Finally, the Truth

April 22, 2018:

In the aftermath of the events at the cemetery (http://cmbeta.wikidot.com/log:7291) Johnny comes to check in on June. They finally agree to disagree.

Gotham Arms, June's Room

The room, one of those which leads off from the lofted area of the sixth floor, has been decorated in a minimalist fashion, and has an industrial feel. All of the pieces are modular and easy to preposition in the space. A Murphy bed, complete with attached bookcases, and usually closed against the wall has been installed to maximize the living space in the room. The colour scheme is soothing, in various shades of neutral greens and blues, with accent shelves here and there that hold a hodge podge of vintage and antique bits and bobs and subdued lighting. There exists an unconscious doubling in the room, as nearly everything seems to have been selected or arranged in sets of two. The space is neat and tidy, as though it either sees little use, or its resident is entirely too fastidious.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It was about two days after the gathering at the cemetery, in which the Enchantress and the Ghost Rider met for the very first time. At least truly. Johnny and June are actually very good friends….who know have yet another thing to find a similarity about.

Almost painfully similar.

Johnny Blaze drives up on his motorcycle to the place where June had him drop her off after their market/movie date. With that in mind, that's where he's going. When he arrives? He parks it, before he dismounts, straightening out his jacket as he walks up to her specific room, knocking on the door.

Twice.

Apparently it was urgent.

He won't make a sound, instead waiting for June to open the door if she's home.

-

Unlike the rest of the apartment building, the sixth floor has been restructured into something of a communal living area. Rooms for whomever needs them, or whomever might be part of the current rotation of the team, with a central living space that includes the kitchen and other amenities. June's room is one of those that have been built onto a sort of second level/loft area, so walking up that way actually allows for a nice view of the shared space.

As for the woman herself, the sound of footsteps follows on not long after the sound of the knocking at her door. She'd become adept at picking out such sounds, using it to identify the person who might be on the other side. This one, however is new. Still, it is June, and not the witch, who opens the door, stepping back after a check of the camera to see who was waiting outside for her.

"Johnny." There's something quite reserved in her tone. But perhaps that is just to be expected. They are, in many ways, neither of them the people they were before the night at the cemetery.

-

"June."

Johnny looks at her right in the eyes, not moving away from her though he does look both ways and he sighs a moment. "…may I come in?" he asks her eventually, though he shows no signs of hostility, there's definitely an air about him of severe curiosity….he knew he should have asked when he felt Enchantress's presence when Johnny and June really first met, but…that's what he get.

"I think we need to talk."

-

Thankfully, the floor has been rather devoid of its usual residents, and so there's no gauntlet of team members for Johnny to thread. Only June, who, to her credit, meets his eyes, accepting his gaze. Thankfully, a gaze with only his human intention behind it and with none of the power of the creature that rides him, literally as well as figuratively.

"Of course." Whether because he is still, or was her friend, or because she knows how futile it actually is to refuse when faced with someone much more powerful than she is, June steps back, leaving room for him to step inside, before she'll close the door behind him.

She doesn't bother asking what they need to talk about. "What is it that you want to know?"

-

Johnny nods softly to her then, stepping past her with an appreciative smile on his face. "Thank you." he looks around at the small living space, but this is normally better than what he gets. Lot of times he doesn't get a room at all. He lives a tough life.

Either way, unimportant.

He turns to look at her then, his eyes never leaving her own. "How long have you had the Enchantress inside of you?" he asks her then. "I sensed something when we were at the market…but I was careless, and blew it off. Well…in hindsight, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised." he looks at her then, but it's not hostile or angry.

-

June makes her way further into the room, moving around the small seating space to make her way towards the small refreshment area she has set up. There's no kitchen in the room, but there is a coffeepod machine as well as a selection of coffee and tea and a small, dorm-style fridge. Not much different from a hotel room, really. "I was eighteen, when I first encountered her, though it would be…a long while before she revealed herself. I'm twenty-seven now." She turns back, studying him in turn. As old as the witch is, and as powerful as the Rider is, it's no surprise that it would know the witch's name. Of course, the reverse is also true. "How long have you been the Ghost Rider?"

-

Johnny nods a moment then to June as she speaks, leaning against the counter as June spun a small part of her tale involving Enchantress, a small nod of understanding then…she's had her thing about as long as he's had his. "Too long." he replies then. "I was 21…the prime of my stunt motorcycling career. I took this…spirit of vengeance on to save someone I loved. But…" he shakes his head then. "I made a deal. I'm now 32."

"Looks like we're both even more similar than we thought…" he chuckles then good-naturedly.

