Me: An idea that came to me and I ran with it in one sitting. Yay me
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Do Not Take Thy Name In Vain
When a visiting officer insults the name of Vance, Fisk has something to say about it.
''Dee.'' Steve motioned the red head over. He inclined his head to Malcom's office. ''Who's that suit in there?''
''Don't you know?'' Dee inquired. ''That's Inspector Gavin Marsh. He's come down to make sure we're all in tip-top shape, y'know?''
''Anything precede this inspection?'' Tessa asked, glancing at the closed door of the office.
''Nothing that comes to mind,'' Dee replied. ''But I'd be careful if I were you two. Out of everyone here, you two are the ones who skate on the thinest ice when it comes to protocol.''
''Um, you mean her.'' Steve pointed across the desk.
''Me?'' Tessa scoffed. ''As if you're not my partner!''
''I'm not your keeper.''
''I'm not yours.''
''You don't need to be. I'm a good boy who does what he's told and all by the book.''
''I follow the rules.''
Steve made a so so gesture with his hand.
''He's right,'' Dee agreed.
''Thanks, the both of you.'' Tessa glared at the two. ''So are you telling me I should fear for my job?''
''No!'' Steve waved away the concern.
''Just your salary, desk location, and coffee allotment,'' Dee said.
''Suits tally everything.'' And with a wise, all knowing nod, Dee went on her way.
Steve and Tessa exchanged amused glances.
When Malcom's office door opened, they hurried to look busy, which wasn't hard, considering their desks were literally covered in paperwork. To their surprise, both Malcom and the investigating Inspector came over.
''Detectives Hayden and Vance, isn't it?'' Said the man. They nodded. ''I'm Inspector Marsh.''
''Hello, sir,'' both greeted.
''I wanted to introduce myself, especially to you, Detective Vance.'' Marsh turned to her, and Tessa could feel him sizing her up. She made sure to maintain eye contact and a neutral expression. ''I knew your father, you see.''
''Is that so, sir?'' If Tessa had a dollar for how many officers had introduced themselves over the years with 'I knew your father', she'd have quite the small fortune. Most introductions that started this way were usually followed with praise for Charles Vance's methods, his genius, his stellar record, or a good natured joke about what an ass he'd been, or a lament for his untimely death. But Gavin Marsh did not follow up these sentiments with anything of the sort.
Instead, he said simply, ''Yes. An interesting man.''
And after staring a Tessa a moment longer than she would've like, he bid goodbye and departed, a collection of files under his arm.
Steve watched him go. ''What was that about, Malcom?'' He asked.
''You two better watch it,'' Malcom warned.
Tessa and Steve exchanged another look. ''Everyone seems to think that today,'' Tessa muttered.
''I mean it,'' Malcom went on. ''He's looking through all your case files.''
''Ours? Why?'' Steve asked.
''The hell if I know. But if he finds something to criticize, your heads will be on the platter, you hear me?''
Both detectives watched their boss retreat back into his office. ''He seem stressed to you?'' Steve whispered.
''A little,'' Tessa noted.
That night at the bar, Steve, Tessa, and Dee filled Fisk and Imogen in on the happenings on the upper floors.
''He just stared at you?'' Imogen asked.
Tessa nodded. ''Like a teacher at the student they're about to devour,'' Steve commented.
''What teacher did you have?'' Tessa asked.
''One that would've sooner eaten us for dinner than explain fractions to us again.''
''Gavin Marsh,'' Fisk said thoughtful. ''I think I know that name.''
''Worked with him on a case, perhaps?'' Tessa prompted.
''No…'' Fisk frowned. ''Your father might have, though.''
This was news to Tessa. But before Fisk could say more, some of the other officers came over to the table.
''Hey, Steve,'' one of them said. Roger Laurens, one of the local boys. ''Ain't that the guy Thorne was held up with all day?''
All of the table's occupants peered across the bar at the man at the far end. Sure enough, that was Gavin Marsh. ''Yeah,'' Steve replied.
''Been there a while,'' Lauren's friend, Bobby Wilks, said. ''Working through the bar from the looks of it. ''
''What's his problem?'' Imogen wondered aloud.
As always when there was a question of local goings on, Dee appeared with the answers. ''Word around the pub is he's been here for hours. I think he didn't like what happened at the office.''
''With Malcom?'' Tessa asked.
''With her?'' Steve repeated incredulously. ''He didn't say two words to her. Talked at her, though.''
''You gave him one of your looks, didn't you?'' Imogen asked.
