Friday Nights are busy…

It was a few hours later, and Sara was sitting at her desk a few yards away from Steve’s, filing paperwork. In a way, it was almost as if nothing had changed from her work at the FBI. Despite what TV would have you believe, most of the paranormal unit’s function was sifting through pages and pages of papers, debunking the nutjobs and sending agents to further investigate the particularly curious ones. She was only called into service when things got really weird, and they needed an expert on the stuff outside of shooting and shouting. Even then, she could only remember going on a handful of assignments in her almost ten years at the bureau, and most of which involved someone speaking an alien language (or a made up one) that she had the ability to translate. For most people, learning Klingon was a hobby. For Sara Donlon, it was just all in a day’s work.
So there she sat, filing again, this time applications for redemption, recommendations for temporary incarceration, level transfer packets, and the occasional complaint form. Oddly enough, it appears that people will still complain even if they are in Hell. An especially curious one came from a man who deemed his torture not effective enough after he had spent his earthly life lusting after women. Apparently, he had found salvation near the end, but had to pay for his misdeeds, and some of his suggestions were…upsetting. Other than that, it was fairly run of the mill, and nothing she couldn’t handle. Outside of the office, however, when Steve called her into the field, it was quite a different story.
“I’m not much for field work, Steve,” she glowered as they headed down to Level Five.
“Sara, do you know why I chose you?”
“I don’t know,” Sara said with a smirk, “Maybe this is my torment?”
Steve laughed a bit at that, and opened one the door to level two.
“You’re a good judge of character, Sara. I’m all good at figuring out who is guilty and who is innocent, but when it comes to redemption, I draw a bit of a blank sometimes. After all, we’re in Hell, wouldn’t some people want to lie to get out of it?”
“That doesn’t sound like something a super-powerful Devil like yourself would say,” Sara replied, “Can’t you just get inside their heads or something?”
“Sadly, no,” he sighed, “Most of my powers are strictly for show, I’m a figurehead and an organizer. The Big Guy decided that the replacement shouldn’t have as much power as the original did, sort of a dividing of powers, I guess. I’m afraid most of the evil stuff: temptation, jealousy, envy, et cetera…we still farm that out to Lucifer. It’s another reason why he’s a little sore about the whole thing.”
“You’re basically relegated to making sure things run smoothly and parlor tricks?”
“Seems that way.”
“Figures,” she shook her head, “I never really had you pegged for an evil kinda guy.”
“Thanks, I guess,” Steve rolled his eyes as they entered level three.
“I mean that, you know,” Sara said as the door closed with an ominous boom, “you’re a good man.”
Steve stopped and gave a sad little smile.
“I know.”
“That’s certainly modest of you,” Sara pulled a face, “Here I was trying to be nice.”
“You were never not nice, Sara,” Steve kept walking. Sara was really beginning to get frustrated with all of this damn walking, because she knew it was his way of distancing himself from a problem.
“Bull, Steve!” she chased after him, “That’s bull and you know it. I was mean to you, probably meaner than the thugs that killed you, and this is why! You always run away, you always avoid the conflict and hide in your work! Even when I…”
She stopped. She didn’t want to say it.
“Even when I… went to another guy… I didn’t want to, but I remember hearing something in the back of my head hoping to God that this would actually get you mad at me…but it didn’t. You always hide, you always run away, just like you’re doing now, Steve! You–!”
There was a flash of light, and Sara was back in the office. Furious, she tore out of the executive space and into the sea of cubicles. Making her way to the far side of the room, and the old, medieval looking wooden door that would lead back to the Levels of Hell… but she found it locked. Her fists hammered the ancient structure and she pounded on the door, seething.
“Only parlor tricks, eh Waterhouse? Can’t zap out of the Levels of Hell, can you? Oh, you lying little runt!”
She gave up the pounding because the thick, spiky nails were beginning to hurt. Apparently, in Hell pain was still an option. She sunk down next to the door, sitting on the floor and nursing bruised and bloodied knuckles. The moment she had calmed down, and unbeknownst to her, Steve Waterhouse had materialized behind her. His voice was low, and even, and still infuriating for Sara Donlon to hear.
“Now you know, Sara, that I do have some power, but that I try not to use it.”
He placed his hands on hers, which made her wince.
“But as a devil, I can’t heal you. I can’t make you feel better,” he pulled her up to her feet, and she gasped a little at the pain, but he held firm and smiled a little.
“Then again, I was never really good at that, was I?”
Sara could feel her face flushing. She started to remember all the memories: good, bad, and otherwise, and everything Steve had been to her, had meant to her, and all that he was continuing to be. She didn’t want to move ahead, she wanted to sit and to pout, but her sense of duty, that sense that had always been so strong, kept her level.
“Well, you’re certainly enough of a jerk to fit the job description sometimes,” Sara muttered darkly. Her eyes flitted about, trying to avoid his gaze, but were eventually drawn upwards and caught his, and they both smiled.
“So I’m the Devil, and you’re my ex-girlfriend,” Steve said in an unbelievably casual fashion, “Big deal, right? Business as usual.”
“Sure thing, boss,” Sara nodded with conviction, even though the words seemed odd when applied to the lanky, red-haired clod she knew.
“So can I count on you? Can we do business when it’s time for business and… other things when it’s time for other things?”
He blushed a little after saying that, and in those words he didn’t speak Sara saw what she had really been looking for. She plucked the Wayfarer sunglasses from his breast pocket and put them on herself. tossing her hair and adjusting the lapels on her sensible, Bureau-acceptable suit. With a scowl that had been taught to her by years of television forensic dramas, she gritted out what she hoped was a catch phrase.
“Let’s go.”
They both re-entered the Levels, but they had gone only three steps when Steve had snatched the sunglasses back and replaced them on his own face.
“Awwwww, come on!” Sara whined, snatching for the shades.
“No way. I’m the Devil, I get the sunglasses.”
“But they look stupid on you!”
“Well, your face looks stupid on you!”
Sara responded to that last barb with a gasp, and immediately gave Steve and elbow to the ribs. They continued down the hallway in this manner, laughing and joking, just as if they were still back on the streets of Boston, one FBI agent and one pro-bono lawyer, heading out to a long lunch. In fact, for a few of the demons who passed them by in the hallway, it would have seemed as if a messy breakup had never occurred between the two, but the relationship of Sara Donlon and Steve Waterhouse had always been one that could not be understood from a simple glace or a passing encounter, and things weren’t about to change any time soon.

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