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Aberrant: Mutant High - [Fic] Bribing the Evil Glowing One!


z-The Morrigan
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This thread is not yet a free-for all. If you haven't been named in it yet, or aren't spoken to by the participants, I ask that you wait until we open it to the world at large.

:D

It had taken a lot of convincing Morri to calm down, but the feral had done it. It had been several days before she’d talk to Sonja. The busty blonde reminded herself constantly for those long days that Morri would come around, if given the time to do it at her own pace. It happened slowly: laboriously, even. But Sonja still counted herself as the lucky one; the red-eyed mutant hadn’t spoken to Alex yet.

Alex tried; in his own gentle way, he attempted to make Morri understand that they were equals. It was a little hard when she wouldn’t even met his eyes; the very attempt sent her running away from him. He tried not to let it hurt, but the drastic change between the excited girl playing on the guitar, renaming notes and this frightened child was hard to bear. It only made it worse to know that he’d caused it, indirectly. Finally, Alex waited for her to make the first overture to him.

It came only a couple of days after he stopped trying, though he didn’t recognize it. He found one of his guitar picks lying on his pillow. It had gone missing not long after he’d arrived here. Alex had assumed one of the freshmen girls that had been making eyes at him had taken it, but he’d never figured out which one. Apparently, he’d been wrong; it had just been misplaced.

Likewise, he didn’t recognize the candy bar as being from her either. It was his favorite candy, and he guessed that another admirer had left it. Some part of him hoped it was Velvet, but didn’t seem her style. Kia, maybe? The sun-child spent some time considering the possibilities, but no candidate jumped out at him.

The porn magazine was written off as a joke. It seemed the kind of thing that Warren would do for a laugh, particularly as the magazine had been called Beautiful Black Busts. So he’d laughed about it, discreetly 'read the articles' and gotten rid of it.

The escalation had gotten weird then. He’d find guitars from the school music room on his pillow, or a bit of food—always candy. Once, there were some car keys on his pillow. They’d been to Director Drumm’s car. Alex had quietly returned them, guessing that someone’s powers had gone awry. But part of him wasn’t quite sure.

Sonja’s underwear could not be ignored—in all possible meanings.

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"What the hell?"

The outburst was quiet, because one thing Alex really didn't want was for someone to overhear him. The pile of feminine silk and/or cotton was definitely not his own underwear. OR Director Drumm's - that just didn't bear thinking about. He gingerly picked up the pink, lace-lined garment and, spreading it out with both hands, regarded it with horrified and guilty fascination. Definitely girls's panties - high cut, and pink. There was only one girl in who wore underwear this size.

"What the hell?"

Sonja had left her panties on his pillow. The other presents must have been girls all giving anonymous gifts, and now... these. Was there some kind of bidding war going on that he wasn't privy to? It hardly seemed normal - even for a school for mutant teenagers - but then Alex hadn't had a lot of experience with girls before coming to the Academy. Maybe Sonja dropping her intimates on his pillow was the game's version of 'all in'.

What the hell... am I going to do?! Sonja was a good friend, once she'd forgiven his testosterone outburst that is, and sure, she was beautiful. She was also much, much bigger than him. Does that matter? Kind of. Sort of. I don't know... He pushed aside his mixed feelings about possibly dating someone he'd have to hover to kiss and focused. The first thing to do was hide the panties. If Warren saw them, he'd die laughing then likely tease Sonja mercilessly. For both his friend's sakes, Alex didn't want that exchange to happen. Maybe it would be better to have a straightforward talk with Sonja. Leaving aside the whole dating thing, he could at least explain that she didn't need to leave her frillies on his pillow. Or candy or Drumm's carkeys, either. Or porn for that matter.

Resolved on what he felt was the best course of action, Alex carefully folded the panties into his book-bag and tucked it under one arm before heading off in the direction of Sonja's dorm. He hoped to head things off before she decided to just sneak into his bed at night, or something. Now his main problem was this:

How the hell did you tell a gorgeous seven-foot woman that leaving her panties on your bed was, well, kind of weird?

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Sonja stalked through the halls, jaw clenched angrily, giving any boy she passed a suspicious glare, and regardless of how pneumatically she was built, on a girl of her size and physical prowess, it was one hell of a glare. Guys quickly got out of her way, but rarely passed up the chance to watch her go. The occasional girl, aware of the reason for the blond giantess' irritation, concealed any hint of smirks or sympathy.

"I'm not crazy!" Sonja growled emphatically as she barged into her dorm room.

"Course your not, JB," her room-mate Aradia drawled without a great deal of conviction, casting a wry glance over at the Jolly Blonde's side of the room.

Sonja was by no means a neat freak, and while her area usually had a lived-in with a few things scattered about, most things had their place. Especially with the addition of the California King sized bed dominating her half of the dorm, space was at a premium.

Currently, her half was a mess, the drawers of her dresser pulled out and the doors to her wardrobe swinging wide. Every bit of clothing and underwear she owned - not nearly as much as she had before her growth spurt, but the size made up for some of the difference - was spread out with compulsive organization all across the bed and floor.

Sonja snorted in a huff, blowing silky, silver-blond hair from her face. "I'm telling you, I didn't lose them, I didn't misplace them." Sleek, powerful rippled down her arm as she pointed aggressively back the way she came. "And didn't forget them in the laundry room - I checked every washer and dryer, though you don't even use them for something like this. Someone stole them!"

"Relax, girlfriend! You don't want to burst your bra, considering..." Aradia suggested blithely. "If it's not you, then it's some admirer or perv who wants in your pants and this is the closest he thinks he can get. It's a single pair. Let it go."

"Let is go?!" Sonja exclaimed sharply. She regarded Aradia with narrowed eyes, one hand on a cocked hip, then other ticking off points with her fingers. "For one thing, I don't like the idea of pervs stealing my goddamn underwear. Second, it breaks the set. Third..."

She gestured at herself with resigned wryness. "... it's not like I can just walk into the local Walmart--" she invested the word with the unconscious scorn of someone who, while she didn't flaunt her wealth, nonetheless never had to settle for the cheapest she could afford, "--and find something that fits. I have to get my clothes custom made and shipped from my aunts in Iceland. Forth - I want it back!"

Her indigo eyes narrowed even further with a sudden suspicion. "This isn't some prank, is it, Ari?"

"What?! No, I'd never do that to you, Sonja," Aradia assured her room-mate with super-sweetened earnestness, her glowing eyes widening in a proclamation of pure honesty, her hands held up in surrender. When Sonja frowned slightly, Aradia bounced off her bed, a salesman smile on her face. "Hey, how 'bout I go chat up some associates of mine who deal in... harmless mischief, say, and see if they know anything?"

