(1939-02-28) Playing With Fire
Details for Playing With Fire
Summary: Susan drops by Beryl's flat for a friendly little discussion about their mutual friend, Tiberius.
Date: 1939-02-28
Location: Beryl Crabbe's Flat
Related: Troublesome Tripe

Several days without Tiberius Tripe; several days of peace and quiet… several days of mixed emotions for Beryl Crabbe. For all she knows, they are through with each other, and she's spent the last forty-eight plus hours brooding, working or forgetting her troubles by going out on the town. As it is morning now, she's already had her breakfast and left the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink for the time being, and she is now using coffee to wash away the previous evening's fuzziness from her brain. On the coffee table is a stack of paperwork next to a smart briefcase. She missed work on Friday, apparently, and is still lazily picking her way through it before Monday arrives.

The sharp chap on the door is recognizable in its preciseness. Two knocks, then a third. And then an expectant pause which would usually be filled with 'MLE!', but today is just silence. Susan looks irritable, of course she looks irritable, it's Susan, stood on the doorstep with her arms folded and waiting to be admitted.

Beryl hears the rap on the door and nearly jumps. For a heartbeat of a second, she looks up expectantly. But then, her shoulders slump and a small sigh slips out as she rises to her feet. Tiberius wouldn't knock like that; however, Susan would.
The door is reached, unlocked and opened with a somber, if slightly imperious expression. "I rather expected that you'd turn up eventually," Beryl says by way of greeting. Tiredly, she adds: "Come in." Undoubtedly, the constable may be annoyed to find her no better dressed than the last time they met - aside from the fact that the woman is wearing rose-hued satin pyjamas this time around, instead of just a robe.

Susan just arches a brow, rather unaccustomed to be expected. Nonetheless, she makes her way past brusquely and into the small flat, glancing around through force of habit more than anything else. Paperwork. Briefcase. Immediately her eye is drawn and her feet likewise. "I'll have a whisky," she responds to an unasked question, nodding once. "You were expecting me?" Immediately the suspicious looks, peering at Beryl sidelong in between sifting through her papers.

Beryl closes the door behind Susan quietly, keeping her gaze sharply focused on the woman from behind as she barges into the flat with her customary grace and aplomb. Smirking slightly, she offers a quite: "Yes ma'm," with regards to the whisky, and strolls slowly over to the bar cabinet to oblige.
"Yes, a woman by the name of Prewett stopped by to inform me that Tiberius was incarcerated, and to deliver a message from him." Beryl replies airily as she pours the drink. Turning to make her way over to Susan to offer the glass, she adds: "She was remarkably unhelpful as to the details of why he was arrested, though. And I expected that you would show up eventually to elucidate." Oddly, she isn't showing much annoyance at the fact that Tiberius is locked in a cage at the moment.

Susan's hand stops flicking through the paperwork for a second, the woman looking over sharply. "Prewett? What the fuck's Prewett got to do with anything? And what the fuck is Prewett doing running fucking love messages like some kind of crippled, retarded Cupid? What did she say? I want all the fucking details, down to whether she went for a shit in your toilet, and then I want to know what fucking texture and colour."

"You have remarkably strange fascinations, Constable," Beryl replies drily, "And tiresome invective." Folding her arms lightly across her chest, the auburn-haired woman seats herself on the back of her couch so that she can watch Susan closely. "I have no idea what she's got to do with anything. Tiberius was anxious to inform me of his whereabouts and apparently asked her to inform me that he was incarcerated. I asked her /why/ and she couldn't say." A light shrug is given here. "She said only that he was taken with another younger fellow, Tyree. I can only assume that they did something to break the bargain we had… which I find extremely annoying." After a slight pause, she smirks sardonically and adds: "Oh, and she drank whisky too."

Susan takes the whisky from the other woman, eyes narrowed, not at Beryl but in a continuing Susan-esque manner. "Fucking auror dickhead. They should have kept the fucking afterbirth and thrown her away." She takes a good swig from the whisky, then turns her attention back to Beryl. "I wanted to come and talk to you. That shit headed piece of lubricated donkey dick doesn't know about the deal we made, and the deal Tripe broke. I said I'd keep him out of the firing line. That doesn't mean he's got every right to then go out on a fucking crime spree, thinking he can wave his fucking wang at us and walk away scot free. That's not how it works."

Beryl remains fairly placid and impassive in the face of Susan's particularly vicious tirade about Shelley. Blinking owlishly once, she tries to keep her expression under control. Whether she happens to be fighting back laughter or irritation is difficult to say, however.
"And you are well aware of the fact that I agree with you." Beryl replies inexplicably calmly with another tiny shrug. "I did my best to make him toe the line and he gave me his word. I can only assume he did something particularly heinous to break it." Pausing briefly to shift her position on the couch back slightly, she then asks: "So, what did he do this time?" She expects the truth from Susan. Animated and brash as the woman may be, she comes off as one who hasn't got the patience to bother with lying.

