he needs us, you come get one of us." He would have said that to Dylan, but as far as the act went, she was less militant about it all than Dylan. Not that he actually expected there to be a problem, but he also didn't have to pretend to be protective.

"He'll be fine," she said again to all of them, looking past them to Dylan for his direction.

"Mister McKinney," Dylan all but snarled. He jerked his head in the direction of the door. "Let's go."

Merritt turned to face Dylan at that, expression abruptly too pleasant and slightly taken aback. "Keep your shirt on, I'm coming."

Grunting, Dylan turned and marched towards one of the doors beyond the desk, the agents he'd brought with him working to herd the Horsemen along behind him. Behind the door, a hallway not unlike the one Dylan and Alma had had their first argument about jet lag stretched before them, winged on either side by identical holding rooms, one-sided mirrors looking in on each of them. He stopped in the middle of the hallway, held up two fingers and gestured to two of the rooms on one side and then the two opposite, and then continued on towards the door at the far end, not bothering to look back as the agents led the Horsemen into their separate rooms. He expected Alma to follow. He also, apparently, hadn't been kidding about the coffee, as the door lead to a small room -- not quite a break room, but with a coffee pot on a counter and a place to sit down, nevertheless.

Only once he had his coffee in hand did he turn to face her. "I should probably check in with my boss and see if they're sending Fuller out." A beat. "He'll miss the party, since we can't hold them for more than -- " Another pause, this time to check his watch again. " -- a few hours unless we find something to charge them with, but ... "

Alma followed him as the other agents got the Horsemen settled, turning to lean back against the counter once she had her own coffee doctored and in hand. "They know we're at the same place we were in Las Vegas. And Jack looks like he might have been involved in an accident an hour ago." That had been especially true during the show. She knew it was all an act, of course, but she couldn't deny the fact that it had still been unsettling. "Any evidence that it wasn't magic was in that car." And it had gone up in actual flames.

"I was in that car, if you remember correctly," he shot back. It had been a brief thing and after the crash, sure, and he'd been more intent on trying to get Jack out of it before exploded than anything else, but, "I think I would remember a portal to hell or -- or whatever opening in it." Or the body being missing, since the Horsemen had apparently reached back in time and snatched Jack out of the jaws of death, albeit a second too late. Either way, he made a small, disbelieving noise. "So, you can't tell me they're not trying to pull one over on us and that there's not evidence of it somewhere."

"Oh, I remember," she returned. The chase and crash had been nerve-wracking enough; Dylan crawling into it voluntarily had nearly been too much. "And no, I think they're absolutely pulling one over on us, and there has to be evidence somewhere. But unless you feel like asking Bradley for another favor...." She didn't know where to start looking that would get them anywhere quickly enough to have cause to hold the Horsemen for very long.

"Considering he turned out to be the asshole behind all that crap?" Dylan let out a breath of a laugh, surprisingly (all things considered) or unsurprisingly (considering the act) without humor. "Yeah, no, I don't think he's gonna turn on his own people, much less give us the time of day when he finds out they're up to old tricks."

He paused, raking a hand through his hair, and took another mouthful of coffee, a grimace on his face as he lowered the cup. "I'm ... not really holding my breath that these guys are gonna give us jack to work with, but ... who knows? Maybe they'll slip up. The kid, at least, looks a little genuinely frayed. Maybe he'll give us something."

Alma made an exactly sort of hand gesture at the first part of his statement and nodded to the latter part as she took a drink of her own coffee.

"Maybe," she returned, still looking doubtful. They could ask, but she had a feeling they were only going to have the same conversations they'd had in Las Vegas.

Dylan was silent for a moment, then sighed, setting his coffee down on the counter, unfinished. "Let me call Evans," he repeated, reaching into his pocket to fish out his phone, "then we can talk to Wilder." A pause. "Assuming you're in and you don't wanna give one of those other bozos the run down?"

Either way was fine with him, really. They both knew this would be fruitless, and intentionally so, and he didn't need Alma with him, if only to paint a target on her back to keep the Horsemen from catching on too quick.

"Call your boss," she returned almost immediately. "I'm finishing my coffee here so we don't have a repeat of the soda."

He made a small, acknowledging noise at the back of his throat and turned away, free hand falling to his hip as he dialed Evans' number. He pressed the phone to his ear, head bowing, as the other man picked up and he launched into recounting the situation so far. A series of yeahs followed, each more terse than the last and interspersed with pauses, and then finally, he hung up.

