1963-10-05 - The Violent Kind of Attention
Summary: Everyone's interested in the Hellmouth, except for Noh-Varr. Noh-Varr is interested in the erstwhile Majesdanian. Someone is fed up with the Hellmouth not working and throws some tentacle monsters into the mix.
Related: Once Upon A Hellmouth Plot
Theme Song: None
noh-varr liv taskmaster karolina 


Lucy is supposed to be keeping an eye out for 'capes' around the park and possibly keeping an ear out for people conferring on how to close the Hellmouth. This certainly did not include 'sneaking up on the Hellmouth' — Tony Masters would not send a homeless kid after the Hellmouth — but Lucy can't bear the lack of action. These people are adults. Why haven't they closed this thing yet?

She really did mean just to kind of… look. Just looking. But it doesn't seem quite as weird today as other days she's seen it. It seems like it's asleep.

Everyone knows the perfect time to creep up on a thing is when it's sleeping. So, Lucy is doing her best sneaking act. It gets her past the cordon — through a dense stand of bushes — and she keeps going. The longer she goes with nothing bad happening to her, the closer she gets. She does, however, pause under a reddening tree to eat an apple she 'acquired' earlier, while she ponders her next move.

*

The cordon does a good job of keeping normal folks out of the Park, but for people who are not normal, it's not quite so effective.

How Liv managed to get past them is anyone's guess. She's not wearing a cape, but a six-foot tall blonde in armor and a sword doesn't exactly blend in, even in times like these. Yet here she is, quietly prowling through Central Park with blue eyes attentively narrowed and her hand resting lightly against the hilt of her sword.

She's not looking for trouble, exactly. But Liv knows that there has been trouble here, and when it presents itself, she'd like to be ready.

*

"What a strange place. People actually believe that there's a gate to some sort of religious myth world." Noh-Varr says as he mysteriously sneaks up next to Lucy. "Science could easily explain all of this, but I understand how easy it is for primitives to fall for such… what's the word… mail anarchy."

*

Lucy nearly chokes on her apple and, like a squirrel, shoots up the tree. Defense is a good offense — if she weren't so startled, she'd have punched him. She's trying to make that a go-to. "It is a portal. And…I'm a primitive." She is up a tree. She considers beaning the invader with the rest of her apple but she's hungry.

"If you have a better idea, buddy, go to it." She's still hanging off a low branch, unwilling to come down. Still, she gets more like a real New Yorker every day. "Take a jump."

*

Being on the lookout for anything dangerous means that the sudden motion of Lucy fleeing up a tree immediately grabs Liv's attention, her head whipping around as she halts mid-step. She blinks owlishly towards the pair, slowly tilting her head to one side.

Well. Signs of life are signs of life. Pursing her lips, Liv starts heading in their direction, taking her hand away from her sword on her way.

*

"I'm sure it's a portal to somewhere." Noh-Varr says before looking to watch her hang. "You have nice reflexes. Perhaps you -are- in touch with your primitive instincts. As I am as well, as a fellow human being."

*

"I've noticed most guys are in touch with their primitive instincts," Lucy says irritably. "Thus me being in touch with mine." She gets comfortable on her branch , back to the trunk of the tree, before she takes an angry bite of apple, glaring at Noh-Varr still. There's the uncomfortable impression that she's imagining taking a bite out of him.

"Do you actually know what that thing is? Or are you just being snotty about it?" If he knows, might as well pump him for information.

*

"The Park's a dangerous place for human beings right now," Liv calls towards the pair, though she by no means sounds judgmental or angry to have found them here. That'd be just a touch hypocritical of her. She flashes a smile at Noh-Varr before craning her neck to peer up at Lucy, loosely folding her arms across her chest.

"Good to see you again," Liv says with a slight quirk to her smile. "You alright up there?"

*

"I am an expert on interdimensional physics, so I'm not particularly concerned with what it is. It's just a hole in the universe, it's no big deal." Noh-Varr says with a shrug of his shoulders. He continues to stare up at Lucy, though glances to Liv for a moment. "I am in complete control of my primitive instincts."

*

Lucy turns to see Liv, throwing herself off balance, and then she realizes who it is and — instinctively — leans forward. "Ooh! It's you," she says, with great excitement. Somehow, speaking is the last straw, Lucy loses her balance, pitching off the tree. It's not graceful. The effect is something like a cat being tossed through the air, all flailing and an outraged screech.

