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Electra

Could've Danced All Night (IC)

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Once upon a time, before the end of the world, Erin White had been a much girlier girl. She'd had fun at sleepovers with her friends, giving and receiving makeovers and talking about boys. If everything hadn't gone careening off the rails, she would've gotten professional instructions from the Avon rep that Kathy's mom had booked for her birthday party, but even so, Erin could put on makeup without looking like a fool. But that had been in another lifetime, and she just didn't anymore. For a long time, there was absolutely no point in it, between one thing and another, and then, when she'd been released from quarantine and gotten used to being around girls who cared about their appearances, she had no money for that kind of thing. It was easier to pretend not to care and just make sure to keep her skin clean and avoid zits.

Now, though, she had a job, sort of, and a scarily amazing dress, and she was going to a fancier party than anything she'd ever been invited to before. If there was ever a time, it was now. She wished Alex was around to help, but at the same time, doing it on her own protected her ego when she scoured clearance racks and tested what sort of products worked on super-resilient skin and hair. The curling iron and hair doo-dads she could borrow, at least. With Oliver watching encouragingly from the counter, she co-opted one of the girls' bathrooms on the day of the dance and spent literally most of the afternoon getting ready. Training and homework be damned, just this once. Maybe she had no chance of fitting in, but she wanted to at least look the part.

All in all, she thought she did a fairly good job. After experimenting and deciding that she couldn't put her super-straight hair up in any sort of complicated arrangement by herself, she let it go and just curled the tendrils near her face, holding the rest back with a couple of sparkly rhinestone combs. The makeup was understated, it had to be with her pale skin, but it set off her lips and made her eyes look bigger and darker. She'd borrowed the shoes, too, strappy red heels that added inches to her height and a sway to her walk that she'd had to practice with a little. The dress, however, was doing most of the heavy lifting in the ensemble. Despite her concerns, Frank had done an amazing job on it, creating a calf-length showpiece in deep red charmeuse that clung as much as her costume did but somehow made her look a whole lot more feminine. He'd gone with a little more cleavage than she'd hoped, but not as much as she'd feared, so she figured they could call it even, since he'd also included the matching shorts and slit the skirt enough to let her work if she had to. Frank obviously knew his customers. The earrings and the necklace she'd found were rhinestones too, and people would probably notice at a shindig like this, but there was no help for that. They looked pretty.

Oliver purred his approval as she looked at herself in front of the mirror one more time, getting up and stretching after his long stint playing moral support. "Wish me luck," she told him with a crooked smile. "I think I might be better off going into a war zone than doing this. But it'll be an adventure." Tucking her bat and her wallet into the little matching evening bag, she headed out to the common room to wait for Trevor.

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Trevor readjusted his wine red necktie self-consciously as he walked down the dormitory hallway. The silk draped over a cream coloured shirt bracketed by a vest of a warm grey, adding texture to a black suit with a faint pinstripe. Pausing midstep, he reassessed the position of the tie's knot with one hand, a faint frown passing over his face as he hurriedly reversed his last minute change. Formal wear usually gave him no trouble, but that evening he found himself plagued by an unfamiliar need to second guess himself. Fortunately Frank had performed to his usual high standards; the red of the tie played well off the pale teen's complexion while the cut of the suit sat well on his lanky form, giving him a lithe profile, accentuating his height. Trevor supposed he should be grateful the portly tailor had insisted against an all-black ensemble, though they had compromised with the inclusion of the young man's beaten fedora. Despite its wear, the hat was still dark enough to match the suit from a distance.

Deciding that the tie was a smoothed down as it was likely to get, the soft spoken youth continued on his way, suppressing a sudden certainty that his hair was an absolute mess, despite the reflection in the glass enclosure of an emergency firehose proving otherwise. Composing his features into their usual stoicism, Trevor rounded the corned to the dormitory common room smoothly and stopped once more in the doorway as he saw Erin. For a moment he said nothing, the silence subtly different from his usual laconic demeanor, punctuated by raised eyebrows and lips falling ever so slightly open. Marshaling his faculties, he finally spoke. "...hey. Ah, wow."

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Erin smiled at the reaction, glad her hard work was being appreciated. Trevor looked amazing, like he'd stepped out of a magazine or something, but he always looked so good that it wasn't unexpected he'd clean up very well. "I could say the same for you," she told him. "We look pretty good for a couple of street brawlers. I was just thinking though, how are we going to get there? I'm not sure I could ride a motorcycle in this without being unladylike about it."

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"Well, I brawl on very nice streets," Trevor deadpanned, his mouth stepping in while his brain continued to scramble back to its normal operating levels. Every once in a while the mature young man was forced to admit at least to himself that he still was a teenager, with all the benefits and complications that implied. Forcing himself not to stare at Erin's dress, he had to compromise by focusing on her carefully applied lipstick, reasoning that since that was where her eyes would be without the heels, he was doing reasonably well. "Had a car brought around," he explained as he finally processed the question. "Normally be chauffeured, but I like to drive myself."

