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Cyroa

A Picnic at Liberty Park (IC)

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Derrick walked down the street with a large basket in on hand. He was dressed in slacks and casual shirt. He in no way resembled Dark Star thankfully. He had a smile on his face and was looking forward to a pleasant day. Another day with Stesha. Date number three to be exact. He hadn't spent this much time as human in a long time. But it was worth it.

The second date had been far more relaxed as well as more lively than the first. They had spent the afternoon and even at a street festival, walking up and down the streets. They ate hot dogs and funnel cakes. They listened to bad but enjoyable music. There wasn't quite as much open conversation as the first date, though there was some. But it had be a wonderful day spent with one another just getting to know who they were without the 'heroing'. Of course, he'd still stumbled and looked like a big goof at the end of the evening with a kiss goodnight. But he was improving thankfully.

Derrick knocked lightly on the door, waiting patiently with basket in hand. This would be more relaxed, 'getting to know each other' time. A lovely park (made so by his date), simple food with good and lovely companionship.

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Stesha didn't make him wait, opening the door for him within just a few seconds. She was dressed casually as well, in jean shorts and a bright yellow T-shirt with white daisies. Her hair was braided and twisted up around a pair of hairsticks, and dressed with matching white daisies as well. She leaned in and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Hello, come on in! I'm just about ready here, but I didn't want to take the cupcakes out of the fridge till we were ready to go." Stesha hurried over to the fridge, where a bottle of decent wine and a half-dozen gourmet cupcakes were waiting to be added to the basket. She'd thought long and hard about opening with a kiss, and felt pretty pleased with herself about it now. After two good dates, that seemed just about right. Not that she hadn't done much more on the first date with Jack, but that was very different, and entirely inferior.

"We're really lucky, the weather is supposed to be great today," she told him brightly, coming back with the treats. "How have you been?"

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He smiled warmly as she opened the door and invited him in, happily accepting quick peck on the cheek, his smile widening a little. "You look lovely this morning," he said, closing the door behind him. He placed the basket down on a small table. "Sounds delicious."

He nodded. "Indeed. There are no major storms for a couple hundred miles in any direction last time I checked. A nice day for a picnic in the park." He opened the lid, so she could put things in. Inside was a few boxes for sandwiches and the like, fruits and a vegetable salad as well as some miscellaneous snack foods along with plates, napkins and utensils.

"I've been well, thank you. The city has been relatively quiet. I've spent some time at the SCC helping the scientists with their research in certain areas. A couple trips off planet for minor things. How about you?"

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"It's been good," she told him, tucking her offerings into the basket, and adding a few extra napkins, just to be safe. "August is the slowest summer month for weddings, because it's too darn hot. But you do start getting into shower season for all those holiday babies," she added mischeivously. "Twas the season, if you know what I mean. I've been working my way up from the West End, getting schoolyards and a few churches along with the parks. I could wish we'd get a little more rain, just not today."

With a chuckle, she closed the basket. "All right, I think we're set. I was thinking, we could go by cab again or take my car, but it would be easier and faster if I just moved us there. I know a spot where no one will see us. Wanna?" She extended a hand to him.

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He chuckled lightly, and a little awkwardly, and quickly moved passed that into her recent work. "Sounds like your beautification endeavors are going well. Despite the lack of rain." He shrugged. "I'm certainly it'll get wet soon enough. Just a dry month I suppose."

He nodded at her and reached for her hand. "Of course. I trust you implicitly." Which was true. It was as an added bonus that he got to hold her hand.

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"Excellent," she said with a grin. "Grab the basket, and keep it close." When he complied, she rested the fingers of her free hand on the leaves of the lush stevia plant that graced the kitchen table. A quick brush of energy rustled the leaves, and suddenly they were both engulfed in brilliant green, like a sunny day viewed through the shade of a succulent tree. The air was filled with a smell like newly-mown grass. After just a moment of that, they were just as abruptly standing in a secluded copse on the edge of Liberty Park, and Stesha had her hand on the trunk of an oak tree instead of a potted plant. She looked over at him. "See, no traffic!"

