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Alec Walker

Here's to Us

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December 26, 2018


Alec had been at a holiday party that one of the ARMA guys threw for the past few hours. He'd been drinking a significant amount and talking with friends and coworkers. Towards the end of the night, he'd found himself talking with Cass a fair bit. She was still dealing with the fallout from Rhome's sentencing, nearly a year later, and had fallen back into old habits of drinking. Alec never commented on it, not wanting to push boundaries, but he kept an eye on her to make sure she didn't do anything too ridiculous. She was like family, after all. The night seemed to be winding down, and people had begun to leave. The mentalist downed the last bit of his drink, setting it aside as he kept talking about an anachronism in ancient texts he'd been studying. He was fairly certain the people around him had tuned him out, and shut up, leaning back into the couch.


Alec spotted a guitar leaning against the wall, and picked it up, getting a thumbs up from Sean, who'd been hosting the party.


[walker] And this is called Wonderwall...[/walker] He said with a mischievous grin. [walker] I'm kidding. I wouldn't put you guys through that. [/walker] 


Deft fingers plucked out the intro to Walk by the Foo Fighters. Alec was acutely aware of how annoying it could be when someone started playing a song poorly, so he had avoided stereotypes and chosen a simple enough riff with a good vocal track. 


[walker]A million miles away, your signal in the distance...[/walker] The man's low voice resonated in the enclosed apartment space. [walker]To whom it may concern. I think I lost my way. Getting good at starting over, every time that I return. [/walker]

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Snow, delicate snow, 

that falls with such lightness 

on the head, 

on the feelings, 

come and cover over the sadness 

that lies always in my reason.

—Miguel de Unamuno, “The Snowfall Is So Silent"



Another Christmas, come and gone. Another month, another day, another new year approaching. Usually for the holidays Cassandra was a whirlwind of energy in scarf and hat and triple-layered clothes that couldn't be stopped when it came to handing out gifts accompanied by holiday cheer. Usually her apartment was loaded with decorations. But not this year, not last year. . . not since Him. She hadn't felt up to celebrating at all last year, had shut herself away from everyone, and this year barely felt better, but she'd promised Alistair that she'd try. She was doing better, of course. Outwardly for the most part. She wasn't drinking nearly as much as she had those first six months which was good for Alec's shoe bill.


Inwardly? It was more of a struggle. She should feel more hate, more anger, more disgust, but that wasn't what she felt and it was a bitter pill stuck in her throat. Tonight, surrounded by some fellow ARMA members at a holiday party, she was enjoying herself a little; thankful the repercussions of what had happened didn't leave a permanent mark upon her with her colleagues. There'd been some problems over the last 14 months, but not that many and nothing that wasn't handled easily. That didn't mean it wasn't a rough night though. Every so often her mind would wander to thoughts of him. . . wonder how he was dealing with the grip of winter's chill as the snow fell over the city.


He's cold. . . You know he's cold without his heat, that little internal voice whispered in her mind, and she'd recall how he'd shiver when not using his magic.


Inevitably, this resulted in her knocking back the drinks a little more heavily than planned. The result being that she started to let loose a little more. She danced, she sang, she drank without her mind drifting back as that little voice was efficiently smothered. Instead she smiled and laughed while dancing with random people, her gray 'Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!' shirt spotted at various areas around the room and her bright blue skinny jean clad waist moving. Occasionally she'd take a break and find a place to sit, prop up her gray fuzzy boots and have a bite to eat while talking with people about one thing or another with Alec.


And Alec was who she made a bee-line straight toward at this moment. The evening had begun to calm, people leaving, but she was still a little wound up — a good deal of that the booze though she wasn't that drunk. Tossing her thick braid back over her shoulder, letting it dangle down between her shoulder-blades, Cassandra approached the guitar playing Alec with a wide, mischievous smile.


[cassg]Dance with me?[/cassg]


Now she couldn't recall having ever seen Alec dance, but she wanted to dance and most people had wandered off already. Slow music was playing and she wanted to sway by the glow of holiday lights while watching the snow fall outside the large windows. She locked her blue eyes on him and gave her best smile as she stood leaning down next to where he sat with the guitar.


[ooc: clothing things obviously she isn't wearing the scarf or gloves or coat or hat inside lol]

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Alec finished out the song and started strumming the intro to another acoustic standard. People were sort of ignoring one another and checking their phones. Some were getting up to leave, and others were dancing to the music emanating from the main room. Alec stopped strumming when he saw Cass make her way over. 


[walker] Hey Cass. What's with the grin? [/walker] His words were meant to tease, a reminder to have fun in life. That was when she asked him to dance. Alec smiled softly, removing the strap which had gotten trapped under the shawl collar of his olive green sweater and setting the guitar aside. [walker] It would be my pleasure. [/walker] 


Rough hands pressed down on the soft fabric of the couch as Alec stood, extending a hand to take Cass up on her invitation to dance. The man was not exactly a dancer... well, once upon a time, he had been. Now, as then, most dancing was just clusters of people approximating a seizure under a bunch of flashing lights. At least slow music gave an opportunity to think and to try to move somewhat gracefully. 


Brown eyes watched Cass' blues for a moment; Alec knew his friend was still thinking about Rhome, even if she'd put on a brave face. [walker] Having fun? [/walker] 

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Cassandra had expected him to say no.

Slow dancing was at times awkward. It was people standing spaced apart, inches between them, being uncomfortable unless they were in a relationship. There was little actual enjoyment to it. This was especially apparent in high schools. Of course, this was not high school, and she was not a typical person. When they reached the dance area and Alec pulled her in, she came against his body without resistance. No hesitation, no questions, no outrage — just a smile that lifted a little more at the corners as her body was right up against his own. There was a height difference between them as her head came a little ways above his shoulder and she wasn't wearing heels tonight. Reaching her hands up, she placed them along either side on his ribs before deciding to just slide them casually up to his chest.


It was a solid chest.


She hadn't really noticed that before.


Cassandra was aware that Alec was a man, and an attractive one at that, but it wasn't something that really entered her mind. He'd always been Alec, friend and ARMA partner, since they met. She'd also been a different person. There hadn't been anyone in her bed since before Resonance. Well, not that she had taken there willingly or wished to recall — damn demons. It wasn't until Rhome that she had been able to get close to anyone, and she'd fallen hard unfortunately, but they had never went there. Clearly he'd had good reason that was quite different from her own. Lately though, she was tired of going home to an empty apartment where he was everywhere.


