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One universal truth of the US Military is that it takes an ordinary man or woman and breaks him down, stripping away all of the selfishness, cowardice, doubt, pride, and individualism. Shaping each piece of humanity to fit into the grand machine that protects the good old U.S of A. Working as unit becomes second nature, everything within them focused on getting the job done and looking out for the guy or gal who is standing beside you. One thing they don’t teach a soldier is how to survive back stateside, how to deal with the shell shock of coming back to peace or how to deal with any handicaps that are brought back with you.
Ryker's team had dealt with the worst of the worst, dropping into the heart of enemy territory to either extract or neutralize a target. Gunfire, rockets, and bombs had become his life, a regular part of his reality that desensitized the male to any and all horrors that humanity could cook up. His instincts had been honed to go on alert at any loud sound, to pay attention to the little nuances of movement that might indict a person was armed, and naturally expect that worst of anyone that wasn't dressed in camo or fatigues.
He hadn't expected to be back so soon, grounded permanently and discharged with all honors. His lack of vision made it impossible for him to ever serve again and even if he hadn't lost the use of his eyes the emotional damage was too much. Being the lone survivor provided its own special kind of guilt heaped on top of the anger that came with having to learn to be self sufficient all over again. Learning how to do the most basic of tasks in an all new way and coming to terms with the things he'd never get to do again.
Even more frustrating, there were a limited amount of resources available to a veteran, very few medical institutions took the insurance he was afforded. They took the solid stance that the military could and should take care of it's own, which left very few options for an overabundance of personnel who needed care and attention. If anyone cared to argue the point they had only to drive by their local Veteran’s Affairs Hospital and get a good look at the line that formed hours before the facility ever opened each morning. Ryker had been standing in just such a line well before dawn, taking the cues from a elderly Marine who had been kind enough to direct the crippled SEAL.
6 hours later lunch approached and Ryker had moved with the line inside, standing uncomfortably among the crowd. He'd been given a number, the little piece of paper long since crumpled in his grip. The grumpy lady at the front desk had grudgingly told him the number, not caring that under the wraparound RayBans his eyes were a milky blue and useless as the day was long. Somewhere across the massive entryway a stamp was rhythmically slammed down onto paper and an automatic stapler that sounded nearly identical to a gun being loaded made him twitchy. His fingers tightening and untightening around the walking stick he used to navigated new places. Standing in the corner he could hear everything, the murmuring of the crowd and the gossiping of the nurses overly loud to his sensitive ears.
Click-pop. Click-pop. Click-pop.
A cold sweat started to wind it's way down his temples, wetting his back as he tried to fight the images that flashed with each loud noise. Breathing through his nose the male kept his head down, hands wringing the stick in his hand as he counted slowly in an attempt to distract his overactive brain. Running a hand through his hair he grimaced, the dirty blonde locks were wet from his sweat. A throat clearing not far from him made him flinch, a gentle voice letting him know that his number had just been called.
Distracted he heard the grumpy nurse call out, “335.” Her tone and the angle of the sound told him she knew exactly who she was calling, and the added effort it took her to reach him was a burden on her day. Clearing his throat he followed the directions in his head, taking each step carefully as he approached the counter. Despite his best effort he stumbled over a foot, a leg that had been lazily extended into his path and not being able to see he stumbled into the marble countertop just as the loud snap of a stamp slammed down in front of his face. In an instant he was thrown back into enemy territory, sand and dirt and heat surrounding him as he faced off against an insurgent with a weapon held directed straight at him.
“Drop it!” he yelled, repeating the words in Farsi and Arabic, his M16 held in rock steady hands while his heart hammered in his chest. His vision seemed to waver, a kindly yet firm old voice repeating for him to stand down and take a knee filtered through the images, completely off with the scene before him. Blinking rapidly he felt a hand on his arm and jerked, falling over something that knocked the air out of his lungs. His hands desperately scrambled for his cane that was nowhere to be found and as his back hit the wall it was becoming harder and harder to breathe.
As the panic attack sank it's claws into him Ryker looked up, a bright light suddenly blinding him in its intensity.