"I can't share that information," Susan responds automatically, idly moving through the flat as she sips (large sips) at her drink. "But I can apologize to you for being involved with the pernicious little shit. We've got him on multiple charges, from kidnap through to attempted murder, to fraud to handling stolen goods… oh, if you still have any of his goods lying around, I'd recommend you shift them on before my colleagues come to finish their investigation here. It's not something you really want to be associated with, I'd assume?"

As Susan momentarily takes her eyes off of Beryl, she finds respite momentarily in allowing her features to fall - if only for a brief moment. Her jaw tightens and her gaze drifts to the floor briefly before drawing herself up again. "I fail to see how it would matter. I was never involved in any of Tiberius' activities," she replies quietly. "They can search this flat until their eyes fall out. They won't find anything here to incriminate me." For a flicker of an instant, her eyes move toward the bedroom door that has been left ajar. Inside, Tiberius' various belongings are stacked quite neatly atop a chair.
"I don't suppose there's any point in my asking whether there is something I can do to lessen the severity of the charges or convince you to drop some of them."

Susan eyes the stack of things on the chair through the bedroom door. "What do you have to offer me, Miss Crabbe?" she queries, voice deceptively quiet. "I like a deal where everyone comes out on top. What I don't like is people fucking me about like I'm some kind of fucking imbecile straight out of fucking Hogwarts." She glances back over her shoulder. "What have you got? I can offer a trade to make charges disappear, if the trade is good, and the results are solid. Fuck me around, though, and I will fucking have you, make no mistake. I don't have a reputation for playing nice with dickheads who think they know how to cheat the system."

"You see, that's just the thing, though… isn't it?" Beryl replies calmly, now sliding one leg smoothly over the other to cross them as she sits atop her perch. "That's the difference between Tiberius and me. I want to keep the law off my back and prefer not to antagonize them. I also don't take you for a fool. As a matter of fact, I don't underestimate you in the slightest."
"The problem I have, though, is that I don't know what you /want/ information about." Beryl continues, thoughtfully glancing to one side. Brushing a finger across her lips, she then glances slyly toward Susan: "Unless, of course… What would you consider the all powerful trump card that might cause you to be lenient?"

Susan drains the last of her whisky, casually sliding the glass onto the sideboard. "Tripe isn't smart enough to tie his own fucking shoelaces. You give me his boss on a plate, and I'll not only let Tripe go free, I'll make him a fucking three course meal and write him a fucking ode. That's the all powerful trump card. Lesser cards for lesser deals. Or I'll take information on the Sykes case. Or I'll take information on the Germans. What have you got for me?"

"The only employer I know of is our poor, beleaguered, mutual employer, Hector Carrow. He grows weary of Tiberius' antics, since his direct orders to stay out of trouble and stop antagonizing the law are never followed." Beryl replies with regards to a boss. "I know that he is no mastermind behind these crimes. He wants nothing to do with this mess."
"I know some… little things about the Germans," Beryl then admits lightly, still holding her position atop the couch. "What would the deal be for that?" She then asks, cautiously. "As to the Sykes case, I am uncertain. I may or may not have something for you. I hesitate to put it forward because I am unsure."

"I'll level with you, Miss Crabbe," Susan decides, folding her arms. "If what you give me's worthless, I can't do a deal. And I won't know what it's worth until I've had it checked out. But I can promise you that if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Are we understood? Let me know what you've got, and if it's good information then I'll make allowances accordingly for Tripe. Fair?"

Beryl hesitates a moment, looking down thoughtfully before speaking again: "The Germans, so far as I know, have fled the country. I know approximately where they were living. I also know that their target for assassination was Rhyeline Diderot. However, whatever you may believe of Tiberius, his intent in that whole ridiculous game of cat and mouse was to allow them to get close, only to then betray them to the MLE so that they might be arrested and the whole fetid mess be brought to light and justice. Those /were/ his plans. But they slipped away." Her expression is dead serious as she looks at Susan. There is no lie there. "It was foolish heroics and idiotic bravado on Tiberius' part to try to orchestrate such a thing on his own. He should have tried to work with the MLE from the start. But that is neither here nor there, now that they are gone."
Obviously, Beryl hasn't even touched on the subject of the Sykes issue yet. She is waiting to gauge Susan's response to the information she has on the Germans before admitting anything further.

"There were more than just the two Germans?" Susan is quick to ask, whipping out a notebook. "Do you have names of the ones who fled?"

"Von Koch was one name, I know for certain. Von Nazcht may be another." Beryl replies simply. "I wasn't ever actually aware of how many might be involved." * (see bottom of log)
Again, the auburn-haired woman falls silent, waiting for some sign of what Susan's general reaction to all of this may be.

Susan writes the names down carefully, lips pursing as she watches Beryl over the top of the pad expectantly. "Von Koch, Von Nazcht. And they were hired by..? Where were they from? Full descriptions? References? How did Mr. Tripe make contact with these people? Miss Crabbe, I appreciate that you are trying to help, but I need as much information as I can get to match your Germans with my dead Germans."

