Ironport RP

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Gladatoria
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Ironport RP

Dusk was quickly settling over the district of Ironport, as the bustle of forklifts across the dockyards and freighters in the bay died down to a quiet hum, it's hardworking citizen's finally resting for the approaching night...well, most of them...

A lithe figure running along downtrodden rooftops and along soot cloaked walls, the their known as Talon raced towards her target: the Wharton Steel Mill. Peering into it's windows from afar, the unusual sight of militant guards armed with what appears to be flame throwers would greet her. Cursing, before reminding her contact within the Black Rose that they would have mentioned that within her contract, she quietly descended onto the Wharton Mill roof, before slinking through the air ducts, only to be greeted by the muzzle of a flame thrower upon leaving the grate. Not wasting any time, she would upon the man, swinging around his neck with the grace of a bird, before bringing him down in a choke, crushing his wind pipe, but not before he managed to reach the alarm, signaling others in and around the mill to their location...

The Wharton Steel Mill was under attack

"Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

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As She kept the guard busy

As She kept the guard busy gun shots could be heard as guards began to drop with a shadowy substance coming out of their bodies leading some to a one stranger wearning a fanged mask under a hoodie as the shadowy spiritual energy as he drained their souls f spiritual energy. Other guards were screaming as if they were seeing something that was not there and doing them real physical harm as he also fed on their fears.

"In the end there can be only one" The Highlander

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Edward Bruun had forgot about

Edward Bruun had forgot about the call he made to the Action house. He sat down in his apartment in Ironport trying to relax. The family heirloom and curse was now off his hands guarded by people who make a living doing such things. Turning on the T.V. he tried to forget about the magical orb his family had spent seven hundred years guarding. So many stories so many myths ... they were true. Things he laughed about when he was a kid, tales he thought his grandfather was nuts about were all coming true. The end of the world and he was one of the protectors a last line of defense... and he was a Fed EX delivery guy.

Turning off the T.V. he went to his computer and logged into facebook. What was that Viking Apocalypse February 22 this year? He followed the link and read the artical. "Ragnarok"

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2.) If it goes as planned it's not good RP

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Klade had little trouble

Klade had little trouble finding Bruun. His home reeked of magic. The lock was easy enough to pick, and Klade krept his way through the home, silently, to where Bruin sat happily at his home computer. He leaned against a doorframe laxly, and crossed his arms. "In my experience," he said to Bruun, "People never seem to sit and listen when an intruder attempts to rationalize with them, so I've stopped trying. But I'll ask you once: Will you cooperate, Mr. Bruun?"

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Klade wouldn't be surprised

Klade wouldn't be surprised when Ed nearly jumped out of his chair and grabbed the first thing that he thinks could be used as a weapon. In this case a lamp "Who are you? ... what are you doing in my home?"

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He definitely wasn't. He

He definitely wasn't. He sighed. "My name is not of importance. I will leave you and your home without unnecessary bloodstains if you tell me where you keep the orb."

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"Damn.. look I can't let you

"Damn.. look I can't let you take it. It could end the world I mean really all hell braking loose kind of end of the world." Ed looked around trying to think of where to run to.

(Okay I need sleep it's past midnight so this be my last post.)

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"None of my concern." In an

"None of my concern." In an instant Klade moved forward, covering feet in seconds and gripping his hand around Bruun's neck, pinning him against the wall. "Now remember...I told you I'd ask nicely only once." In the next moment Bruun was thrown against the wall opposite, and while he was down, kicked promptly in the face. While Bruun was stunned, Klade dragged him to the dining room and pushed him into a chair. He reached into his coat and behind his back, and pulled out one blade, barely longer than a foot. He triggered some hidden mechanism and the blade extended to a normal length.

He did this all with a look of neither satisfaction or hate, almost of disinterest. "Mr. Bruun, tell me, which hand do you like the least?"

((No problem, just don't expect a post from me until late afternoon tomorrow))

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(didn't give me any time to

(didn't give me any time to react. Grabbed, thrown. and kicked was three attack moves and no chance to react to them. I let it pass because this is a NPC character.)

Gasping and looking up in fear. "No... please I don't have it anymore! It's protected now!"

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((Sorry. I got carried away.

((Sorry. I got carried away. I realized my error later. I figured since he was an NPC it'd be more acceptable, but I'm a quick learner, I'll get the hang of it.))

Klade twirls the blade expertly, and brings it to rest on Bruun's shoulder, inches from his neck. "Where? And with who?"

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Ed swallows as the blade came

Ed swallows as the blade came so very near his neck "Psychopomp and Circumstance... please don't kill me."

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He lifts the blade and

He lifts the blade and triggers the mechanism again, decreasing the blade's length back down to a foot. He puts it back in his coat. "I hope it goes without saying that there's no need to tell anyone about our conversation. Goodbye Mr. Bruun." Klade leaves, closing the door behind him.

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A small group containing two

A small group containing two teens and a large robot were heading towards the docks at a leisurely pace, the robot and redheaded boy on either side of the girl, seeming to guide her.

Nick was being much more shy than normal, but he did his best to sound friendly. He really enjoyed talking to Allison, and he didn't want her to think otherwise. But his anxiousness was starting to slowly get to him. He was desperately searching the depths of his mind for something to talk about. "So, Allison...thanks for the quick bail back there. I'm not big on reporters. There was enough of that for a lifetime when Dad died..." the last bit is like a quiet afterthought, and he almost doesn't realize he says it.

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Allison, walked slowly

Allison, walked slowly between teen and robot, canting her head a bit for sensitive ears to listen. She hadn't spent almost a decade listening without actually seeing anything to not pick up on Nick's anxiety. She doesn't yet comment on it though responding only to things he's actually said.

with a small, humorless smile, she turns her partially concealed face toward Nick as they scuff along. "Yeah, no problem. I hate reporters too-- I'd rather be anonymous and live how I feel like it..." She paused, then asked softly, kicking a discarded can out of their path and turning toward the ocean. "...How long ago did your dad...mmhm?" She follows this up quickly with, "I don't wanna pry a ton or be rude-- but we kinda already halfway said the worst stuff about ourselves. At least we can get it out of the way in the beginning and get to better stuff ...I'll show you the rest of mine if you show me yours?"

It sounds logical, if a bit shy.

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Nick nods. He says quietly,

Nick nods. He says quietly, looking at the sidewalk below him, but also looking at something else, some-one- else. He begins, and it sort of spills out as he speaks, "When I was young. Around seven years old. A quarter of the way through that school year was when he told me he had cancer. The terminal kind. I had punched a kid in the face that day. He was kind of a douchebag. I made his nose bleed. But I still felt bad. It was a Thursday. He died three months later in a hospital bed at one in the morning. Hordes of reporters everywhere. Missed a a month or so of school. Had to make up 7 different tests. Failed three on purpose, aced the other four."

As if to explain these details he remembers, he says, "The advanced development of my brain allows me to remember pretty much anything I want. Or, in that specific case, anything especially traumatic. But I cannot, for the life of me, remember if he liked waffles or pancakes."

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Allison watches him in her

Allison watches him in her own fashion as they walk themselves to the edge of a pier. She leans against the metal railing, picking off flaking bits of rusted paint and watching Nick. This close to so much metal, and standing so close to her own 'field', she can even make out his fingers moving...

She huffs a little, but genuine laugh at his comments about the tests, then looks empathetic about the waffles.

After a pause, she nudges him softly with her shoulder. "My mom used to make pancakes every Saturday morning. She hated our waffle iron..."

Another pause. Looking down at the water, listening to it lap against the concrete below, she flicks paint chips into it as she speaks. "My parents died last June in a car accident. ... There was a super-on-super fight in a warehouse by the road where they were driving hone from the grocery store-- The Titan... the /good guy/... He threw a parked car at the bad guy. It c-crushed my parents car."

She takes a deep breath. "It was a Sunday. ... If I would've been there--... I could've helped them. Deflected the car, melted it, something..."

More paint flakes are tossed into the water, her ironic, soft voice just fading away for a few moments

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Nick listens quietly. As she

Nick listens quietly. As she speaks, his heart gets more and more heavy. When she finishes, he softly touches the back of her idle hand and says shyly, "You couldn't have known that day was different from the others."

He then pulls his hand back, blushing, examining his shoes. Stupid, that was stupid, why did I do that? He thought to himself. She doesn't want to hear that. She doesn't need another person telling her that.

He spoke again, involuntarily, "I often blame myself for Dad's cancer, for not doing something about it, but I was only seven, and I was scared."

Oh, God, that was even worse. Idiot.

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Allison watches Nick's hand

Allison watches Nick's hand creep into her downcast 'field of view', briefly too fascinated by actually seeing fingers instead of an amorphous blob to be embarrassed. It's only after he pulls his hand away again that she registers that he'd touched her, and remembers to blush-- though half of it is covered by the cloth she's wrapped around her eyes.

