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Love So Alive

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Cybersix

Love So Alive

Written By Mark Moore

Author's note: Writing times for this story: Friday, June 6, 2014, 11:00 PM - 11:33 PM; Saturday, June 7, 2014, 8:14 PM - 9:06 PM, 11:09 PM - 11:30 PM (originally wrote 11:31 PM); Monday, June 9, 2014, 9:45 PM - 11:10 PM; Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 10:00 PM - 11:34 PM; Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:00 PM - 9:53 PM; Thursday, June 12, 2014, 10:00 PM - 11:33 PM; Monday, June 16, 2014, 9:24 PM - 10:34 PM, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:31 PM - 11:34 PM; Saturday, May 30, 2015, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM; Sunday, January 29, 2017, 8:30 PM - 9:05 PM; Monday, January 30, 2017, 8:19 PM - 9:06 PM; Thursday, February 2, 2017, 7:22 PM - 8:18 PM; Friday, February 3, 2017, 2:43 PM - 3:20 PM, 5:49 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:14 PM - 7:58 PM; Saturday, February 4, 2017, 7:28 PM - 9:04 PM; Sunday, February 5, 2017, 5:41 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:08 PM - 8:10 PM; Monday, February 6, 2017, 7:46 PM - 7:59 PM, 9:44 PM - 10:44 PM; Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 5:15 PM - 6:03 PM, 6:13 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:32 PM - 7:53 PM; Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 5:52 PM - 6:29 PM; Thursday, February 9, 2017, 5:14 PM - 6:29 PM, 7:51 PM - 8:06 PM; Friday, February 10, 2017, 8:13 PM - 8:35 PM; Saturday, February 11, 2017, 7:59 PM - 8:40 PM; Sunday, February 12, 2017, 5:44 PM - 6:29 PM, 7:00 PM - 7:47 PM; Thursday, February 16, 2017, 7:18 PM - 8:38 PM; Friday, February 17, 2017, 7:15 PM - 7:59 PM; Saturday, February 18, 2017, 8:10 PM - 8:46 PM; Monday, February 20, 2017, 5:53 PM - 6:29 PM, 7:11 PM - 7:41 PM; Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 7:16 PM - 8:21 PM; Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7:46 PM - 8:41 PM; Friday, February 24, 2017, 5:34 PM - 6:29 PM, 7:57 PM - 8:19 PM; Saturday, February 25, 2017, 7:54 PM - 8:57 PM; Sunday, February 26, 2017, 5:08 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:00 PM - 7:57 PM; Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 7:16 PM - 8:41 PM; Friday, March 3, 2017, 5:35 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:01 PM - 7:54 PM; Sunday, March 5, 2017, 7:04 PM - 7:47 PM; Thursday, March 9, 2017, 6:03 PM - 6:29 PM, 7:01 PM - 8:38 PM

Welcome to my little fanfic. It's Cybersix/Lori. If you were hoping for C6/Lucas, sorry. But there are plenty of those fics out around and not nearly enough C6/Lori.

There are references to all 13 episodes in this fic. See if you can spot them all. :) See the note after the fic for the full list. Enjoy!

LA+C6

"There's a time when the moon reveals its face through the clouds.
I let out a sigh and want to cry out loud.
I'm the one they would break in their greed and their pride.
But, deep in my heart, I feel love so alive.
In the depths of my soul, I know we will survive."
- Coral Egan

Cybersix crashed onto her bed. Burying her face in her pillow, she finally let the tears flow forth. It had been quite a day. She had confronted Von Reichter, her creator, when he had sent a giant monster to attack the city. She had managed to save the city - but nearly at the cost of her own life. She had managed to escape at the very last moment - just before the laboratory had exploded - and had been thrown clear of the blast.

While she was grateful for her life, things were now complicated by two things that she had done prior to embarking on this suicidal mission: 1) she had allowed Lucas Amato, her fellow teacher (and crush) at Meridiana High School, to kiss her, and 2) she had casually revealed her secret identity to Lori Anderson, a problem student in her Literature class. Lori had a crush on her male persona, Adrian Seidelman. For the first time, she started to wonder what that revelation must have done to the poor girl.

She wanted to sleep, though - just fall fast asleep and leave the complications of her personal life until tomorrow.

There was a knock at her door.

"Fuuuck." Six sat up and wiped away her tears. She stood up, walked over to her door, and looked through the keyhole.

It was Lucas.

Six figured he had come by to check up on Adrian after the recent attack on Meridiana. She didn't have enough time to change into her disguise, so she came up with a quick cover story.

Six unlocked and opened the door. "Lucas, hi. Adrian's okay. I had to take him to the hospital, due to some minor injuries, and I'm looking after his place until -"

Lucas held up the glasses.

Six frowned and realized he had spoken with Lori. "You know."

"Yeah." Lucas walked into the apartment. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Six closed the door and locked it. "I wanted to. I just couldn't figure out how or when."

The two of them sat across from each other in chairs at the table.

"You came to see me before going off to what you must have assumed was your death. That would have been a good when." Lucas set the glasses on the table. "Yet, when it came down to it, you didn't tell me, but you let Lori know."

Six didn't know how to explain that. "Yes."

"You thought enough of her to let her know - but not enough of me."

"I..." Six paused and tried to think of something to say. "I allowed you to kiss me, didn't I?"

"Yes, you did, but...was I the one that you were thinking of?"

Six felt a sudden flash of anger. "You did not just insinuate -"

"You ran straight to her after that. What possessed you to trust Lori of all people with your secret?" Lucas demanded.

"I don't know. I suppose I thought I would be dead soon, so there was no harm."

"I get that, but why her and not me?"

"I guess I figured she'd tell you, because I couldn't."

"You could have left a note in my desk at school or told any other student in my class, but you decided to tell the one girl with a crush on you."

"I...guess I figured I owed her for..." Six fell silent, not knowing what to say.

"I crossed paths with Lori during a traffic jam while she and her parents were trying to leave the city. She told me your secret and asked me to take her on a ride to find you. I agreed, probably against my better judgment. She's devastated now that she thinks you're dead. She was crying when I dropped her off at home."

Six wasn't surprised. "I'll go and see her."

Lucas stood up. "Do what you want. I'll let myself out. See you at school tomorrow."

Six felt it would be useless to talk to him now, so she let him go, and then she went out the window.

LA+C6

Lori Anderson was an emotional wreck. After she had been dropped off at home, she had gone to her bedroom, locked the door, lay on her bed, and continued the crying that had started when she'd witnessed the explosion.

She had tried to make sense of what had happened, and yet she couldn't. She had had a crush on Adrian Seidelman, her Literature teacher, since his first day at school - until she had discovered a woman at his apartment. She had felt jealous of this "bimbo" and sought to ruin Adrian's straight-laced reputation. However, this woman was Cybersix, the city's local vigilante heroine, and she had come to Lori's rescue when she'd been kidnapped. This had earned the woman a bit of respect and admiration from Lori. It had taken her longer to like Adrian again, but she eventually had when, on a recent school field trip, Adrian had been injured. She had found herself genuinely concerned for his well being.

Tonight, though, everything changed. Lori and her parents had been preparing to evacuate the city, and then Cybersix had just shown up outside her apartment - wearing Adrian's glasses. She had put the glasses on the car, waved, and taken off without a word. While the car was stuck in gridlock, Lori had thought about this revelation and the questions that it had raised - and continued to think about them even now. Adrian Seidelman and Cybersix were the same person. Was she an idiot for not figuring it out on her own? Was she still attracted to "him"? Did that mean she was attracted to her, even from the beginning? After all, Adrian Seidelman wasn't exactly masculine. Was she attracted to "his" feminine aspects? Was she gay? She had started questioning everything about her life, from her intelligence to her sexual orientation. On top of that, it seemed Cybersix/Adrian - whatever she or he had meant to Lori - had been killed in a heroic final battle to save the city. That had truly devastated Lori. Despite questions of concern from her parents once they'd arrived home, she had demanded to be alone with her thoughts, her anguish, and her rage. She held her pillow tight and sobbed into it.

There was a knock at her window.

Lori turned and looked. Cybersix was there, standing on the ledge. Lori couldn't believe her eyes. She practically leaped out of bed, ran over, and opened the window.

Six climbed into the bedroom. "Hi, Lori. I suppose you want -"

Lori threw her arms around Six and hugged her. "You're alive!"

Six smiled and hugged Lori. "Yeah, I'm alive. Anyway, as I was saying, I suppose you want an explanation."

Lori sobbed against Six's chest. Six allowed Lori to hug her for as long as she needed. Finally, Lori let go, and so did Six.

Lori walked over to her bed and sat down. Six walked over and sat to her left.

"I created the disguise to protect those around me from becoming targets."

"I figured that was the reason. I had a lot of time to think between you dropping in on me and Mr. Amato arriving. I just sat there, thinking about how Adrian Seidelman, a hot male teacher that I had a silly schoolgirl crush on, and Cybersix, a woman that had saved me when I'd been kidnapped, were the same person. How fucked up was that, y'know? How fucked up was I? I felt so confused. Then Mr. Amato happened to drive by, and I got out of my parents' car and told him what you'd done. He told me that you'd stopped by his place. Based on your actions, we figured you'd gone off on a suicide mission, and I convinced him to let me come along with him. We were on a road overlooking the lab when...it exploded. I...I thought you'd died."

Six reached up with her left hand and wiped the tears from Lori's face.

Lori looked at Six, reached up, and ran her left hand through Six's hair. "I love you."

Six was surprised. "You're confused."

"No. Cybersix, you've saved me - multiple times. I've reconciled my admiration for the woman and my crush on the man, and it all makes sense to me. I left my parents without a word of explanation in an attempt to save you for once, because I love you."

"That's...incredible. It means a lot, but...I'm afraid I don't feel the same way."

"Don't you? You revealed your secret to me."

"Yes, but -"

"Anyone else?" Lori asked.

"No, but -"

"When you had to be taken to the hospital while we were on that field trip, I helped you onto the bus. I asked you if you were all right. Do you remember what you said?"

"I said...'Yes,...at least, as long as I can see you'. Lori, there's context for that, which I'll explain."

"You look me in the eye and tell me that you don't love me."

"I..." Six started crying. "Oh, Lori, you sweet girl. Still, you're a..." She fell silent, wishing to not offend Lori by calling her a "child".

Lori smiled, leaned forward, and stood on her toes. "I had to do a lot of growing up in a short amount of time. I'm not a child anymore."

"You say that, but -"

Lori kissed Six on the lips. She put both of her hands on the back of Six's neck, pulling her close.

This was Six's second kiss, and she was surprised that it felt more adult than the one that Lucas had given her - an adult kiss coming from a teenager.

Six allowed Lori to finish the kiss on her own. Lori stared at her, waiting for her reaction.

"You certainly don't kiss like a child."

Lori smiled. "You like it? It was my first."

"Oh, Lori, you shouldn't have wasted it on me."

"I was saving it for you."

Six smiled. "It was nice. Still, I'm your teacher."

"No, Adrian Seidelman is my teacher."

"Are you proposing I act the stern teacher by day?"

"And be my one and only love by night."

"Lori, there are a number of things that you need to know about me - sad, unpleasant things."

"None of which will affect how I feel about you, so you can tell me all about them over dinner tomorrow night."

"Um, okay, uh, sure. I know this nice little restaurant."

"The one that you and Mr. Amato hang out at after school?"

Six was surprised and a little disturbed. "Um, yeah. Meet me there."

"What time?"

"Six."

Lori smiled. "It's a date."

Six smiled and stood up. "I'd better go and check up on Julian."

"Julian?" Lori asked.

"That's right, you've never met him. He's a friend."

