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angrydurf

The Best Of Me

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It had been over a week since the events that had ended Mikes brief life as a police officer and risked outing him to the world.  The press firestorm had died to a bare simmer, the FCPD had promised that they had not begun utilizing empowered officers and that the Officer in question had been relieved of duty.  Details of course were sparse.  A leak released named hte officer Matthew Bright but the identity was an obvious pseudonym once the press dug into it.  Just enough to scrape by a police screening but no life behind it.  The mystery of it all was already dying in the hearts and minds of the populace.  A few officers grumbled about wishing they had a few more like him, others about the subterfuge to get as far as he had.  The official line stood and the mainstream media moved on.  Oh there were fringe groups and devoted bloggers still hunting to be sure but widespread interest was fleeting, he was no Centurion dazzling the world with his appearance.  Heroes revealed were not the shock they once were.

Mike had hid out through the worst of it with Erin and Trevor at the Manor.  Between the isolated and unlikely locale and manors defenses it wasn't hard to ensure he was able to retreat from it all.  Even in that short time much had changed of course.  Decisions had been made, changes, big ones.  But there were things left undone, unsaid, if he was honest avoided.  He floated weightless amid the quiet of the upper atmosphere somewhere between Low Orbit and the ceiling of winged flight.  He'd been a fool for thinking it would end any different than it had, there had been plenty of prodding hints by his friends to that end but he'd be stalwart, stubborn really.  The silence was peaceful, below there was the hustle and bustle of the cities and countryside, the noise and light of humanity going about their days.  The silence and peace called to him in a way, it was easy here to get lost in that endless stillness.  Here it was simple, but simple wasn't really what he sought.  He knew that now.  Down below there were people that deserved more from him.  One in particular.

He rolled and descended from his lonely perch a smile creeping to his lips as he broke the sound barrier and shot toward the surface.  Freedom city grew bright like a beacon below him as he flew down the noise returned the rushing of wind the squeal of tires the shouts of passion and rage and sirens and cheers.  The sounds of home.  He alighted on the balcony of one of the high apartments in the Aeon building.  One he knew well though always observed from a distance, he'd lied to himself for her safety and comfort.  His footfalls were solid though he tried not to startle anyone as he peered through the window, and curtains to ensure she was alone.  A small rap on the sliding door was accompanied by a delicate mental request, plaintive and apologetic, Alex?

 

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Silly man. It's always open for you

The fact of the matter was, in addition to not having much to worry about as high up as Alex was, personal safety was less important to her than the open door. Still, despite her invitation to come in, she stood up from where she'd been curled on the couch - watching television and vaguely looking over the reports from the day's work at the company. A single thought turned the television off and another sent the stack of paperwork through the air to pile itself neatly on the corner of her immaculate desk. Part of her brain had been lightly tracking Mike - really, part of her mutant brain was always marking what Mike was doing and how he was. It was autonomic, really, as much a part of her biological processes as the breath she took and the beat of her heart. 

Which was fair, really, since as far back as Alex could remember, half of her heart was safely tucked inside Mike's invulnerable rib cage. 

Alex stepped up to the door. If it had been a movie, she would have been wearing something slinky, perhaps something dipping down over one shoulder. But it wasn't a movie, and it was Alex, so she was dressed for bed with her hair in twin braids to keep the tangles down and wearing a faded shirt with the Claremont logo and the school's yellow and blue - muted by many washings. It contrasted rather biliously with pink pajama pants that seemed to be decorated with strawberries or perhaps radishes. Hard to say. Still, she smiled and reached out to open the door for him even though it wasn't locked, "Hey, you. Work things out a bit?"

