A Strange Eternity

October 24, 2016:

Terry introduces himself to Sofia, each gets a new name and things get a little strange at the local diner.

Gotham

The first impression of Gotham for many is East End, a district notorious for it's poverty, crime, prostitutes and drugs. The lit up central strip at night is colorful, bright and looks like something out of Las Vegas with its innumerable gentleman's clubs, casinos, bars and strip clubs. The downtrodden feel of East End has been glossed over by these glowing lights and brilliant signs along with the towering cityscape of surrounding districts, such as Otisburg, Burnley and to the north the Robert Kane Memorial Bridge.

Along the East End's southern region the streets begin to be overtaken by cobblestone alleyways, alleyways that web work throughout a rundown slum city of shacks, sheds, makeshift homes and decrepit apartments called Alleytown. A heavily populated district many immigrants and their descendants call home.

Park Row aka Crime Alley rests upon the other side of the main strip, dominated by an underdeveloped housing project called Scurvy City by the locals (it's actual name being the Skirley Apartments), East End Free Clinic, the Bowery, Tin Roof Club, Sheldon Park, Robbinsville and the GCPD’s 9th Precinct.

Characters

NPCs: Waitress, Diner Owner, Random College Girl.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It always rained it Gotham it seemed. Or, at the very least, was threatening to
rain. And it was perpetually dark. Even when it was midday, it was dark. Maybe
that's why she picked Gotham… It was dark and dangerous seeming… Shadows
everywhere to hide in… or uncover what was already hidden.

Afternoon shifts to evening and the rain that threatens has added a chill to the
air. As classes change, the campus comes to life. Students walk to and fro, most
seeming to have their noses so far in the air it's a wonder they survive Gotham when
it rains. Gotham only had two kinds of people after all. The stupidly rich and the
poor. Oh, sure, middle-class existed but they tended to melt into the background and
were often forgotten. Likely another reason Sofia likes Gotham. She can 'disappear'
without needing to move.

Pack slung over her shoulder, she waves between students. Don't ask how she's doing
it since she seems to have her nose buried in a book thick enough it's taking two
hands to support it as she reads. Chances are, she'll bump into someone eventually
but for now, it's almost supernatural, the way she avoids all obstacles.

Whatever she's reading, the young woman is so engrossed in it she either hasn't
registered or doesn't care that she's got goosebumps and is shivering somewhat.

"So, you!" Terry McGinnis, a young man with always a quirky smile and a striking
resemblance to a younger Bruce Wayne, though only physical, of course, stops Sofia
as she is walking. His tone wouldn't betray he has never met her until now. But he
doesn't care. His voice is secure, confident, focused. There is an open book at his
left hand, balancing to remain in a certain page at all times.

"Let's say I am a William Blake poem. Do you like William Blake poems?" He raises a
brow slightly, blue eves so alive. Even childish. "Of course you love William Blake
poems." the Gotham University student answers himself with the same confidence of
before. "So, if I was a William Blake poem, some William Blake poem you really
/LOVED/, what would be my name?"

Being so disturbingly similar to Bruce Wayne, it is surprising his clothes are so
simple and casual. A black leather jacket, one that doesn't look particularly
expensive (which is what people say when something looks very cheap) is zipped to
the top. It's Gotham, the city of always rain.

"And no, this is not for a homework. I just flirt using William Blake as an excuse.
So much better than Lewis Carroll to get girls, in my experience." Terry sighs and
finally just laughs openly, murmuring his next words very softly, "Ok, this is
homework. But please keep my secret."

The sudden stop has Sofia snapping her head up, the book oddly staying perfectly
balanced in her hands. "Apparently, I do. Thank you for letting me know." The
corner's of her lips twitch as bright blue eyes study the young man. She's seen him
around. And certainly heard the girls pining over him.

A brow arches at him and she takes a step back, head tilting from one side to the
other as she eyes him critically. Or so it would look like. "Hmm…" Eyes narrow
before she looks back at him. "I agree. Definitely better than Lewis Carroll."
/That's/ what she was thinking so hard about? "You're secret is perfectly safe with
me."

Finally, she shuts her book and grins. "Eternity."

