I head back up to my office, and someone’s sitting in my chair. It’s not Vector, because she was walking the other way, and, also, she doesn’t do the backwards chair looming thing (usually). I sort of freeze in the doorway, stock still while the high-backed chair spins incrementally around.
I also gasp dramatically.
“Heya, TK,” Walker says, with a grin.
“Red,” I greet him. “What, no cat?”
He shrugs. “You know how they are about carryons these days.”
“Oh, well, guess it’d be far too much trouble to check one just for pranks,” I say.
Walker laughs and bounds out of the chair to give me a hug. “With what they charge you to check extra? Please, not even if I found a 25 pound cat.”
I hug him back. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Long weekend,” he tells me.
“Uh-huh,” I agree. “And what possessed you to spend your long weekend in my office?”
He rolls his eyes. “I’ve been here ten minutes tops, and I was playing Sudoku. If you must know, Half-pint’s getting settled in to UCJC and the progenitors want me to make sure nothing goes wrong.”
“Aw, she picked your alma mater after all?” I say.
Walker chuckles. “What can I say? I’m very convincing.”
“If they wanted to make sure nothing went wrong, you were a hell of a bad pick,” I add.
“Why do you think I’m over here instead of over there?” he agrees. “What’s Darren up to? I haven’t seen him around.”
“No, he’s on the early schedule, these days,” I explain.
“Damn, really? At least you’ve stuck to your guns, although I never saw you turning mask, how’s that working out?” Walker shakes his head at me.
“I was on early up until, like, two weeks ago,” I tell him, “because I am an adult and don’t drink until all hours of the fucking night anymore, Walker, how’ve you been?”
“Holding my liquor,” he pronounces. “By the way, Travis the elder sends his regards.”
“You’ve been working with my uncle,” I verify.
Walker grins. “What? I told you I moved to the Big Apple.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t tell me you were on cat-wrangling,” I say. “It’s a big city. And he hasn’t mentioned you.”
“I don’t think he likes me,” Walker says. “All ‘I’m busy, Walker, fuck off’ this and ‘I’m busy, Walker, fuck off’ that.”
“So he tells me, the weirdest origin story I ever heard, my nephew got his powers saving a cat,” Walker takes me by both shoulders, “and I said that’s so weird the exact same thing happened to Fox.”
“That,” I say, “was an extremely pointless story, not even making it to the level of funny misunderstanding, because no hijinks could possibly ensue, and also because it was instantly resolved.”
“Well, I don’t know, we stopped someone from kidnapping the president immediately afterwards,” Walker argues. “That’s hijinks, right? Wacky, even.”
“Right,” I say, “the president of what?”
“Some coffee shop, I don’t know,” Walker says, “but you like coffee, you should be happy.”
“I’m so happy you got the coffee president home safe and sound,” I dutifully inform him.
“Alright, so what are we doing this weekend?” Walker asks.
“We?” I laugh. “You just show up unannounced and expect me to play tour guide?”
“It was not unannounced. I told at least Darren and Ash,” he says, offended.
“Ash doesn’t work here anymore,” I remind him.
“What? That fucker,” Walker says, “why am I never informed of these things?”
“I don’t know, maybe being on the wrong coast does something to your listening skills?” I offer. “But if you want to go up to Harbor and visit, be my guest.”
“Ash moved to Harbor,” Walker repeats. “Why am I not surprised?”
“You’re not surprised Harbor has a tower of its very own?” I tease, “I figured you would be.”
“A tower!” Walker yells, putting a hand to his chest, “I just assumed dear Ashley got fired!”
“Without you around? Not likely,” I say.
“I only pinned maybe four or five things on you guys, and no one believed a word of it,” Walker says, “well, except that time I said you broke the vending machine, but you have to admit, you were glaring at it pretty hard pretty much every day, so you should really give me that one.”
I pat him on the shoulder and send him off to harass other agents.
“This weekend, Travis,” he reminds me, making finger guns.
I do not know why I’m friends with that guy, I really don’t. I wave. I pull out my phone.
“You will not guess who just showed up,” I tell Darren.
“Um,” Darren says. “What, at the office?”
“Yes, Darren, at the office, I would appreciate a little warning if Walker’s about to appear,” I say.
Darren laughs. “If I’d warned you, you’d have set out candy, and you’d never be able to get him to leave. At least this way he’s run off to talk to…oh, Carmen, at a guess.”
“Pray for her soul,” I advise him.
“Now, now, Travis, I’m pretty sure she actually likes him,” he tells me.
“Sure, now that she only has to deal with him in small doses,” I agree.
“Well, lucky you, he’s only down for a week,” Darren tells me, “and play nice, or he’s going to say terrible things when he gets back and you know how upstairs feels about that.”
“Yes, I’m sure he’ll tell my uncle just exactly how poorly I reflect on JCity,” I say. “God, I bet he got me one of those awful shirts with the huge worm in the cape.”
“I’ll take it,” Darren offers cheerfully.