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Countryside near Hetfordshire, England

Monday March 9, 2020

3:02 PM local time

 

Dee Farrington walked down the hallway of the second floor of the countryside estate where she had lived with Erick Sloane for the past four years. The attractive woman was barefoot and wearing a pair of black jeans and a white T-shirt. Her shoulder length hair was black, with two green streaks along one side.

 

In just two months Dee would be turning thirty and she still was sometimes a bit surprised where her life had taken her over the last slightly more than half a decade. For one, she would never have expected to live in countryside home such as this again. Erick had purchased the home when he have moved from Freedom City to England to be with Dee and to join Vanguard. Dee had to admit, there was much to be said for the privacy, given the pair’s involvement in the superheroing world. And the large home certainly afforded them each with plenty of space for their rather varied hobbies and interests.

 

Coming to one of the many rooms along this hall, Dee passed through the open doorway to where Erick was busy working on assembling a new piece of furniture that has arrived that morning. She glanced down at the tablet she was carrying in one hand, scrolling through several bedding options from an online store.

But then Dee paused, glancing up from the screen and looking about the recently repainted room and the new furniture that was now starting to fill the room and let out a small sigh. "How did this happen?" She said aloud. "I feel so bloody domestic."

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A smile curled on Erick' Sloane's lips.    He was currently wearing jeans and a FCU sweater with more than its share of paint stains left over.  Erick was well versed in over a dozen languages, and none more familiar to him than the language of Dee Farrington.  "I could tell you how it happened.  But, I think they put out videos and pamphlets for that.  I do think you were wearing those jeans if you need your memory stirred that much."

 

There were both paper instructions and a cell phone.  Yet Erick had manage to find himself repeating instructions more than once.  Having assembled a few sections backwards.  "I've disassembled bombs before y'know.  The fancy ones."  The statement wasn't directed at anyone in particular.  If anything it was almost as if he were trying to convince the instructions he knew what he was doing.

 

"For the record, back in the states a cot is an entirely different thing with no assembly required."

Edited by HGM

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“Yes, I am rather familiar with the bloody mechanics of how it happened.” Dee replied as she glanced down at her jeans, which Erick was correct she had been wearing. That led to another slight sigh as she realized it would not be long before she would need new clothes. 
 

Then a little smirk came to Dee’s face as Erick’s comment about disarming bombs that seemed traced with a hint of frustration. “Who hasn’t?” She stated somewhat matter-of-factly as she sat the tablet down on a dresser and took a seat on the floor near where Erick was busy at work.

 

“But what I was meaning is that this is going to be a big change.” She stated as she looked over at Erick, taking on a more serious tone. “I mean, before we know it we might be driving around a people carrier rather than the Aston Martin or alien hoverbikes.”

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"I'm more worried about the other factor."  Erick responded while turning an allen wrench.  "When Joseph and I went to Soho a few years ago.  Got to see my grandfather.  Old man's a Russian oligarch who actually cloned my mom into some sort of weird psychic hive mind.  The Sleeper is still out in the wind and we both know what he's done.  And that's just the people who know what we look like without a mask.  But, we do have some serious problems that most first time parents don't have to consider out there in the wind."

 

That was without mentioning that underneath his sweater the scars on his body could not longer be passed as old gymnastics injuries.  A tapestry of close calls he had already encountered many a night.  Erick then shrugged.  "But, for the record.  If it's by your side.  I'm ready for any big changes.  Even if it means buying a vehicle with four doors."

 

"Though, you've got to warn me if this connection thing we have means I'm going to have morning sickness too."  Lightening his tone as he finally made the shelves attached to the crib set look like actual working shelves.

Edited by HGM

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Something of a scowl came to Dee's face as Erick mentioned some of their more troublesome enemies that, despite their best efforts, were still at large and still very dangerous. "We are hardly the first Powers to have a child." She stated, although there was a hint of concern in her tone, at least partially due to the risks Erick often took on his many nightly forays.

 

But that soon passed as Erick mentioned them facing this together and small smile returned to her face. The smile widened as he asked about the possibility of getting morning sickness as well through their psychic link. "That would be poetically fitting, but no, I do not believe that you have to worry about that."

 

Her smile faded slightly as she took a deep breath. "You know, we probably cannot wait too much longer before we have to tell my parents and brother."

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"We're also hardly the first people to buy a minivan.  And I've been the first to buy a few things, so I'm pretty sure on this one,"   Erick teased.   Ultimately, he liked Dee's siblings and had no concern with telling them.  That didn't mean he hated her parents by comparison.  But, he was protective of her.  And would gladly defer to her on any decisions regarding how much she wanted them in their lives.   "As much fun as it would be to have an errant tabloid camera be the source of that news, I suppose you are right.  You should really think about getting a parent who can see the future, it really saves time in breaking news.  We can schedule a dinner where I can pretend to care about which fork goes where, if you want.  Still, this will inevitably lead to another conversation."

 

Erick set the hex wrench down, so that his hand would be free to grab out towards Dee's.  Inhaling as he thought of the words.  "So I don't do scared too often.  Well that's a lie, you're in my head.  You know I thrive on being scared.  You'd have to not be crazy to not get a mixture of adrenaline and fear as bullets fly at you.  But, if you ever wanted to have that conversation that leads to a big ask of sorts.  That's like the the least scary thing we could have.  Far as I'm concerned we're already family."

