A Matter of Trust

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Where: Las Vegas

When: August 23, 1955

What: There's not much search and even less party going on with this search party of two when Zan and Finnegan squabble while looking for Rylie.

The buddy system promised by Finn turns out to mean that Amelia and Finn take turns watching their charge — that at any moment he's got one of them with them. Usually attached to him, actually, via handcuffs that are hard to notice thanks to coat sleeves, despite the heat. How did people in the '50s wear sport jackets all the time? The night is warm, the dry heat of the desert more familiar to the two men as they walk than the sights around them.

"I guess just follow your instinct. At least it's not as crazy as it is back home, right?" Finn says, eyes skimming the people they pass. The people walking down the street are a lot less diverse than they are in 2012, and the crowds not quite as thick. It's easy enough to walk two abreast and not have anyone notice that the two men are linked at the wrists.

"Exactly," Zan answers without looking at the older man. He's so far done a fair job of ignoring the fact that he's connected, literally, to Finn. Even his pattern of speech implies a sense of talking to himself. His attention has been continually outward during these outings, constantly scanning the crowds for any sign of his missing girlfriend. Even a rumor would suffice. But so far things have fallen short of productive.

"I ought to talk to Thisbe again," he muses. And that really is to himself. He shakes his head, as if it might rattle an idea loose or clear away all the bad ones. And for a few moments he walks alongside the agent in silence. Then, "Why're you two here," he asks suddenly. If circumspect. No need to draw attention.

"Thisbe?" repeats Finnegan as he grins and shakes his head at a couple of suspiciously flirtatious and scantily clad women. Some things don't change, though these prostitutes are more about suggestiveness in their looks than downright exhibition.

"To collect you. And anyone else who doesn't belong. It's pretty simple really," he says, with a shrug.

A few more strides are taken before he glances at Zan again. "Who's Thisbe?"

"Is it," Zan challenges with a small glance toward Finn. "Interesting, since no one but me and Rylie seemed to know about the rift. And that no one saw me head for it." He shrugs, then gives a frown when the motion tugs against the metal connecting him to the other man. "You don't have to keep me chained up," he points out, giving another, subtle yet intentional pull of the handcuff. "Told you I'm not going anywhere and I'm not going to screw up the timeline worse than has already been done."

Of Thisbe, the Caldecott boy doesn't answer. But another tug of his wrist ensues. "This is bordering on ridiculous, you know."

"Knock it off or I'll lose the key," says Finn cheerfully enough, smiling, though his eyes narrow in a sidelong glance to the younger man. "Sorry, kid. Amelia might be nice enough to let you off your leash next time you go out with her, but I'm not as nice as she is. And it's not that I don't trust you, but if I were you, and I may have been more like you at your age than you would like to believe, I'd try to make a break for it. I wouldn't trust me, so I don't trust you, but it's nothing personal."

His gray eyes sweep the streets. "So who's Thisbe?" he asks again. "You wanna go talk to her? Where is she?"

Zan turns enough to meet Finn's look without losing stride, his brows ticking upward. He's quiet, letting the question wash over him while he regards the agent, mulling over the pseudo-explanation. "Yeah, I'll need proof before I believe you were anything like me," he decides after a moment. He jiggles his arm again, rattling without truly tugging on the cuffs connecting him to Finnegan.

The boy turns his attention out to the streets again, though he hasn't fully relented the lack of freedom he has. "Will you un-cuff me if I tell you who Thisbe is?"

As for proof, Finnegan doesn't offer any, and there's a bit of a far-off look in his gaze as he stares down the street, jaw tensing just a bit. When the handcuff rattles again, he suddenly pulls his own hand to tuck his hand in his coat pocket, making things much more awkward for the other man. He doesn't break stride or even look over.

"Nope," is his short answer. "You wanna talk to her, you'll do it with one of us with you, so you may as well talk. If she knows where your girly is, then you should want to tell me. You know. Help me help you, and all that jazz," he says coolly. "Do you think she'll have any leads, or you just grasping at straws?"

When his arm is pulled in, when he's brought in close to Finn, Zan leans in to speak. As if there were too much noise on the Strip to be heard easily. "Is your goal to make my life difficult," he asks quietly, grinning to assuage any curious looks. Really, he's imparting some interesting spoilers for a show he saw. "Because I'm trying to be compliant. But for the same reasons you're here to get me out, I'm not sharing every single secret."

He straightens again, giving a rough jerk of his arm to at least even the distribution of four-inch chain. "I'll gladly take you and Amelia for another chance to talk to her. That was the plan anyway. I don't know what, if any information she might have that's useful; but whatever she does have, I'm hoping she'll be more willing to share."

"No. I'm trying to keep you, me, the timestream safe. And I don't trust you to run off on me. That's all. It's not personal. Yes, you are being compliant, but right now, you don't have much of a choice," says Finn in a low voice, letting his hand swing free of his pocket again; a slight curling of his fist gives the smallest tell that it might have hurt just a little bit.

The man shrugs, looking forward again. "Fine. This seems like an exercise of futility, anyway. I don't think I'm going to get lucky twice and just run into her like we did you, so we may as well go back and get Sassypants, huh?"

"You have no reason not to trust I won't run off." Zan frowns and looks at Finn. "I have every choice, right now, to be compliant or not. Obviously you know my secret, but do you know I have little fear of hauling ass to an alley or somewhere out of sight, with you attached, and flying off? If I wanted to, do you think you could stop me with your little tranq gun?"

His unchained hand goes into his pocket while his attention turns outward again. "And if you shoved me out, I'd come right back in again. But yes, let's go find Amelia. At least she seems more likely to listen to reason."

Finnegan lifts his eyes skyward and grins with a shake of his head. "I have no reason to trust you, either, kiddo. And yeah, actually." His own hand slips within his coat. "I do think that I could stop you with my little tranq gun. Or for that matter, my real gun."

Perhaps the talk of alleys and shooting makes him a bit nervous, though, because he steps out toward the curb to hail a cab. "Moulin Rouge, please," he tells the driver as he slides in, pulling his handcuff-mate along in after. "Have they invented Excedrine yet?" he mutters under his breath.

Neither seems to give Zan pause, though a small crease forms in his brow. Whatever further arguments he might have are stayed when he's pulled along to the curb and then, shortly thereafter, the cab that stops for them. He makes no reply, doesn't even glance toward the agent, as he picks up ignoring Finn again. At least for the ride back to the hotel.

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