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angrydurf

A Simple Plan IC

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Mike stepped out into the main control room of Young Freedoms hidden base beneath Caldwell Manor. A smile spread to his face as he saw Erin in a rare break from her usually grueling schedule as he'd been trying to find a moment to ask for some advice or maybe help. As he stepped down the small set of stairs to the control room floor he glanced around the room eyes seemingly unfocused as he looked through the walls to make sure there wasn't anyone else lurking in one of the other rooms.

He was dressed in his civvies for the moment taking a break from his own all too consuming patrol schedule. "Heya Erin." he said as he lowered himself into one of the other chairs with a smile that tried to hide whatever was weighing on his mind, "Keeping busy?" he asked somewhat lamely as despite his growing confidence and exposure to normal socialization he was still a bit uncertain how to make small talk he rarely did at all unless what he actually wanted to discuss was even more difficult for him in some fashion.

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Erin looked up from the paperback novel she'd been reading, setting it aside as Mike came over. "Not too busy right now, mostly keeping an eye on Alex's stocks for her while she's busy in meetings today. Gotta earn the cat food money," she told him with a grin. "You've been pretty busy yourself lately, haven't you? How's it been going?"

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"Yea." Mike replied with a nod, "Doesn't seem like enough time in the day sometimes." he said with a somewhat tired smile. He rubbed at his neck absently and glanced over the monitors filled with feeds on the various investments as well as the normal news feeds they kept an eye on in case the team was needed somewhere. "Been patrolling alot more and I started working with the SCC checking out odd signals they pick up." he explained with a shrug.

He leaned back in his chair and looked back to Erin, "I think I'm going to ask Alex to marry me." he blurted out then clamped his mouth shut the weight of verbalizing the decision suddenly bearing down on him as he looked down at the floor uncomfortably silently kicking himself for not having a better segue.

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Erin's eyes widened a little bit at that. Mike and Alex were both even younger than she herself was, barely old enough to drive a car, much less get married. But Alex had always been so sure, and apparently Mike was totally on board now as well. "That's a big step," she said after her brain kicked itself back into gear. "Does Alex know?"

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Mike shook his head then kinda shrugged, "I don't think so. I mean I haven't told anyone but she's Alex." he rambled then took a deep breath. "I dunno it seems crazy." he said with a sigh, "I mean we're not even out of highschool." he said with another shrug, "But I dunno it seems ... Right?" he said questioningly though predestined was likely more what he meant. "I don't know if she'll even say yes. I mean I hope so and I'm pretty sure but its also like really early." he continued still somewhat shocked he'd mentioned it as well.

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"It is pretty early," Erin agreed, "but it's not like you guys haven't know each other all your lives." She spun side to side in her chair thoughtfully a few times. "But if you're not out of high school yet, stuff like getting a job and an apartment is gonna be tough. Are you thinking of having a long engagement or something, till you're both older?"

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Mike nodded agreement, "Yea probably. I mean I guess it doesn't really change much." he said with a shrug, "I mean James has been talking like we were already engaged if not married or like destined or something almost as long as we've know him." he says with a small laugh.

He absently fiddled with some of the controls flipping channels absentmindedly. "I figure we won't actually get married for a few years." he says thinking out loud. He turned back to Erin, "I actually got the ring like three months ago." he admitted, "I didn't know when I was gonna do it but I wanted to be ready ya know?"

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"Sure being engaged is going to change things," Erin pointed out. "It's a public commitment that everybody knows about. It's going to change things for you, what with Alex being a celebrity now. If you're engaged, especially at this age, especially if it comes out that you're a superhero too, people are going to be interested. Maybe even tabloids and stuff, it depends on whether the thing of her being "Little Miss CEO" takes off. It's something to think about, anyway."

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"Yea there is that." he agreed, "But alot of that'll be coming anyway probably just from us dateing." Mike shrugged with a small smile, "Maybe I should get a disguise for when I'm out of costume like glasses or something so they won't know its me." he suggests with a laugh.

The big teen sobers slightly, "I don't even know how or when I'm gonna actually ask." he admits, "Its like it seems like it should be a big deal but we don't really do big deal kinda things..." he trails off uncertainly raising his hands in an 'I don't know' gesture. "I don't know if she'd just be embarrassed by that kinda thing not to mention how it might get out and what that would mean."

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Erin smiled at that. "I don't think she'll be embarrassed if you do it right," she told him. "She's sure you two were made for each other, so I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about her saying no either, if you do it right. You just have to do it right." She was quiet for a minute, looking far away as she thought. "I think you're right about small. Do something special for her, just the two of you, like a fancy dinner or something. Not like at a restaurant, but in private. That way there's no pressure. I always thought those huge flashy proposals were really tacky."

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Mike nods, "Yea that's kinda how I was leaning but I'm just never sure." he said nervously, "Its like Alex is always three steps ahead you know?" he asked rhetorically though realistically three steps was some pretty significant lowballing, "I just don't want to screw it up and have it not turn out like she'd want it." He admitted.

he scratched at the back of his head and sighed, "But I think you're right the big flashy thing is kinda tacky and really isn't me anyway." he said without a hint of irony despite the fact that he had arguably some of the most flashy powers on the team.

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"You could make her a meal, or get one delivered, and set things up nice like a picnic," Erin suggested, trying to come up with helpful ideas from things she'd seen on television or read about. "Mark or I could clear out for an evening and free up one of the dorm rooms, or you could go to the manor, or someplace special to her. You could have the nice meal and everything, and then if things seem to be going right, you can ask. If not, you can just wait. It's not like you haven't got time."

"Sides," she said, turning away from him to look at the bank of monitor screens, "if you love her and she loves you, that's what's important, right? The answer to the question will be the same even if you somehow screw up asking it."

