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Lazy Sunday IC


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His families living in Freedom City meant that Mike was mostly a boarding student as a sort of crash course in socializing. The fact that the school was on the other side of town and his Mother was carefully monitoring the families carbon footprint didn't hurt either. However when it came to the holidays there wasn't much to justify him staying at school instead of home.

So after the assorted relations had come and gone and the decorations had mostly been dismantled Mike had invited Alex over for the afternoon and maybe dinner. It wasn't all that unusual in and of itself, they had after all been fast friends since infancy, but this was the first time she had been over not as part of a family function since they had started dating.

Mike had assumed that given the circumstances his parents would prefer they stay downstairs. His mother however was canning for an organic food drive and insisted they'd be fine up in his room and wouldn't have to worry about her noise or being in the way. Mike simply shrugged at the explanation and waited in the living room for Alex to arrive.

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Alex let herself in as she had since she was old enough to be allowed to walk over to the Harris's house. She blinked at the sudden noise inside and gave Mike the bright smile that she seemed to reserve just for him. Raising her voice enough to be heard over the din, she asked as she went into his arms for a hug, "Canning day again?"

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Mike nodded and pulled her into a deep hug. After releasing her he made unnecessary pantomimes about the noise, as he was well able to project over the din, to indicate they should head upstairs. Mrs. Harris looked up from her canning for a moment and waved to Alex with a broad smile shooing them both towards the stairs.

Once upstairs Mike hurriedly cleared off his desk chair and with a shrug deposited the laundry previously there on the larger pile int he corner. He flopped down in an oversize beanbag chair next to the bed and explained, "Yea the buyer over did it on the organic cranberries this year so most of them were on the edge of going south. Mom took em all here to can them up for Second Harvest." He had long ago become accustomed to his mothers eccentric attitudes on such things.

He gestured up on the desk, "There're some snacks I snuck home from school up on the desk if my dad didn't get to them yet. And I can brave the laboratory if you need a drink." he offered with a smile.

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"Maybe she's trying to give you time alone with your new girlfriend." Alex teased although that was certainly part of the motivation of his mother. Alex had seen her emotional satisfaction as they'd vanished upstairs as easy as nothing the color of the wall paper.

She sat down in his desk chair and pulled her backpack onto her lap, "You don't have any soda right now. Your mom's on another raw foods kick. I brought some from my house though as neither of us are too fond of beet juice."

Alex dug the cans out of her backpack and lobbed one to Mike with an easy toss. She didn't bother to use her tk as she full well knew his reaction speeds.

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Mike's cheeks colored for a moment as he processed what she was suggesting. "I dunno about that." He said nervously not really sure how to respond though the reminder of that fact made him both happy and suddenly more nervous both at once.

He easily caught the can and popped the top wincing slightly as he took a sip, unused to carbonated beverages as he was he was always startled by the bubbles. "Thanks, Dad got her a juicer for Christmas ya know. I had no idea how many thing s you could juice." Nor for that matter how many things you could but really shouldn't he shuddered at the memory of some of the more creative cocktails.

He set the can on his bed stand and leaned back arms behind his head stretching for a moment, "So how was the post holiday crush at your place?"

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Alex laughed at his sudden and obvious discomfort, but she let him change the subject with only a teasing grin as retort, "You know, the usual. I helped Mom program the new gps dad got her for the van. She didn't call Granpa about his present but she didn't send it back either so hopefully they'll start talking again soon. So no news, really."

Alex shrugged with the placid calm that came from knowing reconciliation was inevitable. She gave the chair a little spin with one foot, "If its not 'torrid make out session' day, what do you wanna do?"

The little smirk was back on her face as she eyed him with wide eyed innocence. Perhaps the teasing was a little bit of vengance for the emo years but Alex had never claimed sainthood.

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Mike nodded as she described the normal post holiday scene at the Albright house. He was mildly surprised that given the time Alex was spending with her grandfather her mother hadn't reconciled at least some of the past there. Well moreover tat she hadn't reconciled but still let Alex do so. He didn't really understand the history too well though so perhaps there was more too it.

He almost asked about it but was distracted by the images that flooded his mind unbidden when she mentioned 'Torrid make-out session'. After a slack-jawed moment he pulled himself together enough to form some kind of reply. "Well we don't have to rule it out entirely." He said and almost managed not to blush then quickly moved on, "I didn't have any particular plans. Maybe a movie or something if you wanted." Mike was not so good with the decision making at the best of times and after Alex's teasing none of the ideas that were popping up in his mind seemed appropriate to verbalize.

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Alex giggled at his open mouthed expression, her cheeks turning pink to match his as she caught snatches of his thoughts. Alex leaned over to press gentle fingertips to his jaw with a little laugh, "You'll catch flies, you know."