McGinnis sighs a sigh full of delight, answering in a pondering tone and closing his
own book in turn.

"You did that without Googling. I'm impressed." Terry confesses and offers an
inspecting look at Sofia. He may have seen her before. Is she from a class he is
taking, perhaps? "Unless that's your super power. There are very /strange/ people
around here?" The writer of this pose /had/ to say it, and he is not really sorry
about that. But the young new Bat in Gotham grins, making it clear it's just a joke.
"Now, I will have to ask you something… Something that may or may not be related
to 200 words about the author's vision of that poem. But, don't worry, I won't make
you stand up for so long. You can do it while we have a coffee? Or a soda? That is,
of course, if I'm not interrupting anything… or you have class soon?" He has not
even mentioned his name so far, but that's how it is. This is what happens when you
use almost all your time training yourself to fight crime and feel the need to enjoy
every single second out to make it count. And he might enjoy this homework as well!

Impressed? Sofi smirks. "He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life
destroy; but he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity's sunrise." She
winks at him. "They don't get any… stranger.. than me." She can't help but
chuckle. "I'm Sofia Strange, by the way." Because now she simply can't resist
introducing herself.

"I'll agree to coffee as long as it isn't the one around the block. I spend enough
of my life in there waiting on smelly jocks and box-blondes." She pulls the pack
around and kneels down to unzip it and put her book away. "And if we're discussing
the meaning of and vision of William Blake… You're feeding me too."

"Hah! It's funny, because I would have totally believed you under any other
circumstances. My name is Terry Freak, but they call me Terry McGinnis. A pleasure
to meet you." He sincerely thinks she said it in jest. That name could never be a
coincidence, he is not naive like that! But he likes it, and there's no reason to
hide it.

"I was thinking of the one around the block, actually. Do you work there? Or just a
regular client? Maybe we have met there before?" He starts walking beside her,
trying to evade all the obstacles (meaning mostly people) ahead. It's difficult to
just walk around Gotham University this time of day. "Wherever you wish, Sofia
Strange." Terry says her name as he clearly cannot believe it is real. But he goes
with it. "I'm sure that coffee and the food will be worth it. Best homework ever. I
can totally see my perfect grade after this. Actually, if you asked me to bring the
food here and do a picnic in-campus, that would be fine… You even know the poem by
memory!" He smirks and avoids a drunken student laying on the floor.

There's a roll of those crystalline blue eyes. "Nice to meet you too. I'll just call
you Eternity from here on out." Her eyes cut over to him as she stands and starts to
walk at his side. "That's what you get for letting a girl name you."

She nods. "Work, yeah. Picnics, by the way, are meant to be calm and peaceful or
playful… Having it on Campus fit none of those things." As she walks, she's
digging into the pocket of her pants. Eventually, she pulls out a laminated card and
passes to him. Student ID.

"It's a good poem. Good lesson. Well written." She shrugs slightly, spinning
sideways to avoid a girl who is too busy on her cell to realize she almost walked
into them. She turns, eyes narrow. "Oh my god! You have a giant spider on your
back!" The girl screams and drops the phone, causing it to crack beyond useable and
proceeds to do an odd dance in hopes of getting spider off. "Oh.. My bad.. It was a
shadow…" Sofi really doesn't sound all that sorry.

With an all-too-innocent grin to Terry, she starts walking again. "I don't think
I've ever served you but it's possible you've seen me there? We can hit it up but
you gotta promise not to let them rope me into working."

"Eternity is certainly better than how girls have called me before." Terry laughs,
"I won't tell you how it was, because you look like a dangerous person to give ideas
to." Batman Beyond under his civilian's disguise teases. "Then Picnic another time,
as a thank you? And," The ID is received, examined, and he blushes, smiling shyly as
he discovers it was her /real/ name!

"I'm so sorry! Really! Oh no, so embarrassed." A laugh is managed, and then a series
of copious grins go one after another. "Yeah, Eternity is a good name. You could
call me worse and I would understand." Who can be called Strange, anyway? Even in
Gotham's standards.

And then the spider incident occurs!

