Quicksand Lovers

August 20, 2015:

Ronnie is the (un?)fortunate recipient of a soul fragment, separated from Shift. What she does with it is bound to be a huge mistake.



NPCs: None.



Mood Music: I Love My Car by Belle and Sebastian

Fade In…

Ronnie Hautzig ran into her ex — and what she can only assume is his new girl, though she didn't stick around to find out — at a bar the other night. This African psycho started some stuff, too. She sort of remembers it, through the drunken haze she was in. That night, she went home and went to bed and dreamed about him. Not in any particular way — he was just kind of there, haunting her, kind of. But when she woke up, she felt fine.

Ronnie went through the usual motions of her morning. Yoga, weights, some CQC self-drills to keep her reflexes sharp. She finished then took a shower, and as she was toweling herself off, something hit her. She looked good. For the first time since she'd stopped being Eventide, Ronnie felt good about her body. She had to stop in front of the mirror for a good few minutes, flexing and admiring herself. Hard work had paid dividends.

Ronnie got to work at a SHIELD data processing facility stashed in some anonymous building in New York City. She sat down at her desk and reviewed the 200 emails that had arrived since last night with something approaching vigor, for the first time ever. She normally thought of this stuff as garbage busywork, but as she flagged and foldered messages, she thought about how important what she was doing for the overall homeland security effort. Sure, she might be a small cog in the machine, but without the pieces like her, it'd break. She felt really good about doing her part to keep things running.

On the way home, picking up a gluten-free vegan personal pizza (no cheese), Ronnie actually responded to something the clerk said with more than a bored grunt. Cheerful small talk, even. The people working in the pizzeria were left confused by that.

Ronnie made it home, and had water with dinner instead of vodka. She thought about how she'd need to catch up with some people who she hadn't spoken to in months. And then, in her chair, she started to doze off — it'd been a long day at work. And as her vision got fuzzy and dark, one of those people she thought about, who she needed to get back in touch with, was Lynette Shackleford.


Drifting up from the bubbles beneath, Lynette gazes longingly into the massive mirror that lines her bath. She throws her red hair to the side, letting it splash down over her shoulder with a short giggle, followed soon enough by a snort. Moments later, she's stepping out onto the fine tile, and wrapping the expensive towel around her body.

It's a short trek to the balcony overlooking TriBeCa, but when she steps outside, the cool dusk air greets her with a rush of life. Yesterday's rainfall has left the island less humid than normal; it almost feels like a summer from back home.

Working for Wilson Fisk has been profitable for Lynette. Life has taken quite a turn for the metahuman party girl,but as she steps out into the breeze, something touches her upon the Seonaidh plane.

She blinks.


When Ronnie awakens in the dream, she will find herself in an elevator, which rises to the thirteenth floor of a condo building in TriBeCa. The elevator passes the publicly accessible floors, and the rear doors slide open to reveal Lynette's apartment. It would appear empty at first, but a brief investigation would find her standing upon the balcony, dressed in an expensive gown made of fine silk in black and grey. Cigarette smoke flows from her face, which is turned toward the city beyond, and a crystal glass of something fancy and booze-laden rests on the lip of her balcony's railing.


Ronnie's dressed differently than what she fell asleep in. When she passed out, she was in yoga pants and a Coast City Clippers t-shirt (faux vintage, pre-distressed).
In the elevator, Ronnie looks down at herself. She's wearing a clingy, patterned bodysuit that looks sort of Native American, sort of psychedelic. Black jeans, tight as hell, blue jacket, less so. Wedge sandals. Didn't she see those in a catalog once and kind of like them? Some of the rings and necklaces she has on are hers. Some, she doesn't even really recognize. Her hair is tied back at the top, kind of a vestigial proto-pony while the actual back hangs loose.

Ronnie feels good about this. She walks into the condo without fear, looking around as if she knows this place, taking in details that are new and familiar all at the same time. Instinct guides her to the balcony.