Without waiting for a reply, Aradia bamfed away, giving time for the crazy to settle. She found the situation funny, herself - it was just easier if Sonja didn't know that.

Sonja sighed in disgust, sure Aradia was laughing at her. Yes, it was a small thing, but it was still embarrassing. She shuddered, just picturing her panties getting traded around the among the guys, and the stories they'd tell about how they got them. There was also a small sense of violation - she had left them hanging to dry in the bathroom and someone had just waltzed in and stolen them.

She had only spent a few minutes starting to put her clothes away when she noticed the time and realized it was time to go. She wanted to meet up with Morri. Things between them had mostly been patched up over the last few days, but she wanted to solidify it as well as help her adjust and acclimate so they could avoid future... incidences, so she was making herself as available as possible without being intrusive or pushing. And maybe put in word for Alex.

And over that time, she had gotten a good start in replacing things to fit her new stature, such as a new bed. She picked up her smartphone, hoping to get a notice from the garage that the adjustment to driver's seat so she could slide it back far enough to fit behind the wheel was done. While waiting for it, she skimmed the website for her aunts' clothing shop, putting in another order.

Focused on her smartphone, she spun around from locking her door and nearly bowled over Alex before his warm glow told her he was even there. She steadied him with a hand on his shoulder - her size and mass causing Alex to be on the losing end of the collision - and gave him a dazzling, apologetic smile.

"Oh! Hey, Alex, sorry 'bout that," the amazonian Barbie-esque woman said in her low, rich alto, flashing him her smartphone too quickly to get a good look at what was on the screen. "I'm still working on rebuilding my wardrobe. What's up? Morri still playing 'stay-away' with you?"

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"Rebuilding your wardrobe?" Alex asked a trifle slowly, keeping eye contact through a combination of innate chivalry and intense effort. "Why? What happened to- Oh! Right. Wardrobe as in 'collection of clothes'... Right." He shook his head to clear it and tried not to chicken out: this whole situation was a little intimidating. And now that Sonja was obviously on her way out from her room, there was no way to discreetly talk things out.

Or was there?

Perhaps it would be better, actually. Sonja's roomie wouldn't be present, for one. Alex thought for a brief moment and smiled at Sonja.

"I was wondering if you had a moment, you know, to chat?"

"I was going to go hang out with Morri, so if you want we can walk and talk." Sonja said briskly, glancing at her phone again. She was running late already thanks to whichever soon-to-be-smacked horny teenage retard had stolen her panties.

"Well, it's that I found something in my room." Alex managed to get out as he hurried along next to her. At Sonja's glance he went on "Actually, I'm kind of flattered, so I don't want you to be offended, but there's really no need to-" Sonja stopped and gave him a concerned gaze.

"What the heck are you talking about?" she demanded, but gently. Alex seemed really uptight and tense, now that she was actually paying attention to him. He sighed and looked around, then leaned in closer, his summery warmth playing over her skin.

"The... gifts you've been leaving."

"Gifts?" Sonja was perplexed as well as concerned. Alex flushed a little, his skin turning bronze under the gold.

"You know what I mean." he said, wondering why she was making this so difficult. It must be an innocent act. His voice dropped lower. "The... gifts."

"Alex, I like you fine, but it's not your birthday, or Christmas, so why in tarnation would I be leaving gifts in your room?!" Sonja demanded with some asperity. She saw those sky-blue eyes blink as he absorbed something from her tone and posture. He swallowed, then straightened up, his flush deepening.

"Um... in that case, I really think you're going to want these back. Someone's been playing silly buggers." he said unzipping his book bag and holding it so the Amazonian girl could see what was inside...

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Morri hung out of Alex’s window for a moment, looking around to be sure no one was here to spot her. It wasn’t that she was ashamed of what she was doing; far from it. Shame had nothing to do with her survival. The feral just preferred to moving around without being seen. She’d done very well at not being seen, watching from the tree outside of Alex’s window as he accepted her latest gift. Morri had been lucky to find them in the bathroom. Eileen’s tutorage regarding the bathroom had been clear: things left in the bathroom were trash. Well, no one would mind if Morri used some of the trash she’d found in there for appeasing Alex.

He’d seemed less pleased with this gift than the others. Morri was learning what he liked and what he didn’t. He’d particularly seemed to enjoy the magazine; he’d spent several hours going through it. Sadly, she hadn’t found any more like it to give him. He liked the candy, but he frowned about the guitars and the car keys. Now, he didn’t like the panties.

Morri didn’t understand. Alex was a boy. He liked boy-things. Why didn’t he like the underwear? Her careful snooping had left her to believe that Sonja’s panties, particularly when they were wet, were very desirable to a boy.

Sometimes, she didn’t know why she tried. She could run away and go live with the animals. They were easy to understand; they didn’t have complex rules or feelings to hurt and they certainly didn’t blow rocks up with killing beams of light. She owed Eileen for freeing her; sometimes, that was the only reason she thought she stayed. But when she considered leaving, really thought about slipping away, a hole of pain opened in her chest. Something was wrong with her. Places shouldn’t make you hurt when you considered leaving them.

There was no one to see her leave the room. Morri looked back over her shoulder, staring at the gift and wondering if Alex would like it. Many boys had talked with wonder about Oneca’s black corset; they had spoken of getting inside of it with the same heated desire that they’d spoken of getting into Sonja’s panties. But Alex hadn’t gotten inside the panties; he’d just touched them and stared at them before leaving with them. If he’d really wanted to be in them, he would have put them on immediately. Morri knew he changed in his room freely; she’d seen it. Maybe she’d brought him the wrong panties? Frowning, the feral considered the possibility that she’d misunderstood which panties were the ‘good ones’. Sonja had many; it would be easy to become confused.

Perhaps the corset would please him.

Morri jumped from the window to the tree and then slithered down the truck. Sonja wanted to meet her and do social lies. Morri was amenable to this; she liked social lies with Sonja. As she ran across campus, she sang to herself, “… Whale you dun dun me and you bet eye felt it eye tried to be chil butt your sew hot eye melted eye fell right thru the craks now eyem tryin’ two get back…”

She really hoped the corset would please him. Morri wanted more Mew-Sick with Alex.

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A fair brow crinkled quizzically as Sonja glanced down, her vantage point meaning Alex barely had to tilt his book bag to give her a good view. Her mouth dropped open in surprise at what it contained. She looked up at him, full lips turning down in a small frown, then back at the bag, her missing panties glistening pinkly within its confines.

When she turned her indigo eyes back on the golden boy, they glittered with anger and a touch of hurt and her cheeks flushed a furious red. She balled her hands into a pair of fists and planted them firmly on her hips - it was better than wrapping them around Alex's neck or throwing him through a wall. He was a friend after all and probably had a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. He'd better...