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Basket in one hand, hers in the other, Derrick stood calmly as the light flared. He smiled, looking around the park. "Very nice." Now he knew how others felt when he picked them up and deposited them far from there in an instant. "Certainly saves time!" He adjusted the basket in one hand, giving her hand a little squeeze with his other.

"I bow to your expertise. Somehow I'm certain that you know the best place to sit in this park." Or any park in range really. He chuckled softly. "The park definitely looks rather vibrant."

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Stesha led the way, keeping hold of his hand as she ducked around the boughs of a weeping willow and stepped onto one of the broad paths. "I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like out here," she complained cheerfully. "It's always busy, day and night. But I come through when I can, and do what I can. Eventually I'll get it looking perfect." She detoured off the path near a fragrant bed of daylilies and tuberoses, all of which seemed happy to see her, from the way they turned their petals and straightened when she approached.

"I love this spot," she told him. "It's where I always come to relax." She spread the blanket on the ground and sat down crosslegged on one side. In the sun, her hair was already starting to turn a deeper shade of green.

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He nodded in agreement, certain she would eventually. "I don't think I've ever been here, not on the ground like this anyway. Always passing above, flying by. I...think I might have been here when I was a kid. A field trip or something but it's hard to remember," he mused.

"It's definitely peaceful, and quite lovely." Though whether he was talking about the location or his companions was a hard guess. He set the basket down on the edge of the blanket, kicked off his shoes and stretched out on his side. He looked up, watching with interest and a little smile on his face as her hair slowly changed color.

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Stesha slid off her sandals as well, curling her toes in the grass as she leaned forward to dig into the basket. "Liberty Park is a great place," she told him. "You like to read, and there's not many better places in the city, when the weather is nice. And you can watch people, or come to the concerts, or just be around the plants for awhile. I love it." She began spreading out the picnic on the blanket, then selected a cupcake for herself to start things off. "Would you like to pour? "

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He nodded. "I do a lot of that actually. Watching people. Not in a creepy way! I mean, you know, just curiously observing. I find people to be amazing beings. Just can't help but watch them grow." He took the bottle from her, slowly and carefully opening it. He poured her a glass, handing it to her. "I enjoy reading too, though it's a bit harder nowadays. I used to love reading under a tree back in the day." He smiled at her choice of starter food, reaching for the makings of a small sandwich himself. Food and drink ready, he scootched a little closer to her, tilted so he could watch her but be next to her at the same time before he started slowly on the food.

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Stesha laughed as she watched Derrick take a look at her cupcake and wine, and pretended to hug them to her chest. "I'm photosynthesizing out here," she defended herself playfully. "That's healthy enough that I can afford to be a little bad. And I've wanted one of these all day long." She scooted in towards him so they were both on the same side of the blanket, then raised her glass in his direction. "To sunny days and good company?" she suggested.

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Derrick laughed merrily, holding his own hands up in surrender. "I didn't say anything! Honest! But fair enough. Far be it from me to get between a lovely woman and her passion! I'll save desert for afterward though." He smiled, happy, and clinked his glass lightly to hers. "To sunny days and wonderful company," he corrected slightly before taking a sip. Feeling a bit brave and emboldened by the fact that this was a the third date (and she'd tolerated his stumblings so far), Derrick leaned over to kiss her cheek despite the rather public venue. "Wonderful indeed," he said softly, pulling back.

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"Perfect," she agreed with a smile, taking a sip, then leaning her head against his shoulder for a moment. That felt nice, and very comfortable. But there were other matters to attend to as well, like lunch! Straightening up just enough that her body still touched his lightly, she unwrapped her cupcake and took a bite. "Mmm. Make sure you don't fill up on sandwiches, it would be a sin to miss this," she told him, licking a bit of frosting off her finger. "Devil's food cake with whipped chocolate frosting. So I was thinking," she added without a break, "how do you read when you're not in a human body? Do you use a Kindle or something like that?"