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With a shrug of his shoulders Mike stooped though the door though the lintel was more than high enough to allow him to pass unfettered.  His smile at her approach and response was glowing and he murmured a quiet, "I know and about many things."  as he scooped her up in a hug that lingered for a good measure past friendly.  He nuzzled his nose softly against her cheek to plant a delicate kiss whispering, "I did." in her ear before walking her across the room to set her gently on the couch and sit next to her one arm up as he turned slightly to better face her.  "Hey." he greeted belatedly and somewhat nervously, "I worked out a lot I think."  he said with a vague smile aimed her direction, "Certainly that you knew what would happen probably from when I first mentioned that fool plan."  he offered meeting her eyes briefly as he confirmed, "Not so much why you didn't stop me, though I have theories, and definitely not why I didn't."  he admitted with a rueful laugh.

Mike paused and took a deep breath looking to her earnestly, "I'm sorry."  he offered in heartfelt apology, "I thought of a million things to try and make it up or explain or..."  The big man shrugged his broad shoulders and shook his head, "I can't I know that, But I am sorry and hope you forgive my selfishness."

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"Mike, it's not selfish to want to try a normal life. There are lots of things I could tell you - and you'd probably believe me - but that's not really the same as learning them for yourself," Alex pointed out as she cuddled into his side on the large couch. The two story penthouse was comfortable despite the clear expense in its furnishings. Alex hadn't scrimped on the price tags of her decor, paying for quality but they had all been selected because of the inherent appeal to the owner rather than any desire to impress. Somewhat surprisingly, most of the furnishings were muted. The couch that Mike settled into was a soft dark grey but the throw pillows were a rainbow of bright colors. The coffee table was a solid light wood but the decorations on top were as chaotic as Alex's outfit. Reaching down, Alex captured one large hand between her smaller ones and threw her leg over Mike's with a comfortable sort of ease. 

"Although, Erin pointed out that not telling you is still kind of deciding for you. I mean, not really so much intentionally, but when we were kids, I knew that thanks to my brain I was a lot further along than you were and it would have been easy to accidentally influence you to the point that you couldn't make choices for yourself. I want you to be you. But I think I went too far the other direction. We're not kids anymore. You're a grown up and so am I and you are perfectly capable of disagreeing with me now." Alex offered him a small, gamine grin, "I mean, if you just went along with what I wanted all the time, we'd totally be having sex before the wedding. I'm sorry too."

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Mike shook his head slightly at her protest, "For some it isn't for me it was."  He countered not letting her minimize it.  "Sure if my decision was mine alone it wouldn't have been."  he said flatly looking down at her with a gentle smile.  He looked away at the fine furnishings and gestured with his free hand, "When you decided to do all this you told me."  he argued evenly, "You even tried to explain the repercussions to me despite me not wanting to hear them."  he added with a laugh and leaned down to rest his head against hers, "You left me a choice of how much a part of this I wanted to be."  he shook his head and frowned letting out a big sigh, "Me?"  he pointed out with a frank tone, "I asked you to marry me and then proceeded to go off on this track you couldn't follow."  he looked down ashamed, "So I know it is belated, and you probably forgave me the moment I did it."  he explained firmly, "But I am sorry, I should not have put you in that situation."

The big man sunk back into the couch relaxing at her touch and her words smiling at the drape of her leg across his own.  He ran one powerful hand along her calf and breathed slow and deep enjoying the still moment.  His head swung to meet her eyes and he nodded, "I am and you can, and you underestimate how much of me following your lead is because I love and trust you and how much is because you are right." he teased with a happy laugh.  At her more brazen words of her own desires and his opposition to them he blushed slightly looking away.  "I know."  he said quietly, "It's not the wedding, I know that's just words and frankly an announcement of a forgone conclusion."  he admitted as their parents had assumed they would marry since they were nine, he blushed deeper at the recollection of the several times his mother had tried to pass along family planning advice or prophylactics under the assumption they already were intimate in fact.  "I want it to be something special, not just the inevitable outcome but,"  he shrugged, "Maybe I am just old fashioned I don't know.  I just don't want to feel like that's the finish line in some absurd race."  he sagged his shoulders and peeked at her from the corner of his eye, "You're more than that to me and that's the only way I know to show it I guess."