"Fuller's not coming," Dylan told her, a flicker of relief visible on his face if only for less than an instant. Considering their conversation about outs and Fuller not exactly having one, it probably wasn't all that surprising. "And he wants us to talk to them. That was about the gist of it."

Alma finished her coffee while Dylan spoke to Evans, turning away to dispose of her empty cup when she realized she wasn't going to learn much from listening in. When he finished, she turned back around. "Does he know I'm here?" She assumed he did considering her stop at the FBI's Las Vegas office, but she hadn't actually seen or spoken to Evans while she was there, so she wasn't sure.

"Yeah," he answered, nodding as he tucked his phone back into his pocket. "Which is why I'm guessing he's keeping Fuller off this one."

She just nodded in response to that, considering she had had the same thought, her expression saying she wondered if he resented that.

He didn't -- again, if anything, he was glad that Fuller wasn't getting dragged into this blind -- but he made no attempts to try and convey that or even acknowledge that he had picked up on it in the first place. Instead, he glanced almost wistfully at his coffee cup, picked it up to take another handful of sips, and then dumped the rest in the sink. After he'd trashed the cup, he reached up to rub briefly at his eyes and moved towards the door.

"Better get this over with."

It was mostly an act, anyway, as was the fact that she sighed faintly and straightened her jacket slightly as she followed him toward the door and back into the hallway.

They stopped again just outside Jack's cell, where Dylan looked in on him for a moment, frowning. When he seemed satisfied -- or at least prepared to deal with the clusterfuck he felt was coming -- he let out a heavy breath, nodded to the agent lingering nearby, and let himself into the room.

As in Las Vegas, Jack had again fallen asleep at the table, though he looked far less relaxed about it this time, head down on one arm, the other hand resting on the back of his neck like he had been rubbing at it instead of stretched out with his feet on the table. He jerked awake at the sound of the door opening, blinking at Dylan and Alma for a moment as he rubbed at his eyes. He still looked shaken and exhausted, still looked even smaller than he already was, somehow, especially since he was missing his leather jacket again. Presumably it had again been taken by whichever agent had brought him into the room.

He let his hands fall back to the table, the handcuffs and their chains clattering with the motion. "Look, guys," he began, earnestly. "Before you ask, I really can't help you. I don't remember anything."

"Just like you didn't know anything the last time we talked?" Dylan asked flatly as he moved to take up a seat on the opposite side of the table.

Jack paused a moment before he frowned, huffing out a sigh through his nose as he rubbed at his eyes with one hand. He dropped his hand again "Not 'just like'. I remember making the bridge and thinking I could actually lose you, and then I woke up on stage."

Dylan studied him for a moment, one eyebrow raised, before letting out an incredulous sigh of a laugh. He put his own hands on the table, folding them in front of him and leaned forward. "Why don't you do yourself a favor and cut the -- " Bullshit, but again, he looked for an instant as if he didn't dare use that word for fear of Alma suddenly breaking into Beethoven's 5th on the air violin. " -- crap? You're stage magicians, not Jesus Christ, no matter how much you think you are or wanna be, what with those cheap water to wine tricks, or whatever, and I was there. I know how that went down and I know that you didn't 'magically' disappear then and show up now."

He paused, leaning back. "So, why don't you tell me what really happened? You have a little set of the bridge built somewhere or something?"

Jack couldn't quite keep the fact that he thought Dylan was an idiot out of his tone. "It was a high-speed chase. You think I actually planned anything sooner than when I got in the car? I tried to just walk out but your guys were actually paying attention." Jack paused a moment before going on. "And I told you: I headed for the bridge because I knew there would be a lot of traffic in just two lanes and I thought I could lose you in it. They told me the car rolled; I don't even remember that." Something haunted drifted into his eyes, and he shuddered slightly as he looked away, apparently bothered by it all.

Tips of his fingers digging into the backs of his hands in a gesture of obvious anger, Dylan glanced back at Alma, as if silently asking her to help him out. Rather than verbalize that, though, he turned back to Jack, sighing. "You're full of it," he grumbled. "And if I hooked you up to a polygraph, I'm pretty sure it'd tell me the same thing."

Never mind the fact that he'd need a court order to get him to do a polygraph test. Or the fact that he could teach Jack to fool one.

Jack huffed out a sigh, ducking his head so he could reach up to run a hand over his hair - and as he did, he dislodged a piece of what looked for all the world like a small piece of automotive glass. The chip fell to the table, bouncing a few times before it came to a rest, and he stared at it for a long moment, that shaken look back in his eyes, before Alma reached out to pick it up, to examine it herself before offering it to Dylan.

