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Allison rolled over as her cell phone buzzed on her bedside table. She'd left it on out of habit, but the worksite had shut down after running into a
large Clockwork infestation in the far south reinforcement foundation. Allison had suggested trying to coax them out with scrap metal to avoid triggering an
aggressive reaction from the metal scavengers like so many other companies ran into, and the foreman had agreed, but insisted on getting hero backup just in
case. While the worksite normally had no problem with her using her armor to chase off stray villains attacking it, Demolition Sabre was not officially on hire
with Sanderson Construction, Ltd, due to an old, out of date bit of the company's charter that prevented the hiring of super-powered individuals under
their heroic identities in order to avoid having to pay the fees and such the FBSA had used during the 70s before organizations like Hero Corps had changed the
face of the "heroing for hire" in the early 90s. As such, the company needed to hire freelancers separately, and they wouldn't be available until
Tuesday. Allison had expected at least three to four days of off time to do extra patrols, restock the pantry, and generally hope this heat wave broke before
she had to get back to work. Just because she was mostly immune to extremes of heat and cold didn't mean she enjoyed them (she did, after all, sweat like
everyone else), and the normal folks that worked on the site with her were usually much less likely to be unnecessarily crabby when the temperatures were under
85 degrees. She rolled over, booted the covers that were balled up on the end of the bed off entirely, and grumbled at the feeling of the sheets clinging to
her back thanks to the 90 degree night as she sat up and answered her ringing phone. "Hello?"

"Oh, hey, Demo. I didn't wake you up, did I?" a familiar voice said. "Oh…I probably did, didn't I? I'm sorry, I just forgot to
check what time it was and..."

"Dani," Allison said firmly, cutting off the babbling with a slightly better mood than she'd had upon waking, smiling faintly at the brief
silence she knew was accompanied by a blush.

"Sorry. It's just...after you got me out of that mixed up mainframe"... and I found out what really happened to me," Dani hesitated, then
plunged on, "I kinda pulled in for a while. I wasn't entirely sure what I was. It took a lot of time, a lot of talking with some people the Phalanx
hired to help me sort myself out. But afterwards...I wanted to talk to you again."

Allison considered that statement. It certainly was understandable that they'd drifted out of contact. Her contact with the young heroine had started
oddly through the Architect system, testing out a combat simulation salvaged from an Arachnos base. But strange glitches had plagued the system during the test
runs. The dialogue of the simulated enemies had stuttered, as had the various aspects of the interface that were projected directly from the salvaged terminal.
Eventually Dani had managed to break through enough to get out a clear message that they weren't glitches, but that she was very real and trapped inside
the system. Demo had helped her fight the system's own self defense programs and attempts to delete her in the virtual world inside the Arachnos terminal,
and then find the remaining pieces of her personality that had been divided by the machine's attempts to "categorize" Dani's human brain
patterns as they existed inside its recordings. Along the way, the two had begun to talk, however, as much to keep Dani's mind off what would happen if she
failed as anything else. Allison admitted she wasn't the most vocal of people. While there were others that were more terse, she'd never been one to
mince words, but talking to Dani had drawn her into longer speech than she knew some of the Sabres credited her with being capable of. Dani had noticed it too,
especially after her emotional centers had been recovered, and Allison had been surprised -- but pleased -- when the other woman had said that she'd like
to go out for a couple hamburgers once she was out of the computer...which had made the revelation that Dani had lost not a few weeks but fifteen years, and
her own body had been found dead in a river over a decade ago all the more bitter. Dani had thanked her for her help before the technicians and such from
Architect had moved in, called by Demo's report on the situation, and that had been the last she'd heard of Dani, aside from a handful of messages from
Positron reassuring her that Dani was fine but not up to visitors at the time, lest Demo grow suspicious about the lack of contact. And as such things went,
Demo had moved on with her life. Which, nonetheless, didn't make coming into contact with her friend again any less welcome, now that she'd apparently
sorted out some of her issues. She was certainly closer to the cheerful girl that Allison remembered from their time in the sim systems than the withdrawn,
melancholy one that had been the last she'd seen of her.

"Well, here we are, talking," Allison prodded after the silence stretched a bit.

"Ah...yeah....I guess it's kinda funny, but....after pushing to get into touch with you again, I don't know what to say," Dani noted,
sounding vaguely embarassed. "...I know. Why don't you come by one of the Architect facilities? I'd like to see you again, literally that

"I can do that," Allison nodded. "Though...not to put too fine a point on it, but....could it wait a couple hours?"


"It's 4AM, Dani."

"...oh! Sorry. Yeah, I can find something to occupy myself with until you get here," Dani giggled.

"Thank you," Allison said, smiling. Hearing that giggle was a breath of fresh air...and reassuring to the Sabre that, as hard hit as Dani had been
by her situation, she was recuperating.

"So, I guess I'll see you at eight then?" Dani said, sounding hopeful.

"Yeah...after I get some sleep," Allison said, quirking an eyebrow in amusement.

"Okay, okay!" Dani laughed. "I get the point. I'll let you get your beauty rest. Sweet dreams then."

"See you then, Dani," Allison said, hanging up. And, true to Dani's word, she did have rather pleasant dreams indeed....


A little fic idea that spawned from this snippet here into a full blown story idea. More to
"Oh, silver blade, forged in the depths of the beyond. Heed my summons and purge those who stand in my way. Lay
"You know, for someone who's never danced before in her life, you
fake it well," Dani chuckled as they took a break for the moment to allow Allison to catch her breath a little.