*

At least Liv is paying attention. She winces when Lucy loses her balance and immediately brings both hands up to catch her well short of the ground. Some heroes get cats out of trees. She, apparently, gets homeless teenagers. Same basic thing, right?

Liv says absolutely nothing about poor Lucy's trip out of the tree, just shifts her grip to very gently set her down onto her feet. Dignity. Always dignity. She does look at Noh-Varr as she does so, though, lips quirking into a frown. "It's a big enough deal for the people running afoul of what's coming out of it."

*

"I suppose. I haven't bothered to look into it. Perhaps this is actually relevant to me in a way I haven't considered…" Noh-Varr says in thought, staring in the direction of the Hellmouth. "My name is Noh-Varr. I'm from a mysterious, far away land, so don't ask questions."

*

Like everyone else, Tony Masters managed to find a way into the cordoned off area, but he's supposed to be good at that sort of thing. And luckily, he is. He'd been creeping around, staying low, low crawling a bit, even, to make sure the police didn't spot him. But not very much, as his clothes are still pretty clean. He's got a camera with a big lense on it, using it to spot more than to take pictures at the moment, but the girl he'd met the other day taking a tumble from a tree sure gets his attention fast, especially with the screamy sound effects.

Cautiously, Masters creeps towards the little group and once he's actually seen that they all seem to be friendly towards one another he takes one more look around and then rises to stand up straight. He doesn't make much noise even still, but he lets out a low whistle and raises his hand in a friendly wave.

*

"Shit," Lucy says eloquently, as Liv catches her and sets her upright. Her cheeks flare hot and she's about to start babbling apologies to Liv when she spots Tony. Saved.

"Tony!" She waves with the apple in her hand. Yes, she still has the apple. "Hey!" Running away from embarrassment is always a smart move and Tony gives her the perfect excuse. She goes bouncing off that way, ponytail flipping with every step. The cheerleader training shows right through her 'disguise'.

*

Liv regards Noh-Varr with a somewhat odd smile, her eyebrows raised. "Well. Good to meet you, Noh-Varr. Liv," she supplies, offering a hand. Only polite, after all. She keeps an eye on Lucy as she goes bounding off, her eyes moving past her and towards the source of the whistle. Tony's given a very quick looking-over from where she stands, and a very wry smile when she spots the camera. A photographer. Of course.

*

Noh-Varr turns to watch Tony, and then Lucy running towards Tony. "Since I have plenty of natives present, I suppose I can ask this question." he says as he slips his hands into his jacket. "American humans look down on eating dogs, but you eat hot dogs. I don't understand this at all."

*

"Hey Lucy. Thought I'd check out the park again," Tony calls out to the young lady as she moves towards him, though his gaze doesn't linger on her for very long because now he can get a better look at the blonde swordswoman. One would be hard pressed to accuse him of undressing her with his eyes, it's much more of a careful appraisal with a slight smile forming and then a polite, nod, "Miss." Another glance towards the young man, "Afternoon." Because Liv isn't the only one who can be polite. "They're made of pig meat, actually. They're called 'hot dogs' because they resemble a breed of dog." Perhaps surprisingly, the camera seems to be forgotten.

*

"That's her," Lucy reports to Tony in a terrible stage whisper, as though he couldn't tell. She looks over at Liv with positively starry eyes. "She is super cool with the sword." Yes, the sword. This is all about the sword. "And that's Noh-Varr, he's from some other place, don't ask."

"I was going to check out the…thingie…there. Because it's really quiet today so I thought I could sneak up on it and then I could let you know what was up with it." Eighteen is a great age for thinking you're invulnerable. Sneaking up on the Hellmouth with an apple really only sounds good when you're eighteen.

*

Liv just nods her head towards Tony when he answers Noh-Varr's question, amusement dancing in her eyes. "Same reason we call it a 'hamburger' when it comes from a cow and not a pig," she adds in a low voice, spreading her hands. She does not ask him where he's from, despite temptation. He did ask them not to, after all.

So Liv turns to offer Tony a polite nod, pretending she can't hear Lucy telling him about her. Of course, given she helpfully supplies "Hellmouth," when she refers to the portal as a 'thingie,' her cover there is probably blown. "This really isn't a very safe place to gather. We're bound to attract attention, and I don't mean the authorities'."

*

If one of particular martial prowess were to look at the way Noh-Varr carries himself, it's like someone who is perpetually aware that he shouldn't be showing any openings, but otherwise doesn't seem to give away a particular style of training that anyone on Earth would be familiar with. "Girl." he directs at Lucy. "Don't go near interdimensional openings in space. There are horrors beyond your comprehension. Floating space monsters with seven-dimensional tentacles, giant men who eat entire worlds. At least, I read that somewhere in human mythology, I have of course had no personal experience with these things."

