2014-11-01 Lost in Harlem
This scene is rated PG-13
Warning: (Penises. It's mentioned they exist. Especially on ducks.)
2014-11-01
Players: Angelica, Drake
GMed by We both did. TEAMWORK! WOO!
Title: Lost in Harlem

Lovely day in Harlem, isn't it? As days in Harlem go. With the Renaissance long behind it, the streets of central Harlem are depressed and dirty, adjacent to the projects (if not in the projects themselves.) The murder rate is down an encouraging 84 percent between 1993 and 2013, but that's sadly not saying much, especially at night. Even during the day, it's not the most comfortable situation for a lone, skinny white girl like the one walking down 125th street today. There are catcalls and occasional group of young men blocking her way to get her attention. They let her pass eventually, after a few awkward moments of her trying to side-step them, left and then right. She's conservatively dressed, but that doesn't much seem to matter, with arms full of books and a satchel slung across her body. When not being accosted, she appears to be counting down house numbers (where such are visible.) Definitely looking for something or someone, rather than just taking an ill-advised walk on the wild-side.

It would seem coincidental, then, that a non-bulky white boy is also drifting through the streets of Harlem looking for someone. Yet he doesn't seem quite so out of place. A simple gray hoodie covers the most of his physical form, hood drawn up, and a simple backpack is slung over his shoulder. He moves between groups of loiterers with confidence and ease, neither assuming authority nor begging pardon. Though he's still new to the city, these streets are familiar to him.

"Redhead girl. Cocky and out of place. Seen'er?"

The responses have generally been non-threatening, with some 'humorous' jibes thrown into the mix, but overall not productive. But all that changes when he delivers the question to a group on this particular street. With a laugh, one of the men points in Angelica's direction.

The urban youth shoots a look towards her, noting her having some issue juking one of the more aggressively inappropriate males and snickers. That's almost certainly not the one he's looking for, but he has effectively located a redhead in Harlem. If this were a scavenger hunt…

"Hey!," he calls on approach. Whether or not she's outmaneuvered her roadblock by this point, he continues, "Been lookin' for you! Get lost?"

The redhead turns in a startle, all wide-eyed with her somewhat aggressive, would-be suitors at her back. "Me?" she asks the boy in black. "Uhm. Hi — but I — " She takes a step back and bumps into one of the young men behind her. "Yipes! Uhm." Between some rocks and a strange place, she looks completely flummoxed. She tries on a smile. It's weak. "Sorry. I don't think I'm the droid you're looking for. And I'm not lost. I'm looking for 240 West 125th street. I'm just — " She eeps and jumps closer to the non-bulky white boy as someone grabs her ass. "Hey. Guys?" She shakes her head at the gaggle of local boys. "No." She tries for stern. It's comedy. "Shoo. Disperse." A beat. "Please?"

"Psh, what, you don't recognize me?," continues the younger male. "It's the hood, right?" Hands lift to brush back the hood, letting it bunch around his shoulders. And once his face it out in the open, he gives the girl he's approaching a more meaningful look from those vibrant emerald eyes. Otherwise known as a /look/. The 'please pick up what I'm setting down' look.

When she springs forward, he moves a bit more quickly to her side. "Hey, hey! Hands off, people, this one's mine." Without so much as asking permission, he about-faces to match her heading and goes to throw an arm around her shoulders. Quietly, he asides, "Drake. Roll with it, or you could be at this for a while."

She does catch on. In a slowish fashion. With quite a bit of blinking, then a loud, hugely overdone, "OH!" She beams. HUGE. "DRAKE." She laughs far more uproariously than necessary, slapping a hand to her forehead. "Yeah! Yep! Completely — with the hood? Whoa." She nods emphatically. Then, to her fan club, "Hey! Guys. This is Du — uh, Drake." Another nod. "He's my boyfriend. We have lots of sex. So, obviously, I'm his woman. It's all fraught with prescribed gender roles. You understand, right?" She snakes an arm around his waist and waves back at the gentlemen they're leaving behind. "So nice to almost meet you, in a creepy way — BAI!"

Drake's head ducks a little at her sudden proclamation. He's no Uta Hagen, but that seemed a touch on the nose! Still, it got the job done, and he's doing his level best to not burst into more snickers. Once they're some distance past her onlookers, he tilts aside to nudge his torso against her shoulder. "/Somebody's/ new to the neighborhood," he chides. "But anyone who'll whip out a Star Wars reference on a dime's alright in my book. What's your name?"

