A/N: I own nothing but my OCs. Please don't sue. This is purely for fun.
She kept following me, and I couldn't make her stop. It was that cop from the bust, the brunette woman with the sad eyes. Everywhere I turned, I could always find her. At Starbucks, or on campus, or even if I just walked down the street to get my mail. She was always there.
Megan, I think her name is. Megan something…
I really couldn't remember, to be honest. I was so blasted when they hit the rave that I kept trying to dance while the police shouted for me to get on the floor. They shoved me down, and I only took them seriously when I felt the muzzle of a gun against the back of my neck. I remember distinctly the click of the hammer being drawn back and thinking to myself I'm going to die now, here on a dirty warehouse floor and I was fine with it.
That's what too much E does to you, I guess.
She was looking at me, staring holes through me with her black eyes. Beside her was the redhead from the bust, too. I remembered him well, even if I didn't get his name. He'd pulled the gunman off my back before my brains had splattered across that concrete floor. I still dreamed about him, about his blue eyes and his kind hand. Even to a druggie nobody like me, he had been kind. So had Megan, after a fashion. She'd let me go. God only knew why.
"What?" I called loudly in their direction, annoyed with the fact that I felt guilty. About what, I had no idea. But I just felt that way. "What do you want from me?"
Megan and the redhead exchanged a look, and he slipped his sunglasses on. I didn't like it when he did that. I'd come to associate his eyes with kindness, with safety, because even blitzed out of my gourd on E, I could read his thoughts in his eyes. Now they were hidden behind disks of black, and he looked like every other cop on the planet. It scared me.
I think that showed on my face, in my stance, because he spoke instead of Megan, his voice as kind as his eyes had been. "The truth," he said simply.
"What really happened that night in the warehouse."
I hunched my shoulders against a cold wind only I could feel. That guilty feeling was growing, a cool pit in my stomach. "I told you," I said bitterly. "I don't remember."
"Maybe we can help with that," Megan put in.
She had a voice that would never be kind, as if life had cut the center of compassion out of her chest. She would be fair and firm, but never kind. Maybe that was why she hung out with the redhead. I didn't know. It wasn't my business to know. Just like it wasn't my business to be discussing random acts of raves on the freaking pavement by the stupid mailboxes.
"Leave me alone," I sighed, blinking back sudden tears. Why was I crying? I didn't do anything to warrant crying.
"Okay," the redhead said simply. "I'll do that, just as soon as you do the same."
My head came up, staring at him in confusion. "I'm not the one following you, Red," It sounded like a pout. Like I was sixteen again and not twenty. That made me angry. I didn't want to feel like a child around them, and that is exactly what I felt like in that moment.
"I wasn't talking about me," he replied, hiding behind those damnable sunglasses.
Something in me snapped. I marched right over to him and pulled those shades off his face. Wonder of all wonders, he let me. He stood there and let me take his glasses from his face. Did he know I was going to be gentle? How in the world had he figured that out when I had it in my mind to be mean? But gentle I was, my fingers trembling when his blue eyes became visible again. Concern was in those eyes, and it had nothing to do with me breaking his glasses or hurting him.
He was concerned for me. For me.
Megan's eyes may never express compassion or kindness, but when I glanced at them, they were filled with the same amount of concern.
I tried to be mean again, to fill my eyes with indignation at being shadowed by two cops. All I managed to do was sniffle. "I don't know anything," I repeated.
I didn't realize my head was buried against his chest until his arms wrapped around my shoulders. Megan's hand was smoothing back my hair, comforting me as I sobbed.
"Let us help you," Megan soothed. "Come with us and let us help you."
I think I nodded. I don't remember. All I knew was that I had this strange feeling of being safe with Megan and this redheaded cop. That cool guilty pit in my stomach lessened a bit.