On the rug in front of the couch with photographs from her time in Italy scattered around him, on the couch curled up with a book, in the kitchen cooking them food, in her bathroom shaving. . . And though they had never went there he was even in her room, sitting on her bed and helping her pick out something for their date. Even when she finally managed to sleep, he was there in her dreams standing over her with a blade saying 'I'm the one they send when the rest fail' as he slits her throat. A shudder rippled through her at the thought, and she instinctively pressed closer to Alec; looking away from him now so that he couldn't see her face and pressing her cheek against his chest as she laid her hand between where her hands rested.


Focusing on the music now, she could make out a

that was oddly familiar. She could've swore it'd been faster the last time it'd been played, but while this was not a version known to her it had a powerful quality to it. The slow beat and soulful singing flowed over her; the lyrics rhythmically pulsing through her mind.


Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control
Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy, I think you're crazy
Just like me
As she swayed, she leaned against Alec more and finally shifted her head so that her cheek rested halfway between his chest and his shoulder; slightly tilted upward so that she could look at him. A thought slid through her mind as she did:
She didn't want to be alone tonight.
More than that, she didn't want to be alone in her bed tonight. Her blue eyes now met his with a whole new look in their depths.
[cassg]I'm not. Having fun tonight. I know it's going to end. I'll go home and be by myself in that apartment where he lied to me at every turn. . . I don't want to be alone again.[/cassg]
Her words were low, only loud enough for him to hear over the music and at some point her right hand had moved so that it was around his side, resting on his lower back. Every so often her fingertips brushed a soft pattern along a little area of his spine.
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Alec smiled softly as Cass stepped towards him. Her hands braced against his chest, not pushing away, but steadying herself on him. Alec had pulled her close on the dance floor partly as a joke. Slow dances were either super awkward or two people tripped over each others' toes, trying to avoid the feeling that they were doing something romantic. He couldn't help but chuckle at the height difference and quickly apologized. [walker] Sorry... Didn't think about the height difference.[/walker] 
Alec blinked slightly when Cass pressed closer. He could see her brain working overtime, trying to think of all the things that would be troubling her. Rhome had been a massive shock to her, and at least an unexpected twist of fate to him. They'd met once, briefly. Alec had no idea who he was at the time, but he had bumped into the man down near Bryant Park. Strong arms held Cass as her head turned away. Alec wanted to say something, but it probably wasn't in his best interests to push. Rhome was still a touchy subject and he'd steer clear. 
The music was oddly fitting. He remembered the first time he'd heard it, much faster, nearly thirteen years prior on a road trip with a friend. Ben had bought the CD, and looped St. Elsewhere for two hours before Alec took over driving and had put on Gorillaz. In the moment, however, Alec smiled and swayed with Cass to this slower version.

Well I think you're crazy

[walker] So what if I am? [/walker] He mumbled under his breath. "You deal with this world's shit and stay sane." He wanted to add, but kept that to himself. Alec's eyes shut and he breathed deeply, still moving, before opening them again. Cass was looking up at him, so he smiled back down. 
 [Cassg]I'm not. Having fun tonight. I know it's going to end. I'll go home and be by myself in that apartment where he lied to me at every turn. . . I don't want to be alone again.[/cassg]
Well... shit! That was a bit of a nuclear bomb she just dropped. [walker]Uh... well...[/walker] Alec stammered. [walker] I mean... you know you wouldn't have trouble finding someone, Cass, if that's what you wanted. [/walker] Cass' hand had slid behind his back and was tracing gently on his back. He gave a subtle wink, holding her still closer. [walker] Besides, I'm always here for you, and you know that. Party's winding down anyway. Want to head out? Get a bite or something? [/walker]

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ð ” I mean... you know you wouldn't have trouble finding someone, Cass, if that's what you wanted. ”


It was true.


Before Resonance she hadn't been a nun, and it wasn't as if since Alistair saved her that there hadn't been offers. The only issue was that she couldn't do it. Every offer had been turned down. She'd not been ready, not thought she could even consider going there again with someone, until Rhome. Theirs had been a slow building relationship; trust something they both had issues with due to their pasts — or so she thought on his end — that they had to work on developing. Her trust had been broken instead. Now, the idea of finding some random guy to take to her bed was even more unappealing. She couldn't do that with someone she didn't trust.


Alec though. . . he was someone she could trust.


Someone that knew all the nooks and crannies of her mind that Rhome lingered in these days. He'd examined her head, and reserved his judgment. He'd come out at late hours to carry her out of bars. He'd kept doing it even after she ruined several pairs of his shoes. Rather expensive shoes too.


ð ” Besides, I'm always here for you, and you know that. Party's winding down anyway. Want to head out? Get a bite or something? ”


She smiled a little more at the wink, shaking her head, she whispered, [cassg]Take me home, Alec?[/cassg]


Perhaps she was drunk, and would regret it come morning, but at this moment all she wanted was Alec to take her home and to bed. To make her forget all about Rhome for awhile. The hand on his back now stilled, the hand on his chest sliding up to rest on his shoulder, as she stretched up on tiptoe. Letting her body slide against his slowly, seductively and brushed her lips against his own. Just a light brush before she broke it.


Blue eyes looking up at his own gaze now with a plea there she wasn't aware of herself.




The thought crossed her mind a split second later though that Alec might not feel that way about her. That she might not be his type. Everyone had types, preferences, appetites when it came to who they slept or dated. She had hers, of course. Alec fit them. That she might not fit his, or that he might only see her as a friend and she just made everything really awkward, made her smile dim a little as she lost a little of the confidence in the look she was giving him. Nerves replacing everything else now.

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In the very same moment that Alec winked, he realized he'd done something stupid. She wouldn't interpret that as him making a pass, would she?


[cassg]Take me home, Alec?[/cassg]


It was barely audible, but he heard her... and even if he hadn't, her movements conveyed blatant intent. Cass' lips were soft against his, and her hand shifted against his chest. [cassg]Please?[/cassg] Alec blinked for a moment. What the hell had he just done or suggested? Alec was wracking his brain for plausible explanations. He stood there silently for what felt like an uncomfortable eternity, though the wall mounted clock had only ticked 30 times.


