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Lone Star

Blake's New Home

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January 1st, 2011.

Blake Salazar sat in his new apartment. It was situated in the Southside, not exactly the best part of town. The exterior looked like many of the houses in the block: worn-down and dilapidated. The outside of the home was decorated with yellow police tape, and the front yard had grown wild. It was the perfect place for a secret hideout. As Blake sat in the interior, spinning around in an office chair, an idea popped into his head. He knew who his first houseguest would be. Blake grabbed his cell phone and called his girlfriend.

"Hey Jessica! Wanna come check out my new place?"

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Jessica Parker was curled up in the couch in the TV room of her garden apartment, in upper-class Lantern Hill. She had been released from the hospital just after dawn and flown back home without saying much to Mara. The medical center had done some very basic test on her, and their results were sitting in a folder on the coffee table in front of her, currently serving as a place-mat for a big bowl of popcorn. She'd read and reread them, but right now she didn't want to think about them. There was a New Year's Doctor Who marathon on BBC America toady, and she intended to sit underneath a warm blanket and relax.

Her plans were interrupted when the phone began ringing. She stood up and wrapped the blanket around herself, padding towards the nearest phone. She glanced at the caller ID and broke into a smile when she saw that it was her boyfriend. "Blake," she answered brightly. "A new place? I didn't know you were moving out of Claremont."

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Blake spun the chair around once more. "It's kind of a story. But yeah, I left Claremont. So my new place is in the Southside, so it might be best if you fly here. Trust me, you'll understand why I chose Southside when you get inside." Blake gave her the address. He knew she wouldn't understand what he meant until she checked this place out. His heart raced at the thought of seeing her again. He hadn't been able to talk to her for quite a while due to his painful recovery. Blake was glad he had a second chance, and he was going to make sure he made the most of it. Blake waved his hands in the direction of the foyer, and the candles in the front room lit.

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Jessica took a moment to stare at the phone. "Blake, hon, are you okay? I mean, is there another sort of reason why you want me to be armored up?" Despite her skills and growing experience, the young heroine wasn't entirely comfortable with just using her battlesuit as a mode of transportation, especially with what had happened just last night. Still, if Blake needed her she'd go.

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"Well, I'm not saying you have to, but Southside isn't exactly the best part of town...I wouldn't want to put your car in any danger. Oh duh!" Blake slapped his head. "I've got a garage. I'll move my bike over a little to make room. Just pull into the house and I'll open the garage for you." Blake blushed as he thought of Jessica. Having his own place was pretty awesome. He didn't have to worry about RA's, or curfews, or cleaning. Of course, Blake cleaned. His mother and father, despite their profession, cleaned the house at least once every two week, and he did as well, if not more so. Of course, having magic helped.

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Jessica frowned. Blake wasn't being very forthcoming; that didn't bode well for whatever he wanted to tell her. "Alright," she said, nevertheless. "I'll come on over, then. It might be a half hour or so, though." She hung up and went upstairs, drawing a hot shower and stepping inside just long enough to rinse her hair. She grabbed jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, pulling on athletic shoes and shrugging on her parka. She took a step outside the door and glanced back around, mentally checking that she hadn't left any lights on or any doors unlocked, and her eyes fell on the medical report on the table. She bit her lip and debated with herself, then dashed back inside and picked it up. She really should talk about what happened to her, with Blake. He deserved to know, for all sorts of reasons.

The medical report went on the passenger seat and the young woman punched the address she had into her vehicle's GPS. Signals bounced off satellites and computers processed, pinpointing a location in the city's lower-income district. Jessica pulled out of her drive and started weaving through traffic, watching the navigation screen with one eye. She didn't think twice about taking a route through Lincoln and Southside, dismissing the groups of suspicious-looking youths without a second thought. With her abilities, they were a non-issue to her. A much bigger problem was what exactly Blake was doing in Southside and not in Claremont.

Jessica pulled up outside of her destination close to forty minutes after she got off the phone with Blake. Her jaw dropped when she saw the derelict building, shrouded in police tape and with the windows boarded up. She saw the door to the attached garage rattle up and Blake standing there in a smart suit, waving her inside. She drove up and into the building, careful not to scrape either her boyfriend or his (new) motorcycle. As soon as she was parked, she jumped out of the truck and walked around to Blake, grabbing the young man by his arm. "Blake, this is... are you..." She was honestly was at a loss for words, and could only stare at the dilapidated building. "I never knew you were so bad off, honey." She pulled him into a tight hug. "Don't worry. We'll figure something out."

