A/N This story exists in the same little world as Stubborn Habits but the two don't really have anything to do with each other. Badass Charlie is here, she's just going to come later. For the most part she's just smart ass Charlie in this chapter. But the badass will return I promise! Let me know what you guys think! :-)
"I hate rain!" Conner looked up at the dark sky and groaned for what seemed like the millionth time. The rain poured down on them relentlessly, soaking them from head to toe.
"I hate listening to you whine." Miles was practically screaming, but the rain was coming down so hard it was hard to hear yourself think, none the less hear someone else talk. Charlie heard him though.
"If you grab Monroe, I'll shoot Conner. Then we won't have to listen to him anymore." The look on her face made it obvious that she really wanted to shoot something. Or someone, either way.
"You guys do know I can hear you right?" Charlie and Miles both turned around to see Monroe frowning at them. "And why is it necessary for Miles to grab me?"
"Have you met yourself? Anybody tries to hurt that kid and you'll go all General on their ass. We may be on the same side now, but that's like baiting a bear. I'm good, but I'm not that good." She saw Monroe's mouth move and he shook his head, but she had no idea what he said.
"We need to find a dry place to stay. This whole trip will be pointless if we all get pneumonia and die." Miles looked around the empty landscape as if he thought an inn with roaring fires, warm beds, and good whisky would pop up out of nowhere.
"I saw and old road sign a way back, it said there was a town five miles up. Maybe we'll get lucky and there's still some people there." Monroe's voice somehow managed to penetrate the harsh winds and they both nodded. Conner wasn't paying attention to them. He was walking along the edge of the concrete trying to get some cover from the trees lining the road.
"Let's hope so. I don't feel like testing out Charlie's bear baiting theory." Monroe rolled his eyes and Charlie laughed. They all gathered their jackets tighter around themselves and picked up their pace. A fire and a bed sounded great right now.
They didn't have to wait long though. About half a mile later they came to a turn in the road, and just around the corner they could see fires burning up ahead. However, as they neared the 'city' they realized it wasn't a city at all. It was some sort of military base, surrounded by a wall that had been constructed out of everything from lumber to old, and moldy mattresses.
Before they had a chance to decide whether or not they wanted to stick around, the gate opened. Several soldiers, wearing uniforms they didn't recognize, came out with their guns raised. The four of them put their hands in the air to surrender. Even if they could take on these guys it was raining, they were wet, and cold, and just wanted to sleep. Even if they had to be prisoners for a few hours, at least they'd be dry.
They were ushered through the gate at gunpoint and led to a small cabin just inside the walls. It was a bit of a shock to go from pouring down ice cold rain to being in a dry, warm cabin with a nice big fire in the grate. Charlie immediately moved towards the fire, but one of the soldiers reached out and grabbed her arm. She reacted on instinct, grabbing her knife from her belt, flipping him against the wall, and putting it to his throat.
Then things got crazy. The soldiers in the room all cocked their weapons while a few moved to pull her off of their friend, which sent Miles into protective mode. He grabbed a soldiers' gun and pointed it directly at the man holding Charlie.
"Let her go or I blow your brains out." He was using his General voice and the young soldier nearly dropped his weapon in his haste to obey. Miles slowly lowered the gun, "look guys we aren't looking for troub- hey! You guys are Rangers." Charlie looked pulled her knife from the guys throat and looked around confused.
These men were in fact Rangers. The only reason they thought they didn't recognize them was because they were all soaking wet, it made their uniforms appear different. "Oh," Charlie jumped back from the guy she was holding, "sorry." He rubbed his neck and glared at her.
"Who the hell do you people think you are coming in here like this?" He stepped away from the wall and moved towards his men.
"Well actually, I'm Miles Matheson." All of the Rangers stood shocked for a moment and then snapped to attention.
"General Matheson, sir, I apologize. I didn't recognize you." Miles waved him off, looking annoyed with his warm reception. The soldier, who she could now see was a sergent, looked around at the rest of them. When his eyes fell on Monroe he nearly jumped out of his skin. "General Monroe," he looked between the two retired Texas Generals, "it's an honor to have you both here with us."
Monroe looked like Christmas had come early. He loved having people worship him. He opened his mouth to speak but Charlie had more important things on her mind than whatever bullshit he was about to start on.
"Yes, the Generals are here. And your honored they're here, and they're happy to be here. Blah, blah, blah. But you see," she gestured to their wet clothes, "we've been walking in the freezing rain for the last ten miles, so is there any way we can skip to the part of this conversation where you bring us hot food and dry clothes?"
