Fish Out Of Water
Roleplaying Log: Fish Out Of Water
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Sloane and Drake meet. Minimal skulduggery ensues.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 04, 2019
IC Location: Xavier Institute - Exterior Grounds
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 05 May 2019 00:48
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* * *

California to New York is a stark transition, especially when one of the main appeals of the West Coast were the choice beaches and chill culture. Well, at least the people he ran with were chill. And he's been making a concerted effort to feel a bit more like himself - or perhaps more accurately, marry the good parts of his old life with the new life he's adopted. It isn't that this new life is worse, or even bad. Far from it. But he doesn't want to lose what few things he loved.

Yesterday, however, took a weird turn. Drake intended to check out what beaches New York had to offer. That, however, was interrupted by an alien and an attempted mugging. So today, he's shooting for something a little more controlled. The Xavier Institute happens to have a rather nice pool in the backyard, and on a sunny day like this, it's downright odd that he'd be the only one taking advantage of it. But Drake isn't complaining. Heck, some of the other mutants are a little leery about getting in water with him, anyway. And rightfully so. If his powers were to go off in the water, there's a good chance everyone would fry. Thankfully, he has some acute levels of personal control. But no amount of assurance is enough to settle some nerves.

Neither here nor there today, it seems!

The warm breeze lazily whisking through the backyard creates a gentle rustle in the trees; a soothing lullaby of nature. The young X-Man, himself, has been swimming for a while now. The evidence is perfectly clear, given the shine of the obsidian bangs framing his face, the light glisten of moisture coating his sleekly-toned and bare upper-body, and the dampness of his glossy emerald trunks. At the moment, he's padding barefoot around the pool's perimeter, holding a fluffy white towel and dabbing it against his face.

* * *

The grounds are sprawling, vast, and fantastic for actually getting your work done. Having spent the better part of the last couple hours sitting in the shade of a tree on the mansion grounds, Sloane L. Albright has finally finished the task set upon her for Warren Worthington, and it was … almost a delight to do. It was something different, really — something that broke up the monotonies of her recent days.

Hair tied high and back, she's dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt proudly proclaiming that sleeves are bullshit, the tails of her shirt bunching and slacking over boot-cut jeans and hiking boots, with a lightweight track jacket on to keep the coolest parts of the day's chill off her. The sturdy canvas-and-leather messenger bag hanging at her side contains her laptop, as well as a few chunky visible bottles of water in straps and pouches on the outside.

She's crossing the fields and looking to take a shortcut past the pool to get back to the mansion interior itself, though as she turns the corner past the perimeter fencing around it, she stops short at the sight of someone getting out of the water.

Glancing at the water, then up at the sky as if to determine the temperature by some arcane staring ritual, Sloane's face scrunches in thought, then she asks the very obvious question:

"Isn't the water freezing this time of year?"

* * *

The question gets a pause from Drake before even the towel lowers from his face. "In May?," he asks into the fluff. "Nnno. It's cooler today than it was yesterday. And definitely cooler than where I'm from. But freezing? Psh, no." Cloudless sky? Warm breeze? Water's fine, in his book.

The towel is given a final dabbing at his face before being lowered to look at who he's talking to. Vivid emerald eyes blink a couple times, parsing the image up ahead. His head tilts slightly to the side, and a half-smile quirks the corner of his lips. "You look like you'd be more into it than me," he lilts, voice laced in tease.

Though something about her looks remarkably familiar. Somewhere between the surprise at the girl's appearance and the unquestionably unique features themselves, there's a hum of recognition in his mind. He just needs a moment to place it, he's sure.

* * *

"Eh, gotta be a little bit dramatic sometimes," Sloane replies, offering an easy shrug. "It's in the rules."

'You look like you'd be more into it than me,' he says. For a moment, a breath hitches in her chest. Then, she sighs, eyes drifting away from the young man and the water, thumb shifting under the heavy duty strap of her bag, her other hand scratching self-consciously at the back of one of her large, pointed ears with purple-painted fingernails. "When the job calls for it, sure, but really … it's not always my thing."

