Well, it was nice to know that her hunches turned out to be right once in a while.  Though in this case she did wish that she had been proven wrong. . .


The shouting that she could hear through the thick closed door that lead into Fergusson’s office was not a pleasant thing to be met with when one was feeling disagreeable themselves.  Since she had stepped out of her room and closed the door behind her, her slightly off mood had taken a plummet to bad - No thanks to an intimidating perverted Master with the worst sense of timing (or an impeccable sense depending on whether you liked being humiliated on a daily basis) and a cocky rookie that had somehow managed to survive the last raid but was now in line for an accidental tumble down the stairs.  Seras’s morning had gotten just ever-so-slightly worse over those past three minutes that she had been out of her room.  Unexpected leg sex was not fun.  Kneeing the perpetrator in the crotch, however, had been.  Pity she was going to get yelled at as soon as the shouting in the room beyond stopped and someone opened the door to let her in.  She had knocked once already, but she guessed they hadn’t heard her.


Barely half a minute into some voice-distorting roaring, the door to Fergusson’s office was flung open and a young man with a shiny face fled from within.  Seras barely managed to sidestep the distraught soldier as he raced past and pelted with frenetic desperation down the corridor as if Fergusson was racing down it after him, some large frightening piece of medieval weaponry held high over his head.  A smile was twisting the edges of her lips as she watched his back disappear around a corner – seeing someone else in trouble for a change was rather enjoyable.   The small grin fell from her lips, however, as the light that was cast through the open office door was suddenly blocked out, and the tall, broad-shouldered shadow of Fergusson fell over her.


“Something amusing, Miss Victoria?” Fergusson’s deep, commanding voice asked of her.


She quickly broke her eyes away from the corner that they had attached themselves too when his shadow had appeared in the doorway, and brought them up to his face, along with her hand to her temple in a sharp-elbowed salute.  She still had a bit of a weak policeman’s arm, but her salutes were improving themselves, especially when she was confronted with the hazardously frowning visage of her commanding officer.  She really hoped that he wouldn’t make her cry like the guy that had just run out of his office.


“N-no, sir!” She replied.  She doubted she had ever felt her elbow locked as tightly as it was now.  Master would be laughing at her if he saw this, trying to impress Fergusson with her salute so he wouldn’t yell at her and make her bawl bloody tears as soon as he closed the door.


“At ease.” Fergusson ordered.  “Get in here.”  He stood aside so she could walk inside, and though Seras wasn’t certain, she could very easily believe that her knees could quite possibly be knocking together as she walked past the distinguished old soldier and sat down in the straight-backed chair next to his desk.


The door shut behind her with a formidable-sounding thump.  Victoria felt like opening and closing the door again just to see if it normally made that sound, or was only doing it today because she was in the room.  She kept in her seat, however.


“So,” The old officer started once he’d sat himself down opposite Seras.  “Care to explain?”


“Well…” She replied, uncertain.  Her blonde brows furrowed slightly and her annoyance rose yet another small notch, along with a small pinch of paranoia.  Fergusson wasn’t being very forthright with his questions, today.  “What do you want me to explain?” She asked, gathering her courage and going for it.  “That half of the new recruits are sexual-misconduct cases waiting to get castrated, or that the other half all have the evolutionary brain function of a kangaroo on a motorway?  Either way they’re dangerous and an inconvenience to me.”  Suddenly, she realized that she had sat with her legs apart, and quickly slammed her knees together.  She trusted Fergusson enough to know that he wouldn’t look, but it was still the dignity of it all.


Fergusson raised a grey eyebrow at her and charily cleared his throat.  “Do you have any idea why the first half are giving you such inconvenient attention?”


Seras growled and nodded.  “My skirt.” She replied.  They were always trying to look up it.  Or get into it.


Fergusson’s other eyebrow rose to meet the first.  “So you’ve deducted that you’re uniform is the thing that is causing the team disturbances?”


“Among other things.” She muttered.  Then louder; “It seems as though they all see me as a ‘piece of easy meat’, as that poor boy Duncan Meyers declared before something rather unfortunate happened to him.” Seras glared at a small thread on the floor, trying to restrain the pleased smile wanting to emerge, aware that she was acting quite out of character, but Fergusson had asked and she wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to tell her side of the events that had wound her up here.


“Speaking of that,” Fergusson’s voice suddenly interjected fiercely.  “You’re retribution punishments are considered to be too harsh.  By breaking Mr. Meyer’s leg you have put him out of commission for four months.  This is unacceptable.  I understand you can more than compensate for the loss of up to five team members, but you also dislocated Mr. Jackson’s wrist and badly sprained Mr. Benton’s shoulder, both of which will also be out of commission for a number of weeks.  As you seem to be the main centre of these accidents, and seeming the FREAK infections are not so often and nor as large outbreaks as earlier this year, I’ve decided that it may be due time for you to have a holiday.”


Seras wasn’t sure if she’d heard correctly or not, so blandly, with her eyes still looking but no longer glaring at that small piece of string on the floor, she asked her commanding officer to repeat himself.


“You’ve been working hard and almost every night for months.” Fergusson said instead, and even though he was sounding calm, there was an underlying thread of iron-control that had Seras suspecting that what he was saying was not an easy task. “And regardless as to how well you’ve been adapting, you are still new to this.  Your attitude is worsening, and I will not tolerate dissention, nor abuse among the ranks.  There is a job we have to do, and though you are doing yours adequately, your presence and current attitude is keeping the others from doing so.  Though you are an important part of these operations and worth more than ten of these men, majority rules.  With your presence around we cannot train these men properly.  It is important that they are, for humanity’s sake.”


Seras nodded, and kept her head down.  “Any place in particular you want me to go?”


“Well that’s the purpose of a holiday, Miss Victoria, you get to pick where you go.”


“What?” Seras looked up, meeting Fergusson’s smiling eyes and frowning mouth.


“Pick your own bloody holiday destination, Miss Victoria.  I can’t do everything for you.  Now get out.  You’re dismissed.  I don’t want to see your face anytime before next Sunday.”


Seras stood quickly and saluted again.  This time it was so sharp she almost poked herself in the eye.  “Yes, sir!” She replied, and quickly left the office.  This time, when the door closed behind her, it let out a hair-raising screech before closing with an even more foreboding ‘thump’.   Seras cast a glance back at it and kept walking.  Maybe it was just Fergusson’s door.


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