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by Trisana McGraw

This ficlet is rated PG-13.

As the two sprites entered their temporary room at the Principle Office, AndrAIa inspected their relatively simple surroundings with a critical eye. "We need to find a real place to stay," she decided, turning back to her companion.

Matrix rolled his eyes. "Fine," he muttered. "We’ll talk to Sis about it."

The game sprite nodded. "Maybe later."

"Yeah, well, Dot’s with Phong right now." Matrix’s expression shifted slightly to concern. "She’s been stressing a lot lately."

"She’s not the only one who needs to relax a bit," AndrAIa teased.

Matrix didn’t reply; his thoughts were elsewhere. AndrAIa touched his face, and he looked down at her. "Brooding again?" she asked.

He shook his head, still silent. AndrAIa wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest. Matrix placed his hands on her back and smiled into her hair, smelling the sweet scent. "We’re finally out of the Games," he whispered, the statement sounding more like a question, as if he only half-believed it himself.

AndrAIa tilted her head and smiled. "Still getting used to the idea?"

Matrix chuckled and pulled her tighter against him. "I’m happy to be home," he admitted, "and away from all those blasted Games and systems."

AndrAIa nuzzled his neck and whispered, "Now that Daemon’s gone, I’ll make sure you don’t have to see another system again."

Matrix laughed softly.

"See?" AndrAIa grinned. "I told you this is peaceful."

"Huh," her boyfriend grunted by way of reply. "It’s boring." AndrAIa laughed as Matrix pulled her to him and kissed her deeply. AndrAIa moaned and wrapped her arm around his neck. Matrix’s arm slid around her waist, and for several moments they were lost in their embrace.

AndrAIa ran her hands over Matrix’s chest. This was a rare, gentler side of her renegade, and she wasn’t willing to waste a moment standing idle.

When they finally parted for a breath, AndrAIa placed her hands on the back of Matrix’s neck and stared affectionately at him. Then she started another long kiss, to which Matrix responded eagerly by pressing her against the wall.

"Come on, Sparky," AndrAIa breathed against his mouth. She felt Matrix smile, and then he broke away to whisper against her cheek, "Let’s do it."

* * *

A while later, cushioned by the bed sheets, AndrAIa stretched languidly beneath Matrix’s weight and smiled up into his eyes. "That," she gasped, "was alphanumeric."

Matrix’s gaze followed the curve of her beautiful body, up to the satisfied expression on her face. He gently brushed his fingers against her cheek and whispered, "This is nice."

AndrAIa laughed and wrapped her legs around his waist, gaining a small gasp. "Mm — I’m sure we’ll be doing a lot more of this, Lover." Several nanoseconds followed without conversation, as the lovers were lost in the warmth of each other. Matrix paused and studied AndrAIa intently. It was a little strange, but not displeasing, to be able to spend their time in a slow and leisurely embrace, he thought. The game sprite caught on to his thought and smiled.

"I told you: It wouldn’t hurt you to relax once in a while," she said.

Matrix smirked. "I’m not sure I’d call this relaxation," he murmured as he tickled her stomach. AndrAIa gave a soft shriek, but Matrix continued to tickle her. She pulled his head down to hers and kissed him breathlessly. They came up for air and, instead of returning to kissing, stared enraptured at one another.

AndrAIa mimicked her actions of earlier, threading her fingers through Matrix’s spiky hair. "I love you," she breathed.

"I love you too," he replied softly, leaning his head down to kiss her again. AndrAIa pulled him close to her.

She sighed contentedly, her eyes slowly closing. Matrix smiled and nuzzled her forehead. "Getting sleepy?"

She nodded silently against his neck.

Matrix carefully rolled off his girlfriend and settled on his back. AndrAIa turned and curled up to his body.

"User, it feels so good to be home," Matrix sighed.

AndrAIa snuggled closer to him. Her thoughts had grown hazy with sleepiness, and she only half-listened to him.

Matrix gazed thoughtfully at her. "What about you, DrAI?"

AndrAIa yawned and stroked his chest with her fingertips. "My home is with you, Enzo," she replied. "Has been for twelve hours, and always will be." She rested her head on his chest, listening to the beating of his core-com.

Matrix closed his eyes and slowly stroked her thick hair. The two sprites lay together, letting contentment settle over them; they were home at last.


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