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By some twist of fate, it was not raining.
Technically, in Los Angeles in the early summer, rain was unlikely, but Nathan Gray felt that any time one planned an outdoor event, the chances of rain rose by approximately nine hundred percent. He had been counting on having the event outside - he had a feeling that even the Safeguard Team's apartment would have gotten a little cramped with everyone who was planning to be there. He also had a feeling that there were probably more people planning to be there than Nathan was planning on being there, but that was parties for you. He just hoped that the people who showed up could maintain themselves with a degree of... well, decorum was unlikely, but he would compromise at rationality.
The apartment complex's pavilion was covered, just in case it did start raining, and the picnic tables had been set with various snacks and drinks in coolers. He himself was sitting on one of the picnic tables, holding a cold beer bottle and telling himself that he wasn't panicking.
He wasn't a very good liar. It seemed kind of silly, though - he could run into close combat with unmentionable horrors and not worry about it a bit, but social hosting was another monster entirely - one unfamiliar and somehow terrifying. Especially when he was hosting a party full of people with the power to destroy the universe on a whim if they objected to the nacho toppings or something.
He twisted the top off the bottle and took a drink. He'd already given Rana the I had better not catch you drinking, young lady speech, and he'd given it to Solaris as well just on general principle, although the billions-year-old star had seemed a little skeptical of the censure, so he'd relented on her case to one drink, but only one, and don't go anywhere with anyone you don't know. Diane had, probably with more wisdom than Nathan, stayed the hell out of that conversation. He was pretty sure she'd been rolling her eyes at him, though. He was also pretty sure he probably deserved it, but what the hell. Someone had to keep an eye on the kids. He was worried about them, what with everyone who was going to be showing up and all their various powers, and the kids still probably not fully recovered from the damage they'd taken when Warden's satellite had fallen. Physically they seemed fine, but... well, not all wounds were physical. He knew that one well enough.
Hopefully, this event would help heal some wounds. And if it couldn't do that... well, hopefully it wouldn't cause any more.
He took another drink, and shook his head. Combat was easier than this, any day.