"Human languages are ridiculous." he finally states with some distaste. "And I'm not afraid of whatever will come out of a hole that size. We have far more to fear from going -in-. However, I'd rather go try more food. I hear there is a delicious cuisine called 'candy'."

*

"Is it?" Tony asks back to Lucy, also kind of whispering. "I'll have to see if she wants to go a few rounds with my buddy. You don't find too many swordsmen around nowadays." At the kind of introduction he lifts his head and his smile grows, clear amusement and not just politeness, "I'm Tony." He adjusts the camera around his neck and looks at Liv to give her a wink at her interruption. "What sort of attention?" Masters asks, seemingly not worried about what it might be. If anything, his smile might have increased half a smidge. "You'll have to forgive me, I've got a guy I know who's looking to get some superhero watching in and when Lucy told me about you I thought you'd be right up his alley." Noh-Varr once again gets his attention, but this time Masters can only shake his head, sighing very quietly.

*

If there's one thing that will make Lucy do a thing, it's being told not to do it. She used to be such a nice, well-behaved girl. And then, shit happened.

"My name is Lucy and I go where I want," she says to Noh-Varr, stamping her foot. "People say pretty much the same thing about New York City, you know, and I've been fine here. My horror comprehension is A-plus, thanks. I already fought stuff that came out of there."

That's not exactly what she told Tony. So, she was either lying then, or she's lying now. Also, fine is relative. She hasn't died but she's been pretty cold and hungry — cold and hungry in Hell would be worse.

"Besides, it's not doing anything today." She does not stick out her tongue, but she does go marching off toward the Hellmouth because no one is going to tell her what to do. She's just going to take a closer look. Besides, she has an apple. She takes a bite of it.

*

The warmth on Liv's expression fades at Noh-Varr's words — not for the fact that he cautions Lucy, but for his chosen mode of address. Lips drawn back into a thin line, she aims her attention towards Tony instead. "Liv. And the violent kind of attention," she says wryly, one arm reaching out to try and gently snag Lucy by the wrist before she can get too far. "I've seen multi-headed serpents and hellhounds and, no lie, literal vampires coming out of this thing for the last few weeks, and none of them have been very nice."

*

"I'm surprised that your culture still sees the value in swords. I've had extensive training with many types of weapons, including bladed weapons." Noh-Varr listens to Lucy's justifications for being able to go in there. He pauses a moment, giving things some consideration. "Lucy. I've seen that television show, I Love Lucy. Television is -very- interesting." He points at Lucy and makes his best Ricky Ricardo voice, "Lucy, you've got some splainin' to do!"

*

Starting off after Lucy, Masters is already starting to wince a little but he sees Liv reach out and try to grab her, silently wishing her luck. "Pleased to meet you, Liv. You don't look too concerned about the creepy crawlies yourself." And he kind of frowns at Lucy, "You should try to find out the enemy's capabilities before you engage them. I'll bet if we sneak out of here and find a soda fountain or somethin' we can get something to drink and some candy and maybe you…" he gestures towards Liv, "Can fill us in a little about the monsters and I can try to get you in touch with my drill instructor buddy who wants to learn more fencing." The younger guy, well, gets a solid nod but Masters doesn't quite come up with anything to say.

*

Lucy does get snagged. Anyone else, she might keep going but it's Liv. She's about to say that her family knows Lucy and Ricky but then she closes her mouth tightly and lets Liv reel her in. She takes another bite of the apple, sulkily.

"I am kind of hungry," she admits. "But I wanted to look in there. I'm not engaging if there's nothing there, right? No one's doing anything. It's just sitting there."

*

"There is not nothing there," Liv tells Lucy in a very patient voice, gently but firmly drawing the young woman back to her side. Once she's more confident she's not going to run off, she releases her arm and lightly lays her hand upon her shoulder, instead. Better.

Absently, Liv's other hand trails down to rest against the hilt of her sword, eyes flicking between Noh-Varr and Tony. She's still trying to figure out what to make of them, Noh-Varr more than Tony. "If it ain't broke," is all she says to Noh-Varr, lifting a shoulder in a shrug, before she nods once to Tony. "Soda fountain. Sure. Better idea than waiting around here, I imagine."

*

A soft hiss catches the senses; it's a faint whisper that draws the senses in.

