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ladyfirestarter wrote in milliways_bar
Charlie McGee is in the bar, sitting by the fireplace with a glass of iced tea.

She hasn't picked up her package yet, but she'll probably get to it sometime this evening. Probably.

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And, wandering in from the lakeside and headed for the bar, is another Charlie.

Well, Charles. Close.

He orders cocoa, turns to glance around the bar, and brightens -- as ever -- when he spots Charlie.

She catches sight of him, brightens correspondingly, and waves.

A wave in return.

He greets her with "Happy Memorial Day," as he takes a seat. "Assuming it is Memorial Day for you."

"It is, yeah. A few of our transient staff went home for the long weekend."

"Do you get any kind of break? Besides" -- he waves at the bar -- "coming here, that is."

"Nothing regular on the calendar," she says, a little ruefully. "If I need time off, I have to make arrangements for it."

"Do you ever take advantage of that?"

"I have," she admits, "but not often. Last time was around January, and I probably won't again for a while."

She says it calmly, without any particular wistfulness or resentment.

"I used to get to travel on business a lot more often, but ... not so much, these days."

"January was when you . . ." He waves a hand, laughs at the ineffectiveness of the gesture. "Your power. When you dealt with that?"

She chuckles. "Yes, that. It wasn't the kind of thing I could do just over a weekend."

Beat.

"...Not that I have weekends off, or anything." And that's a touch rueful, this time.

He smiles, equally rueful.

"Saving the world's not really a forty-hour work week."

She raises her glass in acknowledgement of that.

"So what have you been up to, Charles?"

"Nothing much, except work weeks, I'm afraid." He raises his mug. "I've been looking into going back to school in the fall, though."

"Oh?" Charlie leans forward, interest brightening her eyes. "What are you taking?"

"More literature, less science. Something that'll challenge me. It gave my advisor fits."

She chuckles. "What, is he worried you're not going to make your requirements?"

"Not exactly. I missed more than a year and a half of school. He figures I'll graduate when I graduate." He grins ruefully. "He's afraid I'll change my major."

"From what to what?"

Charlie sips her tea. "You told me once, I think, but I've forgotten."

"Physics. To English, or something equally un-prestigious."

Amused again: "And what are the chances of that? -- I know Zillah would approve."

He laughs. "I don't know. Better than they used to be. How's Zillah?"

"She's doing well."

A pause, and Charlie looks suddenly thoughtful.

"That's good." He tilts his head. "What is it?"

"Mm ... something I've been meaning to ask you about, actually." Her smile's a little awkward. "It's in the nature of a favor, I'm afraid."

He looks intrigued. "By all means."

"I need someone who knows the kids, and gets along with them well," she starts to explain, "who doesn't already work at the Taos complex. There's something I want to try out, with one of the kids to start with, and I'll need help."

Half a grin. "I think I'm three for three. What are you wanting to try?"

She starts to explain.

The plan's ambitious, and not entirely without risk. And if she knew what Michael Copeland's people are telling him right now, she might think better of it.

But she doesn't know. And by the time she finds out, it'll already be in motion.

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