I spent a lot of time with Charles over the next few days. It was what he wanted – to talk, to listen, to just spend time together by ourselves. He would call me to his office telepathically or come and find me pretty much any time I wasn’t occupied with leading the team or teaching or in advisement sessions. The rest of the team backed off and just left Charles and me alone.
I was surprised he turned to me. I’d prepared myself for just the opposite – Charles avoiding me.
It’s not that being alone together was an unusual pattern after a traumatic mission. We’ve done this before, particularly after an unsuccessful one, or a successful one with a fatality. It’s a hard time for all the team, but as their leader it hits me a little differently. The official post-mission debriefing was only the beginning of the process I’d have to go through. Charles generally was my main support and sounding board. He has been ever since I became field leader.
It’s a complicated relationship – he’s my boss, my teacher, my friend. My father, too. The only parent I have left. Not a biological tie, but a real kinship nonetheless, one born of caring and commitment and all we’ve been through together. He and I are very close – we always have been – but I still didn’t expect him to be there for me this time and was surprised he wanted me there for him, too. I didn’t know what this would do to our relationship. What do you do when your son kills your oldest friend?
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This series begins at http://mofic.livejournal.com/31235.html and is also available here
Summers in a Sea of Glory is a sequel to Returning Spring, which in turn was a sequel to After the Fall.