Sloane raises her eyebrow, speaking with a tone of voice that suggests both experience and authority: "Especially when you end up having to swim in the East River in the middle of the winter."

After a second, she nods toward the building. "So, you're a student?"

* * *

Drake Riley is paying keen attention to her - both in what she says with words, and what she says without them. Her comment on dramatics is a little point in her favor. She has a sense of humor. Probably helps someone who looks so different. But people with a sense of humor are /so/ much better to deal with in general, he'd say. Nearly mandatory for handling the likes of him.

The eyeshift and scratch at one of her most outwardly obvious inhuman traits fixes his attention, however. Of course she'd be acutely aware of what makes her stand out. But does she see it as a bad thing? Jarring at first glance, for sure, but… bad? What she adds doesn't feel as important as that small, nagging detail he's honed on. After all, it wasn't his goal to make the girl feel bad.

Those emeralds break from studying her to glance to the institute, then back to her with a nod. "Yep. College freshie," he replies. "Knocking out the cores, and.. hopefully, uh, figuring out what I want to do after."

The towel is tossed aside onto a lounge chair with careless grace and moves a little closer to her. "You and the Polar Bear Club, huh?," he muses on approach. "The East River, though. Definitely not as clean as the pool here." He nods aside to the veritably sparkly water, then side-eyes the female. "You're not a student, though, are you? You look about my age, but I don't think I've seen you around. Not.. /here/, at least," he says, hedging deliberately on the location. He's seen her somewhere else. Or maybe in a different context.

* * *

College freshman. "Oof," she replies. "I've been there. Watch out for the snack food, and … the superpowers, I guess," the ginger woman says, firing a quick glance toward the mansion.

Her weight shifts, easing from centered to one leg. "Nah, it was my old job. Needed to hit the water and carry some people to shore," she says, shrugging. "To be honest, I've dealt with worse than the river."

"No, I am … not. Ah, uh… I actually moved in a month ago, give or take," Sloane says, wobbling her hand back and forth. "I was in a really bad spot, and a friend gave me a way out. Brought me up here, she got me back on my feet and thinking clearly. I'm not taking classes here or anything like that, but I help out the faculty whenever I can. Old job also tries to drag me back to the city every now and then, too."

* * *

"Old job. Like, EMT? Rescue ops?," Drake asks. "Sorry, I don't mean to get all up in your business right off the start, just - you look cool, it's interesting." The smile he offers at the end is equal parts boyish and guileless. No deception here. The scales, ears, quirky eye color, all looks fascinating to him. Though her mentioning she'd 'been there' at his mention of being a freshman is filed away. Older than she looks, perhaps?

A hand raises to draw the hanging bangs back from his eyes, which serves to clear his vision only briefly. In short order, they flop right back into place. "I've gotta admit, you look familiar. You- wait." He suddenly fingersnap-points at her at, smiling a bit more widely. "You were involved in that invasion earlier! Weren't you? With the monsters falling out've portals, the city going all Silent Hill. That was you, right?"

* * *

A montage of the last two years of her life flickers briefly through her mind, up to and including those times when she broke more than a few bones, be it with her fist, a pistol whip, or through the use of readily accessable furniture or bottles. Fiery orange eyes look unfocused and distant for a brief moment before she returns to focus. "Ah … yeah, something like that."

"Uh, thanks," Sloane says, scale-backed hands clutching the strap on her bag a little tighter. "They usually end up bein' a conversation starter."

And then — wait. Is she…? — She's suddenly relieved that she was not identified for her appearance in Carol Danvers' video montage for SHIELD agents, being presented as being bright and happy for registration to happen.

"Ah — yeah. I spent a lot of time boots-on-the-ground during that whole mess. I spent a lot of time trying to make sure people still had potable water, or getting people out of town safely. It was a big goddamn mess. Don't tell me, I was on TV or something?"

