Into The Soup

June 10, 2018:

June and Drake meet up on the beach. The conversation takes a sharp detour to the weird.

Coney Island - Beach

It's the beach. Coney island is just over there.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Ring! Or beep! Whatever ringtone June set for Drake's number is currently going off. He's calling!

-

Vibrate, actually, the buzz of it rattling the phone where she'd set it, face-down on the desk at her hotel room. She was still in Salem Center, having book a room not far from the music hall where she'd gone to the show the evening before. "Drake, hey." Ah, the continuing wonders of caller ID.

-

Drake Riley isn't even surprised at the caller ID. Heck, that's been a thing for as long as he's been alive. It's weirder to /not/ know who's calling.

"Hey, June. Am I interrupting something? Are you digging up dinosaurs? Because you know, life, ah- ah, finds a way."

-

"In point of fact, I have never dug up a dinosaur in my life. I'm not that sort of archaeologist. I'm more the tomb raider sort of thing." And lord, that's simply too true, in her case, "But no, you're not interrupting. I was just about to head down to breakfast, you still in town?"

-

"Breakfast?," asks Drake, who has clearly not been paying attention to the time, or in fact is agog that she'd eat breakfast so late. "Yeah, I'm still in town. Sort'a. I'm lookin' at the ocean. It's facing the wrong way, I think. But it's an ocean. And there's sand around. And it's pretty hot out. You ready to step up, or am I gonna have to lounge around out here by myself? I'll look pitiful, and it'll totally be all your fault."

-

"I've never been an early riser. But if you're already out, I'll see about getting some stuff packed togo and I'll bring it with me. What beach are you at, exactly, so that I can find you? And what else do I need to bring with me?" She had, after all, agreed to let him call the shots when it came to their beach/surfing adventure. "As warm as it is, I don't think you'd be lounging by yourself that long."

-

"I dunno. I probably would. New Yorkers aren't so friendly, remember?" Drake peers around himself. There aren't actually many people around him. "You need to bring yourself, maybe some sunscreen, and a swimsuit. You may not get in the water, but remember! It's like a requirement. Like one of those suit'n'tie restaurants." He grins to himself.

-

"Alright, I think I can probably manage to rustle up everything I need here or on the where to…wherever you are." Since he still hasn't said, "I'll grab some snacks as well, just in case the food there is terrible. I'll put up with a lot of things, hell, I've eaten just about everything, but I do prefer civilized foods." June was already up and heading to begin rifling through her wardrobe, the phone turned on to speaker setting.

"It's mostly like carney food, I think. Unless you wanna shell out for way overpriced stuff." Beat. "Oh! Coney Island. One of the places we mentioned yesterday. And for real, it's a nice day out!"

-

"Alright," June considered, mentally calculating the distance from Westchester to Coney Island. "Alright, give me about an hour and I'll meet you there. I have no idea what the traffic's going to be like. if I get there and you've gone lobster, my first stop is going to be for butter." June rang off, moving at her usual quick pace to pack what she had, already planning for what she didn't, even as she left the hotel and headed to her car. It wouldn't be quite an hour before she got there, but it was fair close.

-

"Agh, you can't make jokes like that. Sets me up too easy-like. I get that I'm eye-candy, but I'm not for eating. See?" Drake snickers to himself, then concludes with, "See ya soon, then!" An hour is not soon, he realizes after he hangs up. Oh well.

By the time she gets there, June will find Drake still basically where he said he'd be. He swiped a towel from the Institute (and turned it so the 'X' is facing into the sand) and is now resting atop the drab gray surface. Reclined with his hands propping behind his back. Drake is still wearing sweatpants, from the looks of things, but they've been rolled up to the knees. Whether or not he's wearing trunks beneath that is yet to be seen. However, his upper-body is bare, shirt plopped at the corner of the towel.

-

It hasn't been quite so long since June was on the beach, that she'd forgotten the trick of walking in the sand without either sinking into it, or kicking up so much that she sprayed anyone in the vicinity. And she did not come alone. Well, she was alone, but she'd brought a small duffel bag as well as what looked like a beachy sort of macrame tote, "Sorry about the wait, traffic was a beast."

-

Drake Riley quickly looks up at the woman as she approaches, and he offers a wide smile. "Hey! It's New York, that's the legend." He motions towards the towel invitingly and scoots more to the side to make room. It's clearly not meant to be a beach blanket, but he's making it work. "And you did it! I was starting to think you were just all self-conscious or something," he teases.