It's true, everyone had said it wasn't her fault, that there was nothing she could have done-- she couldn't have known it'd be that day. And she knew all that-- but her heart had a harder time believing it. The ache was still pretty raw.

She reaches compulsively to squeeze Nick's shoulder with a startled breath of a laugh. "Back at you, Nick! You were just a kid-- no matter how smart you were, nobody's really ever /cured/ cancer..."

Allison squeezes his shoulder again, wanting to somehow show that she gets it, that she understands--... then takes back her hand quickly, and resumes picking tiny bits of paint to throw into the water.

She laughs again after a pause, sounding somewhat more relaxed. "Well... it's maybe the weirdest way I've tried to make friends so far... but at least the worst is outta the way now, right?" She smothers another little laugh, admitting, "Well, maybe not-- I'm gonna keep being stupid and awkward all over the place... but I feel a tiny bit... uhm... maybe better isn't the word..."

She combs her fingers backward through her hair restlessly, chains clinking, deciding to stop talking before she makes poor Nick feel even weirder about her.

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Nick smiles, shouldering her

Nick smiles, shouldering her gently. "You think -you're- awkward? Levi, how many times do I blush on an average day?"

Levi tilts his head to one side, "On average your face flushes 27 times a day, Master Ridley."

"And what's the normal person's count?"

"At maximum, it is eight to nine times a day, on average."

Nick looks back to Allison, saying wryly, "And I usually stay home most of the day, too. So don't think you're the worst."

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Allison seems relieved to

Allison seems relieved to have something else to talk about-- even if the subject matter is their awkwardness, itself. She smiles a little, and reaches up to untie the wrapping from her face, stuffing it unceremoniously into her pocket.

"Yeah, well... I bet I blush a lot, too. I just usually wear the cloth over my face, so it bails me out a lot by covering some of it." She smothers a little chuckle.

"...27 times is pretty impressive though. Levi-- how many times has Nick blushed today?" Allison asks in a spur of mischief. Curiously, though her eyes are clouded and clearly not functional in the way that most people use them-- they still have some kind of expression, and her face is animated enough.

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Levi stated, "Thirty-two.

Levi stated, "Thirty-two. However, he appears to be more meek in your presence than on average."

Nick blushes. "Okay, yes, that's true, but--"

"Thirty-three," Levi interrupts.

Nick grumbles, "You're just jealous you don't have blood vessels."

"I am not jealous, because I do not feel. I do not need blood vessels to survive. Machinery is an altogether better alternative. Why would I be jealous of something inferior?" Levi states this with a small hint of humor, poking at Nick with his words.

Nick grumbles again, this time to Allison, "See what I have to deal with all the time?"

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Allison giggles helplessly,

Allison giggles helplessly, having finally left off her nervous paint-peeling. Somewhere in the middle distance, a ship blows it's horn in a low, deep call across the water, the sound of the ocean itself lapping up against the pier where they're standing a soothing, predictable rhythm.

"I 'see'," she says, with emphasis on the word, wiggling an eyebrow. "Still, I think maybe I'd still keep him, if I had a Levi of my own." She looks thoughtful for a moment, her expression shifting to accommodate, her cloudy eyes moving to Levi for a moment.

"But I guess, if you really wanted, I could melt him into a puddle and save you the back-sass," she offers generously, obviously teasing. She then thinks to ask, "...How old are you Levi? Did Nick make you?"

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Levi tilts his head to one

Levi tilts his head to one side, unsure if he should take her seriously or if it was another figure of speech. Judging from her demeanor, he assumed it was a joke. "This unit is nineteen months and six days old. Master Ridley did indeed create this unit. This unit was modeled after his father's original creation. This unit is a Luminator 3, version 1. I am programmed to protect and serve Master Ridley at all times. I protect because it is my purpose. I serve because it is my choice."

Nick smiles wryly. "I think you don't have to melt him -juuuust- yet. He may be still be useful. Maybe."

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"Luminator 3, Version 1... L

"Luminator 3, Version 1... L 3 V 1... Oh, I get it now-- that's so cute!" Allison laughs, this time a very natural laugh, easy and unshadowed. "Well, Levi," she says to the robot in tones of utmost reassurance, "You don't ever have to worry about me doing you any harm. I fix metal things, as a general rule-- and you're my friend now, I'd hope. I certainly wouldn't hurt a friend! It's a very noble, notable thing you're doing, serving on top of protecting. I'm sure Nick appreciates it."

Allison swivels her head and gives Nick a knowing look. "Yeeeah... definitely." She smiles easily, turning to lean her backside against the paint-peeling metal railing around the edge of the pier. Metal buildings and crates give her a decent 'view' of thing into at least the middle distance-- the main reason she likes to stay in built-up city areas. She says as much.

"...I feel really at home, when I'm out here, y'know. The sound of the ocean is nice, but... It's more because I feel safer? Look--" She leans against Nick's shoulder, the chains wrapped around her shoulder and upper arm pressing lightly against him, and points to a warehouse across the next pier over from them. "There's another pier between us and that warehouse over there. It's this long--" she lifts her arm, extending her index finger and tracing the outline of it, "and that high. There's a crane at one end, too, a big one, and some shipping containers at the end of the pier..."

She had continued to point to things in the middle distance, smiling serenely, before finally lowering her arm and sitting back against the railing again. "I just get a really clear sense of where things are around me in places like this-- in the city where there's lots of skyscrapers, stuff like that..." She smiles up at Levi for a moment, then back at Nick. "It's why I'd really be psyched to have a robot like Levi. He's big-- his size puts off a pretty big... echo?... and shows me things really clear for a little ways around him, not just Levi himself..."

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Levi nods graciously. He had

Levi nods graciously. He had not wanted to put her name on the threat watchlist. "You are my friend, Miss Allison. And Master Ridley expresses his gratitude regularly."

Nick stays silent while Allison paints their surroundings, smiling. "It's all the metal. I'd like being here too, if I were you. By the way, that's really cool. The whole seeing metal and magnetic fields thing. I know it's regular for you, but still."

He stills for a moment, closing his eyes, listening to the waves and imagining Allison's world. It was...relaxing.

He keeps his eyelids shut, trying to imagine what it would be like in the forest, or other nonmetal places. "You know, if you wanted, I could make you a trinket that could create its own magnetic field. For places where metal's scarce, and stuff. It probably wouldn't be great, or reach very far around you, but it'd be better than nothing." Nick opens his eyes, looking over at her, a small, shy grin on his face. "Just as a gift."

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Allison watched Nick for a

Allison watched Nick for a moment, ridiculously pleased to be able to have a good, clear 'vision' of this new person, new friend, for such an extended period of time. She wishes she could show people, show Nick especially, what it was she could 'see'... For right now, she could even tell that his eyes were closed.

In actuality, Allison's 'vision' is something almost tecnhologic-looking-- a vaugely blue-white field fading into gray, then black in the distance. What does give off energy, things she can 'see', radiate in varying tones of blue to white, and are almost constantly in motion this way-- like the visual representation of white noise, with smaller particles. The auras that are the magnetic fields given off by every individual can be in any color and shape at all, though sometimes Allison is unsure if the names of the colors she uses for things match correctly with the names of the colors she learned when she could see properly, as a young toddler. Every metal, too, has it's own color and 'vibration' speed in her altered field of vision.

Watching Nick relaxing for a few moments with his eyes closed, presumably listening to the ocean, she can see him in sharp relief-- mostly white, with edgings of blue and the occasional flicker or flash of a brighter color-- oranges, reds, or golds...

Startled by his offer, Alison blushes plainly and rubs her cheek with her hand-- smearing a bit of rust on her skin from the paint she'd been peeling before. It takes her a long moment to answer, and when she does, she sounds shy but eager, an answering broad smile on her own face. "...That would be really cool to try-- and would keep me from walking into trees. ...Yeah. Yeah-- that'd be really nice of you, Nick."

She pauses, thoughtful. "Was there anything you wanted? You know, so I could give you something back?"

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"No, I don't think -- well..

"No, I don't think -- well...maybe." Nick blushes, asking shyly, his words spilling out uneloquently, "I've been trying to make a suit, ya'know, so I can, maybe, help people, but there's a lot of metals involved, and super small wires and things, and...maybe you could help? I know you don't like heroes, really, but I guess if you wanted you could help, maybe?" His voice and gaze are hopeful.

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For some weird reason,

For some weird reason, Allison's heart had jumped up into her mouth for just the fraction of a second between Nick's "...maybe," and his explanation of what me might want from her.

She started to smile as she listened, her heart dropping back into it's anatomically correct positioning. "Look-- it's not that I don't like Heroes... It's just that I'm not sure if I want to be one. I don't mind helping people-- and I'd be really, really glad to help you--... even without the thing you're saying you'll make for me," she adds honestly, rubbing the back of her neck a little.