Once they're around the corner, the redhead pulls gently away, retreating into her own space and wrapping her arms around her books. Her smile's abashed but pleased. She might even blush a little. "Yeah, well. Let your freak flag fly, right?" Her lips quirk in self-deprecation. "Not that I can help it, most of the time." She tucks a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm AJ. From Brooklyn. This isn't too far from campus, but yeah. Might as well be a a different country." She glances down at her red Converse. "Thanks for the rescue. Uhm. Drake." She lifts her eyebrows. "That means 'dragon.' Which… I'm sure you probably know. It's sort of intriguing, though. You're supposed to eat the damsels. Guys named Prince are supposed to save them. Which excludes The Artist Formerly Known As, obviously. Because he's the size of the Lollipop Guild and holy shit I should stop talking about now." She takes a breath. "I have a completely damaged social interface."

Drake lets her slip away without fuss, his arm dropping to his side again. "Here-here," he muses. He glances aside to her as she talks on, taking his turn to blink owlishly at her. Once she's made her remarks about her damaged social interface, he looks forward again.

"It also means duck."

"'Sides, haven't you heard? It's a new age. Women vote, phones are smart, and dragons rescue damsels." A playful sidelong look flits her way. When his gaze resumes ahead, he adds, "I like it, AJ. You say what's on your mind."

AJ blinks. "It does. Also mean duck," she agrees. "Only the male ones, though." Then, with a little more enthusiasm than is probably normal, she asks, "Have you ever seen a duck's penis? They're unbelievably weird." She winces. "You could totally revoke that permission you just gave me. It's not too late. Save yourself." The redhead clears her throat. "So! Who were you looking for? There can't be that many redheads in Harlem."

Her blurted question earns a full-on stare from Drake as he attempts to figure out just how the heck to respond. This poor gal certainly seems to let her mouth get away with her. And the embarrassment is almost, /almost/ as bad for him as it clearly is for her! He can't let her start kicking herself, though. So after a pause, he comes up with, "Well, if 'Drake' means duck for guys, I'm a guy, and… well… But I resent the 'unbelievably weird' bit!," followed by a sympathetic smile.

The matter of who he was looking for is deflected as casually as he can manage. "True-fax, I think you're the /only/ redhead in Harlem. But it's just as well. You're about all the redhead I could handle at one time!"

AJ snorts. "Well, I seriously doubt it's nine inches long and shaped like a corkscrew." Sage nods. "So yeah. Probably not that weird." She manges to segue from completely inappropriate blurting to gentle teasing in an instant, following with a knowing smile and, "Oh. You're looking for a girl." Drake and Other Redhead sittin' in a tree…!

Well, he didn't want to focus on his quarry, but blast it all if this chick is going to let him skate by! "Hey, easy, it's not like that!," he contests. "She's just bad news, is all. Been causing some trouble, the cops are after her, and I figured if I could get a bead on'er, there'd be some reward money!" A little truth mixed with a little deceit. Will that tide the AJ Inquisition?

"What about you? What're /you/ doing out here? Moving in?"

The non-felonious redhead rolls her eyes. No sale. "Sounds like another rescue, Sir Drake." She wrinkles her nose. "Anyhow, none of my business, obvs, but you should be careful." Says the girl who's trolling around Harlem looking to get sexually harassed — or worse. "You look like you should be in one of my classes, not out here — or anywhere — fighting crime. You're not Spiderman." Her slender shoulders lift in a shrug. "Not that the knight in shining hoodie thing isn't very cute." As for her, "I'm taking some stuff to a student. He got hurt and isn't going to be in class for a while."

Hands lift in a halting manner. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, who said anything about 'fighting' crime? I believe the word you're looking for is 'snitch'." He shoots an overly-dramatic look to the left, then right. "But don't tell the people here. It'll ruin my cred'." The teen trots forward and pivots to begin walking backwards in front of her, his steps a bit more graceful than what one may expect of an otherwise clumsy position. "In your class? If you wanted more time with me, you should just ask," he counters with a teasing, unabashed wink.

