1963-11-29 - Come Here Often?
Summary: Giant bugs hit the East Village on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, turning Jean-Paul, Anya, and Piotr into a makeshift superhero team. Maybe they should all be wearing uniforms under their clothes.
Related: Them!
Theme Song: None
jean-paul piotr anya 

It's a cold and rainy afternoon in the East Village, but shoppers still scuttle to and fro. In this section of street a bookstore, a ladies clothing store, and a handful of cafes are nearby. Umbrellas and warm coats are de rigueur, as is the cheerful neighborly New Yorker greeting, 'Fuck you…', 'No, fuck /you/, I'm walking here!' punctuated by car horns.

Ah, the city during holiday times.

Somewhere over a deep, almost inaudible droning noise could be heard if anyone was listening for that sort of thing, but it's a Tuesday and aren't things bad enough already? I mean, really?

At the mouth of an alley between the bookshop and clothing store, Spider-Girl is in the process of handing over a webbed-up purse snatcher to the two beat cops on duty. Her winter costume looks a lot like her usual one, except this one actually covers the top of her head. Sure, it messes up her hair, but it only gets colder, and little spiders have to mind their health.

"That's right officer," masked-Anya is telling the younger cop. "She can tell you the rest. This guy stole her purse and made it about fifty feet before I snagged him." The cops looks like they know they're supposed to object, but Anya is already backing away down the dark alley, offering a cheery little wave.


Cold. Rainy. Miserable. Yes, Jean-Paul Beaubier is finding that New York is a perfect place to be in this stage of his life — it rather mirrors his mood.

Jean-Paul has not bothered with an umbrella. His only real defense against the chill is a knit toque pulled down over his ears and a black peacoat that is, at this point, probably wet enough to be more of a hindrance than a help. His expression is appropriately sour as he makes his way down the sidewalk, not far from where Spider-Girl is doing whatever a spider can.

The droning does not go unheard, but really, Jean-Paul has dismissed it. It's probably just some weird traffic noise or something. Whatever.


Piotr is headed home after an extended shift at the museum. He's got his bag slung across his back, with his sketchbook and art supplies inside. He's not going to be drawing anything outdoors today. It's awful out and he's tired but it's Piotr.

Chin up, jet black curls glittering with rain, cheeks a little pink from the cold, blue eyes bright, he strides along at a loose, confident pace. He's wearing a dense wool aran sweater that's meant to stay warm in the damp, cargo pants from his work uniform, and laced-up boots. He has a hat somewhere in that bag but it's not nearly cold enough or awful enough to warrant it. This is nothing like Siberia! It's practically balmy today. He's enjoying how brisk it is after a stifling summer.


In quite spectacular fashion, the droning resolves itself into a swarm of maybe a dozen enormous dragonflies. Each one is about ten feet long, and the noise from all those wings is almost deafening. Unfortunately, they're moving in and down to the street just as Spider-Girl is thwipping herself up, up, and away.

Right into their clutches. One dragonfly has her grabbed and is carrying close to its belly while leaning its grotesque face to her and chomp-chomp-chomping at her! It manages to knick her shoulder, tearing away mostly costume, but also a chunk of skin. Her blood mixes with the cold rain.

"Ew, /GROSS/," comes the spider's indignant cry. "Bugs don't eat /meat/!" Except, apparently she's wrong. Sure, she's super strong and all, but this thing has her at a weird angle. She's gonna need a minute to get squared away.

Up and down the street, dragonflies are swooping down to snatch people up. They don't accelerate very fast once they're laden down though, so anyone feeling inspired to step in probably could. What could go wrong?


The first thing to catch Jean-Paul's eye is not a giant dragonfly. No, it is the tall drink of water he's about to pass on the sidewalk. There is no force on Earth that would allow Jean-Paul to hide the appreciation on his face as he turns to watch Piotr walk by, nor does he feel any shame about murmuring something under his breath in French that is, no doubt, wholly inappropriate.

Then, then he sees giant dragonflies. He stops dead in his tracks and his expression falls, shoulders slumping in defeat. "You cannot even give me this, can you?" Jean-Paul murmurs to himself, sighing quietly.

And then he is no longer there. Jean-Paul is abruptly airborn, fast enough that it could be mistaken for a short teleport, and he wastes no time in firing concussive blasts of brilliant white light towards the bugs as they sweep down towards the civilians. Why does he bother? Noone is going to thank him. Ugh. It's a sickness.


Piotr is not used to being noticed but he is learning to identify it. The muttering is what makes him look back — and the expression on Jean-Paul's face as he sees what's coming their way really gets his attention. That's not good. He takes off his bag and, thanks to his height, tucks it up out of reach on top of a store's narrow metal awning.

