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.

Post by Quaxo9 »

The McIvors

Cait had landed on the ground seconds behind Marshal, her appearance much more human, though now marked with sooty trails of sweat. She deposited the hamster cage near the family and knelt briefly to make sure the kid seemed okay. The ambulance would be here soon anyway - the sirens sounded in the distance.The fire fighters weren't going to be happy with Rhys for blowing their hydrant, though. She met her sister's eye for a second - it was all her sister could spare before she closed them both again in concentration. It'd been awhile since she'd...exercised. Cait hoped that this would remind her sister of the importance of consistent training.

She turned to thank her co-hero and found empty space where she'd expected to see someone with smoke inhalation who had just saved a kid from a burning building to be sitting on the curb. His retreating back wasn't hard to pick out - she'd been following him earlier and knew his outline, if not his step. Army? Maybe. Or maybe a S.H.I.E.L.D. goon sent to keep an eye on all the weirdos they'd plunked into this sleepy, unsuspecting suburb. He hadn't lost his shit when he saw her earlier, so she suspected the latter. Either way, she still thought one good turn deserved another.

"Hey, where you goin' stranger? Not staying for the parade? Hear there'll be a wet t-shirt contest later." Jogging up behind Marshal, she came up beside him, grinning ear from ear. "But seriously, though, good work in there. You know, we were just getting the barbie going for us and our new neighbours when this happened - you wanna come over for a hot dog and a cold one? Well, once the pros show up...my sister's currently directing traffic."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

"Oh. Heh." Marshal shoved his hands awkwardly in the pockets of his jeans and scrunched his shoulders. "I just figured. I mean - they got their kid back. All's well that ends well. They don't need me to stick around."

The invitation took him up short. It was tempting. So tempting. He imagined spending time with a family. Laughing, talking. Eating picnic food. He liked this woman. She was... spicy. He wanted to get to know her better.

With great effort, Marshal shook his head. "I can't. Sorry. It sounds really nice. Honestly. I wish I could... yeah. But I'm not really supposed to. Be around people, I mean. S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't want me to. They don't want to put anyone in danger. People are in danger if I'm around. I should just... go home. But thanks. For your help. And for... um... for asking."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

The McIvors

Okay, so she'd mis-read him a bit - but in a way, she was still right that S.H.I.E.L.D. had their mitts on this guy. He just didn't seem like a super willing member is all. Well then. This government agency was going to find out why most of the agencies in her dimension cringed when her case file came across their desks. A nice guy like this didn't deserve to be cooped up. She tucked her left arm into the crook of her right while the right hand stuck up like a flag, gesturing back toward the chaos.

"Uh, I dunno if you heard, but this dude in your body totally just dashed heroically into a burning house and saved a little kid's life. It was amazing. You shoulda been there." Her eyes wide with faux surprise, she grinned and dropped her right hand down to fall at her side, head angling up to look Marshal in the face. "What I mean is, looks to me like you get people out of danger. I still think you should come to dinner - and if you're real worried about putting someone in danger - don't worry, cupcake. I can take you out."

She winked, though the last line didn't sound exactly like a joke, nor did it sound exactly like a threat. It was more of a statement - and in Cait's brain, she was being reassuring.

Meanwhile, back at the house fire, the water spout suddenly seemed to be too much for the brave volunteers. The men were flung back onto the street as the hydrant went vertical, completely soaking everyone who wasn't already wet. Rhiannon staggered in the middle of the street. Belatedly, she realized that she might actually faint and the idea was horrifying enough for her to force her eyes open in an attempt to find something to focus on and steady herself. Her arm flung out for balance as she pitched forward and she felt someone at her elbow. She grasped their shoulder and pushed herself upright, leaning on them a tad more heavily than she would have liked. She really overdid it. Cait was going to have a field day.

The strange thing about Rhiannon's grip was that her rescuer wouldn't feel individual fingers on their shoulder - just a flat pressure. And if they looked carefully, they'd see that her gloved hand wasn't quite touching their shirt.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal hesitated. This approach - it had been the right one. He was tempted. Really tempted. Could he really just... forget about it all, for awhile? Just let go and relax?

