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If Pan was intimidated or otherwise affected by her parents, he did not show it. He was all smiles, happily praising the food and chatting with his friends and any of the staff at the manor when they approached. 

 

"Not for a lack of trying," he added to the end of Eira's statement with a jovial tone, before bringing another spoonful of the gazpacho to his smiling lips. 

 

He listened to the others, and their plans. So many plans, so many thoughts. "I am not much for plans, not that far ahead at least. I like to keep my options open. Who knows, an adventure might lead to a new passion or choice, no?" He looked directly at Eira's father while he lowered the spoon to the gazpacho, a large smile on his lips. "But no, science is not for me. Too many strict rules and things you can and cannot do. Maybe I will study litterature. It would be a perfect fit, no?" He looked around at his friends, looking for their approval or disapproval.

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Lulu may not have been able to read Eira, but Micah practically radiated awkward discomfort. The young man from Oklahoma clearly had been raised similarly in regards to how one treated their parents, and Lulu could pick up not only discomfort, but confusion in his mind. She could pick up that he'd had an image of a much worse home-life than what they were observing, from how Eira had talked. When he spoke, it was more subdued than his friends but certainly still audible, even in the slightly echo-y dining room. He sat on Pan's other side, clearly finding some comfort in being his roommate's "wingman", in at least some senses.

 

"Please tell the cook the soup is good. I've never actually had this kind before."

 

He let the others speak of their career thoughts before he weighed in himself.

 

"I think you'd work well with kids, Lulu. In psychology, I mean.

 

He leaned back, just slightly, when Mia talked about how the block of metal she summoned was "not dangerous", but still raised an eyebrow in thought.

"I might need your help if I get a cranky project one of these days..." he half-muttered in thoughtfulness.

 

At Pan's mention of studying literature, he smiled.

 

"I think you'd actually be a fantastic literature teacher, Pan. Better than most of the literature teachers I've had, anyways."

 

He then turned his attention back to Bernhard in particular. His gaze turned a bit thoughtful.

 

"Well, I can't say I'm really looking to be a scientist, sir. I'm doing some extra work learning mechanical repairs and the like, hands-on stuff. My fallback plan would be going into aircraft mechanics and repair, but...honestly, I want to learn to be a pilot. My cousin, who's basically like my big sister, she was in the Air Force for several years, and she got to fly the newer, faster planes. I want to do that, if I can make the cut."

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Bernhard smiled at Mia. "Well, that may not have been exactly how Eira put it-" 

"Father!

 

Father and daughter exchanged sharp looks - and then there was dessert. Tahini almond cookies. Elsa really was a good cook. Magda asked a few questions about literature as they ate, enough to make it clear that Eira never had explained Pan's exact origins to them. 

 

Peter and Elsa were off after dinner, so everyone pitched in to clear the table and load the substantial dishwasher in the large, fully-modernized kitchen. After that, the teens were free to do what they liked around the house as evening began to set in; though of course the time difference meant that none of them had exactly come ready to sleep. It had stopped raining by now and it was wet outside, the green grass and trees sodden as they'd be in a rain forest, albeit getting cold in a way that meant it'd be in the high fifties tonight. Or about fifteen, if you used the local thermometers. It really was a big old manor house, large even for a household with two servants and multiple visitors. It was obvious that a building like this had been intended to house many more people. 

 

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