ladyfirestarter: (in the dark)
[personal profile] ladyfirestarter
It's not until Charlie gets home to Taos that she realizes she can't find the kouros. It's usually on her bedside table when she isn't carrying it; no one who has access to her personal quarters would have moved it. And she can't remember whether or not she brought it with her to New York.

Some of her luggage is still packed. She goes through it painstakingly, one piece at a time, and then goes through the pockets of all the items she has unpacked, including the ones in the laundry hamper -- and pays for the exertion with about forty minutes spent sitting on the floor of her closet, leaning against the wall, eyes closed, halfway to unconsciousness.

It's not there. It's not there, and she decides to call the hotel to ask if they've found a little clay figurine in her room, because that's the only place left it could be. Moving carefully, bracing against the wall to get to her feet, she starts toward the door -- and then catches herself before she embarks on an equally futile search for her cellphone.

If I weren't so tired, she thinks distantly, it wouldn't have taken me this long.

Her cellphone was in the pocket of her jeans, that night. The jeans that were incinerated along with everything else she was wearing, when she destroyed Black Thirteen.

And the kouros was in the other pocket. Destroyed or lost.

The cellphone will be replaced in the next day or two. The kouros ... no telling.




She's got to let Prometheus know somehow.

The note is brief, and reads: Prometheus: I'm sorry I couldn't get word to you sooner. I'm fine, but I lost the kouros in a fight -- I'll tell you all about it when I see you. Charlie.

She rereads it, and the scribbles at the bottom P.S.: please let me know when you get this. -C.

First thing the following morning, she takes it to Milliways and leaves it with Bar.

A week later, there's been no response.




The real problem with being constantly tired isn't the physical aspect; it's the mental. She's not going to let her work fall behind, she refuses to do that, but as the days go by she has correspondingly less energy to focus on anything else.

When something big comes up, like attending the memorial service at Tet, the thin margin of spare focus narrows down to nothing.

She has to go to Milliways to see if he's gotten her note, she tells herself every night for two weeks; and every night she agrees, says I will, and somehow never manages it.

The trip is something of a blur, but the memorial itself stands out in sharp relief; she watches Rose Toren standing at the podium, tall and young and strong, saying there is only one side. There is only one enemy. There is only this -- white over red.

It makes the weariness recede, even if only for a moment; and when Rose says We are ka-tet, she raises her voice with the rest to say We are one from many.



After the memorial she needs Michael Copeland's help to make it to the car.




By the first week in August, she's adjusted. Going to bed earlier, pacing herself, learning her new limits. She doesn't need the walking stick all the time anymore (but still carries it, in case she should). The emotional exhaustion's receded almost completely, and she's starting to feel something like normal again -- or at least to feel that maybe she can handle the new normal.

Two months? Has it really been over two months?

There are people at Milliways she wants to see, and a note she wants to check on. An hour, maybe, tonight. Not longer. She'll set her watch.

One hour.

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ladyfirestarter

May 2014

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