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Avenger Assembled

Colors Out of Space

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Mark Lucas wasn't a young man given to dwelling on emotions. He understood self-control and reigning in your impulses, of course, he wasn't a savage. But he wasn't someone inclined to hold back his feelings or his thoughts once he did have them, and so as the days went by and he found himself thinking more and more about Alex, he came to the pretty rapid conclusion there was only one thing to do: he needed to ask her out. After a couple of days of flirting, at the pool party and elsewhere, he luckily stumbled on her while she was resting underneath the shade of the big maple tree near the baseball field. "Hey, Alex!" he called as he wandered over to join her, his feet cutting through the tall summer grass near the tree. "How's it going?"

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Alex glanced up at his arrival from where she was sitting with her back against the tree. She shaded her eyes with one hand as she looked up and smiled a welcome. "Hi, Mark. Were you looking for me?"

She automatically scooted over to allow him space on the blanket. Clearly she'd set up for an afternoon of reading as there was a small bag of packed snacks and a few books out on the blanket. As usual, Alex was dressed in bright colors that probably shouldn't have all been put together with a red and purple print tanktop and a pair of jean shorts. She moved her things to make space for him, and tucked her legs out of the way, "It's going okay. Just catching up on some books I've been meaning to get to. How are you?"

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"I'm doing well," said Mark with a smile. "Looking forward to the weekend and getting out of here for a little while." The clashing colors in her outfit didn't bother him; Mark was just sophisticated enough to see the bright colors and enjoy the display she put on. It was a bit like admiring a peacock. He himself was in his school uniform, sans the jacket against the warm weather. With barely a moment's hesitation, he went on, "Would you like to go out with me this weekend?" He gave her a straight, level look. "I like you a lot, Alex, and I think the two of us would have a fine time together."

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Alex blinked once or twice, looking thoughtful before she smiled a little shyly, "Okay. Sure, why not? What did you have in mind?"

She tilted her head to look up at him as she pulled her legs up to her chest and looped her arms around them. Mark certainly was cute and Alex had no doubt they would have fun together but she was still a little nervous about the entire thing. It was safer to not get involved, certainly, but Alex wasn't the type to hold back emotionally. But intellectually deciding she would go out with Mark if he asked and actually doing so were very different things. "Do you wanna sit down?"

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"I was thinking we could go to the Super Museum," suggested Mark off the top of his head. "There's some really great stuff there if you haven't seen it, and there's so much going on there that it's worth visiting even if you've gone before. The new exhibit on the Heroes of the Revolution just opened up this week, and I'd love a chance to tour it with you. They've got the first Lady Liberty and the first Minuteman, as well as some of the other heroes of the Revolutionary War. It's supposed to be really cool." He smiled at her. "But, really, I think just going anywhere with just the two of us would be pretty fine."

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Alex couldn't help the amused expression. The suggestion was so utterly, and completely Mark. Another girl might be vaguely put off at the idea of going to a musuem for a first date but musuems ranked somewhere below libraries for Alex. "I've been once or twice but it was a while ago. Okay. It's a date."

She nibbled her lip, unsure of the social conventions following agreeing to this first date thing. It didn't change the usual tenents of the relationship, as far as she was aware, merely opened the option to advancement of things. It did, however, make Alex hyper-aware of what she was saying, "Uhm... So, we'll just meet up and head out there, then, I guess?"

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"Sounds like a plan," said Mark, smiling wider now that she'd gone along with his scheme. He reached over and picked a nearby flower, laughing a little at what he'd found. "I hope you don't take the dandelion badly, but it's the nearest thing growing here and I think Mr. Faulks would get mad if I picked a rose or something." He leaned over and handed her the flower. "I'll have better flowers when I pick you up, I promise. Are you free tomorrow night around eight?"

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Alex laughed and accepted it, her eyes twinkling at him. She twirled it between her fingertips, "Who wants a rose when dandelions can grant wishes? I wasn't planning on doing anything tonight but some classwork but it can wait. I'll be ready at eight. At my dorm, right?"

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"Normally I don't totally believe in magic," said Mark with a little laugh, "but you can't argue with the facts. A dandelion did help grant a wish today." Pleased, Mark stood up. "Eight o'clock tomorrow. I'll pick you up there and we can drive," he suggested. "I know my way around downtown pretty well. You should wear red," he suggested, looking over her outfit appreciatively. "It looks good on you."

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Alex blushed at that and glanced down, as she accepted the compliment with a quiet, "Thanks."

She ran a self concious hand over her tanktop, smoothing it out. The dandelion she tucked in with her books carefully and she tilted her head up to meet his eyes again, "That's a good thing, cuz if it was up to me we'd have to take the bus. Or do the super-hero thing over."

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Mark was a teenage boy; he watched...though only briefly. After all, he was a gentleman. "There are advantages to having my folks out of town all summer. One of which is having access to my parents' cars." He smiled wryly. "And having a dad who insisted I have a license the day after I turned sixteen just in case there was an emergency." He stretched against the summer heat, briefly pulling his uniform tight across his chest. "Eight o'clock tomorrow. You wear red, and I'll bring flowers to match. I'll see you then, okay, Alex?"

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She blinked at him, her gaze wide before she nodded quickly and looked away, "Okay! See you then!"

Alex decided that she'd better pack up her things and figure out what on earth she was going to wear. Not to mention talking to Erin. What did one wear to a museum trip? Something red apparently.