Tessa was hurt. ''One of what looks?''
''The ones you give when you're thinking and you're interrupted,'' Dee explained. ''Like you're a sea witch and you're gonna turn someone into stone.''
''No, she didn't have time to give him a look,'' Steve defended.
''I don't give people looks!'' Tessa protested.
''If it's not about you, then it must be about Thorne,'' Dee continued to ponder. She leaned on her pool stick. ''Maybe that meeting didn't go too well.''
''If anything, Thorne looked uneasy, not Marsh,'' Steve said.
Tessa didn't see the point in pursuing the topic. ''Who wants another drink?'' She asked, getting to her feet.
When she rose, she realized the man in question at the bar had spotted them and was staring at their table. Whether it was because Steve had mentioned him by name or because she had moved, Tessa wasn't sure. But she could feel his gaze even from their distance.
Wilks and Laurens withdrew back to their pool game with Dee. Her table mates hesitantly changed their topic of conversation.
Tessa continued to maneuver around the table to procure their second round, when from his seat at the bar, the very obvious drunk Inspector Marsh began clapping at her.
''All hail the prodigal daughter,'' he said. ''The infamous Vance!''
He said her last name as if it were an insult, a title. The same as this morning, Tessa kept her gaze fixed on the man. Her face felt hot from being the center of his drunken speech, and she mentally replayed Dee's warnings in her head, wondering if she dared reply to the man, and risk losing her coffee privileges. ''I beg your pardon?''
''The infamous Vance,'' Gavin Marsh repeated. ''Daughter of that bastard pig, Charles Vance!''
The pub was now dead silent. Even the bartender paused in his subtle attempt to confiscate what was left of Gavin Marsh's drink.
The pub was a popular cop bar. Half the patrons in it had known Charles Vance personally, and the other half had been hearing stories about him since day one on the force. And the entirety of them all knew one thing; this wasn't going to be pretty.
Tessa's face no longer felt hot. Her embarrassment was replaced by anger. Cold anger. ''An interesting way of putting it,'' she replied quietly. ''But factually true, I suppose.''
Gavin Marsh laughed. ''Same stupid way of talking,'' he commented. ''Saying something without saying anything at all. How many stupid witness interviews did I have to sit through with him just egging them on? Waiting for them to spill their guts?''
He took the last swig from his glass that the bartender hadn't gotten around to taking. ''They always did,'' Marsh said thoughtful, looking at his glass. ''Always spilled their guts in the end. Because he looked at them. Looked at them like you're looking at me.'' He turned back to Tessa, with such hatred in his eyes Tessa was more confused than anything else. ''As if he had thought it all out and they was nothing but puzzle pieces. Charles Vance decided on the picture beforehand. And then he forced the pieces in how he liked.''
''My father was a difficult man,'' Tessa said calmly. ''No one will deny that.''
''Bloody hell they won't!'' Marsh slammed his glass on the counter. ''A difficult man? He was footman to the devil! A more arrogant ass never darkened this world!''
Marsh's drunk rant about Tessa's father and his qualities went on, with many more adjectives thrown in.
Steve and Redonakis made their way over to Marsh. ''I think you've made your point, Inspector,'' Steve said coldly. ''How's about we get you a cab?''
Marsh pushed Redonakis away. He stumbled off his stool, took a few crooked steps across the bar, bridging the distance between him and Tessa. He paused a few feet away. ''You're father was a lying cheat of a man,'' he hissed. ''His wife was no good, he was no good, and you're no good. He was a hinderance on the force, and I'm glad he's dead. I can only hope you'll met a similar fate.''
And then he did two things: one, he threw his glass at her feet, and two, he spat at her.
Tessa's mind worked fast. She contemplated all the options; screaming back, walking away, screwing the consequences and kicking and beating him to a buddy pulp and buying her own damn coffee maker. She couldn't let this go. it was not just about her father, but a detective. In their bar.
Despite how fast her mind worked, Tessa did not react fast enough. She had thought it was up to her as Charles Vance's daughter to react, but it was not. The bar was literally filled with people who had known and worked with him for years of their lives, and they were not about to let not only his memory, but his reputation be tarnished.
Especially not in front of her.
Fisk punched the drunk Inspector so hard he went flying back against the bar. He landed with a thump on the floor, crashing amidst stools.