Jack sighed again, more softly, hand returning to his hair as though checking for more glass - and, after a moment, he did find another piece, setting it on the table as well before he spoke again. "If you could actually get the order, and if I thought it would make you believe me, I'd say go ahead. But you can't, and it won't, and this was kind of funny last time, but I really just want to sleep for a week."

Dylan took the glass chip from her, rolling it between his fingers carefully as he studied it, something nearing shock dawning on his face as he realized what it was. It was, for the most part, real, too -- despite the fact that he knew what was going on, no one had mentioned anyone adding actual glass to the mix to help sell the act. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't impressed. He'd have to find out whose idea that had been and congratulate them later.

"What ... ?" he looked back at Alma, at a loss, everything else, including anything Jack had said unimportant at the moment.

"Have a souvenir," Jack muttered into his hands as he ran them down his face.

Alma watched Dylan, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "It looks like glass," she said, even though she thought that was obvious.

"Yeah, I get that," Dylan shot back. He continued to frown at the shard for a moment and then got up, seemingly abruptly, and moved for the door. Clearly, he felt they were done here -- that and he wanted to send the glass down to the FBI's lab to see if he could get anything off of it.

It took Alma a moment to catch up, and she paused another moment to pick up the other piece from the table before she followed Dylan out of the room, one of the other agents closing the door behind her. "Here," she told him once she caught up with him, holding out the other piece.

Dylan took it from her and waved over one of the other agents, holding them out to him with an order to get that and Jack's jacket down to the lab. If the Horsemen had thought to lace Jack's hair with glass, he imagined there was evidence for the real law enforcement people to find on his coat, too.

When he disappeared, he turned on Alma, shaking his head. "This is -- this can't be ... " He forced himself to stop, to take a breath, and then, "They're screwing with us. They have to be. They planned this -- all of it, including us finding that glass."

"If they are screwing with you, it's because they know they can," Alma returned, gesturing to him by way of indicating the state he was getting himself in. "This is Las Vegas again, and Atlas telling you to follow them."

"I'm pretty sure I get that," he snapped, turning his scowl on her. "But what the hell am I supposed to do? Someone needs to stop these assholes and, right now, I'm the guy who's supposed to be doing it."

Alma just scowled back, setting her hands on her hips. "You can't stop them if you're not thinking straight."

"I'm thinking fine," he returned hotly. "Wilder wasn't getting us anywhere and I got the glass and the kid's coat off to the lab, didn't I?" He gestured sharply in the direction the agent had gone in.

Later, when it was just them, when they were away from here, he would apologize for the show of temper. He didn't mean it, obviously, and she had to know that, but still.

She did know, but she had to keep to her side of it, too. "For now," she returned. "Just remember that. I don't want this time to end the same way for you." With all of them getting dressed down by their superiors and only just managing to hold onto their jobs while the Horsemen slipped away, she meant.

His jaw worked wordlessly, as if he intended on making the same affirmation he'd made to Fuller -- that he'd be careful, that he'd take it slow -- albeit a bit more heatedly. He seemed to think better of it, however, and made a small, frustrated noise instead. A moment of silence followed, in which he raked a hand through his hair, and then he turned to face Merritt's room.

"Let's just get this over with," he said at last, already crossing the distance to that particular door.

Alma paused, too, waiting for him to respond - and then sighed herself, straightening her jacket slightly as she turned to follow him into Merritt's room.

Merritt, like Jack, was consistent with how he had been waiting in Las Vegas. His hat was missing, again, but he sat with his hands folded on the table in front of him, and he turned his head as the door opened, almost seeming to come to life considering how quietly he had been sitting a moment before and how animated he immediately became. "Where's your partner? I know he doesn't have a date; it's not Tuesday."

"Fuller's got bigger things to worry about than this crap," Dylan answered, looking away for an instant to mask his amusement as he moved to take the seat opposite Merritt. When he was settled, he asked, "So, you gonna feed me the same phony story as your friend across the hall? Or do you actually wanna give me something here?"

"Would would you like?" Merritt began, leaning forward slightly. "A story about how you should be thanking us for fixing that little fact that the FBI and Interpol participated in a high speed chase that killed a twenty-four year old kid and could have taken more people down that weren't involved at all?" He paused a beat, looking to Alma as she sat down. "Or we can go back to the fact that she still hasn't told you those secrets we mentioned last time." There was another beat. "You know, same offer stands if you two need some relationship counseling. Ten a piece. It's a bargain."

