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hang up and try again

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Neither Vic nor Li Ann are at the bar, which Mac feels is unusual, but he does spot Dobrinsky slouched in a corner talking to the weird guy from records, and Helen and Daniel from the armory are at one of the tables probably discussing automatic weapons, so he's not the only Agency person getting a drink. Sometimes he wonders what the bar staff think of them; they don't always have the quietest of conversations.

On the other hand, the Agency could own this place, so.

His Tsingtao is delivered right as the Director slides in next to him, in the same lace number she'd had on when briefing them this morning. There are thigh-high leather boots involved. "Do we own this bar?" he asks, not actually thinking the question through before it drops out of his mouth. Whatever, he's asked the Director stranger things.

"Do I own this bar?" she asks in reply, glass dangling from one hand, looking out at the clutch of people in that way Mac thinks is supposed to suggest she's composing a stinging answer, but might mean she's already bored. He might be getting better at deciphering which angle she's going to shoot from, even if he never knows which gun she'll use.

"Well, that's for me to know," she finishes.

"And me to find out," Mac adds cheerfully. Then he frowns. "Or... not."

The Director turns toward him then, and there must have been a sudden run on Moulson while Mac wasn't paying attention, because there are enough people around that when she turns, it's definitely close enough to dance. "Mac," she says, in the disappointed voice - Mac does not shiver, he doesn't - and then she drags her icy, condensation-covered glass up the inside of his arm.

It makes his breath catch and stick, and normally he'd cover with a swig of beer, but something stops him. The Director seems to enjoy it when they squirm, and out of the three of them, Mac knows he squirms the least. He doesn't care if she sees his reaction, and he thinks he might - might! - enjoy this. Some of it. The cold press of the glass to the bend of his elbow for sure.

The Director leans close, breath feathering over his ear. "Have you no boundaries, Mr. Ramsey?"

"Nope." Now he takes a swallow of beer.

"Are you sure?" She does the querying eyebrow, but she has to know Mac is immune to it by now.

"Pretty sure, yeah."

The glass moves away from his arm and she takes a drink of whatever's in it. Mac feels a little lightheaded but that's nothing new; there's a part of him that lives for this exact ballet, performed right on the edge. He wouldn't be a criminal if he didn't like the rush.

The Director hums thoughtfully. He can read the consideration on her face, but that's it. Then the spike of her stiletto is pressing into the soft spot on the top of his foot, just below the ankle. Any harder and it would hurt, any harder than that and he probably wouldn't be able to walk for a while. As it is, Mac breathes carefully.

She fishes an olive out of a small bowl on the bar and chews it for a moment. "I'm going to enjoy testing your fences," she says, like a warning, not moving her foot. "Looking for the weak spot."

Mac spreads his hands. "You already know the big one," he admits. Might as well get that elephant out of the way.

That seems to be what the Director's looking for, because she outright laughs, and the pressure on his foot lessens. "Maybe we should work on toughening you up instead. Build it up like a callous."

"What, so you can rip off the Band-Aid for a joke whenever you need some amusement?" he asks, aiming for sharp and coming across more as defeated.

She pouts, but it's obviously an act. "You could simply tell me it's off-limits."

In an instant, Mac sees the branches of this decision tree spread and grow. There's the one branch, where he says his past with Li Ann is off-limits, and The Director is merciless about it anyway. There's the opposite branch where he shrugs and says "it's not", and does his best to let the muck of it roll off him.

And then there's the third branch, the one he chooses to jump from. He says, "How about we let that sleeping dog lie, and you put the ice back on my arm."

"Why, Mac," she murmurs, and does just that.