The wind blows across the space, bearing with it an odd chill that seems to fill the air. The faint smell of char fills the air like blackened meat — overcooked and still resting on the grill.

The world seems to still.

*

"Soda sounds like something interesting." Noh-Varr notes, apparently missing this particular culinary innovation. Then he sighs, and shakes his head, casually making his way over to Lucy. Then he suddenly stops, sniffing the air, heightened sense of hearing piqued. "I will help you, if you insist. It isn't safe, and I am more than prepared to shoot things if they attack." With what guns, who knows. He -does- have his hands in his pockets!

*

"I owe you a bite to eat, anyway," says Masters to Lucy. He tilts his head towards Liv and says, "You helped me find the lady you told me about, after all." Glancing towards the Hellmouth again he sticks his hands in his pants pockets for a moment, making sure he has his money. Of course he might not get to the shop as soon as he planned to, what with the new scent in the air. He pauses, starting to crack a smile when he hears Noh-Varr offering to shoot things.

*

"That smell." Lucy looks green. The apple falls from her hand and she folds both hands across her stomach. "It smells like Laura. Like the fire." She casts a frantic look at Liv, her hands knotting in the thin fabric of her blouse.

Still. She swallows hard and braces herself. "You help no matter what," she says to Noh-Varr. "You always help, that's what you do."

*

It isn't the smell or the sound that gets Liv's attention. It's that stillness. Immediately, her eyes narrow and she draws the sword from its scabbard, leaving her other hand against Lucy's shoulder. "Time to leave," she says crisply, casting a wary look around before giving the younger woman a nudge. "Out of the park, whichever direction is quickest. Do not look back. Okay?"

*

"Are you making a joke?" Noh-Varr asks Lucy as he continues to sniff the air. "If something is about to come out, or already out, then it's our responsibility to make sure that they don't destroy this city, which is the immediate most convenient resource on this planet."

He stands there, looking very focused, and then what looks like some sort of golden goo slides from his sleeves, forming two very ornate, -very- futuristic looking pistols in each hand. Their barrels look almost like small cannons.

*

The hiss doesn't cease. In fact, the sound grows and echoes along the forest floor. A ripple of grass seems to indicate movement. But eyes see nothing. The emptiness that seems to pulse along the grass slithers towards the still-open portal to hell.

The hissing grows in a chorus of angry serpentine sounds, and as it nears the mouth, the cold grows, emanating from something. The smell wafts through the air, radiating around the group, enclosing them in without so much as a visible warning.

A single lithe shadow reflects just out of sight, casting a strangely large shadow upon the scene. Its hands lift and its fingers splay.

The formerly invisible creatures sliding along the ground become nearly seeable. At least a portion of them does. The shadows the line the area slither like snakes, but call to something quite different than a conventional reptile. The shadow lifts languidly and its limbs seem to reach out towards Liv. A large VERY invisible tentacle reaches for the woman, aiming to wrap around her — seeable only through a very specific trick of the light.

*

When Liv draws her sword Masters goes for his own weapon, a pistol, and holds it so that it's angled towards the ground so as not to flag anyone with it. His look at the other people around him getting ready gets a grin, though Noh-Varr's weapons get a strange glare to along with it. Then there's the noise. And the cold. And they're cut off. As tentacles reach for one of the people, at least one of the tentacles that he can almost see, he lets Liv know with the words "Two o'clock low" and the hopes that she'll know what to do in response. His weapon is pointed at what seems like the biggest group of invisible things, but, as they are invisible, who can really tell?

*

"If it's something bad, we shouldn't just leave it," Lucy says to Liv. It's cold, hissing, and she's scared, but she's ready to stay. Still, she's been told, and she's backing away when the tentacles make themselves known. She's hypervigilant and her eyesight is very good so she sees the danger that Tony is warning about.

"Liv!" Lucy isn't going to let that thing get Liv. She grabs Liv's wrist, where Liv's hand is resting on her shoulder, and yanks. She's very strong for someone so small.

*

Good news: the woman with the sword knows what Masters' warning means. Without hesitation, Liv pivots on her heel and swipes her sword low at her two o'clock — and then gives a rather surprised squawk when Lucy yanks her back. Her swing does strike true, but Lucy's intervention makes it a glancing blow.

Still enough to draw blood. Still enough to cause the massive many-tentacled creature she's struck to flicker into view.

For the briefest of moments, Liv just stares up at it. Then, quietly: "…of course."

*

These things are invisible, so Noh-Varr's first response is to close his eyes. He closes his eyes to listen, to rely entirely on his hearing, because right now his eyes are a liability.