One of the dragonflies, feeling ambitious, swoops down toward Piotr. Piotr ducks and rolls, then comes up looking altogether different. He's taller, broader, silver-shiny. The dragonfly's claws scrape along his skin until he throws a powerful punch that sends it flying backward. Another dragonfly is making for a fleeing mother and child. Piotr picks up a trash can, wrenching it loose from its moorings, and launches it at the bug to stop it before it reaches its targets.


One of the dragonflies splatters in most spectacular fashion under the force of JP's blast. Wing, legs and guts everywhere. But the reaction times on these things is off the charts, and the other has the split second warning it needs to dodge the blast.

Behind it, down on the street, a car crunches and thunks from the blast, gasoline leaking out the bottom into the rain-washed street. To anyone else, these things would be moving much too fast to track, but JP's reflexes wouldn't be challenged by merely 'exceptional' speeds. The beat cops however are firing wilding into the air.

Piotr's punch has thoroughly discombobulated the first dragonfly, sending it end over end to crash through the front window of the bookstore. It lolls there looking dazed as frantic people come pouring out of the shop.

Cue: The Running and The Screaming

The street is suddenly awash with shoppers, umbrellas and bags forgotten, sprinting for the cover of any of the nearby subway stations, because sure, that sounds safer in a bug attack.

Piotr's trashcan has indeed spared the divebombed family, but now the fly and several of its friends are buzzing straight toward Piotr in retaliation. Unbelievably, they seem to work together, one or two distracting, while a third takes advantage of any opening it can find.

Anya has finally come up with a plan. For the first time in her life, she shoots a webline straight at the /ground/. She pulls hard and is able to overcome the lift provided by the weighed down wings. Twisting in the fall she puts the dragonfly grabbing her between her and the ground, using it as a landing cushion. When they crunch down together she backflips out of its slack grasp and uses both hands to web it to the ground and car they crashed against.


Jean-Paul finds it difficult to feel too badly about taking out the car. He is not exactly a people person to start with, and it was not a nice car anyway, it was… average. Frankly, he considers it a service.

Annoying to be seen in public missing a target, yes, but a service.

The dragonflies are fast but Northstar is most definitely faster. With an irate curl of his lip, he's on the move, and he is fast: he seems to appear above the dragonfly that dodged his blast more than moving towards it, and he reaches out to grasp it by a wing with one hand as his other swings around to blast both wings off at the base. Once it is clear to him that this works, he repeats the process. Again. And again.

Which really just makes it look like a bunch of bright flashes are rippling their way through the swarm as the bugs begin dropping like… well… like flies. The mess is working its way towards the bugs that are descending upon Piotr, but even at the speeds Northstar works at, it will take a moment.


Oh, this is fine. Really. The dragonflies divebomb him, their mandibles and claws clattering against his silvery skin. He hardly feels it and he hardly even shifts with the battering. Piotr is very heavy and sturdy and nearly invulnerable. He's also kind of slippery. His skin is so sleek, it's hard for their claws to get purchase to lift him.

Piotr stands like a statue, waiting. Each time long limbs lock around his arm to lift him, he reaches across his body to grab the thing's head, a wing, or even one of those legs, and he twists as he crushes it in his grip. Being still, being calm, lets him take advantage of them in a way he couldn't if he was trying to keep up. One, he manages to snag by a leg and he flicks it against the brick wall behind him with a vile crunch.

As long as they attack him, they attack no one else. All is well. He just needs to make sure none get a good enough grip to lift him off the ground. In time, he will win whatever fight they bring him. He twists a wing off one, then crushes the head of another. Not enjoyable, but necessary.


With nearly all of the dragonflies dead or out of commission, Anya is able to get her bearings and look around a bit. Almost too late, she thwips up and snatches a man from the grasp of one bug that just had its wings blown off, swooping him back to the ground in a lazy arc. He mutters something and then slowly passes out, slumping down against the wall outside one of the cafes.

Hopping up onto the roof of a car, Anya survives the 'battlefield' and frowns. "Wow, that was way easier with you guys here," she says, bemused. The rain hasn't let up any, but luckily spandex doesn't mind getting wet.

People are still running from this spot, but it looks like the danger is largely past.


Hovering above the street as the dragonflies rain down is Jean-Paul, his hands planted on his hips and an expression of annoyance still plain on his face. He is wet, he is cold, and now there is giant bug goo on his shoes, and will anyone thank him?

…apparently so. He casts a genuinely surprised look towards Spider-Girl, blinking twice before he drifts down towards the street. "This is common, is it?" he asks curiously, in heavily French-accented english. "Perhaps I should stay in New York after all."

Speaking of reasons to stick around. Jean-Paul peers towards Piotr, and when he sees just how much goo the poor man is covered in, he winces in sympathy. <Oh, you poor man.>


Piotr is still very sleek and silver so the bug goo is slowly rinsing away in the rain. He chuckles at Anya and flicks part of a…what is that even?…off his shoulder. "With him, in particular," he says, gesturing toward Jean-Paul, then he bows his head gratefully. "It is always nice to see someone so proficient with their power. I make a good target. That is all. Thank you both for helping."