Lori smiled suspiciously at her. "Anyone that I need to be concerned about?"

Six smiled good-naturedly. "Only if you're suspicious of little kids. Well, I'm off."

Lori stood up. "Ahem." She held her hands behind her back, thrust her chest forward, closed her eyes, and puckered her lips.

Six drew close, put her hands on Lori's shoulders, and kissed Lori on the lips. She drew the teenager into a tight, warm embrace, and Lori curled her arms around Six's neck.

Finally, Six finished the kiss and smiled at Lori. "I think I love you."

Lori grinned in delight.

Suddenly, there was a knock at Lori's door.

Six kissed Lori on the lips quickly and briefly, and then she was out the window.

Lori walked over, closed the window, walked over to her door, unlocked it, and opened it.

Her parents were standing there.

"We came to check up on you."

"Are you all right?" her mother asked.

Lori smiled. "Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better."

LA+C6

The next morning, Six, in her Adrian disguise, showed up at Meridiana High School and walked toward her classroom.

As she passed by the faculty lounge, she noticed the door was open and looked inside. Lucas was sitting at a table, drinking coffee. He looked at her. She stopped walking and stared at him. He waved but didn't smile. She waved back but didn't smile either, and then she continued on her way.

She entered her classroom, set her briefcase on her desk, and started writing on the board. Soon, students started coming into the room and taking their seats.

When the bell rang, Six turned, picked up the attendance sheet and a pen, and did a roll call.

"Lori?"

Lori smiled dreamily, raised her left hand, and wiggled her fingers. "Here."

Six shook her head in disapproval very slightly. Lori got the message and cut the flirting.

Six finished taking attendance and set down the sheet. "Due to the events that happened yesterday, today is a free period."

The class cheered.

"However, for tomorrow, I want you to have read the Gothic novella, 'Carmilla', by Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu."

The class groaned.

"Come on, people, the story is 108 pages long. You can read it in a few hours. It's in the public domain, so the school library and the local public library should have multiple copies, perhaps as part of a compilation. You can also find it in the bookstore and on the Internet. We'll discuss it tomorrow. Anyone want a hall pass to the library?"

Lori and a few other students raised their hands.

Six opened a drawer in her desk and took out a pad.

LA+C6

After school, Six went home and changed. She didn't have any elegant evening wear, so she simply wore her leather outfit - minus the gloves and cape. Then she headed to the restaurant, arriving at twilight.

Upon entering the restaurant, she got quite a few looks. It made her slightly uncomfortable, but she made her way to an empty table and sat down.

A waiter came over to her. "Anything to drink, ma'am?"

"Water, no ice - uh, two glasses, please. I'm expecting someone."

The waiter jotted it down, put two menus on the table, and walked away.

Six picked up a menu and studied it while waiting for Lori to arrive.

"So...you're here."

Six turned at the sound of Lucas' voice and looked at him. "Yeah."

Lucas came close to her. "I waited for you after school. I thought we were gonna hang out here."

Six was surprised. "Oh. I...wasn't sure if you wanted to anymore."

"We can still be friends. That won't change. Of course, I'm still hurt, but I'm a big boy. I'll get over it."

Six smiled. "Thank you, Lucas."

The waiter came by, put two glasses of water on the table, and left.

"Did you talk with Lori?"

Six lost her smile. "Um, yeah."

"And?"

"She's...thrilled, happy, joyous."

"That's good. So what brings you here?"

Six felt increasingly uncomfortable. "I'm...expecting someone."

"Oh."

"I'm here."

Six and Lucas turned at the sound of Lori's voice. Six was awestruck at Lori's appearance. Lori was dressed in a striking pair of white jeans; white, flat dress shoes; and a white camisole. Her hair was neatly combed. Gone were the make-up and jewelry. Lori had opted for a simple, clean, natural look.

"Wow. You look...gorgeous."

Lori smiled. "Thank you. You too."

Six stood up, walked over to the other side of the table, and pulled the chair.

"Thank you." Lori sat down.

Six pushed the chair in and then went back and sat in her own chair.

Lucas stared at Six. "What are you thinking?"

Six looked at him and frowned. "I'm thinking Lori and I have a lot of things that we need to discuss."

Lucas frowned in disapproval.

"It's not illegal."

"But don't you think it might be a bit unethical, considering the circumstances?"

Lori rolled her eyes. "Lighten up, Mr. Amato."

"I'm serious, Lori. This could cost her her job and future career opportunities. Is that what you want?"

Lori thought about it briefly. "We're just talking, woman to woman."

Six stared at him. "Lucas, please don't say anything."

Lucas contemplated it.

"And please trust me. I have nothing but Lori's best interests at heart. I would never hurt her."

Lucas finally sighed. "Okay. See ya tomorrow." He walked away.

Six turned her attention to Lori. "What did you tell your parents?" She picked up her glass of water and started drinking it.

"I told them that I have a dinner date, and my dad gave me a pack of flavored condoms."

Six nearly choked.

Lori smiled. "Just kidding. I just told them that I was going out to hang with my gang."

"Oh, yeah, your gang. What's up with them?"

"Just some people to hang out with. I get kind of lonely as an only child. Why? You don't like them?"

"They ambushed me after school on my first day when I rejected you."

Lori laughed. "Whoops. Sorry. They can get a little overprotective of me. I'm like their queen."

"Well, no harm done."

Six looked around, uncomfortable. People were starting to stare at her.

"What's wrong?" Lori asked.

"I feel a little insecure being out in public like this."

Lori laughed. "Don't worry. If the police were going to arrest you for all of the shit that you've destroyed, they would have done it by now."

"No, I mean -"

Before Six could explain, the waiter returned. "Have you decided yet?" She looked at Lori and then frowned at Six.

Six frowned at her, folded her menu, and offered it to her. "Roast pork with sliced potatoes, black pepper, and onions."

Lori picked up her menu and looked at it. "Um, I've never eaten here before. What's good?"

"She'll have the same."

Trusting Six's judgment, Lori offered her menu to the waiter. The waiter collected both menus, jotted down the order, and walked away.

Six looked at Lori. "She's not getting a tip, the judgmental bitch."

Lori picked up her glass and sipped her water. "So...where do you want to start?"

"I suppose...with my creation. I was created by Dr. Josef Von Reichter, a former Nazi scientist and member of the Schutzstaffel. I was one of five-thousand members of the Cyber Series, a line of cyborgs that was descended from Von Reichter's work in concentration camps during the Second World War. We were engineered to be the perfect servants, but we developed free will, so Von Reichter had us exterminated. I was the only one to escape. I hid in a small fishing village for a while, taking the name of Adrian Seidelman, the young victim of a car crash. I began to study and to grow, and then I ended up here."

"Why did you choose to masquerade as a man?" Lori asked.

"It seemed the best way to avoid detection. Besides, I was raised as a tomboy, so it felt like a pretty natural thing to do."

"And yet you run around kicking ass in stilettos. How have you managed to not break your legs?"

Six laughed. "I don't know. Lucky, I guess."

"Other than that, I love your outfit. Where'd you get it?"

"Off a dead hooker after I killed her."

Lori laughed. "No, really."

"Really."

Lori stared at her, shocked and wide-eyed. "Oh. Damn."

"She was a Techno."

"A Techno?"

"Another type of synthetic human created by Von Reichter - less sophisticated than the Cybers but more sophisticated than the Fixed Ideas. Those are the huge green guys."

At this point, the waiter brought their plates and utensils and set them on the table. She walked away.

Lori sniffed her food. "Mmmm, this smells delicious." She picked up her fork and knife and started cutting her pork.

Six picked up her fork and knife and started cutting her pork. "Now, we get to the unpleasant part."

Lori took a bite of her roast. "Oh?"

"Von Reichter was a madman, but he was smart enough to build a fail-safe into all of his creations. We are all dependent on a fuel called Sustenance. When I escaped, I had no supply. Out of desperation, I hunted down Technos and Fixed Ideas, and I'd kill them and retrieve the vials of Sustenance that they carried. I'm a murderer, Lori. I'm seen as a hero by mere coincidence."

"I think you're being too hard on yourself. Any starving person would kill for food."

"And that makes it all right?" Six asked, disturbed by Lori's rationalization. "Lori, they were sentient beings, and I murdered them."

Lori set down her utensils. "You fought to survive in a horrible set of circumstances that you had no control over."

"Would you have done the same thing?"

"Absolutely." Lori put her left hand on Six's right hand. "You fought, you survived, and you won in the end."

Six felt uncomfortable and pulled her hand away. "No,...I didn't. I have no more Sustenance. With Von Reichter's death, any remaining supply in the city will be limited. When that's gone, I'm dead." Six took a bite of her roast. "Nothing can save me now. Still wanna be with me?"

"Yes. You can't give up. We'll work together, find a vial of Sustenance, and get it analyzed and replicated. I'm sure that Mr. Amato can figure it out. Appearances can be deceiving, but he's really smart."

Six laughed. "True. Maybe Lucas can even figure out how to make me not dependent on it. Von Reichter claimed it was possible." She smiled at Lori. "You're right. I shouldn't give up."

Lori smiled.

"That's enough about me for now. Tell me about yourself."

"Okay, um, I grew up in Meridiana. I love music, movies, video games, and anime." Lori suddenly fell silent as she struggled to think of something to say. Finally, she just shrugged and shook her head.

"It's okay. I like those things too."

Lori smiled, although she somewhat doubted Six liked everything that she did. "Andersix be meshin'."

Six genuinely laughed.

The two of them continued eating their meals in silence, each unsure of what to say.

"Well, looky what we have here."

Lori and Six looked. The guys from Lori's gang had found them.

"What are you guys doing here?" Lori asked.

"You hadn't come to hang with us after school."

"We were wonderin' why."

"Now we know. You're on a dinner date with Dracula's daughter."

Lori frowned. "Shut up, you retards."

"Hey, I bet you really like it when she sucks you."

"What are ya doin' with a girl, you lesbo pedo?"

"Your parents know about this, Lori?"

Lori clenched her fists in anger. "Grow the fuck up, assholes."

"Make us."

Six picked up her knife and pointed it at them. "You heard the lady. Grow the fuck up...or don't. Either way, leave us alone, or you'll have to answer to me."

The three guys turned and ran out of the restaurant.

Lori looked at Six. "Thank you. I'm sorry about what they said."

Six put down her knife. "No need to apologize. It wasn't you that said those things. Also, maybe you shouldn't be thanking me. I could have killed those guys. I...wanted to kill those guys."

"That's understandable."

Six felt disturbed. "How is wanting someone dead understandable? I've wished death on so many people. I've killed so many people."

"And you recognize the irrevocability of it, the enormity of it, and the gulf that it opens between you and the rest of society." Lori took hold of Six's right hand with her left hand. "And I want to be on the other side of that gulf with you."

Six tried to pull her hand away.

Lori held Six's hand tight and stared into her eyes. "I am ready for an adult relationship. Partners in all things, come what may. I want this."

Six stared into Lori's eyes. "You have grown up. Very well."

Lori smiled in delight. Six smiled as well.

LA+C6

Six decided to walk Lori home after dinner.

Lori held onto Six's left arm and smiled dreamily. "I had a lovely time."

Six felt a bit uncomfortable but managed to smile as well. "Me too."

"I'd love to go out with you again sometime."

Six gave her a demented smile. "What about the circus?"

Lori frowned at her. "That's not funny!"

Six laughed.

"Have you ever been to the movies?"

"Sure. I don't go often, though."

"I don't know what's playing."

"They're having a one-night-only screening of 'Blade Runner' tomorrow evening. Wanna go?"

"What's that?"

