Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Come on an adventure in the Marvel Universe. Your character could be a superhero, regular person, or a wacky alien...Basically, anything else that exists in that 'verse.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Rhiannon McIvor - et al.

She nodded in understanding. "The things we do for our children - may they never know the weight of it."

The squabble on the field had ended and the rest of the family was now making their way in their direction. It was plain to see, at least from her perspective, that her sister was curious about the man she was currently talking to and was no longer able to rein in that curiosity. Charis and Ewan brought up the rear, the two whispering away to each other for show as they silently discussed the game and made observations about the little family their mom was talking to.

Naturally, Cait walked up and extended a hearty handshake to George, the same impish grin on her face as always. Rhiannon had told her repeatedly that smiling like that suggested untrustworthiness, but her sister had either never taken her advice or was simply incapable of smiling in any other fashion. Charis waved at little Annie, then stuck her head into Mia's carriage to coo over the child. Ewan made his way to his mother's side and said a polite hello to "Mr. George".

"I was about to invite our new neighbours over for a barbecue tonight - what do you guys think of that? Unless of course, you are busy, George? I don't mean to assume."

"Can I babysit for you sometime, Mister George?" Charis' serious expression was in stark contrast to the other three family members'.

"Charis, really. You are not old enough - and you have school..." Rhiannon attempted to head this off - a little too late.

"I am very responsible and Aunt Cait and Mom are always home anyway, so we could just play and stuff. It's no big deal and it would be good practice for when I'm thirteen and I can do all the things by myself." The girl continued to address George directly, much to her mother's annoyance and her aunt's amusement.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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George Collins

George politely returned the greetings, and told them all "Nice to meet you" in turn.

He wasn't quite sure what to make of Cait. She was an odd one. But maybe that was all there was to it. And, George reminded himself, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

The invitation to the barbecue brought a genuine smile to his face. "Sure," he said. "Thanks. That sounds great."

When Charis asked about babysitting, George replied, "It's up to your mom." However, since the mom in question didn't seem to amenable to the idea, George softened the blow by adding, "I hardly ever use babysitters, actually. The girls go to daycare while I'm at work, and other than that I don't generally go many places without them."

Belatedly, he realized that in reassuring the girl, he had revealed his utter lack of social life to the two adults. That was a bit embarrassing. But what did it matter, really? Why pretend to be suave? They'd find out soon enough that he was a pretty boring guy.

Well, other than his involuntary exile to escape a genocidal space war. Otherwise? Boring.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Rhiannon McIvor et al.

"Well, wonderful, we'll see you three around... 5?"

Ever on task, Rhiannon cemented the later afternoon plan and suggested they get home to start preparations for their first visitors to their new house. Charis was displeased that she had to give up on pressing George to find a time when he wouldn't be there so she could fanangle some babysitting experience out of the deal, but she just rolled her eyes before smiling and waving goodbye to Annie. As soon as they were out of visual range from the playground, Cait gave her sister a nudge with her shoulder."

"What?"

Cait grinned and wiggled her eyebrows.

"You're such a brat. Honestly."

The house didn't need much tidying as they didn't really have belongings to strew around the place. They'd been given a stipend of sorts which allowed them to purchase some clothes and groceries - which was the only reason they had anything to offer. Neither sister intended to continue to live on the government's good graces, but there was the matter of producing documentation that would allow them to work here. That part was somewhat up to the feds, though Cait wasn't about to let the matter rest for too long. Neither of them had much trust in the institution, as it were.

By the time George, Annie and Mia arrived, there was a potato salad chilling in the fridge and the barbecue was heating up on the back deck. Cait greeted their guests at the door wielding a pair of tongs and holding a dripping bag of hot dogs.

"C'mon in! Make yerselves at home!" She cackled as she turned away, laughing at some undetermined joke. Fortunately Charis was there to rescue the situation.

"Yes, please come in. Don't mind your shoes if you want to go play in the back yard. I...don't really have any toys other than a soccer ball though. Sorry." The girl bit her lip, having admitted she was possibly a boring host wasn't the thing she'd meant to lead with.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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George Collins

George still wasn't quite sure what to make of Cait. She often seemed to be laughing at some private joke - which he hoped wasn't at his expense, but he was never quite sure.

At the appointed time, though, he turned up at the doorstep with the girls, the various paraphernalia required to visit with small children, and some soda and fruit salad to contribute to the meal.

George smiled reassuringly at Charis. "No worries," he said. "I wouldn't expect someone your age to have toys for kids as young as mine. I brought things for them to do. But I think honestly, Annie would be perfectly happy just following you around."