"Alex! What the hell?! It was you?!" she growled irately and at seven feet tall, that was a lot of irate. If anything she seemed even bigger at the moment and with her coat folded over an arm and wearing a shirt-sleeved T-shirt, there was no concealing the breadth of her muscular shoulders or the thickness of her toned arms. Somehow,

Alex found himself backed up against the hallway wall, Sonja looming over him though she never touched him. Her low voice dropped to a fierce whisper so others wouldn't overhear. "I knew it! I knew someone had stolen my panties. I just never imagined it could be you, Alex. How could you, I thought we were friends."

"We are friends, Sonja," Alex assured her, holding up his hands in surrender, his golden aura roiling around him as his considered if taking defensive action was warranted. "God's honest, I just found them in my room, sitting on my pillow." He spoke in a voice as low as hers and flashed her an uncertain grin. "I thought they were, well, a gift. From you."

"You thought these...," Sonja hissed, eyes narrowing dangerously as she leaned closer, a hand reaching into his book bag. She looked both ways down the hall to see if the coast was clear - a glare at a pair of girls lingering to see if Alex was going to be off the market, or maybe in traction, ensured that is was - pulled out the silken, pink cloth, shoved it under his nose, then stuffed into a pocket of her coat. "... were a gift?"

"Er, yes. It's not as strange as it sounds." Alex winced - it sounded exactly as strange as it did. "Things have been... escalating."

Sonja stared at him suspiciously, head cocked to the side, then took a small step back, giving Alex a bit of breathing room. On the other hand with her arms folded across her chest, breasts that would be oversized on anyone else were heaving just under his eyes. "Explain."

He did. It could have sounded like one of the lamest excuses of all time, but Alex conveyed it with such genuine earnestness that Sonja had to believe him, however reluctantly. Plus, she couldn't see why he'd lie about it after coming to her with her panties. Damn. It meant the thief was still out there somewhere.

"Fine, I believe you," the stacked giantess sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, then snorted. "People are weird. Okay, this is what we are going to do. First, this never happened."

"Agreed. What never happened?" Alex grinned and Sonja returned it. She backed off, standing beside him instead of in front of him, no longer looming, just standing in friendly talliness.

"Right. Next, we're gonna meet up with Morri and see what she's up for. I'll enact the friend-of-a-friend clause, if I have too. You two are kinda miserable avoiding each other. It has to stop." Sonja paused for a moment, an idea making her eyes brighten. "Hey, Morri has that hunter's nose, right? Maybe we can ask her to track down your secret - and very weird - admire, the panty-theif Sound good?"

"Sounds good."

The two extremely attractive blonds headed down the hallway to meet up with their dusky friend. And to maybe solve an odd mystery, But in a school full of mutants, was there really any other kind?

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“…Sew peas don’t peas don’t peas don’t theres no kneed to comp ply Kate cause our time is short, this was this was this was our fate eyem… yours...”

Two benches away from her, Riley sighed with relief as the Morrigan’s abused rendition of I’m Yours trailed off. The words sounded right until you really started to listen to them and then you realized they were horribly, horribly wrong. But it wasn’t like you could ask her to stop either—it was the Morrigan and asking her to stop was likely to result in you losing limbs. So you endured it.

A moment later, the Morrigan rose from her seat. Something about the way she moved made the other mutant look up to see what was wrong. The feral stared at something that he couldn’t quite see, then looked around frantically. If he didn’t know better, he’d say she was afraid. He opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, just as the Morrigan scuttled into the shadows under his bench.

Riley froze. I’m going to die, he thought with surprising calm, then thought, Shouldn’t I be panicking right about now? Oh, so this is what being so scared you can’t move is like. His bladder informed him that unless something changed, it was going to help the situation by lightening his load. That was when he saw Sonja, walking with Alex.

The most gorgeous woman on campus, accompanied by the guy that everyone wanted to hate but couldn’t. They approached the small area like people on a mission, pausing to looking over the area before walking to Riley. “Hey, Riley,” Sonja said with a smile. “How’s it going?”

“Help me.” He wanted to die the moment he heard the fear-sodden whisper that dribbled through his lips. Riley knew she was one of the strongest mutants around, and that she was somewhat friendly with Morri—when the feral mutant wasn’t cutting her open like a fish. Maybe Sonja wasn’t his salvation; perhaps the point to his existence was to slow down the Morrigan’s strike enough that it wouldn’t damage Sonja’s breasts. Crap! My shirt is even red today!

“What’s wrong?” Alex asked.

“It’s. Under. My. Bench. It’s. Going. To. Kill. Me.” Riley hissed the words through clenched teeth, praying that the Morrigan wouldn’t catch that he was betraying her hiding place. He also didn’t want to give her any ideas.

Alex killed that hope by asking with a frown, “What is?”

“The M-O-R-R-I-G-A-N!” She couldn’t spell, could she? Riley prayed to any god listening that she couldn’t. “Help me.

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Alex didn't quite know whether to laugh or not at the rictus of terror on the other boy's face. On the one hand the pants-shitting fear was palpable: it wasn't fun to be so afraid, and Alex had enough empathy to be un-amused. On the other hand... it was Morri! While he knew that she was dangerously volatile and - much like a wild animal - prone to sudden violence when she felt threatened or angry, he couldn't reconcile her as being malevolent. Strange as it may seem, Morri was actually kind of sweet... in a 'handle with caution' kind of way. Then again, when Alex got to thinking about how Sonja had very nearly turned him into a pretzel over a misunderstanding when he'd been trying to do the right thing, Morri wasn't much different from certain other people of the female persuasion...

"Ah... Riley. Why don't you go and have a drink?" Alex said in a level, calm voice, his young tenor soothing as the golden warmth of his aura. "A calm drink. Unhurried." he added as the other boy grabbed his books and bag. Eyes so wide they nearly rolled from their sockets, Riley slowed his movements to an almost comical pace, trying not to flinch at the sound - was that a growl? - coming from under the bench. As Riley made his Most-Hurriedly-Casual-Escape-Ever way to the door, Alex looked at Sonja and nodded his head in the direction of the bench, careful himself not to approach any closer.

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Sonja flashed Riley an apologetic smile - though whether due to Morri-induced terror or simply being barely taller than her, making him eye-level with the bottom of the huge blonde's breasts, the boy hardly noticed - then returned Alex's nod. The golden boy wasn't sure if he was imagining it, but he thought there was something in Sonja's expression that suggested she knew what he was thinking concerning the vagaries of the female psyche.

