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Alec Walker

Silence, My Brother

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Mon Aug 24, 2020

6:13 PM

Blue.

 

A single finger was held up.

 

Johnny Walker Blue Label, already fine whiskey, was still scarce. The distillery had not had time to produce yet another batch since re-opening its doors.

 

In other words, it would be a miracle if this bar happened to have it.

 

Then again, Boone was nothing if not resourceful.

 

The mage glanced around. Any familiar faces? Any faces best forgotten? That would remain to be seen.

 

After all, it was only a little past 6 on a Monday.

 

*Can you believe the balls on this guy?

 

*I know you’re pretty much made of steel, but who the hell tackles a tiger?

 

What? 

The man looked almost offended.

It spilled my beer. Was I supposed to just let that go?

 

Light glinted off the second speaker’s forearm, exposed under the shredded layers of green cloth that had once been a zookeeper’s uniform.

 

Alec shrugged off their presence and turned towards the other side of the bar.

 

Oh come on! What? Was it something I sai

 

Boring.

ARMA was quiet these days. Could there be anything more obnoxious than quiet? He had nothing to do except handle paperwork. Why couldn’t they have some kind of scandal? Where had the false mages gone?

And where the hell was that drink?

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It had been a very very long day at the hospital. It had seemed like people were coming in waves at some times. She hadn't really gotten much rest aside from a few power naps here and there, but now she found herself restless. Her mind wouldn't slow and it was making her jumpy as well as anxious. It had become clear to her that she probably go out and get a drink or two just to get herself out of her apartment. She had heard that Boone had opened his bar. If memory serves me right I should probably be getting free drinks, she thought to herself.

 

So she found herself in front of the bar, looking up at the sign and then down at the door, almost second guessing herself if she really should go in, but she went ahead. The place seemed somewhat busy and she smiled, glad that good fortune was coming into his life. Her eyes skimmed around, looking to see if she knew anyone that was already here and she didn't see a familiar face. She walked up to the bar and raised her hand to get the bartenders attention.

 

"Rum and coke, please..."

 

Why not go for something hard, she thought. She sat on her stool and casually glanced to the left and right. No one was on her left, but there was a man to her right that she thought she had seen around ARMA headquarters, but she wasn't too sure. For the most part she hardly ever went to headquarters. It was more of her running around healing people.

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Eyes flicked around the bar again, settling on the amber liquid constrained within... probably glass. Boone wouldn't pull some shit with acrylic alternatives, would he?

 

He wasn't one to forget a voice, Alec mused, but voices could come and go as they chose. Vague recognition sparked abandoned pathways in his brain, triggering a series of possible names and connections. Of course, if ever he actually forgot who someone was, he had a way of finding out--dive deep into the memory palace he had built and categorized... if only he could have a full-time curator in his head.

 

His eyes would catch hers on another pass around the bar. Field Agent. The voice in his head piped up. We all have a voice... whether we listen to it or not is another question entirely.

 

For the life of him, however, Alec could not remember what it was she did. Last name was a bird... Something like a sparrow... Martin?

 

Well, nothing else to do here. Lifting the glass--yes, it was solid, heavy glass--from the bar, Alec walked the short distance over. 

 

Agent Martin, right? What brings you by?

 

The words may have taken on a tone more accusatory than he'd intended, but with so little to do at HQ these days, disciplinary inquiries were a significant chunk of cloak's duties.

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The drink that she had ordered appeared in front of her rather quickly. A good sign, she thought, of people being able to drink more and get drunk faster. Her fingers played along the rim of the glass for a second before picking it up slowly and taking a small drink. Her hand set down the glass and she resisted the urge to smack her lips together like a little kid. After her eyes flitted around the room once more they had stopped for a second at the guy that had obviously been looking at her to her left.

 

He really does look familiar, she thought. The hard part for her was that it was basically impossible for her to remember everyone that she came into contact with. Too many people passed through her life on a daily basis. Sometimes it was a miracle that she remembered her own name. Just then she noticed the man walk over to her, seeing him move from her peripheral. Her head nodded slightly at his words before she spoke. "Yup. That's me...." she paused for a second. "I'm sorry. I'm really bad with names.... You are?"

 

She felt horrible asking him since he had somehow managed to pull her name out of his head. Damn my horrible memory, she thought silently.

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There was good reason to recognize Alec. Before his current post in Cloak Division, he'd been a public face during the war.

 

And yet this woman had a good reason to forget him. It was easy if you weren't under investigation. Or hadn't been.

 

Those who had been investigated would have more trouble forgetting. They knew the face of the man who had been in their heads.

 

Alec Walker. I think we've met a few times at the office. 

 

Strange how, in peacetime, it was the office to him,  but that was a conscious decision. HQ sounded too military for everyday use.

 

And it was as close to a workaday existence as he really knew. Show up,  push papers, take lunch,  more papers, go home. 

