The Webslinger Meets the Maximoffs
OOC: A triple action Joint Post by Winters, Blitzen & Esimed
Gwen was giving up on the hope of finding the mysterious blur who made a show of going down 8th avenue. That was until the unmanly shrill cries of someone in fear of their life could be heard. “Well, that can’t be good.” She muttered heading in the direction of the cry.
Now granted Gwen was not privy to the whole situation but what she did see … didn’t look good. There was a chick with a stylish red leather jacket, which looked fabulous on her, with nothing less than a furious look, pushing what looked like some homeless guy into the ground! Oh, that was not good at all!
Gwen leapt up to a light post. “Okay, okay, first thing first. Let's not go beating up on some homeless guy!” She said still semi-transparent. “Let's cool off a little, hmm?” She said shooting webbing out to cover Red’s hands. “No … seriously. Stop.” Gwen stood tugging her webbing to make she had the girl's full attention. She was trying really hard to give Red the benefit of the doubt and hope she wasn’t running into the first possible supervillain in 15 years. “You can’t go around doing that kind of stuff! Makes us ALL look bad.” The young ghost spider reminded.
“I’m teaching this man a valuable lesson,” Theo hollered as she struggled against the sticky ropes binding her hands. Her eyes followed the strange cordage up to its source, a ghostly …. someone sitting on top of a light pole.
“Well, I work out.” Niko said ‘modestly’ to the two girls he was flirting with. He’d taken to using a makeshift Sokovian accent when talking to pretty women, especially those who flirted back.
“So those abs are real? Can we touch them?” Niko was about to oblige, feigning sheepishness when a small commotion caught their attention as well as his. Niko checked over his shoulder expecting to see Theo and her red balloon, but she was nowhere in sight. His heart stopped as his eyes quickly scanned for that balloon and his cousin..
In nanoseconds he was off in the direction of the commotion, reaching it before her dropped hot dog even hit the ground. He saw the balloon first and then Theo in trouble - her hands bound by some creep on a lamppost. Without slowing down, Niko leapt against the post with both feet, the momentum instantly knocking it over. Landing on his feet, he stood protectively in front of his cousin.
There was the barest hint of warning from the tingling Gwen felt. Unfortunately, Gwen was nowhere near battle-hardened or even trained so all that came out was a … “What the -” She let out a girlish yelp and made a magnificent splat on the pavement as the light pole crash down next to her. Her transparent form flickered off and she woozily struggled to her feet. “Oh mama what was …. “She said looking up at the pair. “...There are TWO of you?” The Scarlet Spider exclaimed in surprise. This being a good or bad thing was up for debate at the moment.
A red miasma flared up around Theo’s hands and the white webbing was slowly burned away. She shook her hands free and walked over to stand beside the dreamy Niko. “Hey stud, where you been?”
“Are you okay?” Niko asked, deep set concern in his voice. He blurred out of sight and uppercut the costumed Spiderling, returning before the spider hit the ground or she could answer. Slowing to a halt he put his hands on her face to examine her eyes and see if she was in any pain.
Gwen still stunned a bit from the fall flew back from the hit tumbling dizzy down the pavement like a skipping stone.
“I’m not hurt,” she gently pushed his hands away then looked more closely at them. “Don't tell me, you dropped my Dog when you heard him shrieking for help.” She pointed over at the ad hoc grave of the mugger. “How pretty were they, Niko? I hope they were worth it, I was really looking forward to my first Dirt Water Dog from New York.”
Scarlet spider struggled back to her feet again. Bad guys. Definitely bad guys. There was a fast one and a weird one. Well … what would Spider-Man do? Gwen leapt up high shooting a web to swing to the pair while they lollygagged. She let go just before the apex of the swing twisting in the air as she sailed over them firing globs of sticky webbing over their heads. Her aim, unfortunately, was all over the place; it wasn’t like this came up often. Or at all!
Niko put a hand behind Theo’s head to prevent whiplash, weaving and dodging the web which moved slower than the speedster.
“I’ll get you one on the way home, Miskja Brat.” He promised, in a soothing voice. “With just ketchup and mustard. So we don’t look like tourists.”
“Don’t bother, I’m not hungry anymore.” Theo was trying to keep tabs on the flying Central Park gargoyle.
“Come down from there and talk, we won’t hurt you.” Niko held his hand out, rotating it slightly in a ‘maybe’ gesture.
