Don't Make It Weird
Roleplaying Log: Don't Make It Weird
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

In which Ghost Spider and Carolus chat awkwardly about interdimensional travel, bats, spiders, and the responsibilities of heroism.

Other Characters Referenced: Batgirl, Red Robin, Spider-Man.
IC Date: September 18, 2019
IC Location: Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 19 Sep 2019 17:24
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Wed Sep 18 23:13:20 2019 *

* * *

Late that night, the text message alert on Carolus's phone went off, displaying a contact that had no message history prior to this point.

MY BURNER PHONE

Hello. I assume you're somewhat more acquainted with things now.
Getting acclimated decently?
Any questions?
10:41pm

By the way.
How much webbing can you make in a day, would you say?
Also, you don't do it like an actual spider does, do you?
10:45pm

Conveniently, Carolus is STILL AT HIS AIRBNB, which Ghost Spider literally has directions to at her fingertips. The window of the apartment is open to the air outside, but the interior is dark. Like whoever is in there has long since gone to bed or left altogether.

This is not the case. There is a faint glow coming from what is doubtlessly a bedroom.

* * *

Carolus gets a text at what he can only presume is a dead stop, because it's a complete sentence.

MY REAL PHONE

It's probably not that on Carolus' contact list.

Hey. Actually no. Dealing with some stuff.
It's alright.
Why is there so much crime here?
10:52pm

It's totally thrown off, like all crime jaywalking through purse-snatching
got replaced by violent mugging.
10:53pm

Also that's a really personal question.
I can make as much as I need.
It's complicated science stuff.
10:55pm

Being conveniently at the same place that you still have a booking for isn't really a convenience, but when your non-ground-floor AirBNB has the window open, but gets a prominent 'knock knock' like a door, it's pretty easy to trace a straight line from A to B.

Hood dangling down, Ghost Spider peers into the dark room upside-down.

"Hey, dude, are you in here? Being creepy in the dark? My night vision's not THAT much better, you know. The lenses don't really help with it."

She may be exaggerating to not bother Carolus. She may not. The fact that along has come a spider to Carolus' window remains pretty much the same.

* * *

MY BURNER PHONE

Doing better than me. I'd be freaking out.
Gotham City is just like that, and the neighborhood we were in
is the worst around here.
It's because of the Asylum full of supers
I think.
10:55pm

Sorry. Used to talking to people who talk shop about that stuff.
10:56pm

This is around the time that Ghost Spider appears outside of the window. The dim glow of a screen inside the room is coming from a little too high, and the shadows are all strange in there. A humanoid figure drops down a moment later. Carolus flips the lightswitch on.

There is a cocoon hanging from the ceiling. It's not quite a complete cocoon, it's more like a hanging seat at the moment. There's some blankets pooled in the bottom of it.

The young man from the other day does not look like a homeless man today. His hair isn't /fixed up/ but it is smoothed down so that his antennae aren't particularly hidden by them. Actually they're set forward at the moment, so they stand out pretty badly. Also he has four arms. The wings aren't really prominent, he's got them folded.

"Still not a vampire." Carolus remarks, folding the fuzzier set of arms across his stomach as he looks out the window, "Come in if you'd like. I don't mind, and it'll be a bit less conspicious than this. Although I think people hanging onto the sides of buildings is common around here. The Bat-crowd, you understand. Spiders are more of a New York thing."

* * *

With a grip on the lip of the window, Ghost-Spider pivots on her wrist, and drops into the room from upside-down against the wall, which looks really graceful and natural until you spend a second to realize wrists don't work that way.

"Oh. Hey. You'e not. You're like…" She snaps her fingers, muffled in impact but still crackingly loud. "A fuzzy one of those dudes from Mortal Combat. Wicked."

Sticking a thumb to the inside of the window, she slides it shut and pads in, looking around.

"Does your rental let you throw those up? Pretty sure you're not getting your deposit back." She offhands, her snapped finger transitioning to a single finger gun at the silk hammock. "So, to head this one off: I don't produce web from my butt, I've got some gear for that."

Ghost Spider taps the inside of her off-hand's wrist and the sound rings more metallic than anything else: some sort of skin-close device. "So, like I said. Chemistry stuff. Works as long as there's water in the air, which is basically all the time."

Leaning back, the quintessential 5'5" girl trying to act tall, shoulders back in a 's'up?' posture, matching Carolus' crossed arms in analog. "I don't really expect to do any webcrawling in the Saharah anytime soon. Why's New York more of a spider-place?"

* * *

"You think I look like /Goro/?" Carolus wonders, eyebrows lifting in synchronization with his antennae. He looks at the ceiling, trying to decide exactly how he should take that. He makes a neutral noise and shrugs, "I've been compared to much worse things."

