A Shade Darker

April 09, 2018:

June Moone returns from wherever Amanda Waller sent her. Taskmaster gets to be the welcoming party.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Taskmaster's routine is to make his way through Gotham, the Arms is a stop over before he hits his own safe house several blocks away, scope range from here. Atop the roof he peers out, leaning against the ledge to take a look one way then the next, mapping an idea out. His thumb and a forefinger rising up to aim off towards the distance, directed at one of those hovering behemoths circling the sky. Gotham's famous airships.

It's been a while since he's seen anyone at the Arms other than Harley, even the greenhouse on the roof appears to be in disuse, maybe it's the chill winds, Ivy rarely lets this place go abused but lately, no Red, no plantlife, nothing of the sort. At least his whiskey stash is still there hidden underneath one of the standing flower beds.

The skullmasked, broad shouldered man in the dark long sleeved shirt, tactical harness, and combat pants, leans forward then clambers up to a seated position, he remembers sitting in this spot many nights just talking, some of them spotty, some of them probably fabricated to fill massive memory gaps but many of those night shifts were drinking with Rose Wilson or teasing Doctor Moone. Tonight, it's an empty space.

*

Perhaps not quite so empty, as the sound of the roof access door breaks the silence, or at least what amounts to such a thing in a city as noisy and capricious as Gotham. Soon enough, the sound of the door opening is met by the sound of it falling shut, and the sound of feet on gravel. Booted feet, with what might be a familiar cadence, as June Moone makes her way out of the stifling heat of the stairwell into the open air.

She's barely had time to orient herself, having been delivered to the Arms less than a half an hour before, with instructions to be ready to go again at a moment's notice. Barely time to reorient herself into this headspace, to consider new and familiar faces.

Or what she might say to them.

So, for now, only June Moone, dressed as though she had just come from a dig, with the addition of a gun on one hip and a knife at the other. All very Lara Croft, if she had but known it. But in the case of June Moone, imitation was not the best form of flattery.

*

Taskmaster absorbed at the moment in his plots, drinking and circling a headspace that's empty of much else but zoning out on alone time has him snapping around in surprise at the opening door, in one hand a slender blade thats ready to be launched off. It does not leave his fingertips instead halting there.

"Well holy shit, that really you, eh?" The mercenary kicks one leg the the other off the rail to land on his booted feet, whisky bottle in one hand and that blade balanced in the other, it vanishes.

"I thought Satan cut you loose and we wouldn't be seeing you again." There's no electronic distortion to Taskmaster's voice tonight, the system is off as he's in a relative comfort zone and she can hear what might be a good tone to his usually flat or sarcastic voice.

*

His was not the only weapon drawn. But no blade for June. She hadn't the precision for that. Her gun though? Aimed center mass and held perhaps a hair longer than might have strictly be necessary, well beyond when she would have recognized the man in his mask. That was strange and new, and perhaps no small part of the wariness that seemed to haunt June's expression, that hollowed her cheeks, and brought a sharpness to her usual, slightly smokey voice. And the fact that one, he would have seen it as no threat, and two, he would most likely have hit her before she got a shot off? That didn't seem to play into it either.

"I'll never be free of her." She's vague on who precisely the 'her' is, but then, given her circumstances, that almost seems par for the course.

*

Taskmaster's head tips one side then the other looking at the firearm, trained and steady. "Much better." He regards. "You can put it down now though." His fingerless gloved hands wave in the air, one empty the other holding the neck of that bottle, sloshing it round then aiming the tip at her, "Like old times, you want?"

A grin beyond grinning teeth and dark eyes under that mask glint, "Which devil are you talking about?" He questions, fully aware of the woman's dark passenger and sometimes driver.

*

There's a moment, when, keen as his sight is, he might have almost seem the disconnect between June's actions and her train of thought. That moment, when, prompted by his words, she had looked down and had momentarily been surprised to see the weapon in her hand. But perhaps the woman hasn't completely lost the trick of putting on her own mask, as she neatly schools her features, re-holstering the weapon and crunching her way across the rooftop towards where Taskmaster's now holding out a bottle.