"A sci-fi film from 1982. It's really good. It deals with artificially created lifeforms and what it means to be human. It's based on a novel."

"Sounds interesting. Okay, sure."

"I'll meet you at the theater." Six stopped walking. "Well, I'd better stop here. If I walked you all of the way home, your parents might see me."

"Good point." Lori puckered her lips.

Six felt uncomfortable. "Um..."

"What's the matter?"

Six glanced from side to side and then hugged Lori. Lori hugged Six. Six kissed Lori gently on the lips.

After a moment, they let go of each other, and Six hopped up onto a roof. Lori watched her go and then walked home.

LA+C6

The next morning, at school, Six went through her usual routine of taking attendance.

She set the sheet down. "Okay, how many of you have finished reading 'Carmilla'?"

Lori and a few other students - including the members of her former gang - raised their hands.

Six eyed them suspiciously. "Very well. Can anyone tell me what it's about?"

Lori raised her hand. "It's about a woman named Laura that's secretly pursued by a grown woman, who happens to be a vampire but disguises herself to be unassuming."

"Correct, Lori. Can someone tell me how Lori feels about that?"

The class stared at her. Lori blinked in surprise repeatedly.

Six blushed. "Laura. I meant Laura. Sorry. How does Laura feel about being pursued by this woman?"

Lori raised her hand.

Six felt a bit disappointed. "Yes, Lori?"

Lori smiled. "I think she kinda likes it."

"Explain."

Lori opened her copy of the book. "It's right here in chapter 4: 'Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, "You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever".'"

Six smiled slightly. "So you believe, on some level, Laura likes this attention?"

Lori stared at Six dreamily. "Who wouldn't? The woman is impossible to resist."

Six felt a bit uncomfortable. "Can anyone tell me about Carmilla's backstory?"

Lori raised her hand.

Six was upset. "Someone else."

Lori lowered her hand, but no one else raised their hand.

"Come on, you claimed to have read the book." Six approached the desks of the gang members and stared at each of them in turn. "Don't hold back. What are you waiting for? Did you lie to me?"

No one said anything.

Six felt angry. "Get out."

The class stared at her in confusion.

"Get the hell out, all of you. I am sick of only one person answering my questions. It's clear that you're not interested in learning, so why should I have to waste my time? Class is canceled for today. On Monday, there will be a test on this story, and it will count for a significant portion of your final grade, so I suggest you use the weekend to read the damn book."

The class stared at her in shock for a moment, and then the students slowly gathered their things, stood up, and left the classroom.

Lori remained in her seat, unsure.

Six looked at her and smiled. "I didn't mean you, Lori. You did well. I'm happy that you're starting to take this class seriously."

Lori smiled.

"But you don't have to stay if you don't want to."

"I want to."

Six shrugged. "Suit yourself. I'm gonna get caught up on some paperwork." She walked over to her desk and sat down.

"Is it difficult...being a teacher?"

"It's not the easiest job in the world, but it's not immensely difficult. It can be frustrating and thankless at times. You're the target of upset parents. You feel unappreciated and unsupported. You work long hours for little pay and sometimes have to pay for supplies out of your own pocket."

"Why'd you decide to do it?" Lori asked.

Six thought about it for a while. "I suppose...to try to enrich young people with knowledge...and hope they'll grow up to do the same and make the world a little brighter."

Lori thought about that in silence.

LA+C6

That evening, Lori walked into Six's apartment building, carrying a gift that she had bought.

She stopped at the mirror to check her hair and then continued up the stairs.

She walked over to Six's door and knocked.

After a moment, the door opened, and Six was standing there.

"Lori, what are you doing here?!"

"I couldn't wait to see you."

"Get in here!"

Lori walked into Six's apartment. Six closed the door and locked it.

"You can't just show up like this! You're supposed to be with Cybersix, not with Adrian Seidelman!"

Lori held up the box. "I brought you a gift."

Six sighed and then smiled. "Thank you, but please run it by me if you want to come here from now on."

"All right."

Six took the box and unwrapped it. She opened it. There was a book inside: "Reflections on the Aesthetics of Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism: A Prosody Beyond Words" by Eric Sellin.

Six took the book out of the box. "Wow, I've never read this one. Thank you."

"No problem. That bookstore was a bitch to track down, though."

Six laughed and put the book on her bookshelf above her bed. "Not even Lucas could find it. You'll have to show me where it is sometime."

"No problem. Ready to go?"

Six set the box down and picked up another box from her table. "In a bit. I've got a gift for you too."

Lori smiled, took the box, unwrapped it, and opened it. There was a music CD inside - "Sabrina The Teenage Witch: The Album".

Lori grinned. "Awesome! I love this show! Thank you!"

Six smiled. "Okay, now, we can go. Lock the door on your way out."

LA+C6

As a thunderstorm raged outside, Six and Lori were enjoying the movie, and Lori was especially enjoying snuggling with Six in the darkened theater.

When the movie ended, Six and Lori left the theater. It had just stopped raining.

Six inhaled deeply, exhaled, and smiled. "Ah, I love the smell of the air after it rains."

Lori tried it. "Yeah, me too."

"What now?"

"Wanna go to the arcade?" Lori suggested.

"Sorry, I didn't bring any money except to pay for the tickets and drinks."

"Then how about your place?" Lori whispered seductively.

"Okay, but we have to be discreet."

"Of course." Lori paused for a moment. "Meaning?"

LA+C6

Six jumped up to her window, holding Lori in her arms. She opened the window, set Lori inside her apartment, came inside, and closed and locked her window.

"Was that really necessary?" Lori asked.

"Until we can figure out a way to get you in here without attracting attention, yeah."

Lori smiled and folded her arms. "Right, because a hot woman carrying a teenage girl into a teacher's apartment window isn't going to attract any attention at all."

Six frowned as she considered that. "You're right. Use the stairs. You're dropping off a signed permission slip or whatever."

"Got it." Lori walked over to Six's bed, sat down, and patted the empty spot to her right.

Six walked over and sat next to Lori. Lori threw her arms around Six's neck and pulled her into a fierce kiss. Six was taken by surprise and had to adjust to Lori's speed. She hugged Lori. Lori pressed her tongue against Six's lips. Six opened her mouth, allowing Lori's tongue inside. They french-kissed for a while, and Lori eagerly sucked on Six's tongue. Then it was Six's turn to shove her own tongue into the teenager's mouth. They french-kissed, and Six sucked on Lori's tongue. Lori took hold of Six's right hand and moved it to her left breast.

Six pulled away. "No."

Lori smiled seductively and took off her camisole, exposing the full magnificence of her breasts to Six. "Wanna fuck me?"

Six stared at Lori's beautiful breasts, mesmerized by them. "I..."

"Yes?"

"How long until you have to be back home?" Six asked.

"Not until midnight. That should be enough time for us to do everything that we can imagine to each other."

Six started kissing her again and put her hands on Lori's breasts. She squeezed and fondled Lori's breasts and pulled on her nipples.

Lori broke the kiss. "Suck my tits."

Six lowered her head and took Lori's right nipple between her lips. She closed her lips around the teenager's nipple and sucked on it gently. Lori put her hands on the back of Six's head and ran her fingers through her hair. She sighed in contentment. The act was equally pleasurable to Six, who then switched to Lori's left nipple.

After satisfying her mammary urges, Six released Lori and freed her arms from her outfit, exposing her own breasts to Lori. Lori grinned and wasted no time in squeezing and fondling Six's breasts and pulling on her nipples. Finally, Lori took Six's right nipple between her lips, closed her lips around it, and sucked eagerly. Lori enjoyed the act, and so did Six, who felt as if she was nursing a child that she could never have. Lori switched to Six's left nipple, and Six put her hands on the back of Lori's head and ran her fingers through her hair.

Finally, Lori released Six, kicked off her sneakers, and pulled off her blue jeans, leaving herself completely naked. Six was amused that Lori hadn't been wearing any panties.

Lori tossed her jeans on the floor and lay down on the bed. She smiled seductively at Six. Six looked down at Lori's most sacred area, briefly noting the definitive proof that she was a natural redhead. It was a beautiful sight for her to behold. Six lay between Lori's legs and went to work.

She was rewarded for her efforts with Lori's sweet nectar, and Lori was rewarded with the most powerful orgasm of her young life, letting out a steady stream of moans and curses in the process.

LA+C6

"That was great." Lori rested her head on the pillow, a smile of pure contentment on her face. "Only thing better would have been if you had an attachable cyber-dick."

Six laughed. "I just might have to look into that."

Lori scooted back a bit, so her naked body was pressed against Six's. Six draped her left arm over Lori.

Lori took a look at Six's "CYBER 6" tattoo. "Damn, he really was a Nazi."

"Yeah. Can we please not talk about that?"

"Sorry."

Six kissed Lori on the neck for a while and then on the lips.

"Can you read some poetry to me for a while?" Lori asked.

"Poetry?" Six asked, surprised.

"Yeah. I love the sound of your voice."

Six smiled. "What do you want to hear?"

"'Ah! Sun-flower' by William Blake."

Six looked up at her bookshelf and selected the right book. She opened it and flipped through the pages until she came upon the poem. "Ah Sun-flower! weary of time, who countest the steps of the Sun: seeking after that sweet golden clime where the travellers journey is done. Where the Youth pined away with desire, and the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: arise from their graves and aspire, where my Sun-flower wishes to go."

Lori stifled a yawn. "Thanks."

"Maybe you should get home."

"Nah, tomorrow's Saturday. I just need a little nap."

"A nap?"

"Yeah. I'd love to sleep with you - I mean really sleep with you. I can't stay here all night, but an extra hour won't hurt."

"Okay. I'll set the alarm for an hour from now." Six started setting her alarm clock.

Lori yawned. "Thanks."

Six turned off the light and cuddled with Lori. Soon, she could hear Lori sleeping soundly. It wasn't long after that Six herself drifted off into a peaceful slumber, her dear one pressed tight against her.

LA+C6

Her lips felt wet.

Six opened her eyes. Lori was licking her.

Six gave an amused chuckle. "I didn't take advantage of you when you were knocked out by that eye."

Lori smiled. "Maybe you should have."

"Nah, you'd want to remember your first time."

"True." Lori lowered her head and sucked Cybersix's right nipple.

Six moaned in pleasure, but the sunlight coming in through the window nearly blinded her.

She sat upright, startling Lori.

"What time is it?!" Six cried.

Lori looked over at the alarm clock. "7:05. Why?"

Six checked the clock. "Shit! I forgot to activate the alarm! We overslept!"

"What's the big deal?" Lori asked.

"The big deal is your parents must be worried sick!"

"Eh, probably not. I've done stupid shit like this before."

"Still, you should get home."

"My punishment for staying out all night last time was no breakfast."

Six stared at Lori, who just smiled. She got the hint and sighed. "Coming right up."

LA+C6

Six finished putting the food on the table and took the pan and spatula to the sink.

Lori came out of the bathroom, naked. She sat at the table.

Six looked at her in surprise and sat down.

Lori helped herself to some pancakes and poured maple syrup on them. "What? It's nothing that you haven't seen. I'll get dressed when I leave."

Six smiled and shrugged.

"So when can I see you again?" Lori asked.

"I don't know. I should go out patrolling tonight and see if I can find any remaining Fixed Ideas or Technos - or maybe even a stash of Sustenance. I should get a sample to Lucas as soon as possible."

"Cool. When are you picking me up?"

Six frowned. "I'm not."

"C'mon, I want in on this action."

"Lori, it could be dangerous."

Lori took hold on Six's right hand with her left hand and looked into her eyes. "Partners in all things, come what may."

Six stared deep into Lori's eyes and saw herself reflected back in them. "I...I'll let you know."

