A/N: Oh my gosh, guys, I am loving you all right now! Seriously. Your reviews just make my day. I'm sorry this took so long to get up, but I had a little more trouble making this one flow together. Yes, it is another Sadie-centric fic. I don't know why she won't get out of my head, because she's not even my favorite character (wave hello, Carter!) but there you have it.
Of course, I claim nothing.
So... try and enjoy, savvy?
The First Encounter
Sadie Kane did not like to shop. She did not like the overly-friendly employees or the tacky music playing from the multiple speakers strategically placed around the store for maximum annoyance; she did not like the crazed-women or the fact that the same bloody shirt came in fifteen shades of pink; and she most certainly did not like that if you changed lines, the one you just left would start to move faster than the one you are in now.
All plausible, logical responses. To bad none of them worked on Grandma.
"Why did I have to come again?" Sadie grumbled, scuffing her trainers against the carpeted floor in frustration.
"Because, dear," Grandma explained patiently. "We don't know what shoe size you are now." She picked up a powder blue box with flowers on the outside and opened the lid. "How about these?"
The shoes in question were white. White lace. White lace with a black buckle. White lace with a black buckle and a dramatic plastic pink flower on the toes.
"How about we do the world a favor and throw those in a bonfire?"
Grandma put the shoes back on the shelf. "Sadie, I know you don't like shopping, but the faster we find you a pair of shoes that fit, the faster we can leave."
That was all the inspiration she needed. Prowling down each row of shoes, making noises of disgust whenever she saw something really appalling, Sadie was ready to give up hope and just tell her Gran it was a lost cause and that she should just wear socks for the rest of her life when something happened.
A pair of sturdy black boots sat on a revolving wooden platform, proud and haughty, as buttery yellow light streamed in through the open glass window and lit up the boots like some sort of gift from above. Distantly, Sadie thought she heard a growling noise, and she imagined them laughing at all the other 'shoes', laughing at their stupid bows and impracticability. She could almost feel the leather between her fingers, slipping them onto her feet with comfort and tying them up with practiced ease...
Moving forward as if in a trance, Sadie picked up the boots by their rubber bottoms and inhaled. They smelt like leather.
"Graaaan! I've found the shoes I want!"
"Jolly good! Bring them over here." Gran instructed, her voice far-away.
"Where's 'here'?" Sadie called back.
"By the cash register! And it's not polite to yell in stores!"
"That's what you're doing, hypocrite!"
Keeping the combat boots cradled close to her chest, Sadie headed towards the front of the shop, anticipating her Gran's reaction.
"Here they are," She said cheerfully, holding up the boots proudly, like a mother would do with a baby.
"Umm..." Grandma started, looking helplessly at the shoes. "Are you sure you want those?"
"Of course I'm sure! They're amazing."
"I don't know, Sadie... are you even allowed to wear them at your school?"
"Who cares? Didn't you hear what I said? They're amazing. They're perfect."
"They are boy shoes, Sadie. Boy shoes."
"Are we looking at the same shoes?" Sadie countered, annoyed. "Hellooo, boys don't wear lace-up combat boots, especially not one's as beautiful as these. And even if they were, so what? I like them."
"Your grandpa won't like them."
"Oh, there's a shock. Grandpa doesn't like anything."
"Very well. How much do they cost?"
"Only 20 pounds."
Reluctantly, Grandma pulled out her wallet and gestured for Sadie to give the boots to the cashier.
"You're going to be the death of me, Sadie dear."
"Hey, that's what my maths teacher tells me!"
Establishing a Relationship
Opening her small, walk-in closet, Sadie reached into the empty air and grasped something that wasn't there. Sitting back on her bed and rubbing at her eyes sleepily, she dully made a motion to put the air on her feet and stood up, her footsteps sounding oddly sad without their usual stomp stomp stomp. Hand poised on the doorknob, she froze, almost comically, her eyes widened in confusion as she looked down at her sock-clad feet.
Throwing her head back and opening her mouth wider than when the dentist asked her to 'open up', Sadie let out a scream that scratched at her throat and screeched, "GRAAAAAAN! WHERE ARE MY SHOES?"
There were a few thumps, an angry voice that Sadie guessed was her Grandpa, and then the sound of tired steps against wooden stairs.
"Good heavens, Sadie! Please don't yell like that, you gave me a fright!"
Sadie flung open her door and stared at her Gran, hands on hips. "Where are my shoes?"
Looking confused, Gran held her hands out in a gesture of a peace and shrugged amicably. "Your boots, you mean? I haven't a clue! I know very well that you hate when anybody touches them, I wouldn't have put them anywhere..."
"Yeah? Well then where the sodding hell are they?"
"Language, Sadie Kane! Watch it."