Dylan's jaw tightened almost imperceptibly. "Actually, I was hoping for the heart-warming tale of the FBI Agent who, after a long, uphill battle finally manages to nab the four thieves who are and have been so full of shit the toilet's jealous every time he's run into them."

"Nah, too predictable," Merritt shot back, unconcerned. "Okay. How about the one where... the FBI Agent and his surprisingly kinky partner are up to their necks in a less interesting but far more frustrating case involving...." he trailed off, tilting his head slightly to study Dylan before he continued, "some misplaced financial records?"

Dylan, too, tipped his head to the side, the tension in his jaw mounting as he worked it soundlessly. He looked as if he was trying to stop himself from asking Merritt how he knew about that, and despite the fact that he knew -- he'd left the case files for the Horsemen to look over after he'd hit a wall, after all -- that was the point. Rather than spit that out, though, he let himself continue to silently flail for a moment before, "That's none of your business."

Alma thought it might be something like that, but she still looked more surprised - more impressed - by Merritt's question and Dylan's response.

Merritt, for his part, just shrugged, leaning back in his chair. "I didn't say it was my business. I thought you might like a hand with it, though."

"If you think this is gonna get you out of this shit -- " He made a largely undirected gesture. " -- you're doing the whole information trading thing wrong." Still, though, he made sure that Merritt caught that he was tempted, however vague the look on his face was.

"I didn't know we were trading, since you don't have anything to tell me I don't already know. And since you have just as much on us now as you did before, there's no bargains to be worked out." Merritt paused a beat before going on. "I was just trying to help you out of one corner since you apparently insist on painting yourself into them on a regular basis."

"I've spent almost thirty years closing cases without help from assholes like you," he snapped back, not-so-subtly insinuating that he didn't back himself against the wall as often as Merritt was trying to make it look like he did. A moment of pause followed as, presumably, he composed himself or, more accurately, tried to, as it didn't look like it was going entirely well, and then he leaned forward. "But fine. Whatever. I'll bite."

Merritt held his hands up in front of him, palms out, the universal sign for whatever, take it easy - and then smirked as Dylan went on, leaning forward again himself, hands again clasped on the table as he made a show of studying Dylan. "Sadly, I can't give you much about the financial records. But there's someone you've already talked to. And you weren't happy with the interview, and you were right, he was full of shit." He studied Dylan again, tilting his head. "Andrews... no, that's the first name, Andrew... Ventura? Ooh, I bet people that don't like him call him Ace where they think he can't hear."

"I'll keep that in mind," Dylan replied after a calculated pause. Briefly, he considered telling Merritt that if he was lying to him, he'd make him pay for it, but the thought evaporated quickly, the gears turning in his head now in earnest. He did, however, sneak Merritt a guarded, grateful look in spite of that. He'd have to find a bottle of -- of something beyond the champagne he was already planning on bringing home to the Horsemen, once they'd had a chance to rest, and give it to Merritt after he'd closed the case. "Now, can we get back on topic, please?"

Merritt just shrugged faintly, apparently in actual response to the question but in actual acknowledgement of the gratitude. Amusingly, considering Daniel's motto, he thought the problem might have been that Dylan was too closely involved with it. There had been some serious inconsistencies between what Ventura had said in his interview and what other people had said in theirs. But they could discuss that later. "Sure." He paused a beat before frowning, confused. "What were we talking about again?"

"How we know you didn't actually teleport Jack out of the car," Alma supplied.

"Ohhhh. Right," Merritt drawled. "Are you sure we didn't? Because it sure looked like we did to me."

"I was there," Dylan replied. He made no effort to continue that argument as he had with Jack or Alma, however; instead, he simply fixed Merritt with a pointed look.

"I bet you don't watch much tv, do you, Agent Rhodes," Merritt began. "Just know that's what I'm quoting when I say time isn't exactly a straight line. You could have been in one timeline, but we went back and interrupted that one to bring him here, to this one." He paused a beat, grin going smug. "It's all very scientific."

"Or a line of crap." He paused and then did make the same point he'd made to Jack, earlier. "You're stage magicians, not God or Hank Morgan or whatever."

"Actually that was Doctor Who," Alma put in, and Merritt gestured to her.

"At least someone in this room has some culture." He paused before returning to the point. "We're magicians. We do magic. Going back in time... kinda counts."

Dylan looked as if he was about to protest that Hank Morgan was the main character from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and that counted for a hell of a lot more in the culture department than a TV show, but seemed to think better of it. He combed his fingers through his hair instead, breathing out a sigh. "Right."