-

"Oh, believe me. I learned, a long time ago, not to be that precious. You live communally for long enough, you get to where that sort of thing doesn't even both you anymore." June sets down the duffel, and then the tote bag, though she keeps the first on the sand and brings the second onto the towel, settling onto the spot Drake's set aside for her with a soft, "Thanks." She does give a once over, seeing him, sand shirt of course, but still in closer to street clothes than she was, "I brought everything I thought I might need, and some picnic fare, although I do intend to find some funnel cake later."

-

Drake Riley notices her looking him over, and he rolls his shoulders back and tips his chin upwards faintly, deliberately preening in an obvious way. "Meet your approval?," he continues teasing while sincerely hoping she doesn't call him on the sweatpants issue.

When she sits beside him, he tilts to shoulderbump her lightly. "You talk like an old book. But that's cool. So you brought, like.. sunscreen, probably sunglasses.. what else did you think you might need?"

-

"I've never been very good at staying up to date with the latest slang." The question, as she sees Drake pose actually brings a bubble of laughter, "I don't think any of the girls I see down the beach will be complaining when you get there, no." Handsome young men rarely had trouble finding interested girls on any beach, anywhere. Ever. "Let's see." June chucked a thumb towards the duffel, "Change of clothes, couple of towels, sunscreen, the usual sort of thing there." She set the tote she's brought onto the blanket into her lap, zipping it open. It was actually an insulated bag, which she had, in point of fact, filled with various sort of pre-made sandwiches and drinks, "Interested?"

-

Drake Riley takes a turn to laugh and shrugs his previously-rolled shoulders. "Let me know if ya see any, mnh?," he jokes. With everything else Drake's dealt with of late, getting a little puff to the ego is very welcome, even endearing. His head tilts at the tote's contents, curious. "Maybe after a bit," he nods. "You really went all out, though, huh?"

-

"Let's just say, I've gotten used to having to pack for any occasion. I never try to go anywhere unless I make sure I have ready access to a good, well, decent meal, and possibly a drink. Even if I have to bring it myself." A smirk, as she glances back down the beach, "Oh, I think you can take your pick. But I don't think that they'll come to you."

-

Drake Riley follows her gaze down the beach to females in the distance. This is almost reminiscent of things he'd do with his friends back home - go to the beach, ogle attractive females, get eyerolls from the girls in the group of friends. But in the back of his mind, he knows it'd be pointless. He isn't human. They almost certainly are. And he's tired, /so/ tired, of denying what he is to people close to him.

"But that'd be rude," he muses, looking back to June. "I mean, here I am inviting you to come out to the beach. What kind'a guy would I be if I just bailed on ya?"

-

"Oh, well, I don't know. Any red-blooded American young man who knows precisely how men his age should be spending heir summer? And that's not hanging out with book nerds." June does sneak a pair of bottles of water from the tote though, before she zips it back up and sets it to the side, shimmying down a bit so she's better placed on the towel, "So, what's on the menu for the day?"

-

"Yeah, but you're a nice book-nerd," Drake notes. "And, nothin' for nothin', but no one looking at you would guess that." He turns a little more to face the woman beside him. "You have a /lot/ more tattoos than I would've expected. They for a reason, or are you just a fan of the ink?"

As for what's on the menu? He doesn't say. Partially because he hadn't thought that far ahead.

-

"That's sweet of you to say, thank you." As Drake mentions the ink that covers her, turning to study her, she looks down at herself, lifting an arm to the inkwork that covers her arm, "I've had…I suppose you would say, issues with grounding myself. I know that sounds mad, but, this was a way of, I don't know, making sure I was here, owning my body, I suppose."

-

Drake Riley studies the inkwork curiously, brow knit. Her arms, even her chest has- his eyes zip back up to her face, cheeks faintly rosied in embarrassment. But he tries to play it off by burying his indiscretion. "How so? I don't really follow.."

-

"About…I don't know," although she does know, intimately, how long it's been, "about a decade ago, I had an encounter that changed my life, that left me having to fight to own myself, to rally against the thing that now lives inside of me." She glances over at Drake, "I told you it sounded mad." And then, as if nothing in the world were amiss, she offers him one of the water bottles. "Drink?"