"Not too different from fighting, when you think about it," Allison
replied. "Need the right mix of flexibility and agility, improvisation...and a good partner that can compensate for when you mess up can help a lot,"
she added with a smile, taking a bit of satisfaction in the light blush that graced Dani's features at the compliment.

"Still, when you accepted my invitation, you knew what you were getting
into. Not many would take me up on that if they didn't know how to dance at all."

"I felt looking a little clumsy was worth the company," the Sabre
said. "I hope you don't mind me bringing Sammy along a little earlier to help with those creeps. I wanted to make sure we could get to you

Dani smiled faintly at the practicality inherent in that statement. She knew
the other woman was probably more than a match for the entire group that'd busted into the simulation, even all at once, but Allison was also not one to
take anything for granted, as she'd evidenced when the two had escaped from the deletion program's formatting early on in their acquaintance.
"It's fine. I mean, she seemed nice enough, and it's not as if it was anything but beating up a few punks."

Allison nodded, leaning her weight back on her arms as Dani crossed her legs.
The pair spent a while in that position, neither saying anything. Dani knew it wasn't because of awkwardness, but because her date was simply the type not
to waste words unnecessarily. Dani liked that, actually. It gave her time to frame her thoughts which were, if she were honest with herself, still a little
rattled. Really, seeing Allison again had been a decision that she'd not regretted since, not even with this most recent (totally not a date even as Dani
admitted it might as well be) date having been vaguely inconvenienced with the arrival of some of her stalkers from that Freakshow group and other hackers and
script kiddies. She certainly hadn't minded the thrashing that Demo'd handed them, to be certain. Allison hadn't thought of the implications of the
little combat with her latest suitor, Dani was certain, but that didn't mean she wouldn't think of it eventually. Demolition Sabre in action was slow
but steady, eventually grinding anything in her way underfoot, and Allison's thought processes worked the same way. But they had to be started by
something, like pulling the stick out that was holding back a boulder from rolling downhill. She'd seen it when Allison hadn't said anything about her
past until Dani'd asked(and what a story that had been), and again when she hadn't said anything about Dani's previous invitation onto a
date until Dani'd felt comfortable enough to think in those terms. It wasn't that she wasn't concerned about those things; Dani'd noticed the
infinitesimal hesitation before Allison told her life story, and she'd definitely been happy when Dani asked her to go dancing. It was just that the
younger woman, as much as that applied when Demo acted like she was 20 or older despite being barely a year old, was in possession of a surplus of patience
that could wait as long as possible, and a disposition that accepted things happened when they happened and not before.

Admit it, Dani. She's practically tailor-made for someone as
borderline screwed up as you
, she chuckled ruefully to herself. Slow to take offense and
always willing to let you take your time sorting out your feelings and minor neuroses.

Which left Dani vaguely uncertain about where this was all going. She'd
gratefully let Demo take care of her suitors, and word of the situation would probably be filtering through the Net about some of Dani's latest hasslers
being handled by "my date" which would, at least, dissuade some of the more easily intimidated. The fact that Dani's date had been seen in (all
of seven foot) full armor and was a licensed hero meant the rumors would fly off the hook in about, oh, four hours before maximum saturation of the full story,
and another hour before the in-depth overanalysis of the minimal facts began to really get out of hand. Allison, of course, wouldn't so much as be miffed
about it, going by the one news report Dani'd seen of her, but it would get her started thinking about what they were...which meant she'd be waiting
for a confirmation from Dani which she wasn't sure she could give yet. After all, Allison was attractive, especially when she let up on the
overly-practical but unflattering construction worker ensemble she tended towards. The tank top and tight shorts she'd worn along with some slightly less
utilitarian boots(still practical and easy to run in, unless Dani missed her guess), minus her almost omnipresent baseball cap had done wonders, along with
showing off the fact that not all Allison's strength came from the suit. Dani found herself idly considering a weight training sim before whapping herself
across the nose with an imaginary newspaper. Bad Dani, thoughts before hormones! You don't even have those anymore, anyway! That somber thought
was the core to her hesitation, really. Allison could probably get any guy or girl she wanted. Why hold her to someone that could never really touch
her? And never really interact in certain other ways, Dani's "nonexistent" digital hormones aside.

/* Bill Ocean "Suddenly" Suddenly */

She was so caught up that she didn't notice as Allison got up, before
holding a hand out to her with a smile. Dani blinked, noticing the music had changed, before shrugging and taking her hand as she stood up. "Bit slower
than the previous song," she pointed out, getting another smile from Allison that piqued her curiosity as they stepped out onto the floor. At that point,
Allison took the lead, smoothly pulling them into a perfect slow dance position, getting a blink from Dani. "I thought you said you didn't

"I don't...at least not the type that you were planning on. But
I've done a few odd jobs that require this kind of skill set. Apparently I have a knack for it," she explained with a slight smile that got a laugh
from Dani.

"Tricky girl. What else aren't you telling me?"

"Nothing really. Just have to ask."

"Artfully dodged, good sir," she chuckled, before letting herself
slip into the dance. Before long, she found herself comfortably ensconced, head against Allison's shoulder as the music rolled on. It was a comfortable
feeling. If only it were real...


Continuity Note: The plot of the snippet "Party
Crashers", linked to above, happens between this and part one. For the rest of the events, well...the arc's there for the playing. Wink
"Oh, silver blade, forged in the depths of the beyond. Heed my summons and purge those who stand in my way. Lay

dark seraph

Quote: Dani found herself idly considering a weight training sim before whapping herself across
the nose with an imaginary newspaper. Bad Dani, thoughts before hormones!
both cute and funny. please sir, can i have some more?