[walker] Uh... Cass, I'm... not sure this is a good idea.[/walker] Alec said, trying to convince himself, as much as he was trying to convince her. [walker] I've got a decade on you. It wouldn't be right, Cass. [/walker] Of course, Alec was ignoring the little voice in his head going "What is wrong with you, man? She is LITERALLY throwing herself at you." 


The mage shook his head gently. [walker] But I wouldn't ever leave you alone. Let's get you home. [/walker] He said, putting a hand on her shoulder. 

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Rejection was always a sting. Even if you understood it always hurt a little. It certainly made the bravado she'd worked up deflate.


[cassg]Yeah, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking. . .[/cassg] Stepping back, Cassandra gave Alec a tired smile, [cassg]Let me grab my things. Hopefully it's not too hard to catch a taxi.[/cassg]


It was New York, it wouldn't likely be, but being out in the cold any longer than she had to be wasn't ideal. Honestly she now just wanted to get home. At least it was a place where she knew what to expect. Unlike wading into the pool that she just attempted and stumbling. After a few moments, bundled in her coat, hat, scarf, and gloves now they made their way outside and a few minutes later climbed into a taxi. The ride to her building was quiet — she didn't know what to say.


Instead Cassandra took comfort that tomorrow they'd both likely forget this or he'd chalk it up to her just having one drink too many. Then she could pass it off easier, and move beyond the potentially uncomfortable feeling it'd created. When they pulled it up at her building the knot in her stomachs immediately tightened, but she ignored the feeling as she did every night and climbed out. She wasn't expecting Alec to walk her to her door, or anything of that nature, and when he did she just shrugged and motioned for him to follow to the elevators.


A few minutes later they were stepping into her apartment; key locks and magic locks undone easily by her as she motioned him inside and closed the door behind them.


[cassg]How about a drink? I got some beer, coffee, soda, water.[/cassg]


She hung up her purse, coat, scarves, and hat then shoved her gloves into the coat pocket. Boots were slipped off then tucked into a shoe cubby. The apartment was a place of bright colors when she flicked on a few lights, and it reflected Cassandra well though there were a few chairs missing from the dining room table and a spot in the living room where clearly a rug had been at one time. There was some evidence of broken things in the kitchen trash and dust pan if one looked that showed she'd taken out her frustration a bit on inanimate objects.


Rubbing a hand against the back of her neck, the necklace she wore shifted and the two objects on it slipped above her neckline: one a locket with a jewel on the front that Alec would recognize as she'd worn it since before they'd met, and the other a round charm with a wolf done in intricate knotwork. Heading toward the kitchen now, she called out to Alec.


[cassg]Make yourself at home. If you want, you can stay here tonight. Take the guest room. That way you don't have to go out in that ugly weather again.[/cassg]



Idea of decor HERE. Living Area look still not finished, but just imagine end tables, coffee tables, BAF bookshelf, and walls the same green color as the green birds on the rug.

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Alec's face twisted into a slight scowl once Cass turned away to gather her things. [walker]You fucking idiot.[/walker] He cursed himself quietly. It must have been some kind of feat for Cass to overcome her doubts and worries about sharing space with someone else... and he'd just shut her down. Of course, there was always the possibility that she was just drunk and would deeply regret anything they did the next day. [walker] Probably  damned if I do, definitely a jackass if I don't. [/walker] came the next sub-whispered words.


They stepped outside, and Alec could see Cass was a bit cold, so he stepped closer to her, putting an arm over her shoulders silently. In Alec's mind, It was a gesture of protection, though he knew that was probably just a lie he'd told himself.


Deftly, Cassandra undid the locks and magics protecting her home and stepped inside, Alec following. [walker] You know... I never put much faith in magic locks. Always thought they drew more attention than they warded off. [/walker] His own home was protected by a simple deadbolt and a brief pulse of scrying magic before he entered. Squirrels and birds were all too happy to tell him what they'd seen in the surrounding block if he asked.


As Cass hung up her coat and stepped out of her boots, Alec stood a little stiffly by the door, holding his coat over his arm. He'd been over a few times before, but rarely at this late hour. She suggested a drink. [walker] No thanks. You go ahead, though. I should probably head home soon. Wouldn't want to impose on you. [/walker] He glanced around the room for a moment before she suggested he stay the night. On the couch, of course. He wouldn't have dared suggest any other place. One look out the window, and Alec laughed softly with a smile. [walker] Well, it is pretty fucking grody out there. [/walker] Damnit, Alec! Stop using words people haven't uttered since the 70s. [walker] Think I'll actually take you up on that. [/walker] Alec said, sitting down on the couch with a groan that seemed more of a sigh than anything else. 


After a few seconds, Alec stood back up, putting the coat down next to him on the couch absentmindedly, before heading in to join Cass in the kitchen. Standing next to her, he turned so they were face to face. [walker] Hey... Cass? I'm sorry about what I said back there. You're a great ... and... er... I mean, It's just... I've always... you know...ah, fuck it. [/walker]


Alec hemmed and hawed his way through an attempt to tell Cass that he'd been trying to protect their friendship; that he'd thought of her as the closest thing to family he'd had since the Resonance. Exasperated, he'd given up by the end of the rambling and mostly incoherent attempt at expressing that very simple and poignant truth, and leaned down to kiss her. In his head, Alec was yelling "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST DO, DUMBASS? Wasn't this the exact thing you wanted to avoid earlier?"

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It was hard not to have noticed the arm around her shoulders before. The weight of the limb, the warmth radiating off his body, the size of him standing next to her. There was a significant size difference between the two of them. It was like being swallowed whole by his close proximity. Oddly Cassandra hadn't minded. Then again she wasn't too surprised as she actually trusted Alec and that in itself was a difficult thing after the still-fresh betrayal.


 ð ” You know... I never put much faith in magic locks. Always thought they drew more attention than they warded off. ” 


She smiled, brow lifted, once inside.