"Um. Okay. Sure. Thanks," Marshal said. "That sounds really nice. Just uh... don't tell S.H.I.E.L.D., okay?"

He wouldn't drink. Not while picnicking with these people. Once he got started, he wouldn't be able to stop, and he didn't want to go down that road. Not tonight.

But he could eat. And talk - or just listen. For just a short time, he could remember what it felt like not to be alone.

***

"Whoa, hey - it's okay!" George said, letting Rhiannon lean on him as she fell forward. He steadied her, made sure she didn't collapse.

As for what she was doing... well, he wasn't quite sure. How, or why, or what was being taken. It didn't feel bad, though. It didn't feel threatening.

"It's okay," he said again. "Don't worry. Just take a minute. Do what you need to do."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

The McIvors

Cait's grin spread from ear to ear, but gained a mischievous bend. "I won't tell S.H.I.E.L.D. you came over for hot dogs. An' I hope you don't tell them that I used my abilities in public. I vaguely remember some sort of agreement that I might have been asked to sign to the effect. Enh." She shrugged, then looped an arm through Marshal's as though she were escorting him to her house.

Of course, that meant they had to walk back through the chaos. The firefighters had finally arrived with an ambulance in tow. It looked like the parents had their kid over there already, which was good news. At least they could figure out the next steps on their own. She spotted Rhiannon and George on the sidewalk, slowly making their way down the street and away from the crowd. It was pretty obvious that Rhys had done herself in with that little trick - even from 100 yards back, Cait could see her leaning on the man for support. She and Marshal caught up to the pair pretty fast, despite their having to manoeuvre behind the crowd in an effort to not get in the way - or get noticed.

"See, I told you there'd be a wet t-shirt contest!"

Rhiannon glanced over her shoulder to give her sister a withering look and was about to reply in kind when she noticed Marshal. He was covered in soot - and if Cait had dragged him along - possibly the man she'd heard brought the little boy out of the flames. Interesting. Also interesting that her sister was already hanging on him. Not that she should judge...but she did. What was she thinking just latching onto the first man she met? Really.

Breaking the awkward silence, Cait explained the situation. "I told him he should come for hot dogs - you know, to celebrate, be neighbourly and all that..."

"Lovely. Of course." The perfect sister paused and glanced at Cait. When no other information seemed forthcoming, she added. "I'm Rhiannon, this is George, our neighbour. He's been kind enough to lend me an arm."

Cait chuckled, finally catching her sister's silent prodding. "Oh yeah. I forgot - Cait. Nice to meet you." She hadn't let go of his arm, but offered Marshal her hand for a handshake nonetheless.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

Marshal got the distinct sense that the sister wasn't too happy with his presence. Which figured, of course. He wasn't exactly the kind of person you'd want to have hanging around - especially now, having just crawled out of a burning building.

"I'm Marshal," he said. "Nice to meet you all."

He shook the hand Cait offered, and then George shook hands with him too. "Nice to meet you too, Marshal," George said.

By this point, though, Marshal was feeling extremely awkward. It was clear he was an interloper in their gathering, and this was supposed to be a private party. He gently disengaged himself from Cait, then said as casually as possible to Rhiannon, "Your sister is being very kind, giving me a pity invite. But I see that you all had plans already. I don't wanna intrude. I'll catch you another time. Thanks, Cait, for... yeah. Okay. Bye."

It was time to go home.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

The McIvors

For a moment, Rhiannon seemed suspended in time. Her eyes were open a little wider than usual and her breath had caught which seemed to have frozen the rest of her. What had she just done? How had she made such a massive social blunder? By trying to enforce her idea of social behaviour on her sister. Which was not her place - or anyone else's. She forced air into her lungs and blinked, looking at Cait as if for confirmation of what she knew to be true. Cait was staring at her, clearly annoyed, which was also a fair response.

"Please Marshal, wait. I...my attitude had nothing to do with you or Cait's invitation. I just..." she paused, gently biting her bottom lip, contemplating leaving things unsaid. Her chin ducked down for a moment before she straightened her shoulders and lifted her head to look Marshal in the eye, if he would turn toward her. "I thought my sister was being rude by not performing a proper introduction and I realize that I sent some mixed messages. I'm sorry. Please, I would be most honoured if you would come for supper. We would be so glad to have you."