He flinches, at first, but he is disturbingly fast to be on-guard, rising his fists
as if a giant spider was a threat he was going to punch until it was solved. Gotham
is pretty dire, anything can happen. But then it was just a shadow, and he silently
laments about the broken phone.

He can live it with and continue, as well.

"No, absolutely not. We won't go to your work place in your free time! Also, you are
the one doing the homework, so you can pick whatever place you desire."

There's a laugh from Sofia as she takes the ID back. "Don't stress it. I wouldn't
believe it's someone's real name either." Another wink is tossed at him. "I really
am… Besides, I'm good at coming up with all kinds of ideas on my own."

The girl, who is now the proud of owner of a busted phone, glares daggers at Sofia's
back. "She totally deserved it… I can't stand rude people. And I used to live in
New Orleans!" Which means Gotham isn't all that bad or scary to her. Just… full of
rude people.

"There's a diner near my apartment." A pause and her brows knit. "Hm. Not the best
part of town though so if you're worried about being out on the streets…" Her bag
is shifted so she can rub at her arms. "I need to start keeping a jacket handy…
The past, by the way, and happiness."

Terry gives Sofia a look that doesn't have a hint of judgement. He just listens to
her and agrees. "Rude people, I can't stand them either. Maybe I won't do something
as imaginative and fun as your giant spider act, which was awesome, but I should."
He smiles softly and gives a last glance towards the girl behind. McGinnis chuckles.

The young man takes his jacket off and puts it on Sofia's shoulders.

"I've never left Gotham. Never. I feel like I've spent all my life in a laboratory,
subject to tests and—" He sighs so sad, but manages to shift it in a way that would
just appear as a lame joke, "How is New Orleans? Aside from the rude people?" The
talk of the place they're going not being the best part of town steals a grin from
him. "I've seen and survived the worst of Gotham so far. You are safe with me. Worst
case scenario, you can always tell them they have a spider on their backs?"

The jacket around her shoulders gains an honest look of surprise from Sofia. "Hmm.
Thank you," is said softly as she tugs the jacket around her. "Won't you be cold?"
Her eyes linger on him a moment. Who said chivalry was dead?

Perfectly safe with him? "Mm. But am I safe /from/ you, Eternity? That's the
question." Her eyes twinkle playfully, the one side smirk saying she's clearly being
flirty and playful.

"I almost envy you that… My guardian and I moved around so much.." She shrugs,
eyes dropping to the sidewalk. "We were never in one place for more than a few
years… Of course, it was always my fault… I was too wild, I didn't follow her
rules, I didn't bring in enough money…" She shakes her head. "As I kid, I would
have done anything to be allowed to stay in one place and be allowed to make
friends…"

"No one is safe from me, Strange Girl. No one." Terry laughs teasingly, his voice
softer and more sincere than when they first exchanged words. He follows closely,
both Sofia and her words, listening with eager attention.

"It sounds like a sad story, but sad stories can also have happy endings. I've read
many sad poetry, for instance, and some times good things happen from that." He
wants to know more, he really does. But he doesn't know how to get to it, and he
doesn't want to push it too far. His experience with people has been limited, and
talking about sensitive topics is not his strong point. But he listens to every word
and sympathizes, in his own way, with her. "But now you are in Gotham University, a
place where friends can be made. I know it won't erase your past, but there can
always be a better, and more fun, future." What does he know about a past, anyway?
He has one, yes. One that lasted half of what it should. His own life has passed so
fast.

Sofia can't help but giggle softly. "I'm terrified. Really." Please note the playful
sarcasm in her voice. She really isn't the least bit scared of him.

"So I am." She can't help but smile up at him as they finally reach the diner. "I'd
say you have a pretty firm grasp of what the poem's talking about.." She chuckles
and as they step inside, she reaches up to remove the coat. "Count yourself lucky
that you're getting this back." Because what girl doesn't love the smell of leather?

"So tell me, what are you in the mood for while we discuss you're not-homework?"

