Coincidence? #IThinkNot

July 13, 2018:

Spoiler saves Drake from a mugging, and details are hard to ignore.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Drake Riley is out and about this evening in the middle of the Bronx, which in itself isn't necessarily wise. But he'd heard rumor that the very best subs could be found at a little mom-and-pop shop at some random corner, often overlooked. Well, Drake intended to get there before it closed. It doesn't look like that's happening. He's become beset by two people on the sidewalk, each standing at an opposite side of him. The thing about it is, Drake has no idea what the heck is going on.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Hey."

They bump him back and forth between them in a constant game of real-world Pong. They're out in the semi-open, and Drake feels it'd be unwise to let loose with powers. Moreover, they haven't /actually/ attacked yet. In the legal sense, they have. In the sense that makes Drake spring into action with fists, however, they haven't. This is, at best, the most bizarre sort of bullying he's ever heard of.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Hey."

"I'm- why don't- can't you just- what is this!?" Drake is at a total loss.

A little early for patrol, but Spoiler needed to get into position on a place she had a lead on, a place she needed to get some information about. It meant slinking about unseen in the low light of dusk. It meant that she was just settling into position on a neighboring roof top when something caught her attention.

"Hey." "Hey." "Hey." "Hey."

OMG! We heard you ther first ti- Spoiler blinked behind her cowl. Leaning slightly, she watched, recognizing the pong ball as Drake and the other three as The Trouble Trifectos. Stupidest YouTube channel name, ever, but they had popped up as a Creator in the Area once, and she kept an eye on them. Their brand of JackAss level prank videos were doubtless going to piss of the wrong person eventually.

Like today. Spoiler frowned, noted the time on her HUD, and shifted to pace their movements down the street.
"Hey."

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Who are you people!? Do I know you!? Is this life now!?"

"Hey."

Suddenly, things change. The one behind holds aloft Drake's wallet. "Got it! Go!" And with that, they scatter! The one in front of Drake takes off down the sidewalk, the one behind with the wallet going the opposite way. The one recording cackles and takes off after the one with his wallet.

Drake, meanwhile, is horribly disoriented and staggers forward, unfortunately awarding them a considerable headstart. "Wha-.. douche!"

Hell, no. Spoiler had already been poised to drop the camera man, so when she spotted the wallet getting lifted, she leapt from the building. Camera Guy got one step before she landed next to him, smashed her staff into the camera and then up into his face. The camera clattered to the floor where she dropped a mini magnet pulse onto it with fingertips of her right hand while the left drew what looked like a gun. Pointed at a rooftop above and beyond Wallet Nabber, Spoiler fires and lets the tension of the wire yank her toward him so she can arrest her 'fall' with style right onto his back between his shoulder blades.

"Spoiler alert: Chiropractors run a hundred 'n ten with out medical insurance," she tells the guy, left hand smacking the wallet free and pinning it to the ground with her staff.

Her cape rests against her back, revealin gher arms as she balances on WalletNabber where it's clear that her right wrist is just the tiniest bit thicker than her left. And her fingers aren't closed fully into a fist.
Drake Riley staggered, stumbled, and nearly toppled. But he's taken off after the one in front of him, who only got a short distance before getting football-tackled. But rather than punch him, Drake /smacks/ the back of his head. "Call your buddy! NOW!"

The tackled dingus whines and flails awkwardly, attempting to grope behind himself to dislodge Drake, but coming too short. No, he's not going anywhere.

Drake looks over his shoulder to attempt to spot where the other had gone - and instead sees a caped crusader atop them. He grins in appreciation.

He then smacks the dude's head again. Jerk.

Drake raises to his feet and trots over towards the masked do-gooder, not recognizing her until he gets closer. Spoiler! Is she still upset with him? Did she leave upset? Wait, why is she here?

Spotting his wallet under her staff, he heads for it. "Did you hit this guy? If not, can you?"

A smirk curls purple lips as Drake draws near. Her weight shifts to drop her to the cement at Wallternabber's side.

"Does drop kicking him from the second story count as hitting him?" she quips amusedly, flicking his wallet at him as Drake nears it. It's odd that she doesn't seem upset at all, but rather…

"You alright?" she asks with a note of concern to her digital voice.
The wallet zips through the air, smacks Drake on the chest, and he juggles it in the air for three skips as he attempts to snatch it. He manages to clap it between both palms before freezing, and self-consciously jamming it back into his pocket. Ahem. He caught it, that's the important thing.