“Don’t mind him, we agreed I’m in charge if we meet new mutants.” Theo flashed Niko a smile because that agreement had never been decided.
“Hu-HURT me? You sucker punched me in the FACE!” Gwen fumed from her perch. “You put some poor hapless homeless guy … literally into the ground!” The Scarlet Spider waved and pointed for emphasis.
“Hey that man was trying to rob me and threatened bodily harm if I didn’t submit to his villainy. No one gets my jacket. Never. I taught that man a nonfatal lesson that he’ll remember for the rest of his life and I was planning to help him further in the future if you hadn’t interfered.” Theo thought about how that sounded and quickly corrected herself, “I was done putting him in the ground. I was going to see about getting him some help for whatever’s wrong with him. I mean, who robs a friendly tourist in Central Park for no reason?!”
“He threatened you?” Niko asked, this being his main take-away from the above statement.
“I’m fine, Niko. And look where it brought us?” Theo pointed at Gwen. “A living ghost spider person.”
“I am NOT a …” Gwen paused only now just realizing she wasn’t transparent anymore. “ … Ghost Spider. I am the Scarlet Spider.” She corrected clicking her belt button dramatically. Nothing happened. She sighed the dramatic effect ruined.
“If you were the Scarlet Spider, you would be some shade of red. We can see right through you, Ghost Spider. If we hadn’t been raised by a spirit ourselves, we might even be a little uneasy about it. But apparently, I agreed that Theo is in charge if we meet new mutants, so who am I to say.” Niko received an approving nudge from Theo by way of agreement.
“That is so not the point! I am just enough Red … what are you the costume fashion police!” Gwen said indignantly. There was a lot in the man's statement to unpack but that would have to be saved for later. “The point is your very un-heroic like behavior!” She said crossing her arms and trying to keep the conversation on track with the whole putting a guy in a ditch and punching a hapless costumed fellow!
“Heroes save the world, not muggers set on a terrible life course. I was trying to do both. What were you doing swinging around Central Park? Why did you intervene? To help I suspect. That’s a good start I guess. But how will you help us do more than patrol a park? A park, by the way, that is nowhere near as cool as I’d expected from all the movies and TV programs. We have backyards in New Hampshire twice this size and no robberies.” Theo walked over to the bench that anchored her red balloon and secured it on her own wrist again. “This balloon is almost scarlet. My mother was Scarlet Whhhhhhhhich is not the point.” Niko had thumped her in the back to shut her up. Telling too much to a complete stranger might not be the best move.
“And you attacked first.” Niko accused. “I just attacked faster.”
“Yes. Yes he did. And he’s very sorry about that. Tell her you’re sorry about hitting her in the face without adequate warning, Niko.”
“Next time I will provide adequate warning and then hit you in the face,” he offered.
“Heroes. Save. Everyone.” Gwen said firmly and leapt down. “I didn’t attack anyone, I was stopping that one …” She pointed to Theo. “… from hurting that one.” She pointed to the hole the man was still trying to crawl out of. “Mugger or not …” She turned to Theo. “ … you are obviously more powerful than him and what you did was over the top.” Scarlet Spider shot a line of webbing at the man and gave it a jerk to assist the man out.
Theo’s mother had tried that approach once; saving everyone. It sounded great but it wasn’t possible. You had to fight the big fights or winning the little ones meant nothing. And Theo knew this because? Because she’d read some dead woman’s journals and fantasized that she was somehow special and had been picked to prepare a new generation of mutants to fight those big fights. She’d pieced together a half-ass plan starting at the age of 11 that no one had bothered to set straight in the intervening years. And now she was 21, had her cousin’s full support and they were facing down their first mutant who was questioning that little girl’s plan.
“You can’t win them all kid. I helped that man in my own way. That’s still heroic, though it may not be as passive as you’d care for. But we didn’t come to New York to pick fights with a living ghost spider person. We’re looking for others like us, like yourself. We have a few ideas where to look too, but having you around would help us greatly. Do you know the city?”
“You put him in the ground. So unless you have terrakinesis that was overkill.” Gwen reminded. “I may not win anything but will damn well try … if ever the situation occurred.” It was all big words for the untried wannabe superhero. “So … what ARE you doing here?” Curiosity was getting the better of her. The fact was they may be rocking the anti-hero, riding the villain line hard thing but Gwen never had actually met another mutant before. Maybe she was being more forgiving that she should but the idea of not feeling alone when it came to being a mutant was pretty strong. It wasn’t like she could share that part of herself with anyone. Also, they clearly were not natives.