As Sonja strode up to the bench, hips rolling and more graceful than anyone her size should be, she suppressed a roll of her eyes. Morri was her friend, true, and she tried her best to be patient with her, especially after hearing about some of her history, but she could be way too skittish sometimes. Morri was her friend, but Alex was too, and Sonja was getting tired of the distance between the two, especially since they were friends too, exploding rock or no exploding rock.

Ignoring Morri's taut, near inaudible growl, Sonja sat down on the bench vacated by Riley, her remarkable legs stretched out before her. Blowing a lock of hair from her face with a puff of breath, Sonja leaned forward, her breasts pressing into her thighs as she peeked under the bench, her silvery-white hair falling to the ground like a silken curtain.

Sonja smile at the sight of a pair of glowing red eyes and the faint outlines of a shadowed face. "Hey, Morri!" she greeted her friend with a smile. "I wasn't planning on us playing hide-and-go-seek, but we can if you want, but it'll hardly be fair with Alex here, since he glows, hmm?"

Sonja tilted her head to shoot Alex a wry grin before turning back to Morri. "We met on the way here for... another reason and I could hardly tell a friend to go away because I was meeting another friend, right? Especially when my two friends are friends too. That wouldn't be polite. So I said he could come along and hang with us. You don't mind, do you, Morri? We'll still do whatever you want to do."

Despite Morri's social... issues, Sonja couldn't stand simple-speak some people used with Morri and spoke to her like she did anyone else, if perhaps a little more patiently, believing it would help her communicate more effectively. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she glanced at Alex for a moment, an amused curve to her lips.

"I - I mean Alex - is having a minor problem at the moment. Maybe you can help him track it down?" she coaxed gently.

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The growling faded as Sonja spoke; despite her feral insanity, Sonja was still a friend. Another growl rolled out at the first mention of Alex’s name through it didn’t come back.”

Morri was torn; Sonja wanted her to do something to help Alex, but it was Alex. He’d shown her that he was the bigger mutant, but he hadn’t shown her that she was safe with him. And until she knew she was safe, she shouldn’t let her guard down or trust him—and she certainly shouldn’t help him. He might want her to find someone who would hurt her. When she couldn’t find a fault in her own logic, she defaulted to her feral, untrusting ways.

“No help Alex! He hurt!”

“Oh for!” Sonja swallowed the words she’d been about to say to her insane red-eyed friend and instead said, “Then help me. Alex is helping me and he’s not going to hurt you. He hasn’t hurt you, I don’t know where you’re getting the idea he’s going to hurt you. But you’ll help me, your friend, right?”

Morri was quiet, thinking. Something in her wanted to heal the rift between them. She missed mew-sick and just wanted Alex to show her he’d accepted her peace offerings. Perhaps doing something to help him while pretending it was to help Sonja would be enough to get him to accept her overtures.

In a sudden movement, Morri rolled out from the bench, stopping in a crouch out of grabbing reach of both mutants. She trusted Sonja, but with her nerves so upset, it was a good idea to give herself space. “What do?”

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They finally managed to get the door open and stumble through it, gigging and refusing to disengage for even the barest few seconds that would have had them through the door nearly ten minutes ago. Warren kicked the door shut behind them, tickling up her sides and enjoying the feel of soft fabric over his girlfriend's...."girl's". Hot as she looked in her corsets, they took forever unlace.

"Babe," Oneca laughed between kisses, catching his face between her palms. "I get that boys will be boys...but if you're gonna swipe my clothes, try not to share them with Light Bulb, huh?" She pointed his face towards his roommate's bed where her favorite corset was laid out, complete with a King-sized Hershey's bar sticking out of one of the cups.

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  • 1 month later...

As Morri tumbled out from under the bench, Sonja sat up, tossing her platinum hair over her shoulder and leaning back against the wall, crossing her legs and folding her well muscled arms beneath her spectacular breasts to give Morri a bit more distance. Sonja met her unblinking crimson stare with a faint grin - getting Morri out from under the bench was progress.

Sonja gave Alex an assured nod even though she wasn't as confident as she was pretending to be. She unfolded her arms, moving her hands to her knee, one foot bouncing idly, as she focused back on Morri.

"Well, you see, Morri, someone has been leaving... gifts for Alex in his room." Her voice was deep and soothing and she quirked her lips teasingly at Alex for a moment. "And I'm sure Alex would love to thank whoever it is in person, if he knew who it was. The problem is, one of those... 'gifts' belonged to me."

The superhumanly gorgeous amazon's fair cheeks grew pink at what that gift was, sitting in her pocket. "I just want Alex's admirer to stop taking anymore of my under- my clothes. I don't have that much that fits me now and it's hard to find more that does, right."

She shot Alex a warning look, then leaned forward again, flashing Morri an eager and earnest smile. "And you're the best hunter with the sharpest nose in school, Morri. Think you can help us track this person down so we explain things?"

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  • 1 month later...

“Not belong you.” Morri’s eyes had narrowed in challenge at Sonja’s words, but she had allowed the tall teen to finish her statement.

“What?” Of all the responses Morri could have given, this was the one that Sonja didn’t expect.

“Not belong you. In bathroom. Trash in bathroom. Bad things. Ghar bage. No yours.” Morri’s concept of ownership had always been kinda flimsy, so this kind of mistake wasn’t unusual. It took Sonja another beat to realize what Morri had confessed. “Wait, you left the gifts for Alex?” She exchanged a surprised look with Alex, who was already flushing at the revelation. “Morri, do you… like him? Like how…” She’d started to say “Like how girls like guys” but realized that it was very unlikely that Morri had the first clue about dating and relationships. “Why did you give Alex those gifts?”

Morri’s eyes darted nervously and it looked like she might rabbit off. Instead, she assumed a slightly hunched posture, her eyes locking onto Alex’s feet. “You like?” she asked, her voice soft with hope and fear.

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  • 1 month later...

A small, cut-off sound escaped Sonja's lips. If Alex of Morri took a moment to look at her, they'd find the blonde giant tight-lipped and red-faced with the effort of stifling gut-bursting laughter, her arms wrapped tight around her stomach. Her irritation at finding her underwear stolen (however unintentionally) had completely faded away.

The situation was completely absurd. Morri looked so cute and vulnerable, waiting on Alex's response. The glowing teen looked totally flummoxed. Sonja made the mistake of glancing up at them again and made a strangled noise as she made a poor attempt at restraining her peals of laughter.

She just couldn't help it. She either wanted to roll around on the ground, or give the both of the hugs. Maybe both.

