Meeting June in January Pt2

January 22, 2017:

Croft and Logan confront the Enchantress, or would if she didn't teleport him into a river.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Lara and June stepped out of the coffee shop together, Lara's right hand was on the arm of her friend and she was helping to gently guide the other out onto the street. Her other hand held her black leather jacket slung over her forearm. She kept looking over at June like she was horribly worried about her.

"Here, it's a nice day out and everything." She said, trying to show a small smile for the other. "Are you feeling better?" She asked the woman who appeared to be roughly the same age as Lara. She was guiding her toward the cross-walk, a nice green park sat across the street.


For her part, June is apparently not looking very good. As a matter of fact, she's looking extremely stressed out. Her hands are clutching to Lara, eyes wide, pupils dilated. She shakes her head in answer to Lara's question. "Not really."


Lara led June across the street (there weren't that many cars on this particular NYC street at the moment). She had so many questions for the old college friend and fellow archaeologist, but she could tell now was a terrible time to pepper her with them.

Once in the park there was a bench that faced a small lake where some ducks were swimming around and flapping their wings, being all duck-y together.

"Here, let's sit." Lara told her, attempting to sit with her on the bench and put an arm around June. "What's happened, June?" She asked the other, voice still laced with concern.


"I told you. She's in my head. She's in me and I can't get her out." The ducks and the British tones seem to /slowly/ be helping, taking the edge off as June starts doing something that's a little less hyperventilating, a little more breathing.


"Right." Lara quietly replied and nodded her head gently a single time to. "And we cannot say her name." Lara's eyes went out ot the water for a moment and then looked skyward in thought for a few seconds. "You mentioned a statue…" She started again. "Where did you find it?" She turned her head to look over at her friend.


No one ordered him to do so, but Logan had decided to take an interest in Lara Croft, observing her. He was an excellent tracker, even in a city, and he was pretty good at avoiding being spotted. So far, so good, or at least, he was reasonably certain he hadn't been made yet.

While she sat on a bench with June, he stood near the lake where the ducks were swimming. He wore a nice winter overcoat, which reached all the way down towards his ankles. It was dark blue, more of a peacoat. He also had on a grey toque, and was feeding the ducks some bread from a brown paper bag, all while listening with those finely tuned ears of his.


"Central America. A dig in the Yucatan." June says, forcing the words out of her mouth. Slowly, her death grip on Lara is starting to loosen up. "It was a statue. I was looking at it, and it cracked."


Lara indeed had no idea that Logan was tracking her, she had had that meeting with he and Melinda earlier that same day and she probably should've assumed someone would be investigating her a little further, but she'd had her mind on other things (as she often did).

"The Yucatan…" Lara started to run everything she knew about that region through her mind at once. "Do you still have the statue?" She asked then, looking back to June beside her once more.


Logan continued to feed the ducks. He carefully listened to their conversation, focusing his ears on it, and trying to ignore the other sounds around him. Fortunately, there weren't many others to contend with besides the quacking of the ducks. Moving on, as he didn't want to be too obvious, he found a nearby bench, and took a seat, watching the ducks play in the lake. It was as if he were just an old man on a day out in the park. Nothing to see here, move along.


"No. When it cracked, it was… a while before I woke up. I was somewhere else. She can only hold on for so long. But the time's getting longer." June shakes her head. So far she's thought nothing of the man watching the ducks. Why would she?


Lara even looked up at the man feeding the ducks down the park pathway, but it meant nothing to her, and her mind was focused on her friend being in a lot of apparent trouble. It sounded so similar to the spirit that tried to take over Sam's body; the biggest difference is that Lara hadn't been there to help June fight it off.

Lara looked around as she tried to think of solutions. "Do you know how you got to Manhattan?" She asked then. "Where are you staying?"


If Logan were part of the conversation, he'd suggest to June that she should return to the place she found the statue. There was a very reasonable chance that that the pieces were simply left there. But as he was only observing, he filed that away, to ask at a later time.


"I know how I got here." June shivers, but it's getting better and better, each moment. "There are some people who know. They're keeping her… me… under supervision."


