sunbaked_baker: (blazing unsure)
[personal profile] sunbaked_baker
They were kind at least, when they took her in. Pat and Theo were waiting in the SOF vehicle when she got back to her car at the end of her lunch shift, and got out as she approached. When they stopped her, they said the words they were required to say, but neither of them looked happy about the situation - by Theo's barely-held agitation, Rae could tell Pat must have filled him in on the details she had shared earlier. Pat was calmer, resolute, but his textured shadows were still edging towards bright blue in the spring sunlight. The SOF agents were as kind as they could be, given the circumstances, and she appreciated that. She knew that her SOFs had to do their jobs, but it didn't make her feel any better.

She was being brought in for questioning. Questioning by the Goddess of Pain. There wasn't a lot that could make anyone feel better about that.

Still, when Rae got into the SOF squad car and Theo put his hand on her shoulder, he gave it a slight squeeze. It said We've got your back, Sunshine. You're not alone. And that wasn't nothing. Trust the Goddess of Pain to go out of her way to make Sunshine feel isolated, only to inadvertently reinforce the loyalty and trust Sunshine's SOFs felt for her. They had trusted her with their livelihoods, their secrets, and had kept her secrets as well, and that trust would continue. As a common enemy, the Goddess was even better than a vampire. Sunshine almost managed a smile for Theo, despite the growing pit of dread in her stomach.


Even knowing they were on her side, the ride to SOF HQ seemed longer than it was. Sunshine rolled down the window the little way it would go, and leaned towards it, so she could feel the breeze. The chill of the air against her clammy hands gave her goosebumps, and she rode with her eyes shut against the bright sunlight of early afternoon, feeling faintly sick.

A few minutes or ages later - but far too soon, either way - they pulled up to the severe-looking building that served as SOF's regional headquarters. Sunshine was led to a sparse waiting area with chairs, where Pat and Theo had to leave her. Rae sat to keep her knees from shaking. She had thought she was calm, but her heart felt like it was ready to jump up into her throat, and the urge to fidget was incessant. Were her scars covered? What would happen now? Would she be taken to some sort of interrogation room? Or the Goddess' own office? Dear gods and friggin' angels.

When the receptionist came up to stand at her side and asked if Sunshine would like a cup of coffee, she nearly jumped out of her skin. It took her a few tries to manage a request for tea, not coffee. Rae hardly looked at the receptionist when he brought back the styrofoam cup with the teabag tag flopped over its side - she didn't like his insincere smile.

The tea was bitter to her tongue - Rae had forgotten to ask for cream or sugar, and the tea wasn't very good quality anyway - but the caffeine helped center her a bit. She almost managed not to flinch too much when an agent in a smart dress suit came in and asked if she were Rae Seddon, and if she'd please follow her.

Sunshine walked numbly, the cup of sub-par tea nearly forgotten in her hand. This was it, then. Moment of truth. Into the dragon's lair.

Except Rae had no sword. No trusty steed to carry her. Her friends were off fighting the same battle in a different way. The little bottle of kenet Autor had given her was at Milliways, and no use against the searing presence of the Goddess of Pain. But, like Aerin, Rae knew she couldn't do otherwise but to walk forward and meet whatever was waiting for her.

Except, instead of the office of the Goddess of Pain, the door Rae went through led elsewhere.
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Rae "Sunshine" Seddon

May 2016

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