"May I have your phone number?" Lori asked.

"Are you sure that that's a good idea?" Six asked.

"Hey, it's less suspicious than me getting calls from you."

"You've got a point." Six grabbed a pen and a sticky note and wrote it down: 333-5829. She offered it to Lori. "Please be careful with it, though. It's an unlisted number."

Lori took the note. "Thanks."

LA+C6

That evening, Lori was in her bedroom. She was listening to the CD that Six had bought for her on her portable CD player and doing an air guitar while dancing to "One Way or Another" by Melissa Joan Hart.

There was a knock at Lori's window. However, she didn't hear it. She noticed Six standing outside only when she happened to turn around and face that direction. She took off her headphones, set her player on her desk, walked over to the window, and opened it.

"Sorry, were you waiting long?" Lori asked.

"Nah, not really."

"Come in."

Six stepped into Lori's bedroom.

"So?" Lori asked expectantly.

"So...you may come."

Lori grinned in delight. "Yes! Let's kick some ass!" She made some punching and kicking motions.

Six frowned. "Hold on, the ass is not for you to kick - not until you've taken plenty of martial arts classes."

Lori frowned. "Then what the fuck am I gonna do?"

"Your job is to collect any Sustenance that we find and get half of it to Lucas and the other half to my friend Julian, who lives on a boat in the harbor."

"The kid?" Lori asked, confused.

"He has a friend on the police force, a detective named Henrique."

"Yeah, I know him."

Six was surprised. "Really? How?"

"Um, we've crossed paths...multiple times. Complete misunderstandings."

"Uh-huh. Anyway, I figure the police lab can also take a look at the stuff."

Lori was disappointed.

"That's my offer. Take it or leave it."

"Fine. Hang on a moment, though." Lori walked over to her dresser, picked up a tube of lipstick, opened it, looked in the mirror, and painted her lips.

Six's facial reaction was a mix of amusement and confusion. "Seriously?"

Lori closed the tube, set it on her dresser, and walked back over to Six. "Hey, it's a new shade. I wanted to try it out. What do you think?"

Six smiled. "You look pretty. Now, can we go?"

"As soon as you tell me how you like the taste." Lori thrust her chest forward, closed her eyes, and puckered her lips.

Six sighed. "I feel so insecure - as if your parents are gonna walk in on us at any moment." She leaned forward and kissed Lori on the lips.

Lori curled her arms around Six's neck and drew her into a deep kiss. Finally, she let Six go.

"Strawberry?" Six guessed.

"Raspberry."

"Ah." Six headed for the window. "Meet me outside."

LA+C6

Six and Lori walked along at a slow pace, mainly sticking to the back alleys, as they searched the city. They had been at this for an hour. Lori was starting to get bored.

"This is so boring!" Lori exclaimed.

"Shhh! Keep quiet!" Six admonished. "Of course, it's boring. Out of an average of three hours of searching every night, I might see a few minutes of action - if I'm lucky."

"Can we stop for burritos?" Lori asked.

Six rolled her eyes. "C'mon, let's check Macy Street."

LA+C6

Lori waited impatiently on the ground while Six hopped from rooftop to rooftop, checking the buildings.

Finally, Six landed on the ground.

"Any luck?" Lori asked, stifling a yawn.

Six shook her head. "I don't know where else to look."

"Y'know, there was that asswipe that kidnapped me. That little kid with the Hitler haircut."

"Jose Von Reichter."

Lori twisted her face in confusion. "Seriously?"

Six shrugged. "Hey, I didn't name him."

"Anyway, do you know if he had a place around here? We could check there."

Six smiled in embarrassment. "Y'know, I'm glad that I brought you along."

LA+C6

Six hopped over the gate to the mansion. She landed on the ground and turned to address Lori.

The gate was open, and Lori was standing right in front of her, casually filing her nails.

"It kinda disturbs me how easily you were able to do that."

Lori put the nail file in her pocket. "I've had practice."

"I don't wanna know."

"So what's the plan?"

"I'm gonna scope out the mansion first. You stay put."

"And do what?"

"Wait until I come and get you."

Lori folded her arms over her chest and tapped her fingers impatiently.

Six rolled her eyes. "If you didn't bring your Game Boy, that's your problem. Draw in the dirt or something."

Lori stood still, upset.

Six turned away and ran toward the mansion.

Lori sighed, took off her handbag, sat on the ground, unzipped her bag, and dug through it to find something to entertain herself with.

LA+C6

Six softly walked through the mansion, checking each room. The power seemed to be out. It was dark and quiet, and Six felt a bit uneasy.

She finally entered an office and discovered a large portrait of Von Reichter on the wall. She crept toward the desk. The chair was facing away from her.

She leaped onto the desk and spun the chair around. It was empty.

Before she had much time to consider that, though, the light suddenly came on, and a gas was released from the air vents.

Six coughed and tried to run away, but the gas quickly overtook her, and she fell to the floor, losing consciousness.

LA+C6

Lori was sitting outside, trying to read her copy of "Carmilla" with the aid of a flashlight, when something caught her eye. She looked up. A light was on in the mansion.

She stared and waited.

LA+C6

Six slowly opened her eyes as she regained consciousness. Her vision was blurry, but it quickly came into focus. She banished the tiredness from her body.

She was locked in a cage in a room. She stood up and looked around. She could see out a window and judged she was on the first floor.

"Welcome, Cybersix!"

She quickly turned toward the source of the voice. "Jose!"

Von Reichter's son stood before her - along with two Fixed Ideas.

"You survived."

Jose grinned. "Of course. My father is dead. Now, I'm in charge."

Six smiled in amusement. "Really? Where's your army?"

"It's coming. I've got ideas."

Six folded her arms over her chest. "Do tell. Seems to me like you're up Scheisse's Creek without a paddle."

Jose grew angry. "Shut up!"

"Only two Fixed Ideas. That's pathetic. It would have been better for you if you'd let yourself be killed."

"I said shut up!"

Suddenly, there was a knock at the front door. Jose was surprised.

"You expecting someone?" Six asked him.

Jose looked at a Fixed Idea and angrily pointed at the door. "See who that is!"

The Fixed Idea left the room.

Six continued smiling but then suddenly gripped her left arm in pain as it sparked.

"Ah, I see you're going through Sustenance withdrawal. I can help you with that. Just join me."

"Never. I don't need your help."

"Likewise. It'll be better to just kill you and get it over with. That's a lesson that my father didn't learn."

LA+C6

Lori waited by the front door. It eventually opened. A Fixed Idea stood before her.

Lori smiled. "Hi, I'm here to see the owner of the house about his subscription to 'Men' magazine."

"Uh, okay." The Fixed Idea turned and walked back into the mansion.

Lori followed it. It led her to a door and opened it. She followed it into a room.

"Lori!" Six shouted. "Get out of here!"

Jose walked over to Lori. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the brat."

Lori gave him a sweet smile. "I'm sorry. I misjudged your great intellect."

"Flattery will get you nowhere!" Jose insisted. "You can watch as I kill Cybersix, and then you can join her."

Lori quickly scanned the room and noticed a laptop on a table. "Oh, really? How are you gonna do that?"

"I'm not going to reveal my plan to you!" Jose shouted. He smiled. "Although, if you're really nice to me, I might spare your life."

Lori rolled her eyes. "Oh, please, it's probably too small and would get swallowed up no matter where you stick it."

Jose was furious with her. "Shut up!"

"The argument of an intelligent mind. The burden of proof is on you, asswipe." Lori sat on the floor, took off her handbag, unzipped it, and took out a stick of gum. "Is it bigger than this?"

"I'll show you!" Jose unbuttoned and unzipped his pants and pulled both it and his underwear down. "See?!"

Lori saw and resisted the urge to laugh. She made a "come hither" motion with her right index finger.

Jose grinned and got close to Lori. She breathed in his right ear.

"You like that?" Lori asked.

"You bet!" Jose eagerly answered.

"Want a different kind of blow?" Lori asked.

"Yes!" Jose answered.

"First, though, I'll let you in on a secret."

"What's that?" Jose asked.

"You are so stupid!" Lori closed a pair of scissors around Jose's penis.

Jose screamed in pain.

Lori stood up, grabbed her handbag, and ran over to the table.

"Get her!" Jose ordered the Fixed Ideas.

Lori started typing on the laptop. She unlocked the cage. She had just enough time to get a CD out of her handbag, insert it into the laptop, and select a track before the Fixed Ideas arrived at the table. Lori ran away from them.

"One Way or Another" by Melissa Joan Hart started playing as Six got out of the cage. Lori got out of the way and let Six beat up the Fixed Ideas. Jose ran after Lori, and she was easily able to handle him.

As the song came to an end, though, Jose suddenly went after Six as she sparked again. She fell to her knees, and he stood before her, grinning in triumph.

"So this is how it ends, with the once-mighty Cybersix kneeling before me in defeat. Any final words?"

Six remained silent.

"When you get to Hell, say hello to my father for me."

"I don't believe in Hell. Even if I did, I don't know if I have a soul."

"You do, hon, trust me."

Jose turned around at the sound of Lori's voice. Lori fired the gun that she was holding, hitting Jose in the chest.

Jose fell backwards, landing on the floor. Lori slowly approached him, keeping a safe distance. He looked up at her in shock. Six was also shocked at what Lori had done.

Jose gasped for breath. "You...have...no right. This is...my city."

"No." Lori aimed the gun at Jose's head and squeezed the trigger, shooting Jose in the forehead and killing him instantly.

Six stared at Lori, aghast. "Lori, what have...you done?" Her voice was shaking.

Lori looked at her. "I saved you...for once."

Six slowly approached her. Lori lowered her arm. Six looked down and quickly snatched the gun away from her.

"My dad will want that back. Oh, he's gonna be so pissed at me."

"Shut up."

Lori looked at her, hurt. "I wanted to prove myself to you."

Six sighed and looked at the vials of Sustenance in the piles of empty clothes on the floor. "Take the Sustenance and go. I'll stay here and clean up."

Lori stood still.

Six looked at her. "Go!"

"Not until I know we're okay."

"I don't fucking know!" Six yelled.

"Jose had to die for it to truly be over. We both knew that."

Six didn't say anything for a long time. Lori waited in dreadful anticipation.

"You've crossed that gulf."

Lori simply nodded.

"How does it feel?" Six asked.

Lori shrugged. "I feel no different."

"I don't know how that makes me feel."

Lori took hold of Six's right hand with her left hand. Six thought for just a moment and then closed her hand around Lori's hand. Lori smiled.

Six suddenly felt better. "We're okay. Get the vials to Lucas and Julian."

Lori walked over to one set of clothes and picked up a vial of Sustenance. She looked at Six. "Maybe you should drink the other one...just in case. There should be more than enough in one vial for Mr. Amato and the police to work with."

Six nodded.

LA+C6

Lori knocked on Lucas' apartment door and waited.

Soon, the door opened.

"Lori, what are you doing here?" Lucas asked, surprised. "How do you even know where I live?"

"Six."

"Ah. So what can I do for you?"

Lori took a vial of Sustenance out of her handbag and offered it to him. "Six sent me to give this to you. Find a way to either replicate it or make Six survive without it."

Lucas took the vial. "Understood."

"Well, I'll see ya at school on Monday."

"Do you want something to eat or drink?" Lucas offered.

"Oh, no, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to come into your apartment, because you're my teacher. That would be a very bad thing that I would never, ever do."

"Uh-huh. I was just gonna bring it out to you."

"Oh." Lori felt embarrassed and awkward. "Um, got any soda?"

"You're not one of those diet drinkers, are you?"

"Nope. Real sugar all the way."

"Will you settle for corn syrup?"

"Yeah, okay."