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Happenstance. It happened more often to the aspect of light than she had ever expected it to. Argent was the kind of person who hated to be sitting around doing nothing, it was why she had so many hobbies and why she always got flack for seeming like she slacked on her aspect duties from her brothers. She didn't care much for their thoughts however, in her mind, getting out of the house and being around people was exactly where she needed to be if she wanted to serve her element in a way she felt it deserved. After all, the aspect of light should hardly spend all of her time indoors away from the sun.
And so about 8 months ago, Argent had snuck out of the manor whilst her family were busy with other things and hunted down something that would give her purpose. The aspect of light knew she wanted to help people and she wanted to stay under the radar whilst doing so, the last thing she was looking to do was use her family name to gain anything. So when she had walked into the halls of the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital and been met with harsh stares and a level of coldness that made her uncomfortable, she knew she had found somewhere she could make a difference.
Her natural brightening aura had seemed to work in her favor when she had finally managed to pull a manager out from the shadows and attempt to convince them to let her work there. It had taken a full week of interviews and proving she had professional background, most of which she had to forge thanks to the fact that her family weren't exactly supposed to mingle in the human society but she finally managed to secure a position.
At first it had been much harder than she expected, learning the stories of all of these men and women who had lost so much thanks to the wars they fought and how poorly they were supported throughout but Argent had been determined to help each and every one of them who came through the doors as best as she could. At first that had lead to a lot of failure, due to the lack of resource she controlled in the facility but through hard work she had managed to first get herself promoted to an advisory and then later a program manager for the blind. That was something that hit home with the aspect of light and helping those who couldn't see the light became somewhat of a passion project for her. Something she hoped she was good at.
Today Argent found herself in her element, so far she had seen and advised over 3 people and she felt productive. Dressed in a floral patterned dress with her hair tied back in a loose bun she blended well with the people around her and for the most part no one here knew what or who she was, she was free to be whatever version she wanted to present, more than just the aspect of light, chosen by the Gods.
It had been 10 minutes since her last consultation and the redhead was waiting patiently for her next advisory. The screen showed the name Ryker Miles, a name she didn’t recognize which was rare for her nowadays considering most of her visitors as she liked to call them tended to be repeats, sometimes she figured they came for some company. Argent was used to people finding excuses to be around her, her gift blessed to her making her presence naturally uplifting to those around her tended to have that effect, though sometimes she wished she could turn it off so she could focus on work.
After waiting another 10 minutes without any sign of Mr Miles Argent got up from her desk and headed through the hallways to the entry reception, she took a deep breath as she walked in keeping her head high, she had her problems with how the hospital handled appointments but it wasn’t her place to be questioning right now.
Hearing the shallow and rapid breaths of someone who was clearly in distress she made her way through the crowd giving some people a few hard stares of judgement as she noticed they way they had all backed away from the man who was clearly in need of help. The aspect slowly dropped to her knees noting from the way his eyeline was off center that this was indeed the man she had been waiting for.
“Mr Miles” she spoke softly “I need you try and slow your breathing for me, focus on taking in air through your nose and out through your mouth” she spoke it gently enough that most people wouldn’t hear what she was instructing, the last thing she wanted was for him to feel like he was being judge or watched and so she did her best to shield him from them by staying in between. Argent reached down to collect the white cane which had fallen to the floor and moved to slowly place it in the dark haired man’s hand “You’re okay, you’re safe” she assured as she waiting for him to calm.
The heat was sweltering, the sand hot and gritty beneath his hands, his skin becoming tight and impossibly dry. The metal panel of the wrecked car he was leaning against cut into his back, giving him something tangible to hang onto. He couldn't get a handle on his breathing, his body shook as the fight or flight response warred within him. Voices filtered through in a strange and confusing soundtrack, shouting and gunfire mixing with gentle murmurs and soft spoken orders that only served to panic him more. Oddly he felt a rush of cold air, like he was in an air conditioned building but it was out of place with the scene around him. Shaking his head he tried to get a clear read on where he was, on what he was supposed to be doing but the confusion continued and his breathing even more rapid.