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It felt nice that physical contact of her leaning on him. He went for so long without a sense of touch, it was amazing how each little touch meant so much. He smiled over at her. "You definitely have something of a chocolate preference, don't you," he asked rhetorically with a chuckle. "It's just a small sandwich I assure you. I'll have some cake too. Wouldn't miss it. I'll just be sure to get my hands out of the way quickly," he added with a grin.

He started in on the simple sandwich, probably just a plain thing compared to most people. He was simply going back and experiencing things he'd forgotten long ago. It wasn't like he ate all that often after all. He had barely started on it before replying.

"Well, I tried this new 'book on tape' thing briefly, but is wasn't the same. I had it playing across a radio wave so I could listen as I moved about the city. But I didn't like that at all. I returned the tape to the library after the second attempt." He shrugged. "I use a tethered stabilized gravity field to hold the book in relation to me, then minor brushes of it to turn the page. Doing so lets me read at almost any speed. A nice way to pass the time if I'm taking a longer trip to somewhere I've never been, though those are few and far between. It isn't quite as satisfying as holding a book in your hands though."

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She wrinkled her nose at his teasing, but didn't seem offended. "That's not a fair way to put it," she told him. "I like anything sweet, not just chocolate. And someone I met... oh, I didn't tell you! I met someone you probably know, her name is Phantom. She said she works with the Knights. Anyway, she said that her weight hasn't changed basically at all since she started doing hero stuff, even though she doesn't eat at all. So I figure why not test out the theory? If there's no way to lose weight, there's no point in dieting. If there ever is." She laughed and took another healthy bite of cupcake.

"It sounds weird when you describe reading that way, but I guess it doesn't matter so much how you hold the book." Stesha chuckled. "I've got this great mental image of you in my head now, flying through space, with a book flying just ahead of you. Good thing space is big and you're not too likely to run into anything. What do you read out in space?"

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He nodded. "I do know her. We've worked together on occasion. A noble woman with a difficult task. Really? I had no idea," he said, truly surprised. It would never occur to him to ask a fellow hero about eating habits and weight. "Well, we are likely fueled more by various energies than the calories. And I'm certain we expend more as well. I admit, this isn't exactly something that has crossed my mind before."

He grinned. "Actually I lost two books that way believe it or not. I was reading, not paying attention and flew through this energy storm. It only tingled for me but the book practically disintegrated in front of me. I felt awful having to tell the librarian that I accidentally burned it." He shook his head. "The other was simply passing through a micro-meteorite shower. One hit and the book exploded. At least that one I bought so didn't have to explain what happened to it," he chuckled wryly.

"I enjoy histories. I find it interesting to study what has gone before. I don't limit myself to Earth's though. And I like," he added a little softer, not that he was embarrassed or anything, "Mysteries and Crime Solving novels too."

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Stesha laughed and winced at his story, putting her fingers over her mouth. "Oh no, poor books didn't stand a chance. You're lucky she didn't take your library card away. You need a bulletproof book jacket or something like that. Maybe I'll keep an eye out while I'm shopping." She finished her cupcake and wiped her fingers on a napkin, then virtuously pulled an apple from the picnic basket. "I like mysteries too," she told him. "Not like the true crime ones, because they're kind of depressing, but the whodunnit sort. My super guilty pleasure is the paperback romance mysteries you can pick up at the grocery store, but I imagine that's not your speed." She grinned at him. "Besides, those things would never withstand even a little meteorite."

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He chuckled, enjoying the conversation as well as the warmth from her proximity. "If you find something that could take it, let me know. I suppose if it was made of starship armor, it'd work perfectly fine if be somewhat heavy. Of course, I don't know of anyone who prints books on material like that," he added with a grin.