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Blake grinned like a loon. "Prepare to be surprised and amazed!" Blake said as he gestured her into the foyer. The interior of the house was nearly the polar opposite of the exterior. Blake's shoes clicked against the marble floors, and a grand staircase on either side revealed a second story. Blake had built (with the help of a few local mages) his place utilizing dimensional magic. The house was technically inside the slummy house outside, but in a way that would involve the use of several dozen charts and a few tomes, it wasn't. The home was Victorian-styled, with pleasant red curtains, and the walls of the house were painted a pleasant cream color. Blake held her hand as he gestured grandly. "Pretty cool, huh?"

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Jessica gawked openly at the interior of Blake's home. She went to the front doors (carved hardwood taller than her head) and stepped through, making sure that it still looked like a crack-house from the outside. It did and she stepped through, shaking her head and walking slowly, still marveling at the splendor all around her. "I... I don't understand, Blake. Is it some kind of teleporter, or a pocket dimension like Mara has? And how did you get all the materials in here? Was there already someone's Victorian mansion waiting in another dimension and you just... claimed it? Are you subletting from something? Or maybe-- ooh." Her head swam and she stumbled, falling against Blake. "Oh. Um. I... I think I need something to eat."

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Blake caught her, holding her in his arms like a Fabio romance novel cover. "Of course, let's do that. Magic can be a tricky thing to comprehend sometimes. I was surprised at the result myself." Blake took her into the kitchen, which had a small breakfast nook with a few chairs and a table. He sat her down, and made her a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. He put the plate in front of her and sat down. "You okay there, babe?" Blake stroked her hair gently. "And no, I had a few higher class mages help me build it. I can't really explain the design process- it even hurts my head." He figured he'd wait a little bit to tell her about the incident with Chevalier. She didn't need to worry about it at the moment.

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The building might've been made of mist and glamour, but the turkey and cheese sandwich was very real and tasted very good. Jessica turned her attention to the food for a moment, inhaling the sandwich and drinking the milk down. She wiped her milk mustache off and leaned back in the chair, feeling her stomach be just a little less empty. "I'm sorry, hon," she said, "but hospital food is so bad and I've been eating mostly popcorn today. With the shock and everything else... I guess it was just too much for me."

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Blake sat for a moment, his eyes wide open. "Oh my God. Jessica, I'm- I'm so sorry." Blake said as he rushed to her side, holding her tight. "Is there anything I can do for you?" His eyes were then full of panic. He had no idea. Blake had been in the hospital shortly after he met her folks.

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Jessica shook her head, but she didn't push Blake away. "No, there was... There was a fight. Out by the airport. I got... I got gassed. Some neurological agent." She waved her hands in the air, apparently unconcerned with having lived through a chemical attack. "Dragonfly got me to a hospital, though. I went through some treatments and I'm... pretty much okay, now. Just kinda hungry. And tired. And stressed." The young woman sighed and hugged Blake back, resting her head on his shoulder.

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Blake held her tight. "God, you worry me so much. I can't believe you could say that so lightly. I'm glad you're okay, Jessica." He held her close and stroked her hair. "You know I do worry about you. I mean, superheroes go through a lot. Umm...there is something I have to say as well." Blake sighed. "I don't have my Cthulhu powers any more."

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Jessica patted Blake on the back and pulled out of the hug, holding onto his hand. "It'll be fine," she said. "I'll be fine. The hospital wouldn't've let me out if they really thought I was in danger." Even as she reassured her boyfriend though, she was planning out her next step. She needed to get checked out by someone who knew metahuman physiology. Hm, there was a Dr deHavilard at eh Lab, wasn't there? If she couldn't do the exam, maybe she'd know someone --

Blake's statement made her train of thought jump the tracks. "You lost your powers? That... might a good thing, hon. You didn't like that you didn't know the power source -- or at least, you didn't like what you did know about it." She blinked and glanced around the room. "But... but if you don't have any powers, how can any of this work?" She waved her free hand, indicating the whole of the Victorian manor. "How is this holding together if you're just a normal guy now?"

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"Now that's the good news. I taught myself magic. After I lost my powers, I wanted to get something back. So I got some magical tomes, started reading, and voila! I can do magic. Apparentally after I lost my powers I kept a certain aptitude for doing magic. It only took me a few weeks to learn." He squeezed her hand gently. "Magic is cool. I've already manufactured some magic weapons from scratch. Just some household items I've enchanted with magic. I'll show you later. But yeah, I'm going to still be fighting crime with you." He kissed her on the cheek and giggled. "Plus I've got a super-cool pad and a motorcycle. So things are good."

He kissed her again, on the lips. "And we've got a place to relax without having to worry about pesky RA's." he said with a smile.