-

And the way she's explained it has Drake staring wide-eyed at her, mouth slightly ajar. He doesn't even register the offer of water just yet. "Ah-.. what?," he asks. "You, uh.. wha-.. possessed or something?," he asks, sounding increasingly uncomfortable with the uncertainty he's suddenly encountered.

-

"Yes," June offers, still holding out the water, whether he takes it or not, "I suppose you could use that word, yes. Although I don't think anything as mundane as an exorcism would free me of my particular demon." Her voice softens then, as if there were some apology there, "She isn't, though. A demon. As much as she might seem so to those who know her."

-

"Maybe, uh… you should.. start from the beginning..?," Drake suggests. He's trying not to write her off as crazy, or as dangerous. She's been nice to him. He's even had fun with her. Friends is something he doesn't have much of at the moment. He's very reluctant to turn this one loose too quick or offhand.

-

June fells silent, considering the young man, before she began again, "I was seventeen, in my last year of my, I suppose what would have been my master's degree. I was on a dig in Central America. I don't remember clearly what happened. We were surveying a preciously undiscovered Aztec temple complex and there was a cave-in. We nearly lost one of our lead guides, and I remember, that just as we managed to pull him our, I heard a woman speaking Nahuatl, but an older form than I ever had. I thought I must have been dreaming, from the stress and anxiety. Except that I kept hearing the voice, when I was just about to fall asleep, or just before I came fully awake in the morning."

-

Drake Riley is now poised on his knees, hands folded over his lap. He's facing her fully, and she has his rapt attention. He has no clue what Nahuatl is - it sounds exotic and complicated. And the fact that she was going for her degree at seventeen is impressive. But there's so much more at hand here.

-

June hadn't moved, nor changed the tone of her voice, the hand holding the bottle shed offered him finally falling to settle on her thigh. "It was almost a year, from that accident, when I woke up, and I wasn't…not I wasn't me…but I wasn't driving. It was like I was a passenger in my own body. I could see and hear, but I couldn't do anything, I had no idea what was going on. I thought I must be dreaming, I mean, it was completely mad. But it wasn't me, Drake, I know that. I could feel that, feel her.

-

Drake Riley looks no less confused by what she's saying. "A year? Like a coma, huh?," he manages. It's the only thing he can catch hold of so far. The rest is completely unrelatable. So the best he can do is just bear through and absorb as much as he can.

-

June shakes her head, at his question, "No, not a coma. I just mean that I would hear that voice, but never when I was fully awake, not when I was alert. Only when I was tired, going to sleep or waking up. Like…when you have a dream that seems so vivid, for that second or two, you aren't sure if it actually was real or not. Or if you're awake or not. I can't remember how long it lasted, the first time, a few hours maybe. And then suddenly, I was back. It took…a long time to find out what was inside of me."

-

"And, uh.. when you did? And what was it?" Drake cants his head to her a bit, small pensive frown on his face. She's still not gotten to the meat of it, he thinks!

-

"Her name is…" June shakes her head, as though correcting herself, "She's called Enchantress. She's old, thousands of years old. A being of unlimited power, I think. But without a body. Except mine. Something in that cave-in freed her, and she latched herself on to me. I carry her with me every moment of every day."

-

"Good lord…," murmurs a bewildered Drake. "So she's.. like.. does she talk to you? Say things? I can't even imagine what that must be like. Is it painful? Does she still get out?"

-

"Oh, yes, I can speak to her, if she wants to speak to me. When we were first joined, she didn't…but we've…it will never be peace between us, how could it be? But we've gotten, found compromises, when we've had to. And it isn't painful, though, she tried to hurt me, in the beginning, made me watch her doe things that were awful. But yes, she still comes out. I can call her out. Sometimes because I have to, other times because I'm made to." June hasn't moved from her place on the towel, though she has sat up a bit straighter, her grip on her own bottle a bit tighter.

-

Drake Riley tilts his head a little to the side. "So.. um.. can I ask you a totally blunt, horrible question? I'm just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing, and I'm new to all this stuff, but… does.. she make you, like… I don't know how else to friggin' say it, but a supervillain?"

-

"Once upon a time, I would have said yes. She certainly never had any desire to do good in the world. But now, our circumstances have changed, and we work, I suppose you could say, for a branch of the government. We work with people you probably would consider supervillians, but we do good things. Not always in good ways, but we help people."

-

"I.. ah…" Drake is staring at her in silence for a few seconds. And then, "If she came out, would she be cool? Or would she try to kill me or something?"