He crouches down, then leaps into the air, flipping until he's upside down, firing from a good 30 feet up as he aims for every slithering sound that he hears.

Action movie shooting!

*

"Huh. Nice," Masters kind of says to himself when the big monster becomes visible thanks to Liv's sword swipe. Then the wierd foreign kid is bouncing straight up and shooting at everything, causing Masters to duck low. But at least now there's a big visible thing for him open up on. So he does, extending his arm and sighting down the weapon to engage the super-cuttlefish with rapid fire aimed towards its eyes.

*

That thing is not just big, it's very big. Some of those tentacles go up higher than a house when they're waving around. Lucy lets go of Liv's hand, stumbles back a few paces, eyes wide. She trips over another tentacle and goes down on her backside, stifling a shriek.

"Can anyone see them?" She's sure she's hearing more and then Noh-Varr manages to shoot another and that confirms at least two. Given the clearing size and the way they're surrounded by noise, there's got to be more. Something wraps around her ankle and that makes up her mind for her.

Lucy yanks the bracelet off and then, with the fist clenched around it, punches a blast of light as hard as she can where she thinks the tentacle is. She lights up — all rainbow glow and sparkle and shimmer — then, when her power connects with the thing that has her, it shows up in all its eldritch glory, looming over her. The tentacle monster roars with pain, releasing her leg. Without thinking, Lucy zips away toward the tree tops, leaving a rainbow contrail in her wake.

*

At least they're all capable of defending themselves. That's a nice change from some of Liv's recent encounters with the Hellmouth.

"I see two, but that can't be all of them," Liv calls back towards Lucy, and she, at least, is unsurprised by the young woman's transformation. Setting her jaw, she looks the nearest of the beasts over, bringing her sword up almost absentmindedly to smack away a tentacle that swings for the side of her head. Not now, you, she's thinking.

Liv spares a quick glance towards Masters and Noh-Varr. "So. This is the kind of thing I've been dealing with since the Hellmouth opened," she says dryly — just in time for an unseen tentacle to wrap around her waist and yank her off her feet.

*

"Space monsters beyond comprehension. Still not religious in nature." Noh-Varr stubbornly insists, even during this rather dangerous situation.

Once he lands, his plasma pistols turn to golden liquid again, then take the form of ornate golden scimitars. His movements begin to blur slightly as he runs around, -slicing- tentacles, trying to make them more visible for the others, and create openings.

He opens his eyes when light hits his eyelids, then his brows furrow. "What's a majesdanian doing on Earth?!"

*

Violence is his profession and Masters is really good at. Really good. His empty left hand suddenly has a double edged fighting knife in it and his now empty pistol is used as a club while he, after only a moment of watching the beasts, starts parrying tentacles. Ducking and weaving and dodging, slicing and stabbing until he's got another one visible, apparently having cut an invisible tentacle that tried to grab him from behind before it could get close. To Liv he replies, "I should spend more time here…" And then she's moving off, pulled away by one of the monsters and Masters cocks back his arm and throws his empty pistol at where he supposes the tentacle to be with a pitch that would make Sandy Koufax proud, trying to get it visible so the guy with the magic guns and swords can address it. In fact, it's almost the mirror image of the famous pitcher.

*

Lucy went a little further than she meant to that time. She comes back — angrier now — and tries something along the lines of the blow that sent her ass over teakettle down the street last time. This time, she's taking physics into account when she smashes a pillar of pure force into the 'face' of the thing fighting Masters.

The effect is messy, and devastating — and messy — but Lucy does go skyward this time with a little snarl of frustration. Stupid powers she never practices with. She's glowing even brighter with frustration and the net effect is to attract attention from one of the monsters.

*

The thrown pistol doesn't draw blood, but it does bounce off of something unseen and cause Liv to jerk violently in mid-air. Enough to wrestle her sword-arm free. She calls a very distracted-sounding "Thank you!" towards Masters before she plunges the blade of her sword into what turns out to be the creature's face. If it can be said to have a face. As it turns out, there are visible eyes, like… in a whole multitude of locations.

She grasps her sword tightly in both hands and, as the beast's flailing hauls her through the air, does her best to ensure the blade of her sword remains buried in its flesh. Liv's letting the monster carve itself up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Efficient.

As for Noh-Varr's exclamation, Liv doesn't even bat an eyelash. What Majesdanian?