Letting out another grunt of frustration, Sadie stormed past her Gran and slid down the banister. Making her way into the kitchen, where she knew undoubtedly that her Grandpa would be reading the morning paper, drinking black coffee and making comments about how stupid people were these days, she said, with her best possible control, "Where are my shoes?"
Without looking up from his newspaper, he took a swig of coffee. "If you're talking about those disgusting, disgraceful boots that you talked your Gran into getting you, I don't know. You're better off without them, I say. Wear something sensible for a change."
Sadie steamed at the ears. "No, I didn't ask for your opinion, I just want my freakin' shoes."
"I already said I didn't know, go ask your Gran."
Throwing her hands up in exasperation, she turned to make a point and flip off the light switch so that her Grandpa would have no choice but to talk to her when she tripped - over something small, furry and incredibly annoying.
"Muffin!" She hollered, her irritable mood quickly changing into a pissy one. "What's wrong with you?"
Muffin seemed to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Sadie was always tripping over her.
Letting out an annoyed hiss, Muffin prowled away, her tail flicking haughtily as she left the room, and Sadie was strongly reminded of the time when Muffin had stolen her mate Emma's socks, slinking out of Sadie's room in almost the exact same manner - and then it hit her like a... a... tsunami wave or a ton of bricks or some other metaphor, but the point is that she suddenly knew with unshakable clarity who exactly 'misplaced' her boots.
The only question was where that little demon cat hid them.
Pushing open the swinging door, Sadie hurried after Muffin, though what exactly she planned to do once she caught the little monster, she didn't really know.
Muffin was sitting on the couch, licking her paws and stretching out contentedly; she looked like she was about to settle in for a good nap. Not on my watch, Sadie thought furiously, reaching Muffin in only three - admittedly long - strides.
The cat didn't look up, but rolled over on her back and swatted the air playfully, her collar glinting in the light. It would have been cute if Sadie hadn't been so infuriated.
"Muffin," she tried again, using her stern 'I have thumbs and you don't, so you better listen up,' voice.
"Meow?" Muffin murrped, fixing her eyes on Sadie, and though she would never admit it, slightly unnerving her. Cats weren't supposed to be so... human-like.
"Stop fooling around, you," Sadie demanded. "I know you took my boots. Now tell me where they are or suffer the ultimate consequences."
Muffin meowed again, her slitted pupils suddenly shifting out of focus and she rolled back over, just a cat, who, Sadie realized, could not talk.
"Do you see what you make me do? Talking to cats like a barmy person." Aiming a fake-kick at Muffin, Sadie headed towards the laundry room, where Muffin's bed/litter box/secret-stash-of-things-she-liked-to-steal was located. If she had in fact taken her boots - which she had - it would be there.
Her bare feet cold and lonely, Sadie padded towards the laundry room. The door opened with a creak.
A miniature day-bed with bamboo posts, a red checkered cover and an opened drawer was nestled in the back of the room. A medal saucer filled with milk and a matching bowl of cat nip was off to the side, and an assortment of cat toys, socks, shoe laces, and shiny objects littered the floor.
Peering behind the dryer, Sadie let out a whoop of joy. "My shoes!"
Picking them up and carefully inspecting them for any nicks or scratches, she slid the boots onto her feet and wiggled her toes contentedly as Muffin meowed and entered the room.
"Yeah, that's right, jerk. I found my shoes. Whutnao!"
Muffin leaped onto her bed and - Sadie would later swear it was a trick of the light - rolled her eyes.
Falling in Love
Sadie was having a wonderful, wonderful day:
She had woken up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, no sign of sleepy eyes, the sun casting a golden hue on everything in her room. She was about to put on her plain white uniform shirt and matching plaid blue-and-white skirt (which she only wore as a last resort on laundry days) when she noticed a neat pile of folded clothes on the edge of her bed. Her Gran had done laundry!
Able to wear her favorite blue jeans with the natural rips and doodles on the knees, Sadie had danced around her room for a few seconds before throwing them on with a smile and slipping on her boots, both of which went guh-reat together. Greeting her Gran with a cheerful wave and a "hullo hullo!", she was rewarded with a sticky marmalade roll and a cup of Earl Gray tea, just the way she liked it. (Just a smidgen of honey and a few spoonfuls of milk).
Then she had found out that her least favorite teacher was absent on account of jury duty and would be out for the rest of the week. And - even better - the substitute was Mrs. Lurarra, who let them listen to their iPods and work with partners.
And now that the bell had just rung, with absolutely no homework or tests to study for, Sadie was heading over to Emma's for the afternoon to go for a swim.
"How come Liz couldn't come today?" Sadie asked Emma, genuinely curious about the absence of the third best friend.