He nodded. "That's what I meant as well. I don't like the nitty-gritty ones. The old Sherlock Homes were pretty good mysteries and crime solving novels, though I haven't reread those in quite some time." He did a stutter-pause briefly. "Uh, yeah. I definitely don't think those are for me." He really wasn't entirely sure what those book said exactly, but he was pretty sure it would give him a heart attack, seizure or some other trauma he wasn't interested in. "I've yet to meet a book that can," he said with a smile, happily moving away from the idea of romance novels, trashy or otherwise. "I've simply got to watch where I'm going more. Flying and reading probably shouldn't be done simultaneously anyway." He chuckled, finishing his small sandwich.

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"I guess not. It sounds like a good way to crash through a planet. I guess you'd be okay, but the poor book would never be the same." Stesha bit into the apple, then scooted around on the blanket so she could recline on one arm and look up at him. "I guess music is tough for the same reason, once you get out of the range of radio waves. Hard to fit an iPod on intangible ears, and even if you did, they'd probably sheer or burn off at some point. Gives you plenty of time to think, I guess. Do the other Knights go with you?"

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He nodded. "Very true. I'm not a big music person. I enjoy listening to it but there aren't a lot of radio waves from Earth after you get a short difference away, relatively speaking. I occasionally intercept other signals of course. But finding music amidst those signals, when I find them at all, is a rare thing."

He looked at her curiously. "The other Knights? On occasion. Usually it's work related though I've offered some a little sightseeing now and again. Being who they are, it isn't an offer most are too interested in. We tend to be rather busy and focused," he said wryly. "Why? Are you Interested in the other Knights or a trip," he asked curiously.

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"I was just wondering," she told him. "I'm curious about everything, you know that." Grinning, she watched a pair of rollerbladers speed by, then turned back to him. "It just reminds me a little bit of taking a long car ride, you know, when you get beyond the thrill of the whole "traveling in space" thing. If you can't have music and books crash into things, I figured maybe going with someone else made it less boring. I don't actually know if I'd like to fly in space or not. I'm not normally afraid of heights, but I've never tried to go nearly so high."

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He smiled and nodded. "I know, it's something we have in common. I was just curious to what you were directing it towards." He chuckled. "I suppose it can be like a long car ride, actually. Though I've generally found a way to bypass that. Now it's short rides at most." He pulled the small bowl of fruit a little closer.

He watched the people moving around the park, enjoying the lovely day. "It's not quite the same as being high up. It's...more open, not necessarily high. I can see it being an issue for someone witha a fear of open spaces though." He shrugged. "At some point, I'll take you up there if you like. Skipping the long car rides of course. I wouldn't want you to be bored," he said with a smile. "But there are some beautiful places, worlds untouched with amazing plant, that I know you'd like to see."

He reached for a strawberry, extending it towards her for first dibs.

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Stesha leaned up and took the berry from him with her teeth, delicately nipping it out of his hand, then using her fingers to remove the stem part. "Mmm, very nice," she told him with an impish grin. Sometimes it was just fun to watch him blush, and she couldn't help herself. Sitting up again, she reached for the bowl and held one up for him in return. "I'd like to see those places you've talked about. It sounds like the trip of a lifetime."

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Derrick had just intended to hand it to her. But instead, he blinked. Turning red as he tried not to picture anything inappropriate though was pretty much a given as she took the strawberry from him with her mouth and (to him) slowly ate the delectable fruit. It was a beautiful day, with a lovely little breeze. But now it seemed to be about twenty degrees to warm and his heart was pounding hard. When she offered him the fruit, how could he not reciprocate. Badly, but at least he didn't bite her fingers by accident, though it was a near thing. He really wanted to offer her more fruit (for various reasons) but he wasn't sure he could handle it.

He nodded with weak smile, still recovering from the near stunning experience, doing his best to not think of her doing....FOCUS. "It's a, uh, date then. We'll make a day of it or something maybe."

Glancing around at the crowds, he hesitated for a moment. Then, deciding to just go for it, he reach up above his head in an exaggerated stretch. He slowly and tentatively brought his arms down to rest one arm across her back and wrapping around her, holding her gently.

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