A blinding white light caught his attention, his head tilting back as it came closer filling his vision and then a voice. The soft tones cut through all the others, turning down the volume until she was all he heard. His brain took to it like a well trained hound, following her cues in order to get his lungs to function properly. Slowly the world shrank back in on itself, the images fading into the familiar darkness that had become his world. There was a change though, the light persisted, stayed a steady presence in front of him. Swallowing past the grit that clogged his throat the SEAL jumped a little at the touch on his hand, fingers reflexively closing around his walking stick.
Rational thoughts returned along with an exhaustion that usually came after a panic attack, a feeling he hated for it brought with it a massive hangover and the shame of losing it while people were watching. It took the Therian a moment to realize the bright light was an entity, a person that was real and solid in front of him. She was unlike anything he had encountered thus far, she wasn't just emanating light; she WAS light. He could see her form clearly, nuance was a testament to calm and serene femininity and in that moment all he wanted to do was bask in it. For so long he had been adrift in a sea of rage and guilt, his little boat of self loathing and self pity tossed about by waves of memories. Storms of anxiety would throw him overboard as the most inopportune times, he lived in a constant state of flux that made him fear for his sanity and his ability to function. It was a sad state to be in when the very core of a person's being was independence with a strong need for activity.
In that moment though he felt peace and tranquility steal over him, his boat mooring in the dock of calm for the first time in nearly a year. Swallowing more he pulled his knees up and ran a hand through his sweat soaked hair, “I'm sorry.” He croaked out, knowing he had made an awful scene. Ryker could feel the stares like little lasers that were burning holes in his skin. He hated the pungent scent of pity that permeated the room, not everyone felt that way but enough were that it overwhelmed all other scents for a moment. Clearing his throat awkwardly he looked up toward the lady of light, licking his dry lips. “I believe you called my name?”
The male couldn't think of a NJ thing else to say. He wasn't able to make a clean escape and that little voice in his head began an incessant litany of ‘I told you so.’ He had known coming here was a bad idea but he had talked himself into it and now he would just have to rough it out. He could go home later and crawl into a bottle to drown his mortification.
Argent could see the torment and pain he was going through in his mind from the way he contorted his expression and his jerky almost desperate movements. She hated the fact that there was very little someone could do to help anyone in that state other than keep the crowds away and support them until the worst was over. She heard people muttering around them but she refused to acknowledge any of it as she swept her arms outward warning people to step away as she reacted to the male’s care.
As she moved in front of him, she noted the way that his whole demeanor changed, starting to come back to reality. After her death Argent had experienced similar panic attacks and so she was familiar with the way they shut down your whole being and held you trapped, a feeling of dread spreading from your head to your toes. It had been Ven who had brought her around most times, often staying into the early hours to make sure she was okay. If she could be there for her patients the way her brother had been for her, then she would feel accomplished.
His apology brought a shake of her head, he had nothing to be sorry for and everyone in the line surrounding them knew that. Argent knew it was for the best to get him out of there however, he wasn’t the only person there who would be struggling and after what he had been through, some quiet was much needed. “Nothing to be sorry about” she clarified bluntly before she slowly raised to her feet reaching her hand out to gently place on his forearm “Yes, let's get to our session shall we” she tugged gently to help him to get to his feet.
“You can call me Argent or Miss Delvalle, whichever you prefer” she introduced herself as she started to guide him towards the hallway where her advisor office was located, the aspect held her head high ignoring or giving a stern glare to anyone who thought it appropriate to stare. Once they were out into the hallway the redhead frowned a little “I apologize for the poor introduction Mr Miles, but please rest assured that I am here to help with everything you need today.” Stepping into her office she lead the way before closing the door behind the two of them and sighing softly. She really wished there was more they could do about the long waits to see an advisor here.
Now that she was centered square in front of him, he couldn’t stop staring. With his vision he was able to see an amalgam of colors surrounding people, auras of personality mixed with moods and feelings that gave him a unique insight into those he came into contact with. Most of the time if he hadn’t been addressed directly by a person the colors were muted, some were even veiled giving him just enough information to tell him what type of being they were and what feeling they were experiencing the sharpest. It helped him to navigate the world and thanks to Orion he could identify fellow Therians, Humans, and Nephilim. According to his Alpha that was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to species that inhabited the city but until he encountered one directly he wouldn’t be able to identify any of the others.