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"Sounds good," Erin said aloud, inwardly struggling between amused and impressed. Most days it was pretty easy to forget that she hung around with people who used things like chauffeured cars as a matter of course, but a night like this was probably going to be very different. It already was different, really. People passing by the common room were staring at them, and for once it didn't feel as though they were staring at her like she was some kind of ticking time bomb. That felt pretty good. With the nerves of getting ready behind her, Erin found herself looking forward to this again. She tucked her bag under her arm and gave him another smile, cocking her head to catch his eyes. "We should probably get going before traffic gets too bad on the bridge."

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Trevor tilted his head to one side slightly, setting his fedora at a rakish angle. "Could always just go over the bridge again," he suggested mildly. He wasn't normally quite so glib, but a combination of high spirits and difficulty concentrating had him foregoing his usual careful consideration in choosing his words. Offering his arm to Erin, he gestured toward the front of the campus with the other. "Off we go, then."

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Erin took his arm, quiet for a moment as she considered the implication of his words. "If I said I thought you'd have problems balancing an entire car on those narrow little cables, you'd just take it as a challenge, wouldn't you," she asked with a chuckle. "Maybe some other time. I'm already kind of nervous about the party," she admitted. "I realized I never asked you what sort of party it is, or who it's for, or how many people are going to be there."

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"Would be silly," Trevor agreed lightly as they walked. "Meant we could take the helicopter." He caught himself raising his hand to absently adjust his tie once more and forced it back his side. "Just a charity gala," the dark haired youth explained with a small shrug. "Tonight is... animal rights? Possibly forest preservation. Really just a social event; bigger donation, bigger status. Dinner, couple speeches, mutual back-patting, dancing. Hundred people, maybe two?" Overall he didn't have much use for such events, but it was important for him to make the occasional public appearance and it might as well benefit a good cause.

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Erin raised her eyebrows at the mention of the helicopter, which at least saved her the trouble of raising them again at the thought of a couple hundred people at a party. Trevor's... set, she guessed it was, obviously didn't do anything small. That would make it easier to blend in, though. "Least it's for a good cause, whatever it is," she joked. "I wonder if it's tacky to order a vegetarian meal at a forest preservation dinner... or a carnivore meal at the animal rights party. I can see where these things would be full of pitfalls." She had to concentrate a little on walking in the heels, but it was certainly no harder than navigating a tightrope. In either case though, a fall would be embarrassing.

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Noticing Erin's minor difficulty with her footwear, Trevor shifted his weight subtly to give her the option of supporting herself on their linked arms if need be. The soft spoken teen was careful not to make the gesture too obvious, and continued to look straight ahead as they reached the end of the hallway. "Wouldn't worry," he advised airily, pushing the door open with his free hand. In the driveway to the school sat a spotless black car with a retro aesthetic. Gleaming chrome accented a long hood with a raised center, and gently curving arches sat above whitewall tires. The vehicle was clearly something from another age, but looked as if it had rolled off of the assembly line earlier that day.

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"Wow," Erin murmured, sounding not unlike Trevor when he'd seen her in the dress. "Cool car..." Her voice was nearly reverent. It ranked right up there with James' convertible, though it was cool in an entirely different way. It definitely fit Trevor's image, and even the subtly retro stylings that Frank had added to her dress. She couldn't help rest a hand on the hood for a moment, even though she was pretty sure it had been waxed recently. It was irresistible. "I can see why you wouldn't want a chauffeur." Glancing over at him, she decided she'd wait till after the dance to try and wheedle a turn behind the wheel.

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While Erin was distracted by the car, Trevor took the opportunity to school the small grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. He'd noticed her interest in automobiles and made a point to dig up one of the more striking vehicles from the Midnight Manor's pool, putting considerable effort into getting it back into working condition. It had been no small feat; the car was over half a century old, and even at the time it was built had required a number of custom made parts. Still, for that reaction, it had been worth it. Moving to the passenger side door, he opened it and gestured inside with a small bow.

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Erin slid into the car, managing the move gracefully in spite of both dress and shoes, and made herself comfortable. Being inside a car this old was weird, but cool. She'd never really seen anything like it, so that it was more like a ride at an amusement park than just going somewhere in a car. Settling her purse in her lap, she automatically reached for her seatbelt, then realized there wasn't one on a car this old. It wasn't as though she needed one, but it still felt weird not to wear it. Stick shift, too. Luckily, she knew how to drive one of those. She watched as Trevor walked around and got into the car, then rolled down her window as they took off with a rumble of antique engine. "This is really neat," she told him. "Was it your grandfather's?"

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"Mmm," Trevor murmured in agreement as he pulled out of the campus' driveway. The classic car's engine was fairly noisy, but a combination of his recent tune-up and the exacting specifications his grandfather had had it built to in the 1940s granted it a throaty purr which was not unpleasant. "Not one of the Night Cruisers, but he collected a few civilian cars over the years. Millionaire playboy, and all."