[cassg]It probably does, but since my name gets me that attention anyways? Doesn't hurt to be cautious.[/cassg]


She was always being hunted. It'd been that way for far too long. Now, on top of the usual reason that the Vatican and OFL wanted her there was also the fact that she was actively part of ARMA and the sister of Alistair Greene. All that drew a great deal of attention already; targets painted on her back.


As Cassandra headed toward the kitchen, she added, [cassg]Plus, most of it is to try to prevent possession again. Had enough of that for a lifetime.[/cassg]


She didn't add that all the locks had been updated after the Rhome fiasco, and that even then she sometimes swore she saw him on the streets or. . . signs that he'd been on the fire escape. Never once had he come into her apartment though, but she couldn't take any chances. He'd been inside enough to make her old protections obsolete.


 ð ” Well, it is pretty fucking grody out there. ” Damnit, Alec! Stop using words people haven't uttered since the 70s. ð ” Think I'll actually take you up on that. ”


Amusement lit her face, lips curving in a smile as she heard him.


[cassg]Want that drink then? I also got food if you're hungry. I'm not a great cook, but I do have some leftover takeout. . . Should still be safe to eat.[/cassg]


She hadn't expected him to follow her into the kitchen. Then again had been expecting that he might leave until he'd decided it was terrible outside — she had refrained from the 'I told you so' comments. She was by the counter, reaching up to the lowest shelf for a glass, when she spotted him out of the corner of her eye. She'd sensed his presence before then. Alec swallowed up the small space of her kitchen easily. Invaded it with his size and made it seem even tinier. She lowered her arm; glass forgotten for the time being as she turned to face him as he did her. A shift put her back against the counter, palms propped on the top with elbows bent, as she adjusted her neck to look at him.


ð ” Hey... Cass? I'm sorry about what I said back there. You're a great ... and... er... I mean, It's just... I've always... you know...ah, fuck it. ”


He was in front of her in a minute and she adjusted again to crane her neck back to look up at him. He was tall. . . she'd never really noticed how tall until tonight. Cassandra was just about to open her mouth to assure him that it was fine and that he'd perhaps been right when suddenly his head lowered; lips pressed against her own with enough pressure that her own mouth opened in response. Part shock, part instinctive response as she shifted up on her tip-toes a little.


Well, damn. . . was the only thought that went through her head at the rush of warmth and desire, and the fact that he wasn't bad at this kissing thing at all. Her fingers curled over the edge of the counter-top.

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Alec had chuckled when Cass mentioned her name earned her some attention. He'd forgotten about that level of fame or infamy the Greenes had, having worked with them for so long. Ali was his boss, and Cass was his friend; they were not some family of international guerrilla mages... well maybe they were, but you wouldn't know it by talking to them.


He'd nodded when she explained the purpose of those wards. Possession was terrifying, even scary for the one doing the possessing, as he'd learned early on in his practice with inhabiting the body of an animal. What was it that type of magic was called? Ward? No... it would bug him for a while, but he'd eventually remember. 


Cass's comment about takeout went unnoticed, as Alec had been rehearsing and rehashing what he'd intended to say. 


They kissed, and the voice in Alec's head quieted, replaced by the pleasant realization that she hadn't pulled away or slapped him. In fact, she'd leaned up to meet him halfway. He smiled into the kiss.



December 27, 2018

6:30 AM


Alec's brain awoke before his eyes opened. Something wasn't normal. The sheets felt different. The pillow felt different. He wasn't at home. His eyes stayed shut as he evaluated where he could be. The party. He'd been at a Christmas party last night. He'd left with Cass, made sure she got home safely, and then he'd left.


He had left, right? Eyes shot open as he looked straight up at the ceiling. It was Cass' room. Bright, colorful, and unmistakably her style. He'd carried her home from bars enough times to know. The night came flooding back in pieces as he turned his head to see Cass beside him. Was she still asleep? Had they actually done anything last night? Alec racked his brain to try and remember. The better question was... would she be pissed if they had? She could have been plenty drunk when she'd asked, and could have not meant it. 


Alec closed his eyes again for a moment to think before he slipped out from under the covers and looked for his clothes. He wasn't planning to leave without talking, but staying in bed past 6:30 was not in his nature, and there was always the chance Cass would freak out if she saw him next to her. It also wouldn't do to mess with her brain to find out whether she knew. That would be an ultimate violation of trust, and he was not going to go there. 

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There wasn't any alarm clock blaring. Nothing to wake her on a Friday that was a day off. She didn't register the bird sound outside or the normal usual sound of New York in the morning, and the heavy drapes blocked out enough of the sun that it barely lit the brightly-colored room.


So what woke her? Invaded the sleep-fogged brain suffering from the slightest signs of a hangover?


The bed moved.


Laying there on her stomach, arms tucked under her pillow and head turned to face the opposite direction of the opposite side of the bed, Cassandra's brain registered the movements of another person. Brows pulled down as she blinked owlishly to try to wake herself up more. . . and to recall who was in her bed. She recalled the party pretty clearly: lots of laughter, fun music, delicious food, equally delicious alcoholic drinks, and Alec playing the guitar. She also recalled dancing with Alec, and then — what? Forcing herself to think brought back the memory of them getting a taxi together and her offering him the couch except. . .


Oh no, we didn't. . .


They did.


She could remember it now. It wasn't a completely clear memory though it would become more solid once the fog of sleep was gone and the hangover had passed. She remembered him kissing her in the kitchen, remembered that she had responded positively to the kiss, remembered the feel of his arms lifting her as he carried her to her bedroom, remember stripping each other of their clothes, remembered — well, she definitely remembered enough of what followed in her bed. Face grew heated at the particular memory of some of how that'd gone, and she ignored the pleasant tingling of her body.


Alec wouldn't have taken advantage of her. That meant that she must've made a move even if right this second exactly what that was, was unclear.


Wonderful. Don't sleep with anyone for how long, and the first person you do is one of your few close friends and your work colleague. Smooth. Dammit.


Though she did find it a relief that she hadn't accidentally stabbed him in her sleep.