”No, I don't. I actually have not read as much Blake as I would like. I usually use
Lewis Carroll to get girls, but it never works, so when I said I talked from
experience, it was true." Terry follows to the diner while laughing at his own
silliness. "I wouldn't mind if you kept the jacket. Keep in mind that we will
eventually go out again, and this city is not particularly hot. I'm used to it
coldness," In many ways, "So I won't mind at all." He offers a smile. "You are the
one who knows the place. What should I pick? I'm open minded and like eating, so I'm
not picky at all."

A brow arches up at Terry. "Oh we will, will we?" Sofia grins, reaching out to grab
his hand and lead him to a back corner. "I guess it depends on what you like? Me, I
like the double cheeseburger with bacon and pickles, a side of fries and a chocolate
shake…" She is NOT a salad and water girl, clearly.

Once at the table, she grins. "Now, see, I's never forgive myselg if you froze
because of me… Bring me a hoodie and I'l give the jacket back."

Taking a seat next to him in the booth, she grins. "Well, you were right. I guess it
depends on the girl though." She shrugs. "I"m a bit… strange, I guess." Yep. She
went there.

Terry takes Sofia's hand and obediently follows her to uncharted territory. One that
smells delicious, that too! And her description of the ideal meal sounds
astonishing, astounding, wonderful, and mostly, tasty. "I want exactly that. Word by
word. Just, you order it. I love how it sounds and want to hear it again." A grin
follows and he doesn't even watch the menu. His decision is final.

"I will think you didn't like the jacket!" McGinnis retorts as they both take seat.
"That would be, Strange, indeed? But I like your poetry taste. And it will get me a
perfect grade, so it's a win/win scenario. Needless to say, this dinner is on me?
And you can have all the chocolate shake you wish. As long as you let me drink some
if I finish mine too fast!"

Bright blue eyes dance and sparkle as Sofi looks at him. "Well, you're easy to
please, aren't you?" She likes this one. He's fun! Not the normal
stick-up-their-ascots that she's used to deal with.

"And I love the jacket, thank you very much…" She smirks. "Playing off my guilt
isn't fair, Eternity." The smirk turns into a grin. "And I thought I was the devious
one… Might have to watch out for you after all."

Leaning back against the booth, she nods. "I'll share /but/ you have to try a french
fry dipped in the shake first…" Because there's nothing better if you ask her.
Sweet… salty… chocolatey… "Define 'perfect grade'…"

Sofia's eyes are amusing to Terry, but then again, amusement has been there since
she answered his odd William Blake related question. He takes a moment to look at
her and lose himself a bit in her speech. "I may be easy to please, but that depends
solely on who you ask." He notes very lightly. She might be strange (and Strange)
but only in the best sense of the word.

"You would be wise to watch out for me, Strange Girl. And I have previously been
defined as devious myself! Devious and open-minded, so a fry dipped in shake is
definitely something I will taste before this night is over."

Before she has a chance to reply, the waitress is there. "Ooh! Keeping company
outside of dead scholars tonight, huh, Sofia?"

Sofi shrugs. "He's smells a whole lot better and is much easier on the eyes." She
winks at the waitress. "The usual, Allie. Times two. He's brave too!" Both Sofia and
the waitress giggle before Allie leaves to turn the orders in. "Don't eat him
alive," is called over her shoulder to Sofia.

"Now who said I was wise?" Sofia's brow arches as she turns her attention back on
Terry. "Who should I be asking, by the way? Is there an ex I get to get all the dirt
from?" Judging by her smirk, she's not serious.

After taking a moment to stretch, she props her head up on her elbow and looks at
him. "So, tell me about this assignment we're getting the perfect grade on…"

Terry sighs and says in a complete serious tone to the waitress, "She is so into
dead scholars." Ending with a hint of a head shake. "And I don't always smell
better, I could tell you the whole story but—Yes, please, two of the usual! If it
is as wonderful as it sounds, then you'll have a new regular client here." he winks
and leans comfortable on his chair, absolutely amused by the exchange between the
two.

"There is no one to ask, that would take out all the fun!" Batman Beyond grins in a
way that may not be usual for the real Wayne. He is childish, which is
understandable for someone who has not lived longer than a real decade, no matter
what his outer appearance may say. "About the assignment, well, if I need an excuse
to have your nice company for as long as I can, then it's about 30 pages of
reflections of the poem and its context. Make it 40, if needed."