"It'd be fun to help-- and then I can say I'm friends with a genius," she teases slightly, trying to take the attention away from herself again.

Allison fumbles around in her pocket, and withdraws an expensive looking smartphone, with a slide-out keyboard. Blushing, she explains, "...I know where the letters are, but I spent most of my money getting a phone that does voice commands really well. Here..." She hands the phone over to Nick, saying, "Put your name and number in there, and then take mine off of there, too. Just... if you give yourself a funny nickname you'll have to tell me, or I'll never be able to voice dial you."

She paused, then offered generously, with a hint of wry amusement, "...You can put my Titan name in your file or something, if you want. It should be on there already... Or, you know. You could just call me Alli..." She blushes faintly, with a half-quirked smile.

Sure enough, Allison's number is listed under "Allison Morris", and a drop-down menu reveals another line of text-- "Hematitan"

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Nick bites his lip, still

Nick bites his lip, still partially worried, but taking the iPhone. "I just meant, from your past experiences, I didn't know..." he huffs, knowing he sounds stupid.

"I'd just...rather not lose a friend right after making one. Because I like you, Alli. I MEAN-- as a friend, I didn't mean it like that, I was--" Nick blushes furiously, deciding to hush quickly and act as if it never happened. He enters his number, and takes out a rather average blackberry and enters her information into his phone.

He coughs quietly, handing her phone back to her. He states, "I...like your Titan name..."

Levi speaks, unaware of the awkwardness in the air. "In case of emergency, Master Ridley's phone number may also contact me or any of my siblings. This is a precautionary measure."

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Alli smiles a bit crookedly,

Alli smiles a bit crookedly, and takes back her phone, purposefully brushing his hand with her fingers as she does so. "Don't worry about the Heroes and Titans thing... You're you. That's all that matters with anybody-- if they're themselves. ...Thanks," she says, and then is quiet for a moment.

"Did you know," she says in a quiet, serene voice, leaning more relaxedly against the metal railing behind her, "--that I can tell when you blush? Your field changes-- it vibes a little faster, and makes a different color show up around your head." She sounds a little bit amused, and strangely calm at the same time. Just... stating it as a fact. "...I dunno if it's the same color as what you think of it as, but I'm pretty sure it's orange?..."

She shakes her head a little, stuffs the phone into her pocket, and says very clearly and very plainly, "And chill, it's okay-- I like you too, Nick. Gonna have to try a looot harder to freak me out than that." Her face is a bit pink, but she leaves that open to interpretation, cracking another crooked smile.

To Levi, she laughs a little bit, and waves a hand in his direction. "That's cool too, Levi. It'll be fun to try to call sometime-- never know who I'm gonna get!"

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Nick coughed, startled at her

Nick coughed, startled at her response. It -had- been an accident, he didn't mean to say that. He blushes, his field very orange, "It-it was legitimately an accident. I'm having trouble speaking around you, it's odd." He clears his throat, adding an afterthought, "I don't want to make you freak out..."

He then replies to her statement about his magnetic field, feeling more sure of himself when speaking of something logical and scientific, "It makes sense. It could have something to do with heartbeat and blood flow. And, Levi only answers or calls when I don't have my phone or when I'm unconscious."

Levi nods. "But I am always open to conversation, Miss Allison"

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Alli just... laughs, albeit

Alli just... laughs, albeit with a bit of a nervous edge, rubbing the back of her neck fervently enough to mess up her hair back there a little "Well, I can't really lie-- I'm freaking out just the teeniest, tiniest bit. But it's not like you're doing it on purpose!" She shrugs apologetically, clinking and clattering quietly from her chains. "I'm really not all that great at this kind of thing, but-- hey, I'm trying, anyway."

She smiles up at Levi, her cloudy eyes turning up to him along with her face. "Well, it's nice to talk to you, too, Levi-- if you ever wanted to ask me anything, you totally could, too."

Alli pauses then, thoughtful, and scuffs a converse sneaker against the pier. "...So, I guess this is the part where I try to get to know you better--... But I can't really ask you something silly and frivolous like 'Hey, what's your favorite color'?" She nudges Nick with an elbow, smiling, though her upper cheeks have been pink for quite awhile now.

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Nick laughs, a small genuine

Nick laughs, a small genuine laugh. "Trust me, when you've been buried in machines as long as I have, you wouldn't be so good at this kind of thing either."

Levi nods. "I will remember that, Miss Allison."

Nick looks thoughtful for a moment, and then says with a smile, "What abooouuut...favorite sound?"

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Allison smiles, the tension

Allison smiles, the tension visibly starting to relax out of the line of her shoulders. "I have lots of favorite sounds," she admits bemusedly, "but most of them are music related. We'll come back to that in a minute. Hmm... if I had to say what my favorite sounds were, the top three would be wind through leaves, the sound of water against a shore-- or like, the ocean against something, waves-- and this sound--"

She twists around at the waist and unwinds the chain from her shoulder and arm deftly. She then wraps it around her fist in thick coils, lifts her hand, and bangs it on the metal railing. There's a very distinct, metallic "CLING!" that echoes down the old, rusted piping for some distance, before the vibration of the sound dissipates.

Alli pushes her hair behind her ear again, as it's ever slipping down into her face (though it doesn't impede her senses at all), and shrugs a little. "I guess that's sort of predictable though. ...What about you? I mean, aside from music, because that's a different question."

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Nick thinks for a moment. "I

Nick thinks for a moment. "I have a few favorites. I like the sound of waves, for one. And I like the hummed of working machines. Not like a rattle or a huge, clanking machine sound, but the quiet hum they have when they're waiting for use. I hear it all the time, so I guess I kind of -have- to like it. But I think my all time favorite would be Dad's voice."

Nick smiles, recalling old memories, "It always made me smile. See, he'd make these things at work, all kinds of stuff, or sometimes he'd just go into his workshop and just make something. Like, on the spot, always something no one else thought about. But anyway, when he'd made them, he'd call for me, and he'd show me the new invention, and explain how it worked. I can't even remember the first time he did it, its like he had always done it. Mom even said on their first anniversary he had grown a whole garden bioluminescent flowers - they glow in the dark - just for her. And no one had ever done it before."

Nick sniffed a little, his emotions having gotten the better of him, and laughs a little, "His voice is one of the few things that never changed."

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Being functionally,

Being functionally, clinically blind for a little over a decade had forced Alli to embrace and enhance the use of her other senses. Because of this, she has never really had any qualm with physical boundaries, her sense of touch being a very valuable asset in determining her surroundings. That being said, as she listens to the fondness and the bitter-sweetness in Nick's remembrance, she smiles a little with a quiet nod-- remembering her own parents, the scent of her mother's perfume...

Understanding on a level that not many people could, it just seems natural to her to reach out and slip her arm around Nick's waist, hugging him briefly against her side, hip to hip, with an empathetic expression on her face. She let him go just as naturally, a sense of rhythm about the whole thing, and said quietly with a little laugh of her own, "That's awesome, Nick. Don't you ever hate on yourself for being "smart", for being able to remember stuff like that. Me? I'm pretty average of intelligence I guess-- someday, I'll forget what it sounded like to have my mom sing to me, or my dad tell me a joke. You get to have that memory of your dad forever-- don't think you're not lucky!"

She chuckles a little to herself, digging out the cloth from her pocket and handing it to him, obviously to wipe his nose with. "Here-- and don't worry, I have like ten of these from old shirts, it's fine."

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Nick smiles gratefully,

Nick smiles gratefully, taking the small cloth and using it for its given purpose. The small hug had caught him off gaurd, but it appeared to be very natural for her, so he went along with it.

Her statement almost makes him sad. "Sometimes the way a memory feels is better than the memory itself. But thank you."

Nick clears his throat, attempting to regain his composure. He grins a little, obviously copying Alli's words from moments ago. "What silly and frivolous thing would you like to talk about next?"

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Alli laughs a little, and

Alli laughs a little, and gets her phone out of her pocket again. Fishing around in a back pocket this time, she pulls out a pair of well used ear buds, and tucks the left one into her ear, holding out the right one to Nick.

"Music," she says stoutly, trying to keep a straight face... but dissolves into a smile. "Don't worry, I only use the left one, so I can hear the street sounds out of my right ear-- that one should be cootie-less." She can't even try to keep a straight face then, giggling.

Turning her head she 'looks' into the distance at nothing specific, still highly aware of Nick's 'field' and how it's overlapping hers at the edges of her senses, and presses a button on her phone. It chimes, indicating readiness, and she says mildly, "Media player. List 1. Play."

A series of chimes-- then The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army starts to play at a reasonable volume, allowing conversation over it. "I love music-- I love anything with strings, because strings are usually made out of metal. They sound so cool-- Guitars. Electric guitars are crazy..."