"'Dunno. She said something about 'stupid twits for parents who don't understand the meaning of fun,'" Emma added with a lopsided grin.
"Her parents are pretty fun-less..." Sadie agreed.
"That's not a word." Emma pointed out, more of a habit than anything.
"Pish posh, whatever. When are your parents going to be here?" Her backpack was getting a bit heavy and she hoisted it higher on her shoulder.
"Oh. We have to walk to the library. Is that 'kay?"
"No," Sadie began dramatically. "No it's not, but since I have my boots on and we have no other choice, I suppose."
"Such a trooper," Emma said bemusedly.
They walked and chattered about pointless things - boys who were stupid, how stupid school was, that stupid girl who got the easiest question wrong - when Emma adopted a thoughtful expression that Sadie had taken to know meant she was about to ask something serious.
"Sadie, how do you get away with wearing your boots anyways? I know they're not school dress code."
"Oh, you know, I dazzled them with the shoes beauty and my natural charm."
"Why is that so funny?"
Emma abruptly stopped laughing. "Um... no reason. But seriously. We both know you have all the charm of a charging bull - which, by the way, doesn't actually charge at the color red. It just moves when it sees motion."
"Thank you for that important information," Sadie said dryly. "They just haven't said anything about it to me, and even if they did, I wouldn't stop wearing them."
"What? Even if they threatened you with detention?"
"Even if they threatened to suspend me."
Sadie sighed in a world-weary manner and pointed at her boots. "Emma, do you not see these shoes? Are they not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?"
"Um..." Wanting to answer truthfully, Emma chose to say nothing.
"Fine. Jerk. You just have bad taste. But even you have to admit they're reliable, unlike your flimsy flip-flops."
"My flip-flops most certainly aren't flimsy!" Emma objected at the same time the strap connecting them together broke. "Oh, bollocks!"
Sadie snickered and stopped walking so she could lift out her leg and wiggle around her boot-clad foot. "Uh-huh, yeah, they're soooo sturdy, Em, so sturdy."
Sadie fell back on the floating cot with a thump and shoved her feet into her boots, grunting.
"When," - she groaned - "did you," - she grabbed hold of the chipped boots and pulled - "get so," - she stuck her fingers into the boots and inched the socks back up - "sodding small?"
She inspected her red blistered fingers with distaste and found she couldn't even muster up the emotion to be annoyed. In fact, for some odd reason, she almost felt like... crying. Maybe it was just stress or something.
No one could deny she'd gone through a lot the past few days, but now, sitting in this cold, dank prison cell that was trying to be passed off as a room and feeling the stares from the weird Egyptian-monster paintings, hearing the slow, steady breathing of the other girls, everything that had happened seemed to have finally caught up to her.
And her boots, her lovely, comfortable, practical, beautiful, reliable boots were failing her.
Dad is gone dad is gone dad is gone dad is gone.
Hot tears prickled at her eyelids and she blinked furiously, upset with herself for being such a baby. This whole 'self-pity' thing seemed much more Carter's speed, and, well, Sadie was not Carter.
Shoving her left foot into her boot with more vigor, she tied up the frayed laces and convinced herself the uncomfortable pinching feeling in her toes was just her imagination.
Dad is gone dad is gone dad is gone dad is gone.
"Dad is not gone," she told the air. "So shut up."
Her once sound-proof boots squelched as she snuck across the room and out the door.
"Sahad." The door swung open and closed behind her - and even though it was cliche, she felt like she was leaving the feelings of insecurity or worry or fear or sadness behind in the dark room; she closed the door, locked it with a key, and walked away.
And she didn't look back once.
"Morning." Carter yawned, idly stabbing an egg with his fork. His hair was tousled with sleep and bags weighed heavy under his eyes. He almost blended in with the early morning darkness outside.
"You look chipper," Sadie remarked by way of morning greeting.
Carter shrugged noncommittally and chewed on the end of a piece of bacon. "Didn't get much sleep last night."
"Mmm," She aahed in understanding. Losing your dad, being possessed by Egyptian gods, almost being killed multiple times, battling Set, finding out your mum is back from the grave and that your dad is the new god of the dead can really do that to a person.
Lost in their own thoughts, the morning sun rose ruby red over the skyline; Philip slapped his tail against the water and Khufu picked at a bowl of Cheerios.
"Hey," Carter said after a long moment, "Hey, Sadie, you aren't wearing your boots!"
I'm so sorry this took like, a month to get up, but hey - I put off doing my 1910's report so I could finish this mediocrity. :P
I hope ya'll enjoy, and I love reading all the stuff everyone's put up! Oh, also, I don't know if you Brits have jury duty, but it seemed fitting.
Reviewers get their very own pair of sturdy combat boots, sizzle!