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"Cool," Erin replied, leaning back in the seat to enjoy the ride. It was fun to watch people do double-takes as they caught sight of the car, and they even got a few appreciative honks from more enthusiastic passers-by. It wasn't every day you saw a car like this. Watching the reactions from the corner of her eye as she played it cool was entertaining enough that she barely noticed the traffic as they went over the bridge and headed for North Bay. She did appreciate the light weight of her dress, though, since another thing the classic car lacked was air conditioning. Even in the evening, the ride was a bit warm. "You said you came out to represent your family at things like this, right?" she asked. "Does that mean your folks and your grandfather don't go out to them?"

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Trevor nodded, one eye closing slightly in a suppressed wince. "Gramps is pretty sprightly for his nineties, but he's not as mobile as he used to be. My parents..." The dark haired teen jutted out his lower lip and blew out a long breath, bouncing the bangs sticking out from under his fedora off of his forehead. "Divorced when I was young. Having a child to save the marriage didn't pan out. Father travels a lot for business, mother's in Paris these days." His matter-of-fact tone was light as ever, though a small frown touched his lips as he shifted his grip on the steering wheel. "Don't see much of either."

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"I'm sorry," Erin replied quietly, half-turning to look at him. "That's gotta be tough." She'd noticed that Trevor didn't talk much about his parents. Well, Trev didn't talk much about anything, but some things less than others. She tried switching the conversation to something a little less fraught. "Do you like living with your grandfather? He seems like a neat guy."

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Trevor shrugged as he drove. "Don't be. It's all relative." Over his weeks at Claremont, the quiet young man had noticed that a surprising number of his classmates were orphans of one kind or another. Compared to that, absentee parents were hardly anything to complain about, not that he was overly given to complaint in the first place. "He raised me," Trevor answered Erin's question, his manner suggesting that was all that need be said on the subject. "And you? Get back to Seattle much?"

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"Not really," Erin said, shaking her head. "It gets really awkward after a little while out there, what with the other me running around. I stayed out there for awhile last year, but it's easier to stick around here during breaks and avoid the long plane ride. I haven't been back since I came here. We do, you know, letters and stuff, Christmas cards. They sent me some stuff for Christmas and my birthday." She shrugged. "I like it in Freedom City anyway, more than I thought I would. You ever think about living somewhere else?"

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Other...? Oh. Oh. A number of pieces slid into place for Trevor. That's why she had a double in the altered reality instead of new memories. Interesting. He glanced at the young woman sitting in the passenger seat before turning his gaze back to the road. "Guess it would," he agreed carefully. "Why would you ever want to leave Freedom?" the lanky youth added with a shrug. There didn't seem to be any need to go into the vague possessiveness he felt for the city, as part of Midnight's territory. When it came down to it, Freedom City was home, plain and simple.

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"I dunno, see the world, go somewhere new." Erin looked out the window at the sparkling lights of the city, receding now as they raced towards the posh enclave of North Bay. "Freedom's got so many heroes, it's a great place to learn the ropes. But sometimes it seems so crowded, you know? You go out patrolling and half the time you wind up seeing another hero before you see any crimes. But you've been here all your life, so I guess it's different. You've got a place and legacy here."

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Trevor leaned back in his seat, driving with one hand while he rested the other arm near the stick shift. "Maybe that's good," he mused aloud. "Freedom is used to us. Elsewhere..." The dark haired teen shook his head slowly. "Fear makes people stupid."

Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel abruptly, he lightened his tone. "But enough of that. Tonight isn't about Wander and Midnight." Inwardly he added, If I'm right about your origins, you've earned a vacation. The soft spoken young man raised an eyebrow slightly. "So. Tell me more about the girl behind the blunt instrument."

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Erin cracked a smile at that. "I am a blunt instrument," she joked, "the bat's just an accessory." She decided not to mention that it was an accessory she'd brought along in her purse. He was right, this wasn't an evening for Wander and Midnight, with any luck anyway. "I don't know how much there is to tell. I don't really get out that much. Um, I like playing video games and reading books, if they're not assigned. I'd like to drive your car," she suggested hopefully.

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"Heh." Trevor grinned, displaying twin rows of pearly white teeth usually hidden behind his stoic visage. The smile took the dark haired youth from austere to legitimately handsome. It was suddenly much easier to understand how the Hunter men had garnered a reputation as charming playboys. "Fair enough," he replied, scanning the street for a place to park. "You know how to handle a stick shift?"

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"Sure," she told him as they pulled up next to a line of closed shops. Erin lost no time in getting out and switching places with him, or in kicking off her red heels so she could drive properly. Looking enormously pleased, she carefully pulled out onto the road, driving slowly until she got the feel of the antique car. "This is awesome," she chuckled. "All we need is for you to have a machine gun and we're set to act out all sorts of movie scenes. If all your cars are like this, I don't know how you pick." The breeze from the open window teased her hair as they sped through the darkness like one more shadow, and she glanced over enough to smile at him. "Thanks."

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