Auld Lang Syne
Roleplaying Log: Auld Lang Syne
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The Titans, old and new, as well as a few other friends ring in the New Year in their typical style - like sampling near-lethal alien dishes, underaged drinking, ugly (but awesome) Christmas sweaters, way too much sugar and…TWISTER?

Other Characters Referenced: Jessica Jones, Hawkeye (Bishop), Flash (Wally West), Superboy, Supergirl, Batman, Giovanni Zatara, John Constantine
IC Date: January 01, 2019
IC Location: Titans Mall, Long Island
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Jan 2019 06:22
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The holidays have hit the new Titans' hideout in a big way, if not due to the efforts of the members who love this time of year - Zatanna, especially. The communal living area is tastefully decorated with the typical trimmings of the season, with the Christmas tree being the focal point. The gifts underneath have long since been opened, leaving the pedestal empty, and additional lighting has been provided by illuminated spheres floating around, suspended on nothing but air. The semi-circular area has floor-to-ceiling windows on one side, overlooking the expanse of Long Island and in clear view of the falling snow. While those inside can see without, the opposite can't said to be true, thanks to Cyborg's security methods and holographic magic.

Tables are set up for food and drink - and plenty of it homemade; a few members have cooked up a storm in the large kitchen, a few classic Italian staples and Nico's dish, a family recipe, kept hot under a metallic lid. There's additional space on the end as well for those bringing in other treats. There are also coolers filled with ice and cans of soda and beer, bottles of wine and apple cider, and the classic fruit punch. There's also a jar, where people can place bets as to who gets to spike the fruit punch first.

The large screen and entertainment center is set up as well, music turned low, but audible enough to give the party some ambience. The playlist is rather electic, ranging from old-school classics like Sinatra to…well, more modern artists like Adriana Venti, and the ever-popular Dazzler. The high-definition television is tuned into the GNN broadcast of the New Year's Eve countdown in Metropolis, at the much larger and more public party at LexCorp Plaza. The timer shows that it's an hour before the big moment.

Glimpsed on television is one of them going on patrol. Conner Kent is running late, but the call of RESPONSIBILITY was too strong. He can be seen in his S-shirt and brand-new S-jacket flying around in the background now and then, keeping an eye on things.

It's still a little strange to be celebrating here instead of the Titans Tower, or even Gotham, but here she is. Zatanna is busily setting down the last of the finger foods on the table, dressed in elegant black partywear. For some reason, there's also a large bowl of grapes among the selections, clearly not part of a nefarious plan she intends to execute later after midnight.

Starfire is also full of holiday spirit… she is just not quite as used to Earth festivals as various others! Not that she has not had opportunity to learn, and to share in those local traditions. But what would the entire time of coming-together be worth if she did not bring something of her own life to share?

Which is to say, Kori helped!

In places, this is evidenced no more than in various decorations, excessive colorful bunting and sparkly celebratory '2019s' plastered all over and sometimes at odd heights. Because of the flying! She has also helped in one other relevant way: there is a dish, all alone and somewhat separated from the more familiar Italian offerings, sitting at the end of the table. It is a large, vaguely football shaped… blob, of some kind. It is purple. It is garnished with something that looks like yellow coral. It is probably technically edible, at to nine-stomached Tamaraneans. Other brave souls will have to make their own judgements!

Other than this, she is all ready for the party, in a long, sequin gown, her hair again piled up in some truly incredible curling do. As they are starting, she has her phone out. "Dick will be coming later," she reports, standing by some of the refreshments. "He must attend the many galas for Bruce, and also the police association function."

Nico Minoru is used to living into kind of weird places in kind of weird locations. Weird is a good word. She has not had a lot of normality in her life, especially given her recent adventure in the mystical realm of "Upstate." But that was then. This - is now.

Nico went to Williamsburg probably on some hipster errand and came back in a way better mood. Right now she has moved out from her chosen shopfront-domicile, which - aha, you thought it actually would be Hot Topic or something, right? Well she certainly dragged some pieces FROM that section but Nico has ACTUALLY planned ahead, and she made her lair in the mattress outlet, which had a fair amount of stock abandoned in place due to, you know, mattresses being hard to move around.

Nico has dressed down, probably. It's hard to tell. It is a T-shirt with a moth silk print on it, one sleeve made of mesh, and a long pleated skirt that seems to have been made out of salvaged stage-curtain velvet. It's probably warm. If Zatanna looks carefully she can see some telltale openings: It has pockets. She is also wearing comfy grey slippers.

The joys of home.

"I've heard that one before," Nico answers Kori's statement, before looking towards the assortment before them. A blob. Yellow coral crunchies. "So tell me about this," she asks the Tamaranean woman.

Nico's contribution to the spread was like forty onigiri. The filling is canned salmon simmered in a little garlic, ginger and brewed soy sauce. She ran out of nori strips halfway through so deal with it.

Despite the minor detour that Bart had taken in that his feet had out of reflex took him down to the original Titans headquarters, the young speedster's still here without issue. He hadn't bothered to get very fancy for their party and by now was sick of wearing suits for Business Stuff (TM), but at least he still looks relatively presentable with black pants and a burgundy sweater.

It also comes with a giant pink cat cape as Clawmy's attached herself to him, big paws draped over his shoulder with her head propped over one as he more or less drags the cougar-sized feline around while he scopes out the food table, a cup of fruit punch already in hand while it's still safe from tampering. He tries not to make a face at the onigiri but picks out one to satiate an all too nosy kitty before she can stuff her face into the plate.

"Is this cat-safe?" he asks Nico-wards, even as Clawmy nearly takes off his fingers with the rice ball she eats whole.

The magician is clad in a short, black cheongsam with a modified silhouette, sleeveless with a metal clasp that keeps the high collar secure and opens up to a keyhole neckline at her collarbones and embroidered with a phoenix on her left side, crimson threads working with black satin in a creative rendering of the magnificent bird through the use of positive and negative space with both colors. Like the alien supermodel, her hair is up in a loose pile of curls, a few of them pulled forward to frame her face.

"Thanks for your help decorating, Kori. I love your dress!" Zatanna says, though she, too, turns a curious eye on the alien football dish on the other side of the table, leaning in until she's on eye-level with it. "Everything looks great!" Word on Nightwing has her nodding once, unable to help herself from taking one of Nico's onigiri and setting it her plate - she's starving. "We'll try and set aside some food for him when he gets here, but I figured being Bruce's firstborn…" So to speak. "…the holidays are a busy time for him."

Nico's appearance gets her a wave, and a faint squint at the telltale openings in her outfit, but it does look comfortable, and she wonders whether she should have opted to wear pajamas instead. But she has guests arriving from the city and those whom she hasn't seen in a while. The effort, to her, was necessary - she was looking forward to seeing Bucky and Jane again. Nico's query about the alien dish has her looking over at the supermodel curiously as well. "I've been wondering what that is, too," she confesses.

With Bart already feeding his cat-cape, Zatanna blinks at the dressed-down speedster. "Wow, you mean there's actually something you don't like eating?" she wonders.

Having spent some time alone outside, Raven's meditation session has been (more or less) a successful point of personal reference and review. She hasn't been out of practice in the least, but the change of scenery really makes a difference from being enclosed within the blank walls of her room. Hopefully those walls don't stay blank forever, but the amount of curtains she's hung up around her living space can only do so much.

And what do people do after being by themselves for a long time? Do they go to seek out company to know they're not completely alone?

NO of course not — they continue being a loner.

And that is what Raven plans for. Spending time alone. As soon as she returns to her private quarters in the abandoned mall, she slips into something more comfortable: namely, the oversized, incredibly soft black hoodie that she got from Zatanna for Christmas, that engulfs her slim form, black leggings and warm black socks adding to her now-shapeless nature.

She would have been fine to lay out on her bed for the rest of the night. Her stomach, on the other hand, demanded something small to snack on. So she listened.

As of now, her senses are a little late on informing her of things going on in the communal living area. The peaked hood that obscures her face bobs as she stares for a few seconds. "…Um."

It may be a little too late to backtrack, but that's not going to stop her from trying.

It's been a long while since Bucky and Jane could check in with Zatanna and Tim and the rest of the Titans — certainly not since before the mess with registration suddenly went full-tilt. In the chaos of demonic invasions, and Tony Stark being put into a Poor Decisions Coma, and the Avengers needing to formulate A Plan to tackle the registration act, there hasn't been time to look in for a few months.

There hasn't even been time for PS4, which is a sore trial to Bucky Barnes. He's been inseparable from Tim Drake's gift of long ago, ever since it was given.