"Just like old times." The bottle she accepts, lifting it to her lips for a long pull, before she holds it back out. At least she hasn't forgotten how to share! "Both of them. The one inside and the one grinning over my shoulder." Not that Waller ever grinned. No, she just smirked. That was enough. "Had me on the hunt for an artifact she wants."

*

Taskmaster is still studying June, as if trying to discern what he's seeing. The Enchantress playing a game in this manner wouldn't be off beat, but then, June's been a moody one since he met her, never easy to gauge from one day to the next. Having something like that sharing the same space as a person could do that no doubt.

The bottle taken and he let's out a chuckle, "Thatta girl, Doc." He encourages then takes it back, his mask sliding up underneath so he can chug some of the throat burning liquid down.

"Did you find it? And that explains, I wanted to ask about you but, rather not pretend I care enough to give Waller ammunition."

*

"Don't ever ask about me, Tee. Don't even think about me, if I'm not around, if you can help it. She'll smell it on you. Find a way to twist the knife. Dig it in until she gets what she wants out of you." Her voice was hard then, filled with more focus than he'd heard since she stepped onto the roof. June raised a pair of fingers to her temple, tapping it lightly, "This one too. She was in fine form the entire time we were away." And that would almost seem a joke, if it weren't for the look in her eyes as she said it. "I appreciate that you were concerned about me."

With the bottle handed over, she moves to lean on the edge of one of the many exhaust vents that pepper the roof. Most are cold as winter. The Squad makes for uncomfortable bedfellows, and the place seemed a bit run down and disused to begin with. "Still searching. They both want it though." Which means nothing good for anyone.

*

"That's cute." Taskmaster says with a sardonic deliver. "Getting attached ain't a thing we worry about here, beyond tattoos and some fluid swapping, apparently." He makes a noise at the thought, she can tell it's not aimed her way.

"SKWAD… " He mocks and drinks again before flipping it her way again.

"I am sure she was." A look at her temple then away, it's not a common thing for him to be uneasy, at least that uneasy about something or someone. "You're ruining it, it wasn't concern. I was curious. Thats all, don't make it awkward."

A clearing of Taskmaster's throat and he turns around, facing the way he was before, though he's teetering towards her a little, "How much is it worth?"

*

"Good to know that that hasn't changed." And she actually means that genuinely, if her tone is anything to go by. Some part of June has always taken some…comfort, if such a word would be useful here, in the fact that, for the most part, not a single one of the team would look back, if they had to walk away from the others. "You still swapping fluids yourself? I'd like to know what landmines I need to avoid."

She takes the bottle back without comment, lifting it to check the level of the liquid, before she takes another mouthful. If nothing else, it's doing wonders for her voice, which is nearly back to normal. "I never thought it was concern."

The bottle she hands back, though she doesn't move too get too close, leaving him more than enough room to maneuver. "Probably more than any of us have ever seen. She was hungry for it. I could feel that." June has never been a silent witness, when she's being ridden by her demon. "My old room still free?"

*

"Little does. We cycled some idiots for new idiots. Rotational roster of dead heads." Taskmaster says as if he's just repeating something thats been said before or the expected. A look again at June, its like he's trying to figure her out.

"Something in you took a step a shade darker, you got that look going on. Have to tell me about it sometime."

"Swapping fluids, hrm, no. Suppose not so much." Taskmaster drains more of the bottle, "At least not sober and memorable like."

"Your old room is still vacant far as I know." He confirms, "No one's been in there. Not that I've been around to keep an eye on your shit… just sayin'."

*

"That's how she likes it. And when you start to get too familiar, she'll pull you out until they forget about you again." Like she did with June? Possibly. Her eyes narrow, studying the man teetering in her general direction, affecting that look of comfortable inebriation that she didn't believe for a minute. "Maybe a couple of things. And maybe I will tell you about it. But not yet." Not when she wasn't able to think about it herself.

"Sober and memorable? With.." she doesn't finish the sentence, instead just waving a hand in that sort of 'taking in everything' gesture that seemed to encompass the team as a whole. And a goodly number of the women on it who had availed themselves of Taskmaster's company. "Not likely."

But that conversation seems to sharpen something in her expression, and she seems happy for the change of subject, "What do I have worth stealing?"

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