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Nick smiles, taking the

Nick smiles, taking the earbud with two fingers, acting as if it was covered in some unknown substance. "Cooties. Ugh."

He places it into his ear, and listens quietly, piping the sound of the music. He rocks his head slightly to the beat, mostly out of habit. "I like a lot of stuff, but I'm usually into rock and some metal. But I also like classical. Those strings aren't metal, though."

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Alli bobs her head minutely,

Alli bobs her head minutely, too, rocking forward and back rhythmically-- she seems to be very much rhythmically inclined.

Chuckling softly, she admits, "Yeah, I listen to a lot of stuff... mostly older stuff, though. People think it's weird, but I like... blues and stuff like that. Stuff like-- hold on--..." Without looking down, she flicks her thumb against the screen a few times, skipping through songs, and finally landing on a new one: Otis Redding - Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay. She blushes a little, but smiles slightly at Nick.

"Yeah, older stuff like this. And classical strings are metal-- the actual instrument strings, anyway..." She listens to the ocean out of one ear, the song in the other... After about thirty seconds or so, she starts humming along very softly to herself, and it's obvious she's pretty musically inclined too-- her pitch is spot on. A whistling part comes along at the end of the song, and she whistles right along. Her smile is sort of sheepish as the song ticks over into something else... The Temptations- Under The Boardwalk. For some reason, this makes her blush uncontrollably, but she doesn't flip the song over to a new one.

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Nick cracks a small smile,

Nick cracks a small smile, but blushes slightly, elbowing Alli gently, "You're gonna have to try harder than that to freak me out."

He finds Alli's songs easy to listen to, especially since, well, they were Alli's songs, but he enjoys listening quietly. He hardly ever had the chance to listen to someone else's tastes. Nick notices Alli's innate ability for music, and he asks with a wry tone, "Can you sing? I bet you can sing."

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Alli's cloudy eyes take on

Alli's cloudy eyes take on that expression of mischief again, flickering a little to 'look' at Nick from the corner of her gaze. She then closes her eyes, and listens to where the song has progressed to. Waiting for a moment, bobbing her head a little to the rhythm, she opens her mouth and starts to sing quietly, listening out of the one ear.

"Under the boardwalk, down by the sea... On a blanket with my baby-- that's where I'll be..." Her voice is clear even at a low volume, youthful but rather competent.

Getting a bit more confident, and enjoying herself maybe just a little, she splits her voice from the melody to harmony line for the last chorus, "Out of the sun... We'll be havin' some fun... People walkin' above... We'll be fallin' in love under the boardwalk.. boardwalk..."

There's a silence that seems maybe a little bit too long between songs, and Alli blushes a bit, clearing her throat very quietly, opening her eyes but turning her head to 'look' back into an anonymous distance. Curiously, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the setup of her playlist as the next song is instrumental at first, but easily recognizeable as Led Zepplin -- Stairway to Heaven.

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Nick smiles widely, "Knew it.

Nick smiles widely, "Knew it. Wanna hear me sing?"

Without waiting for a reply, Nick looks over to Levi. "Play those stock whale noises I asked you to download a couple of days ago."

Levi nods, and immediately whale-speak emanates from him, presumably from wherever his voice comes from. The clip is only ten or twenty seconds long, but it gets th point across. Nick looks back to Alli, "That's what I sound like when I sing."

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Alli blinks at Nick's call

Alli blinks at Nick's call for whale song... Then laughs aloud, probably louder than she ever has before, clutching her stomach with her hands and gradually fading into giggles. She wipes mirth tears on the back of her hand, then quickly wraps her chain back around shoulder and upper arm.

"R-Really?... I mean, no, I believe you! I just... well, music's just a kind of math, isn't it?" She ventures hopefully. She'd heard of people being tone deaf, but couldn't and didn't want to imagine having that particular problem on top of the ones she already has.

The breeze off the water changes a little, and she lifts her head a bit, listening. "...What time is it?" She asks a few moments later, curious, but not really rushed.

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Nick smiles, laughing a

Nick smiles, laughing a little himself at Alli's response to his description. "It is, and I completely get it, but my voice just isn't built for it. Unfortunately." Nick is tempted to make a joke about being unable to harmonize with her, but then she asks the time.

"Hmm...let's see," Nick looks down at a mediocre watch, worn and battered, "It is 5:47."

Nick sighs, closing his eyes and listening to the ocean, feeling the light breeze. He asks, even though he truly doesn't want to, "Do you have to be somewhere? Levi and I can walk you there, if you want."

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Alli smiles a little,

Alli smiles a little, shifting her backside against the metal railing, not really giving half a damn about the rust and paint flecks sticking to her jeans. The song in their respective ears has ticked gently over into a groovy little number called Green Onion, by Booker T. and the MG's.

"Nah... I don't have to be anywhere, I was just kinda curious. I felt the breeze change a little bit..." She breathes in deeply, slowly through her nose-- slightly acrid smells of metal, rust, fuel, fish... But also the clean, crisp smell of ocean, a very distinct scent on the wind. Her hair buffets all over the place with the moving of the air, but she doesn't seem to mind at all-- she just lets it do what it wants.

"...Do you have to be anywhere?" She asks, sounding a bit reluctant herself, but smiles. "I could walk you there-- but you wouldn't really need me to, since you've got Levi, huh?"

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He shakes his head, "Nah. But

He shakes his head, "Nah. But I still would've wanted you to walk with me. Levi's company only goes so far."

Levi tilts his head, "I would gladly leave him in your care if need be, Miss Allison. He seems to be fond of you."

Nick blushes. "At least he didn't say I was magnetized to you."

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Allison snickers softly,

Allison snickers softly, putting her hand to her mouth for a moment. She recognizes the compliment though, saying, "That's really... trusting of you, Levi. I mean, I'm glad you would--..." She shrugs a little, smiling.

She blushes a bit, too, laughing at the comment about magnetism. "Yeah, it totally could've been worse! You-- You could've had braces or something, and then, with a little magnetism..." She wiggles her fingers at Nick in a way that somehow manages to look a bit suggestive, her cloudy eyes twinkling above a big grin. Though, something also gives off the impression she was reasonably serious about-- whatever that'd been...

Luckily(?) the song has ticked over in their ears to ACDC -- Back In Black, and Alli sighs with pleasure, brought abruptly back to the present. "...This song has the most badass guitar solo in it. Totally makes me wanna show off, run around-- it's a sweet 'travelling' song..."

Her head rocks a bit more enthusiastically, a look of deep satisfaction on her face as her shoulders get into it a bit, the toe of one sneaker tapping.

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Nick laughs a little, quiet

Nick laughs a little, quiet but sincere. He blushes a little. "I-I used to have braces, you know..."

He nods along with Allison, enjoying the song, noticing her rhythm, "I can't dance, either. Trust me."

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"I think we all did when we

"I think we all did when we were kids," Alli says over the music with a smile.

She laughs, shouldering Nick softly as her favorite solo kicks in-- and she promptly starts to play a controlled air guitar with her eyes closed in appreciative ecstacy.

Only as the song ticks over to another Booker T and the MGs song -- Hip Hug Her-- does she slump back again and say, "I dunno if I can dance or not-- I just do it anyway."

As the sun goes down, lamps along the pier start to flicker into life. In Allison's perpetual darkness it doesn't matter, except to feel the air change and cool, hear the different sounds of the city at night.

Softly, she asks with a shy smile, "... Fave ice cream?..." in an effort to keep things going.

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Nick thinks for a moment.

Nick thinks for a moment. "Hmmm...Rocky Road. But I haven't gotten ice cream in for*ever.* What abo--"

Levi interrupts. "Forever is an inaccurate term of measurement, Master Ridley. It could imply that you have always and will always exist."

Nick sighs. "Figure of speech, Levi. I'm pretty sure Allison knows I'm not immortal."

Levi corrects again, "Being immortal would suggest you never perished. Saying you have not had iced cream in 'forever' could imply you were born before the universe was created."

Nick sighs again. "Levi, it's a figure of speech, bud. I meant to say I have not had ice cream in a reeeaaally long time."

Levi pauses. "Oh."

Nick shrugs, looking back to Allison, "Anyway, what kind of ice cream is your favorite, Alli?" He blushes slightly when he says her nickname, as if it felt awkward and embarrassing coming out of his mouth.

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Allison listens with a grin

Allison listens with a grin to the back and forth banter. She feels like she's laughed an awful lot today because of these little byplays... It isn't as though she doesn't laugh, usually-- just not often when people can hear her, and definitely not this much.

She lets another one slip out behind her hand, her cheeks pink with trying to hold it back. Hearing her name shortened for the first time-- in 'forever'!-- makes that color darken a bit, but from happiness.

Clearing her throat lightly, Alli says, "Peanut Butter Chocolate." She paused, then said, "I'll have you know I can be bribed with Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream to do juuust about anything!"