"I'm fine. Are you? I mean, of course you are." Drake moves closer to her. "Shocked to see you here, though!"

"Yeah," she says. She had been about to clarify, confirm she was indeed alright, when he just pressed on.

"I was in the area and spotted them taking your wallet. Figured I'd drop in and lend a hand," she explains, putting her baton at the small of her back with one hand while her right comes down to rest against her thigh and she rolls her shoulder to make hte cape slip and fall forward to cover her arm.

Is she hiding the injury? You better believe she is!
Drake Riley does, indeed, notice she seems to be in better spirits! She's even preening in a way that's kind of hot, too - in that fun, perky, dangerous way. She's earned a little something; an innocent something, mind. Stephanie's his girl, as far as he's concerned.

His left fist moves forward, offering a sudden fistbump. He doesn't want her losing that saucy victory pose of hers. "You definitely did lend a /hand/, didn'cha?," he jokes lamely. The grin on his face suggests he certainly knows it was lame.

Lend a hand! Spoiler giggles brightly at the lame joke, and moves to return the fist bump without thinking about it. Right hand slips free of cape, and knuckles tap knuckles. It makes her wince slightly, the giggle wavering for a fraction of a heartbeat at the touch. Wince, there and gone, before she's lowering her arm again.

"Trouble Trifectas. YouTube group. Hopefully, they'll rethink actual theft as a prank this time," she notes, looking down at the guy at her feet.
Drake Riley looks down at the dude incapacitated at her feet, but it's fleeting. He doesn't care about that. He's fixated on the little wince that was presented. His mirth has, in fact, dimmed. Focus has turned onto the poor fist, and he even makes a grab for it. "Are you okay? Did you land wrong? Punch someone bad? Did you hurt yourself?"

Oh, dammit. Distraction attempt failed!

Spoiler knows the moment he reached for her that if she dodged it's be obvious. So, she has to let him grab her wrist. The muscles of her jaw work as she grinds her molars together to keep from racting to that moment of pain caused by him arresting the motion of her arm.

"I'm fine," she says from behind the mask. Adding: "Just part of the job."
"How'd it happen?," Drake asks.

His right hand supports her forearm, the left hand gingerly attempts to tilt and bob her hand at the wrist. "And does this hurt? You may need to wrap it."

Spoiler tenses as Drake proceeds to manipulate her wrist in full view of anyone passing by. Shoulder tight, she starts to gingerly pull her arm back.

"Saving a civilian, being the hero. The usual. And yes, it hurts so please stop," she presses through gritted teeth. Her left hand reaches out now to try to get Drake to let her right forearm be.

"It's already wrapped," she growls through the voice modulator against her throat.
Drake Riley lets her retract the arm, and something about it just feels… off. She got it hurt saving a civilian. Being the hero. It was part of the job.

"I seem to keep attracting trouble," Drake says, lifting his gaze to her eyes - or what can be considered her eyes - again. "Got attacked. Had to be saved." He's just gently probing now, his voice mellow and solemn.

What a way to start patrol, with a headache caused from pain. She should have taken some pain killers already. Spoiler sighs lightly at herself, starting to turn away. She pauses and looks over, her flat expressionless white lensed cowl making the faint frowning line of her lips seem like she's scowling.

"No one's blaming you, Drake," she tells him, trying for calming, but maybe failing.
"Yeah, maybe not."

Drake squints. Does he dare? Oh, he dares. He's trying to be subtle while sparing her any potential risks.

"But the girl who saved me was… really something special. You remember that girl I was talking about earlier?," he asks, continuing the gentle probe, despite the poor heroine's obvious attempts to get away. "Turns out she's strong. Not just physically - I mean, she is, I saw that when she swept in. Like an underwater ninja. But I mean on the inside. More than I expected." Beat. "Am I gushing?"

He squints and so Spoiler nods once, starting to turn away again, hoping to go before he dares. Alas! She is too slow. Her head copes up at his words, and her chin twists towards him; a subtle show that she's listening.

She can tell, the moment he asks her to remember who he was talking about, that he's talking about… her, only out of the mask. It's a weird feeling, and as he continues on, Spoiler can feel her cheeks flushing pink. She can only hope it's all hidden under the cheeks of the cowl.

"More than a little," Spoiler replies. Her chin dips, body wanting to hide any hint that the words are making her blush even a little.