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Feeling very pleased with himself, Mark headed back to his dorm room to make plans. Normally he was a spontaneous guy, but you didn't just show up for a date with a girl (especially a fun one like Alex) without doing a little prep work. He took his nice dress shirt out of the closet to iron it, doing the same with his slacks leftover from sophomore prom. He wasn't going to wear a suit for this or anything, but he did want to make sure he looked nice for his date. He turned on the radio and started humming along to a cheesy pop song.

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Mike lumbered into the room and haphazardly tossed his bag onto his bed before collapsing into his desk chair. He was at first oblivious to Marks activities as he was acustomed to his perpetualy perky roomates tendancy to hum pop songs to just about any activity.

Once he caught on he glanced about the room and asked, "You going out somewhere?"

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"You bet," said Mark cheerily. "I've got a date with Alex tomorrow night." He thought nothing of telling his room-mate this, sure that Mike would be happy for him. Well, as happy as Mike got about anything. "Man, I haven't been on a date with a girl since sophomore prom. This is going to be great." He looked Mike's way. "Hey, you know her better than anybody else. Does she have a favorite kind of flower or anything?"

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Mikes surprise was clear though he quickly if awkwardly covered for it by turning to his computer and randomly clicking buttons ans he responded, "Oh, really, huh didn't catch me as you're type. Uhhhhm flowers?" Mike thought the flowers thing a little cheesy to be honest but it was deffinately Marks style so they might as well be ones she liked.

He thought for a moment, "Posies I think. Hasn't come up much."

Mike was uncertain what more to say. On the one hand the usual guy congradulatory stuff seemed just weird but then saying nothing also seemed awkward. Finally he settled on, "So you and Alex?" still somewhat stumped by the match though really he couldn't think of anyone he could see Alex with.

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"Well yeah, she's great, don't you think?" asked Mark, making a mental note to go out and buy some posies that coming day. He looked quite domestic as he went about ironing his shirt and pants, obviously wanting to look nice for the festivities the next evening. "I mean, I like Erin, but I don't think she's really in the right place for a lot of dates. But Alex, man, she's something else. She always seems to know what I'm thinking, you know?" He thought about that for a minute, then actually laughed. "Which sounds dumb, I guess, but you know what I mean. And maybe she's not built like Daisy or Susanna, but she's still really cute." He hummed along with Britney Spears as they talked, doing a little dance as he worked. "I'm going to get this done, then go hit the cafeteria. I'm in the mood for pie."

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Mike astudiously continued to click around meaninglessly on his computer as Mark went about his preperations.

"Uh yea I guess so, never really thought about it much to be honest." he responded somewhat distractedly. Then turned to say, "They don't have pie on ... nevermind." Mike still was getting used to how often things went Marks way and was occasionaly caught off guard at how reliably he planned on it.

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Mark worked for a little while, humming along with his iPod quietly, before finishing his ironing. With the clothes hung up, he headed for the door. "Catch you later, Mike! I'll probably hit up a flower shop tomorrow, or something." He threw open the door and headed out, singing something under his breath about being the ringleader. He was in a very cheerful mood, as any teenager would be under the circumstances. It was indeed "Pie Fest '09" today in the cafeteria, and he scooped up both a Diet Coke and piece of delicious key lime pie as he headed for a seat.

Happily, his good buddy Chris was sitting nearby. Looking usually cheery and upbeat even for him, Mark pulled up a chair and dropped into the seat next to him. "Hey, Chris! Good to see you, buddy."

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"Flipping heck," said Chris, looking Mark up and down while he chewed on a mouthful of apple pie, "Ain't you lookin' fancy?" He pushed the bowl away and started on the next piece of pie. Blueberry. "Where you going off to?"

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It took Mark a second or two to realize what Chris was talking about. but once he did he got it right away. "Oh, this?" He touched his tie. "I'm just wearing this to stretch it out. The silk is tight for my neck size, so I'm letting it stretch before I dry-clean it." He grinned. "Actually, I'll be wearing the really fancy stuff tomorrow night, on my date with Alex." He grinned. "It's gonna be so much fun!"

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"Awesome, dude," said Chris, faking a smile. What about Mike? What? Dude, you're his best friend! "Have fun with that. But, y'know man... didn't Mike have a bit of a thing for her? What happened there?" Dammit, I need to go slap some sense into Emoboy. Phalanx my ass, if he wasn't so damn tough he'd have razors in his wrists. Man up!

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Mark shrugged. "I dunno, man, he's never mentioned it to me. It's not like I haven't talked to him about liking Alex." He bit into his pie. "Besides, I told him about it just a couple of minutes ago and he seemed...well, not happy, but you know how Mike is. I still haven't figured out the right way to cheer him up. Anyway, I'm pretty sure Alex would have picked up on that by now, and she was all about hitting the Super Museum with me."

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"Fair enough, fair enough." Stupid twat, stupid twat! He ate some more pie and mused. "Eh, well good luck, man." Eh, fail miserably, man. He finished his pie quickly and got up. "I gotta go, but you have a great time." I'm going to help your best friend steal your girl.

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"Thanks, Chris," said Mark with a winning smile. "I'll let you know how it goes." With a quick glance around to make sure no one was listening, he fired a finger gun at Chris. "Who knows, maybe I'll get...lucky!" Chuckling, he dug back into his food, looking very pleased with himself for how well the day was going. It was good to have friends, and good to have people in his life who mattered to him.

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