J'onn goes to the Lake

June 08, 2018:

J'onn and Vivienne find they have common threads and J'onn is shown a place where he can quiet his mind.

The Watchtower and The Lake

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

It has been a relatively quiet evening in Justice League terms — earlier there was a volcano eruption that required some speed and flight to save some civilians, but by all reports it was a successful mission, no known injuries.

J'onn J'onzz has become a fixture of the League again in the last two months — his habit of wandering the Halls of Justice and the Watchtower alike well known to all who frequent the Justice League's headquarters. Up here, in the watchtower, he seems to prefer his native appearance — green skin, red eyes and costume — that can be fairly intimidating for those who haven't seen it before — which is probably why he tends to wear a human guise whenever his walking travels take him back down to earth.

He moves past the observation deck, barely a glance given outside — space is something he sees a lot of, and though it has its allure, his mind is far from such things tonight. What looks like charcoal dust coats his shoulders and upper body, perhaps unnoticed.

*

Very few know exactly who Dr. Vivienne Tulloch truly is. She continues to wear the identity of Vivienne but in a lot of ways, she is Vivienne Tulloch. She has been so for many years and has no problems with it. She walks along the corridors of the watchtower toward the Observation deck with a tablet in her hand that she idly flips through as she walks.

Many have grown used to her odd walks. She is almost always reading and yet never hits anything or anyone. She almost seems to see the world through means other than her eyes. As she approaches the area where J'onn is standing and without looking up she says, "J'onn J'onzz." She nods softly and slowly her eyes go up to him, "I don't believe I have had the pleasure. I have heard of you and perhaps seen you in passing but I am Dr. Tulloch." She nods her head, "It is well to meet you."

*

It is probably that while the Martian Manhunter's thoughts are far away, he is still wholly aware of his surroundings. Vivienne's approach seems to speak to that, as he turns to regard her as she comes near. There is something utterly alien about his appearance, highlighted even more by the fact that his expression doesn't change while she introduces herself, nor when he speaks in turn — expressionless.

"Dr Tulloch," he returns, unclasping his hands from behind his back to offer her a hand in the traditional earth greeting. "And you. I heard you joined the League in my absence; welcome aboard." Despite the lack of expression, there's some warmth audible in his voice, though faint and needing focus to identify.

*

The woman's voice has the lilt of an irish past…though many would find it hard to place where her accent comes from. She idly takes the hand like a lady of a court might, her fingers putting over the side of his hand as she nods, "Aye, that I did. It's been a good fit so far. I act mainly as a doctor for harder to heal cases and I also offer counseling to those that wish it." She nods her head, "If ye ever do need someone to talk to, trust that I keep all private conversations in the utmost confidence." She then looks him over briefly, "Honestly, in all me life I don't think I've seen quite the like as you. You make quite the striking figure, J'onn." She nods to him, "Ye might fit in with some of me relatives."

*

"I'm afraid I heal too fast to ever need a doctor," J'onn states with what might seem a hint of whimsy or humor, brief in his tone of voice. "Though the latter, perhaps, I may take you up on one day." But not today, is implied, releasing her hand and his own hands clasping at his back again, falling into a stillness that seems to be the default stance for the Martian.

His head tips to display curiosity at her latter words. "I am quite alien to many on earth, I am told. I can change my appearance, if it causes you discomfort." There doesn't seem to be any recrimination in his tone, like he is used to such. "Your relatives?" is asked, with interest. "I'm afraid I'm not familiar with your history, Dr Tulloch."

*

"Few are, my dear." She nods her head as she looks him over, "Though you hardly need to change on my account. I am used to many of varying and different backgrounds." She chuckles as she turns her gaze over to the observation deck at large and to the window that shows Earth below, "It is not often I get up here. Now that is a sight I can truly enjoy." She looks to J'onn briefly and then back, "Isn't it lovely." She idly puts a hand to her chin and stares idly out at it, "There's so much havok and chaos down there that is so easily forgotten at the sight of it."

*

"It is even better outside," J'onn states, with a timbre of voice that again bespeaks humor, easy to miss if one isn't paying close attention. "Not that I recommend it if you require oxygen." The Martian merely nods at her indication she is comfortable with his current form.