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"Oh! You... taught yourself magic! That's good!" Jessica glanced around the kitchen. "I thought if you were going to build your own home from the ether or something, you would've picked something more Southwestern, not the set of Mary Poppins, but it looks good." She turned back to Blake and reached her hand over to stroke his cheek. "I am glad that you're not going to stop protecting people. Even though you know I'd totally stand by you if you wanted to." She scooted her chair around until her knees were brushing against Blake's, and leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Whatever you want to do, baby. I'll be here for you."

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Blake sighed as she kissed him. "Oh, Jessica. You know I will be here for you, too. I'm glad we can still fight crime together." Blake put an arm around her waist and moved closer to her, giving her a warm, passionate kiss on her lips. He had been waiting so long to see her, and it was worth every moment. He smiled as he kissed her, and he stroked her hair with the other hand.

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Jessica pressed up against Blake, returning the kiss with heat. She enjoyed being close to him, especially with the recent food filling her stomach; she began to feel a familiar spiky heat settle in her belly, and slowly begin filling her limbs and head. After an interminable time in the close embrace she pulled away, finding that at some point she'd wrapped her arms around him and practically crawled into his lap. She blushed and pulled away, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. "Um. It's a, a very nice house. A very big house, Blake. Why don't you show me some more of it?"

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Blake blushed. "Of course. Let me show you my room." He puts her plate in the sink and leads her upstairs, holding her hand. "It's more...normal than the other rooms. Except for the magic parts." He opened one of the doors on the unusually long upstairs hallway. The room that they entered into was larger than such a house would allow, but such was the mind-boggling nature of magic. The room was painted dark blue, and the furniture was a bizarre assortment of hand-carved wooden pieces and IKEA. In the middle of the room was a hot tub, already bubbling. On one wall were two figures dancing, their silhouettes in white. "It's kind of strange, I know. But its me. I owe three mages huge favors because of this house, but they gave me what I wanted.

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Jessica followed Blake through the opulent rooms and up the stairs, running a hand over carefully carved wood and eying windows with plush curtains drawn. Part of her had to wonder: if she pulled those back, would she be looking out the windows of the boarded up home in Freedom City's Southside? Or would she be seeing a different world entirely?

She pushed those thoughts out of her head as they finally came into Blake's room. She gave the bubbling hot tub a glance and giggled. "You keep a jacuzzi on tap all the time?" She walked around the circumference of the room, running a hand over the furniture. "Doesn't it get distracting at night? All bubble-bubble while you're trying to sleep two feet away from it?" She finished her walk near the foot of his bed and let her gaze wander over to her boyfriend, grinning at a notion that had nothing to do with hot tubs -- or, depending on how things went, maybe everything.

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Blake's eyes widened, and then he smiled. He walked sexily over to her, and stripped off his shirt without a second thought. The pasty and skinny Blake was gone. Blake had a tan now, and his abs weren't exactly cut, but were developing. He threw his shirt to one side, and it disappeared in a puff of smoke. "So, Jessica. he said, smiling with newfound confidence. "May I be your magic man?"

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Jessica stared at Blake, suddenly shirtless and next to her. Her lips started twitching at the corners, and suddenly she burst into laughter. The young woman collapsed onto the bed, holding her face in her hands. After a few minutes, she managed to get the laughs down to giggles. "Not like that," she said, grabbing Blake's arm and pulling him down until he was sitting next to her. "More... more kind of like this." She closed her eyes and leaned in, kissing him softly at first and upping the heat quickly.

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Blake smiled beneath her kiss, and broke it off quickly. "So, too corny? Okay, too corny." He then goes back to kissing her, and gently pushed her into a laying position. He hesitates for a moment, then decides to go ahead. He straddles Jessica, and kisses her, his hair gently tickling her ears. "Mmm, you're lovely." he says, smiling at her between neck-kisses. "I've been waiting so long to kiss you."

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Jessica lay back on the bed, feeling a blush start behind her ears and spread over her face. This was the closest she had come to doing -- well, anything with Blake, and the fact was they could now. This was his house, and as far as she knew there wasn't anyone else there to stop them. And then Blake was leaning over her, and the heat spread down into the rest of her body, and it didn't matter so much what would happen. Her hands wandered over his back, noting the new muscles there, even as their tongues and lips wrestled against each other. She broke off suddenly, arching her neck until she was staring straight at the opposite wall. "Oh god, Blake. Oh, do you think this is going, a little too fast?"

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Blake froze in his place. "I'm sorry, Jessica. I just- I got caught up in the heat of the moment. We should hold off for now. Blake sat up, his face full of shame. "Ah, geez. I can't help my hormones!" he laughed a little, and sat down on the bed. "I've just been waiting so long, and...well. I love you so much and all." He smiled as he tried to pull his shirt down over the front of his jeans.

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