A Favorish Thing To Ask
Roleplaying Log: A Favorish Thing To Ask
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The Guardians pay a visit to their favorite magician to ask for her assistance.

Other Characters Referenced: Black Panther (unnamed), Phil Coulson, Dani Moonstar, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Batman, Nightwing, Red Robin, Catwoman
IC Date: January 21, 2019
IC Location: Shadowcrest Manor, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 22 Jan 2019 05:12
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Chateau de Zatara.

Better known as Shadowcrest Manor.

The surrounding neighborhood is as dark, empty and creepy as Rocket remembers it, but in a way it's also somewhat nostalgic. After all, they'd spent a good bit of their early Terran stay here, and while Gotham City still seems no more welcoming than it was back then, it's nice to know that some things don't change, and in a place like this, they have powerful and wealthy friends.

With the Registration Act still building momentum before going full swing back in New York, there's been a lot of consideration put into where things would stand for the ragtag space group who unofficially called themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy. Given the stance that S.H.I.E.L.D. was taking in regards to the law, it seemed like the best course of action was to abandon their previous tenure rather than be kept under a firmer thumb.

It had been refreshing to know that Phil Coulson thought more of them than he might have when they first became acquainted with the man, but a lot had happened, and even before the agent proposed pulling strings for them, Rocket had already developed some semblance of respect for the man. With all that Coulson had gone through, Rocket had decided that the Guardians could take care of certain things themselves while he handled the other end of things. 'Certain things' involved moving out, and that included finding a place for their ship. Maybe two, but the Milano was more important and always had been considered home to them more than any rented out house or mansion-space they might've crashed.

Which brings them back to the present, standing here in front of the familiar wrought-iron gates with the beginnings of a fresh snowfall fluttering down to join the already white-dusted landscape below.

Rocket hunches up his shoulders as he burrows his hands deeper into the pockets of his thick jacket. "Think she'll say no?" he asks, tilting his head just slightly enough to eye the human beside him. They'd already discussed the important matters, and hey, it didn't even have to be permanent. Just for long enough until they ironed out any future plans. After all, it seemed like their 'legal' reason to stay on Terra was practically history by now. Maybe. So long as they stayed away from Asgard, anyway.

***

"Well if she does I guess its back to trying to hide the thing in a junk heap or something again," Peter Quill doesn't usually have multiple plans but this is one of those moments where having multiple plans is kinda a needful thing. They of course aren't tied to Terra anymore. SHIELD has become a bit too…hot…a place to chill at. They could blast off into the void again and return once more to what they do best.

Saving the Galaxy and making a lot of money and poor decisions while they are at it.

However…he kind of likes it here now. Kitty wouldn't go with him he's sure, and that might just factor in more than a bit to Peter Quill's reluctance to leave the planet of his birth.

"I mean if anyone can hide the thing I'm pretty sure she can…can't hurt to ask. Right?" He reaches out towards those gates but his hand stops midway. "…I really hope we're still welcome guests. You two would look terrible as a clam." This towards both Rocket and Groot before he starts to push on the iron wrought barrier lightly. Just to see if…well…he gets zapped or if all goes well.

…I mean he's pretty sure the house already knows they are there.

***

Bip. Bipboop. Bip bip.

The soundbytes come from the game Groot is deeply focused on, awkwardly assimilating into the current undertone of the three loitering in a neighborhood they obviously don't belong in. Gnarled thumbs move small graphic blots across the screen, the bare minimum compared to the occasional wipe across the console the moment enough snowfall gathers on its flat surface.

As much as he doesn't seem to be paying any attention to the other two Guardians, Groot does keep his concerns about the whole thing to himself. Why give genuine voice how he's really feeling when he can just act it out in a way society disapproves of? Personally, it's a lot less complicated doing that.

His face scrunches, his puffed and brightly colored jacket sleeve wiping away traces of white which turn into small trails of wet dots of discoloration. "I am Groot," he mumbles, the tone semi-nasal in regard to both the snow and urging both Rocket and Quill to hurry it up. While he sort of wants to see if the Zatanna ward is working, he figures it's better than wasting time out in the cold.

***

Thankfully, she checks the mail in Shadowcrest daily.