Annie was indeed eying the older girl with the admiration the young had for older, cooler kids.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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McIvors

Charis breathed a visible sigh of relief and stepped back to allow the family further into the house and shut the front door behind them.

"Everyone's in the kitchen right now - want to play in the backyard while we wait for supper?"

The first part of the sentence was addressed to George, the second to Annie. The kitchen had a patio door leading to the backyard deck and there was a large window next to the door in front of which the dining room table was set for the meal. Ewan sat at one end of the table, fiddling with an electronic device connected to a pair of headphones. Cait was already out on the deck, checking the temperature on the grill, impatiently clacking the tongs together to a silent rhythm. Rhiannon appeared behind them, a little breathless, apologizing for not greeting them at the door herself.

The clacking stopped abruptly, and the absence of the obnoxious sound drew the attention of Rhiannon if no one else. Cait stood at the grill, staring at something over the fence. There was something in the stillness that suggested caution. Another second passed and Cait stooped to turn off the gas, and passed the hotdogs through the open door to her sister.

"Call 911. A house down the street is on fire."

Her words were uttered in perfect calm, as though she were reporting that the wieners were all-beef. In the next breath, she was gone - dashing past George and out the front door to the street. It would take time for the fire department to show up - and until then, Cait intended on making sure the house's occupants were safe. She could see a couple standing on the sidewalk in front of the billowing smoke, alternating between running toward the house and dashing away, bent double from coughing. That was not a good sign. Neither was the fact that the house was going up so quickly. Flames appeared around the roof line as the shingles started to catch, sending pitch black smoke up into the air.

"Hey, is everyone out?" She managed to catch the woman's attention, and briefly wished she hadn't as the woman grabbed onto her and screamed into her face.

"My son! My son was in his room and we couldn't get up the stairs! My baby boy!"

Cait pushed her arms away, fighting for control over her own body. "Where's his room?" She repeated the question, but the woman had sunk to the ground sobbing, her partner kneeling nearby, apparently in shock. Great.

Looking up at the house's second story, she gathered her legs under her, then ran at the house. Using the window ledge and the porch as leverage, she landed neatly within reach of an upper story window. She took a deep breath before breaking the glass, shoving the window open, and crawling inside.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Marshal Knox

"Hail HYDRA," Marshal said in his sleep.

The sound of his own voice woke him up, and he glanced around groggily, trying to figure out if he had spoken or if there was someone else in the room.

There were no home invaders... but he did smell smoke, and it brought him to instant alertness. It was too faint to be his own house. An ordinary, non-augmented human probably wouldn't have perceived it at that distance at all. A super soldier did, though.

It didn't really occur to him to think about whether he should get involved or not. It just happened automatically. He shoved his feet into a pair of sneakers as he walked out the door; he'd never undressed for bed, so he was otherwise already clothed as he had been when he stuffed himself full of booze and pills and passed out.

Marshal swore under his breath when he saw the house already engulfed. He wasn't close enough to hear what the parents said, but he could tell the gist from their distress - someone was still in the house.

In a surprisingly graceful move for one who hadn't completely sobered up yet, he vaulted onto the back porch roof and put himself in reach of the upper story without seeming to break stride. The nearest window was locked, so he broke it with his elbow, shoving glass aside with his jacket sleeve and pulling his shirt up to cover his nose and mouth before hoisting himself inside.

"Hey!" he called as loudly as he could, his voice muffled by fabric and trying not to choke on the thick smoke. "I'm here to help you, but you gotta tell me where you are!"

Marshal could barely see, so he advanced into the hallway by feel, keeping low and searching for any sign of life.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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McIvors

"Help! Please help! Daddy!" the small voice dissolved into coughing, but Marshall would have no trouble determining the source of the sound - a room at the back of the house on his right. However, there was movement on his left that was most assuredly not a small child. Cait had crouched down low too and found herself almost face to face to Marshall. If he could see her well enough, he would probably notice that her eyes looked milky and her nose didn't seem to have visible nostrils. She blinked at him in surprise, then gestured at him to go ahead and mouthed, "Ladies first." with a strangely happy-looking grin considering the circumstances.

Meanwhile, outside, Rhiannon was standing on the sidewalk in front of the house, relaying details to the 911 operator on the other end of the line. While her eyes were on the broken window she was told her sister had gone through, something told her to take stock of her surroundings. As she cast her gaze about she realized what that nudge had been about: the neighbouring houses were being affected by the heat and the siding was starting to melt. It wouldn't be long before the whole block would be up in flames at this rate. And she didn't hear any sirens.

She gave the new information to the operator, then hung up and went into commander mom mode.