"If you're uninjured then," she says, feeling her face tingling in a way that suggests the blush is tiptoeing its way toward her jawline. That grapple gun is pulled, again with her left hand, and her bike is summoned directly overhead. Fortunately for Drake, she had left it a few blocks away and it's going to take a few seconds before it arrives.
"Well, I'm uninjured because she got injured," Drake notes, stepping a little closer. "Hurt herself. Jacked up her wrist." His gaze dips to her right wrist, likely buried under a cape, then back up towards her face. He's focused on her as much as he can be! The coincidence is pretty jarring, but he's not going to outright demand something from her. He could be wrong, after all.

He takes another step closer.

"I didn't get to give'er half the appreciation I wanted to, because it looked like it hurt like a crazy, but…"

There's no real way of straight out asking. He doubts she'd say one way or the other, too.

"…I just hope she knows she's pretty amazing." He smiles and relents, hands stuffing into his pockets. "You probably don't care about hearing all that anyway, right?," he asks with a lighter tone, offering her an easy out.

He could be wrong. But he's probably not. The thought makes her nervous and she turns to face him, right hand hidden — and throbbing — beneath her cape, left holding her grapple gun, watching Drake step closer. Her lips press, twitching, wanting for her tongue to flick out and swipe moisture back to them.

"…Given that I'm …likely not the one who saved you that time, maybe I'm not the best person to tell that to?"

Come on, now. When has Stephanie EVER taken the easy way out? …okay, that one time, but it ended up feeling worse then if she hadn't taken the easy way of running for it and letting people think she died. Maybe that's what made her wary of the Easy Way Out.

"I've got work. Can you get home alright?" she asks, tacitly offering to see him home and maybe delayed the gathering of information she was after.
Likely not? That hit the ear so weird. Sure, Drake had figured she'd neither confirm nor deny, but the way it came across seemed so hesitant and halting. He inches a step closer to her - a little closer than would be considered proper for polite conversation. "Well, I /do/ seem to attract a lot've bad attention lately," he muses to her. "And I really did love flyin' around with ya last time. But that girl I've been gushing over might get jealous if she sees me all clung to you." His voice lowers at the end to a level edging on flirty-playful.

He doesn't know for sure. He can't know for sure. But between Stephanie's surprising physical prowess, her ability to weather pain, the shared injury in the exact same spot… and it's hard to see in the darkness, but was she blushing? It's driving him nuts; nuts enough to poke the proverbial bear.

He draws near, in close, and his voice drops toward flirty and playful. Uncontrolled, Spoiler's lips pull up on the left, smirking on a silent snicker.

"You do, don't you?" she muses right back. Her head tilts, because there's something so weird about this, something heady about dancing on that line, talking about yourself and pretending at a secret. This is new and exciting and oh so dangerous. It has her stepping forward, closing the distance, and using the fact that her skycycle was coming in from behind her, course moving forward, as an excuse.

"You'll just have to tell her I was saving you from a mugging," she quips, right arm coming out to wrap around him. Against his back, the wrapping can be felt, holding her wrist in place. Her left arm comes up and her gaze sights ont othe cycle overhead. Trigger pulled, the cable leaps out, catches the bike, and with a smooth yank, Spoiler basically just sweeps Drake off his feet.

Better cling tight!
She moves in again. This is on the heels of her seeming somewhat upset with him - maybe even jealous - after the last run-in with her. Her arm sets around him, and he can clearly feel that things aren't right with her wrist; it's been treated. She didn't have time enough to do that tonight after this brief scuffle, so her injury happened before. That just makes things even more intriguing!

His arms wrap around her waist. He's holding on tight to her even before she raises her arm. His head is canted, looking down into those optics shining back at him. "Is that what we're calling it?," he teases gently.

Breath is taken when he's swept away, and his arms clench much tighter around her narrow waist!

Her injury was definitely before this, meaning she moved into this scuffle fully aware that she was injured, risking further damage and delayed recovery just to stop him from losing his wallet.

"Yes. That's what we're calling it," Spoiler says just before that first yank off their feet. It's not lying if she's in on it.

The flying motorcycle gets then to a rooftop, slowing to deposit them before it lower down and waits. The limited AI between suit and bike knew she hadn't climbed aboard.
Drake Riley squeezes his eyes shut for the duration of the lift, more to keep himself from having a little freakout. He's still not used to it. Twice airborne doesn't make one a pro!

But once his feet find solid ground again, they slowly open - and refix on the girl's mostly-covered face. His arms loosen, but don't withdraw. "How many times have you swept in to save me now, hm?," he asks.