*

Noh-Varr starts to finally slice through tentacles, his momentary distraction ignored. He immediately drives swords through the tentacle that Masters makes visible. Then he aims one of his swords into the air, reforming it into a long cannon, then fires a very strange looking ball that looks all deformed with gold and green. It begins to replicate itself, multiplying, over and over.

"Brace yourself!" he yells, as the balls fall from the sky, -exploding- like concussive plasma grenades. He at least made sure that they weren't close enough to his allies to actually do any real damage, he's trying to shock the tentacles.

*

With Lucy having taken care of his monster and Liv handling her own, Masters, now covered in monster goo, takes the fight to one of the remaining creatures, letting his blade do the talking. There's a lot of tentacles to slice and eyes to stab and other things to maim now that the plasma grenades have made them visible. His knife probably isn't long enough to hit any organs, but he can certainly trim the tentacles like hedge clippers through a bush.

*

Okay, that was kind of cool, with the ball that did the…thing. Lucy has a good look at it as she's looping back around to take another run at the monsters. This time, she lands in the grass, near the corpse of the dead monster, and digs in her feet. She still isn't quite sure how to make it so she doesn't go rocketing away with the force of her own powers going off. Smacking things in the face worked, but… this time, she makes the pillar thinner, a rod, tries to sharpen it so it's more delicate.

The things are big, it makes them an easy target. Lucy's force pierces one and it flails, thrashes, screams, and turns toward her. It surges her way, almost oblivious to the force cutting through it, and Lucy panics in spite of herself. Fortunately, her panic means losing control and widening the beam so that there's a terrible splattering as it rips through the bulk of the beast. Her feet slid, digging furrows in the dirt, but she doesn't go anywhere this time.

*

Apparently, Liv's assumption that her critter, at least, was too stupid to avoid carving itself to death was accurate. She hits the ground shortly before it crashes down next to her in a lifeless heap, and has just enough time to plant a foot against its hide and yank her sword free before Noh-Varr's warning rings out.

Of course, all Liv does to brace herself is widen her stance and lift an arm to shield her eyes from the light and debris. But that also appears to have been enough.

*

With a far better idea of where things are, he forms dual pistols again, and just starts firing green plasma blasts at every tentacle that he either hears or enters his line of sight. He even fires at the one that Lucy does, to try and double up on the damage being done to it. "Everyone, fall in and put your backs to each other. Then we'll attack from every direction with as much force as we can manage until we've vaporized them into nothingness!"

*

Well, the kid with the magic hand bombs, swords and guns has a good enough plan for Masters to follow and so he begins backing away from his particular clump of ugly. His knife and the arm holding it are coated in gore but he's not slowing down yet, despite his breathing having gotten a bit heavier. Even still, tentacles come at him from various angles and he easily parries or dodges them, even the ones he can't see. "This is a hell of a workout, at least," he comments.

*

Lucy gets the idea that Noh-Varr is proposing but she's not really sure her back should be to anyone if she's going to be blasting these things. On the other hand, she's never worked her power this hard before, not even last time. She means to run in the direction of the others but ends up flying there instead, ripping up divots of earth and grass as she lands next to Liv and turns around. A tentacle comes down toward them like a tree falling and she instinctively puts up a shimmering shield that it smashes off of, then the shield is gone again.

"I think I'm tired," she says in a small voice. Surely she'll get better at it as she goes but, for now, she's lucky she hasn't pancaked herself on something.

*

"You're doing very well," Liv asides to Lucy, turning just enough to put her back against the younger woman's. She, of all of them, is probably best suited to keeping their footing should Lucy need to fire off another blast. "We'll treat you to a meal once this is over. It seems — " She cuts off for a moment, her sword flashing out to intercept a tentacle as it comes at the group from the side. No. " — like the least we could do," she finishes. "Don't you think, Tony?"

*

Once they're all in a group, Noh-Varr can finally hold his hands together, and form what seems to be a rather sizable cannon. A thick blaster about the lenth of an assault rifle.

When he fires it, it's not just a blast, it's a sustained plasma beam that he starts to sweep the ground with. This is not good for the grass at -all-, but he wanted to do this when he didn't have to worry about actually hitting someone else. "You need more sunlight." he states when Lucy says she's tired. "And possibly hammed cow."

*

"I got a bunch of gold today, so it's my treat," Masters says with regard to the food as he slides one foot back, then the other, until he feels he's close enough to the others. His focus is on taking down the tentacles before they can get to anybody. "Hammed cow and candy for everybody."

*

While the crew has been battling the large tentacled beasts, the dark figure, standing near the trees has been busy. The tall woman, with her dark hair and pale skin lifts her hands towards the Hellmouth, and finishes murmuring a quiet incantation.