She paused, tracing the muscles in his cheek with loving fingertips before she moved to sit back once more in the office chair, her lips turned down in regret. "I miss going to the movies but as I'm still sparkley, I'd ruin it for everyone."

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Mike smiled at the touch and turned his head to give her hand a quick peck as she withdrew it. "Hmmm." He rumbled, "that is a problem with that plan." he acknowledged. Of course while movies were fun he really had been looking forward to just spending some time with her away from all the insanity of school and Young Freedom without the embarrassing knowing glances and occasional commentary from their parents.

"I just wanted to see you again." He said gently patting her knee with one long arm, "Didn't think much beyond that." He let out a nervous laugh and his thought drifted across their mental link almost accidentally 'I guess we can see where Zoe gets that at least.' Which was likely true as Alex planned for just about everything. He shook his head to stir himself from the conundrum represented by that particular temporal oddity.

"Well I offered a suggestion bad though it may have been, you have any ideas?" he inquired trying to keep his mind focused was increasingly difficult where Alex was concerned. He wasn't uncomfortable, quite the opposite, just having her around was enough to brighten his day. But he thought that if they were dating they should do, well, date stuff. Of course what exactly that was supposed to be Mike still wasn't entirely sure.

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"Although there are certain societal expectations about changes in behavior, we don't actually have to do any specific 'date things', you know," Alex said seriously to his unspoken thoughts before that radiant smile broke out on her face again. It was like concentrated sunshine. She covered the large hand on her leg with her slender and delicately boned fingers. "I love our friends but I've missed spending time with you too. Its different at Claremont than it was before."

Alex pursed her lips thoughtfully, her head tilting to one side. "Boardgame?"

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Mike nodded emphatic agreement and stood to dig through the mishmash storage above his bead that had once been a top bunk for when Alex stayed over and had over the years like most surfaces in a teen boys room become another surface to hold assorted clutter.

"Well thank you professor Albright." He said with a joking smile as he turned a small stack of games in hand. Mike then frowned slightly, "You don't actually have a doctorate yet right?" he double checked as he realized his jest might not have been so much a jest.

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Alex bounced up from her chair to look over the games in his hands with unconcealed eagerness. "Ooo, Carcacone."

She plucked the battered blue box from his fingers before she looked up at his face with a sweet smile as she shook her head. "Don't be silly. I'd tell you. I am the CEO of a new company we founded to buy and sell stocks though. Its churning me a profit of one to two hundred thousand a year. Do you want to go first?"

Alex shook the box at him, rattling the pieces.

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Mike let out a low whistle, "Man I'm glad you didn't pick monopoly." He said with a grin as he cleared his journal and a couple pens off the desk. "Of course I'll go first I need all the help I can get." he said with a wink as he laid out the starter tile. He pulled the bean bag chair over and sat back down his height still affording him a good view of the board.

After placing his piece he glanced back up at Alex asking "So whats that for?" about her new venture. Last he knew she had been planing on becoming a psychiatrist.

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"I'm not ruthless enough for monoply. Even if I get everything, I just give people free passes." Alex picked her piece and set it down without seeming to pause for thought. She smiled at Mike across the table and shrugged her shoulders.

"I am still going into therapy but I want the freedom to help people who really need it. You're going straight into work after Claremont and Zoe needs a college fund. Its financially pragmatic. I'd rather not have to struggle when we get married if we don't have to and we don't."

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Mike laid down his own tile actually without much thought. He never really saw what the difference it made this early in the game anyway.

He nodded considering her commentary, "I suppose not. That sounds a bit beyond not struggling Though." Truth be told that sounded downright wealthy to Mike but he was a simple person of simple needs. If he even noticed the assumed nuptials it certainly didn't cause him to skip a beat.

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"It is. And it's going to grow. I was planning on making my fortune in college but now that I'm not planning on attending a four year university, I thought I'd get that done now so I can focus on my post grad work after we graduate. I don't think it'll be hard for me but you never know. Best to be careful," Alex said pragmatically as she dropped another tile on the desk and pushed it into place with the tip of her finger. She drummed her fingers on the desk for a moment, considering the small cluster of tiles before she pulled her hand back and nodded to explain that she was done.

She watched his face for a moment, her gaze skipping over his beloved face as he glanced down to pick up the cloth bag of tiles. Unconciously, Alex smiled in response to his furrowed brow, "Its just money."

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Mike smiled at her as he fished around in the bag for a good piece. "Technically its just a whole lot of money." He corrected as he pulled out the blank pasture tile and frowned at it. He studied the board for a minute and carefully laid down the tile.

Looking up at Alex he grinned again, "Whatsa matter don't think I'll be able to keep you in the lifestyle to which you've been accustomed." He teased with grin.

