(2016-09-01) Second Date (Part 2 of 2): A Swim in the Cove
Second Date (Part 2 of 2): A Swim in the Cove
Summary: After the ride, James Proudstar (Warpath) and MJ (Iron Spider-Woman) go for a swim in the cove on the Xavier Estate.
Date: 2016-09-01
Related: continued from (2016-09-01) Second Date (Part 1 of 2): Horse Riding Lesson
NPCs: Rosemary (a horse)
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

Location: Cove On The Xavier Estate

A big shimmering blue lake expands out into the open, touching what looks like distant islands, but they could be simply hills that border the lake. The sun reflects off it, making it sparkle and shimmer. There is a dock by the boat house, along with a large tree with a rope dangling from a thick branch. The lake looks so inviting and refreshing.

There are gentle soothing noise all about. The gentle rolling of the water lapping against the shore edge. Birds singing merrily to the sun. And at night, crickets serenade the moon.

At the end of Second Date (Part 1 of 2): Horse Riding Lesson MJ had just shown Warpath her Iron Spider Armor and then turned it into a swimsuit so that they could go swimming. MJ was expecting James to go fetch towels and his own swimsuit from the mansion…

There are many things that will shut a man right up. For some it's the first time they see a hero in the flesh. For others it's winning the lottery. For still more it's that moment when they feel everything is just perfect. For still more, it's the first time they really see Mary Jane but for James, it's the first time seeing Mary Jane in a swimsuit. Even if it is some odd swimsuit made of high tech metal and otherwise kind of spooky. James' jaw doesn't drop but it's a close thing, he is definitely shut up now. As his gaze travels over Mary Jane in a rather obvious way (She's wearing a one piece swimsuit!) it's clear he appreciates the beauty of the woman before him and it's like he is burning this moment into his mind for all time.

Fortunately, he doesn't leer, and in fact he coughs once and his red skin actually gets a bit darker in a slight blush around the ears as he looks away, tearing his gaze from Mary Jane long enough so that he can gather himself and look back at her again. Towards her face this time and meet her eyes, "I guess I'm not going anywhere." He rumbles and then reaches to pull his shirt off exposing those abs and that heavily muscled chest of his before he tugs it up and off completely. Pulling up a pant leg he pulls a long vibranium bowie knife out of his boot and then a few swipes later he is wearing cut off jean shorts and taking his boots off. "This will have to do." He says with a smile towards the redhead. "I didn't quite imagine you were ready to see me in my undershorts or less."

MJ watches James' reaction with an amused, but still kind and friendly, smile on her face. She lifts a hand to her mouth to try to hide the almost successfully suppressed chuckle when he blushes.

Then he's cutting his clothes and, sounding a bit amazed, she says, "That was a bit rash, James. I figured you would get us some towels and be back fairly quickly… but if this works for you…" and then on the other, "I don't believe we are ready for skinny dipping or close to that, no."

As she walks away from her neatly folded clothing towards the water of the cover she says, "I'm not publicly known as Iron Spider-Woman, by the way so…" she smiles and reaches up to put a finger to his lips as she sashays past him into the water.

" Maybe but-." Then Mary Jane has placed her finger on his lips and he falls silent long enough to watch her sashay into the water because, he is easy to manipulate, and that's exactly what she wanted him to do. Only once she's in to her waist does James remember he has a mouth with which to speak, "I know how that goes MJ. I know you haven't known me for long and probably never met my counterpart, if I even existed on your world, but…" He smiles crookedly, "I've been wearing a spandex uniform for more than ten years and a pair of jeans is hardly any sacrifice… not for this." He slides his knife back into his boot sheath and then stashes his boots up in a tree out of sight because knives like that are irreplaceable and he doesn't want a student to find them should one show up.

Heading back to the water James wades into the lake without any hesitation at all, this late in the summer and the water is cool, but not exactly cold yet. "I usually like to start up there." James rumbles and points up into open air, "And then just cut off the flight and fall into the water. It's the closest I can get to cliff jumping up here." He smiles as he approaches Mary Jane, but, not so close as to enter her personal swimming space.

"I figured you might already have a clue regarding that but…" MJ interrupts herself to dunk herself under water then stands and flips her hair back sending an arc of water spray behind her and continues speaking, "… A girl's gotta be careful, after all."