"For me, it is not so easily forgotten. I can feel the chaos, the havoc. Minds crying out for help. It is a thing I must consciously block, or be aware of. On my planet…" there is a pause, brief but noticeable, "Our people communicated telepathically. We would know each other's thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams. Moving from that openness to what feels like… holding a door shut… took me many millennia to adjust to."

*

A blink and she looks back at him, "How old are you, precisely?" She smiles at him with a chuckle before looking over to the Earth, "I am a druid of Gaea, J'onn. In a way, I understand you." She nods her head, "I am not quite as powerful as all that." She idly holds her hand, adjusting the ring on her finger, "But I do feel the cries of nature and more at times." She looks over to him, "Perhaps some time, I'll show you a place of silence that I love to visit." She nods her head, "There you could find peace if only for a brief time and yet you would not have to escape life."

*

"By your Earth years I would judge it to be nearing 10 millennia." J'onn takes a pause, and regard the doctor — probably used to such timeframes causing consternation in most people he answers that question of. "A druid of Gaea. You are tied very closely to nature?" He has heard of them, if not the preciseness of her abilities. "That sounds like both a blessing and a curse," he observes, with that self-same almost humor. After a beat, he nods, gratitude audible in his voice, "I should very much like to visit your peaceful location."

*

A pause and she at first seems to be given pause at teh age but the more she stands there, the more it looks like she's simply thinking before saying, "That is a considerable amount of time." She idly states before looking back over to the window again and nods her head, "In these days, it is especially pressing." She then looks back over at him and smiles, "I go there often enough." She nods her head, "I wouldn't mind taking one such as you. If I did, however, you'd have to promise me secrecy. Your reputation says that you would but I would need to hear it from your lips."

*

"To me, it does not seem so," states the Martian, carefully and deliberately. He continues to watch the doctor rather than the view, as much to take cues from her body language as any interest. "My people… we walked a path not dissimilar from yours. We the resources of Mars without care for the consequences. The very planet itself rose up and struck back, destroying my people." Even though J'onn is not given to physical expressiveness, his dead still stance and the strain of his voice makes it obvious the words come with a great weight of memories, none pleasant.

"I see the many paths of Earth lead to the same thing, if perhaps a slower end for humanity. I aim to see that your planet — this planet that has become my new home — does not meet the same fate." A beat of silence passes, the strain fading from his voice before he commits to her request for secrecy: "You have my word, Dr. Tulloch."

*

"Aye, this world has many dangers facing it." She then turns to J'onn and takes his words and states, "Be careful whom you give words to, J'onn. For some, it is far more binding than with others." She walks closer to him, "There are few who know who I truly am but I believe ye to be one who ought know." She then turns and walks away from him and gestures for him to follow, "Let us go to my quarters and we'll speak more."

*

J'onn takes her advice — and warning — with a nod of his head, both acknowledging and confirming his understanding of said warning. He doesn't take it back, however, which apparently means he stated it honestly enough. He clasps his hand to gesture his indication to follow, reclasping them behind his back as he falls into pace alongside her, wordlessly.

*

Once they arrive to the room, Vivienne turns to J'onn and states, "It is rare I find occasion to take off this ring." She lightly touches it, "It is made to make it so that even the greatest minds and most powerful of sorcerer's cannot find way into my secrets." She idly pulls it off and gasps softly as she nearly stumbles. She is forced to put a hand on a reading desk in the simple room.

The room itself is not more than a bed, a bathroom, a reading desk, and a computer. As she sets the ring down, she slowly raises up and takes in a sharp breath even as there's an almost ozone feel in the air. As if something had shifted, some form of power had suddenly been born. She looks over to J'onn and smiles to him, "Allow me to reintroduce myself. My given name is Niamh Chinn Oir." She nods her head, "Known far more widely as the Lady of the Lake." She smiles softly, "Though my story is far deeper than a simple guardian of swords."

She then gestures idly and J'onn might hear the pipes whine and shift even as taps turn on in the bathroom and then she pulls her hand to herself and water flows out of the bathroom through the air like a small stream that has no bed. She then gestures down and the water slowly flows to the floor though doesn't appear to rest upon it in an odd sort of way as it begins to swirl.

