Reading through more old stuff over a rainy weekend.

Alex had never been much of a kid person. Jamie trusted adults about as far as Brooke could throw one. Unfortunately Alex didn't believe in walking away from a problem when it turned up right in front of him, and Jamie was too practical not to accept the best of a bad set of options. Neither of them thought it was going to go well.


Thunder cracked overheard, accompanying lightening briefly illuminating the room to about where it should be at half-past noon, but it was gone again just as quickly, and Alex sighed and pushed himself back in his chair. Or started to, anyway, as the spike of pain radiating from his temple warred with the stab of pain shooting up his back for supremacy. He cursed quietly, mostly because he didn't have the breath for anything else.

When he'd woken up this morning he'd have said that he'd welcome anything that distracted him from the ache in his back that always accompanied weather like this, but right now the screaming pain in his head was proving the lie. He didn't get migraines often, but it seemed that this strange, off-season thunderstorm had flipped that switch as well. Damn it.

He braced himself, took a few more shallow breaths, and stood. As was always the case with long holiday weekends, the station was understaffed, and he'd planned on filling in himself if they needed an extra set of hands. He didn't do it often, but it wasn't as if he didn't have the training. Unfortunately, given the way that he was feeling, he was more likely to find himself in need of medical attention than able to provide it. And he wasn't getting anything accomplished with the budgeting forms that were due at the start of next month either.

He passed the main room, making himself nod politely to the team on duty as he did so despite the shooting pain in his head that the motion caused and pushed open the door to the supply room. There wasn't a lot strong enough to handle his migraines that didn't interfere with what he had to take for his back, but right now his best option was going home and rendering himself unconscious, so—

Dark eyes snapped up to meet his.

"What are you doing here?" Alex demanded, as surprised to see Jamie as Jamie clearly was to see him. One of the few concessions that Alex would make to their ages and families, neither Jamie nor anyone else from the high school squad should be working over the holiday. They'd been on last night and wouldn't be again until Monday.

Jamie's expression went blank, and he shrugged. "Sorting bandages." His lip curled a little. "Why, what does it look like?"

Alex gritted his teeth and crossed his arms over his chest. He did not have the patience to deal with Jamie's attitude right now. "That's not what I mean, and you know it. Why are you here?"

Another shrug.

"I'm not in the mood for whatever game you're playing, Jamie. Answer the question."

"I don't know," Jamie muttered, looking away. "Where else should I be?"

"I can't imagine," Alex said dryly, not even trying to cover the sarcasm in his voice. "Perhaps at home eating turkey and watching a parade?" Or whatever came after that—some kind of football game, he thought. He'd never celebrated the typical American holidays growing up and saw no good reason to start now.

Jamie scoffed.

Alex shook his head and then wished that he hadn't when his temple gave a particularly vicious throb. "Jamie, whatever trouble you're planning—"

Jamie looked up at him again, eyes flashing. "I'm not planning any trouble and I'm not bothering anyone, so why can't you just fuck off?"