AJ smirks and lowers her lashes, blushing again. "You're a little too young for me," she tells him, though she's obviously pleasantly abashed by the attention. "And if you want to take Advanced Applied Physics, you're past the late registration date. But I'm teaching it next semester, too." She glances up at the house numbers. "I think I'm on the wrong block." She turns in a cirle to get her bearings and frowns. "On the wrong street." She sighs and pulls out her iPhone. "Siri, you worthless whore, don't fail me now…"

Drake pokes his tongue out at her rejection in a display of total maturity. "Word on the street's that we're already having lots of sex," he reminds with a wry lilt to his voice. But he promptly stops when she does, so as to not meander off backwards and lose her. He doesn't know the neighborhood's layout well enough to give her directions, himself, so he's willing to let Siri coo them out. While she fusses with the phone, he chatters on, "Anyway, my plate's already full with classes."

"And it was the best sex of my life, with your nine-inch corkcrew penis and all — but alas, our love is not meant to be," says AJ, flipping through her phone. Grinning and still blushing, she glances up at Drake for a moment. "What're you taking?"

"You'll come back," Drake furthers ruefully. She does look a little older than him, but not by much. In fact, a lot of it might be the suit. Either way, the blush is pretty cute. Makes it hard to resist poking and prodding to see how long he can keep it going.

Oh, right, she asked something! "You know, the typical stuff. History, biology, math…" Applied metaphysics, combat training…

AJ nods amiably. "I'm sure I will. Like they say, once you go Drake you never… insert clever, rhyming innuendo here." As for his classes, she asks, "AP?" Her head cocks as Siri tells them to keep hoofing it up the block and hang a left. "You're awfully smart of be wasted on a typical high school curriculum.

"Sort'a?," surmises Drake. He actually isn't very sure. His classes were laid out by the faculty and he simply jams his face into their books. Except for today. Today's a weekend, and that has to mean something! Though her question earns a bright, boyish smile, brightening up his features. Assuming she isn't talking to the device in her hand (and rest assured, he's going to be horrifically embarrassed if she is), no one's ever actually accused him of being smart before. "Think so?"

It's a few hundred feet before they have to make that left turn, and left is — well, she knows which direction that is. So she can watch the boy walking backward in front of her. His smile conjures up one in answer, just as bright — maybe a touch shyer — and patently sincere. "Yeah. I do." She laughs, lashes lowering again, though not to consult Siri. "And if there's one thing I know — besides all the lines to 'Aliens,' it's smart."

"Ohh, you," says Drake, turning his head aside to give her a suspicious, yet equally coquettish look, "you're playin' me. This is a ploy to get me to enroll in your class, isn't it?" Despite the accusation, that smile just won't leave his face.

AJ seems to seriously consider this for a moment. "I don't think you can take it for credit unless you've been accepted to Columbia. But you could audit!" She takes a few leggy strides up beside him so he's forced to walk beside her — or talk to the air — bumping her shoulder companionably against his. "I'm not playing you. Remember, we've already had sex. I don't need to sweet talk you to get in your pants." She's quick with the snappy patter, but she's definitely still blushing. Brings out her freckles. "Facts and figures are just icing. You're quick on your feet. You can problem solve. You can turn on a dime. And you're willing to take risks — which, if you can take intellectual risks, is what separates the mediocre academians from the geniuses. That stuff's like…" she's obviously chosen the wrong metaphor, but sticks with it, concluding, "the cupcake?" She nods, smirking wryly. "You've got the cupcake, Cupcake."

Drake rotates when she moves up alongside him, letting her talk. And while she explains, he decides that she's the quirkiest lady he's met in New York. This is counting a white-haired gymnast vigilante, an Asgardian alien, and even a girl with squirrel-like anatomy. And it's entirely based on AJ's personality. He lets out a soft, modest laugh and lowers his gaze to his kicks. "Well, thanks. Not something I've heard too often, so… that's cool." A glance in her direction is all the warning she gets before he delivers a counter-bump from the shoulder.

She grins at the counter-bump. "Well. Just don't sell yourself short, y'know?" she advises her red Converse. "One freak to another."

"Heck. I'm taller than you," Drake replies as he looks back to her with a mirthful smile. "So, what's the deal with this student of yours? What'd they do? Was it an accident? Did they have the foresight to put it online?"