He glances at his cocoon, "Doesn't really matter, I do it in my sleep at least ten percent of the time if I don't do it manually. But I know how to clean them up, it won't be a problem. Makes sleeping a little more comfortable for me."

"Must get that question often. That's neat, though. It's not webbing, but my own silk requires increased caloric intake. Yours sounds more convenient. And it is definitely faster-deploying."

"New York is just where they typically are. Spider Woman, Spider Man. It's a more colorful and varied place than Gotham, but if I was to put an animal to New York City the way there is one to Gotham, it would certainly be spiders."

"Are you the only one where you're from?" He frowns a little, unfolding his auxiliary arms and plainly trying to figure out Ghost Spider's body language.

* * *

"What? You've got four arms and look like you hit the gym. Nothing wrong with that." Ghost Spider reasons, her good humor wet-blanketed by Carolus' 'I've been called worse'. "Guess you probably have."

Deciding that she wasn't going to stand-off intimidate the dude who looked like Mothra had a kid with a bicep, her shoulders slack and she - incrementally - peels up the bottom of her mask, letting the bunched-up cloth sit over her her nose, revealing her mouth — and allowing her to heave a big, pleased exhalation of breath. It's not a sigh, but more accurately a 'puah' of 'specifically breathing through advanced super-costume material for way longer than usual'.

"I don't… have a bag or anything, because normally when you have a final showdown with ninjas, you don't bring your backpack? So let me just…"

Ghost Spider traverses to the room's dresser, peeling two tissues out of a box with short and quick yanks before starting to towel off her neck and mouth. "Webs, that mask gets stuffy after a day."

Carolus has questions hanging in the air, so an apologetic smirk is turned back to the moth-man. "A mentor made me them. She didn't really have time for more than a crash course, but I've got pretty good instincts for not eating asphalt."

Grimace. Memories of last night flash through her head. "Usually."

"So that's why my dumb head threw up warning flags. Can't have a spider turf-war or something over names. I'm…"

"I'm the only Spider-Woman where I'm from. There's other people with stuff like superpowers, though."

* * *

Carolus brings both sets of hands together at the same time, a rather sheepish expression on his face. He nods, "I'm sorry. Not used to compliments on my appearance." He pauses, then adds, "That one is usually my fault, though."

"So thank you."

He tilts his head to one side in reply to Gwen's tissue-grabbing. Both right arms point towards a doorway, "Towels. Cabinet, middle shelf."

His wings vibrate lightly on his back, fluttering without moving much.

"'Usually'. Usually seems to come too often. 'Usually, the themed goons aren't carrying a laser pistol.' 'Usually, I don't trip and fall into another universe.' I…"

"Think that perhaps I left you rather less equipped than I intended. Did you sleep out there?" He asks.

"And what do you mean, warning flags? You were very…" His eyes flicked to her wrists, "Hair-trigger. Red Robin and Batgirl /are/ incredibly formidable, but not unless you're out to cause trouble. As you observed when you came here, they have rather enough of it to deal with without picking fights with stray hoods."

Hoods, because she has no cape.

With another flutter of his wings, Carolus nods, "Where there's one, there's always more. I come from a whole school of them. That's what Xavier's Institute is."

* * *

"You're out there rocking it. I wear hoodies so nobody starts making catcalls about the permit for my guns or whatever. You live your best life, Carolus, and I'll restrain myself from asking if your…"

Gwen vaguely gestures above her forehead. "… are real. I bet they are. And your wings are, you know, wobbling."

Gwen disappears into Carolus's bathroom with a stolen towel, and one audibly vigorous scrubbing later, returns, the towel left behind - laid across the shower//tub's lip.

"You have *themed goons* here? Man, it's like everyone here's living in an action movie all the time. Best I've got are ninjas, which aren't really a 'themed goon'. Also, I didn't trip and fall. I got sucked here. Like the dumb portal only wanted me."

Leaning against the doorframe of the bathroom, shoulder against the wall and balanced easily on one planted foot and the toe of her her turquoise 'shoe', Gwen re-crosse sher arms as she stands more comfortably than when she was drowning in her own awful face-sweat. "I've got a strict no-sleeping-in-garbage policy,-" another grimace "-and I've never tried to sleep stuck to something before, so… no." Her fingers splay out, as if anticipating the next question. "I ate though. Bought some street food after stopping a mugging and, you know, taking a twenty off the bad guy. Yes, yes, I know, it's stealing, but I didn't precisely bring my wallet, either, and none of my cards work here. Something about bank wire transfers across dimensions, I bet."