“You didn’t say this would involve so much talking and standing around.” Niko complained impatiently. “What is hard? He threatened her, he won’t again, true? And he is fine. A little woozy, but I am willing to bet he began that way. Now you do not need to save someone else from him. We don’t need a tour guide Miskja, I can find our way around, find others.”
“I don’t know, Niko, maybe New York is just slower and we’ll spend a lot of time standing around. I don’t know what terrakinesis is, either.” Theo looked at Niko who only shrugged. No help there. Theo looked back at Gwen and hazard a guess, “Does it mean moving the ground with your mind? That would be a useful power. We don’t have anyone on the list with that power. We’re putting together a team of heroes to save the world. What are you doing here? In the park, I mean, not New York. We don’t hold that against you. Also, did you just suggest a fight with the first mutant you came across?”
“This one’s got spunk, Niko. I told you how much I like spunk in my team, remember?” Theo had in fact never requested spunk or demonstrated such a quality as being a prerequisite for consideration.
There was a lot of rapid-fire questions going on and it was becoming clear the pair were as hapless as the guy she dumped into the hole. “Yes. Not really, not in the city. Team? What? Why? And I live here.” She said trying to answer all of Theo’s question and turned to Niko. “Who said I would even join Bonneville?” She huffed looking up at the silver-haired man. Gwen paused and looked around, even at this time of night people were stopping and staring. “We should go.” Gwen murmured suddenly sounding cowed and she rapidly started slamming her belt button. “Oh come ON ….WORK!” She said hitting the button harder. “ … knew I should have more solder on that.” Gwen groaned.
“Think of it like this Ghost Spider, “ Niko offered. “We are in New York. Trust me when I say she will not leave New York. What better way to keep an eye on what we are up to? Try to keep up.” He held out his arms for Theo to head home.
“One last thing, Ghost Spider Person,” Theo held up her phone and snapped a photo, “We are the Maximoffs and you can find us on Bleecker Street. I will know when you’re close. That sounded creepy, I only mean, I actually will know when you are close, because of the house. It’s complicated and we’d explain it when you are not wearing a mask or shooting white sticky stuff at us and Niko isn’t punching you. Let’s go Niko,” Theo looped her arm through her cousin’s and started scrolling through all the shots she’d taken of the city that day. Most of them were just blurs, but the last few were quite nice. “Oh I get it now! Spider person…webs! That was webbing. Nice trick.”
Gwen stood as if struck. Maximoffs? Like the twin Avengers Maximoffs? The device on Gwen's belt suddenly decided to kick in. “Whoa whoa whoa … Maximoffs? As in Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver?” She said dumbfounded. They looked so YOUNG there was no way they could be THE Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! At this point, they were walking away now and left the question unheard and unanswered. “Smooth Scarlet Spider. Real smooth.” She said flatly web-slinging her up and into the city skyline. It was late anyway and she had to get home before her mom would get suspicious.
At the Sanctum, Theo handed Niko the red balloon she still clung to and hung her coat in the hall closet, which the building had open and waiting for her upon arrival. “You have to be careful, Miskja Brat. This isn’t New Hampshire. This is a city where people want to rob you because you wear a nice coat. Maybe it is time to get a less nice coat.”
“It was my mother’s.” Theo said, matter of fact. “It makes me feel close to her.”
“It is like carrying grief around with you, cloaking you in it, literally.”
“Or comfort.” She replied lightly, patting him on the arm, not so lightly.
“Go to bed, Miskja Brat.” He ordered, “We’ve had enough excitement. We can talk about the Ghost Spider Woman in the morning. And we’ll discuss these new rules that you make up when suits you.” He gave her a mock stern look while handing back her balloon. Theo smiled, and punched his arm one last time before heading off. Niko pretended it hurt for her benefit, then made an actual grimace when her back was turned. He made a note to lift some weights to prove he wasn’t getting soft.
Back in his own room, which to him seemed to continually move, he opened the bottom drawer of his bureau and patted the black jacket he father had left behind. Closing the drawer he removed everything he was wearing down to his boxer-briefs and after a cursory glance -much too long to be called cursory in the mirror- Niko retired to his own bed. He drifted off watching amateur videos with headline like “Quicksilver Returns!”