Cait had turned slightly as though she were going to follow Marshal. Though her face had certainly displayed her displeasure with her sister moments ago, it now held a sort of begrudging smirk. Rhys always did have a way with words.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

Seeing Rhiannon's stricken look, Marshal shook his head hastily and made a brushing gesture of dismissal of the apology. He didn't want her to think this was a bigger deal than it was. He wasn't exactly a prize, and he wouldn't have been surprised that she wanted to keep him far away from her sister. Not that he had any intention of making a move - toward anyone - but Rhiannon couldn't know that.

"No worries," he said. "It's okay. Honestly. Thank you - both of you - for letting me join you. I don't... uh... spend a lot of time with other people. Obviously. I appreciate you letting me hang out with you."

He definitely wasn't going to drink. He didn't want to miss any of this. That was an unusual situation - wanting to be present. He would enjoy it for as long as possible.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

McIvors and kith

Social disaster narrowly averted, Rhiannon breathed an internal sigh of relief. Cait even managed not to rub her nose in it, though perhaps that was only a brief reprieve afforded her by the presence of someone Cait currently found more interesting. Still, it was the idea of peace and she welcomed it. Before opening the door, she'd let go of George's arm, claiming she felt much better. Which was true, but she was more concerned about the children seeing her in a moment of weakness.

All of this pretense was forgotten once she entered the kitchen and surveyed the disaster. Gone were the concerns about looking proper in front of new people. Gone were the ideas that she needed to protect her image. Wide-eyed with shock, Rhiannon was about to go full mom. She was just opening her mouth when Cait stepped into the room and started laughing. Of course she would. She would find an entire kitchen splattered with ketchup and mustard amusing. It was everywhere. On the walls. The windows. The table. Rhiannon honed in on the one left in charge - Charis - who was also fairly covered in condiments, sitting at the table next to Annie, drawing pictures on the tablecloth in orange goop.

"We needed something to do, so I thought we could do some finger painting. But we didn't have any paint, sooo..."

"She might have eaten a little bit." Ewan piped up from his spot next to baby Mia. His glasses were spattered with mustard and the qualifiers he had chosen for his sentence were clearly understatements. Mia's hands and face were covered, though she child didn't seem to mind.

"Sheesh, you left the blind kid in charge of the baby?" Cait was pulling sodas out of the fridge, nonplussed by the horror show. She wandered over to Marshal and offered him a choice of cans - cola or fruit punch something. Whatever one he took, she'd pop the other for herself.

"It's not like she's going anywhere being in a carrier! She's totally safe!" the girl was on the defensive, ready to face any challenge her mom or her aunt were going to send her way. After a moment, the tough act crumbled and she bowed her head. "I mean, now that you're back, we'll clean up. 'cause it'll clean up easy. C'mon Annie, let's wash our hands. We're gonna have dinner soon."

She led the child to the sink and Rhys joined them, reaching for a glass she'd left on the counter. Before she could touch it, the glass scooted away into the backsplash, chipping the lip. Rhiannon took a deep breath and put both hands on the counter, steadying herself. If she could focus for a moment, she'd have everything back under control...

"Somebody's out of practice." She sang it like it was a child's schoolyard taunt, earning Cait a deadly glare. Deciding to ignore her sister for both their wellbeings, Rhiannon pressed her eyes shut and continued her efforts to focus. No such luck. Charis was gaping at her, the water gushing from the faucet temporarily forgotten.

"Mom, you used your powers?"

"But the man in the suit made you sign a paper..." Ewan added.

"Yeah, you signed a paper, Mom!"

Rhiannon let out a slow breath, wishing not for the first time she had less observant children. Or at least less vocal ones. "Are you going to get in trouble, Mom?" Ewan's voice was sympathetic. Now she felt even lower than she had before. Her shoulders sagged, cheeks reddening with embarrassment. How was this setting a good example for her children? Why hadn't she considered the ramifications her actions might have on their understanding of ethics?

"Well kids, you know what they say..."