Lucas smiled. "Be right back."

He walked back into his apartment and soon came back to the door with a can of Pepsi. He offered it to her.

Lori took it. "Thanks."

"See ya Monday."

"Right." Lori turned and started to walk away. Abruptly, she turned and faced the closing door. "Mr. Amato?"

Lucas opened the door. "Yeah?"

"Save her." Lori's eyes started tearing up. "Please."

Lucas nodded.

Lori turned and walked away.

LA+C6

Lori found a boat that she judged looked sufficiently junky. She boarded it.

"Hello?" she called. "Julian?"

Suddenly, a black panther came onto the deck. Lori recognized it as Cybersix's animal companion.

Lori smiled. "Hi, you're Six's second-favorite pussy, aren't you?"

The panther growled at her.

"I'm Lori, one of her students. She sent me here to give something to Julian."

Suddenly, an orange-haired boy walked onto the deck. "Data 7, what's going on? Who's this?"

"I'm Lori Anderson, one of Six's...friends."

"Six?" Julian asked.

"Cybersix."

"Ah. Is she okay?"

"Yeah, she's fine." Lori took a vial of Sustenance out of her handbag and offered it to him. "Six wants you to get this to your detective friend, Henrique. She thinks maybe the police lab can find a way to either replicate it or get her off the stuff, because right now she needs it to survive, and there isn't much of it left."

"I'm on my way." Julian practically jumped off the boat. He turned around. "Wanna come with me?"

Lori shrugged. "Got nothin' else to do." She caught up with him.

They walked in silence for a while, not saying anything to each other.

"I'm not sure why Six told me to bring this to you. I could have just taken it to the police station and given it to Henrique myself."

"Beats me. So how do you know Cybersix?" Julian asked.

"It's...complicated. I see her every day, though."

"Really? She doesn't visit me that often."

"Oh, it's mostly me visiting her."

"You know where she lives?" Julian asked, surprised.

"Um, it's more like we have plenty of occasions to see each other. Don't take it personally."

"Do you ever see any action?"

"Oh, yeah. Just tonight, actually."

Julian smiled. "I like Cybersix. She's like a big sister to me, y'know?"

Lori laughed. "Well, that's you."

"I don't have a family."

Lori felt bad. "Oh. Sorry. So you just live on that boat?"

"Yeah. Don't worry, I get by. I do odd jobs around the city."

They walked in silence for a moment.

"What about you?" Julian asked. "Do you have a family?"

"Yeah, two parents."

Julian smiled. "Must be nice."

"It's okay."

"No siblings?"

"Nah."

"Still, you're so lucky. I'd do anything for a family...and a warm bed."

Lori felt guilty. "If you don't mind my asking, -"

"They died."

"Oh. I see."

LA+C6

Lori and Julian walked into the lobby of the police station. They approached the desk.

Lori looked around. "It's kind of weird being here voluntarily."

"May I help you?" the receptionist asked.

"Is a detective named Henrique in?" Lori asked.

"Yes. May I ask who's here to see him?"

"Lori Anderson and his friend, Julian."

"One moment." The receptionist picked up the receiver and pressed a number. "Henrique, your friend Julian and your favorite delinquent Lori are here to see you."

Lori fumed in anger but kept her mouth shut.

"Very well." The receptionist hung up. "He'll be right out."

Soon, Henrique walked into the lobby and over to them.

"Lori, strange to see you here...under different circumstances."

Lori gave him a fake smile. "Charming as ever, detective."

Henrique smiled at Julian. "Hey, Julian."

Julian smiled. "Hey, Henrique."

"What brings you here?" Henrique asked.

"We're on an official mission from Cybersix." Julian held up the vial of Sustenance. "Get the lab guys on this ASAP. Cybersix's life depends on it!"

Henrique took the vial. "What is it?"

Lori playfully pushed Julian aside. "Allow me to elaborate. Six was created by a psycho Nazi scientist that made her hooked on this stuff, and her supply's running low. Either help her beat it or make more of the stuff. She's going through withdrawal, and it ain't funny."

Henrique gave Lori a knowing smile. "Consider it done."

"Thanks, Henrique!" Julian waved. "Well, see ya!"

"You gonna be okay getting back to the boat, Julian?" Henrique asked. "I can have an officer drive you over."

"Nah, that's okay. I've got Lori."

Henrique smiled. "It's nice to know you've got someone looking out for you." He looked at Lori. "Be a big sister to him and make sure that he gets home safely."

Lori nodded. "I will."

As she and Julian left the police station, she kept thinking about Henrique's words.

Suddenly, Six landed in front of them.

Julian smiled. "Cybersix! I gave the vial to Henrique!"

Six smiled. "Good job, Julian. You too, Lori."

Lori smiled and nodded.

"You don't have to walk Julian home. I've got this."

"Actually,...Julian,...would you like to come home with me?" Lori offered. "I can heat up some leftovers. You can have a real meal."

Julian smiled. "I'd like that! Thanks!" He hugged Lori.

Lori smiled, giggled, and hugged Julian. "And maybe...we can have a chat with my parents about a permanent arrangement,...little brother."

Julian hugged Lori tighter. "Okay by me!" He started crying.

Six smiled in satisfaction.

Lori looked at her. "You set me up."

"Why, whatever do you mean?"

Lori stuck out her tongue.

LA+C6

Six watched from the rooftop across from Lori's apartment. She saw a light turn on. It was a bedroom next to Lori's - unused from the looks it it.

Lori and Julian stood and watched as Lori's parents showed him his new room. Julian was very excited.

Six smiled, stood up, and went home.

LA+C6

On Monday morning, Six took attendance and then picked up a stack of papers. "I hope all of you studied."

Most of the class groaned.

Lori smiled confidently. "I did."

Six placed some papers on each desk in the front row. "Take one and pass the rest back. You have twenty minutes to complete the test."

LA+C6

When time was up, Six stood up. "Pass your tests to the front."

The students did so. Six collected them and returned to her desk.

Six sat in her chair. "While I grade these, start reading 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in your textbooks."

LA+C6

Six tapped her pen repeatedly on her desk when she finished grading the last test. She looked up and stared at her class for a moment. Then she averted her gaze, stood up, picked up one test, and walked over to personally hand it to its owner.

"Congratulations, Lori."

Lori took the test and looked at the grade at the top. "Whoo-hoo, an A+!"

Six walked back to the front of the room and faced her class. "The rest of you failed. You can pick up your tests on your way out. Now, let's talk Shakespeare."

LA+C6

"Okay, who can name the three categories of the bones of the human foot?" Lucas asked.

Lori raised her hand. "Tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges."

"Right, Lori."

The bell rang.

"Oh, is it that time already?" Lucas asked. "Uh, no homework tonight. Enjoy lunch."

The students got up. Most of them left, but Lori walked up to Lucas.

"So how are you coming on that thing?" Lori asked.

"It's slow work. That stuff's complex. I need some kind of breakthrough."

"Are you meeting Mr. Seidelman for lunch?"

"Yeah."

"Maybe schedule a house call." Lori smiled. "After all, what doctor devising a treatment doesn't examine his patient?"

Lucas gave her a small smile. "Good point. I'll bring it up. Thanks, Lori."

LA+C6

Six walked into her apartment, closed the door, and locked it. She set down her briefcase and started taking off her clothes.

Her phone rang.

Six walked over and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Hey, it's me."

"Hi, Lori. I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to talk with you at school. How are things going with Julian?"

"Well, I finally know what it's like to have a younger sibling, for better or worse."

Six smiled in amusement. "For better, I bet."

"Yeah, true. How are things going with Mr. Amato?"

"Good. He scheduled a 'house call' with me during lunch and brought up some ideas while we were at the restaurant after school."

There was a knock at her door.

"That's probably him right now. I have to go."

"Be seein' ya."

Six hung up, opened her closet, quickly threw on her outfit, walked over to her door, unlocked it, and opened it.

Lori smiled. "Surprise!"

Six panicked, pulled Lori into the apartment, and closed the door.

"What are you doing here?!" Six demanded. "Lucas is gonna be over any minute!"

"I wanted to see you."

"How are you even here? I was just talking to you on the phone."

Lori held up a cellular phone. "New present from my parents for the A+ on my test today."

"That's great, Lori, but you really oughta leave."

Lori ignored that. "I can give you my number, so you can call me whenever and wherever without worry."

"Okay, fine, but-"

Her phone rang.

Six sighed, walked over, and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Hey, it's Lucas. I'm gonna be a bit late. My bike got a flat. I'm at the shop."

"No problem. I'll see you when you get here." She hung up and looked at Lori. "Lucas is running late."

Lori nodded.

"Would you like something to drink?" Six offered. "I hear you like Pepsi."

"Actually, do you have any wine?"

"That's really not a good idea."

"C'mon, we didn't get a chance to celebrate Jose's defeat."

"You want to celebrate that?" Six asked, disturbed.

"You know what I mean. It's a bit of freedom - a definitive break from what's come before."

Six smiled. "Very well. Oh, and about that."

"Yeah?"

"I was too...shocked earlier to say it, but...thank you."

Lori smiled.

LA+C6

"Well, I tripped and fell on the floor, of course, and then I got up and told Julian, 'Get the fucking Dreamcast off the floor, or I'm taking it back!'"

Six laughed. "I'm sorry that you had to give up your video games, but you gotta share when you have siblings."

"I know, I know, but he's so messy!" Lori exclaimed.

"He hasn't lived in a real home for a while. Be gentle with him."

"I'll try. It ain't all bad. I got to keep the PlayStation." Lori drank the rest of her wine and set her glass down. She pointed at the bottle. "You gonna finish that?"

Six made a "help yourself" motion with her hand. Lori drank the rest of the wine straight out of the bottle.

"Well, Lori, I think you better get going. Do you want me to call you a cab?"

"Why? I'm not a cab." Lori laughed and stood up, gripping the table to keep her balance. "Seriously, though, I've walked home drunk before. I'll be fine."

"If you need help, call me."

"I will." Lori started walking and then tripped.

Six stood up, went over to her, and walked her to the door.

Lori faced Six, curled her arms around her neck, and kissed her on the lips very passionately.

Finally, Lori finished the kiss and let go of Six. Six unlocked and opened the door.

Lori smiled. "Byyyeee."

"Bye-bye."

Lori walked into the hallway, and Six closed the door behind her.

Lori walked down the stairs and stopped at the mirror to check her reflection. She took out a tube, opened it, and reapplied her lipstick. Then she continued down the stairs and exited the building, just barely missing Lucas.

LA+C6

There was a knock at the door.

Six walked over, unlocked it, and opened it. Lucas was standing there.

Six stepped aside. "Come in."

Lucas walked inside, carrying a large case. Six closed and locked the door.

"Where can I set up?" Lucas asked.

"Table's fine."

They walked over to the table. Lucas set the case down and opened it. There was a portable chemistry set inside.

Six sat down. Lucas set up some equipment and then sat down as well.

"I figure I'll take some samples from you and analyze them. Is that okay?"

"Yeah."

"Do you have blood?"

"Yeah."

Lucas smiled. "Afraid of needles?"

Six laughed. "Nah."

"I'm a bit curious. You're not disguised as Adrian at the moment."

"Actually, I'm often not when I'm home."

"Did you check who was at the door before you opened it?"

Six was surprised. "No, actually, I hadn't."

"Interesting." Lucas prepared a needle. "Roll up your sleeve."

Six rolled up her left sleeve. Lucas inserted the needle into her arm and withdrew blood. He removed the needle and set it down. Then he applied a bandage to her arm.

"Can you open up?" Lucas asked.

"About what?"

"No, I mean literally open up, so I can see what's inside you."

