2011 07 04: On the Outside

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Mission Name: On the Outside
Date of Mission: July 4, 2011
Locale: Birkhoff's Apartment

Alex does a debrief about her mission and witnesses the softer side of Birkhoff.


Alex Birkhoff

Birkhoff hasn't been seeing the light of day as often as he perhaps previously was (which was still fairly sparingly) since Alex has been monopolizing his apartment. He looks more tired than usual as he knocks on the door of 'Alex's' apartment. He's dressed in his usual wear today; flannel jacket, grey t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneaks. Nothing out of the ordinary save for how run down he looks. He runs his fingers through his already messy hair and waits for the girl to open up, leaning up against the door frame.

Alex could get used to having her own apartment, though she's trying hard not to do so, since she knows her time of fun is pretty much at an end, now that she's completed her mission objective. Having just made (perhaps her last) use of the private shower, she's dressed in something a little more casual than she did to meet Jack, and is just towelling her hair dry when the knock comes. She pauses a moment, drawing in a deep breath and putting her game face on, before she crosses the living room to answer it. "Hey," she greets in a level tone as she opens the door wide and gestures Birkhoff inside — not that he really needs an invitation into his own place.

Birkhoff steps in without another word before he moves over to the sofa and sits down on it, trying to smile at Alex. He looks around the apartment with some interest as if to see whether she's changed anything but finds nothing strange or out of place, returning his gaze to Alex. He clears his throat and tries to smile once more. "So tell me what's been going on. I heard that you may have had something of a breakthrough…" Birkhoff says to her.

Alex hasn't really done much with the place, no. There's a sweater tossed over the counter, and a few dishes in the sink, but in all, it seems she's actually been fairly respectful of his space — and focussed on the mission. "Yeah, it's done," she replies with a shrug, like it ain't no thang. "Bug his apartment, bug his tooth. He's all yours." She pauses, giving him a curious look. "Unless… there's more you want me to do?" She comes over to perch on the arm of a chair facing him.

"I don't know. There might be more later, but it could be from behind closed doors since I'm sure he's on the lookout for an attractive brunette fitting your description. I appreciate it. You did well. Everyone is pleased with your performance. You could get promoted sooner than… a lot of recruits do." Birkhoff stands up and paces the floor for a minute before he moves into the kitchen and grabs himself a soda from the fridge before staring down at his choice and exchanging it from a bottle of water. It doesn't seem like the soda would do his current jitteriness any favors. "Thanks for taking care of the place for me."

"It wasn't so hard," Alex says with a shrug, feigning an excess of confidence. The actual drugging wasn't, really — she does have a knack for lying. But that doesn't exactly make it easy to betray someone who had only ever been nice to her. "I guess I won't really know what happens from here on out unless you need me again," she points out wryly. "But I hope it works out okay, anyway. You think he's getting close?" she wonders, watching the tech pace with a quiet sort of curiosity.

Birkhoff grins a little bit. "I don't know. I don't… think so, but I plan to have a word with him soon. I think that asking him directly might be even better than rooting for other tidbits in the bugs, but I'm still holding out for information from 'the other guys'," Birkhoff says, opening the water and taking a long drink. He chews over his lower lip for a second before glancing back to Alex. "I'll keep you informed on it though. Because, after all, you might need to know."

Alex listens thoughtfully as Birkhoff explains the next stage of the plans, having some mixed feelings on Jack's lack of progress. Not getting recruited is good; getting killed by the people who hired him is bad. "Cool," she replies, when he promises to keep her in the loop. "He's a good guy, I think. Just mixed up in something he shouldn't be. I guess we can probably all relate to that." She gives her shoulders a shrug, not wanting to make too big a show out of feeling badly for the mark. "But I guess at least you'll get some good help if it comes down to that. It's got to be hard, running all that stuff…"

"Yeah, I agree with most of that. Jack is just a kid. He… has no idea. He just wanted some kind of glory. Some thrill. Feelings I know all too well about. Feelings that most recruits or agents are familiar with." Birkhoff smirks and takes another drink of his water, sighing quietly. He looks Alex over as if trying to gauge her emotions before he nods. "It's hard… but I enjoy my job most of the time. It just feels like I've been run ragged between this…" Pause. "…and a couple of other things going on. I wish I could go on company vacation or something, but that would be unpleasant, I think."