Which made the young woman in front of him even more mysterious. She emanated light like a beacon, though the more he studied her the easier it was to see through the light to the other colors beneath. At the moment she was disapproving, sympathetic, and frustrated. There was not a hint of pity or annoyance about her which he was greatly appreciative of, there was nothing the SEAL disliked more than a person who was offering help with an insincere heart. He’d never taken notice of how many people simply went through the motions of offering things with no intention of following through, as if simply extending the social niceties was enough. Well, perhaps it was for the vast majority of individuals who had all their faculties in working order, for those like him those niceties were more rare than gold and just as valuable.
Her voice when she spoke was soft yet firm, instructing him as to their appointment while her hand on his arm served to punctuate her sentiment. “Yes ma’am.” He responded instantly, using the pillar behind him to push his body to the vertical, willing his legs to work properly. Once he was sure his feet were going to support the full weight of his body he took his walking stick in hand, following the direction her light touch was pulling him. She never exerted any pressure and yet he could follow her unerringly with just that lightest of touches to guide him. “Argent, that's a unique name. It's pretty.” The words slipped past his lips uncensored, spoken before his brain had a moment to assess if they were smart or okay to say.
Too late. Pressing his lips together he walked with her, side by side as they entered a hallway, the murmuring of the crowd out in the waiting room faded to nearly nothing. Hallways had a way of swallowing and muting everything save the echoing of footsteps or voices within it. Which was a welcome respite from all the hubbub he’d just caused. “Ryker. Just Ryker if you don't mind. Mr. Miles reminds me of basic and that's 2 months I hope to never repeat.” It also reminded him of the first couple of months on his team, when the hazing had still been in full force.
They turned suddenly, his boots stepping onto a slightly different type of tile, one that didn't echo so much and as the door closed that too was muted. Reaching out he felt the edge of a seat, maneuvering carefully to lower his muscled body into it without causing any more trouble. “To repeat your own words, there's no need to apologize. You can't fix the system or take on all us damaged goods alone.” A wry smile quirked up the corner of his lips, hoping the slightly self deprecating joke might ease some of the tension his break from reality had caused. It always weirded or freaked people out when they witnessed one of his episodes and to her credit she was calm and collected. What was more, HE felt calm and collected. Which was weird. Normally he felt wrung out and jumpy as shit after an episode like that.
Clearing his throat he rested his stick against his leg, rubbing his hands together as he licked his dry lips. “So uh, I was here a couple weeks ago checking on a possible grant for veterans with my….unique challenge. The lady I talked to said that the funds were depleted but I thought I'd check back. Just in case.” Truth was the Therian was desperate, desperate for a sliver of hope. Desperate for one thing in his crazy life to go right, to go his way for once.
Argent wasn’t the kind of person to pity those with any kind of disability, in her opinion most people should be envious of them because they were so much stronger than those who had never lived with one. She took this position because she wanted to find a way to help, it was hard to be the figurehead of an element and see that as enough in life, light was everywhere and that meant wherever she was, she was still watching out for her element, why let herself suffer from boredom in the process.
Since coming to this hospital she had gained quite a rep for being the favorite consultant, all her colleagues put it down to her having a pretty face but Argent liked to think it was the care and understanding she gave, as well as the fact she really tried to help everyone who entered her office rather than sending them away with the bare minimum answer. As she was guiding him out of the room the aspect of light didn’t look back at anyone who had thought it appropriate to stare and simply shook her head in disapproval.
Argent laughed slightly when he mentioned her name being pretty “Thank you” she answered brightly, she had always loved her name, it was unique but easy to remember and she often got compliments on it “It means silver, which is indeed pretty” she nodded slightly as they entered the hallway and the door closed softly behind her. His request was completely fine with her, hospital policy was to refer to patients by their title and surname unless asked otherwise “Ryker it is, I was never a big fan of formalities anyway” she spoke in a joking tone as she led him into the consultation room.