"You are taller than me," AJ agrees, the shadow of a dimple creeping its way onto her cheek. "Kind of nice. I never could wear heels on dates." Like, the two she's ever been on. Both blind. Both disasters. As for her student, "Shot. Drive-by. Extremely good kid. Extremely bright. Full scholarship." She silent a moment. "He's just out of the hospital, home now. Not sure if he's going to walk again." As for the work, "They're slow as shit getting materials online, sometimes. Especially for new classes. Some of my other students have been taking video of my lecutres on their phones and sending those to him. So we're working it out."
Ohhh, man is Drake ever happy she didn't get that joke. Talk about a faux-pas. He was right on the edge of apologizing, only for her to continue on with materials being put online. So with a guilty glance aside at the passing architecture, he says, "That sucks pretty hard. Hopefully he'll have some good news when you see'em."

It takes a moment before he steals a peek back at her. "So what kind of teacher are you? Are you like this outside of class, but all uptight when you're working?," he asks, hoping to redirect things back to in a more jovial direction.

AJ laughs. "'Like this?' I'm almost scared to ask." She's smiling again, though. Redirection successful. "You could probably ask one of my students. But I'm definitely not uptight. And… I guess I'm more confident in class. Better interface, because — it's not really social. And I'm talking about things I know cold. And I'm passionate about." Her smile grows to a grin. "So, y'know. We talk sci-fi, and the physics behind it — which are bullshit — and we brainstorm how we could make those physics real. We study Dr. Richards and Dr. Pym. I get super excited and climb up on the table because the ceiling's really high and the charts are enormous and I don't believe in laser pointers." She pauses. "I might bounce, sometimes. When we're talking about the Higgs-Boson."

Drake nods along as the rather animated young woman talks oh-so-excitedly about science(!) things. "I could just imagine. But what, this is you not confident? I figured if you weren't confident, you'd clam up and hardly make a peep! But-" He affects a gasp and widens his eyes. "Oh! Oh! Have you gotten to visit the Large Hadron Collider yet!? I think it's something you'd really be into!"

"I'm a lot more confident when people take my weird and roll with it," AJ explains. "You did. Do. It's nice. Crowds can be a problem. I had to take two Valium before I went on stage at TED." Large Haron Collider? Large Hadron Collider?? "I totally have!" AJ squeaks with delight. And yes, she bounces. "I also met Dr. Brian Cox. He's my super hugest crush in the world next to Captain America and Neil Degrasse Tyson. He invted me to be on The Infinite Monkey Cage, though. That was freaking amazing. Have you even listened to The Infinite Monkey Cage? You'd really like it."

Drake nips onto his lower lip as she all but explodes into excitement. He lets her gush about people he knows very little about, if anything at all, along with a cage for monkeys. And it's that last question of hers that springs his trap!

"Psh, what am I, a nerd? I just watch Big Bang Theory."

Those bright green eyes are positively sparkling in anticipation.

AJ winces deeply and positively doubles over in pain. "Nooooooo! Not that! Anything but that!" She gives herself a shake. "It's like watching geeks in a zoo. That is NOT our natural environment." She wrinkles her nose and tilts her head, suddenly thoughtful. "I sort of sympathize with the broken social inerfaces, but it's only funny the first hundred times." SIGH. "Listen. Here." She swipes the map off the screen of her phone. "Give me your number. I'll text you some stuff. Infinite Monkey Cage, Star Talk, Planetary Radio — Planetary Society. Bill Nye's the president. How can you not love that?"

Her reaction is as delicious as he'd expected, and he bursts into unrestrained laughter. Who cares if the bystanders are giving them odd looks? "Oh, give'em a break! It's endearing nerds to the nation! And not the /trendy/ type of 'nerd'," Drake asserts. "Me? I'm the badboy type. Runnin' the wrong side of the tracks, lookin' for trouble…" He whisks a hand through those rakishly hanging bangs, toussling them back only to let them drop over his eye again. And then, "Whoa, wait, the science guy?"

Sure, Drake was born a decade late for Bill Nye, but he's evidently at least passingly familiar. He dips a hand into his pocket to retrieve his cellphone, displaying his number on the screen for her.

"Clever way of gettin' a guy's number," he adds coyly.