-

"I don't know if you would make the same choice today. But at least you had a choice. That, I suppose is some small comfort." June takes a moment, to top up the water in the coffeepod machine, before she pops in one of the teapods, Irish Breakfast, and sets it to brew, "I did not ask for this; for her. It was an accident, on a dig in Mexico. A previously undiscovered Nahuatl site." With the tea brewing, she pulls out a pair of mugs. "Sit, if you like." She at least offers, whether or not he accepts, "Similar? yes. But I never wanted you to know that—" She pauses, likely about to say something like 'that side of me,' because, truly, the witch isn't, "That she lived inside of me."

-

Johnny sighs a moment then. "I don't know if I can even call that a choice. it was either I take on the Rider….or my father would die. But…evil has a way with trickery." he shakes his head, though he looks at her as she tells him more about her affliction as she makes coffee. Then he's offered to sit…and he does. He takes off his jacket, revealing a simple dark green T-shirt. "…well, if it makes you feel any better, I never wanted you to know about the Ghost Rider…to see that side of myself." he looks at her then, though what he does do is reach for her hand. "You don't have to tell me your story…but if you want to talk about it in depth, I'm here…and I know what it's like."

-

"Is he? Evil then? Are you? I don't think she would think of herself that way, though I know from the way other people react to her that they see her that way." How June herself thinks of the witch, that she seems less ready to share. "I have seen her at work, and she does know how to make people do what she wants them to do." Once the first mug of tea is ready, she works on the second, glancing over to where Johnny's settled himself. And when the second is ready, she carries both over on a tray with sugar and a half-pint of milk, over to where he's settled. Her lips curl, a wry twist to her lips, "It was nice to pretend to be human for a while, wasn't it?"

As she settles, she looks down at the hand Johnny offers her, studying it as though she weren't quite sure what it was for, before she settled her own into it. "I don't know that there is much of a story to tell. When she comes out, she has full control of my body. I can see and hear everything that is happening because she wants me to. I can't act at all. And I can't come back until she chooses to give up control."

-

Johnny looks to June as she asks him if the Ghost Rider is evil…and if by default, he is too. "No…the Rider is actually a spirit of vengeance, who seeks justice for the pain inflicted on the innocent. In a manner of speaking, the Ghost Rider is more neutral…but the things I've done.." he shakes his head. "The being I made the deal with…-he- is evil." he shakes his head then before she comes on down with tea and a tray. "Thank you."

Her words make him smile. "That it was…thank you for letting me pretend to be normal, even if it was just for one day."

Then her hand is in his, and he holds it. Whether if it's flirtatious or comforting is up to her.

Most likely, it's the former.

"It used to be that way for me…where the Rider would be in control, and I was in the back seat, watching everything that happened and I could only whisper to the Rider to influence his actions…but now? Now that I've broken the confines of my deal, I can change at will." he shrugs then.

"I know that feeling all too well."

-

"And what does he do when he wants to exact vengeance and you don't? And what happens if he believes an act deserves vengeance and you don't agree?" It's as much a question of the conflict between the two as it is a question that, likely, everyone who might have the power to take the law into their own hands faces. "Who decides who is truly innocent?" June shakes her head, studying her hand in his for a moment longer, before she slipped it free. There was a comfort in the contact, yes, but it also brought the unsettled feeling of the witch clawing at the back of her mind. She turns her attention to her own mug of tea, adding sugar and a good amount of cream. "For you?" If she's making hers, she might as well make his at the same time. "I'm glad that you have found a way to control the thing within you. I can only call her forth. I cannot call her back. It is always either she or me."

Johnny looks at June then with a small sigh to his voice. "Before I gained control? It was like fighting a mental war. One of the abilities I have because of the Ghost Rider is that I can read someone's sins…see the history of their lives, every cruel deed they've done and make a judgement off of that. Though back then…it was the Rider who decided. all I could do was offer influence. But now? Now I'm the Ghost Rider still decides…but I can resist the call." he says to her then.

"Yes, please." Hey, he was -not- going to deny her helping to make his tea taste better. With that said, his smile to her is soft and inviting. "It wasn't easy…and it took years." a sigh then. "But…if I can do the same for you, I will."

-

"I think you and your spirit are, in that way, very different from myself and the being that lives within me. We were never intended to work together, to coexist. I think, in the end, it will have to be one of us or the other. And I can feel her growing stronger every day." The idea of being able to read someone's sins brings her eyes up, that humourless smile once again curling her lips, "I would ask to know what you see when you look at me, but I have seen the power of that gaze and how easily it destroyed the creature you were fighting last night."

As if it seemed right to do so, June makes the second mug in exactly the same way that she did the first. As if, even unconsciously, doing things in pairs of two seemed to settle her. The mug she offers across to Johnny, before she claims her own, settling onto the chair across from him. "I do appreciate the offer, though I do not think it is a possibility."