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Alex reached across the board to capture his hand with her own. As always, her fingers looked almost comically small next to his broad palm as she threaded her fingers through his and laced them together even as she sent her thoughts down their connection in a way that was so organic, it was almost wordless. Only Mike really understood how unnatural speech was to her. Learning to talk had been one of the few things Alex had done on schedule with normal children, only slightly ahead of most lisping toddlers.

Because pure thought was so much cleaner, so much more eloquent. She refrained because of the ambient discomfort it caused in other people but with Mike she was free to be herself. 'Don't be absurd.'

Images flickered through their link, almost too fast for Mike to process but he was used to it. That was just how Alex thought. It took her a few seconds to sort out the impression she wanted to convey, 'There's so much more that you could do - that you want to do - than earn a top wage. You can save people. Help people. Its what you were born to be. I'd rather you spend your time doing that than worry about money. This is easy for me. There are more important things for your time than this.'

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He took her small hand in his own. 'Like you said its just money. There are things much more important.' He shrugged and leaned back pulling easily pulling her with him. 'I'm sure your scheme will work out just fine.' he thought to her as his lips met hers.

Sitting up still holding her to his broad chest he smiled down at her, 'Though the same could be said of your time too. Not that I imagine this takes much of it.'

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Alex relaxed against him with a soft sigh, her arms going up automatically around his neck. Although she knew precisely how much stronger Mike was, it never gave her a moment of concern as she nestled trustingly against his broad chest. Alex had never been afraid that he would hurt her even accidentally and she never would be. She snuggled into him and tucked her face into the side of his neck, nuzzling against his skin.

"Erin's helping. So is James. Its not too bad time wise. I have it right now. I haven't exactly been pushing myself with my classes," her murmur was muffled against his skin but it echoed clearly in his thoughts. Her fingertips strayed up to his newly short dark hair with the same air of delighted curiosity that Alex approached all of life with, "And all my schemes work out just fine, thank you. With only rare and unusual exception."

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Mike nodded and gently stroked her hair over one ear. "Well I think that wins understatement of the year." He said with a soft laugh she almost felt more then heard. "You're actually in a couple classes with me. Not that I mind having a cute study buddy slash tutor, but definitely not pushing yourself." He shifted to look down at her once more. "Straight into graduate school? Have you started keeping erins hours and taking night classes?" he asked clearly this was the point out of it all that seemed incongruous to mike.

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His laugh vibrated the skin under her lips and Alex pressed an amused kiss against the pulse of his throat before she pulled back enough to look up at him while he pestered her about the how's. She blew a huffy breath at being distracted from nuzzling his neck but answered his question without protest, "No, I'd be a zombie. I need to sleep unlike Erin. I just spent several hours churning out AP tests and other test work. A few projects. Some essay work. Mostly the AP tests. Oh, and I SAT'd already too."

She scrunched her face up as she ran down the list in her head of everything that she'd done. "I'll have to do some focused work for the major in the next year and then I should be done. I have all my GE's done already though."

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Mikes eyebrows raised, He'd had no idea she'd been so busy with this project, "Wow. I had no idea they let people do that." He shrugged and pulled her close once more. "Well if anyone can pull it off you can." He said quietly and gently kissed her forehead, then stiffened slightly and whispered, "I think my mom is coming up." He'd been having more and more incidents of his sight or hearing growing much sharper than usual.

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Alex giggled and wiggled in his lap to lean in and press a kiss against his lips. It was quick but definately not chaste. She pulled back and then with a mischevious smile, reached up to ruffle his dark hair with her fingertips until it looked mussed before she scooted out of his lap and back to her chair a little breathlessly. Her eyes twinkled amusement at him from accross the table and she silently held out the bag for him to take.

"Here, it's still your turn," she added aloud when he didn't move to take it, giving him a teasing grin.

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Mike managed to shake off his stupor and began fishing for his next tile when his Mrs. Harris knocked on the door calling through it, "I thought you kids might want a little snack."

"Come in mom." Mike replied and placed another tile rather haphazardly. Entering, his mother set a tray with chopped vegetables and hummus and two tall green drinks on the edge of the desk, "Sooo? You kids having a good time." She asked a little too pointedly causing Mike another deep blush that seemed a satisfactory answer. She set the drinks down explaining, "cucumber, artichoke. Lots of minerals with no heat to damage them." Then with a nod she turned, "Staying for dinner Alex?" To which Mike hurridly replied, "Nah Mom, I think we're actually gonna go out later." Which while he hadn't actually discussed would certainly be better than whatever mise-en-place she was planning to call dinner tonight. Mrs. Harris seemed satisfied by that merely requesting, "Ok let me know when you're leaving and don't stay out past two without calling." then turned and lightly strode back to her canning project downstairs the door clicking shut behind her.

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