*

Despite the fact that it could be read on a human as awkward, J'onn appears comfortable standing in the doorway of Vivienne's room as he regards her silently. His attention, naturally, is drawn towards the ring when she speaks of it. When she staggers, he's already two steps closer to her before she steadies herself and he stops away from her.

He can sense the change as much as see it. He is a telepath, after all, and it is his will that keeps him from inadvertently scanning those around him. He does not reach out with his mind, however, observing the visual changes instead. "A pleasure to meet you, Niamh Chinn Oir," he states, echoing her pronunciation precisely. If he is familiar with the legend of the lady of the lake, his expression doesn't reflect it. Only when the water begins to float does he express surprise, through the form of a verbal, "Oh," regarding the phenomenon with acute interest. "This power you have is over water?" he surmises as he regards the rapidly forming swirls.

*

"Water, nature…my own form to a degree. I can see far more than those around me and even into the souls of those around me." She steps idly into the water and rather than sinking into it, it is as if she were simply becoming one with it. Her legs seeming to meld into it as she floats there upon the water and then looks to him, "If you'd like, I can take ye on a brief visit to the true Lake…" She tilts her head, "I am the goddess of lakes, after all. Though it is more complicated than that, you can see the Lake that only legends speak of." She offers her hand out, "I promise ye, on my word as both a fae and a goddess, that you will be safer than you have ever been while there."

*

J'onn, indeed, seems fascinated, watching avidly as she all but 'melts' into the water. Water not being known to be a staple of Mars, the Martian keeps his distance all the while, though if he's unsettled by any means it certainly doesn't show in his typically taciturn expression. "It would be difficult to refuse such an offer," he states. He gives a nod at her word, as if accepting her promise, before he takes a step forward, unclasping his hands to reach one out to hers.

*

"Excellent, than simply hold to my hand. You will not need to even think of breath or anything of the like." And with that, the water seems to slip around his feet and then slide upward. Despite the fact that he knows that the water was no more than a puddle, he will find himself sinking into it as if it were deeper than an ocean. Within moments he'd be completely engulfed in water and within seconds he'd sense no beings anywhere near him save for Vivienne and even she seems distant. The water would be dark and deep with no sense of up or down for several seconds. Then…

…light! The light of what appears to be the sun and yet there's no sense of anything other than the simple thoughts of animals. He'd feel the water rushing up around him. Lifting him, urging him even to the surface and then he'd be standing beside Vivienne again. Her feet still melded with the surface even as he emerges completely dry, standing atop water as if it were solid ground.

"Welcome…to the Lake." She'd gesture and he'd be standing in the middle of a vast lake. Easily five miles across and in each direction there's something different. To the west a shore that leads to a forest of great trees. Even as they arrive, deer stand near teh short grazing on grass. To the south a jungle, a soft rain flowing down over it. To the north an open grassland appears with what could be buffalo roaming openly upon it. To the east is sloping hills and mountains where animals are not currently seen but surely are about. Not a single human mind anywhere.

*

Such a request — not to think of breathing — naturally makes one focus on it. Fortunately in the Martian's case he merely chooses to cease breathing, to no apparent detrimental effect. Perhaps being surrounded by the water in such a way would unnerve the Martian, but he has the woman's solemn promise, and he can feel the weight of her hand in his, no tension felt through the contact.

And then they're on the other side… of what isn't clear at first. Red eyes narrow as J'onn regards his new surroundings. Habit makes him ease his telepathic shields enough to sense the wildlife around them, and the fact that, other than himself and the woman at his side, they are utterly alone. It is simultaneously both a terrifying and exhilarating feeling. He exhales, and resumes breathing as he takes it all in. "This is Earth, but not — how?" his regard for their surroundings turns to a questioning look aimed at the woman beside him.

*

"This is The Lake." She looks at him, "The lake through which all other lakes flow." She nods her head, "Well, it is in a way. It is my creation." She nods her head, "As a goddess of lakes, it is what I wish it to be." She looks at him, "Everything here exists at my whim and will. It is all very real and yet all could disappear if I wished it." She smiles softly, "Though given its age…I doubt I could ever part with it even in my worst of times." She then looks to him, "You would need my help to get here…but if you wish a quite spot in which to think, I could offer it to you when I am able."