Because a portal opens up, swirling with its familiar, white-blue light, booted feet stepping out and making her way across her own front lawn. In her twenties now, two years past the teenager the Guardians first met, Zatanna Zatara looks very much the same save for the hints of maturity that is starting to take over her features. Overall however, she is still recognizable, with her large, ice-blue eyes and her typical designer blacks. The years past have seen more color added to her wardrobe: Today she has a deep purple scarf wrapped around her neck.

She would have wandered past completely were it not for the curious collective of guests she has standing in front of her house. She blinks once, then squints. Recognition settles on her pale mien immediately.

"….whoa, hey guys! Long time, no see," she says, walking over to them. She is all smiles, warmth and friendliness as usual. "What's up?"

Proof enough that she has some level of faith; her first question is a greeting, not 'WHAT DID YOU DO?'

***

"I mean, there's plenty'a those kind of places to do it, but why put her somewhere trashy?" Also, public places are unpredictable as Rocket's come to learn for their time here.

It might be saying something that suggesting they just leave and head back to their nomadic space-roaming tendencies as usual hadn't been the first thing he'd suggested. It's still on the table, but while he may have complained about it before, Terra's sort of grown on him, not that he'd admit it. It might also have to do with the fact that they were free to decide when to come and go as they pleased- so long as they didn't upset anyone again who might have the power to say otherwise.

The raccoonoid nods at Quill, smirking a bit at that. "'s exactly why she was first to come to mind." He pauses, looking a little apprehensive as Quill moves to try opening the gates with that reminder. "…oh flark, I forgot about that…"

Welp. All the more reason to let the 'leader' go in first, right? That's you, Star-Munch.

Flicking a look at Groot, Rocket decides to save his breath rather than give the treenager another reprimand. His ears perk at the sound of footsteps making way across the crisp and frosty lawn. It's not difficult at all to recognize Zatanna, even if it's been two years. She certainly doesn't look any less pretty, that's for certain.

"Heya Zee!" he greets, all smiles. "Glad you still remember us. I mean, pff, not like I've changed any. Quill here probably put on a few pounds and oh, well, Groot's still Groot mostly." He thumbs back at the slightly shorter yet still tall enough sentient tree.

***

"Oh my god, seriously? You go there right off the bat? I have not put on any pounds. I mean its not my fault that they have that huge kitchen at Kitty's place." Peter glowers almost immediately towards the Raccoon. "We haven't seen Zee in forever and that's what you lead off with?"

…obviously they haven't changed much either.

"Groot's grown a bit, and Rocket's taught him some language he totally shouldn't be using. But…yeah. Its good to see you too, Zee." A crooked smile in angled towards her. "Can we like…come in without getting magic whammied?"

It's a practical sort of question that.

"We kinda have a favorish thing to ask." He adds. "…and we wanted to drop by and see…well…if you haven't magicked yourself off the face of the earth. Which I'm totally glad you didn't do because if those legs left Terra it would be hit on the attractiveness of the whole planet."

***

To be fair, Groot thinks they've all gotten used to hearing 'WHAT DID YOU DO' as a general first response. But the friendly greeting is welcome. Old Groot would have warmly smiled back and waved with gusto, shouting "I am Groot!" because that's about all he says to the untrained ear. This Groot, however, makes an effort to look up from his game, taking a short break to actually nod at Zatanna from where he is.

The expression of teenage apathy is well worn on his young and bark-laden face, eyes half-lidded yet aware of what's been going on within the past however many minutes it's been since they've arrived. He also tries very hard not to laugh at Rocket's comment about Quill gaining a few pounds, but it slips out as a soft snort the more he fights the upturn on the corner of his mouth.

Sometimes it's worth hanging out with his two friends. They act like they know everything, but they don't. That's part of the free entertainment.

Plus they can speak to Terrans without needing an interpreter. Which is why he's leaving them to do most of the chatting.

***

"You guys are pretty hard to forget," Zatanna says, opening the gates and letting the Guardians in. There's an appreciative smile towards Rocket, and Quill's compliment about the legs makes her laugh. "Is it weird that I find it a relief that you guys haven't changed a bit? Well, except Groot…" She examines him curiously. "He looks….younger." Is that weird too? Because he does, and she doesn't remember him playing videogames the first few months of their cohabitation with her.