Her smile is thin, as she tries to joke through her intense, knife-cuttable levels of nonsense. "As for the warning flags, you ever try to swat a spider? Well, I've got a thing like that. I can tell when danger's coming - where it is, how bad it is. Going through that portal sent my head into full splitting migrane mode, and that Red Robin of yours was giving me hot flashes of 'here comes the arm', so, can't really blame me."

Her fingers close around each opposite bicep, straining slightly against the costume material with a soft tension-creak. "People tend to give me the business no matter what or where I am, so stray or not, I was expecting Round Two with American Ninja Warrior and his partner there."

* * *

"No. I, in the relative privacy of my lodgings, am wearing pajamas. You saw what I wear daily." Carolus corrects Gwen. He makes a small, neutral noise regarding his antennae, shifting them about purposefully, "They're real. I am not…"

He presses his hands together again, "I am not /troubled/ by my appearance, it is simply not convenient to be the Magnificent Moth Man at all times. And no, that isn't actually my code name."

He shrugs, "Themed goons, sometimes. My big adventure was an alien invasion. But Gotham in particular is colorful about its lunatics. The really dangerous ones are clowns, I think. And I will be sure to note the distinction in the future."

For the first time since she arrived, Carolus smiles at Gwen. Specifically, at her explanation of how she fed herself. He shakes his head, "You do what you need to do. It is not wrong to benefit from your special abilities, Ghost Spider. If you're feeling peckish, I have…"

He hesitates, "Just soda actually. Out on the coffee table. A few cherries and oranges left."

"And only rarely. I think I understand what you mean, though. You're not wrong about Red Robin. They weren't lying about being ordinary humans physically, you know. But they're still probably some of the most dangerous people you will meet, if you're lucky. 'American Ninja Warrior' is fairly accurate."

"They're just not /evil/ american ninja warriors. I know, it's shocking. Like finding a pair of silver dollars out on a rooftop."

He turns and approaches the hanging cocoon, his wings vibrating lightly enough to give him the lift to get back in it. Carolus turns around, one leg dangling from the edge of the cocoon.

Carolus looks deeply pensieve for a short while, before he says, "I won't be in Gotham much longer. But the furniture here is uncomfortable to me, and I think that…"

"I would sooner be responsible for allowing you the opportunity to do me harm than ask you to roam Gotham's streets tonight. So you are welcome to stay, if you like."

He drums a finger against his own leg, and smiles again, "Don't make it weird, Ghost Spider."

Lifting a hand and pulling his leg up, he draws what seems like a curtain of silk down from above the upper lip of the cocoon.

* * *

"I can… understand. I can take all this off, but I can't—"

Ghost Spider's expression becomes immediately more tense, more withdrawn. She's not the kind to bear out her soul to anyone - and she just met Carolus. The sleep deprivation helps, of course.

"—I can't let bad things 'just go'. These days, there's only two kinds of people with power. Only two."

She raises a steady index finger from her bicep. "Heroes, and villains. You don't get to be a bystander if you could have stopped something and didn't. People with power, they have a duty to help. To protect people, to serve as a shield. If you don't - if you abuse that - you're lower than scum."

Her voice has a tenor not of recitation, but of borrowed words for her own thoughts. There's pain there - loss, or grief - that seeps into the cracks of her tired voice. "That's why: Stealing is stealing is stealing." Gwen sighs, this time as if repeating someone else.

She, in fact, is.

"So, sorry, Carolus. 'What I need to do' is get home. Beating up people for benjamins is what the bad guys do."

Things progress towards 'hey, weird mask lady, go ahead and sleep in my bed, I'll be sleeping in my MOTH BOUDOIR', and Gwen snorts and shakes her head, the tired 'I have no idea what's going on, and at this point, I don't care' energy radiating from her.

"I don't think either of us have much to worry about, but if it's all the same to you, I'll sleep with my hood on. Sorry."

She moves over to the empty, pillow-ransacked and unused bed and slumps down to sit at the edge of it. "Making it *so* weird."

Spotting she doesn't have a pillow, Gwen snakes out an arm casually to shoot a web from her wrist out at a spare pillow with a quiet 'fwp!', and lasso's it back, fluffing it and setting it underneath her head.

She's out seconds after her head hits slightly sticky cloth.

* * *

"If you're uncomfortable with what you've done," comes Carolus's voice through the cocoon, "then there is time yet to make amends."

Silence, followed by a sleepy noise.

"I understand."

More silence.

In the characteristic drone of somebody barely awake he replies, "Don't make it weirdER."

Then, at last, Carolus stops speaking.

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