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Dee gave Erick one of her most charming smirks as he talked about letting her parents learn by way of a tabloid photo. "Easy enough for you to say, you know my parents bloody adore you." She stated. "Your bank account more than assures that, and once they find out their first grandchild is on the way, they may well want to just adopt you."

 

She paused a moment, then added, "But before we tell them I think Susan should be the first to learn."

 

But then Erick made a slight change of topics, taking her hand as he spoke. Dee focused on his eyes, taking a small breath of her own. "You once said you felt like you took home gold from Sochi. I think we both found all we were ever looking for there." She replied as she leaned in close to kiss Erick.

 

You bloody well know my answer! She communicated over the pairs mental connection as they kissed.

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After they pulled apart a dumb smile momentarily formed on Erick's face.  Once again feeling as if he was standing at a podium declared the winner. 

"Susan.  Definitely first.  It really goes without saying.  It will be good to see her again.  Unless that's a sisterly moment.  In which case you can tell me how it went after.  Plus the downtime"

 

His free hand reached back for the hex wrench, using his precognitive spatial awareness he would resume work on tightening screws on the crib while looking at Dee.  "Now, I don't want to alarm you with all this planning.  But, I think we're responsible adults now.  Next thing you know we'll be baby proofing."

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"No, I am pretty certain Susan would want to hear the news from both of us." Dee responded with hardly a moment's hesitation. "So I will make arrangements for us to see her later in the week."

 

When Erick went back to work on the crib, Dee had reached from where she sat to pick up the tablet once more. She was just about to start looking through some additional selections for the baby room when Erick mentioned their being responsible adults.

 

The Englishwoman rolled her eyes as she let out a sigh. "I suppose your right," She admitted before a small grin came to her face. "That does not mean we cannot have some fun from time to time still. And we still have a bit of time before we have to start with the baby proofing of the house, and the Haven."

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Erick nodded in affirmation when Dee explained Susan's visiting preferences.  "I have no problem telling the lady in charge, but you can be the one to tell VERA.  Not to mention the baby proofing place in Freedom.  Though I guess making sure the beach house is in tip top shape isn't as high on the priority list.  Geez calling it the beach house, I might  as well start applying for citizenship."  Erick looked up at the ceiling while working on tightening the frame of the crib.  It wasn't as if he needed his eyes to see what he was doing.

 

"But don't worry.  Fun is still on the table.  I looked up whether pregnant woman can sky dive earlier today.  We're still a few years from PTA meetings.  Wait is there a PTA in the UK?  I'm unclear about the whole infrastructure therein."

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Dee smiled as Erick mentioned her being the one to tell VERA. "Yeah, I should probably handle that soon, as who knows when VERA might detect something that tips her off and gets angry I had not told her sooner." She paused a moment as he mentioned the home in Freedom City, considering something before she spoke up again. "We should probably tell the rest of the team before I start to show as well. Just....I don't want to be treated like glass or anything, though clearly things will change when I am further along."

 

The Englishwoman smirked as Erick mentioned that there would still be fun, including possibly sky diving. But she knew that could well be one of the hardest adjustments she might face over the course of the next eight months.

 

"They are PTAs here as well." She replied. "Though, if my parents have their way, any grandchild of theirs will go to a school with a Board of Governors."

"At least we have had a small preview of the teen years?" She said with a grin, referring to Muirne, the time displaced teenager that Vanguard had taken responsibility for about six months ago. The teen had mainly stayed with her and Erick for the first couple months, as she worked on learning modern English and just some of the basics of navigating the Twenty-First Century. Now she mostly stayed in the apartment Dee still owned in London, with the various members of Vanguard checking in on her regularly. "Of course, she was pretty much considered an adult in her time period, so…"

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"I think we should tell them too.  Brighten things up a little with still no word from Agnes." He looked up at Dee opened his mouth to say something and then looked back down.  He was originally going to mention another failed lead.  Having heard of a possible sighting in Maracas Bay that turned out to be glowing teenager with a family.  Thinking better of bringing up bad news he continued on the subject of their future child's education.

 

"Push come to shove.  Homeschooling worked out for me.  Did get a few months of middle school in a public school.  But, then I got into a fight. If that principal could see me now.  Might've worked out more for my coaches now that I think about it.  Superheroing included."

 

A smile came to his face as Dee mentioned the newest member of the team and their temporary ward.  "Though speaking of our house guest, I know at least one other school more exclusive than anything your parents had in mind.  But, I know a place that will give her the foundation she needs a bit better than we can provide."

Edited by HGM

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Dee let out a small sigh as Erick mentioned Agnes. It had been some time since their friend and teammate had disappeared in Freedom City during the most recent Terminus invasion, and despite the best efforts of the couple, and the Ministry of Powers, they still had no clear leads on what might have happened to Agnes.

 

When Erick mentioned the possibility of homeschooling, the Englishwoman laughed slightly. "Oh, that would certainly rile my parents. As appealing as that might be, I am not sure I want to start using our child as a pawn in my attempts to aggravate them."

 

But then Erick turned the conversation to a possible place where Muirne could go for school that would help her in acclimating to the modern world. "Hmm, do tell?" Dee said as she sat the tablet down once more to focus on Erick.

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