Lara heard this and she looked around, there were several pedestrians milling about, a man walking a little dog that was carrying a brightly coloured chew-toy… a woman and her three kids that were walking down the pathway all carrying brightly coloured helium-filled balloons… the guy with the bread in the coat watching the ducks.

Lara looked back to June then. "I'm not sure that they're doing a great job at this." She told her friendly softly, still having her left arm around June's shoulders, clutching her bicep on the other side. "Who are they?"


"Government. I know that. More than that… I'm not entirely sure." June admits. "I know they… use her. To get what they want."


Was she already associated with the people that Lara just signed up with? That didn't feel right… she felt they would be doing a better job at this. "Shady…" Was Lara's quiet response to this.

"June." She tells her then. "I can go back to where you were; I can find this statue you dropped and look for… anything… that might help you with this. If you can give me the information you used to find it in the first place." Her voice was soft and caring, rather comforting, British accents like hers often felt that way to people in fact.


Moving again, Logan got up and began to walk away. Or at least it seemed that way. He once again went to his brown paper bag, tossing out pieces of bread for the ducks. He had a disguise to maintain, and he didn't want to seem to be staying in the same place for too long, for fear of appearing to be a fake. He then looked at his watch. He didn't need to know the time, but it was part of the act as he listened.


"I can tell you. I —" June starts, and then tenses up again, as her inner visitor makes another hard push. "She doesn't want you to know. She's trying to stop me." Someone with Lara's knowledge could end up finding out far more than the ancient entity wants.


Lara tensed up when she felt June do the same thing. She could feel it in the woman's body, this… seizure of sort that she was experience. "Shit." Lara uttered, looking at her friend and trying to keep her from falling or hurting herself in-general. "Is there… someone I can call to help you from this… agency that is overseeing you?" She asked then, desperate for help with this.


It was at this point that Logan decided to make his presence known. He reached into the bag, and tossed the rest of the bread. He had already broken it up into pieces. He tossed the contents towards the ducks, and calmly turned around, walking towards the bench. He removed his toque as he approached, "Lara, June, what do you need?" He was direct and to the point. He wasn't as familiar with her condition. But when help was needed, it was given freely.


To be honest, June was losing the fight even before. Her dark passenger doesn't want information about her given out. When Logan approaches, it's enough to spook June, and that's all the opening she needs. The word falls unbidden from her lips, sounding for all the world like it's in stereo, two voices in a momentary whisper. "Enchantress." she says.

Shadow seems to wrap itself around the woman, and… twists. The body is still June's, at least at the larger scale. The same height, the same proportions, the same face. But the skin seems greyish-black, and looks almost dirty at first, till it's more obvious that it's some kind of shadow within it. The hair is dark, and almost stringy, falling about her face. The eyes glowing with an inner light. She wears some sort of crescent moon headpiece, a sort of metallic "bikini" style outfit, and little else.


Lara looked up when Logan, the man who participated in her S.H.I.E.L.D. entry interview, just was suddenly there… had he been there the whole time? "Logan?" Lara said, surprise laced on her voice. She wouldn't have used his first name, but he'd only GIVEN her a first name.

But that's when she noticed the change in her peripheral vision and it made Lara jumped off to the side away from June. When the 'witch' showed herself, Lara slid to the edge of the bench and then rose up to a standing position, side to side with Logan with about three feet between them.

It was at least confirmed that June wasn't simply 'crazy' now…

Lara started to shake her head. "No." She told the witch. "Release her!" She commanded this Enchantress.


Ordinarily, Logan's first reaction would have been to unsheathe his claws and attack, but seeing as this was Lara's friend, and he evidentally spooked her, putting the final nail in that coffin, he chooses to err on the side of caution. His hands go up, but in an open palm gesture. "Enchantress, is it? We don't mean ya any harm. We just wanna know more 'bout you. Is June okay?" He nods to Lara during the exchange, standing near her, ready to react, but for now, he's hoping to sooth the savage beast. Funny how life works out, isn't it.