Her slowly waking mind registered that there wasn't any clothing on her body which was hardly covered. When her blue eyes shifted downward in search of clothes it was only to spot her black bra and panties thrown down near the bottom of the bed. Way out of her reach. Her other clothes weren't in sight at all so she figured they were on the other side of the room. She knew that Alec could already see most of her back and bottom, and was likely to get a fair amount of side boob if he looked. Realizing that it would be cowardly to let him leave the room, or even the apartment, while pretending to be asleep, Cassandra took a deep breath for courage then yawned, slid her arms from under the pillow, and rolled over onto her back. Trying to act as cool as possible — though admittedly failing with the hasty way she pulled the blanket up to cover herself better — she stretched her arms over her head.


[cassg]Morning. . .[/cassg]


It came out more awkwardly nervous, and flustered, than she wished, and her face was red with embarrassment as she let her gaze move over his equally naked body. Unable to pass up the chance to get a look; the view more than pleasing. She knew that if he met her gaze the flush on her face would only deepen by several shades.

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Alec pulled on his boxers first, turning when he heard a sound. [cassg]Morning...[/cassg] 


A soft smile as he turned to her. [walker] Morning, Cass. [/walker] It was definitely awkward... but pretending sex was a foreign concept or that it was some kind of line neither of them had been willing to cross was just going to make things more awkward. 


[walker] I'm... er... Sorry if I woke you up... [/walker] What was he doing? He was dancing around, avoiding the topic, pussyfooting around. [walker]You know what? No... I'm not gonna stand here and pretend everything's normal. [/walker]


Alec sat himself back down on the edge of the bed, looking away from her naked form. [walker] What we did last night...[/walker] He paused... why was he nervous? [walker] I...[/walker] For once, the multilingual mage was at a loss for words. Why? It was just Cass... though that might be the reason. She'd never struck him as someone to know intimately. Maybe that separation had been what made their friendship work... and now he'd gone and ruined it.


His hands clasped, fingers interlaced, and his thumbs went to war with one another. 


Alec attempted to take stock of the situation once more. They'd both obviously had too much to drink last night. They'd slept together, which he now considered an absolutely awful idea. Importantly, though... She wasn't freaking out and kicking him out of her bedroom. It took some time for the importance of that to sink in. She was aware of what they'd done... and it didn't seem to bother her. 


Alec looked back up from his twiddling thumbs, meeting Cass' gaze. [walker] Did we ruin a perfectly good friendship last night? [/walker] was the question he asked. After all, it was the one he needed answered.

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Cassandra didn't mind pretending everything was normal in the moment. Though it was far from it. This was a mighty awkward situation, and here they were smiling and chatting like. . . nothing had changed when something had fundamentally changed. And while outside she wasn't freaking, inside she was a little. Only a little as mostly she was marveling at the fact that they'd slept together. She hadn't been that drunk last night. That much she remembered. She'd been far drunker before while in Alec's presence while having never made the offer. To her that meant she'd been ready to break the cycle of cutting off deeper intimacy in her life and made the choice to do it with someone that she knew wouldn't hurt her in the end. If there was anyone she trusted near as much as her brother it was Alec. In truth, he'd seen her in far more vulnerable situations than anyone of late as he was the one coming to carry her drunken ass home.


Of course, even thinking clearly about why she chose him to do what they'd done didn't mean she wasn't distracted by his physique. Alec wasn't a slouch. He was a pretty solid, good-looking man. As some would, she didn't compare him to Rhome. Instead as she looked him over in consideration, and some admiration obviously, it wasn't through eyes tainted by the memory of another man that was still burrowed into her heart. That wouldn't be fair to Alec.


Another thought came to her as she let her gaze travel back up.


You know why you chose Alec. Why did he sleep with you though?


That little voice in her head chose to ask a question to make things just a little more awkward. However, it was a pertinent one that piqued Cassandra's curiosity. Never a good thing for anyone, or anything, on the receiving end as hers was known to be insatiable. Much like she used to be in bed before all the chaos of Resonance.


Clearing her mind of that last train of thought, she was encouraged to focus when it became obvious that Alec wasn't feeling normal about this either. And that he obviously wanted to talk about it. Pretending was definitely over. As he took a seat on the bed facing away from her, and began to speak only to become quiet again, blue eyes watched the way the muscles played in his back. While he wasn't facing her? Cassandra knew Alec well enough to know that he was twiddling his thumbs.


ð ” Did we ruin a perfectly good friendship last night? ” 


Finally the question that he sought was found and brought into the silence as he turned his body just enough to meet her gaze. Watching him silently for a moment, Cassandra thought about that until finally she took the loose sheet under the covers — completely free of its previously tucked in state as a sign of how much movement went on last night — then pushed aside the covers. Alec would only be afforded a glimpse of what he'd already seen, assuming he remember of course, before she wrapped the sheet around herself and secured it with a knot in front of her chest. Afterward, shifting to her side and up onto her knees. Without hesitation she moved to sit just behind him, head on his bare shoulder and arms moving to wrap around either side of him to link hands in front of his chest.


[cassg]I always wondered if you were a boxers or briefs man. Guess now I have an answer.[/cassg] She gave him a cheeky smile, hoping the humor would reassure him a little as she continued, [cassg]What we did? It's natural. We're two mature adults who decided that we needed a little companionship. Might be a little awkward at first, but I don't feel like we ruined anything. Do you?[/cassg]


Turning serious for a moment, meeting his gaze clearly with a somber look, she added, [cassg]I've been through a lot, Alec. You know I never went this far with him, and you know why. You've been in my head. Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to again. What happened last night was a choice I made — that I remember making —  to do this with someone that I knew I could unquestioningly trust. And that person was you.[/cassg]

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Alec closed his eyes, feeling thumbs swipe past one another as he sat in silence before broaching the question. 


Eyes flicked downwards, then back to Cass' face, eyes drawn away more by the motion than by the conscious decision to get a second look... probably more like a tenth. Alec smiled internally, remembering an old joke about the couple who'd been married for years. The husband watches his wife get undressed for the thousandth time, and she asks why he's still watching after so long. His reply? "I've seen the sunset thousands of times too, but it's still got not as impressive as boobs."


Alec shook himself from the tangent in his brain, realizing Cass had moved behind him, her hands reaching around his body, clasping across his chest. His head tilted slightly towards hers as she spoke against his ear, a smile playing across the face doing its best to hide a deep worry. 