But the holiday season provides a good excuse for people to slow down, smell the roses, and ask their friends how they're doing after being assaulted by demonic dragons from Hell, so James Barnes and Jane Foster have popped over at least for a little while. Out of deference to the team's choices with regard to registration, they don't ask where the new base is; they just show up via portal.

The erstwhile Winter Soldier, killer of men, breaker of the enemies of the Soviet state, hidden blade of the Avengers, and all-around tough guy… is currently obscured from the waist up by a stack of tupperware that appears to contain a whole bunch of Jane's cooking. A housewarming gift for the new base, it seems. Troublingly enough, though, the sleeves of whatever he's wearing — visible around the stack of tupperware — are a distressing shade of puce green, salmon red, and patterned white.

The stack of tupperware moves towards Zatanna. "Hi, Zatanna." He sounds disgruntled. "Tell me where I can put this? Though actually, you can take your time. I'll just stand here holding it as long as possible."

Hey guess what? Red Robin is dressed like a person!

Well, kind of.

He's not wearing a costume in the traditional sense, because Zatanna wanted a team New Year's party and he wasn't going to be a source of disappointment if he could help it. No, he's wearing civilian clothes, tailored jeans (though for some reason he has reinforced boots on, perhaps expecting to have to kick some League of Shadows assassins about to jump out of a cake) and a nice dark burgundy dress shirt that's untucked at the waist to add a more casual edge. Over that, the vigilante is wearing a blazer.

Oh, and he has his jaggedly designed domino mask on, its white lenses completely hiding his eyes.

Because, yes, there's still people around who don't know who's actually behind that mask - and worse, he knows that Zatanna had decided to invite some adults. Now they weren't really strangers, but still. Secret identities are secret identities.

"Yeah, sorry, Raven, you're stuck now," the Titans' leader tells the half-demon, with a bit of sympathy in his tone. "It's fine, you might wind up having fun. Just watch out if Starfire gets into the wine, she seems like a huggy drunk."

"It is Changralynian bloat-worm, garnished with- well, it does not translate well. It is a… silicate-vegetable?" Is that a thing? Is Kori just randomly connecting science words?

Whatever the case, she answers Nico with a broad smile. "On my planet it was considered a delicacy, and they were imported. It was difficult aquiring a fresh one in this system." Difficult?! Well, there are some other space heroes and they must get up to nonsense on occasion. Whatever the case, Starfire has her methods!

"You may find the exterior a little chewy, but I believe I was able to cook it at a high enough temperature to begin dissolving the triple-bonds and that its inner cavity should have filled quite flavorfullly."

So, after all of that horrifying explanation, she offers a bright smile, and leaves Nico to make an IMPORTANT LIFE DECISION. She on the other hand turns back around to Zatanna, gasping in a bight of joy herself. "Oh, you look wonderful as well! Please enjoy the upcoming orbital period! And there is the Robin." She laughs, noticing the mask topping his formal attire. "How very handsome."

"Uh," Nico says to Bart, with some concern, "probably? I drained the sauce but it had a little garlic in it. But, Clawmy's huge? I guess it may be too late now, but hold on - should we like, ward these?"

And then, drifting down, is a spot of darqueness. Nico looks up at her immediately. "Oh hey! We're doing new year's! Here, you want a rice ball?"

Nico grabs one for herself. She is in the process of eating it when she turns and looks at the Giant-Sized Tupperware-Thing. "*chew*" is Nico's immediate response, followed by, "Uh hold on —" Nico then moves to swiftly rearrange at least some space, which involves moving the bloat worm.

Looking at it, Nico contemplates the possibility of death vs. the possibility of making Kori feel like someone ate her stuff. On the one hand, she could die, and on the other hand, is that a down side? She begins to get a slice of it, though she goes easy on the garnish.

"Hey Red Robin," she calls. "You look chic as sh - as heck."

"…I'm sure she's eaten a lot of stuff she's not supposed to…" Bart says dryly as he watches Clawmy lick off his hand.

He blinks at Zatanna before making a bit of a face that might just solidify any doubts about age apparent versus age in actuality. "Raw fish is gross," he explains. He reaches for a bread roll before pausing just before he can touch it, swapping his drink to that hand so he can pick up said food without anyone else losing their appetite.

"Did you say worm?" he asks as he glances over at Starfire, squinting then at the dish she'd apparently prepared. He's…not sure what to think of that one. At least it's cooked?

Nearly falling over as something or someone catches his cat's attention and slips off of his back, Bart turns and then grins and waves over at Raven as the oversized pink feline trots on over to greet the black-clad Titan. And then Bucky and Jane arrive, gaining a grin in greeting as well as he gravitates towards Bucky to inspect whatever food they might have brought.

"Hey guys. Nice sweater."

Raven doesn't seem too surprised that the semi-casual Red Robin is presently right there next to her, and she tries very hard not to roll her eyes upward now that she can't disappear on the rest of them.

"Hhf. Fine," she says under her breath, shoulders going slack as she follows along. "I'll stick around for a bit."

Now that Nico spots her, the comfortable black blob offers a halfhearted wave before extending that greeting to everyone present. "Hello— " she starts, only to have a bright giant pink cat zone in and almost knock her over. Instead, Raven bobs in place, giving Clawmy a look. "…And a Happy New Year's Eve."

"A Changralynian…" Zatanna glances at the purple-and-yellow dish with an audible swallow. "…it's nice of you to go through all the trouble, Kori, of course, I'll try some." There. She makes her promise. She's not backing down now that she's given her word.

See? This is what happens when you try to be nice!!

Though the moment she says that, Starfire directs her attention to Red Robin, still incognito, to whom she gives a smile and a wave of her hand - and an approving look, when he traps Raven and prevents her from escaping. "Hi, Red," she greets. "Raven, have some food. Kori made something interesting." Almost too interesting.

But she'll have to sample the alien dish later when the portal opens up and a pile of tupperware comes out of it, moving towards them. She furrows her brows a little bit, considering she can't see who's behind it, but with his familiar voice, her ice-blue eyes widen. "…Bucky, Jane!" Her expression lights up as she turns to move towards the growing collective of Responsible Adults in the room. "That's so much…did Jane abuse her kitchen again? You didn't have to do all this, but I bet the team'll be thrilled! Koriand'r's got nine stomachs, and Impulse eats enough for an entire army, and the Flash came back and started hanging out and he also eats a hundred times his weight in food, you really don't want to see the grocery bill every w— "

She eyes the visible arm and the striations of distressing color she finds at the cuff of his sleeve. "…eek…?"

She takes a few of the tupperware, pushing them on Bart's waiting hands to assist the newcomers with their burden, in an effort to glimpse what's behind the stack. Her bright expression grows all the more, grinning openly. "I think it's cute!"

And, aside from the rest of the demons and Tony-related panics — another lingering issue that has kept Jane Foster's time, in particular, a bit strained.

It seemingly followed after her first and unforgettable adventure up into space — a flu she considered, for months, dogging her, and never quite healing no matter how much rest she has (or has not, frankly) given it. A doctor has given her a recent diagnosis of chronic migraines —

And, honestly, Jane is still struggling. Trying to balance life, especially that over the hectic holidays, with a constant pain-pressure behind her eyes, and the nausea. Trying to balance underplaying it too, because she can't take the guilt that comes up with each worried glance Bucky gives her.

Either way, today is a better day — better enough to have her the fiend responsible for all those tupperware dishes nearly blocking the ex-Winter Soldier from sight.

Popping out from that portal, Jane Foster has gone for the casual end of things, dressed down in jeans and a requisite ugly Christmas sweater. Her oversized, fluffy number is blue, white, and stitched with decorative patterns of —

— Artoo dreidels.

http://blogdebrinquedo.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Hanukkah-Droidel-Dreidel-R2-D2.jpg

Because there is even a market for the Jewish Star Wars ugly sweater nerds.

"Zee!" Jane chirps on arrival, just as tiny and underslept as ever, but with enough energy to capture her friend in a hug. "It's been so long. I'm so sorry we haven't visited sooner. Eat everything, seriously! There's venison stew — don't ask. I made some homemade stuffing. And there's dumplings. And stuff for you! I made you Sister's Stew! Oh god, that sounds nerdy. It's from Game of Thrones. I have a cookbook — it's fish. Thanks so much for having us."

From the corner of her eye, Jane notices Tim. She seems to lag on him a moment, out of costume — though the domino mask clues her in, and her face gentles with familiarity. The rest of the Titans, however, are somewhat new faces to her, though she double-takes on Nico — perhaps recognizing.

Bart's beeline to the food lights up Jane. "Eat!" she encourages. "Eat everything!"