Another pause... "...We should go get some ice cream sometime."

Thinking about ice cream makes her shiver though, as the night time wind off the ocean is colder now in the latening hours. Goosebumps ripple on her forearms, and she rubs the arm holding the iPhone for a moment, cursing herself in her head for not bringing her backpack or a hoodie or something.

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Nick grins with a shy wink.

Nick grins with a shy wink. "I'll have to remember that. And I agree, ice cream some time sounds fun."

Nick listens to the music for a few moments, admiring the passing twilight. He looks over at Allison, and quickly notices her chill. He removes his lab coat, holding it up for her, he peeks around it with a small, shy smile, "Would you prefer this, or a lot of blushing and physical contact?"

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Alli stares at Nick. Stares,

Alli stares at Nick. Stares, in her fashion, anyway-- her eyes are open and a bit round, fixated on his face at close distance. She knows he winked at her, had seen the change in his face-- but it seemed so incongruous that it simply took a minute to register.

She blushes fiercely, having allowed the lock of hair to fall in front of her eye again, not even noticing it. The song in her ear has ticked over yet again, oblivious, to B.B. King -- The Thrill is Gone. Her mouth hangs open a little bit, closes and opens again, vaguely fish-like at his question and the holding out of his lab coat-- she'd forgotten she was even cold, pretty shocked.

She blurts the first thing that comes into her head-- "That depends on if you've got any Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream to bribe me with?"

Alli coughs, choking off her words and quickly reaching to take the coat. It's sort of awkward to put it on since they're attached to each other by the earbuds in their ears, and ends up with a whole lot of blushing-- at least on her end-- anyway, but she manages to get into it alright and lean back again.

She can't help noticing that the coat's still sort of body-warm, and smells like boy.

"...Thanks," she manages finally, feeling extremely awkward, but-- pretty damn nice, for all of that, a smile trying very hard to make it onto her face as she turns her 'gaze' down to her sneakers.

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Nick is not surprised by her

Nick is not surprised by her reaction. Even he himself had been caught off gaurd by his own words. His face reddens, answering her question about the ice cream shyly, "That can be arranged."

He clears his throat nervously, a small smile on his face. He shoulders her gently, "Is this the part where I'm supposed to hug you and walk you home? Because I kinda thought it'd be nice if we hung out for a little while longer." He thinks for a moment, tapping a finger on his chin. He looks back to the girl beside him, if shyly, "Alli, would you like to meet the rest of Levi's family?"

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Alli relaxes a little bit,

Alli relaxes a little bit, but maybe only just a fraction. She smiles, lifting her head a bit from it's contemplation of the ground, and says quietly, but sincerely, "...You wouldn't have to bribe me to hug you, Nick."

There's an awkward pause on her part, before she laughs and rubs her neck a bit, the chains on her shoulder and arm making lumps under Nick's coat. "I really hope this isn't the part where I go home yet!" Even admitting that much keeps the blush on her face. She doesn't think her skin will ever go back to normal after this...

At Nick's suggestion for further occupying their time, Alli blinks several times, and brings her 'gaze' back to his face. She beams a bright smile and nods-- maybe a bit too enthusiastically, probably jerking his head toward her a bit via the earbuds they're still listening to. Marvin Gaye continues singing 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine' obliviously.

"Would I?!-- Oof!.. Ugh, sorry--" She reaches up unceremoniously to his face, gingerly eases the earbud out of his own ear, then out of hers, saying drolly to her iPhone, "Stop media player. Home screen. Sleep."

She clears her throat a little as she puts her phone and earbuds away in her respective pockets, and says a bit more shyly, clearly-- "...Yes. Yes I would like that a hell of a lot. ...Is it far away from here?"

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Nick smiles. "Nah. It's in

Nick smiles. "Nah. It's in one of the big warehouses nearby. The only reason you haven't noticed it with your magnetic sight is because it has some very thick walls. C'mon," he takes her gently by the wrist, leading her down the dock.

Levi follows close behind, and says, with a hint of something -- embarrassment, maybe? -- in his voice, "My siblings are not as...well-mannered as I am, Miss Allison. I wish to apologize ahead of time for any transgressions they may cause."

Nick grins, expalining to Allison, "He's embarrassed by his family. Here we are..." They approach a large warehouse, near the docks, just as Nick had said.

He walks up to a small door, and unlocks it with a set of keys from his pocket. He then grips the door handle for a few moments, as if waiting for something. It is soon evident he was. An audible, computerized voice emanates from the warehouse door, "Identity confirmed. Welcome back, Nicholas Ridley."

He then holds the door open for Allison. Inside, there are towering machines, numerous server towers, scaffolding across the ceiling and going around some of the larger machines. Wires cover the floor, but are safely covered in well-travelled areas. There is a quiet, ready hum about the entire place, and it smells clean and well taken care of.

In Allison's sight, the inside will be a rainbow of colors, and the area will be well-lit by the machine's magnetic fields.

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"Oh." Alli,surprised, had

"Oh." Alli,surprised, had turned her hand automatically at the grip of Nick's hand on her wrist, and had slid her hand down into his, gripping just as gently.

She laughed a bit at Levi's pre-emptive apology. "Fft. Don't be like that, Levi-- I'm sure they're alright! Whatever they end up doing, though, I promise I won't hold it against you," she reassures the big bot honestly.

She'd almost forgotten she'd been holding Nick's hand til he let hers go, and she blinks with brief startlement at the voice that welcomes Nick back to his... whatever this place was.

Allison steps inside, and her jaw drops. She takes a few more steps into the place, turning in a slow circle with a pretty satisfying look of awe on her face as machine after machine makes itself known to her unique sense of 'vision'. She can readily identify in the server bank next to her at least five or six different metals... and the usually shaky, grainy texture she has with her 'sight' is exquisitely clear in a kaleidoscope of colors that she doesn't normally get to 'see'.

The hum of the machinery is just like Nick described it earlier-- it gets into her bones, making her feel energetic and alive, like there's a ton of possibility for-- well, anything!-- to happen here.

"Wow..." she breathes in plain, open awe and pleasure. She reaches out to touch the server bank she was standing next to, finding it surprisingly dust-free, given the hugeness of the space, and seeks her fingers across its surface and a few cables as if they were made of silk. "...You're right about the sound of this place... This is amazing..."

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When Levi entered, Nick

When Levi entered, Nick followed, the door closing behind them. He walked over to Allison, a proud smile on his face. "I haven't shown anyone else this place yet." He looks around, following Allison's gaze. He leans over quietly and whispers, "Three...two...one..." He steps out a reasonable distance from Allison, ready for the impending impact.

Out of seemingly nowhere, a short, 5'5 robot collides with Nick, and a happy chattering soon commences. "MASTER RIDLEY!!~ I missed you! Did you have fun? Where did you go? Were there other people? How many? Did theeeey have fun?" She then notices Allison.

She hops up from on top of Nick, and skips over to greet her. "Helloooooo. My name is Maddeline. I am commonly referred to as Maddie. Your eyes are pretty. Why are you wearing Master Ridley's lab coat? Are you his friend now? What's your name?" She suddenly gasps with great exaggeration, realizing something. "Are yooooooou Master Ridley's girlfriend? You're out of his league." She looks back at Nick, who was just managing to stand. "She's out of your league."

She then looks over at Levi, "BUBBA!!!~" She jumps, does a series of flips, and lands with her arms around his neck, quite literally hanging from him. He sighs, a strange sound coming from a robot, and says quietly, "Hello, Maddeline..."

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Alli looks a bit startled at

Alli looks a bit startled at the knowledge that she's the first other person to be in here, and says with that same startlement, "Well I guess I'm not the first one to "see" it exactly..." She blushes and goes stock still at Nick's whispered countdown near her ear, a bit panicked as to what he would be counting down TO...

Then jumps and spins around at the blurred impact of what is immediately recognizeable as another robot crashing into Nick. It's about her height and, it shortly comes clear, is female by its voice and attitude. She grins broadly at Levi through the first tirade of questions as his earlier apology becomes a bit more understandable.

Alli cranes her head back, her eyes widening at the assumption that she's Nick's girlfriend. Did he have one he eluded to in the presence of his robots, but never actually brought over? The thought makes her stomach turn over once, but her expression merely remains surprised.

"Uhhh... H-hi?" She thinks quickly back to the rapid-fire questions and says quickly, "Thanks, I'm technically functionally blind, that's why my eyes look like this. I'm wearing Nick's coat because it was cold and I forgot to bring my hoodie-- ahm... Yeah, we're friends, my name is Allison." She stops there, biting her tongue. She wants to ask if Nick's 'seeing somebody', but doesn't have the guts. Plus, she figures it might be sort of rude, given the situation... but it doesn't stop her from wanting to know.

