Arsenal comes to get me, just a little bit late for lunch, knocking tentatively at my doorframe. “Hey, Agent Kuiper,” he calls out.

“You can call me Travis, you know,” I tell him, “everyone else does.”

He shrugs and laughs a little. “Sorry, Teach. Are you coming to lunch? We’re all waiting.”

I blink. I hadn’t realized I’d be meeting up with the team already, but I probably should’ve checked my schedule anyway. I feel a little silly for getting so caught up in lesson plans. I follow him down the hall, expecting to turn, but he veers off towards a meeting room instead of the mess. Of course he does. What’s a new team without a horrible meeting to start it off?

“Hi, Teke,” they all say, with varying degrees of derision for the name.

I manage to wave to them.

Hunch grins at me from the head of the table and slides over a sandwich. The slick plastic glides smoothly over the laminate in that slightly sickening way pre-packaged food always has going on. “Nice to finally have you on my team,” he says.

I like the fact that Hunch is team lead. I like the fact that Arsenal’s on the team, too, because at least I can look out for the kid. He is, by the way, entering his senior year of high school, even if he is eighteen – not college age at all. I wonder when school starts for him, or if he took today as a sick day just so he could come to the meeting. Any reason to skip school, I guess. And I know Sass in passing, at least (she’s friends with Apogee), although I don’t think we’ve said much more than ‘hi’. I don’t like the food, but you win some you lose some.

Boomerang I don’t know, but I did just read his file, so close enough. Stranglehold I’ve worked with a couple of times, although I don’t remember if we’ve ever had an actual conversation.  Bartok and Laces I’ve never met before, but I’ve heard good things.

Aside from Stranglehold and Sass, we’re all ranged fighters, though, (I mean, they’re fine with a gun, not SWAT certified, that I know of, but fine), not a great mix of powers, and Hunch being basically inherently a coordinator, and the hats working better alone. Not that we can’t all do hand to hand – I’ve seen Arsenal with knives, and staves, and even nunchuks that one time, which was pretty impressive, although he still prefers a baton. And he hasn’t even graduated yet. I really wonder whether that’s healthy for him, but I can only take him unarmed, so there’s that.

Okay, Boomerang may be a problem, but I’m sure he’ll learn.

Oh, fuck, I need to check if someone’s set up the kids’ karate instructor yet, or if I have to find one. I feel like there must be some that work for us. Maybe they work on contract.

Hunch is going over open cases , but at the moment, the only schedules we need to work around are Arsenal’s and mine, and I’m pretty much backup while we’re out investigating, plus not doing most of the research, so it doesn’t actually matter to me which cases we pick up. Also, I have no idea what’s been done for any of them, so it’s a little hard to follow along. He does bring up the Vivisection Killer, momentarily, but we’re playing hot potato with the FBI on that one, so I doubt it’ll fall to us, given that I have other things to do and Arsenal’s clearly too young to be here, goddamn.

Ugh, I hope the kids don’t think we’re going to go out and ‘fight crime’.

Boomerang keeps staring at me, but the rest of them are at least professional enough to wait until they go back to their desks to read everyone else’s file. Looking at his face, he’s even more excited about that prospect than Arsenal is. He was probably in the kids’ program, too, wherever he’s from; it wasn’t linked from his file, but I bet it will be in a week or two. His power shouldn’t be too hard to trace.

Or he’s just excited about fucking up bad guys. In which case, he will be in for a treat.

I wipe the sandwich grease off my fingers with one of those tiny napkins that falls apart as soon as you pick it up, and manage to get that little bit of congealed cheese out from under my fingernail. Someone passes me a soda, which would have been nice to wash that sandwich down with if anyone had bothered to mention we had any, thanks, and a bag of chips. Barbeque, so that’s one up on the usual meeting. Hunch is the best team lead.

Darren only likes pizza flavor, which is why his team hates him.

Boomerang’s glaring at Arsenal, now, and I wonder what provoked that, because I think I would’ve noticed if they’d been talking at each other, and the high schooler doesn’t even seem to notice, so it can’t be that. I think maybe he’s just realized that he’s the only one here who’s only on the on-call team and doesn’t have anything else to do. Maybe I’ll ask him to help tutor the kids; that’ll help him feel a little more adult.

On second thought, better not, not until he learns the safety guidelines. (Unless he really was attacked, in which case mea culpa and I feel bad for thinking that.)

But Hunch and Arsenal are on standby for SuperSWAT, and Bartok and Laces have Flight Crew, and Stranglehold and Sass do all the press work, and I’m training the kids.

I think it’s because he’s just realized Arsenal is (just barely) younger than he is but has a better handle on his weapons.

Ugh, note to self, stop having thoughts like that. Especially if you’re going to be talking to the kids, Travis, don’t you dare think they’re going to let that go.

The rest of the meeting goes on in such a way that I can mostly ignore it for some indeterminate length of time. We break for the gym and throw each other around a little bit (except for the Flight Crew, who aren’t suited up, so just spar with each other), and I’m tired enough that my TK’s erratic enough to be interesting. (Just unpredictable enough to trip up my teammates, not unpredictable enough to have Hunch sending me off to the shrink again.) I manage to throw Boomerang against the wall once, which feels a little better than it probably should’ve, but he stops giving me suspicious looks and actually hi-fives me on the way to the locker room, so, progress.

Of course, I did forget a change of clothes and now I have to wear logo sweats home if I want anything clean. Sweet spot between being able to trust Darren to bring spares and remembering that I’m going to have to change anyway instead of strapping armor on over what I’m wearing. I really hope I get in that habit soon and also that there’s still a change for me stashed in his locker.

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