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alderwitch

One Year Later [IC]

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After a few false starts and emergencies, the stars had finally aligned! There was a babysitter watching Jack Jr. and neither Jack nor Taylor were called away (yet, at least) to attend to an emergency of either mundane or mystical nature. Of course, Jack still had his usual amount of work to get done, and Taylor had lingered to make sure that the baby was set with everything necessary and probably several things that weren't. On a whim, Taylor had suggested meeting up at the after-hours Observation lounge of Pyramid Plaza.

It wasn't until she was dressing to meet Jack that she realized it had almost been a year to the day from the first time she'd met him there. Her lips quirked in a playful smile and, after saying her good-byes, put the extra effort in to port in behind Jack and appear quietly out of the shadows.

"Hands where I can see them, hero..." She demanded, laughter in her voice.

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Jack started briefly, his face hidden by his lack of reflection. Recovering quickly, he said, "As I recall, you seem to like it best when my hands go where you can't see them at all." He turned his head and looked down at her, leaning forward to rest his hands against the glass. "You going to pat me down for weapons? Or just do a strip-search?" he teased.

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Taylor's laugh was soft and husky and her hands slid down his side as she stepped in close behind him. The echoing tones of Phantom slipped away, leaving only the naturally husky tones of Taylor's as she teased him, "Well, as fun as a strip search would be, it might be a big awkward if someone showed up here suddenly. You might be able to hide in the blink of an eye but I have this silly little feeling that you wouldn't be the only one losing clothing."

Her hands played over his sides and pockets, playfully, even as she pointed out, "All your weapons are natural, so I rather doubt I'll find brass knuckles. Although it would make me wonder just what you'd been up to lately..."

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"At least you can make your own clothing," Jack teased in return, "and not hide in the corner nude all day." He grinned, putting his big hands on hers, as he looked around. "You know, I was thinking tonight that if I'd known what our relationship would become, I'd have picked a more appropriate spot for our first date...but now that I think about it, I think this place is very appropriate for us. Just look at that night outside."

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"Just one outfit, though. Or I'd have to gamble on whatever clothing I have floating around in the Void to change into which could be wildly inappropriate. It is better than naked lurking, I will agree." Taylor replied with a husky laugh as she let Jack trap her hands. She peeked around his side to look out the window, resting her cheek against his arm, laughter in her voice, "I thought it was perfect, although I'd have gone for something less business casual if you'd given me any forewarning that it was going to be a date. I had such a crush on you."

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"I never really understood why," Jack admitted. "I never thought of myself as a very likeable man." He grinned. "As for you, I've got to admit, my initial interest was entirely of the physical nature." He put his hand over her heart, a rather intimate gesture under the circumstances. "I'd never appreciated anyone on a level beyond that...before you." He paused, then added, "So, was it my butt? I thought those leather pants I was wearing would come in handy."

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"The leather pants did help," Taylor grinned, both dimples flashing, and touched the pale fingertips splayed out over the steady pulse of her heart. Her expression softened, "You know full well what a shock it is when you pull the mask off and look like something off of the cover of some sort of torrid novel. That affected me much the same way it does everyone who happens to see it but it was the hand you gave me with my family and that terrible dinner where I started to fall for you, I think."

Her smile flashed again, almost mischievous, "Allergic to garlic... Lord, if that ever had gotten out I would have been laughed out of the super secret mystics club..."

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"It was the first thing that came to mind. I didn't have a lot of experience with presenting myself as a normal man." He smiled a little. "It was a nice dinner. I still feel bad about lying to your family, and that's not usually an issue for me. It's funny. You appreciated me for where I was normal, and I appreciated you for...well, the parts where you're extraordinary. I don't know anyone else I'd trust to do what you do."

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Taylor blushed, the heart under his fingertips speeding up just a little. She traced her fingertips over the cool weight of his wedding band and commented softly, "Thanks, Jack. That means a lot. Still means a lot. The trust we've built was pretty hard won, I think. I know I don't say it enough, but I really am impressed with what you've been doing. I don't... like Rouge, but she's such a big step that proves you really are making a difference."

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"A better world," Jack agreed. "Something I don't think I could have done without you." He studied her for a moment, then admitted, "That's the hardest thing for me to accept about your work," he added. "The knowledge that there's only one world, anywhere, where you and I are together." And with that, he swept her up in his arms, bestowing a long, slow, deep kiss.

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Taylor slipped her arms around his neck, tilting her chin up meet that kiss. She didn't actually need to breathe but a year later, Jack's kisses still left her feeling breathless. She slipped her fingertips up a little to stroke over the nape of his neck lightly, "So, we're unique in the entire Cosmic Coil. I rather prefer to think of us as just that special, a singularity."

She was floating, still solid, but her toes were off the ground to make the height difference a little less severe. "So, we have the baby taken care of for the next handful of hours and no pressing business. What did you have in mind?"

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"A few ideas." He smiled. "Let's fly," he suggested suddenly, slowly rising off the ground himself in time with her. "Neat trick, huh?" He grinned. "I've been practicing! I see this city from the ground so often, but you're lucky enough to see it from the sky. It looks very different up here, and there's no one I'd rather see it with than you, Taylor." One thing about flying was that they could be at eye level without either of them having to exert much effort, and that was nice too.