MJ then swims out a few yards to where the water is deeper than she can stand and begins treading water for a moment before splashing water at James. "How often do you come out here and swim? I'm in a pool most mornings myself, its excellent exercise after all," she calls out to him.

James might be at home in the water, but that doesn't mean he's used to getting splashed in the face and he looks away while holding up one of those massive hands of his. "Don't start anything you're not prepared to finish MJ." He rumbles in a playful warning at the splashing but continues on out into the water. Water being what it is, buoyant, James is actually swimming sooner than one might think and he sweeps one hand forwards, fast, to send a practical tidal wave of splashing water at Mary Jane. Ah. The advantages of super strength and big hands.

Relaxing into the water James looks up at the sky, "Every day. Rain or shine. Heat or Snow." He floats on his back like a giant humanoid muscle raft, lacing his hands together behind his head as his feet work to propel him in circles. "Well, providing I am in this country, continent, or even planet." He looks over towards her, "Ever been out of the solar system?" He asks, "I don't recommend it unless you're teleporting. Even at faster than light speeds it's weeks of boredom on a ship to get back here."

"No, I've never even been in orbit," MJ says after laughing as the wave passes her.
She then lays back in the water and floats next to James, her head beside his and her body pointing in the opposite direction from him. "I actually only just recently graduated from the Avengers Academy before waking up here… and I was going to be assigned to New York anyway as a public face of the team," she explains as her hair floats around her head like a pool of fire on the surface of the water, some of it brushing against James' cheek and arm.

"What happened to take you off Earth?" she asks him after a few moments of just enjoying the cool water.

James' hair is long as well, the black mixing with the red in the water as they float side by side… sort of. "How much did the Avengers tell you of space faring civilizations?" He asks curiously, "Which ones do they know of, if any? It'll be easier to tell the story, depending on how much you already know." He looks over towards her with the one eye that can see in her direction.

"Well, lets see… there was a whole seminar on the Celestials," so yes, she starts with the 'big boys', "There was a class that covered the Empire Builders… the Kree, the Shi'ar, and the Skrulls. Oh, and Thor gave a set of lessons on Asgard and the Nine Worlds." She pauses and then says, "Wait, does the field trip to Asgard count as being off Earth? My class had dinner at the Hall of Heroes once." She smiles upwards into the sky, not wanting to upset her balance by turning to look at James.

"Technically it is another world… but since it's not one that can be approached by spaceship that I know of I'm going to say not exactly. The Asgardians had the rainbow bridge and here, they even brought Asgard down to Earth once, somewhere over Texas I think… but in this case it was the Shi'Ar Imperium. A group of us had to go rescue a family member, who turned out to be one of the most powerful mutants I'd ever met, more powerful than Magneto and on a scale similar to Apocalypse. He was trying to take over the Shi'Ar and we had to stop him. After we managed to do so some of us had to take a spaceship back to Earth from the heart of the Shi'Ar Empire." James rumbles in answer and then sighs, looking back up towards the sky.

"It was the longest most miserable trip of my life. Everything was artificial, nothing natural about it…" James frowns, "Weeks where all I had was my thoughts, and memories, to dwell on the darkest parts of my life."

The darkest parts of one's life. The thought of that makes MJ shudder and she closes her eyes for a few moments as she takes deep breaths to keep from reacting to her imagination of having to live though an experience like that.

MJ makes herself smile and asks, "So, nothing like Star Trek with the sweeping computer access to literature and music of all sorts, huh?"

"Oh there was technological wonders aplenty but…" James frowns, "Like I said, all fake, artificial, holograms, computers, processed air without any sweetness to it. It was a purgatory of wonders… horrible for me. I need the wind, the rain, the earth beneath my feet. I don't know if you can really understand what it was like, growing up in a city it might not have been to bad. For me…." He trails off. "Once you're up in them, stars are simply stars. There is no sun, no sky, nothing to really connect with."

"You're right, I probably can't really understand," MJ says in agreement. "I've been camping and hiking and the like, but… it was always home to the city after." She chuckles and says, "Plus, its hard to websling outside of the concrete and steel canyons."

She pulls up into a vertical position again and begins treading water again, right next to James. One of her hands occasionally brushing against his muscular bicep.