Companionship. Was that what it had been? The angel and the demon on Alec's shoulders seemed to have abandoned their posts this morning, leaving the mage to determine morality for himself. A soft sigh escaped his lips, about to answer Cass' question. She jumped back in, and he held his tongue.


[cassg]"What happened last night was a choice I made — that I remember making —  to do this with someone that I knew I could unquestioningly trust. And that person was you."[/cassg]


Alec hesitated to even blink, letting Cass' words sink in. It was not as though he had been planning on belittling her or breaking off a friendship just because he now felt uncomfortable, but her words made it near impossible to even consider that. 


Head turned to catch her gaze, a soft smile across his lips. [walker] You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that, Cass. [/walker] Voice was low, not from lack of confidence. [walker] And if I'm the only one who could be on the receiving end of last night, then why am I to complain? [/walker] Alec laughed, having completely botched the sentence he was trying to get out. 


Alec turned slightly in her arms, having been mostly unable to see the woman to whom he was talking. He was hung up on a thought for a moment. [walker] And so here we are... [/walker] Alec mumbled, commenting under his breath.


[walker] From your head to your bed. [/walker] The words were chuckled, Alec's unfunny humor slipping through his seemingly nonexistent filter. 

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[cassg]For a man as linguistically skilled as yourself, you sure did butcher that sentence.[/cassg]


She teased, not moving yet from her perch; head still on his shoulder and arms still around his sides. Though part of her acknowledge that she probably should move. She didn't know what this was or where it'd go — if it would go anywhere. All she knew was that she didn't want Alec to feel pressured. Cassandra was as capable of doing casual as the next person. It wasn't as if what they'd done last night had been the culmination of long-awaited romance or lust. What they'd done though was fresh in her mind enough to let her know that she wouldn't mind repeat performances. Putting her mind back to more serious thoughts though. . .


There'd not been anything like that between the two of them. Not a hint of anything that'd bring about this result. Of course, she had long admired and respected him; considered him to be her closest friend and as stated her most trusted. Though her mine nudged her again, whispering what she'd acknowledge earlier: she knew why she'd slept with him. Why had he slept with her though?


There was the possibility that it was just companionship as she'd said. Loneliness existed before Resonance and it'd exist long afterward. Until the end of time honestly. It was possible that Alec was lonely just as she had been of late. She didn't know for sure though, and suddenly the idea of broaching that topic made her feel more awkward than she'd felt upon waking. Brow furrowing, she caught his words and that chuckle which set gooseflesh to appearing on her skin at the warmth.


[cassg]Mhm my bed. . .[/cassg] Cassandra gnawed on her bottom lip for a moment, blue eyes moving from his face to stare at a spot on his neck and then raised again as she spoke, [cassg]Was it companionship? For you?[/cassg]


The instant the words were out, she regretted it. That awkward feeling enough to make the air of her room feel suffocating.

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Alec smiled a bit at Cass' acknowledgement that he'd fucked up the sentence. [walker] Sorry, having a beautiful woman hanging on to me throws off my ability to brain. [/walker] 


It was sort of the truth... Having Cass hanging on to him was what had caused the complete mental lapse.


Her head still nestled on his shoulder brought a wider smile to his face. Sure, he'd considered her family, but she most certainly was not his kin... In another life, maybe this would have been one of those workplace romances everyone mocks but secretly desires. Here, it somehow felt like they'd flipped a switch and either completely violated the closest thing either of them had to... wait. SHIT. This was Cass. Cassandra Greene. As in Alistair Greene. Oh he was going to catch so much shit for this if it ever came to light. 


Cass spoke up again, a slight shiver traveling down alec's spine. Then "The Question."


Alec understood perfectly well what Cass meant, but he stammered through the beginnings of a sentence to give himself time to make sure that was actually the question asked.


[walker] Well...uh...In...[/walker] A long sigh. [walker] Cass... I'm not a lonely man. [/walker] Eyes glanced down at thumbs, then back up. [walker]I couldn't tell you what last night exactly was for me, but it wasn't something superficial. [/walker] 


Alec felt a familiar tightness in his lower back--the feeling of sitting in a weird position for a little while. He ignored it and continued. [walker] I wouldn't have risked our friendship over something I thought was completely without hope... you mean too much to me for that. [/walker]


Silence filled the room for a few seconds, banished by Alec's deep voice once more. [walker] I guess  I just wanted to be with someone who understood me, and who I understood. [/walker]


He smiled, rolling his neck towards the unoccupied shoulder, to the loud sound of his neck cracking. [walker] Plus... It doesn't hurt that you're easily a 15 out of 10. [/walker] A cheeky grin spread across his face.

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[cassg]Won't argue with that reasoning.[/cassg]


She gave a soft laugh, taking the compliment whether it was just him being a charmer or not. Couldn't pass up such a nice one. Of course, when the conversation turned serious — her fault entirely she knew — she did as well. His stammering made her feel terrible. She shouldn't have posed the question. Letting it go would've been better than making him uncomfortable. Of course, Alec wasn't without the ability to get his thoughts in order quickly. He was a smart man, and his quick-thinking was a skill that'd saved many an ass in ARMA including her own.


Cassandra hadn't been seeking any particular answer. There wasn't a wrong or a right one for him to give in response to her question. She'd just been curious. She would be lying though if she said that what he said wasn't comforting.


ð ” I guess  I just wanted to be with someone who understood me, and who I understood. ”


A moment was taken to consider that before she smiled a little wider at him, debated something in her own mind, and then brushed her lips against his beard-covered jawline. Nose wrinkling as the hairs tickled her nostrils. The pop of his neck though, that made her cringe a little; though that was neither here nor there.


Especially once his next words hit her ears. Amusement lit her face, blue eyes practically dancing as they met his gaze.


[cassg]Oh, really now? Didn't know you were such a charmer.[/cassg] An equally cheeky grin to match his own curved her lips.


Body shifted now, head lifting from his shoulder and one arm pulling away from his side to be brought upward along his arm. She let fingertips play softly along his skin as they moved upward, and then finally reaching his neck paused. [cassg]You're not so bad yourself.[/cassg]


Hand slid upward as fingers grasped to give a playful tug on his beard before releasing. She moved again on the bed until she was more next to him on the edge of the bed; still on her knees though as she was trapped in the blanket, but not leaning on him. Having noted his body adjustments before.


