somewhere west of Colorado Springs, Colorado
Charlie had been waiting in the campsite when Rachel and Miles returned from the stream, helping the others finish packing the tents and supplies. She'd not said a word to either her mother or her uncle but just picked up her pack and headed out with the others, sticking close to Jason.
By nightfall, Rachel had had enough and sought out her daughter. She found her sitting crossed legged on a blanket inside their tent, flipping through the book, although how Charlie had pried it out of Aaron's hands was something Rachel wasn't sure about. "You have every right to be angry, Charlie." she sat down next to her.
Charlie just flipped another page and let her hair fall over her face, not even looking up. She was looking for the pages that referred to her specifically, not all that techno babble she didn't understand anyway.
"Maybe I shouldn't have done what I did, but Charlie, you know who your real dad was." Rachel persisted. "He loved you, he took care of you."
Finally, Charlie raised her head. "My dad died five months ago. I watched him die, did you know that? Miles is not and never will be my dad."
"True. And he wouldn't ask that of you." Rachel nodded. "Ben was your dad, in every way that mattered."
"Then why does it matter now?" she demanded.
"I don't know. I really don't know except that book you're looking through says the general's daughter holds the key."
"I don't have a key. And I'm not finding that in here."
"Maybe not a physical key but maybe something you know. You might not even know that you know it?" Rachel took the book and turned a few pages, she knew the pages she was looking for. "Here." she gave the book back.
Charlie read the pages carefully. "I don't get it."
"Neither do I. But, Miles is the general so I figure,"
"That's the best explanation you've got?" Charlie broke in, disbelief in her voice. "That's why you just had to tell me all this?"
Slowly, Rachel nodded. "That's why."
"It is. If it makes you feel any better, Miles never knew either."
"Didn't really think it would but had to try."
"So, um, I guess I'll go, take a walk or something."
Rachel gave her a slight smile. "Go where? Jason waiting?"
"No! He's just a friend."
"I've seen you with him. He's more then a friend to you."
"Oh, great. Now you're going to get on me about him,too. Are you going to also give me a curfew? Because Miles already tried that," Charlie grumbled as she went out of the tent.
Rachel stared after her, thinking about all she'd missed. It was such a good feeling to finally talk to Charlie about things like boys and curfews, even if Charlie wasn't exactly willing. She supposed in light of everything she had told her daughter, it would be mostly a one sided conversation for a while but no matter, it was still a good feeling.
Leaves crunched as Charlie walked through the woods. Miles had drawn guard duty that night and she was determined to find and talk to him. She only knew he wouldn't be too far from their latest camp, but it wasn't totally dark yet so she wasn't worried about finding him.
"I could hear you a mile away." Miles' voice seemed to come right out of the bush and made her jump a foot in the air.
"How did you know I wasn't militia?"
"They're not that stupid."
"Thanks a lot!"
"I can only imagine you came out here because you want to talk." he said, abruptly.
"You're not any good at talking. I've tried." Charlie informed him.
"Neither are you." he retorted.
The woods were quiet and still.
"I talked to my mom."
"She says you never knew either."
"Charlie, I was an ass back then. Your mom made what was probably the best decision for you."
"Okay." she scuffed the toe of her boot into the dirt. "What about now?"
"You really want me to be your dad now?" he remarked.
"No. I had a father. I just thought maybe," she stopped, not even sure what it was she wanted.
"Look, I've promised to take care of you. That's what I've done." he hesitated, he'd never been good at this sort of thing, he'd never really had to be. "Charlie, I would've taken care of you even if your mom hadn't made me promise." That was as close as he could get to admitting how much she'd come to mean to him out loud.
"I would just come along anyway."
"Yeah. You would have because you're entirely too much like me for your own good."
"It's not a good thing."
"I don't know about that." she said, almost shyly.
Miles snorted. "You are impossible, kid."
"Learned from the best." she replied, suddenly giving him a hug.
It startled him for a moment but he returned the hug. "
"So, the general's daughter, huh?"
A/N - I'm completing it here for a couple reasons. 1, it's now getting too AU for my liking - I did think Charlie would have more to do with the Tower and getting the lights back on, and 2, I never intended to play with the mythology, I leave that to TPTB. That said, I am working on a second story that will sort of continue this, it is how I would've continued anyway, except following canon better. Keep a look out for it!