"Are your powers tied to the natural world then?" MJ asks, obviously aware that there are people like that in the world… or at least in her's.

"No." James says and he rolls over to start treading water in front of her, "I'm just a mutant but… all of my senses are heightened. I can hear your heartbeat. I can see as far as the curve of the earth itself allows me to. I can smell what you ate for breakfast… yesterday." He might be teasing there because he smiles playfully but he grows more somber after a moment. "So everything I looked at, everything I heard, everything I smelled it was just… wrong. It wasn't how it was supposed to be and every breath I took it just got worse and worse. No matter how I tried to exhaust myself to shut it out… it didn't help." He smiles faintly, "I guess it didn't help that I can run, as fast as I can, flat out for over a day before I even start to get tired." Stamina like whoah.

MJ says, "Wow," regarding the stamina and then the rest of what he said fully settles in and she asks, "Why did you go on the assignment, James? Did someone require you to? Did you not know that this would happen when you left?" as she continues to tread water. She sounds deeply concerned that someone forced him into this situation.

"I help my family. No matter what may be required of me MJ." James answers simply with a little shrug, "My tribe is dead. Murdered. Every last one of them. I am the last of them and without the family I have found here I would be truly alone." There is only a touch of sadness in his voice, old pain, deep pain, but it isn't consuming him at least. "I would do it again if it meant saving one of them." Them. The X-Men no doubt.

The redheaded model's smile returns. "Alright, that's a good reason. A good family is something worth sacrificing for," she says with the addition of a qualifier on family that hints at something in her past that questions absolute loyalty to just any family.

She continues treading water with her legs and one arm after pushing herself closer to James and puts her right hand against his chest above his heart. "I'm sorry to hear about your family and tribe, James."

James looks from Mary Jane's face to her hand on his chest and then he looks back up to try and meet her gaze if she'll meet his. "I guess when they all died, I lost my entire world. I guess I know what it's like to lose everything." He takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "My brother spoke to me recently… I know it sounds weird and I don't know what the Avengers taught you of magic either but… I had to rescue the souls of my tribe and when I did my brother John spoke to me and gave me some words of advice: He told me to let it go. Let it all go." He reaches up to place his hand over hers on his chest and gives a very gentle squeeze, "It is the hardest thing in the world to do, let go of the past, try and live for a better future… but I'm trying. Doing my best."

James pauses for a few moments, closes his eyes and then he smiles as he opens them, "And so, no more being gloomy for either of us. Let's see just how enhanced you are." Then out of nowhere he is reaching down with his other arm, treading water with just his powerful legs and a bit of his own ability to fly. He hooks his arm under Mary Jane, forearm under her bottom and hand on her hip as he suddenly lifts and then goes to throw the woman straight up into the air.

Not just a little ways either. Several hundred feet she flies straight up before her momentum slows, and then stops, and then is about to reverse itself and send her falling back towards the surface of the deep lake where James waits with a grin and a shout of: "Show me your moves MJ!"

MJ shrieks with surprise, but not fear, as she is thrown into the air. She doesn't fight the throw, in fact she twists in the air so that she is flying up head first and lays her arms flat against her sides to streamline her body.

As the momentum ends, at the top of the flight she twists again switching to a belly first mode and spreads her arms. As she moves her arms it is clear that she had done more than streamline as her suit material now lines the inside of her arms and a gossamer webbing stretches between her hips and wrists forming a web-like patagium which catches the air and causes her to glide as if she was wearing a wingsuit.

Unlike a parachutist, she doesn't restrict the fall as much as control it, keeping herself from achieving anything close to the speed of her ascent or expected descent but still descending at a decent clip. She circles and weaves around James' position hopefully making it difficult for him to track her with him being in the water and then, as she gets close she snaps away the webbing and tucks into a cannon ball moving toward him so what so she'll hit the water a few yards from him and send a large, directed splash of water into his face.

Surfacing again after a moment or two underwater… you go deep when you're falling fast… she looks around for James already laughing in anticipation of possible retaliation.

James is pretty fast… most of the time. He is not however a seal or an otter or a shark, or any other creature used to the water from living in it and though he can track her movements pretty well by twisting around and whatnot he still ends up with a face full of water though he is trying to cover up from it and manages to not get a lung full but he is laughing when she comes up and though he doesn't know exactly where she will come up he is spinning, using that powerful body of his to torque around and send a massive splash in just about every direction in hopes she can't escape it!