Beryl's expression falls somewhat, and her shoulders slump. "Unfortunately, that's all that I know." It's a dismally truthful answer on the part of the other woman. She wishes that she had something more with regard to the Germans, but she hasn't. "I knew that they were gone from the country. I have heard nothing about deaths being involved." A small sigh escapes, and she tugs at the cuff of her blouse. "I suppose that doesn't buy much, then."

Susan isn't entirely unsympathetic. Just mostly. "Not much, no," she agrees, shrugging a shoulder as the notepad goes away again. "Again I sympathize with you for your taste in men, though."

Feeling her chances slipping away, and feeling the cold breath of fear slowly seizing her from within as she begins to consider what it will mean for her to be without Tiberius if she has no trump card to exchange, Beryl's jaw tightens. Swallowing hard, it takes her a moment to steady herself and put on the dark, sardonic air of someone who has an ace up their sleeve.
"What is golden and peaked by five precious jewels; a symbol for a cause, and a vow for fools?" Oh yes, Beryl even has the audacity to pose the question as a rhyme.

Susan just arches a brow, shifting her weight to lean back against the sideboard. She doesn't speak, merely waits, letting the silence ring out between them until somebody is going to be compelled to fill it. And that somebody isn't about to be Susan. This is interrogation 101.

For a heavy length of time, Beryl remains just as still on her place on the couch. Her cold green gaze remains locked with Susan's, almost unblinking. It's a steady stare, and one that defies her to answer. "No guesses then," she says at length, not looking away. "I guess I was right. It has nothing to do with you after all."

"What have you got on it?" Susan asks at length, peering down the length of her nose at the other woman. "You think it's worth something? Sell it to me. Names. Places. Details. Any knobend can rattle off a couplet."

"I know that it's a symbol that people are willing to die for." Beryl replies in a clipped manner. "I know that it is a golden crown tipped by four rubies and that an onyx lies in the center. I know that it may or may not have something to do with the fanatical, suicidal morons who instigated the Sykes Gala incident." Pausing significantly, she leans in and lowers her voice: "And I know what any goddamn fool can figure out. No Mud-blooded family is likely to possess such a symbol, let alone have an extensive line of people willing to die for it. I smell lies and the stench of conspiracy." But she will not say where the crown happens to be.

"I want to know who wants it, and I want to know where it is," Susan decides after a moment. "You know where to find me if you've got anything I want. Names. Places. Details. Vague symbolism and half arsed theories are for aurors. I want simple facts we can work from. Get me that and I'll do what I can for your Mr. Tripe."

"Just one moment, Constable," Beryl replies quietly from the background as Susan apparently decides to take her leave. "You may think that what I've given you is not worth your time. But the fact is… it's a damn sight more than you had before you darkened my door. And I want something in return for it. I didn't just toss you a bunch of bones to amuse myself on a dreary Sunday morning. And if you think I can't simply retract everything I say or else make things very uncomfortable with your superiors in another way if I'm of such a mind - do please think again." Her tone is frigid now, and she's playing hardball.

"I tried playing that game with Tripe," Susan reminds her drily. "I think I'm through with giving anything for vague promises. You've had your say, and I've had mine. If what you've given me turns out to be of any use, then you'll get fair return. I keep my promises, Miss Crabbe. You know me by reputation and you know that's true. All I know of you is the company you keep." She shrugs a shoulder. "It's not flattering company."

"And I know that you are a belligerent malcontent who is incapable of dispensing your duties to the law as an official should. Yours is a record of bullying and unwarranted brutality that should have gotten you fired from the force a long time ago." Beryl says smoothly. "If you want me to actually bother to shift myself and find more information and more helpful facts, then I need something from you for what I've already given."
"I want to visit Tiberius in jail. I want unlimited access, whenever I choose - within reason, of course - and the ability to talk to him without interference or observation from anyone." Beryl says simply. It's a pretty straightforward request. "I won't insult you by asking you to let him out of his cell or set him free. I want only the right to visit and talk to him unimpeded by you, your lackeys or your superiors."

"No," comes Susan's flat response. "Nobody visits the cells alone. No exceptions."

"I see. How very interesting," Beryl says with a smirk. "I shouldn't bother asking Tiberius about the crown, by the by." She adds coolly as she descends from her perch at last. "That one is on me, and me alone."
With that said, she moves to the door and opens it for the constable. Whether she is leading Susan on or not about the symbolic crown is impossible to tell from her imperious expression.

"I wouldn't ask him," Susan admits easily as she steps out of the door. "The man's as much use as a chocolate fireguard and as trustworthy as a nun doing press-ups in a cucumber field. Good morning, Miss Crabbe."

*Beryl's player knows that Beryl knows two of the German's names, but didn't have the time to hunt down logs or cross check spellings at the time. May require amending later.

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