[cassg]Hungry? I make some good milk gravy, fried potatoes, and bacon and eggs.[/cassg]


Food was always a good way to smooth over any residual awkwardness. Plus she was hungry, and it would serve as a good distraction from the other hunger that'd hopped into her head during their conversation. Hopping right back in bed with him didn't seem the wisest idea, and she didn't want to make him feel any weirder by suggesting that right now.


Maybe in a few days.


That was a solid reminder that he was still mostly naked and she was wearing only a sheet.


[cassg]Guess we should get dressed first.[/cassg]


Knowing that she couldn't get her legs free this way, Cassandra quickly undid the knot and dropped the blanket before leaning back enough to swing them out from under her and let them hang over the edge of the bed now. Wasn't really any need for shyness. He had already seen her naked. After a second she stood with the intent to head toward her closet.

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Alec laughed as Cass grinned back at him, feeling the tingling on his skin as she trailed a finger up his arm.


Head jerked down slightly as she pulled on his beard, a soft laugh. [walker] It's all in the beard. Take it away and I look like a humanoid Jabba [/walker] 


A slight wink. Cass had moved, and was now suggesting food. Alec chuckled softly. [walker] I'm not a big breakfast guy. Blasphemy... I know. [/walker] He paused for a moment, grin still plastered on his face.


[walker] But that does sound mighty enticing. [/walker]


He moved slightly across the bed so he was facing Cass. 


☸ "Guess we should get dressed first."


Alec shook his head ever so slightly, realizing their state of undress in tandem with Cass. They were pretty much still naked. Cass was covered by a sheet, and he by a pair of boxers. Cass dropped the sheet, and Alec definitely didn't look away. She wouldn't have been so open about it if she really wanted him to, anyway. Alec stood up after her, taking a step closer before loosely wrapping his arms around her, his beard tickling her neck as he leaned in and whispered in her ear.


[walker] I think I was lowballing that estimate before. [/walker]


A slight laugh as he tilted his head to kiss her cheek. [walker] 15's just not nearly high enough. I think the scale universally needs to be redesigned to range from 0 to Cass.[/walker] 


Alec let go, still smiling. [walker] Not kidding. I'm going to spend ages re-calibrating that scale now. [/walker] 

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Cassandra gave him a look and shook her head, [cassg]Doubt it. Not enough folds for Jabba.[/cassg]


She laughed then gave his shoulder a gentle poke, standing now and taking a second to stretch her arms out in front of her.


 ð ” I'm not a big breakfast guy. Blasphemy... I know. ” 


[cassg]There's always coffee. I know you're a coffee guy.[/cassg]


Alec's veins probably flowed with coffee just like her own, and Alistair's as well. Honestly she was convinced ARMA employees were made of more coffee than blood or water. She felt his arms slip around her, a grin forming on her face.


[cassg]It should sound enticing. My cooking's getting better.[/cassg]


A soft giggle escaped her at the tickle of his beard against her skin. That part was a little sensitive, and she tilted her head just a little to the side to escape the hairs. At least he hadn't bolted or decided to avoid. This made things a little more comfortable; though also plenty of other things. Those thoughts were pushed firmly away though as she remembered that going back to bed was what she was trying to avoid. She didn't want him to feel pressured or to think she was getting any ideas. Of course, he didn't seem to be thinking along those lines right now.


She raised a brow at his words just a second before she felt the brush of his lips against her cheek. The sensation made her tremble lightly and lids close to let lashes rest against skin; something that he'd not be able to miss given the press of body against his own. His front was flush against her back. His words in ear though had her eyes opening again though as amusement lined her face.


Her voice was equally as filled with humor, [cassg]Oh, really now?[/cassg]


When he released her, speaking again, she turned to face him with one hand on hip and the other raised to let fingers rest against the back of head in a generic modeling pose.


[cassg]0 to Cass sounds like a great calibration.[/cassg]


A wink given as she made for her drawers, pulling out a bra, pair of panties, and a long nightshirt then sat down to put them on. If there was one thing she could do quickly it was get dressed.


[cassg]If you want to shower or anything, feel free. There's also spare toothbrushes in the bathroom medicine cabinet.[/cassg]


She tossed over a shoulder as she got her bra hooked and then slid on her underwear.

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[walker] Mmm... Coffee. [/walker] Alec replied with a soft smile. He was fairly certain his body had replaced blood plasma with caffeine molecules. Brown blood cells.


[cassg] My cooking's getting better. [/cassg] A chuckle. He was going to make a comment about food not having been what was enticing, but that seemed both out of character, even by his own standards, and a bit crass. 


Cass responded to his silly comments about re-calibrating a scale of attractiveness, and Alec stood in relative silence, mumbling affirmatively at her question.


Permission to use her shower was noted, acknowledged with a smile and a solitary laugh that disrupted his words. [walker] Ye-heh... I could probably do with a shower... Unless you really want to sit around with a smelly old fart over coffee.[/walker] Alec looked around the room, gathering up his scattered clothes before heading into the bathroom. 


A few minutes later, he emerged from the room, wet hair slicked back, yesterday's shirt and pants thrown back on, and the towel slung over his shoulders. He'd had some time to think, but no direct conflicts or reasons it would be wise to bolt had emerged. 


Alec wandered out of the bathroom and looked around the bedroom before stepping out into the more open area of the apartment, whistling the "Day Man" song from Always Sunny as he did. 


[walker] You know, I've had that damn theme stuck in my head for a week? Would probably have helped if they actually finished the song.[/walker] Alec said by way of a joke when he spotted Cass. 


[walker] You ever watch Always Sunny? [/walker] Alec would ask if the reference went unrecognized.  [walker] Such a silly show, but I can't tell you how many hours I spent watching it when I should've been doing thesis defense prep. [/walker] A soft smile.


He didn't talk much about his past before ARMA--maybe because it wasn't a factor in his present life. Most people who knew him knew him as "that mage with the beard" or "Arma's brain invader." Very few knew about his position as a professor before the event, and even fewer knew the level of research he'd done to get him there. Alec loved his knowledge, but it was, if possible, even more useless in the modern resonated world than it would have been in the sociologically sympathetic world of 2006. 

