August took in the two men with the air of someone resigned to their fate. She was tired of running. The cunning she had had read in Hiathaway’s face the first time she met him had fulfilled her prediction- it meant only trouble for her, and she could read in him that he had more in store.
“I’ve been better,” she offered flatly in reply to Robert’s question.
“That was quite the stunt you pulled in the patrol car. You scared us,” said Hiathaway. August saw that he had been mildly concerned for her health, but far more concerned at the thought of the loss of her skills to the FBI.
“I can see that,” was all she said, but coupled with her penetrating look, Hiathaway was left with the impression that she saw far more than he would have liked.
Emotions shuffled on Hiathaway’s face as he shifted the conversation. “So. August. You are a runaway. That leaves you with two choices. You can either return to your mother, or-"
“You want me to work for you. You are blackmailing me.” As with everything August said, it was a mere expression of the facts.
“That’s quite annoying, you know.”
“Yes, I saw.”
Hiathaway looked slightly perturbed at this reminder of the girl’s talents. He was accustomed to being in control, she saw, and her comprehension of his manipulations prior to his expressing them was throwing him for a loop. He recovered quickly.
“Well? Will you return to your mother, or will you work for us?”
Out of the corner of her eye, August saw Robert cringe. Guilt covered his face, but August offered no comfort. He had brought her into this, after all.
The choice was simple, because in the end, there was no choice at all. There never had been. From the moment that Hiathaway became aware of what she was capable of, August was as good as contracted to the FBI.
“I will work for you.” She expressed the inevitable. In Hiathaway’s mind, it was already decided.
“Very good. Robert will be responsible for you. I will leave you to decide the arrangements.” With that, he left.
As soon as the door clicked behind him, Robert began his guilt-ridden apology. “Listen, I’m sorry for dragging you into all this. I didn’t realize-“
“I know.” She offered no forgiveness. The thing was done, regardless of whether or not he regretted it.
Silence pervaded the small hospital-like room as both contemplated what must now be done. August waited for Robert to speak.
“…Well, you wouldn’t happen to want to stay here, would you?” he finally offered.
“Live here? No.”
He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Reluctance was dominant in his face as he said, “Then I guess you’d better stay at my place, at least for now.” The thought of another person invading his private life clearly distressed him.
“That’s probably best," said August somewhat apologetically. She understood the need for privacy.
“Very well, then. I’ve got to go tell Sophie. She’s not going to be terribly pleased. As my partner, my responsibilities are hers.”
“She doesn’t like me very much.” There was no reproach of self-pity, just fact.
Robert sighed again. “Yes, I know.”