"You're only in trouble if you get caught!" Charis finished with gusto.

"That's my girl!" Cait reached across Rhiannon to give her niece a fist-bump, which put her right in line with Rhiannon's exceedingly unimpressed stare. For the first time, Cait seemed to take the hint. She cleared her throat and added, "But you know that's just a funny line from a movie, right kids?" Rhiannon was not satisfied with this dodge and appeared ready to again move to ignore her sister completely and just try to get this dinner back on track. Cait watched in silence for a second while Rhiannon smiled down at Annie and helped her wipe her fingers before getting the dishcloth good and sudsy for the clean up and filling a salad bowl with water.

"Actually, gang, your mom made a really hard decision today. Yes, we agreed not to use our powers while we were here - but if your mom hadn't, there could be way more than just one family sleeping in a hotel tonight. She was very brave - and very careful. She did undercover hero work and you should be proud."

Rhiannon didn't pause on her way to the table with her bowl of suds and cloth, but she did spare an appreciative glance for Cait. It wasn't the best solution, but the situation hadn't made for easy decisions. Surely the aftermath couldn't be expected to be any different.

"Well if Mom used her powers to save people, what did YOU do, Aunt Cait?"

"I saved a hamster."

Gales of laughter came out of both Charis and Ewan. "A hamster? Hahaha that's so LAME!" Charis blurted out between giggles. Cait feigned offence before carrying on with her tale.

"Hey, furry lives matter too! But you know - the real heroes are over there - Mr. Marshal there saved a little kid from his burning bedroom! There was flames and smoke everywhere and he just wrapped him up like a big ol' burrito and jumped out the window with him! It was super cool." Charis was now eyeing Marshal with a sense of awe, and Cait carried on gallantly, "And Mr. George...uhh."

"Mr. George got the neighbours out of their homes and kept everyone at a safe distance from the fire. If it weren't for him, I couldn't have kept everyone safe." Rhiannon had swept in to the rescue when Cait realized that she had no idea what was going on outside of the house, herself having been inside looking for a boy and his hamster. She smiled at George, silently thanking him for his role in the day's events. Strangely, the matronly sister seemed much calmer now, almost serene. After all, what did she have to be upset about? They'd kept the neighbourhood safe - and no one saw her use her powers. Everything was going to be just fine.

"So, how about we celebrate with some hotdogs and potato salad and fruit, okay?" Rhiannon shook the bottles of ketchup and mustard lightly from side to side. "I hope everyone likes relish..."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

George Collins and Marshal Knox

Upon seeing the scene of mayhem, George was initially horrified. Both of his daughters were smiling, though - clearly Annie and Mia were having a blast. And where was the harm in it? Nothing a thorough bath and a load of laundry wouldn't fix. He would have to make sure to volunteer to help clean the kitchen before they went home, though. He shouldn't leave their hosts with the mess.

"Thanks for watching the girls," George said. In agreement with Cait, he added to the kids, "Your mother behaved very heroically tonight. She saved some people. I'm sure the people who asked her to sign the paper would understand why she needed to do what she did."

He smiled that Rhiannon thought he'd been useful too, even if his part hadn't been as dramatic. A faint blush may have formed just around the collar, as well.

Marshal said quietly to Cait, "It was good that you got the hamster, too. I'm serious. It's good that you cared enough. It would be a better world if more people cared. Glad you're okay, though."

At a few points in the time since they'd met, Marshal had wondered if Cait was flirting with him. Not that he minded, exactly - she was very pretty - but he knew where that road ended up. Women tended to go for this; the super soldier physique and the brooding temperament, the dark and mysterious past. At least, they liked it at first. With time, they would realize that the depression and trauma ran deep. That a wounded soul couldn't heal as easily as it did in the movies. Then the physical was all that was left. And then Marshal felt lonelier and emptier than he did when he was actually alone.

Not that he would admit that to anyone, of course. Guys were supposed to want it any time, anywhere. Who cared if he got objectified a little in the process? Right? He should count himself lucky.

And maybe he was reading the situation wrong, anyway. Maybe she just really wanted to feed him potato salad and crack jokes. He didn't think he would mind that. No, he certainly wouldn't mind that...
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