Thankfully, she didn't dunk him, he was worried about that and so when his splashes finally manage to catch the elusive prey he follows up with another regular splash towards her with a grin, "I thought you were just going to turn it into a dive or something. That was sneaky." He doesn't seem angry though, far from it as after the splash he starts to swim over towards Mary Jane, no doubt with some nefarious tricks people use on others while swimming in mind!

MJ grins at James as he approaches and then, when he's about a yard away from her he feels a small, unexpected current in the water beneath his arms. At the same moment two golden, spider-like metallic limbs snap up out of the water from behind her back. If she timed it right she'll be able to grab his forearms for just a moment with her waldos - two from above and two from below - and then use them to lift herself up and over him and "leap" off his arms with almost no downward force on him only to do a flip and a twist in the air and land with the barest of a splash behind him.

Those particular forearms are easily able to support Mary Jane's weight, and provide ample support for the 'waldo's' that wrap onto them however briefly to send Mary Jane flying over James' head and off into the water behind him. Fast enough so that when James recovers from whatever that was, and manages to turn around the only signs of Mary Jane are the ripples amongst many ripples in the lake water around them as she swims beneath the surface. Lake water isn't like a pool either, deep and dark, clean but not by chemicals it's hard to see much more than five or six feet in front of you even on the surface. Since there's all sorts of other particles in the water it even negates much of James' keen eyesight, he can see in pitch black darkness but he can't see through stuff which makes the lake the perfect ambust spot!
Of a sort.

Not sure if she can hear him James chuckles, "I said you MJ, not your suit or do you think you have to cheat?" He teases the redhead, treading water in circles using sweeps of those powerful arms to spin him around. Of course there's always his legs to attack, or get him from behind… He can't look everywhere at once and it's not like he's flailing around everywhere in defense.

MJ cannot hear while she is underwater but she hadn't swum very far beneath the surface and her ears were clearing the water in time to hear his comment. She says, "When facing a superior opponent, utilize all you have at your disposal," behind James as she wraps her legs around his waist and attempts to get her arms around his to hook her hands behind his neck and hold him in a full nelson knowing full well that if he wanted to he could probably rip her in half from that position but trusting him not to actually hurt her.

It's a testament to Mary Janes ability that she is able to actually attempt a full nelson on a man with shoulders that wide and while she manages to wrap her legs around his like that and barely link her fingers together, actually restraining that mountain of muscle is another thing entirely but she has the right of it… James isn't going to hurt her and instead in the spirit of play he does the only thing he can do…

James stops moving his legs long enough to sink down a couple feet and then kicks his legs. Hard. Hard enough to launch them into the air and out of the lake though he isn't flying in truth they get a couple feet up and then start the short fall back down, planning to dunk Mary Jane behind him with a laugh!

Rather than fighting James, she actually pulls against his armpits with her arms so that when they splash against the water his head is pulled under as well with the top of his head pointing out to sea and towards the bottom of the cove.

At that moment when the water flows over his nostrils and panic could settle in MJ, who's chest pressed against James' back as she took a deep breath during their descent, let go with all four of her limbs (the spider arms retracted during the flip earlier) and pushes away and down, swimming a few yards away before surfacing again and turning to look in the direction she had come from to be sure that James is recovering rather than panicking or drowning.

Since he was preparing to go under from the leap into the air, James is in no danger of drowning either, nor does he panic when pushed under by the smaller woman instead once she lets go he swims underneath completely going well down into the darkness and focusing his senses so that he can try to hear the woman's movements as she treads water above him. Slowly he rises from the depths until he can pick out her shape in the brighter water above him and then he swims upwards at speed, as fast as he can and creating a surge of water from beneath her as the lake wells up, lifting her with it and then he is flashing past and up into the air as the water cascades back down into a downdraft that threatens to possibly dunk her under the water briefly before he comes back down, knee held to his chest in a classic can opener!

As he hits the water there is a sucking sound as the surface of the lake gets dragged down with him and then erupts in a huge splash!