For a moment, no one knew how to respond. Fisk's face had it's usual stoic expression, though Tessa could've sworn it'd been filled with uncontrolled rage a moment ago. Fisk calmly picked up the barkeeper's rag, wiped his hands, and said, ''Redonakis, I believe you were finding this man a cab?'' And then turned to leave, dropping the dirty rag on Inspector Marsh's unconscious form.
Even when the door closed calmly behind Fisk, no one moved. Not the bartender, not Redonakis, and not Tessa, whose mind was still spinning with all the things the man had said. Finally, with a disgusted look at the Inspector, and resisting the urge to kick him, she retrieved her things and went out into the night, ignoring the soft protests from both Imogen and Steve.
The cold night air was refreshing. Tessa hadn't realized how hot she'd been. She wondered if she should go after Fisk, when she saw him right around the corner, staring blankly at the street ahead of him.
She went and stood next to him, not sure if she should bother speaking. ''You alright?'' She decided to say.
''I knew your father well,'' Fisk said causally, sounding almost as if the horrific scene in the bar hadn't happened, and this was just a regular night, with regular conversation. ''While no one can say that and not admit he was, indeed, an ass-'' Tessa smiled. ''-They would be very remiss if they claimed his arrogance carried into his work. It was the other way round; he was arrogant because he was so careful in his cases. Having the answers made him arrogant. That's why his arrogance was put up with. Because it was justified.''
''I know,'' Tessa agreed softly.
''And I'll be damned if Charles Vance's integrity is called into question, especially directed at his daughter, who might even have more cause to be as arrogant as him and more, considering her record is even more pristine than his was. A fact he is probably gloating about in the after life, if there is one.''
''Thank you,'' Tessa said.
Silence settled over them. Since her father's death, no one really talked about him, other than to say that they had known him, he was an ass, and Tessa was like him. No one expanded on that. No one made him sound real. They just made him sound like he was dead. No one talked about him as Fisk just had; honestly, without embellishing the past. Scientifically.
They stayed on that street corner a few moments longer. Tessa realized that less than half a mile away was the park she used to frequent in her school days. The one where she would hang out until well past darker, darker than it was now, and wait for the inevitable call from some neighbor about some hoodlum hanging in the park, which her father- the great homicide detective- would deign to answer, and come pick her up.
When she and Fisk finally did part, it was with nothing more than the usual goodnight. But plenty had been said in the silence. And Tessa was grateful for it.
''So you're telling me,'' Malcom said slowly, ''That Inspector Gavin Marsh tripped-''
''-Off a stool,'' Fisk finished.
''Onto the floor-''
''-Into more stools.''
''And that's why he's in hospital for a broken nose?''
Fisk nodded. ''It was quite a scene,'' he explained calmly.
Malcom studded the man warily. Fisk wasn't known for exaggeration, which made him the perfect person to pass a lie as the truth. ''You're sure about this?''
''Ask anyone who was there.''
Malcom was certain that would do no good. Cops at bars after business hours were a tighter knit and more loyal group than school kids refusing to tell on which of their friends loosened the screws in the teacher's desk chair. The analogy fit the current situation a little too well. ''Is this the story I'm going to get from Inspector Marsh when I ask him?''
''I assume so,'' Fisk said. ''He was rather drunk I'm afraid, Malcom. Man probably doesn't remember much of anything.''
''Uh huh.'' Unbeknownst to Fisk, Malcom had already spoken to Marsh. The man had been very earnest about last night's injuries being an accident. Too earnest.
Maybe it wasn't unbeknownst to Fisk after all…
Malcom sighed. ''Fine. If you say so.''
Fisk nodded. ''Good day, then.''
Malcom watched the man depart through the offices and towards the elevators. He sighed again, turning to go back in, when he spotted Tessa and Steve, already hard at the day's work, sorting through their dreaded paperwork.
Neither detective noticed him. Malcom wasn't a fool. He knew something had happened at the bar last night. Everyone in this goddamn office kept whispering about it when he passed them, stopping abruptly when they realized he could hear. So far he'd caught the words Vance, Fisk, and deserved it.
No doubt the incident had something to do with Gavin Marsh's well known hatred of Charles Vance. The men had never gotten along in life, and Charles' passing hadn't eased Marsh's hatred, just gave it no outlet. Malcom hoped last night hadn't anything to do with Tessa, for Marsh's sake; she was a Vance. She could fight dirty when she wanted to.
Malcom shook the thoughts from his head and returned to his office. Maybe it was best he didn't know the details. Being boss meant sometimes you knew too much, and other times having to embrace your ignorance. He chose the later for now.
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