"I'm... I'm good. I'm all-alright," Sonja managed to choke out in a gasping stammer, holding up a hand, her indigo eyes bright with unshed tears of hilarity. "Yes... Alex, you like?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

He stared at Sonja's hilarity, then back at Morri with an expression somewhere between utterly baffled and faintly boggled. She had been leaving underwear and snacks and... the magazine...

,,

Oh god

,,

The solar mutant teen's handsome features were suffused with a strong blush, which he tried to fight down as he struggled for words, looking at Morri's hunched posture. She was scared, he realised through the pink haze of mortification. He smiled helplessly - it was kind of sweet, which was how he thought of Morri most of the time anyway. Carefully, he stepped forwards and took one of Morri's hands, moving slowly enough that she wouldn't spook.

,,

"I like that you wanted to give me gifts, Morri. Thank you." he told the feral teen in a gentle, warm voice, still blushing under his golden skin. He'd explain about the taking people's stuff later, he decided.

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Alex was going to forgive her. Morri had been shivering when he approached her; the urge to run was almost overwhelming. What held her there was Son Ja and Mew-Sick. She wanted the Mew-Sick back badly, with a desire that was almost painful. So she let Alex get close to her and take her hand, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to get away from him if he decided to hurt her.
When he thanked her, the tension coiled out of her body and expression. A small smile graced her dark face, and Morri straightened. Things were normal for about two nanoseconds before Morri tucked her face against Alex’s. Specifically, she pressed her nose to the underside of his chin. It was not a particularly human social gesture, though it was a social gesture.
Alex looked nervously up at Sonja just as Morri began to rub her face against his chest. She was being exuberant in her relief; Sonja had seen this before. Grinning, she helped by saying, “I know you’re happy to have made up with Alex, Morri, but there are better ways to show it.”
Morri turned her face to Son Ja, remaining against Alex as she peeked at her tall friend with one red eye. “Better?” she asked.
“Most people hug their friends. You’ve seen people hug here.” Sonja demonstrated by moving behind Alex and putting her arms around him and Morri. “See?”
Morri stepped back, looking uneasy. “Fuh king?” she asked.
“What!? No, a hug is not, uh… more.” Sonja frowned a little. Where is she getting this from?
“Son Ja fuh king to Alex and Morri.” Morri was pretty insistent on this point.
Sonja’s eyes almost fell out of her head. “Uh, no, and please don’t say that, Morri! Someone will get the wrong idea.”
“Why do you say that?” Alex asked her, his face red even as he struggled to approach this calmly.
Morri’s expression shifted into confused frustration; she wore than when struggling to come up with words and concepts for her feelings. The two waited patiently until she said. “Af Ri Ka, that fuh king. Arms wrap. Told that fuh king.”
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Have I been saying 'fuck' in front of Morri? Sonja cudgeled her brain, deep indigo eyes glistening in sympathy even as a seething rage began welling up in her chest. Ms. Gomez had told her some of what had happened to Morri in Africa and at that very moment, Sonja would have been perfectly happy if the entire continent had been glassed and shattered into a zillion bits.

,,

Letting Morri keep her distance, Sonja slowly stretched out a long arm and gave the dusky, feral girl a gentle, consoling squeeze on the shoulder. "Oh, Morri-sweetie, I'm so sorry, you were told wrong." Sonja's lips curved in a sad smile, but there was a fierce edge to it. "What those people were doing... It may have looked like hugging, but it wasn't hugging."

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Sonja worried a full lip, seeing Morri's suspicious incomprehension, and trying to figure out a way to explain that wouldn't make her feel like she was scarring a child for life. "Hmm? Morri, see my shirt? It's green." Sonja tugged at her pastel green blouse, then pointed out at one of the tiles on the floor. "That tile is green too. Both are green, but there are different too. You see, Morri? Just like what they said was that... word looked like hugging, it wasn't hugging."

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The big blonde crouched down a bit, bringing her closer to Morri's eye level. "A hug can mean many things, but none of them have anything to do with what those men were doing to those women. A hug can show you care, can be used to say thank-you, to show that you are happy or that you are sad, that you are there for someone when they are sad, and many more things. Can I show you?"

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Morri still looked wary and tense, but nodded. "Yes."

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Sonja smiled and knelt on one knee, then calmly but inexorably drew Morri into a hug, strong arms going around her back, softly at first, then more firmly as Morri didn't resist. Morri was tensed at first, but slowly began to relax as no hint of threat loomed. Son Ja was big and strong, but she felt safe, the warmth of her body soothing.

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"You can put your arms around me too, Morri," Sonja suggested in a low voice, her lips near Morri's ear. Tentatively, Morri complied, though her arms didn't go as far around the over-sized teenager. Sonja's smile widened and she gave Morri at pat on the back before leaning back to meet Morri's glowing red eyes. "And that is a hug, Morri."

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There was a hesitant half-grin on Morri's face, then she cocked her head to side, brows furrowing questioningly. "If that hug ging, what fuh king?"

,,

Sonja's mouth dropped open, her eyes going wide in near panic as she glanced over Morri's head at Alex. Dammit! "Uh..."

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They finally managed to get the door open and stumble through it, gigging and refusing to disengage for even the barest few seconds that would have had them through the door nearly ten minutes ago. Warren kicked the door shut behind them, tickling up her sides and enjoying the feel of soft fabric over his girlfriend's...."girl's". Hot as she looked in her corsets, they took forever unlace.

"Babe," Oneca laughed between kisses, catching his face between her palms. "I get that boys will be boys...but if you're gonna swipe my clothes, try not to share them with Light Bulb, huh?" She pointed his face towards his roommate's bed where her favorite corset was laid out, complete with a King-sized Hershey's bar sticking out of one of the cups.

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Warren's brow raised slightly as his cheeks smushed together. He turned back to Neca and kissed her once more before breaking away and walking to Alex's bed. "Uh uh. I just have that one sports bra you let me keep for power practice." His explanation was strangely serious, for Warren anyway. "Someone left this out for Alex to find, not us. Who would raid your closet and give your clothes to Alex? The door is locked, it's always locked. Alex and I are paranoid about people sneaking in and messing with our guitars, those are things are our babies."

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"Boys, and their toys." Oneca smirked. She knelt down and opened the door, the one that took them so much work to get through not moments before. Her hours with Warren were paying off, she was learning how to pick locks, trick alarms and generally all the sorts of fun things that look terrible on a resume. "Door wasn't picked." She said casually, inspecting the lock. "Teleporter, maybe? You think Jaunt or Aradia are up to shenanigans again?"

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"Doubtful." He replied. Neither was paying much attention to the other as they looked around the room. Warren wasn't mad someone had broken in, as a fellow thief himself he was suddenly obsessed with not knowing so much as who but how they got in. "Jaunt is still avoiding you like the plague. He has been since you nearly kicked the crap out of him for calling you a 'trite bitch', remember?"