-

"Don't forget….it took me a long time to get there. When I was -constantly fighting him 24/7. It may be quite different from you…where all you need to do is say her name. sometimes..I had to mentally stop him from taking over by force. The Spirit of Vengeance is not something to take lightly." he tells her softly, but he does nod a bit. "Well..if you need help, I know a guy who might be able to help. All magic, no matter how powerful, have a weakness."

He shrugs then. "But that's up to you. and…you're welcome. I know that If I was in your position, I'd want the help too." he shrugs then. "Tell you what…" he looks around then. "How about we both go out tonight. Enjoy each other's company?"

-

June shakes her head, as she listens, her hands folded around the mug, thoughtful, considering, "But it isn't the same, really, what you are with the spirit and what I am with the witch. You can force the spirit to go back, force yourself back into control of your body. I cannot do that. She has to choose to let me return." She never says the witch's name, for obvious reasons. "And she has found ways to come out. When I'm sleeping. That was how I first discovered her. I said her name in my sleep." There's something that comes very close to being anger, at his words, "You make it seem as though it's my own fault. As if I could control her, if only I tried hard enough. if only I wasn't so weak." Yes, that's definitely anger, and all June, with just the faintest tinge of the thing inside of her. The mug she sets down, hard enough to slosh the liquid over the sides of the rim. "I don't think I'm the company that you're looking for."

-

Johnny watches her then as she seems to show off that anger, and eventually he stands up straight and slams his fist into the table. "Do -NOT- put words into my mouth!" his eyes flare with that hellish flame, before he sighs, the fire fading from his eyes as he sits back down. "That's not what I'm saying. I explained my situation, and if it was -possible-, I would help you. I don't know your situation, and it's clearly not your fault. Yo uhave a strength about you, your anger is proof of that." he looks her right in the eyes then. It's almost like one of those god moments…where it's a whisper…then whe he's annoyed, he scolds, then he whispers again. Slow to anger, but it's swift in it's passing. He looks her right in the eyes. "and if I didn't want your company, I wouldn't have asked. he offers her a smile then.

"It's a difficult thing, not being in control. I know the feeling too well. You're demon is different than mine….and far craftier." he looks at her then, apologetically. "I'm sorry."

-

June Moone is not the girl she was, in the time before the coming of her particular darkness, nor even the woman she was before she went on the expedition, mostly recently, which separated her from the team, from one of the few touchstones in her life. What she is, or perhaps, what she has become, is a woman who stares down the anger of the man across from her, who sees that blaze of hellfire and stands firm in its face. And despite the fact that no trace of the Enchantress shows on her face, in her features or on her body, the sense of the ancient being rises, in response to what it clearly sees as a threat, regardless of how quickly Johnny's temper retreats.

"You have been a friend to me, Johnny. And I do not have many of them. But if you want to continue to be my friend, then, for now, maybe for a long time from now, just let it rest."

"And I'm sorry too."

-

Johnny looks her in the eyes then…he was happy to see that she wasn't taken back by him or even more angry with him. His smile for her becomes warm with a soft bow of his head for her. "and you have been a friend to me. I don't want to lose you as my friend, June. So I'll let it rest." he looks her in the eyes then, looking at her with a powerful sincerity.

"Nothing to be sorry for. I overreacted."

-

The sense of Enchantress subsides, no longer thick and heavy in the room, and June as well, seems to withdraw into herself, her expression careful, guarded. She nods, in answer to Johnny's words, though it takes a long while before she finds a reply, "Thank you. I wish that things could be different, but this is something I must solve myself." She shakes her head, her expression apologetic, "I think I need some time to myself. Perhaps we can do something another time. Thank you for coming to check on me."

-

Johnny looks at her then, nodding a few times. "Me too….and I understand." he stands up then, sipping at his tea as he sets it back on the table. "Thanks for welcoming me. I can let myself out." He does walk over to June though, putting a hand on her shoulder. "You know I'll be there for you if you need me." he squeezes her shoulder affectionately before he starts to walk towards the door.

-

June reaches up a hand, settling it, for a moment, on Johnny's, offering him what smile she can muster. "It's hard to think right now. I need to settle myself." And her, her expression says, even if she doesn't state it outright. "I know." And despite his protests, she will walk him to the door.

-

Johnny warmed considerably when June touched his hand, and yes, he did blush a little bit, but it died down as fast as it came. "Yeah…I know." he looks at her as she admits that she knows he'll be there for her. aaand….she's walking him to the door, and he gives her a little smile. "Thanks for letting me pay you a visit. Had to check on you. You have my number so…call me if you ever want to hangout or just talk." he looks into her eyes then, giving her hand a squeeze before he lets go, and he walks out of the door.

-

June pulls the door open, her expression distant, in that way Johnny would likely be quite familiar with, that looking inside towards the thing within. "You're welcome. Today was a good day, quiet. Not many of the other residents around." A nod, as he extends the offer, "I will. Safe home, Johnny." And then only the door, quietly closed behind him.

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