"That's right, it's mandatory fun night," Red Robin assures Raven, though he's mostly joking. What is definitely not a joke, though, is Starfire's provided dish. That, actually, looks a little bit terrifying.

Fortunately, he doesn't have to worry about that, right now. Because his current appearance is being discussed.

The vigilante looks down at himself, then shrugs his shoulders, as though the compliments directed his way were actually questions about why he would do such a thing, instead of showing up in his superhero costume. Maybe he's nervous about the very idea of wearing (mostly) civvies in this context, like he's expecting Batman to drop from the ceiling at any moment and give him a disappointed glower.

"It seemed like the thing to do," he says. "I thought everyone else was going to dress up."

Which is, of course, when he looks over at Bucky, who's hiding some kind of disaster behind a stack of tupperware, while Jane is very proudly wearing her own very ugly sweater.

"Sergeant Barnes," he says, formal as always. "Doctor Foster. Welcome to the clubhouse."

A short pause.

"Okay we're not actually calling it that, we need a better name for it."

Late. Cyborg is late. There could be a lot of reasons why he's late but most of them probably stem from something angsty and annoying that he doesn't want to think about any more. The good thing about being mostly robot is that he can partition his memory and make certain things go away for extended periods of time. It makes him less human but everything has a price. Even remaining sane in a world that's going insane.

It's almost silent when Cyborg teleports in. There's very little fanfare that surrounds his arrival, as Stealthporting is a new feature he's been trying out. He's pretty sure people could see him on his way in because of whatever technological tomfoolery special effects are available. There's likely even a sound effect that goes with it. It's a whole thing.

Anyway, one of Cyborg's arms seems to have been made into a huge hand cart that could be found at a local grocery. There's even a little sign that he's made up to go with it: 'Vic's'. It's a joke. But the dozens of bags of various flavored edible products of the sugar based variety are piled upon themselves in this weird extension of the Cyborg.

There's really not much else for him to say, especially with the amount of donut crumbs all around his mouth, but: "… I brought snacks." And Vic plasters on a huge smile to fight the angst within.

"Yes Bart! Are they not still popular in the future? Or perhaps the manner of preparation has improved? Reaching the required temperatures using the equipment here was something of a challenge." Cyborg may in fact discover he'll have to do some repairs, to undo some of the odd jury-rigging Kori did with the appliances.

Regardless of any changes in cullinary attitudes throughout the centuries, Starfire looks unreasonably pleased once Nico begins cutting the worm! Oh, and even Zatanna says she will try it. This is obviously a wonderful day! Doing a delighted pirouette that takes her briefly into the air, she clasps her hands together and then turns to see some of the other guests as they approach, forgetting her dish for now.

"Oh, your sweater is wonderful!" she tells Jane. "What a curious device. What is its function?" Between Star Wars (which she always thinks is a documentary) and the extra religious flavor, she misses the reference by miles. And then, in predictably distracted fashion, she sees Cyborg with his mighty arm-cart of treats. "Wonderful!"

"The fish is cooked, you're smelling the soy sauce," Nico tells Bart. She then smiles at Jane, her earrings (long cut garnets, black tapered to red) swaying a little as she steps away from the table. "Dr. Foster, right?? Hi! Wow. I haven't seen Ms. Marvel buuuut hey!"

Nico stalls on the worm to slip around. "AWESOME" she calls to Vic. After this she looks towards Red Robin and points towards him, then her eyes, then back to him. An invitation to the Batusi? No. She looks back to Jane to ask: "How's Darcy doing?"

She takes a bite of the worm without thinking about it because it's in her hands. She looks down a moment later. At least, Nico thinks, there's a doctor right here?

But is she THAT kind of doctor.

At least there's a sergeant, Nico concludes, before she chews three times and swallows.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can
Shows up late, to the fun,
Blames it on a police run.
Look out!

"Here comes the Spider-Man oh my god I'm so late so sorry I was just running from the pooohhhhhh hey look it's the g-men nevermind anything about what I just said perfectly normal reasons I'm late. Hi."

And so it is that the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man arrives in his neighborhood: late, and rambling. But in a friendly way. Swinging in — literally — after a spirited debate about the ethics in web-slinging with a very nice gaggle of law enforcers who only brandished their weapons and shot and him a couple times (it's the holidays!), the webbed vigilante releases the web-line held in his right hand as he lands in the midst of the festivities as he makes his slightly aborted announcement (observant readers will note the very subtle way he turns and looks directly at Bucky Barnes and then obviously startles before making his commentary about g-men). The left? Holding onto a container with a very securely adhesive grip.

Which probably isn't the most noticeable thing about him, considering he's also wearing a charcoal gray suit and slacks combo over his usual costume that is at least one or two sizes too big for him and also the button up beneath is mostly undone and the off-black tie looks like it might have seen better days and LOOK you try finding something nice second-hand when you're on a tight budget FOR SECOND HAND.

What is he, made of money?? Shut up.

"Hey, hi, hello, Happy New Years, I brought, uh," Spider-Man opens his tupperware. Peers inside with squinting lenses.

"Churros? With chocolate sauce??"

Where did he get that, that he obviously didn't know what was in it beforehand—?

A second passes by. He looks around him. At Nico and Raven and Red Robin's relatively casual wear. At Jane's horrendous sweater. His lenses squint.

"Ugh. Oh my god. Oh my god! I thought this was like a black tie thing!" Looks down. "Or like. Off-black! Ish!" And then he looks to Zatanna. And Koriand'r. Wearing, like, the fanciest dresses ever. His head slowly tilts.

"… well now I'm just getting mixed messages."

At least he brought churros (??).

"Hi, Bart," says the Ambulatory Tupperware. He still sounds pretty disgruntled, honestly, and he doesn't say much as Jane makes the requisite explanations of What's in the Tupperwares, other than to maybe sigh a bit at 'it's from Game of Thrones.'

The reason why is slowly revealed as Zatanna and Bart start to help unburden the load of food, and Nico clears a space for it. Slowly, piece by piece, is revealed — !!

https://tinyurl.com/y7o6bpj5

Jane picked out their sweaters to match, apparently, because James Buchanan Barnes has been reassigned to ReindeerTrooper. The look he gives Tim as he approaches might contain a hefty shade of 'please help.' "Hey, Red. — We talked about the sergeant thing, or at least I think we did. No need to be formal, especially not with… you know…"

The sweater speaks for itself, in the silence.

"Anyway, 'clubhouse' seems to suit fine," he continues, looking around the repurposed mall. "Shame you all had to clear out of the Tower, though."

Kori's commentary on Jane's sweater draws his eye. "Its function is being Jane's favorite thing on the entire planet, apparently," he says dryly. "The number of times she made me watch Star Wars…"

He trails off, because he just noticed Spider-Man wearing an actual suit over his costume. "Now I feel underdressed," he says.

Once a suitable application of fur has been applied to Raven's hoodie, Clawmy saunters over to headbutt Tim in passing as she returns back towards the food and the- OOH NEW PEOPLE.

…she's gotten a little better with Zatanna and Tim to the point she's mostly forgiven them for landing on her that one time.

Hopefully Jane and Bucky don't have any cat allergies as the giant pink cat wanders over to properly sniff and greet them hello friends you brought food are you friends you are friends now.

Bart's still grinning as he takes the tupperwares from Bucky to set on the table. "You guys got fun sweaters! Next time we should have a sweater party!" He disappears in a blink to wash his hands so won't accidentally forget the catlick all over his fingers. Then it's time to grab a plate and start piling things high! Jane says eat. Oh, he most certainly will!!

"Oh awesome! Can never have too many snacks!" he chirps Cyborg-wards, adding to his plate. He pauses at Starfire's dish again, squinting at it as though he expects them to move. "Uuuuh I don't think I ever ate worm anything in the future," he says, but he cautiously adds one to his dish anyway, just to try. It's almost instantly forgotten in lieu of CHURROS ala Spider-Man.

"Hey Spider-Guy! Aw, yessss!" Never mind that even Spider-Guy is confused about what he'd brought, it's CHURROS.

Another look flickers in Red Robin's direction, the joke understood as Raven grants him a small smirk. Violet eyes then dart over at the table, specifically looking at the worm dish Starfire has prepared, then back at Zatanna with a hint of an arched brow. Her response is slightly delayed, but it comes with a trying smile. "…Sure."

Will she? Will she? Maybe. If she doesn't think about it too hard.

Touching down and dusting off the uneven stripe of pink fur lining the bottom of her hoodie, she picks her way over to the table, only to stop momentarily as Jane and Bucky show their themed ugly holiday sweaters. And she nods. She doesn't understand it either, but they're definitely statement pieces.