A pause and then he glanced to Alma, as if it was her decision whether or not they were done here and he was intensely hopeful that they were.

Alma just lifted one shoulder in a shrug in response to the glance. She knew they weren't going to get anywhere with the Horsemen; it was up to him how long he wanted to try.

Dylan chanced a surreptitious look in Merritt's direction, apparently debating the flaws and merits of prodding him further. When he'd come to a decision, he stood and moved for the door. "Nice talking to you, Mister McKinney," he called acidly and from over his shoulder.

Merritt just chuckled. "Always a pleasure, Agent Rhodes, Agent Dray," he returned with a nod to both of them as they left the room.

When the door had closed behind them, Dylan scrubbed a hand over his face and stared balefully at Daniel, in his room across the hall, through the observation panel. He looked as though he'd had his fill, just dealing with two of the four Horsemen.

"Atlas and Reeves aren't going to give you anything, either," Alma told him as she leaned against the wall next to the window. It was clear she thought he already knew that and was just confirming it for him.

"Yeah," he agreed, reaching up to thumb at the corners of his eyes. He was tired, he wanted to go home, and that was as much a truth as it was a part of the act, as secretly amusing as this had all been. He suspected the Horsemen were starting to feel the same way. "What I'm wondering is if I can get away with writing they're all full of shit on an official report or if I actually have to talk to all of them."

Alma chuckled softly and crossed her arms, half-shrugging again. "Considering they gave you nothing last time, and since you got the glass and coat from Wilder, it might be enough. You can always bring them back in based on the lab's results?"

He took a moment to consider this and then nodded, turning to face the agent nearest them. "We can't hold them," he told him, as if that wasn't painfully obvious, "so, get them their stuff back, minus Wilder's jacket, and get them out of here."

The agent nodded, turned and moved to start letting the Horsemen out of their cells. Daniel, as he passed, leaned in to Dylan and, saccharine sweetly, offered, "Nice try, Agent Rhodes." Dylan all but growled at him.

Alma couldn't help but roll her eyes at Daniel - and at Dylan, if she was being honest - as they moved past where she stood against the wall.

"I'd ask if I get a receipt, but that jacket was pretty much ruined." Jack's tone was mournful, and he stuck his hands in his pockets. "Just don't sell it on Ebay."

Merritt fell in behind him, all but ignoring the agents for a moment. "We'll get you a new one." Then, he did look back to Dylan and Alma. "Tell Agent Fuller hi for me," he told Dylan with a smirk.

"I don't know. Maybe it'd cover our taxi fare back to the hotel," Henley told Jack. A beat and then to Dylan and Alma, she said, "Nice seeing you two again, even if you made a girl feel a little left out."

"Just get out of here."

Shrugging, Henley moved back to her place at Jack's side and offered him her arm again.

Jack offered her a tired but grateful smile and slid his arm through hers, the two of them following the others down the hall.

Dylan watched them go. When they'd disappeared back out the door they'd come in through, he reached up to rub at his eyes again and turned to face her as he dropped his hand. "I don't know about you, but I'm done with this tonight. I'm headed back to the hotel."

Alma nodded, reaching up to rub at the back of her neck, trying to relieve the headache she could feel starting. "I don't know what else we can do tonight, anyway." She was still jet-lagged, too, and he knew her feelings on that.

Nodding, he studied her for a moment in silence, his expression unreadable, and turned to follow the Horseman's path out of the hallway and, after letting the agent at the desk know that they'd probably be back tomorrow, ultimately the building. When they got back to the car, he patted himself down and then glanced to her again. "You have the keys still?"

She tilted her head, raising an eyebrow curiously, but just followed him down the hall and out of the building. At the car, she paused and then shook herself a little. "Sorry," she offered as she pulled the keys from her pocket and tossed them to him.

He caught them effortlessly, declining comment, and unlocked the doors so they could get in. Silence followed as he got settled, started the car and got them off of FBI property, and then, finally and briefly, he looked over at her, his expression all at once softer than it had been all night. "How long are you in New York for, anyway? Indefinitely or ... ?"

If they'd already had this discussion, it was slipping his mind at the moment.

Alma sighed as she got settled in the car, taking a moment before she reached up to pull her seat belt on. She glanced over at him, too, catching the difference in his expression and smiled faintly. "My ticket home doesn't have a date on it," she agreed, "though if we go too long with nothing, I might get a phone call."

"So, at least probably, like, two weeks," Dylan concluded. He wet his lips with his tongue, squinting at the road, and after a moment, continued. "I was planning on swinging by Horsemen's hotel with a bottle of champagne sometime next week. Probably Monday night, actually."