"More than once," Spoiler retorts. A heartbeat passes before she's the first to step back, to put distance between them. She has to retract the grapple and reseat the gun to her hip.

"It might almost be forming a habit," is added snarkily, lips grinning again.
Drake Riley lets his arms drop to his sides again. And in short order, his thumbs find his pockets. "I think you're enjoying it. Finding a guy like me in trouble, getting mugged, drowning, but I think I might've saved you that one time."

He slipped it in there so carelessly, so subtly, maybe she'll not realize what he's said until it's too late!

For a heartbeat, it almost worked, for Spoiler almost started to nod. But her mind caught it, reminded her, and she looked over at Drake, head tilted faintly. Either she's roling her eyes at him and following along or she's not sure what you're talking about, or she's rolling her eyes because you're trying to hint at being this girl you like. Yeah! That's the ticket! Pick the last one. Please buy it! And then she's turned away again, movnig for her bike.

"Come on. Where am I taking you this time?" she asks, having switched the throttle control to her left hand by now so she doesn't hurt herself. Still, it means she has to user her fingers to work that handlebar.
Drake Riley smirks at her when she gives him that near-unreadable look with the tilt of her head. He has no idea what she means by the gesture. It could be confirmation. It could be deniable. It could be hungry. He doesn't know!

"Wherever. I mean, Westchester's always my go-to. But are you sure you should be flying? You're hurt." Which may sound familiar to previous protests about driving!

He smirks back at her, and she actually does roll her eyes under her cowl. He makes her want to laugh more, so she lets a chuckle excape, head shaking lightly. That mother-hen-fret of his was so endearing.

"I'm fine. It's not a problem," she assures him, throwing a leg over her bike and settling down to the machine. Where those words exactly what she had said then? Stephanie can't recall.
Drake Riley can't either. But it hits him like an earworm. He swings his leg over the seat to mount behind her, his arms looping around her middle again. "You know you didn't have to offer. I think you just like me riding with you. Not worried that other girl is gonna get jealous or anything, are ya? Or do I have a superhero with a crush on me?," he teases, arms giving an additional little squeeze.

"I think I just like making sure the helpless civilian gets to safety," Spoiler retorts, not willing to chase after what feels like bait for her to give something way while not realizing how many other clues she's really leaving when she giggles at the idea of having a superhero crushing on Drake or the slight lean into the squeeze.

"Please," she says, aiming for dismissive, likely missing. Him secured, Spoiler pushes the bike off the rooftop, having to tuck her right arm in to prevent herself from trying to steer with it.
Drake Riley just snickers back at her. His head tilts to tuck his chin against her right shoulder, a little more snuggly than strictly necessary for the task at hand. "This helpless citizen totally took out someone about to clobber you earlier~," he coos teasingly into her.. bat-ear..? He isn't sure how it works.

Spoiler isn't either, so we'll go with bat-ear.

"Well, you're also not really all that helpless, but sinec we're calling it a mugging might as well call you a helpless civilian," is the quip of a retort as she directs them up and north toward Westchester.
"So.. got any advice for me about this girl I like?," Drake asks next, hoping to throw her for a loop. And at the same time, maybe get a little insight with Stephanie from someone who might be Stephanie. His heart flutters a little as he embraces the thought more.

"Any advice…?" About herself? Spoiler's midsection jumps under Drake's touch in a surprised bark of a laugh.

"You do realize that other than the tiny details you've told me, I don't really know what you think about her?" she fires back, replaying that in her mind a few times, as if worried it gave anything away. yes? No? No. Okay. Whew. Spoiler calms a little bit, but keeps playing.

"After all, I could give you really /bad/ advice." intentionally? Probably not, but some of it has to be misleading, right?
"I think you'd probably give me good advice," notes Drake. "I mean, you remind me of her." His arms squeeze a little. "A lot." If only he could see her eyes! "In so many ways."

Like her wrist. That's a big one.

"Anyway, I think I know'er well enough to think I'd be able to spot bad advice. And no skunking it on purpose. If you do that, I'll know I have a superhero girl crushin' on me."

Leaning forward a little more, Drake tilts his head to attempt bringing his face closer to hers with a playfully suspicious squint. "Not jelly, are you?"

You remind me of her. A lot. Spoiler swallows harshly, as subtly as she can manage. She refuses to let herself look down at his arms as he gives a light squeeze.

"That's what it'd take to make you think I'm crushing on you?" Spoiler notes, head tilting slightly, slightly away from Drake, to flick a glance at him out of her peripherial.