Momentary distraction from Cyborg's cart of various sweets is noted, reminding herself to at least try one since she's now putting together a plate. "Very much appreciated, Cyborg," she replies, keeping her own feelings about being here masked. That gets bolstered further once Spider-Man appears in suited in another suit on top of the suit he constantly wears, withholding a sigh and a flat look during the mild Spider-rant. "…You're fine as you are. If it helps, I didn't know either."

"Hey, Red," Jane calls back to Tim. "Been way too long. But I like what you've done with the place."

A certain wistfulness affects her eyes — a momentary, sobering reminder of why a place like this is even necessary. The whole world is changing on them, so much so, in a matter of months.

But she doesn't let registration burden her mood for long. Instead, Jane glances over as the tall glamourous alien supermodel compliments her sweater. There are fewer things in the growing years that makes Jane Foster blush, but this certainly is one, as she pinkens slightly in the cheeks.

Then Bucky's intervening comment breaks it up, and her eyes roll. "Ignore him," she advises. "His life was bleak and empty before Star Wars came into it. But it's ah — R2D2! He's the sassiest droid ever met, redesigned as a driedel! But the function is, essentially, gambling. Because that's how you're supposed to spend Hanukkah."

A smile quirks her mouth, and she offers a hand to Starfire. "Anyway, I'm Jane! Nice to meet you!"

Her attention pivots as Nico finds her way closer. "Same with you — call me, Jane, please! None of that formal Red Robin nonsense. I recognize you from the Asgard party. And Darcy is — Darcying. Old friend of mine. Tony Stark owns her now. She's probably driving him crazy. Or him driving her crazy. Or some co-dependency of crazy driving —"

Her attention drifts. Cyborg earns Jane's eye, and a bit of a wave, though with a lingering flush of — oh god look at all that glorious tech. And Raven — she notices. But who is holding herself a bit away from the party. She considers — she gets introversion, it's her default state, but —

And then there's a giant pink… cat.

Jane stops, eyes wide, peering down on Clawmy. For a moment, she's very very still, because that's the sensible thing to do when a giant cat is sniffing at you. But the nervousness only lasts an instant. Because a beat later, she's kneeling slightly, and murmuring a, "Well, who are you? Hello there! You are so enormous and so pretty!" while petting the giant cat with great, great adoration. She's found the token pet in the party. She's lost.

Her eyes flick up as she hears Spider-outrage. Her grin widens. "Aww, you look so smart! You look like you're about to go on a job interview! For… spiders! It's super adorable."

Engulfed in a hug, Zatanna squeezes Jane warmly, as if reunited with a long lost sister. "I love your sweater!" she exclaims. "Red'll probably love it too, he's a huge Star Wars nerd." There's a mischievous look cast the Titans leader's way once he meanders close enough to greet their visitors. "And I can't wait to try your Sister's Stew." A gesture to Bart, her hand ruffling his hair a little. "This is— oh, you know him! Bart'll definitely eat everything. And this is Koriand'r. The one in the hoodie is Raven, that's Cyborg, there's my goth-sister, Nico Minoru, and I think the two of you know Spidey already. Hey guys, say hello to Bucky and Jane!"

And when the large, pink cat comes up to them, she also introduces it. "This is Clawmy."

She makes a quick tour of the faces in the crowd that the Winter Soldier and Dr. Foster might not recognize, but with the tupperware relieved from Bucky, she attempts to nudge the 'responsible adults' towards the center of the gathering. "What do you guys think of the new digs? It's so 90's, I love it." Was Zatanna even old enough to remember the nineties? "We're going to have a few latecomers in, maybe, but please, make yourselves at home, there's beer, and wine…" She drops a whisper in Bucky's ear. "I stole something from Daddy's stash for you, it's the black bottle with the gold seal."

In case he wants something stronger.

With Cyborg and Spider-man bringing more food in, she waves to them both. "There's extra space at the table, so go ahead and start eating. If you're really curious about trying something new, Kori made the purple-and-yellow dish. It's alien!" Not the most ringing endorsement, but it might be enough of a draw if people are feeling adventurous. Moving past Red, her hand brushes over his sleeve, squeezing his forearm once as she goes. Nico and Raven get a grin and a thumbs-up, recognizing the Christmas presents she has given them.

The LexCorp New Year's bash being broadcasted on television is in full swing, and Adriana Venti has just taken the stage, lip-syncing a storm. There's a familiar face among the crowd of WOO!-girls that were just pulled from the crowd and onto the stage and— wait, is that Jessica Jones? She looks extremely unimpressed.

And in the same camera angle, there's a glaring head of red hair present, whom most of the Titans will recognize as Wallace West, dancing with the rest, and completely oblivious to all the break-up texts that are lighting up the smartphone held in his hand.

Vic makes sure to drop off all the snack cakes, regular cakes, pies, fruit snacks, Scooby Snacks (he keeps like six boxes for himself though), donuts, ice cream, ice cream cakes and two fruits onto empty space on the table of foodage. Mostly so he can turn his arm back into an arm.

An arm he finally wipes his previously eating donut mouth with.

"Sup, everybody?" Cyborg's feeling a lot better than he has for a long time and he's turning his Jovial Teammate program up a few notches. "Kori made what now?" Vic's optic zooms in on the purple and yellow substance and about seventy eight warning pop-ups appear inside his optical display. When a final ERROR message hits, Vic shakes his head to clear it out and steps a bit further away from that part of the table. "… maybe after a couple upgrades. And by upgrades I mean beer."

Vic shoots a finger gun at various types and offers high fives to others as he mingles his way across the room, a plate of non-alien edible substances ready to be chowed upon. "Am I DJing tonight?" is asked of anyone that was in control of this whole shindig creating. A holo-turntable appears next to him as he starts both eating and crafting a party playlist. Robots, man. Robots.

"Oh. I see," Starifre answers the man slowly being revealed from behind the tupperware as he explains the festive robot dreidl. She actually watches this process of his unveiling with some curiousity, as he is not a guest she knows, and so there's quite a bit of mystery and suspense as he's revealed! Turning to Jane, she adds: "It is good that you wear a rememberance of the war amongst the stars. We should never forget such things. I am called Koriand'r, Second daughter of the First House of Tamarus, of the planet Tamaran. It is a pleasure to meet you, Jane."

Zatanna helps, but she offers a more thorough introduction. And if Jane likes space stuff, well she just hit the jackpot…

"Oh, and it is also good to finally meet the man behind the plastic, hello Bucky!"

And then she twirls on Cyborg. "Oh, do not be frightened of the bloat worm, friend Victor! It has been cooked sufficiently to avoid any lethal effects." The most important step, for certain! "However I believe there are also the more traditional Earth treats, beyond those which you brought. Zee did the most wonderful of cooking, as always!"

"I should've worn my Three Porg Moon shirt," Red Robin says, when Zatanna cruelly outs him as a Star Wars nerd. Of course, if he'd done that he wouldn't be at least sort of dressed up, which is not as dressed up as Spider-Man is, or some of the girls. On the other hand, Raven is basically wearing a Goth Snuggie.

Zatanna gets a sidelong glance, though, when she touches his arm in passing; it's difficult to see it, really, because he's wearing the mask, and also she can't see his eyes, but he does give her a bit of a grin as well. "Are you actually gonna eat the bloat worm?" he wonders of the witch. "I figured this is exactly why you went vegetarian." Though for all he knows, it's technically fish, and she has no excuse or escape.

The attempts to make him be less formal towards Bucky and Jane leave the detective slightly discomfited, as attempts to dismantle his carefully crafted defense mechanisms often do, but… Hey, it's a party, right?

"Okay, Bucky it is then, at least for tonight. And Jane. Everybody should probably start eating, though, before Zatanna starts magically forcefeeding us. Or giving us the sad Disney princess eyes."

Both are a terrible danger.

"Cyborg you should definitely DJ, we need some tunes. I just got the PA system working again the other day, too, you can tap in to that…"

And then there will be no escaping from the party.

None.

"It's not — what? It's not super adorable, or even regular adorable!" insists Spider-Man, very insistently.

"It's stylish—"

Whereupon he lifts a hand to gesture at himself, only to notice said hand is lost within his oversized sleeve.

"oh come on suit seriously"

And, so defeated, Spider-Man hangs his head and sad Charlie Brown walks to the table, intent to set out his churros.

"Yep, that's me, Spider-Guy, with the churros," he says, voice full of lament (??) aout his loss. "Why isn't it 2019 yet — AH XENOMORPH EGG"

And this is Spider-Man's amazed declaration as he slides his container choked with churros and chocolate onto the tabletop, lenses widening dramatically. He is, of course, referring to the fine, coral-esque dining that Starfire has brought along. And because he knows nuance, the second Zatanna explains what it is, he squints just a little bit.