To those unaware of the mystical realm, nothing seems to happen. There are no loud bells or whistles. There is no grand crescendo. Instead, like many things, the spell happens is not heralded with a bang.

Instead, she turns on her heel, and treads back to the trees of the park.

Her sharp whistle, however, calls the beasts away from the Hellmouth, beckoning them to follow her into the trees.

And follow they do. Almost as if on command, each begins to retreat, bound to some unknown location deep within Central Park.

*

"I don't. Need." If anything is going to give Lucy energy, it's indignation. "Anything!" At least, enough energy to throw some cannonballs of power at one of the oncoming monsters. The first one hits, the second and third go whizzing into nothingness as the creatures turn to leave.

Lucy sits down very suddenly. Her right hand hurts — when she looks down, it's because she's clenching the bracelet so tightly that her knuckles are white and her nails are digging into her palm. At least she didn't lose it this time.

"We should go after them, right?" She flails a little with her free hand, trying to grab someone in order to get up again. Yes. She should be in pursuit.

*

All of Liv's appreciation for Noh-Varr's work is drawn away by the whistle. Her head whips around to look in the direction it came from, blue eyes narrowed attentively. As the creatures begin to retreat, she purses her lips, turning and reaching down to catch Lucy's hand to offer her help back upright.

"Lucy. You can barely stand. All you're likely to do if you pursue them now is get yourself hurt," Liv says, her tone not unkind. On the contrary, she sounds proud.

*

"No. We've beaten them for now. And if we retreat, whoever is controlling them would likely be luring us into a situation where they have the tactical advantage. My suggestion would be to blow up the trees, but then that would cause a scene." Noh-Varr says as dozens of dirt holes smoke around them, with tentacle blood everywhere.

"You do need sunlight." he insists, his cannon liquifying and apparently vanishing into his jacket arms. Though if one looks closely, they can see that he's wearing some sort of golden gauntlets.

He walks over to Lucy, leaning in to take a look at her. "Perhaps I should introduce myself properly, as you clearly do need help. Don't be stubborn like the rest of this planet."

He stands up straight, clearing his throat. "I am Noh-Varr, of the 18th Kree Diplomatic Gestalt, Universe-200080."

*

"Good job, guys," Masters says as the monsters fall back, but he also looks towards the sound of the whistle, gritting his teeth for a moment before it turns into a smile. His breathing is still deep, but it's under control, used to lots of exertion. "I have no idea what the hell those things are, but if I come back here I'll be better prepared to take another crack at them." Finally he looks over at Lucy, "I like your stuff. Very useful to have around. And then Noh-Varr says a bunch of things, many of which are meaningless to him, so instead he says to Liv, "Where'd you learn to fight like that?"

*

Lucy's shine is nearly gone so there's not much difference when she snaps on her bracelet. She steps back against Liv as though she's uncertain whether or not to trust Noh-Varr now.

"I'm Lucy West," she says, lifting her chin stubbornly. With so much else hidden, there's a good chance that's not the truth. "I'm nobody, from nowhere. I don't even know what's wrong with me. But you can't tell anyone." She glares fiercely at Tony and Noh-Varr — it might actually hurt if she had that bracelet off. "It's just a thing. I won't let anyone get hurt because of me, but, otherwise, it's not happening."

*

Curiously, there's a glimmer of recognition on Liv's face as Noh-Varr makes his more proper introduction. However, she says nothing about it, and instead gives Lucy's hand a reassuring squeeze. "For now, let's worry about getting you a bite to eat," she says slowly, her eyes shifting to follow the creatures and their master as they retreat from view. She doesn't like it. Not a bit.

After a pause, though, Liv glances to Masters, hesitating only briefly. "My father wanted a son," she replies, and it's even true. "Teaching me how to fight is as close as he could get."

*

"That's your thing, sister. You do what you want to with it," Tony tells Lucy, looking serious again as his smile fades. His head's on a swivel, waiting for more monsters to show while they stand around, but he does wipe his knife off on his pant leg before sheathing it and go to pick up his pistol from where it bounced to, dropping the spent mag and sticking it in his jacket pocket before racking the slide a bunch of times and dry firing it, then reloading and holstering it once he's satisfied it'll function. "He did a fine job, doesn't matter why. I want to sign up for lessons," He tells Liv, tossing in a wink for good measure.