Argent agreed with him, there was little she could do fix the broken system they had implemented in this country and as hard as she tried, she wasn’t going to be able to help everyone. His little quip however did bring a smile to her lips “You know how to laugh, I like you” she spoke honestly, there were people who walked into this room like they were walking to their execution and some were even rude. Those people she had to admit she tended to the minimum for but there were also genuine people who really needed help and those were the people she came in every day for.
As he spoke the aspect tapped on her computer to log onto the system and pull up his file, following along with the words he spoke. No surprise to her, the last woman he had seen had been through only the obvious options with him and hadn’t bothered to dig much deeper. “Okay let me see what I can do for you” she tapped a few more times navigating her way through possible options and checking for capacity on each.
Suffice it to say, most of the programs had no space available and some even had waitlists but just as she was preparing to deliver unfortunate news her eyes spotted an opening she instantly clicked on “Hmm…” she pondered “It seems like we’ve had a drop out on our guide dog program for next month” she tilted her head up towards the male for a moment “I’d have to speak to a supervisor about the realisticness of the position because of the short deadline” she clarified as to not get his hopes crazy up “I can certainly try if it’s of interest to you” the redhead pursed her lips, it’d be stupid not to try.
“Silver? Well that’s more than a little coincidental.” The Therian muttered, studying the brilliant silver of her soul glittering almost blindly in front of him. Despite having no vision at all looking straight at her hurt his eyes, though he couldn't seem to stop himself. Drifting around the core of her being was a swirling rainbow of colors, eddy’s of her emotions that twisted and turned as if blown by the wind. Experience and observation had taught him that it was her reactions to outside factors. As they sat down the slight brown of disapproval dissipated, overpowered by the white of her pensive thoughts. Apt as the tapping of her fingers on the keyboard filled the room, allowing her to process whatever it was that was on the screen.
To fill the silence Ryker shrugged, “Not sure my name means anything except that the nurse who was on duty the night of my birth was a Star Trek fan.” Chuckling he stretched his long legs out, groaning internally as the pull on his sore calves. Blind or not he wouldn't let himself go, refused to which meant spending hours at the gym each week. He may no longer be able to carry a weapon into battle but he would keep up with his physique and continue to push himself. His pride and dignity were all he had left. His smile grew at her comment, “Sense of humor is essential when faced with adversity. It's either that or curl into a ball and cry until you drown in your own self pity. SEAL’s don't quit.” Many people had tried to tell him he wasn't a SEAL anymore, that being discharged not matter how honorably stripped that accomplishment from him. He knew better though. Once a SEAL always a SEAL.
While she tapped away on the keyboard the male took the opportunity to study his surroundings. It was a small office, the acoustics didn't travel far which meant ample carpet padding and insulated walls. The faint tart, synthetic scent of paint still lingered hinting that she had colored the walls to suit her, marking her ownership and staking her claim in the little part of the building. He could imagine there were probably a few small personal touches scattered around the place, little things that gave it a homey feel without being overbearing. Who ever or what ever she was she was built for the job and she took great joy in it which meant the world to him. The last person he had dealt with had been bitter and mean, punching a lock for the money and benefits with no thought to the people she was meant to be helping.
Ryker perked up a bit as she spoke, his heart nearly jumping out of his chest before he had a chance to tell himself to chill out. One leg bent at the knee, his foot bobbing incessantly in agitation and excitement. Next month?! That was a blink in time, far better than he could have possibly imagined or even hoped for. Clearing his throat he gestured trying to keep his smile from growing too big, “Yeah, if there’s room on the list put me down. Please.” He added, the Stag nearly overjoyed enough to stand up and do a little happy dance. It wasn't a guarantee but it was a shot and that’s all he had ever asked for. He felt the urge to hug her which made him chuckle, needing to get his elation out in some way, shape, or form.
“Thank you,” he said it quite plainly, “I never thought I’d be in this situation much less hope for something as trivial as a dog.” Hope was such a small word to describe the way he had been feeling the last few months and yet it was the only word that came close. Reaching up he rubbed a hand against the back of his head, “I guess I should thank you for earlier too. Not many people can pull me out of an attack like that.” His voice was gruff with embarrassment and a bit of shame. Very few could understand the depth of fear that gripped a person that experienced panic attacks, the depth of less of control and the rolling tape of memories that flashed through the brain mercilessly. It was a terrifying and sobering experience.