*

After a moment, J'onn lets go of her hand. Even without her assistance he can float about the water under his own power. He moves a short distance away, just to be sure he can, before he looks over his shoulder at her. Nothing has changed in his physical expression, yet there's something almost pleased, serene in the alien-red tint of his gaze all the same. "That would be appreciated beyond any way I can verbalize, Dr. Tulloch. Or would you prefer Niamh Chinn Oir?"

*

"Whatever is easier for you." She says softly, "I have gone my many names over the millenia." She nods her head softly, "I have been granted a great many gifts by my grandmother." She nods her head, "And as such, I prefer to use them to heal rather than to harm. You stated you needed silence." She gestures around, "And that is something I can provide without disconnecting you from the beauty of Earth." She looks to J'onn, "The only being I know of who can breach this realm is my grandmother…though should you find her coming after you then you truly must have done something to raise some serious ire." She nods her head, "You are safe and free here. Just be aware…"

She looks at him with all seriousness, "None may know of this place and none may enter without my permission. While I wouldn't have brought you here if I didn't believe you to be trustworthy and sound…woe be on to any who bring war or harm to my realm." She nods her head curtly, "And also…the world may seem infinite but do not let it fool you. No matter how far you fly in any direction, merely wish to return to the water and the shore will be right behind you."

*

"Niamh Chinn Oir it is," J'onn states, with a timbre of voice that appropriates a smile. "As have I, but I prefer my Martian name. It reminds me that, for all I have lived many different Earth lifetimes, my Martian one is far from over." The wind curls, ever so lightly, through his cloak, swinging it lightly this way and that as he floats back towards her side. "Your grandmother?" he says, "I do try not to disturb others, but at the same time it is true that I have many enemies. If it should put this peaceful realm of yours in danger, I would happily look at this as a one time visit." He seems serious in that offer, despite his joy at being in this place.

Her latter words earn a nod of head, the Martian seeming undisturbed by her curt warning. "You have my word I will protect and defend it as vigorously as I do Earth."

*

A smile and she chuckles softly, "It was not the realm I was worried about, J'onn. I was worried about you." She nods her head, "And my grandmother is Gaea." She nods her head before gesturing, "Be aware, I have given this realm a sort of ego. A mind of its own. If you calm your thoughts and reach out, you might realize it. See it in how all the animals, plants and even the land itself are connected. This realm protects itself." She then nods to the lake below them, "If ever you wish to return, merely enter the water and think of where you wish to go. If water is there, it can take you." She then yawns and looks at him, "Now, it is my time to rest and into the water I must go…"

*

"I… see." For a moment, undoubtedly a rarity, something heavy and heated and maybe even afraid crosses the Martian's expression, followed swiftly by something sad and resigned — then gone as soon as it manifested. "I appreciate your trust in showing me this place." He floats then, coming alongside Vivienne, holding out a hand this time. "Then let us return to Earth, and allow you to take your rest."

*

"Do not fear, J'onn. This place is me and I am it. You are safe here." She nods her head and then she shakes her head at his hand and holds up her own, "I told you how to leave so that might do so at your leisure." She then looks truly tired and looks to the side even as she begins to almost melt into the water, "I have been away from the Lake for too long and here is where I must rest. Becoming one with the water." She looks to him, "Rest, relax, or otherwise at your leisure. J'onn…and then…" She slowly melts down becoming nothing but water but before she vanishes completely, "…leave when you please…" And she's gone. If J'onn does reach out he will realize that she is still here. Just…spread out. Asleep and yet awake and yet neither.

*

"It is not you I fear," J'onn states with certainty, though he doesn't elaborate. His hand drops back into a clasped place behind his back as he watches her melt into the water. She can, perhaps, feel the light touch of his thoughts, brief, just to ensure she is safe and well. Then he explores, with a thoroughness, the surrounding area. Finally, he settles into the grass near the buffalo, legs crossed and still, as if in a deep meditation. It is many hours before he finally departs — through the water, as instructed — and back to Earth, though not without a brief mental touch conveying his gratitude to the entity in the lake as he departs.

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