He put me in a "conference room," that redheaded cop. I was guessing that he was Megan's partner, though I couldn't really figure out who had the upper hand in that situation. They both spoke and acted like they ran the show, and yet neither managed to step on the other's toes too much. I watched them talking through the glass walls of the interrogation room—oh, excuse me, the "conference room." I was young, but I wasn't that naïve.
The little glass-walled room might serve two functions, that of conference area and interrogation room, but I'll give you three guesses as to what they were using it for in regards to me. The first two don't count.
People came and went around them, occasionally stopping to ask a question or have one or the other sign something. Cops and folks in white lab coats swelled around them like breaking waves against a rocky coast. I could figure out that they were important, or at least higher up in the police food chain by the attention they were getting. What I couldn't figure out was which one was in charge.
And I couldn't figure out what they wanted with a junkie like me. But then again, all cops were baffling to me, so this confusion shouldn't have come as a surprise.
But it did.
I hated it when that happened.
They finished their conversation at last, and I watched Megan glance in my direction. Red did the same after a moment, and as if they had shared some kind of telepathic conversation, they turned in unison and headed back into the room. My hands gripped the arms of my chair automatically; the instinct to put distance between myself and anything with a badge was almost overwhelming.
Megan sat down across from me, and he stood at the head of the table, sunglasses in his hands.
"What's your name?" Megan asked me.
"I told you at the rave. My name is Ariadne."
"The spider," Red spoke up softly. "A nice name."
I shifted in the seat, not meeting his eyes. "It does the job."
"It also isn't your birth name, is it?" Megan asked.
I shrugged. "Does it make a difference?"
"To me, it does."
"Why?" I asked this time, looking down at the table.
"Because you're in trouble," she answered, bluntly but gently. "Someone died at that rave. I don't think you had anything to do with it, but I think you know who did."
That guilty pit in my stomach returned, and I wanted to reach for Red's hand. Don't ask me why, but I did. "People die at raves all the time," I replied lamely.
He was suddenly at my side, kneeling down on one knee. His fingers carefully freed one of my hands from the white-knuckled grip I had on the armrest. "Not like this, sweetheart," he said, his lips pulled down into a frown. "Not shot to death."
Those stupid tears started again, and I wished to god they would go away. I didn't know anything! Why wouldn't they believe me? Why didn't I believe myself? "I don't know," I whispered past the lump in my throat. "I don't know anything. How many times do I have to tell you?"
Red looked up at Megan, and again the two exchanged words that didn't need to be spoken.
"I think you do," Megan put in, lifting a hand to stifle the protests that automatically sprang to my lips. "You may not remember, but you know. Ariadne, we found your hair on the victim, among others. Your prints weren't on the weapon, so we know you didn't pull the trigger. But we know you were there when it went down. Please, tell us?"
"What's your name?" Red asked this time, taking my hand in his. "I promise if you tell us who you are, that we'll protect you."
"Tell me your name first," I replied. If I was going to dish my life out to them, I at least wanted to know their names.
"Horatio," he smiled softly… and then grinned at the way I lifted an eyebrow at him in skepticism. He pulled out his ID badge and laid it on the table in front of me. "It's the truth."
I read it, saw the picture and all his badge data. I memorized the badge number, not really knowing why I was doing it. But it felt important to do. "Janie," I said, leaning back in my seat, my fingers still locked with his as I looked up into Megan's black eyes. "My name is Janie Thompson."
Megan smiled a bit, leaning forward with her hands clasped on the table. "Okay, Janie. Horatio and I are going to ask you some questions now. They may not be pleasant, but we need you to answer truthfully and to the best of your ability. If you do that, we'll see to it that you go someplace safe."
It was a deal with the devil, and I knew it. Answer the questions and risk my life. Or don't answer the questions and risk my life. For once I disagreed with the old saying of better the devil you knew that the one you didn't. When all you had going for you in your life was a blue-eyed cop with a name right out of Shakespeare and a ball-busting cop who you instinctively knew would defend her promises to her last dying breath, you just rolled Fate's dice and prayed for the best.