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"Couldn't is a very strong word. There's very little we can't make work one way or another but we both chose paths and neither was a bad one. Just divergent. It's okay that they've been separate. I miss you when you're not right here - of course I do. You're the other half of me," Alex said, scrunching her nose up at him as she played with his hand absent mindedly. "But I don't doubt they'll come back together in the end. What's between us isn't anything that really can be severed. You know that and I know that. I can be patient."

Alex smiled up at him then, "I know you want to wait. I know that it's important to you even if you have trouble figuring out why, or what it is. That's okay. When you're ready, you'll be ready." Alex gave a little shrug, "I know what I am to you, Michael Harris. I knew it well before you did, I might add. When you want to do more than what we do right now, then it'll happen. Whenever it happens though, it's not going to be about being a finish line or anything else. It's just two people that are doing something special to them, together. Whether that's tomorrow or when we're fifty, it'll be the same thing, but only when you're ready for it."

Alex patted his hand then, clearly dismissing the topic, "And of course I forgive you if you need to hear it. I just don't think there's anything to forgive."

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"Well I know I'll lose the word games."  Mike teased back gently, "But regardless of couldn't or divergent or what not it should have been a conversation not just me doing my thing."  he laid out plainly.  "But thank you." he added appreciating her verbalizing the forgiveness.  "You have been, very."  he agreed and leaned in to press his lips to hers in a soft but passionate kiss.  "More so than I may deserve but I'll accept it."  he joked happily.  He offered a small shrug as he withdrew a hint of smile on his lips, "Well I don't think I want to wait that long."  he pointed out with a low hearty laugh, "Just for the right,"  he shrugged, "Moment? I dunno it's probably just dumb but I'm glad you understand."  he admitted with a small blush.

He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled thoughtfully, "So."  he mused quietly, "Since we've agreed you can tell me what you think without it just dictating what I should do."  he joked nervously and sobered as he asked, "I did want to ask you about going forward."  he said simply, "I mean I'm really happy to be working with Erin and Mark and Trevor again and everything."  he said uncertainly, "But I'm not sure I can just be like a hero for a living?"  he bit his lip slightly, "I mean,"  he looked to her and smiled, "I know money isn't really an issue."  he acknowledged with a palm raised to halt the expected protest, "But I dunno, I,"  he thought hard for a long moment, "Can we really help people, the world, if we're not part of it?"  he asked still struggling to put to words his thoughts on what to do with himself now.

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"Just because you don't need to worry about money doesn't mean you don't want to be busy - meaningfully busy," Alex agreed with a small smile. She tucked her cheek against his shoulder as he withdrew, half in his lap. "You were in low orbit weren't you? Your buttons are all warm from reentry." Alex added as an amused aside as she pressed her palm against his broad chest, feeling the lingering heat in the metal, "You know a button down shirt doesn't take a beating the same way as your old uniform did."

She left her hand there, pressed over the steady beat of his heart, "I think you should go back to school and get a teaching degree," Alex volunteered, offering him her advice with a small smile, "Someday Claremont will need teachers - or Nicholson - and you'd be good at it. You'd find it rewarding. Most of the teachers they have are retired super heroes that don't really have an education background." Her voice softened as she added, "It isn't always catching planes and putting out fires. You always focus on your strength and how that defines you but whether or not you can lift an oil tanker isn't why I fell in love with you. It's in here." She tapped his breast bone with light fingertips. "And I think as long as what you do every day uses that, you'll be content."

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Mike tapped one of the still warm buttons and shrugged sheepishly, "Uh, yea."  he admitted, "It's easier to think?"  he offered weakly knowing that for Alex complaints about the constant sensory barrage of the city were a bit absurd.  She had to constantly shut out the thoughts of the entire city after all.  "Yea I should probably..."  he frowned slightly not sure what he would wear instead, costume probably, "Well it held up well enough this time and I wanted to,"  he paused feeling slightly embarrassed, "You always liked this shirt."  he mumbled and shook it off quickly to change subjects.