 

 

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Alec Walker. I think we've met a few times at the office.

 

It really did bug her that she couldn't have thought of his name before he told her. After he had replied to her though she realized who he was. Well, now I feel like even more of a dumb dumb, she thought. She smiled and lifted up her drink to her lips, taking another drink and placing it back down on the bar. Softly she laughed to herself and her thoughts of just how scatter brained she could be. Her body turned more toward Alec so she could face him without having to turn her head.

 

"I'm sorry. Now I recognize you.... More often than not I really do not know where my brain is. Especially if I have been working a full day at the hospital," she paused for a second before continuing. "Then if I get called in to do something for ARMA it tends to completely knock me on my arse." She spoke somewhat loudly so that Alec could hear her over the loud bar noises. Random people talking here and there, but at least no one was getting into fights. The last thing she wanted was to be in the middle of a fight. She was not in the mood for that.

 

She cleared her throat slightly and took another drink before asking, "So what are ya doing out tonight? Blowing off some steam from work or just restless and bored?"

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Fingers wrapped around the glass, holding it level. 

 

Right. The doctor. Not a field agent in the traditional sense. 

 

Still one of the most valuable mages they had ever had. Doesn't matter that you can nuke a city if your arm's not attached. Keeping the mages healthy had been a concern from the start. 

 

"So what are ya doing out tonight? Blowing off some steam from work or just restless and bored?"

 

"Just taking a few minutes away from my desk. You wouldn't believ... Well maybe you would. Is hospital bureaucracy still as bad as it used to be?"

 

Alec chuckled. He could remember the days before the event when hospitals needed some 7,000,000 signatures from 50 different doctors just to look up your nose.

 

But since the nevus, the mage hadn't set foot in a hospital, let alone as a patient. 

 

The fact remained that he had mountains of paperwork on his desk. Psych evals to decrypt, requests for new training and sometimes tech, the usual shit.

 

He needed a break from the monotony... maybe just go home early tonight. See if Cass wanted to go see a movie or something... scare the crap out of people by taking the cat for a walk... something completely mundane in a different way.

 

But he was being rude. Here was someone talking to him. 

 

"Right... yes, paperwork. Pretty much Mount Kilamanjaro in my office back there. Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice a page catching fire."

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Her mind had begun to wonder as her eyes flitted across the bar, seeing if there was anyone else that she might know or recognize. There wasn't anyone that really jumped out at her, but that wasn't too surprising. Bars typically weren't her scene too often and if she really wanted to be honest with herself she half hoped that she would see Boone tonight. Maybe he's busy doing work, she thought, or maybe off trying to get himself killed. She inwardly sighed and felt like the later part of her thoughts were probably correct.

 

"Just taking a few minutes away from my desk. You wouldn't believ... Well maybe you would. Is hospital bureaucracy still as bad as it used to be?"

 

She blinked her eyes a few times and moved her eyes back to Alec, smiling at him as she heard him speak. She half shrugged at his question as she took another sip of her drink. "I mean there are days when it feels like the paper work will literally never end, but I tend to try to get it done as soon as possible so that I can be out there doing what I need to do. Saving lives takes a lot of work," she replied to him and took yet another sip of her drink. It was true about the paperwork, but she knew that she'd rather be healing people and saving people than stuck behind a desk. She felt like it was her life's purpose.

 

Her mind slightly began to wonder again. This time going to work and slightly being somewhat of a worrywart. Sometimes the ER staff just did not work as smoothly and efficiently as it should and she knew that most of the time they relied heavily on her ability and her expertise, but damn sometimes she just needed to get away. She placed her drink on the bar and then moved her hand to the back of her neck, rubbing slightly. A move that she usually did when she began to feel stressed out.

 

"Right... yes, paperwork. Pretty much Mount Kilamanjaro in my office back there. Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice a page catching fire."

 

She removed her hand from her neck and giggled softly at his words. "Ya know. They might not. Sometimes I wonder if the higher ups even bother glancing at all of the paperwork. Sometimes things don't get noticed around the hospital so I'm sure it probably happens in all aspects of life," she paused for a second. "You could always try burning a few to see if anyone says anything." She said her last words with a smile on her lips.

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He'd zoned out completely, barely filtering through the conversation. 

 

After his second question, Alec made sure he was listening intently. 

 

It wasn't totally worth it. Though the "lose a report" tactic sounded fun. He really could just  make it seem like he'd never seen a document before.

 

Whiskey went down smooth as he settled the glass on the bar.

 

I might just have to give that a shot.

 

Not enough else happening to make it dangerous.

 

The mage really hated small talk. There wasn't much else to say here, but it would be rude to just walk away.

 

He did actually have work to do... ok.  One more drink, and then he'd head back up.  Bartender was signaled, glass refilled. 

 

Now what the hell would it be ok to ask here? He had no idea, and the silence sat awkwardly in his head.

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