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Mike smiled at that, "Yea that's definitely true but I'd still rather not screw it up." he says with a self deprecating laugh. He thinks about her suggestions for a few moments, "Well it'd have to be delivery I think, cus I don't think microwave corndogs are really all that special and that's about my limit." he said with a laugh, 'But its a good idea." he agrees, "Probably best to try and set it up for the dorms, I try and do it here an her grandpa might let it slip. Sides with Alex the fewer people who know the better."

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"Probably true," Erin agreed. "But maybe not delivery so much as, hmm, I don't know what they're called, but there's a kind of catering company that does little events, private dinners for two and stuff like that. You could probably get something like that and not have to do anything more than set up dishes and maybe warm stuff up. Lot fancier than a pizza." She was quiet for a minute, running a search on one of the consoles to see if she could find a company like this. "I guess I just have to ask... are you really sure you're ready? You're both still really young."

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Mike nodded and glanced over to the monitor as she began looking for such a company. At her question he settled back into his chair once more and sighed with a small shrug. He looked to her with a small smile he couldn't really repress, "Yea. I am, I mean as sure as I can be." he replied, "It seemed way too soon or like we're too young to me too when I first thought about it." he agreed. "But I've thought about it alot." he explained and glanced off trying to explain the source of his surety. "But are we really?" He asked, "I mean are any of us really that young after everything?"

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Erin shrugged one shoulder, face still turned to the computer screen. "Dunno. I mean, we've done a lot of fighting, that's for sure. But I don't know if that makes us actually more adult, or just more aware of some adult things, like the fact that we all die someday. I've done pretty much nothing but fight for years, and I don't think it makes me feel that much more grown-up. But I guess Alex has always been an adult in her head." She leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling. "And she's always been sure. I guess if you're sure that she's the one and only, what's the harm?"

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Mike nods agreement, "Well yea in a way but its been more than just the fighting." he explains, "I mean this whole team is a new experience for me too and not just he costumed side." he says with a shrug. He nervously drums his fingers on the console for a moment, "I think we've all had to learn alot and grow alot for more than just the crime fighting." he tried to explain, "Like when we first met you didn't really talk to anyone or do anything but study and train." he said nervously trying not to offend, "But now you have friends, people you care about and that care about you and not just like the normal teenage BFF stuff but people you trust with like everything." he shrugs, "I might just be overstating it but I feel like to work together and handle the things we've had to handle we've had to grow up and look at our relationships in a more serious and grown up way." he said with a shrug.

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"It's up to you whether you think you're ready," Erin said, uncomfortably steering the conversation away from herself. "But you should probably make sure you have, you know, a plan first. Alex is rich now and all, but you should still know what you want to do with your life. Whether you're gonna go to college, whether you're going to get married before or after that, whether you want to have kids... well, that one's weird, but you still get to make some decisions about it. But you don't want to just fall into things and have her supporting you all your life, right?"

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Mike blinked at the long list of considerations wondering if all girls thought about all that stuff or if it was just Erin, probably all girls and certainly he could expect that Alex would have.

He paused for a few moments processing the questions and answered consideringly, "Well I'm not really college material," he said hesitantly his parents hadn't been too pleased when they'd asked him about it either, "But I'm not just gonna do nothing." he added without any real defensiveness he hadn't really even thought about Alex's money he'd just assumed he'd get a job and they'd make it work.

"As for the rest I'm not certain but I don't know if that's the kinda thing I need to know before hand?" he said questioningly, "I mean I knew even before Zoe that I wanted kids, though didn't really think it was possible, and I know Alex does, as for when for all of it we'll work it out after I ask I figure." he shrugged, "I'm not in a hurry but I don't see a reason to wait on asking." he explained with a surety that there was no chance either of them would change their mind in the intervening time.

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"Then go ahead and ask," Erin advised him. "As long as the two of you are happy about it, it's really nobody else's business. And we could use some happy stories around here lately. I don't know about you, but it feels like it was a very long spring. And now Chris and James are gone, too. Seems like a good time for something good to happen."

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Mike smiles as he nods agreement, "Gone is a bit strong a word but I know what you mean." he replied, "And I certainly hope we'll both be happy with it." He added with a laugh. "But it'll get better, as long as we keep trying." he said confidently. Then shaking his head added, "Now I sound like Mark."

'Someone has to I guess' He thought to himself hoping his roommate was back to his old sefl soon.

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"Sort of," Erin agreed, also looking concerned. Mark hadn't been exactly the same since his dad left. It was hard to say if he ever would be. "You know, you could maybe get him in on this, at least a little bit. You couldn't tell him everything, he's not good at secrets, but if he's involved, things will probably go smoother in general. And maybe it'll cheer him up some, too."

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Mike nodded agreement, "Yea not a bad idea." he said and let out a small laugh, "I mean if she wants to know what I'm up to she will." he joked. "I'll talk to him about it too." he said with a slow nod as he tried to put together a basic plan in his head. "Hopefully it'll at least help take his mind off things at home."

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Erin nodded. "And it'll make it simple if you want to use your room to set things up. He'll make himself scarce, maybe he'll even help you clean up and get ready. You could send him to distract your TA, too. I know they don't police us as much in the summer, but it never hurts to make sure you're not going to get busted for having a girl in your room, or vice versa." She grinned, finally looking over at him again. "It would sort of ruin the ambiance, I think."

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Mike laughed, "RA's won't be an issue I'll just challenge Magni to an arm wrestling match to look the other way." he joked, "But yea Marks help'd be good either way." He acknowledged with a shrug. "Thanks for the advice Erin and just for listening..." he said with a smile, "I appreciate it."

He smiled to her and cocked his head, "So how you been doing?" he asked not wanting to dwell solely on himself and Alex.

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