He'd go sooner than that, but Daniel would probably be pretending to re-coordinate the show to include Jack again, and then there'd be the show itself. Monday seemed the best day to get over there to see them, that in mind. He could go by Central Park, to the Lionel Shrike tree to see his father, and then go see the Horsemen.

There was, however, a point to all of this beyond just him letting her know where he'd be, if and when she needed him, and that was this: "If you wanna come with me and actually get a chance to talk to them where we all don't have to pretend to be at each other's throats ... " He shrugged. "It really wouldn't be that big a deal to sneak you up there, too."

"Really?" Alma returned, and if her tone was quieter than it had been on the plane, the accompanying smile was just as bright. "That'd be great, if you don't think they would mind?" She didn't mean for that to come out as a question, but there was a trace of doubt in her tone. She was Dylan's girlfriend, yes, but she also wasn't one of them. Not really.

"They won't," he promised. If they did, they could take it up with him later, though he doubted it would come to that.

She'd take his word for it. "Then yes, definitely."

He flashed her a tired, sideways smile which only grew as something occurred to him. "Fair warning, though. Merritt's probably going to bust your balls about this." He gestured between them. "That part's actually not an act."

Alma chuckled softly, reaching up to rub at her eyes, to hide her blush even if she logically knew Dylan wouldn't be able to see it. "I'm kind of expecting it from all of them," she admitted, though she didn't sound bothered by that, just resigned.

"Smart woman," Dylan said with a hum.

"Or I've been hanging around you too much and can guess how they would be," she shot back, reaching over to slap him gently on the arm - and then belatedly looked out her window and then over her shoulder out the back of the car, like someone might have been watching. She couldn't help but be a little paranoid about ruining something.

Dylan breathed out a sigh of a laugh and started to say something only to stop short when he noticed her looking over her shoulder. He followed her gaze, using the rear view mirror to keep himself from actually having to turn, to take his eyes off the road for more than a second, then glanced at her from the corners of his eyes. It took him longer to make the connection than he cared to admit to, as tired as he was and without being able to study her expression or posture in earnest, but eventually and all the same, the reason for her reactions did come to him.

"We're fine," he told her. "Even if someone saw that -- " And he didn't doubt that somewhere, someone had, if only because New York had so many damn cameras. " -- it's not like this is the first time you've hit me." He chanced another look in her direction, one corner of his mouth turned up in a barely restrained shit-eating grin.

Alma made a face at him, wrinkling her nose. "You still deserved it," she asserted a moment later - and then couldn't help but grin back at him.

"Maybe a little," he agreed, as he had before, the last time they'd gotten into this.

"At least you admit it." She grinned at him for another moment before turning her attention back out the windshield, though it wasn't long before she spoke again. "It was a good show." Something in her tone said she might have been understating things a bit.

"It was a great show," Dylan corrected, no small amount of pride in his voice. "Daniel did a good job. They all did."

Alma immediately nodded. "They did." She paused a moment before going on, turning her head to look at him again, "I assume Jack's actually okay. That that was for our benefit." She thought that might be obvious, but she had been a bit busy driving during Dylan and Merritt's exchange on the way to the FBI's office and obviously hadn't been able to ask before.

"He is, yeah. He's just tired." Having to get up on stage and perform was exhausting, albeit in the best possible way, he imagined, and he doubted any of them had gotten any sleep the night before on top of that. Rather than say that, though, by way of explanation, he offered, "I figured that'd be the case, but I also checked with Merritt to make sure."

That got another nod, and Alma again turned her attention back out the window, watching the city pass. She had never actually been to New York that hadn't been for work on some level. And with that in mind, after a few moments, she said, "Someday I'm actually going to come to New York just to be a tourist."

"It's an amazing city," he said softly and after a moment of silence all his own. Not that he had anything against the other side of the country, but he missed New York desperately more often than not. Knowing that he'd probably never be able to come back to it, just like he'd never really be able to come back to the Eye, only made it worse. "I'd offer to show you around, but ... "

Alma seemed to realize that, offering him a sympathetic look. "You can still take me to dinner." They could make that look business related easily enough, and there was definitely something mildly suggestive to her tone when she said it, though it was gone when she went on. "And tell me things I should see."

He glanced over at her, managing a tiny smirk of a smile, then looked back at the road. "I can take you to dinner," he agreed. "And I can tell you, right now, to skip all the tourist trap history shit. Not that I've got anything against Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty or whatever, but it's -- they've changed a lot of it since I was a kid and it's not half as fun, now."