-

June paused for a moment, her expression distant, as she considered the question, "No, she wouldn't try to kill you. She's, for all of the things she's done, never done anything without rhyme or reason, no matter how terrible it might have been. She, most of the time, she can't come out unless I call her."

-

Drake Riley nods, starting to feel like he's getting a little more of a handle on things. "Okay, so… if you call her out, are you able to pull her back in? Or does she just grab the reins and run, and you have to hope she plays nice?"

-

June's lips curl into a smile, though there's more rue in it than humour, "If I call her out, I cannot then call her back. She has to choose to allow me to return. Sometimes she has done so willingly, other times she has to be…forced."

-

"And, ah… how.. do you /force/ her to?," Drake asks. "Or how do /other/ people force her? You said exorcisms don't work."

-

"It depends on the person and the situation," June answers as honestly as she can, "It's not as difficult now as it was. She isn't ask…greedy, I suppose you can say. And it tires her, being out, I think, so if she were out long enough, likely, she'd have to retreat, to let me back into control."

-

"That's gotta be nerve-racking," murmurs Drake. "Sorry that happened to ya. And sorry I got sort'a the.. heeblie-jeebies over it. You're totally in control now, right?"

-

There's something sad, but accepting, in June's expression, as she hears Drake's comment, as though she were accustomed to that, "It is. And it's alright. It's…it's not the books that keep people away anymore." No, now it's Enchantress, "I've gotten used to it, I suppose. Having to be apart from everyone. But yes, it's me now."

-

Drake Riley squints a little at her and raises a hand to gently nudge at her shoulder. The contact is kept brief, however. Not so much for the Enchantress aspect, but for the age difference. Somehow it felt wrong to have any more than a bump of physical contact. "Don't be like that," he chastises. "I'm still here, right? Maybe I'm reckless, but I think you're good people. So screw it, y'know?"

-

June doesn't resist the nudge, rocking gentle in place, before she rights herself, "Yes, you're still here. But it's different now, isn't it? Now that you know it isn't just me in here. And that something that could be powerful and destructive is inside of me and could get out, if I'm not careful. If I'm not vigilant."

-

"Actually, it sounds like you took something like a supervillain and turned it into a superhero. Which I think is pretty badass," Drake says, allowing the hints of a grin to peek through. "Do you look the same when she's out? Is it like some crazy anime'd out transformation sequence?" That's a joke, and he's hoping she picks up on that. He's trying to lighten the air a bit.

-

"I think I've learned how to temper her, a little. But I am, at the end of the day, only human, and she…isn't." The smile she does try to return, to pick up the thread of humour he's trying to offer her, "No, she doesn't look like me, she never has. When she first came out, she always looked like…well, you'd know what I mean if you ever saw her. Like how you would imagine a wild witch might look, tribal, animal. Like me, but not me, really not me. She can look more…human, if that's the right word, if she wants to. And then she does look like me, though her skin is darker, and her hair's black."

-

"And she has all the tattoos, naturally," surmises Drake. "Which is why you did it. Right? Even when she's out, she's still gotta wear your brand? Am I in the ballpark?"

-

June turns her eyes to Drake, considering his words, as if she'd never heard them before, or at least, the question he poses, "You know…I've never asked myself that." Her brows furrow, as she considers the implication, "I think I started doing it, as a way of feeling, of knowing that I was in the body, I was in control. But, yes, I suppose, I've never looked for them, but I suppose you can still see them, when she's out."

-

Drake Riley snickers softly and nods. "See, that's why ya need me around. Puttin' the pieces together." His gaze falls to the water in her hand, then to the bottle she put aside. He leans over to retrieve it. "That's just so.. trippy," he reflects as he loosens the top.

"So does that mean that you plan to stick around?" There's no humour in that question, but a raw uncertainty. Something that is very much June, and not at all the put together, sophisticated woman she carries herself off as. "Tell me about it. And I live with it every day and still…"

-

"Huh?," asks Drake with a blink. He then nods, smiling. "Yeah. Of course. I plan to stick around. See me sticking?" His arms extend to full wingspan at either side, as if somehow indicating his lack of departure.

-

That confirmation does elicit a warmer smile from June, the relief that lightens her expression needing no verbal confirmation. "Well, in that case," June takes a moment to takes a few sips of water. Earth-shattering revelations about yourself can be thirsty work, "How about you show a girl something about this beach you seem so fond of?"

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