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Oneca smiled and held in a laugh. She closed the door and stood up, gazing around the room for her next spot to investigate. It wasn't as much fun as making out, but it was an interesting change of pace, besides, she knew Warren was an expert thief, and watching him ply his skills was sort of cool. "Seriously? Wow, I'd forgotten about that. That kid needs to learn to let go, I have. Although the way he pleaded 'not in the face' in that whiny voice of his does sometimes lullaby me to sleep at night."

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"The window." His voice was low and Oneca met him by the sill. "The glass is smeared, and the branches in the tree across the way are broken. Someone leapt from the tree to our window, or to the roof and let themselves in. Who the hell climbs in trees?" Warren could have connected the dots had he spent more time with Morri, but he tended to keep his contact with her to a minimum, or rather was forced to by threat of death from Sonja after he'd told her that the word "bukake" was a polite way of greeting someone you considered a friend. It took Sonja nearly a week to get her to stop saying 'bukake' every couple of minutes. Oneca was always down for good prank, but there were certain targets that were off limits, Morri was of them. Even she was a little irritated at him for that one (she still choked back a chuckle every time Morri said it though... seriously, who wouldn't?).

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"Okay," Oneca smiled and kissed her lover gently on his lips. Dating a bad boy was sort of cool sometimes. Warren had actually done everything he claimed to, from breaking and entering to street fighting to gang violence in Manhattan. He was everything a mother feared their daughter would meet and fall for. "Color me impressed. Where'd you learn to be all 'Detective Verona'?"

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Enjoying her touch and especially her lips on his, Warren smiled back and suavely shrugged. "Well, you fracture an occasional law here and there and eventually you learn what to look for."

,,

Oneca took his hand and led him towards the door. "My turn." She said, not letting on to where she was taking him. "I think I know who we're looking for."

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Alex frowned a little at Sonja as she looked his way. What?! *I* have to explain the birds and the bees? Come ON! Then he sighed, briefly toying with the idea of going and enlisting Eileen's help, but from what he'd seen of Morri's reactions to certain words and events, Eileen had a habit of simply declaring something was 'bad' and putting off the difficult explanations. Morri's reaction to pizza illustrated this most clearly: sure, pizza wasn't the healthiest of the healthy, but it wasn't 'bad'. It was all down to context, and Eileen's explanations to Morri did not try to frame things in terms of relative context. It was a little disturbing, actually. Morri wasn't a 2 year old - hell, even 2 year olds ought to have better explanations than that.

"Okay." Alex sighed again, then smiled at Morri and sat down on one of the vacated benches. "Have a seat, Morri. This is complicated." Morri flowed onto the bench beside him, her evident relief at being friends again translating into her leaning on him a little as she fixed him with an attentive gaze that was disconcerting. Two-year old. Two year old. Alex mentally chanted as he felt her soft weight on his arm.

"Com-plik-ated" Morri repeated. "Means hard." Alex nodded.

"Hard to explain." he agreed. "Hugging is, most of the time, like when you pressed your face on my chest just now. To hug someone like that says "I like you and I trust you. We are friends." Sometimes hugging means more than that, but it's basically saying "Like you, trust you, friends." Okay?" Alex smiled at her, looking to Sonja to see how he was doing. She nodded encouragingly. "That bit's easy, right?"

Morri nodded. "Hug-ging means friends."

"Right. Now we need to add context."

"Con-teck-sed?"

"Yes. Hugging can mean slightly different things depending on who is hugging who." Alex forged onwards. "Like if Sonja hugs you, it means she's your friend. But she might really, really like a boy, more than she likes other friends, and when she hugs him, she will hug him like more than just a friend."

"More than friend?" Morri frowned, concentrating.

"Yes, which is where the other word comes in. Kind of."

,,

"Fuh-king?" Morri narrowed her eyes.

,,

"Smooth, Alex. Real smooth." Sonja muttered, trying not to laugh at the reddening expression on the Adonis's face.

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"What you need to know right now, Morri, is that hugging is not the same as fucking." Alex ignored Sonja and focused on the lesson at hand. Hearing the well-spoken, upper-class young man say that word seemed somehow wrong. "Fucking is something else. Sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's, well, good I guess. Saying the word is never polite, though. Some people say it when they're angry, for instance."

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"Alex said fuh-king when angry." Morri regarded him gravely. "When Morri made angry." She wasn't worried now: Alex had forgiven her, after all.

,,

"Yeeaah, I am so sorry about getting angry, Morri. It wasn't good of me." Alex said with a gentle apologetic smile for her. "You didn't mean any harm to me."

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“Morri no hurt. Morri guard Alex. Now Alex guard Morri.” He barely had time to consider the responsibility Morri had tossed onto him before she startled him again. The feral gave him a little smile, then ducked forward. He held out his arms for a hug and got it, only to have it followed by her kissing his chin. No, not kissing he realized a beat later, nibbling, like an affectionate animal. It was as if Morri had seen more of animals being affectionate to one another than she’d seen humans. The moment he thought it, he realized that might be exactly where she’d learned all her weird mannerisms; that her role models had not been human.
The best way to combat that was with new role models. “Sonja, come join us.” Alex nodded for her to sit on the other side of Morri. The moment Sonja did, Morri put an arm around her as well. It wasn’t going to work, and the two more experienced mutants showed her how to ‘hug’ both of them by tucking her arms around one of theirs. When she had that figured out, she wiggled and tugged until both of them were almost leaning against her. Either might have objected, but Morri looked ridiculously happy. Even PIE! had nothing on this level of cute contentment as she snuggled between her two friends, tightly hugging their arms.
Morri sighed happily as she contemplated life. It was a very good life, hug-ging her friends. She had Alex back, and probably mew-sick back. Oddly, though she had missed the mew-sick, she didn’t feel the need to ask about it. Maybe, she realized, it hadn’t really been the mew-sick she missed.
The three enjoyed the moment for a bit, but with Morri, those moments were brief and usually followed by some insane weirdness. “Son Ja?”
“Yes, Morri?”
“Show hug-ging. Now show fuh-king?”
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As usual, Oneca managed to show up with Warren at just the right moment. "Yeah, Sonja, Alex, show Morri fucking now." She motioned at Alex and then burst out laughing into Warren's shoulder. "I-I'm sure it'd be....educational," she was giggling so hard she could barely speak, "for everyone involved."

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She managed to straighten up and get a hold of her giggles enough to give Morri a mock-serious look, "Though you might want to ask more experienced teachers, Morri. I'm pretty sure Barbie and Sunshine are still riding the virgin train." She gave her sister a challenging look and winked at Alex.