"Anyway, yeah, come on in. It's going to get colder today. That's a thing with Gotham, I'm afraid…it's a city of extremes, even the weather." She leads her guests up the front driveway, up the steps and into the house where Kasim, the turbanned butler, asks in that smooth, but strangely ringing voice whether they would like to put their jackets and various armaments away and have some tea.

They end up in the sitting room where there's a cavernous fireplace filled with pine logs that leave a faint, pleasant scent in the air when they settle, and as usual, the house anticipates Zatanna's every need whenever she's in residence. It isn't long until the butler returns with a drink cart - peppermint hot chocolate for herself and Groot, and booze for Peter and Rocket.

"So what's the favor-ish thing you wanted to ask?" she wonders, her drink cradled in both hands. "And how have you guys been?"

***

The response from Quill is pretty much what Rocket expects, and Quill can see that as soon as he begins his complaint as the smaller Guardian grins mischievously.

He nudges Groot ahead of him once Zatanna opens the gates to welcome them. "Eh, not nearly as young as he was some months back," Rocket informs Zatanna, shrugging a little and offering no more on the subject, the dark expression that momentarily crosses his face scuttling away just as quickly as a passing cloud shadowing the sunshine. …not that Rocket's ever been described as a ball of sunshine.

"Yeah, I know how crazy this city gets. It's not too different from New York, just that everything happens already sitting on the other end of the scale. -speakin' of which, this place got a new masked vigilante running around or did the Bat-guy trade his wings for claws?" he asks absently as he shucks off his jacket after slipping off the strap of his suspiciously large duffle bag that he'd had slung over his back. Eyeballing the butler, he passes his stuff over, the bag somewhat reluctantly, but he's come to trust the weirdness of Zatanna's home and those who dwell there.

Entering the sitting room is like revisiting a memory in itself. The raccoonoid stretches and glances around, smiling wryly as he wanders over to plunk himself down somewhere to sit. When the refreshments come he rubs his hands together eagerly before reaching for the drink provided.

"Eh, been…all right, more or less. We were stuck with SHIELD for a while, not sure if you knew that or not. Of course, that might be enough to figure why we're here given the hot topic in New York these days." He takes a swig of his booze, welcoming the familiar burn after being out in the cold.

***

"I'm pretty sure being Bat-Guy is like a lifetime commitment thing, that doesn't sound like something you retire from until someone finds you and sticks you in a crazy house." Peter gives his own opinion as he strolls in, a wave given to the Butler. "Hey Kasim! Long time no see."

…the kitchen has been intact for too long.

He seems to trust the guy more than Rocket, but even still he doesn't quite relinquish his holsters. He feels a bit naked without them you know.

"Oh Groot? He got blown up, but he got better." He adds in a completely inadequate explanation of how Groot looks younger than she remembers. She should expect that kind of thing from them though.

I mean. It is them.

He takes a seat as well, and very similarly to Rocket eagerly reaches for the offered drinks. "Yeah, we kinda worked something out with SHIELD. And now that everything is all messed up six kinds of ways in New York I'm pretty sure that whole thing isn't going to last past the end of the month." A pause. "…and…well…we kinda need some place to stash the Milano."

A beatpause.

"Gotham is looking a lot nicer than New York after everything that went down."

***

Groot does his best in not rolling his eyes at Rocket's pushing, ambling forward with half of the weight and all of the attitude. Although he's changed the most, he doesn't appear to focus on the details leading up to said appearances.

Instead, Quill does the most in that department. To which Groot has to shoot a look his way.

Still, inside is way better than outside. Call it morbid, but he likes the smell of burning pine. That paired with the peppermint hot chocolate calls back old memories of wearing strings of Christmas lights and relishing every moment of its holiday charm.

…But he just siiiips away, banishing the thought as they go over what they had in mind.

***

What Rocket says about Groot's growth spurt has Zatanna furrowing her brows at him, coupled with a confused smile, but Peter does add some additional color to that. "….oh, I didn't know Groot could regenerate like that, but that's my fault, really. I don't know much about alien plants." She's more of a specialist, with one area of focus, and less of a swiss-army knife of skills like most of the people in her acquaintance.