*

"Oh, so you don't even know what you are. That seems like a ridiculous problem that could only happen on Earth." Noh-Varr looks to Liv and Masters, then back to Lucy. "I'm going to find you later, and we're going to have a long and enlightening discussion. But first we're going to have food, paid for by that man."

*

"I'll tell you what I am. I'm a girl who's gonna punch you in the mouth. Ask him if I won't," Lucy points at Tony with such vigor that she nearly pitches over. Dignity, always dignity. "After I eat." Don't ask her when she last ate other than that apple. Hunger and tentacle monsters aren't helping her manners.

*

"Easy," Liv murmurs aside to Lucy, a wry smile on her face as she releases her hand. Putting her arm around Lucy's shoulders seems like a better idea, just in case she needs to actually restrain the poor girl. She gives a light nudge before she starts walking, glancing between Noh-Var and Tony as she does, her sword still held in her other hand. That thing's not going anywhere until they're clear of the park. "Maybe I should start charging for lessons. I do owe a few people some time in the gym," she muses thoughtfully.

*

"Yep, plenty of food for us," Tony confirms with the two younger people. "But yeah, she'll punch you if you come on too strong." A friendly warning given freely. He's pretty well goo spattered, but aside from a little brushing at his sleeves he can't really do too much about it at the moment. With a lift of his jaw in Noh-Varr's direction he asks, "So what's a Kree and where'd you get those weapons? I'd love to grab some of them for myself." Liv gets a big grin, "You could make a buck. All this super hero stuff going on and sword fighting is going to be back in vogue in no time."

*

"You're free to punch me in the mouth after we've had our discussion." Noh-Varr casually states to Lucy as he prepares to follow the others to where ever they're going to eat. "My weapons cannot be acquired anywhere on Earth. And Kree is my race."

*

"Hmph." Lucy seems mollified by Noh-Varr's concession. "Yeah, okay, then. I'll listen. But then that's it and we never speak of it again." She knows that's unreasonable, since she needs to get better at all this, but the idea is comforting.

Lucy tugs her coat closer to her miserably, makes sure her bag, slung across her back, is still there. Every fight leaves her a little bit shabbier. Her hair is straggling out of her ponytail and her ribbon needs retying. "Let's just go eat and get this over with."

*

"That's too bad. If I ever end up hangin' out with more Kree I'll be sure to ask about them," Masters replies to Noh-Varr with a very thoughtful sort of squint. Never met an alien before, or seen a rainbow light up lady, but things are meant to be taken with a grain of salt, after all. "I hope the hotel cleaner can get this stuff out." About the monster good. And then an idea as he looks at Lucy, "Not only will I buy you dinner, but if you can figure out how to get this crap out of my clothes I'll put you up in a hotel tonight."

*

"I will teach you a way to make a man vomit with your palm, to make up for not having my super advanced alien weapons." Noh-Varr promises to Masters, then smiles at Lucy.

*

"I can get red wine and black truffles out of silk," Lucy says with a roll of her eyes at Masters. "And I can get hobo snot out of my jacket. No, we're not talking about how it got there. But I can get alien crap out of your clothes. Maybe I'll open a business. West Cape Cleaners: We Get The Goop Out." She'd be bored inside a week, but it's not a bad business idea in New York City.

*

Liv's brow furrows slightly at Masters' offer to Lucy, and she gives the younger woman a very curious look. "Do you need somewhere to stay?" she asks, her brow furrowing. "I didn't realize. There's room in my apartment if you need it," she says lightly, completely ignoring the fact that it's a one-bedroom split by three people. There's totally room.

*

"Great, I'll take it," Master tells Noh-Varr with a grin. Fair enough. Lucy's cleaning abilities sound fine as well as Masters says, "Great. You got yourself a room tonight. And if you bring up a business plan we can talk about the cape cleaners." That last bit being a joke.

*

"Give her a bed near a window." Noh-Varr suggests, with no context. "I'll meet you tomorrow, where ever we decide to eat now."

*

"I'll be there," Lucy promises Noh-Varr. "Don't worry, Liv. I…it's better if I keep moving and…yeah. It's just better. But thanks. It'd be nice to have hot water, but I better not. I'll hang with Tony and then make my own way. Thanks, though."

*

"Don't be absurd," Liv replies to Lucy, finally returning her sword to its scabbard. She needs both of her hands for what she's about to do.

The taller blonde takes two quick steps to come in front of Lucy and, in one fluid motion, she hauls the younger woman up over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes with a quiet 'hup'. "One night with a home-cooked meal is not going to kill anybody," Liv says confidently. "We have a puppy. It'll be fun, I promise."

*

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