She lands an impressive punch against her fellow agent's jaw, and then turns and walks away at a swift, furious pace, her mind already racing, trying to process what she just did and why, and what the consequences of her actions will be – because there will be consequences. That's one thing Diana is sure of.
You can't just hit another FBI agent in the face, just because of some words he said that you didn't like, and expect to get away with it… No matter how offensive those words might be…
No matter how offensive those words might be…
There'll be disciplinary action, she knows. Agent Brolin is new to the white collar division, but he knows that she has no justification for what she just did, and he'll surely file a report – if he isn't doing so already. She knows Peter will do his best to protect her from the worst of it. She's unlikely to lose her job.
She's also unlikely to get paid for the little vacation she'll probably be taking over the next couple of weeks.
She's not quite sure what set her off. It's not like the words were aimed at her, personally. It's not like they physically hurt anyone.
It's not even as if Neal was there to hear them.
Still, they were said, in a nasty tone that was hushed, conspiratorial, as if Brolin and Diana were somehow sharing in a secret joke.
It wasn't funny. Not even a little bit.
Peter is out, taking a personal day for El's birthday, and therefore Neal has the day off, too – and Diana is pretty sure, even with the turn the situation took, that that's for the best. She's almost certain that Peter would have decked Brolin, too, and Neal – well, Neal would have sat there with that maddeningly composed smile on his face, maybe thrown back a smart remark at Brolin's expense.
And they all would have tried to pretend, after the fact, that Brolin's "joke" wasn't attached to a very real possibility, something disturbingly likely to have actually happened to Neal, while he was locked away behind those prison walls, without Peter and the rest of the white collar division to look out for him, in a place where his pretty smile and stunning blue eyes were not an asset, but a distinct, horrifying liability.
Brolin had asked where Peter was, and then where Neal was, and Diana had answered readily, distractedly, just ready to move on with discussing their current case. Brolin had smirked, meeting her eyes with vicious amusement that he seemed to assume she would share.
"So Burke gets a day off, and that means Caffrey does, too? On the FBI's dime?" Brolin had shaken his head, rolling his eyes in disgust. "Guess that's one thing he learned well in prison – how to find himself a 'daddy' to look out for him."
Diana's hand is still throbbing as she gets into the elevator and takes out her phone with the other hand, pressing Peter's speed dial button without even looking. She knows he'll try to help her, knows he'll do his best to make sure this doesn't turn into the worst kind of disaster for her career.
She hopes he'll be able to.
She shakes her head as she waits for Peter to answer, a mirthless little laugh of surprise escaping her lips – not so much because of what she did. That surprise is fading now, as she accepts that it's done, and there's nothing now but to deal with the fallout. No, what surprises Diana now, as she thinks back over the incident, is the complete and certain knowledge that if she had it to do over again, if she could look Brolin in the eye and simply tell him that his comment was uncalled for, and restrain the urge for violence she felt, if she could choose to hold back that well-deserved blow – she wouldn't. Huh. Guess that means Caffrey's officially one of us now.
Huh. Guess that means Caffrey's officially one of us now.
That mental realization accompanies Peter's voice on the other end of the line.
"Diana, what's up?"
"Hey, Boss," Diana sighs as she steps out of the elevator and heads toward the street. "Sorry to bother you, but… I need your help."