"Great now I feel kind of space racist. Sorry! Really sorry! It looks—"

" — interesting!"

Long silence passes.

"Really interesting!"

And then he just slaps his palm against his face.

"(oh my god now i just sound like i'm sniping am i sniping i'm going to have to eat some of this now aren't i)"

Why isn't it 2019 yet.

Jane is now officially a New Friend for Clawmy as the cat, big as a mountain lion as she is, acts and for the most part looks just like an ordinary house cat. Just pink. And well, huge.

"Ugh, I ran out of hands," Bart sighs, holding two heaping plates of food that have somehow doubled in size between arrivals and introductions. He endures the hair-fuzzling from Zatanna, smiling crookedly at Jane. Then he goes to find a table to plunk them down so he can dig in, because the sooner he clears those up, the sooner he can go back for seconds. Fourths? Bah, who does math at parties!

With Cyborg offering to spin things up, Bart pumps a fist. "Yeah! -hey, is that Wally?" he blinks, eyes sliding over towards the ongoing live feed from Metropolis on-screen as he shovels food into his mouth. The worm thing's at the bottom of the other plate. Or it may have escaped.

It's hard to stay grumpy in the face of Bart's enthusiastic approval of the sweaters, so Bucky starts to lighten up a bit. Especially as he sees Jane start to brighten up, upon catching up with Zatanna — and on getting that compliment from Starfire. "Pleasure's ours, Koriand'r," he says, though he's smiling because war amongst the stars is probably the most adorable thing he's heard in months.

Zatanna, gracious hostess as ever, starts making the rest of the introductions, and he nods in his turn, his own addendum made as, "Or James, if you prefer." Though the disclaimer probably isn't necessary for certain of the attendees, such as aliens who have no conception of what is or isn't a dated name. "This space has pulled together pretty well, given the circumstances," he adds, as Zatanna solicits opinions on their mall overhaul, "but then, Red's always been a deft hand at logistics." He bolsters this comment with an avuncular clasp of his hand to said Red Robin's shoulder, ostensibly in encouragement of Tim finally lightening up, but also possibly as a gentle troll of his discomfiture with Non-Professional Hour.

At the close, his attention diverts slightly as Zatanna finishes with an aside just for him. "You know me well, and you're just in time — the mead has been running low," Bucky grins back at Zatanna. "Though — beer and wine? The Spider-Kid old enough for that?"

Poor Parker.

Of course, Clawmy won't be left out of the introductions. One look, and Jane's in love. Bucky ruffles the cat's ears indulgently, because he left his 'startlement at pink cats' behind somewhere in the year 2016. If he ever thought, back in '45, this is where he'd be later in life…

It's a brief somber thought which soon evaporates, as he gently tries to usher Jane away from 'holing up with the cat forever' and 'towards the food.' This timing turns out to be poor, as Kori is explaining the properties of the bloatworm. Her explanation is listened to gravely. Bucky feels he should be polite, since Kori was so kind, and yet — he feels as if a little something is needed prior.

He reaches grimly for the magical liquor in the black bottle.

"Oh, sure: Jane," Nico says with a smile, though it falters for a moment, nodding slightly afterwards.

"We're in an abandoned shopping mall," Nico says. "That's not very black-tie-y." She glances at Zatanna though. WAS it? "I mean I could go change."

"It's great to see you, Spider-Man," Nico continues, addressing the arachnid miscreant that all know and tolerate. "Thanks for coming! Are you gonna like grab a space here? -" She then falters, perhaps because Kori just brought up the war amongst the stars. This is not the right kind of space.

As she takes another bite of the worm, Nico calls to Kori: "Is this like, dextro protein?" Would that mean zero calories, Nico thinks, or would it just mean *slower* death? SPOILER ALERT: Nico knows that word from watching Chase play Mass Effect.

"What… is a porg? Is this a porg?" Nico asks Red Robin, having missed that particular hype cycle. "I thought it was bloat worm." Poking it with the spoon again, Nico leans in closer to him to say, "I need your help. New year's resolution. I'm gonna get ripped. You need any help back?"

After this Nico's eyes walk over towards the beer. Then back, but discreetly to Red Robin. Back again to the beer. She eats another bite of the — dammit, Nico thinks, now I'm definitely gonna die or turn into a krogan or something. No, there it is, Sgt Barnes said it.

To spare Spidey some of his self-mortification, a fork plunges into a small chunk of bloat worm. Raven keeps her eyes on him, however, not even look down to see how much she took before letting the utensil scrape it off onto her small plate. After that, she helps herself to a churro.

"For the team," she then rasps, turning to go find a place to sit. She really is doing this in the long run.

There's a pause, however, as Bart points out someone familiar among the crowd on television, craning her neck to take another look. "Who?"

"You got it, dudes."

Vic's Full House reference sparks the immediate scrolling through his holographic playlist and he makes a few selections. The holo-turntables start spinning and the PA system is patched into so quickly that it's almost as if he had already done it. Cyborg is going to want to know everything that happens inside this Mall so he's not about to not be patched into every facet of this thing.

Y'know, for security purposes.

"By the way, Webster, we're on name duty. I refuse to call this place the Clubhouse. We are not 12." Cyborg thinks about Superboy for a second. "… most of us are not 12."

Almost immediately, Cyborg's tune spinning brings up a delightfully beloved by twelve-year-olds song: https://youtu.be/M11SvDtPBhA

And he's back to munching. "I'll call 911. Make a reservation." is announced for those partaking in Bloat Worm. Because, y'know, scary. Possibly delicious! But scary.

Asked about the worm, there's a hint of a grin and a shrug. "Well, it's not really meat, is it? Plus Kori made it and you know me, always willing to try new things." There's a glance at the alien dish once she's close enough to the table, and takes a very small slice out from it, yellow garnish and all. "What about you, Red?" She takes a bit with her fork, and wiggles the purple-and-yellow concoction at him. "Care to try? Say 'ahh'….."

The metallic Titan-alumn's suggestion is sound, however. "Yeah, Cy - please do deejay!" Zatanna also supplies enthusiastically. "I just have the holiday channel on, but we could really use some customized tunes, that would be awesome." And she, too, starts taking a few finger foods and placing them on the plate. "Nico, you don't have to change if you don't want to, seriously, there's no dress code. It's the New Year, ring it in however you like."

She's starving though, she's been cooking all day, and Starfire's acknowledgment of the fact has her smiling towards the beautiful (and adorable) supermodel, looking somewhat embarrassed at the compliment. Thankfully, she doesn't blush, her complexion can't exactly hide it.

As Bucky takes the black bottle of Magical Good Stuff, she winks at the world-renowned assassin, putting a finger on her lips. "Yeah, Bucky. We're all legal to drink." They are. Honest. Once he opens it, a hint of gold mist seeps out from the lip, puffing from the cork. It takes some effort to get it off, for a human with ordinary strength - with him, it'll only feel like a somewhat challenging obstacle.

"Ambrosia," she tells him, though by the way she identifies it, she's not talking about wine that happens to be labelled Ambrosia. And then she, too, takes a tiny, experimental bite of the bloatworm.

Meanwhile, the camera zooms in on the huge clock in LexCorp Plaza. Ten minutes 'till Midnight! Soon, 2019 will be upon them, to Spider-man's relief.

Poor Jane Foster's heart melts at the despair of Charlie Spider-Brown, taking his green mile wait in an oversized suit. It's too adorable; she can't take it.

She glances over and up at Bucky, with a telling tilt-gesture of her head. Go help him with his game.

Then, of course, 'war of the stars' happens, and Jane's already-melted heart is now spreading ashes around a nuclear winter. No. It's too cute. She hates everything millennial-talk, but for just this moment — she can't even.

But her brown eyes have that space-sparkle to them. "I've — never heard of Tamaran," she says. "What system is that? Or closest stars? I actually have some celestial maps on my phone —"

Oh no, Bucky, stop Jane fast nooooo.

Already begrudgingly steered away from Clawmy — whom Jane releases from her fussing with one last, "You are the cutest Clawmy and I will hug you later, you are so soft, ahhh," and guided by Bucky's knowing hand closer to the food —

She stares at bloatworm.

Jane loves everything that is space, has to do with space, is from space, but — perhaps not this. She stares total askance at it, because she has no idea if that's even digestible — totally notices the sick reference too, Nico — and swallows with uncertainty. "That looks — really — delicious. I can… smell the spices from here, and it's —"

THINK OF A WAY OUT JANE YOU'RE A GENIUS

" — is that Jessica Jones on TV?" SMOOTH! "What. The. Why is she in Metropolis? Aren't all the non-ironic hipsters there?"

