The blond man looked up from his papers, frowning as a set of uneven footsteps approached his door. To an uniformed listener, the footsteps seemed like the result of an old injury, and would be able to suppress their discomfort at the tiny dragging sound one shoe would make against the floor. They'd tell themselves that the man's gait wasn't his fault, and that the aggravation of his walk shouldn't both them.
Blueblood, meanwhile, would simply shake his head, jam in his earbuds, and listen to music until his erstwhile assistant tired of this game. Looking up, the district educational supervisor watched as his assistant stepped through, a brilliant grin stretched across his face. Schadenfreude was a wonderful office worker- and a horrible, horrible person, much of the time.
Then again, I used to be far worse than he is. Blueblood cleared his throat. "So... new shoes? I just love the squeaking sound the right one makes against the floor."
"Aww, you noticed! I thought you wouldn't." Schadenfreude's happy grin only widened as he sat down, casually adjusting the chair to cause the springs in the seat to creak slightly. "I've almost made Margie in accounting deck me. The betting pool has her snapping sometime next week, but if I can get her to blow her top by Friday..."
Blueblood sighed. "Margarine Spread may be a little uptight, but she's also one of the best bean-counters in the Bureau of Reforms." He shook his head. "If she blows up in a way that forces me to fire her, or suffers a psychotic break-"
"That only happened twice. To people we don't like."
Blueblood continued, as though his assistant hadn't said anything at all "-you'll have to handle her work while I find a suitable replacement." He looked down at the forms in his hands, allowing the thought to creep across his mind. He'll either handle her work, or have a replacement in by the next day. Either way works for me, should she actually snap at him. Looking back up, he brought the conversation back to more serious matters. "While I have no doubt you would come in here just to annoy me, I get the sense there's something else."
Schadenfreude's grin shrunk, then died. With a sigh, he pulled out one of the files from under his arm. "Your sister sent over the data she's been accumulating for us. She regrets to tell you, however, that the data has already been compromised, and if we want to find something to get to Cinch's sponsors, we'll have to try a new angle."
Blueblood sat up, blinking. "What was so important that she had to compromise six months of data collection?"
"Apparently, something related to the Merlin Files." Schadenfreude looked nervous for the first time Blueblood could remember. "Boss, can I be serious for a minute? Because I really think this whole... magic thing is starting to get to be a problem." He grimaced. "When it was just one girl, I figured we could keep it under wraps. When it became six girls and three former monsters who were keeping their heads down, I figured we could just muddy the waters. Now? There's no hope of us keeping this from outside agencies."
Blueblood sat back. "I agree. Events this weekend have shown that it is entirely out of hand. Hell, we may never have had a grip on it in the first place." Sighing, he leafed through the file Schadenfreude had handed him, then noticed a letter tucked into the folder. Withdrawing it, he studied the professional, heavy handwriting for a moment, then smiled. "I assume this showed up today?"
Schadenfreude nodded. "Yeah. Delivered via courier, as a matter of fact." He paused. "You seem pleased."
"Oh, I am." Opening the letter, he scanned the contents. "Good. The last of those we've reached out to has responded." Blueblood grinned. "The last of our little team is on board. We may not have control of magic, but at the very least we're going to be ready for it."
Schadenfreude frowned. "What does that mean? I thought we were going to be getting a team together to hide magic from the rest of the government?" His grin returned. "I've always loved tweaking those stooges."
"We aren't going to hide it, Schadenfreude." Blueblood finished leafing though the Merlin Files, then put them down on the desk. "There are three elements to the charter of the Bureau. First, identify means in which the government is failing or has become ensnared in corruption, and work to set things right." He nodded to his assistant, signalling for him to continue.
Schadenfreude smiled. "Second, identify social programs which have the greatest positive impact on society, and see to it that those programs are supported, not opposed. I know the charter." Then his smile faded. "Wait-"
"It's the third that concerns this file." Blueblood tapped the paperwork before him. "Third, in the event of extreme circumstances or alterations to society, recommend the creation of new government branches, and the disbandment of old ones." Blueblood leaned back. "You're wrong, Schadenfreude. We're not going to hide magic- that seems impossible. The ultimate goal of the team we're assembling is to create the laws that will protect and bind it."
Blueblood spun the file back to Schadenfreude. "And according to this letter, the last member of our team is on-board." He grinned. "Chrysalis has agreed to join our little group."
Schadenfreude grinned. "Ooh, Chryssie? That'll be fun. I'm starting to look forward to this."
Blueblood sank back into his chair with a shudder. "Your enthusiasm, as usual, is more than a little disconcerting." He looked up at his assistant. "So long as you turn it on our opponents, however, I only have one thing to say;"
Leaning forward, Blueblood grinned. "Make them suffer."
Schadenfreude's grin grew wider as he left the room. "Always will, boss."