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Morri just stared at her with those confused red eyes, "Vir gin train?" She peered at Sonja and Alex, then declared, "Stan ding. Not ri ding."

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"They haven't had sex, uh done fucking, before," Oneca responded, knocked a bit off her teasing track by the feral mutant's child-like ignorance. She shook her head, still holding on to Warren's arm. "You guys always have the most fascinating conversations."

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Sonja returned her sister's challenging look with one so flat, it would make a level envious, though there was the faintest hint of a blush tinting her flawless cheeks. It wasn't that she was competing with 'Neca, but it was somewhat awkward that her younger sister had a boyfriend and had sex before she did. Sonja could have told their parents, but in her rebellious, gothy phase, that would only encourage her.

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Sonja crossed her legs primly, fingers laced over her knee and gave a short sniff. "Some of us are more discerning and have a higher value on what we can only give up once," the too big, too pretty blonde muttered coolly. Her lips tightened firmly as she cut a quick glance towards Morri before locking her indigo eyes back on Oneca. "And while... 'fascinating,' there can be serious ramifications in what we say during these conversations."

,,

She gave Oneca and Warren a pointed look, clearly telling them to leave so she and Alex and continue with the touchy and delicate conversation without interference. But with Oneca's obvious sly amusement and Warren being Warren, it only took s moment for Sonja to realize that wasn't happening. Sonja sighed deeply. They'd have to continue before the Trouble Couple decided to take it upon themselves. That would be just awful.

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Sonja shifted slightly, putting an arm around Morri's shoulders and glancing down at the feral girl sitting between her and Alex, her expression serious, but not foreboding. This isn't going to be easy... She tried to ignore Oneca and Warren making no secret of their interest and hoped she wouldn't have to do something to prevent them from blabbing this throughout the school and causing her to die from terminal embarrassment.

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"Sweetie, I'm really not the one to so show you... uh, fucking-"

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"You could be," Oneca interjected sweetly. "I'm sure you'd look great in flannel."

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"-And I don't think you need anyone to show you right now either," Sonja continue, shooting Oneca a venomous glance. "But I'll tried to explain. Erm, 'fucking' is one of those words that can mean more than one thing." Sonja winced. It wasn't that she was adverse to swearing, but doing it in front of Morri felt like doing it in front of a Kindergartener. "And other words can mean fucking too. Like 'making love,' 'sex,' many other others. People do it for many reasons."

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Morri considered this, comparing it to what she had learned of hug-ging. "What is fuh-king?"

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Sonja pinched the bridge of her nose - how did she explain without going into clinical or visual detail. Ah! "Morri, have you ever seen animals mating?" Sonja demonstrated with her hands, one mounting the other from behind. "Like this?"

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"Yes." Morri didn't seem too impressed or understand the relevance.

,,

"That is essentially sex - fucking - and how babies are made. And while it can lead to babies if someone isn't careful," Sonja gave her sister a very warning look, then included Warren as well, "That isn't the only reason people fuck - I mean have sex. Most of the time, it's a way to show someone you love very much how much you care and trust someone, even more than hugging."

,,

There were way more degrees than that, but going into it would just confuse Morri. On the other hand, she really hoped this didn't go wrong and Morri decided she needed to do something more than hugging to show her feelings to her friends. Sonja tensed, waiting for the inevitable comment from Oneca or Warren.

,,

Sonja turned more, one leg folded across the bench as she face Morri directly. Her eyes intent and sympathetic, she held Morri's shoulders in strong, gentle hands. "What you saw in Africa, that was is another word for fucking. Rape." Sonja's disgusted and angry tone made it clear it was a very bad word.

,,

"That is fucking when you don't give your partner a choice, when force them to do it. It takes away any love or caring that could be there and leaves something bad and ugly. It is one of the worse things that someone can do to another, and one of the worse things that can happen to someone. Never, never let anyone fuck you who you don't want to Morri. It has to be consensual."

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Sonja almost trembled, feeling slightly sick. This isn't how she wanted to explain it - she hadn't wanted to explain it at all - but this entire conversation had started with something Morri had misconstrued in Africa. "Consensual means both people have to agree."

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As her friend talked about sex, a memory tugged at Morri’s mind, but she steadfastly refused to remember it. The more Sonja talked, the harder the memory poked at her, demanding to be heard. But Morri fought back; the only sign of her struggle was a slight tremble that rattled her body. Alex and Sonja both felt it through their close contact with the girl and they exchanged concerned glances over her head. “Morri?” Alex asked softly. “What’s wrong?”

Morri shook her head and drew up her knees. Hiding her face against her legs, she thought about the snow and her friends and I-lean and anything else but that memory trying to surface. It worked; the fear and pain faded as the plaguing recollection failed to gain a foothold. When Morri lifted her head, she looked calm. Her expression had a touch of strain in it, but she didn’t look upset anymore.

“Fuh… Sex make bay-bee?” Morri smiled a little. “Morri like bay-bees.”

“Alex could help you with that,” Oneca said, grinning at the glowing bombshell.

“Alex will not.” Few people thought of Alex as stereotypically uptight, but his posture was stiffer than it had been a moment ago. “Don’t joke about that, Oneca. Morri doesn’t understand the responsibilities and problems with a baby.”

“Then be sure to teach her about condoms or other birth control. Stop talking to her like she’s a kid.” Oneca leaned against her boyfriend as she spoke. “Hell, they even have her in the first graders’ class. She’s not dumb. She’s got messed up instincts and you all protect her and treat her like a little kid. Morri, here’s what you need to know about sex. It’s fun and you should do it with someone you really like, or are really attracted to. Just be safe about it, and be sure you’re doing it for you, and not for someone else.”

“Sex for Morri?” Morri blinked thoughtfully.

Oneca grinned. “It’s the only reason to fuck.”

Morri was silent another moment. “What flan hell? How help fuh- sex?”

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Warren seemed irritated, the way he was rubbing the bridge of his nose certainly gave it away. "I can not believe this. Are you guys serious? You do realize she is retarded, right?"

,,

"Warren, that's not fu-" Sonja tried to reprimand him for calling her the "R" word again but Warren swiftly cut her off.

,,

"No, don't Sonja, I'm not even playing around." He pointed a finger at her and held it up to silence her. "Look, I know of give her shit all the time, a lot of it, but Morri is, by definition, retarded. Sure, she might have the body of a sixteen year old, guys, but seriously you are talking to a first grader, no, worse than that because she can't even keep up in that class either. For once, I'm not trying to be cruel to her, I'm being honest, with her, and with you. This is not a conversation you guys should be having with her, this is her keeper's territory. She has the mind of child and the habits of an animal."

