“Haven’t ridden this elevator all the way up in a long time,” Cave commented as he pressed the button for the surface.
“You did it last year,” Caroline contradicted. “For the Senate hearings.”
Cave paused. Even with as many times as his assistant had said ‘Yes, sir, Mister Johnson,’ Cave still believed that hearing corrections from her was more common. And, as usual, she was right. “Well, I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going then,” he elaborated. “Moreso what I was leaving.” He turned to face Caroline, but suddenly something in his gut stopped him from saying the words he’d meant to. “I didn’t know if I’d ever see this place again.”
There had been a moment similar to this, after the hearings concluded, when he’d thanked Caroline for what she’d done for him and for the company in his absence. It was the first time since that investigation had begun that he’d felt like he could speak to her without the possibility of someone else listening in, and he’d wanted to say so much more than he had. Just like now, though, something had made him chicken out. Instead, he’d just offered her a month’s vacation, which she of course turned down.
“Just having things back to normal is all I want,” she’d said. Not that the steady downward spiral of bad press, revoked investments, and diminishing test volunteers that followed could really be considered normal. That definition had now become something they’d have to steadily step up their time machine research in order to achieve.
(A small somewhat-good segment from an otherwise awful abandoned fic about Cave and Caroline going stargazing.)