"Hey, you two, get to the other side of the street, now!" Other neighbours had joined in to watch the event and she began delegating tasks to them. "You, go knock on their door - make sure they are out! You that house there. You - find out who owns these cars and get them out of here! We need to make room for the fire trucks! Move!"

People jumped to their tasks and someone started pulling a garden hose across the street, attempting to soak the house next door - to no avail. They were both starting to smoke now. What were they going to do? She couldn't just stand here...like a normal person...could she? The hydrant was right in front of the house and Rhiannon stared at it, daring herself to make a move. What if she was wrong and this neighbourhood wasn't full of people like them? What if she blew their cover? What if...
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Marshal Knox

Marshal was startled by the presence of the woman - that she was there at all, her altered appearance, and her random burst of sarcasm. But whoever she was, and regardless of why she was there, she seemed able to take care of herself, so she wasn't the main thing on his mind right now. It was the sound of the boy's voice that kept him moving.

The child might be looking for his father, but surely he wouldn't turn down any form of help at this point. Marshal shouldered open the bedroom door in pursuit of the sound. The room was full of smoke, and he didn't want to expend any of his own meager oxygen supply on conversation. In a few moments, if all went well, the child would be saved and explanations would be a moot point.

Marshal gestured toward the door, indicating he had come to get the boy, then yanked a blanket off the bed and wrapped it around the child, protecting him from the flames and the worst of the smoke. Then he picked the boy up and dashed down the hall toward the exit with him like he was a sack of potatoes.

He hoped getting plucked out of the flames by a super soldier wouldn't be too traumatic for the kid, but at least with his help the boy would be more likely to live to tell the tale.

***

George was impressed by Rhiannon's command of the situation. Taking charge seemed to come naturally to her. He wished he had the same talent.

He didn't... but he could follow their lead. He began talking to the families coming out of their houses, tallying the residents and making sure everyone was accounted for.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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McIvors and neighbours

Cait was hot on the heels of the heroic-type who had picked up the kid when she heard the boy begin to wail from inside the blanket burrito.

"But my haaaaamster! You gotta save my haaaamster!"

"For pity's sake," she said under her breath before adding in a louder voice, "I got it kid, don't worry." She crouched lower, starting to feel the effects of the smoke, and ran back to the child's room. All that was left now was the bottom sheet to throw over the rodent cage she found, but it would have to do. At least if the little critter had died of smoke inhalation already, the kid would have some closure. Hopefully his closure wouldn't cost her any skin. The fire was getting hotter by the minute - it was time to leave ten minutes ago.

~~~~

Outside, Rhiannon was tired of waiting for her sister to reappear and about done waiting for the fire department to show up and do their job. She was now on the other side of the street as well, in among the rest of the neighbours. It was time to act. Slowing her breathing, she felt her eyelids slip closed as she discreetly reached her fingertips toward the hydrant.

The fire hydrant in front of the burning house spontaneously erupted, water geysering into the air. The crowd gasped, Rhiannon along with them, though she not in surprise. Step one complete - water was now available in adequate quantities. Step two - direction.

"You there, grab those garbage can lids! We can make a shield with them and direct the water! Come on!"

The guys she'd asked were rather bulky and seemed to think that this was something they could actually pull off. Perfect. They'd never suspect. The men ran forward with their makeshift shields and leaned into the stream, Rhiannon standing behind them, calling out directions. However, her right hand was splayed rather oddly in front of her and if the guys at the hydrant turned around, they'd see her eyes were closed. The garbage lids rang with the sound of water hitting them, but as the volunteers huffed and pushed, the stream of water bent toward the flames.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal was not so sure that was a good idea - he liked animals as much as the next guy, but he didn't want the brash lady to die over a hamster. She seemed determined, though... and knowing someone was going after his hamster would make the kid more cooperative with being rescued, which was a bonus. Not that a small child would be hard to subdue, but Marshal figured it was better for everyone if that wasn't necessary. Enough nightmares were going to come out of this for the child as it was.

With his blanket-wrapped burden, Marshal retraced his steps to the window he had broken. That took time he didn't really have to spare, but the more windows he broke, the more oxygen he would let into the burning house, and he didn't want to risk a sudden rush of flame, especially with someone else still in the house searching for the boy's pet. He was banking on being able to make it to the opening he'd already made, and he did, just in time.

He scrambled through the window with the boy and dropped to the porch roof, then down to the ground, bending into a crouch to absorb the shock with his knees but keeping the kid well off the ground. He strode quickly to the parents, laid his bundle gently on the sidewalk, then turned to walk away as they were extricating their boy from his blanket wrapper.

***

George just stared as Rhys expertly took command of the situation, watching her direct both people and the stream of water with ease.

That's pretty hot! he thought to himself, then blushed slightly at the audacity of the silent thought.
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