Nico looks obscurely wounded at Jane's words, but she swallows her pain.

"I believe the chemical chirality of the dish is compatible with human digestion," Starfire answers Nico, with total seriousness. It might have been a Mass Effect inspired question, but it comes close enough to being adjacent to some actual science to convince Kori that it's a serious inquiry. She answers as such! Sadly, the magic of calorie-free food is denied, because there is (mostly?) no violating the conservation of mass and energy, even in space worms.

Somewhere in there Spider-Man gets the warmest, brightest of smiles and biggest of eyes. Interesting, he said! She is soooo happy!

But realistically? The dish is more of a hit than she expected, so no one will actually be crushing her gentle spirit if they don't have some.

Jane of course seizes her interest with space talk, and she is happy to provide: "Tamaran is the eigth planet of the Vega system. You might also know the star as Alpha Lyrae. I have studied some Earth materials and there is some interesting lore associated with it and the constellation to which it has been assigned. Most of this has little to do with the actual nature of the system, however. But the star is visible unaided from this planet, it is actually among the brightest you are able to observe." There's particular warmth in noting that, as if she takes comfort in the connection of light, even separated by many years of distance.

See, now Red Robin is hoist by his own petard.

Because there's Zatanna, with some of the bloat worm on a fork, and she's wiggling it at him with a taunt. It's a challenge, a direct challenge to his Batman-trained ability to, as an old movie once put it, eat things that would make a billy goat puke. It's a challenge to, you could say, his Batmanhood. Normally, he wouldn't rise to that sort of thing: Who cares what other people think about him, he'd say. But, given the spirit of the party, and the fact that Starfire might give him the sad eyes if she notices him outright refusing the food she made for everyone, the vigilante steels himself, and leans in to bite the food right off of Zatanna's fork.

"If this kills me, the team's your responsibility," Red Robin tells Zatanna in an undertone, as he makes a game effort to chew and swallow. It's… Well, it could probably have been worse, right?

At least if it does kill him, he won't be alone: He sees Nico is actually eating more than a single bite, even as she admits her crass ignorance on the topic of porgs. Then she asks if he can help her get ripped, and he wonders if the bloat worm is causing hallucinations.

"Uh… Sure, we can do that," the Titans' leader says. "How ripped are we talking, though, because it might be a little late for you to go full bodybuilder."

Bucky catches that head-tilt from Jane in the direction of Spider-Man. The implication is obvious. Bucky glances at Spider-Man too for a few assessing, pensive moments, before he looks back at Jane with a small headshake. There's nothing to be done. This is Steve-level lack of game.

Nudging her patiently away from the wiles of the pink cat and back towards the food and other human (and nonhuman) life, Bucky turns his attention to the spread — and to the alcohol. He… should probably stop the impending Jane nerdspasm about space, but he is busy opening the liquor so he can gird himself for The Bloat Worm, and he also doesn't actually want to stop Jane from getting to hear stories from someone who is Actually From Space.

The bottle presents slightly more resistance than he's expecting, but it's not a significant obstacle to him to get it open and a glass poured. He winks back at Zatanna as he does. "Secret's safe with me," he says, before he takes an experimental whiff. "No shit?" he asks, as she names what it is. "Like the real thing?" He immediately takes a sip to appreciate this, though he saves enough of it for after, in case bloat worm has a terrible aftertaste.

To speak of that, he starts putting together plates for himself and for Jane, using the opening where she's talking about Jessica (Jessica? On TV? He looks up too, himself) to deftly dodge portioning her the bloat worm. It might kill her, in her current state. As he does, he listens with half an ear to the talk Tamaran. For some reason, hearing 'Alpha Lyrae' softens his gaze. "We know Vega pretty well," he says, as he carefully slices a small bit of The Worm and its garnish onto his plate. "One of my personal favorite stars."

Handing one of the plates to Jane, he takes his own and — in an act of valiance — dives into the freshly-sourced bloat worm first. The super-soldier serum should PROBABLY protect him.

"Oh, please," Zatanna tells Red with a winsome smile. "You won't be rid of us that easily, now chew."

She takes a few bouncing steps, in time with the music that DJ Vic is playing for them, moving so she could taste a few of the other offerings - the pastries that he brought, the churros, the onigiri that Nico made and some of the offerings that Jane had brought to the party. She appreciates every bite, savors the spread as represented by these tiny bites of food, but that is deceiving - there are plenty of courses to keep everyone stuffed and happy while they wait for the countdown.

At Bucky's response about the NOT UNDERAGED DRINKING WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, HA HA HA, there's a smile that's both bright and relieved. "You're the best," she murmurs towards the Winter Soldier, and once the cork is pulled out of the mysterious black bottle, with the wisp of golden mist emanating from the top, she grins and reaches out to hug him with one arm. "Consider it a late Christmas present," she says, squeezing him once before releasing him. "It's the real and good stuff. I mean, if I gave something like that to an ordinary human being, they'd be dancing off rooftops thinking they're in Elysium, but that's about the last way I could ever describe you."

Watching Jane ask Starfire all sorts of space-related questions, she can't help but grin. "They're both so cute," she says fondly, moving so she could get a glass of wine for herself.

But with the renowned physicist turning her attention to the Lexcorp Plaza broadcast and the countdown, she squints at the television. "….wait, that is Jess." And Wally, too, though she's trying to keep his identity a secret, even if he's right there, shaking his bon-bon for the camera. "I had no idea she was going to be in Metropolis this evening, is she on a case?" Working on New Year's Eve? Being a private eye is a round-the-clock job, it looks like.

"Welcome back, everyone," says the evening's emcee. "As you already know, I'm your host with the most, 'Uncle' Oswald Loomis and you're LIVE! at Metropolis' New Year's Meteor Rockin' Eve and we're on FIVE MINUTES until midnight…"

"Uuuuuuuuh…"

Raven's question has the speedster pausing as he pictures someone slapping a 'do not open until Christmas' seal over his mouth. "Oh, um. My cousin." Because that is totally true although he's not sure just how to connect the dots in that. The live feed from Metropolis holds his attention for a few more seconds enough for him to catch the familiar faces as called out by others watching. And then his plates are empty and he's back on his feet for more.

Bart's third plate is laid up with desserts from the various sweets that Cyborg had brought to the mysterious chocolate-covered churros Spider-Man had offered. He wags a finger at his cat when she looks towards him for a nibble, her new friends having decided that food is more important than playing with her. She's offered another of Nico's salmon onigiri.

Glancing over at Tim and Zatanna he tilts his head as the former samples the bloatworm thing. He's pretty sure he'd eaten his. He just doesn't remember what it tasted like with everything else he'd had. Helping himself to another glass of fruit punch, he looks back at the screen and groans.

"Five minutes…? Uggggh this is taking forever…"

Ugghh this is taking forever….

Setting down her plate, Zatanna rubs the back of her neck. "Well, we can maybe eat and drink some more and play some games while we wait. What about…."

And she whips out a box behind her back. She holds it up for Bart.

The big, bold letters spell out: T W I S T E R

"But with cheating!" she suggests brightly.

ZATANNA, NO.

True to his earlier excuse, it looks like the eldest of the assorted Robins has come from some prior engagements. Pretty snazzy ones, if his look is anything to judge by, as he's got the full adopted Wayne thing going with a tailored tux and all. "Sorry I got a bit held up, had the Gotham Mayor's gala and then something here with the police comissioner." Show off! Also, how did he manage the trip? The Batplane might be out in the parking lot. At least he comes brandishing a bottle, champagne for eventual toasts.

As Grayson forges his way in, he's got hellos for everyone, or nearly so. He makes them fast, "Hey there, how's it going, what's up Bart!" Cyborg gets a fingergun DJ-area wards, because he's going fast. Tim and Zatanna get a stop on the way. "Hey you two. Looking amazing. Still the mask, huh?" A big grin. "Take this?" he then wonders, offering out the bottle to either of them that wants it. "Twister, really?" Dubiousness.

The final stop is by Jane and Bucky because, "Kori, hey! Sorry I'm late. Been having a good time? Looks like I just made it."

With the first song Cyborg plays over the PA system, Raven squints, not sure what to make of it as she keeps her eyes on the screen. It delays her own experiment with the chunk of bloat worm she's got, but for how long! (It's also here she senses Nico's mixed feelings over literally biting off more than she can chew, making her ever the more wary in attempting the try.)

Jane gets a sidelong glance, however, for both the reaction and recovery in changing subjects in the most subtle of manners.

