09 May 2012 @ 03:25 pm

“He's cute.” Shasta throws the photograph down onto the table. If he smoked, Aidan figures this is we're he'd take a drag on some expensive, sophisticated cigarette. Instead, he edges the photo toward Aidan with a cheeky grin. The redhead can't bring himself to trust Shasta; the blonde’s too smart for his own good. All he ever cares about is the end result. Up until this point, he hasn't crossed Aidan—as far as he knows—but he also has shown no inkling of worry for the toes on which he treads on his way up.

“Is he? I was too busy paying attention to the fact that he's trying to hunt us down.” He doesn't oblige Shasta by looking at the photo.

“Tsk. Don't be such a spoilsport, darling,” the Englishman minces, quite unconcerned. He leans back in his chair, flipping his fedora onto the table and smoothing his pinstripe vest. For all that he seems to put so little effort into his appearance, he always maintains such a pristine air of perfection that Aidan wonders how much effort it really takes. He looks like the typical mobster and impeccable rich man all rolled into one. There's still something more, though, something dangerous he keeps behind the surface.

Aidan doesn't know a lot about Shasta. Sure, he knows the basics: mafia in Russia and Italy, some in America. He’s set up a massive web of connections spanning out everywhere in the underworld. Shasta Cassidy is any cop's wet dream in a catch, often in more ways than one.

“Scotland Yard, huh? Humph. They couldn't catch a fly if it landed on their nose.”

“You'd be surprised. This one is persistent. No match for me, of course, but still... I respect the effort he's putting in.”

It isn't often that Shasta compliments his adversaries. Surprised, Aidan glances down at the photo: it's a slightly blurry black and white snapshot of a young man with slightly curly hair and a gentle face. How could a man like him be a cop? Seems to be a bit of a bluenose, honestly. “Persistent, or maybe stupid. Does he really think he can best us?”

Shasta snorts. “I’m not sure about that. He’s persistent, but he doesn’t seem to be trying too hard.” He pulls the picture back toward him, scrutinizing the man. Aidan has seen it done before: from a simple picture or two, he can deduce an entire personality.

“What do you know about him?” Aidan gestures at the photograph. He has to admit some fascination with the other man’s intellect, something Shasta is all too aware of.

“From this? Not a lot. It’s the story behind the picture that says more about him. His name is Wellington. In the photo, you see how hopeful he looks.” His fingers point out things as he talks. “No wrinkles on the forehead, so he doesn’t frown a lot. Slight laugh lines showing at the corners of his eyes. Slim, but not fit, so it’s either stress that keeps him from gaining weight or healthy eating. I happen to know he frequents a certain little bakery, so it is not the latter. Front of his coat is rumpled. If you look closely, his buttons aren’t matched up correctly on the sleeves. Careless or absentminded? His clothes are stylish, but simple; he has good taste, but certainly not garish.

“Now, looking at the background, I can tell you that he is standing on front of the hospital. Looking up with such hope like that, I would say he’s looking at the window of the room in which someone he cares for is staying in. A lover? A family member? Further investigation led me to find that his mother is in the hospital right now. What else do I know about him that you might be interested in? He’s an Aries, which is humorous considering his personality, he takes his tea with cream and sugar, he likes strawberries, favourite colour is red, not very popular with the ladies, intelligent-but-abstract, single, an amateur connoisseur of fine literature, an honourable man, and altogether too trusting. Anything else?”

“You know everything about him, don’t you?”

“Right down to the name of his great-grandparents.”

Aidan looks back down at the image. He is kind of cute, but he’s no Shasta. There’s no way he could ever best the blonde, and they’ve got a fairly steady partnership going on. Besides, Shasta never once suspects that it might be more than that; they’re not friends, and they will never be. They are two men with similar loyalties (that is to say, to themselves) and an appreciation for life’s more energising moments. “He’s a sweet boy, so I’m thinking I would like to reward him somehow…”

“You have an idea for that?”

“Of course, darling. It’s always a nice gesture to ‘throw the dog a bone,’ as they say.” Shasta looks up at Aidan and grins.

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