Mention of a new masked vigilante in Gotham has the magician blinking faintly in interest. "…I don't think so," she says. "Did he give a name? What do you mean wings for claws? Last I heard, Batman is just…typical Batman and most of his Robins have flown the coop, so to speak, doing other things." Something of interest that she can pass onto Bruce, Dick and Tim, probably, if there's a new name in the city, though chances are they're more informed of it than she is.

Still, she should. Just in case.

"I didn't know about SHIELD." Said with all the faint distrust and disdain any young person would have towards shadowy, international spy organizations, especially those that have come calling once or twice. "But I figured they were going to come knocking on your door sooner rather than later. I mean, they monitor aliens too, don't they?"

The crux of the matter laid out before her, she smiles. "Ah, I gotcha. Well…sure. I mean, I can just reinstate your access to the grounds, at least, so you guys can take the Milano whenever you guys need. SHIELD or anyone else won't be able to find it so long as it stays in the perimeter of Shadowcrest." It comes with its unusual geographical location, situated in between dimensions that only happens to have a pocket for itself in Gotham, anchored to its ancient mystical bones. "Not a lot of people know it, but Gotham's got a very old, ancient magical heritage. It's just that…all the crazy supercrime tends to keep that under the radar."

***

Rocket casts a side-glance towards Quill but says nothing more what with the rather blunt explanation of Groot's past accident delivered. Instead he shakes his head, going back to the subject he'd touched upon.

"Nah, he didn't drop a name. Was kinda hard to see him, but he had a black bodysuit and his face was covered, with pointy ears and claws. Had some kinda accent. I ran into him out in one of the dingier ends of the city when I picked up some abnormal energy pulse. From what he mentioned I don't think he was working Gotham exclusively."

Shrugging, Rocket sits back, sipping his drink as Quill picks up on their real reason for the visit. Zatanna's response gains her a fresh grin. "They got some things going on at SHIELD but I figured them fishy already. But I talked with Coulson and he's behind us. Actually the one who suggested we split while things are still being worked out."

He pauses. After the careful conversation in the shooting range the other day he wonders if he should've name-dropped the once-dead man.

***

Peter is of course entirely oblivious to the looks Groot and Rocket toss his way. The 'captain' of the Guardians happily settling back in the chair with the glass of booze and a content smile on his face. The frigid outside melts away in the pleasant warmth of the drink, the fire, and the old memories of the first place they crashed on Terra.

"I wasn't there," He does say though. "So you'll have to take Rocket's description for it. I mean it could be any of about two hundred different capes roving about dressed in pointy ears and claws."

He tries not to let it show much, the relief he feels as Zatanna offers up her place once more to stash their ship. He tries, but any that know him can see it in the way he relaxes. He /hates/ asking for favors. I mean wheedling someone out of a deal is fine, but straight out favors make him itch.

His pirate background coming to the fore. He hates owing people. Well. People he doesn't feel obliged to swindle out of whatever he owes them.

"Thanks, load off our minds there. I'm glad ol' Deadeye let us have the heads up. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have let us just hang around at the Trisket if we had elected not to register." A pause. "And bests, a lot of them SHIELD types are kinda assholes." A longer pause. "They like way to many rules. Just doesn't sit right."

***

A low humming grunt goes into Groot's mug, somewhat thoughtful at the mention of Coulson. The man does so much for them. Puts up with their antics. And Zatanna is doing the same, helping them stow the Milano. A small part of him wants to get them a gift, but it's easily quashed by just staying in the moment.

"I am Groot," he agrees with Quill, lifting his head. There may be several good agents, but the rest? Terrible. Like they have sticks up their butts.

***

"It sounds like Catwoman, but a guy. A Catdude? Catman?" Zatanna wonders. "Anyway there's all kinds in Gotham, this city kind of just perfected vigilantism in bondage gear."

She takes a sip of her hot chocolate before she nearly chokes on it when Rocket tells her that Agent Coulson is alive. "Wait, Agent Coulson's alive?" Probably several months too late, but the magician keeps away from SHIELD for a very good reason, remembering the kindly-faced man with the most powerful judgmental face she has ever seen once triggered - and he was triggered, the moment he saw her try to shoot a gun.