They didn't let tourists up in the crown of the Statue of Liberty anymore, for one.

Alma looked slightly disappointed by that news, but she nodded. "Okay. The museums, though, are as good as I've heard?"

"Yeah," Dylan answered, pausing albeit briefly to turn through an opening in oncoming traffic and into the hotel parking lot. "I think the Met's my favorite, but I might be kinda biased." The art museum for the artist and all that.

She shot him a smile. "Maybe. But I'd still like to see it, too." She really wasn't all that picky about what kind of history she looked into.

He flashed her one in return after he'd claimed a parking space near the front of the building and tried his best not to think about the fact that, as much as he'd like to, he wouldn't be able to go with her. It took him a moment, but finally, he managed, and when he did, he offered, "Which, speaking of, remind me to show you my other sketchbook when we go up to see our guys."

They could still talk about it afterwards, though. It wouldn't be quite the same, but it would be something. And she was still sure they could find ways to make other things work.

She looked pleased by the offer, her smile warming and turning more fond. "I will."

He offered her another brief smile, just as warm as hers if not a little tired, and when it faded, took a deep breath, straightening slowly as he snapped the mask of agent back into place. When he let the breath out, the sound fairly put upon, he killed the engine and reached for his door. "C'mmon."

Alma resettled a little herself, even though it wasn't quite as drastic or quite as necessary, and slid out of her side of the car, moving around the car to follow him back into the hotel.

Dylan didn't look back to see if she was following as they crossed into the building, instead making a beeline for the elevator at the far end of the lobby. He jabbed the button once, feigned frustrations sliding back into place as easily as the character had, and then folded his arms, waiting impatiently for it to come. When it did, when he'd stepped onto it, he pushed the button for their floor and then retreated to the corner to lean against one of the walls, the ride up to their floor a silent one.

When they reached their room and the door was closed, he deflated again, and moved to toe off his shoes in the corner.

Alma followed him through the hotel, taking up a position against one of the other walls and reaching up to cover a yawn as she watched the numbers tick by. She, too, shed her shoes as soon as they were inside, reaching down to pull her heels off and set them out of the way. "Did I mention I hate jet lag?" she asked him as she shrugged out of her jacket and dropped it less neatly over a chair.

"Me, too," he agreed. "Not that mine's as bad as yours, but ... "

"You also don't have to wear heels," she added, sitting down heavily in the chair she had just dropped her jacket on and covering another yawn.

"Yeah, no, I'm not ... " Fuller, though he looked all at once apologetic for even thinking to say that. As amused as he was by what his partner apparently got up to with his wife, he got that the guy was more than a little embarrassed by the idea that that was now semi-public knowledge.

It took Alma a moment to fill in the blank he had left, but when she had, she gave a snort of a laugh, shaking her head lightly as she reached up to pull her hair down out of its ponytail. "Poor Agent Fuller."

"Poor Agent Fuller," Dylan agreed, smiling faintly in spite of himself.

A faint sigh followed, the expression fading, and he reached up to pop two of the buttons at the top of his shirt as he went to gather something more conductive to sleeping from his bag. Sweatpants and tank top in hand, he gestured to the bathroom door, never mind the fact that she'd already seen him half-shirtless a few nights before. "I'm gonna go get changed."

Alma nodded, already starting to get up again, to follow his example. "Okay."

Humming, he moved, as promised, to the bathroom, pushing the door mostly closed behind him. Several minutes later, he returned, the clothes he'd worn tucked under one arm, teeth brushed, and looking that much more exhausted for having changed into something more comfortable. And after dumping his dirty clothes into a bag in his suitcase, he moved to sit on the edge of the bed and glanced over at her.

She had finished her own nightly routine by the time he came out of the bathroom, and she tucked her hair back out of her face as she half-turned to look at him, raising one eyebrow curiously when she saw him looking.

Dylan shrugged, honestly without anything specific on his mind to have prompted his attention. After a moment and now that he apparently had hers, though -- and as it occurred to him to mention it -- he offered, "Sorry for being kind of a dick while we were at the Federal Building, by the way. It's ... "

All part of the act, as she had to know, but still.

Alma shook her head lightly at that, smiling faintly but fondly at him. "I know. It's okay."

"I figured," he said, offering her a thin smile, "but I also didn't wanna come off looking like an actual asshole."

She turned a little more to face him. "I know your secret, now, though, Mr. Bad FBI Man." She was teasing him, yes, but she was also trying to reassure him that she did know he still had to keep up the act and the appearances.