"Lynette," Ronnie says, standing in the doorway, answering a call she didn't even know was issued. The last time she saw Lynette, it was Dreamraker, killing that private eye, all tentacles and tears and burning fire. But this is different. Ronnie doesn't have the weight of self-loathing in her dream-self. She doesn't seem boxed in by herself. She seems open, free, she almost walks with some kind of swagger. "I'm here."


"You are."

Lynette blows one more tuft of white carcinogen into the air, before she turns about, leaning up against the balcony railing. She's got one leg out just to show off the gam, heel and all, and upon her face is a coy smirk.

"I thought I told you to leave me alone," she coos, completely ignoring the fact that she is the one responsible for this happening. "Come out here. Let me see you. Share my drink with me." The cigarette is flicked carelessly off the balcony, which is a Federal Offense in the State of New York, but then again… none of this is real, after all.


Ronnie looks at the offered leg. Not a sheepish peek. Not an ogling stare. A look. An acknowledgment that she sees what Lynette is showing her. And then upward, eye contact. Normally, Ronnie's such a shut-in within her own brain. This is different. Even in things like small looks.

"Youdid," Ronnie says, ignoring the criminality of the flicked cigarette. She steps forward and reaches out… both for the drink, and to rest a hand on Lynette's hip, to just casually step in and make that closeness happen…

Ronnie has a sip without letting Lynette's hand leave the cup. "But we both know that wasn't what either of us really wanted. This feels good, Lynette. This feels right." Ronnie leans in, bringing her face closer to Lynette's, almost close enough to…

"Don't you feel it, too?"


Charcoal-painted eyes lid when Ronnie closes the distance and makes contact. She seems suddenly guarded, as if she couldn't trust Ronnie. Especially considering these… dramatic changes. It was entirely unlike her, inexplicable. Crazy as she may be, Lynette has some experiential understanding of human psychology, given how much time she spends surfing around in other people's nightmares. This… isn't right.

"I did," she breathes quietly, not doing a thing to back away, save for the slightest motion of her chin to prevent their lips from touching. "Then I ran away. Then… this." She gestures about with her eyes, indicative of her fancy condo. Things like that don't spring up overnight. There is suspicion in her heart… she knows Ronnie to be a government agent, thanks to hanging ten on the woman's nightmares far too many times. What if…

What if they're investigating her?

"Are you a gold-digger, Ronnie?" she asks quietly, head cocking to the side, allowing her fiery locks to fall down over one shoulder. She moves the drink back to her own lips, sipping, doing nothing to move her visitor's hand away. "Or have you come here for me?"


"Money and things are just… money and things," Ronnie says. "They're nice, but I've never needed them. Not since I was little." If Lynette's peeked into Ronnie's dreams of childhood, out in woodsy California ranches, bathing in rivers, no electricity as a matter of CHOICE — those dreams are the happier ones. She never dreams of rubies.

"I came here for you." Ronnie says it with such conviction, too. She doesn't try to smother Lynette in too much affection too fast. A comfortable closeness, a shared drink, eye contact. Almost a 'look into my eyes' kind of dare, like all the proof she can possibly offer is right there in her brown eyes.

"I was so… stupid," Ronnie says. "I couldn't look past my own misery. I forgot that there was a whole world outside of myself. And worlds outside of that… like this. Worlds I want to experience. And share." Ronnie has another drink from the cup. If Lynette can dream up a lie detector, Ronnie would pass with flying colors.


Green eyes meet brown, and there is a stalwart determination not to let Ronnie in.

It lasts about two seconds.

The standoff ends in a fiery glare, and a motion of Lynette's hand that sends the crystal chaliceoff the balcony, spiraling toward the busy street below as it spills its contents asunder. "Oh, Ronnie!" She hooks an arm around the woman, pulling her in to let lips meet lips. She's quite passionate, as is with most Scots, but this one benefits from a particular blend of insanity that… well, Ronnie really should know better.

Even while she kisses her, Lynette opens her eyes and looks at the face of her lover. A wicked flash runs across her green eyes, before the world erupts in fire below.

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