She heard his muttering but didn’t say anything about it, it wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you commented on to a blind person after all. Instead the redhead turned her eyes around the room as they continued to speak. Argent loved this job but she also hated it too, it was rewarding to help people who had helped so many others but at the same time she felt like she could never really do enough and she hated the way the system limited her from resources she knew these people needed. Either way, she did her best with the little give she had and hoped to turn everyone’s day at least a little better when they left her office.
Argent laughed softly as he spoke about his name “I think it’s pretty cool, at least it sounds unique” she smiled softly, she had met a lot of Ryan’s in her life but not a lot of Rykers. Her name had always been unique to the point that a lot of people found it strange but she didn’t mind, it was an accurate reflection of the person she was and that was all that really mattered. It wasn’t the first time she had heard something like that from one of the veterans who came on, to them, it was a part of them they absorbed and it became a part of the person they were. “That’s a good outlook” she responded with a nod “You could teach my brother a few things” she chuckled thinking of Ery and the way he always wallowed.
Argent felt a sense of connection to this man despite meeting him only a few minutes before, she did with a lot of the people she helped, as she heard their stories and saw their adversities she developed a level of respect for them that she couldn’t even describe. That was why she wanted to find something, anything, that might help to make his life a little easier. Having been in this role a few months know she did know better than to even get her own hopes up and she did her best to manage expectations but on the days when things did work out, she knew she would go home with a smile on her lips.
“Great” she answered softly as she pulled open the application details before scanning over the entry requirements and ensuring there wasn’t anything that could specifically prevent him from applying to the programme. Thankfully, it seemed he was one of the few that regularly visited and kept up with his appointments which would definitely play in his favor. Her fingers continued to type on the keyboard as she entered the details before finally forwarding the application on to the approvals department. Argent knew the process usually took a full week but she hoped with advice from a supervisor she might be able to speed through the process.
He spoke as she was continuing to finish the last admin parts of the application, she smiled softly in response to his thanks, tilting her head to watch the way he expressed the things he was saying “Kinda feels like you’re 10 and begging your mom to buy you a puppy again hey” she chuckled “Never was a yes in my case” with all the travelling she did it hadn’t really been fair to get one in the isle. His second thanks however was very sincere, the redhead only saw what she did as the right thing to do but she took it regardless “You’re welcome” she answered “I’ve always been told I have a calming aura about me, I do my best to use it where I can” she chuckled softly, it was more supernatural than that but it wasn’t the place to be talking about supernatural abilities.
“Are you going to be okay to wait while I go and check with a supervisor?” she asked as raised to her feet and locked her computer. She then moved towards the door, opening it and stepping out into the hallway. Her slightly too high heels tapped loudly as she moved down the hallway and then she knocked on the door to her boss’ window and headed inside.
A light chuckle rolled past Ryker's lips, his hand brushing through sandy blonde hair as he shifted in his seat. “Yeah, I guess it does kinda feel like that. Or what I imagine asking a parent for a puppy would feel like.” He rubbed the back of his head a little awkwardly, smiling through his teeth as he thought about his childhood. “I never really had a stable enough home or a set of parental figures long enough to ask. I don't think the state would have tacked a dog onto my file anyway.” The foster system was a brutal beast that either made or broke the kids forced through the machine. He hadn't had it as bad as some but not as good as others either. Shrugging his fingers drummed against his knee, “Better late than never I guess. At least you're prettier than any mom I could have had.”
Laughing lightly he shifted again in his seat, anxiety kicking up a nervous energy that he couldn't seem to contain. Clearing his throat his head tilted to the side as she talked about having an aura and he barely contained his answering spotter of mirth. “You have no idea.” The words slipped past his lips before he had a chance to censor them, trying to cover his slip up by shifting in his seat again. Idly he chastised himself, the restlessness that crawled over his skin was becoming increasingly difficult to manage despite his years of training. She must think I look like a crack addict, he thought.