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He rubbed his temples. "You guys constantly correct me for treating her bad, but look at what you're doing. What's next on your agenda, Sonja? Go give a sermon on sexing up to the first graders? Hell, they might understand it better than she does. Better yet, Alex... go for it dude... hook up and slap uglies with the retarded girl, there's a notch for the ol' belt." He motioned to Morri who simply squinted her eyes at him. She barely understood any of this... hell, she couldn't even grasp finger painting. "I know you guys mean well, I do... but this? This is just plain sick, it's twisted. She is mentally challenged, people... does that not sink in?"

,,

Apparently this touched a nerve with Warren because he was speaking passionately and for once was siding with Morri, hell, damn near protecting her. Not even Oneca seemed safe from his current ire and those two damn near would let the world burn side by side and bring s'mores to the event. "She's not right in the head, and we all know it's not her fault, but the facts are there. This is something that's none of our business, this is Eileen's department to handle, not yours, or yours, and certainly not yours." He pointed to Sonja then Oneca and finally Alex respectively. "For once, I'm not trying to be an asshole guys. This is something that's serious and you are not qualified to explain this sort of stuff." He looked to Sonja and condescendingly added, "and you certainly aren't qualified. Look, I'd hate to see Morri take something the wrong way and you guys have to live with that on your conscience." He turned to his girlfriend with an honest and respectful look in his eyes. She hadn't ever seen that look before, it was almost like he was pleading for these three to just leave Morri alone about this sort of stuff. "Baby, some things aren't a game. I know you mean well, but this isn't something we should be joking about, it's not even remotely funny. I respect you Alex, and that doesn't come easy for me to say to people... but if you lay one interested hand on this girl while she's still mental, and I swear on all that is holy..."

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"God-DAMNIT!" Alex went from red to actually a little pale under the golden, glowing skin as he stared at Warren in a mixture of disbelief, frustration and sheer horror. "You're serious, aren't you? You actually think we're... we're grooming her like some fucking internet pervert collective! My fucking god." His jewel-like irises flashed as he narrowed his eyes, jaw clamping tight. "Warren, you've gotten hold of such the wrong end of the stick that... that it's a different goddamn stick altogether, from a different tree, in a different goddamned climate zone." He stood up and gestured towards Morri.

,,

"ALL I, or Sonja, was doing was trying to explain to Morri that friendly hugging was not the same thing as sex in any form. She had questions and though I'm not her 'keeper'" he spat that word out "I am her friend. Maybe Elaine would explain it better, or maybe she'd clam up and try to tell Morri that affection of any sort is 'bad', just like with the whole 'pizza bad' debacle awhile back. So I thought I'd have a go at explaining it on a basic level. So sue my glowing golden arse." The angelic-looking young man took a deep breath, blowing it out through his nose as he bit off further ranting, and turned to Morri.

,,

"Sorry, Morri. I'm not angry at you. Look, just remember that hugging is okay between friends, alright? You remember that, you'll be fine." He looked at Sonja, then at Oneca and Warren. "I need to get some air under my feet and cool off." It wasn't just a figure of speech - the solar mutant's glow had brightened in his ire, warming the classroom by a few degrees celsius. He forced a smile and made for the doorway. "Later, all."

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Warren was undaunted by Alex's outburst. Not because the mutant couldn't be intimidating, quite the contrary, but because to show such a reaction would be a moment of weakness in his conviction. He knew Alex was pissed at him and he honestly cared, but Alex would get over it. He folded his arms as Alex walked off. "Good, glad we're clear on that." He said in a tone that came straight from the ancient dialect of 'Asshole Bully-nese'.

,,

He wasn't budging. Warren could be a bona fide jerk-off sometimes, but this was going way beyond the level of being a dick some of these guys were used to. IT was like he'd suddenly branded these guys the worst sort of evil imaginable and was defending Morri from them like they were a circus of perverts salivating over the horrors they could subject Morri to once they told her to a Taiwanese pleasure house for four cartons of cigarettes and a keg of cheap beer. He wasn't happy, he wasn't screwing around, and he was impeding any of them from getting any closer to Morri... like he didn't trust them with her all of a sudden.

,,

Once again the King of Hypocrisy reared his ugly head. "Morri, you need to be asking Eileen those questions, not these guys."

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"I'll catch up with you in a bit, Alex," Sonja said softly, watching the furious and brightly glowing teen walk away.

,,

When she turned back to Warren, her indigo eyes, narrowed with disgust and affront, were anything but soft. She stood up, like a newborn, pale-haired - and particularly curvaceous - mountain, and glared down at the delinquent her sister had been spending far too much - and too intimate - time with.

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"You are failing miserably, Warren. You are an asshole," Sonja countered in a tight, angry voice, hiding her hands behind her back as she balled them into fists t to refrain from wrapping them around Warren's throat. This unfortunately had the side-effect of making the mountains adorning her chest heave as if struck by a Richter 7.0 earthquake. "I assure you, this was no conversation I intended to have, but Morri brought it up and I wasn't going to give her platitudes or just runaway from it. Yes, Ms. Gomez might be more qualified, but she wasn't here, and Morri didn't go to her with it."

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Sonja glanced down at Morri, giving her a smile with one half of her lips, trying to convey that she wasn't at fault for what was going on, but when her eye fell back on Warren, they were still furious. "You're right in one thing, Warren - this isn't a game. She's my friend. She's ignorant in many ways and socially stunted, but she doesn't have the mind of a child. She catches on to a lot more than people give her credit for and I'll answer her questions as honestly and as best I can. If people - and that includes Ms. Gomez - keep treating her like a complete child, they and she will keep seeing her that way. I don't."

,,

She snorted her own contempt at Warren, waving a dismissive hand, and included Oneca with an arched brow. "And just because you two figured out how to insert Tab W into Slot O doesn't make you any more expert than me."

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So sex was bad.

There was really no other conclusion Morri could draw. Alex and Son-ja had been uncomfortable to talk about it, and then War-ran had said bad things about them telling her about it. Though War-ran and Oh-nec-ha apparently did it, and she thought it was mean-funny, while he thought it was just bad.

Mean-funny was something that Morri had picked up recently. She used to assume that a smile was good, like I-lean had told her. But she was sure that Oh-nec-ha wasn’t being nice. War-ran was being weird though. And Alex had left her here. That might have panicked her, to have her guard leave, but Son-ja was still here.

Sex was bad, and Morri shouldn’t ask anyone about it anymore. As usual, Morri learned the wrong lesson. However, hugging was good, so Morri slipped to her feet and sidled up to Son-ja. Without removing her eyes from War-ran, Morri carefully gave Son-ja a hug. It was as much for her friend as herself.

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