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Nov 27, 2020 12:35 AM
summer camp!
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I like to sing people songs, personally, but I don't know how it works as a general strategy.

 

Some things just take time.

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Yeah. OK. Thanks again.

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Of course. We'll do everything we can.

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OK.

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The climbing instructor finds her lots and lots of tricky short climbs, and eventually comes up with a tolerably safe way for her to practice urban climbing and jumping between rooftops and so on. Trace and Zach are both very intrigued by the morning Pokemon games when they hear about them and end up dropping out of morning classes in favor of those. There's a movie marathon and a dance which Karen's friends all skip and two more baby lizards, both hatched safely.

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Summer camp is perhaps not the worst thing in the world. It is maybe actually pretty good sometimes. But all good things come to an end at some point.

"So you know where you're going after this?" she asks, in the general direction of Trace's bed, a couple days before it's time to go home.

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"Not really. You want me somewhere?"

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"Not specifically right now. Maybe at some point? Make sure you keep checking your email."

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"Well, I'll try."

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"OK. I'll keep checking mine too."

 

So that's that. Azalea and Connor come to pick her up when the camp ends, because Azalea is slightly insane and decided to drive for three days instead of buying Karen another plane ticket, and then they have to drive alllll the way back to California. Azalea complains a lot about how it is deeply and cosmically unfair that they've both made choices that mean that Karen still can't drive and Azalea has to drive the whole way. They spend a day in Arkansas at a farm that raises alligators and at Maxwell Blade's Odditorium and Curiosities Museum, because these are just obviously correct things to do in Arkansas. They pass through Oklahoma and Texas without stopping, then spend a day in Albuquerque at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, because Connor wanted to see the dinosaurs. They spend a day in Colorado at Mesa Verde looking at ancient ruins, because Karen thinks that ancient ruins are very very cool. They briefly stop by the Grand Canyon, per Azalea's request, but they decide that they are all much too lazy to hike the thing, and then gracefully decide to allow Azalea to change her major stop to a day at the Six Flags park near Los Angeles. 

("Mom and dad would have planned this at all," says Azalea, at one point, when Connor is asleep in the back seat because they've been looking for a hotel for too long and have no idea what they're doing.

"Yeah. Well. Mom and dad would have picked worse places," says Karen.)

It's about a hundred miles from Los Angeles to Sunnydale, so when the park closes they decide to just drive home. Karen diligently watches road signs to see how far out they are. She simultaneously pages Alex about once a minute, just to see what the maximum distance she can get a response from is.

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It's about forty miles out. 

Karen! Everything okay?

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Yeah, I'm good! Sorry. I was testing the range. For science.

 

Did you miss me?

- it's OK if you didn't! Eleven weeks probably seems like way less time when you're like thirty thousand. I missed you, though? I am not thirty thousand. Actually.

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Yeah, kid, I missed you. I hope you had fun.

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Eeee.

I did! I made a bunch of friends and I learned some stuff and today I went to Magic Mountain. The first couple weeks were super rough. I think after I called you I was mostly good, though.

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Oh good. I won't have to go punch important government officials.

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You will not.

(Probably the fact that she's sort of happy that he might want to if she were miserable all summer is a major character flaw or something.)

I didn't really talk to your friend very much? But I guess if you know him really well that probably doesn't matter that much. He seems OK, I guess.

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Yeah, I wasn't expecting you to get a useful character assessment of him, that'd, uh -

- if you said you had a way to do that I'd be very surprised and I'd advise you to not.

It's just important to know if the people they might move into Sunnydale are decent people you can work with, or not.

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(She has no idea what that is supposed to mean, so she just pulls out a notebook and scribbles it down to be added to her Notes On Not-Archangels and analyzed later.)

That makes sense. I think I met a lot of pretty cool people? So that should be OK.

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Good.

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I met a girl who's invisible and can't become un-invisble. She's really cool. Also a girl who lays eggs every month and lizard babies hatch from them and we didn't know whether the babies were people at first but it turns out they are. She's also really cool. And kind of overwhelmed. But really cool.

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Oh no. That's - oh.

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Yeah. They're hard to keep alive when they're small, too. It's rough. They're working on it, though.

I think most people who have weird stuff and powers have it, like..... way harder than I do. I just get to be strong and fast and weirdly durable and have apparently nearly boundless endurance and sometimes have prophetic dreams and stuff. And I guess for most people it's.... way more complicated.

 

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Most Slayers have a pretty bad hand, I think. But that's partially the lack of support.

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Yeah. We had a class about them at one point! Most of them died before they even hit eighteen. We read about, like, two who made it past eighteen? But neither one past twenty-two.

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When their current not-you Slayer gets near eighteen I'm gonna go interfere with her murdertest, I figure.

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