But there's a reply for Bart once he finally answers. "…Ah." That's way too fast for acceptance, but hey, it keeps him in the clear of blowing secret identities.

Oh, she was fine with waiting another five minutes for midnight to roll around. She would get to leave, right?

WRONG Zatanna just threw a Road Block in the way. "What— "

And in comes Dick Grayson on cue. Raven looks his way, still a little baffled by the turn of events. "…What."

"Why is it too late," Nico half-mutters, before saying, "I mean like - athletic, not a frigging load. I know nobody's SAYING that but like I want to be able to keep up if we have to run away from stuff."

A beat passes, and she says, "Also vanity? I'm just being real with you there."

After this the big thing comes up on the screen. Nico looks towards the screen, looks towards the churros -

And startles enough to drop her plate of bloatworm when Zee just POPS OUT THE TWISTER. "People ACTUALLY PLAY THAT?" Nico says, horror-stonished. ("hey," she says to Dick en passant.)

Well, if Kori has made an eternal friend in Jane, Bucky has guaranteed that she now thinks of them likewise. Speaking of her distant star with such apparent fondness causes an immediate and reciprocal brightening amidst her own features. "It is wonderful to hear that. To think of people on this planet looking up, and glimpsing the very same sun I once looked at… It means we are all together in a way, rather than being true strangers, no matter all the great blackness of space." There is a brief pause here as she seems to think of something in particular. "Although…"

And then, just as fast, whatever thought she was meandering toward is forgotten, either in a flight of fancy or… nope. Dick has finally made his appearance, at what seems like the last possible moment. While the glowing green-eyed woman had shown no visible sign of worry, her reaction now reveals her concern:

"I am so glad you are here! The designated time grows near and I knew all those other parties would drag on…" Then Kori shakes her head.

"You are here, and this is what matters. The countdown is soon, yes? Let us go and observe."

There is a lot of nonsense on the television, considering the trouble happening at the LexCorp event. "Someone said they saw Wallace," she tells Dick, peering at the screen as if she might spot him (good luck!). And then, she gives a little gasp. "Oh, that young lady… what language is she speaking? It is so very curious. It sounds a little like Daxamite. How very fascinating…" Bad Kory! Down girl!

Mostly it was a joke, but in that weird way Red Robin has where sometimes the reason it's a joke only makes sense to him: The time for Nico to wind up hugely ripped is long past, since she's basically an adult now. Her frame can only change so much. Plus the idea of giant bodybuilder Nico is a funny visual.

"Yeah, don't worry about it, Nico. We'll get you in shape," the vigilante says, in a tone that definitely doesn't sound like it should come with the tolling of a bell deep in the bowels of the earth, signifying that a dread pact has been formed. But the blood witch might find herself thinking that in the coming days.

Luckily, that's when Zatanna tries to distract people with Twister, which probably isn't fair with actual contortionists around. And double luckily, Dick is summoned by the mention of a bawdy party game.

And he's not in disguise at all, which will probably deepen Batman's already deep frown somewhere in Gotham as he probably had to excuse himself from a fancy party to beat up Calendar Man again.

Say what you will about Calendar Man (he's a serial killer!) but at least he's predictable.

"Well I don't want everyone seeing my lazy eye," Red Robin replies, taking the offered bottle.

Blink. "How do you cheat in Twister?" Bart asks, looking at Zatanna in confusion. "Actually, how do you play Twister?"

He's easily distracted when Dick finally arrives, a smile and a wave offered in the older Titan's direction. Pay no attention to the pile of sugar-loaded desserts and snacks on the plates he's holding currently.

These last five- Oop, four! minutes are going to be TORTURE.

It is that universal talk between couples, when two people have literally become so enmeshed with each other's crap that they can communicate in a language beyond words.

Jane gestures at Bucky. Bucky shakes his head. Jane answers with a press of her mouth, and gestures again, this time less a request and more a yes you have to. Her eyes widen with brief emphasis.

Look at that poor Spider-Man. It might not be too late. He might not yet become a Spider-Steve, playing uno all night!

Fortunately, it's a brief exchange — and all the poor as Jane feels either bold or star-nerdy enough to ask Starfire about her home. And to answer —

Dr. Foster perks right up the moment she hears of 'Vega.' Her eyebrows lift. Her pupils dilate just a little. Of course she knows about Vega. It's the first star she ever looked up on, years ago, some cold night in suburban Virginia. It's her favourite star. It's also one of the first stories she shared with Bucky Barnes, when she was initially bringing the Winter Soldier in from an 80-year cold.

Vega has a planetary system. She means — of course it would, by probability's stakes alone — but to hear it. It has a system. It supports life.

"Alpha Lyrae is so young," she babbles. "I didn't even think it would have life — this is so amazing. I thought any system would be bare bones — I wished for it, but. Oh god. Seriously. To hear this — you just made my year. My next year, too. It must be so beautiful to look at."

Is Jane Foster enough of a star obsessee that she's getting a little misty-eyed at Kori? Yes.

She clears her throat. "OK! I'm good! No emotionally overwhelming the perfect strangers!"

Duly handed a plate of food by Bucky, Jane beams him a smile — neither missing the way Zatanna slips the man a hug. Oh no, the eyes are getting misty again. There's a bit too much emotion going on, and her tiny Jane body cannot possibly contain it all. Potential overload in —

TWISTER

Jane sobers fast. She answers that with a weak smile. She also double-takes on Zatanna feeding Tim food, noticing in that certain way women tend to do. She doesn't comment on it. Instead, she says, "I'll regretfully pass. I think there's laws against me twisting with people a decade younger than me." And of course, not at all coincidentally, Dick Grayson materializes near Kori — another face not yet met. She greets with a smile.

The social hurricane known as Dick Grayson finally makes his appearance….in a full tuxedo, and with no discomfiture whatsoever that he might be a touch overdressed. And as usual whenever the eldest Wayne boy comes anywhere near her, she looks somewhat star-struck. "Hi, Dick, glad you could make it!" she says - unlike his younger brother, the man isn't wearing a mask, so sticks with his civilian identity, and as she's in the vicinity of the other responsible adults, by the shadow of Bucky and his ambrosia, she gestures with a hand. "This is Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes of SHIELD, and Doctor Jane Foster, both very good friends of mine." Though both need no introductions - Bucky and Jane are famous in their respective fields.

And at Nico's horrified exclamation, she wiggles the box in a playful (threatening???) fashion towards her. "Yes, people play this. Especially in college parties, and especially when there's been drinking involved." Her eyebrows bounce up and down. "Are you curious? Tell me you're curious."

The broadcast continues. Adriana Venti keeps lip-synching on stage. The WOO!-girls, including Jessica Jones and one Wallace West, keep dancing in time with the beat. And as the final minute descends on Lexcorp Plaza in Metropolis, Zatanna passes out the party hats and the noisemakers. Sixty seconds and counting….

To Bart, it's probably still taking forever, but the final ten seconds are finally upon them…

"TEN! NINE! EIGHT! SEVEN!"

It's Metropolis, with superpowered people patrolling the area. Surely nothing will go wrong.

"SIX! FIVE! FOUR! THREE!"

Really!

"TWO…ONE!"

"HAPPY NEW— "

And chaos explodes in the television. The wildly dancing and crowded revels suddenly devolves into a riot after a series of colorful lights burst from the apparatus set up in the middle of the square. Adriana Venti starts squalling like a twelve year old. A blond, middle-aged man starts screaming about home invaders. The WOO!-girls start turning on each other, their dance suddenly a sprawling cat-fight in front of the cameras. Wally starts crying about how he eats his feelings. An impeccably-dressed young woman that looks suspiciously like Manhattan socialite Katherine Bishop shrieks something about dental occlusions, and slaps dorky 2019 glasses of the guy she's dancing beside.

And there is Conner Kent, swooping towards the crowd, seemingly unaffected…

…..raining boxes of cheese pizza from the sky in an attempt to quell the crowd, and the beating heart of Metropolis sets upon them like hyenas.

"….is Conner trying to stop a riot with pizza?" Zatanna wonders out loud after a moment of stunned silence.

Yes. Yes he is.

Spider-Man has spent the last five minutes staring at the space Raven once occupied, haunted, a half-a-churro hanging from his mouth.

That he can look haunted with a mask half-on is just a testament to how creepy Raven is, of course.

"Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………………….. cool. For the team."

He says.

After she's long gone.

A half-aware wave to Nico later, and Spider-Man resumes chewing on his churro, staring far away towards something equally grim.

"Twishtuh?" wonders Spider-Man, contorting however a spider can, around his snack,

"Whassh dat?"

Yes. He's young. If you know Twister, you're old. Learn to accept that truth.