Thankfully she needed to step away for a few, her voice moving to the door as she asked her question. “Me? Oh sure, do what ya gotta do.” He waved her off, blowing out a huge breath once he could hear her heels clicking down the hall. Supervisor? That was more than he could have ever hoped for and it was going to even harder to contain his hopeful exuberance.
Argent pulled a face as she realized he had grown up in the foster system, some people just seemed to not get any luck at all, she thought as she imagined the life he must have had to go through up til now, she didn’t want him to think she pitied him however and so she kept the topic as lighthearted as she could, just like he seemed to be doing “Well I’m told, no matter how old you are there’s nothing like getting your first pet” she chuckled softly, Argent was as old as she was and she’d never had one, too much moving around to be fair on them. When he called her pretty sure laughed softly knowing full well he couldn’t possibly know that “I’ll take it” she mused as she raised to her feet.
Argent’s eyes widened a little as he spoke almost by reflex, she wondered what he meant by that? The redhead could tell that he was somewhat uncomfortable from the way he shifted in his seat and moved around more than most, she couldn’t pin what it was causing it though, all she could really do was hope it wasn’t her. Stepping out of the room Argent made her way down the hall and with a long breath she entered the room.
She was met with the usual judgmental stare she got whenever she entered the room, because she always seemed to show up here. Argent knew she was getting annoying and trying too much but that was just the person she was, she wouldn’t give up until all options had been exhausted. “This one’s different” she protected as she sat down beside her supervisor Jared and slid over Ryker’s file before she went to speak.
“He’s regularly been attending his meetings since coming to Evermore, he’s sober” she paused on that one remembering his erratic actions from earlier but shook it off “He just needs a break and I think this opportunity will be perfect” she gave Jared a few moments to look it over. Argent purposely leaned close to the grumpy male knowing the affect her presence had on people, why not use it for good every now and again right.
After a few moments he gave a defeated sigh ‘He’s not been through bonding, it may not work out the way you hope’ Argent knew that but that was a pointless reason not to try, the dogs were almost trained and were due to go out to their new homes in a matter of weeks, it would be a waste for one of them not to move into the job they were meant to do “Just give me the chance” she pleased to which Jared simply signed the expedition papers and passed them back to her uttering a ‘Don’t make me regret this’ as she headed out the door.
With a bright smile on her lips she clutched the papers to her chest as she headed back to the room she had left Ryker to wait in. With a long breath she sat herself back in her chair and got ready to explain “Okay so it’s good news, they’ve agreed to expedite the process” she explained as she set the papers down on the desk “but the amount of preparation required will be cut to a much shorter time so you’ll need to come in more often to work on bonding with the dog and also learning the basics of how to let your dog help you” she nodded softly reeling through the usual stuff, though she couldn’t hide the smile from her lips knowing this would be the chance he really needed.
Time seemed to stand still the moment she left the room, the clock on the wall ticked a little louder and the silence was almost deafening. Ryker couldn’t help but reflect on the change in his usual preferences, ever since losing his sight his other senses had become more acute. Smells became more pronounced, so much so that he couldn’t be around many people due to their natural or man made scents. It was then that he noticed how many males out on too much after shave and which women to avoid due to over perfuming. Touch became both his portal to the world and something he tried to avoid at all costs, his sense of touch magnified to the point that some forms of physical stimulation were almost painful. Taste of course became more pronounced and he had no complaints there.
His hearing became the hardest to deal with, the one part of his perception that gave him the most information and yet caused him the most headaches. He normally heard everything, from the heavy breather sleeping down the hall from him to the humming of one of the people who had been sitting across the room from him. Orion had often joked around that his blindness was his super power, as his depths of perception was almost on a level with Spiderman and Daredevil combined. He begged for those blissful moments when there was silence, nothing for him to hear or listen to and yet as he sat in the empty room the silence was suffocating.
His leg bobbing up and down, nervous sweat dripping down his back as he tried to breathe normally while attempting to keep his calm. Hope hadn’t been an emotion he knew very well, every time he allowed himself to hope it more often than not got dashed in some brutal fashion. Ryker had felt more in control once he joined the Navy, taking his life into his own hands and working for everything he had and wanted. Just when he had gotten settled in with him team, building relationships and staking a claim for himself in the world everything had exploded in his face. Literally. Events even more out of his control had lead him to Evermore and in a situation that was right out a science fiction novel. Or an original supernatural website for people who liked to write.