"Me? Jealous? Of what? Some girl you like?" she tries to deflect, eyes turning back forward.
"Well, she's the prettiest girl I've ever gone out with; I've ever met in New York. Heck, definitely the prettiest I've ever talked to in California." Drake pauses, then suddenly grins. "And she's really sweet. And she's the kind of girl you can definitely tell just… cares. The kind that doesn't just tolerate ya being around, but /wants/ you around. So she makes ya feel good about being you. Her laugh's really infectious, and really cute. She's a lot hotter than she seems to realize, though. Had to get'er some clothes that show off the abs~," he continues. "Lots to be jealous of. Plus, I mean, I /have/ kissed her before. So there's that."

Spoiler will not blush. Nope. She refuses. Not happening. And not getting deeper the longer he talks abuot her. She /knew/ that shurt was on purpose! Spoiler somehow manages to keep her breathing even and calm.

"Well…" She pauses, clears teh squeak from her voice and tries again. "Since yo've kissed her, what more advice could I give you?" Flail!! "I mean, since there's so much to be jealous about, no reason to even think about trying." Wait..> WHAT DID YOU JSUT SAY?!?! Dammit, Steph!
"Aw, what kind of superhero gives up that quick?," chides Drake. Her little slip has him on Cloud Nine. He's become more and more certain the girl in his arms is the girl he's been dating. Heck, even feeling the way she positions herself against the bike is reminiscent to the jetski. At this proximity, he can see the blush. And when his gaze settles on it, his own smile spreads. He's so sure of it, the excitement is near-impossible to bottle. He doesn't just want to accuse her, though.

"One that hears how certain you are. It's not right to get into the middle of a relationship if it's working," Spoiler notes, keeping her face forward and her body tensed as it has been and stoically ignoring the blush that is peeking out from under her cowl. She sort of misses the full face mask right now. Maybe it's not too late for a redesign!

These thoughts distract her from how too much like the jetski this is, except that on the jetski, she was using her right hand and this time, she's not.

Her lips purse and press, silent testiment to her chewing on the inside of her lip.
[X-Men] Lorna says, "Yeah well you were all about knowing things"
"I hope she hears it, too, then," Drake says, his voice lilting in a way that perhaps says more than his literal words convey. It's almost like an accusation without outright saying it. And as if to punctuate the point, his head lowers to touch his chin to her shoulder again through the ride.

Spoiler's chin lowers a fraction, wind out of her sails. It had come out of her own mouth: a relationship if it's working. Was it working? Was it really a relationship? Or was it just that she was lonely and his laugh and jokes made her feel like herself again? And what was with his tone? Does he know? He's not saying it. He's not saying her name outloud, bright and clear for anyone to hear. If he knows, if he suspects, he's keeping it quiet and subtle and in the shadows. She's more comfortable there anyway.

"Yeah. Hope so too," she murmurs into the growing silence of the ride to Westchester.
Drake Riley lets them ride along in silence, relenting on the poor girl. Something about her tone now seems to've shifted. Did he push too hard? Was he wrong? He doesn't shy back from her, despite how smooshed together they are on her little cycle. Mostly it's because they're zipping at parent-disapproved heights and speeds. It's also partially because it feels quite familiar.

Push too hard? No. Wrong? Hardly. That he doesn't shy away or force closer is odd in how it starts to help calm nerves. She sighs lightly to herself, the expansion and compression of her ribs clearly felt. Zipping out over Westchester, Spoiler pulls the bike around to hover over a quiet parking lot dark enough that she would be spotted easily, but well lit enough not to cause Drake any issues without him.

"…Is here alright?" she asks, subdued a bit.
"Yeah." Drake glances down to the parking lot, then back to her. Does she want him to just hop out and drop? Will it look cool? Okay, he's game.

Drake unslings a leg, wobbles nervously, then hops down to the asphalt of the parking lot. He lands in a little crouch, then lifts to his full height again, gaze turned up to the girl on her ultra-cool cycle.

She had lowered to only a few feet up, and had meant to land so he could slide off without an issue,but then he was wiggling and hopping off the side. Spoiler watches him, lowering her bike a bit to help and finding that it puts her only a little about his eyelevel when he rises to his feet.

What do say to him? What can she say, that won't give any more away? Her lips press and purse again. Spoiler chews on the inside of her cheek.

"…..Be careful," she finally offers, heading giving a nod.

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