The aforementioned witch moves. Her body language is completely different from June's, and probably more recognisable with Logan's experience and instincts; she moves like a predatory. Slow, smooth… it's like a cat or a snake on the hunt. She slinks up to a standing position, but her words when they come aren't English at all, but ancient Nahuatl. <She is mine.> She replies, eyes fixed on Lara for the reply, but watching Logan cautiously as soon as she gives it. <I will not let her go.>

Of course, whether anyone there but her /speaks/ it is a different question.


"Aztec" Lara said, glancing over to Logan after hearing the words that June spoke. She still had her leather jacket in her right arm/hand and there was a gun holstered inside of it… but she didn't want to draw it in public, she didn't want to point it at June…

Lara was better at reading Aztec than she was at speaking it, but she could gather bits and pieces of what June —Enchantress was saying. She shook her head at her. "You do not have the right to own another person… If you release her. We can help you achieve what you are wanting… You must have a goal?" Lara asked the spirit. "Help us, help you…" It was the best approach she could think of right now.


Enchantress apparently decides that Logan might be a threat. Lara gets spared. Possibly June's influence. Possibly Enchantress playing like a cat with a mouse. Her hand lifts, a brief few words tumble from her lips, and shadow and darkness build around Logan, before fading to normal light, leaving no sign of his presence.

She looks back to Lara. Apparently she /understands/ English just fine. Likely she just chooses not to speak it. <I need no rights. I take what I need. I am eternal. If you value this flesh so much? I am not a goddess without mercy. Obtain something for me, and I will set her free.> With Logan gone, all her attention is on Lara, and that's likely a very creepy situation.


Creepy indeed… but 'lucky' for Lara she had been through lot in recent years and she'd started to see this side of the world up close, which would make this a 'little less' overwhelming compared to someone entirely unused to this kind of situation (though there were several of those types standing further away and watching from afar now).

Lara watched Logan -vanish- from beside her and she quietly exclaimed. "Shit." again, but no louder than a mutter. Had she just killed him?

At hearing the Enchantresses further words, it took time to decipher it… Lara knew Spanish well, she… dabbled in Mezoamerican cultures, but this language was the oldest variety of it she'd ever heard before.

"Whaaat?" Lara replied in that indignant sort of way that only a British person can pull off. "What do you want me to find for you?" She asked. She needed to know more about this Witch to be able to help June after all.


If she killed Logan, there's no sign of him. No ashes, no remains, nothing. Instead, she starts to approach Lara, in a slow and disturbingly slinky fashion. <My heart. Get it from the thieves who have stolen it, and I will set this flesh free.>


Lara… wanted to stand her ground, and she mostly did, but she was inching back just a little and her stance was one that was poised for a fight, not that she could likely truly fight this woman right now… most likely. Especially after witnessing Logan just vanish.

Lara's eyes were focused on the Witch's face. "Who are they?" She asked the spirit then. "Where are they?" Her head gently shook. "I need information in order to recover your 'heart'? What is your true name?" Lara didn't honestly believe this ancient spirits true name was -Enchantress-, but assumed the name would be a closely guarded secret. Worth a shot though!


Of course it's not her true name. But she's not just going to hand that over. <You can call me Enchantress. Like the flesh does.> She steps up closer still, trying to keep pace with Lara's retreat, or even more, to advance. <They are the rulers of this land. Not openly. The powers behind the throne. They hold my heart, to use it, to DARE try to force ME to comply.> Her eyes all but flash at those two words. Anger. And power. <If you wish to help your friend, you will obtain it.>


It seemed unlikely that the Witch was going to harm her right now, since she was asking for Lara's assistance, so that brought some comfort to her… but she was still leery of letting the spirit get quite so close to her, after all… who wouldn't be?


"F-fine." Lara told her. "I will do as you say." She believed that the words the woman spoke were indicating the same shadey government group that was tasked with supposedly overseeing June, based on those descriptors she used.

"Return her to how she was, for now… You won't get what you desire if you stay outside of her like this." Lara pleaded, motioning with her hands at the citizens that were already watching this unfold from afar. "You need to lay-low… to hide.. lay-in-wait for me to acquire this Heart for you."


