And so it was, for what seemed like years, that Sara Donlon worked as Steve Waterhouse’s special consort for the Damned in cases regarding the recognition of redemption. Try as he might, Steve just couldn’t help but see everyone as innocent and deserving of a second chance, often arguing at great length, like any good lawyer, as to why the person should be set free. It fell on Sara, more often than not, to play the voice of reason to Steve’s misguided idealism, and he thanked her for it, but could never quite see it her way. When it came down to that, Sara would usually say something along the lines of:
“You never understood why I went to church every Sunday, either, and look where you wound up!”
Steve would then point out that Sara was in here with him, too, but Sara was ready.
“Ha! You think this is Hell, being able to tell you you’re wrong all the time? This is my Heaven, Steven!”
She never talked about her “death” not even to her family in Heaven. She never even read her obituary. Something about it just didn’t seem real, so she didn’t see the point in it. Besides, she kept herself busy enough. Hell has a rather high turnover rate, after all. She eventually got used to seeing red-skinned, horned demons in business casual, hunched over desktop computers and filing their weekly Torture Permanence Study Reports, and seeing scantily-clad succubae answering the myriad of phone centers. All in all, it came to resemble her old job more and more, just with a bit less mysterious boss in the Lord Almighty. Processing souls was no different than processing case files, and both still came with that feeling of accomplishment, that good was being done and somewhere, someone was being helped.
Of course, that was what Steve had always wanted, to, but they had both gone about their dreams differently. Steve believed that people needed to be coaxed with the carrot on the stick, while Sara believed that the stick should just be used upon their heads. It wasn’t that she was malicious, she was just very strict and lived her life by a very stringent moral code, a code enforced all too well by herself and the guilt she felt over what she had done to Steve all that time ago.
His name was Nelson Foy, and he was a young paper-pusher at the Bureau who had a serious inkling for the paranormal. Sara told him several times that the Paranormal Department was not for people who wanted to live out their fantasies, but just another branch of the Bureau trying to keep the world safe. Nelson, being the socially stunted youth that most FBI recruits are, was so tickled that a woman was talking to him that he promptly set out to annoy Sara at every turn, often asking for dates. Each time she would mention that she had a boyfriend, Nelson would respond childishly that he was in the Bureau now, and he could have him killed, and Sara would roll her eyes and walk away, only strengthening Nelson’s resolve. In her heart of hearts, Sara never even entertained the idea of liking Nelson, but as Steve grew more and more interested in his work, and started having less and less time for her, Sara became jealous of people she’d never know. Her own loneliness came between the love they both shared for their common cause, and by that extension their love for each other, and in a moment of weakness, she gave in to Nelson.
He raped her. Sara felt there was no other word for it, and would correct others who sought to skirt the issue. There was no skirting this and, even though everyone in the Bureau advised against it, she fought Nelson.
She got Steve. She had to. He was the best. She told him everything, how she had felt, what she had done, and what had been done to her. For the first time in her life, Sara saw that passion she thought had always been absent in Steve as he ransacked his own pitiful apartment in a fit of rage, hot tears flying from his eyes as he kept asking “Why didn’t you just tell me, Sara?” over and over again. Sara had no answer. She was too terrified to speak. It only occurred to her then that Steve had always loved her, and always would love her, and had worked himself to the bone to make a life for her, only to have her repay him in this way.
From that point on, both Sara and Steve became fairly emotionally dead, committing themselves to their jobs one hundred percent. They couldn’t get back together. Steve’s pain and Sara’s pride wouldn’t allow that, even after all these years. Nelson was tried, convicted and condemned thanks to Steve’s brilliant full-court press. Mr. Foy was drummed out of the naval service, dishonorably, sent to jail disgraced, and eventually killed by one of the people Sara had helped put in jail as well. His reason? She had never done him any harm. She had been kind. She did what she had to do.
Steve never charged Sara for the months-long trial. Sara always knew, however, that she would pay for it forever. Steve was always a very passionate man in everything he did, and a wound so deep, from one he truly trusted and confided in, was not easily healed. Steve went on to become the premiere fight-for-right lawyer in Boston while Sara toiled away in her entry-level job in Virginia, shunned by the rest of the staff for fear that they would fall under the gavel next. Had Sara ever taken the time to read her obituary, she would have found out that it said more about Steve and his court case than it did her, but that was how it had to be, especially with the Bureau. Besides, Sara would have liked it that way.
And so it was that Sara and Steve worked together, yet stayed apart. They were cordial, they were friendly, but every time Sara thought she was making an in-road, Steve would stop it and find something else for her to do. For a man who’d lost his family at such a young age, it was only necessary that he made sure to protect himself first and foremost. Sara understood this, but she was stubborn, and she hadn’t planned to stop any time soon. In fact, if it hadn’t been for all the trouble that happened, she may have still been trying to this day, truly showing no sympathy for the Devil, and refusing to give him his due.

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