* * *

Alas, no, Drake is unaware of her stance on the Registration Act. Perhaps it's to his own detriment, but he tends to assume anyone present in the mansion or associated with the X-Men have assumed a hard opposition to it, all things considered. To his knowledge insofar, it's never lead him astray.

As to where he'd seen her antics before? After-Action-Reports, reconnaisance, and firsthand glimpses from high, lofty vantage points all played into it. Naturally, he couldn't tell her that without starting a breadcrumb trail leading to his involvement in the X-Men. "Something like that," Drake parrots to her with a playful grin. He can't help but enjoy the caginess of it. He may not exactly know her affiliations, but he doesn't need to. If she's here, she's a good person. Right?

"So," he begins, offering a still-damp hand out to her, "what do I call you?"

* * *

'Something like that,' turned back on her. The corner of her mouth quirks in a faint grin; though she tries to not fall back on double-speak and dancing around words these days, old habits die hard … and if he's just a student, she has no reason to start dumping fantastic stories on his head. It might just put him in the line of fire, later on.

"I get how that goes," she simply says.

The hand offered leads Sloane to look down at it at first, then one hand lifts from the strap of her messenger bag, taking his to give a quick, firm, professional shake. Curiously, her scales feel cooler to the touch than the actual skin of her hand. "I'm Sloane Albright."

Her other hand lifts to cut a small circle in the air, a nebulous gesture as though she were using it to remember something. "Or Merrow, depending on who you ask. Merrow with an 'e,' not an 'a.'"

"… It happens sometimes."

* * *

The curious sensation of her smooth, cool scales and otherwise eprfectly normal human skin is noted. Drake, as it were, may seem perfectly normal as a human being by contrast. No otherworldly strength to boast, no rough-hewn texture to his skin; just a guy with a steady, but politely gentle grip. "Drake Riley. And I like that - Merrow. It's catchy." He won't admit that he did, indeed, immediately think of the more unseemly 'marrow' with an A. That, as an alias, would've made far less sense.

"So, what's with all the gear? What've they got you doing out here?"

That's not really what Drake wanted to ask. But it might be a lead-in, perhaps a gauge to get an idea of how much he should dangle out for her. She could be a visitor on the grounds, or she could be an unwritten ally to the X-Men. They really need to keep their records up-to-date on these things. If she's 'in-the-know', he has no reason to play coy with her.

* * *

Looking down at the rugged bag, Sloane remembers that not everyone has seen how much water she carries around at any given moment. "Oh. Uh — I can make water with my powers, but it's usually easier to manipulate it if I've got it on-hand. Plus, you have to stay healthy and hydrated, so I just bring a bunch of it everywhere."

Her palm taps against the flat of the bag. "Otherwise, I'm doing some work for the school. Crunching numbers, checking over data, basically a whole lot of busy-work so I don't feel entirely like I'm freeloading on everyone here. Sometimes I even water the plants."

Digging into the lives of allies, assets, and wild cards for the X-Men without drawing too much attention to herself, the school, or the subject of the investigation, too.

"Spreadsheets, though." Sloane pantomimes gagging.

* * *

Drake Riley seems to be on the same page as her regarding spreadsheets. The word itself carries such an unpleasantly dull connotation, the young man pokes his tongue out in disgust.

"So, wait," he says, picking up on something she said - or didn't say. "Freeloading? I used to feel like that when I first got here." Hands prop to his hips, shoulders shrugging back in an open posture that bespeaks of a relaxed confidence. "I came here to get away from a bad situation. To find people like myself; somewhere I could fit in, and not have to hate what I am, or what I can do." His head turns slightly, eyebrow perked in a playfully challenging manner as he continues to study her. "Now, it sounds to me like a badass mermaid like you was already rocking it with her uniqueness, and obviously isn't shy about being in danger. So what is it that you'd need from us?"