She smiles a bit wryly, rubbing the back of her neck. "Uh, if you want you coat back, Nick, I think it's probably not as cold in here--..."

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Nick shrugs. He stretches,

Nick shrugs. He stretches, cracking his back after Maddie's tackle. "It's whatever you're comfortable with. If you'd like to take it off, just lay it down somewhere. He walks over to her, speaking quietly, attempting to avoid Maddie hearing. He blushes slightly, "And no, I don't have a girlfriend. That is--uhm, if you were wondering, anyway..."

He takes her hand again, attempting to divert her attention from his embarrassment, and leads her through a path in between the towering machines, several paths branching from the main one they were following, "Let me show you the cool stuff..."

He takes a turn into one of the smaller, thinner pathways, that eventually opens up into a small lab. There were multiple others throughout the warehouse, but this one was devoted to geology. The lab was about ten feet by ten feet, surrounded by server towers and machinery.

There were shelves and shelves of glass jars filled with different metals and stones. Many had been shipped from far away places, and would be, possibly, something new for Allison to see. The samples were in their raw, ore state, merely cleaned and stored for safe keeping and tests. There were several machines scattered about the small lab, presumably used to scan rock's and similar materials.

"I call this," Nick gestured to the lab around them, "the Brick House."

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Alli considers, then decides

Alli considers, then decides to keep the jacket on awhile longer. Scent also being a big deal, it's something she's filing away as distinctly individual to 'Nick' in her memory, so if things got really desperate she could pretty much literally 'sniff him out'. Or at least, that's what she's telling herself.

She blushes so hard it's as if her hair would prickle up off her scalp. Certainly the hairs at the back of her neck do, anyway. She'd had an uncomfortable thought of Oh crap, can he read minds?! before her logic firmly reasserts itself and reminds her of what Maddie had just said. She smiled at Nick, trying not to look too relieved or anything, and said rather a bit too serenely, "I don't either. A boyfriend-- I mean--" She looks surprised, as that wasn't what she'd meant to say, like-- at ALL.

Before she can expire on the spot of mortification, Nick's taken her hand again and aside from her's giving it a small and involuntary squeeze, he's distracted her by tugging her along between machines and servers, over carefully tacked down cables that force her to pay attention and remember their route through the towers and corridors of machinery.

They step out into yet another wonderland of sensory experiences for Allison, whose hand slides just as involuntarily free again as she steps into the middle of the space, turning her customary circle to get a layout of the 'room'. "Oooh..." she sighs, walking up to one of the shelves.

She reaches out to touch a jar, whatever is inside it a vivid, silvery white. "...What's this one?" She would ask, and then, tracing her sensitive fingers to the next jar, "...and this?" It's clear that some of the things in the jars she's unfamiliar with, or rather, may have 'seen' before but had no one to name it for her. She sounds almost piteously hopeful, desperate to have names for things.

After asking about a few of the stones and ores, she explains shyly, "...I've never been able to read, except braille, and I only recently taught myself to read just plain old raised up type, too--... but words are still really-- important to me, y'know? The names for what things are-- it gives me a way to bridge that gap between what everyone else sees and what I see..." She seems shy, then. "...It makes me feel less... separate from everybody else."

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Nick smiles. "I understand.

Nick smiles. "I understand. But, wonder isn't always easily transferred into words. There are labels on the front of the jars. Let's see..." He steps over near her, leans in slightly, attempting to read over her shoulder, reaching over to place his finger under the label. He is nearly touching her, his head over her shoulder, inches from hers. "That first one is...Tantalite."

Nick suddenly realizes he is quite close to Allison, and he blushes furiously, backing up a bit and stepping over to the side. He murmurs, staring at his shoes, which he scuffs the floor with quietly, "I think the labels have raised print. If you have trouble reading them, just ask."

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Alli had gone quite still for

Alli had gone quite still for a few moments, even her ears hot-- especially the right one, into which he'd read the label of the jar, whether on purpose or not.

Apparently it's not on purpose as he steps quickly back, leaving Alli feeling pretty much alone next to the shelves, her heart kicking her behind the ribs as hard as it can. Weirdly, it actually makes her feel better that he hadn't meant to do that... "...Oh. I've... I've never heard of that before."

She swallows, trying to get a lump in her throat to go away, and reaches for the other jar, running her fingers sensitively across the label, slowly feeling every letter several times. To herself she murmurs, "Chroni-- No. Chromium..."

Trying to get back to some equilibrium in her head, Alli breathes really slowly as she scans two or three other jars, feeling slowly over the labels and memorizing the 'look' and color of the things inside. When she speaks again, her voice is really quiet, as if trying not to disturb the hum of the machines.

"...Why do you have all this stuff?... I mean... maybe--... Maybe it's to experiment and see what makes a good 'suit' you can wear?" She ventures shyly, her own chains clinking a bit at neck and shoulder under Nick's coat as she turns around to 'look' at him. She can't really do anything to hide her red face-- and she continues to wonder ironically in her head if maybe her skin'll just stain this color and never go back to normal. What's the matter with her today?

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Nick smiles a little, looking

Nick smiles a little, looking up at her, but after making eye contact he immediately looks back down at his shoes. "Some of it's for the suit, but not nearly all of it. I-I like to learn about pretty much anything, and geology is bound to come up at some point or another." He scuffs his shoes on the floor quietly.

All Nick could hear in his mind right now was 'Nerd, nerd, NERD! You stupid geek. You aren't good for anything but studying. Dumbass.' It was a flashback to school. Those times weren't fun at all. He knew Allison was slightly impressed by all of this, but if she was anything like the other people he'd run across, with the exception of a few, she'd get bored. He blew a tuft of hair out of his eyes, looking up at her, and then back down to his shoes. But maybe she was different. He certainly hoped so.

He looked back up at her, shyly, giving her a little bit to search through the jars as she liked.

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Alli, on the other hand,

Alli, on the other hand, watched Nick himself with as much fascination as she had just been looking at the things in the jars. For at least a full minute, she passively watches his body language, easily able to interpret his discomfort in the lowered head, the scuff of his feet-- She jerks a little as he looks back up at her, then suddenly breaks into a bright smile.

"Holy shit-- I just saw your hair move!" The sheer awe and surprised pleasure in her voice is obvious, and makes it sound as if this is a very rare occurrence for her.

Feeling her own spirits lifted, she actually leaves off with the jars, and takes a few steps toward Nick, touching the tuft that had fallen into his face and helping him smooth it back. She stooped a little, even though she was technically shorter, and half-smiled up at his lowered face.

"Nick-- you don't have to sell how cool geology is to me, 'kay? I mean-- I work with metals, right? They come out of the earth-- and even though I've been able to 'see' kinda for a couple of years now, I'm still getting used to it. I like to play around in the dirt and see what kind of things come out of it when I'm around. And don't get me started on the straight usefulness of knowing this sort of stuff."

Alli straightens up, straightens his lab coat around her shoulders with a playful, dignified air, making a very serious face, and then dissolving into another smile-- very honest, in fact. "It's not the same thing, I know... but I do know what it's like to be different, and to have people make fun of you, and think you're weird or a dork or whatever it is people would say t'you. It's dumb, it's not fair, and you know that and I know that, so... Don't expect me to be-- be--..."

She makes a sharp gesture with her hands. "...Close-minded about stuff. I'm not as smart as you-- but that's totally okay with me, right? I wanna learn, probably just about as bad as you do-- about everything!"

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When Allison steps over and

When Allison steps over and smoothes the few strands of hair out of his face, Nick's heart nearly stops. His face becomes even redder, which he did not think was possible.

After Alli finishes speaking, Nick remains quiet for a moment, reading her face. He slowly grins. "I swear, if you can read minds, you better tell me, because I thought the brain power was -my- thing. 'Nd I think your look better in that lab coat than I do."

Levi clunks by, with Maddie sitting atop his head, and corrects Nick without even turning to look at him. "The proper pronunciation of that conjunction is 'and,' Master Ridley."

Nick rolls his eyes exaggeratedly at Levi. He smiles at Allison, speaking softly so Levi won't hear, "One of these days I'm going to sign him up as a third grade substitute English teacher."

Nick looks sincere again, speaking normally to Allison. He was flattered by all of what she said, and really, really wanted to return the favor, but was unsure of how to say it. For someone with as high of an IQ as him, he was terrible with words. He finally managed to say, "Thank you."

He wanted to show her his gratefullness through touch, as it was important to someone without sight, but he didn't quite know how. He quietly took her hand and squeezed it once, not too hard, but enough to show it wasn't involuntary. He smiled at her, "What would you like to...uhm, 'see' next?"

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Alli had watched flickers of

Alli had watched flickers of orange solidify into a glow around Nick's head and shouldrrs, further highlighting and illuminating the planes of his face... an echoing smile appears on her still-pink face, saying wryly, "I was gonna say the same thing about mind-reading earlier... you can't, can you? Read minds?" She's partly serious.