Piotr pulls a stray wing off the awning, then rescues his bag. The spidery-girl interests him a great deal but he doesn't stare. It's just a curious ability, that's all. The man, he thinks he recognizes from the papers, but he doesn't seem to be seeking attention — best to let him be.


"I hope you do stay, Spider-Girl says, looking up at JP coming in for a landing. "Both of you. New York could use more people like you- Wait a minute… Aren't you the guy-" And then it clicks and Anya realizes how incredibly rude her question is. She tries to change the topic.

"Ick," Anya says, disgust plain on the lower half of her face which isn't masked. "Never thought I'd be grateful for the rain…" She too makes some effort to sluice the goo and fragments from her suit before noticing the slice on her shoulder. "Damnit… Do you guys know how hard it is to sew /spandex/." Apparently she isn't worried about the injury itself.

Returning to the conversation she offers her hand to each in turn, introducing herself, "I'm Spider-Girl. Nice to meet you." She's been in the news too, but nothing so flashy as Olympic repercussions. She's just been a vigilante in New York for years."


"My word. So nice to be appreciated, for a change," Jean-Paul muses as he touches back down in the street, looking between Piotr and Spider-Girl. Being sopping wet just became a great deal more tolerable. Enough so that even Anya's abandoned question gets an answer: "Yes. I am the guy." He's assuming, but it's generally safe.

But, just to be sure: "Jean-Paul Beaubier. Though I suppose it is 'Northstar' when I am doing this," he murmurs thoughtfully, immediately waving it off. Whatever. "It looks like your shoulder might need sewing, as well. Is there a clinic you trust, or shall I?"


"There is a good clinic not too far," Piotr offers. "I can mend nearly anything, if you need help." As he slings his bag back on, he reverts to being just plain Piotr. Who should mention that.

"Piotr," he says, offering his hand to Jean-Paul. "Rasputin." Probably no relation but who knows. "Spider-Girl, yes. Not as good a target for blame as Spider-Man, but I have seen you in the paper."


"Well yeah, I mean, all that stuff with the Olympics is none of my business," Anya says, trying to be diplomatic. "It's a real pleasure to meet you Jean-Paul. And Piotr. Both of you." She glances down at her right shoulder, and then from JP to Piotr.

"Dios, so nice of you to offer. Usually I'd just do it myself, but the angle /is/ kind of awkward. And I'm right-handed anyway. I mean, I don't want you boys to fight over it, but I could use a hand here, sure. Thank you." She definitely wants them to fight over her. She's so much more confident in costume!


Jean-Paul clasps Piotr's hand for a warm shake, positively beaming up (and up, and up) at him. "Pleasure. I am still very new in town, so if you know of somewhere to go — please." He gestures sweepingly with one arm, stepping to one side. "By all means, lead the way."

There are definitely no ulterior motives in play for encouraging Piotr on ahead of himself. What do you people take Jean-Paul for?

"Let us at least get out of the rain," Jean-Paul suggests to the pair, flashing a smile Spider-Girl's way. "Survey the damage, as it were."


"Come on," Piotr gestures for Anya to walk with him. "Looks like the cafe here is intact, let us get out of the rain and I will look at that shoulder. If you need stitches, we will go to the clinic, otherwise, needle and thread for your uniform. I have a kit in my bag." Of course he does. It's Piotr. He also has bandages and those little scissors and coins for the phone and parking meter. "And I do not know many young ladies, spiders or not, who wouldn't do well with a hot chocolate after all that excitement." He holds the door to the warmly lit little cafe for Anya and Jean-Paul. "Since this is where we are, we might as well make the best of it."


Apparently Spider-Girl is also not completely clueless. She takes in the beaming regard JP has for Piotr, and the small smile for herself, and gives both men a demure smile of her own, just happy to make friends. Even if Piotr's Maximum Gentleman setting is a bit disarming, she recovers quickly and nods as they all duck inside the shawarma place right next to them.

Once inside, the proprietor slowly rises from his hiding place behind the counter, smiling at the heroes. Someone else who appreciates their work! Anya takes a seat at one of the tables and moves her shoulder to be more visible, pulling the ripped fabric open a bit more with her fingers. The cut actually doesn't look too bad, and the rain has done a pretty thorough job of washing it.

"So, you guys come here often?" She smiles, apparently comfortable keeping her mask on, and doesn't seem to feel weird about it.


Well, if Piotr's going to hold the door, Jean-Paul is not going to argue. "You are far too kind," he says approvingly, patting the Russian on the arm as he brushes past him and into the shop. He doesn't really care what they sell: it is warm and it is dry, so he is already a fan.