"Yea it's not the money or keeping busy it's the people and not just being like Phalanx all the time."  he mused aloud.  He wrapped an arm around Alex and pulled her more fully into his lap leaning his cheek against her forehead, "Remember Darkstar?"  he asked quietly, "Summers set up a thing, we used to talk about the whole hero side of things."  he explained evenly, "He was always afraid he would miss something not be there, he didn't usually let it show and he said he found ways to balance."  Mike said going quiet, "He vanished a few years ago.  Freedom League states to deal with some galactic threat."  Mike explained uncertainly, "but between the lines theres this feeling that he lost touch with why and just got caught up in the action and none of the reason."  the invulnerable young man suggested with concern, "I don't want that."  he declared firmly, "I can't just be Phalanx you know?  I need this."  he patted her gently ans smiled and looked out the window despite the drawn shades, "All of that too."  he offered with a sigh, "Need to remember the reason and the ways I do help not just the big saves."  He shook his head as if clearing cobwebs and frowned down at Alex, "Sorry I, uh, I've been thinking alot about things and not really tried to put it in words."  he apologized for his rambling.  

He thought for a moment as he picked up the threads of her last words, "Teacher?"  he asked incredulously, "You remember I am like awful at school right?" he asked teasingly with a small smile at the half joke though she had a point, just working with people would be what he wanted after all, but teaching, school, that was daunting in a way that thugs with anti tank weaponry just wasn't.

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"It looks good on you," Alex said as she gave his cheek a smile kiss and smiled as he took the hint to lift her fully into his lap. Her arms went around his broad shoulders and she beamed at him. "It's okay. You ramble in your head too. I'm used to it. It's just the way you process. Sometimes, though, you think too much. Often. You often think too much."

Cuddling into him, Alex let her cheek rest against the arm on his shoulder, her face largely tucked against the side of his neck but she didn't make any effort to speak up. Frankly, Mike's hearing was good enough that he could pick up a whisper and even if he didn't, there was always the echo of her thoughts to use instead. "You're not awful at school, especially if you work at it, and you did just fine getting your AA. You didn't even need my help at all. You don't realize it but you compare the way you do things to me and that's not fair at all. There aren't many people as smart as I am on the planet," Alex stated that with no pride, just the inherent fact that it was. "But you're plenty smart. You can do college in between super hero work and see if its a good fit for you. If not, at least you've learned that much about what you want to do with your future. But in two years, you'd have a bachelors and could look at getting a teacher's license."

Alex paused, her voice softening as she pointed out, "How different would it have been for you, if someone like you had been a teacher when we were tiny?" It wasn't intended to be a low blow, but eventually Mike would dredge up those old memories. Alex was just short cutting his process.

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Mike beamed at the praise and looked away while he schooled his features not that she needed to see his face to know he had a goofy grin on it.  "I do I suppose, But to be fair I have to if I'm gonna keep up."  he pointed out as particularly she as well as all their friends were substantially quicker on the uptake.  He stroked one hand along the soft fabric covering her outer thigh absently as he listened to her pep talk happily.  He sighed contentedly, "I did."  he agreed as she was not wrong.  But he did always feel he was struggling because unlike many they knew he actually had to work at school to manage decent grades.  

"Well that is true."  he agreed as to her own intellectual achievements and let his hand slide to her hip, "You are far to clever for my own good."  he teased lightly and in his own way flirtily.  "I suppose you're not wrong,"  he finally agreed and tensed slightly at her final volley, "Alright alright Ms. Smarty Pants."  He joked lightly and let his fingers lightly tickle across her ribs, "I relent."  he accepted in half mock defeat, "I'll look into programs."  he agreed.  He smiled down at her then and quirked a brow, "So what about you?"  he asked quietly, "You think this is really going smooth enough you can vanish on adventures with us all again?"  he asked his tone light though his question serious.