Trusting James, MJ just watches him leap from the water and descend close enough to her to send her floating away on the wave generated by his impact. She laughs and intentionally playfully splashes the surface of the water to attract him to the noise of her movements as she waits for him to surface again.

It doesn't take long before he swims to the surface again and this time doesn't seem to have any intention of launching anyone into the air or splashing. Instead he swims over towards Mary Jane and moves to float on his back beside her again, shooting a mouthful of water into the air like he were a fountain for a moment then he grins. "So was it worth it?" He asks playfully, "All this hassle to get my shirt off." He's not being serious though, just teasing Mary Jane like he would tease a friend and not making anything lascivious of it.

"Sure is," MJ says with a grin, "You're extremely easy on the eye and you're good company on top of that." She swims up to him and grasps his arm with both of hers, not in a wrestling hold this time but just to hold onto him. "Why don't you fly us back to the beach now," she suggests indicating with a nod that with all the horse play they've drifted almost all the way out of the cove, "I'm feeling the effort of the ride and play slightly and I suspect Rosemary would like to have that walk we were supposed to give her."

James looks over towards the lakeside where they left their things and the horse Rosemary, play time is over. Not everyone has his endurance after all. James turns over in the water and moves to reach an arm around her again but this time to hold her close to him, "You know…" He rumbles, "I've flown more with you than I have in years…" But he takes them up and out of the lake once he has a secure if gentle hold on the beautiful woman and then starts to fly them towards the shore at a leisurely pace. No windburn or the like and it's still warm enough in the afternoon sun that they'll dry off relatively quickly. Mary Jane more than him of course, Denim cut offs will take a while to dry normally.

When they get to the beach he'll set her down by where Rosemary is tethered on the tree branch he drove into the earth a few feet, which is also conveniently where clothes were also left. "If you want," James offers, "I will fly back and get you a towel." So maybe he will end up flying back after all if that is what Mary Jane wants. Walking over towards Rosemary he pats the horse's neck lightly, "She got a bit of a walk just to get here after her gallop so she's probably restless and maybe a bit hungry now but we can't let her get fat."

After they land on the beach MJ reaches up and gathers her hair together so she can begin to wring the water out of it. "That's not necessary, we can walk from here and get air dried," she says as she has the suit material flow down her legs and form red sneakers on her feet as well as the swimsuit she is still wearing.

"Can you carry my clothes and boots? Or balance them on Rosemary's saddle perhaps?" she asks.

"Sure." James rumbles, "You know in the old days, cowboys would take their wet clothes after a washing and put them under the saddle between the saddle and the blanket if they had one, or just next to the horse's back." He hmms thoughtfully, "So maybe that's why they were so sexy. Smelled like horse all the time." He chuckles and then pulls on his own shirt and looks at the legs of his jeans, "Well I could make a sack out of these if you wanted, we could put your clothes in there and tie them to the saddlehorn but then they might smell of me and not a horse."

MJ nods, smiling at the suggestion. "They're going to smell of horse anyway since I rode Rosemary in them, but that's a great idea," she says, obviously appreciating his thoughtfulness. "I really enjoyed this afternoon, James, but once we are back to the horse yard and have cared for Rosemary I'm going to need to go. I have a photo shoot on Liberty Island tomorrow morning."

"It's ok, you get to be the big celebrity with all the requirements that come with it." James rumbles with a smile as he takes a bit of Rosemary's tail and fashions a sack out of one of his pants legs he cut off so that Mary Jane's clothes can be stored safely, securing it to the saddlehorn with more horse hair. "I get to be the teacher and savior of the world…" He pauses, "Now that I think about it… I've done that a few times." He chuckles, "At the time it's just all adrenaline and rage."

"I was taught that fighting from rage isn't the best approach," MJ says siting Rand and Rogers without naming them, "But I guess that's more for us fragile heroes than a studly brick like you, right?" Her question is asked playfully intending to elicit laughs and smiles not to embarass or upset.

James smiles, "No, that's right but for a long time I was to angry to do anything other than punch things really hard. Fortunately most of the time it was things like The Juggernaut and The Hulk so they could take it without permanent damage… or even much noticeable damage really." That makes him chuckle, "Every time I start to think I am strong, I end up running into someone truly strong and it just is demoralizing which makes me work harder at getting stronger.. but realistically I'll never catch up so that's why I've turned my focus elsewhere." Like his knives. "I try to do things more tactically now, think before I strike… you know one time I disabled the hulks arms for like… half a minute maybe but then he just got better. I hate how he does that." A wry smile there. "In a fight though you should always be in control of yourself and your emotions or you're to easily manipulated. It was very hard to think about much other than wanting to hurt stuff and break things after I lost my brother."