The spirit… goddess… demon?… wearing June's body looks at Lara almost amused. <I have a chance to entertain myself, and you want me to give it up? Ask me in a proper tongue, not this dog barking, and I will consider it.> She stops drawing closer, but stands there, wreathed in shadows, eldritch markings covering her while very little else does, far more of June on display than normally would ever be.


Lara suddenly wished that she had studied harder on the languages of the Yucatan and Central America… homework for later now?

Gently nodding her head, a worriedbut concentrated look on her face. <Imagine the entertainment you will have if you bide your time and allow me to find this Heart for you> She says back in broken-Nahuatl language, it had a little more Spanish in there than it should. <If you cause a great deal of problems here and now… you will catch the ire of much greater adversaries than I. They will have -no- interest in finding you your Heart>.


The Witch smirks. <I have no fear of these lesser beings. I have ruled your world as a goddess before. I will do so again. But you amuse me. And while you speak like a child, you at least CAN speak a proper tongue. For now, I give you what you want.> The light and shadow seems to flicker around Enchantress, and then, quite suddenly, it's June standing there.


Lara heard this response and it made her gently nod her head, but when June appeared through the light she reached out to grab her friend to keep her from falling over should she come out of that in a haze or a dizzy-state.

"June!" She called out to her. "I've got you… don't worry." Lara looked around while holding onto her, to see if Logan had returned or not. She had a lot on her mind now… she would need to contact Melinda to advice, maybe even S.H.I.E.L.D. could take over observation/caring for June.


The roar of the engine could be heard before the sight of it. There was something big, probably a Harley Davidson by the sound of it, a chopper of some descript rather than one of those newfangled crotch rockets that are so popular. Just where did Logan get it is anyone's guess, but he was riding one, hurriedly returning to the fray after finding himself teleported into a nearby river. He was still soaking wet and had ditched the heavy coat he wore. No point in using it anymore. But alas, the danger has passed. So when he finally arrives, he sees… "June?" He drove right into the part, tearing up a bunch of grass that had begun to peek out from underneath the snow. "What happened?"


June doesn't seem to be dizzy or in a haze… just traumatised. She bursts into tears when Lara grabs her, clinging to the other archaeologist. This time not in fear or stress, but just in need of emotional support. "Lara, I'm so sorry." she manages. She looks up to see Logan approaching. "Oh, thank /GOD/." she says, emphatically. Apparently she thought Enchantress might have killed him too.


Lara's brown eyed gaze shot over to the motorcycle when it roared up like the Terminator was driving it. She watched as Logan (oddly enough also containing a metal interior) disembarked the bike and approached them again… just as relieved as June was to see him, Lara called out his name as well. "Logan!" She said, not frantic, just… worked-up.

"I'll have to tell you later." She exclaims. "I think we should take June someplace safe, do you know anywhere that would work?"


"I'm a tough guy to get rid of." And the river was a surprisingly insightful idea. He nearly drowned if he hadn't realised he could just walk along the base of it. He actually lost consciousness doing it, but he did manage to get his head above water just before, and he fell unconscious, his head against a rock. Once his healing factor kicked in with the oxygen deprivation, he freed himself fully of the water, had to figure out where he was, and steal some biker's ride.

Thankfully, the bike he got was actually pretty big. Big enough for two grown men, or Logan and two women. "Yeah, get on. One o' you in front, the other behind me." He was going to take them to the Triskelion. It seemed the safest place for June, and the only place she could get the help she needed… without some unscrupulous government agent trying to take advantage of her powers and situation.


June is NOT going to protest. She'll move to get in front, mostly because she's afraid she might fall off the motorcycle if anything does start to happen. She moves without protest, and without words.


Lara guided June over and she helped her onto the bike and then put her jacket back on and zipped it up to mid-chest level. She pulled her grey hood up over her head and then got onto the back of the bike. "I only hope that Melinda can help…" She quietly said then once on the bike and ready to go!

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