She swallowed once and added in a tone that's very, very quiet indeed-- "Its not exactly the same I guess, but... You're not bad yourself..."

Alli coughed and stepped back as Levi clomped by with the energetic Maddie on his head, looking quickly away. But when Nick took her hand, she looked back up with a crooked smile, quickly laced their fingers together and squeezed strongly back in comprehension.

It took her a lip-biting moment to answer the question. "I could stay in this room forever... but I dunno what else you have here. Uhm... is it just Maddie and Levi?" She reluctantly let go his hand, assuming he let her.

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Nick reluctantly releases her

Nick reluctantly releases her from his grip. Very reluctantly.

He smiles. Gesturing with his head, he says, "C'mon. I'll show you. We can come back here later, if you want."

He leads her through the wiry hallways, eventually reaching a corner of the room. There were four large stations, only one in use. The stations were like large tubes, each big enough to hold Levi, with various cords and plugs hanging in them. The one station being used held a red robot a few inches taller than Nick. He looked slightly different than his siblings, having a thin visor instead of separate eyes, and reasonably thicker armor. There were strange gauntlet on his arms, their purpose not evident until actually used. His armor also had an odd sheen to it, that would be even more visible to Alli.

Currently, he was attarched to the station by numerous cables and plugs. Nick makes a strange face, possibly of apprehension, at the bot, and steps over to a computer nearby, typing something. He gesutres towards the bot, "If you want, you can take a closer look at him. But be careful, he can be...difficult."

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"Oh, I want..." Alli had said

"Oh, I want..." Alli had said with a glance back into the room, a longing look on her face... but she'd followed Nick quickly enough. It suddenly occurs to her that he hadn't said whether he read minds or not, and she gulps, trying to think more quietly.

Needing an excellent sense of direction, Allison keeps track of their direction and blinks curiously at the tubular stations in this corner of the building. Even more curious is the bot hooked up to one, and Nick's weird apprehension about it. Him. It looked like a him.

drawing closer to examine the odd shine, she says in almost a whisper, "Why, is he the mean one?" She seems to be apprehensive about it too. "Jesus I hope you don't get me punched in the face by a robot on the first day! Not that one could--" she smiles, some of her tension going out at realizing she's actually uniquely safe in situations like this.

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Nick smiles. "Nah, he won't

Nick smiles. "Nah, he won't hurt you." Nick hits a few more buttons on the computer. "Aaaand there we go."

Nick walks over, looking at the bot expectantly. Nothing seems to happen. He makes an odd face, "I'll be right back, just a minute." He jogs off around a corner, leaving Allison alone with the robot.

If Allison looks into the bot's visor, he would tilt his head to the right slightly, suddenly looking back at her. He then speaks in a quietly confident and suave tone, "Hello. I am not the mean one. Masterrrr Rrridley merely programmed me to be less...trustworthy. More....human, you could say." He would step forward, even if she were in the way, making the wires and plugs detach from his body. He would be uncomfortably close to her face. If Alli were to try to back up, he would continue stepping forward, remaining close.

He speaks in what seems to be a low purr, his Rs and Ss becoming lengthened. "What is yourrr name, teenage female? Arre you a frrriend of Masterr Rrridley's?"

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Alli watches with

Alli watches with anticipation, holding her breath. Then exhales it in a sigh as Nick jogs off, nothing appearing to happen.

Left alone in the corner 'room', she was still for a moment... then went inevitably toward the bot to see what she could do to help, if anything at all.

Alli can't exactly see it's 'eyes', but can sense it turning on and becoming aware. "Oh!" She exclaimed, stepping back quickly in startlement. Her curiousity is piqued, as the bot talks in a low volume to her, something subtly odd about it's speech... and how close it stays to her. An involuntary chill scampers down her back independent of Nick's comfortable lab coat.

She forces herself to stop backing up with some effort, and 'looks' right up into the visor, answering calmly, curiously, "I'm Alli. Of course I'm Master Ridley's friend, or I wouldn't have been invited in would I? ...Do you have a name?"

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Nick comes back around a

Nick comes back around a corner, quickly noticing Allison's predicament. "ALEX! Stop right there! What have I told you about personal space?"

When Nick speaks, Alex's head immediately flicks over to him. He almost seems sarcastic as he answers. But robots can't be sarcastic. Right? "I am sorrrry, Masterr Rrridley. I merely wished to-"

Nick is obviously perturbed. "I don't care what you wished. Don't. Do it. Again," he walks over, grabbing the bot by the back of the neck, pulling him aside. He can be seen scolding him quietly, bug Alex seems unperturbed. Nick then throws up his hands, and then points down one wiry hallway, looking at Alex with dagger-filled eyes.

Alex nods, ever gracious, and walks quietly down the hallway, his steps nearly silent. He disappears into the city of machinery.

Nick walks back over to Allison. His eyes were slightly concerned, and he was embarrassed. "I...I'm sorry, he's the most difficult to handle, and he's stubborn, and...Are you okay? He's not supposed to be able to hurt you unless you're a threat, but he just..." He blows a tuft of hair out of his eyes. "Sorry, Alli."

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Alli had stepped back far

Alli had stepped back far enough and quickly enough to bump against some machine with her back. Feeling it humming behind her makes her feel grounded somehow... safer? She hadn't realized she felt like she was endangered...

She had closed her eyes, dimming but not erasing her vision, but had opened them again to watch Alex leave... and then to watch Nick come toward her.

"I'm not hurt. He couldn't have hurt me if he wanted to." And yet, even knowing this, her voice trembled a little with nerves. She reached out blindly to smooth Nick's hair back with a nervy laugh.

"Why would you make him like that?"

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He slumps against the machine

He slumps against the machine beside her, shoulder touching hers. "I didin't know he would turn out like that. I programmed him to be different from Levi and Maddie, but I never could have guessed he would be like -that.- But, I refuse to change him because it'd be like brainwashing someone. He deserves to be his own person."

He sighs, looking over at Alli. "I-I'm sorry if he scared you. I should've known he was faking, I shouldn't have left you alone with him."

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Alli laughs a little, but

Alli laughs a little, but leans heavily against Nick's shoulder for support.

"It's not that bad, I guess... I mean, I'm glad you won't change him. I don't think he meant to hurt me?" She sounds a little amused now. "It's... kinda like having a drunk guy come on to me. I don't want to hurt him, and I always feel pretty safe just in general..." There's something about how she says this that suggests that particular scenario has happened before...

"Can robots flirt?"

Alli snickers quietly, leaning her head toward Nick a little while still 'gazing' across the room at the stations contemplatively. Her dark hair brushes Nick's shoulder. "I dunno... I'm not usually that jumpy..."

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Nick shrugs slightly. "He..

Nick shrugs slightly. "He...has that effect on people. And, as far as I know, robots can't flirt. He's like that with everybody." He adds, more quietly, "Besides, I might get jealous if he wasn't..."

He looks over at her with a small smile, shouldering her gently, "Do you like it?" Nick gestures to the warehouse, "This place? It's not exactly homey, but I love it."

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Alli sighs a little, somehow

Alli sighs a little, somehow relieved to hear it wasn't just her Alex did that to. She smiles at the shouldering, and nudges Nick back, the chains on her upper arm lumpy and tangible under the lab coat.

"I love it here," she says quietly under the hum of machines, but looking at Nick instead of passively into an unfathomable distance.

"I've never been able to 'see' so much so clearly. Literally never. ...It's a huge deal, you letting me come in here-- and not just for me, right?"

Alli continues to smile, but turns her head away a bit, though she tucks her hair behind her ear again, showing her face quite clearly. Normally she leaves hair and cloth to conceal it-- showing her face this much is an act of trust, and she says as much.

"I'm glad you trust me, y'know," her quiet voice says. "I trust you heaps already, too..." she chuckles and adds in an undertone, having heard him earlier, "--Don't worry, you're doing a good job of it yourself." Her face is still pink, but she doesn't regret saying it.

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Nick blushes, "No, not just

Nick blushes, "No, not just for you, but I don't allow just anyone inside my castle."

When Allison tucks her hair behind her ear this time, Nick memorizes her face, cementing the memory in his mind. Good days can be few and far between. This was a great day, and he didn't want to forget it.

Nick smiles shyly. "I just know good people when I see them." And when Allison adds her last statement, he reddens. He -had- to have set a world record by now.

Nick remains quiet for a moment, shoving his hands halfway into his pockets. He was enjoying just standing there next Allison, in one of his favorite places anywhere. He closes his eyes and imagines the room through Allison's eyes. He knew where everything was like the back of his hand, but imagining the magnetic fields interested him. As well as the colors she saw.