Beat.

"Or is this something you can only talk about with a certain 'subset' of students?," Drake asks, tipping the hand a little.

* * *

Sloane's stance shifts from one leg to centered, fingers curling around the strap of the messenger bag. Her brow creases, and then she frowns. "Like I said, I needed to get out of a bad situation, and a friend got me out and got me here. I chose to stay, so I'm helping out. It's not a big deal."

Is it something she can only talk to with — oh, okay, so he knows. "Oh. right. … Well then."

Her head tilts slightly. "Yeah, it's something like that. But, I help out where I can, when I can. This is one of those things I can't talk about, though."

* * *

Drake Riley nods along patiently at first, until she seems to catch what he's dropping. Here comes that boyish half-smile again. Yeah. They know. But he doesn't say anything more just yet. There's a sharp look to the left, surveying the vacant backyard, then the right, as if double-checking that the pool area is clear. His gaze lands on her again, and he lifts his right palm to chest-level, palm flat to the sky. In an instant, brilliant blue arcs of electricity begins swirling over his palm in a miniature maelstrom. "Volt," he says, expecting her to understand his meaning.

Wink. "Nice to meet you."

The hand closes again to lower at his side.

"I'll respect your wishes, if you don't wanna talk about it. We just met. It's cool. But here's a counter-offer - join me." He tips his head to nod at the pool. "You've been doing a whole lott'a boring stuff, sounds like. You deserve a break, right?"

* * *

Electricity. There's the faintest hint of apprehension, since water and electricity aren't typically good friends, but then … one of her own best friends does a lot with lightning and thunder. Then again, the last time Atli was here, she crashed a goat into the pool and it was a whole … Thing.

"Volt," she repeats, this time with a confirming nod.

Sloane looks down at her attire again, then at Drake. "Uh … I'm not really dressed for it. Also, my work is… kind of important. I need to get this stuff ready to present, like, ASAP. No rest for the wicked, you know what I mean?"

"But," she adds with a wag of the finger, "you'll probably see me at a few meetings for 'those students,' though. And 'those faculty,' and stuff."

* * *

Drake Riley gives her an incredulous look. "Well, yeah. You'd go change. Duh." He then shakes his head and lifts his arms in a wide shrug, having half-expected to be turned down. "I thought you were all wrapped up with it! But alright. If you're not done and it's important, I'd better stop taking up your time."

His expression has defaulted to a simple, but pleasant smile, unassuming. "Nice meeting you, Merrow," he repeats. "Be seeing you around at those meetings."

* * *

"That — is kind of another whole other problem 'cause I actually don't have a ton of—" Sloane's hands lift, fingers pressing together. Her expression is a little hesitant, but for an entirely different reason this time around. "Basically my place got demolished, too, and — You know what, basically, that's a whole other can of worms."

Starting to pass by, heading for the mansion, she turns around while walking in backstep. "Absolutely. I'll see you there! And then maybe I can like, actually — talk about the stuff I'm working on," she adds, laughing nervously. "Enjoy your swim!"

Spinning, moving with a confident stride, Sloane knows the rest of her weekend is going to be filled with a bit more crunch and then — and then — trying to present all of her findings to one Warren Worthington…

* * *

Drake Riley's head tilts curiously, but he doesn't dog the issue. He feels he's read the room pretty accurately. Though he suspects he knows what she was going to say; again, a similarity between them. When he first arrived at the mansion, his entire wardrobe was what he was wearing. He gets it.

"Ain't a thing," he offers passively, readily letting her off the hook for any explanations or discussions she isn't naturally inclined to host. His hand raises to her in parting as she walks backwards, that same unassuming smile on his face. "Have a good.. uh, productive day!," he calls to her, the latter a bit of a tongue-in-cheek tease.

And then? He turns to one of the lounge chairs to take up residence for a bit. Swimming, he'd done. This is more about zenning out.

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