"There doesn't really seem to be any good way out of it for him, that I can see," Alex agrees with a little frown. "But you must see that a lot? Does it get easier?" She looks down at the towel she's still holding in her hands, then reaches out to lob it over the back of the chair to dry. "Company vacation. In our line of work, that sounds like some sort of euphemism. Like, a permanent one. Sounds like you're pretty busy though. Guess I'm glad I could help a bit," she decides with another shrug.

Birkhoff shrugs his shoulders a little bit at Alex's question. His facial expression speaks volumes toward what the answer is. "It never gets any easier." He finally responds to her in a hushed tone before he laughs. "Yeah, that's sort of what I was going for when I said that. I guess I don't do a very good job at innuendo and hints. But yes… I think a vacation would be handled swiftly by the cleaners."

"I guess not," Alex agrees, her own expression dropping slightly, turning again into that thoughtful frown as she looks down at the floor beneath her feet. Her eyebrows lift just slightly at the mention of cleaners, but by the time she looks back up after a moment, she's smirking faintly. "This is a cheery conversation," she points out. "Surely something must be going right."

"It's hard to say." Birkhoff says. "You never know if something is going right or not in Division until the very last minutes. Usually you're boned by then. If you're lucky, you make up an exit strategy. Some kind of last minute game plan that's going to save you. If not, well… who knows. I don't. I've been lucky enough to have that last minute game plan too many times for comfort. One of these days, my time's gonna run out. And then what? No one will mourn me. No one will ever know I existed anymore. Theoretically there's a stone somewhere that says, 'Here lies Seymour Birkhoff, the computer jerkoff' but…" He shakes his head before taking a deep breath and beginning to laugh, the sound ringing out across the apartment. "Sorry. Sometimes I have an existential crisis. It's like my form of PMS… which, contrary to popular belief, is not actually how I am in the classroom."

Alex seems a little surprised — again — by the sudden outpouring of emotion from Birkhoff, but she recovers quickly and offers a sympathetic smile, albeit one that's accompanied by a little shrug. "I'd be sort of shocked if people didn't have the occasional crisis, I guess. It's not easy, reinventing yourself when your old life has been completely destroyed. Especially if your old life was actually any good." She smirks faintly then, looking across at him without lifting her head. "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. I find you a delight in the classroom," Alex deadpans, making no effort whatsoever to sell that — but it almost seems to be in jest. "You're different, though, out here. On the outside."

Birkhoff now seems taken aback by his own outpouring. Even ashamed. He licks his lips and shakes his head. "Sorry…" He says, as if unsure of what juat happened. He doesn't comment on whether or not his old life was any good. "Thank you for your kind words about my classroom performance," Birkhoff says in a wry tone, grinning at Alex for a scant moment. "And yeah. You're almost shocked to find out that I'm not so bad after all. Not that you'll ever tell anyone any different. Right?" He asks her.

"You don't have to apologize. I'm just not used to people talking to me like a real person, you know?" Alex explains with another of those shrugs. Ah, the life of a scrub. She returns the grin as she looks back over at him. "Who'd believe me anyway?" she points out wryly. "I know, I know. Soon I'll be back inside and everything goes back to normal. I guess that means I get to keep being a pain in your ass too," she notes, looking on the bright side.

"You're hardly a pain in my ass, Alex." Birkhoff admits. "You're one of my brightest students and I admire your ability to give Division a big eff-you rather verbally, even if I don't think it's the smartest thing you've ever done." He takes another long drink of his water and sighs quietly again before he starts to head for the door. "It's true, not many would believe your claims of me being an actual human being with a heart and not some evil robot man hellbent on making peoples' lives difficult. But there are some necessary evils." He grins faintly. "I'm gonna go now. Enjoy the apartment while it lasts. You might have one of your own soon."

"Yeah, I know. I'm working on it," Alex replies with a one-shouldered shrug, not seeming too worried about the trouble her smart mouth is going to get her into. "But… thanks. Guess you must actually be a decent teacher after all," she replies wryly, but not exactly insincerely. She watches him as he crosses towards the door, maintaining her own perch on the arm of the chair. "There are a lot of necessary evils. More than I ever would have thought. I'll see you back at the ranch, I guess."


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