Sofia's eyes dance with laughter that she doesn't quite let bubble up. She leans in
towards Terry. "Mm. I'm starting to enjoy the company of at least one living one."

She smiles sweetly. "Keep making yourself more enticing… I do love shining a light
to see what the shadows hide."

The milkshakes arrive moments later but what he says has her dipping her hed and
blushing softly just before she tucks the silver streak behind her ear. "That's…
Really sweet, actually." Her eyes cut over to him. "There's no assignment at all, is
there?" She doesn't really seem to be complaining.

"Then I will remain alive as much as I can." Terry says sweetly, even when that
carries a disturbing truth behind, full of crime fighting and experimentation. Not
that Sofia needs to know right now. And not that he knows the truths behind her,
though that is something he is more than curious about.

Her words about the light and shadows are so fitting that they make him wonder, in a
good way. That is something he has been pondering for as long as he can remember. He
has lived in the shadows, in more than one way, but no light has tried to see
beyond.

"I do take a poetry class, yes. But, as far as an assignment, no. There isn't. I
just wanted to talk to you, and that's the best thing that came to my mind." He
stops for a heartbeat, "Yeah, I'm not that brilliant to figure out something
better." Batman chuckles softly. "Yes, I saw you, and I was curious. What will your
shadows reveal if I shine a light myself? And, if I can do it with a burger and
fries, then it can't be possibly better."

That little disturbance, hidden under the sweetness of it… She reaches out to lay
her hand over his. "See that you do. I'm not done spending time with you yet."

"My shadows? My shadows hide nothing. All you need to do is ask… The teuth mighy
be harder to believe than my name though."

She leans in, bringing her lips to his ear. "I'm glad you did."

Terry smiles and answers with genuine curiosity. "What truth could it be, that is so
hard to believe?" He has seen so much impossible things in his short existence, that
he cannot just let something like this go without intriguing about it. There's a
shudder that crosses him, which is understandable. He is unexperienced in many ways,
and he could be a ten years old kid if his life had been normal! But he enjoys it,
everything about it. He is having a very good time, and he doesn't want it to
finish.

Let's not tell Sofi that the guy she's flirting with and hitting on is… a child,
essentially. It might make her a tad uneasy.

She pulls her head back and looks up at him. "Things that make people run and I…
That most are afraid off… Don't believe in…" She shrugs and leans back just as
the food arrives.

"I said don't eat him, Sofia, not devour him before dinner."

"Test me, then." McGinnis asks, his curiosity only growing stronger. "I don't run,
or at least, not in fear. That's something I know." That bit is true, absolutely. He
has been raised to face fear and he has learned it well. "And did you think that
when I said I'm open-minded I was only referring to food?" A brow is raised. "You
said your shadows hide nothing. Let's put it to a test?"

As the food arrives, he playfully echoes the waitress words. "Not before dinner!"

Blue eyes lock on to Terry. "Are you sure about that, Eternity?" A fry is taken from
her plate and dipped in her milkshake and held out to him. "What if I told you… I
can read your mind?" A brow arches at him as her head tilts off to one side. "Or if
I could whisper thoughts into your mind…?"

Oh, Terry was so expecting this kind of secrets. It is so interesting, so new to
him. How could this be so coincidental? Of all the girls in Gotham University, could
she be a meta-human? She doesn't look like lying… Who would lie in something like
this?

He leans forward, biting the fry as it is offered.

His eyes are still locked in Sofia's. How could he look anywhere else? She doesn't
have to be a telepath to know what he is thinking about. "Then I challenge you,
Strange Girl. Read my mind, all you want, but I won't let you focus." His words are
a little more than a soft whisper, the distance between them slowly disappears.
"What am I thinking about?" Terry's lips seek those of Sofia, if so she wants as
well, of course.

There's a smirk as he takes the fry. It's one of her favorite 'guilty pleasures',
that mix of salty and sweet.

This close, it's easy to see the way her eyes darken, just a bit, and her breath
hitches as he leans in. "Oh really?" She hadn't meant for it to be a whisper.

