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It's a Dinner, Not a Disaster

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Sara sat at her desk, frowning heavily at the screen in front of her and praying for patience. Any deity would do. She groaned and let her face fall against the table, rubbing her it against the cold surface.

You would think that finding Meridian and beating up Archon would mean that she could get Nexus off her back, but no…

She slowly lifted her head and let it fall again. And again. And once more. The last time was just to get a nice number of them. From the reflection of her table she could see SAM flickering in a way she had started to recognize meant that it was worried, but it said nothing. She groaned again, louder and longer this time, and hoped for a miracle.

The door whooshed open and Vetra waltzed in, grinning deviously. She stopped when she saw Sara and the state she was in, and she tilted her head worriedly. Sara just gave her a tired smile, but Vetra didn’t look fooled.

“They said no?”

Sara raised her head a bit and nodded miserably, pouting. Vetra sighed, her mandibles drooping in a lack of surprise. “Let me guess, too much to do, too many problems needing solving, someone farted at the wrong time and a new war is starting…”

Sara snorted and straightened her back from the slump. Her face shedded the out and a true smile started to take over, and she said, “Something like that.”

Vetra pulled up a chair and sat next to her, patting her back comfortingly. “We knew it was a long shot, but we can still arrange something.”

“Yeah. I would really like to meet Sid without some life-threatening danger or being asked to do some sort of mission, to get to really know her.”

“Meeting Scott is one of my wishes too. I would like to know him beyond your stories.” Vetra sounded a bit rueful, so Sara stood up and leaned against her. Vetra had met Scott in passing, but they were all always so busy that they hadn’t even managed to have a one conversation beyond greetings.

“Just a warning, Scott REALLY wants to meet you. He has started to threaten the coffee maker.”

Vetra gave out a loud trill, her mandibles twitching in her mirth.

“Don’t laugh! It’s a very excessive and a serious threat, and I may never be the same,” Sara pouted. Vetra started to calm down, but still let out few low trills. Sara decided to be magnanimous and ignored them for the sake of domestic peace.

“I think we could manage a dinner in Meridian? With Sid and Scott?”

Vetra moved her mandibles in shock. “At the same time?” she took a considering look. “It will either be a great success or an enormous disaster.”

“Such positivity. It will be fine.”

***

She had jinxed it.

They had decided that they would cook their own food, Vetra cooking the dextro-based food and Sara the levo-based. Except Sara had reached for what she had thought were normal seasonings, and had managed to coat everything in it before Vetra had realized and informed her that it was dextro.

Then Vetra had burned all of her and Sid’s food. Sara felt impressed, she hadn’t realized how quickly it could turn into charcoal without actual fire.

In the end they had gotten some ready-made, add-some-water soup things that had managed to hide inside the pantry. They had eaten them before on one trip to Eos, and had tasted alright. And thse were the only thing they did have time make, so she heated them up and poured them on the bowls and hoped for the best.

Except Sara had tasted one of them and it was foul. She gagged hard enough to truly fear that she was going to throw up all over the table. Vetra stood there, stunned and then there was a firm knock on the door.

For a second, Vetra and Sara shared a same look of horror, freezing them both in place. Then there was another knock and Sara made herself move while Vetra quickly tasted the dextro soup. Sara could hear her yowl of disgust, but didn’t turn to look.

Behind the door was Scott, smiling widely. The first thing he did was to throw his arms around Sara and yell: “SIS!”

Sara struggled to free her airway from her brother’s biceps and managed to stab him in the ribs with her elbow. “We saw each other five hours ago!”

“But this is the official Meet The Family-dinner! Can’t wait to see Sid. And Vetra too.” He added like an afterthought.

“Thank you,” said Vetra drily.

“You are welcome,” and then blinked. “What… are you doing?” Vetra was pouring the soups down the drain, looking disgusted.

“There were mishaps. You got any food?”

***

When Sid came, there were opened rations in all their square, brownish glory presented on plates, with napkins folded in a desperate attempt to make the dinner look fancier than it actually was.

Sara would probably find it hilarious later, but right now she was far too stressed to appreciate the humour. Scott had no such restraints, and was cackling in the corner, back turned at them.

Sara was going to kick him in the ass.

***

After some mild violence between her and Scott they were all sitting at the table and desperately trying to figure out what to talk about. Scott was still giggling periodically, and even Vetra's mandibles were twitching, and Sara couldn't help but feel a bit betrayed.

Sid was sitting suspiciously still, barely moving a muscle. Sara squinted at her. Vetra liked to make Sid sound like a perfect angel, but as a true younger sister Sara knew how much bullshit it was.

“So – what happened?” Sid’s voice was filled with innocent confusion. Thoughts raced through Sara’s head as she tried very hard to figure out how to tell all of it without revealing all of her impressive curse stock.

Then she realized that Sid was grinning like a mischievous cat. That little –

“Burning, contamination, and something weird with the soup.” Vetra answered tersely, but Sara could hear the edges of humour there.

Was she the only one still stressing over all of this?

“Did you pour the soup packages into boiling water?” asked Scott matter-of-factly. Sara froze, mind stilling. Had she? Sara had been the one to make them, she had put the water on the pots, poured the bags in and…

Gods damnit, she had put them on boil only afterwards.

Scott was smiling at her, baring all of his teeth like he knew exactly what she was thinking. “Yeah, there’s your answer. Those things taste awful if you don’t follow the instructions and only warm them up afterwards.”

Sara’s head was starting to boil. They had thrown out four perfectly good soups!

Vetra couldn’t help herself, she burst out laughing. Sara tried to make her stop by slapping her in the arm, but Vetra only dodged her, laughing harder. Sid was smiling like a devil, enjoying her sister’s laughter, and Scott – he looked like he was never going to forget any of this.

Sara gave up and joined Vetra in her laughter. It wasn’t like she could do anything else.

When Sara finally managed to take a bite of the travel bar sitting innocently on her plate, Scott ended up having to give her the Heimlich maneuver when a crumb ended up lodging into her airway and making her choke. He also managed to break her rib.

Doctor Carlyle wasn’t very impressed.