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Take It Back

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By this point in your life, getting pulled into situations beyond your control shouldn’t even register as problematic to you anymore. For the last two years, at the very least, it’s been the most reliable element of your life - when in doubt, expect some important person in your life to drag you into something you have zero idea how to deal with but somehow manage anyways. So really, when your partner comes up with another one of his brilliant but slightly odd ideas, you shouldn’t be surprised (and yet you are, because the last time he was so sure of something led you out into the middle of freaking nowhere and you’re not sure you can handle anything else on that level right now).

”We’re gonna have to do something,” he says offhandedly, like it’s only just crossed his mind. “Once we fully get rid of the Patriots… there’s going to be a void.”

You whirl around and glare at him, trying to channel your mother as much as possible. “And you’re going to fill it?” On second thought, maybe ‘bad idea’ is an understatement here - absolute most questionable thing you have ever heard in your life might be a better description.

"Not me," he counters, still keeping a safe distance from you. If nothing else, you can’t help thinking, Bass has an extremely good sense of when to duck. "Not directly, at least. No, I was thinking… you."

"Me?" Frustration turns to shock, and you wonder if this is even happening or if your subconscious is just having fun with you yet again. "Why me? I don’t know anything and you think I should try to run a damn country?!”

"That’s why," he replies, and you can tell he’s trying not to laugh. "Because you’re good, Charlie. You could be different, not corrupted and drunk on power like I was.”

"Still doesn’t change the fact that I wouldn’t know what I was doing." Yet another understatement for your list, you think. Your experience with being in charge of people is limited at best - intermittent attempts at babysitting when you were younger (after a while people stopped asking you to look after their kids) and that incident with the mercenaries a while back (which went well enough but then again there were five of them). How any of that compares to what’s being suggested, you have no idea, but…

"You won’t be alone," your partner says, almost as if reading your mind. "You’ll have me… Miles if he ever comes around to the idea…"

"Yeah, because he’s going to be thrilled enough as it is when he finds out about us." Not that there’s much to find out, you remind yourself, but it’s the theory of the beast. "But really… why me? Why not your kid?" Never mind that you can think of some valid reasons why that’s a bad idea - right now you want details, as many as you can get and as quick as you can get them. If this thing’s going to happen, as you’re starting to fear it probably will, you don’t want any unnecessary surprises.

"Because you’re incorruptible, Charlie. If you could go dark… you would’ve by now, and you haven’t." He pauses, takes a deep breath and a step towards you, and you’re pretty sure this is the first time you’ve ever seen him look nervous. “It’s what drew me to you, why… why I love you.”

"I still think you’re crazy," you mutter, but as usual your brain isn’t processing things as quickly as it should and… wait, he loves you?! Far as you’ve seen, he doesn’t throw that word around the way some people do, and it’s in that moment that you make your choice. “But I’ll do it. On my terms. No pointless destruction this time. Better than things were.”

"I knew you’d be good at this."

"Haven’t really done anything yet," you shrug.

"But you’re going to. We’re going to get everything back and you’re going to make everything better."

"So how do we start?"

"Same way we did the first time - do what we’re doing now, wander and help people and collect allies. Considering it’s either us or the bastards in beige right now… shouldn’t be too hard."

God, do you hope he’s right...