“You’ve got to give me something to work with, here,” Tanim sighed as he tossed the file folder he’d been flipping through onto the steel table. Leaning his elbows on the cold metal, he lifted his gaze to the man sitting across from him. “Was it self-defense? Did he attack you?” Only silence answered his question, just like every other one he’d asked in the last half hour. He tried again, determined to break through. “Do you remember what happened, anything at all?” Black eyes blinked languidly back at him but the expressionless face didn’t twitch. Tanim quelled the urge to lash out at the man’s stubborn silence; yelling at a client fell under the category of unprofessional and faintly embarrassing. It certainly irked him, though, that this pale sliver of a human being could somehow get under his skin faster than the kind of client who boasted willingly about their exploits. At least they were honest, even if that necessitated some colorful retelling of the “truth”. He couldn’t build a convincing story for the jury, whether somewhat true or a complete fabrication, from total silence.

“Okay…” Tanim drew in a calming breath and mustered his remaining patience. “Can you tell me why you were there, at least? Maybe in, like, two words? One? Could you write it down?” That last offer was, of course, a wry attempt to bring humor to the situation; Tanim was in no way allowed to hand his clients anything that could be used as a weapon, even handcuffed as they were. The expensive fountain pen in his suit’s breast pocket would certainly be considered one, and based on what this man had done with less… even if he were allowed, he wouldn’t risk it. Not with this one. Not that the option, or lack thereof, mattered when his client was so obviously determined to give nothing away. If not for the ID in his wallet when he’d been arrested, who knows how long it would have taken to even identify him. Time to switch tactics. Or maybe just throw tactics out the window completely.

“Fine,” Tanim took hold of the file folder and tossed it aside, glossy crime scene photos fluttering out as it landed on the tile and slid against the far wall. He crossed his arms and glared at his client. “No more questions. You obviously don’t want to answer them, and I don’t really feel like talking to a wall all day. So I’m not going to. You can say whatever you want, or not; your choice, Daren. I’m on your side, but I can’t force you to help me.” With that he fell silent himself, staring up at the single barred window as if the overcast sky outside were incredibly interesting. The ticking of his watch became the only sound in the room, a steady beat to mark each second he accomplished nothing. One minute passed, then another, then three, four, five. Ten. Fifteen.

“He deserved it,”

Tanim blinked, caught off-guard by the soft, monotone voice. When he turned back to Daren, the man was gazing down at his bound hands, his expression as blank as before. He could regret his violent crime, exalt in it, or wish to repeat it right now with Tanim and there would be no way to know by reading his face. Tanim thought with an odd envy that the man would make an amazing lawyer. He didn’t remark on that, though. Instead, he leaned back over the table, nodded in acknowledgement of the comment, and said only, “now we’re getting somewhere.”

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