"You didn't have to be so rude Charlie." They were finally alone, the Rangers had taken them to the medical building to sleep because all of the barracks were completely full. Now clothed in spare uniforms and with full bellies, Miles was ready to start talking again. "Protocol and rank are a part of the job, and they did feed you and give you a place to sleep, so you could have at least said thank you."He was drinking the whisky one of the eager, young Privates had brought him.
She rolled her eyes at her uncle. "The only reason they did any of that stuff is because I'm your niece. If I had showed up here by myself they would have sent me back out and let me freeze to death. I'm not about to thank them for helping me when they only did it because they had to." With that she hopped into one of the cots near the fire and laid down.
Monroe shrugged. "She's just jealous they weren't falling all over themselves to kiss her ass."
Charlie rolled over in her cot to face them a smirk firmly in place. "Come on, do you really think that if I bent over, that even one of those guys would pay you any attention?" She sat up on her elbow to wait for a response.
"Well I don't know Charlotte, why don't you bend over and we'll find out."
She grinned at him. "Maybe later," she flopped back down on her bed, "I'm not really in the mood right now."
Miles sighed and shook his head. "Can't you just pretend, at least while I'm around, that your still my cute, little, five year old niece."
She tilted her head to look at him and smiled. "Anything for my Uncle Miles." Her voice was little-girlish and her eyes were wide.
"Just shut up and go to sleep." He took a long pull from his whisky bottle and closed his eyes. Charlie snorted at his discomfort but she was tired, so rather than picking on him more, she rolled over and closed her eyes.
"We should get some sleep too." Monroe looked over at his son to find him already fast asleep. He got up and grabbed his blanket and headed to his own cot.
"Yeah, I'm going. Just gonna finish this." He gestured to the inch or so of whisky in the bottom of the bottle.
Monroe frowned at his best friend. "Have you ever considered cutting back? I mean, it seems like you've been drinking even more than usual lately."
"Since when are you against drinking Bass?"
"I'm not, I'm just saying we're not twenty-five anymore. Maybe I should take you to an AA meeting or something." He grinned at his brother.
Miles knew he wasn't serious, Bass was just worried about him. And as much as he tried to pretend like that didn't matter it was a great feeling, having his brother back. Even though he would never admit it.
"Don't be such a dick, if I have to go, then your stupid ass definitely has to go."
But he just laughed and both men crawled into their beds, Miles blowing out the candles as he went. They both settled down and Miles was almost asleep when Charlie's voice broke the silence.
"What's an AA meeting?"
The next morning they woke late, it was almost lunchtime when they finally made their way out of the small building. The storm had passed and the sun was shining, but the ground was mud and there were tree branches all over the ground.
"Morning Generals, sir, ma'am." The Sergeant led them to the mess hall for lunch, their breakfast. As they passed a larger building they saw broken glass and several soldiers running in and out looking harassed.
Miles turned to the Sergent, "what's going on in there?" The man looked a little uncomfortable so Miles adopted his General voice. "Sergeant, what happened here?"
"Sir, there was a break in last night during the storm. Several crates of weapons and ammunition were taken, along with two crates of explosives."
"And you let them get away?" He shrank back, away from Miles before he answered.
"There were only two Privates on duty, we pulled the other man to the gate when you came in. Whoever stole the stuff killed one of them and knocked the other out, by the time he came to they were gone, and the rain had washed away any tracks."
Charlie scoffed, "you guys are useless. Do you at least know who took the stuff? Can the other guard identity them?"
Again, he looked uncomfortable. "No ma'am, he said he never saw their faces. Just that he heard a commotion, went to check it out, saw his buddy on the floor, and then he went down. That's it."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "So your telling us that these guys came in to steal that stuff, killed one guard, but left the other one alive? And you believe that?"
Now the Sergeant looked confused but before Charlie could taunt him more, Monroe cut her off. "I think what Charlotte is trying to say, is that you've go an inside man on your hands. There's no way they kill one guard and are satisfied with just hitting the other one."
"Oh my God, what do we do?" The poor Sergeant looked lost.
Charlie scoffed at him. "You don't do anything. We'll take care of it." The Sergeant looked like he might object but she cut him off. "Somewhere, somebody, has a lot of weapons that they could do a lot of damage with. I'm not just gonna stand here and watch that happen while you idiot's stand around and scratch your junk."
Miles laughed, but agreed with her. "Take us to the survivor. He'll know where we should start."