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"Or you could, you know, use your super speed to read your books and do your homework," Alex pointed out as she wiggled once more on his lap to tuck her shoulder back against his chest. Her sigh was a soft, contented sound. With her long legs drawn up, Alex easily fit curled against his chest and she shifted automatically to pull her braids from where they would tickle against him. She yawned once, as her day had been long and Mike's presence there was soothing. Honestly, most of the time, she felt his absence keenly as a Mike shaped hole. The places she'd left in the apartment for his things a stark and constant reminder that he was absent. Having his large frame on the couch that she'd sized with her other half in mind was like finally having the last piece to an almost done puzzle. 

"As to AEON, its my company. If I have to adjust things around, I can adjust things around accordingly," Alex commented, "I like being busy but I tend to fill up my time as it's available to do so. It won't exactly run itself, but I can certainly juggle running things and super heroing. If one gets in the way of the other, I'll just set up contingency plans for that situation. I'm sure that emergencies I haven't thought of will eventually arise but we'll weather it alright. I mean, a well run company works not because of one lone beacon guiding the way, but because you reward people for working hard and you make sure they are properly compensated and aren't overworked, and you ensure your management team works well together and has the same ideals as you do in terms of work-life balance... Too much information?"

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Mike nodded agreement, "Uhm.  Yea yea I guess I could."  he said quietly and opened his mouth concerned for a moment that was cheating and realized that was no different than her or Trevor using their big ol brains to ace a test and closed it before he could be reprimanded as such.  He gave her a gentle squeeze as she settled against him and dropped his arm to curl under her own and hold her more securely on his lap as he matched her contented sigh, "No."  he said with a smile, "I may not understand it all but I'm always happy to listen."  he said honestly.  He slowly stroked her thigh and pondered the big question that remained, would he reveal himself as she had.  He knew instantly she'd think he was over thinking things with his myriad considerations of how it would affect potential school employment no less college or classmates for that matter.  The simple fact was they were all only a properly worded FOIA request away from being outed.  Or a timely leak.  He sighed not wanting to burden her further with his concerns though doubtless the thoughts milling in his mind were no secret to her as she relaxed against him, "You're tired."  he observed gently, "I should go, let you sleep."  he said almost like a question as he wanted to leave no more than she wanted him to.

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"Don't go yet," Alex complained, her arms tightening around his shoulders and she pulled back to frown at him, "You only just got here. You haven't even had the ten cent tour or anything. I'm not all that tired."

The slight circles under her eyes belied that statement but Mike had seen the stubborn set of her chin many times. She uncurled one arm to touch the frown lines between his brow as he continued to over think things, her index finger was warm against his brow, "You should stop fretting. Things will sort out in time. Not everything has to be made a big deal. If you want it to stop being a secret, you just stop treating it like a secret. There's no reason to have to issue a press release. Though, honestly, that's super easy to handle - AEON has a PR department after all."

She relaxed back against him, her tone stubborn, "I don't want you to go. I'm tired of you being gone."

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"Ok ok."  Mike laughed and gave her a squeeze and gentle kiss, "No tour needed."  he said easily and smiled with a flash of even white teeth, "I, uh, took a look around," He admitted with a small shrug, "And you are an awful liar."  he pointed out a hint of concern in his tone though he really could not say no to her on most things so he made no effort to stand nor extract himself.   He settled back into the couch comfortably with her lounging against his chest and stroked one big hand along her leg absently, "Yea I guess just not hiding is easier than whatever else."  he agreed though his thoughts were still a bit in turmoil on the subject but over thinking or not he'd ruminate on it further before any drastic action.  "Then I won't."  he said finally with a fond smile, "I know, I'm here now though."  he said apologetically knowing the absence on her was as hard as on him if not more so.

"So?"  he asked looking around the room, "Uh, just watch some Netflix and chill for awhile?"  he asked as he tucked her cheek against his chest.