"Oh. No, I can't. In fact, I've never had a need to. My systems seem to be highly durable and even capable of self-reparation."

"Really?" Lucas asked, intrigued.

Six chuckled. "Hey, can I ask you for some advice?"

Lucas started analyzing Six's blood. "Anytime."

"We've started studying 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in my class, and I feel the students aren't getting it. What's worse is most of them don't even seem to care. Lori's the only one that's asking any questions." Six smiled. "I'm proud of her. She's starting to care about her schoolwork. She even aced a test today."

"She's a bright kid. She always seems to have the right answer in Biology."

Six was surprised. "Really. Huh. Up until recently, she acted up and daydreamed in my class."

"Because she had a crush on you - Adrian, that is."

"And now?"

"You tell me."

"Maybe she's trying to impress me."

"Maybe. Or maybe she's striving to better herself for you."

Six felt uncomfortable. "What do you mean?"

"Don't play dumb. I'm not an idiot." Lucas picked up a wine glass and held it close to Six's face. "Not your shade."

Six looked closely. Lori's lipstick was on the glass.

"At least, it wasn't until possibly a few minutes ago."

Six blinked. "Huh?"

"Mirror."

Six stood up and walked over to her mirror. Some of Lori's lipstick was on her lips.

Six turned around. "Lucas, I-"

"You chose her. I get it."

Six walked back over to the table and sat down. "Are you upset?"

"Upset. Hurt. Creeped out."

"I'm..." Six stopped.

"Don't say you're sorry, because we both know you're not."

"That's true. I...really don't know what happened, Lucas. Maybe there's some truth to what you said. Maybe...those feelings have been there all along."

"You don't have to rationalize it to me. I might not understand it, but...I'll keep your secret."

"Thank you. Are we okay?"

"Yeah. I'll get over it. You could do worse than her, and she does genuinely seem to like you."

"She told me that she loves me. She also saved my life."

"It seems to me that she's made her case. What are you gonna do?"

Six sighed. "I can't commit - at least, not right now. Not with my future uncertain. It wouldn't be fair to her."

"Well, let's try to not leave her hanging for too long. So,...out of curiosity,...what do you two talk about?"

"We have a few common interests."

"Such as?"

"Can we talk about something else, please?"

"Right, um, your problem with your students. I'm gonna tell you something that a theater teacher once told our class. Shakespeare would be appalled that people are sitting in classrooms and reading his plays out of a book. He was a theater guy. He meant for his plays to be performed, to be experienced. Take your class to the auditorium and have them act it out on stage. Get into costume. Make it fun."

Six smiled. "My teaching style is too dry, is that it?"

"Well, you can teach however you want, but Biology is definitely a more hands-on class than Literature. You should have seen Lori dissect a frog. She gutted that thing like a pro."

Six felt disgusted and made a face. "Ew."

"Anyway, that's my advice, so..." Lucas stopped as he noticed some results on his equipment. He put a sample of Six's blood under a microscope and looked at it. "Hello."

LA+C6

On Tuesday morning, Lori showed up for Literature class early. Six was reading the play at her desk.

"Hey."

Six looked up. "Hey."

"So how'd it go yesterday?"

"Lucas thinks he's made a breakthrough, something about endomitosis. I don't know. He took off in a hurry to make use of the school's science lab."

"Well, I'm definitely rooting for him."

Six smiled.

More students started coming into the classroom and taking their seats. Soon, the bell rang.

Six stood up. "Don't get comfortable. We're going to be doing something different today. I figured a more hands-on approach to this play will be better, so we're going to the auditorium to act it out."

LA+C6

After school, Six went over to Lucas' classroom and looked inside. It was empty.

Lori walked by.

"Lori, have you see Lucas?" Six asked.

"Not since class. Why?"

"Well, we often meet each other after school before we head out to the restaurant."

"Have you tried the science lab?" Lori suggested. "He might be working on a way to save your life."

"Oh, yeah. No, I haven't. Thanks." Six started walking.

Lori joined her. "I'll walk with you."

"Won't your parents get worried if you're late getting home?"

Lori stared at her.

"Right. I forgot who I was talking to. So what did you think of today's class?"

Lori shrugged. "I appreciate the effort, but it doesn't make me care for the play."

"Why's that?"

"I guess because it's so...school."

"School?" Six asked.

"It's something that we're expected to learn in school. I'm sure that it's an okay story; it's just not something that I'm interested in."

"I see. Maybe I oughta skip covering 'The Canterbury Tales'."

Lori suddenly got afraid that she'd offended Six. "I'm sorry. It's okay if you like it. I just don't."

Six chuckled. "It's okay, I get it. Shakespeare isn't for everyone."

Lori smiled. "Although, it was fun seeing my former gang members put on that donkey head and try to play Bottom."

Six smiled. "Transforming themselves into literal jackasses."

Lori stared at Six in surprise and then started laughing. Six joined in.

They arrived at the science lab and looked inside. Lucas was working at some equipment.

Six opened the door. "Ladies first."

Lori giggled. "Thank you." She walked into the lab.

Six followed her and let the door close behind her.

"How's it going?" Six asked.

Lucas looked at them. "Pretty good. I believe I can make your cells replicate Sustenance within your own body, providing you with a perpetual source."

"But you can't substitute something else or just get me off it completely?" Six asked.

"Not as far as I know. If there is a way, Von Reichter took the secret to his grave."

Lori looked at Six. "He was probably bullshitting you to get you to join him - or at least allow him to destroy Meridiana."

Six thought about that. "Possibly. Well, your solution is better than nothing. How close are you to being ready for a test?"

Lucas sighed. "Based on the simulations that I've run, I can't get your cells to replicate the Sustenance at a rate faster than your body's burn-off rate. Unless I can bump it up, your body will still run out."

Six sighed.

"May I take a look at your data?" Lori asked.

Lucas made a "help yourself" motion at the equipment.

Lori walked over to the equipment and started typing on the laptop. "I'm changing some values. Let's see if this does the trick." She ran a simulation. As she watched the screen, she slowly started to smile. "Check it out."

Lucas and Six looked at the screen. According to the simulation, Six's cells would replicate Sustenance at 1.00000111 times her burn-off rate.

"Hmmm..." Lucas started typing. "There's a problem. Replication exceeds burn-off only as long as Six is in a resting state."

"Yes, but I used a weighted average of sleep and mild exertion."

"Very mild."

"Would you two please explain what you're talking about?" Six asked.

They looked at her.

Lucas shrugged. "Basically, it means you're gonna have to take it easy, not exert yourself. You need to conserve as much energy as possible."

Lori smiled. "So that means no fighting, watching movies and TV, and staying in bed...a lot."

Six almost blushed. "But...there might be Technos, Fixed Ideas, and more of Von Reichter's creations roaming the city. Someone needs to hunt them down and kill them."

Lori smiled. "Got it covered. I'll start taking karate lessons."

Lucas smiled and pointed at himself with his thumb. "And I used to be a boxer. I know a few moves. I'll be there to protect her."

Lori giggled. "Despite that, I'll be fine."

Six smiled. "My heroes, always looking out for me."

Lucas gestured at the equipment. "Sorry to sideline you, but this is the best that we can do for now."

"Thank you. When can we start?"

"Right now if you want."

"Sure."

LA+C6

"You seem to be responding well to the treatment."

Six smiled. "That's good to know."

She and Lucas were walking out of the school.

"So you wanna go for dinner?"

Six thought about it for a while. "Not tonight. I need to run an errand."

"Okay. I'll see you tomorrow."

Six waved. "See ya." She headed off in a different direction.

LA+C6

The man handed Six the item that she'd purchased. "Here you are. Thank you for your patronage."

"Would you gift-wrap it, please?" Six requested. "It's for someone special."

"Of course, sir."

Six was caught by surprise. She'd forgotten she was dressed as Adrian and hadn't been deepening her voice. "May I use your phone?"

"Of course, sir."

Six picked up the receiver. She took a small book out of her pocket and opened it. She hesitated for a moment, and then she dialed the phone number. She waited as the phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Lori, it's me."

"Hey, what's up?"

"I was doing some shopping. Are you busy tonight?"

"No. Actually, I'm a bit bored. Why?"

"Would you like to go out to dinner at the restaurant?"

"I think I can swing that with my parents. When?"

"Eight?" Six suggested.

"I'll be there. If not, I'll call the restaurant."

"Okay. I'll be waiting."

"'Kay."

Six hung up the receiver.

The man handed Six the wrapped gift.

Six took it. "Thank you. Do you mind if I make one more phone call?"

"Not at all, sir."

LA+C6

Six stood in her apartment. She was naked, having taken off her Adrian clothes.

She pressed her right hand to the wall to support herself and leaned forward, staring at her reflection in the mirror. "Is this the right choice? Do I know what I'm doing? How will she react? I have taken a series of risks, and that's fine for me, but what about her? How will this affect her?" She briefly looked at the boxes sitting on her table and then looked back at her reflection. "Do I have the right to burden her with this? Will it bring the right kind of change to her life? Will it bring meaning to my own?"

Six stared at her reflection for a while longer, hoping an answer would come to her.

LA+C6

Lori arrived at the restaurant five minutes early. She wore a long, white camisole over a pair of white short shorts, giving her the appearance of wearing a dress without actually having to wear one. She also wore white, flat dress shoes. She didn't put on any make-up except for a very light pink shade of lipstick.

Lori walked over to the counter. "Excuse me, table for two, please."

"We're at full capacity at the moment. You're gonna have to wait."

"It's okay. I'm a bit early anyway."

"What's your name? I'll call you when there's a table available."

"Lori Anderson."

The waiter paused for a moment. "Hang on." She checked a list. "You have a reservation at eight?"

Lori was surprised. "I do?"

"Right here. Lori Anderson and Cybersix."

Lori smiled. "Wow, she thought of everything." Then she frowned in confusion. "But you're at full capacity."

"There's one more table." The waiter picked up two menus. "Follow me."

Lori followed her. They went to the back of the restaurant and out a door. There was a spacious porch with one table, fully prepared.

Lori was amazed. "Oh, wow."

The waiter set the menus on the table. "Your...companion should arrive shortly. Do you want anything to drink?"

Lori didn't like the tone in the woman's voice but decided to not pick a fight. "Water, no ice."

"Okay." She went back into the restaurant and closed the door.

Lori walked over to the table and sat down. She took a moment to look around, even though there wasn't much to look at. Finally, she opened the menu and looked through it.

The door opened. The waiter came out and placed her glass of water on the table.

"Still deciding?" the waiter asked.

Lori nodded.

"No problem, take your time." She went back into the restaurant and closed the door.

Lori took a sip of her water as she continued reading the menu. She couldn't decide what she wanted.

Soon, the door opened again.

"Water, no ice, thank you."

Lori looked up, and her jaw dropped. Six walked onto the porch, and the door closed behind her. She was wearing an elegant red dress, a silver necklace, and red high-heeled dress shoes. She was carrying a red clutch.

Lori stared at Six in surprise. "Holy shit."

Six laughed. "I was hoping to get a reaction out of you." She walked over to the table and sat down opposite Lori. She set her clutch down.

"You are so beautiful."

Six stared at Lori. "You're beautiful too, Lori."

"Did you specifically request this table?"

"Uh-huh. I figured this is a cause for celebration."

"Oh?"

Six smiled. "My treatment's going well."

Lori grinned. "That's great!"

Six opened her menu and started looking through it.

The door opened, and the waiter came out. She set a glass of water on the table.

Six smiled. "Thank you."

"Have you decided on anything yet?"

Lori shook her head.

Six looked at the waiter. "Give us a few more minutes."

"Okay." The waiter went back into the restaurant.