"Family can do that to you I understand," MJ says quietly as they continue walking. She is still wringing water out of her long red locks.

"Losing him was hard, he joined the X-Men and then died on his second mission then tried to recruit me." He explains, "It didn't go well, I ended up going to their enemy and got trained as a Hellion by Emma Frost." He considers, "Don't know if you know who she is but she was bad news, telepath and powerful without much in the way of moral compunctions. I'm worried that the one we have now might not be the one we are supposed to have who went good… not after meeting Angelica and she was so young like fresh out of the Academy, which was odd because she was the first one to escape Emma's thumb…" He frowns, "But after a few… well many… years I started to grow up and now I'm putting all that rage and anger behind me because John, my brother, died doing what was right. He died protecting people. My tribe, I can't bring them back, I did the best I could for them and got them to the spirit lands of the People, so they can move on. Now it's my turn." He considers, "I guess it's our turn now."

James smiles over at Mary Jane as they walk Rosemary back to the stables, "I had a great time today MJ. If you ever want more riding lessons, or anything at all, just call me ok? Any time, day or night."

Along the walk MJ mostly listens, feeling that James needs to be allowed to talk. At the mention of Angelica she interrupts him long enough to confirm that she was the other redhead she met the day she met him shopping and when he nods she allows him to continue talking. As they reach the stables and he tells her she can call him any time she smiles. "You can do the same… although I don't promise to answer every time, I can be a deep sleeper," she explains.

"So, should I try removing Rosemary's tack and saddle?" she asks as they actually enter the stable with the horse.

"I think you should, since you didn't really take the time to learn about them before heading out." James says with a wry smile, "But I can do it if you've got to head off. We can cover it another day and I'm sure you can find youtube videos or something to learn while in makeup or something." He goes to make sure Rosemary is put in the yard near the stables, "She'll need a good brushing tonight after that run, and I'll have the students give her a bath tomorrow. Should be fun." His eyes twinkle with mischief.

MJ laughs richly. "I had intended to help out, but you're right, I should probably get going before the sun starts to set," she says with a hint of sincere sadness in her voice. "Thank you again," she says before hopping up on top of a wooden 'horse' (likely the one that Rosemary's saddle will be put on in a few moments) to be able to reach the height of James' face and give him a kiss on the cheek.

James is caught by surprise with the kiss on his cheek and he ends up reaching up to touch his cheek where Mary Jane had just done so with a somewhat bewildered look on his face as he tries to process the idea of being 'kissed' even on the cheek by a 'friend'. Clearly the X-Men didn't do much kissing of cheeks, at least not with him. "It's no problem MJ." He rumbles afterwards with a somewhat shy smile, still a little bewildered, "I'll try not to call when you're asleep but I bet I'll become very familiar with your answering machine at this rate miss celebrity model." He says lightly, teasing a little to try and get his social feet back under him. He reaches for the 'bag' of clothes, "You might want to change before heading to where the students can see you, if you want to hide the suit that is."

MJ nods and steps into an empty stall for privacy and then a few moments later comes out wearing the clothes she arrived in with the golden "backpack" in the center of her upper back. "Good call," she says and then, "Thank you both for my lesson," to James and Rosemary.

"She'll accept your thanks even better if you bring her an apple next time." James rumbles with a smile, "I'll show you how to feed her without losing any fingers in the process." He then leans down tilting his head as if listening to the horse speak something, "Oh? Ok." He says to 'nobody' and then straightens up, "She says she was happy to go running with you today, and she was glad it wasn't me trying to ride her." He manages to keep a straight face through all of that but it's a near thing. "You are very welcome MJ. We're glad you could make it."

MJ does not match James' self control and she giggles at him as he "relays" Rosemary's "words". A perfect ending to a wonderful afternoon in her opinion. Rather than risk spoiling it she smiles and waves, saying, "Later, James," as she steps out of the stables to head towards her car for the drive back to the city.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License