Her answer is left unsaid as her lips are caught. A heartbeat later and she's
sliding one hand to the back of his neck and returning the kiss.

A few seconds later and her voice whispers in his mind, Gods, he's good at
this.
. Clearly, it wasn't meant to be heard. High emotions… She's still learning
control…

He won't let her out quick, that's for sure. That whisper in his ear before… Her
eyes, her words… He has been wanting this for so long now, that the kiss itself
seems like a way to trap her for himself. It is audacious, passionate, it is pure
unleashed desire.

And this is something about Terry. He was never taught to cage his own wishes, to
contain himself. Perhaps it was a lesson to be learned at some point, but with the
Batman Beyond Project cancelled, no more psychologists were in charge of guiding him
through his life. Now, in moments like this, he is just grateful he was not taught
better.

A feline look goes directly to Sofia's eyes when it's finished, with that
challenging tint that marks all Terry's actions.

"Could you read my mind?"

That pure, raw, emotion is what caused Sofia's fingers to curl in his hair. She's
never experienced it from another before…

When it ends, her eyes are slow to flutter open and the look in his eyes that greets
her leaves her breathless. "Not a word," is whispered just before she licks her lips
and swallows.

From a few feet away comes a deep, angry voice. "Get the hell out my diner. Your
kind ain't welcomed here."

The sudden lashing out startles Sofi and the dishes on their table that had been
floating slightly drop with a thud and a few spills.

An amused laugh occurs as the dishes fall! Terry is intrigued, in the best of ways,
enjoying the discovery of Sofia's abilities. The diner's personal might think
otherwise, but he has seen that reaction in people before. He hates it. He hates it
very, very much… Luckily, for them, he has not Batsuit anywhere near. "Is
teleportation one of your gifts, by any chance?" He whispers in her hear, his lips
lightly caressing her skin in the process. "Or any flashy way to get us out of
here?"

He laughs and she giggles. The sound is cut short, however, by that whisper and the
caress against her ear.

It causes goosebumps to rise on her skin and her eyes to flutter. "Hm? Wha… oh…
Not yet?" He's very good at distracting her and causing her brain to shut down.

"I might be able to manage something…" Her head bows as she starts to stand, her
mouth whispering words in latin. To those in the diner, it would seem as if a
tornado had enveloped the pair. An illusion but paired with a little telekinesis, a
light wind spell… it's very convincing and masks them as they grab the food and
simply… walk out.

It's only after their departure that she'll murmur the spell needed to make everyone
inside forget they saw anything past the two sitting there and chatting.
Unfortunately, all that magic all at once is draining for the budding Sorceress.

Causing a distraction and disappearing into the shadows is something the Dark Knight
knows too well. The real one. Terry is still learning, and this counts as practice.

He takes the food, which looks and smells delicious, and follows the Sorceress
outside.

There is still laugher, followed by a deep sense of worry as he notices how it
drained Sofia's strength. Fortunately he gave her his jacket, so the cold outside
won't be a huge problem to add.

"Thank you, Strange Girl. It was wonderful." He says, a good distance away, dropping
and sitting on the floor. "I actually… Have some secrets, as well. If you wish,
feel free to read my mind and see it all for yourself. It's the least I can do, and
be sure your secret is safe with me. You can read my mind and be sure of that, as
well." He smiles, catching his breath.

Dropping down beside him, Sofi leans over to rest her head against his shoulder.
"Hmm. They won't remember anything other than us talking… They might wonder about
the mess though…" She can't help but give a tired chuckle.

"You'll tell me when you're ready…" She tilts her head to look up at him. "It
takes more concentration than I have right now to intentionally read someone's mind.
I'm still learning and the magic is draining." Yes, magic. No, she's not a mutant.

"I don't really try to keep it a secret. I just don't announce it. It can be fun
sometimes though!" A soft sigh and a hum as she sips the milkshake… She'll have to
return the glasses at some point. Somehow. "Gimme a second to catch my breath and my
apartment is just a few blocks away…"

Once both have taken a moment and Sophia has enough energy push herself up and move again, it’s a short walk back to her apartment where the pair say goodnight to one another and part company.

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