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[cassg]You'll have to be more specific. Smelly, old farts could describe most of ARMA.[/cassg]


She tossed at Alec playfully as he disappeared into the bathroom. Once he was in the shower, and the water was running, she slipped inside to quickly brush her teeth and use some mouthwash, and to splash her face, before ducking back out again. By the time he would come back out it'd be to the smell of breakfast cooking. The sizzling sound of bacon cooking, its smell mingling with that of scrambled eggs and the scent of milk gravy. She added the potatoes to the pan that'd been used for bacon once that was slipped onto a saucer covered with four folded napkins. And that last scent could be caught as he neared the kitchen: coffee.


The machine brewing a full pot so that it'd go far between the two of them.


Lifting up a little on tiptoe, Cassandra pulled down a couple large mugs from the high shelf of one cupboard. Feeling the sensation of her pink-and-white-striped nightshirt riding up, she adjusted it as she came back to a normal standing position. The top three buttons left undone and the rest properly buttoned, and the length covered her to mid-thigh when not reaching for high shelves. She'd thrown her hair into a loose, sloppy attempt at a bun to keep it out of her face while cooking.


When Alec looked around he'd notice that her light and trees were still up. The former turned on to give the apartment a little bit of cheer and the curtains in the living room pulled back to let in sunlight. Of course, her place wasn't as decorated as it had been that first year she'd been back. Her holiday spirit had taken a hit when the betrayal had come to light, but it hadn't been killed completely. As proven by the slight hum of a radio that played holiday music accompanied by her own humming which stopped when she heard him humming something different. Arms loaded with mugs and plates, she stepped out of the kitchen just behind him.


[cassg]Can't say I did, I'll have to see if it's on Netflix and add it to my list. Didn't watch much of anything before. I was in Italy teaching dance and that. . .[/cassg] She shook her head and gave a low-whistle as she rounded him to place the dishes down on the dining room table. [cassg]When there wasn't lessons I was usually dancing myself or attending some fancy party. Lots of ass-kissing to be done around those types especially if you wanted favors.[/cassg]


That wasn't a part she'd particularly enjoyed, but the parties themselves had been nice. As had the fancy clothes and everything that went along with that wealthier crowd.


[cassg]And when I wasn't doing that, or sleeping, I did get the chance to visit some places or hang out with people. The ex loved to drag me around. Show me different places. We went exploring caves and visiting wineries and shopping. Sometimes with him, other times with friends.[/cassg]


She paused, a bemused expression on her face. She'd not talked about her ex since she'd told Him about the last guy she'd dated before the world went to hell. Honestly she didn't often think about that crowd. There wasn't anyway of knowing who was alive or who was dead. She could only hope that if any died they'd gone quickly. Turning off the burners, the food done, she transferred things to bowls then motioned to Alec.


[cassg]Lend me those strong arms?[/cassg] A smile as she took the saucer of bacon and the bowl of fried potatoes then left the bowls of milk gravy and scrambled eggs for him to carry. Once hers was placed down, she'd make for the kitchen again to grab silverware while adding a quick, [cassg]Can you carry the pot of coffee? There's a little thing there on the table to keep it warm. Just sit it there.[/cassg]


As Cassandra was closing the drawers though, and grabbing the bread from atop the fridge, she realized what he'd said at the end and that she didn't know much about Alec. The Alec now, sure, but not the Alec of before. Just as he wouldn't know as much about her. Well, aside from what he'd saw in her head that day. She'd never gotten around to being brave enough to ask what he'd seen either.


[cassg]Thesis defense prep? What did you do. . . before?[/cassg] Hesitation slipped in before she finished the question, knowing that talking of before could be a sore subject for some.


As she slipped out of the kitchen again, she gave him a surreptitious glance to see how he took the question.



apartment layout cause I forgot it before.

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The smell of breakfast foods tickled Alec's nostrils, followed by the richness of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. 


He gave an appreciative sniff, enjoying the smells that reminded of a time before the sky had split in two. There had been plenty of days where he'd been the one cooking breakfast for two back before the resonance. Dorm room cookery was no match for a proper kitchen, but the olfactory results were largely the same.


Alec made a minor note of the decorations. Most peoples' trees were still up, a day or two after Christmas, so nothing strange there. The radio brought a smile. Alec was consistently amazed by the fact that humanity had restored itself quite so well--a fact of which he was reminded when Cass mentioned Netflix.


The mentalist had been planning on questioning that statement until he noticed Cass was stepping around him to set down dishes and was talking about her life before the Resonance. A chuckle. [walker] Sounds like academia. Kiss the ring to receive funding. [/walker] Cass had been in a totally different world, though he'd never been surprised by it, having considered her a friend for long enough to know what she, in her spare time, did now, and to recognize that it was a throwback to a simpler time.


Bowls of food were carried out as he listened, the return trip bringing coffee and its heat source. The domesticity of it all brought a smile to Alec's face. Sure, there had been mornings he'd shared with others since the Nevus tear appeared, but rarely had those mornings been so cordial or enjoyable. Usually, they were just "Good Morning. See you around. Bye." One or the other would leave, and life would go on.


Cass' question about his life before amused the historian. [walker] Come on. What do you think I did before? You've seen my place--endless bookshelves loaded down with books in languages I shouldn't have understood, even before the Resonance. [/walker] 


A pause. He'd let her guess. [walker] I guess asking people to call you "Dr." after the Resonance if you weren't a medical professional just seemed... well, like false advertising. I was a professor of History at a small college on Long Island. Did my undergraduate work at UVA, and my doctoral research at the University of Chicago. [/walker] 


Noticing that everything was laid out on the table, Alec poured a cup of coffee first for Cass, then one for himself, depositing them at the two place-settings already in place.


[walker] There are times when I miss it, but then I remember how much I ended up hating the students who didn't apply themselves. Sit in the back of the hall, texting on their phones, never taking notes, and then complaining when they failed exams. [/walker] A slight grumble as he sat down.


[walker] They always thought they were so clever. Text under the tables and the professor can't see it... well, unless you're wearing glasses and there's suddenly an odd light source reflecting back towards the front of the room. [/walker] Alec chuckled, a wry smile playing across his lips.

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