"Well, it's a government organization, Peter, it's not like they weren't gonna wrap you guys around the red tape whenever they could. But yeah I figured with New York's registration deadline in a couple of months that everyone in the community is either about to jump ship or dive underground. Not so easy to pass Rocket and Groot off as regular members of society."

After a moment. "Though if you guys do get into trouble, I know a couple of guys who'll work your case, and they're always in the lookout for the case to shut down the new law once and for all. So if you guys wanna help out…not sure if you know them, but they run a law firm in Hell's Kitchen. Matt Murdock and Franklin Nelson of Nelson & Murdock. You might've seen them on television - they helped acquit the Winter Soldier and put the Kingpin behind bars. They're really good at what they do."

She sinks further into her chair. "But yeah if it helps, the Milano will be safe here. They can't tow what they can't find."

***

"Eh, true enough," Rocket nods at Zatanna. The costumed people themed after Terran animals is still such a strange thing to him, and this is coming from a creature that is totally not based off of some Terran lifeform.

It's probably of no surprise that there's agreement between him and Quill regarding their sentiment towards S.H.I.E.L.D., or rules in general. "Eh, they'd make us do that stupid registry thing and then make us work even more for 'em. I didn't mind doing the occasional mission but I'm sure they're gonna take full advantage of things." His nose wrinkles. "An' then they'll try an' make us responsible."

Oop, and there it is. Rocket glances over at Zatanna as though there's something wrong with her as she sputters. He nods once. "Yeeaaah… It's… Okay, so I don't know the exact details on how it all happened but the flarkin' funeral was for a dummy an' on the sidelines someone was messing around with somethin' weird." Should he mention that there's an unusual underlying scent to the formerly dead agent that's struck him as familiar? Nah, that's just weird. Well, weirder. He might've already said too much as it is. "Anyway, I wasn't sure if it's a secret, Dani was sure acting like it though when the name came up yesterday."

With that out of the way he swallows down the rest of his booze, lamenting inwardly how fast it's gone as he sets it aside. A snort. "But I dun wanna be a regular member of society." It seems like an automatic response, and really, it pretty much is, but he and Groot have been trying to be at least a little less conspicuous whenever they wandered the city streets these days. Most days though? They just don't care too much.

Ship problem down, that's the most of Rocket's concerns there, and he grins over at Quill now that they've got one less thing to worry about. "Yer a lifesaver, Zee." He looks somewhat suspicious as she brings up the lawyers though, his expression not exactly distasteful, but the very thought of dealing with any sort of law enforcer just doesn't seem to sit all too well with him. He strokes his chin thoughtfully, listening at the very least, the names filed away in whatever mental compartment that seems fitting.

***

"Who does want to be a regular member of society, sounds boring to me. I'd rather be amazing than regular. Good thing I am amazing. Right?" He totally looks like he believes himself to be amazing right now. Relaxed in the face of the good news of Zee doing them yet one more solid. "You know we owe ya for all this. Just don't expect to get paid back all at once. None of us are very liquid right now."

A flash of a grin at that before his face shifts into an annoyed, wry look. "Yeah. He's alive. Pulled a good one on everyone it looks like. I didn't go into specifics, I mean I'm pretty sure I don't want to know the specifics. I'm going to say super-science crap and just go right on. He's fine and just as sharp as ever."

A shake of his head. "But yeah, I don't think its supposed to be really well known."

A glance at Groot for a second, then at Rocket. Then a smirk. "Man. If those lawyers will accept cases from us, they must be out there."

***

The amount of disgust Rocket displays for SHIELD and any potential disadvantages he and Groot would face in the future is given…well, a very subtle shift in expression. Groot's brow creases; he does look like he's ready to rebel against any orders made, but he knows just as well as the other Guardians that things won't be so easy to blow through.

The teenage ent winces the second Zatanna clears the choking part of her reaction to Coulson being alive, nodding knowingly as if to rush her through the whole thing so that they can all move on. He drains the rest of his hot chocolate shortly afterward, not spiking his mug for Kasim's sake but setting it down somewhere so it doesn't fall over onto the floor.