"I can't decide what I want." Lori flipped through the menu. "I guess I'm not much of a restaurant person. I don't even go out for fast food that much."

"What is it that you want, Lori?" Six asked.

"I just told you. I can't decide."

"No, I mean out of life."

"Oh, you're getting deep. Okay. Um,...to be happy, I guess. That's what anyone should want out of life."

"And are you happy?" Six asked.

"I think so. I've got a wonderful girlfriend, loving parents, and a new brother."

"That's good." Six flipped through her menu. "I recommend the 20-ounce sirloin steak."

Lori gave up and closed her menu. "Sounds good."

The door opened, and the waiter came back onto the porch.

Six closed her menu. "We'll each have the 20-ounce sirloin. Please bring us some steak sauce and salad dressing."

The waiter wrote it down and collected the menus. "All right." She went back into the restaurant.

Six looked at Lori. "I wish I could order wine for us."

"Me too. I mean 'Why's that?'"

Six smiled. "I have my life. I seem to be in the clear - a complete break with the past. It calls for a celebration."

Lori smiled seductively. "Maybe we can 'celebrate' at your place after dinner."

"I'd love that." Six took a sip of her water. "What kind of excuse did you give your parents?"

"I simply told them that I wanted to go out for a walk for a few hours for some exercise and fresh air."

"And that worked?" Six asked, surprised.

"Uh-huh. My parents have started trusting me recently."

Six realized the irony of that statement in context but didn't say anything. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Lori made a face. "Really? Why don't you just ask me about the weather?"

"I know it's a tired question, but I really want to know."

Lori shrugged. "In college, I guess. You?"

"Still teaching." Six paused for a moment. "Do you...see us together still?"

"Well, yeah. Don't you?"

"I'd love to. But what if your parents want to move?"

"I'd return once I turn 18. You'd wait for me, wouldn't you?"

"Of course." Six paused for a moment. "But what if you go off to college somewhere else?"

"There are plenty of good colleges right here in BC. There's even one in Meridiana."

"Is that where you wanna go?"

"If it means being with you."

Six was troubled by that. "Your life shouldn't revolve around me."

"But I love you."

"I know you do." Six paused for a moment. "Don't you aspire to anything greater than your current existence?"

"Should I?" Lori asked.

"I did."

Lori smiled. "You sure did, and it worked out well for you."

"I want you to have the same kind of success."

"I've already made a difference in your life."

"Yes, and I'm grateful, but I'm only one person."

Lori took hold of Six's right hand with her left hand. "No, you're not. Not to me."

"But who am I to stand in the way of your dreams? Of a future career?"

Lori was troubled. "It sounds like you're breaking up with me."

"No, I'm not. I just want you to be mindful of your future."

Lori nodded. "I am. I've been thinking about it, and -"

Suddenly, the door opened, and the waiter pushed a cart out onto the porch. She rolled it over to their table and put a bowl of salad, a bowl of garlic breadsticks, a bottle of steak sauce, a bottle of French salad dressing, and two plates on the table. Each plate contained a 20-ounce sirloin steak, onion, and garlic mashed potatoes with gravy.

Lori sniffed it and smiled. "It smells delicious."

"Enjoy." The waiter pushed the cart back into the restaurant.

Six and Lori unwrapped their napkins and helped themselves to some salad and breadsticks.

"You were saying?" Six asked.

"Huh?" Lori thought for a moment. "Oh. I want to become a teacher."

Six was surprised. "Really?"

"Yeah." Lori smiled. "You've inspired me."

Six smiled. "I'm happy to hear that. Do you have a particular subject in mind?"

"Not yet. I'm still thinking about it."

"I wish you well."

"Thanks. Who knows? I might teach at Meridiana High. I'll get to see the famed faculty lounge."

"Coffee maker's broken."

"I'm a tea girl."

Six chuckled. "Me too."

Lori started on her steak. "Mmmm, this is delicious."

Six tried her steak. "Yes, it is." She looked up and smiled. "Ooh, look at that."

Lori looked up. The clouds parted, and the full moon shined bright in the sky.

Lori smiled. "It's beautiful."

Six looked at her. "May I have this dance?"

Lori looked at her. "What?"

Just then, music started playing. It was "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship.

Six smiled and offered her hands to Lori. Lori smiled and took hold of Six's hands. They stood up and walked away from the table, and then they started dancing.

Lori laughed. "Which of us is supposed to lead?"

Six laughed. "Don't worry about it."

The two of them awkwardly tried to dance to the song. Eventually, Six took the lead and guided Lori.

"Ow!" Lori cried out.

"Sorry."

"Do you even know how to dance?" Lori asked.

"Um, I never learned."

"Heh." Lori stared at Six for a while, looking into her eyes. "Are you all right?"

Six looked at her. "What?"

"You seem distracted."

Six closed her eyes. "Um..."

"Hey."

Six opened her eyes and looked at Lori.

"Talk to me."

"I just...I never expected to live this long. I figured either I'd die fighting, or I'd beat Von Reichter and then die from a lack of Sustenance. Now that I have my life back and a future ahead of me, I'm a bit overwhelmed and...lost."

"Well, you've done all that you could, and you've survived. If there's any additional work to be done, Mr. Amato and I will help you. I wouldn't worry too much about what tomorrow will bring. We could live another sixty years, or we could die tomorrow. Regardless, I'm here for you always. The important thing is to enjoy ourselves, together, while we're here."

Six thought about that for a moment and then smiled at her. "Partners in all things, come what may. I have a gift for you."

Lori smiled. "Another one?"

Six let go of Lori, walked back over to the table, opened her purse, and took out the gift. She returned to Lori and offered it to her.

Lori unwrapped the box and smiled. "Ooh, is it jewelry?!"

Six felt nervous as she waited for Lori to open the box.

Lori opened the box and stared in shock. Inside was a silver diamond ring.

"Omigod." Lori just stared at it. Finally, she looked up at Six, her mouth open.

Six took the ring out of the box and got down on one knee. "Lori Anderson, I love you. Will you marry me?"

Lori stared in shock at Six for a moment longer. Then she smiled. "Yes!" She offered her left hand to Six.

Six slipped the ring on Lori's left ring finger and then stood up. Lori threw herself at Six and kissed her on the lips. The two of them hugged. Six lifted Lori up and kissed her deeply.

LA+C6

Six and Lori clinked their glasses together and then drank their wine.

"So how does it feel to wear a dress?" Lori asked.

Six thought about it. "Kind of odd. I keep feeling like there should be fabric between my legs."

Lori smiled seductively. "Well, I'll be glad to help you out of it."

Six smiled. They finished their wine, set down their glasses, and walked over to Six's bed. Six kicked off her shoes and faced away from Lori. Lori pulled down the dress. Six stepped out of the dress. To Lori's surprise and delight, Six wasn't wearing any undergarments. Lori gently palmed Six's ass for a while, and then she took off her own clothes, casually dropping them on the floor. Lori and Six hugged and kissed each other. Six playfully spanked Lori. Then Lori pushed her love backwards onto the bed and tackled her.

LA+C6

Lori snuggled against Six's body as they spooned in bed. Lori turned her head and kissed Six on the lips.

"How long until you have to be home?" Six asked.

"I think I can stay for a few more minutes." Lori looked at the ring on her hand. "How am I gonna explain this?"

"You'll think of something." Six kissed Lori on the neck and played with her breasts. "Maybe hide it away for now."

"Yeah, that's probably for the best. It'd raise too many questions." Lori looked at Six. "When do you think we'll be able to get married?"

"It probably won't be long. Maybe a few years at most. We just have to be patient."

"Where do you think we'll live?"

"Huh?"

"Well, this apartment's pretty small."

Six thought about that. "Are you thinking about a house?"

"Maybe. Small yard."

"Well, that's a while off. We'll see how much money that we'll have then. Besides, right now, you have a little brother to raise."

"True." Lori turned over and faced Six. She started kissing and licking Six's neck and then moved down to her breasts, kissing and licking each of them. "Y'know, it's kinda fucked up that Von Reichter built you anatomically correct."

Six laughed. "You haven't been complaining."

"Oh, I'm very much a fan of his work...in this...particular...regard." Lori left a trail of kisses down Six's body until she reached her intended destination.

Six could barely keep her composure as Lori went to work on her most sacred area.

LA+C6

"Are you ready, dear?"

Lori looked at her mother. "I think so."

"Then you better put on your cap."

Lori looked at her father and nodded. "Right." She put her cap on her head.

Julian smiled. "Are ya nervous?!"

Lori smiled. "Nah. Well, I better go and get in line."

Lori received hugs from her parents and younger brother, and then she went and stood in line with her schoolmates.

LA+C6

"I can't believe Lori's graduating."

Lucas looked at Six, who was seated to his left. "Why's that? She's a bright kid."

"No, I mean it seems like only yesterday that we met. It's hard to believe it's been nearly two years."

Lucas laughed. "Well, time flies when you're 'having fun'." He nudged her with his elbow. "Right?"

Six rolled her eyes. She sat through the entire ceremony, most of which was boring. She watched Lori, sitting in the graduating class' section. Lori occasionally looked at the person speaking on the stage, but mostly she seemed bored and sought out her family and Six in the audience.

When they were declared graduates, the now-former schoolmates stood up, cheered, took off their caps, and threw them into the air. Six applauded for Lori.

LA+C6

Six and Lori stood near Lori's parents' car in the parking lot.

Six smiled. "I'm so proud of you."

Lori smiled. "Thanks."

"So what now?" Six asked.

"My parents are taking me out for a celebratory dinner."

"That's nice. Y'know, I've been thinking about something."

"Oh?"

"I think I'm going to come out as a woman."

Lori was surprised. "Wow. Are you sure?"

"Well, I took the Adrian Seidelman disguise, because it was convenient, and I kept it to protect our relationship while you were my student, but there's little reason to keep it up now."

"But won't revealing you're a woman put your job in jeopardy?" Lori asked.

"Maybe, but I think it'd be nice to live as a woman full-time. I don't have to tell the principal everything. Maybe I'll say I was raised as a boy by disappointed parents, and I'd simply kept up the act into adulthood, being in denial of my true self."

Lori smiled. "Wow, I'm impressed. You can bullshit with the best of them."

Six laughed. "Thanks."

Lori's parents walked over to them.

Lori's father smiled at him and offered his right hand. "Mr. Seidelman, hello."

Six shook his hand. "Hello."

"Lori talks about you a lot. You seem to be her favorite teacher."

Six smiled. "That's nice to hear."

Lori's mother smiled. "Is she really your best student?"

"Absolutely."

"You'll probably miss her, huh?"

"Oh, I think I'll see her around town."

Lori's father smiled. "Oh, I doubt that."

Six frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we were gonna wait until dinner to show you, but this came in the mail yesterday." He took an envelope out of his jacket pocket and offered it to Lori.

Lori took it and opened it. She took out the letter and read it. She frowned. "It's a letter of acceptance to Okanagan."

Her father frowned. "You don't seem happy."

"I wanted to go to Meridiana University."

"Well, I'm sorry, honey, but you didn't get in."

Lori crumpled up the letter. "Then I'll go to the local community college."

Her father was shocked. "Sweetie, you got accepted into a university."

"I don't wanna go there!" Lori yelled.

"If the costs of room and board are what concerns you, then -"

"That's not it! I..." Lori hesitated for a bit. "I'm involved with someone."

Six froze in fear. Her parents stared in shock.

"Who?!" Lori's father demanded.

"Do we know him?!" her mother added.

Lori was unsure how to proceed. Finally, she withdrew her engagement ring, hanging as a pendant from her necklace, from under her gown. "It's...a long-term engagement."

