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Captured Memories

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Once Gene gave Rachel a thorough examination, they settled her in her old room for the night. He wished whatever was wrong with his baby girl was physical, a problem he could understand and try to fix, but it wasn't- according to Miles, Rachel just "shut down" for no reason. He knew that there was more to the story, knew that Rachel was strong and stubborn and it must have been one hell of an emotional trauma for her to just give up; but Miles wasn't going to give him any answers, not yet anyway and all he could do was try to take care of Rachel, support her and coax her out of wherever her mind retreated to.

"Hi," a voice startled him out of his reverie. He looked up and gave Charlie a tired smile.

"Hi, yourself," he said, gesturing for her to come into the kitchen. "Can I get you anything?"

"I'm fine, thanks," Charlie said politely, as she joined him at the kitchen table. The two sat in silence for a moment, not quite knowing what to say and too tired for small talk. Gene couldn't take his eyes off her- Charlie, his granddaughter, alive and here in his kitchen. He kept looking at her, memorizing her face, trying to reconcile it with the five year old girl he could still remember.

He missed out on so much- he's been absent from most of her life and she probably didn't even remember him; he wasn't sure yet what he meant to her or how much she even wanted him in her life, beyond giving her a place to stay and caring for her mother. Gene wanted to reach out and grab her hand, to envelop her in a tight hug, but he was worried about overstepping his bounds, about driving her away or pushing too hard, too soon.

"Have you seen Miles?" Charlie finally broke the silence, eyes aimlessly roaming over the kitchen.

"He went outside to get some 'fresh air'," Gene said with a tight grin. "I think he's avoiding me."


"Because I scare him."

"What?" Charlie chuckled in surprise. "Really? Miles doesn't scare easily."

"Never underestimate the power of disapproving in-laws," Gene told her conspiratorially, grinning slightly.

"I'll keep that in mind," Charlie grinned back.

"I want to show you something," Gene got up and headed to the living-room, Charlie following him curiously. He went to the bookshelves and took down a few albums. "I don't know if you saw a lot of family pictures growing up..."

"A few, not a lot," Charlie said, standing next to him, shifting on her feet. "We moved around a lot in the first few years, we had to take only the essentials."

"Right, that's what I thought. Please, sit," he indicated the couch and they both sat down. He opened the first album. "This is your Grandmother, Ruth."

"She was beautiful," Charlie said with a smile, as he showed her more pictures. "I wish I could remember her."

"I'll tell you about her, if you'd like," Gene said with a sad smile, pausing at a picture of the two of them on their wedding day, before moving on.

"I'd like that," Charlie gave him a warm smile; she reached out and grasped his hand. A moment passed, before Gene continued to go through the album, showing her pictures of her mom as a baby and growing up; her parents on their wedding day; the whole family together and a few baby pictures of her and Danny. A whole lifetime, captured in pictures. They spent an hour going through them, with Gene's gentle voice narrating the chosen moments and giving her back pieces of her history she will never fully recover.