The thing about working in the undercover unit is that you learn to kill your own tells.
You learn how to pick up on what other people do when they're nervous as fuck, sure, that's helpful. But it's the killing your own tells that keeps you from getting that double-tap to the back of the head some cool summer's evening. Because it was what you had to do.
Eventually there comes a point when you couldn't have a tell if you wanted to. Which is fine, when you're at work. And better, when you're playing poker later that night with people who aren't from work. But it scatters shovelfuls of ground glass on a marriage.
Being married to someone who only shows what they want to, when they want to, because ten years ago the cost of not having that control was a slow and unlamented death.... Well. Dignam knows full well that has to be about as easy as finding Whitey Bulger. And he's got nothing but respect for Tori and how well she handles it. How well she handles him.
But sometimes, on the bad days, it gets on his last. Fucking. Nerve. The days when he needs nothing more than to be alone in his own piss-poor excuse of a brain, so he can work out what he's going to do next. Waiting in the office to go home. Waiting at the table to finish dinner. Waiting on the couch for the nightly news to stop depressing the hell out of the free world. Waiting for Tori to suggest they move things upstairs. Waiting for her to finish waiting for him to fall asleep.
Married thirteen years, best fucking thing that ever happened to him, and what has his job done to it? It's landed him here, staring at the ceiling, clenching and unclenching his fists in slow, practiced motions. Seeing the faces of every person Costello ever killed, or had killed, or allegedly may have had killed, behind his eyelids. Trying to let the anger out in little jigsaw-sized pieces so he doesn't wind up whaling on someone tomorrow. Or the wrong someone, anyway.
No, any way this goes, whaling on the guy, on anybody, is not an option. Though he'd pay well for the chance.
Dignam didn't mind the suspension, not really—it gave him a chance to get his head back on straight, and he got that was why Ellerby had done it. Even if he resented the hell out of how he'd done it. But this was going to—whatever he did about this was going to—shoot all of that straight to shit. All the staring at the ceiling in the world wasn't going to change anything.
All right. Fuck. So, options. Beating the ever-loving shit out of the lying scumbag sad excuse for a sergeant wasn't one. Right. Not that the idea didn't give him a big fat smile on his face.
Turning in the evidence. Which was what he should have done this morning, when that rich bitch shrink had found him on his way out of the department gym, taking his shorts home to wash so they wouldn't be standing on their own and walking away when he got back. Ten minutes of whispering and explanations and hurried asides that had him wondering if she had the wrong guy—only to nearly have a fucking heart attack when he realized what she was talking about in the fucking public hallway just outside the fucking department gym, the fucking genius.
Two envelopes of stuff, and one was fucking useless because the genius with the eight diplomas or whatever had opened someone else's legally-delivered federal mail without their knowledge or permission. And the other had been legally willed to a dead low level gangster by a dead high level gangster and was going to go over a treat for credibility. A dead, drug addict, star witness. And one cop shrink who apparently had one hell of a thing for guys with shady connections, whether she knew about them or not at the time. Who had apparently never actually heard the lying scumbag sergeant admit guilt, to boot.
Yeah, no. Turning in the evidence was not an option. Beating the shit out of him would be gratifying as hell, but it wouldn't get anything done.
Tori's breathing hitched for a moment, and Dignam went dead still until she settled down again.
What would Charlie do?
Ever since about three weeks after he'd gotten assigned to undercover and started working with Charlie Queenan, the voice in his head that told him not to do stupid shit (like breaking the car windows of his ex's new fucktoy) had started to choose the words that Charlie would have. In less than a year, his conscience was speaking in Charlie's voice all the time. Not to mention it was speaking up a lot more often than it had in the past. So what would Charlie do?
But he hadn't heard Charlie's voice once, in his head or otherwise, since he'd gotten the phone call that his boss had been tossed off a roof like an empty beer can. His conscience had apparently taken a leave of absence along with his job. Temporary hiatus, we'll be back next week, folks, tip your fucking waitresses and get the hell out.
He could still see the faces of Costello's dead. Some of them stood out more than others—Charlie, Costigan, that idiot Delahunt who'd started as an undercover and gone rogue four years before, shooting anything that moved and ignoring Charlie's demands he report in.
Delahunt was a fucking moron who'd deserved the end he'd gotten. Dignam wouldn't lose any sleep over him. Costigan, though....
That one hurt. He hadn't liked the kid, hadn't ever thought he'd manage to bring Costello down; but he sure as hell could get wanting to serve the Commonwealth and give it the finger at the same time. And he'd been Dignam's snitch. His responsibility. And he'd let him die. Fucking idiot should have called him, but still. His responsibility.
What would Costigan do?
Well, fuck, that was an easy answer. Kid lost his temper like other people lost socks. He'd probably have killed somebody soon enough.
…. Killed somebody.
Right, no. He was a cop, he was a fucking cop, and he had nothing but handcuffs and bars for any cop who forgot they weren't judge and jury. Fuckheads like Delahunt, who forgot the job and lost the justice in the haze of having a gun in their hand. He was a fucking cop, and he would do the job to the best of his ability, and that was it.
That was it.
Only, there weren't any other options. Can't beat the shit out of the guy, can't turn in the evidence and run the guy through the system so hard he'd never come out the other side.
The thing was, Costigan was a cop, just as much as anyone else who'd ever earned the bagpipes and the folded flag. And the kid wasn't one to kill when he didn't have to—Dignam had heard his voice shake when he described French's talent with make-do silencers. But somehow, he couldn't see Costigan letting this go.
What would Costigan do? What would the last victim of Costello's own penile-compensation want?
Well, fuck. Look at what he would have to do now.