Blowing out a breath the male leaned forward, running his hands through his hair just as the door opened again. He shot to his feet, taking a step back so that he didn’t startle the person walking in with his sudden movement. It was her, the bright star that seemed to float through the space of darkness that was his view on the world. Her words hit him like a ton of bricks, the anxiety that had been coursing through his system like molten lava met the sudden cold wash of disbelieving relief creating a geyser of uncontrolled steaming gratitude. His knees gave out the more she explained, tears springing to his eyes as he crashed to the ground.
“You have no idea…” He choked on a sob, his head bowing in shame and relief and a strange euphoria that made him light headed. Finally something was going right, something in his life was turning his way and he couldn’t bring himself to care that he was crying in front of a stranger. A strange women to boot.
As Argent was speaking she kept her eyes on him, waiting to see the way his face would light up as he realized he was finally getting the break he needed but as she spoke she noticed the way his whole body buckled from underneath him as if he was completely overwhelmed. Naturally she moved towards him her hands hovering in the air as she got ready to steady him if he was about to crash into something. Instead she found herself sitting on the ground besides him and waiting as he processed this moment. She had to admit that seeing the disbelief and gratitude on his face was enough to make all the complaining she was going to get after this worth it.
Argent reached out to out her hand on his shoulder shaking it a little with a smile “I don’t” she answered understandingly, she really didn’t understand how these veterans could go through so much and still come out the other side in one piece and she didn’t understand how this country, or anyone really, could treat the heroes who put their own lives on the line like they didn’t matter when they came home. To her it was completely foreign and it made her angry. That was why she always wanted to go above and beyond for them.
Now that he had managed to get himself at least a little together she continued her explanation of what was going to happen next. She didn’t think this would be easy for him, there was a lot to learn and not a lot of time to do so but she had the feeling if anyone could make something of this it was him. “You’ll need to fill out a bunch more forms and have a home visit to make sure everything you have is in order” she kept speaking softly retracting her hand and slowly pushing herself to her feet before she offered her hand out to the sandy blonde male touching her fingertips gently against his arm so he knew what she was doing.
“And now that the boring part is out of the way, would you like to come with me to meet your new companion to be?” she smirked a little already knowing what the answer to that would be, that was the single most exciting moment of the whole program and one she often went out of her way to be present for. Lucky for them, there was currently a session ongoing and the pup who’d had their new owner drop out of the program she was sure would be excited to meet their new partner.
It took a little bit of time, his mind slowly churning through some of the mantras he had been taught that helped him get his head back on straight. Slowly his body quit shaking and the tears dried up, allowing his head to clear enough that he could function without falling apart. Argent’s hand on his shoulder was a constant, providing a steady presence that centered the world as he came back into himself. It was embarrassing really, the way his mind could spazz out at any point and time, never asking his opinion before doing so. Orion had been witness to one of these freakouts and afterwards, he had questions about some of the things he had been mumbling. Which was always awkward when you say things about shootouts and bodies, calling in airstrikes and the like.
Once his mind was back on straight Ryker managed to get back on his feet, lowering himself into the chair once more. She was talking, letting him know that as usual there was all kinds of red tape in the form of paperwork and a home visit? He lived in the faction house with the other Therians, a home visit sounded bad but he would do anything at this point to get some much-needed help. If he talked to Orion he was pretty sure the Alpha would help out, get things in order once he knew how important this all was. Most of the pack was in and out of the place most days anyway if timed right it would be smooth sailing. Or at least he was hoping that was going to be the case.
His head tilted at her question, excitement shooting through his body manifesting itself as he shot to his feet. “Now?! Really? Hell yeah!” He nearly shouted, chuckling as he clapped a hand over his mouth, that old SEAL voice coming back into play. “Sorry.” He grinned, holding out his hand so that she could place it on her shoulder to guide him along. Taking out his white stick, he followed her to wherever they were going. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me today. This may not work out, I know that, but it’s nice to know there is someone here that cares.”