He remained like this for a few moments, and then spoke, with his eyes still closed, "Your mini magnetic field generator. What do you want it to be shaped like? I can make it look like a bracelet, or a ring, or a necklace. Pretty much anything you want."

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Alli had laughed quietly at

Alli had laughed quietly at the mention of knowing good people when he saw them. She tends to find casual use of phrases related to sight amusing, when said around her.

The pause in conversation seems quite natural to her. There isn't a huge rush to say anything, to break the silence--it just feels-- comfortable. Comfort is something Alli doesn't feel all that often. Sure, she doesn't usually feel unsafe or threatened-- she's confident in what she can do and its ability to keep her from harm. But... it's rare that she's totally relaxed like this.

She smiles at Nick's eventual question, thinking for a moment. "Surprise me," she says eventually with a small laugh. "You do already, anyway... I'm curious to see what you think I'll like."

After a pause, she adds just as quietly, "Thanks. I haven't had a really good day like this since... Well, since I could start seeing fields I guess..."

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Nick opens his eyes, caught

Nick opens his eyes, caught off gaurd by her statement. She really must trust him a lot. Nick shrugs slightly with a small smile, "I'll see what I can do."

Nick is equally surprised by her next statement, drawing circles on the floor with one foot bashfully. "That's...a really long time..." He adds softly, "I've had a lot of fun too. And, I'm always around, so if you ever want to have another fun afternoon, you can just, ya'know...call me." Nick feels awkward stating that last bit, thinking it was quite the cliche, but he didn't know how else to say it.

Nick murmurs a quiet suggestion, "What would you like to do now? I could show you where I sleep, I guess. It's not very impressive..."

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Alli smothers another small

Alli smothers another small laugh, nodding. "Yeah, but it's pretty much true. Same goes for me-- just, y'know, call me... Besides, there's still ice cream we've gotta have, like, ASAP."

The laugh she'd smothered comes out anyway a moment later, though, at his suggestion, and she shoulders him with a grin. "Y'know, from anybody else, I'd take that suggestion a completely different way?" Her cloudy blue eyes give off a definite sense of laughter and mischief. Her heart has kicked up a little bit in her chest. "I'd be like, 'Well, that depends-- does it have a door? I mean, I dunno where your bots are or what they do in here when they're not hooked up to the stations-- wouldn't want them walking in on anything...'--"

Alli's face has gone even redder, teasing Nick as much as she's poking fun at herself, and she bites her lip through a grin. "...But yeah, you can show me if you want to. Everything tends to be at least a little bit impressive to 'look' at when you haven't 'seen' anything clearly for ages and ages."

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"Oh my God, I didn't even

"Oh my God, I didn't even realize--" his face reddens immensely, "I-I"m sorry, I didn't-- I was trying to--" Nick examines his shoes, averting his eyes, becoming quite silent.

He had definitely NOT meant it that way. He had no idea how to respond to her teasing, which he knew was just that, but he was mortified by the realization at what he had asked Allison without meaning to.

He said quietly, "I-I apologize..." gulping slightly. He lets his hair fall into his face, covering his eyes slightly. He looks over at her, face immensely red, but says shyly and with a wry smile, "There -is- a door to my room, and it is very lockable."

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Alli's heart is hammering

Alli's heart is hammering against the inside of her ribs, but her energy is up now, and she's feeling brave, where Nick is feeling awkward again. "I'm not sorry," she says with a half-smile.

She grabs Nick's arm by the wrist and pulls his hand out of his pocket, saying in a low voice, still teasing, "Welllll... If you think we're likely to be bothered by back-flipping bots, and think we're gonna need it..."

She sticks her hand against Nick's, laces up their fingers familiarly, and tugs him back out into the corridor, her head on a swivel. The sheer thrill achieved from just the thought of doing something like hanging out in a trustworthy guy's room-- flying right in the face of social faux pas-- is enough to make Allison's eyes widen and 'scan' further into the halls and byways-- starting to haul Nick after her, surprisingly, in the actual general direction of his personal 'room'.

"I'm game!" she adds needlessly.

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"Uhm--uh--, o-okay," Nick

"Uhm--uh--, o-okay," Nick allows himself to be pulled, trying desparately to determine if she was still joking or not.

He took little notice that she was actually going in the right direction, being deaf to anything but his heartbeat, blind to anything but Alli, and feeling nothing but his hand in hers. He was quite literally stunned.

When they would reach Nick's room, the door would be slightly ajar, and pieces of clothing would be strewn about in a few places -- not too disorganized, merely lived-in. His bed wasn't extremely large, and the sheets were slightly ruffled from use.

Other notable features in the room consisted of a well-stocked bookshelf in one corner of the room, a desk covered in papers, and a flatscreen television. Most of the papers on the desk consisted drawings that ranged from cartoons to realism and sketches of possible projects. His drawing ability was quite refined.

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Alli likely would've been

Alli likely would've been stunned too, if the tables had turned the other way. As it is though, she hesitates at a few intersections, but like a homing pigeon, invariably gets them to Nick's living space. She doesn't bother to open the door the rest of the way-- instead squeezing in through the space that is ajar and tugging the room's actual occupant in behind her, then closing the door the rest of the way with a foot stuck out behind her.

Alli goes through her usual ritual of stepping into the middle of the room and turning in a full, slow circle, head curiously tilted and 'gazing' at everything she can actually see-- unfortunately having to let go Nick's hand to do so.

Curious as ever, she moves first to the bookshelf, lifting up her hand to touch the spines of a few books with actual gold lettering that stand out to her. She hasn't said anything just yet, as she moves next to his desk, easing gently into whatever he uses for a chair, before stretching out her hands to lay them on scattered papers. She moves her hands to one sheet, then another, a small furrow between her brows...

"It's funny... I can almost 'see' these... They're drawings, aren't they? Are they pencil or pen-- depending on what the ink or the writing material is, sometimes I can get a notion of what's there... I dunno many people who still put real lead in their pencils or pens... but damn if I didn't wish they did..." She sighs wistfully.

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Nick stands quietly off to

Nick stands quietly off to the side as she examines the room, watching her. When she goes over to the desk and sits in the swivel chair, he speaks.

"Lead. The drawings are from lead pencils. I like the mechanical ones." He steps over, placing one hand on the chair behind her, reaching over and picking out one of the drawings that was buried under multiple others. He places it on the desk in front of her. "This one has deeper impressions than the others. It should be easier to see." He then becomes self-concious of his closeness to Alli again, and steps back slightly, and then goes to look through the books on his shelves, obviously looking for a specific book.

The drawing is of a middle-aged gentleman from the shoulders up, his hair dark, long, and scruffy. He has an equally dark goatee, and his expression is a small grin not unlike Nick's. The page is old and worn, and picture is quite detailed. The picture is layered, each adding another set of details. The man on the page's facial structure slightly resembles Nick's. Most everything on the page points to the suggestion that the man is his father.

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Alli breathed maybe a little

Alli breathed maybe a little too deeply when Nick leaned over her shoulder to fish out a particular paper-- but she otherwise didn't seem particularly disturbed by the proximity.

The image is startlingly clean, clear in lines of red to her 'vision'... and she says softly, "You didn't have to show him to me... but I'm glad. You look like him."

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Nick smiles, "I get that a

Nick smiles, "I get that a lot."

He walks back over, resting his elbows on the back of the chair, looking over Alli's shoulder. "I have my Dad's eyes but my mom's hair. I'm a redhead. But I dunno if that color means much to you."

He leans over again, picking through the drawings and sketches. "Here's one of my mom."

He places the picture in front of her, resting his elbows on the back of the chair and his head on his hands. He's leaning over Alli's shoulder, but he takes little notice. This picture is also very detailed. The woman's smile was pleasant and kind. Her hair was long and flowing, and her eyes were strong but understanding. Nick also bore a resemblance to her, but not nearly as much as he did to his father.

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Alli laughs a bit, relaxing

Alli laughs a bit, relaxing more easily as Nick leans on the back of the chair, comforted by the way his field speeds up and interferes with hers, making the desk look clearer. She smiles directly over her shoulder at him and says softly but with clarity, "You're cute."

She then looks down at the image of his mother, getting the feeling he doesn't show these to everyone. She traces a couple lines with her fingertips very gently.

"She's beautiful..." she says quietly, unable not to think of her own mother.

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Nick blushes slightly at Alli

Nick blushes slightly at Alli's compliment, but is smiling. "Now, I don't get -that- a lot. And you're not so bad yourself."

Nick smiles at her comment about his mother. "Maybe I can take you to meet her sometime."

He gives her a few more moments to look at the drawing, and then digs through the stack again, finding an old sheet of paper that looks to be torn out of a book. The drawing style is evidently different, but it is also drawn with pencil. On the paper, there is a drawing of a young, smiling boy sitting on the floor next to a tired-looking labrador. He says quietly, "This one's from Dad's old sketchbook. Guess who that little squirt is?"

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