"I am Groot," is all he can say about Star Lord's claim to being amazing. In a way, it helps lighten the mood — one of his charm points? He's not sure about that. As for fitting into society, he briefly does a thumbs-down sign, raspberrying it up.

…Those poor lawyers. If they don't have their hands full already…

***

As Rocket finishes his glass of booze, Kasim moves over, silent as a shadow, and suddenly there, refilling his whiskey and topping off Quill's before he moves off just out of line of sight of the people in the room. The way he moves is so silent and the air around him so still, he doesn't seem human. Which is ridiculous, right? Ha ha…ha ha ha…

The long overdue story about Phil Coulson's resurrection has Zatanna's brows lifting upwards. "Well, you can count on the likes of me to keep secrets," she says after the spiel, taking another nursing drink of her hot chocolate. "And yeah, don't worry about the Milano, seriously. It's not like you're asking me to do anything, really and it wouldn't be the first time I've kept contraband material away from the authorities." The Shadowcrest Library, after all, was once the temporary home of the brainwashing machine that had been used against Bucky Barnes and Jane Foster a while back.

Who wants to be a regular member of society?

"Apparently it's too much for the state of New York if you're above the spectrum of 'human special'," she drawls, her tone somewhat acerbic. "And it's not like they haven't done this before throughout the history of the country with disastrous results every time. But what do I know, it's not like I went to school or anything."

Rocket's skepticism is warranted, but at Peter's remark, she smiles. "They're basically our best hope in killing the law's momentum once and for all," she tells them. "With a proven track record for pissing off powerful people. If anything I figured you guys have that in common with them. It's just a thought, in case you do get into trouble and they could always use the referrals."

Finishing her hot chocolate, she lowers her mug. "Is that all you guys needed? Whew, what a relief. The way you guys were fidgeting outside, I thought you guys were going to ask me to like…send you guys back in time to change something."

***

"-pfffff!"

That? Is Rocket's response to Peter 'I'm Amazing' Quill's claim. He grins at Groot's comment, slapping a hand on a knee with a cackle. It's brief but welcome, and the refill of his whiskey all the more so as he finds his glass almost magically full again. He side-eyes the butler as the figure moves to cover Quill before retreating, but his glass is quickly recovered and brought up for another healthy swallow.

"You always did seem like the type to do as you pleased," the raccoonoid says at Zatanna's…well, not so much an admission. This was the woman who'd gone and taken a mysteriously talking raccoon from zoo custody. He lifts his glass to her as if in toast.

"Eh, if it's not one thing it's somethin' else. But hey, if we can help prove someone else stupid, we're there." The grin that pulls across his face is almost fiendish. "Sounds like fun though. We love pissin' people off."

Shortly after Zatanna's expression of relief does it prove to be Rocket's turn to nearly choke on his drink as he coughs. It might be a laugh. Or it might just really be him coughing. Not that he was triggered by the mention of time traveling or anything.

***

Quill just reaches over to pat Rocket's back. Hard. In that bro style fashion of 'get hold of yourself'. A smirk at Zee. "We so hate time travel."

And then do. Just not even responding to the laughter and the words from Groot beyond a glower and a frown before he smirks in Zee's direction. "Well. Rocket." As he sits back again. "We love what we're good at right? Can't ask for much more than that, can ya?" A smirk again crosses his face as he drains down the last of his drink. "But yeah. That's all. No earth shattered kabooms involved, just a place to crash. So…thanks again Zee."

…oh man. Are they going to need to get another sofa…

***

A low laugh rumbles through the young tree's body, clearly amused to see Rocket yucking it up at his comment and the following slap on the raccoonoid's back from Quill. It all plays out so wonderfully. That glower is met with another snort and a full-on smirk that may look familiar to the leader of the Guardians, but Zatanna doesn't need to know that. It's best that she gets a confirmation about hating time travel via a firm nod.

Also also, Groot's all for pissing people off. It's become one of his favorite pasttimes and it may come in handy when the time is right.

…Also also ALSO — he should get some better role models. Or peers that can influence some good in him. Because wow.

But that can all be put on the backburner. They can enjoy this while it lasts.

And yes…they totally need another sofa.

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