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"Yes. Yes, I do," Alex said with a small, lopsided grin that Mike could hear if he couldn't see. "You know, when most people say that, they mean have sex while Netflix plays something in the background, right? That's the origin of that phrase. It's slang for teenagers hooking up. Don't you tumblr?" Alex teased as she leaned up to press a small kiss against his jawline before she turned her head away. Telekinetic ability meant not having to untangle herself from his lap as she lifted one hand to catch the remotes as they floated over. "It's okay. We can actually just watch Netflix and spend time together. I have a bunch of shows I've been waiting to start until we could watch them together."

Pressing a few buttons brought the tv system to life as she tucked her head under his jaw once more companionably, "Do you like it?" She asked, not keeping the concern from her voice. "We can change things when you feel like you can, you know, move in here. Which you can, of course, whenever you want to. I made it for us, you know."

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Mike was at first quite happy that he'd happened upon so pleasing an idea.  Of course he blushed a deep red and coughed on his own caught breath when she revealed the terms double meaning.  "I ah, didn't uhm."  he stammered and peeked down at Alex frowning at her question, "What?  No!"  he said full of affront at the suggestion that he would 'tumblr' as she said.  He looked almost hurt at the suggestion and, "I have never, would never, tumblr anyone."  he said firmly to Alex before asking gingerly, "You don't do you?"  his tone uncertain and a bit shook up at her casual reference to the notorious hook up app.  He calmed some as she seemed content to do what he had actually been suggesting and was a little happy she felt the desire to save them to watch with him but remained tense at the question he'd left hanging in the air.

More to cover his discomfort than because of any firm opinion he nodded to her final query, "I do like it it is very nice, The couch even goes all the way up."  he noted as it did not as many crest nearer the small of his back than his shoulders.

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"That's Tindr," Alex said with a small sigh as she pulled back to look at him fully. She scrunched her nose at him, "Tumblr is where you go to look up funny things people post and maybe sometimes porn, but mostly just entertaining cat pictures. Tindr is where you swipe people's pictures if they're interested. Grindr is the one for gay men."

Alex raised her hand to touch his cheek, smoothing her hand over his clean shaven skin. "Of course I don't. I want to do stuff but I want to do stuff with you. If I was interested just in experimenting with the things people can do together, I'd have let things go farther with Mark back when we were dating. I certainly wouldn't just find someone to do that with without telling you. Mike, even if we weren't, you know, sexually compatible, it wouldn't be just something I decided to take care of. We'd have discussions and figure out what we were both okay with, just like everything else." She frowned slightly at him, "You know, for two people with a psychic rapport, sometimes our communication skills can use work. Maybe because of it. I'm not going to do anything that's not genuinely okay with you for goodness sake, with you or with anyone else."

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Mike slumped into the couch, "Oh."  He murmured, "Sorry, I, I don't do that either."  he admitted wondering why people needed an app for cat porn but deciding he really didn't need to know.  He patted her leg awkwardly then let out a slow breath calming his nerves after the awkward exchange.  "I know that, I just."  he shrugged his broad shoulders and wrapped his arms around her, "I dunno, I guess I just worry that I'm the outlier and that's normal so you wouldn't expect?"  he pondered and shook his head, "It just sounded so casual and like I should and."  he blushed again and blew out a long controlled breath.  "I know that."  he promised her, "I don't even know why I asked I was just,"  he hugged her tight, "Just lost again."  he admitted with a rueful laugh.  "So what do you want to watch?"  he asked and glanced over the screen, "What's Orange is the New Black?  Fashion show?"

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"Well, sure. Tumblr is pretty popular for looking up all sorts of stuff. Here," Another errant thought brought Alex's tablet over and she shifted to tuck her back against Mike's chest as she swiped over with quick fingertips to bring up the feed, "It's just like blogs. You click on the ones you like and then follow them. I have one set up for AEON that the PR department puts out little things on but I have a personal one that I mostly use to follow whatever catches my attention."