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"You and your secrets, Jack," Taylor said although she was smiling as she tightened her arms around his neck slightly. Her eyes twinkled and she focused for a moment. For once, when she went insubstantial, Jack's hands didn't slide right through her. Instead the ghostly appearance slid down the hands around his shoulders and covered him too. "Of course, you're not the only one who can learn a new trick or two. Now, you should be able to slip through the window just like I do. Just don't let go of me."

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"Never," Jack promised, as they slipped through the window together and out into the Freedom City night. He looked down at the world far, far below their feet and gave a long, slow, whistle. "Whew. Did I ever tell you about the time I fell off this thing? It took a while to get back to flying. The company wasn't nearly so pleasant back then, though."

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"There's a lot you never tell me, Jack. That would be one of them. How did you fall off? Or was it an assisted fall, I assume." Taylor asked, letting them slip back into sync with Prime once they were clear of the window pane. She shook her head back to get her hair out of her face as the wind caught it. It was getting long, now and it was heavy enough to slip free from most up-dos even without the help of flying. "I can't really imagine you actually falling. You're as sure footed as a cat."

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"It's a fine line between falling and being thrown," said Jack warmly. "But that person's gone now, and I prefer not to think about her. Not when my current company is so much more pleasant." He kissed her in the air, the two of them spinning through the skies together. "Besides, it wasn't nearly as exciting as falling in love. And I do that every time I look at you." Hmm, was she eating more iron? He could definitely hear her pulse more loudly than usual.

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"Flatterer," Toby said with another dimpled grin. She unwound her arms from his neck slowly, "I love you too. And I'm really impressed at how well you're doing with this whole flying thing. When I first started, I used to have trouble with stopping. I'd try to stop suddenly and flip end over end and sail through a building."

Jack had seen Taylor make similar mistakes when she was running through the house ephemeral and forgot that she didn't have traction. Usually it was when she was running out of the shower to catch a phone. She'd go skidding through three rooms before backtracking.

"How long have you been practicing?" Her grin turned a little wicked, "Enough to catch me, do you think?"

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"I don't fly nearly as fast as you yet," said Jack, but as his wife well knew he couldn't refuse a challenge. "But I still think I can catch you!" He made a playful grab for her in the air, not really trying hard. It was always better after a chase. "Bet I can catch you before you reach another tower!" He had to fly fast to do that, so he erupted into smoke to do so, and within seconds there was a cloud of mist with Jack's laughing voice chasing his wife around the sky.

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Taylor laughed and began zig zagging across the sky, her skirt billowing up around her legs as she dropped to avoid Jack's cloud of mist and then picked up again, "Catch me if you can, then!"

Rather than put in a burst of speed to get there as quickly as possible, Taylor never drifted far from the cloud of mist, relying on the fact that she could turn intangible at the drop of a hat to slip out of Jack's proverbial fingertips. After all, the goal wasn't really to get away, but rather to provide an almost frustrating chase for her husband. Plus, it was so rare that she got to fly for the sheer joy of flying these days. With how serious life had been, Taylor couldn't remember when they had just... cut loose.

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She was quite a bit faster than Jack was in the sky, just as he'd expected. Rather than try and chase her, instead he dispersed his mass enough to vanish and flowed through the air conditioning unit in the second tower, waiting for Taylor to get close before he boiled out of the walls right before her, reaching for her with outstretched hands as he snapped back into solidity. "Gotcha!"

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Taylor let out a surprised shriek of laughter as hands closed around her midsection but as Jack had one the point fairly, she didn't immediately go intangible in his hands. She kicked her feet more from surprise than any real attempt to struggle and nearly lost one of them to the street far below. "No matter what, I never seem to dress correctly for this sort of thing. This is why the shoes of my costume go up above my knees."

She dimpled at him and twisted in his arms, one raven dark brow arching up in mock challenge, "You caught me this time, Avenger, but can you keep me?"

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"Forever mine, Phantom," Jack agreed, trusting in the darkness and shadows to keep them away from prying eyes in the mostly dark building by their flank or on the street far, far below where they blew. He focused in on his lovely wife's eyes, gazing into them almost hypnotically. "Why, where are you planning on going?" he asked her teasingly.

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"You know, even with all of the worlds to dance through, there really isn't any place that I'd rather be right now." Taylor leaned in to press a lingering kiss to his mouth, her arms going around his shoulders once more. She let out a quiet and contented sigh, pushing them slowly upwards but with a lazy sort of drift to their flight path. She pulled away only to nuzzle a path towards his jaw, "So, any other new tricks you've been working on learning that I should know about?"

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He proceeded to show her those tricks, and more besides, the dark shadows of the sky letting things stay quiet and discreet. Well, discreet, anyway. Eventually he suggested they settle down on the roof of the nearby art gallery, the better to finish their business without having to concentrate on flight. "After all," he told her in a voice like melted dark chocolate, "it's classier down there."

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