And so begins the countdown. And as Spider-Man watches, increasingly confused, he just sort of… slowly… slurps his churro into his mouth.

"……. I wish it was 2020."

That eye-widening of emphasis from Jane seems to do it. Look at that poor Spider-Man, not yet fallen to a Spider-Steve fate! He can be saved! Another glance, and Bucky's shoulders dip in a slight sigh of 'okay, I'll try,' resignation.

His attention turns, however, to the alcohol — and to what Zatanna has to say about it. She offers it up as a late Christmas present, but rare and precious as it might be, it doesn't hold a candle to what she says after.

You're the best, Zatanna tells him, but it's the one-armed hug and what she says after that really strikes Bucky Barnes. His gaze softens, though behind the outward stoicism there is a significant pang of that familiar, everpresent guilt. She's suffered for it each time he's lost control of his mind; her soul has been ripped into twice by him while he was in the grip of some programming or another. Even despite that, she's still understood and forgiven him. For a moment, he can't speak in reply. "I'd say you're the extraordinary one, Z," he finally says, because how else can he describe somebody with such a generous spirit as that?

Clearing his throat afterwards, a little gruffly, he reroutes his attention back to find Jane — still nerding about stars. There is a fond sort of expression in his eyes to hear the interchange between her and Kori. It is interrupted only by the smooth arrival of Dick Grayson, who Zatanna is quick to introduce. "Pleasure," he nods to Grayson, who definitely makes him feel underdressed.

His general amiability evaporates at mention of Twister, however. It's replaced by puzzlement, because if there's one thing that his Soviet handlers thought the Winter Soldier ought to be updated on, over the years, for his missions, it was NOT Twister. "What… is Twister…?" he starts to ask, a little uncertainly, because you might have to be old to know Twister… but there is definitely a certain threshold of old beyond which you start NOT knowing about it again.

Dick's come on the tail end of the space chat but he catches enough to piece some of it together. "Sounds like you're making new friends," he remarks to Kori. And since Zatanna helps with an introduction, he can even make a little sense of the whole thing. Well, maybe the SHIELD agent is less obvious (and also hey Kori we need to have a talk about how you don't tell government agents you're an -unregistered- extraterrestrial), but Jane fits. "Seargent Barnes, Dr. Foster, it's a pleasure." He probably knew the names, but especially in Jane's case now puts a face to it - Barbara would be better up on the stars of the science world than him! "I bet you and Kori would have a whole lot to talk about. She's… yeah, quite the space expert, you could say."

There's really no explaining around that one, so he… just kinda deals. But it's fine! Introductions done, and hopefully no one comes to round up his girlfriend to throw in a government detention center later.

And so it's back to watching the countdown. He may actually help Tim with the bottle to get some of the cups poured and handed out. Numbers, shouted, all of that good stuff. Once he's got his own glass in hand and another for Kori, he rejoins her, hanging at the taller woman's side.

They count. They shout! Weirdness starts happening on the TV. "Uh, Daxamite? Oh- is that Conner? It's probably-" His detective mind goes to work, although he only has a chance to get so far.

"ONE! FINALLY! HAPPY NEW YE— Huh?"

Amber eyes narrow at the screen before widening at the chaos that follows. "That was like, super weird, right? The swirly light that happened when the big green rock crashed?" Bart asks, glancing around. Anyone else see that? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Maybe the world's ending. But where they are now, it seems like everything's normal. Looking back to the video he watches as Conner goes flying around with pizza. "Mmm, pizza." Wait did anyone bring pizza? …did Zee make pizza? Maybe there's some in the freezer…

"Oh yes. There is life, much life. My world is beautiful, lush. There are others, too." And for the sake of Jane's apparent wonder, Starfire doesn't let on that any of those other worlds are less than perfect. She understands the moment the other woman is having, the pure joy, and doesn't dare spoil it. "I will tell you everything about it, eventually, if you would care to listen." Kori promises this Jane, as the introductions bring them all back together, each at the side of their own companion. "Yes, I have found some kindred spirits," she informs Dick as he joins them. "It has been wonderful."

They all come together for the countdown. It is a ritual that Kori has caught on to, and enjoys. She shouts in chorus with Dick, and they drink their bubbly drinks together. Whatever she has to notice about the craziness on the screen, as well, it is just a curious footnote. "It is nice that Conner is bringing them pizza for the celebration."

None of that is really important, not even the cute Kryptonian lass.

What is important, in the end, are friends and family, those she loves on her adopted world. After feeling such sudden closeness with Jane, it seems all the more wonderful! When her drink is done, and the singing has begun, she turns and leans to sweep Dick into her arms and kisses him very thoroughly. And then, possibly to the alarm of some (but very much in keeping with the spacey nature of the conversation):

The two of them begin to sparkle in motes of light, and then, moments later, vanish entirely.

Since it's a matter of logistics, yes, Red Robin does absolutely help get the bottle open and get drinks poured. Even if it is underage drinking for some of the members of the team, and he's pretty much teetotal actually.

It's New Year's Eve, though, so it's different.

The actual countdown goes off without a hitch on their end, though it's clear that things are a bit different in Metropolis, as the festivities turn into an enormous riot - he's pretty sure he's seen that girl shrieking about dental issues before - and then his best friend swoops in from the heavens to quell the riot by dropping pizzas on the crowd.

…is Conner…?

Slowly, and with great care, Red Robin indulges in his first facepalm of 2019.

"Well," he says, as Dick is abducted by an alien princess and her teleportation device. "Who wants some more bloat worm?"

She has her cup of champagne in hand when it's all said and done. But to do the party a huge favor in ringing in the New Year correctly, she just reaches up and changes the channel. The Justice League is on it, everyone is on mandatory fun time.

Or so she hopes anyway.

Zatanna turns back to her group, her empty plate set away. After swallowing a gulp from her cup, she tackles the Twister thing first. Looking between, Bart, Spidey, and Bucky helplessly, she can't help but laugh. "I'll send you guys a Youtube link later. I won't be able to explain how you can cheat at the game if you guys…don't know the game." Jane gets a commiserating wink - she wasn't really serious! But the game served its purpose of passing the time.

In the end, however, it's Bucky's expression that arrests her attention momentarily and ever empathetic, she can read the guilt - not just because she had been there, but also because of her most recent experiences. His words are low, gruff, of course, but heartfelt, and after the two months she has had - what happened on the island, losing John, and straining her friendship with Peter Parker, perhaps to the point that it could never recover - she really needed to hear that.

It comes too suddenly for her to stop it, a small trickle of moisture falling from her lashes and sliding down her cheek. Too distracted, perhaps, by the sparkling vanishing act Kori and Dick adopt.

"Oh, god, I— " Her hands come up in an attempt to dry her eyes. "Bucky, come on!" She lets out a laugh, and busses the side of his face briefly. "Happy New Year!" She reaches for Jane and gives her a hug, too.

And then, she'll swoop down on the rest of the Titans, to give them all the same. NOBODY ESCAPES. NOBODY.

(Except Dick and Kori but seriously, who wants to follow them after that.)

Nico may never be a fully fledged bodybuilder without the help of chemistry, but there is something she can do.

Though first she tells Zatanna, "Oh, yeah, I'm well past curious. I just thought it was obsolete. Is that like an original set?"

As she says this she gets her slice of bloatworm off the floor before Clawmy can eat it.

"It's not a big thing," Nico tells Raven. "But —" And as a glass is given unto her, she says to Raven with enthusiasm but without shouting, "Happy new year!!"

She was about to go for a hug when the TV is indicated instead. "What the ? Is that where he went instead?"

Channel changed. That settles that.

At a loss for words, Raven just accepts the fact this is how it's going to be from now on. Her friends and their mingling and having fun when there's no need to worry about the rest of the world…they deserve the break. She only catches the blip of light motes right where Starfire and Grayson were just moments ago, but doesn't ask where they've gone off to.

Instead, she gets to hear Nico greet her with the customary New Year greeting, nodding in turn with a slight smile. "Happy New Year."

Well. She could have escaped hugs altogether, thanks to Nico being distracted by stuff, but Zatanna still gets in there, trapping her like those snap bracelets. NO ESCAPE.

"— Yes," she sighs, patting the witch on the back with a free hand. "Happy New Year to you, too."

Bart Allen has had two plates of desserts and hasn't gone running around to burn any of it off. Therefore with Zatanna launching into New Year's hugs, it doesn't take much for him to eagerly hop right into things. Super-ninja-fast-speedster-hugs-sofastyoudon'tknowwhathuggedyou!!

Except for the big mass of people that Zee manages to snag. "YAY! GROUP NEW YEAR HUG!"

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