Her parents were further shocked. Her father seemed angry.

"We want to meet this man!" he yelled. "Call him up and ask him to meet us for dinner at the restaurant."

Lori looked at Six and made a very slight motion with her head, indicating for her to walk away. Six did so and answered her cell phone when Lori called her.

LA+C6

Lori and her parents were sitting at their table in the restaurant, waiting.

The waiter walked over to them. "Ready to order?"

Lori's father shook his head. "Not yet. We're still waiting on someone."

The waiter walked away.

Six walked into the restaurant, wearing black pants and a white shirt but no suspenders. Her shirt was somewhat unbuttoned, revealing a bit of cleavage. She wore her glasses, but her hair was combed in her Cybersix style. Lori smiled and waved her over. Six approached the table.

"Lori, who's this?" her father demanded. "Where's your...boyfriend?"

Lori smiled nervously. "Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my fiancée."

Her parents stared at her in shock.

Six offered her right hand to them. "Andrea Seidelman."

Lori's father briefly looked at her and then back at Lori. "You have got to be kidding."

Lori frowned at him. "I'm not." She stood up, walked over to Six, and kissed her on the lips. Then she returned to her seat.

Six sat down as well, opposite Lori, who was seated between her parents.

Lori's father stared at Six. "You're not staying. Kindly say goodbye to my daughter and leave."

Lori frowned. "She is staying, or I'm leaving."

Her father looked at her. She stared him down. He flinched.

"We're in love with each other." Lori stared at her father. "As much as the two of you love each other."

Her mother slowly smiled. "Where did you two meet?"

"At school."

Her mother looked at Six. "Oh. Are you related to Adrian Seidelman, Lori's Literature teacher?"

Six smiled nervously. "You could say that."

"When did you meet?" Lori's father asked, suspicious.

Lori and Six looked at each other, worried.

Six looked at Lori's father. "Nearly two years ago."

Lori looked at her father. "She proposed not too long after that."

He stared at Six and fumed. "You seduced my daughter when she was sixteen?!"

"She did no such thing." Lori smiled. "I seduced her."

"And you've lived with this secret for nearly two years?" her mother asked in surprise.

Lori looked at her. "Think of it as us remaining together for nearly two years."

Her mother smiled. "That's certainly an accomplishment in this day and age. This calls for an even bigger celebration than we'd planned." She waved the waiter over.

Lori smiled and offered Six her left hand. Six took hold of it with her right hand.

The waiter came over. "Ready to order?"

"First, bring us a bottle of your finest wine."

Lori grinned. "Whoo-hoo!"

LA+C6

Six, Lori, and her parents raised their glasses.

Mrs. Anderson smiled. "To Lori's recent and continued success - and to happiness for the lovely couple."

The four of them clinked their glasses together and then sipped their wine.

"So, assuming you'll someday be able to go through with this wedding, what will you do regarding your names?" Lori's father asked.

Lori smiled. "We'll each keep our own names."

Her father looked at Six. "Really? Is our family name unsuited to you?"

Six frowned. "Mr. Anderson, with all due respect, I really don't want things to get any more confusing."

He was confused by that statement, but he finally just shrugged it off. "Oh, very well. You have my blessing."

Lori smiled in amusement. "Thanks, Dad." She set down her glass and removed her ring from her necklace. She slipped the ring on her left ring finger and then just stared at it and smiled. "It feels nice to wear this openly."

LA+C6

"Are you ready, dear?" Six asked.

Lori grinned. "Are you kidding? I've been waiting for this day for nearly four years."

Six picked up the remote control and turned off the television. She set the remote control down, and the two women stood up.

Lori took out her cell phone. "I'm gonna call my parents."

Six smiled. "I'm gonna call Lucas." She walked over to the landline phone. "Assuming everyone can make it today, I'll call the restaurant and make a reservation for a dinner afterward."

"Sounds great."

"Do you want a cake?"

"Definitely!" Lori enthusiastically agreed.

LA+C6

The wedding party converged on Meridiana City Hall.

Six and Lori had to wait their turn and fill out forms. They had decided to wear white dress clothes that weren't too fancy.

"Seidelman and Anderson."

Six and Lori stood up when they heard the receptionist call their names. They walked over to the deputy clerk and gave her their forms. She checked them and then added them to her clipboard. Julian pointed a video camera at them and started recording. He gave a thumbs-up.

"Do you have any vows that you wish to exchange or texts that you wish to have read?" the deputy clerk asked.

Six and Lori looked at each other in panic. "I've got nothing!"

The deputy clerk smiled. "That's all right. Lori, please place your ring on the tip of Andrea's left ring finger."

Lori got the wedding ring that she'd bought out of her pocket and did so, holding Six's left hand with her own left hand.

"Repeat after me. I, Lori, take you, Andrea, to be my lawfully wedded wife,..."

Lori stared into Six's eyes. "I, Lori, take you, Andrea, to be my lawfully wedded wife,..."

"...to have and to hold,..."

"...to have and to hold,..."

"...in good times and in bad times,..."

"...in good times and in bad times,..."

"...for richer or poorer,..."

"...for richer or poorer,..."

"...in sickness and in health,..."

"...in sickness and in health,..."

"...from this day forward..."

"...from this day forward..."

"...and all the days of my life."

"...and all the days of my life."

"You may now slide the ring onto Andrea's finger."

Lori did so and then released Six's hand.

"Andrea, please place your ring on the tip of Lori's left ring finger."

Six got the wedding ring that she'd bought out of her pocket and did so, holding Lori's left hand with her own left hand.

"Repeat after me. I, Andrea, take you, Lori, to be my lawfully wedded wife,..."

Six stared into Lori's eyes. "I, Andrea, take you, Lori, to be my lawfully wedded wife,..."

"...to have and to hold,..."

"...to have and to hold,..."

"...in good times and in bad times,..."

"...in good times and in bad times,..."

"...for richer or poorer,..."

"...for richer or poorer,..."

"...in sickness and in health,..."

"...in sickness and in health,..."

"...from this day forward..."

"...from this day forward..."

"...and all the days of my life."

"...and all the days of my life."

"You may now slide the ring onto Lori's finger."

Six did so and then released Lori's hand.

"By the powers vested in me by the province of British Columbia, I now declare you married."

Six and Lori stared at each other, giddy with excitement. They hugged each other, and their lips met in a powerful kiss. Lori's parents and Lucas applauded.

When they finished their kiss, they released each other and received hugs and congratulations. After the formality of signing and receiving an official copy of their marriage certificate, they left for the restaurant.

LA+C6

The wedding party was led to the same private porch that Six had proposed to Lori on. Once they were seated, the waiter opened a bottle of wine, which Six had called ahead and requested. She poured the wine into every glass except Julian's. She brought Julian a glass of Pepsi.

"Is anyone ready to order?" the waiter asked.

They shook their heads.

"All right, take your time." The waiter went back into the restaurant.

Lori's mother picked up her glass and stood up. "I'd like to propose a toast."

The others picked up their glasses and stood up.

"To my beautiful daughter, Lori, and my beautiful new daughter-in-law, Andrea, may you have a long, happy marriage filled with joy and many blessings."

They were about to clink their glasses together.

"Hang on, I have something that I want to say." Lori's father looked at his daughter and Six. "I was wrong. My daughter picked a hell of a good woman."

Six and Lori smiled.

"I wanna say somethin' too." Julian fought back tears. "Lori, you're the best big sister that a kid could ask for. Cybersix, um, Andrea, I'm glad to have a cool bigger sis now."

Lori and Six grinned. Julian wiped away tears. Lori hugged Julian with her free arm.

"I wanna say something too." Lucas looked at Six and Lori and raised his glass. "To the happy couple, consisting of the best Literature teacher and the future best computer teacher - congratulations - at Meridiana High,...you were right. In retrospect, I can't imagine a different outcome. Good luck, you two."

Six and Lori hugged each other with their free hands.

"Nothing about this was certain." Six looked at Lori, hugging her wife tight. "It took tenacity from a persistent young woman to get me to see the truth of us."

Lori smiled broadly at her wife. "Partners in all things,..."

"...come what may." Six kissed Lori on the lips.

"Speaking of coming what may." Lori's father took a folded sheet of paper out of his jacket pocket and offered it to his daughter.

Lori took it. "What's this?" She unfolded it and read it. "Holy shit."

"What?" Six looked as well.

"It's a deed to a house." Lori looked at Six. "Our house."

"It's a nice place on the outskirts of the city." Mr. Anderson shrugged. "Not too big. Nothing fancy. But it's completely furnished. We all chipped in, even Julian. He was like 'She's spending so much time at Cybersix's cramped apartment anyway, she might as well just move the hell out.'"

Everyone chuckled.

Lori smiled. "This is such an amazing gift. Thank you."

Six smiled. "Yes, thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

"All right, let's drink the booze already." Lori gulped down her wine.

LA+C6

Lori leaned back in her chair. "I'm stuffed."

Six smiled. "I hope you have enough room for dessert."

"Huh?"

"Your cake, which you 'definitely' wanted."

Lori groaned. "Oh, yeah. Fuck me."

"Later, once we're in our new place."

The door opened, and the waiter pushed a cart out onto the porch. She wheeled it over to their table. On it was a large chocolate cake. Written in frosting were "Lori and Andrea" and "July 8, 2003". The waiter cleared the table of the empty dishes and set the cake on the table. Then she went back into the restaurant.

Six stood up, picked up the knife, and cut a slice of cake. She picked up the slice and offered the knife to Lori. Lori cut another slice, picked it up, and set down the knife. Six and Lori fed cake to each other.

"Well?" Six asked.

"It's good." Lori paused in thought for a moment. "I might heave later."

Six chuckled. The two of them finished the slices of cake and then wiped their mouths with napkins.

Music started playing. It was "I Promise" by Stacie Orrico.

Lucas motioned with his head. "First dance, you two."

Six and Lori walked a distance from the table, held each other, and started dancing.

"So do you want me to carry you over the threshold later?" Six asked in a teasing manner.

Lori smiled. "Of course." She leaned her head on Six's right shoulder. "There's no better place to be than in your arms."

Fin

Episode references:

01) Mysterious Shadow - Six says "I think I love you." This is what Lori had written to her in the note. Lucas' boxing past also comes from this episode.

02) Data 7 & Julian - the bookstore

03) Terra - the movie theater and Six's dress, necklace, and shoes

04) Yashimoto, Private Eye - Six's unlisted phone number (also in the following episode)

05) Lori is Missing - Six being interested in Dadaism and "The Canterbury Tales" comes from her school personnel file, which Lori reads in this episode (pause the scene and do a slow advance to read it all). Other details include Canadian schools and an invalid Canadian postal code in her home address (along with the incorrect abbreviation "SBC"), which basically places Meridiana in British Columbia in this universe. Lori's last name comes from this episode. So does "Ah! Sunflower". Also, the manner in which Lori comes by Six's apartment is lifted from this episode. Finally, there's Lori's epic line, "You are so stupid!" :)

06) Blue Birds of Horror - Six wakes up at the same time as on day 2 in this episode and has to deal with the light shining through her window.

07) Brainwashed - Henrique, Six loving the smell of the air after it rains

08) Gone With the Wings - Macy Street

09) The Eye - Lori mentions the arcade. Six mentions Lori being attacked by the eye.

10) Full Moon Fascination - frog dissection, Lori doing air guitar

11) The Greatest Show in Meridiana - Six teases Lori about the circus, which Lori isn't actually shown attending in this episode, but we're kind of led to believe she would.

12) Daylight Devil - Lori and Six recall their conversation on the bus.

13 The Final Confrontation - Lori and Six talk about their actions in this episode.