Quinn had failed.

The fat man brought the news. It wasn't good, and he trembled as he spoke, knowing that the boss' anger, like water, flowed downhill. His only hope was that he would aim his wrath at his agent, who had already paid the price for his folly.

The thin man bade him sit and stay, and the fat man did both, knowing there was nowhere he could hide if a further example was to be made. Running would only guarantee that he would be that example.

Slim as a blade, the thin man slipped into the darkness, onto the secret paths that would take him to his master, the Boss of Bosses. This news could not be delayed, lest the Master learn it from someone other than him. He could not allow anyone else to take his place.

Finally he reached his destination, and he made the signal. Now was the worst, as he could only wait for the Master to allow him to enter, caught between the rock and the hard place, feeling them press, ever so slightly. He'd been there before. It kept him thin.

Finally the signal was given, the pressure relieved, and he went in.

The Master sat in shadow, all the light carefully arranged so that none it fell on him. His figure melded with the shadows, and the thin man was never sure where one ended, and the other began. With only a slight lift of the head, a jut of the jaw, his master bade him to speak.

His words flowed, a non-trembling duplicate of the fat man's. Quinn had failed, and Bartowski had the Intersect once more. The lesser news, that Grimes and the Walker woman were quickly recovering from Quinn's baited traps, was waved away as irrelevant.

The Master did not take the news, the failure of years of planning and effort, well. He growled in the shadows, and the thin man's pulse quickened. The Master's body moved, and the thin man felt death gather around him. The Master never moved, he made other people move.

Light was allowed to fall on the Master's face, and the thin man fell to his knees at the sight. The Master watched his minion grovel, and pronounced his judgment upon the whole sorry mess.

"Dammit," said Jeff.