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The PPC was originally created by Jay and Acacia. Gremlin was created by me. Library was created by JulyFlame. Many thanks to Desdendelle for acting as a beta.

The cafeteria in Headquarters was in many ways an easy place to find people, whether you wanted to or not. That was even keeping in mind the myriad of schedules of the agents who (often grudgingly) used it. As a result, it was typically busy at all hours and filled with agents doing all sorts of things–ranging from attempting to eat their food, to avoiding being eaten by their food, to harassing others who would prefer by far to be left alone.

This often led to tables or entire parts of the cafeteria being deemed off-limits depending on who was eating where, or even what was on currently on the menu. Certain species, after all, were quite messy eaters. Others had a diet that was completely abhorrent to the average human agent.

No one wanted a repeat of the Great Biting Incident of 2010. Sometimes, even PPC agents learned to not repeat the same mistake twice.

Gremlin would occasionally pop into the cafeteria from time to time. Not because she liked the food; rather, she just needed the energy. Constantly running around, using her powers, wrestling semi-nude possessed canons: these were all very intensive activities. Getting a quick bite at the cafeteria–while not to her preference–was still better than nothing.

She had just picked up a plate of what looked like macaroni and cheese when she noticed a blonde woman sitting off at one of the corner tables. There was something very familiar about her, but her mind wasn't throwing up any concrete details.

The metahuman squinted. The blonde woman was very formally dressed, which fit her very strict posture. There was a Floaters patch on her jacket; Gremlin had seen enough of those around to recognize the design, even at a distance.

This was starting to really bug Gremlin. Where had she seen this woman before? It was right on the tip of her tongue...

The hallway was dark. Blacking it out had been easy; just a snap of her fingers. A woman was standing in front of her, facing away, peering into the gloom. This would be easy. Gremlin raised her hatchet–

Oh. Oh yeah.

Gremlin grimaced at the memory. A huge part of her wanted to just slink away. It would be the easy thing to do. The best thing to do.

But instead, she awkwardly sauntered up to the woman and cleared her throat. "Hi there," she said. "I think we might have... met during the Games."

Calpurnia Library looked up at the sound, up from her own tray. "That's one way to put it, yes," she agreed, her voice very even. "Gremlin, isn't it? Congratulations on placing."

"Yeah… thanks." Gremlin rubbed the back of her neck. "Look, I just wanted to apologize. For what went down out there, I mean. Things got of out hand. I wasn't quite myself."

A faint smile settled on Library's face, the corners of her lips twitching for a moment. "It tends to happen when bloodsports are involved with agents, even holographic ones. At least this time they toned down some of it, compared to before."

"Maybe, yeah, but I've got personal reasons for wanting to apologize. Things got way out of hand. Way beyond where they should have gone. So… I'm sorry. Again."

Library nodded lightly, and motioned with her hand to the empty chair across from her at the table. "Please, take a seat?"

Gremlin drummed her fingers on the bottom of her tray. Once again, that urge to run flooded her system. But once again, she ignored it, and sat down.

"I can understand having personal reasons," Library continued, once Gremlin was finished adjusting herself and not quite fidgeting as much, "and I appreciate the apology. You were involved in the Quiddich league a few years back, correct?"

Gremlin looked a bit surprised. "I was, I was." Her eyes widened in recognition. "I remember seeing you! You were on that team with the complicated name, right?"

"That's one way to put it, yes." Library's voice was heavily tinged with humor, now, her eyes not quite twinkling with amusement (certain standards still had to be maintained). "My partner at the time was the league coordinator. She came back for the Games. She was rather put out by her luck and resultant placement, considering what she did a few months back."

"That woman with glasses and big hair, right? I think I remember her. Pretty sure she punched me at one point. In Quiddich, I mean. Not any other point."

"That sounds like her," Library said, smiling properly now. "She had a penchant for being rather bat and fist heavy in matches."

"Mmm." Gremlin picked up her fork and started toying with her food. "My partner didn't participate in the last Games, or in Quiddich. She doesn't see the point."

"The violence can be… overwrought, at times," Library noted, politely. "It is one of the easier ways to socialize with other agents, however."

Gremlin gave a small half-smirk. "I can think of some better ways to get to know other agents. Or less violent ones, anyway, although that might depend on your personal taste. But, ah, that's neither here nor there."

Library smiled faintly in return. "Yes, but I would suspect those are harder to count as additional training."

"True enough." Gremlin poked at her macaroni and cheese a bit more. It wasn't becoming any more appetizing, despite her best hopes. "I'm sorry if I made your lunch weird, or something. I just… seeing you made everything I was feeling during the Games come rushing back. That wasn't a good place for me. I thought that… that maybe speaking to you would help me get over it." She paused, then shook her head. "It's a bit selfish of me, now that I say it out loud."

Library shook her head. "I don't particularly think so. We work in an organization doing things that don't exactly encourage the healthiest of mindsets." She picked her fork and knife up, setting them neatly on the tray, finished with her food. "Being able to discuss things, trying to find some sort of closure, it's important. It really is."

A smile of relief spread across Gremlin's face. "Thanks. For saying that, I mean. And for accepting my apology from earlier. It's been a weird few days for me, with all that stuff just sitting on my mind. Feels good hearing about closure from someone who isn't my partner."

This time Library's smile was a warm one. "I understand what you mean. I work alone these days, but I hadn't realized how unfinished it felt that way until recently. We really don't put as much emphasis on finishing things as we ought, sometimes, especially somewhere like this."

Gremlin picked up her cup, which was full of a cloudy amber liquid she hoped was apple cider. "To the closing of old chapters, and the beginning of new ones," she said, raising her drink.

"And the resolution of old plots and the makings of the new," Library returned, clinking her own plastic cup of water against Gremlin's.

Gremlin downed her cup. It was cider, thank the Endless. "You should stop by my response center. Number 555. I think you'd get along pretty well with my partner." She scooped up a bit of macaroni and popped it in her mouth. Her expression slowly shifted from satisfaction to somewhere between confusion and horror.

Library's lips pursed together for a moment, before she finally said, "Dare I ask?"

"I don't think this is cheese," Gremlin murmured with a mouthful of food. She gritted her teeth, closed her eyes, and swallowed. "Or if it is, then it's not from a cow. Or any sort of creature with four legs."

"Hopefully not six," was all Library had to say.


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October 2016

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