"That remains to be seen," Jean-Paul replies playfully to Anya, dragging the cap from his head so that he can stuff it away into his pocket. His hair is an absolute disaster but he wears it well, and he seems unperturbed by the points of his ears being on display. "Sit, sit. Let the big man fuss. I will take care of drinks."

Before either of them can argue, Jean-Paul is moving towards the counter with his wallet in hand.


This day is looking up for Jean-Paul because Piotr peels off his sweater and is left wearing a very snug, damp black T-shirt and his work pants. He hangs the sweater up to drip by the door, then returns with bag in hand to check Anya's shoulder. When he smiles down at her, his blue eyes sparkle.

"You are accustommed to being injured when you are helping people?" Yes, he's prying. Just a little. "You are much tougher than you appear. I am familiar with that — still, it is easy to be careless with one's self, especially when serving others. It seems like a reasonable exchange, yes? A little pain for someone else's safety."


Anya doesn't seem to resist being sat down and/or being offered drinks. "Iced Tea for me, please!" She turns in her seat to face Piotr, and things may be looking up for JP, but apparently she can enjoy the view too. Behind her mask, her brown eyes get stuck on Piotr's gaze for a long moment before he's asking questions and she has to mentally rewind and catch up to the conversation.

"Oh, well, it doesn't happen that often. I've been doing this for a while, after all," Anya says. "But it seems to me… if I /can/ do these things, then I should. Even if it's dangerous. I don't like getting hurt, but yeah, it seems like a fair trade off."


"Iced tea? In this weather?" Jean-Paul may well be judging Anya's decisions, but he does order the drink she's asked for all the same. She supplied a preference, so the least he can do is accomodate it. Piotr, on the other hand, shall be stuck with whatever he gets.

Which means, in this case: coffee. Jean-Paul wants one of his own to help thaw back out, and it is easier to just order two of them. He is even thoughtful enough to bring over some cream and sugars when he gets the drinks arrayed on the table.

Jean-Paul does not touch them himself, though. Apparently he takes his coffee black, like his heart. He reclines in his seat and sips at his drink, taking a moment to quietly admire the view. "It is a fair trade off as long as you keep getting back up," he muses, not unkindly. "This line of work, though, it is not kind."


"Coffee, thank you." Piotr gives Jean-Paul a grateful smile. "The cut is not terrible," he says, after he takes a sip of his coffee. "I will bandage it for you and then stitch your uniform up." As though it is completely normal for him to do such a thing in a little shop like this. Hero-ing means all kinds of making do and odd little events. "I will go wash up and come back to do this for you." He puts a hand on Anya's arm and gives her another smile before he goes to wash his hands and borrow a few things from the proprietor.

If he has one superpower other than that whole shiny silver thing, it's the big brother power. He likes being a big brother. He's good at it.


"I know," Anya says, grinning at JP. "I can't even explain. I'm weird," says the girl in black and white spandex and a mask. Yeah Anya, /iced tea/ is why you're weird.

"That's a relief, and thank you Piotr. I really appreciate it," Anya says. When Piotr is walking away though, Anya may or not be a little distracted watching the big man go. And then she double-takes when she realizes JP has caught her watching Piotr. She grins, shrugs, and clinks her iced tea glass against his coffee mug.

"Right?" is all she offers JP. And then she asks him, "Oh, your ears! I love them. Were they always that way? Or did they change- damn, that's really rude to ask, I'm so sorry." She puts her hand on JP's forearm to reenforce her apology.


Clink. Jean-Paul just smiles like a cat that's captured a canary as he sips his coffee, blue eyes sliding to the side to watch Piotr go. At least, until she's asking about his ears. Then he just looks profoundly amused.

"No apology necessary," Jean-Paul assures Anya with a laugh, giving an airy, dismissive wave with his empty hand. "Not when the question comes with a compliment. Merci. They have been like this as long as I can remember," he smiles, lifting a shoulder in a shrug.


Piotr is blissfully oblivious to the scrutiny. He returns, as promised, with a towel and a damp cloth. He's quite good at the whole bandaging thing and it's no time at all before he's stitching Anya's uniform back together over her shoulder. That does mean he gets quite close, brow creased in concentration.

"It is actually easier to mend this kind of uniform while you are wearing it," he says as he works. He flashes Jean-Paul a smile. "At this rate, I am considering wearing one under my clothing. I could step into a phone booth and take off my street clothes before bounding out to save the day."


Anya smiles and squeezes JP's forearm, glad and relieved that she hadn't offended him. "It's just nice to meet other people willing to put themselves out there for the safety of this city," she says.

She sits through Piotr's ministrations when he returns and admires the work. "Thank you again for this, I appreciate it." She seems to be studiously looking anywhere except at Piotr's face right next to hers. "Thank you, both of you, actually. We should do this again sometime," she adds, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.


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