"Oh, yeah. You're Superbad," AJ tells Drake, all dry as the Sahara, dimples deep. No sale again. Then, excited again, "Totally 'The Science Guy.' I haven't met him, though. But I'm a member of the Planetary Society." And it just doesn't get a whole lot geekier than that, folks. She leans in to see his number and quickly thumbs it into her phone. "I'm sure I already have it, somewhere. How else have we been hooking up? It's probably in the phone I dropped in the centrifuge."

Drake makes a little 'pbbtth' sound as she scoffs away his street cred'. For just a moment, he's tempted to blurt out his criminal history, but quickly opts out of it. She seems like a nice girl. That kind of thing probably wouldn't jive with her. Instead: "Does that come with a decoder ring?"

"What, membership in the Planetary Society?" asks AJ, looking up from her phone. She stepped in a little close to see his number, which makes their proximity… probably somewhat more intimate than she intended when she lifts her head. She blinks, clears her throat, and steps back. There's that blush again. "I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you," she offers, lamely.

Drake doesn't shy back when she comes in close to him. And when she turns those big green eyes of hers onto his, she's met with a soft smile. When she scooches away again, he pockets the phone and looks ahead. "It's just as well. They'd never accept me." His chin tips up, pointedly haughty. "Pluto's still a planet to /me/."

"Me, too," admits AJ, sighing. "I mean, science doesn't think so, at the moment… but the Animaniacs do. And I never argue with Yakko, Wakko, and Dot." She nods, confidently. "Science will come around." She turns and looks at the house numbers. "Oh. Hey. We're here." It's a run-down rowhome in a series of run-down rowhomes, indistinguishable save for the numbers on the mailbox. "So." She stops and tilts a smile up at him. "Thanks for the rescue. And the company. Maybe I'll see you on campus in a couple of years."

"That's right. Stay the course. Science will catch up with you. That's what Galileo was all about, right?" A grin follows.

But it's short-lived. They appear to have arrived at their destination, and Drake turns to face his temporary companion. "Hey, no problem. That's what dragons do these days, remember? But, ah.. you probably won't see me on campus. If I do the college thing, it'll probably be on the campus I already live on. Xavier's School does the higher learning thing," he explains. "Aaaanyhoo, it was nice hanging with ya. And now you have my number, so… if y'need rescuing again…"

"Oh!" AJ lights up. "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters?" She looks delighted. "See? I told you you were bright. That place is pretty exclusive. Makes Massachusetts Academy looks remedial." She nods. "Yeah, if I need rescuing… I'll call." And she sounds a little regretful. Because she probably won't. The gulf between a high-school senior and an adjunct professor, even if she's exceedingly young to be such, is wide. "But I'll totally send you those podcasts." That much she can do.

There's a moment of hesitation, then she darts a quick kiss to his cheek. "Bye." And then she's turning to mount the stairs.

"That's the one!," chirps Drake with more than a hint of pride. And since he's actually began putting legitimate efforts into his classes, he doesn't feel weird about it - like he isn't only in there due to his 'special circumstance'. Though her sullen tone drops him back out of it. Yeah, he gets it. She's too old for him. She doesn't look it at all to him, but looks can be deceiving. She might be one of those 'eternally 20' types. So he gives a modest nod, more in understanding than anything.

And then she pecks his cheek. Hello, mixed signals!

Drake is left standing there, a couple fingers resting on his cheek. Teachers don't do that! At least not the ones back in California or at the mansion! "Buh-.. err.."

Blink.

"Uh, call me~!"

AJ rings the doorbell while Drake's processing his mixed signals, and she's met at the door by a middle-aged woman who must be her student's mom. The redhead smiles, the other woman smiles, and some words are exchanged, upon which AJ is admitted to the house. She turns and looks back over her shoulder through the plexiglass and scrollwork iron of the storm door. Her hand is raised and her fingers wiggle, then she steps inside and the door closes properly.

Ayep. Drake got nothin'. What's he supposed to make of this? Or that? Is he overthinking it? Underthinking it? Oh, sure, he can go snooping around town in hot pursuit of a homicidal pyromaniac, uncover and destroy laboratories conducting horrific experiments, drain the whole city of New York to unleash a blast and stop armageddon, but girls?

Heeells naw.

All of this cumulates into a mirrored finger-twiddle wave back at her. And then he turns to saunter back the way he came in a daze.

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