Dylan made a small, amused noise, his smile becoming more sure of itself. "Yeah, you do."

Alma's smile brightened in answer, though she sobered again slightly afterwards. "You don't need to apologize, or to explain. I know. I know the game you're playing, and I know it's not a game. So. I will make it clear if things are going too far, as I did in New Orleans. And then you can apologize." Her smile returned at full force.

As much as he was on board with what she was saying, he found himself fighting to keep his smile from turning teasing. As much experience as he had on that particular front, however, he didn't seem to be having too much luck. "Maybe with a little less counter sandwich next time, huh?"

"I don't know," she returned. "I thought it went well with whatever you were drinking that night."

"Whiskey," he answered, as if it was important, somehow, to put a name to his poison of choice. "And yeah, no, not as much as you'd think."

She shrugged, and then nodded. "I'll mention that to the chef next time. Though there might be other things on the menu you'd like less." She paused a beat, already blushing before she added, "Or more." For a moment, Alma managed to hold her gaze before she laughed at herself, ducking her head and tucking her hair back again, feeling ridiculous for more than one reason.

Dylan quirked an eyebrow, surprised if only for an instant and even if he'd seen it or something like it coming in the instant before she spit it out, thanks to the blush, and then made a soft sound of approval. A vaguely wolfish grin followed. "C'mmere."

Alma turned her head to look at him sideways, laughing lightly and shyly again before she turned to scoot back onto the bed, closer to him.

With perhaps more confidence than he felt despite the flirting and, more importantly, the fact that they were decidedly dating at this point, Dylan wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her carefully back against him. To what he felt was his credit, he only hesitated for long enough to rest his chin on her shoulder before he turned his head to kiss her.

She settled back against him immediately, tilting her head into the kiss when it came, smile going softer.

When he broke the kiss, Dylan returned his head to her shoulder and rested there, just holding her, his eyes sliding closed. A part of him wished he could stay like this forever, as himself, with her, without having to worry about acts and character and so on. Another part knew that that was impossible, the ability to screw with time no more a real thing than the ability to heal others would ever be, and that the both of them should probably get what little sleep they could in preparation for the coming day. He breathed out a sigh, the sound less frustrated than he was, at the thought. As much as he enjoyed playing cops and robbers with the Horsemen, as much as he was grateful for the fact that Bradley would never see the light of day again, he still longed for the things he could never have.

Despite the lack of frustration in his tone, she knew he was likely feeling it, and she rested one hand on his at her waist, raising her other hand to reach for and run her fingers gently through his hair. "Je suis ici," she murmured, softly.

Dylan still spoke very little in the way of actual French, but he got the gist of that all the same. A hum followed, almost relieved, and he tilted his head into her fingers slowly, fighting the urge to apologize for ruining the moment. When he managed it, when he won out against himself -- he wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing -- he breathed out another sigh and, just as softly, mumbled, "We should sleep."

He hadn't, though, as far as she was concerned. They were still here, still together, and she could be happy with that. She hummed back at him. "We should," she admitted, though she didn't move, either.

"Tomorrow's gonna be long," he continued, though whether that was to motivate himself or her, it was hard to tell.

"Yeah," she returned softly - and then sighed, herself. "Come on, then," she told either him or herself, taking her hand out of his hair and letting go of his hand as she pulled away, shifting to move toward the top of the bed, to push the covers out of her way and lay down.

With a small sound at the back of his throat -- one that was likely meant to be motivating somehow -- he moved with her up to the head of the bed, lifting the covers just enough so that he could slide underneath them. Rather than try and immediately get comfortable, however, he glanced in her direction briefly, leaned to hit the switch on the light on the nightstand, and shifted back. Only then did he make an effort to settle and when he had, he reached for her, blind in the dark, hoping to guide her to his shoulder as he had every time they'd shared a bed together thus far.

Alma was already moving toward him, though, and she laughed softly as she ran into his hand. "Sorry," she whispered and took his hand to keep it from happening again, resettling against him and arranging the blankets before she draped her arm over his waist, as usual.

He laughed, too, just as softly, and mumbled something about great minds as she leaned into him. When she stilled, settled, he turned his head to brush a kiss over her forehead and then turned away, draping one arm over his face, covering an eye. "Night," he said after a beat, a little louder and more coherently.

Again, she tilted her head into the kiss, humming softly, again. "G'night," she returned.

That said, and again, as had been the case since the first night she showed up back at his apartment in Las Vegas, Dylan fell asleep quickly and easily.

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