She handed the tablet up to Mike, letting the awkward topic of hook up applications fall away as she picked up the remote once more to start surfing through shows, "It's not a fashion show, it's a drama about life in prison. I don't think you'd like it that much. Maybe something that it doesn't matter if we talk over it, like one of those bad reality tv shows about tattoos or fishing boats. Do you have any preferences?"

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"That sounds depressing."  he said flatly in response and raised a brow, "Like that bass fishing show my Grandpa used to watch on ESPN 2?"  he questioned incredulously, he always thought she found those as boring as he did.  Then again she claimed to have enjoyed algebra.  He thumbed through the tumblr on her tablet with a vague disinterested then paused setting it down looked over to Alex with concern, "Uhm."  he murmured low, "What's a reblog?"  he was still trying to grasp this whole new realm.  "And why is this Edgeof4evar one full of drawings of me and Mark without shirts?"  he asked uncomfortably and looked down scrolling further, "How much of this is there?"  he murmured and peered closer at one, "Some of these are eerie exact..."  He set the tablet aside at that and shook his head, "I'm probably better off not knowing, huh?"  he suggested with a laugh and smiled down at his fiance, "Ladies choice."  he offered warmly, "I'm here for you."

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"You did that shirtless calendar for charity, remember? The whole thing is on the internet now. Someone was gracious enough to scan their copy in high definition for the Young Freedom fanbase," Alex said serenely as she clicked it over onto something titled 'Real Alaskans, Real Fishing'. Anything avowing that much reality in the title had to be utterly manufactured drama. Setting the remote aside, Alex tucked her head under Mike's chin to watch crusty fishermen get bleeped out as they cussed at their nets, the water and each other, "There are still diehard fans for Young Freedom OG, even though you've all been replaced with the 'new hotness'."

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Mike blinked and choked on his next breath as she pointed this out, "Wha?"  he stuttered, "That's still around?"  he asked mortified and buried his face against the top of her head where she lounged, "Oh my god I thought maybe a little past the year but.."  He shook his head shocked, "Who would take the time to do that?"  he asked rhetorically still stunned.  Then he paused, "And people draw reproductions?"  he wrinkled his nose, "The internet is strange."  he finally declared wanting no more of that and settled in to watch the crusty fishermen get salty as the fish were light or heavy or whatever other reason they found to curse like a sailor which technically he supposed they were.  Mike raised a brow after a long moment, "New hotness?"

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"After we left the team, it's had a few incarnations. Papercut isn't without his fans on the internet. Our team line up, however, did have the largest number of pretty teenage boys. Honestly, James' fans alone could keep the fan-fiction churning." Alex yawned and cuddled her shoulder against his sternum, tucking her legs up as she looped her arms around them. Her head came down to rest on his shoulder, her eyes half lidded as she watched the tv and offered the explanations in a sleepy tone, "It's not reproductions. They're stories. People write stories about super heroes hooking up together and having grand adventures. Some of them are quite good but there's a little too much swooning. I don't think you or Mark would be prone to looking at each other with teary eyes quite so often in an actual relationship."

Alex yawned again and gave his chest a gentle pat, "Its just harmless. You're almost never the villain in them if that helps."

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Mike shook his head, "Oh yea the other young freedom line ups."  he replied more calmly, "I thought- Wait."  he squinted down at the tablet before it powered down the screen as the relationship phrasing became clear and glanced to Alex in confusion, "But, I'm not gay."  he questioned puzzling through this new information, "And Mark is like even more not gay."  he added shaking his head to clear the memories of Marks many discussions of various ladies finer points.  He shrugged willing to let it go he supposed if it made people happy it didn't bother him.  However there were some things that were less passable narrative embellishments, "Almost never?"  he asked clearly more upset at the thought of being misrepresented as villainous than at the creative license of soulful looks between him and Mark.  

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